NC Media Watch

A quest for reason and accuracy in letters to the editor, guest editorials and other issues of interest to the citizens of Western Nevada County.

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Global Warming Update: Katrina political exploitation

This is an update to the Republicans caused Katrina post below?

James K. Glassman on Katrina and Disgusting Exploitation, here.

Patrick J. Michaels on Global Warming Blows—Or Does It? There's no shame in good hurricane science, here

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Cindy is almost done is about to abandon Cindy. Polls show she is not getting any traction. Details at Power Line here.

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The Republicans caused Katrina?

Robert F. Kennedy in a Huff Post
Well, the science is clear. This month, a study published in the journal Nature by a renowned MIT climatologist linked the increasing prevalence of destructive hurricanes to human-induced global warming.

Now we are all learning what it’s like to reap the whirlwind of fossil fuel dependence which Barbour and his cronies have encouraged. Our destructive addiction has given us a catastrophic war in the Middle East and--now--Katrina is giving our nation a glimpse of the climate chaos we are bequeathing our children.
Rush was right, the left will try to blame this disaster on Bush and the Republicans. The wackey left never passes up an opportunity to make political hay, while the flood waters are rising.

In the posts below I have identified the experts who say there is no connection between Kartina and global warming. Kennedy did not share the name of the scientist claiming human-induced global warming is causing more destructive hurricanes, so we could check the facts.

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Tomorrow's forecast: Hysterical

Data fail to back up claims weather is getting worse, says Tad Murty. Tad Murty is a former senior research scientist with Fisheries and Oceans Canada and director of Australia's National Tidal Facility, is an adjunct professor in civil engineering at the University of Ottawa.
Yes, many computer models tell a different story. But after being associated with such simulations for the past 45 years, I have little faith in their predictions. With a very slight tweaking of one single parameter (low cloud amount) in the model, forecasts can change abruptly from global warming to an ice age. Before coming to any conclusions about extreme weather trends, we must examine measurements of what is really happening.

Hurricanes, or "severe cyclones" as they are referred to in India, can be especially devastating. I have examined some 20 different atmospheric and oceanographic parameters associated with hurricanes around the globe using all available historical data up to the end of 2004. Not a single record was set after October 1979.

The two basins in the world most impacted by hurricanes are the Bay of Bengal in South Asia and the Gulf of Mexico. Since 1995, there has been an increase in the annual number of tropical cyclones in the Gulf of Mexico. However, no new records have been set and nothing that cannot be attributed to natural variability is happening.
Full Toronto Star article here.

Once again, how can we use models to predict the global tempertures 50 to 100 years from now, when we cannot get a reliable forecast for next week. Yet, California legislators are using weather modeling to justify greenhouse gas regulations that are going to cost us all billions of tax dollars, and slow our economy.

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Tuesday, August 30, 2005

More hurricanes caused by global warming?

Check out these charts, frequency of hurricanes hitting the US has declining since 1860.

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Global Warming Update: More junk science revealed

Another opportunity to learn about the missinformation being promoted by the UN IPCC on the impact of global warming, by Professor Paul Reiter, Institut Pasteur; Paris

The natural history of mosquito-borne diseases is complex, and the interplay of climate, ecology, mosquito biology, and many other factors defies simplistic analysis. The recent resurgence of many of these diseases is a major cause for concern, but it is facile to attribute this resurgence to climate change, or to use models based on temperature to "predict" future prevalence. In my opinion, the IPCC has done a disservice to society by relying on "experts" who have little or no knowledge of the subject, and allowing them to make authoritative pronouncements that are not based on sound science. In truth, the principal determinants of transmission of malaria and many other mosquito-borne diseases are politics, economics and human activities. A creative and organized application of resources is urgently required to control these diseases, regardless of future climate change.
Full report here. Emphasis added.

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A bigger problem than global warming

This is why junk science promoters will win
While scientific literacy has doubled over the past two decades, only 20 to 25 percent of Americans are "scientifically savvy and alert," he said in an interview. Most of the rest "don't have a clue." At a time when science permeates debates on everything from global warming to stem cell research, he said, people's inability to understand basic scientific concepts undermines their ability to take part in the democratic process.
Full story here.

Without understanding the underlying science of global warming and climate change, we have allowed our legislature to pass laws based on junk science. Laws that are going to have a sever impact on our local economy and personal wealth. It is to your benefit to learn enough basic science to know when the politicians and media are pushing junk science.

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Global Warming Update: Understanding the issues

Roger A. Pielke Sr, a leading climate scientist, has been in the news lately refuting a misleading article on global warming by the New York Times. In answering questions posed by the NYT reporter, Dr Pielke presents an excellent review of the issues. Global warming and climate change is too complex to prescribe warming to one specific gas - CO2. Read the full report here.

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Monday, August 29, 2005

A spontaneous well rehearsed Cindy Sheehan

Multiple letters in The Union have praised Cindy Sheehan and her work at Camp Casey. Here is a different perspective from Curt Lostus, a Power Line Reader who writes “From the Belly of the Beast.” (Via Power Line)

Reader Curt Loftis spent two days in Crawford, Texas, carrying out a first-hand reconnaissance of the anti-American forces assembled there. He writes:

I arrived at the original Camp Casey at 2:30 in the afternoon. It was hot and dry and the assembled demonstrators were in a melancholy state. I quickly made friends, stressing “cocktail” conversation, not political discussion. My goal was not confrontation, but a desire to understand what was actually happening here in Crawford…and being incognito was the only way this would happen.

After bonding with several nice ladies from the central coast of California, I drove with these new buddies to the larger, tented camp where Ms. Sheehan and Company was to be found. There I found a well funded, well orchestrated public relations campaign, run by media professionals complete with the highest quality electronic equipment available. From Satellite trucks and cell phone to wireless computer access, every modern convenience to enhance the “message” was there…and being used by left wing, socialist and Marxist (self-described) media representatives and Bloggers.

Most of the Sheehan protesters were either professional (paid staff of Fenton Communications or the radical organization Code Pink or the like), or were long time protesters, some admitting to beginning vigils against the government as early as 1965. I had conversations with approximately 50 of these people over 48 hours, and all seemed like interesting and engaging people. We talked sports, and cars and how wonderful California is, and just about everything that could be discussed without my divulging that I am a conservative. But when “scratched” just a little with some mild political talk, they all responded the same way…”it is America's fault”. No matter what the issue, each and every one of them had the same default…”bad things are America’s fault”.

Toward the end of my time there, I decided to innocently toss into the conversation different issues just to elicit a response. One issue I politely deposited into our talks was of the peasant unrest in rural China, and the brutality shown to the peasants by the government and their hired thugs. There response to this problem was…”well, look how we treated the blacks in America”, or, “gays are being beaten every day in America”.

So the cliché of the “hate America” crowd is indeed true. It is as if the protesters were intellectually bulimic, and having ingested all of the hate America bile, they looked forward to regurgitating it as a show of their steadfastness to their cause of peace and love.
Cindy Sheehan spent most of her time huddled with VIPS in and air-conditioned trailer. When she ventured out it was for a scripted and often televised moment. She was always trailed by her media people, and they were quick to keep her on point. During one conversation I had with her I tried to ask her a pointed question about how much time she would actually be on the bus tour to Washington (I had discovered she would only be on the tour for two days, and would be away giving speeches during the rest of the trip…and I wondered if she were being paid for these speeches) Her media person grabbed her arm and led her back to the trailer, and away from me. The message was protected. I was left standing there…alone, and feeling a little less secure about my status at Camp Casey.

But just a few minutes later, she emerged from the trailer, smiling, and performing for the cameras. Like the chicken at the local carnival that plays tic tac toe, she eagerly performs for any microphone. She is relentless, and professional, well financed and on message.

And the message is “All things bad are America’s fault."
Posted by John at 07:44 PM

UPDATE: Byron York at Natonal Review Online has some more insight in to who is running Camp Casey, In Sheehan's Radical Strategist

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Another view on fuel savings

Be sure to check out the graph in this article by James Glassman at Tech Central Station. The more efficient our vehicles become, the more we use them. Note that fuel efficiency has increased since the 1970s. We are just driving more.

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Another peak oil scare

Tem Tarriktar, in another peak oil scare in "When the oil crisis hits home," August 29, 2005
The mainstream media, which, amazingly, has barely reported the imminent peak of global oil production (or "peak oil"), is just now beginning to follow the lead of Chevron in admitting that we may be in a serious bind before long. The main reason the cash-flush oil companies aren't building more gasoline refineries in the U.S. - despite having virtually no spare refining capacity - is that they know there is not enough easily extractable oil remaining to make for a decent return on their investment.

This from a Federal Trade Commission report on the proposed merger of Valero Energy Corporation and Ultramar Diamond Shamrock Corporation
Entry [new refining capacity] is difficult and would not be timely, likely, or sufficient to prevent anticompetitive effects arising from the proposed merger. Building a new refinery is extremely unlikely due to the severe environmental constraints and substantial sunk costs. Imports of CARB gasoline from outside California are unlikely because of substantial import barriers, including (1) geographic isolation from potential outside sources; (2) cost and difficulty of producing CARB gasoline; (3) lack of potential customers because of the extensive integration of refining and marketing that has eliminated most independent gasoline marketers and retailers; and (4) price risk stemming from spot market volatility in Northern California.
In other words are we are screwed. We have no excess refining capacity, we can not import CARB approved gas from out of the state, and environmentalist will not allow us to build any new capacity.

From the National Center for Policy Analysis:

No new refineries have been built in the U.S. in the past 25 years. And petroleum industry experts say anyone would have to be crazy to launch such an effort -- even though present refineries are running at nearly 100 percent of capacity and local gasoline shortages are beginning to crop up.

Why does the industry appear to have built its last refinery? Three reasons: refineries are not particularly profitable, environmentalists fight planning and construction every step of the way and government red-tape makes the task all but impossible.

* The last refinery built in the U.S. was in Garyville, La., and it started up in 1976.

* After Hampton Roads Energy Corp. proposed building a refinery near Portsmouth, Va., in the late 1970s, environmental groups and local residents fought the plan -- and it took almost nine years of battles in court and before federal and state regulators before the company canceled the project in 1984.

* Industry officials estimate the cost of building a new refinery at between $2 billion and $4 billion -- at a time the industry must devote close to $20 billion over the next decade to reducing the sulfur content in gasoline and other fuels -- and approval could mean having to collect up to 800 different permits.

* As if those hurdles weren't enough, the industry's long-term rate of return on capital is just 5 percent -- less than could be realized by simply buying U.S. Treasury bonds.

"I'm sure that at some point in the last 20 years someone has considered building a new refinery," says James Halloran, an energy analyst with National City Corp. "But they quickly came to their senses," he adds.

Analysts tell us a few new big refineries could produce enough extra gasoline to make a dent in prices. Especially refineries of heavy crude, which is cheaper than light crude. Two thirds of the US refining capacity is built to process light crude. Heavy crude is harder and more expensive to refine than "light" crude, but it's is $10 to $20 a barrel cheaper, and there are millions of barrels for sale. When “peak oilers” talk about a peak, they are referring to light crude, not heavy oil, tar sands oil, or oil shale which are all heavy crude. California lacks the refining capacity to take advantage of these heavy crude resources. It takes 15 years to just get past the environmental hurdles, at a huge cost, before construction can start.

I agree, oil companies are not willing to invest in new California refineries. The risk is too high due to CARB regulations, and environmental opposition, not because we are running out of oil. This is a problem of our own creation. Returning to 19th Century agrarian economy is not the solution.

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Sunday, August 28, 2005

Hockey stick argument discussion

The MBH98 Debate for Dummies by Ray Soper is included in his post on Climate Audit. Tou have to scroll down to the comments. However, I wanted to highlightSoper's summary and discussion with some bold highlights, so it is included below. Sorry for the long post. Remember it is your tax dollars that the California Legislature is using to promote solutions to junk science problems.

Ray Roper:
I am doing the best that my limited capacities allow to try to keep up with the fascinating debate on these pages. Would you mind if I try to summarise the Bristlecone issue in simple terms for fellow lay readers? Maybe there is a simple summary somewhere on this site. If so, I have missed it.

1. MBH proposition is that the thickness of the annual rings on living and fossil Bristlecone pine trunks over the past 1000 years is a proxy for temperature.

2. The rings thickened during the 20th century thus “proving” that temperatures were warmer than the previous 9 centuries.

3. The “proven” rise in temperature correlates with rising CO2 levels and is therefore caused by the rising CO2 levels.

4. The rising CO2 levels are due entirely to man’s activities in burning fossil fuels.

5. The conclusion from this chain of “logic” is that if the world population wants to stop temperatures rising by perhaps 5-6 deg C over this century, we have to work together to get CO2 levels back down, and temperatures will follow.

The opponents argue:

1. That on available data released by MBH there are clearly errors and anomalies in how MBH drew their conclusions. MBH are not exactly being helpful in tracking these errors and anomalies down, and correcting them.

2. There may be factors other than temperature that correlate with, and perhaps drive, the thickness of the Bristlecone pine annual rings. These include differences in water-use efficiency that may have caused more growth in the 20th century. They could also include CO2 fertilisation due to the increased levels of CO2 in the atmosphere.

3. It is not demonstrated that temperatures are in fact rising. There are significant difficulties in measuring the temperature of a large complex system such as earth, where there are many heterogeneous process going on. This is especially true when we try to gauge average temperatures going back centuries.

4. It is not demonstrated that even if temperatures are rising, that they correlate with or in any way are caused by rising CO2 levels. It is much more likely that temperature fluctuations correlate most closely with solar activity.

5. It is also not demonstrated that the rising CO2 levels (at least that much seems to be not controversial) are caused by man’s activity. We don’t even seem to know how much of the rising CO2 levels are accounted for by man’s activity. There are natural sources of CO2 that can make a significant impact - bush fires, volcanoes etc. There are also natural systems that regulate CO2 levels including absorption by the ocean and forests, and we understand little about these systems.

6. It is not demonstrated that reducing anthropogenic CO2 emissions will reverse rising CO2 levels.

7. It is not demonstrated that lowering CO2 levels will in any case lead to a global cooling. There are clearly many questions involved that require rigorous gathering of data, and rigorous application of scientific method and sound scientific practice. Given that the Kyoto proponents are proposing the expenditure of trillions of dollars and the disruption of whole communities, and even whole economies, it is incumbent on all to adhere to the highest standards of objective science to ensure a) that we understand what is going on and b) are choosing the right course. Joe Barton is merely being a responsible custodian of public moneys in asking the questions that he is. It is also incumbent on all to avoid the temptation to resort to sloganeering propaganda such as “the consensus of scientists” (never supported by numbers, and demonstrably wrong) agree (science was never decided by opinion polls - ask Copernicus!) that global warming is occurring, that it is caused by rising CO2 levels, that the rising CO2 levels are caused by man’s activities, and that if we want to stop temperatures rising, we must find a way to bring CO2 levels back down again.

We need the leading journals in the field to demonstrate their understanding of the issues, and their commitment to truth and sound scientific practice. Unfortunately, many of those journals seem to have lost their way and forgotten that their main role is to educate the wider public on matters scientific.

Comments on this post by Ross McKitrick:
Re #3: Points 1-7 stake out more territory than is argued by Steve and I in our papers. The specific point in this thread, which relates to the discussion at large on this site, is that the hockey stick graph is an incompetent representation of world climate history. The hockey stick matters because of its dominant role in IPCC Reports, as well as many other continuing citations (see the ‘Spot the Hockey Stick’ thread on this site for more examples). The methodology of Mann et al was not properly disclosed in their papers: it contained an algebraic tweak that heavily favours hockey stick shapes. It loaded heavy weighting on the bristlecone pine series, overstated the bristlecones’ explanatory power for the temperature data and overstated the overall statistical significance of the results. The hockey stick data base looks large but most of it is just for show: the bristlecones determine the shape and the appearance of statistical power (the Gaspe cedar series enhances the effect). Remove them from the data base and the famous results collapse. Even if the bristlecones were temperature proxies this would inicate the fundamental weakness of the hockey stick: the fact that the bristlecones do not even constitute a temperature proxy renders the graph worthless.

At that point, the fact that these problems were never discerned by the publishing journals during peer review, nor by the paleoclimate community itself in follow-up analysis over 7 years, nor by the IPCC, government ministries and other high-level authorities before they grabbed the hockey stick graph and began promoting a policy agenda with it; puts all sorts of other questions on the table. If they got this argument that wrong, how do we know they didn’t get their other arguments wrong too? What exactly is the level of due diligence being applied to climate studies and assessment reports that now loom so large over the world’s energy policy agenda?

So questions 1-7, and many others, do follow on from this episode, beyond the specific issues arising from Steve’s and my papers.

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Public transportation users left to drown?

One of the down sides of relying on public transportation is no transportation in an emergency evacuation. New Orleans has hundreds of thousands who rely on public transportation and have no way to escape Katrina's flooding. The storm surge is projected to flood the city above the second floor. When the manditory evacuation was announced all the rental car were gone, no more seats on out bound flights we available, all busses are on one way trips out. Many will be left behind in overcrowed shelters for 5 or more days. I predict this will be huge disaster for the proponents of public transportation. The system will clearly fail the people of New Orleans in this disaster.

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Saturday, August 27, 2005

Incentives or punitive regulations (Edited)

The Union editorial staff, New energy bill provides little relief for drivers, August 27, 2005
It's been 19 days since President Bush signed the energy bill into a law that provides $14.5 billion in tax breaks to corporations. Since then, gasoline prices have climbed an average of 15 cents per gallon in the state.
The government only has two options, punitive regulations or incentives. Would the editorial board have preferred more punitive regulations? Regulations that drive up the cost to produce a product, like requiring different gas blends in different communities in California, requiring producers to modify their refineries for every batch. Details on boutique gas here. Maybe, regulations demanding additives be added to the fuel, then allow environmentalist to sue corporations for using the additive. Maybe the editorial board would like more regulations, that make it even harder to build refineries. The current rules have stopped refinery building for the last 20 years, more punitive rules could extend that to 40 years. Our refining capacity is at 98 percent, if we can get some more punitive rules in place, we can make it 100 percent, with a 110 percent demand due to population growth, then watch fuel prices climb.

Pat Butler was telling us about the lower prices in the Mid West. Perhaps he could look at the regulatory environment in the Mid West, and draw some parallels. It is hard to build a $120,000 house in California, when the first $60,000 goes to government fees. Gas prices are lower in states with fewer regulations. Think about it!
Since that time [1970], our lawmakers, many of whom receive generous campaign contributions from oil companies, have stayed the course with a one-dimensional energy policy that relies almost entirely on fossil fuels. That policy has left us dependent on the Middle East and other countries to meet our growing appetite for oil.
Oil companies are public corporations, they are owned by stock holder. Over 65 percent of US family own stocks. So, where will the oil come from, if not from the Middle East. We refuse to drill in our own back yard.
Unfortunately, the energy bill doesn't really provide incentives for conservation.
Conservation is an individual decision. Even with the current fuel prices, people keep buying SUVs and big pickup trucks. Why, because fuel is a smaller segment of the family budget today than is was in the 1980s. When adjusted for inflation, fuel prices are lower today than in the 1980s.
We need to drive less, walk more, demand vehicles that get better gas mileage and insist that alternative energies be developed and quickly. In the meantime, if you continue driving large, gas-guzzling vehicles, you are endorsing an energy policy that leaves this nation vulnerable to circumstances that are beyond our control and could propel gasoline prices to crippling levels.
Some good advice, but we also need to pay more attention to the punitive regulations that incrementally drive up the costs of homes, products, and yes gas. One example is the California greenhouse gas regulations, that are based on emotional reactions to global warming junk science. We allow our regulators to make punitive regulations based on bad science, then complain about the results. We deserve what we get. Higher prices on all products, including energy.

UPDATE: A google search found this information about percent of personal consumption that goes to energy purhases:
Energy consumption “rose from about 6% of PCE in 1970 to about 9% in 1980. From 1980 to 2000 it fell to close to 4%. since 2000 it has rebounded to just under 6%”.
So you can see we are spending less of our personal income on fuel now than in the 1980s, but it could soon be equal to the 1980s, real soon now!

More details can be found here and here.

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Friday, August 26, 2005

Listen up Cindy

I struggled to find the right words for Cindy Sheehan, but I could never equal this eloquent and and thought provoking draft letter, that Scott Ott wrote for President Bush’s consideration. Link (here.)

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Bush attackers gets it wrong again

Syd M. Hall, gets it’s it wrong again in "Time for an attack?", August 26, 2005
And, please recall that on the day after 9/11, when all planes were grounded, the only exception was the flight that took members of the bin Lauden family back to Iraq. Look it up, if you've forgotten.
Yes look it up, and read the 9/11 Commission report pages 329 and 330, and pages 556 through 558 footnotes.

In summary:

1) Every flight carrying Bin Laden family members occurred after US air space reopened on 9/13/2001.

2) Nobody at White House above the level of Richard Clark participated in a decision on the departure of Saudi Nationals, including bin Laden members.

3) At Richard Clark's request, the FBI approved the departure of each and every Saudi National. The FBI knew who these people were and that they were not involved in terrorism.

4) Nothing has been learned to connect any bin Laden members on the flight to the 9/11 attacks in any way.

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Thursday, August 25, 2005

More Faulty thinking (Corrected)

Michael Schwalm, "Greed drives U.S. energy policy," August 25, 2005

Once again, we are treated to an imaginative rant against the Bush administration by Mr Schwalm which contains some flawed thinking.
Every Congress and president since Carter has called for American energy independence, but it never happens.
One reason it never happens is that we have billion of barrels of oil off the Coast of California, Florida, and in Alaska, but environmentalist insist we must not drill for this oil. We have not build a refinery in the US in twenty years, again due to environmental opposition.
The mileage standards for our vehicles have declined during the last five years.
Yes, the average CAFE standards have declined, as the buying public bought light trucks and SUVs, rather than super efficient light weight hybrids. The public has the option of buying more fuel efficient vehicles, but they chose the larger SAFER vehicles. Buying a hybrid does not guarrentee fuel savings, more (here.)
The proven technology (hybrid) exists to increase the fuel efficiency of our entire transportation system (cars, buses, trains, and trucks) by 35 percent without sacrificing luxury or cost per mile.
Really? Hybrids required batteries that can be charged by the gas or diesel engines, this comes a cost in load carrying capacity. To gain fuel efficiency, hybrid vehicles must be small and lighter. Creating lighter trains and cross county trucks, will reduce the load carrying capacity, requiring more trains and trucks to carry the same amount of freight. End results, more trucks on the road, more trains on the tracks, and no fuel saving. Schwalm’s argument just does not hold up.
There are other proven technologies that are even more efficient than hybrids.
Really? Perhaps Mr Schwalm could tell us what that technology is? Hydrogen vehicles?
It requires more energy to produce hydrogen than it can provide for transportation. Where does this extra energy come from to produce the needed hydrogen? Also, mountain communities do not buy propane buses, because they lack the oomph in the hills. Hydrogen vehicles will suffer the same problem, not enough oomph.

I love answering Mr Schwalm lightly thought out Other Voices, and look forward to them each month.

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Economic Development: Idaho-Maryland Mine

Ellen and I toured the Idaho-Maryland Mining Corp facility at Clydesdale Court yesterday. Following the short tour we joined the staff, and some community leaders, for a hamburger lunch. It was an opportunity for us to ask question about the mine project and its ceramic manufacturing facility to assess its economic and environmental impact on the community.

We are convinced the mine will have a long term positive impact on our local economy, with 400 manufacturing and resource extraction jobs that cannot be sent offshore. These jobs will become more important to our local economy as globalization captures more of our electronic manufacturing sector. It will become harder and harder for city and county administrators to meet infrastructure needs, when the only tax revenues are from service and tourist generated sales taxes, as manufacturing goes offshore.

If you have questions, the staff and managers are hold a workshop on opening the Idaho-Maryland Mine for the public at the L.O.V.E. Building in Condon Park on August 30, 2005. The workshop presentations will be repeated four times: 2:30pm, 5:00pm, 6:30pm, and 9:00pm. For more details you can call Pat Nelson at 271-0679. Or, visit their web site by clicking (here.)

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Wednesday, August 24, 2005

GW Update: Hurricane expert does not support

In the latest issue of Discovery Magazine, Meteorologist William Gray, reported to be the world leading expert in hurricane prediction, takes a dim view of global warming theories. He reports 50 of his colleagues have similar views. Full story (here.)

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NYT Cannot get climate facts straight

If you want a clear example of how the main stream press distorts our understanding of global warming, see Roger Pielke’s response to his reported resignation from a committee studying climate change in the New York Times.
Open Comment to Andy Revkin with Respect to your 23 August 2005 Article in the New York Times Regarding my Resignation from the CCSP Committee, (here.)
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It was the sun, yea the sun, not SUVs

China study points to the sun as climate change forcing factor, details (here.)
Therefore, the driving force of Holocene temperature variations should be properly ascribed to solar activity.The spectrum analysis further illustrates that quasi-100-yr fluctuation of solar activity was probably responsible for temperature variations in northeast Qinghai–Tibet plateau during the past 6000 years."
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GW Update: MORE on correlation is not causation

The McCain/Clinton Surreal View of Global Warming
Well, of course, "something's going on," but the important questions are What? and Why? McCain and Clinton say that the what is unprecedented global warming and that the why is because of anthropogenic CO2 emissions from the burning of fossil fuels. To our way of thinking, however, real-world data far outrank anecdotes and stories when it comes to answering these key questions; and when the former are employed, some vastly different answers are obtained.
CO2 Science points to the scientific facts.

Artic temperature actually cooled when CO2 concentation increases were highest.

During the twenty years of highest artic temperture increase, 1917 to 1939, CO2 only rose 8-ppm

Between 1920 and 1930, when the atmosphere's CO2 concentration rose by a mere 3 to 4 ppm, there was a phenomenal warming at all five coastal locations for which contemporary temperature records are available in Greenland, the increase was 2-4 degrees C.

Please read the whole analysis (here) to understand how the native stories do not match up with the real science, there is little correlation between CO2 and artic temperture changes.

Keith Sherwood and Craig Idso who operate CO2 Science note:
Interestingly, these observations lead us to actually agree with some of Senator Clinton's statements on the subject, such as "I don't think there is any doubt left for anyone who actually looks at the science," which she was quoted by Joling as saying, as well as "the science is overwhelming." Unfortunately, what she and Senator McCain call science is something radically different from what we call science. Also, we find we agree with Clinton when she says that some people "just keep saying something no matter how untrue and unfactual it might be, over and over and over again, and try to drive the politics to meet [their] ideological or commercial agenda." However, we feel that this astute observation better fits her and Senator McCain than the people to whom she directs it. Surely you must too, if you put more credence in real-world data than in anecdotes and stories.

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Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Putting combat losses in context

John Hinderaker at Power Line has some thoughts on casualities in time of war and peace.
Even in peacetime. The media's breathless tabulation of casualties in Iraq--now, over 1,800 deaths--is generally devoid of context. Here's some context: between 1983 and 1996, 18,006 American military personnel died accidentally in the service of their country. That death rate of 1,286 per year exceeds the rate of combat deaths in Iraq by a ratio of nearly two to one.

That's right: all through the years when hardly anyone was paying attention, soldiers, sailors and Marines were dying in accidents, training and otherwise, at nearly twice the rate of combat deaths in Iraq from the start of the war in 2003 to the present. Somehow, though, when there was no political hay to be made, I don't recall any great outcry, or gleeful reporting, or erecting of crosses in the President's home town. In fact, I'll offer a free six-pack to the first person who can find evidence that any liberal expressed concern--any concern--about the 18,006 American service members who died accidentally in service of their country from 1983 to 1996.

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GW Update: correlation is not causation

Four US Senators went to Alaska, talked to the natives and now they are climate experts. So Investor’s has some questions for the Senators, do they know the difference between correlation and causation? Do you?
We'd like to know, of all the warming periods throughout Earth's history, why is the current warming the only one due to man's actions? Is it because man is putting more greenhouse gases in the atmosphere than ever before?

If that's the basis for all the shrieking about forcing us to cut greenhouse gas emissions, then someone needs to explain the difference between correlation and causation to those who should, and likely do, know better.

Correlating data, such as a warming pattern that coincides with increased industrial activity and the growth of automobile travel, might imply causation. But as any scientist will tell you, correlation is not causation.

More (here.)

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Iraq is not Viet Nam

William Larsen in “Publisher a plus” puts words in publisher’s mouth, August 23, 2005
After years of observing how the Iraq war has failed, and endangered the American people (and entire planet), Jeff has come to recognize that the war is not only unwinnable but historically and morally unjustified
Tell me again how the Iraq war failed? Because the press said it has failed? Have the 50,000 free Iraq people declared democracy a failure? Even the Sunni are registering to vote, they now get the message. Votes count.

How has the Iraq war endangered the entire planet? The terroist were attacking our ships, embassies, and New York office buildings long before the US military captured Iraq.

This is not Viet Nam, which was a national conflict. The majority of the insurgents are not natives of Iraq, but islamic terrorist from surrounding countries. They have no nationalistic ties, only a fear of democractic freedom. It is only like Viet Nam, in that the political left declares it to be. Where have I gone wrong?

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Let's hear more from the middle

Chip Carman recognizes the middle in "Funerals and protests,"August 23, 2005
The answers to the questions really do not matter. But asking the questions do. The greatest harm to our community, our nation, is clinging to "our side," or unquestionably following the rhetoric of either "side," or the silent majority ignorantly enjoying our present wealth and peace. And those at neither event (myself included), but interactive with both "sides" in daily life and conversations, you deserve a salute, and a blessing.
We often hear from both sides at the extreme edge on community issues in Union letters to the editor, in the monthly Republic, Yubanet web site, and blogs like this one. It is often hard to tell where those who sit between the left and the right stand on issues. While Chip thinks the middle “deserve a salute” for getting along with both sides, I think it would be better if heard more from this passive middle group. Letting the loudest voice prevail, will never bring a satisfactory solution.

This web log has a right leaning slant. However we welcome dialog from both sides of issues, especially with an emphasis on the facts. If we can all recognize the facts surrounding issues, then we can get a clearer view of community problems and craft some reasonable solutions. When the facts are in dispute, let's debate the supporting evidence and resolve the issue.

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Monday, August 22, 2005

Why leave now?

Shirley Porter thinks "Now is the time to leave Iraq," August 22, 2005
On Aug. 17, my husband and I joined 300 or more people on lower Broad Street in Nevada City in support of Cindy Sheehan's efforts toward peace in Iraq. More and more people around the country are waking up to the dreadful mistake of going to war in the first place.

Please support this growing effort in whatever way that you can to show President Bush that it is time to get out now.
Yes, this would be a great time to leave acording to the left. The Iraq constitution is in the final stages and the national election is on schedule. If we leave now, Sheehan and her fellow travelers, can say, we defeated Bush.

What would we achieve by leaving now? Turn Iraq over to the militant terrorists, provide them with oil money, to continue their world wide campaign to eliminate infidels, like Shirley Porter. She is incapable of looking beyond Iraq to the larger global war on terror.

We will soon see a huge backlash against, Cindy Sheehan an ardent anti-war activist long before her son was killed in Iraq.

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Peak Oil Update: Freakonomics on oil and sharks

Economic will pay a major role in soltuions to peak oil. Steve Levitt at the Freakonomics blog has some interesting views.
So why do I compare peak oil to shark attacks? It is because shark attacks mostly stay about constant, but fear of them goes up sharply when the media decides to report on them. The same thing, I bet, will now happen with peak oil. I expect tons of copycat journalism stoking the fears of consumers about oil induced catastrophe, even though nothing fundamental has changed in the oil outlook in the last decade.
Be aware of the copycat journalism, on multiple issues.

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Sunday, August 21, 2005

Travel Day, more tomorrow

We are returning to California on Sunday and Monday. Will restart serious blogging on Tuesday Morning. Might get some in late Monday night.

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Saturday, August 20, 2005

Somthing new?

Clive Bowden, "What's going on?", August 19, 2005
Is there nothing new under the sun?
We are waiting, for the Democrats leadership to stop attacking Bush and come up with some solutions. What are are the alternatives? Let's hear the new solutions.

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Friday, August 19, 2005

A good idea

Deborah Russell in "Join our party,"August 17, 2005
Mr. Holmes, you don't have a chance of winning the Republican nomination. As a former Republican myself, I can tell you that your party went off the deep end long ago and is now in the hands of right-wing extremists. Please give serious consideration to joining us Democrats. We could use you.
Wow, another recruit for the Democratic Party! Yes, Mr. Holms, please join the Democratic party, a party on the road into oblivion. Look at the Democratic leadership and listen to their wackey comments on the national news. Any doubt?

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Thursday, August 18, 2005

Broken promises

I promised more this morning, but The Unions server is not cooperating. All I get is wait, wait, and more wait. It is time for the Union to upgrade their server, if they are going to have reliable online access. This has been going on for weeks. How about other users? Are you having access problems?

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Energy Update

Methane gas stored in the artic and ocean offer future energy sources. See report (here.)

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More on the Little Blue Pamphlet

Becky Trout writes "Former DA blasts Crestview interchange," August 17, 2005
At first, it was mysterious — a little blue pamphlet that popped up in mailboxes, appeared at public meetings.

“Your public money going to private interests,” it exclaimed. “Taking homes by eminent domain for private projects, using public money needed for existing problems to make it easier for developers to profit at taxpayer expense.”

The issue? The Crestview Drive interchange — a $55 million link-up with Highway 49 proposed south of Grass Valley. The freeway-style crossing is proposed to handle traffic from potential developments such as SouthHill Village and North Star, which together include about 2,500 homes.
When I received my copy of the “little blue pamphlet” I was a bit suprized to find our former DA was defending private property right. He had been a major critic of Measure D, designed to protect Nevada County property owners from government takings in the 2000 election. Humm. . . was my response

The “little blue pamphlet” also appeared to benefit the Phil Carvel’s Loma Rica development, since it promoted the Dorsey Drive interchange, over the interchanges needed to make the North Star and SouthHill developments viable. Again my response was hummm. . . . Then I wondered, could Mr. Carvel have hired the former DA to write and publish the “little blue pamphlet?” Who paid for the printing? Who paid for the mailing. Did the former DA take it out of his own pocket, if so why? Does he feel that strongly?

Do you have any answers?

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Adult choices

Barbara Larsen looks for "Answers deserved," with faulty arguments, August 17, 2005
Cindy Sheehan's 24-year-old son, Casey, an Army specialist, was killed in Baghdad in April, 2004. Ms. Sheehan is now camping outside President Bush's Texas ranch, promising to remain there until he agrees to talk with her face-to-face. She told reporters, "He said my son died in a noble cause, and I want to ask him what that noble cause is." She particularly wants to know why, if the cause is noble, he doesn't send his daughters to fight.
Casey was an Army volunteer, he was an adult capable of making choices with out his mothers permission. When he signed up, he agreed to the risk of a deployment. His mother is diminishing his commitment to the Army. The Bush daughters are adults, with minds of their own, and are free to choose to serve, or not to sever. More to the point, would Cindy Sheehan, and her supporters, change their minds if the Bush twins did sign up? I doubt it? There would always be claims of being given easy duty, unless on Striker patrols and woman are not given combat roles. Look what happened to poor Al Gore in Viet Nam, he was a behind the lines news reporter, with a body guard. Would Cindy Sheehan be happy if the Bush daughters were bomber pilots at 35,000 feet? I doubt it.

Freeing 50 million people from a cruel dictator is a noble enough cause, for most military volunteers. Waging a world wide war on islamic terrorist, comes in a close second. Putting rogue nations on notice, is a more distant third.

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Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Travel Day, more tomorrow

We are back in Salmon, ID. More posting tomorrow.

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Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Tired of MSM's Negative news on Iraq

Tired of the bad news coming from Iraq? Check out Arthur Chrenkoff's Winds of Change for a second opinion. News you will not see on ABC, NBC or CBS, nor read in the New York Times or the Sac Bee. The Marines will not quit, the terroist are counting on the main stream media to convince you that we should bring the Marines home. They are being aided by the main stream press. You will get a more balance view by reading the military blogs.

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Damn, the Great Falls are dammed

We came to Great Falls Montana, expecting to see the the Great Falls of the Missouri, instead we found dribbles leaking from power house dams, with scummy mats of algae in the pools below the dams. Our best view of the Great Fall was in the Charles M. Russell Museum, in a painting by Charles Fritz, "The Great Falls." Fritz’s oil painting depicted the falls as Lewis and Clark might have seen them in the summer of 1805. While the Great Falls were a disappointment, the Lewis and Clark Interpretative Center and the Russell Museum were superb, well worth a four day side trip to Montana. Fritz spent the last six years visiting sites along the Lewis and Clark Trail, at the same time of the year the Corps of Discovery was moving along the rivers and over the mountain trails, painting the scenes described in the Corps’ journals. This exhibit will be moving about the county, and is worth your time if you have any interest in Lewis and Clark. Link to Fritz web site (here.)

Global Warming Update: No consensus

Roger A. Pielke Sr, Professor and State Climatologist, Department of Atmospheric Science, Colorado State University Fort Collins, resigns from the U.S. Climate Change Science Program over the NY Time, article, “Errors Cited in Assessing Climate”. According to Dr Pielke: “I do not question the scencerity of those on the Committee, nor their expertise in their specific scientific discipline. However, they, inappropriately, vigorously discourage the inclusion of the diversity of perspectives on the topic of the CCSP report in order to promote a narrowly focused topic which has a clear political agenda.” [Emphasis added] Full story (here.)

A political agenda that is stealing money from your wallet. Support Congressmen who are challenging the use of junk science to promote an environmentalist agenda to reduce economic growth in California and the nation.

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Monday, August 15, 2005

Small Town Patriots

Darrell and Betty Stiving write about Helping a soldier, August 15, 2005
We are extremely proud of our son, we are also proud we have compassionate people here in Nevada County who share our feelings. Patriotism is still alive and well in Nevada County. We would like to thank you for your generosity, God bless you!
As we travel the west to Salmon Idaho, we are finding patriotism in small towns every where, with signs and flags along the byways. In the Lemhi Valley, the opening ceremonies of Lewis and Clark Reenactment and Core of Discovery events was dedicated to veterans, especially Iraq vets; with native american songs, speeches, and the presentation of commemorative metals to all vets and widows of vets. It was an unexpected, yet very moving show of Idaho patriotism.

Following the stories in the Union, it was good to see Nevada County’s tribute to Adam Strain, a true patriot? Certainly a much better show than the antiwar circus in Crawford Texas.

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Sunday, August 14, 2005

Sunday Night: Still no Sat Online Union

Problems at the Union. I always look for Pat Butlers column and the Other Voices every Sat. But, no online version this weekend. I will catch up latter in the week.

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Saturday, August 13, 2005

No Online Union today

Nothing to review and comment on. I am hundreds of miles away from my mail box and the dead tree version of the Union. So, with no online version, I am without material to work with.

Hope you are all enjoying the fair. We are watching re-enactments of the Lewis and Clark Corp of Discovery in the Lemhi Valley, Idaho.

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Friday, August 12, 2005

Global Warming Update: Data refinement applies to tropics

A reader writes:
Hey, Mr. Steele, I don't like how the New York Times
gets all Monday morning quarterbacky and says these
Alabama scientists, like they're some hicks, botched
their global warming study.
Well, it is not a botched study. It is a refinement of existing set of studies. New information that make the study more accurate. You can find details here.

Look at the graph on Climate Audit, and you can see the modest changes. As you read the details, the changes only apply to the tropics. “There was virtually no impact of this error outside of the tropics.” The New York Times would like you to believe it applies every where.

All the data shows is we are having a gradual warming. It does not confirm that it is human caused global warming. Remember the sun is warming Mars, Neptune's moons and Pluto's atmosphere. So, how can humans be causing gradual warming on the other planets in the solar system and not on the Earth. We are all in the same solar system.

If you disagree, show me where I have gone astray.

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Thursday, August 11, 2005

War profits, lacks clarity

Patricia Black is worried about War profiteers, with our considering who really profits, August 10, 2005

I'm happy to provide clarity on the Iraq situation: money and power.

War is very lucrative for the few. The few run the show and make the profit, while the rest of us pay the costs.


We started this war, but we are not going to "win" it. We'll lose more the longer it goes on. But don't worry - Halliburton will profit in any case.

Ms. Black should consider this the next time she writes about the war in Iraq. Most defense companies, including Halliburton are owned by stock holders. Over 65 percent of familes in the United States invest in the stock market. Many of these stock holders, not all, share in defense company profits. Many benefit from second tier suppliers to defense companies, tire makers, metal suppliers and computer makers. Defense is a major sector of our economy. So, who is making these "huge war profits" -- share holders? Not, members of the administration, they have to give up investments or put them in blind trusts?

We will win, because there are not other alternatives to freedom worth having.

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Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Summers are getting sunnier in Oregon

University of Oregon study says sunnier Oregon summers reflect global warming
In sharp contrast to reports of increased global dimming, the study's researchers reported a 10 to 15 percent increase in solar radiation at sites in Burns, Hermiston and Eugene over the last 25 years, according to an initial analysis of data collected since 1979 by the university's Solar Radiation Monitoring Laboratory.
It is the sun, not CO2. Yet you are going to pay millions for the CO2
junk science being propagated at the state capitol.

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Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Letters to Editor post on The Union Blog

Comments on letters to the editor on the Union blog. What is your experience with letters to the editor? Let the Union know with a post on there blog, or comment here.

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Hitchen's questions for liberals not supporting the President

Christopher Hitchens has some questions for all liberal anti-war letter writers in the Union this week.
How can so many people watch this as if they were spectators, handicapping and rating the successes and failures from some imagined position of neutrality? Do they suppose that a defeat in Iraq would be a defeat only for the Bush administration? The United States is awash in human rights groups, feminist organizations, ecological foundations, and committees for the rights of minorities. How come there is not a huge voluntary effort to help and to publicize the efforts to find the hundreds of thousands of "missing" Iraqis, to support Iraqi women's battle against fundamentalists, to assist in the recuperation of the marsh Arab wetlands, and to underwrite the struggle of the Kurds, the largest stateless people in the Middle East
More (here).

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Important message

Jeff Ackerman, Union Publisher writes We must pay the price for our wars, 9 August 2005.

Pay attention folks, Jeff has an important message. Please read, and then act on the information.

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Wacko alert

Tommy Gleason writes that Roberts raises concerns, but I stopped reading after the first sentence, August 9, 2005
I just got done reading an e-mail from Move On pointing to the Washington Post's story on John Roberts (July 19).
Only left wing wackos read e-mails.

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Selective views of history

Claire Carsman writes on Atomic bombings, without checking her history book, August 9, 2005
Japan and Italy made unfortunate alliances with Germany. But Germany had been storing up and rehearsing its military forces since the Spanish Civil War. We should have been angry at the Nazis long before. Why weren't we? Instead of saving people from the Nazi regime, we chose to give them full reign. What did we watch for, and why did we wait?

Did we drop the atomic bomb on two cities, decimate innocent people living their lives, because we were angry at the Japanese?

Will the United States have to be remembered for having blood up to it's elbows?
Ms Carsman, get out your history book, and look up December 7th, 1941. You will find Japan attacked the United States at Pearl Harbor. We now know what our military leaders knew, from secert messages our code breakers could read. Japan’s military was not going to surrender, they had pledged to fight to the end, which would have killed many more that the two atom bombs, many US services men.

Do not forget, the American people rebuilt Japan.

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Monday, August 08, 2005

Union web page still having problems

Tried to catch up tonight, but still no News or Opinion data on the page. Web page is there, but no information.

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No online Union this morning

It is 8 am and the online version of The Union is still missing. I guess I will take the dog and hike out to the mailboxs and pick up the dead tree version.

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Global Warming Update: Memory hole

Junkscience has an interesting post this morning that gets more interesting with time.
Memory hole at As of August 3 RealClimate was hosting a guest commentary by Raimund Muscheler "Did the Sun hit record highs over the last few decades?" and the discussion was becoming interesting - right up to the time it disappeared. Fortunately, memory holes only really exist in Orwell's 1984 and the 'disappeared' commentary and some subsequent comments are available from MSN and Google caches: here [See *] and here, perhaps others have more complete cached copies. Curious...
* Now the MSNBC cashe has been taken down also. Why?

Why is afraid of a discussion of the Sun’s variability and contribution to global warming. Perhaps because it does not fit the humans are causing global warming matra?

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A First Church of global warming critique

JAMES SCHLESINGER , in the Wall Street Journal on the The Theology of Global Warming, August 8, 2005
Almost unnoticed, the theology of global warming has in recent weeks suffered a number of setbacks.
A summary of why global warming consensus is a myth, 17,000 scientist disagree with the 2,000 who worked on the UN IPCC report. This report is being used as justification by California Legislators and Governor to frisk your wallet.

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Snarky comment by Union Editorial Board?

The Union Editorial board in "Marine's death raises need to clarify mission," August 6, 2005
On a day when the commander in chief was vacationing, that young soldier's fiancee was in our office talking about the boy she loved, the boy who just two years ago was graduating from Nevada Union High School and looking forward to making a contribution to his country.
Does the Union think that the President is not capable of executing his full duties and responsibilities from any place but the White House in a world of secure high speed global communications? Do they really believe the President is just sitting under the shade of a Texas tree, sipping an ice tea while our troop are in harms way. History has shown that our President takes his responsibilities seriously, regardless of his location.

What do you think, was this a snarky comment?

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Sunday, August 07, 2005

Weekend Camping Trip

Went dirt camping with my son-in-laws and their friends this week end, “a boys only camping trip” explained Nolan the six year old to his grandmother. After one night in the woods, Aidan the three year old asked, “can we stay three more days.” It was very interesting watching the dads be parents, when roughing it in the woods without mom. They all did a great job!

Ellen and I had four girls and took them camping often when they were growing up. We started when our first child was only 9 month old. We camped across the US from Maine to California for 30 days in a home built camper van. Now that two of our daughters have children, we are starting all over again, exploring the great outdoors answering questions about how to live in the woods.

Camping is less stressful with the son-in-laws in charge, I got to be an observer. We had great fun, while the girls has a movie party in Rosville with grandma. Ellen and I launch on another camping trip next week, just us this time.

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Saturday, August 06, 2005

Writer is looking for facts?

Carrol Nast wants to "Get beyond the spin," August 6, 2005
Let's have some real journalism. Find and print the facts about Supreme Court nominee John Robets, not administration spin.
One senses that the only facts that will be accepatable to this writer is negative facts. The Press was given 85,000 pages of information, and there are 3.7 million pages found on Google. Not much negative here, except on the nut case liberal web sites and some on the far far right. If Roberts is attacked on the left and right, he could be a good candidate.

If the writer want negative information, there is always the nut case liberal web sites, lets keep the facts in the news paper, FACTS.

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Friday, August 05, 2005

Reader questions or staff questions?

Doolittle discusses intelligent design, meth, war

Our global warming question did not make the cut. Given the, late request for questions, I wonder if any of the reader’s questions made the cut. Pat agrees that he could have allowed more time on the Union blog See comment #3.

Subjects covered


War in Iraq

Methamphetamine (Correction, thanks to Sherry)

Social Security

Veteran’s Administration hospitals


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Thursday, August 04, 2005

More homeless for Nevada County?

Becky Trout writes about the homless survey, "Count:162 lack homes," Survey to assist plans for homeless shelter in county, August 4, 2005

Are we sure this is what we want to do, set up attractions for outside homeless? Look at cities that had lenient homeless policies, and set up shelters and feeding stations. These cities were flooded with homeless from outside the city.
Six religious communities have signed up to host the homeless, but at least six more are needed, Robinson said.

In addition, the organizers need a space - preferably a house but at least an office space - they could rent and use as a receiving center, where those needing shelter could show up each evening, be screened for drugs and alcohol, and checked in. They would then be bused to the churches, Robinson said.

Hospitality House volunteers are hoping to raise $100,000 to hire two managers to operate the roving shelter.
A blog reader writes:
On "Count: 162 lack homes". Here did they find these 162 without shelter? What do they mean "without shelter"? Is that during the daylight hours or just for the day until they go to one of the places they normally flop? How many more potential shelter-less will we create after we establish this roving shelter and vagrants from the valley find out they can hang in the foothills during the day instead of the city? If I were a nomad in the valley and I could reside in the cooler cleaner environment knowing that the residents were concerned about my welfare I think I would be roaming up the hill easterly myself.
Let's hear your opinion.

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Mars, Venus and Pluto warming with out help from SUVs

Paul Murphy at ZD-Net shares some interesting information on planetary warming over the past thirty years.
The Kyoto lobbyists have this little problem - not only has the earth had more climatic hot and cold flashs than my mother, but Mars, Venus, and Pluto have all been warming quite dramatically over the last thirty years. Since this makes their case for exclusive human responsibility for global warming almost as laughable as their use of statistics, they're in desperate need of help.
This is consistent with a past post about Neptune’s moons warming. Could global warming be the caused by the sun? Yea think?

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Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Questions for Rep. John Doolittle

Pat Butler, Union Editor wrote:
On Thursday, The Union will interview Rep. John Doolittle, who is touring the area while Congress is in recess. As we prepare for the interview, we’d like to see what questions you have for our congressman.
I submitted the following question:
The earth’s weather systems are so complex meteorologist have a hard time forecasting the weather a week in advance. Yet, the proponents of global warming say they can predict the earths atmospheric temperature 50 to 100 years from now. Do you support Rep Joe Barton’s efforts to resolve the global warming issue, before Congress puts regulations in place to reduce greenhouse gasses, regulations that could cost California’s economy millions of jobs?
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DU Update: No serious risk

Depleted uranium exposure should not increase cancer risk, New Scientist, page 5, 30 July 2005
MORE than 14 years after the 1991 Gulf war ended, the majority of soldiers and civilians exposed to depleted uranium from anti-tank munitions can finally sleep a little easier. They are not at seriously increased risk of developing cancer, nor will their children have an inordinately high chance of birth defects, a two-year study by Sandia National Laboratories in the US has found.

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Global Warming Update: Hurricane facts

Patrick Michaels looks that complex issue of hurricane data and it relationship to claims that global warming is increasing the number and severity of hurricanes. No relationship according to the facts. Hummmm. . .
Blowin' in the Wind by Patrick J. Michaels
Patrick J. Michaels is Cato Institute fellow for senior environmental studies and author of Meltdown: The Predictable Distortion of Global Warming by Scientists, Politicians, and the Media.

Five named storms before July 15! Obviously we're headed for some kind of record year. Or are we? And what does all of this have to do with planetary warming?


Here's the bottom line: Since World War II, there is no significant relationship between what happens in the entire hurricane season and what happened early in that season.

But then there's 1933, the same year that Mexico got pounded. Five storms were detected before August 1, which ties the record (observed three times) in the postwar era. The entire season saw 21 tropical storms and hurricanes, a record that still stands today.
Full text (here.)

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Tuesday, August 02, 2005

When we find great food we share

In the 1980s and early 90s, when our children were in high school, we went to Citizens Pizza one or twice an month. But, when the last one when off to college we stopped going, as the pizza had become thin and the salad bar a local joke. As a result we ignored Citizens as a choice when dinning out.

Ellen and I were surprised when we heard Clay and Donna Collins were holding and open house to celebrate their first year as the owners of Citizens Restaurant. Clay and Donna were our neighbors for a number of years, renting a small cabin next door. They were great neighbors, and after they bought their own house, we often visited Cirinos in Nevada City just to see Clay and Donna, and check out some of Clay’s mouth watering creations. Tonight we joined Clay, Donna and their staff in celebrating a year of menu and ambiance changes at Citizens. More details on the new Citizens at

Naggiar Vineyard poured samples of their wines to complement Clay’s pizza, and pasta samples. Niggiars is the second largest vineyard in Nevada County, a big family operation, which only recently started bottling their own grapes. A bad cold kept me from getting the full impact of the wine. However, if all the “mummers” coming from the tasting table were any indication, the Naggiar family have creating some excellent wines. Ellen concurs. More details at

Nevada County is lucky to have such a talented chef in Clay Collins. We wish the Collins family and the Naggiar family the best of success. Ellen and I enjoyed a great mid week evening in Nevada City. See you at Citizens.

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Global Warming Update: Sac Bee Bravo Sierra.

Here is a classical reason that I stopped my subscription to the Sac Bee, their Editorials are full of Bravo Sierra.

Editorial: Abuse of power, Congressman harasses scientists

Lets look at the details:
U.S. Rep. Joe Barton, R-Texas, chairman of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, represents the worst of an anti-science attitude in a lobby-dominated Congress.
No, he is asking for the data that was suppose to be posted to a public web site including the computer program that generated the graphics for the “hockey stick” These programs, and data collected, was accomplished using public money, but Mann claims his model is proprietary, and he does not have to release the program, here. The program he did release is flawed. Details here.
Barton worked in the oil industry before he was elected to Congress in 1984, is consistently among top five recipients of oil industry campaign contributions and openly caters to oil industry interests.
Typical liberal trick, attack the messenger. Many Congressman in Texas had a job before being elected, this one happen to be in the oil industry, one of the largest industries in Texas.
Worst has been his attack on scientists who study climate change.
Barton has launched a full-fledged investigation of three climate scientists who study the temperature history of the Earth. Their sin? They published papers concluding that Northern Hemisphere temperatures in the last decades of the 20th century were the warmest in 1,000 years.
This as a request for public data. Mann and company's sin was to publish this junkscience [a study that can not be replicated by anyone who was not on the Mann research team] in the UN IPCC, which became justification for the Kyoto Protocol, and legislation in California that will cost us all millions, and lost jobs.
Fortunately, at least one Republican congressman is willing to stand up to Barton. That is Rep. Sherwood Boehlert of New York, chairman of the House Committee on Science. He recently called Barton's investigation of climate scientists "misguided and illegitimate."
Well, this is mostly an ego attack. It seems that Rep Boehlert was blind sided by Bartons’s request.
Boehlert notes that Barton's investigation is unprecedented and unnecessary to gain access to scientific data or balanced information on the scientific debate about climate change. "The only conceivable explanation for the investigation," Boehlert observes, "is to attempt to intimidate a prominent scientist and to have Congress put its thumbs on the scales of a scientific debate."
When is it intimidation, when you are asking for information that belongs to the public domain, data collected and computer programs generated using funds provided by US tax payers. It is not Mann and companies private property. It is public property.
Scientific research about climate change is constantly evolving. Data and conclusions get challenged all the time in the scientific literature. The data of the scientists targeted by Barton are on public Web sites, freely available to all researchers to access and draw their own conclusions.
This is the worst Sierra Bravo. It is only available if you have the right password or it is just not there. It is only open to controlled list of scientist that Mann, approve. It is not open to professionals who are skeptical of their work. More details (here) and (here.)
Barton apparently is using criticisms from Stephen McIntyre, a mining industry executive with no formal training in climate research, and Ross McKitrick, an economist with no scientific training, as the excuse for investigating climate change scientists. Boehlert asks the right question: "Are we going to launch biased investigations each time a difference appears in the literature?"
More Sierra Bravo combined with more liberal attacks on the messenger. McIntire is an expert analyst of the complex data using in mining proposals and exploration. As an economist, McKitrick is also an expert in analyzing complex data. They have never claimed to be climate experts, rather experts in data analysis. They have raised some troubling questions about Mann’s analysis of tree ring data. Data that totally ignores well documented warming and cooling periods over the last 1,000 years.
Shameless pandering to old fossil fuel interests is one thing; using the oversight power of Congress to harass scientists because you disagree with their conclusions is another.
Mann and company have refuse to comply with a well established scientific data archiving procedures. What are they hiding? That their analysis it flawed? That this phony analysis is junk science which is being used to extract millions from tax payers pockets. We will never know if they are using junk science until Mann and company release the data and the computer programs they used to analysis it. Barton is looking out for you the taxpayer!
House speaker Dennis Hastert, R-Ill., should step in and call off Barton's witch hunt of climate scientists. Barton is way out of line.
More Sierra Bravo. Let us see the proof, lets see the data, lets see the computer program. That is all Barton wants. This not an attack on science! Barton in his own words (here,)

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Get damaged brains off the street

Jeff Ackerman, Union’s Publisher, "Meth devours our small-town life," August 2, 2005

Jeff, is on a campaign, worth your time to support. We all have a vested interest in finding a solution.
There are no pharmacological treatments for meth dependence. The most effective treatment, according to experts, is "cognitive behavioral interventions, which modify a patient's thinking, expectations and behavior." You don't do that in 90 days, which is pretty much the standard Prop. 36 treatment plan.
I understand that meth shrinks the brain. How do you get the cognitive attention of a damaged brain, a brain this is now wired to want more meth. Lock them up, and keep them there.

UPDATE: From the 23 July 2005 New Scientist:
Brain damage
Abusing amphetamines is risky. The drugs can be highly addictive, and Volkow's research and that of other groups has consistently shown that addicts can suffer brain damage that may be irreversible. In one study from 2001, Volkow imaged the brains of abstinent amphetamine addicts and control subjects using positron emission tomography. The scans showed that addicts' brains had fewer dopamine transporter proteins in regions linked to positive emotions and planning. They were also worse at memorising lists of words and did poorly on motor tests. In a follow-up study nine months later, Volkow found significant recovery in the brains of addicts who had remained abstinent, although there was no improvement in memory and motor tests (The Journal of Neuroscience, vol 21, p 9414).
We need to lock these people up until their brains recover. It is more than 90 day!

UPDATE: More on Volkow's research of meth user brains:
Levels of dopamine transporters in the former drug abusers—even those who had been clean for almost a year—were more than 20 per cent lower than normal in two key areas of the brain involved in movement, concentration and motivation. This reduction mimics the effects of ageing: levels of dopamine transporters naturally fall by between 5 and 6 per cent each decade, causing people to slow down and impairing their movement and memory. "What we see is the equivalent of 40 to 50 years' ageing in the brains of these people—that's a huge amount," says Volkow.
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Monday, August 01, 2005

Global Warming Update: Hurricanes growing?

As always, you can prove anything if you cherry pick the data. So, here is a link to some historical hurricane data. You can make your own assessment, when the hurricane hysteria starts to appear on the front page of the paper, and in letters to the editor. Look at the long view, not just the study data selected to prove a point!

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The Union blogging status

I recently asked the Editor at The Union, Pat Butler, what happend to the Blog:
Blogging at The Union go off to a slow start and died. What happened?
Pat’s answer:
We' ve been trying to develop a more reader-friendly and contemporary format for the blog. They should be resuming soon. Thanks for your patience.
I am looking forward to more coments by the folks who write the local news. The opportunity to extend the conversation.

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Unintended consequences

Not all hybrids are equal.
"2006 Lexus RX 400h: The Hybrid Emperor's New Clothes" - "One question lingers after driving the 2006 Lexus RX 400h: How did it come to this, that Toyota is now selling a hybrid gas-electric vehicle with no tangible fuel economy benefits?" (New York Times)
Owners of hybrids can drive in the HOV lanes with a single driver at the wheel in many states. The new transportation bill lets all states to pass legislation allowing hybrid owner to have a free ride in HOV Lanes. The same transportation bill will increase the miles of HOV lanes on I-80. Buy a Lexus RX 400h and drive congestion free on I-80 and SR-50 HOV lanes.

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