Naked bodies and a new Messiah

If anyone had any doubt that the global warming movement is undergoing a serious collapse, this so-called news article from Spiegal Online, entitled “Naked bodies and a new Messiah: Green groups are trying to sex up climate change,” probably lays that doubt to rest. Key quote:

Environmentalists and scientists are concerned about the massive drop in public interest in the topic over the last year. Now they are looking for new strategies to turn the tide. They’re searching for so-called “mind bombs” — highly emotional images that reduce a complex problem down to one core message.

Sadly, the article never asks the fundamental question: What do “mind bombs” have to do with facts, data, and proving your theories are correct in the real world?

The answer of course is obvious: Nothing.
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“The right of the people to be secure against unreasonable searches and seizures shall not be violated,”

A Charlottesville man was arrested for protesting airport security searches. Key quote, written on his chest and abdomen:

“Amendment 4: The right of the people to be secure against unreasonable searches and seizures shall not be violated.”

I wonder if liberal Washington Post blogger Ezra Klein needs someone to explain what this quote means.

ObamaCare plans for high-risk patients attracting fewer, costing more than expected

Repeal the damn bill! Health plans for high-risk patients under ObamaCare are attracting fewer customers while costing far more than expected. Key quote:

Last spring, the Medicare program’s chief actuary predicted that 375,000 people would sign up by the end of 2010. In early November, the Health and Human Services Department reported that just 8,000 people had enrolled.

The Lawless Obama Administration

The lawless Obama administration. Key quote:

Obama uses his control over Executive Branch agencies to do what Congress or the courts have forbidden. It’s worked, sometimes, for him over the past few years. But he’s out of time now: the GOP-led House can defund many of these efforts, even if it can’t put a stop to them completely.

Just so no one has any doubts, doing something that both Congress and the courts say is forbidden is breaking the law. And it appears that the Obama administration has a fetish for this sort of thing.

The Space Show

For those who would are curious to hear me talk about the past year and what’s to come as well as celebrate the 42nd anniversary of the Christmas Eve reading of Genesis by the astronauts of Apollo 8, I will be appearing on David Livingston’s long running radio show/podcast, The Space Show, today at 9:30 am Pacific time (12:30 pm Eastern time). The interview is scheduled to last 90 minutes, but David and I usually end up going far longer.

Dr. Livingston has produced more than 1000 shows, interviewing almost every single important figure in the aerospace industry. As he noted recently:

The Space Show/One Giant Leap Foundation is a non-profit 501C3 and your contributions are deductible from your U.S. tax liability. But more important, your help is needed in getting the space message out there to as many as possible, including the movers and shakers in society and the space industry. Not only do we provide a platform for many of you and your own material, we play an increasingly larger and more important role in getting space development to go viral. However, we can’t do it without your help so if you are able to make a contribution to The Space Show/OGLF this year, not only will it be appreciated, it will be most beneficial in helping to achieve Space Show goals and objectives.

To this I heartily say, amen! If you want to find out what’s going on in the aerospace community, The Space Show is undeniably one of the best places to go. The show deserves our support, and for that reason I want to give it a enthusiastic plug. You can make contributions by Pay Pal on The Space Show website here or on the One Giant Leap Foundation website. Checks made payable to One Giant Leap Foundation, Inc. can be mailed to P.O. 95, Tiburon, CA 94920.

Avoiding the facts in the climate debate

Yesterday the New York Times published a long article by Justin Gillis describing the work of Charles Keeling, the scientist who first measured the increase in carbon dioxide in the Earth’s atmosphere. The article is very much worth reading, as it does a generally reasonable and detailed job of giving the history, background, and importance of Keeling’s research.

Unfortunately, the flaws of Gillis’s article illustrate the difficulty of debating climate change science, or maybe any political issue, in our times. Though Gillis does make an effort to give the skeptical scientists their fair due, he is so convinced they are wrong that his article in the end fails to address the basic areas of disagreement on which the entire climate debate today hinges. In fact, by avoiding some of the debate’s most basic issues, Gillis ends up creating barriers which make an honest analysis of the issues impossible.

That this seems to happen in almost all political debates today is distressing, at the least. How can we honestly face our problems if we refuse to face all the facts on which those problems hang?

Let’s consider the specific areas where Gillis’s demonstrates a large blind spot:

1. One of the fundamental facts that throws a wrench in all global warming theories is the fact, recognized by all climate scientists, that in all past global warming events, the Earth’s climate warmed before the levels of carbon dioxide rose. In other words, an increase in carbon dioxide in the atmosphere did not cause global warming. Instead, the warming encouraged the increase in carbon dioxide.

An honest appraisal of the science of climate change would always recognize this puzzling but very significant data point. Gillis, however, fails to mention it. Nor is Gillis alone in this failure. Almost all global warming advocates as well as their willing helpers in the press routinely ignore this important detail. Yet, that climate scientists can’t explain this fact is one of primary reasons many are skeptical of the disaster scenarios put forth by global warming advocates.

As I say, an honest discussion of this subject would always recognize this point.

2. As his primary evidence that the Earth is now warming from the increase of atmospheric carbon dioxide, Gillis has this to say:

In 2007, a body appointed by the United Nations declared that the scientific evidence that the earth was warming had become unequivocal, and it added that humans were almost certainly the main cause. Mr. Gore and the panel jointly won the Nobel Peace Prize.

This “body” is of course the IPCC. That Gillis is strangely reluctant to actually name this organization in his article suggests he knows its reputation is seriously damaged. Rather than face this fact and deal with it, however, he prefers to ignore it, and in the process help his readers avoid this fact as well.

Yet, the IPCC reports have known problems. They contain some fundamental factual errors, as well as citing as evidence numerous press releases from environmental advocacy groups, hardly a reliable source of information. This is not to say that the IPCC reports should be dismissed wholesale, but for Gillis to depend on them as his sole source of proof of global warming without recognizing these problems is not only inappropriate, it discredits everything he writes. It also suggests that he relies more on the prestige of the organization who issued the report, rather than the science behind it. His further reference to Al Gore and the Nobel prize is further evidence of this reliance on authority.

Once again, an honest appraisal of the present state of the global warming debate would gladly face all these facts, and describe them for the reader.

3. Gillis makes the unfortunate decision to call anyone who questions the science of global warming a “contrarian.” The use of this denigrating term, comparable to the use of the term “denier”, suggests that Gillis has a closed mind about the subject, and has no interest in finding out anything about the skeptical view.

An honest appraisal of the debate, however, would avoid these kinds of loaded terms. It is perfectly fine to note the weaknesses of the skeptical position. It is not acceptable to use ad hominem attacks to discredit them.

All in all, the three examples above encompass all of the basic problems we face in almost all our political debates today:

  • First, the refusal to face some inconvenient facts.
  • Second, the willingness to rely on authority or prestige, rather than the facts themselves.
  • And third, the willingness to use ad hominem attacks to discredit anyone who disagrees with you.

Until we stop doing these foolish things, we will find it impossible to discuss or solve our problems reasonably, and with good will.

How Obamacare is Hastening the bankruptcy of state governments

Repeal the damn bill! How Obamacare is hastening the bankruptcy of state governments. Key quote:

If state Medicaid spending increases by 41 percent as projected by [the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services], then by next year Medicaid could end up consuming nearly 30 percent of the average state budget. Medicaid would greatly exceed all other state priorities, including education, which tops state budgets at about 22 percent. In fact, state spending on education would experience certain cuts next year. [emphasis mine]

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