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Climate in Court

Global warming goes indoors. Also: Superman's wayward ways. Benedict Arnold times. Lay in state. Still Judging Coulter. Plus much more.

7.10.06

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MOLECULAR MAYHEM
Re: Iain Murray's Taking a Molecule to Court:

I suppose it was only a matter of time before the entire Anthropogenic Global Warming (AGW) issue ended up in the courts. And why should it not? Everything else does, eventually. Way back in 1988, in the midst of severe drought, Dr. Hansen of NASA issued an article about AGW. Global Warming was here, he declared. Human activity, namely in the form of Greenhouse Gases (CO2, Methane), was the cause. Later that summer the news magazine followed up with articles. Two years later, Al Gore published his The Earth in Balance. From that point on, AGW became more of an advocacy issue, and not a scientific one. As the Soviet Empire imploded, and pure Marxism suddenly died a short violent death, environmental issues became all the rage. Before you knew it, manufacturing toilets that flushed more than 2 gallons of water became a federal offence; destroying the habitat of the Snail darter could land a property owner in a prison cell with Bubba. Forest rangers in Montana and California began to take orders not from their respective bosses, but from Federal Judges. Saving the Earth became a full time vocation for everyone from elementary school teachers to UN officials. However, from a PR standpoint, the Movement lacked certain credibility. It was very top heavy in lawyers, spin artists, protesters, aging hippies, movie stars, and busybodies. What the movement really needed was the Imprimatur of Science.

In 1998 they got it. Doctors Mann, Bradley and Hughes published a series of papers known as MBH98 (the famous Hockey Stick temperature graph). The UN's IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) gave MBH98 its stamp of approval without auditing the actual papers. It took Einstein eleven years to get his idea on relativity peer reviewed and proven. Mann's data was approved immediately. Mann's Hockey Stick graph took on an almost religious symbolism. The earth was not only warming fast, but it's warming was catastrophic. The warming was not natural, but anthropogenic. Humans were destroying Gaia. Something must be done! Kyoto is what must be done! Here is where science and public policy mesh. According to most (even the President now admits AGW is serious), the "science is settled." Everyone today is getting into the act. Not a day passes without an archeologist, paleontologist, botanist, geologist, or economist rendering a "study" about AGW. The summer of 2005 was the warmest summer since the Ice Age. AGW caused the east coast floods. AGW caused the bitterly cold winter in Eastern Europe. A recent poll even asked people how AGW affected their lives. Hysteria induced by groupthink reigns.

Of course the science is not settled. The June NAS Report artfully said MBH98 was correct, but the scientists used flawed methods and questionable data sets. By artful, I mean the committee said the science was wrong, but the results were correct. Also, the NAS Report casually reinserted the Little Ice Age (LIA) and Medieval Warm Period (MWP) back into the approved lexicon of climate studies -- something Mann and others rejected. Congress last year asked the NAS (National Academy of Sciences) to review MBH98 for its accuracy. There were still a few people in Congress who wished to get a second opinion before consigning the U.S. economy to the ash heap of history. The almost knee jerk acceptance of MBH98 by the IPCC alarmed not just some in Congress, but also those involved in the field of research. Two Canadians, Steve McIntyre and Ross McKitrick, began to audit the findings of MBH98 themselves. From the beginning they began to find problems with the study. McIntyre published these findings in Nature magazine, and thus began the firestorms that eventually lead to congressional hearings and the NAS Report. McIntyre's findings are very technical -- they mainly deal with statistical methodologies, the accuracy of the Southwest Bristle Cone proxy, etc. The NAS Report recognized McIntyre's findings, but in the end, the committee stood by the conclusions of MBH98 with certain caveats. The science may not be settled in their eyes, but the conclusions are. MBH98 findings are still correct -- to a certain degree. Maybe.

All of this may be a moot. Too many people have too much invested in AGW to let science steer the issue. Government bureaucrats, career government scientists, UN officials, former Marxists, Earthfirsters, as well as reputations of many who climbed on MBH98 bandwagon early on, cannot allow the slow pace of scientific research to stand in their way. Lawyers and judges may settle the policy questions with no regard for the science. Even the EPA, a regulatory agency, says they cannot regulate CO2, because Congress never gave them the legal means to do so. Besides, CO2 is vital for carbon based organisms (namely plants, animals, and humans). To say CO2 is a pollutant, and to regulate it as such is absurd. The EPA's mandate is to regulate harmful pollutants. What many people are asking the EPA to do is to classify CO2 as a pollutant. Only Congress can do this -- this they refuse to do. But that shouldn't stop the activists, as everyone knows, Congress doesn't write laws anymore -- the courts do. One can only hope, there are five members of the SCOTUS who will write an opinion that reflects constitutional law, and not advocacy.
-- JP
Indiana

I can't believe you published the following paragraph from "Taking a Molecule to Court.". The paragraph states the global warming theory as though it were accepted fact. It is not! Scientists have not "connected the warming trend to the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere." Only contorted versions of climate computer models have done that and then only in part. Other parts of the same models have simply proven themselves wrong.

You should either publish a retraction or qualification of that paragraph. As stated, it is outrageous.

"The modern global economy is powered by hydrocarbons -- oil, natural gas and coal. Burning these fuels releases the energy we need to light our homes, heat and cool our offices, and get us from place to place. But the process also releases a byproduct called carbon dioxide (CO2). We have known for well over a century that, all other things being equal, more carbon dioxide in the atmosphere will warm the atmosphere as it absorbs energy up to a certain point. In recent years, with the atmosphere warming since the 1970s, scientists have connected the warming trend to the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. This is the phenomenon of global warming."
-- Ken Jorgensen
Sunnyvale, California

A LACK OF STRATEGERY
Re: Patrick Hynes's Democrats of Little Faith:

Another trend seen among Democrat strategerists (Bush word) are these "quorums" or "seminars" they have in order to "construct a message" to reach certain groups of voters. Focus-group based outreach attempting to; "have the cake and eat it too" of which today's Democrat party is so fond of campaigning on.

Today's Democrats are focused on soft messages of "it's all O.K" and "we'll work it out after the election" that are aimed at not offending everyone. It ends up looking like an ill-planned camp-out where someone's getting shorted on S'mores and the counselor won't give up theirs either.

Look, its 2006, and it's been 2 stinkin' years since the last election and Democrats still haven't told us what the plan is. Heck, they don't know what the plan is! Republicans are scared of these guys?!
-- P. Aaron Jones
Huntington Woods, Michigan

NOT YOUR FATHER'S SUPERMAN
Re: Carol Platt Liebau's Swallowing the Kryptonite:

As I was checking out your website, thinking of subscribing, I came upon the article by Carol Liebau on the new Superman film. The fact that the "American Way" was but a relative small offense. The fact that Superman, hero to millions, had sex out of wedlock, produced a bastard child, then left that child and mother with a live-in boyfriend who thinks the kid is his... Now that is seriously disturbing! Unfortunately, not to America... Bad enough that Christopher Reeve noted the color of Lois's panties in his first Superman film... What new worlds will our hero explore next chapter?
-- Ron

Although I would have liked to seen "truth, justice and the American way" in the Superman movie, I think Ms. Liebau's reaction to its absence is completely overboard. For one, that phrase was not used with the original Superman, but only appeared during the Second World War, after which it was dropped for several years. More importantly, what is surprising about this Hollywood film is that it goes against modern liberal sensibilities. Superman is analogous to Jesus Christ; Lois Lane declares that "the world doesn't need a savior, and neither do I." This is exactly what many intellectuals in Hollywood and elsewhere believe, but Superman softly retorts her statement, telling her that he hears people's cries for help all the time. Those watching the movie hear Superman's father, Jor-El tell him that human beings can be and want to be great, but they .".only lack the light to show them the way. For this reason above all -- their capacity for good -- I have sent them you, my only son." This parallels words from the Gospel of John (8:12, 3:16). Superman also suffers, dies (in a crucifixion pose) and is resurrected. It is a powerful parable. No, Superman in this movie is not quintessentially American, but neither is Jesus Christ! Contrary to Ms. Liebau's assertion, the movie tells us that we in fact DO need a savior, and few can question which savior exactly this movie points to.
-- Benjamin Rodkin
Maryland

COMPLIMENTS FOR CLINE
Re: Andrew Cline's If the Times covered the American Revolution:

The New York Times provides ample fodder for historical parody. I have read many amusing, and thought provoking, articles that re-write historical events in the manner that the Times writes them now. However there is one parody that is yet to be written -- Benedict Arnold. Arnold's life and actions should be reviewed, not just for parody but also as a simile for all those who scream "don't you question my patriotism":

1. Arnold was a serving military officer and wounded war hero. Imagine what the modern Democrats and the MSM would do with such a human shield (hat tip to Ann Coulter for exposing this practice).

2. Arnold was "Disaffected due to grievances with the Continental Congress and the military, suffering from mounting personal debt, and facing corruption charges …" which makes him an ideal whistle blower and informer to work in the State Department.

3. He was also "… an embittered man, resentful toward Congress for not approving his wartime expenses and bypassing him for promotion." Our very own Deep Throat.

4. Despite all his public and personal problems (including charges for corruption) these problems would be suitably ignored by the MSM (he is, after all, one of us. Joe Wilson may be a proven liar but that is not as important as Rush being caught with Viagra).

5. Despite his blatant treachery he had the nerve to insist that his actions were patriotic - "love to my country actuates my present conduct, however it may appear inconsistent to the world, who very seldom judge right of any man's actions."

6. The first Benedict Arnold had to flee the colonies to live in England. Our modern Benedict Arnolds stay here to continue their patriotic duty of dissent.

The sad fact of the matter is that Arnold was no worse than many of our fellow citizens (or comrades as they prefer to call themselves). In a time where people had more commonsense than "nuance", his name became a byword for treason and treachery. Today he would be doing the talk show circuit and having his picture in Vanity Fair.
-- David Straface
(all items in quotes taken from Wikipedia)

I found Mr. Cline's satirical article a real hoot. Once again, it proves the axiom that the best comedy MUST contain at least a kernel of truth to be truly funny. The funniest part, however, is that our current President, George Bush, doesn't seem to care what the NY Times publishes. Just a matter of a couple of days after the NY and LA Times published the "secret" program to track terrorist money transfers, George Bush rewarded the reporters with an invitation to a splendid state dinner in the White House, a lovely evening for themselves and their spouses.

Well I guess, if our Commander in Chief is not concerned about the national security leaks, we shouldn't be either.
-- Ken Shreve

STOLE THE GALLOWS POLE
Re: Jay D. Homnick's Ken Lay, RIPped

How dare Ken Lay beat the hangman!
-- Jack Hughes
Chicago, Illinois

Let's start with the quote "We should convict Lay in a court of law, as indeed we have, but it is unseemly to keep heaping scorn unto his casket."

Now why the heck would anybody want to do that? A lot of lefties, who attempted to tie Enron to the Bush administration are as upset with Ken Lay's passing as they were when they were cut off from the last few episodes of ABC TV's failed White House drama; "Commander in Chief."

So many things in life are unfair to them and these lefties shout the loudest when they are denied this thing called "closure." Such little children disappointed that the TV gets turned off at bedtime.
-- P. Aaron Jones
Huntington Woods, Michigan

The article "Ken Lay, RIPped" by Jay D. Homnick blindly assumes Kenneth Lay is dead.

I know it sounds far-fetched, but what if Ken Lay is not really dead? What if his "death" was staged?

If you had millions socked away in one or more foreign bank accounts that could make it easy to live in lavish seclusion and the ability to clear your name from just having been convicted of being responsible for one of the worst corporate implosions and scandals in U.S. history, might you not exercise this ultimate "get out of jail free" card?

I'm from Missouri on Ken Lay's reported death. I want to see incontrovertible proof he's dead -- not just reports of a coroner's report. And I think all the media should want this same proof, before laying the memory of that human leech to rest.
-- J. Phebert

I agree that Ken Lay did originally build a legitimate company. It was a fine mid-sized pipeline operator that made a nice profit and generated real cash flow. However, it did not just go south. Unlike Warren Buffett, Ken Lay was not content to run a boring but profitable business. Instead, he stood watch as Enron grew its apparent revenue based on mark-to-market accounting, floated his Potemkin village on a sea of debt and hid it all behind a cosmic array of flim-flammery. At best, he was a vain fool that failed to exercise reasonable care to protect the investment of the thousands of employees and investors that helped make his wealth and power possible. At worst, he was a criminal that actively lied to the world when he had a legal obligation to reveal the truth. In the final analysis, he was probably part fool and part crook. That certainly does not earn him my sympathy. It does make his death noteworthy. Finally, as the author accurately points out, it absolutely does not justify some of the hateful ways he has been discussed since dying.
-- Tom Cabanski

FALSE PROTECTOR
Re: The Prowler's What the New York Times Has Wrought:

Perhaps the Prowler should get back to his DOJ sources, because Atty. Gen. Gonzales and his boss, George Bush, don't seem to be in any hurry to do anything effective to stop the publishing of these national security leaks, nor to uncover the leakers and put them in jail. More than enough time has elapsed since the outing of the rendition prisons program to have convened a grand jury and brought the reporter before them to reveal their sources. More than enough time has elapsed since the outing of the NSA communication intercept program to have convened a grand jury and brought the reporter before them to reveal their sources.

Government actions and inactions both teach lessons. In this instance the lesson has been learned very well by the media. The lesson is that George Bush is not serious about stopping the leaks and the outing of national security programs in this time of war. Even a very young child quickly learns that, if there are no adverse consequences to his/her bad behavior, then the child might as well keep misbehaving.
-- Ken Shreve

BAYWATCH BY THE NUMBERS
Re: Lawrence Henry's Numbers:

Actually, I was somewhat encouraged by an unscientific survey taken some few years ago which said that Iranians loved to watch American TV and the most popular show was Baywatch.

I thought all we have to do to foment the revolution is drop like the Marshall Plan colored TVs and blue jeans.

People in the know have been positing what you say in your article for some time now. Do you care to take a shot at when and what kind of event will cause this kettle to blow?
-- unsigned

In computer-ese, a "host" is a computer. An "Internet host" is a computer that's connected to the Internet.

Deep in the bowels of Windows, (at C:\WINDOWS\system32\drivers\etc, if you're curious) is a file called "hosts." At the dawn of the Internet, before the DNS system (big computer databases that resolve names like staples.com to IP addresses), every computer just had a "hosts" file, of which this is a vestige. If a computer you wanted to connect to wasn't in the hosts file, you couldn't connect. Back in 1969 there were something like 30 entries in the hosts file!
-- Chris

THE ESTABLISHED CONNECTION
Re: Paul Dorell's Letter (under "Good Soldiers") in Reader Mail's Desert Leave:

Paul Dorell makes the ridiculous statement that al Qaeda had few ties to Iraq. This most likely comes from the 9/11 Commission statement that they found no connection between Iraq and the attacks on 9/11 or a United Nations report (would anyone seriously quote something from the UN?). There were and are plenty of ties between al Qaeda and Iraq listed in the 9/11 Commission Report and many found since we invaded Iraq. Paul clearly has problems with logic. I am not reassured that our intelligence agencies or the bureaucracy protecting 9/11 Commission found no ties (9/11 and Iraq) since folks like Paul have seen to a pretty much emasculated and politicized CIA. Even now Paul and his fellow travelers try to undermine every effort to "connect the dots." Given the sorry state of intelligence it is reasonable to attack countries like Iraq that have a long history of terrorism and support of terrorism. Paul seems to think that there was hardly a terrorist problem prior to President Bush. I am worried that he has suffered some severe beatings while lecturing his VFW betters and has forgotten even recent history. Just because he just noticed doesn't mean it didn't exist. Paul should check out the 1990s for a start. The planning for 9/11 started in this period and there were plenty of attacks including one at the World Trade Center. During this period Iraqi's traveled to Sudan and held bomb-making classes with al Qaeda personnel. Somebody more curious than Paul might wonder how these bombs were used. Is this the period he wishes we could return? Doing nothing in the face of this threat is not a low risk option. It has been tried and failed.
-- Clifton Briner

For your benefit, Mr. Dorell, I grew up in Scarsdale, NY. My millionaire father was from Winnetka, IL (you know where that is, don't you?). Your pissant liberal attitude is oh-so-familiar. I ran into it every day growing up among the country club communists I hung out with. The reality is that people like you and them haven't got a clue about the life you denigrate. Fact is, I could easily afford to be at Ben's club and would greatly enjoy watching fireworks with him. But I thank the Lord every day that I've served 23 years in the Navy and got to know a better class of people than the privileged class I grew up with. I also thank God that the Navy cured me (at much personal expense) of much of the intellectual smugness I had acquired in my youth. Somehow I doubt you will ever be as fortunate.
-- CDR Paul H. Doolittle, USN

ELEPHANTS AND JACKASSES
Re: Robert Seidenberg's Gay Behavior vs. Public Health:

This issue is just one of many proverbial "elephant(s) in the room." There are many elephants in the room on this issue. The gay movement has in its sights to completely normalize their degenerate behavior and they believe nothing must stand in their way. Not even the health and welfare of a nation. Not only does our culture fail to understand and state the health risks and stand up to these bullies, we also refuse to look a the sexual
behaviors for their own merit. They are generally disgusting and down right nauseating (read any gay sexuality book), let alone dangerous. Politically, the gay movement intends to shove this issue down our throats -- those who don't bend to their will be labeled homophobes or worse. And to that end, the courts will back them up.

The world is upside down. Who will turn it right side up?
-- Mark Sauser

COLLEGIATE CORRESPONDENCE
Re: Ben Stein's How Was Your Weekend?:

I want to say that I have great respect for, and have used with good reward, your advice on finance and investing. For your generous gift of wisdom alone, I am grateful.

Recently, in your 7/6/2006 entry, you wrote:

"In the meantime, how can it be that the Supreme Court is worried about the rights of Osama bin Laden's driver in court, but no one is raising a finger about the rights of Marines who offer their lives to fight for us and then get held in leg irons when there is an accusation against them? How can this be?"

It can be, because of human rights.

Under the recently created doctrine of "human rights," every human has the same rights. No matter if you are an Arab, a white American, a suspected terrorist or a suspected torturer. No matter your actual (war) crime or your suspected (war) crime, "human rights" assumes innocence until proven guilty, and takes serious accusations seriously.

From reading this short essay, it would seem that you love your friends, but only hate your enemies. I agree that Jews are a strange people, but, I think, also a great people. Many of my favorite people are Jews. My favorite Jew, in fact, is Jesus Christ. He said, "If you love only your brothers, what have you gained? Even the heathen will do that much."

The Islamic terrorists love their brothers, and hate their enemies, too. If we can do no better than them, then maybe we do not deserve to win this Iraq war. We need to look to the ideal:

"Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you."

Only by treating our enemies as we would like to be treated can we win the culture war with Islam, and truly prove whose is the superior culture.
-- Charles Frederick
Colby College

You forgot to write about the tens of thousands of homeless vets, about the thousands of Iraq vets suffering alone from PTSD. What about them? Where do they fit in to your lovely vision of America being damaged by terrorist-loving liberals? It's disingenuous for such a smart fellow as yourself to pretend this unfathomably complicated situation is anything but that. Or are you just trying to make a buck? And if that's the case, can't Bill Keller use the same excuse?
-- Joe Mellis
Los Angeles, California

Thank you for publishing Mr. Stein. He is a great source of inspiration and has excellent stories to illustrate his point. I love opportunities to see him, but mostly to read his opinion and commentary.

Please keep him on and promoting his work.

I also love to read other contributors and articles at Spectator.org.
-- Seth Winch

STICKS IN MY CRAW
Re: Andrew Crawford's letter (under "'Fact Check'") in Reader Mail's You Can Go Home Again and R. Emmett Tyrrell, Jr.'sThe Kerry Brigade:

Andrew Crawford's anecdotal musings about a couple of John Kerry's fellow Vietnam veterans is not an excuse to slander those that have a different view.

Only an agenda by Mr. Crawford paints his admittedly taken accounts from a website he called a "non-partisan organization (a sure sign of declaration of a very partisan one)" as his reason to post.

He then continues with his broad brush to paint the good folks at Free Republic as right-wing idiots all while using another DNC tactic of making sure he tut-tuts those "idiotic posting from left-wing blog commentators." It's a taught mechanism on how to be portrayed as "independent" before viciously attacking those on the right. Sort of like those seminar callers you hear on Rush or Hannity's radio shows.

As an early member of Free Republic (I was #1244 to sign on in 1998 before what we know as the internet was still nothing but bulletin boards on Compuserve and Prodigy) I can wholeheartedly say the vast majority are not idiots or right-wing. They are conservatives that are active in their politics.

I've met many of them and know many others online and they are the most decent Americans one would ever meet. Sure, there are some extreme individuals as they exist in any large group. But to portray all in such a manner is nothing more than an attack by a hack that is working for the DNC to get their talking points (lies) into the arena.

Stating, "I could not care less about Kerry's presidential prospects. As a candidate for 2008, he doesn't rank in the top ten contenders in my opinion..." is nothing but another learned tactic to make some readers actually believe his lies. Face it Mr. Crawford, if you truly believed that tripe you wouldn't have cut and pasted the same tired BS I've seen about Rassman every time the Swift Boat Veterans come up.

Are you sure you aren't Lawrence O'Donnell?
-- Greg Barnard
Franklin, Tennessee

JUDGING DELAYED
Re: Mark Gauvreau Judge's Doubting Coulter -- At First:

Mark Gauvreau Judge is clueless. You cannot draw a parallel between victims of car accidents and cancer victims and victims of one of the most vicious, horrendous mass murders in all of American history. The Jersey women's comments about their husband's deaths are graphic because the attacks were graphic. In my opinion their comments clearly demonstrate rage -- (and rightly so). And then they are attacked for their venomous reactions to their husbands' gory deaths? Please. Remember that song "one of these things is not like the other"? Think it through Mark.
-- Jennifer Nelson
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

I just read "Doubting Coulter -- At First," by Mark Gauvreau Judge. I think that it's time to let Ms. Coulter, slip quietly into the sidelines and not try to print articles defending her.

I think she went over the edge in what she said, and by defending her, all we do is cheapen our cause and give credibility to the other side. Which is something we don't need right now, what with the elections coming up, and the trouble in Iraq and President Bush's low poll numbers.
-- Ian Klein

Coulter went over the line -- the same way abortion prevention activists use full color photos of fetuses blown up many times original size to tell their side of a very biased story. It is also how these women are dealing with a full out attack by a vicious attack dog on the right -- somehow when a group's tactics are used against them they whine about it and twist the meaning.

Of course it is nothing new -- it is just that uncivil discourse had consequences in the time of Burr and Hamilton -- now it just makes money for both sides but especially a bottom feeder like Coulter.
-- unsigned

DEAR SPECTATOR
Re: Lawrence Henry's "Yes, Dear":

This article by Mr. Lawrence Henry, as well as all the other articles written by the fine men and women you have as your colleagues on your wonderful staff that make up your wonderful magazine is the reason why I subscribe. Doesn't this article just say it all, the reason why we are conservatives and not wimped-out libs. Keep up the excellent work.
-- Steve Heafey
Alamo, California

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