Tuesday, February 27, 2007
Posted by Ted Pethick at 9:18 PM
Sunday, February 25, 2007
As if it needs saying...well, i guess it does...T (Thanks to Splugy for this!)
Posted by Ted Pethick at 6:02 PM
Saturday, February 24, 2007
Ok, relax and enjoy some hot music...I'm in a good mood...T
Thursday, February 22, 2007
Saturday, February 10, 2007
Great idea, and about time!...now if we could just get rid of Communism at the NY Times and NBC...T
Opponents of Poland's former communist regime reportedly want to pay a posthumous homage to US President Ronald Reagan by erecting his statue in the place of a Soviet-era monument.
In an open letter to the mayor of the southwestern city of Katowice, the former anti-regime activists said that the staunchly anti-communist Reagan had been a "symbol of liberty," the Polish news agency PAP reported.
As a result, they said, he deserved to become the centrepiece of the city's Freedom Square, replacing a monument to the Soviet troops who drove out the occupying Nazis in 1945.
They also said that they wanted the site to be re baptised "Ronald Reagan Freedom Square."
City hall spokesman Waldemar Bojarun said that Katowice's councillors would consider the issue.
Bojarun said that he had "enormous respect" for Reagan.
However, he said, the proposal could cost an estimated 500,000 zlotys (128,000 euros, 168,000 dollars) and the city had "other pressing needs."
There are already separate plans to erect a statue in memory of Reagan in the centre of the Polish capital, Warsaw, which would be paid-for from private funds.
Reagan, who dubbed the Soviet Union an "evil empire," is widely credited by Poles with having driven communism to the wall.
The conservative Republican made fighting communism the cornerstone of his 1980-1988 presidency, and backed Poland's Solidarity trade union after it went underground when the regime declared martial law in 1981.
Reagan died in June 2004 at the age of 93.
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Tuesday, February 06, 2007
Once more, for a coda, freezing my a** off, if you please?! Now, no more harangues from all of you, and you know who you are, about Man-made global warming being established science...try taking a physics class on the subject, as I did, before opening that blow hole...T
Astrophysicist Nir Shariv, one of Israel's top young scientists, describes the logic that led him -- and most everyone else -- to conclude that SUVs, coal plants and other things man-made cause global warming.
Step One Scientists for decades have postulated that increases in carbon dioxide and other gases could lead to a greenhouse effect.
Step Two As if on cue, the temperature rose over the course of the 20th century while greenhouse gases proliferated due to human activities.
Step Three No other mechanism explains the warming. Without another candidate, greenhouses gases necessarily became the cause.
Statistics needed -- The Deniers Part I
Warming is real -- and has benefits -- The Deniers Part II
The hurricane expert who stood up to UN junk science -- The Deniers Part III
Polar scientists on thin ice -- The Deniers Part IV
The original denier: into the cold -- The Deniers Part V
The sun moves climate change -- The Deniers Part VI
Will the sun cool us? -- The Deniers Part VII
The limits of predictability -- The Deniers Part VIII
Look to Mars for the truth on global warming -- The Deniers Part IX
Limited role for C02 -- the Deniers Part X
Dr. Shariv, a prolific researcher who has made a name for himself assessing the movements of two-billion-year-old meteorites, no longer accepts this logic, or subscribes to these views. He has recanted: "Like many others, I was personally sure that CO2 is the bad culprit in the story of global warming. But after carefully digging into the evidence, I realized that things are far more complicated than the story sold to us by many climate scientists or the stories regurgitated by the media.
"In fact, there is much more than meets the eye."
Dr. Shariv's digging led him to the surprising discovery that there is no concrete evidence -- only speculation -- that man-made greenhouse gases cause global warming. Even research from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change-- the United Nations agency that heads the worldwide effort to combat global warming -- is bereft of anything here inspiring confidence. In fact, according to the IPCC's own findings, man's role is so uncertain that there is a strong possibility that we have been cooling, not warming, the Earth. Unfortunately, our tools are too crude to reveal what man's effect has been in the past, let alone predict how much warming or cooling we might cause in the future.
All we have on which to pin the blame on greenhouse gases, says Dr. Shaviv, is "incriminating circumstantial evidence," which explains why climate scientists speak in terms of finding "evidence of fingerprints." Circumstantial evidence might be a fine basis on which to justify reducing greenhouse gases, he adds, "without other 'suspects.' " However, Dr. Shaviv not only believes there are credible "other suspects," he believes that at least one provides a superior explanation for the 20th century's warming.
"Solar activity can explain a large part of the 20th-century global warming," he states, particularly because of the evidence that has been accumulating over the past decade of the strong relationship that cosmic- ray flux has on our atmosphere. So much evidence has by now been amassed, in fact, that "it is unlikely that [the solar climate link] does not exist."
The sun's strong role indicates that greenhouse gases can't have much of an influence on the climate -- that C02 et al. don't dominate through some kind of leveraging effect that makes them especially potent drivers of climate change. The upshot of the Earth not being unduly sensitive to greenhouse gases is that neither increases nor cutbacks in future C02 emissions will matter much in terms of the climate.
Even doubling the amount of CO2 by 2100, for example, "will not dramatically increase the global temperature," Dr. Shaviv states. Put another way: "Even if we halved the CO2 output, and the CO2 increase by 2100 would be, say, a 50% increase relative to today instead of a doubled amount, the expected reduction in the rise of global temperature would be less than 0.5C. This is not significant."
The evidence from astrophysicists and cosmologists in laboratories around the world, on the other hand, could well be significant. In his study of meteorites, published in the prestigious journal, Physical Review Letters, Dr. Shaviv found that the meteorites that Earth collected during its passage through the arms of the Milky Way sustained up to 10% more cosmic ray damage than others. That kind of cosmic ray variation, Dr. Shaviv believes, could alter global temperatures by as much as 15% --sufficient to turn the ice ages on or off and evidence of the extent to which cosmic forces influence Earth's climate.
In another study, directly relevant to today's climate controversy, Dr. Shaviv reconstructed the temperature on Earth over the past 550 million years to find that cosmic ray flux variations explain more than two-thirds of Earth's temperature variance, making it the most dominant climate driver over geological time scales. The study also found that an upper limit can be placed on the relative role of CO2 as a climate driver, meaning that a large fraction of the global warming witnessed over the past century could not be due to CO2 -- instead it is attributable to the increased solar activity.
CO2 does play a role in climate, Dr. Shaviv believes, but a secondary role, one too small to preoccupy policymakers. Yet Dr. Shaviv also believes fossil fuels should be controlled, not because of their adverse affects on climate but to curb pollution.
"I am therefore in favour of developing cheap alternatives such as solar power, wind, and of course fusion reactors (converting Deuterium into Helium), which we should have in a few decades, but this is an altogether different issue." His conclusion: "I am quite sure Kyoto is not the right way to go."
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Global warming fanatics, I've had it! In your face with The Facts!...T
Global Warming, as we think we know it, doesn't exist. And I am not the only one trying to make people open up their eyes and see the truth. But few listen, despite the fact that I was the first Canadian Ph.D. in Climatology and I have an extensive background in climatology, especially the reconstruction of past climates and the impact of climate change on human history and the human condition. Few listen, even though I have a Ph.D, (Doctor of Science) from the University of London, England and was a climatology professor at the University of Winnipeg. For some reason (actually for many), the World is not listening. Here is why.
What would happen if tomorrow we were told that, after all, the Earth is flat? It would probably be the most important piece of news in the media and would generate a lot of debate. So why is it that when scientists who have studied the Global Warming phenomenon for years say that humans are not the cause nobody listens? Why does no one acknowledge that the Emperor has no clothes on?
Believe it or not, Global Warming is not due to human contribution of Carbon Dioxide (CO2). This in fact is the greatest deception in the history of science. We are wasting time, energy and trillions of dollars while creating unnecessary fear and consternation over an issue with no scientific justification. For example, Environment Canada brags about spending $3.7 billion in the last five years dealing with climate change almost all on propaganda trying to defend an indefensible scientific position while at the same time closing weather stations and failing to meet legislated pollution targets.
No sensible person seeks conflict, especially with governments, but if we don't pursue the truth, we are lost as individuals and as a society. That is why I insist on saying that there is no evidence that we are, or could ever cause global climate change. And, recently, Yuri A. Izrael, Vice President of the United Nations sponsored Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) confirmed this statement. So how has the world come to believe that something is wrong?
Maybe for the same reason we believed, 30 years ago, that global cooling was the biggest threat: a matter of faith. "It is a cold fact: the Global Cooling presents humankind with the most important social, political, and adaptive challenge we have had to deal with for ten thousand years. Your stake in the decisions we make concerning it is of ultimate importance; the survival of ourselves, our children, our species," wrote Lowell Ponte in 1976.
I was as opposed to the threats of impending doom global cooling engendered as I am to the threats made about Global Warming. Let me stress I am not denying the phenomenon has occurred. The world has warmed since 1680, the nadir of a cool period called the Little Ice Age (LIA) that has generally continued to the present. These climate changes are well within natural variability and explained quite easily by changes in the sun. But there is nothing unusual going on.
Since I obtained my doctorate in climatology from the University of London, Queen Mary College, England my career has spanned two climate cycles. Temperatures declined from 1940 to 1980 and in the early 1970's global cooling became the consensus. This proves that consensus is not a scientific fact. By the 1990's temperatures appeared to have reversed and Global Warming became the consensus. It appears I'll witness another cycle before retiring, as the major mechanisms and the global temperature trends now indicate a cooling.
No doubt passive acceptance yields less stress, fewer personal attacks and makes career progress easier. What I have experienced in my personal life during the last years makes me understand why most people choose not to speak out; job security and fear of reprisals. Even in University, where free speech and challenge to prevailing wisdoms are supposedly encouraged, academics remain silent.
I once received a three page letter that my lawyer defined as libellous, from an academic colleague, saying I had no right to say what I was saying, especially in public lectures. Sadly, my experience is that universities are the most dogmatic and oppressive places in our society. This becomes progressively worse as they receive more and more funding from governments that demand a particular viewpoint.
In another instance, I was accused by Canadian environmentalist David Suzuki of being paid by oil companies. That is a lie. Apparently he thinks if the fossil fuel companies pay you have an agenda. So if Greenpeace, Sierra Club or governments pay there is no agenda and only truth and enlightenment?
Personal attacks are difficult and shouldn't occur in a debate in a civilized society. I can only consider them from what they imply. They usually indicate a person or group is losing the debate. In this case, they also indicate how political the entire Global Warming debate has become. Both underline the lack of or even contradictory nature of the evidence.
I am not alone in this journey against the prevalent myth. Several well-known names have also raised their voices. Michael Crichton, the scientist, writer and filmmaker is one of them. In his latest book, "State of Fear" he takes time to explain, often in surprising detail, the flawed science behind Global Warming and other imagined environmental crises.
Another cry in the wildenerness is Richard Lindzen's. He is an atmospheric physicist and a professor of meteorology at MIT, renowned for his research in dynamic meteorology - especially atmospheric waves. He is also a member of the National Academy of Sciences and has held positions at the University of Chicago, Harvard University and MIT. Linzen frequently speaks out against the notion that significant Global Warming is caused by humans. Yet nobody seems to listen.
I think it may be because most people don't understand the scientific method which Thomas Kuhn so skilfully and briefly set out in his book "The Structure of Scientific Revolutions." A scientist makes certain assumptions and then produces a theory which is only as valid as the assumptions. The theory of Global Warming assumes that CO2 is an atmospheric greenhouse gas and as it increases temperatures rise. It was then theorized that since humans were producing more CO2 than before, the temperature would inevitably rise. The theory was accepted before testing had started, and effectively became a law.
As Lindzen said many years ago: "the consensus was reached before the research had even begun." Now, any scientist who dares to question the prevailing wisdom is marginalized and called a sceptic, when in fact they are simply being good scientists. This has reached frightening levels with these scientists now being called climate change denier with all the holocaust connotations of that word. The normal scientific method is effectively being thwarted.
Meanwhile, politicians are being listened to, even though most of them have no knowledge or understanding of science, especially the science of climate and climate change. Hence, they are in no position to question a policy on climate change when it threatens the entire planet. Moreover, using fear and creating hysteria makes it very difficult to make calm rational decisions about issues needing attention.
Until you have challenged the prevailing wisdom you have no idea how nasty people can be. Until you have re-examined any issue in an attempt to find out all the information, you cannot know how much misinformation exists in the supposed age of information.
I was greatly influenced several years ago by Aaron Wildavsky's book "Yes, but is it true?" The author taught political science at a New York University and realized how science was being influenced by and apparently misused by politics. He gave his graduate students an assignment to pursue the science behind a policy generated by a highly publicised environmental concern. To his and their surprise they found there was little scientific evidence, consensus and justification for the policy. You only realize the extent to which Wildavsky's findings occur when you ask the question he posed. Wildavsky's students did it in the safety of academia and with the excuse that it was an assignment. I have learned it is a difficult question to ask in the real world, however I firmly believe it is the most important question to ask if we are to advance in the right direction.
Dr. Tim Ball, Chairman of the Natural Resources Stewardship Project (www.nrsp.com), is a Victoria-based environmental consultant and former climatology professor at the University of Winnipeg. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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Let's hope so...I still remain optimistic. Let's remember: Still the fastest victory, with the lowest losses, of any military conflict in history. 3000 dead in 5 years vs. 3000 dead in one day on 9/11. Anyway, the author is almost always right. Not an ideologue, but the most accomplished political analyst I've ever followed, and yes, he called the 06 elections exactly right. I did not. There is hope...T
It's often hard to identify a turning point in a military conflict. The news of mayhem comes in every day, and it's hard to figure out which changes the course of things.
Metrics available to the public are useless -- those available to commanders are, I suspect, far from completely helpful. Military historians can look back and, knowing more and with more certainty than anyone at the time, center their narratives on actions that really made a difference. Those of us following events through (often biased) news media and (often insightful but never with a full picture) military bloggers can't do this. Only on looking back can we begin to guess where the road turned.
In looking back over the last year, I see two turning points in the Middle East -- note, not just Iraq, but the Middle East. The first was the bombing of the Golden Mosque in Samarra in February 2006. This was intended to, and evidently did, spark an upsurge of sectarian violence -- Shias killing Sunnis and vice versa.
In retrospect, and as George W. Bush indicated in his speeches of Jan. 10 and Jan. 23, it was a significant turning point. If Mr. Bush's surge of troops into Baghdad and Anbar is the right response to this increased violence now, it would have been the right move six months ago. But readers of military history won't be surprised that his timing was off. So was that, at times, of indisputably great commanders like Winston Churchill and Franklin Roosevelt.
I used to say that the hardest thing in campaign strategy is to distinguish between the one time out of 10 when you should change course and the nine times out of 10 when you should continue on the course you set. I should think it's even harder to get this distinction right in military affairs.
The other turning point, as I look back, was Hezbollah's invasion of Israel last July. The military effectiveness was hard to gauge and Israelis still argue about whether they suffered a defeat, scored a victory or managed a stalemate. But the important thing here, at least in the opinion of key administration policymakers, was not the effect on the Israelis or even the Lebanese, but the effect on other Arab states.
The Sunni Arab states viewed the Hezbollah attack -- undertaken without even the notification of the Lebanese government, yet putting Lebanon at grave risk -- as an Iranian offensive aimed at establishing something like hegemony over the greater Middle East. Shia, Persian hegemony -- not something welcomed by the Gulf states, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Egypt. For all their rhetorical opposition to Israel over the years, they found they had more in common with Jewish Israel than Muslim Iran. So they began to urge the United States to do more to curb the power of Iran.
As with the bombing of the Golden Mosque, so with the Hezbollah attack on Israel, the United States took time to respond -- more time, I suspect, than future historians will decide was appropriate. But after the policy review that followed the Republican defeat in the November elections, we have responded. The rules of engagement have been changed in Iraq: U.S. forces captured and held Iranian "consular" officials in Erbil, and there is reason to believe we're stepping up interdiction of Iranian weapon supplies to various hostile forces in Iraq.
Mr. Bush appointed an admiral as head of CentCom, the regional command, and ordered a second aircraft carrier group sent to the Persian Gulf. This is a hugely significant move, signaling we can if necessary bring overwhelming military force to bear against Iran, as we did in 1986-88. We can stop the Iranians from blocking the Straits of Hormuz and, if we choose, conduct the air strikes against Iranian oil refineries and military facilities recommended by historian Arthur Herman.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid responded by demanding the administration not take action against Iran, and the New York Times condemned Mr. Bush for "bullying" poor, sweet little Iran. These responses are typical of the fundamentally unserious criticism being lobbed against Mr. Bush these days. The correct criticism is not that we're doing too much to hurt the mullahs but that we're doing too little.
The critics ignore the fact Iran has been making war against us for 27 years, since they violated the most fundamental law of diplomacy by taking our diplomats hostage. The critics seem more interested in seeing Mr. Bush lose than in seeing the United States win. Fortunately, Mr. Bush still wants to prevail.
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Posted by Ted Pethick at 4:14 PM
Monday, February 05, 2007
The Colts are NFL champs, Law & Order does a show on Ann Coulter, and finally...finally someone says what I have been thinking for at least 20 years...and with gusto that will have you sobbing tears of laughter ("finish off"!)...T
Conservatives often ask why so many Republicans go native when they get to Washington, D.C. The answer is: Because you don't defend them when they come under relentless attacks from liberal hatchet men.
Lewis Libby did what you wanted. He didn't place secret phone calls to reporters revealing classified intelligence programs. He supported the war on Islamic fascists. He didn't try to raise your taxes like James Baker III. And he has loyally served Dick Cheney, the man conservatives secretly wish were president.
And now he's on trial for — at worst — misremembering who first told him that future reality show contestant Joseph Wilson was sent on a boondoggle to Niger by his wife, Valerie Plame.
The way Libby remembered it, NBC's Tim Russert was the first one to tell him. But the way Russert remembers it, he didn't tell Libby about Wilson's wife. (And the way Wilson remembers it, he was sent to Niger by Captain Kirk of the Starship Enterprise.)
Try this: Who told you Wilson was sent to Niger by his wife? Who told you a bipartisan Senate panel concluded that Joe Wilson was lying when he denied that his wife had sent him to Niger?
While we're at it, who was the first person to correct you on your pronunciation of "Niger"? I don't remember, either — and I'm not running a war.
The exact same people who are now demanding prison for Libby for not remembering who told him about Plame are the ones who told us it was perfectly plausible for Bill Clinton to forget that Monica Lewinsky repeatedly performed oral sex on him in the Oval Office. Even if chubby Jewish brunettes aren't your type, be honest: Which of the two events would stand out more in your memory?
Perjury is intentionally swearing to something you know to be untrue — not misremembering what later appears, on balance, not to be the truth.
Here are some simple illustrations. If Clinton had been asked how many sexual encounters it took for him to remember Monica's name (six) and he got the answer wrong, it would not be perjury since, like Monica's name, it's an easy thing to forget.
If Clinton had been asked whether he talked to Rep. Jim Chapman and then to Rep. John Tanner, or to Rep. Tanner and then to Rep. Chapman while Monica was performing oral sex on him in the Oval Office and he got the answer wrong, that would not be perjury because it's not relevant to the investigation. (Correct answer: Chapman, then Tanner.)
But when Clinton was asked under oath — in a case brought by Paula Jones under the law liberals consider more sacrosanct than any passed in the 20th century, Section 1983 of the Civil Rights Act: "Mr. President ... at any time were you and Monica Lewinsky alone together in the Oval Office?" and he answered, "I don't recall," that was perjury.
Now take the question: "Who first told you fantasist Wilson was sent to Niger by his wife?" Unless it actually was Captain Kirk of the Starship Enterprise — the answer to that question is not going to be perjurious. No matter how many witnesses swear they told Libby first, if Libby honestly believed it was Russert, he didn't commit perjury.
So why is there a trial? Because there is no penalty for using the threat of imprisonment as a political weapon against conservatives. Ask Tom DeLay or Rush Limbaugh.
If Libby were a Democrat, we would know the sexual proclivities of everyone in Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald's office, Judith Miller would be portrayed as a "stalker," Tim Russert's cat would be dead, and the public would know about every toupee at MSNBC.
Republicans don't have to kill cats to bestir themselves to defend their own from rank partisan persecution. But it never happens.
People who attack conservatives never have to worry about their own dirty laundry coming out. All they have to worry about is whether People magazine will use a good picture of them in its "Sexiest Man Alive" issue.
When Secret Service officers innocently told Monica she couldn't see Clinton because Eleanor Mondale was "visiting" the president, Bill Clinton immediately threatened to fire the officers responsible. (They say Clinton was so mad it took him an extra couple of minutes to "finish off" in the sink.)
Compare that to how the Bush administration treats an employee caught actually violating a citizen's rights. An officer with Bush's own customs office held Rush Limbaugh for three hours at a private airport, mauling his belongings and calling in his Viagra prescription to the media before he had left the airport. We don't even know her name.
No one has bothered to investigate what prescriptions she takes or whether she has any angry relatives willing to badmouth her. She certainly has not been fired for this egregious violation of an American citizen's rights. No worries — it was just a conservative.
You want to protect the borders, cut taxes, fight Islamic fascists and put up Ten Commandments monuments? Get her name. Find out about Patrick Fitzgerald what we'd know if he were Ken Starr. If you won't defend your own champions, conservatives, then don't sit back and wonder why so few people want to be your champions.
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