American Elephants

An Earth Day Tradition. by The Elephant's Child
April 22, 2010, 6:38 pm
Filed under: Entertainment, Environment, Humor, Pop Culture

On Earth Day, it’s always important to revisit George Carlin, and his riff on Planet Earth.  (Language Alert!! It’s George Carlin)

Financial Regulation, As Designed by Sen. Chris Dodd. by The Elephant's Child
April 22, 2010, 5:53 pm
Filed under: Capitalism, Economy, Law, Statism | Tags: , ,

President Obama went to Manhattan today to lecture Wall Street and make a lot of promises about the financial bill that is now before the Senate that have nothing to do with the actual bill, only what he thinks you would prefer to hear.

I was going to link to several articles that explained about the importance of eliminating the notion of “too big to fail,” and ideas for accomplishing this. But then I read this editorial  from the Wall Street Journal, where they have a particular knack for getting right down to the essence:

This is the most important fact to understand about the current financial reform debate. While the details matter a great deal, the essence of the exercise is to transfer more control over credit allocation and the financial industry to the federal government. The industry was heavily regulated before—not that it stopped the mania and panic—but if anything close to the current bills pass, the biggest banks will become the equivalent of utilities.

The irony is that this may, or may not, reduce the risk of future financial meltdowns and taxpayer bailouts. A new super council of regulators will be created with vast new powers to determine which firms pose a “systemic” financial risk, to set high capital and margin levels, to veto certain kinds of business for certain firms, and even to set guidelines for banker compensation—or maybe not. The point is that these crucial questions will be settled not by statute, but by regulatory discretion after the law passes. [emphasis added]

Do take the time to read the whole thing.  Especially note the first two paragraphs. We deluged Congress with emails and phone calls about the Health Care bill,  and if it didn’t keep  the bill from passing, it certainly heightened the debate, and gave members of Congress support.

The House has already passed the Barney Frank version, and the debate goes on in the Senate.

Environmentalism and Climate Science on Earth Day: by The Elephant's Child
April 22, 2010, 3:20 pm
Filed under: Energy, Environment, Freedom

One of today’s Must Read columns comes from Climate Scientist Dr. Roy Spencer, titled “Earth Day Turns 40.”
I  recommend Dr. Spencer’s writings enthusiastically.  He has a knack for explaining scientific ideas to those of us who are not scientists.  We note his book Climate Confusion in the sidebar, and he has a new book just out that I can’t wait to get:  The Great Global Warming Blunder’ How Mother Nature Fooled the World’s Top Climate Scientists.

Here is a  sample of his essay today, do read the whole thing.

When Earth Day was first celebrated 40 years ago, there were many good reasons to be concerned about the environment. Not only did trash litter the landscape, but rivers were catching fire and massive numbers of fish were dying due to unrestricted pollution from factories. Lake Erie was essentially a dead lake. Lead in paint and auto exhaust were real health hazards for many.

Today, these problems have been largely alleviated. But for those whose worldview requires a pristine and undisturbed natural world, the fight to reduce pollution will never be over. That’s because as long as there are humans using natural resources, the world will never be pristine or undisturbed.

What, exactly, is “pollution”? Like pornography, it is difficult to define, but we all know it when we see it. Yet it is useful to explore how we might define the term, because it will help us to understand that the whole concept of pollution really is a philosophical, or even religious, concept.

One definition of pollution that comes to mind as I write this is: any byproduct of human activity that presents a significant danger to the health of either humans or other forms of life.

So, if a dense collection of humans living in a small area smothers out other forms of life that could potentially live there if it were not for all of the waste products lying around and the natural resources being gobbled up, we might logically say that those humans are polluting the environment. But if we are honest with ourselves, we will realize that the same can be said of other forms of life, too. Take for example a forest of trees. Trees rob lesser forms of vegetation of sunlight. They leave their decaying body parts scattered all over. What right do trees have to do this?

In fact, almost all forms of life on Earth feed off of other forms of life. What we consider to be pristine nature is in reality a battleground between different forms of life that are all competing for the same natural resources — if not each others’ heads.

Another Must Read column comes from Dr. Richard Lindzen, professor of meteorology at MIT, in the Wall Street Journal today.  Really worth your time.

How They Celebrate Earth Day in Russia. by The Elephant's Child
April 22, 2010, 2:18 pm
Filed under: Environment, Humor, Statism | Tags: , ,

(h/t: Chris Horner, Planet Gore)

Some People Just Don’t Want to Hear Really Good News. by The Elephant's Child
April 22, 2010, 7:00 am
Filed under: Capitalism, Environment, Freedom, Heartwarming | Tags: , ,

Happy Earth Day! The news is good!  There is no scientific evidence indicating that carbon dioxide — much less man-made carbon dioxide emissions — control or even measurably impact global climate.  You can stop worrying.

Global warming hysteria is based on hypothetical computer models that have never been validated against real world experience.  The fact that many scientists accept the hypothesis does not make them true.  For that matter,  many scientists actively dispute these same hypothesis.

As Richard Lindzen writes in the Wall Street Journal today:

In mid-November of 2009 there appeared a file on the Internet containing thousands of emails and other documents from the Climatic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia in Great Britain. How this file got into the public domain is still uncertain, but the emails, whose authenticity is no longer in question, provided a view into the world of climate research that was revealing and even startling.

In what has come to be known as “climategate,” one could see unambiguous evidence of the unethical suppression of information and opposing viewpoints, and even data manipulation. The Climatic Research Unit is hardly an obscure outpost; it supplies many of the authors for the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Moreover, the emails showed ample collusion with other prominent researchers in the United States and elsewhere.

Just think what this means.  The cap-and-trade schemes can be dispensed with, a carbon tax is unneeded.  All the money going to grants to prove that the globe is indeed warming  can be turned instead to reducing the deficit.  Al Gore can settle down to investing in windmills.

Not only that, but there is more good news.  The United States of America is the world’s true energy superpower.  We are number 3 in oil reserves, number 2 in natural gas, number 2 in coal reserves, number 1 in wind power, number 1 in nuclear power, number 1 in ethanol, and number 4 in all sources of renewable energy.  Not bad!

There remain those who cling to their guns and visions of climatic gloom and doom, but you would think that they would be happy to breathe a hearty sigh of relief and get on with more important things.  Have a very good day!

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