Filed under: Environment, Science/Technology, The United States | Tags: Carleton Complex Fire, Partly Contained, Ten-Year Average 4 Million Acres
It’s a sunny day with blue skies in the Puget Sound area, and the temperature is a balmy 80°, so naturally our power was out for 4½ hours. No idea why. Cuts back on the blogging.
Big fire on the other side of the mountains. called the Carleton Complex. Started on July 14 from lightning strikes. Currently about 250,000 acres, and 300 homes destroyed. There are 3 other fires in the state, for a total of 287,015 acres. Oregon has 15 fires for a total of 603,393 acres, one big one near Burns. All of the western states have fires burning. The annual average for the past ten years is 45,587 wildfires, for a total burned of 3,948,973 acres. Thank God wood is a renewable resource.
Warmer weather expected tomorrow, with the weather on the other side of the mountains into the 100°s, which makes fires worse and conditions for fighting them worse. When you grow up, as I did in the foothills of the Rockies, you pay attention to the forest fire statistics. If you are interested you go to the National Interagency Fire Center, or if you want to see pictures, go here.
Filed under: Domestic Policy, Economy, Energy, Environment, Junk Science | Tags: "The Clean Power Plan", Administrator Gina McCarthy, Environmental Protection Agency
On Wednesday EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy was testifying before the Senate Environment and Public Works committee, and slipped in this priceless quote regarding the EPA’s proposed carbon dioxide regulations — the Clean Power Plan.
“And the great thing about this proposal is it really is an investment opportunity. This is not about pollution control. It’s about increased efficiency at our plants…It’s about investments in renewables and clean energy. It’s about investments in people’s ability to lower their electricity bills by getting good, clean, efficient appliances, homes, rental units.”
Ms. McCarthy’s Endangerment Finding was all about the awful effects of “carbon pollution,” whatever that is, on the planet. Now we learn that it not about pollution control? Oooops!
It hasn’t been all that long since Administrator McCarthy admitted that they could not produce the science on which they depend for their outrageous power grabs. Oh.
And back in 2012, EPA Regional Administrator Al Armendanz confirmed that the reason EPA fines are so huge and so unreasonable is simply to make an example of people with truly aggressive fines so you scare everyone into compliance and get people in that industry to clean up quickly.
The problem is that these disputes are often settled in the courts, where judges may know little, if anything, about climate science, and the idea of being exposed as a climate ignoramus is pretty scary.
Ms. McCarthy is an accomplished liar, but this one may come back to bite her.
Filed under: Capitalism, Economy, Freedom, Liberalism, Media Bias, Progressivism, The United States | Tags: Better Pay-More Advancement, The Walton Family, Wal-Mart Stores
The Left has remarkably long list of things they hate, but Wal-Mart is right up there close to the top. I’ve never been sure quite why. They are “Big Box Retailers”, they go into small towns and drive out all those mom-and-pop stores out of business, and destroy good paying jobs. They drive down wages when they invade a town. Wal-Mart wages are humiliating and force employees to use food stamps, Medicaid and other forms of welfare. And you’ve probably seen the photos of the “Wall-Mart people,” poorly dressed people, fat people — just not our kind.
Researchers at Stanford and University of Michigan business schools looked into the facts about Wal-Mart. When they crunched the numbers they found that wages are much higher at the big Box stores, and are much higher than at the mom-and-pop stores.Worker pay rises “markedly,” says Investors, “as the size of the company or the size of the store increases.”
Worker pay, in fact, rises “markedly” as the size of the company or the size of the store increases. Those with some college education, the researchers found, make 36% more at a Wal-Mart-size megastore than one employing fewer than 10 workers. Those with just a high school education do 26% better.
A paper published by the National Bureau of Economic Research also found that workers who move from a corner store to a megastore do better financially. Someone with a high school education will typically get a pay boost of 19% by making the switch.
What’s more, big box retailers offer far more opportunities for advancement than do small ones, with pay supervisors and managers especially advancing.
For those who think Wal-Mart pays “humiliating” wages, the average hourly pay for a cashier is $8.48, which is 17% higher than the minimum wage, and is just pennies less than what the average barista makes at Starbucks, the researchers found. Assistant managers at Wal-Mart make about $10,000 more a year, on average, than those at Starbucks.
A number of years ago, the big complaint was that Wal-Mart was helping their workers to get food stamps, which proved just how awful Wal-Mart was. This was during the Bush administration, and Wal-Mart was quite involved with the “welfare to work” program. To make it easier for new workers to manage the transition from welfare to a job, companies participating in the program were required by the government to help the new workers to get food stamps. Sometimes you just can’t please the Left, no matter what you do.
Some cities have tried to prevent Wal-Mart from going into areas where they might serve less affluent communities, under the illusion that Wal-Mart would take advantage of the poor and unemployed, thus depriving them of good jobs and the opportunity to save on merchandise.
Wal-Mart has enormous buying power, and buying in large quantity means cheaper prices. There are more jobs, higher pay and lower prices for customers. We shouldn’t be surprised that liberal elites hate Wal-Mart.
Filed under: Capitalism, Democrat Corruption, Economy, Energy, Foreign Policy, Immigration, Intelligence, Iraq, Islam, Israel, Latin America, National Security, Politics | Tags: A World in Flames, The Administration Knew, The Islamic State
Weren’t we told by the administration that they were blindsided by the rapid advance by ISIS last month when Mosul, Iraq’s second largest city fell to this new jihadi army that seemed to come out of nowhere? They not only captured Mosul, but five divisions of the Iraqi army fell and we heard of mass executions, beheadings, crucifixions, and terrified residents fled before the onslaught as the long column headed towards Baghdad.
The administration, according to the record was not surprised at all. Congressional testimony as far back as November made it cleat that the United States had been closely tracking the black-clad jihadis, a ruthless al Qaeda spinoff. Intelligence officials had been closely tracking the group since 2012.
According to McClatchy, Obama administration officials were quite aware of the group’s intention to send men and material back into Iraq and turn loose waves of suicide bombers, which they knew that Iraqi security forces could not handle. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Brett McGurk told a House committee in February that the campaign had the stated objective of carving out a Caliphate in the western regions of Iraq and Syria.
So — if the Obama administration had all that advance warning why are they still trying to figure out what steps, if any, they should take to stop their advance? With all the pictures of the long ISIS column strung out on the road to Baghdad, it looked like a pretty vulnerable target, but I’ve probably read too many thrillers.
They’ve seized all sorts of Iraqi military equipment, drained banks of their assets, seized oil and natural gas fields, military outposts. Nearly every day we hear about another town that has fallen or another outrage they have committed.
What started as a crisis in Syria has become a regional disaster with serious global implications,” Rep. Ed Royce, R-Calif., the chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said Wednesday.
Yet Defense Department officials say they might not complete work on proposed options for U.S. actions until the middle of August, a lifetime in a region where every day brings word of another town or village falling to the Islamic State. Some lawmakers and experts say the delay borders on diplomatic malpractice.
Chairman Royce said Iraqi officials and diplomats at our embassy began urging drone strikes as early as August last year against Islamic State bases near the Syrian border.
This was a very clear case in which the U.S. knew what was going on but followed a policy of deliberate neglect,” said Vali Nasr, the dean of Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies and a former State Department adviser on the Middle East.
“This miscalculation essentially has helped realize the worst nightmare for this administration, an administration that prided itself on its counterterrorism strategy,” said Nasr. “It is now presiding over the resurgence of a nightmare of extremism and terrorism.”
The article from the Merced Sun Star is long and, frankly, depressing. Dithering, indecision, Obama believes one of his greatest accomplishments is ending the war in Iraq, he can’t undo that. Drawing red lines in Syria, misunderstanding the Middle East. Obama came to office believing that the key to the problems of the Middle East was Israeli intransigence. If he could broker a peace agreement between Israel and Palestine, then the problems of the Middle East would end. That’s why Kerry has been over there wearing out his welcome, pushing absurd agreements. Obama seems to have learned about the Middle East from his friend Rashid Khalidi, the firebrand Palestinian professor.
Matt Lewis of The Daily Caller has a column in Britain’s Telegraph today, suggesting that “Barack Obama has already checked out of his job,” in which he suggests that Obama is “no longer even worried about keeping up appearances, he doesn’t care enough to fake it.”
The United States has apparently not yet delivered the helicopter gunships and F-16 jet fighters that Iraq has already purchased. The administration has also dragged its feet on Baghdad’s request for U.S. military advisers, though 300 were dispatched after Mosul fell. Obama doesn’t seem to get along with Maliki. George W. Bush had weekly video conferences with him.
Gaza’s charter says they will eliminate Israel and take over the land. That’s fairly clear and straightforward. The Islamic State says they have established a new Caliphate in Syria and Iraq, and then…? Putin is still busily working to take over the Ukraine, al Qaeda is threatening a cyber attack on the United States. We have thousands of children, (mostly between the ages of 14 and 17) who are being recruited by MS-17. Obama says he wants to send them back home, but he is settling them in all over the country, and schools will be expected to take the kids. The border is wide open because Border Patrol people have been called away to deal with the ‘unaccompanied children’, and security officials are worried. More businesses are moving their corporate offices overseas to escape taxes, and Obama can’t think of anything to do but punish them. Cutting taxes is not in his vocabulary.
What’s the old saying? Ask me no questions, and I’ll tell you no lies.
Filed under: Capitalism, Democrat Corruption, Economy, Energy, Junk Science, Law, Progressivism, Regulation | Tags: American Industry Revolt, EPA Power Grab, Unworkable Climate Plan
American industry has a message for the Environmental Protection Agency: your new plan for climate regulation is “not workable.”
The Partnership for a Better Energy Future, which represents 140 organizations, sent a letter to EPA chief Gina McCarthy Monday night calling on her to extend the public comment period for the new rules, make drastic changes to the proposal and hold more public hearings across the U.S.
“We are all going to tell the EPA that this regulation is simply not workable,” Jay Timmons, CEO of the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM), said on a call with reporters Tuesday to promote the industry push against the rules.
The EPA said it will hold four public hearings across the country on its proposal which mandates that by 2030 states cut carbon dioxide emissions from existing power plants by 30 percent from 2005 levels.
Not enough! according to Timmons, the CEOs of the Chamber of Commerce, American Petroleum Institute, the National Mining Association, American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers and more groups as well.
“There is obviously going to be legal action in the future,” Timmons said. “We would like to see the rule altered and see the agency stop and listen to constituents and consumers that will be most impacted.”
“But assuming all things stay as they are, then we’ll see some action in the courts,” he added.
“Already, we have received nearly 300,000 comments on the proposal. In the first 25 business days following the proposal, we have met with 60 groups and we are continuing our outreach through the 120-day comment period,” Purchia said.
Filed under: Politics | Tags: Congress Makes The Laws, Separation of Powers, The Intent of the Framers
Jonathan Turley is socially liberal, but a very independent thinker and constitutional scholar. He is a professor at the George Washington University Law School. Here he is testifying before the House Judiciary Committee about the GOP lawsuit against the President. He believes it should go forward, and that it is important for it to do so.
“It is important to remember that people misconstrue the separation of powers regularly. It is not there to protect the institutional rights of the branches. It is there to protect individual liberty. It was created by the framers to prevent any branch from abrogating enough power to be a danger to liberty. It is not about you; it is about the people you represent.”
The video is fairly short and very worth your time.
Filed under: Capitalism, Economy, Education, Foreign Policy, Freedom, History, Intelligence, National Security, The United States | Tags: Eternal War, Principled Republicans, Unprincipled Liberals
Trying to succinctly describe the differences between the American Left and the American Right is a long-running and fascinating game for both parties. Liberals, as I often note, have told us specifically that they do not have principles—meaning they are not stuck with some old-fashioned, worn-out principles as a guide to how to behave. That is not intended as a compliment. They react, they say, to events, responding on a case by case basis. Much more noble.
Republicans do have principles which they believe are time-tested and proven to be effective and useful in human life. Things like equality of opportunity, free markets and free people, and small government. Those principles serve as a guide to actions, and research into how things work are a better guide to satisfactory policies.
Liberals react to things emotionally. For example, a UPI piece from Pew Research on the “Global Attitudes Project”poll says:
A new poll offers details on the way citizens of the world think about climate change, and U.S. participants are looking particularly ignorant to the risks of global warming. Only one in four Americans said climate change was a “major threat,” making the U.S. the least concerned nation. (emphasis added)
If we disagree with the “consensus” we must be ignorant. But nobody checks to see if there actually is a “consensus” among scientists. Emotional response. No, there actually is no consensus. And “consensus” isn’t science.
Here’s another from Investors, today: “For the Left, ‘Children’ Are the Battering Ram to Force Amnesty.”
Immigration: The White House and open-borders lobby have stepped up pressure for amnesty by painting the migrant tsunami as a flood of toddlers. But a Pew study, citing Border Patrol data, shows that more than half the entrants are teenage males. (emphasis added)
Here’s another example from Investors, by Robert Samuelson: Although a man of the Left, he suggests “To Keep corporations Here, Why Not Cut Their Taxes?”
Corporate America’s latest public-relations disaster comes under the banner “tax inversion,” where a U.S. company shifts its legal headquarters to a country with a lower tax rate.
He goes on to show how Treasury Secretary Jack Lew and President Obama have charged the corporations as lacking in “economic patriotism.” Emotional response. Make a law against them. Keep them from doing so. Far better would be to reduce the corporate tax to something close to the normal corporate tax among industrialized nations. We do have the highest corporate tax in the world. Their first and only response is to prevent corporations from what is a valid business decision.
ObamaCare was a program built on emotion. Liberals thought that we should offer everyone free health care like European states did. Everyone would be so grateful to Liberals for that gift that they would forever vote Liberals into power. They looked at Britain’s way of controlling expense by limiting the costs of old folks in their final years, and loved it. No old geezer should be able to have a hugely expensive operation when they might have only months to live anyway. But they never looked into the way the program really worked in Britain, or Canada, or France or Germany. Their bright ideas don’t work. What were expected to be money savers aren’t. Tom Sowell stated the whole problem simply and clearly:
It is amazing that people who think we cannot afford to pay for doctors, hospitals, and medication somehow think that we can afford to pay for doctors, hospitals, medication and a government bureaucracy to administer it.
They imposed ideas they thought would save money, or be especially popular, or would give them more control, but they didn’t check how those ideas work in the real world, they just rushed it through on pure emotion and are astounded at the complaints from doctors, patients, insurance companies, hospitals and suppliers. And it’s all falling apart.
Wind and solar energy are emotional responses to perceived evils of fossil fuels. Wind and solar energy are presumed to be free because they are “natural.” But a turbine only turns at the right speed to produce energy when the wind is at the right speed. But the wind is intermittent, and requires 24/7 backup from a conventional power source, which makes the energy produced expensive, and slight. And it kills way too many birds. Eagles may become endangered if the kill rate continues. If subsidies are removed, wind is not worthwhile.
Solar is about the same problem. You only get energy with 24/7 backup, because clouds cause problems. Solar energy is too diffuse, unavailable at night, and in some locations simply fries birds in flight. If subsidies are removed, it’s not worthwhile. These things were known before the big investments in wind and solar, but emotional attachment to “free energy” trumped common sense.
Over and over you will find Liberals responding to or devising policy based on their feelings about the subject. They don’t do their homework, and they don’t think through the unintended consequences. They don’t seem to understand incentives.
Republicans don’t always get their policies right, and unintended consequences come back and bite them. Human beings are complicated and not only don’t agree on everything, but often don’t agree on much. There are lots of differing opinions in the big tent we hope to have, and creating successful policies to help Americans and their allies and enemies to do things that turn out well is not easy, and results are not always a success. But if we work with an open mind and an inclusive attitude, and an appreciation for human folly, we might not do too badly if we do our homework.
Filed under: Democrat Corruption, Domestic Policy, Economy, Energy, Environment, Junk Science, Liberalism, Media Bias, Progressivism | Tags: An EPA Power-Grab, Misguided Regulation, Obama's Cimate Action Plan
This gorgeous landscape comes from the Great Lakes last winter. As the Obama administration’s Climate Action Plan is passed on to all departments in the government, the Department of Energy, Department of Interior, Department of Agriculture and the Department of Defense all have programs to promote the presidential Climate Action Plan. But it is the EPA that is working hard to fulfill their Clean Power Plan. Another stupid attack on the American economy.
Just last week, the governors of the six New England states met in emergency session at Bretton Woods, New Hampshire to discuss the potential full-scale power shortage that seems to be coming. They asked the premiers of five of Canada’s provinces to attend the meeting. If New England is going to get electricity from anywhere, it’s probably going to be from north of the border.
New England has been on a hell-bent drive to rid itself of any form of “dirty” non-renewable energy, and has been closing down coal-fired and oil-fired power plants for the last decade. In 2000, 18 percent of New England’s electricity came from coal and 22 percent from oil. Today it’s 3 percent coal and 1 percent oil. Natural gas has risen from 15 percent to a vulnerable 52 percent. But there is a major problem. New England doesn’t have the pipelines they would need to bring in natural gas.
Eastern Pennsylvania is only a short distance from Connecticut and Massachusetts, where fracking has put Pennsylvania into third place for overall energy production. A proposal from a Huston company to expand its existing pipeline from Stony Point, New York has met with angry resistance from New England greens. They are still fighting global warming and dirty fossil fuels.
Last winter when the real record low temperatures hit, there wasn’t enough gas to go around. Utilities that provide home heating have long-term contracts, and first call. Power plant operators frantically bid against each other for what was left. Prices went from $4 per mBTU to $79 per mBTU. In 2012, New England spent $5.2 gillion on electricity in the whole year. Last winter they spent $5.1 billion just in the first four months.
The CEO of the Independent Systems Operator of New England which runs the grid begged the region not to close down Vermont Yankee and Brayton Point, but the faith in Environmentalism runs deep. You can store up supplies of coal, but you can’t store natural gas, and wind turbines shut down in cold weather. They only got through last winter by regularly importing 1,400 megawatts from Indian Point, the two nuclear power plants on the Hudson in New York. But New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and most of the state’s Democratic politician are trying to close down Indian Point as well.
In the next two years New England will be closing down 1/10th of its power capacity because — environmentalism. It’s a religious faith, which they falsely assume to be science. Cold kills a lot more people than heat ever does. The last of the four coal-fired plants at Salem Harbor is due to be shut down because it cannot meet the EPA’s new regulations.Brayton Point, the largest remaining coal plant will be closed for the same reason. A constant barrage of protests and legislative attacks has persuaded Mississippi-based Entergy to close the Vermont Yankee Nuclear Station, a reactor that supplies 75 percent of Vermont’s power and four percent of the region’s power— free of “carbon pollution.”
Canadians are developing huge dams in James Bay and are eager to sell electricity to Americans. That means building transmission lines down from the north, but of course environmentalists are opposed to that too, and trying to block any line in every way they can come up with. We’re in for cold winters as far as we can see, which isn’t far as we cannot predict the future, nor can the computer programs of climate alarmists. As far as predictions go, the Farmer’s Almanac may have a better record than the IPCC computers. We’ll see.
Filed under: Capitalism, Democrat Corruption, Domestic Policy, Immigration, Law, Politics, Progressivism, Regulation | Tags: A Crisis of Enforcement, The President's Responsibility, The Rules for Immigration
Everyone talks about “comprehensive immigration reform” but fails to explain just what they mean by the term. And to no one’s surprise, they don’t mean the same thing at all. Mark Krikorian, who heads the Center for Immigration Studies wrote today:
The president’s framing of the unprecedented surge of illegal aliens turning themselves into border officials in the expectation of being allowed to stay in the United States, as an “urgent humanitarian situation”, is only partially correct. The phase is designed to misdirect public attention away from the more damming truths of the surge; it is equally, if not more so, a crisis of enforcement, governing, and the president’s responsibility to carry out his oath of office. It is an ethical issue for the public as well as the president.
None of these considerations are captured or even suggested by the administration’s preferred phasing. Nor are they meant to do so.
At City Journal, Myron Magnet points out that there are really two immigration debates. Three billionaires writing in the New York Times want more immigrants with advanced degrees and investment capital. Silicon Valley magnates want more H1-B visas for tech PhDs, though Magnet has noticed that some of these very magnates have conspired to fix the wages of their highly qualified engineers by forming illegal non-competitive hiring pacts, so who knows what the real demand for high tech skills is? According to other sources we have more STEM graduates than there are STEM jobs. Magnet says:
But this argument has nothing whatever to do with the massed children at our southern border, admitted through a foolish loophole unintentionally created by the Bush administration and exploited by the Obama regime as a way of changing the character of the American people, both by enlarging the underclass whom Democrats can claim it is their mission to rescue with ever more generous welfare programs, and by creating yet more Democratic voters, if these kids ever become citizens—or if they become anchor babies who can then legally bring in their parents and siblings under our existing, and harmful, family-unification immigration policy.
Victor Davis Hanson says that “The last thing a liberal proponent of immigration reform wants is liberal immigration reform. Remember that paradox, and the insanity at the border makes some sense.
In truth, no one in the open-borders coalition wants anything approaching comprehensive immigration reform. Advocates are embarrassed about the present mess at the border not because thousands of foreign nationals, many of them unescorted children and teens, from Latin America, without skills or education, are flocking illegally across the border after largely taking the amnesty cue from Barack Obama, but because they are doing so in such dramatic fashion that the influx has aroused the ire and worry of the American people and exposed illegal immigration to be a callous and illiberal enterprise, promoted by a coalition of self-interested political operatives, commercial concerns, and ethnic chauvinists. …
Such legislation would first have to make border security the top priority. And that would entail three unpalatable requisites.
The first step would be the completion of the fence. Fences do work. That is why, for example, former mayor of Los Angeles and open-borders advocate Antonio Villaraigosa (“We don’t need to build walls, we need to build bridges”) became the first mayor in Los Angeles history to insist on a six-foot-high security fence around his official mayoral residence in Windsor Square, or why the White House, the homes of Silicon Valley billionaires, and the vacation homes of the elite on Martha’s Vineyard all have security fences. How odd that we are lectured about the Neanderthal nature of secure borders by elites who are about the only ones in America who demand them around their own estates.
Then turn back all who crossed illegally, and let that be known. Until deterrence is established, more guards on the border. Then meritocratic legal immigration, ethnically blind and predicated on merit rather than on proximity to the southern border. If just 10 percent of the existing resident-alien pool had criminal records or no record of gainful employment that would mean 1 or 2 million would have to be deported.
And finally, a piece I have mentioned before” “How to Think About Immigration” by Kevin D. Williamson.
The influx of children across our southern border is troubling. First, because they are not all children—not by a sight—but images of children are useful for stirring emotions to muddy the policy waters. Second, because it is not all that unusual; As the Wall street Journal reports, between 23,000 and 47,000 minors illegally entered the United States and were apprehended in each of the past five years; in 2013, we ordered only 3s,525 deportations, suggesting that something on the order of nine in ten, or more, of minor illegal aliens—again, of the number apprehended—are allowed to stay. The number not apprehended is very large, the number of non-minors is very large, and that is how we find ourselves with not millions but tens of millions of illegal aliens resident in these United States.
None of these pieces are long. Read all four and you are well-equipped for an argument with anyone — even a liberal.