Paul Krugman: Climate Lies

So shameful. Speak the truth, get smeared for life.

Swift Boating the Planet

Published: May 29, 2006

A brief segment in “An Inconvenient Truth” shows Senator Al Gore questioning James Hansen, a climatologist at NASA, during a 1989 hearing. But the movie doesn’t give you much context, or tell you what happened to Dr. Hansen later.

And that’s a story worth telling, for two reasons. It’s a good illustration of the way interest groups can create the appearance of doubt even when the facts are clear and cloud the reputations of people who should be regarded as heroes. And it’s a warning for Mr. Gore and others who hope to turn global warming into a real political issue: you’re going to have to get tougher, because the other side doesn’t play by any known rules.



Bob Herbert: Dying for Iraq

This makes me wonder, what ever happened to all those strident righties who used to argue how we are winning in Iraq and that the war was well worth it? Where’d you all go? Did you enlist? Ha.

Consider the Living
Published: May 29, 2006

Pretty soon this war in Iraq will have lasted as long as our involvement in World War II, with absolutely no evidence of any sort of conclusion in sight.

The point of Memorial Day is to honor the service and the sacrifice of those who have given their lives in the nation’s wars. But I suggest that we take a little time today to consider the living.



The next Abu Ghraib has arrived

This emerging story is almost certain to cause severe tire damage to America’s hearts-and-minds bandwagon now criss-crossing Iraq in its vainglorious attempt to force Iraqis to love us. Abu Ghraib involved serious abuse, torture, and perhaps unintended deaths. This story, however, is far more shocking, as it tells of US Marines actually murdering innocent Iraqi men, women and children in ice-cold blood. And a cover-up, to boot.

Officials briefed on preliminary results of the inquiry said the civilians killed at Haditha, a lawless, insurgent-plagued city deep in Sunni-dominated Anbar Province, did not die from a makeshift bomb, as the military first reported, or in cross-fire between marines and attackers, as was later announced. A separate inquiry has begun to find whether the events were deliberately covered up.

Evidence indicates that the civilians were killed during a sustained sweep by a small group of marines that lasted three to five hours and included shootings of five men standing near a taxi at a checkpoint, and killings inside at least two homes that included women and children, officials said.

That evidence, described by Congressional, Pentagon and military officials briefed on the inquiry, suggested to one Congressional official that the killings were “methodical in nature.”

Congressional and military officials say the Naval Criminal Investigative Service inquiry is focusing on the actions of a Marine Corps staff sergeant serving as squad leader at the time, but that Marine officials have told members of Congress that up to a dozen other marines in the unit are also under investigation. Officials briefed on the inquiry said that most of the bullets that killed the civilians were now thought to have been “fired by a couple of rifles,” as one of them put it.

Just what America needs at this point. Keep your eye on this one – I think it’s another nail in the coffin of our failed mission.


Paul Krugman: Al Gore’s Movie a Test of our Character

A Test of Our Character
Published: May 26, 2006

In his new movie, “An Inconvenient Truth,” Al Gore suggests that there are three reasons it’s hard to get action on global warming. The first is boiled-frog syndrome: because the effects of greenhouse gases build up gradually, at any given moment it’s easier to do nothing. The second is the perception, nurtured by a careful disinformation campaign, that there’s still a lot of uncertainty about whether man-made global warming is a serious problem. The third is the belief, again fostered by disinformation, that trying to curb global warming would have devastating economic effects.

I’d add a fourth reason, which I’ll talk about in a minute. But first, let’s notice that Mr. Gore couldn’t have asked for a better illustration of disinformation campaigns than the reaction of energy-industry lobbyists and right-wing media organizations to his film.



Thomas Friedman: Standing By Iraqis

Worth readig for that next-to-last graf.

Standing By Stand-Up Iraqis
Published: May 26, 2006

I am often asked why I don’t just give up on Iraq and pronounce it a lost cause. It would certainly make my job (and marriage) easier.

What holds me back are scenes like the one related in last Sunday’s Times story from Baghdad about the Iraqi Parliament’s vote to approve the country’s new cabinet. Our story noted that during the Iraqi parliamentary session, the Sunni party leader Saleh Mutlaq, a former Baathist, stood up and started denouncing the decision by Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki to have Parliament vote on the new cabinet even though he hadn’t yet filled the key security posts.



900 Chinese characters to read a newspaper?

I really find it hard to believe.

The Chinese media is using fewer characters and to understand 90 percent of the content in publications you need only to know about 900 of the thousands of pictographs that make up the script, state media said on Tuesday.

The findings of a survey conducted by the education ministry and language commission were based on 900 million characters used in more than 8.9 million files chosen from newspapers, magazines, the Internet and television, the Xinhua news agency said.

It did not give an explanation for the survey results.

This is an odd story. I tried to search for other stories about it on Google News, but all my searches led to blank pages, a sure sign the China firewall was doing its damndest to promote national ignorance. Technorati, too, seems to be blocked. Maddening.


A day to celebrate

I’m breaking my own pledge not to post until I get back to Taiwan, because this is simply too important. Yesterday was not only the birthday of the greatest composer of the nineteenth century, my musical hero and idol (despite his being a scumbag), but it’s also the one-year anniversary of my almost-favorite China blog. (I can’t honestly say which blog is my favorite, but this one is certainly among the very top tier.)


Saturday dinner in Shanghai – last call

It won’t be on the scale of last week’s affair in Beijing, but it should be fun – so already have about six people signed up. I will be offline for the next 28 hours or so as I train it to Shanghai from Fujian. The plan is to meet at our hotel lobby Saturday night around 7pm. The hotel is in Huangpu, on the Bund I think – please email me for the details.


Frank Rich: The Rove Da Vinci Code (Hollywood, DC)

Still traveling and can’t find the time to blog, but want to share Rich’s latest masterpiece.

The Rove Da Vinci Code
Published: May 21, 2006

IF we’re to believe the reviews, “The Da Vinci Code” is the most exciting summer blockbuster since, well, “Poseidon.” But the “Da Vinci Code” marketing strategy is a masterpiece: a perfect Hollywood metaphor for the American political culture of our day.

The Machiavellian mission for the hit-deprived Sony studio was to co-opt conservative religious critics who might depress turnout for a $125-million-plus thriller portraying the Roman Catholic Church as a fraud. To this end, as The New Yorker reported, Sony hired a bevy of P.R. consultants, including a faith-based flack whose Christian Rolodex previously helped sell such inspirational testaments to Hollywood spirituality as “Bruce Almighty” and “Christmas With the Kranks.”



Maureen Dowd: Make Poetry, Not War

Make Poetry, Not War

At the New School commencement at Madison Square Garden’s theater yesterday afternoon, dozens of the red-and-black-gowned graduates and some faculty were heckling, cackling, hissing, booing, jeering, whooping, bolting, turning their backs and holding up orange signs that read, “Our commencement is not your platform.” As for John McCain, he spoke about how the “passion for self-expression sometimes overwhelms our civility.”

“We’re graduating, not voting,” one young man yelled.

“This is all about you,” another called out. “We don’t care.”