masthead-highres

Friday, August 31, 2007

Climate Indulgences

As a lifelong Lutheran, I can't endorse this.
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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 6:13 PM

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Global Warming Comment of the Year

After Steve Outing of Editor and Publisher wrote a column encouraging journalists to abandon any effort at objectivity when covering global warming, reader Tim Estes of Phoenix, Arizona wrote in response:
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!
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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 4:28 PM

2007 Hurricane Season: In Like a Lamb, Out Like a Lion?

Husband David Ridenour examines the 2007 hurricane season in light of environmentalist claims about a link between hurricanes and global warming:
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.
To contact author David Ridenour directly, write him at [email protected]

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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 2:25 AM

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Congress Covering Up Crime?

Not their own -- donors'.

As the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reports, nearly 800 convictions in si years -- a staggering number -- have occurred as a result of audits and investigations of labor unions conducted by the U.S. Department of Labor's Office of Labor-Management Standards. So how does the new Congress respond? By cutting its $47.7 million budget!

Normally, I love it when federal budgets are cut, but the Congressional Democrat majority doesn't want to cut the Labor Department's budget overall -- just 20 percent of the part of it that conducts audits on labor unions, which happen to support the Democratic Party.

As Mark Mix notes in this August 6 Washington Times op-ed, Rep. Patrick Kennedy (D-RI) had the nerve to claim that auditing labor unions to make sure they keep clean books is "going after... people who are trying to earn a living."

Not at all, Rep. Kennedy. The workers who are "contributing" (often under force of law) to labor unions are not harmed by the audits, but by the loss of their money. The very least labor unions, and those who accept contributions from labor unions, could do is cooperate in the detection and prevention of wrongdoing.

Kennedy is on the side of the criminals on this one.

As Mark Mix notes, even at the present, pre-cut level of funding, the Office of Labor-Management Standards only has the resources to audit 4.6 percent of the unions that file federal disclosure forms. That's less than one-in-twenty. 775 convictions and counting.

It's clear what labor union officials are afraid of, but why should we stand for a Congress that rushes to their aid?

Hat tip: Carter Wood at the NAM blog.
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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 6:18 PM

Concerned About Carbon? Use Wood

Writing in the Vancouver Sun, environmental activist Patrick Moore explains why people who want to remove carbon dioxide from our atmosphere should use, and envcourage others to use, wood products.
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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 5:41 PM

A Pet Peeve Post

I agree with this (though not necessarily the comments!). Why do community pools have "adult swim," anyway? I can see it when done as an opportunity to let adults swim laps, but if that were the purpose, banning kids from the lap area would suffice.

Zack says its pointless, and I can't disagree.
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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 1:00 AM

Friday, August 24, 2007

Mychal Massie on C-SPAN


Mychal Massie, chairman of Project 21, was a guest on C-SPAN's Washington Journal this morning, where he took questions from Brian Lamb and callers, and discussed a bevy of public policy issues, his thoughts on race, religion and such subjects as the impact of Lyndon Johnson's "Great Society" on America, Project 21's work, his own life and how he came to become chairman of Project 21 as well as a weekly columnist for WorldNetDaily.

For the next few weeks at least, you can view the program via C-SPAN's website here.
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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 11:23 PM

For Michael Vick and Hip-Hop Culture, No Sympathy from Kevin Martin

Michael Vick and hip-hop culture are the focus of these thoughts by Project 21's Kevin Martin:
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.

To contact author Kevin Martin,
write him at [email protected]
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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 5:04 PM

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Where's the Anti-Moose Lobby?

A single grown moose emits as much methane in a year as an 8,077-mile car trip does CO2.
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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 11:25 PM

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Britain's Government Health System Rules $5 a Day Too Much for Drug to Battle Alzheimer's

I can't improve on Tom Blumer's post about Britain's National Health Service's ruling denying Aricept to people with mild-to-moderate Alzheimer's -- to save money.

In a post last year, I discussed Britain's denial of the drug Herceptin -- a standard treatment here in the USA -- for cancer treatment in a young woman, Claire McDonnell, with children. In this Daily Mirror article, Mrs. McDonnell's eight-year-old daughter writes to the politician in charge of health care in Britain to beg her to allow Herceptin for her 33-year-old mother.

(Public and legal pressure since then has forced the NHS to back down on Herceptin, including for Mrs. McDonnell. Said a British woman on the victory: "The most dreadful thing in the world is being told there is a drug but you cannot have it - especially when you have got children.")

In this post, I wrote about a British man who was denied a potentially-life saving cancer drug because he lived in the wrong part of Britain. This post describes a kind of Culloden-in-reverse: The Scots far better than the English when it comes to qualifying for drugs under the NHS.

And then there's this. I did blog about it, but read the original.

Government medicine kills.
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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 1:32 AM

Fossil Fuels: The Clean Alternative

Go here or here, or here for the details.
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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 12:31 AM

Monday, August 20, 2007

A Law Against Price-Gouging?

Husband David muses that maybe it's time for a law against price-gouging after all.
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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 11:55 PM

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Elvira Arellano No Rosa Parks

Elvira Arellano, the illegal immigrant who claimed sanctuary in a Chicago church for a year, has been arrested.

Project 21's Mychal Massie had some harsh words about Arellano -- and those who compare her to Rosa Parks -- in the Philadelphia Tribune.
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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 9:52 PM

Friday, August 17, 2007

Kansas City Homicide: Media Reports U.S. Health System is to Blame

The pro-socialized medicine lobbyists like to circulate U.S. health care system horror stories, such as this one they are circulating on email lists today (and which Daily Kos editorialized about here) about a man who allegedly murdered his wife, supposedly because he couldn't afford her medical bills.

In covering this Kansas City case, the national and international press has gone along with the activists' thesis:
"Man charged with killing wife over health costs" - Reuters

"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
Linda Young of AHN led with:
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.

Likewise, few readers outside of Kansas City were told that the couple had options. The wife had been living with her mother before her husband showed up to visit, the Kansas City Star reported. The husband told her family he was going to take her to dinner, but then "took her away and never came back."

If the bills were overwhelming, he could have returned her. Even divorced her; divorce being less dishonorable than murder.

The dead woman would have been eligible for a number of government and private aid health care assistance programs, especially if her savings were exhausted (the AP reports she had investments of $20,000 as recently as April, and $6,700 in assets at the time of her death). No story of the dozens I reviewed mentioned the availability of assistance.

Several stories reveal their source for the health care system-murder link was the complaint (PDF - hat tip to Crime Blog for the link) filed by the police department in which the husband was charged with Second Degree Murder. The complaint mentions financial issues only once, in this paragraph:
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.

Addendum: The AP has a report out saying Stanley Reimer's employer, the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, "offers full family insurance coverage to its employees" and adds that Reimer had worked in its finance department since 1996.

Crossposted at Newsbusters
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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 4:21 PM

Another Idiotic Environmentalist Opinion

I don't usually use words like "idiotic," even when appropriate, but this gentleman's correspondence makes the word especially apt. Our position on invasive species legislation, as shown here, is that it "should be case-specific, weigh species' benefits against costs, and... be based on peer-reviewed scientific evidence." To this I believe reasonable position, a Frank Friedrich Kling (or some very mean person, impersonating him), writes:
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.

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."
~~KURT VONNEGUT~~

Frank Friedrich Kling
[address removed]
Woodstock, Illinois
Mr. Kling does not mention if his farm raises pigs. Pigs are an invasive species.

P.S. The only corporate interactions we've had on the invasive species issue are from those who sell pesticides. They weighed in, as corporations often do, with the environmentalists.
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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 1:45 PM

Congressional Homicides

Tom Coburn says Congress is killing us.
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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 1:31 PM

Rare Identical Quadruplets Born; Already Mistreated by Canada's Socialist Medical System

At the end of this sweet story about a Canadian woman, Mrs. Karen Jepp of Calgary, giving birth to a set of identical quadruplets (who were conceived without fertility drugs, the AP irrelevantly tells us) comes this:
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?

If so, I guess Dad can just experience the first two months of his quadruplets' lives some other year, right? And so what if the two-year-old misses his Mommy?

Do you suppose any of the politicians who mandated Canada's socialist health system has offered to drive four newborns 325 miles, stopping every two hours to feed each one for about 15 minutes? Putting up with (most likely) a lot of crying in a very small space for a very long drive?

At least -- we surmise -- Mrs. Jepp got a hospital bed. In Canada, that's not something that can be taken for granted.

P.S. A letter:
Good article. Here's a related story with a detail that might get skipped over:

Canadian Identical Quadruplets
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/6951330.stm

* 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.

Charles Stevenson
Costa Mesa, California
but formerly of Medicine Hat, Alberta
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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 3:01 AM

A Message for the Lady Who is Suing Don Imus

Project 21's Dutch Martin has a few words for the young lady who is suing Don Imus:
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.
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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 1:58 AM

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Seeing Right Through This Capitalism Nonsense*

Drawn by the fact that he quoted the National Center's own Ryan Balis, I read this essay on the housing market by Al Pennam at Conservative Compendium. It's excellent.


*Yes, the title of this post, taken from Al Pennam's article, is sarcastic.
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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 11:22 PM

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Newsweek's Samuelson Slams Newsweek 'Climate Deniers' Story

Even Newsweek didn't like its awful global warming deniers story (partly, anyhow).

Read Marc Morano, to whom I extend a hat tip, for more details.
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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 1:14 PM

Possibly Non-Existent Mouse Shatters Family's Dreams

A Wyoming family's dream to build an indoor horse-riding arena on their property is on hold because the area on which they want to build is designated critical habitat for Preble's Meadow Jumping Mouse - whose existence as a separate, identifiable species is being debated.

Possibly Non-Existent Mouse Shatters Family's Dreams

When Jim and Amy LeSatz inherited property in Chugwater, Wyoming from Amy's grandfather in 1998, they had visions of building their own indoor horse-riding arena. They planned to raise and train horses and host clinics for other horse owners. Instead, the LeSatzes are forced to continue to use an arena 25 miles away because of Endangered Species Act restrictions designed to protect the Preble's Meadow Jumping Mouse - an animal whose very existence is currently under debate.

The Preble's Meadow Jumping Mouse was listed as a threatened species under the ESA in May of 1998. As the LeSatzes began formulating their plans to build their own riding arena, they found the only suitable area where it could be built was among 31,000 acres designated as critical habitat for the mouse. The host of restrictions governing the use of the land made development too costly. Therefore, the LeSatzes must chauffeur their horses back and forth to the existing indoor arena. The cost to rent the arena and transport the horses - something they've had to do for nearly seven years - continues to be significant. The LeSatzes believe that constructing their own arena would dramatically ease these escalating costs. Thus far, however, the critical habitat designation for the mouse has prevented that from happening.

This situation may change as research puts the very existence of the species in question. New research by Rob Roy Ramey II, former curator at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science, indicates that the mouse never really existed. Instead, he argues the mouse is genetically identical to another species, the Bear Lodge Meadow Jumping Mouse, which is common enough that threatened status or critical habitat designations aren't necessary. But Ralph Morgenweck, regional director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in Denver, says the new research doesn't mandate immediate changes, saying "we're trying to be deliberate in our work, trying to get the best science we can and review of the science we do have, in making this decision [to de-list]." LeSatz is not happy with the delays: "Jim and I have always been good stewards of the land. We covet it. Once they de-list the mouse, we can finally begin our plans to build our own arena."

Coincidentally (or not), environmental groups are now asking for the protection of the Bear Lodge Mouse - which is known to reside in areas as far north as South Dakota and as far south as Colorado Springs - based on claims that it suffers from habitat degradation similar to what has been alleged for the Preble's Mouse. This is disputed by Kent Holsinger, an attorney for Coloradans for Water Conservation and Development. Holsinger requested the de-listing of the Preble's Mouse, and claims: "The bottom line is, [critical habitat designation] has been a wonderful tool for environmental groups to try to stop things."

Commenting on her family's enduring hardships, Amy LeSatz said, "A tiny little mouse comes in and changes your whole perspective. I've had more of an education in endangered species than I've ever wanted." FWS officials said they hoped to resolve the issue of whether to de-list the Preble Mouse by 2006, but the year came and went without a determination. Plans for the LeSatz family's riding arena remain on hold. Meanwhile, radical greens have been able to force the Denver Museum to terminate Dr. Ramey because he dared to do genetic research on the true status of the mouse.

Sources: CNNnews.com (June 11, 2004), Associated Press (June 11, 2004), Amy LeSatz, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

**Read this story and 99 other all-new outrageous stories of government regulatory abuse in the new fifth edition of the National Center for Public Policy Research's book, Shattered Dreams: One Hundred Stories of Government Abuse.

Download your free PDF copy today here or purchase a print copy online here.**

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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 1:25 AM

Friday, August 10, 2007

Fuel Economy Hypocrisy

Project 21 Fellow Deneen Borelli had an op-ed Thursday in the Ft. Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel on proposals in Congress to increase Corporate Average Fuel Economy, or CAFE, standards.

Says Deneen, in part:
...Congress is grappling with raising Corporate Average Fuel Economy standards to mandate higher gas mileage for cars, light trucks and minivans.

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...
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.

Leaders by example, they ain't.

Read Deneen's entire op-ed here.
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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 3:39 AM

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Washington Temperature Records

From David Ridenour:
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.
To contact author David Ridenour directly,
write him at [email protected]


Addendum: Please note that the original version of this post contained an error for the record temperature in Washington, D.C., citing it as 112 degrees. The correct figure, which now appears in the text above, is 106. I apologize for the error.

Addendum 2: I screwed up when typing the correction to the above, and now have made a second correction to note that the 106 record was set in July 1930, not in August 1930. I apologize for this error as well.
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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 3:03 PM

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Kim Priestap: Walking Causes Global Warming?

Could this be true?
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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 11:55 PM

Power Line Asks About Journey Through Hallowed Ground

Paul Mirengoff of Power Line has asked Senator John McCain what he thinks about the federal Journey Through Hallowed Ground legislation:
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."

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.

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.
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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 11:05 PM

Washington Post Cheerleads Conversion of a Small Number of Evangelicals to Anti-Global Warming Activism

Juliet Eilperin of the Washington Post had a worthy entry in the category of wishful-thinking opinion-newswriting on page A1 of the Washington Post Wednesday, with her story "Warming Draws Evangelicals Into Environmentalist Fold."

Based on the content of the piece, it might better have been titled, "Assiduous Environmentalist Lobbying Draws a Mere Handful of Evangelicals into Environmentalist Fold," but that doesn't have the pro-environmentalist cheerleading quality the Post goes for in these pieces.

Presumably lacking statistical evidence of mass conversions, Eilperin uses argument-by-anecdote to imply that a significant number of Christian evangelicals are converting into anti-global warming activists:
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.

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.
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.

The article's evidence of Hunter's influence is slim, however: He has preached on climate change to five congregations in Florida and his global warming sermons are on the Internet, where they have been seen by 3,000 people. Beyond that, he's signed a statement or two on his personal opinion on climate change, appeared on a commercial (Eilperin doesn't reveal who funded it), and drafted, in concert with a paid employee of an environmentalist organization, some materials for other evangelicals to read on climate change.

Nothing about this appears particularly "pivotal." If Hunter is going to change the way a significant number of the approximately 78 million evangelicals in the United States think about climate change, he hasn't done it yet.

Eilperin discusses the great lengths to which environmentalists have gone to convert evangelical leaders into anti-global warming activists -- even, in Hunter's case, arranging a "Windsor Castle retreat" and a royal audience:
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.)

Given that the environmentalists have been working hard for some years now specifically to recruit high-name-I.D. evangelicals to their global warming cause, the real story -- which we are unlikely to see in the Post -- is why they haven't been more successful.

Eilperin does mention that evangelical leaders James Dobson and Chuck Colson disapprove of "green" evangelism, and she notes at one point that Hunter isn't in the majority. But even this is spun in a manner that implies that Hunter's point of view will become increasingly dominant; that its just a matter of time:
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.

Finally, though it does little good to say so (Eilperin apparently isn't swayed by criticism on this particular point), Eilperin really shouldn't continue to imply ("greenhouse gas emissions that scientists say are warming Earth's climate") that all scientists believe in the human-caused global warming theory. The Washington Post may not acknowledge much diversity when it comes to global warming, but the wider world is more open-minded.

Cross-posted on NewsBusters.

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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 10:20 PM

Maybe Bill Nelson Should Resign

From husband David:
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.”

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 [email protected]
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.

An open question for Senator Nelson: What do you expect the United Nations to do for America that America cannot do for itself?

For more information about World Heritage areas, I recommend various National Center for Public Policy Research publications on this subject, including World Heritage Areas: A Critical Analysis, by Ryan Balis, This Land is My Land: How United Nations Claims of World Heritage May Swipe America's Past, by Ryan Balis, Keep the Statue of Liberty Free: An Argument for Congressional Oversight of U.N. Land Designations in the U.S., by Amy Ridenour, 1972 Treaty Grants the United Nations Control Over American Historical Landmarks, by Melissa Wiedbrauk, United Nations Gaining Control Over American Historical Landmarks, by John Carlisle and Americans Losing Control of U.S. Treasures to United Nations, by Elizabeth McGeehan, among others.

In looking through our files on the subject I was reminded that The National Center, in conjunction with the Committee For a Constructive Tomorrow, in 2000 bestowed an award on then-Congressman Helen Chenoweth-Hage for her work on the American Land Sovereignty Protection Act, legislation that would have required the approval of the U.S. Congress before any U.S. landmark was listed as a United Nations World Heritage Site. Rep. Chenoweth-Hage was Senator Nelson's opposite: Senator Nelson apparently not only believes U.S. sites should be listed by the United Nations without the approval of the U.S. Congress, but he believes Congress should "investigate" if sites listed without Congressional approval are removed from United Nations supervision.

One wonders, as David asks above, why Senator Nelson serves in our government, if he believes we need to be supervised by the United Nations. He might better suited for a perk-laden post at Turtle Bay. Let's hope he considers it.
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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 4:16 PM

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

The Anti-Catholic Parliament

If the Queen's grandson marries a Catholic, he's barred from succession.

Meanwhile, if any of the Queen's heirs marries as Muslim jihadist, it's A-OK.

Keep up with the times, Parliament -- its been 419 years since the Spanish Armada blew away. These days, Britain can use all the Christianity it can get.

Hat tip: Ace of Spades
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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 10:02 PM

Law of the Sea Debate Continues

The conversation that began with Doug Bandow's article in the American Spectator on the law of the Sea Treaty, continued in the American Spectator's letters column and then moved to this blog goes forth with a rebuttal to husband David's last points from Robert J. McManus of Kile Goekjian Reed & McManus, pllc:
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:
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.

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.
Please tell me more about how I can profit personally from US accession to the LOS treaty. I'm all ears.

Robert J. McManus
Kile Goekjian Reed & McManus, pllc
David's response:
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.

David
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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 1:58 AM

Legislative Schizophrenia

Project 21 Fellow Deneen Borelli had an op-ed in the Ft. Worth Star-Telegram Monday discussing a particularly lethal form of legislative schizophrenia.

Says Deneen:
Congress can't seem to make up its mind: Does it support safer vehicles or oppose them?

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.
Read it all here.
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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 1:53 AM

Missouri River Plan Hurt Local Residents

In an effort to protect endangered birds and fish, a federal judge restricted the amount of dammed water allowed to flow into the Missouri River. As a result, water levels became too shallow for regional farmers to ship goods by barge, forcing them to use more costly transportation alternatives.

Missouri River Plan Hurt Local Residents

Citing the need for lower water levels to protect the endangered Least Tern, Piping Plover and Pallid Sturgeon, a coalition of environmental groups sued the government to restrict the amount of dammed water that would be permitted to flow into the Missouri River.

Missouri Attorney General Jay Nixon, commenting on the region's economic reliance on the river, noted that "water for Missouri is like blood for our bodies; the flow of the Missouri River helps keep our economy alive."

Though she acknowledged the economic hardship that would result, a federal judge ruled the well-being of these protected birds and fish outweighed human concerns.

Noting, "there is no dollar value that can be placed on the extinction of an animal species," U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia Judge Gladys Kessler ordered a reluctant U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to reduce the flow of the Missouri River beginning in July of 2003. While the Corps initially refused to obey the order and was cited in contempt of court, Kessler's decision was later sustained on appeal and water levels were dropped in August.

Almost immediately, the reduction in flow caused the river level in Kansas City, Missouri to fall by six feet. This virtually eliminated the ability of barges to operate on the Missouri River and forced local farmers to seek more costly alternatives, such as air, rail and road, to transport their products. Transporting goods by barge makes good economic sense for farmers. An average 15-ton barge can carry the equivalent of 870 truck payloads.

In the spring of 2004, towing companies normally serving Sioux City, Iowa announced they would not be able to deliver the 50 to 60 regular bargeloads of fertilizer due to uncertain river depths. Big Soo Terminal manager Kevin Knepper lamented: "We have lost our spring and the most profitable season. It's just too late to get up and running and make any money... [W]e're [now] concerned the rail industry will not be able to service the additional tonnage that we're going to need to move this spring."

As a result of a diminished Missouri River, pollution and other environmental harm became an unintended and pressing concern for the region. Nixon predicted "the increased congestion and air pollution stemming from the loss of river transportation [will] be immense." Within weeks of the river dropping to levels not seen since the dustbowl era, water temperature rose to a point nearly exceeding Missouri water quality standards.

Although Kessler's decision in 2003 had been upheld, a different federal judge assigned to the river litigation has since ruled differently. In June 2004, U.S. District Judge Paul Magnuson in Minneapolis ruled in favor of the Corps and blocked the contempt citation.

Sources: Associated Press (June 21, 2004; February 17, 2005; May 25, 2005), Sioux City Journal (February 28, 2004)

**Read this story and 99 other all-new outrageous stories of government regulatory abuse in the new fifth edition of the National Center for Public Policy Research's book, Shattered Dreams: One Hundred Stories of Government Abuse.

Download your free PDF copy today here or purchase a print copy online here.**

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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 1:46 AM

Monday, August 06, 2007

Newsweek's Climate Change Monstrosity

Kudos to Marc Morano of the Senate's Environment and Public Works Minority Staff for surrendering several hours of his life in the cause of debunking an incredibly, almost jaw-droppingly bad article ("Global-Warming Deniers: A Well-Funded Machine," by Sharon Begley with Eve Conant, Sam Stein, Eleanor Clift and Matthew Philips) on global warming in the new, August 13 edition of Newsweek.

I read the Newsweek article after having been alerted to it by Marc, and my thoughts mirrored some of his:
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."

Marc, who is more generous to Newsweek than I, does come up with a value in Newsweek's piece:
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?

I know that sounds far-fetched, as theories go, but when people go so far out of their way to make fools of themselves, is it not reasonable to wonder if they are doing it on purpose?

The Newsweek article is here; Marc's criticism, which, as harsh as it seems, is actually too nice, can be found here.

Marc's criticism focuses on the issue of climate science, and how Newsweek reported it. I'll add a little extra, on the theme of journalism. The Newsweek piece is nothing but a collection of every canard the environmental left has said about us going back to the late 80s (if not earlier), without regard to accuracy. As anyone who reviews the Newsweek piece will see, allegation after allegation is made in Newsweek about organizations and individuals who oppose the environmental left's agenda on global warming, yet the piece does not even pretend to include even a token rebuttal. It's not as if the facts were unavailable to Newsweek, either: One of the reporters on the story, Sam Stein, called the National Center for Public Policy Research for information on the history of the climate change debate, he said, on July 26, around 2 PM. I called him back personally a bit after 3 PM, told him I would be happy to talk to him about this, and left my direct dial number. I never heard from him again. The way we "patterned" our work was still described by Newsweek, however -- in a quote from former Democratic lawmaker Tim Wirth, a green activist and Clinton appointee who is definitely on the other side of the policy fence, and who has no idea what he is talking about.

The Newsweek article reads like a post on one of the poorer climate alarmist blogs, with a couple of comments from the nutroots tossed in for color. It's that bad.

Take, for example, Newsweek's lead, a broadside attack on the (unnamed) American Entperise Institute:
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.

Newsweek reported this as "offer[ing] scientists $10,000 to write articles undercutting the new report and the computer-based climate models it is based on" -- a completely unfair description. (For more on what the American Enterprise Institute was trying to do, and the way the mainstream media, starting with the Guardian, screwed up the story, read "Scenes from the Climate Inquisition" by by Steven F. Hayward and Kenneth P. Green in the February 19 Weekly Standard.)

The Newsweek article doesn't get any better from there. Fortunately, it's so bad it lacks credibility, but Marc Morano's debunking is worth reading anyway.

Cross-posted on NewsBusters.

P.S. Noel Shepherd smacks Newsweek pretty good, too.

P.P.S. Here's how Newsweek describes its own story: "Senior Editor and Science Writer Sharon Begley examines the history of denial of global warming. For more than 20 years, well-funded naysayers, who still reject the overwhelming evidence of climate change, have obfuscated the science of global warming, misled the public and provided cover for policy-makers to not do anything."

Sounds like an objective news story, doesn't it?

And where do they get the "more than 20 years" bit? Are they also mad at the skeptics of global cooling?
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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 1:38 AM

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Mental Health Parity: Stop the Lies

David Hogberg hit the nail on the head with a blog post the other day about something that bugged me: Katharine Lyon, an advocate of increasing government mandates in private health care claiming that businesses will be glad to spend more money on health care premiums for their employees, because the result of higher premiums will be less absenteeism and better work.

The mandate she wants is for mental health services, which makes it a particularly ridiculous claim, but the notion that employers will be glad to spend extra money is so wrong-headed that it would bug me even if it was something else.

First of all, plenty of employers struggle just to meet payroll. You hardly ever get the sense that those who lobby governments to force businesses to spend more on payroll have ever built a successful business or met a payroll regularly. These advocates don't seem to realize that the more expensive they make employees (by increasing mandated benefits, mandating ever-increasing minimum wages, and payroll taxes), the fewer employees businesses will have.

David Hogberg said it well:
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.

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.
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.

If advocates of adding mental health parity mandates to private health insurance can't make a convincing case without resorting to fiction, they should acknowledge that a convincing case can't be made.

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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 12:32 AM

No Such Thing as Free Health Care

Joe Roche has a new column in the Lexington Herald-Leader, where he is a contributing columnist. In "'Sicko' a twisted view of health care system," he pretty much takes Michael Moore's movie apart.

My favorite part:
Canada is often touted as an example of successful national health care.

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.
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.

Read the whole thing.
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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 12:10 AM

Saturday, August 04, 2007

City Evicts Houseboat Resident for a "Biting" Wiener Dog

One maverick resident of Riviera Beach, FL discovered the price of obstructing the city government's waterfront redevelopment plan, which would uproot thousands of local residents and businesses to benefit a private development company: repeated harassment by city henchmen, arrest, eviction from his houseboat and a ridiculous order to muzzle his supposedly biting wiener dog.

City Evicts Houseboat Resident for a "Biting" Wiener Dog

Fane Lozman is accustomed to heat. He lives on a two-story houseboat docked on Slip 452 of Florida's Riviera Beach Municipal Marina. The area once served as a fishing village and is universally known for its hot and humid summers. But Lozman's challenge to the City of Riviera Beach's plan to uproot thousands of residents for part of an economic development plan landed him in a different kind of heat - the thuggish political payback sort.

In May 2006, at the request of Mayor Michael Brown, the Riviera Beach City Council hastily approved a $2.4 billion economic redevelopment plan for a 400-acre area on the Municipal Marina, which is owned and operated by the City of Riviera Beach. It did so knowing that then-Governor Jeb Bush would soon sign into law new state property protections that would prohibit the use of eminent domain for economic purposes. Nevertheless, as the Palm Beach Post reported, "A condition of the agreement was the city's promise to use eminent domain on behalf of Viking."

Lozman and thousands of other Riviera residents, private home and business owners were at risk of being evicted so that Viking Inlet Harbor Properties, a private company, could build a hotel, condos, restaurants and an aquarium on the waterfront. In addition to Viking, Wayne Huizenga, owner of the Miami Dolphins professional football team, stood to benefit because of his heavy investment in the project.

Lozman believed that the city was abusing its powers of eminent domain by seizing property to transfer it to a private company. In June 2006, Lozman sued the city for inadequately notifying the public of its development plan.

After Lozman filed the lawsuit, the city and, literally, the city's henchmen, harassed Lozman repeatedly. One month alone, George Carter, the marina operator where Lozman's boat is docked and a longtime city employee, called the police on Lozman at least six times for dubious violations. Responding to one such call by Carter in August 2006, police threatened to arrest Lozman for changing a door on his own private boat, which Hurricane Wilma had damaged, before the arrival of another approaching storm.

"[Carter] doesn't want me doing work on my boat," Lozman explained. "But there's no rule against it. He's just going after me because of what I'm doing with the city. He's good friends with Mayor [Michael] Brown. They've got him doing this to me."

In July 2006, Carter ordered Lozman to muzzle his dog, a ten-pound Dachshund "wiener dog" named Lady, to prevent it from biting. Though the dog was leashed and had never hurt anyone, Carter claimed that two people had complained that the dog lunged towards them. "If your dog was to bite someone the liability may be a problem for the marina," wrote Carter. If Lozman did not comply, "The city must ask you to vacate the marina at the end of this month."

Despite the threat, Lozman refused to follow the order because the extreme summer heat would kill Lady. As Lozman explained, "It's 110 degrees heat out here, and this dog has a black coat, and she has to pant when it's hot. She would drop dead of a heat stroke."

On August 11, 2006, the city sent Lozman an eviction notice, citing insubordination. The letter claimed Lozman "knowingly put the City of Riviera Beach in a defenseless position if [his] dog was to bite someone." It continued, "Mr. Lozman, we both know it's not if, but when the dog bites someone."

Lozman had until the end of August to move his boat. But refusing to be bullied into submission, Lozman filed another suit against the city on First Amendment grounds, contending that his eviction from a public area was, in effect, politically-motivated retaliation for obstructing the city's waterfront redevelopment plan.

"What about these mom-and-pop people who live here [in Riviera]?," asked Lozman.
"[The city is] going to turn this place into a giant megayacht marina for only the richest people. So I could have either thrown up my hands or fight a rotten group of corrupt a**holes."

In November 2006, Lozman was arrested at Riviera Beach City Hall for disorderly conduct, trespassing and resisting arrest without violence. During the public comment portion of a City Council meeting, Lozman had spoken out against public corruption. Councilwoman Liz Wade ordered police to forcibly remove Lozman from the hearing room.

"It is outrageous that a citizen gets arrested because he chooses to participate in a public meeting," said Lozman. Florida prosecutors eventually dropped the arrest charges, citing difficulty of prosecution.

Meanwhile, Lozman continued his suit against being wrongfully evicted from the Municipal Marina. In March 2007, Florida's 15th Circuit Court ruled in favor of Lozman. A jury determined that Lozman's protected speech "was a substantial or motivating factor" in Riviera Beach City's decision to evict Lozman. "This is a victory for all Americans," said Lozman after the ruling. "What makes America beautiful is our freedoms."

Lozman is currently seeking damages from the city. Meanwhile, the City of Riviera Beach abandoned its plans to use eminent domain as part of its multi-billion dollar redevelopment plan. Because of Florida's 2006 legislative action limiting municipalities' eminent domain powers, as well as an unfavorable real estate market, Viking Inlet Harbor Properties has stopped work on the redevelopment project and is considering a scaled down plan that does not rely upon the use of eminent domain.

Sources: Broward-Palm Beach New Times (August 10, 2006, August 24, 2006, March 8, 2007), City of Riviera Beach v. Fane Lozman (Circuit Court of the 15th Judicial Circuit, Palm Beach County, FL, March 2, 2007), Palm Beach Post (May 9, 2006, June 25, 2006, October 20, 2006, January 23, 2007, February 17, 2007, March 7, 2007)

**Read this story and 99 other all-new outrageous stories of government regulatory abuse in the new fifth edition of the National Center for Public Policy Research's book, Shattered Dreams: One Hundred Stories of Government Abuse.

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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 12:05 AM

Friday, August 03, 2007

Arctic Mystery

Anthropogenic global warming... yet another broken government promise.

So says Dafydd ab Hugh at Big Lizards, who is struck by the fact that Russian ships at the North Pole have been "ploughing their way through deep ice for over a week."

"But lo!," Dafydd says, "Haven't we been told for several years now -- and not just by Al Gore -- that global warming has caused the ice in the Arctic to melt, break up, and leave huge, ice-free passages all the way to the North Pole?"

Maybe global warming is real and Russia is just a theory.
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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 2:28 AM

Politician-Hypocrites

Don Surber finds another politician-hypocrite, not unlike this one.

More on the mayor's philosophy of transportation here.
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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 2:11 AM

Thursday, August 02, 2007

More Law of the Sea Debate

Doug Bandow had an article in the American Spectator Monday, harshly critical of the Law of the Sea Treaty (LOST):
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.

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.
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:
...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."

...[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.
The second letter was by husband David, who wrote:
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.

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.
Today, for this blog, David penned a few words in response to Mr. McManus' letter:
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.

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.
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.
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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 3:22 AM

Guess Who Paved the Road to Socialized Medicine

"Guess Who Paved the Road to Socialized Medicine," said Sue Blevins about SCHIP -- in 1998.

Can't say no one warned us.
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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 2:19 AM

SCHIP Expansion in Perspective

Writing on the State Policy Network Blog, Tarren Bragdon puts the "do we need to expand SCHIP debate" in perspective, for Maine, at least.

He cites figures showing that only 2.6 of Maine residents under 18 are uninsured and not already eligible for either Medicaid or SCHIP. Of those who are uninsured, he notes, 75 percent will be re-insured within a year.

Go here for more.
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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 1:51 AM

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