THINKING OF AN INTRO LINK FOR THESE POSTS GETS TIRESOME, TOO
. I must be the only guy under 90 to read the physical newspaper. I can't afford a better phone and need something to read at lunch. So I can be... not forgiven, exactly, but maybe waved away silently, and with pity, for caring about them. For thinking it's important that they not be trash.
Laugh at my naiveté, as newspaper staff across the world would if they knew how I feel. Proof: A local columnist-- I won't name him, he's abominable-- recently left my hometown paper after 25 years of gossippy fluff. The clip above is barely satire. "Rumor has it the city's planning on installing more parking meters downtown! An exclamation point makes it exciting!" "I ran into the director of the Oregon Zoo while I was wating in line for coffee... END OF ANECDOTE."
How did he sleep at night, pulling down what must have been six figures for that
? Hell, how did his editors live with themselves? "Sure, it's stream of consciousness, but it's LOCAL stream of consciousness"? I can't imagine filling a newspaper page with text truly so laborious that they'll let any old monkey come in and bang away at a typewriter. And I refuse
to imagine that readers clamored for this key-jingling for a quarter of a century.
I can hear you
laughing, too. You're damn right it's professional jealousy! I can tap keys for a full twenty minutes too! Give me
don't deserve! My half-baked blatherings are superior
! And I can prove that, too:
[IP: He does this on purpose, I'm convinced. Mess up the format so I'll have to come in and fix it for him. Not going to do it this time. A purposeless indent is not youthful creativity. It's just, uh, Brizoni. I'm sure he thinks of it as leaning stylishly towards the right. Phooey.]
There's been a flap over the President's eeeevil Vegas comments. So much flap. Flap flap flappin' around, flappity flap flap:
President Obama is catching heat from Nevada lawmakers and business leaders regarding his comments Tuesday criticizing trips to Las Vegas.
During the president's town hall meeting in Nashua, New Hampshire, he discussed the need to curb spending during tough economic times. "When times are tough, you tighten your belts," the president said. "You don't go buying a boat when you can barely pay your mortgage. You don't blow a bunch of cash on Vegas when you're trying to save for college."...
His statement Tuesday drew sharp criticism from Nevada lawmakers. "The President needs to lay off Las Vegas and stop making it the poster child for where people shouldn't be spending their money," said Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, a Democrat. "Las Vegas is suffering through one of the highest unemployment rates in the country, and we cannot afford for the President to bring us down any further," added Republican Senator John Ensign. "Nevada has one of the most distressed economies in the country, and the President has done little to focus on job creation over the past year. Discouraging people from coming to our state to make a political point adds insult to injury," said Republican Congressman Dean Heller.
Spare me, gents. "Making a political point" by attacking Obama for a rare lapse into common sense sullies the entire conservative movement. Everyone who isn't a Nevada politician knows that Vegas is
"the poster child for where people shouldn't be spending their money" during a recession. Duh
. I don't think this President is worth a second flush, but it's not his fault your economy is 100% dependent on desperate losers and moneyed bacchanalia.
Kudos to Congressman Heller for illustrating the other problem with picking only the lowest-hanging fruit: unintended ideological collateral damage. With his "done little to focus on job creation" gaffe. Way to go, conservative. You've perpetuated the myth that the President creates jobs
. Was your cheap, content-free shot worth it? Maybe next time think
before you speak. Retard.
Oh, sorry. I forgot that the retard is the new n-word
Rahm Emanuel apologizes for 'retards' comment
...but his characteristically colourful language has only just been reported, drawing immediate fire from Left and Right, including Sarah Palin, the conservative heroine and former Alaska governor who is the mother of a Downs' Syndrome baby.
She called on Mr Obama to "show decency" by sacking Mr Emanuel, a former Chicago congressman who is one of the most combative figures in Washington.
"Just as we'd be appalled if any public figure of Rahm's stature ever used the 'N-word' or other such inappropriate language, Rahm's slur on all God's children with cognitive and developmental disabilities - and the people who love them - is unacceptable," she said.
Sarah, no! Bad! You want to throw your lot in with the Huffington Post crowd
Recently my mother-in-law forwarded a joke that had obviously been making the rounds among her friends. It was a silly story about children who mistake words they hear, not worth repeating here. But the subject line of the email was "retarded grandparents." I took a deep breath. Then I clicked on "reply all" and wrote this message:
"For years I've received jokes like this and kept quiet, but one of my New Year's resolutions this year is to speak up, so here goes. As the parent of a developmentally disabled child, I find the use of the word "retarded" personally offensive. So-called jokes like these reinforce the discrimination and intolerance children like mine face daily. 'Retarded' is not a synonym for 'stupid.' It's time to retire the 'R' word from everyone's vocabulary."
I'd like very much to not hate Sarahcuda. 99 and 44/100 percent of the antipathy towards her comes from either ill-informed snobbery or the deep personal insecurity
that drives someone to the Left in the first place. But when she echoes a HuffPost contributor calling for more
political correctness and thought-policing, how else can a reasonable man feel?
Aaaaand end. That's as far as I got. No punchline, no tying together of various mental threads, none of that. Just ran out of steam and didn't care. Could have thought of a better metaphor than "picking the lowest-hanging fruit," but those Netflix envelopes aren't going to watch themselves. But my semi-interested effort was The Lion and the Unicorn
, both in scope and ambition, compared to the twice-weekly two column inches of gibber that let
unnamed retard hack retire from letters a millionaire corporate executive (true, but this time I won't bother to prove it).
Speaking of running out of steam...
got to be a way to figure out what they'll do next.
QUESTION I WON'T LET GO. Machiavellian Manchurian Candidate? Or
Shallow Opportunistic Incompetent?
We've got new information to digest. The earthshaking election of Scott
Brown. The stubborn "stay the course" (non)response by the Obama
administration. The sudden Biden
Blitzkrieg (funny but not really) which seems designed to offend
absolutely everyone. A new poll
being touted by Drudge which suggests that 52 percent of Americans don't
think the president merits a second term. A new
interview which suggests that Obama is exactly who his most extreme
always thought he was.
My impression is that a lot of you still want to have it both ways.
He's a ruthlessly clever Marxist ideologue. And he's also a
self-absorbed cipher who can't get over the mirror image of himself
climbing into Marine One in his perfect suits while his handlers
schedule the next magazine cover and fawning MSM interview. But it
can't be both. And I'm the only one asking the question this starkly.
Is he a 21st Century Marxist Napoleon or a puppet of his cynical
campaign advisers? The correct answer matters more than all the
flailing, indeterminate fulminations you can pack into the Comments
section and all your emails, twitters, and private conversations with
one another. It can't be both.
So now I'm going to use the intellectual pop culture against itself.
There's a TV show called Numb3rs.
Its whole premise is that advanced mathematics can explain everything
from where the next criminal act will occur to what the decision making
process of networks of terrorists will choose to do next. As a liberal
view of the universe, it's kind of perfect. We're all just
pattern-makers, which makes us explicable to the pattern identifiers in
the science community. A taste:
thing about the show? Seeing the wizard in a wetsuit.
Mrs. CP (the math major) likes the show more than I do, I confess. I find the math
genius at its center dull, charmless, and dim-witted. It's simply a
pose, in my opinion, that human behavior -- anymore than, say, climate
behavior -- has ever been accurately described by mathematics.
BUT. Isn't this the ideal opportunity to put it to the test? What's
going on in the White House? If human behavior is about math rather
than, uh, human behavior, shouldn't we be able to discern how and why
the Obama White House is committing political suicide? You know.
Network theory. Matrix calculations. Statistical domino theory in a
gaming algorithm? Something to explain why an intelligent man cannot
perceive reality and so dooms his entire agenda to destruction when
dumb ordinary folks would choose to take a step back and compromise
Are you getting my point? If human behavior is really reducible to
patterns, algorithms, and mathematical models, then it should be
possible to analyze what is going on in the White House amongst Obama,
Axelrod, Emanuel and Jarrett. It really should. Some dynamic that
explains why they can't see the catastrophe that's building before them.
You see, it's my own suspicion that math has nothing to do with human
behavior at all. Math relies on logic. And logic has nothing to do with
what's presently happening in the White House. I think it has more to
do with the recently rediscovered mystery of weather. We're looking at
a perfect storm of personalities. A perfect storm of passive aggressive
My theory. (Numb3rs aside.) We have a president who is constitutionally
incapable of making a decision. His experience has always been to wait
for others to make decisions and then, like a community organizer, use
their decisions against them. He has three constant companions, two of
them go-for-the-throat political campaigners and one a pure racially
Doesn't this seem like the kind of scenario that the Numb3rs guy could
dial into his math mind? Has anyone in the intellectually superior
party done it? No. So I'll do it in his place.
This is a formula for executive paralysis. A perfect storm of
passive-aggressive self-destruction. The decision maker cannot make a
decision. The factotums cannot compromise or yield even an inch when
attacked. Their whole being urges them to destroy the opposition. So
what do they do when faced with the absolute necessity of negotiating
with the enemy? They choose to attack in defiance of reality while the
prize they're protecting, the decision maker, continues to waffle and
delay and defer even the most necessary clarities. Obama is the
Dauphin, defended by Joan of Arc. Who will
be burned at the stake.
But it would be so much cooler if a CalTech professor explained all
this in terms of network matrix math. Bummer. None of them are
A Moment of Pause
. Compared to this
it's been a cold cold you know.
What we're doing here is gasping
I had to hire heavy equipment to lift my car out of the snow. Today.
More than a week after the double blizzard.
Just to warn you. I'm going to punish you all with a Rolling Stones
post. And a blow-by-blow of how they, and some other bands, have been
intimately bound up in my life.
If I didn't do that, I'd have to show you cute videos of my new
granddaughter, which Mrs. CP won't let me do because
and which I won't do on the general principle that the Stones, V-8s,
motorcycles, boot chains, and all-around hellishness are more
reflective of my life than the
newest girl who likes me better than her parents.
Tuesday, February 16, 2010
critical event occurs 1:44 into the clip.
. At this point nobody in the administration seems to know
why security was so lax at the Veep's undisclosed location, but we
should be used to that by now. Still, it was astonishing to be reminded
just how much damage the man can do when he goes on one of his crazed
media sprees. In just a few days time he managed to infuriate both
Democrats and Republicans by claiming a stable, democratic Iraq as one
of Obama's great
, piss off a majority of New York Democrat politicians
by accusing them of exaggerating
of a KSM trial, increase his boss's exposure on terrorism
by declaring another 9/11 attack unlikely
irritate a huge Dem donor by forgetting the name of his blockbuster
, and insult Blue State Massachussetts (and the military) by
treating their new
like an ignorant schoolboy. That's a lot of constituencies
to rub the wrong way when your president and your party are way
upside-down in the polls.
Appalled as they must be behind closed doors, the Obama White House
will probably try to spin this as part of their new (!?) communication
strategy of not taking any crap from anybody and smacking them upside
the head if they get out of line. But please. The Veep is a lot less
like a SWAT sniper than he is like a suicide bomber, taking out friend
and foe in about equal measure while making a bloody mess of himself in
To focus on just one example, what on earth did he have in mind
starting this particular fight -- and in such a recklessly snotty tone,
say Anthony Hopkins conceived Lecter's voice as a male
version of Katherine Hepburn's. I admit Biden's
different. Maybe an inarticulate male version of Gore
He's got the blind, arrogant egotism down cold, that's for sure.
But the low-class adolescent sneer
sort of ruins the effect.
I mean, when you leave the door open to get taken down as tersely,
factually, and completely as this...
“He’s trying to give me a lesson on
military law, and I didn’t think it was appropriate,” Brown told
POLITICO. “And I thought he was off base when it comes to explaining to
the American people that somehow I need a lesson on whether people get
attorneys — of course they get attorneys. There’s a difference as to
what type of attorney they’re going to get and when they’re going to
get that attorney, and how are they treated, and what rights do they,
in fact, get.”
Brown said he is particularly incensed by Biden’s remarks because he’s
served in the Massachusetts Army National Guard for more than 30 years
and is currently the Guard's top defense attorney in New England.
...people are just going to laugh at you, regardless of their political
Try as I might, I can't think of any rational reason why it helps the
Obama administration to have turned Biden loose in this way. All I can
do is give them a hint, again, on how best to contain this fool and the
unending source of embarrassment he represents:
Mum's the word. A pretty good word, too. When you think about it.
Eduardo Sounds Off.
they really see you.
. Some of you savvy
web wanderers may have noticed this
floating around about Captain America* from Marvel Comics
bashing the Tea Party movement:
In issue number 602 of Captain America, a new story line
called “Two Americas.” In it the current Captain…is on the trail of a
faux Captain America that is mentally deranged and getting chummy with
some white supremacist, anti-government, survivalists types going by
the name of “the Watchdogs.” While investigating this subversive group,
Captain America and his partner The Falcon — a black super hero — have
decided to try and infiltrate the secretive organization.
In preparation for the infiltration, Marvel Comics depicts the two
super heroes out of costume and observing from a rooftop a street
filled with what can only be described as a Tea Party protest. The
scene shows crowds of people in city streets carrying signs that say,
“stop the socialists,” “tea bag libs before they tea bag you,” and “no
to new taxes.” Naturally, the people in these crowds are depicted as
being filled with nothing but white folks.
The black character asks the out of costume Captain, “What the hell is
this?” And follows that with, “looks like some kind of anti-tax
protest.” The Falcon character then snidely tells his partner the
Captain, “So I guess this whole ‘hate the government’ vibe around here
isn’t limited to the Watchdogs.”
The two then discuss their plan to infiltrate the subversive group that
Marvel comics seems to be linking to the Tea Party movement. This
discussion culminates in The Falcon wondering how a black man would do
such a thing. “I don’t exactly see a black man from Harlem fitting in
with a bunch of angry white folks,” he tells the incognito Captain
The Captain tells him, “no it’s perfect… this all fits right into my
plan.” After this we find that the Captain’s plan is to send the black
man into a redneck bar to pretend to be a black man working for the IRS
and to get everyone all mad… because… well, you know that every white
person is a racist that hates black civil servants, right?
Not long after this story made its way around the intertubes, Marvel
owned up to their, uh, “mistake”. Quoth Marvel’s editor in chief:
There was zero discussion to include a group that looked
like a Tea
Party demonstration. Ed [Brubaker] simply wrote in an anti-tax protest
into his story to show one of the moods that currently exists in
America. There was no thought that it represented a particular group…
Where Mr. Houston [sic] is correct is in our accidently [sic] identifying in
one of the held up signs, the group as being a part of the Tea Party
instead of a generic protest group. That’s something that we need to
apologize for and own up to, because it’s just one of those stupid
mistakes that happened through a series of stupid incidents.
There, you see? It’s just one of those innocent, stupid mistakes. Could
have happened to anyone. They just randomly, on a whim, decided that
the plot called for a group of people staging a “generic” protest
against taxes because that’s a current mood in the country. There was
never a single thought in their head that they might actually be
representing a real, high-profile group whose name is derived from a
famous tax protest, and slandering them as racist, white supremacists.
Case closed. No harm, no foul, right? Wrong. As is usual with these
people, it’s all bullshit.
Those precious few that happened to visit the Shuteye Nation Underverse
before its untimely death already know where I’m going with this. For
everyone else, let me show you why this is just another in the long
line of examples of dishonest liberal media bias.
The year is 1991 and the U.S. media is still having
nightmares about the Rodney King beating. Li’l Eduardo, an avid (but
waning) Marvel Comics fan, opens up the latest issue of The Avengers (a
team of super heroes led by Captain America) to see:
as subtle as a sledgehammer to the left temple.
A sober, handcuffed, Hispanic, teenage boy is caught on tape being
mercilessly beaten by white cops. Just like what happened with Rodney
King. This causes a whole lot of people to stage angry protests outside
of police stations (which Captain America and the Falcon are apparently
OK with, come to think of it), but then the unthinkable happens. Evil
white people show up:
Conservatives are incapable of
using racial slurs, kiddies. Just so you know.
Don’t worry, though. The Avenger named Rage sends them packing:
I love how"Constitutional rights" is
in air quotes. What does that mean, exactly?
And a parting Nazi jab for good
To make things even more ridiculous, it's discovered later on in the
story that this small
town hall protesters
white supremacists is not
genuine, but is being astroturfed by
health insurance companies/Big
one malevolent bad guy named
The Hate Monger or something like that who simply enjoys making
people hate each other to the point of violence by using his
mutant power. Hmmmm... sound
Look, the Avengers are supposed to be fighting interdimensional aliens
and teams of super powered villains, not American citizens exercising
their first amendment rights when they disagree with what they’re
saying. This recent issue of Captain America is not the first time this
happened. The comic I’m referencing was published almost twenty
ago. Aside from making me feel old, this perfectly illustrates who
these people are.
They are dishonest cowards. Their real message is so repulsive and
illogical they have to dress it up and disguise it in comic books and
cartoons so they can attempt to indoctrinate kids. When they’re caught,
they apologize without admitting they did anything wrong. They never
admit they did anything wrong, period, whether it’s slander, global
warming, DDT, economics, mass murder, etc. No matter how blatant the
lie or how catastrophic the failure, I still have to put up with people
like Noam Chomsky putting out excrement like this
sick of it. SICK. OF. IT.
The silver lining here is that twenty years ago Marvel was churning out
propaganda like this in every one of their series, from the Punisher to
X-Men to Spider-Man. Trust me, I know. It's why I stopped reading
comics (even though there's not really
any liberal media bias,
Noam). Back then, nobody noticed. A week from Sunday, though, a blogger
made a post about this new issue of Captain America and a few days
later Marvel scrambled to cover its ass and will hopefully be more
reluctant to propagandize in the future. Significant? I think so. You
EDITOR'S NOTE FOR THOSE WHO EITHER DON'T KNOW OR REMEMBER MUCH ABOUT
From the same article Eduardo referenced above:
Marvel Comic’s Captain America is the
mightiest soldier with the super powerful secret soldier formula that
makes him a super man. Sadly, this muscle bound hero that took on the
whole Nazi army during WWII seems to be afraid of those American people
who’ve joined the Tea Party movement. Not only is Cappy quaking in his
little red booties, but he’s sure that the Tea Party folks are
dangerous racists, too.
Isn’t it wonderful that a decades old American comic book hero is now
being used to turn readers against our very political system, being
used to slander folks that are standing up for real American principles
in real life — and one called “Captain America” at that?
Ironically(?), this website has done battle in the past with another
." Somehow it seems to fit right in to this context. And if
you read the Comments, you'll discover that this particular Captain
isn't American so much as, uh, Canadian. Serendicity
The Global Warming
they seem tired out? They're not the only ones.
. Do any of you have any idea how many Global Warming
I've read in the last three days? No. Of course not. Ingrates. I did it
all to find you the best
Which I've done. It's the one
actually enumerates the size and scope of the shatter
so-called "consensus" of "settled science":
It has been tough to keep up with all
the bad news for global warming alarmists. We're on the edge of our
chair, waiting for the next shoe to drop. This has been an Imelda
Marcos kind of season for shoe-dropping about global warming.
At your next dinner party, here are some of the latest talking points
to bring up when someone reminds you that Al Gore and the U.N.
Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change won Nobel prizes for their
work on global warming.
The operative number is nineteen
but interrelated scandals:
6. PachairiGate II
8. SternGate II
12. RussiaGate II
Just from the names we can see that the record of fraud, dissimulation,
and scientific corruption is worldwide. It comprises academic,
political, corporate, and individual malfeasance. It's huge.
Start from the article linked above to initiate your searches. This is
a hoax that has to be hammered into a million pieces. It's not over
yet. Get to work.
I know I've posted this
before. But a commenter suggested I needed to write more explanation
about the problems with Global Warming and the politics that produced a
hoax and why and what to do about it. Truth is, I nailed it the first
time I wrote about it 13 years
. I wrote about it then in the context of a nation that was
flirting with cultural disaster. In the Clinton years. Before the hated
W. Before most of you
on the Internet.
Friday, July 25, 1997
Awakening once again to NPR, I heard crime news -- the serial killer
believed dead in Florida and some new development in the Ira Einhorn
case, possibly an extradition fight. Science was making news this
morning, too. Evolutionary biologists have come up with a neat new
explanation of the Cambrian explosion, which has been a thorn in their
side forever. Apparently, the whole earth flopped over on its side 500
million years ago and somehow made random genetic mutations at the
cellular level happen faster(?) Funny we hadn't heard about this
before. You'd think an earth flop-over would have been discovered by
the guys who know so much about tectonic plates. I also heard an
extended NPR segment on the Greenhouse Effect -- a.k.a. Global Warming
-- which has made the usual invisible transition from hypothesis to
scientific fact. As a result, the president has decided we all need to
worry about this. It sounded like a remedial seminar on the subject had
been conducted at the White House, with the Pres taking on the role of
simple-minded questioner while various scientists played the role of
patronizing know-it-all. I got the impression we're all supposed to be
feeling guilty because we still get in our cars and drive to work.
There must be some evidence in support of Global Warming, but the only one
the mass media like to cite is far from convincing to me. This has to
do with a reported rise in average temperatures of one degree
(Fahrenheit, I think) during the last hundred years. No expert in
climate, I'm willing to concede their argument that one degree has
pretty serious implications. It's how they get to the one degree that
leaves me a little skeptical.
Let's think about this for a minute. What is the 'average' temperature
on earth right now? Yes, I mean at this very moment. One hundred two
degrees, as the thermometers in Arizona might report? Fifty below, as
the ones in Antarctica would claim? Neither, obviously.
It's not as if there's one definitely correct number that represents
the answer to this question. The word 'average' always means that we're
going to perform some calculation. To begin with, the discipline of
mathematics gives us at least three different definitions of what an
'average' is. The 'mean' is the arithmetic average, which we calculate
by adding up all individual instances of something and then dividing
that total by the number of instances. The 'median' is a function of
counting -- we take all individual instances of something, then count
up from the bottom until we reach the halfway point. The 'mode' is the
most common number found in all individual instances -- we gather
together all the instances of something and see which value occurs most
I apologize. I know this is boring, but it's got to be important. The
scientists are talking about the melting of glaciers, the flooding of
thousands of miles of coastline, the forced migration of major
populations, the devastation of our agricultural equilibrium, and
dozens of other effects of their one degree 'average increase.' So
there's a quite valid reason for asking whether they're as certain as
Back to the math. All the definitions of 'average' assume that that
there is some finite number of instances to be used as the basis for
calculation. In the case of temperature on earth, this is not strictly
true. The atmosphere is made of gases, not subject to counting like
dollars or stones. It must be that we can artificially create enough
instances by the act of measuring to eliminate the difference between
gases and stones. How do we do that? Is it sufficient to record the
airport temperature of New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles, add those
temperatures together and divide by three? Probably not. Maybe we need
to add Paris, London, Tokyo, Moscow, Sydney, and Little America in the
Antarctic. Would that do? Again, probably not. That leaves out a lot of
places, and measurements in the city are tricky anyway, because
artificial structures like asphalt paving have a tendency to soak up
additional heat. So we'd better add in a bunch of pure countryside and
farmland -- put some of our thermometers in fields, forests, mountains,
ocean-top oil rigs, deserts, prairies, and plateaus. Still, this
doesn't tell us much about how to weight the number of instances we
measure, so that we balance arctic and Antarctic cold properly against
tropical and temperate zones. And even then, we're taking a lot for
granted -- having read Admiral Byrd's Alone,
I've learned that temperatures vary pretty considerably only a hundred
or so miles apart in the Antarctic.
I suppose we're going to have to concede that whatever number of
instances we record, the 'average' number we arrive at is not
necessarily going to be objectively 'right.' Because no matter how many
thermometers you have out there, say one hundred thousand, you'd get
more accurate data if you put another million in the spaces in between
the hundred thousand, and more accurate data still if you put another
hundred million in between those. It doesn't take a weather wizard to
know that the temperature can be at least a little bit different one
hundred yards from where you're standing now. Which would be the right
number for the location listed under the name of your home town? Is
that in the shade? In the sun? Or somewhere in between. You decide.
Considering all this, it looks as if we're computing some theoretical
average which we must assume bears some definite relationship to the
objectively 'right' number we can't measure. Which is another way of
saying we're sure the amount of our unmeasurable and uncorrectable
error will never change. Everyone happy so far?
But the Global Warming hypothesis depends on far more than our
theoretically correct though 'not right' average temperature on earth
at this moment. The one degree change we're looking for has occurred
over one hundred years. This must mean that our theoretically correct
number is actually determined by the number of instances -- and the
standard of measurement precision -- that was already established in
the year 1897.
Eighteen hundred and ninety seven. William McKinley was President of
the United States. The automobile was a curiosity that frightened the
horses. The continents of the world were connected by steamship travel
and the telegraph. Charles Lindbergh hadn't been born. There weren't
any airports anywhere. The North and South Poles hadn't been discovered
yet. But the worldwide temperature recording system was already in
This means, for example, that the New York City measurement has to be
coming, year after year, not from the state-of-the-art instruments at
LaGuardia, but from a thermometer that's been religiously maintained on
the lefthand tower of the Brooklyn Bridge. I hope nobody accidentally
broke and replaced that thermometer at any point during the last
hundred years, or moved it to the righthand tower, or forgot to record
the readings while they were away on vacation for a month, or ever made
up any readings because they got behind or just didn't care enough
during that ugly divorce in nineteen-ought-seven. Because the one
degree change we're after is less than two percent of the theoretical
average, which is already just a bit flimsy as a computation strategy.
Bad data would ruin everything. Equipment changes, human carelessness,
or changes in measurement location might invalidate the numbers
completely, and that would never do because we're talking
You have to admire the discipline of science. To think that they were
able to assemble all the thermometer readers all over the world in 1897
and train them to be unfailingly accurate and reliable is pretty
impressive. To think that over the whole hundred years, no Tibetan
shepherd ever said, 'oh, about thirty-two degrees,' when -- thanks to
his untreated nearsightedness -- he was inclined to guesstimate a
likely reading for those pesky western meteorologists. Amazing.
But the most astounding thing of all is that this degree of accuracy
has been achieved in a field whose practitioners claim is not an exact
science. Meteorologists who can't tell us for sure if the tornado
they've sighted is going to mow down my hometown or the City of South
Bend, Indiana, are certain they know what the average temperature on
earth will be forty years from now. This is made all the more
miraculous by the statistical concept of standard deviation -- meaning
the amount of normal built-in variability -- which is pretty high when
it comes to temperature. That's why we continue to set record highs and
lows in temperature on individual days in every single year. Christmas
in New York can be as warm as sixty-five degrees Fahrenheit or as cold
as ten below zero. It's this kind of variability that makes it
difficult even to compare seasonal averages. Was last summer five
percent cooler than this summer? In my neck of the woods we had more
cool days last year but hotter hot spells. How should I compare this
year to last year in terms of average. Who the hell knows for sure?
All we do know for sure is that it's one degree hotter in summer, on
average, last summer aside, than summer was, in general, a hundred
years ago. Or is it winter that's getting warmer instead? Like the one
a few years back when the northeastern U.S. got raked by five ice
storms of a severity not seen since they began taking weather
measurements. Which reminds me -- how long has that been? Of course.
About a hundred years. The temperatures on earth have been pertinent to
the Global Warming question since the end of the last ice age about ten
thousand years ago. This means we're depending on data from one percent
of the relevant time period to calculate the standard deviation. And
the standard deviation we come up with has to be so dead-reliable that
it can be used to verify a less-than-two percent change in 'average'
Scientists like thought experiments. I have one I'd like to try on
them. Ask a friend to record the mileage of all (or most) trips he
takes in his automobile during the last week in December. Then
calculate the percentage change in length of trip, up or down, from the
beginning of the week to the end of the week, and use this number to
project the average length of an automobile trip on January second.
Now: would you bet your life that this prediction will be accurate
within one mile? Really?
There's always the possibility, I guess, that scientists are citing the
temperature change 'evidence' to us because we're too stupid to
understand the real evidence. I know they've been busy calculating the
number of tons of carbon dioxide in the air, and they've got their
chemistry down cold -- except, of course, when the number of variables
gets too large. Which is the only reason their projections about how
much impact atmospheric events like volcanic eruptions have on the
earth get a little overstated at times. Or am I wrong about that? Was I
mistaken when I heard the dire prediction that the area surrounding
Mount St. Helen would be a wasteland for decades? But maybe what I'm
wrong about is the extent to which the area has already recovered from
the devastation of the eruption.
You see, not being a scientist, I can't prove anything. My duty is
therefore to shut up and nod vigorously when the scientists talk. And
then to feel ashamed and fearful because I'm not doing anything to
prevent the environmental catastrophe I'm causing by driving to work,
buying a Christmas tree once a year, and exhaling carbon dioxide every
day. I know I should prefer the worldwide depression that would follow
the prudent shutting down of the entire fossil fuel industry and all
the markets and products and jobs that flow from it. I know I should.
One of the scientists at the President's Global Warming Nursery School
said that those of us who don't care about the Greenhouse Effect are
like passengers on a bus bound for disaster: we think there's nothing
to be afraid of as long as the bus is surrounded by fog. Whose fog,
buster? Ours or yours? And does the bus driver have the foggiest idea
where he's taking us? Sorry for asking.
As I said, I'll keep following this story. But it's also time for the
rest of you to do some work I did a long time ago. It's called
thinking. And your thinking is the solution to the problem, all
Back to Archive Index AN
OLD OLD NARRATIVE
. I don't know why I should be surprised. I guess
I'm not. They were rooting all out for Communist China during the
Summer Olympics. Now they're rooting for Canada. Who? NBC. Bob Costas.
Al Michaels, Tom Brokaw. Brian Williams. Chris Collingsworth. And all
the dumb munchkins they've dredged up from every remote and ancient
corner of NBC sports history to bring us their usual mangled coverage
of events they seem to know nothing of and care less about -- except
the vital question of "When, O when, will Canada breaks its storied(?)
curse of never winning a gold medal on Canadian soil?!"
I know it's impolite to break into this hysterical narrative with a few
wet blanket observations. The "storied" curse is about a generation old
(encompassing only two recent Olympics) and I never heard about it. And
I still don't care about it. So what. Canada came in third behind the
U.S. at the last winter Olympics, so it's hardly the case that they weren't
going to win a gold medal
at some point in a venue where their athletes got to practice 20 or
more times as much on courses like, say, the luge, as the (sometimes
unfortunate) foreign competition did. I repeat: So what.
But Bob and Al and Tom and Brian and Chris and the munchkins seemed so
invested in Canadian success that it seemed -- at least to my lying
ears -- they were actually crestfallen when an American chick(shudder
) stole the gold away from
that disappointed, over-pressured Canadian lass on the women's mogul event.
Then, when a Canadian finally won the first gold in the men's moguls,
you'd have thought that it was 1980 all over again and the purely
amateur American kids had just defeated the grimly professional Soviets
to earn the most improbable gold medal in Olympic history. 24 hours
later, they were still
talking about it, exclaiming over it, and hugging themselves with glee.
I concede NBC cut us all a break by not enlisting Keith Olbermann with
all the other has-been and never-were correspondents they're using to
report on the Olympics. But it still feels like he's the producer
behind the scenes. I can't think of any particular reason why we should
respond with tremendous joy when another Canadian
(!) makes it into the
finals against Americans in events like the Snowboard Cross. It's our
sport. If any Canadians are
good at it, it's because they're down here learning from our
jocks, practicing on our
courses, and thriving on our
prize money. I'd much rather
see a final between our guys and the upstart Austrians and French. At
least I can respect their underdog grit. While still hoping for their
abject and humiliating defeat. I'm an American.
You see. (And this is something I've had to explain to Mrs. CP, who was
initially under the impression that NBC is the reporter of record for
the entire world, which it it isn't.) NBC
is the American network covering the Olympics for Americans.
What kind of business model tells them rooting for opponent countries
is good economics? There is no such business model. There is only the
delusion of their damaged educations and social affiliations. They
favor Canada -- uncles and cousins who fled there from Brown and
Dartmouth during the Vietnam War after burning their draft cards?
Anglophile-Europhile yearnings toward the nihilists who thought George
Bush a Hitlerian criminal for defending the west against fanatic
knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men?
) And it doesn't even
occur to them that the potential 300 million-strong television audience
that provides all their (steadily declining) advertising revenue might
be rooting overwhelmingly for American
athletes. NOT Canadians. NOT the sullen northern neighbor who
contributed 500 troops to the entire war on terror and have libelled us
and our last president obscenely while still clinging pitifully to us
whenever something important to them is on the line. Like the life of a
premier who got the operation here he couldn't get at home while all
the superior Canadians were trashing us for noticing that their
socialized healthcare system was killing Canadians faster than
Americans think acceptable for our own wives, children, fathers,
If NBC were truly an American network, there are some calculations they
could perform for us ordinary Americans. They could start keeping track
of how much of, say, the Winter Olympics actually occurs here in the
United States before competition begins in some politically chosen
location. The athletes who train here, the coaches who immigrate here,
the facilities located here, the technology originated and disseminated
from here (seen some Nike swooshes anywhere in Vancouver, folks?), the
dual-citizenship Americans who can't make our teams and so compete for
other nations from their digs in L.A., the foreigners who want to live
here and become overnight Americans in order to jump to the head of the
Hell. Based on pure geography, America wins somewhere between 40 and 60
percent of all
the medals in
the Olympics. Is there any way you would know this from the
internationalist elitists of NBC? No.
They're killing their own business, and soon enough, they'll be
expecting us to bail
them out too
. For our own good.
It's not all about sport. It's also about soul sickness. Please don't
let the contagion infect you too.
Enjoy the events. The best thing I can say is that the nations of the
world continue to produce remarkably attractive and determined
youngsters who are a credit to our much maligned species. They make me
proud to be human.
But I'm still rooting for the Americans.