Monday, November 30, 2009

Was the CRU putting their Thumb on the Scale?

I downloaded the CRU data and glanced at a couple of files. One that I looked at was: documents/cru-code/f77/mnew/sh2sp_normal.for. A comment at the top explained that this subprogram "converts sun hours monthly .nrm to sunshine percent (n/N)". I glanced at the code and noticed this:

DATA DYS/31,28.25,31,30,31,30,31,31,30,31,30,31/

They're going to take the number of hours of sunshine in a month and divide it by the number of days in that month.

That quarter day in February didn't sit well with me. I'm going to speculate that in the real world where hours of sunshine are observed, they are observed (or not) in whole 24 hour days. In other words, you can't use the coding "trick" of slathering the quadrennial leap day over every year—ya gotta put it in the year it's observed. I do sympathize. Accurate calendar accounting is much more difficult than is generally realized.

The good news is that it doesn't matter. Let's look at a little more code, so I can explain why:

integer dys(12)
real day(12),dec(12),sunp(12)
c
DATA DYS/31,28.25,31,30,31,30,31,31,30,31,30,31/

We can think of that 28.25 days as being a square peg and that integer array, dys, as being a round hole. When we assign a real number to an integer variable, Fortran helpfully truncates that pesky decimal portion, leaving just 28 in our case. That means our leap day doesn't even show up every four years.

Fortran is not case sensitive, so both DYS and dys are the same variable. I think switching case as they've done above is poor form. It's certainly confusing to me, but it's been awhile since I coded in Fortran.

Luckily, there's something you can do to help. You can buy Bad Code Offsets for the East Anglia Climate Research Unit to mitigate the harm done by their bad code! (H/T: L'Ombre de o'livier)

Sunday, November 29, 2009

St Louis Holiday Tea Party: Jay Stewart


Jay Stewart pt 1


Jay Stewart pt 2

After Bill Hennessy introduced Jay Stewart in the first video, Jay talked about common sense conservative principals that unite Tea Partiers. He really struck a chord with the crowd.

More to follow...

Cross Coverage:

Previously:

Saturday, November 28, 2009

The New Minuteman

The New Minuteman (photo by: Rob Brenner)

Video and photos from today's St Louis Holiday Tea Party are in the works. This is a great shot of a foot soldier in the Tea Party's media war. We're building a nation of cameramen!

My live photo coverage is on TwitPic.

Update: Thanks again, Glenn (and Rob for the great shot above)! I've got video of Jay Stewart posted from yesterday's teaparty. It will take a little while for video of all the speeches. Our nation of cameramen (and women) needs a corps of post-production people. We're getting there...

Cross Coverage:

Friday, November 27, 2009

Glenn Burleigh walks around in Circles


Glenn Burleigh walks around in circles

The fifth "Glenn Burleigh" on Pipl.com: "Glenn Burleigh is an organizer with the Communication Workers union and co-chair of the Missouri/Kansas Communist Party education/ideology committee..."

24thState has been digging into Comrade Burleigh's nefarious activities with interesting results:
Jefferson County taxpayers spent $185,000 to encourage themselves to vote for a 911 ballot initiative.

Hey, it's work. He's gotta put bread on the table even if he's doing so while committing the fatal conceit. Maybe he has a highly developed sense of irony.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Eric S. Raymond on the East Anglia CRU's Global Warming Fraud

Eric S. Raymond ("esr") is an open source luminary partly because of his industry changing book The Cathedral & the Bazaar. As a fellow software engineer and open source advocate, I was curious what he had to say about the tree-ring circus that is Mann made global warming. He's written several posts on the topic which I excerpt below. esr frequently replies to his commenters, so I've included some of his more interesting comments. After reading Eric's reply to "krygny", I wondered if anyone's calling it the "hard-coded hockey stick".

On 11/21, esr, set the tenor for his upcoming posts in Hiding the Decline: Prologue:
For those of you who have been stigmatizing AGW skeptics as “deniers” and dismissing their charges that the whole enterprise is fraudulent? Hope you like the taste of crow, because I do believe there’s a buttload of it coming at you. Piping hot.
Comments on Hiding the Decline: Prologue:
Those who claim “scientific consensus” as a justification for any position are attempting to perpetrate a fraud, and have only themselves to blame when it blows back on them. The proper justification of any theory is not “consensus”, it is predictive power.

--

The most data could tell you is that average temperature is rising and CO2 is too. Well, except that average temperature isn’t rising – it was flat between 1998 and 2008, plunged sharply in 2008, and has not resumed the previous trendline. This is embarassing to AGW alarmists, since CO2 has kept rising and their theories require anthropogenic CO2 forcing to swamp anything that mere nature might be doing – and that’s manifestly not happening.

--
My point is that the data fails to meet the criteria the alarmists themselves have set. That is, they’ve been quite willing to interpret a short-period temperature rise between 1975 and 1998 as indication that we’re on a long-term trend with that slope, but when we get a decade of flatness after that they ignore it. It’s not responsive and not honest to point out that a decade is too short to mean anything unless you’re also willing to dismiss the previous 23 years.

Over longer timeframes, I don’t think there’s any statistically significant evidence that we’ve deviated off the very shallow warming trend following the last Ice Age. If you scrutinize the alleged data claiming otherwise, you keep finding noise and fraud.
On 11/23, he called for Open-Sourcing the Global Warming Debate, a call I readily agree with:
There is only one way to cut through all of the conflicting claims and agendas about the CRU’s research: open-source it all. Publish the primary data sets, publish the programs used to interpret them and create graphs like the well-known global-temperature “hockey stick”, publish everything. Let the code and the data speak for itself; let the facts trump speculation and interpretation.

We know, from experience with software, that secrecy is the enemy of quality — that software bugs, like cockroaches, shun light and flourish in darkness. So, too. with mistakes in the interpretation of scientific data; neither deliberate fraud nor inadvertent error can long survive the skeptical scrutiny of millions. The same remedy we have found in the open-source community applies – unsurprisingly, since we learned it from science in the first place. Abolish the secrecy, let in the sunlight.
Comments on Open-Sourcing the Global Warming Debate:
If it doesn’t happen, we’ll know they were scamming all along. Useful outcome either way.

--

And now, I think, those people are going to pay. Because it could still be that full disclosure will vindicate the AGW crowd, but having read the CRU material…I don’t think so. In all of the scenarios that are now plausible, those who bayed the loudest about “consensus” and howled for the persecution of “denialists” are now set up for a hard fall.

--
One of the reasons AGW flimflam angers me is that it crowds out sane, constructive environmentalism. An environmental lobby that really cared about saving the planet would be agitating for crash programs to replace the burning of fossil fuels with nuclear energy; buying up rainforest acreage to stem loss of biodiversity; funding research into better battery- and supercap-based storage technology so low-density renewable power sources could be aggregated into baseload power. But the envorinmentalists we have won’t do these things, because they’re fixated on the wrong problems and the wrong means of solving even those.

--

If the historical temperature data were generally known to be garbage (which I was pretty sure was true even before the leak), it couldn’t be used to justify public policy that is both bad and expensive – like the U.S.’s “cap-and-trade” bill in progress, which has so many giveaways and exemptions that it subverts its own ostensible purposes.
On 11/24, esr examined the code that, quite literally, creates the hockey stick graph in Hiding the Decline: Part 1 – The Adventure Begins:
This, people, is blatant data-cooking, with no pretense otherwise. It flattens a period of warm temperatures in the 1940s 1930s — see those negative coefficients? Then, later on, it applies a positive multiplier so you get a nice dramatic hockey stick at the end of the century.

All you apologists weakly protesting that this is research business as usual and there are plausible explanations for everything in the emails? Sackcloth and ashes time for you. This isn’t just a smoking gun, it’s a siege cannon with the barrel still hot.
Comments on Hiding the Decline: Part 1 – The Adventure Begins:
There was a brief note about it in a comment on someone else’s blog, enough to clue me that I should grep -r for ARTIFICAL. I dusted off my Fortran and read the file. Whoever wrote the note had caught the significance of the negative coefficients but, oddly, didn’t notice (or didn’t mention) the much more blatant J-shaping near the end of the series.

--

I have a closely related heuristic: any eco-related scare for which the prescription would result in a massive transfer of power to the political class is bogus.

--

krygny Says:
November 25th, 2009 at 8:02 am

Wait just a second. Explain this to me like I’m 12. They didn’t even bother to fudge the data? They hard-coded a hockey stick carrier right into the program?!!

ESR says: Yes. Yes, that’s exactly what they did.

--

...of course, they now claim that crucial primary datasets were “accidentally” deleted.

After reading some of the emails about evading FOIA2000 requests…accidentally, my ass.
On 11/25, esr asks: Will the AGW fraud discredit science?
Therefore…the next time we hear a ginned-up panic over some vast environmental crisis, the prudent thing to do will be to remember Mencken: “The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.” It will be prudent to suspect that the science is probably already corrupted and demand extra-stringent scrutiny of it under that assumption.

...

And that brings us to process transparency. I discussed this with particular reference in Open-Sourcing the Global Warming Debate, but there’s another point that deserves attention. Strictly speaking, the rules of science require complete disclosure of all experimental methods, data, and analysis tools so that others can peer-review and replicate the work. We may find it an acceptable to relax those full-disclosure rules to some extent for corporations doing commercially-focused R&D. But that IPR exception should never be granted to scientists whose research touches public policy. Because the stakes are so much higher, disclosure standards must be as well.

If the “hockey team” had been required to make their primary datasets and modeling code available for unrestricted inspection, the AGW fraud could never have turned into a political monster. If Michael Bellesisles had been required to make all his primary data open for inspection, the fraud that was Arming America would never have won a Bancroft Prize. Sunlight is the best disinfectant, and full disclosure is the final and deadliest enemy of junk science.
Comments on Will the AGW fraud discredit science?
Matt Says:
November 26th, 2009 at 11:44 am

Corporate R&D is mostly engineering, rather than science. Thus, either it produces a working product (the precise definition of “working” may vary, but only the sponsoring organization’s definition and the market’s definition matter, and the latter only in the case of customer-facing projects) or it doesn’t…and if it doesn’t produce, then the methods behind it are irrelevant to anybody but the people who tried it.

The epistemological constraints on an engineer are thus easier to meet than those on a scientist. Peer review is still a good thing, but the integrity of the result isn’t dependent on it the way it is in the sciences, because the result is self-verifying.

ESR says. A telling point. Thank you.

--

>I am just wondering: Is AGW really junk science, because one team of experts (let’s say “experts”) did have an agenda?


No, it’s junk science because the agenda has driven systematic data suppression and fraud. It’s not the agenda itself that matters, it’s the breacjh in standards of scientific conduct. Those have been repeated and severe.
On 11/26, esr examines the Facts to fit the theory:
On 12 Oct 2009, climatologist and “hockey-team” member Kevin Trenberth wrote:
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.
Eyebrows have quite rightly been raised over this quote. It is indeed a travesty that AGW theory cannot account for the lack of warming, and bears out what I and other AGW critics have been saying for years about the fallaciousness and lack of predictive power of AGW models.

But the second sentence is actually far more damning. “The data is surely wrong.” This is how and where most scientific fraud begins.

Scientific fraudsters are not, in general, people pushing theories they know to be false. Outright charlatanism is not actually common, because it’s relatively easy to detect. Humans are evolved for a social competitive environernt and are rather good at spotting lies, except when they’re fooling themselves because they want to believe.
Keep an eye on Eric's Armed & Dangerous blog for more on East Anglia's Climate Research Unit (CRU) and the "science" of Mann made global warming.

Update: Instalanche! Thanks for the link, Glenn!! If you're here following climategate, checkout the links in the "Previously" section below. If you live in or around St Louis, MO, I hope to see you at the Tea Party at high noon on Kiener Plaza tomorrow (Saturday, 11/28).

Previously:

Economists as Enablers

Russ Roberts of Cafe Hayek has some observations on the challenges of financial reform:
Over the last 15 months, average Americans have sent hundreds of billions of dollars to some of the richest people in human history. The better the citizenry understands this reality, the better chance the political incentives will change. If people don’t understand it, the political incentives are going to stay in place. Economists play an important role in how people perceive what has happened. We should stop being the enablers of such obscene transfers of wealth.

New Zealand Climate Data Fudged

New Zealand's got a fudge factor that turns a noisy, but horizontal line into an upward trend. Can I borrow that for my investment portfolio? Raw data in New Zealand tells a different story than the “official” one: "The scandal breaks as fears grow worldwide that corruption of climate science is not confined to just Britain’s CRU climate research centre."

What if large sums of taxpayer money induce greed in otherwise ethical scientists? Could there be other areas of government largess ripe for investigation?

Previously:

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Pitchforks Pointed at East Anglia Climate Research Unit (CRU)

Here's something Ivory Tower Elites and Climate Skeptics can agree on: the peasants are revolting:
An hilariously bizarre situation is happening in the wake of the growing Climategate scandal. Many of the mainstream media stories about global warming are simply pretending it doesn't exist. Perhaps they feel that by ignoring Climategate entirely that it will just go away. Unfortunately for them, the readers of these global warming stories keep bringing up the inconvenient truth of Climategate by mentioning the scandal in the comments section over and over and over again.
Chalk one up for citizen journalism—delivering the news that editors and fact(!) checkers wont.

Previously:

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Scientific Fraud at East Anglia Climate Research Unit

Robert Tracinski at RealClearPolitics says the fix is in:
In any discussion of global warming, either in the scientific literature or in the mainstream media, the outcome is always predetermined. Just as the temperature graphs produced by the CRU are always tricked out to show an upward-sloping "hockey stick," [ed. see Global Warming Bombshell] every discussion of global warming has to show that it is occurring and that humans are responsible. And any data or any scientific paper that tends to disprove that conclusion is smeared as "unscientific" precisely because it threatens the established dogma.

For more than a decade, we've been told that there is a scientific "consensus" that humans are causing global warming, that "the debate is over" and all "legitimate" scientists acknowledge the truth of global warming. Now we know what this "consensus" really means. What it means is: the fix is in.

Previously:

Bill Hennessy interviewed about Saturday's Tea Party

KMOV channel 4 in St Louis interviewed Bill Hennessy about Saturday's Tea Party. Video at the link. Thanks KMOV!

Here are some more details about Saturday's Tea Party.

Monday, November 23, 2009

RightOrg's Bailout Prize Patrol


It's old news, but it's still hilarious!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Implications of the East Anglia Climate Research Unit email leak

Charlie Martin looks at the implication of the emails from the East Anglia Climate Research Unit:
They appear to reveal not one, not two, but three real scandals, of increasing importance.
  • The emails suggest the authors co-operated covertly to ensure that only papers favorable to CO2-forced AGW were published, and that editors and journals publishing contrary papers were punished. They also attempted to “discipline” scientists and journalists who published skeptical information.
See for example emails 1047388489, 1256765544, 1255352257, 1051190249, 1210367056, 1249503274, 1054756929, 1106322460 and 1132094873. Also see email 1139521913, in which the author discusses how the comments at RealClimate.org are moderated to prevent skeptical or critical comments from being published. RealClimate advertises itself as a scientific blog that attempts to present the “real case” for AGW.
  • The emails suggest that the authors manipulated and “massaged” the data to strengthen the case in favor of unprecedented CO2-forced AGW, and to suppress their own data if it called AGW into question.
See for example emails 0938018124, 0843161829, 0939154709 (and the graphic here), and 0942777075 (and the discussion here).
  • The emails suggest that the authors co-operated (perhaps the word is “conspired”) to prevent data from being made available to other researchers through either data archiving requests or through the Freedom of Information Acts of both the U.S. and the UK.
See for example 1106338806, 1228330629, 1212063122, 1210367056, and 1107454306 (again!).
I suppose those who advocate for AGW have just stumbled upon an inconvenient truth.

SEIU Condemns Teenage Volunteer

Coyote Blog: "The union whose president leads the world in visits to the White House this year has shown what is at the heart of its quest to help mankind — a naked power grab." From Coyote's source:
In pursuit of an Eagle Scout badge, Kevin Anderson, 17, has toiled for more than 200 hours hours over several weeks to clear a walking path in an east Allentown park.

Little did the do-gooder know that his altruistic act would put him in the cross hairs of the city’s largest municipal union.

Nick Balzano, president of the local Service Employees International Union, told Allentown City Council Tuesday that the union is considering filing a grievance against the city for allowing Anderson to clear a 1,000-foot walking and biking path at Kimmets Lock Park.

“We’ll be looking into the Cub Scout or Boy Scout who did the trails,” Balzano told the council.

Balzano said Saturday he isn’t targeting Boy Scouts. But given the city’s decision in July to lay off 39 SEIU members, Balzano said “there’s to be no volunteers.” No one except union members may pick up a hoe or shovel, plant a flower or clear a walking path.
Based on our experience in St Louis with the SEIU, I'm not comfortable around shovel wielding Purple People Beaters.

I was also reminded of the Practical Rules of Bureaucracy. Point #8: "Join the Union" seems to apply.

Moe Lane (via Instapundit) observes: "Note that the SEIU itself hung Balzano out to dry: when your guys are already out there on camera beating up protesters and gadflies, it’s not a good time to start a fight with the Boy Scouts of America."

China and the US Debt

Dougas Holtz-Eakin in the WSJ on The Coming Deficit Disaster: "And how will the resulting higher interest rates, diminished dollar, higher inflation, and economic distress manifest itself?" I've said before that China is not buying our debt, rather, China is purchasing future foreign policy concessions. They will eventually offer us debt forgiveness. And we will recognize they're sovereign claims to Taiwan and Tibet... maybe even give them a carrier battle group or three.

Million Med March in St Louis


More photos by KeyboardMilitia.com

I was unable to attend Saturday's Million Med March in Clayton, MO. Keyboard Militia, Sharp Elbows, Bob McCarty, and Gateway Pundit. There's bound to be more coverage—there was a blogger conference around the corner from it.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Ft Hood-like shooting threatened at Ft Benning

The Jawa Report says that a recently found note said Ft Hood Style shooting could happen in Ft Benning, Georgia. From the note: "tell the commanding general to call off all charges or there will be a re-enactment of Fort Hood."

Scientific Skepticism

UK researchers investigate: how to chill global warming
And, perhaps most reprehensibly, a long series of communications discussing how best to squeeze dissenting scientists out of the peer review process. How, in other words, to create a scientific climate in which anyone who disagrees with AGW can be written off as a crank, whose views do not have a scrap of authority.

Breitbart throws down the Gauntlet

On Sean Hannity's TV show Andrew Breitbart promised AG Eric Holder more videos just before the 2010 election:
And this message is to Attorney General Holder: I want you to know that we have more tapes, it’s not just ACORN, and we’re going to hold out until the next election cycle, or else if you want to do a clean investigation, we will give you the rest of what we have, we will comply with you, we will give you the documentation we have from countless ACORN whistleblowers who want to come forward but are fearful of this organization and the retribution that they fear that this is a dangerous organization.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Leadership

The Washington Post covered President Obama's arrival in South Korea this week:
Obama arrived on the base 3:19 p.m. local time (1 a.m. Eastern Standard Time) and received a rousing welcome from 1,500 troops in camouflage uniforms, many holding cameras or pointing cellphones to snap pictures.

"You guys make a pretty good photo op," the president said.

...

He got a huge cheer when he told them he was increasing military pay. "That's what you call an applause line," he said, before boarding his jet and taking off at 4:11 p.m.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Tea Party Effect: Healthcare Edition

Gallup reports a 12-point rise in the number of people that rate American healthcare as excellent or good. Someone must of put the fear of godvernment in 'em.

Obama Approval

Jay Cost at RealClearPolitics takes another look at Obama's job approval: "One can't help but wonder if a legislative success on the health care package will result in a further decline in the President's job approval rating." That dovetails with an earlier post by Jay: How to Divide a Party in Three Easy Steps.

Ed Martin on Big Government and Healthcare Reform


Ed Martin on the growth of government and reforming healthcare

Early this month, I spoke with Ed Martin, Republican candidate for the US House of Representatives in Missouri's 3rd district. In this segment from that interview, Ed talks about the growth of government and the steps we should take to truly reform healthcare.

Dean of Harvard Medical School on Healthcare Reform

Jeffrey S. Flier in the WSJ Health 'Reform' Gets a Failing Grade:
Instead of forthrightly dealing with the fundamental problems, discussion is dominated by rival factions struggling to enact or defeat President Barack Obama's agenda. The rhetoric on both sides is exaggerated and often deceptive. Those of us for whom the central issue is health—not politics—have been left in the lurch. And as controversy heads toward a conclusion in Washington, it appears that the people who favor the legislation are engaged in collective denial.
Read the whole thing.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Algorithmic Authority

Clay Shirky argues that our perception of authoritative sources of information is changing such that we are showing greater trust in automated information sources. He describes those sources in A Speculative Post on the Idea of Algorithmic Authority:
Algorithmic authority is the decision to regard as authoritative an unmanaged process of extracting value from diverse, untrustworthy sources, without any human standing beside the result saying “Trust this because you trust me.” This model of authority differs from personal or institutional authority, and has, I think, three critical characteristics.

...

the criticism that Wikipedia, say, is not an “authoritative source” is an attempt to end the debate by hiding the fact that authority is a social agreement, not a culturally independent fact.

Senate Healthcare Bill

Politico reports that the Senate healthcare bill: "In the Battle of the Health Bills, the Senate wins out, bulk-wise – weighing in at 2,074 pages." Read the bill!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Booksellers want to blot out the Sun

Clay Shirky writes about the American Booksellers Association's open letter to the Justice Department asking Justice to investigate the competitors the ABA's members can't profitably compete against. The article is great throughout—Shirky has a keen grasp of the economics, technology, and social change involved—so please read all of Local Bookstores, Social Hubs, and Mutualization:
Internet use is as widespread as cable TV, and an internet user in rural Utah has access to more books than a citizen of Greenwich Village had before the web. Millions more books. Like record stores and video rental places, physical bookstores simply can’t compete for breadth of offering and, also like the social changes around music and moving images, the internet is strengthening rather than weakening the ability of niches and sub-cultures to see themselves reflected in long-form writing.

The internet also moderates the competitive threat, because the competition is only a click away. Amazon lists millions of books, but so does eBay, and publishers like O’Reilly or McGraw-Hill or Alyson can sell directly to the reader. If you had to choose between buying books only offline or only online, the choice that maximizes the number of ideas in circulation is unambiguously clear. Even if all but a dozen online booksellers were to vanish, there would still be more places to buy books on the web than there are bookstores in the average American city today.

Congressional House Call: Joe Wilson


ConservativeTVOnline.com has video from the Congressional House Call. Here Representative Joe Wilson (R-SC) rallies the crowd at the Capitol.

Obama Dithers

POLITICO's Mike Allen reports continued dithering by President Obama: "SHANGHAI, China – President Barack Obama made no effort to conceal his irritation when his press corps used the first question of his maiden Far East trip to ask what was taking him so long on Afghanistan."

Congressional House Call: Michele Bachmann


ConservativeTVOnline.com has video from the Congressional House Call. Here's Michele Bachmann (R-MN) speaking to the crowd in Washington, DC.

Monday, November 16, 2009

SEIU does Ballot Fraud

Big Government: Union and Whistleblower Complaint Documents SEIU Ballot Fraud: "A sworn declaration from an SEIU whistleblower says that senior SEIU officials instructed organizers to violate election rules during the mail-in, secret-ballot vote, and then destroyed evidence of the violations."
The Hill reports that Doug Hoffman 'unconcedes' in N.Y.-23 House race:
Hoffman conceded the race on Election Night after learning he trailed Owens by 5,335 votes. But the Syracuse Post-Standard reported last week that the margin had shrunk to 3,026 votes after recanvassing.

St Louis Tea Partiers Cover HCAN


Sharp elbows his way into an HCAN Rally

The always entertaining SharpElbowsSTL provides some color commentary in the above video of Saturday's HCAN protest. No wonder the HCAN clowns want the public option—their protest operation is on life support.

Meanwhile, Bob McCarty ventured into the belly of the beast. Bob entered the 2009 Healthcare-Now.org National Strategy Conference as a journalist and has posted video of the major speeches on YouTube. Here's his full coverage:

Calling All Missouri Bloggers

Missouri Blogosphere Event: Practical Ideas, Discussion, and Networking

The Show Me Institute is hosting a blogger convention this coming Saturday at the Sheraton Hotel in Clayton:
As more cuts are made at mainstream news media outlets, there are fewer reporters keeping tabs on what local and state government officials are doing. Increasingly, bloggers have stepped up to break stories, or call attention to issues that are being ignored. The Show-Me Institute is hosting its first blogosphere event to help train and support both Missouri bloggers who are working to help keep government transparent, and citizens who want to learn how.
Several prominent St Louis area bloggers will be presenting. Here are the logistics:
What: The Show-Me Institute’s first blogosphere event
Date: Saturday, November 21, 2009
When: 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.
How much: Free with RSVP
Location: Sheraton Hotel, 7730 Bonhomme Ave. Clayton, MO 63105

Complimentary breakfast and box lunch provided, complimentary parking. Please RSVP.

Congressional House Call: Scott Garrett


ConservativeTVOnline.com has video from the Congressional House Call. Representative Scott Garrett (R-NJ) speaks to the crowd in Washington, DC.

Congressional House Call: Roy Blunt


ConservativeTVOnline.com has video from the Congressional House Call. Here's Roy Blunt's (R-MO) comments to the crowd on the capitol steps.

2009 Christmas Spending Projection at Record Lows


Gallup: Christmas Spending Forecast Reverts to Record 2008 Lows:
Americans’ estimate of the total amount they will spend on Christmas gifts this year is now $638, essentially matching the record lows from November and December 2008. Fewer Americans say they will be spending less on gifts this year than said this a year ago, while most say they will spend the same amount.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Texas Governor says Obama taking U.S. toward socialism (video):
Gov. Rick Perry had some pretty strong comments about the Obama administration on Wednesday in Midland, saying, “This is an administration hell-bent on taking America towards a socialist country.”
If they're that upset, Texas does have the constitutional option to succeed from the US. I just don't think they want to defend all of their borders against illegal immigration.
Mail Online reports NATO Labrador Sabi found safe after being lost in fierce Afghanistan battle: "A sniffer dog that went missing in action after a battle in Afghanistan has been found safe and well after more than a year in the desert."

Friday, November 13, 2009

Big Hollywood's Patrick Courrielche: NEWLY REVEALED DOCUMENTS Contradict NEA Chairman:
Chairman Landesman’s claim that Yosi Sergant, the former NEA Communications Director, acted “unilaterally” on the controversial August 10th conference call is not only beginning to erode, but new documents obtained by Judicial Watch under the Freedom of Information Act show that another federal employee thought the arts effort was entering murky legal waters.
Government: it's big enough to provide a team for their fall guy!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Freedom isn't Free



On Veterans Day 2009 I drove over to Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery. While shooting video of the rows of headstones, I heard bagpipes in the distance. I searched them out and found the funeral of one of our fallen heroes.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Interview with James O'Keefe


Interview with James O'Keefe


Monday morning I heard that James O'Keefe was going to be at Washington University in Saint Louis. I had some free time, so I headed over hoping to get an interview. James graciously consented and I talked to him about the rise of citizen journalism. The video above begins with a 45 second overview of the protest on the quad to help set the context of O'Keefe's visit to St Louis. Below are some pictures from Monday, links to other coverage, and some recommended reading for aspiring citizen journalists.

James O'Keefe at workJames O'Keefe at work


Another Citizen Journalist


Bill HennessyBill Hennessy


gulag guardOne of the "gulag guards"—even in the Land of the Free, regulation prevents him from lighting up

Cross Coverage:
Further Reading:

Monday, November 9, 2009

The Fall of the Wall

Big Government The Fall of the Wall Didn’t Kill the Left: They’re Back and Attacking Us Again: "Twenty years ago today, supporters of freedom and human rights cheered and wept for joy as the Berlin Wall was torn down by jubilant young Germans." Never forget the horrors of socialism. Here's some related light reading:

 

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Is it a surprise?

Big Government recalls that fateful day last August in a report about SEIU and Political Intimidation in St. Louis
On the morning of August 6th, Sam Stein reported at the Huffington Post that labor unions had released a comprehensive memo, detailing tactics to counter what were called “town hall protestors”. That same day, a White House official said to reporters, “If you get hit, we will punch back twice as hard.”

Those both happened the morning of the assault on Kenneth Gladney. Is it any surprise that on the specific day that Big Labor and the White House signaled a commitment to ‘punch back’ at the town hall protests, an innocent bystander, Kenneth Gladney, was brutally beaten?

Video of the St Louis Veteran's Parade



Video highlights from Saturday's Veteran's Parade in downtown St Louis. The Gold Star Moms video that I put up earlier is in the playlist above.

St Louis Veterans Parade


Gold Star Moms

I thought this was the most poignant moment during yesterday's St Louis Veterans Parade. I'll be posting additional videos from the parade as time permits.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Russ Carnahan


Russ Carnahan's answering machine handles his light work

Russ Carnahan (D-MO) sent out a machine to thwart his constituents. Voters filled his voice mail box telling him to vote no on the healthcare bill H.R.3962. Presumably, those voters will be filling the coffers of Ed Martin, Russ's opponent in 2010, if Russ is unable to discern the clear will of his constituents.

Friday, November 6, 2009

October Unemployment

Unemployment
Probably the greatest labor saving device in the history of the nation
Is the present Administration.
— Ogden Nash

The BLS Employment Situation Summary is out today:
The unemployment rate rose from 9.8 to 10.2 percent in October...

Among the marginally attached, there were 808,000 discouraged workers in October, up from 484,000 a year earlier....

Construction employment decreased by 62,000 in October....

Manufacturing continued to shed jobs (-61,000) in October, with losses in both durable and nondurable goods production....

Retail trade lost 40,000 jobs in October....

Employment in transportation and warehousing decreased by 18,000 in October....

Health care employment continued to increase in October (29,000)....

Temporary help services has added 44,000 jobs since July, including 34,000 in October....

The change in total nonfarm payroll employment for August was revised from -201,000 to -154,000, and the change for September was revised from -263,000 to -219,000.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Remember, Remember the 5th of November *UPDATED*


Paul Curtman begins his political career

Marine veteran Paul Curtman's political career began on July 27th when he provided a two-and-a-half minute lesson on the US Constitution at Senator Claire McCaskill's Inadvertent Tea Party. Paul was recruited by the Republican party to run for state rep in the 105th. The 105th is a blue collar district that leans left on union issues.

Curtman's running against an incumbent, Michael Frame, who is both a Navy vet and an SEIU member. Frame first won the 105th in 2006 by an 11 point margin. In 2008 he ran unopposed.

There's a lot of work ahead for Curtman, but he's willing to make the sacrifices to get it done. I interviewed him a couple weeks back and one of the things I asked him about was what he was cutting out of his life to focus on his political career. He told me that he'd given up his job! He doesn't feel that he can give his employer an honest day's work if he has to address the demands of a campaign. He's also the sort that doesn't do things halfway.

To win the 105th in 2010, Curtman needs to jump start his fund raising. On Wednesday I got an email from his campaign about his Remember, Remember; the 5th of November fundraiser. The email states: "[Paul Curtman] needs 300 people to donate $100 on this day to shift his campaign into high gear, but please, give what you can." He's also looking for volunteers. As I indicated above, Paul's willing to make significant personal sacrifices for the people of the 105th. If you can sacrifice $5, $10, $20, $50, or even $100, Curtman will put it to good use.

UPDATE: While Paul did not reach his goal of three hundred doners as of 9:50PM Thursday night, he did report a strong showing. He told me that his first contribution came in at 12:01AM and that he received donations from Rodeo, CA to Woodruff, SC. Among his donors were lawyers, entertainers, veterans, and union members. The average donation was more than $100. Paul's planning to do a similar fundraiser next quarter.

Road Trip

I got an email report from a fellow Tea Partier describing the trip of one group of Missourians to DC for Thursday's House Call. Here are some excerpts:
I talked to one of the Caravan groups on their way to Washington DC...

They have a group of about 50 people from STL area...and have appointments to meet with 6 Missouri Congressional leaders: Rep. Todd Akin, Sen. Chris Bond, Sen. Claire McCaskill, Rep. Russ Carnahan, Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer and Rep. Jo Ann Emerson.

[A friend with the group] said, "This is not a vacation. Tomorrow is a work day. We are here to work to save our nation. I expect everyone here to work!"

She intends for her group to convey to all Congressional leaders that we expect our elected officials to listen to us. The People have spoken loud and clear in the past 8 months, and we DO NOT want govt. control of our lives. We do NOT want govt. health control. And "if anyone is not for us, they're against us"! In other words...if a Congressional leader does not meet The People and Michelle Bachman on the steps of the Capitol Building in Washington DC tomorrow...and does not meet with them during the time they have their appointments...then they are NOT supporting us - The People - and WE WILL VOTE THEM OUT!

One of her group has agreed to email pictures as they go along, and I'll be forwarding to Gateway Pundit -- so watch his blog for updates on the group! :)

And MEET US AT RUSS CARNAHAN'S OFFICE TOMORROW (THURS) AT NOON! - Corner of Brentwood and Manchester...


View Larger Map

Glenn Beck wonders when charges will come against Ken Gladney's assailants

I saw a reference to this video in a Ning.com message. Here's a summary of the video... After discussing how the Obama Administration has turned the NEA into its Ministry of Propaganda via White House Office of Public Engagement Deputy Director, Buffy Wicks, Glenn Beck updates us on Ken Gladney. Gladney was beaten by a couple of union thugs at a Russ Carnahan event in south county, St Louis, on August 6th. It's been almost three months. Glenn wonders why felony assault charges haven't been filed yet.
Examiner.com exposes the Marxist leanings of the leftover leftist Robert McChesney and the "Free" Press:
Robert W. McChesney is a professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where he teaches in the Department of Communication. McChesney also hosts the “Media Matters” weekly radio on WILL-AM radio. Chensey, former editor of the socialist & Marxist Monthly Review, now is director of the foundation that operates the magazine.
If you hit those Media Matters and Monthly Review links, please remember the wisdom of your shampoo bottle: lather, rinse, repeat!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Jay Cost on NY-23

Five Reasons NY-23 Doesn't Tell Us Anything:
Fellow junkies, I implore you: let's see this contest for what it is - simple, meaningless entertainment - and stop pontificating on its broader implications!
That's good advice.

Ed Martin Interview: Enough is Enough


Ed Martin tells Congress: Enough is Enough

On Monday, I caught up with Ed Martin, Republican candidate for the US House of Representatives. He's taking the 2,000 page healthcare bill on a tour of Missouri's 3rd congressional district in a series of "Enough is Enough" meetings with concerned voters and healthcare professionals.

More to follow...

Monday, November 2, 2009

Ed Martin Interview: NY23 and GOP


Ed Martin on NY-23 and the Republican Party

Monday, I caught up with Ed Martin, Republican candidate for the US House of Representatives in MO-03. He was one of the first Republican candidates in Missouri to come out against Dede Scozzafava in NY-23. In this part of my interview with Ed, I ask him about NY-23 and what ramifications it has for the party system.

More to come...

The Healthcare Bill


The Healthcare Bill

On Monday, I saw the healthcare bill, H. R. 3962. What an eye-full! I wasn't sure I could fit it all into a twenty-seven second video, but there it is!

The Importance of Activists

Jay Cost examines the lesson of NY-23:
the political power of the Republican Party is not really housed in the party organization - not in NY-23, and not really anywhere else. Instead, party power lies in the nexus of party activists/donors, base voters, and ambitious officeholders/candidates. As the events in NY-23 have made pretty clear, the party organizations play a limited role in the game of power politics.


Effectiveness Sunset Provisions

A question on Scozzafava at Instapundit:
A question: “Now that she’s withdrawn and endorsed the Democratic candidate, can the Republican Party ask for their $900,000 back? Can individuals who contributed to her under the impression that she was a Republican ask for their money back?” They can ask, but unlike with businesses there’s no implied warranty of good faith in politics . . . .
And that is the problem. The people are rightly tired of being lied to by both parties. There isn't much to be done about the sweet nothings of pre-election politics, but elected officials—especially, our Congresscritters—could take steps to restore the nation's faith. Step one is to codify their promises in legislation. If they want to say that "the healthcare bill will not add one dime to the debt", then amend the bill such that it will sunset when it adds a dime to the debt. Put up or shut up. That is where we are with the lying weasels that fail to represent us in DC.

This goes for all legislation, not just healthcare. As a bill is being written identify the measures of effectiveness (the promises made about the pending legislation) and sunset the law if it fails to meet those criteria.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

RSS, Yahoo Pipes, and Ning for Content Creators

I've joined some Ning.com groups: SayWhy?, As a Mom, and TeamSarah to name a few. Ning is the Swiss Army Knife of social media. Anyone can sign up and create a social network for whatever topic appeals to them. It's kinda like a topically focused Facebook or MySpace without the large user-base that those have attracted.

In each Ning group to which you belong, you have a "My Page". It's a space for you to blog, post pictures and video, read comments that others have left for you, and monitor discussions that you're participating in. As a content creator, I have (almost) no interest in adding content to any Ning group. Doing so feels like I'm putting information in a shoebox because only members of the group will be able to see the content. That kind of communication is valuable to each group, so, if you blog or add other content to a Ning group, please don't take my criticism personally.

As a content creator, I began to think about ways to re-purpose my content in Ning. First, I came up with a list of my feeds:
Everything in my photo feed gets posted to my twitter feed; however, my non-photo posts to Twitter are more opinion, re-tweets, and other content retreads. So I decided to scratch my Twitter feed from the list above.

Now I needed to figure out a way to shoe-horn those feeds into all of my Ning "My Pages". I noticed that there was an RSS (Really Simple Syndication) widget at the bottom of the left column on all "My Pages". The syndicated content from my feeds needed to be front and center, so I dragged the RSS widget from the bottom of the left column to the top of the center column.

Next, I tried adding my three feeds: my blog, YouTube channel, and TwitPic photo feed. That didn't work because you can only have one RSS feed. I poked around a bit and finally hit on Yahoo's Pipes. Pipes is a tool for aggregating RSS feeds. It's got a helpful graphical interface for choosing RSS feeds and how to mash those feeds into your new aggregate feed. Below is the picture of how my content is assembled. You may want to click on it it get the big picture before I explain what's happening.

Reboot Congress Aggregated Content

Here's what's happening above. The three Fetch Feed widgets are getting my three content feeds: Reboot Congress, YouTube channel, and TwitPic photo feed. These are mashed up in a Union. The output of the Union is then piped through a Sort. The Sort arranges each syndication item—each blog post, YouTube video, and picture I upload to TwitPic—in descending order by publication date. In English, it puts my most recent content at the top. Finally, the output of the Sort is wired to the Pipe Output to create my aggregated feed.

Next, I added my new RSS feed to my AdSense account to try and make a buck—I can dream... The link was a little cryptic, so I added it to Feedburner to get the more readable link: http://feeds.feedburner.com/pipes/RebootCongress.

After Thoughts

Almost all of my YouTube content is duplicated on my blog, so I'm thinking about taking my YouTube channel out of the aggregate feed. It's pretty easy to do. Just login to Yahoo Pipes, delete the appropriate Fetch Feed widget, and save the changes.

I think that adding AdSense advertising has slowed down the feed. I might remove that.

Some Ning groups just don't display YouTube videos at all. I think that is a function of the web page template used for the Ning group. Maybe I'll figure out how to fix that someday. Maybe not.

As a Mom has over 50,000 members and they're planning to move off of Ning to something better suited to such a large organization. FWIW, TeamSarah has almost 75,000 members, so I wonder what they think of Ning. As a Mom's move will be a painful process. They've sent out emails warning members that some content (like the member's blog posts) will be lost. I've dodged that bullet with the strategy described above.

Let's say that you're looking at losing your blog posts. How can you save them? Well, keep in mind that I've chosen to blog out in the open where as Ning groups, like As a Mom, are closed. Consider your audience and your content. Hopefully, you'll determine that your content is appropriate to a wider audience.

If that is the case, then you should consider setting up a blog on one of the many free blogging services. This blog is hosted on blogger/blogspot. Take a look at WordPress, Live Journal, or any of the other developer hosted blogging platforms. Once you've chosen a platform and setup your account on that platgorm, copy all your posts from your Ning account over to your new blog (yes, one at a time, one picture at a time, etc. It'll be painful.). Most blogging platforms allow you to schedule posts; therefore, you can retain the timestamps on your posts by manually scheduling your copied posts with the timestamps they have in As a Mom/Ning.

If you have questions or suggestions, please leave them in a comment!

The Dictator's Tell

The Instapundit understands how dictators think [emphasis added]:
DANIEL ORTEGA ASKS FOR TERM LIMITS TO BE OVERTHROWN. Best argument yet for what happened in Honduras. If a sitting U.S. President made a similar effort, I’d favor removing him, too. It’s the dictators’ tell. Well, one of ‘em. Then there’s this: “Last week the court’s constitutional panel obliged him. The Nicaraguan press reported that the vote was held before three opposition judges could reach the chamber in time for the session. Three alternative judges, all Sandinistas, took their place and the court gave Mr. Ortega the green light. Mr. Ortega has decreed that the ruling cannot be appealed.”

First-Generation Americans talk about Socialism

Bob McCarty Writes has video from Saturday's K&N protest of Three First-Generation Americans commenting on Socialism
An estimated 200 anti-socialism protesters carried signs and waved at passing motorists for more than two hours yesterday afternoon as they have almost every Saturday for six months at the intersection of Highways K and N in O’Fallon, Mo. Among those participating were three first-generation Americans who took time to share powerful messages every freedom-loving American should hear.
Video of Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA): "We are trying on every front to increase the role of government." Honesty in a politician is rare, so kudos to Barney for his frankness. Now, vote him out!