One Of These Things Is Not Like The Other

In today’s Washington Post, Professor of Climate Science Michael Mann:

The basic physics and chemistry of how carbon dioxide and other human-produced greenhouse gases trap heat in the lower atmosphere have been understood for nearly two centuries. Overloading the atmosphere with carbon dioxide from burning fossil fuels is heating the planet, shrinking the Arctic ice cap, melting glaciers and raising sea levels. It is leading to more widespread drought, more frequent heat waves and more powerful hurricanes. Even without my work, or that of the entire sub-field of studying past climates, scientists are in broad agreement on the reality of these changes and their near-certain link to human activity.

Burying our heads in the sand would leave future generations at the mercy of potentially dangerous changes in our climate. The only sure way to mitigate these threats is to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions dramatically over the next few decades. But even if we don’t reduce emissions, the reality of adapting to climate change will require responses from government at all levels.

Challenges to policy proposals for how to deal with this problem should be welcome — indeed, a good-faith debate is essential for wise public policymaking.

But the attacks against the science must stop. They are not good-faith questioning of scientific research. They are anti-science.

At the climate skeptical Watt’s Up With That blog, Professor of Physics Hal Lewis:

… a few of us tried to bring science into the act (that is, after all, the alleged and historic purpose of APS), and collected the necessary 200+ signatures to bring to the Council a proposal for a Topical Group on Climate Science, thinking that open discussion of the scientific issues, in the best tradition of physics, would be beneficial to all, and also a contribution to the nation. I might note that it was not easy to collect the signatures, since you denied us the use of the APS membership list. We conformed in every way with the requirements of the APS Constitution, and described in great detail what we had in mind…simply to bring the subject into the open.

5. To our amazement, Constitution be damned, you declined to accept our petition, but instead used your own control of the mailing list to run a poll on the members’ interest in a TG on Climate and the Environment. You did ask the members if they would sign a petition to form a TG on your yet-to-be-defined subject, but provided no petition, and got lots of affirmative responses. (If you had asked about sex you would have gotten more expressions of interest.) There was of course no such petition or proposal, and you have now dropped the Environment part, so the whole matter is moot. (Any lawyer will tell you that you cannot collect signatures on a vague petition, and then fill in whatever you like.) The entire purpose of this exercise was to avoid your constitutional responsibility to take our petition to the Council.

Here’s where I struggle with the whole AGW issue. I think it’s certainly possible – maybe even likely that AGW is real. I’d support, unforced, a bunch of low-cost, high-impact policy changes that would have an impact on atmospheric carbon and (incidentally) the domestic economy and national security.

But every time I turn around, the folks promoting radical action in the face of climate change based on “incontrovertible” science can’t show processes that actually support – you know, through open inquiry – an absolute consensus that would support remaking the world economy (coincidentally, remaking it in ways that those making the arguments are predisposed to support for ideological reasons…).

And, sadly, Professor Lewis will never get a platform to tell his story remotely comparable to Professor Mann.

But we can tilt the balance a little bit here in the blogs.

Jerry Brown For Governor ^2

Today’s news is all about Crusty (the nickname that local commentators have given Brown) or one of his aides muttering that eMeg is a “whore” in an inadvertently recorded conversation.

My reaction is a little contrarian on this, for two reasons – I think it’s nice to see politicians when they are human (and they’re all human) – and I really, really dislike the “cloak of perfection” we expect our candidates to wrap around themselves.

But mostly, it’s about substance. The call that Brown was making was to the Los Angeles Police Protective League – the union for LAPD officers – and the issue was that they were endorsing Meg because she carved out an exemption in pension reform for law enforcement.

With evident frustration, Brown discussed the pressure he was under to refuse to reduce public safety pensions or lose law enforcement endorsements to Whitman. Months earlier, Whitman had agreed to exempt public safety officials from key parts of her pension reform plan.

“Do we want to put an ad out? … That I have been warned if I crack down on pensions, I will be … that they’ll go to Whitman, and that’s where they’ll go because they know Whitman will give ‘em, will cut them a deal, but I won’t,” Brown said.

So for all the folks hammering on my endorsement of him in the comments below…how do you square that circle??

Here is Brown – doing the right thing and challenging the sacred cows – and here’s Meg, milking them.

Brown is a much more complex figure than he is being credited as on the right. And from my point of view – when I make my vote – it’s about the bet that Brown is more likely to take on the sacred cows effectively than eMeg, who has shown both that she’s likely to be ineffective, and that she’s scared of them.

Proposition 19. Smoke Two Joints In The Morning…

…smoke two joints at night.

I went to freshman orientation at LG’s high school last week, and in his opening statement, the principal mentioned that by the end of their sophomore year, 50% of the high school kids in the nation have tried marijuana. So – de facto – it’s as legal as alcohol.

Let’s be clear. When I was in college, I did inhale. And when I was in grad school, I has a roommate for a year who was unstoned for – maybe – a week in the whole time we lived together. He’s since written a book about his life and addictions (My Incredibly Wonderful, Miserable Life: An Anti-Memoir
); being stoned didn’t appear to work out so well for him – although we’ve communicated recently and he seems to be doing more than OK. But I’ve used him as a cautionary tale for my sons, two of whom survived high school and college so far and all of whom seem to be doing just fine.

So I’m not exactly pro-chronic. But I am someone who thinks that the drug wars are wars we should withdraw from; I’d rather live with treating more addicts and fewer shot-up gang members, and the best way to deal with the various cartels in Mexico is simply to defund them. We’re trying harder and harder and accomplishing less and less about drugs using the “ban them” approach. So it’s time to try something different.

Proposition 19 isn’t remotely a perfect law. But it’s a good-enough law that’s come at the right time.

It will doubtless trigger massive court battles, and a serious political conflict; at the end of it, if we’re lucky and sober enough, we’ll have drug policies that actually work. As a step in getting there, I encourage you to vote “YES” on Proposition 19.

Yes On 20, No On 27.

Let’s do the easy propositions first.

When Prop 11 passed a few years ago, moving legislative districting in California out of the hands of the legislators and into a cumbersome but probably neutral bureaucratic process, a deal was made whereby the legislators stripped reapportionment of Congressional districts out of it. Because God forbid that Congressmembers are chosen by the voters, as opposed to choosing the voters.

Prop 20, sponsored by Charles Munger, undoes that deal, and adds Congressional districts in California to the districts that will be apportioned by the Citizen’s Commission.

It’s an obvious “YES”.

On the other hand, a bunch of Democratic politicians and their minions got together and added Prop 27 to the ballot, which undoes Prop 11 and places redistricting back in the hands of legislators.

Which is a horrible idea. So please vote “NO” on 27.

I don’t think fixing gerrymandering will fix all, or even many, of our political problems here in California. But it’s a good start.

Remember, people shouldn’t fear their government – government should fear the people.

There’s Just One Thing Wrong Here…



George Soros, a major funder of progressive causes, criticized President Obama today for giving in to deficit hawks amid an economic recession. “To cut government spending at a time of large-scale unemployment would be to ignore the lessons of history,” he said.

Wouldn’t it be nice to know what his currency positions are today vis a vis the dollar??

He made an estimated $1.1 billion on the pound; it’s not hard to imagine a scenario where he invests $50 million or so to drive US policies, and by the way, takes a strong position against the dollar and makes a billion or two.

Farfetched? You decide. But he ought to disclose.

Aupres-Moi, Le Deluge

The state of journalism today:

With all the million-dollar salaries being thrown around journalism circles these days, you’d hardly know we were in the depths of a media downturn.

While much of the journalism profession is idled, redundant, bought-out and collecting unemployment, a slim layer is suddenly pocketing supersalaries as the media landscape remakes itself around rags — and riches.

Well, isn’t that special…on one hand, you could argue it’s the power law effect in place; on the other it could be that the last survivors in journalism leadership – like in music – are more concerned with feathering their nests before the deluge than in figuring out how to build boats.


Carly Fiorina For Senator

I know you haven’t forgotten this:

or this, from the San Francisco Chronicle:

Boxer, first elected in 1992, would not rate on anyone’s list of most influential senators. Her most famous moments on Capitol Hill have not been ones of legislative accomplishment, but of delivering partisan shots. Although she is chair of the Environment and Public Works Committee, it is telling that leadership on the most pressing issue before it – climate change – was shifted to Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., because the bill had become so polarized under her wing.

For some Californians, Boxer’s reliably liberal voting record may be reason enough to give her another six years in office. But we believe Californians deserve more than a usually correct vote on issues they care about. They deserve a senator who is accessible, effective and willing and able to reach across party lines to achieve progress on the great issues of our times. Boxer falls short on those counts.

Boxer’s campaign, playing to resentment over Fiorina’s wealth, is not only an example of the personalized pettiness that has infected too much of modern politics, it is also a clear sign of desperation.

I may not agree with Fiorina on many issues; but I do respect her. And if she’s too far off-base, we will replace her in six years.

With someone who isn’t Barbara Boxer. Because really, that’s all I’m looking for in this race.


Jerry Brown For Governor

Honestly, I wanted to break ranks on this one. I wanted to support someone who would try and break the stranglehold that public sector unions have on California politics, and with the bulk of Brown’s funds coming from those unions…I’m not optimistic that he’s the one.

And if eMeg had been…well, half the candidate that Chris Christie was in New Jersey (…rimshot!) I’d have been doorknocking for her.

But you know what? You need to be able to govern to be governor. And that starts with a basic ability to communicate in public. And her flat inability to shove aside this idiotic charge about her domestic help is the nail in the coffin for her.

It’s not the issue – the issue is (as I just said) idiotic. But can you imagine Christie confronted with this?

“What? You’re asking me why after I paid my maid three times the minimum wage, checked her paperwork, paid taxes on her – and she turns out to have defrauded me – I’m the bad guy? Next question.”

Sorry, Meg, but you must be this tall to go on this ride…and you’re not.