Archive for October, 2009

Jon Stewart, Pwned! (by Jon Stewart)BPSDB

I was rereading Brad Johnson’s article about the Jon Stewart non-interview with Levitt of Superfreakonomics infamy when I realized that one of the links he provides is the Stewart interview on Crossfire

Ouch, nasty, but so apropos. It brings up a couple of points worth mentioning in regard to the Levitt interview, so here is the Crossfire transcript, and here is the Crossfire interview:

Two points about the interview

1) Stewart is both clear and ruthless about how the failure of investigative journalism is damaging to society.

…it’s not so much that it’s bad, as it’s hurting America … Right now, you’re helping the politicians and the corporations. … You are partisan, what do you call it, hacks …

2) Carlson and Begala do challenge Stewart that he is no better, citing his interview with Kerry. Stewart responds that if they wish to compare themselves to a comedy show, that was fine with him. A number of people have made a similar point with regard to the Levitt interview, ie ‘come on, it’s a comedy show.’


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Even No One Care of Us, We Can start to Care Each Other and Nature First.’” – from the children of Sidhi Astu Orphanage House, Tuka, Bali, Indonesia, Climate Day of Action

A Number Heard Round the World

Moms Against Climate Change


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BPSDBThe good news about the US Chamber of Commerce (CoC) and their climate change Denial public relations disaster just keeps rolling in, thanks to … The US Chamber of Commerce.

In August the CoC made a very public demand for political trials of climate change science. This proved to be a public relations “own goal” as the CoC outed itself as a regressive force for ignorance and stupidity. The tail spin just got worse as member corporations and groups began very publicly leaving the CoC accompanied by scathing critiques of the Chamber. Then the Yes Men and Avaaz Action Factory staged a press conference mocking the CoC and all hell broke loose.

Now it seems that having shot themselves in both feet, the CoC has reloaded and is aiming at their knees.


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To make Glenn Beck’s head explode?BPSDB


I really don’t know what I’m talking about, do I?

Jon Stewart

Well no shit Sherlock! The question is, why not?

The context (nutshell version) is that the new book Superfreaknomics has a chapter on climate change that is scientific gibberish. Not simply wrong, but error riddled nonsense. One of authors was on The Daily Show last night for some slow ball questions, with a nerf ball … and no strikes called … with Stewart both pitching and catching for Levitt.


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Mr Potato HeadBPSDB No, the Yes Men have not punked the Wall Street Journal, although you sure could be forgiven for thinking “Freaked Out Over SuperFreakonomics” is a DenialDepot post mocking how extremely braindead and fraudulent climate change Denierism can be.

There’s really nothing in Brett Stephen’s article to suggest that it’s supposed to be serious (cf Poe’s Law). Then again it’s not that surprising, Brett Stephens is definitely not “boldly going where he has never gone before.”

Stephens opens with 6 paragraphs of summary (more or less)  of climate change as it appears in Superfreakonomics, liberally sprinkled with spurious cheap shots at Al Gore and all people who accept actual science and reason.

Then we get to the serious disinformation, errors and lying.  Links to the many  critiques and authors referred to by me may be found here, here and here.

Mr. Gore, for instance, tells Messrs. Levitt and Dubner that the stratospheric sulfur solution is “nuts.” “


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BPSDB“WASHINGTON — Have you heard that the world is now cooling instead of warming? You may have seen some news reports on the Internet or heard about it from a provocative new book.

Only one problem: It’s not true, according to an analysis of the numbers done by several independent statisticians for The Associated Press (for full story).”

Nice! Of course the climate science and science blogs have been saying so all along, repeatedly (below), but this independent AP story can be nothing but good news for the fact based, rational world.

[UPDATE 22:30 EST The APS story has +100,000 search engine hits already – wonderful! Kudos to Seth Borenstein]


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“When I looked in her eyes they were blue,

but nobody home”BPSDB

I thought I was done with this particular tar baby and would just leave it to Brian to keep track of the ongoing discussion of Superfreakonomics, but like others (eg here and here) I just can’t seem to shake it off. Actually there are some good reasons to revisit it, so please bear with me … or jump right to “what you can do.”

  • He’s right

  • It’s bad, seriously bad

  • Popular sentiment

  • Why it matters

  • What you can do

He’s right

An interesting exchange took that took place on a forum a couple of days ago raised an important question generally, but with reference to Superfreaknonomics specifically. As is too often the case the more general discussion will have to wait while we deal with the Superfreaks.


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