Archive for November, 2009
30 Nov 2009

Get Out of My Skies, Peasants!

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Rajendra Pachauri


Andrew Bolt
compares what Rajendra Pachauri, Chief, UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (whose organization shared the Noble Prize with Albert Gore!) tells the rest of us we have to do to save the earth with what the great man does himself.

(Pay attention, peons. From now on, you have to make sacrifices.)

    Hotel guests should have their electricity monitored; hefty aviation taxes should be introduced to deter people from flying; and iced water in restaurants should be curtailed, the world’s leading climate scientist has told the Observer.

Rajendra Pachauri? Hey, if you’re manning the VIP lounge at Heathrow, that name may ring a bell:

    Dr Rajendra Pachauri flew at least 443,243 miles on IPCC business in this 19 month period. This business included honorary degree ceremonies, a book launch and a Brookings Institute dinner, the latter involving a flight of 3500 miles.

Remember the news reports (1, 2, 3) about Al Gore’s personal Carbon footprint?

The Nobel Peace Prize really ought to be retitled the Nobel Hypocrisy Prize.

30 Nov 2009

Chapel Hill Meet

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Huntsman Dennis Downing salutes, as he leads out the Blue Ridge hounds at Chapel Hill (Click on images for larger version)

Yesterday’s hunt met at Chapel Hill, in front of the historic stone house which was once the home of “Wild Bill” Donovan (1883-1959), Medal of Honor winner and founder of the OSS.

photo: Karen L. MyersThis handsome fox had no difficulty eluding hounds (photo: Karen L. Myers)

30 Nov 2009

10,000 Unnecessary Cancer Deaths Per Annum Under Britain’s National Health

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William A. Jacobsen notes that we have five times the population, so…. would our death rate produced by service rationing limits and delays really be merely linear, or would it be exponential?

Another day, another exposé by a British newspaper about the failure of nationalized health care. This time, it’s the left-wing The Guardian reflecting on how delays in cancer care cause 10,000 unnecessary deaths each year compared to other European countries:

    Up to 10,000 people die needlessly of cancer every year because their condition is diagnosed too late, according to research by the government’s director of cancer services. The figure is twice the previous estimate for preventable deaths….

    Richards found that “late diagnosis was almost certainly a major contributor to poor survival in England for all three cancers”, but also identified low rates of surgical intervention being received by cancer patients as another key reason for poor survival rates.

    Research by academics at Durham University led by Prof Greg Rubin has identified five types of delay in NHS cancer care: “patient delay”, “doctor delay”, “delay in primary care [at GPs’ surgeries]”, “system delay” and “delay in secondary care [at hospitals]”….

Since Britain’s population is less than one-fifth that of the U.S., the equivalent number of unnecessary deaths in the U.S. would exceed 50,000. The U.S. has cancer survival rates which exceed even the better European countries, so that number may be higher.

Keep that in mind the next time you hear Alan Grayson (D-Fla.) and others throw around fictitious numbers about how many people die in the U.S. from lack of insurance. And this week as Harry Reid and the Democrats tout how Reid’s plan will save families in the “non-group” market $500 on private insurance.

30 Nov 2009

From My Comments

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D Kolstad posted:

Quick Search “Climategate”

Google: 13,400,000
Fox News: 650
CBS News: 0 Search Results
ABC News: No Results

Eloquent, isn’t it?

30 Nov 2009

Climategate Dialogue

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Jim Treacher constructs an imaginary dialogue with a Global Warming Evangelist.

30 Nov 2009

Swiss Ban Minarets

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Poster urging an affirmative vote on the minaret ban

Switzerland amended its Constitution to prohibit minarets, the towers associated with mosques from which the muezzin issues his ululating call to prayer, reports the New York Times.

The referendum, which passed with a clear majority of 57.5 percent of the voters and in 22 of Switzerland’s 26 cantons, was a victory for the right. The vote against was 42.5 percent. Because the ban gained a majority of votes and passed in a majority of the cantons, it will be added to the Constitution.

The Swiss Constitution guarantees freedom of religion, but the rightist Swiss People’s Party, or S.V.P., and a small religious party had proposed inserting a single sentence banning the construction of minarets, leading to the referendum.

The Swiss government said it would respect the vote and sought to reassure the Muslim population — mostly immigrants from other parts of Europe, like Kosovo and Turkey — that the minaret ban was “not a rejection of the Muslim community, religion or culture.”

Of course, it was a rejection of the Muslim religion and culture.

We couldn’t, and shouldn’t, do it something like this in the United States. The American Constitutional, and philosophical, commitment to religious tolerance, state neutrality, and pluralism is too fundamental, but the European case is very different.

Even Switzerland’s embrace of Enlightenment Liberalism is much less thoroughgoing than ours and European countries have contemporary problems with Islamic influence on a much more serious scale than we do. Just imagine if all the immigrant low wage workers we had were not comparatively readily assimilable Hispanics, but were instead Muslims from North Africa or the Middle East who typically had no intention of assimilating.

That uncertain embrace of Enlightenment Liberty does inevitably leave European peoples and governments looking wrong-footed in the way they handle issues of this kind. Europeans seem to move in an unprincipled way between extremes of supine indulgence on the one hand and a readiness to apply arbitrary power on the other.

29 Nov 2009

“Worst Scientific Scandal of a Generation”

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Christopher Booker argues in the Telegraph that “(o)ur hopelessly compromised scientific establishment cannot be allowed to get away with a whitewash of what has become the greatest scientific scandal of our age.”

(T)he question which inevitably arises from this systematic refusal to release their data is – what is it that these scientists seem so anxious to hide? The second and most shocking revelation of the leaked documents is how they show the scientists trying to manipulate data through their tortuous computer programmes, always to point in only the one desired direction – to lower past temperatures and to “adjust” recent temperatures upwards, in order to convey the impression of an accelerated warming. This comes up so often (not least in the documents relating to computer data in the Harry Read Me file) that it becomes the most disturbing single element of the entire story. This is what Mr McIntyre caught Dr Hansen doing with his GISS temperature record last year (after which Hansen was forced to revise his record), and two further shocking examples have now come to light from Australia and New Zealand.

In each of these countries it has been possible for local scientists to compare the official temperature record with the original data on which it was supposedly based. In each case it is clear that the same trick has been played – to turn an essentially flat temperature chart into a graph which shows temperatures steadily rising. And in each case this manipulation was carried out under the influence of the CRU.

What is tragically evident from the Harry Read Me file is the picture it gives of the CRU scientists hopelessly at sea with the complex computer programmes they had devised to contort their data in the approved direction, more than once expressing their own desperation at how difficult it was to get the desired results.

The third shocking revelation of these documents is the ruthless way in which these academics have been determined to silence any expert questioning of the findings they have arrived at by such dubious methods – not just by refusing to disclose their basic data but by discrediting and freezing out any scientific journal which dares to publish their critics’ work. It seems they are prepared to stop at nothing to stifle scientific debate in this way, not least by ensuring that no dissenting research should find its way into the pages of IPCC reports.

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And the London Times reports that the original data is gone:

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

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

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

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

The admission follows the leaking of a thousand private emails sent and received by Professor Phil Jones, the CRU’s director. In them he discusses thwarting climate sceptics seeking access to such data.

In a statement on its website, the CRU said: “We do not hold the original raw data but only the value-added (quality controlled and homogenised) data.”

The CRU is the world’s leading centre for reconstructing past climate and temperatures. Climate change sceptics have long been keen to examine exactly how its data were compiled. That is now impossible.

Roger Pielke, professor of environmental studies at Colorado University, discovered data had been lost when he asked for original records. “The CRU is basically saying, ‘Trust us’. So much for settling questions and resolving debates with science.”

28 Nov 2009

Ayn Rand in Hollywood

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Anne C. Heller, author of the recent biography Ayn Rand and the World She Made, discusses Ayn Rand’s Hollywood years with the Wall Street Journal’s Steven Kurutz in this 3:53 video.

28 Nov 2009

Mocking “Twilight”

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You are rich, immortal, a century old vampire who has all the learning and experience of very long human lifetime, the opportunity to live anywhere you choose and do anything you like, but a personal need for privacy, anonymity, and –of course– routine access to prey.

Naturally, you select the rural, 3,000 population town of Forks, Washington over Paris, London, Shanghai, and New York, attend high school and become romantically (and non-predaciously) involved with a 17 year old girl, and you dine on deer.

It was the high school part that gave Karen and myself the most serious problem. We both felt strongly that, were we vampires ourselves, we would consider high school in the upper rank of the same category of undesirable things as garlic, stakes, and crucifixes.

Karen and I actually read several volumes of the Twilight young adult series a few years ago when it began attracting wide attention. We found the novels readable enough, at least in the early portion of the series. The energy and marginal plausibility of character motivation and behavior seemed to weaken significantly in later volumes, and we quit reading before the series reached its conclusion.

As everyone knows, vampires have become a favorite theme in popular culture, offering the female audience male leads combining power and sophistication with melancholy complexity. The vampire is, of course, the bad boy par excellence offering an otherwise unequaled opportunity for any girl to give him the special understanding he needs and then to redeem him by her love.

We’ve been too busy hunting to be going to movies these days. I’ll have to wait to see Twilight (2008) and The Twilight Saga: New Moon (2009) when they appear on cable, but I was familiar enough with all this to enjoy the major mockfest of 20 Unfortunate Lessons Girls Learn From Twilight.

The 9:58 Rifftrax video is also quite amusing.

27 Nov 2009

Thanksgiving Day Meet

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Members of the Blue Ridge Hunt first flight gallop down Swift Shoals Road in Boyce, Virginia yesterday endeavoring to catch up to hounds (click on image for larger version — clicking again on the second page will make the photo larger still)

Doesn’t this look like fun?

27 Nov 2009

Another Scientific Scandal

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NIWA published chart showing alleged warming trend

Uh oh! Another of those world famous climate research institutes renowned for issuing dire proclamations blaming human economic activity for terribly harmful patterns of warming weather is in trouble. This time it is New Zealand’s National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA).

The New Zealand Climate Science Coalition just published a paper which took NIWA’s data and made their own graph comparing it to NIWA’s published graph, and what do you know? An ordinary graph of the actual data showed remarkably consistent climate patterns over the last century and a half. Goodbye, Global Warming!

It looks like more climate scientists are going to have some explaining to do.

Hat tip to Watt’s Up With That?


When the same temperature data was charted independently, however, it looked like this

26 Nov 2009

A Proclamation

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As published in the Massachusetts Centinel, Wednesday, October 14, 1789

26 Nov 2009

The Meaning of Thanksgiving

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Mike Franc, at Human Events in 2005, identified the real reason for celebration at the first Thanksgiving.

Writing in his diary of the dire economic straits and self-destructive behavior that consumed his fellow Puritans shortly after their arrival, Governor William Bradford painted a picture of destitute settlers selling their clothes and bed coverings for food while others “became servants to the Indians,” cutting wood and fetching water in exchange for “a capful of corn.” The most desperate among them starved, with Bradford recounting how one settler, in gathering shellfish along the shore, “was so weak … he stuck fast in the mud and was found dead in the place.”

The colony’s leaders identified the source of their problem as a particularly vile form of what Bradford called “communism.” Property in Plymouth Colony, he observed, was communally owned and cultivated. This system (“taking away of property and bringing [it] into a commonwealth”) bred “confusion and discontent” and “retarded much employment that would have been to [the settlers’] benefit and comfort.”

Just how did the Pilgrims solve the problem of famine? In addition to receiving help from the local Indians in farming, they decided allow the private ownership of individual plots of land.

On the brink of extermination, the Colony’s leaders changed course and allotted a parcel of land to each settler, hoping the private ownership of farmland would encourage self-sufficiency and lead to the cultivation of more corn and other foodstuffs.

As Adam Smith would have predicted, this new system worked famously. “This had very good success,” Bradford reported, “for it made all hands very industrious.” In fact, “much more corn was planted than otherwise would have been” and productivity increased. “Women,” for example, “went willingly into the field, and took their little ones with them to set corn.”

The famine that nearly wiped out the Pilgrims in 1623 gave way to a period of agricultural abundance that enabled the Massachusetts settlers to set down permanent roots in the New World, prosper, and play an indispensable role in the ultimate success of the American experiment.

A profoundly religious man, Bradford saw the hand of God in the Pilgrims’ economic recovery. Their success, he observed, “may well evince the vanity of that conceit…that the taking away of property… would make [men] happy and flourishing; as if they were wiser than God.” Bradford surmised, “God in his wisdom saw another course fitter for them.”

The real story of Thanksgiving is the triumph of capitalism and individualism over collectivism and socialism, which is the summation of the story of America.

And it looks like we’re about to receive another lesson of the same kind. For what we are about to receive, may we be truly thankful.

25 Nov 2009

Feeling Paranoid Today?

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Barack Obama and the democrats in Congress did not turn the economy around with their massive spending stimulus package. Unemployment rates are high. They have not fixed the credit markets with bailouts. A new wave of foreclosures is underway. Home real estate prices are still in decline, nearly a quarter of American home owners are underwater on their mortgages, and the commercial real estate market is headed for complete disaster. Small businesses are experiencing a credit squeeze, which some economic authorities argue is attributable to government soaking up available credit for federal deficits.

As the US economy sinks, the democrats controlling Washington are attempting to hand it an anvil in the form of a staggering new health care entitlement. If a deficit burden reaching to the sky is not enough, we know that Congress has every intention of allowing the Bush tax cuts to expire, and proposals for new forms of taxation, a V.A.T. and even a special wartime surtax, have been floated. Coming up as well are plans for even yet another massive federal tax scheme involving mandatory purchases of carbon credits (at least for business not favored by federal exemptions) and dollar transfers to international bodies and/or Third World countries.

Most of us assumed that leftwing democrats want to do all these economically unfortunate things because they are clueless, childish, and subscribe to a worldview whose economic theories have everything backward. They are reckless, irresponsible, and just plain dumb.

But, it turns out there is a more sinister theory out there.

According to James Simpson, writing at American Thinker, democrat bad economics is deliberate. There is a conspiracy, and they have a plan.

The methodology is known as the Cloward-Piven Strategy, and we can all be grateful to David Horowitz and his Discover the Networks for originally exposing and explaining it to us. He describes it as:

    The strategy of forcing political change through orchestrated crisis. The “Cloward-Piven Strategy” seeks to hasten the fall of capitalism by overloading the government bureaucracy with a flood of impossible demands, thus pushing society into crisis and economic collapse.

Richard Cloward and Frances Fox Piven were two lifelong members of Democratic Socialists of America who taught sociology at Columbia University (Piven later went on to City University of New York). In a May 1966 Nation magazine article titled “The Weight of the Poor,” they outlined their strategy, proposing to use grassroots radical organizations to push ever more strident demands for public services at all levels of government.

The result, they predicted, would be “a profound financial and political crisis” that would unleash “powerful forces … for major economic reform at the national level.” …

The real goal of “health care” legislation, the real goal of “cap-and-trade,” and the real goal of the “stimulus” is to rip the guts out of our private economy and transfer wide swaths of it over to the government to control. Do not be deluded by the propaganda. These initiatives are vehicles for change. They are not goals in and of themselves except in their ability to deliver power. They and will make matters much worse, for that is their design.

This time, in addition to overwhelming the government with demands for services, Obama and the Democrats are overwhelming political opposition to their plans with a flood of apocalyptic legislation. Their ultimate goal is to leave us so discouraged, demoralized, and exhausted that we throw our hands up in defeat. As Barney Frank said, “the middle class will be too distracted to fight.”

I was smiling ironically, as I began assembling what I thought would make an amusing posting identifying a colorful and extremist line of accusation. But, as I reflect on the peculiarly self-destructive aspects of recent democrat political behavior, their strange willingness to defy the polls and ram through controversial measures in defiance of public opinion, I wonder if looking upon what they are doing as a form of the Cloward-Piven Strategy does not make sense.

It was the stock market crash that doomed Republican chances to defeat a relatively unknown, radical democrat last year. Chaos, fear, and uncertainty were precisely the reason that independent voters were willing to vote for Change, any kind of change, and took a flyer on Barack Hussein Obama. Chaos and economic bad news have been Barack Obama’s friends so far. Rahm Emanuel is famous for observing that he saw an empowering opportunity for the left in a serious crisis and was resolved not to waste that opportunity.

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That Barney Frank “the middle class will be too distracted to fight” quotation may be a warning sign, though. I’ve been unable to verify it as a real statement made by the Congressman from Massachusetts. It turns up in large volume as a search result, but always from this same body of text.

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