Sunday, October 31, 2010
Friday, October 29, 2010
"Re the “Hockey Stick Illusion,” here are some blogospheric reviews, not from identified “skeptics” (as far as i can tell):
NC Media Watch
Facts Plus Logic
("Movement leaders are jetting across the country in a donated plane to rally the tea party troops. Meet the deep-pocketed GOP donor who owns "Patriot One.")
(Said deep-pocketed donor is nonlocal, a fellow in Montana - or at least that's where the plane is registered.)
Tuesday, October 26, 2010
Friday, October 22, 2010
Thursday, October 21, 2010
Bombshell: Health insurance, banking, oil industries met with Koch, Chamber, Beck to plot 2010 election
This does appear to meet the definition of "right-wing conspiracy".
Tuesday, October 19, 2010
So you likely don't know his views - here they are, from a recent Yale Climate Media Forum profile:
"Masters considers himself different from most meteorologists, many of whom he says are unreasonably skeptical of climate change science. He says he thinks their skepticism stems in part from bachelors degree meteorology students’ not being required to study climatology or climate science as part of their formal degree requirements.
Masters says he believes that the conclusions of the IPCC report are “genuine, valid, and probably understated.” And he is critical of what he sees as well orchestrated and well funded climate misinformation campaigns.
“They’re able to persuade even intelligent people with a background in meteorology” that climate change isn’t occurring, he said. “It’s going to be a terrible wake-up call when the climate becomes unstable, and we’ll kick ourselves for being resistant to cutting our use of fossil fuels.”
“The ignorance and greed that human society is showing in this matter will be to our ultimate detriment and possible destruction,” he says.
He urges his 14-year-old daughter to educate herself on climate change. “It will be the defining issue of their generation,” he says. ...
He plans to continue being “a spokesperson for the best science we have on what the planet is doing and where’s it is headed.”
(Sorry for the shouting; but how to reach resistant ears?)
Also, Al did ask about modeling, and Masters spoke about weather models' variability and uncertainty; but he didn't present the distinction between modeling for short-term prediction - weather - and modeling for long-term prediction - climate: the latter is *not* sensitive to initial conditions, so it doesn't suffer from the flakiness of weather predictions. Paging Jeff Masters - this is something a *lot* of people don't grasp.
I'll ask him to weigh in on this, and report back.
Sunday, October 17, 2010
Executive director Martin Light and local attorney and ex-candidate Barry Pruett have said CABPRO's a 501(c)(4); but the IRS has no record of this. On Oct. 4 I mailed a request to inspect their "tax exempt status" documents, left a phone message, and taped a copy of my request to the office door; I've heard nothing back.
Of the multiple phone messages I've left with the CABPRO office, none have been returned. Of the ten times or more that I've stopped by the office during working hours, the Closed sign has always been up.
While executive director Light had invited the SBC's Steven Frisch to "drop by" the office when Frisch was in town, the office was closed - and locked, and dark - when Frisch arrived at the date and time he'd announced he was coming. Two times.
I asked CABPRO Report blogger Russ Steele who might have information about the group, since phone calls to the organization weren't returned and Steele himself professed ignorance.
He suggested the board of directors.
I was able to reach two of them, Chuck Shea and Kim Janousek (Ms. Janousek is also CABPRO's agent, according to Cal. Sec of State records ); but they expressed displeasure at being phoned, wouldn't provide information about the group, and didn't consider it any of their business that their executive director wasn't returning phone calls.
I've sent a letter to the IRS suggesting that they look into this group's status.
If CABPRO is in fact a for-profit group - as a former executive director has stated, and as the 1997 National Center for Public Policy Research "green pages" lists it - who are its clients?
If it doesn't have an Employer ID number, who pays its staff and management?
Friday, October 15, 2010
In the aftermath to last month's CARB Chair Mary D. Nichols talk on AB32, Kim Pruett and Russ Steele wanted evidence for her assertion that Nevada County's air quality was the worst of any rural county in the U.S. and worse than any region nationally outside of California.
I offered to look into it, which entailed a) asking her office for the reference & b) getting stymied when looking into it myself, by not looking into the document that turned out to hold the rankings.
But CARB came through, in the person of a Mr. Chris Bowman:
"In recent years, the American Lung Association has ranked Nevada County as the most ozone-polluted rural area in the nation -- and smoggier than any city outside of California and Texas. The rankings come from the ALA's annual State of the Air reports...(Thank you Chris.)
In 2007, for example, you'll see (p. 24) that Nevada County ranked as the 13th most ozone-polluted county in the nation. This year, Nevada County ranked 8th (p. 16).
What's striking, of course, is that Nevada County has but a fraction of the population of every higher ranking county -- including El Dorado, Tulare and Kern, where the highest ozone readings are in urban areas such as El Dorado Hills, Placerville, Visalia and Bakersfield.
The disparity begs explanation. I went searching for answers seven years ago as a reporter for The Sacramento Bee and wrote a story on what I learned...
From the aforementioned 2010 A.L.A. air quality report (pdf), p. 16, the nation's "worst ozone" county rankings are:
- San Bernardino
- Los Angeles
- El Dorado
Thursday, October 14, 2010
A highlight at 2:40 -
"Our grassroots efforts are engaged, they're energized, and they're ready to fight for their freedom."
More highlights here.
Wednesday, October 13, 2010
it's 3:23 in the morning
and I'm awake
because my great great grandchildren
won't let me sleep
my great great grandchildren
ask me in dreams
what did you do while the planet was plundered?
what did you do when the earth was unraveling?
surely you did something
when the seasons started failing?
as the mammals, reptiles, birds were all dying?
did you fill the streets with protest
when democracy was stolen?
what did you do
- Drew Dellinger, Hieroglyphic Stairway
Tuesday, October 12, 2010
Some time back on this blog I brought up Joshua Marshall's Clinton Test, as a guide to one's judgment -
"When I come across something fishy from the [opposition], I try to use what I call the Clinton Test to keep myself honest and steer me right.... the Clinton Test is quite simply, how would I react to situation X if [the one doing it] was [of my tribe (or vice versa)]..."As a personal guide to keep your inner tribalist in line, it's excellent; but as with any tool, a warped mind can turn it around and use it as a weapon - by sending out a decoy who's behaving outrageously, to goad people into a) making responses that feel justified by that outrageousness, and then into b) [explicitly, verbally] justifying those responses; then converting the justification to black & white, as it were, by filtering out the outrageousness & slapping a "Clinton Test" frame on it - then turning this end product against people who've been acting within the bounds of civil society.
That's awkwardly worded, and I don't want to give an example that'd make it clearer, but the take-home lesson is, try to recognize goading and be very, very careful how you react, because your reactions may have negative consequences - perhaps for you, perhaps for third parties.
Sunday, October 10, 2010
"The GOP is stampeding toward an absolutist rejection of climate science that appears unmatched among major political parties around the globe, even conservative ones. ... It is difficult to identify another major political party in any democracy as thoroughly dismissive of climate science as is the GOP here."The Lysenkoists are alive and well.
- from Ronald Brownstein's Oct. 9 National Journal article GOP Gives Climate Science A Cold Shoulder
"So quickly did [Lysenko] develop his prescriptions - from the cold treatment of grain, to the plucking of leaves from cotton plants, to the cluster planting of trees, to unusual fertilizer mixes - that academic biologists did not have time to demonstrate that one technique was valueless or harmful before a new one was adopted.
He used his position to denounce biologists as "fly-lovers and people haters," and to decry the "wreckers" in biology, whom he claimed were trying to purposely disable the Soviet economy and cause it to fail.
Lysenko's 'new' methods were seen as a way to make peasants feel positively involved in an 'agricultural revolution'. ..." (link)
Saturday, October 09, 2010
- Do you agree that it is possible for a speaker - for example, a public relations professional - to mislead their audience by presenting (or differentially stressing) selective truths?
- Do you agree that it is possible for a speaker to mislead their audience about science, by presenting (or differentially stressing) selective scientific information?
- Do you agree that science communicators have a responsibility to paint a basically accurate picture of science?
Friday, October 08, 2010
George Mason University is investigating leading
USA Today - University investigating prominent climate science critic
" 250-page report on the Deep Climate website (pdf) written by computer scientist John Mashey of Portola Valley, Calif....Mashey says his analysis shows that 35 of the 91 pages in the 2006 Wegman report are plagiarized...and contain erroneous citations of data, as well."And it's not just plagiarism.
Michael Mann has a Washington Post op-ed today, Get the anti-science bent out of politics:
"...they want to continue a 20-year assault on climate research, questioning basic science and promoting doubt where there is none.
We have lived through the pseudo-science that questioned the link between smoking cigarettes and lung cancer, and the false claims questioning the science of acid rain and the hole in the ozone layer. The same dynamics and many of the same players are still hard at work, questioning the reality of climate change.
the attacks against the science must stop. They are not good-faith questioning of scientific research. They are anti-science.
How can I assure young researchers in climate science that if they make a breakthrough in our understanding about how human activity is altering our climate that they, too, will not be dragged through a show trial at a congressional hearing?
America has led the world in science for decades. It has benefited our culture, our economy and our understanding of the world.
My fellow scientists and I must be ready to stand up to blatant abuse from politicians who seek to mislead and distract the public. They are hurting American science. And their failure to accept the reality of climate change will hurt our children and grandchildren, too. "
- which is false, so in this post I'll explain how the column could mislead someone, and how the reality differs.
Here's the passage that could misdirect. Read it carefully, think about the message it sends:
"Orbiting closer to the sun than Earth, Venus long ago lost her oceans to evaporation, loading the air with a powerful greenhouse gas. Water vapor. Venus grew hot.OK, quiz time. Based on this passage -
Without oceans, Venus was unable to sequester her carbon dioxide. If not as powerful as water vapor, carbon dioxide [CO2] is, too, a greenhouse gas.
Venus remains hot today, her surface averaging some 860 degrees Fahrenheit."
1. Which greenhouse gas makes Venus hellaciously hot - water vapor, or CO2?
2. Which greenhouse gas should we be more concerned about here on earth - water vapor, or CO2?
To me, the passage suggests both answers would be "water vapor" (not CO2) - which just ain't so.
From RealClimate's post Lessons from Venus -
"...the atmosphere of Venus has as much mass as about 100 Earth atmospheres, and it is almost pure CO2. This accounts for its very strong greenhouse effect."How to reconcile this with the Union article passage above - which talks about the oceans of Venus evaporating into water vapor, and about water vapor being a more powerful greenhouse gas than CO2 - and each sentence of which, AFAIK, is accurate?
RealClimate explains the larger picture:
"Venus succumbed early to a "runaway water vapor greenhouse"...much of the ocean evaporated into the atmosphere.This omission would be fine - you can't convey every nuance in a column, after all - if there weren't an important lesson for us humans in the parallels between the atmosphere of Venus (packed to the gills with carbon dioxide) - and the changes we're making to the atmosphere of Earth (packing it with carbon dioxide).
[as the Union article mentions.]
Once this happens, it is easy for the water vapor to decompose in the upper atmosphere...
[as the Union article mentions, but many paragraphs later, in an entirely different context.]
Once water is lost, the reaction that turns carbon dioxide into limestone can no longer take place,
[as the Union article mentions.]
so CO2 outgassing from volcanoes accumulates in the atmosphere instead of staying bound up in the rocks.
[as the Union article implies.]
The end state of this process is the current atmosphere of Venus... essentially no water in the atmosphere and essentially the planet’s whole inventory of carbon in the form of atmospheric CO2."
[ which the Union article does not mention at all.]
Which is not to say that we're facing runaway global warming that'll yield another Venus, the RC hosts clarify:
"The runaway greenhouse that presumably led to the present Venus is an extreme form of the water vapor feedback that amplifies the effect of CO2 increases on Earth. Is there a risk that anthropogenic global warming could kick the Earth into a runaway greenhouse state? Almost certainly not. ..."
OK, on to our second quiz question, "Which greenhouse gas should we be more concerned about here on earth?"
The Union article's [untangled] statement, "Carbon dioxide [CO2] is not as powerful a greenhouse gas as water vapor", implies that the answer is "water vapor". But this is misdirection, since with water vapor vs. CO2, "more powerful" does not translate to "more important" (as the excellent SkepticalScience.com explains here). Even though CO2 is a less powerful greenhouse gas in and of itself, it's more important than water vapor because of the processes it drives.
So the reader's being misled if you just mention the "more/less powerful" relation; you're telling her something that's literally true but that paints a false picture; it's not the right metric for grasping the problem.
(It's kind of like the 1960s nuclear power PR folks telling us that the amount of nuclear waste per person per year would be equivalent - in mass - to a couple of aspirin in your medicine cabinet; really not a helpful metric, if these "aspirin" could sicken everyone in the neighborhood.
(And no, I don't want to discuss nuclear power here; I probably support it more than you do.))
The so-called skeptics (who aren't true skeptics) ignore the huge difference in how long extra water vapor vs. CO2 stays up in the atmosphere - added water vapor rains back out within days, while added CO2 takes centuries to come out. And CO2 is the climate change driver, the "control knob" of climate, that - by the warming it causes by itself - causes the atmosphere to *hold onto* more water vapor, which amplifies the just-CO2-only-caused warming.
(all of which the SkepticalScience.com article will explain better than I've done here.)
Did that help?
(Was it clear, or clear as mud?)
I want to keep doing these "corrective" posts, and I want them to be useful...
Come October 15, the roster of small Nevada County nonprofits is going to shrink, if the folks behind these groups don't hurry up and file an annual return - even just a 990-N - with the IRS.
It used to be that small nonprofits didn't have to file a yearly return; but in 2006 that changed, with passage of The Pension Protection Act. Now all tax-exempt organizations - except for churches and church-related organizations - have to file at least a simple 990-N, and if they don't do so for three consecutive years, their nonprofit status gets revoked.
The deadline was originally back in May, but there's a one-time extension to Oct 15.
From the Topeka Capital-Journal:
"since the law changed, every exempt organization has to file a 990 of some type," [IRS spokesman Michael] Devine said. "The important thing is that if you are an exempt organization, especially a small one, you have to file a 990 in order to stay in compliance with the law or your status is going to be revoked."The IRS has each state's list of endangered nonprofits.
California's list: Excel, PDF
I browsed through it & came up with these Grass Valley and Nevada City nonprofits:
(there are many more - I just used Excel Viewer, which wouldn't sort by town, so missed some - and I didn't check for Penn Valley, Colfax, etc; and is it possible that even orgs not on the IRS list may be endangered?)
- Air-Pac Of Nevada County
- Alzheimer Family Support Group Of Western Nevada County
- Blue Planet Discovery Incorporated
- Canine Council
- Cascade Shores Homeowners Association
- Chris Harada Productions
- Compassionate Action - Accion Compasivo
- Disabled American Veterans
- Friends Of Spenceville
- Key Club (Bear River, Nevada Union)
- Nevada City Business And Professional Womens Club
- Nevada County Property Rights Committee
- Nevada County Sheriffs Search & Rescue Inc
- Nevada County Taxpayers Association
- Sierra Jazz Society
- Several fire district groups
If your nonprofit is at risk, how do you make things right with the IRS?
FDL Reporter explains:
"Organizations required to file Form 990-N need only visit the IRS website, fill in the required information on the 990-N form and electronically file it. Tax-exempt groups eligible to file Form 990-EZ must file their delinquent annual information returns by Oct. 15 and pay a compliance fee."
The IRS page to visit:
IRS Announces One-Time Filing Relief for Small Exempt Organizations That Failed to File for Three Consecutive Years
Some Truckee groups (there are plenty) -
- Barn Owls Unlimited
- Tahoe Center for a Sustainable Future
- Sierra Housing Development Corp.
- Sierra Human Resources Association
- Sierra Public Media Corp.
- Truckee Babe Ruth Baseball League
- Truckee Nordic Club
- Truckee Sportsmen's Association
- Truckee Tahoe Airmens Association
Thursday, October 07, 2010
Here's the SESF blurb, by Rita Stevens.
("S-E-S-F Executive Director Russell Steele says the [SESF] study took a scientific approach....")
Ms. Stevens, may I recommend that you talk to Paul Emery...or better yet, Steve Frisch of the Sierra Business Council; Dr. Rebane and Mr. Steele - and CABPRO, parent of SESF - are in a spot of credibility trouble.
And if you have children, please take a look at this infographic (based on peer reviewed research) and consider what contribution you, as a member of the press, are making to their future.
Also, Rick Daysog of the Sac Bee has a new story out -
Green jobs rise in state, study finds
"...one key industrial sector is seeing robust job growth: the green economy.
In a study released Wednesday, Palo Alto-based nonprofit Next 10 and Collaborative Economics Inc. of Mountain View found that manufacturing jobs in the state's green sector grew by 19 percent between 1995 and 2008...."
I asked, "are there any penalties for misrepresenting your group as a 501c4?" and this is where it got complicated. She said - and I'm repeating this from memory & somewhat fallible notes - that even though the group has no IRS Letter of Determination as a 501c4, it can still *call* itself a 501(c)(4) if it's organized and run in accordance with 501(c)(4) regulations.
"But how can anyone tell if they are?" I asked, and she answered that, well, if the IRS audits them, it can.
* Groups also legitimately wouldn't show up on the "tax exempt" list if they're "Subordinate units that are included in group exemption letters" (link) - so that's another Q to ask executive director Martin Light, if we can ever track him down. Was anyone able to stop by the CABPRO dinner at Penny's Diner last night (link)?
NCFocus posts labeled "CABPRO"
The comments on that post by Enos, Frisch and Pelline do make the point - which isn't answered.
Rebane in short: CABPRO is a private corporation, and only its members know for sure whether it's a nonprofit or not. He says this even though CABPRO executive director Martin Light and attorney Barry Pruett have said it's a 501(c)(4); and apparently he thinks it's none of our business, whether Pruett and Light have misled us - or, somehow, been misled themselves.
CABPRO's newsletter states:
"While CABPRO is a not-for-profit organization, we have deliberately declined the 501c3 status for two reasons."
So Barry Pruett said the group is 501c4 nonprofit, George said it is a "private California corporation," and the newsletter said it is a "not-for-profit" corporation.
Which is it? (link)
George Rebane responds:
Well, if they're not contradictory, it's a 501(c)(4), in which case either they'll be showing their paperwork very soon, else the IRS will come 'a'knockin'.
JeffP - You unfortunately reason as if those descriptors are somehow mutually contradictory. (link)
I wonder what the consequences are, for misrepresenting one's organization?
(It could be that CABPRO _is_ a 501(c)(4), but the secretiveness of those involved - failing to return phone calls or email, deleting comments from multiple parties asking for verification, dancing around the "is it or isn't it" question, inviting the SBC's Steve Frisch to "drop by" when the office is always closed, etc - doesn't indicate candor or trustworthiness.)
Also, KVMR news director Paul Emery comments to Rebane re last month's KVMR Steve Frisch-George Rebane Prop 23 debate:
"George...you completely disregarded the protocol that I established for the show. Hopefully it was your inexperience in media forums that led you to disregard my instructions. " (link)
Wednesday, October 06, 2010
But for a commenter, there's a downside, in that comments there get buried - both due to the commenting community's activity and also due to Gresham's Law kicking in, polluting the threads by the repeated raising and rehashing of the same old arguments.
One consequence of this burial is that parts of the narrative sometimes get lost.
So - this post will be a repository for comments I - and others? - have posted there related to the secretive folks at CABPRO, where global climate destabilization is "globull warming".
(Feel free to add your substantive CABPRO comments below.)
"...the CABPRO folk are afraid of [my] questions; which – for me at least – makes it hard to get answers. ... The org was founded in the early 1990s, during a recession, when money was tight." (July 29; link)
"All we have is Barry(*) saying CABPRO’s a 501(c)(4) on his blogpost. Journalism is a discipline of verification, so I’ve left Barry a comment asking how to see documentation." (Sept 22; link)
"Re CABPRO’s nonprofit status, I should also note that my comment asking about it did not survive moderation over at Barry Pruett’s blog. ..." - (Oct 2; link)
"fyi, re [my] "Steve, you need to ask Martin *when* the CABPRO office is open." - my comment at the CABPRO Report blog, making that point, did not survive moderation. Anyone know who that blog’s moderator is? Russ Steele – who posts there – claims not to know." (Oct 4; link)
"Fortunately, the IRS doesn’t care whether CABPRO finds the request interesting. Stay tuned…"
(Oct 4; link)
"[CABPRO’s the 2-story bldg] On the ground floor; the doors with the letter taped to them, officially requesting to see their Application for Tax Exemption and its last three Annual Information Returns.
The IRS (in Pub. 557) requires them to make the docs available for public inspection even if their office hours are nonexistent." (Oct 5; link)
Sunday, October 03, 2010
I'll add to & improve it over time; if you've got suggestions/complaints, submit a comment please.
If someone makes climate-contrarian claims repeatedly - where he sounds superficially like he knows what he's talking about, yet thinks the climate science community is wrong - the fellow is most likely a crank (read it please, to understand), so his scientific(?) arguments don't warrant serious consideration from non-expert folk like us.
But if he has an audience for his disinformation, you should counter it for the readers' sake.
Doing it as concisely as possible, e.g. just by providing a link to this post, helps keep the discussion thread from being hijacked, & so frees the on-topic discussion to continue.
For the contrarian commenter, here's a checklist to help you avoid saying things that'd make you look foolish.
- Have you considered the big picture - are you so sure that you're right & the climate science community is wrong, that you're willing to bet *everything* on it?
- Have you done due diligence in checking that your claim/argument is not already known to be faulty - did you first check Skeptical Science.com or Coby Beck's How to Talk to a Climate Sceptic (http://bit.ly/cobybeck) or the EPA “endangerment” "response to comments" ( http://tinyurl.com/EPA-response ), or search for science-aligned coverage of the claim at bit.ly/w101search ?
(You'll probably look silly, if you don't run these checks first.)
- If you cite a source for your claim, have you checked the source's standing on the Credibility Spectrum? Without being able to intelligently assess credibility, there’s no way someone can tell which end is up, climate-science-wise.
(If your views *are* in line with what the highest credibility sources are saying, not a problem.)
(FYI, one local fellow objects to this credibility spectrum since its author, Kate, is herself young and un-credentialed - but that's silly since "it does not require any technical expertise to come up with something like Kate's spectrum, it's just a progression from non-experts to experts to large groups of experts. And if the problem is that someone can't trust the large groups of experts because it's all a giant conspiracy, there's not much anyone can do to dissuade them." )
- Remember that 97% of actively publishing climate scientists believe the world is warming and it's largely human-caused, and the the group that doesn't, has lower expertise - and is small enough to fit into the average American kitchen.
(If you don't like the Doran 2009 survey that found the 97%, there's also Anderegg et al 2010, which classified the researchers by the petitions they'd signed, and got a similar result.)
- Remember that if you're only learning from deviant views, you're probably going to be misled.