5 February, 2009
“to its proper place”?
The question: Is Sanjay Gupta a crank?
The longer answer involves an exploration of Gupta’s disturbing insistence on flirting with cranks, if it gets him publicity. The back cover of Chasing Life caries an endorsement from Deepak Chopra – and the inside page a favorable review from Andrew Weil. Normally, I would assume that the author of any book endorsed by those two would contain an intolerable blend of science and pseudoscience and refuse to read it. But for the sake of the readers of Science Based Medicine, I stifled my gag reflex and purchased the book. I hope that my sacrifice will benefit you all.
and just look at all the nasty bugs that crawl out.
We are going to spend $448 million to build the Department of Homeland Security a new building. We have $1.3 trillion worth of empty buildings right now, and because it has been blocked in Congress we can’t sell them, we can’t raze them, we can’t do anything, but we are going to spend money on a new building here in Washington. We are going to spend another $248 million for new furniture for that building; a quarter of a billion dollars for new furniture. What about the furniture the Department of Homeland Security has now? These are tough times. Should we be buying new furniture? How about using what we have? That is what a family would do. They would use what they have. They wouldn’t go out and spend $248 million on furniture.
How about buying $600 million worth of hybrid vehicles? Do you know what I would say? Right now times are tough; I would rather Americans have new cars than Federal employees have new cars. What is wrong with the cars we have? Dumping $600 million worth of used vehicles on the used vehicle market right now is one of the worst things we could do. Instead, we are going to spend $600 million buying new cars for Federal employees.
Read the whole thing. Then keep reading.
Michael Yon reports from Israel about the rain of Hamas rockets.
In Sderot, I met up with the American-Israeli writer and Pajamas Media editor Allison Kaplan Sommer, who has lived in Israel for some 15 years, has three children and lives with her husband outside Tel Aviv. Together we went into the police station where the Israeli officers have saved hundreds of the rockets that have been fired from Gaza. Every journalist in Israel should see those rockets. The officer explained that the peak times for launch are when the kids are going or coming from school, and shoppers are in the open, for the greatest odds of casualties.
Yon wonders why Hamas is not charged with war crimes. That’s because, according to the so-called “Human Rights” NGOs like Amnesty International say that Hamas’ war crimes are too blatant and savage to investigate.
I’d have to say that Amnesty International is pretty blatant and savage itself.
More email from Michael Yon:
This will be a long year in Afghanistan, and I plan to spend about six months or more, there or in the region. Not looking forward to months of combat, but the war is only worsening and very few writers remain who will embed with combat forces for any length of time. I don’t know of any, actually, remaining who will go for months on end. Not sure how much of my 2009 will be with U.S. forces; some of our allies are requesting coverage and extending the red carpet, and it’s very important to know how our military alliance is doing. The alliance is key to the war. Whether it shows signs of falling apart, or sticking together, is crucial.
Embedding is very difficult, dangerous, time consuming, and expensive, and so long embeds simply do not seem to be happening.
My end-goal for 2009 is to bring back news and summary so that the reader will understand the overall trajectory of the war. Are we winning or losing? Is it worth it? What exactly are our goals in Afghanistan? I don’t know what our goals are. Does anyone know?
My reporting from 2006, unembedded in Afghanistan, proved that it is not necessary to embed with U.S. forces, or even to consult with commanders or the Pentagon, to predict the trajectory of the war with reasonable accuracy. I like covering combat forces simply because I like them. And they need coverage, especially so since practically nobody else will do it for them, but much of the decision making regarding embeds will be based on how much support derives from command. End goal: to accurately summarize for the reader the trajectory of the war, and long embeds might actually hinder my ability to predict the war.
Iraq only continues to improve. I plan to return to Iraq this year. That war truly is over. We can start bringing our men and women home, but it’s crucial to pay close attention to the advice of our military commanders.