June 27, 2009

What's Wrong With Us?

Don't get me wrong, I feel for Michael Jackson's family and friends, and I wouldn't deny his impact on popular music. But it's been over 24 hours of non-stop Jacko news (literally) on some news stations. On my local station, they even featured an interview--I'm not making this up--with someone who once went to one of his concerts.

It really disturbs me that most of the people I've talked to have no idea what I'm talking about when I tell them about a young girl dubbed Neda who was shot down in the streets of Iran while demonstrating for the right of suffrage. And yet, within minutes of Jackson's death Twitter and Facebook and television media were rife with information about it, and have been at it non-stop for over a day.

In a better world, we would all be overwhelmed by news coverage of Neda's murder. Scratch that. In a better world, Neda would still be alive.

Cap And Trade THIS!

Looks like somebody's got some 'splaining to do. Richard Morrison, over at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, has authored a press release about some skulduggery going on at the Environmental Protection Agency. I guess it's more of that "transparency" we were promised. The release is so short, I'm just going to post the whole thing. If you want to go to the original, it's here.

CEI Releases Global Warming Study Censored by EPA

Washington, D.C., June 26, 2009—The Competitive Enterprise Institute is today making public an internal study on climate science which was suppressed by the Environmental Protection Agency. Internal EPA email messages, released by CEI earlier in the week, indicate that the report was kept under wraps and its author silenced because of pressure to support the Administration’s agenda of regulating carbon dioxide.

The report finds that EPA, by adopting the United Nations’ 2007 “Fourth Assessment” report, is relying on outdated research and is ignoring major new developments. Those developments include a continued decline in global temperatures, a new consensus that future hurricanes will not be more frequent or intense, and new findings that water vapor will moderate, rather than exacerbate, temperature.

New data also indicate that ocean cycles are probably the most important single factor in explaining temperature fluctuations, though solar cycles may play a role as well, and that reliable satellite data undercut the likelihood of endangerment from greenhouse gases. All of this demonstrates EPA should independently analyze the science, rather than just adopt the conclusions of outside organizations.

The released report is a draft version, prepared under EPA’s unusually short internal review schedule, and thus may contain inaccuracies which were corrected in the final report.

“While we hoped that EPA would release the final report, we’re tired of waiting for this agency to become transparent, even though its Administrator has been talking transparency since she took office. So we are releasing a draft version of the report ourselves, today,” said CEI General Counsel Sam Kazman.

It's worth checking out the link to the report covering the e-mails as well.

UPDATE: Fox finally got around to this.
Big story developing right now in Washington...
No, jerkweeds, it was developing days ago. You know, while you were drooling over the death of a pop singer.

June 20, 2009

The Funniest Thing I Haven't Seen Anyone Mention

I'm sure you've all heard about the "incident" between Democratic Senator Barbara Boxer and Brigadier General Michael Walsh, in which Boxer lectured Walsh for addressing her as "ma'am" and insisted he address her as "senator" because "I worked so hard to get that title, so I'd appreciate it."

Goodness, where do I begin?

1) She worked so hard to get that title? More so than the general, whom she didn't see fit to address by his title? I doubt that.

2) The general was well within military protocol. Section 4.18 of Army Field Manual 7-21.13 states:
A soldier addressing a higher ranking officer uses the word sir or ma’am in the same manner as a polite civilian speaking with a person to whom he wishes to show respect. In the military service, the matter of who says sir or ma’am to whom is clearly defined; in civilian life it is largely a matter of discretion.
3) I've seen some writers claim that the "ma'am" was a result of some kind of misogyny on the general's part. The previous point shows that not to be the case, but in case you needed some more evidence, I would point out that Walsh called male senators "sir" on many occasions.

4) Apparently Boxer had no problem with "ma'am" two years ago, as she called Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice "ma'am" three times. (Of course, at the linked article points out, calling Rice "ma'am" was nowhere near the most offensive thing Boxer said to her during the hearing.)

5) I'm not sure about this, but I believe that a U.S. Senator is nowhere in the hierarchical structure of the U.S. Army. The use of "sir," "ma'am," or even a title for someone outside the military is done as a courtesy, a show of respect. It seems to me that Boxer insisting the general call her "senator" is a lot like a McDonald's manager asking a Burger King worker to call him "manager." The general obliged the senator because frankly, he has more class than she does.

Oh yeah, I promised a funny thing that no one else has mentioned. I guess it's not so much funny as...interesting? Ironic? Inane?

6) My gut feeling is that Boxer didn't care for "ma'am" partly because she is ignorant of the military protocol, but mostly because she thinks of it as a misogynistic term for old ladies. I'd just like to point out that the term she insisted on--"senator"--comes from the word senex, meaning...old man. It's the same place we get the words "senior" and "senile." In contrast, "ma'am" is a shortened form of "madam," which comes from the French "ma dame" and Latin "mea domina," meaning "my lady." It's used (of course) as a respectful term for addressing a woman.

Hmm...perhaps Boxer was right to insist that she not be called "ma'am" after all.