Monday, October 31, 2005

Forged

Josh Marshall has knocked himself out explaining this debacle but this is key:"The reports out of Italy were not a separate source of intelligence from the forgeries. They were the forgeries. To be precise, the intelligence reports from Italy were actually text transcriptions and summaries of the forged documents. The reports from Italy and the forgeries were one and the same."

Sunday, October 30, 2005

What Happened To Bob Woodward?

That's what I thought when I saw him on Larry King carrying the administration's water. Johnson thought it strange too.

One Thing Straight

"it is also worth noting that the Senate Intel report is an abomination. It is full of misleading information and was deliberately crafted to shield Vice President Cheney and his staff from scrutiny. Unfortunately, the Democrats rolled over and signed off on the report."

Larry Johnson says it here. That report is no test of truth, based on who ran the thing: Pat Roberts. It's really nothing more than partisan shillery and that's why they quote it. Wilson ain't the liar here.

Life?

Garry Wills just made a great statement at the Texas Book Festival to a question about theology of life. "It's not a question of life, but when does life become a person."

I think that's a key point in the abortion debate that's overlooked. "Theology says nothing about life," he said.

Dr. Gray

Dr. Gray there says:

I’m not disputing that there has been global warming. There was a lot of global warming in the 1930s and ’40s, and then there was a slight global cooling from the middle ’40s to the early ’70s. And there has been warming since the middle ’70s, especially in the last 10 years. But this is natural, due to ocean circulation changes and other factors. It is not human induced.

"I've spent the past 15 years studying the effect of ocean circulation on climate, in past, future and present, and I have many publications on this," Says Stefan Rahmstorf Professor of Physics of the Oceans at Potsdam University. "A change in ocean circulation redistributes heat in the climate system, but has only a small effect on the global mean temperature. E.g., an increase in Atlantic thermohaline circulation would have warmed the North Atlantic region but cooled the Southern Hemisphere, because there is simply more heat transported from the Southern Hemisphere into the North Atlantic then. I would ask Dr. Gray to point me to a single scientific paper which shows how 20th Century global warming could be explained by "ocean circulation changes". If there is no such peer-reviewed paper (and I certainly do not know any), then I would ask him to refrain from making such public claims about it. I would ask Dr. Gray how the ocean circulation has changed, and what the evidence for this is. I would also ask him to specify what the "other factors" are that explain the recent global warming, and point me to peer-reviewed papers demonstrating this. And finally, I'd ask him how he knows that "it is not human-induced" - this sounds like a very definite statement, so I would like to know what the supporting scientific evidence is - given that it is well-established physics that the amount of greenhouse gases which we released to the atmosphere has a radiative effect that can easily explain all the observed global warming. Would not any sober and unbiased analyst of the scientific evidence conclude that at least it is quite possible that the warming is human-induced? It makes me highly suspicious if someone claims absolute certainty that it's not, without giving any rational argument as to why he believes this. (And strange the interviewer let him get away with such a claim without asking: what makes you conclude that?)"

Indeed. Typical wingnuttery naysaying bunk on Gray's end. More here.

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Writers in the Spanish Civil War

George Packer writes a lengthy piece on the Spanish Civil War and the Hemingway, Dos Passos dichotomy. I just had a piece on Hemingway turned down by The New Yorker which, as John McPhee can tell you doesn't mean it's bad. Prescient maybe? Good to see they're paying attention. Packer does a number on Hemingway, and I'm not sure it's justified.
Intellectuals can hardly keep away from politics any more than other citizens, and probably less, especially in decades like the nineteen-thirties (or this one, for that matter). But, because they typically bring to it an unstable mix of abstraction and narcissism, their judgments tend to be absolute, when nothing in politics ever is. This is why a writer as devoted to the visible, concrete world as Hemingway could nonetheless stumble so badly during his time in Spain: he lacked a sense of politics. The writer forever in search of one true sentence ended up accepting a whole raft of lies.

That's pretty harsh, but in EH's defense he was a liberalesque political voter, but in war he put politics aside to observe behavior. "I think he was a Democrat," Bud Purdy his Idaho friend said, but he sure didn't flaunt his political ideas. That's a rare thing in a writer, and Packer clearly doesn't like it.

Italian Rebound

"I have never been convinced that war was the best system to make a country democratic and help it escape dictatorship, even a bloody one," Berlusconi was quoted as saying by La7.

Friday, October 28, 2005

Truth

This whole investigation is about truth, and those who chose to impede it. Truth is paramount in a free society; is not relative; and has to be sacrosanct for this political experiement to work.

The Wilson "Lie" claim

According to John Fund, who failed to graduate from CSUS, page 46 of the Senate report refutes Joe Wilson's statement on Niger. I don't see it. It says the intel he provided was good and there was no evidence of attempting to get yellowcake after 1999, which mever materialized into an actual purchase. This is precisely what Wilson said. Hello?

"I spent the next eight days drinking sweet mint tea and meeting with dozens of people: current government officials, former government officials, people associated with the country's uranium business. It did not take long to conclude that it was highly doubtful that any such transaction had ever taken place.

Given the structure of the consortiums that operated the mines," Wilson wrote in the now infamous op-ed, "it would be exceedingly difficult for Niger to transfer uranium to Iraq. Niger's uranium business consists of two mines, Somair and Cominak, which are run by French, Spanish, Japanese, German and Nigerian interests. If the government wanted to remove uranium from a mine, it would have to notify the consortium, which in turn is strictly monitored by the International Atomic Energy Agency. Moreover, because the two mines are closely regulated, quasi-governmental entities, selling uranium would require the approval of the minister of mines, the prime minister and probably the president. In short, there's simply too much oversight over too small an industry for a sale to have transpired."

As could be expected critics focused on the tea as proof he wasn't trying, as if interviewing key people for eight days is nothing.

Libby

As I've said all along, Libby is behind all this smearing. And Cheney knew it. Libby tried to pin it on Russert but the investigation uncovered four converastions prior to that conversation with Russert. He lied under oath about that.

This Crazy Report

In response to those questions, the Senate report said, the C.I.A.'s counterproliferation division decided to contact Mr. Wilson, who was posted early in his career in Niger. His wife, Valerie Wilson, also known as Valerie Plame, was an undercover officer in that division. The Senate report says that when the division decided to send Mr. Wilson to Niger, she approached him on behalf of the agency and told him "there's this crazy report" on a possible deal for Niger to sell uranium to Iraq.

NY TImes


Get that? The CIA sent her to get her husband, not the other way around. That fallacy gets repeated constantly by the naysayers.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Religion and Societal Progress

As George Monbiot made good use of so shall I. The idea that religion brings comfort and prevents a descent into hell, with all sorts of abhorrent behaviors, is well, pure bunk. The evidence is here in this report.

Up or Down?

Hey, what about everybody gets and up or down vote? Apparently with Miers that happened behind the scenes. Thanks to Mark Shields for pointing out this hypocrisy.

Guru of ID

“You've got to admire the guy. It’s Daniel in the lion’s den,” says Robert Slade, a local retiree who has been attending the trial because he is interested in science. "But I can’t believe he teaches a college biology class."

I can't either.

Going Going....

On Climate Modeling

The naysayers on the right frequently dig for doubt in an area based on a scientific falsehood they share, and the scientific community does not. One of these is climate modeling; the models are flawed, biased and don't consider what ever set of factors they feel upsets the logic path concluding human-caused global warming is indeed real. You see, they don't want to be blamed for it. It really is that ego-centric on the part of conservatives. Combine that hubris with ignorance and a baseline disbelief in science in general and you get misinformation like this.

As realclimate concludes: On a final note, an implicit background to these kinds of questions is often the perception that scientific concern about global warming is wholly based on these (imperfect) models. This is not the case. Theoretical physics and observed data provide plenty of evidence for the effect of greenhouse gases on climate. The models are used to fill out the details and to make robust quantiative projections, but they are not fundamental to the case for anthropogenic warming. They are great tools for looking at these problems though.

"The most important thing to realize is that most scientists didn't originally believe in global warming," he said. "They were dragged — reluctant step by step — by the facts." Seattle Times

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Climate Extremes

Expect more of these catestrophic events of late, and with even worse consequences in the future. We can ignore it, or try to re-alter the scenario with strategies that combat global warming.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Bogus Intelligence

"What may be most significant to American observers, however, is the newspaper's allegation that the Italians sent the bogus intelligence about Niger and Iraq not only through traditional allied channels such as the CIA, but seemingly directly into the White House. That direct White House channel amplifies questions about a now-infamous 16-word reference to the Niger uranium in President Bush's 2003 State of the Union address -- which remained in the speech despite warnings from the CIA and the State Department that the allegation was not substantiated."

Yeah.

Monday, October 24, 2005

Climate Reality

"At age 73, Dr. Koerner, known as Fritz, still regularly hikes high on the ancient glaciers abutting the warming ocean to extract cores showing past climate trends. And every one, he said, indicates that the Arctic warming under way over the last century is different from that seen in past warm eras."

This slippery slope is real.

It's Cheney

"The notes do not show that Mr. Cheney knew the name of Mr. Wilson’s wife. But they do show that Mr. Cheney did know and told Mr. Libby that Ms. Wilson was employed by the C.I.A. and that she may have helped arrange her husband’s trip."

It's getting closer.

The Italian Connection

Maybe this week we'll find out the murky details of the forged Niger documents on the alleged yellowcake purchases?

Sunday, October 23, 2005

The Journalist's Job

Conceding in the Times piece that her WMD reporting was "totally wrong," Miller proves she doesn't understand how journalism works when she says, "The analysts, the experts and the journalists who covered them, we were all wrong. If your sources are wrong, you are wrong. I did the best job that I could."

"That is a lie. Reporters aren't conduits through which sources pour information into newspapers. And sources aren't to blame if a reporter gets a story wrong. A real reporter tests his sources' findings against other evidence in hopes of discovering the truth, something Miller was apparently loath to do."


Shafer nails it to the wall. We aren't stenographers. We're BS sleuths seeking the best version of the the truth we can find despite the minefield of obsfucation thrown in our paths.

Book Signings by the Unwashed

"I feel exactly the same way. At my very first book signing, I thought people would be lined up for the chance to talk to a "real author!" Boy, was I shocked! I felt as if I were trying to hawk water purifiers or something. Sunday's signing is a little different because a lot of people I know have been invited."

Yes, when you invite your friends to a signing that's your typical vanity press audience. I don't know why this little group of ex-Publishamerica authors can't come to the realization that no one cares about their POD vanity books. They never will, or should. Signings are of little consequence when the books are unknown because of being published by fakes. When will they learn this? I suspect never.

On Ernest Hemingway

I spent nearly the whole summer and part of the fall poking around the last haunts of EH in Ketchum and Picabo, Idaho. I freely admit to never having read his books, but since my dad always talked about him from the war I had a built-in interest. Moreover, the history of his fishing, and mine was an unavoidable connection.

The house has a forlorn air to it. Sitting all by itself on the hill above the Big Wood River as development squeezes out everything else all around the 13 acres. I stared up there and wondered how could such a successful man kill himself in such a spectacular setting, but after reading A.E. Hotchner's Papa Hemingway he lost sight of the view a long time before that final exit.

Contrary to myth he wasn't drinking a fifth of whiskey a day, but following doctor's orders and sticking to two drinks, and a strict diet. The problem was his mind was playing tricks on him creating wild paranoid delusions: FBI agents were following him all over Idaho. Banktellers were burning the midnight oil pouring over his accounts for prosecution for tax fraud. He had money, but thought he was in financial trouble and so on.

"I knew he was losing it when we had dinner at the Christiana,"Bud Purdy, the Picabo rancher, now 87 said in September at the Hemingway festival in Sun valley. "when he pointed out all the agents in the room out to get him." Doctors felt the electric shock treatments would have cured this condition had they been completed but he resisted claiming the memory loss was ruining his ability to write. Experts said this was only temporary, but he wasn't convinced, trying to jump out of the plane en route to the Mayo Clinic twice, and one other shotgun attempt at the house. Without the ability to write and drink like a fish he simply felt deep down there was no reason to go on. That was life on "his terms" he said. What he had wasn't.

This is a chilling book, but the closeness Hotchner had makes it fine first person journalism covering the final 14 years of Hemingway's rich life.

Saturday, October 22, 2005

This One's For You

This imbecilic wingnut in Texas likes to make feeble attempts to smear other commenters on political blogs. Hell, they can't win the argument so ad hominem is the last resort of scoundrels along with patriotism. Anyone who thinks the graduation rate at a public school and Yale is the same needs a labotomy.

Friday, October 21, 2005

Park Service Shenanigans

"More alarming still is a directive released last week that would require park personnel who hope to advance above the middle-manager level to go through what is essentially a political screening. What we are witnessing, in essence, is an effort to politicize the National Park Service - to steer it away from its long-term mission of preserving much-loved national treasures and make it echo the same political mind-set that turned Mr. Hoffman, a former Congressional aide to Dick Cheney and a former head of the Cody, Wyo., chamber of commerce, into an architect of national park policy." NY Times

Yeah, strip conservation out of the picture and privatize as much as possible, that's the Cody Way.

The IQ Test

"It takes a lot of effort to flunk out of an Ive League school," Tom Oliphant quipped on The New Hour tonight. Yeah, but Cheney pulled it off. He means that with grade inflation easy loads and the fact you pay 22 grand to go, well, not many fail under those loose rules, as compared to my alma mater CSUN where damn near everyone does.

There will be criminal charges in this Plame affair, trust me.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Essence of Liberalism

"The essence of the Liberal outlook lies not in what opinions are held, but in how they are held: instead of being held dogmatically, they are held tentatively, and with a consciousness that new evidence may at any moment lead to their abandonment." -Bertrand Russell

Thanks to this site for a good signature theme for liberalesque bloggers.

“cooking intelligence.”

That's what former CIA agent Larry Johnson says. That's what it looked like to me at the time in 2003 and even more so now given recent events.

It is now clear that Italy’s intelligence service, SISME, had a hand in producing the forged documents delivered to the U.S. Embassy in Rome in early October 2003 that purported to show a deal with Niger to buy uranium. Many in the intelligence community are convinced that a prominent neocon with longstanding ties to SISME played a role in the forgery. The truth of that proposition remains to be proven. This much is certain: Either SISME or someone with ties to SISME helped forge and circulate those documents, which some tried to use to bolster the case to go to war with Iraq.

Busy Day for Larry debunking all this misinformation about the so-called discredited account of the Niger trip by Joe Wilson. Andrea Mitchell found the truth a bit too complicated to follow.

It's a shame when reporters can't do their jobs for repeating all the conservative BS flying around.

Still Talking

About me over at Mindsight. Amazing. The problem stems from the group over there being unwilling to accept reality about publishing. With conservatives like these, or most of them anyway, any disagreement is seen as rudeness when in fact it's just not agreeing.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Joe Wilson

"The most damning thing the White House could say about Wilson was that his wife got him the job. Yet that practice has been standard operating procedure in the Bush government from Day One.

Now, that's ironic."

Susan Tifft is a former writer for TIME magazine and is currently a professor of journalism and public policy at Duke University.

Amen to that. And even that allegation is weak, as if the CIA didn't know Joe Wilson was the former US Ambassador to Iraq and married to one of their agents without her bird-dogging them to get her husband a weekend gig for Christ's sake. Duh.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Reporter Says Libby Told Her About CIA Operative

Really? She does according to the copyeditor who wrote this headline for the WP anyway but Miller is vague on the matter wondering, "What did I mean by this and I don't remember where this came from, but..."

Whig Roots

Of conservatives run deep throughout American history.

The Whigs also dismissed the Jacksonians' attacks on the privileged classes as demagogic - much as Bush, running in 2000 as a unifying "compassionate conservative," labeled his opponent's criticisms of corporate power and tax breaks for the wealthy a mean-spirited effort "to wage class warfare to get ahead."

On Earth everything recycles.

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Miller Speaks

"On one page of my interview notes, for example, I wrote the name "Valerie Flame." Yet, as I told Mr. Fitzgerald, I simply could not recall where that came from, when I wrote it or why the name was misspelled."

Huh?

"when Miller writes that she "expressed frustration to Mr. Libby that I was not permitted to discuss with editors some of the more sensitive information about Iraq," she made clear that any classified information he shared with her would not be revealed -- either to her editors or to the public. But how, under these circumstances, can she do her job as a reporter?

There is, in short, something seriously wrong here, which is deserving of much more debate.

Friday, October 14, 2005

Miller Time (cont'd)

Many wingervillains have made the proud claim that Joe Wilson was proved to be liar by the Senate committee report in 2004 headed by Kansas Republican Pat Roberts. As David Corn aptly deconstructs here calling the Niger uranium issue "open" as a conclusion hardly renders Wilson's thesis moot. It just means Roberts was such a zealot he refused to believe the facts. Preferring to retain an air of belief in the report which was designed to smear Wilson.

Stay tuned for the Fitzgerald indictment of Libby and Cheney.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Miller Time

This Judy Miller speculation machine is tiresome. My take is still rock solid: Lewis "Scooter" Libby, Cheney's chief of staff, always my first choice as the Plame name leaker, tried to get Miller to do his bidding but she refused, hence the confidentiality with a source dilemma. That's all there is to it. They blew it and the office of the Vice-Presidency will go down for it: outing a CIA undercover operative in a time of war. Pretty heady stuff.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

WMD Again

Josh Marshall's point is well taken and one I've made repeatedly over the Judy Miller reporting of late. Once the inspector's were back in, it was apparent that nothing of substance would be found in Iraq. That's where the preponderance of the evidence, or lack thereof led. Yet our fool in chief blundered on anyway.

Sunday, October 09, 2005

What Goes Up...

Crash. And the lobster conservation success takes a dive. This is an often-cited example by libertarian types of the private sector triumphing over government regulators, a charge that rarely stands much scrutiny.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

The Fog of Religion

"Rafters from the science group explored a slot canyon. Rock formations that they viewed as millions of years old were dated as 4,500 years old by the ministries group. "

Yikes.

Two groups analyze the geology of Grand Canyon: Science and young-earth. How terribly sad. If the majority of Americans side with these whack jobs I hope we lose the battle. Anything to get to the relavance of "One true Sentence" as Hemingway so wonderfully put it.

The US Postal Idiots

I went balistic in my local post office yesterday after having succumbed to a mail search while trying to send a manuscript to a NY agent by media mail, formerally known as "book rate." Not anymore. They've always been the most dense PO crew I've ever encountered. It's classic LA, every clerk and ticket seller in town leaps at the chance to berate the public and stop them from getting anything past them. It's about peon importance. Yeah well, better interpret the rules correctly if you're going to play that game.

My submission was rejected because, get this, self-addressed stamped envelopes aren't allowed! I read the code and it certainly is under additional related material. This stuff is SOP for writers. The agents demand it be sent this way loose with the SASE or they won't reply. Both blockers were minority women oblivious to logic. They aren't doing their gender and ethnicity any favors by behaving this badly in a public job. I filed a complaint against the office.

Update: Several go-a-rounds with USPS reps. Each one cites a different incorrect interpretation of the code. Manuscripts are allowed yet none are bound by definition. Same with the related material: allowed as long as the separate postage is paid. With a self-addressed stamed envelope it is. Morons.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Sitting Ducks

And with an equal memory of the past no matter how recent.
Greed always trumps common sense and science.

Writes Columnist and environmental novelist Carl Hiaasen. He's right in spades. As Mike Davis wrote in Ecology of Fear of LA: "There's no memory here of anything."

Monday, October 03, 2005

No Free Lunch In Evolution

Great piece in today's Washington Post New Analyses Bolster Central Tenets of Evolution Theory
Pa. Trial Will Ask Whether 'Alternatives' Can Pass as Science
by fellow Eagle Scout and science writer Rick Weiss, with David Brown on the evolutionary process and the fallacy of ID. Evolution can be proved, and it has. Read this.

Through a Howling Wilderness

The competition's cover is up. I'm not familiar with the scene but it looks like Gen. Richard Montgomery being killed in the first wave to attack Quebec. The historic site described in his bio is mine. I nominated it and to my knowledge Mr. Desjardin had absolutely nothing to do with it.



Through a Howling Wilderness
Benedict Arnold's March to Quebec, 1775
Thomas A. Desjardin



St. Martin's Press
256 pages
Size: 5 1/2 x 8 1/4
$24.95
Hardcover

Pub Date: 12/2005
ISBN: 0-312-33904-6

Sunday, October 02, 2005

ID Debate?

Debate? Sure, but only with a legitimate competing theories. Of course with evolution there aren't any, hence, the problem with Balter's flawed thesis here.

As it was with Alfred Russel Wallace, who had Darwin beaten, but refused to extend the theory to humans. That was a mistake.

LA

I'm back in LA after a long hot drive from Idaho over the Sierras and through the gold country of Calaveras County and beyond. The towns are so expensive that newspaper openings in San Andreas and Sonora are rendered moot even if I was offered one. Housing is in crisis in America today.
The Environmental Webring
The Environmental Webring
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