Friday, April 21, 2006

Venezuela: Poster Boy for Socialism

Wave of Violent Crime Sweeps Venezuela

What??? How can this be?? If you listen to the wacky liberals you'd think that Chavez was the Utopian Easter Bunny! You mean life under socialism isn't perfect? Oh, I see, if only we could get rid of a few more rich people then life would be perfect.

One thing I've learned: Feeding poverty does not eliminate poverty.
Feeding poverty only breeds more poverty.

Pitting the poor against the rich is an age old strategy to simply maintain control by force.


Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Clinton's 'Family Medical Leave Act': Leave it


I remember when the 1993 "The Family Medical Leave Act" was passed. Up until then, as a full time salaried engineer I could take time off here and there when I needed it and make it up later in the week. My employer worked with the employees and as long as the we worked our 40 hours for the week, there was no issue. Of course if I had a real emergency I could take time off as needed. Most employers are willing to work with good workers to accomodate their personal needs, as long as the job still gets done.

Enter Clinton's 'Family Leave Act'. Suddenly any time taken off was now 'without pay'. Thanks, Bill and Hillary. That's a giant step backward. What good is time off without pay if your budget is stretched to the limit now? Who can afford to lose 12 weeks of pay in a year?

Flash forward to 2006. Now Hillary and friends are proposing to extend Family Leave not only for personal reasons, but just about any old thing that comes up, and WITH PAY no less. (Hillary Clinton: Expand Family Leave Act)

Even more absurd. People will be lining up for 'free money and time off too!'

What are we, French?

I have a friend who thinks the 12 weeks of 'Family Leave' off is a mandated free vacation and has taken all 12 weeks of it every year since 1993. She has a mother who she says she's caring for (although the mother lives on her own and takes perfectly good care of herself). I expect there are many of those '50 million' people Hillary is touting who have also abused the privilege.

If Hillary and the rest of those pinheads in Washington had any real notion of making our lives better they would lower taxes and work harder to get OUT of our lives, not strive to get ever more entwined IN our lives. You simply can't keep squeezing the producers with higher and higher taxes for more and more social projects like this. Higher taxes just raise prices of all goods and services. Who do you think pays for those tax increases? You do! Who do you think is ultimately going to pay for someone who takes off 12 weeks of paid leave? You are!

If the owner of a car dealership or a grocery store, or any business has to pay higher taxes, or hire more people just to cover all the empty 12 week slots of other employees, they're just going to pass that cost increase along to you in the cost of their products and services. So now you have to work even more to pay for the same things you bought last year. The cycle is endless. (Remember, some 40 cents of a gallon of gas is TAXES!)

Even by Hillary's own estimate, the Family Leave Act benefitted only 50 million people (Sen Dodd says 35 million). But there are some 300 million people in this country. So the other 250 million or so now have to work harder and pay even MORE taxes to pay for absurd behavior like my friend who wants to take a week off every month, or take a 3 month 'vacation' (which she has done).

I'm sick and tired of watching the socialists try to engulf us in government 'benefit' programs like this that are directed at those who produce the least. If taxes were lowered, and subsequently consumer prices were lowered as a result, many families would not be forced to have two incomes in order to live. As it is over HALF of the second income goes to taxes and tax-inflated prices! Lower taxes and one parent could stay home. Imagine that!

My employer was willing to work with me when I needed time off because I was a good worker, I was reliable and I was good at what I did. I respected him and he respected me and we worked together. My wife and I raised four kids while both working fulltime career jobs. We attended school affairs, handled doctor appointments and even dealt with sick kids, all without the 'benefit' of the 1993 Family Medical Leave Act. They all grew up, got married and have successfully made their way in the world. I know it can be done. If government would get out of our lives and stop trying to 'fix' everything (paid for with taxpayer dollars), we'd all be a lot better off.

Frankly, Hillary, I'd like to tell you where you can 'Leave' your Family Act.


Monday, April 10, 2006

Telegraph | Opinion | There IS a problem with global warming... it stopped in 1998

Finally! The voice of reason amidst the din of dumb. I've never bought into the idea that any government-paid weenie knows with any certainty what the Earth's temperature is going to be in 100 years. They can barely predict what is happening tomorrow.
-- Larry

There IS a problem with global warming... it stopped in 1998
By Bob Carter
(Filed: 09/04/2006)

For many years now, human-caused climate change has been viewed as a large and urgent problem. In truth, however, the biggest part of the problem is neither environmental nor scientific, but a self created political fiasco. Consider the simple fact, drawn from the official temperature records of the Climate Research Unit at the University of East Anglia, that for the years 1998-2005 global average temperature did not increase (there was actually a slight decrease, though not at a rate that differs significantly from zero).

Yes, you did read that right. And also, yes, this eight-year period of temperature stasis did coincide with society's continued power station and SUV-inspired pumping of yet more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.

In response to these facts, a global warmingdevotee will chuckle and say "how silly to judge climate change over such a short period". Yet in the next breath, the same person will assure you that the 28-year-long period of warming which occurred between 1970 and 1998 constitutes a dangerous (and man-made) warming. Tosh. Our devotee will also pass by the curious additional facts that a period of similar warming occurred between 1918 and 1940, well prior to the greatest phase of world industrialisation, and that cooling occurred between 1940 and 1965, at precisely the time that human emissions were increasing at their greatest rate.

Does something not strike you as odd here? That industrial carbon dioxide is not the primary cause of earth's recent decadal-scale temperature changes doesn't seem at all odd to many thousands of independent scientists. They have long appreciated - ever since the early 1990s, when the global warming bandwagon first started to roll behind the gravy train of the UN Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) - that such short-term climate fluctuations are chiefly of natural origin. Yet the public appears to be largely convinced otherwise. How is this possible?

Since the early 1990s, the columns of many leading newspapers and magazines, worldwide, have carried an increasing stream of alarmist letters and articles on hypothetical, human-caused climate change. Each such alarmist article is larded with words such as "if", "might", "could", "probably", "perhaps", "expected", "projected" or "modelled" - and many involve such deep dreaming, or ignorance of scientific facts and principles, that they are akin to nonsense.

The problem here is not that of climate change per se, but rather that of the sophisticated scientific brainwashing that has been inflicted on the public, bureaucrats and politicians alike. Governments generally choose not to receive policy advice on climate from independent scientists. Rather, they seek guidance from their own self-interested science bureaucracies and senior advisers, or from the IPCC itself. No matter how accurate it maybe, cautious and politically non-correct science advice is not welcomed in Westminster, and nor is it widely reported.

Marketed under the imprimatur of the IPCC, the bladder-trembling and now infamous hockey-stick diagram that shows accelerating warming during the 20th century - a statistical construct by scientist Michael Mann and co-workers from mostly tree ring records - has been a seminal image of the climate scaremongering campaign. Thanks to the work of a Canadian statistician, Stephen McIntyre, and others, this graph is now known to be deeply flawed.

There are other reasons, too, why the public hears so little in detail from those scientists who approach climate change issues rationally, the so-called climate sceptics. Most are to do with intimidation against speaking out, which operates intensely on several parallel fronts.

First, most government scientists are gagged from making public comment on contentious issues, their employing organisations instead making use of public relations experts to craft carefully tailored, frisbee science press releases. Second, scientists are under intense pressure to conform with the prevailing paradigm of climate alarmism if they wish to receive funding for their research. Third, members of the Establishment have spoken declamatory words on the issue, and the kingdom's subjects are expected to listen.

On the alarmist campaign trail, the UK's Chief Scientific Adviser, Sir David King, is thus reported as saying that global warming is so bad that Antarctica is likely to be the world's only habitable continent by the end of this century. Warming devotee and former Chairman of Shell, Lord [Ron] Oxburgh, reportedly agrees with another rash statement of King's, that climate change is a bigger threat than terrorism. And goodly Archbishop Rowan Williams, who self-evidently understands little about the science, has warned of "millions, billions" of deaths as a result of global warming and threatened Mr Blair with the wrath of the climate God unless he acts. By betraying the public's trust in their positions of influence, so do the great and good become the small and silly.

Two simple graphs provide needed context, and exemplify the dynamic, fluctuating nature of climate change. The first is a temperature curve for the last six million years, which shows a three-million year period when it was several degrees warmer than today, followed by a three-million year cooling trend which was accompanied by an increase in the magnitude of the pervasive, higher frequency, cold and warm climate cycles. During the last three such warm (interglacial) periods, temperatures at high latitudes were as much as 5 degrees warmer than today's. The second graph shows the average global temperature over the last eight years, which has proved to be a period of stasis.

The essence of the issue is this. Climate changes naturally all the time, partly in predictable cycles, and partly in unpredictable shorter rhythms and rapid episodic shifts, some of the causes of which remain unknown. We are fortunate that our modern societies have developed during the last 10,000 years of benignly warm, interglacial climate. But for more than 90 per cent of the last two million years, the climate has been colder, and generally much colder, than today. The reality of the climate record is that a sudden natural cooling is far more to be feared, and will do infinitely more social and economic damage, than the late 20th century phase of gentle warming.

The British Government urgently needs to recast the sources from which it draws its climate advice. The shrill alarmism of its public advisers, and the often eco-fundamentalist policy initiatives that bubble up from the depths of the Civil Service, have all long since been detached from science reality. Intern-ationally, the IPCC is a deeply flawed organisation, as acknowledged in a recent House of Lords report, and the Kyoto Protocol has proved a costly flop. Clearly, the wrong horses have been backed.

As mooted recently by Tony Blair, perhaps the time has come for Britain to join instead the new Asia-Pacific Partnership on Clean Development and Climate (AP6), whose six member countries are committed to the development of new technologies to improve environmental outcomes. There, at least, some real solutions are likely to emerge for improving energy efficiency and reducing pollution.

Informal discussions have already begun about a new AP6 audit body, designed to vet rigorously the science advice that the Partnership receives, including from the IPCC. Can Britain afford not to be there?

Prof Bob Carter is a geologist at James Cook University, Queensland, engaged in paleoclimate research