masthead-highres

Friday, November 30, 2007

Hurricane Season Ends with Egg on NOAA's Proverbial - and Politicized - Face

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has been inflating the number of named storms. This aids political efforts for the imposition of costly caps on energy use by helping to fuel the unproven belief that human activities are causing more frequent, and more intense, hurricanes and named storms:
NOAA Inflating Storm Numbers and Aiding Political Campaign for Carbon Restrictions, Group Says; End of 2007 Hurricane Season Shows NOAA Forecasts Wrong for Second Year in a Row

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is inflating the count of tropical storms and aiding a political campaign to regulate energy use in the process, according to The National Center for Public Policy Research.

Today marks the official end of the 2007 hurricane season, and for the second year in a row the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's forecast for the season was wrong. NOAA had predicted there would be seven to nine hurricanes, three to five major hurricanes and 13-17 "named storms." The season ended with just five hurricanes, two of which were major (category three or above) and 14 named storms.

"NOAA correctly predicted the number of named storms, but it's not clear this statistic has any meaning, as the agency is inflating today's storm numbers relative to storms in the past," said David A. Ridenour, vice president of The National Center for Public Policy Research and author of a forthcoming new report on this year's hurricane season. "NOAA is doing so both by changing the criteria for naming storms and by failing to account for changes in technology that make detection of storms much easier."

In its annual hurricane season forecast and subsequent tropical cyclone reports, for example, NOAA makes no mention that it started naming subtropical storms for the first time in 2002. This year, one storm - equal to 7% of named storms - was a subtropical storm.

State-of-the art equipment is also enabling observers to detect cyclones they would have missed in the past. The QuikScat, an orbiting satellite that measures the ocean's surface winds, produces more than 200 times the amount of ocean wind information that had been available from ships.

"Unfortunately, NOAA's forecasts and cyclone reports suggesting increased activity are being seized upon by activists to support their campaign government take-over of energy," said Ridenour. "There's no truth to the claim that global warming is putting cyclones on steroids, unless we're talking about one of the side-effects of long-term steroid use - impotency."

The National Center's observations mirror the findings of Neil Frank, former director of NOAA's National Hurricane Center, who says that as many as six of this year's named storms wouldn't have been named in past decades.

Bill Read, deputy director of the National Hurricane Center, disputed this in published reports saying, "For at least the last two decades, I am certain most, if not all, the storms named this year would have also been named."

"The National Hurricane Center started naming subtropical storms for the first time just five years ago," said Ridenour. "To suggest that the criteria for naming storms hasn't changed is simply dishonest."
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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 8:47 AM

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Black Activists Criticize Local NAACP, School Officials for Censoring Ohio School Play

Project 21 members believe the NAACP's criticism of Lakota East High School for producing the play "Ten Little Indians" is more than a little misguided:
Black Activists Criticize Local NAACP, School Officials for Censoring Ohio School Play

The Lakota East High School dramatic production of the Agatha Christie novel Ten Little Indians -- initially cancelled by school administrators after it was called racially insensitive by a local NAACP leader -- is back on, but with changes that imply the play will be compromised by political correctness.

Members of the Project 21 black leadership network call the actions of Butler County NAACP president Gary Hines inappropriate and detrimental to race relations. They say it presents the appearance of a shakedown of the southwestern Ohio school system. They are also critical of school officials for buckling under pressure from Hines.

"In this era of unprecedented equality, and particularly when it affects impressionable and innocent young people, Gary Hines is stirring the pot of racial animosity with a pretty big spoon," said Project 21 fellow Deneen Borelli. "It appears he whipped up a controversy that may generate business for him. Some people would call that a shakedown."

East Lakota students worked for months to produce the play "Ten Little Indians," which the Educational Theatre Association says is one of the top 25 plays produced by high schools nationwide. Based on the Agatha Christie novel of the same name, it is a murder mystery about a killer stalking a group of strangers trapped on an island. The killer knocks over Indian figurines after a murder is committed.

When it was first published in England in 1939, the title used the "n-word" instead of Indian, and the original English book cover had black figures on it. The American version, first published in 1940, as always used the term “Indian.” The stage version is sometimes titled "And Then There Were None."

Hines -- the owner of the GPH Consultants diversity training company and a reported long-time critic of the Lakota Local Schools system -- implied he was going to lead a protest of the play, which was supposed to be performed this weekend. He told the Cincinnati Enquirer the play is about "genocide" and that "kids don't have enough information about diversity." Referring to the original name and artwork of the novel published overseas over 70 years ago, he told the Cincinnati Post, "We can't run away from that." He said, however, he would not oppose the play being done by a community or professional theater group.

Lakota Board of Education president Joan Powell, referring to Hines' past criticism of the school system, told the Enquirer she believed Hines' financial goals may influence his actions.

Superintendent Mike Taylor today said the play will be performed next month, but with changes. It will be performed under its alternative title, contain unspecified additional material and will feature what the Associated Press describes as "conversations and other activities" that Taylor said will "honor diversity in the community."

Also unspecified is any participation by Hines -- paid or unpaid -- in the school's new diversity-related programming.

"To claim that harm will be caused by students re-creating a 1939 Agatha Christie novel, via a theatre production, is the height of political correctness run amuck," said Project 21 member Joe Hicks. "The trajectory of this nation's racial and ethnic relations has produced a radically altered ethnic and racial landscape. Today, America is the most tolerant industrial society in the world. The assumption that some imaginary hoops have to be jumped through to avoid hurting the feelings of some ultra-sensitive individuals with defined political agendas is simply incorrect."

Project 21 chairman Mychal Massie added: "This ridiculous capitulation further compromises what was already a grotesque abrogation of the students’ creative environment. The Lakota Local Schools is attempting to straddle the fence of racial intimidation. Those innocent school children have the right to their creative enterprise without being subjected to race mongers who are intent on inculcating their condemnable agendas. Instead of coming down on the side of common sense, the school district signaled their willingness to support this person's malevolence."
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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 10:54 PM

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Australia's John Howard a Global Warming Victim? No.

A post by Joseph Romm published by the Climate Progress Blog (a project of the Center for American Progress) and the environmentalist Grist Blog is claiming Australian Prime Minister John Howard lost his re-election bid because of his stand on global warming:
Australian denier bites the dust — literally

Global warming takes down its first major political victim:
“Conservative Prime Minister John Howard suffered a humiliating defeat Saturday at the hands of the left-leaning opposition, whose leader has promised to immediately sign the Kyoto Protocol on global warming.”
Why the stunning loss? A key reason was Howard’s “head in the sand dust” response to the country’s brutal once-in-a-thousand year drought. As the UK’s Independent reported in April:
… few scientists dispute the part played by climate change, which is making Australia hotter and drier….. Until a few months ago, Mr Howard and his ministers pooh-poohed the climate-change doomsayers....
Read the rest here or here.

Not for the first time, climate alarmists see things as they wish they were, and not as they are.

Howard lost for many reasons far more "key" than Howard's skepticism about the need for the environmental movement's prescriptions for fighting climate change. These reasons include:
Howard had already been prime minister 11 1/2 years (he was running for his fifth term), and is 68 years old to his opponent's more youthful 50.

Many voters took Australia's strong economy -- possibly Howard's greatest achievement -- for granted, as Australia has enjoyed 17 straight years of economic growth.

The Labor Party candidate, Kevin Rudd, campaigned as a strong fiscal conservative, and endorsed very many of Howard's economic policies, leading voters to believe Rudd as new prime minister would continue Howard's economic policy achievements.

Despite a good economic record overall, Howard's Liberal Party was blamed for a recent unpopular rise in interest rates.

The Labor Party ran a celebrity against Howard in his local parliamentary race in New South Wales, forcing him to campaign there frequently, taking his time away from campaigning in marginal districts.

A 2005 industrial relations reform called "Work Choices" was unpopular in some quarters, particularly among organized labor.

A late-breaking scandal took place, in which Liberal Party activists were caught handing out fake Labor Party brochures supporting Islamic terrorists.

The war in Iraq, in which Howard was a steadfast American ally.
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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 3:19 AM

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

The Positive View

In international relations, Joe Roche has listed some things to be thankful for this Thanksgiving eve.

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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 9:40 PM

Time Magazine on Drought, 2007 Versus 1974

Time magazine, November 26, 2007 (Michael Grunwald):
[Georgia's] drought was a natural event transformed into a natural disaster by human folly. And while it's still hard to say whether global warming caused any particular drought or flood or fire, it's going to cause more of all of them.
Time magazine, June 24, 1974:
In Africa, drought continues for the sixth consecutive year, adding terribly to the toll of famine victims... Climatological Cassandras are becoming increasingly apprehensive, for the weather aberations they are studying may be the harbinger of another ice age.
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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 1:04 AM

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Reagan No Racist, Says Deroy Murdock

Deroy Murdock has a lot of evidence to back up his contention that Paul Krugman and Bob Herbert are wrong: Ronald Reagan was not a racist.
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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 11:30 PM

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Some of Us Support Species, While Others Support the Endangered Species Act

In an article reviewing former House Speaker Newt Gingrich's new book, "A Contract With the Earth," Salon refers to The National Center for Public Policy Research thusly:
Gingrich also inspired the wrath of some conservative think tanks for defending the Endangered Species Act.
The entire National Center document Salon linked to shows there was a lot more at stake than us supposedly attacking the Endangered Species Act, while Newt Gingrich "defended" it.

In fact, we were trying to reform a failed Act, and Gingrich was blocking reform.

Here's what Salon linked to, from 1996:
House Speaker Newt Gingrich is the single greatest threat to needed reform of environmental laws, announced the conservative National Center for Public Policy Research on June 24. The Speaker's efforts to stymie meaningful reform of the Endangered Species Act, his support for legislation that would threaten private property and subvert efforts to base legislation on sound science, and his efforts to give the environmental establishment veto power over all environmental legislation mean the Speaker should be the poster boy of the environmental movement -- not its villain -- says the group.

In recent months, environmental groups have been attempting to use the Speaker's waning popularity to sink regulatory relief efforts. But Newt Gingrich and the environmental movement are like two peas in a pod. In fact, says the group, Newt Gingrich has staked out environmental positions that are so radical that some of the staunchest environmentalists appear moderate by comparison. For example, Gingrich recently blocked changes to a dolphin protection measure that had been given the green light not only by environmental establishment Republicans like Wayne Gilchrest (R-MD), but by environmental groups like Greenpeace. In May he also urged Senate Majority Leader Robert Dole (R-KS) to abandon eforts to pass property rights legislation -- a measure supported by over two-thirds of the electorate.

"Given the Speaker's apparent contempt for private property rights, his penchant for 'junk science' and his indifference to the plight of Americans suffering under unreasonable regulations, he ought to be the environmental movement's poster boy -- not its villain," said David Ridenour, Vice President of The National Center for Public Policy Research. Ironically, at the very time Speaker Gingrich has been villified by the environmental movement, he's been working to ensure that they have greater say in the nation's policies. Recently, Gingrich established a House Task Force on the Environment designed to give environmentalists veto power over all environmental legislation. Gingrich appointed Representative Sherwood Boehlert (R-NY) to co-chair the Task Force, one of the House of Representatives' most rabid environmentalists -- Democrat or Republican. Boehlert received a 92% score in the League of Conservation Voters' environmental scorecard -- higher than 53% of House Democrats.
Our complaints about then-Speaker Gingrich on environmental issues only began with the the Endangered Species Act. There was a lot more to it than that.

Yet the Endangered Species Act was, and remains, a failure. Nonetheless, as Speaker, Gingrich blocked reform intended to improve the Act.

Here's what The National Center recommended for Endangered Species Act reform when Gingrich was Speaker, taken from a 1995 press release of The National Center's Environmental Policy Task Force:
The Endangered Species Act has failed to protect endangered and threatened species while needlessly violating the constitutional rights of individual citizens and costing the nation billions of dollars, according to the Environmental Policy Task Force. The Task Force has just released guidelines for effective Endangered Species Act reform that can protect both species and the rights of the American people.

The guidelines, published in two just-released Talking Points on the Economy cards, "Checklist for Endangered Species Act Reform" and "A Species Protection Plan That Works for Both Wildlife and Humans," include four general recommendations for effective reform and six specific policy recommendations. Among the Environmental Policy Task Force's general recommendations is that Congress recognize that the current Endangered Species Act has failed before attempting to reform the law. Some 900 plants and animals are currently listed as either "endangered" or "threatened" under the Endangered Species Act with another 4,000 species either candidates for future listing or in the process of being listed. But in the 21 years the law has been on the books, only 27 species have managed to get off the "endangered" list. Seven of these delistings were due to extinction and the remaining were due to data error, court orders or species improvements completely unrelated to the Endangered Species Act. The Act has been an abysmal failure because it actually encourages the destruction of species habitat.

"The greatest fear of any landowner is that their property will be identified by federal bureaucrats as potential habitat for an endangered species. Federal restrictions on the use of the land that result can render a property worthless," said David Ridenour, Vice President of The National Center for Public Policy Research and Director of Environmental Policy Task Force. "If landowners are destroying wildlife habitat today, it is only because the current Endangered Species Act has taught them that if they want to keep any of their investment they must extract whatever natural resources their land possesses quickly and make the land as inhospitable to wildlife as possible."

The fundamental flaws of the Endangered Species Act -- including its failure to protect endangered species -- means that the Endangered Species Act has outlived its usefulness and must go, according to Environmental Policy Task Force. In its place, the Task Force suggests that a voluntary, incentive-based species protection plan be adopted that includes such incentives as tax breaks and even cash payments to reward individuals for wildlife preservation. Rather than using the government's coercive powers to force individuals to shoulder the burden for species protection that the country as a whole desires, individuals would be rewarded for responsible stewardship by the public.

"The Endangered Species Act is out of control because the bureaucrats who enforce it don't have to pay for it. They transfer the cost of protecting endangered species habitat from the public at large to private individuals," said Congressman John Shadegg (R-AZ), a member of both the House Resource Committee and the House Government Reform and Oversight Committee's subcommittee on natural resources who will likely play a key role in Endangered Species Act reform. "Congress can restore rationality to the system by making the Fish and Wildlife Service pay for what it demands."

The Environmental Policy Task Force's reform guidelines recognize the underlying reasons for the Endangered Species Act's failure and thus represent a bold departure from past reform efforts. If there is to be meaningful Endangered Species Act reform, there can be no room for sentimental attachments and "good intentions" alone simply won't do.

"Now is not the time to be reaffirming the failed approach of the past," said John Shanahan, policy analyst with The Heritage Foundation who helped devise the Task Force's recommendations. "What is called for is a new vision which for the first time protects people and wildlife alike."

The Environmental Policy Task Force is a project of The National Center for Public Policy Research, a non-profit, non-partisan educational foundation and resource center based in Washington, D.C. The Task Force was established to find and promote innovative, workable solutions to environmental problems -- solutions that minimize the suffering of working Americans while still protecting the environment.
Gingrich opposed what we suggested; supporting instead the status quo.

Did the Gingrich status quo protect species? It's years later now, so let's examine what happened:
ESA's 32 Years of Failure

In the 32 years the ESA has been on the books, just 34 of the nearly 1,300 U.S. species given special protection have made their way off the "endangered" or "threatened" lists. Of this number, nine species are now extinct, 14 appear to have been improperly listed in the first place, and just nine (.6% of all the species listed) have recovered sufficiently to be de-listed. Two species - a plant with white to pale-blue flowers called the Hoover's Woolly-Star and the yellow perennial, Eggert's Sunflower - appear to have made their way off the threatened list in part through "recovery" and in part because they were not as threatened as originally believed.

A less than 1% recovery rate isn't good. Some environmental groups, however, insist that this statistic proves the opposite - that the ESA has been very effective. These organizations note that, since 99% of all the species given special protection have either recovered or are still on the endangered and threatened lists, these species all "still exist" and, therefore, the ESA has worked. The "still exist" standard, however, tells us little about the true status of endangered and threatened species and certainly does not prove the efficacy of the ESA...

... Just 36% of the species on the endangered and threatened lists are currently believed to be stable or improving - meaning that 64% are declining...

-David Ridenour, 2005
So what Gingrich was "defending" was a status quo that leaves 64% of species in decline.

I guess some of us support species, while others support the Endangered Species Act.
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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 1:20 AM

Friday, November 16, 2007

Joe R. Hicks on Hannity & Colmes

Joe R. Hicks is on Fox's Hannity & Colmes right now, talking about the Jena 6 case.
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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 9:47 PM

Auto Efficiency Standards Change Little; Auto Efficiency Changes Much -- and New York Times Doesn't Notice

Peyton Knight points out that the New York Times editorial page is so enamored by regulation, it has lost sight of reality:
The New York Times is worried that some of the most anti-energy provisions of the anti-energy bill, which Democratic House and Senate leaders are currently trying to finalize, might get scrapped for expediency's sake.

Arguing in favor a significant increase in fuel economy standards for vehicles, the Times notes: "Efficiency standards have changed little in 30 years."

More important than standards, however, is efficiency itself, which has certainly improved over three decades.

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the average fuel economy of the U.S. fleet of passenger cars in 1975 was 13.5 miles per gallon (mpg). In 2006 it was 24.6 mpg - representing a fuel efficiency increase of 82 percent.

In 1975 the average fuel economy for light trucks was 11.6 mpg. In 2006 it was 18.4 - representing a fuel efficiency increase of 59 percent.

Market forces have generated a wide array of choices that fit consumers' preferences. Consumers who prefer a four-door sedan that gets 46 mpg, which is 11 mpg higher than what the Senate energy bill calls for by the year 2020, need only go buy one.
To contact author Peyton Knight directly,
write him at [email protected]
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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 12:40 AM

U.S. Bridge Federation Has Constitutional Right to Eject Bush-Bashing Bridge Players

Kudos to the United States Bridge Federation, which is showing spine in response to the self-centered actions of the team of women who used the world bridge championships as a platform to express their anti-Bush political opinions.

While "representing" the United States in communist China, the team held up a sign saying "We did not vote for Bush.”

The New York Times' Stephanie Strom reports on the Bridge Federation's response:
Three players— Hansa Narasimhan, JoAnna Stansby and Jill Meyers — have expressed regret that the action offended some people. The federation has proposed a settlement to [team captain Gail] Greenberg and the three other players, Jill Levin, Irina Levitina and [team member Debbie]. Rosenberg, who have not made any mollifying statements.

It calls for a one-year suspension from federation events, including the World Bridge Olympiad next year in Beijing; a one-year probation after that suspension; 200 hours of community service “that furthers the interests of organized bridge”; and an apology drafted by the federation’s lawyer.

It would also require them to write a statement telling “who broached the idea of displaying the sign, when the idea was adopted, etc.”

Alan Falk, a lawyer for the federation, wrote the four team members on Nov. 6, “I am instructed to press for greater sanction against anyone who rejects this compromise offer.”
The Times quotes a Danny Kleinman, said to be a "professional bridge player, teacher and columnist," telling the Times by e-mail that "if the U.S.B.F. wants to impose conditions of membership that involve curtailment of free speech, then it cannot claim to represent our country in international competition."

What an airhead Danny Kleinman must be. The First Amendment begins: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press..." and it continues "...or the right of the people peaceably to assemble..."

If the U.S. Bridge Federation membership does not wish to associate itself with players who do not believe in the maxim "politics stops at the water's edge," they have a Constitutional right not to do so.

This is a freedom of assembly, not a freedom of speech, issue. The right of the Bridge Federation to associate freely is being questioned by many, but no grand jury is sitting to consider an indictment against the bridge players.

A handful of the liberal bloggers who are defending the bridge players (for example, here, here and here) don't seem to understand what the First Amendment says and means.

What a wonderful country we might have if all the liberals who use their freedom of speech rights read the Constitution carefully and with intelligence once in a while. (Right, Amy, dream on.)

Capping the idiocy of the story, the French delegation reportedly tried to make the whole kerfluffle a sexism issue (believe it or not). The delegation wrote in an e-mail to the U.S. team, "you were doing only what women of the world have always tried to do when opposing the folly of men who have lost their perspective of reality." Good grief, girls, look up "projection" in the dictionary sometime.

No word on whether the French chicks held up a sign saying "We did not vote for Sarkozy."

I checked the blog of Peg Kaplan, my favorite bridge-playing blogger; her posts on this are here and here.

Joe Hicks of Project 21 comes down hard on the team here.

Addendum: Jeremy Lott disagrees, but doesn't say why.

Addendum, 11/17/07: I missed this link, and shouldn't have, from Peg Kaplan's blog. I agree entirely.

Addendum II, 11/17/07: Jeremy Lott says why. Sort of.
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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 12:37 AM

The Three Great Truths of Liberal America

On Stop The ACLU, JonJayRay lists his view of "the three great 'truths' of Liberal America":
1). Only whites can be racist
2). Only conservatives can utter “hate speech”
3). Israel is always in the wrong.
He's reponding to this press release by Project 21's Mychal Massie.
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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 12:22 AM

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Senate Hears Testimony on Lieberman-Warner "Hurt America's Poor Act"

From Peyton Knight:
The Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works heard testimony Thursday regarding the "America's Climate Security Act of 2007" (S. 2191) sponsored by Senators Joe Lieberman (I-CT) and John Warner (R-VA). The bill would be better named the "Hurt America's Poor Act," as it would mandate drastic caps on and reductions of greenhouse gas emissions in the electric power, transportation and manufacturing sectors, thus making energy more expensive and disproportionately harming the poorest Americans.

Just how drastic are the reductions?

As Dr. Margo Thorning, Senior Vice President and Chief Economist for the American Council for Capital Formation, pointed out in her testimony, the Act "requires reducing emissions to 2005 levels by 2012 and then lowers emissions at a constant rate, reaching 1990 levels by 2020 and then a target of 65 percent below 1990 levels by 2050." Dr. Thorning notes that the gap between what the U.S. Department of Energy's Energy Information Administration forecasts emission levels in the U.S. to be in 2030 and the emissions level S. 2191 mandates for the same year is a whopping 55 percent.

According to Dr. Thorning, "most of the cost of meeting a cap on CO2 emissions would be borne by consumers, who would face persistently higher prices for products such as electricity and gasoline. Those price increases would be regressive in that poorer households would bear a larger burden relative to their income than wealthier households would."

Dr. Thorning also dispels the notion that mandatory emissions caps will spur technological innovation.

"Caps on emissions are not likely to promote new technology development because caps will force industry to divert resources to near term, 'end of pipe' solutions rather than promote spending for long-term technology innovations that will enable us to reduce GHGs [greenhouse gasses] and increase energy efficiency," reads her testimony. "An emission trading system will send exactly the wrong signals to investors because it will create uncertainty about the return on new investment."

Emissions trading hasn't exactly been a screaming success in reducing emissions in Europe. Dr. Thorning points out that emissions in the 15 major industrial countries in the European Union are projected to be 7.4 percent above 1990 levels in 2010, according to the European Environmental Agency. Which means these countries will almost certainly miss their Kyoto Protocol target of 8 percent below 1990 emissions levels by 2010-2012.
To contact author Peyton Knight directly, write him at [email protected]
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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 1:57 AM

Friday, November 09, 2007

Fake Global Warming Study Fools Four, Reuters Runs Wire Story

Reuters tried to make a mountain out of a molehill Thursday with its story "Hoax Bacteria Study Tricks Climate Skeptics."

The story, and a related post on the Reuters blog, implied that a noteworthy number of so-called global warming skeptics had been fooled by a fake "study" purporting to disprove the manmade global warming theory.

Said Reuters:
A hoax scientific study pointing to ocean bacteria as the overwhelming cause of global warming fooled some skeptics on Thursday who doubt growing evidence that human activities are to blame.

Laden with scientific jargon and published online in the previously unknown "Journal of Geoclimatic Studies" based in Japan, the report suggested the findings could be "the death of manmade global warming theory."

Skeptics jumped on the report. A British scientist e-mailed the report to 2,000 colleagues before spotting it was a spoof. Another from the U.S. called it a "blockbuster."

Blogger skeptic Neil Craig wrote: "This could not be more damaging to manmade global warming theory ... I somehow doubt if this is going to be on the BBC news."

It was not clear who was behind the report, which said bacteria in the Atlantic and Pacific oceans emitted at least 300 times more carbon dioxide than industrial activity -- a finding that, if true, would overturn the widely held view of scientists that burning fossil fuels are the main cause of warming...
"Skeptics jumped on the report" implies that a noteworthy number of skeptics -- at least noteworthy enough to warrant a wire story -- reprinted, referenced or endorsed the hoax study. But how many did?

The anti-skepticism website DeSmogBlog catalogued those who fell for the hoax, coming up with this list:
Benny Peiser, who forwards copies of news articles and studies on climate matters to his "CCNet" e-mail list several times each day. Peiser sent a copy of the hoax study to his list Wednesday without comment and sent out a hoax warning to the list about an hour later.

A Scottish blogger (the Neil Craig quoted by Reuters) whose Sitemeter stats shows his blog receives an average of 175 visitors a day.

A North Carolina think-tank (allegedly; the post was swiftly removed and I have not seen it).

Blogger Angry Steve (allegedly; the post is gone), who describes himself as "an angry, violent man, trapped in a lazy, pacifist's body," and whose blog averages 5 visitors a day.

A post by "Mr. G" in a blog called PEER Review FL, which bills itself as "Florida's Premier Conservative blog."

Something called "Test Blog," which doesn't appear to be a real blog.

Ron Bailey on Reason Magazine's Hit & Run blog.

In addition, I know of one skeptic who forwarded the hoax study without comment to his e-mail list, then sent out a hoax warning 30 minutes later.
How many skeptics, then, fell for the hoax?

Of the eight individuals and blogs cited above, three don't appear to be skeptics.

Ron Bailey, who posted the study at Reason's Hit & Run, says he is not a skeptic. I could find no evidence on Angry Steve's blog that he is a skeptic. Mr. G seems to be undecided about global warming. The "Test Blog" doesn't appear to be real. So that leaves Benny Peiser, the North Carolina think-tank, the Scottish blogger with 175 daily readers and the individual I know as the four skeptics who were fooled by the hoax. Three of the four were fooled only briefly.

Reuters ran with the headline "Hoax Bacteria Study Tricks Climate Skeptics." I suppose the headline, "Four Climate Skeptics Fooled by Elaborate Hoax Attempt; Three Briefly" didn't appeal to them. No point in wasting good Reuters ink covering the fact that the vast majority of the skeptics who received copies of the hoax study didn't fall for it. (Look at the obviously fake graphs on the study and you'll see one reason why.)

It's amazing how little it takes to warrant a wire story on Reuters these days.

Note: Radio host Rush Limbaugh apparently also briefly believed the hoax was genuine, though apparently in his case it was because he misread a hoax warning from a prominent "skeptic" scientist. Because Rush mistakenly believed he was receiving an endorsed study from a source who was actually trying to warn him against it, I have not included Rush in my comments above.

Addendum: The hoax architect, David Thorpe, posted here about his handiwork ("Within a few hours, the blogosphere was ablaze with the news, and a number of bloggers fell for the scam."). I draw attention to this because Thorpe used as partial proof that his scam had "smoked out" skeptics that "Reason Magazine posted the story and then tore it down..."

As the person at Reason who posted it is open about his belief in the man-made global warming theory, he's no skeptic. So an alarmist runs a scam intended to catch skeptics, catches an alarmist, and calls that proof he succeeded.

With reasoning power like that, it is no wonder some of these guys believe in the man-made global warming theory...

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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 2:51 AM

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Think Progress Slams Conservative Bloggers for Citing a Mere Weatherman on Climate Issues, Yet It Cites a Politician Over a Climatologist

The ridiculous Think Progress is slamming John Coleman for expressing his opinion on climate change because -- get this -- Coleman is a just a weatherman:
The conservative blogosphere is pushing Coleman’s junk science today. Matt Drudge links to NewsBusters’ “marvelous” take on Coleman this morning. Red State [sic], Qando [sic], Sister Toldjah, and the Free Republic also join in by approvingly linking to Coleman’s piece.

The right wing should check Coleman’s credentials before touting his “scientific” work. As Coleman admits, his “expertise” is in weather — not climate change science. In fact, he “has been a TV weatherman since he was a freshman in college in 1953.”
Think Progress doesn't believe a mere "weatherman" should speak his mind on climate, but...

...as recently as November 5, Think Progress promoted the climate views of a politician over those of a bona fide climatologist:
This morning, former vice president Al Gore appeared on NBC’s Today Show to talk about global warming. Host Meredith Vieira brought up a Nov. 1 Wall Street Journal op-ed by climate skeptic John Christy, a former member of the IPCC. In the op-ed, Christy wrote, “I see neither the developing catastrophe nor the smoking gun proving that human activity is to blame for most of the activity we see.”

When Vieira asked about the op-ed, Gore noted that Christy “no longer belongs to the IPCC” and is “way outside the scientific consensus.” He also sharply criticized the media for giving so much air time to such climate skeptics...

As Gore noted, scientists such as Christy are outliers, yet the media continue to give them an overblown amount of airtime. Last month, for example, Colorado State University professor Dr. William Gray sharply criticized Gore, saying that he is “brainwashing our children” on global warming.
Christy has a B.A. in mathematics and an M.S. and Ph.D. in atmospheric sciences. Gore earned a degree in government and then attended divinity school and law school.

If conservative bloggers are foolish for citing a mere weatherman on climate issues, what does that make a website that cites a politician?

The headline for the Think Progress piece, by the way, is "Right Wing Trumpets Global Warming Denial Of Discredited ‘TV Weatherman.'" When was Coleman "discredited"?

I'm wondering if the Think Progress staff just made that part up.

Full Disclosure: I cited meterologist John Coleman's remarks yesterday, and would do it again.
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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 10:30 PM

"Global Warming is a Non-Event, a Manufactured Crisis and a Total Scam"

The founder of the Weather Channel, John Coleman, on global warming:
It is the greatest scam in history. I am amazed, appalled and highly offended by it. Global Warming; It is a SCAM. Some dastardly scientists with environmental and political motives manipulated long term scientific data to create in allusion of rapid global warming. Other scientists of the same environmental whacko type jumped into the circle to support and broaden the ‘research’ to further enhance the totally slanted, bogus global warming claims. Their friends in government steered huge research grants their way to keep the movement going. Soon they claimed to be a consensus...

...I do not oppose environmentalism. I do not oppose the political positions of either party. However, Global Warming, ie Climate Change, is not about environmentalism or politics. It is not a religion. It is not something you ‘believe in.’ It is science; the science of meteorology. This is my field of life-long expertise. And I am telling you Global Warming is a non-event, a manufactured crisis and a total scam. I say this knowing you probably won’t believe a me, a mere TV weatherman, challenging a Nobel Prize, Academy Award and Emmy Award winning former Vice President of United States. So be it...
Read the rest here.

Hat tip: Noel Sheppard at Newsbusters.

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 2:44 AM

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Of Airdrops, Earmarks and Interests

Speaking of earmarks, Ed Morrissey has a list of airdropped earmarks (earmarks appearing in conference reports merging House and Senate versions of the bill without first appearing in legislation as approved by either chamber).

Here's another article about airdropped earmarks, including $685 million arranged by Senator Barbara Boxer.

As a sie note, a commenter to Ed's post recommends this article about lawmakers who received a total of $6.2 million in farm subsidies without recusing themselves from votes on such things. I agree with Melanie Sloan: That's a conflict of interest.
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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 10:25 PM

Tom Daschle's New Earmark

Rep. Jeb Hensarling is reporting that former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle is still getting earmarks, even though the voters retired him from the Senate.

More here.
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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 6:04 PM

America's Historical and Natural Legacy Study Act: Congress Continues to Feed Overstuffed Park Service

From Peyton Knight:
On Wednesday, members of the House Natural Resources Committee will vote on the "America's Historical and Natural Legacy Study Act" (H.R. 3998), a massive bill that would direct the National Park Service to "study" the prospects of adding multiple new properties to its already expansive fiefdom.

Included in the bill is the "Mississippi River Study Act" which would set the wheels in motion for creating a new national trail along the entire Mississippi River.

Last year, I had the honor of testifying before the House Subcommittee on National Parks, Recreation and Public Lands on behalf of The National Center for Public Policy Research. Below is an excerpt:
The Mississippi River Trail Study Act… carries significant, negative property rights implications for landowners in the path and vicinity of the proposed trail - whether the trail be the river itself or an adjacent, land-based trail. Its timing is bad because it would drain resources from an agency that is already stretched well beyond its capacity. It also comes at a time when Americans across the nation are demanding that government use of eminent domain power be strictly curtailed. A national scenic or historic trail the entire length of the Mississippi River would bring a new threat of eminent domain to property owners in as many as ten states.

The National Park Service (NPS) is currently running a maintenance backlog estimated to be anywhere from five to ten billion dollars. This is not a recent development. Ten years ago, the U.S. Department of the Interior estimated this backlog to be $4.5 billion...

The failure of the Park Service to adequately protect many of our public lands and historic treasures is well documented by the National Parks Conservation Association. Yosemite National Park in California needs a new sewer system and electrical upgrades, and lacks necessary trail and campground maintenance. Yellowstone National Park has decrepit buildings and over 150 miles of roads that need repair. Travel to backcountry cabins in Washington's Mount Rainier National Park is impossible because of neglected bridges and trails. The foundation of the visitor center at the USS Arizona Memorial in Hawaii is crumbling and literally sinking into the ground. Ancient stone structures are collapsing at Chaco Culture National Historical Park in Mexico. Many historic structures at Gettysburg National Military Park need rehabilitation.

Increased funding is not the answer to what ails the Park Service. According to Department of the Interior Assistant Secretary for Policy, Management and Budget Lynn Scarlett, "Since 2000, the National Park Service's budget has grown by 20 percent, one of the greatest increases for a non-defense agency. The Park Service's $1.8 billion operating budget for 2005 represents spending of more funds per employee, per acre, and per visitor than ever before."

…[N]ational scenic and historic trails pose numerous, serious threats to property owners unfortunate enough to lie in their path. These threats include land acquisition, restrictive easements or increased land use controls and restrictive zoning measures.

But perhaps chief among the threats posed by such trails to landowners is the condemnation of private property through eminent domain. As professional engineer and Property Rights Foundation of America president Carol LaGrasse has noted: "It is impossible to build a trail of any significant length without using some measure of coercion on property owners - either eminent domain or the threat of it. Because a trail is like a highway, a railroad or a utility line, it has to be built in one continuous length.”
In addition to laying the groundwork for a national trail along the Mississippi River, H.R. 3998 would direct the Park Service to consider expanding two existing national historic sites, one existing national trail, and a huge national recreation area dubbed "the Rim of the Valley Corridor" in California. Also included in the bill are four, yet-to-be-classified, new Park Service units and another national trail that would wind through Missouri, Tennessee, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and California.

That's quite of bit of additional programming for an agency that continues to suffer a multibillion-dollar maintenance backlog crisis. Just three months ago, in testimony before the House Subcommittee on National Parks, Bill Wade, Chair of the Executive Council of the Coalition of National Park Service Retirees, reported: "The National Park Service estimates its backlog at $8 billion."

It is mind-boggling why Congress would continue to feed the Park Service when the agency has already bitten off way more than it can chew. It just doesn't get any more irresponsible than that.
To contact author Peyton Knight directly, write him at [email protected]

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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 10:03 AM

Monday, November 05, 2007

Anti-Photo ID Legislation Would Promote Election Fraud, Says Group

Project 21 isn't thrilled about efforts to ban photo ID requirements in federal elections:
Anti-Photo ID Legislation Would Promote Election Fraud, Says Group

Legislation introduced by Representative Keith Ellison (D-MN) to prohibit photo ID requirements for voting in federal elections would promote election fraud, say members of the black leadership network Project 21.

"Representative Ellison's proposal is fundamentally flawed and potentially harmful to the integrity of our democratic process," said Project 21 chairman Mychal Massie. "Why invite that which can only lead to unimaginable fraud and corruption?"

Imposing existing Minnesota election law on a national scale, the "Voter Access Protection Act of 2007" (H.R. 4026) would ban the use of photo ID for voter verification in federal elections. Rep. Ellison calls photo ID requirements "burdensome" and liken them to a "modern-day poll tax." He further charges that the Bush Administrations enforcement of voting rights issues effectively promotes "voter suppression of minorities, seniors and young people."

"The Ellison bill will do nothing more than encourage situations in which legitimate minority, elderly and poor voters - among others - will be disfranchised by non-citizens and corrupt political activists," said Project 21 member Kevin Martin. "Americans are already required to present photo ID for things such as banking and travel. I must show a photo ID if I want to try to talk to Representative Ellison about his bill in the Rotunda of the U.S. Capitol, but I presently do not need to show any identification to vote for him back in Minnesota. To compare voter security precautions to a poll tax is reprehensible."

Project 21 members suggest that voting rights groups - many of which accept taxpayer funds - offer services to ensure those currently without valid ID can obtain them.

"Photo ID is not the problem. Photo ID is the solution," added Project 21's Massie. "The rational and responsible response to complaints about a photo ID requirement is to help those who absolutely cannot get identification without assistance. If groups such as ACORN can afford to conduct voter registration and voter education and transport people to the polls on Election Day, they should certainly be able to transport and subsidize the cost of IDs for those who need them as well. If they cannot undertake this pro-active action when they can afford to lobby and litigate against photo ID requirements, they reveal their concerns are disingenuous."
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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 12:15 AM

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Shooting the Messenger on Socialized Medicine

When Rudy Giuliani said the survival rate for prostate cancer is 82 percent in the U.S. but only 44 percent in Britain, which has socialized medicine, you'd think a typical American response would be sympathy for the Britons, and the logical British response, outrage at its government.

You'd think wrong. The U.S. press corps devoted considerable energy -- and in some quarters, heated emotion -- to knocking down Giuliani's statistic, even when it had to twist logic like pretzels to do so. Meanwhile, the only outrage detected in Britain was against Giuliani -- for mentioning it.

Yet Giuliani's point, which is that socialized medicine systems fare badly compared to our own, remains valid.

Among those springing to the defense of Britain's National Health Service: the Boston Globe, the Washington Post, the Associated Press, the New York Times, the St. Petersburg Times, Reuters, and, predictably, lefty columnists Paul Krugman of the New York Times and Eugene Robinson of the Washington Post.

Take the AP story, which sought to take down Giuliani's statistics this way:
The American Cancer Society says that survival rates are actually higher and that it's misleading to compare the two countries.

The group cautions that screening for prostate cancer is much more widespread in this country — meaning that in the U.S., higher survival rates include many whose lives probably weren't in danger and whose cancers might have gone unnoticed in the U.K.

Five-year survival rates were 95 percent in the U.S. and 60 percent in the United Kingdom, which includes Britain, in 1993-1995, the most recent time period with data to compare, the group said.

Today, rates are higher — 99 percent in the U.S. and an estimated 74 percent in the U.K.

Doctors in the two countries have different approaches. That's because while aggressive prostate cancer can kill, it often grows so slowly, and is found when it's so small, that men die of something else before it ever threatens their lives or even causes symptoms.

So there is disagreement — and studies conflict — over whether the chances of survival for men with low-risk tumors really improve with aggressive treatment, or if they can be closely monitored and treated only if their tumors grow, thereby avoiding side effects such as impotence and incontinence.
When you read that carefully you realize the thrust of the argument is that the U.S. system is not better than Britain's at handling prostate cancer because the U.S. system screens more aggressively for this cancer and catches it earlier.

But isn't catching cancer early a good thing?

You'd think so, but apparently not when it makes socialized medicine look bad. "Doctors in the two countries," says the AP, "have different approaches. That's because while aggressive prostate cancer can kill, it often grows so slowly, and is found when it's so small, that men die of something else before it ever threatens their lives or even causes symptoms."

So if you are a British man using the National Health Service your taxes pay for, the NHS has decided that you don't need to know if you have prostate cancer early. After all, it "often" grows slowly, so why should you have the option of early treatment that could save your life? The British government will make this intensely personal decision for you.

Meanwhile, your brothers in the United States will find out early that they have it, and will decide for themselves if they want to risk side effects by treating it early.

The AP story failed to tell readers that the American Cancer Society is not a neutral party to the debate over the merits of competing health systems. The American Cancer Society is devoting its entire $15 million advertising budget in the coming year to advocating universal health insurance in the United States. It's advocacy arm, the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, shills for an expansion of publicly-funded health care in the U.S., as in this statement by its president excoriating President Bush for wanting to expand SCHIP by $5 billion instead of $35 billion over the next five years:
The President today sided with the tobacco industry instead of America’s children with his veto of the bipartisan bill to expand the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP). The President's action strikes a blow against efforts to provide health insurance to low-income children and to save lives through an increase in the federal cigarette tax.

The SCHIP bill passed both houses of Congress last week with strong bipartisan majorities. We strongly urge lawmakers to do what's right for public health — not what’s most advantageous for the tobacco industry — by overriding this veto.
The American Cancer Society is pushing a petition to all presidential candidates saying, "imagine a world where every man, woman and child has access to the proven screening exams that can detect cancer early and even prevent it," yet when the U.S. does better than Britain at screening for prostate cancer, it calls the early screening a "misleading" factor in comparing the quality of the two countries' systems.

Many of the news stories cited above noted that Giuliani got his statistic from Dr. David Gratzer of the conservative Manhattan Institute, an exceedingly reputable source, but they often went on to deride the reliability of Gratzer's work. None of them fairly represented Gratzer's compelling defense of the accuracy of Giuiliani's remarks. An excerpt:
Let me be very clear about why the Giuliani campaign is correct: the percentage of people diagnosed with prostate cancer who die from it is much higher in Britain than in the United States. The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development reports on both the incidence of prostate cancer in member nations and the number of resultant deaths. According to OECD data published in 2000, 49 Britons per 100,000 were diagnosed with prostate cancer, and 28 per 100,000 died of it. This means that 57 percent of Britons diagnosed with prostate cancer died of it; and, consequently, that just 43 percent survived. Economist John Goodman, in Lives at Risk, arrives at precisely the same conclusion: “In the United States, slightly less than one in five people diagnosed with prostate cancer dies of the disease. In the United Kingdom, 57 percent die.” None of this is surprising: in the UK, only about 40 percent of cancer patients see an oncologist, and historically, the government has been reluctant to fund new (and often better) cancer drugs.
The press corps is willing to defend socialized medicine, even if it kills them.

Crossposted at NewsBusters.org
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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 1:04 AM

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Law of the Sea: A Sinkable Treaty

Perfect timing.

Just as critical sectors -- like the full GOP Senate leadership -- appear to be waking up to the dangers of the Law of the Sea treaty, the Wall Street Journal weighs in with a very well-argued staff editorial, "A Sinkable Treaty."

Excerpt:
The Senate Foreign Relations Committee voted 17-4 Wednesday to approve the Law of the Sea Treaty, meaning it's now up to 34 Senate Republicans to send this giant octopus of a document back where it belongs. To wit, the bottom of the ocean.

The U.S. last disposed of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea -- LOST to its critics -- when Ronald Reagan was President. This May, however, the Bush Administration reversed course and declared that the Gipper's objections had been fixed by a 1994 amendment. We've since had a debate on these pages over that point, with former Secretaries of State George Shultz and James Baker in favor, while Ed Meese and William Clark, Reagan's Attorney General and National Security Adviser, remain opposed.

The best arguments for the treaty come from the U.S. Navy, which likes how it creates a legal framework for navigational rights. The oil and gas industry approves of provisions that create an "exclusive economic zone" for the U.S. out to 200 miles. There's also the potential for development (with clear legal title) of resources in the deep seabed, which would be managed by the International Seabed Authority on which the U.S. would be guaranteed a seat...

Then again, the Navy has been getting along fine by using the "customary law" that has guaranteed freedom of the seas for three centuries. Treaty proponents have taken to arguing that, unless we ratify, Russia will lay claim to oil rights over the Arctic seabed. But Russia's expansive Arctic claims, possibly including the sea floor under the North Pole, are themselves a product of the treaty....

The larger problem is the treaty's sheer size...

Consider the treaty's potential effects on military activities....

The Navy might also ask how its powerful sonars -- which some environmentalists say harm marine life -- could run afoul of Article 196...

Or take concerns that the treaty's requirements on pollution are a back-door mechanism for forcing U.S. compliance with the Kyoto Treaty and other global environmental pacts. Confronted with the argument, an Administration spokesman told the Senate that the treaty did not exercise jurisdiction over land-based pollution. Replied Republican Senator David Vitter: "If it is... not covered by the treaty, why is there a section entitled, 'Pollution from Land-Based Sources'?" A good question, considering that Article 213 notes that countries "shall adopt laws and regulations and take other measures necessary to implement applicable international rules and standards established through competent international organizations" to control such pollution. Note our emphasis.

Critics are also right to be concerned about the powers of direct taxation the treaty confers...

Some 154 countries have joined the Law of the Sea Treaty, with the U.S. one of the few holdouts. Critics are being labeled isolationists, or worse. But the U.S. has been abiding voluntarily with the terms of the treaty since 1983, with no ill effect. Twenty-some years ago a former President objected to handing sovereignty over two-thirds of the Earth's surface to another unaccountable international body. Ronald Reagan sank the treaty then; now it's up to 34 Senators to show similar courage.
For more in-depth information on several of these points, I encourage folks to read husband David Ridenour's National Policy Analysis paper of August 2006, "Ratification of the Law of the Sea Treaty: A Not-So-Innocent Passage." Raising the issue of land-based pollution that Senator Vitter addressed in the Foreign Relations Committee hearing last week, for example, David wrote then:
In a great ironic twist, the Law of the Sea Treaty - supported by many in the energy sector - may give environmentalists a blunt instrument to use against the energy industry.

Article 212 of the treaty states, in part, "States shall adopt laws and regulations to prevent, reduce and control pollution of the marine environment from or through the atmosphere... States, acting especially through competent international organizations... shall endeavor to establish global and regional rules, standards and recommended practices and procedures to prevent, reduce and control pollution." This sounds like a directive to impose Kyoto Protocol-style regulations designed to reduce state emissions of greenhouse gases. These gases are emitted through the use of the very products the energy industry sells.

Backdoor implementation of the Kyoto Protocol might be advanced by arguing that U.S.'s anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions (one-quarter of such emissions world-wide) are warming the planet causing irreparable harm to coral reefs, home to the world's most biologically-diverse marine ecosystems.

Alternatively, they could argue that sea levels are rising due to U.S.-induced climate change, causing beach erosion in such countries as the Maldives, Comoros or the Seychelles. To bolster their case, they might cite Article 194(2) of the treaty which states: "States shall take all measures necessary to ensure that activities under their jurisdiction or control are so conducted as not to cause damage by pollution to other States and their environment."
There's plenty more. This treaty is dangerous.

I also encourage folks to visit the National Center for Public Policy Research's special website on the Law of the Sea Treaty at http://www.unlawoftheseatreaty.org for easy access to many papers, op-eds, hearing testimonies, blog entries and videos about the Law of the Sea Treaty. I can't promise the website won't scare you, but as more and more Senators are waking up to the dangers of this treaty, all is not LOST.
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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 2:44 AM

Friday, November 02, 2007

Environmentalists Seek to Protect Environmental Degradation

From Peyton Knight:
The environmental agitators over at Defenders of Wildlife and the Sierra Club are up in arms over a recent decision by Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff to waive a U.S. District Court Judge's decision that blocked construction of a border fence in Arizona. The environmental groups had successfully sued for a restraining order to halt the fence's construction in early October, claiming the fence would harm the San Pedro Riparian National Conservation Area (SPRNCA).

In waiving the judge's decision, Chertoff cited the "unacceptable risks to our nation's security" should the fence project be delayed.

"I have to say to myself, 'Yes, I don't want to disturb the habitat of a lizard, but am I prepared to pay human lives to do that?" said Chertoff.

But Jamie Rappaport Clark, executive vice president of Defenders of Wildlife, claims that building a border fence through a portion of the SPRNCA will "rob America of one of its most important wildlife areas."

Someone should inform Ms. Clark that Americans are already being robbed of the area and a border fence might put a halt to the thievery.

According to Chertoff:
The SPRNCA has been a high traffic area for smugglers for several years. In fact, last year over 19,000 illegal entrants were apprehended in the area - 11 percent of whom had criminal backgrounds. Unfortunately, among these illegal entries, there were also 14 deaths. So there is a clear need to establish effective control of this part of the border for security, as well as humanitarian reasons.

But there are also environmental reasons to stop illegal crossings in the SPRNCA. Illegal entrants leave trash and high concentrations of human waste, which impact wildlife, vegetation and water quality in the habitat. Wildfires caused by campfires have significantly damaged the soil, vegetation, and cultural sites, not to mention threatened human safety. Indeed, illegal entry in and around the SPRNCA is such a problem that the Bureau of Land Management has had to impose restrictions on public recreation due to high levels of smuggling activity, vehicle thefts, and assaults.
Indeed, the environmental assessment that was performed for the border project determined:
No significant adverse effects to air quality, water quality, cultural resources, unique areas, soils, threatened or endangered species, protected species, wetlands or land use are expected.
The assessment also found that failing to build the fence would have the following negative impacts:
- "[I]llegal traffic would continue to damage vegetation thereby causing synergistic impacts on wildlife."

- [I]llegal traffic would continue to damage unique and sensitive areas by causing accidental wildfires, creating trails, and discarding trash."

- "Indirect impacts due to illegal traffic trampling habitat and threatened and endangered plant species."
The assessment also concludes that, if the fence is built, "beneficial impacts to wildlife populations are anticipated by protecting habitat from drive throughs" and "protection of threatened and endangered species is likely to occur."

The threat that illegal border crossings pose to the wildlife in southern Arizona is nothing new, as experts have sounded off on this before.

Apparently, Defenders of Wildlife and the Sierra Club prefer the current method of protecting wildlife at SPRNCA. The Bureau of Land Management (BLM), which oversees the SPRNCA, has posted bilingual signs in the area that ask illegal immigrants not to litter.

As Bill Childress, BLM manager of the SPRNCA, told the Associated Press in 2003: "We're letting [illegal immigrants] know they're entering a protected resource. We're hoping they will treat our protected areas with respect."

And why wouldn't they? It's not like they have any prior record of breaking our laws.
To contact author Peyton Knight directly,
write him at [email protected]
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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 12:31 AM

Guilty, Guilty, Guilty

Don't look now, but the BBC reports that environmentalists are guilty of:
forcing poor farmers from their land
raising food prices
destroying livelihoods
clearing rainforests
supporting energy sources that pollute more than gasoline.
Here's part of the BBC report:
The BBC's environment analyst Roger Harrabin said there were also fears over the environmental cost of making fuel from crops like maize.

Scientists have said it takes so much energy to produce some biofuels that it would be cleaner overall to burn petrol in our cars, he said.

To make it worse, he added, valuable rainforest is still being cleared to make way for fuel crops like palm oil.

Robert Bailey, a policy advisor at Oxfam, said: "In the scramble to supply the EU and the rest of the world with biofuels, poor people are getting trampled.

"The EU proposals will exacerbate the problem. It is unacceptable that poor people in developing countries should bear the cost of questionable attempts to cut emissions in Europe.

"Biofuels are not a panacea - even if the EU is able to reach the 10% target sustainably, and Oxfam doubts that it can, it will only shave a few per cent of emissions off a continually growing total," he said.
Of course, it isn't just Europe and the environmentalists who are guilty here. The U.S. Congress is as well.

Hat tip: Jeff Dircksen at Government Bytes.
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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 12:08 AM

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Bill O'Reilly, Call Your Office

Jerry Taylor at the Cato Institute says the "card-carrying members of the Big Oil Conspiracy Society" have some explaining to do.
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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 11:56 PM

Seven Million Americans Can't Afford Health Insurance...

and it's the government's fault.
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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 10:57 PM

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