Thursday, December 31, 2009

James Randi: Thoughts About God

Targeting Walmart

If you're poor like me, how can you not shop at Walmart? It seems impossible, and with more Federal Reserve inflation on its way, it might seem foolish to abandon the world's largest retailer. That is one thing Walmart deserves credit for, keeping inflation in check with their aggressive pricing.

I needed a new toothbrush (I use those spinning ones) and some shampoo and conditioner. One of my local malls has a Walmart as one of the anchor stores (in the not so long ago old days, the same space was occupied by one of the giants of old school department stores, Montgomery Ward) so I went there for my stuff. I know I really shouldn't. I know I should strive to be a better person. I know deep down how wrong it is. I KNOW, because I KNOW, how Walmart treats their employees. Of course, no one is forced to work there (or anywhere) but that argument carries less and less weight with me these days.

So I go inside and gather my necessities, not even bothering to grab a basket, and when I'm done locating my toothbrush and my 99 cent shampoo I head for what looks like a checkout lane I can live with. Just one other person in front of me, a woman with a kid and only a few items. But the guy behind the register (who still had his light on) tells her (while ignoring me) "Lady, you're my last customer". He was dressed a little better than the other clerks, and looked more like one of the managers or something. I contemplated going to another lane, but instead threw my stuff (okay, Walmart's stuff) to one side and headed for the exit. Walmart takes their customers and their employees for granted, and they can go you know what!

Thankfully there is a Target anchoring the other side of the mall. I walked there and bought all the things I needed. True, I paid at least two dollars more, but I felt better. Not that Target is much better to their employees, but since I don't know anyone who works there and can tell me the horror stories of working for them first hand, I was quite happy to give them my business.

Now, the next time I need something and I'm short of cash (which is pretty much all the time) where do you think I'll do my shopping?

That's right, Walmart!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

A libertarian form of communism?

I'll give credit where credit is due: these commies are at least practicing their communism in a libertarian fashion.

Still, there's something a little creepy/Mormonish/David Koresh-ish about it..

An Initiative to Tax and Regulate Marijuana

I've always thought, what with gambling now widespread due to the plague of Indian casinos, that Nevada needed something more than slot machines and legalized prostitution in a few select counties to continue to give most people a real reason to go there.

Someday, however, it will seem quaint to talk of "legalizing" something, for we'll be free, and won't need no stinkin' laws and no rotten majority approval to do what we damn well please.

video via Bluebeerriver

There's also an attempt in California to do the same thing:

California Marijuana Legalization Initiative Effort Underway

above image via NORML

And from NORML I find this Bizzaro World story of our insane government and its mentally ill black-robed tyrants: 8th Circuit Court rules industrial hemp is still marijuana

Monday, December 28, 2009


I went to see Avatar tonight (in 3-D) and must say: aside from the awesome visuals, it's a pretty bland, mediocre, predictable movie that drags on forever. Totally overrated. Think Ferngully, but with a far bigger budget.

My friend wasn't impressed either--he hated it even more than I did.

IMO it doesn't live up to its hype at all. Who's with me?

Saturday, December 26, 2009

The Animated "Somebody Goofed"

I was exposed to Jack Chick comics as a kid and read many of them to pass the time at services at "God's House" (that was the name of the place), a kind of hippie Jesus Freak sort of congregation. I should tell some of those God's House tales someday. In the meantime, do you know where you're going to spend eternity? What happens when we die? Do we have to believe in Jesus? If a man die, shall he live again? (Job 14:14).

You're An Atheist? Bingo!

When people react to your atheism, make a game out of it!


Peppermint and Pot

A little girl was suspended for taking peppermint oil to school and giving it to some other kids. Psychotic Superintendent James Feltman declared that there was "no question" of the girl's guilt in the drug distribution operation.

Best advice here? Get your kiddies out of the hellholes know as public schools.

Meanwhile, some generous gift givers just trying to spread some Christmas joy were arrested as criminals for the good deed.

Oh, and by the way, NEVER give permission to the cops to do ANYTHING!

Unemployment, 2010 Food Crisis & Carbon Currency?

Response Video:

Friday, December 25, 2009

God Creates World, Sumerians Confused

Members of the earth's earliest known civilization, the Sumerians, looked on in shock and confusion some 6,000 years ago as God, the Lord Almighty, created Heaven and Earth.


Historians believe that, immediately following the biblical event, Sumerian witnesses returned to the city of Eridu, a bustling metropolis built 1,500 years before God called for the appearance of dry land, to discuss the new development. According to records, Sumerian farmers, priests, and civic administrators were not only befuddled, but also took issue with the face of God moving across the water, saying that He scared away those who were traveling to Mesopotamia to participate in their vast and intricate trade system.


According to the cuneiform tablets, Sumerians found God's most puzzling act to be the creation from dust of the first two human beings.

"These two people made in his image do not know how to communicate, lack skills in both mathematics and farming, and have the intellectual capacity of an infant," one Sumerian philosopher wrote. "They must be the creation of a complete idiot."

Sumerians Look On In Confusion As God Creates World

And more fun from the Onion News Network:


I guess he's actually already come. Unless you were naughty.

Christmas With The Honeymooners

Since this episode of the Classic 39 takes place on Christmas Eve, I suppose I should have posted it yesterday, but I was busy watching it myself (I own the DVD set of the entire one and only season (1955-1956) of the filmed CBS show).

That's how I spent my Christmas Eve, with a mug of hot chocolate in my hands, a log burning in the fireplace and a tree in the background with blinking colored lights that refused to blink.

I'm a major Honeymooners fan, and have seen all the episodes (not counting the "lost" ones, among which there are admittedly some gems) an uncountable number of times. Glad this was up at YouTube so I could share it with you, and if you haven't seen it before, shame on you for overlooking the Great One.

And by the way, I once played some of The Honeymooners for my nephews, but even the funniest scenes didn't get the slightest reaction, except the younger one did say "These are old" before turning away with a blank expression on his face.

Merry Christmas!

video via Bluebeerriver

video via The Commentator

A few days ago a co-worker admitted she was hooked on a local radio station's all-Christmas music programming, and one song she couldn't get out of her head was Santa Baby.

Happy Christmas (War Is Over)

Gary Habermas On the New Atheism of Hitchens and Harris


Thursday, December 24, 2009

Standard Time

At Rotterdam Central Station (NL) a "digital" clock was shown for 24 hours from 27 November to 28 November, which was meticulously kept by a total of 36 workers. Each minute was carefully adjusted.

Sexy Nativity Scene Seen

Christian woman outraged! (But we suspect she somehow has been able to withhold her anger at the U.S. military for their year-round murder of innocents).

Senate Passes the Health Care Bill

The New York Times has plenty to say about this, but I don't. It's infuriating, but not surprising. Now all there really is to do is wait for Congress to vote on this version of the bill. But you trust your government to do the right thing...right?

More Than A Box of Chocolate

A Christmas Story from the Chronicles of Shane Brown

The stuff in the back seat was piled so high he couldn't see out the back window. Several large gift bags and a couple of wrapped boxes had crowded into the tiny space, put there at the order of his mother, who'd purchase presents again with money she didn't have; presents that were going to his ungrateful sister and some stranger's kids, the offspring of his sister's latest flash in the pan romantic interest.

His small car was not meant to carry such a load, he'd practically screamed at his mom, but talking to her was like trying to communicate with one of the hyperactive squirrels that lived in the trees in the front yard of her house. Every time this happened he promised himself that this would be the last time, that never again would he perform this unappreciated errand. But like a bad dream or a crazy ex-girlfriend, it kept returning over and over again.

He told her he wouldn't do it anymore, that this was indeed the VERY LAST TIME, and he almost told her of what his sister had said the last time he'd seen her, which was after Mom had drained her savings account to give his sister $7,000 because she'd given Mom a sob story about being broke, with car repairs and other out-of-control bills sending her into financial ruin. Which was quite funny, as his sister made twice the money he did and had a monthly housing expense (space rent for a paid for mobile home) that was half of what he paid monthly to rent his one bedroom apartment. Yet he had enough for his expenses, even though things were a little tight sometimes.

But, feeling that he would hurt her feelings, he did not tell his mom that when he'd picked up that bag of half used shampoo and conditioner and lotion bottles (because Mom had run out of those items and out of the money to buy them) from his sister for her, that she'd said to him, in the nastiest tone possible, "Tell Mom she's going to have to buy her own shampoo and stuff from now on. I can't afford to support both of us!"

So he was determined not to ever deliver anything from his mom to his sister again. As he drove he glanced back every once in a while at the bags in the back seat. He knew, from what little his mom had said about the contents of the packages, that there were at least two boxes of expensive chocolates among the goodies. If there was one thing he could never resist, it was chocolate, and especially boxed chocolate, even of the cheaper variety, with all the different kinds, each one inviting with its sweet allure, the descriptions luring him in: nut chews and caramels, truffles and coconut creams, raspberry wonders and marshmallow dreams.

He had to stop somewhere before making the delivery to his sister's house. He made his stop, but before he got behind the wheel again, he made a more serious exploration of the bags his mom had prepared and stuffed with presents. There weren't just two boxes of chocolate, there was also a third, a pound heavier than the other two, with even more expensive chocolates inside, and enclosed in a special collectors tin. The tin itself was decorated with the most beautiful Christmas scene he'd ever seen on a mere box of chocolates. He wasn't the most religious person in the world, in fact he wasn't religious at all, and though he normally preferred Santa and his elves to baby Jesus and the wise men when it came to Winter holiday themes, there was something strangely compelling in the picture of the three kings giving gifts to the new born child that was portrayed on the chocolates tin box.

Whatever feeling it evoked was soon forgotten, however, as he contemplated removing all three boxes of candy from the pretty Christmas bags and hiding them in his trunk to keep them for himself. A few chocolates while watching television would sure hit the spot each night, and give him something to look forward to after getting off work and returning to his lonely apartment. He pictured himself having just three or four of the delectable treats at a time, then carefully replacing the lid and returning the precious box to his sock drawer for safe keeping, a hidden treasure trove of chocolate pleasure. And he wouldn't have just one box to keep him happy, but would have two more in reserve. Who knew how long they would last him. Maybe the supply would keep him in chocolate heaven for weeks!

Yes, that's what he would do! His sister was rotten to the core, always had been. She certainly didn't deserve such fine examples of the chocolatier's art. It would be a shame to let three whole boxes of fine chocolate go to waste by letting her get hold of them. He removed them and opened his trunk, shoving the boxes underneath some junk he'd been meaning to throw out (he was always meaning to clean out his trunk, his bedroom, his refrigerator and just about every other space he came into contact with; even the file cabinet by his desk at work was an embarrassing mess).

All the rest of the way to the mobile home park where his sister lived he had troubling doubts about his "theft". Was it really stealing , for crying out loud? But that picture of the little baby Jesus kept haunting him as he drove on through the starry night, another reminder of the story of Bethlehem and the star that those wise men followed.

When he finally arrived at his sister's place he'd had a guilty change of heart. Before he went up to her door with the big Christmas bags he opened his trunk and retrieved the boxes of chocolates and returned them to their original spots in the holiday cornucopia.

His sister greeted him with more pleasantness than he'd seen from her in ages. She looked though all the generousity that their mom had provided and made various appreciative comments. When she came to the candy she asked why there were three boxes. He answered that one was for her, one was for the dude she was now sleeping with, and one was for the kids.

"Do you want one?" she asked him.

"Mom gave them to you and him and the kids, so I'd feel bad if I took one," he replied. And he really meant it! Something had come over him, something he couldn't explain. Was Jesus real after all? Was he now saved and going to heaven?

"She'll never know," his sister said, meaning that their mom would never realize that his sister had given one of the boxes of candy to him. He took it as a sign from God and accepted the chocolates with a happy heart. Jesus was real! His sister had even seemed to change, telling him to be sure to stop by the following week and pick up some presents that she was going to give to all of them.

He took his candy home and prayed a prayer of thanksgiving to his savior, Jesus Christ the Lord.

The next few days he spent in bible study and prayer.

The following week he got a text message from his sister: NO PRESENTS. SHORT OF MONEY. DON'T BOTHER STOPPING BY. That was all it said. He went back to reading atheist literature immediately and wished he'd kept all three boxes of candy for himself.

Politically Correct Night Before Christmas

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Ron Bailey on the hypocrisy of leftist "environmentalists"

They hate global warming but also hate nuclear energy.

Obama Commits More War Crimes

Shocking, I know.

But I certainly hope our readers weren't expecting any better from the vile institution known as the presidency. If so, SE and I haven't been doing our job.

Being a hockey fan sucks

I love hockey. It has all the aggressiveness of football, only it moves at a rapid pace without stopping the clock every two seconds. And it's more exciting and entertaining to me than basketball.

But being a hockey fan in the US pretty much sucks. While it's a popular sport in Canada, Sweden, etc. US television coverage of it is relatively scant. None of my friends watch or care about it, making it easy to miss the games. Plus, physically going to the games always ends up being a rip-off every time I do it (baseball games in contrast are always cheap and easy to get into).

Hockey rocks, but it's hard to say the same of being a fan. Maybe I should get a new favorite sport?

I Lied To Who?

So on Facebook, there's this weird "Friend FAQ" thing where people answer questions about you. You get to see the answers, but don't get to see who gave them unless you yourself participate in the silly thing.

For whatever reason, a lot of people have been answering questions about me lately. I'll confess that I don't care enough about the game to play, regardless of how many people answer "yes" to "Do you think [Cork] is cute?" Big deal.

But recently, the question was, "Has [Cork] ever lied to you?" And someone answered "yes." Wtf? I never lie to anyone and am honestly curious who could have possibly sad that. Almost enough to play the game and gain enough 'coins' to unlock the answer.

I said almost. :P

Monday, December 21, 2009

Global Warming, Or A Lot of Hot Air?

Christmas Cards Again

The Commentator tells us about a mysterious Christmas card from people he can't identify, prompting me to comment there thusly:

I've received cards like that! Of course, they had another person's name and address on them, but still...

No really I have actually been sent Christmas cards from people I can't remember ever knowing.

I once was even greeted by someone who looked a little like the original host of Good Morning America, David Hartman. The guy even knew my name, but to this day I can't place him at all.

Yes, the mysterious David Hartman lookalike mystery. Still baffling me years later.

This also got me to thinking about an old post of mine from the very early days of this blog (you might say its infancy) and since all of my original and fantastical Christmas post plans probably won't be realized this year either, though I always anticipate a spectacular holiday series of posts, I thought, just in case, I'll pull this old post out of mothballs and use it again. Why not? Nobody read it the first time.

Christmas Cards

Well, I was late again this year, Christmas card wise, that is. I got one out to my friend early yesterday morning. I had gone to the local Wal-Mart Supercenter to buy it (and a lot of other stuff, some of which I didn't need). But Wal-Marts, especially the Supercenter versions, keep me putting things in the cart, kinda like Costco, but with a smaller bill at the checkout.

I always wonder, when you get a card at a popular store like that (Target would be another one), if the person you're getting it for has already seen it. You know, they were at a Wal-Mart themselves, browsing through the cards, and saw the same card, maybe even looked inside and read the message, particularly if it was one of those funny ones.

Earlier this year, round grad time, I bought a card for someones graduation party. I thought I would be clever and so I ventured into what I figured was a less trafficked greeting card location, a mall store selling only cards and gifts, and with a larger selection of merchandise than the big retail places.

So I bought my card, and liked it too, and hadn't seen it anywhere near a Wal-Mart or a Target in all the times I looked at those fine merchant's wares. My card was unique! Well, at least closer to it than one of those a-million-other-people-bought-the-same-card cards. The day after the party, I walked into the Target on the corner and just happened to be walking toward the candy section (just to look, naturally) and I stopped dead in my tracks. There, right up front, in plain view of the entrance, right where everyone who enters travels by, was MY card. The one I'd bought special, took an extra trip to get, wasted half a gallon of gasoline on, made sure it was the last of its kind, no other duplicate in the store, one of the limited edition they-didn't-order-too-many-of-these cards. They had two stacks of the card at Target. Right up front there for everyone to see.

This time I didn't worry about it. I'd write a nice note of my own inside and so what if she'd seen the same card somewhere. I took the card home and set it aside, but I signed it first, cause my hand writing (penmanship) isn't always the best and I didn't want to be rushed later and mess up and have to go out and get another card, and besides I would take a careful time about it and think of some good things to PRINT for the message itself. I actually hate writing those messages, but I try. I do.

The thing I really hate is when they pass around one of those cards at work for you to sign cause it's someone's damn birthday again, or they're leaving the place for a better job (hell, in that case, they should be getting us a card, saying they're sorry we still have to work there) and you see by the comments that have been written that everyone has already said what you were going to, forcing you to strain your brain to come up with something original, and instead coming up with something that's worded so badly you look like you were trying to be original but failed, only looking pathetic and as if you couldn't express your thoughts clearly if your life depended on it.

Last year, at good old Christmas time, we had a party for ourselves in Customer Service. We were gonna do a potluck, but then found out the company was throwing a pizza shindig or maybe a BBQ (nobody was sure) so it was suggested and decided we would have a "cookie and candy" party. Guess what? We all brought cookies and candy. It was too much, so another department took most of the sickening stuff off our hands. Then we found out the company bought pizza for that other department, but not for us, and that the other department ate those pizzas (about two dozen of them we figured) before we even had our candy and cookies set up on our little table. I got a couple of Christmas cards from some fellow reps at that party, but they had no messages in them, weren't even addressed to me. Weren't even real cards, but came out of a box filled with the same exact card! Just said Merry Christmas on the envelope and only their name inside the card.

Anyway, as I said, I mailed that Christmas card for my friend yesterday. Got it to the post office. Put extra postage on it. On the way home I realized I'd forgotten to write my message inside the card, probably cause I had written it elsewhere, so I could copy it later, so as not to mess up the card itself if I made a mistake while composing my well thought out prose. Oh well, she was one of them that gave me one of them cards without a message and not even my name on it last year.

Not All IPCC Scientists Agreed to Report on Climate Change

...and some weren't even scientists but just government appointed activists with groups like Greenpeace, according to some of the scientists interviewed by John Stossel in the video below. Now, I want to say first that Cork may be right about humans causing (or being the primary cause) of global warming. However, things are not necessarily as straight forward as they may appear if you just refuse to question received wisdom from "experts". For one thing, experts can get it wrong, even if the majority of them (a so-called consensus) agree with some statement.

I want to make it clear that I'm not saying that the argument from authority is always a logical fallacy. If the authority appealed to is an expert in a certain field, then it's an argument one should take seriously. But the conventional wisdom has often been proven wrong, and human beings are still fallible.

In the Stossel video a couple of the scientists state they were members of the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) and that the governments who nominate people for the panel nominated many who are not scientists but instead are people with a political agenda, such as Greenpeace activists. They also say that when the IPCC climate change report came out, they did not agree with it and were not shown anything which they then could sign so as to indicate their agreement or not. One of them even resigned after he was included in the list of panel members who agreed with the "consensus", even though he DID NOT. Can we not now see the political rather then the scientific motivation going on here? Why the need to lie and commit such fraud if the science behind global warming theory is so strong?

Cork recently left a comment at my post on James Randi. He linked to a site that critiqued Randi's post. One section I want to highlight is the following:

First, Randi equates the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which says humans are causing dangerous global warming with the Petition Project, which is a petition signed by “scientists” that say they don’t think so.

Putting the two on equal footing is just wrong.

The IPCC is comprised of 2,500 scientists versed in climate science that rigorously peer-review all the scientific literature on climate change every 5 years. Their reports represent the gold standard, take it to the bank science on global warming.

But apparently, at least according to some scientists who were actually part of the IPCC, not all of those people are scientists either! Funny how that isn't mentioned. Now, who is it that heads the IPCC panel? A climatologist, surely! Perhaps you've never heard of him. Let me introduce you. His name is Rajendra K. Pachauri.

Although Dr Pachauri is often presented as a scientist (he was even once described by the BBC as “the world’s top climate scientist”), as a former railway engineer with a PhD in economics he has no qualifications in climate science at all.-Questions over business deals of UN climate change guru Dr Rajendra Pachauri

Hmmm, imagine the reaction of the climate changers if the head of a "denialist" panel was described as a "top climate scientist" and was then exposed as having a PhD in an unrelated field. Imagine the further indignation if that person had a huge economic interest in proving the position he was advocating for.

What has also almost entirely escaped attention, however, is how Dr Pachauri has established an astonishing worldwide portfolio of business interests with bodies which have been investing billions of dollars in organisations dependent on the IPCC’s policy recommendations. -(from the above link)

See also AGW Guru Pachauri is Economist, not Climate Scientist .

As Hot Air says:

Why did the UN pick a former railway engineer with no background in climate science to lead its effort on AGW? Clearly, Pachauri was selected for his influence rather than his scientific expertise.

Climategate exposed the chicanery of AGW science at East Anglia CRU, including the attempts to hide contradictory data and smear critics. This exposes a critical conflict of interest in the UN effort built on the CRU’s data. In that sense, Pachauri might be the perfect pick to lead the effort. It’s all about economics, not the climate or science at all. It’s an excuse to impose a massive transfer of wealth from developed nations to Third World dictatorships, and people like Pachauri have positioned themselves to get rich on the transactions.

Notice the children at the beginning of the above video? Where did they get such ideas? Could it be from the state indoctrination centers called schools and from the statist lapdog mainstream media? Naw, couldn't be!

Below is a video of the opening film for the Copenhagen summit. There is a good reason a terrified child is at the center of this piece of propaganda. It's about "pester power".

In the US, environmental education in schools has, for more than a decade, been systematically providing children with authority over certain adults. The New York Times reports that ‘eco-kids’ devoted to green values ‘try to hold their parents accountable at home’, and notes that adults become defensive under the ‘watchful eye of the pint-sized eco-police’

As Frank Furedi also says: By transmitting their values to children, the scaremongers hope to channel children’s indignation into hostility towards older generations that are apparently destroying the planet. In the Copenhagen video we hear a child talking about her ‘anger’. When she says ‘I am only a child’, the implication is clear: adults have let children down.- Turning children into Orwellian eco-spies

Okay wise guy, what's your plan?

What can libertarians do about global warming? Kevin Carson on the basics:

Art engages in the same tactic Al Gore is accused of, but from the opposite direction: worrying about whose hands an argument plays into, rather than whether it's backed up by the facts. Questions of truth take a second place to the need to stonewall on acknowledging any fact that "the enemy" might benefit from. It doesn't matter whether something is true or not, if it's something the eco-socialists agree with.

Believe it or not, Art, statism does not inevitably follow from the acknowledgment that human activity may be significantly increasing mean temperatures. The fact that you assume it does demonstrates that you have assumptions in common with many of the "eco-socialists": that existing economic trends result from the free market, and that state intervention is necessary to counter them.

In fact, just the opposite is true. The government needs to stop subsidizing the consumption of energy and transportation, so that the full cost of transportation is reflected in its price, and the full cost of shipping goods long distance is internalized in their price. If such government intervention were eliminated, we might be buying stuff made in efficient small factories 20 miles away instead of huge factories 1000 miles away, or buying produce grown close to home instead of from factory farms with subsidized irrigation water in California. We might be living closer to where we shop and work, instead of maintaining two separate communities for living and working, each with its own utility grid, and commuting back and forth between them.

The free market is the solution, not the problem.

I can think of plenty of other libertarian remedies, just off the top of my head. Free market nuclear energy? More privately owned toll roads (people will drive less when they have to pay every time)? Abolishing the US military? Ending subsidies to the oil industry and other polluters?

Eliminating all taxes and regulatory barriers currently imposed on companies (and people) trying to innovate would certainly be a good start.

In the mean time, the best we can really do is educate people and encourage green capitalism. Even though it (apparently) makes you a tree hugging, granola munching commie.

UPDATE: I just noticed, as soon as I finished typing this post, that a Google ad at the top of our blog reads, Global warming reduction: Help Coke in their effort to protect polar bears & their habitat (link). And there are still libertarians who think accepting AGW (along with some 97% of active climatologists) means accepting statism? Pshaw.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Sunday Food: Knowledge vs Wisdom

Knowledge is knowing that a tomato is a fruit.

Wisdom is knowing to not put a tomato in the fruit salad. - ("Stolen" from Ilíon)

And a fruit salad recipe from The Squirrel: Mrs. Squirrel's Fruit Salad.

Q. What is the most romantic fruit salad?
A. A date with a peach.

What is Noah’s favorite fruit?
Pears (pairs)!

And back to tomatoes:

Why did the Tomato go out with a prune!
Because he couldn’t find a date!

How do you fix a broken tomato?
Tomato paste!

Why was the tomato blushing?
Because it saw the salad dressing.

Shopper: I’m looking for STEWED tomatoes.
Clerk: Try the salad BAR!

Friday, December 18, 2009

James Randi On AGW

The great (and amazing) skeptic, James Randi, writes:

"Yes, we produce CO2, by burning "fossil fuels" and by simply breathing. And every fossil fuel produces CO2. Some products produce more than others, varying with their chemical composition. Methane gas produces less CO2, wood produces more. But almost paradoxically, when wood burns it produces CO2, and when a tree dies and rots it produces yet more CO2. Oceans are huge storage tanks for CO2, but as they warm up, they hold less of the dissolved gas. They release it into the atmosphere, then more of it is absorbed back into the oceans. And as far as humans are concerned, ten times more people die each year from the effects of cold than die from the heat. This a hugely complex set of variables we are trying to reduce to an equation..."-AGW, Revisited

I've been a huge fan of Randi going back to his exposing of faith healing fraud Peter Popoff , and now that he's been courageous enough to express doubts about the pronouncements of the climate change fascists who denounce dissenters by calling them "denialists", I'm an even bigger fan.

Flat Temperatures Through 2050?

While climate skeptics have gleefully pointed to the past decade's lack of temperature rise as proof that global warming is not happening as predicted, climate change activists have claimed that this is just “cherry picking” the data. They point to their complex and error prone general circulation models that, after significant re-factoring, are now predicting a stretch of stable temperatures followed by a resurgent global warming onslaught. In a recent paper, a new type of model, based on a test for structural breaks in surface temperature time series, is used to investigate two common claims about global warming. This statistical model predicts no temperature rise until 2050 but the more interesting prediction is what happens between 2050 and 2100.

Stat Model Predicts Flat Temperatures Through 2050

"When these capitalist gods of carbon burp and belch their dangerous emissions..."

Putting our economy in the hands of Chavez fans

A possible way to handle global warming?

Downsize DC's minarchist proposal:

Even if you accept that human CO2 emissions are causing problematic global warming, a government run "cap and trade" system is not the way to deal with this problem. There is a better way. Here are some points to consider . . .

•Fossil fuels create massive amounts of air pollution, quite apart from CO2.
•This pollution causes health problems, none of which are reflected in the price of fossil fuels.
•Fossil fuels enjoy a "free ride" in terms of pollution costs that make it hard for alternative sources of energy to compete.
•Air pollution is a form of trespass, and a case can certainly be made that dealing with such trespasses is a legitimate function of government.

The federal government could do this by . . .

•Taxing fossil fuels
•Cutting other taxes so that your overall financial burden would remain unchanged
Your energy costs would rise, but your taxes would fall by an equal amount. Doing this would . . .

•Eliminate the justification for a "cap and trade" boondoggle
•Make fossil fuels reflect more of their true costs
•Provide an incentive for everyone to reduce their use of fossil fuels
•Make other sources of energy cost competitive
•Limit the financial impact on you and the economy
•Help reduce air pollution, including CO2 emissions

Thoughts? This would still be compatible with less government if it were to replace, say, the monstrous income tax (and all the boondoggles it funds).

Sorry, but I have to ask...

Sure, Climate Gate doesn't reflect well on the scientists involved. But just where is the outrage over the climate skeptics' own regular habit of falsifying and outright inventing information? Kind of like they did here, here, here and here?

Shouldn't the hacks on both sides be condemned?

An amazing list of global warming resources

Tokyo Tom--one of the only other libertarians (besides myself and Tom Knapp) who accepts AGW has compiled an amazing list of resources here. The first six links are a devastating refutation of nearly all the major "skeptic" talking points.

He also criticizes mainsteam libertarians here, here, here and here (among many other posts on his blog)

The Real Significance of Climategate

...a silencing of climate scientists.

A refereed journal, Climate Research, published two particular papers that offended Michael Mann of Penn State and Tom Wigley of the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research. One of the papers, published in 2003 by Willie Soon and Sallie Baliunas (of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics), was a meta-analysis of dozens of "paleoclimate" studies that extended back 1,000 years. They concluded that 20th-century temperatures could not confidently be considered to be warmer than those indicated at the beginning of the last millennium.

How to Manufacture a Climate Consensus

Environmentalism's Deadly Impact on Human Life

In the same way that so many intellectuals once turned a blind eye to the massacres perpetrated by communists, most intellectuals now evade the three decades of mass destruction and misery perpetrated by environmentalists. Sharing the movement's underlying philosophic precepts and focusing their gaze upon its proclaimed goals, they remain blissfully ignorant of its wretched consequences, or—when brought to their attention— excuse them as unfortunate "excesses" wrought by a few overly zealous "idealists," whose hearts are nonetheless in the right place.

It is this self-imposed blindness that we must penetrate, by casting a spotlight on the human costs of this misanthropic movement.

Death by Environ-mentalism

Some more comments on global warming--at Right-Thinking

In the comments to a post over global warming at Right-Thinking, Hal (the furthest thing from a leftist or 'Greenpeace' member) writes:

The problem is that they try this [persuading skeptics with facts and science] and the response is more sticking of fingers in ears and outright deception. Read here and here about the latest from the “skeptics”—a blatantly fraudelent analysis cited on numerous conservative blogs, who have yet to note that they were hornswoggled. This is a case here someone had the data and the tools and speciously claimed to find cooling. Look at the number of people who are still claiming that East Anglia faked data or destroyed “all” the data or whatever. And look at the death threats they’re now getting based on this ignorance and deception.

On the contrary, it is the skeptics who have their answer and refuse to be persuaded, who continue to insist that the temperature has not gone up, that CO2 magically fails to heat the Earth the way it will heat a greenhouse, that the complete disconnect between solar activity and temperature over the last 40 years means nothing, that the plateau of high temperature over a decade constitutes “cooling”. Right after I type this, someone will ignore all the evidence at hand and claim the sun is warming the Earth.

I don’t think they’ve acted rightly. But I can understand the bunker mentality....

...I think that conservatives and libertarians will come up with better and more cautious ways of solving global warming.

Let me put it this way. I certainly think that many people in the GOP and conservatism exaggerated the danger of terrorism and used it for their own political ends. We were told Saddam was 45 minutes away from using chemical weapons based on the word of God-damned taxi driver. And the Patriot Act was mostly powers law enforcement had been denied before 9/11 that had little to do with it.

This does not however mean the danger from terrorism is not real or that the Afghan or Iraq Wars were bad ideas. This just means that some people used a real crisis to advance their own agenda. (And to be fair, some on the Left used it to bash Bush as a monster.)

Same thing with the environment. Algore is a perfect example. He has always favored bigger government. Twenty years ago, he wanted government to run the economy because we couldn’t compete with Japan. Thirty years ago, Mr. Science wanted to ban genetic engineering (funny how that never gets mentioned these days). Greenpeace, without question, has been taken over by watermelon socialists (green on the outside, red on the inside). And the UN sees this as a way to increase their power.

Their sinister motives does not, however, mean the problem is not real. It means that we have to say to Algore, to the UN, to the liberals, to the socialists: “Fuck you. Take your socialism elsewhere. If we’re going to solve this problem, we need more freedom, more market forces, more innovation. We need to simplify the corporate tax so businesses can figure out energy solutions. We need to pour money into R&D;that is under the control of scientists and capitalists, not politicians.”

When anyone on the left proposes cutting ethanol bullshit, then I’ll know they’re serious.

Toyota Nights, Toyota Lights

When I got home tonight and parked my car, I turned off the lights but was greeted by "the lights are still on" warning buzzer when I opened the door. I checked everything multiple times, but no matter what I did the parking lights stayed on. I finally had to disconnect the battery. I'm taking the car in tomorrow morning to be looked at. I hate it when things like this happen. My life is difficult enough as it is, and I don't need more problems. They always come though. It's like I never get a break.

I wish I was rich and didn't have to worry about having only one very old car to transport me to my shitty job, a job without which I'd be out on the street. All my worries seem to come down to the stress of living paycheck to paycheck. They say money doesn't make people happy, but please, give me a chance to prove that theory wrong!

It Isn't Settled

So says Richard Lindzen, Professor of Meteorology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, recipient of the American Meteorological Society's Meisinger and Charney Awards, and a member of the National Academy of Sciences.

Claims that climate change is accelerating are bizarre. There is general support for the assertion that GATA has increased about 1.5 degrees Fahrenheit since the middle of the 19th century. The quality of the data is poor, though, and because the changes are small, it is easy to nudge such data a few tenths of a degree in any direction. Several of the emails from the University of East Anglia's Climate Research Unit (CRU) that have caused such a public ruckus dealt with how to do this so as to maximize apparent changes.

...the main greenhouse substances in the earth's atmosphere are water vapor and high clouds. Let's refer to these as major greenhouse substances to distinguish them from the anthropogenic minor substances. Even a doubling of CO2 would only upset the original balance between incoming and outgoing radiation by about 2%.

Confident predictions of catastrophe are unwarranted

They debate global warming so we don't have to

Interesting post about global warming

Over at Freedomain Radio. And so our global warming battle continues :D

This guy is not a climatologist. He is a politician, and his motives are questionable. Please, do not take this guy's word. Check out the scientific literature for yourself. In my non-expert opinion, from the evidence I have been exposed to, it appears undeniably true that anthropogenic global warming is occurring. That does not mean that other factors are not influencing climate. It does not even mean that humans are the primary driver of warming, but to flat out deny that humans have the potential to influence climate change is ridiculous. Practically all climatologists appear to agree that humans are contributing to global warming, but politicians and media spin that little statistic into a "consensus" on catastrophic global warming, which I have not seen any evidence for. There is no indication that most or all climatologists are "catastrophists."

It bothers me that many libertarians/market-anarchists/agorists are staunchly on the "global warming is a hoax" wagon. To people of other political persuasions it looks like they are manipulating the science to fit their world view. Maybe global warming IS a hoax, but it is a losing game to deny it in policy debates. If debating policy and philosophy, by trying to prove global warming proponents wrong you are already implicitly admitting to your opponent that the climate change policies being considered by governments around the world are the necessary actions for preventing catastrophe. There are other ways that a catastrophic warming could be combatted in a structure of legitimate property defense and voluntarism. Centrally-imposed caps on emissions are not the only solution. In other words, don't debate the science. Debate the solutions.

Furthermore, I would like to consider that emissions caps are not necessarily outside the realm of voluntarism and protection of property. If some people are putting carbon into the atmosphere, and it can be proven that that carbon is contributing to climate changes that will most probably cause some sort of undesirable condition or damage to people's businesses, properties, and lives... wouldn't it be ethical to impose some sort of class action suit against major carbon emitters to get them to reduce their emissions?

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Global Warming Profiteers Exposed

The latest installment of Jesse Ventura’s highly successful Conspiracy Theory show exposed millions of viewers on national TV last night to the climate change fraud, blowing a giant hole in the global warming scam by exposing how its adherents comprise wealthy industrialists making billions in profits by fearmongering about the environment.

Lead Author Admits Deleting Inconvenient Opinions From IPCC Report

ClimateGate Who's Who

Roger Ebert PWNS Ben Stein and his creationist "theories"


Not a new entry, but entertaining nonetheless.

Glenn Greenwald on Obama's New Torture Dungeon

The Obama administration announced today that it will create a new "supermax" facility in Thomson, Illinois, and will transfer to it many of the detainees currently held at Guantanamo. Critically, none of those moved to Thomson will receive a trial in a real American court, and some will not be charged with any crime at all. The detainees who will be given trials won't go to Thomson; they'll be moved directly to the jurisdiction where they'll be tried. The ones moved to Thomson will either (a) be put before a military commission or (b) held indefinitely without charges of any kind. In other words, they'll have exactly the same rights -- or lack thereof -- as they have now at Guantanamo.

Read the rest here.

I wonder how the right-wing will react? Will they criticize it for not being anti-civil rights enough?

Obama: Property of Wall Street

"I did not run for office to be helping out a bunch of fat-cat bankers on Wall Street," President Obama told "60 Minutes" onSunday, the eve of White House meeting with top Wall Street bankers. This line, and the credulous media coverage that followed, fed the image of Obama as the people's crusader against the wealthy special interests.

But if you skip the rhetoric and focus instead on verifiable facts -- campaign contributions, administration appointees, White House visitor logs, Obama's bailouts and even his proposed regulations -- you see instead that Obama may be closer to Wall Street than any modern president.

Obama raised $14.8 million from Wall Street in the 2008 election, according to the Center for Responsive Politics -- more than any politician ever, and more than George W. Bush raised in both of his elections combined. From the fattest cat, Goldman Sachs, Obama raised $997,095, more than four times McCain's Goldman haul and more than any candidate has raised from any single company since the McCain-Feingold campaign finance regulations.

Then there's the revolving door between Wall Street and the West Wing, spinning as rapidly as ever. Citigroup's and Goldman's tentacles into the White House have been well-documented by Obama critics on the Right (most thoroughly by Michelle Malkin in her best-seller "Culture of Corruption") and the Left (most famously by Matt Taibbi in Rolling Stone).

And on the substance, Obama's policies and proposals have been a boon to Wall Street interests.

Read the rest: Obama brings purrs from Wall Street's fat cats

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

The Hockey Stick vs. Ice Core Data

Hockey stick observed in NOAA ice core data

When does carbon dioxide become a pollutant?

Why is carbon dioxide, a life sustaining compound, considered pollution and how do scientists know that humans are responsible for the increasing levels of CO2 in the atmosphere and global warming?- CO2 Pollution and Global Warming

Dr Flu

The man with the nickname “Dr Flu”, Professor Albert Osterhaus, of the Erasmus University in Rotterdam Holland has been named by Dutch media researchers as the person at the center of the worldwide Swine Flu H1N1 Influenza A 2009 pandemic hysteria. Not only is Osterhaus the connecting person in an international network that has been described as the Pharma Mafia, he is THE key advisor to WHO on influenza and is intimately positioned to personally profit from the billions of euros in vaccines allegedly aimed at H1N1.

WHO ‘Mr Flu’ under investigation
for gross conflict of interest

Babes From Another Dimension

Bonus video-Chad Vader and Obama Girl:

Roger Ebert on Creationists and "New Agers"

Ebert (one of the few celebrities I've met in real life btw :) on superstitious baloney.

A Communist On Climate Change

The following is by The Barefoot Bum:

Paul Krugman, Digby and Amanda Marcotte all speculate on climate change denialism. But they focus on the politics; they're missing the economic factor. Denialism is rising fast, which means that people with money, serious money, are funding it. And people with serious money aren't stupid: they put their money where their economic interests lie.

The right wing has been against environmentalism in general for many decades, and it's not just to "piss off the liberals". The crux of the biscuit is that in general, labor extended on environmental activities does not produce profitable commodities. You can't bottle clean air, you can't wrap a healthy ecosystem and sell it at Best Buy: you can't rent the capital to workers and take the exchange the surplus labor for your own profit. The only way to improve the environment is by taxes, and these taxes come, one way or another, out of the pockets of the rich.

The only non-commodity production the right wing is interested in supporting is the military and the police. (It's ironic that Libertarians, those soi disant opponents of coercion, support the socialization of only the police and the military, whose only raison d'être is actually coercing people. Libertarianism without coercion is anarchism, and I like anarchists a whole lot better than I like Libertarians... of course, I like rabid weasels more than I like Libertarians.)

A Green Eco-Imperialist Legacy of Death

In April 1972, after seven months of testimony, EPA Administrative Law Judge Edmund Sweeney stated that “DDT is not a carcinogenic hazard to man. ... The uses of DDT under the regulations involved here do not have a deleterious effect on freshwater fish, estuarine organisms, wild birds, or other wildlife. ... The evidence in this proceeding supports the conclusion that there is a present need for the essential uses of DDT.”*

Two months later, EPA head [and Environmental Defense Fund member/fundraiser] William Ruckelshaus - who had never attended a single day’s session in the seven months of EPA hearings, and who admittedly had not even read the transcript of the hearings - overturned Judge Sweeney’s decision. Ruckelshaus declared that DDT was a “potential human carcinogen” and banned it for virtually all uses.

The Malaria Clock

Monday, December 14, 2009

Substance Dualism

Lord Monckton Confronts a Member of Greenpeace On Global Warming

Whiny conservative loser explains why he "left the libertarian ranks"

Too funny. Almost as good as his previous ramblings.

Had to post it for comic relief.

US Drone Attacks Expand to Pakistani Cities

More proof that mass murderer, no, I mean war criminal, no sorry, Nobel Peace Prize winner Obama really, really deserved the award.

After confirmation that the CIA has been operating drone strikes in Pakistani territory, a new report says the US is seeking to expand the attacks into the country's cities.

The Los Angeles Times reported on Sunday that top US officials were pushing to expand the air strikes beyond Pakistan's tribal region and into the major city of Quetta to allegedly target the Taliban.

Although the US and Pakistan have long been denying that the drones were taking off from Pakistani soil, the CIA confirmed on Saturday that US security contractor Xe Services, formerly known as Blackwater, has been helping the agency to launch the attacks from within Pakistan.

US to expand drone attacks into Pakistani cities

Could Copenhagen "Destroy Millions of American Jobs"?

"With Americans already facing double-digit unemployment, there could not be a worse time to unilaterally disarm our engines of job creation and economic growth"--Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.)-source

Well sure, it could, but will it? The word "could" here is meaningless, and a way to phrase something such that you could never be proven wrong, which is why we see it used so often. Hey, if your prediction doesn't come true, you only said it could not that it would. That said, of course such measures would destroy jobs, which makes all of the proposed global warming, excuse me, CLIMATE CHANGE government actions inherently anti-human and anti-freedom. As I've said before, even if global warming is taking place and humans are causing it, that doesn't mean there is much we can do to stop it, and certainly many of the solutions would not be worth the cost of implementing them.

h/t Liberty Pulse

A Climategate Christmas

Okay, since we're on the subject, a little fun...

via AdamS

From the “weather is not climate” department

New snowfall and lowest temperature records are being set.

Lots of new cold and snow records in the USA this past week

Stefan Molyneux's Parade of Non-science

The global warming deniers are out in full force these days. Unfortunately, their arguments are mostly pseudo-scientific bullshit. As with evolution, it's a majority of credible scientists vs. a small group of fringe rightwingers. This Stefan Molyneux video is a textbook case:

At the beginning of the video Stefan encourages us to get *both* sides of the story. Pretty funny, considering that virtually all of his claims are either half-truths, misrepresentations, lies of omission or simply flat-out lies.

New Scientist has long since put together a comprehensive special feature addressing nearly all of Stefan's drastically overstated claims. Seriously, you can practically go down this thing like a checklist as you watch Stefan shamelessly spew sentence after sentence of silliness.

Everything from the ice cores to the sun spots to the data modeling to the hockey stick graph to the “other planets are warming too” excuse (along with plenty more) is addressed. Stefan unthinkingly regurgitates all of it.

I put off blogging on this subject, but have to admit that I am soooo sick of the non-science spewed by right-wingers on this issue that I had to eventually post something. The figures these guys use are every bit as dishonest as the left's healthcare numbers.

Look, I'm an anti-statist. That doesn't mean I'm going to just deny science because I don't like what it says. Unfortunately, I feel that most of my fellow libertarians are doing just that.

OK I've calmed down now and am eating a cookie. End post!

Conservatives Must Rethink War

Sunday, December 13, 2009

A Book Against Competition

No Contest, which has been stirring up controversy since its publication in 1986, stands as the definitive critique of competition. Drawing from hundreds of studies, Alfie Kohn eloquently argues that our struggle to defeat each other -- at work, at school, at play, and at home -- turns all of us into losers.

-No Contest: The Case Against Competition

This post is not an endorsement and I haven't read the book.

It's official: I'm a liberal

At least if this old article I just came across is any sort of accurate guide:

According to a controversial new study, set to be published in The Journal of Political Psychology, the bedrooms and offices of liberals, who are generally thought of as open, tend to be colorful and awash in books about travel, ethnicity, feminism and music, along with music CDs covering folk, classic and modern rock, as well as art supplies, movie tickets and travel memorabilia.

Conservatives, on the other hand, tend to surround themselves with calendars, postage stamps, laundry baskets, irons and sewing materials in their personal spaces, according to the study. Their bedrooms and offices are well-lighted and decorated with sports paraphernalia and flags—especially American ones.

If this is true, I'm the biggest liberal ever. My room looks exactly like the "liberal" one and absolutely nothing close to the conservative one.

However, I suspect most of these so-called personality tests are total bunk.

Back from Manhattan...with a vengeance!

I just returned from my trip to New York City, and man oh man was it great. My friend and I went to see the Met Museum, the Guggenheim Museum, the Museum of Sex, the empire state building, the statue of liberty, Brooklyn Bridge, NBC studios, Wall Street and Ground Zero, a Knicks game at Madison Square Gardens (thank goodness for ticket scalpers) and just about everything else you could possibly think of. Heck, we even got in to see Late Night with Jimmy Fallon. (It was the Rachel Maddow episode, which you can watch here if you're bored--not sure if you'll be able to spot me in the audience ;). Good times!

This has been one of my biggest "vacation" years ever. Since May, I've gone to Britain, France, Miami, India and New York City. Come to think of it, maybe it's time to finally take a friggin' break from travelling.

Top 10 Old Testament Dinner Guests

Guess who people chose as number one? My question is, what do you serve God for dinner, heavenly hash?

The Top Ten

1. God

2. David

3. Eve

4. Moses

5. Job

6. Abraham

7. Esther
8. Joseph
9. Daniel
10. Ruth

-Old Testament Dinner Guests

Guns: Tools of Freedom

And some commentary from Alex Jones (and he also plays the above video, by the way):

Friday, December 11, 2009

Forbidden Candy

I was in a store just browsing at all the Christmas stuff (at least that's what drew me in) and after looking at ornaments and such I began walking through the merchandise (yes, in this store the merchandise is scattered everywhere so it is possible to walk right through it) when I came upon a display at the end of an aisle that featured liquor-filled chocolates in the shape of little liquor bottles.

I thought monetarily (and you thought I meant momentarily, didn't you?) of buying some for my mom, but decided against it after looking more closely at the prices.

What struck me most though was the large-print sign that had been posted along with the display: NOTICE! UNDER STATE LAW YOU MUST BE AT LEAST 21 YEARS OF AGE TO PURCHASE LIQUOR-FILLED CHOCOLATE. I then picked up one of the boxes of the alcoholic candies and read the label. It was only 3.5 oz. and it said that the alcohol content was not more than 5%. I was very relieved to know that the government was protecting people who were only 20 years and 11 months of age from buying such a dangerous product, so dangerous that they weren't allowed to purchase it for another month when they would reach the magical age of 21.

But then upon closer inspection I read a little warning on the box itself: Unlawful to sell or give to persons under legal drinking age.

So, I'm glad the price made me think twice, but if I should change my mind and buy some of those for Mom I'll be sure to make it clear to her that if anyone should ask her about her little chocolate bottles and she is then tempted to offer them one (Mom is very generous that way) that she first ask them for their ID. I care about my mom and I just don't want to see her become an outlaw, and worse, a menace to society, because I know government only has our best interests at heart and that's why such laws exist in the first place. To violate such laws willfully (or even ignorantly, that's no excuse!) is to do evil, and I really don't want an evil mom.

Oh Government, thank you for delivering us from such evils as tiny little liquor-filled chocolates at this joyous time of the year!

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