Archive for February 24th, 2009

Simple Answers To Simple Questions, Volume 342

Jamo Foser asks:

Will media repeat Jindal’s false attack on Obama, or correct it?

According to Ben Smith, Bobby Jindal will accuse Obama of pessimism tonight, saying:

A few weeks ago, the President warned that our nation is facing a crisis that he said ‘we may not be able to reverse.’ Our troubles are real, to be sure. But don’t let anyone tell you that we cannot recover – or that America’s best days are behind her.

Smith didn’t mention this, but Jindal’s claim is false.  Obama didn’t say “we may not be able to reverse” the crisis; he said if we continue to do nothing, it may reach a point where it cannot be reversed.  And he didn’t say “we cannot recover” or that “America’s best days are behind her.”  Simply didn’t happen.

Here’s Obama’s February 5 op-ed:

What Americans expect from Washington is action that matches the urgency they feel in their daily lives — action that’s swift, bold and wise enough for us to climb out of this crisis.

Because each day we wait to begin the work of turning our economy around, more people lose their jobs, their savings and their homes. And if nothing is done, this recession might linger for years. Our economy will lose 5 million more jobs. Unemployment will approach double digits. Our nation will sink deeper into a crisis that, at some point, we may not be able to reverse.

That’s why I feel such a sense of urgency about the recovery plan before Congress. With it, we will create or save more than 3 million jobs over the next two years, provide immediate tax relief to 95 percent of American workers, ignite spending by businesses and consumers alike, and take steps to strengthen our country for years to come.

I’m gonna go with “repeat.”  Although it does look like, mercifully, there will be some exceptions:

UPDATE: Salon’s Alex Koppelman is all over this:

That’s misleading, at best, though it’s a cute little frame. (“Obama doesn’t believe in you!”) In context, it’s clear that the quote Jindal refers to means almost exactly the opposite of what he says it does.

Excellent.  More like this, please.

February 24th, 2009 at 08:07pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Economy,Obama,Politics,Republicans,Wankers

Wanker Martyr Of The Day

Norm Coleman:

Republican Norm Coleman on Tuesday refused to rule out an appeal if a three-judge panel rules against his challenge in what he called “the race that never ends.”

(…)

Coleman said his lawyers will wrap up their arguments by the end of the week, and he expected a ruling to come down in a “couple weeks.” If he loses, he would not say whether he would try to appeal a ruling with the state Supreme Court.

“I’m not ruling it in or ruling it out, let’s see what the court does and hopefully they’ll do the right thing,” Coleman said.

He added: “This process already is Tolstoy-esque.”

I think it’s brilliant how Norm theatrically and hyperbolically laments how long and drawn-out the process is, like he’s just some helpless, Kafkaesque pawn being swept along by events – even as he singlehandedly prolongs the ordeal himself.

February 24th, 2009 at 07:04pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Elections,Politics,Republicans,Wankers

Random Sky Photoblogging

Like the title says, just some random sky pictures. I was mostly trying to capture that cool ray effect when the sun shines through clouds, but it’s elusive as hell.

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5 comments February 24th, 2009 at 11:28am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Photoblogging,Pittsburgh

Wanker Of The Day

John Tierney takes on the tyrannical hubris of science:

Most researchers, Dr. Pielke writes, like to think of themselves in one of two roles: as a pure researcher who remains aloof from messy politics, or an impartial arbiter offering expert answers to politicians’ questions. Either way, they believe their research can point the way to correct public policies, and sometimes it does — when the science is clear and people’s values aren’t in conflict.

But climate change, like most political issues, isn’t so simple. While most scientists agree that anthropogenic global warming is a threat, they’re not certain about its scale or its timing or its precise consequences (like the condition of California’s water supply in 2090). And while most members of the public want to avoid future harm from climate change, they have conflicting values about which sacrifices are worthwhile today.

A scientist can enter the fray by becoming an advocate for certain policies, like limits on carbon emissions or subsidies for wind power. That’s a perfectly legitimate role for scientists, as long as they acknowledge that they’re promoting their own agendas.

But too often, Dr. Pielke says, they pose as impartial experts pointing politicians to the only option that makes scientific sense. To bolster their case, they’re prone to exaggerate their expertise (like enumerating the catastrophes that would occur if their policies aren’t adopted), while denigrating their political opponents as “unqualified” or “unscientific.”

“Some scientists want to influence policy in a certain direction and still be able to claim to be above politics,” Dr. Pielke says. “So they engage in what I call ‘stealth issue advocacy’ by smuggling political arguments into putative scientific ones.”

In Dr. Pielke’s book, one example of this stealthy advocate is the nominee for White House science adviser, Dr. Holdren, a longtime proponent of policies to slow population growth and control energy use. (See TierneyLab, for more on his background.) He appears in a chapter analyzing the reaction of scientists to “The Skeptical Environmentalist,” a 2001 book arguing that many ecological dangers had been exaggerated.

Dr. Holdren called it his “scientific duty” to expose the “complete incompetence” of the book’s author, Bjorn Lomborg, a Danish political scientist. Dr. Holdren was one of the authors of an extraordinary 11-page attack on the book that ran in Scientific American under the headline, “Science defends itself against ‘The Skeptical Environmentalist’ ” — as if “science” spoke with one voice.

After reviewing the criticisms, Dr. Pielke concludes that a more accurate headline would have been, “Our political perspective defends itself against the political agenda of ‘The Skeptical Environmentalist.’ ”

(…)

Dr. Pielke suggests that scientists could do more good if, instead of discrediting rivals’ expertise, they acknowledge political differences and don’t expect them to be resolved by science. Instead of steering politicians to a preferred policy, these honest brokers would use their expertise to expand the array of technically feasible options.

What would honest brokers tell the president about global warming? Dr. Pielke, who calls himself an Obamite, says he’s concerned that the presidents’ advisers seem uniformly focused on cutting carbon emissions through a domestic cap-and-trade law and a new international treaty.

It’s fine to try that strategy, he says, but there are too many technological, economic and political uncertainties to count on it making a significant global difference. If people around the world can’t be cajoled — or frightened by apocalyptic scenarios — into cutting carbon emissions, then politicians need backup strategies.

One possibility, Dr. Pielke says, would be to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere in the future. He calculates that it could cost about the same, in the long run, as making drastic cuts in emissions today, and could be cheaper if the technology improves. It could also be a lot easier sell to the public.

Yet research into this strategy has received little financing in past budgets or the new stimulus package because it doesn’t jibe with the agenda of either side in the global-warming debate. Greens don’t want this sort of “technological fix”; their opponents don’t want to admit there’s anything to fix. And neither side’s advocates will compromise as long as they think that science will prove them right.

So, let’s see…   According to Tierney and his new BFF Pielke:

o Scientists are just as biased and political as the anti-scientists of the Bush administration, and therefore their conclusions and recommendations have no credibility.

o The science still isn’t settled on global warming.

o Holdren attacked Lomborg for purely political reasons, and not because Lomborg is a denialist hack.

o We don’t need to worry about limiting carbon emissions (and it’s too hard anyway), because the Magickal Technology Of Teh Future will conveniently be able to scrub all the carbon from the atmosphere.

Yeah, giving a science column to an anti-scientist was a great idea.

February 24th, 2009 at 07:28am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Media,Republicans,Science,Wankers


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