Archive for the ‘Government Waste’ Category

Disorder in the ranks of Global Warming fanatics?

February 10, 2007

Hi Brit,

It seems that the Church of Global Warming should pick a High Priest to coordinate things.

On one hand we have, Congress eyes legislation to fight climate change (which I mentioned previously,) many countries are trying to implement the Kyoto Treats, and the EU is in the process of adding all sorts of new environmental laws.

On the other hand, we have, Climate Change Verdict: Science Debate Ends, Solution Debate Begins.  While I contest the “Science debate ends” part, having posted about this several times in the recent past, I point out the “Solution debate begins” part, as it relates to what I just mentioned above.  If there is still debate, even among the ranks of the faithful, as to what to do about Global Warming, then a rational person would have to question how our politicians can know what laws to pass to fix it?  If they understand things better than the Climate Scientists on who’s’ knowledge rests the concept and proof of Global Warming, perhaps they should write the IPCC reports on the subject.  Wait, sorry, I forgot, they did.  Still, one would think that some scientific basis would be needed to formulate solutions to a real problem.

On the gripping hand, I found this, UTSA researchers examine effects of global warming on Antarctic.  Now, call me crazy, but I thought this was “settled science,” and we know that the Antarctic ice is melting.  So, a rational person must ask, why are we waisting money examining things we already know all about?  Shouldn’t those funds be going to find a solution to Global Warming, or at least to implementing the solutions the politicians already seem to know about?

I have to say, Global Warming fanatics, y’all really should anoint a High Priest in an effort to get your act together.  How about AlGore?

the Grit

How long can you hold your breath?

February 9, 2007

Hi Brit,

I just read this, Congress eyes legislation to fight climate change, and immediately asked myself “how long can I hold my breath?”  After all, each of us expel the Evil Greenhouse Gas CO2 with each breath, and, now that Nanny Pelosi has the issue firmly clinched in her dentures, I expect that soon we will be faced with a Breath Tax, to encourage us to slow down our individual contributions to Global Warming.  By my quick, and not necessarily totally accurate, calculations, we in the US can offset her jet set life style if we each take 30 fewer breaths per day.  Of course, this increased interest in decreasing our breath rates will have at least one benefit, that being, getting some of the joggers off the road.

Although, considering that:

The White House said Snow was referring to figures from the International Energy Agency that from 2000 to 2004, U.S. carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuel combustion grew by 1.7 percent, while in the European Union such emissions grew by 5 percent.  From: U.S. cuts emissions better than Europe: White House.

It would seem obvious to any rational person, thus excluding most Democrats I admit, that we are on the correct path to achieve the liberal agenda of reducing CO2 emissions without further Government meddling.  With liberals in control, of course, they will ignore the facts, raise taxes and piddle around in our lives until they manage to, not only, increase Greenhouse Gas Emissions, but, also, screw up our economy.  Typical.

the Grit

Drink and sex abuse in UK politics

February 9, 2007

Hi Grit

Want to know why are politics in the UK are in such a shambles? The following story that I found gives some insight into this situation. It involves the case of Fiona Jones, once heralded as one of “Blairs Babes”, a term that was given to the 100 women MP’s that came into parliament with him in 1997.

Twelve days Fiona was found dead by her 17 year old son. She was surrounded by empty Vodka bottles. It is obvious from this scenario that she was an alcholic, but how did she get into this position. “Parliament taught her to drink,” accuses her husband. It transpires that the Houses of Parliament offers cut-price drink to all members and that heavy drinking sessions are not uncommon. With it being a very close environment there is a culture of “you have to do this to become one of us.” 

The other contributory factor to Fiona’s demise was sexual harassment. From the reports it seems that the lady was continuously subjected to bullying sexual attacks and innuendo by her chauvenistic colleagues.

Surprisingly, only one MP (an ex-MP at that) mentioned Fiona’s death. The article itself seems to brush away the importance of the issues of drink and sex, blaming Fiona’s demise on other issues.

This story is not only tragic, for which our sympathies are extended to Fiona’s family, the root causes of it are indefensible.

Tony Blair and his government publicly depore the menace of drink, often quoting how much work time is lost as a result, and the health and safety issues surrounding it. The same government has introduced laws and cracks down hard on sexual abuse and harassment in the workplace. Why have these issues not been addressed in their own (private) club?

If we were found drunk in the workplace, the minimum expected of us would be to seek treatment. At worse we would be sacked for being unsafe to perform our task. If we were found guilty of sexual harassment in the workplace we would be fined, sacked or even imprisoned and our employers would be accountable as well. Why are the same rules not applied here.

Our government is responsible for making decisions that affect the health and safety of its citizens and, in many cases those of other nations. They are supposed to make sensible, sober decisions regarding matters of local, national and international importance. How can they be trusted to do that if these sorts of incidences are occuring?

No doubt this is the tip of a dangerous ice-berg. The government’s treatment of this lady is deplorable. The governments failure to maintain the same rules and regulations that they apply to its citizens and their employees is unforgivable and, in my view, a criminal dereliction of its duties.

the Brit

Tony Blair at home

February 9, 2007

Hi Grit

For those who don’t know a lot about Blair and his official home, here is a site that lets you take a tour around it. It will walk you through all of the rooms where important decisions are made and you can click on items of special interest to learn more. Unfortunately it does not allow you into his private accommodation.

Other interesting fact from this site include some interesting quotes from previous PM’s, dating back to the 1740’s, which our friend Tony might do well to refer to. For example:-

William Pitt the elder (1766-1788) “Unlimited power is apt to corrupt the minds of those who possess it.”

Henry Addington (1801-04) “In youth, the absence of pleasure is pain, in old age the absence of pain is pleasure.”

Sir Robert Peel (1841-46) “There seem to me to be very few facts, at least ascertainable facts, in politics.”

Marquis of Salisbury (1886-92). “English policy is to float lazily downstream, occasionally putting out a diplomatic boathook to avoid collisions.”

Arthur James Balfour (1902-1905) “I am more or less happy when being praised, not very comfortable when being abused, but I have moments of uneasiness when being explained.”

Andrew Bonar Law (1922-3) “If I am a great man, then a good many great men of history are frauds.”

Clement Richard Atlee (1945-51) “Often the experts make the worst possible ministers in their own fields. In this country we prefer rule by amateur.”

Sir Alec Douglas Hume (1963-64) “There are two problems in my life. The political ones are insoluble and the economic ones are incomprehensible.”

Interesting!

the Brit

The Nanny State gone wild!

February 5, 2007

Hi Brit,

This, I must say, is too much, Obedient residents in apartments with dead space.  OK, everyone over here in the US should have to read this before voting in the next election.  Really people, is this what we want?

the Grit

Who do you love?

February 5, 2007

Hi Brit,

Joy, oh joy!  It’s Federal Budget time!  Let’s see who the Government loves:

(as proposed by President Bush)

Health and Human Services: $699 billion
Social Security: $655.6 billion
Defense: $624.6 billion
Treasury: $525.9 billion
Other agencies: $148.7 billion
Agriculture: $90.9 billion
Veterans: $84.4 billion
Transportation: $67.4 billion
Education: $62.6 billion
Labor: $50.4 billion
State: $37.4 billion
Housing and Urban Development: $36.2 billion
Homeland Security: $34.6 billion
Justice: $23.3 billion
Energy: $21.7 billion
National Aeronautics and Space Administration: $17.3 billion
Interior: $10.1 billion
Environmental Protection Agency: $7.1 billion
Commerce: $6.7 billion
Judiciary: $6.7 billion
Legislative branch: $4.8 billion
Corps of Engineers: $4.8 billion
 
For a total of a bit over 2.9 TRILLION DOLLARS!  This is right at $10,000 for every man, woman, and child in the country.

After taking a few minutes to let that sink in, you may be wondering just what these departments are going to spend their share of the loot on, so (from their sites) here’s what they think they do:

Health and Human Services: $699 billion

THE DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES is the United States government’s principal agency for protecting the health of all Americans and providing essential human services, especially for those who are least able to help themselves.

THE DEPARTMENT INCLUDES MORE THAN 300 PROGRAMS, covering a wide spectrum of activities. Some highlights include:

  • Health and social science research
  • Preventing disease, including immunization services
  • Assuring food and drug safety
  • Medicare (health insurance for elderly and disabled Americans) and Medicaid (health insurance for low-income people)
  • Health information technology
  • Financial assistance and services for low-income families
  • Improving maternal and infant health
  • Head Start (pre-school education and services)
  • Faith-based and community initiatives
  • Preventing child abuse and domestic violence
  • Substance abuse treatment and prevention
  • Services for older Americans, including home-delivered meals
  • Comprehensive health services for Native Americans
  • Medical preparedness for emergencies, including potential terrorism.


Social Security: $655.6 billion

We pay retirement, disability and survivors benefits to workers and their families and administer the Supplemental Security Income program. We also issue Social Security numbers. 
Defense: $624.6 billion

With our military units tracing their roots to pre-Revolutionary times, you might say that we are America’s oldest company. And if you look at us in business terms, many would say we are not only America’s largest company, but its busiest and most successful. 
Treasury: $525.9 billion

The mission of the Department of the Treasury is to promote the conditions for prosperity and stability in the United States and encourage prosperity and stability in the rest of the world.
Other agencies: $148.7 billion

These are all the other agencies and departments that didn’t get enough funding to make the big list. 
Agriculture: $90.9 billion

 We provide leadership on food, agriculture, natural resources, and related issues based on sound public policy, the best available science, and efficient management.
Veterans: $84.4 billion

 Our goal is to provide excellence in patient care, veterans’ benefits and customer satisfaction. We have reformed our department internally and are striving for high quality, prompt and seamless service to veterans. Our department’s employees continue to offer their dedication and commitment to help veterans get the services they have earned. Our nation’s veterans deserve no less.
Transportation: $67.4 billion

 Serve the United States by ensuring a fast, safe, efficient, accessible and convenient transportation system that meets our vital national interests and enhances the quality of life of the American people, today and into the future.
Education: $62.6 billion

ED was created in 1980 by combining offices from several federal agencies. Its original directive remains its mission today — to ensure equal access to education and to promote educational excellence throughout the nation. ED’s 4,500 employees and $71.5 billion budget are dedicated to:

• Establishing policies on federal financial aid for education, and distributing as well as monitoring those funds.
• Collecting data on America’s schools and disseminating research.
• Focusing national attention on key educational issues.
• Prohibiting discrimination and ensuring equal access to education.
Labor: $50.4 billion

The Department of Labor fosters and promotes the welfare of the job seekers, wage earners, and retirees of the United States by improving their working conditions, advancing their opportunities for profitable employment, protecting their retirement and health care benefits, helping employers find workers, strengthening free collective bargaining, and tracking changes in employment, prices, and other national economic measurements. In carrying out this mission, the Department administers a variety of Federal labor laws including those that guarantee workers’ rights to safe and healthful working conditions; a minimum hourly wage and overtime pay; freedom from employment discrimination; unemployment insurance; and other income support.
State: $37.4 billion

 Create a more secure, democratic, and prosperous world for the benefit of the American people and the international community.
Housing and Urban Development: $36.2 billion

 HUD’s mission is to increase homeownership, support community development and increase access to affordable housing free from discrimination. To fulfill this mission, HUD will embrace high standards of ethics, management and accountability and forge new partnerships–particularly with faith-based and community organizations–that leverage resources and improve HUD’s ability to be effective on the community level.
Homeland Security: $34.6 billion

 We will lead the unified national effort to secure America. We will prevent and deter terrorist attacks and protect against and respond to threats and hazards to the nation. We will ensure safe and secure borders, welcome lawful immigrants and visitors, and promote the free-flow of commerce.
Justice: $23.3 billion

 

To enforce the law and defend the interests of the United States according to the law; to ensure public safety against threats foreign and domestic; to provide federal leadership in preventing and controlling crime; to seek just punishment for those guilty of unlawful behavior; and to ensure fair and impartial administration of justice for all Americans.

Energy: $21.7 billion

Discovering the solutions to power and secure America’s future
 
National Aeronautics and Space Administration: $17.3 billion

We explore and discover
Interior: $10.1 billion

The Mission of the Department of the Interior is to protect and provide access to our Nation’s natural and cultural heritage and honor our trust responsibilities to Indian Tribes and our commitments to island communities.
Environmental Protection Agency: $7.1 billion

 The mission of the Environmental Protection Agency is to protect human health and the environment. Since 1970, EPA has been working for a cleaner, healthier environment for the American people.
Commerce: $6.7 billion

 The historic mission of the Department is “to foster, promote, and develop the foreign and domestic commerce” of the United States. This has evolved, as a result of legislative and administrative additions, to encompass broadly the responsibility to foster, serve, and promote the Nation’s economic development and technological advancement. The Department fulfills this mission by:

a. Participating with other Government agencies in the creation of national policy, through the President’s Cabinet and its subdivisions.

b. Promoting and assisting international trade.

c. Strengthening the international economic position of the United States.

d. Promoting progressive domestic business policies and growth.

e. Improving comprehension and uses of the physical environment and its oceanic life.

f. Ensuring effective use and growth of the Nation’s scientific and technical resources.

g. Acquiring, analyzing, and disseminating information regarding the Nation and the economy to help achieve increased social and economic benefit.

h. Assisting states, communities, and individuals with economic progress.
Judiciary: $6.7 billion

Funds the Federal Courts.
Legislative branch: $4.8 billion

Funds the Congress. 
Corps of Engineers: $4.8 billion
 

Our mission is to provide quality, responsive engineering services to the nation including: 

  • Planning, designing, building and operating water resources and other civil works projects (Navigation, Flood Control, Environmental Protection, Disaster Response, etc.)
  • Designing and managing the construction of military facilities for the Army and Air Force. (Military Construction)
  • Providing design and construction management support for other Defense and federal agencies. (Interagency and International Services)

Today, as always, we stand ready… engineers, scientists, real estate specialists and administrators alike to meet national security, emergency and other national requirements.

While I have different concepts of the true purpose of some of these Departments and Agencies, that will have to wait until another day.  Now, don’t you feel better knowing a tiny bit about where your tax dollars are going?

the Grit

Can you say “buying votes?”

February 4, 2007

Hi Brit,

While y’all have almost completely sunk into the warm, smothering embrace of the Nanny State, we still have a few vestiges of freedom and self determination left, such as worrying about our own health care.  That is, until John Edwards gets elected, and this evil rich guy isn’t afraid to spend other people’s money buying votes: Edwards: raise taxes for healthcare.  It’ll be interesting to see how many votes he can purchase with a promised $180 BILLION of looted cash that will, supposedly, come from higher taxes on his fellow fabulously rich country men and women.  The targets of this bribe are the 43 MILLION Americans who are without health insurance.  Mr. money bags doesn’t mention if he is going to weed out those who could afford coverage, but decide not to do so.  Of course, if we get into details, it seems that our trial lawyer champion of the people is playing tricky games with the meaning of words.  “Rich” for example, appears to mean anyone making more than $200,000 per year.  His rather expensive plan also calls for an attack on our economy through adding more regulations and costs on business. 

Not to be outdone, I have a health care plan of my own.  I say we confiscate, ah, that is tax at 100%, Edward’s new super luxury estate, and put that $6,000,000 in a fund to buy health care for poor people.  Just the interest on that should cover decent insurance for 50 to 100 people.  Be a sport John, use your own money to buy votes.

the Grit

It’s hard to get good help these days.

February 4, 2007

Hi Brit,

This should give you a chuckle, since it wasn’t your tax pounds going to waste, New Jersey City Pays Dead Man $130,000 a Year.  By the way, it’s worse than the title makes clear, the slow moving employee has been dead for over 30 years!  I told you Government work is a good cushy job.  It’s hard to beat 30 years of sick leave with automatic wage increases still taking effect.

the Grit

Global Warming 2007

February 4, 2007

Hi Grit

I believe our first post on the issue of Global Warming was getting on for three months ago. Since then I have participated a few times and read with interest all of the comments from both sides of the divide, along with studying all of the literature that people who have commented have posted have directed us towards. I hasten to add here that I am not a scientist, so there are aspects that I would not understand. However, I consider myself an intelligent person capable of assimilating sufficient data and making a reasoned judgement. Therefore, I feel that I have a reasonable understanding of the issues so far made available. A rider to this of course is that, in view of the enormous amount of data on the subject, both for and against, it is impossible for any one individual, scientists included, to be able to assimilate it all and I would be no exception to that rule.

I do not intend this post to become embroiled in detailed scientific argument, as that will produce just a series of scientific counter arguments from both sides. It is my intention to comment on the structure and management of the analysis and the way the global warming issue is being handled.

1.) IPCC REPORT
With the IPCC report being published this month (February 2007) and it being one of a series being produced this year, many are claiming that this puts beyond doubt all of the global warming issues, particularly with regard to this being a “man-made” phenomena. However, whilst I accept that global warming exists, there are several factors that I would take issue with, both in terms of the report itself and the general reaction.

My first point of concern here is the secret nature of parts of the process building up to the report issue. In letters to Governments and Organisations in December and October 2006, although having made these letters public, they have deleted text within them, which appears to be access to the draft report. This raises two issues. Firstly, as the report is intended to benefit all of mankind, why is there a need for withholding any information? Secondly, does one presuppose that, by virtue of some deletions there could be changes of significance that the IPCC would rather the public did not see? In my view, transparency in this above all issues facing mankind is of paramount importance. Anything less is unacceptable.

Terminology
(Un)Certainty – In a document issued in July 2005, the IPCC issued guidance notes regarding the ways the lead authors should address uncertainty. It could be construed that some of these guidance are of a leading nature as it is asking that all issues to be consistent with the approach determined in the document. Another issue related to this document, which I will come to later is Table 4 – Likelihood Scale (on page 4.)

Consensus – My understanding of the term consensus is that it is the agreement of the majority, after having mitigated the objections of the opposing views. I read somewhere that, in this report it was to be a consensus of 300. I believe this needs more clarification. Bearing in mind that the report was produced by over 2,500 scientists, plus 800 contributing authors, plus 450 lead authors, I have difficulty in equating the consensus of 300 with these figures and feel they need further explanation.

Confidence – The levels of confidence are divided into five sectors, as can be seen on page 3 (table 3) of the summary report. On the other hand, the likelihood scale is divided by seven. In my view, this inequality between the two scales is confusing. Surely, it would have been more rational to have equal divisions on the two scales.

2.) The Response
In a number of areas, the immediate response to the report has not been rational. The hype concentrated on the term moved from “likely” to “very likely.” As you say Grit, the latter term relates to 90% probability. However, this also does not accurately reflect the findings of the report.

On the summary for policymakers, page 3, there is a chart of human influence on trends. The chart lists seven areas of influence under three references. The term “very likely” only appears in two instances. In media and other responses, there is no reference to other aspects of this table. Whilst I do not blame the scientists for this, it does appear that the “powers that be” are guilty of misrepresentation in this instance. Again, this raises suspicions in the minds of the public and questions as to the agenda for the report.

Is it thought that the public is not intelligent enough to understand the full information or was the hype deliberately directed by politicians?

3.) Remedies
It is disappointing to learn that a detailed study on remedies will not be available from the IPCC until later in the year. If, as has been reported, we only have ten years to address this problem, I fail to see any conceivable reason why the research on remedies was not designed to produce results in the same timescale as this current report. Six months or more has been lost. The argument that the scale of the problem has only just been defined does not wash as this report follows on from one that was issued six years ago.

Of the remedies that are being put into action, there are some issues as well. Firstly, there is serious concern regarding the consequences on remedies and cooperation between agencies. The case of Basel in Switzerland as I reported earlier is a classic example. Looking to achieve global warming saving measures, people began drilling into the earth’s surface starting a chain tremor reaction that they cannot possibly control, potentially unleashing more harm than good. How many more projects are being mishandled in this way?

In addition, there is the problem that has been raised regarding the potential danger from energy saving light. Has anyone evaluated the potential future harm of following this route, if not, why not?

Only a few weeks I posed the question how do we know that remedies can be controlled. The above are two obvious examples of that not being the case.

Another contentious issue is nuclear energy. Scientists say that this will go a long way to addressing the global warming issue, and I agree that this is one of the most efficient ways of producing energy. However, it is almost impossible to use this option within a volatile world, where there are countries such as Iran and North Korea who could not be guaranteed to utilise this method for peaceful purposes. Similarly, accidents happen as we saw in Russia, and that can be equally damaging.

In the UK, the go ahead has been given to build two huge wind farms off the coast. All of the reporting on this has concentrated on the benefits, which is admirable. Nevertheless, little has been written about the downside of such action. The effect on the bird life needs to be identified, an area where naturalists have raised concerns. But what about the effect on tides and wave patterns?

Finally, in this section, I would like to ask why existing remedies, which require little cost, are not being used. For example, with the airline issue there is a “greener” fuel available, but is currently only being used in military aircraft. The emission levels are significantly lower than normal aircraft fuel and there is, as I understand it, no cost differential. I have heard that the argument against it is safety, which I find incredible. Are we saying that the lives of the military are of less value than other citizens? If not, take the step and change the fuel.

4.) The Carbon Footprint
Much is being made of the need to reduce the global footprint. However, there seems to be a great deal of double standards in this area. The media, the UK BBC organisation being a case in point, are saying that their contribution is by publishing the issues and that, in some way, this seems to exempt them from responding to the carbon footprint limitations. At the same time, the IPCC, governments and other NGO’s are spending millions of dollars transporting thousands of people to conferences and meetings all over the globe. Yet, these organisations are asking us, airlines, and other sectors to reduce our carbon footprint. Surely, one should lead by example. Whatever happened to the ability to achieve video and Internet conferencing?

There is a lot of pressure being placed upon airlines to cut their carbon footprint, yet unless I have missed it, no one has answered the question of why, in the 24 hours post 9/11 when most air travel was grounded, there was an increase in earth warming for that day. Has anyone analysed what effect reducing the carbon footprint, particularly in air travel, will have in this respect? In other words, has the downside of the equation been quantified?

In my view, one of the largest and most expensive carbon footprints is laid by governments nationally and globally. Yet, we see no clear picture of measures that these people are taking steps to address this. In the UK, politicians are asking us to reduce our carbon footprint, and even putting pressure on the Royal family to do so. All well and good, but what do we see the politicians doing? The answer is very little. Do not ask me to do something unless you are prepared to match it and lead by example Mr Government.

5.) Political
I have to admit that I was amazed at the token gestures made by some governments by calling for an hour without lights. This seems to me to have been counter-productive. Did anyone monitor the results of these actions? As I have said, I am no scientist, but from what little I know the resultant surge from it, with all electrical compliances being switched on again more than counteracts the benefits of the gesture in the first place. Has there been a study made of this and is it a responsible response? Surely, such theatricals should have been left until the position was well known by the public and they could have been advised about the cost.

In respect of the above, the political response is similar in many ways to the media reaction. It is uncontrolled, irrational and without serious thought as to how to present the issue in a way that will generate the right response. The political response between nations is also not harmonious, which does little to engender confidence.

6.) The media Circus
Unfortunately, the media circus has continued, even on the latest event. I watched a news programme in the UK, which was designed purely to entertain the public, rather than get the message across. In this programme, they spend the time passing a copy of the report through screens to reporters in different countries, such as Europe, Australia, India and the US. No attempt is made to explain the message properly.

In addition to the previously mentioned carbon footprint of this situation, I noticed also another problem. The report they were passing was a fake. They were wads of blank paper with just the title cover printed. It was obvious from the reporter’s comments that none of them had read any of the documents and it was just a publicity stunt to show how clever the network was.

Can this be the right approach to what is meant to be a serious matter? I seriously doubt it.

7.) The Cost
Another issue that really annoys me is cost, and here I am talking about the financial side. Every aspect of the global warming issue in terms of conservation and remedies always seems to be followed by additional cost to the individual. What happens to the resultant savings from change? Who gets those?

Leaving aside the dangers of energy efficient light bulbs discussed earlier, one of the main reasons their use is limited is the cost. In the UK, they are over 6 times the price of current bulbs. If politicians and scientists are serious about this issue, then use some of the billions of waste to reduce the cost of remedies to a competitive level. It is a short-term commitment. Then demand will grow and the effective change desired will be achieved with far more speed and fluency. Another example is public transport service. Raising prices and cutting services on what is considered a “greener” method of transport does not seem to me to be an approach that will increase its usage.

Every time someone mentions global warming, it seems to result in the public having to put their hands in their pockets. Is it any wonder that this meets with resistance?

8.) Kyoto Agreement
There have been arguments about the effectiveness of the Kyoto agreement, mainly centring on those countries that have not signed up to it. However, there are countries within the agreement that have not met their targets, such as Canada. Before the world goes off trying to find another agreement, we need to know how effective this one has been, and that information has not been publicly forthcoming.

How many countries met the targets set? What effect has it had on carbon emissions? How much worse would it have been were the agreement not in place? Surely, we are entitled to this information in the public arena. If it has not been effective, even with those countries that signed up, then it is the wrong answer or structure and we need to look for another resolution.

The other matter here is the developing countries, which has still not been properly addressed in my view. All this documentation seems to be indicating that the only way they can help is to deprive themselves of the advances in technology that the developed world has. Is this going to be acceptable to them? I cannot see this being the case. Therefore any agreement needs to take their situation into account, without placing an untenable burden on the developed world. 

9.) Nation, NGO Bashing and fairness
Why is it that every time there is an issue of global importance there is an automatic nation, NGO or business witch-hunt? This posturing does nothing to confirm the validity of the situation, in fact the opposite. The French attack on the US is a prime example. It is almost as if it is just a fight amongst politicians to see who can be top dog, rather than a serious issues that requires global accord. Besides, there are other countries that have taken the same stance as the US, so singling out the big boy on the block is not only unfair, it smacks of this will get me the biggest headline. Countries antagonising each other will lead only to one conclusion, namely that nothing constructive will be done.

Other sectors are also being bashed, in my view sometimes unfairly. Business is always a favourite. Whilst I accept that, in some cases their response is not good on some issues, they are generally responsive to consumer demands. In the case of global warming, it is fair to say that in many cases business is being far more positive in their actions than politicians are. For example, the supermarket industry in the UK is taking active reduction measures, whereas politicians are looking at costly offset programmes, which in the end are second best options.

Similarly, I object to some of the rhetoric and language that is used by the various lobbies on global warming, from both sides of the divide. To call someone a denialist or sceptics because they do not accept ones argument is as bad as calling someone an “eco-nut” for proposing the argument in the first place. Serious issues demand serious discussion and conversation and this requires patience. At present, the stance taken by some scientists and many politicians on the issue of global warming is too dictatorial, dismissive and impatient. All it does is make both sides more entrenched in their views, which is counter-productive.

The problem with a divide of this nature is that both sides lose. Both sides spend so much time attacking the other that they do not a) fully understand the argument of the other and b) do not gain from the potential valid points within the others cases, validity that could be of significance to their own studies.

I do not consider myself a denialist or a sceptic on this issue. However, I am also not going to be sat down and told this is the problem and anyone who disagrees is wrong. I need to understand the full facts supporting the issue, including analysis of assumptions; explanations of provable facts and honest acceptance and discussion on those that cannot be proven. I want risk assessment on all aspects of the issue, including remedies and I want acknowledgement of and discussion regarding opposing views.

As I said previously, one of the things that infuriate me about the current IPCC/Political situation is the piecemeal approach. In my years as a business consultant any report that I produced did not only identify and make conclusions about the problem, it was also required to provide recommendations that had been expertly evaluated. If it did not I was failing in my task. Governments and the scientific world have taken six years to prepare this report. I fail to see why, at the same time, and for publication at the same date, the remedial data could not have been produced.

the Brit

Congress calls on Climate Change expert!

February 3, 2007

Hi Brit,

If there was any doubt in your mind about Global Warming being nothing but a political ploy, this should remove it: Gore to Testify on Climate Change.  One other thing that is brought up in the article is that Al Gore may make a late entrance into the 2008 Presidential race.  Oh what fun that would be!  Who wouldn’t want to see a knock down drag out fight between Hillary and Al?  Of course, considering that Hillary has bigger stones than Al, my money would be on Clinton.  Go Colts!

the Grit

Political corruption does not affect voters

February 3, 2007

Hi Grit

This latest comment from Tony Blair has to be shows just how contemptuous politicians are of their voters. In a speech to the Labour party’s National Policy Forum he will tell them that the voter will not pay any attention to the “cash for honours” or any other political scandal for that matter.

Obviously we, the voters, have no morals and do not expect our politicans to be trustworthy. Despite that, we of course will be dumb enough to believe that these corrupt people will make decisions that are in our interests. The contempt with which the current crop of politicians hold the public beggars belief.

Over the past decade or so politicians have introduced stringent corporate governance laws and regulations onto commercial enterprises to stop corruption and ensure transparancy, as well as introducing extensive big brother tactics to monitor the behaviour of citizens. In my opinion it is high time that these were made applicable to the politicians themselves.

the Brit

IPCC report fixed!

February 2, 2007

Hi Brit,

After the release of the new IPCC study, the news is full of story after story about Climate Change! I’ve got half a dozen in different tabs that I’ve been trying to connect together for a post.  Then I found this, Climate Change’s Carnival Atmosphere, which does a pretty good job of summing things up.

This is the best bit:

 First, the UN isn’t releasing its full report this week – just the curiously edited “Summary for Policy Makers.” The detailed report on the science won’t be issued until May or so because it’s not finished.

If you’re wondering how the UN can issue a summary of a report that’s not even finished, fear not. The UN has announced that changes to the full report shall be made “to ensure consistency with the Summary for Policy Makers.”

Basically, this admits that the results come first, and the research is rigged later to match.  Not a bad scam, but hardly worth the $5,000,000,000 the US is spending a year on this junk.  So, in the coming years, as your utility bill gets larger, your light bulbs become poisonous, you can’t fit comfortably into your over priced “green” car, and your local, state, and Federal taxes shoot through the roof, it’s all for a good cause.  Climate Scientists need the money.

the  Grit

Queen Pelosi?

February 2, 2007

Hi Brit,

I knew when the election results came in last year the Pelosi would be a constant source of inspiration.  I didn’t think it would be this good though, Speaker pursues military flights.  The key to this story is not that Queen Pelosi wants free rides in military planes, being secure and staying in contact with Washington is part of her job as Speaker.  However, she is also demanding, “regular military flights not only for herself and her staff, but also for relatives and for other members of the California delegation.”  Sorry, Nanny Pelosi.  You’re are Speaker of the House, not royalty.  Family and friends have to fly commercial.  That’s the price you pay for the new ethics rules.  Besides, you shouldn’t be flying anyway.  Don’t you believe in Global Warming?  Aren’t you concerned about the size of your carbon footprint?  Oh, I forgot.  All that stuff only applies to us peasants.

the Grit

Global warming protection measures causes tremors

February 1, 2007

Hi Grit

I don’t know if you have seen this article. It tells how in the Swiss town of Bassel (Switzerland is home of the IPCC), it was decided that to reduce the incidence of Global Warming, they would utilise the earths heat by pumping water deep under the earth’s surface to assist with the generation of safe electricity.

However, in their rush to get this project under way, they made a couple of fatal mistakes. Firstly, they decided to site the project that is suscepitable to earth tremors and, secondly they omitted to ask the local Seismological service if it was okay to proceed. The result? In the last month there have been at least three major tremors in the area, 700 claims for compensation and, despite the fact that the project has now been halted for investigations to be carried out. These investigations will take up to four years to complete.

As far as I can see there are four issues here.

1) Why did the scientists not understand the dangers of the project and talk to the experts before commencement?

2) What is the point of localised action like this to address potential global warming issues, if by doing so you are significantly multiplying the dangers to the lives of thousands in the process.

3) I am no scientist but, bearing in mind that there are similar projects elsewhere, where was the geological reports from these project which could have been used as guidance? Is it not logical to assume that if one goes drilling holes into the earth’s crust, that there is a fair chance if it is not handled properly it could cause more danger than it is solving?

4) Surely a much wiser use for the investment made, which now will stand idle for a substantial period of time, could have been found.

What really bothers me is the current situation where scientists and other researchers are becoming so jealous of their own field of work that, for fear of others taking over, there are not sharing or discussing the safety of their recommended action with others.

the Brit

The last Global Warming skeptic?

January 31, 2007

Hi Brit,

I have good news!  Even our most liberal news paper, perhaps the most liberal serious paper in the world, the New York Times, is not totally convinced about Global Warming and Climate Change: World Scientists Near Consensus on Warming!  While the rest of the story is full of the usual liberal, Global Warming as religion tripe, there is one bit which is very instructive:

Scientists involved in writing or reviewing the report say it is nearly certain to conclude that there is at least a 90 percent chance that human-caused emissions are the main factor in warming since 1950. The report is the fourth since 1990 from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which is overseen by the United Nations.

 “It is nearly certain that there is at least a 90% chance,” that, to me, says they don’t know!  You should also note that, instead of the usual 100 year comparison, they’ve shifted to a 50 year time span.  That’s because, it’s obvious that the temperature spike in the first half of the last century wasn’t due to human activity.  They can’t really explain its cause, but, quietly buried in the reports of the liberal media, is the admission that we didn’t cause it.  It only took 20 years for that bit of information to come to semi-light.  Of course, to any rational mind, that would bring up the question of trust to the “climate scientists” findings about the most recent temperature increase.  Unfortunately, there is grant money, political power, and business interests at stake, so the truth will have to wait.

Another question a rational person might ask, is what has consensus got to do with science?  While I did suffer through a public school education, I was always taught that science dealt with fact, not opinion.  It is a disturbing surprise to me that science has devolved into a popularity contest.  If this is going to be the trend in “science,” it seems to me that, to make it fair, we should put it to our elected representative to decide the position science will bow to.  That would at least, save us a few billion on research funding.

the Grit

Look out! The light bulb police are coming!

January 31, 2007

Hi Brit,

Besides being a sign of the end of the world, it’s also one of the most ridiculous things I’ve read lately, California may ban conventional lightbulbs by 2012.  (notice the target date)  Of course, since this will leave the poor in the dark, the State will, no doubt, pass out the free bulbs along with free condoms.  However, considering the eco-freak attitude of California’s population, this also proves that they are either poorly informed or insane.  You have read the packages on those fluorescent bulbs, haven’t you?  They contain mercury.  That is, they contain it until they break.  You can’t even throw them in the trash, least they contaminate the local landfill.  So, between all the extra hazardous material clean up teams, the cost of special disposal on a grand scale, and the expense of a light bulb police force to make certain no one smuggles an evil incandescent bulb into the state, I’m not even sure it will save energy.

the Grit

Would you buy a used car from the IPCC?

January 30, 2007

Hi Brit,

It’s almost time for the new UN-IPCC Climate Change report.  Yea Haw.  Of course, having already sold the concept to the money people, they are, apparently, toning down the dire warnings.  After all, fixing the “problem” too quickly would put thousands of experts out of work.  However, in this story, Clouds a puzzle for U.N. global warming panel, thet they’re really not sure about a lot of things.  For instance, they have no clue as to what effect cloud formation will have on the situation.  And then we have this interesting quote:

“‘In the interior of Greenland, the ice has been thickening,’ said Catherine Myrmehl, of the Nansen Environmental and Remote Sensing Center in Norway, based upon satellite readings. Many scientists reckon Greenland is losing ice overall.”

I do so love science.  The cold unemotional nature of the numbers.  The precise measurements.  The clear exact language used to communicate the findings.  So, if many scientists reckon the ice is going, that’s just dang sure enough good for me.  Let’s just go ahead and shut the whole planet down and cower in the dark like our ancestors.

the Grit

This is crazy.

January 30, 2007

Hi Brit,

London Prison Changes Direction of Toilets in Respect to Islamic Law

There are several things we can learn from this story.

1.  You Brits are crazy.

2.  Muslims and Islamic Law are crazy.

3.  Muslims in the US, like our typical citizens, don’t know enough about geography to find Mecca on a map, let alone know which direction it’s in while in the can.

4.  If these people are really that faithful to a religion, then why are they in prison?

the Grit

NGO’s empowered

January 30, 2007

Hi Grit

I read with interest your comment about power being delegated to committees and am really thinking that you and your fellow Americans would not feel at home in the UK, despite popular beliefs.

The problem with where power lies and decisions can be made in the UK is even more complex than the US. Like you, we have a system where governments, when they get into power, think “don’t need the electorate now!” so they delegate some of the most difficult laws and regulations to those who do not have to vote on it. For example, when there was all the furore about big business, ancient men (notice I did not use the word wise?) were gathered together to define new regulations to control corporate governance. This produced a regulation that, whilst not law, was orchestrated in such a way that if a corporation did not implement, they would be delisted from the stock market. No voting on that then!

Similarly, the government passes a lot of regulations that it does not want to bother Parliament with, to outside NGO’s, probably because they feel that we as voters, apart from being surplus to requirements, would be too confused by the issues to make a sensible decision. Of course the other way that the politicians can sidestep the due process of democracy is to take a leaf out of John Reid’s (the Home Secretary) book. He changed the way our legal system worked within twenty four hours by simply writing to the Judges and asking (so he says) that they stop imprisoning guilty criminals.

Finally, as if this wasn’t enough, we in the UK have another non-democratic “big brother” showering us with laws and regulations like confetti at a wedding. It is called the EU. In my view the European Union structure is an ideal place for politicians who are tired of allowing themselves to be subjected to the vagaries of democracy. They sit in their ivory towers constructing regulations about matters in which they have no knowledge nor have been asked to interfere with, and churn these out at the rate of knots. Of course no-one outside of the EUSS (European Union Secret Society) is asked for opinion or allowed to cast judgement. Thus suddenly us mere mortals find ourselves waking up in the morning to find that we cannot have milk in our coffee because the EU have deemed that milk should not be cream in colour or something stupid like that.

The moral of this of course is that there is always someone worse off than you 🙂

the Brit

Finally, the yoke gets lighter.

January 30, 2007

Hi Brit,

This item, Bush Directive Increases Sway on Regulation, should give you a bit of an insight into US politics and how our Government works.  As you may know, our Federal Government has blessed us with gigantic agencies and departments, crammed full of careerer bureaucrats, that exist for the sole purpose of attempting to regulate every tiny detail of everything that happens, or can happen, in America.  Now, a moments thought, will expose the trouble of this system, that being that there is no conceivable way for legislation to be passed with enough detail to cover all this.  Thus, over the years, Congress, realizing in their wisdom that millions might die from RRDS (Rules & Regulations Deficit Syndrome) without a constant flow of new and ever more complex and comprehensive instructions from Washington, solved the problem by delegating their Constitutional duty to the unelected employees of the various nanny agencies. 

President Bush has, with the stroke of a Constitutionally authorized pen, slapped the new Power in town back down to size.  The best part of the article is a response from a leading, and very liberal, Democrat:

Representative Henry A. Waxman, Democrat of California and chairman of the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, said: “The executive order allows the political staff at the White House to dictate decisions on health and safety issues, even if the government’s own impartial experts disagree. This is a terrible way to govern, but great news for special interests.”

Yes, Mr. Waxman, I know how you feel.  It is certainly a shame that we have to bother with involving elected officials in the process.  Oh, the trouble caused by this thing we call democracy.

the Grit