Monday, November 30, 2009

An Old (But Important) Saw

Several times last year -- specifically, here, here, here, and here -- I wrote about some of the reasons I am skeptical when it comes to global warming. Since then, three whole seasons have come and gone and deposited us back into that time of year when the earth always cools…and that passage of time has served up even more reasons why we should doubt the prophets of warming.

In the Northeast, Manhattan’s June temperatures averaged 3.7 degrees below normal while Boston’s averaged 4.7 below. That made it Boston’s coolest June in 106 years and second coolest in 137.

In the Southwest, it was the first time in 96 years that Phoenix went 15 straight days in June without reaching 100 degrees. And L.A.’s temperatures that month averaged 5 degrees below normal while Yucca Valley’s averaged 8½ below.

In Yonkers, NY, it snowed in the second week of July.

For the U.S. as a whole, this October was the third coldest since they began keeping records.

North of our border, the November snowfall record for Whistler, B.C. had already been broken a week before Thanksgiving, with more than 14 feet accumulated.

And south of the Equator, New Zealand and Australia both experienced prolonged record cold during their autumn and winter.

But the most jaw-dropping reason for doubt comes from recently discovered emails between scientists who are considered to be among the world’s top authorities on global warming. In those emails, which were uncovered by hackers, the scientists communicate about concealing evidence that contradicts global warming. They discuss the need to “hide the decline” in temperatures that their data reveals.

And they discuss ways to avoid complying with requests for their data that might be made under the U.S. Freedom of Information Act, or under similar foreign laws. They even toy with the idea of contending that their work is not subject to such laws because it relates to the U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel for Climate Change; in other words, the scientists have considered making an official claim that no nation’s laws apply to their work because it serves an international rather than national purpose.

Phil Jones, head of the Climactic Research Unit (CRU) at England’s University of East Anglia, wrote to an American colleague: “If they ever hear there is a Freedom of Information Act now in the UK, I think I’ll delete the file rather than send to anyone.” In another email, he wrote to three American colleagues: “I’m getting hassled by a couple of people to release the CRU station temperature data. Don’t any of you three tell anybody that the UK has a Freedom of Information Act!” One of those colleagues (Michael Mann of Penn State) sent an email to the CRU’s Tim Osborn stating that he was sending results which should not be shared with others because they supported global warming’s skeptics.

With the global warming summit right around the corner, you might think that all of this would cause the world’s leaders to move slowly before they propose that sweeping changes be made to address a “problem” that is not even known to exist. But you would be wrong. By and large, world leaders (including our own) have barely acknowledged either the contradictory data or the email scandal, other than to downplay them with arrogant indifference.

With all the indications of cover-up and fraud and of manipulation and hiding of evidence, you also might think that the MSM would cover this story if for no other reason than its sensational allure. But you would be wrong again. They have barely mentioned it, because doing so would work against their political goals.

What we have here is a threefer: a scientific scandal, political scandal, and journalistic scandal all rolled into one.

Update, 12/3/09: I published this post three days ago. As of yesterday, which was 12 days after the the email story first broke, it still had not been mentioned a single time on any of the broadcast news programs of ABC, NBC, or CBS (according to the Business & Media Institute). That is a big deal because more people get their news from those programs than from the cable ones.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Medical Care: Part IV

This is the fourth in a series of posts about American medical care and the government’s attempts to meddle in it. Posts about other topics may appear between them. The first three posts can be read here, here, and here.

Enacting tort reform.

Removing the maze of government mandates that require medical insurers to cover all sorts of non-critical and elective procedures, even if their customers want an option to purchase catastrophic-only coverage.

Allowing medical insurance to be purchased across state lines (or in other words, opening the insurance market rather than closing it).

These are steps government can take that would, without doubt, drive down the prices American consumers must now pay to secure medical care. They would accomplish that goal without any negative side effects to care, and without government intruding into the personal affairs of the entire population under the ruse of helping the small percentage that is truly unable to obtain care.

And notably, these steps could be taken quickly because Republicans would support them. In fact, Republicans have been championing them for some time but are always rebuffed by the liberal elites who rule the roost.

If Obama & Co. were really interested in improving medical care or access to it, they could have already started that snowball rolling down the hill by proposing these steps and passing them with bipartisan support. They could already be claiming credit for taking action to "help working families," and Obama could be saying that the bipartisan support proves he is what he claimed to be during the campaign: a uniter not a divider, a pragmatic centrist interested only in results, all that jazz. Any grander steps could be pursued after the fact, and Obama could claim that he shares General Patton's belief that "a good plan today is better than a perfect plan tomorrow."

But these commonsense, winning measures (plus several others which fit that description) are being ignored at best, and brushed aside at worst.

It is telling that Obama & Co. continue to ignore the obvious steps while deploying blitzkrieg tactics to push for ones that are, to say the least, dubious. What it tells us is that Obama & Co.'s goal is not to improve your health or your life, but to control them. History shows that if we allow them to succeed, we do so at our own peril -- and more importantly, at our descendants' peril.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Repeat Offender

Barack Obama's peculiar tendency to bow -- first to the Saudi king and now to the Japanese Emperor -- has been commented on from many angles this week. But the one I haven't heard is the one I find most glaring; namely, that his bows are always to hereditary monarchs.

Obama does not bow to elected leaders or "conventional dictators," but when facing monarchs he goes ass in the air and eyes to cock level. That he did it again, after hearing all the criticism from his first bow, shows he takes it very seriously. This is not a matter of him making a rookie mistake or being unaware of protocol...and with that in mind, it is hard to believe that he is merely trying to be polite, as some of his apologists would have us believe.

This not a trivial matter when you consider that America's founding was based on opposing the very notion of monarchy...and when you consider that no other president in our history has ever bowed to royalty, precisely because doing so is a sign of subservience that contradicts our founding principle that "all men are created equal."

If you think I'm a right winger making a mountain out of a molehill because Obama's a Democrat, maybe you will understand this is not a trivial matter when you consider what the very liberal New York Times had to say when Bill Clinton was president. After Clinton almost bowed to the Japanese Emperor, their editorial page opined: "He inclined his head and shoulders forward, he pressed his hands together. It lasted no longer than a snapshot, but the image on the South Lawn was indelible: an obsequient President, and the Emperor of Japan. Canadians still bow to England's Queen. So do Australians. Americans shake hands. If not to stand eye-to-eye with royalty, what else were 1776 and all that about?"

How does it appear elsewhere when our president bows? Well, in Japan, the very manner in which Obama did it is considered indicative of weakness, and it has been reported that the Japanese public responded negatively because they fear what might happen if America's leadership is weak at this critical moment in history. Since Japan is our friend, I shudder to think how Obama's bowing is portrayed by our enemies.

And finally, one more thing. As my brother pointed out, Obama has met Queen Elizabeth, and as far as I know he did not bow to her. Although I strongly believe that Americans should not bow to any monarch, regardless of nationality, I find it especially odious that Obama, who spent years in a church whose preacher bellowed "God damn America" after 9/11, makes a point of bowing only to those who are from non-Western societies.

Much thanks to Mona Charen for digging up that New York Times quote.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

With Gratitude on Veterans Day

When he was 82 years old, General Douglas MacArthur was presented with the Sylvanus Thayer Award at West Point. Upon accepting it, he addressed the cadets without a prepared text and without notes. Speaking reverently about the American soldier, he said:

"My estimate of him was formed on the battlefield many, many years ago, and has never changed. I regarded him then as I regard him now – as one of the world’s noblest figures, not only as one of the finest military characters but also as one of the most stainless. His name and fame are the birthright of every American citizen. In his youth and strength, his love and loyalty he gave – all that mortality can give…when I think of his patience under adversity, of his courage under fire, and of his modesty in victory, I am filled with an emotion of admiration I cannot put into words. He belongs to history as furnishing one of the greatest examples of successful patriotism; he belongs to posterity as the instructor of future generations in the principles of liberty and freedom; he belongs to the present, to us, by his virtues and by his achievements…From one end of the world to the other he has drained deep the chalice of courage…The soldier, above all other men, is required to practice the greatest act of religious training – sacrifice."

Those words are just as true now, with our men and women returning from the war zones of the Middle East, as they were when MacArthur spoke them 47 years ago. But there has been a troubling shift in the way the American soldier is viewed by his countrymen.

When MacArthur spoke, the heroism exhibited at Guadalcanal and Pork Chop Hill was fresh in the minds of America, and students throughout the land were taught about their forefathers’ valor at Bunker Hill and Antietam. The vast majority of Americans looked upon soldiers with immense respect, as courageous defenders of liberty who, in MacArthur’s words, held the nation’s destiny in their hands.

Less than a decade later, many of the soldiers returning from Vietnam were spat upon and falsely depicted as “baby killers.”

Within a generation, military service went from being a duty that was performed by most American men to being one that was performed by a small minority. In turn, the country has become one where a shrinking percentage of the population puts their lives on the line to defend the rights of an increasingly unappreciative majority. Many of us take our freedom for granted, blind to the fact that were it not for those soldiers who are willing to risk their lives in the line of duty, we would not be free to speak our minds without fear of prosecution, or to pursue our life's goals as we see fit, or to make a choice about whether or how to worship God.

Today is Veterans Day. Modern media and schools have greatly de-emphasized this once prominent holiday, but the rest of us don’t have to follow their lead. To those of you who have answered the nation's call and served in our armed forces, I say: Thank You.

Note: This post was first published one year ago. The only change made to it is to reflect that another year has passed since MacArthur's speech.

Monday, November 9, 2009

More et ceteras

As you may know, over the weekend a large majority of Democrats -- abetted by a lone Republican who will hopefully get hoisted from office by his constituents -- rammed through a disastrous "health care bill." Now it is on its way to the Senate, where Lindsey Graham (R-SC) declared it "dead on arrival." Don't believe him for one minute. Graham's history gives us every reason to doubt what he says, and many reasons to suspect he will turn his coat and vote in favor of the bill.

As you should know, Nidal Malik Hasan, the Army psychiatrist who murdered 14 people at Fort Hood (I include the baby who was in the womb of one of the soldiers) once gave a lecture in which he said that non-Muslims should have their throats cut, and he once told people at a military hospital that non-Muslims should be set on fire. One of his neighbors says that on the day of the shooting he gave her a Koran and said "I'm going to do good work for God." Yet, our president says "we can not fully know" what drove Hasan to commit the massacre. Can you imagine so feckless a comment from FDR during World War II? Do we need any further proof that Barack Hussein Obama is unfit to lead this country against a devoted enemy? No wonder Britain's Daily Telegraph has taken to calling him "President Pantywaist."

And I feel compelled to mention that today marks the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. I was a freshman at Auburn University when it happened. I remember turning on the TV in my dorm room, seeing a bunch of people standing atop the wall, and feeling that history was turning strongly in favor of freedom and strongly against the forces of totalitarianism. Back in those heady days, when Reagan's time in office was so recent that it felt like he was still president, there was absolutely no confusion about who the good guys were and who the bad guys were. For me, it is a source of endless consternation that this country has so quickly become so fuzzy-minded.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

et ceteras

Did you know that Nancy Pelosi’s proposed health care bill does not place any limits on attorney’s fees or punitive damages -- but does restrict how much of your own money you can place in a tax-free flexible spending account, to pay for your co-pays, your deductible, your medical expenses that aren’t covered by insurance, etc.?

Though you won’t see it mentioned in the MSM, our government is once again using our tax dollars to fund ACORN. The much ballyhooed withholding of federal funds from ACORN was for only one month, and that month has now passed.

I have heard several liberals say that the reason conservatives are opposed to Dede Scozzafava (the RINO who unsuccessfully ran for New York’s 23rd Congressional District) is that she is pro-choice on abortion. None of them even acknowledged that Scozzafava is also in favor of higher taxes, in favor of eliminating secret ballots for workers, in favor of the failed and pork-laden stimulus bill, and in favor of coercing taxpayers to bail out failed businesses. Could it be that they, not conservatives, are the ones who are obsessed about abortion?

But speaking of abortion, have you heard about Abby Johnson, the Planned Parenthood director from Texas who left that organization? In September, after working for them for eight years, she had her first opportunity to watch an abortion on ultrasound as it took place, and she found it so revolting that she quit her job and is still looking for work. For more information about her, go here.

Switching to football, in Saturday’s Florida-Georgia game, Florida linebacker Brandon Spikes was caught on film attempting to gouge the eyes of Georgia running back Washaun Ealey. Just to be clear, that was an intentional action that could have resulted in Ealey suffering severe vision loss, perhaps blindness. Florida coach Urban Meyer responded anemically by suspending Spikes for the first half of one game (against 2-7 Vanderbilt!) while Tim Tebow, Florida’s Bible-quoting quarterback over whom the media swoon as if he were the benevolent personification of Christ himself, responded by saying that Georgia played dirty too. If you want to see principles in action, Gainesville is not the place to look.

Switching back to politics, have you noticed that just about every time Barack Obama speaks, he makes a point of blaming whatever it is he’s talking about on George W. Bush? Well, way back in February Thomas Sowell wrote the following: “How can a president of the United States be reelected in a landslide after four years when unemployment never fell below 15 percent for even one month during his first term? Franklin D. Roosevelt did it by blaming it all on the previous administration. Barack Obama may be able to achieve the same result the same way.” It is becoming obvious that when it comes to Obama’s M.O. for 2012, Sowell was prescient.

And finally, over the past month and a half I have not written nearly as much as before. That’s not because I “lost the fire,” but because I have been so busy with life that there has been very little time left for writing. Anyway, I expect to be doing more of it. And about that intermittent series on medical care that I started in August? I plan to post the next installment before Thanksgiving.