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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.’”

The New York Times helped give birth to Castro with its coverage in 1959. See ya. Fidel.
Now it buries him with too many honors.
True, the Times’ long-awaited obituary reminds us of some of Fidel’s less savory traits. But it still tries to balance his 50-year record of oppression and failure with the usual leftist equivalent of the”but-he-kept-the-trains-running-on-time” BS.
 
Yeah, Cuban education was really great. And that medical system too. World class. Maybe Trump can go down and learn how Fidel performed his magic.
Under Fidel’s vile reign, which American liberals spent fifty years excusing or pretending was not vile, Cuba went from one of the richest countries in South America to its poorest — and stayed that way.
Here’s the comment I sent to the Times on Nov. 26:

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.

esq-megan-fox-cover-0213-lgShe sits across from you in the dark, bright, busy, empty restaurant cafe bar. Her familiar face from that number one critical darling TV show movie is so beautiful you would weep if you weren’t a man. She’s got a personality, so don’t feel guilty or anything. She contains multitudes, which you see reflected in her soul when she plays the fearless, nagging, comforting wife of a damaged spy soldier cop each week.

She expresses opinions and also she does a kind of exercise every day. She has voted. But that’s not really the point, is it? The point is that she is deep, like chocolate or wine.

By her, we mean her face. And tits. Not that the magazine that once published Frank Sinatra Has a Cold and The Falling Man would be so indelicate as to mention those lightly shaded mounds peeking out from the top of that girl next door, rock star, sex kitten blouse. Those breasts like femininity in 2015 America.

Also her face is symmetrical. Which is literary. It’s like a lyric essay, how her face is like that. The symmetry of it speaks volumes about late capitalism. She says things out loud, but it is her face that speaks in deeper, more fundamental tones, like a cello or your mom’s comfort food.

You see her in her underwear on the cover, right? But you didn’t see how comfortably she posed in that dripping, transparent tanktop. You, because you don’t know her and also live in Middle America, will never truly get that she is just as luminous while bare-assed in our studio as she is up on the big and also small screen.

She is poetry. Her thighs especially. They’re like molasses and cream and your first tentative erection. You haven’t studied poetry since high school because real poetry is in the calluses on your hands when you hold your son’s hand and you’re both playing baseball. But her skin and lips are the kind of literature that we have today in 2015. Metaphorically, you will study her vagina in English class tomorrow. Also literally.

We put her in that unbuttoned man’s shirt and loosened tie and nothing else because we know — we know — about the tumultuous state of gender roles in 2015. We see her laughing refutation of the archetypical American pinup girl, and we want to fuck her even more for it, and then give her another Oscar.

But we would fuck her respectfully. No — with reverence. Because she’s a sonnet about a lost, sexy deer, and she is a rich Bearnaise sauce. We would fuck her like we did in our minds while she fiddled with her phone in that cafe, almost like a person would. But she is not one. She is an essay. She is a limpid-eyed, babbling brook that you and your grandfather visited as a child. A strangely arousing painting of Elvis. A vintage sports car in a black and white portrait. A wounded sparrow you would totally do.

He is standing manfully, staring at other manful actions like maybe a pickup sports game or a beer tasting happening a short distance away. He would join in with lithe confidence, if he weren’t being profiled right now by the magazine that published The Falling Man and Frank Sinatra Has a Cold. Look at him relaxing, yet vigilant. He’s dripping with masculinity there in a t-shirt and jeans that you can purchase for 1500 dollars. Look at his face. His jawline is being a man today. Because he’s strong. But the kind of strong that exists in 2015, with its myriad post-feminist complexities and hunger for perfectly cooked meats.

He does stuff. It’s movie stuff, or possibly niche TV stuff, but by God he is just DOING THINGS ACTIVELY all day long. Now he’s leaning, and also standing with his legs apart, and also sitting confidently — like a man who knows how to play Mass Effect while wearing an eight thousand dollar suit and eating a rare steak. A man who has read Gravity’s Rainbow and feels it in his entire being as he lifts. A man who doesn’t hunt, but totally could.

He’s a metaphor for masculinity, this man. Manning about there. He’s kind of like Hemingway. But someone way less trite than that. Steinbeck, maybe? Yeah, he’s the kind of man who could wear a mustache like Steinbeck. The kind of man who invented mustaches. No, he’s someone more truly American than that. He’s like Captain America watching Humphrey Bogart wrestle Steve McQueen. But also like a cowboy detective racecar driver. But less hick than that. Because the essay on the decline of the American farmer, and what it means about your father, and all our fathers, is actually on page 68.

Anyway, he’s a man.

Manhood in 2015, can we ever dissect it? Can we — or he — ever figure out masculinity in a post-9/11, post-Obama, post-bailout, post-man America? Maybe. But that would be too navel-gazing for him. He’s thoughtful, but not in a way that would distract him from going skydiving while wearing jeans and a blazer that’s surprisingly appropriate for work or the bar afterwards. He knows manhood in his fingers, which he can use to please any woman, especially the ones you lust after. But he wouldn’t brag about that, he’d celebrate it with confidence.

Fundamentally, he is too much of a man to stop being a man today. He is manhood in the most fashionable past, and also its bold, unpredictable future. That’s why we took his picture in black and white for the cover! In short, he is you in all your contradictions and nuances. But better than you. But also surprisingly humble and also every single other man in 2015. Whiskey is great, isn’t it?

The Huffington Post turns ten this week.

It’s seen by lots more eyeballs and it’s much better looking and reading than it was at its birth, when it was nothing but a lot of hype and hope and the political scribblings of celebrities. But the HuffPo is still just a liberal pimple on the big conservative ass of the Drudge Report.

I wasn’t going to celebrate the birthday of Arianna Huffington’s love child, but over the weekend The Today Show, or whatever it’s called by NBC, apparently spoke my name during its celebration.

I didn’t see or hear what Today said about me to the whole nation.

I hear they took a line or two out of context from the critical but fair and balanced magazine column I wrote about HuffPo’s birth to show what a big dummy I was for failing to predict it’d live to see its tenth birthday.

I forgot what I wrote on May 15, 2005,  but I looked it up and here it is:

Huffing & Puffing & Disappointing

Matt Drudge can sleep easy.

Arianna Huffington’s much ballyhooed “Huffington Post” — a new Web site whose chief gimmick is a Malibu Beach party’s worth of celebrity bloggers — is no threat.

If you haven’t heard, huffingtonpost.com features the daily blathering of scores of La-La-Landers — Rob Reiner, Bill Maher, John Cusack, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, et al. — and scores of savvy inner-Beltway politicos such as David Corn, Mike McCurry, Joe Scarborough and Danielle Crittenden.

From the advance hype, you’d have thought that the multiblog site, which debuted Monday, was going to do for the blogosphere what CNN did for TV news. It won’t.

It’s way too early to declare it a flop. But it’s easy to see why the media criticism has run from brutally cruel to “Could this possibly be this dull and uninformative forever?”

Not every celebrity embarrasses himself.

Quincy Jones’ rumination on Michael Jackson’s sordid decline is wise, but contains so much God-talk he may have his star on Hollywood Boulevard removed.

“Seinfeld” co-creator Larry David’s defense of U.N. Ambassador-designate John Bolton as a fellow abuser-of-employees is clever satire.

Rob Reiner’s ranting about the news media being stooges of the Bush administration and voters being misled on Iraq, etc., etc., would make a great sendup of a demented Hollywood liberal, except he’s being serious.

Reiner’s meat-headed rant gives credence to L.A. Weekly Nikki Finke’s conspiratorial suspicion that Arianna is now “a conservative mole.” Finke, a business/political columnist, covering entertainment, wrote in her Huffington Post-trashing column that the Greek-born author-pundit “has served up liberal celebs like red meat on a silver platter for the salivating and Hollywood-hating right wing to chew up and spit out.”

Finke could be right. Maybe Arianna — who has morphed from the right-wing conservative spouse of a multimillionaire Republican congressman to a divorced big-government progressive do-gooder — is a double agent for her mid-’90s pal, Newt.

There’s no doubt celebrities are going to be eaten alive by the pros — the politicians, pundits and journalists — Arianna invited to her 300-ring circus. Byron York has already bitten into sports guy Jim Lampley, who opined in his blog that he still thinks Bush stole Ohio last fall.

And conservative Danielle Crittenden, who knows how to mock Hollywood, blogged a clever parody memo to President Bush that plugs a new movie whose heroine is a brave, pro-life Republican congresswoman who fights for family values.

Assembling scores of celebrity bloggers in one place sounds like a really good idea — until you go there and find it’s mostly just a bunch of people with little to say talking to themselves.

At huffingtonpost.com , more is much less. There’s no strong single point of view, which is what all the best blogs have. There’s virtually no interaction or squabbling between libs and conservatives. Libertarians, as usual, apparently weren’t invited.

Arianna’s got lots of tinkering to do before she provides anything close to “a tantalizing mixture of politics, wit and wisdom.” She has to learn how to be an editor and a better ringmaster.

Maybe she’ll figure it out. Meantime, her Internet Free Hollywood may do America some good by forcing the cloistered Hollywood community to debate some nonliberal arguments and ideas it’s not used to even hearing.

Reads pretty good to me.

waco_fireIn honor of this jam-packed day in American history — and in case you ever assume that yes, finally we all get it that Waco was horrific — please check out some of the depressing stuff I’ve written in the past few years about April 19.

More people, including liberals overly terrified of cults and militias, do kind of get it now. More than they did at the time, certainly. But a former fed who was there for the siege is still the official law enforcement go-to guy on MSNBC. And CNN appears to believe that the entire incident was sad because it made federal agents cry.

If I were feeling particularly daring, I might suggest that you read Timothy McVeigh’s “Essay on Hypocrisy.”

Terrorists are horrible, but they are often correct when they compare their actions to state actions. They see through some of the bullshit which excuses violence if it’s done by a state, or at least the proper type of seemingly well-intentioned state. Unfortunately, terrorists obviously manage to destroy their moral high ground by being violent assholes who kill innocent people en masse.  Still, reading the words of terrorists will help us understand them. No matter how much the Rudy Giulianis of the world try to pretend it, explaining violence is not the same thing as excusing it. So, McVeigh did a monstrous thing. If you know my work at all, you don’t need me to say that. That doesn’t mean he didn’t express one or two disturbingly pointed things worth paying attention to.

So read these, watch Waco: The Rules of Engagement, and realize that yes, there are paranoid, irrational people in the world who believe crazy things. And sometimes those crazy things at least seem to be confirmed by real world events. I blame the government for conspiracy theories as much as I blame people’s inability to grasp what is proven, and what is most likely.

(And hey, you know about Waco. Do you know about MOVE?)

(And government, I am researching this for a fictional purpose as well. I swear.)

fd3d8e72-7cd9-4d03-893a-bbaa852cc462-620x372Option one:

If You Looked at Renee Zellweger’s Plastic Surgery, You Need to See These Photos

Mic writer Eileen Shim gives a Renee Zellweger’s face click bait headline, then self-righteously shames you for daring to click on such an inconsequential story. You should care about Kurds fighting, space travel, etc.

You should care more about all those things, that real news, but somehow Shim’s presentation makes me want to go read TMZ like I never have before. Give me good, real news. Find a way for me to want it, if I don’t want it. But do not lecture me about news. And do not sneak it in like a dog owner hides a pill in peanut butter. If I wanted a filibuster about the importance of true journalism, I would watch The Newsroom.

Option two:

‘I don’t care if you landed a spacecraft on a comet, your shirt is sexist and ostracizing’

Ponderous Verge writer Chris Plante cares not for science. He cares only for the fact that British rocket scientist Matt Taylor wore a garish, goofy “girly” shirt on television while discussing how he was going to (along with other scientists) put a God damned probe on a God damned comet.

Alright, Plante later admitted to being a bit excessive, yet cheered poor Taylor’s apology which came earlier today. Taylor might be a big old softy who was actually wounded at being accused of sexism. Or he was just bummed out that the gnats of the internet managed to swarm around and diminish his bad-ass day of SCIENCE. Certainly he had been experiencing some seriously keyed-up emotions and stress levels for several days. We don’t know exactly why he was so upset. We do know that Plante’s satisfaction was cold and creepy. And his conviction that the apology at least meant something good came of this was asinine. Yes, Taylor was bullied into an apology — that will teach him to never wear a quirky shirt designed by a rockabilly woman ever again. I am sure that means his eyes were opened about sexism.

Dear feminists, I may be more contrarian than average. But I strongly suspect I am not the only person completely repulsed by your petty myopia. I am not of the right, but you’re certainly not making liberalism or feminism anything I wish to be affiliated with.

Cream of the crop is option three:

‘Woman Gets Death Threats for Tweeting About Disliking A Dude’s Shirt’

This Jezebel post was so painfully wrong that a quick scan of the comments shows folks asking “uh, what death threats?” People were rude to the woman who originally expressed disgust over Taylor’s shirt. I especially dislike “kill yourself” as an internet insult — and it seems to be only gaining in popularity. But neither “kill yourself’ or “jump off a cliff” are death threats.

Not to mention, see the headline. See the fact that only the woman’s narrow focus is acceptable. She is allowed to be offended by a shirt, but the men aren’t allowed to be frustrated by the fact that someone is making a big deal out of a clothing choice. It may well be worse to experience sexism than to be accused of being a sexist. Yet, in order to accept that sexism is bad, men (or women) are not obligated to become prostrate at every accusation of it. They are allowed to fight back.

Death threats are garbage. Everyone should calm down about almost everything except the state. But try to actually include death threats in your piece which advertises that they occurred.

There are small issues to talk about in the world. I hate high heels. I wish women wouldn’t change their last names so often. But yet another thing that violates the sanctity of choose my choice feminism is how I wish that women (and their allies) would stop obsessing over and writing about things as small as a goofy shirt. Especially on a site which has expressed teenaged-style fawning over Barack Obama, while failing to mention his unfortunately less cute attributes like killing Pakistani children and spying on the media and public. Can we not go a little bigger than #shirtgate — without turning into the social good preaching of Mic? Can we not ever learn that powerful, arrogant people who feel as if they have a right to our lives are the enemy — not a badly dressed* British rocket scientist?

Or is it all about pageviews? Yeah, it is. Never mind.

[*11/15 edit: I think I like the shirt now, but it could just be spite. It’s very hard to tell.]