Sunday, February 28, 2010


The Wee Soay Sheep of St. Kilda

There are actually two kinds of small, feral sheep on the St. Kilda (whoever that was) archipelago, a kind of outer Outer Hebrides set of windswept rocky islands as remote as one can get in Great Britain--the dark Soay, which have been there since paleolithic times and the light tan Boreray, which were introduced in the 19th Century. Soay is one tiny island in the group and Boreray is another. Life on these islands is so tough that in 1930, the humans bugged out and left. The sheep weren't so lucky.

Scientists with nothing better to do have been studying the sheep, mainly the 'purer' Soay, since the evacuation, well, at least since the 50s. Mind you, these sheep number in the 100s not thousands and they are trapped on these tiny little islands after being introduced by man (stone-age sailors at first) and then abandoned. There's nothing natural about these sheep's predicament. Some of the Soay sheep were moved, after evacuation, from Soay to Hirta, the big island of the group. Boreray remain on Boreray. Boring. Moving on.

The Boreray sheep are the results of crossbreeding Scottish Blackface with some other sheep on the Archipelago (wouldn't that necessarily be Soay?) and then leaving them alone. They are tiny--full grown males are less than 2 feet high at the shoulder and weigh 60 pounds. The Soay are not much bigger. And lately, the wee beasties have been getting a bit smaller (perhaps 5% smaller since 1986--that is, about 4 pounds smaller on average). This shrinking got a lot of coverage because the explanation was, wait for it... "global warming." So how much warmer, on average, has it gotten on Soay since 1986? The true answer is that we don't know. The island has been abandoned by humans (except for some thermometerless military types). That doesn't stop the scientists.

These guys, measuring it Stornoway airport on the Isle of Lewis (whoever that was) 90 miles away, say it's gone up from 10.5 degrees C to 11.6 degrees C. No wonder the wee beasties are shrinking? (Sarcasm that). Could there be any other explanation? Stay tuned, as the radio serials used to say.



An Insufficient Number of Political Suicide Bombers

After the failure of the Democrats, with a 40 plus vote majority in the House and a 60 vote, filibuster proof majority in the Senate, to pass major health care deform this past Fall; after the election of convenient RINO in Massachusetts Scott Brown (which destroyed the filibuster proof Democratic Senate); after the less than super successful dog and pony summit this past week; the question remains--quo vadis, Democrats?

Here's the learned lefty consensus. The damage is done to the Democratic brand and it will be normal to bad in the midterms (they will lose seats, perhaps a lot of them). Some of the Democrats in Republican states are dead men walking. So there is nothing to be gained by abject, epic failure of the Democrats to pass their President's signature, year in the making, so close they can taste it, legislation, sweeping European style socialized medicine. In fact, an abject, epic fail under these circumstances seals the deal in everyone's mind--the Democrats are terrible at governing. So, despite the overwhelming rejection of the huge, horrible bills by the governed, a rejection which grew as the President expended credibility and 'political capital' failing to convince us it was good for us, the Democrats, the political elite, say, majority be damned, let's ram it through anyway. It won't cost us anything more politically.

But, here's the rub, the Democratic Party is not a monolith (as exposed by the failure of this health care bill, et al.); it's made up of individuals and the individuals running for re-election might think that it's every man for himself and do what he (or she) thinks gives the greatest chance of re-election. If these individuals think that failure of the health care bill will boost re-election chances better than actually having to vote for the thing, then perhaps Speaker Pelosi won't be able to get the votes in the House.

I don't know enough to say whether the Health Care bill will pass or not. The House version passed, four months ago, with only a few votes, and most of the votes above the bare majority have since died, retired or changed. The bill is much more unpopular now. Scott Brown got elected in Massachusetts, in Ted Kennedy's seat. On the other hand, the narrowness of the vote in the House was mainly illusion. Once they had enough votes to pass the thing, Speaker Pelosi granted dispensation for the Blue Dogs, who feared repercussions with the voters back home, to vote no.

So I'll leave it to the experts. On Fox News Sunday, Juan said the bill would pass, and Liz and Bill said it wouldn't. Mara Liasson of NPR, looked skyward and then down, sighed big and ruefully said she doubted it would pass. That's not histrionics but a fair minded lefty facing a grim, unwished-for-reality. I think you can take her sincerity to the bank (although no one KNOWS the future).

Ah, sweet victory.

The photo is of a Norwegian lemming, for no particular reason.


Friday, February 26, 2010


Urban Heat Island Effect

Here is a chart showing what has happened to United States weather stations since the early 60s, when urbanization made a real difference between Urban stations and Rural stations. The Rural stations are now showing temperatures colder than the 30s. Difficult to make the claim that we're in an unprecedented warming crisis today when 70 plus years of 'warming' have yet to get us back to the norms of the 1930s.

These are raw numbers, unprocessed by the Warmie scientists. Urban area of the United States is about 2 to 3%, depending on the state. In Alaska, it's about .002%. Rhode Island is about 12%.



Northern Ocean Sea Ice

There's about another month of freezing in the Northern Ocean before the annual thaw. Right now the various measurers have the following:

Cryosphere Today-- 13.42 million square kilometers of sea ice (in area)

AMSR-E-- 14 million square kilometers of sea ice extent

NSIDC-- 14.75 million square kilometers of sea ice extent

That's between the area of Canada plus India plus Albania and the area of Canada plus Argentina plus Greenland. It is a little below the 30 year 'normal' because wind and currents have been breaking up the ice off Newfoundland and Labrador in Canada and sending it south to warmer seas.

The temperature north of 80 degrees is just about normal so the melting should not start until the Spring Equinox, as usual.


Thursday, February 25, 2010


Wind Power: It Not Only Blows, it Sucks

There have been a series of articles lately which call a spade a shovel and say, because back up power has to be available (and, with coal fired power plants, always on) and the expected power is generally higher, by an order of magnitude, from the delivered power, wind generated power is a very expensive way not to save a single ounce of CO2 from being generated. Here's another.

Of course our lame duck Governor is high on wind generated power as part of his new no energy economy. More fool he. The much hyped green job bonanza isn't quite working out. The centerpiece Vestas plant in Windsor, CO is all but shut down. The Pueblo plant is yet to get going. The two planned Brighton plants broke ground about a year ago. Who wants to bet if that actually produce a wind generator? How about when the feds quit wasting money on these projects?


Tuesday, February 23, 2010


Planetary Nebula

Planetary Nebula NGC 2440. Burned up stellar matter cast off from the white dwarf (reddish in this false color picture) in the center, which used to be a bigger, brighter star. Exquisite.


Sunday, February 21, 2010


Thought of the Day

Showering government largess on an industry will certainly increase employment in that industry. It’s much less clear that such subsidies will produce more jobs on balance. Kerry thinks it will, claiming that when Germany enacted “strong policy mechanisms to drive investment in solar power and other renewable energy sources,” the result supposedly was employment growth: “Renewable energy usage has tripled to 16 percent, creating 1.7 million jobs. By 2020, Germany’s clean energy sector will be the biggest contributor to the nation’s economy.”

An October 2009 study by RWI, a nonprofit German economic think tank, however, concluded that policies pushing renewable energy end up producing “job losses from crowding out of cheaper forms of conventional energy generation, indirect impacts on upstream industries, additional job losses from the drain on economic activity precipitated by higher electricity prices, private consumers’ overall loss of purchasing power due to higher electricity prices, and diverting funds from other, possibly more beneficial investment.” The report called Germany’s experience “a cautionary tale of massively expensive environmental and energy policy that is devoid of economic and environmental benefits.”

Ronald Bailey


Saturday, February 20, 2010


Thought of the Day

Anyway, as the Post now belatedly acknowledges, the movement to stop climate change through a Really Big and Comprehensive Grand Global Treaty is dead because there is no political consensus in the US to go forward. It’s dead because the UN process is toppling over from its own excessive ambition and complexity. It’s dead because China and India are having second thoughts about even the smallish steps they put on the table back in Copenhagen.

Doorknob dead.

As the Post story shows, the mainstream media is now coming to terms with the death. Environmentalists are still trying to avoid pulling the plug, but the corpse is already cool to the touch and soon it will begin to smell. As the global greens move from the denial stage of the grief process, brace yourself for some eloquent, petulant and arrogant rage. Tears will be shed and hands will be wrung. The world is stupid, uncaring, unworthy to be saved. Horrible Republicans, evil Chinese, demented know-nothing climate skeptics have ruined the world and condemned our grandchildren to lives of sorrow and pain. Messengers will be shot; skeptics will be blamed for asking questions and the media (and the internet) will be blamed for reporting the answers.

Walter Russell Mead


Thursday, February 18, 2010


E. J. Dionne and the Democratic Rationalization of Failure

Mr. Dionne's piece today, in which he states that the Democrats are failing to sell the Obama Administration's message and policies and face a 1994 like tidal wave of Republican success this November if they don't get better at being messengers, misses the true message of recent history.

Hey, E. J., it's not the messengers, it's the message.

Mr. Dionne says:
...Republican Scott Brown's victory revealed real weaknesses on the progressive side: an Obama political apparatus asleep at the switch, huge Republican enthusiasm unmatched by Democratic determination, and a focused conservative campaign to discredit Obama's ideas, notably his economic stimulus plan and the health care bill.
But the stimulus plan and the Obama health care bill were not torpedoed by a "focused conservative campaign to discredit" but by the bills themselves. Obama spoke directly to the nation on his health care plans about 20 times and the bill dropped a point or two in popular support every time he spoke. All that it took to discredit these plans was to show the unemployment figures and the text of the health care bills themselves. Well, I guess that was a focused response.

Mr. Dionne tells us that the plan and bills were actually very good, but we're not buying. Is he a poor messenger/ideas salesman?

Mr. Dionne cites recent statements by lame duck Senator Evan Bayh (D-IN) to support his points but then writes this: "Economists agree that the stimulus worked..." That's not what Senator Bayh said. He said:

If I could create one job in the private sector by helping to grow a business, that would be one more than Congress has created in the last six months.
Then there is this rewriting of history:
On health care, months of delay in a futile quest for Republican support got the Democrats the worst of all worlds. The media gave them no credit for reaching out to the other side but did blame them for an ugly, gridlocked process.
With a 40 plus vote edge in the House and 60 votes in the Senate, what support did the Democrats need? None. And did they "reach out to the other side?" No. They did it their way, behind closed doors with no Republicans invited. It was in all the papers; he has to know this.

He appears to have not had it penetrate into his consciousness.



Biden on Washington

I know that the Vice President is prone to making stuff up (see here for examples), so we ought to take what he says with a grain of salt or two, but this is amazing to me. He says that "Washington right now is broken."

Broken? (Who broke it?)

The Democrats hold a 40 plus vote advantage in the House of 'Representatives (257 to 178) and until recently, when the voters of Massachusetts put a Republican in Teddy Kennedy's seat, they had a filibuster proof 60 to 40 vote advantage in the Senate. And a Democrat is in the White House.

They can't get things done?

Let's look back to 1995 when the Republicans took back Congress (with a Democrat in the White House) and passed the major legislative points of the Contract with America. What was the political breakdown then? Republicans held 230 seats and the Democrats held 204. What about the Senate? 52 Republicans, 48 Democrats.

Does anyone recall Speaker Gingrich complaining he couldn't get things done back then, whining that Washington was broken? Did I mention that the other party's guy was in the White House then? Oh yes, I see that I did. Sorry.

By this guy's count, this session, there have been 42 cloture votes (to end debate and take a vote) and only 4 were unsuccessful. Two nominees were blocked (Hayes and Becker) and two minor bills were hung up until amended and then cloture was invoked. So I ask again, Broken?

Man up, Joe and quit whining. With those numbers you Dems can do just about anything you all can agree on.


Wednesday, February 17, 2010


The Empire Strikes Back, Feebly

The big, pro-AGW blog, what I call Warmie Central, Real Climate, founded and largely run by Gavin Schmidt, et al., has a response to the storm of criticism, particularly from the British press, which Schmidt calls Whatevergate. Not all that clever a title, but clever titles are hard.

Here, ranging from condescending sarcasm to base name-calling, are but a few samples of the attacks Mr. Schmidt doles out:

The skeptics that (sic) were interviewed tended to be the slightly more sensible kind--people who did actually realize that CO2 was a greenhouse gas for instance. pretending to their editors that this nonsense [skepticism] hasn't been debunked a hundred times already...

So far, so stupid.

Nothing has changed the self evidently ridiculousness of their [skeptics'] arguments...

Someone who thinks GW is a hoax is a crank.

Some of the people who do not agree with us are ridiculous--treating their arguments as if they were reasonable is pointless.

There is plenty of real substance to discuss, and yet the media is (sic) retreating to the first grade play room.
And here is a classic psychological projection; Schmidt calls the skeptics 'GW hoaxers.'

That's telling.

He predicts that the CRU e-mail release inquiry will exonerate all involved of "fraud, fabrication or scientific misconduct."

He predicts that this recent unpleasantness is merely a bump along the difficult path of the enlightened climate elite's finally convincing the witless rubes that the AGW threat is real.

Let's see if his predictions of non-climate phenomena are any more accurate than his predictions regarding climate.



Space Weather and Polar Sea Ice

The new 'season' of sun spots, Cycle 24, has had a very slow start, but things seem better in 2010. Last year, for two thirds of the time, the sun was spotless; this year only two days of the 49 so far have had no sun spots. There are two, probably three, there now, and the 10cm radio emission flux density got to 94 and is now about 87 (the range is 64 to 267). So emerging, but not fully there. The low gauss reading is strange and not comforting.

Up in the Northern Ocean, the sea ice is displaying the same pattern from the last three years. The sea ice is perfectly normal in area and extent in most of the surrounding seas and over the North Pole, but abnormal in the areas which front on the North Atlantic; that is, the seas between Greenland and Labrador, between Greenland and Norway and between Norway and Novaya Zemlya are down just a bit, while the seas around between Alaska Canada and Eastern Siberia are at or above normal. All in all the sea ice area of the Northern Ocean is down about 460,000 square kilometers from the 1979-to-2000 'normal', an area about the size of Sweden.

I had wondered if there had been a change in warm sea currents which would account for this pattern of ice. Huh, guess what?

Warmer water transported to the Greenland fjords via the change in sea currents is probably responsible for the more rapid seaward flow of the glaciers in Greenland too. So, is the change in the sea currents a normal cycle change or the result of more man made CO2 in the air? Unknown at this point; but the truth here removes the much heralded (with alarm, as usual) rapid retreat of the sea faces of Greenland glaciers from direct contact with supposedly more mankind heated air. It's not primarily the air that is melting the Greenland glaciers, it was and is the sea water they touch.

There were reports of Greenland warming and glacier melting there beginning in the 20s as well, so I suspect that the change in sea currents is both cyclical and natural. Since there is absolutely nothing about the current climate flux to be alarmed about (except its toxic touch on some scientists), we can sit back and let the scientists do their jobs and tell us if the currents have changed before in a recognizable pattern.

UPDATE: Here is the other side making a bold prediction about Northern sea ice. This guy visited the very places where changing sea currents have caused less ice area and wildly extrapolates from that to say all Northern sea ice will melt away between 2013 and 2130.
Unfreakin'likely. I have a standing bet ($100) with any WTB that, according to the AMSR-E satellite, Summer sea ice minimum extent in the Northern Ocean on September 20 will never be below 3.25 million square kilometers (about the size of India). No one has ever taken me up on my bets, including the last two fools to make this prediction.

Additionally, Southern sea ice has been increasing over the past three decades (although it is not going up as fast there as the Northern sea ice has been going down) and the IPCC had miscalculated that rise by 50%. The IPCC said it was increasing at a less rapid rate than reality. Does every error by the IPCC support more alarming news about global warming? Why yes, all of the many errors do. What are the odds that, in an unbiased system, each and every error would supports Warmie true beliefs? Astronomical, I think.

UPDATE 2: I need to read more closely. Mr Barber said that the Northern Ocean will be ice free during the WINTER perhaps in three years but certainly within 20. This is madness--the northern sea ice peaks in March each year with just under an area the size of Russia. The chances of all that ice going away within years to decades, just from the current rise in diffuse CO2 in the atmosphere, are nil. But at least the trend lines have been down in the north. Barber says:
We expect it will happen much faster than that, much earlier than that, somewhere between 2013 and 2030 are our estimates right now. So it's much faster than what we would expect to happen. That can be said for southern climates as well. (Emphasis added).

But the trend line for southern climates' sea ice is up. Southern sea ice has been increasing around Antarctica during the 3 decades of satellite observation. It's going to rapidly disappear too? The guy is raving. Canada has just wasted $156 million.


Tuesday, February 16, 2010


It's Worse Than Rich Lowery Thinks

Rich Lowery, whom I read as often as I can, has this piece today at the NRO about 'Climate Alarmism.' He seems glad that at last they are admitting the science is not settled about what is causing recent climate change and whether the rate and magnitude of the recent change is unprecedented and alarming. It is a good article but he goes a little soft on the Climate Alarmists. He writes:

Jones discussed the highly contentious “medieval warming period.” If global temperatures were warmer than today back in 800–1300 A.D. — about a thousand years before Henry Ford’s assembly lines began spitting out automobiles — it suggests that natural factors have a large hand in climate change, a concession that climate alarmists are loath to make. Jones said we don’t know if the warming in this period was global in extent since paleoclimatic records are sketchy. If it was, and if temperatures were higher than now, “then obviously the late-20th-century warmth would not be unprecedented.”(Emphasis added)
The reason I write so often about what I, and now many others, call the Global Warming Hoax is because I wrote a paper in graduate school at UVA around 1977 about the climate of Iceland between 950 and 1350 AD. I read all the scientific literature I could about that period, including a journal called Paleoclimatology, and I can assure Rich Lowery that back then, when the alarmist scientific consensus still concerned global cooling, there was nothing contentious about the Medieval Warm Period, although back then it was called the Little Optimum. To the extent that science can be settled, it was well settled that the MWP existed, at least in the Northern Hemisphere.

As further proof, I present this graph which appeared in a 1990 IPCC report.

But it didn't take a genius to realize that if it was warmer for nearly 5 centuries before there was any fossil fuel burning, it would be a harder sell to theorize that the relatively mild 20th C. warming was unprecedented, alarming and could only have been caused by man. One Warmie true believer, David Deming, spilled the beans and said: "We have to get rid of the Medieval Warm Period."

So the climate alarmists tried. The worst of the lot, Michael Mann, et al., made the totally fraudulent "hockey stick" graph (the Piltdown Man of climatology) in 1998 which indeed erased the MWP. Other fellow travelers merely began doubting something which three decades before was not doubted. They emphasized that nearly all the data supporting very warm temperatures 950 to 1350 AD were from the Northern Hemisphere, as if that mattered. It was just local, they said, we don't know if it was world wide. That is proper scientific skepticism but, as in law, the absence of evidence is not evidence of absence. That there are more Northern Hemisphere studies than Southern Hemisphere studies does nothing to refute the Northern Hemisphere results. The MWP was well known to science throughout the 1980s, was wide spread if not global, and was indeed warmer than it is now. We have the sagas (which I was reading and writing about at UVA) to support the scientific studies. They talk about a near complete lack of sea ice during the Winters around 1100 AD, and farming in several places in Greenland. You can see the abandoned farmhouses and churches there today.

The MWP is only "highly contentious" now because of the desire of the WTB to rewrite history to make today look more alarming. It is only contentious because they are willing to perpetrate a fraud to support the greater good, in their eyes, of slowing CO2 buildup in the atmosphere, even if they have to send everyone back to a standard of living circa 1901. But it is a fraud, as certainly as the Hockey Stick graph is, to say the MWP didn't exist or was colder than now or was just a local phenomenon. Fraud, not an honest mistake--Fraud.


Monday, February 15, 2010


The Persistence of Warmie True Believers

Ronald Reagan is credited with the following insight about lefty intellectuals--their trouble was not..."that they are ignorant, but that the know so much that isn't so."

With the walls of their predictions crashing down around them, the Warmie true believers dismiss as trivial the mistakes and corruption recently exposed throughout the community and repeat the old standards, as if mere repetition equals convincing on the merits. Here is MIT professor Kerry Emanuel, repeating what he calls "proven facts" about global warming climate change. I think he gets some things very wrong.

He writes that the earth is roughly 60 degrees warmer because of a few greenhouse gasses which gasses, he alleges, make up "only 3% of the mass of our atmosphere."

Wait, let's compare apples to apples. We don't talk about atmospheric concentration of CO2 and methane, etc. in terms of mass, but by dry volume, by parts per million. Here are the parts per million of our atmosphere:

Nitrogen--780,840 parts per million (ppm) or 78.o84%;
Oxygen--209,460 ppm or 20.946%;
Argon--9,240 ppm or .9240%.

Together those three gasses make up 99.954% of our atmosphere or are 999,640 ppm. None of these three are greenhouse gasses. All the rest of the trace gasses have to occupy what's left and the bulk of these trace gasses is CO2, at 387 ppm. Calling it and the other seriously rare gasses 3% by mass inflates the importance of these trace gasses by a factor of 100. Water vapor gets to 4% of the wet atmosphere by volume, especially close to the surface, and is responsible for most, but not all, of the greenhouse effect. Professor Emanuel doesn't mention water vapor at all and leaves out its overwhelming effect to the alleged 60 degrees warming (namely about 57 degrees of it--95%). Wonder why he left that out and used a different measure (mass) 100 times more 'impressive' than the usual ppm?

He's right that the recent 40% rise in ppm of CO2 diffuse in the atmosphere (from the pre industrial agreed upon 280 ppm) almost certainly comes primarily from humans burning fossil fuels and from "changes in land use." Indeed, if there were no feedbacks, doubling CO2 now would theoretically increase the air temperature by anywhere from .35 to 1.8 degrees F. Professor Emanuel cites the highest as if it was the agreed upon number. Not so, but not wrong, per se, either as that is part of the agreed upon range. Finally, he is right to say that the rise in temperature in the past century was about 1.4 degrees F.

But he then writes that this increase is consistent with predictions of rise in temperature made in the 1800s (what predictions?) and, worse, that the change "is larger than any natural change we have been able to discern for at least the past 1,000 years." Although true for increases in temperature, it is not true for cooling temperatures (the Little Ice Age) and by choosing 1,000 years as the limit of the look back, he avoids the purely natural increase in temperatures beginning in the 800s, the Medieval Warm Period, which dwarfs our 20th C. warming. So not out and out lying, but Professor Emanuel is using a trick to hide the medieval increase. He's not telling us the whole truth. Why not?

He later admits that the computer models (which are the whole of the "evidence" that the climate change will be catastrophic) are not very good, but then he throws some ad hominem bombs about cherry picking data and then pleads that we believe him (I guess on faith) that climate change is, both now and in the future, a problem for all mankind.

Sorry, Professor, no sale. Garbage in, garbage out. Your call to rational scientific discourse fails to rally us skeptics to your cause when you've misled us on some of the basics and used a trick to hide the natural increase of global temperatures during the Medieval Warm Period.

The rate and magnitude of 20th C. warming are wholly unremarkable in the long unbroken chain of climate change. There is no problem to face there.


Sunday, February 14, 2010


Using Hitler's Big Lie Method

The Nazi theory was that no matter how big or bald faced the lie, if you repeat it often enough, it takes on a kind of legitimacy and can be used as a political issue. The American left is using this method against the Bush Administration by saying, without justification, that Americans tortured al Qaeda illegal enemy combatants captured during the early part of our fighting back, post 9/11/01, against the war Muslim extremists were waging against us.

The Obama administration has unfortunately declassified the history of enhanced interrogation of the top al Qaeda leaders so captured. I say 'unfortunately' because it is a huge mistake to tell the enemy how we interrogate so that they can train to withhold information better than if they didn't know what they faced. The only good thing to come from this strategic mistake is that it allows various members of the Bush Administration to defend themselves from the per se slander the left heaps upon them.

Author of Courting Disaster, Marc Thiessen, for example, has been defending himself and the program itself very well, even from the smug lunacy of Lawrence O'Donnell and his execrable questions. But O'Donnell is not the only one repeating the torture big lie. Take for example David Cole writing for the far left pulp magazine The Nation. He not only asserts, without deigning to support with facts, that we tortured individuals, but that any report about the lawyers who examined and wrote about the limits of our torture legislation (Jay Bybee and John Woo), which report does not find them guilty of supporting torture, is a white wash. There's a closed mind.

The Big Lie only works if people allow the mere repetition to substitute for common sense convincing. Look at the facts, decide from those. Defeat the Nazi tactics again.

Oh, and keep in mind these following inconvenient facts:

We waterboard thousands of American military each year during SERE training. It's not torture.

The enhanced interrogation worked like a charm and we obtained sufficient intelligence therefrom to keep our nation safe from foreign attack for nearly 8 years.

When shoe bomber Richard Reid was arrested after his failed attempt, there were no military tribunals nor any detention center in Cuba to hold alternative prosecutions.

All of the high level Title 3 court trials during the Bush Administration have been close to unmitigated disasters and it was only the guilty pleas of the terrorists which saved our bacon.

It is the left which has railed unceasingly against holding our illegal combatant captures for the duration and the right which was against release of any detainee, but they were overruled by the Bush Administration. We're still against any such release and it's not a change of position.


Saturday, February 13, 2010


Thought of the Day

Other environmentalists have undermined the cause with claims bordering on the outlandish; they've blamed global warming for shrinking sheep in Scotland, more shark and cougar attacks, genetic changes in squirrels, an increase in kidney stones and even the crash of Air France Flight 447. When climate activists make the dubious claim, as a Canadian environmental group did, that global warming is to blame for the lack of snow at the Winter Olympics in Vancouver, then they invite similarly specious conclusions about Washington's snow -- such as the Virginia GOP ad urging people to call two Democratic congressmen "and tell them how much global warming you get this weekend."

Dana Milbank

The same article has this bit of Warmie self confession:

...there's a huge amount of natural variability in the climate system" and not enough years of measurements to know exactly what's going on. "Unfortunately we don't have that data so we are forced to make decisions based on inadequate data."

Add that to scapegoat Phil Jones' to-little-too-late revelation on the road to Damascus and you have the Warmies reacting to the successful Denier pushback with what is closer to proper scientific humility.

It's actually quite refreshing.


Wednesday, February 10, 2010


Irrefutable Anthropogenic Global Warming

Time magazine, seeking to speed its steady decline in readership, gives Warmie true believer Bryan Walsh a chance to respond to the real time refutation of their theory/hoax contained in the three feet of snow in the District of Columbia and enviorns. And, as expected, the WTB blame the huge snowstorm on, wait for it, global warming. He just didn't do it very convincingly.

But let me put out a quick question for the WTB at large--is there any meterological phenomenon which can refute the theory?

Here is what Mr. Walsh gets right:

Ultimately, however, it is a mistake to use one storm--or even a season's worth
of storms--to disprove climate change (or to prove it...). Weather is what will
happen next weekend; climate is what will happen over the next decades and
centuries. And while our ability to predict the former has become reasonably
reliable, scientists are still a long way from being able to make accurate
projections about the future of the global climate.
But isn't the whole alarmist deal about AGW based on scientists' ability to make accurate projections about the future of the global climate?

I have an alternative definition of the difference between climate and weather--weather phenomenon which supports the AGW theory/hoax is indicative of climate, is, in fact, the climate and weather phenomenon which undermines AGW alarmism is just weather.

Here is what Mr. Walsh gets wrong.

He talks about a 50 year trend in winter storm tracks moving ever more north here in America. What has that got to do with a huge blizzard south of the Mason-Dixon line? Baffling.

He says it is global warming theory that warmer air will hold more water vapor and as long as the air temperature is below 32 degrees F, then the precipitation will be snow rather than sleet or frozen rain. OK, so is air less than 32 degrees F warm air or cold air? Is it usual for DC and enviorns to be really cold but just dusted with snow (because the really cold air can only hold a bit of powdery snow) or is it usual for DC to have air laden with moisture but it's too warm to snow? It's clearly the latter. An every warming air temperature would lead to less snow, not more.

He says the Great Lakes have been ever more ice free this past decade (well, except for last winter when the Great Lake ice was at a near record extent--and this winter when the ice over most of the 5 lakes is in a normal pattern, except for Erie). So, that decade of low ice extent, was it weather or climate?

Let's use Occam's razor: Is it more likely that warmer weather means less snow accumulation or more snow accumulation?

As the hoax unravels and people disbelieve, the explanations have to become ever more counterintuitive and fantastic.


Tuesday, February 09, 2010


Thought of the Day

If we didn't pass a single new law in the next decade and merely reformed or jettisoned old laws instead, we'd be better off as a nation. We don't need new spending and new programs; we need to prune away the programs we have while cutting spending to the bone.

John Hawkins


Sunday, February 07, 2010


Peter Beinart and the Persistence of Blindness

Smart guy Peter Beinart writes a long piece about how President Obama has "outsmarted" al Qaeda--

by pledging to withdraw U.S. troops from Iraq and close Gitmo, and by eschewing torture—in other words, by not overreacting to the terrorist threat—[he] is cutting al Qaeda’s throat.
Beinart says al Qaeda fails when it starts killing other Muslims because that causes its popular support to erode. He has the Gallup polls to back up that notion. It is standard liberal cant. If we're nice to them, they will fail.

I agree with Peter that al Qaeda has been weakened severely since 2001, but it's not because we've been nice to terrorists, or ignored them (that was the primary Clinton anti-terror policy and al Qaeda prospered then). It seems to me that the primary cause of al Qaeda in Afghanistan's decline, and al Qaeda in Iraq's eradication, was the deadly force we and our allies brought to bear against them. We killed them and drove them into hiding. We showed them to be the weak horse. Of course their poll numbers are falling throughout the Muslim world, we kicked their asses and are kicking them still. Beinart doesn't mention that blatantly obvious fact at all. Successful military action apparently doesn't exist to him. Winning by killing the enemy just doesn't compute to the liberal mind. It is, as Andrew McCarthy first saw, a willful blindness. Do nothing and win--what a convenient belief for the pacifist left, who have not seen a war they liked since 1945.

When any state or organization declares war and then wages it against you, ignoring them is not the preferred response. Here's Beinart's big finish.

The dirty little secret of the “war on terror” is that America is winning. We began winning during George W. Bush’s second term, when al Qaeda’s violence began corroding its support among Muslims, and we’re doing even better under Barack Obama, because the U.S. now presents a less menacing face. The best chance al Qaeda has is another American overreaction of the kind the GOP demands: reckless military attacks by the United States or Israel, mass profiling of Muslims, a return to torture. Perhaps Obama’s Republican critics do take the terrorist threat more seriously than he does. I’d rather take it less seriously, and win.
Thanks for the deserved praise of George Bush. I thought he was the cause of the problem, not the solution. But Beinart then quickly loses his way. Presents a less menacing face? Don't the Obama supporters counter Republican critics of his way of waging the war on terror by pointing to the huge number of Predator/Hellfire attacks he has authorized on al Qaeda leadership in Pakistan? I guess Beinart thinks the Hellfire missiles must have a happy face pasted on their warheads. Ignore terrorism, and win? It really takes a lot of education to get this ignorant of even very recent history.



No One KNOWS the Future

I'm all sad about the warm January the rest of the world is having because I thought it would get colder, but I'm not the only one who cannot see the future. Cracked-voice Warmie true believer Robert Kennedy Jr. was waxing nostalgic just over a year ago about the lack of snow in DC and the Northern Virginia suburbs and the mild winters caused, he believed, by our flying around in jets, etc.

In Virginia, the weather also has changed dramatically. Recently arrived residents in the northern suburbs, accustomed to today's anemic winters, might find it astonishing to learn that there were once ski runs on Ballantrae Hill in McLean, with a rope tow and local ski club. Snow is so scarce today that most Virginia children probably don't own a sled. But neighbors came to our home at Hickory Hill nearly every winter weekend to ride saucers and Flexible Flyers.

I guess he's happy with two feet of global warming shutting down the nation's capital. (I'm happy when anything shuts down DC).

I lived for a decade just 100 miles south of DC in Richmond, VA, during the 60s and 70s. Snow was always rare there. Freezing rain, miserable weather, was common. Of course the mere fact that it's gotten warmer or cooler tells you nothing about the cause of the warming or cooling. Merely repeating that things are changing doesn't convince anyone that humans are to blame for the change, except to Warmie true believers.

Robert Kennedy also attacks the AGW deniers for being "supported" by companies like ExxonMobile, etc. I prefer to hear refutation of the arguments to ad hominem attacks. Of course Kennedy's article came out before the release of the private e-mails of scientists in and around the Hadley CRU, which revealed a very nasty mindset in the WTB designed not to refute the deniers' arguments but to prevent their dissemination; not to open up the raw data of the WTB to review by the deniers but to stonewall data release requests; and to destroy the raw data rather than reveal the "tricks" they were using to "hide the decline" of mean global temperatures recently.

And if we're into trading ad hominem arguments, the WTB support from the government is measured in the tens of Billions. Kennedy was talking about a few dozen millions to the skeptics. Yet the skeptics are winning, I say because the truth is on their side.

UPDATE: Robert Kennedy, Jr. doubles down in a particularly nasty vein as is his wont. Here is a sample:

Idiots on the right like Rush [Limbaugh] like to point to any cold-weather anomalies as proof that global warming doesn’t exist,” Kennedy says. “They are either deliberately blind to science or trying to protect their corporatist interests.” Kennedy also sticks by the anecdotes from his childhood in Virginia. “It used to snow consistently in McLean — enough to have a ski hill,” he says. “It wasn’t just a single season.

Bobbie Jr. is younger that I am by a year or so. We were living in the same state, about 90 miles apart, at the same time, and I think his memory is faulty. I was NOT snowing all the time in Northern Virginia during the 60s and 70s. There were storms like this recent one from time to time, but rare. Northern Virginia was not just like Massachusetts.

Also notice the immediate name calling and ad hominem attack. Deniers are either fooling themselves or corporate shills. There is no room for honest disagreement with this self righteous prig. He's not only a WTB but a paragon of liberal intolerance as well.

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Saturday, February 06, 2010


Andrew Sullivan is Batshit Crazy

In the early years of my reading blogs, I always read Andrew Sullivan and even e-mailed him a few times (and he responded). I quit reading him a few years ago and lately, I'm told, he has a theory that Sarah Palin's 5th child, Trig, is actually her daughter Bristol's first child. He seems to believe this still and rails on Mrs. Palin for giving a different (and factually accurate) account in her book, which I'm reading, Going Rogue. The Ace of Spades has a funny take down of Sullivan's lunacy linked above, but let's take a look at how likely it is that Andrew Sullivan's latest idée fixe is the truth.

It is more likely that babies with Trisomy 21 (aka Downs Syndrome) will be born to older mothers. The incidence is 1/1000 for mothers less than 30, 1/60 for mothers over 42. Sarah Palin was 44 when Trig, who has Downs, was born and Bristol was 18. You make the call.

The average length of human gestation is 280 days and the minimum time it takes to ovulate after giving birth is 3 weeks. This latter period can be extended to months with breast feeding. Trig was born 4/18/2008 and Tripp Johnston, Bristol's first child (and, according to crazy Andy, her second) was born 254 days later on 12/28/08. Trig was 6 lbs, 2 oz at birth (normal for Downs babies); Tripp was 7 lbs, 7 oz. The average birth weight in America is 7 pounds, eight oz. Both babies were considered full term births.

So 254 is 47 days short of 301 (the 280 of a full term gestation plus the minimum three weeks it takes human females to ovulate after birth). That's over a month and a half short of the necessary time requirements, particularly with two full term babies.

Of course Andrew Sullivan is a raving homosexual (not that there's anything wrong with that) with absolutely no firsthand knowledge regarding procreative sex and the mysteries of the womb, so perhaps he can be forgiven his fantasy, but all the information in this little posting is available easily on-line. One would think a graduate of Oxford (even from Magdalen college) can add and subtract.

Sticking with his theory, long-shot to begin with, after the birth of Tripp is indeed an indication of a very disturbed mind. Plain old nuts, in my book.



Thought of the Day

For Republicans, American power is rooted largely in military might and showing a tough and resolute face to the world. They would rely on tax cuts as the one and only spur to economic growth.

Obama, Biden and the Democrats, on the other hand, believe that American power depends ultimately on the American economy, and that government has an essential role to play in fostering the next generation of growth.

E. J. Dionne, a self confessed liberal telling us what we Republicans think. Let me respond. When the problem part of the world only respects strength (bin Laden's strong horse) we ought to show it and be able to back it up. The result of appeasement is overwhelmingly a bigger, more horrible war. We propose tax cuts to revive our moribund economy because cutting tax rates across the board actually works to revive moribund economies and nothing the Democrats propose works at all.

Of course a strong economy is important to everything we do as a country, here and abroad, but all the government needs to do to "foster" economic growth is get out of the way vis a vis regulation and stealing or devaluing the wealth the economy owns and needs. When the government expands, the remainder of the nations economy suffers. Quit spending, shrink, cut the tax rates--that's the essential role for our government to create jobs now.


Thursday, February 04, 2010


Pride Goeth...

So here I am basking in the warm, satisfying glow of the collapse of the Global Warming Hoax, harping that the satellite measurement of the global temperature are reliable and predicting that they will show cooling for the next several decades and the UAH temperature anomaly for January 2010 is + .72 degrees C. Ouch. That's almost as high as the 1998 spike (which peaked just below + .8 degrees C (and for the same reason, an El Nino warming). It's the warmest January on satellite record.

It is such a surprise because it has been such a cold winter here in North American and Europe. So accurate prediction remains the most difficult human endeavor.

Stay tuned.


Wednesday, February 03, 2010


Once More Unto the Breech, Dear Friends, Once More

OK, despite the revelation of specific scientific frauds, one after another, since the release of the damaging e-mails and data sets from East Anglia U, the Global Warming Hoax retains its supporters, Warmie true believers, who are attempting to halt the free fall of AGW climatologists' reputations and credibility. I think they are failing.

Let's see.
Here is an opinion piece from the Philadelphia Inquirer. The WTB authors argue that the sea level is rising, so there must be AGW, human caused global warming. They say the sea is rising at more than 45 cm per century when the rate is actually 32cm (and lower than that if you look closely at the slope of the Jason/Argo buoy data since 2006), but let's forgive that 40% error, and look at the isolated examples they give in support (and recall that the plural of annecdote is not data).

The first annecdote is the outer bank islands of North Carolina and Albemarle Sound behind them. The sea is rising! Run for the hills! The outer bank sand islands shift and change as a result of storms and currents constantly. An old outer bank island is a few thousand years old, but the solid land nearby is billions of years old. Change is constant at the edge of the ocean but yes, yes, the seas are rising. The ocean always rises during an interglacial, which we are in now. It rose a lot about 15,000 years ago, but the rate has been pretty flat for the last 8,000 years. This example is not even close to evidence of alarming rates of warming or the alleged cause thereof. What else do you have?

They cite the local warming of an Alaskan village with bad beach erosion on the Chuckchi Sea coast. Yes, it is slightly warmer in Alaska recently. But is it an unprecedented and alarming rate of warming? Crickets chirping. Natural cycles of warming and cooling are not alarming. What causes you Warmies to believe the warming last century was not part of a natural cycle?

OK, many glaciers are melting (which is what they do during interglacials). Yawn. There is the melting of the icefields of Greenland which accelerated in 1995, near the end of the general warming in 2000 (and slowed back down again, the WTB authors fail to mention that inconvenient fact) and, according to these guys, Antarctica too is melting away.

That last one comes from NASA, who doubled down recently, and I think it is hooey. Here is a longer article on the suspect claims of Antarctic melting since 2002, which article raises a lot of healthy doubt about the claim. Antarctica is huge and hardly anyone lives there (maybe a few hundred people overwinter). There are very few reliable weather stations, with a concentration of them in the Antarctic Peninsula. There is no doubt that the sea ice around Antarctica has been increasing over the last 30 years. Does it make sense that the sea ice around the frozen continent is increasing but the land temperatures are decreasing? Satellite measurement of the South Pole area air temperature shows a slight decline over the last 3o years. How is there more melting when it is getting colder there? Satellite altimeter measurements shows a steady growth of the icefields of the interior in East Antarctica, the bulk of the continent. There is some minor melting in the Antarctic Peninsula but that's merely 3% of the continent and is not representative. I think the bulk of the icefield melting in Antarctica is a result of lava flows under the ice. To be fair, the GRACE satellites tell a tale of loss of ice mass both north and south but their results are counter to almost all the other measurements. I'll look into the methodology they use and get back on that.

In short, however, the WTBs are citing ambiguous annecdotes and suspect studies and it's not helping their cause with open minded readers. Free fall. Unraveling. Slouching towards insignificence. That's the future of the AGW hoax, while accurate measurements of global temperatures will almost certainly continue to fall for the next several decades.

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Monday, February 01, 2010


Thought of the Day

Gun Control: The theory that a woman found dead in an ally, raped and strangled with her own pantyhose, is somehow morally superior to a woman explaining to police how her attacker got that fatal bullet wound.



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