Reader Mail

Too Hot to Handle

GISS what? NASA's advanced degrees. Also: Wrestling with Dennis Hastert. Reading into Obama. Reading into Rowling. Plus more.

8.17.07

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ADVANCED DEGREES
Re: Michael Fumento's James Hansen's Hacks:

For all Michael Fumento's hype, his August 16 piece is not about global warming.

The NASA GISS temperature record he discusses is not global -- but national , which is what the N in NASA stands for -- and the correction to it arising from the bad data splice detected by the diligent McIntyre amounts to only a few hundredths of one degree.

The formerly hottest U.S. year, 1998 has gone from being 0.01 degrees warmer than 1934 to being 0.02 degrees cooler. but the rest of the numbers talk, even if Fumento's piece fails to cite the inconvenient fact that 1998 and 2005 remain the warmest years on record globally.

Readers can judge the old and the new data for themselves -- its posted side by side here -- better bring a magnifying glass.
-- Russell Seitz
Cambridge, Massachusetts

I am not a scientist. I read "James Hansen's Hacks" with great interest. I first heard about this on Rush Limbaugh maybe a week ago. I find this global warming stuff astounding.

This isn't the first time these people have been shown to be running around without their pants on. A few years ago they were doing the usual the end of the world is coming routine and at the time the inconvenient truth, and it was pretty awkward, was that the satellite data didn't show any global warming. Somehow this discrepancy was made to go away. I'm not exactly sure how this was done and I've never seen an explanation on how this fact was explained away. A couple years after that somebody was reviewing the data or the methodology for calculating Global Warming and noticed that the mid-ocean weather buoys' data showed the temperature of the oceans to be hotter than it actually is. At first glance, this would seem to be pretty inconvenient for the idea the Earth is melting and we're all doomed. But, I did see where this got explained away. It doesn't seem to really matter. I know it was explained away but I'm not sure just how it was explained away. No, it's not like a major truss fell off or anything. People can still cross the Mississippi River in Minneapolis.

These people seem to have better educations and are better paid than I am. The thing that strikes me the most about them is their narcissism and their self loathing. If you grow up in this country from the time you are very little and from then on you are indoctrinated that everything you have was stolen from someone else and the way you live your life is going to cause the destruction of the world, or at least the environment. The fact that you have means that other people don't and this makes you evil. This is instilled into children in our society.

Looking around then world in a casual non-systematic way it sure seems that most other societies around the world are older than ours and have had a longer time to make decisions and have outcomes. If you prefer thugs for leaders, socialism, or communism or that Allah commands everything in and about life you are much more likely to be poor, oppressed and downtrodden and your environment is much more likely to be fouled by the way you live your life.

Water covers 75 percent of the Earth. Of the remaining 25 percent, half of that is frozen. I strongly suspect that the Earth getting warmer is a good thing. So now it turns out that this heat wave of past decade or so is driven mostly by hot air. Somehow, and realize this is completely unscientific and completely self centered, I remember it being hotter when I was a kid. Speaking of when I was a kid, I wanted to go into space. I would like to go to Mars. I hear there's global warming on Mars. Maybe I should apply for a grant to study the effects of global warming on subterranean microbes in that big hole they found on Mars.

I don't think I'd like to go on the space shuttle, though. These global warming people should put their pants on, or at least their diapers.
-- Mark Murphy

Oh, we of little faith? Hey, the first NASA Mars probe? It failed. Billions were spent. But, as I understand it, one team designed part of the probe in English measurements, feet and inches. The other used metrics; can you say "typical bureaucracy"?

The NASA space program used chimpanzees in some flight experiments -- and later the Air Force has officially "retired" these chimps... at a cost of $37,000 for each chimp? The government not only funds NASA, of course, but also the Hubble telescope (which was initially screwed-up so badly by NASA's guys with the wrong optics, which then needed correcting "up there," right?) and a variety of other astronomy projects. Yet, like so many other space goodies, the comet Hyakytake was discovered by a Japanese amateur?

And, the infamous Hole-in-the-Ozone happened at the end of a long, dark winter (temperatures of Minus 80-C or lower); several happened a few years ago near the South Pole. Finally, after much looking, they found an Ozone hole up by the North Pole -- a reading by NASA on Jan. 20, 1991. There'd been no mentions of readings before or after that one date, and NASA was very, very careful in its wording -- the press-releases caused the scare, just as planned. Ironically, it just so happened to be during Congressional Budget time, when future space allocations are made. Now, NASA is not a "reliable source" because (like any governmental group or bureaucracy) it's only interested in those "facts" which justify more "research" and more taxpayer dollars, to insure their own jobs. So, they "needed" an Ozone hole -- and they looked-and-looked until they found one, even if it was only temporary (and filled itself in within hours). And, sure'nuff, Congress approved a budget...

And we also should remember that the Air Force and CIA denied the existence of UFOs -- and when President Jimmy Carter requested the NASA to make a "comprehensive" study (that word again) of UFO's, NASA uncharacteristically refused the presidential request, because, as I recall, the "scientific community" was convinced there wasn't any "cause." This, incidentally, the same Jimmy Carter who once thought the planet Venus was a UFO.

Sometimes it's hard to fathom that these stupid things actually happen, yet, they do...

Oh, and finally, David Light's letter yesterday about evangelicals and euthanasia? Nailed it.
-- Jonathan B. Frost

It's a matter of record there is no one in Washington who will fire incompetents in NASA. What a dream job!

Get hired, and knock down a pay check until retirement, meanwhile doing whatever you please. GISS should have never been created, let alone given to NASA.
-- R. Goodson
Vero Beach, Florida

Remember that NASA is the same group of yokels that lost a rocket because they didn't know the difference between feet and meters.

I sure wish we'd auction that ridiculous agency off to the private sector rather than to continue to spend billions of dollars to send people into space to...remind me, what it is they do, exactly? Poop in plastic bags? Can't that be done far more cheaply here on Earth?
-- R. Trotter

To believe that my SUV is causing global warming, I must first be convinced that A) temperatures today are higher than they were in the past and B) that I am the cause of that change.

To prove "A" requires data from today compared with data 10,000 years ago. Given that the U.S. is the most scientifically advanced nation in the history of the world, gathering and interpreting data from the recent past would seemingly be the easy part of this, yet Hansen and crew are sputtering on that front. Am I expected to believe that the extrapolated data from tree rings and ice cores are infallible when observed data from the past 50 years cannot be accurately interpreted?

Prove the first part of the equation before moving to the second. Until then, I am a doubter, not a denier.
-- David Cozart
Raleigh, North Carolina

The article is excellent. It absolutely proves that there is no correlation between CO2 emissions, human activity and temperature. Rush Limbaugh is correct. It shows it is a myth. If temperatures both go up and go down with CO2 rising there is no direct relationship.
-- Jack Hellner, CPA
Springfield, Illinois

Michael Fumento replies:
I thank Mr. Hellner for the kind words, but if the graph of mean annual U.S. temperatures closely matched that of increased ambient CO2 and other "greenhouse gases" it would either be an amazing coincidence or scientific fraud. There are many temperature variables from year to year, with El Nino only the largest. What it does show is that it's not just environmentalist groups you can't trust on issues surrounding global warming but official government agencies as well. We are therefore justified in being skeptical that global warming is man-made without much more evidence than has been provided.

As to Mr. Seitz's claim, I actually spent four full paragraphs addressing this issue. The ultimate conclusion is that the U.S. warming trend is statistically significantly less than the global warming one and clearly much more accurate. Therefore, the U.S. data may be more accurate for world global data than the current world global data are. If NOAA adjusted its foreign data for the placement of foreign monitors in urbanized places like China or Brazil, we'd get a much better picture. But NOAA will not, just as the GISS would not release its new data until the one who forced them to do the new calculations, Stephen McIntyre, forced them to. Why, with global warming, do we have to force government agencies to provide the correct statistics? They're supposed to serve us, not a cause.

SPEAKER NO ILL
Re: R. Emmett Tyrrell, Jr.'s Hastert La Vista!:

I knew Hastert was a chump when he agreed to be the Grand Marshal of Chicago's St. Patrick's Day Parade. Everyone in Illinois, except Hastert, knew Daley and the Chicago Democrats were going to pants him... and they did!
-- Jack Hughes
Chicago, Illinois

Boy, do I agree with Bob Tyrrell. I switched from Democrat to Republican during the Clinton administration (thank you, Rush Limbaugh!). After finally awakening from my liberal haze, I was excited to support George W. Bush in the 2000 election and breathed a sigh of relief when he finally won that most bizarre of elections. And, I think the whole country sighed with relief after 9/11 knowing that it was Bush the Republican (the adult) who won and not Gore the Democrat (the child).

In a spirit of bi-partisanship, Bush worked with Ted Kennedy to fashion the No Child Left Behind act. I was leery, but he was trying to "reach across the aisle," which, of course, only leaves Republicans with a bloody stump.

At first I thought the Republicans were spending all that money in Congress because they were trying to help the economy after the shock of the terrorist attacks in New York and Washington, D.C. But, to my dismay they had given up the Reagan Revolution and the Gingrich Contract with America for bipartisan pork.

Congress did cut taxes, but didn't do anything with Social Security, although the president did try to get a component that would allow younger workers to own part of their contributions.

The Republican Congress was a weird thing to watch. Earmarks grew from several hundred to many thousands per bill, with pork added to each bill that passed through Congress. What always dismayed me is that Bush signed them all.

Mike Pence from Indiana and some of the new young turks that were recently elected to Congress spark a bit of hope, but Hastert has always been the kind of leader that made me scratch my head wondering what were they thinking. (Pelosi inspires the same thought.)

When you have the fiasco of the immigration bill and nobody but a few Republicans actually standing up for America, that's when you want a brand new Congress. When Lindsey Graham calls members of his own party "bigots" and Trent Lott basically threatens Rush Limbaugh with the Fairness Doctrine because "talk radio is running the country" -- then Republicans have a systemic problem. They have lost their rudder.

Republicans need not just ideas, but someone who actually knows how to lead and inspire their fellow Republicans both in the Congress and out here in the hinterlands. And quit spending our money on worthless crap!
-- Deborah Durkee
Marietta, Georgia

Mark this date. I think it is the first time I have EVER disagreed with my hero, R. Emmett Tyrrell.

So, Mr. Tyrrell thinks Dennis Hastert was slow with little flair? That may be, but when Speaker Hastert was in charge of the House, President Bush (and I) didn't have to worry about silly legislation appearing to embarrass us all or worse. Can anyone say, then or now, the same thing about the Senate?

On one point I agree: Mr. Hastert should have been more on the ball when the boys started taking illegal money from lobbyists!
-- Judy Beumler
Louisville, Kentucky

I don't know if you've noticed, but news footage of Hastert seen from the side makes him look like nothing more than a Vogon, the ultimate evil race of bureaucrats invented by Douglas Adams in "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy." You can see for yourself at here.

I deeply appreciate your work.
-- Shafer Parker
Pastor, Hawkwood Baptist Fellowship
Calgary, Alberta

I've got news for somebody: Right now they ALL look like Hastert -- interchangeable gray flannel hacks, male and female, whose only principle is to do and say whatever it takes to get by: today, right now, this minute.

Republican candidates? Democratic candidates? Yeuch!

What's the difference? They're all just varying tinctures of socialism, tap water and big-bucks government.

I move we try a new system. A sample of the white pages would give us abler leaders any day; drafting the stars of a carny sideshow or a Nevada cathouse would at least give us interesting ones. Or a random sample of YouTube.

Meantime I'm considering emigrating to Canada before they wise up and close the border.
-- Martin Owens
Sacramento, California

Fraid so. That was my reaction to Brother Tyrrell's most recent effort viz. Mr. Hastert. Why do Republicans put forth the "leaders" they do? Why the Bob Michels, Trent Lotts, and the thoroughly repressible Dennis Hastert ? What is it about this outfit that makes its paradigm of leadership not only uninspiring, but utterly innocuous? Can you see these guys in the vanguard of some political Thermopylae? I've said it before and I'll say it again: A warrior comes to fight. Mr. Hastert left his on that high school wrestling mat.
-- J. C. Eaton
Wisconsin

ENTERTAINMENT TONIGHT
Re: Ben Stein's CNN Must Be Crazy:

Right on to Ben Stein in his thoughts on our absurd culture. It is true that no culture can long survive which elevates the absurd to a level of importance. None of this should surprise us. We saw the way our country dealt with Clinton. We see how quickly we have forgotten 911. We cannot seem to fathom that our enemy is most assuredly in Iraq in force. And, we somehow believe that none of this really matters anyway. After all, there is the behavior of Paris H. to keep us entertained.
-- JRC

MAGIC MAN
Re: Philip Klein's Obama Rising:

Philip Klein reveals some anxiety about Obama and his ability to find common ground with people from the opposite spectrum. In my view, Obama is a breath of fresh air. I'm tired of partisan rhetoric.
-- Nikki Norton

I have just finished reading a great, well-written article on Senator Obama and the seriousness of his candidacy. I wanted to write and thank you for your astute observations and insights. You truly did justice in this article and you stand out as a top-notch journalist, unlike the mediocrity that has become mainstream media. Bravo. Thank you and keep up your good work.
-- Peter M

Obama is the media's darling, not the darling of mainstream Democrats who vote in primaries.
-- R. Shimansky

SHOPPING AT VOLDEMORT
Re: David Haddon's J. K. Rowling Condones Euthanasia in Latest Book and Reader Mail's Dumbledore's Dilemma:

Not to make too much of a fictional bit of dialogue, but it should be noted that Dumbledore's impending death was the result of his own fatuousness. He brought a curse upon himself through his own arrogance and therefore was in need of redemption. What did his death achieve? He cemented Snape's role as a close confidant of Voldymort and preserved Draco's soul as relatively unstained. Both of those results had positive effects in the seventh book. It could be argued, therefore, that Dumbledore was attempting to insure that his death was meaningful. Since that was the entire point of Harry's offering himself to Voldemort without a fight, I do not think that it is an entirely unreasonable interpretation. Would we argue that Harry's sacrifice was a brief for suicide?
-- Stephen J. Mosier
Los Alamos, New Mexico

The letters you've printed in response to the article "J. K. Rowling Condones Euthanasia in Latest Book" don't capture the whole of Dumbledore's reasoning in asking Snape to kill him. They all leave out the fact that Voldemort had set up Draco Malfoy to kill Dumbledore and if he failed, Draco would be killed. Dumbledore knew Draco wasn't a murderer and didn't want him to be killed, so he set up with Snape to come in and finish the job (of killing Dumbledore), thus saving Draco's life, keeping Snape as Voldemort's trusted lieutenant, and keeping the power of the Elder Wand from Voldemort. Truly, Dumbledore sacrificed himself to save others. It was not "euthanasia."
-- M. Reboulet

You must be joking on this story. It is a fantasy and those who take any messages out of this story are idiots. Your website included.
-- Jan Rangel

Let me see if I have this correct: Mr. Haddon writes an article describing what is contained in the latest Harry Potter book and points out that it sanctions euthanasia. The responses it generated include the following samples of discourse: ...ridiculous...fundamentalist jackass... intellectually shallow...paranoia...lighten up...crank...

Furthermore the letters are replete with quotes of how Dumbledore (whatever/whoever the Sam Hill that is; apparently some netherworld hobbit or something) is actually fighting to wrest control of Voldemort from Elder Wand or Lord Vader, or some such.

Yeah, sure, Mr. Haddon is the one to be ridiculed. Why don't those ridiculous intellectually-shallow paranoid fundamentalist jackass letter-writing cranks lighten up? Don't those freaks have a Star Trek convention to attend, or something?
-- R. Trotter
Arlington, Virginia

Editor's Note: Mr. Haddon has issued a "Correction" today. Click here.

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