Browsing the blog archivesfor the day Saturday, November 10th, 2007.


Sorry We Missed You

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Bush Administration, National Security

If you like Halloween, you’ll love this. Drop a few of these around your right wing neighborhood:

Sorry We Missed You

Much less funny is this video of AT&T whistleblower and former technician Mark Klein explaining how AT&T was copying all internet traffic coming across its cables:

…It affects not only AT&T’s customers, but everybody….and so they’re basically tapping into the entire internet. If they’re doing what they say they want to do – look at international traffic – none of this makes any sense. ….these installations only make sense if they’re doing a huge, massive, domestic dragnet on everybody in the United States. These companies know very well what’s legal and illegal – they’ve been dealing with this for decades…this is why Qwest refused the NSA’s approaches because they weren’t shown any legal justification for it – they did the right thing and said No….

And yet, Feinstein backs legal immunity for telecom firms. Will we hear more of her brilliant “Mukasey is not Gonzales” logic? Perhaps she can arrange for the immunity law to require telecoms to drop a friendly "Sorry we missed you" e-notice into our inboxes.

h/t to Avedon Carol.

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Faith-Based Skepticism

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environment, Europe, science

According to an article in TCS Daily, “climate skepticism” is growing in Europe. Whether that’s true I can’t say, but the article itself is unintentionally, um, revealing.

Climate scepticism has now gained a firm foothold in various European countries.

In Denmark Bjørn Lomborg stands out as the single most important sceptical environmental­ist, defying the political correctness which is such a characteristic feature of his home country, as well as other Nordic countries. But wait! Bjørn Lomborg is not a genuine climate sceptic. Real climate sceptics admire his courage, his scientific rigour and debating skills, but beg to disagree with him on the fundamentals of climate science. Lomborg acknowledges that there is such a thing as man-made global warming, which is quite in line with the mantra of the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change). He ‘only’ challenges the cost benefit relationships of the policy meas­ures, which have been proposed to do something about it. Massive expenditures (often euphemistically called ‘investments’) in exchange for undetectable returns.

In other words, the foremost “skeptical” scientist is not a skeptic.

Real climate sceptics do not accept the man-made global warming hypothesis. They are of the opinion that the human contribution to global warming over the last century or so is at most insignificant.

Real climate skeptics are not skeptical about global climate change. They just plain don’t believe it, Bjørn Lomborg’s “scientific rigour” notwithstanding.

But, of course, they are happy with the arguments advanced by Bjørn Lomborg to bolster their case against climate hysteria.

Of course.

But the AGW (Anthropogenic Global Warming) belief is still overwhelming in Germany. In newspapers and on TV, Stefan Rahmstorf, the German climate Torquemada, — comparable to Al Gore in the US, George Monbiot in the UK and David Suzuki in Canada — are constantly attacking critics of the AGW hypothesis. Contrary to good scientific practice, he lavishly lards his interventions with ad hominem attacks and insinuations that his opponents lack qualifications and/or are being paid by industry.

Comparing Al Gore, George Monbiot and David Suzuki to Torquemada doesn’t qualify as an ad hominem attack?

The author is upset that no one on the Nobel Peace Prize committee is a scientist. But then he says,

Britannia rules the waves. Stewart Dimmock, a Kent lorry driver and school governor, took the government to court for sending copies of Gore’s film to schools. He was backed by a group of campaigners, including Viscount Monckton, a former adviser to Mrs Thatcher. They won a legal victory against ‘An Inconvenient Truth’. Mr Justice Burton ruled that the movie contained at least nine scientific errors and said ministers must send new guidance to teachers before it was screened. ‘That ruling was a fantastic victory,’ said Monckton. ‘What we want to do now is send schools material reflecting an alternative point of view so that pupils can make their own minds up.’ Monckton has also won support from the maker of ‘The Great Global Warming Swindle’. Martin Durkin, managing director of WAG TV, which produced the documentary, said he would be delighted for his film to go to schools. I have become a proselytiser against the so-called consensus on climate change … people can decide for themselves,’ he said.

Notice none of these people are scientists. Double standard, much?

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Don’t Pity the Fool

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environment, science

The notion that global warming is merely a hoax — or, at least, is not being caused by humans — is firmly entrenched among righties. Countless megabytes have been devoted to “exposing” the hoax. Most of their arguments, such as this one, reveal that they understand global climate change about as well as I understand quantum mechanics. Which is pretty much not at all.

Some of the “it’s a hoax” sites are hoaxes themselves, even spoofs. Recently our pal Rush mistook a site spoofing climate change deniers for a serious anti-climate change argument.

Breaking news: “proof” that global warming is entirely a natural event published in a definitive looking (okay, at first glance) site with The Journal of Geoclimatic Studies. (The links are down. Great Beyond has links to the cache material.) According to a ‘research paper’ published on the website, rising levels of CO2 in the atmosphere are coming from CO2 emissions from “saprotrophic eubacteria living in the sediments of the continental shelves fringing the Atlantic and Pacific oceans.” In other words, humanity had no role. Well, this paper began to run the lines of the Climate Denier branch of the Flat Earth Society.

Well, add Rush to the list of Flat Earthers caught, well, caught flat-footed. Yes, “America’s Truth Detector” has such a good nose for fraud that we can expect that Brooklyn Bridge salesmen have had a good time with him.DeSmogBlog has a run of some of those who chose to run with this fantasy. Well, for these Flat Earthers, one problem: none of the authors existed.

The author of the site said in an interview —

Its purpose was to expose the credulity and scientific illiteracy of many of the people who call themselves climate sceptics. While dismissive of the work of the great majority of climate scientists, they will believe almost anything if it lends support to their position. Their approach to climate science is the opposite of scepticism.

Are you surprised at the pick up your coverage has generated?

Not really. Equally ridiculous claims – like those in the paper attached to the “Oregon Petition” or David Bellamy’s dodgy glacier figures – have been widely circulated and taken up by the ‘sceptic’ community. But you can explain this until you are blue in the face. To get people to sit up and listen, you have to demonstrate it. This is what I set out to do.

How quickly did you expect people to realise that your paper was fake?

In the Age of Google, hoaxes can’t last for very long. But it hooked quite a few prominent sceptics before it was exposed. According to the various exposes now circulating online, among others, Rush Limbaugh broadcast it on his programme, James Inhofe’s office posted it on his site [Editor’s note: Sen. Inhofe’s office says it was never posted on his website], Benny Peiser sent it to 2000 people and Ron Bailey wrote it up in glowing terms.

This rightie “it’s a hoax” site also says Michael Savage was taken in.

It gets worse. Last week Rush blasted an Eskimo teenager for speaking out about global warming. Erika Bolstad writes for McClatchy Newspapers:

Charlee Lockwood has never heard of Rush Limbaugh or listened to his radio program, and perhaps it’s just as well.

On Monday, the talk radio king told listeners that Democrats were exploiting the 18-year-old Yupik Eskimo, and that her emotional testimony that day in front of a U.S. House committee on global warming made him “really want to puke. I just want to throw up.”

“It’s the Democrats exploiting a young child, ladies and gentlemen, for the advancement of a political issue that will grow the size of government and increase their control over everyone,” Limbaugh told listeners of the 600 stations nationwide that carry his show.

Lockwood didn’t let Limbaugh’s comments faze her. Her upbringing in the community of St. Michael included learning “about respect and treating people the way you want to be treated,” Lockwood said, during a brief interview just before she got on a plane to return to her village on Alaska’s west coast.

And she had plenty of people willing to defend her.

“For Rush Limbaugh to make fun of young people coming in and trying to be a part of the political process, it really shows a disdain for political discourse and for the role of young people in that political discourse,” said Eben Burnham-Snyder, a spokesman for the chairman of the committee, Rep. Ed Markey, D-Mass.

Limbaugh’s attack on the teenager was “outrageous and grotesque,” said Deborah Williams, an Anchorage environmentalist who accompanied Lockwood on the teen’s first trip to the nation’s capital in 2005. It’s one thing to take aim at a public figure, Williams said, but it’s quite another to attack someone young and eager to participate in the democratic process.

You think Limbaugh gives a bleep for the democratic process?

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