One of the editors of Scientific American defends climate change fraudsters. Turns out, the climate change experts only perpetrated fraud because when they said “Jump,” some of us idiot peons didn’t realize it was our job to ask how high.
I’m moving myself from the “climate change skeptic” category to the “climate change denier” category. If there really were a serious problem that threatened the entirety of humanity, scientists who knew about it would realize the gravity of the situation and rationally explain the problem to me. Since that’s not happening — the only thing that is happening is that a movement composed of would-be petty tyrants, asshats, and clowns is screaming at the top of its lungs that I have to let them regulate every aspect of my life or else THE WORST THING IMAGINABLE IS GOING TO HAPPEN!!!!!11! — I think its safe to assume that nothing serious is awry.
P.S. As a new member of the Denier community, I’m looking forward to my check from the “fossil fuel industry.” Thanks, Scientific American, for pointing out that all deniers get paid for being deniers. This is a great alternative cash stream I might otherwise have missed.
Apollo posted this at 1:58 AM CDT on Wednesday, November 25th, 2009 as Convenient Truth
[Glenn] Beck is spectacularly right (translation: I agree with him) on about 95 percent of the substantive issues he talks about. He is a full-throated libertarian in a world of wishy-washy Republicans. The man is a gifted communicator. His style doesn’t happen to be one I like, but many times I’ve sat there on my sofa wishing I could make the same point as effectively. But Beck uses tactics that include tiny snippets of film as proof of a person’s worldview, guilt by association, insinuation, and occasionally outright goofs like the fake quote. To put it another way, I as a viewer have no way to judge whether Beck is right. I have to trust that the snippets are not taken out of context, that the dubious association between A and B actually has evidence to support it, and that his numbers are accurate. It is impossible to have that trust.
So here’s the unbearable paradox. Beck really has had important effects on the way the Obama administration and its legislation is perceived. It is conceivable that if healthcare goes down to a razor-thin defeat, Beck will have made the difference. If that turns out to be the case, he will have made a far greater contribution to the survival of the American project than ink-stained wretches like me can dream of having. And I want to shut him up?
I don’t really want to shut him up. I want him to change. Take those enormous talents and make all the arguments that he can legitimately make. Keep the cutesy gimmicks (I understand that we’re talking entertainment here), but have an iceberg of evidence beneath the surface. Fox is making so much money from the show that it can afford the staff to do the homework.
Popularization –the ability to take dry-but-important material and present it in a fun and informative way — is an essential sub-field of any discipline. Carl Sagan was an unexceptional technical astronomer, but Cosmos did more good for his colleagues than a dozen new research papers, and infinitely more for the general public. Much the same could be said for Stephen Jay Gould, and Richard Dawkins* (Evolutionary Biology), Steven Pinker (Cognitive Science), Jacob Brownoski (History of Science), or Joseph J. Ellis and David McCollough (American History), just to name a few people whose work touches fields I’m interested in.
At its best, Talk Radio is to conservative politics what these academics are to their fields: people who are able to advocate for their causes and educate people who are intelligent, but busy. Most people aren’t going to read The Bell Curve or the Federalist Papers, but people like Beck, Limbaugh, or Mark Levin**, have the ability to communicate their essentials in to a broad audience much better than Charles Murray or James Madison.
Unfortunately, as Murray and our own Conor say, most of the current crop of Conservative popularizers*** have been using their (prodigious) talents for their own self promotion at the expense of their stated goals. When Mark Levin screams at a politely dissenting caller and sarcasticly suggests her husband commit suicide, it earns him slaps on the back from fans as much as it alienates moderates. When Rush Limbaugh hopes the president fails — not expects, as David Frum pointed out, but hopes! — he gets applause from dittoheads, but makes it hard for people in the middle to take him seriously. As for Beck, I’ve nothing to add beyond Murray’s comments.
Talk Radio is an important medium and it’s one that Conservatives should exploit to its fullest advantage. Obviously, there’s a balance to be struck: nobody wins converts with stale arguments, dull prose, and an apologetic tone, and controversy can be a tremendous asset if used properly. If conservatives have the best ideas –which we do! — we should be able to keep the troops in line while convincing swing voters that we’re right. Folks like Beck, Limbaugh, and Levin have the talent to do both, but aren’t showing much interest in the latter. That’s a shame.
* Dawkins is an interesting case, as he’s both a popularizer of Atheism and Evolutionary Biology. Until very recently, Dawkins refused to admit that these causes are — in America, at least — at odds with each other. In the past year or so, he appears to have relented, if only a little.
** You may notice the conspicuous absence of Sean Hannity from this list of the talented-but-flawed. This is intentional; Hannity has no talent.
*** There are exceptions, particularly Dennis Prager and Michael Medved, who — though imperfect — strive to be fair and honest while being entertaining and strong.
Is this guy’s. Lying around for 23 years unable to move or communicate, most of that time spent alone as people presumed you were just a piece of fleshy furniture. It’s the stuff of horror movies.
What’s more frightening? Reading that story and then having to deal with a loved one in a coma. Do you plug ‘em in, possibly sentencing them to years or decades staring at the ceiling, fully conscience but without meaningful interaction? Or do you pull the plug and deprive them of a chance at meaningful life once science catches up with their condition?
Me? I’m on the respirator for as long as it takes (I like to let as many people as possible know that). But that’s easy for me to say, not having spent 23 years in unfathomable boredom.
Apollo posted this at 2:37 AM CDT on Monday, November 23rd, 2009 as Philosophy
ONE day in January last year, Sarah Palin was watching her son graduate from boot camp. As she gazed at the ranks of “tall and strong and serious” young men marching in perfect unison, all of them “ready to sacrifice all in a fight for freedom”, she recalled something Senator John Kerry once told students in California. If you study hard, he said, “you can do well. And if you don’t, you get stuck in Iraq.” “What a loon,” thought Governor Palin. “What an elitist loon.”
This vignette captures rather well the secret of Mrs Palin’s appeal. John Kerry, of course, was a war hero, but these days he is the kind of senator who really annoys Mrs Palin’s fans. She, like most military mothers, thinks her son went to Iraq because he is brave and honourable. Mr Kerry implies that he went because he was too lazy or stupid to do anything else. Many Americans find this attitude condescending. These coastal liberals, some heartlanders grumble, think we all are brainless hicks—even the soldiers who defend them.
Some women think her feminism is fake. But others are inspired by the way she has juggled five kids and a career. When she first joined the Wasilla city council, she found it full of patronising old men. But she took her baby daughter to meetings, breastfed her while recording radio spots and “didn’t care too much what the good ol’ boys said about it.” She made enemies the right way—by shaking up the corrupt culture of her own party. And when she was elected the first female governor of America’s most lopsidedly male state, she worked well with Democrats, largely avoiding divisive social issues in favour of practical ones, such as oil and gas. At one point she was America’s most popular governor, in that nearly 90% of Alaskans approved of her. But all that changed when Senator John McCain thrust her into the national spotlight.
She had a few days to cram for a hazing most candidates spend years preparing for. She flunked, badly. Two-thirds of Americans now say she is unqualified to be president. A YouGov poll for The Economist this week found that 52% disapprove of her, of whom 40% do so strongly. And some of her critics express themselves rather forcefully. Naomi Wolf, a feminist, calls her “a stalking horse [for] the coming police state”. Al Gore’s TV channel calls her a “gun-ho”. Mrs Palin recalls her young daughter looking out of a car window and seeing people wearing T-shirts that said, simply: “Sarah Palin is a cunt”. Such rudeness outrages Mrs Palin’s supporters—and makes them love her more.
As I’ve said before, Sarah Palin has an almost unrivaled ability to make otherwise sane people crazy, and crazy people even crazier. This isn’t surprising when one considers that she stands at the nexus of controversies over sex, politics, and religion or that she enjoys throwing punches and that she’s incredibly attractive. I’ve exactly zero interest in her as a candidate at this point but, I’d be liar to say I can’t see the appeal.
I’m always impressed by the global warming lobby’s complete inability to understand human nature. The earth’s temperature is rising, they tell us, so we must change the high consumption lifestyle toward which free men have striven for countless generations and revert to 18th century CO2 output levels. When you realize what that means – less mobility, less meat, a colder house in the winter and a hotter house in the summer, women shaving their legs less often – you realize what a stunningly stupid marketing campaign that is.
Let me rephrase that for the less economically inclined: GLOBAL WARMING WILL REDUCE THE PRICE OF PROSTITUTES!
So you’ve got a choice. You can live in a teepee, eat sprouts, and ride an emission-controlled donkey to your town’s only prostitute, who charges extortionate rates, all so you can sleep soundly at night knowing that coastal villages in Bangladesh aren’t being flooded as badly as they might otherwise be. Or you can live in a big air-conditioned house, eat a steak each night for dinner, and drive a fast car to a red light district that has a wide selection of women at low prices, and send part of the money you save on prostitutes to the Bangladeshi Swimming Education Fund. Like our friends in “Hopenhagen,” I think the choice is clear.
Like any good conservative, I oscillate between loving and hating Lindsey Graham. Like his bff John McCain, there are moments when Graham’s departures from reason and principle are so inexplicable and indefensible that I would gladly see him rode of the party on a rail.
But exactly like McCain, there are moments when he stands taller than all the rest, calling down lightning bolts from a conservative god, and raining destruction and common sense on his enemies. Here he is, ensuring that Eric Holder has a backup anus in case his first one fails:
Holder imagines that he can hide inside that “thoughtful” routine that Obama so often relies on, but it is utterly pathetic here. Either he knows damned well what he’s doing and he’s lying or he’s outrageously unqualified for his job. His evasive style is so similar to Obama’s that he makes Obama look worse.
I’ll add that Graham is correct about the perverse incentive structure set up by our current Justice Department. If you kill American soldiers overseas, you get a military court; if you kill civilians in America, you get a civilian trial.
I’ll rephrase that, as a terrorist might see it: If you do combat with the greatest military force in the history of the world and happen to temporarily come out on top, your reward when captured will be a military tribunal held out of the public eye, followed by execution or an extended stay in a military facility; if you spend a while living in the wealthiest country in the history of the world and kill a few unsuspecting and unarmed civilians, your reward when caught will be a media circus trial with worldwide publicity, followed by decades of appeal and a lifetime spent in the world’s cushiest prison system where you are free to convert others to your murderous religion.
Graham is correct and Holder is wrong, but unfortunately Holder is the one who gets to make the policy that gives jihadists an incentive to come and kill American civilians. To every Republican who couldn’t hold his nose and vote for McCain, to every independent who fell for the hope and change shtick: Thanks!
Isn’t it awful how liberals treat the Constitution like dirt? As if it’s a living, breathing document that means whatever they want it to mean?
Yes, it is, and it’s even worse when conservatives do it:
I’m not quite certain if Napolitano is entirely correct, but I’m increasingly of the opinion that the decision to not declare war after 9/11 (as well as before the Iraq War) was a tremendous mistake and the progenitor of all the legal/detainee problems we’ve been dealing with so badly these past eight years. Certainly, the circumstances presented a extra few difficulties — one would have to word the declaration carefully — but it would be quite doable.
But to return where this post started, did O’Reily seriously just say “I don’t care about the Constitution”? Yes. Indeed, he did.
A father murders his 15 year old son for molesting a three year old (H/T). The father, Jamar Pinkney Sr., is now awaiting charges for first degree murder—as he should. But the story doesn’t sit quite right with me. Two other options:
The first is to turn the son into the police and try to have them throw the book at him.
The second is that the father, after killing his son, should have killed himself. Somebody should take the blame for not raising this kid right.
It’s never good for America when the presidency fails. But we seem to be in danger of this with President Obama. Seth Leibsohn documents the disrespect he faced in China (H/T):
The two most important things happening in and about Asia are Afghanistan, where President Obama did not go, and China’s support for our attempt at an Iran policy, which Obama did not get. No budging from China. The whole idea of negotiating with Iran was based on sanctions. And the whole idea around sanctions was that it would work if China cooperated. I never thought sanctions would work; I never thought negotiating with Iran would work. And, regardless, China is not playing ball with President Obama — in part because of our “weakened position.”
This is reminiscent of the Jimmy Carter years — the last time the U.S. was seen as weak — unable to move and coax other countries, unable to reassure dependent allies, unable to have the respect of the world and, of course, unable to move the mullocracy of Iran.
As for our “weakened position,” there are any number of ways to change that. Yes, our economy is the first problem and right now we have little leverage there. But our foreign policy has been one of retreat and capitulation as well. We capitulated to China on the Dalai Lama, we are capitulating to the Chinese client state of the Sudan, President Obama on Monday shook hands with the prime minister of repressive Myanmar (another China vassal state), of course he bowed to Japan, he took missile defenses out of Eastern Europe at the request of Russia, he has refused to say anything of strength about Iran, and has shown appeasement to Latin American dictators. Looking at this record: Why would a skeptical country like China think we are strong, deserving of respect?
This is not only sad, it is dangerous. A weak and disrespected America is bad for America, sends the wrong message to enemies (including terrorists), hurts dissident movements abroad, and — as a political matter, again — reminds us nothing so much as it does of the years of Jimmy Carter, which it took even more years to overcome.
Since Obama is floundering, here are some ideas to help the nation abroad.
Focus on controlling health care costs rather than expanding coverage. The former will save money; the latter will cost money we don’t have. Dropping the massive reform and focusing on small pieces of reform here and there will help more people and prevent any chaos arising from an omnibus bill.
Start winding down the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. It seems unlikely that we’ll be able to plant funcioning democracies in those arid lands, so it’s probably best to get regimes that are, if not peaceful, at least amenable to American interests. It’s also acceptable for Obama to double down and win the wars, especially if he can get functioning countries out of it. What’s NOT acceptable is the in-between compromise by dithering default that is the status quo.
Maintain the dollar as the world’s reserve currency. This means not piling debt on top of debt. It also might mean having the Fed raise interest rates, which will cause a great deal of short term pain. The long term goal, however, is worth it. We really don’t want someone else dominating the world economy.
Keep meeting with dissidents. Economic necessity will keep the bad regimes (like China) meeting and trading with us anyway. To quote George W. Bush to Iranian dissidents, “as you stand for your own liberty, America stands with you.” Meeting with the Dalai Lama should be a no-brainer.
Hubbard posted this at 9:58 AM CDT on Thursday, November 19th, 2009 as CHANGE!
U.S. President Barack Obama said in an interview with CNN on Wednesday he is “very close” to a decision on boosting troop levels in Afghanistan and would make an announcement “in the next several weeks.”
Apollo posted this at 11:06 AM CDT on Wednesday, November 18th, 2009 as CHANGE!
I vote for the latter. Volvo’s shtick is safety, and if there’s one group of people who ought not care about safety, it’s vampires. Even if a vampire wants to keep his emergency food girlfriend safe, getting a Volvo lady’s SUV seems a little over the top for an immortal. And even if that made sense, what portion of Twighlight‘s target audience is in the market for a new car? Or can drive? And what parent is going to take car-buying advice from their 12 year-old daughter? I just don’t get it. “But I want you to buy the car the nice vampires drive!”