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Archive for December 9th, 2009

The Life and Times of Mrs. Leo Tolstoy

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on December 9th, 2009 5:46 am by HL

The Life and Times of Mrs. Leo Tolstoy
Turns out that being married to Russian literary giant Leo Tolstoy wasn’t always a recipe for a good time. Sure, there was the excitement of helping him realize his loftiest artistic ambitions, but Sofia Tolstoy, wife of 48 years and mother of the author’s 13 children, eventually discovered that she would lose her husband to his religious convictions before losing him for good. READ THE WHOLE ITEM

Sofia Tolstoy

Turns out that being married to Russian literary giant Leo Tolstoy wasn’t always a recipe for a good time. Sure, there was the excitement of helping him realize his loftiest artistic ambitions, but Sofia Tolstoy, wife of 48 years and mother of the author’s 13 children, eventually discovered that she would lose her husband to his religious convictions before losing him for good.

READ THE WHOLE ITEM

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ACLU Loses $20 Million Donor, Said To Be David Gelbaum

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on December 9th, 2009 5:45 am by HL

ACLU Loses $20 Million Donor, Said To Be David Gelbaum
A longtime anonymous donor to the American Civil Liberties Union has withdrawn his annual gift of more than $20 million, punching a 25 percent hole…

Jeanne Devon (“AKMuckraker”): Millionaire Palin Still Begging Money from the Public – New Ethics Complaint Filed
Those of you playing at home and counting ethics complaints filed against Sarah Palin on your fingers and toes are about to run out….

Cheney: Trying Khalid Sheikh Mohammed In NYC Could Make Him ‘More Important Than Osama bin Laden’
NEW YORK — Former Vice President Dick Cheney says trying suspected Sept. 11 terrorist Khalid Sheikh Mohammed (HAH’-leed shayk moh-HAH’-med) in New York City will…

Stanley Kutler: Financial Oversight: There Is No Change (Again)
President Obama and his advisers now have had more than a year since the election to devise programs needed to prevent another financial meltdown. The buccaneers of the financial community simply remain free to restore the disaster from which they were rescued with taxpayers’ money.


Right wing smears scientific consensus on global warming as a “cult”

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on December 9th, 2009 5:44 am by HL

Right wing smears scientific consensus on global warming as a “cult”

Following the release of reportedly stolen emails from the Climate Research Unit (CRU) at the University of East Anglia, numerous right-wing media figures have attempted to undermine the case for action against global climate change by comparing the scientific consensus that human activity is driving global warming to a “cult.” However, as the Union of Concerned Scientists has stated, the scientific understanding of climate change is “based on the work of thousands of scientists from hundreds of research institutions” and “[t]he e-mails provide no information that would affect” this understanding.

Right-wing media converge on talking point that climate change science is a false religion

 Wash. Times: “Belief in global warming” is “a form of cultism.”  The Washington Times asserted in a December 4 editorial: “Belief in global warming had long had a tinge of theology about it, a form of cultism that adherents and defenders elevated to a holy crusade.” The editorial further stated, “The veil has been pierced, the myth revealed, the scales have fallen from the people’s eyes. The pagan priests are fleeing the temple, their sacred idols are being pulled down, their holy works renounced. Their god, finally, is dead.”

Malkin: “[C]limate change cult” enabled by mainstream media. Conservative blogger and Fox News contributor Michelle Malkin stated during the December 3 edition of Fox & Friends, “[M]ost of the mainstream media have been the official enablers of the climate change cult.” Malkin further stated that Energy Secretary Steven Chu “compared Americans who challenged a lot of this cult mentality about global warming and climate change to unruly teenagers.”

IBD: Global warming science “has taken on all the trappings of a cult.” Investor’s Business Daily stated in a December 2 editorial that “[w]hat has been passed off as climate science has taken on all the trappings of a cult.” The editorial also asserted, “As the high priests of what Czech President Vaclav Klaus has called a ‘religion’ prepare their pilgrimage to worship the earth goddess Gaia in Copenhagen, complete with humanity being sacrificed, the heresy of climate truth is finally being heard.”

Coulter: “The global warming cultists want us all dead.” Ann Coulter wrote on December 2 that the CRU scientists are “cult members” who “plotted to get editors ousted and the publications discredited.” Coulter added that, “Until now, the global warming cult’s sole argument has been to demand that everyone shut up in response to the ‘scientific consensus’ that human activity was causing global warming.” Coulter further wrote:

Even if the Earth were warming — which apparently it is not — the idea that humans using energy-efficient lightbulbs would alter the temperature of the globe is approximately as plausible as the Aztecs’ belief that they were required to wrench the beating heart out of living, breathing humans in order to keep the sun on its path.

Sadly, the “human sacrifice deniers” lost the argument to Aztec CRU scientists, who explained that there was a “scientific consensus” on the benefits of ritual murder.

But at least the Aztecs only slaughtered tens of thousands of humans in the name of “climate change.” The global warming cultists want us all dead.

AmSpecBlog: “[T]he cultist genuflect reverently before their idol, Science.” In a November 28 post on the American Spectator blog titled, “The Temple Cult of Scientism,” Robert Stacy McCain wrote, “The High Priests perform their statistical rituals and the cultists genuflect reverently before their idol, Science. And it’s all very impressive until the truth is discovered.”

Andrea Peyser: “[T]he scientific and political left …. treat global warming as a cult.” In a November 30 column titled “Climate-cult con is hard to ‘bear,'” Andrea Peyser wrote, “The international ‘Climategate’ scandal is now moving into its third week. And reaction from folks on the scientific and political left — or is that redundant? — who treat global warming as a cult in which naysayers must be crushed has been depressing: Total denial.”

Lowry: “Church of Warmism” is a “doomsday cult.” In a December 8 New York Post column, “Global warming’s doomsday prophets,” Rich Lowry wrote:

The phrase “doomsday cult” entered our collective vocabulary after John Lofland published his 1966 study, “Doomsday Cult: A Study of Conversion, Proselytization, and Maintenance of Faith.” Lofland wrote about the Unification Church. His subject could almost as easily have been the Church of Warmism.

Its college of cardinals has gathered in Copenhagen amid professions of an imminent global apocalypse that allow no room for doubt or deviation. “The clock has ticked down to zero,” declared UN climate chief Yvo de Boer. Yes, the end is nigh — just as surely as when the Millerites gathered on Oct. 22, 1844, to witness the Second Coming, only to comfort themselves at the end of the night, “Well, maybe next year.”

James Hirsen: “[T]he cult leader of global warming theory is Al Gore.” Appearing on the December 6 edition of Fox News’ America’s News HQ, Newsmax.com’s James Hirsen stated, “[W]e have to say the cult leader of global warming theory is Al Gore. He’s become a Hollywood celebrity by virtue of the fact that he is — his film won an Oscar. He’s won a Grammy. He’s won — you know, he lives in a 20-room mansion outside of Nashville. He has an indoor swimming pool. He jets around preaching this global warming.”

Michael Ledeen: CRU emails prove global warming “was a cult and not science.” During the December 4 edition of Hannity, frequent Fox News guest Michael Leeden referred to “the religious dimension to this so-called scientific theory,” asserting that “[i]t was never more than a hypothesis but it became an article of faith.” He later stated of the emails, “[W]hat it proves is that it was a cult and not science. Because science has to deal with all the evidence, whether you like it or whether you don’t. Cults lock out evidence that they don’t like. And they locked it out.”

Broad consensus on global climate change “supported by multiple, robust lines of evidence”

IPCC: “Warming of the climate system is unequivocal.” The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which is a scientific body established by the United Nations and the World Meteorological Organization, has established that “[w]arming of the climate system is unequivocal.” The IPCC “reviews and assesses the most recent scientific, technical and socio-economic information produced worldwide,” and its reports are the product of contributions from “[t]housands of scientists from all over the world.” In a editorial in the science journal Nature stated of the hacked CRU emails: “Nothing in the e-mails undermines the scientific case that global warming is real — or that human activities are almost certainly the cause. That case is supported by multiple, robust lines of evidence, including several that are completely independent of the climate reconstructions debated in the e-mails.”

AMS: Position on climate change “based on a robust body of research reported in the peer-reviewed literature.” Following the release of the stolen emails, the American Meteorological Society (AMS) reaffirmed its Statement on Climate Change, stating that it “is based on a robust body of research reported in the peer-reviewed literature.” AMS further stated: “For climate change research, the body of research in the literature is very large and the dependence on any one set of research results to the comprehensive understanding of the climate system is very, very small. Even if some of the charges of improper behavior in this particular case turn out to be true — which is not yet clearly the case — the impact on the science of climate change would be very limited.”

UCS: “For years, thousands of scientists working at climate research centers around the world have carefully and rigorously reached a consensus.” The Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) has stated that “[t]he e-mails provide no information that would affect the scientific understanding of climate change, as many contrarians are falsely claiming. For years, thousands of scientists working at climate research centers around the world have carefully and rigorously reached a consensus on the extent of climate change, the urgency of the problem, and the role human activity plays in causing it.” UCS further stated: “The findings of the USGCRP, IPCC and other scientific bodies are based on the work of thousands of scientists from hundreds of research institutions. The University of East Anglia’s Climate Research Unit (CRU) is just one among many such research institutions. Even without data from CRU, there is still an overwhelming body of evidence that human activity triggering dangerous levels of global warming.”

Peter Kelemen: “[A]lleged problems with a few scientists’ behavior do not change the consensus understanding of human-induced, global climate change.” Kelemen, a professor of geochemistry at Columbia University’s Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, wrote, “I think it is important for scientists to clearly state that if basic data were withheld, or if there was unprofessional tampering with the peer-review process, we do not condone these acts. It is equally essential to emphasize that alleged problems with a few scientists’ behavior do not change the consensus understanding of human-induced, global climate change, which is a robust hypothesis based on well-established observations and inferences.” Kelemen further wrote:

Outspoken critics often portray climate science as a house of cards, built on a shaky edifice of limited data and broad suppositions. However, it’s more realistic to think of the science as a deck of cards, spread out, face up. Some data and interpretations of those data are more certain than others, of course. But pulling out one or two interpretations, or the results of a few scientists, does not change the overall picture. Take away two or three cards, and there are still 49 or 50 cards facing you.


Former House Speaker Charged With Felony Assault After Sexual Encounter

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on December 9th, 2009 5:43 am by HL

Former House Speaker Charged With Felony Assault After Sexual Encounter
The former speaker of the Missouri House has been charged with a felony after what looks like a bout of sado-masochistic sex that went way too far.

Evidence Stolen From Office Of Blago’s Lawyer
At least one computer containing undercover recordings from the investigation of former Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich has been stolen from the offices of Blago’s lawyer, reports a Chicago news outlet.


The Raucous Baucus Caucus

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on December 9th, 2009 5:39 am by HL

The Raucous Baucus Caucus


Dodd Denies He Was Asked to Drop Out

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on December 9th, 2009 5:38 am by HL

Dodd Denies He Was Asked to Drop Out
Sen. Christopher Dodd (D-CT) was “asked about rumors that some anxious Connecticut Democratic leaders have urged him to consider stepping out of the 2010 Senate race in favor of Attorney General Richard Blumenthal,” the Hartford Courant reports.

However, Dodd said he had not been directly confronted by party officials and quipped, ‘they can’t be more anxious about it than I am.”

A new poll yesterday showed Dodd way behind his chief Republican rival.


Brussels And Jerusalem: A Decision

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on December 9th, 2009 5:37 am by HL

Brussels And Jerusalem: A Decision
Following yesterday’s post. The EU has done more or less what it needed to. Is the Obama Administration next? If not, why not?…


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TPMCafe Site Update
Some miscellaneous updates and answers to questions about TPMCafe below the fold….


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Palin on Huckabee?s pardon: ?It was a horrible decision he made.?

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on December 9th, 2009 5:36 am by HL

Palin on Huckabee?s pardon: ?It was a horrible decision he made.?
In 2000, then Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee granted clemency to convicted armed robber Maurice Clemmons and commuted his 108-year sentence. Clemmons had been reported to be the leading suspect in the killing of four policemen in Northwest Washington. (Last week, a police officer in Seattle shot Clemmons dead after a run-in with the ex-con.) […]

palinweb In 2000, then Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee granted clemency to convicted armed robber Maurice Clemmons and commuted his 108-year sentence. Clemmons had been reported to be the leading suspect in the killing of four policemen in Northwest Washington. (Last week, a police officer in Seattle shot Clemmons dead after a run-in with the ex-con.) Today in an interview with conservative radio host Lars Larson, Sarah Palin criticized Huckabee’s decision to pardon Clemmons:

“It was a bad decision obviously, but my heart goes out to Huckabee,” the former Alaska governor said of her potential 2012 GOP presidential rival during an interview Monday with conservative radio host Lars Larson. “I love him, and I feel bad for him to be in this position. But I feel even worse for the victims’ families in this situation.” […]

“It’s absolutely tragic and just unfathomable what has happened there, and I do feel bad for Huckabee,” Palin said. “But it was a horrible decision that he made.

While Huckabee recently expressed admiration for Palin in a recent interview, earlier this year he criticized the former Alaska governor’s botched interview with CBS’ Katie Couric. “In fact, if anything, Katie Couric was extraordinarily gentle,” Huckabee said, adding, “It was not a good interview. I’m being charitable.”


Sarkozy calls for tolerance but also cautions Muslims about France’s identity

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on December 9th, 2009 5:35 am by HL

Sarkozy calls for tolerance but also cautions Muslims about France’s identity
PARIS — Faced with swelling unease over the place of Muslim immigrants in France, President Nicolas Sarkozy called Tuesday for tolerance among native French people but warned that arriving Muslims must embrace Europe’s historical values and avoid “ostentation or provocation” in the practice of…


TSA accidentally reveals airport security secrets
The Transportation Security Administration inadvertently revealed closely guarded secrets related to airport passenger screening practices when it posted online this spring a document as part of a contract solicitation, the agency confirmed Tuesday.

Progress made on public-option alternatives, but abortion amendment expected to fail
Senate Democratic negotiators said they had made significant progress in identifying alternative coverage options to replace a government insurance plan that liberals have fought to retain as part of health-care reform, but moderates have refused to support.

McChrystal offers assurances in Afghanistan war testimony
The U.S. general in charge of the Afghanistan war assured lawmakers Tuesday that an additional 30,000 troops, combined with changes in the overall war strategy , would trigger a demonstrable change on the ground before U.S. forces start to come home in 18 months.

Busy Congress likely to defer action on Obama job proposals
The packed congressional schedule means action on the bulk of President Obama’s job-creation proposals might be deferred to 2010, as the House and Senate race to complete a host of key bills by year’s end.



Deficit Hawks Spin

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on December 9th, 2009 5:31 am by HL

Deficit Hawks Spin
Greg Kaufmann, The Nation

Lower Health Costs = Higher Paychecks
Ezra Klein, Washington Post
We've had a pretty good discussion this year on the public option and on "death panels." But for all the hype over health-care reform, we have not done a very good job of talking about the health-care system itself — in particular, why our system is so expensive. As a result, we're not doing a very good job of fixing it. There's still time to change that, but not much. The doomsaying is by now familiar: Left unchecked, health-care reform will bankrupt our nation. It will grow to consume every dollar of gross domestic product. And Congress isn't…

EPA Should Use Its Authority If Congress Doesn’t Act

An Innovation Agenda
David Brooks, New York Times

Finally, U.S. Leads on Global Warming
Derrick Jackson, Boston Globe
In a critical demonstration of backbone on global warming, the Obama administration yesterday declared carbon dioxide a dangerous pollutant. Saying the country “will not ignore science and the law any longer,’’ Lisa Jackson, the administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, said her findings and declaration “cement 2009’s place in history as the year when the United States government began addressing the challenge of greenhouse gas pollution.’’In a news briefing, Jackson rattled off the predicted effects of unabated…