Sunday, February 26, 2006

Conspiracy of Poverty

The brain trust over at Cooper's is really flailing at ghosts. There are no banks in poor neighborhoods they say. Really? I came up with a bunch in the poorest suburbs of LA, so the idea they have to go to check kiting scams outlets for a fee is ludicrous. They do, but it clearly isn't necessary. I don't know where they get these myths. Dialogue there has degenerated into personal attacks on me this time from the left. It's the nature of the polarized political landscape and the romantic/classic mythos/logos divide. Of course in these exchanges only the responder is ever charged with anything. The instigators are anonymous and thus safe from prosecution. A pack of Internet jackals is all they are, and as anyone reading the blog can tell devoid of all logic and reason. Never mind taste.

Friday, February 24, 2006

Even Buckley

"The killer insurgents are not entitled to blow up the shrine of American idealism."

No they aren't, but they can damn well blow up their own. Have at it. This axe has fallen.

Mr. Pirsig

I always liked Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance since I first read it in 1974 when I myself spent a great deal of time fixing my motorcycles. I was constantly looking for a more calm approach and demanded quality. Yet, I had a hard time getting it out of me. I still do. His argument about the romantic and classic schools of thought is relavant now more than ever. Romantics on both sides of the political divide clash with the classics every day. Every writer should read this book and listen to Pirsig.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

One Side Issue

Global warming has no legitimate critics, says CBS. They're right. Consensus is built on facts, not just a collection of self-interested critics with a belief. O course they don't get it, but it's nice to know CBS does. Well done Scott Pelly.

"Cheney Was Drunk"

Yeah, this thing is not going away. The sources are anonymous, but damning if credible. Until now it was just flaming, now I don't know. His secrecy passion won't help this impression.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

The Ports

Lou Dobbs, the one note samba of outsourcing, makes a good point in that United Arab Emirates own the company slated to buy the ports. It's an arm of their government, unlike the publicly owned British company selling them. Of course two the 9-11 hijackers came from there too so that's enough for me to jump on the bandwagon. You don't sell your ports to foreign governments. Private companies are another matter. That's not the case here.

Update: Kevin Drum finds less to bandwagon about on this sale. He's got a point. Many of these outrages seem not to add up to much. Others are already in place, and thew ports aren't concerned by it. Looks bad on its face, but it may be a shallow impression.

Evolution Confirmed Again

Contrary to what a handful of scientists, who all found religion, claim, evolution continues to strengthen. Carl Zimmer reports on sympatric speciation first proposed by Ernst Mayr. New species form by specializing on different food sources even though they live next to others in the same family. The examples here are Cichlid fishes and the Kenetia palm.

Monday, February 20, 2006


When writing history you won't get very far unless writing about a president. No one cares about anyone else in the popular history field.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

The Long Odds of POD

Girl: What if someone pitched a POD book to you and told you it had sold 1000 units in 6 months? Or 3000 units in a year? What kinds of stats turn your head?

Jenny [Bent of Trident Media] : I always hope for even better stats than that, but if someone has amazing reviews and is making Amazon bestseller lists, it tends not to matter. Many of the POD books that have become best-sellers have numbers like that initially.

Or what about the average POD vanity book 75 copies in three years? How would those numbers turn your head? Straight to the round file it seems from this. That would be most of them including mine. I'm guessing her idea of "amazing reviews" doesn't mean amateur reader friends on Amazon either.

Report the Truth

"Our strength comes from emphasizing in every word and action the values that separate us from those who oppose us, not from adopting their methods."

Says Bob Schieffer. And how. Rumsfeld is wrong about inventing bad news in the same way Middle Eastern propagandists are wrong about how and why we do things over there. Their methods are distortions Scheiffer is saying. We don't ever want to deny the truth or obsfucate it. The media wars are won and lost on this very tactic. Our job is not to let it. They would argue their methods are indeed the truth, that we are after the oil, and are occupiers. This simply isn't true and atrocities like Abu Ghraib don't give one prima facie evidence of such a campaign. In a very ugly thread on Marc Cooper's blog these distortions were front and center. I wouldn't buy it and two Middle Eastern types immediately painted me as an O'Reilly. It's laughable. Then, conservative smear tactics came into play using bad reviews of my book.

We've given them this opportunity by botching the evidence of a threat by Hussein, a dangerous buffoon and enemy of everyone especially Iraqis but to this crowd he's given a pass and we get the ire. This is wrong no matter who does it: Rumsfeld or them. It's hard to know what the exact state of things is for Iraqis, but on the face of it, it looks bad. The army is a patsy and should be removed. Then the locals would only have locals to kill, as they are doing now anyway along with the US soldiers. Who would be blamed for their actions then?

Saturday, February 18, 2006

The Melt

The 60 Minutes story on Greenland is on Sunday. Don't miss it.

The Rummy Diary

I listened intently to the secdef Donald H. Rumsfeld's speech yesterday and to the interview on Charlie Rose last night. I'm not a supporter but he has a point about propaganda campaigns on both sides. Iraq is such a distorted norass that there's no way to know what those people think of us and the remodel, but the reporting is accurate in that these bombings continue, people are killed on both sides, and we get the blame for the whole thing while the Islamic nutjobs get carte blanche as the "Noble Savages" wronged by the big bad Americans. What a tragic insult. What a waste of our money. I wouldn't have done this operation for this very reason. That and the fact we didn't have enough information to go in, thus, invited the criticism. Bad move, played out daily in this ongoing nightmare.

The idea that all of our soldiers are torturing the locals is preposterous, but the prison scandals, regurgitated this week, along with isolated incidents like the beating of street thugs, played over and over by the Middle Eastern presses drive this point home to the huddled masses. It's blatant propaganda. Reporting "good news" isn't the answer either since this is insignificant in my view. It's always easier to blame foreigners. Unfortunately we've played into that trap perfectly. And that's all it is.

Friday, February 17, 2006

Tipping Point

We don't have much time left to act Jim Hansen says after seeing the Greenland melt rate doubled from what was previously thought. We should listen to him.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Climate Reporting

Greenland is carving off more glaciers than thought according to this report. And Matt Drudge posts a good preview of 60 Minutes where Scott Pelly goes to Greenland with a top scientist and global warming supporter. This is good. What Drudge is "developing" remains to be seen, but given the bent, he's probably waiting to get the wingerville bogus talking points on the facts presented in the piece. I'm researching and writing about Greenland myself right now for a book.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Polling Intelligent Design

"Which of the following two statements come closest to your opinion? A) Biology teachers should teach only Darwin's scientific theory of evolution and the scientific evidence that supports it. B) Biology teachers should teach Darwin's theory of evolution, but also the scientific evidence against it.
C) None of the above."

Answer: There is no evidence against it , hence the skewed result of this Zogby poll. Zogby will work for anyone and in this the Discovery Institute, the advocates of ID. Case closed.

The New Memoir

Carl Hiaasen on Frey: "Meantime, I won't be able to finish reading Frey's life story, because I'm too busy making up my own. Right now I'm writing the part where Julia Roberts and I get trashed on cheap tequila, steal a shrimp boat and wind up in a beachside cabana on St. Barts.I haven't quite figured out how the chapter will end, since my wife is rather firmly requesting to proofread it."

Author author.

Bush Science Advisor

Is novelist Michael Crichton? That's what Chris Mooney wants to know and so do I. Heritage sure, but Bush directly? Browntsein of the LA Times says he did in the Fred Barnes' hagiography of W. Is it true?

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Blinded By the Right

On Meet the Press this morning Sen. Pat Roberts R-Kansas held up a bottle of "memory pills." He needs them, because aside from granting the president any powers he chooses as he affirmed, Roberts can't even agree with Jane Harman on the adjustments they made to FISA in 2003. These people are just living in their own private Idaho 24-7. I see very little hope in reasoning with this sort of blind faith. Facts mean nothing in this context.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Deutsch On Wingnut Radio

All four parts are linked here: Bad Astronomy and I think Deutsch defames James Hansen. It's the classic up-is-down of wingnuttery on everything we've come to expect. The science is an agenda, and the Democrats are behind it, Hansen is an agenda driven partisan who only wants funding, thus, he's exaggerating the realities of global warming. His warnings are derived that real data. I'd sue this twerp if it was me. Smearing our top scientists so that people believe wingnut talkshow hosts as an alternative is a scary netherworld we already inhabit. Obviously.

The Shackles of POD

What everyone in publishing knows now is print-on-demand is the method noir of the vanity press: a business model. This article in Publisher's Weekly decries the small publisher being buried by the hordes of vanity crap.

"In fact, when it comes to practical nonfiction, the information contained in POD books may be just as suspect as that found on some Internet sites."

It's virtually impossible to climb out of this muck. Serious information in nonfiction will not be taken seriously if it's between the covers of a POD book. I've felt that for quite sometime. It's hard enough to convince agents what my first book now expanded with reams of scientific research and reporting even is. Either they don't know what it is, or do but expect me to be Jared Diamond . There is no middle ground these days. When a St. Martin's book is released and not even shipped to chain stores there isn't a whole lot to look forward to even if you do get through, so the idea that an amateur will get a vanity novel in is a joke.

Friday, February 10, 2006

Deutch Speaks

More blather.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

The First Mission

Of NASA is to protect the home planet. Listen to the Hansen interview here.

The Scientific Activist: Reporting from the Crossroads of Science and Politics: NASA Science Censor Resigns

The Scientific Activist: Reporting from the Crossroads of Science and Politics: NASA Science Censor Resigns

Great response to the Deutsch resignation. Like Dr. Hansen said though, he was just a bit player. His superiors are just as bad.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

The Scientific Activist: Reporting from the Crossroads of Science and Politics: BREAKING NEWS: George Deutsch Did Not Graduate From Texas A & M University

George Deutsch The Man From NASA

Kevin Drum one-upped me with this link to the journalism files from his Aggie days. It's very telling. The idea that a naive ideologue can sanitize NASA documents with logical fallacies is troubling to say the least. But par for the current administration.

Update: Deutsch didn't graduate from A&M via someone who did and a biologist at that: Nick Anthis.
This should come as a surprise, since the media has implied otherwise, with even The New York Times describing the 24-year-old NASA public affairs officer, as “a 2003 journalism graduate of Texas A&M.” Although Deutsch did attend Texas A&M University, where he majored in journalism and was scheduled to graduate in 2003, he left in 2004 without a degree, a revelation that I was tipped off to by one of his former coworkers at A&M's student newspaper The Battalion. I later confirmed this discovery through the records department of the Texas A&M University Association of Former Students.
Good man. So conservative (as with John Fund and James Taranto of the Wall Street Journal) seems to mean we don't need no stinking college degree to tell Ph.D's what to say.

Anthis, who is just 23 himself, continues in the comments section of the post: "but I have since learned that his resume does explicitly state he that he received a B.A. in journalism from A&M in 2003. That is pretty telling."

So Deutsch is a liar too just like James Frey, who did graduate, I think? And this guy is in charge of what NASA says? It's unbelievable.

Nice work indeed.

Monday, February 06, 2006

Gonzales Shuffle

More of the same flim-flammery as Marshall puts it. He stumbled when asked if he had examples of presidents using warrantless wiretaps from after the FISA law enactment in 1978. "I'll get back to you," he said.

Saturday, February 04, 2006


I'm ahead of Mark Twain and the author of Swiss Family Robinson. I owe it all to one. It's all my doing. The second book is doing much better. I'm competing ably with Marc Cooper and Roger L. Simon in that race.

NASA Propaganda

The Big Bang memo came from Mr. Deutsch, a 24-year-old presidential appointee in the press office at NASA headquarters whose résumé says he was an intern in the "war room" of the 2004 Bush-Cheney re-election campaign. A 2003 journalism graduate of Texas A&M, he was also the public-affairs officer who sought more control over Dr. Hansen's public statements.

In October 2005, Mr. Deutsch sent an e-mail message to Flint Wild, a NASA contractor working on a set of Web presentations about Einstein for middle-school students. The message said the word "theory" needed to be added after every mention of the Big Bang.

The Big Bang is "not proven fact; it is opinion," Mr. Deutsch wrote, adding, "It is not NASA's place, nor should it be to make a declaration such as this about the existence of the universe that discounts intelligent design by a creator."

Well here's one job for a journalism graduate with Bush connections . Shilling religion against science.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Junk Man

Industry shill Steven Milloy outed yet again. Is this the best these FOX people can do?
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