Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Election Year is Coming!

I've been away a while, toiling in political debate via Facebook and Twitter.

I think this blog will be a good venue for discussing the 2016 election from the primary season on through a winner in November.

First, the holiday season.

Then, it's on...

Saturday, July 12, 2014

My Review: Dinesh D'Souza - "America: Imagine the World Without Her"



Are you patriotic? Asked another way, if you are an American, are you proud to be an American? It's a relevant question coming out of our Independence Day holiday on the 4th of July, and your answer in 2014 is not a given.

Myself, I am a 24/7 patriot. That's not to say that I blindly support all of our politicians or their sometimes foolish policy. It is to say that I am proud of the American Experiment, of the "idea of America" as an experiment in liberty as a departure from the history of human governance. As a Pew poll found last week, my view is held by some 75 percent of conservatives. Conversely, the same poll found that only 40% of "committed liberals" indicated that they were proud to be an American. I am reminded of my YouTube debate with a friend, a self-described socialist, who eschewed patriotism as a "long prayer to a false god". To each our own.

Into this relevant question steps Dinesh D'Souza, with his second feature documentary in two years. His first film, "Obama 2012", came out in a presidential re-election cycle and examined President Barack Obama against the themes of a not-proud American mentored by his own "founding fathers" in an anti-colonial mindset - with America as the colonial power to be "anti". D'Souza's new documentary "America: Imagine the World Without Her" expands his scope to examine the radicalism of the American political left as they pursue an agenda through politics, journalism, and academics. You might view the film either as an attack on the left or as a response to them, depending on your own starting political experience and framework.

"America" has a viewpoint agenda, as in my experience all documentaries do, and that agenda is to unabashedly contend for the greatness-of-America worldview, which is rare in the documentary space. The film opens with a question, ends with a question, and makes its case over two hours using standard documentary techniques such as historical re-enactments, charts and graphs, interviews with key players pro and con, and catchy songs in the background evoking appropriate emotions as the story builds. Academy Award winner Gerald Molen ("Schindler's List") produced the film with reasonably high production values that kept my interest throughout. The film's opening question "Is America great, a net contributor to the world, and can you imagine a world without her?" is answered in roughly four main acts.

Act One introduces us to the not-proud-crowd who hold a "shame" view of America's founding and history on the world stage. This set of prominent historians, journalists, academics, and politicians believe that America was uniquely founded in great sins, and has gone on to act reprehensibly on the world stage since the founding. D'Souza gives voice to this shame view through interviews with key players: a Native American activist, chicano activists, college professors, etc. He features the work of Howard Zinn, whose textbook "A People's History of the United States" holds considerable influence in high school and university curriculum's nationwide.

Act Two recounts, in a fair manner, the indictments that the not-proud-crowd level against America, again in their words. Those indictments include that America stole the land from Native Americans and from Mexico. That we stole labor uniquely in the institution of slavery. That we have acted imperialistically and oppressively in aggression against other nations. If these indictments are true, D'Souza notes somberly, they must be remedied.

Act Three is a point-by-point refutation of the left's indictments, contending for American Exceptionalism. Here D'Souza advances a theory of world history not often heard in discussion: that most of world history has been governed by the "Conquest Ethic", and that America's founding was a purposeful and beneficial deviation from that world norm. The conquest ethic governed in North America before European arrival, for example, with tribes constantly displacing other tribes through conquest. Offering treaties, as the Europeans did during westward expansion, was a deviation from the conquest ethic. The universal sin of slavery is deeply embedded in the conquest ethic throughout world history, still existing in the world today, and not a unique sin of America's founding. America's founding was, by contrast, a "promissory note" on ending the institution in western civilization, a note which was redeemed later at enormous cost. And so on, in answer to the indictments.

Act Four makes the case that the "shame" view of America has a purposeful goal: political power - through which sinful America will be re-made in different model. Whose model? If you are looking at the current administration, then you have to look to Chicago from whence it came, and the main influencer of Chicago leftist politics: Saul Alinsky. Alinsky invented the community organizer model that Barack Obama was trained in. Alinsky mentored Jerry Kellman and others, and Kellman mentored Barack Obama. Alinsky also mentored Hillary Rodham Clinton, who wrote her college senior thesis on his plan for power. If you are looking at the agenda of our current president, and our likely next president, then you have to consider the influence of the radical mentor Saul Alinksy and his "Rules for Radicals" agenda for obtaining the power to remake America.

D'Souza concludes by returning to his opening questions. Is America great? Have we been a net contributor to the world by influencing the replacement of the Conquest Ethic that has governed world history with a liberty / capitalism model that much of the world is embracing? Can you imagine the world without that contribution? Can you imagine if the not-proud-crowd remakes America back toward the Conquest Ethic?

I mentioned that D'Souza ends the movie with a question. He does that by noting that America has the only national anthem that ends with a question: Oh, say, does that star-spangled banner still wave over the land of the free and the home of the brave? Will it much longer, if the not-proud-crowd remakes us? Each must contend for the greatness of America, as if it depends on you to do so. As D'Souza contends for our greatness. I was inspired by that message. Go see it, and judge his contention for yourself.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

My "Privilege" Got Checked!

"Do you really believe that you didn't benefit from the privilege of being a white male?"

This question came at me near the end of an engaging dinner conversation with a Facebook friend at a Panera this week. I inadvertently prompted the question by showing her a Townhall Column by Kurt Schlichter to illustrate what a no-holds-barred conservative op-ed of the kind that I read daily looks like.

Schlichter's column "I Checked My Privilege, and It's Doing Just Fine" is a hard-edged, less apologetic, take on a topic that Princeton student Tal Fortang addressed in his masterful article "Checking My Privilege: Character as the Basis of Privilege". That topic is the current trend of progressives on campuses to intimidate white males into shutting up in discussions, because - you know - their privileged births disqualifies them from being valid. Is this really a college trend? American Thinker reports on an orientation course at Harvard on "Check Your Privilege". Trendy.

Take a few minutes and read all three articles in this order, and you will learn something. Read Fortang's ground-breaking piece first. Read Schlichter's fearless op-ed second. Tie it up with American Thinker.

Back to her question. Frankly, it's laughable to me that I had a privilege-greased slide through life so far, not even counting the white male part.

My parents were not even remotely wealthy, four kids on a teacher's pay. Dad worked three jobs at once, always and for years to make it happen. Mom worked 3rd shift data entry at the hospital. They stayed married to each other for 50 years. They raised 4 responsible boys. Sure, privilege.

They helped me get to college. Before that, though, I was engaged in my own future. I held two jobs in high school. I worked during college working every other semester at an aerospace company in a co-op program. I enlisted in the military. I turned my military experience and a hard-earned degree into a manager's job at a manufacturer. I turned results in that role into my next job and so on.

"So, your parents gave you your privilege. Imagine not having those parents. Imagine being born black in a crack house, and tell me you would have had those opportunities."

Yes, my parents gave me opportunity. But, that has nothing to do with being a white male. It's not wealth privilege, or race privilege, or the patriarchy or whatever.

My parents gave me a "functional" privilege. I grow up in a functional household where my parents worked extremely hard and made good lifestyle choices. They stayed in school. They were married for 50 years. They were churchgoing moral people. Not rich. Functional.

I learned from that, and have tried to live a responsible functional life. I stayed in school. I stayed off of drugs, when I could have chosen to use them in the 70's. I worked jobs from early on, and have been employed every day since 1979. I put in 50 hours of work a week at my job, often on the road away from my family. I served my country for 11 years. I made mistakes in the journey, and worked hard to recover from the mistakes. I've been married

It's laughable to me that that either my parent's life or my life would be described as privileged. For some reason, liberals are prone to denigrating hard work, responsible living, and accomplishment. I'm not buying it.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

I Miss the Old NASA

Here's why we can't have nice things - actually, why we can't have reasonable discussions about government and media: because there are always two sets of facts out there muddying things up as each side links it's favorite perspective.


An illustration:



As I was traveling this week I saw a story at a "NASA-funded study" that dealt with collapse of civilizations. The study finds that civilizations like the Roman Empire (and us in the future) collapse when the "Elites" overconsume resources that the "Commoners" need resulting in strife and collapse.



 
Now, granted, I'm old. I'm so old that I remember when the National Aeronautics and Space Administration funded things related to aeronautics and space, and not "studies" that echo Marx and play into the Democrats' partisan campaign themes on "inequality". But, hey, if you're going to defund the shuttle program and all space exploration I guess you have to do something to justify your existence. So Marxist prognostication it is. Boo.

Predictably, NASA ducked - and issued a statement that it did not fund this university study. And, predictably, statist-friendly left media sources will carry water for that denial. You can find all of the links that you want to pooh-pooh this story as a right-wing media fantasy. Knock yourself out.

The problem is that the study itself acknowledges its funding source:

"This work was partially funded through NASA/GSFC [Goddard Space Flight Center] grant NNX12AD03A."

Show of hands, please: is a study on income/resource inequality and the collapse of civilization what you would expect for NASA to fund in 2014? Wouldn't you rather see a shuttle blast off instead?

We get what we get when you elect a president who spent his formative college years attending Socialist Scholars Conferences.

I miss the old NASA.

Go read this article about the journalistic dust up...

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Peggy Noonan is Waking Up!

I have long liked Peggy Noonan's writing. A former Reagan speechwriter, she has a skill with the written word that reaches me despite her Manhattan sensibilities. She lost me for a while as she was drawn into Barack Obama's hope-and-change orbit. But, she's back - offering a withering analysis of Obama's delusional State of the Union speech and of the disconnected progressive masterminds in Washington DC.


A few tidbits:


On Washington: "In the country, the president's popularity is underwater. In the District of Columbia itself, as Gallup notes, it's at 81%. The Washington area is now the wealthiest in the nation. No matter how bad the hinterlands do, it's good for government and those who live off it."


On the Obama administration making religious organizations comply with mandates: "It also is a violation of traditional civic courtesy, sympathy and spaciousness. The state doesn't tell serious religious groups to do it their way or they'll be ruined. You don't make the Little Sisters bow down to you."

On the increasing militancy of the Progressives as they take us further down the road of the fundamental transformation of our nation: "This is the great political failure of progressivism: They always go too far. They always try to rub your face in it."

It is indeed. But, Peggy, where were you six years ago when some of us knew this already?

Take some time and read her column. She's waking up. Wake up, people.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

The Flag at Notre Dame


I got to fold the flag after it was lowered on the Quad of the University of Notre Dame at dusk on Friday. It was an unexpected part of my Walter Mitty-ish adventure weekend.

I travelled to South Bend to attend my friend's CD release party, and arrived early. Of course, I had to take some pictures on the beautiful campus of Notre Dame. While I am not Catholic, I admire Catholic architecture a great deal - and was not disappointed. Awe inspiring.

As I was walking along the Quad, I saw a man lowering the flag. I immediately stopped in my tracks, and observed the act with respect, as I had each evening in my Air Force days. I could hear Taps playing in my head, and had a meaningful moment. I was the only one who did, as the few students out on the Quad went about their travels seemingly oblivious. The man was struggling to keep the flag from touching the ground in the deep snow. I struck up a conversation with him, and thanked him for his service at the flagpole. He said that he had called a supervisor to come help him fold it. I said "You have a veteran standing right here who will help you fold it", and he took me up on my offer. One student did stop to help at that point - mentioning that he had been an Eagle Scout. We got the job done, and went on our way.

I never paid attention to a flag lowering ceremony when I was a student on a college campus either. I didn't until I left school and entered the Air Force. It always stops me in my tracks now. It reminded me of a story that I read in Robert Gates' memoir "Duty" last week:

After Gates left government service, he served as President of Texas A&M university for 6 years. He loved that job, and loved the student body. He didn't want to leave that job and go back to government. But, we had two wars in progress and President Bush asked him to, so he did his duty. He often visited with the troops in the war zones and on their bases. Now and then he would see a soldier in the war zones that he had handed a diploma to at A&M.

One thing that struck Gates was the disconnect between seeing students walking around campus with shorts, sandals, and backpacks, and then later seeing kids the same age in our war zones in full battle gear carrying assault rifles going through extreme sacrifice, injury, and death. That disconnect rattled him deeply.

I had a shadow of that disconnect as I stood at attention on the Quad of Notre Dame observing the flag lowering as students with their heads down and iPods in walked obliviously around me. Wake up, young people. Show some respect. That flag has costs.    

Saying a prayer this morning for our men and women in military service, wherever they are.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

"Lone Survivor" - a Thought-Provoking Film

I saw two films today at the cinema. Both had a lone survivor fighting through unimaginable adversity. The first, "Gravity", was fictional and gorgeous. The second, "Lone Survivor", was all too true, intense, moving, and thought provoking.


I had two thoughts coming out of Lone Survivor: one geopolitical, one about Rules of Engagement. Lone Survivor contains zero politics within the film. It is the true story, one you've heard by now, of a mission that goes badly and the firefights that followed. It is a fine testament to the brave men who survive Navy Seal training, and of the fact that we ask too much of them as the put their lives on the line in a war that we sent them to.


So, the geopolitical question is this: The events described in Lone Survivor happened in 2005, roughly 3 years after our CIA / military first arrived in Afghanistan to fight the "good war" against the Taliban who enabled al-Qaeda to strike us on 9/11? Other than ultimately getting Osama bin Laden, what have we gained in the war going now into its 13th year that is worth the sacrifice of so many killed and wounded? You can't watch this movie and see the hell that rained down on 4 brave men and not multiply it out to the two thousand that died and the many thousand injured - one intense battle or helicopter crash at a time. What makes it worth it? If we are truly at "war" with the Taliban, why don't we have the will to win it by now? We certainly have the capability to crush the Taliban, if they are a global threat. Why do we constrict the Rules of Engagement to the point of a stalemate 12 years into the fight? We owe it to those 4 men that we sent to that mountain to fight and die to win this thing - or stop sending people.


On that question, the timing of the release of the memoir of former Defense Secretary Robert Gates coinciding with the release of this movie is a twofer. The excerpts released so far show the SecDef as an eyewitness to an administration and Commander-in-Chief who do not believe in the war and do not believe that it was winnable, even as they ordered a surge of troops into the theater many years ago. Really? We're just playing a wind-down game with these men's lives? Unacceptable.


To rephrase that question: if Lone Survivor had been released shortly after these events happened - back when the Bush administration was fighting the war - would the American public had stayed behind the effort in Afghanistan? Would we allow the war to drag on for 13 years? Crush the Taliban, or get out. One of the two.


The second question goes to the Rules of Engagement that Luttrell's 4-man team found themselves in when their operation was compromised by goat herders on that mountain and they were cut off from communication with their leaders. Let them go, to warn the Taliban? Tie them up, to freeze and die? Or "terminate the compromise"? Lone Survivor is about their humane choice, and the hell that they paid for it - on our behalf.


Contrast that with the decision made 8 years later - as the war has dragged on unresolved - by Army First Lieutenant Clint Lorance as he lead a platoon in an Taliban area. An area where the previous platoon leader had been shot in the neck. His platoon was approached rapidly by men on motorcycles. Faced with a quick decision about the safety of his platoon in uncertainty of whether they were Taliban scouts, he ordered his men to fire on the 3 men on motorcycles - killing two of them. His men did not have a firefight in that Afghanistan province that day, and were not injured and killed. He, however, was court martialed for violating the Rules of Engagement and is headed for 20 years in Ft. Leavenworth.


Who made the right decision on behalf of his men? The humane commander who let the goatherders go and brought an army down on their head, or the platoon leader who gave the shoot order and had his foot patrol make it back to base that day? Can you say what you would do in the field, especially after watching Lone Survivor? Can we stomach sending brave men out to have to make these decisions in a never-ending war with Rules of Engagement that get our guys killed and maimed?
Why are we still there? Do we have the will to win a "war" that we send soldiers to? Should Lt. Clint Lorance be in jail?


Go see Lone Survivor. We owe it to those guys to squirm in our comfortable seat a bit and face those questions.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Clobal Cooling?

If you like a little irony in your holiday down time, you can't do much better than this headline on CNN this week:

"Icebreaker trying to reach trapped ship in Antarctica also stonewalled by ice"

The original ship is filled with researchers looking at how "Climate Change" (Anthropogenic Global Warming?) has affected the area. They are icebound, stuck in ice floes. The Chinese icebreaker who went to rescue them is stuck in ice. A Russian icebreaker ship is headed there now.

I'm not a fan of the term "Climate Change". It's the magical one-theory-fits all nonsense that covers a non-science political agenda. Not enough ice? Climate change. Too much ice? Climate change. A lot of tornadoes? Climate change. A record low of tornadoes? Climate change. Big hurricanes? Climate change. A year without many hurricanes? Climate change. You get the idea. Yet, it's a term used as a cudgel by those who also wield the term "deniers" like a hammer. It's BS.

So, enjoy the ironic story of the researchers stuck in ice, along with the icebreaker. The ice itself is a global warming denier.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

2013 at the Movies: My Top 10 List




I am a film buff, and have been ever since I was a movie theater usher as my high school job in 1977. I see a lot of movies in the theater. More than I should. Plus, I have attended the EbertFest film festival for the last five years.

2013 was an odd movie year for me, though. My Top 10 movie list would be way different than most. And I'm okay with that. This was the year of smaller films, for me. Ebertfest type films. I took my son to Ebertfest 2013 and saw some amazing films. I'll miss that experience.



I skipped a lot of the blockbuster movies. I've just had enough of them in my life. Enough. I can live without Elysium or the Lone Ranger or even Gravity. And you can keep the big action pictures that I took my boys to, like Thor or Man of Steel or World War Z. Too much relentless CGI, made for the video game generation - not for me.

I walked out of a few movies this year. Critically acclaimed movies even - like The Way Way Back. Also Brad Pitt's Killing Them Softly. They did nothing for me. Less than nothing. No point in staying all the way through just because other people liked them. I know what I like.


Having said that, and having reviewed the list of movies released in 2013, here are my favorite 10 of the movies that I actually watched - chronologically:

Warm Bodies

Blancanieves (Silent film, B&W, from Spain. Saw it at EbertFest, met the Director. Loved it!)

Oblivion

Gatsby

Despicable Me 2

Stuck in Love

2 Guns

The Spectacular Now (EbertFest film, star and director at the Q&A)

Don Jon

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire

Last thoughts:

- There are three 2013 movies that I wish I had seen:

Enough Said

12 Years a Slave

Nebraska

- the Best Plot Twist goes to: Prisoners

- Best movie you will never see is: Escape From Tomorrow

I saw this movie at EbertFest also. It was an indie film, shot covertly on location at Disneyworld, without Disney's permission. Trust me, they would not have given permission. I expected a shaky cam amateur film, and it was way better than that. I thoroughly enjoyed it, dark though it was. I'm guessing it will not be released outside of film festivals.

Who knows what 2014 will bring at the cinema. I'll likely see less movies. By choice.

 

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Me, a Moderate? Yes - on Global Warming




I found myself thinking about Global Warming recently on a blue-sky August day in the MidWest in which I opted not to ride my motorcycle to work because it was too chilly in the morning. I think about this topic a fair amount, and discuss it occasionally with friends on the internet – where ironically I find the topic too often draws more heat than light. How fun is that.

This week I was in a unrelated discussion online about President Obama and his State of the Union address, which contained this:

"But for the sake of our children and our future, we must do more to combat climate change. Now, it’s true that no single event makes a trend. But the fact is the 12 hottest years on record have all come in the last 15. Heat waves, droughts, wildfires, floods -- all are now more frequent and more intense. We can choose to believe that Superstorm Sandy, and the most severe drought in decades, and the worst wildfires some states have ever seen were all just a freak coincidence. Or we can choose to believe in the overwhelming judgment of science -- and act before it’s too late.”

We should look at those factors that he mentioned. We could also look at the folks in Atlanta wearing sweaters last week. Or the mayor of London talking this Spring about a mini-ice age brewing. Or about the Farmer’s Almanac calling for a long cold winter this year. There is a bit of fact in all of that, and a bit of alarmism as well. We all have our perceptions of what the weather / climate is doing. I don’t believe that the evidence shows that natural disasters are increasing in frequency, You might have watched the tornadoes ravaging Oklahoma this Summer and thought tornadoes are increasing. They are not. Neither are hurricanes, even if we give them good PR names like “Superstorm!” (Is that a real meteorological term?)

I probably think about weather, and time, and weather over time more than the average layman on the internet chatting about Global Warming. I think about these things for some very practical reasons. One of those reasons is that I'm a business traveler on the road for an inordinate amount of days each year. I have been behind the wheel of 35 rental cars already in 2013, in multiple states, at all hours of the day, in vastly different and changing weather conditions. Just stop and take that in for a moment - 35 rental cars. I'm aware of the environmental conditions around me in my world because I have to be. And because my hobby of travel photography compels me to think about them. I "see" our landscape and industry at a more focused level than many of you reading this. I just do.  What catches my photography "eye" when I'm out and about that is relevant to this topic?

The sky: So many weather patterns that are visually interesting (and can complicate my business day...). I'm 15 minutes from an airport at home and I love to watch how the jet contrails linger and change by evening.



Energy: Power stations.

 
 
Electrical power line towers.



Windmills!

 

Time: I love to photograph rock layers in parks and canyons and on cut-throughs for interstate highways. It keeps me grounded (no pun intended) that our planet has a history.

 

Moraines: which also make me think of weather over time. I Iearned about moraines back in college. They are mounds or debris fields that were pushed ahead of advancing glaciers and are left in place when the glacier retreats. I took some nice pictures this Summer in the Moraine Valley in Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado on vacation. Every time I see the sign for the Moraine View State Park, I am reminded to be grateful that the land that I'm standing on is not currently encased in a glacier as it was 15,000 years ago. Yay warming! Yay climate change over the history of our planet.

 

If you've read me online you know that I am a partisan on politics. Not so much on science issues, and I am certainly not "anti-science". I love science. I've loved science since I was a little boy and watched the moon landing live in '69. Since I spent hours drawing tracings of the X-15 space plane and then eventually worked in engineering at a major aerospace company. Since I was a high school Mathlete competing in geometric functions and orthogonal equations. Since I took and passed the requisite chemistry, biology, physics, and 4 semesters of calculus through differential equations in an engineering program at a Big Ten university. Since I studied technology in two of the US Air Force's best technical schools (honor graduate each time.) And mostly since I've worked in technological career fields my whole life, including working at the top of the game in American manufacturing in an "ology". (Metrology - "The Science of Measurement", which I'll come back to.)

But, here's the thing. I learned basic science before the internet turned every discussion into a spat among keepers of "the truth". And I've been engaged in practical science most of my career, which tempers my views on certainty, certainly on issues that have measurement results as their foundation. I've seen things in the measurement world that would give you pause to be so certain about things. Together, those two things give me a starting point and a point of view. I am not an expert on climate science. I am a layman. I read. I live. I work. I ponder. And I find that I am not in either of the two extreme camps on the internet on this topic. They are:

1. True Believer: "All scientists agree" that Anthropogenic Global Warming (AGW) is real, that is in large part due to the activities of mankind, that it poses a grave immediate danger, that governments must take action now, and that if you express scepticism at all you are a "denier". If you are in the “all scientists agree” camp, you can stop reading now, because you will not hear anything that I say in this post.

2. AGW is a "hoax", has no merit, and is pushed purely for political purposes. If you believe this, keep reading. I have some thoughts for you.

Neither is correct, in my humble opinion. And I find the use of the term "denier" to be loathsome in a discussion on science. I am a moderate on AGW. Let's look at how, letter by letter.

A - Anthropogenic.

I am generally attribute a great deal of the changes in both weather and climate that occur, and have over the whole history of our planet, to that big yellow variable-output heater in the sky called the sun. Surface temperatures have not statistically significantly increased in the last 16 years, a time when we’ve seen less sunspot activity than usual. We are a few months away from the sun reversing its poles – with South becoming North and vice versa – as itdoes every 11 years

"During field reversals, the current sheet becomes very wavy, and as Earth orbits the Sun, we dip in and out of the current sheet. This means we can see an uptick in space weather, with any solar storms affecting Earth more. So, there may be more auroras in our near future.”
Having said that, I see those contrails in the sky every day. I see those smokestacks belching smoke every day. It’s inescapable that it’s likely that man’s activities to power our homes and industries would be impacting the chemical composition of our atmosphere to some significant degree. So, yes, I am with the A for Anthropogenic in AGW.

G – Global

Oh, yes. I’ve traveled globally. I’ve been in China and seen real pollution – more pollution than America is generating right now. Any UN AGW plan that includes America but does not include India and China is fooling everyone. Our atmosphere is global.

And America can surely learn from foreign Green Technologies that reduce energy use. I was taken aback the first time that I checked into a hotel in Germany. I saw that my room’s key card had to be left in a slot in the room for anything to have power on and that, conversely, when I was out of my room nothing was consuming power. Wow! I was humbled to my core in that one little act. We have things we can learn and do better to reduce our need for energy. So, yes on G for Global.

W – Warming

Are you sure you want to commit to warming? To temperature trends in one direction? After all, I came of age in the 70’s when the hysteria was about Global Cooling. Do you think that I have forgotten that?

Actually, the language of the debate tells me that many of you don’t want to commit to “warming”. You’ve been burned by AGW conferences cancelled by blizzards too many times now to say “warming” in public. Hence was born the euphemism “Climate Change”. It still sounds daunting, but you won’t get embarrassed in the next mini ice age. Never mind that the climate has changed over the whole history of the planet, with cycles of ice ages covering where I live and then not. Never mind. Let’s get wound up about Climate Change.

I am not convinced on W for warming for the following reasons:

1. Surface temperatures have not increased a “statistically significant” amount since 1995. That’s per Phil Jones, AGW guru, and many others.

BBC: “Do you agree that from 1995 to the present there has been no statistically-significant global warming?”
Phil Jones: “Yes, but only just.”

2. The models used by climate scientist don’tfully explain that.
 
"But the fact that global surface temperatures have not followed the expected global warming pattern is now widely accepted."
 
The latest effort to explain is that the heat from CO2 is hiding at the bottom of oceans, and don’t you try to find that sneaky CO2 heat. They have new ballon thermometers down there trying to find it.

True believers have the unique ability to take in answers like that without snickering. Really.

3. Before you have temperature trends, you have temperature measurements as a foundation. I am keenly aware of that because of my 14 years as a metrologist.

4. Temperature measurements don’t have the absolute certainty that you think that they do. Not even digital readout thermometers. Especially digital readout thermometers. Trust me on that. I was at the top of the game in metrology, and operated million dollar temperature controlled gage labs with highly detailed measurement uncertainty calculations. Now add the certainty of mixing “proxy” data from tree rings and such, and tell me how certain you are of temperatures 1500 years ago to .1 degree Centigrade.

5. There are not an infinite number of base temperature measurement databases. According to the report the British Parliament issued after ClimateGate (which I read and you didn’t), there are basically three data sets that everyone shares for their analysis of trends. Those are East Anglia University – which supplies data to the UN’s panels, NASA, and NOAA. The last two consider their data sets inferior to the one at EAU.

6. The data set at EAU has been manipulated. Again, we learned that through ClimateGate. This was not well covered by the media. I discovered it in my reading of the emails and the UK Parliament report. There was a lot of focus on emails that admitted the “trick” that Michael Mann was recommending to others to fix data. The UK Parliament report waived that off, saying it just means it’s a recognized technique to correct data. Well, of course it is. I recognized the validity of using correction factors to adjust in response to a known data irregularity for an assignable cause. That’s not the problem, frankly. The problem is this: The EAU adjusted the data and then destroyed the original data set (because they were “out of memory space”). There is no way to go back and check if the legitimate corrections were correctly applied to the raw data – because the raw data is gone gone gone.

Last, I’ll add this thought. There is a difference between accuracy and precision. This is a basic principle of metrology. It’s on my test for my ASQ Certified Calibration Technician credential – which I still hold  -  every time. Precision is the degree of closeness of a data set. Accuracy is the degree of agreement with the actual value of the measurand. In other words, you can shoot a pretty tight grouping at the target range – and that is important – but your group may be well off the 10 ring bullseye. I see a pretty high degree of precision (grouping) in the trend analysis of climate scientists – and I regard that with respect. Is it accurate? Well, to me that depends on the accuracy of the underlying temperature data measurements and there are questions about how certain they are.

Do all scientists agree on AGW? Don’t let people tell you that they do. I’ll offer as an example a study that I read last week that was published in a peer reviewed journal titled "Peer-Reviewed Survey Finds Majority Of Scientists Skeptical Of Global Warming Crisis". The authors were true believers that wanted to prove the bias of "geoscientists" and "engineers" that work in the petrochemical business. They surveyed 1007 of those scientists, and offered them 5 categories to choose from for their views. 1 catgegory was “true believer”, which only attracted 36% agreement. The skeptical view was split over the other four categories, which equals 64%. All scientists do not agree. The author’s answer would be that the oil scientists have a bias. It’s a bias that I’m okay with because I’ve been a working practical scientist (ologist) for most of my career and have an affinity for them. Plus, I would argue that people that make their living off of government grants have a bias to them as well. How many of them will write a grant proposal that says “the sun causes climate change and there’s not much we can do about it. Now give me a grant.”

The true believer will then point out that some huge percentage in the high 90s of peer reviewed studies agree that there’s AGW. What they don’t acknowledge is that some of those papers take a moderate view as I’ve outlined. None of the skeptics that I read take the hoax position – that there is nothing to AGW. So they would be counted in the high 90 percent. It’s not 90% true believer.

Science is not political, or should not be. But the Presidency is. The Congress is. The United Nations certainly is. There is a lot of UN activity that is flat out wealth redistribution from the first world to the third world. Climate change proposals are not immune from this. UN IPCCofficials admit this:

Edenhofer: First of all, developed countries have basically expropriated the atmosphere of the world community. But one must say clearly that we redistribute de facto the world’s wealth by climate policy. Obviously, the owners of coal and oil will not be enthusiastic about this. One has to free oneself from the illusion that international climate policy is environmental policy. This has almost nothing to do with environmental policy anymore, with problems such as deforestation or the ozone hole.

The bottom line for me is:


- Do we know enough about AGW to be pursuing reasonable, practical, and effective Green technologies for our power generation and our power usage? Yes we do.


- Do we know enough about AGW to begin implementing draconian tax schemes? No.


- Do we know enough about AGW to engage in UN wealth redistribution schemes? Absolutely no.

- Do we know enough about AGW for our President to propose killing the American coal industry that powers electrical plants (and provides jobs) in my town? Hell no.

 

That’s my take on AGW at this point in time. It is the moderate position, as far as I see it.