“Ferguson” actors can’t handle the truth

I wrote here about the staging in Washington, DC of a portion of “Ferguson,” a play based exclusively on the testimony presented to the grand jury that declined to indict Officer Darren Wilson. The full play is scheduled to debut tomorrow in Los Angeles. However, the Daily Caller reports that this week several actors quit the production because once they read the script, they felt it didn’t portray Michael Brown in a sufficiently positive light.

As noted, the play portrays Brown as he was portrayed by eyewitnesses who testified before the grand jury. The script consists of nothing but testimony.

The actors are correct that the grand jury testimony didn’t portray Brown favorably. For example, two African-American eyewitnesses — Keira Jenkins and Mary Adams — who are played actresses in “Ferguson,” repeatedly confirmed Brown’s hands never went up. “Why won’t he stop, why won’t that boy stop?” Adams recalled thinking when she saw Brown rush towards Wilson.

If actors can’t handle the truth, they have every right to opt out of “Ferguson.” Doing so speaks poorly of them, though.

Then there are the “critics.” According to the Daily Caller, “the play has already taken heat from critics saying it will only inflame already tense relations and fuel the anger behind rioting.”

Imagine the praise the same critics would dishing out if the play served up the false “hands up, don’t shoot” narrative, pretending that the “gentle giant” was repeatedly shot by Wilson while attempting to surrender. Would the obvious tendency of such a play to “inflame tense relations and fuel anger” result in “heat” from critics?

Of course not. Liberal critics love works of art that make people uncomfortable and challenge accepted wisdom, the consequences be damned. Unless, of course the accepted wisdom is liberal orthodoxy and those made uncomfortable are the liberal critics themselves.

My suggestion. Find new actors and set up a safe space in the theater — with cookies, play-doh, and a video of frolicking puppies — for critics and others who find the truth, in the form of the Ferguson grand jury testimony, “triggering.”

Global Warming More Moderate Than Worst-Case Models

That’s the headline from a press release earlier this week from Duke University’s highly regarded Nicholas School of the Environment. Here’s the lede:

DURHAM, N.C. – A new study based on 1,000 years of temperature records suggests global warming is not progressing as fast as it would under the most severe emissions scenarios outlined by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

“Based on our analysis, a middle-of-the-road warming scenario is more likely, at least for now,” said Patrick T. Brown, a doctoral student in climatology at Duke University’s Nicholas School of the Environment. “But this could change.”

This could change”? I thought everything was settled!  97 percent and all that.  And why might it change?

On closer inspection it appears the underlying study, “Comparing the model-simulated global warming signal to observations using empirical estimates of unforced noise,” published in Nature, is actually an attempt to minimize the potential consensus-wrecking effect of the current temperature pause.  But the concessions necessary to preserve The Climate Narrative are rather significant.

The abstract is typically opaque (the complete study is almost impossible to decode, as it is a very thick statistical analysis), and I’ll try a longer stab at decoding it below, but the nub of it is this:

We find that the empirical EUN [Envelope of Unforced Noise] is wide enough so that the interdecadal variability in the rate of global warming over the 20th century does not necessarily require corresponding variability in the rate-of-increase of the forced signal. The empirical EUN also indicates that the reduced GMT [Global Mean Surface Air Temperature] warming over the past decade or so is still consistent with a middle emission scenario’s forced signal, but is likely inconsistent with the steepest emission scenario’s forced signal.

In other words, natural climate variability is bigger than we thought, and may not be adequately accounted for in current climate models.

So this appears to be mixed news for the climatistas. One the one hand, it suggests the current “pause” of the last 18 years is not inconsistent with greenhouse gas “forcing,” because, as the press release says, natural “wiggles” can overwhelm greenhouse gas effects:

Under the IPCC’s middle-of-the-road scenario, there was a 70 percent likelihood that at least one hiatus lasting 11 years or longer would occur between 1993 and 2050, Brown said.  “That matches up well with what we’re seeing.” . . .

But stay tuned:

“Statistically, it’s pretty unlikely that an 11-year hiatus in warming, like the one we saw at the start of this century, would occur if the underlying human-caused warming was progressing at a rate as fast as the most severe IPCC projections,” Brown said. “Hiatus periods of 11 years or longer are more likely to occur under a middle-of-the-road scenario.”

So on the other hand, the more extreme warming scenarios beloved of Goreacles everywhere are less likely. That’s what a lot of people have been saying for a while now, though saying so gets you branded as a gay marriage skeptic or cake-baking denier or something. But what fun is non-catastrophic or slow or moderate global warming when you need to whip up panic and empower the Thermocrats to commandeer the world’s energy supply?

Another question: did the Koch brothers or some other nefarious outfit sponsor this research? Nope: it was sponsored by the National Science Foundation and National Instiutes of Health. (Yeah, I don’t get the latter either.)

Okay, here’s the longer explanation.  Pop an Advil and take in this paragraph from the body of the complete study:

Several recent studies have compared observed GMT anomalies (and trends) with the forced signal and EUN produced by an ensemble of CGCM [Coupled Atmosphere-Ocean General Circulation Models] runs. It should be noted that when different CGCMs are incorporated into the ensemble, the spread of GMT values samples uncertainty in model parameters and structure as well as uncertainty in the state of unforced variability. The observed GMT anomaly in 2013 was near the lower boundary of the 5–95% EUN simulated by the CGCMs (Supplementary Fig. S1). This has been interpreted as evidence that the CGCM-simulated forced signal may be increasing too rapidly, possibly because the increase in external forcings have been overestimated, and/or because the CGCMs are oversensitive to external forcings. However, it has also been noted that when the CGCMs’ EUN is considered, the recently observed rate of warming may still be consistent with the forced signal produced from the CGCMs. Hypothetically, if the observed GMT anomaly were to fall below the CGCM-produced EUN, it would not necessarily indicate that the forced signal was increasing too rapidly. Instead, it could indicate that the CGCM-produced EUN is not large enough (i.e., that CGCMs underestimate the magnitude of unforced noise but not the magnitude of the forced rate of warming). On the other hand, if the CGCM-produced EUN is too large (i.e., if CGCMs overestimate the magnitude of unforced noise compared to reality), then recent observations may already confirm that the forced signal over the 21st century is increasing too rapidly. . .

The unforced noise produced by CGCMs is an emergent property of the simulations and is not guaranteed to accurately represent empirical observations. Indeed, GMT variability on interannual timescales is heavily influenced by the El-Nino/Southern Oscillation (ENSO) and many CGCMs still struggle with the precise magnitude and spectral characteristics of ENSO variability. Additionally, several studies have suggested that CGCMs may systematically underestimate the magnitude of interdecadal unforced variability compared to the real climate system.  (Emphasis added.)

This is a fairly damaging comment on current computer climate models.  For those of you still reading, here is one possible translation into English: the current temperature pause falls within the likely range of natural variability, but is also consistent (barely) with the climate models that predict the “forcing” effect of human greenhouse gas emissions. Keep hope alive!

But here’s the problem: the climatistas keep saying that the sharp intermittent warming periods we have seen over the last century are due to a human cause and are beyond the bounds of natural variability, but that the pauses (or even the decline in global temps from roughly 1940 to the late 1970s) are the result of natural climate variability after all. Very convenient if you are a climatista. But also inconsistent and unpersuasive. The bumper sticker should read: “If it warms, it’s our fault; if it doesn’t warm, it’s Nature at Work!”

Gallipoli, 100 Years On

Today marks the 100th anniversary of the beginning of the Gallipoli campaign—ANZAC Day in Australia and New Zealand, since they provided the bulk of the troops for this ill-fated venture that became known as “Churchill’s Folly.”  Anyone who has seen the early Mel Gibson film, Gallipoli, will know that the operation ended up with the same kind of trench warfare and appalling slaughter that characterized the Western Front.  The British eventually withdrew from Gallipoli eight months later, after suffering enormous losses.

The Dardanelles became synonymous with fiasco and recklessness.  It was this outcome that dogged Churchill for the rest of his life, and still clouds his reputation today.  Australia’s official military historian, C.E.W. Bean, wrote that “Through the fatal power of a young enthusiast to convince older and slower brains, the tragedy of Gallipoli was born.”  British historian Robert Rhodes James, in a paraphrase of Churchill’s own ill-chosen words about the matter, wrote that the Dardanelles offensive was a “wholly illegitimate war gamble.”

But these widespread judgments are not fair, because the land invasion of 100 years ago was not Churchill’s original idea. What went wrong? How had a purely naval operation with such promise and signs of early success become another exercise in “chewing barbed-wire”?

Historians and military experts will argue forever about whether the Dardanelles idea was sound or about whether the original design of a purely naval attack was properly executed by the naval commanders on the spot.  The War Council met 15 times on this issue between November 1914 and mid-March of 1915, when the initial plan for a purely naval attack was abandoned in favor of an amphibious landing.  Throughout this series of meetings, the War Council went back and forth about whether to commit to a purely naval attack (“by ships alone”) or whether to mount a combined offensive with an amphibious landing of army troops on the Gallipoli peninsula to back up the naval attack.  At the first meeting where the idea was discussed, on November 25, 1914 (just four months into the war), Churchill had favored the idea of a combined operation.  Churchill’s First Sea Lord, Lord Fisher, was enthusiastically in favor of a combined attack on Turkey.  However, both Prime Minister Asquith and Lord Herbert Kitchener, who, as Secretary of State for War, headed the army, opposed the idea.  Kitchener said there were no troops available for such an operation.  Kitchener suggested to Churchill a few days later that perhaps a naval “demonstration” could be made against the Turkish forts.  This, in part, prompted Churchill’s query to Admiral Carden about whether an attack “by ships alone” might be able to get through.

For the next two meetings, the War Council seemed to be heading toward a commitment for the purely naval attack, which had the virtue of being able to be discontinued immediately and at relatively little cost if it proved unsuccessful.  But then in the fourth meeting, Lord Kitchener seemed to change his mind, suggesting that 150,000 troops might be found for an invasion at the Dardanelles.  He had not, however, studied the idea with any thoroughness.  Five days later, Kitchener changed his mind again and said that no troops were available.  At the sixth meeting of the War Council two weeks after that, Kitchener further confused the deliberations by suggesting that the reserve 29th Division might be available for an offensive in the eastern theater, but at Salonica (on the Turkish mainland) and not at the Dardanelles.  Meanwhile First Sea Lord Fisher was changing his mind on the subject, first opposing the purely naval attack, and then later adopting the idea “whole hog—totus porcus,” as he put it.  (He would later change his mind back again, and his resignation would set in motion the chain of events that led to Churchill’s ouster from the Admiralty.)  Over the course of the next three War Council meetings, the decision was tentatively made to send the 29th Division to the Dardanelles for a combined operation.  “You get through [with the navy],” Kitchener told Churchill, “I will find the men.”  Then, at the next War Council meeting just three days later, Kitchener changed his mind yet again, and said the 29th Division was not available.  For this and the next two meetings the War Council argued back and forth, with Churchill and others pleading with Kitchener for the troops.  Each meeting postponed a decision about the 29th Division until a further meeting.  During this interlude, Kitchener canceled transport preparations for the 29th Division without informing Churchill, whose responsibility it was to oversee.  Finally, at the 13th meeting of the War Council on March 10, Kitchener agreed to release the 29th Division for the Dardanelles.  But this was barely a week before the navy’s attack was to be launched, and no plans had been made for landing the troops.

Amidst this indecision and divided counsel, it is not surprising that the naval commanders on the spot lost their nerve when the attack of March 18 resulted in heavy losses.  (Churchill came to refer to Admiral De Robeck, the commander of the fleet on the scene, as “De Rowback.”)  Even though intelligence at the time (which was subsequently confirmed as accurate) suggested that the naval attack came within a hair of success, and that an immediately renewed attack would almost surely succeed with minimal further loss, the naval attack was broken off to await the arrival of the army almost a month later.  Churchill had wanted to press on with the naval attack, but lacked the authority to decide the matter.  The naval operation would give way to an army invasion, and therefore pass largely out of Churchill’s ambit.  But this would take more than a month to set in motion.  By this time British intentions were transparent, and the delay enabled the Turks to reinforce the Gallipoli peninsula, thus setting the stage for another costly trench warfare stalemate.  A quicker decision about the idea might have changed everything.  Instead, the Allies suffered 252,000 casualties at Gallipoli over the next eight futile months.  Throughout the summer and fall the War Council was indecisive and tentative about whether to end the operation, going back and forth once again about whether to continue or end the operation.  “The Dardanelles has run on like a Greek tragedy,” Churchill wrote several months after.

The unfolding disaster was becoming evident in May 1915 when, as a result of a growing political crisis, Churchill was dismissed from the Admiralty and a new coalition government under Asquith was formed.  Even though the Dardanelles idea had not been his alone, Churchill quickly became the scapegoat for the debacle.  “History will vindicate the conception and the errors in execution will on the whole leave me clear,” he wrote.

The essential strategic soundness of the Dardanelles offensive has come to be more deeply appreciated as the decades have passed. Basil Liddell-Hart described the Dardanelles as “a sound and far-sighted conception, marred by a chain of errors in execution almost unrivaled even in British history.”  It presents one of the great “what ifs” of history.  Had Turkey been knocked out early, and the war ended sooner, perhaps the Bolshevik revolution would never have taken place.  Perhaps Hitler would never have risen to power.  These kinds of questions can never be answered, and it is perhaps frivolous even to indulge them.  But it is a tribute to Churchill’s insight that nearly 50 years after the episode, Clement Attlee, who was Churchill’s great opponent in the Labour Party (it was Attlee who defeated Churchill in the election of 1945), remarked to Churchill that the Dardanelles operation was “the only imaginative strategic idea of the war.  I only wish that you had had full power to carry it to success.”

The Power Line Show, Episode 15: We Interview Scott Walker

Thursday evening, Scott Walker addressed the Freedom Club’s annual dinner in Minnesota. Governor Walker made time between photos and the dinner for a Power Line interview. It is posted below.

But first, how was his speech? It was terrific. I have wondered whether Walker would be dynamic enough to succeed on the national stage. His low-key style has served him well in Wisconsin, but would he be able to inspire national Republicans? I needn’t have worried. Walker spoke extemporaneously, without notes (or, needless to say, teleprompter), and from the heart. He got a thunderous reception from the club’s members and guests.

Walker is a solid conservative with a superb record in office, achieved against the most vicious opposition directed against any state-level figure in our lifetimes. He recounted, but did not dwell on, the many death threats and incidents of harassment that he and his family have suffered from Democrats. The audience gasped audibly when Walker quoted the Democrat who threatened to gut his wife like a deer. But Walker has not only survived the Democrats’ mean-spirited assaults, he has defeated them, over and over.

Here is my interview with Governor Walker. We talked about his achievements, and how they will translate to the national scene, and about immigration, Islamic extremism and more. Given the controversy during recent days about Walker’s changed views on immigration, I think that part of the interview is particularly newsworthy:

Simply tap above to play; this works if you are reading on an iPad or mobile device, too.

The Power Line show is also available on iTunes. If you go here, you can subscribe on iTunes and never have to miss an episode.

Power Line is supported by Power Line VIP. Please consider subscribing to VIP today–it eliminates most ads and supports the work we do here. Click on graphic below for more information. Thanks!


The gospel according to Ms. Hillary

Speaking at the Women in the World Summit in New York on Thursday night, Madam Hillary came out foursquare in favor of strict enforcement of the law. In the video below, with a brief excerpt from the speech, she sounds like a lawgiver than a law enforcer, and a lawgiver of a most unsavory kind.

She decrees, when it comes to abortion, that we have got to get our minds right. Not just us — religious codes and tenets of faith have to be brought into line with the new dispensation arising from the revelation that abortion is sacramental in nature.

Yeats’s question comes to mind: “…what rough beast, its hour come round at last,/Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?”

Madam Hillary seems to be taking a leaf from the Captain’s page in his work as the prison warden in Cool Hand Luke (video below), although he conveys a little more warmth and charm in the process.

Via Twitchy.

The Week in Pictures: Hillarypalooza, The Sequel

Look, if the old Chevy Chase National Lampoon Vacation films can be rebooted, why can’t we continue to give the boot and reboot to Hillary, who is the gift that keeps on giving (though like the Vacation sequels, less and less satisfying every time)? Maybe her fundraising strategy should be called “Cash for Clunkers”?

Hillary emails copy

hillary's turn copy hillary middle class copy ckinton words copy clinton 90s copy clinton speech copy Clinton Cookie copy Clinton Foundation copy Hill and Bill copy Clinton Donation copy Hillary Yoga Jobs copy Hillary Screw copy

Anti Humanism copy

A reminder of the true spirit of Earth Day

Obama Earth Day copy

Climate Inquisition copy

CA Statue copy CA Water copy

nuke deal copy

Harfing copy

Biden copy

Biden Wedding copy

Keynesian Wings copy Gay Minimum Wage' copy

Tweet of the Week. Apparently the Left was not amused.

Tweet of the Week. Apparently the Left was not amused.

Jeb Bush in his Ron Burgundy phase.

Jeb Bush in his Ron Burgundy phase.

Invisible Basketballs copy

Smart Car Fart copy

Drunk? copy

And finally. . .

Hot 270 copy

Lynch confirmed: DOJ lawlessness to continue

Yesterday, as John noted here, the Senate confirmed Loretta Lynch as Attorney General. Ten Republicans voted to confirm: Kelly Ayotte, Ron Johnson, Mark Kirk, Rob Portman, Thad Cochran, Susan Collins, Jeff Flake, Lindsey Graham, Mitch McConnell, and Orrin Hatch.

Ayotte, Johnson, Kirk, and Portman face difficult reelection campaigns in their Democrat-leaning or “50-50″ states. Note, though, that Pat Toomey, who likely faces an extremely tough race, cast a principled vote against Lynch and the lawless Obama administration Justice Department should refused to distance herself from.

Susan Collins voted to confirm because she’s not a conservative.

Lindsey Graham voted to confirm because he’s the Arlen Specter of the South. Thad Cochran voted to confirm because he’s the Lindsey Graham of Mississippi.

Jeff Flake voted to confirm because he aspires to be the Lindsey Graham of Arizona. John McCain, Graham’s Arizona amigo, is running for reelection in a Red State. Back in full conservative mode, he voted against confirmation.

Mitch McConnell voted to confirm for deep “institutional” reasons that, no doubt, are beyond my power of comprehension. Orrin Hatch voted to confirm because at least one conservative who should know better always wanders off the reservation in cases like this.

Hatch has declared himself satisfied that Lynch “will be more independent than the current Attorney General and make strides toward recommitting the Department to the rule of law.” I estimate the probability that Lynch will clear this very low bar to be approximately zero percent.

Should Lynch want to surprise us, Bill Otis has come up with a list of ways to do so. My favorite is: “Don’t file Supreme Court briefs that lose 9-0.” Others include: “Respect the First Amendment” and “Don’t usurp congressional powers.”

I estimate the number of Bill’s suggestions that Lynch will follow to be approximately zero.