In an appeal filed with the U.S. Supreme Court this week, the Justice Department said that the “overly expansive” ruling over the search last year of Rep. William Jefferson’s (D-LA) congressional office “is blocking investigations of other congressional corruption cases.” The DoJ “asked the high court to overturn a ruling by the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia prohibiting agents from searching locations where legislative records are likely to be found unless they have the permission of the congressional member.” The ruling is already confirmed to have stalled the investigation into Rep. John Doolittle (R-CA).
So Sen. James “global warming is a hoax” Inhofe (R-OK) issues a report in which he claims:
“Padded” would be an extremely generous description of this list of “prominent scientists.” Some would use the word “laughable” (though not the N.Y. Times‘ Andy Revkin, see below). For instance, since when have economists, who are pervasive on this list, become scientists, and why should we care what they think about climate science?
I’m not certain a dozen on the list would qualify as “prominent scientists,” and many of those, like Freeman Dyson — a theoretical physicist — have no expertise in climate science whatsoever. I have previously debunked his spurious and uninformed claims, although I’m not sure why one has to debunk someone who seriously pushed the idea of creating a rocket ship powered by detonating nuclear bombs! Seriously.
Even Ray Kurzweil, not a scientist but a brilliant inventor, is on the list. Why? Because he apparently told CNN and the Washington Post:
These slides that Gore puts up are ludicrous, they don’t account for anything like the technological progress we’re going to experience…. None of the global warming discussions mention the word ‘nanotechnology. Yet nanotechnology will eliminate the need for fossil fuels within 20 years…. I think global warming is real but it has been modest thus far – 1 degree f. in 100 years. It would be concern if that continued or accelerated for a long period of time, but that’s not going to happen.
And people say I’m a techno-optimist. So Kurzweil actually believes in climate science — rather than the reverse, as Inhofe claims — but thinks catastrophic global warming won’t happen because of a techno-fix that stops emissions. If wishes were horses … everyone would get trampled to death. In the real world, energy breakthroughs are very rare, as we’ve seen, and it’s even rarer when they make a difference in under several decades.
Then we have the likes of this from Inhofe’s list:
CBS Chicago affiliate Chief Meteorologist Steve Baskerville expressed skepticism that there is a “consensus” about mankind’s role in global warming.
Wow, a TV weatherman expressed skepticism. If only the IPCC had been told of this in time, they could have scrapped their entire report. Seriously, Wikipedia says “Baskerville is an alumnus of Temple University and holds a Certificate in Broadcast Meteorology from Mississippi State University.” I guess Inhofe has a pretty low bar for “prominent scientists” — but then again he once had science fiction writer Michael Crichton testify at a hearing on climate science.
I don’t mean to single out Baskerville. Inhofe has a lot of meteorologists on his list, including Weather Channel Founder John Coleman. I have previously explained why Coleman doesn’t know what he is talking about on climate, and why meteorologists in general have no inherent credibility on climatology. In any case, they obviously are NOT prominent scientists.
Then we have people like French geomagnetism (!) scientist Vincent Courtillot, geophysicist Louis Le Mou«l, geophysicist Claude All¨gre, geomagnetism (!!) scientist Frederic Fluteau, geomagnetism (!!!) scientist Yves Gallet, and scientist Agnes Genevey — whose “research” on global warming is brutally picked apart by RealClimate here and especially here (and again here by other scientists), who together “expose a pattern of suspicious errors and omissions that pervades” their work.
So, yes, the Inhofe list is utterly ignorable compared to either the IPCC report or the Bali declaration by actual prominent climate scientists. The notion it is relevant to the climate debate is laughable, as even a cursuory examination makes clear. And yet in an article unhelpfully titled, “Climate Consensus ‘Busted’?” the NYT‘s Andy Revkin amazingly writes of it:
Average number of Iraqi children displaced per month from their homes “as their families fled violence or intimidation” in 2007, according to a report from Unicef. Some 75,000 children had resorted to living in camps or temporary shelters, and only 20 percent outside Baghdad had working sewerage in their community.
Kevin Drum makes an argument worth responding to regarding Hillary Clinton’s foreign policy views, but that’ll have to wait for tomorrow. Instead, let me note this post by Ambassador Joe Wilson in support of Clinton. Clearly, securing the support of some prominent war opponents like Wilson has, for Clinton, been an important part of the effort to defuse anger over her position on Iraq. And it really is to her credit that she has the support of several such figures. That said, claims like this from Wilson don’t really fly:
Many of the most prominent early opponents of the war, including former General Wes Clark and former ambassador to the United National Richard Holbrooke support Senator Clinton for President, as do I.
Needless to say, Holbrooke didn’t oppose the war at all. He was a fairly prominent advocate for war, not as influential as Kenneth Pollack, but part of the group of former Clinton administration officials who helped sell the war to Democratic politicians and citizens. The inability or unwillingness of Clinton and her circle to give an accurate account of what she and her allies were up to in 2002 and 2003 really bothers me. I’m willing to forgive people for their errors, but I’d like to know what Clinton et. al. think the moral of the story is (contrast her handling of this issue to the deft way in which she’s plausibly argued that her participation in the failed health reform effort of the 1990s makes her uniquely prepared to grasp the pitfalls and find the path to progress) and what they’ve learned.
Instead, you keep hearing that she was actually opposed to the war! Or if she wasn’t, maybe Bill was! Or maybe Dick Holbrooke was! Or, or, or, or … who knows? It’s an odd way to behave and it makes it hard to clear the air. John Edwards has, by contrast, acknowledged error in a straightforward way and then laid out a compelling vision of American engagement with the world that clearly reflects a new, post-Iraq understanding of how the country should conduct itself on the world stage.
Yesterday, Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK) released a “report” claiming that “over 400 prominent scientists disputed man-made global warming claims in 2007.” The Washington Times described the report as “Scientists doubt climate change.” But, according to TAPPED’s Kate Sheppard, many of the scientists quoted in Inhofe’s report don’t actually doubt that “climate change is real and a problem“:
The 400 scientists they characterize as disputing man-made climate change include mostly folks no one has ever heard of, and the quotes they cherry pick aren’t all expressing doubt about whether climate change is real and a problem — many are simply expressing differing opinions about the degree of warming and the consequences of that warming. Others simply cited phenomena that might be causing warming in addition to that caused by greenhouse gases.
UPDATE: Joe Romm takes a closer look at some of the members on Inhofe’s global warming deniers list.
Suffice it to say that conservative pundits really, really, really don’t care for Mike Huckabee. Here, for example, is Mark Hemingway no longer able to restrain himself:
I had (largely) refrained from piling on Huckabee because I wanted to give him a fair shake. I’ve now read his last two books (you can read my piece about them on NRO today) and am here to tell you they were terribly written and totally insubstantial. Thought his Foreign Affairs piece was bad? Read his chapter in From Hope to Higher Ground on how to “STOP the Loss of America’s Prestige at Home and Abroad.” His relentless use of folksy aphorisms and corny rhetorical sleight of hand provokes visceral objections — but the criticism isn’t merely superficial. In the TNR I piece I linked to yesterday a member of the Arkansas press corps observed, “He thinks and speaks in metaphors. And, often, they’re not right.” That, well, hits the nail on the head. [...] I don’t think I’m being uncharitable when I say that’s disturbingly authoritarian. Huckabee should probably start answering some critics instead of dismissing this all as “The Establishment” trying to keep a good ol’ boy down.
This all raises the interesting issue of what would happen in the event that the establishment is somehow unable to beat back his insurgency. Presumably, the right-wing punditocracy would walk back a lot of this anti-Huckabee rhetoric. But it seems to me that you couldn’t walk it all the way back. And I feel like a move in either direction would prompt something of a crisis in the relationship between the conservative press and its audience.
Evidently the question of whose better is a controversial one, and many of ESPN.com’s writers think the right answer is Kobe. I was toying with the idea of making a chart, but this is so not even close that it’s hardly worth borrowing. Suffice it to say that LeBron is scoring more points on better field goal percentage and better true shooting percentage, plus he has a higher assist ratio and a lower turnover ratio. Plus he’s a better rebounder, and he has a higher usage rate (i.e., does more to carry his team).
It’s true that Kobe’s a better on-the-ball defender, but unless the Lakers have changed strategies radically without me noticing they don’t normally use him in a defensive stopper role so it’s not as if, in practice, his edge on this front is so crucial as to outweigh the fact that he’s worse across all these other dimensions.
A January 2005 reporton Blackwater’s Iraq contract by the State Department’s inspector general found “problems with how Blackwater tallied its labor costs, its overhead-expense costs, and its indirect costs. It also found that Blackwater cited its profit from the contract as a cost it incurred, and billed the government for it — resulting in what the report called ‘a pyramiding of profit.’” According to TPM’s Spencer Ackerman, who obtained the report through a FOIA request, the State Department “re-signed a deal with the company” months after finding the fraudulent accounting. More here.
Defense lawyer in a drug case helps organize conspiracy to murder the key witness against his client.
During a campaign stop in Iowa today, former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee commented on the conditions at the military detention center in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, saying that “the inmates there were getting a whole lot better treatment” than “prisoners in Arkansas.” “I hope our guys don’t see this,” added Huckabee. “They’ll all want to be transferred to Guanatanmo.”
“If anything, it’s too nice,” said Huckabee:
“The inmates there were getting a whole lot better treatment than my prisoners in Arkansas. In fact, we left saying, ‘I hope our guys don’t see this. They’ll all want to be transferred to Guanatanmo.’ If anything, it’s too nice.”
Huckabee has said Guantanamo is more a “symbolic issue” than anything else since the detainees are treated better than prisoners in the US.
Huckabee, who recently came out in favor of closing Guantanamo, has made similar comparisons in the past.
In June, Huckabee said on CNN’s Late Edition that “most of our prisoners would love to be in a facility more like Guantanamo.” At the time, he said we couldn’t close the facility because hypothetically, “if we let somebody out” they could “come and fly an airliner into one of our skyscrapers.”
Huckabee may have seen “nice” conditions when he visited Guantanamo. But FBI agents who worked at the facility have reported that detainees were subjected to harsh conditions, including “the use of growling dogs” to “intimidate detainees,” at least as recently as 2004:
Detainees at the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, were shackled to the floor in fetal positions for more than 24 hours at a time, left without food and water, and allowed to defecate on themselves, an FBI agent who said he witnessed such abuse reported in a memo to supervisors.
A recently released operations manual for the prison, dated March 28, 2003, “indicates that some prisoners were hidden from Red Cross representatives.” Presumably, such “no-access” detainees would have been hidden from visitors like Huckabee as well.