Hot Air

No Schadenfreude Here

So Fred Phelps is dead. Lots of folks on my side of the fence are expressing glee over his passing. Not me.

I’d always seen Phelps as a pitiable, extremely sick individual. No sane person could do what he did for so long and so conscientiously. He gave his entire life over to a campaign of senseless, pointless, self-destructive demonstrations of pure hate. Yet he never hurt anyone except himself. Even people who fought tooth and nail against same-sex marriage and other LGBTQ advancements in rights must have cringed every time Phelps’ psychopathy-distorted face appeared on a TV screen. I’d argue that he did more to advance the cause of acceptance and rights for non-straight people than any dozen LGBTQ activists.

Phelps

A Face Of Pain

If I feel anything, it’s relief that man whose life was poisoned by sheer self-induced misery finally is at peace.

OTOH: When Andrew Breitbart died, that was different. He was sane but a self-centered, miserable, lying, dangerous excuse for a human being. To this day I’m deliriously happy that Breitbart’s dead.

The Girl & The Jet

Notice how a judge ruled against the Spierers yesterday? The grieving parents of the missing IU student wanted to keep some evidence under wraps in their negligence lawsuit against two young men who spent time with Lauren the night she went missing.

Apparently, Robert and Charlene Spierer thought the release of all evidence might compromise a potential criminal case against anyone who might bear responsibility for their daughter’s disappearance. The judge ruled, whoa, all criminal and civil proceedings are open to the public.

Well, that’s not precisely true but this is not a case of national security or clear and present danger or even anything that might embarrass someone in a position of power.

Anyway, how many of us have forgotten about Lauren? It occurs to me that I really don’t even see those missing student posters and flyers that still adorn doors and shop windows around town. Natch, the Spierers will never forget. And Lauren’s story will become headline news once again when she’s found.

Poster

Part Of The Landscape

The whole thing still puzzles me. Lauren is our town’s MH Flight 370. How can a college student or an airliner simply disappear from the face of the Earth? Kidnappers and murderers aren’t arch-criminals. They don’t possess wondrous machines that allow them to daze and awe the law abiding world while they go about their nefarious business. Real-life bad guys leave clues. They’re sloppy. They’re careless. They’re human.

Of course, that missing Malaysian jet probably was not hijacked or blown up. That breed of criminal doesn’t often keep his evil deeds on the qt. The whole idea being he wants the world to know what a fearsome character he is. Run of the mill baddies don’t go trumpeting their stunts, sure, but 99.9 percent of the time they lack the smarts and the wherewithal to cover up their actions for too terribly long.

Flight 370 Family

Waiting

Meanwhile, the hundreds of family members and friends await word in Kuala Lumpur. As do a couple of parents in Long Island.

Credible Numbers

Statistics centerfold model Nate Silver is taking a lot of heat these days for a climate change article he ran on his new website 538. In the piece, author Roger Pielke, Jr. states that we’re spending tons more dough to clean up after climate-related disasters than ever before, not necessarily because storms are getting worse or more frequent but because the value of our damaged or destroyed assets has mushroomed.

Those trying to alert the gen. public to the dangers of climate change are apoplectic. They feel the 538 piece just might give folks the wrong impression about how costly C.C. already is, and will be in the near future.

Now we come to the point where every climate change argument falls on either side of a line separating canon from apostasy. Nate Silver and Roger Pielke, Jr. suddenly find themselves cast as villains, saboteurs, heretics.

A few climate scientists are saying Pielke’s statistical methodology was suspect. Maybe. But Silver and those who work with and for him have virtually unassailable reps when it comes to crunching numbers.

It seems, though, that the criticisms come from the corner of the human psych that holds that established wisdom must never be challenged, even if the challenge is the splitting of hairs over a few dollar figures. Certainly acceptance of climate change is established wisdom these days, at least among those who are nominally sane. Sure, troglodytes like Sen. James Inhofe may believe climate change is a hoax and, yes, he’s in a position of power to do something (or, far more likely, nothing) about it. But the scientific community and we lay folks who consider ourselves well-read buy into forecasts of potential global climate disaster.

Hurricane Sandy

Hurricane Sandy Aftermath

Given that, anybody who dares to suggest things aren’t as dire as the most alarmist of us might believe is seen as the enemy now.

Climate change is real, and a real danger; only let’s not get sloppy with the evidence. That’s all Silver and Pielke are saying.

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