The Big Cutoff – Pacific Research Institute

The Big Cutoff

Wall Street Journal, December 8, 2009

Global warmist to reporter: Save the mirth!

The latest global-warmist email is revealed not by the East Anglia whistle-blower but by Steven Hayward (who by the way has a fine overview of the climate-science scandal in The Weekly Standard). The email’s author, Michael Schlesinger, an atmospheric scientist at the University of Illinois, was so proud of what he had to say to New York Times reporter Andrew Revkin that he decided to send a copy to Hayward–and, one supposes, to Schlesinger’s entire email list:


Copenhagen prostitutes?

Climate prostitutes?

Shame on you for this gutter reportage.

This is the second time this week I have written you thereon, the first about giving space in your blog to the Pielkes.

The vibe that I am getting from here, there and everywhere is that your reportage is very worrisome to most climate scientists.

Of course, your blog is your blog.

But, I sense that you are about to experience the ‘Big Cutoff’ from those of us who believe we can no longer trust you, me included.

Copenhagen prostitutes?

Unbelievable and unacceptable.

What are you doing and why?


So Revkin accused climate scientists of prostituting themselves to a political agenda in order to get grant money? No, he did not. He merely made a passing mention of actual prostitutes. In the blog post, Revkin quoted from his own Twitter feed, which in turn linked to a story from Der Spiegel:

Copenhagen Mayor Ritt Bjerregaard sent postcards to city hotels warning summit guests not to patronize Danish sex workers during the upcoming conference. Now, the prostitutes have struck back, offering free sex to anyone who produces one of the warnings.

Schlesinger is all het up over that? As Mark Steyn notes, “Even by the standards of fanatical ideologues, these guys seem humorless plonkers.” You thought they were telling you to “save the earth.” Actually, it’s “save the mirth.”

A ‘Profound Emergency’ Not Worth Writing a Sentence About
“Today 56 newspapers in 45 countries take the unprecedented step of speaking with one voice through a common editorial,” announces that editorial, produced by London’s Guardian. “We do so because humanity faces a profound emergency. Unless we combine to take decisive action, climate change will ravage our planet” blah blah blah, etc.

To put it another way, this is such a dire emergency that the editorial boards of 55 newspapers (including, in this country, the Miami Herald) cannot be troubled to write a word about it. It’s the equivalent of just filling space with wire copy–and in fact, that would work just as well, since the Associated Press has its own global-warmist editorial.

The Guardian even solicits “reader leaders” (to go with the extraterritorial editorial–ha ha, what wits), although if you scroll down on the page, you will see that a good many of the submissions have been “removed by a moderator.” That is what scientists call peer review.

Actually, though, one can make the case that running a prefab global-warmist editorial is a sensible cost-saving move. No one would argue that the New York Times got its money’s worth when it paid someone to write this:

No one should be misled by all the noise. The [East Anglia] e-mail messages represent years’ worth of exchanges among prominent American and British climatologists. Some are mean-spirited, others intemperate. But they don’t change the underlying scientific facts about climate change. . . .

It is important that scientists behave professionally and openly. It is also important not to let one set of purloined e-mail messages undermine the science and the clear case for action, in Washington and in Copenhagen.

But in the very same section of the Times, “public editor” Clark Hoyt reports that science writers Andrew Revkin and John Tierney agree that “there is sharp debate over how fast the earth is warming, how much human activity is contributing and how severe the impact will be.”

Oh well, at least the Times editorialists won’t be subjected to the Big Cutoff.

A follow-up on a Friday item: We had faulted Politico for failing to ask Al Gore, in an interview published last Thursday, about the scientific misconduct revealed in the East Anglia emails. Mike Allen, Politico’s chief political correspondent, says in an email to one of our colleagues: “Alas, we talked to him like a month before climate-gate.” So instead we’ll fault Politico for sitting on the interview until long after it became stale.

We Blame Global Warming
“Time to Take the Gloves Off in Pakistan”–headline, Commentary Web site, Dec. 4

We Blame Rumsfeld
“Rice an Unlikely Global Warming Culprit”–headline, Agence France-Presse, Dec. 5

Afghanistan Won’t Be Easy Like Iraq
The New York Times delivers a couple of surprises in a “news analysis” on President Obama’s plan for a surge in Afghanistan:

Obama strongly opposed President George W. Bush’s surge in Iraq during his presidential campaign, and even now he has never publicly acknowledged that it was largely successful.

But in the White House Situation Room a little more than a month ago, he told his aides, “It turned out to be a good thing.” And as many of Mr. Obama’s own advisers have recounted in recent days in interviews, the decision on the surge of 30,000 troops to Afghanistan by next summer was at least partly inspired by the success of the effort in Iraq, which Mr. Bush’s aides say is their best hope that historians will give them some credit when the history of a highly problematic war is written.

Obama has been whining for months about the “mess” he “inherited” from Bush. If he would publicly acknowledge that his predecessor got something right, it would be a welcome sign of graciousness and maturity. No, we are not holding our breath.

And the Times is changing its own tune on Iraq. The gist of the analysis is that because the two countries are so very different, we should not expect success in Afghanistan simply because things went well in Iraq. That’s a 180 in itself–and then consider this example of the differences:

The Iraq surge worked in large part because there was powerful support in Anbar Province from the so-called Awakening, the movement by local Sunni tribes who rose up against extremists who were killing people, forcibly marrying local women and cutting off the hands of men who smoked in public. In Iraq, American officials believed that most leaders of a vigorous opposition, Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia, were foreigners.

The United States remains hopeful that it can capitalize on Afghan militias that have taken up arms against the Taliban in local areas, but a series of intelligence reports supplied to Mr. Obama since September found no evidence in Afghanistan of anything on the scale of the Iraqi Awakening movement. What’s more, in Afghanistan the extremists, the Taliban, are natives.

For years the Times’s stock description of “al Qaeda in Mesopotamia” (i.e., Iraq) emphasized that it was, in the reckoning of the paper’s style gurus, an indigenous movement (albeit with alleged foreign leadership as an afterthought). Turns out it’s Afghanistan that has an indigenous insurgency! Well, at least until the politics shift again.

What’s Worse Than Being a Former Enron Adviser?
Is there anything Rasmussen Reports won’t take a poll on? From the firm’s latest release:

In one sample, John Fund was viewed favorably by 12% of voters and unfavorably by 22%. . . . However, when Fund was identified with the Wall Street Journal, his numbers jumped to 34% favorable and 20% unfavorable.

But mentioning the New York Times seems to have the opposite effect:

Most voters (55%) don’t know enough about [former Enron adviser] Paul Krugman to venture even a soft opinion about him. Those with an opinion are fairly evenly divided—22% favorable and 22% unfavorable. A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that just one-in-10 voters has a strong opinion about Krugman, with four percent (4%) voicing a Very Favorable opinion and six percent (6%) a Very Unfavorable view.

But if people are asked about New York Times columnist Paul Krugman, the numbers shift significantly. Once he is identified with that publication, his unfavorable ratings jump 15 points to 37%. The number with a Very Unfavorable view more than triples to 20%. However, Krugman’s favorable ratings show little improvement, inching up only three points to 25%.

Rasmussen says the results “highlight the importance of question wording, especially for lesser known people such as Krugman.” To our mind, though, the more significant finding is that the New York Times is even more unpopular than Enron.

Satan’s Negatives Are Rising
“Focus Group: Congress Is Like Satan”–headline,, Dec. 5

NPR Goes Fox Hunting
“Executives at National Public Radio recently asked the network’s top political correspondent, Mara Liasson, to reconsider her regular appearances on Fox News because of what they perceived as the network’s political bias,” Politico reported. The effort to get Liasson off Fox was contemporaneous with President Obama’s efforts to discredit Fox for reporting on scandals involving his administration:

However, an NPR spokeswoman told POLITICO that the Obama administration’s attempts to discourage other news outlets from treating Fox as a peer had no impact on any internal discussions at NPR.

Do you believe that? Neither do we. But whether Obama was behind NPR’s move or not, it goes to show that so-called liberals are much more inclined to censorship than conservatives. After all, Fox never asked Liasson to stop appearing on NPR.

They Made Us Do It!
“Senate Republicans forced Democrats to vote in favor of cutting billions from providers of home care for older people as partisan debate flared Saturday during a rare weekend session on President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul,” the Associated Press reports from Washington:

Republicans, bent on making Democrats cast politically risky votes, offered their third amendment in the debate so far showcasing more than $400 billion in cuts to projected Medicare spending that would pay for the bill, mostly for subsidies to help extend coverage to millions of uninsured.

Maybe it’s true that Republicans are “bent on making Democrats cast politically risky votes,” but they didn’t force the Dems to do anything. Blanche Lincoln did. The senior senator from Arkansas was the last holdout on the recent motion to end debate on the motion to begin debate on the ObamaCare monstrosity. Had she voted the other way, or even abstained, the Senate would have moved on without the Democrats having to cast any politically risky votes to slash Medicare.

Great Moments in Socialized Medicine
“The eligibility age for state-subsidized breast cancer screening has been raised from 40 to 50 by the California Health and Human Services Agency, which will also temporarily stop enrollment in the breast cancer screening program,” reports the North (San Diego) County Times:

Advocates for low-income women, whose health care the department helps pay for, say the cuts put a two-tier system in place that is based on money rather than medical standards.

But don’t worry–ObamaCare will reduce the number of tiers to one, so that rich women won’t be able to get tested either.

Other Than That, the Story Was Accurate
“A Nov. 26 article in the District edition of Local Living incorrectly said a Public Enemy song declared 9/11 a joke. The song refers to 911, the emergency phone number.”–correction, Washington Post, Dec. 3

He Watched All the Videos and–Oh, Look! A Squirrel!
“ACORN Prober Finds No Illegal Pattern on Videos”–headline, Associated Press, Dec. 7

GOP Joins War on Christmas
“Republican Terrorists Plan ‘Christmas Spectacular’ Attack on British Troops”–headline, Daily Telegraph (London), Dec. 5

Unfortunately, They Got Voicemail
“West African Bloc Calls for Civilian Rule in Guinea as Junta’s No. 2 Takes Control”–headline, Associated Press, Dec. 6

Only the Norks Make Jeans With Plugs
“Swedish Store Pulls Plug on N. Korean Jeans”–headline, Associated Press, Dec. 5

Have They Tried Inhaling Helium?
“Atheists Need a Different Voice”–headline, USA Today, Dec. 7

Unless It’s Foggy
“Cops: Jokester Who Scaled Pa. Tower Should See Doc”–headline, Associated Press, Dec. 4

But He Forgot the Combination
“Man With Dementia Found Safe”–headline,, Dec. 6

Questions Nobody Is Asking

  • “Why Has Paris Hilton Disappeared?”–headline,, Dec. 5
  • “What Can Iowa Teach Wyoming?”–headline, Billings (Mont.) Gazette, Dec. 6
  • “Who’s the Condom Saboteur of Cambridge University?”–headline, Daily Mail (London), Dec. 5

The Condom Saboteur Strikes Again!
“Consumer Group Says Popular Zhu Zhu Pets Are Unsafe”–headline,, Dec. 6

Cat Falls While Rescuing Man–Now That Would Be News
“Man Falls From Ladder While Rescuing Cat”–headline, Arizona Republic, Dec. 6

Red Bulls Rally Against School Nurse–Now That Would Be News
“School Nurses Rally Against Red Bull”–headline, Local (Sweden), Dec. 6

Man Rubs Police for Arresting Wife on Hamburger’s Face–Now That Would Be News
“Florida Police Arrest Man for Rubbing Hamburger on Wife’s Face”–headline,, Dec. 6

It’s Always in the Last Place You Look

  • “Missing Aussie Found at Pub”–headline,, Dec. 7
  • “Cocaine Found in Man’s Chicken at Dulles”–headline, Washington Times, Dec. 4

Too Much Information
“Baucus: Girlfriend Was ‘Highly Qualified’ “–headline, Spokesman Review (Spokane, Wash.), Dec. 6

Everything Seemingly Is Spinning Out of Control

  • “Wis. Girl Says Dad Forced Her to Eat Cockroaches”–headline, Associated Press, Dec. 3
  • ” ‘Disturbing’ Explicit Letters Sent to Schools”–headline,, Dec. 4
  • “Tenn. Man Says Cow Licked $100 in Damage to House”–headline, Associated Press, Dec. 7
  • “Tiger Woods Saga Does the Improbable: Silence Gloria Allred”–headline, Los Angeles Times Web site, Dec. 4

News of the Tautological
“Greek Riots Turn Violent”–headline, South African Press Association, Dec. 6

News You Can Use

  • “Gustavo Reveles Acosta: There’s No Point Learning How to Drive in Snow in El Paso”–headline, El Paso Times, Dec. 6
  • “Better Not Cough: Santa Doesn’t Want Your Illness”–headline, Times (Munster, Ind.), Dec. 6

Bottom Stories of the Day

  • “No Trees Stolen in Chardon”–headline, News-Herald (Willoughby, Ohio), Dec. 4
  • “Traffic Moving Along at 2:30 P.M.”–headline, Houston Chronicle Web site, Dec. 4
  • “It’s a Subdued Holiday Season for SC First Family”–headline, Associated Press, Dec. 3
  • “Donald Trump Irked at Salahi’s Miss USA Claims”–headline, Washington Post Web site, Dec. 4
  • “Meeting on Climate Change Opens With Calls for Urgent Action”–headline, New York Times Web site, Dec. 7

A Royal Pain
“The Queen is to be forced to go through an identity check every time she flies into and out of Britain,” reports London’s Mail on Sunday:

For the first time, Her Majesty will be compelled to give her full name, age, address, nationality, gender and place of birth to immigration officials, who will then check that she is not on a list of wanted terrorists. . . .

Buckingham Palace has been warned that the Queen will not be exempt from providing “Travel Document Information” (TDI), which will then be uploaded on to the £750million computer system at the National Border Targeting Centre near Manchester Airport.

The system will provide a comprehensive record of everyone crossing the UK border by plane, sea or via the Channel Tunnel to “strengthen the security of those who live in and visit our country.”

All passengers are checked against terrorist and criminal watch lists, and the computer analyses travel patterns to highlight suspicious movements.

Oh, big deal. U.S. airport security has given special scrutiny to octogenarian grandmothers for years.

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