Day by Day

Saturday, July 28, 2007

President Reagan Smacks Down Hillary’s Public Service Academy

The Associated Press reported that Presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton told University of South Carolina student Democrats that she would create a national academy to train public servants.

"I'm going to be asking a new generation to serve," she said. "I think just like our military academies, we need to give a totally all-paid education to young men and women who will serve their country in a public service position."

If you want to talk about an idea whose time hasn’t come, and never will, this has to be on the top of the list.

Only a Democrat could love it.

As President Reagan said: “Government's view of the economy could be summed up in a few short phrases: If it moves, tax it. If it keeps moving, regulate it. And if it stops moving, subsidize it.”

These are words that would be emblazoned above the entrance to the Hillary Rodham Clinton Public Service Academy.

In the case of creating a national academy to train public servants, President Reagan also had an appropriate remark, which he originally aimed at Congress but which would apply equally well in this circumstance: “Cures were developed for which there were no known diseases.”

To me, the phrase “a totally all-paid education to young men and women who will serve their country in a public service position,” translates to a government funded indoctrination to create a new class, the new ruling class of government bureaucrats. This new government-created class would be untainted by exposure to the environments of big business, small business, entrepreneurial activity, military concerns, or even to the legal profession from whence come a disproportionate number of our current public servants.

In other words, before teaching them anything about management, the government would teach the members of its new class how government runs everything, and the word “privatize” would be stricken from their vocabulary.

However, as President Reagan reminded us: “We who live in free market societies believe that growth, prosperity and ultimately human fulfillment, are created from the bottom up, not the government down.”

Who would be the members of the new ruling class? Certainly not individuals like Hillary Clinton. Upon graduation from Wellesley, Hillary pursued the big bucks in law at the Rose Law Firm in Arkansas, the oldest law firm west of the Mississippi. When Bill Clinton became governor of Arkansas in 1979, Hillary became the first female partner in the history of the Rose Law Firm.

Since the Hillary Rodham Clintons of the world would not be the primary candidates for Hillary’s public service academy, I wonder who she thinks would?

I envision the prospective student body of the public service academy would be made up of individuals who couldn’t bear the stress and competitiveness of careers in business, medicine, law, and science, or even education. Further, I think they would be antagonistic towards business and the professions, and would be particularly concerned that they enjoyed too much freedom from governmental oversight, control, and regulation.

Why would I think they would be so anti-business? Because that’s already a hallmark of public servants, to be resentful and suspicious of anything that isn’t tightly regulated and controlled by government.

President Reagan noted that: “Government is the people's business and every man, woman and child becomes a shareholder with the first penny of tax paid.”

However, most public servants believe that people and business are not taxed enough, because government entities never feel that their budgets are sufficient.

To that, President Reagan would have remarked: “The size of the federal budget is not an appropriate barometer of social conscience or charitable concern.”

Obviously, Hillary feels differently, and wants to institutionalize public service, just as she disastrously attempted government control of health care during the first year of her husband’s presidency. Fortunately, she blundered so badly that the Democrats lost their forty-year dominance of Congress.

She doesn’t want to take the chance of that ever happening again, hence her desire to indoctrinate a ruling class in a “public service madrasah.”

As she told some of her supporters after her speech, one of the reasons she was running for president was to have universal health care.

As President Reagan would have said, “There you go again.”

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Global Warming Throws a "Natural" in Las Vegas

"The scientific evidence of global warming is incontrovertible, and Nevada is feeling the heat more intensely than most of the rest of the U.S," said Stephen M. Rowland, Professor of Geology at University of Nevada, Las Vegas.

I agree. The scientific evidence of global warming is incontrovertible, and is exactly what would be expected since we are coming out of a period of incontrovertible global cooling, the Little Ice Age.

Interestingly, the study cited by Professor Rowland looks at the warming trend of the past thirty years. However, his study does not mention that prior to this warming trend, there had been a cooling trend, and that the average maximum Las Vegas temperatures were higher in the 1940s and 1950s than in the 1960s, 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s.

I hazard an educated guess that the average maximum Las Vegas temperatures were also higher in the 1930s than 1960 through 1990, since the 1930s were notable for heat waves.

What, if any, is the significance of average maximum Las Vegas temperatures being higher prior to the 1950s than subsequently?

Glad you asked.

In case you haven’t noticed, the “humans are causing global warming alarmists” say that increased levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide resulting from combustion of fossil fuels is causing global warming. Further, this all started with the increased industrial activity following World War II. Therefore, it seems more than a bit ironic that the early stage of CO2 triggered global warming was actually a 35-year period of global cooling.

That’s not the way the alarmists say increased levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide will affect temperatures. The increased levels of CO2, according to the computer models, cause an immediate and direct warming effect. That’s not what happened from 1940 to 1975. CO2 went up, temperatures went down.

Actually, in Las Vegas, as average maximum temperatures fell, the average minimum temperatures increased.

What is going on in Las Vegas?

One possible significant factor is that the Las Vegas population increased from 16,414 to 1,428,690 in a 70-year period. Could the heat-retaining properties of an incredible increase of concrete and asphalt in the Las Vegas area cause the higher average minimum temperatures?

“Nevadans are starting to understand that global warming is affecting us right now, and that our elected officials need to start making some tough choices to protect our quality of life," said Kyle Davis, the Policy Director for the Nevada Conservation League and a member of the Governor's Climate Change Task Force.

As usual in articles of this nature, there was no example of what global warming was affecting negatively. There was a supposition that: “Warmer nighttime temperatures exacerbate the public health effects of heat waves, since people need cooler nighttime temperatures to recover from excessive heat exposure during the day, the study said.”

However, there was nothing in the article indicating that any damage had actually occurred to public health.

Nor were there any examples of the kinds of tough choices that elected officials need to start making to protect Nevadan’s quality of life.

From what I have seen, the only thing elected Nevada officials could do is to try to slow down, stop, or reverse the rapid growth in Nevada’s population. This they could do quite easily. They could adopt a Democrat plan of government: raise all taxes exorbitantly; stop new construction by requiring an endless series of permits and high fees; and continually add more regulations to business activities.

That would make Nevada Democrats happy.

Other than that, until elected Nevada officials have dictatorial powers over the economic activities of China, India, Brazil, and other developing nations, they can demand Nevadans stop using air conditioning, banish autos and trucks, close their huge casinos, and still not make the slightest change in weather (weather knows no borders, you know).

I would love to find out what Nevada officials are going to do to save Nevada from natural climate change. Maybe they could follow the lead of the huge casinos, where everything is enclosed in a gigantic windowless air conditioned edifice, and you can’t tell if it is night or day, summer or winter, or even where in the world you are.

Or maybe they can follow the daring and innovative leaders of California, and draft a law to outlaw incandescent light bulbs. I’m sure that would counter the carbon emissions of the new coal-fired generator plants, each large enough to power San Diego, that China is building at a rate of one every ten days.

Or maybe they could be sensible, realize that climate change is natural (and unstoppable), and “as Confucius say, ‘Relax and enjoy it.’”

Saturday, July 21, 2007

To Predict the Future, You First Must Explain the Past

A writer to our local weekly newspaper, The Independent Coast Observer, wrote that “scientists have been tracking the unnatural rise of global temperatures since the 1970s.” I replied that was news to scientists, since global temperatures cooled from 1940 to 1975, sparking the global cooling panic that preceded our panic du jour, global warming.

(Science at that time also gave us the scares of Nuclear Winter, and of The Population Bomb. Science seems to be in a mode of Apocalypse Then, Now, and Always, probably because that sort of approach to science has the greatest potential payoff. Today’s scientist doesn’t attract much attention, get lucrative grants, or sell many books if he finds: “What’s happening is natural, there’s no need for alarm, and we’ll get through it alright just as we always have.”)

The writer then noted that the poor suffer the most from climate change, which is partially true. They suffered horrendously during the Little Ice Age (AD 1350 to 1850). In addition to the cold, poor crops and widespread starvation, and the extreme weather that is more characteristic of cold than warm periods, there were pandemics made more deadly by malnutrition and cold weather.

In contrast, the Medieval Warm Period, AD 850-1350, was warmer than the present, and the poor benefited greatly from the benevolence of warming climate change.

The writer also called attention to hundreds of thousands of years of ice core samples. However, these samples actually show that warming preceded rising atmospheric carbon dioxide by hundreds of years. Further, those marvelous ice core samples also showed temperatures falling even as CO2 increased.

Continuing his blundering way, the writer noted that “’An Inconvenient Truth’ claims that 99% of scientific journals consider climate change to be caused by humans.” I riposted that an attempt to replicate that study found it replete with errors so significant as to render it worthless, except as propaganda for Al Gore.

The writer concluded with a hope that climate change is natural, and I seized this opportunity to remark that other recent writers to our paper agree with me that it is. (At this point, honesty and candor compel me to reveal that two of the recent writers I responded to don’t actually agree than this current climate change is natural or assume it will turn out benevolent, as I do. They say something that I paraphrase as: “Climate change is natural, but mankind is fouling up everything on the planet, and he is of course fouling up climate too.”)

I go on: An encouraging sign, since global warming alarmists have ignored hundreds of instances of natural climate change to predict that any climate change portends disaster for mankind.

However, alarmist climate change predictions are based on computer models that can’t even account for past weather.

We should ever be aware that: “Those who would predict the future must first be able to explain the past.”

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Suspend Michael Vick

I just read the eighteen page indictment of Michael Vick, former Atlantic Falcon, former NFL quarterback, one-time member of the human race before he learned to love savagery and cruelty.

Michael Vick has not been found guilty of anything – yet.

But he will be.

The indictment included information from at least four cooperating witnesses (CWs), who place Michael Vick at dog fights, betting on dog fights, engaging in these activities on his farm, and traveling with dogs to other states to dog fight and bet.

Testimony should show Michael Vick engaged in, or oversaw, the killing of dogs who did not meet his standards for vicious fighting instincts. Dogs that failed his cruel demands were either shot, electrocuted, drowned, or hung.

As a dog lover, but even more a human being, I am repelled and disgusted by the things Michael Vick was alleged to have done. To say his actions were subhuman would be an insult to lower life forms, where fighting and painful death are part of their struggle for existence, not a blood-lust entertainment.

I have already seen some comments by football “fans,” of which I am one, lamenting the unfairness of the indictment and recommending that if it is true, that he be suspended for a year.

I agree with part of their recommendation. Michael Vick should be suspended for a year, and I would like to pick his body part to which the suspending rope is attached.

Then he should be dressed in pork chop underwear and put in a cage with his 55 starving pit bulls.

Then throw whatever is left in prison, and throw away the key.

Monday, July 16, 2007

The Summer of 1998

It was a beautiful day on the Northern California coast, and Alice and I, and Buddy of course, were on the deck enjoying the 80º F temperature and light winds.

“Wouldn’t it be nice if more of our summer days were like this?” We sighed, thinking how global warming might one day make our dream a reality, if it would just hurry up.

It reminded us of the almost perfect weather we had on our four-month European bike trip the summer of 1998. It still seems unbelievable we had such glorious weather for such a long period, June until early October.

Fortuitously, all of my research into global warming panic introduced me to the claim that 1998 was the warmest year on record.

In the roundly discredited “hockey stick,” its creator, Michael E. Mann, said there “is a 99 percent certainty that 1998 is the warmest year in the (millennium).”

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Notice the Medieval Warm Period is totally within the millennium under consideration.

Wouldn’t you know it, with odds of 100 to 1 that 1998 was the hottest in a thousand years, it only tied as the hottest of its century.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said 1998 tied 1934 as the warmest year on record, with 1921 a close third. The chances are excellent that there were even warmer years about a thousand years ago, but thermometers have only been in use to systematically record temperatures since 1850, and only by 1890 were there finally enough global weather stations to give widespread climate observations (although predominantly in the Northern Hemisphere).

As far as “warmest in the millennium” goes, a Harvard study of over 240 climate studies debunked the “hockey stick,” and concluded that the Medieval Warm Period (AD 800 to 1350) was a world wide phenomenon, and that it was warmer than the present.

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Over 200 years of continuous temperature measurement at Armagh Observatory, Northern Ireland. The period of cooling between 1960 and 1990 is interesting because atmospheric CO2 was increasing rapidly during the period, even though temperatures were falling.

Coincidently, when thermometers came into widespread use after 1850, that just happened to be the end of the Little Ice Age, and temperatures have been increasing naturally ever since -- as one would expect following a five-hundred year cold spell.

Which followed a five-hundred year warm period (Medieval Warm Period).

Which followed a five-hundred year cold spell (Dark Ages).

Which followed a five-hundred year warm period (Roman Warm Period).

(Do you see a pattern here? If you don’t, Tipper may be able to help you, Al.)

Unfortunately, the gorgeous weather we experienced on our bike trip was a result of El Niño, one of the two strongest of the past century, followed by La Niña in mid-1998. While we were enjoying warm, clear days, much of the rest of the world was either suffering catastrophic flooding, a large number of unusually strong hurricanes, or ruinous drought.

The man-caused global warming prognosticators tried to make 1998 a poster child for their panic mongering, but actual weather scientists pointed out that El Niño and La Niña, and their weather consequences, were part of a naturally occurring cycle which had been identified and tracked for several hundred years.

Of course, the panic mongers then clutched Hurricane Katrina as the “next sure sign,” but again experienced weather scientists pointed out that “we're in an active hurricane cycle – a phenomenon of heightened activity that can last for decades. The last one spanned the 1940s through 1960s. The current one started in 1995 and could last for another decade…”

To recap the obvious, hurricane activity was strong during the 1940s through 1960s – lower carbon dioxide in the atmosphere – and slacked off then until 1995 – higher atmospheric carbon dioxide.

Do the global warming alarmists think that no one can make the connection between low hurricane activity when CO2 was high, and high hurricane activity when CO2 was low?

And still blame the current increased hurricane activity on global warming caused by an increasing concentration of atmospheric carbon dioxide?

Then why didn’t it cause more hurricanes during the previous 25 years when CO2 was increasing rapidly?

It just doesn’t make sense, does it Al?

Man caused global warming has always been a conclusion looking for a science to justify it.

When greenhouse gases were identified, it was readily apparent that water vapor and clouds were the primary drivers. However, it was also readily apparent that mankind could not be held responsible for water vapor and clouds, so those looking for something for which to blame man’s (primarily the United States’) economic progress, had to settle for a small player in the greenhouse gas pantheon, carbon dioxide.

Since carbon dioxide is only about ten percent of the greenhouse gas effect, and only about three percent of carbon dioxide is produced by man – the rest by Nature – the blame mankind crowd needed another theory, and came up with the concept of the “tipping point,” i.e., that humanity added just the tiny bit extra to one small component of greenhouse gases that triggered global warming.

Entirely overlooked was that climate records show historic periods when warming occurred much faster, and Earth became much warmer than presently, and all of it without a human component.
Those records also show global warming preceding increased levels of CO2 by hundreds of years, and cooling occurring during periods of elevated atmospheric CO2.

Of course, historical climate records also show hundreds of cycles of warming and cooling, with far greater consequences for life forms than the current cycle, and all caused by natural forces.

In only a flicker of cosmic time, the Earth has gone from great ice sheets covering half of North America just over 10,000 years ago to today’s seasonal polar ice caps. In that short time span, sea levels have risen over 400 feet.

Human kind made good use of the natural global warming of the last 10,000 years, and developed rapidly from primitive hunter-gatherers through our ever-more rapidly changing stages of progress.

The best is yet to come.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Global Warming Computer Models Leave Too Much Out

Every now and then I come across an article that says everything relevant about the global warming alarmists. The one I just read sums up computer models of climate change, and illustrates that they leave out more than they can take in. As a result, the computer models can't even explain climate change that has already occurred. If atmospheric CO2 increases cause temperature increases, then why did temperature decrease from 1940 to 1975 when CO2 increased rapidly?

Obviously, something else was happening that had greater significance for climate change than CO2 variation. The historical record of climate change shows that the "something else" has happened hundreds of times before, and that increased CO2 followed temperature increases by roughly 800 years.

The reason for that is simple and clear. Climate change, which for hundreds of thousands of years has fluctuated primarily with solar cycles combined with orbital variations, produces warming periods which in turn increase water temperature and cause the release of enormous quantities of CO2 from the oceans. The historical record also shows that temperatures have then fallen while CO2 levels were still elevated.

The following paragraph, from "Global warming zealots are stifling scientific debate," addresses the shortcomings of computer models. Read it, then read the entire article by clicking here.

Since the beginning of time, climate has always changed. It has warmed and cooled faster than any contemporary change. Nothing happening at present is unusual. The atmospheric carbon dioxide content in the past has been hundreds to thousands of times the current figure and the world did not end. Quite the contrary — life thrived. Computer models are models, albeit primitive. They are not predictions, they are not scenarios. They don't do clouds. They don't do turbulence. They don't do unseen submarine emissions of greenhouse gases. They deal only with greenhouse gas emissions from volcanos in times of little volcanic activity. They don't do starbursts, which have probably given us the greatest climate changes on Earth. They don't do variations in cosmic ray fluxes, which produce clouds in the lower atmosphere. They don't do mountain building, plate tectonics and closing or opening of seaways, which have profound effects on climate.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Unscientific "Concerned Scientists"

Wilting heat, deadly storms, flash floods, coastal erosion, more days with unhealthy air - those are just some of the effects of rising temperatures on the Northeast, a group of scientists reported Wednesday.


Oddly enough, although the article was written as if reporting events that have occurred, I found not one of these disasters was documented as having already happened. Each was still just a prediction of future calamity, with no details or observations supporting their apocalyptic prognostication.

We still have no evidence that it is, or will be, any hotter in the next hundred years than it was during the Medieval Warm Period of just 1,000 years ago.

We already know that most of the temperature increase in the past century occurred in the first half of the 1900’s, before CO2 increased dramatically, and that there was a cooling period from 1940 to 1975 while CO2 increased rapidly.

It doesn’t seem that the pattern of climate change during the past century conforms with the pattern of increasing CO2.

In terms of deadly storms, there were worse during the Little Ice Age than in recent years, and more and stronger hurricanes during the first half of the 1900’s.

Don’t the “Concerned Scientists” have Google capabilities? Don’t they know that warming reduces the temperature differentials across latitudes and reduces the energy potential that fuels powerful storms?

Obviously they think that sea levels rising is a recent phenomena, and don’t realize that sea levels rose seven inches the past century, averaged rising about that amount during each of the past eighty centuries, and are expected to continue to rise. After all, sea levels have risen over 400 feet since ice began melting at the end of the last Ice Age, although at a much slower rate during the past 8,000 years.

Coastal erosion is a fact of coastal life. Even if sea levels weren’t rising (which they are), we would still be having coastal erosion, because that is what happens when waves crash on shores.

Here on the Northern California coast we estimate bluff erosion at about an average of three inches a year from a combination of rain, wind, and wave action. That has been the experience through cooler and warmer periods, and if atmospheric levels of CO2 could be magically reduced to pre-industrial levels, we would still expect the same amount of coastal erosion.

We have ample evidence that the sea levels were once much higher than today. We have ledges hundreds of feet above current sea level that used to be shores when the ice caps of the Earth had completely melted.

And we know the ocean now rolls over former shores created during the last Ice Age when sea level was over 400 feet lower.

More days of unhealthy air? We have far fewer such days in the United States than we did fifty years ago.

Improved technology, coupled with greater prosperity, solves environmental problems, while environmental alarmists only misdirect attention and resources from effectively adapting to never-ending climate change.

Religion and Terrorism

"Fearing Muslims just because some Muslims are terrorists is as irrational as blaming every white American for the past sins of slavery, or every Christian for the excesses of the crusades."

So wrote a frequent commenter.


I replied:

You really tortured logic on this one. In one deadly event after another perpetrated by Muslims, the fact of their religious belief is the cause of their terrorist acts. A scribbled drawing of the Prophet is a command from Allah to kill, whereas a crucifix displayed in a bottle of urine leads to nothing more from Christians than a few angry letters.

Therefore, it is prudent to not risk offending a Muslim, because they may exact deadly revenge.

How any of that relates to white Americans today and blame for the sins of slavery is beyond comprehension. A Muslim terrorist is, under close inspection, still a Muslim, whereas a white American today, under that same close inspection, is not a slaver. In fact, there is a very good chance that none of his/her relatives were either, at least in the past several hundred years.

And then you compound the silliness by referring back to the "excesses of the Crusades." It would seem that the only way that would have relevance is if more than an occasional nut case today was attempting to spread Christianity at the point of the sword.

Didn't anyone ever tell you that you can't visit the sins of the father on the head of the son?

But you can criticize a Muslim community that doesn't take a loud, principled stand against terrorist acts against civilian populations.

Muslims Overly Represented in World Terrorism

A frequent commenter disputed my assertion that world terrorism is predominantly Muslim. I suppose I could cite recent headlines from Somalia, the Sudan, Lebanon, Egypt, Syria, Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, Chechnya, Indonesia, Thailand, and many others. I could cite attacks in New York, London, Madrid, Bali, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, Nigeria, Kenya, the Netherlands, France, Turkey, Yemen, Israel, Algeria, the Palestinian Authority, Ethiopia, Bangladesh, and the list goes on.

Go here to learn about the 8,387 deadly terror attacks since 9/11.

Then go here for a list of each of the hundreds of Islamic terrorist attacks during the past three months, and the number killed and injured in each attack.

Scroll down and you will find complete detailed lists of attacks for each year going back to 9/11.

It doesn't take much to make people fearful of Islamist militants. In the Netherlands, a film producer was assassinated for making a film critical of Muslim domestic abuse.

Years ago Sir Salmon Rushdie had a fatwa, a death sentence placed on his head by Ayatollah Khomeini because he wrote a book about the Quran's Satanic Verses. He has been fearful and under armed guard protection since because the fatwa can never be raised because Ayatollah Khomeini died without removing it.

The commenter's remarks about life in Western Europe lead me to believe he didn't know what he was talking about. I lived in the UK for over five years, in Turkey a year, Alice and I rode our bikes through Germany, England, Ireland, and Wales for four months, rode our bikes through Scotland, England, and Ireland for two months, and have vacationed in Austria, Germany, Italy, Greece, Spain, Russia, Finland, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, and soon will be in Hungary.

We spoke to many Western Europeans, particularly Germans since we both speak German and spent a lot of time there, and found much contrary to his statements.

One, social mobility is not as fluid as in the United States. One of many reasons is that it is difficult to start a business, or to expand one, because of the high taxes and labor regulations which make it difficult to downsize a workforce or adjust working hours, days, and duties.

Unemployment in France, Germany, Spain, and Italy is roughly 10%,twice as high as the US rate of 4.5%.

His rose-colored characterization of European life was at odds with reality:

"The precipitous rise in unemployment in Europe has caused huge social problems in recent years. The rupture of social cohesion, the marginalization of a large part of the labor force, and the fall in living standards for a significant number of European citizens have shaken the faith of Europeans in the European ideal, of "Social Europe," such that in some countries the supporters of Economic and Monetary Union now constitute a minority."

I also disputed his conclusions about the high poverty rate in the US. Median income in the US is a close second to Switzerland, and according to both the IMF and the CIA World Factbook, the US per capita GDP is behind only Norway and Ireland (very closely behind) as highest in the world among countries larger than a mid-sized city.

"(A comparison of US and European disposable incomes disclose that) those in the lowest 10% here have about the same disposable income as those in the lowest 10% in Europe. It's almost an exact tie. At the other end of the scale, the highest 10% here have much higher disposable incomes than the highest 10% over there. Are only the rich making out like bandits? Well, look at the middle guy (i.e., look at the median). The European in the middle makes only about 73% of what the American in the middle makes."

Here is the cite.

It makes great reading, and there is a lot more.

By the way, the Turkish military felt it had to make a statement recently to oppose the steady erosion of secularism in Turkey by Islamic fundamentalists.

During the year I lived in Turkey I found that religion played a much greater part in daily life there than it does in the US. Since then religion has steadily weakened here, and Islamists have been picking up political power there. The commenter said he would like to see a million march in the streets here because"...the president does not believe in the separation of church and state."

Of course the president does, but the prospective Turkish president didn't. It would be a waste of time for the million to march here, but Liberals always seem to have a lot of time on their hands for demonstrations.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

I Beg Your Pardon - Could You Please Tell the Truth?

I sent a letter to the Editor of the San Francisco Chronicle in response to a reader's letter. I include the reader's letter in full below my response.

Editor

Carole Simon Mills of San Rafael, in lamenting “Tony Snow’s dirty job” (Chronicle Letters to the Editor, June 9, 2007), compared President Bush’s commutation of Scooter Libby’s sentence with Clinton’s pardons, and wrote that none of the people pardoned by him was even remotely connected to his administration.

That would be news to Henry Cisneros, former Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, appointed to that position by Clinton. A Cabinet Officer is far above a mere employee in the Office of the Vice President, don’t you think?

The office of the independent counsel for the Cisneros investigation noted as it was being wrapped up that his report should be titled: “What We Were Prevented From Investigating,” and concluded there was a substantial and coordinated coverup at high government levels.

Clinton also pardoned former CIA Director John Deutch for mishandling hundreds of highly classified documents on unsecured home computers linked to the internet.

Ms. Mills also wrote that Clinton pardoned people for various crimes they had been convicted of committing. However, Clinton pardoned Marc Rich for various crimes that Rich never gave our legal system a chance to bring to trial. He was a fugitive from justice, living expensively and expansively in Europe, until he funneled over a million dollars in campaign contributions through his ex-wife Denise and gained forgiveness.

Concerning Ms. Mills’ statement that Susan McDougall “was never convicted of anything, and Clinton never pardoned her,” she was convicted of four felonies related to a fraudulent $300,000 federally backed loan that she and her husband, James McDougal, never repaid, and Clinton pardoned her on his last day in office.

Then there was Roger Clinton.

Other than that, Ms. Mills got it about as correct as the average AP news release.

This is Ms. Mills' letter:

Tony Snow's dirty job

Editor -- Poor Tony Snow has the worst job in America. He has to go out each morning and with a straight face try to convince the White House press corp that the administration has strong, reasoned, legal and moral reasons for the bonehead acts it commits.

Imagine how mortified he must be to have to defend President Bush's commutation of Scooter Libby's sentence by comparing it to President Bill Clinton's last-act pardoning of people serving time for various crimes they had been convicted of committing. Of course, none of the people Clinton pardoned was even remotely connected to him or his administration.

A more fitting comparison would have been between Bush's commutation of Libby's sentence and Clinton's pardoning of Susan McDougal, both of whom were convicted of crimes directly relating to obstructing justice and lying to investigators in order to protect the presidents they served. Oh, wait a minute, although McDougal served considerable time in prison, she was never convicted of anything, and Clinton never pardoned her.

Ah well, poor Tony Snow, it's a dirty job, but someone's got to do it.

CAROLE SIMON MILLS
San Rafael

Monday, July 09, 2007

It's Snowing Down South

If recent heat waves and a few new temperature records indicate man-caused global warming, what does it mean when it gets really cold in South America and Africa?

Al?

Al Gore?

What do you say about it getting really cold down south, Al?

Al Gore: "It's just what we expected from global warming.

In fact, anything that happens is just what we expect."

Acceptance of Ignorance - Global Warming

A recent letter to our local paper said, in essence, that we should be as children and accept man-caused global warming as the most pressing issue of our time. The 2008 presidential candidates "need to take a lesson from the children: acceptance is the key to growth."

In other words, "Shut up, global warming deniers; acceptance is knowledge, skepticism is ignorance."

That really got me going.

We do well to accept knowledge and dispel ignorance. However, acceptance of knowledge often flies in the face of the common knowledge of the day. A healthy dose of skepticism is often essential.

Charles Darwin was a skeptic. Less than 200 years ago almost all of the learned peoples, and the unlearned, accepted creationism, and by extension, rejected evolution. In fact, it is clear that the consensus of science pre-Darwin firmly accepted Creationism as truth.

Today we realize that almost all of the scientists and great thinkers prior to Darwin drew upon a great fund of ignorance to shape their deliberations about the universe and humanity’s role in it.

They were wrong, but their errors were accepted as truth.

Of course, the acceptance of evolution led great thinkers to perpetrate the abuses of eugenics. Darwinism implied that because natural selection was apparently no longer working on "civilized" people it was possible for "inferior" strains of people (who would normally be filtered out of the gene pool) to overwhelm the "superior" strains, and corrective measures would have to be undertaken. Eugenics achieved scientific consensus and was supported by prominent people, including Alexander Graham Bell, George Bernard Shaw, Winston Churchill and Adolf Hitler from its inception in 1865 until the 1930’s when it was incorporated into the racial policies of Nazi Germany.

During my own short lifetime, I learned as a child that dinosaurs were cold blooded, just as their reptilian descendents. Then I learned they were warm blooded, just as their avian descendents.

Speaking of blood, some of the most learned men, then and now called medical doctors, in the recent past still treated patients by bleeding them. This ignorant practice was the medical standard less than a century before I was born. Sometimes, but purely by accident, it actually did some good, but today we seem to get better results with medicines, IV’s, and transfusions.

However, the efficacy of modern medicine is not totally accepted within our own enlightened community. In fact, a friend and colleague was moved to point out to our community of natural medicine believers here in Northern California that she chose surgery over natural or alternative treatments of breast cancer because she knew of too many “roots and bark” cancer cures which ended in “dead and buried” cancer patients.

However, just as at one time the science of evolution was denied, so now natural global warming is denied. It is odd that something that has been demonstrated hundreds of times, for millions of years, is now doubted. It’s not like natural global warming is in hiding.

Hundreds of climate change studies show that just 1,000 years ago the Earth was much warmer. Scientists find evidence on mountains, in miles of ice core samples, in glaciers retreating world wide since 1850, and in the greatest recent increase in temperature, the early 1900’s.

Natural warming deniers declare CO2 (only 3% of total atmospheric CO2, and about 10% of the greenhouse effect) is responsible, even though its increases lag temperature increases by about 800 years, and for much of the past half century CO2 was increasing as temperatures fell – as it has done many times in the past.

However, a recent UK poll showed 70% accept that global warming is natural.

It’s a start towards acceptance.

Miracles of Socialism - Highway Department

A couple came into our office, and were pleased to find the politics in our part of Northern California are very Left Wing. Then I think they were dismayed to find I wasn’t.

The woman remarked she was a big admirer of Michael Moore’s Sicko, and I said: “what a coincidence, I just put a post on my blog, “Socialized Medicine Makes You Really Sicko.”

The man then remarked, “You do believe in socialized highways, don’t you?”

I replied, “There are some things that governments should do, and some things they shouldn’t.”

And left it at that.

After they left, and upon reflection, I realized that not all of our highways are socialized, and that I really don’t believe in government having a highway monopoly.

Concerning highways that are not socialized, some toll roads come to mind.

Toll roads, bridges, and tunnels are found in many countries. The way they are funded and operated may differ from country to country. Some of these toll roads are privately owned and operated. Others are owned by the government. Some of the government-owned toll roads are privately operated.

Since government can build highways, finance their costs with government bonds, and pay for them with taxes from a variety of sources, why would a road be privately owned and operated?

One reason for a private road is that an existing road is inadequate to meet current and future needs, or a needed road does not exist, and the government cannot find or spare funds to modify or add a highway in a timely manner.

Many studies have shown that roads that are inadequate for the demand placed on them are costly in terms of both economic and social needs. Some environmentalists think that’s great, because they think that commuter irritation and aggravation will inspire citizens to demand and use mass transit.

I’ve heard that argument for over fifty years, and for over fifty years I’ve seen personal auto ownership and use constantly rising, commuter frustration sky rocketing, and the percentage using mass transportation falling. Even in areas best suited to mass transportation, such as densely populated urban areas, mass transportation use declines as poor people are displaced by wealthier, and the poor and middle classes both flee to ever more distant suburbs for lower housing costs, lower taxes and crime rates, better schools, and a better environment for raising children.
However, commuting to jobs in the center cities from the suburbs exacts a terrible toll on personal comfort and enjoyment of family life. The work day starts very early to beat the rush, the rush is never beaten for long, and there is no way to avoid getting caught in the afternoon rush to get home.

Highway planners have tried to solve or reduce the traffic jams in many ways, each in their own way an “in-the-box” approach that only served to reallocate misery. A case in point, the “carpool” lane. The planners meant well. Restricting a lane during the heaviest traffic periods would, in theory, encourage more carpooling, thereby reducing the number of vehicles on the road, resulting in traffic being lighter and faster moving.

Do any of you commuters notice any difference, besides the fact that a few carpoolers and many scofflaws whiz by those of us concentrated in the remaining even more inadequate lanes?

Isn’t there a better way to improve commuter traffic flow?

Of course there is, and the better way is being used in a few areas, even in unenlightened California. The better way is based on the very simple, easily understood basic economic concept, supply and demand.

When highways are “free” – OK, there’s no thing as free, because you pay for highway use in your income taxes, gasoline taxes, and anxieties and frustrations – everyone uses them equally. The persons and companies paying high personal taxes, gas taxes, registration fees, and other transportation costs – the persons and organizations (like trucking companies) that depend most on highways for business purposes – have the same rights and priorities for use of the highway as the lowest taxed, least productive member of society on the road that day.

It matters not that an unlicensed driver’s vehicle is unregistered, uninsured, and on its way to break down and be abandoned in the middle lane just ahead of you during rush hour. It and all its brethren still have the right to slow and impede your high-value cargo from getting to its appointed destination on time, regardless of the small (sometimes large) fortune you pay for your customized vehicle, sales tax, road taxes, gasoline taxes, insurance, driver training, and tolls.

So how can you get the better highway services that you would be willing to pay for, if only they were available?

Easy.

You agree to pay for them, if you can find them, and you can find them if a private company, recognizing the demand for better highway services, contracts with a responsible government body to build, operate, and probably at some point transfer ownership of a highway that will meet current and future needs.

These roads have one simple unifying concept: you use them, you pay.

The people who don’t want to pay extra to speed their journeys get to stay on the “free ways,” and the ones willing and eager to pay to speed their passage have an opportunity to do so.

There is an added benefit to the “free” highway drivers. The toll roads take some of the traffic off the “free” roads, making life a little easier and a bit more pleasant for the ones not willing to pay a toll.

In accordance with good economic principles, the toll changes depending on time of day which reflects its changing values to the traveler; as “free” roads become more congested, the toll goes up because the ability to travel faster on the toll road increases its value.

All of this is happening at a time when toll road technologies are being improved rapidly, particularly systems to electronically scan and charge for toll road, bridge, or tunnel use. In California we have FasTrak™, a system to prepay tolls used in conjunction with a transponder mounted on your vehicle that deducts the toll each time you drive through a toll plaza.

Logically, toll roads make complete sense by providing a service that is both desired and that would not otherwise be made available. Socialized roads, like socialism, work only to the extent that misery is shared equitably.

As described in “The Six Miracles of Socialism:”

“There is no unemployment, but nobody works.
“No one works, but everyone receives wages.
“All get wages, but nothing can be bought with them.
“Nothing is purchased, but everybody owns everything.
“Everybody owns everything, but they are all dissatisfied.
“All are dissatisfied, but everyone votes for the system.”

And sit in interminable traffic jams on socialized highways.

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Al Gore's Scientific Consensus Collapses

The science in “An Inconvenient Truth” was always shakey, and has now crumbled. The vaunted “hockey stick” graph of proxy global temperatures has been exposed as a crude attempt to give man-made global warming credibility by falsifying and erasing the Medieval Warm Period and Little Ice Age out of the climate record of the past thousand years.

However, a Harvard study of over 240 climate studies concluded that the Medieval Warm Period and Little Ice Age were world wide phenomena, and that temperatures a thousand years ago were higher than today.

Al omitted mentioning that global temperature only increased a net of 0.5º C (0.9º F) in the 155 year-period, 1850-2005, that thermometers have been used to consistently and, for the most part, accurately record surface temperatures.

Also not mentioned is that the greatest increase was not in recent years, but in the 35-year period from 1910 to 1945, when the global temperature rose 0.6 º C. Then fell from 1940 to 1975 as CO2 levels in the atmosphere increased rapidly.

Very interesting. CO2 goes up, temperature goes down. I don’t remember Gore saying that was the way man-caused global warming works.

Gore’s panicked depictions of glacier retreat as a new phenomenon can’t stand up to documented observations that glaciers have been retreating world wide since 1850, the end of the Little Ice Age.

Similarly, the retreating “snows of Kilimanjaro” are nothing new. The Kilimanjaro glaciers have been retreating since the end of the last Ice Age 11,000 years ago, and the current phase of rapid retreat started in the late 1800’s, and greatest loss of ice mass occurred by 1953. In fact, scientists have found that sublimation (in the case of ice, going from a solid state to a vapor without melting), not heat, has caused the loss of glacier ice on Kilimanjaro.

Al Gore depicted flooded streets in New York and London by 2100 caused by rapid melting of the Greenland ice cap resulting in a 20-foot rise in sea levels. Even the UN IPCC scientists must have choked when they heard his prediction, because even they only forecast sea levels rising four to 30 inches in the next century. Since sea levels rose seven inches in the past century, and roughly the same each century for the last 8,000 years (sea levels have risen over 400 feet since the end of the last Ice Age), Al’s outrageous prediction, totally unsupported by science, will leave him with 18 or 19 feet in his mouth.

However, despite the carnage inflicted on his “science,” Al always has his “scientific consensus” supporting man-caused global warming to fall back on, doesn’t he?

Remember he mentioned in his slide show that a study that analysed 928 abstracts from a database created by using the keywords "climate change” showed unanimous scientific consensus on the anthropogenic causes of recent global warming?

However, the study cited by Al Gore could not be replicated using the information in the original study. In fact, the author of the original study then admitted that she actually used the keywords “global climate change,” which resulted in over 10,000 recent studies of climate change being omitted from her study.

Among studies she omitted were countless research papers that showed that global temperatures were similar or even higher during the Holocene Climate Optimum and the Medieval Warm Period (when atmospheric CO2 levels were much lower than today); that solar variability is a key driver of recent climate change; and that climate modelling is highly uncertain.

Then the researcher, using the original study’s flawed database, had results from the analysis that contradicted its author’s conclusions and essentially falsified it.

Al, there was nothing remotely approaching “unanimous scientific consensus on the anthropogenic causes of recent global warming.”

I’m sure you will rush to review this new information – which has been available for over two years now – and change your erroneous presentation about “unanimous scientific consensus,” won’t you?

The history of scientific consensus is a rather poor one -- for example, it was once a scientific consensus in many lands at many times that the earth was flat. This website compiles passages that demonstrate that the Bible, considered by early Christians (and ones of a more recent vintage, too) to be the inspired and unerring word of God, taught of a flat Earth. Since the Bible guided both learned and unlearned Christians, their scientific consensus could be no other than that the Earth was flat during the early years of Christianity. To say different was heresy.

The scholarly Chinese, inventors of such marvels as paper, gunpowder, kites, compasses, seismographs, wheel barrows, chess, brandy, and whiskey, believed in a flat Earth until the seventeenth century AD.

Indians believed a flat Earth was supported variously by a thousand-headed snake, or on the back of a tortoise, until the tenth century AD.

Other famous debacles include the "ether" of the universe, the medical benefits of bleeding a patient, and the natural justness of slavery. Furthermore, almost every great scientific revolution started out as a minority opinion, and often had to fight the consensus before it became widely accepted.

Because Galileo taught that the Earth orbited the Sun, he was tried by the Inquisition and forced to recant his theories, publication of any of his works was banned, and he was first imprisoned, and then spent the last nine years of his life in house arrest.

Before Charles Darwin published On The Origin Of Species, and for a period thereafter, scientific consensus supported Creationism.

Darwinism implied that because natural selection was apparently no longer working on "civilized" people it was possible for "inferior" strains of people (who would normally be filtered out of the gene pool) to overwhelm the "superior" strains, and corrective measures would have to be undertaken — the foundation of eugenics, which achieved scientific consensus (and was supported by prominent people, including Alexander Graham Bell, George Bernard Shaw, Winston Churchill and Adolf Hitler) from its inception in 1865 until the 1930’s when it was incorporated into the racial policies of Nazi Germany.

With such a track record, I’m not surprised that Al Gore, in his messianic zeal to save mankind from itself, lays claim to having a scientific consensus that man is responsible for the sin of global warming.

Truly, Al Gore is on a mission to lead his faithful, the religious Left, in a belief system based on faith, not science.

Socialized Medicine Makes You Really Sicko

Like clockwork, Michael Moore brings out pre-election propaganda, in this case a sales pitch for universal health care so we can be just like the Europeans, Canadians, and, of course, the fortunate Cubans.

Before I sound critical of Michael Moore and “Sicko,” I must confess that there is much about healthcare in the United States I don’t like.

Specifically, Medicare is a mess. It embodies most of the faults of other universal healthcare systems, is already insolvent, and fuels an enormous medical fraud underworld (For example, in Los Angeles alone, and just for medical equipment, Medicare fraud may cost taxpayers several billion dollars a year.)

Medicaid is as bad, or worse. Medicaid fraud is estimated to waste at least ten percent of its total costs, or over $30 billion a year.

Besides Medicare being inefficient, expensive, uncontrolled and uncontrollable, and bankrupt, is there anything about it that is better than its foreign models?

Resoundingly, yes!

The American Medicare system is forced to exist in competition with private medical care practitioners, whereas the foreign systems most admired by the Left, until recently, had government monopolies on healthcare.

The fact that that is changing, and changing rapidly in many bastions of welfare statism such as Sweden and Canada, should be teaching us something.

Something even Michael Moore might be able to get through his fat head.

For instance, as we look to Europe, and particularly Sweden for healthcare inspiration, Sweden is moving toward free-market medicine.

Stockholm, the capital of Europe’s most heavily socialized Scandinavian state, is contracting health services to private companies because of European Union regulations that forced Sweden to lower its onerous public taxation.

Stockholm set three goals for privatizing healthcare, goals that could apply to every socialized medicine system:
  • To remove the public monopoly on the delivery of health care services.
  • To control the spiraling costs of public sector services by introducing market forces and competition.
  • To set new performance benchmarks (i.e., shorter waiting lists) for other Swedish hospitals to emulate.

Stockholm met all their goals. Costs fell from a low of 13 percent to more than 50 percent compared to public health services. At one hospital, average waiting times fell 80 to 90 percent for procedures such as heart surgery and hip replacement, and the hospital is treating an average of 100,000 more patients each year than it did as a public hospital - but using fewer resources.

Are you taking notes, Michael?

Cheaper, faster, better – pretty, Sicko, right?

You didn’t tell us any of this, did you, Michael?

In Canada, the darling of American socialized medicine enthusiasts, the winds of privatization are blowing too, for the same reasons as Sweden. The Canadian national health care system has chronic problems, in particular long wait times for surgeries, tests, and treatments. Tens of thousands of Canadians languish on long waiting lists, and many go to nearby Detroit and pay out-of-pocket to get CAT scans in six days instead of waiting six months in Canada.

The Quebec Supreme Court found that waiting lists for medical treatments were unacceptably long, causing some patients to suffer or die unnecessarily. The judges struck down a Quebec law banning private health insurance for procedures covered by Medicare (the name of the Canadian public healthcare system). The court ruled that patients should be allowed to go outside the public system and pay for timely medical treatments through private insurance.

The United Kingdom, Australia, and New Zealand now have private healthcare systems existing alongside the public ones.

In France and Germany patients have the option of enduring the long waits for socialized medicine, and suffering and possibly dying while waiting, or paying for immediate medical treatment. As is often the case in the UK and other nations, the patient who pays for private treatment often gets it on the same machines, served by the same technicians and doctors, as they would have if they had waited interminably for their “free” healthcare.

They just get it faster, better, and suffer less.

When I was an Air Force budget officer at a base in the UK, a British clerical officer worked for me. He was a fixture on the base, and had worked there for us Yanks for over two decades before I arrived, and a decade after I left. After he retired from the British civil service, he soon needed a hip replacement.

His National Health Service doctor examined him, after a while referred him to a specialist, and in time the specialist saw him and scheduled hip replacement surgery.

A year had passed. Since hip replacement surgery is not considered to be a treatment for a life-threatening condition, his surgery was scheduled for the end of the budget year, contingent on funds being available.

They weren’t.

The surgery was rescheduled for the end of the following budget year.

Same story. No funds available for surgery to correct a non-life threatening condition.

In the meantime, his hip had deteriorated to the point he could no longer drive, and his leg became ulcerated.

The hip replacement was rescheduled, and rescheduled again, then finally cancelled because the condition of his leg had deteriorated to the point where a hip replacement would have been wasted.

Are you going to put this in “Son of Sicko,” Michael?

Friday, July 06, 2007

We Need Immigration Reform

I’m sorry an immigration reform bill didn’t get passed. Maybe not this immigration reform bill, although I think that with a lot of tweaking it would have been OK.

Logically, legal immigration is good for the United States. The primary reason immigration is good for us it that immigrants fill jobs that would be vacant otherwise. Many of the jobs immigrants fill require high skills and education that too few of our citizens possess.

I recently observed that many of our “best and brightest” go to college to pursue hobbies, not professions.

Recent news articles detail how the top high school graduates are disproportionately females, and that females make up an increasing majority in colleges. Also noted in passing was that there is still a gender divide in education, with comparatively few females entering mathematics, science, and engineering.

Hidden at the bottom of a few articles is the disclosure that, among the many higher degrees our colleges award each year in mathematics and the hard sciences, very few go to American citizens.

Heaven forbid I would be critical of someone following their dream of understanding the impact of Feng Shui on California home design (I think I just was), but moreover, California needs graduates who can understand the impact of earthquakes on all sorts of California structures.

But I digress. (Not really)

What the United States needs is all of those advanced degrees in the hard subjects that Americans, for the most part, aren’t pursuing. The cutesy, kitschy things will always attract interest, and there will be a market for them, but the fundamental advances in science, medicine, mathematics, and engineering will continue to propel the largest and strongest economy the world has ever seen.

Increasingly, America’s demand for the raw materials of progress -- brain power, education, skills – will have to be imported.

In imperialist times, nations fueled the Industrial Revolution with raw materials taken from their colonies. Today we practice a benign imperialism of minds, not materials.

Benign?

Yes, benign, because the education, skills, and intelligence we import to meet our needs could not be better employed anywhere else in the world.

There are geniuses in the jungle (or the favelas, or the Sowetos of the world), but they will have to come to America to employ their abilities to their highest potential.

We also need a lot of ignorant, unskilled, and uneducated workers in the United States.

How can I say such a terrible thing?

Simple. Because we already have a lot of ignorant, unskilled, and uneducated workers here illegally.

If we didn’t want them, they wouldn’t be here.

They’re not going away, you know.

What to do then?

We could continue doing what we have done, which is to vainly try to cut off the supply at our borders, even as our demand for cheap labor goes higher and higher.

As our twelve million illegal immigrant population continues to grow ever more rapidly, it's obvious that cutting supply is not working, so what will we do?

Naturally, we will pass more laws and work even harder to reduce the supply.

Remember the definition of insanity?

Doing the same thing over and over, and expecting a different result each time?

What are the problems with illegal aliens in the United States?

One, not knowing who is here, and where they are.
Two, lowering respect for the law by haphazard enforcement of our immigration laws.
Three, providing services paid for by taxes to illegal residents who pay little taxes.
Four, continuing a system that lowers legal workers’ wages, and allows unscrupulous employers to take advantage of illegal workers.
Five, damaging illegal workers’ families left behind, while hurting the economies of the alien workers’ native countries.
Six, making it more difficult for aliens to assimilate by confining them in illegal alien communities.
Seven, promoting a climate of “don’t ask, don’t enforce” concerning illegal aliens’ auto registration, auto insurance, and drivers’ licenses.
Eight, overloading our medical and social service systems to the point they are inadequate for the needs of our own citizens, as well as for illegal ones.
Nine, increased drug dealing and gang activities.

What are the advantages?

First, the illegal aliens do work cheaply that our own citizens shun.
Two, as our population ages, and population growth slows, illegal aliens help keep our economy growing and strong.
Three, the illegal aliens for the most part are here to work, and want to work. If not, they wouldn’t have made the long dangerous trek from their native lands.

Regardless of advantages and disadvantages, millions of illegal immigrants are here, more are coming, few are leaving, and that will not miraculously change. Therefore, we need to do something that makes sense, not just smoke and hot air.

What would that be?

First, create a virtual open door for skilled and educated immigrants and their immediate families. They don’t just take jobs, they create jobs.

Second, require all new employees to have a tamper-proof national identity card, and phase in the requirement for all employees to possess such a card within ten years.

Third, issue the identity cards to any and all who can show proof of identity, and assign each a social security account number.

Fourth, allow illegal aliens to apply for residence if they can prove past employment and residency, plus pay a fine for entering illegally. Allow them to apply for citizenship when they can meet language, knowledge, and residence requirements.

Fifth, don’t approve immigration of family members other than the spouse and dependent children.

What I propose is unabashedly amnesty for illegal immigrants in terms of permitting them legal resident status.

It is also a wide-open invitation to immigration by highly educated or highly skilled people and their immediate families world wide, as long as they can pass a thorough background security check.

This in no way is deserting or compromising my conservative principles. It honors my ideals of free markets, which I think includes the market for educated and skilled employees, and recognizes that many unskilled and uneducated illegal immigrants have become a vital part of the economic fabric of our country.

I don’t have to agree with what they’ve done to recognize it as a fait accompli, and to encourage us to make the best of what we have.

Let’s not choke on our lemons, and make sour faces, let's make some lemonade.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

We Lost the War a Long Time Ago

I began my nine-year, seven-college odyssey at Humboldt State, Arcata, California, in September, 1960. Thanks to my fellow freshmen, it was the first year Humboldt State enrollment passed 2,000.

As modest as it was, Humboldt State seemed very large to me. I had just graduated from Point Arena High, enrollment 140, and my graduation class totaled twenty seven, both numbers the highest in school history.

I was on a record setting roll.

Inexplicably I was selected for Honors English, which combined required Freshman English and Speech into a two-semester course taught by two professors.

My first combined paper and speech was inspired by news about Mafia involvement in illegal drug trafficking. My research soon convinced me that our efforts to stomp out illegal drugs were doomed to failure.

In today’s parlance, it was a no-brainer.

Illegal drug profits were huge, and were employed to pay off police, judges, politicians, and anyone else who might have involvement in illegal drug trade prevention. Those that could not be bought could be intimidated or killed.

Even in those more innocent, simpler years, the cost of illegal drugs to society was huge and growing. Our legal system was being corrupted, addicts constantly committed crimes to feed their addictions, productive lives and families were shattered, and social services and medical care for addicts were overwhelmed.

The illegal drug trade made crime international. Large areas of foreign countries became lawless and ungovernable. Poppy farms flourished in Turkey and Afghanistan to fill the demand for opium. Italian and French Mediterranean cities became hubs for processing raw opium into heroin and shipping it to the United States. Some years later, when cocaine became the drug of choice, coca cultivation became and remains the dominant economic and political force in Columbia and Bolivia.

American public pressures led President Nixon to declare a War on Drugs in 1971.

The War on Drugs is a prohibition campaign undertaken by the United States with the assistance of participating countries, intended to "combat" the illegal drug trade - to curb supply and diminish demand for certain psychoactive substances deemed harmful. This initiative includes a set of laws and policies that are intended to discourage the production, distribution, and consumption of targeted substances.

Of course, the illegal drug trade has built-in dynamics that guarantee any war against it will be a losing effort.

First, the demand for illegal drugs remains high, because the very fact that their possession and use is illegal discourages their users from trying to get help to end their addictions.

Second, the fact they are illegal makes them costly to produce and distribute, and drives their users to commit crimes and traffic in drugs to be able to afford the expensive drugs for their own use.

Third, high prices generate huge profits and assure a steady supply of persons eager to work with, compete with, or replace existing drug dealers.

Fourth, on the supply side the opium poppies and coca leaves are grown by farmers in areas where it is very difficult to compete against modern farming methods and subsist on legal crops.

When I did my research in 1960, and now 47 years later, the efforts to prevent or discourage drug abuse haven’t changed. They continue to be the “in-the-box” approaches that didn’t work then, and don’t work now.

You could say they are evidence of insanity in our approach to drug abuse prevention – doing the same thing over and over, and expecting a different outcome each time.

What could – should – we have done to win the war on drug abuse?

Amazingly, I had the answer to that question 47 years ago when I was only a couple of months past my 18th birthday.

I didn’t come up with the solution all by myself.

I had a little help from the Dutch.

Simply, all that needs to be done is take the profits out of drug use and abuse. On the demand side, you give free drugs to addicts in a supervised environment, and instead of jail time, you provide them medical, educational, counseling, and job training services. The key is to identify and treat their addiction through primarily medical means, with no judicial or penal component.

On the supply side, you purchase all the opium and coca leaves that farmers produce at fair market prices, which should be reasonably low since the free issue of drugs to addicts has taken the profits out of illicit drug trafficking.

The resulting savings from de-criminalizing drug addiction, and the reduction of crime when addicts are given free drugs, would be far more than needed to pay for clinics to provide and maintain services to addicts.

The best way to win a war is to identify why you are fighting before you start shooting.

In the case of drug abuse, we want to prevent and cure addiction, not to create and sustain a criminal growth industry.

So far we’ve done just the opposite.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Another Inconvenient Truth - Glaciers in Retreat Since 1850

In response to my post Al Gore Melt Down, a frequent critic posted the following:


Dependable Norway. Independable (sic) Major.

How do you use data going back to 1900 to infer retreat started in 1850?
Answer - you don't if you want to be taken seriously.

How do you extrapolate from the Norwegian glaciers to worldwide glaciers?
Answer - you don't if you want to be taken seriously.

Preach on, Reverend.


I replied.

Welcome back. As usual, you didn't do your homework. There are many references to glacier retreat beginning 1850. The Norwegian article was just one of the many, and the reason I referenced it was because it had very nice graphs showing that glacier retreat was very pronounced 1900 to 1940, a long time before CO2 increased.

As for glaciers retreating world wide since 1850, see this reference in
Wikipedia:

"The Little Ice Age was a period from about 1550 to 1850 when the world experienced relatively cool temperatures compared to the present. Subsequently, until about 1940 glaciers around the world retreated as the climate warmed. Glacial retreat slowed and even reversed, in many cases, between 1950 and 1980 as a slight global cooling occurred. However, since 1980 a significant global warming has led to glacier retreat becoming increasingly rapid and ubiquitous, so much so that many glaciers have disappeared and the existence of a great number of the remaining glaciers of the world is threatened."

This
link shows that Himalayan and Tran-Himalayan glaciers have been in general retreat since 1850.

The following shows the
advance of glaciers during the Little Ice Age, and then subsequent retreat beginning about 1850.

I hope you enjoy this opportunity to dispel some of the ignorance that Al Gore's apocalyptic pronouncements about sudden glacier retreat caused by man-produced CO2. As you can see from these references, glacier retreat since 1850, glacier retreat after 1900, and surprisingly, some glacier advances during the high CO2 producing years.

What's a global warming alarmist to do?


The following is a Smart Ox bonus not included in the reply above.

Al Gore and the man-caused global warming alarmists have made a cause célèbre of the retreating glaciers of Africa’s Mount Kilimanjaro.

According to the Weather Underground (and attributed to realclimate.org):


Gore shows an impressive series of "then and now" images documenting the widespread retreat of many glaciers over the past century. Most dramatically, he shows Kenya's Mt. Kilimanjaro, whose 11,000 year-old glaciers are almost gone.

Interestingly, there is ample information available to the most casual researcher that the glacier retreat on Kilimanjaro has nothing to do with man-caused global warming. In fact, the retreat started over a century ago, and most of the retreat occurred prior to 1953. Although Al Gore would be the last to tell you (along with the discredited Weather Underground and realclimate.org), Mount Kilimanjaro does not and could not be associated with global warming, as explained below:


Much of Kilimanjaro's ice is vanishing by sublimation - where ice at very low temperatures converts straight to water vapor without going through a watery phase - rather than by melting...(scientists said).

Further proof, if more be required:


The top of the mountain is returning to its prior state with the retreat of the most recent covering glaciers of the past 11,700 years due to cyclic solar radiation fluctuation. This return to the mountain top's normal state has increased over the past century, with the most recent ice cap volume dropping by more than 80%. In 2002, a study led by Ohio State University ice core paleoclimatologist Lonnie Thompson predicted that ice on top of Africa's tallest peak would be gone between 2015 and 2020. In 2007, a team of Austrian scientists from University of Innsbruck predicted that the plateau ice cap will be gone by 2040, but some ice on the slope will remain longer due to local weather conditions. A comparison of ice core records suggests conditions today are returning to those of 11,000 years ago. Recent study by Philip Mote of the University of Washington in the United States and Georg Kaser of the University of Innsbruck in Austria indicate that the shrinking of Kilimanjaro's ice cap is not due to global warming but instead driven by solar radiation.

Even absent theories explaining what is happening on Kilimanjaro, the simple truth is that observations for over a century have documented the glacier retreat, and documented that most of the retreat occurred before the onset of increased CO2.

One of the enjoyable aspects of reading the Weather Underground attempt to cover Al Gore’s butt on his Kilimanjaro faux pas was that they had to admit that Gore should explain that his predicted 20-foot rise in sea levels by 2100 has no scientific basis.


He shows animations of what a 20-foot rise in sea level would do to Manhattan, Florida, India, and China. A 20-foot sea level rise is what we expect if all of Greenland or all of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet were to melt. Such a 20-foot rise is not expected by 2100, and it would have been appropriate for Gore to acknowledge that the consensus of climate scientists--as published in the most recent report by the United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)--is that sea level is likely to rise between 4 and 35 inches, with a central value of 19 inches, by 2100.

Sea levels rose about seven inches in the past century, about what they have risen every century for the past 8,000 years, and have risen a total of over 400 feet in the past 20,000 years after the peak of the Ice Age.

Apparently Gore doesn’t think any of his gullible viewers or supporters will question a prediction which in its own way is more outlandish and indefensible than previous predictions of impending doom.

Paul Ehrlich gave us the Population Bomb, which bombed out on its prediction:

… that "in the 1970s and 1980s hundreds of millions of people will starve to death", that nothing can be done to avoid mass famine greater than any in the history, and radical action is needed to limit the overpopulation.

Then many of the scientists that now alarm us about global warming put us into a rare old panic about global cooling.

For a little comic relief we had dire predictions, including aircraft falling from the sky, because of Y2K.

Apparently scientists want a bigger piece of the crisis prediction game, heretofore based for the most part on a combination of Astrology, New Age ideas, and Bible Prophecy.

Scientists have learned that pedaling future panic sells, at least in terms of grants and book sales.

Same old same old.

Failing Welfare States

A Liberal bemoaned that the national debt increased during the presidency of George Bush, and sought to compare the United States unfavorably with welfare states, primarily European, which “take better care of their people.”

That same person, of course, wants the US to spend more on people, and less on defense.

So how does the US compare?

At the end of 2006, the national debt was $4.9 trillion. However, when you add what the government owes itself for Social Security, the total jumps $3.8 trillion (78%) to $8.7 trillion. Of course, that is only the total of the Social Security Trust Fund. The unrecorded liabilities for Medicare and Social Security would increase the total debt by a multiple of seven or eight, or more.

Since Medicare is already insolvent, and Social Security will be insolvent by 2018, these are relevant points to ponder.

We may be spending a lot on Guns, but we are spending a lot more on Butter.

And hiding the bill.

As every politician knows, guns may be necessary to defend us, but politicians spread the butter to get elected.

Democrats, particularly Liberal Democrats, want the government always in control of the mechanism of punishment and reward: taxes, and entitlements.

That’s why reforms such as replacing the IRS with a national sales tax, and privatizing social security and healthcare through personal investment accounts, are non-starters with the believers in big government.

These same politicians also believe that Americans can’t take care of themselves, and need nanny government.

Anyway, let’s look at the numbers:

Although public debt at roughly 64.7% of GDP (including Social Security) may seem high, it ranks the United States 35th in the world, below or equal to most industrialized nations: Japan (175.5%), Italy (107.8%), Greece (104.6%), Belgium (90.3%), Germany (66.8%), Portugal (65.7%), and France (64.7%).

Of course, if they recorded their comparatively vastly larger unrecorded welfare state liabilities, the rest of the industrialized nations, such as the UK (42.2%), Spain (39.9%), and the Scandinavian countries (percentages in the mid-40’s) would vault over the United States in terms of total debt compared to GDP.

The European welfare states actually have problems now, and in the near future, that make the problems of the United States pale in comparison.

Their economic growth is slower, and is forecasted to remain much slower than the US until unlikely fundamental changes are made.

Their population growth is stagnant, and many countries in Europe will soon, if not already, experience negative population growth.

No, or negative, population growth, coupled with rapidly aging populations, will destroy the fragile solvency of European welfare states.

Their tax rates are already high, so high they contribute significantly to slow economic growth, and rates of unemployment already double the US. Taxes will have to go a lot higher to continue their generous entitlement programs.

Of course, the ensuing economic damage caused by sky-high taxes will result in even worsening problems in financing social welfare programs, leading inevitably to their collapse or drastic reductions in services.

The United States should be thankful that our stronger economy, growing population, lower taxes, and smaller entitlements burden give us the breathing room to watch the socialist experimentation laboratory that is Europe, see their problems as they unfold and take down their economies, and learn from all their mistakes.

We’re not to dumb to do that, are we?

Think of these things when Liberal politicians tell you we need to follow the European welfare state example.

Then tell them where to put it.

Al Gore: "Thank God it was a Prius"

When Al Gore's son, Al Gore III, was pulled over for DUI, drug possession, and speeding at 100 mph on the San Diego Freeway , he was driving a Toyota Prius.

"Thank God," his father said.

"He could have been driving a Hummer."

(The above is a made-up quote, which although false like the forged CBS Texas Air National Guard letters about George Bush, serve as Dan Rather said to "illustrate a greater truth.")

Not All Muslims Are Terrorists

A spokesman for Prime Minister Gordon Brown noted correctly (and gratuitously) that “not all Muslims are terrorists.”

However, he failed to note that presently, most terrorists are Muslims.

For example, in 2006 there were 20,573 deaths caused by terrorists world wide, up 41 percent from 2005, according to the United States Counter Terrorism Center.

Of total deaths from terrorism in 2006, 84 percent were in the Near East and South Asia.

As informative as these statistics are about Muslim terrorism, of even greater significance are the numbers that are not included. For example, terrorism was credited with only causing 716 deaths in Sudan in 2006, while an analysis of expected deaths compared to total deaths indicates that the Muslim Janjaweed “militia” cause about 100,000 deaths per year through their terrorist activities.

Similar cases of gross undercounting of deaths from terrorism can be found in Israel and Lebanon, where many activities of Hamas and Hizbollah are not considered terrorism.

As you go about the world, you find that terrorism can be found just about anywhere that Muslims associate with anyone, including other Muslims. In fact, over half the victims of Muslim terrorism are Muslims.

Concerning Islamic terrorism, some interesting points have been raised.


The controversies surrounding the subject of Islamic terrorism include: whether the motivation of the terrorists or alleged terrorists is self-defense or offensive expansion, national self-determination or Islamic supremacy; what targets of the terrorists or alleged terrorists are noncombatants; whether Islam condones, or sometime condones terrorism; whether some attacks are Islamist terrorism, or only terrorist acts done by Muslims; how much support there is in the Muslim world for what kinds of Islamic terrorism; whether the Arab-Israeli Conflict is the root of Islamic terrorism, or simply one cause.

A former radical Islamic would-be terrorist in the UK, Hassan Buttt, wrote that Islamic theology was the basis for the violent acts Islamist terrorists have carried out or planned.

His feels that Islamic terrorists laugh in disbelief when Western news media place the blame for Islamic terrorism on Western foreign policy.

He noted, for example, that the Mayor of London, Ken Livingstone, said: "What all our intelligence shows about the opinions of disaffected young Muslims is the main driving force is not Afghanistan, it is mainly Iraq."

At least that is a welcome departure from blaming Israel, or United States military bases in Saudi Arabia, or Danish cartoons of Mohammad, or all the other scapegoated reasons cited to excuse terroristic violence.

Since most of the violence in Iraq towards Muslims is by Muslims, it seems that Muslims find it easy to live up to our stereotype of them as facile terrorists.

Concerning Iraq, Mr. Butt says that is laughable, and adds: “And though many British extremists are angered by the deaths of fellow Muslim across the world, what drove me and many others to plot acts of extreme terror within Britain and abroad was a sense that we were fighting for the creation of a revolutionary worldwide Islamic state that would dispense Islamic justice.”

If Mayor Livingstone actually exhibited any intelligence concerning Islamic terrorism, rather than fatuously claiming he had insights, he would realize that Muslim fanatics have a long history of violence that predates Iraq, Afghanistan, or even the creation of Israel.

Hassan Butt dispels this simplistic Liberal penchant to fix blame on the United States or Western culture by speaking from personal knowledge and experience, not from mindless conjecture designed to fill a spot on the Left’s political agenda.

Always blaming ourselves for the misdeeds of others never gives us the ability to prevent the violence.

It just deflects attention from the truth.

The Global Warming Solution

The “news” is full of apocalyptic pronouncements of the future under global warming. Apparently it matters not whether global warming is caused by natural forces, or by the activities of humans; alarmists are convinced that global warming is calamitous for humanity.

An obvious conclusion is that we consider the climate we have known the past century to be the only one suited to our existence. Also obvious, but ignored, is that climate has changed, always has been changing, and will always change, regardless of our demands that it not.

What are some of the horrors in store caused by rising levels of CO2? Global warming alarmists gloss over the potential for increasing humanity’s food supply, and concentrate on the increase in irritating pollens, and the potency of poison ivy. In other words, why applaud the opportunity to feed more starving people, when better conditions for plant growth could increase sneezing and itching?

This is not the first time mankind’s priorities have been grossly out of balance. Back in the 1960’s we were all upset by Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring, and our concern for possible effects of DDT on a few of our feathered friends subsequently resulted in agonizing deaths from malaria for over twenty million people, most of them children under five years of age.

Similarly, today we call for oppressive world government regulations to slow or reverse economic growth in a vain attempt to reduce unproven global warming purportedly caused by increased levels of atmospheric CO2. In essence, we of the developed world have concluded that it is in the best interests of those in the developing world to continue to live short, nasty, brutish lives of hardship and deprivation.

Further, we promise that in later generations we will sacrifice our comfortable lifestyles and join them in misery. Just not right yet.

At the moment we recognize that something that has happened many times before – dramatic climate change – is the greatest threat to the continued civil enjoyment of life on this planet.

We also recognize that mankind cannot exist unless climate is locked into exactly what we have experienced the past century.

In the course of recognizing that climate change is the greatest threat mankind faces, we do not acknowledge that mankind has already demonstrated the ability to cause far more damage to its fellow humanity than caused by climate change.

In 1994 Hutus slaughtered 800,000 of their fellow Rwandans.

Since Rachel Carson’s book panicked the world’s bird lovers, malaria has caused over 20,000,000 deaths.
The Soviet Union and Communist China embarked on vast programs to collectivize their citizens that resulted in the deaths of one hundred million, and the displacement of millions more.

Pol Pot attempted the same in Cambodia, and killed two, or perhaps three million, roughly a third of Cambodia’s population.

Brutality by colonial overseers in the Congo Free State resulted in 8.5 million deaths during the reign of King Leopold II of Belgium.

In World War I there were ten million military killed, and unknown numbers of civilians killed and displaced.

In World War II there were 72 million killed, 47 million of which were civilians, and an additional 11 to 20 million displaced people.

Global warming alarmists estimate that it causes 150,000 deaths annually, and that this number could double by 2030. The causes of the deaths are malaria, diarrhea, and malnutrition, and heat waves and floods.

150,000 deaths seems a large amount, until you realize that right now malaria causes almost three million deaths each year, and that most of those deaths are preventable very inexpensively by spraying interior walls of houses in malarial areas with DDT and sleeping inside DDT treated nets.

150,000 deaths seems a large amount, until you realize that two million die each year from diarrhea caused by dirty water and malnutrition.

Is there a solution to all of these problems that afflict humanity?

Yes!

Is it to reduce the production and consumption of energy in both the developed and developing nations of the world?

Hell no!

Anyone who thinks that would help solve any problem, including climate change, is a raving lunatic.

So what will save humanity from its own genius for identifying problems, and then really fouling them up?

Simple.

Prosperity.

And another word for prosperity is capitalism.

While man-made global warming alarmists are trying to get developed countries to join in an economic suicide pact, the recently minted pragmatic capitalists of China and India are ignoring all that and are adding fossil fuel generating plants at a record pace.

China and India will forge ahead, while the developed nations crash their economies on the rocks of Kyoto to save, by their own calculations, an increase of 0.07º C (0.1º F, also known as mind-boggling insignificant) by 2050.

While Californians try to single-handedly save the world by investing in unreliable, expensive, and inefficient alternative energy sources – which can’t even keep up with California’s ever increasing demand for energy, let alone replace existing fossil fuel generators – our recent moderate heat wave almost caused system failure, just as it did in 2001 when “rolling brownouts” became part of the standard Californian vocabulary.

In the meantime, China is adding one or two coal-fired power plants a week, each big enough to handle the needs of a city the size of San Diego.

I’ll bet San Diego wishes it had one of them today.