Friday, February 09, 2007

Global Warming Report: Run For Your Lives

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change issued a new little report saying that we humans are likely causing global warming and sea levels will go up in the next century, followed by major droughts. Yes, global warming is real and its here, according to the scientists and government officials who wrote the report. Just don't tell the residents of New York’s Oswego County, who are receiving nearly 100 inches of snow.

With all the doom and gloom that the report says will happen to mankind in the next hundred years because man is warming up the planet, what you won’t hear from mainstream media are other scientists who say man has nothing to do with the Earth's growing temperatures. Sadly, these scientists are not receiving the objectivity of the media and were probably not invited to the little meeting where the IPCC report made its big announcement.

There are scientists and researchers who say that there are other causes for the Earth to warm up, such as more solar output, underwater volcanic activities or just the natural cycle of the planet. Here is a good example that didn’t get a lot of play:

“Global warming results not from the emission of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, but from an unusually high level of solar radiation and a lengthy - almost throughout the last century - growth in its intensity,” says Habibullo Abdusamatov, head of the space research laboratory at the Russian St. Petersburg-based Pulkovo Observatory, in a Jan. 15, 2007 article by RIA Novosti.

And while the ice sheets are melting thanks to SUVs, allegedly, what was not highly reported back in July, 2006 was that the British Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society A had a study that contradicts many global-warming beliefs by stating that Antarctic ice sheets are actually growing and gaining mass.

Why isn’t the mainstream media reporting these findings? How come they are not made as big a deal as when a glacier falls into the sea? Yes, we can scream media bias and maybe there is some truth to that. Another is that too many researchers are getting funding from big oil companies and this does hurt other scientists and researchers who aren’t getting support from Big Oil. Even if studies are funded by Exxon and have some very interesting results, even I wouldn’t use them. And really, you just can’t ask a good journalist to damage his or her credibility like that, even if the studies might be true.

Another problem is that most of these studies and news articles are posted by conservative Web sites, which not only hurts the image of the article but it just preaches to the choir. And just because articles that shatter the beliefs of major man-made global warming supporters are posted by conservatives does not mean that they are not true. Sadly, though, many don’t or won’t see it like that.

Many conservatives call global warming “junk science” for a lot of reasons. Maybe they are still burned up over the global cooling that scientists in the 1970s predicted would hit Earth in the 1990s, which would cause another ice age. Well, the 1990s came and went and Florida was not iced over. And while this new report predicts increasing sea levels and droughts in a mere hundred years from now, let’s try to keep in mind that even the weather man can’t get the 10-day forecast right.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Others Still Don't Find Obama Report Insightful

It's been tossed around again lately and Insight has taken its fair share of lumps and bruises from media outlets like CNN and The Washington Post over its Hillary/Obama story.

Basically, the magazine, citing unnamed sources from Hillary Clinton's political camp, reported that her people were doing some digging into Sen. Barack Obama's background. Apparently, the young senator does not divulge a lot of details about his religious background. According to Insight's article, Clinton's people did some snooping around Obama's earlier life and discovered that he was allegedly raised as a Muslim by his stepfather in Indonesia and attended about four years in a so-called Madrassa, or Muslim seminary, in that country, which, according to CNN, is not the case.

The sources said that the Illinois senator was not forthcoming about his education or religion and that Hillary and company planned on using this information, reports the Jan. 17, 2007 article, “Hillary's team has questions about Obama's Muslim background.” And it doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that if the alleged report is true, it would find its way to major news organizations around, oh, probably during the primary elections.

But this is when the fun really starts, as well as the hypocrisy. Howard Kurtz, a Washington Post staff writer/columnist and host of CNN's Reliable Sources, basically writes that no one should really take Insight's article seriously, because the story used unnamed sources. The magazine fired back in an editorial, saying how hypocritical it was for Kurtz to make that statement, while Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein made a career out of using unnamed sources. Does “Deep Throat” ring a bell? CNN also mentions unnamed sources in its own article, as if to discredit the article, while they too have used the same types of sources. And feel free to click on all the links to get the detailed information.

And the Democrats seem to be so big on diversity, yet here is another bit of hypocrisy. In Kurtz's same column, Jan. 22, 2007 column, "Hillary, Obama and Anonymous Sources," he interviewed Clinton spokesman Howard Wolfson, who dismissed the article because Insight is owned by the Rev. Sun Myung Moon, a controversial man to say the least. You would think Hillary would have trained her spokesman better than to just trash a man of faith. But since many consider Moon out there anyway, it's a moot point.

And let's face it; of course Wolfson is going to say the article is false. That's the only thing he can say. It's not like he's going to say, “Yeah, Mr. Kurtz, those rightwing nuts really nailed us good this time. And guess what? Hillary has a whole bunch of teams in waiting to start digging dirt on other opponents that she feels would threaten her chances of the White House.” And come on, who wouldn't love to hear someone in politics be that truthful just once?

Anyway, I'm willing to bet that Insight is very much like its sister publication, the Washington Times, a daily newspaper, when it comes to its day-to-day operations. A few years back I applied to the Washington Times for a job and I heard all about Rev. Moon and I'll be honest, it had me concerned. I was assured that people weren't walking around in robes chanting. And once I was there, I was pleased to see that the newspaper operated like any other big city daily publication, with reporters running around getting last-minute quotes and editors deciding what's going to appear on the front page for the next morning's issue. Of course, it's possible that I couldn't hear the mass weddings going on in the basement but I doubt it.

And while Insight ran an editorial defending the article and attacking Kurtz and other media like The Washington Post, they missed on something that I would have hammered a bit on. What I found interesting, in a sense, was how CNN and others came to defend Clinton and Obama. Usually, when political mud, either using named and unnamed sources, makes the news, it's a like a feeding frenzy with the media. They usually fall all over themselves to get the best coverage. Nothing like that here and it should make some wonder why that is.

So, is the story true? It seems true and not that far fetched. The New York senator probably had a team to find everything out about Obama, only because of who she is. No, not because she's a Clinton or a Democrat but a politician and this is what they do. They all get their people to start digging up any dirty secret they can use against an opponent, regardless if they are friend or foe, and use it to their advantage. This is politics at its best.

Yes, lots of leaders use their religious background for guidance and to shape a path for the people they serve. Obama, whether he is truly a Christian or a Muslim, is no different. He seems like a decent man but one needs to be weary of the one background that should scare us all: He's a politician. And either Democrat or Republican, not all are who they seem to be.