May 6, 2013

NYT Page One Story on ‘Jihadists Push New Tactics’ Includes Picture of McVeigh, Punches Holes in ‘Acted Alone’ Meme

A New York Times story posted online Sunday evening and appearing at Column 1 on Page 1 in today’s print edition included a picture of 1995 Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh — hardly a jihadist, at least not directly — alongside that of three real jihadists: alleged Ft. Hood mass murderer Nidal Hasan, foiled Times Square bomber Faisal Shahzad, and accused Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.

Another curiosity is the difference between the official headline of Scott Shane’s report (“A Homemade Style of Terror: Jihadists Push New Tactics”) and the browser window title (“Terrorists Find Online Education for Attacks”). That’s interesting, because the presence of the “online education” and the following paragraphs in Shane’s report effectively punch a gaping hole in the official meme, most strongly propagated by Boston Mayor Tom Menino and President Barack Obama, that Tsarnaev and his now-dead brother Tamerlan “acted alone”:

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Bill Richardson Says Ted Cruz Should Not Be ‘Defined as a Hispanic,’ Then Unsuccessfully Tries to Explain It Away

In a web interview after his appearance on ABC’s “This Week” yesterday, former New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson, who suddenly withdrew after being nominated by President Barack Obama to be his first Secretary of Commerce in 2009, was asked the following about freshman U.S. Senator Ted Cruz: “Do you think he represents most Hispanics with his politics?”

His answer (video is at link) follows the jump:

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WSJ Compares California and Texas on Energy Policy (and Prosperity); Guess Who Wins?

Filed under: Economy,Environment,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 10:53 am

There’s lots of interesting and not widely known information in a Wall Street Journal editorial which appeared online last night and in today’s print edition:

A Tale of Two Oil States
While the shale boom lifts Texas, California sits on vast resources.

Texas and California have been competing for years as U.S. growth models, and one of the less discussed comparisons is on energy. The Golden State has long been one of America’s big three oil producing states, along with Texas and Alaska, but last year North Dakota surpassed it. This isn’t a matter of geological luck but of good and bad policy choices.

Barely unnoticed outside energy circles, Texas has doubled its oil output since 2005. Even with the surge in output in North Dakota’s Bakken region, Texas produces as much oil as the four next largest producing states combined. The Lone Star State now pumps nearly two million barrels a day, and Texas Railroad Commissioner Barry Smitherman (who is also oil commissioner) says “total production could double by 2016 and triple by the early 2020s.” The entire U.S. now produces about seven million barrels a day.

… More than 400,000 Texans are employed by the oil and gas industry (almost 10 times more than in California) and Mr. Smitherman says the average salary is $100,000 a year. The industry generates about $80 billion a year in economic activity, which exceeds the annual output of all goods and services in 13 individual states.

Now look to California, where oil output is down 21% since 2001, according to Energy Department data, even as the price of oil has soared and now trades in the neighborhood of $95 a barrel.

This is not because California is running out of oil. To the contrary, California has huge reservoirs offshore and even more in the Monterey shale, which stretches 200 miles south and southeast from San Francisco. The Department of Energy estimates that the Monterey shale contains about 15 billion barrels of oil, which is about double the estimated supply in the Bakken.

… in April a federal judge blocked the breakthrough drilling process known as hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking,” in the state. The judge ordered an environmental review of the drilling process that Texas, North Dakota and other states have safely regulated for years.

California has also passed cap-and-trade legislation that adds substantially to the costs of conventional energy production and refining. The politicians in Sacramento and their Silicon Valley financiers have made multibillion-dollar and mostly wrong bets on biofuels and other green energy. Texas has invested heavily in wind power but not at the expense of oil production.

Another contrast is that most Texas oil is on private lands, which owners are willing to lease at a price. In California much of the oil-rich areas are state or federally owned, and leasing doesn’t happen because of political constraints. In California it can take weeks or even months to get approval for an oil rig. The average in Texas? Four days.

In short, Texas loves being an oil-producing state while California is embarrassed by it. And it’s no accident that Texas has been leading the nation in job creation since the recession ended.

… California has the natural resources and technical expertise to be the next Texas if it wants to be.

Imagine how fast the U.S. economy would grow if California were more like Texas.

Here’s an unstated point: If California goes broke, which is well within the realm of possibility, and comes crying to the rest of the nation for a bailout, the answer should be “Hell no!” — not just because it’s bad public policy in the first place, leading to any number of additional states and locales which will want to get in line, but because it has had the resources to sustain itself, and has refused to do so.

The Truth About Benghazi Delegitimizes the 2012 Presidential Election

The following definitely delegitimizes and arguably nullifies the results of the 2012 presidential election (bolds are mine):

The Benghazi Talking Points
And how they were changed to obscure the truth

… As intelligence officials pieced together the puzzle of events unfolding in Libya, they concluded even before the assaults had ended that al Qaeda-linked terrorists were involved. Senior administration officials, however, sought to obscure the emerging picture and downplay the significance of attacks that killed a U.S. ambassador and three other Americans. The frantic process that produced the changes to the talking points took place over a 24-hour period just one day before Susan Rice, U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, made her now-famous appearances on the Sunday television talk shows. The discussions involved senior officials from the State Department, the National Security Council, the CIA, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, and the White House.

The exchange of emails is laid out in a 43-page report from the chairmen of five committees in the House of Representatives. Although the investigation was conducted by Republicans, leading some reporters and commentators to dismiss it, the report quotes directly from emails between top administration and intelligence officials, and it includes footnotes indicating the times the messages were sent. In some cases, the report did not provide the names of the senders, but The Weekly Standard has confirmed the identities of the authors of two critical emails—one indicating the main reason for the changes and the other announcing that the talking points would receive their final substantive rewrite at a meeting of top administration officials on Saturday, September 15.

The White House provided the emails to members of the House and Senate intelligence committees for a limited time and with the stipulation that the documents were available for review only and would not be turned over to the committees. The White House and committee leadership agreed to that arrangement as part of a deal that would keep Republican senators from blocking the confirmation of John Brennan, the president’s choice to run the CIA. If the House report provides an accurate and complete depiction of the emails, it is clear that senior administration officials engaged in a wholesale rewriting of intelligence assessments about Benghazi in order to mislead the public.

The Weekly Standard’s Stephen Hayes is being careful with the “if” in his final sentence. It hardly seems necessary. Republicans can read, and Democrat Stephen Lynch of Massachusetts agrees with Hayes’s assessment.

To answer Hillary Clinton’s supremely cynical, “you can’t touch me, and I dare you to try” question (“What difference at this point does it make?”):

  • What about “senior administration officials engaged in a wholesale rewriting of intelligence assessments about the murder of four Americans in Benghazi, including the nation’s ambassador to Libya, in order to mislead the public” don’t you understand? That rewrite, whether or not successfully obscured from an apathetic electorate by the administration and press, is part of history.
  • The misleading was done on purpose to protect the electoral viability of an incumbent president in a close election. If President Obama was involved in any way in this effort or was aware of it and didn’t stop it, we have an impeachable offense. It’s not arguable.
  • If the massive dereliction of duty and deliberate lying had been exposed and accurately reported by a lapdog press on a timely basis, how many voters in key swing states would have changed their minds about pulling the lever for Obama, and how many sideline-sitting conservatives and libertarians would have woken from their slumber? Enough to swing the election in the direction of Mitt Romney? I think so.

Therefore, the 2012 presidential election result, based as it is on voters being deliberately and deceptively kept in the dark on an obviously critical matter, is presumptively illegitimate. Period.

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UPDATE, 8 a.m.: Revised the opening sentence, rephrased the last bullet from statements to questions, and revised the final sentence to clarify why its conclusion is inarguably valid.

UPDATE, 8:30 a.m.: Revised the title and URL to be consistent with the conclusion.

Monday Off-Topic (Moderated) Open Thread (050613)

Filed under: Lucid Links — Tom @ 6:10 am

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

Positivity: NHL referee a gatekeeper for fair play

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 6:00 am

From Denver:

May 5, 2013 / 01:12 pm

If you’re a hockey fan and you don’t know who Denny LaRue is, that just means that he has been doing a good job.

While the name might sound familiar to close followers of the game, it’s likely due to his having been a referee in the National Hockey League for more than 20 years now, as opposed to a player or coach who becomes recognized by being in the headlines.

“While we (on-ice officials) don’t get or crave the spotlight, it’s rewarding to know you’ve contributed in a meaningful way,” LaRue says.

Regardless of the sport, being a referee or umpire is a humble choice because it means that one isn’t seeking the limelight. This is consistent with the lesson in the Catholic faith that this life isn’t about us, it’s about God. LaRue feels that officiating is a role for sports enthusiasts to give strong consideration to in place of trying to achieve star status.
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