“Soft despotism is a term coined by Alexis de Tocqueville describing the state into which a country overrun by "a network of small complicated rules" might degrade. Soft despotism is different from despotism (also called 'hard despotism') in the sense that it is not obvious to the people."

Friday, June 05, 2015

The Republican Disdain For Science


Global warming ‘pause' didn't happen, study finds Reassessment of historical data and methodology by US research body debunks ‘hiatus’ hypothesis used by sceptics to undermine climate science 

 The year 2014 was Earth’s warmest in 134 years of records, according to an analysis of surface temperature measurements by Nasa scientists. In a separate, independent analysis, scientists at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration also found 2014 to be the warmest on record.

 Global warming has not undergone a ‘pause’ or ‘hiatus’, according to US government research that undermines one of the key arguments used by sceptics to question climate science. The new study reassessed the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (Noaa) temperature record to account for changing methods of measuring the global surface temperature over the past century. 

 The adjustments to the data were slight, but removed a flattening of the graph this century that has led climate sceptics to claim the rise in global temperatures had stopped. “There is no slowdown in warming, there is no hiatus,” said lead author Dr Tom Karl, who is the director of Noaa’s National Climatic Data Centre. Dr Gavin Schmidt, a climatologist and the director of Nasa’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies said: “The fact that such small changes to the analysis make the difference between a hiatus or not merely underlines how fragile a concept it was in the first place.” 

 The results, published on Thursday in the journal Science, showed the rate of warming over the past 15 years (0.116C per decade) was almost exactly the same, in fact slightly higher, as the past five decades (0.113C per decade). Adapted from Noaa National Centers for Environmental Information In 2013, the UN’s most comprehensive report on climate science made a tentative observation that the years since 1998 had seen a “much smaller increasing trend” than the preceding half century. 

The results highlighted the inadequacy of using the global mean surface temperature as the primary yardstick for climate change. Karl said: “There’s been a lot of work done trying to understand the so-called hiatus and understand where is this missing heat.” A series of studies have since identified a number of factors, including heat transferred into deep oceans and small volcanic eruptions, that affected the temperature at the surface of the Earth. “Those studies are all quite valid and what they suggest is had those factors not occurred the warming rate would even be greater than what we report,” said Karl. 

 Dr Peter Stott, head of climate monitoring and attribution at the UK’s Met Office, said Noaa’s research was “robust” and mirrored an analysis the British team is conducting on its own surface temperature record. “Their work is consistent with independent work that we’ve done. It’s within our uncertainties. Part of the robustness and reliability of these records is that there are different groups around the world doing this work,” he said. But Stott argued that the term slowdown remained valid because the past 15 years might have been still hotter were it not for natural variations. 

 In the coming years the world is expected to move out of a period in which the gradient of warming has not slowed even though the temperature has been moderated. This means “we could have 10 or 15 years of very rapid rates of warming,” he said. “Even though the observed estimate is increased, over and above that there is plenty of evidence that the rate of warming is still being depressed,” he said. “The caution is around saying that that is our underlying warming rate, because the climate models are predicting substantially higher rates than that.” 

 Noaa’s historical observations were thrown out by unaccounted-for differences between the measurements taken by ships using buckets and ships using thermometers in their engine in-takes, the increased use of ocean buoys and a large increase in the number of land-based monitoring stations.

 “Science can only progress based on as much information as we have and what you see today is the most comprehensive assessment we can do based on all the information that’s been collected,” said Karl. Schmidt called the new observations “state of the art” and said Nasa had been in discussions with Noaa about how to incorporate the findings into their own global temperature record. 

 Prof Michael Mann, whose analysis of the global temperature in the 1990s revolutionised the field, said the work underlined the conclusions of his own recent research. “They’ve sort of just confirmed what we already knew, there is no true ‘pause’ or ‘hiatus’ in warming,” he said. “To the extent that the study further drives home the fact ... that global warming continues unabated as we continue to burn fossil fuels and warm the planet, it is nonetheless a useful contribution to the literature.” 

 Bob Ward, policy and communications director at London’s Grantham Research Institute, said the news that warming had been greater than previously thought should cause governments currently meeting in Bonn to act with renewed urgency and lay foundations for a strong agreement at the pivotal climate conference in Paris this December. “The myth of the global warming pause has been heavily promoted by climate change sceptics seeking to undermine the case for strong and urgent cuts in greenhouse gas emissions,” said Ward. 

 Since scientists began to report a slower than expected rate of warming during the last decade, climate sceptics have latched on to the apparent dip in order to question the validity of climate models. 

 Last February, US Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz told CNN: “The last 15 years, there has been no recorded warming. Contrary to all the theories that – that they are expounding, there should have been warming over the last 15 years. It hasn’t happened.” 

 Cruz’s rival for the Republican nomination, Jeb Bush, was using the pause to argue for inaction as early as 2009. 

 The Global Warming Policy Foundation (GWPF), the UK think tank set up by Nigel Lawson to lobby against action on climate change and which hosts a flat-lining temperature graph on the masthead of its website, was dismissive of the study. 

 Dr David Whitehouse, an astrophysicist and science editor for the GWPF, said: “This is a highly speculative and slight paper that produces a statistically marginal result by cherry-picking time intervals.” He claimed the temperature graph was at odds with those of the Met Office and Nasa, despite both organisations saying the new study’s results were consistent with their data.


Is There a Scientific Reason Many Conservatives Hate Science?

Some conservative denial of science may well be cynical. But polls show that large numbers of conservatives really believe the global warming and evolution aren't real.

Last week, we went through a familiar ritual: Hand-wringing and alarm over Republican politicians denying scientific reality. This time around, the main focus was Rick Santorum, the anti-evolutionist and climate change denier who is one of the worst of the worst in this area (and who promptly obliged by making a new and fresh anti-science statement).
But hey, it's always something.
We've been repeating this pattern at least since the early George W. Bush years. A Republican makes a dubious scientific claim, a Republican officeholder or appointee suppresses a scientific report, a scientist in a Republican administration gets muzzled...the names change, but the story does not. I chronicled it all in a book that is now seven years old--The Republican War on Science--and I wasn't the first.
Nor will I be the last. The very fact that Jon Huntsman (who just nabbed third place in New Hampshire) has been able to successfully frame himself as the "pro-science" Republican candidate itself speaks to the misalignment of his competitors with reality.
Some of the conservative denial of science may well be cynical in nature. But there's no doubt from polls that large numbers of conservatives really believe this stuff--that global warming isn't real, nor is evolution. And indeed, the denial of reality extends well beyond science and into other fields likeeconomics and history.
When you have a phenomenon this recurrent, it seems to me that at some point, it is reasonable to stop and ponder deeper causes. And are there any?
Recently, I posted a list of seven recent scientific studies showing that liberals and conservatives differ in ways that go far beyond their philosophies or views on politics. We're talking about things like physiological responses when shown different kinds of words or images, and performance in neuroscience tests. Take just one recent example: Conservatives show stronger responses to negative and threatening stimuli (words like "vomit" and "disgust"). Could this also prompt more knee jerk reactions to scientific information that is perceived as threatening (or words like "evolution")?
The point is not necessarily that the answer is yes, but rather that it is reasonable to ask questions like these. The root causes of our political differences are now under intensive exploration by multiple different research groups, which are churning out quite a lot of published, peer reviewed science. And while this work is surely not complete (science never is), it is also unlikely to be just plain wrong. Indeed, after having spent the past year reading this research and interviewing the scientists producing it, I can confidently say that those seven studies are just the tip of the iceberg.
Here's the bottom line: An increasing body of science suggests that we disagree about politics not for intellectual or philosophical reasons, but because we have fundamentally different ways of responding to the basic information presented to us by the world. These are often ways of which we are not even aware--automatic, subconscious--but that color all of our perceptions, and that effectively drive us apart politically.
What's more, what is true for how we come to our opinions about politics is also, assuredly, true for how we approach "facts" that are perceived to have some bearing on the validity of our political opinions--whether those facts are scientific, economic, historical or even theological in nature.
Thus far--and not surprisingly--conservatives don't seem so fond of the emerging science of our politics. They seem to consider it demeaning--yet another slight aimed at them by "liberal" academia.
And it's partly true: the research in question is--like all scholarly work--largely conducted by scientists and academic liberals who want to achieve a better understanding of the nature of our political dysfunction, and also of why we are divided over things like scientific reality. But ironically, when considered in all of its complexity and nuance, much of the research actually makes Republicans look very good (decisive, resolute, loyal) relative to liberals or Democrats--and certainly a lot more politically effective.
Frankly, it seems to me that this approach ought to prompt more tolerance and understanding across our political divides, rather than less. After all, if we are reaching many of our political and even our factual opinions for reasons that we're not even conscious of--if we're effectively being pushed to accept some views rather than others, because they resonate at a deep psychological level and just "feel right"--then the only appropriate response, it seems to me, is a deeply liberal one: Tolerance. Understanding. Acceptance. Empathy.
In other words, the next time a Republican denies global warming, liberals ought to be better able to check the impulse to say "what an idiot!" and instead say something like, "I can understand why they have that kind of a response."
But then again, the next time a liberal or Democrat does something typically and predictably liberal, Republicans ought to do the same. And now the paradox: What if liberals are more open to (and simply curious about) the science of liberals than conservatives are regarding the science of conservatives?
If so, then we'll still probably have a factually polarized political arena--but at least we'll know a little bit more about why.

Chris Mooney is the author of 'The Republican War on Science' and 'The Republican Brain.'


  1. Yale researcher Dan Kahan and his colleagues set out to study the relationship between political views, scientific knowledge or reasoning abilities, and opinions on contested scientific issues like global warming. In their study, more than 1,500 randomly selected Americans were asked about their political worldviews and their opinions about how dangerous global warming and nuclear power are. But that’s not all: They were also asked standard questions to determine their degree of scientific literacy (e.g, “Antibiotics kill viruses as well as bacteria—true or false?”) as well as their numeracy or capacity for mathematical reasoning (e.g., “If Person A’s chance of getting a disease is 1 in 100 in 10 years, and person B’s risk is double that of A, what is B’s risk?”).

    The result was stunning and alarming. The standard view that knowing more science, or being better at mathematical reasoning, ought to make you more accepting of mainstream climate science simply crashed and burned.

    Instead, here was the result. If you were already part of a cultural group predisposed to distrust climate science—e.g., a political conservative or “hierarchical-individualist”—then more science knowledge and more skill in mathematical reasoning tended to make you even more dismissive. Precisely the opposite happened with the other group—“egalitarian-communitarians” or liberals—who tended to worry more as they knew more science and math. The result was that, overall, more scientific literacy and mathematical ability led to greater political polarization over climate change—which, of course, is precisely what we see in the polls.

    So much for education serving as an antidote to politically biased reasoning.

    1. What accounts for the “smart idiot” effect?

      For one thing, well-informed or well-educated conservatives probably consume more conservative news and opinion, such as by watching Fox News. Thus, they are more likely to know what they’re supposed to think about the issues—what people like them think—and to be familiar with the arguments or reasons for holding these views. If challenged, they can then recall and reiterate these arguments. They’ve made them a part of their identities, a part of their brains, and in doing so, they’ve drawn a strong emotional connection between certain “facts” or claims, and their deeply held political values. And they’re ready to argue.

      What this suggests, critically, is that sophisticated conservatives may be very different from unsophisticated or less-informed ones. Paradoxically, we would expect less informed conservatives to be easier to persuade, and more responsive to new and challenging information.

      In fact, there is even research suggesting that the most rigid and inflexible breed of conservatives—so-called authoritarians—do not really become their ideological selves until they actually learn something about politics first. A kind of “authoritarian activation” needs to occur, and it happens through the development of political “expertise.” Consuming a lot of political information seems to help authoritarians feel who they are—whereupon they become more accepting of inequality, more dogmatically traditionalist, and more resistant to change.

  2. The only thing that is certain about politicians in Washington is their paymasters hold on the lot of them.

  3. >>>The adjustments to the data were slight<<<, just enough to get the desired results.

    Whole post is a canard.

    1. Canard comes from the French for duck.

      Quack, quack.

    2. .

      The same phrase popped out to me. If the data doesn't fit you model, simply change the data.

      Quite serendipitous that we get this new info right before the big conference on climate change.


    3. .

      “The caution is around saying that that is our underlying warming rate, because the climate models are predicting substantially higher rates than that.”

      It all comes back to the models an the presumption that yours is the one model that can accurately predict all the variations and permutations and interactions within a global system of weather, that and making sure it is all "...within our uncertainties...". Uncertainties that can always be answered by 'slight adjustments in the data'.

      If the data doesn't support you, change the data.

      Or the topic. When Mann's 'hockey stick' came under attack, we moved from 'global warming' to 'climate change', a broader category of events could be brought under this umbrella.

      Now, with the public being more interested in a job or the latest ISIS atrocity, the talk has changed to the increase in 'severe weather events'.

      What will be next?

      On the one hand, they say we have reached to tipping point and on the other they say we must double our efforts even if that means a reduction in GDP and the corresponding reduction in resources to address other problems.


    4. .

      The only thing that is certain about politicians in Washington is their paymasters hold on the lot of them.

      True enough. However, the only problem with being somewhat cynical is in not being cynical enough, assuming the problems in D.C. are unique and not shared by other groups or individuals.

      Prof Michael Mann, whose analysis of the global temperature in the 1990s revolutionised the field, said the work underlined the conclusions of his own recent research. “They’ve sort of just confirmed what we already knew, there is no true ‘pause’ or ‘hiatus’ in warming,” he said. “To the extent that the study further drives home the fact ... that global warming continues unabated as we continue to burn fossil fuels and warm the planet, it is nonetheless a useful contribution to the literature.”

      Mann can't actually say anything negative about the new research since it supports his own but reading between the lines you can see he is pissed off sharing the spot light with any one else. Colbert thinks it is funny that people admit they are not scientists; however, the irony is the 'scientists' he is talking about. Mann is the poster boy for the huge GW 'scientific' community who are pushing the GW theory. Many of these people have spent their entire careers promoting the idea of 'man-made global warming'. A hard thing to give up, a career, the recognition, the money, grants, speaking engagements, conducting studies sponsored by governments, the UN, environmental groups, GMO's, the same type of inducements that drive the dicks in D.C.

      We have seen what this cottage industry of 'scientists' is capable of, ignoring data that doesn't fit the model, 'slight adjustments' in the data, scheming to discredit and ostracize their critics, and worse scheming to prevent them from being published.

      These 'scientists' are men like the rest of us with the same foibles and failings. To believe what they say automatically without question especially in the face of data that disputes it, is not the act of an enlightened man but rather the act of a fool. IMO of course.

      A consensus is not proof but merely a majority agreeing with a given opinion. To try to silence those who disagree with you is the act of a coward. To ignore arguments and opposing opinions is close-minded and elitist, the opposite of what science is supposed to be about.


  4. 253,000 Marginally Attached workers (including 193,000 "Discouraged Workers) came back into the workforce in May.

    As a result, the Civilian Labor Force grew by 397,000,

    and 272,000 found jobs.

    This led to an increase in the Participation Rate to 62.9%, and a tick up in the Unemployment Rate to 5.5%

    Hourly Wages increased by 0.3%. (about 3.6%, annually.)

    Overall, a pretty good report.

  5. Here is an example of the Democrat's fine scientific reasoning in action…

    Hank Johnson Worries Guam Could "Capsize" After Marine Buildup

    1. :):):):):):)

      I recall that wonderful statement !!!!

      It's an ALL TIMER (one for the ages)

      Or, is that a Alzheimer ?

    2. .

      Does Hank consider himself a scientist? I mean a scientist at the level of, oh say, Al Gore?


    3. GREAT VIDEO !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      The Democratic Party's INTELLIGENTSIA in action.


    4. Al Gore was eighth grade compared to this guy.

      Al never got to the PhD level were The Theory of Tipping Islands is discussed.

      (you must know EXACTLY how big the island in question is, too, then one can begin the analysis)


  6. In the last year the U.S. has added 2,840,000 jobs, and has had an inflation rate of 0.1% (yes, prices have increased 1/10th of 1%.)

    BLS Employment Situation

    1. Healthcare and Social Assistance continues to lead the Job Gains with 57,700 Jobs Added.

      Thanks, Obamacare.

  7. Fox News Poll: Voters want stronger measures against ISIS
    Dana Blanton

    By Dana BlantonPublished June 05,
    Facebook70 Twitter179 livefyre792 Email Print

    Now Playing

    ISIS waging 'sophisticated' social media campaign
    Never autoplay videos

    Two-thirds of American voters favor doing “whatever it takes” to defeat ISIS. They also think the White House doesn’t have a clear plan to get the job done.

    A new Fox News poll finds that 66 percent support “doing whatever it takes” to defeat Islamic extremists.

    Far fewer think the president is with them. Just 41 percent think President Obama is prepared to do whatever it takes. Over half say he isn’t (53 percent).


    In addition, a 57-percent majority supports the U.S. using its military strength to destroy Islamic extremist groups “once and for all.” That includes a majority of Republicans (69 percent), half of independents (50 percent) and a 48-percent plurality of Democrats.

    Most voters approve of the ongoing U.S. airstrikes against ISIS (79 percent) and favor increasing them (68 percent). Another 71 percent favor using drone strikes.

    The fervor wanes somewhat when voters are asked about other tactics.

    About half -- 51 percent -- favor sending a limited number of U.S. ground troops to Iraq and Syria to fight ISIS. Support drops to 37 percent for sending a “significant number” of troops.

    And less than half of voters -- 43 percent -- favor providing weapons to Iraq and Jordan to fight extremists.

    By a 55-35 percent margin, voters think the president has failed to express an appropriate level of outrage over the killing of Christians and Jews around the world by Islamic militants.

    The U.S. and coalition forces have experienced recent setbacks with Islamic militants taking control of Ramadi in Iraq and making gains in Syria as well..............

    Hillary reads these polls, and will adjust accordingly.

    1. ISIS attacks the Mall of America - watch out.

    2. bob Mon Nov 16, 04:13:00 PM EST (2009)
      I have the feeling we're going to get hit again, and soon, and hard.

  8. Been saying this for years -

    June 5, 2015
    Gertz Expose: Pentagon docs show Obama supports Muslim Brotherhood
    By James Lewis

    Bill Gertz, top Pentagon reporter for the Washington Times has just reported that "Obama secretly backed Muslim Brotherhood." The Brotherhood is literally a fascist Muslim radical group from the Nazi period.

    Writes Gertz:

    President Obama and his administration continue to support the global Islamist militant group known the Muslim Brotherhood. A White House strategy document regards the group as a moderate alternative to more violent Islamist groups like al Qaeda and the Islamic State." (Aka ISIS).

    The policy of backing the Muslim Brotherhood is outlined in a secret directive called Presidential Study Directive-11[.] … The directive was produced in 2011[.] …

    Efforts to force the administration to release the directive or portions of it under the Freedom of Information Act have been unsuccessful. ...

    The directive outlines why the administration has chosen the Muslim Brotherhood, which last year was labeled a terrorist organization by the governments of Saudi Arabia, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates as a key vehicle of U.S. backing for so-called political reform in the Middle East. …

    The UAE government also has labeled two U.S. affiliates of the Muslim Brotherhood, the Council on American-Islamic Relations and the Muslim American Society, as terrorist support groups. Both groups denied the UAE claims. Egypt is considering imposing a death sentence on Mohamed Morsi, the Muslim Brotherhood-backed former president who was ousted in military coup in July 2013.

    Critics of the administration's strategy say the Brotherhood masks its goals and objectives despite advocating an extremist ideology similar to those espoused by al Qaeda and the Islamic State, but with less violence. The group's motto includes the phrase "jihad is our way." Jihad means holy war and is the Islamist battle cry.

    Counterterrorism analyst Patrick Poole said the Brotherhood in recent weeks has stepped up its use of violent attacks in Egypt.

    The Muslim Brotherhood is called the "Ikhwan" in Arabic, meaning "brotherhood." (Like German "ich" and "won.") It took that name in 1928, when fascist and Nazi "brotherhoods" were spreading all over Europe.

    1. From the start, the Ikhwan actively collaborated with Hitler through the mufti of Jerusalem. One of their slogans is "All we want is to die in the way of Allah" – which means killing as many infidels as you can when you die. This is the theological basis for suicide-bombing. Today, there is no daylight between the Ikhwan and ISIS.

      In 1981, an Ikhwan front group assassinated Pres. Anwar Sadat, the most important Arab peacemaker with Israel.

      The Ikhwan employs Malik Obama, the president's half-brother, as a big money man.

      The Ikhwan created Hamas – the terrorist group that uses children as human shields to protect rocket launchers in Gaza.

      The Ikhwan helped neo-Ottoman fascist Erdo─čan to take over Turkey.

      The Ikhwan is almost certainly behind ISIS, together with Turkey and Qatar.

      In 2011, the Ikhwan overthrew Egypt's President Hosni Mubarak – who upheld the Egypt-Israel peace treaty for four decades – in close collusion with Obama, Code Pink, and Bill Ayers. The Western media actually reported that Code Pink and Bill Ayers were protesting Hosni Mubarak in the weeks before Mubarak was overthrown. Today, millions of Egyptians believe that Obama supports their mortal enemy, the Ikhwan.

      The Ikhwan is now engaged in a monumental civil war against President El Sisi, whose court just condemned its leader to death. Their leaders who are not in jail have fled to Qatar, Turkey, and Gaza, all part of the Ikhwan network.

      The Ikhwan controls American front groups like CAIR, which buys up American politicians by the truckload, especially on the left.

      Four-star admiral James Lyons (USN, Ret.) has gone public with the charge that the Ikhwan has deeply penetrated U.S. intelligence. That is why Obama can't even say the words "Muslim war on America." That is why our defense has been so feeble and cringing.

      Hillary Clinton's closest personal aide as SecState was Huma Abedin – an Ikhwan insider. Abedin was one of the few people who had access to Hillary's illegal personal e-mail account on the night of Benghazi. Nothing has changed – Abedin is still at the top of the Hillary campaign. Probably for the first time in U.S. history, presidential candidate Hillary has stonewalled any media questions, period.

      Major Ikhwan money flows have been reported going to the Clintons, the Carters, and Obama. Ikhwan penetration of American society and the U.S. government gives all the appearance of a political quid pro quo – with our survival at stake.

      Bill Gertz's Pentagon documents now prove the Ikhwan connection directly. The liberal media will try to stifle the facts, as always.

      Maybe this time they will fail.

    2. My friend Dale, now departed, had all this figured out from Day One.

      Dale got the VA death panels treatment.

    3. .

      Bill Gertz's Pentagon documents now prove the Ikhwan connection directly.




    4. "The Ikhwan employs Malik Obama, the president's half-brother, as a big money man."

      ohhhhh, LORD, puhllleeeeease let me get a job where I can put on my business card "BIG MONEY MAN"!

    5. This comment has been removed by the author.

    6. .


      Ash Potatoes, L.L.C.
      Ash Potato, President and "BIG MONEY MAN"

      Artistic Renderings - Visual Arts - Shorts Produced - Wars Fought - Stud Services Rendered - Revolutions Started - Tigers Tamed - Cougars Welcomed - Assassinations Plotted - Bars Emptied - Governments Run - Computers Verified - Uprisings Quelled - Orgies Organized



      Q's Potatoes, L.L.C.

      Quirk Q. Potato, President and "BIG MONEY MAN"

      Boise, Idaho (formerly out of Detroit, Michigan)

      Artistic Renderings - Visual Arts - Shorts Produced - Wars Fought - Stud Services Rendered - Revolutions Started - Tigers Tamed - Cougars Welcomed - Assassinations Plotted - Bars Emptied - Governments Run - Computers Verified - Uprisings Quelled - Orgies Organized

    8. too many words - bad marketing!

      Asphalt Potato

  9. As for "Global Warming" - Here's the Satellite Data:

    UAH Chart

  10. .

    It looks like a female Viagra pill designed to lift the female libido may hit the market soon.

    I just heard on CNN that the drug still requires additional testing.

    Any idea where you go to volunteer to help out with the testing?



  11. Changing Sun, Changing Climate

    Since it is the Sun's energy that drives the weather system, scientists naturally wondered whether they might connect climate changes with solar variations. Yet the Sun seemed to be stable over the timescale of human civilization. Attempts to discover cyclic variations in weather and connect them with the 11-year sunspot cycle, or other possible solar cycles ranging up to a few centuries long, gave results that were ambiguous at best. These attempts got a well-deserved bad reputation.

    Jack Eddy overcame this with a 1976 study that demonstrated that irregular variations in solar surface activity, a few centuries long, were connected with major climate shifts. The mechanism was uncertain, but plausible candidates emerged.

    The next crucial question was whether a rise in the Sun's activity could explain the global warming seen in the 20th century? By the 1990s, there was a tentative answer: minor solar variations could indeed have been partly responsible for some past fluctuations ...

  12. .

    What this suggests, critically, is that sophisticated conservatives may be very different from unsophisticated or less-informed ones. Paradoxically, we would expect less informed conservatives to be easier to persuade, and more responsive to new and challenging information.


    The dangers of an informed opposition. This attitude is what drives the 'Gruber Principle' and much of the American education system.


    1. Deuce was obviously a 'less than well informed' conservative, as when his time came he fell for all this crap straight down like a meteor to hell.

      Idolizing Ayn Rand should have been the tip off.

  13. .

    What does CNN’s recent survey reveal? That for the first time in a decade, more Americans now have a favorable than an unfavorable view of George W. Bush. Viewed positively by only a third of Americans when he left office in 2009, Bush had improved to 46 percent/51 percent favorability/unfavorability a year ago. He’s now at 52/43.

    Now it’s of course true that 52 percent of Americans can be wrong. They were when they voted to reelect President Obama in 2012. But in this case, we think they’re saying something instructive. What they’re saying is that George W. Bush was—basically—right...

    Some people refuse or lack the ability to recognize the obvious.


    1. What they are recognizing is that Obama is truly all fucked up, and Bush looks damned good in comparison.

  14. .

    Who rises if Assad falls?

    That question, which has bedeviled U.S. experts on the Middle East, may need updating to read: Who rises when Assad falls? For the war is going badly for Bashar Assad, whose family has ruled Syria since Richard Nixon was president. Assad’s situation seems more imperiled than at any time in this four-year civil-sectarian war that has cost the lives of some 220,000 soldiers, rebels and civilians, and made refugees of millions more.

    Last month, ISIS captured Palmyra in central Syria, as it was taking Ramadi in Iraq. A coalition, at the heart of which is the al-Qaeda-linked Nusra Front, seized Idlib province in northern Syria and is moving toward the coast and Latakia.

    Half of Syria has been lost to ISIS, the Nusra front, and other jihadist and rebel groups. All of Syria’s border crossings with Iraq have been lost to ISIS. All of the border crossing with Turkey, excluding Kobani, have been lost to ISIS or rebels linked to al-Qaida. Syria’s border with Lebanon is becoming a war zone. Some 100 Russian military advisers are said to have pulled out of Syria, suggesting Vladimir Putin may be reconsidering Russia’s historic investment.

    Indicating the gravity of the situation, Syrian sources claim 7,000 to 10,000 foreign Shiite fighters, Iraqi and Iranian, have arrived to defend Damascus and launch an offensive to recapture Idlib. Israel’s deputy chief of staff, Gen. Yair Golan, who headed the Northern Command, was quoted this week, “The Syrian Army has, for all intents and purposes, ceased to exist.”

    Israeli sources report that Hassan Nasrallah, leader of Hezbollah, Assad’s indispensable ally, is warning that the real threats to the Shiites of Lebanon are ISIS and the Nusra Front. Fighting between Hezbollah and Syrian rebels is taking place along the Lebanese-Syrian border.

    Assad has been written off before, only to survive those who predicted his demise. But given the balance of forces and the way in which the tide of battle is turning, it is hard to see how his regime and army can long resist eventual collapse...


    1. I wonder if Papa Assad would have handled all this any better. (that is, stayed on top, in this context)

      I have a hunch he would have done 'better'.

      Though Sonny Assad has certainly been giving it the old college try.

    2. .

      When you are walking the edge something as common as a multi-year drought can push you over that edge.



    3. What is "a drought in SYRIA" ?

  15. .

    ISIS is attempting to infiltrate Kurdistan. Will they do it successfully?

    Islamic State infiltrates Iraqi Kurdistan


    1. Not if our traitor in the White House would give them the weapons they have been requesting for years now.

      But he won't.

      So they will, to a degree.

      But the Kurds are going to win in the end.

      Just like Israel.

      Because they are a coherent society.

    2. Coherent/incoherent society reference is taken an essay titled "Equilibrium in Society: Its Advantages and Disadvantages and How It Relates to Global Warming and the Universe at Large"

  16. Tariq Aziz has died.

    Let us all bow our heads in remembrance of this Christian piece of shit, and pray that he gets his.

    Giving up with a knock on his front door from US Troops, he was sentenced to death.

    Only the intervention of The Most Holy Vatican saved him from this fate.

    He rotted in jail for a number of years, then heart attacked outta here.

    H had lived high on the hog during all his earlier Christian years as Saddam's main spokesperson to the world.

    He did have an excellent command of English.

    1. If you believe that Christ died for Tariq's sins, you are out of your mind.

      In addition to affirming that the fine fellow Jesus was deep deep into wasting his all too short time.

  17. Whoooa, hoss -

    I don't have the courage to read this article-

    Sister: Brother had sexual relationship with Hastert............Drudge

    This is "I,Claudius" shit.

    Am I reading that the sister of Hastert is saying that Hastert was messing with their mutual brother, Noble Brother Hastert, and the Noble Brother has been trying to 'cash in' by blackmailing his brother on the old relationship?

    Them Hasterts !


    Why don't they just let it all hang out, like Bwarney Frank, when he was messing with pages, and that other turd from Massachusetts, who said: "I'm not a practicing queer, I'm good at it." ?

  18. David Brooks It’s time to separate Sunnis and Shiites in Iraq

    Hot Air

    He has arrived at the point that I, Miss T, and Joe Biden arrived at years and years ago.

    I think, David, they are separated already.

    1. .

      David Brooks is a nitwit.

      David Brooks: "President Obama Has Run An Amazingly Scandal-Free Administration"; "He's Chosen People Who've Been Scandal-Free".


    2. A NITWIT, Gentle Readers, is the worst thing one can possibly call another.

    3. I'm still laughing about that 'Guam Tipping' Video.

      "To your point, it IS a small island" says the General !!

      Sent that along to OGF for comment.

    4. Tipping over ?

      "We don't anticipate that" says the General.

      hoot hoot hoot

  19. The United States lost 463,000 Private Sector Jobs under G.W. Bush.

    We are on pace To Gain 12,856,000 Private Sector Jobs under Obama.

    So, Who Is Really "Truly Fucked Up?

    1. Bush, however, did create 1,744,000 Gubmint Jobs.

      Obama, of course, is on course to do away with 592,000 of those.

      Tell me, again, who Was the "Big Government, Socialist Asshole?"