October 24, 2007
Headline: "Climate Change Blamed for Fading Foliage"
Posted by Jon Sanders at 6:44 PMThe global-warming hysteria continues:
This year, she noticed something different about the autumn leaves.
"They're duller, not as sparkly, if you know what I mean," Krom, 62, a registered nurse from Eastford, Conn., said during a recent visit. "They're less vivid."
Other "leaf peepers" are noticing, too, and some believe climate change could be the reason
And why do "some" believe that? Because some have been conditioned to blame climate change on any apparent change in the way things have (usually) been. And that is because this society isn't worried about angering harvest gods or other such nonsense; our superstitions are based in pseudoscience.
Diversity mania in full swing
Posted by George Leef at 5:04 PM
This document from the University of North Carolina-Asheville shows just how far gone some schools are with their fixation on diversity.
We're told that UNC Asheville will have achieved diversity when:
Classes will include substantial variety in the participants' religion, ideas, political convictions, gender, ability, gender preference, socio-economic status, race, and ethnicity, even if these differences are not visible or otherwise evident.
Does that mean what it seems to -- that each individual class should have all that diversity? How would it be possible to accomplish that, short of omniscient and omnicompetent administrators assigning students to classes? Achieving diversity is thus on a par with squaring the circle. That's just the way the diversophiles want it, of course.
If they're going to make tires, they need rubber
Posted by Joseph Coletti at 11:14 AM
The Singapore-based shipping company that brings rubber to North Carolina for Goodyear wants a 30 percent cut in the fees it pays to the port at Morehead City, according to the N&O, :
PACC Lines ships rubber from Asia to Morehead City, which handles more rubber imports than any other U.S. port except New Orleans. The rubber goes to tire makers including Michelin and Bridgestone in North Carolina and neighboring states.
But Goodyear is PACC's biggest single customer served out of Morehead City, accounting for about half the volume of rubber that goes through there.
If half the firm's rubber goes to Goodyear and Morehead City is the second largest rubber port in the country, the state seems to be in a good negotiating position, but then we're an easy mark.
Posted by George Leef at 10:15 AM
In his column today, Holman Jenkins levels another blast at the ethanol industry. The writing is hot and savory:
"Ethanol lobbyists like to pretend they're the front line against OPEC and Middle Eastern terrorists. Their real goal is to create a high-cost outpost of OPEC in the Midwest -- call it Cornistan -- dependent on high oil prices and an endless conveyor of subsidies and protectionism delivered via the clout of rural interests in the U.S. Senate."
Read the whole thing.
Walter Williams wants to take the Constitution seriously
Posted by George Leef at 09:58 AM
In his column today, Walter Williams lauds Representative John Shadegg for his bill to require Congress to point to the provision of the Constitution that authorizes it to do whatever the bill would do.
The sad fact is that the Constitution is pretty much a dead letter. It was intended to put restraints on governmental power, but now exerts about as much restraint as spider's web on a tee shot by Tiger Woods. Nearly all politicians want it that way and few citizens get riled up over new laws and spending that are unconstitutional.
Still, thanks for bringing the subject up, Walter.
A conference on wealth inequality and what?
Posted by Jon Sanders at 09:55 AMThe old "Edwards Center" at UNC-Chapel Hill — the "Center on Work, Poverty, and Opportunity" that has yet to live up to its pledge to find "innovative and practical ideas" to fight poverty — is having a conference:
Deadline for Conference Registration for "Wealth Inequality and the Eroding Middle Class"
While wealth inequality is not new, reports of the rapid polarization of income and assets in the United States and abroad are dramatic and remarkable. To explore the ramifications of this trend, the Center on Poverty, Work and Opportunity and the American Constitution Society for Law and Policy are co-sponsoring a conference that will engage distinguished academics, policymakers, nonprofit organizations and other stakeholders in a discussion about wealth inequality in the United States within a global context.
As if trotting out socialist canards about the minimum wage and socialist medicine wasn't enough, now this group without its dashing figurehead is going forward on the half-truth about the declining American middle class. (The middle class? Weren't you rent-seekers supposed to care about the poorest among us?)
What half-truth? This one (forgive the class-envy rhetoric): the American middle class is declining, with the suggestion being everyone's getting poorer. The American middle class is declining, but that's because more and more of them are moving into the upper class.
Per Cato, for example:
If we define the middle class as households earning between $35,000 and $75,000 a year, the middle class in America remains a huge demographic group. According to the Census report, Table A-1, the middle class made up 33.3 percent of U.S. households in 2005. That share is indeed somewhat smaller than in 1980, when 38.2 percent of households earned between $35,000 and $75,000 a year in real (inflation-adjusted) 2005 dollars.
Aha, so the middle class really is shrinking if not exactly disappearing, the alarmists might respond. But the Census numbers also show that over the past 25 years, the share of U.S. households earning less than $35,000 a year has also shrunk, from 44.5 percent in 1980 to 38.4 percent in 2005. Meanwhile, the share of households earning more than $75,000 a year has jumped from 17.4 percent to 28.3 percent.
In other words, if the middle class in America has shrunk, it is only because so many formerly middle-class households have moved to the upper-income brackets, while a significant number of households previously in the lower brackets have moved up to the middle class and beyond.
Alas, such things are not the stuff of academic conferences. The Procrustean bed of socialists' handwringing about the economy means they need to chop off the reason why the "middle class" is shrinking (because they're moving upward).
The silence of prices
Posted by Joseph Coletti at 09:31 AM
Geraldine Ferraro, the 1984 Democratic vice-presidential candidate, was diagnosed with multiple myeloma in 1998. She writes about her experience in the October 29 issue of Newsweek. She uses her experience and the experience of others with this type of cancer to argue for a "conversation" on health care reform.
She thinks it is unfair that Americans subsidize cheap drugs in other countries, but implies that America should therefore regulate prices in the same way.
Uninsured myeloma patients can't afford the treatments they need, but Ferraro admits, "I couldn't tell you the price of my treatment since my diagnosis, but it hasn't been an issue because I have insurance. When the insurance doesn't cover it, I write a check."
Her attitude demonstrates one of the problems on the demand side of health care. There are at least three problems in the American health care system and we need to have an honest discussion of these problems - not just their symptoms but their causes.
"The price of silence is too high," Ferraro writes. She is right. Even more importantly, the silence of prices is too costly.
New union tactics for scamming money
Posted by George Leef at 08:53 AM
Ivan Osorio of Competitive Enterprise Institute explains what they're up to in thisTCS Daily article.
The Mysterious "Other"
Posted by Joseph Coletti at 08:37 AM
Water saving devices can help the typical single-family home to cut its consumption by 27 gallons, 39 percent of the 69.3 gallons used in a single day. Ignoring that behavioral responses often offset savings because people flush twice or keep spigots open longer, the largest water saving after toilets is "other," more even than washing clothes more efficiently. I guess that would include water for drinking and plants.
Based on some estimates of the short-term price elasticity of demand for water consumption, it would take a 500 percent price hike to get the 50 percent cut in usage Gov. Mike Easley has called for by Halloween.
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