Democracy Has Prevailed.

August 31, 2015


Hey, Mr. Vice President!

The P-G is reporting:
Vice President Joe Biden plans to travel to Pittsburgh for the city’s annual Labor Day festivities next Monday.
So, you wanna come over for a cup of coffee?

I mean, how often do you get to sit down at a kitchen table for a chat with a writer for one of Pittsburgh's oldest and most-read political blogs?

And, more importantly, I often would I get to sit down at a kitchen table for a chat with a sitting Vice President of the United States of America?

We can talk about:
  • Iran
  • The Supreme Court
  • Income inequality
  • Climate change
  • Any...uh...IMPORTANT DECISIONS you've made recently
  • Or anything else on your mind.
So, what do you say?  Doesn't even have to be coffee.  I can get us some Primanti's, no problem.

August 29, 2015

Judge: Connellsville 10 Commandments Monument is UNCONSTITUTIONAL (And Yet It Can Stay??)

Yea, it IS weird.

From Ralph Iannotti at KDKA:
A federal judge on Friday ruled that a monument of the Ten Commandments outside the Connellsville Area Junior High School in Fayette County violates the U.S. Constitution.

However, at the same time, the judge did not order the monolith removed.

Now, both opponents and supporters of the monument are claiming at least partial victories.
And some unnamed writer at the P-G:
A judge today ruled that a monument to the Ten Commandments in place at a Fayette County school since the 1950s improperly violates the Constitution because it endorses religion. But U.S. District Judge Terrence McVerry said it can remain in place because the student whose family objected three years ago no longer goes to school there.
Judge McVerry?  Wasn't he the same guy who dismissed the very similar New Kensington case a short time ago?  That case was dismissed because McVerry decided the plaintiffs "lacked standing".

Here's the opinion of y'inz wanted to read it.

As far as I can tell (and let's all remember I am NOT an attorney, though I really enjoyed Housman's performance on "The Paper Chase" - even more than Pacino's in "...And Justice For All") McVerry established that the plaintiffs HAD standing to sue (whew!) and then discussed which recent Supreme Court case more closely described the Connellsville slab.

I discussed the issue here.

Since it was a stand-alone monument, it was less like the monument described in Van Orden and more like the situation described in McCreary.  Oh, I so informed you thusly.

For McVerry, the Connellsville slab fails on these grounds:
In sum, then, “the question is, would a passerby” with all of these attributes reasonably believe that by declining to remove the monument, the School District “was endorsing religion?” Although this is a close question, the Court concludes that the reasonable observer would arrive at such a conclusion. The content of the monument, its location on school grounds, the lack of secular displays in reasonable proximity to the monument, and the events leading up to the Board’s decision to retain the monument compels such a result.
Oh, I so informed you thusly.

The Ten Commandments have what our Court of Appeals has described as a “primar[ily] religious significance.” That conclusion is hard to avoid when viewing the monument here, inasmuch as it prominently proclaims, in letters slightly larger than those elsewhere on the monument , “I AM the LORD thy God .” It was thus incumbent on the School District to demonstrate that the religious nature of the monument was meant to be overshadowed by some secular or historical message. It has not done so, for the context of the monument does nothing to detract from the Commandments’ overwhelmingly religious message. Just the opposite: Displaying the Commandments alone in a prominent location outside the school only serves to highlight the religious aspects of the Commandments, sending “an unmistakable message that [the School District] supports and promotes” the religious message that is at the heart of the Commandments.
Oh, I so informed you thusly.

This leads me to the truly confusing part at the end:
When, however, our government , at whatever level, departs from mere acknowledgement of our religious history to endorsement of a particular religious message, as set forth in the Ten Commandments, it has gone too far. Be that as it may, the Court is constrained by the mootness doctrine from granting Plaintiffs’ requested injunctive relief and ordering the removal of the monument at this time.
I get the first part.  The guv'ment "has gone too far" and endorsed "a particular religious message" (which makes it UNCONSTITUTIONAL) with this slab but since the plaintiff no longer goes to school there it can nevertheless stay?

The Ten Commandments monument is UNCONSTITIONAL.  It needs to be removed.  Now.

August 28, 2015

Watch PA State Reps doing the Whip and Nae Nae

All Democrats--as if you had to ask. After all, they are advocating for funds for public school kids!

(And, if enough of you had voted right in my district, we could have had Erin Molchany up there with them.)

The Tribune-Review Published NEWS About Climate Science?? Inconcievable!

The Trib published this?? Take a look:
By mid-century, Pittsburgh might feel a lot more like the heat and humidity of summer in the nation's capital.

Average temperatures in Pennsylvania likely will rise 5.4 degrees Fahrenheit in the next 35 years, causing “profound” changes in the composition of the state's forests and more frequent and severe flooding and heat waves, according to Penn State University scientists studying potential impacts of climate change.

“There will be increased heat-related stresses, especially in cities,” said Dr. James Shortle, lead author of the report. He cautioned that “older people and lower-income populations will be especially susceptible.”

The 2015 Climate Impacts Assessment is the second update to a report published by the Department of Environmental Protection in 2009 at the direction of the state Legislature. The 200-page assessment contains chapters by different scientists examining aspects of climate science and the likely effects on Pennsylvania. Shortle said it should be viewed as an addition to, rather than a replacement of, earlier reports.
Does Donald Gililand, the reporter of this piece, even read his own newspaper's editorial page?

Apparently not.  As he does absolutely nothing to question, mock or discredit the accepted science of climate change.  It's just weird to read this at the Trib website.   Weird.

Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto even makes an (unmocked) appearance:
“Climate change is upon us,” said Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto, “with real impacts on not only weather but public safety, housing, business and other facets of city life.”

That's why Pittsburgh joined the 100 Resilient Cities network and named a “chief resilience officer” this summer, Peduto said. He joined the Local Climate Leaders Circle, which will “push for climate plans on the local level during the United Nations climate talks in Paris” in December, he said.
 Of course the loyal readers of the Trib (who DO read the op-ed page) make their voices known in the pieces comments:
This "news story" is littered with so many typical liberal talking points I thought I was on the PG's website for a second
Funny thing, for a few seconds, I had the same thought.

Anyway, here's what the DEP had to say (can't wait to see how the Trib braintrust) tries to deal with it:
Pennsylvanians should prepare for dangerously high summer temperatures and more severe storms, increased threat of certain diseases carried by insects, and drastic changes to agriculture and water quality, according to a new report on the impact of climate change from Penn State University. The report was authored by Dr. James Shortle with assistance from a multidisciplinary team of colleagues at Penn State.

The Pennsylvania Climate Change Act (PCCA) (Act 70), enacted by the General Assembly in 2008, directed Pennsylvania’s Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) to conduct a study of the potential impacts of global climate change on Pennsylvania over the next century. This report is the second update to the original report published in 2009.

“The scientific data is clear: climate change is happening, and there will be impacts to Pennsylvania,” said Dr. James Shortle, lead author of the report. “The effects of climate change will be felt across all parts of Pennsylvania – agriculture, human health, water quality, energy, even outdoor recreation will be affected.”
My guess is that they'll quote some non climate scientist from the Heartland Institute or some economist from the Heritage Foundation to smear Michael Mann with the stolen East Anglia emails to say the whole thing's a scam.

Meanwhile, it's getting warmer out there.

August 27, 2015

New Kensington Unconstitional Monument Follow-up

Hey remember this bit of stupidity?
A federal judge on Monday dismissed a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the Ten Commandments monument in front of Valley Junior-Senior High School in New Kensington.

The ruling could bring an end to a three-year legal battle.

However, it does not address the underlying question of whether the monument is a prohibited government endorsement of religion or a permissible historical landmark.
The judged dismissed the case on a technicality - not on the merits of the case.

Well, the FFRF has reacted:
The Freedom From Religion Foundation and a parent of a student who challenged a Ten Commandments monument in front of a public school filed notice in court on August 25 that they will be appealing a judge's decision that they do not have standing. The religious display sits in front of Valley High School in the New Kensington-Arnold School District, which is northeast of Pittsburgh.

"This is the first step in correcting this wrong and ensuring that the public school will comply with the Constitution," said FFRF Co-President Dan Barker.
Comply with the Constitution.  Take the monument down.  The case now leads to the 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals.

Someday, they'll get this right.

August 26, 2015

Go team?

Feeling slightly smug that since I don't give a rat's ass about football, I don't have to support rapists, wife beaters, virulent homophobes, child abuse concealers (on the college level), or dog torturers/killers

Of course I have no choice in supporting their damn stadiums.

August 24, 2015

Colin McNickle Needs A Better Source On Birthright Citizenship

Yes, he does - if he wants to redefine the 14th Amendment.

In a recent column, McNickle discusses the amendment and comes to this question:
“All persons born or naturalized in the United States and subject to the jurisdiction thereof (emphasis added), are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside.”

The high court, citing not only common law but the 14th Amendment, ruled 6-2 that citizenship was guaranteed to all persons born in the United States, regardless of their heritage.

So, case closed, right? The Supreme Court ruled birthright citizenship is the law of the land for all, right? The Donald Trump argument is populist pap and for naught, right? [Italics in Original.]
To which he answers:
Well, not exactly.

The Wong case involved the child of legal resident aliens. “The Supreme Court has never ruled directly on the question of birthright citizenship for the children of illegal aliens,” wrote Lino A. Graglia, a University of Texas law professor, in a seminal 2010 white paper.
So this Lino A Graglia said that?  So who is he?

He's the guy who said (or rather wrote) this:
Finally, blacks are not in fact "underrepresented," but rather "overrepresented"--that is, their numbers are disproportionately high-in institutions of higher education once IQ scores are taken into account." In general, more than half of the students in the bottom ten percent of a school's IQ range will be black.
But let's get to back the 14th Amendment.  The House has already heard from Prof Graglia on this new fangled rewrite of that constitutional principle.  And this is what the Washington Post's Dana Millbank wrote about it - back in April:
Judiciary Committee Republicans brought in three experts to testify in support of this extraordinary maneuver (a lone Democratic witness was opposed), and they evidently had to search far and wide for people who would take this view, because they ended up with a bizarre witness: an octogenarian professor from the University of Texas named Lino Graglia.

This would be the Lino Graglia who caused a furor in 1997 when he said that Latinos and African Americans are “not academically competitive with whites” and come from a “culture that seems not to encourage achievement.” He also said at the time that “I don’t know that it’s good for whites to be with the lower classes.”

This is also the same Lino Graglia who said in a 2012 interview that black and Hispanic children are less “academically competent” than white children, and he attributed the academic gap to the “deleterious experience” of being reared by single mothers. When the interviewer, a black man, said he had a single mother, Graglia said that “my guess would be that you’re above usual smartness for whites, to say nothing of blacks.”
So does Colin McNickle really think Lino Graglia is somehow a mainstream legal thinker?

Goshers, I hope not.  If it were the case, that says a lot of uncomfortable things about Colin McNickle's thinking.

August 21, 2015

Meanwhile, Outside It's Still Getting Warmer

From NOAA's State of the Climate site:
The combined average temperature over global land and ocean surfaces for July 2015 was the highest for July in the 136-year period of record, at 0.81°C (1.46°F) above the 20th century average of 15.8°C (60.4°F), surpassing the previous record set in 1998 by 0.08°C (0.14°F). As July is climatologically the warmest month of the year globally, this monthly global temperature of 16.61°C (61.86°F) was also the highest among all 1627 months in the record that began in January 1880. The July temperature is currently increasing at an average rate of 0.65°C (1.17°F) per century.
The first seven months of 2015 comprised the warmest such period on record across the world's land and ocean surfaces, at 0.85°C (1.53°F) above the 20th century average, surpassing the previous record set in 2010 by 0.09°C (0.16°F). Five months this year, including the past three, have been record warm for their respective months. January was the second warmest January on record and April third warmest.
It's simply getting warmer out there.  So let's keep talking birthright citizenship, ok?

August 19, 2015

Planned Parenthood Follow-up!

Hey, remember how Planned Parenthood was doing all those nasty things?  It was just a few weeks ago when a set of videos was released showing some awful stuff.  You remember, right??

From the Huffingtonpost:
The Planned Parenthood Federation of America stressed Friday that multiple investigations into its state affiliates have fallen flat, as the reproductive health organization battles allegations that it has illegally profited from fetal tissue donations for research.
Conservatives were outraged, Congress is promising to investigate. However:
A number of states followed Congress' lead, declaring investigations of their own. But many of those probes -- in Georgia, Indiana, Massachusetts and South Dakota -- have found area Planned Parenthood affiliates to be in full compliance with state laws and regulations.

“In every state where these investigations have concluded, officials have cleared Planned Parenthood of any wrongdoing," said Dawn Laguens, executive vice president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America, in a statement Friday. "We've said all along that Planned Parenthood follows all laws and has very high medical standards, and that's what every one of these investigations has found. This campaign by anti-abortion extremists is nothing less than a fraud, intended to deceive the public with patently false claims in order to pursue an extreme political agenda."
Was there ever any doubt about that?

August 17, 2015

John Oliver, Last Night

And you can go to the church's website here.

From Time:
John Oliver is officially a church. Upon finding out about mega-churches like those led by Kenneth Copeland and Robert Tilton, which earn millions of dollars every year but are exempt from paying taxes, Last Week Tonight host John Oliver did the only logical thing—he formed his own church. Specifically, he formed, Our Lady of Perpetual Exemption.

With a little help from Sister Wanda Jo Oliver, played by former Saturday Night Live star Rachel Dratch, Oliver’s church will collect copious donations while encouraging congregants to silently meditate on the nature of fraudulent churches.

To aid his followers in making their donations, Oliver delivered his ministrations right through the TV screen asking viewers with lupus to lay their hands on their television and pray with him—and then donate to his church.
Unfortunately for some of my readers, we learn from the donation page:
Our Lady of Perpetual Exemption will not be able to accept donations from Church supporters from the states of Mississippi, Nevada, Pennsylvania, or South Carolina.
Bummer.  On the other hand, that also has to mean that otherwise sincere people can't also donate to any other similar (though less obvious) religious scams.  Good for Pennsylvania!!

August 14, 2015

This Is Why It's Necessary To PROSECUTE THE TORTURE, Mr President

From the AP:
Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush on Thursday declined to rule out resuming the use of torture under some circumstances by the U.S. government.

"I don't want to make a definitive, blanket kind of statement," Bush told an audience of Iowa Republicans, when asked whether he would keep in place or repeal President Barack Obama's executive order banning so-called enhanced interrogation techniques by the CIA.
Um that "definitive, blanket kind of statement" has already been made.  It's the law signed by Ronald Reagan. Article 1 reads in part:
For the purposes of this Convention, torture means any act by which severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental, is intentionally inflicted on a person for such purposes as obtaining from him or a third person information or a confession, punishing him for an act he or a third person has committed or is suspected of having committed, or intimidating or coercing him or a third person, or for any reason based on discrimination of any kind, when such pain or suffering is inflicted by or at the instigation of or with the consent or acquiescence of a public official or other person acting in an official capacity. It does not include pain or suffering arising only from, inherent in or incidental to lawful sanctions.
Back to the AP:
He suggested there may be occasions when brutal interrogations were called for to keep the country safe.

"That's why I'm not saying in every condition, under every possible scenario," Bush said.
And Article 2 of that law that Ronald Reagan signed reads in part:
No exceptional circumstances whatsoever, whether a state of war or a threat or war, internal political instability or any other public emergency, may be invoked as a justification of torture.
Yea, Jeb.  Kinda definitive, doncha think?

This is why the Obama Administration needed to prosecute the Bush torture - so that no later president could (as Jeb Bush is trying to do) keep the unlawful option open.

Torture is illegal. 

George Bush allowed the torture.

He should have been prosecuted for it.

This is why.

August 11, 2015

Why Does Betsy Mccaughey Have Any Credibility?

This past Sunday the Tribune-Review published this piece by Betsy Mccaughey.

It's a warning about how the President's Clean Power Plan will ruin us, just ruin us entirely.

Wasn't Betsy Mccaughey one of the loudest "Death Panel" screamers, warning us about how the Affordable Care Act was going to ruin us, just ruin us entirely starting with our ailing grandmothers?

Why, yes.  Yes she was.

From Mediamatters:
As Media Matters for America senior fellow Jamison Foser pointed out, what is most problematic about this individual is not simply her false and misleading claims, but that despite her consistent pattern of promoting falsehoods, the media continue to provide her with a platform -- and a veneer of legitimacy. Most notably, Rupert Murdoch-owned papers The Wall Street Journal and the New York Post have repeatedly provided her space on their op-ed pages, and Murdoch's Fox News Channel has repeatedly hosted her and advanced her claims. As The Atlantic's James Fallows has noted, she is an example of someone for whom there "seems to be almost no extremity of being proven wrong which disqualifies" her from being given a platform in the media. Indeed, the media's willingness to treat her as if she were a legitimate policy expert has continued even after she has backtracked on many of her claims after they were debunked.
So why should we treat her as if she had any sort of credibility?

In fact what's happened to all of the Obama doomdays our conservative friends have warned us about?  For an answer to that question, we turn our lonely eyes to Paul Krugman:
What did the men who would be president talk about during last week’s prime-time Republican debate? Well, there were 19 references to God, while the economy rated only 10 mentions. Republicans in Congress have voted dozens of times to repeal all or part of Obamacare, but the candidates named President Barack Obama’s signature policy nine times over the course of two hours. And energy, another erstwhile GOP favorite, came up only four times.

Strange, isn’t it? The shared premise of everyone on the Republican side is that the Obama years have been a time of policy disaster on every front. Yet the candidates on that stage had almost nothing to say about any of the supposed disaster areas.

And there was a good reason they seemed so tongue-tied: Out there in the real world, none of the disasters their party predicted have actually come to pass. Mr. Obama just keeps failing to fail. And that’s a big problem for the GOP — even bigger than Donald Trump.
And then he talks a bit about Mccaughey's "speciality", Health Care Reform:
Talk to right-wingers, and they will inevitably assert that it has been a disaster. But ask exactly what form this disaster has taken, and at best you get unverified anecdotes about rate hikes and declining quality.

Meanwhile, actual numbers show that the Affordable Care Act has sharply reduced the number of uninsured Americans — especially in blue states that have been willing to expand Medicaid — while costing substantially less than expected. The newly insured are, by and large, pleased with their coverage, and the law has clearly improved access to care.
And where are those death panels?  Ms Mccaughey, can you help a blogger out ?

August 9, 2015

Catherine Snow's NOT A Scientist AND She's Wrong About Climate Science

This morning The Tribune-Review published yet another bit of climate science denial.  The column, however, stands out for being both written by someone new to Scaife's pages and yet still filled with the same old climate misinformation usually found in the bottom of the braintrust's thunder mug.

It is interesting to note that the writer of this climate denial is named Catherine Snow.  Perhaps she'd accept the science if her name was Catherine Heatwave or Catherine Drought.

But I digress.

She begins:
These are challenging times for some faithful Catholics such as me. While I have utmost respect and love for our popular, approachable pontiff, I believe he has been sadly misinformed about climate change, as evidenced in his encyclical on the environment released in June.

Pope Francis is not a scientist. I do not blame him for the work's inaccuracies. Rather, I blame the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, the office responsible for advising the pope on scientific issues.
Right there, she's wrong. According to the National Catholic Reporter, the Pope is something of a scientist (though without a Master's degree as some have stated).  While he didn't graduate from a University with a chemistry degree:
What he did do was graduate with a título in chemistry from the Escuela Técnica Industrial No. 12*, which is a state-run technical secondary school.

In the Argentine system, "the título (same word used for a secondary diploma or a university degree) was earned at about age 19 after an extended secondary program," Liebscher said. "Not everyone who goes to secondary school gets one of those diplomas, and the título really represents something beyond our high-school diploma, something akin a certificate from a community college in the U.S." [Italics in Original.]
Fortunately for the Pope, the Pontifical Academy of Sciences is well-populated by actual scientists.  From the Academy's website:
Candidates for a seat in the Academy are chosen by the Academy on the basis of their eminent original scientific studies and of their acknowledged moral personality, without any ethnical or religious discrimination, and are appointed for life by sovereign act of the Holy Father.
So I'm thinking that they know a thing of two about science.  Certainly more than the admitted non-scientist Catherine Snow.

And the non-scientist Catherine Snow makes some decidedly wrong statements about climate science:
The computer models used by these climate scientists long have been predicting significant warming. But for the past 18 years, actual satellite data show no evidence of warming.
Two things wrong here; climate models and the supposed 18-year gap.  Let's start with the gap.

I am guessing the non-scientists Catherine Snow missed this article in the journal Science. From the editor's summary:
Previous analyses of global temperature trends during the first decade of the 21st century seemed to indicate that warming had stalled. This allowed critics of the idea of global warming to claim that concern about climate change was misplaced. Karl et al. now show that temperatures did not plateau as thought and that the supposed warming “hiatus” is just an artifact of earlier analyses. Warming has continued at a pace similar to that of the last half of the 20th century, and the slowdown was just an illusion.
Snow then goes on:
Science is not based on a consensus. It is based on empirical evidence. If a scientific theory does not match the evidence, then the theory must be abandoned or reconstructed. In other words, the models are wrong and provide no rational basis for any climate policy.
Yea, like this empirical data:

And this explanation from NOAA about why we should have confidence in the computer models.  First the math used is based on established physical laws (conservation of mass, energy and momentum and so on).  Secondly the models have been shown to be accurate with current observations and finally (and this, I'd think, is the most important):
A third source of confidence comes from the ability of mod - els to reproduce features of past climates and climate changes. Models have been used to simulate ancient climates, such as the warm mid-Holocene of 6,000 years ago or the last glacial maximum of 21,000 years ago. They can reproduce many features (allowing for uncertainties in reconstructing past climates) such as the magnitude and broad-scale pattern of oceanic cooling during the last ice age. Models can also simulate many observed aspects of climate change over the instrumental record. One example is that the global temperature trend over the past century (shown in Figure 1) can be modelled with high skill when both human and natural factors that influence climate are included. Models also reproduce other observed changes, such as the faster increase in nighttime than in daytime temperatures, the larger degree of warming in the Arctic and the small, short-term global cooling (and subsequent recovery) which has followed major volcanic eruptions, such as that of Mt. Pinatubo in 1991. Model global temperature projections made over the last two decades have also been in overall agreement with subsequent observations over that period.
This is what's known as hindcasting.  They test the model by loading it with all the data they have, say, leading up to 1950.  Then they ask the model to "predict" what will happen between 1950 and 2000.  If the "prediction" lines up with what is actually known (you know - that pesky empirical evidence) about the climate in those decades, then the model is reliable.

Like this:

The explanation from NOAA
Global mean near-surface temperatures over the 20th century from observations (black) and as obtained from 58 simulations produced by 14 different climate models driven by both natural and human-caused factors that influence climate (yellow). The mean of all these runs is also shown (thick red line). Temperature anomalies are shown relative to the 1901 to 1950 mean. Vertical grey lines indicate the timing of major volcanic eruptions. (Figure adapted from Chapter 9, Figure 9.5. Refer to corresponding caption for further details.
Catherine, see how they all tend to go in the same direction at roughly the same time?

The models work and relying on them is the rational position.

The irrational position is to deny all that science.  It's all there, you just have to read it.

August 6, 2015

The Tribune-Review Editorial Board Flubs - Hilariously

And no, it's not some anti-science fallacy regarding the polar bears or arctic ice or some non-existent pause in the globe's overall warming.

It's simple research.

Take a look at this, from this morning:
Holland's “progressive” government is abandoning its failed experiment with multiculturalism. Integration and acceptance of Dutch values for immigrants will be the law of the land. A cover letter accompanying legislation introduced last month says integration now is necessary because “no one feels at home anymore ... .” So, will American “progressives” take note? [Bolding in Original.]
You'd think that this was happening now, right?  I mean all of the verb tenses are in the present, right?  They even say the cover letter was "introduced last month."  That means July of 2015, right?

Perhaps the braintrust should have done its homework better.  They get their info from this recent (as in two days ago) piece from The American Thinker.  That piece, by Thomas Lifson points to this piece at  the Gatestone Institute website:
The Dutch government says it will abandon the long-standing model of multiculturalism that has encouraged Muslim immigrants to create a parallel society within the Netherlands.

A new integration bill (covering letter and 15-page action plan), which Dutch Interior Minister Piet Hein Donner presented to parliament on June 16, reads: "The government shares the social dissatisfaction over the multicultural society model and plans to shift priority to the values of the Dutch people. In the new integration system, the values of the Dutch society play a central role. With this change, the government steps away from the model of a multicultural society."

The letter continues: "A more obligatory integration is justified because the government also demands that from its own citizens. It is necessary because otherwise the society gradually grows apart and eventually no one feels at home anymore in the Netherlands. The integration will not be tailored to different groups."
Look at the date of the piece - June 23, 2011.  That was 4 years ago.  Heck Piet Hein Donner isn't even Interior Minister anymore as he left that post in December 2011.  So cover letter introduced "last month" was in fact last month 4 years ago.

This must be so embarrassing for my friends on The Braintrust - some balding blogger sitting at his kitchen table finding such a huge blunder in about 5 minutes.

I'd feel bad for them if I wasn't giggling hysterically over my spoon-sized shredded wheat.

August 5, 2015

PodCamp Announcement

I'll be giving a talk at this year's PodCamp on August 15th.

It'll be in Room B and it'll be at 1pm.

It's a Saturday afternoon and it's FREE.

I'll be talking about writing.

The details are here (just scroll down to where it says "On Writing Well"):
Writing – Is it simply nouns and adjectives, verb and adverbs, determiners and pronouns arranged in some sort of “proper” grammatical order? Well, yes it is and no it really isn’t. In writing well, there’s also rhythm and meter, tempo, texture and sound to wrestle with. What separates you as a writer from the writer sitting next to you? What separates interesting writing from boring writing? In a word it’s style – particularly YOUR style. This session is designed to give you some tools to be a better writer and to grow your own style as a writer.
Hope to see you there.

Nice Try, Guys. But Joe Bastardi STILL Isn't A Climate Scientist

From today's Trib:
The former long-range forecasting guru for AccuWeather these days is chief forecaster for WeatherBELL Analytics. And he employs an oldie but a goodie in a perversely accurate assessment of the rationales — if they even rise to that — being employed to push for cutting carbon dioxide “pollution” from U.S. power plants by 32 percent over the next 15 years.

“You are traveling through another dimension, a dimension not only of sight and sound but of mind,” Mr. Bastardi wrote Monday in The Patriot Post, quoting the opening to “The Twilight Zone,” the science-fiction TV show of the late 1950s and early 1960s.

Given the true progress the world has made because of fossil fuels — “many more people alive today living longer and enjoying a higher gross domestic product” — Bastardi wonders if the anti-fossil-fuels crowd actually is “anti-progress” if not “anti-statistic,” and all for negligible environmental benefit.
The thing you have to remember when reading whatever Bastardi writes, is that he's not a climate scientist.

Here some actual scientists discuss some of Bastardi's "findings" and find them, well lacking:
Indeed, Bastardi's arguments are wrong because they're gross oversimplifications of more complicated issues. However, they probably sound good to people who, like Bastardi, lack an understanding of the physical sciences. Unfortunately, this describes a significant percentage of the American public, including the audience of Fox News who were subjected to these absurd arguments from an amateur posing as an expert. The misinformation of these millions of people is the real tragedy of this story.
Go read the science. Don't trust the anti-science as it's simply wrong.

August 4, 2015

Jon Stewart On Fox News And Their 8 Years Of "Bush Fingerbanging"

Last Night

The right wing hypocrisy over at Fox News has rarely been more clearly described.

By the way, late in the clip Stewart mentions "50 Fox News lies in 6 seconds."  Guess what?

Politifact fact-check them all.

And guess what?  Exactly none of those 50 lies were actually true.

August 2, 2015

From The White House

Looking forward to tomorrow, then.