Thursday, August 30, 2007

Climate Change: What Do the Studies Say?

I know what you're thinking, "Jon does not post enough about global warming." Well here you go: a researcher has examined all of the published climate studies in the last three years to see how many supported the "consensus" that man was at least partially responsible for global warming (not even, as Gore claims, that man is primarily responsible and that global warming will result in catostrophe). Out of 528 studies on climate change found in the literature, only 7% explicitly endorsed the "consensus", 6% rejected this view, 45% accepted this view without saying so explicitly, and 48% were neutral. Guess how many referred to the catostrophic results of global warming? Only one out of 528. It is clear that the global warming hysteria is being driven by politicians and tree huggers, not science.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Give Up Your SUV

John Edwards, if president, would tell Americans to get rid of their SUVs. So sell your boat and put your kids up for adoption if they don't fit in a Prius. If Edwards is so worried about climate change, maybe he should downsize from his 22,000 square foot mansion.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Taxing the Rich

A recent New York Times article makes the tired liberal argument that the rich do not pay "their fair share" of taxes. The American Thinker rejects this argument based on actual IRS statistics. About half of tax returns are for people making less than $30,000 (Adjusted Gross Income). They pay between 3.5-4.5% in taxes (maybe a $1000 a year). Those making $200,000 (AGI) or more make up 2.7% of the population, pay over 20% (at least $40,000 a year) in taxes and contribute 51% of all income taxes. Sounds like more than their fair share to me. The top 2.7% pay at a minimum 40 times as much as the bottom half. Doesn't it follow that the ones paying the most tax should benefit the most from tax cuts? It would be nice if the left would stop trying to use class envy to get votes.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

AIDS in Africa

I picked up a Vanity Fair in a doctors office and read an interesting story on AIDS in Africa. The scope of the problem is overwhelming, but it appears that there is some good news. The author, Alex Shoumatoff, explores the efforts to raise money and the impact of anti-retroviral drugs (ARVs) on the AIDs epidemic. In 2002, only 1% of the 5 million in Africa with AIDS were being treated with life saving ARVs. Only five years later, 28% are getting ARV treatment and the number is rapidly increasing. Shoumatoff gives little credit to the pharmaceutical companies supplying the medicine for a fraction of their average cost ($125 for a year's supply that would cost $10,000 here) or the companies selling "Red" products (4o% of the profits from "Red" Apple, GAP, Nike, etc. products go to fighting AIDs) and the extra $15 billion President Bush has authorized barely gets a mention. Instead, most of the praise is reserved for Bono. Certainly we can do better at helping the poor around the world, not just those with AIDs, but the greater numbers who are starving to death , but what is often missing from the discussion is how to help Africa become self-sufficient. Jennifer Brea argues in The American that aid often has the unfortunate effect of stifling entrepreneurship and incentivizes laziness in African government. Maybe some of the aid money would be better spent on investment or infrastructure. Given the opportunity, who can doubt the potential of Africans? Check out the homemade windmill. I think World Vision strikes a good balance between meeting basic needs and promoting self-sufficiency by addressing the causes and results of poverty (in the interests of full disclosure, my uncle works for World Vision). Give here, if you're interested.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Democrats "Recalibrate" Iraq Message

The Washington Post reports that, faced with the surge's military successes in Iraq, the Democrats are now changing their argument for surrender. The military successes don't matter because of the Iraqi politicians can't reconcile. Even Shrillary and Obama have had to acknowledge the effectiveness of the surge. This complicates things for the Democrats. Their fanatically anti-war base is unhappy that we haven't lost the war in Iraq yet and General Petraeus issues his report in a month and it looks like there will be good news. The GOP is finally on the offensive.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Is the Science Settled?

The global climate models took another hit. These models are what the Al Gore's of the world base their predictions of disaster, intending to scare us into allowing massive new taxation and government control. The models predicted that for every degree centigrade of warming, precipitation would increase by 1-3%. However, the American Thinker brought to my attention a study published in CO2 Science has just shown that precipitation actually increases by 7% per degree C. This is a big difference and it's an important difference. Increases in precipitation will help cool the planet and throw off the catastrophic predictions significantly. Scientists clearly have a long way to go to understanding climate. I'm all for conservation and improving energy technology to reduce pollution, but let's hold off on Kyoto-like protocols and let's not vote for politicians that support them.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Obama - Commander in Chief?

Barack Hussein Obama seems to be making one foreign policy mistake after another. He must recognize that his lack of foreign policy experience is his biggest weakness. However, his recent statements aren't helping much. First Obama promised to meet with every dictator, thug, or leader of a terrorist nation that will have him. Next he would invade Pakistan, one of our only allies in the region. Then he promised never to use nuclear weapons (I hope our world never sees the use of these weapons again, but I will side with Hillary Clinton on this one: "I don't believe that any president should make any blanket statements with respect to the use or non-use of nuclear weapons.") Now, Romney is calling him to the carpet for saying that our troops in Afghanistan are "just air-raiding villages and killing civilians." A horrible and untrue accusation against US troops. Obama may offer "hope" (whatever that means, I'm guessing higher taxes), but he appears to be not quite ready for prime time, and Shrillary is taking full advantage.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Romney Wins Iowa Straw Poll

Mitt Romney was expected to win it, and he won big, with 32% of the vote. Giuliani, McCain, and Thompson did not participate. Giuliani and McCain because they knew they would lose, and Thompson is not officially running for President yet. Romney has been focusing on the first two states to hold primaries - Iowa and New Hampshire. This win doesn't make him the favorite by any means, but I think it does put him in the top three with Giuliani and Thompson. However, Romney is taking the tried and true approach to winning the GOP nomination: court social and economic conservatives and spend money in the early states to propel you to victory in the others. Once Romney separates himself from the crowd of Brownbacks, Huckabees, Tancredos, etc., he can show voters that he is the conservative option compared with the moderate Giuliani, Thompson, or McCain. Giuliani is taking a novel approach to the nomination by skipping Iowa and New Hampshire and focusing on getting moderates who aren't big primary voters to come out for him in New York, Illinois, Florida, California, etc. Giuliani still leads the polls, but as the race narrows, I think Romney will start to pick up the conservatives that are supporting the second tier candidates. I believe Romney is the best choice for conservatives who want a candidate who can articulate conservatism and who is strong on defense, family values, and the economy.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Poll: the Mainstream Media Sucks

A new poll by the Pew Research Center found that most people believe the news media is politically biased and inaccurate. Those who get their news primarily from the internet were even harsher in their criticism. The skeptics among us may say, but maybe some think the media is biased toward the right (hard to believe, I know, when news people give money to Democrats 9-1 over Republicans). My retort: 53% of the internet people (who tended to be younger and better educated, by the way) felt that news organizations failed "to stand up for America." Does that sound like something anyone on the left would say? The public's perception of the news media has fallen sharply since 1985, when a similar study was conducted. We are constantly barraged by the liberal bias of the media (for example, the cover story of Newsweek this week: "Global Warming Is A Hoax - Or so claim well-funded naysayers who still reject the overwhelming evidence of climate change"). It puts a smile on my face to know so many people see it for what it is.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

The Surge Is Working

At last even the New York Times is acknowledging good news in Iraq. Michael O'Hanlon and Kenneth Pollack wrote an op-ed ("A War We Just Might Win") last week that was overwhelmingly positive on the surge's impact. O'Hanlon and Pollack have been nothing but critical of the Bush administration and the war in Iraq until now. "Here is the most important thing Americans need to understand: We are finally getting somewhere in Iraq, at least in military terms... we were surprised by the gains we saw and the potential to produce not necessarily “victory” but a sustainable stability that both we and the Iraqis could live with." Their key points:

  • Morale of the troops in high, as is their confidence in General Petraeus

  • Civilian fatality rates are down 1/3 since the surge began

  • Our troops are leaving formerly dangerous areas as the Iraqi securtity forces step to the plate. Much of the corruption within these forces has been removed, and our troops are much more confident in the Iraqi forces

  • A local mayor told them his greatest fear was an overly rapid American departure from Iraq

  • Iraqis are rejecting Al-Qaeda and Moktada al-Sadr’s forces

  • The Anbar province has gone from the least secure area to one of the most secure

  • The economy is showing a lot of improvement

Democrats can't afford to acknowledge any success in Iraq. They are invested in defeat. Success in Iraq is a win for the Iraqis and a win for the U.S. but it is a loss for the Democrats.

Monday, August 06, 2007

Bonds Cheats (not just with steroids and mistresses)

Everybody's sick of hearing about Barry Bonds and steroids. However, Michael Witte at Editor & Publisher (ht Drudge) writes of a different way Bonds has cheated to catch Hank Aaron's home run total: his elbow "armor." I always thought the elbow pad was unnecessarily huge, but Witte has analyzed his swing and makes a surprisingly convincing argument that the elbow pad is actually a mechanical apparatus that gives Bonds a significant advantage. For example, he claims that it keeps Bonds' swing remarkably consistent and efficient, harnessing his power more effectively. It also allows Bonds to hit the ball with more mass, but with better mass distribution than using a heavier bat. A rule change years ago forbids players from wearing an elbow pad, but Bonds was grandfathered in and his pad has grown more than his hats since he started wearing one in 1992. I was hoping he would be indicted, suspended, or suffer some Tonya Harding related tragedy before he tied Aaron (can you picture Bonds down, sobbing as he clutches the knee, "Why? Why? Why?"). It's too late for that, I guess I'll have to keep rooting for Alex Rodriguez to break the record 7 or 8 years from now.