Prosecute the torture.

December 1, 2015

The Tribune-Review STILL Misleading The Public On Climate Change.

Take a look:
Not only has there been significant pause in Earth's warming, there's credible scientific research — based on solar activity — suggesting a significant cooling decade beginning in 2030. But you won't hear anything about that in Paris. That's what happens when political and social re-engineering agendas replace science.
Ah, "the pause" - we've dealt with this myth before, haven't we?

But what about that other thing?  The cooling beginning in 2030?

The story begins here:
A new model of the Sun’s solar cycle is producing unprecedentedly accurate predictions of irregularities within the Sun’s 11-year heartbeat. The model draws on dynamo effects in two layers of the Sun, one close to the surface and one deep within its convection zone. Predictions from the model suggest that solar activity will fall by 60 per cent during the 2030s to conditions last seen during the ‘mini ice age’ that began in 1645. Results will be presented today by Prof Valentina Zharkova at the National Astronomy Meeting in Llandudno.
Professor Zharkova isn't actually a climate scientist, however distinguished a mathematician that she is.

So what do actual climate scientists think of this?  From the Washington Post: 
It’s a dramatic idea, but it isn’t being embraced by many climate scientists, who argue that anthropogenic global warming — brought on by a human outpouring of greenhouse gas emissions into the atmosphere — will far outweigh any climate effects that might be caused by the sun. As far as the solar variations go, “The effect is a drop in the bucket, a barely detectable blip, on the overall warming trajectory we can expect over the next several decades from greenhouse warming,” said Michael Mann, distinguished professor of meteorology at Pennsylvania State University, in an e-mail to The Washington Post.
However, this belief is in direct contrast with much literature on the topic. Georg Feulner, deputy chair of the Earth system analysis research domain at the Potsdam Institute on Climate Change Research, co-authored a paper in 2011 specifically examining the effect a solar minimum might have on Earth’s climate. His paper, and subsequent related research has concluded that any solar-related temperature drops would be far outweighed by human-caused global warming. In the case of a solar minimum, such as the one predicted by Zharkova and colleagues, “The expected decrease in global temperature would be 0.1°C at most, compared to about 1.3°C warming since pre-industrial times by the year 2030,” Feulner wrote in an e-mail to the Post.

Complicating the matter further is the idea that the 17th century’s “little ice age” wasn’t even really the result of the solar minimum going on at the time. Feulner also authored another 2011 paper that concluded that volcanic activity was the major cause of a cooler climate during this time, rather than solar variations. The takeaway is that changes in solar radiation are unlikely to hold a candle to the climatic effects being brought about by human-related greenhouse gas emissions.
So all we have, truth be told, is the braintrust yelling and pointing: LOOK OVER THERE!

Anywhere but at the science and the rising temperatures.

November 29, 2015

What Josh Marshall Said

From Talkingpointsmemo:
Caution in the light of factual uncertainty is almost always a laudable stance for journalists and public officials. But from the beginning of yesterday's attack on the Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs there's been an odd reluctance to state what appears to be obvious: that the attacker, now identified as 57 year old Robert Lewis Dear, was motivated by extremist anti-abortion politics. The Denver Post headline states "Planned Parenthood shootings increasingly seem politically motivated" - and this after numerous accounts state that Dear was ranting about "no more baby parts" after his arrest, almost certainly a reference to the incitement earlier this fall over a doctored anti-Planned Parenthood sting video. Let's remember, false claims and incitement about selling "body parts" were a staple of Fox News segments and tirades from Republican presidential candidates all through the Fall.
And remember they were false claims about selling "baby parts" and anyone who spread them carries a little responsibility for any violence that occurred because of them.

November 26, 2015


While it looks like our friends at the Tribune-Review are continuing their Thanksgiving Tradition of misquoting Harry S Truman, so we'll continue our tradition of spreading the word about the Alice's Restaurant Massa-CREE.

From 2013:
When I was a boy in New England (where you can find the best pizza on the planet) every year on Thanksgiving day it was a tradition for at least one New York radio station to play one particular 18 minute piece of music - some time around noon.

This piece of music.
You can get anything you want, at Alice's Restaurant.
You can get anything you want, at Alice's Restaurant.
Walk right in it's around the back.
Just a half a mile from the railroad track.
You can get anything you want, at Alice's Restaurant.
Happy Thanksgiving!

November 23, 2015

Message To Donald Trump (And His GOP Disciples)

Waterboarding is illegal.

It's a war crime.

And yet, that pesky notion doesn't seem to get in the way of Donald Trump's precautionary foreign policy.  From Talkingpointsmemo:
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump said he'd bring back waterboarding on Sunday and called the practice "peanuts" compared to "what they’d do to us."

Trump appeared on ABC's "This Week" program where he said the country has to be "strong" against enemies.

"We have -- I would bring it back, yes. I would bring it back," Trump said. "I think waterboarding is peanuts compared to what they’d do to us, what they’re doing to us, what they did to James Foley when they chopped off his head. That’s a whole different level and I would absolutely bring back interrogation and strong interrogation."
Well, the country has to follow its own laws.  And torture is illegal.  Has been since at least the mid-90s when the Senate ratified the treaty against torture that Ronald Reagan signed in '88.

And yet, according to the most recent ABC/Washington Post Poll, Trump is on top of the GOP field by at least 10 points.

How many times have we heard the Tea Party wing of the GOP scream about Obamaic Tyranny?  About his illegal powergrabs?

And yet, one of their own is vowing to "bring back" torture.  Which is illegal.  Which is a war crime.  Which is the ultimate powergrab.

What does this say about our friends in the GOP?

November 21, 2015

Life Comes At You Slow, David

If you get a chance, read Brian O'Neill's column on getting old.

It starts like this:
You know you’re getting old when . . .
So you know I'm not mis-representing.

Anyway, he starts by admitting he defrauded a movie theatre for twenty-five cents while also admitting he went alone to see an Anne Hathaway movie (The Intern, co-starring someone named Robert DeNiro).

I kid.  I kid because I care, Brian.

Then he gets to Ed Asner:
That was a month ago, if memory serves, and can it really at your age? More recently, you pick up your Sunday paper (because you still prefer the feel of the printed page, coot that you are). You see among the listed birthdays, “Actor Ed Asner, 86.’’ Your brain synapses fire up and return you to the day you met him, nearly 27 years ago.

You’ve been in Pittsburgh barely a month when Mr. Asner arrives for a pre-Broadway production of “Born Yesterday.’’
That would be late November, 1988.  Back to Brian:
You ask him to channel Mr. Grant and tell you to how to cover this story on Mr. Asner. “The story isn’t Asner,’’ he growls over his vodka, neat.“It’s the people at the Rainbow Kitchen.’’

You follow his advice and write your column more or less that way. You think, man, what a great old guy. Twenty-seven years later, you do the math in your head and realize you’re older than he was then.
Did someone say math?  And for our British readers, that last question should have read "Did someone say maths?" (And I just don't have the berlins necessary to write the whole bloody thing in British).

If my arithmetic is correct, Ed Asner was a few weeks past his 59th birthday at that point.  But seeing as this is a blog and as a blogger, I am always writing about me, let's see how Asner Time works in my life.

As of this date, I am 19,040 days old.  So adding 19,040 days to Ed Asner's birthday we get (again if my maths are correct) January 1, 1982.

Lou Grant (everyone remembers Lou Grant, right?  It was a dramatic spin-off of the Mary Tyler More Show?) was in its last season when Ed Asner was the age I am now.

Its last season.

This was the first episode of Lou Grant broadcast:

That was September 20, 1977, when Ed Asner was was 17,476 days old


1,564 days younger than I am today.  4 years 104 days younger, to put it in other terms.

By this point in their lives:
  • Beethoven was working his last symphony
  • Brahms was working his last symphony
  • Mozart was already dead 16 years, 3 months and 10 days.
Life comes at you slow, for sure.

November 20, 2015

Chuck McCullough Update (Hint: Things Just Got Worse)

From my last blog post, we learned that former Allegheny County Councilman Charles P. "Chuck" McCullough was attempting to have Judge Lester G. Nauhaus removed from the sentencing part of the trial.  Chuck alleged that:
...that Judge Nauhaus had improper communications with Mr. McCullough’s previous defense lawyer, Jon Pushinsky, in which the judge relayed through a mutual friend that Mr. Pushinsky should “go nonjury” for the trial.

Mr. McCullough claimed in his petition that he wanted a jury trial but feared repercussions by Judge Nauhaus.
That part didn't go so well for our Chuck:
President Judge Jeffrey A. Manning denied McCullough's petition to recuse Judge Lester G. Nauhaus from his sentencing when one witness after another cited rules of evidence, attorney-client privilege or protected sources to avoid testifying at an evidentiary hearing.

“There's absolutely nothing on the record at all to indicate Judge Nauhaus was in any way not impartial ... aside from what was in your petition,” Manning said. “Without evidence, those claims are now scurrilous.”
But that's not really the bad part.

This is:
The day after former Allegheny County Councilman Chuck McCullough lost his bid to have the judge on his case removed, he is to face new criminal charges of perjury and obstruction.

Mr. McCullough is to turn himself in today at Pittsburgh Municipal Court. He received notice of the new charges Thursday; they apparently stem from his waiver earlier this year of his right to a jury trial both in writing and during an oral colloquy before Common Pleas Senior Judge Lester G. Nauhaus.

In those statements, Mr. McCullough said he waived his right to a jury trial voluntarily and free from any threat, but that waiver contradicts his recent claim that he made the nonjury decision under duress.
I would have thought someone with a JD would have known that was coming.

But I'm not a lawyer so what the heck do I know??