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."


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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

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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)