Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Are We Less Safe Because of Iraq?

That was the story over the weekend but it wasn't exactly true.

Parts of a security assessment prepared six months ago was leaked to the press but only the most damaging parts were leaked. If you look at the entire report you see how slanted the excerpts were edited. For example here is how MSNBC repeated one paragraph:

The war in Iraq has become a "cause célèbre" for Islamic extremists, breeding deep resentment of the U.S. that probably will get worse before it gets better

The paragraph actually says:
The war in Iraq has become a "cause célèbre" for Islamic extremists, breeding deep resentment of the U.S. in the Muslim world and cultivating supporters for the global jihadist movement. Should jihadists leaving Iraq perceive themselves, and be perceived, to have failed, we judge fewer fighters will be inspired to carry on the fight.
Seems a bit different in tone doesn't it? I don't think that I am imagining things if I see this as making the case for "staying the course".

The President makes his case here. He has a lot of good points including pointing out that the report was released in March based on the situation in February. It is so old that it makes repeated references to Abu Mus'ab al-Zarqawi who was killed June, 7.

So why was it leaked in late September? For political gain, of course.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Election 2006

Polls show that the public disapproves with the way that Republicans are running things. Common wisdom says that Democrats will make gains in the upcoming election and may take one or both houses of Congress. Of course, common wisdom also said that the 2004 election was Kerry's to lose. It is possible that common wisdom is actually wishful thinking.

The 2006 campaign has started in earnest and I'm lucky enough (?) to be in two contested districts. Both my representative, Deborah Pryce and my senator, Mike DeWine, have been targeted by out-of-state Democrats and liberals. This gives me a chance to observe the Democrats' strategy close-up.

Understand that the attacks on Pryce and DeWine are opportunistic, not ideological. Both are moderates, Both have been described as RINOs (Republican In Name Only) because of their past records.  The only reason that they have been targeted is because they are seen as vulnerable.

The attacks on Pryce began well before the traditional campaign season. MoveOn ran anti-Pryce ads off and on all Summer. These were very general. Instead of focusing on anything that Pryce did, they focused on things she did not do. These were on the line of, "The world is ending and Deborah Pryce didn't take the lead to stop it from happening."

More recently, Pryce's opponent, Mary Jo Kilroy, has begun airing ads contrasting the budget deficit under President Bush and Pryce with the balanced county budget under Kilroy (Kilroy is a county commissioner). This left her open for a counter-attack pointing out that county sales tax doubled under Kilroy.

DeWine is running against Sherrod Brown. Brown has yet to make an appearance in the campaign (at least I haven't seen him) but an anti-DeWine ad is running. It pictures him with President Bush and complains about the deficit.

That seems to be the strategy so far. The Democrat's only issue is the deficit and links between the Republican and President Bush. the Democrat's strategy is based on several factors. Not all of these are likely to pan out for them.

As I mentioned above, polls show that most people distrust Republicans to run the country. The problem for the Democrats is that nearly as many people distrust them. This could translate into an anti-incumbent election. This gets tricky to predict. Many people distrust the party but trust their local candidate which is why incumbents get re-elected so often.

Democrats are banking heavily on Bush's negative poll numbers. They hope that linking a candidate with Bush will drag the candidate down. Basically they are trying to recreate the strategy that Lamont used on Leiberman. The tricky part here is that Lamont was running in a primary. Associating a Republican with the President in a general election is not the same as tying a Democrat to Bush in a primary. Worse for the Democrats, Bush's approval ratings have gone up.

An additional problem that the Democrats have - the war. Brown and Kilroy are avoiding all mention of it. Voters will eventually want to know what their position is. This is a no-win situation for Democrats. The majority of Americans view an unconditional pull-out as a surrender and this will hurt any candidate who suggests it. On the other hand, the hard-core of Democrats will accept nothing less and may stay at home if their candidate proposes conditions.

So, can Democrats win on little but general voter dissatisfaction and the deficit? Right now the poll say that they can but voter dissatisfaction has a way of evaporating as the election grows close.

On the other hand, neither Pryce nor DeWine has done anything to motivate their Republicans roots. I would have gladly dumped both in 1993 after they crossed the isle to pass Clinton's gun control legislation.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Cognative Dissonance

From the Wikipedia:
Cognitive dissonance is the perception of incompatibility between two cognitions, which can be defined as any element of knowledge, including attitude, emotion, belief, or behavior (in lay men's terms, the uncomfortable tension that comes from holding two conflicting thoughts at the same time). The theory of cognitive dissonance states that contradicting cognitions serve as a driving force that compels the mind to acquire or invent new thoughts or beliefs, or to modify existing beliefs, so as to reduce the amount of dissonance (conflict) between cognitions. Experiments have attempted to quantify this hypothetical drive.

I've written about how we are in a second Cold War, this time with radical Islam. I just wrote about how Muslim rage is being used as a weapon in this war. What is strange is that the Left doesn't see this. Take this exchange. Sam Harris, a card-carrying liberal thinks it is time for the liberals to get involved.
A cult of death is forming in the Muslim world — for reasons that are perfectly explicable in terms of the Islamic doctrines of martyrdom and jihad. The truth is that we are not fighting a "war on terror." We are fighting a pestilential theology and a longing for paradise.

[...] Given the degree to which religious ideas are still sheltered from criticism in every society, it is actually possible for a person to have the economic and intellectual resources to build a nuclear bomb — and to believe that he will get 72 virgins in paradise. And yet, despite abundant evidence to the contrary, liberals continue to imagine that Muslim terrorism springs from economic despair, lack of education and American militarism.

So, what's the response from the Left? To disown Harris, of course. The interesting, and scary, thing is how they do it. Take this entry
from the Huffington Post by RJ Eskow.
Specifically, Harris would not acknowledge the research of Martin E. Marty and the Fundamentalism Project, whose complex multidisciplinary study found several intriguing patterns in the distribution of fundamentalism throughout all faiths.
 Among the Project's findings was the discovery that fundamentalists, who average roughly 20% of any major faith today, all seek to acquire power using similar techniques and belief systems. Their beliefs share much more in common with fundamentalists of other faiths than they do with their co-religionists, a finding that challenges the notion that Islam is an especially evil religion.
 This finding challenges an assumption that is deeply cherished by Harris and his ilk, and equally beloved by Bauer and the Christian Right: that Muslims are more extremist than other people. That makes great fodder for recruiting wavering Christians to atheism, or convincing Americans who question the Iraq invasion that we're at war with a world of "Islamofascists."
This is the cognitive disconnect in the Left. Whenever someone starts talking about Islamic extremists, they direct their anger at Christian fundamentalists. Take this quote from Rosie O'Donnel    
O'Donnell saved her harshest comments for the war on terror. After Hasselbeck had the temerity to mention the threat of extreme Islam, O'Donnell responded with her slap at Christianity: "And just one second, radical Christianity is just as threatening as radical Islam in a country like America."
So there are no Islamofascists. There are only fundamentalists and Christian fundamentalists have more in common with Islamic fundamentalists than with other Christians.

I took Eskow at his word and looked up Martin E. Marty and the Fundamentalism Project. Not surprisingly, Eskow completely misrepresented their work. Here is how Marty characterizes the two:

As    for futures: combine these fundamentalisms with religious ethnonationalisms    and one finds some of the most perplexing, confusing, puzzling, and bemusing    forces. They are hard to anticipate, locate, or define. They do not fit the    conventions of diplomacy, since such movements "take no prisoners,"    make no compromises, and may resort to forms of terrorism that transcend boundaries    or subvert conventions of warfare.

In    respect to polity, some of them will continue to challenge and replace secular,    pluralist, "compromising" and only nominally religious regimes and    governments, in the name of actively religious, monolithic, absolutist regimes.    They stand more chance of success where what Westerners call "the separation    of church and state" has never occurred either philosophically or constitutionally,    than where they can only hope for a piece of the polity, as in the United States.    Where there was never separation or formal drawing of distinction between religious    and civil spheres, retaking the regime is easier to accomplish than it is in    overwhelmingly secular, pluralist, "republican" nations. In the    latter instance, as in the United States, fundamentalists, if they would gain    power, must coalesce with non-fundamentalist conservatives (as in the old Moral    Majority and the more recent Christian Coalition) and then barter with non-religious    conservatives, where some compromising of purity dilutes the claims. In such    cases, it is easier to stay pure and have influence on local levels—as    at school, clinic, zoning, library and textbook, hospital, and town boards.    But today the local has national significance, as when these coalitions, often    by self-advertised "stealth"-using means, can shape the policies    of a political party, and the platforms that impinge on presidential elections.
Here is a clear distinction between what I would call Islamofascists and the American religious right. One cannot possible mistake a group that resorts to terrorism that transcends boundaries with one that hopes for a piece of the polity.

But we don't need to resort to think-tanks to see the difference. The whole concept of secular government and pluralism grew up within Christianity.  Until the current generation, the leaders of the western world were overwhelmingly Christian.

In the debate over the Pope, much has been made of Christianity's past and it is true that there were forced conversion and other abuses... hundreds of years ago. Beheadings ans stonings are going on in Islamic countries right now. Again, the Left's cognitive dissonance does not let them distinguish between acts by people long dead and by people still alive.

Another of Eskow's points:

Here's Martin Lewis on Islam: "When was the last time agnostics or atheists got offended and went on the rampage when someone trashed - or even questioned - their beliefs?"

You could've said the same thing about blacks after the Los Angeles riots, couldn't you? "When was the last time white people got offended and went on the rampage when someone got let off for a crime against them?"

I'm not defending rioters. I'm simply pointing out some inherent biases in the comment. Ultra-Orthodox Jews have rioted in Israel, and one of them killed the peacemaking Prime Minister. Christians have rioted, too. People tend to riot because they feel powerless, not because they're inherently evil. (Killing's another matter - it's always indefensible.)

And less than one Muslim in 43,000 has ever participated in a riot. (I did the math in a previous post.) Far more Americans have been child molesters, percentage-wise, yet it would be bigotry to say we live in a nation of pederasts.

He is confusing people rioting over conditions affecting their own lives and people rioting over something said half a world away. The los Angeles riots were over treatment of LA blacks by the LA police department. The Jews were rioting over policies that affect the future of their country. Riots happen but they are usually over local issues. And when was the last time that Christians rioted over a slight to Christianity?

If I did my math right, over 23,000 Muslims have rioted. Maybe more if he was only including recent riots.

All of this is a real problem. We are in a long-term war over our values and half of our side doesn't have a clear view of who we are fighting.

Moslem Rage

When I was growing up, a friend learned that he could get me to agree to almost anything by threatening to go home. Finally my mother suggested that I just let him go home and see what would happen. The next day the inevitable, "Do this or I'm going home," came up. I replied, "OK. Bye." My friend stopped in mid-stride and said, "Maybe I can stay a while longer."

I learned a lot about human nature that day. I learned was that you had to be willing to follow through on your threats. You don't want to over-use a threat. Most important - once you give into a threat, you have lost control.

The world needs to learn this last lesson about Muslim rage. For the third time in the last year, Muslims are raging world-wide over a small incident in the west. The first time it was the flushing of a Koran at Guantanamo Bay. It turned out that the incident never actually happened so little came of the rage.

One side-result was the condemnation of reporter who originally broke the story. It was felt my many that he should have known what would happen and been more sensitive to Muslims before writing a story about Koran desecration.

The Mohammad cartoons were a different matter. The Muslim rage was greater as was their success. The West turned its back on issues of freedom of the press and religion. Only one or two major papers in the US dared print the cartoons. In Europe, many nations promised that nothing like this would ever be allowed again. The editor who commissioned the cartoons in the first place made an abject apology. The cartoonists went into hiding with death threats on their heads.

The issue that started the mess - the reluctance of artists to illustrate a child's book on Mohamed for fear of offending Muslims.

The current issue is a remark made by the Pope. This one was ready-made and, to some extent, manufactured by the press. The Pope was giving a talk before a university about different ways to approach God. His point was to justify the Catholic Church's approach. along the way he mentioned Mohamed and the practice of conversion by the sword. While the text the Pope was quoting was ancient and obscure, the issue is not. Just a few weeks ago two Fox reporters announced that they converted while kidnapped with the implication that they were given no choice. Ont he anniversary of 9/11, al Qaeda aired a video telling Americans to become Muslim or die. Unless you believe in forced conversions you have to side with the Pope on this.

But a single line was quoted in the news reports without the context and instantly the Muslims of the world were raging again. Keep in mind that this is not limited to just a country or two. Even an official from officially secular Turkey compared the Pope to Hitler over the remarks.

And the result has been successful. The Pope has issues three apologies. That's two more then the Vatican issued to Galileo. But it is not enough. So far the Pope has apologized for offending Muslims. They are demanding that he repudiate his speech and apologize for having said it.

They want the Pope to be subservient to Islam. The head of the world's largest organized religion needs to be subservient to a different religion.

That's what all of the Muslim rage is about. The people inciting it have found a threat that the West will give in to. Given enough rage and enough time, the Imams hope to eventually make western civilization subservient to Islam. They are instituting sharia (Muslim law) one baby step at a time.

In many ways the orchestrators of Muslim rage are more successful that the outright terrorists. It is easy to recognize merciless killers for what they are and to refuse to give into them. It is something else to refuse when mobs are firebombing churches and shooting nuns.

That's what the world needs to do and should have already done. When the Mohamed cartoons came out, every paper int he West should have printed them with the explanation that this was being done in support of free speech. In the current flap, world leaders should come out in support of the Pope and condemn forced conversion.

It should be made clear to the organizers of these mass protests that we hold our values dear and that attempts to intimidate us will cause us to close ranks.

Unfortunately, that takes more guts than most world leaders have. An exception is Australia's government which read the riot act to Muslims last week.

Anna Applebaum has similar thoughts to mine.

By this, I don't mean that we all need to rush to defend or to analyze this particular sermon; I leave that to experts on Byzantine theology. But we can all unite in our support for freedom of speech -- surely the pope is allowed to quote from medieval texts -- and of the press. And we can also unite, loudly, in our condemnation of violent, unprovoked attacks on churches, embassies and elderly nuns. By "we" I mean here the White House, the Vatican, the German Greens, the French Foreign Ministry, NATO, Greenpeace, Le Monde and Fox News -- Western institutions of the left, the right and everything in between. True, these principles sound pretty elementary -- "we're pro-free speech and anti-gratuitous violence" -- but in the days since the pope's sermon, I don't feel that I've heard them defended in anything like a unanimous chorus. A lot more time has been spent analyzing what the pontiff meant to say, or should have said, or might have said if he had been given better advice.

All of which is simply beside the point, since nothing the pope has ever said comes even close to matching the vitriol, extremism and hatred that pour out of the mouths of radical imams and fanatical clerics every day, all across Europe and the Muslim world, almost none of which ever provokes any Western response at all. And maybe it's time that it should: When Saudi Arabia publishes textbooks commanding good Wahhabi Muslims to "hate" Christians, Jews and non-Wahhabi Muslims, for example, why shouldn't the Vatican, the Southern Baptists, Britain's chief rabbi and the Council on American-Islamic Relations all condemn them -- simultaneously? 

Friday, September 15, 2006

The war Paradigm

America is stuck on three war paradigms. There is WWII, the Good War; Viet Nam, the bad war (also known as the quagmire); and the Gulf War, the quick war. Korea lives up to its reputation as the Forgotten War.

Obviously the Global War on Terror (now the war on Islamo-Fascists) is not a quick war.

Conservatives would like to think of the GWOT as being like WWII. It has a Day of Infamy and some opponents who are clearly evil by our standards. It also featured notable patriotism and a uniting of politicians against a common foe. Liberals are attracted to the WWII idea also but for different reasons. They like to point out that five years into WWII we were clearly winning. They also like to point out the shared sacrifice made during WWII as justification for rolling back tax cuts and jacking up oil taxes.

As seductive as the WWII model is, it doesn't match up. Even if you lump all of the Axis of Evil together they do not match the military power of WWII's Axis. Saddam was the only member to try expanding and that was turned back a decade and a half ago. As for shared sacrifice, that was needed because the entire country was on a war footing. People went without meat and gasoline because it was needed at the front lines. We have no such shortages now.

Viet Nam only works when looking at Iraq, not at the GWOT as a whole. Even Iraq fits the mould poorly. In Viet Nam we were fighting an actual country which in turn was the client state of a world power. In Iraq we are fighting an insurgency fueled by the deposed minority and foreign fighters. With Viet Nam, opponents could honestly say that they believed that being conquered by the VC would be preferable to continued war. In Iraq, everyone agrees that the country will erupt into a violent civil war if we leave too soon.

Then there is the body count. Fewer than 3,000 US soldiers have been killed in five years of fighting the GWOT. Casualty rates in WWII and Viet Nam were much higher.

So how should we look at the GWOT? I think it should be regarded as Cold War II. Consider the similarities.

In the Cold War we were not just opposing the USSR, we were opposing communism. This was a movement which combined economic policy, politics (generally dictatorships), and religion (generally outlawed or forced underground). There were several different movements. Some controlled countries, some were citizens of free countries agitating for change. Not all of these groups tolerated each other.

In the GWOT we are fighting a religious movement which includes economic policy, politics (theocracy), and religion. There are different movements. Some of them hate each other.

There is also the nuclear issue. The Cold War was a proxy war because each side was armed with weapons too destructive to use. In a few years we can expect to see Iran and North Korea similarly armed. They are also testing delivery systems. So far they are way behind where the Russians were in the 1950s but they are working to catch up.

Other similarities - the Cold War dragged on for decades. There was a strong feeling on the Left that we could simply stand down and the other side would respect that and disarm as well. They hated with a passion leaders who stood up to communism.

Some people in the military have recognized the parallels. They refer to this as the Long War.

This conflict is not about Iraq or Osama bin Lauden. It is the secular West vs militant Islam. At the end we will either see Islam brought into the 21st century or we will see Sharia as the law of the land across most of the world.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

The Path to Censorship

After watching most of the first half of ABC's The Path to 9/11, I have to wonder what the fuss is about? The show is so long and includes so many events that the scenes that the Democrats object to slip by so fast that they are easy to miss. What is more, it shows notable successes under the Clinton administration as well as failures.

The Democrats' advance reaction has gone past nuclear. Members of Congress have gone on record as insisting on changes. The Democratic leaders of the Senate sent an open letter to Disney questioning their motives and funding.

That Disney would seek to broadcast an admittedly and proven false recounting of the events of 9/11 raises serious questions about the motivations of its creators and those who approved the deeply flawed program. Finally, that Disney plans to air commercial-free a program that reportedly cost it $40 million to produce serves to add fuel to these concerns.
This part can be taken as a threat:
The Communications Act of 1934 provides your network with a free broadcast license predicated on the fundamental understanding of your principle obligation to act as a trustee of the public airwaves in serving the public interest. Nowhere is this public interest obligation more apparent than in the duty of broadcasters to serve the civic needs of a democracy by promoting an open and accurate discussion of political ideas and events.

Disney and ABC claim this program to be based on the 9/11 Commission Report and are using that assertion as part of the promotional campaign for it. The 9/11 Commission is the most respected American authority on the 9/11 attacks, and association with it carries a special responsibility. Indeed, the very events themselves on 9/11, so tragic as they were, demand extreme care by any who attempt to use those events as part of an entertainment or educational program. To quote Steve McPhereson, president of ABC Entertainment, "When you take on the responsibility of telling the story behind such an important event, it is absolutely critical that you get it right."
My reading of this is that rights the government granted can be taken back.

This blogger goes several steps further, advocating a 10+ step program of retaliation against Disney. This includes passing legislation in order to hurt Disney:
Clearly Disney/ABC has a lot of legislation before congress that they care about. I already know of one telecom bill by Senator McCain that they're mortified of - the Consumers Having Options in Cable Entertainment (CHOICE) Act of 2006. I propose that we start a nationwide grassroots campaign to get that bill passed. What other legislation can we push to ensure that companies like Disney/ABC never again try to unethically influence an American election?
So, the Democrats and their cheering section are advocating blatant, heavy-handed censorship. They are not threatening boycotts but direct governmental action. This is the party that claims to be concerned with our civil rights.

I've said it before but a commitment to civil liberties only counts if you protect the things you disagree with.

It should be noted that the protector of our liberties, the ACLU, is AWOL on the subject. I checked their web site and they have no press statements about the movie. They did express concern that residents of New York were being denied access to Hezbollah's satellite channel.

Lost in all of this is the fact that the Path to 9/11 is a serious, well-made production. Yes, in some cases actions were attributed to the wrong person but these actions happened which is the point of the movie. Disney and ABC are to be congratulated.

Friday, September 08, 2006

The Road to 9/11

First off, anyone who supported the CBS Reagan movie three years ago or Michael Moore's Fahrenheit 911 is disqualified from complaining about the Road to 9/11 on grounds of partisan hypocrisy.

[sound of crickets chirping]

My, it got quiet all of a sudden.

I have read reviews of this docu-drama from several people who have actually seen it. They say that it is quite balanced, showing both Clinton and Bush at fault. The thing is, Clinton was in office for years between the first and second World Trade Center attacks and Bush was only in office for eight and a half months. That means that Clinton had a lot of time for missed opportunities (and a lot more time to correct mistakes).

The producers say that they place blame for the attack on the terrorists but they show how the attack could have been stopped at several points. The left has taken this to mean that it is all Clinton's fault. MSNBC Countdown host Keith Olberman used this interpretation and named the ABC producers the "worst people in the world" for it.

The Clinton administration it being prickly about it. There was an aborted plan to kidnap bin Laden and at least two windows when he could have been killed with a missile strike. These were combined into a single plan that was aborted at the last minute. That's what docu-dramas do - they replace lengthy events with short, memorable ones.

There are probably two reasons that the Left is so upset about the movie. The first is that it upsets their world-view that things were fine under Clinton and everything is Bush's fault. This points out that the 9/11 attack was progressing along, missed by everyone like a malignant cancerous growth. It would have happened, even if Gore had won the election.

The Left's second problem is that is hurts their political chances. Howard Dean likes to point out that 9/11 happened under Bush's watch with the implication that we would be safer in his America. More specifically, it hurts the Democratic front-runner who is coincidentally named "Clinton".

It is becoming apparent that the actual importance of issues in the liberal blogosphere is inversely proportionate to its relation to real-life. Just look at the Leiberman/Lamont issue. They replaced a far-left pro-war liberal with a far-left anti-war liberal and called it a significant event.

In the meantime, after weathering an entire industry of anti-Bush media, a movie based on reality must seem like a cake-walk to the Republicans.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Scared Fearless

Whatever you want to call the war with fanatical Islam, it has the Democrats running scared. Of course, they aren't afraid of the side that's trying to kill us, they are afraid of our own side.

They have reason to be. Before the dust had settled on the WTC site, the left has been trying to argue that a) it was all Bush's fault, b) we should treat it as a regular crime and try to extradite the people involved, and c) we should pretend that nothing happened.

The newest attempt at c) is Arriana Huffington's new book On Becoming Fearless. Her thesis is that President Bush is manipulating us through fear. Huffington also opened a new section of her web site devoted to becoming fearless (and promoting her book).

Unfortunately, the world keeps intruding into their little fantasyland. In July, authorities in Florida and Canada announced that they had broken up terrorist rings. These were dismissed by the left as confused but harmless teenagers.

Last month the British authorities announced that they had broken up a plot to blow up airplanes. This was originally dismissed by the left as nothing but Bush propaganda. When it was pointed out that the report came from the British, not the Bush administration, they regrouped and started insisting that it is too difficult to make explosives. Regardless of how impossible the Left thinks it would have been, most of the people arrested left martyrdom videos proving that they thought that they were going to die along with everyone around them.

Next came the attempted German train bombings. This got a lot less press, either because it did not affect airport lines or because there was no question of the terrorists having (almost) working bombs.

Now the Danish announced that they arrested a group of terrorists. This group had explosives and the Danes felt that it was too risky to continue to watch them. So, what will the Left say about that? It's hard to say. I've been watching Huffington and have yet to see it mentioned on either the news of blog tabs. My guess is that they will either ignore it completely or downplay it.

Regardless, there are people who want to kill us and their definition of "us" is pretty broad. The Germans thought that they were immune because they supported Saddam. They were wrong. The Danes have been fairly sympathetic to Muslims, even promising restrictions on the press after the Mohamed cartoons but that wasn't enough, either.

The left and some on the right have argued that all we need to do is "re-deploy" out of the Middle East and end support for Israel and all will be forgiven. Europe is learning that this is not enough.

What Huffington calls fearlessness is much like walking across a street with your eyes closed and your ears covered and insisting that warnings about oncoming cars are fearmongering.

The World's Newest Crisis - Not Enough People Are Starving

According to a recent wire report, there are now more overweight people in the world than the undernourished. During most of civilization, this would be cause for world-wide celebration. Famine has been one of humanity's greatest concerns for millennia. We created civilization in order to escape hunger (really). What's more, recent studies have shown that being well-nourished during gestation and the first two years has measurable benefits throughout one's life.

So what's the problem? According to experts,
An obesity pandemic threatens to overwhelm health systems around the globe with illnesses such as diabetes and heart disease, experts at an international conference warned Sunday.
Since the studies I quoted earlier show that proper nutrition in early life reduces heart problems this doesn't seem right. In fact, it must have come from the discredited study released by the CDC and retracted shortly afterwards.

There have been studies that show an increase in health problems related to inactivity and poor nutrition. Some studies actually show a slight health benefit to being slightly overweight. (I've linked to these before but I'm too lazy to look them up again.) These studies are normally ignored because current styles emphasize low body-fat. Doctors are letting aesthetics dictate science.

If this coming pandemic was going to happen then we would already be seeing the leading edges in the US. Instead, death rates from cardiovascular disease have been declining for decades.

The ACLU - Still Going Crazy

Last week a church group blessed a public school in Columbus, Ohio. They did it from the outside which is open to the public. The principal watched from her nearby yard but did not participate or comment. In fact, no school officials appear to have been involved.

So, of course the ACLU tried to stop it. As I have complained before, they are not about the separation of church and state. They are about suppression of all public demonstrations of Christianity.

Since no government officials were involved, this was entirely a private act. People from other religions are also able to bless the school if they feel the need.

If the ACLU had gotten their way, government officials would have interfered in a group practicing their religion. I have a hard time seeing how that passes constitutional muster.