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Archive for February 23rd, 2010

WE’RE ALL BORG NOW

New Logo

2002 Logo

Put away the tinfoil hat, pick up the rose-colored glasses, and check out the spankin’ new logo sported by the Department of Defense’s Missile Defense Agency.

Yes boys and girls, the Brother O campaign logo/Islamic crescent combo really is the new patch for the Missile Defense Agency. Go to the Agency’s official Web site and see the glorious wonder for yourself.

I am astonished … I am amazed …

I.M. Kane

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Israeli archaeologist Eilat Mazar said that recent excavations in Jerusalem date back 3,000 years to the time of King Solomon. If she’s correct, the findings would bolster Biblical accounts that Jerusalem had a strong central government and the resources and manpower to build massive fortifications in the 10th century B.C.

The finding is “the most significant construction we have from First Temple days in Israel,” Mazar said. “It means that at that time, the 10th century, in Jerusalem there was a regime capable of carrying out such construction.”

Reverberations from the find could spark another wailing and gnashing of teeth tour from the three atheists Bill Maher, Christopher Hitchens, and Richard Dawkins. Check StubHub or Ticketmaster for times and locations near you.

I.M. Kane

 


 

Archaeologist sees proof for Bible in ancient wall

By Matti Friedman, Associated Press Writer

An Israeli archaeologist said Monday that ancient fortifications recently excavated in Jerusalem date back 3,000 years to the time of King Solomon and support the biblical narrative about the era.

If the age of the wall is correct, the finding would be an indication that Jerusalem was home to a strong central government that had the resources and manpower needed to build massive fortifications in the 10th century B.C.

That’s a key point of dispute among scholars, because it would match the Bible’s account that the Hebrew kings David and Solomon ruled from Jerusalem around that time.

While some Holy Land archaeologists support that version of history—including the archaeologist behind the dig, Eilat Mazar—others posit that David’s monarchy was largely mythical and that there was no strong government to speak of in that era.

Speaking to reporters at the site Monday, Mazar, from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, called her find “the most significant construction we have from First Temple days in Israel.”

“It means that at that time, the 10th century, in Jerusalem there was a regime capable of carrying out such construction,” she said.

Based on what she believes to be the age of the fortifications and their location, she suggested it was built by Solomon, David’s son, and mentioned in the Book of Kings.

The fortifications, including a monumental gatehouse and a 77-yard (70-meter) long section of an ancient wall, are located just outside the present-day walls of Jerusalem’s Old City, next to the holy compound known to Jews as the Temple Mount and to Muslims as the Noble Sanctuary. According to the Old Testament, it was Solomon who built the first Jewish Temple on the site.

That temple was destroyed by Babylonians, rebuilt, renovated by King Herod 2,000 years ago and then destroyed again by Roman legions in 70 A.D. The compound now houses two important Islamic buildings, the golden-capped Dome of the Rock and the Al-Aqsa mosque.

Archaeologists have excavated the fortifications in the past, first in the 1860s and most recently in the 1980s. But Mazar claimed her dig was the first complete excavation and the first to turn up strong evidence for the wall’s age: a large number of pottery shards, which archaeologists often use to figure out the age of findings.

Aren Maeir, an archaeology professor at Bar Ilan University near Tel Aviv, said he has yet to see evidence that the fortifications are as old as Mazar claims. There are remains from the 10th century in Jerusalem, he said, but proof of a strong, centralized kingdom at that time remains “tenuous.”

While some see the biblical account of the kingdom of David and Solomon as accurate and others reject it entirely, Maeir said the truth was likely somewhere in the middle.

“There’s a kernel of historicity in the story of the kingdom of David,” he said.

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“Adding possible criminal charges to the mix increases the possibility that some of the people involved may choose to blow the whistle in order to protect themselves.”

The IPCC Assessment Reports (especially the 2007 (AR4) report) are being re-examined because of the Climategate scandal. Environmental Protection Agency head Lisa Jackson said the AR4 report was one of the major sources of scientific support for the agency’s Endangerment Finding, the first step towards allowing the EPA to regulate carbon dioxide as a pollutant.

Senator Inhofe is asking the Department of Justice to investigate whether there has been research misconduct or criminal actions by the scientists Dr. Michael Mann of Pennsylvania State University and Dr. James Hansen of Columbia University and the NASA Goddard Institute of Space Science.

Inhofe also wants AlGore called back in front of the Senate to defend himself and his movie. “[Every assertion [in the movie] has been rebutted,” Inhofe said.

I.M. Kane

 


 

Climategate Meets the Law: Senator Inhofe To Ask for DOJ Investigation

By Charlie Martin

Senator James Inhofe (R-OK) today asked the Obama administration to investigate what he called “the greatest scientific scandal of our generation” — the actions of climate scientists revealed by the Climategate Files, and the subsequent admissions by the editors of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Fourth Assessment Report (AR4).

Senator Inhofe also called for former Vice President Al Gore to be called back to the Senate to testify.

“In [Gore's] science fiction movie, every assertion has been rebutted,” Inhofe said. He believes Vice President Gore should defend himself and his movie before Congress.

Just prior to a hearing at 10:00 a.m. EST, Senator Inhofe released a minority staff report from the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, of which he is ranking member. Senator Inhofe is asking the Department of Justice to investigate whether there has been research misconduct or criminal actions by the scientists involved, including Dr. Michael Mann of Pennsylvania State University and Dr. James Hansen of Columbia University and the NASA Goddard Institute of Space Science.

This report, obtained exclusively by Pajamas Media before today’s hearing, alleges:

[The] Minority Staff of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works believe the scientists involved may have violated fundamental ethical principles governing taxpayer-funded research and, in some cases, federal laws. In addition to these findings, we believe the emails and accompanying documents seriously compromise the IPCC -backed “consensus” and its central conclusion that anthropogenic emissions are inexorably leading to environmental catastrophes.

As has been reported here at Pajamas Media over the last several months, the exposure of the Climategate Files has led to a re-examination of the IPCC Assessment Reports, especially the fourth report (AR4), published in 2007. The IPCC AR4 report was named by Environmental Protection Agency head Lisa Jackson as one of the major sources of scientific support for the agency’s Endangerment Finding, the first step towards allowing the EPA to regulate carbon dioxide as a pollutant.

Since the Climategate Files were released, the IPCC has been forced to retract a number of specific conclusions — such as a prediction that Himalayan glaciers would disappear by 2035 — and has been forced to confirm that the report was based in large part on reports from environmental activist groups instead of peer-reviewed scientific literature. Dr. Murari Lal, an editor of the IPCC AR4 report, admitted to the London Daily Mail that he had known the 2035 date was false, but was included in the report anyway “purely to put political pressure on world leaders.”

Based on this Minority Staff report, Senator Inhofe will be calling for an investigation into potential research misconduct and possible criminal acts by the researchers involved. At the same time, Inhofe will ask the Environmental Protection Agency to reopen its consideration of an Endangerment Finding for carbon dioxide as a pollutant under the Federal Clean Air Act, and will ask Congress to withdraw funding for further consideration of carbon dioxide as a pollutant.

In requesting that the EPA reopen the Endangerment Finding, Inhofe joins with firms such as the Peabody Energy Company and several state Attorneys General (such as Texas and Virginia) in objecting to the Obama administration’s attempt to extend regulatory control over carbon dioxide emissions in the United States. Senator Inhofe believes this staff report “strengthens the case” for the Texas and Virginia Attorneys General.

Senator Inhofe’s announcement today appears to be the first time a member of Congress has formally called for an investigation into research misconduct and potential criminal acts by the scientists involved.

The staff report describes four major issues revealed by the Climategate Files and the subsequent revelations:

1.         The emails suggest some climate scientists were cooperating to obstruct the release of damaging information and counter-evidence.

2.         They suggest scientists were manipulating the data to reach predetermined conclusions.

3.         They show some climate scientists colluding to pressure journal editors not to publish work questioning the “consensus.”

4.         They show that scientists involved in the report were assuming the role of climate activists attempting to influence public opinion while claiming scientific objectivity.

The report notes a number of potential legal issues raised by their Climategate investigation: 

1.         It suggests scientific misconduct that may violate the Shelby Amendment — requiring open access to the results of government-funded research — and the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) policies on scientific misconduct (which were announced December 12, 2000).

2.         It notes the potential for violations of the Federal False Statements and False Claims Acts, which may have both civil and criminal penalties.

3.         The report also notes the possibility of there having been an obstruction of Congress in Congressional Proceeds, which may constitute an obstruction of justice.

If proven, these charges could subject the scientists involved to debarment from federally funded research, and even to criminal penalties.

By naming potential criminal offenses, Senator Inhofe raises the stakes for climate scientists and others involved. Dr. Phil Jones of the University of East Anglia’s Climate Research Unit has already been forced to step aside because of the Climategate FOIA issues, and Dr. Michael Mann of Penn State is currently under investigation by the university for potential misconduct. Adding possible criminal charges to the mix increases the possibility that some of the people involved may choose to blow the whistle in order to protect themselves.

Senator Inhofe believes that Dr. Hansen and Dr. Mann should be “let go” from their posts “for the good of the institutions involved.”

The question, of course, is whether the Senate Democratic majority will allow this investigation to proceed, in the face of the Obama administration’s stated intention to regulate CO2 following the apparent death of cap and trade legislation. The Democratic majority has blocked previous attempts by Inhofe to investigate issues with climate science.

For more of PJM’s most recent Climategate coverage, read Charlie Martin’s “Climategate: The World’s Biggest Story, Everywhere but Here.”

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