Friday, August 31, 2007
Climate IndulgencesAs a lifelong Lutheran, I can't endorse this.
Posted by Amy Ridenour at 6:13 PM
Posted by Amy Ridenour at 6:13 PM
Your whole contention about newspapers giving up objectivity, so as to battle global warming, is akin to a whore giving up her virginity to honor Santa Claus.Bravo!
Posted by Amy Ridenour at 4:28 PM
Environmentalists can't be very happy with the 2007 Atlantic Hurricane season so far. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) had predicted an "above normal" hurricane season, but as we approach the season's halfway mark, the hurricane season looks more like a lamb than a lion.
The Greens love to draw attention to hurricanes because weather-related disasters make effective props for their campaign to regulate greenhouse gas emissions.
As Hurricane Dean was making its way toward the Gulf Coast earlier this month, for example, Amanda Staudt of the National Wildlife Federation wrote: "The big picture is that global warming is putting hurricanes on steroids."
Perhaps she's right, if she was referring to one of the side effects of long-term steroid use... impotency.
Last year, we had just five Atlantic hurricanes - 17% less than normal.
So far this year, there's been just one Atlantic hurricane. Since 1944, there's been an average of two hurricanes by this stage of the season (August 30). That's right: We're at 50% the norm so far.
Already, NOAA has revised its projection for the upper range of hurricanes down by 10% (from 10 to 9) and the upper range of named storms down by nearly 6% (from 17 to 16).
There's still ample time for this year's Atlantic hurricane season to be above normal. To do so, however, there will have to be 50% more hurricanes in the second half of the season than normal.
And what about hurricanes in the Eastern Pacific? There's been just two this season, about 40% of the average for this stage of the season.
Those who link hurricanes to global warming in an attempt to push through onerous new regulations on energy are playing a very dangerous game.
A few more hurricanes seasons like these and Americans may begin clamoring for global warming.
Posted by Amy Ridenour at 2:25 AM
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Labels: Project 21
Posted by Amy Ridenour at 11:23 PM
Hip-Hop Hype Hurts, Just Ask Michael Vick
Hip-hop culture has claimed a high-profile victim: Michael Vick.
I refuse to have an ounce of sympathy for Michael Vick, who is reaching a plea agreement with federal prosecutors for his role in arranging dog fights on his Virginia property and allegedly killing several of the dogs himself when they did not live up to expectations.
It is mind-boggling to imagine what was going through Vick's mind when he first decided engage in dogfighting. This admired black NFL quarterback was pretty much set for life with the Atlanta Falcons - making millions of dollars a year on the field and off with his many retail endorsements.
Vick apparently could not break with the hip-hop lifestyle he embraced, and now he will more than likely end up in financial ruin, suspended or even banned from the NFL for life and going to jail because of what may have been his insane need to have street cred among hip-hoppers.
Dogfighting is a major component of hip-hop culture. It can be seen in videos and lyrics of hip-hop giants such as Jay-Z and DMX. According to an article recently posted on MTV's web site, "hip-hop is one of the only outlets in American where you'll find references to [dogfighting]."
I see many young black men dragged through the streets of Washington
DC by their angry-looking pit bulls. I suspect those dogs, from the looks of them, are the victims of repeated beatings and maybe even fed gunpowder to make them even more vicious. I expect they are being conditioned to fight.
These animals become so dangerous that, when they are abandoned for being either too old or no longer wanted, local animal control officials often euthanize them quickly because they are unable to control them.
There are those who will defend Vick or demonize his prosecutors for his already-admitted indiscretions. NBA star Stephon Marbury called dogfighting a sport and compared it to deer hunting - an activity that is highly-regulated by the government and not a vehicle for organized gambling. The Southern Christian Leadership Conference - the group founded by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. - came dangerously close to turning its 50th anniversary celebration into a pro-Vick rally. Even the NAACP got dragged into it when Atlanta chapter president R.L. White said the NFL should show Vick mercy no matter what Vick's plea and punishment are.
I expect charges of racism will soon follow.
How many more Michael Vicks, Mike Tysons and Adam "Pacman" Joneses will it take before the black community wakes up and demands these athletes and others who embrace the hip-hop culture take personal accountability for their own actions? Vick and the others are suffering because of their own actions. Racism has nothing to do with it at all.
League commissioners, owners and fans, to their credit, seem no longer to be willing to play along with these bad-boy attitudes. People are not going to pay good money to see R-rated sporting events. The NBA found this out the hard way several years ago when people started calling it "thugball" and fan attendance started dropping off after players began physically assaulting fans and coaches.
In the end, I expect Vick will have learned a very valuable lesson - that his boys were not going to take the fall for him as they all turned state's evidence against him, forcing him to cut a deal. I guess the no-snitch rule among hip-hoppers went out the window. There truly is no honor among thieves.
It is here that we see the downside of the hip-hop culture. The ruined lives. Incarceration. It's not glamorous.
Vick's future now seems to include a fitting for a pumpkin-colored suit, soap on a rope and learning to sleep on his back. The only football he will be throwing around will likely be in the prison yard because, at the end of the day, he was just plain stuck on stupid and lost it all because he craved an image.
Posted by Amy Ridenour at 5:04 PM
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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 9:52 PM
"Man charged with killing wife over health costs" - ReutersLinda Young of AHN led with:
"Balcony homicide blamed on medical bills" - UPI
"Drowning in medical bills, man kisses ailing wife before throwing her off balcony" - Ottawa Citizen
"US health care costs blamed for wife's murder" - The Scotsman
"Uninsured Missouri Woman Killed By Husband Unable To Pay Her Medical Bills" - AHN
One of the nation's 45 million uninsured has been thrown to her death by her financially strapped husband who could no longer pay his wife's medical bills.The Associated Press' lead was typical of many:
A man threw his seriously ill wife four stories to her death because he could no longer afford to pay for her medical care, prosecutors said in charging him with second-degree murder.Although the Kansas City Star reported Thursday that a sister of the dead woman was "scared to death" that the husband might mistreat the woman, while another sister said the alleged killer "seemed pretty unstable," few media outlets included information about a possible motive other than, or in conjunction with, health care costs.
On 8-15-2007 at approximately 0123 hours, detectives interviewed the listed victim's husband, Stanley J. Reimer, W/M, 03-06-56. Reimer read his Miranda Rights, stated that he understood his rights, signed the Miranda Waiver, and agreed to be questioned. Reimer stated that he was in extreme financial difficulties and could not take care of his wife because of her medical condition. Reimer stated that he walked with his wife to the balcony located off of their bedroom. Reimer stated he kissed his wife, picked her up, and threw her off the balcony.No article I reviewed told readers that the police report did not explicitly say the husband's financial difficulties were caused by, or the degree to which they were caused by, the wife's medical condition.
Posted by Amy Ridenour at 4:21 PM
Do you stupid [expletive deleteds] have any idea how much money invasive species are costing farmers, taxpayers, and the average American? I live on a farm and am in a constant battle with non-native species like crab grass, kudzu, pig weed,purple loosestrife, green borer beetles, and now a newly introduced species of bettle that is destroying this country's Ash trees.Mr. Kling does not mention if his farm raises pigs. Pigs are an invasive species.
You neo-con [expletive deleteds] are so caught up with George Bush and allowing corporations to do any [expletive deleted] thing they want that not only the environment but people suffer from your misguided positions. Why do you hate anything that benefits the environment. The Passenger pigeon, Carolina Parakeet, Ivory billed woodpecker and many other now extinct and soon to be extinct species thank you for their destruction. God, do I hope you have your day of reckoning with the good Lord.
These and other invasive species are destroying this country's landscape and cost billions and billions to TRY and control.
Get a life and come live in the real world.
"The good Earth - we could have saved it, but we were too damn cheap and lazy."
Frank Friedrich Kling
Posted by Amy Ridenour at 1:45 PM
Posted by Amy Ridenour at 1:31 PM
The Jepps drove 325 miles to Great Falls for the births because hospitals in Calgary were at capacity.How horrible it is that Canada couldn't do better for these people. A couple with a two-year-old and four two-pound quadruplets who live in a major city ought to have been able to give birth close enough to their home to stay there at night after Mom is released (which in Canada was probably 39 seconds after the placenta is delivered, so they can give the bed to someone else), as the babies probably won't be strong enough to go home for a while. Is the family being forced to live in a hotel room with a toddler, and then a successive number of newborns until all four are strong enough to leave the hospital? Or did the parents have to leave the two-year-old with relatives for goodness-knows-how-long in Calgary? Or maybe Dad has to leave Mom and the babies so he can go back to work, splitting the family for what could very wel be a couple of months?
Good article. Here's a related story with a detail that might get skipped over:_____
Canadian Identical Quadruplets
* The four girls were born at a US hospital because there was no space available at Canadian neonatal intensive care units.
* Health officials said they checked every other neonatal intensive care unit in Canada but none had space. The Jepps, a nurse and a respiratory technician were flown 500km (310 miles) to the Montana hospital, the closest in the U.S.
They couldn't find ANY facility in ALL of Canada, but the CLOSEST U.S. facility "just happened" to be able to handle it.
Spokane, Missoula, and Great Falls are about equidistant from Calgary. GF does not involve crossing the Rockies in a (probably) small aircraft. None are very big cities - combined they are dwarfed by Calgary - but every other population center between them and Calgary would be very small indeed. Still, I'll bet even some of them could handle four neonates. By land, they might have chosen one of those. By air, GF is as convenient.
Costa Mesa, California
but formerly of Medicine Hat, Alberta
Posted by Amy Ridenour at 3:01 AM
As a race, blacks endured hundreds of years of slavery and then legalized segregation, brutal racism and other forms of discrimination well into the 20th century. We emerged from this hardship a stronger and better people. Now, after all that we've been through, a few unkind words from one largely irrelevant white man is causing so many of us to fall to pieces and this one person in particular to be so devastated that she has to sue for damages? This is the kind of knee-jerk victim mentality that makes us, now more than four decades past the civil rights era, look pathetic._____
This shows that too many people are still fixated on race, and I'm looking beyond Don Imus. If Ms. Vaughn and other aggrieved black women really wanted to strike a blow against the use of words like 'ho,' 'bitch' and 'trick,' they would be suing Snoop Dogg, Jay-Z and other thug rappers and the record companies that have been proliferating and profiting off this kind of language for years. Don Imus was merely doing a poor job of parroting their words.
Posted by Amy Ridenour at 1:58 AM
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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 1:25 AM
...Congress is grappling with raising Corporate Average Fuel Economy standards to mandate higher gas mileage for cars, light trucks and minivans.Yet Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, who supports the draconian increase, puddles around town in a huge SUV, as does House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who holds the same views.
Legislation already passed by the Senate, and currently under consideration in the House of Representatives, would increase CAFE standards from the current benchmark of 27 mpg for cars and 22 mpg for light trucks to 35 miles per gallon for both by 2020. That's more than a 40 percent increase.
With gas at over $3 per gallon, this dramatic change might sound appealing. Your vehicle choices, personal safety, wallet, and ability to haul and tow, however, will be compromised to achieve that goal.
Automakers will be forced to squeeze even more size and weight out of vehicles to get more miles per gallon, and lighter cars are inherently less safe than heavier ones.
According to an analysis by the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, adding hybrid technology to a new vehicle increases its market price between $4,000 and $10,000.
...the increases in cost mean that many families of moderate means will be forced by economics to retain their older, less fuel efficient vehicles longer...
Posted by Amy Ridenour at 3:39 AM
The Washington Post reports today that "the temperature hit 102 degrees at Reagan National Airport, according to the National Weather Service, breaking by one degree the record for Aug. 8, set in 1930."
The trouble is, this can't be backed up.
You see, Reagan National Airport didn't open until June 16, 1941 -- eleven years after the 1930 record was set. In fact, most of the airport site was under water in 1930.
This means that even assuming yesterday's temperature was adjusted down to account for the urban heat island effect (as the instrument is surrounded by more heat-absorbing asphalt than would have been the case 77 years ago, or, for that matter, ten years ago), the readings were taken in two entirely different locations.
Sorry to break the news to global warming alarmists: The 1930 record still stands.
The National Weather Service states that BWI also broke a record yesterday, hitting 102 for the first time in its history. It's not an incredibly long history. BWI wasn't opened until 1950. It started out as the new Friendship International Airport and was only a fraction of BWI's current size.
On its first day of regular flights, the airport had just 56 take-offs and landings. In January of this year, BWI had 710 -- not including private planes.
The previous temperature record was set, the service says, in 1980, and was 99 degrees. The hottest temperature in 27 years isn't very earth-shattering, even if it were true.
But this is unlikely to be the case.
In 1980, BWI was less than a third the size it is today (635,000 square feet compared to 1.96 million) and had less than a quarter the number of passengers (about 5.2 million compared to about 21 million today).
Greater asphalt, automobile and airline traffic have undoubtedly contributed to higher temperature readings.
One final note: The 102 degree temperature reached yesterday isn't a record for our area. The record is 106 degrees -- 4 degrees higher, set in July 1930.
Posted by Amy Ridenour at 3:03 PM
Posted by Amy Ridenour at 11:55 PM
Towards the end of the interview, I asked McCain about legislation recently proposed in the House that would use federal money to create a multistate land use planning body for a wide (and apparently unspecified) swath of land in four states where civil war battle fields and other historic landmarks are located ("The Journey Through Hallowed Ground National Heritage Area Act") . Some property rights advocates fear that this legislation would limit private property rights while giving environmentalists and wealthy land owners extraordinary power to thwart construction of all but the most expensive houses and estates in the Virginia segment of the "corridor."It is nice to see politicians being asked about this. Next maybe we'll see Rep. Frank Wolf (R-VA) being asked why he arranged for the lobbying entity for JTHG to receive federal dollars via earmark to lobby for its own power-grab. (They'll argue it was for a scenic byway, but money is fungible, and how many groups -- outside of Alaska, that is -- receive a million-dollar federal grant before they have even been incorporated?I well remember the morning husband David discovered this earmark while doing research at the kitchen table in his PJs while simultaneously watching the children. "Pajamas media" -- at work.
Senator McCain responded that, as a general matter, he favors resolving these kinds of matters cooperatively at the state and local level, and with respect for private property rights. Since this particular matter involves multiple states, he seemed receptive to the idea of a voluntary interstate compact.
Posted by Amy Ridenour at 11:05 PM
At 8 on a Saturday morning, just as the heat was permeating this sprawling Orlando suburb, Denise Kirsop donned a white plastic moon suit and began sorting through the trash produced by Northland Church.Eilperin goes on to call Denise Kirsop's pastor, Joel C. Hunter, a "pivotal advocate for cutting greenhouse gas emissions that scientists say are warming Earth's climate," leading readers to believe Hunter has been a lynchpin of mass conversions of evangelicals on the topic.
She and several fellow parishioners picked apart the garbage to analyze exactly how much and what kind of waste their megachurch produces, looking for ways to reduce the congregation's contribution to global warming.
"I prayed about it, and God really revealed to me that I had a passion about creation," said Kirsop, who has since traded in her family's sport-utility vehicle for a hybrid Toyota Prius to help cut her greenhouse gas emissions. "Anything that draws me closer to God -- and this does -- increases my faith and helps my work for God."
Her conversion to environmentalism is the result of a years-long international campaign by British bishops and leaders of major U.S. environmental groups to bridge a long-standing divide between global-warming activists and American evangelicals.
There was a private session with Prince Charles and a tour of the organic garden at the prince's Highgrove estate, as well as intense conversations among the participants about how Genesis 2:15 calls upon Adam to "serve" and "keep" the Garden of Eden.One wonders just how "intense" conversations about the Garden of Eden can be, particularly among like-minded individuals. (It appears to not have occurred to Eilperin that God tossed Adam out of the Garden of Eden for interacting with nature a little too much, but if there is a Biblical call to care for Eden, it supposed was located somewhere near Baghdad, so our military's been on the job for a while now.)
While he remains in a distinct minority, and a number of others on the Christian right disparage his efforts, Hunter and others like him have begun to reshape the politics around climate change.Despite finding great significance in the conversion of Hunter, along with Ted Haggard, late of the National Association of Evangelicals, to the anti-global warming cause, Eilperin skips entirely the work of the Interfaith Council For Environmental Stewardship, and the many prominent signers in the religious community to its Cornwall Declaration, which takes an entirely different, but still faith-based, position. It's hard to imagine the group would have been left out, had its position been closer to that of Rev. Hunter.
Posted by Amy Ridenour at 10:20 PM
Senator Bill Nelson (D-FL) has said he plans to convene a hearing to look into why Everglades National Park was taken off the United Nations’ “List of World Heritage in Danger.”Note from Amy: For those who don't know, the designation of "endangered" by the U.N. World Heritage Program bestows no benefit upon the Everglades. The designation exists to create publicity for a handful of endangered sites worldwide for the purpose of attracting capital to sites located in countries undergoing upheaval and to poor countries. Inasmuch as the United States has a stable (if frustrating) government, does not receive foreign aid, and its Everglades programs are not dependent upon nor expecting capital from abroad, the main practical impact of a de-listing is to give U.N. officials one less excuse to junket to Florida (about 22 percent of the cost of which would ultimately be billed to U.S. taxpayers). The de-listing also allows, as Todd Willens noted in the AP article, and David referred to above, for more attention to be given to endangered sites located in nations that cannot or will not care for them. The Everglades does not require publicity.
But why bother? The Senator has already made up his mind on the subject: He blames Deputy Secretary of Interior Todd Willens for convincing the World Heritage Committee to remove the Everglades from the list and has called for Willens to be fired.
"The U.N. should have been presented with the position of our agency experts," said Nelson. “This action is absolutely unacceptable and, I believe, warrants Willens’ removal.”
What Nelson is suggesting here is that the call be made by unelected bureaucrats rather than by people duly appointed by the President. This runs counter not only to the concept of accountable government, but counter to the convention under which the list was created.
Article 11 of the “Convention Concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage” specifies that inclusion of a site on the “List of World Heritage in Danger” requires the “consent of the state concerned.” Such consent power is held by the President, not by people ensconced in the bureaucracy who do not change from one administration to the next.
Continued listing of the Everglades is an embarrassment to the United States because it says that the United States needs international technical and financial assistance to protect the Everglades. Such listings are normally only welcomed by developing nations, which lack the wherewithal to restore such heritage sites.
The suggestion that Willens be dismissed because he believes the United States can handle its own environmental challenges is excessive, to say the least.
From Nelson’s reaction, you’d think Willens had suggested that authority over our lands be transferred from accountable American officials to unaccountable international bureaucrats.
Oh, wait – That’s what Senator Nelson has called for.
Perhaps someone else should be removed from his position.
To contact author David Ridenour directly, write him at dridenour@national[email protected]
Posted by Amy Ridenour at 4:16 PM
Posted by Amy Ridenour at 10:02 PM
My letter in American Spectator, which your husband David purports to rebut in your blog, referred to "the dwindling band of sneering treaty opponents . . ." And so, I was disappointed, but not surprised, that your husband's rebuttal included a sneering reference to my profession (attorney), strongly implying that my disagreement with Doug Bandow's article was motivated by my personal financial self-interest. Nevertheless:David's response:1. Your husband (May I call him David?) argues that the treaty will harm the cause of fisheries conservation, because it "requires states that cannot harvest the entire allowable catch in certain areas to make the surplus available to other nations . . . ." I believe this point is specious, because, under Art. 62.2, the coastal state has exclusive competence to determine "allowable catch" (a defined term) in its 200-mile economic zone (which, under Article 61, may well be less than "maximum sustainable yield."). Article 297.3(a) even exempts the coastal state's determination from compulsory dispute settlement.Please tell me more about how I can profit personally from US accession to the LOS treaty. I'm all ears.
2. David also argues that oil and gas exploration will be rendered illegal, because CO2 causes global warming, which kills coral reefs. "You do the math," he sneers. No, you do the math; I'll fall back on critical thought. Nothing in the treaty requires parties to adhere to environmental norms to which they have not independently subscribed. (See Article 297.1(c), for instance.) David will be on target only when the US ratifies some other treaty which prohibits oil and gas exploration. (Don't hold your breath.) In the meantime, the US will have plenty of company. Every nation on earth consumes oil and gas, thereby supposedly contributing to global warming and coral reef bleaching. They would all be subject to the dreaded "environmental litigation" you mention if the point were well taken.
3. I confess I don't understand David's lead-off point about "underwater vehicles," but he seems to believe that the US could not use ROVs, or even paravanes (which are unquestionably submerged "vehicles"), in mine-sweeping operations inside the 12-mile limit if it ratifies the treaty. I assume he understands that the "innocent passage" provisions of the treaty do not apply to US military operations in our own territorial sea. This non-problem would arise only when someone has mined some other territorial sea, thereby impeding innocent passage in the first place; without a more specific hypothetical, I can't respond further. Anyway, this alleged issue seems somehow to have escaped the notice of the CNO and the JCS.
Robert J. McManus
Kile Goekjian Reed & McManus, pllc
Although I don't agree with the points that Robert McManus made, I applaud him for citing specific reasons why he believes my criticisms of the Law of the Sea Treaty are not valid. This sets him apart from most of the LOST proponents I've encountered._____
He is, nonetheless, off base.
First, he calls my suggestion that the treaty might contribute to resource damage (by requiring the sharing of surplus fish stocks) "specious" because, he notes, Article 62.2 specifies coastal states have the exclusive right to determine allowable catches. Actually, Article 62.2 deals with determining harvest capabilities -- not determining allowable catches -- but it is a long treaty and mistakes such as this are easy to make.
Mr. McManus probably meant to cite Article 61, which does specify that the coastal nations "shall" determine "allowable catches."
But in noting this requirement, Mr. McManus seems to suggest that a coastal nation can simply pick the "allowable catch" number that suits it at any given time. It can't. Article 61 goes on to specify what factors the coastal state shall consider in determining the catch.
Mr. McManus notes that 297.3(a) exempts the coastal state's determinations on its catches from compulsory dispute settlement. He neglects to mention, however, that 297.1(c) requires mandatory dispute resolution if it is alleged that, in exercising its sovereign rights governing resources, the coastal state acts in contravention of international standards "which are applicable to the coastal State and which have been established by this Convention or through a competent international organization or diplomatic conference in accordance with this Convention."
In any case, Section 70 of the treaty, which attempts simultaneously to satisfy nations that wish to harvest its entire allowable catch while still providing "equitable arrangements" for nearby disadvantaged states to participate in the "exploitation" of the same "living resources," would at the very least have to be seen as encouraging a trend toward overfishing.
All this may be beside the point, as whether a coastal state is required to participate in compulsory dispute settlement does not free it from its obligations under the treaty, which surely will not escape the attention of the legal teams of interested parties.
Second, Mr. McManus dismisses my argument that environmental activists could use the treaty to stop oil and gas exploration, using, among other things, concern over global warming as an excuse. He argues that the United States would not be required to submit to any environmental requirements to which it hasn't already subscribed, and he cites 297.1 to back him up. But that provision -- as the citation earlier clearly indicates -- says no such thing. The United States is not party to the Kyoto Protocol, which clearly would qualify under 297.1.
Furthermore, environmental advocacy groups have already signaled their intent to use the treaty to pursue their global warming-related regulatory objectives. As Dr. Thilo Bode, then the international executive director of Greenpeace, wrote in 2000: "Global warming is likely to have a big impact at sea. The oceans play a central role in shaping the Earth's climate, absorbing carbon dioxide and other gases, and redistributing heat and water. Sea levels have risen by an estimated 10-25 centimeters over the last century, and as this continues the waters will cover land and coastal habitats in many countries... Solving the environmental problems facing the oceans and ensuring sustainable fisheries is one of the greatest challenges facing humankind in the 21st century. No single nation or region can do this alone: it will require comprehensive international cooperation as required by the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea."
Article 212.1 of the treaty (among others, such as 207) could even be read as a mandate that party states adopt regulations limiting carbon dioxide emissions: "States shall adopt laws and regulations to prevent, reduce and control pollution of the marine environment from or through the atmosphere, applicable to the air space under their sovereignty and to vessels flying their flag or vessels or aircraft of their registry, taking into account internationally agreed rules, standards and recommended practices and procedures and the safety of air navigation."
The Senate Foreign Relations Committee acknowledged the treaty's mandate on party states to combat "pollution" affecting the oceans in its 2004 report accompanying the treaty, saying "[The Law of the Sea Treaty] advances U.S. interests in the protection of the environment by creating obligations binding on all States to protect and preserve the marine environment from pollution from a variety of sources, and by establishing a framework for further international action to combat pollution."
While it is unlikely that treaty negotiators more than a generation ago had carbon dioxide in mind when they referred to "pollution," no such assumption can be made in the post-Kyoto era.
Mr. McManus is, of course, correct that every nation consumes oil and gas and emits greenhouse gases. But few nations contribute 25% of the world's emissions, which makes the United States a tempting target -- even more tempting given our rejection of the Kyoto Protocol.
Further, treaties ratified by the United States can be given the effect of domestic law in U.S. courts. This simply isn't so in many other countries.
Third, Mr. McManus confesses that he didn't understand my point about underwater vehicles, so I'll explain further. Under the Convention on the Territorial Sea and Contiguous Zones to which the United States is a party, submarines are required to operate on the surface of the water to invoke the right of innocent passage. The Law of the Sea Treaty extends this surfacing requirement to all underwater vehicles, thus applying to unmanned underwater vehicles, including those used in mine detection. Such a surfacing requirement would render these vehicles ineffective.
He is correct that the issue would arise when mines are placed in the territorial sea of another coast nation, but he's wrong in suggesting that innocent passage would be impeded in these cases anyway.
The concern here is that mines placed by third parties -- rogue states or terrorists -- could damage or destroy U.S. naval vessels that are otherwise exercising their right to innocent passage because mine detection vessels can't do their job. It would have been wise when the treaty was renegotiated to, at minimum, consider such craft as extensions of the vessels they are protecting.
Finally, Mr. McManus implies that I said in my response to his American Spectator letter that he would personally profit from U.S. ascension to the Law of the Sea Treaty. I did not and I don't think any reasonable reader would conclude that I did.
My point was only that the Law of the Sea Treaty would spur lawsuits and be a boon to the legal profession -- a profession to which, I note, Mr. McManus belongs. I regard this comment as no different than an observation that changes to the tax code are a boon to CPAs. It was meant as good-natured ribbing.
There seems to have been already one casualty of the Law of the Sea Treaty: Its proponents' sense of humor.
Posted by Amy Ridenour at 1:58 AM
Congress can't seem to make up its mind: Does it support safer vehicles or oppose them?Read it all here.
At the very time that Congress is considering a Bush administration request to equip our troops in Iraq with vehicles that are more resistant to roadside bombs, its leadership is fighting for a proposal that would have the opposite effect on roads here at home: a measure sought by environmentalists that would force automakers to make vehicles sold domestically much lighter and, thus, more vulnerable in collisions.
Posted by Amy Ridenour at 1:53 AM
Posted by Amy Ridenour at 1:46 AM
Is Newsweek even a news outlet worth taking the time to respond to in posts like this? Does Newsweek, a quirky alternative news outlet, even have an impact on public policy anymore?Based on the quality of the Newsweek piece, which, I trust, any thinking person will disregard as propaganda, I suspect the answer increasingly is "no."
Journalism students across the world can read this week’s cover story to learn how reporting should not be done. Hopefully, that will be Newsweek’s legacy -- serving as a shining example of the failure of modern journalism to adhere to balance, objectivity and fairness.It is almost like the Newsweek writers and editors were watching the controversies the New Republic has gotten itself into by publishing stories without properly fact-checking them, and said to themselves: How can we get ourselves some of that kind of attention?
Sen. Barbara Boxer had been chair of the Senate's Environment Committee for less than a month when the verdict landed last February. "Warming of the climate system is unequivocal," concluded a report by 600 scientists from governments, academia, green groups and businesses in 40 countries. Worse, there was now at least a 90 percent likelihood that the release of greenhouse gases from the burning of fossil fuels is causing longer droughts, more flood-causing downpours and worse heat waves, way up from earlier studies. Those who doubt the reality of human-caused climate change have spent decades disputing that. But Boxer figured that with "the overwhelming science out there, the deniers' days were numbered." As she left a meeting with the head of the international climate panel, however, a staffer had some news for her. A conservative think tank long funded by ExxonMobil, she told Boxer, had offered scientists $10,000 to write articles undercutting the new report and the computer-based climate models it is based on. "I realized," says Boxer, "there was a movement behind this that just wasn't giving up."Compare Newsweek's rendition with the facts: The American Enterprise Institute offered scientists, including some who in no way can be seen as allies of the so-called "skeptic" camp, $10,000 to review several thousand pages of scientific material from the most recent United Nations IPCC climate change report and write an original piece of 7,500-10,000 words reflecting their view of it. Hard work, in other words, for an appropriate -- based on the market -- fee. No requirement was made that the scientist disagree with, or criticize, the IPCC report.
Posted by Amy Ridenour at 1:38 AM
The implication [of Kathararine Lyon's statement] is that businesses that do not offer mental health parity as part of their health insurance packages are ignorant of the benefit it has of increasing profits. When employees have mental health benefits on par with other benefits, they skip work less often and are more productive, thereby increasing the amount of revenue taken in by the businesses they work for. And do those added revenues exceed the added cost including mental health parity in a health insurance plan? Of course, they do! Otherwise, there would be no increase in profit.s Thus, if we follow Lyon’s reasoning, there is little reason to worry about forcing businesses to offer mental health parity, because doing so will be good for them.I guess what bugs me most is that the advocates of forcing employers to provide mental health coverage lie by claiming it will save employers money. It won't, and that's not why they are advocating this coverage. They should be honest about the costs. If they can't convince lawmakers to go along with mandates without embellishing arguments with fiction, their cause deserves to fail.
Here is the question that the likes of Lyon never ask themselves: If mental health parity is so good for the bottom line, why aren’t more businesses already offering it?...
...The fact that businesses are not doing this almost certainly means that employers have figured out that the benefits of things like decreased absenteeism do not exceed the increased health insurance costs due to adding mental health parity. That’s the market sending us a loud and clear message, but the likes of Lyon seem to have no interest in listening.
Alas, the problem isn’t that businesses are ignorant of the benefits of mental health parity. The problem is that the likes of Lyon are ignorant of how markets work. However, that would be no problem at all if Lyon wasn’t intent on using government to force her ignorance on the rest of us.
Posted by Amy Ridenour at 12:32 AM
Canada is often touted as an example of successful national health care.Joe also takes a hard look at the true state of Sweden's universal health care sysytem, possibly inspired a bit by this paper we released in May by David Hogberg.
Not so -- 74 percent of Canadians are upset about long wait lists. Between 1993 and 2003, the median wait time between referral from a general practitioner to treatment increased 90 percent. Only 5 percent of Americans report elective surgery waits of more than four months, compared to 27 percent of Canadians. Heart attack victims are 17 percent more likely to die in Canada than in the United States. Many basic but needed surgeries, like orthopedic, have 16-month delays.
The result has been a push for increased market reforms allowing private insurance and some privately run facilities. These have seen huge successes. Rich Canadians also travel to Singapore, Thailand, India and the United States for treatment. Cleveland, for example, is the hip-replacement center for Canadians.
Liberals claim health care is free in Canada. That is true only if you are not Canadian. Otherwise, 22 percent of Canadians' taxes pay for health care, which is a lot for a service they can't be sure they'll get.
Posted by Amy Ridenour at 12:10 AM
Posted by Amy Ridenour at 12:05 AM
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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 2:11 AM
In short, the LOST is unsalvageable. It reflects the collectivist political environment within which it was first negotiated. Protecting navigational rights and the ocean environment are legitimate, even important, goals, but the provisions advancing these ends should not be paired with creation of a redistributionist regulatory regime for the ocean's floor.On Tuesday, the American Spectator printed two letters to the editor. The first, by Robert J. McManus of Kile Goekjian Reed & McManus, pllc, says, in part:
LOST advocates have made much of the president's support for the convention, and the White House has launched a sustained campaign to co-opt Republican Senators and conservative activists. But the Bush administration long ago abandoned the traditional limited government, market-oriented tenets of conservatism. That it is pushing a treaty that establishes a collectivist system most notable for inefficient bureaucracy simply confirms that the administration has lost its ideological soul. Conservatives must say no to the LOST.
...former Secretary of State George Shultz supports accession, and he also sets the record straight on the position of the sainted Ronald Reagan, whose 1982 refusal to sign is often trotted out by the dwindling band of sneering treaty opponents as emblematic of conservative orthodoxy on this issue. Said Shultz: "It surprises me to learn that opponents of the treaty are invoking President's Reagan's name... During his administration, with full clearance and support from President Reagan, we made it very clear that we would support ratification if our position on the sea-bed issue were accepted."The second letter was by husband David, who wrote:
...[Bandow] reveals much when he refers to the current Part XI as "redistributionist.” If some form of sharing in resources beyond national jurisdiction be "redistribution," then he must also believe that such oceanic resources belong exclusively to those with the power and technology to snatch them first. Well, I guess it's a position.
As general counsel of NOAA, (and a former Alternate U.S. Rep to UNCLOS), I participated in the 1982 decision not to sign the unamended text. I (and the Secretary of Commerce for whom I worked) were criticized at the time for favoring efforts to rewrite Part XI, on the oft-stated grounds that the treaty was simply "unsalvageable" (Bandow's word). The ensuing 12 years showed that the nay-sayers were wrong, but they will never say die and admit error, and they therefore applaud politically noisy treaty opponents who spread outrageous misstatements about the text of the treaty, on the web and elsewhere.
Doug Bandow's "An Administration LOST at Sea" does a great job of outlining many of the shortcomings of the Law of the Sea Treaty. To his list, I'd like to add a few more that are often overlooked.Today, for this blog, David penned a few words in response to Mr. McManus' letter:
For one, the treaty requires all underwater vehicles to travel on the surface of the water to exercise the right of "innocent passage.” This is a radical departure from previous agreements, which applied only to submarines. This represents a new security threat as it would mean that unmanned underwater vehicles used for mine detection would be required to surface, rendering these vehicles ineffective and making our ships more vulnerable to attack.
Second, the treaty contains provisions that -- contrary to proponents' claims -- could harm the marine environment. It requires states that cannot harvest the entire allowable catch in certain areas to make the surplus available to other nations, especially developing nations. Since the treaty makes re-acquiring harvest rights difficult once surrendered to a developing nation, coastal nations may seek to use the entire catch by whatever means are necessary. This may contribute to damage of marine resources.
Third, the treaty has the potential of making oil and gas exploration more difficult, not easier, as its proponents have suggested. The treaty requires state parties to "prevent, reduce and control" pollution of the marine environment, including "through the atmosphere.” A by-product of burning oil and gas is CO2, CO2 is a greenhouse gas, and environmental activists argue that global warming is destroying the coral reefs, home to some of the ocean's most biologically-diverse eco-systems. You do the math.
For these reasons, and those mentioned by Bandow, the Law of the Sea Treaty needs to be scuttled.
To allay conservative concerns over the Law of the Sea Treaty, Robert J. McManus assures us that Ronald Reagan would back the treaty, citing testimony by George Shultz saying so.My two cents: Mr. McManus says George Shultz “sets the record straight on the position of the sainted Ronald Reagan,” claiming that, according to Shultz, Reagan now would back ratification. The record is not as straight as Mr. McManus would have readers believe: Ed Meese says Reagan would still oppose it.
Perhaps he missed it while serving as general counsel of NOAA (where, he notes, he "participated in the 1982 decision" not to sign the treaty unless changed - a rather interesting, yet ambiguous choice of words), but conservatives were not entirely convinced of Mr. Shultz's commitment to conservative principles back when he was Secretary of State. They're unlikely to be convinced of them now.
The fact is that the Law of the Sea Treaty's environmental provisions would vastly increase the potential for environmental litigation that could either hold up or stop resource exploration. This doesn't seem to bother McManus -- perhaps not surprising given that this would be a boon to his profession -- but it should bother most conservatives. These provisions are at odds with the beliefs of most conservatives, including Ronald Reagan, who once quipped during a visit to Indiana: "If the federal government had been around when the Creator was putting His hand to this state, Indiana wouldn't be here. It'd still be waiting for an environmental impact statement."
After winning hard-fought concessions, it can be difficult to watch them go down with the rest of the ship. This may explain why so many of those who worked on the Law of the Sea Treaty are fighting so vociferously for its ratification, despite its obvious shortcomings.
But the ship should be sunk nonetheless.
Posted by Amy Ridenour at 3:22 AM
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