Monthly Archives: November 2009

People Prove By Their Actions If They’re Worthy Of Trust

According to yesterday’s London Telegraph (a go-to source for Climategate news), “Leading British scientists at the University of East Anglia, who were accused of manipulating climate change data – dubbed Climategate – have agreed to publish their figures in full.” The story continues:

The U-turn by the university follows a week of controversy after the emergence of hundreds of leaked emails, “stolen” by hackers and published online, triggered claims that the academics had massaged statistics.

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

Is it just me or does negotiating “a release from a range of non-publication agreements” sound like code for “after we make sure the data supports our position” or possibly “when hell freezes over?” Am I the only one who believes that these people would release falsified data?

Then today we learned that much of the raw data has been destroyed.

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

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

The UEA’s Climatic Research Unit (CRU) was forced to reveal the loss following requests for the data under Freedom of Information legislation.

The data were gathered from weather stations around the world and then adjusted to take account of variables in the way they were collected. The revised figures were kept, but the originals — stored on paper and magnetic tape — were dumped to save space when the CRU moved to a new building.

Well, maybe it has or maybe it hasn’t been destroyed. How could we possibly know? Again, am I the only one who believes that these people would lie to avoid releasing their data?

Why should we believe them? These are people who apparently “improved the truth” to support their theory; withheld information requested under Freedom of Information laws; discussed destroying date to avoid releasing it; joked about the death of an inconvenient colleague and perverted the peer review process – and who knows what else.

These people are not worthy of my trust or anyone else’s, and certainly not to the point where we would cripple our economy on their say-so. Time to take a step back and let some real scientists get to work with full disclosure every step of the way.

1 Comment

Filed under Environmentalism

Science And Religion Are, Well, Different

But that simple truth has escaped Newsweek’s Eleanor Clift.

From Newsbusters:

On the Nov. 29 edition of “The McLaughlin Group,” host John McLaughlin asked about the prospects of a Copenhagen climate change treaty and its possible impact on the U.S. economy. MSNBC and “The McLaughlin Group” regular Pat Buchanan gave some spot-on analysis on global warming alarmist about former Vice President Al Gore and how it pertains to the climate change issue.

“Well, I don’t think it’s going to have any impact, John, because I don’t think it’s going to get through the United States Senate,” Buchanan said. “And there’s a reason for that John, and that’s Al Gore’s moment has come and gone. The truth is they’re changing the name to climate change rather than global warming for a reason.”

snip…

“It was warming, John,” Buchanan said. “It’s not been warming since ’98. Secondly, there’s no known proof it’s because of man and there’s no known proof it’s a great danger.”

However, Clift felt inclined to responded, rather emphatically. She said she believes U.S. policy should be proactive toward the issue. Her view is arguably indicative of the mainstream media’s sentiment on the debate, and she equated it to blind faith when she told Buchanan there’s no proof there’s a God either, which didn’t mean global warming wasn’t a danger.

“It’s no known proof there’s God, either. How much proof do you need, Pat?” Clift replied. “Oh, it is a danger. It’s a danger in many places.”

I believe there’s a God. I can’t prove that; my belief is faith-based. I’m comfortable with that. That’s how religion works.

Science, on the other hand, should never be faith-based. It should be rooted in things like data and observation and testing your hypothesis and other science-y stuff. That what makes it different from religion.

Clift makes a serious logical error by arguing that belief in global warming can somehow be equated with belief in God.

Unless global warming is your religion.

2 Comments

Filed under Christianity, Environmentalism

Mike Huckabee’s Having A Dukakis Kind Of Day

I wonder if Mike Huckabee’s conscience is bothering him tonight.*

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

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

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

More on Huckabee’s cavalier use of his pardon power while governor can be found at Ace of Spades HQ.

While there’s no possible way to justify Huckabee’s actions and it’s tempting to place all the blame on him, it looks as though there’s plenty of of opportunity for some finger pointing here in Washington, too.

Clemmons had been in jail in Pierce County for the past several months on a pending charge of second-degree rape of a child.

He was released [on bail] just six days ago, even though he was wanted on a fugitive warrant out of Arkansas and was staring at eight felony charges in all out of Washington state.

snip…

He was married, but the relationship was tumultuous, with accounts of his unpredictable behavior leading to at least two confrontations with police earlier this year.

During the confrontation in May, Clemmons punched a sheriff’s deputy in the face, according to court records. As part of that incident, he was charged with seven counts of assault and malicious mischief.

In another instance, Clemmons was accused of gathering his wife and young relatives around at 3 or 4 in the morning and having them all undress. He told them that families need to “be naked for at least 5 minutes on Sunday,” a Pierce County sheriff’s report says.

It’s a crazy world if our criminal justice system can’t protect us even from people as clearly dangerous as Clemmons.

More at The Other McCain, where you’ll also find details on how to contribute to the slain officers’ memorial fund.

Via @redhk

*Update: Apparently The Huckster’s conscience was bothering him, as he was compelled to release this disingenuous statement regarding his role non-role in Clemmons’ release from prison.

He was recommended for and received a commutation of his original sentence from 1990, this commutation made him parole eligible and he was then paroled by the parole board once they determined he met the conditions at that time.

A real man might have written, “He was recommended for a commutation of his original sentence, which I granted,” not, “He was recommended for and received a commutation…” as though it was some sort of magical process over which he had no control.

It’s hard to fault a man for showing mercy but  for public officials there are limits to compassion. Huckabee should man up and accept his share of responsibility.

The Other McCain has more about what motivated Huckabee.

2 Comments

Filed under Pierce County, Washington

Holiday Madness

Is it really asking so much to expect that CDs filled with songs such as “Christmas Canon,” “Tennessee Christmas,” “Blue Christmas” or “The Christmas Song” be assigned to the genre “Christmas” rather than “Holiday” music? Honestly, is anyone who would buy these CDs going to be put off by them being called Christmas music?

A case in point is “The Best of Bing Crosby: The Christmas Collection.” Of the 18 songs, seven have the word “Christmas” in the title; six are based on the religious aspects of Christmas, yet the genre, as assigned by Ebenezer Scrooge, apparently, is “Holiday.”

Is the entertainment industry really so far removed from reality that they can’t understand that people who buy Christmas music aren’t offended by the word “Christmas?” If that’s the case, I pity those poor people who can’t understand the perfect love summed up here:

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
John 3:16 KJV

Leave a comment

Filed under Christianity

Is Giving Up Golf On The Table?

President Obama met with his Cabinet yesterday and afterward delivered some remarks. He said, among other things:

Since that time, we’ve passed a Recovery Act that’s put a middle-class tax cut into people’s pockets, that has invested in infrastructure all across this country and put people back to work, and something that isn’t noted often enough, has helped stabilize state budgets at a time in which we could have seen hundreds of thousands of layoffs in teachers and police officers and firefighters. (Read President Obama’s full remarks.)

I suppose that you could say stimulus funds “stabilized the budget” here in Washington if you consider a one-time infusion of funds to be stabilization. Actually it might have worked quite nicely if Washington’s budget difficulties were a one-time concern rather than being largely the result of chronic over-spending. Unfortunately, Washington D.C. just acted as an enabler for the spending-addicted cash junkies in Olympia, allowing them to avoid making meaningful cuts in a bloated, unsustainable budget.

Now Washington faces a monstrous $2 billion budget deficit. Even if taxes are raised, cuts are coming and they will be deep and painful. As things stand here right now, I’d have to say that “budget stabilization” hasn’t worked out so well.

President Obama also vowed not to rest until “until businesses are investing again and businesses are hiring again and people have work again.”

How nice. It’s good to know he’s on the job, but honestly, I’d feel better if he’d vowed to give up golf. Maybe then we could expect him to pay some serious attention to actual job creation.

Leave a comment

Filed under Budget, Washington

Of Bishops and Congressmen

You may have seen news stories over the weekend about the controversy surrounding Catholic Bishop Thomas Tobin, Representative Patrick Kennedy (D-RI) and the Bishop’s request that Kennedy refrain from taking communion because of his publicly stated pro-choice stance.

As a result of the controversy, Bishop Tobin appeared on “Hardball with Chris Matthews.” For those of you who can’t bear to watch Chris Matthews, I sympathize – I couldn’t watch the entire thing myself. Fortunately, the part I found really interesting was right at the beginning. The segment started with a clip of John F. Kennedy speaking to Ministerial Association of Greater Houston on September 12, 1960.

I believe in an America that is officially neither Catholic, Protestant nor Jewish — where no public official either requests or accepts instructions on public policy from the Pope, the National Council of Churches, or any other ecclesiastical source — where no religious body seeks to impose its will directly or indirectly upon the general populace or the public acts of its officials.

Matthews assertion, of course, was that the Bishop’s request that Kennedy not take communion was tantamount to imposing the will of the Catholic Church “upon the general populace or the public acts of its officials.”

From my perspective, Bishop Tobin isn’t seeking to influence Kennedy on public policy so much as he is defining what it means to be Catholic. Isn’t that the right of the Catholic Church or any church for that matter? Of what use is a church that’s uncommitted to its own doctrine? Jesus had something to say about it in the Sermon on the Mount.

Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? It is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men.  ~Matthew 5:13 KJV

That makes it rather clear that a church is obligated to teach and apply doctrine to the best of its understanding. Having been raised in the Catholic Church, Kennedy must have known what he was risking when he chose to support the pro-choice position. My Catholic friends tell me that any Catholic who publicly challenged church doctrine on the abortion issue could face the same restriction; Kennedy’s not been singled out for special treatment.

For someone who apparently has so little regard for church teaching, one has to wonder why he’s chosen to make a public issue out of what should have been a private matter, especially now, at least two years after the fact. The Boston Herald provides some insight.

“I thought they were pro-life. If the Church is pro-life, then they ought to be for health-care reform because it’s going to provide health care that (is) going to keep people alive,” Kennedy told the Catholic News Service in October, less than two months after the death of his father, the late Sen. Edward M. Kennedy.

It appears as though Chris Matthews may have it exactly backwards. Rather than Bishop Tobin trying to influence Kennedy, perhaps Kennedy is using Tobin’s genuine pastoral concern to try turn public opinion against those Bishops who are opposing the Democrats health care reform plans. Advice for the Congressman: Tread carefully; God will not be used.

 

1 Comment

Filed under Abortion, Christianity, Health Care

Conservative Blogroll Awesomeness

Just in case you have several hours to spare each day, Bombs and Dollars has put together quite a nice list of conservative blogs. Unfortunately, It’s Only Words didn’t make the cut, but I can forgive that. This time.

1 Comment

Filed under Conservatism

If I Wanted To Live Like A European, I’d Move To Europe

How do you suppose it is that European countries can afford to provide health care to their citizens at levels that their governments consider acceptable?

Consider this tidbit from “The Threat to Medical Innovation,” appearing in The American Spectator.

…Between 1969 and 2008, 57 of the 97 Nobel Prizes in medicine and physiology — or nearly 60 percent — were awarded to people who did their research in the U.S., and nine of the top 10 medical innovations between 1975 and 2000 were developed here.

Aside from rationing care, might it be that they’re taking advantage of U.S. medical innovations while scorning us as heartless and unenlightened for not socializing our own health care system? (Much like they rely on a strong US Military in lieu of fielding one themselves, then scorn us as uncivilized brutes?) I wonder how they’ll get along if the U.S. adopts an innovation-killing, European-style health care system?

And while I’m thinking about Europe, let’s get over the notion that it can be proven that Europe’s health care is somehow equal or even superior to what we have in the U.S. based on infant mortality rates. Ann Coulter sums it up nicely.

One factor contributing to the U.S.’ infant mortality rate is that blacks have intractably high infant mortality rates — irrespective of age, education, socioeconomic status and so on. No one knows why.

Neither medical care nor discrimination can explain it: Hispanics in the U.S. have lower infant mortality rates than either blacks or whites. Give Switzerland or Japan our ethnically diverse population and see how they stack up on infant mortality rates.

Even with a higher-risk population, the alleged differences in infant mortality are negligible. We’re talking about seven infant deaths per 1,000 live births in the U.S. compared to 5 deaths per 1,000 for Britain and Canada. This is a rounding error — perhaps literally when you consider that the U.S. tabulates every birth, even in poor, small and remote areas, while other countries are not always so meticulous.

But the international comparisons in “infant mortality” rates aren’t comparing the same thing, anyway. We also count every baby who shows any sign of life, irrespective of size or weight at birth.

By contrast, in much of Europe, babies born before 26 weeks’ gestation are not considered “live births.” Switzerland only counts babies who are at least 30 centimeters long (11.8 inches) as being born alive. In Canada, Austria and Germany, only babies weighing at least a pound are considered live births.

Snip…

By excluding the little guys, these countries have simply redefined about one-third of what we call “infant deaths” in America as “miscarriages.”

Moreover, many industrialized nations, such as France, Hong Kong and Japan — the infant mortality champion — don’t count infant deaths that occur in the 24 hours after birth. Almost half of infant deaths in the U.S. occur in the first day.

I don’t have anything against Europe – I’d like to visit there someday – or Europeans (except the ones who look down their noses at us) but honestly, but I don’t want to live there. That’s mainly because I’m rather partial to the way we do things here, not because I think we’re perfect, but because we’ve provided the most opportunity to more people to control their own lives than any other civilization in the history of this planet we call home. That doesn’t mean there isn’t room for improvement, I’d just like to see those improvements come within the boundaries set forth in our Constitution and based on the free-enterprise system that has brought us so far.

Update 1: Dan Riehl has been thinking about this, too.

1 Comment

Filed under Health Care

Beating the Blue Dog Horse

I'm a Blue Dog. I'm going to vote for Harry Reid's monstrosity before I vote against it!

Senator Ben Nelson of Nebraska provides one more example of why it’s important for the GOP to challenge Blue Dog Democrats in every district. (You know, aside from the fact that those are the districts where they’re more likely to win.)

Here’s what Senator Nelson had to say:

Throughout my Senate career I have consistently rejected efforts to obstruct. That’s what the vote on the motion to proceed is all about.

It is not for or against the new Senate health care bill released Wednesday.

It is only to begin debate and an opportunity to make improvements. If you don’t like a bill why block your own opportunity to amend it?

Reid’s bill is a behemoth; over 2,000 pages. Barring the unlikely eventuality that the Senate approves an amendment that replaces the entire text of the bill with something else, does Nelson really believe that a mish-mash of amendments will improve it?

I hope Ben Nelson doesn’t think he’s fooling anyone. (I hope even more fervently that he isn’t fooling anyone, but that’s another post entirely.) Senator Nelson knows that a vote for cloture is a vote for Harry Reid’s costly, freedom-killing legislation. He knows that once the bill reaches the floor of the Senate, it’s chances of being defeated are less than 3%. Senator Nelson is just covering his…butt. He keeps Harry Reid off his back and counts on his “no” vote on final passage to placate those pesky constituents back home in Nebraska.

Not convinced? Consider the case of Mary Landrieu. Senator Landrieu played hard to get and was rewarded for her trouble with a cool $100 million in Medicaid concessions for her home state of Louisiana. (Yes, Harry Reid is purchased a single vote for his health care bill with $100 million of taxpayer money! Seems rather like asking the condemned man to put the noose around his own neck, don’t you think?)

I apologize for continuing to flog this horse, but I fear it is not yet dead. John Dietrich, writing at American Thinker, understands how important it is to control the language surrounding the Blue Dogs. As long as a single person in the GOP establishment continues to believe that working with the Blue Dogs is a strategy for long-term success, as long as any Republican or independent believes that Blue Dogs are anything other than run-of-the-mill, liberal Democrats, as long as anyone, anywhere continues to believe that Blue Dogs represent any significant stumbling block to advancing the leftist agenda, I must keep my switch at the ready.

Leave a comment

Filed under Health Care

It’s Only Words’ Sexiest Man Alive Award, 2009

Joe Flanigan is my choice for sexiest man. Er, I mean, sexiest man right after Mr. Itsonlywords. Yeah.

People Magazine has named Johnny Depp as its “Sexiest Man Alive” for the second time.

Are you freaking kidding me? With so many delicious choices, they’re trotting out Depp for a second go-round? Don’t get me wrong, he’s a fine actor and I don’t mean to imply that it hurts my eyes to look at him but I don’t want a recycled sexy man. I want someone new. (For what it’s worth, the new Sexiest Man cover photo looks like someone I wouldn’t trust around small children. But then, I feel the same way about Al Gore. Better safe than sorry – that’s my motto!)

If they really felt the need to repeat, why not 2004′s selection, Jude Law? I could have been quite happy with that choice. Or last year’s winner, Hugh Jackman. Again, happy. Really, really happy.

But why not give consideration to some guys they may have overlooked? My personal favorite? Joe Flanigan. (Ladies, you can click the photo if you need more evidence to make an informed decision.)

Other possibilities? Gerard Butler, Daniel Craig, and Jim Caviezel, to name a few. Other suggestions?

8 Comments

Filed under Washington