Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Blogging and the Tigers

Blogging has been a little light what with the holidays and my oldest son's 40th birthday.(man does that make me feel old!) Blogging may become lighter yet because my house needs work and Iv got to do most of it this summer. But I'll try to post every three days or so.

In the meantime, I decided to watch the Tigers play host the the New York Yankees for the last 3 days at Comerica park. I wanted to see how the Tigers would stack up against a proven quality ballclub and I found out: They don't. There is no way the Detroit Tigers can compete with the big boys and I predict they will be at or below 500 by the end of the season. There are several reasons why I believe this.

Watching the two teams hit I noticed that the bat speed of the Tiger hitters seemed to be a lot faster than the NY hitters. Yankee bat speed seemed to be less than max. Of course a slower bat speed leaves the bat in the strike zone just a tad longer increasing the chances of making contact.

Mike Mussina is not a power pitcher. He throws a lot of off speed stuff and if hitters can't hit the off speed pitches they will go nowhere as a team. He was literally lobing the ball over the plate and the Tiger hitters were trying to kill it. The Tigers had the same problem with Randy Johnson on Monday.

Some Tiger hitters have little or no self discipline. Chris Shelton has a habit of swinging at a pitch up around the eyes. Of course you can't hit that kind of pitch. The natural tendency is to swing under it. I only saw one NY hitter swing at such a pitch.

I think the Tigers' impressive win total was the result of a scheduling quirk. For the first 40 or so games The Tigers played mostly cream puff teams who were struggling and couldn't hit or pitch. We got a glimpse of what is to come when the Tigers played the White Sox and lost all three games. I wanted to see if those losses were just a fluke or the norm for the Tigers against good teams. They are the norm. The Tigers will finish with a better record than last year for sure but they are not contenders. Not yet. They need more talent.

Friday, May 26, 2006

The Little Witch Doctors

John Lewis has an excellent post at his blog Principles in Practice titled "The Little Dictators."

These little dictators could be local building inspectors, health inspectors, code enforcers and so on. Mr. Lewis explains their power thusly:

"These Little Dictators have the power of government guns to enforce their decisions. To avoid their wrath, a productive individual must suppress his rational judgment, and go by the rules they enforce. They are enemies of independent thought and comrades of conformity. Their whims and their rules coercively substitute for reality in the minds of their victims."

So very true. But as Ayn Rand pointed out in the title essay of her book "For The New Intellectual" behind every Attila is a Witch Doctor. The job of the Witch Doctor is to provide Attila with a moral justification or at least a rationalization for his continued rule by force.

Mostly, such Witch Doctors are to be found in our universities as professors of the humanities, as media pundits and in government bureaucracies as advisors. We in Michigan got to see one such advisor in action this week. Karen Todorov is a social studies consultant to the Michigan Dept. of Education. In the May 24th Detroit News is an op-ed by Michael Warren urging "Keep America in Michigan schools."

Evidently, Ms. Todorov sent out e-mails to teachers advising:

"I have promised teachers that we would delete the use of American [when we are really ONLY referring to the United States] from the GLCEs (grade level content expectations) so that everything is consistent and correct as soon as it was feasible."

"It is ethnocentric for the United States to claim the entire hemisphere."

"Consistent and correct" according to what standard? Ethnocentrism? I don't see how. What is an American to say, I'm a United Statesian? Or USian? Obviously this is just another attempt to obliterate "American" in the minds of children.

The next day the News ran an editorial "Keep our schools safe for 'Americans.'" The first paragraph says in part: "Fortunately, state school Superintendent Mike Flanagan says he is stopping this nonsense. But taxpayers and parents must remain vigilant against this dumbing down of our students."

It is refreshing to see the News understand that this was an attempt to dumb down the students. But the fact that one man, Mr. Flanagan, stood between reason and dumbing down the students means that we are now a nation of men and not of laws. In a letter to the editor Mr. Flanagan declares in part:

"The conversations and internal communications between diverse members of an independent association of social studies supervisors have been misconstrued as Department of Education policy. I would never approve the removal of "America" or "American" from use in our classrooms. Not on my watch."

But what about the next guy's watch? That's what I mean by "we are a nation of men and not of laws."

The News makes another good obversation: "Flanagan may soft pedal her comments as an innocent "conversation," but they had the blunt force of the state behind them. That explains why educators we talked to Wednesday were reluctant to go on the record -- for fear of angering state officials."

I'm glad the News understands that anything governmental is backed up by "blunt force." I'm also glad they see that educators won't question the Witch Doctors (consultants) for fear of angering the little dictators (officials). Unfortunately, the News won't take the next step and ask why is education subordinate to "blunt force" in the first place?

In my essay The Science Establishment II ( Feb archives), I mentioned the fact that the essence of government is force and the essence of science is reason and to mix the two will result in reason being forced out. Just substitute education for science. The principle is the same. The only way to prevent the corruption of education is to get the government completely out of it.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Take My er, Their Word For It

Gus Van Horn has an excellent post on the so called "consensus" on global warming. He responds to a NYT article by Gregg Easterbrook who champions the idea global warming is "case closed." Gus nails it when he says:

**So the liberal media, already known as a giant echo chamber, has now adopted, to bolster its appeals to authority, the argument, "If it weren't true, it wouldn't be so loud."** I recommend reading the whole thing.

In the same vein, the May 23rd edition of the Detroit News carries an article by Associated Press writer Terence Hunt titled "Bush snubs Gore on global warming." He quotes Gore as saying:

**"The entire global scientific community has a consensus on the question that human beings are responsible for global warming and he has today again expressed personal doubt that that is true," Gore said in an interview from France where he attended the Cannes Film Festival.**

Mr. Hunt ends the aticle with this Gore quote:

**"Why should we set aside the global scientific consensus," Gore said. "is it because Exxon Mobile wants us to set it aside?"**

The smear of Exxon Mobil is just more evidence of Gore's anti-capitalism ideology.
Aside from that, there is no global scientific "consensus." Even if there were, it would mean nothing. Albert Einstein was once told that over 100 scientists disagreed with his theory of relativity. His response, if I remember correctly, was "If I had been wrong, one would have been enough." Einstein knew that the validity of a theory is not determined by the number of people who support it (or for that matter, oppose it). He knew that a theory must stand or fall on its own merits and that head counts mean nothing. A supposedly educated Al Gore lacks this knowledge.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Enshrine the Good

Gideon Reich has a positive essay at his blog The Armchair Intellectual titled "The Good: The Objective Standard" in which he points out the need not just to identify evil but to champion the good. Here is a quote:

**I recently had the privilege to attend and enjoy Tara Smith's talk on Justice in Irvine where I work. The talk was excellent but ironically it was primarily during the Q&A that Dr. Smith was able to put increased emphasis on the greater need to praise the good. Of course, it is important to identify and judge evil but as anybody who has studied Objectivism in some detail knows, evil is metaphysically impotent -- it is far more important to express appreciation to the good people one encounters as they are the life-givers."

I couldn't agree more. I had just finished rereading (in The Fountainhead) Ellsworth Toohey's confession to Peter Keating on how he Toohey, aquired his power. I was thinking about the technique Toohey used to destroy the good:

**Don't set out to raze all shrines--you'll frighten men. Enshrine mediocrity--and the shrines are razed.**

This technique has been used to destroy all forms of the good. To paraphrase Toohey:
"Want to destroy the hero? Don't attack the hero. Enshrine the anti-hero, the zero, and you have destroyed hero. Want to destroy individual rights? Don't attack individual rights. Enshrine needs over rights (by moving the context of rights from the individual to the collective and declaring these needs to be group rights.) This process can be used to destroy any good.

But this technique can be used in reverse. Want to destroy collectivism? Enshrine individualism. For example, want to destroy diversity? Enshrine peoples' similarities not their differences. But I don't want to be misleading. There is a difference. Toohey wanted to destroy the good not to enshrine any particular evil but to create a void which he would fill. The rational man doesn't seek to destroy anything. He creates the good which blocks the existence of evil. That is why Tara Smith and Gideon are right is saying that is is more important to enshrine the good than to just oppose evil.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Post-Katrina Thoughts

Saturday's Detroit News has an article titled "Rebuilding in storm belts defies forcasts" by AP writer Allen G. Breed. The article shows how some people don't want to give up the paradise of living on or by the water. Instead of moving inland where it is safer, especially from storm surges of 30 feet, they would rather rebuild on sand and silt that is sinking under the weight and require taxpayer funded levees to protect their little piece of eden.

But what makes it all possible?

**Much of that construction -- along with today's rebuilding -- was made possible by the National Flood Insurance Program, the subject of much post-Katrina debate.

Subsidizing beachfront homes

It is madness for the government to continue subsidizing coastal development by providing infrastructure and flood insurance, says ocean advocate David Helvarg.

Repeat claims account for 40 percent of all payments from the program, although they represent just 2 percent of covered properties, says Helvarg, president of the Blue Frontier Campaign.

As of last year, he says, $763 billion worth of real estate was insured by the federal flood program, 40 percent of it in Florida alone.

"This is the biggest exposure we have after Social Security," says Helvarg. "It's nuts to think we can keep building in harm's way."**

Yes it is. But such is the result of allowing government to become a great altruistic benefactor to society instead of being the protector of individual rights as our constitution requires. One has to wonder how many politicians got re-elected by promising voters "Want to have a little piece of paradise? No problem. I will just pass laws that will force your fellow citizens to pay for special levees just for you and for replacement costs if anything bad should happen to your dream world."

Is the government even trying to rein in any of this insanity? Well, they've made a feeble attempt at it but the temptation to play the great altruistic dispenser of goodies is proving too great for some politicians.

**The federal government has tried to discourage building in sensitive coastal areas. The Reagan-era Coastal Barrier Resources Act excluded 3 million acres of sand spits and barrier islands from federal flood insurance programs and other infrastructure assistance, but lawmakers have been steadily chipping away at it.

When Katrina came ashore, there were bills pending to cover 50,000 previously excluded acres in Florida, Georgia and Texas. That's unfair to taxpayers, Houck says, adding, "You can go over Niagara in a barrel if you want -- but we don't have to buy the barrel."**

But we are buying the barrel, along with the lock and stock.

In a laissez-faire capitalist society, Katrina would still have happened. But the human disaster that was New Orleans would not. In such a society, the government would not be allowed to buy votes by promising favors to some people at the expense of others.

Also in such a society, all insurance would be privately owned. No insurance company in its right mind would insure the building of a city on nothing but sand and silt.

The only way it could happen is if the businessmen were willing to pay the higher premiums that the insurers would certainly demand. It is also likely the insurance companies would not settle for levees built to withstand catagory 3 hurricanes. With that much money involved, both businessmen and insurance companies would demand levees be built to withstand max strength storms. It is also likely that the levees would be built by private companies.

But none of these conditions exist in our welfare statist economy and we saw the results of letting the government run things. Only a system of laissez-faire capitalism would prevent such a disaster from happening.

Friday, May 19, 2006

Global Warming Racket

Bruno at The Simplest Thing has links to a good article on global warming at Capitalism Magazine. Here is one quote:

**The money is in global warming because it’s being pushed by a political agenda that wants power. Power in Washington. Power on the international stage. Power over economic development. Power over international monetary decisions. Power over energy. In short, power over the motor of the world. It’s driven by literally thousands of large and small non-governmental organizations (NGOs) sanctioned by the United Nations, and implemented by a horde of bureaucrats, university academics and an ignorant but pliable news media.**

The author Tom Deweese, is right about the ignorant and pliable media. But some scientists contribute to the misinformation also. Today, establishment scientists use the field of statistics to conduct "studies." As readers of this site know, statistics is a science that studies probabilities. It cannot prove cause and effect because it is not designed to. The best statistics can do is narrow down a causal factor to one or two possibilities. At that point science steps in to perform an experiment to prove or disprove causation.

A statistical study will usually show that there is a correlation between A and B.
A correlation means only that B happened on or about the same time as A. It does not mean that A is connected to B. It could be that both A and B were caused by C. Or there is no connection and A and B happening together was just a coincidence.

The misleading of the public happens when scientists and reporters decide not to use the correct terms 'correlation' or 'association' but instead use the word link. My dictionary says one of the meanings of link is "that which serves to connect or tie." When the word link is used, a lot of the public will think there is a connection between A and B even though no connection has been demonstrated, only suggested.

Gullable reporters then print articles with bold headlines shouting "A linked to B." Politicians will then wave said media articles around claiming we must save B from A. They promise to allocate more money to study the link between A and B. Scientists begin lining up to fill out grant applications to further study A and B. Some will want to study the effects of global warming on A. Others will want to study the effects of sprawl on B and on and on forever. The only losers in this con game are the taxpayers who have to keep paying and paying no matter what. And in six weeks or months there will appear on page 6A of that same paper a small article saying "A not linked to B new study shows."

By then, not too many people will notice. The hype will have died down. The original article will have served its purpose, a means to many ends. The scientists will have your money. The politicians will be re-elected for trying to save B. The reporters will have had another good day at the office, and you, you will be presented with a new set of "crises" that demand more sacrifices.

This process won't stop until the taxpayers realize that wherever sacrifices are being demanded, someone is collecting them; that when they regret not being able to send their children to a good college or care for their aging parents properly, or buy that bigger house in a better neighborhood, somewhere there is a scientist or politician who says "thank you very much."

When the taxpayers realize that they are being had by incompetent scientists, irresponsible politicians and reporters, maybe the jig will be up. Maybe.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Good Sign and More Same-old Nonsense

Good Sign

I see the Competitive Enterprise Institute will be running tv ads trying to counter Al Gore's propaganda documentary "An Inconvienient Truth" due to be released next week. The story, by Deborah Zabarenko, can be found here. (hat tip JunkScience.com) We need more efforts like this if Americans are ever to be exposed to the truth instead of just the establishment orthodoxy.

***************************************
A Head Shaker

The Thursday May 18th edition of the Detroit News has an article by Marc Sandalow of the San Francisco Chronicle titled "GOP says: 'We have to produce.'" The sixth paragraph says:

**"We have to produce," said Rep. Richard Pombo, R-Calif. "What have we done on energy that produces more energy? What have we done on immigration that solves the immigration problem? What did we do on the deficit when we let spending get out of control and we ran up the deficit?"**

How true. But isn't almost 6 years into Bush's two term presidency a little late to start acting like Republicans?

***************************************
Another Head Shaker

On the same page is an article by Richard Simon of the Los Angeles Times titled "Catchy titles help legislation stand out." The subtitle is "Lawmakers tailor names of proposals to acronyms that will be noticed, win supporters."

You can read the article here but this is nothing more than an attempt by our lawmakers to put a brighter shade of lipstick on their legisative pigs.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Can't make this stuff up

In addition to the Detroit News and the Detroit Free Press, I also accasionally read a third paper, The Macomb Daily. I'll buy 2 to 4 copies a month of this paper that serves Macomb County which abuts the north east border of Detroit City limits.

Today's 5/15/06 headlines caught my eyes;
Psychics, astrologers may soon need license

The subtitle of the article by Mitch Hotts reads: "Eastpointe councilwoman wants to avoid further complaints of customers getting ripped off."

So how are the police to tell the difference between honest psychics and dishonest ones? Is there a difference? The third and fourth paragraphs say:

**We've read stories in the news about these psychics ripping off people of a large amount of money and we hope to avoid anything like that in Eastpointe," said City Councilwoman Veronica Klinefelt.

Under the ordinance that is being considered, anyone opening an astrology or fortune telling business in Eastpointe would have to apply for a psychic's license and a regular business license that all businesses must receive before opening.**

So the crimes aren't being committed in Eastpointe but rather in nearby suburbs and Eastpointe just wants to be preemptive. It looks to me like just another attempt for the city government to get its greedy hands on more money forceably taken from its citizens. The story goes on:

**It also would require the names and residences of all employees. The applicant would have to include information on his or her height, weight, hair color, along with a criminal history, a recent photograph, and a set of fingerprints.

The business operator also would have to undergo a police inspection and provide records on all customers with their name, age, address and service requested.**

This last will go over big with the public. How many customers want it known that they visit psychics?

Evidently though it seems they are having trouble drafting an honest ordinance:

**(City Attorney Robert)Hribar said the ordinance has not been finalized and a number of items have already been removed from the draft copy, including an inspection by the health department. He also removed a clause defining fortune tellers as someone who "pretends to be able to reveal the future."

"I think we can come up with something a little less offensive, but won't change the definition," he said.**

In other words, we're going to pretend that fortune tellers don't pretend to tell the future! Oh well. More supporting arguements:

**Eastpointe officials said they were alarmed by news reports of a psychic in Utica whose customers said they received oils and candles in exchange for cash and merchandise. Another psychic in Eastpointe was accused of sexually assaulting neighborhood boys.**

Now we already have laws against sexually assaulting people. We don't need to regulate psychics to enforce those laws. This is a clear cop-out by Eastpointe city leaders. We also have laws against fraud and don't need to regulate psychics to enforce those either. On the other hand, how would you adjudicate something like a fraud claim? "My future didn't turn out the way she said it would"?

Considering all the above, you just knew this was coming:

**Kelly MacLeod, a psychic and owner of Enchanted Soul, which recently moved to Roseville from Eastpointe, said she objects to paying licensing fees, but admits the process could eliminate scam artists.

"There are fraudulent people out there," MacLeod said. "It makes it difficult for honest readers such as myself when we have to compensate for the wackos out there claiming to be in touch with evil spirits and black auras."**
Of course.

I predict you will be able to read the entire article if you just click on this.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Things Spotted by Mike's Eyes

A Good Essay.
Jason Pappas has a good essay about the war on terror at Liberty and Culture titled Establishing a Deterrent. Here are a few quotes:

"Our problem isn’t a willingness to risk our lives but a difficulty risking their lives. Unlike them we have a hard time killing our foes." And:

"A deterrent isn’t established by our willingness to help our enemies but our willingness to kill our enemies."

I strongy recommend reading the whole thing.

*****************************************
Some sarcazm.
In the Sunday May 14th editorial page of the Detroit Free Press is a section called "Extra Points" in which people in the public eye are quoted on current events.
There are nine such quotes today. The #2 quote is headlined "Dems should take to the street." and it reads:

"The Democrats are thinking too much and doing too little. This is a party in need of a moxie transplant. It's time for the patient to climb off the couch, walk outside and mix it up with the gang that has made a complete and utter mess of the country that was entrusted to it." Bob Herbert, New York Times

"The Democrats are thinking too much..." Hee Hee Haw Haw Thanks Bob, you made my day. That's a good one. Seriously Bob, used car salesmen wouldn't try to sell me that.
Hmmm. What exactly is meant by "mix it up"? Is this a call to arms? An incitement to violence? Are hostilities the result of "thinking too much"?

Bob, your party doesn't need moxie. It needs a rational ideology. Dump your Marxist/collectivist/altruist philosophy for individualism/capitalism/egoism and the republicans will never win another election. Now isn't that a pleasant thought?

****************************************
She can see it.
Item #3 in the above collection is titled "Political choices with no options." It says:

"It is odd to live in the age of options, when everyone's exhausted by choice, and feel your options for securing political progress are so limited. One party has beliefs it doesn't act on. The other doesn't seem to have beliefs, only impulses." Peggy Noonan, Wall Street Journal

Right on. The question is, why are the Dems such feelers and the Repubs such pretenders? Both have abandoned reason.

***************************************
Guys like this give aid to Objectivism's enemies.
Jim Woods at Words by Woods has a defense of Objectivism regarding the antics of the recently arrested dj "Star."
Evidently this guy made threats and racial slurs over the air about a competitor's family. He also said he had an ideology and it is Objectivism.

Saturday, May 13, 2006

A Few Pet Peeves

There is a technique of biased reporting that I hear now and then that really gets my ire. It is the practice of a reporter ending his or her report with the phrase "But there's no guaranty this (or it) will be easy (or *a piece of cake* or *a snap* or some such).

I have heard this at the end of several reports on the war on terror. One was just before the Nov. 04 presidential election. A reporter was doing a story on the increase in suicide bombings during the build up to the election. He ended his piece with something like "The Bush administration (or coalition) is trying to maintain order but there's no guaranty this will by easy." I'm going on memory here.

So the reporter is trying to get his listeners to believe that the administration thinks restoring order will be easy and are looking for guarantees of same. Naturally, in the mind of anyone goofy enough to believe this tripe, there will be projected the image of an administration that is irrational, foolish, and incompetent in the extreme and
that is what that sentence is designed to accomplish.

I have been tempted to put a footer at the end of each post saying something like:
"Ever since the Jason Blair (or Janet Cooke) incident, the New York Times (or Wapo) has been trying to put forth an honest reporting staff, but there's no guarantee this will be easy." Heh, I get pleasure from such thoughts.

Another peeve I have is when reportors cover a science event or press release and refer to certain scientists as "reputable scientists." This is a head shaker for me.
I mean, no reporter in his right mind is going to quote "disreputable scientists," at least not yet. It is assumed by most normally rational people that if you're going to quote a scientist, he will be a reputable one.

Now there is nothing wrong with citing a scientist's actual credentials. Knowing that a scientist is a phd or holds a chair or other such credentials can be helpful. But such knowledge is not the purpose of that adjective.

Reputable means having a reputation which means there are a number of other people who think said scientist is right which means "consensus." The use of the term "reputable scientists" is designed to smuggle into the minds of readers the notion that truth is determined by consensus. The reporter is saying in essence: "Lots of others think he's right, and because of that, you should too."
In other words, don't concern yourself with the facts, go along with the consensus.

One more. The issue of credentials. There are a lot of scientists and reporters who think that a person's credentials alone should be ample evidence of truth. Not so.
I have seen professors on tv talk shows, and reporters too, waving credentials around and indulging in what I call a "My credentials can beat up your credentials" contest. It is saddening to witness such intellectual deterioration.

I've always believed that a person's credentials mean he or she should be listened to. They do not mean he should be believed. Belief depends strictly on the merits of the person's arguements, not on his credentials.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Congratulations

Belated congratulations to Diana and Paul Hsieh for 7 years of marriage. Congratulations are also in order for Rule of Reason for reaching 100,000 visit plateau.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Aid to Palistinians

I see the U.S. has joined the EU, the UN and Russia in announcing they'll give aid to the Palistinian people directly, that is, bypassing the Palistinian government.

Clearly a case of primacy of consciousness. The U.S. is saying in effect "We'll pretend that there is a complete disconnect between a people and their government, that one has no causal relationship to the other and that by helping feed some of the people we are not removing that responsibility from the shoulders of that government and thus supporting that government even though it sure looks that way."

Or: "If we all agree that we are not helping the Hamas government, then, in fact, we will not be helping that government. Reality is created by consensus right?"

This is also of course, another example of Performing the Altruistic Ritual. If you declare that you do it not for yourself but for others, then you can do anything including prolong the rule of a gang of thugs like Hamas. You don't actually have to help the Palistinians. Just declare your pure intentions and you can condemn the Palistinians to eternal subjugation by that same gang. That of course is not helping the Palistinians at all. In fact, it helps the thugs stay in power and that is what altruism is all about. Politically, altruism is a morality of, by and for those who would rule by force.

So, what kind of message is our government sending? "Your government, Hamas, doesn't want to institute the principles that will lead to your freedom and prosperity. We Americans will help Hamas stay in power by feeding you just enough to stay alive so Hamas will still have someone to rule. We will help sustain your life but enhancing your life is out of the question. Stagnation and death is your future. We will help you postpone it but not change it."

Without that aid, the palistinians would see that their values only bring them death.
They would starve without the food created by those they want to destroy. The Palistinians themselves must discover that their chozen values are irrational. Feeding them postpones the need to make that discovery.

Monday, May 08, 2006

Little Round Up

Ed Cline has a great guest article at Rule of Reason demonstrating the principle that evil can only win with the cowardice of the good. A sample paragraph:

**One must wonder just how dumb are the likes of Chavez and Morales. Surely they know that nationalized, government controlled industries invariably fail and require the eventual reintroduction of hated foreign technicians to maintain the value of their loot. The record is quite clear. Perhaps they do know it, and this is their way of deliberately destroying values in order to destroy a greater value, such as the U.S. Perhaps, like James Taggart in "Atlas Shrugged," they want to hear us scream.**

Indeed. When you hate the goood for being the good, you will want it's creators destroyed even if you perish in the process. I urge reading the whole thing.

********************************************

Mark Steyn has a Western Standard article on America's so-called imperialism here. A quote I like:

"Many Americans feel that they came to their conclusions about the value of liberty on their own and that other peoples should, too. While this might be philosophically admirable, the practical drawback is that power abhors a vacuum. If America won't export its values, others will export theirs. Almost all the supranational bodies--from the EU to the International Criminal Court--are, if not explicitly hostile to American values, at the very least antipathetic to them. This, too is historically unprecedented. Multilateral institutions set up and largely funded by America are now one of the principal incubators of anti-Americanism."

Right on. And It's because of their anti-life morality of altruism.

********************************************

I see via DRUDGE that Rupert Murdoch will be holding a fund raiser for Hillary this summer. Why am I not surprised? I never had Mr. Murdoch pegged as a conservative anyway. IMO, he backs Fox because it is a money maker, not because it has conservative leanings. If Sean Hannity and Bill O'Reilly stop making money, they'll be gone faster than his previous disdain for Hillary. As far as Hillary is concerned, she is a power luster extraordinaire. She stayed with Bill through the Monica scandal to play the "stand by your man" theme to the hilt. (Where was the outrage from the feminists?) Now she is trying to tell conservatives and moderates whatever they want to hear. Some are falling for it.

*********************************************

Friday, May 05, 2006

Sound Science Under Attack

In the Friday edition of the Detroit Free Press is a supposed news story on the Nation & World page titled "What constitutes sound science? No one can really say."
The subtitle is "For Bush, term is all about politics."

Not only is this a Bush bashing effort, it is also an attempt to obliterate the concept of "sound science." Also, in a 2 page section on Nation and World news, you'd think there would be somthing more important in the world to report on than an opportunity to bash Bush, but, silly me, there obviously isn't. Knight Ridder reporter Iris Kuo begins:

**Washington-- The Bush administration, senators, industrialists and farmers repeatedly invoke the term sound science to delay or deep-six policies they oppose and dismiss criticism of those they favor.

The administration has waved it at such diverse issues as global warming, beef imports, air pollution and arsenic in drinking water.

Last Thursday, Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta used the phrase to slow a congressional bid to raise the U.S. passenger vehicle mileage standard. "An administrative process based on sound science" should precede any change, Mineta said.

No one, however, is sure what the term means.**

I'm sure. At least in fundamental terms, "sound science" is science that conforms to reality. Unsound science would be science that does not conform to reality. My Webster's New World Dictionary College Edition gives several definitions of sound.
Aside from audio meanings and wide channel and measuring ocean depth meanings, there is this: "based on truth or valid reasoning, reliable..." So why is Ms. Kuo confused?


**The phrase has more to do with antiregulatory lobbying than with laboratory results, said Donald Kennedy, the former head of the Food and Drug Administration and now the editor-in-chief of the influential magazine Science.

"Sound science is whatever somebody likes," Kennedy said. "It's essentially a politically useful term, but it doesn't have any normative meaning whatsoever. My science is sound science, and the science of my enemies is junk science."**

There you have it. Right from the horses mouth, sound science is not rooted in reality but in feelings, whatever someone "likes." And sound science has "no normative meaning whatsoever." So scientific truth is to be determined how? Obviously by whatever the establishment scientists and their mouthpieces like Kennedy, say it is.

Ms. Kuo goes on to show several instances where the bush administration has used its demand for sound science to slow or stop environmental regulations. But instead of framing this practice in the context of the president demanding that the American people be told the truth, she frames it in the context that the president is obstructing the science establishment's desire to indulge in their feelings. She then goes on to repeat a popular lie:

**For example, while there's nearly unanimous agreement that global warming is caused largely by human activity, the administration, in the name of sound science, has stressed the arguments of a few dissenters.**

Actually, there is not near unanimous agreement. In fact the agreement is lessening every day as new evidence comes in and as more people find out about the dishonesty of the IPCC in all of their assessment reports to date. For more info on the so-called "consensus," Professor Philip Stott has more at EnviroSpin Watch here. (Scroll down to Monday, May 1.)

Not only is it distressing to see a reporter defending the establishment against the American people, it is also disappointing to see a reporter champion the idea that truth is to be determined by numbers (consensus). Reporters should know better. In fact, there's an inside saying in science that says, "If you need a consensus, your evidence isn't good enough."

Mr. Donald Kennedy, by the way, has recently been the target of criticism from climate experts for championing the establishment's global warming agenda and giving only scant access to papers by scientists who disagree with said agenda. For more on this, SEPP has a good article here.

Readers may still be wondering how it is that an educated reporter and the editor of a supposedly prominent science journal could not know the meaning of sound (true).
It's been common practice in philosophy departments to teach students that concepts don't have refferents in reality; that a concept (like sound) is just an arbitrary construct and can have any meaning anyone "likes" to give it. We now know there are two people who have learned their lesson well.

Medicine

Every Friday the Detroit News editorial page runs a column called Labor Voices. It is rotated between 4 labor leaders. This week's column is by Ron Gettelfinger President United Auto Workers Union. Today he calls for socialized medicine in the form of national health insurance. He starts:

**You've probably noticed more media attention than usual focused on America's dysfunctional health care system during the past several days thanks to "Cover the Uninsured Week," an initiative of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

"Cover the Uninsured Week" is a uniquely American event -- uniquely American because the United States is the only advanced industrialized nation without some form of universal health care coverage.

Why? The conventional wisdom, of course, is that we can't afford it. Well, the conventional wisdom is just plain wrong. It's not that we don't have the money; it's that we're spending our health care dollars inefficiently and foolishly.**

This means that all the millions of people who go to their doctors and hospitals when needed are making "foolish" and "inefficient" decisions and that a much wiser approach would be to introduce the power of governmental force into the American "system" of health insurance. Two paragraphs later he says:

**What's more, despite having the best doctors, nurses and other health care professionals in the world, the United States ranks near the bottom among industrialized nations on life expectancy, infant mortality and virtually every other measure. In fact, the infant mortality rate in our nation's capital is more than double the infant mortality rate in Beijing.**

First, the notion that the quality of American health care ranks "near the bottom" is flat out wrong. People from all over the world come here to be treated. They are not flocking to Beijing.

Second, why are we trusting numbers from a communist dictatorship which censors any data that would make it look bad?

Third, how can we have the "best doctors and nurses" whose work ranks "near the bottom"?

And fourth, Mr. Gettelfinger doesn't seem to realize the reason America has "the best doctors, nurses and other health care professionals" is precisely because America is the "only advanced industrialized nation without some form of universal health care coverage." (from above)

If one really wanted to help the uninsured one would do whatever it takes to get the government out of the way. This would make medicine more affordable and as a result, insurance would be more affordable. For a good example of this go to Thrutch which links to a good article in the WSJ on what medical tort reform has done for Texas. A sample paragraph:

"So what has happened since September of 2003, when the new law went into effect? After years of losing doctors, Texas has added nearly 4,000 since passage of Proposition 12, including 127 orthopedic surgeons, almost 300 anesthesiologists, over 200 emergency room physicians, 146 new obstetricians, 58 neurologists and 24 neurosurgeons. The Texas Medical Board is anticipating some 4,000 applicants for new physician licenses this year alone--double last year's numbers, and 30% more than the greatest growth year ever."

Laissez-faire is a system where everyone is able to be responsible for himself. Mr Gettelfinger wants each of us to be responsible for everyone else too and that won't work as other industrial nations are now discovering.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Getting Behind

If you haven't done it already, go to Noodle Food and read Greg Perkins' in-depth analysis of the libertarian view on Intellectual Property rights (IP). You may have to scroll down to "Don't steal this article."

Blogging may be light for a few days. The stack of books waiting for me to read is getting out of hand. I get depressed looking at it. So, I just finished reading "Liberalism is a Mental Disorder" by Michael Savage. No I didn't buy it. It was a gift from a loving in-law who knew I read political "stuff." I am now reading "Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology" the second expanded edition with Q and A by Ayn Rand compliments of Harry Binswanger and Leonard Peikoff. I really like this book.

Monday, May 01, 2006

Good Global Warming Articles

For a good common sense article on global warming, go here. It is about why a meteorologist Augie Auer has decided to back a new science coalition in New Zealand. The coalition has launched a new website here. (Hat tip junkscience.com) I've added it to my favorites list.

There is still another very good one in the London Telegraph by Ruth Lea here. This article also shows why a local anecdote cannot by used as evidence of global warming. A few months ago articles appeared showing that frogs in South America were victimized by a fungus that was decimating the frog population. It was hailed as proof of global warming. But, as Ms. Lea shows, England had one of the coldest winters in a decade and spring thaw was two weeks late threatening their frog population. So, according to establishment logic, England's winter would be proof of global cooling. Obviously it isn't and neither is South America's problem proof of global warming. (Again, thanks to junkscience.com)

With reports like this from New Zealand and England, there's hope that reason just might win out.