Sunday, January 31, 2010

NASA's Brave Face

I gotta admit they have spirit. In the face of Obama's stated preference of gutting the manned space flight program, NASA has issued the following press release:

WASHINGTON -- NASA will hold news conferences on Monday, Feb. 1, and Tuesday, Feb. 2, to discuss the fiscal year 2011 budget request and announce bold new developments in the nation's civil space effort.

In an Iconic Midwest exclusive, I have obtained an artists conceptual drawing of the new NASA approach in line with the Obama administration's budgeting:

Saturday, January 30, 2010

I'm So Sick And Tired Of The Compassion Fascists

This is a rant.

I've had it up to here with fucking wealthy people (relatively speaking) who believe because they spent three seconds on their cell phones giving $10 to Haiti relief that they now have a God given right to demand certain behavior of anyone else. Heaven forbid if a radio personality or the guy who writes a sports column falls out of line with the compassion fascists!

And heaven forbid if the people who actually do the real work of helping victims don't present the "appropriate" somber pall:

A humanitarian mission to aid Haitian earthquake victims turned into a major embarrassment in Puerto Rico on Friday as pictures emerged of doctors drinking, mugging for cameras and brandishing firearms amid the victims' suffering.

The ethics committee of the commonwealth's medical board said it was launching an investigation into whether those involved should be disciplined.

Puerto Rican Secretary of Health Lorenzo Gonzalez called the episode "a sad situation."

Everyone on earth who complains about this ought to be bitch slapped back into sense. Since the beginning of time people who have had to work in grim tasks have found ways to blow off steam. Soldiers do it, firefighters do it, doctors and nurses do it, people who work at funeral homes and morgues do it, etc. etc. etc. Sometimes its childish and immature, but it has also proven to be a way for empathetic human beings to deal with unpleasant shit and get it off their chest so they can go back to helping people or otherwise cope with the wreckage of human existence.

So to all the compassion fascists out there I say, grow up.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Comrades In Arms

I'm not sure why anyone who pays attention to these things would be surprised to discover Osama Bin Landen is a big "global warming" proponent. Both radical Islam and AGW catastrophists share a disdain for Western civilization; both want to see fewer Western people breathing; both have a rabid hatred of democracy and a desire to see rule by an "enlightened" elite.

Hell, they were made for each other. (Like this shining light who sees in this Osama's "good advice.")

Germany's Pursuit Of Nazi "Law"

I have already noted the fascist turn Sweden has taken, in direct violation of The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, in criminalizing Home Schooling, going as far as taking children away from parents who feel they have the right to choose the education of their offspring. Now, there is news that the U.S. has granted political asylum to a German family after the German government threatened to us a Nazi era law to take children away and imprison parents who wanted to home school their children.

Mr Romeike and his wife withdrew their three oldest children from school in 2006 after they encountered problems with violence, bullying and peer pressure.

However, the decision to educate their children at home brought the family into conflict with the German authorities.

The family endured harassment from the authorities, and on one occasion police officers came to the family’s home and forced the children to attend school.

The family fled to the US after Germany’s highest court ruled that in severe cases of non-compliance social services could remove home schooled children from their parents.

Describing the case, Immigration Judge Lawrence O. Burman said that “the rights being violated here are basic human rights that no country has a right to violate”.

The Nazis instituted the law because they felt it was a good way to achieve their goals. Today's German government feels no different.

A good rule of thumb is if you see yourself using the same methods as the Nazis to reach your goals you may want to second guess yourself.

Gleaned from First Thoughts.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Your Musical Interlude XXIV

It's been awhile since I've done one of these. Enjoy! (That's an order.)

I Wish I Could Feel Pity For Iowa

I really do: Winter snow totals trudge deep into records

The last time there was more snow in Des Moines in December and January, the world was emerging from a several-hundred-year era of cold temperatures dubbed the "Little Ice Age."

Des Moines received 6.4 inches of snow Monday at the airport, pushing the total snowfall since Dec. 1 in the city to 41.4 inches. That topped the 37.2 inches in Des Moines during the same period in 1897-1898.

The record snowfall for Des Moines in December and January is 50.2 inches in 1885-86. Elwynn Taylor, Iowa State University Extension climatologist, said the world was coming out of the Little Ice Age in the 1880s.

Climatologists said that during the era that lasted 200 to 300 years, North America and Europe experienced colder-than-typical winters that featured large amounts of snow.

December and January this winter also are second in snowfall for Iowa as well, state Climatologist Harry Hillaker said.

Four of Iowa's snowiest December-January periods dating to the winter of 1887-88 have occurred in the past 10 years.

Monday marked the 48th day in a row that snow depth at the Des Moines airport measured at least 5 inches.

It's expected to stay that way at least another week.

Why no pity from me? Because, I live 150 miles north of Iowa's northern border. Its worse here.

Funny how there was a lot of cold and snow during the Little Ice Age. According to AGW proponents that's exactly what you get with Global Warming (tm) too.


Tuesday, January 26, 2010

What Is This Admitting?

I think it is safe to say the left is having a hissy fit in response to President Obama's plan to "freeze" the budget for three years starting in 2011. I'm sure Obama doesn't mean it, so I'm not sure how important his announcement is, but I found the logic behind some of the criticism enlightening considering the conniptions we are seeing from the left. Here is the take from Nate Silver at FiveThirtyEight:

I'm fairly certain that the "spending freeze" will poll well in the near-term, and may even take Obama's approval numbers up a point or so with it.

What? How is that even possible? The left is uniformly calling Obama an "idiot," proclaiming him a new Hoover, and labelling this idea "Obama's worst political decision to date." And these are the Democrats talking. Assuming it has been Democrats that have been keeping Obama's numbers as high as they are (which isn't that high), how is ticking off your base going to raise Obama's favorability? Obama has found it damn near impossible to keep a campaign promise to his own supporters for a year now. Given that track record, why would conservatives take him at his word?

They wouldn't. Neither would anyone else.

If this is reportedly in a straight forward manner by the press I would expect Obama's numbers to drop as a direct result.

But, what if they don't drop? What if, like Silver predicted, Obama polls better? What does that say about the ability of the Leftocrats to claim they represent the largest part of the electorate in any way, shape or form?

Monday, January 25, 2010

Hypocrite! Thy Name Is Robert Schlesinger

Here you can read Robert Schlesinger complaining that the filibuster, when used by Republicans, bring the country under "tyranny."

Here you can read Robert Schlesinger complaining that the filibuster, when used by Democrats, is under threat of being "banned" by the Republicans so they can bring about "tyranny."

Robert Schlesinger = Hypocrite Clown Boy

In Which I Kinda Sorta Agree With Ed Rendell

Via Jake Tapper: 'Make Them Filibuster': Gov. Rendell Tells President Obama, Democrats, to Play 'Hardball'

Gov. Ed Rendell of Pennsylvania has some advice for his fellow Democrats skittish about health care reform in the wake of the Republican upset in that Massachusetts special election.

“My message to those Democrats is don’t be afraid,” Rendell told ABC News. “Listen, you got elected because you wanted to do something to change the quality of people’s lives -- here we have a chance to do something historic and if it means some of us are going to lose because of that so be it. At least you will have lost your office fighting for something and accomplishing something.”

He tells his fellow Democrats in Washington, DC, to “get that best bill as strong and as tight as you can then send it back to the Senate and let’s see if they (Republicans) are going to filibuster.”

“Make them filibuster,” he told ABC News in an interview for Good Morning America this morning. “Make them go before America people. Make the American people look at a modern day spectacle of what a filibuster would entail. I think it’s time to call their bluff. I think it is too easy to throw up your hands and say, ‘We don’t have 60 votes.’ Remember its 51 votes for passage, they have to filibuster. Make them filibuster.”

Rendell's strategy would be a sound one, if this were 1950. Sadly, when it comes to Congressional politics, it isn't 1950 anymore. Back in the days when the Republican's held Congress and the Dems were threatening to filibuster judicial appointments, I wrote about the sorry state of the modern filibuster: Capraesque It Isn't:

What has also been interesting is the attraction that Frank Capra's classic film Mr. Smith Goes To Washington still invites after almost 70 years. In part this is because this is the only well known depiction of a filibuster in the entire history of popular mass media. There are no docudramas out there depicting an actual historical example of a filibuster, largely because as actually used they have proved far less heroic. In fact it is a seedy little practice.

But Capra's portrayal still carries a great emotional impact. In many ways the filibuster in Mr. Smith is a classic immigrant fantasia. It is the iconic ideal that in America a single person can stand up to the entire world. Often times the immigrant has left their homeland because all of the pressures of that society threatened to crush them. It isn't that those types of pressures do not exist in America, as Jimmy Stewart's character could tell you, but it is that the political ethos of this country allows just enough space for a single man to hold his ground and, just maybe, win against all odds. Someone with the sensibilities of an immigrant, such as Capra, would naturally gravitate to stories that portray just those moments and wrap them up in a patriotic fervor. The total effect is warm, comforting, uplifting, and, (sadly) totally irrelevant to the political discussion of today.

The truth is the filibuster portrayed in the movie bears no resemblance to its modern incarnation. It actually isn't a filibuster at all anymore. Other business continues as if nothing is happening. Those engaging in the "filibuster" are not kept on the Senate floor. (That would presumably keep the Senators from pricey cocktail parties in Georgetown, and nobody would want least nobody sitting in Congress.) A real filibuster, like portrayed in the film, is a dicey proposition. To decide on that course of action one had to weigh how it would be viewed by the public at large. You would be stopping the entire legislative process and could be vilified for that, but maybe the risk would be worth it if you could just get enough attention focused on your issue. Maybe with the benefit of the spotlight you could sway public opinion in your favor. It was risky, but honest.

Today, the "filibuster" is merely a dishonestly labeled minority veto.

Unlike your average talking head or New York Times op-ed writer (I'm looking at you Krugman) my position doesn't flip-flop just because the control of Congress has switched parties. What I said in 2005 holds just as strongly today. If the Democrats really wanted to show guts now they would change the filibuster rules back to the Mr. Smith era rules and take their chances. If Republicans had guts back in 2005 they should have done the same. Make the opposition hold the floor; force them to bring the other business of the Senate to a halt; force them to make the cost/benefit and risk/reward analyses; make them put their ass on the line. Then, and only then, does the moral force of a filibuster come to the fore.

The only thing required is guts, which is one thing lacking in Washington these days.

Joe Klein: "Americans Are Retards"

Or something like that.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

"But I'm From The Ruling Aristocracy!" Wails McCain

I'll tell you what...McCain has always been a mixed bag:

Sen. John McCain says the movement he led to reform how political campaigns are financed is dead.

McCain says the Supreme Court has spoken on the constitutionality of political contributions by corporations. The Arizona Republican had sought to regulate them with a landmark campaign finance law he wrote with Sen. Russ Feingold, D-Wis.

Last week the Supreme Court ruled that corporations may spend as freely as they like to support or oppose candidates for president and Congress.

McCain says there's not much that can be done about campaign financing now. Still, he predicts a backlash over time from voters once they see the amount of money that corporations and unions pour into political campaigns.

This historical ignorance of this statement is simply shocking. We had 200+ years of political existence before the affront to the First Amendment called McCain-Feingold came around. The idea that every Congress in history, or at least in the modern era, was somehow hopelessly corrupt and in the clutches of various moneyed interests is lunacy. There is many decades worth of Political Science research on Congress and it shows no such thing.

So, why all the hand-wringing about campaign finance starting in the 1990's? Well, obviously, it was due primarily to the rise of the Republican party from being a near perpetual opposition party in Congress to actually grabbing the reins of power. (An earlier round of restrictions came in the aftermath of Watergate in the 1970's, but that dealt mostly with Presidential elections.) The self reinforcing system set up by the Democrats during their long period of political dominance in Congress was something liberals clearly sought to deny to the ascending conservatives. That it had little effect on the Republicans during their decade plus hold of Congress is further proof that the idea of "bought" Congresses is largely fictional.

Whatever the reason for the birth of such legislation they have tendency to take on a life of their own. In this case, McCain-Feingold fed the aristocratic pretensions of many members of Congress who truly feel the American people are such dumb cattle that they need to be protected by their betters. It's noblese oblige at its most condescending. As a direct result of trying to protect the public, McCain-Feingold actually stifled speech. The talk may be all about "corporations" and "unions" but the fact is any small grass roots effort was just as liable to run afoul of the bureaucratic control freaks as anyone. In fact, they were more likely to run afoul of the provisions, because such groups don't have the financial or legal wherewithal to fund a PAC, which offered the real money protection and anonymity under McCain-Feingold. If "campaign finance reform" is really dead, then we are all the lucky ones.

I'm sorry John, but we are perfectly able to take care of ourselves.

This Is A Beautiful Story

The Des Moines Register hits a home run with this one: From Haiti with love: A new family in Pella

You're free to think this story unfolded solely because of luck and determination.

Matt and Mandy Poulter don't buy it. They are a religious couple, and they see accomplishments as the rewards of faith. They also are bulldogs, who jump into challenges few others would take on.

Last Tuesday, they completed an exhausting odyssey, in which they plucked their new daughter and four other orphans from earthquake-ravaged Haiti. Who's to say if prayers or moxie pulled them through?

The results are the same either way. Five children who otherwise would be sleeping under tarps in a hot, dusty courtyard in Haiti will be bedding down tonight with their new families in Pella.

Please, go read it all.

Friday, January 15, 2010

The Rise Of CYA "Scientists"

Gee, what are the chances? Professional Discourtesy By The National Climate Data Center

The professional courtesy when researchers collect data is to permit them first opportunity to publish. The National Institute of Health (NIH) has written up this policy. The NIH writes in their section on timeliness of data sharing

“Recognizing that the value of data often depends on their timeliness, data sharing should occur in a timely fashion. NIH expects the timely release and sharing of data to be no later than the acceptance for publication of the main findings from the final dataset.”

The NIH writes with respect to their grantees

“In general, grantees own the rights in data resulting from a grant-supported project.”

NIH has just written down what is the professional courtesy with respect to data.

In the case of the site data that Anthony Watts has collected at considerable effort on his part and that of his outstanding volunteers, the National Climate Data Center (NCDC) is not recognizing this professional courtesy. They already earlier have posted a (flawed) analysis of a subset of Anthony’s data. Simply recognizing Anthony’s pivotal role in identifying the current site characteristics of the USHCN sites, as listed in the Acknowledgements of the Menne et al (2009) paper (and the new JGR paper), is hardly adequate.

What this boils down to is Anthony Watts and his volunteers are in the process of creating a dataset to examine the poor siting of ground temperature stations in the United States. In an effort to preempt the feared findings, the NCDC have basically ridden the coattails of the work of another researcher (i.e Watts) before that researcher has had a chance to publish his findings. That the NCDC research is flawed can hardly come as a surprise since their obvious intent had nothing to do with actual science. It was an exercise in "damage control" pure and simple.

I guess all is fair in love, war and climate "science."

Saturday, January 09, 2010

I'd Still Rather Be In The Keys

More global warming in Flordia. This time Key West registers their coldest temp in recorded history: Bitter cold stretches south

Floridians braced for a second surge of Arctic air that promised to dip well into the southern parts of the state. Key West already set a record low temperature on Thursday, bottoming out at 47 degrees -- shattering the previous low set back in 1897. Temperatures on Sunday and Monday are expected to be in the low-to-mid-40s.

The citrus growing regions in Florida and Texas will have to keep an eye on their crops as the cold air remains in the area, Meyers said. In southern Texas, the National Weather Service has issued a hard freeze warning through late Saturday morning, saying that the conditions "will kill temperature-sensitive vegetation and could cause widespread damage or destruction to crops."

Why won't Al Gore save us?

Saturday, January 02, 2010

I Hate The Forecast

Yep, 18 degrees below zero is the forecast for tonight.

It's 9 below right now.