Quick Roundup 155

Monday, February 26, 2007

Gore "Steals" Oscar!

Al Gore's environmentalist agitprop won an Academy Award for best documentary.

In other news, the sun rose this morning, scientists still disagree (HT: Myrhaf) about far less sensational claims than Gore's, and the Hollywood Left will remain completely oblivious to the irony of any further complaints on its part that Bush "stole" the 2000 Presidential election.

Church (of Climate Change) and State Joined in Delaware

Following up to a fairly recent post, I see that the governor of Delaware has instructed her state climatologist not to use his job title when -- um -- performing his job.

Gov. Ruth Ann Minner has directed Delaware's state climatologist to stop using his title in public statements on climate change, citing a clash of views on global warming and confusion over the position's ties to the administration.

Minner, who made the directive in a letter, described the move as a way to "clarify" the role of David R. Legates, a prominent skeptic of views that human activities are warming the planet and triggering climate shifts.
This is more than just another example of Lysenkoism. It is an illustration of why the government has no business involving itself in science. After all, why should a state-appointed official necessarily be regarded as a more credible scientific authority, anyway? Because our leaders, who have sworn to protect our rights are considering all evidence when consulting experts on matters of public policy?

When you really think about it, the Governor has discredited herself as an objective participant in the global warming debate and removed the taint of suspected official influence from Legates.

If I were David Legates, I would make a three-ring circus out of this.

Government Magic

Via Isaac Schrodinger is the following example of modern-day political thought:
Robert Reich says that, as a requirement for free trade deals, we should tell developing countries to "set a minimum wage that's half their median wage."
I just love the way leftists scoff at the very idea that "unbridled" capitalism (towards which many free trade agreements are baby steps at best) can improve the lot of the poor -- and yet seem to believe that government incantations will do the trick instead.

Schrodinger's reaction to this is on the mark.

Our Long History with the Middle East

Chap points to an interview with Michael Oren, who recently wrote a history of America's interactions with the Middle East. I found the following interesting.
The Adams Administration in 1790s was paying about 20 percent of its federal revenues in bribery to the Middle Eastern pirates. Thomas Jefferson was from the opposing school. He said that the more you paid off the pirates the more bribery they would demand. Jefferson said that any treaty signed with any individual pirate ruler -- whether they be from Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, or Libya -- that treaty would only be good as long as the ruler’s life.

We can see how American leaders later on in American history didn't heed Jefferson's advice. Take Ronald Reagan in the 1980s. He sold Iran arms in an attempt to induce the Iranians to kidnap fewer Americans in Lebanon. He basically violated Thomas Jefferson's first rule in the Barbary Wars.
Based on this interview, Power, Faith, and Fantasy looks like it will be full of valuable historical background like this on the one hand, but perhaps very weak on analysis, on the other. For example, Oren later states:
America has to get involved in theology. We've been fighting a theology with an ideology. It doesn't work. We have to get in the business of promoting a reformist Islam. It's important. It's controversial, but important.
Setting aside the facts that (1) our biggest failing has been precisely that our leaders have timidly avoided discussing "ideology" during this war and (2) theology is just a type of ideology, we should (and need) get no more involved in discussions of theology (particularly on a governmental level) with Moslems than we did with the Japanese followers of Shinto during and after World War II.

As John Lewis recently pointed out, as far as theology goes, we need only be clear that mixing religion with politics is unacceptable. I quote here his excerpt of a telegram sent by the U.S. Secretary of State James Byrnes to General Douglas MacArthur, in October, 1945.
Shintoism, insofar as it is a religion of individual Japanese, is not to be interfered with. Shintoism, however, insofar as it is directed by the Japanese government, and as a measure enforced from above by the government, is to be done away with. People would not be taxed to support National Shinto and there will be no place for Shintoism in the schools. Shintoism as a state religion -- National Shinto, that is -- will go . . . Our policy on this goes beyond Shinto . . . The dissemination of Japanese militaristic and ultra-nationalistic ideology in any form will be completely suppressed. And the Japanese Government will be required to cease financial and other support of Shinto establishment.
It will be interesting to hear what others have to say about this book in the coming months.

Government Support of Iran

Amit Ghate links to an interesting Wall Street Journal editorial that points out that, "EU taxpayers underwrite trade and investment that would otherwise be deterred by the risks of doing business with a rogue regime," [my bold] and has him scratching his head:
Unfortunately, that's where European governments step in and guarantee trade with the world's number one state sponsor of terrorism. Seeing this kind of lunacy makes me wonder how anyone in their right mind can argue that big government knows better than its own citizens what's good for them.
"Conspiracies": Good vs. Evil

Get a load of the missing sense of irony in this article.
[An unnamed, Iranian-sponsored terrorist leader] threatened his terror group will target American interests in the Middle East whether any purported strike against Tehran is carried out by Israel or the U.S.

"The Zionists and the Americans are coordinated 100 percent. It doesn't matter who attacks Iran, we are planning to hit them both," said the Islamic Jihad leader, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he said the topic was "very sensitive."


"We are preparing the tomb that Allah is digging for the Zionists and Americans," said [a senior leader of the Popular Resistance Committees terror group].

He claimed during any U.S. or Israeli military strike against Tehran, a response will be directed against Israel and American interests by Iran, Syria, Hezbollah and Palestinian terrorists.

"The war will be a war on more than one front. It will be everybody against everybody. Iran, Syria, Hezbollah and the Palestinian organizations will work together. War with Iran is coming and it means the Middle East will not remain the same after it," the Committees leader said. [bold added]
If the Americans and Israelis coordinate military activity (as if) in the face of a torrent of threats, it's an evil Zionist conspiracy. If the Iranians, Syrians, Lebanese Moslems, and "Palestinians" do so, to gang up on tiny Israel, it's Allah's will -- and therefore, good.

Yep. That pretty much illustrates the richness and depth of ethical thought when "informed" by blind faith.

The (Non-) Future of Plentiful Electricity

Chalk up another corporate carcass to environmentalism.

History's largest private American buyout sounds ominously like it might also be one of the last giant deals in the energy industry:
Texas' largest electricity producer, said today it has agreed to be sold to a group of private-equity firms for about $32 billion in what would be the largest private buyout in U.S. corporate history if shareholders go along.


The firms won support for the buyout from some environmentalists who have criticized TXU by agreeing to sharply scale back TXU's controversial $10 billion plan to build 11 new coal-fired power plants that would produce tons of new greenhouse gas emissions.


TXU, with more than 2.3 million customers, has prospered because electric rates in Texas are tied to the price of natural gas while TXU generates much of its power more cheaply at coal and nuclear plants.


The company has planned to build 11 coal-fired power plants, saying Texas needs more power to satisfy a growing population. But opponents contend that adding coal-fired plants would be unwise with concern rising over greenhouse gas emissions and the effect on the environment.

Over the weekend, KKR and Texas Pacific agreed to drop eight of the proposed plants while going ahead with three in central Texas if they take control of the company. The bidders also agreed not to propose new coal-fired plants outside Texas and to support mandatory national caps on emissions linked to global warming. [bold and link added]
The article notes that the company was worried about an increasingly hostile regulatory environment, including "tougher regulations on emissions and overcapacity (!) if conservation cuts demand for power"!

Hmmm. So much for Texas remaining self-sufficient in electricity generation for long or exporting power to other states for that matter. (This cutback of 8 comes out of the 19 new coal plants proposed for Texas as of November of last year.)

On the bright side, this might make the foolishness of environmentalism more readily apparent sooner, rather than later.

-- CAV

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