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Friday, December 04, 2009
When Will Andrew Sullivan Comment?

The entire blogosphere is holding its collective breath waiting for Trig Truther #1 to respond to this:

"Would you make the birth certificate an issue if you ran?" she was asked (around 9 minutes into the video above).

"I think the public rightfully is still making it an issue. I don't have a problem with that. I don't know if I would have to bother to make it an issue, because I think that members of the electorate still want answers," she replied.

"Do you think it's a fair question to be looking at?" Humphries persisted.

"I think it's a fair question, just like I think past association and past voting records -- all of that is fair game," Palin said. "The McCain-Palin campaign didn't do a good enough job in that area."

McCain's campaign counsel has said the campaign did look into the birth certificate question and, like every other serious examination, dismissed it.

Palin suggested that the questions were fair play because of "the weird conspiracy theory freaky thing that people talk about that Trig isn't my real son -- 'You need to produce his birth certificate, you need to prove that he's your kid,' which we have done."

Palin has clarified:

Voters have every right to ask candidates for information if they so choose. I’ve pointed out that it was seemingly fair game during the 2008 election for many on the left to badger my doctor and lawyer for proof that Trig is in fact my child. Conspiracy-minded reporters and voters had a right to ask… which they have repeatedly. But at no point – not during the campaign, and not during recent interviews – have I asked the president to produce his birth certificate or suggested that he was not born in the United States.

Unfortunately she stated in the interview that the public was right in "still making it an issue."

The clock is ticking, Andrew.

Update: Our long national wait is over. Andrew has checked in:

My italics. Palin has never produced Trig's birth certificate or a single piece of objective medical evidence that proves he is indeed her biological son. A child with Down Syndrome must have a pile of such records, tests, assessments and ultrasounds that conclusively prove that he is Sarah's biological son. It seems bizarre to me that neither the public nor the campaign (so far as I can glean) has ever been given one of them.
Tuesday, December 01, 2009
Tierney's Take

On Climategate, which approximates mine:

While Harry is puzzling over temperatures — “I have that familiar Twilight Zone sensation” — the scientists are confidently making proclamations to journalists, jetting to conferences and plotting revenge against those who question the dangers of global warming. When a journal publishes a skeptic’s paper, the scientists e-mail one another to ignore it. They focus instead on retaliation against the journal and the editor, a project that is breezily added to the agenda of their next meeting: “Another thing to discuss in Nice!”

What I find most interesting is his explanation of the "hide the decline" bit:

Consider, for instance, the phrase that has been turned into a music video by gleeful climate skeptics: “hide the decline,” used in an e-mail message by Phil Jones, the head of the university’s Climatic Research Unit. He was discussing the preparation of a graph for the cover of a 1999 report from the World Meteorological Organization showing that temperatures in the past several decades were the highest of the past millennium.

Most of the graph was based on analyses of tree rings and other “proxy” records like ice cores and lake sediments. These indirect measurements indicated that temperatures declined in the middle of the millennium and then rose in the first half of the 20th century, which jibes with other records. But the tree-ring analyses don’t reveal a sharp warming in the late 20th century — in fact, they show a decline in temperatures, contradicting what has been directly measured with thermometers.

Because they considered that recent decline to be spurious, Dr. Jones and his colleagues removed it from part of the graph and used direct thermometer readings instead. In a statement last week, Dr. Jones said there was nothing nefarious in what they had done, because the problems with the tree-ring data had been openly identified earlier and were known to experts.

But if the tree-ring data is wrong for the later 20th century, then doesn't that indicate a problem with using it for earlier temperatures?

See also here for a shocker:

It turns out that global (or at least hemispheric) temperatures are reflected by the climate in western Ireland (for a short explanation of that, see my site). Trees grow in western Ireland, of course, and each year those trees grow a ring. Thick rings indicate climate conditions that were good for the trees; thin rings indicate the opposite. If many trees in western Ireland had thick rings in some particular years, then climatic conditions in those years were presumably good. Tree rings have been used in this way to learn about the climate centuries ago.

Queen’s University Belfast has data on tree rings that goes back millennia — and in particular, to the Medieval Warm Period. QUB researchers have not analyzed the data, because they lack the expertise to do so.

They also refuse to release the data. The story is scandalous.

Yeah, I'd agree.
Why I Haven't Parted Ways With the Right

Charles Johnson of Little Green Footballs writes his road to Damascus post.

1. Support for fascists, both in America (see: Pat Buchanan, Robert Stacy McCain, etc.) and in Europe (see: Vlaams Belang, BNP, SIOE, Pat Buchanan, etc.)

Buchanan is a nobody; he hasn't had any credibility among sensible Republicans since the 1990s. Stacy McCain? Seriously? He's even more of a nobody than Buchanan. I don't know the Europeans much, but the BNP? Do many conservative bloggers write about their admiration for the BNP?

2. Support for bigotry, hatred, and white supremacism (see: Pat Buchanan, Ann Coulter, Robert Stacy McCain, Lew Rockwell, etc.)

Wow, just recycling names here. I don't know whether Ann Coulter has ever said anything that qualifies as white supremacism. And Lew Rockwell is not really on the right; he was dating Cindy Sheehan awhile ago, and posting at the Huff and Fluff.

3. Support for throwing women back into the Dark Ages, and general religious fanaticism (see: Operation Rescue, anti-abortion groups, James Dobson, Pat Robertson, Tony Perkins, the entire religious right, etc.)

I am an extremely reluctant pro-choicer, but I accept that I'm in a minority among Republicans. But it's not as if these people suddenly arrived in the Republican Party; they've been there for 30 years or more.

4. Support for anti-science bad craziness (see: creationism, climate change denialism, Sarah Palin, Michele Bachmann, James Inhofe, etc.)

I don't know whether Palin is a creationist or not; a lot of the stuff she's accused of comes from liberal parodies of her.

Anyway, it just goes on and on. Look, there are problems on the Right. Glenn Beck is a fruitcake, and Michele Bachmann is nutty. But it's not as if the Left is free of their own kooks; see Joe Biden (who's not some congresswoman from Minnesota), or Markos (Screw 'Em) Moulitsas Zuniga. But let's talk about what's right with the Republicans:

1. Still the party of (relative) fiscal discipline. It looked like we were losing this title under Bush, but Obama has reminded us of what drunken sailors the Democrats can be.

2. Still the party of limited government. Obama wants to (gradually) take over 1/7th of the economy with his health care plan.

3. Still the party that has a sensible foreign policy that is not based on bowing and scraping to emperors and the like.
Sunday, November 29, 2009
A Horrific Day of Poker

Played by my opponents, but with the flesh coming out of my hide. I'm playing pretty good, won a couple of medium-sized pots, and feel in the groove. We're getting close to last chance to rebuy, and the guy to my right goes all-in for 1600, about 1/8th my stack. Obviously he's looking to get felted so he can get back up to 6000, the rebuy stack. I look down at 7-7 and pretty quickly decide I have to fold, as there are 4 people behind me. Smart, tight play, of course, was not rewarded on this hand, as nobody raises, everybody calls and the flop comes 7,8,7. Crap, flopped quads and out of the hand as the first to act actually starts betting the hand (on his A-8, which as we know was probably the best hand at that time. So I would easily have doubled up, maybe even tripled if I'd been able to show weakness.

Rough hand, but I didn't put any money into it and so I'm still ahead as far as the tournament goes, but I'm definitely feeling snakebit. A few hands later, I pick up pocket 5s under the gun. I limp and there are no raises. A lovely 5 spikes on the flop, but there are two diamonds, so I know I have to withstand the flush draw on the turn. I bet twice the blind, and everybody calls. Terrific! Turn comes a complete blank, a black 4. I push all in.

And Peter calls with two cruddy diamonds and hits the Kd on the river. Terrible call on his part, no way he had anywhere near pot odds, but he's one of those guys who "feels lucky". Still, the table now has two banks and no real tight players, so I rebuy. We're getting close to the break, after which there will be no rebuys, so I look to pick up a big hand and push on it, figuring one of the banks will call on the assumption that I'm just looking to get another rebuy. Sure enough, two hands before the break I pick up KK. Hallelujah. I shove, and loosey goosey Peter calls. And turns over AA. Holy smoke, I cannot believe the horrible luck. But for the only time that day the poker gods smile on me, delivering my set on the flop and no Ace. Doubled up and back in the game.

Later we get to the final table and I pick up QQ two behind the dealer, who's one of the definite banks. So I push, knowing he will call. He does, with 8-4 offsuit. Flop comes with another Q, but I'm looking at the other two cards. 6-5, meaning he's picked up a gutshot. And sure enough I get a bullet in the stomach with the 7 on the turn, and no pairup to make my boat on the river. Absolutely sick. I was 86% to win the hand preflop, and probably not much worse after the flop. Even on the river I had 11 outs.
I'm Sure They Wouldn't Lie to Us

After all, they're scientists.

SCIENTISTS at the University of East Anglia (UEA) have admitted throwing away much of the raw temperature data on which their predictions of global warming are based.

It means that other academics are not able to check basic calculations said to show a long-term rise in temperature over the past 150 years.

Not to worry, they do have the "value-added" (i.e., massaged data. Now, let me point out that this is completely bass-ackwards. You keep the raw data above all else; the massaging can change as you learn more about the process.

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