American Elephants


Meet Paul A. Rahe, Professor of History and Political Science. by The Elephant's Child
November 30, 2009, 10:43 pm
Filed under: Capitalism, Freedom, History, Politics | Tags: , ,

I frequently recommend the conversations that Peter Robinson has with various guests on the Hoover Institution’s “Uncommon Knowledge.” Paul A. Rahe (pronounced Ray)  is Professor of History and Political Science at Hillsdale College, and holds the Charles O. Lee and Louise K. Lee Chair in the Western Heritage.

Professor Rahe’s  scholarly career has been focused on studying the origins and evolution  of self-government within the West.

In the first chapter of five, Professor Rahe defends his position that President Obama’s health-care proposals “presuppose the administrative state’s assuming a power over our lives that is nothing less than tyrannical.”

In the second chapter, he explains the nanny state.  There is a nanny in all of us, he says, but it’s hard to explain why anyone would choose life under a nanny.

In the subsequent segments, Professor Rahe ranges through Tocqueville, soft despotism and its roots in America, and discusses the inevitably of the all-encompassing welfare state.  And then takes up the question of whether we can recover our liberty.

Each segment is only about 7 minutes long, not much time even in a busy day; but if you are like me, you will find the conversation so fascinating that you can’t stop.



“Smart Power” in Action: by American Elephant
November 30, 2009, 4:14 am
Filed under: Foreign Policy, News, Politics | Tags: ,

Iran announces huge nuclear expansion:

Iran’s Government today announced plans to build ten new uranium enrichment plants and said work would start within two months.

Each site will be the size of the existing Natanz plant with the aim of producing between 250-300 tonnes of uranium a year. [read more]

More of  the “change” conservatives tried to warn people that Obama would bring.



And Obama’s Words, Tripping Him Up. by The Elephant's Child
November 27, 2009, 9:46 pm
Filed under: Law, National Security, Politics, Terrorism | Tags: , ,

Obama demands military trial for KSM

But that was then and this is now.  Do they not understand the dangers and the consequences, or do they just not care?

(h/t: Breitbart.com)



It’s Often the Words of Our Mouth That Trip Us Up. by The Elephant's Child
November 27, 2009, 8:24 pm
Filed under: Health Care, Politics, Progressivism, Taxes | Tags: , ,

At National Review Online, Ramesh Ponnuru commented a few days ago in the Corner:

In the primaries, Obama distinguished himself from Clinton on health care by opposing an individual mandate. In the general election, he distinguished himself from McCain by opposing taxes on health benefits. So now he is trying to pass bills with both an individual mandate and taxes on health benefits—and his supporters are saying that Congress should go along because he won the election.



Ah, The Warm Memories of Family Gathered for Thanksgiving: by The Elephant's Child
November 26, 2009, 3:42 am
Filed under: Domestic Policy, Entertainment, Humor, Politics | Tags: , ,


(h/t: Kathryn Jean Lopez)



Meet Dr. Roy Spencer, Celebrated Climatologist. by The Elephant's Child
November 25, 2009, 7:15 pm
Filed under: Energy, Environment, Freedom, Science/Technology | Tags: , ,

Dr. Roy Spencer is the U.S. Science Team Leader for the Advanced Microwave Scanning Radiometer flying on NASA’s Aqua satellite.  He is also a Principal Research Scientist at the University of Alabama in Huntsville. (Try getting all that on a business card).  They supply the temperatures that we can count on.  He has testified before Congress a number of times, and he is the author of Climate Confusion , a perfectly splendid book that we recommend in the sidebar.

In the book, Dr. Spencer explains in simple terms just how the climate system works and what we know about it and what we don’t know.  No wild claims, a mild voice for a climate skeptic, that much denigrated type of individual, quite a few cartoons, and only a couple of simple graphs — the kind devised for laymen.  It is a good read, and illuminating in the nicest way.

Dr. Spencer has a website where he both talks about the latest global temperature anomaly, but also explains “Global Warming 101.”  He has a great sense of humor as well, as a visit to The Eco Enquirer will show.

Here are a few of his comments on the elitist roots of global warming alarmism:

The hundreds of e-mails being made public after someone hacked into Phil Jones’ Climatic Research Unit (CRU) computer system offer a revealing peek inside the IPCC machine. It will take some time before we know whether any illegal activity has been uncovered (e.g. hiding or destruction of data to avoid Freedom of Information Act inquiries).

Even mainstream journalists, who are usually on board with the latest environmental craze, have commented on this blatant display of hypocrisy. It seems like those participating – possibly the best example being Al Gore — are not even aware of how it looks to the rest of us. (…)

A few of the CRU e-mails suggest that manipulation of climate data in order to reduce the signature of natural climate variations, and to exaggerate the supposed evidence for manmade climate change, is OK with these folks. Apparently, the ends justify the means. (…)

Hopefully, the scientist is more interested in discovering how nature really works, rather than twisting the data to support some other agenda. It took me years to develop the discipline to question every research result I got. It is really easy to be wrong in this business, and very difficult to be right.

Skepticism really is at the core of scientific progress. I’m willing to admit that I could be wrong about all my views on manmade global warming. Can the IPCC scientists admit the same thing?

Year after year, the evidence keeps mounting that most climate research now being funded is for the purpose of supporting the IPCC’s politics, not to find out how nature works. The ‘data spin’ is increasingly difficult to ignore or to explain away as just sloppy science. If it walks like a duck, and quacks like a duck…

You can find the whole essay here, as well as the guide to Global Warming 101.



Will the Scandal of ClimateGate Change Anything? by The Elephant's Child

Attaching the “gate” syllable to any hint of scandal, is a quick but trite way to say “pay attention, this is a scandal.”  ClimateGate is a big one, but easily misunderstood.  Climate “skeptics” do not claim that there has been no global warming.  They quite agree that over the 20th century the earth warmed by around one degree.

The earth is always warming and cooling.  The argument exists entirely about computer climate models that project a drastic warming in the future.  Skeptics point out that the earth has been cooling since 2003, as the sun has gone quiet with almost no sunspots and there has been no warming at all for at least ten years. Climate models are unreliable, unable to predict today’s climate.

Skeptical scientists point out that  increases in the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere follow increases in temperature, and therefore cannot be the cause of global warming.  As the earth has cooled , the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere continues to climb.  But not to worry, CO2 is not a pollutant, only a trace gas.  The much-feared “greenhouse gases” are composed largely of water vapor — clouds, fog, mist.

Scientists are human, and have all the flaws that the rest of us have.  Greed, covetousness, laziness, ambition and a tendency to make mistakes.  Some of the best hypotheses just don’t prove out.  The emails and documents of ClimateGate indicate a fair amount of that, but some fraud and attempts to silence those who disagree as well.  The big deal is what governments and the media have done with the misinformation.

The quantity of things on which governments have rushed to spend trillions  to prevent climate change,  banish carbon dioxide, prevent dangerous rise of the seas,  ban the drilling for carbon-based fossil fuels, tax the economy into poverty with cap-and-trade laws — is almost endless.  The list goes on and on.  I saw a photo yesterday of a Dutch ship spraying sand which the tide would carry in to reinforce the dikes that protect the Netherlands against the rise of the seas predicted by computer climate models. This is costing billions, and the seas won’t rise.

Europe is far deeper into the religion of global warming than we are, but governments believe far more than their people do.  It is hard to tell if government bureaucracies actually believe that climate change is a real problem, or if they just believe in using a ‘crisis’ to gain power and increase taxes.  I think it is safe to assume that our representatives do not go home at night, after a hard day of failing to read the legislation they vote for, to study up on the science  of climate change.

Carol Browner, socialist climate czar, said that “the science is settled.” Nothing to see here — just move along.  She added that she would stick with the “consensus” of the 2,500 (what?) climate scientists on the IPCC.  (Ms. Browner, the UN’s IPCC states clearly on their website that they do not do original science).   And there is no “consensus” in science.  See Scientific Method.

Well, there you have it.  Obama will go to Copenhagen and promise to reduce CO2, which will only happen if the economy falters further.  The EPA and the Department of Energy will  spend vast sums encouraging solar energy, which will produce small amounts of energy only when the sun shines.  They will spend even more on wind energy, which will continue to produce only a miniscule amount of our energy needs when heavily subsidized.  Nothing will change.  The “science is settled,” and “consensus” rules.



The Scientific Method, or How the Scientific World is Supposed to Work! by The Elephant's Child

In the wake of the ClimateGate scandal, it’s worth reviewing the Scientific Method, with a graph borrowed shamelessly from Watts Up With That, Anthony Watts’ splendid website.  As the emails and documents are exposed, the cry from the University of East Anglia’s CRU is about villains stealing documents, taken out-of-context, misunderstood, criminal theft and so on and so on.

Those who have their careers, reputation, prestige and livelihood invested in the concept of dangerous global warming, quickly remind us that all scientists except worthless skeptics confirm that global warming is real and the world is warming, heating up, getting hotter while the rest of us turn the furnace up a little higher and wonder why it was snowing in October.  There is “Consensus” among scientists, you know, “peer-reviewed” scientists: and you must never listen to or read what a scientist who has not been “peer-reviewed” has to say.

Except that isn’t the way science works.  1,000 scientists can have a “consensus” and it doesn’t matter a whit.  What matters is the evidence, and the experiments that support the hypothesis, and the further experiments that also support the hypothesis and so on.

Just something to keep in mind.



The Latest Word on ClimateGate. by The Elephant's Child
November 24, 2009, 10:56 pm
Filed under: Entertainment, Humor, Junk Science, Politics

Dr. Michael Mann is Director of the Earth System Science Center at Pennsylvania State University, and the author of the widely discredited “hockey-stick” graph, which has misled so many about global warming. Graphs are all very fine, but a little check with history would make it clear that there really was a Medieval Warm Period from around 800 to 1400. Vikings really did farm in Greenland, and it was a lot warmer than it has been today. There was also a Little Ice Age when it was a lot colder. Dr. Mann has a lot to answer for.

The funny folks at Minnesotans for Global Warming strike back:



Cool Science Video of the Day by The Elephant's Child
November 24, 2009, 3:03 pm
Filed under: Cool Site of the Day, Science/Technology | Tags: ,

Another little amazing fact I’ll bet you didn’t know.  This is really cool!

(h/t: Kim Komando)



ClimateGate: Destroying the Claims of the Climate Alarmists One by One. by The Elephant's Child

An enormous scandal is roiling the scientific world.  A researcher, investigating the climate numbers behind anthropogenic global warming, had filed a Freedom of Information request to look at the data behind recent claims, from the University of East Anglia’s Climate Research Unit (CRU), and was met with stalling, refusal, files not available, that sort of thing.

A hacker broke into the University’s CRU and released 61 megabytes of confidential files onto the internet.  The files include 1,079 emails and 72 documents exchanged by some of the most prominent scientists pushing the anthropogenic global warming theory.  Hadley CRU’s director Phil Jones has confirmed in an interview that they are genuine.

The emails suggest manipulation of evidence, destruction of evidence, private doubts about whether the world is really heating up, efforts to force dissenting scientists out of the peer-review process, attempts to delegitimize journals that allowed publications by skeptical scientists, and manipulation of IPCC reports.

The UN’s Intergovernmental Panel On Climate Change (IPCC) was founded in 1988  as a political organization to publish special reports on climate.  They do issue occasional reports, and more importantly issue a summary of each report written by bureaucrats and politicians which is usually the only thing read by governments and the media, for the actual report comes along months later.

Much of the drama in the IPCC reports came from a graph of global temperatures over many centuries by Dr. Michael Mann.  It showed temperatures going along without much variation for hundreds of years and then suddenly shooting up in the late 20th century, like the blade of a hockey stick.  Here was cause for real alarm. If temperatures were climbing, so was the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

Correlation does not mean causation, but that rule was quickly tossed to the winds, for hated fossil fuels are clearly the greatest source of carbon. Governments wanted to know how bad, and what to do.  Vast amounts of money flowed from governments all over the world to scientists who would establish how humans were causing  the warming.  Scientists in every field were suddenly writing grant proposals.  Career advancement, prestige, money, university distinction.

Canadian researchers got interested in the data behind Dr. Mann’s “hockey-stick” graph.  After all, it eliminated the Medieval Warm Period — a time when the climate was much warmer, when the Vikings farmed in Greenland, wine grapes grew in England and civilization flourished.   They found statistical errors that would have produced a “hockey-stick” graph no matter what data was entered.  The graph was in error.

Then James Hansen, head of the Goddard Center at NASA, was found fudging data in the claim that October of 2008 was the warmest year on record.  Anthony Watts enlisted hundreds of citizen volunteers to photograph the temperature stations around the United States and measure and describe their location.  Situated next to parking lots, air-conditioner exhausts, trash burners, reflective concrete walls, busy streets their location precluded any accurate temperature being recorded.  The surface temperature records were flawed, and recorded temperatures much higher than actuality.

Stephen McIntyre, the aforementioned Canadian researcher, looked into tree-ring data from an examination of tree rings from 12 trees from a Siberian peninsula that seemed to be proof of warming.   When rings from 35 nearby trees were included, temperature anomalies disappeared.  A senior researcher at the EPS’s National Center for Environmental Economics, Alan Carlin, dared to say that “available observable data..invalidate the hypothesis” that humans cause dangerous global warming.  He was silenced.

Viscount Monckton is furious about the content of the leaked CRU emails and says you should be too:

The tiny, close-knit clique of climate scientists who invented and now drive the “global warming” fraud — for fraud is what we now know it to be — tampered with temperature data so assiduously that, on the recent admission of one of them, land temperatures since 1980 have risen twice as fast as ocean temperatures. One of the thousands of emails recently circulated by a whistleblower at the University of East Anglia, where one of the world’s four global-temperature datasets is compiled, reveals that data were altered so as to prevent a recent decline in temperature from showing in the record. In fact, there has been no statistically significant “global warming” for 15 years — and there has been rapid and significant cooling for nine years.

Worse, these arrogant fraudsters — for fraudsters are what we now know them to be — have refused, for years and years and years, to reveal their data and their computer program listings. Now we know why: As a revealing 15,000-line document from the computer division at the Climate Research Unit shows, the programs and data are a hopeless, tangled mess. In effect, the global temperature trends have simply been made up.

It is fraud for the EPA to claim that carbon dioxide is a “pollutant” that should be regulated.  Billions of taxpayer dollars have been wasted on studies of global warming and poured into agencies that have encouraged the global warming fraud.  Christopher Horner, author of Red Hot Lies said that the initial revelations “give the appearance of a conspiracy to defraud, by parties working in taxpayer-funded agencies collaborating on ways to misrepresent material on which an awful lot of taxpayer money rides.”

Don’t bet on a quick or easy resolution.  Careers, reputations, money, funding are all involved along with government and media exposure.  Nobody is going to give up easily, and governments are inclined to protect their own.

The most thorough coverage be followed at Climate Depot, and at Anthony Watts website where you can find a video from Dr. Timothy Ball.  Dr, Roy Spencer’s comments can be found on his website.  Climate Depot has constantly updated links to the emails, the documents and comments from all over the world.



Did Hell Freeze Over? by American Elephant
November 22, 2009, 5:49 pm
Filed under: Humor, Politics, Television | Tags: ,

‘Cuz SNL is now openly mocking Obama.

Took them long enough! I guess they felt they could no longer carry his water, now that this president has lost majority support.  Is it just me, or does the audience seem very uncomfortable?

ADDENDUM: The video is no longer available on YouTube. You can view it on SNL’s site here.




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