February 4, 2012

Read This, Brian Williams and NBC: Deadly, Record-Breaking Cold Winter in Eastern Europe

WheresWinterGraphicFeb2012On Wednesday, Kyle Drennen at NewsBusters noted how NBC news anchor Brian Williams, chief environmental correspondent Anne Thompson, and old reliable global warming proponent Dr. Gerald Meehl of the National Center for Atmospheric Research took advantage of this year’s mild winter in the lower 48 U.S. states as an excuse to argue that “our warming world is shifting the odds against a traditional winter, winters as we have known them.”

Well folks, winterize this report about Eastern Europe’s deadly serious cold spell carried at a German web site (HT Expatica; bolds are mine):


Eastern Europe’s weeklong cold spell continued on Friday with at least 164 people reported to have fallen victim to freezing weather conditions.

Temperatures plunged to minus 35 degrees Celsius (minus 31 degrees Fahrenheit) in some regions, prompting power outages, traffic chaos and the widespread closure of schools, nurseries and airports.

Worst hit was Ukraine which recorded an additional 38 deaths on Friday, bringing the total number of weather-related fatalities in the country to 101. Thousands of people sought shelter in government centers and more than 1,200 were hospitalized as temperatures plunged to around minus 32 degrees Celsius.

There were eight newly reported cold-related deaths in Poland, bringing the overall death toll to 37. In Romania, there have been 22 deaths. Serbia has also reported causalities while at least 11,000 villagers remained trapped by heavy show in the country’s remote mountain villages.

In Bulgaria, 16 towns recorded their lowest temperatures since records began. Deaths have been reported there as well as in the Czech Republic, Hungary, Latvia and Lithuania, where a homeless man was found in the ruins of an abandoned house.

Europe’s homeless population has been worst hit by what experts say is Europe’s harshest winter in decades.

… European weather forecasters have warned the severe cold is likely to persist in many parts of continental Europe into next week.

Despite the high death toll, Eastern Europe’s awful cold hasn’t made the news in the U.S. Hmmm.

Unlike the shameless opportunists at NBC, I’m not going to use the above to argue that the world is cooling. I will say that in any given year, it’s not that unusual for certain parts of the world to be having remarkably mild winters while others experience record or near-record lows. Neither are in and of themselves relevant to whether or not global temperatures are in some kind of permanent upward or downward movement.

Someone needs to tell Brian Williams, everyone at NBC, and Dr. Meehl that there has been no global warming since 1997.

Cross-posted at NewsBusters.org.

Justice Ginsburg to Egyptians: ‘I would not look to the U.S. Constitution’; AP, NYT Ignore

RuthBaderGinsburgEarly2012Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, on a trip underwritten by the U.S. State Department (aren’t justices expected to keep their distances from the government to protect their perceived impartiality?), was in Egypt on Wednesday at a Cairo University law school seminar. While there, according to the Associated Press’s Mark Sherman, she told students that (in Sherman’s words) “she was inspired by last year’s protests that led to the end of Hosni Mubarak’s regime” and to speak to them (in her words) “during this exceptional transitional period to a real democratic state.” The news that Muslim Brotherhood and Salafist parties now control about 75% of the seats in the country’s parliament seems not to have registered with Ginsburg or Sherman — or, for that matter, the State Department.

Sherman’s AP story failed to note what Ms. Ginsburg said about the U.S. Constitution in an Egyptian TV interview, as did virtually all of the rest of the establishment press. ABC’s Ariane de Vogue is currently the most notable exception, but as readers will see, she clearly buried the lede. Here are key paragraphs from her report (the related video is at Hot Air; the relevant portion begins at the 9:28 mark; bolds are mine):

Ginsburg Likes S. Africa as Model for Egypt

Amid fresh clashes in Egypt, the U.S. Embassy in Cairo has posted an Alhayat TV interview of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

… “It is a very inspiring time, that you have overthrown a dictator, and that you are striving to achieve a genuine democracy,” the U.S. Supreme Court associate justice says. “So I think people in the United States are hoping that this transition will work, and that there will genuinely be a government of, by, and for the people.”
She says that after meeting with the head of the election commission, she was pleased to see that the recent elections in Parliament’s lower chamber were considered free and fair.

Asked by the English-speaking interviewer whether she thought Egypt should use the Constitutions of other countries as a model, Ginsburg said Egyptians should be “aided by all Constitution-writing that has gone on since the end of World War II.”

“I would not look to the U.S. Constitution, if I were drafting a Constitution in the year 2012. I might look at the Constitution of South Africa,” says Ginsburg, whom President Clinton nominated to the court in 1993. “That was a deliberate attempt to have a fundamental instrument of government that embraced basic human rights, had an independent judiciary. … It really is, I think, a great piece of work that was done. Much more recent than the U.S. Constitution.”Ginsburg, who spent her career before taking the bench advocating for gender equality, praised

the U.S. Constitution and the founders, saying, “we were just tremendously fortunate in the U.S. that the men that met in Philadelphia were very wise.” But “it’s true that they were lacking one thing, that is there were no women as part of the Constitutional Convention, but there were women around who sparked the idea.”

Ginsburg said “we are still forming the more perfect union” and noted that “when the Constitution was new in the 1780s, we still had slavery in the U.S.”

Historians with deeper knowledge than yours truly can perhaps enlighten us all as to who these women were who “sparked the idea” of America’s Constitution, and without whom we apparently would never have had one.

A Google News search at 9:30 this morning Eastern Time on “Ruth Bader Ginsburg constitution” covering the past week (not in quotes, sorted by date, with duplicates) returned 120 results, the vast majority of which were Sherman’s report carried at different AP outlets. Of the roughly eight remaining results besides de Vogue’s ABC report, only one story at the International Business Times might arguably be considered a mainstream media report.

Of the others, the reaction from the Liberty Counsel’s Mat Staver is noteworthy: “Justice Ginsburg failed to respect the authority of the document that it is her duty to protect. When given the opportunity to promote American liberty abroad, Justice Ginsburg did just the opposite and pointed Egypt in the direction of progressivism and the liberal agenda.” Good point, especially since South Africa’s constitution, as Hot Air’s Allahpundit observes, “includes welfare-state guarantees like the right to housing and the right to health care.” I would also bet against the idea that South Africa’s constitution has anything like our Second Amendment. If no such provision is there, Justice Ginsburg, based on her position in the Heller vs. DC case, would consider that a feature, and not a bug.

The reaction of lefty David Weigel at Slate (“Ruth Bader Ginsburg Makes Banal Point, Destroys the Republic”) is a predictable straw man argument: “I don’t see how you could argue the opposite — all transitional democracies should start with the Constitution we wrote in 1787! — unless you’re writing a Toby Keith song or something.” It’s as if Weigel doesn’t really believe that the amendments passed since the original Constitution was drafted aren’t even part of it.

The New York Times, based on the results an advanced search on the justice’s name which shows no stories about her during the past week, at least has the lame excuse that it didn’t cover Ginsburg’s visit at all.

Cross-posted at NewsBusters.org.

Saturday Off-Topic (Moderated) Open Thread (020412)

Filed under: Lucid Links — Tom @ 7:30 am

Rules are here. Possible comment fodder may follow later. Other topics are also fair game.


Positivity: Merle Haggard says hospital team probably saved his life

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 6:57 am

January 25, 2012

Merle Haggard isn’t ready to get back on the road just yet. After checking into and out of a Macon, Ga. hospital last week for a case of double pneumonia, the country singer has returned to the hospital for further treatment.

Doctors found the 74-year-old had several other ailments while he was recovering in a Macon, Ga., hospital. Spokeswoman Tresa Redburn says they diagnosed him with three stomach ulcers, eight polyps in his colon and diverticulitis of the esophagus.

Haggard checked into a hospital and postponed his January tour dates last Tuesday after contracting pneumonia. The country singer checked himself out Friday and tried to make the ride home to Redding, Calif., on his tour bus. He quickly realized he wasn’t up to the trip and returned to Macon.

He’s now undergoing a more aggressive antibiotic treatment for pneumonia. Haggard is expected to be “back up and running in 30 days,” his rep said, according to the Los Angeles Times.

The singer’s publicist told Country Weekly Haggard will likely be in the hospital for a few more days. It’s unclear when he’ll return to the road, though his website shows his next date is Feb. 28 in Tuscon, Ariz.

“Thanks to all the wonderful people all over the world that prayed their special prayers. I’m a new man,” Haggard said in a statement issued through Redburn. “Another special thanks to the folks of Macon, Ga., for their kindness, intelligence and probably saving my life.” …