Archives for December 2011

Warmer Winters? Global Warming. Colder Winters? Global Warming.

Warmer-than-normal winters? Must be evidence of global warming. Colder-than-normal winters? Must be evidence of global warming.

So say the global warming alarmists.

An example of the first sentiment is an article in today’s Washington Post – lamenting the warmer-than-normal winter we’ve been having so far.

An example of the second sentiment is an article in the Washington Post from a few weeks ago. According to Washington Post weather blogger Andrew Freedman, global warming paradoxically is supposed to cause colder winters in mid-latitudes. With melted ice in the arctic resulting in open water, Freedman writes,

the dark ocean surface absorbs more incoming solar radiation than sea ice does ….warmer air leads to higher atmospheric pressure surfaces over the Arctic Ocean, and this can weaken the high-altitude winds that circle the North Pole from west to east, known as the ‘polar vortex.’ A weaker polar vortex can provide greater opportunities for Arctic air to flow southward, into areas like the U.S. and parts of Europe, while the Arctic experiences warmer-than-average conditions.

So based on the above observation, a warmer-than-normal winter here must mean a colder-than-normal winter in the arctic. But under the global warming theory, the arctic is supposed to be warming, resulting in colder winters here (because warm air up there pushes the cold air southward).

According to the above theory, our hitherto warmer-than-normal winter here is inconsistent with global warming. So maybe you can rest easy after all.

I say maybe because no one seems to have any definitive answers regarding man-made global warming. Even the scientists admit that there are huge unanswered questions; and most meteorologists only concern themselves with weather forecasts 10 days out. It’s incredible that so many non-scientists are so smugly sure of themselves on man-made global warming pro- and con. Yet they know know next to nothing about the science of weather. I bet if you asked them basic questions of weather, like what causes clouds, what causes precipitation, what causes storms, what causes wind, what causes dew, and even how a barometer predicts weather, nine out of ten wouldn’t know the answers. And if they don’t know answers to basic questions of weather, how can they be so smugly sure of themselves on a topic vastly more complicated – i.e. climate change?

Having said that, just from anecdotal evidence within my own narrow vantage point, I’d be inclined to think that winters in North America are a bit warmer than in the past. Back when I was a kid in northern Minnesota (Grand Rapids. No, not Michigan.), we were usually skating by Thanksgiving, i.e. the lakes were usually frozen by then. These days, however, my sister, who still lives there, tells me that they usually can’t skate by Thanksgiving. Then I looked to find out if there’s an official record of ice freezes and thaws in Northern Minnesota. I found this one – of Detroit Lake. (No, not Michigan. Minnesota.) It shows that in the 2000’s, the ice freezes have been only slightly later than in previous decades – although substantially later than in the early part of the 20th century (when it sometimes froze in October).

But in fact, the above-referenced ice freeze record is probably inconsistent with the man-caused theory. Based on the logic of the man-caused version of events, the 2000’s ice freezes should be substantially later than the 1950s, 1960s, 1970s and 1980s – i.e. the 2000’s should be substantially warmer than those decades – because during the second half of the 20th century so much of the third world industrialized. Much more carbon likely (I say likely because I don’t have time to research it right now – remember that this is just a think-out-loud blog) was pumped into the atmosphere during the second part of the the century than the first due to factories and cars proliferating everywhere around the world – like China and India and Mexico and Brazil – not just primarily North American and Europe. With accelerating levels of carbon going into the atmosphere in recent decades – much more so than in the pre-WWII era – you’d think that average temperatures should have likewise accelerated upward during the post-WWII timeframe. But they haven’t.

But who knows. There are tons of variables involved. Again, climate science is so inexact. Unanswered questions galore. As a nonscientist, any speculation from me on the matter is feeble. Same with other nonscientists – as well as scientists who don’t study long-term weather trends (which means most scientists). Even the conclusions of some weather scientists should be suspect – e.g. those with an agenda and/or who get global warming funding.

In any case the earth – or at least North America – may well be warming, but the big question is whether it’s man-caused. After all, there was the medieval warming period, which definitely wasn’t caused by industrial emissions.

If there’s one thing that’s certain, it’s that the earth’s climate sometimes warms, sometimes cools, regardless of the influence of mankind.

And a History Channel special, How the Earth Was Made, points out that in the end, the ice always wins out. I.e., even if the earth is warming now, it’s only temporary. We’re living during an interglacial period, which are said to last around 10,000 years whereas ice ages are said to last around 100,000 years. (And evidently it’s been around 10,000 years since the last ice age.) Someday the climate will be so cold that the northern part of what’s now the United States will be covered in ice two miles thick.

But that’s way beyond any of our lifetimes. Probably hundreds or, more likely, thousands of years hence.

The Evilization of Policy Differences

Here’s a comment I wrote in response to “Don’t Extend The Ill-Conceived, Evil Payroll Tax Cut“, by one Louis Woodhill, in Forbes:

First, avoid the evilization of policy differences. To casually call your political opponents evil is thuggish, ad homonym, and immature. Plus it corrupts our language. If you consider someone with a relatively mild political disagreement to be evil, then what do you call people like Hitler, Stalin, and Mao? Super-duper evil?

Second, you say the payroll tax cut doesn’t affect economic growth because “it is not a tax cut on the margin for the people who make the decisions that determine economic growth.” Actually that’s incorrect. It is a marginal tax cut – the kind that positively affects economic growth, increasing the returns on the last dollar earned. I’m a small business person and ran the numbers on this payroll tax cut. Sometimes I turn down projects because the after-tax reward is too modest. The payroll tax cut actually increases the after-tax reward, making me more likely to accept that project after all. Cumulatively, that increases goods and services in the economy, boosting economic growth. (Note: to be sure, cutting other types of taxes, like the income tax, would have a larger positive impact on productive behavior and economic growth. So cutting that would be preferable. If they won’t cut the income tax, though, a payroll tax cut is still better than cutting nothing at all.)

Third, Social Security is already a government transfer program, not an “insurance” program. Unless the payroll tax can be converted into a contribution to a personal savings account, reducing or ending the payroll tax drives home the point that Social Security is a welfare program through-and-through.

So check your numbers again. And quit calling folks evil, unless it’s Osama bin Laden or Jeffrey Dahmer or someone like that.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Where’s Your Job? You Killed It, Dude

Apart from “Dude, where’s my welfare money,” a slogan or mantra for the age of Obama is, “Dude, where’s my job?”

It sums up both the sorry state of the economy, and the gimme-gimme-gimme entitlement mentality that’s fueling the sorry state of things.

A counter-slogan for the age of Obama should be, “Dude, you killed your job.”

Read on here.

 

 

 

 

Hitchens Converts

The world just lost one of the greatest and most eloquent warriors in the fight against the existential threat of radical Islam. Christopher Hitchens, 1949-2011. See him at his finest two posts below.

When a soldier charging toward the enemy with the American flag falls on the field of battle, another is to immediately pick it up and keep running with it. But no one soldier is going to be able to fill Hitchens’ boots. He was a good as they come. Probably irreplaceable. All of the rest of us are just going to have to try that much harder. And who knows – maybe sometime, somewhere out of the dust and smoke, someone worthy of filling his boots will indeed emerge.

As for the other war Hitchens waged throughout his life – i.e. against religion and belief in God and the afterlife – now he knows that he was mistaken in that regard. Days before Hitchens’ death, Mark Judge asked in The Daily Caller, “Is Christopher Hitchens About to Convert?

No word on whether he converted while still living in this dimension. But one thing is certain: he’s no doubt a believer now. He doesn’t no longer exist. He most certainly still exists, in a different dimension.

When Will They Investigate the Prosecutor?

What if, in a criminal investigation, the authorities find out who the culprit is, yet cover up that fact and spend an additional two years investigating innocent people – ostensibly in order to find out who the culprit is?

Once he finds out who did the wrongdoing, the prosecutor would stop his investigation, announce the findings, and have the wrongdoer punished. The investigation should stop.

Yet some years ago there was a prosecutor who continued his supposed investigation for two years, targeting people he allegedly knew to be innocent of the original wrongdoing.

And he didn’t even have the original culprit punished.

It was one of the grossest abuses of power in American history. Worse still, the prosecutor who carried out such antics never even was punished himself. No one ever prosecuted him.

The prosecutor in question was Patrick Fitzgerald. The case was the exposure of CIA undercover officer Valerie Plame to the press.

The consensus is that Fitzgerald knew all along who leaked her name to the press – State Department official Richard Armitage. Yet unbelievably, he continued with his two-year investigation of the Bush administration, an investigation set up to determine who leaked her name to the press.

According to his Wikipedia page, Fitzgerald has never addressed these allegations.

Where’s the outrage – especially among those in our criminal justice establishment? Shouldn’t they have conducted a special investigation of Patrick Fitzgerald for this apparent cover-up and gross abuse of power?

Yes, our system of justice has its flaws. Chipping away at trust in that system is a terrible thing indeed. Or, perhaps I’m missing something here. Perhaps Mr. Fitzgerald can offer an explanation as to why he did what he did. Or perhaps some legal scholar has offered up a good explanation somewhere. If you, reader, are aware of one, please contact me and I’ll set the record straight in no time.

But until that explanation comes, less trust and more skepticism in our criminal justice system will carry the day.

 

Classic Hitch

Cool as a cucumber, smooth as silk. That characterizes Christopher Hitchens’ reaction  to a questioner in the audience whose voice seems fairly mature and articulate, until you hear what he’s saying – at which point he comes off as quite immature. In a nutshell the questioner says that it’s America’s fault that the jihadists attack us.

Gotta love Hitch’s initial response. He takes a drag from his cigarette, a sip from his drink, lets the man have his say, and keeping with the flow of things says “There you have it ladies and gentlemen,” as the audience applauds the questioner. Someone not familiar with Hitch may think that he’s going to agree with and expand upon what the questioner has to say. Hitch says again, “there you have it.”

And then he goes for the jugular: “You see how far the termites have spread.” (Disclaimer: This blog doesn’t endorse using such metaphors in describing others, apart from terrorists and the like. To Hitch, by contrast, it’s not a concern.)

Hitch then proceeds to coolly and methodically disembowel the man who just spoke.

It’s art.

Watch the five-minute video here.

Hat tip to TheDC.

The New “Extreme”: To Let Live, Instead of to Let Kill

What would you call extreme: killing a human life, or letting it live?

The dictionary defines extreme as the farthest possible point from something. In the political arena, it means using violence to achieve one’s ends.

But the term is often misused and demagogued. One of them most egregious misuses of the term is when advocates of legalized abortion call opponents of abortion “extremists.”

Killing a life is the most extreme thing one can do, especially when it’s an innocent pre-born human life.

A letter to Congress co-signed by more than 30 pro-abortion groups stated a pro-life measure by a congressman (banning abortions motivated by the race or gender of the fetus) was “simply more of the same from the anti-choice extremists in the House.”

The irony is breathtaking.

It’s like as if Peter Singer, who advocates the legalized killing of already-born human babies – one of the most extreme things one could ever do – were to call opponents of that practice “extremists”.

It’s like Macbeth, where fair is foul and foul is fair. It’s like Orwell’s 1984, where the Ministry of Peace, Ministry of Love, Ministry of Truth, and Ministry of Plenty were responsible for doing the very opposite of what their names suggested.

“It’s a beautiful thing, the destruction of words,” says a character in 1984. People in the pro-legalized-abortion lobby could be thinking the same thing.