"Our greatest responsibility is to be good ancestors."

-Jonas Salk

Thursday, March 10, 2011

The K Word

Cenk Uygur says what we're all coming to understand:

Even Henry Waxman is willing to say it:

What does the New York Times say?


My favorite quote, about the prank call to my friend (the sort of person it gives me pleasure to recall) Governor Walker of Wisconsin
Mr. Koch joked that the call could cause him problems. “I was thinking to myself, ‘My God, if I called up a senator or a congressman to discuss something with them, and they heard ‘David Koch is on the line,’ they’d immediately say, ‘That’s that fraud again — tell him to get lost!’ ” he said with a laugh
Yeah, that must suck. You know, I certainly expect my senator to pick up the phone pretty much within five minutes of me calling, myself. I'd hate it if some prankster claiming to be me would so tarnish my reputation as to slow that down to ten or fifteen.


Dol said...

Nice timing for the Koch brothers there. Interesting comparative story:

"Two days before the lawsuit was launched, the Sunday edition of the New York Times's Metro section led with a feature about how much Sadik-Khan had upset people with her highhanded approach to policy-making. ... there was no attempt to report the facts – the booming commerce in the newly pedestrianised Times and Herald Squares, the improvements in road safety, particularly pedestrian casualty numbers, from the traffic-calming effect of installing bike lanes, and the increase in cycle use itself."

"... this feature had sat on the stocks until an editor decided the moment was ripe. And that moment just happened to be the Sunday before the Monday when the lawsuit was filed."

Anonymous said...

Walker to guy-who-he-thought-was-Koch,

Talked about what we were going to do, how we were going to do it, we had already kind of doped plans up, but it was kind of a last hurrah, before we dropped the bomb and I stood up and I pulled out a, a picture of Ronald Regan and I said you know this may seem a little melodramatic but 30 years ago Ronald Regan whose 100th birthday we just celebrated the day
before um had one of the most defining moments of his political career, not just his presidency,
when he fired the air traffic controllers and uh I said to me that moment was more important
than just for labor relations and or even the federal budget, that was the first crack in the Berlin
Wall and the fall of Communism because from that point forward the soviets and the communists knew that Ronald Regan wasn’t a pushover and uh, I said this may not have as broad a world implications but in Wisconsin’s history—little did I know how big it would be nationally, in Wisconsin’s history, I said, this is our moment, this is our time to change the course of history and this is why it’s so important that they were all there. I had a cabinet meeting this morning and I reminded them of that. I said for those who thought I was being melodramatic, you now know it was purely putting it in the right context.


People should also look what's going on in Michigan, Ohio, Idaho, and few others. Also look at the new new voting laws being proposed. Look at the bizarre laws in Michigan where the governor is asking for power to absolve unions, schools, and even town districts in, ya know, emergencies. I'm hoping the mainstream media picks up on what's happening all over and not just focus on Wisconsin. If there is still a 'left' here, or even a concerned middle, awaken please.

Anonymous said...

Does it matter who funds a particular scientific enquiry? Isn't truth the final arbiter? And perhaps someone could add up all the diverse ways and means in which publi money is directed towards those employed in attempting to prove the truth of global warming. And dare I mention Mr. Soros?

Jest askin'! (I say, what do you think of my accent?)

David Duff

Michael Tobis said...

Welcome back, David, long time no see.

Insofar as I know, nobody is on the public dime "attempting to prove the truth" of any proposition in this country or most other countries where science is done.

There are a few people paid to do outreach, which is to say, to convey the state of science to the public. I think the minute IPCC funding would come under this category.

Insofar as I know, only private money works backward from a conclusion.

In the broader issues of policy, it is one thing to say the Kochs have the right to put their money where their mouth is. It is another to make it increasingly difficult for less well-endowed opponents to colectively act to do so. The Kochs seem to be working tirelessly on both fronts, which tends inexorably toward oligarchy and ultimately instability.

I don't begrudge them their wealth. I question the shortsighted way in which they apply it. They are tirelessly playing a game they have already won. They should look around them and see that there are other games in town.

Steve L said...

Is the word Koch or Kleptocracy?
I think mt is being too kind to the Kochs. They don't deny (all of) the science of anthropoginic CO2 mediated climate change. (They may not think it will be very bad.) Yet they sponsor people/institutions/activities specifically to deny science with which they don't disagree. This is one example of them not putting their money where their mouths actually are. They often try to hide their influence (putting their money where someone else's mouth appears to be). It's disingenuous -- somehow the opposite of putting money where one's mouth is -- and it's an affront to democracy.

manuel moe g said...

quoting MT: "They are tirelessly playing a game they have already won."

I disagree. I think the ball is still in play. One of the recent surprises Mother Nature has played on us is having the new heat *not* gently warming the cold oceans, but *instead* powering chaotic extreme weather.

The issue of taxing the past winners to pay for the losses to current victims will definitely grow.

Until recently, I thought they were just trying to play out the clock. But their fossil fuel wealth will definitely become increasingly embarrassingly conspicuous in a world of current-day losers to climate disruption.

[Not a cheerful prospect to see the comeuppance, because it will be delivered by so much human suffering.]

Anonymous said...

Steve L:

"I think mt is being too kind to the Kochs. [...] They often try to hide their influence (putting their money where someone else's mouth appears to be)."


MT, it seems you're working under a model in which

(1) literally everyone in the world -- including David Koch, David Duff, and Tom Fuller -- is an honest (if misguided) hard-working person who's always trying to to do the right thing, and

(2) you can reach them and get them to see the error of their ways, merely by talking nicely to them, explaining things using logic and math, perhaps flattering them a bit.

But you need to think about this question: What if your model is wrong?

What if your assumptions on human nature -- which I'm sure are shaped by your encounters with your own circle of family and friends -- don't really apply in the larger context to the Koch brothers, or to the people in Congress, or even to David Duff? What if there are people out there who are willfully, actively being dishonest, for no good reason other than that they can?

Your world model effectively dismisses this possibility a priori, and leaves no room whatsoever for countering willful lying. (And that's not even touching on part (2) of your model.)

-- frank

Michael Tobis said...

By having already won, I mean the Kochs are about as wealthy as is possible, and nothing is likely to change that.

As for whether they are sincere, they are too alien from my experience for me to venture.

I am reasonably confident that both Fuller and Duff are sincere, in their respective somewhat confused ways. I don't think, that is, that they misrepresent their actual beliefs.

Michael Tobis said...

Link fixed. Thanks, Steve.

Martin Vermeer said...

> Does it matter who funds a particular
> scientific enquiry?

No, it doesn't. What I do have a problem with, is anybody funding a particular scientific result.