As If They Needed Another Excuse

Apparently conservatives have been right all along in their climate change denial, as it turns out the whole thing was just an al Qaeda plot:

In the tape, broadcast in part on Al-Jazeera television, bin Laden warned of the dangers of climate change and says that the way to stop it is to bring "the wheels of the American economy" to a halt.

He blamed Western industrialized nations for hunger, desertification and floods across the globe, and called for "drastic solutions" to global warming, and "not solutions that partially reduce the effect of climate change."

The logical deduction to be taken from this, aside from the obvious reverse psychology of it all, is that bin Laden's current hiding place is at sea level.

Escape From New York

Bloomberg's apparently turned against the idea of holding KSM's trial in Manhattan:

Mr. Bloomberg said that a more secure location, like a military base, would be less disruptive and less costly. His remarks echoed growing opposition from Wall Street executives, the real estate industry and neighborhood groups, who have questioned the burdens that such a trial would bring to a heavily trafficked area of the city.

“It’s going to cost an awful lot of money and disturb an awful lot of people,” Mr. Bloomberg said at a news conference in Brooklyn. “My hope is that the attorney general and the president decide to change their mind.“

And while a gang of idiots have used the debate over the trial location as an excuse to display their cowardice (oh noes! al Qaeda might get publicity!) for all the world to see, Bloomberg's concerns seem a little more grounded in reality:

The Police Department has said that in preparation for the trial, the area around the courthouse would be flooded with uniformed police officers, in cars and on horseback, and surrounded by 2,000 interlocking metal barriers.

“I believe it would destroy the economy in Lower Manhattan,” said Steve Spinola, president of the Real Estate Board of New York, which represents property owners. He has urged the mayor’s office to speak out against holding the trial in the city.

The city estimated it would spend more than $200 million a year on security for the trial, making it one of the most expensive security operations it would ever take on.

City Hall aides said that the complex trial could drag on for years, eventually costing the city close to $1 billion in the middle of a deep recession, though most of that is expected to be shouldered by the federal government.

$200 million a year on security is an absurd amount of money (and presumably that figure doesn't include the economic impact of closing down the streets). I find it hard to believe things can't be scaled down to a more manageable level, but if they truly can't then yes, let the Feds find a better spot for the trial.

The important thing is to have it, not the venue in which it takes place.

The Business President?

Nate does a fun piece breaking down Obama's word usage in last night's SOTU address. It doesn't necessarily means a whole lot, but it is interesting to see what he was trying to hammer home:

- work(ing)/worker(s): 34 times
- business(es): 29 times
- job(s): 29 times
- tax(es): 21 times
- family(ies): 20 times
- invest(ing)/investment(s): 18 times
- economy/economic: 17 times*
- strong(er)/strength(en): 16 times
- energy: 15 times
- deficit(s): 14 times

This was a speech focused almost primarily on convincing voters that Obama can get the economy moving forward again. Pro-business, pro-jobs, pro-family, pro-getting back to work. The tax talk was either of the "I cut yours" variety, or the pro-tax incentive variety.

You can't say he doesn't know what people really care about at the moment, at any rate.

For funzies, let's compare that to Reagan's '82 SOTU:

- government: 28 times
- tax(es): 23 times
- together: 15 times
- congress: 13 times
- strong(er)/strength(en): 13 times
- deficit(s): 12 times
- free(dom): 11 times
- peace(ful): 11 times
- inflation: 10 times
- world(wide): 10 times

* - Nate seems to have missed two instances of the word 'economic', or at least didn't fold them in with 'economy' in his analysis.

Where'd I Put My +3 Shiv?

Just when you think judges might have run out of stupid decisions to make...

Prisons can restrict the rights of inmates to nerd out, a federal appeals court has found.

In an opinion issued on Monday , a three-judge panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit rejected the claims in a lawsuit challenging a ban on the game Dungeons & Dragons by the Waupun Correctional Institution in Wisconsin.

The suit was brought by a prisoner, Kevin T. Singer, who argued that his First Amendment and 14th Amendment rights were violated by the prison’s decision to ban the game and confiscate his books and other materials, including a 96-page handwritten manuscript he had created for the game.

This my favorite line though:

Prison officials said they had banned the game at the recommendation of the prison’s specialist on gangs, who said it could lead to gang behavior and fantasies about escape.

Yup, playing dice-and-pencil RPGs is just a gateway to gang behavior. I think there are some deleted scenes on the Menace II Society DVD to that effect.

Waiting For That Apology

A while ago, Christiane Amanpour got into it with former Bush speechwriter Marc Thiessen over our use of torture:

One of Thiessen's big "points" was his citing of CIA interrogators who claimed Abu Zubaydah cracked quickly, and thanked his interrogators afterwards (that section starts at about 4:50 of the first video).

In a development that should shock no one, Thiessen's point turns out to be nonsense:

On the next-to-last page of a new memoir, The Reluctant Spy: My Secret Life in the CIA's War on Terror (written with Michael Ruby), Kiriakou now rather off handedly admits that he basically made it all up.

"What I told Brian Ross in late 2007 was wrong on a couple counts," he writes. "I suggested that Abu Zubaydah had lasted only thirty or thirty-five seconds during his waterboarding before he begged his interrogators to stop; after that, I said he opened up and gave the agency actionable intelligence."

But never mind, he says now.

"I wasn't there when the interrogation took place; instead, I relied on what I'd heard and read inside the agency at the time."

So... when do you think Thiessen is going to apologize to Amanpour? For that matter, when are all these right-wing blogs who proudly proclaimed that Thiessen had "destroyed", "ripped" and (my fave) "bitch-slapped" Amanpour going to post retractions for their readers?

Oh, wait, that would require morality and honesty on their part. Never mind.

Sweet, Sweet Satire

The best satire dances so close to the truth you can taste it. And this tastes like a well-made chocolate milkshake on a hot summer day.

The Great Orange Diaspora

So bonddad is now posting an economics column over at 538, at the same time that dengre has joined the roster at Balloon Juice.

Now, I'm not proclaiming the death of Daily Kos. But I do think a brain drain at the Democrat's best online site is not a good sign for the party, or its chances in 2010/2012. What Obama needed was for the grassroots to transition into something like a sane version of what the right has going for it. Erick the Rediculous snaps his fingers and Olympia Snowe wakes up with a pile of rock salt on her porch. The left has no similar infrastructure with which to apply populist pressure to weak-willed Congresscritters.

The 'firebaggers' epithet that JC and others have started using is looking more and more appropriate.