November 30, 2009

Op-Ed Columnist - America vs. The Narrative -

Op-Ed Columnist - America vs. The Narrative -

Thomas Friedman is obviously very frustrated and conflicted, it would seem, about the Arab world's unwillingness to attack "the Narrative." The Narrative is the false message and constant drumbeat that radical Islamists push onto Islamic peoples. That message is: America and Israel are responsible for an anti-Muslim strategy orchestrated to keep Muslims down and jihad against America and the West is the only solution available to Muslims.

Friedman ends his column with the message (emphasis added) that TeamObama should be delivering

"What to do? Many Arab Muslims know that what ails their societies is more than the West, and that The Narrative is just an escape from looking honestly at themselves. But none of their leaders dare or care to open that discussion. In his Cairo speech last June, President Obama effectively built a connection with the Muslim mainstream. Maybe he could spark the debate by asking that same audience this question:

“Whenever something like Fort Hood happens you say, ‘This is not Islam.’ I believe that. But you keep telling us what Islam isn’t. You need to tell us what it is and show us how its positive interpretations are being promoted in your schools and mosques. If this is not Islam, then why is it that a million Muslims will pour into the streets to protest Danish cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad, but not one will take to the streets to protest Muslim suicide bombers who blow up other Muslims, real people, created in the image of God? You need to explain that to us — and to yourselves.”"

November 29, 2009

Climate change data dumped - Times Online

Climate change data dumped - Times Online

Can this possibly be true? This is not science, this is circus!

Here is another, more extensive, story from the same source published on November 29, 2009.

November 27, 2009

The Climategate Dustup

I have learned that the news media does not report fairly or in an unbiased fashion. It was my belief in earlier years that they did, but learned differently when I became responsible for public relations for my company in Vermont. It's not true that media is unbiased and expecting otherwise is a mistake.

Reporters are often not very knowledgeable about what they report. Perhaps they're better in larger media organizations, where people have a 'beat' to follow and do so for years.

Even more bias is shown by editors who decide what stories to cover and how deeply. The greatest bias is deciding NOT to cover certain stories that have large implications. All media are guilty of these biased judgements.

We must always remember that all human beings, even scientists have biases. We are seeing this so very clearly in the Climategate dust up.

The blogosphere of skeptics is rightfully and diligently poring over the information made available by hackers of the servers at the Climate Research Unit. Mr R.K. Pachauri, head of the U.N. climate research group has released a statement that I believe is directed to the politicians of the world who have agreed with the conclusions contained in Summary for Policy Makers of the latest IPPC report. I have read his statement and it's mostly BS, IMHO, a sad attempt at damage control in advance of the Copenhagen climate change summit.

Andrew Revkin at the NY Times, obviously a true believer in AGW (Anthropogenic Global Warming) issues a somewhat mild rebuke of the 'tribe' of true believers by publishing a statement on his blog from Judith Curry, a climate scientist apparently of the AGW tribe, who suggests that scientists of the AGW tribe in this mess should take the high ground.

"Take the “high ground:” engage the skeptics on our own terms (conferences, blogosphere); make data/methods available/transparent; clarify the uncertainties; openly declare our values."

Meanwhile, Steve McIntyre, a Canadian who is a long-time vocal leader of the skeptics group is digesting on his blog the data, emails and software from the hack. The results would appear to be very damaging to the AGW tribe.

Mr. Gore will find it difficult to avoid these inconvenient truths much longer.

Now, I wonder how Vermont politicians will react to these revelations? We'll soon know. I hope our AGW media will ask them hard questions. Is it possible?

November 24, 2009

A Dose of AGW Sarcasm for Breakfast

An alarmist modeler’s history of climate change

Climate changes and their causes through the ages, as explained by Gore and modelers

Paul Driessen

Behind the persistent global warming scare is the hypothesis and assertion that increasing atmospheric carbon dioxide levels are causing Earth to warm dangerously. The thesis is espoused most prominently by Al Gore, James Hansen, modelers and other alarmists. It is the fundamental assumption behind the computer models that consistently conjure up headline-grabbing climate change disaster scenarios.

A basic principle of geology and other sciences is that the same natural processes we observe today – erosion, plant growth, species evolution and so on – occurred in a similar manner throughout Earth’s history. Therefore, if carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases are causing global warming today, they must have done so in the past, and certainly in the recent historic past.

The challenge, then, is to discover the sources of that CO2 climate villain throughout history. This brief summary of key events is intended to aid in that quest, and explain how the Gore-Hansen thesis worked through the ages.

Sea levels have risen 400 feet since the last Ice Age ended, melting mile-thick Pleistocene glaciers, drowning land bridges and creating new coral reefs. The current interglacial period was initiated by rising levels of mammoth flatulence and emissions from cave man fires, the only sources of substantial greenhouse gases (GHG) 11,000 years ago.

In northern Africa, green river valleys were once home to contented hippopotami and happy human villagers. Then, 4,000 years ago, the region metamorphosed into the Sahara Desert, as Egyptian slaves cooked over open fires and breathed heavily, while building pyramids for pharaohs.

Earth warmed further during the Roman and Medieval Warm Periods, as fires from constant warfare and sacked cities dramatically increased GHG. The burning of English and Irish villages by Viking raiders raised global temperatures even further, enabling Eric the Red to colonize Greenland. As the Vikings swapped raiding for farming, however, atmospheric CO2 levels declined, and the Little Ice Age set in.

For centuries, peaceable Anasazi Indians built cliff dwellings and farmed the land in Arizona and New Mexico. But then other tribes began setting forest fires to create farmland, and lightning started prairie fires. GHG levels rose, causing a prolonged drought that finally made life unbearable for the Anasazi, who abandoned their magnificent stone villages on the Colorado Plateau.

In more recent times, American families tamed and farmed the Great Plains. But then the automobile, airplane and World War I drove CO2 and GHG to previously unheard of levels. The resultant Dust Bowl devastated the region, forcing millions to leave their homesteads.

Fortunately, World War II intervened, and even higher concentrations of carbon dioxide, methane, dust, and particulates from burning oil and cities ended the warming and droughts, and ushered in a new era of global cooling. It was marked by snows and freezing cold at Stalingrad and the Battle of the Bulge, and later by the “new Little Ice Age” scare headlined by Newsweek in 1975.

CO2 levels continued to “soarall the way from 250 ppm at the dawn of the Industrial Revolution to an unheard of 380 ppm today (from 0.0250% of Earth’s atmosphere to 0.0380% equivalent to 38 cents out of $1000. “Frightening” global cooling gave way to a new bout with “runaway” global warming. But then planetary temperatures mysteriously stabilized around 1998 and then began to decline slightly. The world entered the age of “climate change,” or more accurately “manmade catastrophic climate change,” in which every temperature and weather anomaly is blamed on emissions from human use of hydrocarbons.

This brief recounting of human history is admittedly incomplete, and fails to address historical events in Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa. However, historians can certainly fill in those gaps.

Alternatively, scientists, journalists, academics, modelers and politicians could begin to examine the climate change issue from a more scientific, less ideological perspective. They could worry less about perpetuating or expanding the one-track $89-billion (1989-2009) gravy train of federal government grants for breathless studies of how “manmade climate change” causes terrifying increases in everything from house cats, hurricanes and prostitution to malaria, rainfall, droughts and suicides. (An online search under “everything is caused by global warming,” will locate a complete list.)

Gore, Hansen, Stephen Schneider, and Senators Boxer and Kerry could actually engage in a real debates about catastrophic global warming/climate change science and economics.

They might be surprised to learn that “climate change” has actually brought benefits to mankind and planet Earth, including a greening of the Sahara Desert over the last twenty years, due to increased rainfall and CO2 levels. Even trees and animals are coming back (four millennia after Egyptian slaves turned a once-verdant region into Earth’s largest desert).

They might be stunned to find that ice core and other data demonstrate that temperatures warmed first during past climate changes, and then atmospheric CO2 levels increased, as warming ocean waters released some of the carbon dioxide that they sequestered during colder periods.

They might be amazed to discover that our ancestors, who were even more dependent on agriculture than we are – and even less technologically advanced – somehow managed to cope with climate change. They adapted! As James Burke, Brian Fagan and other historians have noted, they responded to the Little Ice Age by modifying their houses, heating systems, clothing and farming practices. (Optimists might suppose that our far more advanced technologies will make us even better able to adapt to whatever climate changes nature, or man, might visit upon us in the future.)

Alarmists might be shocked to think the causes of past climate changes were the same natural forces and influences that drive changes in Earth’s complex, chaotic, unpredictable weather and climate today: continental movements and volcanoes, and periodic shifts in water vapor and cloud cover, evaporation and precipitation, ocean currents and jet streams, planetary alignments and the shape of the Earth’s orbit, the tilt and wobble of Earth’s axis, solar energy output, and cosmic rays hitting the planet.

Meanwhile, hard-pressed consumers and taxpayers might finally realize that the fear-mongering over global warming has little to do with scientific evidence to back up the speculation, assumptions and assertions that mankind faces a climate cataclysm. (Models are not evidence.) It has everything to do with money, prestige, careers, power and control over energy use and economic opportunity – and an abiding distaste for hydrocarbons, personal freedom, modern living standards, and real environmental justice.

But don’t hold your breath for a debate. Climate alarmists are scared to death to debate. They prefer to dismiss and intimidate climate realists, assert “consensus,” and assiduously ignore both Earth’s history of natural climate change and the 31,000 “Oregon Petition” natural scientists who vigorously contest their claims of manmade Climate Armageddon.


Paul Driessen is senior policy adviser for the Committee For A Constructive Tomorrow (CFACT), which is sponsoring the All Pain No Gain petition against global-warming hype. He also is a senior policy adviser to the Congress of Racial Equality and author of Eco-Imperialism: Green Power - Black Death.

November 22, 2009

Revelations from Alarmist Climate Change Server Hack

Mainstream media coverage is relatively light on the bombshell information that was revealed from a hack of the servers at the Climatic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia, England This release of information produced many megabytes of emails and files that reveal attempts to manipulate and/or withhold data by key scientists in the alarmist camp of man-made (Anthropomorphic Global Warming [AGW]) global warming.

The Burlington Free Press, which has a Sunday "Green Mountain" special section on the environment, failed to include any mention of this event, although it did run a short AP story .

Meanwhile, the blogosphere is full of coverage, some of the best of which is here in a (so far) five-part series on the hacked information by Thomas Fuller.

"But for The Team [ed note: The Team is a group of scientists in the 'alarmist' camp of global warming], frantically trying to retain a sense of urgency, trying to influence policy makers and major media outlets, drastic measures were needed. The released emails show clearly that political necessity caused them to cut displays of data series to eliminate evidence of a pause in global warming. A sense of paranoia (clearly shown in many of the emails) caused them to conspire to influence the scientific peer-review process, boycotting scientific journals and trying to get more skeptical editors replaced and urging colleagues not to submit to journals that didn't toe their party line.

They traded scientific discipline for message discipline. They acted like any of a number of Young Turks in a variety of professions, convinced that their goal--maintaining that sense of urgency amongst the public and politicians--was the most important thing they could do. In that, are they much different than the financial gurus who convinced us all that house prises (sic) would rise forever, or MBAs who missed their professional ethics classes before leading organisations like Enron to glory? Are they much different than the Blackberry wielding political consultants that have turned Western elections into a choreographed charade?"

NY Times published a story on November 21 by Andrew Revkin. Revkin says:
"The evidence pointing to a growing human contribution to global warming is so widely accepted that the hacked material is unlikely to erode the overall argument. However, the documents will undoubtedly raise questions about the quality of research on some specific questions and the actions of some scientists."


"The e-mail messages, attributed to prominent American and British climate researchers, include discussions of scientific data and whether it should be released, exchanges about how best to combat the arguments of skeptics, and casual comments — in some cases derisive — about specific people known for their skeptical views.'
Keith Johnson of the Wall Street Journal writes:

"The release of the documents comes just weeks before a big climate-change summit in Copenhagen, Denmark, meant to lay the groundwork for a new global treaty to curb greenhouse-gas emissions and fight climate change. Momentum for an agreement has been undermined by the economic slump, which has put environmental issues on the back burner in most countries, and by a 10-year cooling trend in global temperatures that runs contrary to many of the dire predictions in climate models such as the IPCC's.

A partial review of the emails shows that in many cases, climate scientists revealed that their own research wasn't always conclusive. In others, they discussed ways to paper over differences among themselves in order to present a "unified" view on climate change. On at least one occasion, climate scientists were asked to "beef up" conclusions about climate change and extreme weather events because environmental officials in one country were planning a "big public splash."

The release of the documents has given ammunition to many skeptics of man-made global warming, who for years have argued that the scientific "consensus" was less robust than the official IPCC summaries indicated and that climate researchers systematically ostracized other scientists who presented findings that differed from orthodox views."

In exploring the blogosphere, I discovered that Bjorn Lonborg, one of the most reasoned voices in this climate change debate is making a documentary. Hopefully, it will be a response to Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth which, IMHO, is a substantially undocumented call to questionable action based on dubious science.

Gore has consistently refused to debate credible opponents of his views. Lonborg's video response is a hopeful sign. I have read his book Cool It! and find he posits the most credible policy actions if one truly believes (I don't) that mankind can change the climate. But his policy views are right on the money relating to R&D for better energy sources in the future.

November 6, 2009

Review of Mark's Book

My son Mark's new book for children, Diogenes, is reviewed on page 87 in the Nov/Dec issue of Bark magazine. Diogenes follows his first book, Wise Guy, both published by Farrar, Strauss & Giroux.

Nantucket Sound Wind Farm Delayed by Sunshine Claim

If wind farms are the cat's meow advocated by renewable, green energy zealots, Cape Wind now must take on the Wampanoag Tribe in Mashpee and Martha's Vineyard. This is hilarious if it weren't so foolish. I wish we knew the millions upon millions spent on the unending road to obtain a permit by the developers who began this project in 2001.

The opposition, BTW, includes the Kennedys and others with tons of money whose ocean view would be interrupted. Such a desecration!
Green energy, the salvation of the planet, confronts the sacred 'viewsheds ' of the rich and powerful! A book has already been written about the struggle.

The Boston Globe opines.

"The ploy seems intended to drag out the approval process long enough for some other tactic to emerge. But the opponents will have to work hard to find a mechanism for delay as laugh-out-loud bogus as this one."

Hollywood should make a movie. Perhaps the liberal darling documentary filmmaker, Michael Moore, could do it pitting the green energy capitalist rascals against a besieged Kennedy clan and the Wampanoag tribe who valiantly fight against a project destined to reduce global warming by 0.000000000186 degree Celsius by 2050.

The long, long process to obtain permits to build this 130 turbine installation using 400 foot towers and a complex system of underwater cables has suffered every conceivable ploy by opponents to the project. Without huge subsidies for wind power, the developers would have long ago abandoned their plans.

Perhaps another nuclear plant in Plymouth or at a new site in Provincetown would be a far better solution than enduring this Wampanoag and Kennedy nonsense. Yet the power of the sun may yet overcome that of the wind...such a primal struggle, so exciting!!

"From a blustery perch over a Cape Cod beach, Chuckie Green gestures toward a stretch of horizon where he says construction of the nation's first offshore wind farm would destroy his Indian tribe's religion.

The Wampanoag — the tribe that welcomed the Pilgrims in the 17th century and known as "The People of the First Light" — practice sacred rituals requiring an unblocked view of the sunrise. That view won't exist once 130 turbines, each over 400 feet tall, are built several miles from shore in Nantucket Sound, visible to Wampanoag in Mashpee and on Martha's Vineyard.

Tribal rituals, including dancing and chanting, take place at secret sacred sites around the sound at various times, such as the summer and winter solstices and when an elder passes..."

Pelosi Bill Slips In $6 Billion Slush Fund » The Foundry

Pelosi Bill Slips In $6 Billion Slush Fund » The Foundry:

If this is true, Pelosi's action is outrageous (to use a favorite phrase of Vermont's junior senator). Again, if, true, this becomes a personal slush fund for the Speaker and Secretary of Health and Human Services. Insanity reigns in this liberal Congress. This action engenders the worst possible distrust of our lawmakers. In fact, if true, this is absurd , no obscene!

"This new fund has several unique characteristics that set it apart from the normal operations of Medicaid. First, payments to Medicaid nursing homes are made through states and require a state to match the federal funds. Under this section, there is no state money and the decision as to what facilities will receive the money will be made by Secretary Sebelius (and therefore no state involvement in decision making). Although the legislation provides $1.5 billion for each year in the period 2010-2013, the Secretary could hold the money for 2010 and 2011 and make big lump sum payments in 2012. Second, she does not have to go through any formal rulemaking process to award the funds. Third, her decision is final and is not subject to any type of review. This is important because facilities that receive the money will have a comparative advantage over its competitors. Finally, the Secretary will be required to tell the respective committees of Congress which facilities received the money, but is not obligated to tell anyone else."