Thursday, June 30, 2011


Thought of the Day

The global green treaty movement to outlaw climate change is the most egregious folly to seize the world’s imagination since the Kellog-Briand Pact outlawed war in the late 1920s. The idea that the nations of the earth could agree on an enforceable treaty mandating deep cuts in their output of all greenhouse gasses is absurd.

Walter Russell Mead


Wednesday, June 29, 2011


Twists and Turns in the Amanda Knox Appeal

I guess I'll never understand Italian jurisprudence. English courts and English derived law, like ours here in America, does not usually allow the taking of evidence in an appeal, just an examination of the extant record for legal errors. Sometimes the convicted get to give "new evidence", that is evidence which was not reasonably available to the defendant at the trial which likely would have had a substantial effect on the trial's outcome.

But in Italy, they're getting even more forensic opinions (although Amanda and her also convicted boyfriend Sollecito presented just that sort of sniping evidence at the trial). The new forensic opinions seem to help Ms. Knox and Mr. Sollecito, now both just two years into their quarter century sentences.

However, here's something not so good for the couple. Rudy Guede, who was also convicted of murder and lost his appeals trial (where he claimed that he did not rape and murder the victim Ms. Meredith Kercher but said Ms. Knox and a man had). Tough to believe him when his DNA is inside the victim's private part. A convicted child killer, Mario Alessi, told the court that Guede told him that Knox and Sollecito were not at the apartment where the murder occurred when it occurred. Guede has denied he said that and yesterday letters were read written by Guede in which he blamed Knox and Sollecito.

That has to sting a little.

Here is the ever favorable to Amanda, recent coverage from CNN.

I'm now even more convinced that justice was done here (except for Guede only getting 16 years.



Taking Issue with NOAA 2010 Report

Here is coverage in the Washington Post of the just released National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration' 2010 Report on the Climate. You can download the report here.

The two graphs shown at the beginning of the story in the Post are average temperatures of the world according to three suspect data sets (the more reliable satellite data, from UAH and RSS, are not mentioned--they're showing lower average temperatures) and loss of Greenland glacier ice (a precipitous drop) -- more on that later. But here's just a plain lie, the Post says the report says:
Sea level continued to rise across the world’s oceans on average.
No, just the opposite--all the satellite systems including the new system of diving, recording and transmitting buoys (Jason 2) say that 2010 saw a decline in sea levels. The European satellite system is showing sea level at its lowest level since the satellite started taking measurement.

The University of Colorado chart shows the same thing, a clear downward trend in 2010 getting even lower into 2011. It wouldn't upload, sorry.

Does NOAA think we can't access these measurements?

OK now about the Greenland glaciers. If the ice on land is melting, where is it going? I had always assumed into the sea, but if so, then why, if there really is a whole lot of glacier melting, is the sea level going down rather than way up?


Didn't President Obama proclaim that his selection as candidate would be the moment when the rise of the oceans would begin to slow? He did say that three years ago. I'm a little creeped out just now.

(h/t real science)

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Monday, June 27, 2011


Never Go to Trial After a Hung Jury

Disgraced, impeached, partially convicted felon, former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich (D) was convicted of 17 of the 20 counts left after his last trial in August, 2010 ended in one conviction and the jury hung on the remaining 20 plus counts. Today, he was acquitted of one count and this jury couldn't decide on two counts (involving the School shakedown and the Tollway shakedown) one of those involved former Representative and now Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel (D). Blagojevich is the fourth Illinois governor(3 of them Democrats) convicted of felonies after leaving office, since 1975.

The conviction rate after mistrial caused by a jury that couldn't agree (and where the not guilty jurors comprised less than1/4 of the entire group) is about 80%. The prosecution has been surprised by something in the first trial, but did not lose and on the second try there are no surprises and usually a conviction.

If there was a deal out there after the first trial, Blagojevich should have taken it.



Michael Barone Catches up to XDA

Here is what I wrote in February.

Here is what Michael Barone wrote today.

It's good to be out ahead of the pack, and particularly sweet since it happens so rarely here.


Friday, June 24, 2011


Second Thought of the Day

David Brooks of the New York Times relays some wisdom on international relations:
After a thorough two-year review of U.S. aid efforts in Afghanistan, the staff of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee emphasized, "The unintended consequences of pumping large amounts of money into a war zone cannot be underestimated."

Really? Let's try:

We estimate that the unintended consequences of pumping large amounts of money into a war zone are zero.

There, did we underestimate them?

James Taranto



Thought of the Day

Look, I’m sorry to be blunt all you Greenies (you know how normally polite and respectful I am to you and your cause) but don’t you think the charade has gone on long enough? Do you not think, maybe, that given that the IPCC is the basis of all your so-called “science” on climate change, and given that the IPCC has been proven dozens of times now to have been hijacked by activists with about as much of a handle on objective reality as Syd Barrett locked in a cupboard during a particularly bad acid trip, it mightn’t be time finally to do the decent thing?

James Delingpole


Monday, June 20, 2011


Thought of the Day

For years we were told: “nothing other than manmade warming can explain the late 20th century rise in temperature”. To which the sensible sceptic asked: “what about natural variation”. To which the alarmist replied: “there is no such thing” or if they were more informed “the hockey stick proves that natural variation is too small and could not affect global temperature”.

Now of course it hasn’t warmed for over a decade and there’s only so long that you can hide such an obvious fact before even the most gullible start asking: why? So how do they explain this?

If natural variation is so small that it cannot have been responsible for the 20th century, then it is too small to have stopped the “warming”. If natural variation is big enough to cause sufficient cooling to cancel out the warming, then it is clearly big enough (when working in the opposite way i.e. to warm) to explain all the apparent warming in the 20th century.

Scottish Sceptic


Sunday, June 19, 2011


Insomnia Theater -- Food, Inc.

Saw the mild, by comparison to other lefty rants, documentary Food, Inc. last night. Here are some of the thoughts it engendered. The two main commenter were Michael Pollen and Eric Schlosser, the authors of The Omnivore's Dilemma and Fast Food Nation, respectively. They were not interested in giving the other side. The main point was that farms have become more like factories in the past 40 years, in a quest to provide the most product, meat or vegetable, at the lowest cost. The spokesman for the traditional farmer was a guy from the Shenandoah Valley (my homeboy) who grass fed his cattle, raised free range chickens and let his pigs into the woods, at least from time to time. He made the rather obvious point that his beef, chicken and pork was more healthful and better quality. OK, but his prices are Whole Foods plus. I'm willing and able to pay them, at least if I could find the local equivalent of the Shenandoah guy*, but many of the working poor can't. They go to McDonalds for the dollar menu. They get fat on a diet high in carbohydrates (including corn syrup) and get diabetes. What's to be done? At least they don't die of malnourishment and its sequalae.

Now there is no doubt that seeing how our food is raised (and/or slaughtered) can have an effect on our eating and buying habits. I watched a non-agenda driven documentary on fish farms a few years back. There were salmon farms which looked to me to provide a healthful place for growing the fish. There were other salmon farms which just looked awful. The bad news is that I don't know the names of the good farms and and the supermarket doesn't tell you the place from which the farm raised fish came anyway. So now I only buy wild caught salmon, even though that costs more.

Am I going to switch to grass fed beef? No. Does that mean the documentary failed? I have to say no.

It is true that cattle evolved eating grass not corn (which is technically a form of grass) but the feed lot is not 100% corn feed and most cattle are on the feed lot from 120 to 240 days. That's a portion of their lives, albeit the last days, but it's not all their lives. Most feedlots use a variety of feed, some of it grass based, in order to prevent acidosis in the fore stomachs, or is it four stomachs? They have to wait 21 days between an application of antibiotics and slaughter because it takes two weeks or so to clear the system of antibiotics. How is the use of antibiotics harming us again? Of course, as with fish farms, some feedlots do better than others, and we don't know which ones are the relatively good ones. We do know that we Americans eat 220 lbs. of meat per year on average and pay only about 10% of our income, the lowest ratio in the world. There may be some bad things, the unintended consequences, from the natural quest for efficiency, but it's difficult to fault the bottom line. We have so much food in America that mainly the poor people are fat. Look at the victims of a famine (usually caused by government intent or incompetence) anywhere in the world and then decry what our farmers and the huge agrabusinesses are doing.

The movie spent a lot of time with a mother of a boy who died from a deadly form of e coli which came from contaminated ground beef. That's a tragedy, but it's not the real picture of food safety over the years. Few people know that the infamous Typhoid Mary actually contaminated the food she cooked nearly 100 years ago with salmonella, a current contaminant. She killed 3 people after sickening 5o plus. That's just a famous case; there were many more food contamination deaths in the old days per capita than there are now. Also, and I can't say this too often, apparently, an organic farm in Lower Saxony, Germany contaminated food with the deadly e coli throughout Europe and killed low double digits after sickening about 3,000. And organic farms are promoted by Food, Inc. They're the good guys. Wal-Mart and Midlands Daniel are the bad guys. You can tell that from the title, food = good, a corporation = bad and Food + Corporation means things are bad with our food. I'm willing to bet that, as far as nutritional quality, safety and price are objectively concerned, things have never been better with our food supply here in America.

The movie also recommends farmers' markets. But do you know any more about the origin of the food at a farmers' market than you do at the supermarket? Even if I go out and kill a deer or elk, an ever declining possibility lately, do I know the health of the meat, really know it? There are a lot of things to worry about, but 'is my food safe to eat?' is not high on the list. If you want food safety, cook it well and keep the cooked portion away from where it was when it was raw.

*My wife points out that our dairy, Royal Crest, gave us a booklet from the Colorado Department of Agriculture which lists some local grower/producers/farmers as well as farmers' markets. That's helpful.



Thought of the Day

All in all, this [latest climate conference] looks to have been a complete flop. The participants seem to at least be waking up to the fact that the world is on the precipice of financial ruin and nobody is much interested in sinking themselves further just to push this group’s agenda.

Jazz Shaw

Most people, like me, didn't even know there was a climate conference this past week in Bonn, Germany, as the media coverage, at least compared to the coverage of the debacle in Copenhagen, has been virtually non-existant.


Saturday, June 18, 2011


Thought of the Day

...Tom MacMaster... took an actual, live, mass popular uprising and made an entirely unrepresentative and, indeed, nonexistent person its poster “girl.” From CNN to the Guardian to Bianca Jagger to legions of Tweeters, Western liberalism fell for a ludicrous hoax. Why?

Because they wanted to. It would be nice if “Amina Arraf” existed. As niche constituencies go, we could use more hijab-wearing Muslim lesbian militants and fewer fortysomething male Western deadbeat college students. But the latter is a real and pathetically numerous demographic, and the former is a fiction — a fantasy for Western liberals, who think that in the multicultural society the nice gay couple at 27 Rainbow Avenue can live next door to the big bearded imam with four child brides at Number 29 and gambol and frolic in admiration of each other’s diversity. They will proffer cheery greetings over the picket fence, the one admiring the other’s attractive buttock-hugging leather shorts for that day’s Gay Pride parade as he prepares to take his daughter to the clitoridectomy clinic.

Mark Steyn, relentlessly skewering the alternate reality to which the left often retreats, including the fake lesbian bloggers recently revealed.


Sunday, June 12, 2011


Second Thought of the Day

So Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-NY 9th) is pulling the "rehabilitation" gambit as he announces that he will get psychiatric counseling. For what? Hitting-on-17-year-olds-itis?

Roger Fraley

Does anyone (besides Guy Benson and Steve Green) remember what he said about rehab during his mea culpa press conference? He said:

"This is not something that can be treated away; this is my own personal mistake."

Apparently he has never stopped lying.



Thought of the Day

The Washington Post thinks it’s ‘harassment’ to request Michael Mann’s files from the University of Virginia (their Memorial Day editorial) [my comments thereon here] but it’s cool with requesting and obtaining and asking for citizen-journalists to go through 24,000 of the State of Alaska’s emails involving Sarah Palin.

Jeanne Bodine

As I've often said, the big media don't even pretend to be unbiased any more, that's a large part of the reason newspapers are unread and dying and the alphabet broadcast news half hours are drawing ever fewer viewers.


Saturday, June 11, 2011


The Illogic of Lefty Energy Policy

I haven't written about left wing columnist and local radio host David Sirota for perhaps a year, because his columns in the Denver Post have been like Gertrude Stein's opinion of Oakland, CA. However, here is a bold, totally illogical, half-truth propaganda piece by Mr. Sirota worth examining.

David wants us to adapt the Hippocratic "First, do no harm" ethos to energy policy. It doesn't really fit, because supplying energy to the masses is actually nothing like trying to help a sick or injured patient recover; but despite the square peg in round hole start, Mr. Sirota strikes out further.

The examples of energy production he starts with are nuclear (Fukushima reactor meltdown after huge earthquake and tsunami) and natural gas production through hydraulic fracturing of the formation containing the gas ('fracking'). You might think that the first is actually an example of the rare and extreme rather than the day to day normal, but it is the second choice which is really underhanded, as I hope to show.

In the wake of the damage to energy infrastructure by the 9.o earthquake, etc. he says Japan has "canceled plans to build 14 new nuclear plants and [is] now moving to pursue solar rather than atomic energy." Good luck with that, Japan; of course, with one of the lowest birth rates in the world, in 50 years maybe solar could produce enough power for the 2/3 fewer Japanese citizens than exist now. There's no way even a crash program in solar could light the Ginza much less the needs of the current 127 million inhabitants.

Funny that he doesn't mention the 40 odd coal fired plants Germany is building to replace the on-again-off-again canceled nukes. Some of these plants are coming on line soon. Nor does he mention French electrical production, which is wholly reliant on nuclear power (77%) and which sensibly reprocesses its fuel (we don't) so that nuclear waste there is a tiny fraction of ours and no problem. Moving on.

Sirota writes about natural gas:

Over the last few years, more evidence has surfaced that suggests drinking water may be getting contaminated by fracking — a drilling technique that involves injecting toxic chemicals into the earth. This evidence runs the gamut from a New York Times report on fracking wastewater being dumped into rivers, to Pennsylvania gas companies acknowledging that fracking is contaminating drinking water, to those now-famous YouTube videos of combustible tap water.

Where to start? Actually there is no evidence of drinking water contamination from fracking. The EPA chief has admitted this. There are allegations but very weak, and few, actually. Allegations are not evidence. Oh, and fracking is achieved by using 98% sand and water and 2% chemicals, most of which are totally harmless. There have been spills and one casing failure, but no Pennsylvania gas companies (notice the plural) have acknowledged that fracking is contaminating drinking water. He just made that up. Notice the lack of links in that paragraph. Here is one link. Here's another. Liar, liar, pants on fire.

Now let's get to Gaslands. That's where the footage of combustible tap water comes from, this Oscar nominated propaganda film which has been debunked and debunked. The flaming water is, in fact, just less than 70 miles north of where I sit (in my basement, in my pajamas), up in Weld County. Colorado's Oil and Gas Commission investigated the flaming water and determined that its origins were organic CH4--something's being eaten by bacteria in the aquifer, and the gas in the water is the byproduct--which has nothing at all to do with gas produced from drilling. Nothing. Indeed, the flaming water predated gas drilling, as Gaslands' less than honest director admits here.

Funny that Sirota doesn't mention the truth.

For me, however, this is the telling part:

Meanwhile, the White House's one seeming tilt toward caution — its panel to study fracking — ended up being a sham, as six of the administration's seven appointments have direct ties to the energy industry.

So the people who know the most about the exploration and production of gas are suspect, and people with, say, a BA from Northwestern in poli sci and journalism, and absolutely no real knowledge or expertise in the area, are the go to guys for energy policy. Yeah, right.

If these guys really cared about CO2 production from electrical generation (which I don't--we're at near saturation for the ever decreasing effect of CO2 in the atmosphere so that even a doubling now will have merely a minor, difficult to measure, effect) they would know that nuclear produces none and natural gas produces half that of coal. While the lefty power generators of choice, solar and wind, don't produce CO2, they also don't produce any electricity either, less than 1% here in America, nowhere more than 3%. If you want to end up cold and hungry in the dark, regulate coal to death, ban new gas production and close all the operating nuke plants. President Obama is only beating up on coal, so far, which tells you just how out there Mr. Sirota is. Way out there.

I'll just state for the record that an organic farm in Lower Saxony* Germany has recently killed more people than died in the BP gulf oil platform blowout and the Fukushima meltdown combined. Mr. Sirota should consider who, in fact, is doing the harm, and who is bringing literal light to the darkness.

UPDATE: *Corrected from "southern" Germany. Thanks, Freefall.


Friday, June 10, 2011


Thought of the Day

"Organic" Is The Latin Word For "Grown In Pig Shit"

Now is the time at SDA when we juxtapose!

David Suzuki Foundation, Oct.7, 2010

Thought for food: Organic farming is good for you and the planet. [...] As organic farming grows and more and more large operations sprout up,...

Associated Press, June 10, 2011;

Investigators have determined that German-grown vegetable sprouts [from an organic farm in Lower Saxony] are the cause of the E. coli outbreak that has killed 29 people and sickened nearly 3,000, the head of Germany's national disease control center said Friday.

What I would challenge you to do is to put a lot of effort into trying to see whether there’s a legal way of throwing our so-called environmentalist activists into jail because what they’re doing is a criminal act.

Kate at Small Dead Animals


Wednesday, June 08, 2011


Thought of the Day

Moreover, anyone who knows about these things knows that the United States has the worst intelligence-gathering operations in the world. The Czechs, the French, the Italians – even the Iraqis (who were trained by the Soviets) – have better intelligence. Burkina Faso has better intelligence – and their director of intelligence is a witch doctor. The marketing division of Wal-Mart has more reliable intel than the U.S. government.

Ann Coulter


Tuesday, June 07, 2011


Unscientific Science Journalists

Here is what Elizabeth Kolbert, a lit major from Yale and full blown Warmie, recently published in noted scientific publication The New Yorker. Here below is an excerpt therefrom, a list of anecdotes followed by her scientifically based conclusion.

Obama’s visit to Joplin was the third that he had made in a month to the site of a weather-related disaster. In mid-May, the President met with Memphis residents who had been left homeless by the flooding of the Mississippi River, and, not long before that, he toured sections of Tuscaloosa, Alabama, that had also been flattened by a tornado. Meanwhile, even as the President was consoling the bereaved in Joplin, residents in Vermont were bailing out from record-high water levels around Lake Champlain; Texas was suffering from a near-record drought that could cost the state more than four billion dollars in agricultural losses; and officials at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration were forecasting that the 2011 Atlantic hurricane season, which formally began on June 1st, would once again be “above normal.” (The 2010 season was tied for the third most active on record.) The news from abroad was, if anything, more worrisome. Last week, the Chinese government estimated that more than four million people were having trouble finding drinking water, owing to a drought along the Yangtze River. The French agricultural minister warned that an exceptionally hot, dry spring would reduce that country’s wheat harvest. And in Colombia more than two million acres of land have been submerged after almost a year of nearly continuous rain. “Over the past ten months, we have registered five or six times more rainfall than usual,” the director of Colombia’s meteorological agency, Ricardo Lozano, said.

For decades, climate scientists have predicted that, as global temperatures rose, the side effects would include deeper droughts, more intense flooding, and more ferocious storms. The details of these forecasts are immensely complicated, but the underlying science is pretty simple. Warm air can hold more moisture. This means that there is greater evaporation. It also means that there is more water, and hence more energy, available to the system.

What we are seeing now is these predictions being borne out. If no particular flood or drought or storm can be directly attributed to climate change—there’s always the possibility that any single event was just a random occurrence—the over-all trend toward more extreme weather follows from the heating of the earth. (Emphasis added)

What trend in extreme weather? The trend in serious tornadoes in the United States? That's been down since 1930. Perhaps she means the trend in hurricanes hitting the United States? What's that trend been? It has to be up; Al Gore said it would go up.

Well, since 1900, there has been no trend at all. And notice the cut off date for the graph below, 2005, the year Katrina hit New Orleans. How have things gone since then? In the past 6 years there have been 11 hurricanes (only one major) to make landfall in the U. S., and no hurricane has hit the United States since September 13, 2008, that's nearly 1,000 days ago. Not a scary trend in my book, but then I didn't study literature at Yale (I did it at Stanford). Her statement that 2010 was third most active is not completely accurate. 2005 is number one and 1933 is number two and 2010 is tied with 1887 and 1995. I'm not seeing much of a trend there.

How about world cyclonic storms? What has been the trend of tropical storm energy throughout the world since we really started pumping CO2 into the atmosphere? It must have taken off like a rocket, I bet. Didn't Ms. Kolbert just say that warm air carried more water and more water is more energy available to the system? Why, yes she did. So, since it's warmed a whole degree since 1900, the energy in the world's tropical storms must be at an all time high. That has to be the trend. Right?

Oh, it's the lowest it's been since they started keeping track in 1979.

OK, she mentions floods and droughts, this winner of the 2005 American Association for the Advancement of Science Journalism Award, so the trends in floods and droughts must be up. Right?

Nope, no upward trend in the past hundred years in the United States. In fact the 1930s, before the serious industrialization following WWII began, was the peak drought decade here in the states.

OK. Last try. Floods. There has to be an upward trend towards extreme wet weather here in America since CO2 started piling up in the atmosphere. Has to, right?

Argh. No upward trend there either. Well she did mention the world. OK, seriously the last try. What's the trend in world droughts and floods? Has to have been ever trending upward since we started burning fossil fuels in earnest. Right?

Alas, there are no such charts and since the plural of anecdote is not data, the lack of even cherry picked scientific support for her somewhat hysterical, non-scientific conclusion causes me to begin to ignore her and to look instead to real science by real scientists who are not dependent on finding serious anthropogenic warming in order to land the next research grant.



Thought of the Day

Anthony Weiner is having a press conference at which he admits he lied and sent the lewd pic to the college coed. He will not resign, but manfully accepts the consequences as long as there aren't any.

Tom Maguire


Monday, June 06, 2011


Liar, Liar, Pants on Twitter

Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-NY-9th) has had his horrible, horrible no good 9 day ordeal--ever since he screwed up and sent this infamous amazing bulge photo to everyone rather than only to the co-ed he was having cybersex with-- come to an end with a press conference, a major meal culpa, but no resignation, unlike former Rep. Chris Lee (R-NY-26th) who resigned for sending his photo with no shirt as a come on to young women. That's not unusual--a lot of Democrats have no shame and brazen it out, and even get re-elected, after very embarrassing activities come to light; former Gov. Elliot Spitzer, (D-NY) was an exception.

The worst Weiner can expect is that his district will cease to exist in 2012, as the blue state workers' paradise of New York lost so many people in the last decade that the state has to give up two congressional districts. The best he can expect is that no one will ever take him too seriously again, and that he will be the brunt of late night comic jokes for months and perhaps years to come.

Apparently Andrew Breitbart has a much, much more disturbing photo out there to publish but he's so far held off. I'll pass.

The formerly readable Charles Johnson at Little Green Footballs has once again embarrassed himself coming to the defense of lefties only he thinks are innocent victims. What Rep. Weiner took 9 days to admit most people, armed with only a few of the facts, knew instantly. Johnson seems to have a diminished sense of shame too, which is part of the reason he is no longer readable, except for schadenfreude at his expense.


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