FM newswire for 25 November, hot articles for your morning reading

Today’s broadsheet from the FM website pressroom.  There are 4 sections, all with hot news.

  1. Links to interesting news and analysis
  2. Today’s graphic — prisons vs. schools
  3. Quote of the Day — paying for the war 
  4. Plus, an Afterword

(1)  Today’s links

  1. The Alarmists Do “Science”: A Case Study“, John Hinderaker, Powerline, 21 November 2009 — Slowly people are weaving the hacked data from the UK Climate Research Unit into a coherent stories.  Here is one example.  It’s an ugly picture of substituting propaganda for science.
  2. The CRUtape Letters, an Alternative Explanation“, Charles, Watts Up with That, 23 November 2009 — A better explanation for the release of data from the UK’s Climate Research Unit. It probably was an inside job, to some degree.  The uber-evil hacker story might be a myth.
  3. All The News That’s Fit To Bury“, Ed Driscol, Pajamas Media, 22 November 2009 — More evidence that the news media are not longer in the news business, committing suicide.
  4. Iraq’s lessons, on the home front – Volunteer veterans help California city use counterinsurgency strategy to stem gang violence“, Washington Post, 15 November 2009 — More evidence that 4th generation war has come to the USA.
  5. On War #323: Milestone“, William S. Lind, Defense and the National Interest, 23 November 2009 — Explanation of the above story, and why it’s so important.
  6. Pricing an Afghanistan troop buildup is no simple calculation“, Los Angeles Times, 23 November 2009 — Slow the truth comes out about the cost of escalating the Af-Pak War. If only our leaders would consider the benefit vs. other ways to spend this borrowed money.
  7. How 16 ships create as much pollution as all the cars in the world“, Daily Mail, 21 November 2009

(2)  Today’s graphic — prisons vs. schools

 From “California’s Choice“, Kevin Drum, blog at Mother Jones, 19 November 2009:

We used to have the world’s greatest system of higher education and we thrived. Now we have the world’s biggest system of penal institutions and we’re broke. That’s the decision Californians have made over the past 30 years: more prisons and better paid prison guards, but lower taxes and less education. (And not just higher education, either.) It’s hard to think of a stupider allocation of resources.

(3)  Quote of the day:  paying for the war

File under “another way to end the war in a week, if implemented now — instead of 2011.”

Excerpt  from”Share the Sacrifice Act Ends Borrowing to Pay for Afghan War“, Representative Dave Obey, 19 November 2009 — Red emphasis added:

Seventh District Congressman Dave Obey (D-WI), the Chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, Congressman John Murtha (D-PA), the Chairman of the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee, Congressman John Larson (D-CT), the Chairman of the Democratic Caucus, and 8 other Democratic Members introduced legislation today that would end the practice of paying for the war in Afghanistan with borrowed money by imposing a war surtax beginning in 2011.

“For the last year, as we’ve struggled to pass healthcare reform, we’ve been told that we have to pay for the bill – and the cost over the next decade will be about a trillion dollars. Now the President is being asked to consider an enlarged counterinsurgency effort in Afghanistan, which proponents tell us will take at least a decade and would also cost about a trillion dollars. But unlike the healthcare bill, that would not be paid for. We believe that’s wrong,” said Obey. “Regardless of whether one favors the war or not, if it is to be fought, it ought to be paid for.”

“The only people who’ve paid any price for our military involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan are our military families,” Obey added. “We believe that if this war is to be fought, it’s only fair that everyone share the burden. That’s why we are offering legislation to impose a graduated surtax so that the cost of the war is not borrowed.”

Comments from Matthew Yglesias’ post about this:

  • rmwarnick Says: “Like all serious good-government proposals, the war tax will no doubt evoke laughter in congressional offices.”
  • Rob Mac Says: “All serious good government programs are dismissed by DC insiders as unserious.”


Please share your comments by posting below. Per the FM site’s Comment Policy, please make them brief (250 word max), civil and relevant to this post. Or email me at fabmaximus at hotmail dot com (note the spam-protected spelling).

Reference pages about other topics appear on the right side menu bar, including About the FM website page.

12 thoughts on “FM newswire for 25 November, hot articles for your morning reading”

  1. If you haven’t seen it, check out “Climate Catastrophe Canceled” {video}

    THE HOCKEY STICK is the soubriquet for the millenium-long graph that says the globe has gotten dramatically warmer this past century. Well, there’s a bunch of sober-minded Finns who disagree, and you can check it out at DOTSUB. It’s a 29 minute video, with clear English subtitles, plus two of the participants are English-speaking.

    It appears the Gore gang haven’t been entirely honest . . .

  2. What always strikes me as funny is that everyone knows pollution is bad and that reducing pollution is good. But reducing pollution costs $$$, so the only way to get people to pay for it is to create fear of dire consequences. For a cause so noble, what’s the harm in manipulating a little data here and there?

    Well, the harm is that, as one of the scientists says in effect in the Finnish video, in science the truth will out, sooner or later. And anything worthwhile about the theory is ruined by the fraudulent data.

    Can we look forward to a knight of the right Goreing us that cleaning up pollution too much will cause an ice age (it’s already started!) that will end civilization as we know it (even harder to prove)?

    Maybe a government project (or better yet, a private sector volunteer effort) to cause more sunspots will save us.
    FM reply: I believe you overstate the case. Far, far overstate the case.

    “so the only way to get people to pay for it is to create fear of dire consequences”

    There has been massive reduction of pollution — almost all kinds — in developed nations during the past 40 years, most of it done without fear-mongering. The evidence shows that as incomes rise, people want a clearer environment. It’s a function of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs.

  3. Wait a minute . I live in East Anglia and have never heard of this University of East Anglia .
    Would it be the modern version of Norwich Technical High School ? The boss is an expert on tree-rings . Maybe a top quality outfit , maybe not . Be more impressive to see e mails from the University Of Cambridge.
    FM reply: The Climate Research Unit if one of the half-dozen tops sources of global climate data, and among the most influential such institutions in the world.

  4. FM, I REALLY like your news digests. This really IS news I can use! Keep up the good work!
    FM reply: Pass them on to others. Unless the traffic picks up on them, I’ll discontinue the news posts. Also, note the “subscription” box on the upper right column.

  5. Your response to my comment made me curious.

    Does it take more effort to assemble these posts vs. your usual articles? How do you determine the success of a post, solely by the response or are there other, less obvious criteria?

    Part of why I’m asking is that I read the articles and appreciate them but don’t necessarily feel like posting on your website as a result of reading somebody else’s article.
    FM reply: Good questions!

    (1) News articles take less time, but I have so little time.
    (2) Traffic is the metric, a crude measure of audience interest.

  6. #3 . I’m beginning to wonder if the University of East Anglia actually exists at all , or is a figment of the Internet .
    We do have an Anglia Ruskin University . It doesnt seem to be the same outfit .
    I shall have to send a spy to Norwich . Unfortunately most of my staff are either in childbirth or dying of Noro- Swine-Seasonal Afflictive Disorder , so this may have to wait .

  7. Re the University of East Anglia .
    This is scored by
    who do their rating on Quantity and Impact of published material .
    ( Any one see a snag with those criteria ? )
    The data used are quantity of citations .
    Top ( ie most cited )Institutions :
    1.Met office Hadley;
    3.Lawrence Livermore National Library;
    5. The University of East Anglia
    6.National Centre For Atmos[pheric Research ;
    7.European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Firecasts



    (Among others not ranked , Cambridge UK . Home of a large number of physicists , geologists , biochemists ,chemists etc etc who do contribute to a climate change hub .)
    University Of East Anglia offers courses in Chemistry but not Physics , Geology etc .

  8. The European Centre For Medium Range Firecasts ,of course was nothing to do with Coventry , Dresden or arson .For Firecasts read Forecasts .

  9. May be at bit off topic but it may cast some light on the past of the CO2 debat.

    The idea of CO2 as a greenhouse gas may have had it’s origins in the research of the Swedish Nobel Prize winner Svate Arrhenius. A long running debat, indeed.

    Greenhouse effect

    Arrhenius developed a theory to explain the ice ages, and first speculated that changes in the levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere could substantially alter the surface temperature through the greenhouse effect.[3] He was influenced by the work of others, including Joseph Fourier. Arrhenius used the infrared observations of the moon by Frank Washington Very and Samuel Pierpont Langley at the Allegheny Observatory in Pittsburgh to calculate the absorption of CO2 and water vapour. Using ‘Stefan’s law’ (better known as the Stefan Boltzmann law), he formulated his greenhouse law. In its original form, Arrhenius’ greenhouse law reads as follows:

    if the quantity of carbonic acid increases in geometric progression, the augmentation of the temperature will increase nearly in arithmetic progression.

    This simplified expression is still used today: ΔF = α ln(C/C0)

    Arrhenius’ high absorption values for CO2, however, met criticism by Knut Ångström in 1900, who published the first modern infrared spectrum of CO2 with two absorption bands. Arrhenius replied strongly in 1901 (Annalen der Physik), dismissing the critique altogether. He touched the subject briefly in a technical book titled Lehrbuch der kosmischen Physik (1903). He later wrote Världarnas utveckling (1906), German translation: Das Werden der Welten (1907), English translation: Worlds in the Making (1908) directed at a general audience, where he suggested that the human emission of CO2 would be strong enough to prevent the world from entering a new ice age, and that a warmer earth would be needed to feed the rapidly increasing population. He was the first person to predict that emissions of carbon dioxide from the burning of fossil fuels and other combustion processes would cause global warming. Arrhenius clearly believed that a warmer world would be a positive change. From that, the hot-house theory gained more attention. Nevertheless, until about 1960, most scientists dismissed the hot-house / greenhouse effect as implausible for the cause of ice ages as Milutin Milankovitch had presented a mechanism using orbital changes of the earth (Milankovitch cycles). Nowadays, the accepted explanation is that orbital forcing sets the timing for ice ages with CO2 acting as an essential amplifying feedback.

    Arrhenius estimated that halving of CO2 would decrease temperatures by 4 – 5 °C (Celsius) and a doubling of CO2 would cause a temperature rise of 5 – 6 °C[4]. In his 1906 publication, Arrhenius adjusted the value downwards to 1.6 °C (including water vapour feedback: 2.1 °C). Recent (2007) estimates from IPCC say this value (the Climate sensitivity) is likely to be between 2 and 4.5 °C. Arrhenius expected CO2 levels to rise at a rate given by emissions in his time. Since then, industrial carbon dioxide levels have risen at a much faster rate: Arrhenius expected CO2 doubling to take about 3000 years; it is now estimated in most scenarios to take about a century.

    FM reply: CO2 is a minor greenhouse gas. Most of the forecast AGW temperature rise results from “forcing”, positive feedback effects (e.g., greater evaporation, more water vapor — which is a major greenhouse gas). The spectacular model from the models largely results from assumption of low negative feedbacks (e.g., greater evaporation, more clouds — block sunlight). Since the models are a mess, as shown by the programmers’ disgusted comments in the CRU emails, only third party audits will allow quick evaluation of their reliability. Otherwise we’ll have to wait for the passage of time to give the answer.

  10. FM reply: “I believe you overstate the case. Far, far overstate the case. “so the only way to get people to pay for it is to create fear of dire consequences” (and cites a good rebuttal).

    I should know better than to say “only” – but what then is the reason that the global warming crowd needed to create fear of dire consequences? I think the word ‘pay’ and its associated forms is the reason. People with higher incomes want clean, but are they willing to pay across the board to have it?

    If that is not it, why say “the planet has a fever!”

    And was Gore a dupe or a conspirator?
    FM reply: My objection was (as you note) to the word “only.” Fear and greed are powerful tools to manipulate a people. Fortunately they are not the only tools, or the whole democracy gig would be a fool’s project.

    “If that is not it, why say ‘the planet has a fever!'”

    My guess is that the green religion (a extreme form of environmentalism) has its roots not so much in fear as in a desire for the sacred and material power. Oddly enough, both motives can exist in the same person — as often seen in Christian history.

    “And was Gore a dupe or a conspirator?”

    Neither. Here we see (again) the power of John Robb’s open source movements. Like-minded individuals with common aims, working together without central coordination. He’s a businessman and politico riding a wave of public belief.

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