Doug Archives

A Chilling Effect

What if I told you that ice levels in Antarctica have reached 35-year record highs? What if I told you that the rise in the surface temperature of the earth has been markedly slower over the last 15 years than in the 20 years before that? And what if I told you that the lull in warming has occurred even as greenhouse gases have accumulated in the atmosphere at a record pace?

Well figure out what you would do if I told you, because I’m telling you. And I’ll tell you this as well; many climate scientists aren’t sure what to do. They’re trying to come up with explanations, but so far they’re just theories plucked out of thin air.

When the facts don’t fit the theories, scientists claim that they will rework the theories. Well, so far, we’ve seen little reworking and more digging in. And here’s another “what if”; what if the media gave this as much attention as they did stories of a spot here or a point there where warming is occurring? This isn’t weather, as they love to say; this is a pause in the warming of the climate that they’re having trouble figuring out. What if people were told about this, or is liberal orthodoxy in the media having a chilling effect?

Be Sociable, Share!

    Suing Educational Success

    Hurricane Katrina caused unimaginable devastation to the city of New Orleans and to the state of state of Louisiana itself, but it did provide an opportunity to push the reset button on some of the city’s and state’s policies. One of these resets has occurred in the area of education.

    Last year, Louisiana’s legislature established a voucher program for poor kids who would otherwise be stuck in failing public schools. It received bipartisan support, and is part of a larger set of reforms statewide; that reset button. Here are some of the results:

    • Last spring, Louisiana’s graduation rate reached an all-time high, with 72.3 percent of students graduating from high school on time, up from 64.8 percent in 2005.
    • About 85 percent of students using Louisiana’s vouchers are black. In Louisiana, where 45 percent of blacks remain in poverty, this can only be a good thing economically, both for the kids for whom many more doors open when they have a high school diploma, and for the state economy, as more workers with a better education helps deal with unemployment.

    When he was in Louisiana this month, President Obama said these words in a speech. “Let’s give everybody a chance to get ahead, not just a few at the top, but everybody. If we do that, if we help our businesses grow, our communities thrive and our children reach a little higher, then the economy is going to grow faster. We’ll rebuild our middle class — stronger.”

    Now that sounds great, and it’s exactly what the school voucher program is doing; giving everybody a chance to get ahead. Which is why it’s rather incongruous of the President’s Department of Justice to be suing the state to essentially halt the program, on the grounds that if poor black children leave terrible schools for better ones, those failing schools become less diverse?

    And here we get to the crux of the matter. To the Left, results don’t matter if they are achieved by proving liberal policies wrong; in this case, the idea that the government is the best educator of kids. Further, diversity has not been negatively impacted, and in some cases, has improved, so they’re making stuff up just to protect their orthodoxy, and hurting school children in the process.

    Don’t listen to this administration’s rhetoric, watch what they do. Their politics are more important than the outcomes.

    Be Sociable, Share!

      Another City Spending Its Way to Bankruptcy

      I’ve written before about the problems big cities are facing when it comes to Cadillac pensions. San Bernadino, California and Detroit, Michigan declared bankruptcy largely due to this. And now comes word that another California city may follow in their footsteps.

      Desert Hot Springs , a resort town of 26,000 warned that it will run out of money by March due to burdensome salary and pension costs. That would make it the third California city along with San Bernardino and Stockton to succumb to that. Amy Aguer, the interim director of finance, said nearly 70 percent of the city’s budget was consumed by police costs, most of which were spent on salaries and pension payments.

      Now, part of this problems is the California public employees’ pension program, Calpers. The cost charged for participating keeps going up. Karol Denniston, a bankruptcy attorney in San Francisco said, "Calpers keeps increasing costs and many of these cities have cut costs down to where there is nothing else left to cut." And I’m sure that contributes to the problem, but I really don’t think it accounts for 70% of Desert Hot Springs’ budget.

      But the main thing is, if they do go under, who gets paid? Do the pensions get cut in order to pay off creditors? That’s a difficult question to answer. It’s a case of competing promises. The root causes of all of this, though, are those initial promises. Russell Betts, a council member, stated the obvious when he sad, "It’s obvious we can’t continue with salaries and pensions that are in the stratosphere, no matter how much love there is for our police department.” Sure, it’s obvious now, when the problems arise. But if you’d said anything like that years ago, you’d have been labeled as someone who “hates” the police, or public workers in general. “We should be paying our police more than our football players!”, some might shout, even though I’m sure that Desert Hot Springs doesn’t have a national football team. But anyway…

      That’s a nice sentiment until you have no money left. I’m not suggesting what Desert Hot Springs should be paying its cops, nor suggesting that such pensions aren’t deserved. It’s just that when you overpromise, sooner or later someone’s got to pay the piper. And even if it’s shared pain between pensioners and creditors, promises get broken.

      The solution is to state the obvious before having to break those promises. The problem is that there are too many voters and council members who think that government money is limitless, which is only true until it isn’t. Sure, stating the obvious – that we should live within our means – may get you called ‘heartless’, among other choice adjectives, but it must be said.

      That’s kind of like how those of us who were against this huge set of promises we often call ObamaCare were treated. We’re stating the obvious, but we’re being called ‘heartless’, all because we don’t want to go bankrupt. We’re already going bankrupt, that much is for sure, but we’re rather not hang another boulder around our neck while trying to stay above water. As I’ve mentioned before, federal pensions and existing entitlements alone cost more than we take in in taxes. Among the many promises that ObamaCare will not fulfill is that it will reduce the deficit. We can’t afford that.

      I feel like I’m council member Cassandra sometimes, warning of danger that is obvious to anyone who would see, but not being believed, in spite of so much evidence surrounding us. Website glitches are sideshows. Economic realities will bury us.

      Be Sociable, Share!

        ObamaCare Navigators Exposed

        James O’Keefe has been exposing fraud with his Project Veritas for years. The oxen that have been the target of his goring have been of the variety that liberals tend to hold dear, which is why, while saying they don’t like fraud, they typically try to marginalize him. And when that doesn’t work, people like Rachel Maddow just make stuff up.

        The latest group to find themselves in front of the cameras of Project Veritas are the ObamaCare “Navigators”, those 50,000 folks who will, if you need it, give you help in getting signed up for the Healthcare Exchanges. Once those exchanges are actually, y’know, working. They’ll get you the lowest premium, even if they have to tell you to commit fraud.

        And it’s not just the fraud that is of concern. Enrollment information is being shared with a political group called Battleground Texas, one that is trying to get more Democrats elected. There’s more in the video, and O’Keefe says this isn’t the last of what he has. Hopefully he’ll get to the issue of no federal background checks being required for these folks.

        O’Keefe’s undercover videos were a major reason that fraud was uncovered in the group ACORN, and it seems like these Navigators are cut from the same cloth. In fact, in some states, they’re one and the same, with former ACORN people forming more groups under different names and supplying people to work as Navigators.

        Yup, if you liked ACORN, you’ll love the ObamaCare Navigators, because both groups seem to have the same agenda. And competence.

        Be Sociable, Share!

          Climate Models That Aren’t Modeling

          In October of 2012, I noticed an article noting that global warming had essentially stopped since 1997. Well, it’s still stopped, and Professor Judith Curry from the Georgia Institute of Technology is taking a closer look at it.

          A paper by her in the peer-reviewed journal Climate Dynamics not only explains the pause, it suggests that the scientific majority have underestimated the role of natural cycles and exaggerated that of greenhouse gases. This is the foundation on which the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (the IPCC report we keep hearing about) is built, and she’s shaking it to the core.

          Imagine that; nature – the massive ecosystem that is our planet Earth – has more influence than man.

          Check out this article that includes a graph of what all the various and sundry climate models have predicted, and then a line showing reality. The climate is now at a point at the bottom of the lowest prediction model. On top of that, Professor Curry says that this is likely to continue until at least 2035. She presents evidence of natural cycles that can be documents for the past 300 years in making this claim.

          Now, accept or reject Professor Curry’s data or conclusions, we still are left with the nagging issue of predictions, used by the UN, that were presented with 95+% certainty. Somebody didn’t tell Mother Nature. Well, more likely, as Prof. Curry said, “The growing divergence between climate model simulations and observations raises the prospect that climate models are inadequate in fundamental ways.”

          “Inadequate.” That’s putting it mildly. Not unlike our climate, actually.

          Be Sociable, Share!

            Is the "Cure" Worse Than the Disease?

            OK, so let me get this straight. The problem that ObamaCare was trying to fix was this: uninsured people got free healthcare at emergency rooms, but this cost was borne by taxpayers.

            So the solution is to subsidize their insurance. The subsidies come from their tax refund via the IRS. Where does the money come for these subsidies? The taxpayer. And for those not getting subsidies for their ObamaCare insurance, many are seeing rate increases to also offset these lower cost plans. And since the Supreme Court called this a tax, then again, the money is coming from the taxpayer.

            And since those subsidized plans don’t really get subsidized until folks get the credits on their tax refund, they have to front both the cost of the plan and the cost of the often huge deductibles, until tax time. How about that? The poor give Uncle Sam a no-interest loan. How compassionate.

            Here’s the bottom line: The problem was that taxpayers bore the cost of the poor getting free health care. The solution is that the taxpayers bear the cost of insurance for the poor, and the poor bear the full cost of the insurance and thousands of dollars of deductible until sometime the following year. Does that make sense to anyone?

            Be Sociable, Share!

              New Polls – How Has the ACA Affected You?

              Haven’t done a new one of these in a while. We’ve got 2 new polls up (in addition to the perennial social network one).

              You can answer how the Affordable Care Act has affected your insurance policy and your insurance costs. And feel free to rant or rave in the comment section of this post. How is this new law affecting you?

              Be Sociable, Share!

                Hope and Change at “Stones Cry Out”

                During this evening, I’m going to be doing a long-overdue upgrade of the WordPress software that runs this blog. While that’s happening, there’s no telling what you might see here. But on the other side of this, you’ll see a slightly different-looking SCO, as well as a more secure one (which is the primary reason I’m doing this).

                Update: The update is complete. The look of the site may change a bit as I do some tweaking, and you may see more on the sidebar as I play around a bit. Now that we’re current, there are new features and plugins that become available, so I may be trying some out for a spin.

                Be Sociable, Share!

                  "A Promise He Could Not Keep"

                  The House Republicans have produced a devastating video. Keep doing this, guys.

                  Be Sociable, Share!

                    Millions of ObamaCare Broken Promises

                    Yeah, I know I’ve been harping on ObamaCare for quite a while now, but there’s just so much wrong with it. And I’m not speaking of the website. All I’ll say about that is that the oversight that was given to putting that together is the same oversight you’re likely to see on the program itself. How does that make you feel?

                    No, the big deal is the fact that what you were sold is not what you’re getting. You were given some promises about this that were repeated over and over.

                    Well of course no one was saying you’d lose your coverage. Obama couldn’t have sold this particular bill of goods if he’d been honest about it. What we’re getting are millions of Americans whose insurance companies had to—had to—cancel their policies because they didn’t meet ObamaCare’s standards. Yes, you can keep your plan, as long as the government says you can. And then you can’t. Ben Shapiro tweeted, “PolitiFact rated Obama’s ‘If you like your plan, you can keep it’ as ‘half true.’ Which half? ‘If you like it’?”

                    Oh, and you can keep your doctor, as long as he doesn’t leave the practice, or get laid off from the hospital. There are links in the show notes to stories about how the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is, for many Americans, not being very protective in this regard.

                    And the “affordable” part? Not so much, either. First there was the promise.

                    And now comes the reality. Supporters of ObamaCare, most notably, are getting acute cases of “sticker shock” as they find out how much their premiums will go up. A writer at the left-wing Daily Kos website was floored that his rates were doubling.

                    I never felt too good about how this was passed and what it entailed, but I figured if it saved Americans money, I could go along with it.

                    I don’t know what to think now. This appears, in my experience, to not be a reform for the people.

                    What am I missing?

                    Well for starters, you’re missing the reality of basic economics. And, as Dave Ramsey says, you’re missing basic math skills. What happening is that non-subsidized premiums are skyrocketing, but even if you get the subsidies, the deductibles are huge, reaching 10-12 thousand dollars. Sure the insurance may be affordable, but the health care is not.

                    But it’s not even so much the broken promises, so much as it is the fact that they knew, from the start of this awful bill, that they couldn’t keep it. Regulations within the bill itself give an estimate that 40 to 67 percent of customers who bought their own insurance will not be able to keep their policy. That’s an estimate right in the bill.

                    But Obama kept parroting that promise, and the media kept dutifully reporting it. From the “Now They Tell Us” Department, NBC News now reports this rather important bit of information, now that the bill has passed the Congress and the Supreme Court, and has started signing people up. And this startling revelation was worth a whopping 21 seconds on the NBC Nightly News.

                    Yeah, you can report on how the administration lied to us, but what about the journalistic malpractice in not doing this digging years ago? I’m looking at all of you, including CBS, ABC, CNN, MSNBC and Fox.

                    Why is it that conservatives saws this coming but liberals didn’t? And why were conservatives who pointed this out called “racists” (and still are)? The truth would have benefited conservatives, liberals and independents. But blind partisanship won the day, and we’ve all been dragged into the same pit.

                    Indeed, dealing with the pre-existing conditions issue and lowering the cost of insurance are admirable goals. But the ObamaCare way of dealing with this is, overall, not the way to do it. The Republicans have had their proposal up on the web for all to see for years; a plan to fix the specific problems without upending the entire industry and forcing government’s choice on the individual.

                    Be Sociable, Share!

                      The American Psychiatric Association has bowed to pressure again.

                      A shocking announcement made by the American Psychiatric Association (APA) in its latest edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders caused an uproar among pro-family organizations and many others, as the APA states it now classifies pedophilia as a sexual orientation or preference instead of a disorder.

                      The APA is either becoming less about psychiatry and more about political correctness, or it’s too easily pushed around by interest groups. It’s classification of homosexuality as a “sexual orientation” gave a huge boost to mainstreaming of that behavior. Now what?

                      Update: New information. The American Family Association was right, that “sexual orientation” was used referring to pedphila. However, the American Psychiatric Association now says that was a mistake.

                      In response to media calls, including queries from Charisma News, the APA admitted there was an error in the DSM and announced plans to correct its manual to make it clear that it does not classify pedophilia as a sexual orientation.

                      Be Sociable, Share!

                        Name That Quote: Debt Limit Edition

                        Here’s something I’ve not done in a while. Let’s once again play “Name That Quote”. This is the game where I read someone’s words verbatim, and you try to figure out who said it. If you’re playing along at home, give yourself 10 points for being correct, 5 points if you’re close (and I’ll let you determine what close is), and 1 point if you get the political party right. (Hey, it’s a 50-50 chance.) And for this quote, party is a factor. Here’s the quote:

                        The fact that we are here today to debate raising America’s debt limit is a sign of leadership failure. It is a sign that the U.S. Government can’t pay its own bills. It is a sign that we now depend on ongoing financial assistance from foreign countries to finance our Government’s reckless fiscal policies.

                        There’s lots more, but you get the gist of it. Come to the website and see the show notes for a link to the full text of this rant against a debt limit increase.

                        I will give you a hint; this is not from the current debt limit fight. The speaker is someone who has been on both sides of the debate. That’s right, he was against the debt limit increase before he was for it. No, it’s not John Kerry, but if you thought that, you were close.

                        This quote, from March 16th, 2006, during a Republican presidential administration, is from the, then, junior Senator from Illinois, Barack Obama. Of course, now that he’s in the Oval Office, it’s just as reckless, and just as much a failure of leadership, to agree with what he said. You’re likely to get whiplash discovering what a difference an administration makes.

                        Be Sociable, Share!

                          More Great Stem Cell News

                          Back when Christopher Reeves was still alive and getting the word out on stem cell research, the big push was for embryonic stem cells to be used in that research. All those in-vitro fertilized eggs that didn’t get used were just waiting to be harvested and experimented on. There was just one thing. Pro-lifers, like me, considered them human embryos, simply an earlier form of a regular human life, and therefore considered destroying them for experimentation it on par with abortion, with the added baggage that we’d be, well, experimenting on them. Adult stem cells, even back then, had been proving their worth in many, many situations, didn’t have a tendency to become cancerous when used, and if properly fed and cared for, would never be anything other than adult stem cells. That is, they would never become a human being. The ethical baggage simply wasn’t there, especially for those who thought science ought to be, indeed, ethical.

                          When President George W. Bush decided to limit the number of existing embryonic stem cell lines that could be used to experimentation, he did two things. First, he put a stake in the ground of scientific ethics; this far and no farther. Second, he lit a fire under the line of research that was trying to find a way to make adult stem cells, which cannot differentiate themselves in quite as many other kinds of cells as embryonic, just as flexible and changeable as their embryonic counterparts.

                          Research has been advancing quickly, and results have been getting better and better, until last month, this bit of good news came out.

                          Researchers have for the first time converted cultured skin cells into stem cells with near-perfect efficiency.

                          By removing a single protein, called Mbd3, a team at the Weizmann Institute of Science in Rehovot, Israel, was able to increase the conversion rate to almost 100% — ten times that normally achieved. The discovery could clear the way for scientists to produce large volumes of stem cells on demand, hastening the development of new treatments.

                          Almost 100%. From skin cells. Had we taken the easy way out, and not the harder, ethical one, A) the Left would not have branded the Right as “anti-science” over this. (Well, at least, not as much as they normally would.) And B) this research would not have continued at such a pace, allowing us now to produce stem cells at a rate we probably could not have done before.

                          Anti-science, indeed. More like pro-ethical-science, especially when you can have your ethics, and stem cells, too.

                          Be Sociable, Share!

                            Manufactured Pain in the Government Shutdown

                            This past weekend, veterans and their supporters protested in Washington, DC. They took down the barricades surrounding the open-air World War II memorial, and dumped some of them half a mile away outside the White House. It seems like spending money, during an alleged government shutdown, to close something that doesn’t actually require opening was a bridge too far for an administration bent on making sure you feel the pain, even if the pain is manufactured.

                            Speaking at this protest were politicians of all stripes, standing with and supporting our vets. Ted Cruz and Sarah Palin spoke to the crowd, and… Hmm, just a minute. Ted Cruz, Sarah Palin… Aren’t they both Republicans? Why yes; yes they are. What should have been a bipartisan show of support, was partisan only because every available Democrat either supported this manufactured pain, or dare not cross his party leaders with a show of independence or support of the troops.

                            Is the question of this manufactured pain — shutting down things that have never been shut down during a government shutdown – a partisan issue? It shouldn’t be. And I do understand supporting the President who happens to be of your party. Generally, you don’t want to be the one giving the other side an easy target. I get that. But aren’t there some things beyond the pale? For some, it appears not.

                            Oh, and on Monday, the barricades were put back up. Now there’s an essential service for ya. Seems the World War II Memorial is more secure than our borders.

                            Be Sociable, Share!

                              Guns vs the Murder Rate

                              A recent study out of Harvard concludes that gun bans do not reduce the murder rate. In fact, if anything, they increase it. Researchers looked at crime data from several European countries and found that countries with higher gun ownership often had lower murder rates. Russia, with very strict gun laws, has a murder rate 4 times higher than our own United States, which is, according to some, awash in guns. Meanwhile, European countries with significant gun ownership, like Norway, Finland, Germany and France, had remarkably low murder rates.

                              Basically, the study found no evidence, anywhere in the world, to suggest that more guns meant more murder.

                              Additionally, the study found, “the determinants of murder and suicide are basic social, economic, and cultural factors, not the prevalence of some form of deadly mechanism.” That is to say, if you want to know why someone kills others or themself, there are loads of other things to look at than the gun.

                              I doubt you heard about this on network news. Consider this a public service. In short, Harvard found that guns don’t kill, people do. Not that we needed a study to know that. Well, I guess some people needed a study. The rest of us know that inanimate objects rarely, if ever, have a mind of their own.

                              Where you should look at the gun is in the many incidents where a gun was used to save lives. Check out this list of mass shootings that didn’t happen because of law abiding citizens carrying guns that stopped them.

                              Be Sociable, Share!
                                 Page 3 of 73 « 1  2  3  4  5 » ...  Last »