Fear of Clowns

"Faith may be defined briefly as an illogical belief in the occurrence of the improbable."
- H. L. Mencken

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

More on (moron?) Sterling Burnett 

Sterling answered an email query I sent last night in response to his FOX appearance, "[I'm unsure] whether you are saying research has not shown the global temperature is rising or if you're saying man-made CO2 emissions have not contributed to it,"

There is almost universal agreement both that we are in a warming trend and that greenhouse gas emissions have risen substantially as a result of a variety of human activities. What is less clear is the extent to which human greenhouse gas emissions are the dominant or even a significant factor in the present warming trend ... As I tried to make clear on Fox, in a closed system, like a true greenhouse, adding CO2 emissions and trapping solar radiation will necessarily cause a temperature increase -- all other things being held constant.

So Burnett's (paid) opinion is that yes, global temperatures are rising; yes, levels of greenhouse gasses are increasing; yes greenhouse gasses increase the warming effect, but we don't know how much of this is created by man.

I'm left even more confused: Regardless of the reasons global temperatures are rising, all who see this ought to be alarmed. So I'm unsure what Burnett's point is - possibly that yes, temperatures are rising but because we can't attribute X amount to human influence and Y amount to natural phenomenon (which Burnett implies but does not defend) we don't need to worry about it.

More on the defense of William Jefferson 

Jack Cafferty puts it well,

Congresss seems to think it's fine for the NSA to spy on all of us without any kind of warrant whatsoever, but it's not OK for the FBI to conduct a raid on congressman William Jefferson's office - with a warrant - after finding 90 grand in his freezer and after waiting weeks for him to comply with a subpoena to turn over evidence in an ongoing corruption investigation, evidence which he has refused so far to turn over ...

I find it fascinating that the debate is suddenly about whether the FBI can search this guy's office. It's not about the videotape that allegedly shows him taking a $100,000 payoff or his refusal to comply with a subpoena to hand over evidence in an ongoing corruption investigation ...

Prosecutors had already collected overwhelming evidence of Jefferson's criminal behavior; that his possible innocence must be protected is not the issue: it's whether the FBI can get a valid search warrant on congressional offices. An office on the Hill isn't a nether-land where US Code is suspended.

Say Jefferson had been busted for manufacturing and selling meth, a crime much less likely to produce evidence in a congressional office than taking bribes for political favors. There's no difference between searching a congressman's office for supporting evidence of a crime - any crime - be it taking bribes or making speed. Is there?

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Two things to do about Sterling Burnett: laugh at him and go see a movie 

First, laugh at a grown man making a fool of himself for money,

CO2 is not a pollutant, CO2 is a naturally occurring gas and thank god we have it, if we didn't have C02, the plant would be uninhabitable: plants wouldn't live.

You don't say, Sterling! From the An Inconvenient Truth's website, the movie he was pushing back against,

Carbon dioxide and other gases warm the surface of the planet naturally by trapping solar heat in the atmosphere. This is a good thing because it keeps our planet habitable.

Burnett continues from his non-sequiter opening of the clip,

What we're doing is we are adding CO2 to the atmosphere and if it were a closed system, like a greenhouse, then yeah, you would expect temperatures to rise exponentially.

Burnett casts unsupported doubt of the reality that Earth's climate is warming - a position held by exactly zero climate scientists.

Anyway, enough with such foolishness. The second thing for you to do is pledge to see An Inconvenient Truth on its opening weekend.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Republicans throw weight behind corrupt Democrat 

Republicans (R-USA) find the graciousness to reach across party lines to defend William Jefferson (D-LA),

House Speaker L. Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.) expressed alarm at the raid. "The actions of the Justice Department in seeking and executing this warrant raise important Constitutional issues that go well beyond the specifics of this case," Hastert said in a lengthy statement released last night.

"Insofar as I am aware, since the founding of our Republic 219 years ago, the Justice Department has never found it necessary to do what it did Saturday night, crossing this Separation of Powers line, in order to successfully prosecute corruption by Members of Congress," he said. "Nothing I have learned in the last 48 hours leads me to believe that there was any necessity to change the precedent established over those 219 years."

Friday, May 19, 2006

Mission accomplished 

Iraq moving toward boycott of Israel.

Pat vs Pat 

Go read. Takes seven seconds, but you'll think about it for hours and days.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

It's OK if Big Pharma makes Mother Nature's evil substances 

Because industry doesn't make a profit from home gardeners,

WASHINGTON -- Seventeen years after it was withdrawn from U.S. markets, a synthetic version of the active ingredient in marijuana is going back on sale as a prescription treatment for the vomiting and nausea that often accompanies chemotherapy, its manufacturer said Tuesday.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Non denial denials 

None of the telcomms' denials deny that the NSA installed equipment at their facilities and collected whatever information they wanted on their own.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Our Secretary of State certainly doesn't know the ins and outs of Iranian politics 

We're in trouble. Condi yesterday, on Ahmadinejad 's letter,

Well, I won't try to judge the motivations for the letter and I certainly don't know the ins and outs of internal Iranian politics.

Condi yesterday, speaking to someone else,

QUESTION: What is it you're going to be looking for that will lead you to recommend major withdrawals of U.S. troops?

SECRETARY RICE: The President will get his recommendation from his military commanders because they can best assess what the military situation is on the ground.

QUESTION: Well, you just said you advise him on it, though.

SECRETARY RICE: No, I advise him on politics.

So the Secretary of State is a self-admitted amataeur on Iranian politics, yet the self-same Secretary of State is advising the President on Iranian politics. Better bone up quick before the Iranians get the bomb next week.

Friday, May 05, 2006

Hell no, we won't go 

A video of Iraqi forces' discipline.

Thursday, May 04, 2006



Your future! 

Save the Internet puts it,

Companies could pay Internet providers to guarantee their online sales process faster than competitors with lower prices - distorting your choice as a consumer.

Here are several more pithy points on the Communications Opportunity, Promotion and Enhancement Act of 2006.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Himno nacional - La Bandera de Estrellas 

The State Department offers several Spanish translations of the Star Spangled Banner.

I wonder which Spanish version Bush sang on the 2000 campaign trail.

PS. Here's the Star Spangled Banner in French.

PSS. Here it is translated into Japanese and back into English,

Speech of Ohio state, you are by the fact that the shines the lastly,
can look at our hail'd what so inflated due to the light/write where the dawn is quick?
the stripe where someone is wide and the bright star namely thro ' dangerous fight,
were O'er rampart we flowing the watch'd, so the gallantly?
and our flags still the thing rocket which is are red there,
dazzlingly points the bomb which destruction intensity is done
' gave the night to the thro of evidence with the air.
The speech and that star of Ohio state
O'er the freedom of brave and the land of the house it shakes the flag which is inlaid?

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