Democracy Has Prevailed.

November 30, 2014

More Anti-Science From The Trib (Colin McNickle, Specifically)

From the Tribune-Review yesterday:
Global warming has become such a serious problem that Jeff Masters, chief meteorologist for Weather Underground ( tells Reuters that we are in the longest term “without a major hurricane hitting the U.S. since the Civil War era.” One of the reasons cited is cooler seas. So much for the theory that our seas have been acting as heat sinks. Thus, the truly serious problem is for climate alarmists. [Bolding in Original]
Aw, Colin.  Did you think I wasn't going to check your work?

Here's the Reuters piece and here's how it begins:
A combination of cooler seas and a quiet West African monsoon season made for a less active Atlantic hurricane season, giving the South and East Coast one of their lengthiest reprieves in history from a major hurricane, forecasters said Monday.

“This is the longest without a major hurricane hitting the U.S. since the Civil War era,” said Jeff Masters, chief meteorologist for Weather Underground.

The Atlantic Basin, which includes the Caribbean and the Gulf of Mexico, had only eight named storms, including six hurricanes, two of which reached major Category 3 status, during the season that began June 1 and closes Nov. 30, according to an end of season summary by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
Right there, we're confusing weather and climate just a tad too much, aren't we Colin?  Are we really going to use part (the Atlantic Hurricane season) to comment on the whole?  I mean what about this part of the same Reuters piece?
Among factors that tamped down storm formation were below-average temperatures in the tropical Atlantic and an active Pacific storm season that had more than 20 named storms in its most active season since 1992.

“It's a seesaw effect; often when the Atlantic is more active, the Pacific will be suppressed,” [Gerry Bell, NOAA's lead seasonal hurricane forecaster] said.
Here's NOAA's "End of the Season" report if you want to check my work.
“A combination of atmospheric conditions acted to suppress the Atlantic hurricane season, including very strong vertical wind shear, combined with increased atmospheric stability, stronger sinking motion and drier air across the tropical Atlantic,” said Gerry Bell, Ph.D., lead hurricane forecaster at NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center. “Also, the West African monsoon was near- to below average, making it more difficult for African easterly waves to develop.”

Meanwhile, the eastern North Pacific hurricane season met or exceeded expectations with 20 named storms – the busiest since 1992. Of those, 14 became hurricanes and eight were major hurricanes. NOAA’s seasonal hurricane outlook called for 14 to 20 named storms, including seven to 11 hurricanes, of which three to six were expected to become major hurricanes. Two hurricanes (Odile and Simon) brought much-needed moisture to the parts of the southwestern U.S., with very heavy rain from Simon causing flooding in some areas.
So, Colin.  Did you just miss that part of the Reuters piece (you know, the one you quoted) that talked about a "seesaw effect" regarding a relatively calm Atlantic hurricane season linked to a more active Pacific hurricane season?  Or did you. in fact, see it but just chose to omit it in order to mislead your readers?

Which is it?  Incompetence or dishonesty?

November 29, 2014

Isaac Orr Is Almost Certainly Wrong

And so is the Tribune-Review for publishing this column of his.

Isaac Orr, lets get this out of the way, is not a climate scientist.  On his bio page at the well-known Heartland Institute states that he's:
...a speaker, researcher, and freelance writer specializing in hydraulic fracturing, agricultural, and environmental policy issues. He graduated from the University of Wisconsin Eau Claire with studies in political science and geology, winning awards for his undergraduate geology research before taking a position as an aide in the Wisconsin State Senate.
Well good for him but he's still not a climate scientist.

But let's look at what he wrote in the Trib:
First, the science: Many people still don't realize peer-reviewed scientific literature has found there has been no significant global warming since “Seinfeld” aired its final episode in 1998, even though nearly half of all man-made greenhouse gas emissions have occurred since 1990. Additionally, the computer models used by the IPCC to predict temperatures over the past 20 years have been woefully inaccurate and, as a result, the models have predicted warming would be four times higher than the actual observed temperatures.

Even though the IPCC has historically failed to predict future temperatures accurately, it is somehow more certain than ever before that human activity is the driving force behind the changing climate, and humanity must act fast to curb our emissions of carbon dioxide or face dire consequences.
So he's basing his "science" on two points:
  • The supposed pause in warming since 1998
  • The supposed unreliability of the climate models
We've dealt with the first point before but I guess we have to go again.  Here's what National Geographic had to say about the supposed "pause" in the warming:
What Could Cause a Pause?

Still, there's no denying that temperature has plateaued in the last decade. Why? Scientists have considered a number of theories: small differences in solar radiation; volcanic eruptions that spewed sun-blocking ash and gases into the atmosphere; or pollution from factories, power plants, and tailpipes, particularly in Asia.

[Gavin Schmidt, a climate scientist with NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies] pointed out, however, that the real anomaly in the recent climate record is not the last decade but the year 1998, which saw a sharp spike in atmospheric temperatures. "If you take 1998 out, there is no pause," he said. According to NASA data, the ten hottest years since 1880 have all happened since 1998, with 2010 being the hottest of all. [Emphasis added]

In 1997 and 1998 there was a strong El Nino event in the equatorial Pacific, meaning that the surface water there was unusually warm. As [Penn State Geosciences Scientist Richard] Alley explained in an American Geophysical Union talk recently, the El Nino cycle has a strong impact on how much of the heat trapped by greenhouse gases spreads to the ocean. In 1998, a warm ocean absorbed less heat—which caused the atmosphere to heat up more.

Since 1998, however, the equatorial Pacific has tended more often to the cooler La Nina state. Because a cool ocean absorbs atmospheric heat more readily, that has partially offset the atmospheric warming caused by greenhouse gases. "In the last decade the system has dumped more of the heat in the ocean and less in the atmosphere,"  Alley said. [Emphasis added]

The modeling work by the Scripps researchers, Yu Kosaka and Shang-Ping Xie, supports this idea. So do measurements of ocean temperatures, which show that warmer temperatures are spreading into the deep abyss. According to the BBC, the draft IPCC report suggests that the oceans have been absorbing more heat than expected, in effect insulating global surface temperatures from greater change.
You'll note that both Schmidt and Alley are something that Orr isn't: A climate scientist.

What Schmidt and Alley said (but Orr didn't) is just another way of saying what was written here just a few weeks ago.

So Orr is wrong on the supposed "pause".  Now let's look at those climate models.  In this piece from September of this year, Orr writes:
Some peer-reviewed, scientific studies suggest the period with no global warming has been as long as 20 years. The scientific analysis and climate models that predicted drastic global warming over this period were simply wrong...
It's an attempt to invalidate the climate models, right?  But take a look at what the paper at the other end of that link actually says.  Take a look at this chart:

See that set of straight lines across the bottom of the chart?  Now go take a look in the description as to what it means.  Here's what it says:
Black cross-hatching in the lower section of the graph shows the 95 % uncertainty range of the simulated 1900-2012 model mean trend and the lower red line indicates the corresponding observed 1900-2012 global mean surface temperature trend.
But what does THAT mean?  From the Pacific Climate Impacts Consortium, it means that:
Over long time scales, global climate models successfully simulate changes in a variety of climate variables, including the global mean surface temperature since 1900.
Something else Orr didn't tell you.

But how about the peer-reviewed science about how reliable computer models are?  Orr says they're "woefully inaccurate" in their assessments.  Note that he doesn't offer any evidence about that.  He just says it.

Ok, so here's some data:

And the explanation from Skeptical Science:
There are two major questions in climate modeling - can they accurately reproduce the past (hindcasting) and can they successfully predict the future? To answer the first question, here is a summary of the IPCC model results of surface temperature from the 1800's - both with and without man-made forcings. All the models are unable to predict recent warming without taking rising CO2 levels into account. Noone has created a general circulation model that can explain climate's behaviour over the past century without CO2 warming. [Bolding in original]
The idea is that if a model can accurately "reproduce the past" (also known as "hindcasting") then it should be able to accurately produce the future - and they have!

Then there's this little bit of climate science, regarding those same climate models:
The question of how climate model projections have tracked the actual evolution of global mean surface air temperature is important in establishing the credibility of their projections. Some studies and the IPCC Fifth Assessment Report suggest that the recent 15-year period (1998–2012) provides evidence that models are overestimating current temperature evolution. Such comparisons are not evidence against model trends because they represent only one realization where the decadal natural variability component of the model climate is generally not in phase with observations. We present a more appropriate test of models where only those models with natural variability (represented by El Niño/Southern Oscillation) largely in phase with observations are selected from multi-model ensembles for comparison with observations. These tests show that climate models have provided good estimates of 15-year trends, including for recent periods and for Pacific spatial trend patterns.

  • How much did Isaac Orr get wrong in his assessment of the climate data and the climate models?  A LOT
  • How much does it invalidate his general argument?  A LOT
  • How much should we trust Isaac Orr, fellow at the Heartland Institute when he writes about climate science?  VERY LITTLE
Happy day after Thanksgiving.

November 27, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving!

We all have our traditions.  Some serious some silly.  And while our friends at the Tribune-Review continue to selectively quote Harry S Truman in order to greater impose one religion (the one they obviously favor) on the rest of us, my tradition is different.

I am not sure if it's more or less serious (or more or less silly) than the braintrust's but here it is anyway:

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!

Turkey Time Videos

Happy Thanksgiving to EVERYONE!

I'm thankful for whoever created this!

The Trib's Thanksgiving Custom

For Thanksgiving, at the Tribune-Review:
Editor's note: As has become our custom, a reprint of a special editorial on this special day.
They then go on to write about Thanksgiving, Harry Truman, and the Separation of Church and State.

We deconstructed this piece of feel good Turkey a couple of years ago.

But since they published again, we'll deconstruct again.

While they selectively quote presumably their favorite Democratic president of the last 100 years, they failed to quote (again presumably) their favorite Republican president of the same time span, Ronald Reagan, when he spoke about Church/State relations in 1984:
We in the United States, above all, must remember that lesson, for we were founded as a nation of openness to people of all beliefs. And so we must remain. Our very unity has been strengthened by our pluralism. We establish no religion in this country, we command no worship, we mandate no belief, nor will we ever. Church and state are, and must remain, separate. All are free to believe or not believe, all are free to practice a faith or not, and those who believe are free, and should be free, to speak of and act on their belief. [Emphasis added.]
Yes, that was Ronald Reagan.

While our friends on the braintrust avoid the gipper they cut and paste Truman.  First from the Trib:
“In Thanksgiving,” President Truman said, “we have a purely American holiday — fashioned out of our own history and testifying to the religious background of our national life. That day expresses what we mean when we say that our form of government rests on a spiritual foundation.

“It is from a strong and vital church — from the strength and vitality of all our churches — that government must draw its vision,” he continued. “In the teachings of our Savior, there is no room for bigotry, for discrimination, for the embittered struggle of class against class, or for the hostilities of nation against nation.
And what I wrote 2 years ago:
Before I go further, let me point out that there's a bit of a cheat here. Because if you look at the original speech of Truman's to the Westminster Presbyterian Church in 1952, there's a whole lot of stuff between the quoted first and second paragraphs - stuff Scaife's braintrust opted you didn't need to see - with no indication that there's been an omission.

What did they decide that you didn't need to see? Apart from the expected "only faith is what will save us from godless communism" we find passages extolling the need to wage a "ceaseless war against injustice in our society" and that "we are all our brothers' keepers" and finally touting the need for something called the "Point 4" program - which turns out to be a government plan to spread American scientific know-how to impoverished countries around the world. Gee, I wonder why the arch-conservatives at the Trib decided you didn't need to read any of that.

But all that's beside the point. Instead of Reagan's assertion that State and Church must remain separate and that "we command no worship", we get from the braintrust Truman quoting Paul's Letter to the Colossians asserting cultural and religious unity - but only through Christ.
Strange that they'd abandon Reagan for a Democrat president pushing a gov'ment program.

November 24, 2014

Statement From Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto Regarding Ferguson, Missouri Grand Jury Decision

Via an email, the following statement was released by the office of Mayor of Pittsburgh a few minutes ago:
Ferguson may be hundreds of miles away, but the reverberations from August’s shooting are still felt, understandably, in Pittsburgh and other cities nationwide. I know it this is hard right now, but it is my fervent hope that in coming days we can use this decision as an opportunity to come together -- in peace and in prayer -- to do the necessary work of strengthening ties between residents and police, and finding new paths to mutual trust and understanding.

#Ferguson #WhatILearnedFromThePressConference

If I understand the prosecutor correctly, Micheal Brown is dead because of social media.

A Torture Update (Of Sorts)

I usually don't like Sunday evenings.  That's time of the week when I have to begin to push back at the weekend momentum in order to get return to a more boring weekday schedule.

Monday mornings are worse.

Last night (which was, if you aren't reading this on Monday, a Sunday) I caught a very interesting episode of "Madam Secretary" 

Spoiler Alert in the event you haven't seen the episode.

Tea Leoni plays Bess McCord, the new Secretary of State.  She's an apolitical appointment made after the previous Secretary of State died in a plane crash.  She's also former CIA.

Turns out that as a CIA field agent, she was involved in some shady interrogations in Iraq a decade or so ago.  Some of those interrogations involved torture (though she was never present during).  The episode last night dealt with some of the the "collateral damage" caused by the decision to allow such actions and the effects it's had on some of the characters in the drama.  Very interesting stuff for a mellow Sunday evening.

Which triggered my interest in following up on this:
Members of the Senate Intelligence Committee are still at odds with the CIA and the White House over the so-called "CIA torture report," even after a meeting on Capitol Hill between Democratic senators and White House chief of staff Denis McDonough.

According to a source with knowledge of the Thursday meeting, the CIA report came up after Senate Select Intelligence Committee Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein, D-California, read a statement that lasted for about five minutes. About five other Democratic senators spoke in support of Feinstein, who is ready to publicly release the report. There is one main sticking point remaining: The Obama administration and the CIA want to black out all CIA pseudonym references in the report, citing concerns that revealing the pseudonyms could endanger lives. This meeting did not resolve that issue.
I wrote about the report last August.

Last August we were "days" away from the White House declassifying the report.  Who would have guessed that would be 118 days and counting?

All for some CIA pseudonyms?

Meanwhile The Intercept had this a month or so ago:
Months after President Obama frankly admitted that the United States had “tortured some folks” as part of the War on Terror, a new report submitted to the United Nations Committee Against Torture has been released that excoriates his administration for shielding the officials responsible from prosecution.

The report describes the post-9/11 torture program as “breathtaking in scope”, and indicts both the Bush and Obama administrations for complicity in it – the former through design and implementation, and the latter through its ongoing attempts to obstruct justice. Noting that the program caused grievous harm to countless individuals and in many cases went as far as murder, the report calls for the United States to “promptly and impartially prosecute senior military and civilian officials responsible for authorizing, acquiescing, or consenting in any way to acts of torture.”

In specifically naming former President George W. Bush, Department of Justice lawyer John Yoo and former CIA contractor James Mitchell, among many others, as individuals who sanctioned torture at the highest levels, the report highlights a gaping hole in President Obama’s promise to reassert America’s moral standing during his administration. Not only have the cited individuals not been charged with any crime for their role in the torture program, Obama has repeatedly reiterated his mantra of “looking forward, not backwards” to protect them from accountability.
Remember, this is still relevant (heck it's showing up as a plot device on Network TV!) as the crimes were committed in our name.

Prosecute the torture, Mr President.  The prosecution (or lack there of) will also be part of your legacy.

My disappointment continues.

November 22, 2014

Finally, The Truth! About Benghazi!

Yesterday was a Friday - keep that in mind for a bit.

In politics when you need to release something to the public that you don't necessarily want the public to see, what do you do?  When do you release it?  You release it late in the day, when all the reporters are past deadline and/or are headed home.  Better yet, you release it late in the day and late in the week (say on a Friday) so that anyone who's job it is to notice is already out the door and won't be back to work for 2 days.  Release it late in the week just before a holiday is even better.

Guess what was released yesterday, a Friday - the Friday before Thanksgiving week, by the Republican-controlled Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence?

The Investigative Report on the Terrorist Attacks on U.S. Facilities in Benghazi, Libya, September 11-12, 2012.

And what, oh what, did they find?

From the summary:
In summary, the Committee first concludes that the CIA ensured sufficient security for CIA facilities in Benghazi and, without a requirement to do so, ably and bravely assisted the State Department on the night of the attacks. Their actions saved lives. Appropriate U.S. personnel made reasonable tactical decisions that night, and the Committee found no evidence that there was either a stand down order or a denial of available air support. The Committee, however, received evidence that the State Department security personnel, resources, and equipment were unable to counter the terrorist threat that day and required CIA assistance. [Emphasis added.]
This information even made it onto the pages of the Tribune-Review (by way of the AP):
A two-year investigation by the Republican-controlled House Intelligence Committee has found that the CIA and the military acted properly in responding to the 2012 attack on an American diplomatic compound in Benghazi and asserted no wrongdoing by Obama administration appointees.

Debunking a series of persistent allegations hinting at dark conspiracies, the investigation determined that there was no intelligence failure, no delay in sending a CIA rescue team, no missed opportunity for a military rescue, and no evidence the CIA was covertly shipping arms from Libya to Syria.

In the immediate aftermath of the attack, intelligence about who carried it out and why was contradictory, the report found. That led Susan Rice, then-ambassador to the United Nations, to inaccurately assert that the attack had evolved from a protest, when in fact there had been no protest. But it was intelligence analysts, not political appointees, who made the wrong call, the committee found. The report did not conclude that Rice or any other government official acted in bad faith or intentionally misled the American people. [Emphases added.]
Let's see if the Trib's editorial page actually reads the Trib's news pages.

November 21, 2014

Stephen Colbert Explains The Difference Between WEATHER And CLIMATE

I am sure you've seen this by now:
Global warming isn't real because I was cold today! Also great news: World hunger is over because I just ate.
Four feet of snow (as of yesterday) in Buffalo must mean that the so called "global warming" must be wrong, right?

I mean if the world is warming up then how can there be so much cold snow out there?

I wonder if they're saying the same thing in Sydney, Australia:
Sydney is in for another burst of summer-like heat, as a series of troughs draw in some of the hot air massing over central Australia.

The mercury in the city will climb to 38 degrees on Friday, according to updated forecasts from the Bureau of Meteorology, after reaching about 27 degrees on Thursday.

Many western suburbs sweltered in temperatures well above 30 degrees on Thursday, with 35 degrees reached in Bankstown and 37 in Penrith.
Those numbers are in Celsius by the way.  Here's a Celsius to Fahrenheit conversion for all those numbers:
  • 38C = 100.4F
  • 27C = 80.6F
  • 30C = 86F
  • 35C = 95F
  • 37C = 98.6F
Due to the tilt of the Earth on its axis, they're moving into Summer in Australia while we move into Winter.  So just imagine if it's 6 months from now, say May 21, and Jeff Verszyla were to tell you that it's gonna be 100.4 out. That's what's happening in Sydney while Bills fans are getting 4+ feet of snow in Buffalo.

Meanwhile globally:
The combined average temperature over global land and ocean surfaces for October 2014 was the highest on record for October, at 0.74°C (1.33°F) above the 20th century average of 14.0°C (57.1°F).
The difference between "weather" and "climate."

November 19, 2014

Another Non-Political Announcement

My brass quintet has a gig this FRIDAY NIGHT .

And when I write "my brass quintet" I don't mean that it's "mine" or that I run it or anything - it's just a figure of speech denoting the brass quintet that I play in.  To be more specific, it's more or less an autonomous collective, though sometimes I think we're an anarcho-syndicalist commune out to expose the violence inherent in the system.

Anyway, we'll be playing for tips at Biddle Escape in Regent Square at 7pm.

Now you may ask yourself, what sort of music will the quintet be playing?  And that's a very good question.  I could say that we'll be playing BOTH types of music: country AND western!  But that would be a mistake.  We will be playing lotsa good stuff.  A great deal of it, if my memory serves me correctly, arranged in one way or another by someone in the group.

Come to Biddle's Escape on Friday night.  Have a coffee, have a tea, have a listen to the group and me.

November 18, 2014

PodCamp Pittsburgh 9!

This is a non-political announcement.

PodCamp Pittsburgh has returned!

It describes itself as a "social, new media un-conference." Though I am not sure exactly what that means.  But then again I am neither "social" or "new" so what do I know?

They go on to say:
In 2014, we’ll have a variety of sessions designed to give you a local source of creative inspiration. You’ll learn how to get started (or how to grow) sharing what you do with the world through blogs, social media, videos, and all other types of online media. You’ll find out what (and how to use) the latest tools others are using to accomplish awesome things. We hope you’ll take the opportunity to engage with other attendees and speakers who share your passion and drive, and may even inspire something in you that you didn’t know was there.
The sessions are here.

My friend Sue has a session and my friend Cynthia has one as well.

Looks to be very enlightening!

November 16, 2014

Jack Kelly Sunday

(Looks like that sonovabich Ed Heath got here before me.  Fine.  I'll just acknowledge that and then go all passive-aggressive and continue like he didn't write what he wrote before I wrote this blog post.  See?  It's a win-win for everybody!!)

In today's Post-Gazette, columnist Jack Kelly writes about "Vote Fraud" and of course, fails to do enough homework to make the column align with reality.  The P-G, again of course, fails to adequately fact-check him.  The result is a another embarrassing Jack Kelly column on the pages of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

We've seen this happen too many times.  Too too many times.

But let's begin at the beginning:
If you Google “vote fraud,” you’ll find that most of the stories are about Democrats committing it, or denying it exists.

Fourteen percent of non-citizens in the United States in 2008 were registered to vote and about 6 percent voted indicates data collected by Harvard’s Cooperative Congressional Election Study, according to a study by Jesse Richman and David Earnest, professors at Old Dominion University.
This is where Ed started.

Did you know there are issues with the Richman/Earnest study?  Our story begins with this piece at the Washington Post.  It's from before the election (October 24) and it begins with this:
Could control of the Senate in 2014 be decided by illegal votes cast by non-citizens? Some argue that incidents of voting by non-citizens are so rare as to be inconsequential, with efforts to block fraud a screen for an agenda to prevent poor and minority voters from exercising the franchise, while others define such incidents as a threat to democracy itself. Both sides depend more heavily on anecdotes than data.

In a forthcoming article in the journal Electoral Studies, we bring real data from big social science survey datasets to bear on the question of whether, to what extent, and for whom non-citizens vote in U.S. elections. Most non-citizens do not register, let alone vote. But enough do that their participation can change the outcome of close races.
Yea, we saw how all those illegals tipped the balance of power in the Senate to the party that just doesn't like them very much.  But what about that study?

Well on those same Washington Post webpages just three days later, there was this:
A recent Monkey Cage piece by political scientists Jesse Richman and David Earnest, which suggested that non-citizen voting could decide the 2014 Election, received considerable media attention over the weekend. In particular, columns such as’s “Study: Voting by Non-Citizens Tips Balance for Democrats” and the National Review’s “Jaw-Dropping Study Claims Large Numbers of Non-Citizens Vote in U.S” cited results from the authors’ forthcoming Electoral Studies article to confirm conservatives’ worst fears about voter fraud in the United States.

A number of academics and commentators have already expressed skepticism about the paper’s assumptions and conclusions, though. In a series of tweets, New York Times columnist Nate Cohn focused his criticism on Richman et al’s use of Cooperative Congressional Election Study data to make inferences about the non-citizen voting population. That critique has some merit, too. The 2008 and 2010 CCES surveyed large opt-in Internet samples constructed by the polling firm YouGov to be nationally representative of the adult citizen population. Consequently, the assumption that non-citizens, who volunteered to take online surveys administered in English about American politics, would somehow be representative of the entire non-citizen population seems tenuous at best.
That was October 27.  Didn't Jack know about any of this stuff?  For example this info (from the "skepticism" link in the second paragraph) from the Early Voting Information Center:
I discussed the Electoral Studies article that the Monkey Cage posting is based on at Early, and expressed concerns then that the article made a number of very heroic assumptions to be able to claim that non-citizens were voting in significant numbers, and even more heroic assumptions to assume that these votes “created the filibuster proof majority in 2008,” as the authors claim.
Then there's this fact-checking piece at the Reno Gazette-Journal which rates it a 4 out of 10:
This is a great example of how science works. Someone does a study and it sparks conversation and likely more research. Even if the Richman-Earnest study fails to withstand academic scrutiny, that doesn't mean they're bad people or this study was bad. In fact, it very well could be an extremely valuable step in leading to future research that better informs policies on voter ID laws, voter fraud and the inclusion of noncitizens in the voting process (some countries allow legal nonresidents to vote).

Regardless, at this point in time, it's a lone study on a controversial subject with data that even the authors admit is not ideal. It's fodder for discussion but not for fears of election fraud.
So the authors of the study Jack's relying on admit the data's "not ideal"??

Yeppers.  In fact they agree with the 4 out of 10 score:
Science is a process of finding, validation, replication and rebuttal. We are at the very beginning of the process. Colleagues have raised reasonable questions about the data we used--problems that we acknowledge in both the study and the Monkey Cage. It will take some time and additional research to increase confidence in our findings."
This was October 30 - two and a half weeks ago.

And yet Jack Kelly's using it as "settled science" in order to prove that there's voter fraud.

Didn't he know that there were questions about the study he was using?  If he did, then how does he explain using it anyway?  And if he didn't then why the heck not??

And as always: Doesn't anyone fact-check Jack Kelly at the P-G?

If they are, they're doing a lousy job.  If they're not, then WHY THE HECK NOT?

November 15, 2014

2,095 Days (And Counting): A Chuck McCullough Follow-Up (UPDATED)

I was fascinated by the fact that yesterday marked the 2,094th day since Chuck McCullough was arrested and yet still not faced trial.

I was wondering how that span of time (now it's up to 2,095) compares to some other famous time spans.  For example:
  • WWII in the Pacific - December 7, 1941 (Attack on Pearl Harbor) to August 15, 1945 (VJ Day): 1,347 days
  • WWII in Europe - September 1, 1939 (Germany invades Poland) to May 7, 1945 (Germany Surrenders) 2,075 days
  • The Beatles - February 9, 1964 (Beatles first performance on the Ed Sullivan Show) to January 30, 1969 (their last public performance on the rooftop of Apple Studios): 1,817 days
  • Nixon Presidency - January 20, 1969 (Nixon's First Inauguration) to August 9, 1974 (Nixon's resignation): 2,027 days
  • Breaking Bad - January 20, 2008 (First episode) to September 29, 2013 (Last episode): 2,074 days
  • Brady Bunch - September 26, 1969 (First episode) to March 8, 1974 (Last episode): 1,624 days
It's taking longer to get Chuck McCullough to trial than it took to defeat Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan in WWII.  The time between Chuck McCullough's arrest and his (still to be begun) trial is longer than Beatlemania (the actual cultural event, the Broadway Show only lasted 869 days).  It's also been longer than each of the original runs of both Breaking Bad and The Brady Bunch.

I make no pronouncements as to the man's guilt or innocence.  That's why there's supposed to be a trial.  But 2,095 days?  Heck Lt Col Oliver North was indicted (on March 16 1988), convicted (on May 4, 1989) and had his conviction vacated (on July 20, 1990) all within 856 days!

Think about that for a second.

UPDATE:  Here's a few more.
  • JFK - November 22, 1963 (Assassination of JFK) to September 24, 1964 (Publication of the Warren Commission Report): 307 days
  • Civil War - April 12, 1861 (Confederate forces fire on Fort Sumpter) to April 9, 1865 (Lee surrenders to Grant at Appomattox): 1,458 days
  • WWI - July 28, 1914 (Assassination of Archduke Ferdinand) to November 11, 1918 (Armistice signed): 1,597 days
It's taking longer to get Chuck McCullough to trial than it took the Warren Commission to issue its report, for the North to defeat the South in the misnamed (by many) "War of Northern Aggression" and for the Allied Powers to defeat the Central Powers in the equally misnamed "War to End All Wars."

November 14, 2014

Chuck McCullough STILL Hasn't Faced Trial. STILL

Yesterday, an astute reader emailed in a reminder about a certain former County Council member who was arrested more than 5 years ago.

At this point I have no idea what the charges are now and listing what they were might be unfair, if some of them were dismissed.

The last time I wrote about this, it was warm and July and this was to be found in the Tribune-Review:
Authorities charged McCullough, 59, of Upper St. Clair in June 2009 with bilking $200,000 from the $14.7 million estate of widow Shirley Jordan, who died in 2010 at 93. Prosecutors accused him of trying to further his political career while acting as trustee of her estate in 2006 and 2007.
But as I wrote in July of 2009, there were other charges as well including this one:
Two counts of making false reports to law enforcement. McCullough is charged with falsely reporting to Upper St. Clair police that P-G reporter Dennis Roddy had harassed Jordan when no harassment occurred
But at this point, more than 5 years later, who knows what's still on the list of charges?

But let's take another look at the time frame here.  He was arrested on February 19, 2009.  Only about 20 days after the first inauguration of Barack Obama.  The first inauguration of Barack Obama.

So what else has happned between now and McCullough's arrest?
According to the US Census, the estimated population of the United States of America on Feburary 19, 2009 is:
And the estimated population of the United States today (November 14, 2014) is:
That means that there are about 13.4 million more citizens of the US since the day Chuck was arrested.

According to Google, The day Chuck McCullough was arrested, The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed at:
It closed yesterday at:
That's more than 200% growth, right?

Let's see what else has happened since Chuck McCullough was arrested:
Take a look at what I wrote last April:
  • Jerry Sandusky was arrested in November 2011 and he was found guilty the following July.
  • Richard Poplawski killed three police officers in April 2009 and he was found guilty in June 2011 
  • Jane Orie was indicted in April 2010 and was convicted March 2012
Of course we can add that Jane Orie's already been released.

Given it's been 2,094 days (or 5 years, 8 months and 26 days) since he was arrested, I have to ask:


November 13, 2014

More On Ted Cruz

Recently From Texas Republican Senator Ted Cruz:
“In short, net neutrality is Obamacare for the Internet,” the Texas Republican and possible 2016 presidential contender said in a statement distributed by his office. “It puts the government in charge of determining Internet pricing, terms of service, and what types of products and services can be delivered, leading to fewer choices, fewer opportunities and higher prices for consumers. The Internet should not operate at the speed of government.”
Ridiculous, to be sure.  This is what the president said about net neutrality that trigger teh Cruz crazie:
An open Internet is essential to the American economy, and increasingly to our very way of life. By lowering the cost of launching a new idea, igniting new political movements, and bringing communities closer together, it has been one of the most significant democratizing influences the world has ever known.

“Net neutrality” has been built into the fabric of the Internet since its creation — but it is also a principle that we cannot take for granted. We cannot allow Internet service providers (ISPs) to restrict the best access or to pick winners and losers in the online marketplace for services and ideas. That is why today, I am asking the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to answer the call of almost 4 million public comments, and implement the strongest possible rules to protect net neutrality.
I particularly like the first sentence of the second paragraph.  Especially when the Washington Times characterizes it as:
Net neutrality rules are intended to provide companies the same speed and access to lines as others and curb undue influence from cable corporations. Proponents say such oversight helps provide a more level playing field for Internet access but opponents see such rules as government overreach in an area, they argue, that has thrived without them.
Wait.  Making sure what's always been there is imposing regulations on a system that's "thrived without them"?  Makes no sense.  But that's the Conservative Press - where reality often fails to make any much of an impact.

So crazie was the "Net Neutrality = Obamacare" line that LiberalsUnite reports that Cruz's own facebook page reacted - in opposition to teh cruzman's crazie.

And it's also why we're so so happy to see it show up on the Trib editorial page:
“‘Net Neutrality' is ObamaCare for the Internet; the Internet should not operate at the speed of government,” says Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas. The Internet must remain a freewheeling, innovative economic driver — not become an FCC-hobbled 21st-century Ma Bell.
Yea, and the title of the op-ed is:
'Net neutrality': Killing innovation
So all the innovation that came from the once and current neutral internet came from...where, exactly?

Maybe they don't understand reality much on the braintrust.  Looks that way to me.

November 12, 2014

Well, We Know THIS Is Going To Cause A Stir!

From the AP:
The United States and China pledged Wednesday to take ambitious action to limit greenhouse gases, aiming to inject fresh momentum into the global fight against climate change ahead of high-stakes climate negotiations next year.
The unexpected declaration from the world's two largest polluters, unveiled on the last day of Obama's trip to China, reflected both nations' desire to display a united front that could blunt arguments from developing countries, which have balked at demands that they get serious about global warming. Yet it was unclear how feasible it would be for either country to meet their goals, and Obama's pledge was sure to confront tough opposition from ascendant Republicans in Congress.
That would be non-science republicans who think global warming's a hoax.

How long do you think they're calling for impeachment for this?  I mean, if it's a hoax, then any reduction/redistribution of wealth is theft and theft is a crime ergo the thieving Kenyan Socialist is guilty of a crime and should be removed from office.

Never mind the Iraq war lies, the White House sanction torture, the illegal surveillance from the last guy.  HE was a hero!  HE protected us (except for 9/11 which, of course, was Clinton's fault).

See how easy this all is?


November 11, 2014

NOW They're Relying On Peer-Reviewed Science??

Take a look at this from the Tribune-Review:
Separating climate fact from opinion is the focus of a free-market think tank's lawsuit against the White House science office over a video asserting that last winter's bone-chilling polar vortex originated from climate change.

In its lawsuit, the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) is demanding documents related to the video, featuring White House science czar John Holdren blaming the bitter cold on climate change, contrary to peer-reviewed studies, The Daily Caller reports. In the video Mr. Holdren says the extreme weather “is a pattern that we can expect to see with increasing frequency as global warming continues.”

While Holdren's statement isn't an “outright lie,” it's a “half-truth and even a stretch at that,” according to two scientists with the Cato Institute.
Let us, as they say, unpack this.

First the Scaife money the Trib's braintrust never gets around to mentioning:
Imagine what would happen if the Block Family (they own the P-G) were to donate such funds to, say, Mediamatters and then cite some mediamatters research.  I am sure the braintrust would be screaming all the way to Brent Bozell's front door.

But back to the second paragraph.  did you see it?  Did you see how they're "debunking" Holdren?  I'll give you the sentence again with the appropriate emphasis:
In its lawsuit, the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) is demanding documents related to the video, featuring White House science czar John Holdren blaming the bitter cold on climate change, contrary to peer-reviewed studies...
Yea those "peer-reviewed studies" would probably be included in these "peer-reviewed studies" - you know the ones.  They're the "peer-reviewed" studies that show that 97% of climate scientists affirm the existence of climate change.

And yet our friends on the braintrust have the audacity to still cling to this:
After CEI petitioned for a correction, the White House acknowledged that Holdren's statement was “personal opinion” and exempt from data quality laws, The Hill newspaper reports. So much for the administration's “settled science.” [Emphasis added.]
Fact of the matter is, it's probably too early to link last year's polar vortex to climate change (in fact Holdren starts the video by saying that no single event can either prove or disprove global climate change) but using the peer-reviewed science that supports climate change as a way to try to undermine that same science is simply laughable.

And it shows either a shocking disregard for science, if they believe it's an adequate argument) or a shocking disdain for their audience, f the Tribune-Review's editorial board thinks it can fake them out so blatantly.

So which is it, guys?  Are you just ignorant or are you assuming your audience is?

November 10, 2014

Follow The Money - Some Scaife Updates

From Rich Lord at the P-G:
Three foundations that Richard Mellon Scaife long guided are heading into a season of leadership changes, reorganizations and dramatic expansions three months after the filing of the late billionaire’s will.

Nearly doubling in size is the Sarah Scaife Foundation, which Mr. Scaife, son of the philanthropy’s namesake, turned into a national force in funding the development of conservative thought. That foundation is expected to absorb the smaller, similarly focused Carthage Foundation.
Then there's this:
The Sarah Scaife Foundation has “been responsible for a lot of national public policy for the conservative movement, in particular the work done by the Heritage Foundation, and in Pennsylvania the work done by the Commonwealth Foundation and the Allegheny Institute [for Public Policy],” said Allegheny County Republican Committee chairman Jim Roddey.

The merger of the Carthage Foundation and the terms of Mr. Scaife’s will portend “more grants and … a bigger scope,” said Mr. Roddey, who is on the Sarah Scaife Foundation’s board.
Did you know that Jim Roddey was also once on the board of the Allegheny Institute?

Yes, he was.  Small world.  Lotsa Scaife money supporting lotsa conservative causes.

But while the Sarah Scaife Foundation's getting bigger - meaning there's be more money for the Heritage Foundation, AEI and so on - this is also occurring:
The two children of Richard Mellon Scaife have demanded, in court filings last week, an accounting for hundreds of millions of dollars that they said was drained from a trust to cover the losses of the Tribune-Review newspapers, despite the trustees’ duty to preserve funds for them.

Jennie Scaife, of Palm Beach, Fla., and David N. Scaife, of Shadyside, filed similar petitions in Orphans Court of Allegheny County. They claimed that three trustees who controlled $210 million in 2005 let that dwindle to nothing by the time of their father’s death, four months ago.
The petitions suggest deep divisions between, on one hand, Richard Mellon Scaife’s children, and, on the other, the handful of close associates managing his estate, estimated to be in the billion-dollar range. Richard Mellon Scaife did not mention the children in his will, which split most of his wealth between two foundations.
Now obviously, I have no info other than these two articles in the P-G, and it'll probably be years before this is resolved, but it looks as though Scaife drained one trust (one that he shouldn't have) to fund his Tribune-Review, reserving the rest of his vast wealth to be passed on to the three (or two, now that Carthage has been folded into Sarah Scaife) Foundations that support Scaife's political causes.

Why couldn't he use his own money to prop up the obvious financial failure that is his Tribune-Review?

There's something vastly distasteful about all that.

November 8, 2014

The Braintrust Keeps Trying To Debunk The IPCC...

...and they keep failing.

From today's Tribune-Review:
Cooler heads must deflect the latest blast of hot air from the discredited United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
And then:
The International Climate Science Coalition notes that 16 years without warming show U.N. climate models are wrong and weather's extremes remain within natural variations' range. Yet the U.N. climate change panel urges draconian anti-growth measures.
Yea, but we've already looked at that, haven't we?

Yea, like 5 days ago.

I guess we'll have to do it again.

The "16 years without warming" meme is what they call "selective evidence" and I'll let desmogblog explain.  But first, some of their artwork:

They're gonna be talking about that small area of the upward sweep marked by that big red arrow.  By the way, do you notice the upward sweep from just after 1900 to now?  So even if the line is, in fact, "leveling off" that still wouldn't discredit the upward sweep that represents the rising temperatures of the 20th century now, would it?

Anyway, back to desmogblog.  They explain that 1998 and 2005 were rather hot "el Nino" years and that:
After 1998 and 2005 global temperatures were not as hot, but still on the whole still much hotter than most years prior to 1998.

So the temperature is still clearly going up globally as can be seen by the long-term upward trend over time. But like any good conspiracy theory, if you look hard and long enough you will find “proof” of your theory — and the climate deniers seem to be clinging on to this latest proof pretty hard.
And again, this issue is already addressed in the IPCC summary report:
Each of the last three decades has been successively warmer at the Earth’s surface than any preceding decade since 1850. The period from 1983 to 2012 was likely the warmest 30-year period of the last 1400 years in the Northern Hemisphere, where such assessment is possible (medium confidence). The globally averaged combined land and ocean surface temperature data as calculated by a linear trend, show a warming of 0.85 [0.65 to 1.06] °C2 over the period 1880 to 2012, when multiple independently produced datasets exist.

In addition to robust multi-decadal warming, the globally averaged surface temperature exhibits substantial decadal and interannual variability (Figure SPM.1a). Due to this natural variability, trends based on short records are very sensitive to the beginning and end dates and do not in general reflect long-term climate trends. As one example, the rate of warming over the past 15 years (1998–2012; 0.05 [–0.05 to 0.15] °C per decade), which begins with a strong El Niño, is smaller than the rate calculated since 1951 (1951–2012; 0.12 [0.08 to 0.14] °C per decade).

Ocean warming dominates the increase in energy stored in the climate system, accounting for more than 90% of the energy accumulated between 1971 and 2010 (high confidence), with only about 1% stored in the atmosphere. On a global scale, the ocean warming is largest near the surface, and the upper 75 m warmed by 0.11 [0.09 to 0.13] °C per decade over the period 1971 to 2010. It is virtually certain that the upper ocean (0−700 m) warmed from 1971 to 2010, and it likely warmed between the 1870s and 1971. [Italics in original]
They never learn, do they?

The Trib also makes this claim:
The U.N. panel again is providing “cover for costly new regulations and energy rationing” even though the EPA admits “electricity regulations will have no discernible impact on the global temperature,” U.S. Rep. Lamar Smith, R-Texas, chairman of the House Science, Space and Technology Committee, told The Hill newspaper.
Here's what the fool said in The Hill:
“Yet the EPA has admitted that electricity regulations will have no discernible impact on the global temperature,” he added. “America cannot afford to drive its economy over a cliff with the hopes that the rest of the world will make the same mistake.”
So far, I haven't been able to track down when the EPA actually admitted to anything of the sort (doesn't mean it's not out there, it just means I haven't found it yet).  But I suspect that the rhetorical ruse being played here is found in the phrase "global temperature."  Could the EPA have merely been pointing out that a great many other countries would also have to limit their carbon emissions that this global problem can't just be solved by the US limiting its own carbon emissions?  That a whole mess of other stuff has to happen as well?

That's what I suspect.  But until I see for sure, I'm withholding judgement.

In either case, the Trib Braintrust is still wrong about the science and they're doing it now so often that it has to be an embarrassment to any rational person working at that newspaper.

November 7, 2014

The Chickenshit Gambit

To my friends in the Democratic Party, let me first beg your forgiveness before continuing.  I have to say that this is the sort of stuff that so annoys me about your party (for the record, I haven't been a member of the party since you guys screwed up the 2010 midterms).

Here it is:
And here's how Stewart recaps:
The Democrats' 2014 strategy: Instead of doing things that the people who voted for them would like, they decided to not do anything, so as not to offend the voters who already didn't like them.
Yea - and that's why I am no longer a Democrat.

If any of my friends in the Democratic Party (and you know who you are) can explain why Stewart's wrong, please drop me a line.  I'll give you equal time with an update to this blog post.

November 6, 2014

More Faith-Based Anti-Science On The Way

From The Washington Post:
Sen. James M. Inhofe, an the Oklahoma Republican who once compared the Environmental Protection Agency to the Gestapo, is likely to lead the Environment and Public Works Committee when the GOP takes control of the Senate next year.
And then there's this:
In his 2012 book, “The Greatest Hoax: How the Global Warming Conspiracy Threatens Your Future,” Inhofe describes himself as a lonely crusader against an environmental-liberal conspiracy. “First I stood alone in saying that anthropogenic [man-made] catastrophic global warming is a hoax,” he wrote.
And let's not forget where at least some of teh crazie comes from:
Senator James Inhofe (R-OK) appeared on Voice of Christian Youth America’s radio program Crosstalk with Vic Eliason yesterday to promote his new book The Greatest Hoax: How the Global Warming Conspiracy Threatens Your Future, where he repeated his frequent claim that human influenced climate change is impossible because “God’s still up there.” Inhofe cited Genesis 8:22 to claim that it is “outrageous” and arrogant for people to believe human beings are “able to change what He is doing in the climate.”
This is Genesis 8:22:
As long as the earth endures,
seedtime and harvest, cold and heat,
summer and winter, day and night,
shall not cease.’
Yes, that's right. That's why all the science is wrong.

Senator James Inhofe, the picture of the the GOP's faith-based non-science.

November 4, 2014

Bye, Bye, Corbett!

Wolf Wins PA!

Projected winner by MSNBC!

Gov. Corbett's Greatest Hits!

Just a reminder as you go to vote...

Corbett compares same-sex marriage to incest.

Corbett makes insensitive remarks about the mandatory ultrasound bill, telling women who do not want to see the ultrasound "you just have to close your eyes."

November 3, 2014

Meanwhile, Outside...

Yes, I know there's a midterm election tomorrow.  Get your ass out there and vote!

But meanwhile, from the beeb:
The IPCC's Synthesis Report was published on Sunday in Copenhagen, after a week of intense debate between scientists and government officials.

It is intended to inform politicians engaged in attempts to deliver a new global treaty on climate by the end of 2015.

The report says that reducing emissions is crucial if global warming is to be limited to 2C - a target acknowledged in 2009 as the threshold of dangerous climate change.
Here's the report.

Some highlights:
Warming of the climate system is unequivocal, and since the 1950s, many of the observed changes are unprecedented over decades to millennia. The atmosphere and ocean have warmed, the amounts of snow and ice have diminished, and sea level has risen.
And some details regarding the above:
Each of the last three decades has been successively warmer at the Earth’s surface than any preceding decade since 1850. The period from 1983 to 2012 was very likely the warmest 30-year period of the last 800 years in the Northern Hemisphere, where such assessment is possible (high confidence) and likely the warmest 30-year period of the last 1400 years (medium confidence).

The globally averaged combined land and ocean surface temperature data as calculated by a linear trend, show a warming of 0.85 [0.65 to 1.06] °C1 over the period 1880 to 2012, for which multiple independently produced datasets exist. The total increase between the average of the 1850–1900 period and the 2003–2012 period is 0.78 [0.72 to 0.85] °C, based on the single longest dataset available. For the longest period when calculation of regional trends is sufficiently complete (1901 to 2012), almost the entire globe has experienced surface warming. [Italics in original]
But it hasn't warmed in 18 years right?  So that means all that above is bullshit, right?

In addition to robust multi-decadal warming, the globally averaged surface temperature exhibits substantial decadal and interannual variability. Due to this natural variability, trends based on short records are very sensitive to the beginning and end dates and do not in general reflect long-term climate trends. As one example, the rate of warming over the past 15 years (1998–2012; 0.05 [–0.05 to 0.15] °C per decade), which begins with a strong El Niño, is smaller than the rate calculated since 1951 (1951–2012; 0.12 [0.08 to 0.14] °C per decade).
So next time you hear someone say that the warming has stopped because it "hasn't changed" (or whatever) in 18 years or so, tell them that they're bringing up something the actual scientists already know about and they've already explained away and that coming to a conclusion based on a short term that's skewed by the dates picked is not very reliable scientifically.  No, not at all.

November 2, 2014


Shorter Post-Gazette Gubernatorial Non Endorsement:

We're going to totally chicken out and say neither guy is worthwhile, but hey, get out there and vote!

 (FY, P-G)

Follow The Money - PATownhall

A week or so ago, I stumbled across this website.  It's "PaTownHall - Pennsylvania's marketplace of ideas" and it describes itself as:
PA Town Hall is a cooperative project involving over 20 center/right organizations and columnists from throughout Pennsylvania. It is a "one stop shop" for readers to view the latest policy papers, news releases, newsletters, polls, blogs and columns as well as listen to radio programs produced by participating organizations.
The site piqued my curiosity, to say the least.  Where did it come from?  Who hosts it?  Who's paying for it?  And finally, HOW MUCH SCAIFE MONEY IS ENTWINED IN THE PROJECT?

So let's follow the money.

On the "About" page we learn that:
PA Town Hall is owned and operated by the Lincoln Institute of Public Opinion Research, Inc. The Lincoln Institute is a 501c3 nonprofit educational foundation based in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. The mission statement of the Lincoln Institute commits the organization to "the conduct of an extensive public information and educational program designed to foster federal and state public policy based upon traditional American values."
Ah, The Lincoln Institute.  According to the Bridgeproject, the Institute has received overall $1.428 million dollars over the last 20 or so years - 68% of which ($980,000) came from the Scaife controlled Allegheny Foundation.

But what about those "20 center/right organizations" that make up the project?

Let's take a look.  Here's the page titled "Member Groups".  Alot of the list is made up of individuals, so let's set them aside and just concentrate on the some of groups on the "Member Group" page that have received Scaife funding (all info from the BridgeProject):

  • Allegheny Institute: $6.484 million total, 89% ($5.8 million) from Scaife foundations
  • Commonwealth Foundation: $7.523 million total, 35% ($2.667 million) from Scaife foundations
  • Foundation for Individual Rights in Education: $9.865 million total 14.7% ($1.45 million) from Scaife foundations
And so on.  I note that our good friend Salena Zito is also on the "Member Groups" list.  She's a staff writer and editorial columnist for the Tribune-Review

Here's a thought experiment: What would PATownhall look like had it never received 68% of it's foundation funding from the Scaife Foundations?  What would the political geography of the state look like without all that money coming from those three sources all controlled (until recently, of course) by one very rich white guy?

Here's a couple more: The next time Salena Zito mentions anyone else (individual or organization) on the PA Townhall "Member Group" (for example Senator Toomey) will she, in the spirit of full disclosure, mention their common membership on that list?  

Next time Lowman Henry is so lovingly profiled by the Tribune-Review, will they point out that their former owner shuttled hundreds of thousands of dollars Henry's way to fund the Lincoln Institute?

Follow the money.