Monday, June 30, 2008

Dan Thomasson Squawks Foul After SCOTUS Heller Ruling

I have heard a lot of miserable lefties lamenting the fact that the Supreme Court has discovered the right to bear arms, where it has been hiding in plain sight for the last 221 years. But this OpEd by Dan Thomasson takes the cake:

WASHINGTON -- I often wonder if Antonin Scalia might not be more comfortable in another century, past not future, one not touched by the miseries and dangers of urbanization. I certainly think we would be if he were.
Maybe most fittingly he would do well in the 18th century where a firearm larger than a one-shot pistol and a long rifle could not be imagined, especially by those who were drafting a plan for the rest of us to live by forever and where citizen soldiers in local militias were the national defense.

Were Scalia sent back in time to the 18th century, it wouldn't take any imagination at all to see cannons and howitzers that were much larger than pistols and rifles. All he would have to do would be to open his eyes and have a look at the weapons used by the King's redcoats who were killing the patriots who founded this country.

Perhaps better yet if the good justice were somehow transported backwards in reality and just not in philosophy, he might somehow understand what brought about the Second Amendment of the Constitution and what went into the thinking that created it. Being privy to the future, then he could tell the framers about the development of destructive armament that would be available 200 years later and warn about the dangers this would pose for the 80 percent of modern Americans who live in metropolitan sprawl. Made aware of the potential horrors they might have written clearer language or dumped the idea altogether.

Yeah, Scalia could tell the framers about the high urban crime rate and how idiots like Thomasson want to disarm law-abiding people. And how the left have conveniently re-interpreted the 2nd amendment to try to make it some type of vague 'collective right', while the other nine amendments of the Bill of Rights concern individual rights.

And then the framers could tell Scalia about how they fought a war to obtain individual rights for common people. About how American soil is stained with the blood of patriots who fought and died so that we would have the means to defend ourselves against criminals or against a despotic government. And then Scalia could tell them about craven cowards like Thomasson who want to throw our rights away.

But it is my hope that Scalia would keep those facts to himself. If the founding fathers and the patriots who died in the American Revolution knew what losers like Thomasson were up to, they might not think it worth the trouble.

But since that is impossible, Scalia and his philosophical teammates had to roll their own when it comes to ruling on the right to bear arms. As everyone knows by now they did so by ignoring the carnage outside their cloistered chambers and by labeling as irrelevant that clause of the amendment that mentions the necessity of maintaining militias. This left them free to conclude that what George Washington and company really meant was that everyone, except criminals and certifiable crazies, can own almost any kind of legitimately bought weapon of mass destruction. The right to own automatic weapons still may be in dispute although the experts tell us converting a semi-automatic to one that is fully so is quite easy.

Yeah, Dan, Scalia and his crew 'rolled their own' by going against your leftwing lunacy that ignores the Founder's stated intent that the second amendment confers an individual right, and that the reference to militias is included because back in the 18th century all able-bodied men were members of the militia. And no, Scalia is not ignoring the carnage. They are doing this specifically because of the carnage.

In the District of Columbia whose strict law was the basis for this horrendous ruling, one can now shoot oneself without having to face a gun charge at least if one's aim is bad. That is just to mention the fact that a huge number of gun deaths are suicides and very few from protecting hearth and home from some intruder, who in many instances uses the victim's own weapon on the victim, adding insult to injury.

If someone wants to commit suicide, some stupid gun law will not prevent them from doing it. Then Dan repeats the well-worn myth of the intruder using the victim's weapon on the victim, something that rarely if ever happens.

The ruling, of course, is not surprising. Those trying to bring some sanity to the national love affair with guns had anticipated a negative result, but probably not one of this magnitude. For what the court did, albeit narrowly, was to decide for good or until the panel's philosophical make up is changed to come down on the side of individual rights not collective rights. Most disturbing was Scalia's reasoning that residents of this city -- and before long probably every other city -- can now hold off a bandit with a gun in one hand while dialing the police with another.

Handguns were invented specifically for the purpose of being operated with one hand. This leaves the other hand free to do something else, such as hold the reins of a horse or dial the police. And there are many law-abiding people who have held intruders at gunpoint until the police arrived.

Now the badly outgunned majority of Americans who are opposed to the wholesale traffic of nine millimeter pistols to AK-47s will have their work cut out for them, trying to stave off the gun lobby's assaults so that some semblance of control remains. The ruling suddenly vaulted the Supreme Court into a leading issue in the presidential campaign with supporters of presumptive Democrat nominee Barack Obama warning that if the Republican John McCain wins, the next appointments would give conservatives control for decades since the likely retirees are on the liberal side.

Yeah, they were badly outgunned. Because in many places they were not allowed to own a gun or were required to keep it in inoperable condition. For some reason, those nice criminals that lefties like to coddle didn't obey the laws, and kept on using guns.

But now law-abiding people will have a right that should have been theirs all along. They will no longer be outgunned. If a criminal brings a nine millimeter, they can fire back with a .357 or .44 magnum. Or if an intruder brings an AK-47, they can fire back with a .30-06. In spite of what idiots like Dan think, almost all deer rifles are more powerful than those awful 'assault rifles' that lefties are so afraid of.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Gun Control Advocates Continue to Spread Falsehoods

The lefties can't stand the fact that ordinary people have the right to defend themselves with a gun. They believe such protection should only be allowed to government officials like Mayor Daley of Chicago, who has 24/7 armed police protection, or the Chicago Aldermen, who have the right to possess a handgun even though the little people don't. They also don't have a problem when a celebrity gun-grabber like Rosie O'Donnell has armed guards to protect her children.

So now that the Supreme Court has upheld this right, gun-grabber Arthur Kellerman tries to tell us unwashed masses what we should do:

The Supreme Court has spoken: Thanks to the court's blockbuster 5 to 4 decision Thursday, Washingtonians now have the right to own a gun for self-defense. I leave the law to lawyers, but the public health lesson is crystal clear: The legal ruling that the District's citizens can keep loaded handguns in their homes doesn't mean that they should.

In his majority opinion, Justice Antonin Scalia explicitly endorsed the wisdom of keeping a handgun in the home for self-defense. Such a weapon, he wrote, "is easier to store in a location that is readily accessible in an emergency; it cannot easily be redirected or wrestled away by an attacker; it is easier to use for those without the upper-body strength to lift and aim a long rifle; it can be pointed at a burglar with one hand while the other hand dials the police." But Scalia ignored a substantial body of public health research that contradicts his assertions. A number of scientific studies, published in the world's most rigorous, peer-reviewed journals, show that the risks of keeping a loaded gun in the home strongly outweigh the potential benefits.

In the real world, Scalia's scenario -- an armed assailant breaks into your home, and you shoot or scare away the bad guy with your handy handgun -- happens pretty infrequently. Statistically speaking, these rare success stories are dwarfed by tragedies. The reason is simple: A gun kept loaded and readily available for protection may also be reached by a curious child, an angry spouse or a depressed teen.

More than 20 years ago, I conducted a study of firearm-related deaths in homes in Seattle and surrounding King County, Washington. Over the study's seven-year interval, more than half of all fatal shootings in the county took place in the home where the firearm involved was kept. Just nine of those shootings were legally justifiable homicides or acts of self-defense; guns kept in homes were also involved in 12 accidental deaths, 41 criminal homicides and a shocking 333 suicides. A subsequent study conducted in three U.S. cities found that guns kept in the home were 12 times more likely to be involved in the death or injury of a member of the household than in the killing or wounding of a bad guy in self-defense.

What Kellerman's 'study' conveniently leaves out are the number of times that a gun is brandished to prevent a crime, without being fired. John Lott has estimated the number of such occurences:

Those who advocate letting law-abiding citizens carry concealed handguns point to polls of American citizens undertaken by organizations like the Los Angeles Times and Gallup showing that Americans defend themselves with guns between 764,000 and 3.6 million times each year, with the vast majority of cases simply involving people brandishing a gun to prevent attack. [1] Victims (such as women or the elderly) are most often much weaker than the criminals that attack them. Guns are seen by these advocates as the great equalizer, and allowing concealed handguns provides citizens even greater ability to defend themselves. [Page 356]

While cases like the 1992 incident in which a Japanese student was shot on his way to a Halloween party in Louisiana make international headlines, [2] they are rare. In another highly publicized case, a Dallas resident recently became the only Texas resident so far charged with using a permitted concealed weapon in a fatal shooting. [3] Yet, in neither case was the shooting found to be criminal. [4] The rarity of these incidents is reflected in Florida statistics: 221,443 licenses were issued between October 1, 1987 and April 30, 1994, but only eighteen crimes involving firearms were committed by those with licenses. [5] While a statewide breakdown on the nature of those crimes is not available, Dade County records indicate that four crimes involving a permitted handgun took place there between September 1987 and August 1992 and none of those cases resulted in injury. [6]

The potential defensive nature of guns is indicated by the different rates of so-called "hot burglaries," where residents are at home when the criminals strike. [7] Almost half the burglaries in Canada and Britain, which have tough gun control laws, are "hot burglaries." By contrast, the United States, with laxer restrictions, has a "hot burglary" rate of only 13%. Consistent with this rate, surveys of convicted felons in America reveal that they are much more worried about armed victims than they are about running into the police. This [Page 357] fear of potentially armed victims causes American burglars to spend more time than their foreign counterparts "casing" a house to ensure that nobody is home. Felons frequently comment in these interviews that they avoid late-night burglaries because "that's the way to get shot." [8]

We don't want those poor felons to get shot. Do we lefties?

McCain Promises to Make Illegal Alien Amnesty His Top Priority

I am trying to talk myself into voting for McCain. It seems like every time I am almost convinced, the bozo gives me another reason not to. Now he claims he's going to make his "comprehensive immigration reform" (aka amnesty for lawbreakers) a top priority in his administration:

Appearing before the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO) in Washington Saturday, each tried to assuage these concerns—and court a community whose votes could prove pivotal in Florida and a handful of western battleground states.
McCain, speaking first, promised the approximately 700 attendees that resurrecting the bipartisan immigration bill he helped shape last year would be at the forefront of his agenda as president.
“It would be my top priority yesterday, today and tomorrow,” McCain said in response to a question about whether he would pursue a comprehensive approach beyond his campaign promise to secure the border in his first 100 days in office.
Seeking to win some points for his initial support for a comprehensive immigration bill, McCain noted that his position “wasn’t very popular…with some in my party.”
And, in remarks that could inflame those Republican border hawks, the Arizona senator made clear he would not just seek to secure the border first, as he promised in the primary.
“We have to secure our borders—that’s the message,” McCain said. “But we also must proceed with a temporary worker program that is verifiable and truly temporary.”

There's not much to choose from this November.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Director of Communications for the Obama Campaign

Warning: Be sure to swallow your coffee before watching this video.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Get a Load of What Barack's Buddy, Fr. Pfleger, Said Last Year

Fr. Michael Fleger, a marxist scumbag who claims to be a man of God, called for the murder of the owner of a gun shop, as well as state legislators who oppose gun control:

Nobody expected Saturday's Operation PUSH protest at Chuck's Gun Shop & Range to be anything other than a circus of the bizarre. However, nobody anticipated that an address by a Chicago priest would include a call for the murder of a suburban gun shop owner and legislators who oppose gun control.

During an address at an anti-gun rally in front of Chuck's, Rev. Michael Pfleger, pastor of St. Sabina's Church, exhorted the crowd to "drag" shop owner, John Riggio, from his shop "like a rat" and "snuff" him. Rev. Pfleger went on to tell the crowd that legislators that vote against gun control legislation should be "snuffed" as well. As many know, "snuff" is slang for especially violent murder.
The ISRA has a recording of Pfleger's
remarks in MP3 format.
"Certainly Fr. Pfleger has offered Absolution to a murderer or two during his tenure as a priest," commented ISRA Executive Director, Richard Pearson. "That's why it's shocking to hear him actually advocate the murder of a gun shop owner who has never committed a crime in his life. He then compounds the problem by calling for the murder of legislators who disagree with his personal political views -- something I suspect is a felony in this state. Pfleger's comments were disgusting and dangerous. And, I seem to remember that the Fifth Commandment frowns on murdering one's neighbor."
"This week, I'll be penning a letter to the Archbishop, expressing my concerns over Rev. Pfleger's comments," continued Pearson. "I would hope that the Archbishop would reply with words of comfort for Mr. Riggio, his family, state legislators, and all others who were injured by Rev. Pfleger's thoughtless, inflammatory remarks."

So Barack, what were you doing last year while your spiritual advisor Pfleger was calling for the murder of innocent people?

Thursday, June 26, 2008

New Battles for Second Amendment Rights

Now that the supreme court has correctly ruled that individuals have the right to bear arms, the NRA and others are taking aim at the draconian restructions on guns in other cities, including Chicago and San Francisco:

CHICAGO (AP) - Gun-rights groups have already filed a lawsuit against Chicago's handgun ban -- after a similar ban in Washington, D.C. was struck down by the Supreme Court.
The National Rifle Association is planning to go to court and challenge San Francisco's ban.
The high court ruled that Americans can keep guns at home for self-defense. It's the first time the justices ever ruled on the meaning of gun rights under the Second Amendment.
But the court also said the right to bear arms is not absolute. And the mayor of Philadelphia, Michael Nutter, says that's an "explicit statement of support" for cities that are creating "reasonable measures" targeting those who will carry weapons in order to do harm.
The San Francisco ban prevents people from carrying guns on county property -- including parks, schools and community centers. San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom says he wishes the justices who rejected the D.C. ban would first "spend a week in public housing."
Chicago Mayor Richard Daley predicts that if his city's ban is overturned, there will be more violence.

Yeah Gavin, why don't you try spending a week in public housing? And not as a visiting mayor with dozens of police protecting you. Do it incognito as a regular guy. You will wish you had a gun to defend yourself.

Justice Anthony Kennedy: At Least He Got Something Right

Justice Samuel Alito
Chief Justice John Roberts

Justice Clarence Thomas

Justice Antonin Scalia. A Man of Courage and Intellect
Breyer's Dissenting Opinion in the Heller Case

Here is one of the things Breyer said in his dissent. It was joined by justices Ginsberg, Stevens, and Souter:

I can understand how reasonable individuals can disagree about the merits of strict gun control as a crime-control measure, even in a totally urbanized area. But I cannot understand how one can take from the elected branches of government the right to decide whether to insist upon a handgun-free urban populace in a city now facing a serious crime problem and which, in the future, could well face environmental or other emergencies that threaten the breakdown of law and order.

This raises two important points. How can a government insist on a handgun-free urban populace? It isn't possible. They can only guarantee that the law-abiding people will be handgun-free. Does Breyer really believe that some man who is willing to commit armed robbery or murder will obey a handgun ban?

We have already seen an example of what government might do in the case of an emergency that threatens the breakdown of law and order when New Orleans was inundated by hurricane Katrina. The guns of many law-abiding people were seized by the administration of the racist mayor Ray Nagin. This rendered them defenseless against viokent crime.

More from the DC v. Heller Decision

I am reading Scalia's brilliant opinion on the Heller case. Here is one of the sources he quotes:

St. George Tucker’s version of Blackstone’s Commentaries, as we explained above, conceived of the Blackstonianarms right as necessary for self-defense. He equated thatright, absent the religious and class-based restrictions,with the Second Amendment. See 2 Tucker’s Blackstone
143. In Note D, entitled, "View of the Constitution of the United States," Tucker elaborated on the Second Amendment: "This may be considered as the true palladium of liberty . . . . The right to self-defence is the first law of nature: in most governments it has been the study of rulers to confine the right within the narrowest limits possible. Wherever standing armies are kept up, and the right of the people to keep and bear arms is, under any colour or pretext whatsoever, prohibited, liberty, if not already annihilated, is on the brink of destruction."

Very true. Governments definitely like to keep that right confined. It hasn't been so bad here in the USA, but in the UK some people have gotten in more trouble with the law for defending themselves against a violent criminal than that criminal himself.

Scalia wraps up his opinion with:

...the enshrinement of constitutional rights necessarily takes certain policy choices off the table. These include the absolute prohibition of handguns held and used for self-defense in the home. Undoubtedly some think that the Second Amendment is outmoded in a society where our standing army is the pride of our Nation, where well-trained police forces provide personal security, and where gun violence is a serious problem. That is perhaps debatable, but what is not debatable is that it is not the role of this Court to pronounce the Second Amendment extinct.

We affirm the judgment of the Court of Appeals.

It is so ordered.

You got that, left wing jackasses?

U.S. Supreme Court: Constitution Supports an Individual Right to Bear Arms!!!!!!

You could hit me on the head with a sledgehammer right now, and you still wouldn't be able to wipe this smile off my face. Supreme Court Justices Scalia, Roberts, Alito, Kennedy, and Thomas have confirmed that the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution supports an individual right to bear arms.

See the full opinion here.

Our second amendment rights are the basis of all other rights. We must posess the means to defend ouselves against a despotic government. Without that right, human beings are mere chattels who exist at the whim of any tyrant who comes along.

Now I want to hear all you lefties bitch and moan. Are guns exacerbating global warming? Does the posession of shotguns make me racist, sexist, and homophobic? And be sure to write me to take me up on my free offer. It is still open.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

ACLU Threatens to Deny Navy Midshipmen Their First Amendment Rights

The American Civil Liberties Union, which was founded during World War I by former communist Roger Nash Baldwin, has a limited understanding of what First Amendment freedom of religion consists of. The first amendment reads:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

The ACLU feels that the amendment only protects atheists. The conveniently ignore the part where it says "or prohibiting the free exercise thereof".

So, in their latest salvo in their war against religion, the commies are targeting the midshipmen at Annapolis, trying to deny them the right to pray at lunch time:

The American Civil Liberties Union is threatening to sue the U.S. Naval Academy unless it abolishes its daily lunchtime prayer, saying that some midshipmen have felt pressured to participate.
In a letter to the Naval Academy, Deborah Jeon, legal director for the ACLU of Maryland, said it was "long past time" for the academy to discontinue the tradition. She said the practice violates midshipmen's freedom to practice religion as their conscience leads them.
The Naval Academy rejected the ACLU's request that the prayer be eliminated.
"The academy does not intend to change its practice of offering midshipmen an opportunity for prayer or devotional thought during noon meal announcements," the university said in a statement. It said that some form of prayer has been offered for midshipmen at meals since the school's founding, in 1845, and that it is "consistent with other practices throughout the Navy."
Nine midshipmen have complained to the ACLU about the practice, Jeon said yesterday. Some have since graduated. One recent graduate, an agnostic who objected to the chaplain-led prayer, said she felt pressured to take part in it.
"Everybody else is participating with their heads bowed and their arms crossed," the midshipman said in an interview. "It became very obvious that you aren't participating."
The midshipman, who spoke on condition of anonymity because she feared her military career might be affected, said she went along with the practice at first because she didn't want to stand out. But she stopped in her third year and stood at parade rest instead of bowing her head and crossing her arms.

That's the attitude of the left: "Free speech for me but not for thee", "Freedom of religion for me but not for thee".

As for those midshipmen who didn't want to pray: Deal with it. The Christians at Annapolis are not forcing you to pray. Don't force them to refrain from praying.
What Warming?

A plot of global atmospheric temperatures as measured by satellite. See Icecap for more details.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Did Steve Levitt Fake a Referee Report at JPE?

For those of you not familiar with the economics profession, the Journal of Political Economy is one of the most prestigious academic journals. It is edited at the University of Chicago. Getting a paper accepted there can work wonders for a professor's career.

One of the editors is Steve Levitt. I have written previously about how Steve Levitt claimed to speak for "pretty much all economists" on the subject of gas prices. Concerning the issue of John Lott's research on gun control, John found it necessary to file a defamation suit against Steve.

And now, it appears that Steve committed a major faux pas as an editor.
What Peace?

The only peace in Northern Ireland is for the Sinn Fein/IRA terrorists. The Protestants are still living in fear for their lives, as is the case for a former member of the Ulster Defense Regiment:

A former Ulster Defence Regiment soldier has been forced to flee to England after being targeted by dissident republicans, it was confirmed today.
The ex-UDR man, who has been a civilian for almost ten years, was told by the PSNI of a high threat against him from the Continuity IRA.
But after a police guard was put on his Lurgan home overnight, the former sergeant was advised to get out of the province.
The DUP today said it was aware of a "very high threat" in north Armagh which represented an escalation of the campaign by dissident groups in targeting retired security forces personnel.
Jeffrey Donaldson, who as a privy councillor has access to security information, said the threat has also spread to prison staff.
The Lagan Valley MP said a number of people have recently been forced to move under the SPED (Special Purchase of Evacuated Dwellings) scheme.
A PSNI spokeswoman said it could make no comment on the security of individuals, but the incidents follow warnings from Chief Constable Hugh Orde about dissident republican activity.
The latest threats come after the CIRA claimed responsibility for an attack in which two police officers suffered minor injuries from a bomb hidden under a small rural bridge near the border village of Rosslea.

This is what happened to one of my best friends in Northern Ireland. She was forced to flee to England after the IRA threatened to kill her.

George Carlin: 1937 - 2008

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Global Warming Guru Says 'Put Oil Firm Chiefs on Trial"

James Hanson, NASA bigwig who leads the charge against those pesky CO2 molecules, has called for the chief executives of the large oil companies to be put on trial for 'spreading doubt about global warming'

James Hansen, one of the world's leading climate scientists, will today call for the chief executives of large fossil fuel companies to be put on trial for high crimes against humanity and nature, accusing them of actively spreading doubt about global warming in the same way that tobacco companies blurred the links between smoking and cancer.
Hansen will use the symbolically charged 20th anniversary of his groundbreaking speech to the US Congress - in which he was among the first to sound the alarm over the reality of global warming - to argue that radical steps need to be taken immediately if the "perfect storm" of irreversible climate change is not to become inevitable.
Speaking before Congress again, he will accuse the chief executive officers of companies such as ExxonMobil and Peabody Energy of being fully aware of the disinformation about climate change they are spreading.

Of course, we're not going to let something as insignificant as the First Amendment to get in our way when were all about to be immolated, are we James?

How about re-education camps for thickheaded bloggers like me who fail to see the light?

Redstone Ballistic Missile

These rockets have a proud history. First to lauch a live nuclear warhead. First to launch a U.S. satellite into orbit. Also launched the first two Mercury suborbital manned spaceflights.

I want one!

Most Brits Doubt Humans are Causing Climate Change

Government policy wonks and their allies on the left just hate it when regular people refuse to believe their nonsense. They believe we should follow them blindly, led around like a flock of innocent, trusting sheep, all the while bleating bromides like "climate change", "diversity", or "four legs good, two legs bad".

The entire idea of democracy was that governments exist with the consent of the governed. We are seeing that idea becoming increasingly turned on its head in both Europe and North America. There is a group that consider themselves entitled to run the government and tell the rest of us what we are supposed to do and think. They don't care what private citizens think and are sometimes quite frank about their disdain for our opinions. Recent examples of such asinine elitism include the attempts to force "comprehensive immigration reform" on the American people, even though most of us do not want to give amnesty to millions of illegal aliens. Another example is the attempt to force the "Lisbon Treaty" on the Europeans, without ever asking any of them if they want it (except the Irish who rejected it.).

About one year ago, the despots in Washington were amazed at the popular uprising against the attempt to give amnesty to some 12 million illegal aliens. That showed how out of touch they are. They only pay attention to the leftist media and politically correct policy wonks. That is true even about the Republicans. Likewise, the goombas in Europe have been dismayed at the Irish rejection of the Lisbon Treaty, and become very flustered when asked to explain why they refuse to allow the citizens of the other 26 countries to vote on the treaty.

The notion that human CO2 emissions are causing 'climate change' is an article of faith among the chattering classes. And thus they are shocked and dismayed when a majority of ordinary blokes and sheilas don't fall for their religion, as shown by a recent poll taken by the Guardian among people in the UK:

The majority of the British public is still not convinced that climate change is caused by humans - and many others believe scientists are exaggerating the problem, according to an exclusive poll for The Observer.
The results have shocked campaigners who hoped that doubts would have been silenced by a report last year by more than 2,500 scientists for the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which found a 90 per cent chance that humans were the main cause of climate change and warned that drastic action was needed to cut greenhouse gas emissions.
The findings come just before the release of the government's long-awaited renewable energy strategy, which aims to cut the UK's greenhouse gas emissions by 20 per cent over the next 12 years

These jackasses in places like London and Washington want to turn democracy on its head. Instead of the people telling the government what it should do, the tyrants are telling us what they are going to do and how we should feel about it. It is no surprise then, that we are seeing extensive restrictions on freedom of speech and the press in Canada and Europe. The USA will probably follow soon.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Your Tax Dollars at Work

You knew this was coming. The report of the Bush Administration's U.S. Climate Change Science Program says that global warming is to blame for the floods in Iowa:

June 19 (Bloomberg) -- The chances for extreme weather in the U.S. such as the record rainfall and flooding in Iowa this month are increasing as worldwide temperatures rise, a government agency that researches climate change said.
North America may get more abnormally hot days and nights, heavier downpours and deadlier storms from global warming, today's
report from the Bush administration's U.S. Climate Change Science Program said. Elevated temperatures in recent decades already have led to more intense rainstorms in the Midwest, Northeast and Mid-Atlantic regions, said Thomas Karl, co-chairman of the report.
``The probability of heavy downpours is increasing, which leads to events like what we're seeing in the Midwest,'' said Karl, director of the
National Climatic Data Center at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, in an interview.
The Iowa disaster helped drive corn prices to a record high. Flood damage may exceed $2.7 billion, according to economics professors Mark Burton at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville and Michael Hicks at Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana.
``We think that climate change is really a driver, not only in tropical storms but in other precipitation events,''
Eberhard Faust, head of climate risk analysis for Munich Re, the world's second-biggest re-insurer, said in an interview before the report. ``We can anticipate that many of these processes will get even worse, even stronger.''

Sometimes when I listen to clowns like these discuss global warming and its causes and effects, I feel like I am watching a pro wrestling match. The only difference is that none of the wrestlers actually believe they are really fighting.

Update: I received an email from Michael Hicks, whose research on the cost of floods is cited in the article. He pointed out to me that he has never made any connection between global warming and floods. I agree that he has been inaccurately associated with the global warming crowd.

CBS and AP Fall for More Global Warming BS

This would just be hilarious were it not for the fact that our nation's public policy is being made on the basis of voodoo science and irresponsible journalism like this.

CBS and AP recently published a hoax by Dr. Tom Chalko, an Australian 'scientist', that claims global warming is causing an increase in earthquakes:

MT BEST, AUSTRALIA--(MARKET WIRE)--Jun 17, 2008 -- New research compiled by Australian scientist Dr Tom Chalko shows that global seismic activity on Earth is now five times more energetic than it was just 20 years ago.

The research proves that destructive ability of earthquakes on Earth increases alarmingly fast and that this trend is set to continue, unless the problem of "global warming" is comprehensively and urgently addressed.
The analysis of more than 386,000 earthquakes between 1973 and 2007 recorded on the US Geological Survey database proved that the global annual energy of earthquakes on Earth began increasing very fast since 1990.

Dr. Chalko's graph is accurate. But it is a classic example of data mining. Here is a graph of the earthquake energy going back to 1900:

This is typical of the type of research that is behind the global warming hoax. The problem is that there are many idiots out there who are simple minded enough to fall for it and enough politicians with ulterior motives who will support it.

Hat tip to Marc Sheppard at American Thinker and to

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Meteorologist Calls Global Warming a 'Hoax'

As the 'scientific consensus' crumbles before our eyes, the leftist media and most politicians proceed as if anthropogenic global warming is a proven fact. Yet another meteorologist has spoken out:

A year and a half ago, James Spann questioned the money and the so-called scientific consensus pushing the idea that mankind is causing global warming. Today, he says it’s losing steam. Two imminent surveys of meteorologists may further complicate the climate debate.

Spann, a broadcast meteorologist for ABC 33/40, an affiliate in Birmingham, Ala., downplayed the future of the global warming movement in a June 13 appearance. He was interviewed by Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council for its Washington Watch Weekly broadcast. Spann told Perkins:

“[Y]ou know, there was some great power in that movement back in January of 2007,” Spann said. “It’s pretty rapidly running out of gas and it just seems like every day more and more people are coming out with the fact that that’s pretty much a hoax. And these are Ph.D climatologists that are pretty much saying what I said all along.”

The left have much to answer for. Racist 'affirmative action' programs. Support for constitutional rights for foreign terrorists. Support for brutal dictatorships. What will these clowns say when the bell tolls?

Democrats Call for Nationalization of Oil Refineries

The modus operandi of the left follows a predictable pattern:

(1) Foul up some sector of the economy, or sometimes the entire economy, by inducing the government to interfere in some fashion.

(2) Blame the results on greedy capitalists or on Republicans

(3) Propose even deeper government intrusion, to "fix" the problem.

In the current energy crisis, we can see how this has played out:

(1) (a) The left have prohibited drilling for oil and gas on most of our coastline and parts of the land
(b) "Environmental" laws have prevented the construction of any new oil refineries in over 30 years
(c) More laws have prevented the construction of nuclear power plants
(d) Ridiculous substitutes like ethanol have been subsidized by the government, that have done more harm than good.

(2) The left are now blaming the problem on greedy oil companies

(3) And now Democrats are proposing to nationalize the oil refineries

House Democrats responded to President's Bush's call for Congress to lift the moratorium on offshore drilling. This was at an on-camera press conference fed back live.
Among other things, the Democrats called for the government to own refineries so it could better control the flow of the oil supply.
They also reasserted that the reason the Appropriations Committee markup (where the vote on the amendment to lift the ban) was cancelled so they could focus on preparing the supplemental Iraq spending bill for tomorrow.
At an off-camera briefing, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) said the same. And a senior Republican House Appropriations Committee aide adds that "there were multiple reasons for the postponement" including discussion on the supplemental. But the aide said there was the thought that Democrats may wish to avoid a debate today on energy amendments.
Here are the highlights from briefing
Rep. Maurice Hinchey (D-NY), member of the House Appropriations Committee and one of the most-ardent opponents of off-shore drilling
We (the government) should own the refineries. Then we can control how much gets out into the market

If you think we got problems now, wait until the Democrat-controlled government runs the oil refineries. I can already picture the likes of Senator Clinton and her husband licking their chops over how they get to decide which businesses get to buy or sell to the government-owned refineries and on what terms.

Its time that government got out of the energy business altogether. This includes subsidies for alternative energy sources. If it is truly feasible to utilize solar, wind, or biofuel energy, then huge profits await those who can exploit them efficiently. There is no need for government to waste tax dollars on things that won't help.

Hat tip to John Lott.

John Feffer: Socialist of the Week

The left are a talkative bunch and are constantly showering us with their words of wisdom. But it is rare that they give us an essay of the quality of this one at Asia Times. John Feffer, who is co-director of Foreign Policy in Focus (a think tank without walls) has bestowed upon us a leftwing brainfart of a transcendant order. A few choice quotes:

Gas prices in the United States are above US$4 a gallon; global food prices surged 39% last year; and an environmental disaster looms as carbon emissions continue to spiral upward. The global economy appears on the verge of a technical knockout, a triple whammy from energy, agriculture and climate-change trends. Right now you may be grumbling about the extra bucks you're shelling out at the pump and the grocery store; but, unless policymakers begin to address all three of these trends as one major crisis, it could get a whole lot worse.

Hmmmm..... where to begin? He doesn't give his source for the 39% increase in global food prices. I do know that in the USA they only increased by 4.9% in 2007. And given the fact that the US dollar depreciated against many foreign currencies during that year, it is unlikely that food prices increased by even 4.9% in other countries.

And of course, 'climate change' caused by carbon emissions is accepted by John as an axiomatic truth. He's not going to let the facts get in his way.

Just ask the North Koreans. In the 1990s, North Korea was the world's canary. The famine that killed as much as 10% of the North Korean population in those years was, it turns out, a harbinger of the crisis that now grips the globe - though few saw it that way at the time.

That small Northeast Asian land, one of the last putatively communist countries on the planet, faced the same three converging factors as we do now - escalating energy prices, a reduction in food supplies and impending environmental catastrophe. At the time, of course, all the knowing analysts and pundits dismissed what was happening in that country as the inevitable breakdown of an archaic economic system presided over by a crackpot dictator.

They were wrong. The collapse of North Korean agriculture in the 1990s was not the result of backwardness. In fact, North Korea boasted one of the most mechanized agricultures in Asia. Despite claims of self-sufficiency, the North Koreans were actually heavily dependent on cheap fuel imports. (Does that already ring a bell?) In their case, the heavily subsidized energy came from Russia and China, and it helped keep North Korea's battalion of tractors operating. It also meant that North Korea was able to go through fertilizer, a petroleum product, at one of the world's highest rates. When the Soviets and Chinese stopped subsidizing those energy imports in the late 1980s and international energy rates became the norm for them, too, the North Koreans had a rude awakening.

North Korea is only 'putatively communist', eh John? What would Kim Jong Il have to do to become really communist? And all that any country needs is mechanization and cheap fuel in order to have bountiful harvests? Then why have so many other communist countries had famines, including the Soviet Union in the 1930s and China in the late 1950s and early 1960s? Ever hear of the tragedy of the commons, John?

Lower food prices are generally a boon for consumers. But they are devastating for the subsistence farmers who make up the vast majority of the world's poor.

Low food prices do not affect subsistence farmers. They are, by definition, not selling any of their harvest.

However, over the past three years, according to the World Bank, food prices have increased 83%. That may be only an annoyance for wealthy shoppers, but for the poor, who often devote more than 50% of their incomes to feeding their families, such staggering rises can be the difference between life and death.

Since food prices only increased by a total of 9.7% in the USA for 2005 through 2007, it was even less of an annoyance than he thinks.

And now Sir John gets to the meat of the global warming problem:

Global warming, too, has had an impact. Drought in Australia and the eastern United States, severe flooding in China and Bangladesh, rising ocean levels and fresh water shortages throughout the world are all thought to be related to climate change, though climate scientists cannot prove that any given weather anomaly is caused by global warming.

Not only that, they can't prove that the earth is warming at all.

Climate scientists can be fuzzy this way about causality in the short term. Paradoxically, however, they often see the future more clearly. For instance, the top global food policy think-tank, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), predicts that global warming will be responsible for a 16% decrease in agricultural gross domestic product globally by 2020. The Center for Global Development argues that developing countries, in particular, will be hit hard by climate change: By 2080, India, its report argues, will see a staggering 30-40% drop in agricultural production and Senegal will plummet 50%.

You gotta love it! Climate scientists can't predict short-term happenings but they are confident they can predict what will happen 12 years from now and 72 years from now! It's too bad that the geniuses at the Center for Global Development won't be around in 2080 to accept their rewards for their clear visions of the future in India and Senegal.

And now John gets in his obligatory criticism of Bush's invation of Iraq:

Oil prices have been steadily increasing since 2004 as a result of rising demand. They have been helped along greatly by growing chaos in the Middle East, fed by the Bush administration's foolhardy invasion of Iraq.

Aren't you going to say something about his tax policy too? Didn't he steal the election from Al Gore in Florida? It's very easy to predict what the left will say. Much easier than predicting the weather.

Now a demonstration of John's mathematical prowess:

Like the North Koreans, we, too, have been trying to squeeze more food out of a limited amount of land: arable land per capita is declining at a steady rate.

It takes a genius like John to figure out that the quantity of farmable land on earth is fixed whereas the population is increasing. Thus, arable land per capita is declining. How do lefties get so brilliant!

The director general of the UN's Food and Agricultural Organization, Jacques Diouf, has called for a minimum of $30 billion a year for a global agricultural restructuring. It's not at all clear who will pony up such sums,

I don't know who is going to pony up the $30 billion either. But I am sure that many people who work at the UN are licking their chops over the prospect of getting their hands on some of it. Remember the Iraq oil-for-food scam?

Of course, free trade is also to blame:

as a result of the North American Free Trade Agreement, Mexico lost 1.3 million agricultural jobs, forcing many desperate small farmers to cross into the United States as migrant workers.

Isn't that awful, John? The Mexican consumers were forced to pay less for their food as a result of NAFTA? Just a couple of paragraphs previously, you were lamenting high food prices (and exaggerating the amount of the increases). Now you are whining about low food prices in Mexico. So what do you want: High food prices or low?

The quest for perfect markets usually conceals a global shell game in which wealth is redistributed from the many to the few. To even the playing field that markets constantly tilt in favor of the powerful, and to direct funds toward environmental sustainability, governments need to intervene in the economy.

After all, private enterprise is not going to invest in the large-scale improvement of rural infrastructure - the capital costs are high and profit margins far too low. More controversially, developing countries may need to maintain, or even reestablish, tariffs and subsidies to protect local producers. Since it is both sold and consumed, food should be considered a strategic resource, a matter of national security. It should be left out of trade negotiations in the same way that the "national security exception" allows governments to subsidize and protect their military industries as they please.

Ah yes, government control of agriculture will solve all our problems, won't it John? Just like it did in the Soviet Union, China, and North Korea. We can't let those poor people in developing countries have any freedom of enterprise, can we?

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

More on the Greenhouse Effect and Radiative Forcing

Hans Schreuder at Icecap has some interesting comments about the global warming hoax:

Based on UN IPCC dogma and according to this Australian website for children, the greenhouse effect is "caused by gases in our atmosphere (especially water vapour, carbon dioxide and methane). They trap energy from the sun's light and reflect it back to Earth, so we just keep on getting warmer."

As Alan Siddons points out: "You might as well believe that your image in a mirror can burn your face". It is palpably absurd, and yet it is an accurate depiction of the theory that the IPCC has foisted on the public - a theory that IPCC critics won't even attack because, presumably, they believe it too.

Moreover, the actual trapping of heat cannot raise an object's temperature in the first place. It only slows down heat loss. For instance, a polar bear is a living thermos bottle. Its internal body temperature is much the same as ours. But its surrounding fat and fur are such that - and this is remarkable - a polar bear is virtually invisible to a thermal camera. Just like coffee in a thermos, you can't tell how hot the inside of a polar bear is by looking at it from the outside. But neither does coffee in a thermos get hotter because its heat is trapped. It just retains its temperature for a longer time. Otherwise, both the polar bear and the thermos would self-ignite.

In short, the earth absorbs enough energy from the sun to reach a certain temperature. Since it radiates the same amount, its temperature obviously isn't raised by carbon dioxide absorbing some infrared - for CO2 simply releases that energy at the same pace, as satellites attest. But even if CO2 did trap thermal energy, as insulation does (creating an emission discrepancy that would be quite observable to satellites), the earth's temperature could go no higher than what it began with. To repeat, coffee doesn't get hotter in a thermos."

That must be why the global warming zealots are so worried about polar bears. The poor animals must be self-igniting. I have heard rumors of spontaneous human combustion, but spontaneous polar bear combustion?

They're based on figures obtained directly from the Dutch Met Office, whereby the mass of our entire atmosphere is given as 5,300,000 gigatons and the total carbon dioxide in it as 3,000 gigatons.

5,300,000 gigatonnes of atmosphere require 0.24 x 1,010^10 kcal of heat to warm 1.0°C. 3,000 gigatonnes of CO2 would requite a warming to 5,300,000/3,000 x .24/.34 = 1247°C to have enough heat to transfer to the atmosphere for each 1°C rise in temperature.

Did you read that? Every single molecule of CO2 would need to be over a thousand degrees Centigrade to warm the rest of the atmosphere by one degree!! Yet by the magic of radiative forcing this will take place, according to the alarmists and based on the UN IPCC pseudo-scientific dogma.

Damn those CO2 molecules are hot! And each molecule is a virtual island, surrounded by a sea of nitrogen and oxygen. How do they get so hot when most of the air is a mere 25°C or so?

Monday, June 16, 2008

The view from my backyard. See why they call me Jungle Jim.
Wall Street Journal Smears Free Market Economists

The Journal's editorials usually contain savvy insights into the various issues. One notable exception concerns illegal immigration, for which they are completely clueless.

Their news articles, however, are written by journalists drawn from the same pool as those who work at leftist rags such as the New York Times and Washington Post, with predictable results. In an article published last Tuesday, Joel Millmand and Roger Thurow take a cheap shot at free market economists, even though these economists are advocating policies that are abviously not free market:

For decades, poor nations were discouraged from investing too much in agriculture, which was seen as a problem rather than a solution to fighting poverty. Many free-market economists came to believe that the reason billions of people are poor is because they are shackled to subsistence farming. The economists' solution: find something else for them in manufacturing, tourism or services so that they can make money to buy food instead of growing it.
Poor countries were discouraged from growing much of their own staples, such as rice and wheat, that are usually grown more cheaply in rich countries. Instead, they were told to focus on export crops that might fetch a higher price.
Now, with grain stocks depleted, China and India gobbling food as never before and food prices soaring, many poor countries are turning their back on the old ideas and installing government programs designed to support local farmers. These include cash subsidies to poor consumers, increased efforts to improve local seed varieties, and government-sponsored handouts of fertilizer and seeds.

The food crisis has also contributed to a major rethink among the advice givers. Institutions such as the World Bank and International Monetary Fund are once again treating investment in poor farmers as a promising development strategy. Last week in Rome, World Bank President Robert Zoellick told an emergency United Nations summit on the food crisis that boosting developing country agriculture productivity and reducing hunger were top priorities for the bank.

Urged to redirect spending from local farming to areas like assembling underwear for export, Haiti's successive governments rarely spent as much as 3% of the country's annual economic output on food production, says the former agriculture minister, Mr. Mathieu.

Free market economists do not advise governments to subsidize or interfere in commerce in any way whatsoever. We advise them to keep taxes and government spending low and to restrict government involvement to such matters as enforcing contracts and prosecuting criminals.

I don't know where Millmand and Thurow get the idea that economists at the World Bank and IMF promote free market policies. The people I have known who have worked at these institutions have been some of the most anti-free market economists of all. Furthermore, even though the World Bank is headquartered in the USA and largely bankrolled by American taxpayers, they refuse to hire any American-born economists.

This entire situation is yet another example of how socialists foul up the economy and then blame the results on "free market" policies.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Friday, June 13, 2008

How Stupid is This?

Having been a university prof for several years, I am horrified but not surprised by this:

OCEANSIDE, California (AP) -- On a Monday morning last month, highway patrol officers visited 20 classrooms at El Camino High School to announce some horrible news: Several students had been killed in car wrecks over the weekend.

Classmates wept. Some became hysterical.
A few hours and many tears later, though, the pain turned to fury when the teenagers learned that it was all a hoax, a scared-straight exercise designed by school officials to dramatize the consequences of drinking and driving.
As seniors prepare for graduation parties Friday, school officials in the largely prosperous San Diego, California, suburb are defending themselves against allegations that they went too far.
At school assemblies, some students held posters that read, "Death is real. Don't play with our emotions."
Michelle de Gracia, 16, was in physics class when an officer announced that her missing classmate David, a popular basketball player, had died instantly after being rear-ended by a drunken driver. She said she felt nauseated but was too stunned to cry.
"They got the shock they wanted," she said.

Some of her classmates became extremely upset, prompting the teacher to tell them immediately that it was all staged.
"People started yelling at the teacher," she said. "It was pretty hectic."
Others, including many who heard the news of the 26 deaths between classes, were left in the dark until the missing students reappeared hours later.
"You feel betrayed by your teachers and administrators, these people you trust," said 15-year-old Carolyn Magos. "But then I felt selfish for feeling that way, because, I mean, if it saves one life, it's worth it."
Officials at the 3,100-student school defended the program.
"They were traumatized, but we wanted them to be traumatized," said guidance counselor Lori Tauber, who helped organize the shocking exercise and got dozens of students to participate. "That's how they get the message."
The plan was to tell the truth to the students at an assembly later in the day. But word that it was all a hoax began to spread before the gathering. Tauber said some counselors and administrators revealed the truth to calm some students who had become upset.
Oceanside Schools Superintendent Larry Perondi said he fielded only a few calls from parents, and the PTA chapter said it had not heard any complaints. Perondi said the program would be revised, but he would not say how. And he said he was glad that students seemed to have gotten the message.
"We did this in earnest," he said. "This was not done to be a prankster."

Why don't you clowns in public school administration try teaching the kids something, rather than pulling crap like this?

Irish Voters Reject EU Treaty

The European Union bureaucracy in Brussells, and the governments of the 27 countries who are members of the EU are trying to establish a new constitution that would transfer considerable authority from the 27 national governments to the EU government. So, one would think that with such an important change the voters of each country would be asked to ratify the move in a referendum? Here is a complete list of the countries who allowed their voters a say on the matter:


The EU apparatchiks are afraid that the voters of the other 26 countries might not vote the way they want them to. Kind of reminds you of why the Castro brothers have not allowed free elections in Cuba for nearly 50 years. They are afraid that the voters might not keep them in office.

The Irish voted against the new constitution, and now the gnomes of Brussels are scratching their heads, trying to figure out how to foist this on the people of Europe without their consent. Perhaps they might find some good advice in Havana.

Hibernia Girl is celebrating.

Gates of Vienna has an interesting article about how the Irish were required to give their voters a say.

Boo Hoo: Taoiseach Brian Cowen says the result of the voting has created “considerable uncertainty and a difficult situation"

I'm surprised that the democraphobes in the EU didn't find a way to rig the election to make the pro-ratification vote win. The so-called Democrats here in the USA have no qualms about tampering with an election.