Friday, June 26, 2009

Scientists failing to back Al Gore

In the Wall Street Journal, Kimberly Strassel provides a good summary of the state of the global warming debate:

The number of skeptics, far from shrinking, is swelling. Oklahoma Sen. Jim Inhofe now counts more than 700 scientists who disagree with the U.N. -- 13 times the number who authored the U.N.'s 2007 climate summary for policymakers. Joanne Simpson, the world's first woman to receive a Ph.D. in meteorology, expressed relief upon her retirement last year that she was finally free to speak "frankly" of her nonbelief. Dr. Kiminori Itoh, a Japanese environmental physical chemist who contributed to a U.N. climate report, dubs man-made warming "the worst scientific scandal in history." Norway's Ivar Giaever, Nobel Prize winner for physics, decries it as the "new religion." A group of 54 noted physicists, led by Princeton's Will Happer, is demanding the American Physical Society revise its position that the science is settled. (Both Nature and Science magazines have refused to run the physicists' open letter.)

The collapse of the "consensus" has been driven by reality. The inconvenient truth is that the earth's temperatures have flat-lined since 2001, despite growing concentrations of C02. Peer-reviewed research has debunked doomsday scenarios about the polar ice caps, hurricanes, malaria, extinctions, rising oceans. A global financial crisis has politicians taking a harder look at the science that would require them to hamstring their economies to rein in carbon.

Separately, over 31,000 scientists, including over 9,000 Ph.Ds, have signed a petition stating, among other things, "[t]here is no convincing scientific evidence that human release of carbon dioxide, methane, or other greenhouse gasses is causing or will, in the foreseeable future, cause catastrophic heating of the Earth's atmosphere and disruption of the Earth's climate."

Improve the environment: burn a tree

Prominent liberal intellectual Jared Diamond has written books about civilizations that have been ruined by deforestation.  Environmentalists, however, are now encouraging power companies, as a solution to "global warming," to switch to burning trees:
Power companies are burning more trees because the renewable fuel can be cheaper than coal and ignited without needing permits to release carbon dioxide, the main greenhouse gas blamed for global warming.

Vattenfall AB of Sweden, Germany's RWE AG and American Electric Power Inc. of Ohio, the biggest coal-burner in the U.S., have switched a few plants over to wood and more are planned. ....

"Wood is a huge part of the solution to making a move away from fossil fuel and softening the blow of the transition to clean energy," Bracken Hendricks, a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress and energy adviser to President Barack Obama, said in an interview. ....

While forests blanket about a third of the planet's land surface, they're being harvested or burned at a rate that reduces tree cover by a Greece-sized area each year, sparking concern about whether replanting efforts will keep pace.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Obama's plan: burn more coal

The LA Times reports on the Obama-Waxman plan to attack "global warming":
Coal-fired power plants are the largest source of heat-trapping gases that cause global warming, but President Obama's plan to fight climate change would result in the nation burning more coal a decade from now than it does today.

The administration's plan, the centerpiece of a 700-page legislative package, proposes strict limits on emissions of greenhouse gases, such as carbon dioxide.

But to attract vital support from congressional Democrats representing heavily coal-dependent areas, authors of the legislation, including Rep. Henry A. Waxman (D-Beverly Hills), have made a series of concessions that substantially soften its effect on coal -- at least over the next decade or so.

As a result, the Environmental Protection Agency projects that even if the emissions limits go into effect, the U.S. would use more carbon-dioxide-heavy coal in 2020 than it did in 2005.

That's because the bill gives utilities a financial incentive to keep burning coal by joining the cap-and-trade system -- a kind of marketplace where polluters could reduce their emissions on paper by buying pollution reductions created by others. These so-called offsets, for example, could be created and sold by farmers who planted trees, which filter carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.

Environmental groups also say the bill could set off a boom in the construction of new coal plants because of provisions that would restrict legal efforts to block such projects.  [emph. added]
Soon, this same group will use their brainpower to redesign our health care system.

RELATED:  Michelle Malkin has more on the lobbying for this bill.

Obama wants to kill your mother!

President Obama has weighed in on health care for senior citizens:
President Obama suggested at a town hall event Wednesday night that one way to shave medical costs is to stop expensive and ultimately futile procedures performed on people who are about to die and don't stand to gain from the extra care.

In a nationally televised event at the White House, Obama said families need better information so they don't unthinkingly approve "additional tests or additional drugs that the evidence shows is not necessarily going to improve care."

He added: "Maybe you're better off not having the surgery, but taking the painkiller."
RELATED: Michelle Malkin notes that viewers turned away from ABC News' "unbiased" infomercial for ObamaCare and wonders "Who’s funding the Obamacare Astroturf campaign?"

PREVIOUSLY on the subject of government-run health care:
The Canadian health care collapse: 15 years of regress
The Flu and Federal Incoherence
Socialized medicine explained
Health care crisis faces threat. Democrats respond
Socialized medicine watch
Medical care and governmental control
HillaryCare will stop this: Canadian MP flies to US for treatment
In government we trust: Britons fly abroad for health care

Jimmy Carter's lasting influence, II

When the opportunity arose, President Jimmy Carter enthusiastically removed the Shah from Iran, a strong US ally, making possible his quick replacement with the current oppressive, violent, and nuclear-loving theocracy, as illustrated here by Scott Stantis:
President Carter's Ambassador to the UN, Andrew Young, shared Carter's enthusiasm: Mr. Young predicted that Ayatollah Khomeini would go down in history as ''a saint."

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Rep. Barney Frank meddles in mortgages, again

Even though the US has not yet recovered from the last mortgage crisis, Rep. Barney Frank is already hard at work trying to create the next mortgage crisis, as the editors of the Wall Street Journal explain:

Back when the housing mania was taking off, Massachusetts Congressman Barney Frank famously said he wanted Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to "roll the dice" in the name of affordable housing. That didn't turn out so well, but Mr. Frank has since only accumulated more power. And now he is returning to the scene of the calamity -- with your money. He and New York Representative Anthony Weiner have sent a letter to the heads of Fannie and Freddie exhorting them to lower lending standards for condo buyers.

You read that right. After two years of telling us how lax lending standards drove up the market and led to loans that should never have been made, Mr. Frank wants Fannie and Freddie to take more risk in condo developments with high percentages of unsold units, high delinquency rates or high concentrations of ownership within the development. [emph. added]

PREVIOUSLY on the subject of Barney Frank:
Living in a fantasy world, III
How we got in this economic mess
Those who do not learn from history

The tragedy of the commons

Liberalism is about doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result:

GREEN BAY - For the second year in a row, a bicycle sharing program in downtown Green Bay is seeing some problems. The bikes, meant for public use, are disappearing.

The city began its green bike program two weeks ago. 25 bikes were put on the streets and almost all of them are gone. The same thing happened last year. [emph. added]

(Hat tip: Berry Laker.)  Paris has similar problems with its program.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Teaching self-esteem backfires

A university study finds that teaching self-esteem makes people feel worse:

Despite what all those self-help books say, repeating positive statements apparently does not help people with low self-esteem feel better about themselves. In fact, it tends to make them feel worse, according to new research.

Joanne Wood of the University of Waterloo in Ontario and two colleagues conducted experiments in which they asked students to repeat statements to themselves such as "I am a lovable person" -- then measured how it affected their mood.

"From at least as far back as Norman Vincent Peale's "The Power of Positive Thinking" (1952), the media have advocated saying favorable things to oneself," the researchers wrote in a recent issue of the journal Psychological Science. "At this moment, thousands of people across North America are probably silently repeating positive statements to themselves."

But in one of their studies involving 32 male and 36 female psychology students, the researchers found that repeating the phrase did not improve the mood of those who had low self-esteem, as measured by a standard test. They actually ended up feeling worse, and the gap between those with high and low self-esteem widened. [emph. added]

Education in Korea vs. the US: does "self-esteem" backfire?

Monday, June 22, 2009

Fatherhood and leadership

Some important leaders of the last hundred years who lost their fathers in adolescence or earlier include:

Hitler, A.
Stalin, J.
Hussein, S
Clinton, W. J.
Obama, B. H.

In a related essay, Dr. Helen Smith, a Knoxville forensic psychologist, writes:

I can’t help but wonder if this psychological dynamic of a lack of father figures is good for the country or if it simply gives these men and women a larger stage to act out their inner-most demons.

How much does an ambassadorship cost?

Jake Tapper, of ABC News, reports that "President Obama nominated [f]ormer Virginia lieutenant governor and businessman Donald Beyer for ambassador to both Switzerland and Liechtenstein; he and his wife Megan bundled at least $500,000 for then-Sen. Obama's presidential campaign, with Megan bundling at least $245,000 for the inauguration." However, others appear to have, on average, paid less:
[T]he Center for Responsive Politics ... in a recent study concluded that the president's new nominees for ambassadorships to Belize, Belgium, Liechtenstein, Romania and Switzerland "brought in at least $1.1 million for Obama's presidential bid as bundlers, and at least another half-a-million as bundlers for his inauguration. To date, this brings the contribution histories of Obama's ambassador nominees to roughly $1.8 million in donations since 1989. The 19 ambassadors that CRP has found in our campaign contribution database, along with their spouses and children, have given more than $98,200 to Obama personally, bundled at least $3.4 million for his 2008 presidential run and bundled another $1.4 million for his inauguration."
Thus each of the 19, on average, bundled $180,000 to Obama's campaign and another $74,000 to his inauguration. The Breyers, who bundled $500,000 for the campaign and $245,000 for the inauguration, clearly overpaid.

The Canadian health care collapse

The Fraser Institute compiles statistics on hospital waiting times in Canada. Two of their charts show clearly just how much health care has deteriorated in Canada in the last 15 years. The first chart shows wait times by specialty:

12 of the 13 specialties showed increased wait times since 1993. The longest waits are for neurosurgery and orthopedic surgery. It is best not to have a brain tumor if you live in Canada. The second chart shows wait times by province:

In each province, wait times have risen dramatically from 1993 to 2008. Both these charts are for the wait time between referral by a GP and the appointment with a specialist. These charts include neither the time you have to wait to see the GP nor the time you have to wait for treatment after your appointment with the specialist.

Wait times, AKA rationing, are of course the socialist way of saving money. There is a human cost. Calgary emergency room doctor Grant Innes says "there's no question patients are dying because of the wait times. We just don't really know how many." Rationing may not even save money, as Globe and Mail reports;

Waiting for a joint replacement not only prolongs pain in the knees, it causes billions of dollars of damage to the health of the Canadian economy, a study released Tuesday by Canada's doctors says.

The study, conducted for the Canadian Medical Association by the Centre for Spatial Economics, found that it cost the economy $14.8-billion in 2007 to have patients wait longer than medically recommended for four procedures: joint replacements, cataract surgery, coronary bypasses and MRI scans.

That, in turn, cut provincial and federal government revenues by $4.4-billion, the report says.

“Time spent waiting robs the economy of workers, both patients and their caregivers. Time spent waiting also leads to increased costs on the health-care system, as patients need extra appointments, tests and medication,” it says.

Of course, one of the advantages of that single-payer health care would have in the US is that Pres. Obama is so smart he can make work well, as Scott Stantis illustrates:

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Saturday, June 06, 2009

Obama plan will drive more jobs offshore

Bloomberg reports:
June 3 (Bloomberg) -- Microsoft Corp. Chief Executive Officer Steven Ballmer said the world’s largest software company would move some employees offshore if Congress enacts President Barack Obama’s plans to impose higher taxes on U.S. companies’ foreign profits.

Friday, June 05, 2009

Obama's arrogance

The New York Times reports on the problems with Pres. Obama's go-it-alone foreign policy:
A rift has quietly opened up between Germany and the United States, marked by official statements of harmony and private grumbling. It is not an outright crisis in relations, but there are underlying tensions and disagreements on matters ranging from the global economic crisis to the future of inmates held at Guantánamo Bay.

On a more basic level, there is a sense that the Obama administration is ignoring the needs and counsel of longtime allies. [Emph. added]
As an example, according to the NY Times:
German government officials were outraged that a low-ranking American official was sent for the negotiations to find a way to keep the traditional automaker Opel going despite the bankruptcy of its parent company, General Motors, in the United States.
PREVIOUSLY on the subject of Obama's foreign policy problems:
Amateur hour at the White House
Alienating allies, II
Obama's go-it-alone foreign policy
On the other hand:
Stalinists strongly approve of Obama.

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

How to greet a Messiah

You may have wondered what the proper etiquette is for greeting a Messiah. Brian Williams, unbiased anchor of the unbiased NBC Nightly News, demonstrates a proper bow:

JamieWearingFool has a video of the encounter. (Hat tip: GatewayPundit.)

The MSM admits that it is a joke

The New York Observer reports that, with Newsweek's June 8 issue, "Comedy Central funnyman Stephen Colbert will be Newsweek’s guest editor." Peter Wehner suggests a new slogan: "Newsweek: Now With More Truthiness."

PREVIOUSLY, on the merging of the MSM with left-wing commentators,
Maureen Dowd was caught plagiarizing Josh Marshall
Unbiased MSM gets its "truth" from Media Matters for America

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Pot, meet kettle

A soon to be released book reports on Obama's opinion of Bill Clinton, as Politico reports:
The flood of books devoted to the 2008 campaign and President Barack Obama begins in earnest this week with the release of “Renegade, The Making of a President,” by former Newsweek reporter Richard Wolffe. ....

[Clinton's] wife is now Obama’s secretary of state, but Obama had some tough words for the actions of former President Bill Clinton during the campaign.

“We had to figure out how to deal with a former president who was just lying, engaging in bald-faced lies,” Obama explained to Wolffe. [emph. added]
During the nineties, every good Democrat knew, beyond doubt, that Bill Clinton was honest and trustworthy. Amazing how some things change.

RELATED on the subject of Democrats and honesty:
Gay Lefties Beginning To Realize Democrats Are Liars
Speaker Pelosi: liar or amnesiac?
New York Times says honesty is an "affectation"

Monday, June 01, 2009

Eco-hypocrite of the day

Pres. Obama, who takes global warming seriously, took his wife for Broadway for a date. The Daily Mail estimates to cost at £45,000 ($70,000 US):

The romantic jaunt is estimated to have cost the taxpayer more than £45,000 in transport and security costs - because the date was in New York.

The President used three planes, one to carry the couple and two to ferry aides and reporters all the way from Washington.

The cost of each flight was thought to be nearly £15,000.

The bill was pushed even higher with the use of two helicopters, one to take the Obamas to catch their plane in Washington and another to zip the party into Manhattan from JFK airport.

Can anyone estimate what the carbon footprint of that 3-jet and multiple helicopter date was?

RELATED: Air Force 1, with military jet escorts, buzzed the Statue of Liberty for a photo-op. That trip was criticized for frightening New Yorkers. Did anyone report on its carbon footprint?

PREVIOUS eco-hypocrite of the day: Nancy Pelosi.

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