Tuesday, December 29, 2015

As humanity evolves, technological advances improve our lives

As humans and technology evolve, new ideas, products and improving processes make our lives fuller and easier. We once listened to music on plastic platters. Even as the quality of records improved, progress brought about the reel-to-reel tape machine. That was a great development, but then someone came up with the 8-track tape player, which eventually gave way to the cassette player, and then audio on tape was surpassed by a new technological creation, the compact disc. And now that, too, is about to become old news.

As the years, decades, and centuries pass, human beings evolve in their ability to develop ideas and create devices that improve the quality of their lives.

In 1593, Galileo Galilei invented the first device to measure temperature variations, a rudimentary water thermoscope. In 1612, the Italian inventor Santorio Santorio put a numerical scale on his thermoscope. While neither of these new instruments was very accurate, they represented progress.

In 1654, Ferdinand II, the Grand Duke of Tuscany invented the first enclosed liquid-in-a-glass thermometer, and replaced water with alcohol as the medium to measure temperature changes. This instrument, too, was inaccurate and used no standardized scale, but represented a step forward.

Daniel Gabriel Fahrenheit invented the first modern thermometer, the mercury thermometer with a standardized scale, in 1714. Thermometers continued to evolve since that time, becoming more accurate and more versatile along the way, measuring the temperatures of air and liquids. For most of those 300 years they utilized a liquid to measure temperature, but today digital technology has become the standard.

From their land-bound home, humans learned how to move through the air and into outer space, and now digital thermometers measure temperatures on Earth from satellites orbiting many miles above the planet. For 37 years satellite-based instruments have provided the world's most accurate and unbiased temperature data.

And space-based measurements are free from coverage gaps and “siting problems,” conditions that plague land-based instruments. A study authored by Anthony Watts and Evan Jones of, John Nielsen-Gammon of Texas A&M, and John R. Christy of the University of Alabama, Huntsville, show the problems inherent in land-based thermometers that do not affect space-based measurements.

Watts, the lead author of the study, explained: “The majority of weather stations used by NOAA [the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration] to detect climate change temperature signal have been compromised by encroachment of artificial surfaces like concrete, asphalt, and heat sources like air conditioner exhausts.” He added: “We also see evidence of this same sort of siting problem around the world at many other official weather stations, suggesting that the same upward bias on trend also manifests itself in the global temperature record.”

The study notes that there are two subsets of weather stations, those that are well sited, and not affected by extraneous effects, and those that are poorly sited, and are affected by extraneous effects. The well sited stations produce readings markedly cooler than those corrupted by extraneous effects, and the study suggests that the results of the well sited stations – the truest measure of environmental temperature – are adjusted upward to more closely match the results of the poorly sited stations, resulting in temperature readings higher than true readings.

Put into plain English, many land-based measurement stations are corrupted by elements that are not a part of the Earth’s natural temperature, and they skew the results upward. Real-world temperatures measured by satellites are consistently cooler than those projected by climate computer model simulations because they are not affected by concrete, asphalt and other things that collect and produce heat that are not a part of the Earth’s natural environmental temperature.

And what the satellite-based instruments reveal is stunning. There has been no warming at or in the:
    •    South Pole for 37 years
    •    Southern hemisphere for 19 years, 10 months
    •    Tropics for 19 years, 3 months
    •    Tropical oceans for 22 years, 11 months
    •    North Pole for 13 years, 10 months
    •    Australia for 18 years, 1 month
    •    U.S.A. for 18 years (49 states)
    •    Globally for 18 years, 6 months

These readings plainly show that contrary to global warming scare stories in the media, the world has not warmed as the models projected. However, warming advocates choose to ignore these measurements, and the reason why is simple: Without a scary story of future catastrophe to promote, they lose power and they lose money, the power to control the masses being the more important.

The worldwide effort to fight climate change is not about fighting climate change; it is about control. But twenty-first century technology provides evidence that is devastating to the global warming narrative. 

The simple truth is that some years are warmer than others; and some years are cooler. Warming and cooling periods may lasts a few to several years or many decades. Our climate is not static and has never been.

Contrary to the warming advocates’ story, satellite-based measurements show that the industrial revolution that set loose the development of so many things that make our lives better has not caused the planet to heat up.

With science, the media and government conspiring to subject people to ideological control over unproven climate change, that progress will be impeded, and the entire world will suffer.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Ominous omnibus: There are many problems with the spending bill

Last Friday Congress passed the omnibus spending bill, avoiding a government shutdown when current funding expired at 12:01 a.m. on Dec. 23. At 2,009 pages it spent a dazzling $1.149 trillion, and like most legislation it had some good features and some less-than-desirable features.

It was described as far-reaching legislation funding the government until next October, passing tax breaks for businesses and low-income families, reauthorizing programs to compensate and provide health care for first responders and survivors of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, and a cybersecurity measure that could help businesses cooperate more closely with the government and each other in fighting online threats.

The bill easily cleared both chambers, first in the House, which passed it 316-113, followed by the Senate in a 65-33 vote. President Barack Obama signed the measure.

Republicans, who hold majorities in both houses – 54 percent in the House and nearly 57 percent in the Senate – supported the bill by a significant majority in the House, but in in the Senate only about one-third voted for the bill.

Despite the Republican majority in both houses, the GOP managed only a few real victories, while the minority party won big, according to most analyses.

Republicans gained the lifting of a 40-year ban on oil exports, prohibiting funding to bail out the insurance companies in the Obamacare health insurance program, and preventing the IRS from regulating political speech.

However, they were unable to restrict the Syrian refugee program, end funding for Obama’s executive actions on immigration, defund Planned Parenthood, defund sanctuary cities, or restrain EPA over-regulation of ponds and streams, and coal-burning power plants.

Perhaps the most noteworthy provision in the bill is the one that could allow more than a quarter-million temporary guest workers into the country, an increase from the previous federal cap of 66,000 on H-2B visas for low-skilled foreign workers seeking blue-collar jobs in the U.S. This is a significant change to immigration law, and it has conservatives dismayed. Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, told The Daily Signal, “It came out of nowhere, completely out of nowhere,” the chairman of the House Freedom Caucus said, “[and] everyone was shocked there was a change and no one had talked about it.”

Conservatives are displeased that the Republicans were unable to remove so many troublesome provisions that they should strongly oppose, and also with the very process that created the bill and brought it to a vote.

Critics of the bill and its passage complained that the rank-and-file members of the House were not included in negotiations. Congressional leaders assembled the bill in smoke-filled back rooms and did not release the text of the 2,009-page bill until 2 a.m. last Wednesday, and the separate 233-page tax-extenders bill was released just before midnight.

Prior to the vote Heritage Action for America chief executive Michael A. Needham said the package represents the most sweeping changes to tax policy since 2012. “In fewer than 48 hours, lawmakers will likely be asked to vote on two massive bills that were negotiated behind closed doors over the past several weeks,” he said.

After the vote Republican presidential candidate Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky explained his “no” vote to a New York radio station: “It was over a trillion dollars, it was all lumped together, 2,242 pages, nobody read it, so frankly my biggest complaint is that I have no idea what kind of things they stuck in the bill.” “I voted against it because I won’t vote for these enormous bills that no one has a chance to read,” Paul continued. “[T]his is not a way to run government. It’s a part of the reason why government is broke." And broken, he might have added.

Rep. Raul Labrador, R-Idaho, who voted against the spending bill, said Republicans voted for the bill in part to support House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-WI, who had just taken that position and they were hopeful he would be more inclusive with rank and file members than his predecessor, former House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio.

“There were a lot of people who didn’t want to vote for this, but they were giving him a vote out of good faith,” he said. At the same time, many also were worried that Ryan had given Democrats too many policy concessions in the bill, a feeling now confirmed. “The Democrats unfortunately just learned that they can mistreat him like they mistreated Boehner, which is a really bad thing,” Labrador said.

What the Framers designed as an efficient and transparent system of lawmaking now operates in the gutter. These days, bills often reflect dishonorable characteristics like this bill had:
    •    Created in secrecy
    •    Hundreds or thousands of pages long
    •    Voted on without time to be properly considered
    •    Amendments not permitted
    •    Contain elements unrelated to the purpose of the bill
    •    Are approved for political expediency, rather than by broad support

Too many bills are designed not to produce needed and broadly supported laws, but to enact politically useful and narrowly focused measures that benefit some at the expense of the others.

This process is yet one more sign of the devolving nature of our country. If America is to survive, good government must be restored.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

The Paris climate conference focused on fear, not climate reality

The Paris climate conference is now over. The Christian Science Monitor reported on Saturday that the rap of the chairman’s gavel “signaled unanimous – if not unanimously enthusiastic – support from all parties engaged in this year's UN climate talks. It comes at the end of a year scientists say will likely be the hottest ever on record.”

After all the time involved and the carbon dioxide (CO2) produced getting the hundreds of representatives from 196 nations all in the same place, and then back home again, the agreement does not put the world on a path toward what scientists regard as a safe level of global warming, but the agreement sets forth a clear path for countries to identify their own targets for CO2 reduction. Ultimately, participants want a global carbon-free environment by 2060, at the latest, meaning that every car, building, plane, ship, train, and power plant would have to operate without burning any fossil fuels.

Days prior to the closing U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon told the ministerial session, “The clock is ticking toward climate disaster,” and former Vice-President Al Gore compared the need to combat climate change to the abolition of slavery, giving women the right to vote and the civil rights battle. Gore said, “The right choice is to safeguard the future for the next generation and for the generations to come.”

There were scary stories of rising sea levels, causing residents of low-lying areas like the Marshall Islands to lobby strenuously for the agreement, while droughts, flooding, and other extreme weather events were predicted to increase elsewhere on the planet if CO2 emissions aren’t reigned in. And to make sure to attract the attention of enough third world countries, billions of dollars in support for affected economies is on the table, supposedly to be paid by the rich countries, like the United States.

The whole world is concerned because of the idea that too much CO2 in the atmosphere will cause catastrophes sometime in the distant future. Carbon dioxide is what plants that produce oxygen for us to breath live on.

All of this scare mongering tended to overshadow the dismal record of climate predictions and data manipulations from the not-so-distant past that casts doubt on the need for turning the energy universe upside-down. Here are some of the scary predictions of global warming catastrophes that did not come true:

* By 1980 all of the important animal life in the sea will be extinct.
* By the year 2000 the United Kingdom will be simply a small group of impoverished islands, inhabited by some 70 million hungry people.
* The world will be eleven degrees colder by the year 2000.
* By 1985, air pollution will have reduced the amount of sunlight reaching Earth by half.
* A general warming trend over the North Pole is melting the polar ice cap and may produce an ice-free Arctic Ocean by the year 2000.
* Within a few years children just aren't going to know what snow is.

Add to those failed prognostications a global warming hiatus for at least16 years, according to the British Met Office, and energetic disagreement about man-caused climate change among climate scientists, and the agreement looks like a gigantic global shakedown.

As an example, while Barack Obama is busy regulating America’s coal-fired electricity generating plants out of existence, China is constructing new plants. According to the Heritage Foundation’s Nicolas Loris, we should be wary of China’s commitment to reduce emissions. China is by far the world’s largest emitter of greenhouse gases, and is currently constructing 350 coal-fired power plants and has plans to build another 800.

The Wall Street Journal notes, “In 2013 China burned 3.9 billion tons of coal, almost as much as the rest of the world.” Obama seems to think that harming the U.S. economy by shutting down U.S. fossil fuel-burning facilities will negate China’s feverish coal-burning economy. Loris asks pointedly, “This is the country that we’re going to trust to peak emissions 15 years from now?” 

And trust is the operative word: all countries are on scouts honor to do what they have said they will do, without official oversight or penalties.

According to the BP Statistical Review of World Energy 2013 “Historical Data Workbook,” 87 percent of the energy mankind uses every second comes from burning fossil fuels.

People who live in cold climates use them to warm their homes, and people who live in warm climates use them to cool their homes. Fossil fuels are used to plant and harvest crops that feed people, and are used to transport food from places where food is produced to places where it is needed and wanted. They are used to light the darkness, to entertain us, transport us, diagnose disease, communicate with each other, mass-produce products we need and want, and to provide security in our homes and for the nation.

Fossil fuel use has improved the lives of millions of people worldwide, and millions more can benefit from it. There are no replacement technologies that even approach filling the void Obama and the other climate change advocates are creating. We are on course for a disaster.

Tuesday, December 08, 2015

The Latest from Bones

San Bernardino: nothing more than gun control opportunism for the left

Before the sound of gunfire in San Bernardino had faded away, the radical left wing, ever at the ready, had sprung into action. Members of the intolerant LACTOS (Liberals Against Conservative Terrorist’s Offensive Shootings) attempted to blame the GOP and right-wingers for the massacre in tweets: “Well, c'mon, GOP: Tell me how your prayers are with the victims and their families *this* time while you do nothing.‬” And, “No, I'm tired of praying. I want action. I want people to stop saying ‘MAH GUNS’ in response to death.‬”

Meanwhile, at the White House, five minutes after the shooting started, a clerk in the Rush To Judgment Department removed a sheet from a stack of pre-printed president’s statements calling for more gun control, while the folks in the WVNT (Workplace Violence, Not Terrorism) and CCCAP (Climate Change Causes All Problems) offices geared up for the coming propaganda drive.

From the BFIL (Blame First, Investigate Later) and the ITNRAS (It’s The NRA, Stupid) were these, first from Democrat presidential candidate Martin O'Malley: “@MartinOMalley‬ Horrifying news out of #SanBernardino‬. Enough is enough: it's time to stand up to the @NRA‬ and enact meaningful gun safety laws.” And: “Another day, another mass shooting in NRA's America.‬”

Those calling for more and stricter gun laws seem unable to grasp that people who want to commit the crime of killing innocents probably won’t obey gun laws, either.

Terrorism is designed to scare people into irrational actions or surrender, and the terrorists are winning against the American left, which is clearly terrified of guns. Some rationality is desperately needed.

From 2009 to 2013 the United States experienced 38 “rampage shooting incidents” (RSI) that claimed 227 lives, according to the Rampage Shooting Index. That works out to roughly one RSI every five months claiming more than 20 lives in each incident. These numbers rank the U.S. at the top of the list. In a not-so-close second place is Norway, with 77 RSI deaths, but only one RSI. Next is Germany with 25 deaths and three RSIs.

These numbers ought to scare the stuffing out of every American, not just the anti-gunners on the political left. Numbers, however, can be used to create many false images, and this is one example of that. The numbers cited previously do not include the elephant in the room: the population of those nations.

When America’s population of 315 million becomes part of the equation – the largest by far in the study – the U.S. drops all the way down to sixth place, behind Norway, Finland, Slovakia, Israel and Switzerland. Leading the way with 15 deaths per 1 million population is Norway, while Finland leads in the number of incidents with .37 per 1 million residents. The U.S. numbers are .72 deaths and .12 incidents per 1 million population, ranking sixth – not first – in both categories. Furthermore, the nations with worse numbers per 1 million people than the U.S. have “restrictive” firearm regulations, while the U.S. and Belgium (7th place) do not.

These numbers show that Norwegians are 20 times more likely to die in an RSI than Americans. Adding two years to the span of time cited above, Norway remains in first place, but the U.S. drops to eighth place, when national population is part of the equation.

And so another liberal false narrative falls flat on its face, but where guns are concerned, as with climate change, the left refuses to let inconvenient facts get in the way.

Some on the left are legitimately fearful about the supposed gun violence issue, while others are focused on gaining further control of the American people. This latter group includes Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton and many, if not most, of the active politicians in the Democrat Party.

Brittany M. Hughes, reporting on the Media Research Center online in September, addressed the number of guns in America, noting that in 2009, it was estimated by the National Institute of Justice that there were approximately 310 million firearms in the country. Today, that number is likely higher.

“The number of firearm-related homicides in 2013 – the CDC’s most recent data – was 11,208,” she wrote, “(so about 309,988,792 guns were just milling about that year, not killing anybody).”

She continued: “That means about 0.000036 homicides were committed per gun in the United States in 2013,” less than four homicides per 100,000 firearms.

Some clear thinking on the use of firearms to discourage crimes came from the Cato Institute: “The rationale for [gun control] legislation is to reduce accidental shootings and the criminal use of guns against people. But if harm reduction is the goal, policymakers should pause to consider how many crimes … are thwarted by ordinary persons who were fortunate enough to have access to a gun.”

Bloomberg Business in 2012 analyzed the vastly contradictory claims about defensive gun use, estimating defensive actions occur tens of thousands of times a year, adding, “100,000 is not a wild gun-nut fantasy,” while suggesting higher numbers are more likely.

Common in mass shootings in the U.S. is that they occur in “gun-free zones” where guns are prohibited. It is the American left that prefers gun-free zones, not the American right.

Tuesday, December 01, 2015

Obama implements hundreds of millions in new costs for Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving 2015 was an important day for President Barack Obama. In addition to the traditional pardoning of turkeys, he did two other notable things.

He delivered a Thanksgiving message on Thursday comparing Syrian refugees to the Pilgrims who came to North America in 1620, noting that they were also fleeing persecution. “Nearly four centuries after the Mayflower set sail, the world is still full of pilgrims – men and women who want nothing more than the chance for a safer, better future for themselves and their families,” Obama said.

This weird mischaracterization deserves discussion, but it is the other of his Thanksgiving events that people most likely will not hear much about.

The previous day the President of the United States gave the American people a Thanksgiving gift, quietly releasing more than 2,000 new regulations that reportedly will raise the price of many common items. Furthermore, they come on top of a multi-year period of depressed economic activity left over from the 2008 recession that Obama’s policies have not relieved. Among this group of 2,224 new rules are 144 that are deemed “economically significant,” because each of them will cost the nation at least $100 million.

That group of 144 sets a new record, beating the previous high of 136 that Obama released last spring. With this sort of impact, you can understand why the Regulator-in-Chief prefers to utilize that fabulously popular political tactic of releasing bad news on a Friday, or on the eve of a holiday, so that other things will distract news organizations and the bad news will get buried by the holiday or weekend news.

Obama has used this technique frequently to hide similar releases, doing so right before a holiday seven times since Christmas of 2012.

One of the new rules is particularly notable for its importance to mankind: It mandates labeling of serving sizes for food that “can reasonably be consumed at one eating occasion.” In fact, the Thanksgiving agenda includes regulations covering a broad range of areas, from labeling requirements for pet food, new test procedures for battery chargers, mandated paid sick leave for contractors, and automatic speed limiters for trucks, to a dozen new rules limiting energy use, which will increase the cost of everything from furnaces and dishwashers to dehumidifiers, according to James Gattuso of The Heritage Foundation.

While these rules are not yet finalized, if all of them are finalized it will bring the total cost of regulation for this year to $183 billion, according to the American Action Forum.

Barack Obama may lead all presidents in the number of regulations his administration has created. From January, 2009 when he took the oath of office through 2011, the Code of Federal Regulations increased by 11,327 pages, a 7.4 percent increase, which was more than double the annual increase of the previous decade. And of the six years with the most pages of regulations added to the Federal Register, five of them belong to Obama.

At the end of 2014 the Obama administration had issued nearly 21,000 new regulations, and 2015 has seen approximately 5,000 more. It is only fair to point out that while Obama leads the pack, every recent president has also issued stacks of new regulations each year.

Robert Longely, who writes about government for, explains that “[f]ederal regulations are specific details, directives or requirements with the force of law enacted by the federal agencies necessary to enforce the legislative acts passed by Congress,” and that creating the “vast and ever-growing volumes of federal regulations … happens largely unnoticed in the offices of the government agencies rather than the halls of Congress.”

This means, of course, that regulations are created not by the legislative branch, as intended by the U.S. Constitution, but by thousands of faceless, nameless, unelected and virtually unaccountable bureaucrats in the executive branch, who also create penalties with the force of law.

If there is any good news here, it is that the Congressional Review Act (CRA) allows Congress 60 in-session days to review new federal regulations issued by the regulatory agencies. The CRA requires regulatory agencies to submit all new rules to the leaders of both the House and Senate, and the General Accounting Office provides information on each new major rule to those congressional committees related to the new regulation.

However, while the Congress has 60 in-session days to review and potentially reject any proposed rule, the sheer volume of material represented by 2,224 regulations means that only those major rules that will cost over $100 million will be reviewed. Therefore, most of these rules, the most harmful along with the least harmful, will likely become finalized without being adequately reviewed.

And by the way, just because the cost of a rule doesn’t exceed $100 million doesn’t mean it isn’t both expensive and harmful.

In America – whose foundational principles supported the creation of a nation of maximum individual freedom and a small, efficient and non-intrusive federal government – how many regulations and laws are enough? History teaches that unless there is a substantial change of attitude very soon, we are nowhere close to ending the growth of stifling and destructive regulations.