Recently in Willful Ignorance Category
The latest bit of wackiness from the watermelon environmentalists in New York are their claims that fracking - the hydraulic fracturing of oil or natural gas bearing rock - will cause an increase in syphilis. And that's not all. Their reasoning? Try this:
They argue that a drilling boom would draw an influx of male workers from other states who would engage in activities of a kind that would spread sexually transmitted diseases.Yeah. Right.
They also contend that a boom would trigger a housing crunch, adding to homelessness and the health ailments that go along with it.
And that increased truck traffic would not only lead to more road fatalities, but would also -- again, no kidding -- discourage people from getting the outdoor exercise they need to stay fit.
It sounds like these folks are related to the West Coast wackos who have been claiming the decrease in population (and businesses) in California is a good thing because "it gives the municipalities and the state the opportunity to plan and build for future population and business growth." They don't seem to understand that there will be no money available to do those things because most of the people who would supply that money through the taxes they pay no longer work or live there. (And we musn't forget the multi-billions of taxpayer dollars that will be spent building a high speed rail system to nowhere, again with money they won't have, for people who don't want it or need it.)
All of this sounds like it came right out of Atlas Shrugged. (One wag commenting on a WSJ opinion piece about California's accelerating economic decline suggested banning businesses from moving out of state, reminiscent of Directive 10-289. At first I thought it was sarcasm, but it wasn't. How sad.)
So, economic growth and the jobs that go with it are a Bad Thing™? I'm not sure how they came to this conclusion, but obviously some deluded soul has sold them on the idea that anything that helps the economy must automatically be bad because....because...umm...it's just bad!!
Next, it's "Government is the only thing we all belong to."
It's merely another part of the Democrat mind-set, being that we owe everything to the government and that we are owned part and parcel by that same government. In other words, they are trying to tell us that we are slaves of the State and that we should be grateful for our indentured status.
What's worse is that at there are a lot of people who look forward to becoming vassals as if that will somehow relieve them of some great burden. It will. They will be relieved of their freedom to choose for themselves. They will become nothing but a disposable cog in the machine that is the State.
Is there anything we as Americans can do to prevent this from happening? Sure.
Vote them out of office. Ridicule them at every opportunity. Show the rest of the people that what these folks are advocating is not a solution, but a trap. There are plenty of examples to prove the point.
One of the biggest in more recent American history was LBJ's Great Society, a social welfare program that trapped millions in poverty and kept them dependent on the government, generation after generation. Minorities that had been making great strides to lift themselves out of poverty after World War II were again made second class citizens, having sold their freedom for a regular check from the government coffers. What's worse is that very folks who pulled this off painted their efforts to re-enslave them as a means to reach some kind of never-to-be-reached 'equality'. They were sold a lie, one too many still continue to believe.
If they need other examples there are plenty to choose from - the Bolshevik Revolution, Nazi Germany, Cuba, Nicaragua under the Sandinistas, Chavez's Venezuela, and a whole host of other nations that tried what the Democrats have been attempting to do (and failed miserably). It's a system that is always doomed to fail. Some have failed in spectacular fashion while others have been slowly fading away. But all of them have had one common element - surrendering individual freedoms to the State.
I could go into detail about my thoughts about it, but I won't other than to say he was masterful with his humor, his pointed jibes at the President, and his homage to Jimmy Stewart as done by Bob Newhart.
I will however link to a piece by Stuart Schneiderman, giving his analysis of both Eastwood's speech and the reaction by the ever humorless Left.
A small portion of his post:
Representing President Obama by an empty chair is salient, high concept, and very much to the point.'Nuff said.
It offers an image that conceptualizes the Republican critique of the Obama administration. It says that President Obama has failed to lead and has failed to discharge the duties of his office because he is more interested in being out and around campaigning than sitting at his desk in the oval office being the president.
Obama and his campaign staff were sufficiently torqued by the trope to have felt a need to tweet back a picture of the president at a cabinet meeting.
When you have to point out that the chair is occupied, that means that it isn't.
Jennifer Rubin covered Ann's speech, stating:
She showed a determination and soberness that was appropriate to a still doubting public. No one speech is going to turn an election. But Ann Romney delivered as promised. Romney and his team should consider themselves lucky to have a candidate's wife who can look her fellow Americans in the eye and sound both sincere and ebullient. She is indeed his greatest asset.But to read the comments to Jennifer's post, you'd think Ann was something that crawled out of a sewer, becoming someone even more reviled than Palin. But what do you expect from readers of the Washington Post who are "true believers" in the cause of Progressive Socialism, (thought they don't call it that...assuming they even know what it is.)
All kinds of accusation were leveled at her, all kinds of claims about her background made, and attacks made against her sons. But every single one of those supposedly enlightened bits of information were so easily debunked with just a little bit of search time on Google or Bing. But the facts don't fit with the narrative and therefore must be discarded.
What it comes down to is the folks posting those kinds of comments ceased thinking for themselves years ago and are capable only of regurgitating what they've been told by their leaders/friends of a friend/etc. If what they hear backs up their 'beliefs', then it must be true, right? After all, the Democrats and the Left never lie about anything, do they?
I expect that the closer we get to the election the worst the attacks against Mitt, and particularly Ann will become, harking us back to the days of the character assassination of Sarah Palin and her family. And like the last election, I expect the Obama campaign to go after the Romney kids and grandkids. But I also expect to hear a hew and cry if anyone were to make cracks about Michelle or the Obama girls. After all, the rules only apply to the GOP and not the Democrats, right?
And considering some of the other activities seen by the Left and their lapdog media, I expect the racist looting hypocrites to pull every dirty trick in their book to keep the Narcissist-in-Chief in office, including making sure all of the dead, the non-citizens, and other ineligible people 'vote' for their guy as many times as they can. After all, aren't the Democrats, and particularly the Chicago machine, the party of voter fraud? (See, I can make accusations, too. But at least I can prove mine.)
For the most part I have been trying to avoid many of the campaign ads running on TV. But they are so pervasive that it is almost impossible to do so unless I'm watching something recorded on the DVR so I can skip right past them.
But I have noticed the tone and I have to say I'm not liking what I'm seeing.
It isn't that many of the ads are negative. That's pretty much par for the course. It is the focus of the ads and some of the outright falsehoods and very creative editing being put forward as the "Truth".
Before I go any farther let me give you this warning - I am not non-partisan. I am not going to pretend I'm non-partisan and I'm going to admit right up front that I am biased.
The upcoming elections in November are driving a great big wedge between those who believe the big issue for this election is the economy and those who think it's about anything but the economy. The first group is right and the second is wrong.
As I have said time and time again to many of the anti-Tea party folks (most who seem to believe the Tea party wants to impose some kind of Christian theocracy), the social issues don't matter worth a damn if the nation is bankrupt. If the economy collapses things like abortion rights, same-sex marriage, drug laws, ObamaCare, Social Security, and a whole host of other social issues will become marginalized because everyone will be too busy just trying to survive. None of that crap will matter to anyone. As Democrat consultant James Carville famously said, "It's the economy, stupid!"
The GOP ticket is focusing on the right issues, specifically the economy, jobs, and overreaching government regulations that have only hurt the economy. The Democrats want to focus on anything but the economy, and that's understandable. It's a losing issue for them. So they'll focus on all kinds of social issues that most Americans could care less about. They'll put forth ads and whispering campaigns about how Romney wants to take us back to the Middle Ages, ban all contraception, put women back in the kitchen, and steal lollipops from the mouths of children. (The last is more likely to happen, but it will be Mike Bloomberg doing that, not the Romney.)
Accusations of tax fraud, FEC and SEC violations, and wrongful death have been flung at Romney, yet every one of them has been found to be without merit. But that doesn't mean the Dems won't keep throwing those kind of accusations his way.
Romney's life is pretty much an open book, unlike our present President who is one of the most secretive persons to ever sit in the Oval Office. We know nothing about him other than what he wants us to know, and that's not much. But to hear it you'd think Romney was hiding all kinds of secrets. It's the standard Democrat tactic of accusing others of doing what they themselves are doing.
I've seen my share of presidential campaigns, but I have to say that this one is probably one of the most divisive and nasty ones I've ever seen. I also expect it to get worse, particularly if the Dems and their 'supporters' (the unions) decide to use their proxies (anarchists, OWS, etc) to up the ante and start with physical threats, voter intimidation, and outright acts of violence. Of course I also expect that if such a thing happens they'll get a pass from AG Jeffrey Holder, much as they did during the 2010 elections.
He continues to spout his disconnected-from-reality beliefs that the US is a greater threat to world peace than Iran. Then again he's always seen the US as a threat to everything he's believed in since the 1960's. But the one thing this bomb-thrower he hasn't been willing to do is to go live in one of the Marxist utopias he wants to see the US turned into to see if his beliefs match reality. Over the past 5 decades he's had the chance to go live with his brethren in socialist harmony in the many Marxist/socialist utopias, but has turned down the opportunity. Could it be because he knows that those 'utopias' are really nothing more than brutal police states with no freedom to speak one's mind? Where the only equality is the equality of misery and fear?
If the US is such a horrible place, then why isn't he languishing in some super secret super-max facility as political prisoner? Why hasn't he been killed by right-wing death squads? Because this guy has become nothing more than an armchair revolutionary.
His bomb-throwing days are long gone, and he wants others to fight his fight for him. Could this scenario he's selling be his way of trying to remain relevant? Bill Ayers only problem is that he hasn't been relevant for over 40 years.
But once that kind of claim is made in the MSM, it becomes fact, at least for many of the evidence deficient Left. And as of yet there has been no apology for smearing Tea party member Holmes' name other than a brief editor's note on the ABC News website. Too many folks believing the "yet another mad dog Tea party member has been shooting up Colorado" meme will never see that note. Better that ABC News made the apology on the air.
And the hits keep on coming, even from left-leaning blogs, and rightfully so.
OK then! There's some guy on the internet with the same name. That is literally all Ross had--no other connection, not one reason to even remotely suspect that it's the same Holmes. Just that there is a guy with that name, on the internet.But the media in general has to take some of the blame, particularly television. Their obsessive need to be "first with the story", the ongoing 24-hour news cycle, and the search for ratings has been behind a lot of the problems. With these kinds motivations is it any wonder why Matt Welch has dubbed them as "half-assed media"?
That astonishingly stupid speculation led the geniuses at Breitbart to rebut the calumny with their own guy-named-James-Holmes, this one a registered Democrat. So there! "There are certainly more facts in our documents than in ABC News' irresponsible speculations," Joel Pollak wrote, hilariously and maddeningly.
Point being: Never, ever listen to anything Ross reports unless and until it has been confirmed by another, better, reporter.
Undeterred by how wrong they got the Columbine shootings 13 years ago, or how disgustingly politicized they turned Jared Loughner's 2011 rampage, the humans who work for and talk with journalistic outlets are again rushing to speculative judgment about Jim Holmes, the suspected Batman murderer in Aurora, Colorado.It's the old "If it bleeds, it ledes" mentality magnified. Take a tragedy, sensationalize the hell out of it, skip fact checking (or minimalize it at best), fling out all kinds of unsubstantiated theories and speculation, and then move on to other stories before the facts of the tragedy come out. They leave it to others to pick up the pieces of the truth they so blithely shattered in their need to get the story out before their competition. It doesn't matter to them that they may have damaged or destroyed the reputations of people unconnected to the tragedy.
We see this again and again and it's always the same. Too often the news operations try to make the news rather than just reporting the news. Along with that many reports resemble editorials rather than actual reports, with reporters and news anchors offering opinion as if it were fact. (I actually remember when the local TV stations here in New England aired editorials by their news directors and editors, labeling them as editorials. There was no confusion about them. That practice has all but disappeared, and with it, the viewing public's trust.)
And the MSM wonders why an increasing number of people have little trust or faith in them to report the news?
"Plunge In CO2 Output Due To Natural Gas Fracking"
With a dramatic decline in energy-related carbon dioxide emissions, many of the arguments being made by the greens have been undermined. But you won't see reports like this in the MSM.
The most underreported recent environmental story has been the dramatic decline in energy-related carbon emissions -- nearly back to mid-1990s levels, and falling.That which does not fit the narrative must be ignored, at least when it comes to Gaia-huggers and watermelons and their beliefs.
Maybe it's because that story just doesn't fit the left's mantra that traditional energy sources are destroying the environment.
But then I came across this over at Maggie's Farm and it struck such a chord in me I had to watch it again and again. And every time I watched it I became both angrier and sadder at the same time.
While this video did not come from a real debate (it's from a new HBO series The Newsroom), the fact that this character spoke his mind rather than act like a gladhanding politician by giving a 'safe' answer in order to at least not lose ground to his competitors shows that at least in some screenwriter's mind, someone recognizes the problem we have with this nation. (I am not a fan of HBO, particularly after the hatchet job they did on Sarah Palin.)
It all comes down to this, as expressed by one commenter on the original YouTube page:
We WERE the greatest country in the world until socialism, lawyers, unions, and television lulled us into mediocrity. They convinced us to give up our lofty pursuits for the security of never failing.While the sentiment is a little simplistic, it does get to the heart of the matter. Over the last 5 decades we have been told by our supposed 'betters' that by merely being American that we are somehow inherently evil, that we must pay for the crimes of our long-dead forebears and that we must apply late 20th/early 21st century 'sensibilities' to 18th, 19th, and early 20th century actions, laws, and morality. How incredibly stupid is that?
But we've seen this kind of stupidity multiplying over the years and the fact that it no longer surprises me brought me up short. When did I get so jaded that I no longer point out such stupidity?
It's been a while since I've pointed it out and ended up looking through the Weekend Pundit archives and came across something I posted a little over three years ago. It illustrates just how much damage we have allowed to be done to this once great nation, how we've been fooled into becoming nothing but a mediocre nation more concerned with feelings and not about facts.
Unless we change that this nation will go out with a whimper, and woe to us if that is the case.
It seems that all of the weather we've been experiencing over the past few months is all our fault. So says a report from US and UK researchers. (No link available at the moment.) So says a news report on ABC's World News this evening.
Supposedly the report says all of the extreme weather we've been experiencing the past year is due directly to human generated greenhouse gases and that no other explanation is probable. Despite reams of data to the contrary, they're sticking to the predictions of disastrous sea level rise, massive killer hurricanes by the hundreds, and a whole host of other calamities that will be brought on by AGW. They have presented no further data, projections, or evidence that what they're claiming is true.
Really? It looks like these folks have fallen under sway of the Correlation Fallacy, ignoring the myriad of forces that affect weather (even the most rabid climate scientist admits they can't possibly know a majority of the factors that affect climate). So how is it that these scientists can state with absolute certainty that the only possible cause is human activity?
It's simple: they're nuts. What's worse is that they're lying to themselves.
At this point I am highly skeptical of anyone who says they know "without a shadow of doubt" that we are the end-all and be-all in climate change. Our atmosphere is such a chaotic system that anyone who says they can predict with high accuracy what the climate will be like next year, let alone 30 or 100 years from now, is a quack. Unless they have a climate model whose algorithm takes into account every factor that affects climate then all they're doing is gazing into a crystal ball, and a cracked one at that.
This isn't science. This is politics, period.
I just caught a report by ABC's Good Morning America covering the dismal jobs report for June. It was another almost-softball report for Obama, with economics commentator Matthew Dowd stating the American people no longer trust politicians to fix the economy.
The truth, however, is more likely that it is the President they no longer trust.
Throughout our history it has been shown again and again that both Congress and the President have the power to damage the economy, but can usually do little to fix it by any other means than getting out of the way and letting the economy fix itself. Time and again it has been shown that by getting out of the way the economy rights itself, growth returns, and all is right with the world. Then someone in Congress or the President decide that things "aren't quite right" and they start tinkering with one tax, regulation, rule, incentives, subsidies, and law after another, each of them adding burdens that puts more pressure on the economy. In turn the economy slows, falls into recession, and then the Powers-That-Be wonder why this happened, not understanding that they are the ones causing the problems.
This recession, the longest in US history, was fostered by job-killing, finance-twisting, illogical regulations, laws, and "incentives" that short-circuited the usual feedback mechanisms and allowed economic bubbles to be created. Once those bubbles burst, the economy fell and fell fast.
The Powers-That-Be keep ignoring history, keep doing the same thing over and over again, and then wonder why their various 'fixes' for the economy didn't work this time.
It's called insanity.
It's a hard sell for them when emissions have been falling at a more rapid pace than they demanded.
Much to the surprise (and, one suspects, the chagrin) of the deranged doomsaying wing of the environmental movement, new forecasts of US CO2 emission are out and they point to an even steeper drop than the last set of predictions.There are a couple of reasons for the drop, the two biggest being the replacement of less efficient vehicles, industrial/commercial/residential equipment, and older power generation systems with new and more energy efficient ones; and a drop in economic activity which usually decreases the demand for energy and in turn decreases carbon dioxide emissions.
No cap and trade, no huge new taxes on oil, no draconian driver restrictions, no air conditioning bans, no rationing -- and the US is on track to cut its CO2 emissions 17 percent below the 2005 levels by 2020 -- and to keep cutting our emissions levels beyond that.
I doubt very much the choice to replace old equipment was made purely in order to reduce CO2 emissions. Instead it was likely made due to economics, as newer equipment tends to be more efficient and requires less maintenance than old equipment which in turn lowers operating costs. The lower emissions are a byproduct of this efficiency.
I know in the recent past the US was decreasing its carbon dioxide emissions at a faster rate than those countries who signed on to the Kyoto treaty and I think we'll probably find that is still the case. But what this is telling us is that Kyoto was not the means of reducing CO2 output. In fact, some signatories have seen their CO2 emissions continue to rise.
In any case, the United States of America is living proof that there are more ways to address environmental concerns than the green movement as a whole is willing to admit.Indeed.
The truth is that if CO2 emissions are going to come down, it's going to happen the American way rather than the Greenpeace way. Instead of flinging muck and howling curses at the most successful carbon cutting large economy in the world, maybe a few more greens here and there will start thinking about how to spread the magic around.
One of the biggest problems with the use of "denier" is that it is too often applied to skeptics, which are not the same thing. One of Dr. Brown's complaints is the use of that term in scientific literature to describe those who are skeptical of questionable claims about AGW. As he states more than once, all scientists should be skeptical about claims of any kind, even their own, as a means of maintaining scientific honesty. It is too easy for scientists to be caught up in what they want to be true versus what is true, hence the need for healthy skepticism. Unfortunately when it comes to climate science it seems that skepticism is not tolerated, something that makes any claims made by those same climate scientists automatically suspect.
Being a skeptic does not mean that one does not believe in climate change. Quite the contrary. But health skepticism at the cause of climate change must be maintained in order to delve into the true causes, particularly when the the only acceptable answer is that its main cause is human activity.
I won't quote from Dr. Brown's response to Dr. Paul Bain's use of "denier" in scientific literature, but I will use one of his comments in response to the post linked above. I think he does a pretty good job describing why he finds the label so disturbing as he sees it as an indicator of closed minds in a field of endeavor that requires minds to be open to all possible causes of climate change, otherwise any results will be tainted and will smack of Lysenkoism, where politics decides scientific 'truth' rather than facts, evidence, experimentation, and theories.
Writes Dr. Brown in response to this comment:
On the contrary, I don't think there is any good reason to call people who don't believe in the "Anthropogenic" part of global warming deniers either, as I don't think the term has any place in science (as I think I made clear). However, bear in mind that I'm posting as a physicist -- not ex cathedra in any sense, but to explain why I find it difficult to escape from my own strongly held beliefs concerning the laws of nature. That the globe has warmed, on average, since the LIA (with some bobbles along the way) is -- in my opinion -- difficult to doubt because there is a rather lot of evidence supporting the assertion. That takes care of the GW part -- people who "deny" that global warming and cooling take place (with mostly warming since the mid-19th century) may not be "deniers" but they are IMO badly wrong, an opinion I will continue to hold until I am shown some fairly serious evidence to the contrary.Indeed.
It is also entirely possible to doubt the anthropogenic part and not be irrational. I've been in a debate with a very cogent arguer in other threads of WUWT who puts forth the proposition that global CO_2 levels are set by temperature only, with a roughly two year lag. His argument is evidence-based, associated with an observed, usually lagged, strong correlation between the temperature anomaly and the derivative of the atmospheric CO_2 concentration. It is quite plausible, and only fails to be completely convincing because it is not unique -- one can find a number of related models for the carbon cycle that make more or less of the CO_2 concentration responsible for the temperature anomaly and still retain the correlation in question, as well as models that may or may not retain the correlation but that fit the data within its error bars. There is also a problem of sorts with causal order in the data -- again, not something that proves the arguer or his assertion wrong, but still something to be thought about (as it implies that both the CO_2 and temperature change might have a common prior cause that is neither one of them). This approach doesn't "deny" that warming has occurred, or deny that atmospheric CO_2 concentration increases can cause temperature increases, it merely points out that it is not certain that the CO_2 levels in our atmosphere are primarily set by anthropogenic contributions, that there are plausible alternatives not as far as I know falsified by any argument or evidence, and that it may be GW that is causing the CO_2 increase and not the other way around. There are arguments against this, note well, but IMO they are not certain or settled science -- the carbon cycle is too open a question for that and a lot of science is still being done.
However, it is a lot more common for the doubt of AGW or the GHE itself to be expressed as terrible science -- propositions that openly violate the first or second law of thermodynamics or "There is no way that a trace gas in our atmosphere can be responsible for warming", for example. Well, yes there is, and the physics of it is relatively straightforward and well-known. Furthermore, one can simply look at the TOA IR spectra and see the CO_2 hole in radiation from the surface -- as close as one might hope to get to direct experimental of the GHE in action. So when skeptics assert "there is no such thing as the Greenhouse Effect", usually without anything like a well-founded theoretical argument or empirical support, they -- again in my opinion -- openly invite rebuttal, and I spend a fair bit of time on WUWT rebutting exactly that sort of claim. Obviously, they provide CAGW proponents with an opportunity to commit any number of logical fallacies and claim that because these skeptics have silly arguments, all skeptics are wrong. And even given my strong beliefs that the GHE is totally real and that it is not at all unreasonable that humans have contributed both to the total CO_2 concentration in the atmosphere (although quite possibly less than the AGW crowd asserts that they have contributed) and that the increased CO_2 has raised global temperatures by some amount (although quite possibly a lot less than the CAGW crowd asserts that they have raised them by), I do try to remain open to any specific argument to the contrary (such as the example given above that I could not falsify, although neither could I falsify alternatives that also worked).
The point is that one should not excuse the individuals on either side of the issue from their individual errors against reason. Some AGW opponents are quacks. I'm sorry, but there it is. Anthony is aware of this -- all of the scientists on this list are. The fact that some quacks try to invent unified field theory in physics (and somehow always seem to find my email address so that they can explain it to me) doesn't mean that physics in general or the search for a unified field theory in particular is quackery. Similarly some quacks opposing CAGW doesn't mean CAGW is either right or wrong, or that skepticism in general is quackery, it just means more "noise" in the discussion. In general, the list is pretty good at policing this sort of thing without resorting to censorship or (usually) name calling -- one reason I like to hang out here -- and the level of the science presented on both sides tends to be pretty good.
Note well, some AGW proponents are just as quackers! Ask Al Gore, for example, to present actual evidence defending half of the assertions he makes in the international news. A few other names come to mind as well, especially ones that have more or less "confessed" to at the very least abhorrent scientific practices in the Climategate emails -- gatekeeping, trying to get journal editors fired, concealing evidence that does not support a desired "cause", and the extraordinary steps of trying to get scientists actually fired from faculty positions at other institutions for the sin of disagreement with their published results and public position!
Shameful. One can indeed think of some nasty adjectives to describe the individuals who engage in such inappropriate activity as if it were science.
Science, however, does not benefit from throwing around pejorative terms (even in the specific cases where one might think they are justified). It's one thing that does bother me about this list -- certain members knee-jerk assume the worst about any scientist or politician that does -- in all honesty -- accept the conclusion of AGW, or CAGW. They not infrequently blow off steam with a bit of name-calling (and I'm probably not entirely free from blame here -- it is human nature and this is an informal venue). I obviously understand that -- but again it degrades the quality of the scientific debate, which should not automatically impugn the motives of someone that disagrees with you but rather should focus on the details of the disagreement, the arguments, and above all, the data and what can legitimately be inferred from it.
In any event, I hope this makes my position here clear. To summarize -- one should never use pejorative terms like "denier" in a scientific paper published in a reputable journal, not even to describe quacks who "deny" the laws of thermodynamics (whether or not they understand them). In general one should just ignore them. I would go one step further, and say that the term skeptic has no place in the debate, and is a purely political term that needlessly and incorrectly polarizes the scientific community and stifles the scientific process itself. All scientists worthy of the name are skeptics, and the best of them are the most skeptical of their own pet theories and beliefs, for it is here that we are most easily blinded the most by that bete noire of the scientific process, confirmation bias. We all see what we believe, and it is only by doubting our own beliefs that we can come to be reasonably sure of them, in time.
It is this that Feynman was attempting to convey in his wonderful speech -- one can always find evidence confirming any belief if one looks for it and fails to accurately report all of the evidence that didn't work out or confounds it. It is here that -- in my opinion -- climate science has horribly failed the people of the world. Whether or not the AGW hypothesis is correct -- with or without the "C" -- there has been a most unseemly rush to present only one side of the evidence, almost certainly to achieve certain political ends. Contrary evidence or arguments have been actively suppressed. Data and methods have been concealed as long as possible, and when finally revealed have proven to be at least -- questionable -- in many cases.
In the end it is this dishonesty that corrupts the scientific process, and we are paying for that corruption every day not just in climate science but in medical research, social science research, and many other scientific venues in which confirmation bias and cherrypicking of results runs rampant. In the case of climate science, the worst case bill -- either way -- could be in the trillions. Perhaps instead of throwing around terms like "denier" intended to shut down debate, we could open up the debate and get the science right.
Too many of the AGW and CAGW faithful have their blinders on and are incapable of seeing evidence, data, or theories that contradict their deeply held beliefs. Call it an ideological not-seeing-the-forest-for-the-trees problem. Their minds are made up and no amount of debate, discussion, or failure of their pet theories to predict actual climate behavior will change their minds. On the other hand, if the climate scientists who espouse much of this not-to-be-questioned theories were to take a closer look at their work, their data, and their assumptions, they might do one of two things: open up all of their data, algorithms, experimental processes, and any other relevant information for everyone to see, or; decide their theories and predictions are wrong and start over, this time without falling into the Feynman trap.
Now that the Wisconsin recall election is in the history books, the Democrat Machine has switched to the Max Extract Spin Mode, trying its best to make Scott Walker's successful defense against the public employee union onslaught seem like nothing more than a fluke. The union thugs lost this one by losing support of the very people they believed were firmly in their pocket - the working stiffs. These same working stiffs are also less likely to support a President they see as doing everything he can to kill jobs despite his claims to the contrary. His record speaks for itself. The spin the Dems and the White House are trying to put on Walker's win isn't resonating very well across the country.
So why did the public employee unions lose after spending millions in union funds to unseat Walker? It's simple, really.
It's tough to convince someone who's barely making ends meet all while seeing their taxes going up year after year that it's in their best interest to support state and municipal employee demands for gold plated benefits packages those of us in the private sector can only dream about. It was a major disconnect between the public employee unions and the average working folks.
What made this disconnect even worse is that Walker's actions did exactly what he said they would - turning a $6 billion budget deficit into the first budget surplus seen in years, all without raising taxes; lowering property taxes; and helping reduce benefits costs paid by school systems across the state. It's not easy convincing people who see more of their money staying in their pockets that they should "go back to the way it used to be." That's a tough sell.
Do the results in Wisconsin automatically mean Obama is doomed and Romney will have a cakewalk? No, not in the least. But it does mean that a state the Democrats saw as safely in the Obama camp is now in play, and that does not bode well for the President.
Too bad. Or not.
Millions in union funds spent to recall Scott Walker and the public employee unions get their heads handed to them, and rightfully so. Too many of the union leaders and rank-and-file seemed to believe the taxpayer's money belonged to them rather than the people who actually earned it. Talk about being out of touch with reality. Their belief the gold-plated benefits and pensions they received in the past were owed to them when the people paying for them were struggling to make ends meet was the height of arrogance, setting them up for their failure.
But as Glenn Reynolds reminds us, "Don't get cocky, kid!"
One of the first signs is the claims by low-level Obama supporters that "Romney became rich by making other people poor!" Call it an offshoot of the ever-discredited "Zero Sum Fallacy" constantly being sold by the economically clueless Left.
If memory serves, I recall reading one claim on one of the WSJ forums about Bain Capital buying a distressed business, closing it, and selling off its assets.
First, Bain's raison d'étrè was to invest in failing businesses, turn them around, and make money for the investors. For the most part, they succeeded. But sometimes they couldn't and the companies failed, were closed, and the assets sold off to offset their losses. There are times when no matter what, a failing business can't be saved.
Second, the action in question took place in 2002. There's only one problem with the claim made by the poster in the forum: Romney wasn't with Bain at the time. He'd left in 1998, four years before this supposedly took place.
So how could Romney be held responsible for something that took place well after he left unless it's one of the side effects of RDP? After all, the Left blames George Bush for all kinds of things, including things done by a Democrat majority Congress. Some blame him for things that have taken place long after he left office. Why shouldn't we expect the indoctrinated Left to do the same thing to Romney. All I'm waiting for now is some kind of "fake but accurate" incident analogous to RatherGate to smear Romney. I figure it's only a matter of time.
Reading some of the Letters to the Editor in one of the local papers here in New Hampshire, I am already seeing elements of the coming smear campaign. The local Leftist parrots are already repeating their carefully programmed claims, condemning Romney and praising their messiah, regardless of the fact that Romney has created more jobs while working in the private sector than Obama has since he was nothing more than a community organizer in Chicago. Claims of 4.25 millions jobs created by Obama must be taken with a huge grain of salt, just as many of us doubt his "3 million jobs created or saved by the $878 billion stimulus" claim. Certainly the unemployment numbers never reflected that claim, either the officially reported number (meaning those collecting unemployment) and the officially ignored number (meaning those also unemployed who were no longer collecting unemployment or who were underemployed) which boosted the unemployment rate a good 6 or 7 percentage points higher than the official numbers. (At one point the unemployment rate was above 11%, meaning the actual unemployment rate was closer to 17 percent.)
So far the "evil Bain" approach and hyped jobs claims hasn't worked and it's backfired on the Democrats. Too many folks out there know the real story because they're living it and claims made by the Obama campaign to the contrary don't match their reality. With today's unemployment numbers showing the unemployment rate has gone up, job creation fell far short of projections, and the Dow Jones Average falling almost 300 points today, reality has just slapped the Democrats in the face.
But I don't expect that to stop the spread of baseless, fact-deficient, and ignorant distortions of Romney's record of accomplishments.
Detroit, whose 139 square miles contain 60 percent fewer residents than in 1950, will try to nudge them into a smaller living space by eliminating almost half its streetlights.When you have block after block of abandoned commercial buildings and homes, it makes no sense to waste money lighting streets where no one (except squatters) live. Of course many of those buildings and homes wouldn't be abandoned if decades of Progressive leadership hadn't driven the city into these dire straits. The city is a perfect example of the Thatcher Axiom: "The problem with socialism is that eventually you run out of other people's money." That certainly fits Detroit to a 'T'.
As it is, 40 percent of the 88,000 streetlights are broken and the city, whose finances are to be overseen by an appointed board, can't afford to fix them. Mayor Dave Bing's plan would create an authority to borrow $160 million to upgrade and reduce the number of streetlights to 46,000. Maintenance would be contracted out, saving the city $10 million a year.
Detroit's dwindling income and property-tax revenue have required residents to endure unreliable buses and strained police services throughout the city. Because streetlights are basic to urban life, deciding what areas to illuminate will reshape the city, said Kirk Cheyfitz, co-founder of a project called Detroit143 -- named for the 139 square miles of land, plus water -- that publicizes neighborhood issues.As Glenn Reynolds stated in his link to the story, it's like something right out of Atlas Shrugged or I Will Fear No Evil.
Meantime, [Detroit Chief Operating Officer Chris] Brown said, the city will fix broken streetlights in certain places even as it discontinues such services as street and sidewalk repairs in "distressed" areas -- those with a high degree of blight and little or no commercial activity.
While New York also has problems with its public employee unions, it's nowhere near the level seen elsewhere. Instead, the City Council is proposing rules that will help drive the last surviving industry out of the city - the financial industry.
For the life of me I can't figure out how making it too difficult and too expensive to remain in New York City is going to help the city's finances. Is it possible the City Council has been infected with the "California disease"? After all, California's state and local level governments have been doing their best to drive businesses out of business or out of state. They have succeeded. That's why California is in the fiscal mess it's in. And now New York City wants to do the same thing?
Yet in the wake of JP Morgan's massive losses last week and the continuing controversy surrounding the Wall Street bailouts, the New York City Council is debating a measure that would require city banks to publicly disclose their efforts at "socially responsible" banking.This is the same attitude held by many politicians in California and we've seen how well that's worked out for them. The City Council doesn't seem to understand that the banks and other financial institutions will have no problem departing the city for greener pastures. As the post linked above states, Fortune 500 companies have been leaving New York for decades. Wall Street firms will have no problems following them to places with better business climates. And with today's telecommunications infrastructure, those greener pastures can be anywhere, even here in New Hampshire.
Many bankers, as well as Mayor Michael Bloomberg, have voiced their opposition to the new plans. The regulations, they say, would add another burdensome layer to the web of regulations that already exist at the federal and state levels. The Council, however, appears unmoved, and support of key council leaders...give it a fighting chance at making it into law.
If it does, its supporters on the Council will hail it as a major victory, but it will be a loss for the city as a whole. The financial industry is the one industry keeping the city alive, yet New York's blue politicians seem unconcerned about the risks of antagonizing their major cash cow.
As more than one pundit has stated, California does not have a revenue problem but a spending problem. Even the once-and-again governor Jerry Brown knows the state is in a deep fiscal crisis, but his solution is raise taxes again. This after the last tax increase failed to raise the projected revenues, leaving the state with a $16 billion budget deficit. Whether he and the rest of the tax-and-spend Democrats realize it or not, they're on the wrong side of the Laffer Curve, meaning even if they continue to raise taxes, revenues will be well below projections. At this point the taxes have become punitive and outright confiscatory, punishing financial success. Once you start doing that people either stop trying or they leave. In the case of California, it's both. And it's not just those providing jobs who are packing up and leaving, so are many of the workers, including illegal immigrants. The net population change has shown more than 4 million more people have left California than have entered over the past 10 years. And this figure does not include the illegal immigrants, many whom are heading back home because there's no work to be had in the economic wasteland that is California.
Other states have been struggling with economic crises, including New Jersey. It is here where we see the difference in approaches taken to solve fiscal problems. Governor Chris Christie dove head first into the problem, understanding New Jersey's fiscal crisis was due to runaway government spending at all levels and overreaching public employee union demands. He went after both and managed to cut spending and dial back a lot of the union benefits that were unsustainable, particularly during this ongoing recession. As the piece linked above stated, "More states are realizing that the road to fiscal hell is paved with progressive intentions." Christie gets it. Brown does not.
There was also another thing Christie did that Brown did not: Canceled a multi-billion dollar commuter rail project between New Jersey and New York City that his state could not afford. He knew it for the money-wasting boondoggle it was and wanted nothing to do with it. Brown on the other hand, caved in to federal demands and decided to go ahead with a high-speed rail project that is doomed to fail before the first rail tie is laid down, committing California to billions upon billions of taxpayer dollars it doesn't have for a project no one (except the watermelon environmentalists) wants or needs. What use is a high-speed train to nowhere? (The initial stretches will be built out in economically depressed and less urban and suburban areas. Why would they need such a train when the only place it will take them is to another economically depressed area?)
Need more proof California is heading to an inevitable financial meltdown? Then look at the local level where municipalities are struggling to meet unrealistic demands from their public employees and the state. Here's an example:
A mere handful of people are left to hear the San Jose city manager offer the latest bleak financial news: the state of California was clawing back tens of millions of dollars more, and "140 employees have been separated from the city." (New times call for new euphemisms.) A pollster presents his finding that, no matter how the question is phrased, the citizens of San Jose are unlikely to approve any ballot measure that raises taxes. A numbers guy gets to his feet and explains that the investment returns in the city's pension plan are not likely to be anything near as high as was assumed. In addition to there not being enough money in this particular pot to begin with, the pot is failing to expand as fast as everyone had hoped, and so the gap between what the city's employees are entitled to and what will exist is even greater than previously imagined. The council then votes to postpone, for six weeks, a vote on whether to declare the city's budget a "public emergency," and thus to give to the mayor, Chuck Reed, new powers.We're not as bad as Greece. Not exactly an overwhelming vote of confidence from the mayor, is it? San Jose isn't the only municipality facing the same kind of crisis. It is, unfortunately, an all too common problem across the state.
The relationship between the people and their money in California is such that you can pluck almost any city at random and enter a crisis. San Jose has the highest per capita income of any city in the United States, after New York. It has the highest credit rating of any city in California with a population over 250,000. It is one of the few cities in America with a triple-A rating from Moody's and Standard & Poor's, but only because its bondholders have the power to compel the city to levy a tax on property owners to pay off the bonds. The city itself is not all that far from being bankrupt.
[Mayor Chuck Reed is] a Democrat, but at this point it doesn't much matter which party he belongs to, or what his ideological leanings are, or for that matter how popular he is with the people of San Jose. He's got a problem so big that it overwhelms ordinary politics: the city owes so much more money to its employees than it can afford to pay that it could cut its debts in half and still wind up broke. "I did a calculation of cost per public employee," he says as we settle in. "We're not as bad as Greece, I don't think."
Stockton is on the verge of bankruptcy. Vallejo's government is all but shut down after that city's bankruptcy in 2008, with police and fire departments gutted, a relocated city hall with few staff, and a general feeling of hopelessness.
Eighty percent of the city's budget--and the lion's share of the claims that had thrown it into bankruptcy--were wrapped up in the pay and benefits of public-safety workers. Relations between the police and the firefighters, on the one hand, and the citizens, on the other, were at historic lows. The public-safety workers thought that the city was out to screw them on their contracts; the citizenry thought that the public-safety workers were using fear as a tool to extort money from them.Is this is what is in store for other cities and towns in California? Yes, unless things change and the public employee unions either give up their over-the-top compensation (which has put municipalities into these dire fiscal straits) or are broken or decertified. Otherwise California has no chance at all.
Since the bankruptcy, the police and fire departments have been cut in half; some number of the citizens who came to [city manager] Phil Batchelor's office did so to say they no longer felt safe in their own homes. All other city services had been reduced effectively to zero. "Do you know that some cities actually pave their streets?" says Batchelor. "That's not here."