Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Conservative Radio Hosts Demonstrate What Is Wrong With My Republican Party

Friday morning I was driving around town and had the opportunity to listen to a few minutes of the "Chicks on the Right" program on WIBC.   For those of you unfamiliar with the program, I would describe it as two Valley Girls (Millennials, consult your online dictionary) suddenly stumbling upon conservative politics in their middle age and being granted a radio program to express their views.  That's what you're missing.  No, definitely not a fan.  However, to the credit of"Mock" and "Daisy," the radio hosts did express grave reservations about Donald Trump during the primaries and were some of the last conservatives to board the Trump train.

On this particular program, the topic of Michael Wolff's new book "Fire and Fury" came up.  The hosts proceeded to tell listeners that the allegations in Wolff's book ring true and reflect the concerns they had expressed about him when he was pursing the nomination.  Then they proceeded to say that the book made them even more supportive of the President.

Let's recap.  Mock and Daisy hold the position the mere fact that a book is written making claims they long believe are true - that the Donald Trump is unfit to be President, namely that he is ignorant, won't read even one page summaries of issues, has the temperament of a 6 year old child, constantly lies, doesn't have the attention span to sit through many meetings, and may have declining mental faculties - makes them more supportive of the President.  Seriously?

Sadly, many Trumpers hold the same position as Mock and Daisy. They know Donald Trump is not fit for office, yet they support the President enthusiastically because no one makes liberals madder than Donald Trump.  The welfare of the country, our safety and security, as well as survival of American democratic institutions, take a backseat to party tribalism.

Donald Trump isn't the problem with my party, but rather a symptom of the problem.  The problem is those in the GOP who put their blind angry and hatred of the other side ahead of doing what is in the best interests of the United States of America.  My Republican Party needs to be better than that.

Monday, January 8, 2018

New Scientific Study Indicates Oceans Have Only Warmed 0.1 Degrees Celsius in Past 50 Years

The Scripps Institution of Oceanography published a new study in the January 4, 2018 issue of Nature which casts doubts on the anthropogenic global warming doomsday scenario that sharply rising ocean temperatures doom the planet.  In a summary, the Institution summarizes its the new technique for measuring ocean temperature and the findings in the study:
There is a new way to measure the average temperature of the ocean thanks to researchers at Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California San Diego. In an article published in the Jan. 4, 2018, issue of the journal Nature, geoscientist Jeff Severinghaus and colleagues at Scripps Oceanography and institutions in Switzerland and Japan detailed their ground-breaking approach. 
Determining changes in the average temperature of the entire world’s ocean has proven
NASA has been a leader in sounding the alarm about rising sea levels
to be a nearly impossible task due to the distribution of different water masses. Each layer of water can have drastically different temperatures, so determining the average over the entirety of the ocean’s surface and depths presents a challenge. 
Severinghaus and colleagues were able to bypass these obstacles by determining the value indirectly. Instead of measuring water temperature, they determined the ratio of noble gases in the atmosphere, which are in direct relation to the ocean’s temperature. 
“This method is a radically new way to measure change in total ocean heat,” said Severinghaus. “It takes advantage of the fact that the atmosphere is well-mixed, so a single measurement anywhere in the world can give you the answer.”   
In the study, the scientists measured values of the noble gases argon, krypton, and xenon in air bubbles captured inside ice in Antarctica. As the oceans warm, krypton and xenon are released into the atmosphere in known quantities. The ratio of these gases in the atmosphere therefore allows for the calculation of average global ocean temperature. 
Measurements were taken from ice samples collected during the West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS) Divide coring project, of which Severinghaus is a leader. Over the course of six field seasons in Antarctica, a drill removed ice in cylindrical samples 2.7 meters (just under 9 feet) in length. The final sample was taken at a depth of 3,405 meters (over 11,000 feet) in 2011. This record spans nearly 100,000 years and the age of the layers can be determined to within 50 years. Earth’s atmosphere mixes on a scale of weeks to months, so a measurement of these air bubbles gives what is essentially a global average. For this study, scientists focused on samples 8,000 to 22,000 years old, and collected data in increments averaging 250 years in resolution. 
New insights into the glaciation cycles that occurred on Earth long before humans began affecting the temperature of the atmosphere and oceans are now possible using the technique of measuring noble gas quantities. The study determined that the average global ocean temperature at the peak of the most recent ice age was 0.9 ºC (33.6 ºF). The modern ocean’s average temperature is 3.5 ºC (38.3 ºF). The incremental measurements between these data points provide an understanding of the global climate never before possible. 
“The reason this study is so exciting is that previous methods of reconstructing ocean heat content have very large age uncertainties, [which] smooths out the more subtle features of the record,” said co-author Sarah Shackleton, a graduate student in the Severinghaus lab at Scripps. “Because WAIS Divide is so well dated, this is the first time that we've been able to see these subtle features in the record of the deglaciation. This helps us better understand the processes that control changes in ocean heat content.” 
This paper is the result of fifteen years of work for Severinghaus, along with graduate students and postdoctoral scholars in his lab. Discussions with another professor at Scripps, atmospheric scientist Ralph Keeling, brought about the idea. Keeling studies the argon levels in the atmosphere to get a similar record of ocean heat going back a few decades. However, air bubbles trapped in ice don’t preserve argon levels accurately. Severinghaus discovered that xenon and krypton are well preserved in ice cores, which provides the temperature information that can then be used by scientists studying many other aspects of the earth’s oceans and atmosphere over hundreds of thousands of years.
...
“Our precision is about 0.2 ºC (0.4 ºF) now, and the warming of the past 50 years is only about 0.1 ºC,” [Severinghaus] said, adding that advanced equipment can provide more precise measurements, allowing scientists to use this technique to track the current warming trend in the world’s oceans.
Alarmists have claimed that the ocean's temperature is rising .12º Celsius for each of the past five decades, or .6ºC total.  TThe fact that it has risen only 1º  over 50 years (and even that number is well within the margin of error so the oceans may have actually cooled) should cause the alarmists to rethink their "consensus."  Of course it won't because anthropogenic global warming climate change has always about the corruption of the scientific process to pursue a liberal environmental agenda.

Thursday, January 4, 2018

Eight Predictions for 2018

A few days late, but here are my predictions for 2018:

1.  Stock Market:  The stock market will end 2018 lower than it began in 2017.  Even though the drop is actually the result of a long overdue market correction, Democrats will seize on the declineas proof the GOP tax cut in December of 2017 failed.

2.  Unemployment and Economic Growth:  Having reached "full employment" in 2017, the unemployment rate will begin to rise again in 2018.  Meanwhile, the increase in GDP will stall before the end of the year, opening the possibility of the country going into recession in 2019.   While both economic factors will be more the result of the natural cycles of the economy rather than the result of economic policy, Democrats will use the souring economy as political fodder in the 2018 election.

3.  National Politics:  Democrats will win the U.S. House picking up 40+ seats, while reaching a 50-50 split in the U.S. Senate.  The number one issue in the 2018 elections will not be healthcare or taxes.  It will be impeachment.

4.  Indiana Politics:  Sen. Joe Donnelly will easily win re-election. Indiana Republicans will feel the effects of a national Blue Tidal wave as the Democrats narrowly win three statewide offices, Secretary of State, Treasurer and Auditor, while picking up 10 seats in the Indiana House.  Indiana Republicans will lose a congressional seat as well.  The (Indiana) story of the 2018 elections will be highly-educated voters in the northern suburbs of Indianapolis turning sharply against the GOP brand, and the concerns that trend will continue and threaten GOP domination in the state.

5.  Russia:  Mueller's investigation will continue to net several indictments and plea deals in early 2018.  When criminal charges reach the Trump family (think Jared Kushner), the pardons will start flying.  Talk of a constitutional crisis will ensue.  All hell will break loose. Mueller will ultimately be fired by Trump.  Mueller's activities will conclude with a report to Congress that the Trump campaign actively solicited and accepted help from the Russians during the 2018 campaign and that Trump and others attempted to obstruct justice into the investigation of those activities.  The document will also highlight that Trump's company is deeply in debt to Russian lenders and has for years laundered money for Russian oligarchs.  Democrats House members will sound the alarm for impeachment which Republican House members will ignore while continuing to attack the credibility of Mueller, the FBI and the Department of Justice.  The election of 2018 will be a referendum on impeachment.

6.  Supreme Court:  Justice Anthony Kennedy will announce his retirement upon the appointment of his replacement.  In addition, another justice, likely a liberal, will leave the court because of serious health problems or death.  The confirmation of two replacement justices will stall in the Senate.  2018 will end with 8 justices, including a reluctant Kennedy, on the court.

7.  Global Warming:  This month it will be announced that 2017 was one of the warmest years on record.  Americans, suffering through one of the worst cold snaps in years, will shrug their collective shoulders.  Meanwhile, there will be a push-back, with more and more scientists questioning the "consensus"  regarding the amount of anthropocentric global warming taking place and the supposed dangers a warmer climate represents to mankind.

8.  Technology:  A few American cities will follow Europe's lead and begin trying out driver-less buses.  The year will end with driver-less cars being in development by all major auto manufacturers.

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Picking Seven Winners and Losers for 2017

Presenting seven winners and losers for 2017.

Winners

1.  American Investor:  The economy went from doing well in 2016 to doing even better in 2017, with the stock market soaring.   Workers with 401Ks and other investors did incredibly well.

2.  Women:  This year ushered in a new awareness for sexual harassment in the workplace.  Women are signing up to run for office in record numbers.

3.  Democratic Party:  Republicans began the year winning several special elections for Congressional seats, but ominously the margins were much more narrow than should have been given the ruby red nature of the districts.  In November, Democrats won a sweeping victory in Virginia that not only included the Governor and other statewide offices, but also scores of state assembly districts, a victory that has taken that body from a Republican super-majority to on the verge of a 50-50 tie.  Then came the shocker in December.  Republicans lost the special election to fill the United States Senate originally vacated by Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

4.  Corporations:  Corporations did extremely well under the GOP tax bill.  Contrary to the assumption of Democrats, not all corporate-type entities are large monoliths, overflowing in stockpiled cash.

5.  The Mainstream Media:  Despite getting lambasted by the President and his allies (or actually probably because of), TV networks like CNN and MSNBC, and news publications like the Washington Post and New York Times are enjoying better ratings and rising profits.

6.  Tom Brady & The Patriots:  Brady rallied his team to win the Super Bowl in early 2017 and the 40 year old quarterback appears poised to take his team back to the big game again in 2018.  As a Colts and Peyton Manning fan, I hate to admit their success, but it is impossible to deny.

7.  Major League Baseball: Ratings were up as a strong regular season was capped by a highly competitive and exciting post-season.  MLB is poised to gain fans as NFL declines in popularity.  That is if the baseball Gods do not blow it by continuing to do stupid things like having Playoff and World Series games run past midnight, when young and old fans of the game have long since gone to bed.

Losers

1.  Political Civility:  Name calling, "alternative facts," and lying has become accepted as part of political discourse.  It is not clear how our Republic will survive if the truth no longer matters.

2.  Steve Bannon:  He lost his job at the White House, then his candidate for U.S. Senate, Roy Moore, went down to spectacular defeat in December.   By the end of the year, President Trump was seen cozying up to Senate Major Leader Mitch McConnell, Bannon's arch-nemesis.  Bannon's expressed desire to primary "establishment" Republicans, with the support of President Trump, appears to be on shaky ground..

3.  GOP-Controlled Congress:  It wasn't before the end of the year that Republicans in Congress got around to passing a major piece of legislation.  Now entering 2018, the GOP majority in the House appears to be in great peril and the Democrats have a shot of winning the Senate, despite a map skewed heavily in favor of Republican challenges to red state Democrats.

4. American Democratic Institutions:  Institutions that Americans have taken for granted,  things like a free press, the rule of law, and an independent, non-politicized FBI, are under full scale assault by President Trump and his GOP allies in the House.

5.  Michael Flynn & Paul Manafort:  Flynn started the year as national security adviser.  He ended the year as a convicted felon. Paul Manafort was indicted for money laundering (seriously what took so long?) and other charges and faces spending the rest of life in prison if he doesn't cut a Flynn-like sweetheart deal to cooperate with the Mueller investigation.

6.  America's Youth:  We adults just added nearly $1.5 trillion to the deficit you will have to pay back during your lifetime.  You're welcome.

7.  Apple:   The I-Phone 10s are not selling and Apple was caught causing older I-Phones to slow down.  It appears the shine is wearing off the apple.