American Elephants


There Really Was a Little Ice Age, and It Was Very, Very Cold. by The Elephant's Child
January 2, 2010, 10:28 pm
Filed under: Environment, Junk Science | Tags: , ,

Have you ever heard of The Great Frost? In France they called it Le Grande Hiver. On the 6th of January in 1709 people across Europe awoke to find that the temperature had plummeted.  The temperature stayed down for three long weeks, there was a brief thaw, and then the temperature went down again, and stayed there.

From Scandinavia  to Italy, everything turned to ice.  Lakes and rivers froze, the sea froze.  The soil froze to a depth of a meter or more.  Livestock died in their barns from the cold.  Chickens’ combs froze and fell off.  Trees exploded. Travelers froze to death on the roads.

The painting above, by Gabriele Bella (1733-99) is of a portion of a lagoon in Venice, frozen over, with Venetians unsure of how to cope with this remarkable event.

Three months of deadly cold  meant a year of famine and food riots.  In Switzerland hungry wolves came right into the villages.  The Baltic froze so completely that people could walk across the ice as late as April.  In the Mediterranean, sailors died from the cold aboard English men-of-war.

In France,  bread froze so hard it took an axe to cut it.  According to a canon from Beaune in Burgundy, “travelers died in the countryside, livestock in the stables, wild animals in the woods.  Nearly all the birds died, wine froze in barrels and public fires were lit to warm the poor.”

In the spring the cold was replaced by worsening food shortages.  Authorities forced the rich to provide soup kitchens.  By the summer, there were reports of starving people in the fields “eating grass like sheep.”  More than a million died from cold or starvation.

Then there was “eighteen-hundred and froze-to-death.” That was the “year without summer” in America, or 1816.  Severe summer climate abnormalities destroyed crops in Northern Europe, Eastern Canada and the Northeast United States.  It is attributed to low solar activity combined with the a series of volcanic eruptions from 1812 to 1814, capped by a huge eruption of Mount Tambora in Indonesia. There was widespread famine in China.

In America farmers, wiped out in New England, struck out for the richer soils of the Midwest.  The “Year Without a Summer” accounted for much of the settlement of the Upper Midwest — which was then the Northwest Territory — but the effects of the cold were far more widespread than that.

If you remember Dr. Michael Mann’s “hockey-stick” graph that has caused so much trouble, you will remember that it was given that name because the record of temperatures moved along in a pretty steady state like the handle of a hockey stick before suddenly shooting up in drastic warming in the 20th century.  I say “trouble” because the UN’s IPCC based much of its assessment of the climate on that particular graph.  And that is part of what proved to be so fraudulent in the climate scandal called “ClimateGate.”

The hockey-stick graph had already been completely discredited when mathematician Stephen McIntyre demonstrated that the math didn’t work; but until the exposure of the ClimateGate emails and code fraud no one was admitting that it was hooey.  The culprits at Hadley CRU were trying to eliminate the Medieval Warm Period and the Little Ice Age from history, and profiting professionally and monetarily at the expense of science, their peers, the world’s governments and the world’s taxpayers.  Governments have a lot invested in the income that might be incoming from cap-and-trade schemes and fees and taxes.  They will not give up easily.

Science students who spend all their time in the lab, may be unaware of Viking settlements in Greenland — beginning  around 972 AD — or be unfamiliar with the Norse Eddas or Chaucer or the writings of  someone like William Derham, the Rector of Upminster— a short ride north-east of London — who had been checking his thermometer and barometer three times a day since 1687.  Others in Europe  recorded their observations.  Ships captains documented the weather in their logs on a daily basis, and those logs are proving to be an amazing resource for scientists who are looking for more detail of the history of climate.

Al Gore might take note that cold is far, far worse than hot weather.



Promises, Promises, Hollow Promises. by The Elephant's Child

As Democrats seek the biggest expansion imaginable of the government nose in the relationship of Americans to their doctors and their health care, the biggest selling point has been the need for everyone to have health insurance.  The long-held goal of “universal health care” will, according to the Congressional Budget Office, still prove elusive.

As many as 23 million people could still be without insurance by 2018, says the CBO.

The ranks of the uninsured would include many who choose not to get health insurance although they can afford it.  Starting in 2014 individuals would face fines if they do not buy insurance, some may still refuse.

About a third would be illegal immigrants. States spend millions caring for them at hospitals, where emergency rooms accept patients regardless of coverage.  Democrats support covering illegals, but haven’t yet admitted it. An annoying fact is that illegal aliens get “free” medical care when American citizens don’t.

Oh well, promises, promises.  There must be some reason why a small percentage of Americans still think that ObamaCare is a good deal.



Policies have Consequences. They Always Have Consequences. It Helps to Understand Them. by The Elephant's Child
January 2, 2010, 7:22 pm
Filed under: Democrat Corruption, Health Care, Law | Tags: ,

The Mayo Clinic,  highly praised by President Obama as a national model for efficient health care, will stop accepting Medicare patients as of January 1, at one of its primary-care clinics in Arizona, saying the U.S. government pays too little.

Welcome to ObamaCare.  More than 3,000 patients who are eligible for Medicare will have to pay cash if they want to continue seeing their doctors at a Mayo Family clinic in Glendale, Arizona, part of the larger metropolitan Phoenix area.

President Obama cited the nonprofit Minnesota-based Mayo Clinic and the Cleveland clinic in Ohio for offering “the highest quality care at costs well below the national norm.” Many family physicians have stopped accepting new patients from Medicare, and Mayo’s move to drop Medicare patients may well be copied by many more doctors.  “If you know your business costs and you are losing money, it doesn’t make sense to do more of it,” said Lori Heim, president of the American Academy of Family Physicians.

The Mayo organization had 3,700 staff physicians and scientists and treated 526,000 patients in 2008. It lost $840 million last year on Medicare, the government’s health program for the disabled and those 65 and older, Mayo spokeswoman Lynn Closway said.

Mayo’s hospital and four clinics in Arizona, including the Glendale facility, lost $120 million on Medicare patients last year, Yardley said. The program’s payments cover about 50 percent of the cost of treating elderly primary-care patients at the Glendale clinic, he said.

“We firmly believe that Medicare needs to be reformed,” Yardley said in a Dec. 23 e-mail. “It has been true for many years that Medicare payments no longer reflect the increasing cost of providing services for patients.”

Mayo will assess the financial effect of the decision in Glendale to drop Medicare patients “to see if it could have implications beyond Arizona,” he said.

Nationwide, doctors made about 20 percent less for treating Medicare patients than they did caring for privately insured patients in 2007, a payment gap that has remained stable during the last decade, according to a March report by the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission, a panel that advises Congress on Medicare issues. Congress last week postponed for two months a 21.5 percent cut in Medicare reimbursements for doctors.

Let’s see.  Obama promised lower costs, better care, everybody covered by insurance and a reduction in the deficit.  You didn’t really believe him, did you?




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