Watching History Unfold – Now Egypt.

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I have no idea just what is going to become of Tunisia and Egypt. Hopefully it will be better than what they had before. The Old World is crumbling at our feet, and, unlike our fathers before,  our generation gets to watch it happen in real-time.

New Links

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First, a new law blog….  OK. It’s not new, but I just discovered it, so it’s new to me.

Summary Judgments

And also a new Climate Science link.

Climate Etc.

Well, I Bombed This Test!

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You Are 40% Politically Radical

You’ve got a few unusual political ideas, but overall you’re a pretty mainstream person. Chances are that you’re turned off by both the radical right and looney left.

Good Writing Advice.

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On a friends Facebook page, we were reflecting on the poor performance of main stream media concerning most things politics. Sometimes it seems they just don’t try any more. It seems they’re so busy cozying up to the powers that be in order to use them as sources of info, they’re gun shy about asking tough questions, as that may lead to the loss of that source. The press is too afraid to piss anyone off, which is why it ended up being the National Enquirer that had the balls to pursue the John Edwards cheating story, something so obvious from the get-go, when no one else would. They also are prone to pick favorites. Which is why the press was so cozy with John McCain in 2000 when they should have really examined him more thoroughly.

Though journalism wasn’t my official major in college, my major Telecommunications included a great deal of journalism studies. We spent a lot of time on the dangers of the news business becoming a “for profit” industry. I scoffed at some of the negative criticisms at the time, but i later realized most of it was accurate. It hasn’t been a good thing.

This post reminds me of something. The best piece of advice I got from a professor was that, from our life experiences, we are all biased. You can’t escape them, it’s what makes each person’s viewpoint unique. And they are not a bad thing. But, when reporting and writing objectively, you must be aware of those biases and try, as best you can to check them at the door.

Keep in mind, there is a difference between object journalism, and advocating a position. Many bloggers, myself included, write post because something catches our fancy. Andrew Sullivan and Megan McCardle at The Atlantic do it, Dan and Bruce at Gay Patriot do it, Glenn Greenwald does it, and I do too. We reflect on things that hold our interest or stirs our ire. It’s what makes blogging fun.

An “I Told You So” Moment: Climategate Investigations Were A Whitewash.

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The skeptics have been pointing this out for a while, but it’s nice to see a somewhat neutral government body acknowledge the, how shall we say, short-comings of two of the investigations. Here is a list of some of the shortcomings noted by Science and Technology Committee:

  • UEA Vice-Chancellor Professor Acton misled the House of Commons Committee over the nature of the Science Appraisal Panel (paragraph 23).
  • As Graham Stringer MP, a member of the Committee, has pointed out: “The Oxburgh panel did not do as our predecessor committee had been promised, investigate the science, but only looked at the integrity of the researchers… This leaves a question mark against whether CRU science is reliable.”
  • Lord Oxburgh’s Science Appraisal Panel may have not been wholly independent (paragraph 32).
  • The review by Lord Oxburgh lacked rigour and diligence (paragraphs 33; 61).
  • The Inquiries failed to investigate the serious allegation relating to the deletion of e-mails in response to an FOI request (89).
  • None of the inquiries have determined if CRU staff actually contacted the journals they discussed threatening. The alleged threatening of the highly respected journal Geophysical Research Letters, arguably the most important incident in this area, has yet to be examined at all. The committee’s finding in this area is shameful. [I document another threat here]

Let me put it to you this way. What if, in the investigations of the British Petroleum Deep Horizon fiasco, the investigative committees

  • were stacked with personnel who had various ties to BP and Haliburton and other oil industry firms, and had made pro-drilling statements in the past,
  • did not ask whether anyone had followed through with the demands to destroyed company e-mails (very illegal),
  • did not interview a single one of the whistle blowers who were trying to warn of the lax safety procedures on the oil rig,
  • one of the main participants under investigation was able to approve which pieces of evidence were able to be investigated, and those pieces of evidence that were submitted were from oil rigs where there were no problems, where safety protocols were being followed, documents that both sides already agreed did not and would not reveal any issues relating to the oil rig disaster…..

I’m thinking the same groups that are trying to tell us to “move on” would be quite animated that these investigations stunk!

And yet, despite the certainty that ignoring these deficiencies will only leave a cloud over this whole affair and will only continue to hurt the field of climate science as a whole,  there was still enough political pressure from the corrupt green influence in the ranks of the MP’s writing this report to block any further inquiries, mute the language of the conclusions, and effectively “move on”.


Note: Steve McIntyre at Climate Audit has documented the shameful misdirections and evasions of the investigations in real time, which are featured in the post above.  Here is the entire catalog. Just so you don’t think this is a bunch for evil oil-funded / mining industry toadie deniers making the claims concerning the weaknesses in the investigations,  remember too that Climatologist Judith Curry also didn’t have good things to say about the Oxburgh Reports upon its release. Quote:

Criticisms of the Oxburgh report that have been made include:  bias of some of the members including the Chair, not examining the papers that are at the heart of the controversies, lack of consideration of the actual criticisms made by Steve McIntyre and others, and a short report with few specifics that implies a superficial investigation. When I first read the report, I thought I was reading the executive summary and proceeded to look for the details;  well, there weren’t any. And I was concerned that the report explicitly did not address the key issues that had been raised by the skeptics…..

…I recall reading this statement from one of the blogs, which seems especially apt: the fire department receives report of a fire in the kitchen; upon investigating the living room, they declare that there is no fire in the house.

Here’s the response from the website that is supposed to represent the highest integrity of the Climate Science community, Real Climate:

The Oxburgh report on the science done at the CRU has now been published and….. as in the first inquiry, they find no scientific misconduct, no impropriety and no tailoring of the results to a preconceived agenda, though they do suggest more statisticians should have been involved. They have also some choice words to describe the critics.

Carry on…

I can very easily imagine that BP would have issued a similar statement if they received the same kid glove treatment given to the climate science establishment, if they were the beneficiaries of the same whitewash. Very pithy, and unlike McIntyre’s coverage of the Oxburgh fiasco, there are no actual analysis of the details covered in the report (well, with only 5 pages, I guess there aren’t any). Their butts are covered, and that’s the most important thing, isn’t it?