Wednesday, December 30, 2009
Saturday, December 26, 2009
Friday, December 25, 2009
Last week my sister hosted a party for thirteen Burundi refugee children at her home. For some months Becky has been volunteering to tutor the Burundi refugee children once a week. The kids are living in Nashville, resettled from refugee camps in Rwanda.
Becky bought gifts for each of the children, which they took home to open on Christmas morning. Rebecca also bought gifts for each of the children’s siblings and parents. In all Rebecca bought over 60 gifts. The parents got much needed things like scarfs and gloves. The children wrapped the presents to take home to give to their family.
Becky served them a traditional Christmas meal of turkey and ham and all the fixings. After the meal, she had all the ingredients and they made banana splits. The food was new to them but they quickly took to it. They danced and they sang Christmas songs. My sister, Kathleen, read to them The Night Before Christmas.
For opening her heart and home to these children, I give Becky the Sprit of Christmas award.
'Twas the Night Before Christmas
Thursday, December 24, 2009
I guess with the health care debate and a crumbling economy and growing deficits and climategate, the defense of Christmas has taken a back seat. Thank goodness! I don't know who won but the war on Christmas seems to be over. I read lots of blogs and follow lots of groups and for the last two years there have been outraged Christians mad that someone wished them a "Happy Holiday" instead of "Merry Christmas." Also, there was a politically correct crowd that seemed to go out of their way to avoid use of the word "Christmas" and tried changing the "Christmas break" to the "winter break" and called Christmas trees, "holiday trees." I have seen almost none of that this year.
In the days before the fall of communism in Russia, there was this couple sitting in their home one cold winter night. Outside it was misting a light mixture of rain and sleet and snow and the man looked out and said to his wife, "It is raining, dear." His wife looked out and said, "No, it is snowing." He looked out again and said, "No, that is rain." The wife said, "I don't think so; that looks like snow." He then looked at her more intently and in a less conversational, more serious tone he said, "Rudolph, the red, knows rain, dear."
Tuesday, December 22, 2009
OK, let’s think about this. Say you are the kind of gal who if she likes a guy and the chemistry is right will sleep with him. You meet some guy, he is oh so cute, and you both just love Chinese food and you enjoy the same movies and have the same favorite rock band. There is some definite chemistry going on. He takes you home. You invite him in. You get into some nuzzling and kissing and caressing and groping. You move it to the bedroom and then you turn to the guy and say, “I have to ask you something.” He thinks you are going to ask about birth control. Instead, you say, “Do you support health care reform?” While looking you in the eye, the guy will smile and look adoringly at you and whisper, “yes.” The sex is great.
Now, if the next day he calls and ask you out again and you have a more detailed discussion about the news of the day and you discover he is for health care reform but not the single payer system, will you feel betrayed? Will you have more great sex with him or not? Or, let us say, he is for health care reform but not the Medicare expansion, does that end the sex? Will you feel used? What if he tells you he is for health care reform, but the reform he favors is tort reform, removing the ban on purchasing insurance across state lines, and shifting the income tax deduction for health care from the employer to the employee and he favors health insurance tax credits? Will you feel dirty? Is the sex over?
What if the next day you discover he is for the Senate version of health care but not the House version? How will that make you feel? Is the sex over? So, before you jump in bed be sure you really know what the guy believes about health care reform. I know that is not as much fun as talking about food and movies and rock bands but don’t make a fatal mistake and bed someone who doesn’t agree with you on this important topic. Also, you might want to make sure you agree about the war in Afghanistan and the death penalty and cap and trade and expanding the minimum wage and immigration reform. What if you agree about health care reform but disagree about some of this other stuff?
Here is another consideration girls: guys lie for sex. I hate to be the one to tell you this but it is true. They will lie about birth control, liking Chinese food and their favorite band. To get laid they would definitely lie about their position on health care reform.
Monday, December 21, 2009
Kay, keep up the good work. I hope everyone calls Cooper and tells him not to compromise and tells him to stand firm. The Senate bill is a sell-out. It needs to be defeated. I called Cooper and expressed my view.
Cooper as you know is a leading Blue Dog. I hope the good progressives like MoveOn can get the most progressive candidate they can find to run against Cooper in the primary. He needs to be challenged by a true progressive. I think Cooper is a DINO (Democrat in Name Only).
We don't need no stinking compromise!
Power to the People!
--- On Mon, 12/21/09, Kat Barr, MoveOn.org Political Action
From: Kat Barr, MoveOn.org Political Action
Subject: Fix the Senate Bill
To: "Rod "
Date: Monday, December 21, 2009, 12:58 PM
Can you call Rep. Cooper right now? Tell him that you're counting on him to fight for the real reform that the House passed—including the public option—when the Senate and House health care bills are merged.
Representative Jim Cooper
Report your call
Dear MoveOn member,
At one o'clock this morning, the Senate health care bill cleared its last big hurdle, putting it on track to pass on Thursday.
Unfortunately, the Senate bill was badly weakened by conservatives. It doesn't have a public option, doesn't do enough to make insurance affordable, and doesn't create real competition for insurance companies.
The House bill is much better. So as the two bills get merged, we need House Democrats to insist that the best pieces of the House bill are included.
Can you call Rep. Cooper right now and ask him to demand that the key elements of real reform—including a public option—are in the final bill before the House and Senate vote on it?
Representative Jim Cooper
Then, please report your call by clicking here:
The House health care bill included vital provisions that were dropped in the Senate. Unlike the Senate bill, it has a public option to keep insurance companies honest. It does more to make health insurance affordable for the lowest income Americans. And it pays for these reforms with a small surtax on the wealthiest Americans. (The Senate bill taxes many middle class families' insurance benefits instead.)
All these differences will be worked out between House and Senate leaders and the White House during the "conference" process.
We've already seen that progressives can exercise real leverage when they make it clear that their votes can't be taken for granted. Senator Bernie Sanders just won billions of dollars in extra support for community health clinics in the final hours of negotiation in the Senate. But House Democrats will be under intense pressure to give in to the demands of conservative senators who are threatening to hold the process hostage again.
So we need Democrats in the House to insist on real improvements before agreeing to vote for the final bill.
Can you call Rep. Cooper right now and tell him you want him to fight for the public option, for making insurance more affordable, and for other progressive priorities in conference?
Representative Jim Cooper
Then, please report your call by clicking here:
Thanks for all you do.
–Kat, Ilyse, Daniel, Lenore, and the rest of the team
Want to support our work? We're entirely funded by our 5 million members—no corporate contributions, no big checks from CEOs. And our tiny staff ensures that small contributions go a long way. Chip in here.
PAID FOR BY MOVEON.ORG POLITICAL ACTION, http://pol.moveon.org/. Not authorized by any candidate or candidate's committee. This email was sent to Rod on December 21, 2009. To change your email address or update your contact info, click here. To remove yourself from this list, click here.
Sunday, December 20, 2009
First we had the Louisiana Purchase where Mary Landrieu sold her vote for a special Medicare deal for Louisiana estimated to cost the taxpayers $300 million. Now, Ben Nelson got a similar deal for Nebraska. The new health care bill has the federal government permanently paying 100 percent of the cost to expand Medicaid in Nebraska, while other states will pay 2.2 percent of the price to expand the program. All of the other Senators who voted for health care reform are suckers who should have held out for their own pay-off.
This whole process of passing health care reform is disgusting. The first disgusting thing about the Democrats approach to health care reform is that there was never even any consideration given to tort reform which forces doctors to practice defensive medicine. The fear of being sued is why doctors order unnecessary test and duplicative test and send patients to specialist. Defensive medicine may account for as much as 25% of health care cost yet the Democrats never considered crossing their friends the Trial Lawyers. Tort reform should have been a starting point to reform health care but was never even given consideration.
The next most disgusting deal was the deal with the pharmaceutical industry to prohibit drug reimportation. This bill insures the pharmaceutical industry will continue to make their profits on the backs of the American people and that the American people will pay the bulk of the cost for drug research and development while the rest of the world gets a free ride.
This process stinks of corruption. We do not need to be lecturing Afghanistan or anyone else about government corruption and the virtuous democratic state. Transparency? A new way of doing things in Washington? Change we can believe in? Give me a break!
Saturday, December 19, 2009
On Tuesday night the Senate took up an amendment that would have allowed for the reimportation of prescription drugs. It is estimated that consumers could save up to $38 million a year if drug reimportation was permitted. That is not small change. It is hard to see how anyone who professes to really care about the health of our citizens and is concerned about the cost of health care could oppose this amendment, but they did. The drug reimportation measure which required 60 votes to pass, failed by a vote of 51 in favor and 48 opposed.
I am not naïve and I understand how things work. Deals are often cut and people make compromises. Sometimes you must ally yourself with an evil policy in order to achieve a greater good. Sometimes you must deal with the devil. I am sure that that is how Democrats justify their opposition to drug reimportation. As a candidate, Obama promised to support drug reimportation but he changed his position in order to get the pharmaceutical industry’s support for the Democratic version of health care reform.
Americans pay much more for drugs than people in many other nations of the world. This is because in much of the world governments sets the prices that people may pay for any particular drugs. The drug companies can still sell drugs at the lower cost and make a profit at these lower prices because the marginal production cost of a particular pill may be pennies but the cost of the first pill may be millions. To win FDA approval for a new drug, a company must invest on average between 12 and 15 years and $800 million in research and development.
When governments in other countries dictate the price that their citizens may pay for a particular medicine then the people in countries without price controls pay the bulk of the cost of research and development. If all nations had drug price controls then funds for development of new drugs would dry up. I do not like the fact that the American consumer must pay the cost of the drug research and development that benefits the rest of the world. I do not like the fact that the American consumer is subsidizing socialized medical systems abroad.
Some would argue that the way to end this inequity is for the US to also adopt drug price controls. The problem with this is that new drug development would be limited by the amount of money that governments appropriate for this purpose. If we remove the market for advancements in health care, we will see less advancement. A way to force other countries to share the cost of research and development is to allow Americans to reimport drugs. If this was widely permitted, the drug companies would have to drive a harder bargain in negotiating prices in countries with price controls and those countries would eventually have to allow their prices to increase and thus their consumers would share in the cost of new drug development. Prices that people in other countries pay for drugs would increase and the price Americans pay would decrease.
If you are a progressive Democrat who thought you could get a health care public option which would eventually lead to a government take over of the health care system, then buying off the pharmaceutical industry by prohibiting drug reimportation may have been the price you were willing to pay. Now, however, it looks like the public option is off the table and no one should be honor-bound to continue the pharmaceutical deal. The deal should no longer be binding.
Some people who I otherwise admire and respect, such as McCain, Kyl, and Tennessee's Senator Bob Corker voted aginast this bill. I am sure the logic that those who voted against the bill are applying is that if they can keep the health care bill as bad as possible, it has a better chance of being defeated. I can't fault the logic but I think that there are times when one must to do the right thing rather than play politics. If they have other reasons why they voted against this bill I would like to hear them. I can't help but wonder if their is a relationship between campaign contributions and how one voted on this bill.
Some Democrats who I don't particularly like, such as Boxer, Durban, Dodd, and Reid surprised me and voted in favor of the amendment. In doing so they may have put at risk the deal with Big Pharma. I now have more respect for those Democrates.
To see how your senator voted, look at the list below.
Grouped by Home State
Alabama: Sessions (R-AL), Nay; Shelby (R-AL), Yea
Alaska: Begich (D-AK), Nay; Murkowski (R-AK), Yea
Arizona: Kyl (R-AZ), Nay; McCain (R-AZ), Nay
Arkansas: Lincoln (D-AR), Yea; Pryor (D-AR), Nay
California: Boxer (D-CA), Yea; Feinstein (D-CA), Nay
Colorado: Bennet (D-CO), Nay; Udall (D-CO), Yea
Connecticut: Dodd (D-CT), Yea; Lieberman (ID-CT), Yea
Delaware: Carper (D-DE), Yea; Kaufman (D-DE), Yea
Florida: LeMieux (R-FL), Yea; Nelson (D-FL), Nay
Georgia: Chambliss (R-GA), Yea; Isakson (R-GA), Yea
Hawaii: Akaka (D-HI), Yea; Inouye (D-HI), Nay
Idaho: Crapo (R-ID), Yea; Risch (R-ID), Yea
Illinois: Burris (D-IL), Yea; Durbin (D-IL), Yea
Indiana: Bayh (D-IN), Yea; Lugar (R-IN), Yea
Iowa: Grassley (R-IA), Nay; Harkin (D-IA), Nay
Kansas: Brownback (R-KS), Yea; Roberts (R-KS), Yea
Kentucky: Bunning (R-KY), Yea; McConnell (R-KY), Nay
Louisiana: Landrieu (D-LA), Yea; Vitter (R-LA), Nay
Maine: Collins (R-ME), Nay; Snowe (R-ME), Nay
Maryland: Cardin (D-MD), Yea; Mikulski (D-MD), Yea
Massachusetts: Kerry (D-MA), Yea; Kirk (D-MA), Yea
Michigan: Levin (D-MI), Nay; Stabenow (D-MI), Nay
Minnesota: Franken (D-MN), Nay; Klobuchar (D-MN), Nay
Mississippi: Cochran (R-MS), Yea; Wicker (R-MS), Nay
Missouri: Bond (R-MO), Yea ; McCaskill (D-MO), Nay
Montana: Baucus (D-MT), Yea; Tester (D-MT), Yea
Nebraska: Johanns (R-NE), Nay; Nelson (D-NE), Yea
Nevada: Ensign (R-NV), Yea; Reid (D-NV), Yea
New Hampshire: Gregg (R-NH), Nay; Shaheen (D-NH), Nay
New Jersey: Lautenberg (D-NJ), Yea; Menendez (D-NJ), Yea
New Mexico: Bingaman (D-NM), Nay; Udall (D-NM), Nay
New York: Gillibrand (D-NY), Yea; Schumer (D-NY), Yea
North Carolina: Burr (R-NC), Yea; Hagan (D-NC), Yea
North Dakota: Conrad (D-ND), Nay; Dorgan (D-ND), Nay
Ohio: Brown (D-OH), Nay; Voinovich (R-OH), Yea
Oklahoma: Coburn (R-OK), Nay; Inhofe (R-OK), Yea
Oregon: Merkley (D-OR), Nay; Wyden (D-OR), Nay
Pennsylvania: Casey (D-PA), Yea; Specter (D-PA), Yea
Rhode Island: Reed (D-RI), Yea; Whitehouse (D-RI), Nay
South Carolina: DeMint (R-SC), Nay; Graham (R-SC), Nay
South Dakota: Johnson (D-SD), Yea; Thune (R-SD), Nay
Tennessee: Alexander (R-TN), Yea; Corker (R-TN), Nay
Texas: Cornyn (R-TX), Yea; Hutchison (R-TX), Yea
Utah: Bennett (R-UT), Yea; Hatch (R-UT), Nay
Vermont: Leahy (D-VT), Nay; Sanders (I-VT), Nay
Virginia: Warner (D-VA), Yea; Webb (D-VA), Nay
Washington: Cantwell (D-WA), Yea; Murray (D-WA), Yea
West Virginia: Byrd (D-WV), Not Voting; Rockefeller (D-WV), Yea
Wisconsin: Feingold (D-WI), Nay; Kohl (D-WI), Nay
Wyoming: Barrasso (R-WY), Yea; Enzi (R-WY), Yea
Thursday, December 17, 2009
To my progressive friends and especially to my siblings,
I know that politically we don't agree on much of anything and so you may be surprised that I am forwarding to you an email I received from MoveOn. I bet you are also surprised to find that I am a MoveOn member aren't you? One can become a member of MoveOn by just joining by email; you do not have to pay a membership fee. Trust me, I have never contributed to MoveOn but I am a member. See, the letter says "Dear MoveOn Member."
Some of you, I suspect, are also members of MoveOn yourself but maybe you missed this email. Some of the others of you are equally as "progressive" as MoveOn members but may never have gotten around to joining. Anyway, I am sure you respect the roll played by this fine progressive organization. I am sure you support their work on behalf of social justice and the downtrodden of the world. I did not want you to miss their most recent message on health care reform.
MoveOn is urging their members to call Representative Jim Cooper's office and urge him to oppose the Senate version of the health care bill. Their thinking is that if the House stands firm that the Senate will buckle and the final bill that passes will be a bill closer to the House bill which contains the public option. I am not a professional political strategist and I don't know if MoveOn is correct but this political strategizing seems like a game of high stakes poker and MoveOn must think they have the winning hand.
My view, and what I hear from the people I listen to, is that if the final bill contains a public option there will not be enough votes in the Senate to pass it. So, I want the progressives to urge the House to not buckle and to hold firm for the public option. I fear that if the House does capitulates to the Senate that the Senate bill that is before us will pass. While the Senate bill is not as bad as the House bill, it is still a bad bill. I want it to fail so we can start over and do real reform that includes tort reform, the ability to purchase insurance across state lines and that brings market forces to bear on health care cost. I want reform that empowers the individual, not the state.
While I would hate to get the House bill when we could have gotten the less bad Senate bill, I say roll the dice and go for broke. So, dear progressives please follow MoveOn. Please call Jim Cooper and urge him to oppose the Senate version of health care. Tell him to stand firm. In addition to making the health care bill more likely to be defeated, I suspect that if Cooper holds firm in support for the House bill instead of the Senate bill without the public option, he will be more susceptible to being defeated the next election.
If you remember, when voting for the House Bill, Cooper said he was only voting that way in order to move the debate forward and that he really did not support the public option. Cooper is a leader of the Blue Dogs and often talks conservative but always votes liberal. I have liked Cooper. He is obviously a smart man. He has a depth of knowledge about a lot of issues and probably understands more about the threat posed by this nations massive debt than anyone else in Congress. When he talks I find myself agreeing with him. The problem with Jim Cooper is he never votes the way he talks. He had me fooled for a long time. He still has a lot of people fooled and gets a lot of support from Republicans and conservative Democrats. Go ahead, put Cooper on the spot. I would like for Cooper to show his true colors. If he votes for a final bill with a public option, I suspect he will face tough Republican opposition next time he runs.
Don't trust me and take my advice on this; here are your marching orders from MoveON.
Dear MoveOn member,The Senate health care bill is being gutted one piece at a time, and people are fed up. A new poll shows growing opposition to health care reform—from progressives angry at moves to drop the public option. Governor Howard Dean called the bill "the insurance companies' dream," while former insurance executive Wendell Potter said, "It absolutely is a big gift, a big bailout to the industry."1
The Senate, led by Joe Lieberman, has gone too far—and there's tremendous momentum to fight back. But some House conservatives are reportedly considering support for the weak Senate bill.2 Your representative, Jim Cooper, is a member of the conservative Blue Dog Caucus. Can you call Rep. Cooper right away and urge him to oppose the watered-down Senate bill? Make sure he knows that voters are outraged by the Senate's weak bill and want real health care reform with a strong, national public option.
After the Senate bill passes, leadership from both sides will meet to merge the two bills into one in what's known as a "conference committee." In theory, both sides will negotiate and pieces from each bill will be included in the final legislation, which then goes to President Obama. But pressure on leadership to pass the weakest bill or a near-unchanged version of the Senate bill will be intense—from conservatives like Joe Lieberman, and from those arguing that we can't to risk losing their votes. So to end up with a strong final bill, all House members need to stand strong in support of
their version of the bill and its key pieces like the public option.
The House bill is, in nearly every way, stronger than what's in the Senate. It
would cover 36 million Americans, create real competition with a national public option, provide stronger subsidies for low income Americans, hold insurance companies accountable with real regulations, and much more. Of course, it also contains the awful anti-choice "Stupak" provision, which is just another reason we need strong progressive voices leading up to conference.
Can you call Rep. Cooper today and tell him that the Senate bill is unacceptable? Make sure he knows that you're fed up with the gutting of the Senate health care bill and want real reform with a strong, national public option.
Here's where to call:Representative Jim CooperThen, let us know how it went by clicking here:
Thanks for all you do.
–Kat, Stephen, Ilyse, Lenore, and the rest of the team
Wednesday, December 16, 2009
From The Heritage Foundation
President Barack Obama yesterday hosted yet another health care pep rally to shore up liberal support for his health care bill. Obama’s “rally” followed Majority Leader Harry Reid’s (D-NV) latest capitulation to Sen. Joe Lieberman’s (I-CT) health care demands, whereby Reid removed a Medicare expansion that Lieberman had initially supported. From the Roosevelt Room, Obama claimed Democrats were “on the precipice of an achievement that’s eluded congresses and presidents for generations.” But hours later, former Governor and Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean told Vermont National Public Radio:
This is essentially the collapse of health care reform in the United States Senate. And, honestly, the best thing to do right now is kill the Senate bill and go back to the House … You have the vast majority of Americans want the choices, they want real choices. They don’t have them in this bill. This is not health care reform and it’s not close to health care reform.Later on MSNBC’s Countdown, Dean further responded to President Obama’s claims that “You talk to every healthcare economist out there and they will tell you that whatever ideas are — whatever ideas exist in terms of bending the cost curve and starting to reduce costs for families, businesses and government, those elements are in this bill.” Dean told guest host Lawrence O’Donnell: “There is no cost control of any substance. … You’re going to be forced to buy health insurance from a company that is going to take on average of 27% of your money … and there is no choice about that. If you don’t buy that insurance you are going to get a fine.”
The President’s own Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMMS) agrees with Dean and contradicts Obama. CMMS found that the Senate bill, instead of bending the cost curve down, actually drives health care costs up, adding $234 billion to national health expenditures. (link) But the President’s fantastic claims did not end there. Obama then asserted: “And in terms of deficits — because we keep on hearing these ads about how this is going to add to the deficit — the CBO has said that this is a deficit reduction, not a deficit increase. So all the scare tactics out there, all the ads that are out there are simply inaccurate.”
But the President leaves out this all important caveat in the CBO’s report: “In the subsequent decade, the collective effect of its provisions would probably be small reductions in federal budget deficits if all of the provisions continued to be fully implemented.” But nobody believes that all of the provisions in the bill will be fully implemented. For example, the Senate bill includes a 20% cut in the payments Medicare sets for doctors. Nobody believes these cuts will be allowed to happen. By changing just that provision, Obamacare ends up adding $196 billion to the deficit in the first 10 years and $765 billion in the second decade.
The American people already do not trust President Obama’s health care claims. Just today, the Washington Post released a poll finding that 51% of adults oppose Obamacare, with 40% in strong opposition. Meanwhile only 44% support the bill with only 25% feeling strongly about it. Digging deeper we find that 66% of Americans believe Obamacare will increase the federal budget deficit, 53% believe it will cause their own health care to cost more, 55% believe it will increase the country’s health care costs overall, and 50% believe it will not improve their quality of care. These findings echo an earlier CNN poll which found that 61% of Americans opposed Obamacare, with 79% believing it would add to the deficit and 85% believing it would raise their taxes.
It has become obvious to any American following the debate that President Obama has adopted a get-a-deal-at-any-cost mentality that puts a higher priority on the political victory of passing any bill over the policy substance of what is actually in the bill and how it would effect the American people. As Dean told O’Donnell last night: “You can’t vote for a bill like this in good conscience. … It costs too much money. It isn’t health care reform. It isn’t even insurance reform.”
Tuesday, December 15, 2009
I do not know a single person who is opposed to health care reform. The health care system needs reformed. We need real reform however, not this bill that is before us. We need tort reform, we need the ability to purchase insurance across state lines, we need to let individuals own their own insurance plan, we need health savings accounts; we do not need this monstrosity which will raise insurance premiums for many Americans and bankrupt Medicare. Slashing funding for Medicare while putting million more on the Medicare rolls? What kind of logic is that? I have a hard time believing that anyone really believes that what is before us is a good bill. It appears the Democrats want to pass something-anything, just so they can say they "reformed" health care.
Monday, December 14, 2009
No prayer, no pledge, no treasurers report, no speaker, no program. Just a bunch conservatives and libertarians who get together to argue, network, share and drink. Happy hour prices and O'devours on the house. These events are a lot of fun.
I don’t know why anyone should care if I don’t fold my underwear.
Now I’ll roll up my socks
And put ‘em in a box
But I’m not gonna fold my underwear.
Now you really don’t have to make you bed,
Just plump up the pillows
And spread up the spread
Yon really don’t have to make up your bed.
You really don’t have to dust every day,
Just pick up the papers
And put things away.
You really don’t have to dust every day.
Now I’ll put up the dishes and take out the trash
And sweep the kitchen
But here’s a flash
I’m not gonna fold my underwear.
And I’ll put up the pans and stack up the lids
The way Momma taught us
When we were just kids
But Mama’s not here and I just don’t care.
And I’m not gonna fold my underwear.
Ouida Williams is my mother. This poem was published in New Millennium Writings, a literary journal edited by my brother Don Williams.
by Representative John Linder (R-GA)
For the last several years, when people have instructed me that human activity was causing a dangerous increase in global temperatures, my response has been, "Then tell me, what should the temperature be?" Should it be the temperatures that the planet experienced 1,000 years ago during which Greenland was settled as a farming community and during which wine grapes were grown in Scotland? Should it be the temperatures of 300 years ago when the Little Ice Age ended the inhabitation of Greenland and the Thames iced over? Should it be the temperatures of 829 A.D. when the Nile River froze? No response!
We are told, based on computer models, that human beings burning fossil fuels, and exhaling, are increasing the amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere and that this, in turn, is trapping heat and is responsible for the modest temperature increase between 1976 and 1998. The conclusion is that we must alter our entire lifestyles to avoid a planetary catastrophe.
For computer models to be accurate, inputs must include all of the factors that can impact climate. Knowing this, as well as believing it is likely that the majority of factors that do impact climate are yet unknown, how can we trust the models?
To begin with, CO2 is not driving temperature, as is being claimed for today's warmth. We know from cores taken from the Vostok glacier in Antarctica that while CO2 and temperatures do increase and decrease in consonance; the temperature changes precede the CO2 changes by about 1,000 years.
We currently have about 388 parts per million of CO2 in the atmosphere by volume. That is at the lower end of the historical comfort scale. The most fertile time that our planet has ever seen was during the Cambrian Period about 542 million years ago. In a very short period of time all of multicellular life that has ever existed was deposited in the fossil evidence. That occurred because the planet was warm. The CO2 level in the atmosphere was 20 times higher than it is today. The entire planet was green with growth and oxygen levels were unusually high.
Likewise, during the period of dinosaur dominance, CO2 levels were 5 times higher than today, enabling the planet to grow enough greenery to keep them alive.
Even today, the most diverse part of our planet in both plant and animal life is around the Equator -- the warmest area of the globe.
We are told that the calving of ice shelves on the Antarctic Peninsula is proof that the world's largest ice pack, which comprises about 90% of the globe's ice, is melting. The Antarctic Peninsula constitutes 2% of the continent. The other 98% of the continent has been growing by about 27 gigatons of ice per year. This comes not from computer models, but from 30 years of satellite measurements. Those same empirical observations show that the sea ice surrounding Antarctica is at a record high extent.
What's more, every computer model shows that greenhouse warming is associated with a "hot spot" located about 4 to 6 miles above the Equator. We have been measuring that spot for 50 years with instruments. It doesn't exist. Thus, whatever warming we see is unlikely to be due to the greenhouse effect as the models explain it.
We are told that the melting of Arctic ice is endangering the future of polar bears. There were 5,000 polar bears 50 years ago. There are 25,000 today. This does not seem like extinction to me. Additionally, Captain Roald Amundsen of Norway explored that entire region in 1905 -- sailing through the North-West Passage -- in a sailboat! Today, there is usually ice blocking his route.
In his movie An Inconvenient Truth Al Gore says that sea levels will rise by 20 feet in the next century, putting much of the world's oceanfront land and islands at risk. Real science tells us that the last glaciation ended about 11,000 years ago. Oceans have risen since then by about 4 feet per century. In the 20th century, sea levels rose by about 8 inches. Indeed, Dr. Nils-Axel Moerner from the University of Stockholm, who has written 520 peer reviewed articles on sea levels and is considered a world authority, recently declared that sea levels have been unchanged for the last 3 years.
Years ago Dr. Richard Lindzen, the Alfred P. Sloan professor of meteorology at MIT, theorized that higher temperatures over the equator caused the cirrus clouds to disappear and heat was vented up over the atmosphere. That theory is now proven to be a fact and has been quantified by NASA. It begins when the surface temperature of the ocean exceeds 28 degrees centigrade. This fact is not considered on the computer models.
This is what this whole discussion comes down to. In science only two conditions obtain. One is theory and the other is fact. The entire notion of human caused global warming is a theory based on computer models. None of it has been proven through rigorous empirical observation to be a fact.
On December 7, 2009, President Obama will send a delegation to Copenhagen, Denmark, for the U.N. Climate Conference. So what exactly is the goal of this conference? A few months ago Al Gore explained the ultimate goal: Global Governance. If the climate alarmists get their way, the U.S. economy would be subject to the whims of a U.N.-led climate government, unaccountable to American taxpayers, but most certainly using American taxpayer funds to operate. Since so many countries are happy to blame the U.S. for the vast majority of what they amusingly claim is a catastrophic slide into global devastation, I am sure that a new U.N. Climate Government will be all too eager to call on the American taxpayer to foot the bill. In fact, the 200-page draft document says just that. We will be billed by an un-elected bureaucracy for our "climate debt." And we will yield our sovereignty to international law.
I noted earlier that this has been a discussion. Unfortunately, it has not been a debate. The alarmists refuse to debate. They say that the science is settled. Nonsense! There is no such thing as settled scientific theory. Only settled scientists. If Al Gore believes his science is settled, he should agree to debate and prove the skeptics wrong. Yet he has been running from debate for years.
To those who ask who would be hurt if we were wrong about CO2 and reduced the amount in the atmosphere, I say only the 1.6 billion most vulnerable people in the world. They are desperate for more CO2 so they can grow a plant to eat. Their lives are brutal and short. They desperately need what we have enjoyed over the last 100 years.
Over the last 2 million years this planet has experienced about 20 glaciations. They last about 100,000 years interrupted by warming periods of about 10,000 years. It has been about 11,000 years since the last glaciation ended. During the last century we saw one of the longest periods of high solar activity since the last glaciation. Temperatures rose. We have seen less sun activity in the last 11 years than we have seen for a very long time. The temperature has also been steady or declining for 11 years. (By the way, not one of the computer models, which so confidently predict what will happen in 100 years, predicted that cooling.) Let us pray that this is not signaling the next glaciation; one that actually kills people.
There is no need for any climate treaty at Copenhagen. It is time to disband the U.N.'s self-serving and serially dishonest climate panel. Officially-sponsored environmental extremism is a danger to our national security.
Representative John Linder (R-GA) sits on the House Ways and Means Committee which has jurisdiction over the Waxman-Markey bill, jurisdiction over the Boxer-Kerry bill should it pass in the Senate, and authority over all carbon taxes generally.
Comment: Climate change is undeniable. Climate has never been constant. I do not know if global warming is occurring and if it is, I do not know if it is man-made. What I do know is that I no longer trust the "science" of global warming. Given the revelations of the Climategate deception, the view of the sceptics need to be considered and the theory of global warming needs to be subjected to a rigorous scientific reevaluation. Inconvenient facts that do not support a theory should not be ignored.
Sunday, December 13, 2009
Saturday, December 12, 2009
Climategate is proving to be bigger than just the revelations obtained from the e-mail hacking of a server used by the Climatic Research Unit of the University of East Anglia.
As reported by examiner.com,"For the past six days, several climate scientists have discovered an alarming trend: clear evidence of alteration of historical data at weather stations around the world, in order to support the contention of anthropogenic global warming (AGW)."
One of those scientist who reported a discrepancy between what his own research showed and what is reported in the official version of the UN Intergovernmental Panel for Climate Change (IPCC) report is Robert Keen. Dr. Keen had conducted research into the climate of Alaska and found "no substantial difference in average temperature between 1935-1944 and the present time." The IPCC, however, found substantial warming over the past three decades.
This is serious stuff. Robert Keen is no amateur hack setting out to disprove climate change theory. Climatologist Dr. Richard Keen is a lecturer in the Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences at the University of Colorado, a member of the American Meteorological Society and has worked with the National Center for Atmospheric Research. Keen specializes in volcanic aerosols and climate change studies.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is a scientific body established by the United Nations Environment Program and the World Meteorological Organization. It reviews and assesses scientific, technical, and socio-economic work relevant to climate change, but does not carry out its own research. The IPCC was honoured, along with Al Gore, with the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize.
To see more on Dr. Keen's report on the discrepancy between what his research showed and the official IPCC report, see his published report, Alaska Climate – Station Data vs Adjusted GHCN/IPCC. In this report he says that the agency producing the information included in the IPCC report had to use the same data he used in his report since there his only one source of that data. "One can only guess," writes Keen, "what 'corrections' were applied to the GHCN and IPCC data sets."
Others who are discovering discrepancies in the data and what the "data with corrections" are showing are people with less credentials than Dr. Keen. Anthony Watts is a meteorologist who is editor of the blog What up with that? He is not a degreed scientist, but then neither is Al Gore. His research cast serious doubt on the finding of the IPCC. While I am going to take the finding of non-degreed scientist with a gain of salt, given the revealed use of "tricks" by degreed scientist to manipulate data in order to prove the theory of global warming, I am also taking the findings of those scientist with a grain of salt.
The establishment, including the scientific community and the mainstream media, refuse to pay serious attention to the doubt cast on the science of global warming by the revelations of climategate. They hope that if they continue to ignore it that nothing will change and they can maintain their "consensus," can marginalize their critics, and that this will all go away. Like the Wizard of Oz, they want us to ignore that man behind the curtain.
I am still not ready to call all global warming science "junk science." I am, however, very suspicious of the science. The burden of proof has been shifted. The data needs to be reevaluated by those not tainted by this scandal. Well-credentialed scientist whose financial well being is not dependent on a predetermined outcome need to look at the evidence with fresh eyes and an open mind. We need to know if global warming is a pending worldwide catastrophe of unprecedented proportions in the history of mankind, or if it is minor inconvenience we can address and live with, or if there is nothing to it.
Friday, December 11, 2009
Rep. Blackburn: “If President Obama has his way, the Copenhagen conference will produce mandatory emissions limits that would destroy millions of American jobs and damage our economic competitiveness for decades to come.”
“Hi, I’m Congressman Marsha Blackburn, and I have the great honor of representing Tennessee’s Seventh District.
“Given the opportunity to try a new approach, President Obama has instead proposed more of the same ‘stimulus’ spending paid for by borrowing from our children and grandchildren.
Thursday, December 10, 2009
The Wall Street Journal, DECEMBER 8, 2009, 7:20 P.M
The opening days of the Copenhagen climate-change conference have been rife with denials and—dare we say it?—deniers. American delegate Jonathan Pershing said the emails and files leaked from East Anglia have helped make clear "the robustness of the science." Talk about brazening it out. And Rajendra Pachauri, the head of the U.N.'s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and so ex-officio guardian of the integrity of the science, said the leak proved only that his opponents would stop at nothing to avoid facing the truth of climate change. Uh-huh. (link)
I admit that until the climategate scandal broke I had been guilty of being dismissive of climate warming skeptics. I had reached the conclusion some time ago that global warming theory was correct and that the science was settled. Global warming theory is a complicated scientific question and I am not a scientist so I deferred to the experts.
I have been guilty of closing my mind to the arguments of the skeptics and I derisively referred to skeptics as “deniers.” I put the “deniers” in the same camp as creationist and flat-earthers of a previous era. I will say the “deniers,” however, often did not help their case. The leading spokesmen for the skeptics were often people like Rush Limbaugh and other ideologues and “scientist” who were often no more than TV weathermen.
Since the climategate scandal broke however, I have taken a fresh look at the evidence. I still do not know if global warming theory is correct or not. It very well could be. A few things are clear however. Not all skeptics are uneducated ideologues. The science is not as settled as we were led to believe; the “consensus” is not as firm. There has been a conspiracy to deny skeptics a voice and the data has been fudged. Another thing that is clear and is reported in this article is that there has been a relentless effort to keep scientific data from being scrutinized. There has been a consistent obstruction of freedom-of-information requests.
If the science is so firm, why do the advocates of global warming theory feel it is necessary to hide the data? Why are they afraid to engage in open scientific inquiry? When scientific fraud is exposed, does not the burden of proof shift to those who advocate the theory which is in part based on that fraud? Instead of defending the science, why are the proponents of the theory circling the wagons and refusing to answer their critics?
Wednesday, December 9, 2009
Comment: This is amazing! If we needed a stimulus bill to address the economic crisis, surely we could have done a better job than this. This nation has crumbling infrastructure. There are water lines that need replacing and collapsing sewer systems to replace and dangerous bridges to rebuild, yet the stimulus bill funded wasteful exotic studies and projects that created almost no jobs. One $246,436 project created a single $59,857 per year job. With a $1.4 trillion deficit is this the way we need to be spending money?
"I can't leave out my Arizona projects that have been awarded. $500,000 to Arizona State University to study the genetic makeup of ants...and then, incredibly, $450,000 to the University of Arizona to study division of labor in ant colonies...I had no idea that so much expertise concerning ants resided in the major universities in my state and I must say I say that with an element of pride, but I'm not sure that it is deserving of these taxpayers dollars."
Monday, December 7, 2009
Fantastic! This is great! I am surprised and pleased. Jon Steward is very entertaining and funny in his report on Climategate.
Unfortunately, there are a lot of people, especially young people, who get most of their news and form their opinions from watching Saturday Night Live, The Colbert Report and Jon Stewart. Many people who are inclined to have liberal opinions, who will never read George Will or listen to a conservative pundit and who seldom read a newspaper, now know about the climategate scandal. To many people, if Jon Stewart uses his sarcastic wit and humor to lambaste the climate research conspirators then the climategate scandal is newsworthy and it is OK to question the validity of the supposed scientific consensus. Great!
Sunday, December 6, 2009
by George Will, Sunday December 8th, 2009
[Excerpt] The CRU materials also reveal paranoia on the part of scientists who believe that in trying to engineer "consensus" and alarm about warming, they are a brave and embattled minority. Actually, never in peacetime history has the government-media-academic complex been in such sustained propagandistic lockstep about any subject.
[Excerpt] Were their science as unassailable as they insist it is, and were the consensus as broad as they say it is, and were they as brave as they claim to be, they would not be "goaded" into intellectual corruption. Nor would they meretriciously bandy the word "deniers" to disparage skepticism that shocks communicants in the faith-based global warming community. (link)
Comment: This is a good analysis of the climategate scandal.
I know there is a lot of news and talk about the pending cap and trade legislation but I suspect that many people do not really understand it. This cartoon presentation simplifies and explains how cap and trade works. I certainly don’t agree with the political perspective of this video, but even people with whom you disagree can tell a truth sometimes or help shed light on an issue. Try to watch this video without gagging over the left-wing rhetoric. It does a good job of explaining two of the majors defects in the current cap and trade proposal: give away of credits and off sets.
Since the climategate scandal revelations of scientific fraud, I am not now convinced we need to address global warming at all. Before we address it, we need to be sure it is a problem that needs to be solved. For me, Cliamategate threw into question the severity of the problem of man-made global warming. I need to again be convinced that man-made global warming is a problem before I am ready to support efforts to fix it.
If the theory of global warming is correct however, we must address it. If it is true, if can not be ignored simply because it is inconvenient. Assuming for a moment that the theory is correct, I think the preferred method of addressing the problem is a revenue-neutral carbon tax. Just as a subsidy can lead to the production of more of something by reducing the cost of that something to the consumer, a tax can result in less of something by increasing the cost of that something. If we put a tax on products that produce carbon people will choose to use less of those products and we will have less carbon emission. If gas cost more, people use less of it. If gas cost more, battery power and hybrid vehicles will comparatively cost less. To offset the cost increase in taxing carbon however, we should cut the income tax by every dollar raised by a carbon tax. I would prefer to tax carbon more and tax income less; this will produce less carbon and more income.
Unfortunately a carbon tax has never been given serious consideration and cap and trade has. In theory, cap and trade could work. Just like a carbon tax, cap and trade is also a tax but is not as direct. Like a carbon tax, a cap and trade system is designed to change consumer behaviour by attaching a cost to carbon emission. While I would prefer a carbon tax to a cap and trade system, cap and trade is much to be preferred over a system of regulation that mandates carbon levels for each producer of carbon emissions. Incentivizing desired behaviour is preferable to the use of force to change behaviour. I would much rather use the tax structure and markets to solve a problem rather than use the police. In theory cap and trade is sound. Cap and trade was the way we curtailed the pollutants that caused acid rain. Acid rain was a serious problem that was brought under control by the very same method we are proposing to address carbon emissions.
Cap and Trade can work in theory, but unfortunately the devil is in the details. Cap and trade will not work if we give away too many credits and if we have a fraudulent system of offsets. Also, to avoid cap and trade being a huge tax to simply grow government, cap and trade should be revenue-neutral. Revenue raised from the sell of credits should be used to reduce personal income taxes and in order to put more money into the hands of the people in order to help offset the increase energy cost and other cost of living that will follow cap and trade legislation.
Saturday, December 5, 2009
"In Tennessee we believe when it comes to taxes if 10% is good enough for God on Sunday, it's for damn sure good enough for the government on Monday." -Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN)
Marsha Blackburn for Senate! (to replace Bob Corker when he is elected President)
Marsha Blackburn is principled, smart, and so darn cute.
Friday, December 4, 2009
Phil Jones the director of the Climatic Research Unit of the University of East Anglia stepped down on Tuesday. Thursday the university announced it would investigate whether scientist at CRU manipulated data on global warming. (link)
When institutions investigate themselves I am suspect. Does anyone see a whitewash coming? Will anyone be surprised if the University concludes that the information revealed in the leaked documents and email reveal no significant malfeasance that would invalidate any of the CRU’s research? Will you be surprised if Phil Jones is reinstated? I will not be reassured if this is the outcome.
To have confidence in the outcome of any inquiry, the inquiry needs to be conducted by a high-level blue-ribbon panel of respected scholars and statesmen and the inquiry needs to be conducted in the light of day. There also needs to be a vigorous skeptical press keeping the players honest. If left up to the mainstream press this story would never have seen the light of day. I suspect the MSP will assist in the whitewash.
Thursday, December 3, 2009
While I have been concerned if not outraged about the climategate scandal, this leak of documents and emails showing conspiracy and scientific fraud is not the final word. There is still a large body of evidence to support the theory of anthropogenic global warming.
For those who want to know more about the climategate issue and see how global warming scientist explain and put in contest this most recent scandal please visit RealClimate. RealClimate describes itself as “a commentary site on climate science by working climate scientists for the interested public and journalists.” The scientists who are associated with this site are highly educated and credentialed working scientist.
While the climategate scandal looks like proof of fraud and deceit, it has only moved me from the “believer” to the “undecided” column. I am not yet a full fledged “skeptic.” If climategate is simply ignored rather than addressed then I think one would be justified in joining the ranks of skeptics.
We need to know the truth. I would like to see a high-level panel of respected scientist and academics conduct hearing on the climategate scandal and rule on the value of current climate science. They should address the body of evidence and issue an opinion on the validity of the current science. They should issue a statement on the strength of the “consensus.” They should address whether or not contrary viewpoints from reputable scientist were silenced or if open inquiry and seeking scientific truth was permitted and encouraged. They should rule as to what extent the manipulation of data at CRU corrupted the current understanding of climate change.
I would not expect this panel of respected scientist to resolve the issue for everyone. I don’t care what the evidence shows I don’t think I will ever hear Rush Limbaugh say, “Maybe there is something to this global warming stuff,” nor do I think I will ever hear Al Gore say, “Maybe we overstated the case.” Nevertheless, I think a formal, public inquiry into the climategate scandal and its significance for the current understanding of climate change would be beneficial to those of us who find this recent scandal disturbing and are open to discovering the truth.
If the proponents of the theory of global warming are correct, then the implications of that theory are too important to have the issue derailed by a few bad scientists. If global warming is real, we need to address it. There is not a lot of time to waste. On the other hand, if the global warming theory is based entirely on junk science we should not support policies that could curtail economic growth and possibly wreck the economies of the world. This issue is too important to stop seeking the truth.