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Third World problems...we've got them.

It is going to get worse and it may never get better, kiddies. Just watch for the reaction to come... GOP Rep. Steve Scalise shot at co...

"Let no freedom be allowed to novelty, because it is not fitting that any addition should be made to antiquity. Let not the clear faith and belief of our forefathers be fouled by any muddy admixture." -- Pope Sixtus III

Friday, February 02, 2007

Totalitarian Pennsylvania Update.

Slow Eddie Rendell, friend of the little sucker (Oops! "little guy") is going to make all you little suckers (Oops! "little guys") pay more for electricity to fund windmills, hamsters on treadmills, and other exciting gewgaws FROM THE FUTURE.

The Morning Call: Rendell wants fee on sale of electricity to finance alternative energy plan
Governor says costs will be offset almost 10-to-1 by savings.

Sure it will. I have some swampland in Florida I'd like to show you...

Gov. Ed Rendell on Thursday proposed a new fee on the sale of electricity in Pennsylvania to help finance a wide-ranging plan to promote alternative energy sources, increase conservation and blunt expected increases in utility bills in the coming years.

Suckers. That is what you get for voting left-fascist.

Da red. Da white.

Chicago Sun-Times: Nothing says wine like . . . Ditka?
Mike Ditka is on the crisp and dry side, a tad spicy and best when chilled.

Mike Ditka Pinot Grigio, that is.

Da Coach has partnered with a California winery to produce five wines shipping to retailers this week, all bearing the unmistakable doodle of his slick-haired head.

The highest-end bottle in the line: a zinfandel-syrah-petite sirah blend called Mike Ditka Kick Ass Red.

"One word: powerful . . . with a nice, pleasant pepper finish," said Bill Hanson, Midwest region vice president for Costco, which will carry the wines.

Good palateAlthough his tough-talking, cigar-chomping demeanor might scream Budweiser, "Looks can be deceiving," Ditka said. "I've drank red wine my whole life. There's no wine ever made that I didn't try."

And he has a "good palate," said Paul Dolan, partner at Mendocino Wine Co., which is producing the Ditka wines.

In June, Ditka, chef Tom Kenny of Ditka's Gold Coast restaurant, and Steve Diebold of Promark, the West Chicago brokerage firm that oversees Ditka-licensed products, spent two days at Dolan's vineyard in Ukiah, Calif., putting the blends together.

Will cost $10 to $50Besides the Kick Ass Red, which will cost between $40 and $50, there is a chardonnay and cabernet sauvignon in the $15 to $17 range, and a merlot and pinot grigio, priced between $10 and $12.

The pinot grigio was a must, Ditka said. "My wife only drinks pinot grigio."

Ditka isn't the only famous face on a wine label. Golfer Greg Norman and actress Lorraine Bracco are among a growing number of celebrities with their own wines.

You gotta be careful not to choke on Norman's wines...(sorry).

Celebrities "live a lifestyle that very often includes wine, food, entertaining, all those good things, so there's a natural affinity there," said John Gillespie, founder of Wine Opinions, a consumer research firm.

'Very user-friendly'While some celebrity wines, including Norman's, have been well-received by critics, the quality of others is "all over the board," said Barbara Hermann, wine buyers for Binny's, who describes the Ditka wines as "very user-friendly" with "a lot of fruit."

Besides Costco, Binny's in Highland Park and Chicago area Dominick's stores will carry the wines. Ditka's restaurant at 100 E. Chestnut is serving two of the wines by the glass and should have the full lineup later this month, Kenny said.

Ditka's name is on frozen pork chops, barbecue and steak sauces, and a cheese spread and will soon be on cigars, also to be sold at Costco.

How could you root against a wine named Kick Ass Red?

Chicago Sun-Times: Ditka's wine does just fine against big boys
Sales of Mike Ditka's Kick Ass Red wine are strong at Da Coach's namesake restaurant in the Gold Coast, and Bears fever "definitely has helped," general manager George Laftsidis said.

But does the Kick Ass Red really kick ass?

We put Ditka's $45 red wine, released in November, up against a $100 red and asked four Sun-Times columnists -- Mark Brown, Elliott Harris, David Roeder and Paige Wiser -- for their winning picks.

We didn't tell our panelists which wine was which until the tasting was completed. One taster complained he was automatically at a disadvantage.

"As a sportswriter, I don't know what a $100 bottle of wine tastes like," Harris said.

In the end, the panel was split on the wine they liked best (Wiser and Harris picked Ditka) and which one they thought was more expensive (Brown and Roeder guessed correctly).

Roeder, a twice-a-week wine drinker, said Ditka's wine "has less impact than the New Orleans Saints when he coached them."

Due to time constraints, we now move to further action.

MIKE DITKA'S KICK ASS RED ($45.99)

Brown: Oh, this is really good [coughs]. . . . My first sense was that it was watery. But then it kind of kicked in like Mad Dog 20/20.

Wiser: It's going down really easy. . . . It tastes clean to me. It's round, it's well-balanced in fruit tannins and body.

Roeder: It's a bit more acidic, but to me it seems less distinct as a flavor. There's not that much to this.

Harris: Then again, less distinct may also mean more subtle. But then, subtlety is not the hallmark of Ditka.

CHATEAU MONTELENA CABERNET ($99.99)

Brown: This seems like a more serious wine to me.

Wiser: This one is more robust. The bouquet was more acidic -- am I crazy?

Roeder: Tawny. Seems to have quite a nose to it. Depending on the person's taste, it might be a little bit too much but I like it. It's got a smooth aftertaste to it.

Harris: Tastes like it might go well with pork chops from a restaurant. Probably one where a former Bears coach has his name on it.

FINAL SCORE: Ditka 2, Chateau Montelena 2

THE PANEL
• Paige Wiser: Planet Paige goes with Da Coach.

• Mark Brown, Page 2 columnist: Picks the "more serious" Chateau.

• David Roeder, investment expert: Puts his money on the "smooth" Chateau.

• Elliott Harris, Sports columnist: Perhaps tasting his first $100 bottle, sides with Ditka instead.

Fyodor's Pro Football Picks of the Week. (Super Bowl Edition)

1) The guys who set the lines are professionals. Their job is to make each game look as attractive as possible to everyone. That way they even out the amount of money bet on each side.

Instant translation: The house wins no matter who wins. That's why people get into the gambling business.

2) I am just a fan. I won't even keep track of these picks week to week if it gets too embarrassing.

3) There is no such thing as "inside information". Especially in the pros.

4) If those idiot touts on tv and in the paper were any good, they wouldn't go public with their genius. They'd sit at Harrah's sports book from open to close and then go out and buy $2,000 an hour hookers who dress like high school girls.

5) Gambling is stupid. You cannot win.

That being said, here is my Super Bowl pick.


Sunday 2/4


SUPER BOWL XLI
at Dolphins Stadium in Miami, Florida

Indianapolis (-7) versus Chicago
It all comes down to one thing, kiddies...Do you have enough confidence in Rex Grossman leading the Bears to victory in the biggest game of the year? I don't. I'll take the Colts to cover. (Sorry, Amy.)
FINAL: Colts 29 Bears 17 - Fyodor wins! [1.See genius-level analysis above. 2.That being said, Rex was not totally to blame. The Bears did not run the ball while the Colts did. What was up with that, Chicago o.c. Ron Turner?

3.Since the Steelers were not playing, I actually paid attention to the commercials...

The Good: Bud's wedding auctioneer, axe-wielding hitchhiker, and face slapping; All the CareerBuilder.com ads with bonus points to whomever came up with the sticky note armor and the chinese food delivery guy; GarminMan, who looked suspisciously like UltraMan; and ETrade's one finger spot.

The Bad: All the Coke ads! Borrrrrrrrrrrrrrrring; Memo To GoDaddy.com: Find a new babe; All ads with anybody from American Chopper in it - that's two strikes against GoDaddy.

The Ugly: That Sheryl Crow hair coloring ad. She wasn't hot even when everybody said she was. Now she has to get by on her singing and songwriting...heehee!

The Best: The Emerald Nuts ad featuring Robert Goulet. Hands down, nobody else even came close. Bob Goulet gets it, kiddies.

See the Super Bowl commercials here.

4.Yes, the rain made the ball slippery, but why didn't Phil Simms mention the NFL running brand new balls into play constantly so they can sell them as souvenirs?]

Now for some socialist obscurantism from the Heat Nazis.

Here is a modest proposal: Why don't all you Heat Nazis (and you sheep-like followers) just kill yourselves and eliminate your "carbon footprint" (There is absolutely no way to type that with a straight face.) alltogether.

You can call it retroactive abortion. That will make you feel better.

USA Today: Report says global warming very likely man-made, to continue 'for centuries'

This, from the same clowns who can't tell us if it will rain tomorrow!

A United Nations report issued today by the world's top climate scientists said global warning was "very likely" man-made and would bring higher temperatures and a steady rise in sea levels for centuries to come regardless of how much the world slows or reduces its greenhouse gas emissions.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which is made up of scientists from 113 countries, was created by the U.N. in 1988 and releases its assessments every five or six years.

"Warming of the climate system is unequivocal, as is now evident from observations of increases in global average air and ocean temperatures, widspread melting of snow and ice, and rising global mean sea level," said the IPCC report.

The panel's bleak 21-page report (PDF), released officially in Paris, was aimed at laying out the how, what and why of global warming, but not to offer remedies.

The report said man-made emissions of greenhouse gases can already be blamed for fewer cold days, hotter nights, killer heat waves, floods and heavy rains, devastating droughts, and an increase in hurricane and tropical storm strength — particularly in the Atlantic Ocean.

"It is critical that we look at this report ... as a moment where the focus of attention will shift from whether climate change is linked to human activity, whether the science is sufficient, to what on earth are we going to do about it," U.N. Environment Program executive director Achim Steiner said.

"The public should not sit back and say 'There's nothing we can do'," Steiner said. "Anyone who would continue to risk inaction on the basis of the evidence presented here will one day in the history books be considered irresponsible."

Another report by the panel later this year will address the most effective measures for slowing global warming.

In Washington, D.C., Ben Dunham, staff attorney for the U.S. Public Interest Research Group said the report, as a consensus document, was necessarily conservative in its projections. But even as a best case scenario, he said, "it still paints a pretty scary picture —some sections read like the Book of Revelations."

Moron.

Dunham said he found some parts hopeful in that the scientists indicated that emission controls can have a significant impact on global warming. "Now that we've heard from the world's top scientists, now it's time for Congress to act," he said.

The report was blunt in its findings. If it looks bad now, the harmful effects during the 21st century "would very likely be larger than those observed during the 20th century," the report said.

The panel predicted temperature rises of 2 to 11.5°F by the year 2100. That was a wider range than in the 2001 report. However, the panel also said its best estimate was for temperature rises of 3.2 to 7.1°F.

On sea levels, the report projects rises of 7-23 inches by the end of the century. An additional 3.9-7.8 inches are possible if recent, surprising melting of polar ice sheets continues.

"The situation is more dire than (at the time of the 2001 report) because we have real possibilities that the situation can be much greater than we have seen before," said co-author Kevin Trenberth, director of climate analysis at the U.S National Center for Atmospheric Research.

A colleague from the center, Gerry Miehl, warned that continued global warming could eventually lead to an "ice-free Arctic."
And the report said no matter how much civilization slows or reduces its greenhouse gas emissions, global warming and sea level rise will continue on for centuries.

"This is just not something you can stop. We're just going to have to live with it," co-author Kevin Trenberth, director of climate analysis for the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colorado, said in an interview. "We're creating a different planet. If you were to come up back in 100 years time, we'll have a different climate."

Scientists worry that world leaders will take that message in the wrong way and throw up their hands, Trenberth said. That would be wrong, he said. Instead, the scientists urged leaders to reduce emissions and also adapt to a warmer world with wilder weather.

"The point here is to highlight what will happen if we don't do something and what will happen if we do something," co-author Jonathan Overpeck at University of Arizona said. "I can tell if you will decide not to do something the impacts will be much larger than if we do something."

"You make a difference on hundred of years time frame, but this is the future of the planet," Trenberth told the Associated Press.
"We have to adapt to it."

Trenberth said the world is paying more attention to scientists now than in previous warnings in 1990, 1995 and 2001. "The tension is more now," he said.

Incoherent toad.

The head of the U.S. delegation, White House associate science adviser Sharon Hays, called the panel's summary "a significant report. It will be valuable to policymakers."

In Washington, Stephen Johnson, Environmental Protection Agency administrator, said the report "marks a great day for the scientific body of knowledge on climate change."

Joseph Romm, author of Hell and High Water: Global Warming, The Solution and the Politics, called the report "solid and scary."

Romm, a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress, a Washington think-tank, said a standout concern for the USA is the finding that climate change is likely to raise the intensity and rainfall from hurricanes and other tropical cyclones, a point of great debate since Hurricanes Katrina and Rita in 2005 and the onslaught of storms in Florida in 2004.

That makes the report's discussion of sea-level rise disappointing, Romm said, because it narrows and lowers the expected range of the oceans' rise even as recent research shows Greenland and Antarctica losing masses of ice that could raise the world's waters.

Romm said recent sea-level science not included in the report because it came out after the deadline of more than a year ago suggests a 5-inches-a-year rise after the year 2100, which is devastating. How do you adapt to that? We're going to have to triage a lot of major cities here, particularly when you throw in the increased intensity and increasing rain events of hurricanes.

Heehee! (Memo to USA Today: Hire some proofreaders.)

As the IPCC report was being released, environmental activists repelled off a Paris bridge and draped a banner over a statue used often as a popular gauge of whether the Seine River is running high.

"Alarm bells are ringing. The world must wake up to the threat posed by climate change," said Catherine Pearce of Friends of the Earth.

Ding-a-ling, baby, ding-a-ling.

First, some science.

Nothing at all has changed, kiddies, since this excellent article was written before the reign of King Goober II.

Nothing.

Global Warming: The Origin and Nature of the Alleged Scientific Consensus by Richard S. Lindzen

Richard S. Lindzen is the Alfred P. Sloan Professor of Meteorology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Most of the literate world today regards "global warming'' as both real and dangerous. Indeed, the diplomatic activity concerning warming might lead one to believe that it is the major crisis confronting mankind. The June 1992 Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, focused on international agreements to deal with that threat, and the heads of state from dozens of countries attended. I must state at the outset, that, as a scientist, I can find no substantive basis for the warming scenarios being popularly described. Moreover, according to many studies I have read by economists, agronomists, and hydrologists, there would be little difficulty adapting to such warming if it were to occur. Such was also the conclusion of the recent National Research Council's report on adapting to global change. Many aspects of the catastrophic scenario have already been largely discounted by the scientific community. For example, fears of massive sea-level increases accompanied many of the early discussions of global warming, but those estimates have been steadily reduced by orders of magnitude, and now it is widely agreed that even the potential contribution of warming to sea-level rise would be swamped by other more important factors.

To show why I assert that there is no substantive basis for predictions of sizeable global warming due to observed increases in minor greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide, methane, and chlorofluorocarbons, I shall briefly review the science associated with those predictions.

Summary of Scientific Issues

Before even considering "greenhouse theory,'' it may be helpful to begin with the issue that is almost always taken as a given--that carbon dioxide will inevitably increase to values double and even quadruple present values. Evidence from the analysis of ice cores and after 1958 from direct atmospheric sampling shows that the amount of carbon dioxide in the air has been increasing since 1800. Before 1800 the density was about 275 parts per million by volume. Today it is about 355 parts per million by volume. The increase is generally believed to be due to the combination of increased burning of fossil fuels and before 1905 to deforestation. The total source is estimated to have been increasing exponentially at least until 1973. From 1973 until 1990 the rate of increase has been much slower, however. About half the production of carbon dioxide has appeared in the atmosphere.

Predicting what will happen to carbon dioxide over the next century is a rather uncertain matter. By assuming a shift toward the increased use of coal, rapid advances in the third world's standard of living, large population increases, and a reduction in nuclear and other nonfossil fuels, one can generate an emissions scenario that will lead to a doubling of carbon dioxide by 2030--if one uses a particular model for the chemical response to carbon dioxide emissions. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Working Group I's model referred to that as the "business as usual'' scenario. As it turns out, the chemical model used was inconsistent with the past century's record; it would have predicted that we would already have about 400 parts per million by volume. An improved model developed at the Max Planck Institute in Hamburg shows that even the "business as usual'' scenario does not double carbon dioxide by the year 2100. It seems unlikely moreover that the indefinite future of energy belongs to coal. I also find it difficult to believe that technology will not lead to improved nuclear reactors within fifty years.

Nevertheless, we have already seen a significant increase in carbon dioxide that has been accompanied by increases in other minor greenhouse gases such as methane and chlorofluorocarbons. Indeed, in terms of greenhouse potential, we have had the equivalent of a 50 percent increase in carbon dioxide over the past century. The effects of those increases are certainly worth studying--quite independent of any uncertain future scenarios.

The Greenhouse Effect.

The crude idea in the common popular presentation of the greenhouse effect is that the atmosphere is transparent to sunlight (apart from the very significant reflectivity of both clouds and the surface), which heats the Earth's surface. The surface offsets that heating by radiating in the infrared. The infrared radiation increases with increasing surface temperature, and the temperature adjusts until balance is achieved. If the atmosphere were also transparent to infrared radiation, the infrared radiation produced by an average surface temperature of minus eighteen degrees centigrade would balance the incoming solar radiation (less that amount reflected back to space by clouds). The atmosphere is not transparent in the infrared, however. So the Earth must heat up somewhat more to deliver the same flux of infrared radiation to space. That is what is called the greenhouse effect.

The fact that the Earth's average surface temperature is fifteen degrees centigrade rather than minus eighteen degrees centigrade is attributed to that effect. The main absorbers of infrared in the atmosphere are water vapor and clouds. Even if all other greenhouse gases (such as carbon dioxide and methane) were to disappear, we would still be left with over 98 percent of the current greenhouse effect. Nevertheless, it is presumed that increases in carbon dioxide and other minor greenhouse gases will lead to significant increases in temperature. As we have seen, carbon dioxide is increasing. So are other minor greenhouse gases. A widely held but questionable contention is that those increases will continue along the path they have followed for the past century.

The simple picture of the greenhouse mechanism is seriously oversimplified. Many of us were taught in elementary school that heat is transported by radiation, convection, and conduction. The above representation only refers to radiative transfer. As it turns out, if there were only radiative heat transfer, the greenhouse effect would warm the Earth to about seventy-seven degrees centigrade rather than to fifteen degrees centigrade. In fact, the greenhouse effect is only about 25 percent of what it would be in a pure radiative situation. The reason for this is the presence of convection (heat transport by air motions), which bypasses much of the radiative absorption.



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What is really going on is schematically illustrated in Figure 1. The surface of the Earth is cooled in large measure by air currents (in various forms including deep clouds) that carry heat upward and poleward. One consequence of this picture is that it is the greenhouse gases well above the Earth's surface that are of primary importance in determining the temperature of the Earth. That is especially important for water vapor, whose density decreases by about a factor of 1,000 between the surface and ten kilometers above the surface. Another consequence is that one cannot even calculate the temperature of the Earth without models that accurately reproduce the motions of the atmosphere. Indeed, present models have large errors here--on the order of 50 percent. Not surprisingly, those models are unable to calculate correctly either the present average temperature of the Earth or the temperature ranges from the equator to the poles. Rather, the models are adjusted or "tuned" to get those quantities approximately right.

It is still of interest to ask what we would expect a doubling of carbon dioxide to do. A large number of calculations show that if this is all that happened, we might expect a warming of from .5 to 1.2 degrees centigrade. The general consensus is that such warming would present few, if any, problems. But even that prediction is subject to some uncertainty because of the complicated way the greenhouse effect operates. More important, the climate is a complex system where it is impossible for all other internal factors to remain constant. In present models those other factors amplify the effects of increasing carbon dioxide and lead to predictions of warming in the neighborhood of four to five degrees centigrade. Internal processes within the climate system that change in response to warming in such a manner as to amplify the response are known as positive feedbacks. Internal processes that diminish the response are known as negative feedbacks. The most important positive feedback in current models is due to water vapor. In all current models upper tropospheric (five to twelve kilometers) water vapor--the major greenhouse gas--increases as surface temperatures increase. Without that feedback, no current model would predict warming in excess of 1.7 degrees centigrade--regardless of any other factors. Unfortunately, the way current models handle factors such as clouds and water vapor is disturbingly arbitrary. In many instances the underlying physics is simply not known. In other instances there are identifiable errors. Even computational errors play a major role. Indeed, there is compelling evidence for all the known feedback factors to actually be negative. In that case, we would expect the warming response to carbon dioxide doubling alone to be diminished.

It is commonly suggested that society should not depend on negative feedbacks to spare us from a "greenhouse catastrophe.'' What is omitted from such suggestions is that current models depend heavily on undemonstrated positive feedback factors to predict high levels of warming. The effects of clouds have been receiving the closest scrutiny. That is not unreasonable. Cloud cover in models is poorly treated and inaccurately predicted. Yet clouds reflect about seventy-five watts per square meter. Given that a doubling of carbon dioxide would change the surface heat flux by only two watts per square meter, it is evident that a small change in cloud cover can strongly affect the response to carbon dioxide. The situation is complicated by the fact that clouds at high altitudes can also supplement the greenhouse effect. Indeed, the effects of clouds in reflecting light and in enhancing the greenhouse effect are roughly in balance. Their actual effect on climate depends both on the response of clouds to warming and on the possible imbalance of their cooling and heating effects.

Similarly, factors involving the contribution of snow cover to reflectivity serve, in current models, to amplify warming due to increasing carbon dioxide. What happens seems reasonable enough; warmer climates presumably are associated with less snow cover and less reflectivity--which, in turn, amplify the warming. Snow is associated with winter when incident sunlight is minimal, however. Moreover, clouds shield the Earth's surface from the sun and minimize the response to snow cover. Indeed, there is growing evidence that clouds accompany diminishing snow cover to such an extent as to make that feedback factor negative. If, however, one asks why current models predict that large warming will accompany increasing carbon dioxide, the answer is mostly due to the effect of the water vapor feedback. Current models all predict that warmer climates will be accompanied by increasing humidity at all levels. As already noted, such behavior is an artifact of the models since they have neither the physics nor the numerical accuracy to deal with water vapor. Recent studies of the physics of how deep clouds moisturize the atmosphere strongly suggest that this largest of the positive feedbacks is not only negative, but very large.

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Not only are there major reasons to believe that models are exaggerating the response to increasing carbon dioxide, but, perhaps even more significantly, the models' predictions for the past century incorrectly describe the pattern of warming and greatly overestimate its magnitude. The global average temperature record for the past century or so is irregular and not without problems. It does, however, show an average increase in temperature of about .45 degree centigrade plus or minus .15 degree centigrade with most of the increase occurring before 1940, followed by some cooling through the early 1970s and a rapid (but modest) temperature increase in the late 1970s. As noted, we have already seen an increase in "equivalent'' carbon dioxide of 50 percent. Thus, on the basis of models that predict a four degree centigrade warming for a doubling of carbon dioxide we might expect to have seen a warming of two degrees centigrade already. If, however, we include the delay imposed by the oceans' heat capacity, we might expect a warming of about one degree centigrade--which is still twice what has been observed. Moreover, most of that warming occurred before the bulk of the minor greenhouse gases were added to the atmosphere. Figure 2 shows what might have been expected for models with differing sensitivities to a doubling of carbon dioxide. What we see is that the past record is most consistent with an equilibrium response to a doubling of about 1.3 degrees centigrade--assuming that all the observed warming was due to increasing carbon dioxide. There is nothing in the record that can be distinguished from the natural variability of the climate, however.

If one considers the tropics, that conclusion is even more disturbing. There is ample evidence that the average equatorial sea surface has remained within plus or minus one degree centigrade of its present temperature for billions of years, yet current models predict average warming of from two to four degrees centigrade even at the equator. It should be noted that for much of the Earth's history, the atmosphere had much more carbon dioxide than is currently anticipated for centuries to come. I could, in fact, go on at great length listing the evidence for small responses to a doubling of carbon dioxide; there are space constraints, however.

Consensus and the Current "Popular Vision''

Many studies from the nineteenth century on suggested that industrial and other contributions to increasing carbon dioxide might lead to global warming. Problems with such predictions were also long noted, and the general failure of such predictions to explain the observed record caused the field of climatology as a whole to regard the suggested mechanisms as suspect. Indeed, the global cooling trend of the 1950s and 1960s led to a minor global cooling hysteria in the 1970s. All that was more or less normal scientific debate, although the cooling hysteria had certain striking analogues to the present warming hysteria including books such as The Genesis Strategy by Stephen Schneider and Climate Change and World Affairs by Crispin Tickell--both authors are prominent in support of the present concerns as well--"explaining'' the problem and promoting international regulation. There was also a book by the prominent science writer Lowell Ponte (The Cooling) that derided the skeptics and noted the importance of acting in the absence of firm, scientific foundation. There was even a report by the National Research Council of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences reaching its usual ambiguous conclusions. But the scientific community never took the issue to heart, governments ignored it, and with rising global temperatures in the late 1970s the issue more or less died. In the meantime, model calculations--especially at the Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory at Princeton--continued to predict substantial warming due to increasing carbon dioxide. Those predictions were considered interesting, but largely academic, exercises--even by the scientists involved.

The present hysteria formally began in the summer of 1988, although preparations had been put in place at least three years earlier. That was an especially warm summer in some regions, particularly in the United States. The abrupt increase in temperature in the late 1970s was too abrupt to be associated with the smooth increase in carbon dioxide. Nevertheless, James Hansen, director of the Goddard Institute for Space Studies, in testimony before Sen. Al Gore's Committee on Science, Technology and Space, said, in effect, that he was 99 percent certain that temperature had increased and that there was some greenhouse warming. He made no statement concerning the relation between the two.

Despite the fact that those remarks were virtually meaningless, they led the environmental advocacy movement to adopt the issue immediately. The growth of environmental advocacy since the 1970s has been phenomenal. In Europe the movement centered on the formation of Green parties; in the United States the movement centered on the development of large public interest advocacy groups. Those lobbying groups have budgets of several hundred million dollars and employ about 50,000 people; their support is highly valued by many political figures. As with any large groups, self-perpetuation becomes a crucial concern. "Global warming'' has become one of the major battle cries in their fundraising efforts. At the same time, the media unquestioningly accept the pronouncements of those groups as objective truth.

Within the large-scale climate modelling community--a small subset of the community interested in climate--however, the immediate response was to criticize Hansen for publicly promoting highly uncertain model results as relevant to public policy. Hansen's motivation was not totally obvious, but despite the criticism of Hansen, the modelling community quickly agreed that large warming was not impossible. That was still enough for both the politicians and advocates who have generally held that any hint of environmental danger is a sufficient basis for regulation unless the hint can be rigorously disproved. That is a particularly pernicious asymmetry, given that rigor is generally impossible in environmental sciences.

Other scientists quickly agreed that with increasing carbon dioxide some warming might be expected and that with large enough concentrations of carbon dioxide the warming might be significant. Nevertheless, there was widespread skepticism. By early 1989, however, the popular media in Europe and the United States were declaring that "all scientists'' agreed that warming was real and catastrophic in its potential.

As most scientists concerned with climate, I was eager to stay out of what seemed like a public circus. But in the summer of 1988 Lester Lave, a professor of economics at Carnegie Mellon University, wrote to me about being dismissed from a Senate hearing for suggesting that the issue of global warming was scientifically controversial. I assured him that the issue was not only controversial but also unlikely. In the winter of 1989 Reginald Newell, a professor of meteorology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, lost National Science Foundation funding for data analyses that were failing to show net warming over the past century. Reviewers suggested that his results were dangerous to humanity. In the spring of 1989 I was an invited participant at a global warming symposium at Tufts University. I was the only scientist among a panel of environmentalists. There were strident calls for immediate action and ample expressions of impatience with science. Claudine Schneider, then a congressman from Rhode Island, acknowledged that "scientists may disagree, but we can hear Mother Earth, and she is crying.'' It seemed clear to me that a very dangerous situation was arising, and the danger was not of "global warming'' itself.

In the spring of 1989 I prepared a critique of global warming, which I submitted to Science, a magazine of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. The paper was rejected without review as being of no interest to the readership. I then submitted the paper to the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, where it was accepted after review, rereviewed, and reaccepted--an unusual procedure to say the least. In the meantime, the paper was attacked in Science before it had even been published. The paper circulated for about six months as samizdat. It was delivered at a Humboldt conference at M.I.T. and reprinted in the Frankfurter Allgemeine.

In the meantime, the global warming circus was in full swing. Meetings were going on nonstop. One of the more striking of those meetings was hosted in the summer of 1989 by Robert Redford at his ranch in Sundance, Utah. Redford proclaimed that it was time to stop research and begin acting. I suppose that that was a reasonable suggestion for an actor to make, but it is also indicative of the overall attitude toward science. Barbara Streisand personally undertook to support the research of Michael Oppenheimer at the Environmental Defense Fund, although he is primarily an advocate and not a climatologist. Meryl Streep made an appeal on public television to stop warming. A bill was even prepared to guarantee Americans a stable climate.

By the fall of 1989 some media were becoming aware that there was controversy (Forbes and Reader's Digest were notable in that regard). Cries followed from environmentalists that skeptics were receiving excessive exposure. The publication of my paper was followed by a determined effort on the part of the editor of the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, Richard Hallgren, to solicit rebuttals. Such articles were prepared by Stephen Schneider and Will Kellogg, a minor scientific administrator for the past thirty years, and those articles were followed by an active correspondence mostly supportive of the skeptical spectrum of views. Indeed, a recent Gallup poll of climate scientists in the American Meteorological Society and in the American Geophysical Union shows that a vast majority doubts that there has been any identifiable man-caused warming to date (49 percent asserted no, 33 percent did not know, 18 percent thought some has occurred; however, among those actively involved in research and publishing frequently in peer-reviewed research journals, none believes that any man-caused global warming has been identified so far). On the whole, the debate within the meteorological community has been relatively healthy and, in this regard, unusual.

Outside the world of meteorology, Greenpeace's Jeremy Legett, a geologist by training, published a book attacking critics of warming---especially me. George Mitchell, Senate majority leader and father of a prominent environmental activist, also published a book urging acceptance of the warming problem (World on Fire: Saving an Endangered Earth). Sen. Gore recently published a book (Earth in the Balance: Ecology and the Human Spirit). Those are just a few examples of the rapidly growing publications on warming. Rarely has such meager science provoked such an outpouring of popularization by individuals who do not understand the subject in the first place.

The activities of the Union of Concerned Scientists deserve special mention. That widely supported organization was originally devoted to nuclear disarmament. As the cold war began to end, the group began to actively oppose nuclear power generation. Their position was unpopular with many physicists. Over the past few years, the organization has turned to the battle against global warming in a particularly hysterical manner. In 1989 the group began to circulate a petition urging recognition of global warming as potentially the great danger to mankind. Most recipients who did not sign were solicited at least twice more. The petition was eventually signed by 700 scientists including a great many members of the National Academy of Sciences and Nobel laureates. Only about three or four of the signers, however, had any involvement in climatology. Interestingly, the petition had two pages, and on the second page there was a call for renewed consideration of nuclear power. When the petition was published in the New York Times, however, the second page was omitted. In any event, that document helped solidify the public perception that "all scientists'' agreed with the disaster scenario. Such a disturbing abuse of scientific authority was not unnoticed. At the 1990 annual meeting of the National Academy of Sciences, Frank Press, the academy's president, warned the membership against lending their credibility to issues about which they had no special knowledge. Special reference was made to the published petition. In my opinion what the petition did show was that the need to fight "global warming'' has become part of the dogma of the liberal conscience--a dogma to which scientists are not immune.

At the same time, political pressures on dissidents from the "popular vision'' increased. Sen. Gore publicly admonished "skeptics'' in a lengthy New York Times op-ed piece. In a perverse example of double-speak he associated the "true believers'' in warming with Galileo. He also referred, in another article, to the summer of 1988 as the Kristallnacht before the warming holocaust.

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The notion of "scientific unanimity'' is currently intimately tied to the Working Group I report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change issued in September 1990. That panel consists largely of scientists posted to it by government agencies. The panel has three working groups. Working Group I nominally deals with climate science. Approximately 150 scientists contributed to the report, but university representation from the United States was relatively small and is likely to remain so, since the funds and time needed for participation are not available to most university scientists. Many governments have agreed to use that report as the authoritative basis for climate policy. The report, as such, has both positive and negative features. Methodologically, the report is deeply committed to reliance on large models, and within the report models are largely verified by comparison with other models. Given that models are known to agree more with each other than with nature (even after "tuning''), that approach does not seem promising. In addition, a number of the participants have testified to the pressures placed on them to emphasize results supportive of the current scenario and to suppress other results. That pressure has frequently been effective, and a survey of participants reveals substantial disagreement with the final report. Nonetheless, the body of the report is extremely ambiguous, and the caveats are numerous. The report is prefaced by a policymakers' summary written by the editor, Sir John Houghton, director of the United Kingdom Meteorological Office. His summary largely ignores the uncertainty in the report and attempts to present the expectation of substantial warming as firmly based science. The summary was published as a separate document, and, it is safe to say that policymakers are unlikely to read anything further. On the basis of the summary, one frequently hears that "hundreds of the world's greatest climate scientists from dozens of countries all agreed that...'' It hardly matters what the agreement refers to, since whoever refers to the summary insists that it agrees with the most extreme scenarios (which, in all fairness, it does not). I should add that the climatology community, until the past few years, was quite small and heavily concentrated in the United States and Europe.

While the International Panel on Climate Change's reports were in preparation, the National Research Council in the United States was commissioned to prepare a synthesis of the current state of the global change situation. The panel chosen was hardly promising. It had no members of the academy expert in climate. Indeed, it had only one scientist directly involved in climate, Stephen Schneider, who is an ardent environmental advocate. It also included three professional environmental advocates, and it was headed by a former senator, Dan Evans. The panel did include distinguished scientists and economists outside the area of climate, and, perhaps because of this, the report issued by the panel was by and large fair. The report concluded that the scientific basis for costly action was absent, although prudence might indicate that actions that were cheap or worth doing anyway should be considered. A subcommittee of the panel issued a report on adaptation that argued that even with the more severe warming scenarios, the United States would have little difficulty adapting. Not surprisingly, the environmentalists on the panel not only strongly influenced the reports, but failing to completely have their way, attempted to distance themselves from the reports by either resigning or by issuing minority dissents. Equally unsurprising is the fact that the New York Times typically carried reports on that panel on page 46. The findings were never subsequently discussed in the popular media--except for claims that the reports supported the catastrophic vision. Nevertheless, the reports of that panel were indicative of the growing skepticism concerning the warming issue.

Indeed, the growing skepticism is in many ways remarkable. One of the earliest protagonists of global warming, Roger Revelle, the late professor of ocean sciences at Scripps Institution of Oceanography who initiated the direct monitoring of carbon dioxide during the International Geophysical Year (1958), coauthored with S. Fred Singer and Chauncy Starr a paper recommending that action concerning global warming be delayed insofar as current knowledge was totally inadequate. Another active advocate of global warming, Michael McElroy, head of the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences at Harvard, has recently written a paper acknowledging that existing models cannot be used to forecast climate.

One might think that such growing skepticism would have some influence on public debate, but the insistence on "scientific unanimity'' continues unabated. At times, that insistence takes some very strange forms. Over a year ago, Robert White, former head of the U.S. Weather Bureau and currently president of the National Academy of Engineering, wrote an article for Scientific American that pointed out that the questionable scientific basis for global warming predictions was totally inadequate to justify any costly actions. He did state that if one were to insist on doing something, one should only do things that one would do even if there were no warming threat. Immediately after that article appeared, Tom Wicker, a New York Times columnist and a confidant of Sen. Gore, wrote a piece in which he stated that White had called for immediate action on "global warming.'' My own experiences have been similar. In an article in Audubon Stephen Schneider states that I have "conceded that some warming now appears inevitable.'' Differences between expectations of unmeasurable changes of a few tenths of a degree and warming of several degrees are conveniently ignored. Karen White in a lengthy and laudatory article on James Hansen that appeared in the New York Times Sunday Magazine reported that even I agreed that there would be warming, having "reluctantly offered an estimate of 1.2 degrees.'' That was, of course, untrue.

Most recently, I testified at a Senate hearing conducted by Sen. Gore. There was a rather arcane discussion of the water vapor in the upper troposphere. Two years ago, I had pointed out that if the source of water vapor in that region in the tropics was from deep clouds, then surface warming would be accompanied by reduced upper level water vapor. Subsequent research has established that there must be an additional source--widely believed to be ice crystals thrown off by those deep clouds. I noted that that source too probably acts to produce less moisture in a warmer atmosphere. Both processes cause the major feedback process to become negative rather than positive. Sen. Gore asked whether I now rejected my suggestion of two years ago as a major factor. I answered that I did. Gore then called for the recording secretary to note that I had retracted my objections to "global warming.'' In the ensuing argument, involving mostly other participants in the hearing, Gore was told that he was confusing matters. Shortly thereafter, however, Tom Wicker published an article in the New York Times that claimed that I had retracted my opposition to warming and that that warranted immediate action to curb the purported menace. I wrote a letter to the Times indicating that my position had been severely misrepresented, and, after a delay of over a month, my letter was published. Sen. Gore nonetheless claims in his book that I have indeed retracted my scientific objections to the catastrophic warming scenario and also warns others who doubt the scenario that they are hurting humanity.

Why, one might wonder, is there such insistence on scientific unanimity on the warming issue? After all, unanimity in science is virtually nonexistent on far less complex matters. Unanimity on an issue as uncertain as "global warming'' would be surprising and suspicious. Moreover, why are the opinions of scientists sought regardless of their field of expertise? Biologists and physicians are rarely asked to endorse some theory in high energy physics. Apparently, when one comes to "global warming,'' any scientist's agreement will do.

The answer almost certainly lies in politics. For example, at the Earth Summit in Rio, attempts were made to negotiate international carbon emission agreements. The potential costs and implications of such agreements are likely to be profound for both industrial and developing countries. Under the circumstances, it would be very risky for politicians to undertake such agreements unless scientists "insisted.'' Nevertheless, the situation is probably a good deal more complicated than that example suggests.

The Temptation and Problems of "Global Warming''

As Aaron Wildavsky, professor of political science at Berkeley, has quipped, "global warming'' is the mother of all environmental scares. Wildavsky's view is worth quoting. "Warming (and warming alone), through its primary antidote of withdrawing carbon from production and consumption, is capable of realizing the environmentalist's dream of an egalitarian society based on rejection of economic growth in favor of a smaller population's eating lower on the food chain, consuming a lot less, and sharing a much lower level of resources much more equally.'' In many ways Wildavsky's observation does not go far enough. The point is that carbon dioxide is vitally central to industry, transportation, modern life, and life in general. It has been joked that carbon dioxide controls would permit us to inhale as much as we wish; only exhaling would be controlled. The remarkable centrality of carbon dioxide means that dealing with the threat of warming fits in with a great variety of preexisting agendas--some legitimate, some less so: energy efficiency, reduced dependence on Middle Eastern oil, dissatisfaction with industrial society (neopastoralism), international competition, governmental desires for enhanced revenues (carbon taxes), and bureaucratic desires for enhanced power.

The very scale of the problem as popularly portrayed and the massive scale of the suggested responses have their own appeal. The Working Group I report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change suggested, for example, that a 60 percent reduction in carbon dioxide emissions might be needed. Such a reduction would call for measures that would be greater than those that have been devoted to war and defense. And just as defense has dealt with saving one's nation, curbing "global warming'' is identified with saving the whole planet! It may not be fortuitous that this issue is being promoted at just the moment in history when the cold war is ending.

Major agencies in the United States, hitherto closely involved with traditional approaches to national security, have appropriated the issue of climate change to support existing efforts. Notable among those agencies are NASA, the Department of Defense, and the Department of Energy. The cold war helped spawn a large body of policy experts and diplomats specializing in issues such as disarmament and alliance negotiations. In addition, since the Yom Kippur War, energy has become a major component of national security with the concomitant creation of a large cadre of energy experts. Many of those individuals see in the global change issue an area in which to continue applying their skills. Many scientists also feel that national security concerns formed the foundation for the U.S. government's generous support of science. As the urgency of national security, traditionally defined, diminishes, there is a common feeling that a substitute foundation must be established. "Saving the planet'' has the right sort of sound to it. Fundraising has become central to environmental advocates' activities, and the message underlying some of their fundraising seems to be "pay us or you'll fry.''

Clearly, "global warming'' is a tempting issue for many very important groups to exploit. Equally clearly, though far less frequently discussed, are the profound dangers in exploiting that issue. As we shall also see, there are good reasons why there has been so little discussion of the downside of responding to "global warming.''

A parochial issue is the danger to the science of climatology. As far as I can tell, there has actually been reduced funding for existing climate research. That may seem paradoxical, but, at least in the United States, the vastly increased number of scientists and others involving themselves in climate as well as the gigantic programs attaching themselves to climate have substantially outstripped the increases in funding. Perhaps more important are the pressures being brought to bear on scientists to get the "right'' results. Such pressures are inevitable, given how far out on a limb much of the scientific community has gone. The situation is compounded by the fact that some of the strongest proponents of "global warming'' in Congress are also among the major supporters of science (Sen. Gore is notable among those). Finally, given the momentum that has been building up among so many interest groups to fight "global warming,'' it becomes downright embarrassing to support basic climate research. After all, one would hate to admit that one had mobilized so many resources without the basic science's being in place. Nevertheless, given the large increase in the number of people associating themselves with climatology and the dependence of much of that community on the perceived threat of warming, it seems unlikely that the scientific community will offer much resistance. I should add that as ever greater numbers of individuals attach themselves to the warming problem, the pressures against solving the problem grow proportionally; an inordinate number of individuals and groups depend on the problem's remaining.

In addition to climatologists, are there other groups that are at risk? Here, one might expect that industry could be vulnerable, and, indeed, it may be. At least in the United States, however, industries seem to be primarily concerned with improving their public image, often by supporting environmental activists. Moreover, some industries have become successful at profiting from environmental regulation. The most obvious example is the waste management industry. Even electric utility companies have been able to use environmental measures to increase the base on which their regulated profits are calculated. It is worth noting that about 1.7 trillion dollars have been spent on the environment over the past decade. The environment, itself, qualifies as one of our major industries.

If Wildavsky's scenario is correct, the major losers would be ordinary people. Wealth that could have been used to raise living standards in much of the world would be squandered. Living standards in the developed world would decrease. Regulatory apparatuses would restrict individual freedom on an unprecedented scale. Here too, however, one cannot expect much resistance to proposed actions--at least not initially. Public perceptions, under the influence of extensive, deceptive, and one-sided publicity, can become disconnected from reality. For example, Alabama has had a pronounced cooling trend since 1935. Nevertheless, a poll among professionals in Alabama found that about 95 percent of the participants believed that the climate had been warming over the past fifty years and that the warming was due to the greenhouse effect. Public misperceptions coupled with a sincere desire to "save the planet'' can force political action even when politicians are aware of the reality.

What the above amounts to is a societal instability. At a particular point in history, a relatively minor suggestion or event serves to mobilize massive interests. While the proposed measures may be detrimental, resistance is largely absent or coopted. In the case of climate change, the probability that the proposed regulatory actions would for the most part have little impact on climate, regardless of the scenario chosen, appears to be of no consequence.

Modelling and Societal Instability

So far I have emphasized the political elements in the current climate hysteria. There can be no question, however, that scientists are abetting this situation. Concerns about funding have already been mentioned. There is, however, another perhaps more important element to the scientific support. The existence of modern computing power has led to innumerable modelling efforts in many fields. Supercomputers have allowed us to consider the behavior of systems seemingly too complex for other approaches. One of those systems is climate. Not surprisingly, there are many problems involved in modelling climate. For example, even supercomputers are inadequate to allow long-term integrations of the relevant equations at adequate spatial resolutions. At presently available resolutions, it is unlikely that the computer solutions are close to the solutions of the underlying equations. In addition, the physics of unresolved phenomena such as clouds and other turbulent elements is not understood to the extent needed for incorporation into models. In view of those problems, it is generally recognized that models are at present experimental tools whose relation to the real world is questionable.

While there is nothing wrong in using those models in an experimental mode, there is a real dilemma when they predict potentially dangerous situations. Should scientists publicize such predictions since the models are almost certainly wrong? Is it proper to not publicize the predictions if the predicted danger is serious? How is the public to respond to such predictions? The difficulty would be diminished if the public understood how poor the models actually are. Unfortunately, there is a tendency to hold in awe anything that emerges from a sufficiently large computer. There is also a reluctance on the part of many modellers to admit to the experimental nature of their models lest public support for their efforts diminish. Nevertheless, with poor and uncertain models in wide use, predictions of ominous situations are virtually inevitable--regardless of reality.

Such weak predictions feed and contribute to what I have already described as a societal instability that can cascade the most questionable suggestions of danger into major political responses with massive economic and social consequences. I have already discussed some of the reasons for this instability: the existence of large cadres of professional planners looking for work, the existence of advocacy groups looking for profitable causes, the existence of agendas in search of saleable rationales, and the ability of many industries to profit from regulation, coupled with an effective neutralization of opposition. It goes almost without saying that the dangers and costs of those economic and social consequences may be far greater than the original environmental danger. That becomes especially true when the benefits of additional knowledge are rejected and when it is forgotten that improved technology and increased societal wealth are what allow society to deal with environmental threats most effectively. The control of societal instability may very well be the real challenge facing us.

DAY 163: PLUTO HELD HOSTAGE

Eek! The Heat Nazis have invaded the planet Pluto!

Pluto is undergoing global warming, researchers find


Don't forget, kiddies! February 4, 2007 is International Save Pluto Day:

The Society for the Preservation of Pluto as a Planet hereby declares that Sunday, February 4, 2007, the 101st birthday of Pluto discoverer Clyde Tombaugh, will be International Save Pluto Day! To that end, we are endorsing three sets of activities.

1. All supporters of Pluto are encouraged to contact the International Astronomical Union by letter or postcard mailed during the week before Save Pluto Day. We are declaring January 29, the anniversary of Pluto's second photograph, as Discovery Day. On Discovery Day, put your letter supporting Pluto in the mail!

The idea is to show the IAU how much support Pluto has by encouraging a mass mailing from all over the world in a short period of time. Our hope is that this concentrated show of support will make it clear how much the citizens of this planet care about our fellow wanderer in the solar system.

So, on January 29, 2007, get a postcard, write on it, "Pluto is a Planet!" or "Save Pluto!" and mail it to the IAU. If you're feeling more ambitious, send a letter explaining just why you support Pluto. As they receive all that mail over the course of the week leading up to Save Pluto Day, we will know that our individual voices will be heard in unity.

The address of the International Astronomical Union is

IAU-UAI
98bis Bd Arago
FR - 75014
Paris
FRANCE

2. The Society is promoting events all over the United States and, we hope, the rest of the world. For example, on February 4, the Clay Center Observatory (Brookline, Massachusetts, USA), has agreed to host an educational program and friendly debate about Pluto for the general public. Expert planetary scientists from area research institutions will present both sides of the issue. We encourage other such institutions all over the world to sponsor their own lectures or observation sessions as part of Save Pluto Day. We will keep a geographical list of those that we know of on our International Save Pluto Day Events Page.

3. What if you can't get to a lecture but you still want to show your support for Pluto? Throw a Pluto party! We encourage all supporters to turn International Save Pluto Day into a festive event, by opening their homes to like-minded folks that evening. If you're an amateur astronomer who owns a telescope, even better! Set it up and introduce your friends and neighbors to the wonders of the night sky.

We are actively soliciting suggestions for appropriate music and decorations for Pluto Parties, as well as DVD movies and television shows that people might want to watch. Check back often on our Pluto Party Kit Page for ideas.

Gentlemen, may I present Benedetta Valanzano...

From the pages of The King Abdullah Gazette:


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Pittsburgh Pirates Update.

I know, I know...Major League Baseball has been dead for over two decades, but I remember Mr. Armas' father, who played for the Buccos...

Bucs sign right-handed starter Armas
After fishing two months for a free-agent pitcher and getting nothing but nibbles, the Pirates finally landed a veteran right-hander Thursday for their starting rotation.

Even from here you can smell the marketing...

MLB.com: Pirates re-introduce red to uniforms



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It seems likely that the new red unis will be worn for Friday night home games during the 2007 season.

There's an initiative from the Mayor's office here to clean up the city called, "Let's Redd Up Pittsburgh."

To Redd up, for those not familiar with Pittsburghese, means to clean or tidy up, a drive that began with the late Mayor Bob O'Connor's call to get the city ready for the Major League Baseball All-Star Game last July and has continued beyond the Midsummer Classic and O'Connor's death.

At Friday's opening of PirateFest, the Pirates officially got into the act with their own "Red Up" program, when they introduced a new alternative red home jersey, along with the rest of the 2007 uniform lineup, to season ticket holders at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center.

"Staying true to the Pirate brand is important to us," Tim Schuldt, the Pirates' vice president and chief marketing and sales officer, told the gathering of die-hard Pirate fans. "Black, gold and red are our colors. This is consistent with our color scheme and it fits with the team: youthful, exciting and improving."

It was fitting that the new jersey, predominantly red with black sleeves and gold trim, was modeled by the newest member of the Pirates, Adam LaRoche. It hasn't been officially decided, but it seems likely that the new duds will be worn for Friday night home games during the 2007 season.

In addition to LaRoche, a few Pirate player-models were on hand to show off the other uniforms. National League batting champion Freddy Sanchez wore the brand new Spring Training and batting practice jersey, which is black with a red stripe down the side of the jersey. It comes with a matching black hat that has a red arc above the ear. Salomon Torres modeled the Sunday day game alternative pinstriped white jersey. Jack Wilson wore the regular home white, while Zach Duke sported the away grays.
"Red has been part of our logo off and on for decades," Schuldt said. "It's been part of the Pirate's bandana in the logo [since 1997]."

Oooooooooooooooooooooooooh! 19-freakin'-97!

The Pirates have never had a predominantly red jersey, though red has been displayed over the years. In 1997, with the change in ownership the previous year, a new third jersey was unveiled.
It was mostly black with gold lettering and red trim around the lettering. A third cap, with a black crown, red bill and gold "P" with red trim and red button, was also introduced. It was the first time red appeared on Pirates uniforms since 1946. The decision to bring it back so prominently did not come out of nowhere.

"We got some fan feedback, talking to season ticket holders," Schuldt said. "We also rolled out some red merchandise in the shops [last year] and they liked it. They embraced it."

Early reviews did seem to confirm Schuldt's claim. Season ticket holders on hand to see the new red jersey liked the new look. And that's saying something in a town that clings to black and gold when it comes to sports.

"I liked it. I think it was pretty sharp," said Pat Kirk from Murrysville, Pa. "Red is a nice color."

Liking it is one thing. Wanting to own it is another. The Pirates undoubtedly are hoping the new red jersey will eventually result in more sales in the shop. So the important question is: Are the Pat Kirks of the world ready to use their hard-earned dollars to continue to "Red up" Pittsburgh?

"I think I am," Kirk said.

Religion of Peace and Love Update.

Bloomberg.com: U.K. Police Question 9 Men Over Alleged Plot to Kidnap and Behead Soldier
...The nine suspects were detained under the Terrorism Act 2000 on suspicion of the "commission, preparation or instigation of acts of terrorism,'' West Midlands Police said.

The kidnap and possible filmed beheading of a British soldier would be a new tactic for Islamist terrorists in the U.K. Ken Bigley, a British civil engineer, was kidnapped and beheaded in Iraq in 2004 by an al-Qaeda group led by Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, who died in a U.S. air strike in 2006. Film of Bigley's execution was posted on Islamist Web sites.

There are 330 Muslims in the British armed forces. Jabron Hashmi, 24, the first British Muslim soldier to die in the so- called "war on terror,'' was from Birmingham and was born in Pakistan. The Lance Corporal was killed fighting the Taliban in Afghanistan in July and 400 people attended his funeral at the Central Jamia Mosque in Birmingham.

"What I would say to the extremists is that extremism does not help change anything,'' his brother, Zeeshan Hashmi, who also served in the military, told the Daily Mail. "One of the main reasons why my brother and I went into the military -- apart from being British and feeling a sense of duty -- was because of the position of global politics and the clash between East and West.''

Amen to all that, my Brother!

Unsolicited Product Endorsement of the Day (Part Two.)

Without a doubt, the greatest candy ever is M&Ms with peanuts.

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Nothing else even comes close.

Unsolicited Product Endorsement of the Day. (Part One)

Ecce Panis is the best bread this side of your local Italian bakery.

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Fyodor lays some Latin on you.

From the Latin for the Illiterati calendar:

exlex - outside the law

An insult, Shakespeare style.

From the Shakespeare's Insults calendar:

Thou elvish-marked*, abortive,
rooting hog^ !
(The Tragedy of King Richard the Third 1.3.227)

* marked by evil fairies
^ Richard's badge was a white boar

Queen Margaret to Richard, who murdered her husband and son.

And now for the pagan portion of our program...

...Happy Groundhog Day!

Phil Expects Early Spring; His Rivals Also Weigh In

Punxsutawney, PA - Punxsutawney Phil emerged this morning on Gobbler's Knob as a crowd of thousands waited for his meteorological prognostication. The verdict -- an early spring. Phil did not see his shadow.

On Phil's Web site, the forecast was summed up as follows:

El Nino has caused high winds, heavy snow, ice and freezing temperatures in the west.
Here in the East with much mild winter weather we have been blessed.

Global warming has caused a great debate.
This mild winter makes it seem just great.

On this Groundhog Day we think of one thing.
Will we have winter or will we have spring?

On Gobbler's Knob I see no shadow today.
I predict that early spring is on the way.

The forecast from Poor Richard in York contradicts Phil. For pictures of this morning's distinguished event, click here.

At this morning's 79th annual Slumbering Groundhog Lodge event the announcement was made:

"You see my friends, the truth be said, that poor Richard is going to remain in his bed. His prediction is this -- no way to doubt, our winter will continue. Therefore, poor Richard won't come out. We will have six more weeks of winter. Hallelujah!"

Members of the lodge admit that Poor Richard is actually dead and stuffed. But they say his spirit continues providing predictions.

In Lebanon, Uni also predicted six more weeks of winter.
The Sage of Susquehanna Valley, Octorara Orphie, of Lancaster County, also saw his shadow, thus forecasting six more weeks of winter. (Thanks to WGAL for the heads up.)

Saint of the Day and daily Mass readings.

Today is the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord. Pray for us, all you angels and saints.


Today's first reading for the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord is
Malachias 3:1-4.
Today's second reading is
Hebrews 2:14-18.
Today's Responsorial Psalm is
Psalms 24:7, 8, 9, 10.
Today's Gospel reading is
Luke 2:22-40.


Everyday links:

The Blessed Virgin Mary
The Rosary
Our Mother of Perpetual Help
Prayers from EWTN
National Coalition of Clergy and Laity (dedicated to action for a genuine Catholic Restoration)
The Catholic Calendar Page for Today
ZENIT - The World Seen From Rome


Just in case you are wondering what exactly Catholics believe, here is

The Apostles Creed

I believe in God, the Father Almighty, Creator of Heaven and earth; and in Jesus Christ, His only Son Our Lord, Who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried.He descended into Hell; the third day He rose again from the dead; He ascended into Heaven, and sitteth at the right hand of God, the Father almighty; from thence He shall come to judge the living and the dead.I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy Catholic Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body and life everlasting. Amen.


Memorare

Remember, O most gracious Virgin Mary, that never was it known that any one who fled to thy protection, implored thy help or sought thy intercession,was left unaided.Inspired with this confidence, I fly unto thee, O Virgin of virgins my Mother; to thee do I come, before thee I stand, sinful and sorrowful; O Mother of the Word Incarnate, despise not my petitions, but in thy clemency hear and answer me. Amen.


St. Joseph, her most chaste spouse, pray for us.


Anima Christi

Soul of Christ, sanctify me; Body of Christ, save me; Blood of Christ, inebriate me; Water from Christ's side, wash me; Passion of Christ, strengthen me; O good Jesus, hear me; Within Thy wounds hide me; Suffer me not to be separated from Thee; From the malicious enemy defend me; In the hour of my death call me; And bid me come unto Thee; That I may praise Thee with Thy saints and with Thy angels Forever and ever. Amen.


Prayer to St. Anthony, Martyr of Desire

Dear St. Anthony, you became a Franciscan with the hope of shedding your blood for Christ. In God's plan for you, your thirst for martyrdom was never to be satisfied. St. Anthony, Martyr of Desire, pray that I may become less afraid to stand up and be counted as a follower of the Lord Jesus. Intercede also for my other intentions. (Name them.)


Prayer To Saint Michael The Archangel

St. Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle, be our defense against the wickedness and snares of the devil; may God rebuke him, we humbly pray, and do thou O Prince of the heavenly hosts, by the divine power, thrust into hell Satan and all the evil spirits who prowl about the world seeking the ruin of souls. Amen.


Prayer to End Abortion

Lord God, I thank You today for the gift of my life, and for the lives of all my brothers and sisters. I know there is nothing that destroys more life than abortion, yet I rejoice that you have conquered death by the resurrection of Your Son. I am ready to do my part to end abortion. Today I commit myself never to be silent, never to be passive, and never to be forgetful of the unborn. I commit myself to be active in the pro-life movement, and never stop defending life until all my brothers and sisters are protected and our nation once again becomes a nation with liberty and justice, not just for some, but for all. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.


Prayer For Vocations

Send forth your Spirit, Lord, into the hearts of your faithful people, that we may be conscious of our vocation to holiness and sevice to others. Grant that many of us may dedicate ourselves to You through the priesthood and the religious life.We pray especially for the needs of our own parish and diocese. Grant that we may always have sufficient good and holy priests, and dedicated Sisters to serve our commumities.We pray, too, for religious orders; that generous men may join them to become zealous missionaries in preaching the Gospel in word and action, especially to the poor and abandoned.We make this prayer through Jesus Christ, Our Lord and Redeemer. Amen.


Prayer Before The Crucifix

Behold, O kind and gentle Jesus, I kneel before Thee and pray that Thou would impress upon my heart the virtues of faith, hope, and charity, with true repentance for my sins and a firm purpose of amendment. At the same time, with sorrow I meditate on Thy five precious wounds, having in mind the words which David spoke in prophecy: "They have pierced my hands and my feet. I can count all my bones."


Divine Praises

Blessed be God.
Blessed be His Holy Name.
Blessed be Jesus Christ, true God and true Man.
Blessed be the Name of Jesus.
Blessed be His most Sacred Heart.
Blessed be His most Precious Blood.
Blessed be Jesus in the most Holy Sacrament of the Altar.
Blessed be the Holy Spirit, the Paraclete.
Blessed be the great Mother of God, Mary most holy.
Blessed be her holy and Immaculate Conception.
Blessed be her glorious Assumption.
Blessed be the name of Mary, Virgin and Mother.
Blessed be Saint Joseph, her most chaste spouse.
Blessed be God in His angels and in His saints.
May the Heart of Jesus in the most Blessed Sacrament
Be praised, adored and loved
With grateful affection at every moment
In all the tabernacles of the world
Even to the end of time. Amen.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Steelers Update.

From the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review:

Brown: Dungy proud to be Noll's protege
Indianapolis Colts coach Tony Dungy is proud to carry the title of Chuck Noll protege into Super Bowl XLI.

Once a Steeler, always a Steeler. (With the possible exception of Neil O'Donnell.)

US Airways planning Steelers-themed airplane
US Airways is taking its support of the Pittsburgh Steelers to new heights.

The airline is partnering with the football team on a Steelers-themed jet. The aircraft, to be used on commercial flights, will be painted with the team's logo and black-and-gold colors later this year.

Brown: Tomlin's maturity exceeds resume

Steelers hire strength coordinator Giemont

New Steelers assistant Ligashesky had uneven run at Pitt

Polamalu makes name official

About Me

My photo
First of all, the word is SEX, not GENDER. If you are ever tempted to use the word GENDER, don't. The word is SEX! SEX! SEX! SEX! For example: "My sex is male." is correct. "My gender is male." means nothing. Look it up. What kind of sick neo-Puritan nonsense is this? Idiot left-fascists, get your blood-soaked paws off the English language. Hence I am choosing "male" under protest.

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