Headline of the Day

A reader sent this to me:

Snow shuts down federal government, life goes on

WASHINGTON (AP) - If snow keeps 230,000 government employees home for the better part of a week, will anyone notice?

With at least another foot of snow headed for Washington, Philadelphia and New York, we're about to find out. The federal government in the nation's capital has largely been shut down since Friday afternoon, when a storm began dumping up to 3 feet of snow in some parts of the region. Offices were remaining closed at least through Wednesday.

  • txjim

    Sen. Jim DeMint: "It's going to keep snowing in DC until Al Gore cries "uncle."

  • Dr. T

    If these atypical snowstorms that shut down the federal government are a result of anthropogenic global warming (as some logic-contorting climatologists claim), then I'll start burning brush and dead tree limbs immediately.

  • Doug

    Q: What do you call a storm in DC that puts 3 feet of snow on the ground, grinding government to a halt?

    A: A good start.

  • Sean

    Greetings from the winter wonderland also known as Baltimore, MD. We actually got a bit more snow than DC and after living here for more than 30 years I have to say this is the most snow I've ever seen. Most schools systems have closed for the week already and don't be surprised if the Federal Government doesn't open until next Monday. Oh wait, that's the president's day holiday so they won't be open until next Tuesday. As far as global warming contortionists blaming this on CO2 one of our employees who left early yesterday to beat the storm summed up his point of view very concisely... "Global Warming my ass!!"

  • Michael Miller

    "If snow keeps 230,000 government employees home for the better part of a week, will anyone notice?"

    That is a really good question.

    Ninety percent of them just suck oxygen, chew gum, and use the toilets all day long.

    And a logical followup question would be: If 230,000 government employees disappeared into a cloud of smoke for the better part of a year, would anyone notice any differences in the delivery of services to citizens?

    I vote we conduct an experiment and find out...

  • MikeL

    I heard that it costs around $100 million everyday that the federal government is shut down. That's cheap, I say let them stay home for a whole year. just think of all the money we would save.

  • Bill

    Well, I'm reporting from near ground zero of this epic fiasco. We're in DC for the 100th. Anniversary Celebration of the Boy Scouts.

    I've never seen such a total lack of preparation as that on the part of the DC government. They have no effective plans...their snow removal effort largely makes foot travel difficult, as the few plows push up barriers at corners that have to be climbed over. We did see on cross-country skier heading down the unplowed Pennsylvania Avenue yesterday.

    Maryland and Virginia have done a good job on major roads, but lack enough equipment to get to smaller roads. That, I understand, as this is more snow than they expect here, although would not be considered that bad a storm in many cities farther north.

    As you would expect, many restaurants are open. The government run museums are all closed, and have been all week. The few private museums are open. We've done those, so cabin fever is setting in. Can't get a flight out of Chairman Zero's paradise till tomorrow.

    And, Eleanor Holmes Norton, the District's non voting congressional delegate is demanding that this be declared a national emergency so that tax dollars can flow to make up for their disorganization and failure to prepare.

  • Dan

    I'm not convinced about global warming, but whether it's true or not, there's no way to make a scientific judgment on it based on one or two big snowstorms in one tiny region of the world.

    I think the more convincing data come from world-wide observations taken over many years at thousands of locations, which show that the vast majority of the warmest years on record have been in the last two decades.

    People who hoot about this snowy winter in the eastern U.S. disproving the global warming theory are not helping their anti-warming cause. Instead, they sound like they know nothing about climatology or science in general.

  • txjim

    @Dan - For the latest techniques for recording world-wide temperature observations, visit the website of the esteemed University of East Anglia climatic research group. Those guys have it down to a science!

  • Dean Albano

    Yeah Dan, sounds like you know so much more about it. Sorry for the snark, but my back hurts from shoveling so much snow.

  • Spiro

    @atheists: After the epic snowfall effectively halting the federal govt, what other proof of God do you need?

    @Dan: How long have these records been kept? What has the sun been doing this period? How much warmer? How accurate were the measurements during the early years vs. now? Are these mean or median temps or just daily highs and lows? I could go on, but I'm no missionary, and I probably can't budge you on your faith-based eco-religious beliefs.

  • Dan

    Dean - I'm not claiming to be an expert. But I am more prone to trust scientific data than homespun observations by people with no science background.

    Spiro - your questions are absolutely fine to ask. I'd ask the same ones before trusting any data. As I said, I'm not convinced that global warming is a significant problem, or that it's caused by humans. And I try to maintain a healthy skepticism, as opposed to your snarky remark about my "faith-based eco-religious beliefs." I happen to be an atheist, by the way, and have deep concerns about "faith-based" anything. Which is why I don't take seriously any claims about global warming from people who are convinced on faith that global warming doesn't exist.

  • Dean Albano

    Dan, homespun? Ok buddy, you win. You can go back to drinking the Koop-aid.

  • Dean Albano

    Darn spell checker. Should have read Kool-aid!

  • Dan

    Dean,

    I think it's perfectly appropriate to call a theory "homespun" when the theory is that because it's snowing in February in the U.S. Northeast, there's no such thing as global warming.

    If you think I'm drinking Kool Aid, you haven't really been reading my comments carefully. You obviously assume that anyone who has even the slightest willingness to consider global warming as a possibility is some sort of an eco-terrorist.

  • http://dfgjadlfjgn Dave

    "anybody" that "uses" so "many" quotations...."takes" all of "this" WAAAAAAAAAAAAAYYYY too "seriously....."

  • jdt

    I know you guys are kidding but there are people who really seem to base their opinion of global warming on their specific weather situation. Its kind of scary.

    Its hot out today- OH NO ITS GLOBAL WARMING!! Snow in February? HAHA YOU IDIOT THERES NO GLOBAL WARMING LOOK AT ALL THE SNOW!!!!!!!11

  • roger the shrubber

    why *shouldn't* we mock dan and his coterie of global warming alarmists since the vast bulk of the "science" used to "support" the AGW claims have been proven via the east anglia leaks to be exaggerations, blatantly manipulated, or just plain outright lies? coyote's been over this a dozen times. the facts of the east anglia AGW crew's mendacities are not in question. nor does the US state-run MSM news blackout of this story change those facts. AGW folks aren't, in fact, "eco-terrorists": they're merely con men.

    using the AGW mafia method, i can prove global cooling as easy as they "proved" the opposite:
    1) stop taking temp readings from vast areas of the planet where it gets hot a lot
    2) of the hot readings i DO use, i'll "adjust" them downward using a formula i won't reveal to anyone
    3) i'll see to it that weather recording stations are unaccountably moved to colder spots: near freezers, always shaded, things like that
    4) should anyone question my theory, i'll attack them as being corporate stooges
    5) etc

    the game's up, danny me foine lad. they sold us a bill of goods to advance a political agenda, and now they've been caught. even the BBC is grudgingly admitting it. my only question is, what kind of person continues to blindly follow a cult proven to be based on a lie? what would you call a client of bernie madoff who still sends in a check every month, expecting the great returns to start back up any day now?

  • Dan

    Please enlighten me, Roger. What exactly as this "political agenda" these rogue scientists were trying to advance?

    I have trouble with conspiracy theories. I've never paid attention to those who claim that the moon landings were a hoax or that 9-11 was designed and carried out by the CIA. But if conspiracy theories are your thing, enjoy.

  • Tim

    @Dan The East Anglica climatologists's political agenda is the same for any scientific organization, or any other NGO, whose major source of funding is government entities; and can be summed up in four words: "More money for us!"

  • Dan

    Tim,

    Thanks for filling me in. I'm sure there are some rogue scientists out there, perhaps a lot, who want more money to advance their pet causes.

    But I know a number of scientists (I work at a major healthcare company), and most of the ones I know are not just out for themselves, but also want to explore science for its own sake, and to take whatever paths it leads them down. I tend to respect scientists a lot, because without people like Galileo, Salk, Einstein and many others this world would be a far worse place. So you're not going to get very far with me if you start bashing scientists in general.

  • roger the shrubber

    then, dan, if scientists are truly the sainted, pure, better-than-mere-human creatures you seem to be claiming they are, ("they want to explore science for its own sake" and of course tawdry things like money, profit, or ownership of their discoveries NEVER crosses their minds. heck no! because without men "like galileo, salk, einstein" we'd all be worse off" yadda yadda yadda.), how did we get to the point where a significant number of us think they're whores selling their reputations and doctoring their numbers for money and/or power?

    questions for ya there, sport:
    1) if we're supposed to take that steaming load you wrote as gospel, how then do you explain the blatantly anti-science attitudes and behaviors exhibited by (specifically) the AGW high priests at east anglia? men whose **own words and computer code** speaks of "fudging the numbers", blackballing dissenters, using "tricks" to "hide the [temperature] decline", aaaaand when asked for all its raw data on earth temps since 1960, mumbled that they were "lost". if they're pure, angelic science beings not trying to advance an agenda, how the hell did THAT happen??
    2) if science and its practitioners are so brilliant and pure explain for us please the rise and prominence of men like lysenko, rachel carson, alfred kinsey - all of whom turned out to be either wildly wrong or just plain made up their supporting data - or good scientific doctors like....oh...mengele, or the enthusiastic supporters of eugenics found all over the medical profession before it became unfashionable?
    3) since you work at a healthcare company, you might like this one: over the years, "scientists" have given us a plethora of amazing new wonder drugs to make us all better, and - by pure coincidence, no doubt - replace the ones currently on the market for the malady in question that they didn't have a patent on. i.e., thalidomide, celebrex, phen-fen, vioxx....all of which turned out to, on closer inspection, to cause horrendous damage to the unfortunates who'd trusted those angels of Science and taken them. hell, even tylenol will kill you if you take enough, which aspirin never would. why didn't the scientists figure out the problems they'd cause? could they have been in a hurry to get the product to market and begin making big $$?? gee, THAT'S not very "science for science's sake"-ish.

    presumably, dan,you're aware of the *massive* AGW fraud that's been/being exposed at east anglia and now elsewhere. you wouldn't have seen it on the nightly news, true. (which is....interesting. speaks of a political agenda, doesn't it?) but since you obviously own a computer, you couldn't miss it on the net. yet....yet...in the midst of multiple posts trumpeting AGW and defending their advocates, you make no mention of this. no mention at all. (well, you DID dismiss some criticism as "homespun". helluva argument there.) how come? do you, being a human being **JUST LIKE THE SCIENTISTS YOU'RE SO PASSIONATELY DEFENDING**, have a political agenda that you're pushing?

  • Dan

    Thanks, Roger. That was very informative. No doubt you've made your case well about scientific shenanigans that go on, though I'm sure you realize there are such shenanigans in every field, and also that there are many honest scientists.

    I actually don't have an agenda to push. I'm certainly not trying to push the global warming as gospel stuff I've seen out there from a lot of people. I just think it's a subject worth studying, and shouldn't be rejected completely just because it doesn't align with some folks' belief systems.

    I also am wary of any kind of science bashing that goes on. Though I'm fine with criticizing the types of stuff you refer to (and I did read about it not online, but in The New York Times, of all places), I'm concerned when all scientists and science in general are impugned because of the actions of a small number of rogues. I don't think you're necessarily doing that, but it's just a small step or two away, and it's dangerous.

  • roger the shrubber

    then this last, for you, dan. from today's UK 'guardian', which is probably england's most left-wing paper. seems the chap who was group loking into this "leaked proof of massive AGW fraud at east anglia CRU" and declared there was "nothing to suggest a coverup by scientists" has been fired. canned. forced to resign. seems the boffins decided his conclusion was based more on his *feelings* about the noble cause of fighting AGW than any inconvenient - you know - *facts*.

    "climate email review panellist 'quits' after his impartiality questioned. 'nature' editor phillip campbell forced out." "a member of an independent panel to investigate claims that scientists covered up flawed data on global warming has been forced to resign after sceptics questioned his impartiality."

    this is pure and noble science? sounds more like watergate to me. HIGHLY suggestive of something rotten lying about, wouldn't you agree? lastly, as for your assertion that "impugning science and scientists in general" is "dangerous", allow me to quote my witness for the defense, dr. richard feynmann. rather famous chap, quite possibly one of the 2 or 3 most respected and honored **actual** scientists of the 20th century. here's what HE thought about a statement like that: 1)"learn from science that you must doubt the experts. (...) science is a belief in the ignorance of experts". 2)"if you thought that science is certain - well, that is just an error on your part." 3)"we are *trying to prove ourselves wrong* [my emphasis] as quickly as possible, because only in that way can we find progress. (this is the part where it gets good) 4)"what is surrounded by uncertainty cannot be the truth" aaaaannnnnnd, 5)(he defines) "scientific integrity (as) a principle of thought that corresponds to a kind of utter honesty. (...) for example, if you're doing an experiment, you should report everything that you think might make it invalid - not only what you think is right about it; other causes that could possibly explain your results; and things you thought of that have been eliminated by some other experiment, and how they worked - to make sure the other fellow can tall they've been eliminated. **details that could throw doubt on your interpretation must be given, if you know them. (...) if you make a theory, for example, and advertise it, or put it out, then you must also put down all the facts that disagree with it, as well as the facts that agree with it**" (again, emphasis mine.)

    that's how feynman defined "science". that's NOT how the AGW mafia does things: rather, they use coverups. they refuse to show their bedrock data. they change or delete or fudge any contradictory data. they blackball dissenters. again, **their own words** show this to be so. are you willing to ask yourself, "why is that?", dan? i think feynman would have been appalled. i stand with feynman. are you saying you stand with those who contradict *every single principle* that the universally revered richard feynman defined as "proper science", even IF the 'new york times' praises them?

  • IgotBupkis

    > And a logical followup question would be: If 230,000 government employees disappeared into a cloud of smoke for the better part of a year, would anyone notice any differences in the delivery of services to citizens? I vote we conduct an experiment and find out…

    I think Iran may have a much longer-term test in mind.

  • IgotBupkis

    > I’m not convinced about global warming, but whether it’s true or not, there’s no way to make a scientific judgment on it based on one or two big snowstorms in one tiny region of the world. I think the more convincing data come from world-wide observations taken over many years at thousands of locations, which show that the vast majority of the warmest years on record have been in the last two decades.

    No? You sure do sound like someone convinced...

    Otherwise, you'd know that the evidence from said "world-wide observations taken over many years at thousands of locations" has been called into considerable disrepute as a result of failure to disclose the mechanisms used to "adjust" them with regards to changing conditions, closure and/or movement of locations, as well as deliberate selection of site used or not used to prove/favor the conjecture.

    If not convinced, you'd have a clue that satellite data, while it hasn't got quite the same long-train series as land-based metrics, does have far more consistency, both in spread and in reliability, over what it does have, and doesn't agree with the potentially mis-manipulated land-based observations you speak of.

    You'd be aware that the so-called "global warming signature" does not appear to exist:
    Each possible cause of global warming has a different pattern of where in the planet the warming occurs first and the most. The signature of an increased greenhouse effect is a hot spot about 10km up in the atmosphere over the tropics. We have been measuring the atmosphere for decades using radiosondes: weather balloons with thermometers that radio back the temperature as the balloon ascends through the atmosphere. They show no hot spot. Whatsoever.

    Finally, you'd also be aware of the fact that one other significant sign of it would be warming in the oceans. Since 2003, when a new set of highly-effective measuring devices were released into the oceans, there's been no significant sign of any oceanic warming. It's too short to make any kind of really certain determination, but, like all the other stuff, it qualifies for "preponderance of evidence" to call the assumption into question.

    Not to invalidate it, but certainly enough to make one take doubts seriously, if one is being intellectually open and honest.

    > it’s true or not, there’s no way to make a scientific judgment on it based on one or two big snowstorms in one tiny region of the world

    Indeed, and few really take such a claim seriously. Not to be confused with the True Believers who were absolutely certain that four hurricanes in one year was a clear, inarguable trend. Not to be confused with the True Believers for whom each occasional "record high" in some random location was an undebatable indicator of AGW.

    And of course, your assertion about "the vast majority of the warmest years on record have been in the last two decades", which is a clear crock when you actually look at the historical data beyond the directly observable data, such as you can find in this article regarding ice core data, which shows how utterly cherry-picked the data is. I'm sure if you allow me to carefully pick my endpoints, I can make AAAALLLL SORTS of interesting factoids "pop out".

    "Would you like hockey sticks with that?"

    And you can at least note this piece -- Lots of new cold and snow records in the USA this past week, in which 815 new snowfall records, 304 low temperature, and 403 lowest max temperature records were set -- that was from **December**, not the recent cold snap,... Yeah, it's only one week, and only the USA, so your complaint isn't invalidated. But it, in classic parlance, should be one of those "Things that make you go 'Hmmmm'." That's one HELL of a lot of records setting when things are supposed to be going "up". And I have no doubt there will be quite a few still newer records coming out of this week.

    Finally, the USA, while only one portion of the world, is hardly "one tiny portion". It's not Lichtenstein. It's not even France (Thank God). It's a substantial portion of a fairly large continent (I've no idea what Canada's records are doing... wanna bet they're freezing their butts off, too?). In fact, "one tiny portion" is an inappropriate term -- "nontrivial region" would be a better choice.

  • IgotBupkis

    > how did we get to the point where a significant number of us think they’re whores selling their reputations and doctoring their numbers for money and/or power?

    A more key question is, Roger, why is it that those who dispute AGW are all the whores, and all those who argue in favor of it are the saints? Given that there's WAAAAY more money to be made by pushing an AGW spin on the data, "them's some pretty damned stupid hoors".

    > Dan went on with...
    > of the actions of a small number of rogues

    "A small number of rogues" who happen to be the key people in charge of one of the three main repositories of the data used to support the theory, and some of them are also in charge at one of the other two. Gee, THAT can't possibly be of concern, nawwwww.

    Hey, wait -- didn't you say you just cared about "the data"?

    When asked to provide both the raw data and the methods used to massage the raw data to produce their working numbers... "Sure, let me go ge-- Oops -- gee, sorry... the dog ate it!"

    So the fact that these "rogues" (your term) happen to be overseeing something like 50% of the data supporting AGW isn't somehow particularly relevant?

    Further, these "small number of rogues" have accumulated enough clout between them to get an editor at a climate journal fired because he was daring to allow people to publish papers that didn't support their theory. They didn't flood the paper with facts that made his article choices seem like incompetence or bad editing, leading to his getting fired for such -- no, they used political means to get him fired.

    So much for a devotion to facts and data, huh?

    If you ACTUALLY cared about Truth and Science, you'd be so outraged you'd be seriously questioning ANYTHING these people have supported just on the simple fact that they clearly could not find proper, honest support for it without such chicanery. What they've done -- and they ARE the key players in this, from whom others have taken their lede -- is to distort and manipulate the scientific process and its existing infrastructure. They are the ENEMIES OF SCIENCE.

    So, by continuing to express support for what is a clearly doubtful proposition, you mark yourself as either a fool or a prevaricator. Which is it?

  • Dean

    All this, and my back still hurts!

  • Michael Miller

    "IgotBupkis:

    > And a logical followup question would be: If 230,000 government employees disappeared into a cloud of smoke for the better part of a year, would anyone notice any differences in the delivery of services to citizens? I vote we conduct an experiment and find out…

    I think Iran may have a much longer-term test in mind."

    I totally agree. The time to act is rapidly approaching. And Obama needs a war now. How ironic. Nobel Peace Prize? Ha!

  • James Rice

    It would probably be cheaper to put them on permanent paid furlough than to pay to have then in the office mucking up everything for the rest of us.

  • roger the shrubber

    perhaps we should leave the final word to a real "expert": dr. phil jones, director of the east anglia CRU, and probably the person most singly responsible for the promulgation of AGW theory. as reported in today's UK 'daily mail': "Professor jones also conceded the possibility that the world was warmer in medieval times than now - suggesting global warming may not be a man-made phenomenon. And *HE* said that ***for the past 15 years, there has been NO 'STATISTICALLY SIGNIFICANT' WARMING"***. (my emphasis)

    dan? old sport? that's straight from the boss con man's mouth. are you convinced yet?

  • Dan

    Let me just say to all who've taken me on here: I hope you are right. It would certainly be reassuring to know that global warming isn't a problem. I am not a global warming zealot, as I've said over and over (though no one seems to believe me). I just deep down don't believe it's good practice to put lots of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. I refuse to believe that global warming is, as you all say, some wacky idea cooked up by liberal scientists to get more research money or by the government so it can tax carbon. I don't believe in conspiracy theories.

    For anyone who wants to study the kind of damage too much carbon dioxide can do, I suggest checking out the Wikipedia entry on the planet Venus. Although that's an extreme example, if there's even the slightest chance that the gases we're injecting into earth's atmosphere can cause a runaway greenhouse effect, we should take action to stop it from happening. That doesn't mean we should shut down industry and go back to the 16th century. It just means taking some common-sense measures to make sure the worst doesn't occur.

  • Chris

    To Dan:

    The comparison to Venus is the worst kind of scientific and logical stretch. The case of Venus is not at all parallel to Earth.

    First, Venus receives approximately twice as much incoming solar radiation as Earth. All by itself, that implies a significant elevation of temperature over Earth's, through the principle of detailed balance. The radiation physics are perfectly clear.

    Second, Venus' atmosphere is more than 15 times more dense than Earth's. That distorts any meaningful comparison.

    Third, Venus' atmosphere contains roughly 96% carbon dioxide. Earth's contains a paltry 0.0388%. There is NO reason to believe results obtaine dby study of Venus' atmosphere would scale linearly over a such a huge dynamic range.

    Whoever wrote the Wikipedia entry you referred to let their enthusiasm for a cause carry them away.