PowerLine -> Thoughts from the ammo line – Hurricanes Came Just in the Nick of Time

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PowerLine -> Thoughts from the ammo line – Hurricanes Came Just in the Nick of Time

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Powerline image at HoaxAndChange

Daily Digest

  • Hurricanes Came Just in the Nick of Time
  • Hurricane Watch
  • Trump DOJ backs baker in gay wedding case
  • On the cover of Time Magazine
  • Thoughts from the ammo line
Hurricanes Came Just in the Nick of Time

Posted: 08 Sep 2017 01:55 PM PDT

(Steven Hayward)

It’s a good thing for the climatistas that this extraordinary hurricane season has come along to provide more signs and wonders to point to as proof that the world will be four degrees hotter a century from now unless we give over our car keys to Al Gore, because one of their previous favorite talking points—that climate change caused the Syrian civil war—has gone poof.

From the University of Sussex in the UK:

New research disputes claims that climate change helped spark the Syrian civil war

A new study, published today in the journal Political Geography, shows that there is no sound evidence that global climate change was a factor in causing the Syrian civil war.

Claims that a major drought caused by anthropogenic climate change was a key factor in starting the Syrian civil war have gained considerable traction since 2015 and have become an accepted narrative in the press, most recently repeated by former US vice president Al Gore in relation to Brexit. This study, led by Professor Jan Selby at the University of Sussex, takes a fresh look at the existing evidence for these claims as well as conducting new research into Syrian rainfall data and the experiences of Syrian refugees.

Professor Jan Selby, Director of the Sussex Centre for Conflict and Security Research at the University of Sussex, says: “Our paper finds that there is no sound evidence that global climate change was a factor in sparking the Syrian civil war. Indeed, it is extraordinary that this claim has become so widely accepted when the scientific evidence for it is so thin.”

Worth looking at some of the complete studies:

In the view of many Western policymakers and commentators, the Syrian civil war was caused, in part, by anthropogenic climate change. Former US President Barack Obama claimed that climate change-related drought ‘helped fuel the early unrest in Syria, which descended into civil war’ (Obama, 2015); former Secretary of State John Kerry argued that ‘it’s not a coincidence that immediately prior to the civil war in Syria, the country experienced its worst drought on record’ (Kerry, 2015); erstwhile Democratic presidential candidates Martin O’Malley and Bernie Sanders have claimed similarly (Democracy Now, 2015 ;  Schulman, 2015); and in the UK, Prince Charles has maintained that ‘there is very good evidence indeed that one of the major reasons for this horror in Syria was a drought that lasted for five or six years’ (Mills, 2015). . .

For all this, there is good reason for caution about the Syria-climate change thesis. Until a few years ago, the 2003–05 war in Darfur was widely identified by Western commentators and policymakers as climate change-related – and even as the ‘first climate war’ (e.g. Mazo, 2010: pp. 73–86; Welzer, 2012: pp. 61–5) – with UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon going so far as to claim that ‘the Darfur conflict began as an ecological crisis, arising in part from climate change’ (Ki Moon, 2007). But such claims have since been discredited, with critics finding among other things that Darfur’s war neither occurred during nor was directly preceded by drought (Kevane & Gray, 2008); that there existed no solid evidence linking the Sahelian drought to anthropogenic climate change, in fact possibly the opposite (Dong & Sutton, 2015); and that claims like those of the UN Secretary General misrepresented the political and economic causes, and the essentially counter-insurgency character, of the Darfur war (Verhoeven, 2011Selby and Hoffmann, 2014a). More broadly, there is no consensus within the growing field of climate-conflict studies on whether violence and civil conflict are in any way related to climatic variables. Although some studies have identified such linkages (e.g. Hendrix and Salehyan, 2012 ;  Hsiang et al., 2011), others have concluded to the contrary (e.g. Buhaug, 2010 ;  Theisen et al., 2011/12) – as scientific reviews of the field have repeatedly shown (see esp. Field et al., 2014: ch. 12; Gleditsch & Nordås, 2014; also Selby, 2014). Historically, moreover, public and policy discourse on the security and geopolitical implications of climate change has been well ahead of, and often at variance with, the available scientific evidence (Nordås & Gleditsch, 2007Selby and Hoffmann, 2014b). Given this background, it cannot be just assumed that the Syria-climate conflict story is valid: further critical scrutiny is required.

It will be interesting to see whether this study gets any coverage in the mainstream media.



Hurricane Watch

Posted: 08 Sep 2017 10:58 AM PDT

(Steven Hayward)

We still don’t know the exact track Hurricane Irma will take, but most forecasts have it coming close to a direct hit on Miami or nearby environs. There has been talk over the years of what a Cat 5 hurricane strike on Miami might do, mostly because the Miami area has built up so much since the last time it received a direct hit almost 90 years ago when the population was tiny. The New York Times reminds us of this photo:

Here’s a table of the largest hurricanes to hit Florida over the last century—Irma looks poised to be larger and stronger than any on this list (see the second photo below):

Hurricane Andrew (top, 1992) compared to Irma

[UPDATE: Roy Spencer thinks the previous photo I had here was incorrect; I’ve substituted this one at his recommendation.]

The Wall Street Journal’s Greg Ip, using figures from Roger Pielke Jr, offers a comparison:

There has been talk, ever since Hurricane Andrew in 1992, of a “super-cat” (meaning super-catastrophe event) that would place severe strain on our insurance system, to which should be added that I recall seeing a number of stories over the last few years that Florida’s state-run hurricane insurance program is just like a public pension: underfunded compared to potential liabilities.

The financial markets seem to have taken note of this, as shown in this series of charts from the people at The WSJ’s Daily Shot:


I expect, like banks in 2008, that the bigger the financial catastrophe, the more likely there will be a bailout from the world’ ultimate re-insurer: the federal government.

Meanwhile, the impact of Harvey on the oil supply chain is evident in the data:


I know Power Line has a lot of readers in South Florida, and we wish you good luck and safety over the next 48 hours. Send us news if you are able.


Trump DOJ backs baker in gay wedding case

Posted: 08 Sep 2017 09:57 AM PDT

(Paul Mirengoff)

Yesterday, the Department of Justice filed an amicus (friend of the court) brief on behalf of Jack Phillips, the baker who was found to have violated the Colorado Anti-Discrimination Act by refusing to create a cake to celebrate a gay marriage. Phillips said he doesn’t create wedding cakes for same-sex couples because to do so would violate his religious beliefs.

In court, Phillips argued that requiring him to create a cake for a gay wedding violates his First Amendment rights of freedom of expression and exercise of religion. His freedom of expression argument was rejected on the theory that Phillips “does not convey a message of supporting same-sex marriages merely by abiding by the law.”

That’s true. But neither is he able to convey without penalty his deeply rooted opposition to such marriages. One doesn’t convey support for American foreign policy by not burning the flag or by standing for the National Anthem. But a prohibition on flag-burning or a requirement of standing for the Anthem prevents an expression of the depth of one’s opposition.

The Trump Justice Department bases its argument on the fact that Phillips is being required “to participate in his creation in a ceremony that is deeply expressive in both religious and secular traditions.” It notes that “weddings are sacred rites in the religious realm and profoundly symbolic ceremonies in the secular one.” Thus, “when Phillips designs and creates a custom wedding cake for a specific couple and a specific wedding, he plays an active role in enabling that ritual, and he associates himself with the celebratory message conveyed.”

“Forcing Phillips to create expression for and participate in a ceremony that violates his religious beliefs invades his First Amendment rights,” the DOJ argues. Moreover, Colorado “has not offered, and could not reasonably offer, a sufficient justification for that compulsion here.”

In this connection, the DOJ brief distinguishes Phillips’ case from cases involving laws prohibiting racial discrimination. Such laws may survive heightened First Amendment scrutiny. However, the Supreme Court “has not similarly held that classifications based on sexual orientation are subject to strict scrutiny or that eradicating private individuals’ opposition to same-sex marriage is a uniquely compelling interest.”

From what I can tell, the DOJ chose to argue only the freedom of expression issue. It did not make a separate argument based on religious freedom.

Phillips’ wedding cake case is but one of several such actions that have roiled the courts. Others involve florists, dress shops, photographers (whose participation in the wedding is ongoing), etc.

How will the Supreme Court resolve the matter? Justice Kennedy will be the swing vote. He, of course, is the author of the opinion that found a constitutional right to same-sex marriage.

In what may be his final term on the Court, it’s possible he will use the case to cement his legacy as a champion of gay rights and a jurist who was “on the right side of history.” It’s also possible that he will take the First Amendment rights of bakers, photographers, etc. very seriously.

I’m not going to hazard a guess until after oral argument, if then.


On the cover of Time Magazine

Posted: 08 Sep 2017 05:57 AM PDT

(Scott Johnson)I think Ilhan Omar is the first state legislator to have taken out a marriage certificate naming her brother as her husband. She is probably also the first state legislator to have taken out a marriage certificate naming her brother as her husband who also has a “cultural” husband as the father of her children.

I think Ilhan Omar is the first state legislator to have taken out a marriage certificate naming her brother as her husband. She is probably also the first state legislator to have taken out a marriage certificate naming her brother as her husband who also has a “cultural” husband as the father of her children.

When I sent Omar’s campaign a question or two about her marital arrangements last year, I received this response from Minneapolis criminal attorney Jean Brandl:

Dear Mr. Johnson:

I have been contacted by the Ilhan Omar campaign. Their response to your email from this morning is as follows:

“There are people who do not want an East African, Muslim woman elected to office and who will follow Donald Trump’s playbook to prevent it. Ilhan Omar’s campaign sees your superfluous contentions as one more in a series of attempts to discredit her candidacy.

Ilhan Omar’s campaign will not be distracted by negative forces and will continue to focus its energy on creating positive engagement with community members to make the district and state more prosperous and equitable for everyone.”

If you have any further questions regarding this matter, please direct them to me in writing so we have a record of any further communications.


Jean Brandl

I had a few further questions that I directed to Brandl, but — surprise! — I never got a response. I haven’t taken it personally, though. She has not only failed to respond to questions from me, she has also failed to respond to interview requests from other local reporters with the Star Tribune, with Minnesota Public Radio and with local television news outlets.

The Star Tribune followed up on the story last year, for example, but Omar declined to be interviewed. Democratic operative Ben Goldfarb spoke to the Star Tribune on Omar’s behalf: “Allegations that she married her brother and is legally married to two people are categorically ridiculous and false.” Omar’s campaign explained that she had never legally married “cultural” husband Ahmed Hirsi and flatly denied that Ahmed Nur Said Elmi, the guy named on her Minnesota marriage certificate, is her brother.

Omar issued a statement that went back to the royal flush of bigotry accusations and decried the “Trump-style misogyny, racism, anti-immigration rhetoric and Islamophobic division” allegedly motivating questions about her marital status. When Star Tribune reporter Patrick Coolican requested a comment from me for his story, I asked him who Elmi is. “They won’t tell me,” he said.

I told the story as best I could in the City Journal column “The curious case of Ilhan Omar.” A year later, that curious case — it’s still curious.

Omar still isn’t giving interviews to members of the local media who might raise uncomfortable questions — not even now that she has been elected to the Minnesota House of Representatives.

Omar prefers the national media to the Minnesota locals. The national media treat her like a rock star. They come to praise her. They don’t ask uncomfortable questions. They seek to add to her renown.

In their eyes, with apologies to Shel Silverstein: She’s a big rock singer/She’s got golden fingers/But one thrill she’s just now seen/They put her on the cover of Time Magazine. With her own video!

Time celebrates Omar in an issue featuring women who have achieved various “Firsts.” Omar is held out as the “First Somali American Muslim person to become a legislator.” Omar views her election as one that “will shift the narrative about what is possible.” I can’t disagree with that.

The video includes a cameo appearance by President Trump in Minnesota on the Sunday before election day this past November. The video and interview with Omar are posted here.

In the interview published by Time, Omar presents herself as someone who has overcome double standards hobbling her progress:

People think of Minneapolis as a very liberal, progressive city. We have a lot of immigrants here. The incumbent I was running against was a trailblazer when it comes to women in politics, so you would think that my gender wouldn’t be a big issue. But everybody wanted to make that an issue. To her, people were excited to vote for me because I was pretty. To the Muslim and Somali communities, my gender was a problem because politics is supposed to be a man’s role. Then there was the typical stuff that women candidates deal with—as a mother, how irresponsible I must be to want to run and devote as much time out of the home. No one ever asks the male candidates who are also fathers how they expect to balance family life. Gender was a big thing.

The double standards she allegedly overcame are nothing compared to the double standards from which she has benefited. If Omar weren’t a Somali Muslim woman, she would have been expected to answer a few questions about her marital arrangements. If she were a conservative Republican, well, you know the rest of the story.

As it is, however, Omar has become a celebrity of international renown. She is celebrated by Time Magazine and other cultural arbiters. Her complicated marital situation goes without mention. She is held up as a role model. She is a First. Which she may be, if not precisely as Time means it.


Thoughts from the ammo line

Posted: 08 Sep 2017 04:17 AM PDT

(Scott Johnson)

What’s that sound you don’t hear? Ammo Grrrll is not hearing DOG WHISTLES GALORE! She writes:

Well, friends, I woke up this morning to a $1.00 bill on my nightstand. Now either that was a pathetic commentary on my contribution to the festivities the night before, or some kind of anti-Semitic “dog whistle” because, you know, money/Jooz, what else could that mean?

Then I remembered that I was cleaning out my wallet in my customary obsessive fashion, arranging the horrible dead white men’s heads all going the same way, with the denominations in ascending order from front to back, and I decided to keep a single out to put in a birthday card for my friend, Barb, as a standing joke.

At least it wasn’t a banana peel. Mr. AG, who is a runner, eats about three bananas a day for the potassium, and he isn’t always meticulous about where he leaves the peels. He could single-handedly cause a campus riot. “Loose lips sank ships” in the War Years; now “Loose peels are Big Racist Deals” in the Snowflake Years.

Oh, Lord, have we FINALLY hit the bottom of the “triggering” barrel with a banana peel near a tree in Ole Miss? Because, really, I can’t take much more.

Time and time and time again the terrifying little nooses and poop swastikas and KKK scrawls and “Faggot” cakes and hijab-pulling turn out either not to have at all or to have been done by an unbalanced attention-seeking member of the victim class at which it was allegedly directed. Both the great Michelle Malkin and Ann Coulter have documented hundreds of such “incidents.” Nothing EVER happens to the perpetrators. Down the Memory Hole, it goes until the next psychotic meltdown.

The amazing thing about liberal guilt-wallowers is that it matters not a whit to them whether the “incident’ happened or not. To their feeble little minds, it COULD have been real, and it almost-certainly happened once in history, so they are compelled to grovel and apologize and let morons scream spittle-flecked obscenities at them. Pledges are made to have MORE Diversity Drones and LESS scholastic accountability and MORE segregation and separatism and FEWER standards of decorum, even after the Great Banana Incident of 2017 turns out to be one lazy but semi-responsible person’s attempt to make sure nobody slipped on his garbage.

Not one cowering, caving, college administrator or professor or – God, forbid! – aggrieved student ever says, “Hey, next time maybe we should wait until all the facts are in before we go bonkers.” Heck no. Riot now. Repent in leisure, if at all.

Which brings us to the ever-present “dog whistle” theme.

It has to be THE most worn-out metaphor in 50 years (with the possible exception of attaching the word “Gate” to every new political scandal and crisis. Would that the Nixon-era DNC had headquartered in a Marriott instead of the Watergate. Then, the chyron for a new scandal in Boise could be tagged the “ID-iott” crisis.)

So a dog whistle is a high-pitched whistle that only dogs can hear. Usually it is applied to racist code words that few normal people have even heard of and that nobody can hear except the alleged racists – well, just them and every single Official Black Person appearing on CNN, MSNBC, NBC, ABC, CBS and writing op-eds as the spokes-bigot of color who sees racism in every single human encounter. Now understand, their JOB is to detect racism on a molecular level; if they can find no racism, they have no job. They have great incentive to find racism everywhere. Most racism-detectors are woefully unqualified to do anything else, and certainly not at that kind of salary. I have no idea how former MSNBCer Melissa Harris-Perry’s tampon jewelry business is coming, for example.

Van Jones is a particularly egregious example. He is a well-compensated avowed Maoist Communist, who evidently was discovered by Valerie “We’ve got our eyes on you, Van” Jarrett. His 2016 post-election analysis consisted of calling the Trump victory a “white-lash.” Never mind that this made no actual sense for a number of reasons. First of all, the word he was riffing on is not “black-lash” but backlash, a word without color attached at all.

Second of all, when 97% of black voters voted for a black man for President, this monolithic voting bloc was called neither racist nor a “black-lash.” But when some 60% of white voters voted for Trump, ONE OF the TWO white people running, we were racist bigots engaging in “white-lash.” Hillary – who pandered to the mob in refusing to assert that ALL Lives Matter – was evidently given honorary non-white status. Which could not compensate for her unpleasant personality, grating voice, unpopular positions, Benghazi disaster, email destruction, influence peddling, fake charity, and failure to visit Wisconsin.

A significant percentage of those same dog whistle-hearin’ racist white folks DID vote for Obama, twice, or he couldn’t have won. Period. Naturally, white folks got no credit at all for that. There is no known way for a white person to prove he, she or xe is not a racist. Obama called his own grandmother who raised him in private school in Hawaii a “typical white person,” by which he meant a racist. I wonder what it would take to make most normal people of any color diss their own Grandmas publicly.

Meanwhile, back to the scary, suspicious money on my dresser, I would hope to end with one of my all-time favorite jokes – undoubtedly sexist at a minimum for which I denounce myself in advance as I have learned from treasured Commenter Alasdair Burton. If I can somehow sneak this past my intrepid gentlemanly editor, Scott, it is pretty darn funny:

A man and his wife go to Vegas and lose a lot of money, including cashing in their airline tickets home. They discuss options and, given the dire emergency, the wife volunteers to work the corner outside the casino to get the $340 they need for the trip home. She comes back the next morning, exhausted, with $340.25. “Wow,” ,says her husband,“You saved us! This is great! But, who gave you the quarter?”


I’ll be here all week…tip your waitresses…try the veal.


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