Showing posts from October, 2009

Obama takes troop reduction n Afghanistan off the table

John McCain: "I think the great danger now is a half-measure, sort of a - you know, try to please all ends of the political spectrum ," McCain told CNN chief national correspondent John King. "And, again, I have great sympathy for the president, making the toughest decisions that presidents have to make, but I think he needs to use deliberate speed." Many people assume McCain's comments only apply to the left, but the fact is that they also apply to the right, and it's precisely because Obama has in fact taken the right VERY seriously indeed that he's in so much hot water with the Progressives (who I admit in the interest of full self-disclosure I do not self-identify with; I am a liberal on a elliptical orbit around the center of political mass, thus I drift rightwards in a very predictable fashion.) Much of the critique of Obama from the right comes via political scoring rather than a genuine critique of policy; a great example is the replacement of Ge

Deserve this! The Nobel Peace Prize Agenda for Obama

President Obama is now a Laureate of the Nobel Peace Prize. There's enough in that statement alone to drive rightwing conservatives insane. And insane they certainly are, as others are ably and gleefully documenting . The general gist of the response by the Right is twofold, and predictably schizophrenic: 1. Obama has not accomplished enough in office to deserve the NPP, and 2. the NPP only awarded it to Obama because he is a. not-Bush and b. he is African-American . In essence, this means that they are arguing that the Nobel Peace Prize is both a farce and sacred at the same time. Of course, conservatives' enmity for the Peace prize is longstanding, given that it was awarded to Yasser Arafat, Jimmy Carter, and Al Gore, even as they pine for it's omission to George W. Bush. While the conservatives' newfound concern for the integrity of the NPP is certainly touching, the same critique coming from the Left carries more weight. But to address this, you have to consider the

Copenhagen dreaming II: global warming as opportunity

This is the second part of my series in anticipation of the upcoming Copenhagen conference. The previous post in this series was a defense of the scientific method . So, what do I think about global warming? The consensus is a powerful one, and it's not built upon one tree ring or one temperature reconstruction, it's been built upon thousands of independent studies by thousands of different authors. That said, there are some valid critiques on methodological issues. Even if those critiques are fully accurate, that isn't enough by itself to warrant throwing out the entire body of literature, which over the years of reading both Climate Audit and Real Climate I've seen extends far beyond just one paper by Mann et al or one set of trees at Yamal . The very fact that there is a controversy, and both sides are able to endlessly rebut the other in a seemingly-never ending cycle of rebuttal, proves that there is indeed more to the story. Like blind men in a room with an elepha

Copenhagen dreaming: In defense of the scientific method

As the Copenhagen conference on the successor to the Kyoto Protocol draws near, I want to lay some meta-thoughts out about the scientific method which I think are important, as a context for my general support of the theory of global warrming and the need for decisive action by our own nation to reduce carbon emissions and embrace alternative forms of energy (including nuclear). The next post in this series will then lay out my position on global warming specifically. The debate about Global Warming, not unlike that regarding AIDS, or evolution, boils down to this: the Scientific Method is an attempt by human beings to establish rigorous theories drawn from empirical observations, for the purpose of creating models of reality, so that these models may be employed in some pragmatic fashion. When this method is applied to a topic that is insulated from what I call the Political Method, there's not much controversy to be had. However, the "employed in some pragmatic fashion"