Friday, January 29, 2010

Friday's fish fry

The U.S. economy grew at a faster-than-expected 5.7 percent pace in the fourth quarter, the quickest in more than six years, as businesses made less-aggressive cuts to inventories and stepped up spending. The robust performance closed out a year in which the economy contracted 2.4 percent, the biggest decline since 1946."

He bashes the U.S. on the climate-change issue:
"Osama bin Laden's latest reason to condemn the United States has to do with climate change. The al Qaeda leader in a new audio message published by al Jazeera, bin Laden verbally attacks the U.S. and other industrialized nations for polluting the planet. "This is a message to the whole world about those responsible for climate change and its repercussions — whether intentionally or unintentionally — and about the action we must take," bin Laden says on the tape, according to al Jazeera.
"Speaking about climate change is not a matter of intellectual luxury - the phenomenon is an actual fact," he says. Bin Laden, who recently released an audio tape praising a Nigerian man's attempted Christmas Day bombing of a U.S. airliner, bashes the U.S. for not signing the Kyoto Protocol."

One notes that he, like many leftists, ignores China's role in blocking many of the reforms they claim they seek. But mainly this strikes me as an attempt by Bin Laden and co. to reach out for wider support, to try to humanize themselves and appeal to the ideals held by the World Left. Hopefully most can see its absurdity, but one never knows...
Meanwhile Jonah Goldberg has a funny take on Bin Laden's new environmentalism:
"Will he come out in favor of beheading carbon emitters? Can I get 72 virgins if I promise to weatherstrip my house? How about if I install solar panels?....Of course, any minute now we're going to hear from someone — any predictions who? — that the real reason "they" hate "us" is climate change. It ain't freedom, it ain't American empire, or licentiousness, or Israel. All of these jihadi nutters are blowing themselves up to save the polar bear."

Seems like opinion is hardening on the notion that, well, it wasn't a bad speech, but it wasn't a game-changer. Peggy Noonan for example points out a major contradiction in the direction to which Obama pointed in the address:
"The central fact of the speech was the contradiction at its heart. It repeatedly asserted that Washington is the answer to everything. At the same time it painted a picture of Washington as a sick and broken place. It was a speech that argued against itself: You need us to heal you. Don't trust us, we think of no one but ourselves. The people are good but need guidance—from Washington. The middle class is anxious, and its fears can be soothed—by Washington. Washington can "make sure consumers . . . have the information they need to make financial decisions." Washington must "make investments," "create" jobs, increase "production" and "efficiency." At the same time Washington is a place "where every day is Election Day," where all is a "perpetual campaign" and the great sport is to "embarrass your opponents" and lob "schoolyard taunts." Why would anyone have faith in that thing to help anyone do anything?"