Sunday, November 29, 2009

Paul "String Up The Skeptics" Krugman In Action...

...And he's just as dumb as he always is.

Granted, he's not the only dumb as a box of rocks idiot out there these days. You can always look at Charles Johnson who is so out of his depth it's really sort of sad.

In Charles' world when police bust someone for drugs and the suspect says "But I'm only holding it for a friend" we are to take the suspect at their word and just move on. (Really, he's stupid enough to be making this argument.) So, when all of the raw data for the climate models is "lost" after FOI requests are made of it, AND newly released emails reveal they planned to delete data if it was ever requested in the first place, Charles wants us to think we can simply take the word of these people when they say they didn't alter more than 5% of the data in the first place AND we are to take their word as gospel when they claim to have altered (in their words "improved") the data in a scientifically correct manner. Of course, the whole point of having the raw data is to have independent researchers check to see if the "improvements" are scientifically valid. Without the raw data the work of CRU is unverifiable, untestable, and not reproducible. In other words, it isn't science. If you have a problem with that, Chuck, you might want to check out astrology. It may be more your speed.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Environmental Determinism Makes A Comeback

Really, what passes for "science" these days is hysterical. From the BBC:
Climate 'is a major cause' of conflict in Africa

Climate has been a major driver of armed conflict in Africa, research shows - and future warming is likely to increase the number of deaths from war.

US researchers found that across the continent, conflict was about 50% more likely in unusually warm years.

Writing in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), they suggest strife arises when the food supply is scarce in warm conditions.

Climatic factors have been cited as a reason for several recent conflicts.

Problem is this paper does nothing of the sort. The "Supporting Information" material of the report makes this abundantly clear:

We denote civil war in country i in year t as warit. All
country-year observations with a civil war in progress are coded
as 1s, and other observations are coded as 0s. The PRIO data
extend from 1946 to 2006, but because of the limited temporal
availability of some climate data products (discussed below), and
because the political processes underlying conflict were likely
changing rapidly before 1980 as increasing numbers of African
countries gained independence, we focus our analysis on the
1981–2002 period.

Got that? Only 20 years are looked at in this study. Total. Given that no link between (warning: nonsense term) "climate change" could possibly be established over a mere 20 years worth of data, why was this "study" even written? How could it possibly be published? It would be as if I wrote a paper claiming to be based upon Boyle's Law without ever discussing gas under pressure. It's nonsense pure and simple.

This objection doesn't even take into account the confounding variables rife in any such attempt to subject human behavior to environmental determinism, an idea real scientists tossed in the trash generations ago. Think of all the racist nonsense about the industriousness of cool climate "Nordic races" used to perpetuate the myth of white superiority in previous centuries. Now, compare those beliefs with this study focusing on the propensity of Africans to violence based upon their warm climate.

Really, we are comfortable going there nowadays?

But, hey, I've got a competeing theory. My theory says a warming climate will lessen the potential for conflict. Using North America as my test subject, and a more climatically friendly time period of 200 years, I will divide history into two segments; 1801-1900 & 1901-2000.

Using the "Wars of the World" timeline here are the North American conflicts:

1801-1900 (Cool Period)

1. Mexian War of Independence 1810-23
2. US Occupation of West Florida 1810
3. Tecumseh's War 1811
4. War of 1812
5. Creek War 1813-14
6. Fort Mims Massacre 1813
7. Seven Oaks Massacre 1816
8. First Seminole War 1817-18
9. Vesy's Rebellion 1822
10. Yaqui Uprising: Mexico 1825-27
11. UPCA Civil War 1826-29
12. Mexican Conservative Revolt 1827
13. Mexican-Spanish War 1829
14. Turner's Rebellion 1831
15. Black Hawk's War 1832
16. Indian Stream "War" 1835
17. Murrel's Rebellion 1835
18. Second Seminole War 1835-43
19. Texan Independence War 1835-36
20. Papineau's Rebellion 1837
21. Mackenzie's Rebellion 1837
22. Aroostook War 1838-39
23. Buckshot War 1838
24. Pastry War 1838
25. Comanche-Texan Border War 1840
26. Dorr's Rebellion in Rhode Island 1842
27. Texan "Archive War" 1842
28. Bear Flag Revolt in California 1846
29. Mexican-American War 1846-48
30. Yucatan Caste War 1847-55
31. Whitman Massacre 1847
32. Cayuse War 1848-55
33. Walker's Invasion: Mexico 1853-54
34. Third Seminole War 1855-58
35. Rogue River Wars 1855-6
36. Wakarusa War 1855
37. Yakima War 1855-8
38. Pottawatomie Massacre 1856
39. Spirit Lake Massacre 1857
40. Mountain Meadows Massacre 1857
41. Utah War 1857-8
42. Mexican Reformation War 1858-67
43. Brown's Raid on Harpers Ferry 1859
44. Apache and Navaho War 1860-5
45. American Civil War 1861-65
46. Franco-Mexican War 1862-67
47. Sioux War 1862-64
48. Sand Creek Massacre 1864
49. Saint Albans Raid 1864
50. Sioux War 1865-68
51. Fetterman Massacre 1866
52. Fenian Raiders 1866-70
53. Wagon Box Fight 1867
54. Red River Rebellion 1869-70
55. Blood River Massacre in Montana 1870
56. Camp Grant Massacre 1871
57. Apache War 1871-73
58. Red River Indian War 1874-75
59. Kiowa War 1874
60. Yaqui & Mayan Uprising in Mexico 1875-98
61. Apache War 1876-83
62. Mexican Coup 1876
63. Sioux War 1876-77
64. Cheyenne War 1878
65. Victorio's Apache Raiding 1879
66. Apache War 1885-6
67. Northwest Rebellion in Canada 1885
68. Sioux War 1890-91

1901-2000 (Warm Period)

1. Assassination of McKinley 1901
2. Black Patch War 1904-9
3. Mexican Civil War 1911-1914
4. Mexican Revolt 1914-15
5. Poncho Villa's Raids 1916-17
6. Preparedness Day Bombing in America 1916
7. Mexican Civil War 1920
8. Mexican Catholic Revolt 1927-29
9. "Bonus Marchers" Intervention 1932
10. Mexican Conservative Revolt 1936
11. Internment of Japanese-Americans 1942-45
12. Attack on Blair House 1950
13. Black Panthers in America 1966-73
14. Chiapas Rebellion: Mexico 1994
15. EPR Revolt Mexico 1996

Thus, I'll argue that a warming climate has resulted in a 78% reduction in armed conflicts compared to cooler eras.

See how idiotic it is?

Monday, November 23, 2009

A Free And Independent Press?

Not when it comes to "saving the planet" it seems. Notice this from New York Times science "reporter" Andy Revkin: Private Climate Conversations on Display

A thick file of private emails and unpublished documents generated by an array of climate scientists over 13 years was obtained by a hacker from a British university climate research center and has since spread widely across the Internet starting Thursday afternoon....there’s much more to explore, of course (including several references to me). The documents appear to have been acquired illegally and contain all manner of private information and statements that were never intended for the public eye, so they won’t be posted here.

Oh, the poor dears! Heaven forbid if their little egos get bruised.

Of course, we should expect nothing more from Revkin whom seems to be so chummy with the AGW crowd that he should really be considered a lackey and not a "journalist" at all. For example there is this email from Revkin:

Date: Fri, 30 Nov 2007 11:38:52 -0500
From: Andrew Revkin
Subject: sorry to take your time up, but really do need a scrub of this
singer/christy/etc effort

for moment please do not distribute or discuss.
trying to get a sense of whether singer / christy can get any traction
with this at all.

_*The New York Times / Environment / Dot
Earth Blog

So Revkin needs a "scrub" of a skeptical paper, eh? And whatever this "scrub" is, it can only be provided by the folks at CRU and their good friends.

What is the difference between this and Revkin simply taking marching orders from these people? Probably just semantics.

After all, if this wasn't the case, why should Revkin be concerned if Singer and Christy could "get any traction with this at all"? One would think he was concerned about keeping up plausible deniability or something.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

"Forgive Me Father For I Have Sinned"

Really, some of these exchanges are surreal, like this one from High Priest, uh, I mean "scientist" Michael Mann:

Curt, I can't believe the nonsense you are spouting, and I furthermore cannot imagine why you would be so presumptuous as to entrain me into an exchange with these charlatans. What ib [sic] earth are you thinking? ...You are speaking from ignorance here, and you must further know how your statements are going to be used. You could have sought some feedback from others who would have told you that you are speaking out of your depth on this. By instead simply blurting all of this nonsense out in an email to these sorts charlatans you've done some irreversible damage. shame on you for such irresponsible behavior!

The "Curt" who got so ingloriously bitch-slapped here is Dr. Curt Covey of the Program for Climate Model Diagnosis and Intercomparison at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. Heaven forbid he express a thought before clearing it with the keepers of the sacred word.

Actually it is worse then that. This isn't merely an exchange between two people, but Mann took it upon himself to send a copy of his response to Covey to a host of other people including Jim Hansen and Gavin Schmidt. I guess they also enjoy a good bitch-slap.

And, of course, it helps them all to add another name to the "suspect" list.


In a weird way I'm enjoying going through these things piecemeal, but for those who might want a quick overview of the juicy bits there is a good run down at Bishop Hill. Included are:

Reaction to McIntyre's 2005 paper in GRL. Mann has challenged GRL editor-in-chief over the publication. Mann is concerned about the connections of the paper's editor James Saiers with U Virginia [does he mean Pat Michaels?]. Tom Wigley says that if Saiers is a sceptic they should go through official GRL channels to get him ousted. (1106322460) [Note to readers - Saiers was subsequently ousted]

Later on Mann refers to the leak at GRL being plugged.(

Classy as always.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

My God.

Literally, My God. Here is what I have come across in the CRU email dump. In a "conversation" between Mike Mann and Phil Jones we get the following series of emails:

First up Mann:

Phil--thought I should let you know that its official now that I'll be moving to Penn
State next Fall.

I'll be in the Meteorology Dept. & Earth and Environmental Systems Institute, and planto head up a center for "Earth System History" within the institute. Will keep you updated...

Jones responds:

I presume congratulations are in order - so congrats etc !

Just sent loads of station data to Scott. Make sure he documents everything better this time ! And don't leave stuff lying around on ftp sites - you never know who is trawling them. The two MMs have been after the CRU station data for years. If they ever hear there is a Freedom of Information Act now in the UK, I think I'll delete the file rather than send to anyone. Does your similar act in the US force you to respond to enquiries within 20 days? - our does ! The UK works on precedents, so the first request will test it.

We also have a data protection act, which I will hide behind. Tom Wigley has sent me a worried email when he heard about it - thought people could ask him for his model code. He has retired officially from UEA so he can hide behind that.
[emphasis added]

Mann responds:

Thanks Phil,
Yes, we've learned out lesson about FTP. We're going to be very careful in the future
what gets put there. Scott really screwed up big time when he established that directory so that Tim could access the data.

And these people are supposed to be scientists. They are disgraces.

There is also evidence they have been "gaming" peer review, attempting to ensure papers they do not like are not published, by poisoning the well, or simply making sure papers were sent to "reviewers" who would reject them out of hand. There are suggestions that some of these papers were in fact never even read before they were rejected, though I cannot say for certain.

But, hey, at least Mann cashed in on new career opportunities. Probably got a big pay raise as well. Isn't that swell?


The incestuous nature of these "scientists" using so-called "journalists" as their personal Public Relations officers also comes through here. Note this comment by Mann:

The Passoti piece is remarkably bad for a Science "news" piece [i.e. doesn't say exactly what Mann wants it to say] ,it would be worth discussing this w/ the editor, Donald Kennedy who is quite reasonable, and probably a bit embarrassed by this.

Nice to know who is pliable I guess.

The Crux

Roger Pielke Sr has put his finger on the most damning aspect of the information resulting from the CRU hack, and it came from a comment today made in "defense" of the authors involved.

A comment at "Real Climate" asked:

It would be nice to get comments from the authors for lines like this. This can of course be understood in many ways…

“I can’t see either of these papers being in the next IPCC report. Xxx and I will keep them out somehow – even if we have to redefine what the peer-review literature is”

[Response: Bad papers clutter up assessment reports and if they don't stand up as science, they shouldn't be included....-gavin]

And what counts as a "bad" paper? Why, one that doesn't support the pre-ordained vision of course. The fact that such moral language is used in the first place, and so glibly, should raise red flags everywhere. Are we talking about science here, or some sort of catechism? Notice, what they are talking about doing is redlining peer-reviewed work not as a result of it having been shown deficient by other peer-reviewed work, but through an act of fiat by a self-appointed cabal who prefer reality to be defined by their principles rather than by observation and experimentation.

They are in fact ideologues of the worst variety. They are messianic "true believers" who live in what they view as a dirty corrupted world, filled with enemies they call "skeptics" or, in a more religiously suggestive manner, "deniers." Never fear! Somehow our heroes have managed to gain access to the "answer;" a secret knowledge which will allow them to redeem the world, and to make it the best of all possible worlds. It is this "knowledge" that allows them to take methodologically rigorous scientific work and arbitrarily deem it "bad." But, they only do so because they want to "save the world." It is thier "purity of heart" which automatically makes all of their actions laudable, even if they fly in the face of the demands of rationality, logic and the scientific method.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

I Don't Believe It

I mean that literally. I think this will turn out to be bullshit: Hadley Climate Research Unit has been hacked

Supposedly, someone broke into CRU and swiped a huge amount of files (emails and the like) and dumped them out on the web. Included (so they say) is an email which seems to show open falsifying of data to produce warming that didn't happen.

From: Phil Jones
To: ray bradley ,,
Subject: Diagram for WMO Statement
Date: Tue, 16 Nov 1999 13:31:15 +0000
Cc: k.briffa@xxx.xx.xx,

Dear Ray, Mike and Malcolm,
Once Tim’s got a diagram here we’ll send that either later today or
first thing tomorrow.
I’ve just completed Mike’s Nature trick of adding in the real temps
to each series for the last 20 years (ie from 1981 onwards) amd from
1961 for Keith’s to hide the decline.

I'm sorry, but I don't believe anybody would be this stupid.


Turns out CRU is confirming the hack, and Phil Jones is starting to offer "What I meant to say...."



It looks like Climate Audit is suffering a denial of service attack. I guess the AGW crowd is playing by "The Chicago Way." Of course this is stupid as we have no idea who did the original hack on CRU, and there is no way Steve McIntyre had anything to do with it. Grow up people, or at least stop acting guilty. Adding: CA is available again, but damn slow. No word that a DOS attack actually happened.


Still almost nothing about this in the MSM. The BBC did a quick story that mentioned only the hack itself and none of the information disclosed. Roy Spencer asks a pertinent question:

If the hacked e-mails — with incriminating content — just happened to be Sarah Palin’s, does ANYONE believe that news reports would avoid disclosing the content of those e-mails?

Not me.


Hot Air has a good run down of some of the most salacious bits of this.

Funny how the American MSM have suddenly decided that Global Warming news isn't anything people are interested in. (The lie in that is shown by the fact the IMW is having more visits then any other day this year...and it's only 1PM.)

Stupid Headline Of The Year

Courtesy of Reuters: Northern, western U.S. bracing for warm December

Oh my God! Watch out!! Here comes mild weather!


Oh, the humanity.

A Cause For Second Thoughts?

Here is the story from the Des Moines Register: Folks in Clinton see jobs, not fear

Mention the massive prison across the Mississippi River and you see a lot of smiles in this city.

People here know all about the federal government's tentative plans to transfer alleged terrorists from the military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, to a maximum-security facility a 15-minute drive away in Thomson, Ill.

And they are a bit amused by some media reports that area residents are worried that terrorists will be running loose in the streets.

"I've talked to probably 15 or 20 people about this," said Dick McLane, a retired Clinton business owner. "I haven't heard a single person say they're worried about a terrorist breaking out or about this area becoming a terrorist target."

This is most likely true, and I wouldn't normally have any qualms if I lived in the area, except for one thing.

Here is an aerial picture of the facility.

So, we are proposing to send a bunch of fanatical Islamists, who have just as fanatical Islamist buddies, to a prison which is vaguely Star of David shaped.

What could go wrong?

Health Rationing, Part I

So it begins: Mammogram Recommendations Could Reverse Years of Progress

I'm upset about the controversial decision by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force—an agency appointed by HHS, the federal department at the center of healthcare reform—to recommend that women not begin regular mammograms until age 50, and even then, only every two years.

The breast cancer awareness lobby in the United States has spent years convincing women that we must get checked early and often for breast cancer. It's just what you do: Every year I get my teeth cleaned (twice), I get a Pap smear and a mammogram, and get my cholesterol checked. It's part of being a grownup. It's as if they came out and said that seat belts in cars really aren't necessary anymore, or that it's okay for pregnant women to drink tequila again.

According to the New York Times: "The task force concluded that one cancer death is prevented for every 1,904 women age 40 to 49 who are screened for 10 years, compared with one death for every 1,339 women age 50 to 59, and one death for every 377 women age 60 to 69."

No one wants to be the one woman—the one mom, sister, daughter, or friend—whose death was preventable. Who wants to take that chance?

Well, the Obama administration wants women to take that chance, particularly poor women. After all, Obama and Co. will need all the money they can get to prop up GM (and other losers) for the indefinite future. What are a few thousand poor women worth in the grand scheme of things?

This hits, in a way, pretty close to home. My mother was diagnosed with breast cancer when she was 43 years old, seven years earlier then the Obama administration wants women screened for the disease. Now, to be fair, my mother discovered her tumor through her self breast exam. However, my mother is also a registered nurse, who can be expected to be much more proficient than the average woman in giving self examinations. For many women, having a mammogram is the best, and maybe only, chance they will have to catch the disease early. When you consider that younger women have less chance of surviving breast cancer since the forms they tend to get are more aggressive to begin with, this policy is fraught with negative consequences.

And it is exactly the sort of policy we can expect when government bean counters come between us and our doctors.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Attack Of The Weathermen

The Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society conducted a survey of broadcast meteorologists on arious aspects of climate change (still a stupid term). The results were interesting to say the least.

Statement: "Respond to this IPCC conclusion: 'Most of the warming since 1950 is very likely human-induced.'"

Strongly Agree: 8%
Agree: 16%
Neutral: 25%
Disagree: 24%
Strongly Disagree: 26%

Statement: "Global climate models are reliable in their projections for a warming of the planet."

Strongly Agree: 3%
Agree: 16%
Neutral: 20%
Disagree: 37%
Strongly Disagree: 25%

Statement: "Global climate models are reliable in their projections for precipitation and drought."

Strongly Agree: 1%
Agree: 18%
Neutral: 29%
Disagree: 36%
Strongly Disagree: 16%

Statement: "Global climate models are reliable in their projections for local weather patterns."

Strongly Agree: 0%
Agree: 14%
Neutral: 25%
Disagree: 38%
Strongly Disagree: 24%

Question: "Respond to one TV weathercaster’s quote saying: 'Global warming is a scam.'"

Strongly Agree: 10%
Agree: 19%
Neutral: 26%
Disagree: 23%
Strongly Disagree: 22%

In many ways the last response is the most startling as only 45% of surveyed broadcast meteorologists felt comfortable saying Global Warming isn't an outright scam.

I have to say I see my own opinions mirrored by the majority view of these meteorologists.

Roger Pielke Sr. notes the response of the American Meterological Society has been to commision a "directed" interview survey which, I can already tell you before it has even taken place, will "contradict" the BAMS survey. How do I know that? Well, just look at the invitation:

I write to invite you to participate in a research study. This research is being conducted to understand how TV meteorologists educate their audiences about climate change. If you agree to participate, we will schedule an in-person or telephone interview with you. The interview will take approximately 60 minutes to complete. After the interview, we will ask you to help us access examples of educational materials (or broadcasts) that you have used to educate audiences about climate change.

How is this directed in any way at the 50% of meteorologists who wouldn't have been focusing on AGW as they don't think it is happening? The answer is, it isn't. They will get predominately those who have "examples of educational materials (or broadcasts)" to give the researchers. Why is that? Well, because if you give them such material you also agree to the following:

Because we would like to collect and share examples (on a website we will create) of your efforts to educate audiences about climate change, we are requesting that you participate as an identified participant. We will ask your permission before posting anything you have said, or any educational material materials you have given us, on our website. If you agree to the posting, we will credit you as the source by listing your full name and your current place of employment.

You can just imagine how skeptics will be treated once they can be identified by name and place of employment. This is the reason why we have anonymous polling in the first place, so that people can give their honest opinions without fear of negative consequences.

Oh, you can choose to remain anonymous, only then "...we will not post any materials you give us on our website."

Well, that is one way to get the results you are looking for.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Basic Math Skills

I read this story on California droughts, and came upon the following claim about Arctic sea ice:

"If there is a connection to Arctic sea ice then there are big implications for us in California," Montañez said. Arctic sea ice has declined by about 3 percent a year over the past three decades, and some forecasts predict an ice-free Arctic ocean as soon as 2020.[emphasis added]

I went and looked up the data and this is what I found.

In 1978 there was around 8.2 million square miles of sea ice. Declining at a rate of 3% a year it should have been in the range of 3.3 million square miles in 2008. There was in fact 6 million square miles of sea ice that year, using August minimums. The real yearly decline is then slightly less than 1% a year. At the yearly rate we have seen to this point we should expect around 5.4 million square miles of ice by 2020, and not zero.

Unless, that is, their version of "math" is different from real math.

Monday, November 09, 2009

I'm Glad It's Warm Now...

...because I was already getting tired of the Winter weather in October. NOAA has finally released the October report which confirms this past October as the third coldest on record for the United States. It was colder than average almost everywhere:

Additionally, it is interesting to note this was also the wettest October on record.

Friday, November 06, 2009

The AGW Crowd Is Nuts

Literally loony, as in separated from reality by a large measure. Take the scapegoating of the U.S. in this article:

With the U.S. Congress still unable to agree on climate legislation that would make major reductions in greenhouse gases, European officials said Thursday they have given up on reaching an agreement on a climate treaty in time for the 192-nation conference in Copenhagen, Denmark, next month....

"We are completely dismayed by the shuffling of feet and sliding backward of the developed countries," said Raman Mehta, program manager in India for global anti-poverty agency ActionAid.

Developing countries insist an amended Kyoto Protocol be the central document of a new treaty. The United States wants nothing to do with the protocol. "anti-poverty agency"? What are they doing there one wonders? I thought this was all about the science? Of course it isn't. ActionAid is out there with palms outstretched. It's not science, it's a shakedown. I digress.

There was no sign that developing nations were backing away from their demands for next month's meeting — including that industrial nations pledge to reduce emissions by at least 40 percent of their 1990 levels by 2020. Scientists say at least a 25-40 percent reduction from those levels is required to avert climate catastrophe.

Got it? There will be a catastrophe unless the U.S. also follows along with Kyoto, an agreement that even the countries that signed it have not lived up to for almost twenty years. Here is the data on greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere. See if you can find the Kyoto effect on CO2.

(I'm amazed to see even CFC levels are still higher now then they were in the late 80's when the ozone "crisis" was "raging out of control.")

Here are the CO2 emissions by country/region:

Do you see the EU or Japan being "on target" for a 40% reduction of 1990 levels in these charts?

If you do, you are nuts.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

A New Lost Generation (Or Drunk And Stupid Is No Way To Go Through Life)

Thought to follow: "Give pees a chance" student may face jail

A university student who was photographed urinating over a war memorial was warned on Wednesday that he could be jailed for the "disgusting act."

Philip Laing, 19, was charged by police after the picture, which showed him urinating on a poppy wreath following a drinking session in the center of Sheffield, appeared on a national newspaper's website.

"The image of your urinating over the poppy wreath on the war memorial in this city will make most turn away in disgust, shock and sadness," said District Judge Anthony Browne.

"It has undoubtedly distressed and upset many. The war memorial is a sacred and a special place."

Laing, who appeared in the dock wearing a poppy, pleaded guilty to outraging public decency when he appeared at Sheffield Magistrates' Court.

Browne adjourned sentencing for reports, saying all options including custody, were open, the Press Association reported.

The court heard that Laing, a sports technology student at Sheffield Hallam University, had drunk a bottle of whisky before attending an organized student drinking session organized by a private company, Carnage UK.

"Carnage is the name of the organization who promote this type of activity and some might say that somebody should be standing alongside you this morning," the judge said.

The court was told Laing had no recollection of the events of the night of October 11 until he was contacted by the university press office and shown the photograph which was later published on the Daily Mail website.

Prosecutor Ian Conway said Laing had immediately admitted the offence when arrested and told police he was "very, very drunk, the drunkest I've ever been since I've been at university."

I love the modifier there. ("Your honor, this is the most drunk I've ever been, since that time I burned down Parliament when I was 12.")

In a sense it would be easy to dismiss this as just another moron in a sea of morons, but really it seems as if the moron sea is growing ever larger. It is growing so large it is becoming more difficult to ignore it.

Oh, don't get me wrong, I will never move in the direction of the neo-prohibitionists who are wrong legally, philosophically, historically and ethically in their opposition to both alcohol and free human moral agency. That being said, there is no reason I have to pass by of the utter stupidity and vacuity represented by things like Carnage UK.

What bothers me most is the sheer lack of class and originality shown by young people, particularly in the UK but also here in the States as well. Pub crawls can be good things, but a corporate sponsored crawl? It gives me the screaming heebie jeebies just thinking about it. This is, of course, the same thing that has taken over Spring Break in the US and its lameness is just as complete. It's disheartening when young people need to have organized chaos. It represents the Disneyification of something that has no business in being Disneyfied in the first place. As proof, I offer this from Carnage UK's defense of its activities:

Carnage said it wanted "students to be safe and for Exeter to have the benefit of a boost to its late night economy, at a time of recession..."
Sheesh. Young people with any spark of dignity and self-motivation would reject this kind of boring crap outright with utter disdain and contempt. These young people don't have that kind of spirit.

What has been done to them?

I'm not sure, but it is hard to think anyone will amount to much who was attracted to this sort of thing in the first place. Its herd mentality at its most brutish. It promises little else but a leaving of ones senses, until the hangover hits, and maybe a random coupling or two. How exciting. How original. How compelling...if you are a cow that is.

Welcome to the contentless generation.

There will be more to say about this I'm afraid.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

I'm An Idiot

I can hear the response ("Tell us something we didn't know!"), but I'll relate my own stupidity for your amusement. Last week I injured myself by playing a little too hard with our recently purchased Wii. Actually, I blame the cat. I was playing the baseball game in Wii Sports and I stepped forward while pitching and stepped right on the paw of our cat Sophie as she was wandering by. She let out a loud noise (poor thing) and I hurriedly stepped back rolling over on my right ankle. It hurt like an SOB, and I kept off of it over the weekend.

Well, yesterday after work my ankle felt kinda OK, so I thought "Maybe I'll just bowl a little bit." Bad idea. I played two games when I knew I should have stopped after two frames.

So, now I'm sitting here in my office having just walked back across campus from my last class, and my ankle is throbbing with pain.


Monday, November 02, 2009

This Is Obscene

Where is the Obama "pay czar" when you need him?

College presidents' pay hits new record

The fast-growing group of millionaire private college and university presidents hit a new record in recent years, and it’s likely more college leaders will make seven-figure salaries once the slumping economy rebounds.

A record 23 presidents received more than $1 million in total compensation in fiscal 2008, according to an analysis of the most recently available data published Monday by the Chronicle of Higher Education. A record one in four in the study of 419 colleges’ mandatory IRS filings made at least $500,000.

Topping the list is Shirley Ann Jackson at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, N.Y., whose total compensation the Chronicle pegged at nearly $1.6 million. She was followed by David Sargent at Suffolk University in Boston, who made $1.5 million.

Now, these are private institutions which can do what they want, but it does seem to be difficult to square such extravagance with any supposed educational priorities. The rationales given in the article for these salaries are so weak they would make any any Wall Street fat cat blush if they attempted to offer them in defense.

It may frustrate parents who are paying higher tuition, but experts insist the salaries reflect supply and demand.

“The baby boomers are retiring,” said Ray Cotton, a Washington D.C.-based lawyer and expert on presidential contracts and compensation. “Boards are in a scramble competing against each other for the remaining available talent.”

But the 24-7 nature of the job and the stresses stemming from the recession have made it unappealing to prospective candidates.

“Some people just don’t want anything to do with the job because it keeps them up at night,” said Chronicle editor Jeffrey Selingo. “In order to attract and retain good talent they’re going to have to pay for it. They may take a little break now because of the economy, but these pieces are still in place.”

What a crock. In most cases the "qualifications" involved have nothing to do with achievement or talent based qualities. This is a classic example of "It's not what you know, it's who you know." To attempt to pass these salaries off as resulting from a simple case of "supply and demand" is asinine. They result not from "supply and demand" but from an incestuous amalgam of class privilege and collusion.

It's also called the status quo.

Sunday, November 01, 2009

More On A Honduran Win

The WSJ seems to be looking at matters in a similar fashion to the IMW. (They could do worse, right?) Honduras 1, Hillary 0

The big news in Honduras is that the good guys seem to have won a four-month political standoff over the exile of former President Manuel Zelaya. Current President Roberto Micheletti agreed yesterday to submit Mr. Zelaya's request for reinstatement as president to the Supreme Court and Congress, and in return the U.S. will withdraw its sanctions and recognize next month's presidential elections...

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton trumpeted the result as a diplomatic triumph, but it's more accurate to say that it extricated her and the Obama Administration from the box canyon they entered by throwing in with Mr. Zelaya. Hondurans had deposed Mr. Zelaya on entirely legal grounds for threatening violence and violating the country's constitution in an attempt to run for a second term. The U.S. nonetheless meddled and demanded that Mr. Zelaya be reinstated.

But Hondurans refused to bend, and the State Department apparently decided at last that Honduras was going to go ahead with its election whether the U.S. agreed or not. The Honduran compromise provided Mrs. Clinton with an elegant diplomatic exit.

Washington and the Organization of American States have now promised to send observers and recognize the elections; there will be no amnesty for Mr. Zelaya if he is charged with a crime; and the zelayistas will renounce their plans to call for a constituent assembly to rewrite the constitution. If Mrs. Clinton wants to call this a victory, it is—for Honduras.