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Why NYT Hid The Numbers For The ‘Hottest Year On Record’

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They say that mathematics is the language of science, which is a way of saying that science is quantitative. It is moved forward by numbers and measurements, not just by qualitative observations. “It seems hot out” is not science. Giving a specific temperature, measured by a specific process at a specific time, compared to other systematically gathered measurements—that is science.

So when you read an article proclaiming that, for the third year in a row, last year was the hottest year on record, you might expect that right up front you will get numbers, measurements, and a statistical margin of error. You know, science stuff. Numbers. Quantities. Mathematics.

And you would be wrong.

I just got done combing through a New York Times report titled, “Earth Sets a Temperature Record for the Third Straight Year.” The number of relevant numbers in this article is: zero.

We are not told what the average global temperature was, how much higher this is than last year’s record or any previous records, or what the margin of error is supposed to be on those measurements. Instead, we get stuff like this.

Marking another milestone for a changing planet, scientists reported on Wednesday that the Earth reached its highest temperature on record in 2016—trouncing a record set only a year earlier, which beat one set in 2014. It is the first time in the modern era of global warming data that temperatures have blown past the previous record three years in a row.

Note to the New York Times: “trouncing” and “blown past” are phrases appropriate to sports reporting, not science reporting. Except that no sports reporter would dare write an article in which he never bothers to give you the score of the big game.

Yet that’s what passes for “science reporting” on the issue of global warming, where asking for numbers and margins of errors apparently makes you an enemy of science. Instead, it’s all qualitative and comparative descriptions. It’s science without numbers.

It wasn’t just the New York Times. Try finding the relevant numbers ready at hand in the NASA/NOAA press release. You get numbers comparing 2016’s temperature with “the mid-20th century mean” or “the late 19th century.” But there’s nothing comparing it to last year or the year before except qualitative descriptions. So the government’s science bureaucracy is setting the trend, making reporters dig for the relevant numbers rather than presenting them up front.

It’s almost like they’re hiding something. And that is indeed what we find. I finally tracked down an exception to this reporting trend: the UK newspaper The Independent gives us the relevant numbers.

They should have been in the first paragraph, but at least they’re in the third paragraph: “This puts 2016 only nominally ahead of 2015 by just 0.01C—within the 0.1C margin of error—but….” There’s stuff after the “but,” but it’s just somebody’s evaluation. Even this report can’t give us a straight fact and leave it alone.

For the benefit of science reporters and other people who are unfamiliar with the scientific method, let me point out that the margin of error for these measurements is plus or minus one tenth of a degree Celsius. The temperature difference that is supposedly being measured is one one-hundredth of a degree—one tenth the size of the margin of error. To go back to sports reporting, that’s like saying that the football is on the 10-yard line—give or take a hundred yards.

I think you can see why they didn’t lead with these numbers in the first paragraph or the headline, because if they did everyone would stop reading and move on to the next article. “This Year’s Temperatures Statistically Identical to Last Year’s” is not a headline that grabs anybody’s attention.

That’s not the worst part. The worst part is that this isn’t the first year they’ve done this. Two years ago, government agencies and gullible reporters repeated the exact same claims about the hottest year on record, along with some other howlers. What was the margin for that year’s record? Two one-hundredths of a degree, also much smaller than the margin of error.

Lest I be accused of not giving you numbers, global temperatures for 2015 were reported to be higher than 2014 by as much as 2.9 degrees Celsius, though you have to read to the 18th paragraph before the New York Times deigns to tell you this. That’s not as impressive as it may seem, because both 2015 and 2016 were El Nino years, when there is a normal, natural increase in temperatures.

This highlights a bigger problem with the global warming theory. For all the excitement over records set over the past 137 years—precise global thermometer measurements date only to 1880—current temperatures still are not clearly out of the range of normal variation in the 10,000 years or so since the planet bounced back from the last ice age, despite all of the furious attempts to hype them up.

Yet here is Arizona State University “theoretical physicist”—and, of course, media personality—Lawrence M. Krauss taking to Twitter to ask: “When will the evidence of the need to act be enough?” This is above a link to, you guessed it, the number-free New York Times report.

Yes, I really do wonder how anyone could possibly be skeptical of claims about the climate made by science “advocates” and by the media. It’s a total mystery.

Follow Robert on Twitter.

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Progressives Destroyed Normalcy And Now They’re Shocked Trump Isn’t Normal

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Progressives have found a rallying cry in their opposition to Donald Trump’s presidency. Whether in the New York Times, on the John Oliver Show, or in protests in the nations’ streets, they are insisting that Trump is “not normal.” News media and elected officials not considered critical enough of Trump are criticized for normalizing him and his ideas. Suddenly progressives, of all people, are deeply concerned about our culture’s long-held norms and traditions.

The irony in all of this is crystal clear. These are the same people who over the past few years have insisted that five-year-old boys becoming five-year-old girls is normal. They tell us that a guaranteed basic income and running for president as a Socialist is normal. Forcing Catholic hospitals to offer birth control, undocumented immigrants voting in our elections, and abolishing the police: normal, normal, and normal.

In Donald Trump, with his admittedly dangerous, devil-may-care attitude, progressives have stumbled upon the value of conserving norms and traditions. A president just doesn’t say these awful things about his opponents and the media. A president doesn’t tweet attacks at enemies late at night. A President doesn’t put a controversial figure like Steve Bannon a few doors down from the Oval Office.

But here’s the thing: it’s too late. We are way past that now. The Left let its freak flag fly. We all saw it. No normal is the new normal and there is no clear way back from that.

How We Lost Our Cultural Norms

Cultural norms are self-imposed limitations on speech and actions, meant to preserve peace and order in a society. It is like a stream with banks that allow our public discourse to flow responsibly. When that stream is broadened and deepened, dangerous ideas flow in from both sides.

When Vox defends political violence in the form of riots, it opens space for those on the Right who peddle the idea that we are in a race war. When Salon runs articles about how right-wingers who attack a writer defending pedophilia are the real monsters, those on the right feel less constrained in how they push back.

Progressives have consistently shown an utter lack of respect for black conservatives like Clarence Thomas and Thomas Sowell, whose politics fail to match up with their skin tone. Sarah Palin and her family were met with extreme rudeness and frankly, sexism, because she is a conservative with a uterus.

Conservatives Tired Of Celebrity Bullies Turned To Trump

Conservatives have watched the Rosie O’Donnells of the world pillory and castigate people who don’t think like they do. They had no celebrity to fight back in their name. Then they did. It shouldn’t be surprising that early in his campaign it was the pot shots at O’Donnell that gave us the first glimpse of how his rhetoric, which once would have been disqualifying, just isn’t anymore.

So when Meryl Streep tells us how her heart was broken by Trump making fun of a disabled reporter, many on the right shrug their shoulders and say, “Hey, this is your game, he just knows how to play it.” And they do not accept that the progressive chutes and ladders of power and privilege mean they have to play by different rules.

Trump Didn’t Create Our Culture Of Rudeness

Recently, a statement from Think Progress editor Ned Resnikoff emerged. Days after Trump’s election, he found himself fearful because a white plumber with a Southern accent was in his home. He wrote, “I couldn’t stop thinking about whether he had voted for Trump, whether he knew my last name is Jewish, and how that might change the interaction we were having in my own home.” He went on to say that the encounter left him “rattled for some time…”

Let’s be clear. Resnikoff was indulging in the same kind of irrational racial bias that gets black kids shot in America. He turned an individual human being into a cultural stereotype because he feels uneasy about changes happening around him in America. Is that normal? And while it may be part of why Trump won, these kinds of attitudes were not created by Trump. Rather, Trump thrived in a culture that now accepts that rudeness, judgment, and condemnation of those with the wrong political views is justified.

Donald Trump is an uncivil, rude bully. But he didn’t change these rules. He simply used this new normal to his advantage.

Conservatives, Don’t Use the Tactics of the Left

Amidst the schadenfreude of Hillary Clinton’s defeat and the rebuke of progressive predictions of a new age dominated by their chosen, sometimes bizarre, new mores, we need to be careful. Perhaps Clinton’s most effective ad against Trump was the one in which children watched his uncouth statements on television. I say this as a dad who has to explain to my son why the President-elect is calling people rude names, when I teach him that is wrong.

A big part of what conservatives are meant to conserve is decency, decorum, and respect. We should oppose shouting expletives at those we disagree with. We should oppose public shaming and boycotts. We should oppose cruel mockery as a legitimate means to achieve our ends.

Those on the alt-right and their apologists tell us that we must use the Left’s tactics to defeat them. This is wrong. It’s wrong because there is no distinction between tactics and politics, you cannot defeat something by becoming it.

We Can’t Let Fear And Frustration Dominate Our Discourse

What many on all sides are feeling these days is that we are locked in an ugly struggle with no way out. Those who believe in biology and not a sliding scale of gender are tired of being called bigots. Those who oppose abortion are tired of being called sexists. Those who do not accept their privilege and guilt are tired of being called racists.

On the Left, a terrible fear is emerging, that the outsized and ugly rhetoric that has been their calling card is about to be used against them; and that their concerns about fairness and equality are going to be set back by Trump and his band of deplorables.

It is difficult not to despair of the current state of our political discourse. The President-elect has taken up the “us vs. them” attitude used for so long by the Left. He has embraced their abandonment of cultural norms and thrown it back in their face. On both sides people are digging in. It seems likely that our near political future will consist of snipes on Twitter between the President and Hollywood celebrities.

Don’t Let Donald Trump Be Your Role Model

But Donald Trump will merely be our president. He doesn’t have to be a role model. Progressive purveyors of racial discord will make noise and get clicks, but we don’t have to follow them, or engage in their tactics. No, things are not normal. They have not been for some time. Maybe they never were.

In the current hailstorm of animosity, there are a few safe havens. Kindness is one, along with respect and belief in the essential dignity of all people. Like all of the most important things in life, these do not emanate from the government. They are a gift of nature and Divine Providence. Sometimes the people are called upon to be better than their leaders; this is one of those times.

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If Tom Price Is Corrupt, So Is Nearly Every Democrat

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Later today, Rep. Tom Price, Donald Trump’s pick for Health and Human Services secretary, will sit in front of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions and be accused of “insider trading” by Democrats.

The Wall Street Journal recently reported that Price had traded more than $300,000 in health-care stocks over the last four years while advocating or sponsoring bills affected the stocks of those companies. Price traded industry giants like Amgen, Bristol Myers Squibb, Pfizer, and Aetna — or, in other words, the kind of stocks that are part of millions of portfolios, including from a number of Democrats on the committee.

Last March, according to CNN, Price also bought “between $1,001 and $15,000 worth of shares” from Zimmer Biomet Holdings, a medical device manufacturer. Only a few days later, he backed legislation in the House that would have delayed a regulation that could have supposedly damaged the company,

“This new report makes clear that this isn’t just a couple of questionable trades, but rather a clear and troubling pattern of Congressman Price trading stock and using his office to benefit the companies in which he is investing,” Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said.

Just to be clear, Schumer is accusing Price of corruption. Of criminality. Yet none of the initial trades were questionable in the way that thousands of other trades made by politicians aren’t questionable. Unless every elected Democrat is questionable who’s ever invested or taken money from General Electric, the pharmaceutical industry, the health-care industry, trail lawyers, unions, the auto industry, any green-energy company, or any sector that has benefits from taxpayer bailouts, subsidies, laws or cronyism.

By this standard, nearly everyone on the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions is a crook.

That includes Sheldon Whitehouse, who owns stock in major insurance companies that have benefited from Obamacare, like Aetna, United Healthcare, Anthem, Celgene, and Merck. Whitehouse has a direct interest in preserving laws that undermine competition. That goes for 1 percenter Elizabeth Warren, who is invested in banks and mutual funds that trade health care and pharmaceutical stock. It certainly means Tim Kaine, who is invested in all kinds of companies his vote affects, including the health-care sector. The same goes for Michael Bennet.

How many Democrats had stock in American auto companies when the bailout was passed? Many. Or in banks that were saved? How many are invested in green energy that is propped up by the taxpayer subsidies they vote on? How many politicians are suspiciously good at picking stocks? Many.

Price’s Zimmer Biomet Holdings trade doesn’t look good. It seems, though, that CNN got the timeline wrong, and Trump’s transition is formally asking CNN to retract an article. I’m sure we’ll hear plenty about it today.

Trump transition says that Price has a “diversified portfolio with Morgan Stanley in a broker-directed account,” and didn’t even know about the trade until weeks later. The transition team says that Price “began work on his legislative effort to delay the comprehensive joint replacement demonstration project in 2015.” They claim Price only held around $2,000 worth of shares in the company. Price reported the transaction as soon as he learned about it and now only stands to make around $300.

All of this is likely true, although I’m unsure why any of that really matters. Price — or any politician — couldn’t possible know how his market investments would turn out. How little or much they ultimately pocket doesn’t speak to intent. The idea of a politician using any inside knowledge, power, or clout to make money is concerning. Would Republicans let a Democrat with a similar trade history off the hook? Unlikely.

Of course, this is all political posturing. But however improbable it was that Price was really “insider trading,” we can’t bore into the souls of politicians and divine their intentions. So everyone should be judged by the same standards, even on trades that are beyond their knowledge. That includes nearly every Democrat who will be grilling Price today.

So try and stop the Price nomination. America will survive. There are plenty of other highly qualified people — and Price is qualified — who will do the hard work of undoing the Obamacare disaster. No one has a God-given right to be HHS secretary or a senator.

Price has, though, promised to divest from more than 40 companies in the health-care sector. If senators want to work on policy, they too should divest all investments related to whatever industry their work influences. Stocks. Mutual funds. All of it. That goes for people who believe health care markets should be freer and those who believe government should be running the energy sector. That’s because too many elected officials end up making money in the market or cashing in on their supposed “public service” by enriching future lobbying clients or companies in their districts with laws that inhibit competition.

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Trump Inauguration Protesters Work Hard For His Re-Election

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Protesters against Donald Trump’s inauguration are flooding to DC and putting forth their best effort to ensure that there will be a second Trump inauguration to protest four years from now.

I’m not boasting or gloating about this outcome. I didn’t want there to be a first Trump inauguration, and I probably won’t be too happy about a second one, either. Yes, a lot can and will go wrong with the Trump administration over the next four years, so it’s impossible to predict the next election. But everything in the behavior of Trump’s opponents on the Left tells us they are determined to learn nothing from this past election and to double down on everything that drove voters into Trump’s camp.

Let’s start with the fact that protesting a presidential inauguration is a bad idea. The whole purpose of the inauguration is for the great and good in our nation’s capital to recognize the peaceful transition of power through the electoral process laid down in our hallowed Constitution. So naturally a bunch of Democratic representatives have decided to boycott it, Rep. John Lewis is declaring Trump “illegitimate,” and busloads of leftists have already headed to DC for a week of protests. A week.

Is this because Trump is somehow supremely, exceptionally awful? But this didn’t begin with Trump. It began with George W. Bush’s inauguration in 2001, when leftists refused to accept the election result because of the recount in Florida. Yet even after an indisputable re-election victory in 2004, they protested Bush again. It has become their way of coping, I guess, with the rejection of their favored candidate by the American people.

A lot of them—I asked someone I know who is going—just see it as a way of voicing their opposition to Trump’s agenda. I hope that makes them feel better. But that’s not the way it comes across to everyone else, and the protesters don’t really want to see it from anyone else’s perspective, and that’s their problem.

This doesn’t really come across as a protest against Trump. It doesn’t even come across as a rejection of the American political system or the process of presidential succession, because if they were really serious about that, they would do a whole lot more than a few lame street theater protests. Instead, this comes across as a temper tantrum against the existence of recalcitrant voters who don’t agree with them. It’s like the old Bertolt Brecht poem about the attitude of a previous gang of leftists: the desire “to dissolve the people and elect another.” They are protesting the fact that the rest of the American public isn’t good enough for them.

This all comes across as a statement of contempt for anyone who’s not on board with their political agenda. Or I should say another statement of contempt for their fellow citizens. Because that’s what the Left has been conveying all along, and it’s part of what drove people to Trump, no matter how inadequate and inappropriate a vessel he is for such a protest vote.

The strength of the religious vote for Trump initially mystified me, until I remembered the ferocity of the Left’s assault on religious believers in the past few years—the way they were hounded and vilified for continuing to hold traditional beliefs about marriage that were suddenly deemed backward and unacceptable (at least since 2012, when President Obama stopped pretending to share them). What else do you think drove all those religious voters to support a dissolute heathen?

A lot of Americans have become tired of being called racists and bigots, particular during the Obama years, when this accusation was trotted out to smack down anyone who opposed the president for any reason. So these voters have taken to completely, reflexively, even obstinately rejecting such accusations, even when they’re valid. That’s a problem, but it’s not going to be solved by shouting louder.

So what are the inauguration protesters doing? Describing Trump voters as a bunch of fascists and backward redneck bigots whose opinions shouldn’t count.

The pressure on entertainers to withdraw from performing at the inauguration under the threat of never working again is indicative of the problem. We can laugh at the Left for living inside a bubble where everyone agrees with them or else. But this increasing ability to rule over miniature one-party states in fields like entertainment and academia is eliminating their capacity to deal with disagreement. That’s the really ominous message of the inauguration protests: that this is all they’ve got, that it’s their only way of communicating with their fellow citizens.

The message of the inauguration protests is that it’s not a bubble any more, it’s a bunker. The Left has dug in deep, and all we’re going to hear from them is shouting. In all likelihood, that will only keep driving voters away.

Follow Robert on Twitter.

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Comic for January 18, 2017

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sjk
11 hours ago
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To do: Get myself a red folder.
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Comic for January 14, 2017

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sjk
1 day ago
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Loyalty to the organization is punished the same way here as well.
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