- Buy a copy of my father’s book about a journalistic, humanitarian, muckraking adventure in the Jim Crow South. Ray Sprigle is a forgotten great of journalism, and he made a Black Like Me trip in 1948, before just about anyone was bothering to do anything about the country’s race problem, and when “enlightened” people thought the best solution was to keep things separate, but be more polite and “equal” about it. 30 Days a Black Man: The Forgotten Story that Exposed the Jim Crow South tells the tale of Sprigle, his guide John Wesley Dobbs, and other amazing, and sadly-forgotten characters. Read it!
Donate money so that my beloved friend Alexis can see! It’s the transhumanist future, baby, and legally blind people like Alexis can be helped by devices such as eSite. She needs to raise $15,000 and I promise, she’s worth it. (I mean, not to rank people or anything, but I have a pro-Alexis bias.)
Zach Fountain, Seth Wilson, and I are going to release monthly paranormal, paranoia, and country music-stlye chats. We may move on to a guest or two.
Next one will be on aliens. Several will be on aliens, in fact.
It’s also on iTunes! — thanks to Zach.
Tune in! It’s a free excuse for me to hang out with my internet friends here, and the talk is going to be good and scary.
One of my many jobs as a newspaper journalist included interviewing smart, interesting people about specialized, controversial subjects like climate change.
In 2007 I interviewed Timothy Ball, a Canadian climatologist who has been fighting the good fight against global warming insanity for years. He is a climate skeptic with a Ph.D. in climatology from the University of London who taught at the University of Winnipeg for 28 years.
It’s easy to see why Ball has made no friends among global warming alarmists. He says that the widely propagated “fact” that humans are contributing to global warming is the “greatest deception in the history of science.”
Like most sensible scientists, he says there’s global warming but it’s caused by the sun, not mankind, and that its effects will be good for us earthlings, not catastrophic.
When I spoke to Ball in 2007, the good-humored Canadian pointed out that his home island, Victoria, in British Columbia, was connected to the mainland 8,000 years ago when the sea level was 500 feet lower.
He and I talked about global warming, ice ages and sea levels. Here are highlights:
Q: What is your strongest or best argument that global warming is not “very likely” to be caused by SUVs and Al Gore’s private planes?
A: I guess the best argument is that global warming has occurred, but it began in 1680, if you want to take the latest long-term warming, and the climate changes all the time. It began in 1680, in the middle of what’s called “The Little Ice Age” when there was three feet of ice on the Thames River in London. And the demand for furs of course drove the fur trade. The world has warmed up until recently, and that warming trend doesn’t fit with the CO2 record at all; it fits with the sun-spot data. Of course they are ignoring the sun because they want to focus on CO2.
The other thing that you are seeing going on is that they have switched from talking about global warming to talking about climate change. The reason for that is since 1998 the global temperature has gone down — only marginally, but it has gone down. In the meantime, of course, CO2 has increased in the atmosphere and human production has increased. So you’ve got what Huxley called the great bane of science — “a lovely hypothesis destroyed by an ugly fact.” So by switching to climate change, it allows them to point at any weather event — whether it’s warming, cooling, hotter, dryer, wetter, windier, whatever — and say it is due to humans. Of course, it’s absolutely rubbish.
Q: What is the most exaggerated and unnecessary worry about global warming or climate change?
A: I think the fact that it is presented as all negative. Of course, it’s the one thing they focus on because the public, with the huge well of common sense that is out there, would sort of say, “Well, I don’t understand the science, but, gee, I wouldn’t mind a warmer world, especially if I was living in Canada or Russia.” They have to touch something in the warming that becomes a very big negative for the people, and so they focus on, “Oh, the glaciers are going to melt and the sea levels are going to rise.” In fact, there are an awful lot of positive things. For example, longer frost-free seasons across many of the northern countries, less energy used because you don’t need to keep your houses warm in the winter.
Q: Is the globe warming and what is the cause?
A: Yeah, the world has been warming since 1680 and the cause is changes in the sun. But in their computer models they hardly talk about the sun at all and in the IPCC summary for policy-makers they don’t talk about the sun at all. And of course, if they put the sun into their formula in their computer models, it swamps out the human portion of CO2, so they can’t possibly do that.
Q: Is the rising CO2 level the cause of global warming or the result of it?
A: That’s a very good question because in the theory the claim is that if CO2 goes up, temperature will go up. The ice core record of the last 420,000 years shows exactly the opposite. It shows that the temperature changes before the CO2. So the fundamental assumption of the theory is wrong. That means the theory is wrong. … But the theory that human CO2 would lead to runaway global warming became a fact right away, and scientists like myself who dared to question it were immediately accused of being paid by the oil companies or didn’t care about the children or the future or anything else.
Q: Have you ever accepted money from an oil company?
A: No. No. I wish I did get some. I wouldn’t have to drive a ’92 car and live in a leaky apartment bloc.
Q: Why are sea levels rising and should we worry?
A: Sea levels have been rising for the last 10,000 years. In fact, 8,000 years ago, sea level was almost 500 feet lower than it is today. It’s been rising gradually over that time. It’s risen very slightly in the modern record, but it has risen no more rapidly than it has in the last 8,000 years. One of the factors that people forget is that most of the ice is already in the ocean, and so if you understand Archimedes’ Principle, when that ice melts it simply replaces the space that the ice occupied — even if the ice caps melt completely. What they do is they say if we estimate the volume of water in Antarctica and Greenland, then we add that to the existing ocean level. But that’s not the way it works at all. But it does work for panic and for sea-level rises of 20 feet, like Gore claims.
Q: Why are the sea levels rising, just because we are in a warming period?
A: Yes. We are in an inter-glacial. Just 22,000 years ago, which is what some people can get their minds around, Canada and parts of the northern U.S. were covered with an ice sheet larger than the current Antarctic ice sheet. That ice sheet was over a mile thick in central Canada. All of that ice melted in 5,000 years. There was another ice sheet over Europe and a couple more in Asia. As that ice has melted, it’s run back into the oceans and of course that’s what’s filled up the oceans. But if you drilled down in Antarctica, you go down almost 8,000 feet below sea level. That ice below sea level, if it melts, is not going to raise sea level.
Q: Is there any aspect of global warming alarmism that you are worried about?
A: There are a couple of very minor things. I’m interested in and need more research done on commercial jet aircraft flying in the stratosphere. The research that’s been done so far says no, it’s not an issue, but I think the jury is out on that still.The other concern I have is that we’re totally preparing for warming. The whole world is preparing for warming, but I mentioned that we have been cooling since 1998 and the climate scientists that I respected — particularly the Russians and Chinese — are predicting that we’re going to be much, much cooler by 2030. So we’ve got completely the wrong adaptive strategy.
Q: Is it not inevitable that we will have another ice age?
A: Yes, I think there is another ice age coming, because the major causes of the ice ages are changes in the orbit of the Earth around the sun and changes in the tilt of the Earth. Those are things we’ve known about for 150 years.
Q: If someone asked you where he should go to get a good antidote on the mainstream media’s spin on global warming, where should he go?
A: There are three Web sites I have some respect for. One is the one I helped set up by a group of very frustrated professional scientists who are retired. That’s called Friendsofscience.org. It has deliberately tried to focus on the science only. The second site that I think provides the science side of it very, very well is CO2Science.org, and that’s run by Sherwood Idso, who is the world expert on the relationship between plant growth and CO2. The third, which is a little more irreverent and maybe still slightly on the technical side for the general public, is JunkScience.com.
Q: If you had to calm the fears of a small grandchild or a student about the threat of global warming, what would you tell him?
A: First of all, I probably wouldn’t tell him anything. As I tell audiences, the minute somebody starts saying “Oh, the children are going to die and the grandchildren are going to have no future,” they have now played the emotional and fear card. Just like in the U.S., it’s almost like the race card. It’s not to say that it isn’t valid in some cases. But the minute you play that card, you are now taking the issues and the debates out of the rational and logical and reasonable and sensible and calm into the emotional and hysterical.
To give you an example, I was talking to a group in Saskatoon and a woman came up after and she said, “I agree with you totally. We were having a party for my 7-year-old. I went into the kitchen and there was a bang in the living room. I went back and a balloon had exploded. The kids were crying and I said, ‘Why are you crying?’ And they said, ‘There’s going to be another hole in the ozone.’”
It’s completely false. There never were holes in the ozone, by the way. But when we start laying those kinds of problems onto shoulders that are very narrow, that is criminal. My comment to her was, I said, “Look, let the kids get on with the party. Give them another beer. Let ’em enjoy themselves.”
So I wouldn’t raise these kinds of fear with the children. What I would do with my children and grandchildren is what I’m trying to do with the public and say, “Look, here’s the other side of the story. Make sure you get all of the information before you start running off and screaming ‘wolf, wolf, wolf.’”
I wrote of my adventures at the RNC, which included politely crashing Yianopoulos’ event over here at Playboy. Read that. Give them and me the clicks. However, considering that the professional troll has once again caused a university kerfuffle, I figure I’d post this to provide some helpful hints as to how unlibertarian this man is. My Playboy piece doesn’t include all.
Yes, much of the time college students seem to give him just what he wants, attention and horror. But that doesn’t make him worthwhile. Have you ever seen his writing? It’s juvenile, dull, makes Ann Coulter look like Christopher Hitchens, and it’s allegedly not even written by him. Yeah, he’s got a posh voice. Yeah, he can be perfectly polite in person, and was to me.
He still used to wonder if “Internet is Turning Us all Into Sociopaths” and then became one for attention. He actually turned off his sycophantic fans by taking a photo of someone overweight who was working out at the gym. And best of all, after being hosted by Young Americans for Liberty University of Wisconsin Milwaukee, he allegedly used a photo of a trans woman and named her and mocked her in front of an audience. Yeah, she might be a liberal, so no doubt libertarians disagree with some of her goals and expectations. But yeah, she had the audacity to want to use the locker room of her identity at her college. Yeah, she noted the contradiction in policing that— if you’re female-identified, are growing breasts, but still have a penis, where would they like you to change? Male locker room? Female? A broom closet? Far away from the scared, scared administrators?
You can say what you want, bring who you want to you college. yes I am glad the ACLU defended the right to march to Skokie. Yes, I am a worried about some college students’ respect for free speech. Booking a sociopathic bully, a professional troll, a man who speaks well enough to fool people into thinking he’s intelligent is not how you do that. Try harder. Expect more from people.
Or, you know, if he comes to your college, ignore him. Just ignore him. He loves the chaos of the event, and the hatred. It’s hard to know when to ignore, and when to challenge. If the person in question is a whore for attention, I lean towards ignoring. But it’s also good to know what he actually believes (well, nothing, but professes to believe).
In closing, here is my nine minute exchange with Yiannopoulos at his RNC party. I tried to neg him at the end about his accent, but he didn’t take the bait. He’s a completely disingenuous person who pulls off a sincere persona in person. He’s good. He’s not that good. I was three beers in.
LS: I missed your remarks today, but can you talk about how you feel with Donald Trump as the official, not-presumptive nominee?
MY: Yes, it’s wonderful news. It’s wonderful news for gay people. He’s obviously the most pro-gay candidate in American electoral history.
LS: That’s a bold statement.
MY: Yeah, it is. But Hillary Clinton is funded by people who murder homosexuals. She has shown no indication whatsoever of stemming the tide of Islamic immigration, or stopping our mollycoddling, and pandering to Islam. These things are direct threats. Not just to culture, but to the lives of gay people in America. Donald Trump is the only person who has shown any indication — and not just out of the two of them, out of anybody who ran for president this year — that he is going to be tough enough to stop it. And his speech after Orlando, frankly, was magnificent. To be perfectly honest with you, I didn’t know he had a speech like that in him. He really nailed it. And that’s when he completely won me over.
LS: So when you say tough enough, what do you want him to do? Not get funding like Hillary Clinton, obviously, but what do you — ?
MY: Close the walls.
LS: How’s that going to work practically? That’s going to take a lot of government work.
MY: You know what, the government does a lot of stuff that it shouldn’t do — the Department of Education, for instance. Most of the federal government could be shut down. I don’t think — TSA hasn’t worked for a very long time, nothing about immigration in this country — the whole Homeland Security system in this country is totally fucked. The best thing that could possibly happen is it’s swept away and replaced by something smarter, and better, and probably more expensive, and a lot tougher. And a points-based system like Australia has zero Islamic racial immigration
LS: Do you think the government is capable of pulling that off?
MY: I think it should try for the sake of women and gays, yeah.
LS: What do you think about —
MY: Unless you want this country to turn into Sweden, or Germany, where no woman can walk out on the street beyond 11 o’clock without the risk of being raped now. In Western European countries, that is a daily reality for women in Germany, a daily reality for women in Sweden, it isn’t for the women in America, yeah? College campuses in America — these hysterical centers of crazy conspiracy theories about rape culture — are the safest places for women to be anywhere in the world. Now, some of the most dangerous places for women to be in the world are modern, Western, rich European countries. Why? One reason. Islamic immigration — it’s got to stop.
LS: I mean, stopping entirely like Trump said?
MY: Yes. I wish he hadn’t rolled back from it, I want him to do it. I want him to do it completely.
LS: Foreign policy-wise, what would you like to see happen?
MY: As little as possible. America has spent too long interfering oversees in too many other people’s wars, and too much other stuff. America’s got to look after America again. That means taking a realistic appraisal of who is actually at risk in this country, not whining feminists, or whinging Black Lives Matter activists, but gay people and women at risk from Islam. Also, so people in this country who have been treated badly, lied to and lied about. An honest appraisal of who actually needs government attention in this country. And when all of that is done, then we can think about interfering elsewhere again.
LS: What about the fact that the Orlando shooter, a couple of the recent guys, have been American citizens? How do you resolve that, and how do you think Trump is going to resolve that?
MY: This is the other thing about Trump that’s great, the total anti-political correctness, it’s political correctness that killed in Sandy Hook, it is political correctness that killed in Orlando. People knew that these people were —
LS: What do you mean by Sandy Hook?
MY: People knew there was something wrong with this guy, and they didn’t report him. They said afterwards they didn’t report him for fear of being seen as racist or Islamophobic. People knew there was something wrong with this guy, and they didn’t say anything.
LS: Well, Sandy Hook the guy was kind of mentally ill, I think, but hadn’t done anything yet. That’s kind of a big civil liberties problem.
MY: Well, people said about him who hadn’t reported him said that the reason they didn’t was they didn’t want to be accused of Islamophobia and racism. That’s why they didn’t report him. They said that that themselves. The same thing with —
LS: San Bernardino. Sorry, you said Sandy Hook, so —
MY: Sorry, it’s been a long day, I apologize. Yeah.
LS: In terms of economics and trade, do you like Trump? You can argue that Clinton is actually more about free trade than Trump. He’s a bit more protectionist in some ways.
MY: Yes, but racial, globalist free markets hasn’t worked for everybody in America — hasn’t worked for at least the white working, or lower middle class in America don’t perceive that it has worked very well for them. It hasn’t served everybody, and a bit of protectionism — for many American voters — seems like quite an attractive thing. That’s not for me to decide, that’s for the voters to decide and many of them are saying, this slavish adherence to the cult of the free market that the Republican party has followed for decades isn’t what we want anymore. That’s not a question for me, that’s up to them. The voters seem to be voting with Trump.
LS: You like that, obviously, you’re —
MY: Yes, because I see it as wrapped up in the preservation of Western culture. And Western culture is what keeps women and gays safe, Western culture is what gave us Mozart, and Da Vinci, and Wagner, and Beethoven. Western culture is what is at risk from immigration from the Middle East.
LS: Doesn’t Western culture have a cosmopolitan, melting pot thing? If you get too isolationist, mightn’t you lose Western culture a bit?
MY: Well, the majority of Western culture came out of Europe, which is not comparable to America. It came out of nation states based on geographical and ethnic foundations. America is based on principles, a very different kind of country….The bottom line is Europe has an incredibly long, bloody history based on an excess of nationalism which has also created a lot of amazing art. The issue is that America also imported a lot of that wholesale, dropped it onto this other big continent over the sea, and that’s worked really well so far, but my view is that a little breather is necessary to make sure that — because Europe is about to fall, Sweden is going, Germany is going, France is going, America is going to be the preserver of that inheritance. And for that to happen, America’s got to take a break from foreign wars, and take a break from immigration.
LS: But again, what do you do with the Muslims who are already here — perhaps even citizens?
MY: If they’re citizens on terror watchlists, and there’s reason to suspect they might commit terrorists acts, they should be locked up or deported.
LS: But the watchlist and the no-fly list, the Democrats want to use that to ban guns and such, they don’t have due process.
MY: Yeah. My answer is lacking in subtlety, because I think the response has to be lacking in subtlety. There is a gigantic problem that an entirely new branch of government needs to be invented to fix. And I don’t know whether Trump’s the guy to do it, but he’s the closest of the field.
LS: What did you think about the rest of the convention besides Trump?
MY: Very dull. Low energy. The fun things are the things I’m at, like this.
LS: How would you describe your politics? I know you’ve used different words over the years.
MY: In some degrees, libertarian. I’m socially conservative in some things. I don’t know a label that fits, honestly.
LS: In person you seem incredibly sincere. Obviously on twitter you seem to be a bit trolly.
MY: No, I like whimsy and satire, and that’s what Americans like so much about Brits. We bring subtlety and sense of humor that you sometimes lack. We have a very long history of importing Brits like Christopher Hitchens who are better at it than Americans are.
[drunk rando]: You know John Cleese.
MY: No, but the point is there’s something whimsical, satirical, and silly about British humor, which Americans have always enjoyed, and lots of us come over here because we have an audience of people who enjoy it.
LS: Do you have lots of American fans because your accent sounds so fancy?
MY: No, I’m losing it! Honestly, I spend three weeks here and I go Mid Atlantic. I sound like Madonna in 2008. Honestly, I don’t think it’s anything to do with it.
Another “great” socialist dictator bites the dust — 49 years too late. Castro cared about the poor so much he created an island full of them, plus he made sure they stayed poor and oppressed for half a century. He and his moronic, despotic ideas wrecked his country, freezing it into a 1950s museum/prison. All that dreamery about him improving his people’s education and creating a health care system is a joke, right up there with all that 1930s-1980s swill about the great accomplishments of Soviet society. He gets credit for allowing farmers to sell surplus crops and letting ordinary people open four-seat restaurants, like he’s Adam Smith Jr. He was as clueless about economics as he was human rights. Not sure about the current status of his cigar industry, but the only thing I can think of that Castro’s leadership did to improve the world was give Miami a large middle class of exiles and create a farm system for major league baseball players — if they could fly or swim to freedom.
Olbermann, then a professional ranter on MSNBC’s “Countdown With Keith Olbermann,” went to his grave thinking that Bush II stole Florida a second time.
Shortly before he passed away, I tried to set him straight with this:
So, America, what’s sloppier?
Our shaky elections system or the jayvee journalism practiced on Keith Olbermann’s fake MSNBC news show “Countdown With Keith Olbermann”?
I cast all of my votes for Olbermann.
The recovering sportscaster is openly liberal and his irreverent, run-and-quip offense is easy to detest. But I kind of like him and his fast-paced infotainment show, which has the fatal misfortune to occupy the 8 p.m. time slot opposite Fox’s “The O’Reilly Factor.”
Olbermann, however, really made a Dan Rather of himself last week.
He never directly charged that Republicans stole the election or demanded that Karl Rove should be picked up for questioning by the U.N. But for 15 minutes on Monday, Olbermann pointed to a “small but blood-curdling group of reports of voting irregularities and possible fraud” from across the country, topped it with some vague partisan innuendo from Democrat Congressman John Conyers, and acted like he deserved a Peabody Award for Civic Journalism.
On Tuesday I checked out some of Olbermann’s claims. Using a high-tech personal communication device professional journalists refer to as a “telephone,” I called an elections bureau person in Cuyahoga County, Ohio (greater Cleveland), where, as Olbermann pointed out, 93,000 extra votes had been inexplicably cast Nov. 2.
It turns out the votes were “a computer anomaly” that didn’t affect or reflect the official vote count. And those 18,472 votes Olbermann said were counted in Fairview Park, a Cleveland suburb that had only 13,342 registered voters• Absentee ballots from many precincts had been grouped together by the computer and credited to Fairview Park, where 8,421 voted.
But what about Florida, the Vote-Fraud State?
Olbermann had made a big sinister deal about 29 counties whose registered voters were predominantly Democrat “suddenly” voting “overwhelmingly for Mr. Bush.” He slyly left the impression that massive vote-stealing could have been perpetrated by ballot tabulating companies like Diebold, whose bosses were known Bush allies.
I called Baker County, Fla., Olbermann’s first example. Yes, twanged the cheery election lady, 69 percent of voters in her rural county on the Georgia border are registered Democrat. Yes, “Mr. Boosh” got 78 percent of the vote and trounced Kerry, 7,738 to 2,180.
This was nothing new or untoward, she said. Folks in Florida’s Panhandle are conservative, especially on social and moral issues. They mostly register as Democrats and vote that way on local issues, but in national and state elections, they go Republican. Been doing so for years.
I heard the same explanation from election ladies in the tiny and large counties of Calhoun, Lafayette, Escambia, Highland and Liberty, where registered Democrats outnumber Republicans by as much as 9 to 1. Yet Bush beat Kerry in every one.
If they had cared, Olbermann and the producers of “Countdown” could have discovered these facts before they began flogging their sloppy Internet-spawned conspiracy Monday and Tueday nights. Non-Republican journalists on Salon.com and Slate.com. had no trouble explaining/debunking it. Nor did bloggers.
By Wednesday, Olbermann’s fever had cooled. But he had abandoned the Florida conspiracy angle, explained Cleveland’s oddities and mostly was yukking it up about a Unilect computer that ate 4,000 votes in North Carolina.
Still, he and his guest enabler from the grownup world of journalism, Jonathan Alter of Newsweek, were concerned about the wussiness of the news media. Why had no major print or electronic outlet pursued this shameful story•
I don’t know, boys. Maybe it’s because before they start making wild charges of “vote fraud,” real journalists pick up a telephone.
If anyone knows where Keith is buried, please tell me so I can put some of my old baseball cards on his grave.
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