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Archive for October, 2007

>Poll: Shrill Tax Raiser vs Loopy Uncle Ron Paul

October 31, 2007 4 comments

>This is a pretty interesting poll from Rasmussen showing that Hillary vs Any Republican is basically a roughly 48-40 split. That holds true even when the poll is between her and the loopy Ron Paul, which shows that 1) her support is very solid at that number; but 2) that there is a large anti-Hillary base that would choose even Ron Paul. Interestingly, among voters who have heard of Paul, Hillary gets 48%. Among those lucky voters that have never heard of Paul, Hillary gets 48%.

She really is a polarising figure, which is why I give her no hope in a general election.

A recent Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey featuring a match-up between Hillary Clinton and Ron Paul highlights one of the perils that comes from overanalyzing poll results between candidates with different levels of name recognition.

In that survey, Clinton held a fairly modest 48% to 38% lead. But, a careful look at the results tells us a lot about the public’s opinion of Hillary Clinton and virtually nothing about their opinion of Ron Paul.

Why? First, because just about everyone in the United States has an opinion of Hillary Clinton. She has been a major player on the national and international stage for 15 years. Half the country has a favorable opinion of her and half holds the opposite view, but all have an opinion. Our most recent survey results show that nearly 60% of voters have a strongly held opinion about the New York Senator and former First Lady.

As for Ron Paul, 42% don’t know enough about him to have an opinion one way or the other. He’s one of 435 Congressman whose life is way below the radar screen for most Americans. Still, his presence in the GOP Presidential Debates has raised his profile a bit–26% now offer a favorable opinion and 32% say the opposite. But, only 16% have a strongly held opinion about Paul (7% Very Favorable, 9% Very Unfavorable).

A look at the crosstabs demonstrates that it is attitudes towards Clinton that are driving the numbers in this polling match-up. Among all voters, Clinton attracts 48% support. Among the voters who have never heard of Ron Paul or don’t know enough to have an opinion, guess what. Clinton attracts the exact same total–48% of the vote. So whether or not people have heard of Ron Paul as the challenger, support for Clinton doesn’t change.

Among the 51% who have heard of Ron Paul but don’t have a Very Favorable opinion of him, Clinton attracts 49% of the vote.

The only noticeable difference to be found is among that very small slice of the electorate that has a Very Favorable opinion of Paul. Seven percent (7%) of the nation’s voters fit this description and they prefer the Texas Congressman over the Democratic frontrunner by a 70% to 27% margin.

So, outside of a small group of avid Ron Paul fans, support for Senator Clinton is unchanged whether or not the survey respondent has ever heard of Ron Paul.

Looking at other recent match-ups confirms the sense that what we’re seeing is primarily a reflection of attitudes about the Democratic frontrunner. In the latest Rasmussen Reports polling, Clinton gets 47% against Fred Thompson, 48% against Mitt Romney, 48% against Mike Huckabee, 44% against Rudy Giuliani, and 44% against John McCain.

If you average the last three polls for Senator Clinton against each of these top five Republican hopefuls, Clinton’s support averages out at 48%. Using this three-poll average, Clinton attracts between 46% and 49% support no matter which Republican candidate is named in the survey.

A separate survey shows that nearly half the nation’s voters will definitely vote against Hillary Clinton if she is on the ballot in 2008. But, five of the top seven candidates for the White House also have more than 40% of the nation committed to voting against them at this time.

Clinton is the clear and dominant frontrunner in the race for the Democratic Presidential Nomination. There is no clear frontrunner for the GOP nomination. Ron Paul has yet to top the 4% level of support in the daily Presidential Tracking Poll.

That last line is a cracker. The 9/11 nutjob, anti-war, isolationist loons that spam every Internet poll in which Paul is a candidate must have to take an even bigger dose of Prozac each night than normal in order to cope with the stress of reality.

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Categories: Politics, United States

>Rudd’s climate change lies

October 31, 2007 2 comments

>While regularly pillioring the government for its failure to act on climate change in 11 years, which I have pointed out previously is simply a lie, Labor leader Kevin Rudd has now done a complete backflip by stating that a Rudd government wouldn’t agree to a carbon scheme that didn’t include developing nations post-2012.

This position has never been Labor Party policy. Their policy all along has been that they will ratify Kyoto and accept whatever is decided by the world body for Australia.

They even embraced Al Gore messianic vision and proudly display a video from the world’s most boring man on their climate change website and when he was here last month Gore publicly backed the ALP’s position.

Kevin Rudd has consistently made statements similar to what he said last month:

“Within a little more than a year we will have a new president in the US and I predict we will have one committed to also solving the climate crisis.”

Mr Rudd criticised the federal government for not ratifying the Kyoto Protocol 11 years ago and said failing to act would have a greater economic impact on Australia than on acting.

“The question farmers are asking me is: what are the long-term impacts of climate change on the ability of Australian agriculture to sustain itself?” he said.

Does Kevin Rudd believe that the world is facing a “climate crisis” if he is not going to ratify a post-2012 Kyoto agreement if developing nations don’t come on board. Surely, if it’s a crisis then he can’t have a bet both ways?

Does Kevin Rudd now believe that not acting on climate change will have a much greater economic impact than ratifying the expensive non-solution known as Kyoto? It has been clear all along that unilateral action by Australia, in absence of the developing nations, would be far more damaging to the Australian economy than what the government has proposed.

Is the symbolism of Kyoto now dead for Labor?

Thanks to Rudd’s untenable position, exposed in all its glory yesterday by Peter Garrett, it certainly appears to be.

Rudd has been telling lies on the issue of climate change since he took over as Labor leader.

Those lies are now coming home to roost.

(Nothing follows)

>Professor Bob Carter demolishes the current state of climate science

October 31, 2007 1 comment

>Robert M. “Bob” Carter is a research professor in the Marine Geophysical Laboratory at James Cook University, Australia. He is a geologist and marine geologist with special interests in stratigraphy and, more recently, climate change.

Like everyone associated with the anti-AGW position Bob Carter has brought the wrath of the Climate Machine down upon him due to the stridency of his views.

He’s not a climate scientist, they say.

Neither is Tim Flannery. Or Al Gore. Or Leonardo Di Caprio…!

Carter is, though, a member of the one group of scientists that have a proper understanding of what has been happening over the last millions of years – geologists.

In this recent lecture Carter brings his audience up to date with the state of climate science and completely demolishes to proposition that we’re in some sort of ‘unprecedented’ warming phase. The graphs he puts up showing rate of change in temperature will shock people who think that the rate of rise in the 20th century (or late 20th century) is abnormal.

Readers know how harsh I am on the drivel that passes for science and its proponents, who I put on a par with Lysenko and Hwang. In spite of the vicious ad hominem attacks on Carter, the Climate Faithful are yet to lay a glove on the accuracy of the body of his arguments.

(Nothing Follows)

Categories: Climate Change

>More incompetent than Hans Blix? Meet Mohamad ElBaradei.

October 29, 2007 Leave a comment

>The incompetence with which Hans Blix is generally regarded as having carried out his duties as head of the UN’s International Atomic Energy Agency was expected to take some topping.

Unfortunately, his successor Mohamad ElBaradei has given a whole new definition to the term ‘incompetence’ and in the same way that Middle East journalist Robert Fisk’s name has become a verb – to ‘fisk’ – it would be appropriate if the same happened with ElBaradei to describe situations in which people or authorities, duly tasked with being in charge of a process or outcome, fail singularly in that task due to gross professional incompetence.

For example:

“Why hasn’t the United Nations resolved the issues in Darfur?”

“Oh, they’re too busy ElBaradeing.”

(Note that Google returns zero results for ‘elbaradeing’…it’s unusual to make up any term and not find it already thought of previously).

From Pakistan to North Korea to India and to Iraq the IAEA has been shown to be profoundly ineffective as those countries went about developing nuclear weapons capabilities, some successfully and some not, right under the noses of the watchdog.

The IAEA is the agency that is meant to be aware of the development of nuclear technologies around the world.

In spite of all of the evidence that Iran is building nuclear weapons (read Kenneth Timmerman’s book – Countdown To Crisis, amongst others) including the fact that the centrifuges they’ve installed are only used for the production of weapons grade material, ElBaradei defends Iran, says they’re not trying to build nuclear weapons and berates the United States for overstating the case.

CHIEF UN atomic watchdog Mohamed ElBaradei said overnight he had no evidence Iran was building nuclear weapons and accused US leaders of adding “fuel to the fire” with recent bellicose rhetoric.

“I have not received any information that there is a concrete active nuclear weapons program going on right now,” the director of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) told CNN.

Last month the IAEA was caught with its pants down by Israel’s destruction of a nuclear development facility in Syria. The Syrian’s were so outraged (at getting caught) that they said almost nothing, expressing very minor outrage at what was an act of war by Israel. Whatever was bombed was clearly so secret that the Syrians wasted no time covering it up, as the before and after pictures below show:

What was ElBaradei’s response? He’s from the UN so, of course, it’s blame Israel time.

The head of the U.N. nuclear watchdog criticized Israel on Sunday for attacking a suspicious Syrian site last month, saying the “bomb first and then ask questions later” undermined global atomic monitoring work.

In his first public comment on Israel’s mysterious bombing run on what some analysts suggested was a nascent Syrian nuclear reactor, Mohamed ElBaradei, the chief of the International Atomic Energy Agency, called on the Israelis and other countries to share information with IAEA.

Israel has spent nearly 60 years sharing information with UN agencies and finding it used against them so it’s understandable that they’d take things into their own hands in this circumstance.

But Israel’s attack is not the main issue. The elephant in the IAEA’s padded cell is that it was completely unaware of Syria’s nuclear facility up until Israel’s action.

One of the under-reported benefits of toppling Saddam Hussein is that Libya voluntarily ceased its own nuclear program. Did the IAEA know about Tripoli’s dabbling in the odd bit of atom splitting? Of course not.

The IAEA didn’t even know about Iran’s program until it was well under way. Given that both China and Russia had been helping build the thing and they’re members of the UN’s Security Council it shows not only how clueless the IAEA is but also what a joke the Security Council has become given its charter of maintaining international peace and security. Letting a regime that thinks the twelfth Imam’s return is just around the corner, and the decisive conflict with the Jewish state is nigh, have nuclear weapons seems to be at least a tad at odds with the charter and just a little bit unwise.

What other rogue states are there in the process of quietly developing nuclear weapons? Is the nutjob that runs Venezuela heading down that path? Who knows? If anyone does then ElBaradei and his cronies will be the last to, that’s for sure.

(Nothing follows)

Categories: United Nations

>Common sense email from person with common sense

October 29, 2007 Leave a comment

>Reader Kevin sent an email pointing out that whatever the green agenda du jour is the answer is always the same – more government power tending towards socialism.

With all due respect, if the worst outcome of the global warming panic is that the politicisation of science means scientists will have to work harder to bring credibility to their research – that will be the least of our worries.

Please refer to an increasing trend of argument amongst educated and academic sources that liberal democracy is unsuited to deal with the demands of global warming and social response, and that other systems of governance should be handed power to deal with this !

This is not a good direction to start bringing into common currency of debate.

The key elements of response are seen as enforced reductions in energy use, rationing and restraint on consumption and a cessation of economic growth, even contraction of activity. Self evidently no one in their right mind will vote for this, so the argument becomes installation of a command regime to enforce change.

The latest spin being the UN report which the media suggest states that the human population already exceeds the biological carrying capacity of the planet. And as we can’t expand the planet’s biosphere – would you like to guess where this thrust about restoring ‘balance’ is going to wind up ?

We do not have to look far into the history of authoritarian regimes of the late 20th / early 21st century to imagine yourself, Jack, under this sort of regime huddled at home with restricted transport options, either too cold or too hot due to energy constraints, likewise limited communications access ( mandated to cut energy demand ), clutching your food and water ration books, and hoping that next knock on the door is not the Greenstapo informing you that your number has fallen out of the barrel and that you are the next unfortunate conscript in the Involuntary Rapid Population Abatement Project ( aka The Great Culling, as it will possibly come to be known ).

I suspect at that point both you and I will have some other thoughts in mind about the individuals that will have brought us to that point.

I like the point about liberal democracies supposedly being unable to cope with the ‘planetary emergency’ – to use Al Gore’s spin – which can only be dealt with by a command and control economy.

It’s also complete drivel that we’re already exceeding the load-bearing capacity of the planet, as the green alarmists keep telling us. I reckon we could double, or triple, in population and nobody would notice much of a difference. But that’s another story.

Thanks, Kevin. That was a well thought out email.

(Nothing Follows)

Categories: Culture, Environment

>Sunday night Aussie rock

October 28, 2007 Leave a comment

>You Am I is an Australian alternative rock band, fronted by vocalist/guitarist and main songwriter Tim Rogers. They were the first Australian band to have three albums successively debut at #1 on the ARIA Charts, and are renowned for their live performances. The band’s name was derived from late-night existential philosophising sessions, mainly under the influence of alcohol. You Am I had toured the United States beginning in the mid-’90s, including playing with Soundgarden on the Lollapalooza festival, Redd Kross, The Strokes, and Smoking Popes. (Soundgarden first came across them at the 1994 Big Day Out festival.) Despite little success overseas, the band became well known throughout Australia for Rogers’ Pete Townshend-esque guitar windmills and for its upbeat “ponce and thuggery” take on rock and roll. Further success came with the albums Hi Fi Way and Hourly, Daily, with both picking up ARIA Awards. Hourly, Daily was the first album released on the Shock label to go to number one in the ARIA charts upon launch. These albums were marked by retro-inspired ’60s bop and folky 12 string melodies, a departure from the band’s earlier hard rock/ grunge sound.

I can certainly attest to the power of You Am I as a live band. I think that Tim Rogers must also hold the record for swearing more than any other rock ‘n’ roll front man, which takes some doing.

Soldiers

Friends Like You

(Nothing Follows)

Categories: Australia, Music

>Climate Change officially becomes a Religion

October 27, 2007 2 comments

>There’s been quite a bit to talk about on the world’s most boring subject – global warming – lately.

As regular readers know, I am a harsh critic of climate models. None of them have ever been accurate even when hindcasting; that is, start the model in 1920 and see if it’s accurate in 1950.

Now we have a series of articles reporting on research from Gerard Roe and Marcia Baker of the University of Washington in Seattle who say that not only are models not accurate but that they never will be.

Is this good news for Climate Blasphemers like myself? Well, yes and no, as we shall see.

From New Scientist:

Climate change models, no matter how powerful, can never give a precise prediction of how greenhouse gases will warm the Earth, according to a new study.

The result will provide ammunition to those who argue not enough is known about global warming to warrant taking action.

…It now appears that the estimates will never get much better. The reason lies with feedbacks in the climate system. For example, as the temperature increases, less snow will be present at the poles. Less snow means less sunlight reflected back into space, which means more warming.

…What is more, they found that better computer models or observational data will not do much to reduce that uncertainty. A better estimate of sensitivity is the holy grail of climate research, but it is time to “call off the quest”, according to a commentary published alongside the paper.

Summary from Science magazine:

Uncertainties in projections of future climate change have not lessened substantially in past decades. Both models and observations yield broad probability distributions for long-term increases in global mean temperature expected from the doubling of atmospheric carbon dioxide, with small but finite probabilities of very large increases. We show that the shape of these probability distributions is an inevitable and general consequence of the nature of the climate system, and we derive a simple analytic form for the shape that fits recent published distributions very well. We show that the breadth of the distribution and, in particular, the probability of large temperature increases are relatively insensitive to decreases in uncertainties associated with the underlying climate processes.

From Nature magazine:

Climate models might be improving but they will never be able to tell us exactly what to expect. That’s the conclusion of experts from the University of Washington, Seattle, who have set out to prove that predicting the exact level of climate change is by its very nature an uncertain science.

Over the past 30 years, climate models have not appreciably narrowed down the precise relationship between greenhouse gases and the planet’s temperature — despite huge advances in computing power, climate observations and the number of scientists studying the problem, say Gerard Roe and Marcia Baker. The researchers now argue that this is because the uncertainty simply cannot be reduced.

That really is pretty unequivocal. The models are not accurate and cannot be relied upon, which is what I’ve been saying all along. Anyone with even a modicum of ability in mathematics and statistics would say the same thing.

So is the argument won? Not so fast.

The Nature article continues:

They and other climatologists are now calling on policy-makers to make decisive policies on avoiding dangerous climate change, even if we don’t have perfect models. This means focusing on keeping the planet’s temperature below a certain point (and being willing and able to adjust emissions targets to achieve that), rather than trying to work out far in advance the amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere that will produce that level of warming.

The models are meant to represent the whole of our understanding of the climate system. They are the basis for all predictions of future climate change. If they’re wrong then it’s clear that we do not understand the climate system. Clearly, if they’re going to be as hopelessly inaccurate as they have been hitherto then only a fool would commit trillions of dollars of the world’s economic growth based on their forecasts.

Now we have a situation in which the whole basis of the climate change argument has fallen apart – “the science is settled” – so what’s the answer?

Throw the models out and continue the plan to restrict the world’s growth anyway.

Unbelievable.

With the evidence – models, surface temperature record, the Hockey Stick, An Inconvenient Truth – crumbling around them they turn to the only thing they can – faith.

Thus, climate science becomes more like a religion – or cult – every day.

(Nothing Follows)

Categories: Climate Change