Free Markets, Free People

Irene–hurricane of hype?

What a weekend.  Hurricane Irene, the most hyped hurricane since Katrina, lived up to its billing … as a category 3 hurricane.   In other words, it did what you’d expect a cat 3 to do.  But if you listened too the press and government officials, this was a mega-storm, a storm that was the “harbinger of a change in climate” as the NY Times breathlessly claimed.

Instead it turned out to be a pretty ordinary hurricane that did indeed do some damage, but no more than a normal cat 3 (although it did make landfall twice) and it unfortunately killed some people, but mostly in freak accidents.  Finally, it blew out, downgraded to a tropical storm, before it ever reached New York City.

However the spectacle created on-shore by the approach of the hurricane was something to behold.  It had to be at least category 6.  We have a president with plummeting poll numbers taking “command” at the National Hurricane Center.  And we have the press out and about, trying to make the storm much more than it was:

For the television reporter, clad in his red cagoule emblazoned with the CNN logo, it was a dramatic on-air moment, broadcasting live from Long Island, New York during a hurricane that also threatened Manhattan.

“We are in, right, now…the right eye wall, no doubt about that…there you see the surf,” he said breathlessly. “That tells a story right there.”

Stumbling and apparently buffeted by ferocious gusts, he took shelter next to a building. “This is our protection from the wind,” he explained. “It’s been truly remarkable to watch the power of the ocean here.”

The surf may have told a story but so too did the sight behind the reporter of people chatting and ambling along the sea front and just goofing around. There was a man in a t-shirt, a woman waving her arms and then walking backwards. Then someone on a bicycle glided past.

So much for Irene the storm.  What was all the hype about?

A couple things seem apparent.   Politically the storm was seen as a, forgive the word choice, windfall.  It was something which would allow the government to prove its worth, to demonstrate the lessons it had learned since Katrina (funny that this is the first hurricane since Katrina on which this could be “demonstrated”).  It also gave the president national face time (speech), a way to demonstrate leadership (without risk) and hopefully a surge in the polls.  The compliant press was glad to go along:

The White House sent out 25 Irene emails to the press on Saturday alone.

There were photographs of President Barack Obama touring disaster centres and footage of him asking sombre, pertinent questions. With his poll ratings plummeting, Obama needed to project an aura of seriousness and command. He was all too aware that the political fortunes of his predecessor George W Bush never recovered after the Hurricane Katrina disaster of 2005.

The press mostly reported the message the White House had carefully crafted: “Obama takes charge” read the headline of one wire service story.

Instead, it all turned out, it seems, to have been a giant over-reaction.  We’ve handled numerous cat 3 (and higher) hurricanes throughout our history without all the governmental drama and dire warnings.  One can only factor sinking poll numbers into this particular event to have it make any sense.

Then there was the global warning crowd who seems bent on using any weather event as a “harbinger” of things to come because of wicked, evil humans and their carbon drenched lifestyles.  And they end up trying to use a fairly ordinary cat 3 hurricane as their example.  But, of course, the hurricane seasons of the past few years have been a bit of a disappointment to those types, hasn’t it? Fewer storms and of a lesser intensity.  You know your theory is bankrupt when you’re reduced to hyping a cat 3 as Justin Gillis did in the New York Times:

The scale of Hurricane Irene, which could cause more extensive damage along the Eastern Seaboard than any storm in decades, is reviving an old question: are hurricanes getting worse because of human-induced climate change?

The simple answer to the question seems to be – “no”.

But that doesn’t stop the alarmists from using this occasion to tar the skeptical side with ad hominem attacks instead of facts.

Paul Krugman publishes pure fiction:

In fact, if you follow climate science at all you know that the main development over the past few years has been growing concern that projections of future climate are underestimating the likely amount of warming. Warnings that we may face civilization-threatening temperature change by the end of the century, once considered outlandish, are now coming out of mainstream research groups.

And, of course Al Gore is reduced to calling skeptics the equivalent of racists.

Back to Krugman though.  As I’ve followed it, climate science seems to be saying exactly the opposite of is assertion seems to be true. A) it seems most scientists are becoming more aware of how much we don’t know about the climate (certainly not enough to be drawing the conclusions being drawn), B) the CERN study seems to put “broken” on the alarmist modeling which has driven the AGW crowd’s argument (I won’t dignify it with the word “theory”) and C) if anything, science now sees the possibility of a cooling trend, not a warming trend.

But you have to actually “follow climate science” to know that.

Meanwhile in Australia, a study is coming out that links mental illness to climate change:

RATES of mental illnesses including depression and post-traumatic stress will increase as a result of climate change, a report to be released today says.

The paper, prepared for the Climate Institute, says loss of social cohesion in the wake of severe weather events related to climate change could be linked to increased rates of anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress and substance abuse.

As many as one in five people reported ”emotional injury, stress and despair” in the wake of these events.

Yeah, is the “emotional injury” a result of “climate change” or having your house, which shouldn’t have been built in a flood plane to begin with, washed away in a flood?  Obviously people are going to be emotionally injured when they lose their house.  But the same could be said about them if it burned down because of a grease fire.

These examples provide a look at two groups desperately casting around for favorable examples and coverage for themselves and their agendas.  Politicians who’ve now decided the new normal for weather events is to have a media event, and the AGW crowd who will use anything, absolutely anything, no matter how absurd, to try to revive their dying assertions.

Welcome to the hurricane of hype. 

~McQ

Twitter: @McQandO

25 Responses to Irene–hurricane of hype?

  • RATES of mental illnesses including depression and post-traumatic stress will increase as a result of climate change, a report to be released today says.
    The paper, prepared for the Climate Institute, says loss of social cohesion in the wake of severe weather events related to climate change could be linked to increased rates of anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress and substance abuse

    I wonder if there is a lawyer who would like to sue the entire “enviro-hysteria-complex” for infliction of depression and PTSD.

    • Bound to be…those grasping sombitches will sue anybody over anything…

      • But if you look at the timeline, you come to realize that “Climate Change,” at least in it’s current manifestation, begins almost perfectly with the Gulf War I and continues thru 9/11, the Iraq War, and the current adventure in Afghanistan.  All those studies about how war causes “increased rates of anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress and substance abuse,” I guess, are just water under the bridge.

  • This may seem a little cold-blooded, but the deaths that resulted from the actual hurricane when it was a hurricane are the kinds of things that happen in thunderstorms.  They are never nationally reported.
    And are trees evil, or do they have a right to attack people’s homes when they are asleep?  (Look for a series in The New Yorker.)

    • Depends.  Are they Tea Party trees?

      • No, of course not.  If they were, they would protest, but never attack.  And you’d ever have to rake leaves, since they would clean up after themselves.  They would also bear fruit.

  • Jon Huntsman Jr., a former Utah governor and ambassador to China, isn’t a serious contender for the Republican presidential nomination. And that’s too bad, because Mr. Hunstman has been willing to say the unsayable about the G.O.P. — namely, that it is becoming the “anti-science party.” This is an enormously important development. And it should terrify us.
    –Krugman, former Enron advisor

    The Collective is accelerating into its paranoid style for the early 21st Century.  Make stuff up, and be AFRAID…!!!!  It is a way to generate crisis, and we all know how useful those can be.

    • “namely, that it is becoming the “anti-science party.””
       
      riiiiight – Krugman; superstition by another other name would be as ignorant.

      • Isn’t Krugman an “economist”  .. a member of a cult subscribing to a “science” so vague that they had to invent econometrics just to try to make some sense of all of it.

    • “Make stuff up, and be AFRAID…!!!! ”
       
      Been a Democratic campaign strategy as long as I can remember paying attention to campaigns.  It was their main plan for derailing Ronald Reagan – “He’ll start a wAAAAAARRRRRRRR,   NUCKULAR WAR!!!!!!!!,  if you elect him We’ll ALLL DIEEEEEE!!!!!!
       
      Being Afraid and trying to scare everyone else too, it’s what Democrats and Liberals (but I repeat myself) do best.

  • It was a CAT1.

  • “Then there was the global warning crowd who seems bent on using any weather event as a “harbinger” of things to come because of wicked, evil humans and their carbon drenched lifestyles. ”
     
    I dee-tect racists at work! We gotta win the conversation! I don’t think you can deny global warming caused this storm, and I don’t think you should talk this way no more.  The science is settled and you’re just a trying to discredit the whole scientific community with that ‘totally natural weather’ kinda talk.  Yessir.  AGW fueled hysteria is no laughin matter and denying is just almost the same as usin fire hoses and attack dogs on black folks, yep, almost just exactly the same.

    • I don’t think you can deny global warming caused this storm…

      Actually, that is true.  That damned Sun warms the globe every summer here in the Northern Hemisphere.  Of course, there were NO hurricanes before the Industrial Revolution.  One of our problems is that so few Americans even know what the Industrial Revolution was.  So…

      • lmao – yeah, tell that to Port Royal (destroyed) or St Croix -
        “In 1772 no less than four hundred and sixty house in Christiansted and all the houses in Frederkisted with the exception of three were destroyed.  The sea rose seventy feet about it’s usual level, and all shipping was driven ashore.”
        From “The Virgin Islands, our new possessions and the British Islands” By Theodoor DeBooy and John T. Fairs 1918
         

    • Hurricane Irene (from the perspective of NYC) is the perfect metaphor for “Global Warming” … lots of hype, followed by failure to perform, laying waste to everybody else on the way there.

  • For MiniTru, I suspect that it was less “global warming” and more “gosh, a few thousand corpses would be dandy for our numbers”.

    They should be grateful, however, that they didn’t get their wish: how would they spin a major natural disaster on Bad Luck Barry’s watch?

    • “how would they spin a major natural disaster on Bad Luck Barry’s watch?”
      By claiming that the failed Federal response was based on plans cast during the Bush era – but now Inheritor Barry, once more realizing what a mess Bush left, will revamp them by spraying unicorn farts on them to make them all new and better.

    • Apparently, they had to rush Obama to his hurricane photo op since the storm started to died sooner than originally thought.
      Team Obama was hoping for the GhostBuster solution … “Lenny, you will have saved the lives of millions of registered voters.”

  • I drove up from Charlotte to Allentown, PA on Saturday night/Sunday morning, and I can say that it was no picnic out there. Those flashes in the sky weren’t lightning, but rather exploding electrical transformers, most especially when they produced a green flash.
    Perhaps the answer to the overhyped charge is that NYC is, in fact, a large “black hole” that sucks in everything, including hurricanes.

  • Working with Professor J. Scott Armstrong of the University of Pennsylvania and others, Dr. Kesten Green identified 26 previous alarms that are analogous to the dangerous manmade global warming scare. Besides the alarm over mercury, the 26 alarms include familiar ones like electromagnetic fields (EMF) and cancer, and DDT and cancer.

    Worth a read, in this connection…
    http://pajamasmedia.com/blog/past-alarmism-and-the-future-of-manmade-global-warming/?singlepage=true

    • You mean I can go back to consuming tuna with abandon and not expect to soon start having tea parties with march hares and door mice?

  • The Global Warming stupid is obviously part of a political agenda, but the media hype about the storm itself really wasn’t. It’s not every hurricane season that a storm threatens to pass right over NYC, Philly and Boston. And the threat to NYC in terms of surge was in fact very real. I’d say that part of the equation was justified