The Force Of The Gore Effect Is Strong In This One

Kyopenhagen abounded in irony, as all of these circuses do, but I found it quite delicious that Obama (and Pelosi, and many other DC denizens) had to rush home from a global warming conference to avoid getting shut out by an approaching blizzard* in the nation’s capital.

I would also note that, while I’m agnostic, I like the old phrase, “Men make plans, and God laughs.” This may put a dagger through the black heart of the health-care disaster, or at least its being passed by Christmas, which means that it may be dead for good (or at least this session, which will buy a lot of time after next year’s elections). But I won’t consider it over until it’s over.

* Yes, I do know the difference between climate and weather. When it’s warm, it’s climate; when it’s cold, it’s weather. Thanks for asking.

Thoughts On Corporatism

From Ross Douthat, and Jonah Goldberg, which is on full display in the health-care debacle, with the weird and awkward bear hug between Washington and the insurance companies:

If you want to know why business takes such an interest in Washington, the answer can be found in your low-flow toilet, in the warning labels adorning your cars, in your 8 zillion page tax returns. It can be found while you wait on hold trying to get a human to answer your questions about your health insurance. And the answer is most certainly somewhere in your box of cereal, made with grains subsidized by Uncle Sam and coated in sugar that has no business being grown in the United States of America. Corporations meddle in Washington because Washington meddles with them.

It is simply naive to believe that a businessman will have no interest in politics when politicians have taken a great interest in him. And it is grotesquely unfair to assume that businesspeople are corrupt simply because they want to support politicians less inclined to hurt them.

Yes, Bill Gates learned that lesson the hard way.

Pumping Air Back In The Balloon

Mann attempts to defend the manufactured consensus.

[Update a few minutes later]

Note, as usual, that he confines his defense to the emails, and never even attempts to address the much more damaging revelations from the models and data sets:

I cannot condone some things that colleagues of mine wrote or requested in the e-mails recently stolen from a climate research unit at a British university. But the messages do not undermine the scientific case that human-caused climate change is real.

Both true, and irrelevant. A straw man, in fact. The emails raise suspicion to tropospheric levels, but no, they don’t in themselves undermine the case. What does that is the clear cherry picking of station data and arbitrary “homogenization” that miraculously always results in a temperature increase.

[Mid-afternoon update]

Patrick Michaels isn’t impressed by the apologia:

Penn State and East Anglia have initiated “investigations” into Mann’s and Jones’s activities. Will Penn State request all of Mann’s e-mails from University of Virginia, where he was for the most of Climategate? Will the school comply? Will East Anglia clean out its massively politicized house?

Don’t hold your breath. Penn State gets over $750 million in federal-taxpayer dollars, and Jones alone received $22 million since the turn of the century. Because universities charge 50 to 125 percent “overhead” on research dollars, climate change is supporting a lot of humanities departments around the world.

So, the tragedy of Climategate is that we simply don’t know how many papers were rejected or simply not submitted because skeptics found it very difficult to publish in this climate. Does anyone seriously think Penn State and East Anglia are going to starve their English departments because of the activities of a few climate scientists?

Curiously, none of this — the attempts to rig the peer-reviewed literature, or the massive amounts of money that likely to influence any university investigations — were discussed in Mann’s Washington Post apologia.

Federal funding of higher education is one of the things that allows the academic bubble to stay inflated, and it’s a vast enabler of left-wing propaganda on campus, in addition to supporting fraud and corruption like this.

[Bumped]

Happy About Kyopenhagen

That’s what the Club For Growth is:

“Like most Americans, I feared President Obama went to Copenhagen to sign a binding, job-killing, economic suicide pact.

“I am greatly relieved that the last-minute agreement President Obama negotiated is being widely described as ‘meaningful.’ When politicians call something ‘meaningful,’ that means it isn’t.

“Without even reading the accord, pro-growth, limited government conservatives today can celebrate the word, ‘meaningful.’ Today that adjective probably saved thirty million jobs.”

Yes, it was the best possible outcome from a blatherfest like that.

Incoherent

Julian Sanchez is as confused about the rationale for the current health-care deform as I am:

So we’re eliminating the rationale for the role private insurance companies play in our system, but insisting that it continue to revolve around them and, even better, handing them an enormous subsidy. What we’ve eliminated is the counterweight designed to check costs, because that part, according to a logic I completely fail to fathom, is especially socialist.

What’s remarkable about this is how naked and brazen it is. That is, I can’t come up with any remotely coherent pretext for thinking this particular policy combination makes sense on any set of background assumptions or values. (Which isn’t to say the same system with the public option was much more coherent.) Contemplate how extraordinary that is: There’s almost always at least some fig leaf of an ideological principle or an economic argument strung up in front of even the most naked interest group grab. But nobody seems to be even pretending this compromise amounts to anything but an open bribe to the very insurers whose existence it renders unjustifiable.

Also, if I hear one more economically ignorant moron tell me that we “need a public option to provide competition for insurance companies,” superheated steam will come out my ears. This is a phrase so absurd that I don’t know why its utterers don’t melt down in the sheer incandescent idiocy of it. If there isn’t competition in the insurance business, it is because (as is always the case in which there is no competition) there is some government policy that prevents it. Fix that. Don’t set up a health-care DMV to “compete” at taxpayer expense.

[Mid-afternoon update]

One of the deranged but prevailing myths among Democrats is that they lost the Congress in 1994 because they didn’t pass HillaryCare, when in reality, their loss was due to a combination of their attempt to do so, plus the “assault” weapons ban, and other misbegotten legislation. But because they continue to indulge themselves in this bizarre fantasy, they continue to equally imagine that their key to political success is ramming this monstrosity through. Sean Trende makes a devastating case against that lunacy as well, and explains why it would actually be political suicide for them. Which almost, but not quite, makes me want to see it pass.

[Bumped]

Running Out Of Popcorn

I didn’t pop enough for Hopenchangen:

Chávez said that “the Kyoto Protocol cannot be declared dead or extinguished, which is what the US pretends to do. Which is why (President) Evo (Morales of Bolivia) tells a great truth: If Obama, Nobel War Prize, said here, by the way, it smells of sulfur here. It smells of sulfur. It keeps smelling of sulfur in this world. The Nobel War Prize has just said here that he came to act. Well, then show it, sir, don’t leave by the back door, eh? Do everything you need to do for the US to adhere to the Kyoto Protocol, and let’s respect Kyoto, and empower Kyoto, and respond to the world in a transparent fashion.”

Well, now I’m confused, because when he was in New York, Hugo said that it was Bush who smelled like sulfur. So who is the Devil? Bush, or The One? I know where I’d put my money, but I think that maybe Hugo should see an otolaryngologist about that sulfur deposit in his nostrils.

Negative Cloud Feedback

Roy Spencer was allowed to give an interesting presentation at the AGU meeting in San Franscisco. I liked this comment:

I can’t help feeling that you might as well have stood before a flock of Archbishops, who were discussing the 7 days of creation, stating that there is evidence that the earth is actually several billion years old – and giving evidence to support your idea. The religious elite smile and nod, and say encouraging words.. “interesting way of seeing things, young man…” before moving on to discuss whether The Almighty drank coffee or iced tea during work breaks.

But this is an interesting point as well:

There seems to be great reluctance to consider the possibility that these computerized prophets of doom, which have required so many scientists and so much money and so many years to develop, could be wrong. I come along with an extremely simple climate model that explains the behavior of the satellite data in details that are beyond even what has been done with the complex climate models…and then the more complex models are STILL believed because…well…they’re more complex.

Besides, since my simple model would predict very little manmade global warming, it must be wrong. After all, we know that manmade global warming is a huge problem. All of the experts agree on that. Just ask Al Gore and the mainstream news media.

Let us stipulate that a valid model of climate prediction is going to be complex, or at least, the more complexity, the more likely it is that it is taking the necessary factors into account. That does not, in itself, render complexity a virtue, and it’s quite possible that a simple model will do a better job than a more complex, but flawed one. This sort of reminds me of Shuttle huggers who will say, with pride, that it is the most complex machine ever built, as though that were a feature and not a bug.

Is Ares I Dead?

If this report is correct, it is.

I’ve thought for a long time that it was a dead rocket walking. It simply cost too much, and made too little sense (though, of course, that’s never stopped NASA before). But we won’t know for sure until next year, and in the meantime, NASA will continue to waste money on things like this, because to stop work would be a tip off of the new policy. And of course, the article isn’t very specific about what the new heavy lifter will look like. It’s a shame that Augustine didn’t put a stake through the heart of heavy lift, but at least we got rid of the Corn Dog.

The Green Jobs Illusion

Thoughts from Ron Bailey, from Kyopenhagen.

This is a good example of the difference between creating jobs, and creating wealth:

As we rode the metro to the conference, Ratledge and I had a pleasant conversation about the great successes of Aspen, Colorado, in producing green jobs. With the financial crisis, construction jobs in Aspen disappeared. But thanks to stimulus money and tax breaks earmarked for weatherization, unemployed construction workers are now insulating houses. Tax breaks have similarly encouraged a solar power installation boom. When I asked him if solar was price competitive with conventional power without government guaranteed low interest loans and tax breaks, Ratledge admitted that it wasn’t. But he predicted that the price of Chinese solar panels was falling so fast that it would soon outcompete conventional power. I chided him that it sounded like the federal stimulus was actually creating green jobs in China. Ratledge did note one rapidly growing green sector in the U.S.: energy auditing. Of course, people and businesses wouldn’t need to hire energy auditors if the price of energy remained low or if they didn’t have to comply with new energy efficiency regulations.

The tax code creates a vast industry of auditors and accountants. But they make the nation poorer, not wealthier.

“Green Jobs” are the last refuge of the economic ignoramus.

[Update a few minutes later]

The Long March — from California to Copenhagen.

If one is a teacher, a public nurse, or a state bureaucrat, and stays close to home, life is not too bad. Two tenured teachers at midlife can easily make together $160,000 with summers off — far more than the owner of a brake shop or a farmer of 40 acres of trees — and without worry over burdensome regulations or the daily need to drive down the 99 for a living, or to fly out of LAX for business, or to depend on the local CSU to provide literate, skilled employees. Life is therefore pretty good, at least so far.

But if you are a private company, dealing with high taxes, all sorts of regulations, a crumbling infrastructure (take a 300-mile drive from Gilroy south on 101; spend a day at LAX, or try finding a convenient east-west route out of California in the winter), and poorly educated employees, the experiment in egalitarianism has failed.

Answer? The best job in California is a state one; the worst a private-sector one. Result? 3,500 flee per week with capital, education, and know-how; 2,500 arrive with far less capital and training.

…This California model is important because Obama is adopting it as a blueprint on a national scale. If he wins (and don’t count him out), life really would be more patterned on an equality of result. New payroll, income, state, local, and health care surcharge taxes would hit those over $200K with about a 70% take of one’s income. The public sector employees double in number, unionize, and demand ever more from “them.” Cap-and-trade charges raise monthly utility bills 20%. Things like SUVs, Winnebagos, and private jet travel are taxed out of reach — except for a guardian class that uses public moneys for a rarefied lifestyle of governance and enforcement (sort of like the jets parked on the tarmac at Copenhagen or Barack’s night out on the Big Apple).

We would all want a job at the DMV but would never want to go there for any service — a model for health care to come. In short, the poor get a little better off, the better-off a lot worse, and America becomes a sort of collective lower middle class at about a 1950s lifestyle, praised and congratulated for ending “poverty.”

And ending wealth as well.

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