Tuesday, October 6, 2009
Friday, October 2, 2009
10. Dead people can't vote at IOC meetings
9. Obama distracted by 25 min meeting with Gen. McChrystal
8. Who cares if Obama couldn't talk the IOC into Chicago? He'll be able to talk Iran out of nukes.
7. The impediment is Israel still building settlements.
6. Obviously no president would have been able to accomplish it.
5. We've been quite clear and said all along that we didn't want the Olympics.
4. This isn't about the number of Olympics "lost", it's about the number of Olympics "saved" or "created".
3. Clearly not enough wise Latina judges on the committee
2. Because the IOC is racist.
1. It's George Bush's fault.
Monday, September 28, 2009
So the question should be that if it didn't work there, how could it possibly work here?
Monday, September 21, 2009
Imagine if Pope Benedict gave a speech saying the Catholic Church has had it wrong all these centuries; there is no reason priests shouldn't marry. That might generate the odd headline, no?
Or if Don Cherry claimed suddenly to like European hockey players who wear visors and float around the ice, never bodychecking opponents.
Or Jack Layton insisted that unions are ruining the economy by distorting wages and protecting unproductive workers.
Or Stephen Harper began arguing that it makes good economic sense for Ottawa to own a car company. (Oh, wait, that one happened.) But at least, the Tories-buy-GM aberration made all the papers and newscasts.
When a leading proponent for one point of view suddenly starts batting for the other side, it's usually newsworthy.
So why was a speech last week by Prof. Mojib Latif of Germany's Leibniz Institute not given more prominence?
Latif is one of the leading climate modellers in the world. He is the recipient of several international climate-study prizes and a lead author for the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). He has contributed significantly to the IPCC's last two five-year reports that have stated unequivocally that man-made greenhouse emissions are causing the planet to warm dangerously.
Yet last week in Geneva, at the UN's World Climate Conference--an annual gathering of the so-called "scientific consensus" on man-made climate change --Latif conceded the Earth has not warmed for nearly a decade and that we are likely entering "one or even two decades during which temperatures cool."
The global warming theory has been based all along on the idea that the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans would absorb much of the greenhouse warming caused by a rise in man-made carbon dioxide, then they would let off that heat and warm the atmosphere and the land.
But as Latif pointed out, the Atlantic, and particularly the North Atlantic, has been cooling instead. And it looks set to continue a cooling phase for 10 to 20 more years.
"How much?" he wondered before the assembled delegates. "The jury is still out."
But it is increasingly clear that global warming is on hiatus for the time being. And that is not what the UN, the alarmist scientists or environmentalists predicted. For the past dozen years, since the Kyoto accords were signed in 1997, it has been beaten into our heads with the force and repetition of the rowing drum on a slave galley that the Earth is warming and will continue to warm rapidly through this century until we reach deadly temperatures around 2100.
While they deny it now, the facts to the contrary are staring them in the face: None of the alarmist drummers ever predicted anything like a 30-year pause in their apocalyptic scenario.
Latif says he expects warming to resume in 2020 or 2030.
In the past year, two other groups of scientists--one in Germany, the second in the United States--have come to the same conclusion: Warming is on hold, likely because of a cooling of the Earth's upper oceans, but it will resume.
But how is that knowable? How can Latif and the others state with certainty that after this long and unforeseen cooling, dangerous man-made heating will resume? They failed to observe the current cooling for years after it had begun, how then can their predictions for the resumption of dangerous warming be trusted?
My point is they cannot. It's true the supercomputer models Latif and other modellers rely on for their dire predictions are becoming more accurate. But getting the future correct is far trickier. Chances are some unforeseen future changes will throw the current predictions out of whack long before the forecast resumption of warming.
Lorne Gunter is a columnist with the Edmonton Journal and National Post.
© Copyright (c) The Calgary Herald
Tuesday, September 15, 2009
Friday, September 11, 2009
Thursday, September 3, 2009
Friday, August 28, 2009
2. Bowed to the King of Saudi Arabia .
3. Praised the Marxist Daniel Ortega.
4. Kissed Socialist Hugo Chavez on the cheek.
5. Endorsed the Socialist Evo Morales of
6. Sided with Hugo Chavez and Communist Fidel
Castro against Honduras .
7.. Announced we would meet with Iranians with
no pre-conditions while they're building their nuclear
8. Gave away billions to AIG also without
9. Expanded the bailouts.
10. Insulted everyone who has ever loved a
11. Doubled our national debt.
12. Announced the termination of our new
missile defense system the day after North Korea launched an
13. Released information on U.S. intelligence
gathering despite urgings of his own CIA director and the
prior four CIA directors.
=0 A 14. Accepted without comment that five of his
cabinet members cheated on their taxes and two other
nominees withdrew after they couldn't take the heat.
15. Appointed a Homeland Security Chief who
identified military veterans and abortion opponents as
"dangers to the nation."
16. Ordered that the word "terrorism"
no longer be used and instead refers to such acts as
"man made disasters."
17. Circled the globe to publicly apologize for
America 's world leadership.
18. Told the Mexican president that the
violence in their country was because of us.
19. Politicized the census by moving it into
the White House from the Department of Commerce.
Appointed as Attorney General the man who orchestrated the
forced removal and expulsion to Cuba of a 9-year-old whose
mother died trying to bring him to freedom in the United
21. Salutes as heroes three Navy SEALS who took
down three terrorists who threatened one American life and
the next day announces members of the Bush administration
may stand trial for "torturing" three 9/11
terrorists by pouring water up their noses.
22. Low altitude photo shoot of Air Force One
over New York City that frightened thousands of New
23. Sent his National Defense Advisor to Europe
to assure them that the US will no longer treat Israel in a
special manner and they might be on their own with the
24. Praised Jimmy Carter's trip to Gaza
where he sided with terrorist Hamas against Israel .
25.. Nationalized General Motors and Chrysler
while turning shareholder control over to the unions and
freezing out retired investors who owned their bonds.
Committed unlimited taxpayer billions in the process.
26. Passed a huge energy tax in the House that
will make American industry even less competitive while
costing homeowners thousands per year.
27. Announced nationalized health care
"reform" that will strip seniors of their
Medicare, cut pay of physicians, increase taxes yet another
$1 trillion, and put everyone on rationed care with
government bureaucrats deciding who gets care and who
doesn't. (See cartoon.)
Daschle says, "Health care reform will not be
pain free. Seniors should be more accepting of the
conditions that come with age instead of treating
them," while former Colorado Governor Dick Lamm says
seniors have "a duty to die."
If this does not sufficiently raise your ire, just remember
that the President, Senators and Congressmen have their own
special gold plated health care plan which is guaranteed the
remainder of their lives and they are not subject to this
new law if they pass it.
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
Tuesday, August 4, 2009
Monday, August 3, 2009
Medical care in the United States is derided as miserable compared to health care systems in the rest of the developed world. Economists, government officials, insurers, and academics beat the drum for a far larger government role in health care. Much of the public assumes that their arguments are sound because the calls for change are so ubiquitous and the topic so complex. Before we turn to government as the solution, however, we should consider some unheralded facts about America’s health care system.
1. Americans have better survival rates than Europeans for common cancers. Breast cancer mortality is 52 percent higher in Germany than in the United States and 88 percent higher in the United Kingdom. Prostate cancer mortality is 604 percent higher in the United Kingdom and 457 percent higher in Norway. The mortality rate for colorectal cancer among British men and women is about 40 percent higher.
2. Americans have lower cancer mortality rates than Canadians. Breast cancer mortality in Canada is 9 percent higher than in the United States, prostate cancer is 184 percent higher, and colon cancer among men is about 10 percent higher.
3. Americans have better access to treatment for chronic diseases than patients in other developed countries. Some 56 percent of Americans who could benefit from statin drugs, which reduce cholesterol and protect against heart disease, are taking them. By comparison, of those patients who could benefit from these drugs, only 36 percent of the Dutch, 29 percent of the Swiss, 26 percent of Germans, 23 percent of Britons, and 17 percent of Italians receive them.
4. Americans have better access to preventive cancer screening than Canadians. Take the proportion of the appropriate-age population groups who have received recommended tests for breast, cervical, prostate, and colon cancer:
Nine out of ten middle-aged American women (89 percent) have had a mammogram, compared to fewer than three-fourths of Canadians (72 percent).
Nearly all American women (96 percent) have had a Pap smear, compared to fewer than 90 percent of Canadians.
More than half of American men (54 percent) have had a prostatespecific antigen (PSA) test, compared to fewer than one in six Canadians (16 percent).
Nearly one-third of Americans (30 percent) have had a colonoscopy, compared with fewer than one in twenty Canadians (5 percent).
5. Lower-income Americans are in better health than comparable Canadians. Twice as many American seniors with below-median incomes self-report “excellent” health (11.7 percent) compared to Canadian seniors (5.8 percent). Conversely, white, young Canadian adults with below-median incomes are 20 percent more likely than lower-income Americans to describe their health as “fair or poor.”
6. Americans spend less time waiting for care than patients in Canada and the United Kingdom. Canadian and British patients wait about twice as long—sometimes more than a year—to see a specialist, have elective surgery such as hip replacements, or get radiation treatment for cancer. All told, 827,429 people are waiting for some type of procedure in Canada. In Britain, nearly 1.8 million people are waiting for a hospital admission or outpatient treatment.
7. People in countries with more government control of health care are highly dissatisfied and believe reform is needed. More than 70 percent of German, Canadian, Australian, New Zealand, and British adults say their health system needs either “fundamental change” or “complete rebuilding.”
8. Americans are more satisfied with the care they receive than Canadians. When asked about their own health care instead of the “health care system,” more than half of Americans (51.3 percent) are very satisfied with their health care services, compared with only 41.5 percent of Canadians; a lower proportion of Americans are dissatisfied (6.8 percent) than Canadians (8.5 percent).
9. Americans have better access to important new technologies such as medical imaging than do patients in Canada or Britain. An overwhelming majority of leading American physicians identify computerized tomography (CT) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) as the most important medical innovations for improving patient care during the previous decade—even as economists and policy makers unfamiliar with actual medical practice decry these techniques as wasteful. The United States has thirty-four CT scanners per million Americans, compared to twelve in Canada and eight in Britain. The United States has almost twenty-seven MRI machines per million people compared to about six per million in Canada and Britain.
10. Americans are responsible for the vast majority of all health care innovations. The top five U.S. hospitals conduct more clinical trials than all the hospitals in any other developed country. Since the mid- 1970s, the Nobel Prize in medicine or physiology has gone to U.S. residents more often than recipients from all other countries combined. In only five of the past thirty-four years did a scientist living in the United States not win or share in the prize. Most important recent medical innovations were developed in the United States.
Despite serious challenges, such as escalating costs and care for the uninsured, the U.S. health care system compares favorably to those in other developed countries.
Sunday, August 2, 2009
Friday, July 31, 2009
Tax Burden of Top 1% Now Exceeds That of Bottom 95%
by Scott A. Hodge
Newly released data from the IRS clearly debunks the conventional Beltway rhetoric that the "rich" are not paying their fair share of taxes.
Indeed, the IRS data shows that in 2007—the most recent data available—the top 1 percent of taxpayers paid 40.4 percent of the total income taxes collected by the federal government. This is the highest percentage in modern history. By contrast, the top 1 percent paid 24.8 percent of the income tax burden in 1987, the year following the 1986 tax reform act.
Remarkably, the share of the tax burden borne by the top 1 percent now exceeds the share paid by the bottom 95 percent of taxpayers combined. In 2007, the bottom 95 percent paid 39.4 percent of the income tax burden. This is down from the 58 percent of the total income tax burden they paid twenty years ago.
To put this in perspective, the top 1 percent is comprised of just 1.4 million taxpayers and they pay a larger share of the income tax burden now than the bottom 134 million taxpayers combined.
Some in Washington say the tax system is still not progressive enough. However, the recent IRS data bolsters the findings of an OECD study released last year showing that the U.S.—not France or Sweden—has the most progressive income tax system among OECD nations. We rely more heavily on the top 10 percent of taxpayers than does any nation and our poor people have the lowest tax burden of those in any nation.
We are definitely overdue for some honesty in the debate over the progressivity of the nation's tax burden before lawmakers enact any new taxes to pay for expanded health care.
Tuesday, July 28, 2009
Wednesday, July 22, 2009
Monday, July 6, 2009
Sunday, July 05, 2009By Marc Morano – Climate Depot
The latest global averaged satellite temperature data for June 2009 reveals yet another drop in the Earth's temperature. This latest drop in global temperatures means despite his dire warnings, the Earth has cooled .74°F since former Vice President Al Gore released "An Inconvenient Truth" in 2006.
According to the latest data courtesy of algorelied.com: "For the record, this month's Al Gore / 'An Inconvenient Truth' Index indicates that global temperatures have plunged approximately .74°F (.39°C) since 'An Inconvenient Truth' was released." (see satellite temperature chart here with key dates noted, courtesy of www.Algorelied.com - The global satellite temperature data comes from the University of Alabama in Huntsville. Also see: 8 Year Downtrend Continues in Global Temps)
Gore has not yet addressed the simple fact that global temperatures have dropped since the release of his global warming film. (Gore has also not addressed this: Another Moonwalker Defies Gore: NASA Astronaut Dr. Buzz Aldrin rejects global warming fears: 'Climate has been changing for billions of years' - Moonwalkers Defy Gore's Claim That Climate Skeptics Are Akin To Those Who Believe Moon Landing was 'Staged')
A record cool summer has descended upon many parts of the U.S. after predictions of the "year without a summer." There has been no significant global warming since 1995, no warming since 1998 and global cooling for the past few years.
In addition, New peer-reviewed scientific studies now predict a continued lack of global warming for up to three decades as natural climate factors dominate. (See: Climate Fears RIP...for 30 years!? - Global Warming could stop 'for up to 30 years! Warming 'On Hold?...'Could go into hiding for decades' study finds – Discovery.com – March 2, 2009 )
This means that today's high school kids being forced to watch Al Gore's “An Inconvenient Truth” – some of them 4 times in 4 different classes – will be nearly eligible for AARP (age 50) retirement group membership by the time warming resumes if these new studies turn out to be correct. (Editor's Note: Claims that warming will “resume” due to explosive heat in the "pipeline" have also been thoroughly debunked. See: Climatologist Dr. Roger Pielke Sr. 'There is no warming in the pipeline' )
Friday, June 19, 2009
By Jonah Goldberg
What did you do when capitalism died, Daddy?
I won’t be surprised to hear that question from my daughter by the time she gets out of college — or should I say the State Mandatory Voluntarism Training Facility?
When liberals hear conservatives decry the death of capitalism, they titter and roll their eyes. “Oh, you paranoid right-wingers! You see Bolsheviks around every corner.”
But such exasperation is the exhalation of concentrated ignorance. The absence of free markets isn’t necessarily Bolshevism, or even socialism. Capitalism’s death can come in many forms, by many different hands.
After all, not all of Julius Caesar’s murderers thought alike. They were united in their belief Caesar had to go, not necessarily on what would replace him. Caesar fought off his attackers until he saw that among their number was Brutus, his friend. “Et tu, Brute?” he exclaimed; “You, too, Brutus?” It was not the enemy blows but his friend’s betrayal that sapped his will to fight and brought his downfall.
Some historians claim Caesar actually said, “Tu quoque, fili mi?” or, “You too, my child?”
Whether that’s more accurate, it certainly seems a more fitting declaration as the coup de grâce of capitalism’s murder is at the hands of its most successful child: big business.
Everywhere we look we see the great and once-great beneficiaries of free markets running to the state for protection from the cruel bullying of competition. On health care, insurance companies and others repeat the mantra that they want to be “at the table rather than on the menu,” all the better to be positioned as a tax collector of the welfare state. General Motors and Chrysler have gone from being pimped-out prostitutes of the state to outright chattel more akin to the leather-bound gimp in Pulp Fiction, eager to do the bidding of the president and the UAW.
Once-proud companies like GE have become seduced by global-warming schemes because they recognize that there’s more money to be made selling white elephants to Uncle Sam than there is selling competitive products consumers want. Indeed, cap-and-trade taxes promise to deliver precisely the protectionist industrial policies the Left has dreamed of for decades, only under a “progressive” label.
This week, Philip Morris, the biggest of the big tobacco companies, supported and won passage of an “anti-tobacco” bill that will make it easier for Philip Morris (a subsidiary of Altria) to sell cigarettes by making it harder for smaller, more innovative firms to compete. One way it will do that is by curtailing the First Amendment rights of tobacco companies, making it harder to advertise their products (including healthier alternatives to normal cigarettes). Philip Morris, maker of Marlboro and other established brands, already controls 50 percent of the market. That’s why it lobbied government to keep it that way.
Also this week, the White House announced its plan to deal with “systemic risk” in the financial markets. The basic idea is that big firms — giant banks, insurance companies, etc. — cannot be allowed to fail if their failure threatens something called “stability.” The Obama administration is confident that with its new organizational flow charts and enhanced job description for the Federal Reserve, bureaucrats will suddenly see clearly what they couldn’t see before. These regulators will know exactly when bubbles get too big, when booms last too long, and when tens of thousands of managers, investors, actuaries, and bankers make bad or sub-optimal decisions.
The problem, other than the shortage of Jedis and shamans to fill these posts, is that big companies will understand the surest way to attain immortality is to become too big to fail. Once they’ve achieved that privileged status, these companies will become de facto wards of the state, insured for life at taxpayer expense like Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and in exchange they will do whatever Uncle Sam asks.
It’s too soon to tell which companies will leap at the opportunity to sell their souls for immortality, but you can bet that many of those already suckling the TARP teat will be among the first to celebrate the sagacity of the new system.
While doctrinaire socialists might feel betrayed by liberalism’s cozy embrace of big business, their betrayal pales in comparison to the bitterness of free-marketers who defend big business’s freedom to operate, only to see these businesses use that freedom to hide behind the skirts of the nanny state. Real freedom means the freedom to fail as well as succeed. Big business wants to be protected from the former and deny competitors the latter. And their betrayal, more than anything, disheartens those who would defend both freedoms.
— Jonah Goldberg is editor-at-large of National Review Online and the author of Liberal Fascism: The Secret History of the American Left from Mussolini to the Politics of Meaning.
© 2009 Tribune Media Services, Inc.
Tuesday, June 9, 2009
By Lou Pritchett
Dear President Obama:
You are the thirteenth President under whom I have lived and unlike any of the others, you truly scare me.
You scare me because after months of exposure, I know nothing about you.
You scare me because I do not know how you paid for your expensive Ivy League education and your upscale lifestyle and housing with no visible signs of support.
You scare me because you did not spend the formative years of youth growing up in America and culturally you are not an American.
You scare me because you have never run a company or met a payroll.
You scare me because you have never had military experience, thus don't understand it at its core.
You scare me because you lack humility and 'class', always blaming others.
You scare me because for over half your life you have aligned yourself with radical extremists who hate America and you refuse to publicly denounce these radicals who wish to see America fail.
You scare me because you are a cheerleader for the 'blame America' crowd and deliver this message abroad.
You scare me because you want to change America to a European style country where the government sector dominates instead of the private sector.
You scare me because you want to replace our health care system with a government controlled one.
You scare me because you prefer 'wind mills' to responsibly capitalizing on our own vast oil, coal and shale reserves.
You scare me because you want to kill the American capitalist goose that lays the golden egg which provides the highest standard of living in the world.
You scare me because you have begun to use 'extortion' tactics against certain banks and corporations.
You scare me because your own political party shrinks from challenging you on your wild and irresponsible spending proposals.
You scare me because you will not openly listen to or even consider opposing points of view from intelligent people.
You scare me because you falsely believe that you are both omnipotent and omniscient.
You scare me because the media gives you a free pass on everything you do.
You scare me because you demonize and want to silence the Limbaughs, Hannitys, O'Relllys and Becks who offer opposing, conservative points of view.
You scare me because you prefer controlling over governing.
Finally, you scare me because if you serve a second term I will probably not feel safe in writing a similar letter in 8 years.
Note: Lou Pritchett is a former vice president of Procter & Gamble whose career at that company spanned 36 years before his retirement in 1989, and he is the author of the 1995 business book, Stop Paddling & Start Rocking the Boat.
Mr. Pritchett confirmed that he was indeed the author of the much-circulated "open letter." “I did write the 'you scare me' letter. I sent it to the NY Times but they never acknowledged or published it. However, it hit the internet and according to the ‘experts’ has had over 500,000 hits.
Friday, May 29, 2009
With each passing week that the assault against global capitalism continues in Washington, I become more nostalgic for one missing voice: Milton Friedman's. No one could slice and dice the sophistry of government market interventions better than Milton, who died at the age of 94 in 2006. Imagine what the great economist would have to say about the U.S. Treasury owning and operating several car brands or managing the health-care industry. "Why not?" I can almost hear him ask cheerfully. "After all, they've done such a wonderful job delivering the mail."
I would rank Milton Friedman, next to Ronald Reagan, as the greatest apostle for freedom and free markets in the second half of the 20th century. I used to find great joy in visiting him and his wife and co-author, Rose, at their home in San Francisco. We'd have dinner at their favorite Chinese restaurant and chat about the latest silliness out of Washington.
I've been thinking a lot lately of one of my last conversations with Milton, who warned that "even though socialism is a discredited economic model and capitalism is raising living standards to new heights, the left intellectuals continue to push for bigger government everywhere I look." He predicted that people would be seduced by collectivist ideas again.
He was right. In the midst of this global depression, rotten ideas like trillion-dollar stimulus plans, nationalization of banks and confiscatory taxes on America's wealth producers are all the rage. Meanwhile, it is Milton Friedman and his principles of free trade, low tax rates and deregulation that are standing trial as the murderers of global prosperity.
When the University of Chicago wanted to create a $200 million Milton Friedman Institute last year, Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, an avowed socialist and Chicago alum, fumed that "Friedman's ideology caused enormous damage to the American middle class and to working families here and around the world."
At academic conferences it has been open season on Friedman and his philosophy of limited government. Joseph Stiglitz, a Nobel Prize winner, says that Friedman's "Chicago School bears the blame for providing a seeming intellectual foundation" for the now presumably discredited "idea that markets are self-adjusting and the best role for government is to do nothing." University of Texas economist James Galbraith is even more dismissive: "The inability of Friedman's successors to say anything useful about what's happening in financial markets today means their influence is finished," he says. And pop author Naomi Klein says triumphantly: "What we are seeing with the crash on Wall Street . . . should be for Friedmanism what the fall of the Berlin Wall was for authoritarian communism: an indictment of ideology." One left-wing group is even distributing posters in Washington and other cities that proclaim: "Milton Friedman: Proud Father of Global Misery."
The myth that the stock-market collapse was due to a failure of Friedman's principles could hardly be more easily refuted. No one was more critical of the Bush spending and debt binge than Friedman. The massive run up in money and easy credit that facilitated the housing and credit bubbles was precisely the foolishness that Friedman spent a lifetime warning against.
A few scholars are now properly celebrating the Friedman legacy. Andrei Shleifer, a Harvard economics professor, has just published a tribute to Friedman in the Journal of Economic Literature. He describes the period 1980-2005 as "The Age of Milton Friedman," an era that "witnessed remarkable progress of mankind. As the world embraced free market policies, living standards rose sharply while life expectancy, educational attainment, and democracy improved and absolute poverty declined."
So the Bernie Sanders crowd has things exactly backward: Milton's ideas on capitalism and freedom did more to liberate humankind from poverty than the New Deal, Great Society and Obama economic stimulus plans stacked on top of each other.
At one of our dinners, Milton recalled traveling to an Asian country in the 1960s and visiting a worksite where a new canal was being built. He was shocked to see that, instead of modern tractors and earth movers, the workers had shovels. He asked why there were so few machines. The government bureaucrat explained: "You don't understand. This is a jobs program." To which Milton replied: "Oh, I thought you were trying to build a canal. If it's jobs you want, then you should give these workers spoons, not shovels."
But in the energy industry today we are trading in shovels for spoons. The Obama administration wants to power our society by spending three or four times more money to generate electricity using solar and wind power than it would cost to use coal or natural gas. The president says that this initiative will create "green jobs."
Milton knew how to create real wealth-producing jobs. Once, when he visited India in the early 1960s, John Kenneth Galbraith, the U.S. ambassador, welcomed him by only half-joking, "I can think of no place where your free-market ideas can do less harm than in India." Talk about irony. India has adopted much of the Friedman free-market model and has moved nearly 200 million people out of destitution and despair.
I recently phoned Rose Friedman and asked her what she thought about the attacks on her husband. She was mostly dismayed at how far off-course our country has veered under President Obama. "Is this the death of Milton's ideas?" I hesitantly asked. "Oh no," she replied, "But it is the death of common sense."
Mr. Moore is senior economics writer for the Wall Street Journal editorial page
Thursday, May 28, 2009
If enacted, H. R. 2454 would be the biggest government takeover of the economy since the Second World War, which is the last time energy, food, and other basic commodities were rationed. It would also be the biggest tax increase in the history of the world and would cause a colossal transfer of wealth from consumers to big businesses.
The ostensible purpose of Waxman-Markey is to contain global warming by reducing carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions. The cap-and-trade scheme at the heart of the bill would do this by limiting severely the amount of energy derived from the three carbon-dioxide producing fuels -- coal, oil, and natural gas -- Americans would be allowed to use. Currently, over 80% of U. S. energy comes from these three fuels simply because they are the least expensive fuels available. Waxman-Markey would require cutting emissions by 17 percent below a 2005 baseline by 2020, 42 percent by 2030, and 83 percent by 2050...
How far might energy prices rise under Waxman-Markey? It's hard to tell, but it's clear that committee Democrats think it may require more than doubling electric rates and gasoline above five dollars a gallon. President Obama agrees. When Obama was running for President, he told the San Francisco Chronicle on January 17, 2008, "Under my plan of a cap-and-trade system, electricity prices would necessarily skyrocket."
The same week, former president Bill Clinton was in Spain talking about green jobs. What did he say? Planet Gore translates:
Former US President turned ecologist Bill Clinton is aware of the impact on employment by the development on renewable energy. Even though he is, as a former dweller of the White House, one of the most visible supporters in that industry, the US Democrat recognized yesterday that clean energies "have cost many jobs" in Spain.
Though without citing it directly, Clinton was acknowledging yesterday during his conference in Madrid that the study about the impact of public support on renewable energies, released by Universidad Rey Juan Carlos, has very valid conclusions. That report, which has received enormous coverage in US media and been used against Barack Obama's energy policy, argues that every job in renewable energies created in Spain in the year 2000 has cost 571138 Euros and has been the cause of the loss of 2.2 jobs elsewhere in the economy.
Bill Clinton recognized yesterday that "this commitment to clean energy has cost many jobs" while at the same time calling for Spain to intensify investment in this industry to be able to turn high costs into new jobs.
So, the Green Agenda consists of a dramatic rise in unemployment, coupled with the biggest tax increase in world history.
Good to know.
Sunday, May 24, 2009
Thursday, May 14, 2009
Thursday, May 14, 2009
Anyone, said T.S. Eliot, could carve a goose, were it not for the bones. And anyone could govern as boldly as his whims decreed, were it not for the skeletal structure that keeps civil society civil -- the rule of law. The Obama administration is bold. It also is careless regarding constitutional values and is acquiring a tincture of lawlessness.
In February, California's Democratic-controlled Legislature, faced with a $42 billion budget deficit, trimmed $74 million (1.4 percent) from one of the state's fastest-growing programs, which provides care for low-income and incapacitated elderly people and which cost the state $5.42 billion last year. The Los Angeles Times reports that "loose oversight and bureaucratic inertia have allowed fraud to fester."
But the Service Employees International Union collects nearly $5 million a month from 223,000 caregivers who are members. And the Obama administration has told California that unless the $74 million in cuts are rescinded, it will deny the state $6.8 billion in stimulus money.
Such a federal ukase (the word derives from czarist Russia; how appropriate) to a state legislature is a sign of the administration's dependency agenda -- maximizing the number of people and institutions dependent on the federal government. For the first time, neither sales nor property nor income taxes are the largest source of money for state and local governments. The federal government is.
The SEIU says the cuts violate contracts negotiated with counties. California officials say the state required the contracts to contain clauses allowing pay to be reduced if state funding is.
Anyway, the Obama administration, judging by its cavalier disregard of contracts between Chrysler and some of the lenders it sought money from, thinks contracts are written on water. The administration proposes that Chrysler's secured creditors get 28 cents per dollar on the $7 billion owed to them but that the United Auto Workers union get 43 cents per dollar on its $11 billion in claims -- and 55 percent of the company. This, even though the secured creditors' contracts supposedly guaranteed them better standing than the union.
Among Chrysler's lenders, some servile banks that are now dependent on the administration for capital infusions tugged their forelocks and agreed. Some hedge funds among Chrysler's lenders that are not dependent were vilified by the president because they dared to resist his demand that they violate their fiduciary duties to their investors, who include individuals and institutional pension funds.
The Economist says the administration has "ridden roughshod over [creditors'] legitimate claims over the [automobile companies'] assets. . . . Bankruptcies involve dividing a shrunken pie. But not all claims are equal: some lenders provide cheaper funds to firms in return for a more secure claim over the assets should things go wrong. They rank above other stakeholders, including shareholders and employees. This principle is now being trashed." Tom Lauria, a lawyer representing hedge fund people trashed by the president as the cause of Chrysler's bankruptcy, asked that his clients' names not be published for fear of violence threatened in e-mails to them.
The Troubled Assets Relief Program, which has not yet been used for its supposed purpose (to purchase such assets from banks), has been the instrument of the administration's adventure in the automobile industry. TARP's $700 billion, like much of the supposed "stimulus" money, is a slush fund the executive branch can use as it pleases. This is as lawless as it would be for Congress to say to the IRS: We need $3.5 trillion to run the government next year, so raise it however you wish -- from whomever, at whatever rates you think suitable. Don't bother us with details.
This is not gross, unambiguous lawlessness of the Nixonian sort -- burglaries, abuse of the IRS and FBI, etc. -- but it is uncomfortably close to an abuse of power that perhaps gave Nixon ideas: When in 1962 the steel industry raised prices, President John F. Kennedy had a tantrum and his administration leaked rumors that the IRS would conduct audits of steel executives, and sent FBI agents on predawn visits to the homes of journalists who covered the steel industry, ostensibly to further a legitimate investigation.
The Obama administration's agenda of maximizing dependency involves political favoritism cloaked in the raiment of "economic planning" and "social justice" that somehow produce results superior to what markets produce when freedom allows merit to manifest itself, and incompetence to fail. The administration's central activity -- the political allocation of wealth and opportunity -- is not merely susceptible to corruption, it is corruption.
Tuesday, May 5, 2009
"In general, recent research has been building a case that the sun has a slightly bigger influence on Earth's climate than most theories have predicted."
for National Geographic News
May 4, 2009
A prolonged lull in solar activity has astrophysicists glued to their telescopes waiting to see what the sun will do next—and how Earth's climate might respond.
The sun is the least active it's been in decades and the dimmest in a hundred years. The lull is causing some scientists to recall the Little Ice Age, an unusual cold spell in Europe and North America, which lasted from about 1300 to 1850.
The coldest period of the Little Ice Age, between 1645 and 1715, has been linked to a deep dip in solar storms known as the Maunder Minimum.
During that time, access to Greenland was largely cut off by ice, and canals in Holland routinely froze solid. Glaciers in the Alps engulfed whole villages, and sea ice increased so much that no open water flowed around Iceland in the year 1695.
But researchers are on guard against their concerns about a new cold snap being misinterpreted.
"[Global warming] skeptics tend to leap forward," said Mike Lockwood, a solar terrestrial physicist at the University of Southampton in the U.K.
He and other researchers are therefore engaged in what they call "preemptive denial" of a solar minimum leading to global cooling.
Even if the current solar lull is the beginning of a prolonged quiet, the scientists say, the star's effects on climate will pale in contrast with the influence of human-made greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide (CO2).
"I think you have to bear in mind that the CO2 is a good 50 to 60 percent higher than normal, whereas the decline in solar output is a few hundredths of one percent down," Lockwood said. "I think that helps keep it in perspective."
For hundreds of years scientists have used the number of observable sunspots to trace the sun's roughly 11-year cycles of activity.
Sunspots, which can be visible without a telescope, are dark regions that indicate intense magnetic activity on the sun's surface. Such solar storms send bursts of charged particles hurtling toward Earth that can spark auroras, disrupt satellites, and even knock out electrical grids.
In the current cycle, 2008 was supposed to have been the low point, and this year the sunspot numbers should have begun to climb.
But of the first 90 days of 2009, 78 have been sunspot free. Researchers also say the sun is the dimmest it's been in a hundred years.
The Maunder Minimum corresponded to a profound lull in sunspots—astronomers at the time recorded just 50 in a 30-year period.
If the sun again sinks into a similar depression, at least one preliminary model has suggested that cool spots could crop up in regions of Europe, the United States, and Siberia.
During the previous event, though, many parts of the world were not affected at all, said Jeffrey Hall, an astronomer and associate director at Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff, Arizona.
"Even a grand minimum like that was not having a global effect," he said.
Wild Cards and Uncertainties
Changes in the sun's activity can affect Earth in other ways, too.
For example, ultraviolet (UV) light from the sun is not bottoming out the same way it did during the past few visual minima.
"The visible light doesn't vary that much, but UV varies 20 percent, [and] x-rays can vary by a factor of ten," Hall said. "What we don't understand so well is the impact of that differing spectral irradiance."
Solar UV light, for example, affects mostly the upper layers of Earth's atmosphere, where the effects are not as noticeable to humans. But some researchers suspect those effects could trickle down into the lower layers, where weather happens.
In general, recent research has been building a case that the sun has a slightly bigger influence on Earth's climate than most theories have predicted.
Atmospheric wild cards, such as UV radiation, could be part of the explanation, said the University of Southampton's Lockwood.
In the meantime, he and other experts caution against relying on future solar lulls to help mitigate global warming.
"There are many uncertainties," said Jose Abreu, a doctoral candidate at the Swiss government's research institute Eawag.
"We don't know the sensitivity of the climate to changes in solar intensity. In my opinion, I wouldn't play with things I don't know."
Saturday, May 2, 2009
Wednesday, April 22, 2009
Saturday, April 18, 2009
ICE is expanding in much of Antarctica, contrary to the widespread public belief that global warming is melting the continental ice cap.The results of ice-core drilling and sea ice monitoring indicate there is no large-scale melting of ice over most of Antarctica, although experts are concerned at ice losses on the continent's western coast.
Antarctica has 90 per cent of the Earth's ice and 80 per cent of its fresh water, The Australian reports. Extensive melting of Antarctic ice sheets would be required to raise sea levels substantially, and ice is melting in parts of west Antarctica. The destabilisation of the Wilkins ice shelf generated international headlines this month.
However, the picture is very different in east Antarctica, which includes the territory claimed by Australia.
East Antarctica is four times the size of west Antarctica and parts of it are cooling. The Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research report prepared for last week's meeting of Antarctic Treaty nations in Washington noted the South Pole had shown "significant cooling in recent decades".
Australian Antarctic Division glaciology program head Ian Allison said sea ice losses in west Antarctica over the past 30 years had been more than offset by increases in the Ross Sea region, just one sector of east Antarctica.
"Sea ice conditions have remained stable in Antarctica generally," Dr Allison said.
The melting of sea ice - fast ice and pack ice - does not cause sea levels to rise because the ice is in the water. Sea levels may rise with losses from freshwater ice sheets on the polar caps. In Antarctica, these losses are in the form of icebergs calved from ice shelves formed by glacial movements on the mainland.
Last week, federal Environment Minister Peter Garrett said experts predicted sea level rises of up to 6m from Antarctic melting by 2100, but the worst case scenario foreshadowed by the SCAR report was a 1.25m rise.
Mr Garrett insisted global warming was causing ice losses throughout Antarctica. "I don't think there's any doubt it is contributing to what we've seen both on the Wilkins shelf and more generally in Antarctica," he said.
Dr Allison said there was not any evidence of significant change in the mass of ice shelves in east Antarctica nor any indication that its ice cap was melting. "The only significant calvings in Antarctica have been in the west," he said. And he cautioned that calvings of the magnitude seen recently in west Antarctica might not be unusual.
"Ice shelves in general have episodic carvings and there can be large icebergs breaking off - I'm talking 100km or 200km long - every 10 or 20 or 50 years."
Ice core drilling in the fast ice off Australia's Davis Station in East Antarctica by the Antarctic Climate and Ecosystems Co-Operative Research Centre shows that last year, the ice had a maximum thickness of 1.89m, its densest in 10 years. The average thickness of the ice at Davis since the 1950s is 1.67m.
A paper to be published soon by the British Antarctic Survey in the journal Geophysical Research Letters is expected to confirm that over the past 30 years, the area of sea ice around the continent has expanded.
Friday, April 17, 2009
Thursday, April 16, 2009
Sunday, April 5, 2009
Lawrence Summers, a top economic adviser to President Barack Obama, pulled in more than $2.7 million in speaking fees paid by firms at the heart of the financial crisis, including Citigroup, Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan, Merrill Lynch, Bank of America Corp. and the now-defunct Lehman Brothers.
He pulled in another $5.2 million last year from D.E. Shaw, a hedge fund for which he served as managing director from October 2006 until joining the administration.
Thomas E. Donilon, Obama’s deputy national security adviser, was paid $3.9 million last year by the power law firm O’Melveny & Myers to represent clients including two firms that received federal bailout funds: Citigroup and Goldman Sachs. He also disclosed that he’s a member of the Trilateral Commission and sits on the steering committee of the supersecret Bilderberg group. Both groups are favorite targets of conspiracy theorists.
And White House Counsel Greg Craig last year earned $1.7 million in private practice representing an exiled Bolivian president, a Panamanian lawmaker wanted by the U.S. government for allegedly murdering a U.S. soldier and a tech billionaire accused of securities fraud and various sensational drug and sex crimes.
Those are among the associations detailed in personal financial disclosure statements released Friday night by the White House. The income reported on the forms mostly covers 2008 and in some cases the beginning of 2009.
Presidential appointees are required to disclose information about their income, assets and investments, and those of their spouses and dependent children, within 60 days of starting work. And the disclosure forms filed by many appointees to top agency jobs have been available for public inspection for some time, thanks to the federal Freedom of Information Act.
But the White House is largely exempt from the act, and Obama press aides dragged their feet on reporters’ requests for the disclosure documents filed by officials in the Executive Office of the President.
Craig disclosed that his work for Williams & Connelly included representing Pedro Miguel Gonzalez Pinzon, a Panamanian lawmaker who allegedly murdered a U.S. soldier in 1992, as well as Gonzalo Sanchez de Lozada, a former Bolivian president who has lived in exile since 2003, when clashes between protesters and the Bolivian military killed an estimated 70 people and wounded hundreds more.
During the presidential campaign, Craig, then serving as a senior foreign policy adviser to Obama, drew flak for representing Sanchez de Lozada.
Craig also listed among his clients Henry Nicholas, founder of microchip maker Broadcom, who is facing securities fraud charges in an alleged stock option backdating plot. In June, the government unsealed an indictment also detailing a raft of drug and prostitution charges, which Craig called “a kitchen-sink attack on Dr. Nicholas.”
Valerie Jarrett, a senior Obama aide, reported $852,000 in salary and deferred compensation from Habitat Executive Services, a Chicago real estate development and management firm, plus nearly $350,000 in director’s fees from groups including the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago and USG Corp.
She also indicated that she served as vice-chairwoman of the committee seeking to lure the 2016 Olympics to Chicago, which paid a public relations firm owned by Obama political guru David Axelrod and to which White House social director Desiree Rogers, another member of the Obama’s inner circle, donated more than $100,000.
Other forms showed that White House ethics lawyer Norm Eisen earned $1.3 million from the firm in which he was a partner, Zuckerman Spaeder, and press secretary Robert Gibbs earned $156,000 from Obama’s presidential campaign and also owns a pair of rental properties in Alexandria, Va., worth as much as $1 million.
I must be naive. I really thought the administration would welcome the return of bank bailout money. Some $340 million in TARP cash flowed back this week from four small banks in Louisiana, New York, Indiana and California. This isn't much when we routinely talk in trillions, but clearly that money has not been wasted or otherwise sunk down Wall Street's black hole. So why no cheering as the cash comes back?
My answer: The government wants to control the banks, just as it now controls GM and Chrysler, and will surely control the health industry in the not-too-distant future. Keeping them TARP-stuffed is the key to control. And for this intensely political president, mere influence is not enough. The White House wants to tell 'em what to do. Control. Direct. Command.
It is not for nothing that rage has been turned on those wicked financiers. The banks are at the core of the administration's thrust: By managing the money, government can steer the whole economy even more firmly down the left fork in the road.
If the banks are forced to keep TARP cash -- which was often forced on them in the first place -- the Obama team can work its will on the financial system to unprecedented degree. That's what's happening right now.
Here's a true story first reported by my Fox News colleague Andrew Napolitano (with the names and some details obscured to prevent retaliation). Under the Bush team a prominent and profitable bank, under threat of a damaging public audit, was forced to accept less than $1 billion of TARP money. The government insisted on buying a new class of preferred stock which gave it a tiny, minority position. The money flowed to the bank. Arguably, back then, the Bush administration was acting for purely economic reasons. It wanted to recapitalize the banks to halt a financial panic.
Fast forward to today, and that same bank is begging to give the money back. The chairman offers to write a check, now, with interest. He's been sitting on the cash for months and has felt the dead hand of government threatening to run his business and dictate pay scales. He sees the writing on the wall and he wants out. But the Obama team says no, since unlike the smaller banks that gave their TARP money back, this bank is far more prominent. The bank has also been threatened with "adverse" consequences if its chairman persists. That's politics talking, not economics.
Think about it: If Rick Wagoner can be fired and compact cars can be mandated, why can't a bank with a vault full of TARP money be told where to lend? And since politics drives this administration, why can't special loans and terms be offered to favored constituents, favored industries, or even favored regions? Our prosperity has never been based on the political allocation of credit -- until now.
Which brings me to the Pay for Performance Act, just passed by the House. This is an outstanding example of class warfare. I'm an Englishman. We invented class warfare, and I know it when I see it. This legislation allows the administration to dictate pay for anyone working in any company that takes a dime of TARP money. This is a whip with which to thrash the unpopular bankers, a tool to advance the Obama administration's goal of controlling the financial system.
After 35 years in America, I never thought I would see this. I still can't quite believe we will sit by as this crisis is used to hand control of our economy over to government. But here we are, on the brink. Clearly, I have been naive.
Mr. Varney is a host on the Fox Business Channel.
Thursday, April 2, 2009
Tuesday, March 31, 2009
Friday, March 27, 2009
Editors Note: This is an article that finally shines the light on what is happening here. We are being forced fed that humans, mainly Americans, are causing global warming. Is that a fact? Or is it based on climate models? Now the truth is revealed for why they are pushing this junk science. This is a shift of economic power. A shift of power away from the people, again mainly the "evil" Americans, and sent to a small ruling class of "enlightened" environmentalists. Is that what you want? Isn't it time we wake up and realize what is happeing here? Is it time for a tea party?
A United Nations document on "climate change" that will be distributed to a major environmental conclave next week envisions a huge reordering of the world economy, likely involving trillions of dollars in wealth transfer, millions of job losses and gains, new taxes, industrial relocations, new tariffs and subsidies, and complicated payments for greenhouse gas abatement schemes and carbon taxes — all under the supervision of the world body.
Those and other results are blandly discussed in a discretely worded United Nations "information note" on potential consequences of the measures that industrialized countries will likely have to take to implement the Copenhagen Accord, the successor to the Kyoto Treaty, after it is negotiated and signed by December 2009. The Obama administration has said it supports the treaty process if, in the words of a U.S. State Department spokesman, it can come up with an "effective framework" for dealing with global warming.
The 16-page note, obtained by FOX News, will be distributed to participants at a mammoth negotiating session that starts on March 29 in Bonn, Germany, the first of three sessions intended to hammer out the actual commitments involved in the new deal.
In the stultifying language that is normal for important U.N. conclaves, the negotiators are known as the "Ad Hoc Working Group On Further Commitments For Annex I Parties Under the Kyoto Protocol." Yet the consequences of their negotiations, if enacted, would be nothing short of world-changing.
Getting that deal done has become the United Nations' highest priority, and the Bonn meeting is seen as a critical step along the path to what the U.N. calls an "ambitious and effective international response to climate change," which is intended to culminate at the later gathering in Copenhagen.
Just how ambitious the U.N.'s goals are can be seen, but only dimly, in the note obtained by FOX News, which offers in sparse detail both positive and negative consequences of the tools that industrial nations will most likely use to enforce the greenhouse gas reduction targets.
The paper makes no effort to calculate the magnitude of the costs and disruption involved, but despite the discreet presentation, makes clear that they will reverberate across the entire global economic system.
• Click here for the information note.
Among the tools that are considered are the cap-and-trade system for controlling carbon emissions that has been espoused by the Obama administration; "carbon taxes" on imported fuels and energy-intensive goods and industries, including airline transportation; and lower subsidies for those same goods, as well as new or higher subsidies for goods that are considered "environmentally sound."
Other tools are referred to only vaguely, including "energy policy reform," which the report indicates could affect "large-scale transportation infrastructure such as roads, rail and airports." When it comes to the results of such reform, the note says only that it could have "positive consequences for alternative transportation providers and producers of alternative fuels."
In the same bland manner, the note informs negotiators without going into details that cap-and-trade schemes "may induce some industrial relocation" to "less regulated host countries." Cap-and-trade functions by creating decreasing numbers of pollution-emission permits to be traded by industrial users, and thus pay more for each unit of carbon-based pollution, a market-driven system that aims to drive manufacturers toward less polluting technologies.
The note adds only that industrial relocation "would involve negative consequences for the implementing country, which loses employment and investment." But at the same time it "would involve indeterminate consequences for the countries that would host the relocated industries."
There are also entirely new kinds of tariffs and trade protectionist barriers such as those termed in the note as "border carbon adjustment"— which, the note says, can impose "a levy on imported goods equal to that which would have been imposed had they been produced domestically" under more strict environmental regimes.
Another form of "adjustment" would require exporters to "buy [carbon] offsets at the border equal to that which the producer would have been forced to purchase had the good been produced domestically."
The impact of both schemes, the note says, "would be functionally equivalent to an increased tariff: decreased market share for covered foreign producers." (There is no definition in the report of who, exactly, is "foreign.") The note adds that "If they were implemented fairly, such schemes would leave trade and investment patterns unchanged." Nothing is said about the consequences if such fairness was not achieved.
Indeed, only rarely does the "information note" attempt to inform readers in dollar terms of the impact of "spillover effects" from the potential policy changes it discusses. In a brief mention of consumer subsidies for fossil fuels, the note remarks that such subsidies in advanced economies exceed $60 billion a year, while they exceed $90 billion a year in developing economies."
But calculations of the impact of tariffs, offsets, or other subsidies is rare. In a reference to the impact of declining oil exports, the report says that Saudi Arabia has determined the loss to its economy at between $100 billion and $200 billion by 2030, but said nothing about other oil exporters.
One reason for the lack of detail, the note indicates, is that impact would vary widely depending on the nature and scope of the policies adopted (and, although the note does not mention it, on the severity of the greenhouse reduction targets).
But even when it does hazard a guess at specific impacts, the report seems curiously hazy. A "climate change levy on aviation" for example, is described as having undetermined "negative impacts on exporters of goods that rely on air transport, such as cut flowers and premium perishable produce," as well as "tourism services." But no mention is made in the note of the impact on the aerospace industry, an industry that had revenues in 2008 of $208 billion in the U.S. alone, or the losses the levy would impose on airlines for ordinary passenger transportation. (Global commercial airline revenues in 2008 were about $530 billion, and were already forecast to drop to an estimated $467 billion this year.)
In other cases, as when discussing the "increased costs of traditional exports" under a new environmental regime, the report confines itself to terse description. Changes in standards and labeling for exported goods, for example, "may demand costly changes to the production process." If subsidies and tariffs affect exports, the note says, the "economic and social consequences of dampening their viability may, for some countries and sectors, be significant."
Much depends, of course, on the extent to which harsher or more lenient greenhouse gas reduction targets demand more or less drastic policies for their achievement.
And, precisely because the Bonn meeting is a stage for negotiating those targets, the note is silent. Instead it suggests that more bureaucratic work is needed "to deepen the understanding of the full nature and scale of such impacts."
But outside the Bonn process, other experts have been much more blunt about the draconian nature of the measures they deem necessary to make "effective" greenhouse gas reductions.
In an influential but highly controversial paper called "Key Elements of a Global Deal on Climate Change," British economist Nicholas Lord Stern, formerly a high British Treasury official, has declared that industrial economies would need to cut their per capita carbon dioxide emissions by "at least 80% by 2050," while the biggest economies, like the U.S.'s, would have to make cuts of 90 percent.
Stern also calls for "immediate and binding" reduction targets for developed nations of 20 percent to 40 percent by 2020.
To meet Stern's 2050 goals, he says, among other things, "most of the world's electricity production will need to have been decarbonized."
Click here for Stern's paper.
By way of comparison, according to the U.S. Department Of Energy, roughly 72 percent of U.S. electrical power generation in 2007 was derived from burning fossil fuels, with just 6 percent coming from hydro-power and less than 3 percent from non-nuclear renewable and "other" sources. And even then, those "other" non-fossil sources included wood and biomass — which, when burned, are major emitters of carbon.
Click here to see the Department of Energy report.
Thursday, March 26, 2009
Tuesday, March 24, 2009
Am I the only one getting really scared about where our country is headed? Obama is trying to expand the role of the Central Government. What does that sound like to you? Read this article
The Obama administration is considering asking Congress to give the Treasury secretary unprecedented powers to initiate the seizure of non-bank financial companies, such as large insurers, investment firms and hedge funds, whose collapse would damage the broader economy, according to an administration document.
The government at present has the authority to seize only banks.
Giving the Treasury secretary authority over a broader range of companies would mark a significant shift from the existing model of financial regulation, which relies on independent agencies that are shielded from the political process. The Treasury secretary, a member of the president's Cabinet, would exercise the new powers in consultation with the White House, the Federal Reserve and other regulators, according to the document.
The administration plans to send legislation to Capitol Hill this week. Sources cautioned that the details, including the Treasury's role, are still in flux.
Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner is set to argue for the new powers at a hearing today on Capitol Hill about the furor over bonuses paid to executives at American International Group, which the government has propped up with about $180 billion in federal aid. Administration officials have said that the proposed authority would have allowed them to seize AIG last fall and wind down its operations at less cost to taxpayers.
The administration's proposal contains two pieces. First, it would empower a government agency to take on the new role of systemic risk regulator with broad oversight of any and all financial firms whose failure could disrupt the broader economy. The Federal Reserve is widely considered to be the leading candidate for this assignment. But some critics warn that this could conflict with the Fed's other responsibilities, particularly its control over monetary policy.
The government also would assume the authority to seize such firms if they totter toward failure.
Besides seizing a company outright, the document states, the Treasury Secretary could use a range of tools to prevent its collapse, such as guaranteeing losses, buying assets or taking a partial ownership stake. Such authority also would allow the government to break contracts, such as the agreements to pay $165 million in bonuses to employees of AIG's most troubled unit.
The Treasury secretary could act only after consulting with the president and getting a recommendation from two-thirds of the Federal Reserve Board, according to the plan.
Geithner plans to lay out the administration's broader strategy for overhauling financial regulation at another hearing on Thursday.
The authority to seize non-bank financial firms has emerged as a priority for the administration after the failure of investment house Lehman Brothers, which was not a traditional bank, and the troubled rescue of AIG.
"We're very late in doing this, but we've got to move quickly to try and do this because, again, it's a necessary thing for any government to have a broader range of tools for dealing with these kinds of things, so you can protect the economy from the kind of risks posed by institutions that get to the point where they're systemic," Geithner said last night at a forum held by the Wall Street Journal.
The powers would parallel the government's existing authority over banks, which are exercised by banking regulatory agencies in conjunction with the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. Geithner has cited that structure as the model for the government's plans.