Friday, February 26, 2010
Wednesday, February 24, 2010
> Syndicated columnist and ABC contributor George Will gave an amazing > speech to CPAC Thursday.
> In it, he outlined the differences between liberalism and > conservatism, and explained why the latter is once again on the rise > in our nation.
Follow the link for video of the speech.
Research scientists and engineers have long known that there are sometimes unexpected results from changes in public policies. Ironically, the paradox of no posted speed limits and low fatalities is no surprise to the traffic safety engineering community.
For years, motorists’ advocates have used engineering-based facts against artificially low speed limits. They have claimed that by raising speed limits to reasonable levels, accident and fatality rates will actually be reduced. This seemingly wild assertion has been documented by the traffic engineering profession for 50 plus years. This fact–based position has again been proven to be true by the repeal of the National Speed Limit. The nation has recorded the lowest highway fatality rate since such records have been kept.
What about the extreme of No Speed Limits on 4 lane Interstate and rural federal–aid primary two lane highways? These same fact–based engineers point to the German Autobahn, where, with no speed limits, authorities are consistently reporting lower fatality rates than comparable US highways.
For the last 5 months of no daytime limits in Montana, the period after its Supreme Court had ruled that the Reasonable and Prudent law was unconstitutional, reported fatal accidents declined to a record low. Fixed speed limits were reinstated on Memorial Day weekend 1999. Since then, fatal accidents have begun to rise again.
The EPA has specifically cited the IPCC AR4 report as the primary source from which it drew information to make the Endangerment Finding on CO2 as a pollutant. In the past, the worldwide nature of the climate changes, and of the data, had been cited as one of the reasons for using the IPCC report, but now it appeared that Jackson was trying to separate the Endangerment Finding from the IPCC.
Former Congressman Tom Campbell is running for the Republican nomination for the United States Senate seat currently held by Senator Barbara Boxer in California.
Tuesday, February 23, 2010
A number of lawyers who work on terrorist issues at the Justice Department represented terrorist detainees before joining the Obama administration. At a hearing three months ago, Sen. Charles Grassley raised the possibility of a conflict with Attorney General Eric Holder.
Monday, February 22, 2010
GEORGE WILL: Well, it's hard to take a lecture on bipartisanship from a man who voted against the confirmation of Chief Justice Roberts, the confirmation of Justice Alito, the confirmation of Attorney General Ashcroft, the confirmation of Condoleezza Rice as Secretary of State. Far from being a rebel against his Party's lockstep movement, Mr. Bayh voted for the Detroit bailout, for the stimulus, for the public option in the healthcare bill. I don't know quite what his complaint is, but, Terry, with metronomic regularity, we go through these moments in Washington where we complain about the government being broken. These moments have one thing in common: The Left is having trouble enacting its agenda. No one when George W. Bush had trouble reforming Social Security said, "Oh, that's terrible - the government's broken."
Saturday, February 20, 2010
Once you have the carbon credit you need to sell it, which means there must be a market — a role filled in part by the Chicago Carbon Exchange (CCX). The CCX, which was started with seed money from both government and private non-profit sources, is most emphatically a for-profit firm that functions like any commodity exchange. If you have a story about the carbon you aren’t emitting and need it certified, the CCX can certify it — for a fee. Then the CCX will help you sell it — for a commission. If you need to buy carbon credits, the CCX will match you up with a buyer — for a fee — and sell you the certificate (and charge you a commission).
All of this is reasonable in theory, because after all what you’re doing is letting the market set a price for the carbon reductions, just as it sets a price for the fuels burned that lead to carbon emissions. In practice, it’s at least utterly opaque — the CCX is a U.S. corporation, but it is wholly owned in England, and draws its ability to act to certify CO2 reductions through a UN-chartered NGO out of Geneva. The principals are people who have banking experience with Goldman Sachs and strong political connections with the Democratic Party, through Chicago and through Al Gore.
It is, of course, purely a coincidence that this market, which simply doesn’t exist without the legal requirement that companies reduce carbon emissions, is closely connected with the politically connected people who are pushing for carbon restrictions by law and treaty.
Thursday, February 18, 2010
Not only has unemployment been concentrated in the private sector within the past year, it has been concentrated disproportionately so. When measured as a percentage of GDP, government accounted for roughly a quarter of GDP. Conversely, unemployment in the government sector accounted for 5.9% of the increase in the economy’s total unemployment which has occurred in the past year. In contrast, job losses in the non-agricultural private sector have accounted for 81.3% of the total increase in unemployment.By the way, public-sector employees are also the ones benefiting from the stimulus funding, not the private-sector employees. The job-creation data reveals that most of the jobs were “created or saved” in the public sector. Based on data from Recovery.gov, we find that of the 640,000 jobs the administration claims to have created with stimulus funds, only some 140,765 of them were private jobs.
Wednesday, February 17, 2010
A new study should finally put to rest the nonsense claim by President Obama, Attorney General Holder, and others in the administration that “hundreds” of terrorists akin to Khalid Sheikh Mohammad were convicted in the civilian justice system during the Bush administration. The number thrown around by the administration has varied widely from 300 to 190 to assorted spots in between. The point of quoting these figures was to make Americans think that trials of people accused of the most serious terrorism offenses, on par with the 9/11 attacks and those the other Guantanamo detainees are accused of committing, have been routine in civilian courts. So what’s the big deal?We’ve said that this bloated number is not an apples-to-apples comparison, because it sweeps in large numbers of defendants whose crimes — such as supporting terrorism through financial or immigration fraud — are not even remotely comparable to those of the terrorists who are held at Guantanamo Bay (like KSM), or of the underwear bomber, who was caught trying to bomb an airplane as an act of war on behalf of al-Qaeda.Well, according to PolitiFact.com, based on an analysis by New York University’s Center on Law and Security, the real apples-to-apples number of major Islamist terrorists who have been convicted in civilian courts is . . . less than a dozen, over seven years. Evidently it’s not so routine after all.
Federal regulation of greenhouse gas emissions will impose new controls on millions of Americans. [...]
The 1990 Clean Air Act was designed for conventional air pollutants such as particulates and ozone smog, not for carbon dioxide. Applying those rules to CO2 will mean imposing costly regulations not just on cars and factories but on commercial buildings, churches, and even residences. All told, more than 1 million entities could become subject to new federal controls on greenhouse emissions. [...]
The EPA is well aware of the potential regulatory nightmare—and political backlash—that enforcement of Section 165 could create, so the agency has offered to modify its carbon rules. In September, shortly after proposing the new regulations for cars and trucks, the EPA proposed a dramatically higher new threshold of 25,000 tons per year before the new greenhouse gas requirements are imposed, even though the statute expressly sets a limit of 250. The EPA estimates that the new threshold, if adopted, would force fewer than 15,000 facilities to obtain carbon permits, and most of those are already subject to other environmental regulations.
NASA stonewalled my request for more than two years, until Climategate prompted me to offer notice of intent to sue if NASA did not comply immediately.
On New Year’s Eve, NASA finally provided the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) with the documents I requested in August 2007.
The emails show the hypocrisy, dishonesty, and suspect data management and integrity of NASA, wildly spinning in defense of their enterprise. The emails show NASA making off with enormous sums of taxpayer funding doing precisely what they claim only a “skeptic” would do. The emails show NASA attempting to scrub their website of their own documents, and indeed they quietly pulled down numerous press releases grounded in the proven-wrong data. The emails show NASA claiming that their own temperature errors (which they have been caught making and in uncorrected form aggressively promoting) are merely trivial, after years of hysterically trumpeting much smaller warming anomalies.
As you examine the email excerpts below, as well as those which I will discuss in the upcoming three parts of this series, bear in mind that the contents of these emails were intended to prop up the argument for the biggest regulatory intervention in history: the restricting of carbon emissions from all human activity. NASA’s activist scientists leave no doubt in their emails that this was indeed their objective. Also, please note that these documents were responsive to a specific FOIA request from two years ago.
Tuesday, February 16, 2010
It has been a bad—make that dreadful—few weeks for what used to be called the "settled science" of global warming, and especially for the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change that is supposed to be its gold standard.
A decade ago, I set out to investigate luck. I wanted to examine the impact on people's lives of chance opportunities, lucky breaks and being in the right place at the right time. After many experiments, I believe that I now understand why some people are luckier than others and that it is possible to become luckier.
The Post tells the story of a senior leader of al-Qaeda in East Africa named Saleh Ali Nabhan who was located last September. The White House was given the choice of either killing him or capturing him alive for interrogation. The military wanted to take him alive. But the White House chose instead to take him out. A senior military officer is quoted as saying: "We wanted to take a prisoner. . . . It was not a decision that we made."The Post adds: "The opportunity to interrogate one of the most wanted U.S. terrorism targets was gone forever."And the paper quotes a senior miltiary officer explaining why the opportunity to interrogate this senior al-Qaeda leader for intelligence was sacrificed: We "don't have a detention policy or a set of facilities" to hold high-value terrorists.
The U.S.A.'s public sector — federal, state, and local — is to the private sector as Greece is to Germany. And then some: the gap that has opened up between the pay and (especially) the benefits for our public sector, as compared with those in the private sector, is far greater than a mere 67-63 difference in retirement ages. You want to talk retirement ages?In California . . . a bipartisan bill that passed virtually without debate unleashed the odious "3 percent at 50" retirement plan in 1999. Under this plan, at age 50 many categories of public employees are eligible for 3 percent of their final year’s pay multiplied by the number of years they’ve worked. So if a police officer starts working at age 20, he can retire at 50 with 90 percent of his final salary until he dies, and then his spouse receives that money for the rest of her life. Even during the economic crisis, "3 percent at 50" and the forces behind it have only become more entrenched.
That's from a fine article on the February edition of Reason.com, subtitled "How public servants became our masters," detailing how, since the legitimizing of public-sector unions in the 1960s, we have moved to a two-class society:The average private-sector worker, who enjoys a lower salary and far lower retirement benefits than New York or California government workers, will have to work longer, retire later, and pay more so that his public-employee neighbors can enjoy the lifestyle to which they have become accustomed. The taxpayers will also have to deal with worsening public services, since there will be less money to pay for things that might actually benefit the public.
Monday, February 15, 2010
> For several months, the “Monthly CO2 Reports,” compiled by me at www.scienceandpublicpolicy.org> , have been pointing out that there has been no statistically > significant “global warming” for 15 years. Regular attacks on my > calculations and graphs have appeared on blogs by the usual suspects > — Gavin Schmidt of NASA being, as usual, the most venomously ad > hominem and the least scientifically plausible.
> Then came Climategate. Kevin Trenberth, one of the many scientists > whose activities I had been following with suspicion for some years, > had privately been saying to his colleagues that there had been “no > global warming for a decade” and that it was “a travesty” that they > could not explain why. Publicly, of course, the Climategate > conspirators had been saying that the last ten years were the > warmest decade on the instrumental record — true, but not surprising > given that there has been 300 years of global warming.
> Now, Professor Phil Jones of the University of East Anglia has > admitted publicly, and — as far as I know — for the first time, that > there has been no statistically significant “global warming” for 15 > years. He has also admitted that his Climatic Research Unit has lost > much of the data behind the “hockey-stick” graph, via which Michael > Mann and other Climategate conspirators had falsely attempted to > demonstrate that the Medieval Warm Period was not warmer than the > present.
Friday, February 12, 2010
There was thus no legal or policy compulsion to treat Abdulmutallab as a criminal defendant, at least initially, and every reason to treat him as an intelligence asset to be exploited promptly. The way to do that was not simply to have locally available field agents question him but, rather, to get in the room people who knew about al-Qaeda in Yemen, people who could obtain information, check that information against other available data and perhaps get feedback from others in the field before going back to Abdulmutallab to follow up where necessary, all the while keeping secret the fact of his cooperation. Once his former cohorts know he is providing information, they can act to make that information useless.
Nor is it an answer to say that Abdulmutallab resumed his cooperation even after he was warned of his rights. He did that after five weeks, when his family was flown here from Nigeria. The time was lost, and with it possibly useful information. Disclosing that he had resumed talking only compounded the problem by letting his former cohorts know that they had better cover their tracks.
Anyone who lives in England will tell you that the police forces there no longer spend much time investigating crimes. Most of their energies are devoted to proving their "commitment to diversity." That is the system Mr. Dizaei gamed for 25 years with great skill, until he went a step too far.
The probity and integrity of Britain's major social systems are being destroyed by the "diversity" cult. The end point of this will be a Middle Eastern bazaar culture, where system-gamers run the show and people who adhere to old-fashioned British standards of honorable and public-spirited behavior will be regarded as fools and losers.
Some years ago, for example, there was a big outcry that various mental tests used for college admissions or for employment were biased and “unfair” to many individuals or groups. Fortunately, there was one voice of sanity — David Riesman, I believe — who said: The tests are not unfair. Life is unfair and the tests measure the results.If by “fair,” you mean everyone having the same odds for achieving success, then life has never been anywhere close to being fair, at any place or time. If you stop and think about it (however old-fashioned that may seem), it is hard even to conceive of how life could possibly be fair in that sense.
Padilla is actually the case that best shows the limitations and inadequacies of the civilian justice system as applied to enemy combatants. This fact is obscured because, as the Left keeps repeating, he was eventually transferred from military custody to the civilian justice system, where he was convicted.
Here's what they never tell you: He was not convicted of the most important plot we had against him — the conspiracy with KSM, Binyam Mohammed, and others to carry out a second wave of post-9/11 attacks inside the United States. He was never indicted on that plot because he could not be convicted applying civilian due process standards.
Padilla refused to give information to the FBI, using its regular protocols. It was only when he was designated as an enemy combatant and transferred to military custody (no lawyer involved in interrogations, no Miranda, no case to plea bargain) that he began to give up valuable information. None of those confessions could be admitted under the standards applicable in civilian courts.
Thursday, February 11, 2010
I propose that we not only restore Gramm-Rudman-Hollings, but that we dramatically cut the federal budget deficit proposed by the President by more than half. We not only can achieve this, we must.Here’s how we can achieve this:
Wednesday, February 10, 2010
So Obama was faced with a fundamental choice. He could either chart a bipartisan course in response to the economic emergency, or he could try to expand government to Western European magnitude as Democratic congressional leaders, elected for years in monopartisan districts, had long wished to do. The former community organizer and Chicago pol chose the latter course.
But, in the course of invoking the phrase "peer review", she never bothers to look at whether the IPCC actually does it. By contrast, without benefit of the resources of a national TV news operation plus salary and benefits, lone blogger Donna Laframboise did a couple of text searches on the IPCC report and discovered multiple predictions of doom - on Himalayan glacier melt and much else - resting not on peer-reviewed science but merely on activist groups such as the World Wildlife Fund and Greenpeace.
Monday, February 08, 2010
Libertarian journalist Nick Gillespie and legal scholar Lawrence Lessig discuss public financing of campaigns and the effects of money on politics
On "Meet the Press," Brennan said that on Christmas night, just hours after Abdulmutallab tried to blow up Northwest Airlines flight 253, Brennan called GOP Senators Mitch McConnell and Christopher Bond, as well as Republican Representatives John Boehner and Peter Hoekstra, and told them that Abdulmutallab was in FBI custody. "None of those individuals raised any concerns with me at that point," Brennan said. "They didn't say, Is he going into military custody? Is he going to be Mirandized?"
Each of the lawmakers strongly denies Brennan's account. A spokesman for McConnell says, "During a brief call from the White House, Sen. McConnell was given a heads up that Abdulmutallab was in custody, but little else. He wasn’t told of the decision to Mirandize Abdulmutallab."
Saturday, February 06, 2010
“Well, what does it look like?” asked Reagan. Clark noted he had a model in the car: Joe, who was wearing the belt. “Send him up,” ordered the president. They called for Joe, who entered via the door of Reagan’s secretary.Joe had worked for the federal government for half a century, but had never been within 50 yards of the Oval Office. He walked in. He saw Clark, Vice President Bush, the senior aides, and the president of the United States. He was in awe, overcome. Suddenly, this tough six-foot-four man began weeping: He had come so far since Jim Crow and the Great Depression. He was choked up.No one in the room was prepared for that reaction. They were dead silent, uncomfortable, unable to respond — except for Ronald Reagan. The president rose, walked over to the driver, extended his hand, breathed in, and said matter-of-factly, “Mr. Bullock, I understand you have a belt to show me?”It was an “everyman” touch. And it put old Joe immediately at ease. Business-like, Joe showed the belt, and then he and Reagan began swapping stories, chatting away like old friends.“The rest of us just faded away,” said Bill Clark, “as the two got along famously.” President and driver, remembering the old days.
Friday, February 05, 2010
V. K. Raina, of the Geological Survey of India, produced a special report demonstrating that the run-for-your-life-the-glaciers-are-melting IPCC scenario was utterly false. For his pains, Dr. Rajendra Pachauri, the self-aggrandizing old bruiser and former railroad engineer who serves as head honcho of the IPCC jet set, dismissed Mr. Raina’s research as “voodoo science.” He’s now been obliged to admit the voodoo was all on his side. But don’t worry. By 2008, Syed Hasnain’s decade-old casual chit-chat over the phone to a London journalist had become “settled science,” so Dr. Pachauri’s company TERI (The Energy & Resources Institute) approached the Carnegie Corporation for a grant to research “challenges to South Asia posed by melting Himalayan glaciers,” and was rewarded with half a million bucks. Which they promptly used to hire Syed Hasnain. In other words, professor Hasnain has landed a cushy gig researching solutions to an entirely non-existent global crisis he accidentally invented over a 15-minute phone call 10 years earlier. As they say in the glacier business, ice work if you can get it.
Thursday, February 04, 2010
What is it about the automotive industry that inspires such thuggish attitudes in the Obama administration? The Examiner's Michael Barone coined the term "gangster government" to describe threats by the White House last spring against Chrysler creditors who had the temerity to insist that bankruptcy laws be followed in the bailout of the perennially ailing third member of the once-fabled Detroit Big Three. Now along comes Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood muttering darkly that "we're not finished with Toyota" in the controversy over sticking gas pedals in vehicles made and sold in America by the Japanese automaker. [...] The potential of the current sticking gas pedal controversy to inflict damage on Toyota here in its largest single market is seen in the January sales figures. Toyota sales are down 16 percent while GM is up 14 percent (Ford, which declined a government bailout last year, is up 25 percent, while Chrysler is down 8 percent). Keep the controversy going and odds are good that Toyota sales will continue to drop. The biggest losers besides American consumers will be the men and women who own and work at Toyota's 1,200 U.S. dealerships and the 30,000 Americans who build Toyotas in its five factories here. LaHood might as well have said "Nice car company ya got there, be a shame if anything happened to it."
Monday, February 01, 2010
After years in which global warming activists had lectured everyone about the overwhelming nature of the scientific evidence, it turned out that the most prestigious agencies in the global warming movement were breaking laws, hiding data, and making inflated, bogus claims resting on, in some cases, no scientific basis at all. This latest story in the London Times is yet another shocker; the IPCC’s claims that the rainforests were going to disappear as a result of global warming are as bogus and fraudulent as its claims that the Himalayan glaciers would melt by 2035.