Following Up and Following Down: November 2014 Edition

It’s time to follow up on earlier features and stuff WC couldn’t stomach for a full length post. Think of it as a half-hearted wave at journalistic integrity. Take your Bonine™ and follow along.

Captain Zero and that Other an Sullivan

Captain Zero and that Other an Sullivan

WC won’t have Captain Zero to kick around any more, starting tomorrow. WC isn’t as cheerily optimistic about Governor Walker as some of his fellow progressive pundits, but almost anything would be better than Captain Zero. The fact is that the many of the Captain’s policy changes will be tough to reverse in the current Legislature, and external factors like the price of oil are going to complicate the State’s economic situation for a long time. Nor is WC yet persuaded that the conservative, life-long Republican Bill Walker has truly changed his spots.

On a baseball note, the New York Mets announced that for the second year in a row they are shrinking their home stadium, Citi Field, in an effort to hit more home runs. Fences are being moved in by as much as 11 feet in some places. Of course, that will make it easier for other teams to hit home runs, too. The Mets were ranked 22nd in in home field home runs in 2014. But they were also ranked 20th out of the 30 MLB teams in total home runs, which suggests the distance to the home field fence at Shea may not be the problem. When a reporter pointed out that both the World Series Champ San Francisco Giants and the AL-dominating Kansas City Royals hit fewer home field home runs than the Mets, team manger Sandy Alderson said, “Mumble mumble mumble.”

The National Organization for Marriage, a virulent, shrill anti-gay organization, partly responsible for Alaska’s execrable and unconstitutional amendment banning gay marriage? It’s going broke. Contributions are down 50 – 70% from 2012, according to their late-filed IRS Form 990. And the organization itself is $2.5 million in debt. Perhaps some bigot with more money than sense will step in and rescue them, but in the court of charitable contributions, NOM is dead meat. Jiminy Cricket!

Texas will on December 3 wrongfully execute another man. Scott Pannetti, the defendant, is unquestionably mentally ill, and on the testimony of every competent psychiatrist Pannetti doesn’t understand that he is being executed or why he is being executed. Execution of criminals, in WC’s view, is always wrong. But this case is an especially egregious violation of the 8th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. There is evidence of judicial bias and prosecutorial misconduct. But Texas will try to execute him anyway. Why is it always Texas?

Despite what Senator Jim Inhofe (R, Biblical Literalism), author of The Greatest Hoax: How the Global Warming Conspiracy Threatens Your Future, may think, October 2014 was the warmest in recorded history. Dr. Jeff Masters, over at Weather Underground, provides some context:

October 2014 was the warmest October on record, and the year-to-date-period January – October was Earth’s warmest such period since record keeping began in 1880, said NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center (NCDC) on Thursday. NOAA also rated the past 12 months–November 2013 through October 2014–as the warmest consecutive 12-month period among all months since records began in 1880. “It is becoming pretty clear that 2014 will end up as the warmest year on record,” said Deke Arndt, climate monitoring chief for NCDC in an interview with Associated Press. NASA also rated October 2014 as the warmest October on record, tied with 2005. October is the fifth month of 2014 ranked by NOAA as the warmest on record; May, June, August and September 2014 were also the warmest such months on record, and April 2014 was the second warmest April on record. Global ocean temperatures during October 2014 were the warmest on record. This marks the sixth month in a row (beginning in May 2014) that the global ocean temperature broke its monthly temperature record. Global land temperatures in October 2014 were the 5th warmest on record. Global satellite-measured temperatures in October 2014 for the lowest 8 km of the atmosphere were the 9th or 1st warmest in the 36-year record, according to Remote Sensing Systems and the University of Alabama Huntsville (UAH), respectively.

And Fox News still continues to confuse seven feet of snow in Buffalo with global climate change.

WC will close this month’s summary on a more amusing note. Dr. Peter Vamplew of Federation University Australia’s School of Engineering and Information Technology was annoyed by spam from the International Journal of Advanced Computer Technology. He sent a PDF of an anti-spam spoof article as a reply to the Journal’s spam email without any other message, expecting that they might open it and read it, but not that it would be considered for publication. Here is a part of his submission:

Professor Submission to the Journal

Professor Vamplew’s Submission to the Journal

Vamplew’s submission was accepted for publication by the International Journal of Advanced Computer Technology, damning both the Journal‘s claim of credibility and its claim to be peer-reviewed.

The Journal wanted $150 from Prof. Vamplew to publish the “paper.” WC doubts Prof. Vamplew will be coughing up the dough. But WC would cheerfully contribute to a Kickstarter™ campaign to raise the money.

We’re beginning to ramp up here at Wickersham’s Conscience for the usual barrage of year end posts. The next Following Up post will be at the end of January, time and inclination permitting.