November 30, 2009

Democrats becoming radioactive to...democrats.
— Purple Avenger

I wish I had a Hitler in the bunker mashup ready to go with this.

...Forty percent of self-identified Democratic voters say they are "not likely" or "definitely" won't vote in next year's Congressional elections, according to a little-noticed poll released over the Thanksgiving weekend...

...self-identified Republicans were three times more likely to say they were going to vote next year. The results suggest perilous fights for Democrats in the midterm elections...

Sounds like the Hope/Change Express has morphed into the Crazy Train Suicide Express. more...

Posted by: Purple Avenger at 09:01 PM | Comments (55)
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Obligatory: Charles Johnson Makes it Official
— Ace

Ten reasons he's parting ways with the right. Let me save you some time:

1) The right is a bunch of stupid haters.

Repeat x10.

Eh. I am only linking the traffic-whore drama-queen since the whole left side of the blogosphere just linked him (following Markos), so my contribution is trivial.

I just wrote this to Dan Riehl, who'd written me about it:

I saw that. Eh. What are ya gonna do.

What is interesting to me is there are a large group of people who wish to consider themselves rationalists and pro-science, but are in fact scientifically illiterate themselves. They convince them they're in the Scientist Club by simply saying "Whatever you say is cool by me, guys!"

That is, of course, as far from science as you can get. You're not "pro-science" if you essentially reject actual science and venerate scientists like Oracles.

Another analogy is that Charles Johnson is the waterboy who offers to do the football players' laundry and take their SATs for them and thinks that by nature of his man-crush devotion to them he too is somehow a part of football.

I kind of hate sportscasters and sportswriters for this reason. Keith Olbermann sort of exemplifies the breed; there's enjoying football, and then there's just basically channeling a homoerotic obsession into a less taboo manner of expression.

If you can, do; if you can't, teach; and if you really, really want to do but haven't the training or talent, just gush about those who do like you're a groupie that just slipped backstage at an REO Speedwagon performance at Six Flags in 1977.

And so here we have Charles Johnson, jazz musician (supposedly -- I imagine his credits are limited to like "Background Horns for the Dorney Park Puppet Playhouse FunFest"), instructing us ad nauseam that the hacked emails don't mean anything, it's just like denying the Holocaust, there's no need to see these guys' data and methoolgy, etc.

That last part is breathtakingly anti-scientific, but this goofy twat thinks he's doing "science" by rubbing SportsCreme on Michael Mann's tender taint.

Charles Johnson just emailed me to say he would write a response, but he can't, he's too busy arranging the beakers and and getting a nice blue flame on his Bunsen burner. He's going to be really adjusting some variables today and other such things of a scientific-sounding nature.

In between, he'll be calling people haters and posting clips of music no one cares about.

Charles Johnson: Splitting atoms... with his blog.

Posted by: Ace at 08:40 PM | Comments (383)
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Stupid Hockey Player Tricks
— DrewM

Dude, it's just a goal. There's no need to try and kill your goalie.

I love the way he doesn't even seem to realize what he's done. He swings at the post again and then just skates off. Tomas Vokoun, the goalie, was taken to the hospital but is fine.

Posted by: DrewM at 07:47 PM | Comments (28)
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Shock: Man Who Once Railed Against Iraq War for Diverting Us from the Real War in Afghanistan Now Says It's Time to Abandon the War in Afghanistan for a Real War To Be Determined Later
— Ace

And remember what they say, as they once said of Walter Cronkite: When you'e lost Keith Olbermann, you've lost Keith Olbermann. Plus whatever desperate fan he's finger-banging in a hotel room this week.

And of course he can't just call for defeat. No, there has to be a bad guy here, and that bad guy can't be Keith Olbermann. The bad guy is... Pentagon officials who just want to fight unending wars because dat's how deys gets paid:

The Pentagon, often to our eternal relief, but just as often to our eternal regret is in the War business. You were right, Mr. President, to slow the process down, once a series of exit strategies was offered to you by men whose power and in some case livelihoods are predicated on making sure all exit strategies, everywhere, forever, don't really result in any service-man or woman actually exiting.

These men are still in the belly of what President Eisenhower so rightly, so prophetically, christened the military-industrial complex. Now and later as the civilian gray eminences with "retired" next to their names, formally lobbying the House and Senate and informally lobbying the nation through television and the printed word, to "engage" here, or "serve" there, or "invest" everywhere, they are, in many cases, just glorified hardware salesmen.

And of course Bush planned this all, too:

....

Mr. President, last fall, you were elected. Not General McChrystal, not Secretary Gates, not another Bushian Drone of a politician. You. On the Change Ticket. On the pitch that all politicians are not created equal.

And upon arrival you were greeted by a Three Mile Island of an economy, so bad that in the most paranoid recesses of the mind one could wonder if the Republicans didn't plan it that way...

Keith Olbermann just admitted that his "Special Comments" come straight from "the most paranoid recesses of the mind."

Not that it matters much, but this graduate of Cow College, I think, shops for his literary allusions in a Bluffer's Guide to the Classics. In his rant he references something he thinks is in Catch 22, in "minder-binder lingo" -- that's the character Milo Minderbinder he means -- but what he references is not a Minderbinder catchphrase at all. Minderbinder's catchphrase was "What's good for the [Minderbinder Trading] Syndicate, is good for you," a parody of the old saying "What's good for GM is good for America."

I have no idea on earth what the hell Olbermann is referencing. I've read Catch 22 about 20 times. I think he probably got it from some dolt's mistaken entry in Wikipedia.

Thanks to DrewM.

Posted by: Ace at 05:07 PM | Comments (189)
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Overnight Open Thread (Mætenloch)
— Open Blog

Good evening and congratulations - you have already gotten through 20% of the week.

M-4s Getting a Makeover?
According to this report the Army wants to spend a few hundred million dollars on upgrades for its 400,000 M-4 assault rifles. The M-4s (a shortened M-16) will get a short-stroke piston system, heavier barrel, ambidextrous controls, and a round counter in the pistol grip. The changes seem to be based on the results of this extreme dust test.

D-M4Carbine.jpg

Convergence of Lifestyles: Bacon Vodka!
Yes it's real. Hopefully Val-U-Rite come out with a low rent version soon.

bloody_mary_left.png
more...

Posted by: Open Blog at 05:00 PM | Comments (624)
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Oh Dear: Obama Makes a Commercial About Kids That Somehow Manages to Star Himself
— Ace

You know how these feel-good videos usually go: It's the kid featured as having his fantasies fulfilled. It's the kid whose face beams as Mean Joe Greene tosses him his jersey.

Not in the age of Obama. As they say about the narcissistic: They want to be the bride at every wedding and the corpse at every funeral.

And they even want to star as a 10-year-old kid in a commercial supposedly about 10-year-old kids.

Disgusting. The man has no shame or self-awareness whatsoever.

Posted by: Ace at 04:38 PM | Comments (125)
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MNF Thread: Patriots v. Saints
— Ace

Whoa! Thanks for a commenter for alerting me. I almost never watch football anymore.*


* Well, I sure don't watch the Giants any more. I guess it's Game of the Week stuff for me now.

PS, thank you, NFL Network, for doing that very annoying thing of keeping one game off broadcast so you could put it on your stupid pay channel that no one subscribes to.

In this case, seriously, thank you.. Was good not to watch the Giants get bullied by the Broncos.

Posted by: Ace at 03:14 PM | Comments (162)
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As I Was Saying: A New Heretic Begins Spouting Blasphemies
— Ace

Not a scientist, but apparently a science columnist on the "green" beat.


As I said, this is too rotten and stinking to be ignored much longer.

Allah quotes the head of the IPCC of course acting as a denier and pretending, as seems to be the party line, that this doesn't mean anything. The science, you may have heard, is settled.

The blubbery idiot Gibbs also instructs us that there's "no real scientific dispute about global warming," of course.

But check out this reversal from Clive Crook, who writes at both the Financial Times at The Atlantic.

First, his kneejerk response, taking the easy route of denial:

It isn’t the world he needs to convince on global warming, it is the electorate back home.

This is all the harder since the climate science email dump, which showed leading experts–people calling for enormous changes in how the world’s economies work–discussing ways to keep their data private, manipulate public opinion, and deny dissenters access to the professional literature. (None of those emails surprised me, by the way. When it comes to public relations, the climate-science cabal is its own worst enemy. I’m surprised so many people are surprised.)

Ah, nothing surprising here. Scientists are manipulative liars; didn't you already know that, you naive fool? We always knew they were manipulative liars so this news is no shock. (Oh, but by the way, trust scientists -- they're the only truth-tellers in the world.)

But now, having read the emails and thought them over, he sings a different tune:

In my previous post on Climategate I blithely said that nothing in the climate science email dump surprised me much. Having waded more deeply over the weekend I take that back.

The closed-mindedness of these supposed men of science, their willingness to go to any lengths to defend a preconceived message, is surprising even to me. The stink of intellectual corruption is overpowering. And, as Christopher Booker argues, this scandal is not at the margins of the politicised IPCC [Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change] process. It is not tangential to the policy prescriptions emanating from what David Henderson called the environmental policy milieu [subscription required]. It goes to the core of that process.

One theme, in addition to those already mentioned about the suppression of dissent, the suppression of data and methods, and the suppression of the unvarnished truth, comes through especially strongly: plain statistical incompetence. This is something that Henderson's study raised, and it was also emphasised in the Wegman report on the Hockey Stick, and in other independent studies of the Hockey Stick controversy. Of course it is also an ongoing issue in Steve McIntyre's campaign to get hold of data and methods. Nonetheless I had given it insufficient weight. Climate scientists lean very heavily on statistical methods, but they are not necessarily statisticians. Some of the correspondents in these emails appear to be out of their depth. This would explain their anxiety about having statisticians, rather than their climate-science buddies, crawl over their work.

I'm also surprised by the IPCC's response. Amid the self-justification, I had hoped for a word of apology, or even of censure. (George Monbiot called for Phil Jones to resign, for crying out loud.) At any rate I had expected no more than ordinary evasion. The declaration from Rajendra Pachauri that the emails confirm all is as it should be is stunning. Science at its best. Science as it should be. Good lord. This is pure George Orwell. And these guys call the other side "deniers".

Another heretic.

Here is what is going on here, psychologically.

People like Crook want to think well of themselves, and how they think well of themselves is to associate themselves with those they consider rationalists and humanists and concerned and just-liberal-enough.

Note how blithely he dismisses those who actually want "scientists" to reveal their data and assumptions for inspection and testing as "anti-science." I'm anti-science? Hey, Fuckhead: Out of the two of us I've been the only one pushing for actual science. Skepticism? Testing? Challenging? Do these ring any bells, Prickface?

But you see, psychologically, why he has, without looking at the evidence, chosen to align himself with Jones, Mann, etc.: Because, again without looking at the evidence, he has deemed them "pro-science" and actual scientists like McIntyre "anti-science."

This is not a rational, scientific impulse. This is an emotional and personal one: He likes one group of people more, likes what they stand for and what they believe, thinks they'd be great mates to have a beer with, good smart logical "pro-science" guys of the sort he respects and admires.

And their persecutors, then, must be "anti-science."

But note what ClimateGate is doing and will continue to do: It forces dickheads like this Clive Crook to reevaluate his initial entirely-unscientific bias that Jones and Mann are the "Good Guys," the White Hats, the rationalists. Now he sees they're actually bad guys, black hats, irrationalists.

He hasn't joined the skeptics yet -- he still brands us anti-science deniers -- but notice the huge change in attitude: He now calls his former heroes "deniers" too.

Believe me, in case it's not obvious: 99% of the public has no fucking clue about climate "science." They know 1% of what you know, at best. They have no idea of what the facts are, or the evidence.

All they know is that one side is "pro-science" and the other side is "anti-science."

But what happens when that belief -- the only reason they have to mouth these idiotic claims about us all drowning in 20 years -- is displaced by a new belief, that Jones and Mann are themselves "anti-science"?

Christopher Hitchens had a great point about Clinton's impeachment, why he would never be removed from office. "The American people," he said approximately, "wish to believe they are open and broad-minded about sex," and so Clinton would skate. People's brains -- primitive, predictable things, really -- find "The Narrative" in every story, as simple and as emotion-based as possible.

Who are the good guys? Who are the bad guys? And based upon such gut level, lizard-brain judgments important decisions are reached.

The Clinton-supporters deemed his detractors to be "anti-sex," and sex is a good thing, and being pro-sex is a good thing, so... no actual arguments about perjury, obstruction of justice, and so on were relevant. The major criteria for judgment was that the pro-sex people were good and the anti-sex people were uptight and wicked and no fun at all, so hey, you want to be on the fun partying team, don't you?

Pretty much all of liberalism works this way -- that's why it persists in the face of so much contrary information. Here are some fun, smart, rational guys and here are some uptight, bigoted, ignorant haters; which side do you want to be on? Nevermind reason or evidence; which crowd do you most wish to associate with? (And, fyi, for the young: Our girls put out more in college, in case that matters to ya. Wink.)

Politics, it has to be kept in mind, is mostly emotional and mostly aspirational. Who we choose as heroes and who we choose as models says, we hope, something about us. We signal to others what kind of people we are (or what kind of people we'd like to imagine we are) by the sort of person we choose to emulate and offer respect to.

In the last election, more people wanted to be Obama -- fun, loose, hip, cool, cosmopolitan -- than John McCain -- dour, old, ungraceful (due to injuries sustained being a war hero... but it's the surface that matters).

This is partly why I get on some commenters for their casual use of nasty racial put downs. Not only do such comments offend me, but those making them make for poor ambassadors for conservatism: Note that every time you do this, there's some reader out there thinking These are not the sorts of people I wish to be around, or to count as my political brethren. I'd rather be part of the team that doesn't think watermelon jokes are all the rage

Be that as it may -- there is a sea-change a-happening. I doubt we "deniers" will ever get credit, except of the most begrudging kind. We'll be told, ultimately, we were "right, but for the wrong reasons," and that sort of thing.

But what is happening now is almost as good: The veneer of aspiration has been stripped from the lying bastards Mann and Jones, and they no longer seem like the sorts of guys you'd want to befriend, let alone be.

Loose, casual kinds of guys? Only, it seems, as regards their coding and methods.

I think it will be interesting and important to watch this unfold over the next several weeks, this psychological paradigm-shift.

The next step, psychologically, is to limit the damage and to claim that these are just a "few bad apples." That allows them to cast out a few bad actors while keeping their aspirational fantasies, and their conceptions of self, alive: They get to continue thinking of themselves as "pro-science" while they throw a few token irrelevants under the bus. They want to heal the psychic damage as quickly as possible, and with as little change as possible.

But will it be possible to do that? Can they just convince themselves that, but for a few "Rogue Operatives," the "science is settled"?

We'll see.

But this is a first, critical step. We have been presented the truly indefensible, and some, at long last, are finding that they cannot defend it.


Hang On: DrewM. tells me the big change I thought I saw here might not be a big change; Crook called these guys a "cabal" in his first posting, indicating he always thought they were crooked.

I may have misread this, a bit, and be calling Crook a "a new heretic" when in fact he's been a heretic all along.

Still: I think the initial response shows him pooh-poohing the matter, and claiming that the only real problem with this "cabal" is its PR efforts.

So I think I'm right, but I don't know, so I'll note Drew's disagreement.

Ether way: I'm still holding to my prediction. I already have green fool Monbiot calling for Phil Jones, to resign. There will be more.

Posted by: Ace at 02:13 PM | Comments (310)
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Mark Steyn: The Chicago Machine Politics of International Climate "Science"
— Ace

That's not actually Steyn's phrase or headline; he borrowed it from James Lewis (and I tarted it up a little too).

Steyn uses it to describe the utter corruption of the peer-review process of climate "science" -- essentially, the Climate Conspirators try to get fired any editor who publishes a dissenting article or who otherwise threatens the Grand Pretend Consensus.


Here’s what Phil Jones of the CRU and his colleague Michael Mann of Penn State mean by “peer review.” When Climate Research published a paper dissenting from the Jones-Mann “consensus,” Jones demanded that the journal “rid itself of this troublesome editor,” and Mann advised that “we have to stop considering Climate Research as a legitimate peer-reviewed journal. Perhaps we should encourage our colleagues in the climate research community to no longer submit to, or cite papers.”

So much for Climate Research. When Geophysical Research Letters also showed signs of wandering off the “consensus” reservation, Dr. Tom Wigley (“one of the world’s foremost experts on climate change”) suggested they get the goods on its editor, Jim Saiers, and go to his bosses at the American Geophysical Union to “get him ousted.” When another pair of troublesome dissenters emerge, Dr. Jones assured Dr. Mann, “I can’t see either of these papers being in the next IPCC report. Kevin and I will keep them out somehow — even if we have to redefine what the peer-review literature is!”

Which in essence is what they did. The more frantically they talked up “peer review” as the only legitimate basis for criticism, the more assiduously they turned the process into what James Lewis calls the Chicago machine politics of international science. The headline in the Wall Street Journal Europe is unimproveable: “How To Forge A Consensus.” Pressuring publishers, firing editors, blacklisting scientists: That’s “peer review,” climate-style.

...

“Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?” wondered Juvenal: Who watches the watchmen? But the beauty of the climate-change tree-ring circus is that you never need to ask “Who peer-reviews the peer-reviewers?” Mann peer-reviewed Jones, and Jones peer-reviewed Mann, and anyone who questioned their theories got exiled to the unwarmed wastes of Siberia. The “consensus” warm-mongers could have declared it only counts as “peer-reviewed” if it’s published in Peer-Reviewed Studies published by Mann & Jones Publishing Inc (Peermate of the Month: Al Gore, reclining naked, draped in dead polar-bear fur, on a melting ice floe), and Ed Begley Jr. and “Andy” Revkin would still have wandered out glassy-eyed into the streets droning “Peer-reviewed studies. Cannot question. Peer-reviewed studies. The science is settled . . . ”

Here is my hope -- actually, my belief, because I think this is going to happen.

I think that most scientists have stayed on the sidelines on this. If you're in a different field than "climate modeling" (whatever the hell that "field" is -- it seems to be nothing but sloppy coding and using off-the-shelf statistical software) you have little incentive to get involved or speak out.

Let's face it -- your spouses and friends want to believe this, and they consider it something of a holy duty to promote the "green" agenda. Even if you know that there is something rotten and filthy going on here, what's it to you? Who can fight city hall? Or worse than city hall -- the strong sentiments of your peers and friends and wives and children. Vox populi, vox dei, the voice of the people is the voice of God.

Sure, science is being corrupted, but not your corner of it, and climate "science" isn't really even science in the first place, and their end goals are (supposedly) laudable, so....

People have very big incentives to keep out of this -- and very big disincentives to involve themselves. People always find it easier to ignore a problem and pretend it away than to confront it. And given the choice, they'll do that 99% of the time. It takes a fearless and determined individual to go against groupthink -- and even a bit of a prick, too, because, let's face it, careers can (and should!) be ruined here.

But that sort of individual is rare, unfortunately, even in science, where supposedly only the truth counts and individual relationships and colleagues' careers don't matter.

But now... I don't know if scientists have the choice anymore of ignoring the problem. This case is getting enough attention -- and the details are hair-raising enough for anyone who does science for the science and not just the paycheck -- that others will have to weigh in here, about whether the special papal dispensation afforded for climate secret science is legitimate... or if it is hopelessly corrupting.

Scientists will have to weigh in: Is it "science" when data and methodologies are kept secret and only the conclusions published, stripped of any backing evidence that can be criticized (or even merely examined)?

What the hell is that? If you want to keep your evidence secret, keep your conclusions secret too. You cannot offer naked conclusions -- assertions without a shred of evidence backing them -- as you conspire in secret to delete data rather than disclose it and "hide behind IPR claims." (Intellectual Property Rights, that is.)

Conclusions without evidence deserve the the precise level of seriousness their proponents invest them with: None at all. Because if they meant to be taken seriously, they'd offer their data and methodology to the world.

Some liberals have whined about the plight of these poor climate "scientists," being harrassed to death with thousands of FOIA requests and inquiries and pesterings about data and methods. They have so little time to deal with these things, the apologists whine; who can blame them for getting exasperated and cutting a few corners?

The only reason, however, there were so many requests and follow-up questions and inquires is because they were determined from the outset to reveal nothing. Had they simply done what all other scientists do, and reveal their data and methods upfront and without prompting, they would not have to answer all these pesky FOIA demands.

It is precisely because they are determined to conceal this stuff that it takes so much of their precious jury-rigging time. It is because they are determined to conceal that they spend so much time contriving spurious refusals to legal FOIA demands and so much time plotting to delete emails.

If they weren't spending so much time being dishonest, lying advocates, it sure would free up a lot of their time to do some actual science.

I think this is the time when other scientists get over their fear and denial and start calling out the charlatans posing as their "colleagues."

more...

Posted by: Ace at 01:27 PM | Comments (93)
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CBO: Insurance Premiums Will Increase by 10% Under ObamaCare
Gallup: Near-Majority Opposes ObamaCare

— Ace

Above-the-Post Update: The CBO says the the curve will in fact be bent -- upwards.

Individual insurance premiums would increase by an average of 10 percent or more, according to an analysis of the Senate healthcare bill.

The long-awaited report by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) and the Joint Committee on Taxation (JCT) also concluded that subsidies provided by the legislation would make coverage cheaper for those who qualify. …

Though Republicans will seize on the projections that insurance premiums for individuals would increase, Democrats will highlight the conclusion that the legislation would lower premiums by 56 to 59 percent for those individuals who would receive subsidies to buy insurance on the exchange created by the legislation. Of those who participate in the exchange, 57 percent would be eligible for subsidies. The subsidy would cover about two-thirds of their premiums, the report says.

This is played as if the higher premiums are offset by subsidies. Which is absurd. There is no offsetting here. Those with insurance will pay more for it. Those without insurance will get subsidies from those who have it. There is no "offsetting;" the people paying the bills don't get the subsidies.

There are winners and losers here. If you've got insurance, you're a loser: Congratulations, you will now basically have a complete stranger's health care added to your premiums as if he's a member of your family, because you can afford it.

If you don't have insurance, you may be a winner... sort of. As regards primary effects you come out ahead -- free money! -- but there will be secondary effects, too, as all health care overall is driven to a lower quality.

Broken record time: This is and always was about only one thing. A fairly direct transfer of wealth, and the services that wealth buys, from the middle class to the lower class. There is plenty of reason for the uninsured and poor to support this plan; there is no reason for anyone middle-class and insured to support it. For the latter, there are no benefits whatsoever, and only costs -- except for the benefit of knowing you have basically added a stranger as a family member to your plan, and you can now enjoy the satisfaction of knowing all the extra money you're paying, and all the treatments you're personally be denied, are going to help someone else. Maybe.

Ed goes on to note that even this analysis is broken, because the plan counts on reaping a lot of tax money from "gold-plated" insurance plans. No. The tax will kill gold-plated insurance plans, and thus that windfall will never accrue.

I should note that Obama and the liberals pushing this on us make two or three contradictory claims about what that "gold-plated" tax will do.

First they tell us that that tax will drive people away from such plans, thus supposedly reducing the overutilization of health care resources, which will then "bend the curve" of costs down by reducing demand.

Then they tell us that the additional resources will be freed up to be used for other people.

And then they tell us that this plan will be funded in part from the extra taxes on such premium plans.

Note that all three assertions are mutually contradictory. If the uninsured and poor now use the supposedly "overutilized" resources that the premium insureds now use, then there can be no "bending the curve," as demand is unchanged -- the demand has simply been shifted from one group of users to another.

Further, you obviously cannot talk up how your tax will discourage buying such premium plans and then start counting all the money that will be rolling in when people continue buying these plans and pay the tax on them.

One or the other, guys. One or the other. I remember taking the LSATs. Or the GMATs. There was a section about logical flaws. One of the questions -- designed to be a gimme, an early, easy question -- offered the hypothetical of environmentalists imposing a hefty tax on roads that ran through forests, in order to cut down on traffic running through them, and also proposed that at current rates of highway usage, they'd get x dollars in new revenues, which could then be used to make additional improvements to the environment.

What's the flaw?, the question asked. Well, duh: You can't both claim you're going to reduce something from current levels and then calculate the taxes that will flow in based on current levels.

Again: This was a gimme. One of the first five questions (questions are arranged in order of increasing difficulty), offered, basically, to distinguish the merely dim from the truly stupid.

And now your President and your Congress offers it to you.

Which tells you they consider you truly stupid.

...

49% oppose, 44% support, with leaners. As Captain Ed always emphasizes, these are adults, not even registered voters. The friendliest possible sample for Obama.

I can only restate my belief that to actually kill the monster we need 60% opposition (with likely voters, I guess), or thereabouts. Anything less and there is a high risk of Democrats falling on their swords and passing it despite public opposition. Well, if you define "falling on their swords" as taking a high-paying job as a senior bureaucrat or million-a-year lobbyist/fixer.

Independents oppose passage of a bill by 53% to 37%.

Good but still not a guarantee.

Some pundit or analyst -- and I believe he was a Democrat -- speculated that the Democrats' preferred resolution to this is to almost pass the bill, falling short by one or two votes in the Senate and a handful in the House.

So that the bulk of the Democrats can appease their base and get them riled up and energetic -- blame the Republicans! -- and also that independents will be reassured and comforted that the bill actually didn't pass.

I'm not sure if they're actually thinking that way, though. Some, certainly. But enough of them may be getting that robocall from history that Olympia Snowe received a few weeks back.

Posted by: Ace at 11:36 AM | Comments (103)
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Obama's Ego Stroking Will Preempt "A Charlie Brown Christmas"
— Gabriel Malor

cbchristmasnewedition.jpg
It was just a scraggly, stunted Obama until
the media kids went to work on it and made it beautiful.
Photoshop by Slublog
(open tag busted by friendly neighborhood TB)


All networks, including FOX, will carry the President's primetime address from West Point tomorrow. He is expected to justify his inexcusable seven-week period of indecision on whether to win the war in Afghanistan. Do not expect him to mention his twice-weekly golf outings. I'm giving even odds he also fails to use the word "victory."

More importantly, President Narcissus will preempt "A Charlie Brown Christmas", which has my absolute favorite monologue in all of television (below the fold): more...

Posted by: Gabriel Malor at 11:19 AM | Comments (296)
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Re-Posts: CRU Admits They Threw Away (??!) Old Data; Agrees to Release All Data... That They Haven't Yet Thrown Away
— Ace

The most important outcome of this is the pressure to actually release data and methodologies, something other scientists generally due without facing criminal charges for FOIA evasions.

In case you've been as away as I have this Thanksgiving weekend, here Purple Avenger's post on CRU's stunning admission that, um, their dog ate their homework. (The science is settled; PBUH.)

SCIENTISTS at the University of East Anglia (UEA) have admitted throwing away much of the raw temperature data on which their predictions of global warming are based.

It means that other academics are not able to check basic calculations said to show a long-term rise in temperature over the past 150 years...

As PA notes, this isn't new -- they had previously given this excuse when their data was demanded. It certainly is the first time it's being prominently covered, of course.

Given Phil Jones email stating that he would rather hit the delete key than press send regarding his secret "scientific" data, this "throwing away" of data takes on the air of the ominous.

They're now agreeing to finally let people look at the data. What's left of it, anyway. Or are they?

In a statement welcomed by climate change sceptics, the university said it would make all the data accessible as soon as possible, once its Climatic Research Unit (CRU) had negotiated its release from a range of non-publication agreements.

The publication will be carried out in collaboration with the Met Office Hadley Centre. The full data, when disclosed, is certain to be scrutinised by both sides in the fierce debate.

Here's the problem: None of these guys want their data looked at. CRU has this data because the scientists they work with and correspond with have been granted non-publication agreements. CRU gets a lot of its data from people with such agreements -- apparently the entire field is dominated by them; secrecy is the watchword in this particular branch of science, or alchemy, or divination, or whatever it really is -- and they have no desire nor motive to rat on themselves.

So CRU will pretend it's the good guy here -- hey, we want to disclose this stuff! -- but all the scientists with whom they have non-publication agreements will refuse to void those agreements. The data stays safely hidden, while CRU gets a bit of a PR boost.

Hey, the tried, right?

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Minaret Ban Reaction: Swiss "Justice" Minister...The People Can Not Be Trusted
— DrewM

Laura blogged about this yesterday (and I share her mixed reaction to the news). Now the fallout is beginning.

So concerned is the government by the decision that Swiss Justice Minister Eveline Widmer Schlumpf, watching the results come in on Sunday afternoon, apparently told her advisers there ought to be some restrictions on what the general public can actually vote on.

This, for Switzerland, is political dynamite. The country's system of direct democracy is sacrosanct. The people are allowed to vote on any policy and to propose policy themselves, which is what they did on minarets.

Of course, this is precisely the attitude that gets you to this point. It's essentially considered racism, one of the worst of all modern crimes (perhaps second only to climate change 'denial'), to even bring up the idea that, "Hey, maybe there are certain things that don't fit with our country."

When the elites stifle debate and declare subjects of great importance beyond the pale of public discussion, the people will eventually make themselves heard and in ways that might be far more drastic than if they had a say earlier in the process.

Now with this wake up call, suddenly everyone wants more talk.

Elham Manea, founder of the Forum for a Progressive Islam - an organisation dedicated to Muslim integration in Switzerland - is disappointed not just with the outcome of the vote, but with the debate around it.

"The way the discussion was conducted was simply polemic," she said.

"We didn't ask the right questions, when we talked about integration problems for immigrants with an Islamic background.

"For example what is the size of political Islam, how big is the problem of forced marriage? Do we have that problem? Yes we do, we know we do, but which groups are practising it, and how do we deal with it?"

The problem for Ms Manea, and many Swiss Muslims, is that the ban on minarets does not really address any of these problems and may even isolate the community still further.

"My fear is that the younger generation will feel unwelcome," she said.

As for Muslims feeling unwelcome, for good or ill, I think that was the message behind the vote. It seems the Swiss don't want to have to deal with issues such as forced marriage or honor killings. Quite frankly, why should they? It's simply not part of Swiss heritage. Why should a country and society that has organized itself in a certain way suddenly have to adapt itself because a group of immigrants bring their culture and problems (from a Swiss perspective) with them?

As the Wall Street Journal points out, the actual act of banning minarets won't do much about these underlying issues. In fact, it "does too much and too little at once".

The vote betrays an undercurrent of fear among the Swiss—a fear that is not without cause. There is no denying the connection between radical imams and terrorist acts. Nor should anyone look away from the fact that too many European Muslims flatly reject the norms of their host countries, sometimes in ways that are criminal: honor killings, child brides and the like.

Yet banning minarets does nothing to address that fear. It merely makes it less likely that the average Swiss will be confronted by a visible symbol of Islam upon his skyline. Thus, even as a symbolic gesture, it seems to encourage a head-in-the-sand approach toward the 5% of Swiss who are Muslim. In much of Europe, this is the norm anyway, the result of political correctness and cowardice.

Immigration has been a great boon for many countries (namely the US) but it shouldn't be a national or cultural suicide pact. Unfortunately, once you move from the idea of a "melting pot" to a "multicultural mosaic" that's exactly what can happen.

Now that the people of Switzerland have the attention of their government and Muslim immigrants, will the reaction be to continue to sweep these tensions under the rug or make those groups confront some hard realities?

Given Europe's history on conflicts involving religion and ethnicity, I don't think this will end well for anyone.

Posted by: DrewM at 07:16 AM | Comments (274)
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Seattle Area Police Shooting Update: Suspect Not In Surrounded House
— DrewM

Still at large.

The suspect in the slaying of four police officers gunned down in a coffee shop was not found Monday in the Seattle home where he was thought to have been holed up overnight, likely wounded from his bloody encounter with the officers.

Pierce County sheriff's spokesman Ed Troyer said the location of Maurice Clemmons was not known, and it's possible he still could be in the neighborhood. Troyer also said people who know Clemmons told investigators he had been shot in the torso.

"If he didn't get a ride out of there, he could still be in the area," Troyer said.

If you missed it last night, Clemmons had an earlier sentence commuted by then Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee. The Huckster released a statement which essentially boiled down to a promise to spend the rest of his days looking for the real Governor who was responsible for releasing this career criminal back onto the streets.

I'm glad Huck is done at the national level now I just wish it didn't take 4 dead cops to do it.

BTW-everyone's favorite gay male expert of Sarah Palin's reproductive system snarked that "The base won't like that, will they?". Well, Saint Andrew of the Insane, most people won't like Huckabee's decision to let this guy out. The exception being the base of the Democratic Party which tends to have a permanent hard- on for cop killers (Free Mumia!).

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Honduras Holds Presidential Election...Chavez And Obama Hit Hardest
— DrewM

honduras-flag2.jpg

The brave people of Honduras looked a want to be socialist dictator in the eye and said no. Actually, they said, "Hell NO!"

A conservative rancher named Porfirio "Pepe" Lobo took the Honduran presidency in elections Sunday, five months after the country's last elected president was forced out of the country at gunpoint. Now Hondurans must wait to see if the international community, which has been divided over the crisis, accepts the winner as legitimate.

The results gave Mr. Lobo 56% of the vote, well ahead of Liberal Party candidate Elvin Santos at 38%, confirming voters' expected punishment of the Liberals -- party of both the deposed president and the interim government that ousted him.

While the small Central American nation is expected to get crucial support from the U.S., it will likely continue to face opposition from regional heavyweights such as Brazil and Argentina. The U.S., in agreeing to accept the winner, is now in a delicate position -- with Brazil, for example, which is housing exiled leader Manuel Zelaya in its Honduran embassy and recognizes him as president.

About 61% of Hondurans voted, and turnout, which was up from 2005, was seen as a crucial factor in persuading more countries to back the vote. The turnout was a loss for Mr. Zelaya, who had urged supporters to boycott the election. After the vote, Mr. Zelaya condemned the elections on CNN saying: "Absenteeism triumphed. ... These elections don't correct the coup d'etat."

Whatever Sparky, go to Brazil or Venezuela and party with your buddies. You're done in your own country.

It's amazing that the idea that the US will recognize the winner of this election is actually news (and surprisingly good news). That shows just how far off course we've gone in less than 10 months. Obama's reaction to the Honduran crisis is a black mark on our country bu all of that is a story for another day.

Today the story is the people of Honduras.

It reminds me of something Jefferson didn't say.

It is the common fate of the indolent to see their rights become a prey to the active. The condition upon which God hath given liberty to man is eternal vigilance; which condition if he break, servitude is at once the consequence of his crime and the punishment of his guilt.


Congratulations to Honduras for saving your democracy. For now.

Posted by: DrewM at 05:32 AM | Comments (82)
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Top Headline Comments 11-30-09
— Gabriel Malor

If you're just joining us after a long weekend, scroll down for some big stories that broke late last night.

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Suspected Police Assassin is Cornered by Police
UPDATE: No He's Not; Suspect Still at Large

— Gabriel Malor

Apparently, they tracked Maurice Clemmons to a house in east Seattle around 8:00pm last night, but they haven't moved on him yet. My friend @redhk, who lives a few blocks away from the scene, says the police helicopters hovered all night. A thorough round up is here, including witness statements from the crime that I hadn't seen anywhere else.

UPDATE (8:30AM PST): Police entered the home, but Clemmons wasn't there.

Posted by: Gabriel Malor at 04:25 AM | Comments (52)
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November 29, 2009

CRU agrees to release all data
— Purple Avenger


Although that was quick, this obviously won't be including any raw that went into the dumpster.
...n a statement welcomed by climate change sceptics, the university said it would make all the data accessible as soon as possible, once its Climatic Research Unit (CRU) had negotiated its release from a range of non-publication agreements...
An interesting quote from David Holland in that same article:
: "These guys called climate scientists have not done any more physics or chemistry than I did. A lifetime in engineering gives you a very good antenna. It also cures people of any self belief they cannot be wrong. You clear up a lot of messes during a lifetime in engineering. I could be wrong on global warming – I know that – but the guys on the other side don't believe they can ever be wrong."
Holland is of course absolutely right. Nobody designs bridges, tall buildings, or airplanes anymore based on hope, faith, or squishy theory. Engineers are the ultimate "reality based" community.

That was not always the case. As railroads were spreading across North America in the 1800's, roughly 1/3 of the early railway bridges collapsed soon after being built. That epidemic of bridge collapses was a major scandal. It wasn't that anyone wanted those bridges to collapse, it was that structural analysis techniques were in their infancy.

Similarly, the early era of Aviation saw some horrendous designs put forth. Yes, they were capable of staggering into the air, but they were not necessarily stable and/or exhibited some very evil handling traits when placed in certain attitudes (ex. the GeeBee R2 racing plane, which was fast as hell, but pretty much killed the majority of pilots who tried to fly it).

The history of science and engineering is very closely tied with the history of failures. Failures are what teach us that we don't know all we thought we knew. They humble us and make us reexamine our assumptions and data.

I expect to see a number of significant "failures" to be found when CRU releases this data. The real work comes after the jeers and giggling though. To keep all the money spent on those failres from being a waste, we'll need to learn something from it.

Posted by: Purple Avenger at 10:39 PM | Comments (126)
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Overnight Open Thread (Mætenloch)
— Open Blog

Hope everyone had a good T-Day weekend. And now we return you to your regularly scheduled program of drudgery, drinking, and last-minute desperation shopping.

A Tour of the Airbus A-380, the Largest Passenger Jet in the World
Returning a little luxury to air travel. These pictures are from an Emirates plane.

A380_barpic.jpg
more...

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WHOA: Suspected Police Assassin Was Pardoned by Gov. Huckabee in 2000
— Gabriel Malor

Huckabee's chickens coming home to roost:

Maurice Clemmons, the 37-year-old Tacoma man being sought for questioning in the killing of four Lakewood police officers this morning, has a long criminal record punctuated by violence, erratic behavior and concerns about his mental health.

Nine years ago, then-Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee granted clemency to Clemmons, commuting his lengthy prison sentence over the protestations of prosecutors.

"This is the day I've been dreading for a long time," Larry Jegley, prosecuting attorney for Arkansas' Pulaski County said Sunday night when informed that Clemmons was being sought in connection to the killings.

Back when Huckabee was governor, the people of Arkansas were so worried about his commutations of violent criminals, they looked at amending the state constitution to limit the governor's pardon power. This is what Huckabee had to say about executive clemency:

“I would not deny that my sense of the reality of redemption is a factor,” the former Baptist pastor said in a radio interview with KUAR in Little Rock. “And I don’t know that I can apologize for that because I would hate to think of the kind of human I would be if I thought people were beyond forgiveness and beyond reformation and beyond some sense of improvement.”

Our previous coverage of Huckabee's misguided and, well, dangerous use of the pardon power is here and here.

Via @redhk.

More:I'm sure a thousand people are digging up old news reports on Huckabee and Clemmons. And there will be a hundred stories in all the media tomorrow on Huckabee's future in politics. Here's the summary in advance:

(1) Huckabee pardoned Clemmons because they had a mutual acquaintance, he labored at the governor's mansion under a prisoner work program, or a minister intervened on his behalf. No, I don't actually know why he did it and Huckabee was notorious for refusing to give reasons for his pardons. These characteristics are what many of Huckabee's pardons had in common.

(2) The possibility that Huckabee will run for president in 2012 has moved from "less than likely" (see sidebar) to "not a chance in hell." Which, is the way I like it. He always was just a populist with a Bible. His shameful Mormon-baiting in Iowa ultimately gave us McCain last year. We no longer have to worry what Certain Fuckin' Doomabee will bring us next time.

Last Thing (for now): Huckabee's statement that it is "less than likely that I will run in 2012" preceded the assassination. Unless he has magic preacher clairvoyance, the two are unrelated.

Late Update: Huckabee makes a statement, passes the buck.

Posted by: Gabriel Malor at 04:18 PM | Comments (423)
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