Monday, April 28, 2014


Watching the Shows You're Not

I remember the disastrous Showtime series The Untold History of the United States by washed-up director Oliver Stone, at least the parts I managed to stay awake during. Worse than the unwarranted, indeed, nonsensical historical revisionism that reduced the documentary's credibility to zero, was the show's ultimate TV sin--it was boring. It was so boring, hardly anyone actually watched it. I believe only a few dozen Americans actually managed to see all of all of the episodes.

So, hard on the heels of that fiasco comes Years of Living Dangerously, which is supposed to be about global warming Climate Change, but which, so far, has been largely about deforestation in Borneo and a drought in Texas. The Texas drought is clearly part of the natural pattern of southwestern American droughts caused by Pacific ocean heating and cooling events which we call La Nina and El Nino. The show's celebrity spokesmen say, without any evidentiary support offered, that the Texas drought is worse because of Climate Change. Probably not, but at least there is the hypothetical connection of the drought to the greenhouse gas. In Borneo, however, there is not a single connection between land use development there, cutting down the jungle to grow giant plantations of giant oil palm trees, and the theory that CO2 controls Earth's weather. Not one connection.

But last episode, with Arnold Schwarzenegger kibitzing with a pod of forest fire fighters, went over the line, as delineated here. Below is a chart of forest fires by number. It's only for 60 some sites in the southwest, but it certainly doesn't show any growth in the number of fires. I'll talk about severity below.

The main reason big, crown forest fires have been on the rise in the late 20th Century is because we had what turned out to be a bad policy of putting out every forest fire as soon as we could. This caused a huge build up in the low vegetation which, when the natural, good for the ecology, grass and wild fires come, that low fuel allows the little fires to climb up into the crown of the trees and destroy them. We've modified that policy, thank God.

There's no increase in the number of huge fires, despite the propaganda of Showtime's latest unwatched series. The Peshtigo/Great Michigan Fires in 1871, for example, were huge, 3.7 million combined acres burned, and killed at least 1500 people and possibly close to twice that. The Great Fire of 1910 burned 3 million acres as did the Miramichi fire in 1845. Some very large fires have had no recent coverage (that is, they are not in Wikipedia) but existed just the same. An example would be the 1898 fire in Northwestern Colorado where forest fires covered perhaps 1/4 of the state and fires raged along the Gore range for a hundred miles.

So, on top of being nearly a fact free polemic, Years of Living Dangerously is deadly dull, stultifyingly dull, duller than dishwater. No wonder reruns of the poorly animated cartoon Bob's Burgers is beating it in the ratings. I like Don Cheadle a lot, but he's dull too. Thomas Friedman, columnist for the NYT, is possibly the dullest man ever to reach television screens. He might have the power actually to bore you to death. Schwarzenegger is an engaging personality at least but he's spouting propaganda. "Dese are de vurst fires since 2007." Wow. That long, huh?

I can see why the climate change alarmists have had to go to the extreme weather theme; Gaia has failed and refused to get hotter, thus making all the climate models merely wrong guesses and knocking out the alarmists' only so called evidence. But it is a huge mistake for them to switch the alarmism to the theme of ever increasing extreme weather events. We do tend to forget past extreme weather events, even those in our own lifetimes. Because of the ever decreasing purchasing power of the dollar, each normal storm can cause ever higher damage measured in dollars. So the new emphasis on extreme weather could have worked. Except for actual history. The simple truth is that over the past 100 years, probably, and over the past 50, certainly, not a single category of extreme weather events has been ever increasing (exponential growth) and very few have even increased over the shorter time period. It's something anyone can look up. It's a flat lie that the weather is getting ever more extreme.

And they wonder why Climate Change has dropped to 14th of 15 things we worry about (race relations, encouragingly, was dead last). The alarmists also can't understand why no one is watching their high production value, $20 million, star studded documentary.

I know why.

UPDATE: Last night was not as boring as bathetic. Why do the alarmist think that talking to a grieving widow enhances their scientific data, theories and arguments? Also, history dealt the alarmist a bad hand. They spent nearly the whole show cultivated a slight change of opinion in Republican Rep. Michael Grimm from Staten Island. He went from minor skeptic to minor believer. But the news this morning is that he was arrested for some sort of corruption. Oh well. At least his heart is pure regarding global warming. Apart from the perfectly natural, not that powerful late season hurricane Sandy, came this nonsense from a pretty grating Chris Hayes (a Warmie true believer if ever there was one). He said that anthropogenic global warming had caused the sea level around Staten Island to rise a foot. What? Here is the tidal gauge for the Battery, just a few sea miles from Staten Island. It goes back to before the Civil War.

In a hundred years, the sea level at NYC rises .91 of a foot. Not even a full foot. There is no evidence of acceleration of that rate. Would the producers of the increasingly faux documentary have us believe that all of the rise in sea level there since 1890 has been because of anthropogenic global warming. All of it? Nobody says that. Correction: No reputable scientist says that. Here is a look at a longer period of sea level rise.

This graph is in meters not millimeters, and it shows a huge rise (400 feet) in the oceans' surface level by the beginning of the current interglacial and then a continual rise (at a much reduced rate) ever since then. So the slow rate rise for the past 10,000 years is natural; none of it appears to be man-made. So it's a lie to say the rise of a foot over the past 120 years in New York Harbor was caused by our burning fossil fuels. Why do the climate change alarmists have to lie to us?

Then, on Christmas Island in the Pacific on the equator, the cute, coral scientist said that her analysis of fossil coral going back some 6 to 7 thousand years indicated that the normal yin/yang of El Nino/La Nina Pacific ocean warming and cooling was significantly worse in the later 20th Century, worse than it had been at anytime in the thousands of years before. OK, that's interesting; that's something which could be evidence that the little bit of warming our CO2 causes might have amplified effect (because the Pacific warming cooling phases--called ENSO--does control the weather in just the opposite way that CO2 does not). But here is what about 3 minutes of googling found:

The massive [Christmas Island] study started in 2005 and analyzed over 15,000 samples to add 650 years of monthly-resolved information about ENSO variations across nearly 7,000 years.
The researchers have detected a modest, but statistically-significant increase in twentieth-century ENSO strength that could potentially be due to man-made climate change. The coral reconstruction, however, revealed an even higher level of ENSO strength 400 years ago, though it was of a shorter duration than its twentieth-century counterpart. (Emphasis added).

Oh, so it's not just the 20th C. which shows a "modest" increase in ENSO strength, there was an even stronger ENSO period (albeit of shorter duration) in the early 1600s when there was no anthropogenic global warming and no fossil fuel burning. Hmm. Funny that they left that out of the show. Someone might get the wrong impression.


Saturday, April 26, 2014


Reductio ad Sensum Communem

I tried to write about the latest lefty embracing Marx on economics (via Thomas Piketty), again, but apparently you have to share at least one common tenet with your intellectual adversary in order to rationally discuss the subject matter at hand. It seems Joe Conason and I do not share a belief in even one common thing. Astounding.

So let me just ask this.

Isn't income equality the necessary by-product of freedom? If we are all free and equal before the law, won't some of us work harder, work smarter, and sometimes be more lucky and thereby make more money than others who work less, work stupidly and are unlucky and therefore earn less? This seems an absolutely basic truth to me. Am I missing something?

The cool thing about economic freedom is that through hard, intelligent work, with a little luck, anyone can get to the 1% of earners.

And in America, 20% of the population earn 1% income at least one year of their lives. 1 in 5! How great is that?

I seriously don't get why this sort of freedom is in any way bad.

Apparently you have to be on the left to see freedom as undesirable.

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Friday, April 25, 2014


We All Have Days Like That



The Hurricane

He killed those three people in the Bar, Bob Dylan nothwithstanding. Different shotgun shells use different plastic wadding. The shotgun shell found in the back of the car he was arrested in had the exact same uncommon wadding as was found in the wounds of the murdered. Oh, and two juries hearing that and all the other evidence of his guilt found him guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. So there's that.

He's undergone an ultimate adjudication just recently



Looks Like A Betty To Me



We All Have Days Like That

What is he drinking? Beer with a straw?



Scary Graph Showing Remarkable Rise in Atmospheric CO2

It's all in the scale of the Y-Axis. 99.96% of the Earth's atmosphere is not CO2. It's a beneficial trace gas necessary for all life on earth but viruses and those colonies around deep sea hot vents.


Saturday, April 19, 2014


Non-Alanis Morrissette Type Irony Abounds

Nanny, proud ex-Mayor Bloomberg announced he'll send $50 million to the 50 states to set up a network of grass roots organizations to infringe on the People's rights to keep and bear firearms. (I don't think that's how grass roots organizations actually get started). As part of the fawning media support for Bloomberg's once more unto the breech comes this hummer of an article by ex-State Senator John Morse, who is the only Colorado State Senator ever recalled from office in Colorado. The irony is that he's still supporting the legislation infringing on the People's right to keep and bear firearms, the same legislation that got him recalled. Let's look at some of his piece. Big start:

Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg this week announced new funding and a new organization to level the political playing field against the gun lobby. The rest of us need to do our part and stand up to stop the madness the gun lobby engenders.

The "madness" he refers to is our gun nut's enforcing the 2nd Amendment against the government's tyrannical attempt to make it meaningless. Oh, and lobbying is also a protected, actually mentioned, 1st Amendment right. Don't recalled Democrats ever read the Constitution? And this funding from NY, is that the outside money Governor Hickenlooper said we Coloradoans should and do dislike? Just asking.

We heard and continue to hear arguments that people have the unimpeachable right to own these weapons and walk down the street, though most admit those rights stop when someone else starts shooting people. Of course there is no such absolute "right". All rights that exist under our constitution have limitations. (Emphasis added).

I have no idea why someone else starting to commit the crimes of assault and murder would have any effect on the application of the 2nd Amendment to me. This is incomprehensible. I want a gun for self defense and defense of others most when someone else starts shooting people. I don't admit this, because it's nonsense. But more troubling is the idea Morse, our former State Senate leader, has about the Bill of Rights. The rights are not grants by the government to individuals to do certain things, albeit without fear of government repercussion. Our rights are God given and cannot ever be repealed by a legitimate government of the People. Rather, the rights actually enumerated are absolute prohibitions on government action. The Government cannot, for example, ever prohibit the free exercise of religion, or abridge the freedom of the press. There are no exceptions. There is at times difficulty applying these prohibitions to the complex behaviors of individuals, but that's not a limitation on the ban of certain government action, it's merely the exercise of an ordered liberty. The left in America seems to think that the Constitution, as amended, is something to overcome, not cherish. What's up with that?

Is forcing someone to reload their gun after cranking out 15 rounds a limit we can’t tolerate? Is allowing children precious seconds to escape a shooter just too inconvenient for rabbit hunters who don’t want to have to reload? Is requiring a background check to provide a measure of assurance that you are not a criminal or mentally ill before permitting you to purchase a gun unreasonable?
I have some questions: Is the 16th victim so much more precious to the government's actual desire to save lives than the first 15? Are you serious that the government infringement on magazine sizes is justified by the rank speculation that maybe it will give children "precious seconds" to escape a mass murder (in a gun free zone)? Because that's a really piss poor-way to protect children--only after 15 have been shot. How about protecting children from mass murderers with good people well trained with guns? Just a fleeting idea. Also, there already were background checks for purchasing guns, all federal firearm licencees (that is, all gun dealers) must use the background checks before any transfer of a gun, all sales at or initiated at gun shows must use the background check. What Morse is talking about here is having to do a background check to lend a gun to a friend for a weekend target shoot or to give one to your son. That's a real infringement in my book. If I don't know my son is mentally ill, it's extremely unlikely the government will.

If a 20-year-old man were to walk down the street in the middle of downtown Colorado Springs, my hometown, wearing black pants, black shoes and a black shirt overlaid with a shooting vest loaded with four 20-round magazines, three 30-round magazines, and a 15- and an 18-round magazine, carrying a Bushmaster XM15-E2S (a variation of the US military’s standard M-16) loaded with another 30-round magazine, along with a fully loaded Glock 10mm semi-automatic pistol in a holster strapped to his right thigh and a fully loaded 9mm Sig Sauer semi-automatic pistol in a holster strapped to his right hip – all in plain view – he would break no Colorado law.

Well, not exactly. First, the M-16 is generally fully automatic and is, in every model, a Class III firearm which can only be owned after a super background check and usually permission of the local police chief or sheriff to own them. Since the 1934 restrictions on full auto ownership only one legal machine gun has ever been used in a violent crime (by a police officer, great!). I'd call that an effective program. So don't conflate M-16s with semi-auto weapons. M-16s are not and have never been a danger to the populace and semi-auto rifles are very rarely used in crimes either. Many more people are punched or kicked to death each year than are shot to death by any rifle, of which auto loaders are a smaller sub-set and the AR-15 types are an even smaller sub-set. The whole point of the stupid, unconstitutional laws Morse helped pass was to make having any magazine over 15 rounds illegal. That several million 30 round box magazines exist for the AR-15 et al. and are legal to own if you owned them before the law went into effect, makes the prohibition kinda worthless. We'll get to why such a ban is absolutely worthless for other reasons below.

Before 1 July 2013 he could have also bought every item described above in the state of Colorado without so much as a background check – because of legislation I championed and help pass – he no longer can. In Colorado today, you must get a background check before buying a firearm: That is the only restriction we imposed. In most states, to this day, that hypothetical man can legally buy all that firepower without a background check by simply going to a gun show or visiting the trunk of some entrepreneur’s car and paying whatever price is asked.

You could have bought 30 round magazines without a background check forever, background checks only apply to guns. Morse did not create background checks for 30 rounders after July 1, 2013, he banned their sale. You always had to pass a background check for any firearm purchase at a gun store or gun show. That might not be every single gun transfer but I guarantee you it's almost all of them. The law Morse seems to be so proud of didn't just apply to sales; it's a lie to say the new law did only that. The irony of this piece is that Morse reveals what is fundamentally wrong with the legislation. Only the law abiding will follow it. Criminals will always sell you the gun or magazine you want if you have the money and sufficient desire to own that gun or magazine, the law be damned. The people who obey stupid, unconstitutional gun laws, generally don't go on to shoot up children in some gun free zone. So the law is completely ineffective to prevent what Morse seems to believe it will prevent. Incoherent laws that serve no rational purpose are unconstitutional for that reason alone.

Morse refers to the Sandy Hook School shooting (of course) and then writes this confession.

When prevention fails, these incidents rarely end without devastating destruction. We can’t hope to prevent violence by noticing someone armed to the teeth entering a school, a theater or a mall. We can't arm everyone and hope to deter planned violent attacks or end them sooner and with fewer casualties. Even with the presence of an armed guard, like we had at Columbine High School, our attempts to stop these attacks will be muted since suicide is often the shooter’s intent.

You don't have to "arm everyone" in order to deter gun violence, one trained person with a concealed carry permit is sufficient, as incident after incident proves. What might be helpful is not creating gun free zones, that infringe on our right to bear arms and stupidly advertise where insane shooters will not be opposed by a good person with a gun. But he is absolutely right that nothing the government can do will stop or even deter an insane person eager to commit mass murder and willing to self-execute if he faces any armed opposition. So the purpose of the legislation Morse is so proud of was to fail totally to prevent the mass murders he mentions? Good reason.

The vast majority of Americans agree that we need responsible regulation of guns, but unfortunately, the few with arsenals in their basements are too loud and most politicians can’t think through the noise.
Notice the contempt for free speech? Some gun owners "are too loud" (shut up, he explained). He asserts that their exercise of one of the things the 1st Amendment protects keeps politicians from thinking straight. Really? I humbly submit that it is not the "noise" of differing opinions preventing Morse and his ilk from thinking well. My only exhibit for that submission is this deceptive, pathetic apology (in the classical sense) for his worthless, Constitution-infringing laws. Common sense, ironically, is not even in the same zip code as this propaganda.


Saturday, April 05, 2014


Changing the Settings

I was so disgusted with the ouster of former Mozilla CEO Brendan Eich for having the same attitude about gay marriage 6 years ago as President Obama did then (and not the attitude Dick Cheney had then), that I stopped using Firefox. Had to rebuild my favorite list, which was a pain in the butt and is still a work in progress.

When Andrew Sullivan, who has never seen a gay issue he didn't support with all his heart, says the sore winner gaystopo is acting very badly, you know the gays and their supporters are screwing up royally.

I stopped using Firefox before Charles Krauthammer suggested it.

One day I'll talk about my idea for a counterstrike against intolerant gays which I call the "Hammer" but not this day.


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