Varnum v. Brien

31 August 2007

An Iowa judge ruled yesterday that a state law banning same-sex marriages was unconstitutional. I haven't had the opportunity to read this decision yet (it's 63 pages long), but the full text is here. I believe that they applied strict scrutiny, but also argued that the ban failed a mere rationality test.

It looks like this map might have to be updated:

Purple = Same-Sex Marriage
Dark Blue = Civil Unions
Light Blue = Domestic Partnerships
Green = Reciprocal Benefits
Grey = No Same-Sex Unions
Orange = Constitution Bans Same-Sex Marriage
Red = Constitution Bans Same-Sex Unions

A Willfully Blind Look at the Peer-Reviewed Journals

Energy and Environment is a poorly regarded social science journal. It is not carried in the ISI listing of peer-reviewed journals, and it has been roundly criticized for publishing substandard papers in the past. Additionally, it's run by global warming contrarians for the sole purpose of giving other contrarians something resembling a scientific platform.

A new paper in E&E purports to update a survey done by Naomi Oreskes that found overwhelming support for the concept of anthropogenic warming in the peer-reviewed scientific journals. According to the Oreskes paper (which was published in perhaps the most prestigious scientific journal in the country):

"The 928 papers were divided into six categories: explicit endorsement of the consensus position, evaluation of impacts, mitigation proposals, methods, paleoclimate analysis, and rejection of the consensus position. Of all the papers, 75% fell into the first three categories, either explicitly or implicitly accepting the consensus view; 25% dealt with methods or paleoclimate, taking no position on current anthropogenic climate change. Remarkably, none of the papers disagreed with the consensus position."

Dailytech (a contrarian-friendly website) recently reported on the forthcoming E&E survey, and stated that:
"Of 528 total papers on climate change [since 2003], only 38 (7%) gave an explicit endorsement of the consensus. If one considers "implicit" endorsement (accepting the consensus without explicit statement), the figure rises to 45%. However, while only 32 papers (6%) reject the consensus outright, the largest category (48%) are neutral papers, refusing to either accept or reject the hypothesis. This is no "consensus."

Sen. James Inhofe's (R-OK) most recent breathless blog entry simplified the findings even further:
"Less Than Half Of All Published Scientists Endorse Global Warming Theory."

It's really funny how they see that some papers don't deal with attribution at all, and immediately rush to the idea that "less than half of all published scientists endorse global warming theory." That would be like saying that, since most published papers about the sun don't mention heliocentrism, most of the scientists don't actually endorse it. The conclusion just doesn't logically follow.

Anyway, let's take a look at the proposed findings of the paper itself. It does, after all, purport to find 32 papers that "reject the consensus outright." However, we should even take this with a grain of salt, considering the source. Some of you may remember that Benny Peiser (another E&E contributor) once claimed to have found 34 papers that "rejected the consensus outright." He ended up having to whittle that number down to just 1 after somebody actually observed his findings (which were, incidentally, rejected for publication at a real peer-reviewed journal).

According to Monckton (another loud contrarian with no scientific training), only seven of these papers "explicitly" reject the consensus (we won't know exactly what definition of "consensus" was used until publication; perhaps they will make the same mistakes here as Peiser). That means that the other twenty-five only "implicitly" reject it somehow.

Looking at the seven that supposedly "reject" the consensus, Tim Lambert found that:
"Cao just says that there are uncertainties in our understanding of the carbon cycle. Leiserowitz just studied public opnion of the risks of climate change. Moser was not one of the 576 papers. Lai et al ends up implicitly endorsing the consensus by suggesting that reducing CO2 emissions will reduce global warming. The three that do reject the consensus are Gerhard, which was published in the American Association of Petroleum Geologists Bulletin; Shaviv arguing for cosmic rays, which doesn't explain how they could make a difference over the past 50 years when the cosmic rayflux hasn't changed over that period; and Zhen-Shan and Xian, which is just a rubbish paper that should not have been published."

Nonetheless, you can probably expect to hear a lot of people trumpeting this E&E survey in the next few weeks. It'll be just like the statistically insignificant NASA data adjustment. That's just how these memes work.


UPDATE I: The perpetually wrong Davescot over at UncommonDescent has this to say about the study: "A recent survey of climate change articles in science journals finds fewer than half of the authors endorse anthropogenic global warming theories. The so-called consensus has now collapsed to a minority position. I love being right."

Looks like this meme is going to catch on, and those who lack critical thinking skills are going to start thinking that they're in the majority position.

UPDATE II: Brent Bozell's Media Research Center has this to say about the study: "A new survey about to be published by the journal Energy and Environment finds that less than 50 percent of the scientific papers written about climate change since 2004 have endorsed the view that man's activities are causing global warming... If we had an honest media, this would be a huge part of today's reports. Unfortunately, it is quite likely that only conservative blogs, Fox News, and the Drudge Report will view this survey as being in any way newsworthy."

I hope he's right about that last part.

UPDATE III: Sure enough, if there's ever a rumor that supports his pre-conceived notions, Drudge will report it: "Survey: Fewer than half of scientists endorse man-made global warming"

It really seems like these people read just the headline, then mangle it into something else without even reading the article itself.

UPDATE IV: FOX News Alert: How Many Scientists Say That Mankind Is Affecting Global Warming?
"Earlier this year the U.N.'s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change said it was "90 percent likely" that man was having an impact on global temperatures. And reports an analysis of scientific papers in 2004 concluded that a majority of researchers supported what it called the "consensus view" that humans were effecting climate change.

But now a study of all research papers between 2004 and 2007 indicates only seven percent give an explicit endorsement of that so-called consensus. Forty-five percent give an implicit endorsement. But 48 percent of the papers are classified as neutral — neither accepting nor rejecting the hypothesis. And only one of the 528 papers reviewed makes any reference to climate change leading to catastrophic results."

UPDATE V: The Free Republic wins, when it comes to getting things completely wrong. Here is their headline: "New Global Warming Consensus - NOT MANMADE"

UPDATE VI: Michael Savage predictably joins the chorus: "DEBUNKING GLOBAL WARMING: Less than 1/2 of Published Scientists Endorse Global Warming Theory"

UPDATE VII: Rush Limbaugh weighs in: "Fewer Than Half of Scientists Endorse Man-Made Warming"

UPDATE VIII: Well, after all that it turns out that not even Energy & Environment will publish this paper. That's right. After all this noise, the paper isn't even going to be published.

Profiles in Stupidity: Dave Lewis (R-MT)

Montana state Senator Dave Lewis (R-MT) weighs in on the recent outing of United States Senator Larry Craig (R-ID):

"As a Republican state senator in Montana and as a human being, I am offended by Senator Craig’s existence. Why oh why are most of the perverts that get caught Republicans? Are there more of them or are they just stupid? The thought of a US Senator chasing love in all the wrong places makes me think longingly of the Ayotollahs in Iran. They would just kill the turkey."

Dave Lewis is offended that this man even exists, and longs for a time and a place where the man would be killed. Way to pick your representatives, Montana.

Furthermore, this comment took place on a website that seems to be arguing that God is causing forest fires to punish us all for our collective moral depravity (or at least withholding his protection because of it).
"The question of moral values is important to saving our forests. Saving forests from destruction is a moral act. Without morality, forests cannot be saved; indeed, it is the moral collapse of our society that is at the root of our crisis of forest destruction. Our society began its moral collapse in the 1960’s, during our Cultural Revolution. I was there, and those were heady times...

But without the old forms, especially traditional moral values, the future, now the now, has proved to be dark and depressing. Larry Craig is just one among many elected leaders who harbor secret depravities, although he now is in that select group of folks who have been outed. Clinton is the role model nationally...

The Moral Collapse of America is not exclusive to our elected leaders. It is everywhere. TV is a massive explosion of decay and rot directly into the hypnotized brains of the Masses. The Media, the Internet, public schools, the malls, the theaters, the streets, are filled with people who have no moral base, no compass, no conscious, no sense of right and wrong, or at least, no strong desire to do right and not do wrong. Morality is based on relationship, the act of connecting with something outside oneself, and in particular, connecting with God. Sorry, but that’s how it is. The root of human morality is in personal relationships with the Higher Power....

But if we want to save our forests, we are going to have to do better at the basic morality issue. I am going to have to do better, and so are you. The crisis demands it. Common sense and decency are the required implements of forest salvation."

The hypnotized brains of the Masses?

UPDATE: Dave Lewis responds here.
Dave: The Ayatollah comment was over the top and just testifies to the degree of frustration I have with high level officials and truly stupid behavior. As I said earlier, I really don't care if he is gay but for goodness sake, as a country, we deserve to have U.S. Senators that are willing to think about their position of leadership in our culture. Embarrassing and stupid behavior is unacceptable. It demeans the office and the country they serve."

Jay: Dave, do you feel the same way about David Vitter and Ted Stevens? I'm curious, because in all the hooplah surrounding Craig, including various calls for resignation from fellow Senators, these two guys seem to have gotten off with nary an outcry. What's your take on that?

Dave: I feel the same way if they are found guilty of a crime. They are just accused at this point. If they are guilty, I put them in the same bag as Craig.

O'Reilly Surrogate Talks to Nugent

30 August 2007

In case you missed it, Nugent recently went on a rant at one of his concerts in which he brandished an automatic weapon and said that he would like several United States Senators to either "suck on" or "ride my machine gun." On the O'Reilly Factor yesterday, John Kasich was filling in for Bill O'Reilly, and had the opportunity to interview Ted Nugent.

My favorite part of the interview:

KASICH: Well, Ted, I know rock 'n' roll. You know that I know rock 'n' roll. But frankly, I mean, that was, like, such a crude thing.

And just for some perspective, here's a picture of the rockin' former Republican Representative John Kasich:

Rock credentials aside, Nugent made the following ridiculous equivalency argument:
"What do you tell the children of soldiers who have sacrificed their lives when Obama claims that their daddies are raiding innocent civilians over there? Come on, John. Let's get our priorities straight."

What are you talking about, Ted? Obama said this:
"[w]e've got to get the job done there [in Afghanistan] and that requires us to have enough troops so that we're not just air-raiding villages and killing civilians, which is causing enormous pressure over there."

I don't know if Nugent is challenging the factual accuracy of this, but if he is then he is dead wrong. Just last month, the Associated Press wrote that:
"Afghan elders said Saturday that 108 civilians were killed this week in a bombing campaign in western Afghanistan, and villagers in the northeast said 25 Afghans died in airstrikes."

Nor was Obama's remark regarding the airstrikes particularly controversial. According to Reuters:
Air strikes by foreign forces in Afghanistan have recently killed more civilians than the Taliban and the U.S.-led operation should cut them back, an Afghan rights group said on Monday.

Instead, NATO and U.S.-led coalition troops battling the Taliban and other insurgents should boost the number of their foot soldiers -- already numbering nearly 50,000, Afghanistan's Independent Human Rights Commission said.

In the latest incident involving civilian fatalities, Afghan officials said on the weekend that 45 civilians were killed in an air strike in the south of the country.

The NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) said the toll from the pre-dawn raid was much lower.

The rising toll on civilians is proving a major irritant for President Hamid Karzai whose government is under fire for rampant corruption, growing insecurity and lack of economic development.

Civilian deaths caused by foreign forces have sparked protests demanding the expulsion of foreign troops and Karzai's resignation.

"Air operations have killed more civilians than Taliban," Nader Nadery, a commissioner with the rights group told Reuters.

"Certainly, reduction of air operations decreases civilian deaths for it is difficult to distinguish between military and non-military people."

The British have also criticized our reliance on air raids. I really see no point of comparison whatsoever here. These statements need to be challenged before they turn into wild memes run amok. This one seems like it might have already taken hold.

Rather than challenging him on this point, Kasich weakly retreats and then tries to recruit Nugent to gang up on the left, for some reason:
"I guess I'm sensitive about it, Ted, because see, I've been the target of this kind of stuff. Not from the -- well, sometimes from the right, but mostly from the left."

Great job, guy.

Steve Forbes on Global Warming

Businessman Steve Forbes (pictured left) recently posted an article on his website titled "Fantasy Fears" in which he repeats the same tired memes regarding global warming.

Step 1: Portray global warming as a religion.

"apocalyptic projections"
"It's now become a religion instead of science"
[Despite the fact that the vast majority of scientific organizations and peer-reviewed literature support it.]

Step 2: Turn it into an issue about Al Gore, then call him an "alarmist."
"Al Gore went on a rant recently... Gore paints a horrifying picture... Gore's hysteria... Gore's whoppers... Gore's movie... Alas for his alarmism"
[Most of this article is about Al Gore. I think that this is really on par with an ad hominem argument.]

Step 3: Without naming even a single one, claim that there are plenty of scientists on your side.
"Literally thousands of scientists have expressed deep doubts about global warming, yet those doubts are deep-sixed by a gullible media."
[Forbes doesn't cite a single source to support this proposition. But if there truly are so many people out there who think so, and they are actually qualified climate scientists (not simply "scientists" in another field), then they should publish their ideas in the peer-reviewed journals.]

Step 4: If the scientists on your side aren't publishing in the peer reviewed journals, claim persecution by the scientific establishment.
"Scientists who arrive at opposing conclusions are ostracized and often denied grants. Universities won't hire them or, if they are already tenured, will make sure they don't get promoted."
[No examples are provided by Forbes to support this proposition.]

Step 5: If you can't find reliable scientists to support your propositions, fall back on amateurs with no relevant qualifications:
"One such person who saw Gore's movie, An Inconvenient Truth, is Mary Ellen Gilder, a medical school student at Albany Medical College (and daughter of noted technologist and FORBES newsletter partner, George Gilder). Ms. Gilder decided to dissect the movie piece by piece... Gilder found Gore's documentary to be riddled with egregious distortions and falsehoods... Hers is the kind of citizen's journalism that we will see more of in this Internet era."
"Gilder quotes physician-writer Michael Crichton, who wrote a bestselling novel, State of Fear, based on the global warming hysteria"
[To support his arguments, Forbes relies on a student and the writer of Westworld (a science fiction film about a robotic cowboy).]

Step 6: Complain about use of the word "denial" while simultaneously comparing your critics to eugenicists.
"Doubters and disbelievers are simply stooges of big oil, particularly ExxonMobil, he harrumphed. Newsweek, meanwhile, tastelessly labeled skeptics "deniers," a not-so-subtle comparison to those sick individuals who deny the reality of the Holocaust."

[First of all, denial is defined as "a defense mechanism in which a person is faced with a fact that is too painful to accept and rejects it instead, insisting that it is not true despite what may be overwhelming evidence." It's not isolated to "Holocaust denial" and that is not the natural implication. Second, Forbes was "not-so-subtle" himself when he said "I don't think it's a hoax, just bogus science, like eugenics was decades ago." Apparently, Forbes doesn't understand the difference between a social philosophy like the eugenics movement, on the one hand, and a scientific claim such as anthropogenic warming, on the other.]

Step 7: Conflate weather with climate.
"What Gilder and others have discovered is that the subject of weather is an extraordinarily complex subject. "The profound weakness of the climate models on which so many policymakers hang their hats," she writes, "is that they project our present conditions into the future." Yet look at the extraordinary changes in the world since 1900"
"Nobody believes a weather prediction 12 hours ahead. Now we're being asked to believe a prediction that goes out 100 years into the future? And make financial investments based on that prediction? Has everybody lost their minds?"
[Weather and climate are not the same thing. Furthermore, it does not take a precise weather prediction 100 years from now to tell that greenhouse gases have a warming effect.]

Step 8: Sweeping conclusion about how you will somehow be vindicated by people from the future.
"Future generations will look back in astonishment that so many supposedly educated people came to be caught up in this hysteria."

Ben Stein's Expelled - Part I

29 August 2007

As some of you may know, Ben Stein has an upcoming documentary film (titled "Expelled"), in which he posits that Intelligent Design theory is marginalized, not because it is scientifically vacuous, but rather because of some sort of atheist conspiracy.

Here's a taste of what's to come from Expelled.

On the film's website, in the News section, you will see animated newspaper headlines flashing across the upper right -hand corner. One of those newspapers reads:

"University Astronomer Forced Out For Inconvenient Belief"


The text reads:
"ESPITE [sp] A STELLAR RESEARCH RECORD, Iowa state university professor Guillermo Gonzalez is being forced out of his job for the expression - outside the classroom - of an inconvenient personal belief"

"No intelligence allowed" is a nice tagline for a film that can't even spell the word "despite." However, there are many, many things wrong with this.

First of all, Gonzalez was never "forced out" of anything at all, whatsoever. Rather, he was denied tenure when he first applied at the University of Iowa.

Second, Gonzalez did not have the "stellar research record" the Discovery Institute and Ben Stein seem to think he did. At least not in a pattern that warrants a grant of tenure.
"Under normal circumstances, Mr. Gonzalez's publication record would be stellar and would warrant his earning tenure at most universities, according to Mr. Hirsch. But Mr. Gonzalez completed the best scholarship, as judged by his peers, while doing postdoctoral work at the University of Texas at Austin and at the University of Washington, where he received his Ph.D. His record has trailed off since then.

"It looks like it slowed down considerably," said Mr. Hirsch, stressing that he has not studied Mr. Gonzalez's work in detail and is not an expert on his tenure case. "It's not clear that he started new things, or anything on his own, in the period he was an assistant professor at Iowa State."

That pattern may have hurt his case. "Tenure review only deals with his work since he came to Iowa State," said John McCarroll, a spokesman for the university."

That's great that the guy did all this post-doc research. Apparently it was very good work. However, the case for martyrdom is seriously weakened when your research has trailed off during the period relevant for review. And you can't cite all that great research in support of your theory of persecution when the University has a policy of only considering work you've done while employed.

But wait. There's more.
Mr. Gonzalez said he does not have any grants through NASA or the National Science Foundation, the two agencies that would normally support his research, on planets beyond our solar system and their parent stars...

Mr. Gonzalez said that none of his scientific publications mention intelligent design, aside from The Privileged Planet. He co-wrote the book with a $58,000 grant from the John Templeton Foundation, which paid 25 percent of his salary for three years. The Templeton Foundation, a philanthropy devoted to forging links between science and religion, is perhaps best known for an annual $1.5-million prize that is awarded "for progress toward research or discoveries about spiritual realities."

"Iowa was, in a way, endorsing the project through administering the grant," Mr. Gonzalez said.

So the man worked 7 years at ISU, and the only major grant he could secure was from a religious organization to write a book in the popular press that advocated an idea roundly rejected by all major scientific organizations. Fantastic. And he even claimed that the ISU administration "endorsed" his project.

This took up 3 of Guillermo's 7 years at ISU.

Nor did any of Guillermo's grad students complete their PhDs during his stint.
He arrived at Iowa State in 2001, but none of his graduate students there have thus far completed their doctoral work, although a student from the University of Washington, with whom he had previously worked, did finish.

I imagine that Expelled is going to be filled with cases just like this.

(h/t Ed Brayton)

Tucker Carlson: Totally Not Gay

Gay Senator Larry Craig (R-ID) recently had the following to say about an incident in which he solicited sex from an undercover male officer in a public restroom: "I am not gay."

Conservative pundits Tucker Carlson and Joe Scarborough both weighed in on MSNBC Live yesterday:

TUCKER: Let me be clear, Dan. I am not gay.
SCARBOROUGH: Let me just say for the record, I am not gay, either.

With those formalities out of the way, Tucker then had this bizzare comment:
"I'm not anti-gay in the slightest, but that's really common [soliciting sex in a public restroom], and the gay rights groups ought to disavow that kind of crap because, you know, that actually does bother people who didn‘t ask for being bothered."

Funny. I've never heard them avow that kind of conduct, either. Why the hell should "gay rights groups" denounce something that is so obviously bothersome and creepy?

But what makes this particular segment disturbing is how Tucker Carlson reacted to a similar incident himself ("I got bothered in Georgetown"). Rather than dealing with this maturely, Carlson did this:
ABRAMS: What did you do, by the way? What did you do when he did that? We got to know.

TUCKER: I went back with someone I knew and grabbed the guy by the—you know, and grabbed him, and—and...

ABRAMS: And did what?

TUCKER: Hit him against the stall with his head, actually!


TUCKER: And then the cops came and arrested him. But let me say, I'm the least anti-gay right-winger you‘ll ever meet...


So there you have it. Tucker Carlson: Definitely Not Gay. But he's not anti-gay, either. He just thinks that gay people in general "ought to disavow this kind of crap," and once beat the hell out of a guy for making sexual advances on him.

Sean Hannity's Selective Outrage

26 August 2007

At a recent concert, Ted Nugent called Barack Obama a "piece of shit" and, with machine gun in hand, said that he would like Obama and several other Democratic politicians to either "suck on" or "ride my machine gun." Of course, college dropout Sean Hannity rushed to his defense.

Just a couple of months ago, however, the rock group Rage Against the Machine said the following:

"ZACH DE LA ROCHA, RAGE AGAINST THE MACHINE: And this current administration is no exception. They should be hung, and tried, and shot."

On the May 2, 2007 episode of Hannity & Colmes, Sean Hannity brought Ted Nugent and Ann Coulter onto the program to denounce these comments and compare Rage Against the Machine to terrorists:

HANNITY: But you can't say — you can't threaten the president of the United States. I would think you agree with that.

NUGENT: You think? Yes, you know, we disagreed with a lot of administrations in the past, but none of our rhetoric included, you know, threatening lives. These guys are over the top. But they're lunatic fringe that even your average Democrat liberal doesn't agree with. But, unfortunately, nobody is silencing these guys, or not necessarily silencing, but condemning this outrageous violence that they're recommending.

HANNITY: Look, that's the point. If you threaten the president of the United States, I think that's a pretty — that's over the line. And the bottom line is, this is the president. Ann Coulter, this is the president of our country. You threaten to shoot the president, you're going to get under investigation, and you are going to, perhaps, get arrested. That's a terroristic threat.

COULTER: Right, right. No, and for good reason..

COULTER: ... talking to these sorts of liberal lunatics, I mean, it never comes from right-wingers. It's always from left-wingers.


But even more curious than all this, Hannity equated a certain statement by Barack Obama to Ted Nugent's brandishing a machine gun and saying that he would like to shoot several Senators. Here is what Barack Obama said:
"[w]e've got to get the job done there [in Afghanistan] and that requires us to have enough troops so that we're not just air-raiding villages and killing civilians, which is causing enormous pressure over there."

Um, how is this in any way comparable? Perhaps Sean is implying that Obama was lying to demonize the troops in Afghanistan (Hannity has previously denied that there have been airstrikes). But if this is just a factual issue, then Sean is clearly wrong. Just last month, according to the Associated Press:
"Afghan elders said Saturday that 108 civilians were killed this week in a bombing campaign in western Afghanistan, and villagers in the northeast said 25 Afghans died in airstrikes."

Nor is it controversial to say that this is undesirable. According to Reuters:
Air strikes by foreign forces in Afghanistan have recently killed more civilians than the Taliban and the U.S.-led operation should cut them back, an Afghan rights group said on Monday.

Instead, NATO and U.S.-led coalition troops battling the Taliban and other insurgents should boost the number of their foot soldiers -- already numbering nearly 50,000, Afghanistan's Independent Human Rights Commission said.

In the latest incident involving civilian fatalities, Afghan officials said on the weekend that 45 civilians were killed in an air strike in the south of the country.

The NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) said the toll from the pre-dawn raid was much lower.

The rising toll on civilians is proving a major irritant for President Hamid Karzai whose government is under fire for rampant corruption, growing insecurity and lack of economic development.

Civilian deaths caused by foreign forces have sparked protests demanding the expulsion of foreign troops and Karzai's resignation.

"Air operations have killed more civilians than Taliban," Nader Nadery, a commissioner with the rights group told Reuters.

"Certainly, reduction of air operations decreases civilian deaths for it is difficult to distinguish between military and non-military people."

The British have also said that we should be moving away from air strikes.

Mind you, this was all said in order to paint someone else as being a hypocrite on the issue. Not even anyone in particular, but "liberals" in general. But rather than seriously discussing the issue or getting the facts right, the rest of the segment just dissolves into some political strategists shouting about how they dislike the other's political party.

Brit Hume Misrepresents Solar Study

24 August 2007

Charles Camp and Ka Kit Tung have a new paper (pdf) published in Geophysical Research Letters, in which they explore the amount and extent of warming caused by solar cycles. Tung concluded that the paper "adds to the evidence that mainstream climate models are right about the likely extent of future human-generated warming." In fact, according to New Scientist:

"[Tung] and Camp say this shows that a doubling of carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere would cause a warming of between 2.3 and 4.1 °C within about a year. They say this makes the lower estimates of some models of climate change 'unlikely.'

This immediate warming, Tung stresses, is almost certain to be an underestimate of the overall effect of greenhouse gases, because extra warming is delayed due to the deep ocean heating up only slowly. 'But our findings give a lower bound to the atmosphere's climate sensitivity that we have not had before.'

Climate modeller Peter Cox from the University of Exeter, UK, says Tung has shown, without recourse to climate models, that a doubling of carbon dioxide would cause at least 2 °C of warming, 'which is considered by many to be the threshold of dangerous climate change.' "

Brit Hume, not to be deterred, characterized the paper thus:
"The study is just one of several peer-reviewed scientific studies challenging global-warming alarmism... new research by University of Washington mathematicians shows a correlation between high solar activity and periods of global warming."

Very interesting, Brit. You've managed to turn that around completely.

Oh, and for further reading, here is a paper from the Royal Society titled "Recent oppositely directed trends in solar climate forcings and the global mean surface temperatures" (pdf).

Enemies of Reason

23 August 2007

Part I

Part II

Princess With A Purpose

Rebels Believe Whatever They Want

22 August 2007

Tara Smith and Steve Novella have a new paper (available at PLoS) in which they discuss the tactics of HIV-denial groups such as Alive and Well. Of course, despite the years of research linking HIV and AIDS, certain people still tend to disbelieve the connection, often portraying themselves as rebel intellectuals fighting a noble fight against close-minded mainstream scientists.

Interesting fact: the Foo Fighters deny the link between HIV and AIDS, and encourage their fans to donate to a denial group. What a bunch of rebels, huh?

On a somewhat related note, former Nixon speech-writer Ben Stein has a new movie coming out in which he portrays evolutionary theory as a close-minded anti-religious dogma, and poses as a rebel intellectual (you can tell he's a rebel because they consantly play the song "Bad to the Bone"). According to Ben Stein, "scientists are not allowed to even think thoughts that involve an intelligent creator." I shit you not. If you don't believe me, here is the movie's website.

Jeff Jacoby on Global Warming

19 August 2007

Former plagiarist Jeff Jacoby has a new column in the Boston Globe, in which he repeats the same tired memes regarding global warming.

Step 1: Portray global warming as a religion:

"global warming apostle"
[Despite the fact that the vast majority of scientific organizations and peer-reviewed literature support it.]

Step 2: Turn it into an issue about Al Gore, then make fun of him while referencing the Internet:
"But as with other claims Gore has made over the years ("I took the initiative in creating the Internet"), this one doesn't mesh with reality."
[First of all, when you look at the transcript, Gore was claiming that he fostered the development of the Internet in a legislative and economic sense. This meme will probably never die. Second, this isn't about Al Gore.]

Step 3: Mention an anecdote about the few vocal and active contrarian scientists, and then claim that there are plenty of scientists on your side:
"Scientists and other "serious people" who question the global warming disaster narrative are not hard to find. Last year 60 of them sent a letter to Prime Minister Stephen Harper of Canada, urging him to undertake "a proper assessment of recent developments in climate science" and disputing the contention that "a climate catastrophe is looming and humanity is the cause."
[If these people think so, they should publish some real science in a real peer-reviewed journal, rather than sending petitions to Canadians.]

Step 4: If the peer-reviewed science and major organizational bodies aren't on your side, resort to opinion polls:
"In 2003, environmental scientists Dennis Bray and Hans von Storch surveyed 530 of their peers in 27 countries on topics related to global warming. One question asked: "To what extent do you agree or disagree that climate change is mostly the result of anthropogenic causes?" On a scale of 1 (strongly agree) to 7 (strongly disagree), the average score was 3.62, reflecting no clear consensus."
[Von Storch explains how skeptics make too much of this opinion poll here.]

Step 5: Take a statistically insignificant data adjustment, and act like it turns decades of research on its head:
"Or take the discovery this month that 1934, not 1998, was the hottest year in the continental United States since record-keeping began. NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies quietly changed its ranking after a Canadian statistician discovered an error in the official calculations. Under the new data, five of the 10 hottest US years on record occurred before 1940; three were in the past decade. Climate scientists are still trying to get the basics right."

Step 6
: Sweeping conclusion. Don't forget Al Gore.
"The science of climate change is still young and unsettled. Years of trial and error are still to come. Al Gore notwithstanding, the debate is hardly over."

8/19 Democratic Debate Talk Clock

DailyKos on Bill O'Reilly

18 August 2007

Minister Endorses Huckabee, Prays For Death of Critics

The Reverend Wiley S. Drake (pictured left) recently endorsed Mike Huckabee on his Church's stationary, as well as on an Internet radio program. When Americans United for Separation of Church and State requested an IRS investigation, based on the political involvement of this tax-exempt organization, Wiley Drake fired back:

“In light of the recent attack from the ememies (sic) of God,” he wrote, “I ask the children of God to go into action with Imprecatory Prayer.” An imprecatory prayer is one that asks God to curse, injure or kill one’s adversaries.

Oh yeah, and this is the same Wiley Drake who signed a petition in support of James Kopp (who was convicted of killing an OB/GYN for performing legal abortions). So you can tell he really means it. (Drake's personal contribution to the petition read, in relevant part: "The price of blood is high. Some will pay high, and some will pay low, but pay, we all will for the 40 million babies we have killed. God bless you my brother as you serve Him, and His little ones.")

To his credit, Mike Huckabee denounced the "evil comments" of Wiley Drake.

...I wonder if Bill O'Reilly will condemn the Southern Baptist Convention (who elected Drake as Vice President) as a "hate group" that is "no different" from the Nazis and the KKK. Or is that label only reserved for open-forum websites?

Newsweek and "The Truth About Denial"

16 August 2007

Newsweek recently ran a follow-up piece on their article The Truth About Denial. In it, Robert Samuelson argues that the original piece "was a wonderful read, marred only by its being fundamentally misleading." Samuelson, seemingly missing the entire point of the article, goes on to argue that curbing greenhouse gas emissions is not very feasible at this point in time (hint: the original article was about shifting the debate to exactly this point, rather than getting bogged down by a bunch of loud people saying that it's not even worth investigating).

After this powerful start, Samuelson gives us this gem:

"The alleged cabal's influence does not seem impressive. The mainstream media have generally been unsympathetic; they've treated global warming ominously."

I'm sorry, Mr. Samuelson, but you are wrong here. Despite the anecdotes provided (Samuelson supports his proposition by citing just one TIME and one NEWSWEEK cover story), the media as a whole has indeed given great credence to the "alleged cabal." Actually, somebody took the time to survey the prestige press on exactly this issue. In a paper titled "Balance As Bias" (pdf here), Maxwell Boykoff surveyed the major U.S. newspapers and found that the majority gave equal time and credence to the "alleged cabal," despite the fact that they are very much at odds with pretty much all scientific research on the issue.

Bill O'Reilly On DailyKos: Part VII

On Meet the Press this past week, Harold Ford made the following claim about the open-forum Daily Kos website: "Markos, in all fairness, your site has posted awful things about Jewish Americans."

O'Reilly played the clip on his television show, calling DailyKos a "hate website":

Curiously, O'Reilly also quoted the following user posting in support of his assertion:

"If Jews love the U.S. so much- how come their #'s in the military are dismal? Instead of selling ones soul to be diamond brokers, investment bankers..."

Of course, O'Reilly made no mention of the open forum nature of the website in this segment. Instead, he chose to spin this as if Daily Kos had either written the comment or had encouraged that kind of sentiment. However, this particular comment came from the "user comment" section of a blog posting denouncing anti-semitism. Actually, the author of the article even criticized the stereotypical and bigoted remarks in that particular comment.

It's really remarkable how O'Reilly has spun a few user comments from an open forum website into an entire narrative about Daily Kos being a "hate website" that is "no different" from the Nazi party and the KKK.

Happy Birthday, Stephen Breyer!

15 August 2007

Today is Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer's birthday!

John Gibson is an Asshole - Part I

Nine days after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, comedian Jon Stewart came back on the air and delivered an emotional monologue, detailing his thoughts and sympathies. However, former gossip columnist John Gibson recently used his talk radio platform to publicly mock Stewart for this, and to question both his sincerity and patriotism.

Here is the audio of John Gibson being an asshole: .

Once the audio had spread around the internet, martyr John Gibson had this to say for himself: "The war on Gibson is real. It is pursued every day by the people who just can't abide what you hear on this radio program."

Gibson elaborated:

"GIBSON: Well, he was all teary and sobby, and, you know, I -- at the time, it's -- I believed him. At the time, I said, 'Man, you know, that came from the heart.' But now after listening to --

ANGRY RICH: Six years --

GIBSON: -- six years of him attacking everything that's been done to make sure there isn't another one of those, you just got to wonder.

ANGRY RICH: You got to conclude he's a phony.

GIBSON: Well, that's what I concluded, and we're being attacked for coming to that conclusion."

I don't really understand the argument that this somehow makes Jon Stewart a phony. First of all, you can clearly tell that what he's saying is sincere. Second of all, he didn't say anything whatsoever to contradict what he's said since (indeed, it all supports what he has said since). Therefore, the only logical explanation is that John Gibson is an asshole.

Oh yeah, and John Gibson recently hosted and defended a man who argues that "another 9/11 would help America." Gibson added, "I think it would take a lot of dead people to wake America up."

...I wonder if Bill O'Reilly will compare Gibson to Nazis, the KKK, Stalin, Mussolini, Osama Bin Laden, etc.

Ed Brayton on School Boards and Creationism

Part 1

Part 2

Eight Tortured Words

14 August 2007

Every time I walk into a Barnes & Noble bookstore, I always pass by the book Ten Tortured Words: How the Founding Fathers Tried to Protect Religion in America... and What's Happened Since. A casual glance through the book shows it to be your standard David Barton-esque attempt to twist the Constitution into some sort of religious document.

The excellent Chris Rodda has begun to dissect the book here.

Aside from not knowing which body drafted the First Amendment, or in what year, Mansfield tortures the words of James Madison in a rather unbelievable way. Here is how Mansfield quotes James Madison, in an attempt to paint him as a Christian nationalist:

"Religion is the basis and foundation of government. -- JAMES MADISON"

That certainly is an interesting quote. Mansfield says that it comes from Madison's Memorial and Remonstrance Against Religious Assessments (in which Madison argues that not even a tiny amount of government money should go towards supporting a religious institution). However, when we look at the actual text itself, we see how horribly Mansfield tortured those words himself (quoted words are bolded):
"15. Because finally, 'the equal right of every citizen to the free exercise of his Religion according to the dictates of conscience' is held by the same tenure with all his other rights. If we recur to its origin, it is equally the gift of nature; if we weigh its importance, it cannot be less dear to us; if we consider the 'Declaration of those rights which pertain to the good people of Virginia, as the basis and foundation of government,' it is enumerated with equal solemnity, or rather studied emphasis."

So Madison said that a declaration of human civil liberties (including, among other things, the ability to freely practice your own religion and follow your own conscience) is the basis and foundation of government. Mansfield managed to turn these words into something else entirely. Yet he's the one complaining about people misrepresenting Madison's original intentions.

Tommy Thompson: "Outta the Race"

12 August 2007

Presidential candidate Tommy Thompson recently told FOX that he was dropping out of the race, due to a poor showing in Iowa. According to Thompson, "my campaign was completely shocked. We absolutely thought we were coming in second." Instead, Thompson came in sixth place, right behind Ron Paul and right in front of some people who weren't even competing.

So what went wrong?

"Thompson's campaign may have been hurt by a pair of comments he made earlier this year. In April he told a Jewish group that earning money is "part of the Jewish tradition," a remark for which he later apologized. At a Republican debate the following month, he said an employer should be allowed to fire someone for being gay."

But it was fun while it lasted. According to FOX, "He brought many several issues to the forefront including Iraq." So thank you for bringing our attention to obscure issues like Iraq, Tommy. Where would we be today without you?

NASA, GISS, 1934, 1998, etc.

11 August 2007

This past week, Steve McIntyre wrote an email to NASA pointing out a jump in their U.S. GISS data from 1999 to 2000. The NASA researchers looked into it, discovered a faulty assumption in their analysis, corrected their error, and sent a letter thanking McIntyre. In the old data set, 1998 and 1934 were in a dead-heat for the title of "warmest year on record in the United States," with 1998 being 0.01ºC warmer. However, in the corrected data, it turns out that 1934 is 0.02ºC warmer. Mind you, this is only for the continental United States temperatures, not those of the entire world (1998 is still hotter on a world-wide scale).

First, let's take a look at the old NASA data:

Now let's look at the new data:

Shocking! But of course, you can always rely on the same old standbys to highlight this finding in big, bold letters in an attempt to further the idea among the misinformed that climate science as a whole is too inexact to inform any public policy decisions whatsoever.

First off, we have a FOX News alert from Steven Milloy:
Junk Science: New Science Challenges Climate Alarmists?

"climate alarmist-friendly media...manmade global warming embarrassing temperature error rained on their parade...existing climate models are so prone to price-hiking and economy-harming laws and regulations...NASA’s alarmist-in-chief James Hansen...fiction...climate alarmists...even wrong on the matter of 1998 being the warmest year on record...1934 is the new warmest year...embarrassing setback for alarmists... alarmists... clamping down on CO2 emissions from SUVs may do absolutely nothing... the climate-worry bubble... ominous weather reports"

Next, we have a report from the Wall Street Journal's college dropout James Taranto.
"it turns out that there was a Y2K bug--and it contributed to global warming hype... The one Y2K bug that happened to slip through was the one that contributed to another alarmist narrative. But when you think about it, it makes sense. NASA's faulty findings didn't look faulty to global warmists, who saw exactly what they were expecting to see."

Finally, we can always count on college dropout Rush Limbaugh:
"The thing to remember is that 1998 is not the warmest year on record. It forms one of the central theses about the current global warming hoax... " We have proof of man-made global warming. The man-made global warming is inside NASA. The man-made global warming is in the scientific community with false data... I don't know if they intend to correct it or not. I doubt you'll hear anything about this, other than this program... We're nowhere near as hot as we have been 75, 71 years ago. Nowhere near as hot..." So it is just more evidence, ladies and gentlemen, that this whole global warming thing is a scientific hoax..." In four or five years we'll have a majority of people understanding how phony and fraudulent this is... raise your taxes, control more of your life, reduce your lifestyle, all coming from the United Nations"

My favorite part of this particular response is how Limbaugh embellishes the facts and says "We're nowhere near as hot as we have been 75, 71 years ago," despite the fact that, in the continental United States, 1934 was only 0.02ºC warmer than 1998. Also, Limbaugh is possibly unaware that the present five-year average temperature is still warmer than it was back then, and that the worldwide 1998 temperatures on a whole are also warmer.

So once again, I'd like to recommend the Newsweek article The Truth About Denial.

UPDATE: Michelle Malkin joins the party: "NASA quietly fixes flawed temperature data; 1998 was NOT the warmest year in the millenium"

Campaign Contributions

10 August 2007

At the New York Times website, you can see where the presidential candidates are getting their campaign contributions. You can even enter your zipcode to see who's donating what, and to whom, in your neighborhood.

Actually, the Huffington Post site has a better interface and can do the same thing.

Bill O'Reilly on John Edwards

Presidential candidate John Edwards recently spoke critically of FOX News, and has refused to participate in a FOX News moderated debate. O'Reilly expressed shock at this behavior, and suggested that Edwards would be treated fairly. According to O'Reilly, "33 times he was on, and we've pored over the transcripts, and there was never one time that this guy was unfairly treated... uh, while he was on this network."

Notice the weasel words at the end: "while he was on this network." Turns out, O'Reilly and other FOX News hosts (and guests) have had plenty of negative things to say about Edwards. Just not while he was specifically on the program, in person.

Wind Power

John Gibson is a Joke: Part II

FOX news anchor (and author of The War on Christmas) John Gibson takes on the big issues... like three girls from the internet... for six whole minutes.

Profiles in Stupidity: Don McLeroy

09 August 2007

Recently, I wrote about the appointment of biblical creationist Don McLeroy as the head of the Texas Department of Education, despite the fact that he favors replacing the past few hundred years of geology, biology, cosmology, etc. with pseudo-scientific, overtly religious beliefs. Well, the man recently gave a speech at Grace Bible Church where he revealed his intentions of using "intelligent design" as a tool to start teaching public school children about biblical literalism.

The audio of the speech can be heard here: .

A transcript is available here.

A few choice quotes:

  • "I am the only nonacademic in this group"
  • "If you open a high school textbook, they basically state as a fact that we share common ancestry with life that first got started and some went to be plants and eventually trees and some became us. And that is what I mean by Darwinism."
  • "Neo-Darwinism is another description term for just evolution, common descent that talks about genetic variability so it gets it more precise. And is that the target? It’s not supported by evidence, it’s not Biblical, so that must be the target of intelligent design, but really it’s not the main target either. Actually, in intelligent design we are focused on a on a bigger target, and in the words of Phillip Johnson 'the target is metaphysical naturalism, materialism or just plain old naturalism.' "
  • "Whether you’re a progressive creationist, recent creationist, young earth, old earth, it’s all in the tent of intelligent design. And intelligent design here at Grace Bible Church actually is a smaller, uh, tent than you would have in the intelligent design movement as a whole. Because we are all Biblical literalists, we all believe the Bible to be inerrant"
  • "naturalism has enslaved our society’s mind"
  • "we’re really not sure about how much mind control stuff really works"
  • "The analogy of evolution as the matrix, it’s, it’s really amazing that we do live, seems to me, in a matrix-type world. I mean, we have been programmed, our society has been programmed, in the way we look at things outside. It’s very interesting. But what do the Scriptures say?"
  • "Remember keep chipping away at the objective empirical evidence."

Remember, Texas, this man will be in charge of the science education of your children.

Profiles in Stupidity: Bill Sali (R-ID)

Rep. Bill Sali (R-ID) recently had the following to say, regarding non-christian members of Congress:

"We have not only a Hindu prayer being offered in the Senate, we have a Muslim member of the House of Representatives now, Keith Ellison from Minnesota. Those are changes -- and they are not what was envisioned by the Founding Fathers"

Well let's find out what the founding fathers thought about non-christians serving in Congress. Maybe the Constitution would be a good source of information:
"no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States"

That seems kinda clear to me. Add to that the fact that the Constitution nowhere favors christianity of any stripe, and was enacted over the objections of anti-federalists who specifically objected to the document's godlessness, and suddenly their intentions become even more clear.

And just to give you an idea about the kind of news source One News Now is, here are the results from one of its online polls:
Close Window
Thank you for taking our poll.
Have political candidates "sold their soul(s)" to homosexual activist groups by accepting campaign contributions from them?

(See related article.)
For the most part
To some extent
Not at all

Total Replies : 3509

Shifting Back the Primaries... Again

In the race to become the first state to hold presidential primaries, South Carolina Republican Party Chairman Katon Dawson (pictured right) now plans to move its Republican primaries ahead of the January 29, 2008 Florida primaries. This, in turn, could cause Iowa to hold its own primaries in late 2007 (only a few months from now).

My friend Mike perfectly highlights the problem here:

"The irony is that with each state fighting with every other state over who gets to be first--and, consequently, the most influential in determining the nomination*--the states are inflicting on themselves a number of harms that far outweigh any benefit they may reap from holding an early primary. First, they are forcing candidates to spread their time out over many states in short periods of time, thereby limiting the candidates' personal access to each state and robbing the states' residents of the ability to evaluate each candidate personally. Second, they force the candidates to engage in bloody and expensive infighting, thus weakening the survivors. Third, they extend significantly the length of the election season, which tires voters and irritates the media. Yes, candidates will be spending more money on television advertisements. But, in order to reduce the influence of money on campaigns, the candidates also receive those advertisements at significantly discounted rates. For every 30-second spot a candidate airs, the station could be running someone else's ad for better money.

Early primaries weaken candidates (and promote weaker candidates), exhaust the electorate, and annoy advertisers. Every state attempting to be the new Iowa is complicit in the race to the bottom. But, like stock traders in the middle of a giant sell off, for any state to oppose the tide would be that state's ruin. The states' self-interest requires them to oppose sensibility. And this is not an issue where the feds can step in and simply take over; elections are run by the individual states.


* I never believed the importance of winning the Iowa caucuses until 2004, when John Kerry came in first and then proceeded to strut his way to the nomination despite being one of the weakest Democrats in the 10-man field. I still don't understand why winning the first primary is so important, but I can now at least recognize it."

And helpfully promotes a solution here:
"The most creative solution I have seen to the dilemma is a system of rotating regional primaries, a proposition which has conveniently resurfaced in today's Times via an op-ed by Bob Graham. The most common argument in opposition to a rotating regional system is that it would arbitrarily anoint a particular portion of the country with oversized importance, but that seems to me a laughable objection considering the current, nonsensically hallowed stature of Iowa and New Hampshire. A better criticism, I think, is that a rotating primary system would create a "right place, right time" sweet spot for politics, giving for example a Florida governor with eyes on higher office his serendipitous time to shine. That is possible. But how many big names have come out of Iowa and New Hampshire, long the gatekeepers of the primary season? Tom Vilsack is going nowhere and I can't even think of anyone from New Hampshire offhand.

Sadly, though, implementation of a rotating regional primary would require rationality and temperance among the states, so it's much more likely that the primary season will remain a mob scene for the foreseeable future."

Thanks, Mike!

Yangtze River Dolphin: Extinct

The Yangtze River Dolphin is now officially extinct. This is the first official extinction of a large vertebrate in more than 50 years.

Required Reading: Black Sites and Global Warming Lobbyists

08 August 2007

The Black Sites
A rare look inside the C.I.A.'s secret interrogation program.
by Jane Mayer (The New Yorker)

The Truth About Denial
by Sharon Begley (Newsweek)

Chris Matthews on the Democratic Debate

07 August 2007

I just watched the Democratic debate on MSNBC tonight, and Chris Matthews's post-debate coverage makes me weep for the future:

Matthews just went on and on about his height for way too long...

Anyway, here is a clip from a more substantive moment of the debate.

Atheists In Foxholes

A soldier stationed in Iraq, who is also a member of the Iraqi chapter of the Military Association of Atheists and Freethinkers, recently attempted to hold a meeting at his particular Forward Operations Base. After going through the bureaucratic channels necessary to hold such a meeting, this soldier began to hang flyers in an effort to drum up interest. Despite the fact that this soldier went through all the proper channels to organize the meeting, he had to continually re-hang the flyers for several weeks, as somebody kept tearing them down.

Only a handful of junior enlisted soldiers attended the meeting, as well as one higher-ranking Major. However, it turns out that the Major was a fundamentalist with a rather angry disposition towards atheists:

"the Major turned out to be a fundamentalist Christian who verbally berated the other attendees, accused them of plotting against Christians and disrespecting soldiers who have died protecting the Constitution, and threatened them with punishment under the UCMJ for their activities (said they were "going down") and said he would do whatever it took to shut the meetings down. Keep in mind that by this point, he had two of the attendees (one soldier fled when the shouting started) standing at the position of attention so that he could yell at them, berate them, and humiliate them. This apparently went on for several minutes at which time the Major shut down the meeting by saying he wasn't some "push-over Chaplain" and that he would not tolerate the meetings to continue."
Sadly, this is hardly an aberration. More stories of religious intolerance in the military can be found here and here.

In related news, the Department of Defense Inspector General recently found that seven military officers, including four generals, had violated ethics rules by proselytizing, in full uniform and in their official capacity, in a Christian Embassy promotional video. One of the seven officials, Air Force Maj. Gen. John Catton, said that the Christian Embassy group was so involved with the Pentagon that he simply thought it was a "quasi-federal entity."

The video itself is available here. It begins with statement from the #4 Ranked Dumbest Congressman J.D. Hayworth (R-AZ), and goes on from there to brag about how pervasive bible groups and meetings are in the Pentagon. The defining quote? "These men and women [foreign ambassadors] are some of the most influential leaders in their countries. Christian Embassy desires that these men and women, who represent the presidents, prime ministers, and kings of the world go home with more than simply an understanding of the U.S. government and its operations. They return with a personal relationship with the King of Kings, Jesus Christ."

In yet another story, when atheist Army Ranger Pat Tillman died in Afghanistan, apparently at the hands of his fellow troops, Lieutenant Colonel Ralph Kauzlarich had these comforting words for his family:
"Well, if you are an atheist and you don’t believe in anything, if you die, what is there to go to? Nothing. You are worm dirt. So for their son to die for nothing and now he is no more... I don't know how an atheist thinks, I can only imagine that would be pretty tough."

There is a popular (and demonstrably false) adage that says: "There are no atheists in foxholes." Yet despite all this, atheists are still overrepresented in the military. According to the Department of Defense's Defense Manpower Data Center (Table 5), those who identify as "atheist / no religion" represent 21% of the military despite the fact that they represent only 13% of the general population.

Also, can somebody buy me this book?

Weekend Debates

05 August 2007

Democratic Debate


Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Republican Debate

Part 1 - Abortion

Part 2 - Foreign Policy

Part 3 - Health Care

Part 4 - Iraq War

Part 5 - Taxes

Part 6 - Mistakes