Friday, July 31, 2009

My Right To The Pursuit Of Happiness


The Obama administration is attempting to define health care as a "right" that should be administered by the Federal government. What that means to me is that I can demand of the government that I am provided health care regardless of my individual circumstances.

Since health care is not part of the Bill of Rights and Federal control of health care is not part of the powers enumerated by the Constitution, I presume this falls under the aegis of "pursuit of happiness..." stated in the Declaration of Independence...

from an overbearing, onerous government intent on controlling our choices and depriving us of self-determination.
Receiving health care is important to me... helps me pursue happiness... and should be provided to me... even if the government has to provide it. I understand that in order for the government to fulfill that right for me, money will have to be taken from those who have more money than I have. That's okay. I have the right to my "pursuit of happiness" and President Obama has argued eloquently that our government has an obligation to provide health care for me... on my road to my right of happiness. Or do you think I should suffer from the ravages of diseases?
But, that's not enough to make me happy.

The government needs to take care of my housing needs. A fine, new home is my right in my pursuit of happiness. Or do you think I should be homeless?

And so is a fine, classic car. Or do you think I should be forced to walk everywhere... in bad weather, too?

And... fine, new clothes? Or do you think I should dress in rags?

Food; lots of good food.... Or do you prefer to see me go hungry?

And wine... I need a wine cellar full of fine, old wines. Or do you think I should have to suffer from thirst?

The government can just send me the money and I'll even do the shopping... as much as I hate that. It would get me closer to happiness. Just collect a little more taxes from those rich people.

A boat... 35'... that would be part of my pursuit of happiness. What's a 35' boat from a government that builds aircraft carriers? Rich people have bigger boats, so they should give the government money so that I can have my boat. Maybe I can just pick one of those rich people's boats. That would speed up the process. The government can just send an agent to get the paperwork from the rich people and put my name on it. I could almost be happy then. Or do you think that I should be prevented from enjoying the natural beauty of our lakes?

I think one of those new "elite" credit cards is really what I need. If the government gets the bill and collects payment from those rich people, then I can get whatever I need to be happy. That may not make them happy, but so what? Or do you think I should be penniless?
Health care may be a new right, but I have lots of other wants that are equally justified as rights that I think the President should be working on. As long as enough Congressmen and the President share my interpretation of rights, I win. And I need those rights... right now! Just have an
bill. Don't even bother to read it.

Show me the money! Or are you just insensitive to my needs and rights? Well, he is sensitive and compassionate.


Thursday, July 30, 2009

President Obama Sets Bad Precedent


A couple of days ago, I participated in a conference call with Rep. Thaddeus McCotter [see McCotter's Corner in the right column] to discuss President Obama's recent foray into racial politics and its implications.

Rep. McCotter was planning to introduce a resolution into Congress calling for president Obama to apologize for his derogatory comments about the Cambridge police and particularly Sgt. James Crowley's actions. Rep. McCotter wanted to publicize the resolution and the purpose of the call was to discuss the importance of the resolution.
My initial reaction to the conference call invitation and the draft of the resolution was that the resolution, while satisfying perhaps, was going to be ignored by Congress and the press... or possibly used as fodder to attack Rep. McCotter for being insensitive or some other such political pap. Still, it made sense to make an attempt to get an objection about the President's objectionable behavior into the Congressional Record.

During the conference call, I asked Rep. McCotter why this resolution was important to him beyond chiding the president for impropriety. He responded with:
"The president must not be allowed to admit bias and a lack of facts in a dispute and, nevertheless, prejudge a private citizen’s actions as misconduct. Thus, as a matter of principle, this unjust precedent must not be allowed to stand, for what citizen will be next?"
If the president were to involve the Office of the President in this case and thereby bias any subsequent legal process or sully the reputation of a private citizen, then this set precedent for any future president to place the weight of his office for or against the action of any other private citizen.
The resolution calling for the president to admit his error was not only for this case, but for the principle of the president eschewing involvement in any similar future situations.
This is the final version of the resolution [click here].

It is important to stand up for just principles and Rep. McCotter is doing exactly that... even if newspapers ignore or misunderstand why.
Being principled sometimes means having to say you are sorry.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Almost Summer


26 out of the first 27 days this month have had below the normal average temperature. The forecast for the remainder of the month is near normal, but the whole month of July will average more than 6°F below normal. I'll summarize the month this weekend. But we are actually running lower than the June normal temperatures [69°F].

Meanwhile, one still has to tend to summer jobs. We have a small cottage on a lake north of the Detroit area and had planned to sell our main home and rebuild the cottage with the proceeds. Of course, you know the story of the housing market, so that didn't happen. My youngest son lives at the cottage and tries to keep things up. He put up a new kitchen light fixture and a new storm and screen door on the street side. I installed a new kitchen faucet and fixed a leaking toilet. Today, we'll head up there and clean the carpets.

Before my son installed the storm door, I repainted the door frame which was dark brown to match the old door that was falling apart. The new door was white, so three coats of white paint later, the door was ready to be installed. But nothing is ever as simple as it first seems.

I had just started painting the door frame with the first coat when yellow jacket wasps started swarming around me. Having just recovered from poison ivy [earlier posts on that] I was not ready to walk around with large welts from wasp stings. We had a can of flying insect spray that was almost empty, but it was enough to dissuade them from buzzing around my head while I finished the first coat.

The next day we came back so that I could complete the job with the last two coats of paint. I also brought some wasp spray from home. I know, I know. How can I be so unconcerned about these poor creatures. One of my earliest childhood memories is being stung behind the ear by one of those poor creatures and not being able to lie down on that side for a week. Poor creatures indeed.

As I started the second coat, the wasps returned with great vigor. That's when I noticed this:

Yes, the dark object behind the vine that's about the size of a football. Well, that wasn't going to stay there. If they didn't get me, they would get someone else since it was so close to the door. Let's just say that the spray won and I finished the painting. The next day, my son installed the door without being harassed or harmed.

Summer this year: cold wet weather, poison ivy, and wasps. Maybe snow shoveling isn't so bad, after all. What's a little frostbite as temperatures plummet to -10°F?


Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Obama's Rush To Confusion


Disclaimer: I am biased against waste, inefficiency, ineffectiveness, corruption, and stupidity. Hence my earlier post today. Now that is out of the way....

President Obama is a cunning ideologue. He uses law and words to twist the ideals of most Americans into ideas that sound good... at first... to many. But one must ask the question: can he fool enough of the people all of the time?

The Climate Bill represents ideology above science; it represents coercion above clarity; it demands sacrifice for dubious ends; it is being questioned more and more by those who wanted previously to place party loyalty above all else, but realize it may be the suicide of the Democratic Party... a truly Pyrrhic victory. Combine that with so-called health care reform that threatens to recreate this [below] on a larger scale and you have the seeds of a political backlash.

President Obama may yet win these battles only to lose the war in 2012. By then, however, significant damage will have been done to our economy and private enterprise. Some will say that is intentional. I will be more generous and say it is only stupidity. The stupidity of an intelligent man who has allowed rhetoric to blind his reason. It only remains to be seen how widespread that stupidity has spread. If he succeeds, will the Democratic Party revel under a "Mission Accomplished" banner or simply mutter, confused, under their breaths, "What have we done?"


2012 Elections


It is never too early to be thinking about the next election for President of the United States.

After 6 months in office, it is apparent that our present president is attempting to expand the reach of the federal government as far as he can. After being greeted with an initial burst of euphoria, citizens are rapidly realizing that expansion of the federal government is not only a bad idea, but a very expensive one as well.

It is not about the government "taking care" of us; it is about the government controlling us. First the "climate" bill that will raise the cost of energy and remove a large number of choices from consumers. Now the health care bill that will create a vast caricature of the Veterans Administration fiasco for the nation.

It is never too early to be thinking about the next election for President of the United States.

I don't have an early favorite candidate. What I do have is an early message:
"I will reverse what the present administration has done and, further, I will privatize much of the bloated, inefficient, ineffective, harmful bureaucracy and return wealth back to those who earn it. I will reward the productive and provide incentives for those who are not, to become so. I will replace entitlement with responsibility. I will refocus us on the rights individuals have through our constitution and the limitations of government to take away those rights through faulty moral rhetoric and coercion."
Now all that is required is someone to carry that message to the voters in 2012.

It is never too early to be thinking about the next election for President of the United States.


Monday, July 27, 2009

The Rev Speaks Out


Who are these men and what do they have in common? Besides that....

Well, for one thing, they have the title "Reverend" and, for another, they speak out about black men in America.

From left to right: Jesse Lee Peterson; Jesse Jackson, Sr.; Al Sharpton

Probably, you have all heard about Rev. Jackson and Sharpton. A much smaller number of you have heard about Rev. Peterson.

In global warming alarmist circles, Rev. Peterson would be called an "anomaly." You know, a significant variation from the "norm." Perhaps from the "norm" that the Rev. Jackson and Sharpton represent. This is from Rev. Peterson's website:

July 22, 2009
Contact: Ermias Alemayehu

Sharpton, Harvard Prof “Abusing Police While Black,” Says Rev. Peterson

LOS ANGELES – Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson, Founder and President of BOND, the Brotherhood Organization of a New Destiny, today repudiated Harvard Professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr. and Al Sharpton for their “unfounded and reckless” allegations of racism against Cambridge, Massachusetts police. Cambridge police dropped a disorderly conduct charge against Gates yesterday; he had been arrested at his home on July 16 after police responded to a break in. Gates had locked himself out and reportedly forced his way inside.

When officers asked him to show identification Gates reportedly snapped, “No, I will not!” When an officer asked to speak to him outside, Gates was heard shouting, “Yeah, I’ll speak with your mama outside” and “This is what happens to black men in America.” Al Sharpton and Gates falsely accused the police of racially profiling him. Sharpton proclaimed, “I’ve heard of driving while black, but I’ve never heard of living in a home while black.” He added, “If they can do this to him [Gates], imagine what they can do to a kid in Roxbury.”

“Henry Gates and Al Sharpton are abusing police while black,” said Rev. Peterson. “Their false allegations say to young blacks that they too can abuse police and cry racism. Gates was abusive and disorderly and the police dealt with him accordingly—where’s the racism? This is a case of black males gone wild.”

Police in Cambridge bowed to pressure from liberal black leaders and issued a statement yesterday calling Gates’ arrest “regrettable and unfortunate.”

Rev. Peterson said, “What’s regrettable is that the city of Cambridge and the police have allowed themselves to be intimidated by a race hustler like Al ‘The Riot King’ Sharpton. The race card has once again been used to unjustly smear law enforcement and thwart justice. This is Tawana Brawley all over again!”

Sharpton gained national notoriety after his involvement in the Tawana Brawley rape hoax—where he took up the cause of a 15 year-old black girl from New York who falsely accused six white men (some were police officers). The allegations were tossed out, but Sharpton never admitted wrongdoing, nor has he apologized to the men in that case.

Let's just say this is not what most Americans will see or hear on American television. Rev. Peterson certainly has his detractors. Yet, another successful black man, Bill Cosby, has taken similar flak for similar statements.

Societal interaction among the races is not simply "black and white" [pun intended], but quite a bit of gray. To claim that racism is not an issue is to put on blinders. To claim that racism is one-sided is to put on blinders, also. People are stereotyped by groups to which they "belong." It's convenient. It's simple. It's wrong. But it is not without its reasons.


Sunday, July 26, 2009

Reducing Health Care Costs


President Obama: don't spend $1 - 2 trillion of our tax dollars supposedly fixing health care by replacing what we already have... with what we already have. Here is my plan to expand health care and lower overall costs... by doing four things for less than $50 billion annually or less than the cost of the war in Iraq or annual Congressional pork projects:

  • Eliminate lawsuits for medical mistakes
  • Pay for medical school educations [$15 billion - 100,000 x $150,000 annually]
  • Fund free clinics for those unable to pay for medical insurance [$25 billion - 5,000 x $5 million annually]
  • Provide catastrophic insurance coverage for those unable to pay for it. [$5 billion annually]
That's all that needs to be done... along with the implementing the corresponding requirements for those actions.

First, remove entirely medical malpractice from the court system.
Analysis of trends in medical malpractice claims and payments reveals
that the total dollars in paid physician medical malpractice claims have
approximately doubled in the past decade. Average defense costs per claim
have increased substantially, also doubling. As expected, there is substantial
variation across states in these measures.

Further analysis shows the growth in dollars paid on malpractice claims is
mainly due to increases in the average size of claims. The total number of paid
claims has been relatively stable, despite a sizeable increase in the number of
physicians. The overall increase in total medical malpractice payments was only
slightly above the rate of medical care inflation, but somewhat greater than the
general rate of inflation.

The impact of medical malpractice law reform on the appropriateness of
malpractice awards, rising malpractice premiums, and the availability of
coverage is often unclear. And while medical malpractice continues to be a
focus of state legislatures, the U.S. Congress, and the Bush Administration, little
agreement exists on what approach best addresses the problems of medical
malpractice. Whether reform of tort law or changes in the malpractice
insurance system provides better solutions is debated. But better
understanding of these complex systems and their interaction could lead to the
most appropriate proposals for change. [p. 28 of Summary and Conclusion]
Replace that with boards of review composed of medical experts, legal experts, and patient advocates [eliminate adversarial environment] that determine if there was medical malpractice or fraud.
  • If a doctor has made a medical decision that inadvertently harmed a patient while taking a reasonable course of action that has an uncertain outcome due to circumstances, the doctor is held harmless and catastrophic insurance will cover all of the patient's medical expenses and extended care... including both at-home care and nursing home care and, possibly, loss of income as a provision of patient-purchased or government-provided coverage.
    For example, the patient suffers a stoke due to the doctor taking proper action to treat a life-threatening breathing problem or heart condition.
  • If a doctor has made a medical decision that was based on incompetence or applying unreasonable approaches, suspend/revoke the doctor's license and catastrophic insurance will cover all of the patient's medical expenses and extended care ... including both at-home care and nursing home care and, possibly, loss of income as a provision of patient-purchased or government-provided coverage.
    A pattern of harmed patients is considered evidence of incompetence, but not absolute proof in a specific instance, except for known high-risk situations where treatment cannot be reasonably guaranteed to succeed. For example, the doctor fails to take appropriate action for a situation where the problem is obvious and the treatment is standard. If the review finds that the harm was done maliciously... intentionally withholding necessary treatment, the finding should be grounds for criminal prosecution.
  • If a patient was not harmed, but knowingly attempts to receive financial gain from the system, the patient may be subjected to fines or jail sentences as de facto fraud.
Secondly, remove the cost of medical training and education from the patient care equation to bring more doctors into the system so that care can be given before the problems of so many patients becomes too serious and care extremely expensive.
Doctors can elect to earn, but are not required to do so, their free medical training and education through a contractual term of service at free clinics, after which they may compete for jobs or establish their own practices. Foreign doctors wishing to practice in the U.S. would also be required to be certified within the U.S. system and provide a lesser term of service at free clinics.
Individuals remain free to pay for their own medical training and education and avoid any contractual obligation to the government. This is similar to the military program of providing an education in return for service. Universities still would be able to offer scholarships for particularly deserving students... academically deserving.
  • The cost of medical training and education will be borne by the taxpayers as a necessary cost of maintaining a highly functioning medical system under a mandate to provide expanded health care to those unable to pay for it [shared costs].
  • Doctors still will earn, through a merit system and judgment by the medical establishment, the privilege of entering medical training and further specialize into more advance areas [maintaining quality].
  • Doctors retain the right to higher compensation based on their qualifications and services rendered [increasing incentives].
  • Fees will be lowered by not limiting the number of doctors who are general practitioners or within an advanced specialty [increasing supply] and by removing the liability coverage costs associated with higher risk specialties [reducing disincentives and costs].
In return, the government will provide minimal catastrophic insurance coverage for those unable, not unwilling, to pay for their own health care insurance.
  • Those who are able to pay for catastrophic insurance coverage [based on a percentage of their income] are free to elect to not do so, but they will cover such costs personally until their estates are exhausted. The income standard for coverage will make adjustments for the number of dependents similar to the way income taxes adjust gross income.
  • The government will fund free clinics for those who qualify for government assistance that must be used instead of hospital emergency rooms to treat common illnesses or injuries unless no free clinic is within a reasonable distance... say 10 miles. [$25 billion]
  • Free clinics may transfer patients to hospitals as medically required after initial evaluation; however, those clinics that routinely transfer patients for non-emergency care will be subject to penalty and staffs will be subject to disciplinary actions. Patients who simply bypass the system could be subject to refusal of service or may simply receive assistance to get to the local free clinic... a taxi to be paid for by the local free clinic. The government can figure out what to do after that.
  • No persons illegally in the U.S. will qualify for any such assistance at either free clinics or hospitals... period. They may receive medical assistance through funds established by non-profit groups dedicated to that purpose or from funds provided by the Department of Homeland Security that has the responsibility keep out illegal aliens in the first place.
Taxpayers are given the most for their money and not forced to pay for:
  • Unnecessary legal actions,
  • Medical actions that are "cover-your-ass" only because of fear of lawsuits,
  • Those who abuse the system, and
  • Those who do not belong within the system.
Insurance costs must reflect the significantly reduced liability risks and the government's intervention in catastrophic medical costs for those unable to pay... who would otherwise still receive payment from private health care facilities, regardless.
Individuals will always retain the right to seek and pay for their own medical services without resorting to the government contributing toward the payment of those services... or limiting access to those services.
Treat the causes, not the symptoms, of high medical costs. Everyone will win except those who seek to gain from fraudulent lawsuits and those who raise the cost of medical care by promoting excessive compensation demands for medical mistakes... including incompetent doctors.

Of course, simply by eliminating huge lawsuits, the cost of medical services can be reduced significantly... without other government subsidies.


Saturday, July 25, 2009

Is It Getting Warmer Or Cooler


The northern U.S. and most of Canada has had a "pause in global warming." That is to say that ΔCO2 → Δ° is temporarily invalid, but will be true again at some point in the future.

I started tracking daily temperature variations from normal in this area about 1-1/2 years ago using data from This may not be the official temperatures from the Detroit Metropolitan Airport, but it represents a consistent look and is relatively easy to accomplish from the monthly details provided at that source.

Normal or average temperatures are so messy. What with the constant changes to the historical data from NOAA, it is difficult to pinpoint normal. But for this purpose, I used the averages publish by

This is what the daily variation looks like:

Yes, ups and downs from daily averages. Note that for the entire period, the variation has been minus 2.66°F. That's more than twice the alarming global warming for the whole 20th century. Based on the hysteria about the global warming, we should be having major runs on fur stores around here.

Another way to look at the data is to simply say how many days have been above average and how many below. The chart below accumulates that information. Each day above average is a value of 1 and each day below average is a value of -1. The individual daily values are added to the previous total each day. The series starts like this:

1 1
1 2
1 3
1 4
1 5
1 6
1 7
1 8
1 9
-1 8
-1 7
-1 6
-1 5
-1 4
-1 3
-1 2
1 3
-1 2
-1 1
-1 0
The resulting chart looks like this:

It helps to give the magnitude and trend of conditions versus normal. In this case, a cumulative 143 days lower than normal for the period. Based on 539 days of observations, this equates to about 63% of the days being below average. [a perfectly normal period would show zero cumulative plus or minus]

The monthly look is this:

I'd say that no matter how you look at it, this record indicates a longer pause than some less informed observers recognize.


Friday, July 24, 2009

Now We Know Why China Subsidizes Us


As the U.S. continues its long economic recession and plans further self-flagellation with economy-busting CO2 regulation legislation, China and India blithely continue on their roads to prosperity.

Two years ago, I wrote a post titled "Why China Subsidizes Us" [please re-read] in response to economists who chuckled loudly that China was getting a bad deal while we were enjoying economic prosperity on their backs. The tide has rolled out.

Now the U.S. is moving toward socialism as China and India embrace their particular brands of capitalism/mercantilism. We move toward state handouts; they move toward unit efficiencies and production. We move toward binding regulations; they move toward innovation and expansion.

The Financial Times reports this:

China to deploy foreign reserves
By Jamil Anderlini in Beijing
Published: July 21 2009 19:09 | Last updated: July 21 2009 19:09

Beijing will use its foreign exchange reserves, the largest in the world, to support and accelerate overseas expansion and acquisitions by Chinese companies, Wen Jiabao, the country’s premier, said in comments published on Tuesday.
“We should hasten the implementation of our ‘going out’ strategy and combine the utilisation of foreign exchange reserves with the ‘going out’ of our enterprises,” he told Chinese diplomats late on Monday.
Mr Wen said Beijing also wanted Chinese companies to increase its share of global exports.
The “going out” strategy is a slogan for encouraging investment and acquisitions abroad, particularly by big state-owned industrial groups such as PetroChina, Chinalco, China Telecom and Bank of China.
Qu Hongbin, chief China economist at HSBC, said: “This is the first time we have heard an official articulation of this policy ... to directly support corporations to buy offshore assets.”
China’s outbound non-financial direct investment rose to $40.7bn last year from just $143m in 2002.
Mr Wen did not elaborate on how much of the $2,132bn of reserves would be channelled to Chinese enterprises but Mr Qu said this was part of a strategy to reduce its reliance on the US dollar as a reserve currency.
“This is reserve diversification in a broader sense. Instead of accumulating foreign exchange reserves and short-term financial assets, the government wants the nation to accumulate more long-term corporate real assets.”
State-owned groups, particularly in the oil and natural resources sectors, have stepped up their hunt for overseas companies and assets on sale because of the global crisis.
China Investment Corp, the $200bn sovereign wealth fund, has been buying stakes in overseas resources companies and has taken a 1.1 per cent stake in Diageo, the British distiller.
In an interview published in state-controlled media, the chairman of China Development Bank said Chinese outbound investment would accelerate but should focus on resource-rich developing economies.
“Everyone is saying we should go to the western markets to scoop up [underpriced assets],” said Chen Yuan. “I think we should not go to America’s Wall Street, but should look more to places with natural and energy resources.”
Wealth is but a means to an end. The U.S. might want to ask, "The end of what?"


Thursday, July 23, 2009

Reforming The United States


President Obama chooses words carefully.

For example, the President uses the word "reform" often. The Merriam-Webster online dictionary has these definitions:

Main Entry:
1re·form           Listen to the pronunciation of 1reform
Middle English, from Anglo-French refurmer, from Latin reformare, from re- + formare to form, from forma form
14th century
transitive verb
1 a
: to put or change into an improved form or condition b: to amend or improve by change of form or removal of faults or abuses
: to put an end to (an evil) by enforcing or introducing a better method or course of action
: to induce or cause to abandon evil ways <reform a drunkard>
Most people hear "reform" and think "repair" or "fix" or "correct." Mr. Obama uses the word in its "1 a" sense... to change into an improved form or condition.
The kicker is the idea that the change will be into an improved form or condition.
We can allow Mr. Obama to "re-form" the Constitution, the three branches of government, the Bill of Rights, personal liberty and choice, or any number of "re-forms." We can re-form our free market system into a government managed system. We can re-form our elected system of government into a "czar" system. We can re-form government of the people into governing of the people.

Re-forming based on slight-of-words may not repair, fix, or correct anything.


Real Transparency In Government


What we'd like to see from our transparent government:

July 23, 2009

Mr. Robert Smythe

624 Smythe Road

Smytheville, NY 00911

Dear Mr. Smythe:

Pursuant to Transparency in Government legislation signed into law by President Barack H. Obama, we are obliged to provide you with the following information regarding pending legislation and the impact it will have on your personal estate pursuant to the Paygo legislation also signed into law by President Barack H. Obama.

The following are best estimates of costs for key legislation, being enacted by your government on your behalf, that will be assigned to you and each person in your household claimed on your annual Federal tax return based on your gross household income exceeding $35,000 in 2008. These costs are subject to revision without notice and will be collected as part of your annual taxes due to the Internal Revenue Service.

· Save The Planet From CO2 - $4,373 per person

· Create A Healthier Society - $12,071 per person

· Abolish Disparate Impact - $6,222 per person

Other miscellaneous assessments will be sent to you prior to the April 15 deadline for filing your taxes. Please note that failure to abide by the Paygo requirements can result in fines and other penalties including prison and involuntary servitude.

You may be eligible for government assistance through the Involuntary Wealth Transfer program, also established on your behalf. Please contact your local Assistance Office at 1-800-GET-HELP for details. Expect significant hold times prior to being connected with an automated answering system that will direct you to someone who has empathy and will offer sympathy.

Have a good day.

Your Treasury Department

I like the idea of the "Paygo" legislation.

If you are of voting age, you are responsible... personally... for debts approved by your Congressmen and President. You cannot avoid the debts and the debts cannot be assigned to anyone else... including your minor children and unborn grandchildren when they become adults. When the program runs out of payers, the program ends.

You have the right to elect those who will not create your own personal debts for which you are unable to pay.


Wednesday, July 22, 2009

The Climate Data Shuffle


I wrote to Joe D'Aleo, one of the primary writers at ICECAP, with the following after reading so much about this summer being the hottest in 25 or 50 or 2 million years:


I don't know if you track weather in this fashion [shown on my blog]:


Joe reacted with some frustration:
NCDC says the only state B[elow] N[ormal] this year so far is ND. It is in their 'adjusted' data set, the 25th warmest ever year to date.

... Thanks to Anthony's [Watts - Watts Up With That?] favorite Tom Peterson, they yanked the U[rban] H[eat] I[sland] adjustment in 2007, never had a UHI adjustment in [the] global [dataset].

And for the global, the last year, stopped using satellite data in their ocean data set, which resulted in an instant jump up especially in the S[outhern] H[emisphere]. When the ARGO buoys showed cooling, they had to be 'recalibrated'. In the climate world, models are the truth, when data disagrees, it must be faulty. If it agrees, no problem (even with 90% poor to very poor siting).

The oceans in June for the globe were [claimed to be] the warmest ever (in 130 years), the land and sea 2nd warmest, even though UAH had June [the] 15th coldest, [and] RSS [Remote Sensing Systems, Santa Rosa... the] 14th coldest in 31 years....
My observation to Joe was:
The problem is that the "baseline"... what is average or normal seems flexible as well as the recorded temperatures. They [NCDC] seem to be able to screw with the data, but then argue that the data is sacrosanct, but so-called "anecdotal" information such as my tracking of local temperatures are deemed unreliable.

"And if all others accepted the lie which the Party imposed—if all records told the same tale—then the lie passed into history and became truth. 'Who controls the past' ran the Party slogan, 'controls the future: who controls the present controls the past.'"
- George Orwell, 1984, Book 1, Chapter 3

The issues that remain are: were adjustments made, why were or were not adjustments made, how were the adjustments made, and were the adjustments thoroughly considered or even justified in the manner they were done?

Others are looking into this... very respected and qualified others. I'll keep you posted as I learn more as I'm sure will Joe D'Aleo at ICECAP.

Regardless, Senator Levin [MI], in his email to me, strongly defends the alarming scenes of future climate destruction based on very questionable data and models. [you should read that linked communication]. I'm sure Sen. Levin has been briefed by experts on at least one side of the controversy and believes what he has been told.

After all, millions of others trust experts... not only in areas of science, but wherever those who grab the mantel of an expert ply their trade. If science were a game of how many people believed something and that was sufficient as scientific proof, we'd accept the simplest explanations.
Simply, easy answers are always satisfying and convincing to the uncritical... daresay I unskeptical?

CO2 → Δ° ... not quite the same as E = MC2 .... Both are short, but the latter is not really so simple and easy. Neither is reality!
Always ask: "what's in it for them" and then follow the money. I don't believe money is the object for Sen. Levin; he is a convert. Somehow, he even believes the "accounting" accompanying the proposed legislation. But there are too many politicians who are invested heavily into schemes that will profit grandly from our tax money and economic hardship.

My position and response:
Dear Sen. Levin:

Thank you for your response. There is more than ample evidence that the scenarios in the message prepared for you below are incorrect and based on very faulty science and analysis.

I will be doing what I can to dissuade popular support for this effort. The economic and political consequences of this legislation for the U.S. will be onerous.


Bruce Hall
There is no reason to be duplicitous with the senators. Our Congressmen need to hear clearly the reasons and reasoning behind opposition to what they have been told is popular or obvious.
Perhaps they might listen for no other reason than, if they follow the money, it leads to those with a vested financial or power interest in the passage of the legislation in question... not necessarily to those who seek real, scientific answers. Real answers are more important ultimately... even if those answers are slightly more complex and difficult than ΔCO2 → Δ°. And the correct course of action may well have little or nothing to do with schemes to limit CO2 through massive government programs.

But maybe our Congressmen do not want to know the real answers. That's a more difficult course than the simple, easy answers. And that's a more difficult situation for those of us seeking real answers before starting unnecessary solutions.


Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Thomas Paine On The Role Of Government


Reading and re-reading Thomas Paine's Common Sense gives one an appreciation for both the breadth of his thinking and how he over-estimated the honor in politics.

An oil painting of Thomas Paine by Auguste Millière (1880), after an engraving by William Sharp, after a portrait by George Romney (1792)

On why mankind creates society:

In order to gain a clear and just idea of the design and end of government, let us suppose small number of persons settled in some sequestered part of the earth, unconnected with the rest, they will then represent the first peopling of any country, or of the world. In this state of natural liberty, society will be their first thought. A thousand motives will excite them thereto; the strength of one man is so unequal to his wants, and his mind so unfitted for perpetual solitude, that he is soon obliged to seek assitance and relief of another, who in his turn requires the same. Four or five united, would be able to raise a tolerable dwelling in the midst of a wilderness, but one man might labour out the common period of his life without accomplishing any thing; when he had felled his timber he could not remove, nor erect it after it was remove; hunger in the mean time would urge him from his work, and every different want would call him a different way. Disease, nay even misfortune, would be death, for neither might be mortal yet either would disable him from living, and reduce him to a state in which he might rather be said to perish than die.
Why government is needed:
Thus necessity, like a gravitating power, would soon form our newly arrived emigrants into society, the reciprocal blessings of which, would supercede, and render the obligations of law and government unnecessary while they remained perfectly just to each other; but as nothing but heaven is impregnable to vice, it will unavoidably happen, that in proportion as they surmount the first difficulties of emigration, which bound them together in a common cause, they will begin to relax in their duty and attachment to each other; and this remissness will point out the necessity of establishing some form of government to supply the defect of moral virtue.
So man creates society for survival and government for his own inability to retain virtuous relationships. Yet, Thomas Paine was not naive. He recognized that his idealized view was removed from reality.
I draw my idea of the form of government from a principle in nature, which no art can overturn, viz. that the more simple any thing is, the less liable it is to be disordered; and the easier repaired when disordered; and with this maxim in view, I offer a few remarks on the so much boasted constitution of England. That it was noble for the dark and slavish times in which it was erected is granted. When the world was overrun with tyranny the least removed therefrom was a glorious rescue. But that it is imperfect, subject to convulsions, and incapable of producing what it seems to promise is easily demonstrated.
Paine went on to describe the flawed structure of a government based on the monarchy, the aristocracy, and a representative [republican] form of representation for the common people. He concluded with:
An inquiry into the constitutional errors in the English form of government is at this time highly necessary; for as we are never in a proper condition of doing justice to others, while we continue under the influence of some leading partiality, so neither are we capable of doing it to ourselves while we remain fettered by any obstinate prejudice. An as a man, who is attach to a prostitute, is unfitted to choose or judge of a wife, so any prepossession in favour of a rotten constitution of government will disable us from discerning a good one. [Quotes from Common Sense; Chapter One published by Fall River Press]
Naturally, Thomas Paine was criticizing a hereditary monarchy and hereditary aristocracy. He wanted representatives who would have to return back to those represented every few months to be sure there was no misunderstanding what the representation should be.

He would have been appalled at the notion that a representative could spend a lifetime in a government position being given special privileges and perks and would use government to tax those being represented so that, by returning part of what was taxed to a sufficient number of those being taxed, would guarantee that the position in the government was continued. After all, the purpose of government was to supply the defect of moral virtue. That is, the government's purpose was to ensure that above all else individuals in society dealt fairly and justly with each other... and were true to their responsibilities as citizens of the society.

What would he have thought about the concept that those who prepare well, work diligently, sacrifice much and provide means for themselves and others to prosper should be forced to also provide that which was wanted by those who avoided similar efforts for creating prosperity? What of the responsibility of those being given what others have earned? The virtue of cooperation being corrupted into the mandate for support.

Oh, sure. That was 200 years ago. Things change. Government isn't there to ensure a virtuous society; government is there to ensure that those with enough votes get to order the rest of the society to do their bidding... based on how those in government want to interpret what those orders should be.
How far, then, is it from the rulers in the government simply deciding for everyone what must be the case for everyone... like the old King of England?
But don't worry... unless you are one of those who are being directed by those mandates. Oh, wait, that's everyone... except the Office of the President and the U.S. Congress. God save the King.

I draw my idea of the form of government from a principle in nature, which no art can overturn, viz. that the more simple any thing is, the less liable it is to be disordered; and the easier repaired when disordered.
  • Climate legislation - over 1,000 pages not read prior to voting
  • Health Care legislation - over 1,000 pages not read with pressure to vote on it quickly.
You'd think that your rulers would at least read the rules they are imposing on you before they impose them. God save the King and the House of Lords. Sorry, Thomas, no one is listening anymore.


Monday, July 20, 2009

Michigan Liberal - This Does Explain Much


I don't often get the experience of ad hominem attacks regarding my blogs, so I was surprised when the Michigan Liberal blog decided to pick on a rather innocuous post regarding the improbability of massive climate change in the foreseeable future... and the light-hearted comment from Nick at Right Michigan.

Michigan Liberal, a Political News and Policy Blog Political News and Commentary with the Right Perspective.

Michigan Liberal... Right Michigan...
I should have seen the writing on the wall from the start, but I chose to treat it as an opportunity for open and reasonable dialogue. Ooops.

This is an excellent example of attacking the author instead of refuting the work. I'm called an "idiot" and considered unqualified to have learned and researched and reasoned in a field other than that which originally trained... MS in Industrial Management... despite the fact that I've had considerable experience with computer data models and analysis. I was using computerized statistical analysis as early as 1976 on a Honeywell mainframe. I understand the difference between correlation and causation. One can have no credibility in climate data analysis unless you have a background in climatology.

Data is pretty much data. In fact, one of the best authorities on climate data analysis is a retired employee of a mineral exploration company, Steven McIntyre. The fact that he was able to apply his analytical skills in a new environment has forced some shoddy work by scientists and government agencies to be revised or rejected. Steven's award-winning blog is now recognized as a key source of climate data analysis worldwide.

Data is pretty much data. A century ago, a clerk in Switzerland ventured outside of his career field and the world of atomic energy was born. Data is pretty much data [except that time]. Stepping out of a career path doesn't equate to incompetence. That doesn't equate me with Einstein either; I'm fully aware of that. Moving on....

Albert Einstein as a clerk in Bern, Switzerland, 1905.

Albert Einstein as a clerk in Bern, Switzerland, 1905. Harvard University Press

The data analyses I have worked on beginning early in 2007 challenged the notion that there was a significant increase in extreme high temperatures that would be consistent with the global warming thesis. So, had the criticizers made a little personal effort, they could have ascertained quickly that it was not my data, but U.S. government agency ... NOAA... data that provided the basis in fact.

NOAA, National Environmental Satellite, Data, and Information Service
[While, admittedly, I could have phrased a few comments on the Michigan Liberal post a bit more elegantly, the process of making a quick comment on a post often means shortcuts. I did provide a number of links to further information and experts.]
Still my work stands [click here for details]. It is not earth changing... it is a piece of the puzzle... but no one has come forward to show that it is wrong. Some may not like the results, but that is a political or personal issue.

Graphs 1880s-2000s High Temperature Frequency2
Decadal Occurrences Of Statewide Maximum Temperatures

Because I referred to the primary spokesperson for RealClimate... Dr. Gavin Schmidt... as the author of the blog rather than specifying that others do post there [an irrelevant issue anyway], once again my credibility is attacked. [For those of you who read my blog, I often refer to Dr. Roger Pielke, Sr. as the author of the blog Climate Science, who has also testified before the U.S. Congress about the impact of human activity on climate ... although there are many guest authors.] Still my work stands.

Then because my data is limited to the U.S. temperature record instead of a non-existent comparable world-wide database, once again my credibility is impugned. It is convenient to ignore the fact that most of the continuous, historical temperature data is from the U.S. Still my work stands.

Then because I pointed out that the global warming thesis is built upon starting from a very cold period virtually guaranteeing a rising temperature trend [U.S. data by the way], I was ridiculed for not accepting the fact that that was the record [if, of course, you insist on using that starting period]... rather than any consideration of the point I was making as having validity. Still my work stands.

Had the criticizers bothered to actually read the information available from the sources that I cited, they would have learned about the various attempts to build global temperature histories from disparate and often contradictory series [data splicing... a methodology that leads to some interesting, devious, and, often, absurd conclusions for parts of the globe with sparse or discontinuous data ... most recently in Antarctica with 20th century data]. But it is easier to attack the author than the data analysis. Still my work stands.

When you have a political agenda rather than a scientific one, you attack the opposition personally rather than intellectually. You do not refute what is said... only who says it... "your work has been debunked... you're an idiot... you have no qualifications... you're just googling for your information..." but no refuting the actual work. My comment that... "Actually, there is a difference between the political science of climate and the actual science of climate and weather. Our present administration has effectively used the former." I was criticized for referring to political science... actually the art of politics... but that is exactly what I meant and, ironically, the "science" of left-wing politics being used to personally attack me rather than my work. Still my work stands.

So, do I feel abused by Michigan Liberal commentary? To the contrary, I feel amused... and possibly hopeful that there might be planted the seed of reason in the forest of rhetoric. My work still stands. Do the criticizers at Michigan Liberal have comparable work that stands the critical tests of climate experts? Are they just "googling" for their information? Should we simply write vitriol about them personally?

Climate changes continuously for a variety of reasons... including actions that work in opposite fashion [cooling pollution vs. warming pollution; increasing vs. decreasing moisture from land use; etc.] . The simplistic political agenda behind controlling CO2 has little to do with controlling climate change and everything to do with controlling political change. Note that the term "global warming" has nearly been abandoned in favor of an ominous "change." Cooling is change, too.

Go to Michigan Liberal and read for yourself.
I have to admit that their political science [artistry] may be better than mine given my lack of willingness to make nasty personal comments about writers who incorporate verifiable and verified data.
I'll just chalk this up to political mudslinging from a group of young, inexperienced, and politically enthusiastic people. Maybe I'm wrong, but I'll have to see their data... not just "Gavin said so."


Sunday, July 19, 2009

Rezoning Detroit Not Enough


In May, I wrote about how an old idea of mine had found similar thinking in others:

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Convergence Of Ideas To Fix Detroit

Detroit has shown, through the past 4 decades, that it is incapable of governing itself as an entity over the 138 square miles. The population is too small and scattered to allow for efficient government-provided services. The break-up and rezoning alternative address the need to redistribute population into smaller, more concentrated units. The difference lies in the ability of the present Detroit government to implement successfully the rezoning concept.

Detroit is broken and broke. It grew historically through annexation of perimeter areas. The growth was based on the emerging automotive industry. As that industry has dispersed, the basis for Detroit's wealth has dispersed. The city is now at the brink of collapse along with Chrysler and General Motors.

Rezoning will not address the basic problem. The city needs to be reconstituted by shrinking and allowing the some of the perimeter areas to become annexed by other communities, forming new communities, and placing areas under state management for development into new "greenfields" or park land.
Today's Detroit Free Press, a follow-up to their first story cited in my post above had this headline:
Is right-sizing the right fix?

Strategy aims to shrink city to help solve budget issues
The answer is still "no" ... especially in light of the general disarray of leadership and citizenship in the city.
Tax debts, money woes hound council

Members face trouble, but experts torn on what it means for city
Still, you have to admire some effort to recognize reality ... just not enough. Big, inefficient, corruput government isn't working for Detroit and it isn't working for America.


Saturday, July 18, 2009

Alternative Health Care Plan


Here's a thought about spending trillions on health care: take the money and do an Apollo 11 type effort to find the cures for cancer and heart disease and diabetes and baldness [okay, maybe not that].

Rather than spending money on more patient warehousing and medical rationing, go all out for finding the cures to illnesses that cost individuals and families and businesses and our society billions of dollars annually... and then give those cures to anyone and everyone. The payback will be far more significant than treating a lot of symptoms for extended periods with 20th century technology and alchemy.

Somehow we could place humans on the moon 40 years ago, but we still try to treat cancer with poison. The Obama administration just wants to do a lot more of the same. And if you do a lot more of what you always did, you'll get what you always got... just a lot more of it. The only real difference is that the focus will shift toward spending more on mediocre treatment and less on solving the underlying problems. After all, part of the incentive for private enterprise to find cures is the profit from selling them. If the government is going to take over the health care industry, what's the incentive? Just raise taxes.


Friday, July 17, 2009

Lightweight Champions


It is more and more apparent to more and more people that, in the Federal government, there are more and more lightweight thinkers making a lot of lightweight decisions about a lot of heavy issues.

We have a lightweight President who has a lightweight resume... but he talks glibly and appeals to people who are content doing lightweight thinking about their government.

We have the lightweight, manic-eyed leader of the House... from the State of California that can lay claim to the worst fiscal and political management in the nation, but is the leader in the kind of programs that the lightweight President and the lightweight leader of the House want to take nationally.

We have the lightweight leader of the Senate who can barely string together a coherent thought or sentence from a state best known for gambling and prostitution... so why not gamble with our futures and prostitute the Constitution?

This lightweight administration and its lightweight minions believe that the Constitution expressly provides that any powers not expressly granted to the states are the powers that the Federal government can assume... and force upon the people. Under what provision of the Constitution does the Federal government take over private business and determine who can obtain what health services? Apparently, it is the same provision that deems racism by minorities is different from racism against minorities... and qualifies minorities who publicly declare their racism in statements of ethnic and gender superiority to be suitable for the Supreme Court.

We have a morally lightweight government which believes that intellectually lightweight citizens who make air-headed personal decisions and are burdens on our society deserve more benefits to be paid for by those who prepare well, work hard and long, and make great personal sacrifices becoming productive and successful members of society.

Our lightweight politicians believe that you should be taxed according to your contribution and you should receive to compensate for your incompetence... and all should be managed by the most inefficient, ineffective, costliest processes in the nation... processes that the government admits can only operate through enormous expansion of public debt.

Our government is filled with lightweight champions. Champions of lightweight thinking and planning and execution of programs.

This all was done before in the Soviet Union... with heavyweight costs and consequences. Our lightweights just lack so much substance that they can't grasp that.


Can"t Find It?

Use the SEARCH BLOG feature at the upper left. For example, try "Global Warming".

You can also use the "LABELS" below or at the end of each post to find related posts.

Blog Archive

Cost of Gasoline - Enter Your Zipcode or Click on Map

CO2 Cap and Trade

There is always an easy solution to every human problem—neat, plausible, and wrong.
Henry Louis Mencken (1880–1956)
“The Divine Afflatus,” A Mencken Chrestomathy, chapter 25, p. 443 (1949)
... and one could add "not all human problems really are."
It was beautiful and simple, as truly great swindles are.
- O. Henry
... The Government is on course for an embarrassing showdown with the European Union, business groups and environmental charities after refusing to guarantee that billions of pounds of revenue it stands to earn from carbon-permit trading will be spent on combating climate change.
The Independent (UK)

Tracking Interest Rates

Tracking Interest Rates


SEARCH BLOG: FEDERAL RESERVE for full versions... or use the Blog Archive pulldown menu.

February 3, 2006
Go back to 1999-2000 and see what the Fed did. They are following the same pattern for 2005-06. If it ain't broke, the Fed will fix it... and good!
August 29, 2006 The Federal Reserve always acts on old information... and is the only cause of U.S. recessions.
December 5, 2006 Last spring I wrote about what I saw to be a sharp downturn in the economy in the "rustbelt" states, particularly Michigan.
March 28, 2007
The Federal Reserve sees no need to cut interest rates in the light of adverse recent economic data, Ben Bernanke said on Wednesday.
The Fed chairman said ”to date, the incoming data have supported the view that the current stance of policy is likely to foster sustainable economic growth and a gradual ebbing in core inflation”.

July 21, 2007 My guess is that if there is an interest rate change, a cut is more likely than an increase. The key variables to be watching at this point are real estate prices and the inventory of unsold homes.
August 11, 2007 I suspect that within 6 months the Federal Reserve will be forced to lower interest rates before housing becomes a black hole.
September 11, 2007 It only means that the overall process has flaws guaranteeing it will be slow in responding to changes in the economy... and tend to over-react as a result.
September 18, 2007 I think a 4% rate is really what is needed to turn the economy back on the right course. The rate may not get there, but more cuts will be needed with employment rates down and foreclosure rates up.
October 25, 2007 How long will it be before I will be able to write: "The Federal Reserve lowered its lending rate to 4% in response to the collapse of the U.S. housing market and massive numbers of foreclosures that threaten the banking and mortgage sectors."
"Should the elevated turbulence persist, it would increase the possibility of further tightening in financial conditions for households and businesses," he said.

"Uncertainties about the economic outlook are unusually high right now," he said. "These uncertainties require flexible and pragmatic policymaking -- nimble is the adjective I used a few weeks ago."

December 11, 2007 Somehow the Fed misses the obvious.
[Image from:]
December 13, 2007 [from The Christian Science Monitor]
"The odds of a recession are now above 50 percent," says Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody's "We are right on the edge of a recession in part because of the Fed's reluctance to reduce interest rates more aggressively." [see my comments of September 11]
January 7, 2008 The real problem now is that consumers can't rescue the economy and manufacturing, which is already weakening, will continue to weaken. We've gutted the forces that could avoid a downturn. The question is not whether there will be a recession, but can it be dampened sufficiently so that it is very short.
January 11, 2008 This is death by a thousand cuts.
January 13, 2008 [N.Y. Times]
“The question is not whether we will have a recession, but how deep and prolonged it will be,” said David Rosenberg, the chief North American economist at Merrill Lynch. “Even if the Fed’s moves are going to work, it will not show up until the later part of 2008 or 2009.
January 17, 2008 A few days ago, Anna Schwartz, nonagenarian economist, implicated the Federal Reserve as the cause of the present lending crisis [from the Telegraph - UK]:
The high priestess of US monetarism - a revered figure at the Fed - says the central bank is itself the chief cause of the credit bubble, and now seems stunned as the consequences of its own actions engulf the financial system. "The new group at the Fed is not equal to the problem that faces it," she says, daring to utter a thought that fellow critics mostly utter sotto voce.
January 22, 2008 The cut has become infected and a limb is in danger. Ben Bernanke is panicking and the Fed has its emergency triage team cutting rates... this time by 3/4%. ...

What should the Federal Reserve do now? Step back... and don't be so anxious to raise rates at the first sign of economic improvement.
Individuals and businesses need stability in their financial cost structures so that they can plan effectively and keep their ships afloat. Wildly fluctuating rates... regardless of what the absolute levels are... create problems. Either too much spending or too much fear. It's just not that difficult to comprehend. Why has it been so difficult for the Fed?

About Me

My photo
Michigan, United States
Air Force (SAC) captain 1968-72. Retired after 35 years of business and logistical planning, including running a small business. Two sons with advanced degrees; one with a business and pre-law degree. Beautiful wife who has put up with me for 4 decades. Education: B.A. (Sociology major; minors in philosopy, English literature, and German) M.S. Operations Management (like a mixture of an MBA with logistical planning)