Monday, August 31, 2015


The Limits of Introspection

I know that if I expect wisdom or keen insight from NYT columnist Charles Blow, I'm generally disappointed, in just the opposite way I am rarely disappointed by Sowell or Williams. So Blow is true to form here.

I think it is important to remember the horrible crimes of the deep South Democrats during their two century long reign. Emmett Till's murder by KKK members (I assume) 60 years ago, that is, when I was alive, is an important turning point regarding Democrat imposed Jim Crow institutional racism. But it is just as important to remember the improvement in race relations that has occurred over the past 6 decades. I have the advantage of having lived through it and I remember a lot. Much good happened between whites and blacks during that period. Society improved on race relations and equal protection of the law. So it is probably an easy question to answer but I'll ask it anyway: So why does Mr. Blow and his ilk only see the bad and ignore the good? Here is the part I find so disappointing (and he's quoting Christopher Benson with whom I am unfamiliar):

“Before Trayvon Martin, before Michael Brown, before Tamir Rice, there was Emmett Till. This was the first ‘Black Lives Matter’ story. It is no wonder, then, that each time we read about another young unarmed black male being shot down in the street — unjustly — by an authority figure, there is the mention of Emmett’s name. What we come to see with the loss of Emmett is just what racism has cost us in this country. What it costs us still, in the loss of so many bright, gifted kids. Partly through untimely deaths. But also in the limited opportunities many have to excel, because of mass incarceration or even unwarranted tracking in schools.”
OK, I'm familiar with Martin and Brown, both shot in self defense while they were committing crimes, but why is Mr. Rice on this list? Do Mr. Benson and Mr. Blow believe he didn't have a realistic looking airsoft gun with the orange tip required for toy guns removed? The shooting of Mr. Rice was so quick that I could support negligent homicide charges, if brought, but what was unjust about the proper use of self defense by Zimmerman and Wilson? And I know that this is a tired meme but I'll repeat, the number of young black males meeting untimely deaths by being murdered by other young black males absolutely dwarfs the number of young blacks shot by police. There was a chance for some breakthrough to set logical priorities regarding the actual numbers of people being made victims, but Benson and Blow can't seem to make that connection. Then it goes real bizarro. 'Mass incarceration' is liberal speak for unwarranted black incarceration. I know the justice system is flawed, as all human endeavors are flawed, but racist white cops and prosecutors are not out there railroading a lot of innocent young black men. To pretend that the differential in black v. white incarceration per capita is primarily a problem caused by white racism is to have slept through the last 6 decades and to ignore the actual facts of crime in America. Again, I am most frustrated by the misallocation of outrage by the black community. Don't all black lives matter?

There isn't enough tracking in public schools, not too much; and it is not mainly at the expense of smart young black men and women.

The big finish is all Blow:

Yes, Emmett’s story is a vital American story, and it feels like an all-too-present one as we see this cycle repeating itself: young lives are lost, the body itself is desecrated or neglected, killers are acquitted or not even brought to trial, and the effects of the feelings of terror and injustice galvanize a generation of young people who have taken as much as they plan to take.
In what way is the inexcusable, racist murder of Till by southern Democrats a "cycle repeating itself" today? Who is neglecting and desecrating the body? Whose body? And the killers mentioned by Blow were acquitted or never charged properly, not unjustly (Rice possibly excepted). But it is the same mote in your eye, beam in my eye misallocation of "terror and injustice" that bugs me. It is the same misallocation of equality that outrages the black community over a single tragic but justified homicide but causes nary a ripple of concern when a dozen young black men are gunned down over a weekend (on too many weekends) in half a dozen Democrat controlled cities across our nation. I'll ask for the final time: Don't all black lives matter?

Apparently to Blow and his ilk only the deaths they can blame on whites matter. Black on black crime never enters the picture. That's disappointing on a number of levels.


Friday, August 28, 2015


Bring Out the Template

Nicholas Kristof is not my favorite columnist at the NYT; in fact, I rarely read anyone there more than a couple of times a year. But when I read this, I had a profound sense of deja vu, and I had to think back to the last time I read Kristof. It turns out that for each shooting, where he gives a rat's behind about the victims, he drags out the same column and fills in the blanks. It's never about the shooter or victims with Kristof, each criminal tragedy is a chance for him once again call for more legislation about guns. It's always about trampling on an actual, in writing, in the Constitution (amendments thereto) right in the wan hope of saving lives.

So I drag out my tried and true response: If the murder statute didn't stop the murderer, what makes you think any other law will?

It's a question to which I have never received a response.

He says we need to regulate the safety of firearms as we have regulated the safety of cars. This is a stupid comparison, because cars are meant to carry us from point A to B and it is only carelessness and bad luck which tangentially cause 33,000 deaths in cars each year (and that number is way down from even 25 years ago when it was 50,000 per year). A gun, on the other hand is specifically designed and intended to kill, to put a metal pellet at speed into flesh, and for handguns, into human flesh. They are designed to cause death as their primary function. There is no safety fix for that. It is moronic to talk about making guns safer in a similar way it would be moronic not to try to make cars safer. And it sounds stupider every time he repeats it.

He then talks about our gun homicide rate but includes suicides in that figure. That's dishonest because banning or limiting access to gun doesn't really affect the rate of suicide, it just affects the method used to self murder. So including the suicide deaths merely makes the problem with gun violence seem worse and nothing Kristof and his ilk propose will touch the suicide rate. Don't believe me? Let's start with Kristof:

Australia is a model. In 1996, after a mass shooting there, the country united behind tougher firearm restrictions. The Journal of Public Health Policy notes that the firearm suicide rate dropped by half in Australia over the next seven years, and the firearm homicide rate was almost halved.
Firearm suicides were halved! Wow, I guess that means that there were far fewer suicides down there then, right? No, people just began to hang themselves more. Here are the numbers of suicides from Australia's official statistics for the following years:

1994     2,258
1995     2,367
1996     2,393  (this is the year the gun bans were passed)
1997     2,722
1998     2,683
1999     2,492
2000     2,362
2001     2,457
2002     2.320
2003     2,214
2004     2,098
2005     2,102
2006     1,799
2007     1,881 (hooray! suicides are down some 23%, maybe there is something to gun bans)
2008     2,282
2009     2,132
2010     2,361
2011     2,273
2012     2,535
2013     2,522  (no, darn, the rate is back up, in fact, it's higher than the pre-gun-ban rate. Hmmm)

So, using Australia as a model, banning certain types of guns here in America would have no effect on the actual number of suicides. It's like this for every "reasonable regulation" the gun haters propose. You degrade and infringe on the actual constitutional right and only the law abiding obey and the law serves no other useful purpose. But I do have to admire this: Kristof actually proposes a few regulation. Usually the lefty gun grabbers dodge the actual remedy part of gun control.

We need universal background checks with more rigorous screening, limits on gun purchases to one a month to reduce trafficking, safe storage requirements, serial number markings that are more difficult to obliterate, waiting periods to buy a handgun — and more research on what steps would actually save lives.

These proposed laws are each part of the old template. Let's keep with suicides for a bit. How are safe storage, more durable serial numbers and one gun purchase a month designed to stop suicides? No effect whatsoever. These three would also have no effect on gun crime either. You can hold two guns at one time but unless you bring them up to your eyes, like Harvey Keitel in Reservoir Dogs, you can only aim one at a time. That's why gunmen usually have only one gun and multiple magazines for reloading. Silly, ineffective proposed gun laws.

The universal background checks have never been shown to stop or even slow, in the slightest way, gun crime (or even suicide using a gun) and the waiting period is such a loser that it has been nearly completely subsumed into the instant background check system.

I wonder how Kristof would feel about having fill out a form in order to get the government's permission to effect one's first amendment rights. He probably wouldn't be OK with it. Ditto for me and the second.

UPDATE: Now we have a study that shows beyond a shadow of a doubt what we gun nuts have long strongly suspected. Criminals don't buy guns at gun stores or gun shows. Nor do they obtain them from people who would obey the law regarding a "universal background check." Universal background checks would only inconvenience the law abiding without stopping gun crime in any appreciable way. Not my idea of a solution to gun violence.


Monday, August 24, 2015


There's Something Wrong With the Black Lives Matter Movement

All human lives matter. That's the driving force behind pro-life groups. It's the bedrock principle of healthy human civilizations. So there is nothing wrong with the idea that black lives matter as a subset of all human lives matter. If there is a 'more' at the end of that sentence which is unpronounced, then we have a problem.

Here is Leonard Pitts Jr. in the Miami Herald this past weekend, trying but failing to keep the 'more' silent. For him, the concept that all lives matter is "moral cowardice". I don't think so, but I'm willing to be convinced.
Those words have risen as a kind of counter to “Black lives matter,” the movement that coalesced in response to recent killings and woundings of unarmed African Americans by assailants — usually police officers — who often go unpunished.
I don't think there is any "usually" about it; the movement, such as it is, is only about black men killed by white police officers. And the police officers he's thinking about but not mentioning go unpunished because they didn't commit a crime. But when black lives matter more, the criminal code doesn't matter. Pitts is criticizing Gov. Huckabee pointing out what I'm pointing out, which I believe most rational people would agree with, all lives matter equally. Pitts is having none of it.
Then he makes a hugely stupid analogy.
Imagine for a moment that you broke your left wrist. In excruciating pain, you rush to the emergency room for treatment only to run into a doctor who insists on examining not just your mangled left wrist, but your uninjured right wrist, rib cage, femur, fibula, sacrum, humerus, phalanges, the whole bag of bones that is you. You say, “Doc, it’s just my left wrist that hurts.” And she says, “Hey, all bones matter.”
If you understand why that remark would be factual, yet also, fatuous, silly, patronizing and off point, then you should understand why “All lives matter” is the same. It’s not about “elevating some lives” any more than it would be about elevating some bones. Rather, it’s about treating where it hurts.
But let's go with the general idea you need to spend your efforts and concern on the things that are broken, that need immediate attention--treating where it hurts. So black on black murder absolutely dwarfs the few white cop on black homicides. Is it black lives matter more if a white is the shooter?
Pitts says that police violence is disproportionate in the black community. I'm not surprised because police have to become involved in the disproportionate amount of murders and assaults members of the black community rain down on other members of the black community. That blacks are the cause of their problems with the police, white or black, is something that just does not compute with Pitts and his ilk. There is something or someone else to blame, always, no matter how distant or absurd.
To treat where it hurts, one must first acknowledge that it still hurts, something conservatives often find hard to do because it gives the lie to their self-congratulatory balloon juice about how this country has overcome its founding sin.
But haven't we paid for doing what every other nation on Earth did at the time, own slaves, by the .6 million American dead in the Civil War? Not enough, Pitts apparently thinks. Haven't we paid for it with the $22 Trillion of the Great Society programs? Not enough. Pitts apparently thinks. Haven't we actually made some progress with race relations in the past 100 years? I'm thinking of the actual scandal it was for Republican President Teddy Roosevelt just to have George Washington Carver over to the White House for dinner; and now millions and millions of white voters have placed a black man as the resident of the White House. Twice. Meaningless, Pitts apparently thinks.

Pitts does admit that something good came out of the horror in the Charleston church. But it's not the wonderful grace and forgiveness shown by the families of the victims (something I'm not a good enough Christian to do) but rather the agreement by some whites that black lives matter more.

For a few hundred years Democrats here owned slaves, as was common throughout the world since humans first banded together. After Republicans freed the slaves, the Democrats kept the black community, largely in the South but elsewhere as well, second class for nearly a hundred years. By the early 60s, there was indeed a huge wrong to right. I am not convinced that 50 years after the '64 Civil Rights Act, there is such a huge wrong to right. Pitts disagrees, but he is not convincing about his misplaced outrage.

And I haven't even mentioned the strange mass Stockholm syndrome that has caused the black community in America to embrace their former (and current) oppressors, the Democrats. Pitts is as blind to that as he appears to be blind to the immediate and more pressing hurt to his community. Hint: It's not the police. He's still taking the easy route of alibi.

UPDATE: Most of my fellow ethnics agree with me and Huckabee and even 64% of blacks disagree that 'all lives matter' is the immoral standard of cowards. They too agree with me and with Huckabee and disagree with the obtuse and disagreeable Mr. Pitts.


Saturday, August 22, 2015


An Almost Perfect Article

Here is an article by Jeff Spross (I didn't bother to google him, sorry) about the obvious energy situation we're in, namely, that we are burning up a lot of fossil fuels and not a lot of fossil fuels are being made. Something's got to give, eventually. The article is called: Why the Oil Industry is Doomed. As far as I can tell, it's basically correct but I believe he makes two eeny weeny little mistakes. First:

At the same time, global demand for oil is only going to keep growing as the human population increases, and more of it enters the global middle class. In short, sooner or later, constricting supply is going to run headlong into swelling demand, permanently rendering oil an economically unviable form of energy.

This is peak oil part 27 (hint, they are always wrong in their predictions about what oil we can get out of the earth). So his prediction is that demand will soar, as it has already, although the price has dropped lately, but that supply will fall short of demand. OK so far. So soaring demand, limited supply. Wouldn't that mean oil companies will make huge profits as the price goes up and up? In a word, exactly. But here's where Mr. Spross seems not to notice a very basic economic rule. For him, soaring demand and limited supply means that the product, oil, will become economically unviable. I have to be missing an important part of his argument.

But there's more. Catch this--he concedes that prices will rise from the recent precipitous drop due to demand outstripping supply and...

At that point, alternative forms of energy — not just natural gas, but wind and solar and other renewables — will pour into the breach. In fact, they already are. Wind in particular has effectively pulled even with natural gas, and ahead of coal, and solar isn't far behind.
OK, this is going to take a while. First there is the problem (which he recognizes) that oil generally does not generate electricity and wind and solar (and biomass and hydroelectric dams) generally don't directly cause cars and trucks to go. But let's get past that. Second, natural gas is a fossil fuel just as oil and coal are, not an alternative fuel at all. Next, yes, as prices of oil and natural gas (and even coal, if that matters any more) go up and up, then the very expensive and unreliable alternative means he mentions will look a little better as far as price is concerned. But the very expensive and unreliable wind and solar power has a lot more going against it than price (which is a huge problem-- they only exist at all due to government subsidies). The key word is unreliable.

The sun doesn't shine on the panels or mirrors for most of the day, in fact, the panels really only generate usable power between 10 and 4, when it's not cloudy. But people want electric power when they want it and even at night; in fact they use more electric power for lighting, for example, at night than during the day. So that's not so good. Although they keep talking about improved battery technology, there has been no breakthrough in that technological field in over a hundred years and if one is just around the corner (the same corner peak oil has yet to reach?), I am not aware of it.

Wind is also fickle and often drops below speeds sufficient to turn the blades of the huge bird chopping, bat killing noisy eyesores, even at traditionally windy places. And the drop off often comes at a bad time, like when it's really cold outside and a nice electric heater would feel good. Sometimes, it's too windy to safely turn the blades. Then there are times when the lines carrying the power away from the gigantic eyesores are too thin to take the power and the wind generators have to be taken off line even in a nice stiff wind. This is called curtailment. There are other problems as well besides the bird chopping, bat killing, noise and ugliness, but the variability means that actual fossil fuel powered electricity generation must exist to back up the intermittent. Hydroelectric would also make a good backup but there has been no real increase in that source of power here for quite some time due to reluctance to build the dams. It's all spoken for. So we'd have to build or use coal or natural gas power plants to provide power when the sun doesn't shine and the wind doesn't blow. So why not just have the actual fossil fuel powered plants? Why build two sources of power? Why indeed?

So, no, the oil industry is not doomed due to competition from expensive unreliable alternatives. It will be doomed, eventually, by running out of oil. Then, if there has not been an intervening breakthrough in energy technology I am unaware of, we will turn to hydrogen to make our vehicles go. Hydrogen sucks as a power source but at least it will be there. You can also combine hydrogen with CO2 to make methane, but that takes energy and thus lowers the efficiency of hydrogen production to make a slightly less problematic fuel.

So, nearly a perfect article except for those teeny weeny mistakes. Hardly worth mentioning really.


Sunday, August 16, 2015


Final Thoughts on the Second True Detective

All the lead men were killed. The lead woman survived and had a male child by the pointlessly dead Farrell. Hmmmm. There were a lot of bad father/son relationships. Almost nothing but, in fact; and, in the end, sons and mothers only. Does the head writer have a problem with his dad? Even the bad Russian before Vaughn shot him in the head 8 times said, I was like a father to you. The vengeful murderer of the McGuffin, evil Vinci treasurer, held it together until the big black police chief revealed the murdered treasurer was the father of his sister and maybe him. Then he went nuts and stabbed the chief (although the helpful police officers actually killed the chief when shooting up his already killed killer). So, I liked it. Sue me.

Vaughn's death was stagey but unavoidable. He had given up the cash, so he wasn't going to give up the diamonds, but why did the much smaller Mexican gangster want the suit? Stupid.

Kitsch's death was also unavoidable. He shouldn't have made it out of the tunnels. You can't watch your back 100% of the time.

But Farrell's death was avoidable and stupid. I get it that he's not bringing down the bad guys on McAdams and I guess he's heading to the high country to make sure the bad guys are occupied until McAdams clears the 3 mile limit. But there are actual ways to lose the tail. First, actually pry off transponder. What was it attached with marine epoxy? (I know he decided to lead the bad guys away and save McAdams). Go to a mall, park, hijack a car and then drive around until McAdams clears the 3 mile limit. Or pull over on the busy highway, dump out half the money, conspicuously on the side of the road, but in a way it will take them a long time to pick it up. I promise you the bad guys will stop for the money. It looks like he has several million in the bag he trips over and abandons in the high country. Did Vaughn go halfsies with him?

The best hook of the first season was not that our true detectives weren't willing to be bad guys now and again, but that they were clever enough to go that way and face no charges, that is, to get away with it. Not here. None of the male detectives got away with it. And worse, they failed to get away with it in stupid ways. Kitsch knows for a fact he's going to die if he meets his lover/buddy, but he goes anyway. He is in no way facing charges, just an outing. Oh the humanity, people might know he's gay! The lure of raising a son is insufficient to make him want to live (back to bad father/son relations again). Farrell is just the opposite. He screws up by wanting to see his (actual, who knew?) son just one more time, but he's willing to die not knowing he's got another one on the way (is that what passes for irony in today's media?).

So a little bit slow and moody. Very much a bummer even though justice was done for about 40% of the real bad guys (every male not Vaughn, Kitsch, or Farrell). The extremely evil Mexicans skated. The evil son of the Mayor became Mayor, and the murderer of Kitsch and Farrell suffered only a flesh wound. And the writing and music were not as good as the first season. Still, as I said, I liked it.


Tuesday, August 11, 2015


Translating Holthaus

There is a meteorologist named Eric Holthaus who seems a true believer in catastrophic anthropogenic global warming. Thus, he is one of many involved in the $1.5 Trillion dollar global warming enterprise. Good work if you can get it. I can't tell if he has an MS in meteorology and a PhD in Geography and Development, or if he's just working on those. He did get an MA in Climate and Society (whatever that is) from Columbia and wrote for a little less than three years for the Wall Street Journal on weather related subjects.

What causes me to bring him up is this piece he wrote for Rolling Stone, which has become a left wing political publication with some coverage of music. Let's go to the first paragraph:

Historians may look to 2015 as the year when shit really started hitting the fan. Some snapshots: In just the past few months, record-setting heat waves in Pakistan and India each killed more than 1,000 people. In Washington state's Olympic National Park, the rainforest caught fire for the first time in living memory. London reached 98 degrees Fahrenheit during the hottest July day ever recorded in the U.K.; The Guardian briefly had to pause its live blog of the heat wave because its computer servers overheated. In California, suffering from its worst drought in a millennium, a 50-acre brush fire swelled seventyfold in a matter of hours, jumping across the I-15 freeway during rush-hour traffic. Then, a few days later, the region was pounded by intense, virtually unheard-of summer rains. Puerto Rico is under its strictest water rationing in history as a monster El Niño forms in the tropical Pacific Ocean, shifting weather patterns worldwide.
Let me put that in plainer English. This Summer it got really hot in Pakistan, India and London. There is a drought along the West Coast of America with the usual Summer fires which often occur in drought stricken areas. There is also drought in Puerto Rico. A so-far normal El Nino is forming in the Pacific (which will probably end the drought in California and Nevada and along the coast above California).

No one has satisfactorily tied a single one of these routine events to CO2 having a presence in the atmosphere of 400 ppmv. Through out the history of the Earth, it is hotter in the Summer than in the Winter; and sometimes it is really, really hot in Summer in some areas of the world. Sometimes there is too little rain in an area and sometimes there is too much rain and flooding occurs.

On July 20th, James Hansen, the former NASA climatologist who brought climate change to the public's attention in the summer of 1988, issued a bombshell: He and a team of climate scientists had identified a newly important feedback mechanism off the coast of Antarctica that suggests mean sea levels could rise 10 times faster than previously predicted: 10 feet by 2065.

This "study" was pretty much laughed at by properly skeptical scientists and even criticized by fellow true believers. But let's look at the reliability of the prediction: 10 feet by 1065 (50 years away). Currently, NASA has the sea level rising at 3.21 mm per year. I think, for a lot of reasons, that's too high and most tidal gauges have it lower, around 2mm/yr but let's use the higher figure. 50 years times 3.21mm/yr is 160.5mm which, converted to inches, is 6.32 inches, which is a lot less than 10 feet. There is nothing in the tidal records or in the raw Jason database which indicate a rise in the rate of sea level rise. So this is hooey.

Last fall, in northern Alaska, in the same part of the Arctic where Shell is planning to drill for oil, federal scientists discovered 35,000 walruses congregating on a single beach. It was the largest-ever documented "haul out" of walruses, and a sign that sea ice, their favored habitat, is becoming harder and harder to find.
All the walruses in the area winding up in a close packed group on the beach is so common and well know a phenomenon that it has a name--"haul out." They happen all the time and we've only seen a few of them and even fewer have been photographed from the air. Saying, as Mr. Holthaus does, that a 30,000 plus walrus haul out has anything to do with global warming, is very similar to saying the 400,000 plus humans at Woodstock, NY in 1969 had something to do with the global cooling that was being predicted back then. His connection of the big haul out to global warming is just stupid.

But there is more.

In July, another major study concluded that acidifying oceans are likely to have a "quite traumatic" impact on plankton diversity, with some species dying out while others flourish. As the oceans absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, it's converted into carbonic acid — and the pH of seawater declines.

The Ph scale of basic to acidic goes from 0 to 14 with 7 as neutral and more than 7 basic and less than 7 acidic. The further you are from 7 in either direction the more concentrated the acidic or basic solution will be. The ocean, many feel, has had a Ph of 8.2 for a long time on average; and since 1750 or so, the Ph has gone down from 8.2 to 8.1. Many of the sharper readers here will notice that the ocean is therefore basic and has become in nearly 3 centuries slightly less basic. The ocean remains basic and use of the word acidic doesn't enter into it at all. If anything it's getting less basic but that is a long, long way from becoming more acidic. You have to be below Ph 7 to be properly talking about acidic at all. But it sounds worse if the true believers say acidic, acidify, ocean acidification rather than remain basic, become less basic, ocean neutralization, which are the proper terms to use regarding a basic Ph moving oh so slightly down.

There is no mention in the article what the numbers on the Ph scale are for ocean water and what has happened in the past 3 centuries. I wonder why that is?

Enhanced evaporation from the warmer oceans will create heavier downpours, perhaps destabilizing the root systems of forests, and accelerated runoff will pour more excess nutrients into coastal areas, further enhancing dead zones. In the past year, downpours have broken records in Long Island, Phoenix, Detroit, Baltimore, Houston and Pensacola, Florida.
Rather than cherry pick a few cities here and there, let's look at the real downpour records. Here's one. And here's another (most of these records took place in the 40s with one in the 50s and one in the 70s--so much for increasing downpours).

Evidence for the above scenario comes in large part from our best understanding of what happened 250 million years ago, during the "Great Dying," when more than 90 percent of all oceanic species perished after a pulse of carbon dioxide and methane from land-based sources began a period of profound climate change.

There are no facts regarding what caused the Permian-Triassic extinction event, only guesses. It was 250 million years ago and all the evidence has been long lost. The greenhouse gas theory has only been discussed in seriousness since the Global Warming Scare started 25 years ago, as it falsely supplies a historical precedent to the theory of catastrophic global warming being pushed at this time. Repeat, no one knows; and there are several very sound theories regarding causation, any one of which could be all or part right. CO2 and CHhave a one in 5 chance of being even partly the culprit.

I could go on and on about what a load of propaganda this is. As the populace tunes the true believers out, the chicken littles have to be ever more shrill in their predictions of doom. As they become ever more shrill, we tune them out more completely. Still, it falls on each of us to speak the truth when we see people with a harmful agenda not speaking it.


Thursday, August 06, 2015


Belief--Your Eyes, Me (Part 2)

CNN contributor and journalist Errol Louis steps up to the Planned Parenthood undercover recordings for his three whiffs. Mr. Louis had a short stint at talk radio several years ago. He has a BA in government from Harvard, an MA in poli sci from Yale and a JD from Brooklyn Law School (that last seems like a big step down to me). He seems to toe the Democrat Party line pretty assiduously.

He starts by calling the recordings of the Planned Personnel a hoax, which is beginning to be a kind of poker tell on those who apparently don't know what the word 'hoax' means, and then states (in the headline) that each of the video-recorders "avoids the truth." So he begins with projection and then continues to lie about the recordings. Behold.

...I read about the elaborate media hoax ginned up by the Center for Medical Progress, a right-wing group trying to discredit and defund Planned Parenthood.
A hoax would be if the CMP recorded actors who had nothing to do with Planned Parenthood pretending to be from Planned Parenthood and being awful. But actually recording the real Planned Parenthood personnel being awful and releasing the full tape along with the edited highlights is not a hoax. It's journalism. And Mr. Louis and Mr. Cesca repeating the word hoax will do nothing to change that simple fact. Indeed, the fact the apologists misuse the word is very telling in itself.

Taking a page from the falsehoods and selectively-edited videos that brought about the defunding and bankruptcy of the left-wing advocacy group ACORN, the Center for Medical Progress strategy is to create a narrative, claim that its videos constitute damning evidence, and repeat that story enough times to give politicians the "proof" they need to attack Planned Parenthood.

Were the ACORN recordings selectively edited? Or did ACORN bring itself down because of some of its employees were caught being completely awful and immoral on tape? Is the narrative created by recording people in an organization saying and doing the things the recording accurately shows? Is accurately showing people talking "creating a narrative?" (No, that's not the right word--'exposing the awfulness' would be a more accurate description). The Planned Parenthood apologists default position remains: Who are you going to believe--me or the completely false (and completely accurate) recordings?

The result, according to the hoaxers' website, was "a 30-month-long investigative journalism study by The Center for Medical Progress, documenting how Planned Parenthood sells the body parts of aborted babies."

Oh, I see, the video recorders were hoaxers because they really weren't trying to buy fetal tissue for research. Oh, of course. When 60 Minutes lies to people and secretly records them, that's investigative journalism. When pro-life amateurs do exactly the same thing, it's a hoax. Got it. I guess it all depends on who looks bad on film. So it's great journalism when the left records Republicans being awful but it's a hoax when the right records Democrats being awful. All is clear now.

That last part -- the claim that Planned Parenthood "sells the body parts of aborted babies," the centerpiece of the whole multi-year effort -- is flat-out untrue, and the lie is exposed by the Center's own undercover videos.

Has he watched the videos? Keep in mind it's illegal to sell fetal tissue, (42 USC 274e and 289g) but there is a loophole which allows the costs of transferring the fetal tissue from abortion abattoir to research lab to be recouped. But why then were the Planned Parenthood people talking about a bigger price for "prized" parts and whole aborted babies? Does that sound like cost recovery? Wouldn't actual cost recovery be the same for a liver, heart or brain, as a foot, arm or leg? One would think the cost would not depend on the desirability of the body part, but of course each of the people caught on tape is talking about negotiating a price of transfer depending on the body part. Hmmm. Let's go to the non-sequitur.

For that matter, I'd urge anybody who has purchased an insurance policy that covers accidental death and dismemberment to peruse the fine print, which places dollar amounts indicating varying degrees of financial recovery for losing combinations of thumbs, fingers, eyes, legs and limbs. 

Insurance reimbursement has nothing whatsoever to do with the value to researchers of the body parts of babies-to-be. This is not a cash reimbursement to a person for losing by accident a thumb, eye, finger, leg or other limb. And the reason the body parts lost by accident have different cash values in the insurance policy is because loss of a pinky is less onerous on the survivor than loss of a thumb, for example. The body part differential prices discussed in the videos are not reimbursement to the dead baby-to-be, or to the mother-no-longer-to-be, but to the abortion facility. This is reimbursement for putting the dead fetus or parts thereof into a box and slapping a shipping label on it. Mr. Louis went a little moron there for a second.

His big finish is to cherry pick two statements of one of the Planned Parenthood personnel saying that we are a non-profit organization and we can't have a narrative we're selling baby parts (OK I paraphrased the statements). But these ostensibly correct statements were accompanied by discussions about the price being determined by the desirability of the part being transferred for money. So there's that.

Every non-profit organization has to recoup its costs to remain in business. (And for-profit organizations have to recoup costs and something extra, called profit). If the non-profit recoups its costs in part by transferring fetal tissue from the Planned Parenthood to the research facility for a fee, then that's the loophole legal selling of dead baby-to-be body parts. Planned Parenthood apologists can stamp their feet and hold their breath and deny that's a sale but all rational people recognize if for what it is. And in what moral universe is it OK to traffic in dead baby-to-be body parts if no profit is made but it is a federal crime only if one makes a profit on the sale transfer for a fee?

If there had been no negotiations about pricing, no mention of an expensive car, no talk about changing the procedure to produce the good parts, then perhaps these tapes would have been ghoulish but inane. But that's not what the videos show. And we'll save talking about what was on the video released yesterday, about whole dead babies-to-be, and 18 USC 1531, for the future.


Monday, August 03, 2015


Belief--Me, Your Eyes?

Here is a recent, wholly fallacious argument about the Planned Parenthood videos from a guy I've never heard of before, Bob Cesca, writing at Salon, where the left goes to remain misinformed. I note that Mr. Cesca is a talented director of music videos and a radio talk host. (Apparently there are still left wing radio shows, who knew?) He graduated from Kutztown University of Pennsylvania in political science. That history explains a lot.
He probably should have taken a class or two in rhetoric.

I also note the headline of his article (which perhaps he did not write) contains the charming referral to conservatives as "wing nuts" (for the record, I really like wing nuts because you don't need a tool to put them on or take them off) and to the series of video recordings of Planned Parenthood employees as a "hoax".

Here is the crux of his argument. The videos are a hoax because Planned Parenthood is not breaking any laws. But only he has said the videos show criminal behavior. Then he says that Planned Parenthood is doing only legal things. He thus refutes his take on the video, but refuting himself in no way refutes the actual content of the videos.

Indeed, the videos don't claim that the actions and attitudes shown are criminal, just really gross. They are real; the argument against them in this article is a hoax.

Still, Mr. Cesca is not above straying into outright falsehood here and there. Observe.

Because Planned Parenthood is absolutely not selling fetus parts via some sort of grisly underground market.
But they are selling fetus parts via a somewhat grisly completely aboveboard market. Ya' happy now?
They are clearly selling fetus parts, the rest of the sentence is obfuscation and not very good obfuscation at that.

...Planned Parenthood clearly isn't doing what these videos claim...

Really? So they're not selling fetal tissue to medical researchers? The people accurately recorded in the videos sure seem to think they are exchanging the fetal parts for money. Perhaps they are mistaken about what they do and Mr. Cesca is alone in actually knowing what the employees of Planned Parenthood do. Well, in a word, No. Cesca is wrong; the Planned Parenthood employees actually know that they are exchanging the baby parts for money. Even the head of Planned Parenthood admitted that, or most of that. Cecile Richards, the head person at Planned Parenthood said the organization has "programs that help women donate fetal tissue for medical research." And those programs involves moving the fetal parts from the Planned Parenthood facility where the abortion took place to the medical research facility in exchange for money. That's selling. If someone donates a car to a cause and the cause sells the car to another person for money for the cause, has not the organization sold the donated car? This is clear, and it's extreme word parsing to try to say differently because the fetal tissue is donated to Planned Parenthood for its use. If my donated car goes to a crash testing facility in exchange for money, has the cause to which I donated the car not sold my car to the crash testing outfit, even if the price is merely cost of transport recouped? The answer is obvious. Cecile Richards also says that Planned Parenthood doesn't profit from the sale "in any way." That's wrong too. Money is fungible; if you take in money for one thing, you can spend it on anything you like, not just for that thing. The income of money always profits the organization. Planned Parenthood may well not make a profit on the sale, but money in is always helpful, even to a non-profit organization. Back to the article.
 ...too many conservatives completely accept the veracity of an explicitly falsified video.

Where, explicitly, was the video falsified? He fails to mention that. Just repeats that no criminal charges are appropriate. I don't remember the part of the video about criminal charges being appropriate. Does anyone?

Objective reality includes the following facts:
  • Planned Parenthood is not selling fetus parts for profit or otherwise

Wait, the organization is taking money in exchange for fetus parts. Is that not selling? Even if the mother-no-longer-to-be says it's OK to use the fetal tissue for research, isn't the exchange of parts for money selling as almost all people, perhaps except Mr. Cesca, understand the word 'selling'? Cecile Richards has admitted that the exchange takes place. See above. Either he's actually really stupid, or he thinks his readers are.

...the clear and incontrovertible reality that Planned Parenthood and similar organizations save lives and prevent abortions.

No, I think Planned Parenthood actually performs abortions, lots of them. It's the pro-life organizations that try to prevent abortions.

And in his big finish he says this:

The sting video, as well as its several sequels, are provably mendacious...

Except he never even attempts to prove it. Who's being mendacious now?

I believe there is no greater proof of the truth of the videos than that liberals are reduced to transparently lying about them and what they show. The videos are a hit, a palpable hit on Big Abortion.

About 20% of couples in America can't have children for various medical reasons. Many of them adopt foreign children, particularly Asian girls. They do that because there aren't enough babies given up for adoption because the babies-to-be are being aborted at a horrendous rate and not because of the health of the mother-to-be. Anything that slows the rate of abortion and makes more babies available for adoption is a good thing. These videos, if they help shut down our nations largest facility for abortion, are good things.


Saturday, August 01, 2015


97% Consensus Loon

Here's an article by John Cook which deserves an award for epistemological sleight of hand, but before I get to that, I want to discuss Mr. Cook himself. He credits himself as the author of the completely fraudulent 97% consensus study (as if evidence of scientific truth is ever contained in consensus alone). But I was interested in finding out his educational background. I have three degrees (BA, MA, JD) but none of them are in climate science or any science at all. Still, I can write about climate because of my interest, reading, study and ability to think (like a lawyer). So I'm not seeking to undercut Mr. Cook's knowledge or ability in climate science just because he doesn't have a degree in it. However, it's clear he doesn't. It's actually a little difficult to learn his actual background. There is no one spot that gives a complete picture. That's a little weird. But here is what I found out.

He graduated in 1989 from the University of Queensland with a BS (with honours) apparently in solar physics. So at least he knows the number one driver of climate here on Earth, the Sun. But now, what, 26 years after he graduated in physics, he's finishing up a PhD in cognitive psychology. Hmmm. At one time one of his employers, his alma mater, listed him as a researcher/postdoctoral fellow, but now it just says researcher. Yeah, him and 10 people with actual PhDs.One can't be postdoctoral without the doctorate. He started the Orwellian titled Skeptical Science blog and has written a lot on the subject of catastrophic anthropogenic global warming. Most of it is crap. Let's look at the latest article.

There is overwhelming scientific evidence that humans are causing global warming. Nevertheless, a small proportion of the population continues to deny the science. This can be problematic when the small number denying climate science includes half of the U.S. Senate.
There is overwhelming scientific evidence that humans are causing a so-slight-it-is-hard-to-measure increase in global temperature which is sometimes completely overwhelmed by natural temperature forcing factors so that the human caused warming is almost completely benign. There is no consensus among the climate scientists, and no evidence whatsoever, of a killer warming spiral from fossil fuel produced CO2 alone. And the small portion of the population that denies the crisis nature of the warming is well informed by scientific fact--better informed than the alarmists true believers.

Ninety-seven percent of climate scientists agree that humans are causing global warming. This has been found independently in a number of studies, including surveys of Earth scientists, analysis of public statements about climate change and analysis of peer-reviewed scientific papers. How might one cast doubt on the overwhelming scientific consensus? One technique is the use of fake experts.

We see this in online petitions such as the Global Warming Petition Project, which features more than 31,000 scientists claiming humans aren't disrupting our climate. How can there be 97% consensus when 31,000 scientists disagree? It turns out 99.9% of the petition's signatories aren't climate scientists. They include computer scientists, mechanical engineers and medical scientists but few climate scientists. The Global Warming Petition Project is fake experts in bulk.

EvenI agree that humans are causing some global warming. It's the alleged catastrophic nature of the warming which I rightly deny. Fake experts, huh? You mean guys like Mr. Cook with no post graduate degree at all and none on which he is working in climate science? That kind of fake expert? Here is a real poll of scientists on the subject. Most climate scientists are skeptical of the IPCC AR5 report, which is the latest from alarmist central. A real scientist is always skeptical. A non-skeptic scientist is more properly called an acolyte.

These are computer simulations built from the fundamental laws of physics, and they have made many accurate predictions since the 1970s....
Some people argue that climate models are unreliable if they don't make perfect short-term predictions. However, a number of unpredictable influences such as ocean and solar cycles have short-term influences on climate. Over the long term, these effects average out, which is why climate models do so well at long-term predictions.

What is he talking about? There have been very few accurate predictions by these models (a blind hog finds an acorn once in a while) and their accuracy generally sucks. They are 97% inaccurate, mainly because the world weather system is too complex to be adequately simulated by a computer. The simulations leave out multiple real factors, the most egregious of which is clouds. Nothing can accurately predict cloud formation beyond about 48 hours. Also there have only been computer models since the late 70s at the earliest, and less than 40 years is very short term in climate science. There has no long term testing of model predictions because not enough time has elapsed since the model predictions came to exist. The 20 to 30 years of actual data versus computer prediction indicates nearly universal overestimation of warming. Climate models don't do well at either short term or long term prediction of weather.

Signs of global warming have been observed all over our planet. Ice sheets in Greenland and Antarctica are losing hundreds of billions of tons of ice every year. Global sea level is rising. Thousands of species are migrating toward cooler regions in response to warming. The ocean is building up four atomic bombs worth of heat every second.
Each of these supporting statements if completely false. Both Antarctica and Greenland have been gaining ice lately. The natural interglacial global sea rise has not increased with the warming. There is no species migration caused by warming; that's merely speculation. But the last one is the doozie. 4 atomic bombs of warming per second. What could be a more absurd measure of heat? And what is the source of this "climate fact'? Why, it's Mr. Cook himself. He made it up.

The thousands of scientists across the world who develop these temperature records are regularly accused of faking their data to inflate the global warming trend.

Yeah, because they are fraudulently changing the temperature records. See here and here. And that's the most disturbing aspect of this. Cooking the books to cause alarm. That's low.

The guy's biggest sin is conflating the benign slight warming caused by humans with the apocalyptic predictions based on inadequate computer modes. It is stupid to deny that the climate changes. It always changes. Mr. Mann erased the changes that occurred over the last 1000 years in his hockey stick chart. That's real denial. It's probably also stupid to deny that it has warmed up imperceptibly in the last 150 years. But these are different sorts of denial than denying the World is going to warm 3 degrees Celsius in the next 85, or that life on the planet is doomed just because it's a little nicer out some days. It's smart to deny that.


This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?