Cap and Trade Passes House; On To Senate

Posted in Uncategorized on June 26, 2009 by nimelar

ABCNews reports.

This news report must be translated.  Ready?  Here we go.

Item 1:  “Democrats scurried to bring [the bill] to a vote today before the July 4 congressional recess.”  Translation:  Hot Air’s Ed Morrissey notes that Waxman loaded the thousand-page bill down with three hundred pages of amendments…today.  People have not read more than 20% of this bill.  At least.  John Boehner tried to take advantage of a House custom allowing speakers to extend their remarks on a subject indefinitely and read the entire thing aloud on the floor.

Item 2:  The articles notes “concerns that it will raise energy costs and put millions of Americans out of work.”  After a bit of back-and-forth, it became clear that the bill would seriously hurt American families, and so the bill was changed to hide the costs until 2019.

Item 3:  “Creating clean energy jobs and curbing global warming are the goals of the milestone legislation.”  George Will directed our attention to a study by a professor at the Universidad Rey Juan Carlos detailing how Spain’s far-reaching green jobs spending program has cost the nation 2.2 jobs for every one job created and led to an 18.1% unemployment rate, not to mention the exorbitant spending required to keep those jobs afloat.

Not mentioned by ABCNews, however:  global warming is coming under renewed evidence-based attack around the world.  Kimberly Strassel writes:

In April, the Polish Academy of Sciences published a document challenging man-made global warming. In the Czech Republic, where President Vaclav Klaus remains a leading skeptic, today only 11% of the population believes humans play a role. In France, President Nicolas Sarkozy wants to tap Claude Allegre to lead the country’s new ministry of industry and innovation. Twenty years ago Mr. Allegre was among the first to trill about man-made global warming, but the geochemist has since recanted. New Zealand last year elected a new government, which immediately suspended the country’s weeks-old cap-and-trade program.

The number of skeptics, far from shrinking, is swelling. Oklahoma Sen. Jim Inhofe now counts more than 700 scientists who disagree with the U.N. — 13 times the number who authored the U.N.’s 2007 climate summary for policymakers. Joanne Simpson, the world’s first woman to receive a Ph.D. in meteorology, expressed relief upon her retirement last year that she was finally free to speak “frankly” of her nonbelief. Dr. Kiminori Itoh, a Japanese environmental physical chemist who contributed to a U.N. climate report, dubs man-made warming “the worst scientific scandal in history.” Norway’s Ivar Giaever, Nobel Prize winner for physics, decries it as the “new religion.” A group of 54 noted physicists, led by Princeton’s Will Happer, is demanding the American Physical Society revise its position that the science is settled. (Both Nature and Science magazines have refused to run the physicists’ open letter.)

The collapse of the “consensus” has been driven by reality. The inconvenient truth is that the earth’s temperatures have flat-lined since 2001, despite growing concentrations of C02. Peer-reviewed research has debunked doomsday scenarios about the polar ice caps, hurricanes, malaria, extinctions, rising oceans. A global financial crisis has politicians taking a harder look at the science that would require them to hamstring their economies to rein in carbon.

ABCNews does manage to quote Barack Obama thus:  “Europe, in many ways over the last several years, has moved more rapidly than the United States on addressing this issue.”  True enough; so why not take some time to mull over the success–I should say, lack thereof–of their policies before enacting a massive one of our own?  Contrary to the way our Congress is acting, ours is to wonder why–instead, we will simply do, and…well, we’ll see.

The Sanford Press Conference

Posted in Uncategorized on June 25, 2009 by nimelar

I haven’t thought too much about this, beyond being sad at this betrayal of trust by someone I had so respected as a budget hawk and a principled conservative–the sort of person who is so important in a time of runaway spending and irresponsibility passing itself off as “tough decisions.”  I watched the YouTube clip of his press conference, but didn’t want to say anything about what I felt was most striking about it until now.

Today, Slate.com ran this column about the unseemly glee over Mark Sanford’s downfall.  A few words:

The snap judgments failed to acknowledge a grain of the fundamental human carnage we were witnessing. You can laugh at Sanford, as you can laugh at a video of a wrecked Amy Winehouse falling all over her house. But at some point, even though they did it to themselves, you have to feel sorry for them as human beings. You can do that, I think, and not be a fan of adultery or drug use…

What Mark Sanford seemed to be trying to say is that he screwed up, in the biggest possible way, because he lost his bearings. He lost his self-control. He was indulgent. He forgot that there were other humans in the world. Yet in the constant flow of abuse, joke-making, and grand conclusions about his failings, it seemed everyone having a good time pointing at his self-indulgence was also engaging in a form of it.

Look…I realize that conservatives ought to and have to be hard on Republican politicians who cheat on their wives and engage in other sins.  But sometimes I wonder how much of it stems from the fact that we’ve made so much of cheating Democrats that we can’t look like hypocrites now.  What if we are hypocrites, though?  Maybe this is a good time to admit that we have no idea what it’s like for families that go through this publicly.  We can’t really know if the absence of Sanford’s wife is a tribute to her self-respect or a sign of unfortunate–if understandable–bitterness.  Those things are not for us to comment on.  Maybe this is a good time to admit that Republicans and conservatives are not morally superior to Democrats and liberals simply because of their political beliefs.

Anyway, I’ll say this:  the most disturbing part, to me, of the Sanford press conference isn’t Mark Sanford’s speech.  I can’t say what his emotions were, whether praiseworthy or blameworthy.  But I can say that the girl grinning in the background throughout the speech is one of the most ghoulish things I have witnessed in one of these events.  It’s sad that we make so much of politics that we’re willing to rejoice in the pain and anguish of others, no matter how much they’ve brought it on themselves.  May we, as conservatives, never do that (again).

On Zimbabwe: Hope and Patience

Posted in Uncategorized on June 24, 2009 by nimelar

I was going through my BBC news feeds today, and discovered this fascinating article about Zimbabwean President Morgan Tsvangirai’s trip to Washington, London, and elsewhere.  It’s worth a read, if only to broaden your knowledge about the larger world.  But one passage, in particular, struck me:

All the world needed to know was that Zimbabwe was now stable – there is food in the shops, the 500bn% inflation has vanished like a witch in the night to leave 3% as the shining new number.

And the 100 trillion Zimbabwe dollar note can be found in wallets from Harare to Helsinki only as souvenirs of the kind of figures which give calculators a heart attack.

But as soon the wandering prophet paints this version of peace, unity and development, Amnesty International lands in Zimbabwe and says the picture on his canvas is pure fiction:

Human rights are still precarious; citizens are still living in fear; the poor have no real hope of laying their hands on scarce foreign currency, which is the only currency in circulation.

Do you mean to tell me that the enormous economic problems caused by Mugabe’s reign of terror haven’t simply been fixed by getting a new prime minister?  But it’s already been a year!

Years of brutality can’t be erased so quickly, and economic prosperity isn’t delivered merely by changing leaders or economic policies.  Impatience is a prominent vice in our democratic age, but we cannot think that simply throwing off dictators will deliver the things Westerners think of as given.  Strength and prosperity are not the product of any political system, but of strong civil and political institutions developed over time.

Zimbabwe has been shaped in harmful ways by colonialism, racism, civil war, and decades of brutal dictatorship.  Cracks are finally beginning to show; the election of an opposition candidate, unthinkable only years earlier, has brought renewed hope to an oppressed nation.  It is amazing–and welcome–that a man who has faced such personal devastation at the hands of Mugabe’s regime would be so forgiving for the sake of the peace in which alone his nation can achieve progress.

Zimbabwe is still a troubled nation, and needs our prayers.  Keep the people and the government there in your thoughts.