Monday, February 12, 2007

Not Ready to Make Nice

I want to congratulate The Dixie Chicks for there sweep of the Grammy Awards. It was a great comeback victory for the very talented group!

And I applaud their handing of the awards and speeches last night, too. They were a class act. No long political rants, but good spirited zingers.

As I listen to "Not Ready to Make Nice" and the whole
Taking the Long Way album today on Wizard Radio (shameless plug), I really wonder if this is deserving the triple crown awards of "Song of the Year" and "Album of the Year" and "Record of the Year?"

Now, I've long ago learned that the Grammys are not the best or most reliable awards. The industry is famous for honoring one hit wonders as "New Artist of the Year."

And, frankly, any organization that has made yet another recording of "Mahler: Symphony No. 7" as both "Classical Album of the Year" and "Orchestral Performance of the Year" is really suspect for their judgement.

But still, the pop-infused, yet still slow and draggy "Not Ready to Make Nice" seems like a very poor choice for the triple win. It's just not that good.

Which leads me to believe it is largely a political victory and a political statement by the voting members of The Grammys.

And there certainly is nothing wrong with that! The Invasion and Occupation of Iraq, along with the Instigator and Chief, President George Bush, are horribly unpopular! And there cannot be a better messenger than The Dixie Chicks to carry the message to our governmental leaders.

Back in 2001, the President was at the absolute peak of popularity. And, what was then seen as "The War in Iraq" had huge bipartisan backing. So when Natalie Maines shot off her mouth, the Dixie Chicks were suddenly banned from most Country Radio Stations (but never from Wizard Radio).

It was pure politics back in 2001 and it seems to me that the win is pure politics today.

Just as Al Gore's upcoming Academy Award victory for "An Inconvenient Truth" will be a huge political statement by the Academy.

Now I can make a much stronger endorsement for "An Inconvenient Truth." It is an excellent documentary. It's a fine and compelling movie.

And yet..... The politicizing of science is a rather dangerous thing. Today, issuing a statement, a report or a study that counters the overwhelmingly politically correct view of global warming is professional suicide.

It's one thing to politicize the Grammys or the Academy Awards, it's another to treat science the same way.

I sure as hell don't want conservative Christians to stop the teaching or the studying of evolution. But neither do I want the pc liberal left to stifle research into other potential causes of climate change.

One of the nay-sayers about global warming, Neil Calder, has written a superb piece in
The Sunday Times. You don't have to agree with his views on climate science, but we must listen and heed his warning about about the the current political climate.

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.

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.