Vladimir Putin, who is to the Crimea what Michael E Mann is to the data, may soon be joining Dr Mann among the hallowed ranks of Nobel laureates:
(Reuters) - Russian President Vladimir Putin has been nominated for the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize - but the conflict in Ukraine is also likely to be on the Nobel committee's agenda.
A record 278 candidates, including 47 organizations, received nominations for the 2014 prize, said the Norwegian Nobel Institute's director, Geir Lundestad.
Geir Lundestad... Geir Lundestad... Now where have I heard that name before?
Oh, of course. He's the chap who said this:
Michael Mann has never been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.
~America can't send gunboats to the Crimea because it's too busy sending checks to China. The Weekly Standard reports:
New analysis by the Senate Budget Committee Republican staff finds that, under President Obama's proposed budget, interest payments on debt will exceed the defense budget in just 5 years.
This rang a vague bell with me. And sure enough, if you bought After America (personally autographed copies of which are exclusively available at the SteynOnline bookstore, he pleads pitifully) when it was first published in 2011, you'll know that in the first few pages I write:
Within a decade, the United States will be spending more of the federal budget on its interest payments than on its military. You read that right: more on debt service than on the armed services. According to the CBO's 2010 long-term budget outlook, by 2020 the government will be paying between 15 and 20 per cent of its revenues in debt interest. Whereas defense spending will be down to between 14 and 16 per cent.
Just to clarify: We're not talking about paying down the federal debt, just keeping up with the annual interest charges on it. Yet within a decade the United States will be paying more in interest payments than it pays for the military – and that's not because the Pentagon is such a great bargain. In 2009, the United States accounted for over 43 per cent of the world's military expenditures. So America will be spending more on debt interest than China, Britain, France, Russia, Japan, Germany, Saudi Arabia, India, Italy, South Korea, Brazil, Canada, Australia, Spain, Turkey and Israel spend on their militaries combined.
Why the Republicans on the Senate Budget Committee are only just catching up, I'm not sure. But I mentioned it to Canadian conservatives at the Manning conference only last Saturday:
So, within a few years US debt interest payments would be covering the entire cost of the Chinese armed forces. If they ever have a military showdown over Taiwan, Washington will be funding both sides of it.
In fiscal terms, a US civil war relocated to the Straits of Formosa.
~I was in court again in Toronto for the third day of Ezra Levant's libel trial - which, as I noted earlier in the week, seems to have turned into a de facto appeal by Khurrum Awan against his three floppo defeats at the "human rights" commissions. Yesterday I was delighted to see on the press benches my old comrade from the glory days of The National Post, the great Christie Blatchford:
There they are this week, in a tiny room at Ontario Superior Court, the allegedly injured (the plaintiff Khurrum Awan) and the alleged beast (the defendant Ezra Levant), two lawyers who are now themselves represented by other lawyers with many of the witnesses who have testified or are scheduled to do so also lawyers.
(And here I thought lawyer jokes were based upon the fallacious premise that they screw over the rest of us, but not one another.)
Indeed. But at least, as lawyers representing other lawyers, they don't have a fool for a client. Unless you count the plaintiff. Khurrum Awan is asking the judge to swallow an awful lot: As he has explained at length, he was misquoted by The Canadian Arab News, mis-edited by The Toronto Star, mis-characterized by Mohammed Elmasry in The National Post and, after demanding a correction from Elmo, mis-characterized in the correction; he mis-seated himself in the Vancouver courthouse, and mis-signed his own letter to Jason Kenney. Like that Matt Dennis song I quoted a couple of weeks back, everything happens to him.
(Scaramouche dissents somewhat from Christie Blatchford's benign characterization of the plaintiffs, although there's no doubt Awan's co-Sock Naseem Mithoowani made a good impression in court yesterday - much better than Khurrum did.)
Still, in its own way, this interminable case is a stirring testament to the power of my prose, even after eight years. Christie again:
For the record, the piece which sparked the battle against Maclean's was written by Mark Steyn, who is both one of the loveliest and funniest writers on the planet. It was an excerpt from his 2006 book called America Alone, ran under the headline, "The future belongs to Islam." Steyn's theory, if I dare try to compress it, was that Muslims have the numbers, and were or soon would be taking advantage of Western governments' eagerness to appease them.
Six years after Khurrum Awan testified in Vancouver in an attempt to get the kangaroo judges to impose a de facto lifetime publication ban on my writing, the original piece is still available at Maclean's. You can read it here - or, in the book from which it was drawn, America Alone, personally autographed copies of which ...yeah, yeah, I know; I'm pushing my luck.
~Instead of 5,000-word pieces by me, Maclean's now carries 5,000-word pieces by Dan Hill, the "Sometimes When We Touch" man. Perhaps this is what Khurrum Awan means when he says he "achieved his strategic objectives". Kathy Shaidle is not impressed:
"Since the dawn of recorded music, every generation has felt shocked by the musical tastes of the next. Sinatra hated Elvis. Elvis hated the Beatles."
But — just off the top of my 6:30 am, only-one-coffee head:
Elvis worshiped Dean Martin.
Paul Simonon and Joe Strummer used to binge-listen to Anthony Newley.
John Lydon's favorite songs include Noel Coward's "Don't Put Your Daughter on the Stage, Mrs Worthington."
Late last Friday night, I was in an Ottawa elevator with two former Ministers of the Crown singing to each other "Sometimes When We Touch". The honesty's too much. Which is not something anyone's likely to say about either Khurrum Awan or Michael E Mann anytime soon.
~See you on the radio later today with Hugh Hewitt, coast to coast across America at 6pm Eastern.