NY Times Readers Lose Their Minds

Bret Stephens recently left the Wall Street Journal editorial page to become an op-ed columnist at the New York Times. According to some reports he left the Journal because his unrelenting anti-Trump columns were becoming unwelcome, as the Journal‘s editorial page is trying to take a neutral attitude toward Trump, supporting him when they can, and attacking him when he deserves it. I don’t know whether this is true or not, but I noticed that after the announcement of Stephens’s hiring by the Times the climatistas went berserk, because Stephens departed from orthodoxy on climate change at the Journal.

Not that Stephens wrote much on the topic, mind you. I can only recall one climate piece from him, though I am sure I missed some others. It is Holman Jenkins who usually covers the climate beat among the Journal‘s staff columnists (and he does it very well). But apparently even one tergiversation is enough for the climatistas to lose their minds.

But kudos for Stephens, as he decided to write his very first Times column on . . . climate change! And now he’s likely sitting back with a nice cool drink in his hand and enjoying the Times readership having a collective meltdown.

The column itself is quite moderate—not that the climatistas would ever notice or ponder the matter in a thoughtful way. Stephens begins:

Anyone who has read the 2014 report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change knows that, while the modest (0.85 degrees Celsius, or about 1.5 degrees Fahrenheit) warming of the Northern Hemisphere since 1880 is indisputable, as is the human influence on that warming . . .

So far, so good, But uh oh:

. . . much else that passes as accepted fact is really a matter of probabilities. That’s especially true of the sophisticated but fallible models and simulations by which scientists attempt to peer into the climate future. To say this isn’t to deny science. It’s to acknowledge it honestly.

OH MY GOD STEPHENS, DON’T YOU KNOW YOU CAN’T SAY THAT?!

But not content with flouting orthodoxy, Stephens doubles down on common sense:

Claiming total certainty about the science traduces the spirit of science and creates openings for doubt whenever a climate claim proves wrong. Demanding abrupt and expensive changes in public policy raises fair questions about ideological intentions. Censoriously asserting one’s moral superiority and treating skeptics as imbeciles and deplorables wins few converts.

Well, as you can imagine, the comments on Twitter and at the Times offer a portrait of a Times readership that will not brook any disagreement with orthodoxy. (There are multiple Twitter threads of the ongoing freakout. Here’s one if you want a sample.)  Many are promising to cancel their subscriptions. I’ll bet some people will take out new Times subscriptions just so they can cancel them.

Pass the popcorn. After a few weeks, I’ll bet there will be Times readers who will want Bill Kristol to come back as a columnist.

Eco-Terrorism In Alabama?

This story hasn’t gotten anywhere near enough attention. Dr. John Christy and Dr. Roy Spencer are eminent climate scientists. They are realists who have done much to demolish the hysterical claims of the politically- and financially-motivated climate alarmists. Both Dr. Christy and Dr. Spencer teach at the University of Alabama Huntsville, where there was a left-wing “march for science” last Saturday. The march passed near by the National Space Science and Technology Center building where both Christy an Spencer have offices. Some time in the hours after the march, someone fired seven shots into the Space Science and Technology Center, near Christy’s office.

Roy Spencer writes:

A total of seven shots were fired into our National Space Science and Technology Center (NSSTC) building here at UAH over the weekend.

All bullets hit the 4th floor, which is where John Christy’s office is (my office is in another part of the building).

Given that this was Earth Day weekend, with a March for Science passing right past our building on Saturday afternoon, I think this is more than coincidence. When some people cannot argue facts, they resort to violence to get their way. …

Our street is fairly quiet, so I doubt the shots were fired during Saturday’s march here. It was probably late night Saturday or Sunday for the shooter to have a chance of being unnoticed.

Maybe the “March For Science” should have been called the “March To Silence”.

Campus and city police say they believe the shots were fired from a passing car, based upon the angle of entry into one of the offices. Shell casings were recovered outside. The closest distance a passing car would have been is 70 yards away.

This is a photo of Dr. Christy viewing a bullet hole in a window in the office next to his:

christy-bullet-hole

Apparently local authorities were quick to brand the shooting as “random,” although it is not clear what evidence supports that conclusion. Dr. Spencer adds:

Even if: (1) the bullets had hit the other end of the building, (2) on the first floor, (3) it didn’t happen on Earth Day weekend, and (4) there was no March for Science that weekend, I would still consider 7 shots fired into our building a probable act of ecoterrorism.

I am not surprised this happened at all.

For the last 25 years our science has been viewed as standing in the way of efforts to institute a carbon tax or otherwise reduce carbon dioxide emissions. The amount of money involved in such changes in energy policy easily run into the hundreds of billions of dollars…more likely trillions.

When I was at NASA, my boss was personally told by Al Gore that Gore blamed our satellite temperature dataset for the failure of carbon tax legislation to pass.

So why am I not surprised that our building was shot up?

Because people have been killed for much less reason than hundreds of billions of dollars.

This is why the FBI needs to get involved in this case, if they haven’t already. Ecoterrorism is a federal crime. There were federal employees in the building at the time the shots were fired into the building.

The original media reports that the event was a “random shooting” were, in my opinion, irresponsible. As far as I know, there were no questions asked of us, like “Do you know why someone might have intentionally shot into your building?”

Well, hell, yes I know why. And I’m a little surprised it didn’t happen sooner.

John and I have testified in congress many times on our work. John has been particularly effective in his testimony over the years. While I believe the shots were a “message” to us, I don’t think John or I are that worried for our personal safety.

I join in Dr. Spencer’s call for an FBI investigation. If someone shot up Michael Mann’s office, do you think it would be deemed “random” without a meaningful investigation?

“The global effort to flatter Ivanka” [With Comment by John]

That’s the title of this article by Amy Davidson of the New Yorker. It would be difficult to deny that such an effort is underway, as Davidson shows.

The effort makes great sense. From all that appears, Ivanka Trump has influence with her father. Along with her husband, who apparently has become very influential, she is viewed as a force for moderation in the White House. Naturally, then, international elites want to flatter her. They hope she will try to remain on their good side.

The strategy is far shrewder than the approach of American leftists. They seek to demonize Ms. Trump and make her life miserable — whether it’s a loser shouting at her on an airplane (as she sits with her young children) or jerks trying to injure her business.

Here, though, is a question for Amy Davidson and the New Yorker: Have they written about, or even noted, the effort to exalt Chelsea Clinton — as, for example, through an “achievement” award from Variety and Lifetime?

Kevin Williamson has. So has Michelle Malkin. Williamson writes:

Chelsea Clinton, most recently lionized on the cover of Variety, is a 37-year-old multi-millionaire. . . Judging from the evidence of her public statements, she has never had an original thought — it isn’t clear that she has had a thought at all.

In tribute to her parents, she was given a series of lucrative sinecures, producing a smattering of sophomoric videos for NBC at a salary of $600,000 a year. She later went more formally into the family business, leaving her fake job at NBC for a fake job in her parents’ fake charity. She gave interviews about how she just couldn’t get interested in money and bought a $10 million Manhattan apartment that stretches for the better part of a city block.

And, since her mother’s most recent foray into ignominious defeat, she has been inescapable: magazine covers, fawning interviews, talk of running her in New York’s 17th congressional district. The Democrats are doing their best to make Chelsea happen.

As Williamson says, the effort here isn’t to influence presidential policy; it is to inflict Chelsea on American public life. With Ivanka, the flattery is defensive — to limit the “damage” President Trump will do to left-liberalism. With Chelsea, the media is on offense. It’s not trying to butter her up (she’s already buttered). Rather, it wants to produce a new champion of left-liberalism.

I think the media is barking up the wrong tree.

JOHN adds: All true! But a few liberals are horrified at the prospect of another generation of Clintons being inflicted on us. Like the author of this piece in Vanity Fair: “Please, God, Stop Chelsea Clinton From Whatever She Is Doing.”

Chelsea, people were quietly starting to observe, had a tendency to talk a lot, and at length, not least about Chelsea. But you couldn’t interrupt, not even if you’re on TV at NBC, where she was earning $600,000 a year at the time. “When you are with Chelsea, you really need to allow her to finish,” Jay Kernis, one of Clinton’s segment producers at NBC, told Vogue. “She’s not used to being interrupted that way.”

Sounds perfect for a dating profile: I speak at length, and you really need to let me finish. I’m not used to interruptions.

What comes across with Chelsea, for lack of a gentler word, is self-regard of an unusual intensity. And the effect is stronger on paper. Unkind as it is to say, reading anything by Chelsea Clinton—tweets, interviews, books—is best compared to taking in spoonfuls of plain oatmeal that, periodically, conceal a toenail clipping.

Trump Is More Trusted than Political Media

Well, to be fair, almost anyone is more trusted than the national political media. Morning Consult reports on a poll of more than 2,000 Americans:

Thirty-seven percent of Americans said they trusted Trump’s White House to tell the truth, while 29 percent opted for the media.

nationalpoliticalmediapoll

Responses to this question are of course highly partisan, but independents, like Republicans, trust the Trump administration more than the political media:

But the media also scored low marks among independents, with more than half saying they didn’t trust national news outlets to cover the White House fairly and that they trusted Trump more. Roughly half (49 percent) also said the media was out of touch and 43 percent said outlets had been harder on Trump than other presidents.

Liberals coined the term “fake news” to try to discredit conservatives, but Trump and others have successfully turned the phrase around:

Trump’s critiques of the media, which he commonly derides as “fake news” also seems to have struck a chord with Americans. A plurality (42 percent) said they see fake news in national newspapers or network news broadcasts more than once or about once a day. About 3 in 10 (31 percent) said they saw fake news from those sources once every few days, once a week or slightly less often than that.

Political reporters launch daily broadsides against President Trump, and are frustrated that they don’t seem to have much impact. I suspect that they still don’t understand how deeply (and justly) unpopular they are with the American people.

Remember when reporters called Ronald Reagan the “Teflon president”? Then, too, they were frustrated that the mud they constantly flung at the president didn’t seem to stick. What was going on, in reality, was that voters weren’t particularly impressed by the press’s daily savaging of President Reagan. Reporters attributed this to some mysterious “Teflon” quality on the part of the president. In fact, the dynamic was much the same as what we see today with the press and President Trump.

Which doesn’t mean that it is helpful to be viciously attacked every day. It obviously isn’t. But when the press is so little trusted, diminishing returns set in pretty quickly.

ESPN’s radical chic

With its recent round of layoffs, ESPN has largely ceased serious coverage of hockey. Apparently it regards covering the fourth most popular sport in the U.S. as a frill.

But in ESPN’s eyes, not all frills are created equal. Hence, its new site for woman ESPNW, recently ran a feature called ““Five Poets on the New Feminism.” The “world wide leader in sports” doesn’t have much time for ice hockey (too white?), but has plenty for “new feminism” and for, in its words, “reflect[ing] on resistance. . . .”

Nor was ESPN kidding when it mentioned “resistance.” One of the poems ESPNW featured paid “homage to a convicted cop killer.”

The poem, “Revolution” by DeMaris Hill, opened with the dedication “for Assata Shakur.” It thus honored the Black Liberation Army member who has been hiding out in Cuba to avoid finishing a prison term for killing a police officer.

As Fox News Entertainment’s Cody Derespina reminds us, Shakur, aka Joanne Chesimard, is the godmother of the late rapper Tupac Shakur. She is suspected in a series of early 1970s incidents linked to black revolutionary groups in New York City, including a bank robbery, grenade attack and the ambushing of police officers in Queens and Brooklyn.

Ms. Shakur was convicted of fatally shooting a New Jersey trooper in the head in 1973, but escaped prison and, in the early 1980s, fled to Cuba, where she was granted political asylum. She is on the list of the FBI’s Most Wanted Terrorists.

ESPN eventually pulled the poem. In one breath, it claimed that “there was an oversight in the editorial process for selecting the poems.” In the next, it said that “upon further review we have decided [the poem] is not an appropriate selection for our site.” To me this suggests there was no oversight. ESPN initially decided that Hill’s poem would do just fine — and why not; it has everything to do with “resistance” — but then changed its mind, presumably under pressure.

Did the editor who committed the “oversight” keep her job, even as sharp sports analysts like Scott Burnside and Eamonn Brennan lost theirs? I don’t know, but nothing I’ve read indicates that the editor suffered any adverse employment action.

Sean Davis at the Federalist dubbed ESPN “the worldwide leader in praising cop killers.” That’s a little harsh. I’ll stick with “the worldwide leader in bulls**t.”

The GOP’s Current Obamacare Bill, Coherently Explained

Pretty much all conservatives have been frustrated by the House’s inability to pass Obamacare repeal and replacement. Something that seemed simple on the campaign trail has turned out not to be simple in practice. House Republicans now have produced a second version of the bill, which has been improved so as to draw support from the Freedom Caucus.

But what exactly is going on? What would the new House bill do? Can the Senate improve it, and if so, how? And, should conservatives support the current House proposal?

By far the most coherent discussion of these questions that I have seen comes from Peter Nelson, one of America’s top health care experts. Peter is one of my vice presidents at Center of the American Experiment. He has drafted a simple, clear, three-page explication of what the current bill contains, why conservatives should support it, and how it should be improved by the Senate. For clarity and information value, I haven’t seen anything like it.

Peter’s memo is being distributed by national organizations to every member of Congress and their staffs. It is expected to have a great deal of influence as the debate over Obamacare repeal proceeds. Here it is, hot off the press:

20170428 CAE Health Care MemoPDF by John Hinderaker on Scribd

Can the Liberal Arts Be Saved?

Harvey Mansfield likes to say that the job of modern conservatism is to save liberalism from liberals. The educational corollary is that conservatives are the only people who can save the liberal arts from liberalism, which has done its best to ruin them. The post-modern left now dominates the traditional liberal arts disciplines, and wonders why fewer and fewer students want to major in any of those fields any more.

The Wall Street Journal reported last week:

The number of humanities degrees declined by almost 9% between 2012 and 2014, according to a 2016 analysis from the American Academy of Arts & Sciences. That led to a drop in humanities’ share of all bachelor’s degrees to 6.1% in 2014, the lowest level since record-keeping began in 1948.

Undergraduate students are opting instead for programs leading to jobs in homeland security, parks and recreation and health care. As a percentage of all bachelor’s degrees, those three disciplines jumped to 17% in 2015 from 9% in 2005, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.

I can’t argue against practicality, especially with the high cost of universities today (also the fault of liberalism). But on the other hand, there is a use for people training properly in the liberal arts. Just ask the Israelis:

Mossad looking to hire humanities majors

Liberal arts majors can finally stick it to all those naysayers who said their degrees had no employment prospects — Israel’s Mossad spy agency is hiring.

According to a post on the Mossad’s website, the agency is looking for candidates for intelligence officers with at least a bachelor’s degree in philosophy, history, law or communications, as well as political science, international relations, Middle Eastern studies, security studies, conflict management and resolution, economics, communications, business management or any of the exact sciences.

The Mossad describes the position as a “challenging and influential role at the heart of the organization’s activity, that includes responsibilities over producing intelligence reports, formulating intelligence and operational recommendations and turning them into reality.”

I doubt they’ll want to hire people marinated in postmodern nonsense. My interview screen would be simple: Give me five minutes on Thucydides.