Washington Post columnist Michael Gerson laments the death of “objectivity” which he blames on cable TV news, free markets and bloggers:
Most cable news networks have forsaken objectivity entirely and produce little actual news, since makeup for guests is cheaper than reporting… .
Free markets, it turns out, often make poor fact-checkers, instead feeding the fantasies of conspiracy theorists from “birthers” to Sept. 11, 2001, “truthers.”
Bloggers in repressive countries often show great courage, but few American bloggers have the resources or inclination to report from war zones, famines and genocides.
Gerson’s payroll position at a think tank funded by Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal Al Saud, of course, qualifies him to look down his elitist nose at the rest of us. (We don’t live in “repressive countries” and therefore lack “great courage,” which Gerson obviously possesses in incomparable measure.)
Prince Al-Waleed is reportedly the 22nd richest man in the world. For all I know, the prince also gives generously to the American Spectator Foundation — and if not, he certainly should — but I’ve spent too many years in the news business to sit still for lectures from a worthless think-tank wonk like Michael Gerson.
“Herewith, a brief primer” — indeed!
Congress is debating legislation that would do essentially what Mitt Romney did in Massachusetts: impose a health insurance mandate, create a network of subsidies, and micro-manage health insurance policies. Before legislators take us down the same road, they should consider the Massachusetts experience. Citizens there are not impressed with RomneyCare.
In 2006, Massachusetts implemented its own statewide version of health care reform and 32% of the state’s voters consider that reform a success. The latest Rasmussen Reports telephone survey of the Bay State finds that 36% consider the plan a failure and another 32% are not sure.
Those figures have changed little over the past two months.
Twenty percent (20%) now say that the state’s reform effort has made health care more affordable while 31% say just the opposite. Thirty-nine percent (39%) believe it’s had no impact on prices and 11% are not sure.
Sixteen percent (16%) say the Massachusetts reform has improved the quality of care in the state while 24% believe the quality of health care in the state has gotten worse. Most, 51%, say there has been no impact on the quality of care.
Should we spend trillions of dollars to do the same thing at the national level? The answer should be obvious!
Turns out the public isn’t thrilled at the thought of more government “help” for the economy. According to Rasmussen Reports:
Enough is already more than enough when it comes to the economy, according to most U.S. voters.
A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey shows that 53% of voters worry that the federal government will do too much when it comes to reacting to the nation’s financial problems. This marks a five-point increase from last month and is seven points higher than the week after President Obama took office.
But 37% of voters now worry that the federal government will not do enough in dealing with the current economic situation. Forty-two percent (42%) felt that way in late January.
People are right to be fearful. We already have a $12 trillion national debt, are expected to run up at least another $10 trillion in red ink over the next decade, and face $107 trillion in unfunded liabilities for Social Security and Medicare. That doesn’t count the trillions that health care “reform” will cost us if it passes.
All we need are more bail-outs and “stimulus” bills. Please, spare us more of Uncle Sam’s “help”!
The High Priests perform their statistical rituals and the cultists genuflect reverently before their idol, Science. And it’s all very impressive until the truth is discovered:
For those of you who have been stigmatizing AGW skeptics as “deniers” and dismissing their charges that the whole enterprise is fraudulent? Hope you like the taste of crow, because I do believe there’s a buttload of it coming at you. Piping hot.
The recent exposure of emails, data and software from the pre-eminent global warming organization — the Climate Research Unit — shows not only that scientists are human and thus tribal, arrogant and sometimes deceitful, but also the modern process is inadequate and antiquated.
Skeptics have argued that critical data had been “cooked,” and scientists had been refusing requests for data. Now we know that not only was the data misused and that the scientists had been engaged in a coverup and suppression of dissent, but also that they are not even able to understand their own data… .
Well, here’s yet another thing the unconfirmable Obama “Climate Czarina” Carol Browner was able to avoid disclosing thanks to — and one more reason for being stuffed into — a backdoor position of influence, her phony job not subject to Senate confirmation, even while lording over Senate-confirmed constitutional officers:
That makes for one really big conflict of interest in her role guiding the administration’s efforts to regulate carbon dioxide and force emitters to buy CO2 ration-coupons. From, uh, companies like that. What are her financial holdings, by chance? Not confirmed. Obama’s stance for senior advisors with sketchy records is don’t ask, don’t tell.
So, add this to Browner’s work for the Albright Group — “secretive about its clients” (SourceWatch) — violating a federal judge’s order to preserve documents by wiping computers clean while at EPA (sound at all relevant these days?), and her board membership on the Socialist International’s “climate” project (actually airbrushed out once her move into the administration became public).
Other than those I can’t think of too many reasons Obama wouldn’t want our Climate Czarina subjected to disclosure requirements and scrutiny.
Hat-tip to the vigilant Anthony Watts, publisher of www.WattsUpWithThat.com.
The alarmists’ reaction to CEI’s Notice of Intent to Sue NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies for withholding data now for nigh on two years has been particularly shrill as regards my FOIA inquiry into the clearance and other deliberations over the non-official activities for the nasty, deceptive, third-party advocacy blog RealClimate.org by one GISS spokesman Gavin Schmidt on official, taxpayer-funded time.
When considering that apparently unacceptable Request for transparency as to what NASA was thinking in agreeing to spend my money that way, our Notice and the alarmists’ reaction in the current “ClimateGate” context, also consider the following relevant excerpt from “Red Hot Lies: How Global Warming Alarmists Use Threats, Fraud and Deception to Keep You Misinformed” (pp. 104-104). That nice red cover would look great under the tree this year, even if what’s inside the cover is burning the retinas of the global warming industry right about now:
Putting a bow on this package of interwoven relationships and back-scratching in pursuit of the elites’ agenda (and largely at taxpayer expense) comes the leading alarmist webblog RealClimate.org. Seemingly established in 2004 to counter, of all things, Michael Crichton’s novel, State of Fear, RealClimate serves as the popular science media’s main touchstone for alarmist memes second only to Gore and his advisor Hansen - and we see here that this is really a distinction without a difference. This outlet is populated by none other than NASA’s resident alarmist mouthpiece - and official spokesman for Hansen’s GISS shop - Gavin Schmidt. Although RealClimate touts the unpaid nature of their writers’ work, the time-stamps on Schmidt’s often highly personal blog posts make quite clear that these actually come on the taxpayer dime, as well. Other RealClimate writers include “Hockey Stick” Mann and Hockey Stick-related Casper Amman.
It turns out that Realclimate.org is owned by an outfit that is in essence a non-profit public relations firm called Environmental Media Services (EMS), “dedicated to expanding media coverage of critical environmental and public health issues”, whose Pittsburgh office houses the RealClimate server. ActivistCash.com describes EMS as “the communications arm of leftist public relations firm Fenton Communications.”
EMA’s listed registrant, Betsy Ensley, engages in the objective, non-partisan pursuit of “manag[ing] BushGreenwatch.org, a joint EMS-MoveOn.org public awareness website”. She also apparently ran WomenAgainstBush.org, and former Harvard string theorist (and still-hilarious climate blogger) Lubos Motl notes that when Ensley was campaigning against John Ashcroft her secretary was Kalee Kreider, now Al Gore’s spokesperson. MoveOn is of course in part a George Soros venture, and attentive climate realists recall the kafuffle over Soros supporting Hansen’s alarmism.
Motl describes EMS as “primarily an organization to pay for junk science about food and beverages, often hired by food companies to damage their competitors”. This is known as “black marketing.”
This is not inconsistent with my own experience with Fenton, which I first encountered nearly two decades ago. Then, they were representing a “green” lawn care products company in a legislative effort to craft new federal laws creating a secure place in a market otherwise dominated by those whose products attain prominence through competition. This is a modus operandi that will sound very familiar by the time you finish this book. Fenton has also been associated with every questionable campaign from chasing Alar off the shelves by leveraging weepy celebrities and fear tactics to promoting Mother Sheehan’s tour.
As critics note, the idea that RealClimate is just a bunch of unpaid “real scientists” is risible, given their methods of argumentation are often little more than smear, ridicule, cherry- picking science, and pronouncing themselves and their exclusive little climate clique as only the few “qualified’ to have an opinion on man-made global warming. RealClimate’s members, like Andrew Dessler of Grist and writers for the Soros-backed Climate Progress, perpetrate a unique form of “qualification thuggery” by which anyone skeptical of their agenda are unworthy to comment, typically because they skeptic does not affiliate with the UN IPCC. When the skeptic is an IPCC author or reviewer, well he’s still unqualified. And “mere physicists” such as Freeman Dyson, or chemists, or economists, are also unqualified, but only when they disagree. After all, Dessler is a chemist, and the IPCC’s “chief scientist” is no such thing at all, as you’ll see.
Absent agreement, this unholy alliance of activists, Big Science and other vested interests responds so viciously to even the whiff of dissent that it is impossible to not wonder what it is they are afraid of.
 Lobos Motl, “Bonus: Funding of RealClimate.org”, The Reference Frame”, April 7, 2008, http://motls.blogspot.com/2008/04/green-trolls-edit-wmo-bbc-reports.html.
 See, e.g., Noel Sheppard, “NASA’s Hansen Claims He’s Being ‘Swift-boated’ by Critics”, NewsBusters, September 28, 2007, http://www.newsbusters.org/blogs/noel-sheppard/2007/09/28/nasa-s-james-hansen-claims-he-s-being-swift-boated-critics.
 Motl, “Bonus: Funding of RealClimate.org.”
 See discussion also at http://www.activistcash.com/organization_overview.cfm/oid/110.
 See Horner, “Politically Incorrect Guide to global Warming and Environmentalism”, pp xv-xvi.
On this day of thanks I am grateful for, among many blessings, the unfolding affirmation of that about which we have been warning policymakers, in lurid detail now confirmed: the global warming industry’s aggressive game of Hide the Baloney.
Here are my thoughts on the matter on Fox Business Channel’s Cavuto program yesterday..
In short, with remarkable parallel to how the Soviet collapse and a trove of documents revealing that system to be precisely as historian Robert Conquest had detailed to terrific opprobrium from academics worldwide, Conquest supposedly suggested calling his re-released works “I told you so, you [expletive] fools.”
Scientists lied, Kyoto died. Hallelujah.
Many Canadians defend their health system in moralistic terms: they cover everyone, unlike those uncivilized Americans. But Canadian Rondi Adamson warns against the Canadian tendency towards preachiness:
Six years ago, my mother had open-heart surgery. After her cardiologist recommended the surgery, a group of doctors at the hospital to which her cardiologist was attached had to review her case and decide whether she was, in their collective expert opinion, worth it.
Thankfully, they decided she was. But they could have just as easily decided she wasn’t. My mother had the surgery, without which her doctor did not believe she would have survived 2003. She is still here and still remarkable.
In that true story one can find the good and the bad of Canadian healthcare. There are, de facto, death panels. Alarmist terminology aside, in a single-payer, public system, the state will decide how to mete out finite resources. Of course, with private healthcare there are also “death panels.” But at least you can shop around for an insurer who will be generously inclined towards your various ailments.
Had the doctors overseeing my mother’s case decided against surgery, her only option would have been to go to the United States, something she could not have afforded. But they decided in her favour and what came next demonstrated one of the best things about our system. Due to luck of the draw and the hospital to which her cardiologist was linked — as opposed to wealth or influential friends — my mother had her surgery performed by one of the best heart doctors in the country.
I tell this story in response not so much to the ongoing debate about healthcare in the United States, but in response to the general Canadian sanctimony about it. We would do well to not preach, in spite of Barack Obama ‘s assertion — during his appearance a few weeks ago on the Late Show with David Letterman — that Canadians “are perfectly happy with their system.”
Despite the grand triumph of the Democratic leadership in ramming a government health care takeover through the House, things are not going well for the Dems. Indeed, one suspects that the ideological crusade to socialize American medicine at any cost is one of the chief factors driving down support for the governing party.
Republican candidates have extended their lead over Democrats to seven points, their biggest lead since early September, in the latest edition of the Generic Congressional Ballot.
The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey shows that 44% would vote for their district’s Republican congressional candidate while 37% would opt for his or her Democratic opponent.
Democratic Senators might want to think carefully before they move similar legislation.
Reduced the national debt by sixty percent? We’ve got to get on this cloning technology, send it up to New England—Coolidge/Pierce 2012!
Today on the main site:
What to watch for:
Phil Jones, head of the Climate Research Unit at the University of East Anglia and the epicenter of Climategate, now has a new explanation for the now famous “trick” to “hide the (temperature) decline:”
“The use of the term ‘hiding the decline’ was in an email written in haste,” he said. “CRU has not sought to hide the decline.”
He provided the comments in an interview with the alarmist-friendly Guardian, which also helpfully linked updated statements from Jones and vice chancellor for research Trevor Davies, where Jones elaborated:
My colleagues and I accept that some of the published emails do not read well. I regret any upset or confusion caused as a result. Some were clearly written in the heat of the moment, others use colloquialisms frequently used between close colleagues.
So, “haste” and “heat” are to explain Jones’s efforts to manipulate data. The Competitive Enterprise Institute’s Myron Ebell understands:
For people who don’t know any better, this looks like Professor Phil Jones, director of the CRU, is saying that he has used a “trick” that he got from Professor Michael Mann in order to “hide the decline.” First of all, we know that Professor Jones is a man of high integrity (as well as high competence in his field), so he would never do anything dishonest, sneaky, or duplicitous. Second, “trick” is a technical term often employed by the cream of climate scientists. It simply means employing a clever (or “slick”) method to accomplish some technical goal (in this case, “to hide the decline”). Anyone can see that “trick” is a much shorter and more elegant way to say that. And you’ve got to admire the verbal facility of these tip-top scientists. They are as articulate and literate as they are scientifically tip-top.
What is the clever method that Professor Jones learned from Professor Mann? I think he is referring to the way Professor Mann constructed his celebrated hockey stick graph. His proxy records showed flat temperatures for the past thousand years, including the past century. But everyone knows that temperatures have gone up rapidly in the past few decades. That’s what the surface temperature record compiled by Professor Jones at CRU shows. And everyone knows that Professor Jones’s temperature record is irreproachable, even though he destroyed the raw data. So what Professor Mann did was splice the last few decades of surface temperature records onto his proxy record. Voila!–the hockey stick. Over nine centuries of flat temperatures and then rapid warming in the late twentieth century. What Professor Mann did was simply make sure that ordinary people weren’t misled by the proxy data.
As for the many Freedom of Information inquiries CRU has received, Jones explains:
We have been bombarded by Freedom of Information requests to release the temperature data that are provided to us by meteorological services around the world via a large network of weather stations. This information is not ours to give without the permission of the meteorological services involved. We have responded to these Freedom of Information requests appropriately and with the knowledge and guidance of the Information Commissioner.
We have stated that we hope to gain permission from each of these services to publish their data in the future and we are in the process of doing so.
That doesn’t seem to comport with Jones’s statement in this email:
If they ever hear there is a Freedom of Information Act now in the UK, I think I’ll delete the file rather than send to anyone….We also have a data protection act, which I will hide behind.
I did get an email from the FOI person here early yesterday to tell me I shouldn’t be deleting emails…According to the FOI Commissioner’s Office, IPCC is an international organization, so is above any national FOI. Even if UEA holds anything about IPCC, we are not obliged to pass it on…
Sound like they’re really striving to “gain permission” to release data? Perhaps another FOI request would reveal how hard they are working at that. Meanwhile, I nearly spewed my afternoon Joe when I read this Jones comment to the Guardian:
But he stressed that he has never wished to get drawn into the political debate about climate change, saying: “I’m a very apolitical person, I don’t want to get involved in the politics, I’m much happier doing the science and producing the papers. I’m a scientist, I let my science do the talking, along with all my scientific climate colleagues. It’s up to governments to decide and climate science is just one thing they have to take into account with the decisions they have to make.”
Mr. Dispassionate Scientist shows how much he doesn’t care about political action in the updated UEA-CRU statement:
In the frenzy of the past few days, the most vital issue is being overshadowed: we face enormous challenges ahead if we are to continue to live on this planet.
One has to wonder if it is a coincidence that this email correspondence has been stolen and published at this time. This may be a concerted attempt to put a question mark over the science of climate change in the run-up to the Copenhagen talks.
Poor Phil. Maybe one day, after he’s somewhat rehabilitated his reputation, he can find work as a small-market TV weatherman utilizing his expertise in covering local meteorological myths and legends:
What I want are some apologies from all the left-wing blog ghouls who danced on Bill Sparkman’s grave hoping to score points by blaming conservatives for the death …
Michelle Malkin asks, “When will the Left retract the Kentucky census worker case smear?” And Red State blogger Moe Lane points to Bill Sparkman as author of the smear:
For the record: when you try to set up your suicide to make it look like you’ve been murdered by your ideological opponents, you have officially abrogated any obligation for me to be upset at your plight.
Indeed, it appears that Sparkman wanted blame for his death to fall on “anti-government” local residents. Having traveled to Kentucky to investigate the story myself, my question is, “Where do to the people of Clay County go to get their reputation back?”
…it’s the Right that’s unhinged and frothing at the mouth, yes?
I see that some Democratic lawmakers are contemplating a war tax ahead of the Obama administration’s decision on troop levels in Afghanistan. Conceptually, do you think a war tax would make antitax Republicans more reluctant to start wars and antiwar Democrats less likely to impose taxes?
I started using the term “checklist conservatism” during the candidacy of Mitt Romney, who ran a presidential campaign geared toward methodically checking off the favored conservative position on any given issue, without regard to his record or prior positions. I’m reminded about the phenomenon when reading about this absurd proposed resolution to institute a “purity test” that would require the RNC to only send contributions to candidates who agree with eight out of 10 items. Practically, many of the principles are too subjective. For instance, one principle is “Legal immigration and assimilation into American society by opposing amnesty for illegal immigrants” and another one is “Containment of Iran and North Korea, particularly effective action to eliminate their nuclear weapons threat.” How would either of these be judged? Even most Democrats would say they oppose amnesty, but the devil is in the details. Some people would say that making illegal immigrants legal is not amnesty if there are enough fines and hoops to jump through to become legalized, while others believe that anything short of deportation is amnesty. Same thing on nuclear weapons. Even liberals say they want to contain Iran and North Korea, but the debate is what constitutes “effective action.”
But beyond the practical aspect, this sort of thing is exactly the wrong message for conservatives to send to possible candidates. Candidates who merely regurgitate a set of pre-selected ideas to conform with the diktats of the national party will not do anything to advance conservatism. What conservatism needs is more thoughtful candidates who have a grounding in policy, are competent, have genuine accomplishments, and are able to persuade undecided voters that conservative ideas are superior. The RNC doesn’t need to support more trained seals who can talk a big game to conservative audiences and check all the right boxes, without having the ability to deliver the goods even if they managed to get elected.
I’m sure this alleged email is just out of context, nothing to see here, there’s really an implausible meaning that’s more reasonable than the plain reading and all the rest of what we’re told about the ClimateGate emails, but, well, I’m just saying (and, yes, you caught me trumping this up, emphases are indeed added):
From: “Mick Kelly” <firstname.lastname@example.org>
To: Nguyen Huu Ninh (email@example.com)
Subject: NOAA funding
Date: Tue, 24 Jun 2003 14:17:15 +0000
Content-Type: text/plain; charset=”utf-8”
NOAA want to give us more money for the El Nino work with IGCN.
How much do we have left from the last budget? I reckon most has been spent but we need to show some left to cover the costs of the trip Roger didn’t make and also the fees/equipment/computer money we haven’t spent otherwise NOAA will be suspicious.
Politically this money may have to go through Simon’s institute but there overhead rate is high so maybe not!
UPDATE: The official conclusion:
It is the conclusion of the Kentucky State Police, the FBI, the U.S. Forest Service, the State Medical Examiner’s Office, and the Clay County Coroner’s Office that Mr. Sparkman died in an intentional, self-inflicted act that was staged to appear as a homicide.
PREVIOUSLY: Morgan Bowling of the Manchester (Ky.) Enterprise just forwarded me this e-mail from the Kenctucky State Police:
KSP MEDIA ADVISORY
Kentucky State Police To Hold News Conference Regarding Death Investigation Of Census Worker
Advisory for: Tuesday, Nov. 24, 2009
WHAT: Kentucky State Police News Conference
WHEN: Tuesday, Nov. 24, 2:00 pm EST WHERE: KSP Central Forensic Laboratory, 100 Sower Blvd., Frankfort, Ky.
WHO: KSP Capt. Lisa Rudzinski, commander of KSP Post 11 in London, Lt. David Jude, commander of the KSP Media Relations Branch and representatives of the FBI and the state Medical Examiner’s Office.
WHY: Announcement of official results of death investigation of census worker Bill Sparkman in Clay County.
Despite early assertions that “anti-government sentiment” was implicated in Sparkman’s death, it is widely believed that KSP will announce that Sparkman committed suicide, staging the scene to look like a murder, perhaps in an insurance-fraud attempt.
And a Happy Thanksgiving to you?
Well, there he goes again. The United Church of Christ’s Reverend Chuck Currie has zipped out a blog post — he is the Blogger-in-Chief for the UCC, my denomination — in which he calls me a, well, “lying liar.” Ahhh, the subtlety. This is, of course, in response to the series of columns done on the So We Might See effort to censor free speech under the guise of labeling speech not liked as “hate speech.”
As usual, confusing his personal politics with his church, the Reverend Chuck perfectly illustrates yet again the problem when a church official views the church as a private club for political ward heeling or a subsidiary of the Daily Kos as opposed to a, well, United Church of Christ. It is a sad thing to see, actually, the “Reverend” in his title indicating that he would know better. As I noted in my response to him, I would never question his — or anyone’s — religious faith. That’s between Chuck and his God. So too would I never question his right to say what he wants — in this corner we are strong believers in free speech.
But his politics? When he uses the church to do politics, that should never get a free pass. The Reverend Chuck —let’s remove the “Reverend” here since he’s doing the political thing — worships in the political temple of progressivism. Which is to say he has signed on hook, line and sinker to the political faith that supported slavery, segregation, lynching and racial quotas and the idea that people are “minorities” and not people living Dr. King’s dream of a colorblind society. He supports a philosophy that signed on for torture (or “partial birth-abortion,” as sticking a needle in the head of baby is called) and the economics of envy. All topped off by a totalitarian passion for suppressing the free speech of those — like Lou Dobbs — with whom Chuck disagrees.
All in all, progressive politics — as evidenced by every one from the federal government — segregating Woodrow Wilson to the pro-lynching supporters of Social Security to the greed and envy economics of the Obama era has constructed quite the politics to proudly oppose. For those of us who believe in human freedom, a colorblind society in which people are judged by the content of their character instead of by their race, gender or sexual preference, the right of a free press, the right to free speech, to not have the government ration your health care etc. etc. — this places us well on the other side of the extremist/race-based/totalitarian style politics favored by the quaintly named “progressive” philosophy.
But so be it. The debate will continue. But in terms of the United Church of Christ, confusing Christ with progressive politics is something that doesn’t happen in this corner — and for that matter in lots of corners of the UCC. With good reason. There are conservatives aplenty in the UCC - and as much as we love, say, Ronald Reagan, we have no intention of substituting our politics where our faith resides.
Be that as it may: Happy Thanksgiving to the Reverend Chuck. We have linked to his posting so that others may see precisely the way some in the UCC hierarchy treat members whose differences are political — not theological.
“Lying liars.” Makes you want to run out and join the UCC, right? Not to worry. We don’t do this kind of thing in my local church — and its safe to say the individual churches of the UCC — who manage to run themselves without this kind of “guidance” from the top — don’t do it either.
We are what is known as a “Welcoming” church — where people of all political beliefs are welcome — because their political beliefs are not relevant to the reason they come to church.
For some in the UCC leadership, this is a difficult message. But we wish them a Happy Thanksgiving anyway. After all, that story next door about William Bradford? He was one of ours!
The Amazing Revkin of the New York Times, that is, who at about 5:00 yesterday posted a reader response to the whining of University of Chicago climatologist Raymond Pierrehumbert, who also contributes to the alarmist RealClimate blog. The responder is Geoff Smith, who is mentioned a few times in the Climategate emails. Smith challenges Pierrehumbert to overlook the “cyberterrorism” (Waaah!) and instead question: the deletion of emails to avoid Freedom of Information requests; the exclusion of research that CRU scientists and their colleagues disagree with; the “tricks” of playing with data to fit the scientists’ assumptions; and the desire to oust scientific journal editor who published the works of their enemies.
So, good for Andy for posting those succinct thoughts by Mr. Smith. But here are points deducted for Mr. Amazing:
1. He provides “balance” in his blog post by repeating verbatim the latest defense attempt on the scandal by the University of East Anglia. The spin includes, besides “out of context,” blah, blah:
CRU’s published research is, and has always been, fully peer-reviewed by the relevant journals, and is one strand of research underpinning the strong consensus that human activity is affecting the world’s climate in ways that are potentially dangerous. CRU is one of a number of independent centers working in this important area and reaching similar conclusions. It will continue to engage fully in reasoned debate on its findings with individuals and groups that are willing to have their research and theories subjected to scrutiny by the international scientific community.
“Peer-review” and “reasoned debate” were two issues that were proven to be disregarded by Phil Jones and his henchmen. Why does CRU want to surge even deeper into laughingstock territory?
2. Still waiting for Andy to do some of his own original reporting, for actual stories in the newspaper rather than blog posts, after he said on Friday that repercussions “continue to unfold” and “there’s much more to explore.” Does his curiosity extend only to reader comments on his own blog posts?
3. He also posted yesterday a regurgitation of the Times’ position on global warming, which is the same as the old position (“consensus!”). Perfect timing Andy!
Today, on behalf of the Competitive Enterprise Institute, I filed three Notices of Intent to File Suit against NASA and its Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS), for those bodies’ refusal - for nearly three years - to provide documents requested under the Freedom of Information Act.
The information sought is directly relevant to the exploding “ClimateGate” scandal revealing document destruction, coordinated efforts in the U.S. and UK to avoid complying with both countries’ freedom of information laws, and apparent and widespread intent to defraud at the highest levels of international climate science bodies. Numerous informed commenters had alleged such behavior for years, all of which appears to be affirmed by leaked emails, computer codes and other data from the Climatic Research Unit of the UK’s East Anglia University.
All of that material and that sought for years by CEI go to the heart of the scientific claims and campaign underpinning the Kyoto Protocol, its planned successor treaty, “cap-and-trade” legislation and the EPA’s threatened regulatory campaign to impose similar measures through the back door.
CEI sought the following documents, among others, NASA’s failure to provide which within thirty days will prompt CEI to file suit in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia:
- internal discussions about NASA’s quiet correction of its false historical U.S. temperature records after two Canadian researchers discovered a key statistical error, specifically discussion about whether and why to correct certain records, how to do so, the impact or wisdom or potential (or real) fallout therefrom or reaction to doing so (requested August 2007);
- internal discussions relating to the emails sent to James Hansen and/or Reto A. Ruedy from Canadian statistician Steve McIntyre calling their attention to the errors in NASA/GISS online temperature data (August 2007);
- those relating to the content, importance or propriety of workday-hour posts or entries by GISS/NASA employee Gavin A. Schmidt on the weblog or “blog” RealClimate, which is owned by the advocacy Environmental Media Services and was started as an effort to defend the debunked “Hockey Stick” that is so central to the CRU files. RealClimate.org is implicated in the leaked files, expressly offered as a tool to be used “in any way you think would be helpful” to a certain advocacy campaign, including an assertion of Schmidt’s active involvement in, e.g., delaying and/or screening out unhelpful input by “skeptics” attempting to comment on claims made on the website.
This and the related political activism engaged in are inappropriate behavior for a taxpayer-funded employee, particularly on taxpayer time. These documents were requested in January 2007 and NASA/GISS have refused to date to comply with their legal obligation to produce responsive documents.
Sen. Joe Lieberman reiterated in an interview with the Wall Street Journal that he would be prepared to filibuster a health care bill that included any sort of government plan.
“I’m going to be stubborn on this,” Lieberman told the WSJ. In follow up questions, he said that he would not support any kind of a government plan, even the so-called “trigger” option that would create such a plan if insurers did not meet certain government targets.
Lieberman’s position complicates Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s efforts to obtain the 60 votes necessary to pass health care legislation, though in and of itself it may not be enough to block the bill’s passage. Sen. Olympia Snowe has been a proponent of a “trigger” option, and it’s possible that Democrats could afford to lose Lieberman if they can get her on board. And in the interview, Lieberman still insists that they’ll end up passing a bill.
Yet even if Reid can get some sort of agreement in principle on a compromise with Lieberman and other wobbly Democratic moderates, there’s no guarantee that it will make it through the Senate. That’s because now that the bill is on the floor, 60 votes are required to make any changes, and Democratic Senators will be under heavy pressure from liberal activists to not cave on the government plan.
And this doesn’t even take into account the dispute over abortion language, and the fact that even after passing the Senate, the bill would still have to be reconciled with the House version, and then pass both chambers again.
Today, on the main site:
What to watch for:
From today’s broadcast:
Sexual abuse accusations by St. HOPE Academy students against Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson were apparently covered up, possibly with “hush money,” according to a 61-page report issued by congressional investigators.
Failure of school officials to report sexual abuse of minors violates California state law, investigative staff of Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) noted in their report on the June firing of AmeriCorps Inspector General Gerald Walpin.
The allegations investigated by Walpin’s office were “very serious,” Grassley said in a statement, saying that evidence indicates a political motive for the IG’s firing. “It seems a lot of people might have been interested in protecting the AmeriCorps program and the Mayor of Sacramento from an IG who was discovering some unpleasant facts.”
Byron York of the Washington Examiner reported today that Obama administration officials tried to mislead the public about the reasons for the firing of Walpin. The Grassley-Issa report details how Walpin’s IG staffers investigated charges that Johnson’s lawyer and officials of the federally-funded St. HOPE program suppressed sexual-misconduct charges against the former NBA star who was elected mayor of California’s capital city last year.
Walpin pressed for criminal prosecution of Johnson, an Obama supporter. Instead, a deal that allowed the mayor to avoid prosecution and repay federal grant money was approved by Alan Solomont, a major Democratic fundraiser who is chairman of the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS), the federal agency that oversees the AmeriCorps volunteer program.
The Grassley-Issa report says that agents of the inspector’s general office who investigated the St. HOPE sex-abuse charges “immediately recognized what appeared to be improper handling of this allegation … and unethical conduct by Mr. Johnson’s attorney,” Kevin Hiestand, who was also the mayor’s business partner. The report also implicates D.C. Schools Chancellor Michelle Rhee who one witness said acted as “fixer” for the St. HOPE program. From the Grassley-Issa report (PDF):
In response to allegations first reported by CNCS and the California State Commission, CNCS Inspector General Gerald Walpin deployed Agents Jeffrey Morales and Wendy Wingers to Sacramento to investigate the use of federal dollars in contravention of St. HOPE’s funding agreement. The alleged misconduct included claims that AmeriCorps tutors assigned to St. HOPE were put to work washing Johnson’s car, running personal errands, and engaging in partisan political activities. It was also alleged that St. HOPE converted its own employees to AmeriCorps members in order to use grant funds to pay them.
While in Sacramento, Agents Wingers and Morales became aware of allegations of inappropriate contact between Johnson and three female St. HOPE students. Mr. Johnson’s attorney, Kevin Hiestand, approached at least one of the students describing himself only as “a friend of Johnson’s,” and “basically asked me to keep quiet.”
According to her interview with OIG investigators, about one week later, Kevin Johnson offered her $1,000 a month until the end of the program, which she refused to accept. Moreover, the OIG uncovered evidence of two other female St. HOPE students reporting Johnson for inappropriate sexual conduct towards them… .
Walpin included details about these allegations in his criminal referral to the U.S. Attorney’s office because they, “seriously impact … both the security of young [AmeriCorps] Members placed in the care of grantees and … the ability of AmeriCorps to continue to attract volunteers.” The facts outlined in the referral give rise to reasonable suspicions about potential hush money payments and witness tampering at a federally funded entity… .
The OIG agents were alerted by a story in the Sacramento Bee describing an apparent violation of California state law. California state law classifies teachers and administrators as “mandated reporters,” requiring them to report suspected child abuse to authorities. The Bee reported that contrary to California law, Johnson’s lawyer and confidant, Kevin Hiestand, told school officials not to report the incidents because he was conducting his own internal investigation.
Hiestand conducted his investigation of the allegations under the guise of serving as the school’s Title IX officer… . Hiestand interviewed the victims and witnesses, including a teacher who had heard of the allegations. According to the teacher, “Hiestand told me he had met with [one of the victims] and that she had told a different story and that I should change my story to fit the one they had been told.” Erik Jones, the St. HOPE teacher who eventually reported one of the victim’s allegations to the police, resigned in protest over the way the matter was handled by the school. In his resignation letter, Jones wrote “St. HOPE sought to intimidate the student through an illegal interrogation and even had the audacity to ask me to change my story.” Another St. HOPE official, Jacqueline Wong-Hernandez, also left St. HOPE because of the way the allegations were handled.
Michelle Rhee, who is currently Chancellor of the District of Columbia Schools, was a St. HOPE board member at the time. According to Wong-Hernandez, Rhee learned of the allegations and played the role of a fixer, doing “damage control.” … (Emphasis added.)
There is much, much more in the Grassley-Issa report. And the firing of Walpin is just one aspect of the larger scandal known as IG-Gate. For background, see my article “The War on Watchdogs” from the September issue of the American Spectator.
Drudge linked it, so a video that shows polar bears falling from the sky due to global warming is getting a lot of Web attention. There’s another animated one out of Portugal (Hat tip: Washington Post’s David Fahrenthold) that depicts animals losing all hope because of the planet’s devastation from climate change. Just keep getting crazier, crazies!
MEMO FOR THE MOVEMENT:
Health Care Legislation Creates Colossal New Bureaucracies
RE: The 2,032 page Speaker Pelosi Healthcare bill that was approved by a narrow margin in the House of Representatives on November 7th and the 2,074 page Senator Reid Healthcare bill just introduced creates over 100 new bureaucracies that are sure to be inefficient with taxpayer money.Continue reading…
Paul Krugman is running roughshod over New York Times editors. In previous incidents we’ve seen Krugman accuse fellow academic Times bloggers of making statements that are “flatly untrue or deeply misleading.” In the latest episode, Krugman clashes with Times reporter Edmund Andrew over his front page story warning about the unsustainability of U.S. government deficits. Once again Krugman not only disagrees with his Times colleague, but he also questions his motives and journalism, at least indirectly.
Krugman starts off by stating that Andrews wrote a biased piece: “[Andrews’s article is] saying that, on the one hand, some people say that we’re going to have a debt crisis any day now, while on the other hand … well, actually we never hear from the other side.”
And he concludes that Andrews has ulterior motives in mind, or is serving those with nefarious designs: “This suggests that James Kwak is right: a lot of this is about scaring the government into inaction on unemployment.”
One of these days he’s going to slip and condemn the whole paper as a mouthpiece of the Republican establishment. I hope that his editors are watching closely.
The last place cable news network is following the same tack it took on the ACORN scandal, which is, ignore the story that is not only overturning the cart and its apples, but is also crushing them into a pulp fit for a Mott’s jar. Climategate was absent from CNN Sucks’ weekend discussions (at least as far as the transcripts identify), and now this morning on its home page the network highlights a report on catastrophic sea level rise predictions from children of the same discredited bunch!
London, England (CNN) — A possible rise in sea levels by 0.5 meters by 2050 could put at risk more than $28 trillion worth of assets in the world’s largest coastal cities, according to a report compiled for the insurance industry. (!!!)…
The report, released on Monday by WWF and financial services Allianz, concludes that the world’s diverse regions and ecosystems are close to temperature thresholds — or “tipping points.”
According to the report, carried out by the UK-based Tyndall Centre, the impacts of passing “Tipping Points” on the livelihoods of people and economic assets have been underestimated.
Global temperatures have already risen by at least 0.7 degrees Celsius and the report says a further rise by 2-3 degrees in the second half of the century is likely unless deep cuts in emissions are put in place before 2015.
Incredibly the University of East Anglia Climatic Research Unit, from where this scandal has erupted, accounts for 11 of the 28 researchers listed as “founders” of the Tyndall Centre. So what is it? A collaborative effort of:
scientists, economists, engineers and social scientists, who together are working to develop sustainable responses to climate change through trans-disciplinary research and dialogue on both a national and international level - not just within the research community, but also with business leaders, policy advisors, the media and the public in general.
Also, UEA is the headquarters for the Tyndall Centre, but at the same time (at least based on some Climategate emails) it appears they are both competitors and collaborators for research projects and funding. The report for WWF was authored by UEA’s Anthony Footitt and Tim Lenton, who are not listed as part of the CRU staff.
I could go off on so many tangents, but back to CNN Sucks. As with the New York Times and reporter Andrew Revkin, clearly the network has their own revenue-producing projects they need to protect (as does parent corporation Time-Warner). Expect them to continue to act as though nothing has been discredited, because then they would have to admit being discredited themselves.
As Phil just reported, Carly Fiorina said this morning that had she been a senator she “probably” would have voted to confirm Justice Sonia Sotomayor because she seemed “qualified.” When asked if Chuck DeVore would have confirmed Sotomayor, his campaign communications director Joshua Trevino told TAS “the answer is absolutely not” — citing an improper understanding of the Constitution. “Chuck wants pro-life Supreme Court justices,” Trevino explained.
The difference in opinion might indicate a difference with respect to policy, although the DeVore campaign did not firmly rule out the possibility of DeVore confirming a pro-choice judge. Fiorina has been under fire from the DeVore campaign for being what his website describes as “suspect on life issues.” Fiorina maintains that their positions on social issues are largely identical. Fiorina also stated this morning that she was pro-life, believed that life began at conception, and that she was against the use of federal funds to pay for abortions.
U.S. Senate candidate Carly Fiorina said at an American Spectator Newsmaker Breakfast this morning that her primary opponent, Chuck DeVore, could not beat Sen. Barbara Boxer in a general election because Boxer knows how to win against “white men.”
Fiorina focused her opening remarks on contrasting herself with Boxer, who she painted as a liberal Democrat who has not accomplished much during her three terms in office and has advanced tax, spending, and regulatory policies that have crippled California’s economy.
When asked what set her apart from DeVore, she said that they agreed on the issues, but that she wasn’t a career politician and she had a better chance of beating Boxer.
“He is an honorable man,” Fiorina said of DeVore. “He has every right to run. But he cannot beat Barbara Boxer.”
She continued, “With all due respect and deep affection for white men — I’m married to one — but [Boxer] knows how to beat them. She’s done it over and over and over.”
Diane DeVore, Chuck’s wife, responded on Twitter that, “Carly, I’m married to that ‘white guy’ & I can tell u he can win against mods and libs. Has record to prove it!”
Fiorina said her strategy was to “bang away at [Boxer’s] voting record, from which she cannot hide.” Fiorina also used the morning to expand on her beliefs on a wide range of issues including taxes, spending, the role of unions, and abortion. She also defended her record as CEO of Hewlett-Packard. Fiorina described herself as a fiscal and social conservative.
“I am pro-life,” Fiorina said. “I believe that life begins at conception.” She also said she supported the Stupak amendment in the House health care bill that bars women from using government subsidies to purchase policies that cover abortion.
I asked her to clarify her comments given that labels can mean different things to different people, and some who may describe themselves as personally pro-life may still believe that individual women should have the right to choose abortion.
“Well, that is the situation in the world today,” Fiorina responded. “That is reality. What I think about it is, I’m not sure, relevant to the job I’m seeking other than of course Supreme Court nominees, but the reality is that a woman can walk into Planned Parenthood today and get an abortion. Now, I believe we should all be working to limit the number of abortions, so in that sense, no I do not believe that everyone should have that choice. But they do today. I’m just trying to be realistic. That’s why I think this Stupak amendment is so important, and frankly, I think the debate the Stupak amendment has created is quite instructive about what the motivations mean behind some of these things. I believe that life begins at conception and I believe we must protect the rights of the unborn. And I believe that science continues to demonstrate that a fetus is viable at a younger and younger age, and I know, as a realist, that not everyone agrees with me. So the common ground that we can find is how to reduce abortions.”
She also said that she believed in the sanctity of marriage as being between a man and a woman, and said she voted for Proposition 8, the California ballot measure to amend the state constitution to keep marriage between a man and a woman.
Responding to a question about her position on U.S. Supreme Court nominations, she said that she “probably” would have voted to confirm Sonia Sotomayor because “elections have consequences” and “she seemed qualified.” Fiorina cautioned that she was dealing with her own breast cancer at the time and thus was not in a position to closely examine the judge’s record.
Fiorina said that she was opposed to bailouts and President Obama’s economic stimulus package. Instead, she said, she supports low taxes and spending, and described the nation’s debt as “unsustainable.”
In response to a question about the dominant role of public sector unions in her state, she said that “there is growing anger in California over the vice grip that unions have over the state.” She said that they have a disproportionate influence relative to the amount of workers they represent.
She said that she would bring an outsider’s perspective to Washington as somebody who had spent her business career balancing billion-dollar budgets. She defended her tenure at HP, saying that she managed to double the size of the company during a severe “tech recession,” and created jobs on a net basis. While she did outsource, she said it was only because California’s tax code makes it difficult to employ people in the state. Remarking on her ouster from the company, she argued that subsequent revelations that her successor was spying on her and other board members vindicated her.
She said she wasn’t too concerned about polls showing her within a point of DeVore, noting that her campaign was just starting and he’s been campaigning for 18 months, and the primary isn’t until June.
Asked whether she expected Sarah Palin to endorse a candidate in the race, Fiorina said she didn’t know. But she added, “I share Sarah Palin’s values.”
UPDATE: A DeVore spokesman emails to say he has been running for 12 months.
From the Associated Press:
The five men facing trial in the Sept. 11 attacks will plead not guilty so that they can air their criticisms of U.S. foreign policy, the lawyer for one of the defendants said Sunday. Scott Fenstermaker, the lawyer for accused terrorist Ali Abd al-Aziz Ali, said the men would not deny their role in the 2001 attacks but “would explain what happened and why they did it.”
The terrorists won’t be put on trial, they’re already pleading guilty. In their minds, their trial is over. In their minds, it is now time for them to put the American system on trial. The 9/11 co-conspirators are going to explain to the rest of the world, why they felt justified in crashing four jumbo-jets into the heart of America.
This is going to get ugly.
Regarding Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, Attorney General Holder states that “the world will see him for the coward that he is.” That’s a curious choice of words: “coward.” Several months ago, Mr. Holder said that America is a “nation of cowards.” I haven’t forgotten that.
Holder went on to say “I’m not scared of what Khalid Sheikh Mohammed has to say at trial — and no one else needs to be, either.”
I’m not scared of what he has to say. I know what he has to say. I just don’t think we need to provide him with a platform to speak his misanthropic views with impunity courtesy of the United States Constitution.
I wonder how many Major Nidal Hasan’s are out there, eagerly awaiting to hear what Khalid Sheikh Mohammed has to say from the stand, in the center of America’s 9/11 wound? I’m sure they’re not afraid of what he has to say, either.
A “must read” of the day: Mary Katharine Ham’s article about the reaction of 9/11 victims’ families to the Holder decision on the KSM trial. Very moving. Sample:
“Peter Regan—who lost his dad, a New York firefighter, on 9/11—is disturbed by the plan on several fronts. After 9/11, the then 20-year-old joined the Marines, serving two tours in Iraq before coming back home to follow in his father’s footsteps in the fire department. The possibility that they may face trial in civilian courts means suspected terrorists captured on the battlefield may have to be informed of their right to counsel and to remain silent. I just couldn’t imagine,” Regan says. “We’re soldiers and Marines and sailors. It’s not our job. We’re not cops. We learn Miranda rights once we come back if we want to pursue that career.””
All of those horrible celebrators of death who completely misrepresented the Terry Schiavo case from EVERY angle — moral, legal, legislative — should take a look at this story (Drudge found it) about a man who was supposedly in a coma and an irreversible “persistent vegetative state” for 23 YEARS (!!!!!) while actually conscious all along. This story provides one more example of why it is always wise to err on the side of human life. Not to trivialize the issue with a cultural reference, but I am always reminded of the line from the Shelley Winters character in The Poseidon Adventure as she lay dying in Gene Hackman’s arms after saving him from drowning. “Life matters,” she said. Yes, life matters. Yes, it does. And what Ramesh Ponnuru rightly called “The Party of Death” consistently violates that basic insight. In doing do, the Party of Death is morally monstrous.
Writer/artist extraordinaire Katherine Eastland posts some typically smart, unconventional ruminations on the divergent doggy christening styles of Jimmy Stewart and Barack Obama over at the Blog Around the Corner. Here’s a bite:
I don’t want to read too far into names, but there’s something to be said for the different spellings of Bo/Beau. “Bo” is a lighthearted reference to the singer Bo Diddley, related by sound to Michelle’s father Diddley. But to those who might not know that, “Bo” sure does resemble President Obama’s initials.
Jimmy named his pup Beau, and he was Jimmy’s furry dandy, his escort with a tennis ball. It comes from the Latin bellus, -a, -um, meaning handsome, beautiful. I consider this a very good and generous name for a dog, with no tinge of selfishness or pretension in it either real or perceived.
Now go finish your meal. It includes a wonderful dessert of Jimmy Stewart reciting his Beau poem on Carson back in ‘81.
On Friday the New York Times’ house global warming author Andy Revkin, reporting on the breaking (Revkin would prefer it be braking) global Climategate scandal, said repercussions “continue to unfold” and that “there’s much more to explore, of course.”
So what has Sherlock Andy, Warmth Detector focused on since then? Yesterday he noted a study on Antarctic ice loss that comes with “substantial uncertainty” and a “CO2toon,” and then he elevated from Reader Comments at his original post the views of University of Chicago climatologist Raymond Pierrehumbert, who bemoaned the CRU “cyber-attack.”
After all, this is a criminal act of vandalism and of harassment of a group of scientists that are only going about their business doing science. It represents a whole new escalation in the war on climate scientists who are only trying to get at the truth. Think — this was a very concerted and sophisticated hacker attack.
There is still no proof that this was a hacker attack (CRU certainly never stated that was the case) — it could have been an insider. And just because I’m prone to add insult to injury, I’d like to see the evidence that the alarmist RealClimate Web site was hacked as well, which Revkin reports as fact. Just askin’.
Meanwhile, it’s comforting to know that the Amazing Revkin is getting after all the “more to explore.”
Today on the Main Site:
What to watch for:
The Weekend’s Best:
Honestly, I’m not an online celebrity stalker. But I am an avid pursuer of Web traffic — having recently cleared the 3-million-hit mark on my personal blog — and a few months ago, I added Twitter to my arsenal of online weaponry. What I’ve discovered is that big-name celebrities tend to have huge followings on Twitter, so that if a really big name posts a link to your site, it’s almost like getting a Drudge headline.
Since then, it has become my life’s ambition to be Tweeted by Alyssa Milano, an ambition that so far has been frustrated by my celebrity tormenter. Today, as if to tease me, she Tweeted a New York Times article by Brad Stone, prompting two questions:
Whatever the answer, I’m nothing if not persistent. In the New Media age, Internet traffic is the only arbiter of success, and in journalism nowadays you’re nobody if you’re not getting Twitter traffic from celebrities. Alyssa Milano has a choice: Tweet me now or Tweet me later. Otherwise, I’m likely to become the Twitter equivalent of paparazzi, and we wouldn’t want that to happen, would we?
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
In Britain, defending your property can get you life.
The debacle of this president’s administration is both a cause and a symptom of the decline of American values. Unless Congress impeaches him, that decline will go on unchecked. An eminent jurist surveys the damage and assesses the chances for the recovery of our culture.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
The American Christmas, like the songs that celebrate it, makes room for everybody under the rainbow. Is that why so many people seem to be hostile to it?
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?