Monday, October 31, 2005

ACLU Calls Photo ID Bizarre

Do you protect the rights of citizens if you give them to non-citizens? I think the ACLU is confusing citizen rights with human rights. A hat tip to The Wheeler Report for their link to the ACLU Wisconsin press release regarding a pending State Assembly discussion. The legislature is poised to draft a Constitutional Amendment requiring a government issued Photo ID to vote. The ACLU calls the currently nonexistent amendment “bizarre”.
Oct. 31 Press Release Bizarre Photo ID Amendment Unconstitutional … A proposed state constitutional amendment would require all qualified voters to show a state or federal issued Photo ID at the polls in order to vote unless they belong to a class given preferential treatment by future legislatures

In a recent Georgia case blocking a Photo ID scheme, Federal Judge Murphy wrote, “The Court is mindful that the right to vote is a fundamental right and is preservative of all other rights. Denying an individual the right to vote works a serious, irreparable injury upon that individual.”
The ACLU is taking great pleasure that last week a Federal Appeals Judge Blocked Implementation of Georgia’s recently passed Photo ID Law. The Motion of Stay simply allows parties to the legal challenge time to prepare for trial and in no way rules on the validity of the law.

The ACLU is correct in the statement that “the right to vote is a fundamental right”, and it is the true basis of American government. The point the ACLU is missing from their own statement is that voting is a fundamental right for “qualified voters”.

Voting is a measurement of the will of American citizens. It is not a measurement of the will of the Canadians, Mexicans, French, Russians, Germans, Chinese, or other non-citizen residents in this country. In this age of global mobility, a persons mere presence in no longer sufficient to establish an individual as a citizen entitled to citizen rights.

Voting is a measurement, and like in all measurements, there is potential variability in accuracy. Complete accuracy requires that a qualified voter votes one time in the correct location. Accuracy requires dual verification of both person and place. You can’t know who is voting if you don’t check who is voting. With 21st century technology there is no reason to accept anything less than total accuracy in our elections. Anything less is neither just or fair.

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Mayor Dave's Larger Agenda

The Center on Wisconsin Strategy (COWS) has a new website design but the same old progressive liberal political agenda. COWS is part of the UW Madison Sociology Department, and its members are actively promoting a political agenda through various alliances. Joel Rogers, the Director of COWS has a close working relationship with Madison Mayor Dave Cieslewicz, and together they are using Madison’s municipal government as an experimental testing ground and as a launching point for a greater national agenda.

New Cities Project: The New Cities Project was launched in February 2005 by Madison, Wisconsin Mayor Dave Cieslewicz and the Madison based Center on Wisconsin Strategy (COWS). ...Leadership:

Mayor Dave Cieslewicz, City of Madison, Wisconsin
Mayor Peter Clavelle, City of Burlington, Vermont
Mayor Rocky Anderson, Salt Lake City, Utah
Mayor Tom Bates, City of Berkeley, California
Randy Primas, Chief Operating Officer of Camden, New Jersey
Joel Rogers, Director of the Center on Wisconsin Strategy

Their Policy Brief is a PDF file and it outlines the goals of this nascent progressive municipal alliance. One primary goal is the eco-socialist desire to limit the use of cars by the public.
Engage your governor in a conversation about how transportation funds are used in you state. … 60% of states restrict how transportation funds can be spent, so that highway construction is prioritized. But, under federal rules, 70% of transportation funds can be used for anything, so if mayors can bring good ideas to the Governor around the time that the transportation bill passes, it’s likely that this money could be used more creatively and for better public purpose.

Encourage the growth of car sharing companies, through development policies and partnerships to reduce the capital costs of starting a car sharing service. … Car sharing is the only public transportation strategy which has successfully gotten people to give up their cars or postpone buying them.
The Democratic Party as a whole is lacking clear and defined policies for the future, but there are intelligent members of the Democratic Party that have a clear vision and are actively working to expand their base of power, and their scope of influence within the party. Joel Rogers and Dave Cieslewicz have a vision which can be simply stated: “Perfecting the places we live and Protecting the places we don’t”. It is a catchy slogan but it fronts a belief that the proper role of government is to plan and control every aspect of land and life.

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Bubbles of Nothing

For Halloween I think I will be a Theoretical Physicist so I can say things like this: “black holes can catalyze the creation of bubbles of nothing in the context of closed string tachyon condensation”.

Friday, October 28, 2005

Jail is Part of The Plan

Wisconsin is absolutely beautiful in late October and this is a great weekend to visit the State. This year's long Halloween weekend has arrived, and after rioting the last three years at bar time, Madison has deployed a paramilitary looking force on State Street. The city is actively trying to dissuade out of town revelers, but as Jib points out, telling young adults not to do something has the potential to backfire. Still, Mayor Dave is running his version of the nanny state and like all good socialist governments, Cieslewicz is promising ample room in Jail.

Tonight on the local news, an official Madison Police Department spokesperson says with a straight face that there are limits to how many people they will be able to incarcerate, because “it takes a certain level of cooperation to book somebody”. Apparently the police expect a person to be able to stand up for their mug shot, and absent that baseline ability of the apprehended, the police imply their hands are tied.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Our Land of Equal Justice

Three years ago, “the most powerful Democrat” at the Capitol was Charged and Forced to Resign over 20 criminal complaints. The news this week contains a lot of talk about how Chuck Chvala, master politician and former Senate Majority Leader, managed to work out a plea agreement under which he is only Guilty on Two Felony Counts.

Big Hat Tip to Reif at Notes From the Underground for finding this link.

My Hero Chuck Chvala: When I first went to work at the Capitol back in 2001, I was pretty green and didn't really know what to make of all the inside baseball and horsetrading and backstabbing and whatnot. Soon enough I learned that it's all in a day's work. But I quickly learned that there was one man who played the game like no other, a man who was truly worthy of admiration for his skills and talents as a politician. Say what you will about his politics, but he was the master tactician.

CC got his hand caught in the cookie jar, but let's not kid ourselves. If there's three words every politician understands, even if they don't recognize them, it's quid pro quo. … So CC was using legislative action (or the lack thereof ) to squeeze money out of lobbyists? You know what? Who better to squeeze money from, really? Most lobbyists are overpaid as all hell.

CC wasn't really doing anything differently than anyone else was doing, or would've done. You need proof? Read The Art of Legislative Politics by former Democratic Speaker Tom Loftus. The guy admits in the damn book to running campaigns out of the Speaker's office.

Somewhere Tanya Harding is sorting through her stack of restraining orders, and O.J. Simpson is out looking for the real killers, and soon Chvala will again start having meetings behind closed doors. You have to love that America is a land of equal justice.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

John Edwards UW Madison Appearance

I walk into Memorial Union this afternoon just as Senator John Edwards is about to give a speech. The former Vice Presidential Candidate is in Madison on a stop of his new Opportunity Knocks college campus tour. Admission is free so I go in and listen.

The Senator, to his credit, does not engage in Bush bashing and only mentions the War in Iraq twice in toss off comments to predictable polite applause. He then rambles for half an hour around the idea that “America is looking for something bigger than their own self interest”, and “the cause” that should capture this desire for a new “sense of national community”, is poverty. In other words, ending poverty is the great moral issue for our times. The Senator uses the word “moral” multiple times but never seems to understand that stopping religious based killing is also a great moral issue for our times.

Nothing illustrates the current state of the Democratic Party better than what happens next. First there is an accurate description of the problem. The ugly truth of poverty is that the poor do not have cars, or credit cards, or bank accounts. The poor do not have assets. Second, the admissions that prior attempts to banish poverty lead to the creation of dependency and bureaucracies that ended up absorbing the funds. Furthermore, public schools are doing a poor job educating the poor. Finally, his simple and straightforward statement that “I don’t know the answers”.

A US Senator and former Democratic Party Presidential Candidate stands in front of about a thousand students and asks them to come up with solutions. The only two specific ideas he tosses out are raising the minimum wage and creating something called “work bonds” so the poor can start building assets. Well this is my first suggestion. Stop the government from taking assets from the poor.

The number one positive thing to do is to exempt the first $30,000 of income from any taxation. This means no social security taxes on the poor. If this type of Real Change is too much Real Change for the political class, then perhaps the social security tax money can be directed to individual accounts for the sole benefit of the worker. A little bit of computer re-programming and presto chango: instant assets. We can call the accounts work bonds if that phrase keeps the Democrats happy.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

World Series 2005 Midterm Notes

Rick Moran at Right Wing Nut House is writing about the World Series from the perspective a true Chicago White Sox fan. Anyone who admires the insightful detail of Roger Angell as he describes the complex and historic game of baseball should read Rick’s review of Game 1 and Game 2. I also recommend going back to recall The Best Inning of the 2005 Playoffs, as “El Duque” effectively ends the year for the Defending Champion Boston Red Sox.

UPDATE: Congratulations World Series Champion Chicago White Sox. Rick’s thoughts on Game 3 and game Game 4 complete his series.

Monday, October 24, 2005

Global Warming Propaganda Alert

I’m nursing the blues this morning from yesterday’s Packer’s fiasco when I see a Wisconsin State Journal headline, The Truth About Global Warming. It worries me when the MSM proclaims THE TRUTH, especially in the form of an article by a journalist who attended a meeting of the converted. The story is a reprint of a Seattle Times article and it is a well written piece of propaganda.

Like all effective propaganda it doesn’t insult the readers intelligence but rather plays to emotion with the minimal amount of fact needed to weave a plausible story. This is long piece for a newspaper so I am only going to pull illustrative sections.

First and foremost notice the article never gets specific about threats or dangers.
More than a decade later, Wallace still won't blame global warming for any specific heat wave, drought or flood — including the recent devastating hurricanes. But he no longer doubts the problem is real and the risks profound. "With each passing year the evidence has gotten stronger — and is getting stronger still."
Second, pay attention to the limited time frame being used to justify sweeping generalizations about climate on a 4 Billion year old planet. More importantly, notice there is no definition of temperature. What is the temperature right now? Is it the same 1000 feet up, 10,000 feet up, an hour ago, eight hours ago, or three days ago? Temperature is a very crude measurement of total energy at a specific time and place, and says very little about the total amount of energy in a complex, dynamic and open system like the entire planetary atmosphere.
1995 was the hottest year on record until it was eclipsed by 1997 — then 1998, 2001, 2002, 2003 and 2004. Melting ice has driven Alaska Natives from seal-hunting areas used for generations. Glaciers around the globe are shrinking so rapidly many could disappear before the middle of the century.
Third, science is not creating a plausible explanation or building a concensus. When you turn on your computer it works because the proper voltage and resistance is precisely defined to make a complex system work. Science is defined by correct explanations, whereas politics is about building a concensus agreement that makes people happy.
As one study after another has pointed to carbon dioxide and other man-made emissions as the most plausible explanation, the cautious community of science has embraced an idea initially dismissed as far-fetched. The result is a convergence of opinion rarely seen in a profession where attacking each other's work is part of the process.
Fourth, climate change is continual on the planet and if you believe volcanoes are slow acting factors you are simply not paying attention the eruptions happening right now.
Earth's climate has swung from steamy to icy many times in the past, but scientists believe they know what triggered many of those fluctuations. Erupting volcanoes and slow ocean upwelling release carbon dioxide, which leads to warming.
Fifth, the majority of supporting “evidence” for the theory is based on computer models that don’t agree and don’t predict with any accuracy. This goes back to point one, that the theory can not establish specific and reproducible results. Hell, they can't even reproduce the past which they just claimed to understand in the above quote.
Climate models debated: But scientists say the uncertainty lies only in how much warming to expect. .. The world was hot because carbon-dioxide levels were three to five times higher than today — the result of a gradual buildup from volcanic eruptions. But global-climate computer models, which use mathematical formulas to represent complex atmospheric interactions, aren't able to reproduce that warming. When Battisti runs the models under Eocene-like conditions, they come up with much lower temperatures than actually existed — which means something was going on that scientists don't yet understand.
Global Warming is a fictional horror story being sold to the public to advance a political agenda. It is a well written piece of fiction by intelligent individuals funded by cash rich organizations and sympathetic aspects of the government. This scary future story will increasingly be marketed directly to a public mostly untrained in scientific skepticism. Left unchallenged, this Piped Piper tune will beckon the population into giving up their freedom of movement, which is the goal of those who desire to efficiently control the subjects.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

It was a cold raining Sunday ...

OK, I watched the entire Packers – Vikings Game, even the last 20 seconds. Captain Ed at Captains Quarters not only watched but he was live blogging the Vikings - Packers Game. It pains me greatly to say this, but Mike Tice figured out the Packers Defense can not stop a four receiver set, and demonstrated that fact for the rest of the league. The Packers my not face another fullback the rest of the season.

The Packers may be looking at 1-15 unless something miraculous happens. Something as unthinkable as Scott Posednik hitting a game winning, walk off World Series home run.

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Your Federal Tax Dollars at Work

A few Saturday night quick hits about our Federal tax dollars at work.

The Army Corps of Engineers announced last Tuesday that the Louisiana Levee Rebuilding will be at Full Federal Funding. The decision means local politicians don’t have to spend any of their money on the reconstruction so their cash can remain in suitcases and coffee cans.
Under normal cost sharing, non-Federal sponsors, who in this case are the levee boards for each parish, would be required to pay a total of approximately $249 million to repair these facilities. Because of the unprecedented damage and impacts to local governments, the repairs will be entirely funded by the Federal government under the Corps emergency response authority.
The Center for Disease Control determines the highly lethal influenza virus they brought back from extinction should probably not be allowed to just sit around unsupervised. The CDC declares 1918 Pandemic Virus Restrictions, so if Dr. Evil has any of this recreated infectious agent, he should call for the appropriate regulatory forms and updated Federal storage guidelines.
This action follows recent work done by CDC scientists to successfully reconstruct the 1918 virus in hopes of better understanding it. Under provisions outlined in the interim rule, all entities (e.g., scientists and researchers) that possess, use or transfer the 1918 strain of influenza or the eight key gene regions of the 1918 virus are required to register with the CDC.
Finally, the US Department of Energy created The Energy Hog to help everyone in the USA be better subjects. No thanks necessary.

Friday, October 21, 2005

Tarnish on the Holy Grail of Global Warming

It is a beautiful autumn day in Wisconsin and the biomass formed over the summer from carbon dioxide and water is nearing the height of its brilliant fall colors. Some of the intricate CO2 constructions are falling from the trees.

Earlier this week I wrote about how independent verification of results is the defining characteristic of science, and the fact that much of the Global Warming and Climate Change work is simply not science. A recent posting at Climate Audit discusses the defensiveness of many of the “researchers”, and the following quote from one researcher sums up the matter perfectly.
"We have 25 or so years invested in the work. Why should I make the data available to you, when your aim is to try and find something wrong with it."
There is a link in the comments to Prof. Jaworowski's US Senate Statement in which he refutes the use of glacier studies of carbon dioxide concentration as a basis for establishing pre-industrial CO2 levels.
For the past 40 years I was involved in glacier studies, using snow and ice as a matrix for reconstruction of history of man-made pollution of the global atmosphere. A part of these studies was related to the climatic issues. Ice core records of CO2 have been widely used as a proof that, due to man's activity the current atmospheric level of CO2 is about 25% higher than in the pre-industrial period. These records became the basic input parameters in the models of the global carbon cycle and a cornerstone of the man-made climatic warming hypothesis. These records do not represent the atmospheric reality, as I will try to demonstrate in my statement.
The Professor then discusses some pretty technical data on the chemistry of water and gasses under pressure. Gasses dissolve into water and water moves back and forth between solid and liquid states depending on pressure and temperature. Carbon dioxide interacts chemically with all the other molecules trapped in the ice. The net result is that measurements of CO2 levels in glacial ice are not accurate measurements of the pre-industrial atmosphere.
The notion of low pre-industrial CO2 atmospheric level, based on such poor knowledge, became a widely accepted Holy Grail of climate warming models. … Improper manipulation of data, and arbitrary rejection of readings that do not fit the pre-conceived idea on man-made global warming is common in many glaciological studies of greenhouse gases. … The basis of most of the IPCC conclusions on anthropogenic causes and on projections of climatic change is the assumption of low level of CO2 in the pre-industrial atmosphere. This assumption, based on glaciological studies, is false.
No matter what the environmentalist agenda declares, a claim is not science if the data is not independently reproducible, and a claim is false if any underlying premise is false.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Any Excuse to Overreact

A little bit of knowledge is a dangerous thing. A lot of people with a little bit of knowledge, health insurance, law degrees, court systems and an inability to keep parts per million in perspective can be an expensive thing.
Madison finds Manganese in City Water: The Madison Water Utility has issued a number of health advisories in attempts to assuage fears of the manganese levels, which it says pose no health threats.
Madison is issuing health advisories because there is NO KNOWN DANGER from the naturally occurring essential element manganese in potable water, because why expose the city to any liability if there is any conceivable POTENTIAL risk.
While Water Utility officials maintain that the water is safe, and no studies have proven that manganese is harmful in the concentrations detected in the area, a private physician with a patient in Nakoma sounded an alarm to the Madison Public Health Department.
A teenager gets twitchy, is examined by a series of specialists who think his magnesium levels may be out of the normal range so they write a letter to the municipal government. Mayor Dave wants to Madison to be the Healthiest City in America so the Water Department starts planning to replace equipment. I mean it’s not like magnesium is also in the food.
The highest level of manganese ever reported in unstained Madison city water was 719 micrograms per liter, but a repeat sample taken at the same site showed a level of 11 micrograms per liter, the Madison Health Department reported. As the department noted, a quarter cup of pecans has 2,700 micrograms of manganese; a cup of oatmeal has 2,700 micrograms of the mineral.
OK, maybe it is also in food, but no teenager eats too much oatmeal. Besides, this is America and people that age should be drinking Coca Cola and not tap water.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Venezuela + Chavez = Corruption?

Yesterday Transparency International released Corruption Perceptions Index 2005, ranking the countries of the world according to their ‘perceived’ degree of corruption. This isn’t science but it is an interesting project with plausible sounding conclusions. The USA comes in #17 least corrupt which is not bad considering the rest of the planet. South Korea shows improvement and Bangladesh and Chad remain the worst. The government of Venezuela immediately went on the defensive about their “poor rating”.
Vice President Jos̩ Vicente Rangel hit back at a London-based group for giving Venezuela a very poor rating for corruption in official circles Рbut then went on to admit there was a problem.
I have written several posts about Hugo Chavez being a dictator in the making, so I believe America's Hugo Chavez, Not Ours by a self avowed socialist student in Quito, Ecuador is worth reading. He issues some general cautions for the North American left.
1. Your Hugo Chavez is not ours. … You see, the majority of us maintain a heavy and dreary mistrust of Hugo Chavez. Do you really think that we, the longstanding victims of oppressive US meddling, are in undying support of Mr Chavez, simply because he is openly in contention with US foreign policy? … What is more important is that the developing Chavez-US tension functions as another example of how the “American Left” blindly assumes that they articulate the views of South America.

2. The second problem can be pinpointed in the context of the American anti-war movement. Why is that when any leftist, with some credibility and power, opens his mouth against the US, he/she immediately becomes a source of unyielding praise among the American Left?
The American Left is truly an aggregate of various dissatisfactions, unified only by their selective dislike of rich Americans and a belief that the power of government is their only weapon against the power of wealth. There are philosophical socialists within the American Left but the bulk of the members are merely reflexive fans cheering for whatever person, place or thing they perceive is bad for the American Right. At least one South American socialist knows that just because Chavez is talking socialism doesn’t mean you automatically trust a potential dictator. I wonder if the people in the Che Guevera outfits are paying attention.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

The Overture Center Circus

On the way home the guys on ESPN 1070 radio are bemoaning the fact there are no good sports on TV tonight. There is, however, a Madison City Council meeting broadcast live on our very own city television station. Tonight’s main bout is Mayor Dave vs. City Council over whether the city should cash out a $115 Million endowment fund gift, pay off the bonds, then purchase and operate the brand spanking new Overture Center, for a buck.

City Attorney Report: In June of 2001, Overture Development Corporation (“ODC”) borrowed $115,000,000 through bonds issued by the Community Development Authority of the City of Madison (the “Bonds”) as part of the financing of Phase I construction of the Overture Center. Debt service on the Bonds, which is interest only until the Bonds mature in 2036, is the sole obligation of ODC; neither the City nor the CDA have any legal, contractual or moral obligation to pay debt service.

Madison was given $205 Million to build and operate a building and they have screwed it up. The first hour features person after person making eloquent, reasoned, researched and intelligent arguments that the city should refinance, rather than cash out and purchase the Overture Center like Mayor Cieslewicz desires. The few people supporting the Mayor’s 'all in' position make comments like “the oil based economy is ending”.

Over the next three hours, Alderpersons pontificate about the risk of the stock market like a eighth grade introduction to economics class. Several representatives point out the dismal financial failure that was Madison's operation of the Civic Center. This little exercise in “Urban Planning” has once again reinforced my believe that government is fundamentally inefficient at handling money, and expanded eminent domain power for “Economic Development” is dangerously wrong.

Alderman Tim Bruer just asked Mayor Dave to leave his chair, based on a point of order, and the Mayor grumbles then moves down to the microphone set up for the guest speakers. Mayor Dave then asks the Council “Are you feeling lucky?” Well I ain’t.

Monday, October 17, 2005

The UN: Right Facts - Wrong Conclusion

Several years ago, prior to the Iraq war, I watched an obscure C-Span program in which the presenter points out, that at that moment, there is no active nation vs. nation conflict on the planet. The United Nations also notices the trend.
More Terror, Fewer Wars: TERRORISM may be rising but armed conflict, genocide, political crises and human rights abuses have fallen sharply since the end of the Cold War, according to a three-year international study by a team of experts led by left-leaning Australian academic Andrew Mack. Released overnight at UN headquarters in New York, the Human Security Report also finds that today's wars are much less deadly than the wars of the 1950s, 60s and 70s and that wars between countries now account for just 5 per cent of all armed conflicts.
The United Nations releases a report observing the steep decline in traditional warfare after America forces an end to the militaristic expansion of communism, and concludes the decrease in violence is due to United Nations activities in preventive diplomacy and peacekeeping missions. It amazes me that many otherwise intelligent people believe the level of peace achieved since the Cold War is the result of the United Nations.
Human Security Centre It shows that most forms of political violence have declined significantly since the end of the Cold War––and finds that the best explanation for this decline is the huge upsurge of conflict prevention, resolution and peacebuilding activities that were spearheaded by the United Nations in the aftermath of the Cold War.
The report is available from the website as a series of PDF files. The key section is titled Why the Decline in Armed Conflict? It points out the world has emerged from two long eras of conflict. The first being colonial acquisition followed by colonial divestment, and the second being the end of the global Cold War between freedom and communism.

The report reviews data from 1815 to 2002 and finds several factors contributing to the diminishing incidents of armed conflict. First is the rise of democratically elected governments. Second is increasing economic interdependence, which directly relates to the Third reality of the diminishing economic utility of war. Last of all they find a rise in International Institutions and conclude this last point must be the essential source of the greater peace.

The paper notes, the number of democratic governments increased from 20 to 88 since WWII. I doubt they included Iraq but they should. Democracies seldom attack each other, preferring to engage in some level of relatively free trade. When society can purchase their needs, it makes the economic costs of confiscating assets nearly prohibitive. This is the lesson Saddam Hussein never learned. Democracy, free trade, and retribution for aggression are pretty much the hallmarks of American foreign policy since the end of the cold war.

Many around the world will choose to believe International Bureaucracy, like the EU and the UN, ‘caused’ the global reduction in armed conflict. I choose to believe America is the reason war is increasingly rare.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Global Warming Meets the US Senate

As winter approaches I plan more writing about 'global warming' or 'climate change'. Winter is the perfect time to focus on this topic because daily life becomes filled with first hand evidence of exactly how heat behaves in the atmosphere. Just so there is no mistake, I believe the environmental movement and a gullible media are complicit in marketing a fictional horror story for purely for political reasons.

The Republican controlled Federal Government is beginning to take a serious look at 'The Role of Science in Environmental Policy'. Testimony to the US Senate Committee on Environment & Public Works covers two crucial points and the full text all statements are available from the 9/28/05 Hearing.
Michael Crichton MD: What I would like to emphasize to the committee today is the importance of independent verification to science. In essence, science is nothing more than a method of inquiry. The method says an assertion is valid—and will be universally accepted—only if it can be reproduced by others, and thereby independently verified. The impersonal rigor of the method has produced enormously powerful results for 400 years.

The scientific method is utterly apolitical. A truth in science is verifiable whether you are black or white, male or female, old or young. It’s verifiable whether you know the experimenter, or whether you don’t. It’s verifiable whether you like the results of a study, or you don’t. … Thus, when adhered to, the scientific method can transcend politics. Unfortunately, the converse may also be true: when politics takes precedent over content, it is often because the primacy of independent verification has been abandoned.
Knowledge becomes scientific fact only when anyone else can independently reproduce real world results. In other words, doing a single study is not sufficient to establish results as fact. To the contrary, any study should be considered false until such time as someone else independently achieves the same results. This defining characteristic of the Scientific Method is the point almost always missed by an unquestioning media.

The second essential concept to understand is that computer modeling is not science. Computers have become indispensable for analyzing real world data and for generating theory for real world experimental testing, but computer created data are not part of the scientific method, and any conclusions from that data are not scientific.
Dr. William Gray: Over the last 20 years, I have been dismayed over the bogus science and media-hype associated with the nuclear winter and the human-induced global warming hypotheses. … The potential for climate modeling mischief and false scares from incorrect climate model scenarios is enormous. Numerical modeling output gives an air of authenticity which is not warranted by the input physics and long periods of integration. How many more climate scares are we to see from climate models which are not able to realistically predict past and future climate changes let alone future decadal or century changes?
Proponents of theories that human activity endangers this planet toss the term science around as if the word itself imparts validity to a claim. Any claim that depends on uncritical acceptance of a single measurement or is supported by data from a software program is not scientific knowledge. It is time the scientific community begins asserting this truth to the politicians and the media and the public.

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Why It Continues To Be Worth It

Once again, the United States has enabled a nationwide vote by the people of Iraq. The voting was again marked by high turnout and a low level of violence.
Millions of Iraqis Vote: Electoral officials say more than 61 per cent of an estimated 15.5 million registered Iraqis cast ballots. Insurgents evaded a massive security clampdown to kidnap 10 electoral workers and kill six other people, but in most areas the vote went ahead peacefully. Results are expected within three days.
Unlike the prior election for the Constitutional Convention Delegates, the Sunni Muslim population came out and voted. Sunni clerics actively encouraged their followers to vote in an apparent realization that democratic elections are going to be the basis of any future Iraq government. Sunni’s need to participate if they want a voice in the future regulation of their country. It’s like the light switch of revelation flipped to the realization that nonviolent political methods will be more effective in achieving their goals. The Sunni’s went to the polls to freely and safely express their displeasure.
Iraqis Finish Historic Vote: "This constitution was written by people who are loyal to Iran rather than being loyal to Iraq," said Tikrit resident Hassan Maajoun, 60, reflecting some Sunnis' deep suspicion of Shiite ties to neighboring Iran.
[HT] DANEgerus for the link to Iraq Elections Newswire and eventually to the following commentary.
Why It Was Worth It: I am watching the results of the Iraqi Constitutional voting, amazed. Amazed that no one is talking about this vote in the proper historical context. Because today will be as important to the War on Terror as the fall of the Berlin Wall was to the Cold War.

The United States invaded another country not for riches or gold or conquest but to spread ideas. Liberals from earlier generations, who went to war against fascism in Spain in the 1930’s, would have supported this war. They would have understood that this was a battle of ideologies. The US had to change the mindset of the Muslim world, and to do that it had to go to war with it, drag it kicking and screaming into the twenty-first century.

What matters is that brown skinned woman having the right to vote and the freedom to pursue life, liberty and the pursuit of wealth.
On a side note, the Theocracy of Iran is suddenly discovering they are not immune from the terrorism the Mullah’s have condoned and encouraged. It is absolutely wrong to believe you can control an ideology that legitimizes the oppression of women and the murder of innocents.
Terrorist Bombing In Iran: Four people have been killed and dozens wounded after two bombs exploded in the south-western Iranian city of Ahvaz. Officials said the blasts occurred five minutes apart near a shopping centre in central Ahvaz. "The bombs were in two garbage cans 50 metres apart," said deputy Ahvaz governor Rahim Fazilatpour.
I wonder if the Mullah's are still lusting for nuclear weapons in the belief they are immune from them by the intensity of their faith.

Friday, October 14, 2005

Facts and Reactions

The Wisconsin Taxpayers Alliance announced a report last week stating that school spending is increasing while school enrollment is down. The Alliance tabulated the numbers and is willing to sell the data for $29.95, plus tax.
WISTAX News Release: Spending per student rose 4.8%, slightly faster than the total because enrollments in the state’s public schools fell 0.3% in 2004-05 to 869,961. In 2004-05, Wisconsin school districts budgeted to spend $10,367 per student, or $477 more than the year before.
On face value, more money for the schools should be a good thing, but apparently it is not because the Teachers Union reacted like they had been poked by a really sharp stick. WEAC President Stan Johnson wasted little time announcing the suffering.
WEAC News Release: A report this week by the Wisconsin Taxpayers Alliance indicating that statewide school spending rose 4.6% last year is incomplete and misleading, WEAC President Stan Johnson said Wednesday (October 12, 2005). "This report leaves the impression that school spending is high when nothing could be further from the truth," Johnson said.

At a time when some of our great schools are struggling just to survive, we need to have complete, honest discussions about the needs of children, the benefits of quality education, the level of funding for our schools and the fairness of our tax system."
It’s like one neighbor making a comment that the temperature is 68 degrees, and another neighbor all of sudden breaking down and crying because it is still to cold and the lack of heat makes the joints ache. We all know the type. Good enough is never good enough, and the grass is always greener somewhere.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

I Believe In City Ownership

The only thing I respect about Mayor Dave Cieslewicz is his honesty about his beliefs. Mayor Dave is a socialist and it shows in his comments about the way the city has messed up a $200 MILLION dollar private sector gift.

Overture Center Problems: "I never liked the refinancing," Cieslewicz said to The Capital Times editorial board Wednesday. "I believe in city ownership."

Socialism is fundamentally about government ownership of assets and the power of government to claim and seize money and property. Progressive government apparently means the confiscation of value will be done humanely over time. The property tax relies on the idea that property owners have an unsatisfiable obligation to government. In other words, the property tax is a debt that can never be paid in full. Madison is progressive, which means the city will provide the elderly a method of transferring their home equity to the government through a Municipal Reverse Mortgage.

What is the City's program?: The City's program is a modified reverse mortgage because the City makes the program available only to pay all or a portion of a homeowner's property taxes. No monthly payments for living expenses are allowed.

How are my taxes paid?: At the time of closing on your loan, you will be required to sign a lien document. A lien on your property will then be recorded with the Dane County Register of Deeds. Upon filing of the lien, the Comptroller's Office will draw a check payable to both the property owner and the City of Madison. You will then be responsible for paying the taxes in the City Treasurer's Office.

Let’s be perfectly clear about this point. Compassionate progressive government allows people to borrow money against the value of their home, to pay the assessed taxes back with interest to the tax collector. True believers in the goodness of government always discount the pain of confiscation, because in their minds it should not hurt.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

al Qaeda Knows the US Media

John Hinderaker at Power Line has analysis of the recently released captured letter from Ayman al-Zawahiri in hiding to Abu Musab al-Zarqawi in Iraq.

Zawahiri's Advice: During the summer, American forces in Iraq intercepted a long letter from al Zawahiri, al Qaeda's number two leader, to Zarqawi, leader of al Qaeda's forces in Iraq. … His main purpose in writing the letter was to dissuade Zarqawi from the mass murder of Shia, and from releasing videos of beheadings.

It is important to understand that many of the original top echelon Islamic Jihadist leaders come from affluent and highly educated backgrounds, and they understand Western Media is one of the weapons they can use against Western Culture. Dr. al-Zawahiri states the fact as straight forward as it can be written.

However, despite all of this, I say to you: that we are in a battle, and that more than half of this battle is taking place in the battlefield of the media.... And we can kill the captives by bullet. That would achieve that which is sought after without exposing ourselves to the questions and answering to doubts. We don't need this.

al Qaeda knows they will never directly defeat the military strength of America, however, they believe they can achieve their desire for a Islamic Caliphate by other methods. The collective terrorist leadership has studied the recent history of the world and find hope in the precedent of America’s own media destroying the American will to triumph over oppression. Fortunately, there are people in America who have also learned the lessons of history. Again by John Hinderaker:

Reading Zawahiri's letter is almost enough to make you feel sorry for him. He is like an old Bolshevik, wringing his hands over the murderous policies of his Stalinist progeny. Zawahiri was once a doctor, and is a relatively cultured and learned man. Zarqawi was a Jordanian street thug and is now a sadistic mass murderer. One can easily imagine how little effect Zawahiri's remorse will have on the bloodthirsty leader of the Iraqi "insurgency."

If Lenin had lived in exile, he may have written a similar letter to Stalin who would have similarly ignored thoughtful consideration, because a true thug only understands thuggery.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Trial Lawyers Find Conspiracy in Madison

I don’t know why Crane, Poole & Schmidt decided not to sue Madison’s campus area bars, however, Lommen, Nelson, Cole & Stageberg like the idea enough to sue’m twice.
CONSPIRACY! A Minneapolis law firm filed a lawsuit Tuesday accusing 25 bars near the University of Wisconsin-Madison campus and their trade association of conspiring to inflate drink prices from 1990 until last year. The class action lawsuit seeks relief for revelers it claims were ripped off. A judge in April dismissed a similar lawsuit filed by the same firm, Lommen, Nelson, Cole & Stageberg, saying there was no conspiracy.

The conspiracy allegedly started after Wisconsin increased its drinking age from 18 to 21 in 1987. Despite reduced demand, drink prices increased faster than inflation in the 1990s "and the timing and sequence of those increases were agreed upon" by bar owners during monthly meetings of the Madison Tavern League, the lawsuit claims.
The current UW Student body were somewhere between zero and four years old back in 1987 but allegedly the Madison Tavern League was already planning to extort money from them by charging prices in bars higher than a take-out 12 pack of Miller Lite. It has been a rough year for Madison Tavern Owners as every act of accommodation they have offered local government has brought them nothing but trouble. Marsh Shapiro of the Tavern League blames this latest assault on the encouragement of UW Law Professor.
Bars Blame UW Professor: Carstensen is an antitrust law professor. He says he is frequently approached by plaintiff's lawyers. "There is nothing wrong with connecting possible members of a class to a potential lawyer. It has nothing to do with fomenting the lawsuit," says Carstensen, "It was going to happen."
Even though Professor Peter Carstensen has been indoctrinated at Yale, he may not be the most leftist person on Bascom Hill. In fact his recent US Senate testimony is a fairly reasonable explanation of the role of law and regulation in maintaining efficient markets.
Free and open markets are generally the best institutional structure for achieving all the important goals of economic policy: efficiency, dynamic growth, equitable allocation of resources, opportunity for all participants. Economists and policy makers have also long recognized that markets are not inherently fair, efficient or open. Where markets are unconcentrated, there are many buyers and sellers, and there is a strong tendency for efficient, workable and fair methods to develop as the inevitable outcome of the interaction of many participants all seeking a neutral and open market place.
Still, if Marsh Shapiro is correct and a UW Professor in anyway encouraged students to pursue these lawsuits, it shows a remarkable ignorance or apathy about the real negative effects of harassment lawsuits, and predatory trial attorney’s upon small business people. Carstensen may believe, in theory, that the legal principles keeping Kraft and Cargill and Archer Daniels Midland from manipulative control of agricultural markets are scalable down to Mom and Pop shops on State Street, but to encourage frivolous lawsuits shows disrespect for both the law and those the law is supposed to protect.

Monday, October 10, 2005

Time for Extra Vigilance on Campus

Mark Tapscott of the Heritage Foundation has been following the October 1st Campus suicide of University of Oklahoma engineering student Joel Henry Hinrichs III, outside the Stadium during the Oklahoma – Kansas State football game. His summary post on the Oklahoma Campus Bombing today outlines why he now believes this was intended as an Islamic terrorist attack. Read the entire post for details but points #1 and #4 are telling.
1. Hinrichs is the only one of the average annual 30,000 suicides in this country during the past decade to blow himself up. That makes his death what statisticians refer to as an extreme outlier.

4. Given #3 above, the choice of a chemical compound known among Middle East terrorists as "Mother of Satan" is more likely a political statement than an indicator of personal pain.
The explosive used in Oklahoma is a product developed and utilized by Islamic bomb makers who call it ‘Mother of Satan’ for the dangerous volatility of the compound. Jihadists will utilize any available explosive but this one comes in handy since it can be made from common chemicals.
TATP: A new terrorist explosive, triacetone triperoxide (TATP), has recently appeared as a weapon in the Middle East. TATP has been used by suicide bombers in Israel, and was chosen as a detonator in 2001 by the thwarted "shoe bomber" Richard Reid.

TATP can be easily prepared in a basement lab using commercially available starting materials obtained from, e.g., hardware stores, pharmacies, and stores selling cosmetics. TATP is a fairly easy explosive to make, as far as explosives manufacturing goes. All it takes is acetone, hydrogen peroxide (3% medicinal peroxide is not concentrated enough), and a strong acid like hydrochloric or sulfuric acid.

London Bombings: In initial reports from the July 7, 2005, bombings in London, police officials said the bombs' destructive power and small size meant they must have been made using high explosives, not a crude homemade concoction. Soon, though, it became clear that they were homemade bombs, the explosive perhaps mixed in a bathtub and distilled in a kitchen, its chemical components available at the local pharmacist. Chemists call it acetone peroxide, triacetone triperoxide (TATP) or tri-cyclo, but to Middle Eastern bomb makers, its power and unpredictability have earned it the nickname Mother of Satan.
Michelle Malkin has links to explosive devices found near the UCLA campus Friday afternoon and on the Georgia Tech campus this morning. Anti-War sentiment is nurtured and thrives in an Academic America unwilling to understand an ideology of divine murder can not be ignored or discussed away. Living in a campus town, I hope the ‘War Is Not The Answer’ crowd doesn’t have their heartfelt pacifism blow up in their face. I also know there will be plenty of kids dressed as terrorists on State Street this Halloween.

Sunday, October 09, 2005

Oops, Humans Did It Again

News from the National Snow and Ice Date Center indicates climate change.
Artic Alaskan Shrubs Reveal Changing Climate: Researchers have found that warmer arctic temperatures are causing vegetation changes on Alaska's North Slope. According to the study, as shrubs increase in size and abundance, they impact the local heat balance.
This could mean either that biomass and biodiversity benefit from warmer temperatures, or that mankind is once again unleashing a flood upon innocent ecosystems by tampering with the permanent true state of Mother Nature. I say once again because our human ancestors apparently caused the same catastrophe five thousand years ago.
Global Warming Seen as Spur to Build Ancient Road: Archaeologists have unearthed the prehistoric equivalent of the M1, apparently built in a hurry across flooding peat bogs during global warming around 5000BC. The track of parallel pine logs on Hatfield Moors, near Doncaster, South Yorkshire, is one of the earliest of its type to be found in Europe and was described by English Heritage as "internationally significant". More than 50 metres of track has been excavated in the past year. Findings suggest that the roadway, discovered accidentally by a Doncaster man, Mick Oliver, was laid out hurriedly as rising seas spilled on to the moor.
I don’t believe the definitive archeological evidence has been discovered showing how humans in pre-historic England managed to pollute the atmosphere with Carbon Dioxide prior to the Bronze Age, but there can be no doubt about human culpability based on the focused reaction of the ecosystem forcing ancestral eco-criminals to build roads to escape.

Saturday, October 08, 2005

Dane Co: Manure Spreading All Year

In addition to his Dane County Supervisor duties, Brett Hulsey is also the Senior Midwest Representative of the Sierra Club, therefore, I fully respect Brett’s expertise in manure spreading. It consistently appears in his writings such as New Roads Are Not The Answer (pdf), in which he argues that new roads won’t ease traffic congestion because building roads only “induces” traffic. Brett’s Lakes and Watershed Committee is recommending new rules for the County.
Liquid Manure Spreading Ordinance: Madison – Today Dane County Board members and Chair of the Dane County Lakes and Watershed Commission Brett Hulsey will introduce a liquid manure spreading ordinance recommended unanimously by the Liquid Manure Task Force. The measure will require farmers who spread liquid manure in the winter to prepare a manure management plan, prohibit spreading within 1000’ of a lake or 300’ from a stream or drainage ditch, on steep slopes more than 12%, and draw up an emergency spill plan.
The problem I have with this proposed County Ordinance is that it authorizes permanent bureaucratic advance reporting requirements when all that is needed are guidelines, common sense and fines for misconduct. In this regard it reflects the general local believe that government has both the right and obligation to micromanage private property. Any ordinance with new filing requirements on the private sector will end up costing more tax dollars.

The pdf file of the recommendations is here. It is worth noting the committee decided not to recommend winter spreading prohibition like in Maine, because Dane County has more cows and hogs than that entire State. I guess this means more manure is produced in Madison area than in some States and that it will continue to be spread around all year long.

Friday, October 07, 2005

Business Friendly Madison

At the core of Urban Planning thought is the conviction that the City will provide jobs for the residents. All other high minded goals, such as diverse entertainment within walking distance and a sense of common purpose derived from living in close proximity to neighbors, fall apart unless those neighbors have work. So it is interesting to see the Cieslewicz Administration try and balance their theory of how urban life should work with the reality of the free market place. It is so hard to perfect your command economy when business can simply move away.

Madison is Losing A Major Research Lab: The University of Wisconsin Madison is losing a major research lab to Florida State University. The Applied Super Conductivity Center will move south next year, after a 20–year stint in Madison.

Now technically, this is UW-Madison, but the Dave Cieslewicz – Joel Rogers team treats the school and city as one and the same, and the university is part and parcel of the local economy. What is more telling about the administration’s anxiety to retain employers is their reaction to Madison-Kipp Corp, an east side industrial firm in business since 1898.

Madison-Kipp Plans Local Growth: Madison-Kipp, located in Madison Wisconsin has announced that it will add $47 million of business over the next two years and hire 40 additional employees in the same time frame. The company is looking for a site to build a new, 120,000-square-foot facility to produce all its new projects.

City Woos Madison-Kipp: The city of Madison is offering Madison-Kipp Corp. $2.5 million to keep it from opening a new plant outside of city limits. … Cieslewicz, in his letter, says his offer of $2.5 million in TIF assistance is contingent … on "a company guaranty of job retention and creation, tax increment, conformity to city prevailing and living wage ordinances in the construction of the project, and evidence of an executed 10-year lease on the property referenced herein."

The surprise is that Mayor Dave is making this offer to a type of business clearly despised by the environmental movement such as the Mayor’s prior firm 1000 Friends of Wisconsin. As the neighborhood around the factory became a liberal enclave the residents who voluntarily purchased homes near the foundry began an endless series of complaints about pollution.

Clean Air Madison: For the past 15 years, Schenk-Atwood neighborhood residents have seen a continual increase in the air pollution, noise, odors and hazardous materials created by the Madison-Kipp foundry on Atwood and Fair Oaks Avenues. From 1995 to 2002, particulate emissions increased 10-fold. It's a rare day when the noise and metallic, waxy, chlorine odors from this aluminum foundry do not blow into someone's backyard.

Hundreds of complaints have been filed with the Madison Health Department and Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. Countless hours have been spent by residents contacting government and company officials, attending public hearings, and trying to get Kipp to be a more responsible neighbor. After all the effort and complaints, there have been no improvements. Clean Air Madison was created to work for a cleaner environment.

Our environmentalist Mayor has decided a chemical belching industrial factory is something he really wants to retain within the heart of the city limits, despite long standing neighborhood antipathy towards the plant. In the end, the need for jobs in the urban paradise is more important than the environmental concerns of the local community. I wonder if the voters will appreciate the irony.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

A Thursday Night Analogy

Imagine this plausible scenario. A mutated strain of avian influenza virus becomes virulent causing human infections marked by low mortality, but with intense and persistent pain. There is an effective way to ease the pain but it is a controlled substance, a prescription drug. When the physicians become infected they make the decision to restrict the use of the pain relief to themselves, while the population as a whole suffers.

Imagine this plausible scenario. Targeted violence, natural disaster and a history of policies preventing expansion of production facilities cause disruptions in oil supply resulting in higher gasoline prices. Citizens with limited financial resources struggle to adjust their lives to the new reality. Government officials, knowing a large portion of the consumer cost of gasoline is the tax they impose on its sale, decide to exempt themselves from the tax. They don’t want to share the pain with the taxpayers.
Rep. Joan Ballweg, R-Markesan, introduced legislation this week to allow counties, municipalities, school districts and technical college districts to apply for a gas tax refund. A similar bill introduced earlier this year by Rep. Tony Staskunas, D-West Allis, would exempt local governments and schools and the University of Wisconsin System from paying the gas tax.
Every single taxpayer funded organization in Wisconsin is coming to the realization that taxes reduce the amount of money available to pursue plans and desires, and now that it hurts they want out of their obligation. George Orwell had a phrase for this.

[HT] GBfan

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Madison: Higher Taxes and Fewer Cars

Madison Mayor Dave Cieslewicz announces in a News Release his commitment to increase property taxes. I’m surprised the headline doesn’t read Mayor proposes 1.6% budget reduction from the historical trends.
“Overall, Cieslewicz has committed to introducing a budget that limits the property tax levy increase to no more than 4.1%”, significantly lower than the 15-year average levy increase of 5.7%.”
But wait, there’s more. The City is projecting another $700,000 of revenue from the latest favorite municipal ploy, the fee increase. Mayor Dave is giving visitors to Capital City an increased opportunity to help us locals pay for police and fire service. The Mayor’s office is telling the City Council these higher fines merely bring Madison in line with the UW and the City of Milwaukee.
Additional funding for the new patrol officers will come from a proposed increase in fines for parking violations. Fines for expired parking meter violations would rise to $20 and street sweeping violations would rise to $30, generating a projected $700,000 in new revenue for patrol officers.
Mayor Dave and Joel Rogers are good urban planners and it shows in this little maneuver with the public safety money. Deciding to use probable, but still ‘projected’, revenue from fines allows them to satisfy Police and Fire Department funding desires, but in addition it lets them retain dependable revenue from taxation for their other pet projects. So why do it this way? The answer is these New Urbanists dream about a Car Free downtown.
You have the freedom to leave your car behind. Each participant in the Car-Free Challenge eliminates at least one car trip per week. When you do this, you will be making a healthy lifestyle choice. You'll save money as gas prices skyrocket, and you'll be free of traffic and parking hassles.
Financing public safety with money from time and location violations of parked cars creates a big incentive not to possess a car downtown. The Cieslewicz administration’s plan for Madison is to create a High Density population island and use Light Rail to move people around. In an already traffic congested downtown, cars on the street are an obstacle to light rail right of way and low risk parking only encourages people to drive to the planned wonderfulness of the fantasy urban model they are building.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Give Us Kelo or The City Dies!

Back in August when Lola and I went to hear Junior Brown in Davenport, Iowa, we noticed a sign on a riverside building reading “This Property Is Not For Sale”. In the upside down world since the Kelo Decision last June, it may be prudent for property owners to have a disaster plan against the forces of our own Government.

[HT] Sharp As A Marble for a pointing out a Kelo Threat in Florida worth watching. Riviera Beach is one of the municipal islands along the Atlantic Coast north of Miami. It is not an enclave of wealth but the wealthy believe it has possibilities. The city has been talking with some guys from Jersey who are willing to turn parts of town into a Yacht Club and Housing Complex. The Jersey guys have the money but they need the land, so Riviera Beach is considering taking about 2000 poor black people’s houses and offering them “at least the assessed values”. That kind of windfall could probably buy bus tickets to Houston to see the Astrodome.
Mayor Brown said. "If we don't use this power, cities will die."
Kelo is dangerous precisely because it affirms the idea that government management of a city is more important than property ownership in a city. Any urban area exists because private citizens decide to own land and pay taxes. The future of New Orleans, for example, will be decided not by government planning but by how many people decide to continue paying taxes for the right to claim land below water level.

When any Mayor says, "If we don't use this power, cities will die", it is a defining sign that government believes their control over ALL of the land is more important that any individual claim of ownership to a home. This has a close parallel in how management of large corporations seized control of company growth and direction from the ownership of Stockholders. There is still monetary value in stocks but the historical concept of having any meaningful ownership control in company decisions is a joke. Housing stock may be headed down this same path.

Monday, October 03, 2005

Bush Understands Courtesan Intrique

Starting at Michelle Malkin or Ann Althouse or even Charlie Sykes the links will take you through everything written today about Bush nominating his own White House Counsel Harriet Miers to the Supreme Court. After reading through the unique mix of bewilderment and outrage I am reminded of a scene from the The Godfather.
Tom Hagen: Mr. Woltz, I'm a lawyer, I have not threatened you.
Jack Woltz: I know almost every big lawyer in New York, who the hell are you?
Tom Hagen: I have a special practice. I handle one client. Now you have my number. I'll wait for your call. By the way, I admire your pictures very much.
At the end of June, after the series of ambiguous and bad decisions, I seriously thought that being a Judge should disqualify a person for the Supreme Court. All professional career paths to the top force a person into the mindset of the profession, and it struck me that we have Judges debating with other Judges, rather than having a focus on the law as it reflects and affects the will of the citizens.
Its Harriet Miers: The other point is that she's not herself a Judge, and therefore has less paper-trails than even John Roberts. Lastly, because of her administration position, she is not an unknown Washington quantity. It is true that she isn't an insider like Roberts, with his distinguished legal connexions. But in 5 years since she has been White House counsel, she no doubt has formed many alliances in that notoriously power-impressed town. She therefore leaves the dual impression of being both an insider looking out, and outsider looking in. Good grief, what a coup.
Ms. Miers background is in commercial litigation which means Bush wants to put someone he trusts to guard large corporate interests on the Supreme Court. This is a big business protection move and reflects the administration’s economic and political values. It also demonstrates that Bush understands Court Politics, and has game planned around the opposition in ways we mere citizens will never comprehend. As citizens, we have allowed a permanent ruling class to develop and their concerns are for themselves first and ourselves second. It is silly to think that either party is going to drastically reform anything in deference to our wishes.

Sunday, October 02, 2005

Why Liars Lie

I know why liars lie. I’m not going to lie to you. You do trust me don’t you?

Liar's brains make fibbing come naturally according to a ‘study’ in support of a ‘theory’ by University of Southern California Professor of Psychology Adrian Raine. Long story short, the Professor has long worked with the belief that criminal behavior has a strong biological component. In other words, he believes that the structure of the human brain can pre-dispose individuals to anti-social behavior. His latest work is using MRI measurements of people diagnosed as pathological liars to show their brains are different.
He found that pathological liars have on average more white matter in their prefrontal cortex, the area of the brain that is active during lying, and less grey matter than people who are not serial fibbers. White matter enables quick, complex thinking while grey matter mediates inhibitions. … Using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), he scanned the brains of all three groups and found that liars had 26% more white matter compared with anti-social, non-liars, and 22% more than the controls. Liars also had 14% less grey matter than the controls.
Keep in mind all the press excitement is based on a group of 49 individuals recruited into a Psychology Department study from Los Angles area temporary employment agencies. Doing the math, Dr. Raine finds 12 clinically definable pathological liars in a sample of 108 volunteers, or a phenomenal 11% of volunteers. Professional Psychologists must be pretty good at finding what they are looking for.

As much as a simple explanation about why there is a profound persistence of fiction in the political debate and the media coverage of the political debate would be satisfying, it needs to be based on a more rigorous proof standard than a dozen unemployed Los Angelo’s. Besides, a quick review of Neuron Anatomy makes it clear the brain’s white matter and grey matter are different ends of the same cell, so any differences aren’t from a simple difference in the number of the building blocks. The real reason people lie is because they can. Trust me.

Saturday, October 01, 2005

A Secret Message For Our Troops

Madison’s Air America affiliate runs a Blog, because everyone needs a blog these days. One of their activist activities is working to get an Anti-War Referendum on Madison’s spring election ballot. Madison native Dennis Coyier explains the progressive position.
I'm working with a coalition of dozens of civic, political, labor, student and religious groups on a City of Madison advisory referendum, to be placed on the April 4th ballot, calling for returning U.S. soldiers, now fighting and dying in an unjust, unnecessary and immoral war on Iraq, back home to their families, alive and well. … To get more information, or to print out copies of our petition to start circulating right away, go to
Its a link clicking Saturday but to my surprise the link to the referendum isn’t up and running. I wonder if Air America forgot to pay the bill for the domain name.
Not what you're looking for? Try these related sponsored links: Compare Mortgage Rates Refinance Rates at Record Lows! Get up to 4 Free Quotes - Bad Credit OK
OK. If you have bad credit and need to refinance your Anti-War Referendum activism, at least you have a place to start. If a commercial lender balks because your plan for peace is to stop fighting Islamic Terrorists who are killing civilians in the name of God, then perhaps progressive buddies at some non-profit will find you more money. The non-profits have plenty of cash.

Today’s super secret message for people trying to achieve peace by removing danger is below. Copy and paste into your special binary decoder.
Don't let your Binary Decoder fall into enemy hands.

UPDATE: Lola informs me that sometime in the middle of the night the website began to be redirected to Yesterday was the first of the month which is the logical time to make account adjustments. Lola believes the activists are making both a political and fashion statement. As master of the frumpy I recuse myself from judgment on other people’s attire.