Steyn versus the Stick Figure

Mark Steyn writes (and provides a cartoon caricature):

Good news for fake Nobel Laureate Michael E Mann. Iran is launching an Islamic Nobel Prize to be named after Mustafa (ie, Mohammed). Given that he wants it so badly, maybe we can nominate Dr Mann for a Mustafa Prize.

~Speaking of “climate change”, did you stay up all night to watch the all-night Senate “debate”? Me neither. Sitting in for Rush yesterday, I breezily compared the Senate’s so-called “talkathon” to Kim Jong-Un’s impressive 100 per cent of the vote on a 100 per cent voter turnout in his “election” to North Korea’s “legislative assembly”. Senators Barbara Boxer, Sheldon Whitehouse, Angus King and the rest of the “Senate Climate Action Task Force” were engaging in an act of parliamentary fakery quite as absurd as Kim’s “election”.

For a start, it was not a filibuster: Usually, when someone goes full Jimmy Stewart and stands on his feet and talks for hours, it’s to try to block a piece of legislation. But there was no legislation before the Senate. So the Democrats were just talking for the sake of talking. Which in turn raises the question of why there isn’t any bill to debate. After all, Democrats control the Senate. So, if they want to pass a climate-change bill, they can do so any time they want. Instead, they decided to engage in an act of theatre, using the chamber of the Senate as a stage set on which to act out their lame summer-stock let’s-do-the-show-right-here-in-the-Senate version of Mr Smith Goes To Washington.

And even then, unlike Kim Jong-Un with his ersatz election to a pseudo-legislature, the Democrats couldn’t get it right. Unlike, say, the Australian Parliament, which I always enjoy dropping in on when I’m Down Under, in Washington the so-called “world’s greatest deliberative body” can’t deliberate anything. There are no real debates there, ever. When you switch on C-Span, you’ll occasionally see a senator delivering a speech to an empty chamber. If you think watching a man reading a speech written by his staffers out loud to himself is the height of rhetorical panache, then last night was a triumph. Round about 1.30am, I tuned in and the Delaware guy, I think, was droning out a beyond-Oscar list of thank-yous to all the people who made his speech possible – senate staffers, senate pagers, senate janitors, senate busboys… Even if you genuinely take the climate-alarmism line, this was yawnsville stuff. Even Mustafa Prize nominee Michael E Mann found his enthusiasm, like his hockey stick, hard to keep up:

MA represented well by both senators… MT @LCVoters .@MarkeyMemo: we can #ActOnClimate in ways that help economy. #cleanenergy#Up4Climate


~Meanwhile, back on Planet Earth, the divergence between the climate models and reality is ever greater. In other news, it may not all be the fault of your carbon footprint:

Changes in the sun’s energy output may have led to marked natural climate change in Europe over the last 1000 years, according to researchers at Cardiff University.

You don’t say!

Slight changes in the transport of heat associated with these systems can lead to regional climate variability, and the study findings matched historic accounts of climate change, including the notoriously severe winters of the 16th and 18th centuries which pre-date global industrialisation.

The study found that changes in the Sun’s activity can have a considerable impact on the ocean-atmospheric dynamics in the North Atlantic, with potential effects on regional climate.

Well, I never!

~On the subject of Dr Mann’s defamation suit against me, I see it’s the 50th anniversary of New York Times vs Sullivan. To be honest, the very words cause my heart to sink. When you’re in a libel case in the US, all you hear about from your lawyers are New York Times vs Sullivan and Hustler vs Falwell – and, while it’s tiresome to be compared to Larry Flynt for a year’s worth of legal pleadings, being compared to The New York Times isn’t much better. Nevertheless, these are the two landmark cases of recent American libel law, and this Associated Press piece on Sullivan’s half-century contains some interesting points:

“Today one of the reasons I think we don’t have as many libel cases is not just because the Sullivan rule is so widely accepted by everyone, but in a digital world there’s so much greater opportunity for response,” said Bruce W. Sanford, a Washington-based First Amendment lawyer.

If one person says something untrue online, the person being spoken about has many more avenues to reply, agreed David Ardia, a University of North Carolina law professor and the co-director of the school’s Center for Media Law and Policy. In the 1960s, the only way to respond to libel and “reach an audience was to get into the same newspaper, and that’s no longer the case,” he said, adding that the “megaphone” of the Internet is available to everyone.

If Michael Mann feels I said something “untrue” in my 280-word blog post, he has not only the megaphone of the Internet but the influential platforms of The Guardian and The New York Times in which to refute it, not to mention his TV show with Jessica Alba and all manner of other outlets. But his strategy, in America, Britain, Canada, Australia and elsewhere, is always to shut down the argument rather than win it.

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62 thoughts on “Steyn versus the Stick Figure

  1. Dr Mann may or may not be fairly characterized as the Jerry Sandusky of climate research, but it certainly reasonable to remark that he has become the Barbra Streisand of that field. Mr Steyn seems to be supremely familiar with the so-called “Streisand-effect”
    In particular Mann’s previously mainstream consensus promotion of his “Nobel Prize” winning career and reputation seems to have been the first casualty of his lawfare. Though many of Steyn’s remarks are still unreported as widely, NOBODY paying the least attention now accepts Mann’s earlier and widely-made claim to that honor.
    What other claims will be refuted and honors revoked as a result of the suit are still to be determined. But Steyn obviously will NOT settle quietly.

  2. Mark, you have the right to all his e-mails under discovery. Get the University of Virginia e-mails he was so keen to keep secret.

  3. James Taranto has a device in his WSJ “Best of the Web” daily article called METAPHOR ALERT: Michael Mann is acting more like a climate Scientologist every passing day. The Scientologists are famous for filing lawsuits as acts of political control, to harass people and cow them into silence, as opposed to honestly right a wrong. He should be sent to the penalty box for high sticking.
    Mark, thanks for fighting this fight on behalf of all of us. And I do mean all, here. Even the alarmists will be grateful for the money they’ve saved when their own ass-clowns masquerading as scientists are shown to be false prophets. Although real profits are being raked off with all the subsidies, academic jobs with cushy retirement plans, and government funding.

  4. I’ve said it before: Steyn is a brilliant polemicist and the best one writing in the English language today. If they can destroy him financially for writing an incisive post on a well-known public figure who has himself written in books, articles, blogposts and tweets uncomplimentary things about any number of people who do not find his scientific output credible, then freedom of expression as we’ve known it is over.

  5. It’s nice to know that those Senate Democrats, those champions of the working stiffs, decided to spend an all-nighter in a tribute to them. Ok, just to one of them: the hedge fund billionaire, Tom Steyer.

  6. Alarmist Pucks beaten over the head by Hockey Sticks ?
    I shall repeat until someone laughs , ok ,, er that will be me then , hehehehehe

  7. I’ll take 4 Steyn versus the Stick packages
    A man that eloquent has to be saved!

  8. “Now this is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning.” – Winston Churchill, 1942, three years before the end of World War II.

  9. Steyn,
    Great stuff!
    It suggests to me that the only people not openly giggling at Mann’s behavior and work are those who are using him for temporary defensive air cover for their alarmist retreat.

  10. “Mark, thanks for fighting this fight on behalf of all of us. And I do mean all, here. “
    Couldn’t agree more. I’ve come to the reluctant conclusion that many of my fellow skeptics are a bunch of caviling ingrates more concerned with seeing their own whiny opinions printed, than stepping back to appreciate the big picture..For the life of me I can’t understand why some of you aren’t cheering more.
    If any of you guys haven’t dug and dug deep into your pockets for this heroic guy, you’re not worthy of the label “proud skeptic in good standing. “ (Yes, I just made that up, but it seems apt.)

  11. “If you think watching a man reading a speech written by his staffers out loud to himself is the height of rhetorical panache, then last night was a triumph.”
    Steyn can craft a zinger with a level of skill that is almost unmatched in the modern media. P.J. O’Rourke is the only one I’ve read who brings the burn consistently at the same level. In this battle of wits MM is quite literally “the unarmed Mann”. Given what has become of our legal jurisprudence it is still possible that Mann may emerge with some kind of legal ”victory”. but if or when or by the time that happens Mr. Mann will have been on the receiving end of enough “rhetorical panache” that he will feel as if he and his vaunted reputation have been dragged bareassed buck naked through all the cactus in Arizona and New Mexico.
    Of course in the battle against Mann, no real creative writing is required. In this case just getting verbatim quotes from Mr. Mann circulated broadly enough will be more than adequate to fillet the flesh from every bone in his worthless hulk.

  12. [ bold emphasis mine – JW ]
    The Lie That Won’t Die
    by Mark Steyn
    March 3, 2014
    UPDATE! Having touted the “great piece” that re-confers his fake Nobel prize, Michael E Mann (who seems increasingly short of real scientific defenders) is now reduced to linking to Big City Lib – otherwise known as ovine fornication specialist M J Murphy. Mann seems to be acting on the old maxim that “the enemy of my enemy is my go-to sheep-sex guy”. [. . .]

    – – – – – – –
    Exactly, he seems to have a shrinking scientific fan base that is co-focused on con$pira¢y cultists like Oreskes, Lewandowsky and Cook.

  13. Re Mustafa prize, can wuwt “stick” to science please, that is playing to its strength. Manns papers and his behavior are the issue… When we make up untrue stories about people for entertainment I feel it reflects badly, please do not race to the bottom of the gutter with the team and belittle individuals with made up stories like they do.
    the rest of the article was great but the opening was not necessary.

  14. @Rich, Jim Bo –
    SCAT – love it. Describes in almost medical terms what these reptiles are producing, with the added feature that it is coming out of the wrong end of their bodies.

  15. “But [Mann’s] strategy, in America, Britain, Canada, Australia and elsewhere, is always to shut down the argument rather than win it.”
    You don’t say, Mr. Steyn? Actually, I suspect Mann’s strategy is to win his legal argument against you. And he seems to have adopted that strategy only after years of being baited. But by all means, do keep digging that hole you’re in a little deeper.
    You could have avoided your current legal (and possible future financial) difficulties had you focused on criticizing Mann’s science, were you capable.

  16. Rich says:
    March 12, 2014 at 8:30 am
    “Senate Climate Action Task Force” The SCAT Force, really?
    I was looking for a way of injecting a Y into the abbreviation but no need. In england a “scat” is a piece of faeces.

  17. Magma says:
    March 12, 2014 at 12:10 pm
    One of the faithful has come out of the church to defend the Mann.

  18. Magma on March 12, 2014 at 12:10 pm
    – – – – – – – –
    Don’t you think what we are talking about is Mann’s problematic practices in what he claims is science?
    Did you consider that Mann lacks simple ability to debate? So he stifles those actively debating his problematic work.

  19. Magma on March 12, 2014 at 12:10 pm
    – – – – – – –
    Judith Curry describes in the following quote the Michael E. Mann that you do not know about yet:

    Judith Curry said,
    “Michael Mann is having all these problems because he chooses to try to muzzle people that are critical of Mann’s science, critical of Mann’s professional and personal behavior, and critical of Mann’s behavior as revealed in the climategate emails. All this has nothing to do with defending climate science or academic freedom.”

    So, Steyn is addressing that full context of Mann’s ‘science’ as described by Curry.
    Mann does not represent well the science community.

  20. May the SCAT Force be with you “Magma” as you attempt to rally the faithful. As for Dr. Mann….General Schwarzkopf properly categorized his scientific capability….bovine scatology (he was referring to Saddam’s capabilities as a logistician, but if the proctoscope fits).
    I just hope I do not get sued!

  21. Magma suggested: “You could have avoided your current legal (and possible future financial) difficulties had you focused on criticizing Mann’s science, were you capable.”
    Oh dear Magma, the days of arcane statistics ended with Mann’s public support of the hockey stick team vindication by the Science journal Marcott 2013 hockey stick fraud, and but a single glance reveals the game completely, no degree in math required:

  22. John Whitman, Curry would have more success if she focused on the quantity and scope of her own research rather than wasting time constructing contrarian straw men and choosing to become an unofficial spokeswoman for an antiscientific movement looking desperately for anyone with a Ph.D., climate research interests, and a pulse.
    But at least she didn’t try to convince anyone she was a polar bear expert.

  23. I urge everyone to support Mark Steyn in a most pragmatic manner: buy a gift certificate at his online store.
    You don’t actually have to redeem the gift cert for a physical item, and it will help Steyn defray the considerable expenses arising from the execrable Michael Mann’s bogus lawsuit.

  24. Magma said
    “But at least she didn’t try to convince anyone she was a polar bear expert.”
    Unlike Mann trying to convince his Ph.D wasn’t rushed through… Curry’s was earned!
    As for Antiscientific ?LOLOLOLOLOL Priceless, go see your Mann’s ‘work’ for that!

  25. Magma,
    Mann has big problems because he deliberately censored important, relevant data, and hid it in an ftp file; data which, if it had been included in his MBH98/99 papers, would have shown no hockey stick shape.
    Mann was thoroughly debunked by McIntyre and McKitrick. Are you really unaware of the upside-down Tiljander proxy issue? In which Mann was told beforehand, by Ms Tiljander herself, that her proxy had been contaminated and was not usable — but Mann used it anyway, simply because it gave him yet another bogus hockey stick shape? You really didn’t know that??
    And you posted some pal-reviewed papers of Mann’s, while ignoring internationally esteemed scientists who do not agree with Mann, such as M.I.T.’s Prof Richard Lindzen, whose science production leaves Mann in the dust. Got any more cherry-picks for us? Further, are you not aware of Mann’s Climategate emails, where he dishonestly inflates Phil Jones’ CV? You didn’t know that? Then you’d better do some reading about your HE-RO.
    Face reality, Magma: since Mann still refuses to disclose his data and methodology after more than 15 years of formal requests by other scientists, he is nothing but a climate charlatan. Honest scientists share their work, because that is how science progresses. You didn’t know that? Really?

  26. Magma says:
    March 12, 2014 at 1:16 pm
    John Whitman, Curry would have more success if she focused on the quantity and scope of her own research rather than wasting time constructing contrarian straw men and choosing to become an unofficial spokeswoman for an antiscientific movement looking desperately for anyone with a Ph.D., climate research interests, and a pulse.
    [. . .]

    – – – – – – –
    Your response commits the fallacy of the begged question. Why isn’t Curry stifling people who severely critique her, yet Mann appears to do so (both legally and as seen in CG also behind the scene within IPCC and journal cliques) to his severe critics? That begged question leads to a reasonable discussion of whether Mann lacks professional integrity and to the appearance of your ethical compliance with it.
    Curry serves very well the science community by her openness and encouragement of severe dialog in open debate and in fiercely independent public critiques. Her blog shows a wonderful open, balanced, pro-scientific attitude which is starkly in contrast to Mann’s.
    This thread dialog helps support the idea that science will gain by exposing the stifling bully tactics of coercion substituted for knowledge in science.

  27. Magma,
    So you are in favor of weighting bristlecone pine PROXY data about 390x over other proxies, use this to plot temperature to about 1960, then, since that curve DIVERGES from what you want, you tack on observed temp data to complete your hockey stick? You better check your list of Mann’s “science” again, you might not want to call it your own…..

  28. Before wasting too much time on Magma, a Steyn quote might be in order:
    “Nor, despite a flying visit to the Falklands and a couple of wet weekends in Wales, have I ever been attracted to sheep-shagging. But I imagine it feels a bit like dealing with Messrs Miller, Murphy and the Law R Cool kids: No matter how often you roger them senseless, they keep on bleating.”
    Eventually (in about 12 years), we’ll get our payback as the defence witnesses trudge past Mann’s table after fielding questions and, SHOCK, follow-up questions:
    Phil Jones: (muttering) hope it was worth it, a**hole.
    Briffa: Hide this, dip$4!+.
    Schmidt: [the science has moved on – gavin]
    Appell: I did my best for you, mein fuhrer, and I promise I’ll get your luggage up to your room as soon as I make bail! Hands off, fool! I’m a scientist!
    Hanson: You’re all gonna die unless you make make me supreme ruler of shangri-la and you all kneel down before me!
    Phil: if a == b then a = a-(b*.0325)… that’s it!

  29. “Tom J says: March 12, 2014 at 9:09 am

    Jim Bo

    Rich says: March 12, 2014 at 8:30 am
    “Senate Climate Action Task Force” The SCAT Force, really?
    God, I love this place.

    March 12, 2014 at 8:51 am


    All in favor?

  30. “Magma says: March 12, 2014 at 12:10 pm

    You could have avoided your current legal (and possible future financial) difficulties had you focused on criticizing Mann’s science, were you capable…”

    Oh? Know any Mann science that’s actual science? Independently replicated and verified by anyone who desires to around the world? Of course not. What has been proven is that his science produces hocketysticks no matter the data. Using Manniacal’s science would prove you are going to die of fever based on your personal body temperature readings.
    So what brought you here today magma? Buzzing in the ear? Sinus drip? Cold shiver down the back?

  31. Rich says:
    March 12, 2014 at 8:30 am
    “Senate Climate Action Task Force” The SCAT Force, really?
    Well we do have truth in advertising laws….

  32. Admad says: March 12, 2014 at 3:42 pm
    You seem not to have considered that Christians might find your video portrayal of them as rabid believers offensive.

  33. I still find it highly amusing the way Mann does so much good work for the very people he hates , keep him in the spot light, keep him under pressure and his massive ego will do the rest for us.

  34. Admad says:
    March 12, 2014 at 3:42 pm
    – – – – – – – –
    In your video there was a very powerful visual impact throughout. And it had a haunting refrain set to a wonderful old tune.

    ‘I’m being sued by Steyn.
    Oh what can it mean,
    To an AGW believer
    And a rabid eco-green’

    Now I am going to be humming that tune and refrain for days . . . . : )

  35. It’s been 24 hours, and I think the Senate Sergeant at Arms is still having the janitorial staff cleaning out all the manure from the Senate floor.

  36. As a powerful lapel pin or button (or The-shirt or coffee cup) for climate contrarians, I suggest a pair of upraised (and possibly handcuffed) hands snapping a hockey stick (with its blade upturned at the right) in half. It is based on the well-known (to many warmists) logo of the War Resisters League, in which the hands are snapping a rifle. The caption could be “Gore Resisters League.” It would be witty and annoying to warmists. Here’s a link to an earlier version I had created. Mr. Steyn is welcome to adapt it to his cause if he desires.
    Another idea: A fist making a thumb-down gesture, with the thumb being an inverted hockey stick.

  37. Per John Whitman’s Steyn quote (03/12/14), “ovine fornication specialist” referring to sheep rather than (bovine) cattle molestation, we prefer the gentler, kinder designation “mouflon friendly”. In partisan-political mode, Mann et al. could doubtless obtain Soros sponsorship of their very own website known as

  38. They say that to be a great climate modeler you need a set of crystal balls. I believe that Mikey has such a set. At the same time he has shown himself to be a sensitive and delicate person.
    I think he should be called Crystal Balls Mikey.

  39. Rich says:
    March 12, 2014 at 8:30 am
    “Senate Climate Action Task Force” The SCAT Force, really?
    Well everyone knows that you can’t polish a turd, but they’re breaking new ground in figuring out how many times you can roll one in glitter.

  40. I was wondering how long that would stay up. Well spotted the guy with the big vocabulary!

  41. >buy a gift certificate
    Stores that sell gift certificates must keep most of the money in reserve against the future use of that certificate. The money isn’t available for other uses. You may not intend to redeem the certiifcate, but there is no way the seller can know that and no way they can legally take advantage of that intent.
    It might well be better to immediately redeem the gift certificate by buying something. That would eliminate the reserve requirement on the money the seller retains after fulfilling the purchase.
    It would be far better to have a way to just make a contribution.

  42. It is great that true believers like “Magma” do come out of the rocks, so to speak. It reminds people of how empty AGW dogma is when scrutinized. And it provides cheap entertainment. to boot.

  43. It’s empty when it’s not scrutinized. Do you guys know what the name of the over-arching field is, that
    James Hansen
    Phil Jones
    Michael Mann
    Keith Briffa
    Kevin Trenberth
    Tom Wigley
    took over?
    The “Infrared Cooling Model” computer modeling field.
    That’s the name of the field itself, all these “infrared warming model” peddlers, work in.

  44. Paul Schauble says:
    March 13, 2014 at 2:07 am
    “>buy a gift certificate
    Stores that sell gift certificates must keep most of the money in reserve against the future use of that certificate. The money isn’t available for other uses. […]”

    ??? That make’s no sense to me unless a gift certificate is redeemable for cash which is (almost) never the case. ( caveat – California requires issuers to give cash back when less that $10 remains on the certificate. Other states’ laws vary)
    Say you have a gift certificate. If the store (brick and mortar or online) is still in business when you decide to use the certificate, you drop in (in person or online) and choose something from their stock. Of what use is keeping most your cash if you can only buy merchandise? Then they wouldn’t have anything in stock but cash when you stop in to pick out a… oh say… a sweater.
    What has changed is that laws are now on the books to eliminate ‘maintenance’ and ‘service’ fees that eroded gift card values to nothing and in most cases, the laws have eliminated any expiration dates on merchandise gift cards. Worthless gift cards used to be quite the scandal.
    Anyhow, after a bit of Bing-ing on the topic – just because something makes no sense to me doesn’t mean a government wouldn’t do something non-sensical, right? – I couldn’t find much in the way of cash reserve requirements for merchandise gift cards. I’d welcome a pointer to that requirement if it is common and I missed it.

  45. I think the Mustaffa nobel prize comment was not warranted. However, this Magma, Anthony has his/her IP Address, so can check on where it is being sent from. He/she appears to be registering his/her disapproval of Mark launching a cross petition, that is threatening not only Mannies hockey stick theory, but also the credibility of his data collection. Well that’s up to Mark. And we are all backing him, on this site. (Nearly all) You reckon that there will be all the delays that Mann and his legal team will try. I don’t know about the American legal systems, but if you cross petition I believe this can not happen like in the Tim Ball court case. Good luck Mark. Shame – but if Mark wins, will this prompt a class action against Mann. Very interesting concept.

  46. “I think the Mustaffa nobel prize comment was not warranted.”
    If Steyn was capable of just sticking to the facts he wouldn’t be in the mess he is now.

  47. Actually, if Mann ws capable of just sticking to the facts, HE wouldn’t be in the mess, HE is now.

  48. I believe ya. Of course according to US Law neither does anything Steyn’s said. Mann’s a public policy advisory, public figure actively involved in trying to influence government thus government dollars, thus US Citizen dollars and the people of the Western World aren’t really into being told to shut up, their government employees decided they’re making decisions without others’ input.
    Mann is so at the end of his rope, it’s just a matter of time till once again, in spite of all the alarm generator blogs will say, a kook is going to hit the end of his rope and it’s going to be ‘adios dumb&&s when the Democrats figure out crime and fraud cannot reign forever.
    You watch. Mann’s a public figure. It was over before he ever even filed suit.

  49. Lol, I hope you don’t give out a lot of legal advice Norman. If you publish allegations of scientific fraud you’d damn well better be able to prove it.
    Next up: cries of discrimination and incompetence of the courts when the case doesn’t go how you imagine it will. Of course it won’t be anything to do with you not having a clue, it will be the fault of the court and liberals.

  50. Drumphil, if the plaintiff doesn’t provide proof his data justifies not being defamed, then he is in affect hiding crucial evidence. But you are right in a way, as Steyn must provide proof that Mann’s research and data or computer model is flawed, and he received handsome funds to supply it.

  51. Anthony do you mean the MSM reaction. Well good I am feeling better already. (Been a bit off color lately)
    Cheers everyone.

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