June 25, 2009
Update on the Waxman-Markey climate change bill: House energy bill gains support
Unfortunately some of those supporters fail even the the ecoweenie test. Case in point: Debbie Halvorson (from IL):
A presidential phone call helped win at least one vote: Rep. Debbie Halvorson (D-Ill.), a freshman lawmaker and former state senate colleague of Obama’s, said Thursday evening that after months of indecision, she “feels great” about the bill.
Here’s why she feels so great about it:
“I think it’s something that I’m going to support,” Halvorson said. “It’s a thousand-page bill. It has a lot of amendments. I wanted to read it, take my time.” Later, she added: “I had a nice chat with the president this morning.”
Well, hell, why wouldn’t you support a thousand page bill with lots of amendments that you’ve never read after “a nice chat” with the president.
June 23, 2009
You know, this shit writes itself. Today’s contributor is none other than President Barack Obama. In his press conference today, he threw his support behind the Waxman-Markey climate change bill. And he is supposed to be the smartest guy in Washington:
At a time of great fiscal challenges, this legislation is paid for by the polluters who currently emit the dangerous carbon emissions that contaminate the water we drink and pollute the air we breathe.
I’m no science whiz but the water I drink hasn’t turned into Perrier yet. And I’m confused. Am I included in the “polluter” category because I am emitting “dangerous” emissions that “pollute the air we breathe” by breathing out?
In the end I suppose it doesn’t matter. I will pay for it.
June 18, 2009
I love this title from NPR on the cost of Obama-care:
T-Word Looms Large In Health Care Cost Debate The T-word they are talking about is trillion.
Despite reassurances by President Obama and Democratic leaders that all new spending would be fully offset by other spending cuts or tax increases, Republicans immediately jumped on the T-word.
Now saying trillion is akin to swearing. Like N-word or B-word.
And it’s soap in the mouth for the head of the (nonpartisan) CBO :
According to our preliminary assessment, enacting the proposal would result in a net increase in federal budget deficits of about $1.0 trillion over the 2010-2019 period. When fully implemented, about 39 million individuals would obtain coverage through the new insurance exchanges. At the same time, the number of people who had coverage through an employer would decline by about 15 million (or roughly 10 percent), and coverage from other sources would fall by about 8 million, so the net decrease in the number of people uninsured would be about 16 million or 17 million
The full report here.
WTF? One t-word dollars (over ten years) and we will reduce the number of uninsured by only 17 m-word people? It works both ways right? F-word that.
Why not give one trillion dollars to the uninsured so they can buy their own insurance. The number of uninsured people in the US is roughly 48 million. If you split up the cost of this part of the Obama plan, an uninsured family of four would get over $8,000 a year to pay for insurance. If you take out the uninsured that already would be covered by Medicaid but haven’t applied, that number falls to 31 million. That means a family of four would get almost $13,000 a year. If you want to be harsh and subtract out illegal immigrants without health insurance, the amount rises to $17,000 a year. That should be enough to buy you some decent insurance.
June 10, 2009
Frequent commenter (and all around good guy) Dave’s response to my last post inspired this post. His comment (referring to global warming/climate change/CLIMATE CRISIS!)
Doing something about a problem is better than doing nothing.
I’ve heard this a lot recently. This “doing something” must be important. I guess if you are “doing something”, that means you care. Unfortunately, it doesn’t matter if “doing something” is an effective way of reducing the problem. It doesn’t matter how much “doing something” costs. It doesn’t matter that “doing something” might actually do more harm than good. The important thing is that you are “doing something”.
A recent example: The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. President Obama said we had to “do something” (or else) to save and/or create new jobs. If we didn’t do something right now it would get worse. Here are the results:
So much for “doing something”.
I support doing things that may make actual differences, not just feel good measures that, in the end, could do more harm than good.
June 2, 2009
I’ve been seeing these signs pop up all over the place (how much do they cost?):
But I haven’t seen anyone working. And I haven’t seen any of this:
May 25, 2009
You might remember the famous warning about “the military industrial complex” that President Eisenhower expressed when leaving office:
But yet this quote from that same speech is largely ignored:
Akin to, and largely responsible for the sweeping changes in our industrial-military posture, has been the technological revolution during recent decades.
In this revolution, research has become central, it also becomes more formalized, complex, and costly. A steadily increasing share is conducted for, by, or at the direction of, the Federal government.
Today, the solitary inventor, tinkering in his shop, has been overshadowed by task forces of scientists in laboratories and testing fields. In the same fashion, the free university, historically the fountainhead of free ideas and scientific discovery, has experienced a revolution in the conduct of research. Partly because of the huge costs involved, a government contract becomes virtually a substitute for intellectual curiosity. For every old blackboard there are now hundreds of new electronic computers.
The prospect of domination of the nation’s scholars by Federal employment, project allocations, and the power of money is ever present – and is gravely to be regarded.
Is it just me or does “global warming” research follow this pattern?
Bjorn Lomborg (my favorite Dane) has an excellent piece in the WSJ on the subject. His main point:
We are told that very expensive carbon regulations are the only way to respond to global warming, despite ample evidence that this approach does not pass a basic cost-benefit test. We must ask whether a “climate-industrial complex” is emerging, pressing taxpayers to fork over money to please those who stand to gain.
May 11, 2009
Given a choice of three options, just 24% of voters can correctly identify the cap-and-trade proposal as something that deals with environmental issues. A slightly higher number (29%) believe the proposal has something to do with regulating Wall Street while 17% think the term applies to health care reform. A plurality (30%) have no idea.
Great. Three fourths of the general public have no idea what President Obama is proposing let alone the cost or the impact on global warming.
Democrats are pushing the legislation on Capitol Hill, but Democrats around the country are a bit less likely than Republicans and voters not affiliated with either party to know that the concept has something to do with the environment.
Now that’s downright depressing. But never fear, the Obama administration is on top of the problem:
In the debate over his top environmental goals, President Obama is backing away from “cap and trade.”
Not the policy. It’s the phrase itself, deemed confusing by Democratic pollsters, that has all but disappeared from the president’s vocabulary of late.
Thanks for dumbing it down BO.
To be fair, I can see how people get confused. When I first heard about “cap” and “trade” this popped into my head (NSFW).
May 5, 2009
Here is an interesting question I’ve read in comment sections on other blogs:
How much will temperatures decrease (or slow the rate of increase) if the US enacts cap and trade (global warming fighting) legislation?
The only answer I have found so far is from The Heritage Foundation:
Analysis by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) shows that a 60 percent reduction in CO2 emissions by 2050 will reduce CO2 concentrations by only 25 ppm in 2095. This reduction would affect world temperatures by 0.1 to 0.2 degrees C.
Anyone have another source that tells me how much less warming there will be if the current “cap and trade” legislation is enacted? If I’m paying for it, I’d like to know what I’m buying.
May 3, 2009
I was going to try to write this last night but 3 o’clock in the morning is not a good time to do anything (I barely got that last post off).
Smoking in bars is illegal in Illinois. The great place I went to last night (which shall go nameless) has an “outside” smoking room. Funny thing is that all of the people at the bar were out in the smoking room watching the band play. How is this possible?
First, let me detail for you the Illinois smoking ban law that defines which areas are mandated to be smoke free.
“Enclosed area” means all space between a floor and a
ceiling that is enclosed or partially enclosed with (i) solid
walls or windows, exclusive of doorways, or (ii) solid walls
with partitions and no windows, exclusive of doorways, that
extend from the floor to the ceiling, including, without
limitation, lobbies and corridors.
The way this place figured it out is genius. The smoking room consists of a roof, structural framing and heavy duty plastic for walls (an industrial strength version of what you insulate your windows with in the winter). For heat, there are multiple space heaters and an overhead radiant system (their carbon footprint has to be off the charts). The only ventilation is when someone opens the door.
The band plays, the people smoke, the place is packed, the owner makes money. Fun is had by all and no one seems to mind.