Is it Wednesday yet/already?

| September 30, 2009

Hat tip on the video to Matt Yuen, a long-time friend and fellow PMS Commando (that writeup in from world-famous author (and budding politician) Dan Gookin, another one of the Commandos). You jump out of the same plane together, and you definitely are friends for life . . . however brief that may end up being.

ITEM: Obama is losing the ACLU, which (along with the press) is unhappy with the limits on access to detainees at Gitmo:

American Civil Liberties Union Director Anthony Romero said the access problems grate against the administration’s pledges.

“It’s frustrating,” Romero told FOX News during an interview at the Navy base.

He said his organization has never been allowed inside the detention camps — not under the Bush or Obama administrations — but suggested that he was expecting more access since Jan. 20.

“Especially now in light of the Obama administration saying they wish to have greater transparency, it’s more than a bit ironic that members of the press are now being denied access to the camps when they had it before under President Bush,” he said.

The beat reporters who routinely cover the military commissions at the base used to be invited on military-planned side trips to the detention camps when court was not in session. The trips allowed journalists to film, photograph and write about conditions inside.

That is no longer the case. Several sources told FOX News the decision to discontinue the trips came from Washington and the Pentagon.

Where’s that hope, change and transparency now? Welcome to the Chicago Way.

ITEM: Joshua Zumbrum over at Forbes gives eight reasons to remain wary about the housing market, including the end of the housing tax credit, tightened credit standards among mortgage vendors, and the flood of foreclosures still to come. Read the whole thing.

On the other hand, Megan McArdle (my favorite tall female libertarian economist) sees positive signs:

Amid everything the government is doing in the economy, it’s easy to forget that they’ve been putting quite a lot of effort into supporting house prices.  (Supporting, a relative term, in this case meaning keeping them from falling farther).  The FHA has stepped in as the lender of last resort, while the first time homebuyer tax credits have encouraged at least a few people to jump into the market.  Meanwhile, the mortgage modification efforts have kept some foreclosures from happening–but since optimistic estimates place the projected redefaults at 35%, and more conservative estimates look for half or more of the modifications to fail, many of those foreclosures have simply been delayed, and will end up back on the market in winter and early spring.

We’ll see what happens.

[UPDATED 09/30/09 — 0625 MDT]

ITEM: Warmist Countdown Watch: Successive earthquakes have hit near Samoa (causing 99 deaths due to tsunamis) and now in Indonesia. These are tragedies in a geologically active part of the world. The question is: how long until some Warmists start claiming that these quakes are tied into climate change? (Don’t laugh — it’s an actual set of Warmist beliefs.)

ITEM: “The State doesn’t own my body!” Pro-choice protest? Well, of a sort:

New York is the first state in the country to mandate flu vaccinations for its health care workers. The first doses of swine flu vaccine will be available beginning next week. Much of it is reserved for state health care workers, but there is growing opposition to required innoculations.

Health care workers in Hauppauge screamed “No forced shots!” as they rallied Tuesday against the state regulation requiring them to roll up their sleeves.

I’m pro-vaccination, but it must be a bit disquieting to have health care workers protest and risk losing their jobs over receiving mandatory vaccinations.

ITEM: Andrew Malcolm, over at the LA Times’ “Top of the Ticket” political blog, is always worth reading. Wherever his political sympathies may lie, he’s willing to poke — and poke hard — at failings and foibles all across the political spectrum. His latest analysis of Obama’s growing struggle with Afghanistan is worth reading in full:

Signs are growing that Obama will seek to change the war goals, to redefine what is success and divert the discussion away from the more-troops measure. It’s not defeat in Afghanistan; it’s victory of a different kind. The president used a similar strategic argument recently when abandoning the Bush administration’s missile defense shield in Europe: it’s not less defense, it’s defense done smarter and cheaper.

Biden reportedly opposes additional forces. He was a senator when Obama was a sixth grader, and recalls too vividly the last Democratic administration to pour U.S. soldiers into a distant guerrilla war — and lose. That savagely split his party — and nation — and lead to 20 years of Republican presidents in the next 24.

In a Wall Street Journal op-ed earlier this week, Sen. John Kerry, who succeeded Biden as chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, began the Afghan redefinition.

Kerry, who was in the Vietnam war before he was against it, said that 1) things have changed in Afghanistan since last spring, 2) perhaps what we need is not more troops but a “well-honed counter-terrorism strategy,” 3) the recent Afghan election was deeply flawed and maybe it’s the fault of a weak, untrusted Afghan government if we can’t win militarily and 4) we need to plan how to get out.

As I said, read the whole thing.  Then go over to the Washington Examiner to check out the “ducks-in-a-row” approach the Obama Administration is taking (with a helpful assist from the mainstream media).

ITEM: As noted here a few days ago, much of Leftist thinking can be summed up as if you fervently hope for something good to come true, then it will. This is especially true in the “green/alternative energy” domain, where hopes for magical breakthroughs in solar and wind power ignore serious issues of energy density and production. As it turns out, there’s another big problem with many of these “new energy” ideas: they often require a lot of old-fashioned H2O:

Here is an inconvenient truth about renewable energy: It can sometimes demand a huge amount of water. Many of the proposed solutions to the nation’s energy problems, from certain types of solar farms to biofuel refineries to cleaner coal plants, could consume billions of gallons of water every year.

“When push comes to shove, water could become the real throttle on renewable energy,” said Michael E. Webber, an assistant professor at the University of Texas in Austin who studies the relationship between energy and water.

Read the whole thing.  ..bruce w..

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Category: Climate Change, Economics, Friends, Humor, Journalism, Military, Obama Administration, Recession Watch, Television, Video

About the Author ()

Webster is Principal and Founder at Bruce F. Webster & Associates, as well as an Adjunct Professor of Computer Science at Brigham Young University. He works with organizations to help them with troubled or failed information technology (IT) projects. He has also worked in several dozen legal cases as a consultant and as a testifying expert, both in the United States and Japan. He can be reached at, or you can follow him on Twitter as @bfwebster.

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