Friday morning thoughts (and Open Thread)

The other day, Victorian posy of pansiesI wasn’t able to get to my desktop computer, which is where I write with ease and fluidity.  I was also was quite depressed that day.  Thinking about it, I told my sister that I wasn’t depressed because life is temporarily inconvenient.  I was depressed, instead, because I didn’t get my “writer’s high.”  For many years, I’ve kept myself buoyant through two endorphin-releasing activities:  martial arts and writing.  For the past six months, I’ve been unable to do martial arts, but I still had my writing.  When writing is also denied me, my endorphins vanish, and I get into a funk.  Just an hour at the computer is equal to several bowls of chocolate ice cream — without the calories.

And now to a variety of quick links that have come my way:

An artist in South Florida deliberately destroyed a 7,000 year old Chinese vase to protest the fact that the arts community in Miami isn’t paying enough attention to local artists.  If you’re like me, your first thought upon reading that story was “That man is just crazy.”  Well, if he’s crazy, so is Prince William.  Little Willy has announced that he wants to destroy the monarchy’s priceless 1,200 piece ivory collection to protest the illegal ivory trade.  He’s apparently unimpressed by the fact that these ivories span the centuries, meaning that they come from times long-predating modern environmentalism.  The combination of an appropriately Progressive education and a credulous, rather stupid father clearly has had its effect on the Prince’s reasoning skills and values.

One of my friends, upon hearing about Prince William’s proposal, had the perfect response:  “Perhaps he should also dismantle the monarchy since it has caused so many wars, slavery, and other human suffering. While he’s at it, why not return all the Egyptian treasures spread throughout London the monarchy looted?”

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Mark Steyn is representing himself in the case that Michael Mann — creator of the completely discredited hockey stick graph — has brought against him and against the National ReviewOne can argue that Steyn will find that there’s truth to the saying that “the man who represents himself has a fool for a lawyer.”  I’m not so sure.  In my experience, judges give an enormous amount of leeway to parties who appear on their own behalf.  The smart man representing himself may well be in a better position than the smart man trapped behind a mediocre attorney whose only virtue is that he’s affordable.

If Steyn’s answer and counter-claim is anything to go by, Steyn’s doing just fine.  He understands that the law is on his side.  This is a pure First Amendment case and doesn’t require complex legal analysis.  The only way to win is to make the facts come alive and to reveal Michael Mann for what he is:  a discredited scientist who has used shoddy research and false reports to make himself famous, and who now tries to cling to his dishonestly-won fame by bullying people through the legal system.

Not only does Steyn understand the necessary strategy, he’s taken advantage of his pro per status to write one of the most delightful pleadings I’ve ever seen.  My first drafts usually have the same puckish quality (although I lack Steyn’s wit, erudition, flair, and musicality), but I always take those bits out for fear the judge will think I’m making sport of him.  Steyn, however, is clearly, and deftly, making sport of Mann:

69. Denies the allegations in Paragraph Sixty-Nine of the Amended Complaint, and thinks we’re going round in circles here.

[snip]

111. Denies the allegations in Paragraph One-Hundred-And-Eleven of the Amended Complaint, and feels Plaintiff is going round like a circle in a spiral, like a wheel within a
wheel, like the circles that you find in the tree-rings of your mind.

[snip]

129. Plaintiff Michael Mann is a widely known figure in the scientific and public policy spheres of global warming research who has thrust himself into the politics of the
global warming debate by appearing in TV commercials for political candidates, writing newspaper columns regularly for The Guardian, The New York Times and others, serving as scientific advisor to and appearing in a climate-change TV series starring climate experts Matt Damon and Jessica Alba, and is therefore a public figure. In March 2012, Plaintiff published a book called The Hockey Stick And The Climate Wars: Dispatches From The Front Lines, the “front lines” presumably referring to his media appearances with Miss Alba et al.

[snip]

131. At the other end of the spectrum, Plaintiff and his counsel have issued demands that have no basis in law, as they well know – including the preposterous assertion, in response to a parody video by “Minnesotans for Global Warming”, that “Professor Mann’s likeness” is protected from parody and satire. (See attached letter from Plaintiff’s counsel.) Plaintiff has engaged in serial misrepresentation and false claims to authority, including (in his original Complaint against Defendant Steyn) purporting to be a Nobel Laureate and (in his current Complaint and elsewhere) purporting to have been exonerated by multiple investigations and by fellow scientists who have, in fact, pronounced Mann and his work “inappropriate”, “exaggerated”, “non-robust” and his defense of it “incorrect”. There is a smell to the hockey stick that, in Lady Macbeth’s words, “all the perfumes of Arabia will not sweeten” – nor all the investigations. And so Dr Mann has determined to sue it into respectability.

Speaking as a well-seasoned litigator, I wish I’d written that.

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At African-American Conservatives on Facebook, a picture that perfectly illustrates why I’ve had a problem with electric cars — and with the fact that Obama is using my money to fund them, all under the umbrella of “anthropogenic climate change”:

Dirty electrical cars

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The more I know about Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, the more I like him. And the more the Left knows about Walker, the more it fears him. I have a feeling all the fishing expeditions will come up empty. After the recall vote, all the dirt that can be dug probably has been dug.

allen-west-20101Speaking of presidential candidates, even my apolitical sister asked me, “Who’s going to be the Democrat nominee? Hillary? I don’t think she can win, and there doesn’t seem to be anyone else.” Exactly. I told her to keep an eye on Walker. I also really, really like Allen West, and I think he could make an Eisenhower-esque claim to having executive experience notwithstanding his lack of a governorship. He and Walker could be a very exciting President/Vice President package. I also have to admit to something of a girlish crush on West. I think he’s just amazingly good-looking. He looks so crisp and fresh.

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Proof that not all news anchors are just talking heads. These two, stuck without any audio, are really funny.

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Do we need to say again that true science is never settled? Or that stifling dissent is unscientific? Probably we do. We need to say it again and again and again until we are like the horns bringing down the walls of Jericho. And if someone’s going to be your trumpet, Charles Krauthammer is the Louis Armstrong of intelligent dissent.

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Every year in Laredo, something amazing happens:  on both sides of the border, people gather together to celebrate George Washington, but they do so with an exquisite Tejano twist.  As with the last Independent Lens documentary I wrote about, the documentary maker isn’t very good, but the subject matter transcends the production.

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Do you remember this creepy video, with elementary school children singing about the glories of the imagined hope that the Messiah Obama would bring to America? Well, someone’s updated it (h/t Sadie):

A high school dissident takes on global warming

Burning earthBack in October, I wrote about one of my children’s classmates at high school.  This kid is handsome, athletic, and extremely popular.  He also made disparaging remarks about Obamacare and illegal aliens without getting push-back from either students or teachers.  Such is the power of popularity.

That kid’s at it again.  For his English class, he wrote an essay calling out anthropogenic climate change as a hoax.  I wonder whether his popularity will be sufficient to survive this dissident act, both socially and academically.

The young man’s brave stance got me thinking about the whole notion of unfalsifiable theories. As I explained to my own children, the normal way science works is that, if all your hypotheses prove to be false, you’ve established that your underlying theory is wrong.  Only in the world of climate change do a series of failed predictions and hypotheses serve as proof that your underlying theory isn’t merely true, it’s even more true!

Since I had climate change on the brain, when my daughter later pointed out that our little mutt, who had curled up in her lap, had buried his nose in her armpit, I exclaimed, “That’s because of climate change.”

Having said that, it occurred to me that it may be time to resurrect a college game with a twist.  Back in the day, whenever friends and I dined at a Chinese restaurant, when we opened the cookies and read aloud our fortunes, we’d add the phrase “in bed.” So, for example, a fortune that said “You will meet an interesting stranger” would be read as “You will meet an interesting stranger in bed.”  It was juvenile, but funny.

Nowadays, a variation of the game would be to response to any observation by saying, “that’s because of global warming (or climate change).”  So, someone might say, “Look, there’s a hawk circling your yard.”  And your answer would be “That’s because of climate change.”

“The furniture delivery man is running late.”  “That’s because of climate change.”

“My hair looks terrible today.”  “That’s because of climate change.”

“Does this dress make me look fat?”  “Honey, thanks to climate change, everything looks fat.”

NPR offers a perfect example of how an unfalsifiable, infallible theory works

Burning earthNPR didn’t mean to offer a perfect example of how an unfalsifiable, infallible theory works.  It’s stated goal was to have people better understand what a polar vortex is.  However, when it chose to interview “Andrew Freedman, senior science writer for Climate Central, an independent non-profit organization that researches and reports on the science and impact of climate change,” Mr. Freedman, true to his climate change beliefs, came up with a good one.

Before I get to Mr. Freedman’s words, let me make sure we’re all on the same page about an unfalsifiable, infallible theory.  Mike McDaniel has an easy-to-understand, elegantly stated explanation.  An unfalsifiable theory “requires no proof, for like religious dogma, it is rooted in faith.  One either believes or not; proof is not necessary and opposing proof may therefore be disregarded.  Such beliefs are, in the language of science, non-falsifiable.”  Non-falsifiable theories do not stand alone.  Because they cannot be proved wrong they are, by definition, infallible.  Like God, they are what they are, with no actual explanations required.

With that in mind, please enjoy Mr. Freedman’s response to the NPR interviewer’s question about the current polar vortex and climate change:

GREENE: I mean, is climate change playing some sort of role here in the cold we’re seeing this week?

FREEDMAN: We actually have these possible connections between the Arctic – which is warming rapidly, and which is losing sea ice – and these perturbations, these shifts in the jet stream over North America and over Europe. And many scientists are convinced that there’s enough circumstantial evidence to potentially convince a jury that there is this link, and that the weather patterns are becoming more and more suspicious as being influenced by human activities. But the physical connections, the actual smoking gun that would link Arctic warming to weather patterns that we see right now – like this one – isn’t quite there yet. It hasn’t quite been proven. So whether or not it would convince a jury of scientific peers in this case is unclear. And I think in the next few years, we’ll know a lot more. But certainly, climate change is influencing every weather pattern that occurs today, in some ways large and small.

Without all the unnecessary prevarication, what Mr. Freedman said is “We have no actual evidence that anthropogenic global warming has anything to do with this. That doesn’t worry us, though, because our operating, unchallengeable baseline is that anthropogenic global warming (which we now call “climate change” so as to be more encompassing) is behind every weather phenomenon that has ever happened since we decided that there’s something called anthropogenic global war. . . . er, climate change.”  This is unsurprising.  Mr. Freedman’s paycheck comes from an “independent non-profit organization that researches and reports on the science and impact of climate change.”  No climate change means no non-profit organization, which means Mr. Freedman and his cohorts are out of a job.

Just to demonstrate further that Mr. Freedman is operating within a closed, unfalsifiable system, let’s scoot over to Time Magazine for a minute.  As Ed Driscoll reports (in a post beautifully titled Time Magazine Swings Both Ways), the United States experienced a whopper of a polar vortex in 1974. Back then, Time breathlessly informed its readers that the problem was global cooling and that we trembled on the verge of another ice age.  This time around, of course, the pathetic shadow that was the once might Time, now reports equally breathlessly that global warming caused the big chill.

Faith is a wonderful — and dangerous — thing.

Back to School Open Thread

Victorian posy of pansiesWinter break this year was very pleasant.  As I may have written before, while I’m not a big fan of small children, I really like teenagers, especially the teenagers my kids bring home.  We live in a tight-knit community and my house is often a gathering spot for the kids in the neighborhood.  When our pool is non-operational (as it is every winter), the kids swarm my living room for old-fashioned parlor games and new-fangled board games.  (My favorites are Telestrations, the Telephone Game Sketched Out!, The Resistance, and Quelf Board Game, all of which make me laugh.)  Nicely, the kids always ask me to play, and genuinely seem to want my participation.  Playing board games turns out to be one of the few things I’d rather do than blog.

Still, the kids are back in school, and Mr. Bookworm is almost back at work, so the house is almost back to me.  Since I’m a person who enjoys solitude, despite being quite gregarious, I can’t wait until it’s just me and the dogs (and the computer, of course).  When I’m alone, I can think.  I haven’t had any thoughts yet, but I’ve saved up other people’s thoughts for you:

The DiploMad is just like me, only smarter, more articulate, and with more real world experience.  But other than that, I would have written this post about the state of the world as we enter 2014.  (Hat tip:  Tom Elia.)

Mike McDaniel is always kind enough to say that I gave him the idea for a post.  Reading his post about non-falsifiable and infallible theories (such as guns and global warming), it’s quite clear that he didn’t need me.  He’s brilliant enough on his own.

Speaking of non-falsifiable theories, fellow Watcher’s Council member Simply Jews has a scathing indictment about the BBC’s approach to reporting on climate change — and even located its Ground Zero for scientific ignorance.

Those Americans who still think feminism is about equal pay for equal work need to understand that, nowadays, it’s about postcolonial milk.  This is the horror that academia has wrought on a legitimate demand, one stretching back centuries, that women not be denied education and opportunities on the sole ground that they are women.

I’m beginning to understand Obama’s approach to Obamacare.  Because it bears his name, it’s his law, and he can therefore do whatever the heck he wants with it.  Constitutional rules about the separation of powers — especially lawmaking versus executive — are for the little people.  A man of Roman columns and control over the oceans is not (in his own mind at least) a little person.  (I bet if you ask him, he explain that he brought about the polar vortex to impress upon Americans that global warming means climate change that freezes 90% of the U.S.)

If Pope Francis doesn’t make Asa Bibi a worldwide cause célèbre, he may well be the Leftist shill the Leftist shills think he is.

I may not be financially savvy, but when I’ve seen articles about Obama policies once again forcing banks to make bad loans so that poor risk people can buy real estate, I think “Hey, we’re heading for another housing market crash.”  I’m not the only one thinking that.  Add to that the Feds’ money printing, which has created a stock market bubble based not on value but on paper money, and I foresee a recession that will make 2008 look cute by comparison.

The War on Poverty is over . . . and poverty won.  This fifty year failure is an indictment of government market management, but nobody’s paying attention.

Okay, I’ve now depressed myself.  I’m going to walk the dogs.

 

Work day round-up

Victorian posy of pansiesWork and family call, but that doesn’t mean I’m not sneaking quick peeks at articles that I can then share with you.

Is the global warming tipping point nearing?  It will inevitably happen, but far too late to save the billions of dollars wasted, the lives lost in revolutions it fomented (e.g., Egypt’s tumultuous years were caused, in significant part, by rising food prices attributed to shortages as Egypt’s food was diverted to America’s biofuel), and the generation of children raised in apocalyptic fear.

My bet is that New York’s going to revert to savagery very quickly under Mayor de Blasio, and I have no sympathy for the more than 70% of New Yorkers who voted for him.  I have the deepest sympathy for the small remainder who are about to face Progressive Armageddon.  The Clintons, however, are banking on the hard-Left’s success in New York.

Speaking of de Blasio, he’s auditioning for the role of “bad guy” in a remake of Bless the Beasts and Children, since his first policy initiative means killing off animals (in this case, horses).

It’s Obama versus the Church, with Obama claiming to know more about Church doctrine than the Church does itself.  Hubris plays out in interesting ways.

The disaster that is America’s adoption system.  The dreadful numbers — hundreds of thousands of children languishing in foster care — are directly attributable to the Democrat’s racial agenda, which bars adoption “miscegenation” (meaning that whites are barred from adopting non-whites).

Lebanon is getting sucked into Syria’s civil war.  Expect human casualties on a massive, hitherto unseen-in-the-Middle-East scale.  Obama will wring his hands and then side with whichever strongman he can find to give him cover.  Currently, those strong men reside in Moscow and Tehran.  This will not end well — although it may give Israel something of a respite as Muslims take a break from trying to kill Jews — ultimately these internecine battles between Sunni and Shia spill over all sorts of borders.

I’m with Jonathan Last:  2014 will be the year Obama’s chickens come home to roost.  Or as another Illinois politician once said, “You can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you can not fool all of the people all of the time.”

Keith Koffler is always interesting, so I enjoyed his analysis of the Duck Dynasty versus GLAAD match-up.

And if you were wondering where Bloomberg played Nanny in New York, here’s the list.

Christmas in Marin

Christmas ornamentsI’ve had a very nice Christmas, both Eve and Day.  I also had a very Marin Christmas.  I was at a party this afternoon and met some very nice people.

In a discussion about rising college prices, one man told me that this problem resulted from income inequality.  He was surprised when I suggested that tuition inflation probably had more to do with government loans enabling colleges to get away with charging money, as well as with top-heavy administrations and overpaid professors.  I didn’t push it and nor did he, but I do think I gave him something to think about.

Another man earnestly told me that all of his food allergies were the result of genetically modified food.  He was at a loss to explain how I, who had myriad food allergies growing up, no longer have any.

Finally, a third man said that Marin’s current (very disturbing) drought is the product of anthropogenic global warming.  When I mentioned that we’d had a drought here way back in the late 1970s and that most of America was freezing and deluged with snow and sleet, he was nonplussed and fell silent.

With all three men, I didn’t push the agenda.  It was a congenial party and I had no intention of raising the temperature in the room.  I do hope, though, that I planted little seeds in their minds from which something might sprout.

By the way, speaking of Marin County, Daniel Henninger today published a very funny letter (behind a paywall) purporting to come from a Marin County navigator to “His Excellency, President Obama.”

“I told you so” edition: Increasing proof that anthopogenic global warming was a scam

Earth__Space_HD_wallpaper

For a decade, those liberals who know that I think that anthropogenic global warming is a scam that was invented to make some people very rich (AlBore, is that you?), even while it transfers vast sums of wealth from the First World to the Third World, have called me some pretty nasty things:  ignorant, flat-earther, climate denier, stupid, etc.

That’s why I really love articles such as this one, by Michael Fumento, which neatly sum up why I was right and my critics were wrong.

Incidentally, I’ll add my usual caveat:  I believe that humans are stewards of the earth, both for those plants and animals sharing the planet with us and for future generations of humans.  We have a responsibility to encourage, not destroy, its bounty and its beauty.  But I do not like being brow-beaten by Leftists into believing that we are facing imminent apocalypse unless I give up all trappings of 21st century life and ship my money to Leftist organizations or redistribute it to fulfill Leftist utopian goals.  Nor do I like seeing my children on the receiving end of an un-ending stream of Leftist propaganda, all of it wrapped up in a global warming package.

And why shouldn’t the poor have free cars? The rich are already getting green car subsidies

Working class and lower middle class people can't afford to own this car, but they can help offset the costs for the rich guy who wants one.

Working class and lower middle class people can’t afford to own this car, but they can help offset the costs for the rich guy who wants one.

One of the things that drives me bonkers-nutso about the green movement is the way that it subsidizes rich people when they make “green” purchases.  I dislike subsidies generally, because they’re a form of wealth redistribution.  But I really dislike it when government takes taxpayer money and hands it over to the very wealthy so that they can buy themselves an electric sports car, such as the Tesla.*  I know that the rich pay the largest percent of taxes in America, but the non-rich middle and working classes are paying some taxes too, and they shouldn’t be subsidizing luxury automobiles simply because they’re “green.”  (And I’ve mentioned before that their “green” claims are dubious, since they rely on electricity generated through dirty means at far-away plants.  It seems to me that all they do is move pollution, not decrease it.  And let’s not even talk about the toxic batteries….)

In a perverse way, therefore, it makes sense for the broken and broke California government to play around with the idea of giving free green cars to poor people.  After all, since the shrinking middle class is already paying for rich people’s “green” playthings, why shouldn’t they pay for poor people’s cars too?  Each increasingly poverty-stricken middle class taxpayer can take pride in the greening of California and can only hope that he goes broke (and therefore qualifies for a free green car) before all the other taxpayers go broke too.

The worst part is that the “green” subsidy, which currently benefits rich folks, is all part of a giant con to prevent an apocalyptic event that’s not going to happen.  If anything, we should be hoping that the increasingly ephemeral, even illusory, greenhouse effect really does kick in, because we’re hosed if there’s another ice age.  Water and sunlight — both of which are plentiful during warming periods — are good for all living things.  Barren, frozen wildernesses are not.

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*These green subsidies also fund the solar panels you see on rich people’s houses.  Indeed, they fund everything green that the rich can afford without subsidies and that the poor can’t afford even with subsidies.

Same old, same old, which I enliven with predictions for the next twelve months *UPDATED*

bored-baby

Here’s an old joke:

An established comedian invited a friend to join him at a very exclusive “comedian’s club.”  The guest instantly noticed something peculiar.  In the main room, a person would periodically stand up and shout out a number.  “57,” one would say, and a few people in the room would chuckle.  After a moment’s silence, someone would holler, “18,” and be rewarded with a chorus of good-natured “boos.”

This pattern continued for a while, until someone shouted out “77.”  While a few people let out a short bark of laughter, one guy in the corner was utterly beside himself.  He roared with laughter, until tears were rolling down his face.

The guest turned to his host and asked, “What gives?  What is it with these numbers?”

“Well,” the host explained, “it’s like this.  We’re all professional comedians here and, to be honest, there are only so many jokes around.  It got tiring and boring for someone to tell a joke that everyone already knew, so we started assigning them numbers.  It’s kind of like a joke short-hand.  People still laugh — if they want — but it definitely saves time.”

“Okay,” said the guest.  “I get that.  But what about that guy in the corner who collapsed with laughter when someone shouted out ’77′.”

Oh, him,” answered the host.  “I guess he hadn’t heard that joke before.”

Yes, it’s a surreal joke, but it also explains why I’m having problems blogging lately.  When I read a story about Obamacare, I can’t add much to posts I’ve written going all the way back to 2009.  I predicted then what would happen now.  “You’ll find that in posts 384, 943, 6749, and 34052.”  Events in the Middle East?  I foresaw those too, including Obama’s love affair with Iran, and Israel’s and Saudi Arabia’s entirely predictable coming together against that common enemy.  “See posts 3489 and 9492.”  Government data manipulation?  We covered that too, as we did with gun control, amnesty, foreign policy, etc.

I’ve moved out of fresh and into “I told you so.”  As a writer, “I told you so” is boring.  It’s also especially boring for all of you, because you were right there with me, making the same predictions.  We all saw all of this coming.

The only thing that’s kind of newsy now is watching the oh-so-smart Leftists figure out that they’ve been had.  It’s not actually real news, of course, because we all saw this coming too, but it’s still fun to watch.  As to these Obamabots, it’s not just that a specific politician has “had” them.  Their entire ideology is disintegrating in front of their eyes.  Most, of course, will plunge into frenetic denial.  That’s old stuff too.  For 100 years, communists have been saying that communism is perfect; it’s the implementation that’s flawed.  When today’s Leftist’s rant against the president, the party, and the people, they’re foll0wing an old script.

A few Leftists, however, will draw back and say, “We were wrong.  We were wrong about everything.”  That’s been done too.  They’ll be joining David Horowitz, Michael Medved, Thomas Lifson, David Mamet, Sally Zelikovsky, the Power Line guys, and scores of other people who already had their Road to Damascus moment when they realized that Leftism isn’t poorly implemented; it is, instead, fundamentally flawed.  I certainly won’t think as highly of these new converts as I do of the older generation.  The older generation didn’t need to see America’s economic collapse and her fade into international irrelevance to see which way the wind was blowing.

Since everything seems to be “same old, same old,” except even more so, what would be new and exciting news for a blase blogger in the next twelve months?

1.  Obamacare’s repeal, although unscrambling that egg will be virtually impossible.  Even if they wanted to, huge institutions such as heavily-regulated insurance companies and hospitals cannot turn on a dime.  The somewhat functioning market will have been destroyed, which nothing lined up to take its place.  Worse, we know that Republicans politicians are incapable of using the headwinds of repeal to revitalize the free market.  (Remember:  Democrats have bad ideas and effective politicians; and Republicans have good ideas and brain-dead cretins in office.)

2.  A groundswell of popular support for Obama’s impeachment.  Of course, that would leave Biden in charge, which is not a pretty thought.  The likelihood is that, if he could, he’d move Elizabeth Warren into the Veep seat to stymie Hillary.  It would be amusing, but just as bad for America as Obama himself.

3.  Israel’s alliance with the Gulf States to launch a devastating attack against Iran’s missile systems and nuclear centers.  With strong American leadership, this could actually have a good outcome, freeing Iranians from decades of appalling Islamist repression and destabilizing tyrannies in a way that leads to genuine freedom throughout the Middle East.  With our current leadership, a leadership that will have made such an attack necessary in the first place, one can only imagine that the Middle East, the entire Middle East, will manage simultaneously to implode and explode.  The human costs will exceed imagination and, because of oil, those costs will encompass the entire planet.  Canada, Brazil, the US, and other places may be coming up as major oil producers, but losing Middle Eastern oil in a single day would have incalculable consequences on modern life.

4.  The 2014 elections resulting in a Republican sweep the likes of which has never been seen in America.  In a way, though, coming as it would midway through Obama’s so-far disastrous second term, this would also be ho-hum news, even if both House and Senate changed hands.  What would be more interesting would be to see places such as Chicago, Detroit, Los Angeles, and San Francisco jettison their Democrat ruling class.  I’m not holding my breath on that one.  The residents in those cities routinely use elections to double down on failure.

5.  Obama comes out of the closet.  (And, come on, you know he’s in there.)  That wouldn’t affect anything politically, but it would make for great headlines, especially if Hillary refuses to be one-upped and comes out too.

6.  Schadenfreude here, but I will enjoy watching New York in the first year of the de Blasio administration.  I should start running a pool taking bets as to how long it will take de Blasio to reduce New York to its 1970s status.  We all know that it’s easier and faster to tear down and destroy something than it is to renew and revitalize.

7.  The New York Times will declare bankruptcy.  I see that as inevitable, although would actually be surprised if it happened in the next twelve months.

8.  People definitively reject anthropogenic global warming.  As with the New York Times’ bankruptcy, this is inevitable.  I just don’t see it happening in only 12 months.

9.  Oprah recants and announces that she’s no longer calling for the genocide of “racist” people who don’t support Obama.

10.  Palestinians lay down their arms.  The previous nine hoped-for headlines all have a possibility, even a small one, of coming true.  This one does not, but it sure would be great news, and it would snap me completely out of my writer’s doldrums.

And, for those joining me in ennui, some music:

UPDATE: Hmmm. A James O’Keefe tweet suggests that tomorrow may bring some news we haven’t already heard before.

Los Angeles Times decides what’s true and what’s false when it comes to climate change and Obamacare

For at least a couple of hundred years in America, the “letters to the editor” section of any newspaper has been the one place where people can express views opposing a newspaper’s editorial content.  Newspapers felt sufficiently strong in their viewpoints that they figured that a few crackpot letters wouldn’t be enough to damage the paper’s reputation.  Now, though, the Los Angeles Times has announced that conflicting views are a bridge too far:

Regular readers of The Times’ Opinion pages will know that, among the few letters published over the last week that have blamed the Democrats for the government shutdown (a preponderance faulted House Republicans), none made the argument about Congress exempting itself from Obamacare.

Why? Simply put, this objection to the president’s healthcare law is based on a falsehood, and letters that have an untrue basis (for example, ones that say there’s no sign humans have caused climate change) do not get printed.

So the Los Angeles Times has taken it upon itself to pronounce anthropogenic global warming as settled science, despite the fact that even the IPCC is trying to squirm around the fact that all of its earlier data and hypotheses were wrong.  That tells you  pretty much everything you need to know about the drive-by media, which works in an ideologically closed system that makes no allowance for new, and especially conflicting, evidence.

And then there’s that other thing:  the Los Angeles Times also says that it’s false that Congress exempted itself from Obamacare.  That too is a giant leap of fact and faith for the Los Angeles Times.  While it’s true that Congress didn’t exempt itself from Obamacare, it made sure to insulate itself from Obamacare, which is just as bad.  In that regard, I think that Noel Sheppard, of Newsbusters, gives up a bit too quickly on the Obamacare point:

Of course, readers are likely just as concerned that the Times is also not publishing letters claiming Congress is exempt from ObamaCare.

After reviewing fact checks on this issue published by CNN, the Washington Post, and Yahoo, it appears the Times has a point here.

I respect Sheppard for being honest enough to concede on the facts but the facts actually support conservative complaints.  The CNN link is a good start explaining why Congress has effectively exempted itself:  CNN purports to do a fact-check on the claim that Congress gave itself a pass:

When Obamacare was passed into law, Sen. Charles Grassley, the Iowa Republican, attached language to the bill that mandated members of Congress and their staffers would have to buy health insurance on the newly created health insurance exchanges. What nobody accounted for at the time was that members of Congress and their staffers currently have health insurance through their employer – the federal government. No other employer has been legally required to drop its employee’s health care plan and have them buy coverage on the exchanges.

Like most other large employers, the federal government contributes a portion to the premiums of its employees. In fact, like many employers, the federal government pays most of the premiums for its workers; an average of 72 percent on Capitol Hill. The law didn’t account for the continued employer contribution for these federal workers who would now be buying their insurance on the exchanges. The exchanges were designed to help people without health insurance and people with overly expensive health insurance. It became clear that without their employer contribution, members and their staffers would essentially be getting a cut in pay and benefits equal to thousands of dollars. Even Grassley, the provision’s author, had said the government should continue to contribute to lawmakers’ and staffers’ premiums. What the Obama administration has done is ruled that the congressional workers will continue to receive the employer contribution to help them buy their insurance on the exchange.

All those words!  What they boil down to is this:  The Obamacare health exchange is so expensive, in large part because plans must contain expensive benefits that people neither need nor want, that requiring employees to go into it will cost them thousands of dollars out of pocket which, as a practical matter, decreases employees’ take-home pay at the end of the day.  Therefore, Congress is giving employees (congress people and staffers alike) a stipend to offset that cost.  So yes, congress people and their staffers, unlike other Americans, are being forced into the exchange, but Congress has made sure to insulate them from its devastating economic impact.  This insulation is tantamount to an exemption, because Congress won’t feel the pain.

In this regard, it’s unlike other Americans who are feeling the pain very badly.  The law’s terms mean that they too are being forced into the exchange, but without the nice little stipend to offset costs that Congresws gave itself.  For example (h/t Gateway Pundit):

Across North Carolina, thousands of people have been shocked in recent weeks to find out their health insurance plans will be canceled at the end of the year – and premiums for comparable coverage could increase sharply.

One of them is George Schwab of Charlotte, who pays $228 a month for his family’s $10,000 deductible plan from Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina.

In a Sept. 23 letter, Blue Cross notified him that his current plan doesn’t meet benefit requirements outlined in the Affordable Care Act and suggested a comparable plan for $1,208 a month – $980 more than he now pays.

“I’m 62 and retired,” Schwab said. “This creates a tremendous financial burden for our family.

“The President told the American people numerous times that… ‘If you like your coverage, you can keep it,’” Schwab said. “How can we keep it if it has been eliminated? How can we keep it if the premium has been increased 430 percent in one year?”

[snip]

Under the new law, all insurance plans must cover 10 “essential health benefits,” including maternity care and pediatric dental and vision care. Plans must also provide certain preventive services, such as mammograms and colonoscopies for free.

Today, people who buy individual policies often choose plans without maternity coverage, for example, to reduce premiums. That choice is gone, too.

“Now maternity is loaded into everybody’s plan,” Blount said.

That means men will generally be paying more than they did before. But women, who can no longer be charged more just for being female, will probably pay less.

[snip]

Blue Cross spokesman Lew Borman said Friday that large premium increases will affect about one-third of the approximately 400,000 North Carolina customers who buy Blue Cross insurance in the individual market. Some of their policies were canceled because they didn’t meet the new federal standards, he said.

[snip]

Michael Hood, 46, who lives near Winston-Salem, is another of the Blue Cross customers who is suffering sticker shock after receiving a recent renewal letter.

He and his wife, who is expecting their third child, now pay $324 per month for a plan with a $10,000 family deductible. The comparable plan suggested by Blue Cross for next year would cost $895.27 per month with an $11,000 family deductible. Their annual payment would rise from $14,000 to $24,000.

Self-employed as part owner of a medical device distributorship, Hood said he and his wife “try to live a healthy lifestyle and keep our medical costs down.” They chose the high-deductible plan to keep their premium low.

Hood said his income is about $85,000 a year, which would mean he might be able to qualify for a subsidy. He said he checked the online marketplace, which has been operating only sporadically this week, and didn’t think it looked like his family would be eligible.

One of the pluses of any new plan is that it will cover maternity care, which his current plan doesn’t. But “is that really worth paying $1,000 a month more for?”

“I’m angry that legislation has been passed that is forcing me to purchase something that otherwise I would not have to purchase,” Hood said.

“The president told us Obamacare would make health insurance affordable and reduce costs. It is now impossible for our family to afford private health insurance.”

By enacting legislation that protects itself from the pain ordinary Americans are feeling, Congress has indeed exempted itself from Obamacare.  And that’s no lie.

An honest report on the earth’s climate that is not written by people with their hands in the till

Over at Power Line, John Hinderaker made an extremely important point about any allegedly “scientific” report that comes out now regarding climate change, especially if the report is connected with the IPCC:

The U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is about to release its fifth report on global warming. One of the problems with the IPCC, and with the alarmist cause in general, is that it is impossible to determine the extent to which alarmist scientists are in it for the money. Billions of dollars in government funding flow to alarmist scientists–much of it from our own government–while nothing, or virtually nothing, goes to the realists. So if you want to live high off the hog on taxpayer money, it isn’t hard to figure out what conclusions you want to advocate.

Wittingly or not, people are biased when big money is at stake. The Non-Governmental International Panel on Climate Change doesn’t stand to make any money one way or another in analyzing the impact (if any) that human’s have on the earth’s climate. Their more realistic report is therefore worth reviewing.  The report is detailed, but there are two summaries that are easy to understand, and that I’ll share with you here and now:

First, the overall summary of the NGIPCC’s findings:

• Atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) is a mild greenhouse gas that exerts a diminishing warming effect as its concentration increases.

• Doubling the concentration of atmospheric CO2 from its pre-industrial level, in the absence of other forcings and feedbacks, would likely cause a warming of ~0.3 to 1.1°C, almost 50% of which must already have occurred.

• A few tenths of a degree of additional warming, should it occur, would not represent a climate crisis.

• Model outputs published in successive IPCC reports since 1990 project a doubling of CO2 could cause warming of up to 6°C by 2100. Instead, global warming ceased around the end of the twentieth century and was followed (since 1997) by 16 years of stable temperature.

• Over recent geological time, Earth’s temperature has fluctuated naturally between about +4°C and -6°C with respect to twentieth century temperature. A warming of 2°C above today, should it occur, falls within the bounds of natural variability.

• Though a future warming of 2°C would cause geographically varied ecological responses, no evidence exists that those changes would be net harmful to the global environment or to human well-being.

• At the current level of ~400 ppm we still live in a CO2-starved world. Atmospheric levels 15 times greater existed during the Cambrian Period (about 550 million years ago) without known adverse effects.

• The overall warming since about 1860 corresponds to a recovery from the Little Ice Age modulated by natural multidecadal cycles driven by ocean-atmosphere oscillations, or by solar variations at the de Vries (~208 year) and Gleissberg (~80 year) and shorter periodicities.

• Earth has not warmed significantly for the past 16 years despite an 8% increase in atmospheric CO2, which represents 34% of all extra CO2 added to the atmosphere since the start of the industrial  revolution.

• CO2 is a vital nutrient used by plants in photosynthesis. Increasing CO2 in the atmosphere “greens” the planet and helps feed the growing human population.

• No close correlation exists between temperature variation over the past 150 years and human related CO2 emissions. The parallelism of temperature and CO2 increase between about 1980 and 2000 AD could be due to chance and does not necessarily indicate causation.

• The causes of historic global warming remain uncertain, but significant correlations exist between climate patterning and multidecadal variation and solar activity over the past few hundred years.

• Forward projections of solar cyclicity imply the next few decades may be marked by global cooling rather than warming, despite continuing CO2 emissions.

Second, the scientific problems with the IPCC’s model:

IPCC’s Three Lines of Argument

GLOBAL CLIMATE MODEL PROJECTIONS

IPCC modelers assume Global Climate Models (GCMs) are based on a perfect knowledge of all climate forcings and feedbacks. They then assert:

• A doubling of atmospheric CO2 would cause warming of up to 6°C.

• Human-related CO2 emissions caused an atmospheric warming of at least 0.3°C over the past 15 years.

• Enhanced warming (a “hot spot”) should exist in the upper troposphere in tropical regions.

• Both poles should have warmed faster than the rest of Earth during the late twentieth century.

POSTULATES

Postulates are statements that assume the truth of an underlying fact that has not been independently confirmed or proven. The IPCC postulates:

• The warming of the twentieth century cannot be explained by natural variability.

• The late twentieth century warm peak was of greater magnitude than previous natural peaks.

• Increases in atmospheric CO2 precede, and then force, parallel increases in temperature.

• Solar forcings are too small to explain twentieth century warming.

• A future warming of 2°C or more would be net harmful to the biosphere and human wellbeing.

CIRCUMSTANTIAL EVIDENCE

Circumstantial evidence does not bear directly on the matter in dispute but refers to circumstances from which the occurrence of the fact might be inferred. The IPCC cites the following circumstantial evidence it says is consistent with its hypothesis:

• Unusual melting is occurring in mountain glaciers, Arctic sea ice, and polar icecaps.

• Global sea level is rising at an enhanced rate and swamping tropical coral atolls.

• Droughts, floods, and monsoon variability and intensity are increasing.

• Global warming is leading to more, or more intense, wildfires, rainfall, storms, hurricanes, and other extreme weather events.

• Unusual melting of Boreal permafrost or sub-seabed gas hydrates is causing warming due to methane release.

Set out in that coherent table, even a high school science student can see the fundamental flaws underlying the studies that have driven a panicked world into a frenzy of useless wealth redistribution.  (Well, not useless, of course, if your actual goal was wealth distribution, not a quixotic effort to change the earth’s climate.)

The report has other easy-to-read charts and summaries, but I find the above two the most compelling because the first has actual science, while the second exposes the fallacy underlying the study that Americans are being browbeaten into believing is God’s own truth.

As for me, I’m feeling smug.  In our household, I’m the word person, while Mr. Bookworm is the science person.  And make no mistake, he’s very smart and very good at science.  In this instance, however, he allowed his rational brain to be overwhelmed by the hysterical emotionalism coming to him from all sides in his Progressive intellectual milieu.

Despite murmurings about my being a flat-earther and a climate denier, I have assured my children for years that they need not panic.  They are responsible for taking care of the earth on which we live, simply because a clean world is nicer than a dirty one.  Moreover, we know that, when things get too dirty, we can irrevocably change the local environment or leave it needing decades or centuries of renewal.  But we do not control the earth’s entire climate.  We are too puny for that.

Frankly, it’s nice to be proven right.

I’m not deluding myself, of course, that the true believers will come around any time soon.  After all, the NGIPCC got funding from the Heartland Institute, which is funded by the “evil” Koch Brothers.  The fact that data is data is irrelevant.  Indeed, the true believers have already made it clear that, to the extent data conflicts with their Gaia-centered religion, the data is irrelevant.  Also at Power Line, Stephen Hayward caught the perfect moment when someone invested emotionally and financially in climate change brushed off facts as if they were so many pesky flies:

I think I’ve spotted the “tell” of the climate campaign knowing that the end is near (for their energy-suppression crusade–not the planet).  It comes from European Climate commissioner (who knew they had such a post?) Connie Hedegaard, who told the Daily Telegraph yesterday:

“Let’s say that science, some decades from now, said ‘we were wrong, it was not about climate’, would it not in any case have been good to do many of things you have to do in order to combat climate change?.”

This is the “tell” of someone holding a very bad hand.  Strike “some decades from now” and you have it about right.  I give it to the end of this month, when the next IPCC climate science report comes out.  (By the way, the answer to her question is “No.”)

The high cost of ineffectual actions against hypothetical man-caused “climate change”

Australian Topher Field makes some of the smartest videos out there, poking factual holes in liberal fallacies.  Here, he demonstrates with actual numbers culled from the climate changers themselves that it costs 50 times as much to “combat” climate change (oh, we puny mortals and the things we think we can do) as it would simply to raise standards of living so poverty-stricken people have some bulwark against the earth’s continuously mutating climate:

My only quibble with the video is that for some reason — and the problem may be on my computer — the sound quality is very poor.