Archive | March, 2013

Lewandowsky “Moon Landing” paper … down for the Count?

29 Mar

Geoff Chambers posted some of the comments from the invite only members section at Skeptical Science (that the admins there apparently left public for a period of time). One post from John Cook is highly relevant to this discussion (emph. mine):

2010–10-8 ” …a while ago, I added a bias field to the user database and a bit of code so as comments came in, I could specify whether the user was skeptics or warmest/proAGW/mainstream (still haven’t found a satisfactory term for our side). I only assign bias if its obvious from the comment. I haven’t done anything with that data yet, I’m not even sure why I’m doing it other than my obsessive compulsion to collect data. The other day, Steve Lewandowsky (cognitive scientist) asked if I had any numbers on the ratio of skeptics to warmists so I dove into the database and counted up around 100 assigned skeptics and around 400 assigned warmists.

If I did my math correctly 100 out of 500 total = 20% … exactly the same number as the alleged “content analysis” done on “1067 comments” from allegedly “unique visitors” at Skeptical Science (SKS).

It is simply far too great a coincidence that an analysis of 1067 comments, provided exactly the same ratio as Lewandowsky co-author John Cook said his internal database showed was the ratio of skeptic vs non-skeptic participants.

Which also almost exactly matched the 18% Lewandowsky reports another survey in the US found:

“… survey of the U. S. public in June 2010 pegged the proportion of “skeptics” in the population at 18% (Leiserowitz, Maibach, Roser-Renouf, & Smith, 2011) found.

Imagine that.

That all is bad enough on its own – however, there is another gigantic hole in their claims.

Their “content analysis” of 1067 comments, and their resultant claimed ‘skeptic share’ at Skeptical Science has effectively no real life relationship with the number and share of skeptic participants at SKS. This is especially true considering SKS’s highly antagonistic attitude and actions towards skeptics who dare venture to their little club – from regular non-skeptic participants and moderators alike.

Comparing comment counts offers no legitimate insight into the skeptic vs non-skeptic participant ratio, which is the metric supposedly being measured.

A simple review of one post at Skeptical Science is illustrative of the almost complete lack of association between skeptic comments and skeptic participant shares.

Lets choose the recent cross post from Shaping Tomorrows World, of John Cook’s excuse-making, err … ‘explanation’ of the Recursive paper posted here.

This post has generated, to date, a total of 106 responses. Lets break down the responses:

  • Barry Woods – skeptic – posts 9,13,14,15,22
  • Geoff Chambers – skeptic – posts 24,27,28,38,40,60,78 (heavily moderated and strong mod warning), 89 (moderated again), 101 (moderated – final warning)
  • Brad Keyes – skeptic – posts 30, 31 (deleted), 32, 34, 49, 51, 52, 55, 57, 58, 63, 66, 69, 70, 73, 92, 93, 96, 98 (moderated and banned – Brad’s foray is a typical skeptic experience at SKS)

There are a couple other posts that could be definied as skeptical of the SKS position in this thread, but cannot be defined as AGW skeptic’s – which is the subject of this study.

While we’re reviewing lets look at a few of the typical comments from non-skeptics to see how skeptics are treated at SKS:

  • Post 47 definitely NOT a skeptic – but a perfect demonstration of the attitude towards skeptics at the site (you’ll note this clear ad hominem attack was ignored by mods):

    Although a recent occurrence came close, no thread was better deserving of the following metaphorical advice: “don’t wrestle with a pig. You’ll both be covered in mud and the pig loves it.” I urge all that are able to think rationally to not waste their time.

  • Post 68 – from a site moderator:

    I’m not going to engage you, because this is silly. John Cook’s paper says it all, and I have no intention of spending my time arguing about “sides” that have been entirely fabricated by a small community of “victims” who have identified themselves as separate and special.

  • Post 74 – another site moderator – John Hartz:

    @John Cook: Do you now have enough raw material from this comment thread for another paper in your series?

  • Post 102 – post by site moderator – “John Hartz” another site moderator tells him not to “feed the troll” referring to geoff chambers.

So – what’s the count:

  • Skeptic comment count: N=35 comments (out of 106 total) … 33.02% of all comments
  • Non-Skeptic comment count: 71 comments (of 106 total) … 65.98% of all comments
  • Skeptic individual participants count: N=3 (out of 42 total participants) … 7.14% of all participants are SKEPTIC’s
  • Non-Skeptic individual participants count: N=38 (out of 42 total participants) … 90.48% of all participants are NON-SKEPTIC’s

An interesting aside – regarding participation by moderators and/or SKS staff:

  • SKS moderators/staff commenting individually count: N=40 comments (out of 106 total) … 37.74% of all comments were made by SKS staff/moderators
  • SKS moderators/staff individual participant count: N=10 (of 38 non-skeptic posters) … SKS moderators/staff comprised 26.32 of all participants

The data – at least in this post from SKS is clear … contrary to the authors conclusions, while 33% of the comments here were from skeptics, just 7% of the participants were the same.

This shows the SKS formula provided in the Lewandowsky Supplemental Information – which uses total skeptic comments vs non-sceptic comments as support for and proof of the alleged diversity of the SKS, provides little or no meaningful information on the share of skeptic’s who participate at SKS.

Additionally, the paper’s “comment analysis” is, to be charitable, highly suspect, considering this supposed standalone comment analysis finds EXACTLY THE SAME conclusion as author John Cook found in his wholly separate and unrelated forum post – using his own internal participant “bias” information

Worse, the Lewandosky authors extend this seriously flawed “comment analysis” conclusion as definitively representative of all 7 other non-skeptic sites that offered the survey.

A more detailed review would likely find somewhat different results, however the basic premise here – that a “comments” review does not provide meaningful insight into the share of “participants” who are skeptics, is not likely to significantly change.

[Authors Note: please consider this a draft – quick online – version. Am in process of more detailed fact and error checking – thanks]


Obama’s $1m Tiger golf weekend = 341 furloughed Federal Workers

8 Mar

Senator Jeff Sessions of Alabama:

“There is nothing just or virtuous about protecting a stale welfare state that is failing the people it is supposed to help.”

ImageAfter having 18 months notice to come up with a reasoned plan for the sequester, one that minimizes the damage and protects as many jobs as possible, Obama’s plan has tuned out to be inflict maximum damage.

And play golf.

With Tiger Woods.

Oh, and let’s not forget – to blame rich people and Republicans, not necessarily in that order.

However, instead of cutting out truly unnecessary services such as the White House Calligrapher department, with its 3 employees making almost $300,000 a year, Obama shuts down White House tours … which not by accident affect mostly kids and other ordinary citizens who travel to Washington for what, for many, is a once in a lifetime chance.

And in his best show of the uncaring, unconnected, elitist he is … there was never a thought of cancelling his weekend of golf with one Tiger Woods, estimated to cost taxpayers in excess of $1 million dollars. Not to mention planning underway for the Presidents

Obama and his administration have failed to submit a Federal budget as required by law, for now into a 4th year. In a Weekly Standard story, Senator Sessions asks the highly pertinent question; why then, as they have not had to do their most primary job for now 4 years, doesn’t the President furlough his 500 person staff at the Office of Management and Budget, rather than threatening fireman, policemen and depriving small children and ordinary citizens of the ability to see the Whitehouse – which their tax dollars have paid for?

Instead Obama has made his plan very clear – inflict maximum pain. To that end he has had the top people in his administration preaching the sky will fall, for weeks.

Pistone at the TSA and “Big Sis” Napolitano, head of Department of Homeland Security have told anyone who would listen the sequester cuts would cause maximum chaos, long lines at airports, air traffic control delays, a run on the border as immigrant take advantage of reduced ranks in the border patrol.

But a funny thing happened, or rather did not. None of the issues and claims made by these scaremongers, including the President, have been found to be true. Airports across the country have refuted the administration’s claims of delays. Air traffic is running just fine. Air travel security is doing so well the TSA announced this week small knives and other relaxation of rules are coming. And the only run on the border is possibly at Taco Bell with their new cool ranch tacos released earlier.

Things have gone so well, and shown the scaremongering for the silliness it is, that we’re now seeing contrived responses to show the pain.

First a few hundred, now thousands of illegal immigrant detainees being released from the jails we’ve held them in. Instead of $85 to $145 a day to house, feed, clothe and take care of them in custody – the new procedures, ankle bracelets, home detention and the like, will reunite families and will now cost the government from 14 cents to a few dollars a day. Sounds like a damn good idea to me – if it is, as they claim, safe to do now, why the heck have we kept these thousands of low risk people in jails all this time?

But don’t you worry now. The President has gone on the air to assure us  the pain from the sequestration cuts “will be real”… and if you don’t believe him this CNN video is here to show you the error of your ways:

The audacity is almost awe-inspiring, as the President admonishes against making “dumb and arbitrary cuts.”

Would that include playing gold with Tiger Woods instead of keeping 341 workers employed Mr. President?   Or do you mean things like cutting White House tours instead of the White House calligraphy department?

Mr. Obama – its time to play a serious adult game. Its called “This, not That” …

Choose “This” Mr. Obama:


Not “That”:       


Death by government harassment …

7 Mar

I’m not much of an “off the gridder” – when the shit hits the fan my survival plan is head to the nearest Mills Fleet Farm. They have everything you need to survive, food (for humans and animals), clothes, guns, ammo, generators, gasoline and shelter – all in a big defensible space.

That said, I was sent this story, from last year, of a man being subject to a years long harassment by a myriad of the government departments, agencies and officials, ending sadly in him being literally harassed to death by a government. Who, after  failing in using the Courts against him, clearly set out to get even, ultimately leading to his loss of hope, and subsequent death.  This story bears repeating, notice and widespread dissemination.

By all appearances the Roswell Chicken Man, Andre Wordes, was a good and decent man, if perhaps slightly eccentric. But being eccentric should not be a death penalty offence.

Neither should chickens.

A friend of his posted upon his death – these words of his briefly describe the man:


Andrew was a man of faith, with a strong love for God. He was a staunch Constitutionalist with a passion for our freedoms and liberties. He taught me a lot in the short time I knew him. We talked often and he openly shared his story and his dedication to what America used to stand for. He was a fighter and I admired his immense devotion to his sweet birds, pigs and dogs. He cared about everyone around him and was always kind and generous. I am saddened that evil trampled him to the end of his rope.

Andrew fought the good fight,not just for himself but for others because he knew it could happen to anyone.

In reading the rest of his comments, posted shortly after his friends death, the words show the passion of one decent man defending another. And they ring with the clear feel of truth. Other comments on this same page from various folks directly involved, support and enhance the planned and coordinated attack on this poor man, and the result. Make sure to read Lee Fleck’s detailed comments for further insight.

While known as the Chicken Man, as it turns out keeping chickens on his nearly one acre, heavily wooded property, was just the tip of the iceberg. When the city’s own judicial system found the City’s claims against Mr. Wordes unfounded, and his actions to be within the law, the City retaliated with the ongoing, concerted harassment that drove Mr. Wordes to his death.

This wasn’t just harassment, this was a premeditated, well planned, tar and feathering. A government led lynch mob unleashed against a simple citizen fighting for his rights – rights a Court held he was entitled to …

Andrew Wordes - The Chicken Man of RoswellA lover of animals and friend to many, he was known as “Chicken Man” for his battle with Roswell, GA over keeping them at his home.  Sadly, all hope lost, he succumbed  to the years of harassment  corruption and pressure, from the officials at the City of Roswell … taking his own life March 26, 2012 in the home on the property he had fought so hard to simply be able to enjoy.

Sadly, a search today, nearly a year after his death, appears to show no action has been taken. And the officials responsible have succeeded in their task, unscathed and unaccountable.

Please take the time to read these links – in particular the comments – for more on Andrew Wordes – The Roswell Chicken Man’s life and death :

Andrew Wordes, in his own words:

How others felt about Andrew – comments from his funeral – Funeral draws large tunrout:

One of the most complete stories on the issue:

And a timeline:

A detailed history of the Roswell Chicken Man fight:

Copy of City’s lawsuit against Wordes:

New details on City pressure against mortgage holder:

Radio Interview with Andrew Wordes:

Audio interview – Contrary to claims by City and others Wordes elderly mortgage holder cared about Wordes, not money:

Mortage buyer a sham?:    Apr 25, 2012

Local story on his death:

Andrew Wordes Facebook:

Memorial by Glenn Horowitz:

Police chief involved dismissed:

More media stories: JUL 7, 2011  FEB 20, 2012   MAR 7, 2012    MARCH 12, 2012  MAR 26, 2012  APR 25, 2012  APR 25, 2012

The woman it appears was largely behind this vendetta:

FAST COMPANY: The TSA’s Insane Budget And Woeful Track Record INFOGRAPHIC

4 Mar

Here is a great graphic compiled by the folks at Fast Company that illustrates all the issues with the TSA. 

The TSA’s Insane Budget And Woeful Track Record


It’s easy to loathe the TSA. They slow down our travel. They cost us money. They scan past the privacy of our clothing. And their screeners tend to have the same perpetually aggravated disposition of the average DMV employee. (Not to mention, their very presence seems to overshadow the multitude of other, simpler destructive options for your average terrorist.)


Any loathing you may have will only be fueled when you look through this infographic. The numbers are infuriating if you trust them all. 70% of weapons make it past TSA screeners? It costs us $6 million to find each gun? We spend more than double on the TSA than we do clean energy?


And don’t even look at the salaries they’re making.





Obama’s lies about The Big ‘ol Scary Sequester!

4 Mar

The President has spent months playing the scare game, goading rather than governing. We’ve been treated to story after story of the woes about to befall us if those nasty old Republicans don’t shape up and start agreeing to more tax revenues:

FEBRUARY 27, 2013 12:00 P.M.

Obama’s Sequester Scare Tactics 
The cuts could be responsibly managed, but the president hasn’t tried.

ImageThe White House has argued that the March 1 sequester of federal spending — a cut of approximately 5 percent from the domestic-spending programs covered by the sequester requirement, along with 8 percent cuts to defense programs — will bring about the most dire of consequences. According to the president, “this meat-cleaver approach . . . will jeopardize our military readiness [and] eviscerate job-creating investments in education and energy and medical research.”

Maybe more alarmingly, the White House’s Office of Management and Budget issued a press release earlier this month claiming that the cuts in federal spending “could” force reductions in food inspections, which “could” lead to outbreaks of more food-borne bacteria, such as E. coli. Administration officials and their allies are making similarly alarming claims regarding what “could” happen to workplace safety, law enforcement, and education.

It seems clear that the administration has the capacity to make sequestration’s impact excessively unpleasant, and these statements could make one wonder whether the administration is determined to do so.

As is too often the case with this President and administration, the claims of doom are increasingly transparent. Reality is proving inconvenient to the Presidents ‘sky is gonna fall’ narrative.

Reality shows us the Federal Budget is increased for 2013 over last year, the reduction from the sequester will simply reduce how much the budget increases.

Reality shows us the American people recently experienced a similar hit to their budgets – the expiration of the payroll tax cuts was a similar approx. 2.5% hit in every working American’s budget. It would seem the American people somehow managed to take that hit in stride and kept right on trucking.

Reality is the sequester will force a cut of just 2.4% of the budget – its $85 billion in total cuts are roughly the same amount as was approved for the hurricane Sandy relief. Obama and his administration have been scaremongering for weeks about the massive problems this will cause, but as the story notes – they have had months to prepare.

They have re-framed the “cost” of the cuts as a result of their foot dragging. While the sequester requires a less than 3% reduction in the federal budget the Obama administration is characterizing it as ‘federal agencies will have to cut 8% of their budget from March onward’ … a whopper of a white lie. The reason it amounts to 8% … a 2.4% annual budget reduction is NOT 8%.

Further – the cuts can relatively easily be geared within each organization to apply more to discretionary items allowing front line operational spending to be largely unaffected.

Then we have the shear idiocy of some of the fear mongering – the Dept of Homeland Security for example telling us we will see massive disruption to air travel and decrease in national security.

Which is simply put – silly.

The Department of Homeland Security’s 2012 budget request was $57 billion. They must cut approximately $627 million thru the sequester. 

They could eliminate one single non-essential program – “Assistance to Firefighters” Grants – and save $670 million. These are grants to local fire departments to rehire laid off workers and pay for more equipment and training. There are zero FD’s that will be appreciably negatively impacted by the loss of these funds. 

Here is a short version of the DHS budget for 2012 – I suspect most rational adults can find $627 million in cuts that would have no significant affect on day to day life. 

Instead Obama and his admin are threatening to use the most disruptive and destructive cuts they can come up with. It is scaremongering pure and simple. Nothing more.

For comparison – the 2008 DHS budget was $46 billion. In the last 5 years the DHS budget has skyrocketed $10 billion – increasing more than 21% – and yet they are claiming catastrophe over a slightly over 2% cut thru sequestration.

And how about the threats of chaos at the TSA – severe disruptions to air travel etc if the sequester cuts the budgets at TSA? 

An outright joke is what that claim is. First, TSA is part of Dept of Homneland Security – and DHS budgets increased 21+% the last 5 years – the DHS budget request for 2012 was $57 billion vs $47 billion in 2008. For 2013 they bumped it higher yet – to $59 billion – $2 billion more – a total of $12 billion over the 2009-2013 budget periods.

The specific budget for TSA in 2013 was $7.633 billion. Meaning they need to cut appx $190 million thru sequestration. This is a miniscule amount that can easily be found in the $7.6 billion budget, assuming it is not offset elsewhere in the $57 billion DHS overall budget – See table 12 page 52 of this link.

The truly interesting part – the dagger in the heart to Obama and his admin’s fear mongering about the TSA – is to look at its budget compared to air travel …

The TSA Budgets:

2008 – $6.815 billion
2009 – $6.978 billion
2010 – $7.656 billion 
2011 – $ 7.688 billion
2012 – $7.841 billion
2013 – $ 7.645 billion requested 

From 2008 to to 2013 the TSA budget increased 12.2%. 

From 2008 to 2011 the TSA budget increased 12.8%.

So how does that compare to air traffic? 

Total aircraft departures decreased from 9,975,967 in 2008 to 9,160,580 in 2011. Total revenue passengers decreased from 690,249,540 in 2008 to 681,353,394 in 2011. 

In a time where the DHS budget increased 21.2% and the TSA budget increased 12.8% aircraft departures decreased 8.17% and total passengers decreased 1.29%

The DHS and TSA are doing LESS work despite hugely higher budgets. There is ZERO legitimate reason that a 2+% decrease SHOULD have any appreciable impact on either the Air Traffic control system or on the TSA ability to process passengers.

Yet the President and his admin are screaming from every roof top at the dire consequences we can expect from the sequester.

I have just one word for them – supported with irrefutable facts …. “liars.”

I’m sure someone might say air travel increased as the economy has improved in 2012 … that would be false as well … passenger aircraft departures for 2012 were 9.74% LESS than 2008 and 2.15% LESS than 2011. 

Passengers on All U.S. Scheduled Airlines (Domestic & International), December 2007-November 2012:


Air travel has not increased in 2013. The REALITY is the TSA and DHS budgets have both increased significantly yet the number of flights, and the passengers traveling, have declined over the last 5 years.

There is NO valid reason the DHS nor the TSA should have any problem handling the current level of traffic with a slightly lower budget. Even with 2.4% cuts the TSA and DHS budgets are higher than 2008, yet they are handling fewer travelers and less air traffic.

And if all that isn’t enough to put the truth to the Presidents fear mongering lies about the effects of the sequester on air traffic control and passenger security and screening, lest look at his OWN proposals on the TSA budget.

When we do we find a curious thing.   it was just a year ago that Obama proposed a 2.5% CUT in the TSA budget. 

Funny thing – when they were proposing it – it was no problem … today, a slightly smaller cut is mass chaos if we believe their fear mongering.

If Obama wanted to find painless cuts at the TSA and DHS – cuts that would avoid entirely cuts to air traffic control, passenger screening or security – he would only need look at the top watchdog in Congress’s House Committee on Oversight and Reforms report on persistent waste and inefficiencies at the TSA.

Or he could review the  House Majority TSA Reform Report on the myriad TSA problems and how to address and fix them.

In the “picture is worth 1,000 words” department – a graph from the above report shows the REALITY regarding the TSA – and destroys the Presidents fear mongering – in a single image … TSA employee hiring versus air passengers traveling.

TSA Security Officer employees skyrocketing despite domestic air passengers traveling falling to well below 2005 levels. 

There cannot be ANY better indicator of the worthless mess of ineffective spending that is the TSA than this chart:


Obama’s Legacy: Government Greed

4 Mar

Rather than govern, than lead, Obama has spent the last month trotting out official after official to paint the scariest picture possible of the sequester cuts. Along the way he has steadfastly blamed the GOP for their unreasonableness and failure to compromise.

All the while ignoring they did that already. Going against core principles, the GOP accepted large tax increases on the “rich.” Obama and the Democrats promised future cuts … we all know how that worked out.

wimpy-payTues-burgerOne J. Wellington Wimpy perhaps said, and demonstrated, it best … “I’ll gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today”

We know how that worked out as well.

When it became apparent the President never intended to pay for that hamburger, and the sequester was likely to occur, the GOP again stepped to the plate and offered a bill to allow the President to select the cuts to be made, rather than across the board reductions.

The President ignored that opportunity as well.

But its all the GOP’s fault.

Obama lecturing on the dire consequences of the sequester cuts ....

President Obama’s Legacy: Government Greed
Americans know that at least 3 percent of federal spending is wasteful.
By Gov. Bobby Jindal

It seems as if President Obama sends out another cabinet secretary every hour to tell the public about the dire consequences we will face if the sequestration cuts are not averted.

You’ve heard them — no vaccinations for children, teachers losing their jobs, less security from terrorist attacks, longer wait times at airports, and fewer food inspections. Now there are even reports that government officials are releasing hundreds of immigrants from deportation centers. What’s next? Is the president going to threaten to open the doors of federal prisons? This is silly.

Sequestration cuts account for less than 3 percent of the federal budget, but the president would have you believe that the world is going to end if they happen. Americans know that at least 3 percent of federal-government spending is wasteful — and they would tell you there’s room to cut the waste without jeopardizing critical services. The president is asking the American people to believe that there is no waste or fat in government. It’s just a ridiculous notion.
It gets better: Even after the sequestration reductions, the federal budget will actually be larger than it was last year. Let that one sink in. Only in Washington, D.C., would this be called a cut.

Teachers as Armed Guards in Michigan

4 Mar

Excellent idea.

FEBRUARY 28, 2013 4:00 A.M.

Teachers as Armed Guards in Michigan 
A small-town police chief trains school workers to serve as volunteer reserve officers.

By Jillian Kay Melchior

Putting guns in schools has struck many as a radical suggestion since the Sandy Hook massacre. But in one rural Michigan township, the police chief has come up with a thoughtful, serious plan to do just that.


During his 33-year-career in law enforcement, Victor Pierce has seen the bodies of murdered children, and he’s struggled to reckon with it. After Sandy Hook, he felt compelled to do something, he says. So he decided to invite teachers and school administrators to participate in the reserve-officer-training program. After they’d completed the class, Pierce would swear them in as volunteer reserve officers, and if the school district gave its blessing, they could carry concealed weapons on campus. 

Edmund Burke said it so well: The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing,” Pierce says. “We are trying to make a difference. . . .