Tag Archives: politics

Why this election is important

Mark Steyn explains why next week’s midterm election and what the next Congress does has very special significance. Key quote:

In a two-party system, you have to work with what’s available. In America, one party is openly committed to driving the nation off the cliff, and the other party is full of guys content to go along for the ride as long as we shift down to third gear. That’s no longer enough of a choice. If your candidate isn’t committed to fewer government agencies with fewer employees on lower rates of pay, he’s part of the problem. This is the last chance for the GOP to restore its credentials. If it blows it, all bets are off for 2012.

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Wikipedia bans global warming propagandist

Wikipedia bans global warming propagandist. Key quote:

Through his position, Connolley for years kept dissenting views on global warming out of Wikipedia, allowing only those that promoted the view that global warming represented a threat to mankind. As a result, Wikipedia became a leading source of global warming propaganda, with Connolley its chief propagandist. His career as a global warming propagandist has now been stopped, following a unanimous verdict that came down today through an arbitration proceeding conducted by Wikipedia.

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The Juan Williams firing, in his own words

The Juan Williams firing, in his own words. Key quote:

This is an outrageous violation of journalistic standards and ethics by management that has no use for a diversity of opinion, ideas or a diversity of staff (I was the only black male on the air). This is evidence of one-party rule and one sided thinking at NPR that leads to enforced ideology, speech and writing. It leads to people, especially journalists, being sent to the gulag for raising the wrong questions and displaying independence of thought.

Daniel Schorr, my fellow NPR commentator who died earlier this year, used to talk about the initial shock of finding himself on President Nixon’s enemies list. I can only imagine Dan’s revulsion to realize that today NPR treats a journalist who has worked for them for ten years with less regard, less respect for the value of independence of thought and embrace of real debate across political lines, than Nixon ever displayed.

As I said yesterday, defund them.

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Last shuttle mission could be delayed until fall of 2011

If Congress does end up appropriating money for that last extra shuttle mission, NASA managers are considering delaying it as long as possible, until the fall of 2011. Key quote:

[Shuttle Program Manager John] Shannon said if the shuttle is retired prematurely, the ISS will not be properly supplied.

In other words, Congress and the President should never have retired the shuttle in the first place, at least not until a replacement was ready to go.

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Closing caves for the convenience and power of the government

A variety of federal government agencies are moving aggressively to shut down human access to all American caves, including those on private property. Key quote:

In Wisconsin, where white nose syndrome has not yet appeared, wildlife managers want to get a jump on the disease by declaring G. destructans [the fungus associated with the syndrome] an invasive species, and declaring four species of bats threatened. Those designations would give wildlife agencies access to new sources of funds. They would also “give police power to the agencies to go onto private land to prevent damage to these newly named threatened species,” said [Peter] Youngbaer, [white nose syndrome liaison for the National Speleological Society]. “We fear that private landowners will be fearful of allowing even inadvertent access to caves, and thus move to seal caves shut. They’ll be causing more damage to the bats that they’re ostensibly trying to protect.” [emphasis mine]

As a caver, I not only have a strong personal interest in this story, I know a lot about bats and caves from personal experience. As a science writer who has also written about white nose syndrome for Science, I am also very familiar with the present state of the science. Based on this background, I find the actions of these government officials unconscionable. As one commenter to this article very correctly noted:

“There is currently *no* evidence that humans have spread this disease, but mountains of evidence for bat-to-bat transmission. The possibility does exist that humans *could* spread it, but even at its worst a human vector would be quite statistically insignificant in comparison to the bat-to-bat transmission.

In other words, closing all caves to human access can accomplish no good, and a great deal of harm. Yet, this is exactly what these government officials and environmental bureaucrats wish to do.

Back in March 2008, soon after white nose syndrome was discovered, I wrote the following:

I am beginning to believe strongly that the situation has worrisome political overtones linked to the unstated desire of some people to limit access to caves. . . . Some people are distorting the situation for their own purposes, either consciously or unconsciously. . . . Some of those people might have an agenda (closing caves to cavers) that is entirely irrelevant to the issue of white nose.

The article above only serves to confirm my opinions from 2008. The government officials who are demanding the indiscriminate closure of caves and the unfettered control over caves on private property are not really interested in protecting or saving the bats. In fact, their actions might actually do great harm to the bats, as the closures, the regulatory restrictions, and the threat to private property will antagonize both cavers and landowners, thus guaranteeing their unwillingness to cooperate with scientists.

So what do these government officials want? As far as I can tell, what they really want is power. And they are using white nose syndrome as a hammer to gain it.

Sadly, I fear that they are going to succeed. Today’s environmental laws are rigged to their advantage. The press is generally on their side. And the opposition to this power grab is diffuse and weak.

Once again, we see the death of freedom. And it dies, not by a single devastating blow, but by the death of a thousand cuts.

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Chinese embargo of rare earth minerals expands

China is expanding its embargo on exporting rare earth minerals, blocking shipments to Japan, Europe and the United States. Key quote:

China mines 95 percent of the world’s rare earth elements, which have broad commercial and military applications, and are vital to the manufacture of products as diverse as cellphones, large wind turbines and guided missiles. Any curtailment of Chinese supplies of rare earths is likely to be greeted with alarm in Western capitals, particularly because Western companies are believed to keep much smaller stockpiles of rare earths than Japanese companies.

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Republicans weaseling out already?

Republican senator Judd Gregg (R-New Hampshire) suggested Monday that it would be better to restructure the healthcare bill than repeal or defund it.

Idiot. I think he and the rest of the Republican Party are being as clueless as the Democrats if they think this strategy will work. They should instead pay very close attention to what Sarah Palin said on the same day about a third party threat:

“Some in the GOP, it’s their last shot,” Palin said Monday evening on Fox News. “It’s their last chance, and we will lose faith and we will be disappointed and disenchanted from them if they start straying from the bedrock principles that can grow our economy.”

I am also reminded of this prescience Iowahawk post. As he says so eloquently, “Retards.”

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Have global warming scientists admitted that carbon dioxide is not the main greenhouse gas?

In a paper published on Saturday in the Journal of Geophysical Research – Atmospheres of the American Geophysical Union, scientists from the Goddard Institute of Space Studies (where scientists have generally been strong advocates of human-caused global warming) outlined the key atmospheric molecules that contribute to the greenhouse effect. Key quote from the abstract:

We find that water vapor is the dominant contributor (∼50% of the effect), followed by clouds (∼25%) and then CO2 with ∼20%. All other absorbers play only minor roles.

The scientists also noted that even if carbon dioxide in the atmosphere were to double, these percentages would not change significantly.

Does this mean that carbon dioxide is a minor player in creating global warming? This remains unclear. First, the above research is essentially only modeling, not actual data. Second, the scientists themselves note that the interplay of any two of these molecules (such as water and carbon dioxide or water and cloudiness) can have a greater effect than just one molecule alone, which makes these percentages by themselves incomplete.

Nonetheless, these results are important politically. These global warming scientists have placed themselves on record as admitting that cloudiness appears more significant that carbon dioxide in creating the greenhouse effect. And since the combination of water and clouds can have an even greater influence on the climate than either alone, the scientists are also admitting that water is by far the most important greenhouse molecule. Any future climate models as well as political action must take this fact into consideration.

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IPCC meeting ends with few changes or reforms

You call this reform? At the just completed annual meeting of the IPCC in South Korea, the panel refused to remove its controversial chairman, Rajendra Pachauri, while recommending a few minor reforms in how the panel writes its reports. This quote indicates just how unserious the IPCC is about reform:

In the past, he said, IPCC reports sometimes projected the likelihood of potential climate-change effects, such as melting glaciers, without enough evidence. “There were some weaknesses in the application,” said [Chris Field, a U.S. scientist and a leader of the panel’s 2014 report].

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More criticism of Bolden emerges as he heads to China

More criticism of NASA administrator Charles Bolden emerges as he heads to China. Key quote:

Since taking charge of NASA in July 2009, the 64-year-old Bolden has visited 14 countries and has been missing at critical moments. Last year, he skipped one of the first shuttle flights under his watch to visit Japan and most recently was on a trip to Europe and the Middle East when the U.S. House nearly defeated the NASA vision endorsed by the Obama administration. “How about saving the manned space program — in America?” said U.S. Rep. John Culberson (R-Texas).

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Climate Talks in China Limp Toward Deadlock

Thank god for small blessings. The climate talks in China this past week are limping towards a deadlock, with no new agreements. It appears that the biggest problem are disagreements between China and the U.S.

Personally, I love how this quote from the article so nicely illustrates the totalitarian nature of many climate activists and their organizations:

Currently, the World Resources Institute is proposing the White House abandon legislative means and rely on the existing Clean Air Act to make emissions reductions administratively.

In other words, if the elected Congress of the United States is unwilling to pass restrictions (because a majority of the people of the United States oppose them), then the government should ignore the people’s wishes and impose those restrictions, without permission.

Ugh. The less power these environmental dictators have, the better for everyone else.

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We won’t release our contributors because the adminstration will then harass them

Is this how a government in a free society functions? The Chamber of Commerce won’t release its contributors because they fear the administration will harass and threaten them. And they have experience to back that fear up. Key quote:

What this administration wants is a list of who the companies are who are contributors, and we saw last year . . .when we very publicly ran ads against the Patients Protections and Affordable Care Act . . . there was an attempt to try and find out who were the corporations that were contributing to that effort. When some of those corporate names were divulged, not by us, by others, what did they receive? They received protests, they received threats, they were intimidated, they were harassed, they had to hire additional security, they were recipients of a host of proxies leveled at those companies that had nothing to do with the purpose of those companies. So we know what the purpose here is. It’s to harass and intimidate. [emphasis mine]

That the White House and President Obama are right now willing to accuse their opponents of all manner of evils (taking money from foreign governments) without any evidence is further evidence that there are reasons to fear them.

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