Category Archives: Podcasts

Talking about good podcasts.

Man of the Year 2009: Mark Levin

Though the egregiously biased and transparently liberal Time Magazine picks their Man of the Year based upon sheer newsworthiness without regard to whether the recipient had a positive or negative impact, I do not share their lack of concern for the results.  My Man of the Year nomination can only go to someone who has made positive contributions to my country.

Every conservative in America should be familiar with Mark Levin.  If you do not know him you are missing out on perhaps the sharpest mind in conservatism, and you are doing a disservice to yourself by not taking advantage of his knowledge and deep intellect.  The more you listen to “the Great One”, as his good friend Hannity calls him, the more prepared you will be to intellectually battle those on the left who seek to make us all slaves to the State.

Before early 2009 my exposure to Mark was limited to seeing him once or twice on Hannity & Colmes and hearing him call into Hannity’s radio show a few times.  To be completely honest, though it was obvious that he is brilliant, I considered him a little obnoxious.  Then last January, after the inauguration of the least qualified president in US History, I discovered the Mark Levin Radio Show podcast and started listening to it on my Zune whenever I was driving.  Being from the Atlanta area, I grew up listening to Neal Boortz, and I went through periods of listening to Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity and Martha Zoeller, but with a demanding job as a software developer I could not sit around and listen to their shows live.  My job simply requires too much concentration.  Additionally, coming from the libertarian side of conservatism I had little patience for GOP talking points and defense of their watered-down conservatism.

Unlike most of the rest of the syndicated conservative radio hosts, however, Mark Levin provides his radio show in podcast form for free.  In fact, it is almost always posted on his web site within 30-45 minutes of the end of the show, which runs live from 6-9pm eastern time.  Free access to his radio show in podcast form allows people like me to listen to his show when convenient, and I typically listen to the previous evening’s show the next morning while commuting.  In addition to clearly articulating the positions that I have been espousing for years, to a certain extent he has also restored my faith in my fellow Americans.  On his Friday show he closes with Ray Charles’ incredible version of America, and though I would initially skip it to get to those last three minutes of his show, now I listen to it and take strength from it.

In the spring of 2009, Mark released the most significant political book written in my lifetime.  The book, Liberty and Tyranny, is simply brilliant.  In one rather short book he very cogently brings together the most important concepts and historical perspectives of conservatism and American liberty that I have ever seen, and I have been reading the works of thinkers like Friedman and Hayek, as well as our founding documents and the Federalist Papers, for 20 years.  The fact of the matter is that if you are conservative and have not read Liberty and Tyranny, you are truly doing yourself a disservice.  Carefully reading this book will arm you for philosophical exchanges around the water cooler, or your favorite blog, like nothing else can.  To gain the insights that you will get from Liberty and Tyranny, you would have to read dozens of other books, but Mark has pulled together the most important concepts and historical examples into this one short book.  Furthermore, it is a remarkably good read, which is more than one can say for most political books by conservatives.

Libertarian leaning conservatives like me have been quoting the founding fathers and the US Constitution from memory for a couple of decades, but thanks to Mark Levin’s book and his radio show regular people are now doing the same thing.  They are actually reading the text of the Declaration of Independence, the US Constitution, and even the Federalist Papers.  They are learning more about the history of their country, the greatest nation in the history of mankind, and are gaining more depth and perspective to fight this battle against statism, a word that Levin has pushed back into the lexicon.  Mark Levin has made that happen through his great book, his entertaining radio show, and the force of his honest and direct personality.  Mark also shares my feelings of respect for our country and the people who serve her, giving a shout out to the military, police, and firefighters at the close of each show.

It is unlikely that I will ever be fortunate enough to meet Mark and express my gratitude and respect, but he is and will always be a brother.  One need only listen to Mark for 10 minutes to realize that what he says and the positions that he takes are based upon a deeply held love for America and what it stands for.  His show is not just entertainment; it is full of deep philosophical thought and reverence for the greatest country in history.

God bless you, Mark Levin.  You are the man of the year in my book.

Now let’s kick ass and take names in 2010.

Not So Skeptical Skeptics

One of the best podcasts that you will find is The Skeptic’s Guide to the Universe.  I link to their podcast feed over on the right side of my blog page under GREAT PODCASTS and I highly recommend it.  I have learned a lot from their discussions of science-related current events and they are even funny while they do it.  Steve Novella, the main guy, is simply sharp as a tack.  Having said all of that, they really disappointed me with their response to the ongoing scandal that has been dubbed “ClimateGate”.

Additionally, I was absolutely stunned to discover that none of the Big Three networks have covered the scandal and the leaked information and ramifications at all on television.  Seriously – this is a blatant news blackout.  I simply cannot believe that they would be so obvious.  Someone on Twitter humorously suggested that we should accuse Tiger Woods of involvement to get some coverage, but I digress…

I will admit up front that I have always been a skeptic when it comes to anthropogenic climate change (what used to be called Global Warming before cold spells undercut that mantra).  My pre-ClimateGate reasons for this skepticism include things like the pre-industrial Medieval Warm Period, the outright silliness of trying to consider the Little Ice Age to be a baseline for normal temperatures, the discredited Hockey Stick graph, James Hanson’s deceitful attempt to use September temperatures to make October look inordinately hot, it goes on and on.  Additionally, part of my reluctance to get on board is the stink of a social/political agenda on the part of the high priests of the church of man-made climate change.  Additionally, though believers love to dismiss any non-believers who receive research money from energy concerns they do not use that same standard for these scientists who get massive grants for coming up with the “approved” results, nor do they talk much about Al Gore cashing in on it.  They simply [naively] assume altruism in those people.

Having said that, ClimateGate is a huge scandal, and while I can understand people like Michael Mann (the huckster who created the discredited hockey stick graph) and Phil Jones circling the wagons to protect themselves and their [well-funded] alarmist industry, I cannot understand why the SGU rogues and their friend-of-the-SGU Phil Plait (the Bad Astronomer) seem to be willing to throw aside their alleged skepticism in order to stick to their story.  In doing so they embarrass themselves and have seriously undercut their well earned credibility, particularly with those of us in the sub-group that Steve once dubbed their “libertarian listeners”.

I listened to the SGU podcast #227 to see how they would respond to the damning information that has come to light from the leaked (or hacked) data pulled from the UK’s Climate Research Unit.  Did they mention the scientists conspiring to use tricks to hide the decline in recent global temperatures (“Mike’s trick”)?  Nope.  Did they mention the scientists discussing illegal schemes to hide their data from Freedom of Information (FOIA) Requests?  Nope.  Did they talk about the fact that these scientists claim that all of the raw, unadjusted data has been lost, with only the “corrected” (i.e. “tricked”) data left available?  No, they did not.  They simply circled the wagons and took the typical [shout-down fascism] tactic of calling us anthropogenic climate change skeptics “deniers”, a well-known reference equating us to holocaust deniers.

Bad Astronomer Phil Plait, who is president of the JREF and seems to be a very decent guy, even took the ridiculous position of dismissing it with this pathetic statement:

Bottom line? Yawn. Get back to me when you have equally overwhelming evidence that global warming is not happening, or if it is it’s not anthropogenic. Then we can talk.

One could argue that his statement is an example of the logical fallacy called the argument from ignorance, “in which it is claimed that a premise is true only because it has not been proven false”.

When the data is called into question you cannot dismiss skeptics based upon your unwavering faith in that same questionable data.  Perhaps in such a situation one should check one’s premises.

These so-called scientists have been using tricks to arrive at their pre-determined conclusion, have talked of avoiding FOIA requests, and have “lost” the raw data, but the skeptics at SGU continue to declare that it is settled science… based upon the very people and data that have now been shown fairly convincingly to be lies, half-truths, manipulations, and obfuscations.  I am trying to find a good analogy here to describe what they are doing in defending the ClimateGate offenders.  Maybe the way football fans will let a player get away with egregious crimes because they feel like they are on the same team?  Perhaps a better analogy is the way that people who naively supported vacuous candidate Obama still refuse to admit that they were hoodwinked by his platitudes.  Those analogies are not exactly right but I am getting close.  I will have to put more thought into that.  Maybe they have simply gotten so used to defending against “deniers” that they are just doing the thoughtless knee-jerk reaction.

Perhaps most importantly, the computer models on which a lot of this theory is based did not predict our current cooling trend.  Why is that?  Because as analysis of the source code is now revealing, they coded the software with a conclusion in mind, fudging things to make them work.  Poor Harry, whoever that is, but I will get to that in a minute.

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