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Dude, With Keyboard » 2009 » December

Archive for December, 2009

Rush and Barack

Rush Limbaugh is apparently in a hospital in Honolulu with chest pains and “resting comfortably.” Let’s hope he’s OK.

If President Obama had any political sense about him, he should visit and wish him well.

Take off your shoes and Moo

Aziz Poonawalla has a great look at how the new regulations after the Christmas Day terror attempt continues to punish the innocent airplane passenger while not really doing anything to dissuade a would be bomber that happened to get through five other hurdles due to a massive systematic failure. Both the airlines and the bureacrats who tell them what to do view us as a herd, not a pack.

The airline industry has long treated us like a herd, even though we, the passengers, are the sole reason for its existence. Shut up, sit down, walk here, walk there, wait here. Much of this is necessary due to simple need of efficiency but there’s a mentality that has taken hold now, especially in the area of security, which rationalizes the passenger as a kind of enemy, or at least a necessary yet annoying burden which interferes with the noble ideal of moving planes around.

The story of Flight 253 is of a pack – the passengers themselves subdued the idiot, as they have done many times before (including on 9-11 itself). Yet the answer? new rules stating that on the final hour of the flight before landing, passengers may not stand up from their seats, use the restroom, or even take any items out of their personal carry ons – including those under the seat, not just those in the overhead. This is utterly insane. The logic of it is ludicrous – would these rules actually stop a committed saboteur? Why just the final hour of the flight? Why would there be anything in your carryons – which have passed through security already – be a sudden threat? And what if there was a real threat in that last hour – would a civic minded citizen hesitate to get up and act to save his fellow passengers if he saw something suspicious from a few aisles away? Without the ability (or rather, a severe disincentive) to even stand up and stroll over to see whats going on, the first line of defense is now effectively castrated.

In the old days, this would be called “journalism”

But now its just evidence that you are a denier for an as-yet-proven-to-likely-occur-many-decades-from-now holocaust.

Its a comprehensive history of the man-made global warming scare, as now fully enlightened by the ClimateGate e-mails. I’ve only begun to digest the full PDF. Kudos to Mohib Ebrahim for compiling it and to Joanne Nova for giving it a permanent home.

You’d think something like this would be tailor made for a news magazine, but you’d have to find one that hadn’t already signed onto the political consensus.

So what have we learned

Regarding the failed Christmas Day terror attempt:

1. Making flying an even crappier experience makes the government appear to be “doing something.”

2. As usual, these measures won’t accomplish anything against the guilty.

3. It’ll require luck and vigilance to prevent future attacks, just as it prevented this one.

4. Closing Guantanamo seems like a pretty bad idea since it’ll require A) finding a place for its prisoners inside the U.S. or B) releasing them to another country. Option A sucks but Option B appears to be a truly bad idea.

5. The powers that be will continue to fight the last war instead of preventing future wars. This, of course, was the big goal behind Iraq. Liberate them and make them democratic and (in theory) prosperous and they would be less likely to trying to kill us. But, since the current powers and the entire media have pushed the “Iraq is a failure and proof that the U.S. hates Muslims” meme (despite evidence to prove otherwise), this big idea lacks any commitment. Moreoever, the idea poverty breeds terrorism is easily disproved by now. It seems prosperity + western hating multiculturalism could actually be a culprit.

6. So, we are stuck being reactionary and making our lives that much more inconvenient but not noticeably more secure.

That laughter you hear is coming from the sands of Yemen.

Obama Should Fly or Even Swim to the White House ASAP!

OK, the header is a bit hyperbolic, but even lefties are shuttering at Obama’s very relaxed reaction to the Christmas Day failed terror attempt. They wonder why he hasn’t flown back to D.C. or made a very public statement. Moderate, and remorseful, Obama voter, Ann Althouse is pretty adamant that he needs to get back to the White House. There is a lot of substance in her post (and a pretty embarrassing Bush clip as well) so go read the whole thing. I, on the other hand, am not that upset about the President continuing his vacation and I would hope that my fellow right wing administration critics would be equally reserved in judging him on that specific point. Look, in the modern day, the President of the United States is never truly “on vacation”. He still gets his briefings. Still talks to lawmakers and his cabinet on the issues of the day. He simply schedules fewer photo-ops with school children or political fund raisers. He golfs. He exercises. He probably relaxes in actual daylight hours. In other words, he puts in maybe 5-6 hours of “work” instead of the 10-14 hours they typically do. Obama is no different than Bush or Clinton or anyone else on this point. If the president can handle the president’s business from 30,000 ft he can certainly do so from Hawaii.

Althouse raises the issue of the costs and the carbon footprint of these “mobile White Houses” and that’s a valid question. I know that Bush’s Crawford Texas ranch was totally retrofitted to handle the “wired” requirements of the president being connected to the various levels of the executive branch. I imagine something similar is done in Hawaii. Obama is the first to vacation regularly in the farthest reaches of the 50 states and his cost will be more, and that’s a valid criticism up to a point. Especially from a President who intends to lecture us long and hard on our carbon footprint. I can appreciate the concerns over the costs of the president vacationing during a crisis. I’m far more concerned with the costs of the taxpayer money spent on sending the President, half of Congress and untold number of staffers to Copenhagen for a conference aimed at reducing the carbon footprint of us peasants. But maybe that’s just me.

I do not think Obama staying in Hawaii after the failed terror attempt is anything worth grandstanding over. The other members of the government appear to have been responsive enough (though the quality of that response has been hit or miss). I suppose the lefties complaining about Obama’s “casual response” are at least consistent in that I’m sure they were the ones complaining that Bush wasn’t carrying a bull horn while standing at the front of a row boat in the flooded waters of New Orleans within 24 hours after Katrina. I know that I made the argument several times that Bush can carry on the nation’s business pretty effectively from wherever he was at during any number of “crises” that came up. And I stand by that with the current president. A war starts? I want the president in D.C. Short of that or something equally devastating, I don’t think its worth all these words complaining him being on “vacation”. He simply doesn’t take a vacation like you or I.

That said, it is enjoyable to see how some of the “in the tank” people are basically having to refute all the criticism of Bush in the past in order to defend Obama on this point. I always enjoy a good circular firing squad.

Mistakes were made

And thanks to Jake Tapper, White House spokesperson Robert Gibbs said as much. Here’s a refreshingly objective run down. And its another reminder why Janet “System Worked” Napolitano should be fired.

Failed Terror Attempt

Thankfully, this was a FAILED attempt to blow up a plane. Having flown from Amsterdam a few times (with plans to do it again in the future), this is especially terrifying to me. Also, it looks like the passengers sprung into action and subdued the would be murderer. But, this is the scariest part of it:

The man was apparently already on the government’s no-fly list of suspected terrorists, ABC News said a senior intelligence official told them.

Not good. Either Delta failed to deal with someone on a no-fly list or the Amsterdam authorities failed. That’s scary all the way around.

Merry Christmas to All

Even to Democrats and EUro-socialists.

Regular blogging to recommence after Christmas.

I heart Barack Obama

From Huffington Post, in reaction to the Copenhagen “climate change deal”, Bill McKibben, author and founder of 350.org, said that  “The president has wrecked the UN and he’s wrecked the possibility of a tough plan to control global warming. It may get Obama a reputation as a tough American leader, but it’s at the expense of everything progressives have held dear.” He says that like its a bad thing. Wow, if that is true, I may be getting that Obama induced thrill up my leg. And I thought UN wrecking was only for the Dick Cheney’s of the world. Way to go Mr. President!!

I also like how (in the full comment) the person frames the need for the rich countries to pay off the poor countries, in the name of controlling climate change, as part of “everything progressives have held dear.”  This is only shocking in its honesty. Here I was thinking that the Copenhagen conference was about how best to stop global warming. You know, since its an objective settled science sort of thing.

(Via Planet Gore)

Lord Monckton Gives ‘em Hell

My favorite British Lord gives the climate-change-will-kill-us all crowd hell. And, its really annoying because he uses charts and graphs to make his point and even points to the source. NOTE: Its long (30 minutes), but jammed full of info.

I should note, however, I wish he wouldn’t keep using the word “fraud”, except where its obviously perfectly suited for the situation (Mann’s hockey stick and Hansen’s temperature calculations for example). I’d say he overuses “fraud” and “criminal” (though in Dr. Jones’ case, criminal is fitting). Of course, when the opponents are trying to say that people skeptical of man-made global warming are the equivalent of holocaust deniers, then using language that’s a bit hyperbolic isn’t the worst thing in the world. As long as your logic and facts are straight.

The Public Option Rorschach Test

The group Public Option Please (POP) has had an art contest to push for the Public Option in the health care bill. The public option is the vehicle for moving America to nationalized health care. The winning entry is perfect for people on all sides. The artist behind this, and those who gave it the award, are utterly clueless that this picture is a perfect argument AGAINST the public option. (via The Corner)

To the Public Option Please folks this image demonstrates the need FOR the public option. I would say the opposite is true.

The group even attributes a quote about how a healthy society enhances liberty to Thomas Jefferson. Turns out, it was actually a quote from a British Lord. The essay the quote was taken from was apparently thought of quite highly by some one named King George III. You know, the king who inspired a little revolution in these parts. A revolution that followed a certain declaration written by Thomas Jefferson.

Memo to Haliburton: Become a Prostitution Consultant

I don’t know if the Democratic congress has specifically tried to cancel Haliburton contracts yet (they’ll probably hold off until primary season), but it seems clear the best way to mitigate the risk of that, if you are a Haliburton executive, is to have some employees get involved in prostitution consulting. ACORN did this, got caught, Congress tried to stop funding them, and ACORN actually found a judge who’d put an injunction on the very basic role of the Congress.

Judge Gershon also has a skewed understanding of how the legislative and executive branches interact, and how the Constitution separates their responsibilities. For example, she justifies her decision by stating Congress did not “order any agency of government to conduct an investigation” of ACORN’s wrongdoing. Excuse me? Congress does not have the authority to “order” executive-branch agencies like the Justice Department and HUD to “conduct an investigation.” Such agencies report to the president, who is constitutionally tasked with enforcement of the law. Congress can conduct oversight hearings or defund agencies, but it cannot “order” those agencies to conduct an investigation.

Gershon also complains that Congress did not initiate a “congressional investigation of ACORN,” nor did it apply the “comprehensive regulations that have been promulgated” by federal agencies to govern grant-making and the suspension or debarment of federal contractors. Huh? Does Judge Gershon really believe that it is unconstitutional for Congress to decide who to fund with federal tax dollars “without hearings”? Does she really believe that Congress has to abide by regulations issued by executive-branch agencies before deciding on appropriations of discretionary federal funds?

Apparently, its the judicial branch, not the House of Representatives that controls the spending.  I guess we need to update those American Government text books.

Its Inconceivably Accelerating!

The UN Secretary General today said that global warming was accelerating faster than anticipated:

He searched his vocabulary for the precise phrase to convey his deepest conviction … and you could see his eyes sparkle when he hit upon the shim-sham-inducing word, accelerating, to describe what was happening to global warming.

Good Lord! I thought to myself. This is bad! If global warming is accelerating, if it is worse than we have predicted — happening three times faster than any scientist ever feared in his worst nightmare — then, by golly, we sure ought to do something!

But as I was jumping up to write a check to the Sierra Club, I remembered. Hadn’t I heard Ban Ki-moon’s phrase somewhere else before?

I had. And often.

I turned to my trusty archives, and discovered something. At least since the late 1990s, and probably before, journalists, “activists,” and even politicians have been claiming: “It’s worse than we thought.”

Only two things can account for the constant use of these words:

(1) It really is, each and every time we turn around, getting hotter by amounts greater than we had predicted.

While this is logically possible, if this rhetoric were consistently true then by now the Earth’s fish would be swimming in water as hot as Tiger Woods is in.

(2) The politicians, etc., have forgotten the definition of accelerating.

This is plausible. It is, after all, a physical term, and most non-scientist global warming activists are demonstrably not well versed in their physics.

There is a third possibility, but knowing how earnest the Copenhagen crowd is, we can scarcely give it any weight.

It is — I hesitate when I write this — that the activists are exaggerating, even (gulp) fibbing.

For our own good, of course. To convince reluctant people to act. Let us hope this third scenario exists only in my fevered imagination.

Does anyone have any idea how they are defining “accelerating”(Because the surface temps have been flat or declining the last 10 years)? Its like in The Princess Bride: “You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.” Really the only important thing that is accelerating is the political and media hype needed to create a regulatory regime controlled by our elites in order to address this non-accelerating “crisis.” And they need to close the deal very soon because:

  • Political will by western citizenry is starting to doubt the supposed crisis and are growing more hostile to the proposals to “solve” the problem.
  • Once you get the regulatory regime and the associated bureaucracies in place, they will be nearly impossible to remove
  • Given the global economic flameout we are experiencing, CO2 output will almost certainly decline and/or show a slowdown in its growth once the final accounting is done. The busybodies putting the regulations in place can then claim credit for this apparent decline in global warming the last 10 years.

(Yes, I know this is the 2nd time I’ve used the classic quote in a post. Its like a Seinfeld episode. There is just so much material there that applies to the real world.)

Obama is not a Muslim. He’s something much worse!

Sadly, it appears Israelis are not devoid of high percentages of people led astray by provocative wind bags. Obama is not a Muslim. He may have been as a child, I don’t know and really don’t care. What I do know is that Obama is much worse than a fundamentalist Muslim (or fundamentalist Christian for that matter). Having heard him off telepromptor enough to judge, I’m pretty sure that the president worships at the church of “The Post 1960’s Socialist Chin Scratching Ivy League Academic.” Any deference to standard fair montheism is merely for political opportunism (and he wouldn’t be the first at that).

Define a Republican Insider

Interesting poll (via the Hot Air), regarding how congressional insiders and political insiders view the political figures from their respective parties. Lots of interesting stuff, some of it surprising, some of it not. This response is particularly interesting (Hot Air focused on the Sarah Palin angle). For the question “Which political figure would you most like to mute” (i.e. shut up and disappear) the response was:

Political Insiders

1. Sarah Palin 28%
2. Michael Steele 12%
3. Rush Limbaugh 6%
3. Tom Tancredo 6%

Total votes: 85. Other top vote-getters: Dick Cheney, Far Right, Newt Gingrich, Lindsey Graham, no one, Olympia Snowe, 4%; Michele Bachmann, Glenn Beck, Mike Huckabee, 2%.

That would be Republican insiders. So, 85 Republican insiders voted. I count that 8% of the supposed Republicans wanted the two conciliatory moderates (Graham and Snowe) to be quiet. Another 4% wanted no one to shut up (good for them). Lets agree that Michael Steele (the GOP chair who seems to be a run of the mill political hack who has had some high profile run ins with the base) is viewed poorly because of his leadership qualities and not his ideology per se. Its hard to say WHY they voted for him. Therefore, I’ll leave him out of the equation. Ditto Huckabee who passes himself off as a conservative but has no history of actually governing like one (he’s like Bush’s big government “compassionate” conservatism on steroids). So, he doesn’t really qualify as a conservative or moderate in my opinion.

Removing 8% that voted for moderates, 2% that voted for the con man from Arkansas, and 12% that voted for Steele, that leaves 78%. Of those, 24% of Republican insiders wish to mute conservative ideologues (Rush, Cheney, Far Right, Newt and I’ll put Tancredo in this mix). Then we have Bachman and Beck who can best be described as Tea Party ideologues. I also put Sarah Palin (who 28% of insiders wish to shut up) in with this crowd though she no doubt straddles the conservative and Tea Party camps. Bottom line, the conservatives and the Tea Party crowd are diametrically opposed to most of what Obama/Pelosi/Reid are selling and certainly wish for a smaller, less intrusive and decentralized government.

What is a political insider? Consultants and probably a few opinion makers (David Brooks, George Will et al, but I don’t know that these guys were specifically questioned). Regardless of how one slices it, a solid majority (56% by my count) of “Republican Insiders” wish they didn’t have actual real live small government types out there making the case for the opposition. This is just another example of how the “beltway culture” of both parties is utterly clueless about the values of fly-over country. People outside of the beltway don’t hold “make nice with the insiders” as a particular value to be held in high esteem. We had six years of that with Bush + the Corrupt Hack led GOP Congress which gave way to the euro-socialist monstrosity currently holding power. Even “Republican Insiders” lean toward a “government can fix all” proposition.

Trying to Scare the American People

First, it was those evil Republicans. Now its Obama’s own economists. Where does the scare conspiracy end? I find this surprising. I find it shocking that more government regulation and control could actually increase costs and insurance premiums.

An artificial hockey stick from down under?

Watts Up With That continues to dig through data. Someone really needs to tell him that data integrity is way overrated in climate science, what with all the settling of science and all.

Yikes again, double yikes! What on earth justifies that adjustment? How can they do that? We have five different records covering Darwin from 1941 on. They all agree almost exactly. Why adjust them at all? They’ve just added a huge artificial totally imaginary trend to the last half of the raw data! Now it looks like the IPCC diagram in Figure 1, all right … but a six degree per century trend? And in the shape of a regular stepped pyramid climbing to heaven? What’s up with that?

Follow the link and check out the graphs. Short version: the adjusted data goes in the exact opposite direction of the raw data with no discernable reason for the adjustment.

I got the link from Megan McCardle, who, as one of her commenters points out, continues to give the benefit of the doubt to the wrong side. That said, McCardle has a great breakdown on the concept of selection bias and how you don’t need a grand conspiracy or actual fakery of data to get a biased result.

That is the actual worrying question about CRU, and GISS, and the other scientists working on paleoclimate reconstruction:  that they may all be calibrating their findings to each other.  That when you get a number that looks like CRU, you don’t look so hard to figure out whether it’s incorrect as you do when you get a number that doesn’t look like CRU–and maybe you adjust the numbers you have to look more like the other “known” datasets.  There is always a way to find what you’re expecting to find if you look hard enough.

There are other issues:  selection bias in the grant process, papers with large results being much more likely to be published than papers with equivocal results, professors preferring students who agree with them, and so forth.  I doubt that could amount to faking the entire thing.  But it could amplify the magnitude.

Read her entire post as well as she quotes from another useful article that gets into the weeds of the possible biases.

A friend of mine asked me if I really thought these scientist would have faked their data (my quick answer was no) but then he went on to say that the skeptics are more likely to fake data because they are the ones who’d be impacted by the regulations. Leaving aside the fact that many of the skeptics do not actually work for Exxon and the like, I shot back that the idea that greed for money is worse than greed for power was willfully naive. I neglected to add that greed for money COULD also apply to the AGW scientists.

The fact is that many climate scientists make their living off government grants or university grants. Environment bureaucrats and university professors are overwhelmingly populated by people with agendas that are left wing, though I know that isn’t really the best adjective but I can’t think of a better one (its not merely liberalism, or marxism, but an anti-capatilist luddism at play). The bureaucrats have agendas. Let’s not kid ourselves. And they control the grant purse strings. Why is a scientists whose funding comes from Exxon less credible than a scientist whose funding comes from an agenda driver bureaucrat? Both funding sources could easily turn off the spiggot if they feel the research no longer fits their agenda. So, while I still say that I don’t THINK the scientists willfully faked data, I do think there is a very real possibility that they used their theory about what they think should happen to adjust observations that didn’t match the theory. In other words, they see the adjustments as logical because they’ve decide their theory is sound. The observations that don’t conform to that sound (or settled) theory are just inconvenient truths.

That’s “Democracy” For You. Or something.

The EPA, a federal bureacracy, plans to give itself enormous power without any democratic or legislative action. This power allows it to start blocking all sorts of economic activity. In case you are curious which pollutant they now get to regulate, here’s a hint: its the one you exhale. But, please, do not refer to the Obama administration as marxist or fascist. You’d hate to call them anything resembling an authoritarian. The real authoritarian left in January. Sleep tight.

It is not racist to want control over your own life

I know, I know, I should view Senator Reid’s comments as a sign of desperation but I am really f****** tired of being accused of being a racist because of ideas I’ve had since years before we had a black president. Its offensive. It is the message of a bully. He does not want to debate. Any Democrat, including the President, who don’t publicly chide him for this are gutless, or worse, think he’s right. It proves that the post racial future we were promised is going to be ruined by the very people who claim to be against racism. Senator Reid:

But Reid argued that Republicans are using the same stalling tactics employed in the pre-Civil War era.

“Instead of joining us on the right side of history, all the Republicans can come up with is, ’slow down, stop everything, let’s start over.’ If you think you’ve heard these same excuses before, you’re right,” Reid said Monday. “When this country belatedly recognized the wrongs of slavery, there were those who dug in their heels and said ’slow down, it’s too early, things aren’t bad enough.’”

He continued: “When women spoke up for the right to speak up, they wanted to vote, some insisted they simply, slow down, there will be a better day to do that, today isn’t quite right.

“When this body was on the verge of guaranteeing equal civil rights to everyone regardless of the color of their skin, some senators resorted to the same filibuster threats that we hear today.”

Yes, he really went there. Being against the government taking over health care is the same thing as being against the freedom and equality of your fellow man.

OK, its time for some in depth analysis:

It is a perversion of politics to skewer political opponents, who are against ceding freedom to the government, as somehow similar to people who wanted the government to protect people who denied other’s their freedom.  Senator Reid is a draconian asshole of the first order who has no desire for real debate. He accuses his opponents of being against equality while he tries to prevent debate on a fascist power grab. I hope Nevada is proud. And the media will not call him on it. I predict that there will be rough 1/1,000th of the newspaper print spilled on this as compared to Trent Lott’s buffoonish admiration of the Dixiecrats.

And I’m not even going to debate the finer points (like the fact that more Republicans than Democrats voted for the Civil Rights Act, oh and what political party that led the abolition of slavery? Seem to remember the letter’s GOP being involved somewhere). End in depth analysis. Did I mention that Senator Reid is an asshole?

OK, back to more polite snark and more mature analysis on other topics. Apologies for the harsh language, but this has got to stop.

Wait…the climate….has alway been changin’?

Via Instapundit, we have some poor soul who tries to demonstrate that the climate has been changing long before we started appointing bureaucrats in charge of regulating climate change.

In other words, we’re pretty lucky to be here during this rare, warm period in climate history.  But the broader lesson is, climate doesn’t stand still.  It doesn’t even stand stay on the relatively constrained range of the last 10,000 years for more than about 10,000 years at a time.

Does this mean that CO2 isn’t a greenhouse gas? No.

Does it mean that it isn’t warming? No.

Does it mean that we shouldn’t develop clean, efficient technology that gets its energy elsewhere than burning fossil fuels?  Of course not.  We should do all those things for many reasons — but there’s plenty of time to do them the right way, by developing nanotech.  (There’s plenty of money, too, but it’s all going to climate science at the moment. :-) ) And that will be a very good thing to have done if we do fall back into an ice age, believe me.

For climate science it means that the Hockey Team climatologists’ insistence that human-emitted CO2 is the only thing that could account for the recent warming trend is probably poppycock.

And that, if you will allow me to return full circle, means that the Fat Fingers argument is probably poppycock too.

What he said. Read the whole thing and check out the killer graphs. Perhaps the current warming is minor, and certainly doesn’t rise to “catastrophic”, IMHO.

(note: its a nanotech site, so some of the phraseology may be go over your head, or it could just be me).

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