Wednesday, February 29, 2012


Glaring Errors

There was an unsigned piece yesterday in the Los Angeles Times which supports the Catastrophic Anthropogenic Global Warming crowd, particularly Michael Mann. It is full of unsupported allegations and some very telling omissions but here are three errors that cannot be ignored (or explained), other than by the LAT's less than scrupulous regard for the truth.

1) The LA Times writes:
Their paper showed that the so-called medieval warm period of the 15th
exhibited temperatures similar to what we're seeing today -- yet, as
Mann explains, they came to this conclusion after having "inexplicably removed
from our network two-thirds of the proxy data we had used for the critical
fifteenth-sixteenth-century period
." In other words, having found data they
didn't like, they simply removed it from the equation. (Emphasis added).

What are these people talking about? The Medieval Warm Period existed from approximately 950 AD to 1350 AD. After that there was the Little Ice age--1400 AD to 1900 AD. The 15th and 16th centuries were during the Little Ice Age, not the Medieval Warm Period. Don't believe me, how about the IPCC (before Mann's corrupt contribution)?

The editors go on to state that a review of Mann's infamous graph resulted in exoneration and the debunkers were debunked. Right. What the LAT admits is that the review found a "high degree of confidence only that recent years are the warmest they've been in 400 years." Well, no kidding. 1612 was deep in the Little Ice Age, almost at the nadir, of course we are warmer now than during a 300 year extended cold spell.

2) The La Times writes:

Mann's fame has lasted longer than 15 minutes, and it wasn't up when the hockey stick controversy died down. He was propelled back into the headlines in 2009, when hackers broke into the computer system at the University of East Anglia's Climatic Research Unit and stole thousands of emails sent by and to some of the world's most prominent climate scientists -- including Mann. Dozens of them contained phrases that, when taken out of context, made it sound as if these scientists were purposely manipulating data or trying to prevent contrary research from being published, creating an ensuing scandal dubbed Climategate by the media. Some of the most explosive of these emails were written by Mann.
No one knows who released the e-mail between the scientists and received at the Climate Research Unit at the University of East Anglia. There is no evidence of hacking. It is most likely a whistleblower revealing the anti-science practices of the CAGW crowd in their own words. In or out of context, the e-mails put the group in a very bad light, sunlight.

3) The LAT writes:

Peter Gleick, a MacArthur "genius" grant recipient for his work on global freshwater challenges and president of the Pacific Institute, admitted earlier this month to borrowing a page directly from the denialists' playbook. Posing as someone else, he obtained internal documents from the Heartland Institute and distributed them to journalists, a tactic little different from the hack attack at the University of East Anglia that has been decried by environmentalists.

Gleick, I believe, committed identity theft, wire fraud and theft by deception but he did not 'borrow' a page from the denialist's playbook. Unlike the publically funded CRU at East Anglia, the documents at the Heartland Institute were not subject to a Freedom of Information request, one of which was pending at CRU (but being ignored or evaded by the ethical scientists there) when the e-mail dump called Climategate occured.

No Denier has committed the crimes of Mr. Gleck. Not one.

And notice that the fact that one of the documents the LAT claims were obtained from the Heartland was not obtained from the Heartland but was received, according to Gleick, days to weeks earlier from an anynymous source. This document is almost certainly a fake and it is likely that Gleick forged it because the documents he did steal from the Hearland indicated no wrong doing. Perhaps this is a minor detail, but it is a telling one.

The empire is striking back, but it is a unpersuasive effort.

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Sunday, February 26, 2012


Oscar Pick Results

Here are my picks with the bad picks in red (and the winner in parentheses). The show was OK to good. I would like to see more film clips, however. The clips of what makes a good movie are not what I had in mind.

Best Picture--The Artist
Best Leading Man--Jean Dujardine
Best Leading Lady--Viola Davis (Wrong, surprisingly it was Meryl Streep)
Best Supporting Actor--Christopher Plummer
Best Supporting Actress--Octavia Spencer
Best Foreign Film--The Separation
Best Director--Michael Hazanavicius
Best Screenplay, Original--Midnight in Paris
Best Screenplay, Adapted--The Descendants

Animated Feature--Rango
Documentary Feature--Paradise Lost 3 (Wrong, it was my second choice Undefeated)
Sound Mixing--Hugo
Sound Editing--War Horse (Wrong, it was Hugo as well)
Original Song--Man or Muppet
Art Direction--Hugo
Film Editing--The Artist (Wrong, it was The Girl with the Dragon Tatoo, my favorite 2011 movie)
Musical Score--The Artist

Documentary Short--The Tsunami and the Cherry Blossom (Wrong, it was my second choice, Saving Face)
Animated Short--The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore
Live Short--The Shore
Costume Design--Hugo (Wrong, it was The Artist)

Visual Effects--Rise of Planet of Apes (Wrong, it was Hugo)
Makeup--Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 (Wrong, it was The Iron Lady)

I told you those last two were hard.

So all told, 16 out of 24, 8 out of 9 in the big ones.



Waging Lawfare

Liberal groups have used suspect studies to stop development, that is, building structures that enhance human civilization, to protect little know, tiny animals like the snail darter, delta smelt, Preble's jumping mouse, arroyo toad and the future king, the dunes sagebrush lizard. Who really cares about those? There are animals we love and eagles are high up on that list.

I hate wind generators. They are expensive, completely useless* blights on the land. And they chop up birds and kill bats. They even chop up golden eagles--federally protected golden eagles. I used to fantasize (in a purely hypothetical way) about shooting wind generators with .50 BMG armor piercing, incendiary rounds. Naah, let's put them out of business soon by using the Endangered Species Act about animals we actually care about, and which are indeed being killed.

Even better would be not to continue to subsidize (actually subsidize, not merely allow them to take real costs of production out of the bottom line for taxes) wind generators. I get the feeling that Congress has not continued the subsidy and may not continue it before it lapses at the end of the year, but there is precious little on the subject even on the web. Loss of subsidy would end new construction and probably stop maintenance and the big useless eyesores would soon grind to a bird safe halt.

*As with any intermittent energy source, the real electrical power producers, which are not nimble, produce power at the base rate and above as if there were no intermittent producers. That is, the intermittent sources don't reduce the real power production by a single watt, or amp? whatever. They are merely unsightly, horrible, very expensive trinkets to our erstwhile mistaken belief in catastrophic anthropogenic global warming. Oh, and our caring for the natural world, of course. Except for the dead birds and bats.

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Saturday, February 25, 2012


A Non-serious Analysis

Largely on the recommendation of Mike Rogers, with whom I had mutual friends in college, I read a lot of science magazines in the late 70s and into the 80s. Natural History lasted the longest, until after the death of Stephen Gould. Scientific American was one of the first I stopped buying and it was largely that the magazine changed, not me.

I found this article by John Horgan, published in the online version of Scientific American, because of my interest in the sad tale of Warmie true believer Peter Gleick (h/t Instapundit). It makes me miss Scientific American not in the slightest.

The title is: Should Global-Warming Activists Lie to Defend Their Cause? The answer to that question is clearly no, but I dare you to find any such answer in Horgan's article.

Here is the series of OK-to-lie situations Mr. Horgan starts with:

Shouldn’t you lie if your girlfriend asks you if you like her new haircut? If your boss, who’s a vindictive bastard, asks your opinion of his new business plan? What about lying in order to reveal a plot that you believe imperils all of humanity?
Of course you can lie to your girlfriend about whether you like her haircut. She can't know your true opinion unless you tell her. If she looks good but you don't like it, no one is harmed by your silence or assent. But what if her haircut makes her look horrible and it would be easy to fix? OK to lie then? Moving on from the trivial--if the business plan is so bad that it means bankruptcy for the company, you would be a fool to say it's a good plan. Finally to the meat of the article. Of course you could lie to serve the greater good of saving all mankind (You could lie to the Nazis asking if there are any Jews hidden in your basement, too). But is that what the Global Warming alarmism is about? Saving all mankind? Not according to a very persuasive MIT physicist Richard Lindzen (sorry, even the Power Point presentation is long, with a lot of science in the second half). And certainly not according to us non-scientist Deniers. It is about obtaining the left's ultimate goals through alternate means.

To clothe the global warming Hoax in the 'saving all mankind' cape is to end the debate about the propriety of lying before it begins. More on debate below, and here.

Then Mr. Horgan lies by omission, leaving out the seminal part of the story, namely that one of the documents Horgan says Gleick obtained fraudulently, was certainly not obtained by Gleick from the Heartland Institute (and probably was forged by Gleick or someone Gleick knew--for a recipient of the MacArthur "genius" grants, Gleick's proven himself at least no criminal genius). But back to Gleick being a heroic truth teller by lying to the bad guys, the "deniers" who have a "larger strategy for undermining support for global warming..." Spoken like a Warmie true believer. We Deniers think we are being appropriately skeptical of what is being sold as 'settled science--above debate.' We're only undermining a fraud, which is the same as serving the Truth.

Now to the heart of the matter according to Horgan:

Kant said that when judging the morality of an act, we must weigh the intentions of the actor. Was he acting selfishly, to benefit himself, or selflessly, to help others? By this criterion, Gleick’s lie was clearly moral, because he was defending a cause that he passionately views as righteous. Gleick, you might say, is a hero comparable to Daniel Ellsberg, the military analyst who in 1971 stole and released documents that revealed that U.S. officials lied to justify the war in Vietnam. (Emphasis added).
And up is down and black is white, etc. So if you truly believe your cause is just, you are above normal ethics and can do anything everyone agrees is wrong to further the cause? Really? So fanatics, no matter how wrong their cause, can do anything and still remain moral? Pull the other one, John. Gleick was lying to obtain documents to use to go ad hominem on Heartland, not to aid in the 'rational public debate' he professes to want so passionately, but which, alas, he never agrees to have. As to the anti-historical description of Ellsberg as a hero who released documents (about the difficulty inherent in the war to keep South Vietnam free of Communist domination), I guess Mr. Horgan and I will have to agree to a difference of visions. And speaking of Viet Nam, in an odd congruence, Horgan and I are contemporaries, both born in 1953, although it appears it took him a long time to to get his degree. In one interview he gave on his war book, he said he was eligible to be drafted for the Viet Nam era military, but got a high number. So did I, 360, but the rest of the story is that no one in our birth year class was ever drafted, even the guys with number 1s. The draft just ended. I guess it's not as compelling a personal history to reveal that last (although in fairness maybe he did and the interview synopsis is faulty).

Under the circumstances, Gleick did not have the high moral ground while committing career seppuku, and those who seek to attribute him that do their dubius cause a great disservice. Like I said, a genius, this guy was not. And neither, it seems, is John Horgan, at least about the ethics of lying.

UPDATE: Here is a wider view of the problem, with mention of and quotes from Horgan's article, by Ed Driscoll. Also I e-mailed my piece to Mr. Horgan and he wrote back without really responding to my criticism. He wants me to read his The End of War and review it. I will, but not this Spring.


Friday, February 24, 2012


Take 'Em to the Bank Oscar Picks

Here are the big nine:

Best Picture--The Artist
Best Leading Man--Jean Dujardine (could be Clooney though)
Best Leading Lady--Viola Davis
Best Supporting Actor--Christopher Plummer
Best Supporting Actress--Octavia Spencer
Best Foreign Film--The Separation (Iran)
Best Director--Michael Hazanavicius
Best Screenplay, Original--Midnight in Paris
Best Screenplay, Adapted--The Descendants

Here are the easy rest:

Animated Feature--Rango
Documentary Feature--Paradise Lost 3 (could be Undefeated)
Sound Mixing--Hugo
Sound Editing--War Horse
Original Song--Man or Muppet
Art Direction--Hugo
Film Editing--The Artist
Musical Score--The Artist

Here are the difficult rest:

Documentary Short--The Tsunami and the Cherry Blossom (could be Saving Face)
Animated Short--The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore (could be La Luna)
Live Short--The Shore (could be Time Freak)
Costume Design--Hugo (could be Jane Eyre)

Impossible to call:

Visual Effects--Rise of Planet of Apes
Makeup--Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2

I'm glad that Crystal is back and I really hope he doesn't bomb. Thank God there will only be two songs this year. There should be time for more clips then.


Tuesday, February 21, 2012


Another Warmie Failure

There are two distinct camps at opposite ends of the intellectual fight over anthropogenic global warming--Warmies and Deniers. The Warmies, the alarmist believers in catastrophic global warming, have well funded groups in Universities around the World and the UN's IPCC as its chief public relation arm. The Deniers, those who doubt that global warming is primarily man made and/or catastrophic, are admittedly fewer in number, much more dispersed, and have as their PR wing only tiny think tanks, like the Heartland Institute, which puts on a sceptics' convention (to which Warmies are invited but do not attend, with one or two exceptions) each year. The Warmies were winning for about a decade despite the fact that they relied almost completely on very simple and totally inadequate computer models as "evidence." Then there were the two data dumps of e-mails from warmie true believers, now called Climategate I and II, which put the alarmist scientists in a very bad light. The Deniers said the e-mails were released by a whistleblower (still unknown) and the Warmies said they were stolen. The tide turned and a disinterested observer would say that the Deniers have started winning. The fact that the average temperature of the world has not increased in 15 years has been a big help, that is, empirical evidence which contradicts the computer projections has cost the Warmies a lot of support, even among the Warmies themselves--"The fact is that we can’t account for the lack of warming at the moment and it is a travesty that we can’t." Kevin Trenberth.

In a desperate effort at turn about is fair play, a non-whistleblower, warmie true believer, Peter Gleick, has leaked to the internet (primarily DeSmogBlog) a number of items. There is the Heartland Institute Memorandum regarding strategy, which Gleick says he received anonymously in the mail, and then there are a number of documents which Gleick admits that he stole (through deception) from the Heartland Institute.

Warmie true believers are calling him a whistleblower. Deniers are calling him a thief. It's clearly the latter. Only a non-duped member of the Heartland Institute could be a whistleblower.

The Heartland Institute says that Memorandum Gleick gave to DeSmogBlog is a fake. Gleick cannot say if it is a fake or not and, indeed, his intellectual curiosity caused him, he says, to steal the other documents to see if it was real. OK?

Many people point out a lot of reasons to think that Gleick is the author of the fake Memorandum and there is something about time stamps or something computerish which causes a few of them to doubt the complete honesty of Gleck's account/confession. You can read Gleick's account here. Money quote:
At the beginning of 2012, I received an anonymous document in the mail describing what appeared to be details of the Heartland Institute's climate program strategy. It contained information about their funders and the Institute's apparent efforts to muddy public understanding about climate science and policy. I do not know the source of that original document but assumed it was sent to me because of my past exchanges with Heartland and because I was named in it.

Given the potential impact however, I attempted to confirm the accuracy of the information in this document. In an effort to do so, and in a serious lapse of my own and professional judgment and ethics, I solicited and received additional materials directly from the Heartland Institute under someone else's name. The materials the Heartland Institute sent to me confirmed many of the facts in the original document, including especially their 2012 fundraising strategy and budget. I forwarded, anonymously, the documents I had received to a set of journalists and experts working on climate issues.

Let's give the guy the benefit of the doubt and say this is all true. Then he has admitted to a crime he says he committed in order to authenticate an anonymous document which very probably is a forgery. Is that the best way to do it: Steal other documents and see if they contain the same information as the Memo in question? How about asking Heartland directly, is this one of your memos? And then Gleick apparently decided the Memo was legit (based on what, God knows) and put it in with the real stolen documents so that DeSmogBlog and their ilk could call it all real, and defame the Deniers more. What a good idea Gleick had.

The episode has a lot of the stink that Rathergate had, namely, forged memos which were called later "fake but accurate." That's what Mr. Gleick is saying with his denial of creating anything or changing any documents he fooled Heartland into giving him. That's what DeSmogBlog is saying when it calls Gleick a heroic whistleblower. "For his courage, his honor, and for performing a selfless act of public service, he deserves our gratitude and applause." It then goes on to say the Heartland Institute is a joke and a fraud. Hmmm, a little projection going on there, I think.

But I am almost certain that Gleick is lying when he writes this:
I only note that the scientific understanding of the reality and risks of climate change is strong, compelling, and increasingly disturbing, and a rational public debate is desperately needed. My judgment was blinded by my frustration with the ongoing efforts -- often anonymous, well-funded, and coordinated -- to attack climate science and scientists and prevent this debate, and by the lack of transparency of the organizations involved. (Emphasis added).

Hold on there, kitty cat. Wasn't the time for debate over? Wasn't the case closed? Wasn't the science settled? Wasn't the consensus so overwhelming, the evidence so self evident, that the only people who opposed the idea of AGW were "flat-earth" types who were like the idiots who denied the reality of the NAZI industrial scale genocide of the Jews and Gypsies during WWII? When did debate become so freakin' necessary all of a sudden?

And who is preventing the debate--the Warmies who refuse to debate or the Heartland extending invitations to Warmies to debate? All you have to do to have the now necessary debate is to show up and debate. Few Warmies deign to sully their intellect with the Deniers. There are few debates.

Here is Heartland's reply. Money quotes:

Earlier this evening, Peter Gleick, a prominent figure in the global warming movement, confessed to stealing electronic documents from The Heartland Institute in an attempt to discredit and embarrass a group that disagrees with his views.

In his statement, Gleick claims he committed this crime because he believed The Heartland Institute was preventing a “rational debate” from taking place over global warming. This is unbelievable. Heartland has repeatedly asked for real debate on this important topic. Gleick himself was specifically invited to attend a Heartland event to debate global warming just days before he stole the documents. He turned down the invitation.

That last is going to leave a mark.

Other Warmies see the actions of Mr. Gleick as a catastrophe for the cause. Here is WTB Andrew Revkin at the NYT. Money quote:
Another question, of course, is who wrote the climate strategy document that Gleick now says was mailed to him. His admitted acts of deception in acquiring the cache of authentic Heartland documents surely will sustain suspicion that he created the summary, which Heartland’s leadership insists is fake.

One way or the other, Gleick’s use of deception in pursuit of his cause after years of calling out climate deception has destroyed his credibility and harmed others. (Some of the released documents contain information about Heartland employees that has no bearing on the climate fight.) That is his personal tragedy and shame (and I’m sure devastating for his colleagues, friends and family).

The broader tragedy is that his decision to go to such extremes in his fight with Heartland has greatly set back any prospects of the country having the “rational public debate” that he wrote — correctly — is so desperately needed.

Again with the absolutely necessary debate. If you want a debate, start debating. I believe it will just hasten the long overdue demise of the worst scientific fraud in history. So yeah, let's debate.


Here is a rather typical opinion piece we're seeing a lot lately when none of this type existed just a few years ago. Money quote:
...more and more scientists come forward to admit their doubts about the global warming paradigm.

Just last September, Ivar Giaever, a Nobel Prize winning physicist, resigned from the American Physical Society (APS) over that organization’s climate change orthodoxy.

In his resignation letter to APS, Giaever lambasted the society’s public stance that global warming is an incontrovertible fact:

“In the APS it is ok to discuss whether the mass of the proton changes over time and how a multi-universe behaves, but the evidence of global warming is incontrovertible? The claim (how can you measure the average temperature of the whole earth for a whole year?) is that the temperature has changed from ~288.0 to ~288.8 degree Kelvin in about 150 years, which (if true) means to me is that the temperature has been amazingly stable, and both human health and happiness have definitely improved in this ‘warming’ period.”
We Deniers welcome a "rational public debate" on the subject. Bring it on.

The science minded Deniers who ask for debates and receive no reply must feel like Connor MacCleod in his first fight.


Now the president of the Union of Concerned Scientists (concerned, that is, with lefty causes) is accusing the Heartland Institute of waging a "strategy of spreading misinformation about climate science." To the true believer, counter arguments are always merely misinformation. "It is waging a cynical campaign, funded by corporate interests and anonymous individuals, to undermine the public’s understanding of climate science and introduce ideology disguised as science into our children’s classrooms." More projection at the end there. He's calling for a debate too. Sheesh. Do they think we can't google?


Rand Simberg has a nice piece on the Fakegate kerfuffle with the Heartland Institute (the president of which, Joe Bast, is now accusing Peter Gleick of writing the fake strategy Memo) which he ends with this credo:
For the record, I greatly resent being called a “denier,” with its clear — and fully intended, as the LA Times analogy reveals — connotation to Nazis. I am a skeptic. I don’t “deny” AGW, because I don’t have sufficient knowledge of how climate works, or its history, to confidently have a strong opinion about it. What I do deny is that the proponents of the theory do have such knowledge or competence, and my doubts were buttressed by the release not just of the emails that revealed their duplicitous and unscientific behavior, but of the shoddy and unreplicable climate data sets and models themselves.

So, yes, I guess I am a denier. Here’s what I deny.

I deny that science is a compendium of knowledge to be ladled out to school children like government-approved pablum (and particularly malnutritious pablum), rather than a systematic method of attaining such knowledge.

I deny that skepticism about anthropogenic climate change is epistemologically equivalent to skepticism about evolution, and I resent the implications that if one is skeptical about the former, one must be similarly skeptical about the latter, and “anti-science.”

I deny that we understand the complex and chaotic interactions of the atmosphere, oceans and solar and other inputs sufficiently to model them with any confidence into the future, and I deny that it is unreasonable and unscientific to think that those who do suffer from hubris.

As someone who has done complex modeling and computer coding myself, I deny that, even if we had such an understanding, the people who have been doing the modeling have either the competence or the computer power, in terms of both memory and processing speed, necessary to accurately model it with any confidence at all, let alone sufficient confidence to make radical and costly policy changes that will devastate the wealth of our unborn descendants. Similarly, I deny that the people doing such shoddy modeling have even studied, let along understand, economics and the future course of technology sufficiently to justify their demands that we implement such changes (which conveniently just happen to coincide with things that the Left has been wanting to do for…ever). To paraphrase Carl Sagan, extraordinary policy prescriptions require extraordinary evidence.

Hoc credo etiam.


Sunday, February 19, 2012


Piling Irrelevancy Upon Irrelevancy

Let's start at the beginning: We hold these truths to be self evident that all humans are endowed by God with certain inalienable rights including, without limitation, life liberty and property. You can only be deprived by the government of these named three through due process. The Bill of Rights was necessarily tacked onto the Constitution to ensure its passage by enough states to form a more perfect union than the Articles of Confederation provided. Madison and, to a lesser degree, George Mason crafted the first 10 amendments, the Bill of Rights, but were rightly concerned that the 10 would be viewed as a complete list, which they were not. So the 9th Amendment was crafted to tell everyone: This is not a complete list of self evident, inalienable rights.

It kinda failed, but in the second half of the 20th Century, judges on the Supreme Court began to find other inalienable rights in the umbras and penumbras of the Constitution. (Shouldn't they merely be self evident?) One of these rights was named in Griswold v. Connecticut, a right to use contraceptives in the zone of privacy of the bedroom. Contraception use became one of the self evident but unnamed-in-the-Constitution rights Jefferson and Madison were talking about.

So for the last 50 years or more, it is an inalienable right to use contraception and neither the federal government nor any state government can stop people from using them. Case closed.

Let's talk a little about the evolution of the concept of rights in the lefty dominated political marketplace of ideas since 1965 and Griswold. You have what are simplistically called negative rights. That is, the government can't do certain things--search your house on a mere hunch, try you again and again for the same crime until they convict you, for example. And you have positive rights as well--to keep and bear firearms and to speak freely and worship freely, for example. But these positive rights do not involve, at least usually, the concomitant right that the government pay for your firearm, for example, or provide you a venue and sound system, or a place of worship. We have a free press but the government doesn't have to buy everyone a printing press and paper so they can exercise this right. Turning back to contraception, I think it actually was a negative right in that the government can't prohibit your use.

Contraception has never been a plank of the Republican platform and certainly since Griswold (until recently), it probably has never even been mentioned by Republican candidates for President, for the simple reason they could not do a thing to stop access to contraception in light of the Supreme Court's ruling, even if they had wanted to, which they didn't.

But now a lot of people are talking about contraception as if it's an important issue. What a singular waste of time!

There is one aspect, however, which is eluding the lefty leaning media. The President has ordered private health insurance companies to give everyone contraception, et al., for free. Aside from the serious problems this order poses to the free exercise of religion clause in the 1st Amendment (as Catholics, for example think non-natural forms of contraception are morally wrong), this aspect is worth talking about, but this part of the subject involves only the President and the Democrats and puts them in a damaging light.

The Republicans are not now wanting (and have never wanted) to take away and cannot take away people's access to contraception. Anyone who talks about the subject with that slant is trying to fool you and wasting your time.

The idea however, that the President can order people in business, however organized, to provide free service is a concept totally anathema to the idea of ordered liberty of the founding fathers. It is tyranny on a minor subject. It is tyranny because the federal regulation impinges upon the self evident right to property without any process but executive fiat. It elevates a right, perhaps a valid 9th Amendment right, of prohibition on the government into a positive right (that you are to be supplied with contraceptives) and makes the cost of that mutated right the proper roll of the government. And worse, rather than make the cost of the mutated right fall on all taxpayers, it falls, by executive order, only on a small subset of private citizens. That sounds pretty unfair to me.

This is the important aspect of this story. See how much you hear about it this coming week. I boldly predict the left leaning media will be trying to sell the false narrative that the Republicans are anti-contraceptive or anti-women. At the same time the left leaning media will ignore the thin end of the wedge--naked tyranny--inherent in the recent actions of Secretary Sebelius and the fraudulent accommodation offered by the President.

UPDATE: Mark Steyn, ever cognizant of the problem inherent in socialist nations with shrinking populations, throws in his two cents on the subject with the usual humor and insight, and here the assist of Glenn Reynolds.

But in America an oblivious political class, led by a president who characterizes young motherhood as a “punishment,” prefers to offer solutions to problems that don’t exist rather than the ones that are all too real. I think this is what they call handing out condoms on the Titanic.

Glenn Reynolds, the Instapundit, distills the current hysteria thus: “It’s as if we passed a law requiring mosques to sell bacon and then, when people objected, responded by saying ‘What’s wrong with bacon? You’re trying to ban bacon!!!!’”

Americans foolish enough to fall for the Democrats’ crude bit of misdirection can hardly complain about their rendezvous with the sharp end of that page-58 budget graph.
Here's the graph:

There are nations which have survived a debt load of 100% of the GDP but they are very few. No nation I know of has survived a debt load of 150% of GDP. The debt in the graph understates what our government has promised but probably can't pay and it could well understate the growth of the subset of debt shown here. However, as Steyn points out, economic activity stops because of the debt load in 2027, 15 years away. Oh, goody.

The President has decided not to do a thing to curve down the growth of the debt and has seriously increased spending and borrowing and creating more unfunded entitlements in his first four years. No sane person can vote to continue this overspending/borrowing. The Republicans may not be able to bend the curve down quickly or easily but at least they will try.

UPDATE 2: I was troubled what I just wrote regarding positive rights. I think it is much more accurate to say all the rights in the Bill of Rights are negative rights in that each of them is a prohibition on action of the government. Congress shall make no law abridging speech religion, free press, etc....the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed [by the Government]...the government can't quarter soldiers in your house...the government can't conduct searches without probable cause...the government can't try you twice for the same crime, or compel you to testify, nor deprive you of the three first identified inalienable rights without due process or steal your property (I like this amendment the best), etc.

The so called positive rights--to free stuff from the government--are not God given inalienable rights because they require someone else to provide you the free stuff, they necessarily impinge on the rights of another. The so called positive rights are a socialist wish list only

I was wrong above. There are no positive rights in the Bill of Rights, which is a good thing.

UPDATE 3: Diomedes questions my acceptance of Griswold as naming a valid, inalienable right. I like it when the government is prohibited from taking away my freedom. I hate it when the government takes away freedom, especially under the guise of a positive right. So stopping the government from prohibiting my ability to purchase contraceptives is, I think, a good thing even if Griswold is a springboard to the more troubling Roe v. Wade.


Tuesday, February 14, 2012


This Isn't True, Is It?

It's been a while since I was single.

(h/t This Isn't Happiness)



The Walls Begin to Crumble

Former director of the discredited University of East Anglia’s Climatic Research Unit, Phil Jones, lets slip some discouraging words in this BBC interview here.

1) Asked about whether he lost track of [Hockey Stick graph supporting raw] data, Professor Jones said: 'There is some truth in that. We do have a trail of where the weather stations have come from but it’s probably not as good as it should be.'

2) He further admitted that in the last 15 years there had been no ‘statistically significant’ warming, although he argued this was a blip rather than the
long-term trend.

3) He also agreed that there had been two periods which experienced similar warming, from 1910 to 1940 and from 1975 to 1998, but said these could be explained by natural phenomena whereas more recent warming could not.

4) Professor Jones departed from this consensus when he said: 'There is much debate over whether the Medieval Warm Period was global in extent or not. The MWP is most clearly expressed in parts of North America, the North Atlantic and Europe and parts of Asia.'
'Of course, if the MWP was shown to be global in extent and as warm or warmer than today, then obviously the late 20th Century warmth would not be unprecedented. On the other hand, if the MWP was global, but was less warm thantoday, then the current warmth would be unprecedented.' (So much for the science is settled).

A decade ago many of these statements would have been dismissed as Denier propaganda.

Let me respond in order.

1) If you don't have the raw data supporting your reconstruction, your reconstruction is unreliable. This is basic science.

2) It's only a blip if there is something interfering with the inexorable rising trend the Warmies believe is caused by rising CO2 levels. However, what could be interferring other than natural climate forcings? If natural forcings can stop AGW in its tracks for a decade and a half (and counting), how can you say that the modest rise in temperature during the 20th Century wasn't caused by natural forcings?

3) Look at these two trends in the graph! Which was natural and which was man-made?

4) As I just stated, the Medieval Warm Period was real, worldwide and warmer than today. Phil Jone's admission that the Medieval Warm Period existed in "North America, the North Atlantic and Europe and parts of Asia" is necessarily a partial refutation of the Hockey Stick and miles further than any Warmie would go just a few years ago.

The whole rotten edifice of scary AGW is disintegrating in real time before our happy eyes.

Thank God.



Cooking the Books

The NOAA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, tells us in this chart that, starting around 1960, they have systematically added about .5 degrees C to the raw data of the hundreds of temperature stations around the lower 48 states, the United States Historical Climatology Network. Then they tell us that here in America, the average temperature has risen about .5 degrees C over the past 50 years and most of the hotest years on record have been since 1990.

No, duh.

But none of this "adjusted" data is evidence of warming here much less evidence of unprecedented, catastrophic, anthropogenic warming.

It's evidence of agenda science, and nothing more.

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We Have to Get Rid of the Medieval Warm Period

At least they tried.

Here is a reconstruction of average snow temperature in Greenland over the last several millennia from ice cores in Greenland. The scientists look at the ratios of gas isotopes in air bubbles trapped in the ice to reconstruct the ambient temperature. As this record fits the historical narrative I'm aware of (Saga and Roman writing, for example) as well as fits the climate consensus of several hundred studies regarding the climate about 1,000 years ago, I'm willing to buy it. It tells the tale of a very serious temperature drop, the Little Ice Age, from which we seem to be recovering to the more 'normal' warmth of the interglacial which contains all the recorded history of mankind. This seems also to fit the earlier IPCC graph. which was replaced by the infamous hockey stick graph of Michael Mann et al., which was not only junk science but lying science, like with the Pitldown Man, as even random numbers fed into Mann's algorithm produced the same flat for a thousand years then rocket up in the last 50, which graph is anti-history. Here is the old IPCC graph.

You can't get rid of the Medieval Warm Period. It existed.

I personally think the CO2 warming has met the saturation point so that there will be no more measurable warming as we find fossil fuel deep in the Earth and turn it into CO2 and energy.


Friday, February 10, 2012


When French Kissing is a Particular Thrill

I dated a girl like this. She was great.

(h/t This Isn't Happiness)



The President's Accommodation

It's old news that Secretary Sebelius of the US Department of Health and Human Services proposed regulations, with the White Houses' blessing (at least), which would have required Catholic organizations (not the Churches themselves), like schools and hospitals, to provide health insurance under Obamacare which health insurance plans would have to provide things anathema to the Catholic catechism, namely, contraception, abortifacients and sterilization. The executive regulations were also almost certainly unconstitutional as the federal government can't make a statute apply to certain things a religion does. The recent case of Hosanna-Tabor v. EEOC, involving a Lutheran school and the Americans With Disabilities Act of 1990, went 9-0 against the administration's position (that the ADA applied to the Chruch school). Tough to believe there'd be a majority for legislation forcing the Catholic Church to cross its fervently held religious belief regarding contraception, sterilization and abortion by making it provide and pay for the three bad items. This was a dumb idea from the very start.

Then it got worse.

The President today proposed this accommodation: We'll call the contraception, abortifacients and sterilization "preventative care" and make the health insurance carriers give all three to all women for free. That way: "Religious organizations will not be required to subsidize the cost of contraception,” and, “contraception coverage will be offered to women by their employers’ insurance companies directly, with no role for religious employers who oppose contraception.”

But this is no different than the first proposed rules. Setting aside the "free" aspect as the traditional liberal blindspot, the Catholic Organization still has to provide health insurance which provides the three anathema services. Nothing has changed.

To call the President's thinking here childlike is, I think, an insult to children. It is not as good as holding your hands over your eyes and saying, "You can't see me."

It's just stupid.

Religious liberty preserved, my wide ass.

UPDATE: The Catholic Bishops come to the same conclusion. It's nice to be with exalted company. They wrote:

[The "compromise"] would still mandate that all insurers must include coverage for the objectionable services in all the policies they would write.



Breast Cancer Risk Factors

The JAMA here, has the latest of a series of several studies which list among the main, or "predictive" risk factors for breast cancer in young women the following: Drinking too much alcohol. Uh ho. Daughters! Nota bene.

This study follows on earlier studies here and here, both from 2010, which found amoong other serious risk factors, these: Induced or multiple abortions. And these studies follow on earlier studies, here (2009) and here (2003,) which found oral contraception use was a risk factor for a subset of breast cancer (triple negative) and oral contraception was a serious risk factor in young women, respectively.

Whic brings my mind back to the Komen/Planned Parenthood non-scandal. If the raison d'être for Planned Parenthood is a serious risk factor, in two different ways, for breast cancer, why wouldn't Susan G. Komen pull its funding?

Which of the two is playing politics with women's health and lives?


Thursday, February 09, 2012


Bad News

This is the data set from the most modern and reliable sea level measuring satellite available. Too bad it only goes back a few years.

Remember the peer reviewed, take it to the bank IPCC prediction that the Himalayas would be glacier free in 2035? Remember recent "Oh, yes they are melting" reports? Here's closer to the truth:

The world's greatest snow-capped peaks, which run in a chain from the Himalayas to Tian Shan on the border of China and Kyrgyzstan, have lost no ice over the last decade, new research shows.

The discovery has stunned scientists, who had believed that around 50bn tonnes of meltwater were being shed each year and not being replaced by new snowfall.

Here's a different spin to the same news:

Nearly 230 billion tons of ice is melting into the ocean from glaciers, ice caps, and mountaintops annually—which is actually less than previous estimates, according to new research by scientists at the University of Colorado, Boulder.

If the amount of ice lost between 2003 and 2010 covered the United States, the whole country would be under one-and-a-half feet of water, or it'd fill Lake Erie eight times, researchers say. Ocean levels worldwide are rising about six hundredths of an inch per year, according to researcher John Wahr.

While vast quantities of ice melting into the ocean is not exactly good news, Wahr says, according to his team's estimates, about 30 percent less ice is melting than previously thought.

OK, if "vast quantities of ice [are] melting into the ocean" then why isn't sea level rising? Like the average global temperature for the last 15 years, the sea level rise has gone pretty flat the last 8, just when the so called experts are telling us that vast quantities of ice are melting into the ocean.

Somebody's lying to us and it's probably not the satellite.


Saturday, February 04, 2012


Komen Delenda Est

The Susan G. Komen Foundation, the corporation behind the pink ribbons and the annual events supporting research into a cure to breast cancer (to which Ms. Komen succumbed in 1980), cut off its funds to Planned Parenthood and all hell broke out. Planned Parenthood doesn't actually provide mammogram screening (despite the testimony to the contrary of its president before Congress last year); it just refers women out to those who do. Komen thought its money might be better directed to the the organizations receiving the referrals rather than giving them. Apostasy! Komen is perceived to have blinked and backed down. (It may have just doubled down in much more politically correct language). The shrieking and gnashing of teeth by the left is a tell, however. The left is like the ideological Roach Motel--you can join, but you can't leave. The left celebrates diversity as long as everyone conforms. Completely. Forever.

...the more I think about it, the more I realize this is a clarifying moment. Think of it! Three decades of service to women fighting breast cancer, and having raised and distributed hundreds of millions of dollars nearly $2 billion towards that goal, means absolutely nothing to these people now trying to destroy Komen. They could have denounced Komen’s decision, but in light of all Komen has done, and still does for women, turned their ire on the Republicans, the Religious Right, and so forth. But no, Komen broke ranks, and it must be dealt with harshly. And the sympathetic mainstream media is helping them do the job.

Rod Dreher at The American Conservative.

Yeah, what he said.


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