Posts filed under “UnScience”

News Flash: The Emperor Has No Clothes

Fareed Zakaria has reached the terribly obvious and long overdue conclusion that the right wing in the US is a fantasy-based denier of reality.

Whoopee.

After years of globally embarrassing foolishness, a cowed and cowardly media is belatedly showing signs of speaking Truth to Power.

For his observation that the earth is round, serious people are showering Zakaria with effusive praise. While the reality based observations are long overdue, it is embarrassing that we feel so compelled to applaud it. People seem to be forgetting: This is what media is supposed to do. The role of the press is to point out the absurdities of the powerful, afflict the comfortable, reveal what those in Power want to keep hidden.

Of course, that has taken a back seat to much more important events, such as Anthony Weiner’s junk shot, Michael Jackson’s untimely death, and an especially close American Idol final.

Bread & Circuses, anyone?

What does it say about our damaged US democracy and its wounded 4th Estate (aka corporate media) that merely making an obvious assertion is news? Is it an event when an essential element of a functional democracy actually has the bravado to tell a significant political movement that “No, the earth is not flat.”

The right wing has long embraced magical thinking. You can see it across a spectrum of thought: It is a short hop from believing that  Supply Side Tax Cuts are self funding to all other manner of nonsense. From denying Evolution to managing Health Care costs to Global Warming, it is a continuum. Making no-plan invasions of other countries is the natural progression of such magical thinking. If your beliefs are righteousness enough, then the outcome is assured by a munificent deity.

As a personal belief system, that may be fine, but as government philosophy, it makes for horrific policy decisions.

The Retreat from Empiricism has been detailed over the years, but not by the mainstream media. It has been the alternative press — websites, blogs, critics outside of the mainstream — who have stated the obvious for many, many years. Somehow, the Media missed nearly all of it. It wasn’t until after the Katrina disaster that the scales fell from Press’ eyes. Suddenly, in the middle of George W. Bush’ second term, the Press found their voice. Years after 9/11, after the national terror alert was manipulated for political purposes, long after the Nation was lied into a war of choice through dishonest and deceptive means at great cost in blood and treasure, did the Media found its voice.

Heckuva job there, Press corps . . .

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Previously:
Attack of the Dumb Journalists (October 29th, 2005)

Journalists, Heal Thyselves (December 26th, 2006)

Seeking the Truth — Or Obscuring It? (August 20th, 2010)

Marion Maneker on Zakaria’s Truth Telling (June 16th, 2011)

Sources:
How Today’s Conservatism Lost Touch with Reality
Fareed Zakaria
Newsweek June 16, 2011
http://www.time.com/time/nation/article/0,8599,2077943,00.html

Retreat from Empiricism
Jay Rosen
Press Think, December 18, 2006
http://archive.pressthink.org/2006/12/18/suskind_empiricism.html

Category: Financial Press, UnScience

Climate Change: Fact or Fraud Conference (postponed)

Category: Humor, Really, really bad calls, UnScience

Harold Camping is Oh-fer-Two

I wanted to point out that the loon of the moment, Harold Camping is now hitless after two at bats. The religious zealot/jackass made a similar end of world prediction in 1994, which if memory serves failed to come to pass. And it is an otherwise delightful evening, no Armageddon anywhere in sight . ….Read More

Category: Really, really bad calls, UnScience

Camping: World Will End in September 1994 May 21 2011

Harold Camping on Larry King Live “1994?” Pt 1/3

Harold Camping on Larry King Live “1994?” Pt 2/3

Harold Camping on Larry King Live “1994?” Pt 3/3

Category: UnScience, Video

Google Trends: Rapture vs “World End May 21″

The Rapture (in blue) beats “World End May 21″ (red)  — at least on Google Trends. What chance did Harold Camping’s end of days have versus 2000 years of Armageddon fear mongering? The Rapture folk know the first rule of forecasting — hence the indefinite date for the World’s end versus getting too specific. Coming…Read More

Category: UnScience, Web/Tech

End of Worlders: Classic Game Theory Error

There is an Evangelist named Harold Camping, who claims the world will end tomorrow. He has violated the first rule of forecasting: You can give a price target ($0) or a date (tomorrow) but never both at once. Besides, the end of world forecast carries additional risks. People have been making Armageddon forecasts for, like,…Read More

Category: Really, really bad calls, UnScience

No, Kudlow Did Not Mean That . . .

The intertubes are all abuzz about something Larry Kudlow said on TV last week: CNBC’s Kudlow: Be grateful the human toll is much worse than the economic toll from Japan quake! (This message on Google Buzz) CNBC’s Larry Kudlow illustrates why there’s such hatred of the Wall Street ethic, as he suggests that we should…Read More

Category: Really, really bad calls, Television, UnScience

Attention Mayor Bloomberg: How to Influence Opinion

This morning, I am going to violate my self-imposed admonition against advising billionaires how to spend their money. How to invest it is what I do for a living, but how to spend it is something else entirely. The basis for this rule waiver/advice was a front page NYT article: After Business and Politics, Mayor…Read More

Category: Financial Press, UnScience, Web/Tech

Climate Skeptic Pat Michaels: 40% of My Funding is From Big Oil

I have been rather dismissive of the agnatology from global warming deniers and hacks like Pat Michaels.

The notorious climate skeptic of the CATO Institute has admitted on CNN this weekend that 40 percent of his funding comes from Big Oil. Note that is what he admits to; his disinformation campaigns might be funded in considerably greater amounts than that.

When the media quotes him, they should disclose where the funding for his “skepticism” came from. As the ExxonSecrets profile of Pat Michaels sums up well, he is “possibly the most prolific and widely-quoted climate change skeptic scientist.”

Fareed Zakaria deserves a round of applause for challenging Michaels directly to cough up a figure for how much oil money he receives to defend the status quo:

ZAKARIA: Let me ask you what people wonder about, advocates like you. They say —

MICHAELS: I’m advocating for efficiency.

ZAKARIA: Right. But people say that you’re advocating also for the current petroleum-based industry to stand pat, to stay as it is, and that a lot of your research is funded by these industries.

MICHAELS: Oh, no, no. First of all, what I’m saying is —

ZAKARIA: Well, is your research funded by these industries?

MICHAELS: Not largely. The fact of the matter is —

ZAKARIA: Can I ask you what percentage of your work is funded by the petroleum industry?

MICHAELS: I don’t know. 40 percent? I don’t know.

Not a bad investment by the oil industry: Put up 40% of the funds, but use 100% of the junk science . . .

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DISCLOSURE: We are long Arch Coal (ACI) and Suncor (SU)   As I have said, you can burn fossil fuels and own V12 cars, or even invest in the energy sector, but please don’t be hypocritical by pretending that you are not impacting the climate.

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Category: Energy, UnScience, Video

Keynes = Passé

Apropos of our earlier Volcker discussion, consider this classic an indictment of the Business Schools Tall Paul referenced: > Via Amptoons Hat tip Jay H

Category: Economy, Humor, UnScience