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Nov 30, 2009

Sarah Palin

Sarah Palin's Governing Philosophy Emerges In "Going Rogue"
11/30/09 - Riehl World View

Palin in Wasilla - Resistance to insider assimilation
11/29/09 - Op-ed at the Appeal-Democrat

[edited] It seems Palin resisted influence peddling, even when this opposed her early political mentors. Her governing approach showed itself as mayor of Wasilla and stayed with her as Governor.
[edited] Palin showed her political independence to her patron Carney. Palin opposed Carney's plan to have residents pay for neighborhood trash pickup. Most hauled their garbage to the dump themselves, as Palin says she still does. This was important to Carney because he owned the local garbage truck company.
It seems that Palin is not anti-government, but wants government to provide critical services and programs while trimming out the fat.
[edited] Palin consistently opposed heavy-handed community planning initiatives and burdensome taxes during her terms on the council. She explains: I focused on what I believed to be the key functions of government: infrastructure development, fiscal responsibility, and simply being on the side of the people.

Palin haters spread the canard that she is an airhead, and clearly not capable of dealing with the intricacies of government. This chapter demonstrates the opposite.

Palin has a keen grasp of the details of governing and budgeting, and also understands the political difficulties making government responsive. Many of her antagonists at the national level scoffed at her experience in Wasilla. Quite the contrary, local government is where a public official has direct impact on the electorate. It is where you really have to understand what you're doing.

Peer Review is Not What You Think

Scientific Peer-Review is a Lightweight Process
11/30/09 - ChicagoBoyz by Shannon Love

[edited] "Peer Review" says nothing about conclusions. It is the fate of most scientific papers to be proven completely wrong.

Peer review protects a journal’s reputation. The journal hires experts to check for basic errors in math or methodology, along with grammar and spelling. It offloads responsibility for publishing bad papers onto anonymous scientists. It is a form of blame-passing that everyone would like to use. It does not confirm or refute experimental or theoretical conclusions.

The anonymous and secret peer review process is not part of actual science. Science demands that that all observers of a phenomenon can agree they see the same thing. Ruthless transparency is critical. Secrecy hinders the functioning of science, and peer review is a secret process. Science is not settled by the secret complaints of the anonymous.

Some people will say that a scientific result is true because it appears in a peer reviewed journal. That is the weakest defense possible. It means only that some editor and his reviewers found it to meet their minimum quality standards for publishing. It meets no standards if the editors and peer reviewers are corrupt.

When people see "peer review", they usually think of "scientific review", which is the detailed investigation of data and the replication of results by independent scientists. Scientific review gives some confidence that the claimed results are correct. Even then, conclusions about what the results "mean" can be wrong.

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ClimateGate: The Fix is In
11/24/09 - Real Clear Politics By Robert Tracinski
Via SmallDeadAnimals

[edited] Global warming "skeptics" had unearthed evidence that scientists at the Hadley Climatic Research Unit (CRU) at Britain's University of East Anglia had cherry-picked data to manufacture a "hockey stick" graph. This graph showed a dramatic, but illusory, runaway warming trend in the late 20th century.

Much broader evidence has emerged that will break that scandal wide open. Pundits have named it "Climategate." Thousands of e-mails and data from the CRU are now available on the Web.

The following stood out for me. There is extensive evidence of the hijacking of the "peer review" process to enforce global warming dogma. Peer review is the practice of subjecting scientific papers to review by other scientists with relevant expertise before they can be published in professional journals. The idea is to weed out research with obvious flaws or weak arguments, but there is a clear danger that such a process will simply reinforce groupthink.

Peer review has been corrupted, becoming a mechanism for an entrenched establishment to exclude legitimate challenges by simply refusing to give critics a hearing.

The noted climate researcher Michael Mann emailed about pressuring the journal Climate Research, which published a paper critical of global warming.

I think we have to stop considering "Climate Research" as a legitimate peer-reviewed journal. Perhaps we should encourage our colleagues in the climate research community to no longer submit to, or cite papers in, this journal.

This is the scandal of the century. It needs to be thoroughly investigated, and the culprits need to be brought to justice.

Read more at the link:

  • The emails involve numerous leading British and American climate scientists outside of the CRU.
  • Private admissions of doubt or scientific weakness in the global warming theory.
  • A prominent global warming alarmist admits to using a statistical "trick" to "hide the decline" in temperatures.
  • Cherry-picked data
  • Evasion of legal requests for data, under the Freedom of Information Act.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is a project of the United Nations. Its reports are taken as gospel by governments and scientists pushing for global control of industry, to avoid catastrophic global warming.

Many of the scientists contributing to the IPCC, especially at the Hadley CRU, were committed to avoiding scientific review. Despicably, they used their powers of peer review to exclude criticism of their papers, and they refused to release underlying data to any independent scientific review. Fortunately, a few scientific bloggers were able to make many of the faults public.

Amazingly, the IPCC didn't even restrict itself to peer reviewed results. The IPCC is a political institution, not a scientific one. Being half a scientist is like being half a truth.

1/3rd of IPCC claims were not peer-reviewed
04/20/10 - by Don Surber

Citizens Audit of the UN's Climate Report
04/07/10 - by Noconsensus.Org

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The IPCC is Political, Not Scientific
04/20/10 - PrisonPlanet by economist Richard Tol

Working Groups 2 and 3 of the AR4 (Assessment Report 4) violated all IPCC procedures. The conclusions are scientifically unfounded in part, and some are even copied from the environmental movement. Valid comments were ignored. AR4 contains crude errors as a result, only some known publicly.

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Galilean Peer Review
12/06/09 - Throckmorton's Other Signs

A doctor teaches his residents how to read published, peer-reviewed papers in medical journals. They must carefully examine the evidence and methodology. Most of the papers are not convincing after a hard look.

Think about that, the next time a newspaper breathlessly reports a finding in a newly published scientific paper.

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An array of errors
09/10/11 - The Economist

Summary:  Researchers Anil Potti and Joseph Nevins at Duke University published that they could predict the course of lung cancer using expression arrays, colorful activity patterns of thousands of genes in a tissue sample. The research was sloppy and wrong, despite initial peer review and repeated publication in respected medical journals. Those journals refused most critical comment.

AMG:  This is similar to the controversy surrounding the data, statistics, and computer code used to construct climate models. Prominent climate scientists have refused to release this supporting information for independent confirmation. The climate journals seem to be a much tighter and more defensive group than the medical journals.

When researchers refuse to supply their source data and methods, they are not scientists. A researcher earns our trust through open disclosure. He does not deserve any trust from calling himself a scientist or from working for a prestigious institution.

[edited]:  Investigations into alleged scientific misconduct have revealed numerous holes in the oversight of science and scientific publishing.

Bio-statisticians Keith Baggerly and Kevin Coombes work at the MD Anderson Cancer Centre in Houston. They found serious flaws in the work at Duke.

Dr. Baggerly noted that he did not have full access to the computer code and consistent raw data on which the work was based.

Journals that had readily published Dr. Potti’s papers were reluctant to publish Dr. Baggerly's criticism of Potti's work. Nature Medicine published one critical letter, and a rebuttal from the team at Duke, but rejected further comments as more problems arose. Other journals behaved similarly.

Eventually, Baggerly and Coombes resorted to publishing their criticisms in a statistical journal, unlikely to reach the same audience as a medical journal.

Dr. Califf is vice-chancellor in charge of clinical research at Duke University. He and other senior administrators acknowledged they gave too much weight to Dr. Nevins's judgment. That led them to withhold Dr. Baggerly’s criticisms from the external-review committee in 2009. The internal committees responsible for overseeing clinical trials lacked the expertise to review the complex statistical methods used in experiments on gene expression.

The process of peer review relies (as it always has) on the goodwill of workers in the field, who have jobs of their own and frequently cannot spend the time needed to check other people’s papers in a thorough manner. (amg: Despite the fact that they have agreed to peer review those papers.)

Dr. McShane estimates she spent about 350 hours reviewing the Duke work. Drs. Baggerly and Coombes estimate they spent nearly 2,000 hours. The methods sections of papers are supposed to provide enough information for others to replicate the work, but often do not.

Dodgy work will be revealed eventually, as it is found not to fit in with other, more reliable discoveries. But that all takes time and money.

Nov 25, 2009

Biased Reporting

The Media has Always Been Biased
11/25/09 - ChicagoBoyz by Shannon Love

Shannon Love excerpts one of his favorite Bloom County comic strips:

Milo:  Senator? This is Milo Bloom at the Beacon. Will you confirm that you sunk Jimmy Hoffa in your backyard pond?

Sen. Bedfellow:  What? Of course not!

Milo:  Fine, I’ll go with ‘Sen. Bedfellow Denies That Pond Is Where He Sunk Hoffa.’

Sen. Bedfellow:  That’s not true!

Milo:  Okay. ‘Bedfellow Did Sink Hoffa in Pond.’

Sen. Bedfellow:  I don’t know where Hoffa is!!

Milo:  ‘I Lost The Body’ Says Bedfellow.

Anti-Capitalist Policies Are Anti-Job

Anti-Capitalist Policies Are Anti-Job
11/25/09 - BigGovernment by Thomas Del Beccaro

[edited]  There is no secret to capitalism.
  • Some people save money for investment.
  • They start or grow businesses.
  • Businesses employ people.
  • Employed people have purchasing power to buy things.
  • Trade distributes value to buyers and profits to sellers.
  • Profits are partly saved for investment ...

The Left’s political policies destroy that simple and effective economic process. They impose taxes to reduce class differences and to raise revenue. Ironically, the opposite occurs in both areas.

Say it takes $500,000 from two partners to start a restaurant. High taxes take money from them and spread it to tens of thousands of people through government programs. The recipients don’t start businesses, and jobs are not created. Businesses that don't exist or grow also don't pay taxes or don't pay more taxes.

Increasing regulation has a similar effect, raising the cost of starting or expanding a business, reducing business activity, and killing jobs.

There are many other anti-capitalist policies of the Left, including Cap & Trade, the proposed Wall Street regulations, and skyrocketing deficits. All result in fewer businesses, jobs, and purchasing power, killing economic recovery.

Quip: Communist theorist Karl Marx revealed that business owners are leeches on society, draining away the wealth that rightfully belongs to the workers. At least, the ones who have jobs.

The Real Tax Burden
Jan 2009 - EasyOpinions by Andrew Garland

The real tax burden is what government spends, not just the deficit.

Public Tax Meeting
Sep 2008 - EasyOpinions by Andrew Garland

It isn't common knowledge just how much tax wealthy people already pay, and how much is wasted by increased government spending. Ironically, raising taxes on anyone will lower the production of the US, and so will lower the number of jobs.

An excerpt:

John JJ Richman was making breakfast when he heard the crowd outside. They seemed just shy of hostile. He opened his door to see about 65 townspeople, out of a town of 100. Two spokesmen were standing on the porch.

John: Good morning. Why are you all here?

Rob: There are things that need changing, and you are the one to help us.

Nov 8, 2009

Top Ten Political Statements

Statements 1-9 are political messages from no particular source, as satire. Statement 10 is quoted from early remarks by President Obama about the mass murder at Fort Hood, TX.


1   There is nothing strange about my policies. The incompetent former occupant of this office did many of the same things I have, but for selfish and stupid reasons.

2   I would not say that we lied. Sophisticated people know that politicians must find compromise between groups. This is much easier when those groups don't understand the details. So, we don't lie; we just aren't detailed. And, sometimes those details differ in suprising ways from our general statements.

3   Critics claim that I have changed my policy. In fact, my views have been quite consistent. If my policies seem different now, it is only because the facts have changed. I am smart to change my policy to incorporate different facts. You ask, "What were the facts in the past?". Well, they were different.

4   I know the public is concerned about deficit spending. Our deficits may be bigger, but the other guys started it. We inherited huge problems, so we have to quickly spend huge money. We haven't spent most of it yet, but we will. Give us time. We are being thoughtful about this.

Deficits are not a problem. Thousands of deserving people have government jobs exactly because we are spending the money that causes deficits. I can say with certainty that there would be no unemployment if the government hired everyone. We are working on it.

5   Our plans are carefully researched to provide more services with less money. If they don't work out that way, we will fix them, no matter how long it takes or how much it costs.

6   We predicted 8% unemployment if we did nothing, and now unemployment is 10% after enacting a $787 billion (with a "b") stimulus package. My opponents blame us for not meeting our earlier estimates. But, if we really knew, we wouldn't call them estimates. Estimates of the future are the most difficult because we don't have the data yet. We estimate that unemployment would now be 18.35% if we had done nothing. So, we are celebrating.

7   Our policies for spending, taxing, deficits, and reviving the economy were based on sophisticated, tested, econometric models, constructed and refined by the best minds in government. Despite this, we have been surprised by the underperformance of the economy. We are not worried. There are plenty of econometric models out there, and we are switching to better ones right now.   (Stimulus jobs) [edited] Congressional Democrats are disgusted with the phony accounting of jobs created by the stimulus plan.
  David Obey is the House Appropriations Committee Chairman. He lambasted the government's flawed data "showing" that $160 billion in stimulus spending has created or saved at least 640,000 jobs.
  The administration has been forced to delete 60,000 jobs from its list, and had claimed 30 jobs in a non-existent congressional district.
  David Obey: [edited] "The inaccuracies are outrageous and the administration owes itself, the Congress and every American a commitment to correct the ludicrous mistakes. Whether the numbers are good news or bad news, I want the honest numbers, and I want them now."

8   The stimulus package we put in place is working just fine. Thousands of government jobs have been created, or stabilized with higher salaries. This assures that government workers will be loyal and at their desks through any economic difficulties to come.

9   Our policies of stimulus and bank bailouts have led to a rising stock market, for which we are proud. Remember that employment is a lagging indicator. Overall employment will increase after fat-cat stockholders have been made rich enough. Of course, we will tax away most of their ill-gotten capital gains.

10   President Obama spoke on 11/05/09 at the Tribal Nations Conference of Native American Leaders, organized by the Department of the Interior. President Obama or his speechwriters are better at satire than I am.

1 Let me, first of all, just thank Ken and the entire Department of the Interior staff for organizing just an extraordinary conference. I want to thank my cabinet members and senior administration officials who participated today.

I hear that Dr. Joe Medicine Crow was around, and so I want to give a shout out to that Congressional Medal of Honor winner. Good to see you!

My understanding is that you had an extremely productive conference. I want to thank all of you for coming, and for your efforts, and I want to give you my solemn guarantee that this is not the end of a process, but a beginning of a process, and that we are going to follow up. Every single member of my team understands that this is a top priority for us.

I want you to know that, as I said this morning, this is not something that we just give lip service to. And, we are going to keep on working with you to make sure that the first Americans get the best possible chances in life, in a way that's consistent with your extraordinary traditions, and culture, and values.

Now, I have to say, though, that beyond that, I had planned to make some broader remarks about the challenges that lay ahead for Native Americans as well as collaboration with our administration.

2 But, as some of you might have heard, there has been a tragic shooting at the Fort Hood Army Base in Texas.

We don’t yet know all the details at this moment. We will share them as we get them. What we do know is that a number of American soldiers have been killed and even more have been wounded in a horrific outburst of violence.

My immediate thoughts and prayers are with the wounded, and with the families of the fallen, and those who live and serve at Ft. Hood.

These are men and women who have made the selfless and courageous decision to risk, and at times give their lives to protect the rest of us on a daily basis. It’s difficult enough when we lose these brave Americans in battles overseas. It is horrifying that they should come under fire at an army base on American soil.

[further remarks omitted]

1 President speaks about Fort Hood shootings
11/05/09 - youtube - Video from Fox News
My transcription of the beginning of Obama's speech.

2 President Obama Speaks About Fort Hood Tragedy
11/05/09 - blogs.abcnews.com by Jake Tapper and Sunlen Miller
Continuation of Obama's speech as reported here, slightly edited.

Jumping to Conclusions
11/06/09 - Powerline Blog by John Hinderaker
About President Obama's understanding of the Fort Hood mass murder.

A Political Speech: Troubling Times
Easy Opinions (satire)

My fellow Americans. May I first say that all of you are the most intelligent, beautiful, clear thinking, generous, patriotic, and deserving people that I have met, along with all of the other great people of your town, city, and state.

I am sorry to bring you bad news, and I hope you don't shoot the messenger (smiles). We live in troubling and difficult times.

A Political Speech: Coming Together
Easy Opinions (satire)

My administration will reach across the aisle to both parties, and especially to the opposing and obstinate party, to gain agreement and smooth the operation of government. We will smile rather than argue.

A Political Speech: My Policies
Easy Opinions (satire)

I want you to know where I stand on the issues. I believe in Prosperity, and I always will.

Nov 3, 2009

We Can't Stop Government Growth

Can the Rampaging Leviathan Be Stopped or Slowed?
11/02/09 - Independent.org by Robert Higgs
  Senior Fellow in Political Economy, and
  Editor of The Independent Review at The Independent Institute.

[edited] There are critical difficulties restraining the growth of government. Even when restraints on government are enacted into law, the government does not obey. So, constitutional amendments are worthless. The Constitution already contains the NinthThe enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people. and TenthThe powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people. Amendments. With those amendments and four bucks you can get a latte at Starbucks.

"Solutions to the ongoing growth of government are a dime a dozen and utterly worthless in themselves. Every genuine solution must be implemented by enough people and money. Marshalling people and money will require ideological conversions on a substantial scale. These conversations themselves will require many people and much money, if such conversions are possible at all.

The troubling fact remains, that if any truly effective measures are approved to limit the government, the rulers would likely resort to whatever legal or illegal violence proved necessary to prevent those measures from taking effect.

If Ron PaulCongressman from Texas, noted for wanting a much smaller and limited government were miraculously elected president, he would not live to take office. Opponents of the government's ongoing growth must bear in mind that we are dealing with violent, heavily armed, utterly unscrupulous people who, if pushed to the brink, will stop at nothing to retain their power and privileges.

We who abhor the continued growth of government cannot stop or slow it in the near term. But, we can take heartNot much of a comfort -ag from the knowledge that ultimately this criminal enterprise will attain such bloated size and scope that it will implode, as the Soviet Union and other overreaching systems have imploded.

Governments that grow without other limits find that their predation becomes greater than their prey can support. Thus, the government in this country and many others contain the seeds of their own destruction.

Leading the People
08/2008 - EasyOpinions by Andrew Garland

My personal experience with radicals in college was scary. They don't mind threatening others, regardless of the academic setting or discussion.

[excerpt] He argued that only a radical change in government would bring about a better society. I disagreed. He said that I should join the demonstrations against the University to end the Vietnam war. I thought a sit-in demonstration against the University was misdirected. I suggested the he should demonstrate against the government; the University was not at war.

He said that his movement would become stronger, and eventually I would agree with him. I asked, what if I didn't agree with him, even later? He flashed anger and told me that if I didn't agree on my own, he would make me agree. I saw that as the end of the discussion.

We Must Spend or We Are Going to DIE!
04/2009 - EasyOpinions by Andrew Garland   (satire, excerpt)

From: Ruling Class
To : Public
Re : We must tax and spend now, or we are all going to DIE!

We don't want to tax and spend (cough), but we must react to the crisis that we have identified. We are going to borrow, spend, and tax reluctantly to support our actions. The alternative is DEATH. No one wants that.

So what if you are poor in the future? At least you will be alive, and we will continue to guide you through supportive government to help you out of poverty. We will create and assign the jobs of the 21st century. Your children will pay most of the taxes, and we are training our children to have the public spirit that will allow them to rule wisely.