Colorado State University moves to ban on concealed weapons

From the Denver Post:

That split is now front and center. The CSU Board of Governors on Friday voted 9-0 to implement a policy that will likely lead to a ban on concealed weapons on the university's campuses.

Student leaders say allowing students with permits to carry weapons means everyone is safer — especially women — despite what other schools have done or what an international study by law enforcement contends.

"I've had many say how it makes women feel safer on campus, knowing they can conceal and carry," said sophomore David Ambrose, a member of the Associated Students of Colorado State University. "It really empowers the powerless."
In fact, it was the ASCSU student senate that voted overwhelmingly this week to oppose any attempt to ban concealed weapons.

Few faculty members, however, support packing concealed weapons, and many are puzzled by the students' stance.

"This was a total culture shock to me when I heard you could carry weapons," said Robert Duffy, chairman of the CSU political science department, who has taught at CSU for eight years. . . .

Fortunately, the University of Colorado at Boulder has banned those ever dangerous Nerf guns, guns that are easily confused with the real ones. The news article absurdly warns: "A sign posted by CU police warns students that any campus sightings of Nerf guns will be treated like real-gun sightings."

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Remarkable emails from Palin's staff

One of they myriad ethics complaints against Palin (the Political calls this one "quite thin"), allows a glimpse at what Palin's staff knew about here views on social issues. Surprisingly to some, despite being quite religious, Palin did not wear her religious views on her sleeve.

I finally got a chance to scan the 200-plus pages of email posted last night as part of a (quite thin) ethics complaint against Palin's staff, all of them emails among her government aides connected to the 2008 presidential campaign.

They're without a huge revelation, but do offer a glimpse at two things: How off-guard and outmatched her operation was by the sudden national scrutiny; and how little familiar they were with the views on social issues that were prominent on the campaign trail.

As I mentioned yesterday, Palin's press secretary was fuzzy on her position on her position on abortion. Another email demonstrates how little part of her public identity was her religion:

"What religion is the gov? Luthern, protestant, catholic, etc?" Palin's chief of staff, Mike Nizich, wrote another aide. . . .


"450 Peer-Reviewed Papers Supporting Skepticism of "Man-Made" Global Warming"

For those interested in a list of some refereed academic papers that are skeptical of global warming see this. There are also links to copies of the papers for those who are interested in reading them.

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The BBC on the computer programming used by the University of East Anglia's Climate Research Unit

John Graham-Cumming strikes as a straight shooter. He both criticizes and defends parts of their programming. Here are the links to the last three posts that he has put up on his blog.

Whoops. There's a third bug in that code.

We should probably feel sorry for Ian 'Harry' Harris at CRU

Reading through the code and then through his HARRY_READ_ME.TXT you can see a man up against something that was slightly outside his ability. I don't mean that in a nasty way; what was needed was a professional programmer and not a professional scientist.

In the midst of the file we find the following plaintive exclamations:
Something is very poorly. It's my programming skills, isn't it.

So, once again I don't understand statistics. Quel surprise, given that
I haven't had any training in stats in my entire life, unless you count
A-level maths.

and.. yup, my awful programming strikes again.

So, good news - but only in the sense that I've found the error.
Bad news in that it's a further confirmation that my abilities are
short of what's required here.

Bugs in the software flash the message 'Something's out there'

The more I look at the software used by the folks at CRU, the more I think: "these guys seriously need to hire a professional programmer." The code is mostly an undocumented, untested tangled mess of little programs. Ugh.

Oh, and it's buggy. . . .

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Voters without health insurance are just as opposed to government health insurance as those who are insured

If government health insurance is being passed to help the uninsured, shouldn't someone ask why the uninsured oppose it? From the new Rasmussen Reports poll:

Only 27% of voters nationwide favor a single-payer health care system where the federal government provides coverage for everyone. That’s down five points from August.
The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 62% are opposed to a single-payer system and another 12% are undecided.
Most Democrats (54%) favor this type of system, though 37% are opposed. Most Republicans (87%) and voters not affiliated with either party (64%) are opposed to the idea.
There is little difference in opinion between those voters who currently have health insurance and those who do not. . . .

Another result shows:

The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 41% of voters nationwide favor the health care reform plan proposed by President Obama and congressional Democrats. Fifty-three percent (53%) are opposed to it. Those figures include 22% who Strongly Favor the plan and 40% who are Strongly Opposed. . . .

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New Fox News piece: What Are Global Warming Supporters Trying to Hide?: Is Climate Gate just the beginning?

My newest piece at Fox News starts this way:

Why are global warming advocates so secretive about their data? So far, the spotlight has been on the University of East Anglia and its refusal to release their surface temperature data, by far the most comprehensive long-term worldwide surface data available, but global warming advocates reassure us that this shouldn’t really concern us because some other data sources reportedly show the same thing. Unfortunately, the problem of secretiveness is hardly limited to the University of East Anglia. . . .

I should have spent some more time in this piece and at least mentioned the third most relied on data in the IPCC report -- the British MET. What is so secret about temperature data? How could any confidentiality agreements possibly be justified on data from 10, 20 or 30 years ago? Here is something from the London Times on that data.

The Met Office plans to re-examine 160 years of temperature data after admitting that public confidence in the science on man-made global warming has been shattered by leaked e-mails.

The new analysis of the data will take three years, meaning that the Met Office will not be able to state with absolute confidence the extent of the warming trend until the end of 2012.

The Met Office database is one of three main sources of temperature data analysis on which the UN’s main climate change science body relies for its assessment that global warming is a serious danger to the world. This assessment is the basis for next week’s climate change talks in Copenhagen aimed at cutting CO2 emissions.

The Government is attempting to stop the Met Office from carrying out the re-examination, arguing that it would be seized upon by climate change sceptics. . . .

The Met Office’s published data showing a warming trend draws heavily on CRU analysis. CRU supplied all the land temperature data to the Met Office, which added this to its own analysis of sea temperature data.

Since the stolen e-mails were published, the chief executive of the Met Office has written to national meteorological offices in 188 countries asking their permission to release the raw data that they collected from their weather stations. . . . .

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Real trouble for Senator Max Baucus: Recommended that his secret girl friend at the time be US Attorney for Montana

Will this scandal impact the health care debate?

Max Baucus, chairman of the powerful Senate Finance Committee, recommended that the White House nominate his girlfriend as a U.S. attorney in Montana, his office announced late Friday night.

Earlier this year, Baucus recommended that the White House consider Melodee Hanes and two other names for the U.S. attorney post – at the same time that the senator was carrying on a romantic relationship with Hanes, who had been his state director. Baucus was separated with his wife at the time when the two began their involvement, according to a source familiar with the situation, and now the two are divorced from their spouses and live together on Capitol Hill.

Baucus’ office contends that Hanes was recommended because of her qualifications – and that the relationship had nothing to do with her nomination to the position or their respective divorces from their spouses.

“While her personal relationship with Senator Baucus should in no way be either a qualifier or a disqualifier for the position, during the nomination process and after much reflection, both Senator Baucus and Ms. Hanes agreed that she should withdraw her name from consideration because they wanted to live together in Washington, DC,” Ty Matsdorf, Baucus’ spokesman, said in a statement. . . .

And despite Baucus’ office contention that nothing was improper about his recommendation, it will almost certainly spark calls for Ethics Committee inquiries given the appearance that Baucus was assisting his girlfriend secure a top spot as a prosecutor in the Obama administration. To combat that criticism, Baucus’ office released Hanes’ lengthy resume Friday night, portraying her as a highly educated and well-versed attorney in prosecutorial issues – as well as detailing a long list of community service activities. . . .

UPDATE: Things look even worse for Baucus.

Jodi Rave, a former reporter for the Missoulian revealed over the weekend that the paper informed Baucus in March that it was poised to publish a story about Hanes’s relationship with the senator and the fact that he had nominated her for the U.S. attorney job.

The next day, Hanes withdrew from consideration. According to the Missoulian, Baucus’s office never acknowledged a relationship between the two, and the paper did not run a story. . . .

Baucus also apparently gave his girl friend a large raise right when he was starting to get romantically involved with her.

Sen. Max Baucus (D-Mont.), chairman of the powerful Senate Finance Committee, gave a nearly $14,000 pay raise to a female staffer in 2008, at the time he was becoming romantically involved with her, and later that year took her on a taxpayer-funded trip to Southeast Asia and the Middle East, though foreign policy was not her specialty. . . .

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Could abortion battle derail health bill?

It looks like the Democrats will be working extra hard to get the votes of the two Republicans from Maine. From the Politico:

In the past week, abortion has flared up as a major impediment to passage of a health care reform bill in the Senate, taking a similar path as it did during the House debate — from obscurity to obstacle in a matter of days.

After months of trying to craft a 60-vote coalition based on the finer points of health care policy, Senate Democrats are growing increasingly worried that abortion will upend what had become a clear path to approving the overhaul bill.

Sen. Ben Nelson (D-Neb.) sparked a fresh round of concern this week when he repeatedly and definitively vowed to filibuster the health care legislation unless it included abortion restrictions as tough as the so-called Stupak amendment in the House bill.

“I don’t ordinarily draw a line in the sand, but I have drawn a line in the sand,” Nelson said Friday.

Nelson certainly has a long history of agitating his party by withholding his vote until he wrings out every last concession from Senate leaders. But on the uncompromising issue of abortion, Democrats fear he may really be serious this time.

“There is a worry that Sen. Nelson means business,” said a senior Senate Democratic aide, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss strategy. “Unlike with public option, there is very little ground liberal Democrats are willing to give on this issue. Abortion, not the public option, may be the cause of our first official defection.” . . .

Fox News had this description:

Democrats are so far apart on their difference that they can't even bring up amendments to deal with them. It's so bad that, just to fill time, they spent most of Friday on nonbinding proposals that state they should be fiscally responsible, measures that would have no binding impact on health care legislation at all.

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Kevin Jennings back in the news

The books that Kevin Jennings thought should be read by 13 year olds is pretty surprising.

Safe Schools Czar Kevin Jennings was the founder, and for many years, Executive Director of an organization called the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN). GLSEN started essentially as Jennings’ personal project and grew to become the culmination of his life’s work. And he was chosen by President Obama to be the nation’s Safe Schools Czar primarily because he had founded and led GLSEN (scroll for bio).

GLSEN’s stated mission is to empower gay youth in the schools and to stop harassment by other students. It encourages the formation of Gay Student Alliances and condemns the use of hateful words. GLSEN also strives to influence the educational curriculum to include materials which the group believes will increase tolerance of gay students and decrease bullying. To that end, GLSEN maintains a recommended reading list of books that it claims “furthers our mission to ensure safe schools for all students.” In other words, these are the books that GLSEN’s directors think all kids should be reading: gay kids should read them to raise their self-esteem, and straight kids should read them in order to become more aware and tolerant and stop bullying gay kids. Through GLSEN’s online ordering system, called “GLSEN BookLink,” featured prominently on their Web site, teachers can buy the books to use as required classroom assignments, or students can buy them to read on their own.

According to GLSEN’s own press releases from the period during which its recommended reading list was developed, the organization’s three areas of focus were creating “educational resources, public policy agenda, [and] student organizing programs”; in other words, the reading list (chief among its “educational resources”) was of prime importance in GLSEN’s efforts to influence the American educational system.

The list is divided into three main categories: books recommended for grades K-6; books recommended for grades 7-12; and books for teachers. (The books on the list span all genres: fiction, nonfiction, memoirs, even poetry.)

Out of curiosity to see exactly what kind of books Kevin Jennings and his organization think American students should be reading in school, our team chose a handful at random from the over 100 titles on GLSEN’s grades 7-12 list, and began reading through.

What we discovered shocked us. We were flabbergasted. Rendered speechless.

We were unprepared for what we encountered. Book after book after book contained stories and anecdotes that weren’t merely X-rated and pornographic, but which featured explicit descriptions of sex acts between pre-schoolers; stories that seemed to promote and recommend child-adult sexual relationships; stories of public masturbation, anal sex in restrooms, affairs between students and teachers, five-year-olds playing sex games, semen flying through the air. One memoir even praised becoming a prostitute as a way to increase one’s self-esteem. Above all, the books seemed to have less to do with promoting tolerance than with an unabashed attempt to indoctrinate students into a hyper-sexualized worldview.

We knew that unless we carefully documented what we were reading, the public would have a hard time accepting it. , , , ,

I am not going to post the passages from the books that Mr. Jennings, Obama's "safe school czar," thinks should be read by 13 year olds, but for those interested the link is here.

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Will Obama's Narcissistic and Mean Personality Wear Thin?

People know how Obama constantly refers to himself in his talks. Mona Charen asks about another characteristic.

Barack Obama is demonstrating bottomless reservoirs of gracelessness. A full 13 months after his election, in the course of justifying the deployment of 30,000 more troops to Afghanistan, President Obama could not spare a word of praise for George W. Bush — not even when recounting the nation's "unified" response to 9/11. To the contrary, throughout his pained recitation of the choices we face in Afghanistan, he adverted at least half a dozen times to the supposed blunders of his predecessor.

It's beginning to sound whiny — and unpresidential. Enough about the terrible mess he inherited. Let's hear a little more about the tremendous honor that has been bestowed on him. Ronald Reagan inherited a worse situation in 1980 — inflation at 13.5 percent; the prime rate at 21 percent; the Soviets in Afghanistan; American hostages in Tehran; communist coups in 10 new countries over the previous decade — but Reagan never impugned his predecessor. As biographer Lou Cannon noted "Reagan ... was generous to Carter in his public statements even though he did not care for him."

George W. Bush showed the same chivalry toward Bill Clinton, declining to breathe a negative word about him — even when sorely tempted by the pardon scandal that further tarnished an already clouded tenure. Even now, despite the unremitting barrage from his successor, Bush keeps silent, true to his tradition of civility toward opponents.

President Obama is so spiteful that he warps history to fit his prejudices. . . .

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Graph on Unemployed, Underemployed

The interactive version of the graph is here. Here is also an article talking about Dems polling numbers.

The report is the work of Democracy Corps, the influential polling organization run by Democraic strategists James Carville and Stanley Greenberg. The two men found voters are nearly beside themselves about unemployment, angry about the deficit, pessimistic about the future, and in a mood to punish Democrats if things don't get better soon. "This is about the economy, and it's not pretty," they write. . . .
The reason is unemployment. When Carville and Greenberg asked respondents to list the one or two most important problems facing the country, 64 percent named jobs -- more than twice the level of concern about the deficit and rising health care costs, which were named by 29 percent each. . . . .

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Democrats are going to micromanage cell phone contracts

Do people really think that there is no competition between the cell phone companies? Even if they believe that to be the case, limiting the amount that cell phone companies can charge for early termination will increase the amount that they charge when people get the telephone to begin with. The long term contracts and termination fees are to compensate the cell phone companies for their subsidies when people purchase the telephone. While higher prices could either be charged up front or to those who break their contracts early, apparently when Americans are given a choice they prefer the later. The WSJ reports:

“Forcing consumers to pay outrageous fees bearing little to no relation to the cost of their handset devices is anti-consumer and anti-competitive,” Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D., Minn.), one of the bill’s sponsors, said in a statement.

“It’s allowing consumers more information and also making sure that the industry isn’t sticking it to consumers,” a spokeswoman for the senator added.

Early-termination fees have attracted criticism from some lawmakers, regulators and consumer groups, who say they’re too high and too complicated. Most of the major wireless carriers, including Verizon Wireless, AT&T and Sprint, have faced disputes related to their fees. . . .



Avatar the movie: I know one movie that I am not going to see

I love Science Fiction and I have put up with some SciFi movies that have a strong environmental theme, but this one sounds just too much in your face environmental ideology:

It is the 22nd century and Earth has run out of its natural resources. It is now little more than a desert, without vegetation, wildlife or minerals.
But a newly discovered planet, Pandora, is a lush, exotic world which possesses everything we need, so a ruthless mining corporation hatches a plan to strip it bare and save the Earth while making billions for themselves.
'To sum it up, it's about ecology and greed,' says Sigourney Weaver, who dyed her hair red to play a botanist in the film. 'It took me a while to grasp what I was getting into, but then I realised no one has ever made a fantasy film like this before.'
Cameron himself is convinced cinema-goers will want to see it at least four times - hopefully quadrupling its box office potential. . . .

The earliest movie reviews have not been very positive, but the producers say that they don't think that the movie reviews will matter.

Some critics say it's a 'horrible film' - overinflated, hard to watch and ridiculous. There are also complaints that the Na'vi just don't work cinematically and that it's all a shade absurd. But Leo Barraclough, of the entertainment industry magazine Variety, says he doesn't think such brickbats will affect its commercial appeal. 'It is one of the most anticipated films of recent years and I don't think it will much matter what the critics say. . . .

Of course, James Cameron took more than a few liberties with history in his movie Titanic to make a leftist point (e.g., have the lowest class passengers being locked into their section of the ship while the boat was sinking).

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"Crashgate" (or "Crashergate") may have been able to occur because Obama administration handled dinner differently than past administrations

Politico: "President Barack Obama says "the system didn't work the way it was supposed to" at last week's White House state dinner . . . "

From the NY Post:

Now Rogers, a friend of President Obama's family for decades and officially in charge of the first family's social lives, is skipping a House Committee on Homeland Security hearing into how reality-TV aspirants Tareq and Michaele Salahi waltzed into the gala.

Unlike at past state dinners, Rogers assigned no White House aides to vet guests before they went through security. Just as unusual, she was named as an invited guest rather than a staffer.
"I never sat down at a state dinner because I was always too busy taking care of what needed to be taken care of," Maria Downs, social secretary during President Gerald Ford's administration, told The Post.
"You are there all through the dinner, mingling with the guests, taking care of their needs, but you weren't a guest." . . .

The Obama administration seems to want to play up the problem with the Secret Service, but once the attention turns to long time Obama friend and social secretary Desiree Rogers, the investigation must stop.

If White House social secretary Desiree Rogers survives this week's withering attacks for her role in last week's state dinner security breach, she'll have gotten by with a lot of help from her friends in the West Wing.

As a House committee opened hearings Thursday on how two uninvited partygoers were able to enter the White House grounds and shake hands with President Barack Obama, top presidential aides delivered a clear message to critics of this favored staffer: Back off.

In a White House not known for its tolerance of staffing errors, Rogers has been the beneficiary of an unprecedented show of support from senior administration officials. A former corporate executive from Chicago, Rogers has known the Obamas for more than a decade and seems blessed with a status that may shield her from the fate of departing White House counsel Greg Craig or Louis Caldera, the Military Office head who was canned for a botched Air Force One photo op. . . .

UPDATE: White House Social Secretary Desirée Rogers regularly let gate crashers into WH events.

When asked what she does with event crashers, Rogers replied (to much laughter), that she's begun adding an extra table, row, or bench to every event she produces, as each time she found extra people would show up in hopes of gaining entrance. "Lots of people just come anyways, they won't take no for an answer," she said. "Finally I just said, 'Alright, come on in, it's no use kicking you out.'" . . .


Abusing IQ tests in death penalty cases?

This seems pretty strange to me that IQ tests done after the person is charged or convicted of a crime should be relied on. There is too much of a possibility of gaming the system. From the New York Times.

A 44-year-man whose lawyers claim he is mentally retarded is scheduled to be executed Thursday evening in Huntsville, Tex., unless the United States Supreme Court agrees to hear his case. . . .

Mr. Woods’s lawyers argue that his intelligence scores are low enough that he should be spared because of the Supreme Court ban in Atkins v. Virginia. But several courts have rejected that claim. . . .

His intelligence was tested twice in grade school, and he received scores of 80 and 78, but defense lawyers argued that those scores should be adjusted downward to account for the age of the tests. As an adult, he was tested just before his trial and scored 70. A second test done in prison in 2002 showed him with an I.Q. of 68. . . .

An IQ of 84 being declared as mentally retarded seems bizarre.

Some state courts in Mississippi, Alabama and Texas have held that inmates with scores as low as 66 are not impaired, while an inmate in California with a score of 84 was declared mentally retarded. . . .

I found this: "The standard deviation used in many tests, including the Weschsler IQ test, is 15." If that is accurate here, that implies that 66.6 percent of the population falls between an IQ of 85 and 115. That means that people just slightly outside the normal range are classified as mentally retarded. The notion that about 16 percent of the population is mentally retarded seems pretty high.


More Problems with NASA's Climate data?

Problems with NASA's data have been uncovered in the past. From the Washington Times:

A U.S. scholar is threatening to sue NASA to compel the release of climate change data, saying he suspects the agency has manipulated research just like a university research center in Britain is accused of doing.

The Washington Times reported Thursday that Christopher Horner, a fellow with the Competitive Enterprise Institute, has given NASA until the end of the year to grant his two-year-old Freedom of Information Act request for research detailing NASA's climate data and explaining why the agency has altered its own figures.

He's referring to calculations that first showed 1998, then 1934, then 1998 and 2006 as the hottest years on record.

The threat comes after leaked e-mails from Britain's University of East Anglia's Climate Research Unit showed scientists appearing to manipulate climate data. The director of the unit has stepped down while an investigation is underway.

Horner said he suspects NASA's information is "highly damaging."

But White House scientists defended the science behind global warming on Capitol Hill Wednesday. A NASA spokesman told the Times the agency is collecting information to respond to Horner's request.

What the original story from the Washington Times is here.

Other data is also not being given out. A discussion by Douglas J. Keenan is available here:

Queen’s University Belfast has data on tree rings that goes back millennia — and in particular, to the Medieval Warm Period. QUB researchers have not analyzed the data, because they lack the expertise to do so.

They also refuse to release the data. The story is scandalous.

I have been trying to obtain the data via the UK Freedom of Information Act since April 2007.

(Nature.com had a brief piece about my FOIA request. The piece has statements from QUB that are dishonest: see my comment posted there. Statements from QUB therefore should be checked. My site has source documents for its claims.)

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"Fellow academics shocked by Climategate"

From the Washington Times:

One of the defenses offered by the media and those caught in Climategate has been that no matter how obvious the e-mails seem, there is a complicated context that means only academics can fully grasp what the e-mails meant. For example, CNN quibbled that, "there's very little context" in the leaked e-mails. We checked into what academics outside the cabal of global-warming advocates have been saying, and their view of the cover-up ranges anywhere from it being "disappointing" to "highly disturbing." Some professional researchers are shocked, while others are not. . . .

The rest of the piece has the interesting quotes from the academics.

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How does the change in the US unemployment rate since January compared to other countries.

The unemployment rates for January and October are available for 21 countries. In this list, the US had the second biggest increase going from 7.6 percent to 10.2 percent (a 2.6 percentage point change). Only one other country, Ireland, had a bigger change, and the average increase for the non-US countries was just 0.8 percentage points. The US increase was slightly more than three times larger than the average for the other countries.

Country / Change in Unemployment rate from January to October
Ireland 3.1
US 2.6
Hungary 2
Denmark 1.8
Czech 1.7
Sweden 1.7
Finland 1.6
Canada 1.4
Netherlands 1.2
Switzerland 1.1
Mexico 1.08
Iceland 1
Japan 1
Australia 0.9
Poland 0.6
South Korea 0.2
German 0.2
Brazil -0.7
Russia -1
Peru -1.2
Venezuela -1.4

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Climategate update

Despite universities beginning to suspend researchers, Congressional Democrats refuse to have a hearing to investigate research fraud and the destruction of documents. Given the amount of government money going to this research and given that the Congress has been debating spending trillions of dollars on Cap & Trade and other regulations, one would think that they have some duty to make sure that this research isn't tainted. The Obama administration was also defending the global warming claims.

In the first Capitol Hill airing of the issue, House Republicans Wednesday read excerpts from at least eight of the e-mails, saying they showed the world needs to re-examine experts' claims that the science on warming is settled. One e-mail from 2003 was by John Holdren, then of Harvard University and now the president's science adviser.

The exploding controversy led Phil Jones to step aside as head of the climate research unit at the University of East Anglia, the source of the e-mail exchanges. The university is investigating the matter. Penn State University also is looking into e-mails by its own researcher, Michael Mann. House Republicans asked for a separate hearing or investigation into the issue, but were rebuffed by Democrats.

"These e-mails show a pattern of suppression, manipulation and secrecy that was inspired by ideology, condescension and profit," said U.S. Rep. James Sensenbrenner, R-Wis. . . . .

The major TV networks are refusing to cover this issue.

ABC didn't cover it. CBS didn't either. And NBC apparently wouldn't go near it.

So the network news broadcasts, by ignoring a growing scandal over evidence of a potential climate cover-up, were scooped by the fake news at Comedy Central.

"The Daily Show with Jon Stewart" produced its "reporting" on Climate-gate Tuesday night, when Stewart quipped, “Poor Al Gore. Global warming completely debunked via the very Internet you invented. Oh, oh, the irony!”

Stewart described leaked e-mails from Britain's University of East Anglia, including one referring to a researcher's "trick" to "hide the decline" in some temperature readings in recent decades.

"It's just scientist-speak for using a standard statistical technique — recalibrating data – in order to trick you," Stewart said sarcastically.

Nearly two weeks since news broke of the e-mail scandal, climate change skeptics have gloated; a leading climate scientist has resigned; at least one U.S. lawmaker has called for an investigation, and countless prominent news outlets have deemed the story worthy of major reporting.

Still, according to a report Wednesday morning by the conservative Media Research Center, "none of the broadcast network weekday morning and evening news shows addressed Climate-Gate or the incriminating Jones development. ... This marked 12 days since the information was first uncovered that they have ignored this global scandal."

The Business & Media Institute had just as much trouble finding the networks' Climate-gate coverage.

"An examination of morning and evening news programs on ABC, CBS and NBC since Nov. 20 yielded zero mentions of the scandal, even in the Nov. 25 reports about Obama going to Copenhagen to discuss the need for emissions reductions," the Institute reported Wednesday. . . .

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Jason Lewis Show from 8 to 9 PM tonight

It should be a great time as always. The show starts in a few minutes.

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"84-year-old man fends off intruder in Ridley Township"

Defensive gun use in Southeastern Pennsylvania

RIDLEY TOWNSHIP — Don Kaighn doesn’t want to be portrayed as a hero or a vigilante.

“I was just protecting myself,” said the 84-year-old, standing next to a dresser mirror that was shattered during what appeared to have been an all-out gunfight in the bedroom of his Franklin Avenue home.

A bullet also pierced a rifle case next to Kaighn’s bed during a violent home invasion Monday night. All around the bedroom and out into the hallway, investigators left behind numbered stickers indicating where bullet holes were found.

Kaighn, a World War II veteran and a longtime member of the National Rifle Association, said he was bruised and had pulled a muscle, but was not seriously injured.

“I got a little too much exercise trying to chase her out of the house,” the octogenarian said, maintaining a sense of humor after his difficult ordeal. . . .

Kaighn fled downstairs and dialed 911. The dispatcher told him to stay on the phone until police arrived.

“When you’re waiting, it seems like hours,” Kaighn said. . . .

Thanks to Gus Cotey for the story.


Academics speak out on Climategate

Some of the media have argued that the controversial emails are too difficult for nonacademics to understand. Well, this article by Fox News has some useful quotes by other academics and they seem to come to the same conclusions as the nonacademics.

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Congress to bail out unions?

Diana Furchtgott-Roth has this post:

No matter that this would increase the federal deficit, putting even more pressure on the American taxpayer and the economy. After the $787 billion "stimulus" plan, the $700 billion Troubled Asset Relief Plan, and the potential $1 trillion health care "reform" plan, what are a few more hundreds of billions of dollars? Who's counting?

Representatives Earl Pomeroy, a North Dakota Democrat, and Patrick Tiberi, an Ohio Republican, have come to the rescue of pension plans with the proposed Preserve Benefits and Jobs Act of 2009. Even though the Pomeroy-Tiberi bill has not yet had a hearing, and has no companion bill in the Senate, the mere introduction of the bill shows how desensitized Congress has become to costly legislation. . . .

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Colorado State University considers banning concealed handguns on campus

I don't know how many times that I can write about this. No problems as expected, but faculty want concealed handguns banned. The question is who will be deterred by the possibility of being expelled from school for violating this rule. From the Coloradoan:

At the prompting of the university's faculty council, President Tony Frank is considering whether to enact a near-ban on concealed carrying in classrooms and other common areas. . . .

CSU has seen no problems with weapons on campus, concealed or otherwise, Bohlander said. He said Frank will make a decision after hearing student opinions. Bohlander said the university has no way to track how many people carry concealed weapons on campus on any given day.

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New Fox News piece: Think 'Climate-Gate' Is Nonevent? Think Again

My new piece starts off this way:

President Obama's climate czar, Carol M. Browner, and White House spokesman Robert Gibbs might think that Climate-gate is a nonevent, but on Monday Pennsylvania State University announced that it was launching an investigation into the academic conduct of Michael Mann, the school's Director of the Earth System Science Center. And Tuesday, Phil Jones, the director of the Climatic Research Unit at Britain's University of East Anglia, announced that he would stand aside as director while his university conducted an investigation.

Dozens of researchers at other institutions could soon face similar investigations. While Dr. Jones has been the center of much of the discussion because the e-mails were obtained from the server at his university, Mann is named in about 270 of the over 1,000 e-mails, many of which detail disturbing and improper academic behavior.

Last week, Mann told USA Today that the controversy over the leaked e-mails was simply a "smear campaign to distract the public from the reality of the problem and the need to confront it head-on in Copenhagen" next week at the climate summit.

Take one of Mann's e-mail exchanges with Jones. In an e-mail entitled "IPCC & FOI" (referring to the United Nation's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and Freedom of Information Act) Jones, head of the Climatic Research Unit of the University of East Anglia, wrote Dr. Mann: "Mike: Can you delete any e-mails you may have had with Keith [Briffa] re [the IPCC's Fourth Assessment Report]? Keith will do likewise. . . . Can you also e-mail Gene and get him to do the same? I don't have his new e-mail address. We will be getting Caspar to do likewise."

Mann acknowledges that he received the e-mail, but . . .

By Wednesday, December 9, this had about 210,000 page hits at Fox News.

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Vote Fraud in Ohio?

From Red State:

Embattled Athens County, Ohio Democratic Chairwoman Susan Gwinn was indicted Monday on two counts of election-related bribery, special prosecutors announced today.

Gwinn, who last month was charged with six felonies for campaign finance crimes and money-laundering, became the subject of a voter fraud investigation after an email from College Democrats Vice President Kellie Galan surfaced in which students were promised a cash bounty for every voter brought to the polls.

“Remember, if you bring a friend from 4th ward they are more then [sic] a friend, they’re 5 bucks!” Galan wrote to fellow College Democrats in the email.

Athens’ 4th Ward featured a hotly contested city council race between College Democrat-endorsed incumbent Christine Fahl and Republican challenger Randy Morris. Fahl defeated Morris by a slim 30 vote margin.

Athens GOP County Chair Pete Couladis demanded an investigation after news of the email broke, telling reporters “maybe the College Democrats received a stimulus check to help get people to vote.” . . .


A million illegals could get health insurance under health care bills

From the Washington Times:

Hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrants could receive health care coverage from their employers under the bills winding their way through Congress, despite President Obama's explicit pledge that illegal immigrants would not benefit.

The House bill mandates, and the Senate bill strongly encourages, businesses to extend health care coverage to all employees. But the bills do not have exemptions to screen out illegal immigrants, who usually obtain jobs by using false identities and are indistinguishable from legal workers.

A rough estimate by the Center for Immigration Studies suggests that the practical effect of the mandates would be that about 1 million illegal immigrants could obtain health insurance coverage through their employers. . . .

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Obama's election has not changed foreigners' view of the US

I haven't looked up the results for the rest of the world, but at least in Muslim countries there hasn't been the predicted effect.

Now those surveys of 2009 bring findings from the world of Islam that confirm that the animus toward America has not been radically changed by the ascendancy of Mr. Obama. In the Palestinian territories, 15% have a favorable view of the U.S. while 82% have an unfavorable view. The Obama speech in Ankara didn't seem to help in Turkey, where the favorables are 14% and those unreconciled, 69%. In Egypt, a country that's reaped nearly 40 years of American aid, things stayed roughly the same: 27% have a favorable view of the U.S. while 70% do not. In Pakistan, a place of great consequence for American power, our standing has deteriorated: The unfavorables rose from 63% in 2008 to 68% this year. . . .

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"Penn State Will Investigate 'Climategate'"

Penn State's student newspaper has this news:

Posted on November 30, 2009 4:59 AM
PSU investigates 'Climategate'
By Laura Nichols
Collegian Staff Writer
Penn State is conducting an inquiry into the controversy surrounding a Penn State professor whose illegally leaked e-mails have sparked an international debate over whether he and his colleagues distorted data on global warming.
The inquiry will determine if further investigation is warranted, a university spokeswoman said Sunday.
On Nov. 21, hundreds of e-mails sent between colleagues at England's University of East Anglia were illegally obtained from a server at the university's climate change research center and posted online. One of the researchers in-volved is Penn State meteorology professor Michael Mann.
The e-mails appeared to indicate that the director of the research unit in question -- Phil Jones -- contacted his colleagues to request they delete certain exchanges.
Skeptics of climate change are calling the ongoing investigation "Climategate" and allege the leaked e-mails suggest the researchers -- including Mann -- had fabricated or manipulated data on global warming. . . .


New Washington Times pieces

My Son Roger's Book Review in the Washington Times

My son's book review of THE PERSECUTION OF SARAH PALIN by Matthew Continetti starts off this way:

Can you imagine Newsweek magazine putting a picture of Bill Clinton in running shorts on its front cover after the release of his memoir? Of course not, but for its Nov. 23 issue, that's exactly what Newsweek did with former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, who just happens to be an attractive woman, pro-life, outdoorsy, a mother of five, and a gut-level conservative.

In the past couple of years, Mrs. Palin has seen her teenage son deployed to Iraq, given birth at age 44 to a child with Down syndrome, learned that her 17-year-old daughter was pregnant, been placed on the Republican presidential ticket, had her personal e-mails hacked into, was straitjacketed by Arizona Sen. John McCain's presidential campaign team, lost an election, returned to Alaska to find it impossible to do her job and spent $500,000 in her own money on legal defense in the aftermath of the presidential campaign. To top it all off, the media have treated her extremely unfairly every step of the way. . . .

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Understanding the Global Warming Debate

From Richard Lindzen's piece in the WSJ:

Claims that climate change is accelerating are bizarre. There is general support for the assertion that GATA has increased about 1.5 degrees Fahrenheit since the middle of the 19th century. The quality of the data is poor, though, and because the changes are small, it is easy to nudge such data a few tenths of a degree in any direction. Several of the emails from the University of East Anglia's Climate Research Unit (CRU) that have caused such a public ruckus dealt with how to do this so as to maximize apparent changes. . . .

The main statement publicized after the last IPCC Scientific Assessment two years ago was that it was likely that most of the warming since 1957 (a point of anomalous cold) was due to man. This claim was based on the weak argument that the current models used by the IPCC couldn't reproduce the warming from about 1978 to 1998 without some forcing, and that the only forcing that they could think of was man. Even this argument assumes that these models adequately deal with natural internal variability—that is, such naturally occurring cycles as El Nino, the Pacific Decadal Oscillation, the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation, etc.

Yet articles from major modeling centers acknowledged that the failure of these models to anticipate the absence of warming for the past dozen years was due to the failure of these models to account for this natural internal variability. Thus even the basis for the weak IPCC argument for anthropogenic climate change was shown to be false. . . . .

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New Fox News piece: Climate Change E-Mails Cry Out for a National Conversation

This is how my new piece starts:

With the Copenhagen climate talks starting next week, climate-gate keeps getting worse. There is no precedent for so many academics engaging in coordinated efforts to distort research for political ends. The problems go well beyond deleting e-mails to prevent their disclosure from a Freedom of Information Act request. The UN claims that “there is ‘virtually no possibility’ of a few scientists” biasing their reports. But it doesn’t just involve a few minor figures: implicated are the most powerful and well placed people in academia -- heads of departments and centers.

The Climatic Research Unit (CRU) of the University of East Anglia, which has been at the center of the scandal, has been incredibly influential in the global warming debate. The CRU collected the world's most extensive surface temperature data set by far and its research and mathematical models formed the basis of the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's 2007 report.

But the CRU’s temperature data and all of the research done with it are now in question. The leaked e-mails show that the scientists at the CRU don’t know how their data was put together. CRU took individual temperature readings at individual stations and averaged the information out to produce temperature readings over larger areas. The problem comes in how they did the averaging. . . .

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Huge majority of Americans are angry at the Federal Government

The Rasmussen Reports has this new survey:

Seventy-one percent (71%) of voters nationwide say they’re at least somewhat angry about the current policies of the federal government. That figure includes 46% who are Very Angry.
The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that only 27% are not angry about the government's policies, including 10% who are Not at All Angry.
Men are angrier than women, and voters over 40 are more angry than those who are younger. A majority of those over 40 are Very Angry. Only 25% of under-30 voters share that view.
The data suggests that the level of anger is growing. The 71% who are angry at federal government policies today is up five percentage points since September.
Even more stunning, the 46% who are Very Angry is up 10 percentage points from September. . . . .

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Senate Health Care bill costs could top $6 Trillion

Suppose that the health care costs don't start until the 10th year. Would people understand that games were being played? Why is this any different?

One gimmick makes the new entitlement spending appear smaller by not opening the spigot until late in the official 10-year budget window (2010–2019). Correcting for that gimmick in the Senate version, Sen. Judd Gregg (R-NH) estimates, “When all this new spending occurs” — i.e., from 2014 through 2023 — “this bill will cost $2.5 trillion over that ten-year period.”

Another gimmick pushes much of the legislation’s costs off the federal budget and onto the private sector by requiring individuals and employers to purchase health insurance. When the bills force somebody to pay $10,000 to the government, the Congressional Budget Office treats that as a tax. When the government then hands that $10,000 to private insurers, the CBO counts that as government spending. But when the bills achieve the exact same outcome by forcing somebody to pay $10,000 directly to a private insurance company, it appears nowhere in the official CBO cost estimates — neither as federal revenues nor federal spending. That’s a sharp departure from how the CBO treated similar mandates in the Clinton health plan. And it hides maybe 60 percent of the legislation’s total costs. When I correct for that gimmick, it brings total costs to roughly $2.5 trillion (i.e., $1 trillion/0.4).

Here’s where things get really ugly. TPMDC’s Brian Beutler calls “the” $2.5-trillion cost estimate a “doozy” of a “hysterical Republican whopper.” Not only is he incorrect, he doesn’t seem to realize that Gregg and I are correcting for different budget gimmicks; it’s just a coincidence that we happened to reach the same number.

When we correct for both gimmicks, counting both on- and off-budget costs over the first 10 years of implementation, the total cost of ObamaCare reaches — I’m so sorry about this — $6.25 trillion. That’s not a precise estimate. It’s just far closer to the truth than President Obama and congressional Democrats want the debate to be. . . .


No one mentioned the public option during last year's presidential campaign

Where does the mandate for a public option come from?



Tom Wigley's email, more problems at the National Center for Atmospheric Research

This is a very strange email:

The e-mails written by Wigley that have caused the most Internet buzz include a note to Phil Jones, director of the British Climatic Research Unit. That note discusses how to reduce a "warming blip" in sea-surface and land temperature data during the 1940s. Wigley suggests, "If we could reduce the ocean blip by, say, 0.15 degC, then this would be significant for the global mean -- but we'd still have to explain the land blip." . . .

The explanation?

Wigley said Tuesday night that the e-mail reference to reducing the blip was really just "short hand" for using a type of correction outlined in another peer-reviewed paper published in Nature in 2008. . . .

The problem that I have with this explanation is that Wigley says: "If we could reduce the ocean blip by, say, 0.15 degC, then this would be significant for the global mean." The reason why it is problematic is that it is so goal orientated. Scientists only talk this way if they are trying to figure out how to get a particular result.

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The London Times: "Climate change data dumped"

From the London Times:

SCIENTISTS at the University of East Anglia (UEA) have admitted throwing away much of the raw temperature data on which their predictions of global warming are based.

It means that other academics are not able to check basic calculations said to show a long-term rise in temperature over the past 150 years.

The UEA’s Climatic Research Unit (CRU) was forced to reveal the loss following requests for the data under Freedom of Information legislation.

The data were gathered from weather stations around the world and then adjusted to take account of variables in the way they were collected. The revised figures were kept, but the originals — stored on paper and magnetic tape — were dumped to save space when the CRU moved to a new building. . . .

In a statement on its website, the CRU said: “We do not hold the original raw data but only the value-added (quality controlled and homogenised) data.”

The CRU is the world’s leading centre for reconstructing past climate and temperatures. Climate change sceptics have long been keen to examine exactly how its data were compiled. That is now impossible. . . . .

Remember this now:

Other revelations hit at the very core of the global-warming debate. The leaked e-mails indicate that the people at the CRU can't even figure out how their aggregate data was put together. CRU activists claimed that they took individual temperature readings at individual stations and averaged the information out to produce temperature readings over larger areas. One of the leaked documents states that their aggregation procedure "renders the station counts totally meaningless." The benefit: "So, we can have a proper result, but only by including a load of garbage!" . . .

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How Larry Summers really badly botched Harvard's finances

From the Boston Globe:

Through the first half of this decade, Meyer repeatedly warned Summers and other Harvard officials that the school was being too aggressive with billions of dollars in cash, according to people present for the discussions, investing almost all of it with the endowment’s risky mix of stocks, bonds, hedge funds, and private equity. Meyer’s successor, Mohamed El-Erian, would later sound the same warnings to Summers, and to Harvard financial staff and board members.

“Mohamed was having a heart attack,’’ said one former financial executive, who spoke on the condition of anonymity for fear of angering Harvard and Summers. He considered the cash investment a “doubling up’’ of the university’s investment risk.

But the warnings fell on deaf ears, under Summers’s regime and beyond. And when the market crashed in the fall of 2008, Harvard would pay dearly, as $1.8 billion in cash simply vanished. Indeed, it is still paying, in the form of tighter budgets, deferred expansion plans, and big interest payments on bonds issued to cover the losses. . . .

In the Summers years, from 2001 to 2006, nothing was on auto-pilot. He was the unquestioned commander, a dominating personality with the talent to move a balkanized institution like Harvard, but also a man unafflicted, former colleagues say, with self-doubt in matters of finance.

Certainly, when it came to handling Harvard’s cash account, the former US Treasury secretary had no doubts. Widely considered one of the most brilliant economists of his generation, Summers pushed to invest 100 percent of Harvard’s cash with the endowment and had to be argued down to 80 percent, financial executives say. The cash account grew to $5.1 billion during his tenure, more than the entire endowment of all but a dozen or so colleges and universities.

Summers, now head of President Obama’s economic team, declined to be quoted on his handling of Harvard finances. A friend of his who is familiar with Harvard finances said Summers was warning of growing risks in the global markets by 2007, at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. The friend, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of Summers’s current position, said, “In the years after Summers left, market conditions and Harvard’s liquidity changed dramatically. The university’s financial strategies could have and should have changed with them.’’ . . .