Monday, April 30, 2007

Heating Up Global Warming Debate

I made a mistake this morning, going to Glen Reynolds' blog for some news.

In his usual style, he slips us these brief comments and a link. Follow those links and sometimes you get more than you bargained for.

In this case, the link was to a site purporting to offer Free Carbon Offsets, but in actuality offering an avalanche of links on the global warming issue that will take a month to read.

But here is one little piece of information that truly struck me cold. The link is to an extensive and exhaustive document from the office of Senator James Imhoff, and contains references to much scientific testimony and evidence that refutes the alarmists. On page 21-22 of his statement, he says (in rference to the process by which the IPCC's final report was produced):

The flaws in the IPCC process began to manifest themselves in the first assessment, but did so in earnest
when the IPCC issued its second assessment report in . The most obvious was the altering of the
document on the central question of whether man is causing global warming.

Here is what Chapter 8 – the key chapter in the report – stated on this central question in the final
version accepted by reviewing scientists:

“No study to date has positively attributed all or part [of the climate change observed to date] to
anthropogenic causes.”

But when the final version was published, this and similar phrases in 15 sections of the chapter were
deleted or modified. Nearly all the changes removed hints of scientific doubts regarding the claim that
human activities are having a major impact on global warming.

In the Summary for Policy Makers – which is the only part of the report that reporters and policy makers
read – a single phrase was inserted. It reads:

“The balance of evidence suggests that there is a discernible human influence on global climate.”

The lead author for Chapter , Dr. Ben Santer, should not be held solely accountable. According to the
journal Nature, the changes to the report were made in the midst of high-level pressure from the Clinton
/ Gore State Department to do so. I understand that after the State Department sent a letter to Sir John
Houghton, co-Chairman of the IPCC, Houghton prevailed upon Santer to make the changes. The impact
was explosive, with media across the world, including heavyweights such as Peter Jennings, declaring
this as proof that man is responsible for global warming.

Agenda-driven science will be the end of us.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

I Fart In Your General Direction,...

goes one of the great insults hurled at Sir Arthur from above as he seeks entry to a French castle in his quest for the Holy Grail.

So to, it seems, are the "green industries" doing to Al Gore, Cheryl Crow, Laurie David and the rest of the Green Elite, according to this story in the London Financial Times:

A Financial Times investigation has uncovered widespread failings in the new markets for greenhouse gases, suggesting some organisations are paying for emissions reductions that do not take place.

Others are meanwhile making big profits from carbon trading for very small expenditure and in some cases for clean-ups that they would have made anyway.

The growing political salience of environmental politics has sparked a “green gold rush”, which has seen a dramatic expansion in the number of businesses offering both companies and individuals the chance to go “carbon neutral”, offsetting their own energy use by buying carbon credits that cancel out their contribution to global warming.

The FT investigation found:

■ Widespread instances of people and organisations buying worthless credits that do not yield any reductions in carbon emissions.

■ Industrial companies profiting from doing very little – or from gaining carbon credits on the basis of efficiency gains from which they have already benefited substantially.

■ Brokers providing services of questionable or no value.

■ A shortage of verification, making it difficult for buyers to assess the true value of carbon credits.

■ Companies and individuals being charged over the odds for the private purchase of European Union carbon permits that have plummeted in value because they do not result in emissions cuts.

Francis Sullivan, environment adviser at HSBC, the UK’s biggest bank that went carbon-neutral in 2005, said he found “serious credibility concerns” in the offsetting market after evaluating it for several months.

“The police, the fraud squad and trading standards need to be looking into this. Otherwise people will lose faith in it,” he said.

Read it and laugh.

Lose faith indeed.

It is not that the concept of being responsible for one's "carbon footprint" is by itself beyond reason. It isn't, to a point.

But I see a "movement" that seeks to impose upon ordinary people living ordinary lives the onus of saving a planet that is not truly endangered by them, promoted by the folks who drink glasses of $100 chablis around the illegal 45' long barbecue pit of Larry and Laurie David.

So in which "general direction" does this fart travel?

Friday, April 27, 2007

Suggested Reading

I've found a fine new source of satire to feed my "lawyer" joke appetite.

The Anonymous Lawyer. How did I miss this until now?

Green Hypocrites

I've been reflecting on the story linked in the previous post -- that every one of the Dem candidates took their own private jet to South Carolina. I recall all of the indignation of the left against the criticism of John Edwards for his enormous energy-gobbling house. And Al Gore's enormous energy-gobbling house. And Cheryl Crow's silly embarrassment about toilet paper. And her escapade with Laurie David harassing Karl Rove at the Washington correspondents dinner. (by the way, the Rove link is an excellent eye witness account which, when viewed next to the Crow-David account serves to make them look even more fatuous.)

And then Rhod reminded me with his comment about Laurie David's infamous barbecue pit brouhaha in Edgartown, which I tried to chase down. It was a link from Instapundit to this piece from something called

Even worse is David's chic but hypocritical environmentalism at her summer home in Martha's Vineyard. She was issued a "notice of apparent violations" for building a 26-foot-long barbecue station, stone-and-concrete bonfire pit, and outdoor theater on an environmentally sensitive patch of their 14-acre North Road property without the proper permits. They were also cited for tearing up protected vegetation to make way for a lush, sodded lawn, among other crimes against nature.

The commission has since ordered her to remove the offending structures and restore the area to its previous state. All these violations were allegedly done to prepare for a political fundraiser hosted by Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. (another faux Green). Alas, there's no such thing as cheap environmentalism on the Vineyard.

Laurie David has been labeled a "Gulfstream liberal" by Eric Alterman, himself a proud member of the Left and a regular columnist for the Nation. He recognizes that Ms. David's brand of environmentalism is nothing more than a facade, a distraction from the financially secure yet intellectually boring life of the fabulously wealthy. But this hobby has dire consequences for the rest of us. By transforming her politics into a religion, and by demonizing all who question her positions, including the author Michael Crichton, who actually is a Harvard trained scientist and physician, Laurie David makes the environmental movement seem bizarre and more than a bit ridiculous.

It seems terribly obvious to me that any person on the liberal side of the spectrum with a whisper of intellectual honesty would have to concede that these people are devoid of any moral authority to be lecturing anyone on global warming, or environmentalism generally, where they display such arrogant disregard for their own words.

Who the heck needs a 26 foot long barbecue pit, anyway? How many rib parties can you have in Edgartown during the course of a season anyway? I'd think those Beautiful People have their own code of social grace that limits each of them to only one Gaudily Extravagant Function per season.

Why Do They Get Away With This?

2008 Candidates Rely on Private Jets
Associated Press Writer

April 26, 2007, 6:44 PM EDT

WASHINGTON -- A flock of small jets took flight from Washington Thursday, each carrying a Democratic presidential candidate to South Carolina for the first debate of the political season.

For Sens. Hillary Rodham Clinton, Barack Obama, Chris Dodd and Joe Biden, it was wheels up shortly after they voted in favor of legislation requiring that U.S. troops begin returning home from Iraq in the fall.

No one jet pooled, no one took commercial flights to save money, fuel or emissions.

All but Biden, who flew on a private jet, chartered their flights -- a campaign expense of between $7,500 and $9,000.

At the same time they are involved in the collective effort to make global warming the Big Scare of the next decade, while Cheryl Crow talks about toilet paper and harangues Karl Rove at a White House correspondents dinner, these fatuous phoneys don't have the presence of mind to consider the rank hypocrisy of this one poignant collective brain cramp.

If I were a salesman of carbon offsets, I'd be cold calling this morning. Oh wait. Al Gore's companies are already lined up.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Ireland Fires Back

Just because I find Alec Baldwin to be a repugnant human being, and certainly not because I have any great affection for his self-indulgent ex-wife, I link you this hilarious piece of performance art, courtesy of Ace.

Santa Follows Imus

This is somewhat trite, I concede, but it makes the point I have argued in comment threats (ad nauseam)well: a statement cannot be bigoted or racist without animus on the part of the speaker. Lenny Bruce's famed comic bit is more instructive today than it was three decades ago.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Lee Harvey Oswald & the Patsies

When I saw this photo the first time (years ago), I laughed so hard I hurt myself. I neglected to save it, however. Last week in a comment thread at Wizbang, some moonbat was arguing about the conspiracy to assasinate JFK (in defense of his claim to a 9/11 conspiracy). I asked if anyone had the photo and Bullwinkle obliged.

I like the left-handed Strat, a la Hendrix.

UPDATE: I received a very interesting email from my buddy, Architect Mike. He pointed out that his mother once dated one of the men who witnessed the shooting of Oswald. Here are two of the original photos:

Furthermore, he suggested that I note the partially obscured grafitti on the wall behind Oswald, and forwarded me a photo showing the emblem for the 1980's band The Dead Kennedys.


Extinction of the Turquoise Buffalo

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

April Showers?

This is April 17th, correct? My wife and duaghter were scheduled to travel to Syracuse for an "admitted students" program, but had to cancel the trip because we felt it unwise to have them driving through a SNOW STORM.

Here at home, the Nor'easter showed itself proud at the shore. (Photo courtesy of The Octogenarian.)

Saturday, April 14, 2007

One Plucky Goose Thief

More from Taylor's Winston Churchill: An Informal Study of Greatness:

A good many of Churchill's activities in the Boer War centered on fodder. He took some outrageous chances to dine luxuriously. He got a name for being a scrounger above and beyond the call of duty. There was the matter of the purloined goose. Traveling through a country cparse in produce. he scouted an unprotected flock of fat geese. He chose a spot downwind and crouched in the underbrush, waiting his chance. It was a fretful operation, since other units were coming up and there was a danger of losing the flock to attrition. At length Churchill spied a straggler, then pranced out and delivered a heroic kick, aimed to hoist the bird over a fence. Owing to a miscalculation, and a cross wind, it sailed into the highway and the lap of a martinet colonel, who hauled CHurchill up for a public rebuke. It is a matter of pride to Churchill's political allies that he has taken some of the fieriest tongue-lashings in history without turning a hair. His knowledge of his qualities has always been too secure to permit wilting from censure by mediocrities. He listened attentively to the colonel, returned a brisk salute, wheeled, snatched up the goose, which was lying in the road, and fled. Later, squatting in the bush, he cooked the bird himself, after which he shared it with some like-minded unregenerates.

Thursday, April 12, 2007


In keeping with the rather eclectic nature of this blog, today I would like to share with you portions of Winston Churchill, An Informal Study of Greatness, a biography written by Robert Lewis Taylor (Doubleday, 1952). Written while Churchill was enjoying his later years out of office, this biography reveals not only the utter genius, eccentricities and unquenchable energy of Churchill, but also the enormous wit of the author, whose company I assume Churchill enjoyed.

I must confess that before I opened this book (obtained from the library of my late father-in-law post mortem), I had little knowledge of this great man. I was only vaguely aware of his reputation as an entertaining orator and leader of Britain during WWII. Having been edified, I must now begin to tackle Churchill's own body of writing -- which I do with much zeal.

As I read this book (chiefly while on an eliptical machine at the health club or on a commuter boat racing across Boston Harbor), I was prompted to laugh out loud almost incessantly -- often enough that I was asked many times what in the world could be so funny. Sometimes it was humor, others it was simply the wit of how something was conveyed.

So I dog-eared a a few passages later in the book that I thought particularly noteworthy, so that I could share them with you, my loyal reader(s).

During the 1920's, Churchill composed a weighty tome of work entitled The World Crisis, in essence an exhaustive study of World War I.

Taylor described how the British journals received the work, and made the following observation of the difference between British and American criticism:

The critical tone of these remarks was candid, but the English as a whole are conspicuously frank in their reviews. "It was one of those books which, once you have set down, is almost impossible to pick back up," said a writer not long ago, dealing with the work of a cherished friend. The give-and-take spirit is genial, rather unlike that in America, where critics have been shot down like dogs for challenging a fugitive comma. But England belongs to an older civilization, in which all the known insults have been bandied about so persistently that they have lost their sting. Moreover, the dueling blade has disappeared, and its modern substitute, the naked subpoena, is not much of a deterrent to unvarnished speech.

Churchill developed an immediate fondness for oil painting while first sitting for his portrait, painted by Sir John Lavery, an Irish painter who, unwillingly, introduced Churchill to the art form by obligingly enduring Churchill's constant assessments of the work-in-progress. Churchill soon had purchased all of the necessary supplied and described his first foray into the process of creation:

Having bought the colors, an easel, and a canvas, the next step was to begin. But what step to take! The palette gleamed with beads of colour; fair and white rose the canvas; the empty brush hung poised, heavy with destiny, irresolute in the air. My hand seemed arrested by a silent veto. But after all the sky on this occasion was unquestionably blue, and a pale blue at that. There could be no doubt that blue paint mixed with white should be put on the top part of the canvas. One really does not to have an artist's training to see that. It is a starting point open to all. So very gingerly I mixed a little blue paint on the palette with a very small brush, and then with infinite precaution made a mark about as big as a bean upon the afronted snow-white shield. It ws a challenge, a deliberate challenge; but so subdued, so halting, indeed so cataleptic, that it deserved no response. At that moment the loud approaching sound of a motor-car was heard in the drive. From this chariot there stepped swiftly and lightly none other than the gifted wife of Sir John Lavery. "Painting! But what are you hesitating about? Let me have a brush - the big one." Splash into the turpentine, wallop into the blue and the white, frantic flourish on the palette - clean non longer - and then several large, fierce strokes and slashes of blue on the absolutely cowering canvas. Anyone could see that it could not hit back. No evil fate avenged the jaunty violence. The canvas grinned in helplessness before me. The spell was broken. The sickly inhibitions rolled away. I seized the laregest brush and fell upon my victim with berserk fury. I have never felt any awe of a canvas since.

Beautiful, isn't it?

Churchill went on to paint prolifically, and his works were displayed with prominence in galleries in France and England.

Historian, statesman, partisan, novelist, artist, orator extraordinaire. And consumer of scotch, champagne, brandy and cigars in copious quantities.

My kind of guy.

Plese let me know if this is the sort of thing you enjoy reading -- it would delight me to continue sharing.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Did You Say "Racist?"

I would like to say a quite a few words about the Don Imus controversy, but Jim Morin's cartoon here conveys my thoughts precisely.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Romney Shoots Himself in the Foot

Why do they do this?

"I purchased a gun when I was a young man," the AP quoted Romney as saying. "I've been a hunter pretty much all my life."

Now, Romney's campaign is acknowledging that, despite his assertion that he was a longtime hunter, Romney, 60, had in fact hunted one summer as a teenager and then just once when he was in his late 50s.

This is the type of thing that makes the average person distrust (if not downright despise) politicians.

The Little White Lies are what distinguishes a genuine candidate from a phoney. The Little White Lies are a large factor in the public's distrust of Hillary Clinton. The futures trade. The billing records. The used underwear. Joe Biden couldn't even get out of the gate because he borrowed a sentence from a Neil Kinnock speech -- and the sentence was true. But that was then.

When Mitt Romney entered politics, he was as clean as an MIT lab. The man couldn't lie. It was not in his vocabulary. But a few years in office and some well-paid "consultants" will do a lot to taint a man's character.

How does this happen?Strongly advised by his handlers that the gun owners were an essential constituency for him to capture, he offers up that he once owned a gun when he was a teenager. Prodded further by the handlers, he remembers doing a bit of rabbit hunting one summer in Idaho. Then, they suggest, he's "been a hunter all his life." The first time he sees a man with an NRA hat on, out it comes. Woops!

This is John Kerryism at its worst. It's even worse than "can I get me a huntin' license here?"

I was annoyed enough to be pelted with the recent Romney television ad which touts how he "turned around" a democratic state after rescuing the Olympics. I'll give him the Olympics claim. The only thing he turned around here was his back -- towards us.

But at least I've come to expect such puffery in a Presidential campaign. I'd prefer the unvarnished truth from everyone, but I'm not that gullible.

I'll accept that the Next President is telling me things now that are not going to become true. But if s/he isn't capable of the simple humility to tell the truth about seemingly insignificant details of his/her past, I wonder if he truly stands for anything. He ends up looking like nothing more than a mouthpiece for his consultants. Another unknown product in a glossy package.

The thing I liked about Mitt Romney when I first worked for his campaign in 1994 was that he was the squeaky clean Eagle Scout. This sort of dissembling does a disservice to the Boy Scout Oath:

A Scout tells the truth. He keeps his promises. Honesty is part of his code of conduct. People can depend on him.

Read it again, Gov. Remember it.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

The Best Ostrich Post Ever

Copied and pasted directly from Lowering the Bar. No editing necessary. Warning: may cause hyperventilation.

Ostrich Murderer Walks Away With Five-Month Sentence

The San Francisco Chronicle reported on March 29 that a man who murdered an ostrich late last year had been released from jail after serving only a five-month sentence for animal abuse.

This despite the fact that it was a cold-blooded, premeditated murder carried out for revenge.

According to the report, Jonathon Porter and a friend, Timothy McKevitt, "got in trouble after they took some women to an ostrich ranch after a party last Halloween." As any drunken armed male ostrich farmer could tell you, women, ostriches, liquor and firearms just do not mix.

Porter's attorney described what happened. "Apparently the young ladies expressed an interest in seeing the ostriches," he said. Apparently there were no air quotes around "seeing the ostriches," and so they actually went to an ostrich farm and began to bother an ostrich. "That all sounded like a good idea," the attorney continued, "until the ostrich physically attacked [the two men], and apparently he got the better of them." According to the police report, both men were brutally kicked into submission by the ostrich, McKevitt actually being knocked to the ground by the savage bird, who, to make matters worse, is flightless, and who, to make matters even worse, is named "Gaylord." A district attorney took up the story, saying that "at that point, the crucial thing happened. Apparently the girls started laughing."

For Gaylord, the female laughter was a death sentence. "We knew what had to be done," Porter told police afterward. Yes, after being humiliated by an ostrich, there is only one thing a man can do. Porter and McKevitt took the women out of harm's way, and out of laughing distance, armed themselves with a rifle and shotgun, and returned to the farm. Gaylord then paid the price for his arrogance, dying in a hail of bullets.

Porter, who was already on probation, was taken into custody and effectively served five months in jail for the killing. McKevitt has pleaded not guilty to felony animal abuse and is scheduled for trial in July.

Predictably, the two attorneys each had a different take on the matter. Porter's attorney conceded that he would "hesitate to ascribe any sort of rational motive" to the ostrich revenge killing, which sort of sounds like there might possibly be a rational motive for an ostrich revenge killing, if only we looked into the matter more closely. "It was a cross between being really startled by the ostrich and the alcohol," he continued (which is the first time I've heard of someone being startled by alcohol), which "led to a really bad decision." But the district attorney had a different view. "This whole thing is about male pride," he said. "The ostrich knocked them both on their butts."

Thank you for that.

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