Archive for the ‘Hot off the presses’ Category

Before you can even begin to be taken seriously when demanding people change their behavior to ‘save the planet’ from climate change, you have to do 4 things:

1. prove the climate actually is changing and doing so in an unnatural fashion.

This means you have to rule out things like the influence of the sun or other cosmic influences, natural phenomenon, long-term cycles, etc.

While there is considerable evidence out there that there are changes in specific environments, localized settings and even regional scale alterations from recorded, past events, changes occur in the climate all the time. Proof of ‘a’ change is not proof of cause and effect.

Arctic ice shelf growth

Disregarding the amount of ‘tinkering’ with the data and political manipulation of the so-called facts, biased sampling and reporting, agenda driven (pseudo) science and other questionable contributions to the climate debate, it is still necessary to not only prove there is a change occurring but it is necessary to draw a direct, undeniable, peer-reviewable, incontrovertible ‘change’ that is not simply one of many changes the earth has and will continue to experience over it’s lifetime.

expanding sea ice

expanding sea ice

Before you can even proceed to the next step, this step has to have been achieved satisfactorily, withstood scrutiny, not been explainable through other means, and so forth. Some would argue this step has been achieved while others say there is considerable evidence that it far from established. But before any other considerations are even relevant, the proof of ‘a change’ that is ‘not natural’ must be achieved.

If and only if such satisfactory proof of such an unprecedented change is occurring, then you still have three more conditions that need to be met before you can suggest any drastic change in behavior.

2.  prove the changes are going to be predominantly ‘bad’.

Even if you ‘can’ and ‘have’ proved a change is happening, it is still necessary to prove that the sum of ‘bad’ things resulting from the changes outweighs the sum of ‘good’ things that may result. In other words, even if you can prove that your particular computer model which predicts an increase in temperature is going to be the first one that is right about such a prediction, you still need to prove that the increase in temperature you are predicting is going to cause more harm than good. Even if you can establish without question that sea levels will rise, you have to also establish that the net result of such a rise is going to cause more problems than it creates opportunities. Even if you can show inevitable changes in weather, you have to also show that such changes in weather will degrade conditions more than they improve them.

If the end result of any alleged change is going to be more positive than negative, suggesting any alteration to that change is absurd. Once again, before you can proceed any further, you must establish the ‘net sum’ as negative before making any suggestions.

3. prove humans are the cause or at least a key cause of the problem.

One of the key premises of ‘climate change’ dating back more than a century through ‘cooling’, ‘warming’, ‘cooling’ and the current on-going ‘warming’ scares, the key factor in all of these environmental discussions  has been the alleged involvement of mankind and the effects of human behavior. If you are suggesting human behavior is a key ’cause’ and that [drastic] changes in human behavior are ‘necessary’ to prevent further problems, then you have to make the case that humans are actually causing the problem or at least making a significant contribution to making it a problem in the first place.

One example is the continued hysteria over CO2. While it is true that you can show empirically that CO2 concentrations in test samples have increased by 100ppm from 300ppm to 400ppm, you have to then establish that this measured increase is one of the key factors in the changes you allege are coming. The reality is that 100ppm stands for one hundred parts per million. For those who are math challenged, that amounts to 0.01% of the atmosphere as a whole. Furthermore, most of the data used to create that number represents air masses around human population and is arrived at through samples taken at ground level. In fact, when you sample further away from population centers, the numbers go down — the further away, the further they drop. Why? Trees! Grasses! Green stuff. Still more, if you take samples higher in the atmosphere, the concentrations are not nearly as high. Why? CO2 is heavier than the bulk of gases in the atmosphere, thus is settles in higher concentrations near ground level. (near all those trees and grasses and green stuffs) But the greenhouse effect requires the entire atmosphere to produce the effects alleged by greenhouse-related AGCC theories.

CO2 levels at different altitudes

Measurements in Colorado — CO2 levels at different altitudes

So the premise of ‘man’ contributing to any alleged problem must be established to support any solution that involves a change in the behavior of man. And once again, this must be established before you proceed any further.

4. prove whatever change you are suggesting will not only help prevent, fix or otherwise solve the ‘bad’ problems in #2 but will not ’cause’ still more bad problems and is better than any alternative approaches.

There was some guy that posted a scare-tactic video labelled melodramatically, “The Most Terrifying Video You’ll Ever See” on YouTube. I regret having to link to it now, but it is essentially a stereotypical pseudo-science, pseudo-logic, purely emotional example of the kind of hype involved in this entire debate. He shows what he alleges to be a ‘logic diagram’ of the potential consequences of action vs inaction against the two scenarios of doing something and doing nothing. Yet his so-called ‘unquestionable logic’ completely disregards the consequences of draconian changes upon the ability of individuals and societies to actually ‘cope’ with the outcomes of either scenario which results from something AND nothing happening.

In other words, given his scenario of doing absolutely nothing, society and life go on as normal. Technology continues to advance, people still go about their lives, science still does its thing. Economies still function without interference, industry continues to grow, inventions continue to be made and brought to market. In short, human progress moves on.

Meanwhile, his premise for ‘doing something’ assumes doing something drastic. Under the drastic scenario, we must assume that certain advances are restricted, people’s lives are regulated, science is limited. Economies are interfered with, industry is put on a short leash, inventions are now gauged by their potential contribution to the global-climate-change before being allowed in the market. In short, human progress is slowed or halted all together.

Under either contrasted scenario of climate change being real or being a bunch of chicken little fear-mongering, the resulting society in the do-something, drastic-change scenario is crippled and working at a reduced, limited, restrained or otherwise hyper-regulated capacity. Innovations are stifled and subject to a central planning filter. Potential solutions are not up to the society as a whole, but up to the green-police. And the means to arrive at those solutions is not enhanced by a robust economy with access to all available resources, but limited by a restricted and hyper-regulated one.

Thus if you have managed to establish the first three points with reasonable certainty, you are still under the requirement of showing that any changes you suggest to fix the problem, actually fix the problem!

So ask yourself…

All of these 4 points are not politically biased (even if some of my intervening comments reflect my own views on the subject). They are basic critical thinking 101. Whether you support AGCC theory or oppose it, the four points by themselves have merit. The requirements of the four points are not extreme and are not unreasonable. So before you pick a side — or if you have taken a side, before you move to act — stop and ask yourself:

“Have these four conditions been met?”

It should be no mystery to anyone that my conclusion is a big, fat NO.

(watch for another post in the future on this subject about water’s role in ‘global cooling’, likely to be called ‘Four More Things on global climate change’)

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When you head in to work tomorrow, take a look around you. Take a look at your fellow workers. Try to imagine for a moment how many of them are content with working there. Is it at least 7 in 10? If you currently work in a non-union workplace and just 1-in-3 of your fellow employees think starting a union is a good idea, they will soon be taking money out of your paycheck whether you join the union or not – and there will be nothing you – or the law – can do to stop them! On the contrary, the law will in fact, protect their right to do it!

The Michigan ballot proposal 2, a proposed amendment to the Michigan state Constitution is dubbed the ‘Protect Our Jobs‘ proposal. But perhaps it should be called the ‘Protect Our Mobs‘ proposal instead. The proposal was essentially started by a number of large union lobbies in response to the growing number of states adopting “Right to Work” legislation. In that many dub ‘Right to Work’ laws as ‘Union Busters’, the unions decided to make a pre-emptive strike by enshrining the right to unionize and collectively bargain in the state’s constitution, essentially forever banning ‘Right to Work’ in Michigan.

Well, that sounds great right? Protecting a worker’s right to organize? But workers already have a right to organize and Right-to-Work legislation cannot take that right away. Right-to-Work simply gives a worker the right to ‘opt-out’ of a union if they do not wish to belong to one. Now some of you more savvy civics students may be aware that due to the Taft-Hartley Act of 1947, workers already have the right to opt-out of unions if they so choose. So what’s the problem?

The problem results from two things. The first being a US Supreme court decision made in the case of Abood vs. the Detroit Board of Education from 1977, and the second a standard set by the National Labor Relations Board.

Mandatory Dues

In the Abood case, the Supreme court ruled that an individual cannot be forced to pay for political costs associated with a union at his workplace if those political funds went to support causes that the employee himself did not support. Great right? But the case also upheld that an employee can be required to pay union dues even if he has no interest in joining the union, lacks a vote in said union, negotiates his contract independent of the union and receives no other benefits from the union. Not so great!

The briefs from Abood cite a number of reasons for the decision from ‘receiving benefits’ of collective bargaining to ‘promoting peaceful labor relations’ and stopping ‘free riders’. But suffice it to say, once unionized, employees who are not members of the union at a company can and are required to pay union dues.

The 30%

Protect Our Mobs

The second issue is just what it takes to establish a union in the first place. If you aren’t part of a union shop now, Proposal 2 passing will only increase the likelihood that you soon will be by making union protections a front page issue and enshrining such organization as part of Michigan Constitutionally protected rights.

So just what does it take to start a union? Well, according to current policies with the National Labor Relations Board, (empowered by the National Labor Relations Act of 1935) “[the perspective union] must file a petition supported by a showing of interest from at least thirty percent of the employees in the group that the union seeks to represent, typically called the bargaining unit.” So, in other words, just 30% of the people working for a given company need to be interested in forming a union. That’s just under one in every three employees. Another way to put this is, that 3 out of every 10 employees of a company can require the other 7 to pay to support their desire to unionize.

Besides the fact this is only an attempt to stifle individual rights by blocking the right of individuals to opt out of union membership and mandatory dues withholding from their paychecks, this is law is also a blatant attempt at establishing ‘group rights’ and empowering large unions. I cannot make the suggestion strongly enough on just how this will kill Michigan jobs and take away individual choice.

Vote No on Proposal 2

Vote No on Protecting Mob-rule!

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If someone has evidence to show how Romney is going to be ‘so much better’ than Obama, please bring it forward. (and because ‘he says so’ is not evidence – I can show you how he says just about anything to garner support)

How is Romney ‘better’?

We can’t say he’ll be better when it comes to national healthcare – he already says he doesn’t intend to get rid of it, he intends to replace it. And Romney said he supports mandates.

We can’t say he’ll end progressive taxation – he’s already said he supports taxing the haves to provide for the have-nots.

We can’t say he won’t be for expanding government, his enacting Romneycare in Massachusetts shows otherwise.

We can’t say he’ll be better at ending cronyism, he’s being funded by many of the same sources as Obama.

We can’t say he’ll be better when it comes to encroaching on rights and liberties…

Romney supports:

Romney is against:

We can’t say he’ll be better when it comes to ending wars. (Romney on Iraq)

So what is he ‘better’ at????

Some have argued that they don’t want to see Obama appointing new justices to the supreme court. Yet when Obamacare came up for a Supreme court challenge, it was Chief Justice Roberts that cast the swing vote in favor of Obamacare – a Bush appointee. One that was endorsed by none other than Mitt Romney.

Ryan as Romney’s VP Choice

Now we are told that Paul Ryan having been chosen for the role of vice president will make all the difference. We are told he is a conservative’s conservative. The media even portrays him as a radical and extremist. But what does Ryan’s record have to show?

Paul Ryan voted for:

  • Tarp
  • the auto bailouts
  • Medicare expansion
  • housing subsidies
  • extending unemployment compensation
  • a national ID card
  • making the Patriot Act permanent
  • the NDAA and surveillance without a warrant
  • No Child Left Behind
  • keeping troops in Iraq indefinitely (and against removing troops from Afghanistan)
  • both the 2008 and 2009 stimulus bills

Ryan’s so called ‘extreme’ budget plan doesn’t even seek to balance the federal budget until the year 2045!

Ahhh, but some say ‘he is a supporter of Rand’ or at least that he mentions the ideas of Ayn Rand and brings them into the forefront of national news. Let’s recall how he last chose to spoke of Ayn Rand:

“I later in life learned about what her philosophy was, it’s called Objectivism. It’s something that I completely disagree with.”- Paul Ryan on Real Clear Politics

The best that objectivists can hope for is that Paul Ryan obtaining the position of vice president will lend validity to his assertion that her ideas are not suitable for government.

So I ask again, R&R is better how? More Rationalization and Recidivist politics?

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I direct this post specifically at those individuals saying they intend to vote for a Romney presidency either primarily to defeat Obama or for those who cannot cite any valid, unequivocal reasons that they have any cause other than an Obama defeat as their primary purpose. This includes those of you that say trite little phrases like ‘a vote for a third party is a vote for Obama‘ or that call people names for considering a third party vote without making any valid arguments other than an alleged Obama win as cause for not doing so.

The Three Imperatives

So let us say for a second that you are right. Or at least that your claim has validity to it. What you are saying carries with it a couple of imperative premises. Imperative, for any unfamiliar with the term, means ‘absolutely necessary or required; unavoidable‘. This means that the claim that a ‘vote for a third party is a vote for Obama’ requires that certain things be true or at least highly likely. There are three specifically that I would like to point out first.

If you are saying that a vote for a third party is a ‘vote for Obama’ than it is not simply an implication, it is an imperative that you think such a vote would otherwise have been a vote of support for the most likely candidate ‘other’ than Obama. In our current two-party system, this means the Republican candidate whom this time around happens to be Mitt. In other words, by making your assertion, you are saying that support for third party candidates (such as Gary Johnson) are going to, or at least more likely going to come from what otherwise would be a likely Republican base. (again, this is not an assumption, it is an imperative based on that claim)

If you can’t cite worthwhile reasons to vote ‘for’ Romney – or worse, you admit fully that your support of Mitt is primarily based upon a desire to ‘defeat Obama’, then there is also an imperative in that line of reasoning. That being, you assume 4 more years of Obama will be very bad, will damage the country, will do harm to the country’s future, etc.  You are in essence saying that anyone who supports ideas similar to yours would be foolish and self-defeating to do anything that might help Obama have more years in office.

Finally, the third imperative in this statement is related to the likelihood of Obama winning. If Obama was perceived by all to be as awful as you claim he is, to be doing as much potential damage as you say, and if the Republican alternative is that much more superior, then people should be voting for Romney by default anyway. The election should be an open-shut Romney landslide.

But to say that third party votes will so damage Romney’s chance of winning that it will ensure an Obama win requires another thing to be true: Romney does not inspire nearly enough enthusiastic support as would be required for a landslide Obama defeat. Or in other words, Obama’s chances to win are pretty good despite your claims that his presidency is so horrible.

A Reasonable and Likely Assumption

Another implication that is not quite to the level of an outright imperative, but which seems to be suggested by the existence of those three imperatives is those supporting Obama are either too stupid to know better (in significant enough numbers to still give him a good chance of victory based on the third imperative above) or, more likely, Obama is a slick politician who is very good at using politics, manipulation, corruption, deception and whatever other means he can utilize to get himself support. And even if your worry is simply that the main stream media’s biases will simply support and promote the democratic candidate to make up for such short comings, the same reasoning below still applies, only to the media machine instead of the Obama campaign staff.

Although I am sure anyone that fits my description in the first paragraph probably considers the former to also apply, any with any integrity will also admit that they think the latter is also something they believe or assert as a truism for our current President. Based on this assumption and corresponding evaluation of Obama as a very slick political opportunist, this brings me to the purpose of this posting.

If Your Assertion is Correct, Watch Obama!

If what you say is in fact true, that a third party vote (for someone like Johnson) is in fact a vote to get Obama re-elected,  then it stands to reason that getting more people to support Johnson (and therefore ‘not’ support Romney by your own reasoning) is in Obama’s own interest.  If in fact it is correct that Obama is an unscrupulous, political opportunist then he and his campaign/handlers will use whatever means he can to improve his chances of being elected. In short, if your assertion is correct, then if Johnson continues polling in states above 10% (such as he recently did in his home state of New Mexico) such as to make him more a more significant alternative than most third party efforts, then it is in the Obama campaign’s best interest to help him get to 15% to get him into the debates so more people will see him and (by your reasoning), more Romney voters will filter off to Johnson.

So, watch Obama. If Gary continues to show increases in the polls, and your assertions hold any validity to them at all, then Obama should start finding ways to get more attention on the Libertarian candidate. If not, then you are as full of crap as your assertion that anything other than a ‘vote for Obama’ is a vote for Obama.

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What is in a word? Apparently a lot of the recent hullabaloo over Rush Limbaugh‘s use of the word ‘slut’ in describing women’s rights activist Sandra Fluke.

Some time ago, I ran into a usage of the word ‘slut’ that I hadn’t previously been aware of. I tried to find the reference, but the Fluke/Limbaugh/contraception story is so out of control at the moment, any searches I try to do on google either bring up that story or a whole slew of pornography. The essence of the usage was akin to that of ‘bitch’. The references I had seen attributed the use of the word ‘slut’ also to that of breeding classes of animals. i.e. on a farm, a female animal considered to be well suited to mothering more animals of the breed was referred to as ‘the slut’ in much the same, non-negative manner that we call a female dog used for breeding ‘the bitch’.

Cow Slut

The etymology of the term is a bit cloudy, it’s origins most likely pointing to a word meaning something akin to ‘mud’ or otherwise un-pure liquid. And it appears it’s usage in application to women of ‘loose sexual morals’ (as defined at wikipedia) goes back about as far as it’s usage when referring to farm breeding stock or dogs – possibly farther. But the term appears to have parallel usage in both aspects going back at least as far as most etymological sources I can find can speak for. It would be my guess that the existence of one usage helps support the usage of the other and vice versa.

So let’s examine the usage of words like ‘slut’ or ‘bitch’ in relation to breeding stock. What would be considered the most desirable traits of an animal you wish to breed. It should have desirable attributes — attributes consistent with what you want from that particular type of animal. If it’s a cow, you might want an ability to produce lots of milk or perhaps to produce the best cuts of meat. For a sheep you might instead prefer an animal capable of producing a thick coat of wool. On a pig you might want the biggest backstrap to make bacon. But all-in-all, it boils down to ‘desirable characteristics’, whatever they may be.

Another big requirement of a slut or bitch, is a lack of resistance to sexual activity. If you are going to be breeding an animal, you aren’t going to want to go through a lot of fuss any time you seek to sire the female. Any good slut would not be resistant to the advances of the animal you bring to ‘stud’ her with or from.

Thus is why I think these two usages support one another. When applied to a female, it applies to a woman who is generally presumed to not be too resistant to having sex with anyone. In essence, to quote an old musical, “she’s just a girl who can’t say no!”

So no everyone is getting offended because ole Rush, a radio talk show host, said something sensational! Isn’t that kind of like getting upset because the sun rises? OH MY GOODNESS, a person who makes their living by being sensational was BEING SENSATIONAL!!! Call out the national guard!  But was what he said really ‘offensive’?  Was what he said, a response to something equally or of greater offensiveness?  Well, why should I say anything, Rush is more than capable of speaking about such things for himself:

Listen to Rush Limbaugh“What is she 30 years old? Thirty years old, a student at Georgetown Law, who admits to having so much sex that she can’t afford it anymore.

And thus, a new welfare entitlement must be created so that society will pay for it. You know, somebody asked me, “Why are you so insulting?” Me? Can anybody understand that a whole lot of us are insulted by this? Here we are, we’re minding our business one day. We’re bothering nobody. We can’t anyway! We can’t inspect your kids’ lunch box. We can’t raise your taxes. We can’t send your kids off to war. We can’t make you buy a certain kind of car. We can’t do anything. And all of a sudden we’re told that people who want to have sex without consequence, sex with no responsibility, and we have pay for it! We’re told we have to pay for it — and if we object, that somehow we’re Neanderthal. Just out of nowhere this comes up.

Now, that, to me, is insulting.

It’s no different than if somebody that I don’t know knocked on my door and said, “You know what? I’m outta money. I can’t afford birth control pills and I’m supposed to have sex with three guys tonight.”

“Well, why are you coming to me?”

“Well, because you’ve got the money.”

“Well, have you ever thought maybe you shouldn’t? If you can’t afford it, you can’t do it.”

Where is it written that all of a sudden, if you want something and don’t have the money for it, somebody else has to pay for it. I think the whole notion of being insulted here is misplaced. There are a lot of us insulted by this whole idea that is growing throughout the Obama administration, that the people who make this country work are somehow not doing their fair share. Not paying their fair share. We’ve gotta be punished even more. And here’s the latest example of it.”

(From Transcript)

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In the aftermath of the Catholic-condom scandal, I think I’ve come upon a clue as to how things work in America. So I have an idea. If you can put sufficient pressure on the government simply because you belong to a religion (in spite of the 1st amendment establishment clause) then perhaps instead of fighting religions we should follow the “if you can’t beat them, join them!” creedo.

It’s about time those of us that seek to understand reality by way of rational and objective observation of fact, find a way to get equal protection under the laws that seem to be becoming more and more inclined to pander to religious pressure.

Since religions always seem to have pretentious, hoity-toity names, thus I bring you….

Independent ManThe Manifest Cognizance of the Evident Percipience

As members of the MCEP, we believe that it is essential to our spiritual wholeness that each man or woman should be held accountable for meeting his or her own responsibilities. Each one of us accumulates a sum of these invisible, non-corporeal things known as ‘concepts’. And among these includes a special sub-sect known as OESWs. (objective evidence of self-worthiness)

These OESWs are essential to the mental condition of humans as spiritual beings. They improve one’s mood and increase motivation, help overcome depression and inspire achievement. A low quantity of OESWs tends to leave individuals susceptible to hoaxes, lies, misrepresentations, frauds and can lead to dependency, drug use, suicide, alcoholism, violent behavior and many other social maladies.

The view of the MCEP is that there is no greater moral sin than to willfully act in a manner or to participate in any action that will lead to a decrease of OESWs in themselves or in other human beings.  Therefore, it is strongly against our conceptual belief system to support, participate or otherwise contribute to any government programs (such as welfare, medicare, medicaid, social security, unemployment programs, foreign aid, minority endowments, social redistribution, public housing, public education, etc.) that will only serve to decrease the quantity of these OESWs in other human beings and therefore do them harm!

(feel free to suggest your own tenets of MCEP in comments)

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I’m surprised no one has been making as much noise with the numbers while the whole occupy thing has been going on. I was busy with doing things on the new job or I would have got to this sooner, but I think it’s about time to take a look at just what that infernal 1% is doing. The OWS folks like to tell us that the rich need to pay more, that they don’t pay their fair share, etc. So what are they actually paying?

Let’s start by looking at the 99% shall we? Wikipedia reports that the median household income in the US in 2009 as we were barely eeking out of the latest recession was right around $50,000/yr. In that same year, those making that much or below were only paying a sum total of about 10% [1] of the total tax burden in this country. This is despite them making up about 59.5% of the total workforce [2].  Those making less than $32,000/yr account for more than 50% of the total population and are only responsible for less 2.25% of all taxes paid.

So who’s carrying the burden? Let’s climb the scales a little higher shall we? The top 10% of wage earners were responsible for paying over 70% of all income taxes paid in the year 2009. (Keep in mind, these numbers are ‘income tax paid’. These numbers do not reflect taxes upon corporate earnings prior to them being paid out as salaries or distributed as dividends to shareholders) This is just ‘income’. But lets go a little higher.

The top 5% carried the weight of  almost 60% (58.66) of all income taxes paid! So 95% of the US working population only paid 41.44% of total taxes paid. And what about that nasty, dirty, rotten, good-for-nothing 1%?

The top 1% of wage earners carried 36.73% of the total national income tax burden in 2009. Those evil rotten bastards!!! I just have to ask the question, if they aren’t paying enough (especially considering this doesn’t account for double-taxation on corporate earnings), how much is too much?

[1] “Who Pays the Income Tax?” – National Tax Payers Union
[2] “Money Income of People” – US Census Bureau

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