Monday, March 30, 2009

Are Cato’s tootsies cold?

The Cato Institute, Dear Gentle Reader(s), has published an ad in many major newspapers which takes issue with President Obama’s November 19, 2008, statement, “Few challenges facing America and the world are more urgent than combating climate change. The science is beyond dispute and the facts are clear.”

Cato’s ad contains this response:

We, the undersigned scientists, maintain that the case for alarm regarding climate change is grossly overstated.  Surface temperature changes over the past century have been episodic and modest and there has been no net global warming for over a decade now.1,2 After controlling for population growth and property values, there has been no increase in damages from severe weather-related events.3 The computer models forecasting rapid temperature change abjectly fail to explain recent climate behavior.4 Mr. President, your characterization of the scientific facts regarding climate change and the degree of certainty informing the scientific debate is simply incorrect.*

115 names are appended to the statement in the full page ad.

The Cato Institute advertises itself as non-partisan, but there is a distinct right of center ambiance in its publications which should always give at least slight pause.

In particular, one wonders about the Institute’s position on oil.  How worried should we be?  A recent, 2007, paper on oil is entitled “Energy Alarmism: The Myths That Make Americans Worry about Oil.”

Let’s see.  1) Is the world’s oil reserve finite?  Yes.  There just aren’t enough dinosaurs to go around forever.  2) Is it more important for goods to be transported than for freeways to be clogged with oil burning individual automobiles?  Yes.  3)  In case of a state or national emergency, is it more important for us to have the ability to mobilize the national guard and the military than for us to be able to transport a little league baseball team in a private SUV?  Yes.

Perhaps our worry about oil is a bit alarmist, but we have good reason should we look beyond the immediate sport season.

The Cato Institute’s ad about the climate may be correct.  Too, it might not be.

Trust, but verify.

*1. Swanson, K.L., and A. A. Tsonis. Geophysical Research Letters, in press: DOI:10.1029/2008GL037022.
2. Brohan, P., et al. Journal of Geophysical Research, 2006: DOI: 10.1029/2005JD006548. Updates at
3. Pielke, R. A. Jr., et al. Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, 2005: DOI: 10.1175/BAMS-86-10-1481.
4. Douglass, D. H., et al. International Journal of Climatology, 2007: DOI: 10.1002/joc.1651.

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Sunday, March 29, 2009

Still the silence deafens

CAIR (Council on American-Islamic Relations) is still silent on the issue of Muslim-on-Muslim killings.

On March 27, a young boy, sitting in the midst of Friday prayers, stood up, shouted “Allahu Akbar,” and blew himself up, killing at least 48 and virtually destroying the mosque.

A search of the CAIR website finds no mention of this atrocity.  There are press releases, but they concern themselves primarily with the events of 9/11.

Before CAIR can expect to be successful with convincing others that Islam is a religion of peace, it will have to take a leadership role in reforming the religion to strip Islamist extremists of the claim that Koranic verses allow, if not demand, killing in the name of the deity.

This blasphemy must be condemned, loudly and persistently.

It is to be hoped that CAIR will rise to the occasion.  Soon.  And be successful on both counts.

Trust, but verify.

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Thursday, March 26, 2009


Dear Gentle Reader(s), yesterday, NPR’s “Morning Edition” featured a story about the Quiverfull Movement, which calls for “Christian” women to have as many children as possible, for Jesus.

There’s a lengthy quote from a leader of the group; here’s a cut from the transcript available on line:

[Children who “spread the message of Christ is] also the hope of Nancy Campbell, a leader of the Quiverfull movement and author of Be Fruitful and Multiply.

"The womb is such a powerful weapon; it's a weapon against the enemy," Campbell says.

Campbell has 35 grandchildren. She and her husband stopped at six kids, and it is her great regret.

"I think, help! Imagine if we had had more of these children!" Campbell says, adding, "My greatest impact is through my children. The more children I have, the more ability I have to impact the world for God."

A Christian God, that is. Campbell says if believers don't starting reproducing in large numbers, biblical Christianity will lose its voice.

"We look across the Islamic world and we see that they are outnumbering us in their family size, and they are in many places and many countries taking over those nations, without a jihad, just by multiplication," Campbell says.

The evangelical movement’s sect, one is to believe, is in a breeding contest with members of another religion?  That’s scary.

One wonders if these good people, and the good breeders of Islam, have no recollection of Nazi Germany in the 1930s and their plan to breed a master race.

Hard to trust, easy to verify.

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Sunday, March 22, 2009

Professional Gamblers? One hopes not.

NPR,Wall Street Journal,Morning Edition,Gamblers

Caution, Dear Gentle Reader(s), is in order.  The following is based on something thought to have been heard on NPR’s “Morning Edition” last week, but a search of the NPR web site, proved futile.

The quote, spoken, possibly, by a representative of a Wall Street Journal’s blog, went something like this—referring to AIG personnel who made those bad decisions—“They’re professional gamblers who…”

And that’s the problem.  Professional gamblers?  Doesn’t the image of a professional gambler include the distinct inevitability of a loser?  In a professional gambling situation, someone has to lose.  Is this the mindset we want to have when discussing mortgages?  If business journalists think this way, when did that happen? 

Aren’t mortgages supposedly intended to end up in a win-win situation?  The lender gets interest on an investment; the mortgagee receives, eventually, clear title to a house.

If the professional gambler metaphor is the guiding principal behind the A.I.G. boondoggle, then, of course, we’ve been snookered.  If those persons now facing eviction were supposed to “lose” to the “professional gamblers,” then we’ve been engaging in a fixed game.  How could the mortgagee have won?  These guys were dealing from the bottom of the deck and had aces up their sleeves.

There should be a concerted effort to watch our language.

Words have meaning and consequences. 

We shouldn’t have to worry when we walk into a bank that those professional gamblers are going to make certain they win the game.  We should only be concerned with trust and mutual benefit.

All this time we thought we were entering into business transactions. 

Instead we’ve been playing poker and told the rules after the pot was taken.

Trust but verify.

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Friday, March 20, 2009

…by any other name…

Technorati Tags: ,,

NPR’s Morning Edition just reported that Blackwater, of Iraqi war fame, has changed its name to Xe.

Do they think that changing the name will clear their reputation? 


Look for it.  Don’t let them get away with it.

Trust, but verify.

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Wednesday, March 18, 2009

I feel your outrage! (Yawn. Smack. Smack. zzzzzzzz)

There comes a time, Dear Gentle Reader(s), when so much…er…”stuff”…happens that one simply shuts down for a bit.  Perhaps to recuperate?

So it is with one David Lazarus, a business columnist for the Los Angeles Times.  His product today is titled, “When outrage fatigue sets in.”  His immediate outrage fatigue is directly related to the AIG bonuses, but his symptoms are easily transferred to any of a myriad of stuff happens examples.

The Muckroom over at still has its daily infusion of neo-con and fauxRepublican cant, regardless of the mountains of evidence that the cant can’t make sense anymore (not that discerning people, such as you and I, DGR(s), were ever taken in by it).

The site is simply yawn-inducing.

It’s much more interesting to observe the engineering wonders of a hummingbird which has chosen to construct a nest on a colored glass hanging in a patio.

Forget the right wing.  Enjoy the virtual invisible wings.


Trust, but verify.

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Sunday, March 15, 2009

Whatever these guys are smokin’…

…be sure, Dear Gentle Reader(s), not to try it.

Scouring through the Townhalldotcom muckroom this morning, one spots this lede:  Why the polls say Obama is worse than Bush. 

“Really?” you ask.  “What polls?  When were they released?  Why hasn’t there been commentary in the editorial pages of national newspapers?”

It turns out that the column, written by one Kevin McCullough, mentions only one (1) poll, “bi-partisan pollsters Schoen and Rasmussen.” 

Never heard of them?  A quick Google search will find several pages of references to them and to this poll under consideration.  A quick click on three of the citations indicate that the poll is being touted by partisan Republican sites.

In other words, S&R are polling the choir and then preaching to it.

Alas, today’s isn’t the Republican party of the Eisenhower era.

Trust, but verify.

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Sunday, March 8, 2009


Andrew Sullivan, Dear Gentle Reader(s), is given to posting discussions of theology (an oxymoron if ever there were one) a-Sundays.

Among today’s entries is a ditty called “An Atheist At 8.”  Precocious kid.  Not so Sullivan and co-discussionists.

Sullivan and his fellows all fail to make the leap from reality to metaphor.  All the discussions rely on the anthropomorphic deity as proclaimed by some in the human race. 

C’mon, guys.

These writings are metaphoric!

Not only are they metaphor, but the writing of tribes of the desert are especially given to heat-induced visions.  Some of those visions would be cause for an arrest warrant issued by the International Court. 

Trust, but verify.  (And we can’t; that’s the problem.)

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Friday, March 6, 2009

Faster, Daddy! Faster!

Much, Dear Gentle Reader(s), is being made of the “slow” pace of filling the Obama Administration’s Treasury political posts.

However, in the context of the recent divisive nature of our political system—as well as of the context of the blogosphere—isn’t it just a bit admirable of the slow vetting of appointees?

Sad to say, on the one hand, but administration appointees nowadays must pass a scrutiny which demands a virtual “purer than Caesar’s wife” standard.  There ain’t many of us around. (Ahem)

There are many aspects of our social contract which must be reviewed.  During the review, it must be expected that some of the quotidian chores will be slower than usual—fewer subordinates in place will force heads of departments to delay implementation of some programs.

Maybe an election cycle or two must pass before we can accept, with some grace and humility, an oversight in a tax return or the possibility that a person can grow from a questionable stance on an issue into a more acceptable stance.

The rush to place a willing person in a position of responsibility has too often allowed the foxes entrance to the henhouse.  For some slight proof of that, just see the indictment/conviction rate of the Reagan appointees or the current fiscal crises.

Trust, but verify.

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Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Did the Blindfold Slip?

The Appeal is an interesting book which delineates the dangers of a justice system on the auction block.  It turns out, Dear Gentle Reader(s), that the book’s genesis has a basis of fact.

An editorial in today’s The New York Times tells us of a case to be argued before the U.S. Supreme Court involving a 50 million dollar award, a 3 million dollar campaign contribution, and a newly elected Kentucky State Supreme Court justice who refused to recuse himself and voted in favor to reverse the 50 million.  Guess who received the 3 million in campaign contributions.

Kentucky has given us Senator Mitch McConnell and now Justice Brent Benjamin.

My Old Kentucky Home” needs refurbishing.

Kentucky voters, Trust, but verify.

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Monday, March 2, 2009

Preaching to the Choir*

Alas, Dear Gentle Reader(s), the loyal opposition is foundering on the shoals of its historical rhetoric, as evidenced by a column** delineating the speechifying at the recently concluded Conservative Political Action Conference.

Under the title “Conservatives Energized by 'Ideas' at Conference,” Salena Zito tells us that the Republican party must avoid becoming the party of “no,” saying “yes, but,” using Twitter, and that “conservatives believe in life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”


Shall we count the “Ideas”?  (Is there anyone who is an Independent or a Democrat who doesn’t believe in life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness?)

Any resemblance to the Republican Party of 2009 and 1952 (Eisenhower’s first election) ends with the name.

Trust, but verify (certainly before casting a vote).


*Take your pick—Zito’s choir or my Dear Gentle Reader(s)!

**Available at Real Clear Politics—an excellent source for a range of opinion.

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