Monthly Archives: February 2014

Free Market Face Palm

Face Palm

This has been in my stack for near 2.5 months now.  The good Dr. Greens writes:

Wow.  Really, really good Washington Post story about how there’s a $50 treatment for a serious eye disease that affects the elderly, but doctors regularly choose the $2000 treatment, bill Medicare, and we all pay.  Ugh.

The story goes something like this:

Two equal treatments, one sells for $50 and the other for $2,000.  Docs prescribe the more expensive one because they make more money.

The complaint?

And another great example of why health care is so much more expensive in the US than the rest of the world.  Other countries simply don’t get lobbied into wasting money on Lucentis when Avastin will do the trick nor are their doctors financially rewarded for doing so.

Right – greed.

Wanna know how to fix it?

Expose the patient to the cost of the treatment.

Global Warming Truth

Global Warming

Global Warming – Climate Change And The Lie

Talk to liberal and let the topic move to global warming.  Or climate change.  Whatever, and then try to dispute their argument.  Immediately you’ll get hit with the fact that you don’t believe in science, that you’re a denier or a member of the flat earth society.


Try it.

But then ask them what they mean when they make claims of “Global Warming” or “Climate Change”.  More than likely you’ll be met by nothing but blank stares and no satisfying answer.

The Earth Is Warming And Other Facts

If you can  begin to deconstruct the argument or debate to facts, the lens clarifies to a degree:

  1. The earth is warming
  2. CO2 is being added to the atmosphere
  3. Humans contribute to that addition
  4. CO2 is a greenhouse gas
  5. Greenhouse gases contribute to a warming planet

All this is true.  But so much is missing.  And so much of THAT is dismissed by alarmists.

Until now:

In 1971, as a PhD student in ecology I joined an activist group in a church basement in Vancouver Canada and sailed on a small boat across the Pacific to protest US Hydrogen bomb testing in Alaska. We became Greenpeace.

After 15 years in the top committee I had to leave as Greenpeace took a sharp turn to the political left, and began to adopt policies that I could not accept from my scientific perspective. Climate change was not an issue when I abandoned Greenpeace, but it certainly is now.

There is no scientific proof that human emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) are the dominant cause of the minor warming of the Earth’s atmosphere over the past 100 years. If there were such a proof it would be written down for all to see. No actual proof, as it is understood in science, exists.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) states: “It is extremely likely that human influence has been the dominant cause of the observed warming since the mid-20th century.”

“Extremely likely” is not a scientific term but rather a judgment, as in a court of law. The IPCC defines “extremely likely” as a “95-100% probability”. But upon further examination it is clear that these numbers are not the result of any mathematical calculation or statistical analysis. They have been “invented” as a construct within the IPCC report to express “expert judgment”, as determined by the IPCC contributors.

These judgments are based, almost entirely, on the results of sophisticated computer models designed to predict the future of global climate. As noted by many observers, including Dr. Freeman Dyson of the Princeton Institute for Advanced Studies, a computer model is not a crystal ball. We may think it sophisticated, but we cannot predict the future with a computer model any more than we can make predictions with crystal balls, throwing bones, or by appealing to the Gods.

Perhaps the simplest way to expose the fallacy of “extreme certainty” is to look at the historical record. With the historical record, we do have some degree of certainty compared to predictions of the future. When modern life evolved over 500 million years ago, CO2 was more than 10 times higher than today, yet life flourished at this time. Then an Ice Age occurred 450 million years ago when CO2 was 10 times higher than today. There is some correlation, but little evidence, to support a direct causal relationship between CO2 and global temperature through the millennia. The fact that we had both higher temperatures and an ice age at a time when CO2 emissions were 10 times higher than they are today fundamentally contradicts the certainty that human-caused CO2 emissions are the main cause of global warming.

Today we remain locked in what is essentially still the Pleistocene Ice Age, with an average global temperature of 14.5oC. This compares with a low of about 12oC during the periods of maximum glaciation in this Ice Age to an average of 22oC during the Greenhouse Ages, which occurred over longer time periods prior to the most recent Ice Age. During the Greenhouse Ages, there was no ice on either pole and all the land was tropical and sub-tropical, from pole to pole. As recently as 5 million years ago the Canadian Arctic islands were completely forested. Today, we live in an unusually cold period in the history of life on earth and there is no reason to believe that a warmer climate would be anything but beneficial for humans and the majority of other species. There is ample reason to believe that a sharp cooling of the climate would bring disastrous results for human civilization.

Moving closer to the present day, it is instructive to study the record of average global temperature during the past 130 years. The IPCC states that humans are the dominant cause of warming “since the mid-20th century”, which is 1950. From 1910 to 1940 there was an increase in global average temperature of 0.5oC over that 30-year period. Then there was a 30-year “pause” until 1970. This was followed by an increase of 0.57oC during the 30-year period from 1970 to 2000. Since then there has been no increase, perhaps a slight decrease, in average global temperature. This in itself tends to negate the validity of the computer models, as CO2 emissions have continued to accelerate during this time.

The increase in temperature between 1910-1940 was virtually identical to the increase between 1970-2000. Yet the IPCC does not attribute the increase from 1910-1940 to “human influence.” They are clear in their belief that human emissions impact only the increase “since the mid-20th century”. Why does the IPCC believe that a virtually identical increase in temperature after 1950 is caused mainly by “human influence”, when it has no explanation for the nearly identical increase from 1910-1940?

It is important to recognize, in the face of dire predictions about a 2oC rise in global average temperature, that humans are a tropical species. We evolved at the equator in a climate where freezing weather did not exist. The only reasons we can survive these cold climates are fire, clothing, and housing. It could be said that frost and ice are the enemies of life, except for those relatively few species that have evolved to adapt to freezing temperatures during this Pleistocene Ice Age. It is “extremely likely” that a warmer temperature than today’s would be far better than a cooler one.

I realize that my comments are contrary to much of the speculation about our climate that is bandied about today. However, I am confident that history will bear me out, both in terms of the futility of relying on computer models to predict the future, and the fact that warmer temperatures are better than colder temperatures for most species.

If we wish to preserve natural biodiversity, wildlife, and human well being, we should simultaneously plan for both warming and cooling, recognizing that cooling would be the most damaging of the two trends. We do not know whether the present pause in temperature will remain for some time, or whether it will go up or down at some time in the near future. What we do know with “extreme certainty” is that the climate is always changing, between pauses, and that we are not capable, with our limited knowledge, of predicting which way it will go next.


Governor Brewer – Veto That Bill! *

Jan Brewer

Arizona SB 1062 – Religious Freedom

You have to be living under a rock if you haven’t heard of the bill that passed the state legislator in Arizona.  SB 1062 would allow businesses to refuse services to gay and lesbian customers based on their religious faith.

I think that Governor Brewer should veto this law because it singles out people who might be homosexual in an unfair manner.

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A Very Predictable Result Of Obamacare


Economic Law Of Gravity

The allocation of scare resources.

That’s economics as defined by Thomas Sowell.

And doctors are scare resources – people that have skills that are in demand.  And the demand results in a cost.  And if that fact is ignored – as is often the case in DC – trouble will ensue.

In this case, the trouble will be that people who have purchased an insurance plan are going too find out that their choice of doctors is limited, sometimes severely:

Some 70% of new plans under the health law offer relatively narrow networks compared with many current plans, according to a recent report by McKinsey & Co. The consulting firm found that plans with smaller choices of hospitals had significantly lower premiums than similar plans offering a broader choice.

And why are we facing this problem?

Because the new law is forcing insurance companies to insure everyone, independent of pre-existing conditions on top of prohibiting them from charging more for demographics that then to have higher medical bills.

Private Savings Accounts: Great Idea

Great Idea

Private Retirement Accounts

As recently as 2005-2006 the subject of private savings or retirement accounts was discussed:

WASHINGTON, March 3 – President Bush dismissed the notion Thursday that his campaign to create private accounts in Social Security was in serious trouble, asserting he was still “at the early stages of the process.”

Vowing to push ahead and acknowledging that “I’ve got a lot more work to do,” Mr. Bush said he was open to ideas from both parties and tried again to allay the fears widespread in his own party that Social Security was “the third rail of politics.”

And just as then president Bush was pushing for the creation of these private funds – democrats were voicing their objection:

They said they would work with Mr. Bush on Social Security only if he would “publicly and unambiguously announce” that he rejected his proposal for private investment accounts financed by payroll tax revenues.

“Such a statement would eliminate a serious obstacle to the kind of bipartisan process that Democrats are seeking to deal with Social Security’s long-term challenges,” Democrats said in a letter that was circulated for senators’ signatures Thursday night and quickly acquired 42.

So – might we have a way forward?

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Union Defeat In Chattanooga


UAW Suffers Massive Defeat

The UAW is in its death thralls.  Membership is down dramatically and it needs a new source of membership; enter the southern manufacturing states.

Labor leaders say a “yes” vote is critical to the union’s long-term prospects. If successful, this would be the first victory for organized labor inside a foreign automaker’s U.S. operations in the South.

For the UAW to grow, it must make inroads with foreign manufacturers with plants in the United States; most of those operate in the South. A “yes” vote in Chattanooga could provide momentum for organizing at a Mercedes-Benz plant in Alabama, a BMW plant in South Carolina and possibly a Nissan plant in Mississippi.

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Very Cool

I love drums:

North Carolina Unemployment Benefits: Governor

Pat McCrory

North Carolina Cuts Unemployment Benefits

About a week ago I posted on North Carolina’s unemployment dilemma:

By itself, the news is good news, heck, even GREAT news.  But it rarely is “by itself”:

Economists say the fast drop in the unemployment rate could be because so many people have become discouraged, are giving up on finding a job and are no longer being counted.

The state’s population of working-age adults who are looking for jobs shrank by 111,000 in 2013.

This is, of course, the same phenomenon that nation republicans use to knock Obama.  There the big story is that the national labor force participation rate has plummeted to lows that we haven’t seen in decades.

While the unemployment rate in North Carolina is dropping, there is significant reason to believe that this is due to folks dropping out of the labor force.

Governor McCrory Interview

While the drop in the unemployment rate is largely due to a reduction of folks in the labor force, Governor McCrory has an answer:

While I agree that the rate is subject to the numbers in the work force, the fact that the work force is dropping nationally is important.  I’ll have to go back and dig through the state numbers, but if the labor force participation rate loss didn’t change as a result of the end of benefits, you can’t blame the law.

UI isn’t meant to be a social welfare program – in theory it’s INSURANCE that is meant to carry over an individual for a discreet amount of time.

There Is Hope


America’s View On Government

Sometimes I feel that we’re losing the battle.  That nanny state champions who wanna reward mediocrity, punish success and suspend natural realities are winning.

Then I see this:

Some 60 percent of voters think that over the last five years the federal government’s policies have increased the income gap between the rich and everyone else.  That includes — to varying degrees — majorities of Democrats (52 percent), Republicans (64 percent), independents (67 percent) and those in the tea party movement (74 percent).

Important points:

– Democrats are in majority agreement.

– Independents poll higher than republicans

– The Tea Party leads the way!

Durham Hybrid Failures

Hybrid Bus

Durham Forced To Retrofit Buses

Back in 2011 the city of Durham added a number of hybrid buses to their fleet hoping that they would save money.

They are converting those vehicles back to gas engines:

Durham, N.C. — Durham officials have found it’s not easy being green.

The city decided this week to convert 10 of its hybrid vehicles – light transit vehicles, or LTVs, that transport people with disabilities – back to gas-fueled engines because of maintenance problems. City buses will continue to have hybrid engines.

Troubles With New Technology

Reading through the article I was hooping that we would see numbers on the results – were the vehicles saving money or not.  If so, how much per month/year.  However, all we got is this:

The savings never panned out, however, as repairs started piling up.

“After about six months, we started having issues with them,” city maintenance manager Scott Mozingo said. “Then, we had issues with parts.”

So, yeah, repairs is a big part of fleet management, however, repairs exist in gas engines as well.  I think the nail in the coffin was elsewhere:

In 2012, the company that outfitted the hybrid vehicles went bankrupt, so Durham could no longer get the parts they needed to make repairs.

“We started parking vehicles as they were breaking down because we didn’t have parts for them,” Mozingo said.

I have to believe that if the technology was viable, the company would not have failed leaving Durham in the lurch.  I know that all new technologies carry risk for early adopters, but the trend in this alternative energy isn’t new or small.