January 6, 2010

Simply Sick

Steven Clay Romero: Dragged a dog to its death in Colorado.

While I’m not planning on making regular posts anymore, I just read a story that makes me want to scream.

If I were to learn that someone would be willing to put a bullet in the heads of both Steven Clay Romero and Melissa Lockhart, I just might be willing to shake their hand. Both of these people are clearly a threat to society.


January 2, 2010

Time to Change Course

Photo courtesy of coloradoguy.com

On December 28, 2009, one of my aunts was killed in a car crash (I refuse to use the term “accident” because a witness to the incident stated that the other driver intentionally ran a red light). Obviously this was unexpected, and over the last week I’ve begun to view life differently.

My aunt had a habit of focusing on the positive above all else, and going above and beyond in an effort to care about people, no matter who they were or even how well she knew them. To call her an active member in her church would have been an understatement; she not only participated in almost every organization that her church had, but in one case she took the initiative to begin a children’s assistance group when none existed but was needed.

Her day job was a hospice counselor, and a day after she was killed we received word that she had touched the life of a cancer patient who had no family left. She sent him a Christmas card and our family learned that it was the only Christmas card that he received this season. For him, my aunt gave him a sliver of happiness while he himself waited for the end to come. He wanted us to know that that one little Christmas card gave him something to smile about this holiday season and for that he was grateful.

My aunt’s death forced me to take a look at my own life, how I’ve lived it, what I’ve accomplished, and with whom I’ve accomplished things. Her death forced me to not only realize that I really have accomplished very little in my 33 years in this world, but that an end to this life can come at any moment, in the blink of an eye.

I came to the realization that it’s time to change a few things in my life. To a certain degree, now that I look back on things—and especially the last ten years or so—I have, unfortunately, become rather stagnant.

What’s positive, however, is that this can change at any moment. What’s more, I want this change to come about because I feel the need to do so. I feel the need to embrace life a bit more, create more, and live more. I need to focus on the positive the way that my aunt did. I need to do more because I want to do more.

The minister who gave the eulogy was a family friend and he made a comment which hit me over the head like a ton of bricks: A life shouldn’t be measured by the number of years between the year of birth and the year of death on a headstone; a life should be measured by what that little dash in between the two years symbolizes.

It’s time for me to start packing more into my little dash than what I have up to this point.

This might be my last post on this blog. I’ll no doubt continue to write in some way, only because I love writing. I might want to start over in some other way, though. I might want to take my writing in directions that I haven’t done before or in ways that I haven’t done in many years.

I’m also planning on engaging in new endeavors that will be positive in terms of creativity and in terms of allowing me to hold onto memories of experiences and people which should not be forgotten.

Looking back on all three blogs that I have under my Chase Edwards Cooper pseudonym, they date back to January 2006. I’ve been through a lot since that time, both positive and negative. Every single experience that I’ve been though, and every single person that I’ve had contact with since then has had some kind of influence on me—some good and some bad. The bottom line is that all of it becomes part of my life experiences.

That life can be like a road, and to stick with that metaphor, I’ve been driving down an interstate for a very long time—driving a lot but not really going any place in particular. Now it might be time to take the next exit and start hitting the back roads.


December 24, 2009

I'm Christian—I don't have to obey the law.

When it comes to religion and the promotion of religion, people have no problem breaking the law. In fact, some people have no understanding of the law whatsoever and don’t mind when they learn that they’re breaking it—especially Christians.

In Pennsylvania, a nativity scene was recently erected at the Luzerne County courthouse. Given that only a nativity scene and menorah were present, a Kings College student complained to the American Civil Liberties Union. The ACLU offered a compromise to avoid any legal challenges—challenges which would have obviously gone the way of the ACLU because their argument would be the legal one.

The compromise was that Luzerne County officials would also place secular holiday decorations next to the nativity scene. The county officials agreed and now the nativity scene is accompanied by Santa Claus, a snowman, and a “Happy Kwanzaa” sign.

What I found both outrageous but typical were the responses from the Christians who had no problem with breaking the law, so long as the illegal acts benefitted their religion. A woman named Cathy Mack organized a protest to show solidarity in their attempt to violate the First Amendment and was quoted as saying:
“And to think that he is doing all of this and he says next year he wants to just put up snowmen and candy canes or whatever. It’s ridiculous and I can’t believe it.”
Yes, she can’t believe that someone wants Christians to obey the First Amendment or any laws that govern the separation of church and state. How dare they.

Another woman, Lisa Kazmerick, insists that “there’s no such thing as separation of church and state during the holidays.” I’m guessing that Lisa has never once even glanced at the United States Constitution. Then again, she’s Christian; she doesn’t have to because the laws of the land apply to everyone else.

My favorite comment in the story came from Debbie Lansberry, another Christian protester who sees nothing wrong with breaking the law:
“It’s really evoked a feeling of sadness, to see that a small group of minorities can come in and take away the rights that Christians and Jewish people have had for thousands of years.”
What the hell is she even talking about?! Christians and Jews had a right to break the law for thousands of years? Where? The United States has only existed since the late-1700s. Before that there existed religious friction in Europe, hence the Pilgrims making their voyage to a new land. (And they ironically adopted the same form of religious fascism that they previously opposed, but that’s a topic for another time.)

Second, is she suggesting that those of us who believe in obeying the law are “the minority”? Oh...wait...maybe she’s correct on that point.

None of this shocks me, though. I work with a person who once said that “Christianity should be the national religion.” I informed her that such a move would violate the First Amendment and her response was, “I really don’t care about the First Amendment.”

Sadly, I knew it was the truth; she didn’t care about the First Amendment nor any other part of the Constitution. She was and is, however—in her view—a true, patriotic Christian American. This patriotism, though, is more a form of blind nationalism borne of the ignorance that is widespread in organized religion. The belief is that you can do what you want because you’re above everyone else. You’re essentially allowed to do anything that you want because your higher power is looking out for you. Your soul will be saved no matter how much you violate the rights of others. God is on your side and everyone else must do as you say. You don’t have to obey the same rules that your fellow Americans have made law. You’re the chosen ones.

Perhaps a proper Christmas gift for these folks would be a copy of the Constitution. Unfortunately, they’d probably just use it to start a fire in their fireplaces.

Coyle, Ryan. “Nativity Scene Protest in Luzerne County.” WNEP. 18 Dec. 2009.

Meyer, Jon. “Manger Scene, Menorah Returned to Courthouse.” WNEP. 21 Dec. 2009.


December 20, 2009


This afternoon I had to inform a coworker of a major global historical event that took place during both our lifetimes (she’s actually older than me). I won’t mention what this event was, in case she comes across this blog and gets pissed off, but suffice it to say that it was on the news for weeks upon weeks after it happened and it’s still mentioned on occasion today. Somehow, some way, she never once heard about it.

So here’s an open message to my fellow Americans:

Folks, there’s more to life than country music, romance novels, text messaging, celebrity gossip, and reality TV. Really, there is.

And please, if you’re going to live a sheltered life, please don’t use the phrase “You don’t get out much, do you?” when the person to whom you’re speaking really does get out more than you.


December 13, 2009

Two for One

Diane Francis of The Financial Post wants the entire planet to adopt China’s one-child policy in an effort to “reverse the disastrous global birthrate.” Says Francis:
China has proven that birth restriction is smart policy. Its middle class grows, all its citizens have housing, health care, education and food, and the one out of five human beings who live there are not overpopulating the planet.
What Francis forgot to mention in her piece, however, is that she herself just happens to have two children, according to her own blog.

So, Ms. Francis, if you had to execute one of your children to save the planet, who would it be?


December 9, 2009

Show Her the Money

Not surprisingly, this shirt is listed as the merchant’s best-seller on Zazzle.com.

A few days ago I came across a story about Tiger Woods entitled “Alleged Mistress: Tiger Said Marriage a Sham.” Even though I really don’t care about Tiger Woods whatsoever, my immediate thought was: What marriage isn’t a sham nowadays?

My next thought was: Oh wow. How damn cynical have I become?

The truth of the matter is that my current level of cynicism is rooted in things that I’ve experienced, seen, and heard firsthand over the last few years. For me to view marriage as some kind of beautiful bond between people who love and cherish each other would require me to ignore everything around me.

Working with women on a daily basis, mostly from their mid-twenties to mid-forties, I’ve been afforded the opportunity to hear viewpoints and stories that I hadn’t had a chance to hear before. The two things that I hear repeatedly, with respect to marriage, are: (1.) marriage is something to do because everyone else is doing it, and (2.) marriage is how you earn money.

I’ll discuss my experiences with the former first because they’re—unfortunately—fewer than the latter.

A few weeks ago I learned that a teacher in another building in my district is divorcing after two years of marriage because she’s bored with it and now it’s time to move on to the next guy. I’m guessing that she’ll be paying the legal fees on her own because her parents are still paying off the thousands of dollars that her wedding cost them.

Another woman, who is my best friend’s friend, has just hit 30 and wants to get married because “everyone else her age is married.” This woman usually only gets involved with married men, so I’m not sure if she’s going to try to snag a married man for marriage or not. She’s also known for enjoying random hook-ups with strangers, so I’m not sure how that’ll play out with any potential hubby. Maybe he’ll be into random hook-ups with strangers, too, so it’ll be a match made in heaven.

The latter issue—that of money—is the one that I’ve seen and heard much more than the former. It’s also the one that makes my blood boil because it incorporates an entitlement mentality that seems to be spreading like wildfire throughout our culture.

A year ago my aforementioned best friend sent me a link to a blog post written by a woman who justified female infidelity if, as she said, a woman isn’t treated like “a princess” at all times. The blog post received over a thousand responses, many of which were from other women who commented on how much they liked the author’s viewpoints.

While you might think that it could be viewed as one person’s opinion, at the same time last year I was also working with women on a regular basis. After people become comfortable being around other people, they begin to open up and talk about things that they might not otherwise talk about with strangers. Some of my female coworkers were telling me about their views on men and my cynicism was solidified.

One coworker wanted to set me up on a date with her niece, which at first sounded like a good idea. Then a few things entered the story that hadn’t been mentioned before. You see, it turned out that not only did the niece already have a boyfriend, but my role was supposed to be that of sugar daddy. The aunt explained that I would be boyfriend #2 and my job would be to pay off all of said niece’s debts, since said niece was a shopaholic. Boyfriend #1 was essentially a loser and had no money, but since I had a full-time job, it would be my responsib to alleviate all said niece’s bills.

The aunt would later ask me if I intended on ever getting married. When I explained that my philosophy on marriage is that of “if it happens, it happens,” she quickly asked (and I’m quoting here): “If you don’t get married, who’s going to get your money?”

At first I thought she meant children that I might have to name in my will, but that’s not what she meant. I asked her to clarify the question and she asked, “If you don’t get married, which woman are you going to give your money to?” I explained that I don’t just give away money to women because they’re women. She gave me a dirty look.

I’m not sure where this philosophy originated and how widespread it is, but I’m experiencing it much more than I have before. This idea that God has placed men on the face of the Earth to supply money to anyone and everyone who has breasts and a vagina is one that, in my opinion, is not only ridiculous, but it’s irresponsible and quite selfish. (However, there is a little irony in the fact that the same people view others as being selfish if those other people don’t give them what they want.)

One of the things that I worry about now is that I’m finding myself having less respect for anyone as a human being. I don’t mean that I’m referring to basic human rights; I mean that I’m much less interested in even caring about people as individuals. This has me particularly worried because even though I’ve looked upon human beings as a whole with disdain over the years, I still cared about the ones I knew personally. I’m finding that very difficult to do now, too.

It’s also difficult to have much of a desire to be in a relationship with anyone because the odds—odds which I’ve seen firsthand—are that the relationship will be based upon greed and entitlements. These entitlements are, apparently, being encouraged from generation to generation as was evidenced in the you-owe-my-niece-money-because-you-have-a-penis situation mentioned earlier.

If this is what marriage, if not relationships in general, really are, then why should we fool ourselves and pretend that they’re something else? Why should we play a game and pretend that they’re something more? Why should we lie to ourselves and tell ourselves that they’re based on emotional or intellectual bonds when they’re really based on financial gain? If we know what they are up-front, there’s no reason to attempt to disguise them.

Basic relationships aside, if the institution of marriage is nothing more than a business transaction in which sex is exchanged for money, why not call it what it is? When one is traded for the other, the term isn’t “marriage”—it’s “prostitution.”


December 8, 2009

Rodeo Clowns

I’m willing to bet that Texas will soon outlaw bathing while nude, too.

I’m still trying to figure out why people were opposed to the idea of letting Texas secede from the union earlier this year. Seriously, folks, shouldn’t we be begging Mexico to take them?


December 5, 2009

The Reason for the Season

Now that we’re approaching the Christmas holiday, the good Christians among us are going to be gearing up to celebrate the birth of their savior. His mother was a virgin; his father was a deity whose power was and is so magnificent that he had the ability to create the entire universe. The entire thing; the whole fucking enchilada.

I figured that I’d just take a few minutes to think about who—or what—God really is. Let’s consider the following aspects of God:

No one has ever really seen this guy, but his physical appearance has become almost mythical. If you describe his looks, you instantly know who is being discussed. If one were to see a painting of him, you’d quickly be able to say, “Oh, I know who that is!” Even though no eyewitness exists to verify his true physical description, we’ve come to accept what the books and television shows have alleged.

We’ve been told that he can do amazing—almost magical—things. Limitations that exist for mere mortals do not exist for him. He can conquer space and time; he can be here, there, or anywhere at any given time; he is able to watch all of us simultaneously and he’s able to determine who is “naughty” or “nice” at any given moment.

It’s said that those who are “nice”—ostensibly those who have followed all the rules put forth in the books which were written about him—will receive some kind of just compensation for their willingness to obey and do good to make him happy. They will, essentially, be rewarded for their goodness. Their reward will come at a special point in time.

Because of his greatness, in addition to books and poems about him, we also have songs written about him for children to sing and express their admiration of him. Generation after generation will have the opportunity to worship his existence and offer their devotion to him.

When his existence is questioned—which often happens when a person never actually sees someone who supposedly exists—those who are doing the questioning are quickly told to simply “have faith” in his existence. Eyewitness validation is irrelevant, it is said, because his level of greatness transcends the requirement of being seen—or heard.

Yes, this guy is truly amazing. He can do astounding things in a short period of time and he never dies. Hell, he never even ages. He’s simply always with us doing impressive things.

There’s no doubt that he exists because the books, poems, songs, and TV shows about him tell us that he’s real. I hope he visits me this year.


Non-Blog Post

I’m not sure what’s becoming more amusing—or perhaps frustrating—in the ongoing global warming saga: the length at which some “researches” have gone to manipulate and hide data or the ways in which their supporters are defending them.

It was recently revealed that much of the raw data from the 1980s was intentionally destroy but the “value-added” data was kept. “Value-added” data are data which were “quality-controlled and homogenized” (these are the Climate Research Unit’s own words). Essentially, the numbers which were not destroyed are the numbers which were filtered through the researchers’ quality-control system. Who would have ever thought that raw numbers needed to be “quality-controlled”?

As if that isn’t unnerving enough, the continual line of defense is one that would have made even people like Newt Gingrich and Bob Ley—if not Ken Lay—proud.

Over and over again I’m seeing the use of the terms “taken out of context” and “non-story” or “non-issue.”

The phrase “taken out of context” is quite laughable because even when entire e-mails have been used to illustrate a damaging comment from any of the researchers in question, the defenders are still referring to the e-mail as being “taken out of context.” From this point on, I now realize, if anything questionable that I’ve ever written is used against me in its entirety, I’ll simply be able to say that it’s “taken out of context” and it’ll be okay.

The term “non-story” and “non-issue” is another fun line of defense because I’ve noticed that things are “non-stories” or “non-issues” whenever people don’t like what’s being said.

I found the following comment on one of the news stories about the destroyed raw data and it illustrates my point. For this guy—whose name and blog URL I’ve redacted because I don’t think he deserves any more site traffic than what he has now—the whole story is a “non-issue” because he doesn’t like the end result. I have a gut feeling that if a story broke in which he liked the end result, it would suddenly become a “story”—and an important one at that. The prosecutions which he’s referring to are not for the scientists whose e-mails have made this an issue, but rather prosecutions for those who leaked the e-mails.

He doesn’t give a shit about altered data, destroyed data, or destroyed e-mails which should be part of the public record. His anger is directed toward those who exposed the perpetrators.

This reminds me a bit of the Sarah Palin censorship story that was reported last year during the 2008 presidential campaign. It was discovered that in 1996, then-mayor of Wasilla Palin had “rhetorically” asked her public library director about censoring library materials. A fake list of books that Palin supposedly wanted banned then became viral on the Internet. Even though the question of censorship actually took place on Palin’s part, I had a family member—a Palin supporter—who called the entire story a “non-story” because the list of books was fake. His reasoning was that since one small part of the story was a hoax, the entire story could be dismissed.

Now the anthropogenic global warming crowd is more than happy to adopt the same philosophy. In a move that is akin to most Fox News viewers, they look to things that affirm their world view and wish to simply dismiss anything that challenges that world view.

Once again we see that there’s no difference between the ideologies.

Goldstein, Lorrie. “Climate Scientists: Dog Ate Homework.” The Toronto Sun. 2 Dec. 2009.

Stuart, Paul. “Palin: Library Censorship Inquiries ‘Rhetorical.’Mat-Su Valley Frontiersman. 18 Dec. 1996 (reprinted 5 Sept. 2008).


November 28, 2009

Facts Evasion?

Professor Phil Jones, who, along with Penn State’s Michael Mann, has come under scrutiny of late given the substance of his leaked e-mails on manmade global warming, is calling criticism against him “complete rubbish.”

Jones argues that his biggest fault was using “poorly chosen words” that were “sent in the heat of the moment, when [Jones] was frustrated.” In an interview with the UK’s Guardian, Jones said, “We’ve not deleted any e-mails or data here at CRU” while discussing the possibility that he deleted e-mails which were supposed to be made available to the public in accordance with Freedom of Information acts.

One e-mail asked Michael Mann to delete any e-mail with another colleague and another clearly stated Jones’ desire to keep UK citizens in the dark on the existence of a Freedom of Information Act in their country.

What has me puzzled now is Jones’ insistence that no e-mails were ever deleted. In an e-mail from Jones dated December 3, 2008, he states the following (I’m leaving the entire paragraph in tact as to not be accused of cherry-picking information or taking anything out of context, which is the primary line of defense that Jones and Mann are currently using):
One issue is that these requests aren't that widely known within the School. So I don't know who else at UEA may be getting them. CRU is moving up the ladder of requests at UEA though - we're way behind computing though. We're away of requests going to others in the UK - MOHC, Reading, DEFRA and Imperial College. So spelling out all the detail to the LLNL management should be the first thing you do. I hope that Dave is being supportive at PCMDI. The inadvertent email I sent last month has led to a Data Protection Act request sent by a certain Canadian, saying that the email maligned his scientific credibility with his peers!

If he pays 10 pounds (which he hasn't yet) I am supposed to go through my emails and he can get anything I've written about him. About 2 months ago I deleted loads of emails, so have very little - if anything at all. This legislation is different from the FOI - it is supposed to be used to find put why you might have a poor credit rating!

In response to FOI and EIR requests, we've put up some data - mainly paleo data. Each request generally leads to more - to explain what we've put up. Every time, so far, that hasn't led to anything being added - instead just statements saying read what is in the papers and what is on the web site! Tim Osborn sent one such response (via the FOI person) earlier this week. We've never sent programs, any codes and manuals.

In the UK, the Research Assessment Exercise results will be out in 2 weeks time. These are expensive to produce and take too much time, so from next year we'll be moving onto a metric based system. The metrics will be # and amounts of grants, papers and citations etc. I did flippantly suggest that the # of FOI requests you get should be another.
I’ve italicized the sentence in the e-mail that caught my eye because it clearly contradicts Jones’ current position. In the 2008 e-mail, he openly admits to deleting “loads” of e-mails; now he’s insisting that he didn’t delete any. So which is it?

The argument will no doubt be that he again made poor word choices and didn’t really mean that he deleted any e-mails, even though he said that he did. Or the argument could be that the “loads” of e-mails which were deleted pertained to that “certain Canadian” (obviously Steven McIntyre). Jones did, however, contradict himself. We’re left to wonder if his e-mail was correct, given that he probably never foresaw the possibility that anyone else would view it. Now that the e-mail has gone public, denial is the best defense.

Speaking of defense, I have to say that many critics of the e-mail leak are enough to make a debate coach cringe. A few days ago I was amused by those who called for ignoring the issue because the e-mails were obtained by computer hacking, although the incident is reminiscent of that of Jim McDermott in 1996. You can pick and choose your application of illegal means, I suppose.

I figured I’d conclude with a quick look at a few more defense approaches that attempt to direct the focus elsewhere.

From the debate school of Don’t Look at Me; He Started It:

This one is similar to ones I came across a few days ago. Was there a talking points memo sent out?

From the debate school of Everybody Does It:

Apparently this person has no interest in FOI requests. I wonder if he’d have the same view had the e-mails made critics like Steven McIntyre look poorly. I’d venture to say no.

And my favorite, from the debate school of When All Else Fails, Blame George Bush:

Look, I’ll be the first one to say that Bush was a stooge. Probably not as big a stooge as Sarah Palin, but pretty damn big. This argument is quite ridiculous, though, given that blaming Bush at this point is kind of like how the Republicans blamed Bill Clinton for everything that they brought upon themselves from 2001 until 2006. Blaming others for your own faults does not make you free of fault.

Such is life perhaps. Hypocrites and liars come in different shapes, colors, ideologies, and yes, temperatures.

Hickman, Leo. “Climatologist at Centre of Leaked Email Row Dismisses Conspiracy Claims.” The Guardian. 24 Nov. 2009.

Jones, Phil. “Re: Schles suggestion.” Message to santer1 and Tom Wigley. 3 Dec. 2008. E-mail.


November 24, 2009

Edit ➞ Delete

As the information continues to come forth regarding the disreputable nature of the scientists who have pushed the theory that global warming must be man-made, we are able to see that these so-called researchers not only became frustrated when the data didn’t show them what they wanted to see, but at one point they wanted to cover their tracks as to hide all potential traces of evidence against their actions.

This situation is troubling on many different levels. These so-called scientists were able to influence public opinion and public policy by suggesting that their “research” was genuine. Along the way—as was mentioned in the first batch of e-mails that was discussed yesterday—they were willing to use “tricks” (their own word) to “hide” declines in temperature that were discovered.

The researchers also wanted to squash any research that questioned them or their findings.

Today it was revealed that these folks not only doubted the data that were appearing before them because it didn’t support what they wanted to see, but they actually went so far as formulating ways to illegally delete e-mails in an effort to avoid detection of what they were saying or doing.

One e-mail from the researchers states the following:
The fact is that we can’t account for the lack of warming at the moment and it is a travesty that we can’t. The CERES data published in the August BAMS 09 supplement on 2008 shows there should be even more warming: but the data are surely wrong. Our observing system is inadequate.
Another states that the researchers would like to “contain” the climate data from the Medieval Warm Period, which was during the ninth century through the thirteenth century. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, temperatures during this period “were warmer over the Northern Hemisphere than during the subsequent ‘Little Ice Age,’ and also comparable to temperatures during the early twentieth century.”

This fact gives rise to the possibility that any global temperature increases might very well be part of Earth’s natural climate cycle, thus decreasing the possibility that humans are the be-all and end-all of warming trends.

In another e-mail—for me, one of the most illustrative of the researchers’ level of ethics and believability—the scientists actually go so far as attempting to devise plans to delete any damning e-mails without getting caught, since these e-mails were to be saved for Freedom of Information Acts.

Research Unit director Phil Jones said the following in one e-mail to Penn State’s Michael Mann:
“If they ever hear there is a Freedom of Information Act now in the UK, I think I’ll delete the file rather than send to anyone.”
He also stated:
“We also have a data protection act, which I will hide behind.”
Jones also urged Mann to delete his e-mails, too:
“Can you delete any emails you may have had with Keith re [the IPCC’s Fourth Assessment Report]?”
Jones was also hoping that the citizens of the United Kingdom would be in the dark to the existence of their Freedom of Information Act. He wrote the following in an e-mail to Professor Malcolm Hughes at the University of Arizona:
“I’m getting hassled by a couple of people to release the CRU station temperature data. Don't any of you three tell anybody that the UK has a Freedom of Information Act!”
Scientists are supposed to collect data and compare those data to their hypothesis. From reading these e-mails—these researchers’ own words—it has become clear that their theories were the most important aspect of their “research” and they were then willing to come up with ways to make the data work in their favor, whether that meant using “tricks” or other ways to “contain” the actual numbers. After all, in their own words, the evidence must be wrong.

What’s more, these so-called researchers were then willing to go one step further and wanted to destroy any and all evidence of their questionable tactics. Their aim was to delete the damaging e-mails and hope that no one would find out that the public had a legal right to see them.

I support science over faith (I’m actually a borderline atheist), and I’m greatly opposed to pollution. I really do like clean air and I have no problem holding pollution-creating companies responsible for the crap that they put into the air and water.

At the same time, I have no respect for so-called scientists who are willing to make a name for themselves by any means necessary. I have no respect for people who call themselves “researchers” but do little more than look for ways to manipulate evidence in an effort to support whatever it is that they’re hoping to find in the first place. I have no respect for people who are willing to break the law in an effort to hide the facts and hope that the public will never find out.

Considering what has transpired over the last two days, this is the very description of Phil Jones, Michael Mann, and their ilk who are found in the global-warming-is-not-natural crowd.

Public policy can be shaped with this information and because of that these men are—or were—in a position of power. Because there was and is money involved via research grants, an added incentive of dollar signs entered the picture.

But, as has become quite evident, when there are billions of dollars involved in something, all bets are off.

UPDATE: 11/26/09
Michael Mann is insisting that, even though the e-mails are currently available online in their entirety, the excerpts are actually being used out of context. Here is each one:

Global Warming E-Mails

One other aspect that I’m discovering via comments left on many of the news stories related to this story is that of attempting to deflect the substance of the e-mails in an effort to swing the focus of the case to that of the hacking.

Some of those which best illustrate this approach are here:

Since the e-mails were obtained illegally, reasons this commenter, we should simply ignore the possibility of manipulated data, the consideration to destroy documents covered under Freedom of Information Acts in two different countries, attempts to affect positions of academic journals, and refusal to make data available to some academic journals.

This commenter is upset that one political party might benefit:

I would argue that this situation transcends party politics, even though both parties have weighed in on global warming over the years, given the size and scope of the topic.

If party politics are going to play a major role—which I honestly don’t think that it should—I would hope that liberal Americans won’t forget a little incident that occurred in 1996 when Democratic Representative Jim McDermott illegally taped a telephone call between Newt Gingrich and then-House Majority Leader John Boehner.

McDermott was eventually ordered to pay Boehner over $700,000 for leaking the tape to reporters, but McDermott’s lawyers argued that illegally taping phone calls and leaking them to the press were covered under McDermott’s First Amendment rights. They were also supported in a brief filed by lawyers from ABC, NBC, CBS, CNN, The Associated Press, The New York Times, and The Washington Post.

When the story first broke, I remember those on the left arguing that the illegality of the recording and leaking should be ignored due to the nature of the conversation. In the phone call, Gingrich and Boehner discussed how they would handle media responses to possible ethics violations against Gingrich. The problem was that this phone call wasn’t supposed to have taken place in the first place; the call itself was a violation of an agreement between Gingrich and investigators from the Ethics Committee.

Since the substance of the phone call was what it was, leftists argued, the possible illegal nature of what McDermott did should be ignored.

The leftists are now front and center, fighting to bring down the hacker who leaked these e-mails and hoping that the text of the e-mails disappears.


I would have no objection to punishing the hacker. He/she did violate the law. With that said, however, the genie is out of the bottle; we see that things were said—not out of context—which clearly suggest questionable conduct by researchers who received tax dollars to carry out “research” which may have been altered to better illustrate a desired result. In other cases they—at least one, for sure—were willing to destroy e-mails that should have never been deleted in accordance with the law.

A Paleo Perspective on Global Warming.” National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Delingpole, James. “Climategate: The Final Nail in the Coffin of ‘Anthropogenic Global Warming’?The Telegraph. 20 Nov. 2009.

Gonçalves, Isabel. “Hacked Global Warming Emails Pose Further Legal Risk.” International Business Times. 23 Nov. 2009.

Hiding Evidence of Global Cooling.” Washington Times. 24 Nov. 2009.


November 21, 2009

One-Trick Ponies

I don’t condone computer hacking, but if the e-mails (over 1,000) and documents (over 3,000) which were discovered on this university’s servers are accurate, the so-called scientists who have been pushing the theory of man-made global warming have some explaining to do.

From the Associated Press:

In one e-mail, the university’s Climatic Research Unit director Phil Jones tells a colleague that he had “just completed Mike’s Nature trick of adding in the real temps to each series for the last 20 years (i.e., from 1981 onwards) and from 1961 for Keith’s to hide the decline.”

Jones responded by suggesting that his choice of words shouldn’t matter. Said he: “The word ‘trick’ was used here colloquially, as in a clever thing to do. It is ludicrous to suggest that it refers to anything untoward.”

I can only speak for myself, but I when I use the word “trick” I do so when referring to deception. For instance, a magic trick is designed to deceive the eyes of the audience. A trick play in football is designed to deceive the other team in an effort to score a touchdown or field-goal.

The other ways that trick might be used are these:
  • an odd habit or strange ability to do something
  • a sequence of cards in bridge which form a single hand of play
  • the client of a prostitute (slang, of course)
  • a two-hour or four-hours session in which a sailor is at the helm of a vessel
Given that Jones actually said that he wanted to “hide the decline” of temperatures, and given that the word hide is related to deception in that it’s definition is based on the concepts of camouflage, concealment, and secrecy, it’s not hard to see why it’s easy to think that Jones is lying about his use of the word trick.

Michael Mann from the Earth System Science Center at Penn State University referred to the “trick” as being “something trivial.” It was “placing a chart of proxy temperature records...next to a line showing the temperature record collected by instruments from that time onward.” He also said that it’s “hardly anything you would call a trick”—even though Jones did, indeed, call it a “trick.”

The university said that using the so-called scientists’ words against them is “mischievous” and “cannot be considered a genuine attempt to engage with this issue in a responsible way.”

Are you serious? It’s irresponsible to use their own words against them but it’s not irresponsible on their part to attempt to affect public policy by possibly fabricating data?

Why is it that when people are caught by having their words used against them, they either didn’t mean what they said or what they said is just “trivial”?

I’m thinking that it might be best to dismiss whatever “data” Jones, Mann, and their ilk have offered us because how are we to know what’s not trivial and what really is meant when they say something? Moreover, how do we even know what data offered from them is even accurate?

UPDATE: Nov. 23, 2009
It’s now being reported that some of the leaked e-mails also illustrate the vitriolic nature of Jones and Mann toward anyone who questions them.

The following has been reported by The Washington Post (the emphasis is mine):
[T]he newly disclosed private exchanges among climate scientists at Britain’s Climate Research Unit of the University of East Anglia reveal an intellectual circle that appears to feel very much under attack, and eager to punish its enemies.

In one e-mail, the center’s director, Phil Jones, writes Pennsylvania State University’s Michael E. Mann and questions whether the work of academics that question the link between human activities and global warming deserve to make it into the prestigious IPCC report, which represents the global consensus view on climate science.

“I can’t see either of these papers being in the next IPCC report,” Jones writes. “Kevin and I will keep them out somehow—even if we have to redefine what the peer-review literature is!”

In another, Jones and Mann discuss how they can pressure an academic journal not to accept the work of climate skeptics with whom they disagree. “Perhaps we should encourage our colleagues in the climate research community to no longer submit to, or cite papers in, this journal,” Mann writes.

“I will be emailing the journal to tell them I’m having nothing more to do with it until they rid themselves of this troublesome editor,” Jones replies.
Eilperin, Juliet. “Hackers Steal Electronic Data from Top Climate Research Center.” Washington Post. 21 Nov. 2009.

Stringer, David. “Hackers Leak E-Mails, Stoke Climate Debate.” AP/Yahoo! News. 21 Nov. 2009.


"I cot an inturseption and scored a tuchdown!"

The folks in Massillon, Ohio, love their high school football team. In fact, they love them more than academics. Their football team practices inside a $3 million indoor practice facility. Their coaches, players, families, and citizens live for their high school football team.

Their academics? Well, who needs academics when you have high school football?

It turns out that they aren’t willing to shell out $1,200 to start a Spanish club or French club. After all, that’s $1,200 that can go for two or three more football helmets.

What was also interesting with this story was the comments under it. One supportive comment didn’t once mention academic accomplishments from the students. It does mention the “community service, religious growth and selfless service” of the team members, but that only goes so far. It only goes as far as the community.

This fan of Ohio high school football doesn’t really mention any academic performance from the community’s students. I was also amused to see that she didn’t capitalize her own name.

This reader discovered that Washington High’s academic rating gets a 3-out-of-10 stars. Those “extracariqulars” are going to help them out in life, no doubt.

This story sort of hits home for me because I live in a small town where high school sports and cheerleading has unfortunately trumped intellectual accomplishment. It’s gone so far that a few years ago a group of guys who like to sit around and talk about “the good old days” decided to start a town sports hall of fame, in which they give out awards for former athletic standouts.

Not to take away from the recipients of these awards, but our town is so small that when you begin seeing Joe Shmoe or Jane Doe from down the block getting the awards on a monthly basis, it begins to take the value away from the award.

That is, of course, to those of us who have moved on from high school. For many people, life stops at high school.

I just hope that these same people don’t complain when other countries kick our ass in the global economy. Countries like China, Japan, and Russia don’t give a shit if America has great high school football teams. That’s not to mention that you don’t win your way up the economic ladder by winning on the gridiron.

Pesca, Mike. “In Massillon, High School Football is ‘Who We Are.’” NPR. 20 Nov. 2009.


November 14, 2009

Big Bellies & Small Minds

If I decide to eat an entire box of chocolates and get sick from it, I can blame you for it and expect you to do something about it. I’m American, after all. (Photo by HA! Designs/Artbyheather via Flickr Free Use Photos)

During student dismissal at my school, I’m in charge of patrolling the parking lot crosswalk to make sure that no one speeds or runs over any children. It’s sad but yes, a position such as this became necessary because many parents don’t feel that they should have to drive slowly through our school parking lot, even though small children are walking back and forth. In fact, last year I witnessed two parents attempt to drag-race each other through the parking lot to see who could get to the stop sign first.

A few days ago I noticed that one of our parents was sporting a brand new, very large, very detailed (very expensive) tattoo. The tattoo was made in memory of her fiancé, who was killed in a fire about a year ago.

What bothered me about the situation wasn’t that immediately after her fiancé was killed, local businesses put out collection jars for her. She would then check each jar three or four times a day to see how much money was there. Not only that, but she acted as if we (those who donated) owed her whatever we donated. (And yes, I initially donated $5 as part of a district-wide casual dress day.)

She’s also on welfare. She’s not on welfare because she can’t work; she’s opted to go on welfare because she’d rather not work. Thus, we see her at the school several times a day just hanging out, driving around, or dropping her other children (she has three and appears to have one on the way) off for a daycare program which is provided for low-income and no-income families.

I’m mentioning this situation because apparently I’m not the only one who is fed up with seeing able-bodied Americans take advantage of other able-bodied Americans simply because they think that they’re entitled to do so. They have the idea that their fellow able-bodied—and responsible—Americans owe them.

While perusing my local newspaper, I came across this letter-to-the-editor from Dr. Starner Jones, which was reprinted from the August 29, 2009, edition of the Clarion Ledger in Jackson, Mississippi:
Dear Sirs:

During my last night’s shift in the ER, I had the pleasure of evaluating a patient with a shiny new gold tooth, multiple elaborate tattoos, a very expensive brand of tennis shoes and a new cellular telephone equipped with her favorite R&B tune for a ring tone.

Glancing over the chart, one could not help noticing her payer status: Medicaid.

She smokes more than one costly pack of cigarettes every day and, somehow, still has money to buy beer. And our President expects me to pay for this woman’s health care?

Our nation’s health care crisis is not a shortage of quality hospitals, doctors or nurses. It is a crisis of culture—a culture in which it is perfectly acceptable to spend money on vices while refusing to take care of one’s self or, heaven forbid, purchase health insurance.

A culture that thinks I can do whatever I want to because someone else will always take care of me.

Life is really not that hard. Most of us reap what we sow.¹
Even though I was pleased to see such a comment made, given that I’ve been angered by seeing irresponsible behavior rewarded on a regular basis only because the number of irresponsible people is increasing on a generational basis (and given that numbers equal votes in the eyes of politicians who are both incumbents and candidates), I wasn’t shocked to see a few people—people who have the entitlement mentality—take offense to the doctor’s suggestion that people take some responsibility for their own behavior.

Those people, however, didn’t want to actually debate that aspect of the issue. That would, no doubt, show them for who they really are. Instead, they choose to spin the issue into class warfare and yes, even racism. Those who have responded went so far as to ignore the main idea of the letter (providing for irresponsible people) and have attempted to entirely reconstruct the issue into something which it isn’t.

For instance, this letter-to-the-editor was written in the Clarion Ledger in response to the letter from the doctor:
I’ve been stewing about an Aug. 23 letter to the editor (“Why Pay for the Care of the Careless?”) in which Dr. Starner Jones questioned the worth of a patient to receive Medicaid because of her gold tooth, tattoos, R&B ring tone on a new cell phone, cigarette-smoking and beer-drinking.

This kind of personal attack is nothing new with the hateful rhetoric of late. But it’s a real slippery slope when one questions whether another human merits support for health care because of appearances and choices. There are a lot of folks in this state who make less-than-perfect choices about finances and health. We are the poorest, fattest state, after all.

We need to turn off our TVs and radios and do our own research on health care reform. All the Fox-fed and MSNBC-led masses are out spewing the same language the pundits are using.

Look at entities who, bottom line, want to raise their ratings and celebrity, not facilitate a meaningful or productive discourse.

This country deserves more. Read the health care reform bill. And learn the real issues of our entire community. We’re all Americans.

This is no “us vs. them” issue. We are all in this together.

Jennifer Sigrest
I especially enjoyed reading this response because Ms. Sigrest undertakes a rather common move in modern-day “debates”: when you can’t argue against what is in front of you, spin the story.

In this case, Ms. Sigrest is unhappy with Dr. Jones’ view, but instead of attacking his main idea—that of being upset with able-bodied citizens taking advantage of their neighbors because they hold an entitlement mentality—she spins the situation into that of “personal attacks” and “hateful rhetoric.” (Then again, perhaps some people think that expecting others to be responsible is a form of “personal attacks” and “hate.”)

Contrary to what Ms. Sigrest says, the doctor does not question a person’s “merits” because she has undertaken avoidable irresponsible behavior; he questions why we—as taxpayers—should have to collectively finance the procedures to combat the avoidable irresponsible behavior. There’s no doubt that Ms. Sigrest wouldn’t want to debate that side of the issue, as it wouldn’t look too good to openly defend irresponsibility.

Her conclusion is not surprisingly devoid of substance: let’s come together because we’re all Americans.

Well, of course we’re all Americans. We’re not going to debate a political topic from Turkey or Brazil, are we? We’re debating a national entitlement mentality and the nation is the United States.

But her point is that of hoping that if we’re all Americans, we must all agree in an effort to be united. (This sounds like the same rhetoric that we heard when the PATRIOT Act was being pushed under the Bush/Cheney regime, doesn’t it?) If we’re truly united, we’ll agree with her; if we disagree, we’re no doubt treasonous and we support an “us versus them” mindset.

As an aside, what’s truly ironic in the response is that the “us versus them” mentality, which Sigrest is vehemently against, is actually the basis for healthcare reform in the first place: the have-nots are waging a war against the haves.

She is not alone in her approach, however. A comment left on the Vitals.com Website shows that some folks are even attempting to make the debate one about race. A person named TL writes:
Jones should be ashamed of his apparent bigotry which should have no place in the medical field. You took an oath but must have forgotten that part of your reason for wanting to be a doctor. So it would seem that you are far more concerned about the financial aspect. Since we are on the subject of vises, you forgot to mention the one that plagues most people in this country according to statistics…overweight fat people are also at a health risk. So would that be considered in your estimation of the people who deserve health care. That would certainly preclude most folks from your idea of people who take care of themselves. My waistline has never changed since High School..31″ so i say this to all you people who thank Jones for his bravery in speaking up…check your waistline…if you are fat…then perhaps you should consider going on a diet before you mouth off!!!…. These comments smack of the perfect Arryan Race…look what happened to Hitler.³
The teacher in me wanted to correct the spelling and punctuation errors, but I opted to leave the comment in tact to best illustrate the critic’s mental prowess. Regardless, you can see the feeble approach: when you can’t actually debate the issue, change the issue. If things get really bad, throw Hitler’s name in. It’s kind of like how right-wingers will throw in the word “communist” if all else fails. This time, the leftists hope that class warfare and Nazism create a little bit of smoke on the mirror of healthcare reform.

Discussion and discourse will continue to be a problem in this country given that some people are unable to actually extract the main idea from paragraphs as well as debate the real issues at hand.


September 27, 2009

Mommy Dearest

I’m learning more and more that people are truly evil.

At the end of the school year last year I had a second grade student whose mother took her on a trip to New York. The little girl took her library book with her and left it there. When I asked the mother to either return the book or pay a replacement fee so that I could purchase a replacement copy for my library, the mother sent me a nasty note along with a dirty, coffee-stained paperback copy of the book in question. The note basically told me that I could shove the worn-out copy up my ass.

The summer break passed and I hadn’t heard anything more on the book or the replacement fee. Because neither choice had been met, my policy is that the student can’t check out another book.

In response, the mother has now told the daughter—who is currently in third grade—that Mom paid for the book and that I’m lying about not having the money.

Yes, mom is lying to the little girl to make a point and she’s using me as the bad guy so that in the little girl’s eyes, Mommy is still good.

If I last 15 years in public education I’ll use that 15-year mark as a time to assess where I am professionally and personally, what I’ve accomplished professionally and personally, and what else might be available to me. Some of these parents are truly evil and we’re not even through the first full month of school.


Hitting New Lows

In 1997, 39 members of the Heaven’s Gate Cult committed suicide in the hopes that their souls would venture up into the cosmos to hitch a ride on a UFO which was supposedly “hiding” behind the Hale-Bopp comet. Besides becoming known as kooks, these 39 people became famous for their wardrobe selection: running attire which included a pair of Nike sneakers.

Now, if I told you that I used this instance as “scientific evidence” that wearing Nike sneakers leads to suicide, you’d quickly disagree wouldn’t you? If you read a news article stating that 100 percent of the Heaven’s Gate Cult who wore Nikes on that night did not survive, you’d quickly say that my research was flawed, wouldn’t you?

Well, a similar thing just happened with a news story about spanking and IQ which leads me to think that some of our “scientific” studies which are being made newsworthy aren’t so worthy of being in the news.

Before I continue, I need to state a few things. First, this essay isn’t meant to debate spanking; your view of spanking is yours. If you’re against it, so be it; if you’re in favor of it, so be it. Second, when I was young, I was spanked if I did something wrong. What my current IQ is isn’t important, but I’d like to think that it’s reasonably high. With that said, I’m also of the belief that a person’s audience will determine if that person is or isn’t “intelligent.” For instance, if you think that I’m smart, that’s great. If you think that I’m dumber than a steaming pile of cow manure, to you that’s my intelligence level. Either way, I’m comfortable.

Now, onto the “study.”

The story comes from New Scientist and is entitled “Smacking Hits Kids’ IQ.” The authors of a new “study” suggest that if you spank your child, his/her IQ will go down. The study’s leader, Murray Straus is hoping that pædiatricians and child psychologists begin telling parents one thing: “Never spank under any circumstances.”

But how did this “data” come about? That’s the part that has me questioning the results of this “research.” According to New Scientist:

“The IQs of 2- to 4-year-olds who received regular spankings from their parents dropped by more than 5 points over four years, compared with kids who were not spanked.”

The story also states that “the new research makes a stronger case for a cause-effect relationship between spanking and intelligence than other studies,” according to Elizabeth Gershoff, a child development researcher at the University of Texas, Austin.

The study was said to have accounted for variables, such as ethnicity, education levels, and whether or not the children in the study were read to by their parents.

Here’s where a few red flags went up for me with this story.

A study like this is being passed off as a causal-comparitive study when it should be considered a correlational study. A correlational study simply says that one thing is present with something else, but the two aren’t necessarily related. A causal-comparative study, however, is much more direct and almost accusatory; it suggests that one thing causes another.

While I was in grad school I had to a take a research methods class. In it I learned that it’s crucial to never confuse the two studies. Moreover, it’s also crucial that you try to avoid making a correlational study into a causal-comparative study simply because you like the results. That’s not only scientifically inaccurate, but it’s ethically wrong.

Remember the Heaven’s Gate Cult example earlier? Their wearing of Nikes was correlational to their suicides. Nike sneakers had nothing to do with their deaths. Yes, 100 percent of the people wearing the Nikes were dead, but the Nikes didn’t cause that.

In this spanking study, too many variables have not been taken into consideration for us to simply sit back and say that spanking lowers IQ.

Here are just a few things that I’m questioning with it:
• The authors seem to brush aside the fact that some of the kids who were spanked still had high IQ. One part of the story says that “[i]n younger children, the thing that made the biggest difference to IQ scores was whether or not mothers provided cognitive stimulation. This was more important than anything else, including corporal punishment.”

Well, if it’s more important, why is this story being pushed as a causal-comparative study in the first place? If the whole thing is correlational, we shouldn’t be reading headlines like “Smacking Hits Kids’ IQ.” Instead, we find this paragraph conveniently buried at the bottom of the story.

• Have the “researchers” considered the starting IQ of each subject and what was their percentage of IQ decrease? Did one child start low and make a drop in several points while another started high and dropped one or two points?

One might be called a big decrease while the other is small.

• The researchers were willing to pass this study off as causal-comparative to support their obvious dislike for spanking, but I didn’t see anything listed anywhere that showed whether or not kids with low IQ to start “needed” to be spanked in the first place. By this I mean were the low-IQ children behaving worse than the kids with the high IQ right from the start?

• One of the comments on the story points out something else that puts some major holes in the results of this study: its methodology.

Children were first studied in the 1980s and then studied later. The thing is, it wasn’t until 1991 that the WISC-III test was developed for accurate IQ measurement. How are we to know the accuracy of the IQ points in the 1980s if they were given using a WISC-R test? The WISC-R had a habit of showing higher scores. If the researchers were comparing these scores to WISC-III on the same child, they’d no doubt be lower.

The comment also poses a question that is crucial to the accuracy of this study: Was the follow-up test given on a WISC-III test, WISC-R test, or even a Stanford-Binet test? We don’t know. We should be told, though, because this could alter the IQ numbers if we’re comparing them.

• The comment also points out the instability of IQ in young children, which is why kids aren’t tested for gifted classes until later in their school career.

The comment notes that children of younger years are still undergoing intellectual development that will help them think more abstractly in later years. Thus, how can we seriously think that a 2-year-old can accurately be compared to that of a 6-year-old based on whether or not they were spanked? Over the course of those four years that single child may have had life experiences aside from the spanking that weren’t even considered.

• Finally, how are we defining “spanking”? Is it one hit on the bottom? Is it two hits on the bottom? Is it 10 hits on the bottom? Is it two hits on the bottom and one on the face?

In a research study we’re supposed to have concrete definitions to analyze the data. I didn’t see a definition for “spanking” listed even once.
As I had said earlier, this essay isn’t to debate the pros or cons of spanking. I just wish that scientific “research” had more data and fewer holes.

Callaway, Ewen. “Smacking Hits Kids’ IQ.” New Scientist. 25 Sep. 2009.


August 29, 2009

Setting Sail

I’ll be busy with work for a while, so this is most likely going to be my last post for quite some time. I wanted it to be something that was somewhat philosophical to a certain degree, and as such it will touch upon something that has been weighing on my mind off and on for the last few years.

I’ve come to a point in life where I’m not sure what “right” and “wrong” are and I’m not sure what “good” and “bad” are. More specifically, I’m not sure if what I do—or what I’ve done—has been “right” or “wrong” or “good” or “bad,” no matter what it has been.

Over the last few years I’ve noticed that the more I’ve accomplished, or the more that I’ve attempted to accomplish things that I thought were good and positive, the more that I’ve had people distance themselves from me and in a few cases I’ve received outright criticism for it as well hatred for having done it.

This is forcing me to re-evaluate many of the views that I’ve held for most of my life. This process of re-evaluation is taking me into uncharted waters but at the same time it feels as if it’s a course that I have no choice but to take.

Keeping with the metaphor of water, I’m not sure if it’ll be a course that will eventually take me to a new land or if I’ll simply continue sailing towards a horizon that never has a landmass pop up—ever.

Perhaps sailing for a while is the course itself. We’ll see.

August 10, 2009


“You’re a traitor!” yelled the boy. “You’re a thought-criminal! You’re a Eurasian spy! I’ll shoot you, I’ll vaporize you, I’ll send you to the salt mines!”
Suddenly they were both leaping around him, shouting “Traitor!” and “Thought-criminal!,” the little girl imitating her brother in every movement. It was somehow slightly frightening, like the gamboling of the tiger cubs which will soon grow up to be man-eaters. There was a sort of calculating ferocity in the boy’s eye, a quite evident desire to hit or kick Winston and a consciousness of being very nearly big enough to do so. It was a good job it was not a real pistol he was holding, Winston thought.

With those children, he thought, that wretched woman must lead a life of terror. Another year, two years, and they would be watching her night and day for symptoms of unorthodoxy. Nearly all children nowadays were horrible. What was worst of all was that by means of such organizations as the Spies they were systematically turned into ungovernable little savages, and yet this produced in them no tendency whatever to rebel against the discipline of the Party. On the contrary, they adored the Party and everything connected to it. The songs, the processions, the banners, the hiking, the drilling with dummy rifles, the yelling of slogans, the worship of Big Brother—it was all a sort of glorious game to them. All their ferocity was turned outwards, against the enemies of the State, against foreigners, traitors, saboteurs, thought-criminals. It was almost normal for people over thirty to be frightened of their own children. And with good reason, for hardly a week passed in which the Times did not carry a paragraph describing how some eavesdropping little sneak—“child hero” was the phrase generally used—had overheard some compromising remark and denounced his parents to the Thought Police.
—From George Orwell’s 1984, Book One, Chapter Two

On August 4, 2009, the following was posted on the White House blog by Macon Phillips, whose title is “director of new media”:
There is a lot of disinformation about health insurance reform out there, spanning from control of personal finances to end of life care. These rumors often travel just below the surface via chain emails or through casual conversation. Since we can’t keep track of all of them here at the White House, we’re asking for your help. If you get an email or see something on the web about health insurance reform that seems fishy, send it to flag@whitehouse.gov.
This caused Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) to ask President Obama to “cease this program immediately” and say: “I can only imagine the level of justifiable outrage had [George W. Bush] asked Americans to forward emails critical of his policies to the White House.”

When asked about it, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs—who is beginning to look more like Joseph Goebbels than Karl Rove did—would only say that “nobody is collecting names.” He wouldn’t comment on the collection of e-mail addresses (which usually contain names) or Website URLs that were critical of Obama or the nationalized healthcare plan.

That’s already the case for law professor Matthew Staver, who actually took the time to read through over 1,000 pages of HR 3200—the so-called America’s Affordable Health Choices Act of 2009—and he reported the following (the included commentary is his—not mine):
Pg 22 of the HC Bill MANDATES the Government will audit the books of ALL EMPLOYERS that self insure!

Pg 29 lines 4-16 in the HC Bill - YOUR HEALTH CARE IS RATIONED!!

Pg 30 Sec 123 of HC Bill - THERE WILL BE A GOVERNMENT COMMITTEE that decides what treatments/benefits you get

Pg 42 of HC Bill - The Health Choices Commissioner will choose your benefits for you. You have no choice!

Pg 50 Section 152 in HC Bill - HC will be provided to ALL non-U.S. citizens, illegal or otherwise

Pg 58 HC Bill – Government will have real-time access to individual’s finances and a National ID Health Care Card will be issued!

Pg 59 HC Bill lines 21-24 Government will have direct access to your banks accounts for electronic funds transfer.

(NOTE FROM RJ-This really does mean they can take your money at any time. Who will have this authority?—a government bureaucrat.)

Pg 65 Sec 164 is a payoff subsidized plan for retirees and their families in unions and community organizations (ACORN).

Pg 72 Lines 8-14 Government is creating a Health Care Exchange to bring private health care plans under government control.

Pg 84 Sec 203 HC Bill - Government mandates ALL benefit packages for private health care plans in the Exchange

Pg 85 Line 7 HC Bill - Specs for of Benefit Levels for Plans = The government will ration your health care!

Pg 91 Lines 4-7 HC Bill - Government mandates linguistic appropriate services.

Pg 95 HC Bill Lines 8-18 The government will use groups i.e., ACORN & AmeriCorps to sign up individuals for government Health Care Plan

Pg 85 Line 7 HC Bill - Specs of Ben Levels 4 Plans. #AARP members - Your health care WILL be rationed

Pg 102 Lines 12-18 HC Bill - Medicaid Eligible Individual will be automatically enrolled in Medicaid. No choice.

Pg 124 lines 24-25 HC No company can sue the government on price fixing. No “judicial review” against government monopoly.

Pg 127 Lines 1-16 HC Bill - Doctors/ #AMA - The government will tell YOU what you can make.

Pg 145 Line 15-17 An employer MUST auto enroll employees into public opt plan. NO CHOICE

Pg 126 Lines 22-25 Employers MUST pay for health care for part-time employees AND their families.

Pg 149 Lines 16-24 ANY Employer w/ payroll 400k and above who does not prov. pub opt. pays 8% tax on all payroll

Pg 150 Lines 9-13 Businesses with payroll between 251k and 400k who do not provide public opt pays 2-6% tax on all payroll

Pg 167 Lines 18-23 ANY individual who doesn’t have acceptable health care according to government will be taxed 2.5% of income.

Pg 170 Lines 1-3 Any NONRESIDENT Alien is exempt from individual taxes (Americans will pay).

Pg 195 Officers & employees of HC Admin (GOVT) will have access to ALL Americans' financial and personal records.

Pg 203 Line 14-15 HC - “The tax imposed under this section shall not be treated as tax.” Yes, it says that.

Pg 239 Line 14-24 HC Bill Government will reduce physician services for Medicaid. Seniors, low income, poor affected.

Pg 241 Line 6-8 HC Bill - Doctors, it does not matter what specialty you have, you’ll all be paid the same.

Pg 253 Line 10-18 Government sets value of doctors' time, prof judg, etc. Literally value of humans.

Pg 265 Sec 1131Government mandates and controls productivity for private health care industries.

Pg 268 Sec 1141 Federal Government regulates rental and purchase of power-driven wheelchairs.

Pg 272 SEC. 1145. Treatment of certain cancer hospitals – Cancer patients - welcome to rationing! Many cancer treatments will not work unless implemented early, but the waiting time just to see a specialist will likely be months when this plan is implemented. As you can see in this bill, the option of the health care bureaucrat is to deny treatment to those they deem not likely to be helped by it. Watch the cancer death rate skyrocket, like in Canada and the U.K.

Page 280 Sec 1151 The government will penalize hospitals for what government deems preventable readmissions (Incentives for hospital to not treat and release).

Pg 298 Lines 9-11 Doctors that treat a patient during initial admission that results in a readmission-Government will penalize you.

Pg 317 L 13-20 PROHIBITION on ownership/investment. Government tells Doctors what/how much they can own.

Pg 317-318 lines 21-25, 1-3 PROHIBITION on expansion- Government is mandating hospitals cannot expand.

pg 321 2-13 Hospitals have opportunity to apply for exception, BUT community input required. Can you say ACORN?!!

Pg335 L 16-25 Pg 336-339 - Government mandates establishment of outcome based measures. Health Care the way they want. Rationing.

Pg 341 Lines 3-9 Government has authority to disqualify Medicare Advantage Plans (Part B), HMOs, etc. Forcing people into Government plan.

Pg 354 Sec 1177 - Government will RESTRICT enrollment of special needs people!

Pg 379 Sec 1191 Government creates more bureaucracy – Tele-health Advisory Committee. Health care by phone/Internet?

Pg 425 Lines 4-12 Government mandates Advance [Death] Care Planning Consult. Think Senior Citizens end of life.

Pg 425 Lines 17-19 Government will instruct and consult regarding living wills, durable powers of attorney. Mandatory!

Pg 425 Lines 22-25, 426 Lines 1-3 Government provides approved list of end of life resources, guiding you in death.

Pg 427 Lines 15-24 Government mandates program for orders for end of life. The government has a say in how your life ends.

Pg 429 Lines 1-9 An “adv. care planning consult” will be used frequently as patient's health deteriorates.

Pg 429 Lines 10-12 “adv. care consultation” may include an ORDER for end of life plans. AN ORDER from Government.

Pg 429 Lines 13-25 - The government will specify which doctors can write an end of life order.

PG 430 Lines 11-15 The government will decide what level of treatment you will have at end of life. The above really does give the government the authority to determine who lives and dies, and when. A government bureaucrat really will be making this decision for you and your loved ones.

Pg 469 - Community Based Home Medical Services=Non-profit orgs. Hello, ACORN Medical Services here!!?

Pg 472 Lines 14-17 PAYMENT TO COMMUNITY-BASED ORG. 1 monthly payment to a community-based org. Like ACORN?

Pg 489 Sec 1308 The government will cover Marriage and Family therapy. They will insert government into your marriage.

Pg 494-498 Government will cover Mental Health Services including defining, creating, rationing those services.

PG 502 Sec 1181 Center for Comparative Effectiveness Research Established. – Hello Big Brother – Literally.

Pg 503 Lines 13-19 Government will build registries and data networks from YOUR electronic medical records.

Pg 503 lines 21-25 Government may secure data directly from any department or agency of the U.S., including your data.

Pg 504 Lines 6-10 The “Center” will collect data both published and unpublished (that means public and your private info).

PG 506 Lines 19-21 The Center will recommend policies that would allow for public access of data.

PG 518 Lines 21-25 The Commission will have input from Health Care consumer reps – Can you say unions and ACORN?

PG 524 18-22 Comparative Effectiveness Research Trust Fund set up. More taxes for ALL.

PG 621 Lines 20-25 Government will define what quality means in health care. Since when does government know about quality?

Pg 622 Lines 2-9 To pay for the Quality Standards, government will transfer money from other government Trust Funds. More Taxes.

PG 624 “Quality” measures shall be designed to assess outcomes and functional status of patients.

PG 624 “Quality” measures shall be designed to profile you including race, age, gender, place of residence, etc.

Pg 628 Sec 1443 Government will give “Multi-Stake Holders” Pre-Rule Making input into Selection of “Quality” Measures.

Pg 630 9-24/631 1-9 Those multi-stake holder groups include unions and groups like ACORN deciding health care quality.

Pg 632 Lines 14-25 The Government may implement any “Quality measure” of health care services as they see fit.

PG 633 14-25/ 634 1-9 The Secretary may issue non-endorsed “Quality Measures” for Physician Services and Dialysis Services.

Pg 635 to 653 Physicians Payments Sunshine Provision – Government wants to shine sunlight on doctor but not government.

Pg 654-659 Public Reporting on Health Care-Associated Infections – Looks okay.

PG 660-671 Doctors in Residency – Government will tell you where your residency will be, thus where you’ll live.

Pg 676-686 Government will regulate hospitals in EVERY aspect of residency programs, including teaching hospitals.

Pg 686-700 Increased Funding to Fight Waste, Fraud, and Abuse. You mean like the government with an $18 million website? Or $60 billion in Medicare and Medicaid fraud every year?

PGs 701-704 Sec 1619 If your part of health care plan isn’t in Government Health Care Exchange but you qualify for Federal aid, no payment.

PG 705-709 SEC. 1128 If Secretary gets complaints (ACORN) on health care provider or supplier, government can do background check.

PG 711 Lines 8-14 The Secretary has broad powers to deny health care providers/ suppliers admittance into Health Care Exchange. Your doctor could be thrown out of business.

Pg 719-720 Sec 1637 ANY Doctor who orders durable medical equipment or home medical services MUST be enrolled in Medicare.

PG 722 Sec 1639 Government MANDATES doctors must have face-to-face with patient to certify patient for Home Health Services.

PG 724 23-25 PG 725 1-5 The same government certifications will apply to Medicaid and CHIP (your kids).

PG 724 Lines 16-22 Government reserves right to apply face-to-face certification for patient to ANY other health care service.

Pg 735 lines 16-25 For law enforcement, proposes the Secretary-HHS will give Attorney General access to ALL data.

PG 740-757 Government sets guidelines for subsidizing the uninsured (That's your tax dollars people).

Pg 757-762 Federal Government will shift burden of payments to Disproportionate Share Hospitals (DSH) to States. (Taxes)

Pg 763 1-8 No DS/EA hospitals will be paid unless they provide services without regard to national origin.

Pg 765 Sec 1711 Government will require Preventative Services including vaccines. (Choice?)

Pg 768 Sec 1713 Government – Nurse Home Visitation Services (Hello union paybacks).

Pg 769 11-14 Nurse Home Visit Services include economic self-sufficiency, employ adv, school-readiness.

Pg 769 3-5 Nurse Home Visit Services - “increasing birth intervals between pregnancies.” Government ABORTIONS anyone?

Pg 770 SEC 1714 Federal Government mandates eligibility for State Family Planning Services. Abortion and State Sovereign.

(NOTE FROM RJ—Can you believe that in America you will be told how many children you can have, and when? Does this mean we can expect the government to impose mandatory abortions? How else can this be interpreted?)

Pg 789-797 Government will set, mandate drug prices, controlling which drugs brought to market. Bye innovation.

Pgs 797-800 SEC. 1744 PAYMENTS for graduate medical education. The government will now control doctors’ educations.

PG 801 Sec 1751 The government will decide which health care conditions will be paid. Say RATION!

Pg 810 SEC. 1759. Billing Agents, clearinghouses, etc. req. to register. Government takes over private payment system.

Pg 820-824 Sec 1801 Government will identify individuals ineligible for subsidies. Will access all personal financial information.

Pg 824-829 SEC. 1802. Government sets up Comparative Effectiveness Research Trust Fund. Another tax black hole.

PG 829-833 Government will impose a fee on ALL private health insurance plans including self-insured to pay for Trust Fund!

PG 835 11-13 fees imposed by government for Trust Fund shall be treated as if they were taxes.

Pg 838-840 Government will design and implement Home Visitation Program for families with young kids and families expecting kids.

PG 844-845 This Home Visitation Program includes government coming into your house and telling you how to parent!?

Pg 859 Government will establish a Public Health Fund at a cost of $88,800,000,000. Yes that’s billion.

Pg 865 The government will MANDATE the establishment of a National Health Service Corps.

PG 865 to 876 The NHS Corps is a program where doctors perform mandatory health care for two years for part loan repayment.

PG 876-892 The government takes over the education of our medical students and doctors.

PG 898 The government will establish a Public Health Workforce Corps to ensure supply of public health prof.

PG 898 The Public Health Workforce Corps shall consist of civilian employees of the U.S. as Secretary deems.

PG 898 The Public Health Workforce Corps shall consist of officers of Regular and Reserve Corps of Service.

PG 900 The Public Health Workforce Corps includes veterinarians.

PG 901 The Public Health Workforce Corps WILL include commissioned Regular and Reserve Officers. HC Draft?

PG 910 The government will develop, build, and run Public Health Training Centers.

PG 913-914 Government starts a health care affirmative action program thru guise of diversity scholarships.

PG 915 SEC. 2251. Government MANDDATES Cultural and linguistic competency training for health care professionals.

Pg 932 The Government will establish Preventative and Wellness Trust fund- initial cost of $30,800,000,000 billion.

PG 935 21-22 Government will identify specific goals & objectives for prevention & wellness activities. Control YOU!!

PG 936 Government will develop “Healthy People and National Public Health Performance Standards” Tell me what to eat? This is no joke -- the government will be able to actually mandate what you can eat or not eat. This could be helpful for some, but do we want the government doing it? What is the most fat and out of shape entity on the planet? The Federal Government. What kind of shape do you think the bureaucrats will be in who mandate such for everyone else?

PG 942 Lines 22-25 More government? Offices of Surgeon General -Public Health Svc, Minority Health, Women’s Health

PG 950- 980 BIG GOVERNMENT core pub health infrastructure including workforce capacity, lab systems, health info sys, etc.

PG 993 Government will establish school based health clinics. Your kids won’t have a chance.

PG 994 School Based Health Clinic will be integrated into the school environment. Say government brainwash!

PG 1001 The government will establish a National Medical Device Registry. Will you be tracked?
In a rebuttal, chairman of the Committee on Education & Labor George Miller responded to this. Not surprisingly, most of this “rebuttal” was semantics. For instance, where Staver refers to a “committee,” Miller asserts that The National Health Benefits Advisory Council “is not a ‘government committee’” because it’s called a “council.” Come on.

In another section, Miller argues that Staver’s use of the word “audit” is incorrect because it’s not an “audit”—it’s a “study,” as he says. So if I “study” a book full of numbers, that’s not an “audit”? It’s a “study”? Does that mean that a straight person isn’t heterosexual, but rather they’re “non-homosexual”?

I did find one part that Miller might want to revisit if he wants to be taken seriously. Professor Staver states that on page 58, the federal government “will have real-time access to individual’s finances and a National ID Health Care Card will be issued!” In his rebuttal to this part, Miller states: “This section says nothing about a National ID health card, or accessing your personal financial information.” But when I did a search of the text of HR 3200, I discovered the following in Section 1173 A (a)(2):
(D) enable the real-time (or near real-time) determination of an individual's financial responsibility at the point of service and, to the extent possible, prior to service, including whether the individual is eligible for a specific service with a specific physician at a specific facility, which may include utilization of a machine-readable health plan beneficiary identification card;
Again, semantics; Staver called it a “national ID card” but the text calls it a “machine-readable health plan beneficiary identification card.” Thus, Miller proclaims that it’s not a national identification card—even though it’s national and it’s an identification card. Yes, and maybe now we can call the color white “non-black” and black “non-white” and they’ll suddenly become different colors.

Getting back to the part of turning your neighbors in when you find an enemy of the state, I came across a blogger—whom I won’t bother giving any extra traffic by posting her URL on my site, but I will offer a screenshot—urging readers to file a complaint with state bar associations because she doesn’t like knowing that someone actually took the time to read the text of a 1,000-page bill. Obviously the concept of “transparency” is like the concept of Nancy Pelosi’s “Americanism”: it’s only called that when it goes your way.

Instead of celebrating the dissent that was embraced by
progressives during the Bush years, this blogger would
rather see a lawyer disbarred because he doesn’t like
the Democrats’ nationalized healthcare plan.


There’s no doubt that my blog URL will now be sent to flag@whitehouse.gov because my un-American dissent toward President McCarthy’s...er...I mean, President Obama’s push for HR 3200 is treasonous, traitorous, and would inflame the public dialogue. The children will surround me with their pistols and the thought-police in the White House will be notified.

George W. Bush’s eight-year reign was routinely equated to the totalitarian concepts put forth in George Orwell’s 1984, but from what I’ve seen so far, we haven’t seen anything yet.