Saturday, June 30, 2007

I've looked at clouds from no sides now...

As TOC has noted. Clouds are also known as part of the "water cycle." notes a very interesting comment by Kevin Trenberth, an IPCC honcho advisor with a distinct interest in computer-assisted climate modeling, on the IPCC predictions that form the basis of "Climate Change" panic in general, and ALGore's "Inconvenient Truth" fauxumentary in particular. This is indeed inconvenient for Al.

It seems to cast the IPCC reports in exactly the same way global warming skeptics have done.

Forecasts all up in the air
does a nice job of explaining Trenberth's post, so read it all. Here's the intro:
KEVIN Trenberth is head of the large US National Centre for Atmospheric Research and one of the advisory high priests of the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

A New Zealander by birth, Trenberth has had a distinguished career as a climate scientist with interests in the use of computer General Circulation Models (GCMs), the basis for most of the public alarm about dangerous global warming.

When such a person gives an opinion about the scientific value of GCMs as predictive tools, it is obviously wise to pay attention.
You can read the original Kevin Trenberth post at Nature's climate feedback blog here.

H/T A Dog Named Kyoto

Update: 8:07PM
More Algoreisms refuted.
Alarmist global warming claims melt under scientific scrutiny

Cheers for Mike Pence

Mike Pence Home Page and why he introduced the bill.


Captain's Quarters live blog of the vote is worth reading:

Pence Amendment On Fairness Doctrine: Live Blog

The Captain also notes that Senators Norm Coleman (R-MN), Jim DeMint (R-SC) and John Thune (R-SD) have introduced an identical bill.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

You can't know and you can't CAIR

More objections to free speech.
"When you think of the media, and the way they have been portraying this case, it has not been very helpful. It has been biased… That has caused a lot of stress, … as well as made it difficult for us to handle this ... in a manner that it should be handled."
More Senatorial complaining about talk radio and the Amnesty Bill? No, this is about an attempt to suppress public access to information about a lawsuit initiated by CAIR. Mr. Omar T. Mohammedi, a New York attorney, is handling it for the putative plaintiffs. They are the six (non)flying imams who scared the bejesus out of US Airways’ passengers in the fall of 2006. The imams are suing because they consider their civil rights to have been violated as a result of being ejected from the flight.

In addition to naming US Airways and Minnesota Metropolitan Airports Commission in the suit, they’ve “named” a number of “John Does” - the passengers who they feel discriminated against them for “flying while being Muslim.” That’s their phrase. By all other accounts it would be better put as, “attempting to fly while being obnoxious, provocative, bizarre, and oh yes, Muslim.” The suit is widely believed to be intended to encourage future passengers of such flights to ignore this typical Muslim behavior. That's part of the defense - they were just observing their religion, though Islam is not generally considered to require praying twice at sundown. But, I'm getting ahead of myself.

The passengers and flight crew observed these Imamic behaviors: Brandishing Korans, praying loudly in Arabic in an airport terminal, dissing the President of the United States,
refusing to obey the flight crew, behaving strangely once aboard the aircraft - they did not sit together and took seats not assigned to them in front of the emergency exits.

This may be standard operating procedure elsewhere in the world. However, one can appreciate, even anticipate, how this combination of coincidences might not pass as normal in Minneapolis. One can also appreciate how and why it might have been staged by these recent attendees of a Minneapolis conference of the North American Imams Federation.

Omar Shahin is president of the executive committee of that group. He is also one of the imams removed from the US Airways flight. He is a former representative of the former KindHearts of Toledo, Ohio. KindHearts is former because it was shut down by the Treasury Department in February 2006 as a shill for Hamas.

Mr. Shahin says he cut his ties with KindHearts as soon as they came under scrutiny, Imam disputes tie to Hamas

“Mr. Shahin was a representative and fundraiser for KindHearts, which the Treasury Department says "coordinated with Hamas leaders and made contributions to Hamas-affiliated organizations," in a Feb. 19 statement after freezing the groups' assets.

KindHearts was established by Khaled Smaili, an official with the Global Relief Foundation, after the government froze the al Qaeda-affiliated foundation's assets, according to the Treasury Department.

"When they shut down, I had no clue what they were doing," Mr. Shahin said. "I made sure they are licensed as an American organization with the federal government and states, and that's all I did, I was just a fundraiser and representative.

"I stopped and have no relations with anyone, anymore, because they are under investigation."
Apparently, though, he was not concerned about joining a “charity” spun off by an al Qaeda affliate. Neither does he quail at supporting those convicted of funneling millions to terrorists in Iraq, such as Rafil Dhafir; currently serving 22 years in federal prison.

Mr. Mohammedi's explanation of the need to suppress information normally available to the public in a civil suit included this:

"We are just asking the media to be balanced and reflect what was said ... and to let justice take its course. I'm asking the media to be a little bit more responsible in reporting the facts of the case. That actually would prevent a lot of issues."
The amazing part is that he's probably talking mainly about the Associated Press, an organization vying with Reuters for the title of "Anti-Western Reporting Network." AP itself raises the suspicion that they are the target (first link in this post).

The US District Judge had this response to Mr.
Mohammedi's petition:
“In a letter dated Tuesday and addressed to Mohammedi, U.S. District Judge Ann Montgomery noted that Mohammedi had requested that the court remove members of the media from an electronic distribution list, bar members of the media from attending hearings, and hold proceedings in closed session.

"The Court declines to treat this case in the extraordinary manner that you request," the judge wrote. She added that the public and press have an interest in full access to judicial proceedings under the First Amendment.”
Montgomery squashed CAIR's attempt to assuage the embarrassment they must feel at having brought this suit. CAIR’s combination of poor judgment and outlandish hubris is probably why their membership has declined 90%, from more than 29,000 in 2000 to less than 1,700 in 2006. Either that's causing it, or it's discrimination. The good news for CAIR is that they're still receiving about three million a year from a dozen donors. Chew on that a minute.

It’s also good news for Mr. Mohammedi’s opponents in this suit.

TOC has previously commented on the Flying Imams:

Tuesday, November 28, 2006
Fly US Airways, it's safer

Saturday, December 02, 2006
Minneapolis Airport plot moves forward

Sunday, December 03, 2006
A speculation confirmation

Sunday, December 10, 2006
Raging and Braying, Identity politics around the world

Monday, December 11, 2006
There's certainly smoke

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

USA Today to the rescue of Soros and Bloomberg?

Senaturkeys think they've got problems with talk radio? Apparently, they forgot the Internet.

Trent Lott Sells Out

You'll find more examples of ads that any Senator who votes for the Amnesty Bill will face, and not just on the 'net, here. Thanks to Mickey Kaus for encouraging creation of the examples, and to yesterday's SCOTUS decision for opening the possibility. H/T Instapundit

Rounding out today's free speech news are three more items:

Liberals vs. Free Speech
by Jack Kelly notes what Liberals consider the "fairness doctrine" to mean:

PBS is the beau ideal of many liberals when it comes to free speech. Their point of view is subsidized by the taxpayers. Other points of view are suppressed.
The Rocky Mountain News weighs in with: Free speech sanity

..."Discussion of issues cannot be suppressed simply because the issues may also be pertinent in an election," he [Chief Justice Roberts] wrote. "Where the First Amendment is implicated, the tie goes to the speaker, not the censor."

Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., called the ruling "regrettable," but crowed that it left in place the "central reform" of the law that carries his name, the limits on how and from whom campaign funds can be raised.

No, senator, what is truly regrettable is that President Bush did not veto this misguided legislation when Congress passed it in 2002. Even though the president believed the law was unconstitutional, he signed it, gambling that the Supreme Court would do for him what he lacked the political will to do for himself.
I suggest Justice Roberts meant "especially" rather than "simply," and I would correct "political will" to "principle."

Predictably, USA Today weighs in against anybody's free speech, except that protected by the "press exemption:" Our view on boundaries of free speech: High Court opens door for wealthy interest groups

Obviously, USA Today isn't cognizant of billionaire currency speculator George Soros, and failed to note Michael Bloomberg's purchase of the New York City Mayoralty. Otherwise, they could not have written this:

...[The decision] rips a hole in the McCain-Feingold campaign finance law, which since 2002 has been the primary vehicle for limiting the corrupting influence of special-interest money.

...Rather than try to plug the leaks in McCain-Feingold, Congress would be wise to consider a different approach, one that has withstood court challenges and is taking hold in seven states and two cities: voluntary public financing of campaigns. Candidates get public money to wage campaigns in exchange for agreeing not to accept large donations from special interests.
USA Today is just being Liberally obtuse here. It is, after all, their mission. Public financing is the raison d'etre of principleless political hacks like billionaire Michael Bloomberg, It lets their "corrupting influence" run amok when they opt out of PBS-style campaign finance.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Tell Senator Feinstein "Hands off free speech."

That headline could again be a legal campaign ad in the 60 days prior to an election thanks to SCOTUS beginning today to dismantle McCain-Feingold.

Censorious Senators, meanwhile, are attacking political speech on another front. Yesterday, while Sen. Feinstein was adding her voice to that of Senators Lott, Clinton and Boxer in favor of resuscitating the so-called "Fairness Doctrine," I pointed out that we already have a Liberal radio network, "...since there's already a government radio station, it's not like you have to listen to Rush for information about the Amnesty Bill."

Don't like conservative talk radio? Then listen to NPR, watch PBS, and leave the rest of us the hell alone. It's hard enough dealing with their bias already.

BUSTED: PBS Tells Producer Not To Hire Conservatives (Video)

The first thing they (PBS) told me- "Fire your partners... Because they are conservatives."
This would be fine if it occurred, which it does, on a private network like Air America or CNN. It's unconscionable that a broadcast network I'm forced to pay for does it while mealy mouthed politicians are thinking about "doing something" about talk radio.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Vast bi-partisan conspiracy

When Trent Lott joins forces with Hillary Clinton and Barbara Boxer, you know there's a serious problem, and it isn't deciding what to wear to Strom Thurmond's 100th birthday party.

You can be pretty certain that the common motivation is to protect Senatorial hegemony, reinforced by shared impatience with Constitutional guarantees. The problem they've identified is talk radio. For heaven's sake, "Talk Shows Influence Immigration Debate," and we can't have that:

Sen. Trent Lott, R-Miss., told reporters last week, "Talk radio is running America. We have to deal with that problem." Some hosts, he added, do not know what is in the lengthy bill.
Neither do some Senators, so what's your point Trent? That some hosts (by your definition) DO know what's in the bill? I can see where that would be a problem. You don't think we should know about earmarks, why should we get uncontrolled information about any legislation?

Senator Clinton and Senator Boxer agree we need a "legislative fix" for talk radio. They should have an easy time drafting the legislation; they can just take a cue from Hugo Chavez. For talking points the Senate debate they can lift language from the George Soros funded far-left Center for American Progress:

Our view is that the imbalance in talk radio programming today is the result of multiple structural problems in the U.S. regulatory system, particularly the complete breakdown of the public trustee concept of broadcast regulation resulting from pro-forma licensing policies, longer license terms (to eight years from three years previously), the elimination of clear public interest requirements such as local public affairs programming, and the relaxation of ownership rules, including the requirement of local participation in management. [Footnote references deleted.]
It's a regulation problem, you see, that kept Soros funded Air America's ratings below those of Congress. What goes unacknowledged is that the market for Air America is, perhaps, overserved. Lott, Clinton and Boxer would apparently be happier if all radio were National Public Radio, all the time. Then they could threaten withdrawal of funding. On the other hand, since there's already a government radio station, it's not like you have to listen to Rush for information about the Amnesty Bill.

In keeping with the spirit of the McCain-Feingold Incumbency Protection Act, we obviously need further action to protect our elected officials from the slings and arrows of informed public opinion. How can these public servants be expected to ram secretly negotiated, thousand page bills through both Houses of Congress in 10 days, if there's market driven discussion about the content? We should be content to take them at their word: They're looking after our best interests.

However, it does occur to me that since they'd be taking just as much heat from the left (Labor Unions don't like the Amnesty Bill either), Lott, Clinton, and Boxer have picked a particularly bad example about which get their panties knotted. If there was more left-wing talk radio, they'd still be under withering fire. That wouldn't much affect their contempt for free speech. It's only if there was less talk about the Amnesty Bill - period - that they'd be happy.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Della Sentilles could still not be reached for comment.

We await comment from Della Sentilles on Saudi cleric Abd Al-Aziz Al-Fawzan's recent speech on the protection of women. Courtesy of Little Green Footballs - via MEMRI TV.

"Video: Our Friends the Misogynistic Saudis"

...Islam has surrounded the woman with a fence of compassion and mercy. It has shown that the twisted nature of women stems from their very creation. This is how Allah wanted woman to be. Therefore, the husband must adapt himself to her and be patient with her. He should not giver [sic] her too many things to do, or things that she is incapable of doing. He should not make her do anything that is contrary to her nature, and to the way she was created by Allah. In addition, he should turn a blind eye to her mistakes, he should tolerate her slips and errors, and put up with all the silly ignorant things she might say, because this constitutes part of the nature of her creation. In addition, women have surging emotions, which in some cases, might overpower their minds.
There's more, if you can stomach it.

Della Sentilles can, because she ignores it. Ms Sentilles cannot comment on other cultures because of patriarchal conspiracies in her home country. If you are interested, you will find more on Ms Sentilles here, Doing Della. A favor, and here Note to Della Sentilles. and here Della Sentilles could not be reached for comment

For more general commentaries on Islamic male chauvinist pigs and American female collaborators, see also Fem-Know Nothing

Friday, June 22, 2007

Arrowhead Ripper - II

Michael Yon is keeping us up to date on Arrowhead Ripper, while most of the MSM waddles in - days behind. Yon does cite an NYT reporter who was there with him early on as "accurate."

I give but brief excerpts, read all of both these dispatches.

Operation Arrowhead Ripper: Day One
June 20th, 2007

The first day of operation Arrowhead Ripper was intense. The Army is giving full access to the battlefield, and while on base full access to the TOC (HQ) which means I see the raw truth on the ground, and as it feeds through the TOC. They are hiding nothing. Or if they are, it’s in plain view. (Special operations notwithstanding.) A reporter can see as much as he or she can stand.
Arrowhead Ripper: Surrender or Die
June 22nd, 2007
...The combat in Baqubah should soon reach a peak. Al Qaeda seems to have been effectively isolated. The initial attack on 19 June achieved enough surprise that al Qaeda was caught off guard and trapped. They have been beaten back mostly into pockets and are surrounded and will be dealt with. Part of this is actually due to the capability of Strykers. We were able to “attack from the march.” In other words, a huge force drove in from places like Baghdad and quickly locked down Baqubah.

...On information flow, as of noon in Baqubah on 22 June, the press is starting to flood in. The Public Affairs Office and the press climate at this Brigade are A+. Access is actually better than I have ever seen, and that is saying a great deal. A PAO officer told me that about 20 press should be here over the next days, so we should be able to get reports from many independent sources and compare and contrast. The access is unbelievably good. They are not holding back the good, bad or the ugly. Press who aren’t here in Baqubah with 3-2 Stryker Brigade are missing out. However ... the press who are here are wasting huge amounts of time on trivial matters that are occurring above the level of 3-2.
To support Michael Yon, see: How this Project is Funded then visit this Paypal link.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Ex-president - by the Grace of God

I called it Legacy of the Dhimmi when I asked the rhetorical question, "Who 'lost' Iran?"

The answer, of course, is Dhimmi Carter. The Jerusalem Post makes the same point by noting that the Dhimmer is Father of the Iranian revolution:

...Let's look at the results of Carter's misguided liberal policies: the Islamic Revolution in Iran; the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan (Carter's response was to boycott the 1980 Moscow Olympics); the birth of Osama bin Laden's terrorist organization; the Iran-Iraq War, which cost the lives of millions dead and wounded; and yes, the present war on terrorism and the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

...Carter pressured the shah to make what he termed human rights concessions by releasing political prisoners and relaxing press censorship. Khomeini could never have succeeded without Carter. The Islamic Revolution would have been stillborn.

Gen. Robert Huyser, Carter's military liaison to Iran, once told me in tears: "The president could have publicly condemned Khomeini and even kidnapped him and then bartered for an exchange with the [American Embassy] hostages, but the president was indignant. 'One cannot do that to a holy man,' he said."
Investor's Business Daily has some thoughts on Dhimmi's most recent perfidy, Carter's Nutzpah. They begin with another rhetorical question:
Has Jimmy Carter gone off the deep end? He's now scolding the West for refusing to bankroll Hamas terrorists who've just seized power at gunpoint in Gaza. It's a new low in coddling terrorism.

As the Gaza Strip flamed into Hamas gang warfare and the West Bank slid into another civil war, Carter — cozy in distant Ireland accepting another "human rights" award — found cause Tuesday to blame America first for all the violence.

Amid wine, cheese and good feeling, America's worst ex-president drew a bead on the West. The refusal by the U.S., Israel and the EU to support Hamas, an armed terror group that just launched a coup d'etat and civil war in full view of the world, was nothing but a "criminal" act at the root of the trouble there, Carter asserted.

"The United States and Israel decided to punish all the people in Palestine and did everything they could to deter a compromise between Hamas and Fatah," he said.

The statement was so malevolent and illogical as to border on insane. Carter wasn't honest enough to say he was rooting for terrorists who started a terrifying new war in the region and trashed what little democratic rule the Palestinians had. Instead, he tut-tutted the West for being insufficiently sensitive to the fact that Hamas thugs were democratically elected in 2006 in an "orderly and fair" vote.
With his persistent delusional relativism, Jimmy Carter has done far more to promote amorality than anyone since Lenin. People will say, "His intent is good." So what? We see that all the difference that makes is to compound the power of evil in the supposed service of moral principle. A congenital inability to comprehend the nature and existence of evil may get you a Nobel Prize, but it does not make you a Saint. Rather, you become evil yourself by giving to it aid and comfort when you could have opposed it. There's a special place in Hell.

If you doubt Carter is unhinged, please explain how he can commend murderers
, without recognizing the elephant-in-the-room irony.
...Carter said Hamas, besides winning a fair and democratic mandate that should have entitled it to lead the Palestinian government, had proven itself to be far more organized in its political and military showdowns with the Fatah movement of Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas.
Hitler was also far "more organized," politically, and more efficient, militarily, than his opposition. He became Führer in a democratic process, after eventually receiving about 40% of the popular vote - like Hamas. Upon assuming the Presidency, he immediately abolished the office along with the democracy. Sort of what Hamas just did - only they did it with more up-front general violence.

Paul von Hindenburg, the Presidential incumbent and winner of the 1932 Weimar Republic election (its last), helped make Hitler's reign of terror possible.
Hindenburg agreed to appoint Hitler as Chancellor of Germany in 1933, and Hitler assumed the Presidency upon Hindenburg's death in 1934.

Hitler's first act was to eliminate the office of the President, replacing it with the Führer und Reichskanzler. AKA, Nazi totalitarianism. What followed was a larger, even "more organized" version of Hamas' recent successes in Gaza and Lebanon. Hamas is still in the planning stages for Israel's destruction, but to cement the German parallel, Hamas has sworn to exterminate the Jews. Neither Hitler, nor Hamas, ever showed any sign they could be dissuaded from such genocidal intent. Dhimmi Carter is not interested in the attempt.

We can see a parallel to Hitler's ascension to power, but completing the analogy is more difficult, because it is not clear whether Carter should be assigned the role of Paul von Hindenberg, Vidkun Quisling, Lord Haw Haw, or Jane Fonda. Perhaps a combination.

Neville Chamberlain is excluded from such consideration because he was a far better man than Jimmy Carter will ever be.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Climate change roundup

There's a plethora of worrisome news and general whining on the "climate change" front over the last few days. We're hearing from such luminaries as UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon(bat), and Tennessee Valley Authority "Customer of the Decade" AlGore, respectively, that Arab Muslim-supremacist genocidal thugs in Sudan, and other airheads like Paris Hilton, are, respectively, motivated by "climate change" and de-motivating to a thoughtful perspective on the topic of "climate change".

"Climate change," AKA "Doom v666," is an advanced climate simulation program being developed by id Software. Here they describe only version 3, but they've got AlGore down cold early on:

Science has unlocked the gates to the unknown, and now only one man stands between Hell and Earth. A sci-fi horror masterpiece, DOOM 3 is like nothing you have experienced. Dramatic storyline, pulse-pounding action, incredible graphics, and revolutionary technology combine to draw you into the most frightening and gripping first person gaming experience ever created.
But back to the main story-line - the pronouncements of Moon(bat) and the Goracle. Leading off, Ban Ki tells us that the genocide in Darfur has been caused by Global warming.
"The Darfur conflict began as an ecological crisis, arising at least in part from climate change," Ban said in a Washington Post opinion column.

UN statistics showed that rainfall declined some 40 percent over the past two decades [maybe because it was on a high in about 1988, see below], he said, as a rise in Indian Ocean temperatures disrupted monsoons. [Increased tropical storms are apparently only a feature of warmer water in the Atlantic.]

...When Darfur's land was rich, he said, black farmers welcomed Arab herders and shared their water, he said.

With the drought, however, farmers fenced in their land to prevent overgrazing.
Sounds like a property rights issue in a country lacking a) the rule of law, b) a free market and c) modern infrastructure. Whose fault would that be?

Apparently, Ban Ki is also unfamiliar with the word "variability," a feature of the area's rainfall for
...Rainfall variability at a time scale from years to days is as much a characteristic of climate as the total amounts recorded. Low values, however, do not necessarily lead to drought, nor is drought necessarily associated with low rainfall.

Agricultural drought occurs when water supply is insufficient to cover crop or livestock water requirements. In addition to reduced rainfall, a number of factors may lead to agricultural drought, some of them not always obvious. Much more than the occasional widespread and severe climatological droughts which catch the attention of the media, it is this "invisible" agricultural drought which prevents farmers at the subsistence level from achieving regular and high yields. "Invisible" drought is brought about by environmental degradation as much as by climate.

African droughts

The continent has a long history of rainfall fluctuations of varying lengths and intensities. The worst droughts were those of the 1910s, which affected east and west Africa alike. They were generally followed by increasing rainfall amounts, but negative trends where observed again from 1950 onwards culminating, in West Africa, in 1984.

Since then, starting in 1988, the Sahel has recorded a series of good years (frequently accompanied by floods) which some interpret as the end of the Sahelian drought. [Although, maybe not.] The reality is that rainfall will continue fluctuating, and that good and bad years will continue occurring. Some general regional patterns can be recognised, which can be expressed in terms of variability (inter-annual and intra-seasonal rainfall), trends (upward or downward) and persistence, a typical inertia which affects many climatic variables at all time scales (good and bad years do not occur randomly, but tend to be grouped).
Emphasis mine. The environmental degradation has much more to do with corrupt government, buoyed by the soft bigotry of foreign aid, and the lack of free markets - which would otherwise have encouraged private efforts to secure water supplies - than with "Climate Change."

Why didn't genocide start by 1987, if it's caused by drought?

Source: Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations

AlGore presents a much more damning charge against Americans: people are being distracted from watching re-runs of "An Inconvenient Spoof Truth" by the antics of Paris Hilton:
The planet is in distress and all of the attention is on Paris Hilton. We have to ask ourselves what is going on here?
Indeed we do, and we will; but first a heartfelt thanks to Paris Hilton. You've put "climate change" in its proper perspective, and even persuaded the Goracle to admit it. Even if he won't admit this:
...First, the accepted global average temperature statistics used by the [UN] Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change show that no ground-based warming has occurred since 1998. [That's after 10 "good" rain years in the Sahel, BTW.] Oddly, this eight-year-long temperature stasis has occurred despite an increase over the same period of 15 parts per million (or 4 per cent) in atmospheric CO2.

Second, lower atmosphere satellite-based temperature measurements, if corrected for non-greenhouse influences such as El Nino events and large volcanic eruptions, show little if any global warming since 1979, a period over which atmospheric CO2 has increased by 55 ppm (17 per cent).

Third, there are strong indications from solar studies that Earth's current temperature stasis will be followed by climatic cooling over the next few decades.
More on that third point later, but the decadal inevitability of "climate change in the warm direction," which seems necessary to Ban Ki's thesis, seems to have stalled out about 1998, despite what you've been told about 2006:
...Meanwhile, you probably missed the latest about 2006. As NOAA reported on May 1 - with minimum mainstream-media fanfare - 2006 actually was the second- warmest year ever recorded in America, not the first. At an annual average of 54.9 degrees F, it was a whopping 0.08 degrees cooler than 1998, still the hottest year.

NOAA explained that it had updated its 2006 report "to reflect revised statistics" and "better address uncertainties in the instrumental record." This tinkering is standard procedure. NOAA always scientifically tweaks temperature readings for various reasons -- weather stations are moved to different locations, modernized, affected by increased urbanization, etc.
And well they should tweak these temps. There's more variability in the surroundings of NOAA's temperature recording stations than you may have appreciated. Some of these stations have been in place for a long time, and cities have grown around them. Cities are always warmer than rural land. In some cases, industrial activity has impinged so that air-conditioner exhaust is blowing out within 100 feet of the thermometers.

Finally, let us revisit the question of variability in insolation (that's solar energy input, for those of you think huge increases in ethanol production will help "save the planet"). Here's a Canadian researcher - R. Timothy Patterson, professor and director of the Ottawa-Carleton Geoscience Centre at Carleton University - with a word about a study he's been conducting since 1998, about the time Ban Ki-moon's male-only climatocidal excusees would have had to have been completing their formal, or
3rd grade, education in a nomadic Madrassa.

Dr. Patterson:

...Climate stability has never been a feature of planet Earth. The only constant about climate is change; it changes continually and, at times, quite rapidly. Many times in the past, temperatures were far higher than today, and occasionally, temperatures were colder. As recently as 6,000 years ago, it was about 3C warmer than now. Ten thousand years ago, while the world was coming out of the thou-sand-year-long "Younger Dryas" cold episode, temperatures rose as much as 6C in a decade -- 100 times faster than the past century's 0.6C warming that has so upset environmentalists.

Climate-change research is now literally exploding with new findings. Since the 1997 Kyoto Protocol, the field has had more research than in all previous years combined and the discoveries are completely shattering the myths. For example, I and the first-class scientists I work with are consistently finding excellent correlations between the regular fluctuations in the brightness of the sun and earthly climate. This is not surprising. The sun and the stars are the ultimate source of all energy on the planet.

My interest in the current climate-change debate was triggered in 1998, when I was funded by a Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council strategic project grant to determine if there were regular cycles in West Coast fish productivity. As a result of wide swings in the populations of anchovies, herring and other commercially important West Coast fish stock, fisheries managers were having a very difficult time establishing appropriate fishing quotas. One season there would be abundant stock and broad harvesting would be acceptable; the very next year the fisheries would collapse. No one really knew why or how to predict the future health of this crucially important resource.

...Using various coring technologies, we have been able to collect more than 5,000 years' worth of mud in these basins, with the oldest layers coming from a depth of about 11 metres below the fjord floor. Clearly visible in our mud cores are annual changes that record the different seasons: corresponding to the cool, rainy winter seasons, we see dark layers composed mostly of dirt washed into the fjord from the land; in the warm summer months we see abundant fossilized fish scales and diatoms (the most common form of phytoplankton, or single-celled ocean plants) that have fallen to the fjord floor from nutrient-rich surface waters. In years when warm summers dominated climate in the region, we clearly see far thicker layers of diatoms and fish scales than we do in cooler years. Ours is one of the highest-quality climate records available anywhere today and in it we see obvious confirmation that natural climate change can be dramatic. For example, in the middle of a 62-year slice of the record at about 4,400 years ago, there was a shift in climate in only a couple of seasons from warm, dry and sunny conditions to one that was mostly cold and rainy for several decades. [Note to Ban Ki-moon - check the definition of "variability."]

...In the sediment, diatom and fish-scale records, we also see longer period cycles, all correlating closely with other well-known regular solar variations. In particular, we see marine productivity cycles that match well with the sun's 75-90-year "Gleissberg Cycle," the 200-500-year "Suess Cycle" and the 1,100-1,500-year "Bond Cycle." The strength of these cycles is seen to vary over time, fading in and out over the millennia. The variation in the sun's brightness over these longer cycles may be many times greater in magnitude than that measured over the short Schwabe cycle and so are seen to impact marine productivity even more significantly.

...Solar scientists predict that, by 2020, the sun will be starting into its weakest Schwabe solar cycle of the past two centuries, likely leading to unusually cool conditions on Earth. Beginning to plan for adaptation to such a cool period, one which may continue well beyond one 11-year cycle, as did the Little Ice Age, should be a priority for governments. It is global cooling, not warming, that is the major climate threat to the world, especially Canada. As a country at the northern limit to agriculture in the world, it would take very little cooling to destroy much of our food crops, while a warming would only require that we adopt farming techniques practiced to the south of us.
So, the good news is that by 2020 AlGore's air conditioning bill may well fall below that of a small town, and we'll be shipping thermal underwear to Darfur where it's become too cold to fight.

Sadly, the beach front property in Prudhome Bay you've been counting on selling for your retirement fund looks less of a good idea.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

CAIR Package

U of M Dearborn proceeds with First Amendment violation: Update from Dearborn Underground here.
...Which only leads to our next question: Why does Dawud Walid and CAIR-Michigan presume to speak, not for the MSA and the Muslim students at UM-Dearborn, but for “the Muslim community” in its entirety? In addressing a secondary issue of whether or not area Muslims, instead of taxpayers, should be paying for the foot baths, Mr. Walid says on his blog (“Regarding funding of the "footbaths"), quote:

“The Muslim community has not stated that it would not fund the foot washing area. It would if need be.

“Since the school's position is that this is a public safety issue, which is not promoting one religion over others and that civil rights lawyers, Muslim and Non-Muslims, have informed us that the 'footbaths' being built with student activity fees is not unconstitutional, the need to privately fund the 'footbaths' does not appear to be incumbent.”
(The "incumbent" in question is likely John Dingell.) Of course they're saying it's "public safety." What else can they say? If they admitted it was for religious reasons they'd have to fund a creche on University grounds at Christmas.

TOC has earlier noted this story here:

Wednesday, May 30, 2007
Pedal extremism

...and here:
Saturday, June 09, 2007
Ritual secularism

Arrowhead Ripper

10,000 US troops launched a hunt for al-Qaeda militants in the province of Diyala – one of the largest offensives since the invasion in 2003.

Micheal Yon writes about this as he heads out with our troops. Reading the whole thing is Recommended.

...In the short time since Petraeus took charge here, Anbar Province – “Anbar the Impossible” – seems to have made a remarkable turnaround. I just spent about a month out there and saw no combat. I have never gone that long in Iraq without seeing combat. Clearly, some areas of Anbar remain dangerous—there is fighting in Fallujah today—but there is also something in Anbar today that hasn’t been seen in recent memory: possibilities. There are also larger realities lurking up on the Turkish borders, but the reality today is that the patient called Iraq will die and become a home for Al Qaeda if we leave now.

...Northeast of Baghdad, innocent civilians are being asked to leave Baquba. More than 1,000 AQI fighters are there, with perhaps another thousand adjuncts. Baquba alone might be as intense as Operation Phantom Fury in Fallujah in late 2004. They are ready for us. Giant bombs are buried in the roads. Snipers—real snipers—have chiseled holes in walls so that they can shoot not from roofs or windows, but from deep inside buildings, where we cannot see the flash or hear the shots. They will shoot for our faces and necks. Car bombs are already assembled. Suicide vests are prepared.

The enemy will try to herd us into their traps, and likely many of us will be killed before it ends. Already, they have been blowing up bridges, apparently to restrict our movements. Entire buildings are rigged with explosives. They have rockets, mortars, and bombs hidden in places they know we are likely to cross, or places we might seek cover. They will use human shields and force people to drive bombs at us. They will use cameras and make it look like we are ravaging the city and that they are defeating us. By the time you read this, we will be inside Baquba, and we will be killing them.
This attack is code-named Operation Arrowhead Ripper.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Nofang and Blacktruth

Apologies to Soupy Sales.

Now that Mike Nifong has been disbarred for what is certainly the most reprehensible public behavior of any prosecutor in recent memory, do you think the 88 Duke faculty and support staff who commandeered his politically motivated racist bandwagon will apologize for their behavior? Do you think they'll be able to draw any parallels between what they did and what they claim to detest?

It seems unlikely they are that self-aware. Their original race baiting condemnation of the Duke Lacrosse players has been removed from the website of the Duke Department of African African American Studies. One suspects embarrassment to be the cause, but none of the 88 are admitting it.

Therefore, it isn't just an unwillingness to admit that they were wrong, but an attempt to expunge their incendiary slander from the record - AKA a cover-up. An inept cover-up, however, because the Internet doesn't have a master shredder. You still can find their little screed here. An excerpt from that infamous, if "disappeared" diatribe:

...This is not a different experience for us here at Duke University. We go to class with racist classmates, we go to gym with people who are racists....It’s part of the experience.
Students and parents might want to know who are the people who "signed" this racist accusation - in denial of the very concept of due process, and in apparent ignorance of the term "racists."

Duke doesn't want you to know that either. But, in a telling maneuver, the Star Chamber wanna-bees neglected to have a list of their names deleted from the Duke web-server until sometime after they had removed the slander. They had time to reflect on whether they still wanted to be associated with the already deleted words of which they were once proud. They decided they didn't.

Oops again, here's the list of names and positions. Academics may be intimately familiar with relativist victimhood but they are fairly clueless about ...well, reality.

They aren't going to get their show trail, and they're not even going to let you know they asked for one if they can help it. Obviously, all 88 of these ex post facto liars should resign, but especially the professors of History. Eleven of them carry that designation, and they have damaged the credibility of their discipline for their University for decades. However, since they are trying to erase what they said and deny who they are, any reasonable atonement also seems unlikely. Notwithstanding such devious cowardice, it is the cover-up that is the crime.

We might expect reparations from the University administration that agreed with this Stalinist assemblage, but it will probably require the justice system, a term easier to use since Nifong is no longer part of it, to produce any results.

Legacy of the Dhimmi

Why is the general population in Iran of a far more moderate mind than those in the rest of the region? The Captain's Quarters notes:
Iran Nearing The Tipping Point?

...The Iranian people as a whole are a lot more cosmopolitan than the provincial clerics that act as dictators over them. Until recently, the creation of an Islamist state has kept Muslims from reacting to the oppression, especially as the mullahs acted to give limited expression of popular dissent after the death of the revered Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, as a safety valve against an explosion of resentment.
There is certainly evidence that Iran's people are restive now because they remember life under Shah Pahlavi. Could it be that the Shah, who was deposed on Dhimmi Carter's watch, should be credited for the present undercurrent of dissent in Iran?
...His [the Shah's] White Revolution, a series of economic and social reforms intended to transform Iran into a global power, succeeded in modernizing the nation, nationalizing many natural resources and extending suffrage to women, among other things.

...[By 1979 the] exiled monarch had become unpopular in much of the world, especially in the liberal West, ironically his original backers and those who had most to lose from his downfall.
To be sure, the Shah was no democrat, but the 1979 revolution was not about achieving democracy. It was about restoring 14th century Islamic values. Here are the major points of the Shah's White Revolution. Compare these to the current government. The Iranian people are.
1- Land Reforms Program and Abolishing Feudalism: The government bought the land from the feudal land lords at a fair price and sold it to the peasants at 30% below the market value, with the loan being payable over 25 years at very low interest rates. This made it possible for 1.5 million peasant families, who had once been nothing more than slaves, to own the lands that they had been cultivating all their lives. Given that average size of a peasant family was 5, land reforms program brought freedom to 9 million people, or 40% of Iran's population.

2- Nationalization of Forests and Pasturelands: Introduced many measures, not only to protect the national resources and stop the destruction of forests and pasturelands, but also to further develop and cultivate them. More than 9 million tress were planted in 26 regions, creating 70,000 acres of "green belts" around cities and on the borders of the major highways.

3- Privatization of the Government Owned Enterprises, manufacturing plants and factories by selling their shares to the public and the old feudal lords, thus creating a whole new class of factory owners who could now help to industrialize the country.

4- Profit Sharing for industrial workers in private sector enterprises, giving the factory workers and employees 20% share of the net profits of the places where they worked and securing bonuses based on higher productivity or reductions in costs.

5- Extending the Right to Vote to Women, who had no voice and were suppressed by Islamic traditions. This measure was widely criticized by the clergy.

6- Formation of the Literacy Corps, so that those who had a high school diploma and were required to serve their country as soldiers could do so in fighting illiteracy in the villages. At this point in time 2/3 of the population was illiterate.

7- Formation of the Health Corps to extend public health care throughout the villages and rural regions of Iran. In 3 years, almost 4,500 medical groups were trained; nearly 10 million cases were treated by the Corps.

8- Formation of the Reconstruction and Development Corps to teach the villagers the modern methods and techniques of farming and keeping livestock. Agricultural production between 1964 and 1970 increased by 80% in tonnage and 67% in value.

9- Formation of the Houses of Equity where 5 village elders would be elected by the villagers, for a period of 3 years, to act as arbitrators in order to help settle minor offences and disputes. By 1977 there were 10,358 Houses of Equity serving over 10 million people living in over 19,000 villages across the country.

10- Nationalization of all Water Resources, introduction of projects and policies in order to conserve and benefit from Iran's limited water resources. Many dams were constructed and five more were under construction in 1978. It was as a result of these measures that the area of land under irrigation increased from 2 million acres, in 1968, to 5.6 million in 1977.

11- Urban and Rural Modernization and Reconstruction with the help of the Reconstruction and Development Corps. Building of public baths, schools and libraries; installing water pumps and power generators for running water and electricity.

12- Didactic Reforms that improved the quality of education by diversifying the curriculum in order to adapt to the necessities of life in the modern world.

13- Workers' Right to Own Shares in the Industrial Complexes where they worked by turning Industrial units, with 5 years history and over, into public companies, where up to 99% of the shares in the state-owned enterprises and 49% of the shares of the private companies would be offered for sale to the workers of the establishment at first and then to the general public.

14- Price Stabilization and campaign against unreasonable profiteering (1975). Owners of factories and large chain stores were heavily fined, with some being imprisoned and other's licenses being revoked. Sanctions were imposed on multi-national foreign companies and tons of merchandise stored for speculative purposes were confiscated and sold to consumers at fixed prices.

15- Free and Compulsory Education and a daily free meal for all children from kindergarten to eighth grade. In 1978, 25% of Iranians were enrolled in public schools alone. In that same year there were 185,000 students of both sexes studying in Iran's universities. In addition to the above there were over 100,000 students pursuing their studies abroad, of which 50,000 were enrolled in colleges and universities in the United States.

16- Free Food for Needy Mothers and for all newborn babies up to the age of two.

17- Introduction of Social Security and National Insurance for all Iranians. National Insurance system provided for up to 100% of the wages during retirement.

18- Stable and Reasonable Cost of Renting or Buying of Residential Properties (1977). Controls were placed on land prices and various forms of land speculation.

19- Introduction of Measures to Fight against Corruption within the bureaucracy. Imperial Inspection Commission was founded, consisting of representatives from administrative bodies and people of proven integrity.
That Iran's government is populated primarily by thuggish religious fanatics today, is but another thing for which Dhimmi Carter needs to answer.

What would a moderate, modern Iran mean to us at this moment? Who "lost" Iran?

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Shave Secret update

I recommended a product called Shave Secret back in early April. I had acquired it because of the restrictions on taking liquids on airliners. It is a light oil that comes in an eyedropper sized plastic bottle. Its purpose is eponymous. My decision to try it was based on container size more than expected performance, but I was very pleasantly surprised when I first used it.

Earlier report here.

I could not remember what I paid for it at the time of that post. But I can now report the cost, because I just bought two more vials at my local Wal-Mart: $3.69 each, plus tax. The directions call for using 3 to 5 drops. I use 4. My first use of Shave Secret was on March 31st at a hotel in Seattle. As of this morning, a bit less than half remains. Let’s call it 45%. At approximately 5.25 shaves per week over 11 weeks, that’s 57.75 shaves at about 3 cents apiece.

There’s a bonus. I have found that it actually works better with slightly older blades. For me, Shave Secret provides the perfect amount of “drag.” “Smooth” is a much overrated advertising term. What I want is control and easy removal of hair with as few strokes as possible.

New blades for even low-mid-range razors come with lubricating strips. In my experience with Shave Secret, shaves are better when the lubrication is worn away. So I am saving considerable money on blades. I get comfortable shaves about 2.5 times longer, and they are much closer, with less irritation, during and after shaving.

Pursuing this benefit, I have tried cheap disposables. The results were sub-par, though not a lot worse than worn high-end blades with traditional shaving cream. The ergonomics of a very light piece of plastic, a shaving head that does not swivel and probable lesser quality blades seem to me the culprits. It does not appear to be easy to buy higher quality blades without the lubricating strip, but I will continue to experiment.

I still highly recommend Shave Secret, especially now that we have a Michigan summer where the sweat on your face might be irritating all day.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Purdue joins thermate conspiracy!

Purdue University has released a masterful and scientifically rigorous video simulation of what happened to the structure of the first WTC tower to be hit by Islamic terrorists on 9/11.

Of significant interest, since none of the thermate bomb* conspiracy theorists have anticipated it, is the damage caused by the kinetic energy of 10,000 gallons of jet-fuel. From the Purdue article:

..."We calibrated our calculations using data from experiments we had conducted to evaluate the energy imparted from fluid moving at high speed to solid targets," he says. "We concluded that the damage map we calculated for our numerical model of the building would correspond closely to the actual extent of the damage."

The simulation represented the plane and its mass as a mesh of hundreds of thousands of "finite elements," or small squares containing specific physical characteristics. In the visualization, these scientific data points are used to show how airplane components swept through the building and out through the other side as the fuel ignited.

"The aircraft moved through the building as if it were a hot and fast lava flow," Sozen says. "Consequently, much of the fireproofing insulation was ripped off the structure. Even if all of the columns and girders had survived the impact - an unlikely event - the structure would fail as the result of a buckling of the columns. The heat from an ordinary office fire would suffice to soften and weaken the unprotected steel. Evaluation of the effects of the fire on the core column structure, with the insulation removed by the impact, showed that collapse would follow whatever the number of columns cut at the time of the impact."
*TOC has written about the thermatidiots on a number of occasions:

Monday, July 24, 2006
An exchange of views

Wednesday, July 26, 2006
More on the "Thermate" theory

Friday, August 04, 2006
So, you think you are becoming surrounded by idiots?

Tuesday, August 22, 2006
In Which I Am Taken to Task...

Monday, September 04, 2006
9/11 conspiracy debunking

Wednesday, September 06, 2006
Pointless-headed intellectuals

Thursday, September 07, 2006
The explanation for this will be a doozy

Wednesday, September 13, 2006
The masons of dementia

Thursday, September 14, 2006
Loose Screws

I will be interested in any criticisms of computer simulation which may be forthcoming from the far side of the moonbats, but I think it only fair to warn them that this simulation has far fewer variables to contend with than do "climate change" models. If they think computer simulations can predict "climate change" accurately (and I bet most do), then they must either accept Purdue's simulation as plausible, or claim these scientists are part of the thermate conspiracy.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007


I don't give a flying f*** at a rolling donut about Paris Hilton, but this is the best line I've read.
What can be said for her that can't be said for O.J. Simpson and Ted Kennedy? She served more time than either of them, and she didn't kill anyone.
From Return of the Conservatives

Take that JR.

Doing our part

Daniel Pipes notes a civilian study, out of MIT, that examines Israeli capability to significantly impede Iran's progress toward creating nuclear weapons. It is likely that only Israel will have the political will and capability to mount such an attack:
Barring a "catastrophic development," Middle East Newsline reports, George Bush has decided not to attack Iran. An administration source explains that Washington deems Iran's cooperation "needed for a withdrawal [of U.S. forces] from Iraq."

If correct, this implies the Jewish state stands alone against a regime that threatens to "wipe Israel off the map" and is building the nuclear weapons to do so. Israeli leaders are hinting that their patience is running out; Deputy Prime Minister Shaul Mofaz just warned that "diplomatic efforts should bear results by the end of 2007."

Can the Israel Defense Forces in fact disrupt Iran's nuclear program?
The short answer is that there is a "reasonable probability of success," the most difficult part being the navigation of other countries' airspace. My read is that "reasonable" is being cautious. In any case, if your survival is at stake, you would certainly take "reasonable" as reasonable.

The medium answer is to read Pipes post, linked above.

The full answer is to read the study itself.

Pipes believes this report deserves the "widest possible dissemination." Well, TOC is doing its part, and I'm sure Joe Lieberman has read it already. Joe would like NATO to be engaged:
...The stability and well being of both the EU and the U.S. are threatened by Iran’s program to develop nuclear weapons. For two years, the “EU3” – in coordination with the U.S. -- has engaged in a vigorous and conscientious engagement with Iran. These efforts merit our profound gratitude, because when the EU and U.S. work together, our prospects for success are all the better. Unfortunately, the Government of Iran has responded by reneging on multiple treaty obligations and other pledges, and continuing to push forward with their nuclear program.

Iran’s President Ahmadinejad recently asked an audience to realize a “world without the America” and recommended “wiping Israel off the map.” He is only the most recent and extreme example of the small, fanatical, corrupt leadership in Iran who have made similar hateful, violent statements about other religions, countries, and cultures. History teaches us this crucial lesson: that sometimes people advocating hate and violence do exactly what they say they are going to do. The evidence of this is as varied as the writings of Hitler in the thirties and the polemics of bin Laden in the nineties. So we must take Ahmadinejad’s statements literally and seriously. We have seen this chilling pattern of extremist statements, disingenuous negotiations, preparation for aggression, and repudiation of international commitments followed by war before. Let us not deceive ourselves into letting it happen again.

Iran will test us all. If we ignore the threat it poses, or cover it with endless and hopeless negotiations, we will regret it. Given the recent agreement among the five permanent members of the UN Security Council that Iran will be “reported” to that body, I urge our respective governments to pursue vigorous measures under UN auspices to induce Tehran to abandon its aspiration for a nuclear arsenal.

However, should the efforts at the United Nations fail, then we in the transatlantic community must be ready to apply a cohesive regime of sanctions against Iran in an economic coalition of the willing. For instance, the United States and European nations, acting together, could effectively halt foreign direct investment in Iran. “Smart sanctions” that capture the assets of the government and its multi-millionaire rulers will best work with transatlantic coordination. I suggest that NATO begin to plan now how its military assets might be employed to enforce our shared goal to stop Iran’s military nuclear program. For example, NATO can conduct surveillance and interdiction activities that are sufficiently intense and enduring to secure an economic or political blockade and defend against Iran’s potential reaction to it. And I also agree with John McCain that both the U.S. and NATO should make clear that military action to destroy or deter Iran’s nuclear arsenal is not an option we seek, but it is also not an option that we can eliminate.
Your text

Monday, June 11, 2007

Disband the UN

Eye on the UN notes the addition of 3 new members to the Human Rights Council. Angola, Egypt, and Qatar. They all pledged to ensure human rights. Right.


"The government's human rights record remained poor and serious problems remained....Human rights abuses included: the abridgement of citizens' right to elect officials at all levels; unlawful killings by police, military, and private security forces; torture, beatings, and harsh and life-threatening prison conditions; corruption and impunity; arbitrary arrest and detention; an inefficient and overburdened judicial system; lengthy pretrial detention; lack of due process; restrictions on freedom of speech, the press, including self-censorship, and assembly; forced evictions without compensation; and discrimination and domestic violence and abuse against women and children."
Some of what Egypt neglected to mention in its pledge:

"...serious abuses continued in many areas...[including] limitations on the right of citizens to change their government; a state of emergency, in place almost continuously since 1967; torture and abuse of prisoners and detainees; poor conditions in prisons and detention centers; impunity; arbitrary arrest and detention, including prolonged pretrial detention; executive branch limits on an independent judiciary; denial of fair public trial and lack of due process; political prisoners and detainees; restrictions on civil liberties--freedoms of speech and press, including internet freedom; [including bloggers] assembly and association; some restrictions on religious freedom; corruption and lack of transparency; some restrictions on NGOs; and discrimination and violence against women, including female genital mutilation."
Some of what Qatar neglected to mention in its pledge:

"Citizens lacked the right to change their government peacefully. There were judicially sanctioned corporal punishments. Civil liberties, such as the freedoms of speech (including the use of the Internet), press, assembly, and association continued to be restricted, and limitations existed on freedom of religion. There were also some restrictions on foreign travel, as well as arbitrary deportation, sometimes after detention for several years. Government corruption was perceived to be a problem along with lack of public access to government information. Trafficking in persons, primarily in the labor and domestic worker sectors, was a problem. Discrimination against women, both legally and culturally based, limited their full participation in society. Bidoons (Arabic for "without" meaning "without citizenship"; people with residency ties by not documented nationals) unresolved legal status resulted in discrimination against these noncitizens with residency ties. Worker rights were severely restricted, especially for expatriate laborers and domestic servants."

Sunday, June 10, 2007

15 out of 38

I am in the habit of giving to graduating high schoolers a copy of a book by Robert H. Thouless. Traditionally, this has been the original edition, Straight and Crooked Thinking. That version was last printed around 1939 (as near as I can tell), and has become difficult to obtain, being out of print.

An updated version (also out of print), How to Think Straight, is more widely available, and has the benefit of some exercises in an appendix. It probably is the superior version for that reason, but I cling to the version to which I was first exposed.

I gave a copy of How to Think Straight to a graduating senior two days ago, the daughter of a friend. The reason I mention it is that I was reminded of the list of 38 (34 in the original) dishonest tricks of rhetoric it lists in an appendix. One of them I specifically identified in my post Meisner in Wonderland describing the verbal machinations used to promote the legalization of embryonic stem cell research in Michigan by Rep. Andrew Meisner (D-Ferndale) on WJIM AM the other morning . That trick was “begging the question.” Rep. Meisner used several other dishonest tricks, which I will list at the end of this post.

In any case, as a TOC public service, here's Dr. Thouless:

Thirty-eight dishonest tricks

Thirty-eight dishonest tricks which are commonly used in argument, with the methods of overcoming them.

In most textbooks of logic there is to be found a list of "fallacies", classified in accordance with the logical principles they violate. Such collections are interesting and important, and it is to be hoped that any readers who wish to go more deeply into the principles of logical thought will turn to these works.

The present list is, however, something quite different. Its aim is practical and not theoretical. It is intended to be a list which can be conveniently used for detecting dishonest modes of thought which we shall actually meet in arguments and speeches. Sometimes more than one of the tricks mentioned would be classified by the logician under one heading, some he would omit altogether, while others that he would put in are not to be found here.

Practical convenience and practical importance are the criteria I have used in this list. If we have a plague of flies in the house we buy fly-papers and not a treatise on the zoological classification of Musca domestica. This implies no sort of disrespect for zoologists; or for the value of their work as a first step in the effective control of flies. The present book bears to the treatises of logicians the relationship of fly-paper to zoological classifications.

Other books have been concerned with the appraisal of the whole of an argumentative passage without such analysis into sound and unsound parts as I have attempted. Undoubtedly it is also important to be able to say of an argued case whether it has or has not been established by the arguments brought forward.

Mere detection of crooked elements in the argument is not sufficient to settle this question since a good argumentative case may be disfigured by crooked arguments. The study of crooked thinking is, however, an essential preliminary to this problem of judging the soundness of an argued case. It is only when we have cleared away the emotional thinking, the selected instances, the inappropriate analogies, etc, that we can see clearly the underlying case and make a sound judgement as to whether it is right or wrong.

The thirty-eight dishonest tricks of argument described in the present book are the following:

(1) The use of emotionally toned words (pp 10-25)
Dealt with by translating the statement into words emotionally neutral.

(2) Making a statement in which "all" is implied but "some" is true (pp 27-38)
Dealt with by putting the word "all" into the statement and showing that it is then false.

(3) Proof by selected instances (pp 32-37)
Dealt with dishonestly by selecting instances opposing your opponent's contention or honestly by pointing out the true form of the proof (as a statistical problem in association) and either supplying the required numerical facts or pointing out that your opponent has not got them.

(4) Extension of an opponent's proposition by contradiction or by misrepresentation of it (pp 39-43)
Dealt with by stating again the more moderate position which is being defended.

(5) Evasion of a sound refutation of an argument by the use of a sophistical formula (pp 41-44)
Dealt with by analysis of the formula and demonstration of its unsoundness.

(6) Diversion to another question, to a side issue, or by irrelevant objection (pp 44-48)
Dealt with by refusing to be diverted from the original question, but stating again the real question at issue.

(7) Proof by inconsequent argument (pp 49-50)
Dealt with by asking that the connection between the proposition and the alleged proof may be explained, even though the request for explanation may be attributed to ignorance or lack of logical insight on the part of the person making it.

(8) The argument that we should not make efforts against X which is admittedly evil because there is a worse evil Y against which our efforts should be directed (pp 50-52)
Dealt with by pointing out that this is a reason for making efforts to abolish Y, but no reason for not also making efforts to get rid of X.

(9) The recommendation of a position because it is a mean between two extremes (pp 52-54)
Dealt with by denying the usefulness of the principle as a method of discovering the truth. In practice, this can most easily be done by showing that our own view also can be represented as a mean between two extremes.

(10) Pointing out the logical correctness of the form of an argument whose premisses contain doubtful or untrue statements of fact (p 58)
Dealt with by refusing to discuss the logic of the argument but pointing out the defects of its presentations of alleged fact.

(11) The use of an argument of logically unsound form (pp 58-64)
Since the unsoundness of such arguments can be easily seen when the form of the argument is clearly displayed, an opponent who does this can be dealt with by making such a simple statement of his argument that its unsoundness is apparent. For one's own satisfaction when reading an argument of doubtful soundness, it will often be found useful to make a diagram.

(12) Argument in a circle (p 64)

(13) Begging the question (pp 65-66)
Both 12 and 13 can be dealt with in the same way as 11; by restating your opponent's argument in such a simple way that the nature of the device used must be clear to anyone.

(14) Discussing a verbal proposition as if it were a factual one, or failing to disentangle the verbal and factual elements in a proposition that is partly both (pp 67-77)
This is really an incompetent rather than a dishonest way of arguing. The remedy is to point out how much of the question at issue is a difference in the use of words and how much (if at all) it is a difference as to fact or values.

(15) Putting forward a tautology (such as that too much of the thing attacked is bad) as if it were a factual judgement (pp 71-72)
Dealt with by pointing out that the statement is necessarily true from its verbal form.

(16) The use of a speculative argument (pp 78-83)
Rebutted by pointing out that what is cannot be inferred from what ought to be or from what the speaker feels must be.

(17) Change in the meaning of a term during the course of an argument (pp 88-94)
Dealt with by getting the term defined or by substituting an equivalent form of words at one of the points where the term in question is used and seeing whether the use of this form of words will make true the other statements in which this term is used.

(18) The use of a dilemma which ignores a continuous series of possibilities between the two extremes presented (pp 103-105)
Dealt with by refusing to accept either alternative, but pointing to the fact of the continuity which the person using the argument has ignored. Since this is likely to appear over-subtle to an opponent using the argument, it may be strengthened by pointing out that the argument is the same as saying, "Is this paper black or white?" when it is, in fact, a shade of grey.

(19) The use of the fact of continuity between them to throw doubt on a real difference between two things (the "argument of the beard") (pp 105-108)
Dealt with by pointing out that the difference is nevertheless real. This again may be made stronger by pointing out that application of the same method of argument would deny the difference between "black" and "white" or between "hot" and "cold".

(20) Illegitimate use of or demand for definition (p 109)
If an opponent uses definitions to produce clear-cut conceptions for facts which are not clear-cut, it is necessary to point out to him how much more complicated facts are in reality than in his thought. If he tries to drive you to define for the same purpose, the remedy is to refuse formal definition but to adopt some other method for making your meaning clear.

(21) Suggestion by repeated affirmation (pp 111-114)

(22) Suggestion by use of a confident manner (pp 114-115)

(23) Suggestion by prestige (pp 115-118)
The best safeguard against all three of these tricks of suggestion is a theoretical knowledge of suggestion, so that their use may be detected. All three devices lose much of their effect if the audience see how the effect is being obtained, so merely pointing out the fact that the speaker is trying to create conviction by repeated assertion in a confident manner may be enough to make this device ineffective. Ridicule is often used to undermine the confident manner, or any kind of criticism which makes the speaker begin to grow angry or plaintive.

(24) Prestige by false credentials (pp 115-118)
The obvious remedy for this is, when practical, to expose the falsity of the titles, degrees, etc, that are used. The prestige then collapses.

(25) Prestige by the use of pseudo-technical jargon (pp 116-118)
Best dealt with by asking in a modest manner that the speaker should explain himself more simply.

(26) Affectation of failure to understand backed by prestige (pp 118-119)
Dealt with by more than ample explanation.

(27) The use of questions drawing out damaging admissions (pp 199-120)
Dealt with by refusal to make the admissions. The difficulty of this refusal must be overcome by any device reducing one's suggestibility to the questioner.

(28) The appeal to mere authority (pp 122-125)
Dealt with by considering whether the person supposed to have authority had a sound reason for making the assertion which is attributed to him.

(29) Overcoming resistance to a doubtful proposition by a preliminary statement of a few easily accepted ones (pp 128-130)
Knowledge of this trick and preparedness for it are the best safeguard against its effects.

(30) Statement of a doubtful proposition in such a way that it fits in with the thought- habits or the prejudices of the hearer (pp 133-135 and p 157)
A habit of questioning what appears obvious is the best safeguard against this trick. A particular device of value against it is to restate a questionable proposition in a new context in which one's thought-habits do not lead to its acceptance.

(31) The use of generally accepted formulae of predigested thought as premisses in argument (pp 161-166)
The best way of dealing with predigested thinking in argument is to point out good- humouredly and with a backing of real evidence that matters are more complicated than your opponent supposes.

(32) "There is much to be said on both sides, so no decision can be made either way", or any other formula leading to the attitude of academic detachment (pp 166-167)
Dealt with by pointing out that taking no action has practical consequences no less real than those which result from acting on either of the propositions in dispute, and that this is no more likely than any other to be the right solution of the difficulty.

(33) Argument by mere analogy (pp 169-178)
Dealt with by examining the alleged analogy in detail and pointing out where it breaks down.

(34) Argument by forced analogy (pp 178-179)
The absurdity of a forced analogy can best be exposed by showing how many other analogies supporting different conclusions might have been used.

(35) Angering an opponent in order that he may argue badly (pp 146-147)
Dealt with by refusing to get angry however annoying our opponent may be.

(36) Special pleading (pp 154-156)
Dealt with by applying one's opponent's special arguments to other propositions which he is unwilling to admit.

(37) Commending or condemning a proposition because of its practical consequences to the bearer (pp 157-158)
We can only become immune to the effect of this kind of appeal if we have formed a habit of recognizing our own tendencies to be guided by our prejudices and by our own self-interest, and of distrusting our judgement on questions in which we are practically concerned.

(38) Argument by attributing prejudices or motives to one's opponent (p 159)
Best dealt with by pointing out that other prejudices may equally well determine the opposite view, and that, in any case, the question of why a person holds an opinion is an entirely different question from that of whether the opinion is or is not true.
Rep. Meisner was clearly guilty of commiting numbers 1 (“clump of cells”), 6 (creating jobs), 7 (creating jobs and lack of innovation), 13 (embryos are, de facto, un-human), 14-16 (guaranteed cures for several diseases), 17 (use of the terms “pre-embryo” and “clump of cells”), 20-21 & 25 (“pre-embryo”), 30 (creating jobs), 31-36-37-38 (“the opposition opposes creating jobs”). That's 15 out of the 38 in a 5 minute interview.

Arguments can be made for other dishonest tactics in Rep. Meisner’s presentation as well. The exercise is left to the student.

BTW, it's not just high school seniors who can benefit from this book. You can too.

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Ritual secularism

On May 30th, TOC noted Debbie Schlussel's scoop regarding the University of Michigan-Dearborn's plan to place Muslim footbaths in public bathrooms. The Detroit News picked up on this on June 5th: College's foot bath plans spark backlash
... [spokesman for the university, Terry] Gallagher argued taxpayer money won't be used for the foot baths because the $100,000 total bill for the bathrooms is underwritten by a fee students pay for building maintenance.

But Downs countered the move appears to violate the establishment clause of the First Amendment, which prohibits governments from favoring religions or subsidizing them.

The Detroit chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union isn't getting involved, arguing the foot baths are secular since non-Muslims could use them, said spokeswoman Rana Elmir.
Mr. Gallagher apparently is unaware of the definition of "fungible," and indifferent to what students pay in fees. In any case, since the fees are mandatory and charged by a publicly funded institution, I don't think which pocket the money comes from is of any consequence - First Amendment-wise.

The ACLU apparently isn't able to see the word "Muslim." I mean, do you think they'd have the same attitude about a baptismal font, whether the word "Christian" appeared or not? Do they think there wouldn't be a cry for new hate crime legislation if infidels used these "secular" objects as urinals? College students, in my experience, have been known to pee in sinks.

An example misunderstanding: ...the Kansas City International Airport taxicab facility. Those who accept the ACLU's position that these are NOT religious appliances, but suspect that they ARE nonetheless related to a religious ritual, may have an even more discordant view.

I know the ACLU opposes school vouchers as a violation of the "separation of church and state," and I'll bet Mr. Gallagher does too. Here's a specifically religious expenditure by a taxpayer funded institution, and they're fine with it.

Entitlement derangement syndrome

James Taranto, of the Wall Street Journal's, reports on some socio-economic unrest in India:
A Wacky Caste of Characters

"Enraged mobs from one of India's myriad lower castes blocked roads with fiery barricades, stoned police and battled rival castes across a wide swath of northern India for a week," the Associated Press reports from Gurgaon. They're upset that their caste isn't lower still:

*** QUOTE ***

With 25 people dead, the unrest spread to the fringes of the capital before the Gujjars--a class of farmers and shepherds--called off their protests.

They did so only after officials agreed to consider their demand to be officially shunted to the lowest rung of India's complex hereditary caste system, so they can get government jobs and university spots reserved for such groups. . . .

Caste politics were clear late Monday, when Gujjar leaders called off their protests after officials agreed to look into their demands.

The move immediately drew threats from leaders of a powerful rival group, the Meena, who are already classified among the lowest castes and clearly do not want more competition for jobs and school spots set aside under quotas. During the unrest, fighting between Meenas and Gujjars left at least four dead.

*** END QUOTE ***

In America, of course, we don't have "caste." We allocate jobs and university positions by skin color, which is much harder to change, and thus we don't have these sorts of conflicts. Still, we'd be hard pressed to argue that in this regard the American way is especially enlightened.
Exactly. In America we have the NEA, the NAACP, the AAUW and NOW - to name a very few - who condescend to occupy the US socio-ecological space of the Gujjars on behalf of the disinterested. It's multi-cultural entitlement derangement syndrome. MEDS

In the US this takes forms which incorporate the entire continuum of "caste" - from Paris Hilton to illegal immigrants. One could say this is an example of Western cultural inferiority, but the Indians probably learned it at Harvard, or from the Trotskyites at BAMN - our official representatives of caste violence.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Food stamp follies

On this morning's 'The Big Show' (WJIM AM - Lansing), Michael Patrick Shiels interviewed State Rep. Andy Coulouris, D-Saginaw (I am not entirely certain of the identity, since I only caught part of the interview, but it was a Democrat from Saginaw). Rep. Coulouris is apparently participating in a publicity stunt to protest the amount of money given to the poor via food stamps. He's going to eat for 5 days on $5 a day, an amount to which he intimates poor people are limited. You will probably not be surprised to find that this is not exactly the case.

If you examine the USDA website, near the bottom of the page you'll find this:

The amount of benefits the household gets is called an allotment. The net monthly income of the household is multiplied by .3, and the result is subtracted from the maximum allotment for the household size to find the household's allotment. This is because food stamp households are expected to spend about 30 percent of their resources on food.
Emphasis mine. Clearly, food stamps are not expected to fund the entire gocery bill. It might be a job, or welfare, providing most of the grocery money.

At the above link, you will also find a table showing the standard monthly rates for food stamps. The weekly amount of this supplemental assistance for a single person, before means testing, is $155 per month or $35.67 per week (divide by 4.345 - average weeks per month). $5 per day then, is about what food stamps are worth to a single person. However, $5 per day is definitely NOT what “the state’s average food stamp recipient spends on groceries.”

Food stamps are supplemental, and to pretend otherwise is disingenuous.

It is also worth looking at what the USDA publishes as a guide to the cost of a healthy diet for a frugal consumer. A single male, 20-50 years old, for example, can live on as little as $187.50 per month for food. In other words, food stamps might cover 83% of his basic need. Data here.

H/T Bizzyblog for the USDA links. Bizzyblog also reports on similar chicanery in other states.