Category Archives: Media Criticism

Climate Models

are flawed. That’s putting it mildly:

Professor Curry said: “It’s not just the fact that climate simulations are tuned that is problematic. It may well be that it is impossible to make long-term predictions about the climate – it’s a chaotic system after all. If that’s the case, then we are probably trying to redesign the global economy for nothing”.

I’ve been saying that’s likely the case for years. I’ll look forward to reading her paper.

The EM-1 Analysis

This is a good overview of the issues involved in deciding to fly crew on the first flight. If they decide to do this, I don’t want to hear a single word about delaying Commercial Crew until it is “safe” enough.

[Update a while later]

Wow, never been a big George Abbey (senior) fan, but he’s calling for cancellation of SLS:

Abbey thinks the architecture of NASA’s future plans should be thoroughly examined and redrawn. It won’t even require a budgetary increase — just a smarter allocation of the currently available funding. For instance, he suggests scrapping the SLS program altogether. There’s too much redundancy in the heavy-lift rocket market — SpaceX is working on their Falcon Heavy, Blue Origin is busy developing the New Glenn booster, and United Launch Alliance is drawing up plans for a Vulcan rocket.

From his lips to Trump’s (and Congress’s) ears.

Trump’s “Chaotic” First Weeks

People complaining about this from Trump (as with many other things they complain about from Trump) have short memories:

Even the Washington Post had to admit all was not well in Obama world when they reported that the White House wasn’t ready for conflicts over policy: “President Obama’s advisers acknowledged Tuesday that they were unprepared for the intraparty rift that occurred over the fate of a proposed public health insurance program, a firestorm that has left the White House searching for a way to reclaim the initiative on the president’s top legislative priority.”

Jay Cost of RealClearPolitics was “stunned” that Obama “would be caught off guard by this,” adding that his “lack of foresight” was “absolutely inexcusable.” “How could they not have anticipated this?” Cost asked. “How could they possibly have been surprised that the left and right flanks of the party would not see eye to eye?”

Seems like things haven’t changed that much, at least rhetorically. “But Trump is worse!” many might claim. Yet that isn’t true at all. What’s worse is the way it’s being reported and repeated. The claims of incompetence are rushing like a torrent from every direction and with such hysteria that you’d think the chaos of Armageddon was upon us.

But that was Saint Barack! How could it be?

Trump And The Crisis Of Meritocracy

Thoughts from Glenn Reynolds:

“The warning lights have been flashing, and the klaxons sounding, for more than a decade and a half. But our pundits and prognosticators and professors and policymakers, ensconced as they generally are deep within the bubble, were for the most part too distant from the distress of the general population to see or hear it.”

Well, now they’ve heard it, and they’ve also heard that a lot of Americans resent the meritocrats’ insulation from what’s happening elsewhere, especially as America’s unfortunate record over the past couple of decades, whether in economics, in politics, or in foreign policy, doesn’t suggest that the “meritocracy” is overflowing with, you know, actual merit.

In the United States, the result has been Trump. In Britain, the result was Brexit. In both cases, the allegedly elite — who are supposed to be cool, considered, and above the vulgar passions of the masses — went more or less crazy. From conspiracy theories (it was the Russians!) to bizarre escape fantasies (A Brexit vote redo! A military coup to oust Trump!) the cognitive elite suddenly didn’t seem especially elite, or for that matter particularly cognitive.

In fact, while America was losing wars abroad and jobs at home, elites seemed focused on things that were, well, faintly ridiculous. As Richard Fernandez tweeted: “The elites lost their mojo by becoming absurd. It happened on the road between cultural appropriation and transgender bathrooms.” It was fatal: “People believe from instinct. The Roman gods became ridiculous when the Roman emperors did. PC is the equivalent of Caligula’s horse.”

There’s nothing “elite” or even educated about them. They’re just credentialed.

“Alt-Right”

No, libertarians are not:

Spencer has attempted to wring as much publicity from the incident as possible—he tweeted about it no fewer than 40 times, by my count. In his mind, libertarians are “lolbertarians” who need to “accept the reality of race” and get serious about “white replacement.” To the extent that his only goal in life is to garner more attention for his fringe worldview, I suppose the stunt was a success—here I am writing about it. Congrats to you, guy who thinks “the United States is a European country.”

In any case, the incident should make abundantly clear that the alt-right’s racism is incompatible with the principles of a free society. Libertarianism is an individualist philosophy that considers all people deserving of equal rights. In contrast, Spencer is a tribalist and collectivist whose personal commitment to identity politics vastly exceeds the left’s.

Yes. “Alt-Right” is just another variation on Left.

Mattis “Alone”

It seems pretty clear that we need a thorough house cleaning at the Pentagon after the disaster of the past eight years. And probably every other agency and department as well. The civil service system has resulted in a permanent government, that tends to itself rather than the nation and people.

[Update a few minutes later]

Related: EPA workers fight to prevent the nomination of Pruitt. That is not part of their job description. Can them.

[Saturday-morning update]

Who “rules” the United States?

These days an architect of the overreaching and antidemocratic Waters of the U.S. regulation worries that her work will be overturned so she undertakes extraordinary means to defeat her potential boss. But a change in policy is a risk of democratic politics. Nowhere does it say in the Constitution that the decisions of government employees are to be unquestioned and preserved forever. Yet that is precisely the implication of this unprecedented protest. “I can’t think of any other time when people in the bureaucracy have done this,” a professor of government tells the paper. That sentence does not leave me feeling reassured.

Opposition to this president takes many forms. Senate Democrats have slowed confirmations to the most sluggish pace since George Washington. Much of the New York and Beltway media does really function as a sort of opposition party, to the degree that reporters celebrated the sacking of Flynn as a partisan victory for journalism. Discontent manifests itself in direct actions such as the Women’s March.

But here’s the difference. Legislative roadblocks, adversarial journalists, and public marches are typical of a constitutional democracy. They are spelled out in our founding documents: the Senate and its rules, and the rights to speech, a free press, and assembly. Where in those documents is it written that regulators have the right not to be questioned, opposed, overturned, or indeed fired, that intelligence analysts can just call up David Ignatius and spill the beans whenever they feel like it?

Hey, give the little tyrants a break; they’re trying to save the planet.

[Bumped]