Monday, March 31, 2008

A Maverick Climate Policy

Today's online American Spectator brings us this compelling article by William Yeatman of the Competitive Enterprise Institute, A Maverick Climate Policy.

McCain, who once admitted that he "doesn't really understand economics," claimed the solution to the "looming threat" of climate change is to "unleash the power and innovation of the marketplace."

Unfortunately, McCain's plan fails to free anything. In fact, his big government climate policy would mitigate not global warming but economic growth.

Yeatman proceeds to lay out a number of alternative measures which, he explains, would actually increase the nation's energy efficiency without growing the government and crippling the economy.

It's hard to argue with his facts or his logic. Let's hope that he can somehow get Sen. McCain's attention.

Backfire?

I've been listening to talk radio all day, and not a single caller was favorably impressed by Gore's 60 Minutes appearance last night. The primary impression he conveyed was that of his overweening arrogance – not a surprise to those of us who are residents of his native state and know him best.

In addition, listeners and hosts alike reported that they were appalled to learn that Newt Gingrich and Pat Robertson had signed on to Gore's $300 million propaganda campaign (along with such eminent scientific minds as Nancy Pelosi and Al Sharpton), undoubtedly because they hope that some of that $300 million will rub off on them. Not only will Gingrich and Robertson fail to lend any of their credibility to Gore, but they will find that they have finally exhausted their own. In contrast to the leftists, the ranks of conservatives and libertarians don't contain many mindless robots who will, lemming-like, blindly follow their leaders off the edge of the cliff.

Altogether, this was a most inauspicious start to what is supposed to be a massive campaign to overcome the last vestiges of resistance to the Church of Global Warming.

Way to go, Al! Keep up the good work.

The Best Laid Plans....

All my life people have been coming to me with plans to make over society and its institutions. Many of these plans have seemed to me good. Some have been excellent. All of them have had one fatal defect. They have assumed that human nature would behave in a certain way. If it would behave in that way these plans would work, but if human nature would behave in that way these plans would not be necessary, for in that case society and its institutions would reform themselves.

~~~~~ Elihu Root (1845-1937)

Sunday, March 30, 2008

It's Over for Hillary

When even the New York Times' uber-liberal columnist Frank Rich piles on, we can be pretty sure that Hillary's going down in flames. Read this unbelievable piece from the International Herald Tribune (owned by the New York Times): Hillary's St. Patrick's Day massacre.

If not for the obligatory Iraq doomsaying and the snarky dig at former Virginia Sen. George Allen, this column could have been written by a conservative. Talk about friendly fire!

Since Hillary's friends are now turning on her, it's not at all surprising that the uncannily observant and articulate Peggy Noonan would come up with a masterpiece like this: Getting Mrs. Clinton.

I think we've reached a signal point in the campaign. This is the point where, with Hillary Clinton, either you get it or you don't. There's no dodging now. You either understand the problem with her candidacy, or you don't. You either understand who she is, or not. And if you don't, after 16 years of watching Clintonian dramas, you probably never will.

Peggy Noonan is truly a master of her craft. By all means, read it all.

Translating LibSpeak: "Advocacy" = "Propaganda"

From today's Washington Post comes this fine example of left-wing media bias: Gore Launches Ambitious Advocacy Campaign on Climate.

Nowhere in the article is there the slightest mention of the fact that there is another side to the story. After all, if there weren't, why are the Global Warmists kicking off this $300 million campaign to proselytize the rest of us on behalf of their secular religion?

I suppose it's ungracious to point out that if Gore's global cap-and-trade scam is ever enacted into law, he and his business associates stand to profit stupendously. He's already managed to parlay his obsession into an estimated $100 million fortune, but apparently, that's not enough for him.

And all this time, I thought that Republicans were supposed to be the party of the Evil Rich.

"Earth Hour" Insanity

Over on Samizdata.net, Thaddeus Tremayne has an excellent piece about last night's "Earth Hour" insanity, The dying of the light. Here's an excerpt:

With each passing day I become more convinced that the 'green' movement is actually a millenarian psychosis; a mental and spiritual sickness borne, perhaps, from some degree of civilisational exhaustion. Not just a belief that the end of the world is nigh, but an active desire to bring it about. And soon.

By all means, read the whole thing.

It's yet another illustration, if one were needed, of the truth of Charles Mackay's observation that "Men, it has been well said, think in herds; it will be seen that they go mad in herds, while they only recover their senses slowly, and one by one."

Hat tip: Instapundit.com

Journalistic Incompetence - or Laziness?

Suppose, for a moment, that back in 1989, someone had decided that the existing Touch-Tone phones didn't suit him, and decided to build his own from scratch. Let's say that he did a very good job and came up with a phone which worked exactly the same as those which had already been available for over 25 years, but incorporated such significant design improvements that other people wanted one like it. Then, let's imagine that 9 years later, he and his wife started a business manufacturing their custom-built phones, and managed to succeed. Now, in March, 2008, they continue to run their business.

That would be an admirable accomplishment, as anyone who has ever started a small business would agree. But would it also be news of national significance? AP seems to think so.

Yesterday's local paper, the Lebanon Democrat, ran this AP story, Hot Wheels For Disabled Pets, which had appeared earlier on the CBS News website. It's a nice human interest item, but as any veterinarian could have told them, it's not news. Such custom-fitted canine "wheelchairs" have been commercially available for over 40 years from the K-9 Carts Company of Oxford, Maryland, which started to manufacture them while I was attending veterinary school at Cornell (1966-70).

Cornell didn't buy the commercially available carts, but used to make their own from 6-foot lengths of aluminum alloy splint rod, a pair of Little Red Wagon-type wheels, padding, and tape. That was the procedure during the entire time I was there, had been for many years before I arrived, and may, for all I know, still be today.

The carts were first used while the late Dr. Ellis P. Leonard ran the Small Animal Hospital at Cornell, which was from 1948 until his retirement in 1969. Dr. Leonard himself probably came up with the idea, but proving it might be difficult, since he passed away in 1991.

Under Dr. Leonard's guidance, Cornell adopted strict aseptic standards for veterinary surgery identical to those used by human hospitals. Later, he introduced spinal surgery for dogs paralyzed by intervertebral disc disease, including fenestration, hemilaminectomy, and dorsal decompressive laminectomy, and brought aboard other skilled veterinary surgeons to perform the procedures.

As a result, and because at that time, it was one of only a few places in the country then offering such surgery, Cornell attracted referrals of paralyzed dogs from all over the Northeast. While I was there, the Small Animal Clinic was always caring for a number of recuperating Dachshunds, and occasionally other breeds. Every day during lunch hour, there was a regular routine in which each dog able to participate was put into his own custom-fitted cart and allowed to exercise. During good weather, they were taken outside to the lawn, but if the weather was inclement, the dogs were allowed to run up and down the highly polished terrazzo corridor.

The dogs loved it, and it was really heartwarming to see them enjoying themselves running around in their little carts. Surprisingly, even though the dogs were allowed to exercise together, I don't remember ever seeing a fight. Once in a while, one would make a mess, but that was expected, and those who were supervising their exercise period were always prepared for that eventuality.

The unnamed reporter who wrote the article could easily have ascertained most of those facts with a simple Google search, and could have learned the rest by interviewing a few older veterinarians. Instead, he or she took the lazy route and just parroted back what these cart makers told him.

Where were the editors who are supposed to supervise the reporters? Didn't anyone up the entire chain of command realize that the use of canine carts is a practice that has been in common use for at least half a century?

It appears that the owners of the canine cart company which was the subject of the article managed to pull off a brilliant public relations coup in the tradition of Jay Conrad Levinson's Guerilla Marketing Excellence. The reporter eagerly took the bait and wrote a story implying that these people were the originators of the idea, and all of the others engaged in the business had sprung up afterwards, following their example. That's bad enough, but even worse is the fact that the reporter completely failed to mention the complications that inevitably accompany the use of these carts. The article implies that once a dog is fitted with his cart, he becomes normal except for the fact that he can't use his hind legs.

Unfortunately, it's not quite that simple. If a dog can't move his hind legs because of a neurologic problem, whether disc disease, myelopathy, or any other condition causing paraplegia, in most cases, he also can't empty his bladder. That means that someone must manually express his bladder at least 3 times a day until such time as function returns — which may be never. Failure to do it faithfully — and thoroughly — will result in the development of a urinary infection. Even with the best of care, these dogs are very prone to develop such infections.

There are several other problems with which owners of such dogs must be prepared to deal, often on a long-term basis. The K-9 Cart Company discusses them in considerable detail here, because before pet owners make the commitment to undertake the care of severely disabled pets, they need to be fully aware of all of the ramifications of their decision. This news article, though, doesn't even mention those common complications, thus giving pet owners the mistaken impression that if their pet should become paralyzed, they need only order a canine "wheelchair," and everyone will live happily ever after.

If only that were true.

Churchill on the ROP

Old Salt's Winston Churchill quotation reminded me of something else he wrote during that same year concerning the Religion of Peace. His words seem uncannily prescient today.

How dreadful are the curses which Mohammedanism lays on its votaries! Besides the fanatical frenzy, which is as dangerous in a man as hydrophobia in a dog, there is this fearful fatalistic apathy. The effects are apparent in many countries. Improvident habits, slovenly systems of agriculture, sluggish methods of commerce, and insecurity of property exist wherever the followers of the Prophet rule or live. A degraded sensualism deprives this life of its grace and refinement; the next of its dignity and sanctity. The fact that in Mohammedan law every woman must belong to some man as his absolute property‹either as a child, a wife, or a concubine‹must delay the final extinction of slavery until the faith of Islam has ceased to be a great power among men. Individual Moslems may show splendid qualities. Thousands become the brave and loyal soldiers of the Queen; all know how to die; but the influence of the religion paralyses the social development of those who follow it. No stronger retrograde force exists in the world. Far from being moribund, Mohammedanism is a militant and proselytizing faith. It has already spread throughout Central Africa, raising fearless warriors at every step; and were it not that Christianity is sheltered in the strong arms of science‹the science against which it had vainly struggled‹the civilisation of modern Europe might fall, as fell the civilisation of ancient Rome.

~~~~~ Winston Churchill, The River War, First Edition, Vol. II, pages 248-50 (London: Longmans, Green & Co., 1899; original out of print)

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Being Shot At

Hillary has justifiably received ridicule for her tall tale about being under sniper fire in Bosnia. As a retired military man I am outraged that she would try to further her own interests with such a blatant lie. Her claim was insulting to every military man who has actually faced hostile fire.

I did my time in Vietnam and had a few rockets fired in my general direction. But I don’t feel worthy of making a big deal out of it. I spent a year-and-a-half on aircraft carriers living beside brave men who flew, sometimes three times a day, into the strongest air defense system and most concentrated anti-aircraft fire in the annals of warfare.

I remember vividly one evening when the missions were over and we were all relaxing in the wardroom, watching a movie called “Young Winston”. It was the story of Winston Churchill who as a young journalist covered the Boer War in South Africa in 1899. He was captured by the other side, but escaped in a fusillade of bullets.

“There is nothing quite as exhilarating in life as being shot at to no effect”, he announced. The pilots and crewmen erupted in laughter and cheers..


Inoculate128 adds: Here's more on this subject from National Review editor Rich Lowry: Hillary's strange affliction.

Inoculate128 again: And now Paul Greenberg, the Editorial Page Editor of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, who knows the Clintons as well as anyone, weighs in with False Memory: The Strange Case of H. Clinton.

Liberal Logic


(Click to enlarge)

Hat tip: Jewish World Review

Having It Both Ways

Reuven Koret in IsraelInsider writes: Is Barack Obama a Muslim wolf in Christian wool?

Obama wants it both ways, has always wanted it both ways. Black and white, Indonesian and American, Muslim and Christian. He loves playing one off the other, using one to hide the other even as the traces of the truth may be assembled to reveal the whole cloth of deception and self-promotion he has been weaving so skillfully since his childhood. No wonder he is a man of change. He IS a changeling, a veritable chameleon, adapting and amending his life story to fit the circumstances.


In at least one way, he's more dangerous than the Clintons. Obama's so slick that it's apparently impossible to tell when he's lying.

The Cat Who Wrote a Fugue

Unless you're a classical music aficionado, the name Domenico Scarlatti probably doesn't mean much to you. But in the early 18th-century, the Italian-born composer was a big deal. During his lifetime, he created several hundred operas and produced more than 550 sonatas — all while holding various high-profile musical posts.

One of his most famous pieces, however, was inspired not by some rustic melody or the work of another composer, but by a collaboration with his cat.

According to legend, the maestro owned a cat named Pulcinella, who enjoyed walking up and down the
keyboard of his harpsichord. Usually this produced only random, meaningless noise. But during one of these improv sessions, the feline plinked out a catchy series of notes.

Inspired, Scarlatti composed an entire fugue around it. The piece became an instant success, and it remains so today. In fact, by the early 19th century, it had become universally known as the Cat's Fugue.

During the 1840's, the great pianist Franz Liszt added the work to his repertoire, and it became a regular part of his performances.

~~~~~ Sam Stall, Mental Floss Magazine, (Jul/Aug 2007), "10 Cats Who Changed Civilization - #5: Pulcinella: The Cat Who Wrote A Fugue"


Dumb animals, huh?

John Adams on Power

Power always thinks it has a great soul and vast views beyond the comprehension of the weak; and that it is doing God's service, when it is violating all His laws.

~~~~~ John Adams

Friday, March 28, 2008

Another "result" of global warming

This incident is rather trivial but it unfortunately is all too symptomatic of the reporting of the mainstream media.

The Cherry Blossom Festival is a major spring event in Washington, DC and there is always concern whether the blossoms will be open for the festival.

A week or two ago, reports, primarily on the radio, were that because of global warming, the blossoms would be early this year and gone by the time of the festival.

The blossoms reached their peak today, Friday, March 28, and will be beautiful for several more days. The festival starts tomorrow.

Petty nonsense, but no correction to the original report about global warming ruining the festival

Fleas - An Ongoing War

NOTE: Some of the photographs linked to this article are, quite frankly, gross. It is your choice whether or not to click the links and look at them, so don't say you weren't warned!

If you're a dog or cat owner, once again, it's time to begin fighting fleas in earnest. During warm, humid weather, they are capable of reproducing with amazing speed. Each female lays about 200 eggs. Under ideal conditions of temperature and humidity, those eggs can become adults in as little as three weeks. Thus. within a month, just ten reproducing females can generate a population of over 267,000 offspring in various stages of development.

Sounds like an invasion, doesn’t it? In a manner of speaking, it is. It happens every year about this time, and continues until the cold weather hits. While the weather remains moderate, the problem grows worse and worse — unless you take measures to repel the invasion.

lt helps to approach the problem in the right frame of mind. This is war. Don’t underestimate your enemy, the flea. Having been practicing their act for millions of years, fleas are exceedingly good at what they do. It is possible for you to win this war, but don’t expect victory to be easy. As in any war, start by learning as much as you can about the enemy. Then use your knowledge to develop a suitable strategy which takes full advantage of his weaknesses. Your strategy, and the tactics to implement it, must be tailored to suit your individual circumstances. If you fight with ineffective or inappropriate weapons, or even if you use the right weapons in the wrong way, you’ll lose.

Fleas are wingless, jumping insects which are obligate blood-suckers. In other words, in order to survive and reproduce, they must have blood meals. (Matter of fact, the scientific name of the order of fleas, Siphonaptera, just about says it all. In Greek, it means “wingless siphon.”) Following a blood meal, young adult female fleas mate, then proceed to lay large numbers of fertilized eggs a few at a time.

While there are several species of fleas, almost all of those that plague both our dogs and our cats are actually cat fleas, Ctenocephalides felis.



Flea eggs are normally laid while the flea is aboard your pet, but the smooth, dry eggs do not remain where they are deposited. Like grains of salt, they fall off and land on whatever surface is handy. If conditions are ideal, as, for instance, in your pet’s bed, the eggs will hatch out in as little as one week. Under adverse conditions, they can lie dormant for long periods of time. Their tough shells make them extremely resistant to hostile environments. Even insecticides will not kill them. Outdoors, prolonged spells of extremely hot, dry weather will destroy a lot of them, but indoors, they can survive for at least one or two years.

The larvae which hatch from the flea eggs are tiny, hairy legless white worm-like creatures. They do not normally live on your pet, but remain in nooks and crannies near their birthplace. Within a small area, they wiggle around quite actively in search of food. They especially like carpets, but are equally at home in upholstered furniture, behind baseboards, or even in cracks and crevices in hard-surfaced floors. Outdoors, they are quite comfortable in your lawn.

Their main dietary staple is “flea dirt,” the tiny black specks of (yuck) feces left by the adult fleas. It consists of partially digested blood, thus furnishing the larvae with the blood meals they require to mature. Larvae also eat other small particles of organic debris which they discover In their explorations. A favorite snack is the egg packet of a common dog tapeworm, Dipylidium caninum. Thus, the life cycles of two unwelcome parasites intertwine, with one parasite — the tapeworm — using the other as transportation in return for being used as food by the flea. When a larva which has eaten a tapeworm egg packet later matures Into an adult flea, its body will contain tapeworm larvae called cysticercoids. If that flea is accidentally swallowed by a pet attempting to scratch itself with its teeth, the tapeworm larvae will mature into adult tape-worms. Two or three weeks later, you may notice the little tapeworm segments, resembling moving cucumber seeds, in your pet’s stool, crawling around on its hindquarters, or dried out and stuck to its fur.

Flea larvae pass through three stages, called instars, before spinning debris-covered translucent silk cocoons, thus entering the “pupa” stage. Under ideal conditions. such as in a house with a nice, deep carpet which has not been vacuumed for quite a while, they can spin their cocoons just one week after first hatching from the egg. Under less favorable conditions, such as they might encounter outdoors, they can remain in the larval stage for as long as seven months.



Flea larvae are vulnerable to adverse conditions, such as hot, dry weather. In the controlled environment of our homes. temperature and humidity remain well within the flea’s comfort zone. But they are vulnerable to insecticides. The proper type used at the appropriate time can be one of your most effective weapons against the enemy.

The timing of your application is quite important, because if you wait too long, those vulnerable flea larvae will spin cocoons around themselves and progress to the pupa stage. At that point, any measures you take to kill the pupae within the cocoons will be ineffective. The pupae will continue to develop within their impervious shelters, then emerge as adults as though nothing ever happened. Cocoons are highly resistant to insecticides. Just about the only weapon which will kill them effectively is a flame-thrower — not too practical for use on your living room carpet. At that point in the flea life cycle, all you can do is vacuum thoroughly with a good power brush using a powerful vacuum cleaner with a disposable dustbag, then dispose of the bag immediately after you're finished — by burning if possible.

The main reason fleas can survive and multiply so successfully is their remarkable flexibility. Most creatures can only complete their life cycles under a certain rather narrow range of conditions. However. fleas have developed the ability to cycle under a surprisingly broad variety of circumstances.

One of their principal strategies is to adjust the length of the various phases of their life cycle to suit the ambient conditions — temperature. humidity, and availability of food. Consider, for instance, how they change from pupa to adult.

Under perfect conditions — temperature between 65° and 80°F, relative humidity between 70 and 85%. and readily available food (such as your dog or cat), a flea can emerge from its cocoon as a hungry adult in as little as one week. But they are quite capable of revising their schedule as needed. If they sense that conditions are not suitable. they can delay their emergence for as long as a year or more. It is not too hard to conceive of a creature enclosed in a cocoon being aware of the surrounding temperature and humidity, but how can it possibly know whether food is available?

The flea has two mechanisms. First, it can sense vibrations. Footfalls — even those of a cat — cause a mature pupa to hatch out immediately into an adult ready to start feeding and breeding. Second, it can actually detect the slight increase of carbon dioxide in the air caused by the exhaled breath of a mammal — which may be either four-legged or two-legged.

Ever had the experience of returning to a closed-up house which has been vacant for a while? For instance, maybe you went on vacation for a week or two and boarded your pet while you were gone. Upon your return, you may have encountered a surprise welcoming committee composed of thousands of freshly-hatched adult fleas ravenously seeking their first blood meal. While they would have preferred your pet, they weren’t that picky. Since dog or cat blood was not available, yours would do just fine. What happened, of course, is that during your absence, a large number of flea pupae matured inside their cocoons, but chose not to emerge because there was nothing around for them to eat. When you entered and walked across the carpet, your footsteps served as a flea dinner bell. Chow time!!

Now, you can understand that the vibrations of your vacuum cleaner will signal mature flea cocoons to hatch out inside the dust bag. If you have a severe flea problem, change bags immediately after you vacuum the first time. Seal the bag with tape, take it right outside. and burn it if possible, or at least dispose of it in an outside receptacle. Otherwise, those hungry, newly-hatched adult fleas will find their way out of the vacuum cleaner bag — back into your home. After that, take measures to kill any live fleas in the bag when you vacuum. Suck a few mothballs or some flea powder into the vacuum before you start. (CAUTION: Mothballs are deadly to cats, and are attractive playthings. Don’t leave them around where pets can get hold of them!) Frequent vacuuming may sound like an unglamorous low-tech suggestion, but it works extremely well, is very inexpensive — and is non-poisonous!

Once they have finished their meal, the fleas’ next order of business Is to mate and begin to lay eggs. The flea need mate only once. Her body contains an organ called a spermatheca which stores sperm and fertilizes all of the eggs she subsequently lays during the remainder of her life. During that time, which may last anywhere from several weeks to a year, she will periodically jump aboard the nearest warm-blooded animal for another all-she-can-eat buffet. Following her meal, she will lay anywhere from 18 to 28 eggs, thus starting the life cycle over again. During her entire lifespan, she will lay anywhere from about 50 to about 600 eggs. with an average total production of about 200.

Whenever you are fighting a war. if you really expect to have a chance of winning, you must develop a suitable strategy and tactics. Flea-fighting strategy, just like our national defense, is based upon a triad. But in this case. Instead of land-based missiles, submarine-based missiles, and manned bombers, it’s “treat the pet, treat the house, and treat the yard.” Only by attacking the flea enemy on all three fronts can you successfully break its life cycle. and thus win the war.

The specific tactics you should use to implement your strategy must be tailored to your individual circumstances. What is appropriate for hunting dogs who live in an outdoor pen and sleep in a doghouse would be totally inappropriate for a poodle who lives in your house and sleeps on your bed. What works fine for fleas on dogs may be lethal to cats as well as to their fleas. Here are a few general suggestions:

START EARLY
Why give the enemy a chance to bring in thousands of reinforcements? That s exactly what you do if you waited until late summer before you begin to fight. This spring. keep in mind that each flea you allow to survive may very well return the favor by producing over 25,000 offspring in just one month. Simple. inexpensive measures taken now will make it unnecessary to mount massive, complex, and costly campaigns later in the season.

COVER ALL THE BASES
Early in World War II, France placed its reliance upon an elaborate system of fixed fortifications known as the Maginot Line. When the Germans attacked, though. they used a highly mobile, flexible force of tanks to out-flank the Maginot Line by going where it wasn’t. They simply ignored the neutral status of Belgium and The Netherlands and drove their armored columns right through those defenseless countries into the heart of France. Before they could react, the French were overrun and occupied.

Don’t be like the French and expect the fleas to be polite enough to attack only by the route you have chosen to defend. Fleas fight dirty. They will find the chinks in your armor and overrun your house before you know it. Keep in mind that all three possible routes of attack need to be covered — the pet. the house. and the yard — and take effective measures to defend all of them.

STAY ALERT
Fleas are masters of camouflage and sneak attacks. It is amazing how hard they can be to see on your pet, particularly if it has a thick coat. Fleas can even hide on a short-haired white cat. If your pet has a long, dense coat about the same color as a flea. it may be harboring thousands of fleas before you notice their presence — unless you make the time to look for them. Every so often, get your pet into a well-lighted area and over a light-covered surface, such as an old white sheet. Using fingers or a comb, look through the fur all the way down to the skin. Concentrate especially on the rump, the head and neck, and the underside of the abdomen. If he has fleas, you should be able to see them scooting away from you, trying to get under cover. Then check out that light-colored surface. See any black specks that look sort of like pepper? That’s flea dirt, or more specifically, flea manure. Its presence is conclusive evidence that fleas have recently been on your pet, even though you might not find any at that time. If you’re not sure whether or not some black specks you found are flea dirt, wet them with a small drop of water. If they dissolve into what looks like blood, they were flea dirt. all right.

USE EFFECTIVE WEAPONS
Since fleas are such a universal problem, scores of companies have come out with hundreds of products which they claim are The Big Breakthrough for fighting fleas. Sad experience has probably taught you that most of these products are worthless or close to it. Obviously, you cannot win your war against fleas if you try to fight them with weapons that don’t work. While cost is always a consideration, performance must take priority. Have you really saved any money when you decided to use a less expensive product that didn’t get the job done?

USE SAFE WEAPONS
With just a few exceptions, all of the weapons available to us in the flea war are poisons. So use ONLY flea-killers which are labeled as being safe for your intended purpose. NEVER treat a cat with any flea preparation which is not specifically labeled as being safe for use on cats. The consequences of using a “dogs-only” preparation on a cat can be tragic. Don’t use a chemical intended for outdoor use only when you spray your house. Don’t use a premises treatment on your pet. Read and follow label directions. If you’re not sure how to use something, don’t guess — ask someone who knows what he’s talking about. After all, you don't want any "friendly fire" casualties in the flea war.

BE REALISTIC
If you have a flea problem of truly monumental proportions, don’t expect to solve it overnight. If your initial attack has been properly executed, you will make a huge dent In the flea population. That’s great, but it’s not time to hold the victory celebration just yet. In any massive infestation. some fleas will manage to survive even the most vigorous attack. If you don’t conduct mopping-up operations at the proper intervals, those few survivors will quickly multiply to tens of thousands. That doesn’t mean that your initial efforts failed — only that you weren’t persistent or consistent enough. If you look for the “magic bullet” which will somehow kill off all the fleas with no effort on your part, you’re going to be disappointed. Those who believe the exaggerated claims in the television and magazine ads only end up helping to enrich the peddlers of useless junk. But the good news is that it is possible to control even the worst flea invasion. All you have to do is get some good advice on what to use and how to use it, then follow that advice to the letter. Victory will not come instantaneously, but it will come.

Effective Weapons

OUTDOOR PREMISES
There is, in my opinion, only one product worth using to control fleas on your lawn. It is so much better than anything else available that there is simply no comparison. That's Diazinon Liquid, which you can find at any garden supply department or farm store. Apply it using a sprayer of some kind. A simple hose-end sprayer, which you can pick up at the same place you buy the Diazinon, works fine. If you’ve got a more elaborate sprayer, so much the better. Carefully read the directions on the can and add the right amount of concentrate to the sprayer. Then spray your entire yard. Do that three times at 10-day intervals, and the problem will be under control. In very wet weather, you may have to repeat the treatment once a month. Of course, while you're spraying, and for 20-30 minutes afterwards, keep your children and pets out of the yard. Once the diazinon spray has dried, your yard will be safe and flea-free. (I do not believe Diazinon Granules work nearly as well against fleas as does the spray, although they are excellent for tick infestations.)

INDOOR PREMISES
Inside your house, be sure to use a preparation containing an insect growth regulator, such as methoprene. By itself, it is not the entire solution, so it should be applied along with an effective insecticide. The contact spray form is a bit more work to apply than the foggers, but it is far more effective against fleas, which, after all, are not flying insects. With a contact spray, you can direct the active ingredients into the areas where the fleas hide — carpets, upholstery, cracks and crevices around baseboards, floors beneath beds and overstuffed furniture, etc. Thus, you can use a smaller amount of active ingredient, and do a far more effective job by placing it precisely where it will do the most good. You will not have to abandon your house for 3 hours, you will not have to open all your windows and doors to air the place out for 30 minutes upon your return, and you will get better results at lower cost.

Methoprene and other insect growth regulators work primarily by stopping the pupae from ever developing into adult fleas, thus effectively breaking their life cycle. They remain active, although odorless and invisible, for long periods of time — up to 30 weeks (210 days). Flea larvae encountering an insect growth regulator when they hatch out of the egg will grow and develop normally until they reach the pupa stage. Once they have spun their cocoons, though, further development ceases. It is as though they think they’ve grown up when they haven’t. After a while, they will dry out and die inside their cocoons.

Methoprene (and possibly other insect growth regulators) has another interesting effect: it causes adult fleas to lay deformed, non-viable eggs. In my opinion, though, this phenomenon is oversold in flea product advertising. While it's certainly interesting, and may even be peripherally useful, I think it's far more effective to kill the adult fleas. That way, they lay no eggs at all.

If you used only methoprene in your house, an acceptable level of flea control would take many months to achieve. That's why it should be used In combination with conventional insecticides in order to kill as many larvae and adults outright as possible.

Incidentally, methoprene is not for outdoor use. Sunlight breaks it down very quickly, so it would be wasted.

In conjunction with spraying, plan on thorough vacuum cleaning twice a week until your flea problem is under control. Not only will you remove large numbers of eggs, larvae, cocoons. and adults from your carpets, you will also remove the food supply which flea larvae require to survive and develop. By thoroughly vacuuming, preferably with a cleaner equipped with a power rug-cleaning brush, you will remove tremendous amounts of flea dirt from your carpets.

Depending upon your circumstances. you may also be able to use another simple. cheap. safe low-tech method: a flea trap. You can buy a commercial one — a gizmo with a built-in light and a tray holding a sheet of flypaper. But you can easily make a very effective one out of a couple of items that most people already have around the house. All you need is a wide, shallow pan, such as an old cookie sheet, and a small light capable of throwing a directional spot. A high-intensity reading light is perfect. Set it up at night, just before everyone goes to bed. Set the pan on the floor in the middle of a flea-infested, carpeted room and fill it about half-full with water containing a little hand dishwashing detergent (so the fleas will drown instead of hopping out). Then set up the lamp so that it shines on the water in the pan and nowhere else. Shut off the room lights so that everything is pitch black except for the pan. and you’re all set. The light attracts the fleas, who jump into the soapy water. If you can. you may wish to close the room off for the night, so that your pet can’t get in and play with the trap. In the morning, carry a bucket to the tray and dump the contents right in, rather than trying to carry the tray and sloshing soapy water and drowned fleas all over your carpet.

PET TREATMENT
Many people think that all they have to do to control fleas is to find that one special magic bullet to use on their pet. That strategy will be just about as successful as the Maginot Line was against Hitler's Panzer divisions — it’s an excellent way to be outflanked and overrun before you know what's hit you. If you have a flea problem, regardless of what you use on your pet, if that's all you do, it won't work. The obvious reason is that fleas are so good at reproducing. For every flea you manage to kill on your pet, there will be hundreds more to take its place — unless you eliminate them from the premises.

Pet treatment is the most variable and complex of the three areas of flea control. What you use and how you use it depends upon many factors, including the species of your pet, the severity of your flea problem, your chosen means of housing the pet. the presence of children, and your personal preference. Potential problems such as a pet’s allergy to fleas or an owner‘s allergy to pyrethrins must also be taken into account.

Light flea infestations should not be taken lightly. Before you know it, they turn into severe problems. Take effective measures at the earliest sign that your pet has picked up fleas. At that stage you may only need to treat the pet in order to end the problem. However, once a flea infestation has become established in your home, you'll need to do more. If you don't, you'll be fighting an enemy which has an endless supply of fresh, hungry reinforcements — and your pet will be miserable.

I could tell you what my favorite pet flea treatment is, but I won't, because my recommendations might very well not be appropriate for your situation. By all means, consult local veterinarians for advice on which specific products and procedures they recommend. They know what works best in their areas, and are the best-qualified people to prescribe exactly what your pet needs.

Return of The Gore-acle

After keeping a low profile for a while, The Gore-acle has decided to resurface. Viewers of the upcoming 60 Minutes on Sunday, March 30th will be treated to an interview with His Highness: Gore's Message To Climate Change Skeptics - Tells 60 Minutes That Doubting Global Warming Is Man-Made Is Akin To Believing Earth Is Flat.

Confronted by Stahl with the fact some prominent people, including the nation’s vice president, are not convinced that global warming is man-made, Gore responds: "You're talking about Dick Cheney. I think that those people are in such a tiny, tiny minority now with their point of view, they’re almost like the ones who still believe that the moon landing was staged in a movie lot in Arizona and those who believe the world is flat,” says Gore. "That demeans them a little bit, but it's not that far off," he tells Stahl.


Let's see --- it seems that Joseph Goebbels had a few things to say about that:

If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it. The lie can be maintained only for such time as the State can shield the people from the political, economic and/or military consequences of the lie. It thus becomes vitally important for the State to use all of its powers to repress dissent, for the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension, the truth is the greatest enemy of the State.


The most brilliant propagandist technique will yield no success unless one fundamental principle is borne in mind constantly - it must confine itself to a few points and repeat them over and over


Intellectual activity is a danger to the building of character


Think of the press as a great keyboard on which the government can play.


It appears that after earning a C+ average and washing out of both law school and divinity school, Prince Albert has finally found his calling. After studying his teachings well and thoroughly, he has finally become a world-class propagandist every bit as skilled as Goebbels. Plus, he's gone Goebbels one better. Al has figured out how to use his talent to turn a tidy profit (net worth over $100 million at last count) and, who knows, perhaps even to emerge as a compromise presidential candidate after Barack and Hillary have obliterated each other.

UPDATE: Well, whaddaya know! The LA Times just ran a post on their "Top of the Ticket" blog by Andrew Malcolm and Mark Silva predicting exactly that:
It's solved! Democratic race prediction: Neither Hillary Clinton nor Barack Obama will win
. The post drew several excellent comments, too. These were particularly astute:


Flat earthers? A tiny, tiny minority? How ignorant are we, actual scientists with degrees more advanced than Mr. Gore, who dare to objectively examine conflicting data and come to different conclusions?

Does Algore not read the news, or is he just so isolated and deluded that he has no view of the outside world?

Many, many people are skeptical about global warming, and there is growing evidence that the earth isn't warming, and if it is, man is not the cause.

Algore's entire life and legacy are consumed with global warming. In an absolute vacuum of objectivity, he witch hunts those who dare to disagree with him. One cannont have an honest opinion that disagrees with him and not be treated as a liar and/or an idiot.

Remember this: in the late 18th century, the brightest scientific minds believed that blood letting was the standard of care for most ilnesses. George Washington died this way. Metaphysicial certitude is dangerous in science.

It is my belief that the global warming issue will appear very differently by the end of the year. Algore's carbon credit interests will be exposed for the scam that they are, and he will go down in infamy.

The end will be brutal, swift, and unsympathetic.

Posted by: Thomas | March 28, 2008 at 07:35 AM

and


The sad thing is how behind-the-times this is.

Global Warming is already nigh-on-destroyed among climate scientists. It is, as usual, the politically activist scientists of other disciplines, and the politicians, and the media who aren't keeping up.

Amongst the contentions proven false in the last year or two are:

(1.) We're still getting warmer. (Nope. Actually we've been cooling almost a decade now.)

(2.) A positive feedback effect will escalate the effects of carbon. (Nope. Turns out there's a negative effect that's causing warming from carbon to taper off.)

(3.) Carbon is a leading indicator. (Not sure, but good evidence shows it may be a trailing indicator.)

(4.) It is economically feasible to implement carbon reduction and sequestration. (Nope. Would probably lead to millions of deaths from increased poverty, compared to a normal economic growth model.)

(5.) Implementing carbon reduction and sequestration would make a worthwhile difference in the amount of warming. (Well, that's half-true. *If* the worst-case models are true, then there's no way it would make enough difference to matter. On the other hand, if the not-so-bad models are true, it could make a difference...but then, if the not-so-bad models are true, the costs of doing anything outweigh the costs of doing nothing -- see #4, above.)

(6.) There's no greater threat, especially to poor societies. (Nope. It's near the bottom of the list, long after poverty and disease and illiteracy and lack of infrastructure and....)

We already know all this. It is old news.

About six months from now, the wiser politicians will finally catch on and conspicuously start talking about other things. About the same time, the mainstream media will start to catch on and publish/show pieces about all of the above ("for balance"). This (recall how the Iraq war was covered, early-on and later) is how they prepare the field for a change of narrative, you see.

Six months (a year, tops) later the media will have switched horses entirely and will be lampooning the few not-so-wise politicians who're still talking about it.

And three years from now, Al Gore will be talked about like that crazy uncle you have who prepared for Y2K by converting his house to propane and stocking up on guns and canned vegetables. A few years from that, his name will show up in a new 35th anniversary edition of Trivial Pursuit.

Meanwhile, climate scientists can get back to doing climate research, like they used to, instead of being constantly interrupted to offer quotes for U.N. bureaucrats to take out-of-context.

I can't tell you how much I'm looking forward to it.

Posted by: R.C. | March 28, 2008 at 04:39 PM

Your Government at Work

Woman Says TSA Forced Piercings Removal

If an alarm does sound, "until that is resolved, we're not going to let them go through the checkpoint, no matter what they're wearing or where they're wearing it."


Well, after all, you never know when the terrorists are gonna start using nipple ring bombs.

On Multiculturalism

A tolerant society is one that ignores differences and a multi-cultural one is one that highlights them.

~~~~~ Rabbi Jonathan Sacks of Great Britain, "The Home We Build Together"

Thursday, March 27, 2008

A Major New Global Warming Book

Sterling Burnett of the National Center for Policy Analysis (source of A Global Warming Primer (PDF)) just posted to the NRO Global Warming blog, Planet Gore, about an important new book. You can read about it here: Must-Read Global-Warming Book.

The book is called The Deniers: The World Renowned Scientists Who Stood Up Against Global Warming Hysteria, Political Persecution, and Fraud**And those who are too fearful to do so, after the term of opprobium used by the Global Warmists to attempt to associate those of us who disagree with them with the Holocaust in the public mind.

The author, Lawrence Solomon, is a Canadian environmentalist and journalist with impeccable credentials. Yet, despite his "green" sympathies, he has, according to Burnett, done a scrupulously honest job of investigating the qualifications and findings of all of the eminent climate scientists lumped together as "Deniers" by the Gore-acle and his myrmidons.

His results will surprise those who have been uncritically accepting the establishment propaganda on the global warming question --- and as such, he risks almost certain ridicule and ostracism, if not outright calumny, from his former environmentalist colleagues.

Says Burnett,

This book should be read by anyone who seriously wants to understand where and why substantive debate remains concerning climate change and why there is so much vitriol surrounding what until recently was a relatively quiet, unheralded, or unnoticed (except by its practitioners) field of science. If a person could read only one book this year on climate change, this is the one I’d pick.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

MRSA in Pets

I have a considerable interest in MRSA, having had an up close and personal experience with it that nearly ended fatally, and that necessitated my premature retirement from veterinary practice.

I won't burden you with all of the messy details, but briefly, mine started with a severe pain in my right foot which quickly progressed to MRSA sepsis --- what used to be called "blood poisoning." The germ got into my blood stream and traveled all over my body. I spent a year in hospitals and nursing homes re-learning how to walk, and still get around with the assistance of a quad cane. My neck had to be fused, so I'm now carrying around a titanium implant holding the whole mess together. I lost 2 toes, but on the LEFT foot. (The right foot, where it all started, is fine.) I nearly lost the third finger on my right hand when the big knuckle joint (the PIP joint for those who speak the lingo) blew up with MRSA septic arthritis. After two surgeries, I still have the finger, but that joint is gone, and the finger is slowly curling outward as the bone ends slowly collapse. Eventually, I'll need a third operation, this time to fuse the finger in a gently curved position.

Since I contracted MRSA, many people have asked where I caught it, and specifically, if I could have caught it from the animals.

No one knows to this day where it came from; all I know is that on Sunday evening, January 29th, 2006, one day after my 64th birthday, my foot began to hurt so severely that before long, I was completely unable to walk. At first, I thought it was gout, a problem I've been dealing with for decades, but it soon became apparent that this was something far more serious. There was not a mark on the foot, so the germ's route of entry will never be known.

The answer to the second question is not quite so clear. At the time I got sick, the consensus among both physicians and veterinarians was that except perhaps in rare instances, MRSA was not a zoonosis --- in other words, could not infect domestic animals because it was strictly a human pathogen. We --- veterinarians --- were taught that animals didn't even get Staph. aureus, but got a related, far less pathogenic species named Staph. intermedius.

Since that time, though, there has been increasing evidence that the consensus was wrong --- as is so often the case. Reports have begun to come in which thoroughly and painstakingly document the simultaneous infection of humans and cats or dogs in the same household with identical strains of MRSA. Some of the patients, both human and animal, were asymptomatic carriers --- that is, they showed no signs of illness, but nasal cultures proved that they were carrying the germ. Others had various non-healing or recurring problems which turned out to be infections caused by the germ, and which responded to appropriate treatment.

The latest such report is this one from Germany, which appeared in the March 13, 2008 New England Journal of Medicine:
NEJM -- Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus in a Family and Its Pet Cat.

Here are a couple of older references from 2006, when the problem was just becoming apparent (and while I was bedridden in the hospital). There's this from the CDC: MRSA in Cat and Owner | CDC EID, and another from my alma mater, Cornell: Superbugs: Is there a Human-Cat Connection?.

By now, I think it's apparent that:


  • there is, indeed, a human-cat connection, as well as a human-dog connection, and
  • in general, the pets catch it from the people, rather than the other way around --- but two-way transmission also occurs, necessitating simultaneous treatment of both owner and pets in order to eradicate the infection.

This is not good news for those of us who consider our 4-legged friends to be members of the family, but neither is it reason to panic. While documented reports of simultaneous human-animal MRSA infection are no longer unheard of, neither are they common.

So what do pet-owners need to do? Mostly, place a renewed emphasis on the basic rules of hygiene that we all learned as children.

The most effective single measure we can take to prevent the spread of any kind of infection is frequent and thorough hand-washing with soap and water.


Despite all the advertising, those hand sanitizers are NOT a substitute for hand-washing. If you really want to use them, it should be as a supplement, after washing thoroughly with warm water and soap. In fact, one tidbit I learned during the course of my extended illness is that hand sanitizers are totally ineffective against another dangerous pathogen, Clostridium difficile, known as C-diff for short. The source of that information is the board-certified infectious disease specialist who was treating me for both MRSA and the C-diff I contracted as a result of the intensive antibiotic therapy needed to save my life.

Bottom line: after you touch the cat, the dog, or their food and water dishes, before you touch anything else, wash your hands with soap and water. Teach the kids to do the same. Insist on it until it's second nature. Discourage pets (usually, but not exclusively, dogs) from licking you, particularly your face. Understand, and be sure the kids understand, that you're doing this not only so we don't catch anything from the pet, but so the pet doesn't catch anything from us.

If you or your family should experience any of the sort of problems described in these references, don't try to diagnose yourself, your children, or your pets. Even qualified professionals cannot diagnose MRSA by looking at the patient, and neither can you! If you have reason to be concerned, consult the appropriate type of doctor early, before the situation can get out of hand, and don't hesitate to ask questions. It's always appropriate to have a frank discussion with your physician or veterinarian. (If either of them is not yet aware of these recent developments, print out these references and insist that they read them.)

On Reading

Read not to contradict and confute, nor to believe and take for granted, nor to find talk and discourse, but to weigh and consider.

~~~~~ Francis Bacon, "Essays: Of Studies"

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Global Warming and Religion

Mark Rose over at Right Minded just posted a column which ran in today's Lebanon Democrat, our local daily paper. The column, "SBC May Buy Into Global Warming Hoax, raises some excellent points. Consider this, for instance:

Those who espouse global warming do so with religious-like zeal, and even refer to their cause as a moral and spiritual issue. After all, global warming has all the components of a religion. It has a Garden of Eden (the world before the combustible engine), sin (excessive energy use), churches (public schools and halls of government), a high priest and prophet (Al Gore), sales of indulgences (carbon credits), plagues (future floods, droughts, and other catastrophes), prophecy (100-year weather forecasts), and a path to salvation (the Kyoto Treaty), just to name a few.


By all means, read the whole thing.

There's more in the American Spectator, here Paul Chesser: The Southern Baptist Capitulation, as well as an update with some better news here Baptists: No change on climate change, which seems to attribute the whole mess to a 25-year-old liberal weenie seminary student trying to pull a fast one --- and, deservedly, getting promptly slapped down.

I guess I'm just glad that as a Jew, I don't really have a dog in this fight.

Update: Found a quotation that helps shed a little light on the subject:

Man is a credulous animal and must believe something; in the absence of good grounds for belief, he will be satisfied with bad ones.

~~~~~ Bertrand Russell {1872-1970)

Monday, March 24, 2008

Popular Delusions and The Madness of Crowds

In reading the history of nations, we find that, like individuals, they have their whims and their peculiarities; their seasons of excitement and recklessness, when they care not what they do. We find that whole communities suddenly fix their minds upon one object, and go mad in its pursuit; that millions of people become simultaneously impressed with one delusion, and run after it, till their attention is caught by some new folly more captivating than the first. We see one nation suddenly seized, from its highest to its lowest members, with a fierce desire of military glory; another as suddenly becoming crazed upon a religious scruple; and neither of them recovering its senses until it has shed rivers of blood and sowed a harvest of groans and tears, to be reaped by its posterity. At an early age in the annals of Europe its population lost their wits about the sepulchre of Jesus, and crowded in frenzied multitudes to the Holy Land; another age went mad for fear of the devil, and offered up hundreds of thousands of victims to the delusion of witchcraft. At another time, the many became crazed on the subject of the philosopher's stone, and committed follies till then unheard of in the pursuit. It was once thought a venial offence, in very many countries of Europe, to destroy an enemy by slow poison. Persons who would have revolted at the idea of stabbing a man to the heart, drugged his pottage without scruple.

Ladies of gentle birth and manners caught the contagion of murder, until poisoning, under their auspices, became quite fashionable. Some delusions, though notorious to all the world, have subsisted for ages, flourishing as widely among civilised and polished nations as among the early barbarians with whom they originated,—that of duelling, for instance, and the belief in omens and divination of the future, which seem to defy the progress of knowledge to eradicate them entirely from the popular mind. Money, again, has often been a cause of the delusion of multitudes. Sober nations have all at once become desperate gamblers, and risked almost their existence upon the turn of a piece of paper. To trace the history of the most prominent of these delusions is the object of the present pages. Men, it has been well said, think in herds; it will be seen that they go mad in herds, while they only recover their senses slowly, and one by one. [Emphasis added]

~~~~~ Charles Mackay, LL.D., from the preface of Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds" (1852)


"...omens and divination of the future" sounds suspiciously like certain elaborate computer modeling schemes which prove to be less accurate in their predictions than The Old Farmer's Almanac.

"Money, again, has often been a cause of the delusion of multitudes. Sober nations have all at once become desperate gamblers, and risked almost their existence upon the turn of a piece of paper." That could have been written about carbon cap-and-trade schemes which have already earned millions for those sufficiently unscrupulous to run such shell games.

"Men, it has been well said, think in herds; it will be seen that they go mad in herds, while they only recover their senses slowly, and one by one." This is exactly the pattern that we see unfolding before us. As individual members of the herd slowly regain their sanity, others still firmly in the throes of madness attack them viciously. It is to be expected.

Global Warming

In just a few sentences, here is my opinion of so-called Anthropogenic Global Warming a/k/a Climate Change:


  • There is no question that during the past century, the earth's climate has warmed --- very slightly;
  • There is absolutely no convincing evidence that human influences are responsible for any appreciable fraction of this slight temperature rise;
  • There is considerable evidence that such slight temperature increase as we have experienced will be, on balance, beneficial to the earth and its inhabitants; and
  • There is absolutely no evidence that we could, or should, do anything to attempt to influence the earth's climate one way or the other.


If you have no idea what the controversy is all about (unlikely if you're reading this blog), or if you believe that the underlying science is so complex that you could never understand it, you need to take a look at A Global Warming Primer (PDF), published by the non-partisan National Center for Policy Analysis. It's very clearly written, and is illustrated with many colorful charts, much like a professionally-done PowerPoint presentation. By the time you finish it, you'll have a pretty good understanding of the subject.

You'd never know it from the near-unanimity of the climate hysteria being peddled by our politicians with the help of their media friends, our scientific establishment, and our abysmally ignorant entertainers, but the fact is that man-made global warming is an enormous scam.

Despite the overwhelming peer pressure exerted to keep them silent, increasing numbers of qualified scientists are speaking out and telling the truth about climate change. Many of them are older scientists who are either tenured professors with great seniority or retired with emeritus status. Thus, they are no longer concerned with begging department heads for funding or writing grant applications to government agencies, corporations, and NGOs. Those who are strong enough to withstand the opprobium of their left-leaning peers, often expressed in the form of unbelievably vicious personal attacks, are increasingly deciding to speak out and tell the public the unvarnished truth.

These men and women deserve our undying gratitude. They have absolutely nothing to gain by speaking out, and much to lose, yet they choose to do so from a sense of duty. Many are heartsick at seeing the science to which they have devoted decades of their lives corrupted for the purpose of advancing a political agenda.

At this point, there are many references I could cite. Here is an excellent article written about 1-1/2 years ago by an Australian professor from James Cook University, Dr. Bob Carter:
There IS a problem with global warming... it stopped in 1998

Dr. Carter has a whole page of climate change-related links set up here:
COMMENT & INFORMATION ON CLIMATE CHANGE

The best thing I have read recently is a guest blog post on Watts Up With That?, Anthony Watts' science-related blog, by Dr. Roy W. Spencer. For the benefit of those not familiar with his work, he is Principal Research Scientist at UAH, the University of Alabama in Huntsville, where he works with another highly qualified climatologist, Dr. John Christy. In other words, no one could question Dr. Spencer's credentials as a qualified climatologist.

UAH is one of the four authoritative research centers keeping track of the global temperature metric as determined by satellite. Three of the four centers --- RSS and HADCRUT as well as UAH --- have collected data indicating incontrovertibly that the earth's average temperature has been essentially flat for the past decade, then dropped sharply during the year just past.




Only GISS (Goddard Institute for Space Studies), run by James Hansen, one of the most prominent and outspoken Global Warmists, has reported a --- very slight --- temperature increase during that same period. Furthermore, other researchers who have closely examined Hansen's closely-guarded methods have learned that he has been data-diddling in order to force his data to fit his model --- "interpolating" between non-existent data points, arbitrarily "adjusting" outlying points to fit them more closely to his curve, and, worst of all, quietly and without explanation disregarding certain easily-obtained data points which did not fit his model.

Hansen, like his High Priest, Al Gore, has consistently refused to debate any scientists skeptical of his work. Moreover, although in the past, he has been quite vocal in his accusations of muzzling by the Bush administration, and has spoken loudly and often with any media representatives who would listen, ever since the evidence of his data-diddling has come out, he has been unaccustomedly quiet.

In view of that background, read this rather amazing essay:
The Sloppy Science of Global Warming « Watts Up With That?.
I'd also recommend that you read all of the comments following Dr. Spencer's words. You'll find that it was time well spent.

Dr. Spencer's new book, Climate Confusion: How Global Warming Hysteria Leads to Bad Science, Pandering Politicians and Misguided Policies that Hurt the Poor, is just about to come out. If you found his essay as compelling as I did, you may want to check out his book.

This exchange from the comments section following Dr. Roy Spencer's article is priceless:

Stan Needham: "If you were King of the World and had complete control over everything and everyone, what past climate would you attempt to duplicate, what policies would you implement to achieve that climate, and what empirical evidence can you present to show that those policies would achieve the desired results?"

Evan Jones: "I would set up a series of representative republics and then abdicate. The world has to hold its own head up. It cannot have an outside party hold its head up for it. Only freedom and autonomy can produce the progress I advocate. Freedom can destroy it as well, but without it we have no chance whatever. For better or for worse, man must manage his own affairs."


That reply made me stand up and cheer!

The aforementioned Stan Needham, who turns out to be a retired U.S.Navy Lieutenant Commander who spent his career in cryptography (and therefore may be assumed to be above average in intelligence), had an interesting email exchange with the aforementioned Dr. Bob Carter, the Australian professor. You can read the whole thing here
Blogs for Bush: The White House Of The Blogosphere: Global Warming Update
if you wish, but the really interesting parts are these replies by Dr. Carter:

... the essential science of the global warming issue is actually very simple (despite all the attempts by the IPCC and others to obfuscate the issue), and able to be understood and assessed by any interested, normally educated person.


Then this:

Finally, to your question.

It is apparent that the AGW "shake out" is going to take many years if not decades to occur. Despite the complete lack of alarming evidence, and the low likelihood of either evidence or dangerous warming eventuating, the political world is in the grip of an amazing anti-scientific hysteria on the issue. Hysteria is, of course, not treatable by using rational arguments (i.e. scientific method), and especially not if it is suffered by people who have the power of democratic vote.

The blame for this state of affairs lies with a now tightly integrated (though not initially consciously conspiratorial) group of corrupted people and organizations foremost amongst which are doctrinaire environmentalists and green NGOs, self-interested scientists and science organizations, and ignorant, moralistic journalists and public celebrity figures. (emphasis added)

The environmental debate in general, and AGW in particular, have already inflicted profound damage on our post-enlightenment society and are attacking the very roots of the scientific method, and future historians are going to look back and marvel at our stupidity which, Lysenkoism apart, is unparalleled in history. Most sinister of all is the fact that around 3 generations of school children (all since around 1990) have now been indoctrinated with an anti-scientific attitude to environmental matters, and the most able and oldest of these persons are already starting to move into senior managerial positions.

We are therefore going to pay dearly for a long time yet for our abandonment of the enlightment principles of the use of evidence and experiment to understand the world around us, and participation in rational discourse to deal with its problems. Democratic politics that are based instead upon post-modernism and fuzzy warm feelings towards environmental issues are disastrous.

Sorry to go on so, but you did ask!

Kind regards.

Bob Carter


That pretty well sums it up.

"A strong conviction that something must be done is the parent of many bad measures."

~~~~~ Daniel Webster

Media Bias

If newspapers are looking for a reason to explain their plummeting circulation, they need look no further than this, from John Hinderaker of Power Line:

Over the last five years, we have witnessed something remarkable: our principal news media outlets have fabricated an alternative reality around the Iraq war by simply misreporting the facts. They have done this in order to advance their own political agenda. It is really quite extraordinary; someone should write a book about it.


We've learned that we just can't trust them to report the truth any more, so why should we buy their papers or watch their newscasts?

Sunday, March 23, 2008

BBnSpike's Introduction

Hi Dr. Mort,
I don't know what or how to use a blog, so this is sort of new to me.

I baked bread for my father-in-law and mother-in-law yesterday. I used, how do I say this gingerly??? Robert's Family Jewels starter. The bread came out really nice looking, I haven't tasted it yet but will tomorrow. I ground two kind of flour for the rye bread I made, rye and whole wheat so it will be a taste test.
I know nothing of guns except I had one shoved in my mouth once and don't care to be around them. I don't care if others have them just don't want any myself.
Guess this is a start.

A Pro-Gun Control Quote

Here's a quote to motivate even the most fervent gun-grabbers to re-think their opinions:

The most foolish mistake we could possibly make would be to allow subject races to possess arms... History shows that all conquerors who have allowed their subject races to carry arms have prepared their own downfall by doing so.

~~~~~ Adolf Hitler (1889-1945), Restricting Hand-guns: The Liberal Skeptics Speak Out, Don Kates, ed., North River Press, 1978

Old Camp Cook's Introduction - Welcome, Mort


Welcome, Mort, to the wide opens spaces of blogging.


Are you going to invite the troll, so we can take aim at him with flame throwers?


Inoculate128's Introduction

As long as I can remember, I have always loved good quotations. It's undeniable that they're often contradictory ("Absence makes the heart grow fonder" vs. "Out of sight, out of mind"), but taken together, they represent the distilled wisdom of the ages in concentrated form. Like any strong medicine, they can be overdosed, and can be used inappropriately, but used appropriately and in moderation, can be powerful tools.

Out of many thousands in my collection, my favorite is this:

'Tis better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt.


It is variously attributed to Abraham Lincoln and Mark Twain, but my vote is for Twain, because it sounds so characteristic of his style.

Starting a blog with that advice in mind is a bold step, though. Here's hoping that by speaking out, I don't "remove all doubt."