ARC's 1st Law: As a "progressive" online discussion grows longer, the probability of a nefarious reference to Karl Rove approaches one

Friday, December 21, 2007

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and Happy New Year to All

From the High Sierra, wishes to all those unfortunates in the flatlands :) (See more pix here.)




Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: MontereyJohn

Christmas Tag

Ok, Saint Know It All tagged me yesterday (in this comment). Since he's the other Saint in the blogosphere, I suppose I should comply, so here are my responses:

1. Wrapping or gift bags?
It depends. Typically wrapping, but some things just have to be bagged.

2. Real or artificial tree?
Every year our extended family makes a trek to the Pea Ridge tree farm to cut down some live trees. We've been going there since I was an infant and I fondly remember the hot chocolate in the barn on a snowy winter's day. (And Don't let anyone tell you that tree hunting isn't a sport; those trees can be tricky to catch! Just ask this family!). This year, the weather was so bad at the tree farm that we had to settle for one of the pre-cut trees that they had. :-(

3. When do you put up the tree?
Have an argument every year in our household on when to get the tree - Thanksgiving weekend or the first weekend in December. I prefer the latter; since my Mom's birthday is in early December, Christmas decorations didn't normally go up until after her birthday when I was growing up. This year, we didn't cut and put up the tree until the weekend AFTER Thanksgiving weekend - but it was still November!

4. When do you take the tree down?
Depends on how the tree is doing; typically just before New Year's Eve.

5. Do you like eggnog?
When I do buy eggnog, I have a glass or two and then it just sits there. A touch of whiskey doesn't hurt, either.

6. Favorite gift received as a child?
Hmmm... I've repressed so many childhood memories. One year my brother (Brian) and I got Star Wars blasters and had a good time; here are some modern versions. Perhaps my fondest memory was when Santa brought us a puppy. He was delivered in a box (with holes) and I kept saying "that present is moving!!" (However, it's tough to tell whether I actually remember this or just remember my brother and parents telling me about it.)

7. Do you have a nativity scene?
Yes, a large one with figurines that my son likes to play with; he likes to fly the angel around.

8. Worst Christmas gift you ever received?
Ummm, I don't know. There have been plenty of socks, underwear, handkerchiefs, etc over the years.

9. Mail or e-mail Christmas cards?
Mail... I'm in charge of getting the picture that we can put on the card; Wife actually writes the cards and sends 'em out.

10. Favorite Christmas movie?
Probably Blazing Saddles, Blade Runner, or Apocalypse Now. Those aren't Christmas movies? Oh... Um, does the Life of Brian count? Ok, fine - The easy choice is It's a Wonderful Life, so I suppose I'll pick A Christmas Story. It was funny when I first saw it and is still entertaining.

11. When do you start shopping for Christmas?
I do clicks & mortar shopping. Online up until a week out from Christmas and then finish up in the hustle & bustle of Christmas Eve.

12. Favorite thing to eat at Christmas?
Christmas cookies... My mom continues to make the best chocolate chip cookies (with or without nuts), along with a variety of others. Fortunately (or unfortunately for my waistline), my wife's chocolate chip cookies are simply unbelievable.

13. Clear lights or colored on the tree?
Clear on the tree; multi-color on the house.

14. Favorite Christmas song?
Probably The Christmas Song. Not sure "song" is the correct classification, but Handel's Messiah (and especially the Hallelujah chorus) is also my favorite.

Now, to share the love, I tag:

Here are the rules:
  1. Link to the person that tagged you, and post the rules on your blog.
    2. Share Christmas facts about yourself.
  2. Tag random people at the end of your post, and include links to their blogs.
  3. Let each person know that they have been tagged by leaving a comment on their blog.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

Yet Another Inconvenient Truth - Part 1,771

Previous Truth postings here and general enviro-whacko posts here and here.

It seems that there are plenty of scientist who will actually eschew the faith-based dogma of Global Warming being peddled by Divinity School Dropout Algore.

It seems that some scientists are actually willing to, you know... remain skeptical about proposed theories and wait for data to actually support it:

Scientists doubt climate change
December 21, 2007

By S.A. Miller - More than 400 scientists challenge claims by former Vice President Al Gore and the United Nations about the threat of man-made global warming, a new Senate minority report says.

The scientists — many of whom are current or former members of the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) that shares the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize with Mr. Gore for publicizing a climate crisis — cast doubt on the "scientific consensus" that man-made global warming imperils the planet.

"I find the Doomsday picture Al Gore is painting — a six-meter sea level rise, 15 times the IPCC number — entirely without merit," said Dutch atmospheric scientist Hendrik Tennekes, one of the researchers quoted in the report by Republican staff of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee.

"I protest vigorously the idea that the climate reacts like a home heating system to a changed setting of the thermostat: just turn the dial, and the desired temperature will soon be reached," Mr. Tennekes said in the report.

Sen. James M. Inhofe of Oklahoma, ranking Republican on the Environment and Public Works Committee, said the report debunks Mr. Gore's claim that the "debate is over."

"The endless claims of a 'consensus' about man-made global warming grow less-and-less credible every day," he said.

After a quick review of the report, Gore spokeswoman Kalee Kreider said 25 or 30 of the scientists may have received funding from Exxon Mobil Corp.

Exxon Mobil spokesman Gantt H. Walton dismissed the accusation, saying the company is concerned about climate-change issues and does not pay scientists to bash global-warming theories.

"Recycling of that kind of discredited conspiracy theory is nothing more than a distraction from the real challenge facing society and the energy industry," he said. "And that challenge is how are we going to provide the energy needed to support economic and social development while reducing greenhouse-gas emissions."

The Republican report comes on the heels of Saturday's United Nations climate conference in Bali, Indonesia, where conferees adopted a plan to negotiate a new pact to create verifiable measurements to fight global warming in two years.

In the Senate report, environmental scientist David W. Schnare of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said he was skeptical because "conclusions about the cause of the apparent warming stand on the shoulders of incredibly uncertain data and models. ... As a policy matter, one has to be less willing to take extreme actions when data are highly uncertain."

The hundreds of others in the report — climatologists, oceanographers, geologists, glaciologists, physicists and paleoclimatologists — voice varying degrees of criticism of the popular global-warming theory. Their testimony challenges the idea that the climate-change debate is "settled" and runs counter to the claim that the number of skeptical scientists is dwindling.

The report's authors expect some of the scientists will recant their remarks under intense pressure from the public and from within professional circles to conform to the global-warming theory, a committee staffer said.

Several scientists in the report said many colleagues share their skepticism about man-made climate change but don't speak out publicly for fear of retribution, according to the report.

"Many of my colleagues with whom I spoke share these views and report on their inability to publish their skepticism in the scientific or public media," atmospheric scientist Nathan Paldor, professor of Dynamical Meteorology and Physical Oceanography at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, said in the report.

The IPCC has about 2,500 members.

HEATED DEBATE

The following are comments from some of the more than 400 scientists in a Republican report on global warming:

•"Even if the concentration of 'greenhouse gases' double, man would not perceive the temperature impact."

Oleg Sorochtin of the Institute of Oceanology at the Russian Academy of Sciences

•"I find the Doomsday picture Al Gore is painting — a six-meter sea level rise, 15 times the [U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change] number — entirely without merit. ... I protest vigorously the idea that the climate reacts like a home heating system to a changed setting of the thermostat: just turn the dial, and the desired temperature will soon be reached."

Atmospheric scientist Hendrik Tennekes, former research director at the Netherlands' Royal National Meteorological Institute

•"The hypothesis that solar variability and not human activity is warming the oceans goes a long way to explain the puzzling idea that the Earth's surface may be warming while the atmosphere is not. The [greenhouse-gas] hypothesis does not do this. ... The public is not well served by this constant drumbeat of false alarms fed by computer models manipulated by advocates."

David Wojick, expert reviewer for U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change

And the fact that they said that the scientists are funded by the oil & coal industry is just rich... these global warmers are such idiots.

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

Monday, December 17, 2007

Krugman - Tool of the Left

Or perhaps I could just title this one: "Krugman - Tool."

Paul Krugman has completely gone of the deep end. Each column, he makes idiotic statements which are extremely surprising coming from someone who is supposed to be a brilliant economist. This column is no exception:

December 17, 2007
Op-Ed Columnist

Big Table Fantasies
By PAUL KRUGMAN

Broadly speaking, the serious contenders for the Democratic nomination are offering similar policy proposals — the dispute over health care mandates notwithstanding. But there are large differences among the candidates in their beliefs about what it will take to turn a progressive agenda into reality.

At one extreme, Barack Obama insists that the problem with America is that our politics are so “bitter and partisan,” and insists that he can get things done by ushering in a “different kind of politics.”

At the opposite extreme, John Edwards blames the power of the wealthy and corporate interests for our problems, and says, in effect, that America needs another F.D.R. — a polarizing figure, the object of much hatred from the right, who nonetheless succeeded in making big changes.

Over the last few days Mr. Obama and Mr. Edwards have been conducting a long-range argument over health care that gets right to this issue. And I have to say that Mr. Obama comes off looking, well, naïve.
[...]
Mr. Edwards replied, “Some people argue that we’re going to sit at a table with these people and they’re going to voluntarily give their power away. I think it is a complete fantasy; it will never happen.”

This was pretty clearly a swipe at Mr. Obama, who has repeatedly said that health reform should be negotiated at a “big table” that would include insurance companies and drug companies.

On Saturday Mr. Obama responded, this time criticizing Mr. Edwards by name. He declared that “We want to reduce the power of drug companies and insurance companies and so forth, but the notion that they will have no say-so at all in anything is just not realistic.”

Hmm. Do Obama supporters who celebrate his hoped-for ability to bring us together realize that “us” includes the insurance and drug lobbies?

O.K., more seriously, it’s actually Mr. Obama who’s being unrealistic here, believing that the insurance and drug industries — which are, in large part, the cause of our health care problems — will be willing to play a constructive role in health reform. The fact is that there’s no way to reduce the gross wastefulness of our health system without also reducing the profits of the industries that generate the waste.
[...]
I'm sorry, but it's Mr. Krugman who is being completely naïve. If there is so much gross wastefulness in our health system, it's precisely due to government regulation and the cure is the profit motive, not more government regulation. If the drug companies or other healthcare providers had waste which they could actually control and minimize, it would behoove them to eliminate it since that would only mean higher profits (resulting in higher bonuses, stock prices, reinvestment in R&D, and potentially lower prices to attract more customers, etc, etc.)

That Krugman argues that businesses (which presumably operate in a competitive environment) have an incentive to generate waste is simply a ridiculous argument. While I might expect such an argument from some uneducated rube (Lou Dobbs, perhaps?), that it is being made by someone trained in the field of economics either means that Krugman is lying for political, social, or monetary gain or is simply too stupid to retain the designation oof economist.

The fact that theories such as Six Sigma, LEAN Manufacturing, and the on-going pursuit by businesses of strategies to reduce costs while increasing quality demonstrate this fact. Meanwhile, government bureaucracies are typified by mismanagement, waste, lack of innovation, and poor customer service.

As I've stated numerous times here on ARC, the problem with healthcare costs in the US isn't that there's too much free market activity - it's that there is too little. We can see that in other countries where governments are the sole provider (or payer) of health services that the costs for healthcare are growing just as rapidly as here in the US. If we were to remove the fact that much of US spending on healthcare (and especially drugs) subsidizes the rest of the world, the increasing costs would be very similar.

I just don't understand how any economist can reasonably propose that the government, with its army of bureaucrats and antiquated management techniques, can reduce the waste compared to a business with a profit motive.

Perhaps Krugman is merely hoping that Hillary!TM will name him as Secretary of the Treasury... While this column was an attack on Obama (in comparison to Edwards), the clear intended beneficiary of Krugman's comments are Hillary.

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler