Sunday, December 31, 2006

Follow up II, Anthro-centric global scare-mongering, XXIb

This was to be a response to the following comment I got to my latest global scare-mongering article:
noiv said...

I agree, what the Independent published at Christmas targets symbolic effects, only. But who really expects science stuff in newspapers December 24th?

Whether, anthropogenic global warming is the root cause for the phenomena under observationWell, that's a contradiction. What you have to see and will convince you of Global Warming. Red rain? Ice free north pole?

But asking for the root, do you still think C02 does not heat up atmosphere?

Fri Dec 29, 10:12:00 AM CST

I decided that it would be good to put down my response in a more visible place than the comments section, and to clarify some of the things that global warmists have come to assume about skeptics like me.

We don't know what caused the Medieval Warming Period. We don't know what caused the Little Ice Age. To claim that we now know with certainty what has caused the approximately one degree Celsius increase in average temperature world-wide since the turn of the 20th century is preposterous. Especially when that certainty will lead to huge political and economic changes.

Before we go and bet the farm on a computer model of global climate, how about modeling past climate variations successfully; for example, the period of time covered by the Medieval Warming Period and the Little Ice Age.

Then before we go any further, how about a model that predicts global temperatures for the next 10-20 years?

Since your question was phrased as if I have "believed" for some time that CO2 does not heat up the atmosphere, let me help you out. I'm aware of the effects of greenhouse gases (water vapor, methane, and others as well as CO2) on Venus. Since the increase in average temperatures world-wide has only been about a single degree Celsius – and the cause of that is in hot dispute – I have no truck with the notion that we are anywhere near a "tipping point" that will cause temperatures to increase dramatically. And that's because nobody can tell me how much the increased CO2 has increased temperatures. I'd rather wait to impose draconian environmental measures until someone can tell me.

I agree with Michael Crichton that the so-called "precautionary principle" has the effect of supporting and maintaining the economic advantages of the West; as Crichton puts it, "It is a nice way of saying, 'We got ours and we don't want you to get yours, because you'll cause too much pollution.' "

The unbelievable faith that global warmists have in governments to "save us" from ourselves is one of the most startling things about this whole global warming business. Nobody seems to remember how thoroughly the Soviet Union was under the sway of central planners and how thoroughly its economy was destroyed thereby. Nobody seems to notice that the great oil wealth coupled with the determined socialism of Venezuela has not and will not relieve the poverty there...still over 50% of the population after decades of oil exploitation. Nobody seems to notice how our own government has handled things like the War on Drugs or the War on Poverty or even the War in Iraq. And now the global warmists want world-wide co-operation in the control of air pollutants? When there has never been anything even remotely resembling such a level of world-wide co-operation before? Who's zoomin' who, here? My guess (sorry, this is going to be crass) is that the global warmists would be happy just to have more opportunities to sue people.

I have no doubt that human activity has increased CO2 levels in the atmosphere. I have no doubt that temperatures have risen slightly in the past century. My belief is that the majority of the recorded temperature increase has come from land use, not CO2.

Finally, I'm with Lord Monckton, Viscount of Brenchley, on the whole shutting up of dissenters thing. That is, it is unconscionable of the global warmists – led by esteemed Congresscritters Snowe and Rockefeller – to suggest that research to debunk global warming theories should be halted. All that their whining suggests is that they're afraid that they'll lose political power if the research punches holes in their pet theories.

And, once more for the road, consensus is not science.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Follow up: Anthro-centric global scare-mongering, XXIa

My original post garnered a few (international) comments. I thought that they contributed enough to the issue to be worth highlighting here. I hope that the discussion continues.

carlp said...

These links might help you understand how scientists measure sea level to the millimeter. It's a long process taking a few years and they take an average. They use tool called a tide gauge. Because tides are included in this average your question on why the high tide doesn't submerge the island has no bearing, of course it would as the sea level rises.

It might also be interesting for you to know that Lohachara has not disappeared over night, here the article is misleading and a bit sensational. It has been a slow process over 30 years and everyone has since left the island long before. The news is that the island is now officially submerged, which is a historical milestone - it's not everyday this happens. Additionally scientists have found that a dozen other islands will await the same fate due to the rising sea levels. This doesn't really have much bearing on you, but residents of those islands have to deal with this sobering fact.

You should really contact Dr Sugata Hazra at Jadavpur University
( with your findings and questions. I'm sure you're insight that it's all caused by erosion and not a rise in sea level would be very helpful and may present a new direction to his research. Also, the 2 million inhabitants of the Sandabaran islands would also be very grateful.

Of course, you should be careful that Dr Hazra might just be another one of the many crazy liberal Indian scientists who are pretending Islands are sinking for their own political and monetary gain and will ignore your expert oceanographic advice.

Please, get a clue. You're not doing anyone a favor by showing your ignorance. This is a widely reported incident, a simple yahoo search shows articles from newspapers all over the world. Frankly, it doesn't matter if you don't believe the seas are rising, it's not a question of belief but one of reality as those refugees who have left the islands can attest.

This is not an isolated event. Many of the pacific islands are facing the same dangers and are scrambling to figure out what to do.


Mon Dec 25, 07:12:00 PM CST

Steve Erbach said...

Dear Carl,

I am very happy that you took the time to comment on my post. I'm actually flattered that you took the time. Thank you.

I read the links you sent on the determination of sea level. Thank you again. Nothing in those articles, however, persuades me that my questions were nonsensical.

For example, the Wikipedia article and your comment both talked about measuring seal level "to the millimeter". My post scoffed at the measurement to the hundredth of a millimeter. If it is difficult to make measurements in the millimeter range, then how can an average in the hundredth of a millimeter range make any sense scientifically?

That's the small stuff. Lets assume that the sea level changed three inches over the period of, say, twenty years. My surprise that the island disappeared entirely is based on a speculation: how far above sea level was the high point on this island in the first place? Seems to me that it couldn't have been much more than three inches if it is now completely submerged. If we go back historically and examine the island's area versus its height above sea level, would we not find that the size of the island varied widely over the years? The people living on it would have found their homes swept away on a regular basis if they were built on an island only a few inches above sea level.

As to your assertion that it is a widely reported incident, I've seen a number of the newspaper articles from "all over the world" that you mentioned. Most of those articles repeat the same information. Exactly none of them raise any questions at all about the assertion that the sea level rise is, essentially, man-made. That is, that it's a function of anthropogenic global warming. The articles simply repeat the mantra of the tragic evacuations that have taken place over the last couple of decades.

I am puzzled as to why you would say that my questions are based in ignorance. I would say that any intelligent person would ask themselves if a three inch sea level rise (I have to assume that since anthropogenic global warming has only been a factor in the past few decades that we should only talk about a sea level rise in that period of time) on an island formed by the effluent of the Ganges and Brahmaputra Rivers might not have been more affected by the forces of erosion in the delta than by sea level rise. Ockham's Razor.

I'm not questioning the "reality" you describe that the island has disappeared. I question the assertion that it's because of global warming. Dr. Sugata Hazra may have done a bang-up job of measuring sea level rise over a period of decades, but how does that support the conclusion?

Steve Erbach
The Town Crank
Tue Dec 26, 06:03:00 AM CST

GuS said...

believe it or not it's happening, and if ppl continue thinking like you do, i mean, if ppl do not realize global warming is dangerous and may cause some weird shit around the globe it will get even worse, maybe to do an irreversible point.

here in my area we been experiencing some crazy weather over the past years, you see, 40 years ago we used to have a cold weather for today's standards, during winter time we used to get down to 0°C or 32ºF, nowadays, we hardly get below 12ºC or 50ºF + on summer time we now get twice as much rain as we used to and the floods are becomingo worse every year.

this current month we had in 2 days, the rain we would normally have in the whole month of december.

in july, our winter, we had temperatures over 40ºC or over 90ºF , when the normal should be around 5ºC!

when i graduated from the university 4 years ago, i did my research project in the southernmost city of the world, ushuaia, in argentina, there i was able to see how the weather is actually changing, because differently from where i live the region is almost unhabitated and its right under the ozon layer hole. it was pretty sad seeing pictures of an area where the glaciers once existed everywhere down to only one left (glaciar luiz martial) which was reduced to less than a 10th than what it was some 80 years ago...

so believe it or not, it's happening!

it's time for ppl like you to wake up, things are changing and it's just the beggining.. who knows when or where the next change will take place...

it could be your area, or island, or country. it doesn't really take too much to vannish with a whole state or city, deppending on where you live, it's just a matter of months without rain, snow, or with plenty of them.

good luck to you guys,

GuS - São Paulo - Brazil
Tue Dec 26, 06:20:00 AM CST

Steve Erbach said...


I am doubly flattered that someone from São Paulo would leave a comment on my humble (yet deadly accurate) blog. Thank you!

When you refer to "it's happening" what is it you're talking about? You mention the ozone hole, glaciers melting, floods, weather changes...

Lets take melting glaciers, for example. Some are melting and some are increasing in size. What are we to make of that? For every scientific paper that chronicles the retreat of glaciers in one place, there's another that chronicles the increase of glaciers in another place. This is not in dispute.

What is in dispute is the level of damage being visited upon the environment from anthropogenic causes as well as actually determining which causes are anthropogenic and which are not.

» it's time for ppl like you to wake up «

Since you raised the issue, I feel no qualms about saying that that sort of approach proves that those that claim the moral high ground in the environmental / global warming debates are mainly interested in shutting up "ppl" like me and satisfying their own desire for power.

I will defer to Lord Monckton, Viscount of Brenchley, who reminds us in America of what scientific dissent actually means: "Sceptics and those who have the courage to support them are actually helpful in getting the science right. They do not ... 'obfuscate' the issue: they assist in clarifying it by challenging weaknesses in the 'consensus' argument, and they compel necessary corrections."

No matter what anyone says, concensus about anthropogenic global warming is not science.

Steve Erbach
The Town Crank
Tue Dec 26, 09:32:00 AM CST

Anonymous said...

Strange how climate-change alarmists always look at the glass as half empty instead of half full, assuming their theory of man-induced climate change is correct. I mean is it really a good idea to live mere inches above sea level? Particularly when you live in an area subject to hurricanes or typhoons? Do rising temperatures necessarily mean doom and gloom? Wooly Mammoths were wiped out 10,000 years ago by rising temperatures which made North America the inhabitable region it is today. Was that a bad thing?

Check out the following link for a great set of videos made by scientists who don’t buy the current theory touted as fact.

Tue Dec 26, 11:18:00 AM CST

Anonymous said...

That should read "which made North America the habitable region it is today." instead of inhabitable.


Tue Dec 26, 11:22:00 AM CST

Steve Erbach said...


I appreciate the links very much. Thank you.

Also, I'll let you get away with substituting inhabitable for habitable. Not much difference in the dictionary definitions...

Habitable: capable of being lived in; suitable for habitation

Inhabitable, adjective form of the verb, inhabit: to occupy as a place of settled residence or habitat; live in

Thanks for your comments.

Steve Erbach
The Town Crank
Tue Dec 26, 01:43:00 PM CST

RobC said...

Neither did I when I read it! Found your article while digging up the dirt on Geoffry Dimwitt.

I really hate it when journalists do not get the facts right just to get a sensational headline, thank goodness we now have the WWW to howl our disgust at junk journalim and junk science.

And Carl, where is Steve being ignorant? The journalist that wrote the original article was ignorant and lazy to boot for not doing a ounce of fact checking. Steve did way more digging than he ever did.

Wed Dec 27, 02:26:00 AM CST

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

I love stories like this, LXXXI

Kids are not the most precious thing in the government-funded compulsory attendance matriculation centers. If you doubt that, ask yourself why this kid was expelled:
Dec 13, 2006 11:17 pm US/Central

Teen Expelled From School For Turning In Found Gun

Plainfield Student's Parents Say The Punishment Doesn't Make Sense

Dana Kozlov

(CBS) PLAINFIELD, Ill. A 13-year-old Plainfield boy and his parents are stunned and outraged after the teen found a gun in school and turned it in to authorities, who then expelled him.

CBS 2's Dana Kozlov reports Ryan Morgan's parents and supporters attended the school board meeting Wednesday evening to try to fight the expulsion. They believe the punishment, and the subsequent alternative school option, are not the proper responses to a mistake made by a teenage boy.

Ryan Morgan, 13, says he pocketed a pellet gun he and a friend found in their school's bathroom to keep people safe. Morgan's mother says a short time later Morgan gave the gun to the Troy Middle School assistant principal.

"I told him maybe that wasn't the best decision, to remove that gun, but it did lead to you finding the culprit, he was arrested and to put my son in alternative school -- he has no behavior problems," Audrey Morgan, Ryan's mother, said.

The Morgans say there was no reasoning with the principal or with the school superintendent.

"He said, 'The board can give your son full two-year expulsion, I'm asking you not to go before them,'" Audrey Morgan said.

They went anyway, saying they had nothing to lose, only to see the meeting minutes already recommend expulsion.

Roy Morgan says he can't accept that, but accepts his son's decision.

"He said 'I'm going to turn this in' and you know what, I commend my son for making that decision. It was the right decision," he said.

School board officials issued a statement Wednesday night saying due to confidentiality reasons they can't discuss the specifics of this case, but that "purposeful possession of weapons is a serious offense and deserves careful consideration by the administration and the school board."

Can you tell what's most important here? It's compliance with the rule; the rule that a child should not touch a gun ("purposeful possession") but should report it to an adult. So a kid breaks the rule in order to turn in the gun in person and is rewarded with expulsion and shunning by the school board.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Anthro-centric global scare-mongering, XXI

The Independent has taken a bold stance. The Independent's "Environment Editor Geoffrey Lean" reports:
Rising seas, caused by global warming, have for the first time washed an inhabited island off the face of the Earth. The obliteration of Lohachara island, in India's part of the Sundarbans where the Ganges and the Brahmaputra rivers empty into the Bay of Bengal, marks the moment when one of the most apocalyptic predictions of environmentalists and climate scientists has started coming true.

The article doesn't mention things that one might want to know about this startling event; such as, how much has the sea risen over the past several years that might account for such a thing? Or how long has Lohachara Island been in existence?

I asked myself that last question because the island, as indicated in the article, is located in the delta of the Ganges and Brahmaputra Rivers, the largest river delta in the world (check for yourself here and here – that's the source for the picture at top). It seemed to me that there could possibly be another explanation than "rising seas" to explain the disappearance of Lohachara Island.

I first tried to find out more about this event by looking for Lohachara Island on the GoreNet. I went to Yahoo! to use Yahoo! Maps and I was distracted by this and it kinda turned my stomach for a while, but I soldiered on (don't say I didn't warn you!).

Anyway, I searched for Lochachara Island and found this:
By 2020, 12 more Sunderban islands will be under water –


The Indian Express : Sagar Island (Sunderbans), October 29

An annual 3.14 mm rise in sea level at Sunderbans due to climate change is eating away 12 islands on the delta, says a study by a group of scientists from Jadavpur University.

The review says around 70,000 residents of Sunderban delta may turn into "environmental refugees" in the next 14 years unless the government initiates counter measures right away.

The findings, carried out by a team of scientists from Jadavpur University's School of Oceanographic Studies, are part of a vulnerability assessment project.

The effect is expected to be catastrophic for the residents of the ecologically sensitive islands - a major exodus, as the rising water level would submerge large chunks of land by 2020.

In fact, the intruding salty water has already had its effects on the region's flora and fauna: Lohachara and Bedford islands, with an area of more than six square kilometres between them, "vanished from the map" two decades ago.

Result: it left thousands of residents as "environmental refugees".

Prof Sugata Hazra, director, School of Oceanographic Studies, said: "A preliminary survey reveals that around 7,000 people have been displaced from their original habitat in Sunderbans over the last 30 years. They have turned into environmental refugees due to the sea-level rise, coastal erosion, cyclone and coastal flooding."

The migrants, now living in various refugee colonies, are just an indication of what is in store for the world-renowned mangrove islands, the scientists warned. The islands are also a habitat for the endangered Royal Bengal Tiger.

That last point is quite significant. Nothing like concern for animals to get people to push urgent political agendae.

But wait a minute. Is it sea level rise or is it something else or is somebody confused? The article I just quoted at length says that Lohachara Island "vanished from the map" two decades ago. If that's the case, then the article in The Independent is really old news. I mean, that was long before certain environmental groups got their g-strings in a gordian over sea level rise, much less global warming.

Also, the phrase "coastal erosion" gives a better indication of what went on either two decades ago or who-knows-when. These islands are part of a delta. A delta "creates" land by depositing silt from up-river at its mouth. Very rich, fertile land. Isn't it just possible that the disappearance of Lohachara Island was due to erosion from the currents within the delta?

Another similar article said that Lohachara Island disappeared within the last "three decades". Both of them point out that measurements of sea level rise have shown a rise of over three millimeters a year. Doing the math, that means that in, say, 30 years, the sea level "rise" will amount to 94.2 to 105 mm. That's 3.71 to 4.13 inches. One has to wonder how the scientists made such a measurement of 3.14 mm, too. Measuring sea levels to a hundredth of an inch?

Finally, what clinches the bogusness of this whole thing is that a rise of that tiny magnitude would submerge a whole island. One has to wonder how high above sea level Lohachara Island was. I mean, what about tides? If an entire island disappears because of a 3-inch rise in sea level, what happened when the tide came in?

Nope, I don't believe it.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Recent commentary: Christmas memory

What is your favorite Christmas memory?

(published 25-Dec-2006, Appleton Post-Crescent)

I learned something important about manners one Christmas in Appleton twenty years ago or so. My peripatetic younger brother (currently in Afghanistan managing a military construction operation. No! Not Halliburton! Settle down!) hosted a family Christmas gift exchange. I'm a voracious reader; thus it can be chancy buying a book for me. Well, my mother bought me a book I'd just read! I unwrapped it and smiled a big smile, but I made the mistake of saying, "I already own this." My mother, always gracious, made light of it; but I realized instantly that it would have been better to say, "I've been meaning to buy this for myself! Thank you! He's my favorite author!" It brought home to me that it's far better sometimes to tell a lie that brings a smile than to tell a truth that makes one's mother feel that her son is an unmannered galoot!

Thursday, December 21, 2006

I love stories like this, LXXX

Actually, I don't, but it's part of the public school experience to turn 4 and 5-year-olds into sexual predators:
Hug lands 4-year-old in suspension

Sunday, December 10, 2006

By Emily Ingram

Tribune-Herald staff writer

When a Bellmead father received a letter from his son’s school district saying the 4-year-old had inappropriately touched a teacher’s aide, he said he couldn’t believe what he was reading.

“When I got that letter, my world flipped,” DaMarcus Blackwell said.

The Nov. 13 letter from La Vega Independent School District stated his son, who was 4 years old at the time, was involved in “inappropriate physical behavior interpreted as sexual contact and/or sexual harassment” after the boy hugged a teacher’s aide and “rubbed his face in the chest of (the) female employee” on Nov. 10.

The letter also stated Blackwell’s son, who Blackwell requested not be named in this story for privacy reasons, spent the day in in-school suspension (ISS) as punishment for the incident.

Then there's the case of this 5-year-old:
Wednesday December 20, 2006

School accuses 5-year-old of sex harassment


HAGERSTOWN - A kindergarten student was accused earlier this month of sexually harassing a classmate at Lincolnshire Elementary School, an accusation that will remain on his record until he moves to middle school.

Washington County Public Schools spokeswoman Carol Mowen said the definition of sexual harassment used by the school system is, "unwelcome sexual advances, request for sexual favors and/or other inappropriate verbal, written or physical conduct of a sexual nature directed toward others."

Mowen said that definition comes from the Maryland State Department of Education.

According to a school document provided by the boy's father, the 5-year-old pinched a girl's buttocks on Dec. 8 in a hallway at the school south of Hagerstown.

Charles Vallance, the boy's father, said he was unable to explain to his son what he had done.

"He knows nothing about sex," Vallance said. "There's no way to explain what he's been written up for. He knows it as playing around. He doesn't know it as anything sexual at all."

The incident was described as "sexual harassment" on the school form.

Lincolnshire Principal Darlene Teach said "Anytime a student touches another student inappropriately, it could be sexual harassment."

During the 2005-06 school year, 28 kindergarten students in Maryland were suspended for sex offenses, including sexual assault, sexual harassment and sexual activity, according to state data. Fifteen of those suspensions were for sexual harassment.

During the 2005-06 school year, one Washington County prekindergarten student was suspended from school, and 12 of the county's kindergartners were suspended for various offenses, according to state data.

Don't the kids suffer enough in the government-funded compulsory matriculation centers without this hanging over their heads for their entire school careers?

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

"You defy every tenet of democracy"

You defy every tenet of democracy when you invite ExxonMobil to deny itself the right to provide information to “senior elected and appointed government officials” who disagree with your opinion.

That is what British Lord Monckton, Viscount of Brenchley, wrote to U. S. Senators Olympia Snowe and Jay Rockefeller in response to their veiled threat to ExxonMobil. Our Congresscritters had, essentially, told ExxonMobil to shut up and stop funding research that might cast doubt on global warming. Here are a few of the absolutely choice things Lord Monckton had to say:
Sceptics and those who have the courage to support them are actually helpful in getting the science right. They do not, as you improperly suggest, “obfuscate” the issue: they assist in clarifying it by challenging weaknesses in the “consensus” argument, and they compel necessary corrections…

You acknowledge the effectiveness of the climate sceptics. In so doing, you pay a compliment to the courage of those free-thinking scientists who continue to research climate change independently despite the likelihood of refusal of publication in journals that have taken preconceived positions; the hate mail and vilification from ignorant environmentalists; and the threat of loss of tenure in institutions of learning which no longer make any pretence to uphold or cherish academic freedom.

Anyone who believes in the supposed “consensus” on climate change and yet is not willing to countenance the immediate reintroduction and widespread development of nuclear energy as the most important and essential mitigative measure available to us cannot expect to be taken seriously.

Your comparison of Exxon's funding of sceptical scientists and groups with the former antics of the tobacco industry is unjustifiable and unworthy of any credible elected representatives. Either withdraw that monstrous comparison forthwith, or resign so as not to pollute the office you hold.

I challenge you to withdraw or resign because your letter is the latest in what appears to be an internationally-coordinated series of maladroit and malevolent attempts to silence the voices of scientists and others…

It takes a Brit to put American politicians in their place.

Time wimps out! Buchanan gets it!

Remember that I suggested that Time Magazine name Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Kim Jong Il as co-Persons of the Year? Time went completely limp and named, well, everybody -- "You" -- as Person of the Year. They even got cute and put a mirror on the cover of the magazine! Say! Who is that good-lookin' Person of the Year, eh?

Well, Pat Buchanan must have seen my column in the Post-Crescent 'cause he thinks that Ahmadinejad is the man:
Time's Man of the Year, now Person of the Year, is the figure who, for good or evil, dominates the news. Yet this year Time could not bring itself to name the obvious choice. Instead, it chose you and me, all of us citizens of the digital democracy who create on the Worldwide Web. Why the copout?

Perhaps it was Ahmadinejad's hosting of a conference of Holocaust skeptics, including David Duke, that caused Time to recoil. Perhaps it was fear that the face of the Iranian president on the cover of Time would repel the American people and be death for sales.

Surely that was the reasoning behind Time's refusal to name Osama bin Laden in 2001, choosing Rudy Giuliani instead, though history is unlikely to conclude that Rudy, his crowded hour notwithstanding, was the central figure of that annus horribilis.

Richard Stengel, editor of Time, as much as concedes he could not bring himself to choose by the traditional standard, if that meant choosing Ahmadinejad: "It just felt to me a little off selecting him."

Understandably. But the refusal to select Ahmadinejad reveals an unwillingness to confront hard truths. For putting his face on Time's cover would have done a useful service, jolting America to a painful realization.

Zucker strikes again!

Monday, December 18, 2006

The year in "science"

Excellent list on of the "Top Ten Junk Science Moments" of 2006. From the introduction to the article:

It’s time again for’s review of the most notable junk science events of the year – a “top 10” list that may sometimes make you think that the year 1007, rather than 2007, is just around the corner.

1. Some Real Inconvenient Truth.
2. Board of Health or Bored of Science?
3. What Hurricane Season?
4. Day of Reckoning for DDT Foes?
5. Cosmic ray study fails to penetrate lead-lined media.
6. Stem cell fraud and futility.
7. Low-fat diet myth busted.
8. Woodpecker Racket.
9. Food police indict SpongeBob Squarepants.
10. California’s Not-so-deadly Air.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Anthro-centric global scare-mongering, XX

Well, at least it ain't us this time! It's cows!
A United Nations report has identified the world's rapidly growing herds of cattle as the greatest threat to the climate, forests and wildlife. And they are blamed for a host of other environmental crimes, from acid rain to the introduction of alien species, from producing deserts to creating dead zones in the oceans, from poisoning rivers and drinking water to destroying coral reefs.

Livestock are responsible for 18 per cent of the greenhouse gases that cause global warming, more than cars, planes and all other forms of transport put together.

So, is it to be an enormous scene from "Hud" where we shoot all the cows to save the planet? Well, break out the barbecue sauce, then. We'll have a heap o' ribs to polish off!

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Anthro-centric global scare-mongering, XIX

A bit of sloppy media work recently in the ACGSM arena. Matthew Sheffield reports on the hearing yesterday in Congress on "the role of the media in promoting climate alarmism". He attended the hearing but notes that
I haven't found a single news source that quoted from today's hearing. I did see and converse with several reporters but so far have yet to read any coverage.

I went into the hearing expecting it would be more interesting than your typical congressional hearing and wasn't disappointed. Dr. David Deming, a geophysicist from the University of Oklahoma recounted an experience he had with an NPR reporter who hung up on him after he declined to say that he thought global temperature increases were human-caused.

Apparently I was not joined in my assessment of things by CNN "American Morning" anchor Miles O'Brien who fell asleep during the discussion, according to several witnesses. Only a colleague's nudge prevented the slumbering former science correspondent from missing the entire discussion. One would think that O'Brien could have scared up some more interest considering his ongoing feud with Sen. Inhofe. The two have tangled on O'Brien's CNN show and both have denounced each other from their respective platforms.

Why is this significant? Can't you guess? It's the topic of the hearing. What self-respecting, left-leaning, make-a-difference-in-the-world reporter is going to sit still for being told that he slants the news about climate change?

From the committee's web site:
Scientists testifying at the hearing described how much of the media has over-hyped the coverage of global warming and used scare tactics to garner public attention. Paleoclimate researcher Bob Carter of Australia’s James Cook University, who has had over 100 papers published refereed scientific journals, noted that “there is huge uncertainly in every aspect of climate change.”

"If you look at the ice core records, you will discover that yes, changes in carbon dioxide are accompanied by changes in temperature, but you will also discover that the change in temperature precedes the change in carbon dioxide by several hundred years to a thousand or so years. Reflect on that. And reflect on when you last heard somebody say that they thought lung cancer caused smoking. Because that is what you are arguing if you argue on the glacial time scale that changes in carbon dioxide cause temperature changes. It is the other way around,” Carter testified.

Carter also noted that the media promotes “Could-sm, might-ism and perhaps-ism, fueled by computer modeling.”

Carter explained, “If, could, may, might, probably, perhaps, likely, expected, projected ...Wonderful words. So wonderful, in fact, that environmental writers scatter them through their articles on climate change like confetti. The reason is that – in the absence of empirical evidence for damaging human-caused climate change – public attention is best captured by making assertions about “possible” change. And, of course, using the output of computer models in support, virtually any type of climatic hazard can be asserted as a possible future change.”

On Thanksgiving day I read "State of Fear" by Michael Crichton. Haven't read an entire book in one day in quite a while. Very good book in which the environmentalists are bad guys with guns! The plot involves the foiling of a number of horrific environmental disasters brought on by eco-terrorists. Great stuff! Very refreshing tonic for the looming disaster din from the media.

I was reminded of Crichton's speech, Aliens Cause Global Warming, given three years ago. Give it a read.

I love stories like this, LXXIX

The headline for this article isn't punchy enough: "Student sues over 10-day suspension". Here's how it should read: "Principal needs narc, blackmails student, student sues". I'm sure the New York Daily News or the U. K. Sun could do a better job with the headline than I can.

The point is, a Sissonville, WV, high school student was clowning around for a friend with a cell phone video camera. He pretended to insert a piece of candy up his nose. Calvin McKinney, the principal of this GOvernment-FUnded Compulsory-Attendance Secondary Matriculation (makes an interesting acronym, n'est-ce pas?) compound, got wind of the stunt and
threatened to suspend the student unless he joined McKinney’s “Narc Program” and went undercover to find real drug users at the school. [He] was told that he was to ‘hang around the bathroom’ and the school parking lot.

McKinney’s investigation into the incident confirmed that the student was telling the truth about the Smarties candy, according to the suit.

“The plaintiff was informed that even though it was, in fact, just candy ... McKinney needed another ‘Narc’ for his program and that if the student would not agree to enter said Narc Program that he would be suspended

Egad! It was a piece of candy, a Smartie. The kid refused to co-operate and so, true to his word, McKinney suspended him for ten days.
The suit seeks an injunction against the school board and unspecified monetary damages for emotional distress, loss of enjoyment of life and the loss of a potential scholarship. It contends that requiring the student to seek out potential drug users could put the student in danger.

I think if that happened to my kid, I'd park myself outside the principal's office and, in a loud, steady voice, declare that he was an over-educated, pusillanimous, puff-gutted prig and that he should do the school district a favor and resign.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Recent commentary: what should Congress tackle?

What issue should the new Democratic Congress deal with first?

(published 9-Dec-2006, Appleton Post-Crescent)

New Congress' top priorities: Iraq and Afghanistan, national security, immigration and seriously cutting government spending.

Then let's abolish payroll withholding. It's more important for our freedom that we experience firsthand how much is being siphoned, sucked and hoovered out of our paychecks. If every wage earner had to send a quarterly check to the guvmint like businesses do, boy, howdy! Taxes would be cut right quick.

Those who shout the most about oil price controls, increasing the minimum wage, high levels of foreign investment, outsourcing jobs and national health insurance haven't a clue about how the economy works. If you think that, because we live in a democracy, we can vote ourselves "free" health care, low gas prices and high-paying jobs, you'd better get your doctor to prescribe the good tranquilizers.

Have your congressman explain why the minimum wage can't be a "living wage" of $20 or $30 an hour.

Let people save for their own retirements. Let people give to the poor themselves rather than extorting "charity" in the form of taxes that give the bureaucrats a good living before they give to the poor.

Forget about global warming. But if you can't forget about it, then double the number of atomic power plants and shut down the oil- and gas-fired plants and make OPEC drink its own oil.

Repeal the No Child Left Behind and the Patriot acts. Dismantle the departments of Education and Transportation. And repeal all tariffs, subsidies (including farm and business subsidies) and price controls (including rent and medical prices).

One more thing: congressional term limits. Two terms for senators, six for representatives. If the president can be term-limited, why not Congress?

Remember the words of that wise man, Harry Browne: Government breaks your leg, hands you a crutch, then tells you you're better off.

Steve Erbach, Neenah

I love stories like this, LXXVIII

Here are two versions of a statement on "Equity and Race Relations" in the Seattle Public Schools. The first contains an interesting phrase (emphasis mine):
The intended purpose of our work in the area of race and social justice is to bring communities together through open dialogue and honest reflection around what is meant by racism and the impact is has on our society, and more specifically, our students. Our intention is not to put up additional barriers or develop an “us against them” mindset; nor is it to continue to hold onto unsuccessful concepts such as a melting pot or colorblind mentality.

"Unsuccessful concepts", no less. They're only "unsuccessful" because hating America has become more important than adapting to our culture.

Do you need a bit of persuading to come to that conclusion? George Will points out that the Seattle web site had something a bit different on its web site not too long ago:
Until June, the school district's Web site declared that "cultural racism'' includes "emphasizing individualism as opposed to a more collective ideology,'' "having a future time orientation'' (planning ahead) and "defining one form of English as standard.'' The site also asserted that only whites can be racists, and disparaged assimilation as the "giving up'' of one's culture.

"A more collective ideology", no less. On a public school web site, no less. Anybody doubt that leftists control the public schools?

Here's James Taranto in Best of the Web Today:
This is in fact baldly racist. In concept it is distinguishable from white supremacy only in its refusal to condone value judgments. But the real world imposes its own "value judgments," and in practice it seems obviously pernicious to inculcate black children with the idea that because of the color of their skin, they cannot learn to plan ahead or to speak standard English.

Advocates of affirmative action, thus, have abandoned the goal of "getting beyond racism," upon which it was originally imposed on the public. Affirmative action has become a way of perpetuating discrimination rather than overcoming it. It is, at best, an experiment that has failed.

This is all very topical because of two cases before the Supreme Court: Parents Involved in Community Schools v. Seattle School District No. 1, and Meredith v. Jefferson County Board of Education. Arguments were heard yesterday in both of these cases. Here's a report on these cases. From all accounts it appears that affirmative action will earn a well-deserved reversal.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Anthro-centric global scare-mongering, XVIII

A Scottish company has offered to buy movie tickets for every secondary school child to see "An Inconvenient Truth":
[ScottishPower], a major windfarm developer which also runs the coal-fired Longannet power station, is prepared to commit "tens of thousands of pounds" to the project and is currently in negotiations with the Scottish Executive to secure its backing.

ScottishPower, which has also given copies of Mr Gore's book of the same name, An Inconvenient Truth, to hundreds of its staff, plans to pay for cinema screenings for older children in primary schools and all secondary pupils. The firm is currently discussing with the Executive how pupils could be bussed to cinemas, and to cinema owners about times for screenings.

[Stephen Dunn, the company's director of human resources and communications, said,] "In helping get this film out to schoolchildren, we give them the opportunity to think about what we are doing to this Earth in a very simple way - kids take very complex things and make them very easy much better than adults can."

Playing both sides of the environmental street, I see. Wind farms and coal-fired power plants. This reminds me of the fact that companies in the U. S. give political campaign contributions to both Democrats and Republicans.

I hope the kids won't fall asleep. Seems to me that "The Day After Tomorrow" might be a better bet to hold their attention. I would also hope that the bit of irony in the movie poster for "An Inconvenient Truth" isn't lost on the kids: a hurricane coming from a smokestack. I hope someone is honest enough to point out that not a single hurricane hit the U. S. this year even though a lot of people wished for them after last year.

Now, if this same company will buy a copy of Michael Crichton's "State of Fear" and Bjorn Lomborg's "The Skeptical Environmentalist" for each of these children, too...

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Heinlein would have loved this judge

Robert A. Heinlein, "the dean of American science fiction authors", had a Julian Simon-like optimism about the state of the world, America in particular. Not for him the fashionable pessimism and misanthropic tendencies of today's doom-and-gloomers.

In 1980 Heinlein published a book called "Expanded Universe", a collection of essays and short fiction. The last selection in the book is called "The Happy Days Ahead". It's a fantasy about a black woman becoming President of the United States. She is the complete anti-Jesse Jackson, anti-Kweisi Mfume, anti-Charles Rangel type of black woman, though. She believed that people didn't need laws to kill prejudice; that they didn't need special preferences:
No more Black Americans. No more Japanese Americans. Israel is not our country and neither is Ireland. A group calling itself La Raza had better mean the human race – the whole human race – or they'll get the same treatment from me as the Ku Klux Klan. Amerindians looking for special favors will have just two choices: Either come out and be Americans and accept the responsibilities of citizenshp ... or go back to the reservation and shut up. Some of their ancestors got a rough deal. But so did yours and so did mine. There are no Anglos left alive who were at Wounded Knee or Little Big Horn, so it's time to shut up about it.

I intend to refuse to see any splinter group claiming to deserve special treatment not accorded other citizens and I will veto any legislation perverted to that end. Wheat farmers. Bankrupt corporations. Bankrupt cities. Labor leaders claiming to represent "the workers" when most of the people they claim to represent repudiate any such leadership. Business leaders just as phony. Anyone who wants the deck stacked in his favor because, somehow, he's "special".

Stirring stuff! I recommend it. Especially the part of the story dealing with her sponsorship of something she calls "The Plain English Amendment". I've mentioned this before but it bears repeating in light of the story I read today that I'll get to in a minute.

The Plain English Amendment
permits a citizen to challenge the Constitutionality of any law or regulation, Federal or any lesser authority, on the grounds that it is ambivalent, equivocal, or cannot be understood by a person of average intelligence.

Madam President believes that the amendment could be passed even though Congress and all the state legislatures have a majority of lawyers:
[E]very one of them not anxious to lose his job. That's their weakness...because it's awfully easy to work up hate against lawyers.

Now, how is this possibly relevant to anything happening now? I'm glad you asked. In a November 29th AP story:
LOS ANGELES (AP) - [U.S. District Judge Audrey Collins] struck down President Bush's authority to designate groups as terrorists, saying his post-Sept. 11 executive order was unconstitutionally vague, according to a ruling released Tuesday.

You can read the details for yourself. The part that made Heinlein's fantasy concrete was at the very end of the article (emphasis mine):
In 2004, Collins ruled that portions of the Patriot Act were too vague and, even after Congress amended the act in 2005, she ruled the provisions remained too vague to be understood by a person of average intelligence and were therefore unconstitutional.

While a quick check of the Constitution reveals nothing about how smart the citizens have to be to grant powers to the federal government, I am 100% in favor of rulings of this nature; that is, striking down a law because it is "ambivalent, equivocal, or cannot be understood by a person of average intelligence." If you wonder whether the IRS code would fit the definition, you win a kewpie doll!

Thank you, Robert A. Heinlein!