Green Weenies for Third Graders?

Can we award one of our coveted Green Weenies to a bunch of third graders, or would that be bullying? We really do try to restrain ourselves from beating up on the Climatistas every day, because they just make it so easy with their relentless hysteria and McCarthyite antics. But when the Climatistas reach a whole new level of absurdity, we just can’t let it pass.

There’s a brand new website—IsThisHowYouFeel?—where climate scientists have embraced one of the common exercises of third grade teachers: handwritten letters about how you feel about something important! If I didn’t know better I’d suspect this was Anthony Watts taking up satire. But no, they really mean it. This one may be my favorite:

Click to embiggen

Click to embiggen

How climate change makes me feel:

I feel a maelstrom of emotions

I am exasperated. Exasperated no one is listening.

I am frustrated. Frustrated we are not solving the problem.

I am anxious. Anxious that we start acting now.

I am perplexed. Perplexed that the urgency is not appreciated.

I am dumbfounded. Dumbfounded by our inaction.

I am distressed. Distressed we are changing our planet.

I am upset. Upset for what our inaction will mean for all life.

I am annoyed. Annoyed with the media’s portrayal of the science.

I am angry. Angry that vested interests bias the debate.

I am infuriated. Infuriated we are destroying our planet.

But most of all I am apprehensive. Apprehensive about our children’s future.

Associate Professor Anthony J. Richardson, Climate Change Ecologist

Prof. Richardson left off, “I am a loser.”

This one is equally fine:

Click to embiggen

Click to embiggen

Knowing how much is at stake, knowing that I am one of the few people who understand the magnitude of the consequences and then realizing that most of the people around me are oblivious. Some of the people are not only oblivious, they also do not want to understand. They have made up their mind, maybe based on the opinion of someone they trust, someone in their family, or a friend, maybe based on a political conviction, but certainly not based on facts. 

It makes me feel sick. Looking at my children and realizing that they won’t have the same quality of life we had. Far from it. That they will live in a world facing severe water and food shortages, a world marked by wars caused by the consequences of climate change. 

It makes me feel sad. And it scares me. It scares me more than anything else. I see a group of people sitting in a boat, happily waving, taking pictures on the way, not knowing that this boat is floating right into a powerful and deadly waterfall. It is still time to pull out  of the stream. We might lose some boat equipment but we might be able to save the people in the boat. But no one acts.

Time is running out.

Associate Professor Katrin Meissner, ARC Future Fellow

This one is pretty good, too:

Dear Earth,

Just a quick note to say thanks so much for the last 4 billion years or so. It’s been great! The planetary life support systems worked really well, the whole biological evolution thing was a nice surprise and meant that humans got to come into being and I got to exist!

I’m really sorry about the last couple of 100 years – we’ve really stuffed things up haven’t we! I though we climate scientist might be able to save the day but alas no one really took as seriously. Everyone wants to keep opening new coal mines and for some reason that escapes me are happy to ignore the fact that natural gas is a fossil fuel. Well, no one can say we didn’t try!

You’re probably quietly happy that “peak human” time has come and gone and it’s kind of all downhill got us now, though I guess you’re more than a bit miffed at what we’ve done to your lovely ecosystem (the forests and corals were a really nice touch by the way) and sorry again for the tigers, sharks etc.

In case you were wondering, our modeling suggests that your global biogeochemical cycles (especially the carbon one) should reach a new dynamic equilibrium in about 100,000 years or so. I guess it will be a bit of a rocky road until then but, oh well, no one said the universe was meant to be stable!

All the best and do try and maintain that “can do” attitude we love so much.

Prof Brendan G. Mackey, PhD

There’s a bunch more if you have the time. Congratulations to all the Climatistas who have become rising third graders. Green Weenies all around.

UPDATE:  Hoo boy, not to be outdone, photographer Nick Bowers has compiled a bunch Leibowitz-style black and white photos of “Scared Scientists.”  This ought to do the trick.  (Though they look like outtakes from Grapes of Wrath or something, though I suppose that’s the point.)  Here’s one, of Shauna Murray, an Australian biologist:

Fright 1 copyLooks to me more like desperation.


No longer even “leading from behind,” Obama is out of the loop in Libya

Egypt and the United Arab Emirates carried out airstrikes in Tripoli this weekend against the Islamist militants who were in the process of taking control of that city and its airport. The airstrikes appear to have failed to prevent that takeover.

The government of Libya is, in the words of its ambassador to Egypt, “unable to protect its institutions, its airports, and natural resources, especially the oil fields.”

Moreover, the U.S., which was unable to protect its personnel in Benghazi and has abandoned its embassy in Tripoli, isn’t about to help. Indeed, as Simon Henderson of Washington Institute for Near East Policy says, “the airstrikes [by Egypt and the UAE] likely indicate the frustration in Cairo and Abu Dhabi with the lack of U.S. action to stabilize Libya and act against growing anarchy in the Middle East.”

What was the Obama administration’s comment about the airstrikes. Speaking for the wimps, Jen Psaki offered this mush:

Libya’s challenges are political, and violence will not resolve them. Our focus is on the political process there. We believe outside interference exacerbates current divisions and undermines Libya’s democratic transition. And that’s why our focus remains on urging all factions to come together to peacefully resolve the current crisis.

Thus, having fled from Libya, U.S. policy consists of “urging” the jihadists who chased us out to be peaceful.

According to the Washington Post, Egypt and the UAE did not tell the Obama administration about the airstrikes ahead of time, nor was the administration aware that they would take place. Given Team Obama’s school-marmish position on Libya, coupled with its fecklessness throughout the region, we can easily understand why.

Whopper Donut Cheeseburgers, Eh?

I want mine medium-rare.

I want mine medium-rare.

So Burger King is going to acquire the Canadian Tim Horton’s donut chain, in yet another tax inversion that causes so much cranial-rectal inversions among liberals. I sure hope we get a donut Whopper cheeseburger out of this merger.  With bacon.  That would be more awesome than a deep-fried Twinkie. (Lo and behold, turns out the genera already exist.)

Even more delightful than finding out that liberal hero Warren Buffett is financing this tax-avoidance merger is the dilemma this poses for the fast-food nutrition police (Michelle Obama, call your office). Before we call out Burger King for its supposed lack of patriotism (“Et Tu, Burger King?” asks Obama economic crony Jared Bernstein, while Sen. Sharrod Brown is calling for a BK boycott), shouldn’t we ask a couple of basic questions first? If the fast-food industry is so bad for America, shouldn’t we applaud that its HQ is leaving?

Faithful Power Line reader Richard Samuelson asks an even more delightful version of this:

Is it worth pointing out that the Progressive push to educate our elites out of their Americanism gives them no reason to stay in the U.S., or to keep the companies they run in the U.S.?

Heh. Where’s my donut?  (Besides, I thought for the left, corporations aren’t “people.”  Can a non-person be unpatriotic?)

IRS ordered Lerner’s blackberry destroyed after her computer crashed

The New York Observer reports that, according to an IRS court filing, the IRS destroyed Lois Lerner’s Blackberry after it knew her computer had crashed and after a Congressional inquiry was well underway. An IRS official declared under the penalty of perjury that the destroyed Blackberry would have contained the same emails (both sent and received) as Lois Lerner’s hard drive.

Lerner’s hard drive crashed in June 2011 and the IRS destroyed it. A year later, the IRS also destroyed her Blackberry without making any effort to retain the emails it contained. By then, Congress had commenced its investigation into the IRS’s targeting of conservative groups.

In the IRS’s court filing about the destruction of Lerner’s Blackberry, it states:

Standard IRS practice and policy in the collection of electronic data does not include collecting data from Blackberry devices because the email of a Blackberry user is collected through the process of collecting the contents of the user’s Outlook mailbox files.

However, as the Observer’s Sidney Powell points out, this “practice” seems far from “standard” when (a) the user’s computer has crashed and (b) the user is being investigated by Congress. Under these circumstances, destruction of Blackberry without retrieving emails smacks of willful disregard for the law and contempt for Congress.

Fortunately, it now appears that, contrary to the IRS’s prior claims, the missing Lerner emails can be retrieved from federal government-wide backup data. But given the destruction of Lerner’s Blackberry, Judge Sullivan, who is overseeing the search for electronic data, has reason to expand that search. As the Observer says:

Don’t be surprised if Judge Sullivan decides it’s time to order production of everything on that Blackberry, issue subpoenas to third party servers including Blackberry for the dates covered by the Blackberry the IRS destroyed, unleash [Magistrate] Judge Facciola, allow Judicial Watch more discovery, prohibit the IRS from destroying anything else, and start a list of lawyers who would make a good special prosecutor.

A Bridge to Nowhere?

My long review of Rick Perlstein’s The Invisible Bridge is in the can at the Claremont Review of Books (subscribe now you so can get the whole thing the day it comes out). Perlstein’s latest massive book has been generating more buzz than a turbine with bad ball bearings, with even some conservatives who ought to know better praising this malignant hit piece.

Not much subtlety here.

Not much subtlety here.

I thought it likely that my forthcoming review would be the longest and most definitive—until I saw Geoffrey Kabaservice’s smackdown today in The National Interest. Kabaservice is, I’m pretty sure, a liberal, and he’s known for his book Rule and Ruin: The Downfall of Moderation and the Destruction of the Republican Party, from Eisenhower to the Tea Party. Kabaservice is a good writer, but you can tell where this is going from the title alone. He prefers the good old days when Republicans rolled over for liberalism with only a few mild whimpers. These tea party people are icky! (Or, as Eugene McCarthy put it, the chief purpose of moderate Republicans is to shoot the wounded after the battle is over.) If you have some spare time, you can see me tangle with Kabaservice a couple years ago in this C-SPAN televised panel in Washington (it’s almost an hour and a half long, but there are some fun parts—mostly of my doing, I think).

Like Sam Tanenhaus, another smart liberal who doesn’t think much of Perlstein, Kabaservice doesn’t mince words:

Perlstein is a talented but erratic writer. . . all of this history is filtered through a New Journalism writing style that is more annoying than stimulating. . .

He continually inserts himself into the narrative with sarcastic asides that make reading the book akin to watching an episode of the cult television show Mystery Science Theater 3000, in which the movie onscreen is drowned out by its wisecracking spectators.

As a huge MST3K fan, I wish I’d thought of that line, as it fits perfectly. But Kabaservice is just getting started:

PERLSTEIN’S SPASTIC WRITING detracts from the historical material he presents . . . the narrative suffers from Perlstein’s desire to squeeze the era into a procrustean analytical framework. . .

The reader’s own suspicion grows that Perlstein’s motive is not so much to explore the 1970s in all their complexity as to expose the villains who forced America into its alleged contemporary cult of optimism and willful blindness to national faults—and, unsurprisingly, he finds nearly all these moustache-twirlers on the conservative side.

But even a casual viewer of Fox News will know that today’s conservatives are simultaneously critics and boosters of America, fearful of its big government and deeply suspicious of its politics and culture while in the same breath maintaining that it is still the envy of the world.

THIS IDEOLOGICAL agenda makes Perlstein an unreliable narrator—incapable, for example, of attempting any objective evaluation of a complicated historical figure like Richard Nixon. Perlstein is content to present Nixon, largely through the lens of Watergate, as a black-hearted conservative malefactor and two-dimensional doer of dastardly deeds. But this is a tired and indeed anachronistic interpretation that serious historians haven’t held for decades. . .

FOR A WRITER who insists that respect for complexity is a moral virtue, Perlstein proffers a surprisingly simplistic analysis. . .

But Perlstein ultimately is purveying a shallow and tendentious version of history that will only convince the already converted: those who believe in the innate baseness of conservatives. He is not writing what his publisher boasts “is becoming the classic series of books about the rise of modern conservatism in America” in order to investigate and understand but rather to mock and condemn. This is history that sets out to expose the limitations of conservatives but ends up exposing the limitations of the author. Anyone seeking a definitive history of the transition from Nixon to Reagan should look elsewhere.

So with that as a warm up, you’ll have to wait for my forthcoming review, which, as promised, is going to be epic.

P.S. Back when Perlstein’s previous book Nixonland came out, Michael Kazin (mentioned here yesterday) and the Tocqueville Center at Georgetown University hosted me and Perlstein for abpanel that was sharp though cordial. I asked Rick if he’d care to do it again. He declined.

Michael Brown’s Funeral [Updated]

Michael Brown was buried today. The New York Times reports on his funeral in St. Louis:

They came by the thousands to pay their respects. Among them were the parents and extended family — some 500 strong — of Michael Brown, the unarmed…

They keep saying that, as if it had some great significance.

…black teenager…

This entire pageant has to do with Brown’s race. Within the last few days, a white youth in Utah was shot by a black policeman. No pageant. Why, exactly, are so many people determined to find symbolic significance in Michael Brown’s tragic death?

…who was shot and killed more than two weeks ago by a Ferguson police officer.

It is likely that the officer acted properly in self-defense. Does that matter? Seemingly not.

But the crowd of mourners also included the Rev. Jesse Jackson; the film director Spike Lee; T. D. Jakes, the bishop of The Potter’s House, an African-American megachurch; several members of Congress; representatives from the White House; and two children of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

So it was a celebrity funeral. None of the black gunshot victims killed in Chicago in recent weeks have received celebrity funerals. Why not?

The Times describes the funeral itself as “deeply religious.” That’s good. And much of what was said was appropriate and heartfelt. Yet a political air hung over the proceedings. The last speaker was Al Sharpton:

“This is about fairness, and America is going to have to come to terms with there’s something wrong, that we have money to give military equipment to police forces but we don’t have money for training and money for public education and money to train our children,” Mr. Sharpton said.

But why is this about fairness? If Michael Brown, 6’4″ and 300 pounds, who had robbed (not shoplifted from, as news accounts like to put it) a convenience store just ten minutes earlier, charged Officer Darren Wilson and Wilson defended himself by shooting him, it is certainly a sad story, but how is it about fairness?

Moreover, military equipment had nothing to do with the incident. Wilson used his standard-issue handgun, probably a Glock 9 mm. And the idea that public education and government training programs lack money is laughable; nor, in any event, do such issues have anything to do with Brown’s death. The brief encounter between Brown and Officer Wilson and its tragic outcome are being made to bear a heavy symbolic weight. Pretty much the entire liberal agenda can somehow be shoehorned in.

A mythological version of the Wilson-Brown encounter that is unsupported by the physical evidence, and is almost certainly false, has taken hold among those who view Brown as a martyr:

In an overflow room where mourners watched the service on television across the street from the church, Mr. Sharpton’s remarks riled up the crowd. Some men left the overflow room to the street and began loudly chanting “hands up, don’t shoot.” …

Before the service on Monday, one man sold T-shirts outside the church with the slogan “Hands up, don’t shoot,” while another handed out leaflets for a candidate for a city political position.

The Times recognizes that the facts of the Brown case are far from clear, and that his own aggression may have prompted the fatal encounter with Darren Wilson:

Mr. Brown, who had just graduated from high school, was shot to death on Aug. 9 after a confrontation with an officer, Darren Wilson, along a curving street in Ferguson, a mostly black city where the police force is mostly white. The police described the confrontation as a physical altercation between the two men that left Officer Wilson with a swollen face; others have deemed it a case of needless police aggression and racial profiling. State and federal investigations are underway.

For Brown’s friends and family, his death is a disaster and a tragedy, regardless of how his confrontation with Wilson unfolded. Their grief is genuine and heartfelt. But how about Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson and Spike Lee? How about the three White House aides who attended, or the “several” Congressmen? Their motives are more equivocal, to put it politely. What makes Brown’s death a political event? Or, put another way, of what is it symbolic? For some, it seems that sowing racial division is an end in itself, regardless of the facts.

UPDATE: For more, see Byron York in the Washington Examiner. Byron focuses on the middle portion of Sharpton’s eulogy, which has been controversial in some quarters:

After a demand for broad reforms in American policing, Sharpton changed course to address his black listeners directly. “We’ve got to be straight up in our community, too,” he said. “We have to be outraged at a 9-year-old girl killed in Chicago. We have got to be outraged by our disrespect for each other, our disregard for each other, our killing and shooting and running around gun-toting each other, so that they’re justified in trying to come at us because some of us act like the definition of blackness is how low you can go.”

“Blackness has never been about being a gangster or a thug,” Sharpton continued. “Blackness was, no matter how low we was pushed down, we rose up anyhow.”

Sharpton went on to describe blacks working to overcome discrimination, to build black colleges, to establish black churches, to succeed in life. “We never surrendered,” Sharpton said. “We never gave up. And now we get to the 21st century, we get to where we’ve got some positions of power. And you decide it ain’t black no more to be successful. Now, you want to be a n—– and call your woman a ‘ho.’ You’ve lost where you’re coming from.”

The cameras cut to director Spike Lee, on his feet applauding enthusiastically. So were Martin Luther King III, radio host Tom Joyner, and, judging by video coverage, pretty much everyone else in the church. They kept applauding when Sharpton accused some blacks of having “ghetto pity parties.” And they applauded more when Sharpton finally declared: “We’ve got to clean up our community so we can clean up the United States of America!”

Critics complain that this part of Sharpton’s eulogy had nothing to do with the circumstances of Brown’s death. I think that is rather obviously wrong. As for why Sharpton chose to include this theme in his eulogy, see the rest of Byron’s piece.

ISIL May Have Surface to Air Missiles [Updated]

While our government dithers, ISIL is rampaging around the Middle East. In northern Syria, the terrorists routed a Syrian army detachment and captured an air base in Tabqa. Reportedly, the base yielded surface to air missiles suitable for bringing down airplanes along with other weaponry:

The seizure of Tabqa air base, while not the first installation of its type to fall to militants, highlights the Islamic State’s gains in the region and the group’s continued pilfering of advanced military equipment, particularly the surface-to-air missile systems known as MANPADS, short for Man Portable Air Defense Systems.

Matt Schroeder, a senior researcher at the Switzerland-based research group Small Arms Survey and author of a recent report on MANPADS in Syria, believes that the takeover of Tabqa airbase could mark a “significant proliferation” of the weapons across the region.

This tweet by Charles Lister shows terrorists with MANPADs and other equipment–including MIGs!–at Tabqa:

The Washington Post article linked above cautions that MANPADs are not as simple as they look, have a limited shelf life, and require some skill to use. The problem with Islamic terrorists, however, is that they aren’t stupid. A disproportionate number of them are engineers, doctors and so on. Mastering battery technology likely won’t be an obstacle for long.

UPDATE: This video, from the Associated Press, purports to show jihadis celebrating the capture of the Tabqa air base:

These people need to be stopped, but it will take someone more competent than our present government to do it.