November 30, 2011

"a triumph for science..."

snowy bear

A snippet from an interesting piece on Hans Joachim "John" Schellnhuber, Malcolm Gladwell, tipping points and Climategate. Schellnhuber is a sort of warmist "entrepreneur" and glad-hander, now an advisor to Merkel. This is a glimpse of the creepy ugliness that lurks beneath the surface of the "green" world...

...Amongst the subsystems discussed are the Arctic sea ice, which could take 10 years to disappear, the collapse of the Gulf Stream (10 years), and the greening of the Sahara Desert (10 years). None look likely today, with global temperatures fairly static (or falling slightly – depending on how you fit the curve) for 15 years.

It was a deeply pessimistic point of view. But Schellnhuber welcomed the climate apocalypse, because he saw human beings as the planet's enemy – and the planet must come before human life.

"In a very cynical way, it's a triumph for science because at last we have stabilised something – namely the estimates for the carrying capacity of the planet, namely below 1 billion people," Schellnhuber told a conference in March 2009. Such a neo-Malthusian vision could only be turned into reality with unprecedented coercion and repression....

Just keep in mind, when you are asked to donate to Greenpeace or WWF or other organs of genocidal nihilism.

Posted by John Weidner at 6:34 PM

November 28, 2011

Time's up...

Professor Jacobson, » Barney Frank retires, Democratic self-decapitation continues :

I was in the car this morning when I heard on the news that Barney Frank was retiring and would not run for re-election.

Obviously there is a lot of snark which could be thrown around, but this represents a bigger deal than Barney.  As more and more senior Democrats retire, the realization is sinking in that there is no next generation of Democrats.

The younger generation of Democrats in Congress was wiped out in 2010 (along with some senior Democrats as well).  On the eve of the 2010 elections I wrote:
The Democrats face a political decapitation tomorrow.

Dozens of senior Democratic Party leaders in the House and Senate, and in Statehouses around the country, are likely to lose.  Unlike Republicans in 2008, there is no next generation of Democratic leaders.

Who are the Democratic Party equivalents of Marco Rubio, Mitch Daniels, John Thune, Bobby Jindal, Paul Ryan or Eric Cantor?

The Republican Party has numerous rising stars.  I cannot think of a single Democratic Party rising star. Can you?
The Democratic congressional problem remains the same.  Democrats in Congress have lost both their past and their future. Barney Frank's retirement is just another example.

The model of the world and politics and economics that Dems are using—what Walter Mead calls the "Blue Model" (or "the blue beast") —is no longer workable. It's an Industrial Age model that no longer fits with reality. They don't have a future until they find a new model. And all the senior people are too old and stiff to change.

Actually it may not be age that's the problem, but success. Sometimes that worst thing that can happen to people, or organizations, is to be successful. When people find something that works, they cling to it. Whereas the person who is more-or-less a failure is open to new possibilities. That's one reason why you should read Random Jottings. I've never been accounted a success at all. Rose petals have never been strewn in my path. So I'm totally open to the possibility that everything I know is wrong. And therefore if a new idea comes along, there is at least a fighting chance that I will be able to SEE it. Unlike people who already feel they have things under control.

That's the Dem's big problem right now. They were successful in the past, and now they are stuck. This also, by the way, fits with the theory of the 70-Year Cycle. Dems were hugely successful in the 1930's. But that generation grew up in a Republican-dominated world, and so they had a lot of humility. They knew darned well that there was another model of the world. The problem in the 70-year cycle comes with the second generation. They grow up in a world whee their model is pretty much unquestioned. A person like Frank can't even imagine that his model could be dysfunctional, because he grew up among those who thought that the Blue Model it was the end-point of all human endeavor.

Some time around 2030 we will start to see significant numbers of Dems who have something new to say, and the start of a new model.

Posted by John Weidner at 6:24 PM

November 26, 2011

Amen, brother Albert....

One of the more odd-but-meaningful moments of my life was in 1971. One of my professors at UC Berkeley was the well-known architecture critic Allen Temko. He brought a batch of his students over to SF for the "unveiling" of the Vaillancourt Fountain, and we handed out his flyers deriding it. (I remember the flyer described Justin Herman as "the Gauleiter of the Redevelopment Agency.") It was a signal moment of my life, though it took me 3 decades to really start to "see" it. To see what it meant.

Burke touches [the] matter of patriotism with a searching phrase. 'For us to love our country,' he said, 'our country ought to be lovely.' I have sometimes thought that here may be the rock on which Western civilization will finally shatter itself. Economism can build a society which is rich, prosperous, powerful, even one which has a reasonably wide diffusion of material well-being. It can not build one which is lovely, one which has savour and depth, and which exercises the irresistible attraction that loveliness wields. Perhaps by the time economism has run its course the society it has built may be tired of itself, bored by its own hideousness, and may despairingly consent to annihilation, aware that it is too ugly to be let live any longer.
      -- Albert J. Nock

Well, we can see this all around us. It's plain as a pikestaff, but no one wants to see. Look at this picture of the Vaillancourt Fountain, with the Ferry Building behind it...

Nihilist Vaillancourt Fountain and noble tower

Our world is belatedly becoming conscious that there's something very bad going on with birthrates. (If you are new to our brave new situation, "TFR" stands for Total Fertility Rate. It's how demographers designate birthrates. The TFR number is births-per-woman. A TFR of 2.1 is replacement rate. That is, the birth-rate at which population will stay the same. Below that, population shrinks. Above, it grows. Europe now has an average TFR of 1.5. Europe is toast.)

The book to read right now is David P. Goldman's How Civilizations Die: (And Why Islam Is Dying Too) (I wish I had the ooompf to write a full review, but I did write a bit here.)

Goldman points out that the most reliable correlation is between birth rates and faith. Family size correlates with frequency of religious observance. (This is not controversial, demographers are in agreement on this one.) I'd like to suggest that there is something else that dovetails with birthrates, although it can't be quantified or pinned down.

Knowing what we know now, I will submit with confidence that the people who built the tower in the background had a TFR of at least 3. And the people responsible for the abomination in the foreground—that's you, SF liberals—have a TFR well south of 2.

Beauty is really a proxy for something deeper. Beauty comes from God. The San Franciscans who built the Ferry Building and its towering 1898 were still in touch with the deep wells of faith from which beauty grows. (Explicit religious observance was in decline, and the architect may not have been a church-goer, but, as those who have followed my arguments about nihilism will understand, the habits of Judaism and Christianity still lingered on.)

Liberalism is the idea that we humans can navigate ourselves, without need for outside landmarks or guide-stars. [Link] One expression of that idea has long been that art and poetry etc will flourish once people are liberated from the shackles of religion and tradition and stuffy morality. So, human race, how's that bit of hopey-changy working' out for you? Hmm? Are we all happy with the buildings we are getting? With the poems—do they linger in your mind like a fragrance? How about paintings and sculpture? Do they make your life sweeter? Or nobler?

This has turned into a stream of consciousness post, and I should really outline my thoughts and re-write it. Ha ha, how likely is that? Maybe later.

Posted by John Weidner at 12:54 PM

November 23, 2011

Just in case anyone's late to the Orwellian party...

...You can see the famous "Hockey Stick" in the upper part of the graph below. It covers about 1,000 years. Hockey stick-shaped graphs have been reproduced tens-of-thousands of times, in articles, schoolbooks, government reports. When you hear that the science of Anthropogenic Global Warming is "settled," that's the picture you are supposed to be accepting ...

Two climate graphs

The lower part is the consensus view of climate for the last millennium that prevailed until the 1990's. What I grew up with. (The "science was settled!") The big orange bump is the Medieval Warm Period. Remember that? Farms in Greenland? Wine produced in England? And the blue dips comprise the "Little Ice Age." Remember that? Remember reading about ice fairs on the Thames? Hmm?

Well, if such things linger in your head, you are anti-science! You are a crazy right-winger attacking settled truth.

What fills me with exceptional scorn and contempt, is that it was just like Orwell's book 1984, where the totalitarian state has been at war with Oceania. And then it's announced that they are now allied with Oceania, and at war with Eastasia. And the minds of the obedient subjects just flip to the new position, and assume that they have always been at war with Eastasia.

The same kind of flip happened in the 90's. All our obedient fake-liberals flipped, and accepted the new "settled" version without questioning. Without thought. The Medieval Warm was deep-sixed without a qualm. Animals.

Here's the most common version of the 'Hockey Stick," from the original paper by Michael Mann.

And since I'm rambling away here, here's a quote on a "Frost Fair" on the river Thames, from the Diary of John Evelyn, about 1670:

"Coaches plied from Westminster to the Temple, as in the streets; sleds, sliding with skates, bull-baiting, horse and coach races, puppet plays and interludes, cooks, tippling and other lewd places, so that it seemed to be a bacchanalian triumph, or carnival on the water."

Frost Fair 2

Posted by John Weidner at 1:04 PM

Worth reading...

Mike Plaiss sent me a link to a great essay by Matt Ridley, Scientific Heresy. I've seen it mentioned in the past, but somehow never got around to reading it...

...I was not always such a 'lukewarmer'. In the mid 2000s one image in particular played a big role in making me abandon my doubts about dangerous man-made climate change: the hockey stick. It clearly showed that something unprecedented was happening. I can remember where I first saw it at a conference and how I thought: aha, now there at last is some really clear data showing that today's temperatures are unprecedented in both magnitude and rate of change — and it has been published in Nature magazine.

Yet it has been utterly debunked by the work of Steve McIntyre and Ross McKitrick. I urge you to read Andrew Montford's careful and highly readable book The Hockey Stick Illusion. Here is not the place to go into detail, but briefly the problem is both mathematical and empirical. The graph relies heavily on some flawed data — strip-bark tree rings from bristlecone pines — and on a particular method of principal component analysis, called short centering, that heavily weights any hockey-stick shaped sample at the expense of any other sample. When I say heavily — I mean 390 times.

This had a big impact on me. This was the moment somebody told me they had made the crop circle the night before. For, apart from the hockey stick, there is no evidence that climate is changing dangerously or faster than in the past, when it changed naturally. It was warmer in the Middle Ages and medieval climate change in Greenland was much faster...

I would make a couple of very minor quibbles. I don't think the theory that Edmund DeVere, 15th Earl of Oxford wrote Shakespeare's plays is pseudo-science. I thought so for most of my life, since there are abundant documentary references to William Shakespeare. But I was jolted when it was pointed out to me that none of them refer to him as a playwright! I haven't pursued the matter, but a hasty scan showed me that there are some good arguments for that theory.

And alchemy was not pseudo-science when Newton studied it. To a considerable extant it was the stunning success of Newton's other work that established what we now call "science" as... science. And thus showed alchemy up as an effort that was going nowhere.

WORD NOTE: I would argue that our use of the word "science" to refer to the natural sciences is a misnomer that has poisoned our thinking. A science is, to quote my American Heritage Dictionary: 3. A systematically organized body of knowledge on a particular subject: the science of criminology. That's the original meaning of the word, which has been almost driven out of discourse. To the great impoverishment of thought. [A bit more here.]
Word Note logo


Posted by John Weidner at 8:39 AM

November 22, 2011

Oh bliss! Unbelievable!

James Delingpole- Telegraph Blogs:

Breaking news: two years after the Climategate, a further batch of emails has been leaked onto the internet by a person - or persons - unknown. And as before, they show the "scientists" at the heart of the Man-Made Global Warming industry in a most unflattering light. Michael Mann, Phil Jones, Ben Santer, Tom Wigley, Kevin Trenberth, Keith Briffa - all your favourite Climategate characters are here, once again caught red-handed in a series of emails exaggerating the extent of Anthropogenic Global Warming, while privately admitting to one another that the evidence is nowhere near as a strong as they'd like it to be.

In other words, what these emails confirm is that the great man-made global warming scare is not about science but about political activism. This, it seems, is what motivated the whistleblower 'FOIA 2011' (or "thief", as the usual suspects at RealClimate will no doubt prefer to tar him or her) to go public....

I haven't had any time to look at them, but from a quick scan of blogs, things are going to get interesting. Some highlights from Bishop Hill:

...4369: Ed Cook say Mike (presumably Mann) is "defending something that increasingly can not bedefended". PResumably the Hockey Stick

5055: Cook criticising RegEm, a statistical method used in one of Mann's later papers.

1527 Wilson says McIntyre correct on verification statistics.

3757: Harrabin writes to UEA's Mike Hulme about a global broadcasting initiative.

4693 Crowley: I am not convinced that the "truth" is always worth reaching if it is at the cost of damaged personal relationships

???? Jones (?) UEA does not hold the very vast majority of mine [potentially FOIable emails] anyway which I copied onto private storage after the completion of the IPCC task.

???? Jones: I've been told that IPCC is above national FOI Acts. One way to cover yourself and all those working in AR5 would be to delete all emails at the end of the process

1577: Jones: [FOI, temperature data] Any work we have done in the past is done on the back of the research grants we get - and has to be well hidden. I've discussed this with the main funder (US Dept of Energy) in the past and they are happy about not releasing the original station data.

1682: What if climate change appears to be just mainly a multidecadal natural fluctuation? They'll kill us probably [...]...
Posted by John Weidner at 2:19 PM

November 20, 2011

A cautionary tale...

Most of my projects are doomed to failure... I'm not even on the same wavelength as everybody else. Heck I might as well be speaking Martian. But I keep trying.

One project most close to my heart is to try to wake up my parish (and eventually all the other Catholics too) to the need to adjust to the new era we have entered. We have left the Industrial Age, and entered the Information Age. We need to adapt and change. Most likely we will not do so. Instead we will crash and burn, and our grandchildren will cobble together new structures from the tumbled stones of the ruins.

Such a waste.

This is a cautionary tale I'll be circulating; a story of a certain institution that could not SEE that times had changed...

Papal states map 1870Have you heard of the Papal States? Did you know that the Pope was once a sovereign prince, the ruler of a large part of central Italy? With his own army and police and castles and taxes? (Firearms collectors place high value on the rare M1868 Papal States Remington rifle, known as the... Pontificio!) The Papal States made sense in the Agricultural Age, when power and wealth flowed from land, and the idea of great lord without a landed patrimony was almost unthinkable. Land was the only reliable investment. The Pope had lands of his own from the Sixth to the Nineteenth centuries. And no one seems to have minded much 

With the coming of the Industrial Revolution the Papal States were doomed. Their reason for existing evaporated, because the income and strength derived from land and peasants became trivial compared to what the Holy See could raise from donations from the industrially developed world. And the new geo-political organizing principle was the nation state, not the feudal territories of princes. The very concept of a "prince" had become obsolete, though many still held such titles.
The Papal States were violently seized from the Pope by the emerging nation of Italy in 1861 and 1870. (Before the mid-19th century Italy had been a collection of city-states, not a nation.) At the time this seemed like the end of the world to many Catholics.

Thousands of Catholic men from around the globe volunteered for the Papal forces, and fought in small but serious battles against Garibaldi's Redshirts. When the Italian Army finally marched into Rome in 1870, this seemed to most Catholics outrageous and unforgivable. Bitterness and intransigence were the order of the day. No pope spoke in St Peter's Square for 46 years, because it was under the control of the Italian Army. The situation was not fully resolved until 1926.

Few people then imagined that the influence of the Pope in the world would greatly increase with the loss of his territories. And yet it was true. The loss of the states was a blessing in disguise, and no one today would want the Pope to be a territorial magnate.

The lesson: The Church in the 19th century poured large amounts of her treasure and energy into defending things that were, in reality, already dead. More importantly, she was slow to see many of the new opportunities and possibilities of the 19th century and the industrializing world.
Posted by John Weidner at 7:05 PM | Comments (0)

November 18, 2011

"The abject lawlessness and contempt for humanity of the Marxist Obama regime..."

I have nothing to add to this. It speaks for itself all too well...

Ann Barnhardt:

...Dear Clients, Industry Colleagues and Friends of Barnhardt Capital Management,

It is with regret and unflinching moral certainty that I announce that Barnhardt Capital Management has ceased operations. After six years of operating as an independent introducing brokerage, and eight years of employment as a broker before that, I found myself, this morning, for the first time since I was 20 years old, watching the futures and options markets open not as a participant, but as a mere spectator.

The reason for my decision to pull the plug was excruciatingly simple: I could no longer tell my clients that their monies and positions were safe in the futures and options markets – because they are not. And this goes not just for my clients, but for every futures and options account in the United States. The entire system has been utterly destroyed by the MF Global collapse. Given this sad reality, I could not in good conscience take one more step as a commodity broker, soliciting trades that I knew were unsafe or holding funds that I knew to be in jeopardy.

The futures markets are very highly-leveraged and thus require an exceptionally firm base upon which to function. That base was the sacrosanct segregation of customer funds from clearing firm capital, with additional emergency financial backing provided by the exchanges themselves. Up until a few weeks ago, that base existed, and had worked flawlessly. Firms came and went, with some imploding in spectacular fashion. Whenever a firm failure happened, the customer funds were intact and the exchanges would step in to backstop everything and keep customers 100% liquid – even as their clearing firm collapsed and was quickly replaced by another firm within the system.

Everything changed just a few short weeks ago. A firm, led by a crony of the Obama regime, stole all of the non-margined cash held by customers of his firm. Let's not sugar-coat this or make this crime seem "complex" and "abstract" by drowning ourselves in six-dollar words and uber-technical jargon. Jon Corzine STOLE the customer cash at MF Global. Knowing Jon Corzine, and knowing the abject lawlessness and contempt for humanity of the Marxist Obama regime and its cronies, this is not really a surprise. What was a surprise was the reaction of the exchanges and regulators. Their reaction has been to take a bad situation and make it orders of magnitude worse. Specifically, they froze customers out of their accounts WHILE THE MARKETS CONTINUED TO TRADE, refusing to even allow them to liquidate. This is unfathomable. The risk exposure precedent that has been set is completely intolerable and has destroyed the entire industry paradigm. No informed person can continue to engage these markets, and no moral person can continue to broker or facilitate customer engagement in what is now a massive game of Russian Roulette.

I have learned over the last week that MF Global is almost certainly the mere tip of the iceberg. There is massive industry-wide exposure to European sovereign junk debt. While other firms may not be as heavily leveraged as Corzine had MFG leveraged, and it is now thought that MFG's leverage may have been in excess of 100:1, they are still suicidally leveraged and will likely stand massive, unmeetable collateral calls in the coming days and weeks as Europe inevitably collapses. I now suspect that the reason the Chicago Mercantile Exchange did not immediately step in to backstop the MFG implosion was because they knew and know that if they backstopped MFG, they would then be expected to backstop all of the other firms in the system when the failures began to cascade – and there simply isn't that much money in the entire system. In short, the problem is a SYSTEMIC problem, not merely isolated to one firm...

(There's more, if you can stomach it.)

Posted by John Weidner at 10:22 AM

November 16, 2011

Don't stop now!

I'm keenly disappointed to hear that the authorities are shutting down the "occupiers."

It's not fair. In a couple of weeks we've recapitulated Animal Farm, and were getting into Lord of the Flies. Murders, rapes, theft and robbery, arson, public defection and urination, foul obscenities, epidemic disease, total inability to self-govern... Buncha rats scuffling in a sack.

I was getting ready to take bets on when the show trials and pubic executions would start, and now they've spoiled the object lesson. We could have been munching popcorn while the barbed wire went up around the re-education tents.

* Update:

Zuccotti cleanout disgusting even for Sanitation workers -

City sanitation workers yesterday were forced to pick through a filthy pile of property seized from Zuccotti Park including dirty hypodermic needles, moldy food and glass-littered, broken gadgets.

"I pick up garbage [for a living], and these were some of the worst smells I’ve ever experienced," one worker grumbled to The Post.

About 150 trashmen stuffed the massive pile of soiled tents, old bikes and spoiling food into dump trucks — 26 loads in all — and hauled it to a West 57th Street Sanitation facility so that workers could begin sorting the personal goods from garbage....
Smelly hippie lights cig on burning American flag
Posted by John Weidner at 10:57 AM | Comments (1)

November 14, 2011

Quelques chose...

Here are just a few things I've been meaning to blog...

So, will Lefties apologize to George W Bush?

Military Commission for Terrorist Mastermind Begins — The Weekly Standard:

...The trial by military commission of top al Qaeda operative Abd al Rahim al Nashiri is set to commence today at Guantanamo. Nashiri's time in U.S. detention has been controversial because he was one of only three senior terrorists waterboarded by the CIA. Nashiri was subjected to other so-called enhanced interrogation techniques (EITs) as well....

Charlene recommended...

The Shadow Superpower - By Robert Neuwirth — Foreign Policy:

... Like almost all the transactions between Nigerian traders and Chinese manufacturers, it was also sub rosa: under the radar, outside of the view or control of government, part of the unheralded alternative economic universe of System D.

You probably have never heard of System D. Neither had I until I started visiting street markets and unlicensed bazaars around the globe.

System D is a slang phrase pirated from French-speaking Africa and the Caribbean. The French have a word that they often use to describe particularly effective and motivated people. They call them débrouillards. To say a man is a débrouillard is to tell people how resourceful and ingenious he is. The former French colonies have sculpted this word to their own social and economic reality. They say that inventive, self-starting, entrepreneurial merchants who are doing business on their own, without registering or being regulated by the bureaucracy and, for the most part, without paying taxes, are part of "l'economie de la débrouillardise." Or, sweetened for street use, "Systeme D."...

... In 2009, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), a think tank sponsored by the governments of 30 of the most powerful capitalist countries and dedicated to promoting free-market institutions, concluded that half the workers of the world -- close to 1.8 billion people -- were working in System D: off the books, in jobs that were neither registered nor regulated, getting paid in cash, and, most often, avoiding income taxes.

No big surprise here....

Smoking-Gun Document Ties Policy To Housing Crisis:

...But what if government encouraged, even invented, those "abusive practices"?

Rewind to 1994. That year, the federal government declared war on an enemy -- the racist lender -- who officials claimed was to blame for differences in homeownership rate, and launched what would prove the costliest social crusade in U.S. history.

At President Clinton's direction, no fewer than 10 federal agencies issued a chilling ultimatum to banks and mortgage lenders to ease credit for lower-income minorities or face investigations for lending discrimination and suffer the related adverse publicity. They also were threatened with denial of access to the all-important secondary mortgage market and stiff fines, along with other penalties....
Posted by John Weidner at 6:46 AM

November 12, 2011

Just a story that charmed me...

Fr Jay Scott Newman:

...Father Kimbrough was heir to the renovation of Anglicanism initiated by the 19th century Oxford Movement, led by the brilliant English scholar and Anglican priest Blessed John Henry Newman, but like Newman, who later left the Church of England and became a Catholic priest, Conrad Kimbrough was increasingly beset by doubts about the reality of the ancient Church, of Catholic faith and order, in a Christian community formed by schism during the 16th century Protestant Reformation.

The resolution of these doubts took many years for Father Kimbrough to work out, and while he was still living in Wisconsin, he was invited by friends in Stevens Point to a large gathering of Catholics who were joining a cardinal visiting from Europe for a Mass in a gym. Father Kimbrough's Catholic friends introduced him to the foreign cardinal, with whom he had a conversation about Anglicanism and his doubts, and Father Kimbrough was delighted that this Catholic bishop from a far country knew so much about Anglicanism and was so sympathetic to his situation. Although he could not receive Holy Communion at the cardinal's Mass, Father Kimbrough stayed until the end, and to avoid being in anyone's way, he sat high up on the last bleacher of the gymnasium.

As the procession passed by far beneath on the gym floor, the visiting cardinal stopped and gestured for Father Kimbrough to come down. He was deeply moved and ever after said that he felt like sinful Zacchaeus being called down from the sycamore tree. He knelt down to receive the cardinal's blessing, and that very night Conrad Kimbrough decided to be received into the Catholic Church. Less than one year later, the entire world was introduced to that same cardinal from a far country as Pope John Paul II....
Posted by John Weidner at 8:15 PM | Comments (0)

November 11, 2011

What the theory predicts...

On Balance, a Republican Election Cycle - By John Hood - The Corner - National Review Online:

...With the addition of Mississippi and Virginia, there are now 27 fully Republican legislatures, 15 Democratic ones, and seven splits. The last time the GOP had this much legislative power in state capitals, most motion pictures were still being produced without sound.

On balance, while some high-profile conservative initiatives and political leaders were defeated, voters pushed American politics a bit more to the right this year. I wouldn’t oversell the point – some of those legislative victories were extremely narrow, for example, and local elections went against conservatives in some places – but the MSNBC/DNC spin on Election Day 2011 is rather silly....

That is to say, "The last time the GOP had this much legislative power in state capitals" was the 1920's. This fits the theory of the 70-Year Cycle very well, with the previous—Democrat— cycle starting about 1930. Dems will continue to have some good years, like 2008, but the overall trend will be running against them until (very roughly) 2030, and a real clear turn in their favor not until we are approaching 2070.

And of course they will be a very different party then.

Posted by John Weidner at 7:47 AM | Comments (2)

November 10, 2011

Interesting parallel at Penn State...

Steve McIntyre, Penn State President Fired — Climate Audit:

...On the same day that Nature published yet another editorial repudiating public examination of the conduct of academic institutions, Penn State President Graham Spanier was fired from his $813,000/year job for failing to ensure that a proper investigation was carried out in respect to pedophilia allegations in Penn State's hugely profitable football program. The story is receiving massive coverage in North America because the iconic Penn State football coach, Joe Paterno, was also fired today.

CA readers are aware of Spanier's failure to ensure proper investigation of Climategate emails and his untrue puffs about the ineffective Penn State Inquiry Committee, reported at CA here and by the the Penn State Collegian as follows:
Graham Spanier addressed the inquiry and the panel's work during the Board of Trustees meeting on Jan. 22. Penn State President Spanier is quoted as saying:

"I know they've taken the time and spent hundreds of hours studying documents and interviewing people and looking at issues from all sides," Spanier said.
Spanier's claims were totally untrue. Not only did the Inquiry Committee fail to "look at issues from all sides", they didn't even interview or take evidence from critics – as they were required to do under the applicable Penn State policy. As I reported at CA at the time...

Scoundrel dogs. The self-styled "elites" betray us again. And again. At least a few of them have now got bought in something they can't whitewash.

Actually the climate fraud could be considered far worse, morally, than the pedophilia. The proposed remedies for AGW could, due to the massive economic contraction they would entail, kill millions of the world's most poor and vulnerable people.

Steve McIntyre is one of the unsung heroes of our age, for his work in exposing climate frauds. I've written about him before. Link, link, link.

Posted by John Weidner at 10:46 PM

Always always the same answer...

A unified theory of left-wing causes | Power Line:

Steven Den Beste comments on Steve Hayward's population bomb post:

...Isn't it interesting that no matter what the current global crisis is, according to leftists, the solution is always the same: a benevolent world dictatorship of the enlightened elite, and mass transfer of wealth from rich nations to poor nations.

That's what they want to do about global warming. It's what they wanted to do about overpopulation. It's what they wanted to do about endangered species....

And they will be proposing the the same solution for global cooling and underpopulation. And for the population explosion of Polar Bears.

I remember when Den Beste was one of the top bloggers in the world. Or at least our corner of it. Health problems caused him to retire, but he still is heard from now and then.

Posted by John Weidner at 9:01 AM | Comments (1)

November 9, 2011

Absurd Grinchery...

It's silly to ask, since we'll never get an answer... But WHY does the federal government have to "improve the image and marketing of Christmas trees"? Are Christmas trees considered disreputable? Trashy? Un-cool? Is the industry dying because people are switching to imports? Perhaps the Feds will promote hanging them upside-down from the ceiling—that's apparently a hip new thing. (Or maybe I'm out of the loop, and having an upside-down tree will just get me laughed at, for following last year's fad.)

Obama Couldn't Wait: His New Christmas Tree Tax:

...In the Federal Register of November 8, 2011, Acting Administrator of Agricultural Marketing David R. Shipman announced that the Secretary of Agriculture will appoint a Christmas Tree Promotion Board.  The purpose of the Board is to run a "program of promotion, research, evaluation, and information designed to strengthen the Christmas tree industry's position in the marketplace; maintain and expend existing markets for Christmas trees; and to carry out programs, plans, and projects designed to provide maximum benefits to the Christmas tree industry" (7 CFR 1214.46(n)).  And the program of "information" is to include efforts to "enhance the image of Christmas trees and the Christmas tree industry in the United States" (7 CFR 1214.10).

To pay for the new Federal Christmas tree image improvement and marketing program, the Department of Agriculture imposed a 15-cent fee on all sales of fresh Christmas trees by sellers of more than 500 trees per year (7 CFR 1214.52).  And, of course, the Christmas tree sellers are free to pass along the 15-cent Federal fee to consumers who buy their Christmas trees.

Acting Administrator Shipman had the temerity to say the 15-cent mandatory Christmas tree fee "is not a tax nor does it yield revenue for the Federal government" (76 CFR 69102).  The Federal government mandates that the Christmas tree sellers pay the 15-cents per tree, whether they want to or not.  The Federal government directs that the revenue generated by the 15-cent fee goes to the Board appointed by the Secretary of Agriculture to carry out the Christmas tree program established by the Secretary of Agriculture.  Mr. President, that's a new 15-cent tax to pay for a Federal program to improve the image and marketing of Christmas trees....
Posted by John Weidner at 7:51 AM

November 6, 2011

"Brezhnevite junk heap"

Lexington Green, You Must Love Whittaker Chambers, But You Must Not Drink Too Deeply Of His Perfumed Pessimism:

...I simply do not believe we are at the great nightfall.

We beat the Kaiser, the Nazis, and the Soviet Union.

I really do not think the public sector employees present as great a material threat to America as the Soviet Strategic Rocket Force once did.

Nor do I think that Political Correctness and its minions, for all its poison and perniciousness, presents as great a threat as the cadres of Soviet agents and fellow travelers who once sought our destruction.

We stand within reach of a new flowering of Anglo-American freedom and prosperity. We are on the verge of breathtaking and liberating breakthroughs in science and technology and medicine, which will make the world a better place.  I absolutely believe this.  It is not inevitable, but we are preloaded for it. We just have to seize it.

Only the crumbling, ramshackle, Brezhnevite junk heap of the Twentieth Century Blue Model legacy state stands in our way.  Its defenders have nothing to appeal to, no great principle, no worthy cause, only their own comfort and security at the expense of the great mass of people in America, and at the expense of their hopes for the future.  

That is not, as they say these days a "meta-stable" situation.  What can't go on won't go on.

The rusting junk heap is going to fall apart before our eyes, with a shocking suddenness reminiscent of the collapse of the Soviet Union. That is my prediction.

We need to keep pushing on it, pointing at its bankruptcy, mocking it, and showing people how it could be so much better...

Well, it makes sense, but I'm not sure. I mean I'm pretty sure that the "rusting junk heap" of the Blue Model is indeed going to fall apart. And in fact we can see that happening. But as Solzhenitsyn put it, the dividing line between good and evil runs through every human heart. (Reading that, sometime back in the early Seventies, was one of the great dividing moments of my life. A thousand utilitarian fantasies began to crumble.

But in this turn of the wheel, the barbarians are us. "We have met the enemy, and he is us," as Walt Kelley put it. The empire is crumbling—maybe, maybe, maybe not—and the barbarians are on the march. But this cycle we are creating our own barbarians. Which makes them damn hard to fight. The real metric to pay attention to is the "barbarian-creation-quotient."

I labor always to prevent it, but my guess is that our future is...

Statue of Our Lady destroyed by scum

Posted by John Weidner at 9:39 PM

November 5, 2011

Me, I'm "an insult to the 19th century"

John Henry Newman was one of the great satirists of the English language. Somehow the academy no longer studies his prose. Gee, I wonder why. I think this snippet is as good as anything by Swift...

...We [Protestants] uphold the pure unmutilated Scripture; the Bible, and the Bible only, is the religion of Protestants; the Bible and our own sense of the Bible. We claim a sort of parliamentary privilege to interpret laws in our own way, and not to suffer an appeal to any court beyond ourselves. We know, and we view it with consternation, that all Antiquity runs counter to our interpretation; and therefore, alas, the Church was corrupt from very early times indeed. But mind, we hold all this in a truly Catholic spirit, not in bigotry. We allow in others the right of private judgment, and confess that we, as others, are fallible men. We confess facts are against us; we do but claim the liberty of theorizing in spite of them. Far be it from us to say that we are certainly right; we only say that the whole early Church was certainly wrong. We do not impose our belief on any one; we only say that those who take the contrary side are Papists, firebrands, persecutors, madmen, zealots, bigots, and an insult to the 19th century...

      — John Henry Cardinal Newman, Historical Sketches. London: 1872.
Posted by John Weidner at 7:47 PM | Comments (0)

November 3, 2011

Proud day for the Weidners!

Blogging has been slow lately, because Charlene and I are in Columbia, SC, to see our middle son, William, graduate from Basic Training! We've had a couple of awesome days at Ft. Jackson. Will's changed in many ways, all for the better. And is bursting with stories. And eating astonishing amounts of food when we take him out to dinner. He liked the Army chow, especially grits(!) but has lost a lot of weight.

Tomorrow he heads off to Ft. Huachuca in Arizona, for AIT. That's advanced training in his specialty, intelligence analysis. Then he'll come home. He's in the the Army Reserves, in a unit based in Mountain View. Sooner or later, he'll deploy and help America govern an empire she doesn't want, but seems to be collecting just because of the sheer hapless ineptitude of the rest of the world.

Anyway, we are very proud! Here he is with Charlene, who got to shoot off some blanks from an M-16. (No biggie; we have an AR-15.)

Will and Charlene at Basic Training graduation

And here he is with his platoon, kneeling on the lower left, listening to the drill sergeants. (Who I've cropped out; you are not supposed to blog their pictures.) The berets they get to wear upon graduation. Until now they've only worn patrol caps. But Lordy, they look so young! Buncha kids. But very polite and serious, a big contrast with the #Occupy flakes.

Will with platoon

* Update: We are home at last. And Will was sent on a charter from Columbia direct to Ft. Huachuca, (pronounced wuh CHEW kuh.) So he got there before we had struggled home, after driving to the airport in Charlotte, and he called us while we were waiting for a streetcar in SF.

It's a funny thing. I valued keenly the people we met in places like Columbia; they are solid, sensible, patriotic, polite, soft-spoken. You can trust them, you can rely on them. The problem, to an urbanite like me, is that they are also homely and slow-witted. And, well. boring. And then we get back to the city, and trendy kids are schooling past us like quicksilver, and they are electric, and often good-looking. But, alas, they are flaky and relativistic, without ballast or seriousness or good-sense. So it seems like there's nowhere I can really call home.

Posted by John Weidner at 2:14 PM