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  • More fun with numbers

    February 1, 2007
    I wrote earlier about how the IPCC has quietly changed its definition of its projected temperature rises to include all pre-industrial warming, not just warming from 1990 onwards. Our best information has it that the IPCC calculates that 0.8 degrees centigrade has already occured. Subtracting that 0.8 from the projected temperature rises in the Fourth Assessment Report gives us a projected temperature rise this century of just 1.2 to 3.7 degrees centigrade. It also lowers the "best guess" for temperature rise to 2.2 degrees centigrade. This compares to the Third Assessment Report range of 1.4 to 5.8 degrees. Yes, the IPCC has actually lowered the lower band of its projections, despite all the hype that it has raised it upwards. Interestingly, prominent "skeptic" Pat Michaels has been saying for years...
  • Gore is hot -- will the Peace Prize follow the Oscar?

    February 1, 2007
    Nominations closed today for the Nobel Peace Prize, which is supposed to be awarded to a person who “shall have conferred the greatest benefit on mankind.” It seems to be that the 1970 recipient Norman Borlaug, the father of the Green Revolution -- credited with saving a billion people from starvation -- is a prime example of the type of person to whom the prize should be awarded. In recent years, however, there's been a trend toward both political correctness and trendiness. Remember that the International Atomic Energy Agency and Jimmy Carter were recent Nobel Laureates. Now former Vice President Al Gore has been...
  • r u rdy 2 mt f2f re H.B. 515?

    February 1, 2007
    Unfortunately for members of the lower house of Maine's legislature, some of their colleagues have decided that they all have less self-control than most 14-year olds. The Pine Tree State's House of Representatives is considering enacting a ban on txt msgs ("text messages") from lobbyists to legislators while they're on the floor. It seems these newfangled electronic communications have the power to re-program the brains of state representatives, causing them to vote against their better judgement. Lobbyists will retain the priviledge of telling their pet politicians how to vote via written notes passed to pages. L8R!
  • A President France Deserves?

    February 1, 2007
    Everyone's favorite "walrus-moustachioed" anti-globalist has set his eyes on high public office. French sheep-farmer/McDonald's hater Jose Bove has declared he'll be running for President of France.

    The jolly martyr

    While Monsieur Bove enjoys great popularity among the anti-capitalist left around the world, we should remember that that popularity is intense but very narrow. As Sebastian Mallaby has recently pointed out, the popularity of American and capitalist icons has never been greater - even in France itself:
    In 1999 a...
  • Politicizing the politicization of science

    January 31, 2007
    A new report from the Union of Concerned Scientists finds "unacceptably large numbers of federal climate scientists [have] personally experienced instances of [political] interference over the past five years."  At a Congressional hearing yesterday, Rep. Issa questioned the statistical validity of the survey, pointing to OMB guidelines that suggest the UCS survey's response rate was unacceptably low.  Roger Pielke Jr doesn't think this is a problem:
    Mr. Issa focused on the statistical power of the survey, which is the wrong way to look at it. The responses were the responses. They are not evidence of a larger population — the responses ARE the population. That being said the UCS supports my own contention that politics and...
  • Milton Friedman, psychic?

    January 31, 2007
    By proclamation of several cities and states, Monday was Milton Friedman Day. CEI was one of many free-market groups that joined in this celebration with events celebrating the great economist's life. But really, especially for the governments concerned, shouldn't every day be Milton Friedman Day? We should try our best not to interfere or advocate interfering with the free market. In that spirit, I want to share a passage of Dr. Friedman's from The Book of Predictions published in 1980. It turns out that Friedman was not just a a sage of free-market economics, but a sage,  period. He was four out of five in his prediction of future fellow recipients of the Nobel Prize in economics, and there is still time for...
  • Still a lot of pork in Farm Bill proposals

    January 31, 2007
    This morning Secretary of Agriculture Mike Johanns presented the Administration proposals for the new Farm Bill. Here's his press release: Here's the link to the proposals. The energy program is extensive and will be costly — remember, this is a Farm Bill, known for its fat subsidies to large-scale farm operators.  For instance, the proposals would start a new program to “provide $100 million in direct support to producers of...
  • What's John Edwards' carbon footprint?

    January 31, 2007
    Looks rather large: Perhaps he should be called Bigfoot?
       
    John Edwards' home  
  • True Congressional Confessions

    January 31, 2007
    In today's Politico, Amy Doolittle has a light-hearted story on the tours that Members of Congress occasionally give for constituents around the Capitol. A handful of congressmen are known to be frequent guides, taking over a job generally relegated to the lowest of low-level staffers. Part way through the piece, though, we find a dark confession by Utah Republican Rob Bishop:
    I find that if you say something with enough fervor, anyone will believe it, so I do that. Trying to find what the true bits are as opposed to the false bits, it's kind of part of the fun of it all.
    As with Capitol tours, so it is with representative democracy. If our elected leaders always told us the truth about what they were doing, what fun would that be? After all, that's one...
  • Trade and globalization get blamed for society's ills

    January 31, 2007
    At a House Ways and Means Committee hearing yesterday, chaired by Representative Charles Rangel, witnesses said that the effects of trade and globalization on American workers and the U.S. economy have to be carefully examined, and policies to deal with worker insecurity need to be addressed. The panel testifying included law and business professors, economists, and business leaders, who all seemed to give credence to negative views of trade's effects. There were strong recommendations to include “social contracts” in trade agreements, with Georgetown Law Professor Daniel Tarullo specifically calling for that:
    . . . trade agreements should be occasions for reaffirming the social compact. There is no single formula for doing so. What is sensible and feasible will vary with the nature...

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