Crazies never think they are

July 31, 2009

David Paul Kuhn at Real Clear Politics wonders why the “birthers” or birth-certificate-obsessed garnered a good deal of attention in the last month, which struck Kuhn as rather sudden.

Meanwhile, incidents like this (and I mean the outsized coverage) do seem to justify conservative charges of bias. Is there an unintentional effort, perhaps intentional in some corners of the partisan press, to portray Republicans and conservatives as a bunch of kooks? Well, one should never presume motives.

But I do think the drumming coverage blends a conservative fringe group with conservatives and Republicans. It seems fair to say that, by consequence, much of the media is characterizing conservatives as a bit loony with this exaggerated “birther” storyline.

Both sides have their ideological fringe. Party flanks tend to believe their passions despite the facts. But the mainstream media did not, to the same degree, discuss the conspiracy theorists that believed Bush and Cheney were behind the 9/11 attacks, in order to justify an invasion for oil, in the context of liberals or Democrats.

Two observations:

First, Kuhn appears to have missed that the BCOs stepped up their activities a bit, including giving “indictments” to a dozen or more federal courts across the nation, begging for an indictment of the president, and even got a bill introduced to require candidates to offer more evidence of their birth than anyone ever before .  So BCO activities increased in frequency and seriousness.  I think the tone has gotten nastier, too.  Anyone concerned about nuts with guns should have noticed the uptick in activities, and with luck the FBI and other law enforcement agencies took note, too.

But second, notice that Kuhn thinks that exposing the BCO arguments makes them look crazy.  Exactly the opposite of the BCO claims of conspiracy, Kuhn thinks there is a conspiracy to get the BCOs plastered on the front pages where they can present a picture of lunacy for the world to see, and reject.

According to Kuhn, who is the chief political reporter for Politico, the birthers are so crazy that exposing their arguments makes all Obama opponents look bad. A reporter rather sympathetic to the BCO’s views on Obama, hopes their views on the birth certificate issue are hushed up, so they don’t look so crazy.

Astoundingly, even some of the BCO’s agree that their wackiness on display hurts their cause.  Leo Donofrio, the professional gambler, ranks right near the top of the BCO crazies, and a friendly comment at his blog makes a similar point:

Max Says:
July 27, 2009 at 11:18 pm

The Birth cert issue IMHO is being used by Axelrod Inc. to divert attention from Obama’s falling poll numbers.

Kuhn may be on to something.  The BCOs won’t view it the same way.  With few exceptions, crazies never think they are the crazy ones.  And when they get crazier?  No one likes to know about it, especially their friends.

‘Mainstream Media won’t cover us, they’re part of the conspiracy.  Oh, No!  They’re covering us, and we look crazy!’

(By the way, Donofrio has joined the People’s Republic of China, creationist Islamic wackoes in Turkey, Neil Simpson, Cuba, conspiracy-monger Texas Darlin’ and Douglas Groothuis in banning my comments.  Kim Jong-Il is considering such a ban, too, and I guess Donofrio wanted to avoid the rush.)

File it under “be careful what you wish for.”

(In fairness, I mustt note that I have been guilty of praying Voltaire’s prayer.  My enemies, really few in number,  are entirely a self-selecting cohort.)

Read the rest of this entry »


The article the British Chiropractic Association hopes you will not read

July 31, 2009

Science-based Medicine carried this article yesterday, and several other blogs have joined in.  Below is the article Simon Singh wrote for which he is being sued for libel by the professional association for British chiropractors.  It’s a good cause, so I’ll stretch it another little while.

Science-based Medicine introduced the article with this:

Last year Simon Singh wrote a piece for the Guardian that was critical of the modern practice of chiropractic. The core of his complaint was that chiropractors provide services and make claims that are not adequately backed by evidence – they are not evidence-based practitioners. In response to his criticism the British Chiropractic Association (BCA) sued Simon personally for libel. They refused offers to publish a rebuttal to his criticism, or to provide the evidence Simon said was lacking. After they were further criticized for this, the BCA eventually produced an anemic list of studies purported to support the questionable treatments, but really just demonstrating the truth of Simon’s criticism (as I discuss at length here).

In England suing for libel is an effective strategy for silencing critics. The burden of proof is on the one accused (guilty until proven innnocent) and the costs are ruinous. Simon has persisted, however, at great personal expense.

This is an issue of vital importance to science-based medicine. A very necessary feature of science is public debate and criticism – absolute transparency.This is also not an isolated incident. Some in the alternative medicine community are attempting to assert that criticism is unprofessional, and they have used accusations of both unprofessionalism and libel as a method of silencing criticism of their claims and practices. This has happened to David Colquhoun and Ben Goldacre, and others less prominent but who have communicated to me directly attempts at silencing their criticism.

This behavior is intolerable and is itself unprofessional, an assault on academic freedom and free speech, and anathema to science as science is dependent upon open and vigorous critical debate.

What those who will attempt to silence their critics through this type of bullying must understand is that such attempts will only result in the magnification of the criticism by several orders of magnitude. That is why we are reproducing Simon Singh’s original article (with a couple of minor alterations) on this site and many others. Enjoy.

Here it is:

Beware the spinal trap

Some practitioners claim it is a cure-all but research suggests chiropractic therapy can be lethal

Simon Singh
The Guardian, Original version published Saturday April 19 2008
Edited version published July 29, 2009

You might be surprised to know that the founder of chiropractic therapy, Daniel David Palmer, wrote that “99% of all diseases are caused by displaced vertebrae”. In the 1860s, Palmer began to develop his theory that the spine was involved in almost every illness because the spinal cord connects the brain to the rest of the body. Therefore any misalignment could cause a problem in distant parts of the body.

In fact, Palmer’s first chiropractic intervention supposedly cured a man who had been profoundly deaf for 17 years. His second treatment was equally strange, because he claimed that he treated a patient with heart trouble by correcting a displaced vertebra.

You might think that modern chiropractors restrict themselves to treating back problems, but in fact some still possess quite wacky ideas. The fundamentalists argue that they can cure anything, including helping treat children with colic, sleeping and feeding problems, frequent ear infections, asthma and prolonged crying – even though there is not a jot of evidence.

I can confidently label these assertions as utter nonsense because I have co-authored a book about alternative medicine with the world’s first professor of complementary medicine, Edzard Ernst. He learned chiropractic techniques himself and used them as a doctor. This is when he began to see the need for some critical evaluation. Among other projects, he examined the evidence from 70 trials exploring the benefits of chiropractic therapy in conditions unrelated to the back. He found no evidence to suggest that chiropractors could treat any such conditions.

But what about chiropractic in the context of treating back problems? Manipulating the spine can cure some problems, but results are mixed. To be fair, conventional approaches, such as physiotherapy, also struggle to treat back problems with any consistency. Nevertheless, conventional therapy is still preferable because of the serious dangers associated with chiropractic.

In 2001, a systematic review of five studies revealed that roughly half of all chiropractic patients experience temporary adverse effects, such as pain, numbness, stiffness, dizziness and headaches. These are relatively minor effects, but the frequency is very high, and this has to be weighed against the limited benefit offered by chiropractors.

More worryingly, the hallmark technique of the chiropractor, known as high-velocity, low-amplitude thrust, carries much more significant risks. This involves pushing joints beyond their natural range of motion by applying a short, sharp force. Although this is a safe procedure for most patients, others can suffer dislocations and fractures.

Worse still, manipulation of the neck can damage the vertebral arteries, which supply blood to the brain. So-called vertebral dissection can ultimately cut off the blood supply, which in turn can lead to a stroke and even death. Because there is usually a delay between the vertebral dissection and the blockage of blood to the brain, the link between chiropractic and strokes went unnoticed for many years. Recently, however, it has been possible to identify cases where spinal manipulation has certainly been the cause of vertebral dissection.

Laurie Mathiason was a 20-year-old Canadian waitress who visited a chiropractor 21 times between 1997 and 1998 to relieve her low-back pain. On her penultimate visit she complained of stiffness in her neck. That evening she began dropping plates at the restaurant, so she returned to the chiropractor. As the chiropractor manipulated her neck, Mathiason began to cry, her eyes started to roll, she foamed at the mouth and her body began to convulse. She was rushed to hospital, slipped into a coma and died three days later. At the inquest, the coroner declared: “Laurie died of a ruptured vertebral artery, which occurred in association with a chiropractic manipulation of the neck.”

This case is not unique. In Canada alone there have been several other women who have died after receiving chiropractic therapy, and Edzard Ernst has identified about 700 cases of serious complications among the medical literature. This should be a major concern for health officials, particularly as under-reporting will mean that the actual number of cases is much higher.

If spinal manipulation were a drug with such serious adverse effects and so little demonstrable benefit, then it would almost certainly have been taken off the market.


Simon Singh is a science writer in London and the co-author, with Edzard Ernst, of Trick or Treatment? Alternative Medicine on Trial. This is an edited version of an article published in The Guardian for which Singh is being personally sued for libel by the British Chiropractic Association.

Other venues:

Related material:


Newsmax turns to medical quackery?

July 30, 2009

You are surprised that Newsmax would engage in medical quackery?  They make their money engaged in news quackery, they are principal exponents of political quackery, they practice history quackery, they support science quackery in schools — is this a trend yet?

FDA, FTC, where are you?

To the extent this is not quackery, it’s known, published material your physician has access to and can advise you on.  To the extent this is not known, published material, it’s quackery.  Where the information is good, it should be a violation of journalistic ethics to package this as somehow secret, unknown or suppressed by the medical establishment and news organizations — and available to you alone, if you only pay the fat fee demanded.  Where the information is suppressed, it is suppressed because it is dangerous to patients — the real problem with quackery.

Do not ever think that Newsmax is engaged in news, after this.

Here’s the e-mail text Newsmax sent out today — the only thing missing is their actually calling this stuff “snake oil”:

Dear Newsmax Reader:

David Brownstein, M.D., one of the foremost American practitioners of conventional as well as holistic medicine, has some urgent health information that could dramatically affect your health and well-being. Please take a moment to read his information below.

Newsmax.com

How to Prevent Arthritis, Cancer and Alzheimer’s!

Try this simple remedy for rheumatoid arthritis!

Use this mineral to protect against skin cancer!

See what to do now to prevent multiple sclerosis,
Parkinson’s, and Alzheimer’s!

Plus, why a deficiency in this nutrient puts you at greater risk for heart attack and stroke!

Dear Friend,

Today I’ve got important news for you on preventing heart disease, stroke, skin cancer, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s . . .

I’ve got an update on which vitamins (in addition to calcium) can strengthen your bones and fight osteoporosis . . . Report Cover

I’ve got a simple, inexpensive, and almost entirely overlooked remedy for rheumatoid arthritis . . .

Plus, the risks of diuretic drugs, the importance of detox, and why most people are dehydrated and don’t know it!

Hi, I’m Dr. David Brownstein, editor of Natural Way to Health, the newsletter for folks looking for real solutions, not more drugs with harsh side effects.

In one moment, I’ll show you how to get a FREE copy of my latest report, “A Simple Way to Radically Improve Your Health,” covering all the topics above . . .

Plus, full access to all of my previous reports, including the two most popular ones, “The Biggest Fraud In Medicine: Cholesterol Leads to Heart Disease” and “How To Stop Heart Disease In Its Tracks, Naturally.”

But first, let’s look at how I successfully treated one of my patients for rheumatoid arthritis, and also how to safeguard against multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, and Alzheimer’s disease.

Crippled by Arthritis But Now
Up and Out of the Wheelchair

My patient Susan had suffered from rheumatoid arthritis for 20 years. Her hands were swollen and deformed. Harsh drugs were robbing her of energy. And her painful joints had forced her into a wheelchair.

Susan had tried many conventional treatments, including taking large amounts of the steroid drug Prednisone, but nothing much helped.

“I really did not know what to do,” she told me. “My rheumatologist had nothing good to offer me . . . just one toxic medication after another that I could not tolerate.”

The conventional treatment for rheumatoid arthritis is anti-inflammatory agents such as Naprosyn, Motrin, and Voltaren. But as the disease progresses, conventional doctors prescribe harsh drugs such as methotrexate and Plaquenil.

Unfortunately, these immune-suppressing drugs have bad side effects, including depressed bone marrow function, low white blood cell count, low platelet counts, anemia and loss of energy.

Newer drugs like Enbrel and Remicade are no better . . .

They block a protein the body produces as part of the inflammatory response. But blocking this protein for any length of time increases your risk of life-threatening infections and even cancer.

A Safer and More Effective Course . . .

The first thing I told Susan is I wanted to test her for a bacteria that has been associated with rheumatoid arthritis since 1938 (see your FREE report for details).

Sadly, most physicians, even specialists, never bother to test for this bacteria because conventional medicine focuses myopically on expensive drugs that treat only symptoms (see why just ahead).

When I told Susan that her test came back positive for this bacteria, and that I could prescribe an inexpensive antibiotic to treat it, she was overwhelmed . . .

“I began crying when I found out that I was positive,” she said. “It was the first time that I could connect the dots on why I have rheumatoid arthritis.”

In your FREE copy of “A Simple Way to Radically Improve Your Health,” you’ll get the name of this bacteria (so you can ask your doctor for the test), as well as the name of the antibiotic (and dosage) I prescribed that has proved successful in treating it. Join Now

Next, I also addressed Susan’s diet because she was making her arthritis worse by eating refined foods and sugars.

Most people don’t realize how devastating sugar is to their bodies and how it leads to serious problems such as arthritis, arrythmia, arteriosclerosis, edema, and Type 2 diabetes (see your FREE report for details).

How’s My Patient Doing Today?

Within four weeks, Susan began to feel significantly better. After eight weeks, we began to wean her off the anti-inflammatory and steroid medicines.

And the best news of all: On her last visit, she told me, “Now I feel I can get out of the wheelchair.” That’s exactly what she’s doing and today she’s in therapy to strengthen her leg muscles!

You’ll get Susan’s full case study in your FREE copy of “A Simple Way to Radically Improve Your Health.” And I hope you’ll share it with everyone you know who suffers from rheumatoid arthritis.

But why didn’t Susan’s rheumatologist test her for the bacteria? And why didn’t he discuss nutritional alternatives that would’ve helped her?

What Your Doctor Doesn’t Know Can Hurt You

I’m sorry to report that conventional doctors have no knowledge of — and thus very little interest in — natural therapies. And that’s because “health and nutrition” are NOT taught in medical school.

What is taught there? The two Ds: Disease and Drugs.

Physicians are trained to diagnose illness and disease, and then to prescribe the approved drug (or drugs) that will treat that illness or disease. People are often surprised to learn this but . . .

The emphasis is on disease, not health. And on drugs, not nutrition. Nothing is taught about how to achieve optimal health or prevent disease.

How did we get such a narrow-minded medical system in America? In the early days of medicine here, drug makers formed an alliance (some say an unholy one) with the newly founded American Medical Association.

The drugmakers provided education (on drug use) to AMA-affiliated doctors and also helped this fledgling organization win out over its competitors to become the dominant force in American medicine.

In return, the AMA endorses Big Pharma’s drugs and teaches drug therapy in their schools (generally disparaging other therapies).

Don’t get me wrong: Drugs play an important role in medical treatment, and there are times when they literally save your life . . .

But they are not the best solution for every problem. And drugs that do more harm than good should never be promoted in favor of natural therapies that are both safer and more effective.

And yet that’s exactly what happens every single day because of this unholy alliance between the AMA and Big Pharma.

But you don’t have to be victimized by this narrow-minded approach even one day longer. I believe . . .

You deserve to know how to really prevent heart disease, cancer, fatigue, diabetes, arthritis, weight gain and many more health problems!

You’ll discover several of them today, but before we return to these subjects, let me just say . . .

I’m going to extend a special offer to try my Natural Way to Health for just 14 cents a day. That’s not a misprint — I really mean 14 cents a day!

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Today’s Epidemic of Dehydration

This one will surprise you . . .

Today, the majority of people are going through their lives in a constant state of dehydration. And that’s putting them at greater risk for several serious diseases . . .

Heart disease . . . Stroke . . . Multiple Sclerosis . . . Parkinson’s . . . Alzheimer’s are all linked to a sustained state of dehydration. Let’s find out why.

Your body is 75 percent water. Your brain is 80 percent water. Because of your body’s high water composition, you need sufficient water intake to achieve optimal function at the cellular level.

In my own practice, I’ve found that every patient suffering a chronic illness also was dehydrated. Every single one! Can this be a coincidence? No.

We are all creatures of habits, and we’ve developed some bad ones over the years.

Typically, when I ask new patients how much water they drink a day, they tell me they don’t drink much pure water, but they do drink plenty of coffee, soda pop, juice, and even beer, so they’re sure they’re getting enough.

No, they are not! Coffee, soda pop, juice, and alcoholic beverages are all dehydrating. If you’re drinking them, you need even more water!

Caffeine, especially, is a potent diuretic, forcing the body to expel water. It’ll also over-stimulate your adrenal hormones, exacerbate hormonal irregularities, and weaken your immune system.

Are you also fatigued? See your FREE REPORT to find out why!

Of course the sugar in soda pop, in juices, and in alcoholic beverages causes dehydration. And that holds true for what you may think of as healthy fruit juice.

Check the sugar content on that carton of orange juice in your refrigerator; you’ll see it’s got more sugar in it than the ice cream in your freezer.

Another problem with sugar is that it leads to a number of degenerative diseases, including heart disease, kidney disease, osteoporosis, obesity, diabetes, and even cancer.

Did you know that cancer cells thrive on sugar? See your FREE report.

How about diet sodas? Worse yet. The sweeteners NutraSweet and Splenda have their own bad side effects that can lead to serious health problems (see your FREE REPORT for details).

Okay. How much water should you drink a day?

In your FREE copy of “A Simple Way to Radically Improve Your Health” I’ll give you a simple formula that’ll tell you exactly how much water to drink based on your weight, and also what kind of water to drink.

Yes, you can have other beverages, but get your water first. And here’s why it’s vitally important . . .

Dehydration, Toxic Buildup, and Disease

Remember, your brain is 80 percent water. It needs sufficient water to bring nutrients in, and it needs sufficient water to flush toxins out. Neurological disorders such as . . .

Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and multiple sclerosis are occurring at epidemic to pandemic rates today for a reason . . .

Widespread dehydration is causing a buildup and concentration of toxins in the brain, and this problem worsens over time.

Remember, we are bombarded every day with poisonous lead, mercury, aluminum, cadmium, arsenic, and bromine. These toxins are in our food, air, water, and thousands of consumer products, even in medicines!

Your first line of defense is the work your liver and kidney do to remove these toxins. But they can’t do their jobs without an abundance of water. Water makes detox possible.

And if you’re not getting enough water (most people aren’t), toxins will build up over time and become concentrated in your tissue and organs. That’s how disease gets started.

See your FREE report, “A Simple Way to Radically Improve Your Health” for complete details on the link between dehydration and neurological disorders just go here now.

The Link Between Heart Health and Water

Few people know that dehydration is also an independent risk factor for heart disease, and one that is far more critical than “elevated cholesterol.”

Dehydration promotes thicker blood. And thick, sticky blood is more prone to plaque buildup and eventual clotting that can cause heart attack and stroke.

For more than 30 years, heart disease has been the No. 1 killer in America, and we’ve made very little progress against it. Why? Because we do not treat the underlying causes of heart disease.

The culprit is not “elevated cholesterol.” And if you’re taking cholesterol-lowering drugs, you’re wasting your time. You’d be far better off just drinking more water.

But there’s more you can do . . .

Be sure to read my two most popular reports — “The Biggest Fraud in Medicine: Cholesterol Leads to Heart Disease,” plus “How to Stop Heart Disease In Its Tracks, Naturally” (details on getting FREE copies just ahead).

But look here . . .

In your FREE copy of “A Simple Way to Radically Improve Your Health,” I’m going to show you the startling results of a six-year study in Vienna that compared the amount of water intake to the incidence of heart attack and fatal stroke. After you see these results, you’ll know how much water to drink and why.

Want to know more about these and many more important health issues?

Try Natural Way to Health
For Just 14 Cents a Day

Each month in my advisory letter, Natural Way To Health, I report on the most important issues regarding your family’s health, sorting out what’s really useful to you, even life-saving, and also what’s harmful and sometimes life-threatening.

I don’t take anything away from what’s good about conventional medicine — and much is good. But . . .

Those who practice conventional medicine want to make drugs the solution to every problem, even when those drugs are harmful and ineffective. And again, that’s because of the unholy alliance between Big Pharma and the AMA.

You should know that, in many cases, there are safer, gentler, and more effective natural solutions. And you will know once you start reading Natural Way to Health each month.

Yes, I went to medical school and received the conventional training, but I’ve also spent the last 17 years studying holistic medicine.

Today at my clinic, The Center for Holistic Medicine in West Bloomfield Michigan, I’m integrating the best of conventional medicine with safe and natural therapies that in many cases work even better. Join Now

I’d like to share these good results with you. And that’s why I’m extending this special offer to try Natural Way to Health for just 14 cents a day. It’s a great time to join us because . . .

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A Simple Way to Radically
Improve Your Health

  • Discover the bacteria associated with rheumatoid arthritis and the inexpensive antibiotic that kills it!
  • See which foods are anathema for arthritis sufferers and why!
  • Find out why most people are dehydrated and don’t know it!
  • See why multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s, and Alzheimer’s are on the rise, and the simple way to protect yourself!
  • Find out why a deficiency in this nutrient dramatically increases your risk of heart attack and stroke!

Also in Your FREE Report . . .

  • See a study showing how a Vitamin B-6 deficiency increases your risk for colon cancer!
  • See why high doses of both types of Vitamin K should be included in every osteoporosis treatment plan!
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  • Hidden Dangers of Popular Stomach-Acid Drugs
  • Big Pharma’s Big Lie About Osteoporosis and Aging
  • Simple Nutrients and Foods That Can Save Your Life

As a valued Newsmax customer, I don’t want you to get tainted health news, bad advice, or to be strictly limited to drug-based conventional medicine when safer, gentler, and more effective natural therapies are available!

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  • A deficiency of this one powerful hormone can short-circuit your whole endocrine system . . .
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  • Plus much, much more . . .

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Drought: Heckuva way to run the end to global warming

July 30, 2009

“This is a hell of a way to run a desert.”
Utah Gov. Scott Matheson, during floods in 1983

A new Dust Bowl?

A new Dust Bowl? (Image updated January 2013; old links dead)

No, I’m not repeating the error of many who take every snowflake as bizarre evidence that global warming has ended.

I think we need to stick to the facts.

2009 may be cooler than 1998, one of the hottest years on record, but that in no way suggests an end to the climate crisis scientists have been tracking for the past couple of decades.

Cooler weather in New York does not offset the rest of reality.

Reality is we have crushing droughts in California and Texas.

California drought explained by USA Today:

FIREBAUGH, Calif. — The road to Todd Allen’s farm wends past irrigation canals filled with the water that California‘s hot Central Valley depends on to produce vegetables and fruit for the nation. Yet not a drop will make it to his barren fields.

Three years into a drought that evokes fears of a modern-day dust bowl, Allen and others here say the culprit now isn’t Mother Nature so much as the federal government. Court and regulatory rulings protecting endangered fish have choked the annual flow of water from California’s Sierra mountains down to its people and irrigated fields, compounding a natural dry spell.

“This is a regulatory drought, is what it is,” Allen says. “It just doesn’t seem fair.”

For those like Allen at the end of the water-rights line, the flow has slowed to a trickle: His water district is receiving just 10% of the normal allocation of water from federal Bureau of Reclamation reservoirs. He says he’s been forced to lay off all his workers and watch the crops die on his 300 acres while bills for an irrigation system he put in are due.

“My payments don’t stop when they cut my water off,” Allen says.

Although some farmers with more senior water rights are able to keep going, local officials say 250,000 acres has gone fallow for lack of water in Fresno County, the nation’s most productive agriculture county. Statewide, the unplanted acreage is almost twice that.

Unemployment has soared into Depression-era range; it is 40% in this western Fresno County area where most everyone’s job is dependent on farming. Resident laborers who for years sweated in fields to fill the nation’s food baskets find themselves waiting for food handouts.

“The water’s cut off,” complains Robert Silva, 68, mayor of the farm community of Mendota. “Mendota is known as the cantaloupe capital of the world. Now we’re the food-line capital.”

Three years of dry conditions is being felt across much of the nation’s most populous state.

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger declared a water emergency in February and asked for 20% voluntary cuts in water use. The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Drought Monitor lists 44% of the state as in a “severe” drought.

In arid Southern California, cities and water districts have raised rates to encourage conservation and imposed limits on use

Texas drought, detailed in the Dallas Morning News:

AUSTIN – The drought that has gripped Central Texas is approaching the severity of Texas’ most famous drought, the 1950s dry spell that lasted several years, Lower Colorado River Authority officials say.

But the current drought, which began in the fall of 2007, has seen more intense concentrations of high temperatures and less rainfall than the majority of the earlier drought.

“It was hot, yes, it was dry” in the 1950s, said LCRA meteorologist Bob Rose, “but it wasn’t crazy hot like this year.” Soil moisture is negligible now. And with spotty precipitation, “we haven’t been able to generate any runoff” to replenish reservoirs, he said.

“What makes our current drought unique is not the duration but the severity,” Rose said this week at a drought briefing for meteorologists and reporters.

With state officials warning of wildfire dangers, and water restrictions spreading rapidly across the state, Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) issued disaster declarations for 167 of the states 254 counties.

Texas suffers more than California, across a broader area with deeper drought, according to the Associated Press:

According to drought statistics released by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, 77 of Texas’ 254 counties are in extreme or exceptional drought, the most severe categories. No other state in the continental U.S. has even one area in those categories.

John Nielsen-Gammon, the Texas state climatologist at Texas A&M University, said he expects harsh drought conditions to last at least another month.

In the bone-dry San Antonio-Austin area, the conditions that started in 2007 are being compared to the devastating drought of the 1950s. There have been 36 days of 100 degrees or more this year in an area where the total usually is closer to 12.

Among the most obvious problems are the lack of water in Lake Travis and Lake Buchanan near Austin, two massive reservoirs along the Colorado River that provide drinking water for more than 1 million people and also are popular boating and swimming spots. Streams and tributaries that feed the lakes have “all but dried up,” according to the Lower Colorado River Authority.

San Antonio, which relies on the Edwards Aquifer for its water, is enduring its driest 23-month period since the start of recorded weather data in 1885, according to the National Weather Service. The aquifer’s been hovering just above 640 feet deep, and if it dips below that, the city will issue its harshest watering restrictions yet.

Self-professed climate skeptics will argue that everything is hunky-dory and we can continue blundering along pollutiong willy-nilly because droughts alone are not evidence of warming, and so cannot rebut spot evidence of increased rainfall or local cooling.  Notice how they try to have the argument both ways?  Local weather counts for their side, but can’t count against it.

It’s more complex than that.  Much of the damage from climate change occurs in the upset of a balance in local ecosystems.  The Green Blog at the Boston Globe site discusses the subtle, ecosystem distorting effects and how easy they are to miss in the grand schemes of things.

A lot of the problem has to do with timing. About half of the water that recharges the [Northeast] region’s aquifer is from spring snowmelt, said [USGS hydrologist Thomas] Mack, allowing it to be plentiful to residents for summer lawn watering and other uses.

But global warming is causing the snow to melt earlier by around two to four weeks. At the same time, more rain, instead of snow, is expected to fall in the winter. That means the aquifer is filling up earlier in the spring.

The problem is the region’s bedrock aquifer can’t hold water for a long time – filling it up when it is needed the least and draining before the busy summer.

All environmental problems are complex, and global “warming” is massively more complex than any other environmental issue humans have recognized and dealt with.  Climate change deals with the entire Earth, and with the two great pools of fluids on the Earth, the oceans and the atmosphere, where the sheer physics of change are nearly impossible to understand, let alone predict.

Perhaps, as local conditions in more and more places demonstrate damages from climate change, skeptics can be brought around to understand that action is required even when we don’t have all the possible data points we’d like.

Resources:


Climate change denialism in bloom

July 28, 2009

It was a minor note, really — USGS released a series of satellite photos of ice in the Arctic Ocean.  The photos were taken with U.S. defense satellites (“spy” satellites, most likely) under an interesting agreement between the Department of Defense and science agencies to look at ice, essentially to look at the cold, not come in from it.

Part of that agreement is that the photos don’t get released until Defense says there is no reason to hold them secred anymore.  For some reason — skullduggery?  bureaucracy? — the photos weren’t released during the Bush years.  The Obama administration hustled out a series of photos for scientists to study.

Very few news outlets picked up on the release of the photos.  The Guardian ran the most provocative, prepared-for-public-consumption set of two photos of the sea just off of Barrow, Alaska, which showed a dramatic contrast between 2006 and 2007.  The icy seas of July 2006 were replaced with miles of clear ocean in July 2007.

The Bathtub ran that poster.  And yesterday there was a surge of hits on the article, most going to other posts claiming the photos had been photoshopped.  A commenter here said the same.  Viewers find it odd that there is a stark contrast between land and sea inthe arctic.  Really.  No, really.

So, they said, those photos must be Photoshopped.  At least one radical right blog claimed the Guardian published a fake photo.

Now, I had expected someone to defend Bush, to say that the Bush administration hadn’t really suppressed the photos, just didn’t release them.

But photo fraud?

Denialists resorted to that solution first.

Here are reasons mitigating against fraud.

  1. The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) released the poster with the photos.  USGS has a long, long history of accurate science, outside political interference.   On a few occasions, USGS reports have been delayed by political appointees — but the instances where one can say the data were corrupted on purpose are very few (if any — I can’t think of one off-hand).  USGS would be unlikely as a source of doctored photos.
  2. It is a crime to jigger the scientific results under U.S. law.   A few scientists have been caught, tried and jailed.  The reality is that most scientist strive to be well on the ethical side of the line of research laws — but it’s a federal crime for government or government-funded scientists to fake results.  I’ll wager every scientist at USGS knows that.
  3. USGS released four posters total, and a couple dozen other photos.  For Barrow, there were 18 photos from 2005 and 2006, and another 8 photos from 2007-2008.    While only four sites were chosen for poster, there are six sites with photos available for study.  Were anyone to jigger one photo, others would need to be jiggered to make them match.  Since Defense still has the originals, a fraud would probably be discovered.
  4. Government scientists have been champing at the bit for eight years to get rid of the fetters of bureaucrats interfering with their research; they wouldn’t risk a fraud just six months in to the new administration, nor would they be likely to risk a fraud at any time, since they think that the truth is of very high value.

MacsMind jumped on the photos:  “Almost so bad it’s laughable”. The blog offers no evidence of fraud, just the spiteful belief of the author.  Well, he does offer photos of a January 2006 ice surge, as if to suggest that the ice from January of 2006 should have stayed hugging the coast near Barrow even through 2007, so any photo that shows clear sea must be false.  Denialists will abandon all types of measure, even calendars and clocks, in their mad rush to cloak the science.  MacsMind even goes so far as to invent a story that the photo was taken at night, and since it shows no lights of ships at sea, they must have been cut out (photos of ice cover generally don’t work well at night — where did he get that?).

Critics of climate change and plans to do something to slow climate change reveal themselves here as not basing their views on the science — here they don’t need the science to “know that it’s wrong.”

Sometimes I wonder if we could cure global warming simply by getting the critics to shut up.

Oh, let’s make them crazy.  Here’s the poster showing the contrast in sea ice in the Beaufort Sea; the caption:

This site is near the edge of the ice pack. In summer, as shown here, ponds of meltwater form on the surface. These dark pools absorb more of summertime’s solar radiation than does the surrounding ice, enhancing melting. Observations of sea ice conditions reveal considerable year to year variability. These images, displaying the variability with regard to the amount of melting, are an example of the long term sequential record needed to support understanding and analysis of this dynamic system. Pond coverage monitored over time contributes to estimates of surface reflectivity that are needed to understand and model the dynamics of sea ice mass balance and temperature.

Beaufort Sea, showing ice in 2006 and in 200

Beaufort Sea, showing ice in 2001 and in 2007

More information:

Radar images of sea ice around Barrow, Alaska

Radar images of sea ice around Barrow, Alaska -"The animation below is from the radar record of the last three days. The images used to produce this animation are from the 10 kW X-band marine radar mounted atop the 4-story ASRC building in downtown Barrow, Alaska, pointed north."

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Birther control

July 27, 2009

Our local newspaper, The Dallas Morning News, endorsed Ronald Reagan for president twice, George H. W. Bush, Bob Dole, George W. Bush for governor, twice, and for president twice, and John McCain.  When we moved here, the “liberal” columnist for the paper was a former speechwriter for Richard Nixon.  In short, over the past 30 years, there are few conservative causes the paper hasn’t liked and promoted if not outright endorsed.

For years they ran Doonsebury on the opposite editorial page.  Sadly, they got rid of their full-time editorial cartoonist, who was very conservative — but those editorial cartoonists they do feature rarely come from left of John C. Calhoun.

Overall it’s a pretty good newspaper, but it has a conservative streak that just won’t quit.  Friends of Barack Obama do not live in the Belo Building, so far as I can tell.

Got the idea yet?  The Dallas Morning News does nothing to favor Barack Obama, especially gratuitously.

So my jaw hit the floor this morning when I opened the paper and saw this headline on an editorial — not an op-ed, but an honest-to-publisher editorial:

Birther Control

This conspiratorial nonsense needs to stop

The online headline isn’t as clever, nor as clear, but the content of the editorial is there.

A year after then-candidate Barack Obama released a birth record showing he was born in Hawaii, the president-isn’t-a-natural-born-citizen mythology is gaining a troubling second wind.

Delaware Rep. Mike Castle, a conservative Republican, recently was booed loudly for defending Obama’s citizenship and his right to be president during a town hall meeting. Several conservative politicians are now coyly perpetuating the fake-citizenship myth. And Florida Rep. Bill Posey has gone so far as to sponsor a bill with several Republican co-signers that would require future presidential candidates to provide a copy of their original birth certificate.

Maybe this is the way political disputes play out in the Internet Age, but we think it is disgusting and dangerous. Someone flings a charge, then lets word of mouth, e-mail blasts and talk-show chatter turn an easily debunked allegation into a full-fledged circus of conspiratorial cover-up theories. Americans deserve better and need to demand some responsibility – especially from elected officials who seem most interested in playing to the worst instincts the political fringe has to offer.

Absolutely.  Time to call it a day, birthers.

More information at Millard Fillmore’s Bathtub:

Other notable chunks of information:

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Full Dallas Morning News editorial, below the fold.

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Another Obama conspiracy with Chicago connections

July 26, 2009

The conspiracy is Exposed at Disaffected and it Feels So Good.  Go read it there.

This one should intrigue the Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee, with their fascination about the calling of balls and strikes. People who keep close score probably realized what was happening at the time — it’s real inside baseball — but those who don’t pay such close attention may have missed the importance of the occasion.  Is Obama radically realigning things for his Chicago friends?

Obama’s influence must be much wider and deeper than anyone had ever imagined!

What conspiracy does this photo of a smiling Barack Obama reveal?  Chicago Tribune photo by Nuccio DiNuzzo

What conspiracy does this photo of a smiling Barack Obama reveal? Chicago Tribune photo by Nuccio DiNuzzo


Great Arctic sea ice hoax exposed

July 26, 2009

Look at the photos and see for yourself.  From 2006 to 2007, did sea ice at Barrow, Alaska, increase or decrease?

A comparison of polar sea ice at Barrow, Alaska -- July 2006 on the left, July 2007 on the right - public domain photo from U.S. military satellites.

A comparison of polar sea ice at Barrow, Alaska -- July 2006 on the left, July 2007 on the right - public domain photo from U.S. military satellites. Click for larger view from The Guardian.

These photos appeared in The Guardian – did they appear in any U.S. papers? — with a story that said the photos had been withheld by the Bush administration, and were recently released by the Obama administration.  (Bet these photos never show up on Anthony Watts’s blog.)*

Graphic images that reveal the devastating impact of global warming in the Arctic have been released by the US military. The photographs, taken by spy satellites over the past decade, confirm that in recent years vast areas in high latitudes have lost their ice cover in summer months.

The pictures, kept secret by Washington during the presidency of George W Bush, were declassified by the White House last week. President Barack Obama is currently trying to galvanise Congress and the American public to take action to halt catastrophic climate change caused by rising levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

One particularly striking set of images – selected from the 1,000 photographs released – includes views of the Alaskan port of Barrow. One, taken in July 2006, shows sea ice still nestling close to the shore. A second image shows that by the following July the coastal waters were entirely ice-free.

The photographs demonstrate starkly how global warming is changing the Arctic. More than a million square kilometres of sea ice – a record loss – were missing in the summer of 2007 compared with the previous year.

Spin, from the presidency?  Who knew?

Climate change skeptics (read:  deniers) say that ice has come back in record amounts in 2008.  According to the news article, that isn’t exactly the case.

Nor has this loss shown any sign of recovery. Ice cover for 2008 was almost as bad as for 2007, and this year levels look equally sparse.

Science News noted the declassification, but without the hint of skullduggery on the part of the Bush administration.  The poster above comes from the USGS, which also included three more posters, one of the Beaufort Sea and two of glaciers — all of them showing declines in ice.

Stories that Arctic sea ice is expanding seem to be premature.

So all the claims that global warming has ended, that ice is threatening to extend its range and plunge us back into a cooling period — just hoax? Yep, just hoax.

Tip of the old scrub brush to Watching the World from Nicaraugua.

Update, 7-27-2009: A story going around the internet claims the poster at the top of this post is faked.  The poster comes from the U.S. Geological Survey, so I doubt it’s faked — they have no dog in the fight to fake it.  I think this goes to show that climate change “skeptics” have been sucked in by their own denial virus, and they will not even entertain information to the contrary of their beliefs.

*   Happy update, 8-2-2009: I’m happy to report I erred.  Actually, Anthony Watts reported on the release of the photos on July 15.  He didn’t use the Barrow photos, and he certainly did not claim that they are hoax photos.  He noted that the previously classified data have been released, and he seemed to think that there is no monkeying around with them.   It’ll be interesting to see how he deals with the photos from here on in.

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An incalculable loss to history, and students of history – Werner E. Warmbrunn

July 25, 2009

Americans create great colleges. Our greatest national product is higher education. Within a few decades after Europeans landed in the Americas, colleges were created to spread knowledge to keep the colonies, and then the new nations, on the cutting edge of history and science.  Mostly they’ve worked well.  The world comes to our institutions of higher learning to learn, and to steal ideas about how to make that process work in their own nations.

In the 20th century we saw the founding in California of the Claremont Colleges, one of the most recent and most ambitious efforts to create a community of scholarship for undergraduates and graduates. The Claremont Colleges include Harvey Mudd College, Pomona College, Scripps College, Claremont McKenna College, Pitzer College, Claremont Graduate University, and Keck Graduate Institute.  Pomona College dates from 1887, but the other colleges in the community all arose after 1925 (Claremont Graduate University).   Harvey Mudd was founded in 1955, Pitzer in 1963, and the Keck Institute in 1997.

Werner Warmbrunn came to Pitzer College as one of the small pioneering group of original faculty in 1963, the first year of the school.   On one hand, it’s exciting to be in on the creation of a great institution.  On the other hand, the philosophy of the Claremont Colleges is that faculty, though of first rate intellect, will spend a great deal of their time with students.  Demands of working with undergraduates probably hinders some of the faculty from achieving the great renown they could have achieved at other universities.  Students grow to love that system.  Some faculty yearn for other pastures, and strike out after a while for other academic homes.

Warmbrunn stuck it out at Pitzer.

I found this press release, on his death on July 19, 2009:

Professor Emeritus Werner E. Warmbrunn Dies

Claremont, Calif (July 23, 2009) – Werner Warmbrunn, founding member of the Pitzer College faculty and founding dean of faculty, died peacefully at home on July 19, 2009 at the age of 89.

Professor Warmbrunn was born in Frankfurt, Germany in 1920. He and his family immigrated to the United States in 1941. After receiving his degree from Cornell University, he began his teaching career at Putney School in Vermont. He received his PhD from Stanford University, where he later served in a variety of administrative posts for 12 years. In 1963, he was recruited by Pitzer’s first president, John Atherton.

Professor Warmbrunn helped design the academic programs for the new college in months before and after the arrival of Pitzer’s pioneer class of students. He is perhaps best known for his work in developing Pitzer’s unique community governance structure. He served on many committees, including the Faculty Executive Committee and two presidential search committees. Professor Warmbrunn ensured that Pitzer’s history would be recorded by founding an archive where papers, announcements and documents were preserved.

A passionate and committed teacher, Professor Warmbrunn was a recipient, in 1985, of the Pitzer College Alumni Association’s Academic Excellence Award. He received a Fulbright Senior Research Fellowship to continue his research on Belgium under German occupation during World War II. He became a professor emeritus in 1991.

Warmbrunn’s published works include The Dutch Under German Occupation and The German Occupation of Belgium. In recent years, he was active in the Claremont Democratic Club, serving as a senior author of The Claremont Manifesto.

He is survived by his wife, Loretta; daughters Erika and Susan; his step-children Linda Schone, Wes Fretter, Dianna Davis and Cynthia Fretter; and his grandchildren Andrea, Breanna, Zach, Matt and Lindsey.

A private family memorial will be held. Donations in honor of Professor Warmbrunn can be made to Pitzer College, where a scholarship will be created in his name.

A public memorial will occur at Pitzer College this fall.

About Pitzer College

Pitzer College is a nationally top ranked undergraduate liberal arts institution. A member of The Claremont Colleges, Pitzer offers a distinctive approach to a liberal arts education by linking intellectual inquiry with interdisciplinary studies, cultural immersion, social responsibility and community involvement. For more information, please visit www.pitzer.edu.

Of course that’s not the whole story. You need more information about Prof. Warmbrunn — and you will find it in this touching remembrance at Rational Rant, from sbh in Portland, one of Warmbrunn’s students. Go read that account.

Not a class day goes by that a student does not ask, “Why do we study history?”  Every good history teacher has a patterned response, sometimes including quoting Santayana, sometimes just recounting a great failure that could have been avoided had someone who should have known better, actually known history.  Sometimes the answer involves a great victory or leap forward, made possible by understanding the past.

Reality is more complex.  Sometimes just the study of history itself is the object.  Studying history under a teacher like Warmbrunn will not be recorded in the history books per se, as the study of history.  We can never overestimate the effects of such careful tutelage on the course of history, on the making of history.  History flows like a river.  Studying history is like fording the river — and sometimes a student needs someone skilled at fording the river to get the student across.  Sometimes that river is a Rubicon, or a Vistula, or a Rhine, or Mississippi, or Delaware, or Missouri, or Colorado, and getting a student safely to the mouth or the other side, makes all the difference.

Nota bene:

And see:


India accepts climate junk science; U.S. suffers

July 25, 2009

It would be good news were it not so bad:  India, usually considered a threat to U.S. dominance in science, has turned its back on climate science and instead, citing junk science claims, rejected overtures to reduce pollution that affects climate.  India appears to have fallen victim to the hoaxters who claim climate change is no big deal.

From the Financial Times:

A split between rich and poor nations in the run-up to climate-change talks widened on Thursday.

India rejected key scientific findings on global warming, while the European Union called for more action by developing states on greenhouse gas emissions.

Jairam Ramesh, the Indian environment minister, accused the developed world of needlessly raising alarm over melting Himalayan glaciers.

He dismissed scientists’ predictions that Himalayan glaciers might disappear within 40 years as a result of global warming.

“We have to get out of the preconceived notion, which is based on western media, and invest our scientific research and other capacities to study Himalayan atmosphere,” he said.

As if the atmosphere of the Himalayan range is unaffected by emissions from Europe or Asia.  As if the glaciers in the Himalayas, and the snowfall,  and the water to India’s great rivers, come independent from the rest of the world.

Deadly air pollution obscures the India Gate, New Delhi, India, November 2008 - NowPublic.com

Deadly air pollution obscures the India Gate, New Delhi, India, November 2008 - NowPublic.com

It’s interesting to see these issues play out politically.   India and China both understand that the U.S. and Europe have much more to lose from climate change than either of those nations.  Climate damage to the U.S. wheat belt, for example, would chiefly close off U.S. production of wheat for export, opening markets for others — like India and China.  Critically, such damage also hurts U.S. ability to offset balance of payments issues, providing economic and finance advantages to China’s banks.  U.S. ports are much more vulnerable to climate change damage, from increase storms and changing ocean levels, than are ports in India and China — and there are more ports that are vulnerable in the U.S. and Europe.

India’s inaction and recalcitrance should not be used as justification for the U.S. to do nothing, thereby slitting its own patriotic throat.

But watch:  Climate denialist blogs, “hate-America-first” outlets like World Net Daily, and Osama bin Laden will hail India’s inaction.

Let’s hope cooler heads prevail, lest we run out of cooler heads.

Shake of the old scrub brush to Brown Hell and Watt’s Up With That.

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Birthers: “We choose to wallow in the gutter”

July 25, 2009

It’s a stark contrast to the matter-of-fact, good-for-America views of John Kennedy.

One of the Birth-Certificate-Obsessed (BCO), blogging at I Took the Red Pill, lays out the hoax-induced hysteria in a comment at his blog; I’ll take a few minutes and explain the problems.  Maybe one or more of the BCOs will come to their senses.  [This guy at least allows contrary views on his blog; he's a regular at Texas Darlin', which means his views are certifiably nuts on issues he posts about at Texas Darlin'.  But I digress.]

Heh.  Maybe pigs will fly to the Moon.

I Took the Red Pill (Pill) said:

This issue will not go away.

Only because of defects in the actions of BCOs.  As Woody Allen’s script once noted, nothing wrong here that couldn’t be cured with Prozac and a polo mallet.

This issue is pathological in every regard.

Quite to the contrary, every day more and more people are realizing that the document produced at the Obama Camapaign Headquarters in Chicago is merely a hardcopy of the photoshopped forgery that first appeared on Daily KOS.

Wow.  Where to begin, when the force of denial is so strong in the BCOs?

You can view the document’s images here, and here.  It is a certified document from the State of Hawaii.  It bears the Seal of the State of Hawaii as authentic.  No one has produced any scintilla of evidence to suggest that the document is false. or not exactly what Hawaii swears it is with the attachment of the State Seal.

That’s a powerful attestation from the State of Hawaii — as the law sees it.  If a certified document under seal is not acceptable to the BCOs, one wonders what sort of documentation would be — there isn’t anything more trustworthy under the law.

Check the Federal Rules of Evidence, for example:

Rule 902. Self-authentication

Extrinsic evidence of authenticity as a condition precedent to admissibility is not required with respect to the following:

(1) Domestic public documents under seal. A document bearing a seal purporting to be that of the United States, or of any State, district, Commonwealth, territory, or insular possession thereof, or the Panama Canal Zone, or the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands, or of a political subdivision, department, officer, or agency thereof, and a signature purporting to be an attestation or execution.

. . . (4) Certified copies of public records. A copy of an official record or report or entry therein, or of a document authorized by law to be recorded or filed and actually recorded or filed in a public office, including data compilations in any form, certified as correct by the custodian or other person authorized to make the certification, by certificate complying with paragraph (1), (2), or (3) of this rule or complying with any Act of Congress or rule prescribed by the Supreme Court pursuant to statutory authority.[courtesy of the Legal Information Institute at Cornell University's Library]

Got that?  Under federal evidence rules, that document is self-proving, self-authenticating.  What evidence have the BCOs to contradict it?  Absolutely nothing.

The State of Hawaii has never verified that authenticity of that forgery.

The governor and the head of vital records said it’s NOT a forgery, if that’s what you mean.  In other words, they said the document is accurate in what it says:  Barack Obama, Jr., was born in Honolulu in 1961.

The State of Hawaii has never released any documentation of Obama’s birth.

Well, yeah, they did.  They sent to Barack Obama the certified document you claim is a forgery.

Moreover, in 1961, when Barack Obama was just a few days old and, we might assume, both physically and mentally unable to start a conspiracy to cover up the facts of his birth, the State of Hawaii released to the Hawaiian newspapers the records of births in Hawaii, including Obama’s — and those records were published in the newspaper.  Such documentation, contemporary with the events and extremely unlikely to be falsified, are valid in court.

Oh, and remember those Federal Rules of Evidence?  Look at what they say about such newspaper records:

Rule 902. Self-authentication

Extrinsic evidence of authenticity as a condition precedent to admissibility is not required with respect to the following:

. . . (6) Newspapers and periodicals. Printed materials purporting to be newspapers or periodicals.

So we have two releases of documentation from the State of Hawaii, vouched for by the Republican governor. What gives you the right that every state of the union is denied, to claim this documentation doesn’t exist?  These are legal documents that make legal statements.  You can’t just handwave them away.  Pixie dust can’t cover them up, and the pixie dust of the BCOs isn’t all that powerful anyway.  The courts cannot wave away this sort of evidence, nor can the BCOs.

The mere existence of the newspaper account is legal evidence vouching for Obama’s claim. BCOs must produce extraordinary evidence of fraud or mistake in order to overcome the legal presumption that newspaper account provides.  BCOs have no extraordinary evidence to counter the documents.  BCOs have no evidence at all.

The State of Hawaii has never claimed that Obama was “born in Honolulu”, even though the Associated Press and Fact Check.org lied and claimed that Dr. Fukino had said that.

The State of Hawaii put its seal on such a statement, and it states Obama was born in Honolulu (see “place of birth”).  BCOs’ completely unevidenced and off-the-wall claim that the document was forged is evidence of BCO insanity, not Hawaii’s failure to act.

A newspaper announcement is circumstantial evidence that is not admissible as “proof” of his birth in Hawaii. Can you imagine a new employee trying to use a newspaper clipping as proof of their U.S. citizenship? It’s laughable. If that won’t work to get you a job at McDonalds, it’s certainly not acceptable for the highest office in this country.

It’s a business record, actually.  When you get to your law school class on evidence, you’ll learn that contemporary accounts from unbiased sources which are difficult to fake and easy to corroborate are, indeed, acceptable in a court of law.  In this case, the published account of the vital records entries corroborates exactly the information provided by the State of Hawaii under seal.

And, as I noted above, it’s a self-authenticating piece of evidence under the Federal Rules of Evidence. Pill is simply dead wrong on the acceptability of newspaper accounts.

So we have a document certified as authentic and accurate by the State of Hawaii, so solid that the state backs it with their seal, the most sacred authenticating device in a state’s arsenal of authenticating devices, supported by a valid contemporary business record published in a general circulation newspaper where the record cannot be tampered with and which U.S. courts and agencies accept as valid.

But BCOs dismiss all the official, legal evidence, and BCOs claim, without any evidence or corroboration, without ever having looked at the documents, that the official documents are forgeries.

Liar, pants, fire.

Every Member of Congress swore an Oath of office to “support and defend the Constitution of the United States”. The Constitution explicitly requires that a President be a Natural Born Citizen. It is the responsibility of Congress to honor their oath and verify the eligibility of the man who would be President.

I’ve sworn that oath myself, four times.  I regard it as a sacred trust.  One is never relieved of that oath, by the way.  That oath requires that we follow the law, the Constitutional law, the Constitution.  Barack Obama has presented clear  and convincing evidence of his eligibility by right of birth on U.S. soil.  The evidence is absolutely uncontradicted, plus it is corroborated by all legally-acceptable accounts.

Every member of Congress has a duty to stand up and tell the BCOs to take a chill pill and shut up. The courts have reviewed these bogus claims from BCOs more than a dozen times.  Not once has any BCO offered any evidence to contradict the legal records.  Not once.

Be careful what you wish for, Pill.  If Congress takes their oath seriously, BCOs are in for a lot of woe.

Every member of Congress failed to uphold their oath of office. They “outsourced” their Constitutional responsibility to an unaccountable, unelected, untrustworthy third party who demonstrably lied.

I’m convinced Pill wouldn’t know a lie if it bit him on the nose.  Here he’s peddling such a lie, instead of standing up for the truth.

Go to the link Pill provides, and you’ll see he claims that the certified, under seal document from the State of Hawaii should be disregarded because all it does is state what the official record is — he wants a hand-written document, as if hand-written provides some legal magic that the State Seal of the Great State of Hawaii cannot.

Look, if he won’t take the word of a self-proving document issued under seal, he’s not going to believe any document at any time.

Hawaii didn’t claim they put the State Seal on the original autograph copy; the State of Hawaii looked at the autograph and swore that the information they provided, all that is required, is accurate, is the same information that is on the original autograph.

For all legal purposes possible for Obama, the document whose image he released is THE document.  The document itself, under seal, swears that the information it presents is accurate:  Obama was born in Honolulu.  That’s it.  The end.

Two things are required to put this to rest:

1) A Supreme Court ruling on the definition of “Natural Born Citizen”. Can someone who was born with citizenship of another country (as Obama admits that he was) be considered a “Natural Born Citizen” of the United States?

The Supreme Court has spoken on this issue.  A baby born on U.S. soil is a citizen with full rights of citizens, period.  A baby born on U.S. soil is a natural-born citizen of the U.S.  Plus, a baby born to a U.S. citizen (as was Obama’s mother), is a natural-born citizen regardless of place of birth.  Obama qualifies on two separate counts.  There is not an iota of evidence from the BCOs nor any other source to contradict either of those valid claims on eligibility.

But here we see the weasel ways of the BCOs:  ” . . . born with citizenship of another country (as Obama admits he was) . . .”

Obama didn’t say he was a citizen of another country.  He said his father was a citizen of the British Commonwealth, and under British law, he could have claimed dual-citizenship.  Under U.S. law, dual citizenship would not invalidate U.S. citizenship.

In order for this to have been a problem for Obama’s eligibility, Obama would have had to have claimed exclusive British citizenship at some point — which he never did.

So this is not a new question.  There is no new issue here that the courts and the Supreme Court have not looked at in the past.  There is no legal argument, no case in controversy on the issue of Obama’s citizenship.

There is nothing for any court to decide.  And that’s why the challenges to Obama’s eligibility have all failed.

2) If the Supreme Court finds that persons born with foreign citizenship can still be considered a “Natural Born Citizen” of the United States, then Congress needs to inspect an officially certified birth certificate for Barack Obama, delivered under seal from the State of Hawaii, just as they did with their inspection of the Certificate from the Hawaiian Secretary of State for the certification of the Electoral College vote.

That document, “delivered under seal form the State of Hawaii,” has been provided.  BCOs claim, without any documentation, it’s a forgery.  BCOs need to get their eyes examined.

And, if they are found to be not blind, they need to get their heads examined.

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Fun in merchandising

July 25, 2009

HEMA is a department store in the Netherlands.  Like all other businesses, it now has on-line shopping.

Inside a HEMA store in the Netherlands - Wikimedia image

Inside a HEMA store in the Netherlands - Wikimedia image

But it’s online with a diffference.  Load this page, and then wait a few seconds . . .

(Can you tell whether this is a real HEMA page, or just a good parody?  Anyone?)

(And, what kind of software does one need to do that kind of animation?  Is there any classroom use for this?)


Quote of the moment: John F. Kennedy, “We choose to go to the Moon”

July 24, 2009

John F. Kennedy at Rice University, Houston, Texas, Sept 12, 1962 - photo from NASA

John F. Kennedy at Rice University, Houston, Texas, Sept 12, 1962 – photo from NASA

There is no strife, no prejudice, no national conflict in outer space as yet. Its hazards are hostile to us all. Its conquest deserves the best of all mankind, and its opportunity for peaceful cooperation many never come again. But why, some say, the moon? Why choose this as our goal? And they may well ask why climb the highest mountain? Why, 35 years ago, fly the Atlantic? Why does Rice play Texas?

We choose to go to the moon. We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard, because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one which we intend to win, and the others, too.

President John F. Kennedy, September 12, 1962, at Rice University, Houston, Texas

Why this speech in Houston?  There’s more here than just a speech in a football stadium.  Kennedy was working to save the space initiative, and to make America more secure.

In this quest, Kennedy lays out the reasons we need strong science research programs funded by our federal government, and strong science educational achievement in all of our schools.

From the White House History Association:

Race to the Moon

President John F. Kennedy (1961-1963) awoke on April 12, 1961, to the news that the Soviet Union had won the race to put a man into space. Kennedy immediately met with Vice President Lyndon Johnson in the White House to discuss the embarrassment of the Soviets beating America again. “Can we put a man on the moon before them?” Kennedy asked. A few weeks later, Kennedy challenged the nation to “commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to earth.”

Kennedy challenged Congress and the imaginations of all Americans a few weeks later, when on May 25, in a special Joint Session of Congress, he proposed a Moon exploration program.  In a speech outlining defense and foreign policy needs to make the U.S. secure and safe against threats from Soviet communism, or any other nation or faction, Kennedy spoke openly about the space race that had been waged since October 4, 1957, when the Soviet Union became the first nation on Earth to orbit an artificial satellite, Sputnik.

Kennedy told Congress in that part of the speech:

Finally, if we are to win the battle that is now going on around the world between freedom and tyranny, the dramatic achievements in space which occurred in recent weeks should have made clear to us all, as did the Sputnik in 1957, the impact of this adventure on the minds of men everywhere, who are attempting to make a determination of which road they should take. Since early in my term, our efforts in space have been under review. With the advice of the Vice President, who is Chairman of the National Space Council, we have examined where we are strong and where we are not, where we may succeed and where we may not. Now it is time to take longer strides–time for a great new American enterprise–time for this nation to take a clearly leading role in space achievement, which in many ways may hold the key to our future on earth.

I believe we possess all the resources and talents necessary. But the facts of the matter are that we have never made the national decisions or marshalled the national resources required for such leadership. We have never specified long-range goals on an urgent time schedule, or managed our resources and our time so as to insure their fulfillment.

Recognizing the head start obtained by the Soviets with their large rocket engines, which gives them many months of leadtime, and recognizing the likelihood that they will exploit this lead for some time to come in still more impressive successes, we nevertheless are required to make new efforts on our own. For while we cannot guarantee that we shall one day be first, we can guarantee that any failure to make this effort will make us last. We take an additional risk by making it in full view of the world, but as shown by the feat of astronaut Shepard, this very risk enhances our stature when we are successful. But this is not merely a race. Space is open to us now; and our eagerness to share its meaning is not governed by the efforts of others. We go into space because whatever mankind must undertake, free men must fully share.

I therefore ask the Congress, above and beyond the increases I have earlier requested for space activities, to provide the funds which are needed to meet the following national goals:

First, I believe that this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to the earth. No single space project in this period will be more impressive to mankind, or more important for the long-range exploration of space; and none will be so difficult or expensive to accomplish. We propose to accelerate the development of the appropriate lunar space craft. We propose to develop alternate liquid and solid fuel boosters, much larger than any now being developed, until certain which is superior. We propose additional funds for other engine development and for unmanned explorations–explorations which are particularly important for one purpose which this nation will never overlook: the survival of the man who first makes this daring flight. But in a very real sense, it will not be one man going to the moon–if we make this judgment affirmatively, it will be an entire nation. For all of us must work to put him there.

(Here’s a link to an audio excerpt of that speech, from the Kennedy Library.)

The race was on.  The Soviet Union’s massive rocket engines gave them a decided advantage.  Kennedy’s challenge captured the imagination of Americans and America.  Necessary money flowed from Congress, but not in a completely free flow.  Some opposed the nation’s efforts in space exploration because they thought spending on space exploration detracted from the nation’s defense efforts.  Kennedy continued to stress the connection between space exploration and defense.  He was backed by successes — Navy Commander Alan Shepard, Jr., had successfully launched into space and returned safely; and on February 20, 1962, pilot Marine Capt. John Glenn orbited the Earth three times, catching the U.S. up almost to where the Soviet Union was in manned space exploration.

Kennedy understood that constant attention, constant selling of the space program would be necessary.  So in September 1962 he found himself in Houston, the newly-designated home of the manned space program, and he took the opportunity to cast the American goals in the space race as peaceful, good for all mankind, and definitely worth the massive costs.

Notice in how he casts putting a human on the Moon in league with other great achievements of civilization.  Kennedy was truly shooting for the stars.

Notice also how he relates space exploration to practical applications then in existence, such as communication, navigation of ships at sea, and weather forecasting.  This was years before geosynchronus satellites were used for everyday telephone conversations, years before quantum theory was harnessed for Global Positioning Systems (GPS) and digital personal, handheld telephones, and before the newly-invented printed circuits were miniaturized to make computer calculating a possibility in space — the Moon landing was done with slide rules and hand calculations.

Just over 14 months later Kennedy would die in Texas, in Dallas, on November 22, 1963.  On July 20, 1969, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin landed the Eagle Lunar Module on the Moon, at the Sea of Tranquility.  A few hours later, on July 21, they stepped out on the Moon.  From Kennedy’s speech to Congress, the task had taken 8 years, one month and 26 days.

More resources:

Tip of the old scrub brush for inspiration to “Anything You Ever Wanted to Know” at KERA-FM 90.1 in Dallas, on July 24, 2009.

Buzz Aldrin on the Moon, with Neil Armstrong, the U.S. flag, and the Eagle Lunar Module reflected in his helmet visor, July 21, 1969 - NASA photo via Wikimedia

Buzz Aldrin on the Moon, with Neil Armstrong, the U.S. flag, and the Eagle Lunar Module reflected in his helmet visor, July 21, 1969 – NASA photo via Wikimedia

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Gray hair, Sonic Youth, Fender guitars

July 24, 2009

Am I the only one who sees a whiff of hopeful irony in a guitarist from Sonic Youth being gray?

From Fender:  Thurston Moore + Lee Ranaldo. Jazzmaster guitars slung across seminal shoulders. In the hands of both men, the sound of Sonic Youth is the sound of that guitar used as part paintbrush and part cluster bomb. Introducing the new Thurston Moore Jazzmaster and the Lee Ranaldo Jazzmaster guitars from Fender, releasing July 1st.

From Fender: "Thurston Moore + Lee Ranaldo. Jazzmaster guitars slung across seminal shoulders. In the hands of both men, the sound of Sonic Youth is the sound of that guitar used as part paintbrush and part cluster bomb. Introducing the new Thurston Moore Jazzmaster and the Lee Ranaldo Jazzmaster guitars from Fender, releasing July 1st." Photo from the Fender site.

That’s Lee Ranaldo on the right, with the teal guitar and gray hair.

Leon Anderson played a then-vintage Fender blond-neck Stratocaster in our bands back in Utah County, and it was a beautiful machine (and he an underappreciated guitarist).  I never could afford a Fender-brand bass.  I played two Vox devices, one of which I still own — but they played through an almost-original Fender Bassman amplifier, whose demise I still mourn.

Fender blonde-neck Stratocaster, a lot like the one Leon Anderson played - Guitar Village photo

Fender blonde-neck Stratocaster, a lot like the one Leon Anderson played, except Leon's wasn't nearly so beat up - Guitar Village photo

Watching the Fender company bend, dodge and run with the trends over the years has been a lot of fun.  One of my ex-brothers-in-law did the accounting and corporate legal work for Leo Fender way back when; as an indication of how stuffy the brother-in-law was, consider that he didn’t have any Fender guitars — or any guitars — when I knew him.  How could one work with a master like Leo Fender and not get hooked on the guitars?

Ultimately the guitars are the legacy and history of the company.  As with Stradivarius instruments, the music made on the guitars and the instruments themselves outshine the makers and any corporate entity required to get the instruments manufactured.  Corporate owners of the Fender name and legacy don’t drive that car, but only hold on for the ride and try to keep the moving parts lubricated and clean.

Any Sonic Youth fans out there?

Tip of the old scrub brush to Ufghanistan.


NBC on the Obama birth certificate issue

July 23, 2009

Embedding the video from NBC escapes me — but go here to see NBC’s four-minute report on the Obama birth certificate crazies.

Here’s the full video of the BCOs going crazy at a Congressman’s town meeting.

It’s really a form of mass hysteria, isn’t it?

For months the birthers, or Birth Certificate Obsessed (BCOs), have pleaded for mainstream media to take a look at this issue.  NBC did just that.

Is it any surprise that this morning the crazies say “NBC lied?”

BCOs fell hard to the hoax about Obama not being eligible, and now they deny all evidence that they fell for a hoax.

BCOs/birthers?  Can we have our country back, now that you’re done?

Other notes:

Be sure to see earlier material here at Millard Fillmore’s Bathtub:

Here’s a large dose of facts, including David Maraniss’s article in the Washington Post about Obama’s early life.  Note that it describes details that would be impossible to fake, were the story not accurate:

Please share good information:

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