March 21, 2008Certainly not the UN!
The debate, such as it is, over global warming has been increasingly driven by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. The UN-supported body has acquired the status of , say, the Vatican Curia, a direct representative from On High, not to be questioned by mere mortals. But the IPCC deserves no such respect.
Explains H. Sterling Burnett of the National Center for Policy Analysis:
More than 20 years ago, climate scientists began to sound the alarm over the possibility that global temperatures were rising due to human activities, such as deforestation and the burning of fossil fuels. In 1988, the World Meteorological Organization and the United Nations Environment Program created the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in order to study and better understand this potential threat. ...
March 21, 2008The British may love babies, but they sure don't show it. Maternity wards often are full and have to be closed to new mothers. Reports the BBC:
Many hospitals across England had to turn away women in labour last year because they were full, figures show.
More than 40% of 103 trusts that responded to a survey by the Tories said they had shut their doors or diverted women to other sites.
Larger maternity units seemed to be more at risk of having to close, the inquiries by the Tories suggested.
The government said maternity units sometimes were forced to take action because it was hard to predict demand.
Labour's manifesto statement says that by 2009 all women will have choice over where and how they have their baby.
"It is a major cause of anxiety to...
March 18, 2008It's good to know that the administrators of Sheridan Middle School in New Haven are on top of their game. When two students engaged in a dangerous transaction involving illicit goods, the school acted. It busted the two kids for trading a bag of Skittles candy.
According to WCBSTV:
The New Haven schools superintendent said Wednesday that he will review a principal's decision to suspend an eighth-grade student for buying candy in school.
Michael Sheridan was stripped of his title as class vice president, barred from attending an honors student dinner and suspended for a day after buying a bag of Skittles from a classmate.
The New Haven school system banned candy sales in 2003 as part of a districtwide school wellness policy, said school spokeswoman Catherine Sullivan-DeCarlo....
March 17, 2008There are a lot of reasons for believers in limited government to be discouraged. But sometimes that discouragement can be turned into triumph.
Truth be told, John Quincy Adams was a failed president. He lost his reelection bid to Andrew Jackson and was hated by the old Federalists who dominated what was to be his retirement home of Boston.
But his local constituents called on him to represent him in Congress, and a second career was launched. During the next 17 years he became that body's most vocal critic of slavery, defender of free speech, and advocate of other unpopular causes, including the rights of Indians and women. It's quite a saga, which is told by Joseph Wheelan in...
March 13, 2008The Europeans are threatening to impose tariffs on the U.S. if it fails to knuckle under and accept some international climate regulatory system--undoubtedly drafted to favor the Europeans. Reports the Times of London:
America and China face trade protection measures from Europe if they fail to join a global climate deal to replace the Kyoto Protocol, EU leaders will caution at their summit in Brussels today.
Nations that refuse to curb greenhouse gases will be told that they face “appropriate measures” — code for trade sanctions — if they try to gain a competitive advantage by continuing to allow cheap, high-pollution production.
EU leaders are particularly concerned to try to stop big companies relocating from Europe to countries that refuse to join a post-2012 climate change...
March 12, 2008The media keeps reminding us that there is a consensus not only that the climate is warming (and it is), but that mankind is to cause and disaster is sure to result unless we return to a hunter-gatherer civilization, or something like that. It turns out that not all of the dissenters are on the Right. There's Alexander Cockburn. Indeed, in his own incomparable way, he contends that the scaremongering is benefiting corporate interests:
While the world's climate is on a warming trend, there is zero evidence that the rise in CO2 levels has anthropogenic origins. For daring to say this I have been treated as if I have committed intellectual blasphemy.
In magazine articles and essays I have described in fairly considerable detail, with input from the scientist Martin Hertzberg, that you can account for...
March 11, 2008The climate is warming, but that doesn't tell us much about causation or danger. So far most of the "remedies" to combat the greenhouse effect would cost far more than benefit of thereby reducing temperatures by a minuscule amount.
Moreover, most of the discussion is highly politicized. For instance, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change undercuts its own credibility by allowing government-appointed non-scientists to write the well-publicized report summaries. Many of its predictions are no more reliable than guesses. Notes H. Sterling Burnett:
More than 20 years ago, climate scientists began to sound the alarm over the possibility that global temperatures were rising due to human activities, such as deforestation and the burning of fossil fuels. In 1988, the World Meteorological Organization and the United...
March 10, 2008Britain's National Health System is notoriously underfunded. The government makes ends meet by denying service. The elderly don't get transplants. People pull their own teeth. Indeed, Prime Minister Gordon Brown wants more people to treat themselves.
But pets need not worry. Brits might be unwilling to care for themselves and their neighbors. But they will spend on their pets. Reports Reuters:
Forget worming pills and a flea collar -- a trip to the vet in Britain these days could be about heart surgery, joint replacement, chemotherapy or a host of other cutting-edge procedures.
Britain is one of the few countries in Europe to offer many of these complex treatments: devoted British pet-owners have fuelled a fast-growing insurance market that helps fund care which would otherwise take a big bite out of a bank account.
Research firm Datamonitor has forecast the...
March 10, 2008As usual, the paternalists are making people worse off by trying to "save" them. Payday loans are expensive -- not something I run off and do. But people who resort to payday loans often have to meet other obligations. Failing to do so often will cost them more.
A new study by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York makes this point. Explains the Free Library:
The study, released in November by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, looked at two states where payday lending has been banned: Georgia and North Carolina. Authors Donald P. Morgan of the Federal Reserve and Michael R. Strain of Cornell University found that the citizens of those states bounced more checks, complained more about lenders and debt collectors, and filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy more often. The correlation...
March 9, 2008Although Great Britain is not normally where one would think to look for ideas on health care reform, the government is going to experiment by installing doctors in J. Sainsbury, a leading supermarket. Reports The New York Times:
Some Britons can add a visit to the doctor to their shopping lists. On Monday, J Sainsbury, one of Britain's largest supermarket chains, is to become the first in the country to offer a visit to a...