Daily Archives: December 1, 2009

SB 5288: Why Clemmons Was Out of Prison in Washington?

Here’s the bill.

The following is the synopsis of what it would do when passed by the last Washington State Legislature:

Ex-con supervision: SB 5288 will reduce supervision of offenders who get out of jail or prison to shorter periods of time, except for violent sex offenders or dangerous mentally ill.

Here’s what the News Tribune in Tacoma says Maurice Clemmons psych eval found;

A psychological evaluation conducted in October found he was a risk to public safety, but not a bad enough risk to justify committing him.

How do they arrive at that when he had a rap  sheet a mile long and was accused of raping a 12 year old girl?
Here’s who was responsible for the bill:
By Senators Hargrove (Hoquiam), Stevens (Arlington),  Regala (Tacoma) and Shin (Edmonds).
Signed into law by Christine Gregoire (but she got rid of part of it). Here’s a description from Washington Votes.

Signed with partial veto by Gov. Christine Gregoire on May 6, 2009, requires the Department of Corrections to supervise certain offenders sentenced to community custody, such all sex offenders, dangerously mentally ill offenders, among others. House amendments removed the requirement for supervision for certain low and moderate risk offenders and authorizes DOC to arrest and pursue administrative sanctions for offenders under supervision. An adopted house amendment establishes by statute a set of sentencing guidelines apart from the Sentencing Guidelines Commission (SGC.The emergency clause is vetoed.

If Clemmons wasn’t considered dangerous then how many other time bombs have been let out of custody by these folks?

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Parking Fines Skyrocket In Porkland

The Porkland City Council increased parking fines in efforts to raise more revenue, even though they deny it. They claim standard fines have increased by only $10, but;

The fine for blocking a fire hydrant increased from $100 to $150

Blocking access to a handicap ramp will incur a $210 fine, up from $150

Parking in a disabled zone without a valid permit increased more than 100 percent, $450 up from $190.

Unlawfully using grannies a handicapped permit will now cost $720, up from $450.

Claiming the increases were not a “cash grab,” officials also expect to generate more than $500,000 yearly from the tax increases.

And, what about all the bicyclists clogging downtown Porkland? Will they ever pay their fair share?


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ClimateGate for Journalists Lesson #6: Phil Jones (Temporarily)Steps Down

Hey guys, Phil Jones is in charge of University of East Anglia’s Climate Research Unit.
H/T to Pete the Banker who just told me about this and saw it at Anthony Watts’ Watts Up With That blog here.

Professor Jones said: “What is most important is that CRU continues its world leading research with as little interruption and diversion as possible.  After a good deal of consideration I have decided that the best way to achieve this is by stepping aside from the Director’s role during the course of the independent review and am grateful to the University for agreeing to this.  The Review process will have my full  support.”

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ACORN: SHOW ME THE MONEY. Holder Rules ACORN Can Have Taxpayer $ Despite Congressional Ban

By Pete the Banker
This DOJ ruling “slipped by” the press over the weekend, since the the Mass Media simply didn’t cover it.  This ruling is outrageous and suggests that the Administration doesn’t really care about reforming the real estate finance industry, only enriching their allies

“Justice’s memo, written in mid-October but quietly released over Thanksgiving, came in response to inquiries by the Department of Housing and Urban Development. It argues that Congress’ ban on taxpayer money being “provided to” ACORN does not apply to HUD’s existing contracts with the group.” Story here.

 One certainly has to agree with one of the email comments to this Washington Examiner blog post,

“”Despite ACORN’s misfeasance, the Department of Justice has issued a legal opinion suggesting that the group can continue to receive taxpayer money despite the new law…..”
FIRE HOLDER ! ! ! ! !”

This Attorney General was appointed to represent the Administration in legal matters.  Obviously, the allegiance of the Administration in this case is not to the best interests of those governed nor to mortgage borrowers, but to it’s special interest ally ACORN who from all apparent appearances is an organization that has violated the RICO statutes.

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Hearing for Phony "Haditha Massacre" Begins Again Tomorrow

Can’t somebody just calls off the dogs? They know it’s a phony charge. Leave LtCol Jeffrey Chessani ALONE! Here. Send the Thomas More Law Center $$$. They’re defending Chessani. Here. 
From Thomas More president:

Richard Thompson, President and Chief Counsel of the Thomas More Law Center, commented, “I’m outraged at the obvious double standard the government used as it gave Army Major Nidal Hasson every benefit of the doubt because of political correctness.  Yet, they had no problem in persecuting this loyal Marine officer because he refused to throw his men under the bus to appease an anti-war politician and the Iraqi government. Any finding of misconduct handed down by the Board of inquiry would be a miscarriage of justice because LtCol Chessani did nothing wrong.”

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SCOTUS: Detainee Photos Stay Under Wraps

Good. Here’s the story from the American Legion folks. H/T Rees Lloyd:

WASHINGTON – The Supreme Court has thrown out an appeals court ruling ordering the disclosure of photographs of detainees being abused by their U.S. captors.
In doing so Monday, the high court cited a recent change in federal law that allows the pictures to be withheld.
The justices issued a brief, and expected, order Monday directing the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New York to take another look at a lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union to obtain the photos of detainee abuse. President Barack Obama at first didn’t oppose the release, but he changed his mind, saying they could whip up anti-American sentiment overseas and endanger U.S. troops.
The administration appealed the matter to the Supreme Court, but also worked with Congress to give Defense Secretary Robert Gates the power to keep from the public all pictures of foreign detainees being abused.
Gates invoked his new authority in mid-November, saying widespread distribution of the pictures would endanger American soldiers.
The ACLU has said it will continue fighting for the photos’ release.
Justice Sonia Sotomayor, who served on the 2nd Circuit until August, did not take part in the court’s consideration of the case, Department of Defense v. ACLU, 09-160.

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Huckabee: I Take Full Responsibility for Giving Clemmons Clemency

 Here. Question: Does this get Huckabee’s candidacy out of the crapper for 2012?

Clemmons is dead. One cop. 2:45am. Stolen car. D.E.A.D. Here.   Interesting graf here:

A psychological evaluation conducted in October found he was a risk to public safety, but not a bad enough risk to justify committing him, The News Tribune of Tacoma reported.

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Fact Checking Obama’s Afghanistan Speech

I surprised the AP could break away from fact checking Saturday NIght Live skits and Sarah Palin’s book, Going Rogue, but they did.

FACT CHECK: Obama overlooks some tough realities

A look at some of his claims and how they compare with the facts:

OBAMA: “Because this is an international effort, I have asked that our commitment be joined by contributions from our allies. Some have already provided additional troops, and we are confident that there will be further contributions in the days and weeks ahead.”

THE FACTS: When Obama says he is confident that allied countries will provide more troops in the weeks ahead he is setting aside years of mostly empty-handed American efforts to get others, including allies in NATO, to deepen their commitment to combat in Afghanistan.

See also, Surge Or Vietnam and Bob Ainsworth criticises Barack Obama over Afghanistan

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ClimateGate: Why it Matters

The best synopsis of this. Thanks to the The Register of London for this.

Climategate: Why it matters

The scandal we see and the scandal we don’t
By Andrew Orlowski (andrew.orlowski@theregister.co.uk)
Posted in Environment, 30th November 2009 13:23 GMT
Analysis Reading the Climategate archive is a bit like discovering that Professional Wrestling is rigged. You mean, it is? Really?
The archive – a carefully curated 160MB collection of source code, emails and other documents from the internal network of the Climatic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia – provides grim confirmation for critics of climate science. But it also raises far more troubling questions.
Perhaps the real scandal is the dependence of media and politicians on their academics’ work – an ask-no-questions approach that saw them surrender much of their power, and ultimately authority. This doesn’t absolve the CRU crew of the charges, but might put it into a better context.
After a week of scrutiny of the emails, attention is now turning to the programming source code. Three quarters of the material released is the work of the academics, much of which they had jealously guarded. This includes a version of the world’s most cited and respected temperature record – HADCRUT – and a number of surveys which featured prominently in the reports of the UN’s climate change panel, the IPCC. The actors here shaped the UN reports, and ultimately – because no politician dare contradict the ‘science’ – shaped global policy.
The allegations over the past week are fourfold: that climate scientists controlled the publishing process to discredit opposing views and further their own theory; they manipulated data to make recent temperature trends look anomalous; they withheld and destroyed data they should have released as good scientific practice, and they were generally beastly about people who criticised their work. (You’ll note that one of these is far less serious than the others.)
But why should this be a surprise?

The secretive Jones is no secret

The secretive approach of CRU director Jones and his colleagues, particularly in the paleoclimatology field, is not a secret. Distinguished scientists have testified to this throughout from the early 1990s onwards. A report specifically commissioned four years ago by Congress, the Wegman Report, identified many of the failings discussed in the past week.
Failings are understandable, climatology is in its infancy, and the man-made greenhouse gas theory is a recent development. However no action was taken. A little like Goldman Sachs, the group that includes the CRU Crew was deemed to be important to fail – or even have the semblance of fallibility.
A lightning recap of what CRU is, and what role it plays, helps bring the puzzle out of the shadows.
CRU was founded in 1972 by the ‘Father of Climatology’, former Met Office meteorologist Hubert Lamb. Until around 1980, solar modulation was believed to be the driving factor in climatic variation. A not unreasonable idea, you might think, since our energy (unless you live by a volcano vent) is derived from the sun. Without a better understanding of the sun, climatology may be reasonably be called “speculative meteorology”.
But CRU’s increasing influence, according to its own history (http://www.cru.uea.ac.uk/cru/about/history/), stemmed from politicians taking an interest. “The UK Government became a strong supporter of climate research in the mid-1980s, following a meeting between Prime Minister Mrs Thatcher and a small number of climate researchers, which included Tom Wigley, the CRU director at the time. This and other meetings eventually led to the setting up of the Hadley Centre for Climate Prediction and Research, within the Met Office,” the CRU notes.
Lamb (who died in 1997), however remained sceptical of the greenhouse gas hypothesis to the end.
In addition to inheriting all the problems of climatology, the greenhouse gas hypothesis has several unique issues of its own, and addressing them is a challenge for the most scrupulous researcher. How CRU addressed them was to define climatology for two decades – and ultimately defined the public debate and policy, too.
The gas theory is based on an elegant ‘energy budget’ model, but it leans heavily on positive feedbacks resulting from greenhouse gases such as CO2 in order to produce the warming CO2 cannot do by itself. Yet no simple empirical laboratory tests are of use here. Nor is there a ‘fingerprint’ or tell-tale signal that anthropogenically produced gases are the primary forcing factor. Hence climatology’s increasing reliance, since 1980, on a range of anecdotal evidence and computer modelling.
In a fiercely contested field, both methods were fiercely guarded. The result of this was the blurring of the line between correlation and causation, and hindcasting and forecasting. Slowly, but surely, an “assertion” was becoming “proof”.
The first IPCC report in 1990 used the established temperature record created by Lamb. It’s very different to the one we’re familiar with today – and that’s the work of CRU director Phil Jones, CRU’s pioneer dendrochronologist Keith Briffa, and their colleagues in (mainly) US institutions.
You can see the difference here.
Lamb's classic 1000 years temperature graph
Lamb’s temperature graph, featured in the first IPCC report in 1990
Without the error bars (grey), the Medieval Warm Period disappears Source: IPCC TAR 2001
Although Lamb’s version is supported by historical accounts, archaeology, geology and even contemporary literature, two key differences are the decreased significance of the Medieval Warming Period (CRU and its allies prefer the term ‘MCA’, or “Medieval Climate Anomaly”) and a radically warmer modern period.
Jones and his team began to produce work that contradicted the established picture in 1990 – and CRU was able to do so from both ends. By creating new temperature recreations, it could create a new account of history. By issuing a monthly gridded temperature set while making raw station data unavailable for inspection, it defined contemporary data. So CRU controlled two important narratives: the “then”, and the “now”.
In the FOIA.ZIP archive, we find Jones unambiguous in an email: “We will be rewriting people’s perceived wisdom about the course of temperature change over the past millennium,” he wrote.
In text books co-authored with Ray Bradley (1992 and 1996) and a landmark paper with Ben Santer (1996), Jones described artificial reconstructions that questioned the established historical record. Jones and Briffa were both co-authors of a 1995 paper (http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v376/n6536/abs/376156a0.html) for Nature Unusual Twentieth-century Summer Warmth in a 1,000-year Temperature Record from Siberia – that used a tree ring reconstruction from the Urals to claim that the mean 20th Century temperature is higher than any period since 914. Sympathetic researchers in the US produced similar graphs, again emphasising that modern warming (0.7C in the 20th Century), was anomalous.
Since these scientists declined to document their methodology and the raw sample, they were difficult to dispute. By 2001, with the IPCC’s Third Assessment Report or TAR, the new version of history was the established one. The ‘Hockey Stick’ controversy only broke three years subsequently.
“We also have a data protection act, which I will hide behind.”
– Phil Jones
That resulted in the Wegman report. Although CRU hadn’t produced the Hockey Stick (the work of American metereologist Michael Mann) or used his statistical techniques, Wegman implicated leading CRU figures as part of a close knit network.
In our further exploration of the social network of authorships in temperature reconstruction, we found that at least 43 authors have direct ties to Dr. Mann by virtue of coauthored papers with him. Our findings from this analysis suggest that authors in the area of paleoclimate studies are closely connected and thus ‘independent studies’ may not be as independent as they might appear on the surface.
Wegman also criticised their workmanship:
[…]the paleoclimate community; even though they rely heavily on statistical methods they do not seem to be interacting with the statistical community. Additionally, we judge that the sharing of research materials, data and results was haphazardly and grudgingly done. In this case we judge that there was too much reliance on peer review, which was not necessarily independent. Moreover, the work has been sufficiently politicized that this community can hardly reassess their public positions without losing credibility.
Wegman had identified other networks in climate science which also “peer reviewed” each other’s work, removing criticism from the record, and acting as gatekeepers.
Over four years later the ‘Climategate’ archive provides evidence to support this. We find Jones discussing how to avoid FOIA requests, advising the deletion of email and telling his own information officers not to release data to critics. Earlier this summer, CRU said that it had failed to maintain the raw station data it had gathered, citing lack of storage space.
But to what purpose were these networks acting?

Playing politics – or feeding a demand?

‘Climategate’ raises far more questions than it answers, and one of the most intriguing of these is how a small group (backing a new theory, in an infant field) came to have such a huge effect on global policy making. Is it fair to hang CRU Director Jones and his colleagues out to dry – as some climate campaigners such as George Monbiot have suggested? If the buck doesn’t stop with the CRU climatologists – then who or what is really to blame?
Poring over the archive, it’s easy to find a nose here, and a large leathery foot over there – and to conclude that the owner of the room may have a very strange taste in furnishings. The elephant in the room can go unnoticed.
“We can have a proper result, but only by including a load of garbage!”
– source code comment for the HADCRUT temperature set
The CRU team may have stepped into a scientific vacuum, but that doesn’t account for the qualities of the climate debate today. It is beset with a sense of crisis and urgency, and the ascendancy of a quite specific and narrow set of policy options that precludes the cool and rational assessment of the problem that an engineer might employ. Or equally, the cost/benefit calculations that an economist might use. (Actually, many have, and here’s a good recent example (http://www.voxeu.org/index.php?q=node/4245) from Richard Tol – but this is not part of the public discourse, or diplomatic agenda as illustrated by the Copenhagen Conference, where the focus is on emissions reductions).
Briffa himself apparently found being “true” to his science and his customer difficult. “I tried hard to balance the needs of the science and the IPCC, which are not always the same,” he writes, after wrapping up the chapter on which he was joint lead author for the fourth IPCC report published. in 2007
The ignorance of the natural world displayed by the scientists is remarkably at odds with the notion that the science is “settled”. Where’s the Global Warming, asks NCAR’s Tom Wigley. His colleague Kevin Trenberth admits they can’t answer the question. “The fact is that we can’t account for the lack of warming at the moment and it is a travesty that we can’t… Our observing system is inadequate.” Trenberth goes on further, and admits the the energy budget hasn’t been “balanced”. Wigley paraphrases him: “we are nowhere close to knowing where energy is going”. It is climate experts admitting that they don’t know what they’re doing.
But were such reservations communicated to the policy makers or media?
As I mentioned earlier, the very nature of the problem itself has led the “science” onto shaky ground – onto modelling (which has no predictive value) and anecdotal evidence (which merely demonstrates correlation, but not causation). That’s why the ‘Hockey Stick’ was a very big deal: it substituted for hard evidence; if fossil fuel emissions affected the climate at all significantly, this remained a future threat, and certainly not an urgent one.
The demand from institutions, (principally the UN, through its IPCC), national policy makers and the media has taken climate scientists into areas where they struggle to do good science. Add professional activists to the mix – who bring with them the Precautionary Principle – and the element of urgency is introduced.
The situation is largely self-inflicted. The scandal is that science has advanced through anecdote and poorly founded conjecture – and on this slender basis, politicians and institutions lacking vision and confidence (and given the lack of popular support, legitimacy too) have found a cause.
Perhaps some readers may find this too forgiving of the participants. Three years ago Jones confessed to climatologist Christy both the state of the “science”, and some of his own motivations.
“As you know, I’m not political. If anything, I would like to see the climate change happen, so the science could be proved right, regardless of the consequences. This isn’t being political, it is being selfish”.
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