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The Art of Peace

You can probably reach me (David Weisman) at davidwei at optonline dot net, but my spam filter is set at ultrahigh because of youthful indescretions with pay per click rewards programs. I live in New York state near the coast, and my wife and I share a c

Updated: 2017-09-03T04:56:49.497-07:00


The Conservative Corrections Alpaca


Here's a correction that Retracto the conservative corrections alpaca won't bother with.

From the American Spectator:

Their goal was to check to see if the phone system in the office was working. The men, under the leadership of a young media impresario named James O'Keefe, were querying why constituents of Sen. Landrieu had been unable to register negative feelings about Obamacare on the Senator's phone line. They had been told that perhaps the phones were out of order.

Nobody has claimed this was their real goal. They did not disguise themselves as phone repairmen to ask an innocent question. Some have suggested they wanted to sabotage the phones to see how the staff reacted when they were really out of order. Others that they thought it would be funny to pretend to think the phones were really out of order.

And the only source I've seen that they didn't actually try to bug the phones is one anonymous law enforcement source. I wonder what his political leanings are?

Corporate funded protests


Instapundit was rather impressed by this Bureaucrash protest. We have entered a new era - the grassroots rent-a-protester!

Yes, Bureaucrash calls themselves 'guerilla activists', but they are funded by the Competetive Enterprise Institute, which is funded by Exxon and other large corporations, as well as some other think tanks.

I wonder how much the protest cost? Check, Visa, or Mastercard?



Well, the Senate is going to vote this bill down, and it's a good thing. Both Greenpeace and James Hansen consider this attempt to regulate global warming worse than useless.

Post Modern Libertarianism


Now Instapundit is talking about going 'Hank Rearden'. I don't know if this is any different from going John Galt - google didn't turn up any other uses of the phrase.

Rebekah Allen of Concord came to Market Basket yesterday to do her shopping, and planned to look for the new trash bags required by the city’s pay-as-you-throw system. The bags were not there.

Market Basket, alone among Concord’s major supermarkets, has decided not to stock the trash bags. Their logic is simple: Why sell an item for which the store gets no profit?

Allen, when told of the decision, said she would still shop at Market Basket, and she did not mind going to another store for trash bags.

“I think it’s a bad program anyway,” Allen said of pay-as-you-throw. “I agree with (Market Basket).”

The city wants people to pay for their garbage collection - if they don't take it to the dump themselves. Sounds more libertarian than taxing people equally for garbage disposal regardless of how much or little they create.

This says something about the latest generation of 'going John Galt' libertarians in my opinion.

Color Scheme


Alas, I don't seem to be getting many complaints about setting the world on fire. They all seem to involve the layout. I rather like my color scheme. I actually find the black restful. It seems everyone else disagrees with me. Anyone want to say something nice about my color scheme before I start fooling with the blogger layout?

If a statistic sounds like it can't be true


[Post edited. Although there has been much talk of layoffs now and in the past, I believe public concerns about long lines may have averted the set of layoffs referred to in the last link.]Via Instapundit, I read on Chicago Boyz that California could not possibly lay off government employees, since :California has ~2.3 million unionized government workers and ~18.6 million civilians. With so many people organized with a laser-like focus on increasing taxes and spending, the private working citizens of California find it nearly impossible to prevent government workers from voting their own paychecks....Of course no one is being whipped, but in effect an ordinary citizen of California cannot get their desires for reduced state spending implemented due to the disproportionate power of the State’s employees and allied interest. It appears now that the government unions will not accept any solution to California’s budget crisis except increased taxes in a declining economy. Ordinary citizens have no choice but to either emigrate or just lie there and take it. Shannon Love hasn't forgotten that 18.6 million is more than 2.3 million, it's just that the 2.3 million are much more focused on keeping their salaries than the rest are on cutting them.When I questioned this statistic in the comment section, I didn't get a reference, but the 'clarification' does sound a little more plausible. (I forgot to fill out the top part of the comment section, so I'm anonymous.)# Anonymous Says:January 23rd, 2009 at 10:55 pmCalifornia has ~2.3 million unionized government workers?I’m just curious where you got this figure. It sounds extraordinary. I take it you only include workers for the state of California, since employees for other levels of government would be happy to cut state workers and save on their taxes.----------------# Shannon Love Says:January 23rd, 2009 at 11:07 pmAnonymous 10:55 pm,California has ~2.3 million unionized government workers? I’m just curious where you got this figureCalifornia has 2.3 million state and local government workers. Most 90% are in one union or another. Teachers, police, fire, corrections officers, highway workers, office workers etc all belong to unions which to my knowledge are compulsory. The unions way in heavily on political issues. They are especially noted for spending millions on advertising campaigns. They collect those millions from union dues. So, even if 49% of government worker oppose an issue the other 51% can force the union to support it.Do all these groups vote to support each other at all times? Here's a possible answer from a few months ago. Is it really only the state employees who think they are providing a service?Of 9,017 DMV employees statewide, 1,345 — or 15 percent — could be gone by Friday after Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger signs an executive order to deal with the state’s fiscal crisis.The department also has 751 contractors who could be terminated. And that won’t be good news for customers, said Amber Carlson, who would lose her $14.75-an-hour part-time job answering phones and processing paperwork at the DMV’s Sacramento headquarters.“People aren’t going to get their licenses back as quick. There’s going to be more people on hold trying to get their questions answered,” said Carlson, 25. “He (Schwarzenegger) is trying to push people, and he’s pushing the wrong people.”Schwarzenegger is expected to sign the executive order Thursday, the first day of the August pay period.About 22,000 temporary, part-time and contract state workers face layoffs. That could mean fewer food safety inspections and cutbacks in the programs that stock fish in the state’s rivers and lakes, among many consequences.[...]

How to Break a Terrorist


I just finished reading How to Break a Terrorist by Matthew Alexander. It's one of the most important books I've ever read. I'm not sure if anyone knows how to fix the world economy in the long term, but this man might be able to fix Afghanistan if he were given free rein.

When people talk about our giving up torture, one of the first things you'll hear about is a 'ticking time bomb', a hypothetical bomb which can only be disarmed if a terrorist tells you how - quickly. Usually the teller means this as an example of who torture cannot be ruled out, but Matthew Alexander dealt with similar situations - when abuse didn't work.

This is the story of the interrogation team which managed to help locate and kill Zarqawi. The plot hums along like a thriller, with conflicts between interrogators and prisoners, between different interrogators, and between interrogators and their superiors. In between there is time for a few light and humorous moments, and we learn a lot about both personalities and interrogation techniques.

Can we really help fix Afghanistan? This would be only the first step. New interrogation would have to lead to new nation building.

At Last!


Protein Wisdom has gotten around to repeating the inaccurate information being circulated by the 'liberal' media. You can follow the rumor back through their hat tip if you like, its been circulating awhile.

Of course, the MSM thought a bit differently about the $40 million 2004 inauguration

Don’t they know there is a war on? [...]

To many Democrats, images of Republicans in sequined gowns and designer tuxedos nibbling roast quail and twirling the Texas two-step in last week’s $40 million-plus inaugural extravaganza seemed inappropriate, unseemly, even unpatriotic, when American soldiers are dying in Iraq.

“Precedent suggests that inaugural festivities should be muted - if not cancelled - in wartime,” Representative Anthony Weiner, a Democrat from New York, chided in a letter to President Bush. Citing Franklin D. Roosevelt’s austere fourth inaugural in 1945, Mr. Weiner suggested that the money would have been better spent on armored Humvees and pay bonuses for the troops.

But for an incoming President with a $850 Billion stimulus package slush fund to reward political allies, what’s a mere $160 Million Party on the Mall?

Two errors. The stimulus package isn't paying for the inauguration, nor is the government. Almost all the money is being raised privately.

And the amount is wrong also, as Media Matters explains:

Here's why using the $160 million number and comparing it with Bush's 2005 costs represented a classic apples-and-oranges assessment: For years, the press routinely referred to the cost of presidential inaugurations by calculating how much money was spent on the swearing-in and the social activities surrounding that. The cost of the inauguration's security was virtually never factored into the final tab, as reported by the press. For instance, here's The Washington Post from January 20, 2005, addressing the Bush bash:

The $40 million does not include the cost of a web of security, including everything from 7,000 troops to volunteer police officers from far away, to some of the most sophisticated detection and protection equipment.

For decades, that represented the norm in terms of calculating inauguration costs: Federal dollars spent on security were not part of the commonly referred-to cost. (The cost of Obama's inauguration, minus the security costs? Approximately $45 million.) What's happening this year: The cost of the Obama inauguration and the cost of the security are being combined by some in order to come up with the much larger tab. Then, that number is being compared with the cost of the Bush inauguration in 2005, minus the money spent on security.

In other words, it's the unsubstantiated Obama cost of $160 million (inauguration + security) compared with the Bush cost of 42 million (inauguration, excluding security). Those are two completely different calculations being compared side-by-side, by Fox & Friends, among others, to support the phony claim that Obama's inauguration is $100 million more expensive than Bush's.

That's why the right-wing site confidently reported that Obama's swearing-in would cost "nearly four times what George Bush's inauguration cost four years ago." So did Flopping Aces, a shining light of the right-wing blogosphere:

It may look like I quoted a whole post, but if you click through you'll see there's a lot more there.

Fear of Global Warming Alarmists


One of the global warming deniers who writes in the Protein Wisdom pub (and perhaps occasionally in the comment section of Climate Audit if it's the same woman) has referred me in my comment section to her writings on global warming and those who study it, and asked me to answer. On her own head be it.She acknowledges being unable to analyze the raw data herself. While I can't do this either, sometimes when I have read what both sides say about each other, it is possible to form an opinion. She applies a different method. She alleges that a few of the people studying global warming have done dishonest things, then states that they wouldn't have had to do these things if they had scientific truth on their side, so she has proven all the scientists studying global warming wrong without even mentioning their arguments! Some people would consider that an argumentum ad hominem, but that can't be, because she warns me:Bring it on. I can defend myself against any honest argument. But if you descend into argumentum ad hominem or any other logical fallacy, I will hand you your head.Or did I misunderstand? Did she mean she's OK in ordinary argument but much better than me in an ad hominem contest? Even though she talks about a politician, I dare not say anything about Bush or Imofe, whom not even all conservatives consider trustworthy. I've been warned she's an expert. I won't even mention Fred Singer or Richard Lindzen.So OK, let's look at what she wrote:1. If you have scientific truth on your side, you have no need to…:a. …lie or misdirect to make your case. Yet Inconvenient Truth is riddled with lies. The infamous cherry-picker scene shows a chart that actually shows exactly the opposite of what Gore says it does. I read the original article, so I can verify this myself.I've heard legitimate suggestions that book is misleading on certain points. This isn't one of them. Does the chart by any chance show that the Earth started to warm slightly before Co2 started to increase? That is what all the models predict. I've never heard a claim that rising Co2 is the only thing that can ever start the temperature of the Earth increasing. Is she saying the chart proves that the Co2 doesn't contribute to further warming after the initial impetus? How?b. …conceal your data and methodologies. And yet James Hanson, Michael Mann, and others either fail entirely to archive their data or they refuse to let others analyze it.Stephen McIntyre's has a blog called Climate Audit. He's made some penetrating criticisms of several scientists. He argues that the data archiving and sharing protocols used in several climate studies are outdated, that they might have been reasonable a few decades ago, but are insufficient now that much more is dependent on these studies. He compares these protocols unfavorably to those in industry.What he doesn't do is imply that there has been dishonesty or bad faith of the sort that would let us reject the work of the scientists involved without reviewing it, on the grounds of personal dishonesty. If I'm wrong I'd be interested to see where he suggests this. Otherwise, perhaps Dicentra should consider following his example.c. …stubbornly refuse to correct your mistakes. Michael Mann has been warned by the NSA to stop using certain data sets (strip-bark bristlecones, for example), and yet he continues to use them. McIntyre has also found egregious and yet easily correctable errors in his work, and yet Mann keeps propagating these errors in study after study.There may be some legitimate debate about the bristlecones. The misleading thing here is the implication that Michael Mann has just ignored all the problems his critics have claimed. Discussing both sides does not require reading the original data.The issue is not simple. [...]

SEC Investigation


Jason works in the financial center, so it's especially interesting to see his take on the failure of the SEC to detect what was happening with Madoff:

My take: One of Megan's commenters got it right: The SEC is made up of lawyers, not quants. They are simply not equipped to do deep due diligence on funds with complex trading strategies: It would take an advanced degree in statistics and a hellacious amount of number crunching to pull that off, and I haven't met the lawyer yet who is equipped to do that on his or her own... nor are the people who can do such things inclined to work for the SEC, or in journalism, for that matter, because the money isn't good enough.

On the other hand, I have met very few lawyers who truly understood the limitations of their field of expertise and circle of competence... an observation buttressed by the many stupid attempts to legislate from the bench. Or from the legislature, for that matter.

It is entirely within the realm of possibility that Cheung was a faithful and industrious public servant who did the level best she knew how, given the resources at her disposal and the fund of information she had, or reasonably could have had. The fault very properly lies with higher-ups who knew her expertise was in law, and not quant, and who failed to adequately supervise her, by providing her with the staff expertise or access to outside knowledge she needed to carry out an investigation of this nature.

The only thing he leaves out is that those higher ups were Bush appointees, and ultimately Bush himself. It must have been tough for a libtard hating fact checker to go as far as he did.



Sometimes you hear people concerned about global warming accused by deniers of being the same people who were saying there would be another ice age in the seventies. All that could change in an instant, the way people who had been claiming the Earth wasn't warming suddenly started saying it was, but humans couldn't be contributing to it.

As a result of his discovery of the effect of solar cycles on the Earth's climate and in particular the lack of awareness he has observed in the media, government and among the people, he has begun a vocal and highly visible effort to alert all to the coming climate change in order that we are prepared for the record cold event and its global ill-effects associated with this new climate.

Gives a new meaning to 'climate change alarmist', huh?

How Long Will the Recession Last?


Yesterday I was studying Value Line at the public library. They are a great starting point to learn about many individual stocks, which they research and rate individually, but I'm not convinced they know quite as much about the economy as a whole. In particular, they seem to be forecasting the recession will end around the beginning of 2010, which seems to be consistent with what is priced into the stock market as a whole. My concern is that most of the fund managers and other institutional decision makers now employed seem to have lived most of their careers during a period when the market went up and up, and any dip was a temporary setback which could be waited out.

Let us hope they are right and I'm wrong - but let's imagine the opposite for a moment. Imagine that Japan and China keep buying dollars and dollar denominated assets to support their manufacturing industries, but our recession keeps going deeper and they are getting less and less export bang for their dollar buck. A point might come where they decide the money would be better spent directly in their own economies. This would be a difficult decision for them, since the value of their dollar denominated assets would fall, but they might make it. Equally well, some smaller nation might decide to sell their dollar (and American bond) reserve first, hoping that they would get the best price by being the first to sell. That could start the landslide that might force China and Japan to sell weather they wanted to or not.

I honestly don't know if it's too late for Obama to do anything or not. I keep remembering they days just before some third world nations started defaulting on their debt. People knew they couldn't pay it off, but argued that there would be no default because it was in everyone's interest to pretend the debts were good, so the banks would keep refinancing and the countries would keep making inadequate payments, and the loans would be counted as good assets. We all know how that ended up.

The Dollar to Euro exchange rate and why it may matter


I've been studying this ten year graph of the price of a euro in dollars. You can see the price was actually higher in the middle of 2008. That's good, because a sudden rise in the dollar cost of euro's could indicate a serious problem. The Chinese yuan is pegged to the dollar - unless and until they decide that they could benefit their economy more some other way with the money they use now to buy dollar denominated assets to keep the dollar artificially expensive to help their exporters. The Japanese yen isn't pegged, although they do intervene in the market in much the same way as the Chinese.

If speculators were betting against the dollar, the first sign we saw might be the dollar euro exchange rate. Remember all those devaluations during the other little economic crisis? As long as imported goods stay cheap, we have a lid on dollar inflation, since American companies have to compete with importers on price. If other countries give up on lending us money (that is, buying dollar denominated bonds) to keep their imports artificially cheap, one of the first results we may see is inflation of hyperinflation.

Oy, more proof global warming is a socialist plot!


Dan Collins of Protein Wisdom links to a Newsbuster post that selectively highlights words and phrases from a letter James Hansen of NASA sent to Obama. As most economists have suggested, Hansen also suggests a carbon tax would be the most effective way to fix this. He also suggests that giving the money back to people per capita would avoid hurting the poor near the end of the letter.

Needless to say, Dan Collins and Newsbusters regard this as evidence that real goal of alarmists such as Nobel Laureate Al Gore and his followers is to use the fear of man-made global warming to redistribute wealth.

Click through. Protein Wisdom is fun to comment on, you just need a name and e-mail address, and half the time some conservative will actually click back to read your blog if you leave a url as well.

Rather misleading


[Update - if you click through you'll find Instapundit updated.]

Instapundit says, MOUTH BUT NO MONEY on Proposition 8? Generally, when I “beat the bushes” for contributions, I also contribute myself. Apparently Andrew Sullivan feels differently, or perhaps there’s some mistake somewhere.

If you click through to the post, you'll see an interesting comment:

Pete said...
Andrew Sullivan is not a U.S. citizen (and can't become one because he is HIV+) so he cannot legally contribute. Does that answer your question?

10:33 PM

This comment was posted half an hour after Instapundit linked, and yet it seems like Glenn Reynolds could have done more research. Let's watch for updates.

According to Wikipedia Andrew Sullivan is not a US citizen.

Anti Global Warming 'Science'


Much more widely read than a mere report by the Senate Minority leader is this quote from Protein Wisdom:POZNAN, Poland - The UN global warming conference currently underway in Poland is about to face a serious challenge from over 650 dissenting scientists from around the globe who are criticizing the climate claims made by the UN IPCC and former Vice President Al Gore. Set for release this week, a newly updated U.S. Senate Minority Report features the dissenting voices of over 650 international scientists, many current and former UN IPCC scientists, who have now turned against the UN. The report has added about 250 scientists (and growing) in 2008 to the over 400 scientists who spoke out in 2007. The over 650 dissenting scientists are more than 12 times the number of UN scientists (52) who authored the media hyped IPCC 2007 Summary for Policymakers.The U.S. Senate report is the latest evidence of the growing groundswell of scientific opposition rising to challenge the UN and Gore. Scientific meetings are now being dominated by a growing number of skeptical scientists. The prestigious International Geological Congress, dubbed the geologists’ equivalent of the Olympic Games, was held in Norway in August 2008 and prominently featured the voices and views of scientists skeptical of man-made global warming fears. [See Full report Here: & See: Skeptical scientists overwhelm conference: '2/3 of presenters and question-askers were hostile to, even dismissive of, the UN IPCC' ]Isn't that cute? The dateline makes it look like a real media report! And Dan Collins doesn't do much to dispell the impression either, he treats it like a news item, though he does link to the senate site.Climate Progress does a good job bringing out the fine print. Here are a few quotes, you can click through any of them to the full post.On what does Inhofe’s office base the “Sea Levels Fail to Rise” claim? Nothing more than a single blog post by a former TV meteorologist, Anthony Watts, who runs a denial website. That post claims “We’ve been waiting for the UC [Univesity of Colorado] web page to be updated with the most recent sea level data. It finally has been updated for 2008. It looks like the steady upward trend of sea level as measured by satellite has stumbled since 2005. The 60 day line in blue tells the story.”[Graph not copied - click through]...No matter how many studies debunk the myth that the sun is a dominant cause of recent warming, the deniers just can’t let go. Inhofe’s office shouts “Study: Half of warming due to Sun!” On what basis? Again, a blog post by a denier — this time one who selectively quotes from a new Geophysical Research Letters study (subs. req’d). The blog and Inhofe’s office write:… they conclude that “Our results are in agreement with studies based on NH temperature reconstructions [Scafetta et al., 2007] revealing that only up to approximately 50% of the observed global warming in the last 100 years can be explained by the Sun.”First, let’s give the full quote from the GRL study:However, during the industrial period (1850-2000) solar forcing became less important and only the CO2 concentrations show a significant correlation with the temperature record. Our results are in agreement with studies based on NH temperature reconstructions [Scafetta and West, 2007] revealing that only up to approximately 50% of the observed global warming in the last 100 years can be explained by the Sun.Oops. The study shows that in the industrial period, it is carbon dioxide, not solar forc[...]

Credit Where Credit is Due


I always mention any questionable facts I see on Instapundit because he's a nine foot giant with a club who claims to lead an army of Davids. My name is David, and he fights for the Republican establishment, so I tend to think he's Goliath in disguise. Plus, he's too busy to acknowledge my comments or criticisms, and some members of the mainstream media haven't been.

He just linked to what looks like a great book though. I'm gonna have to track it down.

I'm not sure what this economic upheaval will do to our superpower status, but this book is about what kind of superpower we want to be.

Another Faux Hillary Site?


I think Instapundit has linked to another faux Hillary site.

I can't be absolutely sure, but the home page says:

This space is for the 18,000,000 Americans who continue to support Hillary Clinton. It is our intent over the next four years to show the other 18,000,001 Americans how they made a BIG mistake putting Obama in the Whitehouse. We will not be bitter, but we will not support the "Radical Agenda" of an Obama administration.

On the other hand, no mention of Hillary as Secretary of State, no names of authors names so we can check to see if they supported Hillary before Obama came around, and a recent post about how unfair people are to conservatives (I can't find a post link, but dated November 30, and selling a book).

Instapundit does it again!


Professor Reynolds links to an article on the 'sham of sexual harrasement training'. He remarks ironically how shocked he is, implying he knew it would be a sham all along. I bet lots of people didn't even click through to discover the article is by a man who refused to take it, and did no research on the actual content of the course - or at least doesn't mention it.

Reynolds Wrap.