More speaking truth to the power-hungry

Michelle Malkin goes there.

(“There” is Which Terrorist supports Which Democrat[*1] .”)

I recall the saying “you can pick your friends but you can’t pick your family.”  It may be that Clinton or Obama have not picked the terrorists as friends, but there are certainly terrorists out there in the world that haven’t quite gotten the Dear John letter from them, either.

There’s a simple way for Clinton and Obama to end this scandalous line of argument:  be much more direct in their rejection and repudiation of erstwhile “friends.”

What UMKC could do to raise its profile in town

1.  Start a college baseball program.

2.  Start a FCS football program.

They’ll have to add women’s sports programs (swimming & diving, perhaps?) and maybe trim some men’s scholarships to meet Title IX, but the net effect would be to keep UMKC Athletics’ name in the local Kansas City media spotlight for the entire college sports year.  Right now, the only thing that gets covered is UMKC men’s basketball, and even that gets short shrift compared to the Big XII leviathans in their back yard, not to mention the Kansas City pro teams.

Health insurance: conflict of interest?

Another odd little chunk of synchronicity–I was just talking with my personal trainer this morning about how much I dislike insurance companies.

This Christian Science Monitor story[*1] distills a big reason why I feel the way I do:

. . . “When an umpire bets on the outcome of a game he is refereeing, he has a conflict of interest,” writes (one of the lawyers), in his brief.

“MetLife is equally conflicted when it decides whether a beneficiary is entitled to benefits. If MetLife answers ‘yes,’ then it is the one who has to pay; the beneficiary’s gain is MetLife’s loss,” (the lawyer) writes.
. . .
In a friend-of-the-court brief, the American Council of Life Insurers says appeals courts finding a conflict of interest have embraced “an overly simplistic view of the economic realities of the business of insurance.”

The reality of the business of insurance, in my opinion, is that it’s legalized gambling.  And the house (i.e. the insurance company) makes the rules and decides who can and can not play.

Insurance companies are not your friends.  Ever.  At best they professionally hold to their end of a gambling wager.  Sure, you get the occasional person trying to defraud an insurance company, but I think the much more usual case is the big, impersonal, uncaring insurance company steamrolling over someone who by circumstance is unable to defend themselves.  Like most crimes, it’s only illegal if you get caught.

Fascism in sheep’s clothing

I’m slowly working my way through Liberal Fascism[*1] by Jonah Goldberg.  It’s a pretty horrifying book, partly because it reinforces just how easily people who start with the best of intentions rapidly run off the track from well-meaning busybodyness and all the way into full-blown we-know-better-than-you-do-how-to-run-your-life arrogance which is a signal trait of fascism.  Time after time the book presents the ugly underside of the left, from the Progressives at the end of the 19th Century all the way to today.  It’s not a very comfortable read but it’s must-reading for anybody who really cares about freedom and liberty.

So, now comes some of the same argument from a completely different source:  a blog for the New Scientist magazine by Fred Pearce[*2] .  He takes on “green fascism.”  Based on the general tone and tenor of many of my recent posts (as well as my current reading matter documented above) it seems spookily timely:

Most of us breed. And those of us who do have one ecological footprint in common: our offspring. Me included. So all greens have to ask: is having babies bad for the planet?

Fair enough. But there is another question that I find increasingly being asked. Should we be trying to stop others having babies, especially people in poor countries with fast-growing populations?

I must say I thought this kind of illiberal thinking had been banished from the environmental movement. But it keeps seeping back. When I give public talks on climate change, I am often asked if all the efforts in the rich world won’t be wiped out by rising populations in the poor world.

(emphasis added)

It’s almost like some people can only conceive of two possible futures:  one where the developed world is pulled down to the economic level of the Third World by environmental restrictions and regulations; or a world where the entire Third World is left to starve and bake in the globally-warmed world while the environmentally-advantaged jet from conference to conference and from benefit concert to benefit concert, while their lessers look up at them with envy and hatred.

I reject both futures.

About that sun thing

Via Ace of Spades HQ[*1] , an article in The Australian[*2] .  That article ends with:

We cannot really know, but my guess is that the odds are at least 50-50 that we will see significant cooling rather than warming in coming decades.

The probability that we are witnessing the onset of a real ice age is much less, perhaps one in 500, but not totally negligible.

All those urging action to curb global warming need to take off the blinkers and give some thought to what we should do if we are facing global cooling instead.

It will be difficult for people to face the truth when their reputations, careers, government grants or hopes for social change depend on global warming, but the fate of civilisation may be at stake.

In the famous words of Oliver Cromwell, “I beseech you, in the bowels of Christ, think it possible you may be mistaken.”

The tagline for the author reads:

Phil Chapman is a geophysicist and astronautical engineer who lives in San Francisco. He was the first Australian to become a NASA astronaut.

Now I’m not exactly of the opinion that two opposite histrionically apocolyptic climate visions necessarily are better than one, but I belive that Chapman’s use of the Cromwell quote is well-taken.

I tend to be a bit of a contrarian about many things scientific (diet and climate being two significant examples).  All the experts tell me that starving myself and eatling a low-fat diet will make me thinner and more healthy.  They are wrong.  What starving myself and eating low-fat does is make me go out and binge uncontrollably.  I don’t do that nearly so much when I’m low-carbing religiously.  And we understand climate processes even less than we understand human biochemistry.  So I hope you forgive my huge dose of (metaphorical) salt I take with every single scientific pronouncement that comes out today.

If you haven’t clicked through to the article in The Australian, the punch line is that the next sunspot cycle, numbered #24, is late.  Some scientists look at this as the reason why global temperatures haven’t decreased significantly since the late 1980’s (didn’t know that, didja?)   Why should you care?  From the article:

The reason this matters is that there is a close correlation between variations in the sunspot cycle and Earth’s climate. The previous time a cycle was delayed like this was in the Dalton Minimum, an especially cold period that lasted several decades from 1790.

Northern winters became ferocious: in particular, the rout of Napoleon’s Grand Army during the retreat from Moscow in 1812 was at least partly due to the lack of sunspots.

The only thing we know for sure is that we don’t know everything.  Not even close.

If we really, really had to, we could do something about a long-term warming trend of the Earth’s temperatures.  Build a system of giant space umbrellas to help reflect the Sun’s energy, if all else fails.  Could we do that?  Absolutely, if life on Earth–or even Western Civilization–was really in the balance.  We could do it fast, too.  IF WE HAD TO.

But if the Sun really cools down significantly, there’s just not a whole hell of a lot we’re going to be able to do to keep the glaciers from rolling again, except move south.  The good news is that all those coastal cities won’t be flooded.  The bad news is that all of those coastal cities we’re worried about flooding out with Climate Change (well, those cities that aren’t under hundreds of feet of ice) will quickly become landlocked, inland cities.


More science, please.

Stating the Obvious

George Orwell:  “We have now sunk to a depth where the restatement of the obvious is the duty of intelligent men”

A most excellent quote.  It leads off this American Thinker[*1] article.

Emotion has totally replaced reason as the arbiter of arguments in public life today.  It is enough to really, really, really, really believe that you’re right.  Facts simply don’t matter–they’re just things you can manipulate to say whatever you want them to say, anyway.  All that really matters is that you care more than your opponent.

This is really, really dangerous.