Democracy Has Prevailed.

January 31, 2014

Well THIS is Certainly Embarrassing (UPDATED and Rewritten for Clarity)

From today's Tribune-Review.  It's the "Watch list" section of this week's "Pittsburgh Laurels & Lances."  Take a look:
Mike Doyle. Politico speculates that the 10-term 14th District congressman, a Democrat who represents Pittsburgh, could “ditch” his seat “in the near future” and lists a number of possible successors. Considering that about all Mr. Doyle has done in Washington is captain the Democratic Congressional Baseball Team, a change-up would be refreshing.
Here's the visual confirmation (as of 5:15 Friday morning) that it says that:

Why did I bother with the jpg file?

Because the speculation about Congressman Doyle was in Roll Call and NOT Politico.  It's tucked into a corner of this piece about what might happen if Secretary of State Hillary Clinton decides to run for President in 2016.  The byline on the piece reads:
By Emily Cahn
Roll Call Staff
Jan. 29, 2014, 7:43 p.m.
It's just so embarrassing for Scaife's braintrust, doncha think?  Sitting on such a huge news gathering organization and yet they can't get a simple citation correct.

Obviously, I am expecting this to be corrected sometime during the day.  And if it is, remember you read it here first!!

UPDATE: In an email, Congressman Mike Doyle said, "The only thing people will "watch" is my running an energetic campaign for reelection this year. I look forward to continuing to serve the people of the 14th district."

Let me interject some info I should have included in the first place. Cahn listed 5 individuals who make up "a long line of potential successors are waiting to hear [Doyle's] plans." They are:
  • Allegheny County Controller Chelsa Wagner 
  • Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto
  • State Sen. Matt Smith
  • Pittsburgh City Council Member Dan Gilman 
  • Lawyer Kevin Acklin, Peduto’s chief of staff 
I contacted them all for a comment on Cahn's piece.  The responses:

ANOTHER UPDATE: This time from Sonya Toler, Communications Manager for the Office of Mayor William Peduto, who  wrote,
"Mayor Peduto has repeatedly stated that serving the voters of Pittsburgh as Mayor is his highest aspiration. He's is not looking to climb the political ladder. Chief of Staff Kevin Acklin is equally as committed."
YET ANOTHER UPDATE: Council member Dan Gilman, in an email to the blog, wrote:
I remain 100% focused on doing the work of City Council that the people of District 8 elected me to do. I am committed to making the changes on which I campaigned-- excellent education for the children of Pittsburgh, 21st century city government, and support for small businesses, innovation, and start-up companies.
That's three of the five.  Still waiting on Wagner and Smith

January 29, 2014

January 28, 2014

Vile? Who's Being Vile?

It's vile to repeatedly lie to your readers.  But that's what Scaife's braintrust at the Tribune-Review continues to do.  Take a look at this:
What would the reaction have been among Democrats if, during the administration of George W. Bush, the Senate's No. 3 Republican leader had spoken before The Heritage Foundation and publicly sicced the Internal Revenue Service on Democrats, urging it to harass them for raising campaign money according to the law?

Make no mistake, Democrats would have called for that senator's resignation, urged the appointment of a special prosecutor and begun beating the drums for Mr. Bush's impeachment.

Yet, Sen. Chuck Schumer behaved in just that greasy manner last week. Speaking before the “progressive” Center for American Progress, the New York Democrat called on the IRS to promulgate new rules to effectively silence the tea party.

The law of the land be damned and all too willing to engage in an act of official oppression, Schumer now wants the IRS — already exposed for harassing conservative groups and openly being protected from criminal prosecution by the Justice Department — to ramp up its illegal behavior.
Ah, that again.  The IRS was "already exposed for harassing conservative groups" wasn't it?

Not entirely.  Remember this?  Here's the important stuff Scaife's braintrust isn't telling it's readers:
Despite an admission by the I.R.S. that it inappropriately targeted conservative groups, by searching for groups with the words “Tea Party” or “Patriots” in their names, many legal experts and law enforcement officials say they do not believe that the scrutiny broke the law. Some members of Congress had called for the Justice Department to investigate the tax-collecting agency. The Wall Street Journal was the first to report Monday that criminal charges were unlikely.

I.R.S. documents show the agency gave the same scrutiny to some liberal groups, using the key words “Progressive” and “Occupy.”
And what did Senator Schumer actually say about the IRS in his speech to the Center for American Progress?  Take a look.  There are exactly two mentions of the IRS and here they are:
Beyond issues, the third way we can constructively channel frustrations is to address the damage done by the Supreme Court’s Citizen United decision. One of the great advantages the Tea Party has is the huge holes in our campaign finance laws created this ill-advised decision. Obviously, the Tea Party elites gained extraordinary influence by being able to funnel millions of dollars into campaigns with ads that distort the truth and attack government.

This is not the place for a broad discussion of this issue, and it is clear that we will not pass anything legislatively as long as the House of Representatives is in Republican control, but there are many things that can be done administratively by the IRS and other government agencies – we must redouble those efforts immediately.

Tea Party members realize importance of this issue. In the recent budget negotiations House Republicans nearly blew up the entire agreement because we would not put in the bill a provision that would prevent the IRS from moving forward and administratively closing some of the Citizens United loopholes. [Emphasis added.]
That's it.  Somehow that last part became, to my friends on the braintrust, this:
[Schumer] called on the IRS to promulgate new rules to effectively silence the tea party.
If closing those loopholes can be done "administratively" doesn't that mean those rules are already in place?  And doesn't that mean that it was the House Republicans who wanted to "promulgate new rules" regarding the IRS?

To continue to say the IRS targeted conservative groups without also saying that it targeted liberal groups is a lie.  To build any argument on that lie is to continue that lie.

To not inform your readers of the whole truth is a lie.

And that's vile.

January 25, 2014

Oh, The Stuff They Leave Out

Check this out from this Sunday's Sunday Pops:
The Los Angeles Times reported that the 85 richest people on Earth own nearly half of all global wealth. Sorry but no. As it was forced to later concede, the globe's 85 richest people own about 0.7 percent of the world's wealth. Whoopsieday. [Bolding in original}
Aren't they missing something?

Let's go to the LATimes to see the actual correction:
Updated 7:55 a.m. PST, Jan. 20: A previous version of this post said the 85 richest people owned nearly half of global wealth and the same amount as the bottom half of the population. The 85 richest people are a small part of the wealthiest 1%, which owns 46% of the world's wealth. The 85 richest people own about 0.7% of the world's wealth, which is the same as the bottom half of the population. [Bolding in original.]
Ok so what they're missing are the bullet points from the Oxfam report that the LATimes was referencing:
  • Almost half of the world’s wealth is now owned by just one percent of the population.
  • The wealth of the one percent richest peopl e in the world amounts to $110 trillion. That’s 65 times the total wealth of the bottom half of the world’s population.
  • The bottom half of the world’s population owns the same as the richest 85 people in the world.
  • Seven out of ten people live in countries where economic inequality has increased in the last 30 years.
  • The richest one percent increased their share of income in 24 out of 26 countries for which we have data between 1980 and 2012.
  • In the US, the wealthiest one percent captured 95 percent of post - financial crisis growth since 2009, while the bottom 90 percent became poorer.

Marty, Her Name's NATALIA, Not NATASHA

I guess I've been listening to too much Marty Griffin at work.  For those not in the area or otherwise wouldn't know, Marty's the morning voice of KDKA radio in Pittsburgh.

I've written about him before.

I don't want you to get the wrong impression.  Marty does do some completely cool things.  During this (and the last) period of intensely cold arctic weather, he's done an awful lot to get help to people who need but can't afford it (getting broken furnaces fixed and so on) and that's nothing but good.

On the other hand, that doesn't (or at least shouldn't) excuse his many embarrassing faults.  For example, when he repeatedly mis-characterized this NYTimes editorial and said that the Times was looking for a pardon for Edward Snowden when the editorial clearly called for "a plea bargain or some form of clemency".

Or when he repeatedly referred to Chelsea Manning on the same day as "Mr. Bradley."

This time, he's gone local with his particular brand of...I don't even know what to call it.  Griffinism?  Mid-morn KD-crazie? Marty-Malarkey?

I'll have to think on which one.

You see, he's up in arms over City Councilwoman Natalia Rudiak.

You might ask why I put her first name in bold italics.  I did that because Marty doesn't seem to be able to get her first name right - even when being corrected by callers on the air.  He insists on calling her "Natasha" while undermining her position in city government by using terms like "so called city leader."

Perhaps Marty should read the news sometime.  Perhaps if he did, he'd see that Natalia Rudiak won her seat in 2013 with just under 75% of the vote.

But let's get to what's really irking Marty.  It's this hearing:
Responding to concerns about dirt bikes recklessly racing through City neighborhoods and illegally cutting across both public and private property, Councilwoman Rudiak has called for a public hearing and a post agenda meeting in City Council, to take place on Wednesday, January 22, 2014, to bring together residents and City and State officials to discuss the current road-legal status of these vehicles and police enforcement of noise and speeding laws.
Marty didn't see the reason for the hearing.  He'd never heard of any problem with dirt bikes so it mustn't be a real issue.

Perhaps if he'd been watching his own TV station in June he'd have known that there's an issue.  This is from well known issue fabricator (and I mean that ironically) Ralph Iannotti:
Pittsburgh City Councilwoman Natalia Rudiak says for whatever reason, perhaps the warm weather, the city is seeing “a lot more complaints about dirt biking on streets and sidewalks.”

Two city neighborhoods where complaints are on the rise: Carrick and Knoxville.

Zone 3 Police Officer Christine Luffey told KDKA’s Ralph Iannotti that she believes most bikers don’t have licenses, are driving unregistered vehicles and have no insurance.

A Kirk Avenue block watch captain, Donna Williams, last Sunday was on her front porch and shot home video of dirt bikers zooming though the neighborhood, weaving on the streets and sidewalks.
The dirt bikes bothered Ms Williams so much she circulated a petition, gathered about 125 names on it, and submitted it to the City Clerk's office in early November.  I am told that it was the petition itself triggered the hearing - not any decision by Councilwoman Natalia (see how easy that is, Marty?) Rudiak.

He's also ranting about the councilwoman's support of the Thanksgiving day protest at the Capital Grille downtown, though he gets the facts wrong on that one as well.  He repeatedly said the workers were protesting because they didn't want to work on Thanksgiving.

But the Will of the Council sees things a little differently:
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the Council of the City of Pittsburgh stands with workers to protect our collective rights from corporate encroachment, especially since other large corporations like Costco, Nordstrom, Burlington Coat Factory, and more have publicly confirmed their commitment to respecting workers, families, and our society by remaining closed on Thanksgiving; and BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Council of the City of Pittsburgh does hereby oppose the Darden Corporation's choice to force Capital Grille's employees to work on Thanksgiving and to do so without holiday pay; and BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Council of the City of Pittsburgh supports the employees of Capital Grille and the Restaurant Opportunities Center of Pittsburgh as they speak up together to advocate for fair standards in the restaurant industry.
Wait - Darden wanted all those people to work Thanksgiving without holiday pay??  That's what the protest was about?  But Marty said all those people didn't want to work on Thanksgiving.  Turns out they were protesting (among other things) Darden's choice to withhold holiday pay on that most American of holidays. 

Marty, you do some very good things with the 50,000 watts KDKA gives you every weekday morning. 

Getting all the facts straight isn't one of them.

It just isn't.

January 24, 2014

Uncle Sugar!


Great Buncha Folks Over There On The Right

The Racists:
Rock legend and gun-rights activist Ted Nugent has launched a brand-new, blistering attack on Barack Obama and politicians of both major parties, flaying the president as a “subhuman mongrel” who is “the enemy of the U.S. military” and who should be jailed for “treasonous acts.”

“I have obviously failed to galvanize and prod, if not shame enough Americans to be ever vigilant not to let a Chicago communist raised communist educated communist nurtured subhuman mongrel like the ACORN community organizer gangster Barack Hussein Obama to weasel his way into the top office of authority in the United States of America,” Nugent said in a Jan. 17 interview with at the 2014 Shooting, Hunting and Outdoor Trade Show, or SHOT Show, in Las Vegas.
The Sexists:
Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee (R) said that the government shouldn't help women who can't control their "libido or their reproductive system" by providing co-pay-free birth control and that Democrats are encouraging women to be "victims of their gender."

Huckabee made the comments during a speech at the Republican National Committee's winter meeting on Thursday.

"If the Democrats want to insult the women of America by making them believe that they are helpless without Uncle Sugar coming in and providing for them a prescription each month for birth control because they cannot control their libido or their reproductive system without the help of government then so be it! Let us take that discussion all across America because women are far more than the Democrats have played them to be," Huckabee said.
Note that I am not saying that everyone over there on the right's a racist and/or a sexist, or even that the majority of folks over there infected with teh crazie.  But here's two very prominent conservatives on that side of the ideological aisle making some profoundly stupid statements.  And they're not alone.

It's your choice, my conservative friends, whether you want to hang out with them.

January 22, 2014

Yes, It's Cold Out There - TODAY

But the next time someone tries to tell you that "global warming stopped in 1998" or "we're in a global cooling trend" you can tell them this from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration:
The year 2013 ties with 2003 as the fourth warmest year globally since records began in 1880. The annual global combined land and ocean surface temperature was 0.62°C (1.12°F) above the 20th century average of 13.9°C (57.0°F). This marks the 37th consecutive year (since 1976) that the yearly global temperature was above average. Currently, the warmest year on record is 2010, which was 0.66°C (1.19°F) above average. Including 2013, 9 of the 10 warmest years in the 134-year period of record have occurred in the 21st century. Only one year during the 20th century—1998—was warmer than 2013.
Or if NOAA isn't to your liking, you can always go with the slightly different analysis from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration:
NASA scientists say 2013 tied with 2009 and 2006 for the seventh warmest year since 1880, continuing a long-term trend of rising global temperatures.

With the exception of 1998, the 10 warmest years in the 134-year record all have occurred since 2000, with 2010 and 2005 ranking as the warmest years on record.
Or you can show them this handy chart (thanks to thinkprogress) that plots both analyses on the same graph:

See how it moves upward?  That means that it's getting warmer.  Hasn't stopped.

The science deniers out there have two separate but interconnected problems in dealing with this reality.   Either:
  • The data is incorrect and the planet isn't warming up as illustrated in the above chart, or
  • The data is correct but all the science establishing the reason why it's warming is incorrect.
Each in its own way is extraordinary, considering the mass of evidence countering it.  And as Carl Sagan once said, "Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence" so unless the science deniers out there have any evidence that the data is incorrect or the science is incorrect, their argument is less than meaningful.

It's still getting warmer out there.

January 20, 2014

More On Marty Griffin

I know Marty Griffin knows how to read.  But can he understand what he reads?  I have my doubts based on what he said on the air on KDKA today.

Before I get to what he said, let's look at what the President said about pot:
When I asked Obama about another area of shifting public opinion—the legalization of marijuana—he seemed even less eager to evolve with any dispatch and get in front of the issue. “As has been well documented, I smoked pot as a kid, and I view it as a bad habit and a vice, not very different from the cigarettes that I smoked as a young person up through a big chunk of my adult life. I don’t think it is more dangerous than alcohol.”
Less dangerous, he said, “in terms of its impact on the individual consumer. It’s not something I encourage, and I’ve told my daughters I think it’s a bad idea, a waste of time, not very healthy.” What clearly does trouble him is the radically disproportionate arrests and incarcerations for marijuana among minorities. “Middle-class kids don’t get locked up for smoking pot, and poor kids do,” he said. “And African-American kids and Latino kids are more likely to be poor and less likely to have the resources and the support to avoid unduly harsh penalties.” But, he said, “we should not be locking up kids or individual users for long stretches of jail time when some of the folks who are writing those laws have probably done the same thing.” Accordingly, he said of the legalization of marijuana in Colorado and Washington that “it’s important for it to go forward because it’s important for society not to have a situation in which a large portion of people have at one time or another broken the law and only a select few get punished.”

As is his habit, he nimbly argued the other side. “Having said all that, those who argue that legalizing marijuana is a panacea and it solves all these social problems I think are probably overstating the case. There is a lot of hair on that policy. And the experiment that’s going to be taking place in Colorado and Washington is going to be, I think, a challenge.” He noted the slippery-slope arguments that might arise. “I also think that, when it comes to harder drugs, the harm done to the user is profound and the social costs are profound. And you do start getting into some difficult line-drawing issues. If marijuana is fully legalized and at some point folks say, Well, we can come up with a negotiated dose of cocaine that we can show is not any more harmful than vodka, are we open to that? If somebody says, We’ve got a finely calibrated dose of meth, it isn’t going to kill you or rot your teeth, are we O.K. with that?”
That's it.  That's what he said about pot.

So of course Marty characterized it as Obama's "tacit endorsement of getting high" and that Obama "decided to tell us all that it's OK to get stoned" and  that what he said was "flat out ignorant."

Marty?  I know you read this blog (heck you even read some of it over the air a week or so ago) so I gotta ask you: How do you get from the president saying that pot smoking:
  • is a bad habit and a vice
  • is a bad idea
  • that those who believe that legalizing marijuana is a panacea...are probably overstating the case
to it's his "tacit endorsement of getting high"??

Marty, what you did wasn't even spin.  You merely juxtaposed two completely different things (what the president said and what you said he said) and then simply asserted that they were the same thing.

They're not.  They're just not.

And you got it wrong.

On Benghazi: The Senate Report

Let's start with some of the bigger myths of the Benghazi attacks and then see where they lead us locally.

The "Stand Down" order.

From the report (page 5) we read:
The Committee explored claims that there was a "stand down" order given to the security team at the Annex. Although some members of the security team expressed frustration that they were unable to respond more quickly to the Mission compound, the Committee found no evidence of intentional delay or obstruction by the Chief of Base or any other party.
And yet back in May, the P-G's Jack Kelly wrote:
Gregory Hicks, the deputy chief of mission in Libya, testified that a small Special Forces team was set to go to the rescue of the consulate, but was ordered twice to "stand down." This contradicts the assertion by the Pentagon no "stand down" orders were issued. Who issued the stand-down order? Why?

Former Navy SEALs Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty, now part of a CIA security team, were in Tripoli when the attack began. They told their superiors they were going to help, were ordered to stand down, but went anyway, according to "sources who were on the ground," reported Jennifer Griffin of Fox News. Who ordered them to stand down? Why?
Has Jack Kelly corrected himself on the record?  Will he if he has not?

On the "story concocted for political cover"

Meanwhile over at the Tribune-Review, Scaife's editorial board wrote this:
Newly declassified testimony obtained by Fox News makes it clear that top military officials considered the deadly Sept. 11, 2012, assault on the U.S. outpost in Benghazi, Libya, a terrorist attack. From its outset. And just why the Obama administration publicly insisted for weeks that the attack was a protest over an obscure, U.S.-made anti-Muslim video no longer is murky.
Clearly, the false “protest” story was concocted for political cover during the home stretch of the 2012 presidential campaign. And with Ham's testimony yet to be contradicted by Panetta or others, the lie of Benghazi has been laid bare:

The Obama White House put politics first and truth last.
And then there's this from Jack:
Gregory Hicks, then the deputy chief of mission in Libya, told the House Oversight Committee that he'd told Secretary of State Hillary Clinton during the attack that it was being carried out by terrorists, so his "jaw dropped" when he heard U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice on TV blaming protests against a YouTube video that offended Muslims.
So...what does the Senate report say about this?

Well there's this (page 33):
In the immediate aftermath of the attacks, the [Intelligence Community] received numerous reports, both classified and unclassified, which provided contradictory accounts that there were demonstrations at the Temporary Mission Facility. In some cases, these intelligence reports-which were disseminated widely in the Intelligence Community--contained references to press reports on protests that were simply copied into intelligence products.
And (page 33):
The IC also had information that there were no protests outside the Temporary Mission Facility prior to the attacks, but did not incorporate that information into its widely circulated assessments in a timely manner.
And (page 34):
A dearth of clear and definitive HUMINT or eyewitness reporting led IC analysts to rely on open press reports and limited SIGINT reporting that incorrectly attributed the origins of the Benghazi attacks to "protests," over first-hand accounts from U.S. officials on the ground.
So, if what Ambassador Rice was saying came, as the Senate report makes clear, from the Intelligence Community and not from the White House, then will Jack Kelly and the Trib be correcting themselves on the record any time soon?

January 15, 2014

The FBI Confirms, The Right Wing Media Denies

From the Real news (in this case the NYTimes):
F.B.I. investigators do not believe Internal Revenue Service officials committed crimes in the unusually heavy scrutiny of conservative groups that applied for tax-exempt status, a law enforcement official said Monday.

Prosecutors for the Justice Department who have been overseeing the case have not made a decision about whether to file charges against the officials — although that would seem unlikely given the F.B.I. investigators’ conclusion, according to the official, speaking anonymously because he could not talk on the record about a continuing investigation.

Despite an admission by the I.R.S. that it inappropriately targeted conservative groups, by searching for groups with the words “Tea Party” or “Patriots” in their names, many legal experts and law enforcement officials say they do not believe that the scrutiny broke the law. Some members of Congress had called for the Justice Department to investigate the tax-collecting agency. The Wall Street Journal was the first to report Monday that criminal charges were unlikely.
So of course, to my friends at the Trib, the fix is in:
Break out the hip boots. For things have gotten deep in the Justice Department's now clearly faux investigation of the Internal Revenue Service for improperly targeting tea party groups seeking tax-exempt status during the 2012 election cycle.
Yea, except that we already know that's not the entire story.  Indeed, it's something the very next sentence from the Times points out:
I.R.S. documents show the agency gave the same scrutiny to some liberal groups, using the key words “Progressive” and “Occupy.”
But the right wing media has another argument:
Fast on the heels of appointing a “ringer” prosecutor to handle the case — civil rights trial lawyer Barbara Bosserman, who was a hardly insignificant donor to President Obama's two White House runs and the national Democratic Party...
See?  She's a lib'rul!  That means she can't be trusted!  It's a conflict of interest!!

And they're upset at that:
Two Republican lawmakers and a conservative legal group are crying foul over the Justice Department’s selection of a Democratic donor to lead the agency’s investigation into the Internal Revenue Service’s targeting of advocacy groups during the 2010 and 2012 election cycles.

House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) and Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) issued a letter to U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder on Wednesday saying DOJ trial attorney Barbara Bosserman’s involvement is “highly inappropriate and has compromised the administration’s investigation of the IRS.” They asked that the department remove her from the case. [Emphasis added.]
Too bad that would be illegal:
The Justice Department contends that there was nothing improper about naming Bosserman to lead the investigation and that taking her political leanings into account would have been inappropriate.

“It is contrary to department policy and a prohibited personnel practice under federal law to consider the political affiliation of career employees or other non-merit factors in making personnel decisions,” DOJ spokeswoman Dena Iverson said in a statement. “Additionally, removing a career employee from an investigation or case due to political affiliation, as Chairmen Issa and Jordan have requested, could also violate the equal opportunity policy and the law.” [Emphases added.]
I guess they missed that part.

January 12, 2014

The Trib And The Myth Of Global Cooling

They must be getting desperate during Scaife's editorial board meetings because they pulled out an old old story today:
Post-cold wave, it's a good opportunity to remind everyone that Time magazine, in 1974, cited scientists blaming the polar vortex phenomenon on “global cooling.” It's the same Time magazine that's now blaming “global warming” for the same thing. “Honey, throw that magazine on the fire; it's getting cold outside.” [Bolding in original.]
The current "mid-70s global cooling" argument, such as it is, goes something like this: Scientists were convinced, 40 years ago, that the world was on the verge of a new ice age (the title of the Time article was, in fact, "Another Ice Age?"  It's behind a subscription wall but you can read the text here) and now they're saying the world is warming.  They can't both be right so they can't be trusted at all.  Hence we can effortlessly dismiss and/or ignore them when they show us all this data about our warming planet.

For example, this data:

But there's a bigger question here.  Was there a consensus among scientists 40 years ago that the world was cooling?  Everything weighs on the answer to that question.  If there was then we have to ascertain how they reached that conclusion and why it differs so much from the current consensus.  So was there a consensus 40 years ago among scientists about the earth cooling?

Turns out the answer is no.

In 2008, the American Meteorological Society published a paper, titled, "The Myth of the 1970s Global Cooling Scientific Consensus" that begins with this:
A review of the climate science literature from 1965 to 1979 shows this myth to be false. The myth’s basis lies in a selective misreading of the texts both by some members of the media at the time and by some observers today. In fact, emphasis on greenhouse warming dominated the scientific literature even then. [Emphasis added.]
And here's how they did it:
...we conducted a rigorous literature review of the American Meteorological Society’s electronic archives as well as those of Nature and the scholarly journal archive Journal Storage (JSTOR). To capture the relevant topics, we used global temperature, global warming, and global cooling, as well as a variety of other less directly relevant search terms. Additionally, in order to make the survey more complete, even at the expense of no longer being fully reproducible by electronic search techniques, many references mentioned in the papers located by these searches were evaluated, as were references mentioned in various history-of-science documents. Because the time period attributed to the global cooling consensus is typically described as the 1970s, the literature search was limited to the period from 1965 through 1979. While no search can be 100% complete, this methodology offers a reasonable test of the hypothesis that there was a scientific consensus in the 1970s regarding the prospect of imminent global cooling. Such a consensus would be easily shown by both the presence of many articles describing global cooling projections and the absence of articles projecting global warming.
And this is what they found:
The survey identified only 7 articles indicating cooling compared to 44 indicating warming.
And in graph form:

With no scientific consensus in the 1970s that the planet was cooling, all of the skeptical arguments that utilize that myth to undermine the current consensus that the planet is warming are, shall we say, less than credible.  Much less.

January 9, 2014

A Marty Griffin Update!

Hey, remember this blog post?

That's where I called out KDKA's Marty Griffin for (among other things) repeatedly using the name "Mr Bradley" to refer to Chelsea Manning - as well as using the inappropriate "he" to refer to her.

Well I happened to tune into his show today.  Can you guess what I heard?

I heard Marty read my entire blog post on the air.  It's what began his hour long discussion.  And while he DID say a few nice things about this blog (that we're smart, well read, and so on - gee, THANKS Marty!) and while he DID say that he didn't intend anything disrespectful to the transgender community with his repeated use of the improper gendered pronouns, he tried to defend himself by saying that he didn't know that there even was a transgender community in Pittsburgh and that it's probably tiny anyway (so whatever offenses he may have committed shouldn't be counted against him).  All the while his defense by repeatedly using of the word "tranny."

The BIG upside, however, to the hour is the outcome: a transgender woman called in and countered his assertion on size of the community by saying that she knew dozens of local transgender people.  Here's what Marty did: he asked her to get a group together to come into the studio for a discussion live on the air on KDKA.

I gotta think that's nothing but a good outcome.

And it's so cool to have been a part (even if it's a teeny tiny part) of what brought that about.

Got A Few Questions For My Friends At The Trib

Let's look at the first two paragraphs from this column by Walter Williams of (the Scaife supported) George Mason University:
There's little debate among academic economists about the effect of minimum wages. University of California, Irvine economist David Neumark has examined more than 100 major academic studies on the minimum wage. He reports that 85 percent of the studies “find a negative employment effect on low-skilled workers.”

A 1976 American Economic Association survey found that 90 percent of its members agreed that increasing the minimum wage raises unemployment among young and unskilled workers. A 1990 survey reported in the American Economic Review (1992) found that 80 percent of economists agreed with the statement that increases in the minimum wage cause unemployment among the youth and low-skilled.
Ok, so here's my first question.  It's kinda meta but bear with me.  Professor Williams says there's "little debate" among economists about raising the minimum wage and one of the reasons he uses is that in 1990 (which is, you know, 24 years ago) "80 percent of economists agreed" that raising it raises unemployment.  So that settles it, I guess.

So when 80 percent of experts (in this case economists) agreed on something 24 years ago that means there's little debate now but when 97 percent of other experts (let's say, climate scientists) agree on something else now, the science is still "unsettled"?

So which is it, my friends?  Which criteria are you supporting to validate a statement.

But let's look at that 80 percent - has the consensus changed in 24 years?

Looks like it has.  From The Economix Blog of the NY Times:
Those opposed to government intervention once dominated this battlefield. In 1990, for instance, a survey of members of the American Economic Association showed that 60 percent agreed that minimum wages increase unemployment among young and unskilled workers.

In 1994, however, a now-famous case study by the economists David Card and Alan Krueger compared employment trends in fast-food establishments in New Jersey affected by an increase in the state minimum wage in 1992 with trends in nearby counties of Pennsylvania, where no legislative change had taken place.

Professors Card and Krueger reported the surprising result that employment trends in the two areas did not significantly differ. In subsequent research, including a book, “Myth and Measurement,” they provided additional support for their assertion that minimum wage laws have benefited low-wage workers.

Rallying under this banner, many economists pushed back against the conventional wisdom with some success. By 2000, only 46 percent of members of the American Economic Association agreed that minimum wages increase unemployment among young and unskilled workers. Another study published in 2006 showed that slightly less than half of all economists surveyed thought the minimum wage should be eliminated, while more than a third favored increasing it.
All more recent than the 24 year-old survey sited by Professor Williams.  So why is he using such an old survey to support his claim when such newer data point elsewhere?

No wait...I think I answered my own question.

January 7, 2014

It's DAMN Cold Outside!

And you know what that means, right?


It's as simple as pi, right?

Slate has a rundown on some of the more famous climate deniers.  First there's Donald Trump:
This very expensive GLOBAL WARMING bullshit has got to stop. Our planet is freezing, record low temps,and our GW scientists are stuck in ice
And of course Drudge:

While The Wire's got Senator Inhofe:
With the Polar Vortex threatening us all this week, Senator Jim Inhofe took to the Senate floor on Monday to run through just about every reason he personally does not think climate change is a real thing. Because it's cold outside! Get it?
And let's not forget the local source of anti-intellectual science denial, the Tribune-Review.  Today's bit of global warming bullshit is from the very funny and immensely insightful, Randy Bish:

But does science (real science not the stuff they're drinkin in cloud cuckoo land)have anything to say about the vortex?

Yes, it does.  And while it's too early to say for sure, there's some interesting data on the subject.  From Time:
Unsurprisingly, the extreme cold has brought out the climate change skeptics, who point to the freeze and the recent snowstorms and say, essentially, “nyah-nyah.” Now this is where I would usually point to the fact that the occasional cold snap—even one as extreme as much of the U.S. is experiencing now—doesn’t change the overall trajectory of a warming planet. Weather is what happens in the atmosphere day to day; climate is how the atmosphere behaves over long periods of time. Winters in the U.S. have been warming steadily over the past century, and even faster in recent decades, so it would take more than a few sub-zero days to cancel that out.

But not only does the cold spell not disprove climate change, it may well be that global warming could be making the occasional bout of extreme cold weather in the U.S. even more likely. [Emphasis added.]
Here's the hypothesis:
Sea ice is vanishing from the Arctic thanks to climate change, which leaves behind dark open ocean water, which absorbs more of the heat from the sun than reflective ice. That in turn is helping to cause the Arctic to warm faster than the rest of the planet, almost twice the global average. The jet stream—the belt of fast-flowing, westerly winds that essentially serves as the boundary between cold northern air and warmer southern air—is driven by temperature difference between the northerly latitudes and the tropical ones. Some scientists theorize that as that temperature difference narrows, it may weaken the jet stream, which in turns makes it more likely that cold Arctic air will escape the polar vortex and flow southward.
As the writer said, it's still preliminary but the Arctic sea ice is still vanishing and the Earth is still warming up.

Despite the fact it's (as of this writing) below zero out there.

January 3, 2014

The Incredibly Enlightened Marty Griffin

It's been a while since I wrote about KDKA's Marty Griffin.

Back then it was about the unconstitutional Ten Commandments monuments at some local public schools.

This time it's about something else.

In an hour long rant began with Marty vehemently opposing this editorial in the NYTimes about NSA Whistleblower Edward Snowden.  The fun thing is that even though he read the thing on the air, he kept making the same mistake about what the editorial said.

Marty kept saying the Times wanted a pardon for Snowden.  Marty kept saying Snowden was a traitor.

And this is what they actually wrote:
Considering the enormous value of the information he has revealed, and the abuses he has exposed, Mr. Snowden deserves better than a life of permanent exile, fear and flight. He may have committed a crime to do so, but he has done his country a great service. It is time for the United States to offer Mr. Snowden a plea bargain or some form of clemency that would allow him to return home, face at least substantially reduced punishment in light of his role as a whistle-blower, and have the hope of a life advocating for greater privacy and far stronger oversight of the runaway intelligence community. [Emphasis added.]
A plea bargain or clemency is not a pardon, Marty.  You should know that.  A "substantially reduced punishment" also not a pardon, Marty.  You should know that, too.

In addition, Marty said a number of times that the NSA surveillance stopped 50 terror attacks - so they're justified.

Only there's a problem with that number.  From the Huffingtonpost:
"Would you agree that the 54 cases that keep getting cited by the administration were not all plots, and of the 54, only 13 had some nexus to the U.S.?" [Senator Patrick] Leahy said at the hearing. "Would you agree with that, yes or no?"

"Yes," [NSA chief Gen. Keith] Alexander replied, without elaborating.

It's impossible to assess the role NSA surveillance played in the 54 cases because, while the agency has provided a full list to Congress, it remains classified. [Emphasis added.]
That would be the same Keith Alexander that lied to Congress about the NSA surveillance.

Marty, you should know this, too.

But the real take-away from Marty's rant is his collateral damage.  In insisting that the Times wants a pardon for Edward Snowden (something we already know is untrue), Marty repeatedly asked why not a pardon for "Mr. Bradley?"

Who, you might ask, might this "Mr Bradley" be?

That would be Marty Griffin's snarky name for Chelsea Manning.  Throughout the hour, Marty Griffin insisted on calling Manning a "he" throughout his rant.  He (Marty) added that "Mr Manning" had some sort of  "bizarre sex-change thing" going on.  He then returned to using the masculine third person pronoun and "Mr Bradley."

Can't even use her last name, I guess.

How enlightened of you, Marty Griffin!

January 2, 2014

The Trib's STILL Misleading

In this instance, they're hoping you're not gonna check their work (or so I imagine).

But I will.

Take a look at this:
The New York Times and CNBC made a big deal last week over Mao Zedong's 120th birthday. And the chipper accounts were simply abhorrent After all, China's late chairman of the Communist brand was responsible, directly or indirectly, for the deaths of, by one estimate, up to 78 million Chinese people. And this, The Times and CNBC celebrate? Sick. [Bolding in original.]
For simplicity's sake, let's start with The Times made a "chipper" "big deal" "celebrated" Mao's 125th.

It's right here:
To mark the birth of Mao Zedong 120 years ago on Thursday, Dec. 26, statues of the revolutionary leader will be washed throughout the country, Chinese media reported.

Stamps will be issued, books published, documentaries broadcast, photographic exhibitions staged, “red songs” sung, Mao-themed calligraphy displayed, seminars and speeches held, and a businessman and philanthropist, Chen Guangbiao, and other businessmen will distribute corn, flour and oil to children and elderly people in Yan’an, the Communist forces’ revolutionary base in the northwestern province of Shaanxi, according to the state news agency Xinhua. Mao Zedong in 1945.Agence France-Presse — Getty Images Mao Zedong in 1945.

Yet Chairman Mao’s legacy is controversial, even if many ordinary Chinese are deeply proud of the 1949 revolution and revere him.
Wait - where's the "chipper" celebration?  I mean, Mao was responsible for millions of Chinese deaths, right?

Yeppers.  And from a few paragraphs down in what the Trib editorial board called a "sick" celebration of Mao's birthday:
At the heart of the ambiguity is Mao’s legacy as a leader who is seen by ordinary Chinese as freeing China from foreign influence and class oppression, but who also made “mistakes,” as the state-run Global Times wrote on Monday. Those included the persecution and deaths of millions of people in political campaigns that began in the 1950s and lasted into the early 1970s. After Mao’s death in 1976, the government declared him “70 percent right and 30 percent wrong,” an oft-used Chinese formulation. [Emphasis added.]
And then a litle later:
The critical voices are growing. The historian Zhou Xun recalls in her new book, “Forgotten Voices of Mao’s Great Famine, 1958-1962,” an oral history of the Great Leap Forward, Mao’s disastrous attempt to collectivize agriculture and industrialize at breakneck speed, that as a child she ate “stale corn imported from Cuba,” because of the shortage of food even in normally fertile Sichuan Province.

Growing up with stories of a great-aunt who died of hunger during the famine caused by the Great Leap Forward, which Ms. Zhou estimates killed 45 million people, she began researching in the Sichuan provincial archives.
What a sick, chipper celebration of Mao's birthday to be found in the NY Times! The fact that there's no mention whatsoever of the millions of deaths attributed to Mao can only be due to the fact that the Times is a liberal paper!  Liberalism be damned!

You do know that that's what the Trib editorial board was really saying, right?

Amazing bit of lying by omission, doncha think?