Friday, April 27, 2018

My Assault on Reason

Late last Friday afternoon I thought I'd try implementing an idea on how to get the latest Penn State scandal revelations into the public discussion.  I thought I'd go to Reason's Hit and Run blog and post comments to most of their writers recent posts. So I commented on these posts and tried to make them at least tangentially related to the content covered:

How To Talk to People Who Think You're Evil and/or Insane: Podcast

The Hidden Legacy of Columbine: Ignorance About School Violence

Some California Cities Are Making It Harder to Quit Smoking

Southern Poverty Law Center Scraps Its Anti-Muslim Hate List

CDC, in Surveys It Never Bothered Making Public, Provides More Evidence That Plenty of Americans Innocently Defend Themselves with Guns

When I went back to look at them Saturday, I found that my comments had been deleted and that, while I was allowed to log in, I was not allowed to comment.

Friday, April 6, 2018

Ziegler's Amazon Review Gone -- Picture Remains

I recently read the book, Silent No More. My local library had it in a digital form that I could download to my computer, where it would remain on my computer until it expired on the due date. I also wrote an Amazon review. This is the book by victim number one in the case against Jerry Sandusky. While scrolling down the Amazon page for this book, I was happy to see a picture of John Ziegler waiting to assault the consciences of any of the principals of this case who happen to do the same. I even mentioned it in my review. But I couldn't find any way to click from this picture to the review.

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

What Kind of Guy is John Ziegler? Ask OJ

On the theme of canned facts (facts that are not reported), there are various reasons why relevant facts are canned, which include, being ignored, being suppressed or simply not being believed. Another reason is that they may have been forgotten. Since I've (to use the pejorative vernacular) bought into John Ziegler's narrative of the Penn State scandal, I thought I'd look into some of the other stuff that Ziegler's done in his journalistic career.

For a number of years, he did a radio talk show with a co-host named Leah Brandon. There's an archive here, where the episodes are easily downloadable (I like to listen to such things on an ipod). I've found a few of his shows, where he could be said to have achieved a bit of infamy. He was a very avid follower of the OJ Simpson case. He had dated Kim Goldman, sister of OJ victim, Ron Goldman. He interviews her here, in the second hour of his show. In the next hour, here, he gives a very entertaining description of how he disrupted a sports memorabilia event attended by OJ. The Goldmans won a civil judgment against OJ and these autograph signing events offered a way for OJ to get around paying cash to the Goldmans. Ziegler found out that there was going to be one of these things very close to where he was living, so he went and told the promoter, "over my dead body!" He successfully managed to prevent OJ from participating in this event and arguable forced him to have to deal with less reputable, sleazy characters, which eventually got him arrested and incarcerated for kidnapping. I highly recommend listening to these episodes.

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Institutional Fact Canning at Penn State

Penn State has examples of the institutional ignoring of facts (or at least sources of facts) in both the Paterno/Sandusky scandal and their investigation of Michael Mann.

Now what most people would think of as ignoring facts in the Paterno/Sandusky case would be coach Joe Paterno, president Graham Spanier, vice president Gary Schultz, and athletic director Tim Curley ignoring sex crimes by Jerry Sandusky and trying to keep them under wraps. But Sandusky got indicted and convicted, Paterno got fired, and Spanier, Schultz and Curley  each got convicted of child endangerment. Then Penn State hired a former FBI director, Louis Freeh, to write a report to explain it all (for $8 million). For the public, the monster was caught and the institutional miscreants were punished. It all looks pretty tidy, unless you've been reading John Ziegler's site, Framing Paterno, or Mark Pendergrast's book, The Most Hated Man in America.

Friday, February 2, 2018

Twitter Etiquette

Well, I'm learning a lot about Twitter etiquette. I wanted to make a lot of climate bloggers and commentators aware of how what everybody thinks they know about the Penn State scandal is likely wrong, and how it might be related to the climate conversation. So I tweeted my post out with as many Twitter names as I could fit per tweet. When one of these tweets got some responses, it produced a lot of static (tweets to wade through) for the rest of the people listed on the tweet. From now on I'll use single tweets or small specifically targeted groupings. Using a lot of names in one tweet is lazy.

A couple people pointed out how to mute the conversation. I've also just found out you can mouse over the names in a reply, and it will let you click for a full check off list. I should probably mention that I never use the Twitter app or home page. I can never keep up.  I prefer go through bookmarked Twitter profiles in a browser.

Thursday, February 1, 2018

Climate Change and Jerry Sandusky

What does Jerry Sandusky have to do with Climate Change? Well, on a very tangential level, Rand Simberg called Michael Mann the "Jerry Sandusky of climate science". In the wake of the Sandusky scandal, Penn State president, Graham Spanier was convicted of child endangerment. Michael Mann touts a letter of support he got from Spanier in his book, The Hockey Stick and the Climate Wars, as I have snickeringly  pointed out in a blog comment thread. Well I've just run across one of the most astounding stories I've ever read and it's been hiding right in plain sight!

At Michael Shermer's site for his Skeptic magazine, I ran across a review of a new book by a very respectable science writer named Mark Pendergrast. It is entitled, The Most Hated Man in America -- Jerry Sandusky and the Rush to Judgement, in which he argues that Sandusky is most likely innocent! Now this is a very sensitive subject and Shermer even included a disclaimer for the review. Some prominent skeptic movement skeptics, such as Jerry Coyne and Danial Dennet have commented on it. It's also gotten some derision, most notably in a couple posts by PZ Myers.

Monday, January 29, 2018

Introductory Post

"Journalism is printing what someone else does not want printed; everything else is public relations." -- version of quote of unknown origin
I'm very interested in climate and energy issues and have been commenting on them for over half a decade in various forums using the handle, Canman. On climate, I have a lukewarmer view, and on energy I advocate for nuclear power and express skepticism of so called renewables. I have a couple of tiny blogs. One is called Canman Climatology, where I explore offbeat ideas. The other is Canman Canned Comments, where I write about some of my misadventures with comment moderation.

In this day and age there is a lot of talk about fake news and fake facts. This has got me to thinking about something similar. A lot of things that appear to be pertinent, verifiable facts are often ignored or omitted. This happens not only in blog posts and news stories but also in official reports and investigations. The reason that a fact is omitted is that it does not fit the narrative that is being conveyed. There can be many motivations behind this. It can be deliberate deception, perhaps a half truth. A fact can be thought to be insignificant, irrelevant or simply not believed. Confirmation bias is something that probably all individuals are subject to. It should be obvious that it can become institutionalized and effect official reports. On the issue of climate, I have found a lot of these ignored facts in two subtopics: Michael Mann's hockey stick graph and Climategate.