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Archive for November 12th, 2011

Late Late Night FDL: Why Can’t We Be Friends

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on November 12th, 2011 5:44 am by HL

Late Late Night FDL: Why Can’t We Be Friends
Why Can’t We Be Friends from episode 401 of The Muppet Show.

Why Can’t We Be Friends from episode 401 of The Muppet Show.

Grab your popcorn, put your feet up on the coffee table, and try to keep the spitballs off the screen please. This is Late Late Night FireDogLake, where off topic is the topic … so dive in. What’s on your mind?


What Cellphone Taxes Say About Republican Hypocrisy

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on November 12th, 2011 5:43 am by HL

What Cellphone Taxes Say About Republican Hypocrisy
This week on Truthdig Radio in association with KPFK: David Lazarus tracks the cash from phone and bank fees; good news for unions; moving money out of big banks; anarchy in the USA, and “digital parasites.”

This week on Truthdig Radio in association with KPFK: David Lazarus tracks the cash from phone and bank fees; good news for unions; moving money out of big banks; anarchy in the USA, and “digital parasites.”

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Richard (RJ) Eskow: Super Collusion: Will Obama and Capitol Dems Betray the Middle Class, Seniors and the Poor?

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on November 12th, 2011 5:42 am by HL

Richard (RJ) Eskow: Super Collusion: Will Obama and Capitol Dems Betray the Middle Class, Seniors and the Poor?
It’s a terrible mistake to ask the Americans who were wounded most by deficit-causing behavior to carry so much of the cost of fixing it. And to propose cuts to Medicare and Medicaid simply to preserve low tax rates for the wealthy is nothing less than a moral obscenity.

Peter Van Buren: Veteran’s Day: Knocking on Heaven’s Door
The box was made of plywood, stained and varnished like paneling, and reminded everyone of a B wood shop project. The dead man’s boots stood on either side of the rifle, with his helmet on top.

Anita Hill Talks Herman Cain Allegations
Anita Hill, the former U.S. Department of Education employee who was launched into the spotlight in 1991 when she brought forth sexual harassment allegations against…

Jonathan Handel: Homeless Military Widow: “My heart is sad for my teenager”
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Daily Caller Practices Art Of Climate Distraction

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on November 12th, 2011 5:41 am by HL

Daily Caller Practices Art Of Climate Distraction

In a Daily Caller post, climate change skeptic Anthony Watts used familiar tactics to downplay human-induced climate change: He focused on national rather than global temperature data; he looked at a short time period rather than the long-term trend; and he portrayed routine data adjustments as deceptive doctoring by government agencies.

Watts Falsely Suggests Decade Of U.S. Temperatures Undermines Manmade Warming

Watts: “There Has Been A Cooling Trend” In The U.S. For “At Least The Last 10 Years.” Watts acknowledged that 10 years is not enough data to evaluate climate change but still cited temperatures from the past decade to suggest that a “cooling trend” in the lower 48 states raises questions about carbon dioxide’s impact on the climate. From the Daily Caller post titled, “Surprise: Over the last decade, the US cooled”:

So according to NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center, it seems clear that for at least the last 10 years, there has been a cooling trend in the annual mean temperature of the continental U.S. While this is not the standard 30-year period used by climatologists to determine climate for an area, it does beg the question: If carbon dioxide is in control of our climate, as many advocates claim, how could this happen? [Daily Caller, 11/08/11]

NOAA: Brief Cooling Periods Are Not Inconsistent With Long Term Warming Trend. A paper by climate experts at NOAA and the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory stated:

The reality of the climate system is that, due to natural climate variability, it is entirely possible to have a period as long as a decade or two of “cooling” superimposed on the longer-term warming trend due to anthropogenic greenhouse gas forcing. Climate scientists pay little attention to these short-term fluctuations as the short term “cooling trends” mentioned above are statistically insignificant and fitting trends to such short periods is not very meaningful in the context of long-term climate change. [NOAA, 4/25/09]

U.S. Global Change Research Program: “The United States Has Been Warming Significantly Over The Past 50 Years.” A report by the U.S. Global Change Research Program stated that the U.S. has warmed more than 2°F in the past 50 years and that regional and short-term fluctuations continue to occur alongside a long-term global warming trend:

Like the rest of the world, the United States has been warming significantly over the past 50 years in response to the build up of heat-trapping gases in the atmosphere. When looking at national climate, however, it is important to recognize that climate responds to local, regional, and global factors.

[…]

It is also important to recognize that at both the global and national scales, year-to-year fluctuations in natural weather and climate patterns can produce a period that does not follow the long-term trend. Thus, each year will not necessarily be warmer than every year before it, though the warming trend continues. U.S. average temperature has risen more than 2°F over the past 50 years and is projected to rise more in the future; how much more depends primarily on the amount of heat-trapping gases emitted globally and how sensitive the climate is to those emissions. [U.S. Global Change Research Program, June 2009]

Past Decade Was The Warmest On Record For The U.S. The following chart from NOAA shows that 2000-2009 was the warmest decade on record for the contiguous U.S.:

[NOAA, 1/12/10]

Chart Illustrates Perils Of Cherry-Picking Short Term Data. The following chart of global land temperature data shows that there have been many periods in recent decades that could be mistaken for the end of global warming:

[SkepticalScience.com, 11/5/11]

Research Group: Natural Climate Variability “Can Be Very Large” On Regional Scale. The National Center for Atmospheric Research stated that “the effects of human activities are superimposed on the background ‘noise’ of natural climate variability, which can be very large regionally,” adding:

Global warming does not mean that temperature increases are spatially uniform or monotonic: some places warm more than the average and some places cool. Regional changes in temperature are often associated with changes natural patterns (or modes) of the atmospheric and oceanic circulation, such as the El Niño/Southern Oscillation (ENSO) phenomenon. [NCAR, accessed 11/10/11]

Continental U.S. Makes Up 1.6% Of The Earth’s Surface. According to NASA, the contiguous 48 states comprise “1.6% of the Earth’s surface” so U.S. temperature data alone tell us nothing about global trends. [NASA, accessed 2/1/11]

Watts Accuses Scientific Agencies Of “Orwellian” Scheme To Distort Data

Watts: “There May Be More Cooling Than Meets The Eye” Due To Data Modifications. In the Daily Caller post, Watts spotlighted adjustments to the U.S. temperature record that removed 1934 from the position of “warmest year” for the country. Watts accused the government of “shenanigans” and implied that the adjustments warranted public distrust of surface temperature data:

Even worse, there may be more cooling than meets the eye due to adjustments that have been made in the data. For example, take the year 1934, long considered to be the hottest year in U.S. history. When you go back and look at data from NASA (which also uses the NOAA/NCDC data, like the new Berkeley data does), you find that things have changed: The past temperature has been modified.

[…]

Unless you live in an Orwellian world of science, how does one justify modifying the temperature history of the past?

If this were a graph of stock performance data given to investors as a prospectus and such shenanigans were discovered, the Securities and Exchange Commission would be launching an investigation. Yet, our own government is spending billions on climate change research and related programs, seemingly accepting such modified historical data without question. And they wonder why climate skeptics don’t trust the surface temperature data. [Daily Caller, 11/08/11]

But Watts Had Previously Acknowledged Source Of The Changes. Despite his apparent incredulity in the Daily Caller, Watts previously acknowledged in a blog post that “the main reason for the changes were the incorporation of an additional layer of USHCN [U.S. Historical Climatology Network] adjustments by Karl et al overlaying the time-of-observation adjustments already incorporated into Hansen et al 1999” and that additional changes were the result of “adjustments in the form of USHCN2 (for US data).” USHCN Version 2 is NOAA’s updated and improved dataset of U.S. temperatures, released in 2008. Time of observation adjustments are made to eliminate bias in the record that “occurs when observing times are changed from midnight to some time earlier in the day,” according to NOAA. [Watts Up With That, 11/5/11]

NOAA Adjusts Data To Remove Errors And Biases. NOAA states that the “USHCN temperature records have been ‘corrected’ to account for various historical changes in station location, instrumentation, and observing practice.” NOAA explained:

Version 2 data were produced using a new set of quality control and homogeneity assessment algorithms. A brief summary of version 2 processing steps is provided below. A more comprehensive summary, including discussions of the sources and magnitude of bias in the raw (unadjusted) data, is provided in Menne et al. (2009).  

[…]

Adjustments applied to USHCN Version 2 data largely account for the impact of instrument and siting changes, although a small overall residual negative (“cool”) bias appears to remain in the adjusted USHCN version 2 CONUS average maximum temperature. Nevertheless, the adjusted USHCN CONUS temperatures are well aligned with recent measurements from the U.S. Climate Reference Network (USCRN). This network was designed with the highest standards for climate monitoring and has none of the siting and instrument exposure problems present in USHCN. The close correspondence in nationally averaged temperature from these two networks is further evidence that the adjusted USHCN data provide an accurate measure of the U.S. temperature. [NOAA, 3/16/10]

NASA Climatologist: Adjustment “Makes No Difference At All” In Global Temperature Records. NASA climatologist Gavin Schmidt stated via email that “all stations and all years are being continually assessed to see whether there were shifts in the records because of changes in a station location, or an instrument or practice which, if not corrected, would put a non-climatic jump or trend in the data.” He added that this is not controversial scientifically and “makes no difference at all” for the global temperature records. Schmidt also pointed out that the adjustments were transparent and thoroughly discussed within the scientific community:

[F]ar from this being something which ‘no one has questioned’, the issue has been the topic of many papers in the literature, notably the 2001 Hansen et al paper that applied the corrections that NOAA had made to the temperature records to fix *known* issues in the records.

[…]

Continued insinuations that because a data analysis has changed as a function of error fixes and improvements over time that the ‘books must be cooked’ are simply rhetorical devices that have nothing to do with the underlying science and everything to do with politics. [Email to Media Matters, 11/09/11]


Feds: Senior Citizen Militia Members Targeted Holder, McKinney

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on November 12th, 2011 5:40 am by HL

Feds: Senior Citizen Militia Members Targeted Holder, McKinney
Federal prosecutors said Wednesday that four elderly militia members charged in a plot against citizens and federal employees were targeting Attorney General Eric Holder and former Rep. Cynthia McKinney as potential assassination targets.

Colbert: Bullying Is Fine As Long As You Get A Permission Slip From God
You know, Herman Cain isn’t the only man in America getting bullied. And if you ask Stephen Colbert, it has to stop. But sometimes, well-meaning people go too far, he said, and anti-bullying laws just “replace the schoolyard bully with…

Watch The Videos The CIA Made To Tell Ronald Reagan About The Soviets
The Central Intelligence Agency’s video squad made short documentary-style films to educate President Ronald Reagan about the Soviet Union. Now you can watch them for yourself.



The Party of Oops!

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on November 12th, 2011 5:38 am by HL

The Party of Oops!


UNESCO Fiasco: Dancing To Netanyahu’s Tune

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on November 12th, 2011 5:37 am by HL

UNESCO Fiasco: Dancing To Netanyahu’s Tune
It was bound to happen sooner or later. At some point, both the president and Congress would be faced with a clear choice between U.S. national interests and the demands made by Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and his powerful…

Arms Industry Job Claims: Don’t Be Scared, Be Skeptical
Military spending should not be seen as a jobs program. To paraphrase President Dwight D. Eisenhower, we should spend everything we need to defend the country, and not one penny more. But that hasn’t stopped the arms lobby from attempting…


Neocons: Lying Us Into Another War
Christmas did not arrive early for the “Bomb Iran” crowd. Over the past several weeks, neoconservative hawks were gleefully predicting that the International Atomic Energy Agency’s new report on Iran’s nuclear program would provide the spark needed to ignite and…


The Hidden Industrial Food System: Why Beaver Glands and Human Hair May Be a ?Natural? Part of Your Food

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on November 12th, 2011 5:36 am by HL

The Hidden Industrial Food System: Why Beaver Glands and Human Hair May Be a ?Natural? Part of Your Food
by Cole Mellino Industrial agriculture is a major part of the global ponzi scheme. By continuing to fool ourselves into thinking we can infinitely produce more fossil-fuel laden food with limited resources, we’re setting ourselves up for a major catastrophe. And that fooling happens on every level. Take the disturbing ways in which we create […]

by Cole Mellino

Industrial agriculture is a major part of the global ponzi scheme. By continuing to fool ourselves into thinking we can infinitely produce more fossil-fuel laden food with limited resources, we’re setting ourselves up for a major catastrophe.

And that fooling happens on every level. Take the disturbing ways in which we create flavors for foods.

The “all natural” label applied to food means absolutely nothing by federal standards. And yet, food companies prey on growing consumer demand for wholesome healthy food by slapping the label on anything they can. The Food and Drug Administration, which is charged with protecting and promoting our health through regulation and oversight of the food industry, has not developed a definition for the “all natural” label. However, “the agency has not objected to the use of the term if the food does not contain added color, artificial flavors, or synthetic substances,” according to the FDA’s website.

People have a false perception that our food industry is well regulated, when it simply is not. To shed some light on what is in our food and what concoctions can even be labeled as “all natural,” Bruce Bradley, a former food marketer at companies like General Mills, Pillsbury, and Nabisco, keeps a blog about the food industry. In 2008, he left the corporate world and decided to devote the rest of his life to promoting healthy food and criticizing the Big Food industry.

Because our food has become so highly processed and because by FDA law, food companies can list spices and flavorings as natural or artificial flavors, unbelievably strange and disgusting things are being added to our food:

  • Beaver anal glands, known as castoreum (I guess anal glands was a hard sell), are typically used in vanilla and raspberry flavoring and can legally be labeled natural flavoring
  • L-cysteine or cystine is used a dough conditioner. It’s sometimes made from human hair, but more and more from duck feathers and can be found in breads and baked goods.
  • A red food coloring additive that goes by many names (Carmine, Crimson Lake, Cochineal, or Natural Red #4) is made from insects like the cochineal beetle.

This is just one more example of how distorted our food system is. To see a longer list of the strange food additives that can be grouped under “natural flavors,” go to Bruce Bradley’s blog.

— Cole Mellino is an intern with the energy team at the Center for American Progress


Cain jokes about Anita Hill

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on November 12th, 2011 5:35 am by HL

Cain jokes about Anita Hill

UPDATE: There is this video from a Time Magazine Person of the Year panel that happened earlier this week where Anita Hill responds to a question about Herman Cain:

People believe I follow politics more closely than I actually do follow politics. I’ll simply say there are some serious issues out there and we all know what they are, and I think any one of us could speculate about what the outcome would be, but none of us know.

Read full article >>

Obama urges supercommittee leaders to reach deal; warns against undoing consequences of failing to reach accord

President Obama called the Democratic and Republican chairmen of Congress’s special deficit reduction supercommittee Friday and urged them to reach a deal, as the panel’s deadline for agreeing on a strategy to slash the nation’s debt rapidly approaches.

In separate phone calls, Obama urged Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) and Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-Tex.) to find a way to steer the 12-member bipartisan panel to an agreement, the White House said.

Read full article >>

Eight SEC employees disciplined over failures in Madoff fraud case; none are fired

The Securities and Exchange Commission, which failed to stop Bernard Madoff’s long-running investment fraud despite repeated warnings, has disciplined eight agency employees over their handling of the matter but did not fire anyone.

The SEC’s head of human resources and a law firm hired to advise the agency had recommended that SEC Chairman Mary L. Schapiro fire one person, whom the SEC described as a manager in the office that inspects investment firms.

Read full article >>


K Street’s Super Committee Splurge

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on November 12th, 2011 5:31 am by HL

K Street’s Super Committee Splurge
Michelle Malkin, New York Post
The bipartisan debt panel to nowhere is exactly where K Street lobbyists want it to be: hopelessly deadlocked. A November 23 deadline for agreement on $1.2 trillion in budget savings is looming, but no real reductions in the size, scope or spending of government are on the table. Instead, we are witnessing another obscene special-interest splurge to preserve the status quo. All in the name of “reform,” of course.The only thing “super” about the so-called budget control super committee is the size of lobbying muscle exerted on its members. Almost 100 registered lobbyists…

The Fuzzy Math, & Logic, of Election Prediction Models
Sean Trende, RCP
By Sean Trende – November 11, 2011This week, the Center for Politics' “Crystal Ball” released the latest iteration of Professor Alan Abramowitz's “Time for Change” model, based on the past 16 presidential elections (dating to 1948). According to Abramowitz, presidential elections can be reduced to a simple equation: The incumbent party's share of the two-party vote equals 51.7 percent, plus .11 multiplied by the incumbent president’s net approval rating in June of the election year, plus .54 multiplied by GDP growth in the second quarter of the…

Gingrich Mixes Populism & Policy Wonk
Rich Lowry, National Review
A successful presidential candidate taps into the public mood. Newt Gingrich must be hoping the public is bristling with irritation and high dudgeon.The old saw is that the most dangerous place to be is between Chuck Schumer and a camera. The second most dangerous place to be is sitting across from Newt Gingrich on a stage asking him a question during a Republican debate. There is no surer way to get shot down as superficial, ill-informed, and divisive than to pose a query to the former speaker of the House.At the CNBC debate on the economy, Gingrich eyed Maria Bartiromo the way Franklin…

The End of Paterno
Joe Posnanski, Sports Illustrated
Last 24 HoursAt Penn State, They All Had to GoJeff Neuman, RealClearSportsPenn State Living by Mafia RulesBuzz Bissinger, Daily BeastThe Slow Death of AccountabilityJohn McQuaid, ForbesJail Time for JoePa? Why Not?Randy Galloway, Fort Worth Star-TelegramLast 7 DaysAt Penn State, They All Had to GoJeff Neuman, RealClearSportsPaterno Must Go, Right NowAndy Staples, Sports IllustratedPaterno Must Not Survive Penn St. ScandalBob Ford, Philadelphia InquirerTarnished Legendary Coach Deserves to Be Judged By the TruthJoe Posnanski, Sports Illustrated | CommentsBill Phillips, Men's Health |…