Monday, November 30, 2009

Science pushes their own agenda

Remember when the world was supposed to end because of global warming? Al Gore said so and we should probably believe him. Heck, they even made a terrible movie about how global warming will lead to... New York being hit by a mega hurricane.

Now it's coming out that scientists were actually deleting emails and suppressing data to show that global tempratures actually dropped. GASP! The fallout from this? No doubt some right-winger radio host will tell us now to go release a bunch of hairspray into the atmosphere.

Dubbed “climate-gate” by global warming sceptics, the most outrageous East Anglia email excerpts appear to suggest respected scientists misleadingly manipulated data and suppressed legitimate argument in peer-reviewed journals.

These claims are forcefully denied, but the correspondents do little to enhance confidence in either the integrity or the professionalism of the university’s climatologists. What is more, there are no denials around the researchers’ repeated efforts to avoid meaningful compliance with several requests under the UK Freedom of Information Act to gain access to their working methods. Indeed, researchers were asked to delete and destroy emails. Secrecy, not privacy, is at the rotten heart of this bad behavior by ostensibly good scientists.

Why should research funding institutions and taxpayers fund scientists who deliberately delay, obfuscate and deny open access to their research? Why should scientific journals publish peer-reviewed research where the submitting scientists have not made every reasonable effort to make their work – from raw data to sophisticated computer simulations – as transparent and accessible as possible? Why should responsible policymakers in America, Europe, Asia and Latin America make decisions affecting people’s health, wealth and future based on opaque and inaccessible science?

They should not. The issue here is not about good or bad science, it is about insisting that scientists and their work be open and transparent enough so that research can be effectively reviewed by broader communities of interest. Open science minimises the likelihood and consequences of bad science.

This hurts the trust that public has with science. Instead of reporting the truth as science is intended to do, the scientists used their position to push a certain view. Sounds familiar? Yeah it's called religion.

The problem with doing this on global warming is that this could set back the scientific community's reputation in the matter for years. Joe Bob on his couch and Sweeney Crook in the Senate aren't going to listen to your pleads for change now, regardless if actually climate change is causing a river to form in their living room. You guys just had to go and screw things up. Couldn't you have just shown everybody the large chunks of ice that are melting off glaciers that have been around for thousands of years? Just a thought.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Michelle Obama offensive image pops up on Google

Apparently a offensive photo of Michelle Obama found it's way onto the Google search results, causing quite a stir. At first, Google was not going to remove the photos because of a commitment to free speech but eventually caved.

The BBC reports that the picture first surfaced earlier this month, but was removed because the site hosting allegedly violated Google guidelines by spreading so-called malware. But it has now surfaced on another site, so Google has left it alone.

David Vise, a Pulitzer prize-winning journalist and author of The Google Story, tells the BBC that it would be a "very slippery slope" to try to police free speech.

"Once you begin to block images, who is to say," he tells the BBC. "It's like the Supreme Court of the United States once said, 'what is pornography?' Well we can't define it, but we know it when we see it."

That does bring up an interesting conversation about censoring, but when it's the first lady of a country, you might want to make sure you don't have any smut on your main page. Just saying.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Obama doesn't have very many friends

At this point, I think soap scum is more popular than Barack Obama. Oh to be a President during the worst recession since the Great Depression. Wonderful.

President Obama's approval ratings hit their lowest ranking yet in the Rasmussen Reports daily tracking poll out Tuesday, with 27 percent strongly approving of the president's job performance and 42 percent strongly disapproving, an index rating of -15.

The president's total approval is 45 percent in the latest poll, which matches his lowest approval rating overall, compared to 54 percent disapproval.

Approval is strongly divided by party with 52 percent of Democrats strongly approving and 68 percent of Republicans strongly disapproving. However, Obama appears to be losing the critical independent vote with 16 percent of unaffiliated voters strongly approving and 33 percent of independent voters approving overall. Fifty-one percent of independents strongly disapprove.

Among the concerns for Americans are the war in Afghanistan, financial management and health care reform. Forty-five percent want the U.S. out of Afghanistan in a year, while 43 percent don't want a timetable.

Fifty-three percent of likely voters polled said they are worried the federal government is overmanaging the economy.

What I think are some hampering factors in Obama's administration includes the indecision during two unpopular wars, although the media has failed to report how things have seemingly improved in Iraq. Obama needs to take a stance on either leaving Afghanistan or digging in, not just standing pat. However, once he makes a decision on that, what does the United States do about Iraq? See the quagmire we're facing at the moment?

As far as the economy goes, that's somewhat out of Obama's control as most of the damage was not done on his clock. I don't know why so many Americans are quick to point a finger at him since (1) the president doesn't have a sweeping impact on the economy, he can pass legislation and use stimulus packages but in the end the market has to fix itself and (2) that stimulus package is actually popping up in everyone's life, I can't tell you how many times I've come across something that was funded by stimulus money. Certainly better than sending everyone a $300 check in the mail right?

My main gripe is the healthcare reform, as it hasn't been handled well and the Dems have seemingly taken the approach that "we need to do this, this is the best thing, the American people don't know what they're talking about, lets push this through." This sort of bull-rush that Obama and the Dems have been doing don't look good at all in the public eye.

Overall though, every president's approval ratings drop, so this is just business as usual.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

The AP looks pretty Anti-Sarah Palin in this story

Why the heck would you assign 11 of your reporters to fact check Sarah Palin's autobiography when there's oh say... the biggest piece of healthcare legislation floating through Congress? Any idea?

The AP claims Palin misstated her record with regard to travel expenses and taxpayer-funded bailouts, using statements widely reported elsewhere. But it also speculated into Palin's motives for writing "Going Rogue: An American Life," stating as fact that the book "has all the characteristics of a pre-campaign manifesto."

Palin quickly hit back on a Facebook post titled "Really? Still Making Things Up?"

"Imagine that," the post read. "11 AP reporters dedicating time and resources to tearing up the book, instead of using the time and resources to 'fact check' what's going on with Sheik Mohammed's trial, Pelosi's health care takeover costs, Hasan's associations, etc. Amazing."

AP spokesman Paul Colford said the organization, with more than 4,000 employees, and 49 Pulitzer Prizes earned for asking the hard questions, has the luxury of putting multiple reporters on major stories. He confirmed 11 people worked on the story, but not all full-time. He refused to say, however, if similar number of journalists were assigned to review other political books, or if Palin has been treated differently.

Yes, what about Obama's autobiography? Did they fact check that? In an industry that is suppose to be unbiased, that sort of "research" looks fishy and they should understand that. Conservative talk radio is going to have a field day with this one.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Rocky road for employment

I know that technically we're bouncing back from the Great Recession, but New York Daily News Writer Nouriel Roubini thinks the worst is still to come for the American worker. The job market is always the last to improve when coming out of a recession and there's a good chance a lot of these jobs that were lost may never come back.

The last recession ended in November 2001, but job losses continued for more than a year and half until June of 2003; ditto for the 1990-91 recession.

So we can expect that job losses will continue until the end of 2010 at the earliest. In other words, if you are unemployed and looking for work and just waiting for the economy to turn the corner, you had better hunker down. All the economic numbers suggest this will take a while. The jobs just are not coming back.

There's really just one hope for our leaders to turn things around: a bold prescription that increases the fiscal stimulus with another round of labor-intensive, shovel-ready infrastructure projects, helps fiscally strapped state and local governments and provides a temporary tax credit to the private sector to hire more workers. Helping the unemployed just by extending unemployment benefits is necessary not sufficient; it leads to persistent unemployment rather than job creation.

The long-term picture for workers and families is even worse than current job loss numbers alone would suggest. Now as a way of sharing the pain, many firms are telling their workers to cut hours, take furloughs and accept lower wages. Specifically, that fall in hours worked is equivalent to another 3 million full time jobs lost on top of the 7.5 million jobs formally lost.

This is very bad news but we must face facts. Many of the lost jobs are gone forever, including construction jobs, finance jobs and manufacturing jobs. Recent studies suggest that a quarter of U.S. jobs are fully out-sourceable over time to other countries.

Well that's just swell news. The main thing is that there seems to be change from "be whatever you want" in this country to "get whatever the heck you can and survive." Not exactly the American dream that everyone has grown to love.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Stimulus creating jobs in districts that don't exist

I'm sure this is an honest mistake, but damn, this is embarassing.

Here's a stimulus success story: In Arizona's 15th congressional district, 30 jobs have been saved or created with just $761,420 in federal stimulus spending. At least that's what the Web site set up by the Obama administration to track the $787 billion stimulus says.

There's one problem, though: There is no 15th congressional district in Arizona; the state has only eight districts.

And ABC News has found many more entries for projects like this in places that are incorrectly identified.

Late Monday, officials with the Recovery Board created to track the stimulus spending, said the mistakes in crediting nonexistent congressional districts were caused by human error.

Just a lesson to all you out there that believe the government is the answer to everything. The government screws up just as much as big business, so giving them complete control of certain sectors in life doesn't mean things will be flowers and babies.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Obama bows and freaks out America

Apparently by bowing to the Japanese emperor, Obama is apparently signifying some sort of disrespect towards capitalism and the free world. Nevermind being emperor is more symbolic than anything and Obama is following a Japanese custom. Apparently in order to be a true American he should have came in spouting John Wayne lines and offending Japanese people left and right. Either way, the media has blown this waaaay out of proportion.

This photo will get Democrat President Obama a lot of approving nods in Japan this weekend, especially among the older generation of Japanese who still pay attention to the royal family living in iRepublican vice president Dick Cheney is received by Emperor Akihito in 2007ts downtown castle. Very low bows like this are a sign of great respect and deference to a superior.

To some in the United States, however, an upright handshake might have looked better. (See Cheney-Akihito photo, right).

Remember Michelle Obama casually patting Britain's Queen Elizabeth on the back during their Buckingham Palace visit? America's royalty tends to make movies and get bad reviews and lots of money as a sign of respect.

Obama could receive some frowns back home as he did for his not-quite-this-low-or-maybe-about-the-same-bow to the Saudi king not so long ago. (See photo here)

How times change under Democratic presidents.

Back in 1994 when President Bill Clinton appeared to maybe perhaps almost start to bow to Akihito at a White House encounter, U.S. officials rushed to deny it was any such a thing.

God forbid we're liked in other countries, that would just be preposterous!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Weak dollar wont help the economy right now

The weak US dollar isn't helping the economy anytime soon, while it is allowing our exports to increase, the amount of imports in this country is growing faster. So it's going to take a couple years.

WASHINGTON – A weaker dollar may boost the nation's economy by increasing exports and narrowing the trade gap — but that won't happen anytime soon.

Instead, the nation's trade deficit rose in September by the largest percentage in a decade as U.S. exports grew for the fifth straight month, but imports rose faster, a government report showed Friday. That trend is likely to continue until the middle of next year, economists said.

Rising oil prices and higher purchases of foreign goods by U.S. companies drove imports higher. So did more purchases of foreign parts by U.S. manufacturers, which are ramping up production in the fledgling economic recovery.

Higher exports, spurred by a lower dollar, probably won't reduce the trade gap and boost the U.S. economy until 2011, economists said.

Meanwhile the job market is still in shambles. It will be interesting to see how the US economy starts to recover if it is actually recovering.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

US can't win in Afghanistan, says Gorbachev

And he would certainly know a thing or two about that since the Soviet Union invaded and was in a murky war in Afghanistan for much of the 1980s... something that has been long considered that country's version of Vietnam. His diagnosis was basically that Afghanistan is too scattered and too much of a clan culture to be controlled militarily.

Nov. 10 (Bloomberg) -- Former Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev, drawing on his experience of military failure in Afghanistan in the 1980s, said the U.S. can’t win the conflict there and should begin pulling out its soldiers.

Afghanistan, where U.S. and NATO forces are battling a Taliban-led insurgency, is too fragmented between clans to be controlled militarily, Gorbachev, 78, said in an interview today in Berlin. While he said President Barack Obama would be unlikely to take his advice, Gorbachev said he saw no chance of success even with more U.S. troops.

“I believe that there is no prospect of a military solution,” Gorbachev said in Russian through a translator. “What we need is the reconciliation of Afghan society -- and they should be preparing the ground for withdrawal rather than additional troops.” 

Considering how much the Afghan war hurt the Soviet Union, the United States might want to take a look at these statements and the similarities between the invasion by the USSR and the current occupation by the US. 

Friday, November 6, 2009

Uh-oh, Iran is up to no good

Apparently Iran is working on nuclear warheads, which is not something America would like to be happening, in case you're keeping score. Luckily the UN has taken their normal course of action... doing nothing.

The UN's nuclear watchdog has asked Iran to explain evidence suggesting that Iranian scientists have experimented with an advanced nuclear warhead design, the Guardian has learned.

The very existence of the technology, known as a "two-point implosion" device, is officially secret in both the US and Britain, but according to previously unpublished documentation in a dossier compiled by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Iranian scientists may have tested high-explosive components of the design. The development was today described by nuclear experts as "breathtaking" and has added urgency to the effort to find a diplomatic solution to the Iranian nuclear crisis.

The sophisticated technology, once mastered, allows for the production of smaller and simpler warheads than older models. It reduces the diameter of a warhead and makes it easier to put a nuclear warhead on a missile.

Um... crap. That's kind of a bad sign for us when Iran constantly talks about doing us in. Is anyone going to do anything?

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Obama: One year later?

Last November, Barack Obama was elected president of the United States? How much have things changed since he's been in office? That's hard to say because he had to focus his attention on the economic crisis and a year is not that long for a president to make an impact.

However statements like "Obama hasn't done anything" is ridiculous ... it's been shown that his stimulus bill jumped the economy, he's changed America's reputation in the world (Bush made it very unpopular) and he's still pushing health reform. No he hasn't brought the troops home but name me an instance in American history where thats been done quickly and suddenly. You just can't pull out of those countries.

MADISON, Wis. (Reuters) - A year after his historic election, President Barack Obama sought to remind Americans on Wednesday the biggest problems he is grappling with -- from the economy to the war in Afghanistan -- are the legacy of his predecessor, George W. Bush.

With his approval ratings down from once-lofty levels and Tuesday's Democratic election losses raising questions about his political clout, Obama held no special ceremony to mark the anniversary of his election as America's first black president.

He instead traveled to Wisconsin to appear before a friendly audience in a school gymnasium and promote education as a pillar of his economic recovery efforts.

Obama was elected on a promise of sweeping change after eight years under Bush, but many Americans are increasingly expressing impatience that his pledge has yet to bear fruit.

You can't make a judgement now, but in three more year, the jury will be out.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Barack Obama doesn't care about elections

Does anyone really care about the specific electoral races going on now? I'm sure it's important to the people of their respective states but it seems that the cable and internet media outlets are blowing these up to be the elections of the century. And Gasp! Obama is not worried! How could he!

You know how a lot of right-winged people complained about the raw deal Bush got in the media (and rightly so, there were some ridiculous things brought against him), well the same thing is happening to Obama now.

Hours after urging reporters not to draw sweeping conclusions from Tuesday's gubernatorial elections in New Jersey and Virginia, White House press secretary Robert Gibbs told POLITICO President Barack Obama wasn't even keeping an eye on the results.

"He's not watching returns," Gibbs said.

The Obama administration and other top Democrats have consistently tried to play down the import of this week's contests, which Republicans have sought to portray as a referendum on the Democratic-led government in Washington.

In Tuesday's White House press briefing, Gibbs dismissed suggestions that the two governor's races and a special election in upstate New York could be a preview of the 2010 congressional midterms.

"I don't think, looking at the two gubernatorial races, you can draw with any great insight what's going to happen a year from now," he said.

And why should he? Re-election isn't until a ways off and there are going to be more elections on the lower levels before then. While some people are complaining about the current economic conditions, the right better understand that this downfall happen under their watch. That's still going to stick with them in the coming elections.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Apparently Barack Obama is too skinny

The media jumps on our presidents for eating too much McDonalds, but our last two presidents have actually been pretty fit. George W. Bush was known as a big runner, and now Drudge Report has released these photos of Barak Obama that show that he's probably lost weight since becoming president.

Way to make Bill Clinton look bad guys.