Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Micromanaging your way to nirvana

The San Francisco Chronicle reports on Berkeley's efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions:
Six months after Berkeley voters overwhelmingly passed Measure G, a mandate to reduce the city's greenhouse gas emissions by 80 percent by 2050, the city is laying out a long-term road map for residents, business and industry. It includes everything from solar panels at the Pacific Steel foundry to composted table scraps.

Some measures will be popular and easy, like a car-share vehicle on every block and free bus passes.
Free bus passes? Well, only in the most liberal definition of "free." To start, only renters will get them and they will have to pay for them with rent increases:
Landlords will be required to provide free bus passes to tenants. [...] Landlords would be allowed a small rent increase (equal to $7 per month in today's costs) to pay for tenants' passes; funding of passes for all residents has not been identified.
Notice that this is of no help to tenants who might want to walk, bicycle, or telecommute their way to work and back. The rent increases will not be used to subsidize any of these: only the government approved bus pass solution.  This is the liberal one-size-fits-all government-know-best approach to fixing problems.

This would appear to be counter to history which has shown that individuals can be so much more creative and effective at solving problems than bureaucracies. Liberals, however, instinctively trust bureaucracies.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Is the DNC unbiased?

Target Rich Environment catches the AP, as well as CNN and the Washington Post which picked up the AP piece, cribbing a story from Howard Dean's Democrat National Committee talking points.

The AP reporter, Travis Loller, has an interesting history as a radical activist.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Romanticizing murderers

Cameron Diaz was seen in Peru with one of those trendy Mao bags. This caused a stir in Peru where Mao is not considered cute or trendy after the Maoist "Shining Path" insurgency in Peru was responsible for nearly 70,000 deaths. Separately, Scott Johnson remembers the warm support that Democrats offered to Kathleen Soliah, AKA Sara Jane Olson, after her capture in 1999 for the 1975 murder of Myrna Opsahl during a bank robbery. The strange relationship that liberals have with murderers has been noted previously here, here and here.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Will Al Gore accept the challenge?

Prof. J. Scott Armstrong, of the Wharton Business School, has challenged Al Gore to a $10,000 bet on temperature change over the next ten years. Dr. Armstrong is a pioneer of the theory of forecasting and he says (full text as pdf) that the IPCC report on global warming violates the basic principles of how a good forecast should be made. Actually, he says that Chapter 8 of the IPCC report contains 73 violations.

One of Prof. Armstrong's students has set up a blog devoted to the bet. Al Gore has not been willing to debate on the issue of global warming. Will he accept a bet?

Thursday, June 21, 2007

The Power of Monopoly

Knowledge is power (and profit) for Microsoft.  Since the MS-DOS era, Microsoft application programs have used secrets about the OS to give their products an advantage.  More recently, Google says that Microsoft has been slowing down competing file-search products, making MS's Instant Search appear better by comparison.   Following Google's  anti-trust complaint to the  US Justice Dept., MS might make some changes:
In response to claims that Vista’s “Instant Search slows competing products, Microsoft agreed to give competitors technical information to help optimize performance.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

"The Earth today stands in imminent peril"

Or, at least, so says James Hansen of NASA. According to the (London) Independent, he and his colleagues "implicitly criticise" the UN's IPCC for underestimating the coming climate disaster. Dr. Hansen was one of the few scientists that Al Gore mentioned by name in an Inconvenient Truth. He is also the one who calls press conferences to talk about how he has been "muzzled." James Hansen endorsed John Kerry for president in 2004.

Another scientist disputes Al Gore's theories

From the Madison Capital Times (or go here and click on the global warming story):
Reid Bryson, known as the father of scientific climatology, considers global warming a bunch of hooey.

The UW-Madison professor emeritus, who stands against the scientific consensus on this issue, is referred to as a global warming skeptic. But he is not skeptical that global warming exists, he is just doubtful that humans are the cause of it.

There is no question the earth has been warming. It is coming out of the "Little Ice Age," he said in an interview this week.

"However, there is no credible evidence that it is due to mankind and carbon dioxide. We've been coming out of a Little Ice Age for 300 years. We have not been making very much carbon dioxide for 300 years. It's been warming up for a long time," Bryson said.

The Little Ice Age was driven by volcanic activity. That settled down so it is getting warmer, he said.

Humans are polluting the air and adding carbon dioxide to the atmosphere, but the effect is tiny, Bryson said.

"It's like there is an elephant charging in and you worry about the fact that there is a fly sitting on its head. It's just a total misplacement of emphasis," he said. "It really isn't science because there's no really good scientific evidence."
The Capital Times bills itself as "your progressive news source." Consistent with that, the article goes on to quote junior scientists who disagree.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

NASA Priorities

The Bush administrations decision to have NASA focus on Mars exploration seems to have no end of bad consequences. According to an interview with Bill Proenza, the acting director of the National Weather Service, one of them is the failure to fund the replacement of aging weather satellites. The Miami Herald writes:
One of [Proenza's] main concerns has been the imminent demise of a key weather satellite called QuikScat, launched in 1999 and long past its designed lifetime.

No replacement currently is in development and the loss of QuikScat could diminish the accuracy of some hurricane forecasts by up to 16 percent, Proenza and other experts have said.....

Several forecasters and other staffers at the hurricane center have told The Miami Herald that they fully support Proenza, and his comments have earned compliments from many emergency managers and others.

Via Instapundit and Brendan Loy.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

That was then, this is now

in 1992, Al Gore blasted Bush I for ignoring or downplaying Saddam's connections to terrorism.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Iran caught sending explosives to Taliban

From ABC News:
NATO officials say they have caught Iran red-handed, shipping heavy arms, C4 explosives and advanced roadside bombs to the Taliban for use against NATO forces, in what the officials say is a dramatic escalation of Iran's proxy war against the United States and Great Britain.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

History keeps changing

At PBS, Gwen Ifill interviews Al Gore:
GWEN IFILL: Are you suggesting that President Bush deliberately misled the American people when it comes to the Iraq war?

AL GORE: Well, there was certainly a coordinated effort in the White House and in the Department of Defense simultaneously to convey the image of a mushroom cloud exploding over an American city and to link it to a specific scenario, the very strong and explicit implication that Saddam Hussein was going to develop nuclear weapons and give them to Osama bin Laden, and that would result in nuclear explosions in American cities. [emphasis added]

No one at PBS would ever ask if the Clinton-Gore administration was lying when it said the same things about Saddam. Take for example, this Feb. 17, 1998 Clinton speech (full text here):

And they will be all the more lethal if we allow them to build arsenals of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons and the missiles to deliver them. We simply cannot allow that to happen.

There is no more clear example of this threat than Saddam Hussein's Iraq. His regime threatens the safety of his people, the stability of his region and the security of all the rest of us.....

And some day, some way, I guarantee you, he'll use the arsenal. And I think every one of you who's really worked on this for any length of time believes that, too. [emphasis added]

Global warming logic

See here.

Freeman Dyson on global warming

Well known physicist Freeman Dyson discusses his view on global warming in two videos here. In one, he notes that current federal funding is focused on climate models which have little value without accurate input data. He discusses, for example, the interaction between atmosphere and plant life and how important it is to the global warming issue and yet how little is known:
There is more carbon in vegetation on the Earth than there is in the atmosphere.  So that the atmosphere is the tail and and the ground is the dog, in this case.  Vegetation is controlling what is happening rather than the atmosphere.  ...You can't understand the atmosphere by itself.  The vegetation is absolutely essential.  Well, what do we know about the vegetation?  Not very much.

Voter suppression tactics revealed by Bob Shrum

At times, the MSM has considered allegations of vote suppression to be, as they should be, very important. This makes the current treatment of Bob Shrum’s book, No Excuses: Confessions of a Serial Campaigner seem quite curious.  According to Bob Bauer, the book contains serious allegations, ignored by the MSM, of vote suppression during two Democratic primaries:
Shrum relates how l980 Kennedy campaign operatives, posing as officials of the National Weather Service, phoned in to radio stations fake reports of a weather emergency to depress the Carter vote in southern Ohio.  No Excuses at 113-114.  Twenty years later, with the full support of the candidate, Gore campaign operatives manufactured traffic jams to obstruct the Bradley vote in southern New Hampshire.  Id. at 324.
Via The Politico.

Saturday, June 02, 2007

In support of Al Qaeda, ACLU sues Boeing

The ACLU is suing a Boeing subsidiary for providing services under contract to the US government. From the ACLU press release:
NEW YORK - The American Civil Liberties Union today filed a federal lawsuit against Jeppesen Dataplan, Inc., a subsidiary of Boeing Company, on behalf of three victims of the United States government's unlawful "extraordinary rendition" program. The lawsuit charges that Jeppesen knowingly provided direct flight services to the CIA that enabled the clandestine transportation....
Among the specifics, the ACLU alleges:
In July 2002, Ethiopian citizen Binyam Mohamed, while in CIA custody, was stripped, blindfolded, shackled, dressed in a tracksuit....
Yes: this is clearly tracksuit torture. The suspect was dressed in a tracksuit! More seriously, search, shackling, etc. are standard procedure for prisoners. These procedures are particularly important when dealing with members of a suicide cult like Al Qaeda.  Further, why sue the airline because the CIA shackles a prisoner?

In another specific, the ACLU claims:

In December 2001, Egyptian citizen Ahmed Agiza was chained, shackled, and drugged by the CIA and flown from Sweden to Egypt ...
So, an Egyptian citizen was flown to Egypt! And the ACLU wants to sue not Egypt, not the CIA: it wants to sue the airline. Egypt may very well be cruel to its citizens, but why sue the airline?

More importantly, imagine what would happen to civil liberties if the ACLU succeeded in establishing the principle that an airline should not carry a passenger unless it approves of what the passenger is doing or what he might do at the destination. Imagine the gate attendent at US Air interviewing you about the purpose of your trip and cross-checking against approved activities. If the ACLU wins, civil liberties would lose.

Friday, June 01, 2007

Uncomfortable with democracy

In four straight elections, Dartmouth alumni have elected reform candidates to the Dartmouth Trustees. The liberal establishment is not happy and is considering abolishing the elections.

Previous posts on Democrat discomfort with elections are here, here, and here

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