Anew – Theme Friday

Each day begins anew or so says an old adage. It is a philosophy which I long to stay faithful to – that tomorrow is a new day, that nothing is forever, that things do indeed change.

Looking ahead is always better than looking behind, than pulling the past along like an anchor of emotions that seeks to trap in questionable waters. Letting go, moving on, wiping the slate clean has its appeal in the thought that we can be reborn. Breathe new life into old bones and even older souls. Find the excitement that is common to children and rare to adults. Being happy just because.

As the old year has left us and a new year opens its arms I wonder what waits ahead on the path. The one that my foot has yet to walk upon. The one that is full of mystery, surprise and don’t-have-a-clue-what’s-gonna-happen. Because it’s a chance at a whole new everything. A whole new me or you or us.

And so we raise our glasses and say goodbye to yesterday and hello to today and tomorrow. For you, my friends I wish you a life anew, a dream rekindled, a surprise both unexpected and magical – a year to behold and remember.

Happy New Year.

WC

What has struck Christine anew?

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McClintock Rawks

mcclintock

Tom McClintock is a well known California state legislator and a man after my own heart. Sadly, when the scandalous governor of California, Gray Davis, was recalled, rather than putting Tom in the driver’s seat, the people of California opted for the Governator. The fallout from whom we are still experiencing.

Tom gave a speech recently and I reprint it in full here. It’s worth the time to read, at least I think so.

The Eve of the American Reawakening

Rep. McClintock gave the following speech to the Council for National Policy in Washington DC on May 16, 2009.

Here, in the winter of our despair, I want to pause to take stock of the state of our nation on this date of May 16th.

Voters have swept our party from office after a failed Republican administration that abandoned conservative principles. The most left-wing President in our nation’s history has taken office with a 66 percent approval rating and strong majorities in both houses. His agenda includes radical intervention into energy markets, highly inflationary monetary policy, a determination to dramatically reduce our military spending while dramatically increasing overall domestic spending with deficits as far as the eye can see.

That was the state of our nation on May 16th…1977.

You remember those years. Jimmy Carter’s policies brought us double digit unemployment AND double digit inflation; interest rates at 21 percent, mile-long lines around gas stations, embassies seized with impunity and a military so weak it couldn’t even project a simple rescue mission.

But then, just a few years later, it was morning again in America. Four years of Jimmy Carter produced eight years of Ronald Reagan, and looking back on it, that wasn’t such a bad trade, was it?

Abraham Lincoln once said that if the voters get their backsides too close to the fire, they’ll just have to sit on the blisters for a while.

The American people have some very painful blisters to sit on for the next four years, but the good news is that they’re already starting to figure that out.

On inauguration day, the Rasmussen poll gave the President a net approval rating of 28 points. Yesterday, that figure was seven points. During the fall campaign, Rasmussen reported that the generic Democratic candidate for Congress had a 16-point advantage over the generic Republican candidate. As of May 10th, Rasmussen reports the generic Republican now has a one-point advantage over the Democrat.

Although the President’s personal popularity remains high, most polls are showing a decidedly increasing skepticism over his policies. For example, yesterday Rasmussen reported that by a margin of 57 to 19 percent, Americans say that tax increases will hurt the economy.

What we are seeing in the polls is the gradual awakening of the American people. When things are going reasonably well – or even reasonably poorly – most people don’t pay a lot of attention to politics because there are too many other pressing things going on in their lives. But when a crisis approaches, that’s when you see the strength of a Democracy emerge, and it is an awesome thing. One by one, individual citizens sense the approach of a common danger and rise to the occasion. They begin focusing a great deal of attention on politics and they start making very good decisions.

We saw that two summers ago, when the McCain-Kennedy amnesty bill was set to glide through both houses of Congress on broad bi-partisan majorities. But the American people had finally had enough of being told there was nothing the government cared to do to defend the integrity of our borders and the sovereignty of our nation. And McCain Kennedy didn’t even make it to a final vote.

We saw that last summer, when gasoline prices hit $4 a gallon and the American people had finally had enough of being told there was nothing the government cared to do to get out of the way of domestic oil production. And in the span of just a few months, they turned 180 degrees on the issue of offshore oil drilling and nuclear power.

We saw that just a month ago, when Rick Santelli told a routine cable broadcast that he was sick and tired of being forced to pay his neighbor’s mortgage – and the whole trading floor erupted in applause. He suggested that Americans need to rekindle the spirit that produced the Boston Tea Party, and suddenly, from every corner of America over 800 taxpayer protests erupted across the country on April 15th. These protests weren’t sponsored by parties or politicians. They were a grassroots uprising by a silent majority that will not remain silent any longer.

And yet I read the other day of a new chorus of hand-wringing that said we had to get over our nostalgia for Reagan, that we had to be mindful and respectful of the fact the “other side has something,” and that we have nothing, and that “you can’t beat something with nothing.

It’s the same kind of hand-wringing that Ulysses S. Grant confronted at the Battle of the Wilderness among generals overawed by Robert E. Lee’s aggressiveness, audacity and success. Grant, turned to his distraught generals, and said “Bobby Lee this, and Bobby Lee that! You’d think he’s going to do double somersaults and outflank us on both sides and the rear. Stop thinking about what Bobby Lee’s going to do to us, and start thinking about what we’re going to do to Bobby Lee. Now get some guns up here.”

To those who say we should put the Reagan era behind us – I have a better idea. Let’s put the Bush era behind us.

To those who say we should redefine our principles, I have a better idea: we don’t need to redefine our principles; we need to return to them.

To those of the Republican establishment, who misled our party for years, who dismantled so much of what Ronald Reagan accomplished and now tell us “the other side has something” and we have nothing. To them I can’t improve upon Cromwell’s words: “You have sat here too long for any good you have been doing; it is not fit that you should sit here any longer. You shall now give way to better men. Now depart and let us have done with you, I say, in the name of God, GO!”

“The other side has something and we have nothing?”

What is the something the other side has – that some say we have to be respectful and mindful of?

Statism. Shortage. Paternalism. That’s their “something” that seems to so overawe and over-impress these scions of a failed party establishment.

Statism, Shortage and Paternalism is what we are told to be mindful and respectful of? I don’t think so.

Their statism is “something” so extreme that the entire national debt accumulated from the first day of the George Washington administration to the very last day of the George W. Bush administration will literally double in the next five years and triple in the next ten.

The tax increases already proposed to support it will rob every family of more than $2,500 from its purchasing power every year. We’re supposed to respect that? The American people don’t respect it. The American people know that you cannot spend your way rich; that you cannot borrow your way out of debt and you cannot tax your way to prosperity. And they know that if you live well beyond your means today, you must of necessity live well BELOW your means in the future. And that’s not a future we want for our children.

Their entire policy is predicated on maintaining shortages of everything from health care to energy and then using the force of government to ration that shortage according to their own whims. The “something” that they propose to solve their government-induced shortages is having bureaucrats tell us what medical treatments our kids may have and when they may have them; raising energy prices until we bicycle to work; telling us what kind of light bulbs to use, where to set our thermostats, when to use our appliances.

And then there’s Paternalism. That’s what Rick Santelli was talking about. When your neighbor buys the house he can’t afford – it’s now your job to pay his mortgage. When the fraternity brothers of Paulson and Geitner party their investments into the ground – now it’s your job to cover their losses. When the reckless country-clubbers of General Motors and Chrysler give away the farm to the UAW – now it’s your job to make up the difference, and by the way, now it’s Barney Frank’s job to tell you what kind of car you may buy.

That is the “something” that seems to send these self-described “New Republicans,” into paroxysms of awe and policy-envy.

That’s the “something” that some people are so deathly afraid of saying “NO” to. Churchill said, “Alexander the Great remarked that the people of Asia were slaves because they had not learned to pronounce the word “NO.” Let that not be the epitaph of the English-speaking peoples or of parliamentary democracy … There, in one single word, is the resolve which the forces of freedom and progress, of tolerance and goodwill, should take.”

What is the “nothing” that we have that so dismays and disgusts these same messiahs of mediocrity – this “nothing” that’s convinced them that we must wean ourselves from our unseemly nostalgia with such irrelevant has-beens as Reagan, and Lincoln and Jefferson – I add the others because they stood for exactly the same principles as Reagan.

We stand for freedom.

We stand for abundance.

We stand for individual responsibility.

Freedom. Abundance and Responsibility. That is our platform.

Those who call that “nothing” are the same failed leaders who disdained it during the Reagan years and dismantled it as soon as the Reagan years were over.
They stand for statism. We stand for freedom: The God-given right to enjoy the fruit of our own labor; the right to raise our children according to our own values; the right to express our opinions and our faith freely and without reserve; the right to defend ourselves and our families; the right to enter into voluntary associations with each other for our mutual betterment without an army of busy-bodies telling us what is best for us.

They stand for the rationing of shortage. We stand for abundance: what happens when free men and free women enjoy the liberty to go as far as their desire, talent and imagination can guide them and as far as their labor, industry and enterprise can take them. Societies prosper when freedom protects the rights of each of us to decide on our own what we will produce and what we will consume. Government exists to protect the conditions that produce abundance, not to ration shortages that government has caused.

They stand for paternalism. We stand for personal responsibility. That means you stand by your promises. That means you tell your customers the truth about your products and investments. It means if you bring a child into the world then by God you look after that child. And it means if you make a bad decision, you set it right and you learn from it – and you realize that the bad decisions we all make from time to time is the price we pay for the freedom to make all the good decisions in our lives.

Freedom. Abundance. Responsibility. Ladies and Gentlemen, that ain’t “nothing.” That’s everything.

That’s everything our country is, everything our country stands for. That’s everything ten generations of Americans have fought to defend. That is everything that the happiness and prosperity of society depends upon. That is everything that we have – everything that we are – everything that we hope as Americans.

Jefferson called it the “sum of good government” which he described as “a wise and frugal Government, which shall restrain men from injuring one another, shall leave them otherwise free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned.”

At the risk of politically incorrect nostalgia, nine years before he became Governor of California, Reagan put it this way during a commencement address to his alma mater. He said, “This is a simple struggle between those of us who believe that man has the dignity and sacred right and the ability to choose and shape his own destiny and those who do not so believe. This irreconcilable conflict is between those who believe in the sanctity of individual freedom and those who believe in the supremacy of the state.”

Lincoln said much the same. He said, “That is the real issue. That is the issue that will continue in this country when these poor tongues of Judge Douglas and myself shall be silent. It is the eternal struggle between these two principles – right and wrong – throughout the world. They are the two principles that have stood face to face from the beginning of time; and will ever continue to struggle. The one is the common right of humanity, and the other is the divine right of kings. It is the same principle in whatever shape it develops itself. It is the same spirit that says, ‘You work and toil and earn bread, and I’ll eat it.’ No matter in what shape it comes, whether from the mouth of a king who seeks to bestride the people of his own nation and live by the fruit of their labor, or from one race of men as an apology for enslaving another race, it is the same tyrannical principle.”

And today, our country faces this tyrannical principle in actual practice.

The Left would condemn our children to the failure of government schools run by teacher unions. We would liberate parents to select the school and the teacher that best meets their child’s needs and hold the school and the teacher accountable for the results.

The Left would condemn our families to sky-high energy prices; we would free America’s vast energy reserves and limitless supplies of clean, cheap electricity through nuclear power, hydro-electricity and clean coal.

The Left would condemn our health care to bureaucrats who’ll decide what treatments we may have and when we may have them. We would provide the tax credits to bring a basic health plan within the financial reach of every family – a health plan they could chose, they could own, and they could change if it failed to serve them.

The Left would deny union members the right to a secret ballot; we would free employers to pay bonuses to union members above and beyond their union contract.

The Left would plunder our children of their prosperity tomorrow to pay for the unprecedented expansion of government today. We insist on a government that does what families do every day: work hard, waste not and live within our means. And that promise needs to begin with renouncing the failed Bush administration that violated every one of these tenets.

The Left offers stifling central planning to manage every aspect of our lives; they offer higher and higher taxes and more and more costly regulations. We offer freedom.

It’s ironic that the same rocket scientists who say we have to listen more to the opposition’s message obviously haven’t been listening to our own.

We have the most powerful message in the history of mankind. It is freedom. And to those who say we have no messengers – look around at each other. Yes, Ronald Reagan was a great communicator, but as William Saracino has said, “He wasn’t communicating cookie recipes.” And if we learned anything at all from that great man, it was that every one of us needs to be a messenger.

In February of 1861, Abraham Lincoln’s inaugural train paused in Indianapolis and he spoke these words: “Of the people when they rise in mass on behalf of the Union and the liberties of their country, it may be said ‘The gates of hell shall not prevail against them. I appeal to you constantly to bear in mind that not with the President, not with the office-seekers, but with you is the question, ‘Shall the liberties of this country be preserved to the latest generation.’”

That is our clarion call. Ladies and Gentlemen, what has happened to our nation has happened on our generation’s watch, and it is our generation’s responsibility to set things right.

Does anyone here have any doubt how this battle will end as long as we stand firm? I think the Left is starting to figure that out too, and behind the smarmy smirks of superiority, their real sentiments are showing through.

The Department of Homeland Security refuses to use the word “terrorist” to describe Al Qaeda. It has replaced the term “acts of terrorism” with the term “man-made disaster” so as not to offend Islamic extremists. But it doesn’t hesitate to declare every American who believes in Constitutional principles or who defended those principles on far off battlefields as “potential domestic terrorists.”

That offers real insight into the Left. Churchill put it this way: “They are afraid of words and thoughts. Words spoken abroad, thoughts stirring at home – all the more powerful because forbidden – terrify them. A little mouse – a little tiny mouse – of thought enters the room and these mighty potentates are thrown into panic. They make frantic efforts to bar out thoughts and words; they are afraid of the workings of the human mind.”

Think about what terrifies the Left. Letters to the editor. Calls to talk shows. Blogs on the internet. Comments after newspaper editorials. Taxpayer tea parties.

Why did they react so viscously to the tea parties? You remember the tale of the “Emperor’s New Clothes” – once the townspeople realized that there were many others who believed as they believed, the façade collapsed.

So let’s not disappoint our friends on the left. Let us all here today resolve that we’re going to spend at least ten hours a week agitating and educating in every forum we can find.

When the American Founders adopted the Declaration of Independence, they pledged to each other their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor. They were speaking quite literally. When they pledged their lives, they meant it. The King had already warned that a noose awaited every one of them. When they pledged their fortunes, they meant it. Lewis Morris had just received word that his estate in New York had been burned to the ground, that his family had become refugees and that his two sons had enlisted in the rag-tag army around General Washington.

How little history demands of our generation in defense of those same principles. We aren’t asked to pledge our entire fortunes – just a small portion of our earnings in support of the causes and candidates we believe in. We aren’t asked to pledge our lives – only a small portion of our lives until we have set things right.

But our sacred honor – that history demands of us in full. That we leave today highly resolved not to fail or falter until we have restored freedom as the cornerstone of our government. Because if we fail to do that, then what history will demand of our children and grandchildren is unthinkable.

So let us honor the memory of Reagan and Lincoln and Jefferson and all those placed freedom above security and principle above politics. To those among us who would do otherwise, as Shakespeare said, “He who hath no stomach for this fight, let him now depart.”

And then let us together write the next chapter of the American Republic: that just when it appeared that the principles of American freedom were faltering, this generation rediscovered them, rallied to them, revived them, restored them, polished them and passed them on shining and inviolate to the many succeeding generations that followed.

If you’d like to know more about Tom, click here.

The Future…

bleached-sun

Is a funny animal – at least to me. In examining it recently I see that I have always regarded it with a wary eye. A bit of distrust and dread. I can’t say why because I don’t know – but I suspect it has to do with failure.

I have gone along in life with a set of goals, some of which reach back to childhood. Some are simple, some are challenging, but most of them are unattained. At least not to the level I want. In my mind, I have looked upon this as failure, which in turn has made me feel that I’m a failure. Whether that is true or not is beside the point because it is my belief alone that it is failure that makes it so. If I were to follow this as logic then it would follow that if I changed my mind, that I wouldn’t be a failure. Does that make sense? It does to me.

I have come to realize that we are what we believe, what we think because by the very process of believing and thinking things we bring them about. If you read any biography of any successful or famous person you’ll notice that belief was paramount in the events of their life. That often, the singular action of believing in their goals and their ability to reach the goal was all that stood between them and failure.

I think now that many of the things that have happened in my life recently had to do with what I thought and I had more influence over the events than I knew. Simply because today I think differently and life is different. I realized the other night, while sitting on the back steps and looking up at the sky that I was thinking about the future and I wasn’t cringing or dreading it. I was looking forward to it. The change of attitude was a shock to me and it made me look back over the last few months with wonder.

I couldn’t tell you what brought about my change in view – just that a change has indeed occurred. I look now upon the future with anticipation and smiles. All of the trials and travails that have led me here were part of the journey I think. What I believed to be failures were only part of the process and will continue to be.

I’m sure I will still have dark days and frustration and wonder if the effort is worth it. However, I know it will pass and my optimism will win again. And that’s how I prefer it. I like to feel hopeful and cheerful about the possibilities. I like to think that things do indeed work themselves out and that I can attain the goals I’ve set for myself and new ones that may pop up. So I choose to be cheerful and hopeful and by so choosing the future looks bright.

I Want – Theme Fridays

I want to feel safe in a world gone prefectly mad. I want people to recognize that we are all here together and it could be an amazing adventure if we let it. I want people to be kinder to each other, to pass on the opportunity to have the upper hand and not have to always be right.

I want music, poetry and art to be created from the heart again, without a thought given to the demographics. I want children to go to sleep on full stomachs in warm, clean beds. I want to quit being manipulated by groups with vested interests, especially the ones who tout their ‘good causes.’ I want people who play games to move to their own island and leave the rest of us alone. I want people to value themselves and others more. I want natural disasters to just be the result of weather with no political affiliations.

I want chocolate for breakfast and for men to see all women as the lovely creatures they are and to cherish them. I want women to stop wanting to be men and to give the balls back to their rightful owners.

I want technology to stop – and take a breath – so that we can. I want teenagers to find meaning in books and art and personal relationships instead of their cell phones. I want old people to be respected and revered for their wisdom and experience. I want humor to be funny without being mean.

I want leaders who lead because they have the best interest of their citizens at heart instead of just the ability to talk a good game. I want children to have parents who love them and keep them safe but also teach them the lessons of life. I want every human being on this earth to feel happiness and joy and to put that above things and power.

I want people to say what they mean and mean what they say. I want anyone who can talk out of both sides of their mouth to go work for the circus, not my government. I want to fight the good fight when I have to but I don’t ever want to have to.

I want us all to realize that we are sentient beings and that the way to change things is by changing ourselves – that the answers are not ‘out there’ but rather ‘in here.’

And Christine wants and Jess wants

Can You See Me Now?

Newsflash! Apparently, as of 18 February 2009 a lot of televisions will go dark. Why? Because all the broadcasts will be switching over to digital signals. So, any television (remember that awesome deal you got on a 27 inch screen t.v. at Circuit City?) that doesn’t have a digital receiver will not receive.

You might say, ‘So what? I have cable, no worries.” And that would be true – if you’re willing to pay $30-$100 a month for television it won’t really matter to you. Even if your set doesn’t have a digi-receiver, the cable companies can somehow magically transmorph the signal so that you get it – though likely they’ll just give you a converter box and all will be well with the world. You’ll still get your 227 stations of high grade digitized entertainment.

But what about us schmoes who refuse to pay for television (like me). I have an antenna on the top of my house and I get the broadcast channels, thank you very much. And really I don’t want anymore than that because I actually have to get something done – with 227 channels my ass is glued to the barcalounger and only moves for snacks. What about us? Well, we get a $40 coupon from the government (or so they say) with which to buy the converter box which will likely retail for $60. Though something tells me, that if you’re not low income or can’t prove you’re needy you’ll end up paying the full $60 out of your own pocket. Just a feeling I have so don’t quote me.

Apparently the ‘air” they now use to broadcast television signals the old-fashioned way will be auctioned off for other use. Now, don’t you have to wonder who is going to bid on that air and what the heck are they going to do with it? It seems to me that every square inch of space doesn’t have to be used. We could just let it be, couldn’t we? Nope, it’s going to be auctioned off and it wouldn’t suprise me is Lil Kim of Korea or Imajihad of Iran or Chubby Chavez bought it all up and piped in subliminal messages to us yuglee Americans.

Can you see it now. We won’t have any television reception but strange foreign music will play whenever we turn on the set. Heck, maybe they will even turn on by themselves and order us around. Make us write checks to non-profits for foreign orphans schooling. Suddenly we’ll have the urge to pay $5 a gallon for gas, women will be demanding burkhas from fashion designers and those Eloton John big bug eyeglasses will become all the rage.

Could happen.

If you want to read more about this, you can find it here.

How Does It Dream To You Now?

 

When I was a little girl, a very little girl, I wanted to be a ballerina. I could envision the stage, the music and my perfect, graceful body flying through space. But how did a three-year-old know about such things? My family came from farmers, people of the earth, not artists. What weird reconfiguration of fate placed me there? What master plan was in play?

I always felt just a little outside the family. As though I wasn’t really there. I was in a physical sense of course. I was the one with the blonde curls and soulful eyes. I was the wise child who didn’t say much but seemed to know plenty. The one who always wondered if the stork had made a wrong turn because of a snow storm or earthquake. The others fit into each other like puzzle pieces. They made a picture that made sense. I was the piece that no one could find the niche into which I belonged.

The next dream was to be a fireman. Then a teacher. Then a doctor. A bon vivant who strolled the streets of Paris singing out ‘bonjour, bonjour!’ My mind couldn’t settle on just one, I wanted to be them all. Perhaps that is how I came to writing. There are no limits there, you can be whoever and whatever you want to be. Just put the pen to paper and voila you are there, you are it. Simple. Easy. Well, not quite.

My head was in the clouds or off on some distant planet. My heart was wrapped in the colors of my imagination – such vibrant, dimensional colors that I never longed to be back on Earth. Yet, time and again I would be pulled back to perform a mundane task; laundry, cooking, making my bed, homework, going to work. And each time the me inside of me would protest, pout a little and carry on like the martyr I was. ‘It’s not fair,’ I’d mutter to myself. ‘I don’t want to do this.’ At which point the practical me would surface and scold. I had to work hard, I had to carry my weight, fulfill my obligations – life was expecting it of me and I acquiesced. Damn it! Damn it all to hell!

I comforted myself with the dream that one day I would have my dream. That one day I would finish all the chores and work and obligations and then I could really live my dream. Even though my dream was constantly shifting and changing shape and no matter how much I chased it, it could never be caught, I still dreamed of living my dream.

Is it an inherent quality of writers that they are never satisfied? Is it part of the spiritual and mental makeup of the scribe? Or is it that we can so easily assume the viewpoint of anyone and anything? That is a quality that has always annoyed many in my life. I can pick up an identity and be it – like that. I always have wondered if it’s a charm or a curse. I’m not sure I will ever be able to answer that question and maybe I prefer to have it lurking around in my psyche to tease and taunt me like a naughty lover who won’t commit. Meanwhile, half the time I feel like I should be committed.

So here I am, all grown up as they say and I’m still chasing the dream of the living the dream and I have to ask myself, ‘What is it?’ So many answers pop up, like impatient school children flailing arms in the air when they are sure they know the answer to the teacher’s question. But only answer that rings true is, writing. I want to write. I want to spend the rest of my life writing. And if I’m lucky I will die in front of my computer or at a desk with pen and pad in hand, in the middle of thought that was so pure and perfect that I had to get it down before I lost it. I may never amount to anything, be a someone, be sought after by fans or groupies or even get any of my books published BUT I will always write. And that makes me a writer because a writer writes. And so I am living my dream. So, it dreams to me now pretty damn fine.

Tell me your dreams.

WC

Must See TV – Are We Being Scammed?

This is a long vid, folks – and if you’d prefer you can go to youtube and watch it in parts – but I would highly recommend you settle back and watch it all in one sitting.

While the Global Warming debate rages and the ‘greenies’ get more and more whacko, this documentary offers some rational and sane facts and opinions. If only for the sake of balance,  you owe it to yourself to watch it. And don’t go to that ‘I don’t have time place’ because we all know that we waste endless hours on video games, and other dumb crap that has no importance whatsoever.

(HT to  mbatm27 )

 WC

Turn the Magic Ear to the ‘On’ Position

I have seen the future and it looks like this. LOL. Oh yes it does. 😉

WC

Wrong on Climate Change?

(Here is a compelling article published in the Times Online, that challenges, conventional wisdom on the issue. WC)

February 11, 2007

An experiment that hints we are wrong on climate change

Nigel Calder, former editor of New Scientist, says the orthodoxy must be challenged

When politicians and journalists declare that the science of global warming is settled, they show a regrettable ignorance about how science works. We were treated to another dose of it recently when the experts of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change issued the Summary for Policymakers that puts the political spin on an unfinished scientific dossier on climate change due for publication in a few months’ time. They declared that most of the rise in temperatures since the mid-20th century is very likely due to man-made greenhouse gases.

The small print explains “very likely” as meaning that the experts who made the judgment felt 90% sure about it. Older readers may recall a press conference at Harwell in 1958 when Sir John Cockcroft, Britain’s top nuclear physicist, said he was 90% certain that his lads had achieved controlled nuclear fusion. It turned out that he was wrong. More positively, a 10% uncertainty in any theory is a wide open breach for any latterday Galileo or Einstein to storm through with a better idea. That is how science really works.

Twenty years ago, climate research became politicised in favour of one particular hypothesis, which redefined the subject as the study of the effect of greenhouse gases. As a result, the rebellious spirits essential for innovative and trustworthy science are greeted with impediments to their research careers. And while the media usually find mavericks at least entertaining, in this case they often imagine that anyone who doubts the hypothesis of man-made global warming must be in the pay of the oil companies. As a result, some key discoveries in climate research go almost unreported.

Enthusiasm for the global-warming scare also ensures that heatwaves make headlines, while contrary symptoms, such as this winter’s billion-dollar loss of Californian crops to unusual frost, are relegated to the business pages. The early arrival of migrant birds in spring provides colourful evidence for a recent warming of the northern lands. But did anyone tell you that in east Antarctica the Adélie penguins and Cape petrels are turning up at their spring nesting sites around nine days later than they did 50 years ago? While sea-ice has diminished in the Arctic since 1978, it has grown by 8% in the Southern Ocean.

So one awkward question you can ask, when you’re forking out those extra taxes for climate change, is “Why is east Antarctica getting colder?” It makes no sense at all if carbon dioxide is driving global warming. While you’re at it, you might inquire whether Gordon Brown will give you a refund if it’s confirmed that global warming has stopped. The best measurements of global air temperatures come from American weather satellites, and they show wobbles but no overall change since 1999.

That levelling off is just what is expected by the chief rival hypothesis, which says that the sun drives climate changes more emphatically than greenhouse gases do. After becoming much more active during the 20th century, the sun now stands at a high but roughly level state of activity. Solar physicists warn of possible global cooling, should the sun revert to the lazier mood it was in during the Little Ice Age 300 years ago.

Climate history and related archeology give solid support to the solar hypothesis. The 20th-century episode, or Modern Warming, was just the latest in a long string of similar events produced by a hyperactive sun, of which the last was the Medieval Warming.

The Chinese population doubled then, while in Europe the Vikings and cathedral-builders prospered. Fascinating relics of earlier episodes come from the Swiss Alps, with the rediscovery in 2003 of a long-forgotten pass used intermittently whenever the world was warm.

What does the Intergovernmental Panel do with such emphatic evidence for an alternation of warm and cold periods, linked to solar activity and going on long before human industry was a possible factor? Less than nothing. The 2007 Summary for Policymakers boasts of cutting in half a very small contribution by the sun to climate change conceded in a 2001 report.

Disdain for the sun goes with a failure by the self-appointed greenhouse experts to keep up with inconvenient discoveries about how the solar variations control the climate. The sun’s brightness may change too little to account for the big swings in the climate. But more than 10 years have passed since Henrik Svensmark in Copenhagen first pointed out a much more powerful mechanism.

He saw from compilations of weather satellite data that cloudiness varies according to how many atomic particles are coming in from exploded stars. More cosmic rays, more clouds. The sun’s magnetic field bats away many of the cosmic rays, and its intensification during the 20th century meant fewer cosmic rays, fewer clouds, and a warmer world. On the other hand the Little Ice Age was chilly because the lazy sun let in more cosmic rays, leaving the world cloudier and gloomier.

The only trouble with Svensmark’s idea — apart from its being politically incorrect — was that meteorologists denied that cosmic rays could be involved in cloud formation. After long delays in scraping together the funds for an experiment, Svensmark and his small team at the Danish National Space Center hit the jackpot in the summer of 2005.

In a box of air in the basement, they were able to show that electrons set free by cosmic rays coming through the ceiling stitched together droplets of sulphuric acid and water. These are the building blocks for cloud condensation. But journal after journal declined to publish their report; the discovery finally appeared in the Proceedings of the Royal Society late last year.

Thanks to having written The Manic Sun, a book about Svensmark’s initial discovery published in 1997, I have been privileged to be on the inside track for reporting his struggles and successes since then. The outcome is a second book, The Chilling Stars, co-authored by the two of us and published next week by Icon books. We are not exaggerating, we believe, when we subtitle it “A new theory of climate change”.

Where does all that leave the impact of greenhouse gases? Their effects are likely to be a good deal less than advertised, but nobody can really say until the implications of the new theory of climate change are more fully worked out.

The reappraisal starts with Antarctica, where those contradictory temperature trends are directly predicted by Svensmark’s scenario, because the snow there is whiter than the cloud-tops. Meanwhile humility in face of Nature’s marvels seems more appropriate than arrogant assertions that we can forecast and even control a climate ruled by the sun and the stars.

Writer Chick Predicts…

You know when I was a kid I used to love to read or hear about all the crazy, whacko predictions the psychics of the day would make about the coming year. What was really hilarious was how they would (later) try so hard to make the facts of something somehow mold into a prediction they’d made.

So in the spirit of that – I, Writer Chick, shall also make a few predictions sure not to come true – and if any do, it will be purely accidental.

I predict that in 2007:

  1. Fat people will be outlawed in NYC and if apprehended with a box of oreos, booked for possession of trans-fats.
  2. Teddy Kennedy will become the new spokesperson for Jenny Craig (maybe Kirstie will lend him her old body shapers?).
  3. Global warming will cause hot, fresh pizzas to rain from the skys during hurricanes that rail for 30 minutes or less.
  4. Britney Spears will create her own underwear line called Now you see it – Now you don’t.
  5. In a tell-all book, Madonna will reveal her favorite moisturizer is embalming fluid.
  6. Al Gore will invent a hybrid vehicle that runs on gas and electricity and call it the Priestess.
  7. The ACLU will file a class action lawsuit against the State of Texas in behalf of beef cows, citing slavery and wrongful death as key points.
  8. Apple will unveil its latest innovation, the BlogPod.
  9. Stem cell researchers will successfully replicate a conscience and offer it to Hillary Clinton for beta testing.
  10. Arnold Schwartzeneger will ‘come out’ as a Democrat.
  11. Rosie O’Donnell will admit on Oprah that she is the victim of a botched sex change operation.
  12. The first transexual Miss America will be crowned.
  13. The New York Yankees will win the World Series – by accident.
  14. Scientists will discover that land masses and ice masses surrounded by water experience erosion, thereby diminishing the size of said mass.
  15. Inexpicable accidents and scandals will befall any opponents to Senator Clinton in the bid for the Democrat candidacy.
  16. Barak Obama will blame his ears on President Bush (why not? everything else is his fault.)
  17. In a daring move, CBS will replace anchorperson Katie Couric with Barney the purple dinosaur – hoping to capture the heretofore untapped demographic of oversized stuffed animals everywhere.
  18. The medical community will unanimously agree that living is dangerous to one’s healthy and Congress will pass a law that all newborns henceforth will be tatooed with the Surgeon General’s warning of same.
  19. Michael Moore will premeire his first film based on fact in his biopic called Fat Like Me.
  20. Maureen Dowd will marry Jim Gilchrist and become a born again Libertarian and start her own newspaper called North of the Border.
  21. Bob Woodward will admit on 60 Minutes that everything he has ever written is lies and promote his upcoming book, All I know is I Can’t Tell the Truth.
  22. In an attempt to increase environmental awareness, major designers will develop a machine that can make fabric out of matter recovered in landfills. And use the fabric in their new spring lines. (clothes pins will be issued to all attendees at the Spring showing.)
  23. Jimmy Carter will become the new spokesperson for Jiff peanut butter, making the claim that it has a little known use as mortar (as demonstrated in the habitat for humanity model homes).

and finally….

We’ll all be going to Hell in a handbasket. 😉

Okay, those are my predictions…anyone care to offer some of theirs?