Wednesday, December 30, 2009
10. The 2009 elections. Every election during a President's term seems to be spun into a "referendum of the President" and a "bellwether event that could define the President's history." The elections that occurred this year were inconclusive on both fronts. Two Democrat Governors went down to defeat, Democrats retained a House seat, but the attention was focused on New York District 23. A third party candidate who entered the race shortly before the special election was held came close to unseating the eventual winner, and may have won if the Republican candidate had dropped out sooner. Democrats may have crowed about "taking a Republican seat for the first time since the Civil War," (which, by the way, is factually inaccurate, as a Democrat held the House seat from NY-23 way back in 1993), but they still almost lost it, and may lose it during the next regular election cycle.
9. Arlen Spector changing parties. Democrats had been pushing to reach 60 votes in the Senate to give President Obama a veto-proof and filibuster-proof majority, but they had fallen short even with the two Independents who caucus with them. Then, Pennsylvania Senator Arlen Spector announced that he would switch parties and become a Democrat. Given his propensity for bucking his own party as a Republican, it wasn't so much of a surprise that he would switch parties. The real impact is that Spector's defection brought the Democrats closer to their goal of 60 votes at a time when the Republican Party needed to retain Spector to keep the threat of a filibuster alive. Then, with a single defection, the dominoes fell on that notion.
8. The Ft. Hood shooting. Since 9/11, we hadn't had much on the domestic terrorism front. Then, Ft. Hood happened. With the numerous warning signs that Major Nidal Hasan was planning on committing mass murder, it should have been easy to pinpoint him and prevent the Ft. Hood shooting from even occurring. As it stands, those red flags were missed, and Hasan committed a deadly terrorist act on our shores. This is important because the Ft. Hood shooting showed that, even with allegedly more stringent rules designed to pick out people like Hasan, human error played a fatal role in a terrorist act.
7. Michael Jackson's death. From a young man with unbelievable talent to the punchline of thousands of jokes, Michael Jackson touched lives around the world. His unexpected death in 2009 when Jackson was on the verge of making a musical comeback shocked us all. Although scandal ruled the later years of his life, his talent was undeniable.
6. ACORNgate. What started with two young filmmakers attempting to do what the mainstream media used to do blossomed into a full-fledged scandal that still has implications into 2010. James O'Keefe and Hannah Giles posed as a pimp and a prostitute and uncovered what appears to be an organization run at the local level, if not higher, by people who no regard for the law. The scandal was so prevalent that Congress voted to temporarily bar ACORN from getting federal funds. And as yet, no one has been able to come up with a plausible defense for ACORN's actions, but they have taken the step of singling out O'Keefe and Giles for possible legal action and criticism for the tactics they utilized. Regardless of how this plays out, ACORNgate proved to be a major story in 2009.
5. Sarah Palin's reemergence. After Sarah Palin resigned as Governor of Alaska, many people wrote her off as a quitter and a lightweight whose impact on the political environment would be limited at best. Yet, months after people wrote off her political career, Palin has come back as a potential game-changer for the 2010 and 2012 elections. Her book Going Rogue is a best seller. She's stumping for candidates who favor a more conservative ideology. And, perhaps the biggest indication that she's still a player in the political game, the Left still can't stop talking about her. Not too bad for a "lightweight" and a "quitter."
4. Climate Gate. Two "Gates" in the same list? If Bill Gates had done something noteworthy this year, we would have hit the Gates trifecta. As it stands, Climate Gate was the bigger of the two "Gates" on the list because it has the potential to unravel what was considered to be conventional wisdom for the better part of a decade, if not longer. Emails from the University of East Anglia's Climate Research Unit suggest that scientists who have been promoting the concept of manmade global warming may fudged the numbers and hid data that would undermine the concept they were promoting as fact. As yet, we're still trying to sort through the emails and make sense of the attempts to take the focus away from what the emails said and put it on how the emails came to light, but one thing is clear. Climate Gate has shaken the scientific community, and its impact will resonate for years to come.
3. The TEA Party movement. If Sarah Palin's relevance in politics is determined by how much the Left complains about her to this day, the TEA Party movement seems destined for political immortality. Millions of people across the country found their voices and made their discontent for government run amok known. Although conservatives made up the bulk of the TEA Parties, people from all walks of life and all political ideologies joined the movement. As 2010 rolls along, we'll see whether the TEA Parties hold real political heft or just gave the politicians in Washington a fear that will die down over time. For the sake of the country, let's hope the former is the case.
2. The health care reform debate. Stemming in part from the TEA Party movement, Americans took their elected officials to task over a proposed health care reform bill. The debate went from a mere functional matter that was anticipated to be passed by Congress's August recess to a Christmas Eve day vote in the Senate that opened the door to reconcile the House and Senate versions of the bill, and along the way things got heated. In retrospect, I'm not sure Congress expected the kind of reaction they received from the general public, and they sure as heck didn't expect there to be the kind of trouble passing a bill that they experienced with the health care reform bill. As it stands right now, it's unclear whether health care reform is going to be passed yet in 2009, meaning this hot button political football will be punted into 2010 where it will have other implications.
1. The inauguration of Barack Obama. No matter what your political persuasion, the inauguration of a new President is a big deal. Obama's election and inauguration signaled a change in America with the promise of a new approach to governance. It was also a clear sign to the world that America, at least on the surface, has gotten past its history on race. It doesn't matter what you feel about the man or the job he's done as President, Obama's inauguration was a significant moment in time for our country, as it is deserving of the top spot as the biggest story of 2009.
Tuesday, December 29, 2009
Yet, I can't quite give him slack for waiting three days to issue an initial statement about it. No matter how you try to spin it, it was a terrorist attack on a flight going into Detroit, which isn't exactly devoid of Muslims. With all of the red flags that went up (or should have) with the terrorist, it shouldn't have been tough to figure out a position to take on it. It wasn't even as nuanced or as complicated at the Henry Lewis Gates situation, and Obama made a snap judgment on that.
Then again, that may be part of the problem. It's entirely possible that the President is suffering from the political equivalent of performance anxiety. Obama is seen as someone who is very intelligent, and his resume to date suggests that he is. However, it's entirely possible to come to a smart, yet quick, decision on issues that are as clear as the Northwest Airlines situation. And even if the situation is a bit more complicated, it doesn't take a genius to say, "Let me look into that, and I'll issue a statement as soon as I have the facts."
Instead, Obama delays on a lot of relatively simple issues. His supporters say that it's proof of Obama's deliberate nature, but I'm not so sure. (Funny, but the same people who call Obama "deliberate" for taking three days to make a statement are the same ones who went nuts over George W. Bush spending 5-6 minutes in a classroom on 9/11 after hearing of a plane hitting the World Trade Center. Go figure.) Instead, I think Obama's delays are a sign that he's desperately looking for a way out.
When you're in over your head, your first instinct is to try to slow things down to get a clear view of the situation and formulate a strategy. In some cases, it's a smart strategy because it gives you time to think. In other cases, it's a sign of weakness because it makes you look indecisive, especially if the issue at hand seems to be pretty cut and dried. When it becomes habit, it will erode people's faith in your ability to lead.
And in Obama's case, the erosion of faith is evident. His approval ratings have declined since January 2009, especially among independents, Democrats, and now even Leftists. Congressional leaders from his own party lament Obama's lack of leadership on the health care issue. Even on the world stage that went ga-ga over Obama last year, he's become somewhat of a joke. When you have world leaders scratching their heads over a delay in responding to a major event (as world leaders did following the Ft. Hood shooting), you can't just chalk it up to just right wing cranks criticizing the President.
I've said for a while now that I don't think Obama's ever really been challenged at anything, which can give one the impression that he or she is better than he/she actually is. The more Obama delays on the small issues that he should have mastery of in a short time, the more it looks like he's stalling for time out of desperation, not out of deliberation.
Monday, December 28, 2009
It occurred to me today that we've been trying to fight the war on terrorism with legal remedies instead of actually fighting back. Let's say there's a terrorist attack where Silly String use was implied. Instead of trying to go after anyone who might use Silly String or something more dangerous, our response in recent years has been to attempt to regulate Silly String use by those who haven't ever used it for terrorist purposes. This hurts on two fronts. First, it unnecessarily burdens the law-abiding. Second, it doesn't even address the real problem, that being the people who would use various objects to commit acts of terrorism.
If this approach sounds familiar to you, it should, especially if you're a gun owner. The Left has used this same approach to try to curtail gun crimes, and as we've seen, it hasn't worked out very well. Regardless of the volume of gun laws on the books already, gun control advocates think there aren't enough and propose more. More laws that will be ignored by the criminals and adhered by the law-abiding.
Maybe it's me, but I have yet to find evidence of a terrorist attack thwarted by the threat of prosecution under the law. Yet, that hasn't stopped the government from thinking it was only a matter of time before it happens. Personally, I'm not holding my breath waiting for it to happen, nor am I holding my breath waiting for our government to realize the insanity of treating terrorism like a legal matter.
- The most surreal moment I've had in a long time occurred when a 9/11 Truther Kook quoting a discredited conspiracy theorist about the war in Iraq told me that Wikipedia isn't a credible source of information. I bear no responsibility for lost productivity from laughing at the absurdity or from your head exploding.
- The Senate version of the health care reform bill passed last week to a lot of fanfare and cheering among Democrats. Yet, what was missed in all of this is the fact that Democrats spent from 1994 until 2009 not doing anything about health care reform. Sure, the Republicans didn't take action on it when they were in power, but it wasn't really an issue they were passionate about. Who was? The Democrats. And don't give me the line about "Democrats didn't have the votes to pass it." What stopped them from drafting a compromise bill that would get Republican votes? Sorry, but the more you point fingers at the Republicans on health care reform, the more I'll be pointing right back asking you why you sat on the issue you now consider so important.
- The recent terrorist attacks in this country should be a wake-up call for us all, especially in that we haven't learned anything from 9/11. Something tells me we'll be asleep again before we know it.
- President Obama pretty much came back with nothing from his second trip to Copenhagen this year. The great deal he struck with some of the developing nations...well, it seems China isn't committing to it, which leaves the door open for other countries involved in this deal to bow out as well. Quite telling that someone of Obama's alleged international appeal could come away empty-handed on such an issue. Then again, he should be used to disappointment in Copenhagen after the 2016 Olympics debacle.
- Lately, it seems more and more people are getting over their Obamamania hangover and starting to be critical of the man they helped get elected. I hate to say I told you so, but, well...I kinda did.
- The recent clashes in Iran between government forces and protesters critical of the government should be major news because of their implications to the world. If the protesters win, we could see a stable Iran in our lifetimes, one that rejects the rantings of Imadinnerjacket and the imams and embraces freedom for all Iranians. If the government forces win, we're stuck with Iran in its current state, and that makes it dangerous. Although we're wrapped up with stories about Tiger Woods or the impending season of "American Idol," let's not neglect a major story that could mean a safer world for us all.
- As we move into 2010, a lot of people are already compiling lists encompassing the past decade. I won't do that here, but I will make one comment about this decade not yet over. It was a decade of missed opportunities and disappointment occasionally sprinkled with moments of sheer brilliance and hope for the future. Let's try to get it better next decade, okay?
Thursday, December 24, 2009
Last year I talked about the power of faith and what incredible faith the particulars of the Nativity Story must have had to take the actions they did, even if they didn't make logical sense. This year, I'm going to focus on a different aspect of the Nativity Story: divinity.
I still marvel at how the various pieces of this theological puzzle came together. It wasn't enough that the individual players had faith. There had to be a guiding force to put everything into motion. From the prophets who believed in the coming of a savior centuries before He was even born to Mary and Joseph to the three wise men and the shepherds, everybody was in the right place at the right time to play their parts and make for one amazing event. No coincidence or rigging by Man could have made the Divinity Story play out the way it did. It was divine will that made it so.
There are a number of emotions that come over us this time of year, but for me, the feeling of peace in knowing that God is in control and He will make happen what needs to happen, just as He did all those years ago.
Merry Christmas to all of you.
Monday, December 21, 2009
The problem is we didn't really get a chance to see the Senate Republicans fight for the first vote.
It's time Republicans come to the realization that their Congressional leadership, such as it is, has betrayed them. It was a subtle betrayal, one that took years to come to fruition. What was once a party that represented fiscal responsibility, personal freedom, and small government has become a party of largesse, statism, and irresponsibility. But so many people, myself included for a number of years, were caught up in the "red versus blue" gamesmanship that we believed Republicans were different. If only we could have gotten Republicans elected, we wouldn't be in this mess.
Are you sure? I'm not anymore. Just voting for a Republican isn't going to solve the problems of this nation because Republicans learned over the past decade or so how cool it was to spend money we didn't have on projects we didn't really need, but would help them get reelected. In short, they became the very thing they bashed. Can anyone really tell me there's a difference between Olympia Snowe and Arlen Specter? Between John McCain and Charles Schumer? It's getting harder and harder to find a difference.
And it's one huge reason that, contrary to the claims of a certain Leftist blogger who hates me and yet can't posting about me, I do not support the current Republican Party in any way. And, no, I'm not a Libertarian any more, either, for the same reason I'm not a Republican: they went too far left for my tastes. (Figured I'd clarify that for Mr. Leftist Blogger, since he seems to think I'm a Republican who claims to be a Libertarian, not that he'd man up and admit he has been wrong about me from the very beginning...)
So what am I?
I'm an American who wants the GOP to stop being Democrat Lite.
I'm an American who wants Democrats to get their heads out of their collectivist backsides and realize that their party has been taken over by people who want government to control every aspect of their lives.
I'm an American who wants to see us get back to a government of the people, by the people, for the people.
I'm an American who wants America to go back to a limited constitutional government that allows people maximum freedom with maximum responsibility.
And I'm not alone. And that should scare the hell out of the Washington elite and their lemming followers.
Sunday, December 20, 2009
At its core, abortion is a medical procedure that kills a human life. How exactly is that health care?
Granted, there are times when an abortion may save the life of the mother. Having said that, those procedures are rare, meaning the bulk of the abortions being performed are elective. You could make a case that an abortion could make the quality of the mother's life better, but that's not the same as a life-saving procedure.
Of course, some Leftists will say that I'm just anti-woman because of my position on this issue, but I would also add there are a lot of things insurance covers for men, such as ED drugs, that I don't think should be covered by insurance because of the same argument I made above. They don't save lives, only make the quality of life better for some. When we play the game of "whose life is worth more", we all lose. And I think that's where Senator Nelson's coming from with his opposition to abortion being covered under the health care reform bill.
Of course, that's not going to make both sides of the abortion debate stop to consider the absurdity of considering abortion to be a health care issue.
Saturday, December 19, 2009
Folks, I'm going to say something that is being missed by most of the public. This agreement was never about global climate change and man's impact on it. It was all about getting Obama a victory of some sort in Copenhagen, considering he hasn't had very good luck there this year. His appearance before the International Olympic Committee to try to get the 2016 Summer Olympics to come to Chicago was a bust, and an embarrassing one at that. His winning the Nobel Peace Prize has become an international joke. Now with the UN climate conference, we're seeing how big a joke it is because of all the bickering and the weather.
In short, Obama needed a victory in Copenhagen. After coming off as a laughingstock the last two times he went there, his ego couldn't take another blow, so he was looking to come away with something, anything, to make the third time truly become a charm. But what this agreement has done is made him look desperate and incapable of being an effective world leader.
And the Left was concerned about how America was perceived in the world when George W. Bush was President?
Friday, December 18, 2009
The United States, China, India, South Africa, and Brazil have all agreed to cut greenhouse gas emissions and allow for independent entities to review these countries' plans and accomplishments. Also, we have committed to cap global temperature increases to 2 degrees! And all it takes from us is support of a global fund to the tune of $100 billion! Of course, we don't know all the details of the deal yet because there are some details to hammer out, but isn't it great that we've made such important progress?
Okay, enough sarcasm for one blog post.
Is it just me, or is this agreement destined to flop? For one thing, no matter how much we limit greenhouse gases, we can't overcome nature. Man's contribution to greenhouse gases in the atmosphere is less than one percent. That leaves a whopping 99%-plus that we can't control, which includes volcanic eruptions. Unless Obama has a way to make volcanoes control their greenhouse gas output, our impact is going to be minuscule at best.
Then, there's the global temperature cap. We can't even predict the weather five days from now with any degree of accuracy. What makes these folks think we can control the planet's temperatures? And here's the trick. It's frightfully easy for the AGW cultists to "prove" that their efforts are working.
Adopt the science of those who have shown the planet has been cooling since 1998.
At the heart of the Left's environmental science is blatant dishonesty. (See the Climategate emails and the Left's attempts to spin or deny them for proof.) It would be easy to delay the release of the temperature calculations to coincide with any kind of plan they cook up in Copenhagen. All it takes is a little time, and the AGW cultists will believe that the Copenhagen agreement has impacted the planet (all without proof, of course).
I agree that we should do what we can to limit the damage we do to the planet, but making meaningless, expensive, simplistic, and unrealistic agreements isn't a way to do it. Let's actually...oh I don't know...do something that actually addresses the problem. Just sayin'.
Thursday, December 17, 2009
And it starts with manufacturing. Have you noticed that America doesn't make that much anymore? That's because our manufacturing base has evaporated due to numerous factors, including rising labor costs and government regulations. As a result, we're importing goods that could be made here if our manufacturing base were in place and active.
On the health care side, there are many people in the country who do not have health insurance or choose not to take it. The latter is hard to overcome, but the former can be addressed. Government health insurance isn't that great an idea (as we've seen with Medicare and Medicaid), so we need another option. These days, most companies offer health insurance packages for employees or at least give options for lower cost insurance policies. Now, all we need to do is get the people who need health insurance into jobs that offer them.
Reestablishing the manufacturing base in America would accomplish both job creation and helping the less fortunate get health insurance by opening up factories in America. At least in the short term, government can help bring this about by giving companies incentives to build factories here, including tax breaks. If it passes Constitutional muster, perhaps government could also put a 5 year moratorium on unionizing workers to sweeten the deal with the understanding that the company follow labor laws or suffer severe penalties.
This would be a win-win for everyone, including the President. People would get access to paying jobs and health insurance, thus improving both conditions. The economy would see a boost. Imports would start to decline, which also has an impact on carbon emissions and, thus, the environment because we wouldn't need to import as much. And, for the President, it would help shore up his falling job approval ratings while making him look like an economic genius and a caring President.
A simple solution to several problems. That pretty much guarantees government won't even consider it.
Wednesday, December 16, 2009
Enter Al Gore. In spite of his lack of scientific credentials, AGW proponents cling to what he says (which is pretty much cribbed notes of what others have said). This inconsistency should not go unnoticed, especially when you consider the following statements that show how little credibility the former Vice President has on the subject of our earth.
"People think about geothermal energy - when they think about it at all - in terms of the hot water bubbling up in some places, but two kilometers or so down in some places there are these incredibly hot rocks, 'cause the interior of the earth is extremely hot, several million degrees, and the crust of the earth is hot..." --- Al Gore, "The Tonight Show", 11/12/09
The inconvenient truth: It's estimated that the earth's core is around 4000 degrees Celsius.
"Some of the models suggest to Dr. [Wieslaw] Maslowski that there is a 75 per cent chance that the entire polar ice cap during some summer months could be completely ice free within five to seven years." --- Al Gore, keynote address at the Copenhagen climate summit, 12/15/09
The inconvenient truth: Dr. Maslowski's study says nothing of the sort. Maslowski, who works at the U. S. Naval Postgraduate School, stated that his study projected an 80% decline in the arctic ice in about six years, but that there would still be ice. But you don't have to take my own word at Maslowski calling out Gore's exaggeration. Dr. Maslowski said, "I was very explicit that we were talking about near-ice-free conditions and not completely ice-free conditions in the northern ocean."
"For a long time, the scientists have been telling us global warming increases the temperature of the top layer in the ocean, and that causes the average hurricane to become a lot stronger." --- Al Gore, courtesy of http://www.woopidoo.com/business_quotes/authors/al-gore/index.htm.
The inconvenient truth: According to Ryan N. Maue of Florida State University, global hurricane energy has dropped to 30 year lows. [http://www.coaps.fsu.edu/~maue/tropical/] Although Maue admits activity may be on its way back up, the fact that there was this lull while Gore has claimed the earth has gotten hotter should give even the most ardent AGW follower reason to pause.
"So, the fact that the ocean temperatures did go up because of global warming, because of man-made global warming, starting around the seventies, and then we had a string of unusually strong hurricanes outside of this multi-decadal cycle that is a real factor..." --- Al Gore, courtesy of http://www.woopidoo.com/business_quotes/authors/al-gore/index.htm
The inconvenient truth: That may not be as accurate an indication of AGW as Gore and his followers think. Jo Nova compiles evidence that ocean temperatures may not be warming after all and shows a possible omission of pertinent information, not unlike the attempts to suppress data that doesn't coincide with the prevalent message. [http://joannenova.com.au/2009/07/ocean-temperatures-the-new-bluff-in-alarmism/]
"It's a complicated relationship, but the most important part of it is this: When there is more CO2 in the atmosphere, the temperature increases because more heat from the Sun is trapped inside." --- Al Gore, An Inconvenient Truth, page 67
The inconvenient truth: Scientists have noted that Gore's own graph shows that temperatures warmed before CO2 levels increased. [http://www.slideshare.net/guest3c5779/al-gore-climate-change-inconvenient-truth]
And last, but certainly not least...
The most inconvenient truth: Al Gore got a D in Natural Sciences 6 (Man's Place in Nature) during his sophomore year at St. Albans. But don't worry. He bumped that up to a C+ when he took Natural Sciences 116 during his senior year. [http://www.washingtonpost.com/ac2/wp-dyn?pagename=article&contentId=A37397-2000Mar18]
Kinda makes you question Gore's credibility, doesn't it?
Sunday, December 13, 2009
Whenever you're the first or the most prominent member of a minority to do something, there is increased scrutiny and heightened expectations. Some people thrive on this kind of challenge, while others flounder. Whether Parker sinks or swims in her new position will be interesting to see, and I do hope she succeeds for no other reason than to help break down another barrier that separates straights from gays.
Where things can go horribly wrong for Parker is if she uses her sexual orientation as a prism through which to administer to the citizens of Houston. As a member of a minority that has had its share of controversy and discrimination, Parker may be tempted to "even the score" now that she has the power to do it. If she does, it will drive a wedge between the gay and straight communities in Houston, and possibly nationwide. Parker has to realize that she's not the openly gay Mayor of Houston, but simply the Mayor of Houston. If she does, it will truly be a victory for the gay rights movement. If not, it could be a Pyrrhic victory at best.
Saturday, December 12, 2009
People from Arianna Huffington to the drooling minions who inhabit her website, Huffington Post, as well as other websites like DemocraticUnderground and DailyKos have said conservative talk radio hosts "incite violence." The Left points to situations such as the death of Bill Sparkman, a census worker in Kentucky, as proof that conservative talk radio, and Beck in particular, have created such an environment of hate that leads to violence. This sentiment was echoed in a recent episode of "Law and Order: SUV" by a character portrayed by John Larroquette:
Limbaugh, Beck, O'Reilly, all of 'em, they are like a cancer spreading ignorance and hate...They've convinced folks that immigrants are the problem, not corporations that fail to pay a living wage or a broken health care system...
Now, here's the funny part. As yet, there has never been a violent act definitively linked to talk radio. The Oklahoma City Bombing? Nope. Sparkman's death? Oooh, sor-ray. Recent shootings at church? Aw, so close and yet so far. There are incidents that have been attributed to talk radio, but there are always other mitigating factors (such as...oh I don't know...the nutballs committing the crimes being crazy) that make it less and less likely that talk radio was the genesis of the crimes.
Yet, in spite of the evidence, or more precisely the lack thereof, it's taken as an article of faith by the Left that talk radio inspires people to take violent acts. You know how many arrests there were at the TEA Party protests this year? Zero. In fact, the only violence being committed seems to be initiated by...the Left. And I doubt their violence is being caused by listening to people like Glenn Beck.
Let's not forget, it was President Obama who said "I want you to get in their faces" when talking about how to deal with the protesters at health care town halls. And, sure enough, SEIU did, injuring a man in St. Louis. Another protest saw a health care reform advocate cross a street and bite the ear off an elderly protester. (No word on whether Mike Tyson is suing for copyright infringement.) In fact, you can just Google "SEIU violence" and come up with a number of examples. I know it's shocking to think a labor union would resort to violence to get its way, but you must be strong and find the evidence for yourselves.
So, why does the Left say talk radio incites violence when it doesn't? Simple. Because the Left incites violence and wants to normalize it by accusing the Right of doing it. The Left cannot deal with its own personal issues, so they seek to create an environment where everyone does it, thus it "justifies" their actions, no matter how perverse. Also, it gives them a chance to take the moral high ground by attacking violence and those who incite it, but only if it's done by conservatives. But if conservatives don't incite or commit violent acts, the Left doesn't care. They'll say they do anyway, thus preserving their article of faith.
At the end of the day, though, all they have to back it up is their faith that it's true.
Thursday, December 10, 2009
http://www.john-daly.com/hockey/hockey.htm - a good breakdown of the flaws with the hockey stick graph
http://www.global-warming-and-the-climate.com/mann%27s-hockey-stick-climate-graph.htm - another good story, including this tidbit of information that should cause any AGW proponent to stop worshiping at the altar of Dr. Michael Mann for even a second:
It was also prominent display in several places in the 2001 IPCC report, the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
It has now been removed from the latest 2007 IPCC report for policymakers because it has become to much of an embarrassment for the IPCC to include it.
The graph was subsequently criticized by many global warming skeptics and historians, because weather events such as the Medieval Warm Period and the Little Ice Age were absent. [emphasis mine]
Hmmm...that's odd. A global warming graph that excluded periods of warming and cooling? Wouldn't that be cause to suggest that Mann's graph may be...inaccurate?
http://wattsupwiththat.com/2009/12/09/hockey-stick-observed-in-noaa-ice-core-data/ - a nice link...about the "hockey stick" being proven in ice levels. You know, the same ice levels that Mr. Leftist Blogger and others like him keep saying is declining?
http://theblogprof.blogspot.com/2009/09/confirmed-global-warming-hockey-stick.html - providing more evidence, especially that Mann's original work showed cherry-picked data. Hmmm...isn't that a sign of blatant dishonesty? I mean, it was when the Left bashed George W. Bush for going into Iraq, but it's okay for an AGW proponent to do?
http://climateaudit.files.wordpress.com/2005/09/ohioshort.pdf - A presentation given by Stephen McIntyre with a pretty extensive bibliography
http://73wire.com/2009/11/the-famous-hockey-stick-graph-with-actual-data/ - not from a climatologist, but with two pretty clear graphs showing what Mann deleted and the impact it would have on the "hockey stick"
http://bishophill.squarespace.com/blog/2008/8/11/caspar-and-the-jesus-paper.html - a nice summary of how two other AGW proponents went to unusual lengths to "prove" Mann right, in direct violation of academic standards. Gee, wouldn't that raise a red flag in even the most ardent AGW proponent?
http://winteryknight.wordpress.com/2009/09/30/peer-reviewed-article-in-journal-science-says-sun-causes-global-warming/ - the link is self-explanatory, and might actually give a much more credible reason for the variations in the planet's temperature than AGW. Imagine that! The sun might cause heating! And since it's peer-reviewed, I'm sure Mr. Leftist Blogger will accept it as fact as he did with the "peer-reviewed" Mann work...
http://www.lesjones.com/posts/002990.shtml - Just thought I'd throw this in so you can see how AGW has been hyped in the media year after year, pretty much all saying the same thing.
http://www.frugal-cafe.com/public_html/frugal-blog/frugal-cafe-blogzone/2009/11/28/global-warming-scam-scientific-data-in-hockey-stick-graph-bogus-uh-fudged-video/ - more interesting information showing competing charts showing Mann's flaws
http://www.nowpublic.com/environment/global-warming-hockey-stick-graph-methodological-comparison-graphs - more graphs showing that in three different studies, the results were the same, but the graph showing the "hockey stick graph" isn't one of them. It's the odd-graph-out. Funny how that works out...
http://www.heartland.org/policybot/results/15557/Nature_Admits_Widely_Cited_Global_Warming_Graph_Was_Erroneous.html - Hmmm...this link shows that Mann and the two other scientists quoted in a 1998 Nature magazine article admitted they made mistakes in the original article. And the Left still thinks this guy is credible?
http://www.physicsforums.com/showthread.php?t=94621 - A forum post, I know, but it contains much more damning information about the inaccuracy of the hockey stick graph.
http://www.informath.org/apprise/a3010.htm - What? A statistical error in the hockey stick graph? Why that's...completely expected! But surely the fact that there was a statistical error in Mann's original work doesn't mean it's wrong, right?
Well, I think I've proven my point. The hockey stick graph has been debunked on several fronts, and the creators of it have admitted errors, while others have proven errors that Mann, et al, have yet to explain away in the context of whether the graph was right to begin with. You can spin it, you can dodge it, you can make up silly pseudo-definitions, but the truth is out there, as I've proven. The hockey stick graph is bogus, and those who cling to it like a security blanket (like a certain Leftist blogger who hates me, but can't stop talking about me) are mere lemmings.
Consider the hockey stick graph debunked, Mr. Leftist Blogger. Enjoy this poster, courtesy of http://media.photobucket.com/image/epic%20fail%20global%20warming/scooters61/EpicFail.jpg.
"But Michael Mann said it would work!"
It's not an elaborate conspiracy, Mr. Leftist Blogger. In fact, it's quite simple.
Money: As much as the AGW proponents love to point at any scientist or commentator with connections to industry as being "paid for by Big Business," it's important to point out that there's a lot of money to be had by pushing AGW in the form of grant money. Academia is not immune to the charms of greed, as grant money is a gravy train for anyone willing to sign onto whatever "hot" notion is making its way through academia. And then, it's only a matter of coming up with a paper agreeing with the dominant notion and you're set.
Prestige: With grants come prestige for the people who received them, and for the academic institutions they represent. Academia is full of egos, egos that will do anything to be stroked. What better way to get your ego stroked than to be the center of attention by releasing a paper that "confirms" what the rest of academia already believes to be true?
Uniformity: Academia used to be an area where different thoughts could be debated on their merits. Over the past two or three decades, academia has turned into a conformity factory. If you don't agree with what the prevailing idea is, you're often branded as a troublemaker, a fraud, or even as someone worthy of being ridiculed and blackballed. Even if the prevailing idea in academia is built on a house of cards, there will be a backlash against anyone who points it out, regardless of the factual information he or she brings to the table.
Put simply, any dissent costs academia who have bought into a prevailing notion money, prestige, and uniformity. Greed, pride, and conformity.
That's what your "science" is really promoting with its religious fanaticism over a debatable premise, Mr. Leftist Blogger. And, yes, I find the irony of you carrying water for the green religion after bashing me for my Christian beliefs quite delicious.
Wednesday, December 9, 2009
So, Mr. Leftist Blogger, your "you have to bunk something before you can debunk it" line is...well...bunk.
Now, onto another point. You claim that some of the people I quoted as debunking the hockey stick graph weren't climatologists, so their debunking doesn't count. One tiny problem with that, sunshine. See, one aspect of AGW research that you've neglected is the use of computer models, including with the hockey stick graph. The problem with use of computer models is that they're only as good as the people doing the programming. As has been exposed already, the computer models being used to "prove" AGW was man-made were fundamentally flawed.
And who exposed it? Stephen McIntyre and Ross McKitrick.
As a result of this, McIntyre and McKitrick have been ridiculed and slandered by people like Mr. Leftist Blogger, but the fact remains: the computer models were wrong. And that's a damn tough thing to spin away, even for Al Gore's minions.
And while we're here, Mr. Leftist Blogger, I notice you haven't taken up for the "scientists" (read: pediatricians and veterinarians) who have signed onto AGW as being man-made. I'm sure you can provide us a link to a study done by, say, a pediatrician that has been peer reviewed and shows all the scientific heft your side claims to have on this subject.
You'll understand if I don't hold my breath waiting for you to man up.
- A recent CNN/Opinion Research Poll shows that former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin's personal approval rating is only one point lower than President Barack Obama's Presidential approval rating. Both sides of the political spectrum have expressed surprise at this turn of events.
Why This Matters: This shows us the real reason media outlets use polling data: to create news. A personal approval rating has nothing to do with a Presidential approval rating because one is based on popularity and the other is based on a number of factors, such as perception of job performance. As interesting of a factoid as this is, it means nothing. The media know there are many people who like to talk about Palin, so they're going to do anything they can do to put Palin out there by any means necessary. For those charged with bringing us the news to try to invent news like this is a statement of how pathetic the media have become.
- The EPA announced an "endangerment finding" is in the works naming carbon dioxide to be a danger to the environment, thus making it subject to regulation. Once this finding is made public, it may be used to circumvent the lack of agreement on any environmental treaty coming out of Copenhagen.
Why This Matters: Not only does this finding do an end run around the Senate (the entity that is charged with approving all treaties, even climate change ones), but it comes off as a purely political desperation move to avoid having to deal with the implications of the ClimateGate scandal. AGW proponents point to carbon dioxide production as proof that we're screwing up the environment, but the problem is that increases in carbon dioxide production occur after a temperature increase. And when you consider carbon dioxide represents a little less than 4% of the total greenhouse gasses (with water vapor making up the bulk of it to the tune of 95%), regulating carbon dioxide may not have nearly the impact on the environment as some think it will.
- Senator Al Franken introduced an amendment to a Defense Appropriations bill that would prevent private contractors doing business with the government from making private arbitration of issues such as sexual harassment and rape a condition of employment. When many Senate Republicans voted against it, Franken said they were "pro-rape."
Why This Matters: Franken's amendment was promoted as being "anti-rape", but it's actually more anti-contract. If you sign a contract that says you must agree to do X to be considered for employment and you sign it, it is expected that you abide by the terms of the contract. It's unfortunate that a woman was raped by one of the private contractors hired by the government, as rape is a serious matter. To have Franken use it as a partisan cudgel in this case, especially to hide the fact that the amendment would make it legal to ignore the terms of a legally-binding contract, is nothing short of disgusting. Then again, Franken did make a rape joke on "Saturday Night Live" in 1995, so maybe it's not out of character for him.
- In the advent of the ClimateGate scandal, Senator Barbara Boxer has stated that she wants to launch a criminal investigation into the people who allegedly hacked the email account of the University of East Anglia that started the ClimateGate scandal in earnest.
Why This Matters: Boxer needs to learn her geography and legal limitations. The victims of the alleged crime are in England. The source of the leak is in Russia. I'm no Senator or law enforcement officer, but I'm pretty sure the U. S. Senate doesn't matter to England or Russia. And all to cover up the implications of ClimateGate.
- Yeah, I've avoided talking about it, but I need to mention it. Tareq and Michaele Salahi crashed a White House state dinner honoring Prime Minister Manmohan Singh of India. As this story has unfolded, the White House has said they weren't invited, but the Salahis said they were. Also implicated in this matter is White House Social Secretary Desiree Rogers, who may or may not have been involved with the decision to allow the Salahis into the event. Also, three Secret Service agents have been released as a result of this.
Why This Matters: I don't think either side is telling the truth here for a number of reasons, and with good reason. Nobody looks good here. The Salahis look like opportunists looking to hobnob with political players. The Secret Service looks bad for allowing unknown people close to the President. Rogers looks bad because she's not willing to go before Congress and explain her role in this situation. The real concern here is revealed by the parts of the story not being focused on, like the fact that Tareq Salahi is on the board of directors of the American Task Force on Palestine. Given how poorly the Obama Administration has treated Israel, one can't overlook this tie. This makes me believe that someone higher than Rogers and the Secret Service gave the okay for the Salahis to attend, and the whole "gatecrasher" angle is a way to create controversy as a means to distance the Obama Administration from that decision. I hope I'm wrong, but until facts to the contrary are made evident (and I don't think they're forthcoming), I have to go with what I see, and what I see is an Administration thumbing its nose at one of our staunchest allies on any level they can.
For those who didn't catch it the first time (and for Mr. Leftist Blogger who apparently uses words he doesn't understand in a vain attempt to appear smarter than he actually is), here is the definition of "debunk" from Dictionary.com that I posted previously:
tr.v. de·bunked, de·bunk·ing, de·bunks
To expose or ridicule the falseness, sham, or exaggerated claims of: debunk a supposed miracle drug.
And here's another definition from Dictionary.com:
de⋅bunk–verb (used with object) to expose or excoriate (a claim, assertion, sentiment, etc.) as being pretentious, false, or exaggerated: to debunk advertising slogans.
And here's a definition from Merriam-Webster's online dictionary:
: to expose the sham or falseness of
— de·bunk·er noun
Once again, Mr. Leftist Blogger, you're wrong. And no matter how many times you repeat "97% of scientists say man is causing global warming" (with no links to back up the claim, something you've whined about me never doing and that you've used to "prove" that I'm not telling the truth), it doesn't make it so.
By the way, Mr. Leftist Blogger, are you aware that a chunk of your "97% of scientists" aren't climatologists, either? I guess when you're so desperate to "prove" a myth, you'll cling to anybody with an impressive sounding title to give your lame argument intellectual heft. Of course, I'm sure you could show us all the hard-hitting climate research done by pediatricians and veterinarians, two groups of "scientists" who have signed onto AGW.
And speaking of "resorting to semantics," your definition of "bunk" to "prove" that the hockey stick graph wasn't debunked was pathetic, yet completely hilarious. No wonder you're resorting to ad hominem attacks in your blog against me. (And, yes, contrary to what you posted in your blog, I do understand what the term means. See, I actually understand the English language...which is more than I can say for you, given your aversion to the dictionary definition of "debunk.")
Enjoy your crow and your dessert of humble pie. You've earned it all, along with my well-deserved mockery of your humiliating ignorance.
Tuesday, December 8, 2009
From our good friends at Dictionary.com:
de·bunk (dē-bŭngk') /help/ahd4/pronkey.html/help/ahd4/pronkey.html
tr.v. de·bunked, de·bunk·ing, de·bunks
To expose or ridicule the falseness, sham, or exaggerated claims of: debunk a supposed miracle drug.
Hmmm...some of Mr. Leftist's own sources have said the hockey stick graph has been exaggerated...and since I'm mocking that...wouldn't that mean, according to the definition of the word in question, I am debunking it?
A word of advice, Mr. Leftist Blogger. Learn the big words you throw around. Then you won't look so foolish when you get smacked down.
Oh, and one more thing.
How's that crow tasting?
Since those heady days waaaaaaaaaaaaaaay back in 2008, President Obama has closed the doors on a number of meetings, not the least of which being a session with the Senate to talk about the health care bill making its way through that legislative body. The media, traditionally the watchdogs of government, said...nothing.
I'm sure Obama supporters will leap to the President's defense, citing Bush's secrecy, but here's the thing: Bush didn't promise transparency. To bring up Bush as a defense of Obama's lack of transparency is a cop-out. When Obama promised to do things differently than the Bush Administration, a lot of people took him at his word. As time's gone on, however, those words have started to ring hollow as he's started hiding more and more from the American people and enacting the very policies from the Bush Administration that he and his supporters bashed when Bush was President. This has made many Obama voters reconsider their support, as recent approval ratings have shown. Yet, the die-hard Obama voters continue to defend and distort his actions to put him in the most positive light.
Seems the real transparency in the Obama Administration are the excuses for his lack of transparency.
Monday, December 7, 2009
Mr. Leftist Blogger, consider yourself called out.
First, we go to Technology Review, published by MIT. The following link explores Dr. Mann's "hockey stick graph" and how two Canadian scientists, Stephen McIntyre and Ross McKitrick, discovered a fundamental flaw in Mann's calculations.
Now, I'll admit I'm no scientist, but to me if there's a fundamental flaw in one's calculations, it tends to discredit the findings just a tad. The Technology Review link also has other great information on the "hockey stick graph" phenomenon. And from what I hear, those MIT folks are pretty good with the numbers.
And speaking of our friends to the north, Canada Free Press ran an interesting piece about the "hockey stick graph" and some of the "science" that surrounded it.
Funny thing. Seems Dr. Mann has been rather vocal about McIntyre and McKitrick's findings being wrong, but he didn't release much of his raw data so that they could try to reproduce Mann's findings. It was only after he was called out by Congress (and with sufficient support from people on his side of the argument) that he released more of the data. Seems to me that's a big red flag that something may be amiss with Dr. Mann's findings.
Of course, there's always the International Climate Science Coalition, who published the following article in October 2009.
Pay particular attention to the graphs titled "The Rise and Fall of Climate Data." Using a larger number of trees than what was used in relation to the "hockey stick graph", scientists found something quite different than Dr. Mann used in his initial research: the planet DIDN'T get warmer when he said it did.
Three difference sources, all using scientific methods to find the flaws in the "hockey stick graph." I'd say that pretty much proves Mr. Leftist Blogger wrong yet again when he said it's never been debunked.
So, to borrow something from his blog that seems so appropriate here, it looks like he was...
Friday, December 4, 2009
There were two Oscars given to “An Inconvenient Truth”: Best Documentary, and Best Original Song. The individuals who won the Oscars are director David Guggenheim, and musician Melissa Etheridge, respectively. We can argue about the merits of asking either one to willingly give up their Oscars, but I will firmly be against it. To me, Guggenheim and Etheridge are guilty of nothing more than being willing victims. Do their contributions to “An Inconvenient Truth” warrant stripping them of the highest American cinematic honor? Absolutely not.
Although Gore didn’t win an Oscar, he did win a Nobel Peace Prize (along with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) due in large part to his environmental activism. Should Gore be stripped of the Nobel Prize? I would argue so, but only partially because of his role in the perpetuation of AGW. The main crux of my argument is that Gore’s actions do not represent the true purpose of a Nobel Peace Prize. Fighting global warming is nice, but does it actually bring about peace? That’s a pretty big leap of logic for anyone to make, and I’m afraid Gore simply lacks the credibility to make it.
However, there is one aspect of Simon and Chetwynd’s efforts that should be addressed separate from the debate over whether the Oscars for “An Inconvenient Truth” should be returned. What they’ve done with a simple request is throw open the curtains on bodies that give awards so that we can see what their motivations are. With the Nobel Committee and the Peace Prize and the Academy with the Oscars, it seems politics is more of a factor than performance. Granted, the aforementioned awards are subject to personal biases and conjecture, but those are flaws built into the decision-making process, flaws that are difficult, if not impossible, to overcome. When these bodies give away awards for clearly political purposes, they diminish their credibility with all but the select few sycophants who will nod in agreement with anything they do, regardless of how wrong it may be.
If Simon and Chetwynd make the Academy look at itself and really think whether the awards they give are for performance or politics, that would be some real giving back I can get behind.
Thursday, December 3, 2009
However, I have to question Obama's decision-making skills and commitment to our military. The war in Afghanistan isn't a new phenomenon; Obama actually did inherit it. On the campaign trail, Obama said Afghanistan was "the right war." It's clear that he knew of the challenges we face there.
So, why did it take him almost 11 months for him to make such a public commitment to sending more troops? And, no, I don't buy the "he was reviewing all the angles" line. As Commander-In-Chief, he should have been reviewing those angles since day one. And he has sent troops overseas without as much fanfare as the speech Tuesday night.
But this time, he needed West Point as a backdrop to give him apparent credibility to try to mask his indecisiveness. It was only a few days ago that Obama referred to the military as "a pretty good photo-op." It came off to me as a backhanded compliment, a way to seemingly praise the military while relegating them to mere window dressing. When you consider Obama gave his big announcement from a military proving ground like West Point, it's clear that he doesn't seem to respect our military, in spite of being its commander.
Then, there's the 18 month timetable. If the troop surge was a means to appease the Right in this country, the timetable was a means to appease the Left, who has been demanding a definite exit date for Afghanistan and Iraq. To me, that's one of the worst things you can do in war. If you set a definitive date when you're going to scale back, you give the enemy a date through which they can dig in and win. And with the absurd rules of engagement in place right now where our troops have to practically jump through hoops before they're allowed to fire back in self-defense, I fear we have a CIC without much concern for the well-being of our troops.
I pray I'm wrong about this. I really do. But from the way it looks, our military doesn't just have to worry about being shot in the front by our enemies abroad; they have to worry about being stabbed in the back by the politicians at home.
Wednesday, December 2, 2009
So, Mr. Leftist Blogger who claims to be my only reader (which will come as a shock to the people who actually read my posts), don't say I didn't warn you.
Hmmm...seems RealClimate.org has a problem telling the truth...just like my Leftist Blogger friend does.
The name to remember, boys and girls, is Dr. Michael Mann. For those who don't know, Mann is the director of the Earth System Science Center at Penn State University. He is also one of the contributors to RealClimate.org. But there's another reason he's known in AGW proponent circles.
He's the guy who came up with the "hockey stick" graph so prominently featured in Al Gore's "An Inconvenient Truth" and other scientific publications.
You know, the "hockey stick" graph that has been debunked by scientists as being misleading due to the limited scope he used to "prove" AGW?
Well, now we get to talk about Dr. Mann in a different context, thanks to Climategate. Seems he was mentioned by name in the email chain circulating in the blogosphere and the media showing how some prominent AGW proponents fudged the numbers. As a result of this, Penn State is starting an investigation into Dr. Mann's assertions and his actions to not only suppress opposing viewpoints, but advance false scientific data.
So, let me make this perfectly clear, Mr. Leftist blogger who hates me and yet can't stop writing about me and imitating what I do. Your "source" features "proof" that AGW is real...written in part by the man who has been discredited and is being investigated for lying about AGW.
Isn't that like using a Media Matters "report" to "debunk" Climategate?