Jason Hayes

Libertarian thought, policy, religion, the environment, tech, coffee, and Tabasco – the stuff of life
This is my personal blog - the thoughts and ideas expressed here are posted on my own time and are mine and mine alone.



NY Rep. Eric Massa’s super-dooper green PR stunt

Here is the classic example of the comfy, western, “environmentalist” mindset. In this blinkered world, being environmentally aware has little (if anything) to do with actually conserving or preserving the environment. Being “green” is all about the optics of a situation. It’s all about looking green, making a statement, and building green cred amongst the pseudo-green and heroically ignorant.

Working from that mindset, newly-elected Congressman Eric Massa of NY apparently wanted to show the world just how green and environmentally aware he was. So, he chose hydrogen-powered fuel cell vehicles as the target of a pre-swearing in “green” publicity stunt.

In an attempt to highlight the need for alternatively-fueled transportation, Massa decided to take a X-country trip in a fuel cell vehicle (from NY to DC). He was ostensibly trying to demonstrate the need for the technology, but at the end of the day, he used substantially more fuel than he would have by preparing a fact sheet and driving a normal car.

Massa had to be in the nation’s capital Tuesday for his swearing in as the 29th Congressional District’s new representative. He drove the General Motors Equinox prototype car to draw attention to the technology, some of which is being developed in the district.

The problem is the car can go about 150 to 200 miles without a refill, and the trip from Corning to Washington, D.C. is 282 miles. And there are no hydrogen refilling stations along the way.

As a result, Massa had to switch to another GM hydrogen fuel cell vehicle that was standing by in Harrisburg.

After the trip, both cars were towed back to their original locations by two Chevrolet Tahoe hybrid SUVs.

The need to make the switch was also part of the effort to promote the more environmentally friendly hydrogen fuel cell cars, said Massa spokesman Jared Smith.

Famous DC describes the stunt thusly,

Here’s how it went down. Massa drove one fuel cell car while a hybrid SUV towing an additional SUV followed along. Once he got half way, he switched to new fuel cell car. The empty fuel cell was then towed back by the first SUV. As he continued on his journey, the second SUV followed. Once Massa arrived in DC, the second SUV then towed the second fuel cell car back to NY.

Brilliant! Truly an astounding intellect and perhaps the best demonstration for this technology and the “need” to reduce humanity’s impact on the natural environment that I have ever seen.

Obama plans to impose a “windfall profits” tax on oil industry

The elite, socialist, genius, agent of “change” is letting the influence of his Marxist mentor show through. In his plan to deal with the fiscal impacts of $4 gas — a price which he recently stated was a good thing that just happened too quickly — Obama has stated that his administration would impose a windfall profits tax on oil companies. He would then take that money and “give” American families a $1,000 rebate on their taxes. This plan is apparently supposed to help families deal with the rapidly rising price of gas.

Clearly, we can see that while he may have paid close attention during his international law courses at university, Mr. Obama must have skipped his into Econ courses. As any first year university student learns, corporations don’t really pay taxes; they pass the increased prices on to consumers. So Obama’s plan will only give people a quick bump in their bank accounts that will soon be just as empty when companies in all sectors adjust their prices to account for Obama’s raising of their operational costs.

If Obama was really serous about dealing with the “windfall profits” that are being made on the sale of petroleum products, his campaign platform would start by returning the hundreds of billions in profits that the government collects in the form of fuel taxes from working families across America.

API statistics show that oil companies made a 7.4% profit on sales of their petroleum products in Q1 08. That makes up 29.6 cents out of a $4 gallon of gasoline. In contrast, the government (at various levels) imposed a 13% tax on each gallon of gas — 52.4 cents on each gallon of gas. The government is almost doubling the oil industry’s income from the sale of gasoline and other petroleum products, yet Obama says nothing about their obscene profits or the impacts their taxes are having on working families.

Really people, with stats like these, who is actually enjoying “windfall profits” on the backs of the hardworking people of the country?

Obama clearly isn’t serious about helping working families. He wants to increase the size, scope, and power of government as it expands to handle the increased income from, and then redistribution of, these so-called windfall profits taxes. He wants the average American dependent on whatever handouts he is able to wring from companies and individuals, regardless of the fact that those handouts are actually going to increase overall costs.

If he were really serious about addressing the issue of gasoline prices, Obama would advocate the reduction of gasoline taxes and rebate the multiple billions in windfall profits that the government has brought in from sale of gasoline and petroleum products. As it is now, he’s just selling people a new line with $1,000 of their own taxes.

Dion’s carbon taxes don’t even have Liberal support

This should be an interesting next few months. Dion appears to already be printing yard signs for his planned election, but he doesn’t even have support in his own caucus for his carbon tariff plan.

Americansolutions.com delivers 1.3 million signatures demanding that Congress “drill now”

I signed this petition and noticed two things specifically about the video that American Solutions put up on their website (see below).

  1. John Cornyn’s remark, recognizing that American Solutions is doing “what every citizen of America has a right to do, and that is to petition their government. To petition for change.”
  2. There was no sign — NO SIGN — of either Nancy Pelosi or Harry Reid. 1.3 MILLION people sign a petition urging the Congress do something about the high cost of fuel and Nancy and Harry couldn’t be bothered to listen. Is this what Reid and Pelosi consider “representative government”?

Here’s the video and SHAME on Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid for ignoring 1.3 million Americans!

To be honest, however, I guess it’s not really any surprise that Pelosi and Reid are ignoring the will of the American people. After all, their candidate for president is actually trying to convince us that $4 gas is a good thing.

Democrats want to nationalize the oil industry

Late last month, I posted a video in which Maxine Waters clearly stated that she wanted the government to take over and run the American oil industry.

That was one of those situations where we all “know” that the Dems want to nationalize our energy industry (the Hugo Chavez model of doing things). However, until now we might not have had a clear statement from them indicating their desires.

Everyone knows that Maxine Waters is a bit off of her nut, so when she says something like that, people roll their eyes chuckle behind their hand, and say something about crazy ol’ Maxine being “at it again.”

However, in an off camera briefing after a Democrat press conference on Wednesday, Democrats responded to President Bush’s calls for ending the moratorium on off shore drilling. During that briefing Rep. Maurice Hinchey made another comment that indicates the plan to nationalize our country’s energy industry enjoys more widespread support in the Democratic party.

Via the unix_jedi, I learned that Foxnews.com had provided some highlights of the briefing here. Rep. Hinchey’s feelings on the matter were as follows.

Rep. Maurice Hinchey (D-NY), member of the House Appropriations Committee and one of the most-ardent opponents of off-shore drilling …

“We (the government) should own the refineries. Then we can control how much gets out into the market.”

In another comment by Rahm Emanuel, you get another indication of just how arrogant the Democrats are when it comes to dealing with energy issues and the people that actually produce the energy.

Rep. Rahm Emanuel (D-IL) …

It’s like when I talk to my kids. Before we’re going to talk about dessert, we’ve got to talk about what’s on your plate. I hope I’m a little more successful with the oil industry than I am with my kids.

In their minds, the people in the energy industry are nothing more than children that need to be corrected and redirected by the more advanced and enlightened motives of Democrats. The people in the energy industry are not mature or intelligent enough to understand simple concepts like nationalizing energy production, so Emmanuel and Hinchey will have to train them to be thankful for the benevolence and goodness of the Appropriations Committee, just like they have to train a four-year old to eat their veggies before they can have dessert.

“Saudi-sized” oil field under North Dakota

Here’s one for all those who keep playing up the “peak oil” routine.

… new wealth springs from the Bakken formation, a sprawling deposit of high-quality crude beneath the durum wheat fields of North Dakota, Montana and southern Saskatchewan and Manitoba. The Bakken may give the U.S. — the world’s biggest importer of oil — a new domestic energy source at a time when demand from China and India is ratcheting up the global competition for supplies and propelling average U.S. gasoline prices to almost $4 a gallon.

And unlike the tar from Canada’s oil sands, Bakken crude needs little refining. Swirl some of it in a Mason jar and it leaves a thin, honey-colored film along the sides. It’s light – -almost like gasoline — and sweet, meaning it’s low in sulfur.

Best of all, the Bakken could be huge. The U.S. Geological Survey’s Leigh Price, a Denver geochemist who died of a heart attack in 2000, estimated that the Bakken might hold a whopping 413 billion barrels. If so, it would dwarf Saudi Arabia’s Ghawar, the world’s biggest field, which has produced about 55 billion barrels.

Now watch for the environmental groups to converge on the prairies and try to find some newly endangered species of durum wheat or canola so they can ensure that we continue to rely on foreign oil sources.

Czech President’s “Inconvenient Challenge” to Al Gore

(Reprinted here with permission / Jason Hayes – Musing is a member of the New Media Alliance)

By Christopher Adamo

Since leaving office, former Vice-President Al Gore has gained enormous stature within certain circles on the world scene, acquiring it per the standard liberal formula. Taking up his “Earth in the Balance” cause, he produced the feature length movie “An Inconvenient Truth,” which is replete with fantastic prophesies of doom for the planet unless America immediately regresses to third-world squalor.

An insipid and unsubstantiated piece of propaganda, Gore’s movie would never have resonated beyond the boundaries of a few egg headed film fests, were it not for the concerted efforts of virtually every liberal and socialist special interest known to mankind. Coming to his aid, they collectively proclaimed “An Inconvenient Truth” to be at once the scientific equivalent of Einstein’s theory of relativity, packaged in cinematic genius that eclipses Ben Hur.

In the typical modus operandi of liberalism, an avalanche of recognition and awards were conferred upon Gore and his movie, from the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize to an Oscar for “Best Documentary” to effusive accolades from every aspiring tinseltown movie critic. The film, along with all of his efforts to foment a global warming panic, have since been predictably declared as universal truth, a judgment based not on the availability of evidence, but on the profusion of like-minded liberal ideologues who are willing to accept and advance his hysterical claims.

Not surprising was the immediate branding of any who are dubious of Gore’s outlandish assertions as “heretics.” The liberal agenda, whether in relation to planetary catastrophe or the latest effort to confiscate and redistribute the private property of citizens, cannot tolerate honest examination. Thus, any effort to demand scientific evidence to support Gore’s frenzied allegations will result in immediate charges of being a “global warming denier,” an obvious attempt to link the honest skeptic to those anti-Semites who claim the Nazi holocaust never happened.

Sadly, far too many on the political scene who should recognize the “global warming” alarmism as the transparent power play that it is, instead choose to seek safe haven by accepting the premise of cataclysmic man-induced climate destruction. Others, hearing constant warnings of impending disaster, may actually be impressed by their shrillness and intensity, and thus prone to believe them.

In any case, a veritable ideological “stampede” is presently taking place, which threatens to undercut every aspect of American industry and commerce, thereby reducing the standard of living for all Americans. The exorbitant cost of gasoline, and impending extinction of the incandescent light bulb, are merely the first harbingers of a general degradation of modern civilization if the situation indeed remains unchecked, with much worse to follow.

All is not yet lost however. A steadily growing number of brave souls are rising up to challenge the legitimacy of Gore’s assertions, despite the certainty that they will be derided and castigated throughout the media, and in virtually all major “educational” institutions. Among the most notable of these challengers is Czech President Vaclav Klaus.

In stark contrast to the pampered elitists of Western Academia, or their Hollywood and D.C. minions, Klaus has endured decades of deprivation in Soviet dominated Czechoslovakia. Thus he has seen, first hand the hardship and suffering possible under the iron fist of unrestrained governing institutions who have no regard for the common citizen except as a mere “resource” to be exploited for the good of the state.

During that time, he personally witnessed the denial of basic freedoms and sustenance to the people, while those in key positions of government enjoyed relative plenty. In many ways, what he saw was a sorry likeness of the hypocrisy among “climate change” movement leaders, as they regularly fly around the world in their private jets while issuing calls for more meager lifestyles among lesser people.

Recognizing the potential menace of the current situation and how liberals are exploiting it, Klaus has boldly challenged Gore to an open debate on the entire topic of “climate change.” Knowing that the tenets of his “green religion” cannot withstand intense scrutiny, it is a challenge that Gore cannot afford to accept.

As the title of Klaus’s book underscores, the question is not one of dangers to the climate, but of threats to the freedoms and well-being of average citizens. And though the theories of “global warming” are merely open-ended speculation, with time tables continually rolled back since the looming atmospheric upheavals never seem to keep pace with those dire forecasts, the encroachment on basic freedom and liberty is indeed progressing on schedule.

With unassailable insight, Klaus properly characterizes the moral arrogance of the global warming advocacy, again likening it to the ravages of communism with which he was so painfully familiar. At a national press club gathering last week, he compared the two sinister ideologies, sternly warning that “Like their predecessors, they will be certain that they have the right to sacrifice man and his freedom to make their idea reality. In the past it was in the name of the Marxists or the proletariat. This time, in the name of the planet.”

To the degree that the major media and liberal political machine take notice of President Klaus and his effort, it will undoubtedly be only to demean and undermine him. Yet as someone who understands the consequences of allowing a monster of this nature to grow unchecked he continues his fight, grimly confident in the knowledge of what awaits western civilization if the “global warming” apostles ever gain the power which they crave.

About the author
Christopher Adamo is a Staff Writer for the New Media Alliance, Inc. (www.thenma.org).

The New Media Media Alliance is a non-profit (501c3) national coalition of writers, journalists and grass roots media outlets.

The Goracle serves endangered species at daughter’s wedding

This is a few months old, but I just saw this today. (I wonder why this wasn’t a bigger story in the media? Hmmmm.)

It seems the Goracle (former VP Al Gore), the man best known for his eco-warrior ways and for thinking that he can save the Earth from the devastation wrought by your SUVs tailpipe is only really interested in stopping you from having an impact on the ecosystem. As is the case with so many of these well-to-do, self-righteous, socialist, do-gooders, his calls to stop using natural resources only apply to you. He allows himself to essentially ignore all his suggestions for saving the planet.

We’ve all heard about his massive and wasteful mansions (three of them) that consume more energy in a month than most of us consume in a year. We’ve all heard that the massive energy bills for his three residences don’t use green energy (or at least didn’t until very recently, despite the fact that it has been available for years). We’ve all heard about Gore’s owning massive stock holdings in mining ventures and oil and gas firms. We have also all heard about Gore’s willingness to flit around the country and the world in private jets that release four times the amount of CO2 that a commercial airline would.

We’ve all heard about those examples of hypocrisy from the Goracle and probably several more. However, this one took the (wedding) cake. It seems that at his daughter’s wedding rehearsal dinner, Mr. self-righteous environmentalist himself served an endangered species as one of the meal’s six courses.

Only a week after Live Earth, eco-warrior Al Gore didn’t do much for his green credentials when he shocked fellow environmentalists by serving up an endangered fish at his daughter’s wedding rehearsal dinner.

The former US vicepresident provided 75 guests with Chilean sea bass – one of the world’s most threatened fish species.

Gore, 59, who created the climate change documentary An Inconvenient Truth, sampled a sixcourse tasting menu at Beverly Hills’ Crustacean restaurant which included the sea bass. …

Also known as Patagonian toothfish, the species is under huge pressure from illegal, unregulated and unreported fishing activities in the Southern Ocean, jeopardising the sustainability of remaining stocks.

It is known as one of the world’s most endangered species of fish.

Once again, it’s always “do as I say, not as I do” with these people. They’re exempt from their own restrictions on resource use because they know better than you do and have more money and power than you do. They can carry on their extravagant lifestyles because they have forced you to curtail everything that you do — so there’s lots of resources left for them and their blue-blooded daughters to exploit as they see fit.

Correcting the media’s smear of Dr. S. Fred Singer

Thank you to Steven Milloy for taking the time to set straight the media’s deceptive smear campaign against an eminent and respected scientist – Dr. S. Fred Singer. Although Dr. Singer has recently been targeted by the mainstream media for his work in the area of climate science, Milloy’s article reveals that Singer and his work have been well known for several decades.

Rather than employing cowardly, anonymous attacks from “climate scientists from NASA, from Stanford University and from Princeton” and inflammatory quotes from NGO activists as ABC News reporter Dan Harris did in his unimaginative hit piece on Dr. Singer, Milloy actually took a few minutes to look into Dr. Singer’s career.

Armed with a doctorate from Princeton University, Dr. Singer played a key role in the U.S. Navy’s development of countermeasures for mine warfare during World War II. From there, Dr. Singer went on to achieve fame in space science.

Some of his major accomplishments include: using rockets to make the first measurements of cosmic radiation in space along with James A. Van Allen (1947-50); design of the first instrument for measuring stratospheric ozone (1956); developing the capture theory for the origin of the Moon and Martian satellites (1966); calculating the increase in methane emissions due to population growth which is not key to global warming and ozone depletion theories (1971); and discovering orbital debris clouds with satellite instruments (1990).

Dr. Singer is exceedingly modest about his career. Although I have personally known him for more than decade, I only inadvertently learned of his earlier achievements last year while reading “Sputnik: The Shock of the Century” (Walker & Company, 2007) which chronicles the development of the U.S. Space Program.

The book described Dr. Singer, along with Van Allen, as a “pioneer of space science.” The author also wrote, “America’s journey into space can arguably be traced to a gathering at James Van Allen’s house in Silver Spring, Maryland on April 5, 1950. The guest of honor was the eminent British geophysicist Sydney Chapman… The other guests were S. Fred Singer…”

Among his many prominent positions, Dr. Singer was the first director of the National Weather Satellite Center and the first dean of the University of Miami’s School of Environmental and Planetary Sciences. He’s also held many senior administrative positions at federal agencies, including the Environmental Protection Agency, Department of Transportation and Department of Interior.

Despite all of this work, the best attributed information that Harris’ journalistic training appears able to uncover is a Greenpeace employee, trying to pass themselves off as a “global warming specialist,” thinks Dr. Singer is “kind of a career skeptic.” The rest of Harris’ work is anonymous attacks and editorialized rhetoric – real top drawer stuff.

And journalists wonder why the vast majority of the public no longer trusts their work.

Oceans cooling – where’s the global warming?

Interesting article on the NPR site today. Essentially, the article notes that if we are experiencing global warming, the oceans should be one of the first places to show the rise in heat. However, a group of robots that are being sent around the bottom of the world’s oceans are sending back data that indicates a flat line or slight cooling.

Some 3,000 scientific robots that are plying the ocean have sent home a puzzling message. These diving instruments suggest that the oceans have not warmed up at all over the past four or five years. That could mean global warming has taken a breather. Or it could mean scientists aren’t quite understanding what their robots are telling them.

This is puzzling in part because here on the surface of the Earth, the years since 2003 have been some of the hottest on record. But Josh Willis at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory says the oceans are what really matter when it comes to global warming.

In fact, 80 percent to 90 percent of global warming involves heating up ocean waters. They hold much more heat than the atmosphere can. So Willis has been studying the ocean with a fleet of robotic instruments called the Argo system. The buoys can dive 3,000 feet down and measure ocean temperature. Since the system was fully deployed in 2003, it has recorded no warming of the global oceans.

“There has been a very slight cooling, but not anything really significant,” Willis says. So the buildup of heat on Earth may be on a brief hiatus. “Global warming doesn’t mean every year will be warmer than the last. And it may be that we are in a period of less rapid warming.”

Equally interesting is the fact that the scientists doing this research are at a loss to describe where the heat (that they expected to find) has gone.

Kevin Trenberth at the National Center for Atmospheric Research says it’s probably going back out into space. The Earth has a number of natural thermostats, including clouds, which can either trap heat and turn up the temperature, or reflect sunlight and help cool the planet.

That can’t be directly measured at the moment, however.

“Unfortunately, we don’t have adequate tracking of clouds to determine exactly what role they’ve been playing during this period,” Trenberth says.

Did you all catch that? Do you understand what that means? Read it again.

“(The heat that should be in the oceans) is probably going back out into space … unfortunately, we don’t have adequate tracking of clouds to determine … what role they’ve been playing.

But wait, I thought that CO2 in the atmosphere is stopping the heat and causing the earth’s atmosphere and oceans to heat unnaturally. How could the heat possibly be going back out into space?

The reality of the situation is that scientists really DON’T HAVE A FIRM GRASP OF WHAT IS GOING ON in the natural world!!! They can make some good guesses, but they don’t know for sure. Despite that lack of knowledge, however, the IPCC and world governments can confidently predict — within a hundredth of a degree — what the earth’s temperature will be a century from now. Even worse, they then try to tell us that by implementing Kyoto (or some other protocol or treaty) we can “stop climate change”?

This is the difference between real world scientific research and relying on bureaucratically filtered and finagled modeling results to determine what you think might happen at some distant point in the future.

To be fair to the scientists in the article, they are working on the issue and (I believe) honestly trying to figure out what is happening in an almost unimaginably complex natural system. What I find offensive however, is when highly politicized scientists and bureaucrats take a sliver of climate information, while purposefully ignoring or not admitting about findings like these sea temperature readings, and then seriously try to convince us that the “science is settled,” or that they have determined “with a high level of certainty” that anthropogenic influences on the atmosphere are causing global warming and that we need to impose severe restrictions on our economy and wellbeing to “stop climate change.”

While we have many scientists honestly telling us that they have no solid answers as to what is going on and that they need to keep researching, we have another group of scientists and politicians arguing that they have THE answer and that they know how to control the climate down to a tenth or a one hundredth of a degree Celsius a century from now. How anyone can take their policy suggestions seriously is beyond me, as it is obvious that their hubris knows no bounds.

BMW nicks green-cred from Toyota’s Prius

I found this article to be more than a little amusing. With many Prius owners vainly strutting around, spouting off about their inherent green superiority, I have to admit to a momentary sense of schadenfreude when I read that a mid-sized, diesel BMW was getting more miles per gallon than a gas-powered Prius.

Is this a case of man bites dog? A mid-size BMW sedan equipped with a diesel engine returned better fuel economy on a 545-mile, London-to-Geneva, run than a gasoline-powered Toyota Prius. A BMW 520d with a 2.0-liter diesel engine and regenerative braking (but no heavy duty hybrid features) got 41.9 mpg while the full-hybrid Prius, 500 pounds lighter, got 40.1 mpg.

Two writers for the Sunday Times (London) wondered if official mpg ratings were accurate after hearing from their readers who said the Prius ratings were high by 15 (U.K.) mpg. “If our readers are right and the official figure is wrong it has important implications, not least of which is that people driving frugal diesels are getting a raw deal,” the paper said, since hybrids get some tax and roadway access benefits in Europe as they do in the U.S. To find out, they drove BMW’s midsize 5 Series sedan and the Prius London-to-Geneva, adding 100 miles to the route “to give the Prius the advantage of running in urban conditions where its petrol-electric drivetrain comes into its own.”

I recognize that the Prius owners out there are going to argue that the BMW costs more, diesel costs more, apples and oranges, etc. But it’s hard to ignore the the fact that you can have your green-cred and driive a BMW at the same time.

Obama claims Rev. Jeremiah Wright, Jr. as a close friend

Check out this editorial and this video to see how Obama introduced his pastor, Rev. Jeremiah Wright, Jr., as a close friend and great leader while speaking on the issue of a “quiet riot” that was occurring in the African-American community. I noted two key things about this video 1) He made this speech while stumping for the Presidency, on June 5, 2007 and, 2) He takes almost a full minute at the beginning of his speech to introduce Wright, encouraging the crowd to applaud him and recognize him (1:15 in the video).

And then I’ve got to give a special shout out to my Pastor. The guy who puts up with me, counsels me, listens to my wife complain about me. He’s a friend and a great leader not just in Chicago but all across the country, so please everybody give an extraordinary welcome to my pastor Dr. Jeremiah Wright, Jr., Trinity United Church of Christ.

Where’s he at? There he is. That’s him, that’s him right there.

You wearing a suit today, Rev?

At about 18:15 in the video, Obama even recognizes the discussion around Trinity United Church being seen as a divisive force or as a “separatist church.” So his recent suggestions that he had no knowledge of the concerns over Wright’s preaching and his calls for African-Americans to be “true” to Africa, ahead of America are ringing more and more hollow. I find it difficult to believe that a man who is as intelligent as Obama clearly is could simply forget those concerns in the intervening months since he gave this speech.

It’s also worthwhile to listen to Obama’s repeated Christian references — phrases like “when the Spirit moves me,” “God’s grace,” “praise God,” “my sins could be redeemed,” “we understand the possibilities of God’s power,” “principalities and power,” “Our Father which art in heaven, hollowed be thy name,” “our God is big enough to … (insert his preferred government program here).” However, when a Republican does something similar, (even inadvertently) they are attacked as injecting religion into a campaign.

As an aside, it’s not hard to understand why people have come to like Obama so much. If you take the time to listen to his speech, he has an almost musical voice. The cadence and tones that he uses are impressive — almost hypnotic — and his speech writer used a brilliant analogy of taking the bullet out. Very well done!

However, it is sad to hear him consistently demanding more and more handouts at the expense of the taxpayer. His discussion on the impacts of Katrina are one long demand for more government involvement, more government funding, and how an alleged lack of money is an indication of racism. His discussion on the economy is another long diatribe about how the government needs to raise the minimum wage, subsidize housing, provide free health care, subsidize transportation, provide free child care, provide job training and relocation services, provide training programs for repeat offenders, and provide more funding for government education and universities.

Given the angry and resentful tones laced throughout Michele Obama’s recent speeches, the clear and very angry/separatist/bigoted tones of Wright’s widely publicized sermons — which Obama spent 20 years listening to on a regular basis, and the fact that similar tones and themes are lacing Obama’s rhetoric, I am having a great deal of difficulty believing Obama’s claims that he was unaware of Wright’s contentious views.

More and more it seems that Obama is employing the same double-talk that so many other politicians employ. His use of the term “change” is just so much politicking.

Whatever it takes to get elected; be anyone that the person standing in front of you wants you to be and then change that up for the next person. All the while tell anyone who questions the chameleon-like nature of your changes that they don’t understand where you come from or that they’re a racist/bigot/sexist/homophobe. Where someone like Jeremiah Wright can help Obama win votes, he claims him as a close personal friend and a trusted spiritual mentor, then he trots him out and waves him around like a banner. Where Wright’s extreme views might hurt him, he claims to reject and renounce him.

Clearly Obama’s change is only about ‘changing’ the person and party in power. Other than that, I don’t see a whole lot of other changes in store for the country.

Study questions validity of modeling software

This finding in this study should cause reasonable people to question their unwavering faith in the ability of modeling software to accurately predict the future state of natural ecosystems.

An eight-year study of ocean life shows a “chaotic” balance of nature, and Dutch scientists say this chaos makes it impossible to predict the rise and fall of wild species — anywhere, ever.

Ecologists and politicians often want computers to show how nature will react if we bulldoze a forest or change the global temperature, but the Baltic Sea study now argues this kind of modeling may not be worth much.

If so, it raises doubts about how we can ever preserve a healthy environment, except through good luck.

The small Baltic creatures such as plankton were isolated from the rest of the ocean and studied for eight years. Each member of the “food web,” or network of who eats whom, took turns multiplying and becoming scarce, even though the scientists kept the outside conditions constant.

And they could never figure out a pattern that allowed real predictions of how any species would fare.

“Advanced mathematical techniques proved the indisputable presence of chaos in this food web,” they conclude in the journal Nature,” adding that “short-term prediction is possible, but long-term prediction is not.”

Perhaps people should start to wonder if similar issues could crop with our climate models (hint: they have – climate models cannot accurately predict current temperatures, using past data).

Stating the facts is not meant as a slam against the models and modelers; they do help us to better understand natural systems. However, it is time that people and elected officials recognize and admit models are not the real world. It isn’t a put down to admit that a model is by definition of recreation of reality. Since we do not know everything there is to know about the earth’s natural systems; we do not completely understand their feedback mechanisms; their ability to heal after an impact; their ability to withstand change; etc., we cannot reasonably expect to perfectly model those systems. Therefore, it isn’t (or shouldn’t be) all that surprising that errors in our predictions are commonplace.

If we can’t perfectly model these systems, one can reasonably question if we should be tossing our economies in the dust bin to stop the climate change our models are predicting, especially when our efforts may be not much more than a crap shoot (as this study appears to indicate they are).

State wants to control Californian’s home thermostats

The latest move by the California Energy Commission is a classic example of how short-sighted their command and control mindset can be.

First they ban the production of energy with our most abundant fossil energy sources (coal).

California utilities would be prohibited from buying electricity from most coal-burning power plants in neighboring states under far-reaching regulations proposed by state energy regulators Wednesday.

The rules, which would impose one of California’s landmark laws to curb global warming, also would limit the amount of carbon dioxide new power plants in the state could emit. Most climate scientists blame the gas for raising temperatures around the globe.

The rules proposed by the California Public Utilities Commission could have profound long-term implications.

Then, when (SURPRISE!!!) they find that they have skyrocketing energy prices and increasingly limited supply, they demand that everyone endure their forced energy rationing schemes.

California utilities would control the temperature of new homes and commercial buildings in emergencies with a radio-controlled thermostat, under a proposed state update to building energy efficiency standards.

Customers could not override the thermostats during “emergency events,” according to the proposal, part of a 236-page revision to building standards. The document is scheduled to be considered by the California Energy Commission, a state agency, on Jan. 30.

The description does not provide any exception for health or safety concerns. It also does not define what are “emergency events.”

During heat waves, customers crank up the air conditioning, putting severe strains on the state’s power supply. By giving utilities the power to automatically adjust power demand by reducing air conditioning, the hope is that more severe interruptions, such as rolling blackouts, can be avoided.

This is, of course, the logical outcome of California’s NIMBYism and hysterical overreactions to any perceived environmental issue. BAN & REGULATE!!!!! and look where it is getting them. Buy a new house in Cali and some bureaucrat will be getting paid to set the thermostat in your house. I shudder to think what they’ll try to go after next.

Global warming mitgation plans are just international welfare

For those who ever doubted the notion that plans to address global climate change were about anything other than the transfer of wealth, we know have the U.N. Development Program openly stating what has alway been obvious to the rest of us.

Helping the world’s poor adapt to more floods, droughts and other changes from a warming planet will cost the richest nations at least $86 billion a year by 2015, an expert panel warned Tuesday.

“They must have help from the rich world,” said Claes Johnasson, a co-author of the report commissioned by the U.N. Development Program. “Climate is forcing people into human development traps.”

Half the cost, $44 billion, would go for “climate-proofing” developing nations’ infrastructure while $40 billion would help the poor adapt how the live to cope with climate-related risks, says the panel’s report. The other $2 billion would go to strengthening responses to natural disasters.

The report recommends the biggest share be paid by the United States and other rich nations, based on aid targets and financing calculations by the World Bank and Group of Eight major industrialized nations.

It’s not enough that the U.S., Japan, Great Britain, Canada and other developed nations already give somewhere around $50 billion in foreign aid every year. However much they’re giving, it’s never enough. The fact that they still have any left is all the proof the do-gooders need to demand that they need to give more.

As I noted in a previous post on the U.N.s inability to get AIDS numbers correct, the reasons behind the the calls to expand payments on climate change and AIDS have more to do with expanding the U.N.s budgets and influence than they have to do with addressing changing climate. And this latest call for increased foreign and development aid is clearly no different.

Someone will need to manage the near doubling of budgets (if aid goes from $50 to $86 billion per year). So it’s not surprising to see the U.N.D.C. fanning the flames of hysteria over the just released U.N. – IPCC numbers and the alleged oncoming climate “crisis” and then rushing forward to take the foremost seat at the trough as it waits for the billions in new funding. Truthfully, I’m not sure how these people keep a straight face as they publish their increasingly dire predictions (coupled with demands for more funding) at the same time as they are retracting and rewriting their previous dire predictions. Clearly they have grown shameless as they grope toward sating their all encompassing greed, they have managed to fool themselves into believing their own press, or both.

As work by the Cato Institute clearly shows, even if their calls for more development aid were based on solid science, they would still not be able to justify the added expense for the taxpayers of developed nations. Advancing the interests of developing nations and mitigation of potential climate change impacts will have accomplished by the transfer of wealth from developed nations. Developing nations will rise or fall (just as developed nations will rise or fall) based on their recognition and protection of personal and financial liberties.

Development aid, on the other hand, has never been popular, and for good reason. Most of it has been a waste of money. The late great British economist, Peter Bauer, was the single most important individual in discrediting the socialist orthodoxy that Third World countries were trapped in a vicious cycle of poverty that could only be broken by massive foreign aid. Bauer explained in his many articles and books, most notably, in his “Dissent on Development” (1972), that all countries were once poor, and that the rich countries did not become rich through foreign aid, but by having the rule of law and the proper incentives.

Bauer noted that all too often foreign aid simply turned out to be “transferring money from poor people in rich countries to rich people in poor countries.”

A country that establishes the rule of law and largely eliminates corruption, allows free markets to operate, establishes free trade, maintains low taxation and government spending, does not excessively regulate, and establishes a stable currency will attract sufficient domestic and foreign investment to grow rapidly, without foreign aid. Countries that do not provide the rule of law and sound economic policies will not grow no matter how much “foreign aid” and development assistance they receive.

It’s not a matter of just handing people money or giving them shiny new equipment and the U.N. should be well aware of this fact because after those people have the money and the new equipment, they still need to sell their goods and feed their families in the future. If they live in fear of their new equipment being stolen or nationalized by corrupt bureaucrats, they have gained nothing. If this were not the case, the nations that have received some of the several hundred billion in foreign aid given out by the United States in the last six decades would be moving forward; most — if not all — have not. Those that have developed and bettered the lives of their citizens — like Singapore, Taiwan, and South Korea — did so with little to no aid. As the Cato article noted, however, they did work toward attracting investment by providing a stable legal framework and economic liberty.

Developing nations will be far better served by our willingness to engage in free and open trade with their citizens. They will be far better served (as will we) by our governments removing punitive tariffs on their goods and services. They will be best served, however, by having our governments encourage their governments to recognize the rule of law and protect individual property rights and personal liberties.

If we are actually interested in helping developing nations we will welcome them into the free market rather than forcing them to the sidelines and tossing them the scraps from our markets. To put it simply, the best thing we can do for them is let them compete and earn their own living.

Research questions role of CFCs in ozone depletion

For those who may have missed the articles and discussion over the past week, new research — published in Nature Magazine (subscription required) has disrupted the scientific certainty in the root causes for ozone depletion in the upper atmosphere (for the less scientific out there, ‘the reason for the ozone hole over the Antarctic).

Markus Rex, an atmosphere scientist at the Alfred Wegener Institute of Polar and Marine Research in Potsdam, Germany, did a double-take when he saw new data for the break-down rate of a crucial molecule, dichlorine peroxide (Cl2O2). The rate of photolysis (light-activated splitting) of this molecule reported by chemists at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, was extremely low in the wavelengths available in the stratosphere – almost an order of magnitude lower than the currently accepted rate.

“This must have far-reaching consequences,” Rex says. “If the measurements are correct we can basically no longer say we understand how ozone holes come into being.” What effect the results have on projections of the speed or extent of ozone depletion remains unclear.

The rapid photolysis of Cl2O2 is a key reaction in the chemical model of ozone destruction developed 20 years ago (see graphic). If the rate is substantially lower than previously thought, then it would not be possible to create enough aggressive chlorine radicals to explain the observed ozone losses at high latitudes, says Rex. The extent of the discrepancy became apparent only when he incorporated the new photolysis rate into a chemical model of ozone depletion. The result was a shock: at least 60% of ozone destruction at the poles seems to be due to an unknown mechanism, Rex told a meeting of stratosphere researchers in Bremen, Germany, last week.

Other groups have yet to confirm the new photolysis rate, but the conundrum is already causing much debate and uncertainty in the ozone research community. “Our understanding of chloride chemistry has really been blown apart,” says John Crowley, an ozone researcher at the Max Planck Institute of Chemistry in Mainz, Germany.

“Until recently everything looked like it fitted nicely,” agrees Neil Harris, an atmosphere scientist who heads the European Ozone Research Coordinating Unit at the University of Cambridge, UK. “Now suddenly it’s like a plank has been pulled out of a bridge.”

Of course, the article goes on to note that despite the injection of serious uncertainty into the ozone depletion models, the scientists involved all are still fully convinced that the Montréal Protocol — which came into force in 1989 and required the phasing out of all human production of chlorofluorocarbons — is the best method for controlling ozone depletion.

The new measurements raise “intriguing questions”, but don’t compromise the Montreal Protocol as such, says John Pyle, an atmosphere researcher at the University of Cambridge. “We’re starting to see the benefits of the protocol, but we need to keep the pressure on.” He says that he finds it “extremely hard to believe” that an unknown mechanism accounts for the bulk of observed ozone losses.

Nothing currently suggests that the role of CFCs must be called into question, Rex stresses. “Overwhelming evidence still suggests that anthropogenic emissions of CFCs and halons are the reason for the ozone loss. But we would be on much firmer ground if we could write down the correct chemical reactions.”

We should all go back and read that again. These people just admitted that their chosen policy vehicle for controlling ozone depletion is approximately two-thirds ineffective at doing its job and that they cannot even “write down the correct chemical reactions” to describe the event that they are trying to avoid. The shorter, more direct method of writing that would say, they don’t know how to get what they want and they can’t even accurately describe what they want, but they are absolutely sure that the policies they have written to achieve what they want are effective at doing that. Even worse, they are telling government and taxpayers that we should be funding even more research so they can tell us — with even less certainty — that we still don’t know what it is that we’re doing.

Don’t forget folks that many of these people are also telling us that we need to sign on to expensive and ineffective measures like the Kyoto Protocol to help reduce global climate change. Perhaps twenty years after we sewer our economy (again) and listen to their assurances that they have the “science settled” (again), they’ll come back to us and say, “yeah, it seems that our new research is showing that the impacts of CO2 on global climate is 60% less than we originally thought it was. You see we never bothered to factor in that little fluid dynamics thingy into our climate models, so we really don’t have any clue how we should model climate and don’t have the knowledge to accurately describe the temperature impacts of water on our climate. BUT!!!!!! We’re absolutely sure that the Kyoto Protocol is still the very best, most accurate, and most effective method of avoiding global climate change. You should trust us, we’re scientists, we helped write the IPCC working group 1 study, we have a “consensus,” and we KNOW what we’re talking about.”

To be fair, I cannot take away from the fact that these scientists are intelligent people. They manage to work through some pretty intense calculations to derive extremely complex answers to exceedingly difficult questions. That said, the fact that they try to boldly state — despite their admitted inability to come up with the “correct chemical equations” for ozone depletion — that they have THE answer and THE single most effective means of controlling ozone depletion is profoundly arrogant.

A little humility given their self-admitted ignorance might help.

Add green to price and the Lenovo name

I’m thinking that with the new A61e, you’ll have a pretty solid PC. It’s not a gaming rig, obviously, but it will certainly handle your average spreadsheet and email software.

Even better, you’ll have no end of fun rubbing your green cred in the face of the obnoxious greenies that populate every office.

When they start pestering you about what you’ve done for Gaia mother earth today, asking you if “you car pooled today? Did you recycle that memo I sent? Do you own a hybrid car? Have you calculated you carbon footprint? bla bla bla …” you’ll be able to shut them down in a second with the simple question, “is your PC solar-powered?”

If not, you can tell them to get out of your office and then pelt their retreating carcass with taunts and epithets like “earth destroyer!”, “enviro-rapist!”, or — if they’re especially troublesome — you can wheel out the big guns and just call them a “capitalist”. You’ll have hours of fun, watching them squirm.

Despite its resemblance to state-of-the-art VCR Technology circa 1992, Lenovo’s ThinkCentre A61e desktop just might knock HP’s rp5700 off its pedestal and claim the crown as king of the green PCs.

Like the rp5700, Lenovo’s A61e touts EPEAT Gold status, exceeds the new Energy Star 4.0 standards, and has an 85 percent efficient power supply. That, and packing a 45-watt AMD Athlon 64 X2 dual-core processor, it can run off an optional solar panel; it uses as much power as three light bulbs. Better yet, it’s made of 90 percent reusable or recyclable materials.

Add the fact that pretty much everything Lenovo sells will work — out of the box — with Linux and I’m telling you, you can’t lose with this one.

Leo DiCaprio: the next Al Gore

I few posts back, I asked,

How many tonnes of carbon could we keep from being released into the atmosphere if we could get Gore and the other true believers to shut the heck up?

Well, it seems that Leo DiCaprio is such a windbag that he could outdo your average medium sized city in the greenhouse gas production realm. Apparently he talks SO MUCH about climate change that even Al Gore would be forced to tell him to shut it.

His incessant yapping about the climate may have actually achieved the impossible. He has driven away a crowd of people who are only slightly less annoying than DiCaprio, Gore and the rest of the global warming true believers.

Leonardo DiCaprio has found the perfect way to avoid the paparazzi by talking about global warming. …

As the three-time Oscar nominated actor tells the Chicago Sun-Times in an interview, this unfortunately for the paparazzi, doesn’t make for good tabloid material, and so they tend to keep away from him.

“The tabloids and the paparazzi don’t care what I have to say about global warming or getting away from dependency on fossil fuels. … I think I’ve just bored them into leaving me alone,” Contactmusic quoted DiCaprio, as saying.

I guess a few thousand bucks for a picture of Leo isn’t worth fighting their way through the endless preaching and hysteria.

On that same theme, it seems that Lindsay Lohan has finally found something for which she could be truly ashamed.

“I feel like the a***ole, the idiot, because I feel like I’m distracting from the other things that are important, like global warming and that kind of stuff. I genuinely mean that. And I don’t know what to do.”

The fact that she races around in her Benz, all hopped up on coke and Jack Daniels, endangering everyone on the public streets doesn’t cause her to lose any sleep. The war on terror doesn’t even cross her radar. Illegal immigration …. what’s that?!?! Corruption at all levels of our government … she probably doesn’t understand where you’re going with this.

All of that other stuff is far less important than the possibility that the media paying attention to her latest exploits might distract from “important” stuff like climate change.

At least she has her priorities straight.

Via Grist

Not possible – no SUVs 8,000 years ago

I’m guessing that Exxon-Mobile has been sticking old chunks of rock and wood into the muck at the bottom of the English Channel. They must be because everyone who knows anything about global climate change also knows that the world’s climate was essentially stable until humans came along and started burning coal and driving SUVs, so this story can’t be true.

Erosion on the floor of the English Channel is revealing the remains of a busy Stone Age settlement from a time when Europe and Britain were still linked by land, a team of archaeologists says.

The site, just off the Isle of Wight, dates back 8,000 years, not long before melting glaciers filled in the Channel and likely drove the settlement’s last occupants north to higher ground.

No glacier ever melted on this planet before the invention of the Ford Expedition, so this has to be a fake.

[tag]climate, global warming, archaeologists, glacier, Great Britain, stone age, English Channel[/tag]

Is Quebec really that green?

With all the noise going on in Ottawa about carbon caps and Canadian Premiers battling out with each other over who gets to be the most like California, it was interesting to catch this blip of an article in the August 9 Globe and Mail.

Given the way that everyone treats Quebec with kid gloves (Please don’t secede! PLEASE!!! We’ll give you all our tax money and set up all our military bases there if you’ll just stay!), I was amazed to see a mainstream Canadian media outlet actually willing to address some of Quebec’s more obvious energy-related hypocrisy.

With its vast hydroelectric resources, Quebec depends less than any other province on fossil fuels – oil, coal and natural gas – to meet its energy needs. Somehow, environmentalists construe this to be a source of pride, proof of the province’s green virtue, when really it has just led Quebeckers to be undisciplined energy hogs.

With the construction of the massive James Bay hydro complexes in the seventies and eighties, and the oil shocks of the same period, the provincial government encouraged consumers to rip out their oil furnaces and install electric baseboard heaters. The result is that more than 80 per cent of Quebec homes now depend on electric heat.

Given the extreme efficiency of today’s gas furnaces, and the inefficiency of electric heat, this is a less-than-optimal situation. And since Hydro-Québec still charges consumers far less than its marginal cost for electricity, despite a 12-per-cent rise in prices since 2002, the amount of waste and needless consumption is hardly anything to be proud about.

What little natural gas the province currently uses – it accounts for 12 per cent of Quebec’s energy needs, compared with 34 per cent in Ontario – comes from a single source. The province and its main distributor Gaz Métro are wholly dependent on gas piped in from Western Canada.

It’s kind of hard to be so pious and holier-than-thou when you’re every bit as wasteful with electricity as the people you’re preaching against (or even more wasteful — after all, it’s subsidized by Alberta’s tax dollars — why not use it?). It’s especially hard to be that self-righteous when that electricity relies on heavily altered (if I were in Greenpeace, I would say “ruined”) riparian ecosystems, displaced First Nations settlements and communities, and Western Canadian gas.