Thursday, March 29th, 2012
Two white young men from England came to Florida on vacation and were murdered by a black thug. Their parents wrote three letters to get a response from Obama, but never heard back. I guess if he had a son, they wouldn’t look anything like him.
Ann Coulter has a typically funny, tart column:
…Like Captain Ahab searching for the Great White Whale, the NFM is constantly on the hunt for proof of America as “Mississippi Burning.”
Over St. Patrick’s Day weekend, the month after Martin was killed, gangs in Chicago shot 10 people dead, including a 6-year-old girl, Aliyah Shell, who was sitting with her mother on their front porch.
One imagines MSNBC hosts heaving a sign of relief that little Aliyah was not shot by a white man, and was thus spared the horror of being a victim of racism.
As it happens, Trayvon Martin wasn’t shot by a white man either, but by George Zimmerman, a mixed-race Hispanic who lives in a diverse (47 percent white) gated community and tutors black kids….
ABC News shows police video of Zimmerman’s entrance into custody to debunk his story of being injured on the head, then plunks a graphic right over the part of the video where his injury would be. You have to see it believe it.
The Miami Heat basketball team (which does not look like America, don’t ya know) poses for a team photo wearing hoodies. Liberal media rush to gush about its significance:
…the photo is simple, reserved and eloquent and addresses not the law and the controversy, but “morality and grief.”
Finally, some clown starts a Twitter feed named Kill Zimmerman.
This Page Is 4 Da Ppl Who Believe Zimmerman Should Be Shot Dead In The Street The Same Way TRAYVON Was. No Justice No Peace
The logo is a sniper scope over Zimmerman’s photo. No doubt Debbie Wasserman Schultz will be speaking out against such provocations any moment now. Hey, she lives down that way.
…Through the first half of the 20th century, faculties in academic institutions were generally underpaid relative to other comparably educated members of the workforce. Teaching was viewed as a “calling” in the tradition of tweed jackets, pipe tobacco and avuncular campus life. Trade-offs for modest salaries were found in the relaxed atmospheres of academic communities, often retreats from the pressures of the real world, and reflected in such benefits as tenure, light teaching loads, long vacations and sabbaticals.
With the 1970s advent of collective bargaining in higher education, this began to change. The result has been more equitable circumstances for college faculty, who deserve salaries comparable to those of other educated professionals. Happily, senior faculty at most state universities and colleges now earn $80,000 to $150,000, roughly in line with the average incomes of others with advanced degrees.
Not changed, however, are the accommodations designed to compensate for low pay in earlier times. Though faculty salaries now mirror those of most upper-middle-class Americans working 40 hours for 50 weeks, they continue to pay for
- teaching time of nine to 15 hours per week for 30 weeks,
- making possible a month-long winter break,
- a week off in the spring
- and a summer vacation from mid-May until September.
Such a schedule may be appropriate in research universities where standards for faculty employment are exceptionally high — and are based on the premise that critically important work, along with research-driven teaching, can best be performed outside the classroom. The faculties of research universities are at the center of America’s progress in intellectual, technological and scientific pursuits, and there should be no quarrel with their financial rewards or schedules. In fact, they often work hours well beyond those of average non-academic professionals.
Unfortunately, the salaries and the workloads applied to the highest echelons of faculty have been grafted onto colleges whose primary mission is teaching, not research. These include many state colleges, virtually all community colleges and hundreds of private institutions.
And at UCLA, regarded as a top school, professors don’t even have to be intelligible.
My daughter had a math professor with an accent so thick no one could understand him his momma. So the real teaching was done by a low paid teaching assistant.
An executive who works a 40-hour week for 50 weeks puts in a minimum of 2,000 hours yearly. But faculty members teaching 12 to 15 hours per week for 30 weeks spend only 360 to 450 hours per year in the classroom. Even in the unlikely event that they devote an equal amount of time to grading and class preparation, their workload is still only 36 to 45 percent of that of non-academic professionals. Yet they receive the same compensation.
William Happer, a professor of physics at Princeton.
…What is happening to global temperatures in reality? The answer is: almost nothing for more than 10 years. Monthly values of the global temperature anomaly of the lower atmosphere, compiled at the University of Alabama from NASA satellite data, can be found at the website http://www.drroyspencer.com/latest-global-temperatures/. The latest (February 2012) monthly global temperature anomaly for the lower atmosphere was minus 0.12 degrees Celsius, slightly less than the average since the satellite record of temperatures began in 1979.
The lack of any statistically significant warming for over a decade has made it more difficult for the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and its supporters to demonize the atmospheric gas CO2 which is released when fossil fuels are burned. The burning of fossil fuels has been one reason for an increase of CO2 levels in the atmosphere to around 395 ppm (or parts per million), up from preindustrial levels of about 280 ppm.
CO2 is not a pollutant. Life on earth flourished for hundreds of millions of years at much higher CO2 levels than we see today. Increasing CO2 levels will be a net benefit because cultivated plants grow better and are more resistant to drought at higher CO2 levels, and because warming and other supposedly harmful effects of CO2 have been greatly exaggerated. Nations with affordable energy from fossil fuels are more prosperous and healthy than those without.
The direct warming due to doubling CO2 levels in the atmosphere can be calculated to cause a warming of about one degree Celsius. The IPCC computer models predict a much larger warming, three degrees Celsius or even more, because they assume changes in water vapor or clouds that supposedly amplify the direct warming from CO2. Many lines of observational evidence suggest that this “positive feedback” also has been greatly exaggerated.
There has indeed been some warming, perhaps about 0.8 degrees Celsius, since the end of the so-called Little Ice Age in the early 1800s. Some of that warming has probably come from increased amounts of CO2, but the timing of the warming—much of it before CO2 levels had increased appreciably—suggests that a substantial fraction of the warming is from natural causes that have nothing to do with mankind.
Frustrated by the lack of computer-predicted warming over the past decade, some IPCC supporters have been claiming that “extreme weather” has become more common because of more CO2. But there is no hard evidence this is true. After an unusually cold winter in 2011 (December 2010-February 2011) the winter of 2012 was unusually warm in the continental United States. But the winter of 2012 was bitter in Europe, Asia and Alaska.
How science should work.
We need high-quality climate science because of the importance of climate to mankind. But we should also remember the description of how science works by the late, great physicist, Richard Feynman:
“In general we look for a new law by the following process. First we guess it. Then we compute the consequences of the guess to see what would be implied if this law that we guessed is right. Then we compare the result of the computation to nature, with experiment or experience; compare it directly with observation, to see if it works. If it disagrees with experiment it is wrong.”
The most important component of climate science is careful, long-term observations of climate-related phenomena, from space, from land, and in the oceans. If observations do not support code predictions—like more extreme weather, or rapidly rising global temperatures—Feynman has told us what conclusions to draw about the theory.
Conservatives’ trust in science has declined sharply
A study released Thursday in the American Sociological Review concludes that trust in science among conservatives and frequent churchgoers has declined precipitously since 1974, when a national survey first asked people how much confidence they had in the scientific community. At that time, conservatives had the highest level of trust in scientists.
Wha? Has the GOP become a conclave of snake handlers? Flat earthers?
Confidence in scientists has declined the most among the most educated conservatives, the peer-reviewed research paper found, concluding: “These results are quite profound because they imply that conservative discontent with science was not attributable to the uneducated but to rising distrust among educated conservatives.”
“That’s a surprising finding,” said the report’s author, Gordon Gauchat, in an interview. He has a doctorate in sociology and is a postdoctoral fellow at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
To highlight the dramatic impact conservative views of science have had on public opinion, Gauchat pointed to results from Gallup, which found in 2012 that just 30% of conservatives believed the Earth was warming as a result of greenhouse gases versus 50% two years earlier. In contrast, the poll showed almost no change in the opinion of liberals, with 74% believing in global warming in 2010 versus 72% in 2008.
Oh, so it’s not science in general, but climate science. And the more you know, the less you believe. There are two possible explanations:
- conservatives are stubborn fools
- conservatives who look past the mainstream media gloss and actually study the issue are coming away skeptical
Gauchat suggested that the most educated conservatives are most acquainted with views that question the credibility of scientists and their conclusions. “I think those people are most fluent with the conservative ideology,” he said. “They have stronger ideological dispositions than people who are less educated.”
Or maybe a better understanding of the science that most.
Can we expect a story about liberals who believe in feng shui, in not vaccinating their children and that government provided services are free? Nope.
I spent more time in my car that usual yesterday and was thus able to hear much of the ObamaCare Supreme Court argumentation, via conservative Hugh Hewitt and via NPR.
Things that stuck out:
- Paul Clement, who argued the entire case against ObamaCare (as opposed to the government which used multiple attorneys), is an excellent thinker and communicator. Working without notes, he was able to fashion complex arguments into simple metaphors that anyone could grasp. Wow.
- NPR and other mainstream media emphasized that if the Court strikes down the law, it would be the biggest legal reversal since FDR’s era. They made it sound like extraordinary judicial activism. Another view is that ObamaCare was such a rotten piece of legislation, it demanded historic reversal.
- On the issue of judicial activism, liberals cannot distinguish between inventing constitutional rights (Roe v. Wade) and upholding the basic principles of the Constitution, namely federal authority has fundamental limits, period.
No one knows how it will turn out.
President Obama’s budget was defeated 414-0 in the House late Wednesday, in a vote Republicans arranged to try to embarrass him and shelve his plan for the rest of the year.
The vote came as the House worked its way through its own fiscal year 2013 budget proposal, written by Budget Committee Chairman Paul D. Ryan. Republicans wrote an amendment that contained Mr. Obama’s budget and offered it on the floor, daring Democrats to back the plan, which calls for major tax increases and yet still adds trillions of dollars to the deficit over the next decade.