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Ed Driscoll

The Assault On Reason

“It’s not pretty, even if your credentials are impeccable,” Neo-Neocon writes:

John Christy, a professor of atmospheric science at the University of Alabama in Huntsville, says he remembers the morning he spotted a well-known colleague at a gathering of climate experts.

“I walked over and held out my hand to greet him,” Dr. Christy recalled. “He looked me in the eye, and he said, ‘No.’ I said, ‘Come on, shake hands with me.’ And he said, ‘No.’ ”

Neo adds, “It’s fortunate for Dr. Christy that burning at the stake has gone out of style.” But paradoxically amongst carbon-obsessed warmists, book-burning is making a rapid comeback, at least at San Jose State:

At speaking of the academic left believing that books have evil talismanic powers, Aaron Clarey spots a hilariously overblown reaction from a librarian who came across my February interview with Aaron on his then-new book Bachelor Pad Economics.

A hundred years ago, a central tenet of the left was “epater la bourgeoisie” — or shock the middle class. Apparently, they didn’t consider that their ideology would become so sclerotic and brittle that it would eventually transform them into a remarkably vapour-prone class of the bourgeois in constant search of the fainting couch. But then, as original Saturday Night Live writer Anne Beatts once said, you can only be avant-garde for so long before you come garde.

Al Gore Hardest Hit

July 14th, 2014 - 12:38 pm

“People who claim to worry about climate change use more electricity,” the London Telegraph reports:

People who claim to worry about climate change use more electricity than those who do not, a Government study has found.

Those who say they are concerned about the prospect of climate change consume more energy than those who say it is “too far into the future to worry about,” the study commissioned by the Department for Energy and Climate Change found.

That is in part due to age, as people over 65 are more frugal with electricity but much less concerned about global warming.

However, even when pensioners are discounted, there is only a “weak trend” to show that people who profess to care about climate change do much to cut their energy use.

Al Gore could not be reached to comment from the other side of his three monitors, plasma screen TVs, private jets, mansions and former TV channel sold in 2013 to an Arab oil emirate.

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The Mean Girls of Global Warming

July 8th, 2014 - 8:55 am

“Show business is high school with money,” comedian Martin Mull famously said. And the news media is ultimately a form of show business as well, particularly with its chromium or chroma-keyed virtual sets to create the proper theatrics and faux-gravitas around men reading from teleprompters, computer graphics, and reliance on prefab narratives in which the left are always the winners. Which is why, when it comes to the MSM’s attack on global warming skeptics, “You know what this is?”, Robert Tracinski asks at the Federalist, “This is high school:”

It’s not your high school science class, but the high school of cliques, snubbing, ostracism, and mockery as an all-powerful weapon.

Now we can fully understand the contemporary phenomenon of the satirical fake news show—Jon Stewart, John Oliver, and the rest—and why it’s so popular on the left. These shows are created by and for people who never really graduated from high school, the ones who wanted to be part of the clique and to ostracize those who didn’t fit in. These guys weren’t the kind of bullies who beat you up outside the girls’ locker room. (John Oliver looks more like the type who was beaten up.) Instead, they’re the kind who rose in the clique through mockery and humiliation directed at their rivals.

Think of them as the “mean girls” of global warming.

But notice that they’re not using mockery directly as a weapon against the skeptics. Remember back to high school, if you can. If you didn’t really care about being in the clique, they were pretty much irrelevant to you. It was only those who really wanted to fit in and be popular who got caught up in all of the manufactured drama. The mean girls are always meanest to each other.

So the real target on which our mean girls of global warming train the power of their mockery is not the general public, nor is it the ideological right. Their target is the mainstream media.

Read the whole thing. You sort of get the feeling that deep down inside, everyone on the left is terrified of letting his inner Sheldon Cooper emerge and risk an atomic wedgie in the locker room. No wonder “real” “journalists” on the left — aka Democrat operatives with bylines — have such admiration for the smug postmodern pantomime of Stewart, Colbert, and more recently John Oliver, whom Tracinski dubs Time-Warner-CNN-HBO’s “nebbishy British version of Jon Stewart” — their staff writers always ensure they win the argument.

And when they fail, their editors will always save them.

Look on the bright side — the New York Times has finally found a business it can defend, pushing back against the dangers of the left insanely promoting income inequality as a meme in the process:

The acquisition also included the expensive Beats headphones — $300 and up in a variety of colors so they also serve as fashion accessory. People will still pay large money for devices, and this weekend, thousands of people will spend at least $250 for three-day access to the Governor’s Ball Music Festival in New York. It’s a curious disconnect: Fans will pay top dollar for a music accessory or a music event. They just won’t pay for, oh yeah, music.

Writing in The Daily Beast last week, the musician Van Dyke Parks said that in the good old days, a song he recently wrote with Ringo Starr would have provided him “with a house and a pool.” But at current royalty rates, he estimated that he and the former Beatle would make less than $80, which means he will have to choose between a dollhouse and a kiddie pool and then share it with Mr. Starr.

Superstars like Beyoncé can drop an unannounced bomb on iTunes and sell a million copies in under two weeks, but most artists are having trouble treading water in the stream. Streaming services argue that as their subscriber base grows, musicians will be able to survive on many small slices of a very big pie.

On the bus ride home from dinner last week, I streamed most of the wonderful new album from Parquet Courts, courtesy of the Something for Nothing paradox. The $6 grapes were delicious, by the way, but I consumed them slowly and consciously, each one carrying not only lusciousness, but the knowledge that I had paid for them.

As someone who has watched the music industry go from a vibrant hit-making machine to near irrelevancy in the course of a couple of decades, I’m sympathetic to archliberal David Carr’s article, but the Times is arguably the worst place for it to be running. This is the newspaper that regularly rails against excessive consumerism by publishing profiles feigning praise for New Yorkers who have lived without toilet paper for a year, or articles on why the Third World should forgo the same air conditioning that cools the Times’ Eighth Avenue office building and Thomas Friedman’s mansion. (Even as the Times defends aerosol-powered graffiti vandals over the owners of private property they’ve defaced.) The paper that began the 1990s by running Al Gore’s manifesto comparing global warming to Kristallnacht, and concluded 2012 by calling for an end to the Constitution. If the environment is in such perilous condition that we must forgo air conditioning and toilet paper, CDs and iPods are the ultimate non-essential luxury.

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This Is CNN

June 6th, 2014 - 3:34 pm

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Journalist who said Romney “happy to party with black people drowning” is now CNN’s political director, Brendan Bordelon writes at the Daily Caller:

Cable news network CNN has promoted David Chalian — a man fired in 2012 from Yahoo News for claiming the GOP is “happy to party with black people drowning” — to the powerful position of political director.

“As we head into midterm election season and begin to lay the groundwork for the coming presidential campaign, it gives us great pleasure to announce that David Chalian has accepted the position of CNN Political Director,” an announcement from the network, obtained by FishbowlDC, read.

Chalian was hired by CNN last July to be the supervising producer for “Crossfire,” the political debate program brought back to the network last summer after an eight-year hiatus.

But Chalian had previously worked as Yahoo News’ Washington bureau chief until August 2012, when he was summarily fired over a hot-mic incident during live coverage of the ongoing Republican National Convention held in Tampa, Florida.

Objectivity — you’re doing it wrong, CNN. But then, as Glenn Reynolds likes to say, most members of the MSM really are simply Democrat operatives with bylines.

Speaking of doing it wrong, as Tony Lee recently noted at Big Journalism, “CNN boss Jeff Zucker wants to revamp the struggling network, but nobody reportedly wants to work there:”

A CNN source told the New York Post that the unstable network is having problems recruiting key talent to a place that was once known as “the most trusted name in news.”

“We can’t find talent who wants to come to CNN. No one wants to come because we scrap things after a year,” the source told the Post. “Every talent agency we contact can’t get us anyone… Even talent from larger local markets refuse to come here, because they are afraid.”

Daytime anchors Brooke Baldwin and Carol Costello will reportedly be moving from Atlanta to New York to be closer to Zucker while Don Lemon is angling for a primetime show, even though nearly every in-house talent the network has tried to force upon its primetime viewers has tanked.

CNN’s ratings have plummeted the more the network tries to conceal its liberal biases and masquerades as an “objective” station. That may even be changing, as Zucker recently admitted that even though the network’s own viewers are not interested in CNN’s climate change stories, he will try to find more creative ways to force them to care.

“Climate change is one of those stories that deserves more attention, that we all talk about, but we haven’t figured out how to engage the audience in that story in a meaningful way,” Zucker recently said at an awards dinner in New York. “When we do do those stories, there does tend to be a tremendous amount of lack of interest on the audience’s part.”

Perhaps it’s because they know that if CNN can’t convince its colleagues working down the hall in other branches of the giant Time-Warner-CNN-HBO entertainment conglomerate that global warming is a crisis, there’s no reason for them to worry about the issue.

Earlier this year, Time-Warner-owned Sports Illustrated hired a converted Boeing airliner to fly model Kate Upton in simulated zero-gravity conditions, merely for a photo shoot. Such frivolous gestures graphically illustrate that a corporation that has chided both the general public and President Obama specifically for imagined environmental damage caused by excessive jet travel clearly isn’t concerned about its own carbon footprint.

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(They illustrate other details too, but these aren’t quite as germane to the topics of our post…)

“Prince Charles has called for an end to capitalism as we know it in order to save the planet from global warming,” the London Telegraph reports (warning before clicking over: the Telegraph hasn’t yet given up on annoying auto-play videos just yet):

In a speech to business leaders in London, the Prince said that a “fundamental transformation of global capitalism” was necessary in order to halt “dangerously accelerating climate change” that would “bring us to our own destruction”.

What capitalism? To paraphrase that sage economic journalist Don Henley, England hasn’t had that spirit there since 1939. Initially it lost it in response to another world figure who wanted to bring capitalism under his boot — and then permanently, in its own quest to nationalize its socialism:

Charles goes on to bloviate:

He called for companies to focus on “approaches that achieve lasting and meaningful returns” by protecting the environment, improving their employment practices and helping the vulnerable to develop a new “inclusive capitalism”.

The Prince was taking part in his first major UK public engagement since sparking a diplomatic row last week by likening the behaviour of Vladimir Putin, the Russian president, to Adolf Hitler.

In a politically-charged speech at the Inclusive Capitalism conference, the Prince said: “I remember when the Iron Curtain came down there was a certain amount of shouting about the triumph of capitalism over communism. Being somewhat contrary, I didn’t think it was quite as simple as that. I felt that unless the business world considered the social, community and environmental dimensions, we might end up coming full circle.”

Charles is perhaps more right than he knows. As Ayn Rand wrote in December of 1962, and republished in her early 1960s non-fiction anthology, The Virtue of Selfishness:

Socialism may be established by force, as in the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics — or by vote, as in Nazi (National Socialist) Germany. The degree of socialization may be total, as in Russia — or partial, as in England. Theoretically, the differences are superficial; practically, they are only a matter of time. The basic principle, in all cases, is the same.

The alleged goals of socialism were: the abolition of poverty, the achievement of general prosperity, progress, peace and human brotherhood. The results have been a terrifying failure — terrifying, that is, if one’s motive is men’s welfare.

Instead of prosperity, socialism has brought economic paralysis and/or collapse to every country that tried it. The degree of socialization has been the degree of disaster. The consequences have varied accordingly.

England, once the freest and proudest nation of Europe, has been reduced to the status of a second-rate power and is perishing slowly from hemophilia, losing the best of her economic blood: the middle class and the professions. The able, competent, productive, independent men are leaving by the thousands, migrating to Canada or the United States, in search of freedom. They are escaping from the reign of mediocrity, from the mawkish poorhouse where, having sold their rights in exchange for free dentures, the inmates are now whining that they’d rather be Red than dead.

As Mark Steyn noted in our interview last week, England would only get worse in the following decade, until Margaret Thatcher’s much-needed reforms. And now Charles would like to take them “full circle” — which is a polite euphemism in this case for circling the drain.

Oh and speaking of Gaia and socialism, as we noted, Google could barely rouse themselves yesterday to commemorate Memorial Day, only sticking an 80X70 pixel American flag and yellow ribbon on their homepage sometime around mid-day.

But for proto enviro-crank Rachel Carson, who “was to DDT what Jenny McCarthy is to measles vaccine,” as Iowahawk noted today on Twitter, that’s another story entirely.

Update: “The Left Doesn’t Really Believe in Climate Change,” Jon Gabriel writes at Ricochet:

Every time a real-world solution is provided to a promised calamity, leftist leaders move the goalposts. To be sure, many well-meaning parishioners have bought the con and piously observe the demanding rituals of earth worship. But the high priests still jet around the globe, chasing checks from energy tycoons to build monstrous mansions along doomed coastlines.

That’s because the Left doesn’t really believe in climate change. Their true religion is raising taxes, increasing government, impeding capitalism and reducing national sovereignty. Climate change is just a temporary excuse to achieve those ends.

Read the whole thing.™

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Mark Steyn is no stranger to apocalyptic doom, having written two best-selling books on societal dissipation and collapse, America Alone and After America.

But in addition to doom on a macro level, as the Washington Post has dubbed him, Mark is also the “world’s wittiest obit writer,” as exemplified by his anthology of obituaries, Mark Steyn’s Passing Parade, newly updated and available on dead tree format (appropriately enough), and finally for the Kindle as well.

Featuring obituaries of figures ranging from Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher, all the way to show business personalities as diverse as Bob Hope, Tupac Shakur, Evel Knievel, James Doohan, and Michael Jackson, the Passing Parade is a brilliant time capsule of popular and political culture at the dawn of the 21st century.

During our 35 minute long interview, Mark will discuss:

● How his career as an obituarist began.
● The secret Tupac Shakur, Evel Knievel, Wayne Newton connection — revealed!
● How England’s decline in the 1970s was a preview of America in the Obama years.
● How Margaret Thatcher returned foreign policy respectability to England — even without hashtags.
● How did a four-decade old Bob Hope joke lead to Mark’s parting of the ways with National Review?
● What’s the status of the legal imbroglio involving Mark and Michael Mann?

And much more. Click here to listen:

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(35 minutes, 26 seconds long; 32.4 MB file size. Want to download instead of streaming? Right click here to download this interview to your hard drive. Or right click here to download the 10.1 MB lo-fi edition.)

If the above Flash audio player is not be compatible with your browser, click on the video player below, or click here to be taken directly to YouTube, for an audio-only YouTube clip. Between one of those versions, you should find a format that plays on your system.

Transcript of our interview begins on the following page; for our many previous podcasts, start here and keep scrolling.

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Those ‘Unlikely’ Green Norks

May 21st, 2014 - 12:34 pm

“North Korea: an unlikely champion in the fight against climate change,” claims a headline yesterday at the UK Guardian. A publication that isn’t quite as far to the left as North Korea itself, though not for lack of trying.

But such as scenario isn’t quite as unlikely as the Guardian posits. As Virginia Postrel told Brian Lamb of C-Span 15 years ago:

The Khmer Rouge sought to start over at year zero, and to sort of create the kind of society that very civilized, humane greens write about as though it were an ideal. I mean, people who would never consider genocide. But I argue that if you want to know what that would take, look at Cambodia–to empty the cities and turn everyone into peasants again. Even in a less developed country, let alone in someplace like the United States, that these sort of static utopian fantasies are just that.

At the start of the Obama administration, Jim Gilmore wrote in Human Events an outline of “Obama’s ‘New Socialism,’” as quoted in Kevin D. Williamson’s 2010 book, The Politically Incorrect Guide to Socialism:

Their “New Socialism” doesn’t need to capture property. It is content to control the economy through taxation and regulation and the attitudes of our citizens by the establishment of a culture through the power institutions of our society: the media, the education establishment, and powerful business interests. Moreover, the “New Socialism” seeks to create a conventional wisdom that discredits all alternative thought.

* * * * * * * *

The liberal focus on “green energy” and “green jobs” are another means of taking control, for there is no free market involved, only government controlled “green energy” and government-created “green jobs.” And “cap and trade” programs are put forward to control our economy in a way never before seen.

Since radical environmentalism is essentially a euphemism for socialism, then North Korea is the radical environmentalist end state, just as collapsed, festering downtown Detroit is the end game of crony socialism.

Unexpectedly.

Related: At Power Line, John Hinderaker writes, “You likely have already seen it, but in case you haven’t, this is a photo from space, taken at night, in which you can see South Korea, brightly lit, and to the north, China. That dark area in between? It’s North Korea. All we have to do to satisfy the climate fanatics is ban electricity.”

Don’t give ‘em any ideas, John!

Keith Ellison Meets Muggeridge’s Law

May 16th, 2014 - 3:11 pm

There is no way for any satirist to improve upon real life for its pure absurdity, as British journalist Malcolm Muggeridge once quipped:

While Malcolm Muggeridge was the editor of Punch, it was announced that Khrushchev and Bulganin were coming to England. Muggeridge hit upon the idea of a mock itinerary, a lineup of the most ludicrous places the two paunchy pear-shaped little Soviet leaders could possibly be paraded through during the solemn process of a state visit. Shortly before press time, half the feature had to be scrapped. It coincided exactly with the official itinerary, just released, prompting Muggeridge to observe: We live in an age in which it is no longer possible to be funny. There is nothing you can imagine, no matter how ludicrous, that will not promptly be enacted before your very eyes, probably by someone well known.

The old joke is that if the end of the world was announced, the New York Times would run as a headline: WORLD ENDING TOMORROW, WOMEN AND MINORITIES HARDEST HIT. That joke dates back to at least the 1970s, if I’m remember correctly. In any case, it’s too bad that far left Minnesota Congressman Keith Ellison didn’t remember it, when he tweeted:

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Of course, “communities of color” would be less vulnerable to “death from heat waves,” if access to air conditioning was made more affordable to all — a concept something that’s anathema to all global warming true believers, as the New York Times, Slate, and Salon have all broadcasted to the Web, via their air-conditioned server farms.

Cheaper electricity would also help, which the president has directly stated he’s opposed to as well.

Life Imitates Night Shift

April 28th, 2014 - 6:15 pm

Now is the time when we juxtapose, Small Dead Animals-style:

Wanna know why I carry this tape recorder? To tape things. See, I’m an idea man, Chuck. I get ideas coming at me all day. I can’t control ‘em. I can’t even fight ‘em if I want to. You know, ‘AHHH!’ So I say ‘em in here, and that way I never forget ‘em. You see what I’m sayin’?

[speaking into tape recorder]

Stand back, this is Bill. Idea to eliminate garbage. Edible paper. You eat it, it’s gone! You eat it, it’s outta there! No more garbage!

—Michael Keaton as Manhattan morgue attendant turned would-be pimp “Bill Blazejowski” in the 1982 film Night Shift.

A new breakthrough by a team of London scientists could mean we are soon eating our water bottles instead of throwing them away.

Design students from Imperial College London have developed the Ooho water container, an edible water bottle, which could save the world from one of its biggest environmental threats — plastic waste.

“Edible Water Bottles to Tackle Plastic Menace?”, International Business Times, today.

“Over the past decade, Americans have clustered into three broad groups on global warming. The largest, currently describing 39% of U.S. adults, are what can be termed ‘Concerned Believers’ — those who attribute global warming to human actions and are worried about it. This is followed by the ‘Mixed Middle,’ at 36%. And one in four Americans — the ‘Cool Skeptics’ — are not worried about global warming much or at all,” Gallup reports.

Isn’t everyone skeptical of global warming? Barry and Kerry can’t take it too seriously when they’re jetting everywhere on Boeing 747s, and Al Gore declared the movement over when he sold out to Big Oil-fueled Qatar. The EPA can’t take it too seriously, since they’re similarly jetting their staffers all around the country. NBC can’t take it too seriously, since they pay to run NASCAR races. CBS can’t take it too seriously, since they run shows devoted to the joys of high-carbon ’60s muscle cars. ABC can’t take it too seriously: parent company Disney makes its money in non-essential amusement parks and the merchandising of oil-based polystyrene toys. (Not the least of which are oil-based polystyrene toys devoted to the joys of oil-based high carbon vehicles.) Sister channel ESPN regularly devotes coverage to NASCAR and other high-carbon leisure time activities. Hollywood can’t take it too seriously because they haven’t ended their industry to help save the planet. (Not to mention the grossly hypocritical lifestyle of the wealthiest celebrities who feign an eco-obsession to assuage their guilt.) Time-Warner-CNN-HBO can’t worried much about global warming at all, if they send Kate Upton up in a jet aircraft — the “Vomit Comet,” as NASA calls it — just to take a few photos of her in zero-gravity.

To paraphrase the Insta-professor, more people might take the rantings of radical environmentalists more seriously, if the people who preach radical environmentalism first lived the lifestyle they espouse for the rest of us. Otherwise, it’s pretty obvious that their goal is to further what James Delingpole of Ricochet and Breitbart UK, whom I recently interviewed, dubs “The Drawbridge Effect.” Leftwing wealthy elitists have theirs; they want to dramatically reduce the odds that anyone else will succeed on a similar level. Or as Daniel Shuchman of the Wall Street Journal notes in his review of Thomas Piketty’s Marxist update, “An 80% tax rate on incomes above $500,000 is not meant to bring in money for education or benefits, but ‘to put an end to such incomes.’”

Elites’ Sacrificial Victims

April 22nd, 2014 - 3:32 pm

Victor Davis Hanson writes, “When your goal is to save the planet, you can’t worry about who may get hurt:”

Why do our well-meaning elites so often worry about humanity in the abstract rather than the real effects of their cosmic ideologies on the majority? The dream of universal health coverage trumped the nightmare of millions of lives disrupted by the implementation of it. Noble lies, with emphatics like “Period!” were necessary to sell something that would hurt precisely those who were told that this was going to be good for them. A myriad of green mandates has led to California’s having the highest-priced gasoline and electricity in the continental United States, a fact that delights utopians in San Francisco and in the long run might help the rest of us, but right now ensures that the poor of the state’s vast, hot interior can scarcely afford to cool their homes or drive to work. Fresno on August 1, after all, is a bit warmer than Berkeley or Menlo Park.

In a word, liberal ideology so often proves more important than people. Noble theories about saving humanity offer exemption from worry about the immediate consequences for individual humans. In a personal sense, those who embrace progressive ideas expect to be excused from the ramifications of their schemes. For the elite who send their kids to prep schools and private academies, public charter schools for the poor are bad, given that they undermine the dream of progressive, union-run education that has turned into a nightmare for those forced to enroll in it.

The notion that elites, well-meaning or otherwise, “worry about humanity in the abstract rather than the real effects of their cosmic ideologies on the majority,” certainly isn’t a new one. In November of 2009 at the New Criterion, Anthony Daniels (aka Theodore Dalrymple) explored “The costs of abstraction — On the intellectual irresponsibility of Soviet sympathizers:”

In a desultory kind of way, I have collected, over the years, many books about the Soviet Union published in Britain, France, and America during the 1920s and 1930s. They are not by any means overwhelmingly pro-Soviet, with titles such as Soviet Russia Fights Crime, The Protection of Women and Children in the Soviet Union, and Soviet Russia Fights Neurosis (in which, published at the height of the famine, are found the immortal words, “The greatest and most far-reaching values of the Soviet dictatorship are psychological and spiritual”); on the contrary, many of these books give the most compelling evidence of all the horrors of the Soviet Union, all of them now attested and accepted as being true.

My little collection has led me to the conclusion that the Soviet Union was valued by contemporary intellectuals not for the omelette, but for the broken eggs. They thought that if nothing great could be built without sacrifice, then so great a sacrifice must be building something great. The Soviets had the courage of their abstractions, which are often so much more important to intellectuals than living, breathing human beings.

Leftwing ideology and a love of abstractionism caused intellectual elites to look the other way at the eggs being broken in the Soviet Union. (Other than Orwell, who famously asked, “But where is the Omelette?”) No wonder they can avert their eyes so easily to the slow-motion rolling disaster of Obamacare.

Or heck, the original sin of today’s eco-holiday:

Related: If you haven’t read it yet, don’t miss Victor Davis Hanson’s PJM column yesterday on “Cliven Bundy and The Rural Way,” with an assist from VDH’s rough-hewn grandfather, and his horse named — of course — Paint.

Apocalypse Mau-Mau

April 21st, 2014 - 11:13 pm

“The global-warming apocalypses that didn’t happen,” are rounded up by Richard W. Rahn of the Cato Institute, who notes that “The defining moment for climate change has come and gone, again.” But we’ll keep seeing newer and ever-more frightening (not so) final countdowns:

Because crisis sells. It allows politicians to tax, spend and assert more control. Undoubtedly, more people would have read this column, if the headline had been, “World to end.” So ignore the “experts” and enjoy the summer, which most of us will find is too short.

And with “Earth Day” coming up, it’s worth revisiting I Hate the Media’sEarth Day predictions of 1970. The reason you shouldn’t believe Earth Day predictions of 2009″ — and the Earth Day predictions of this year as well. And then burn some rubber down the Information Super Highway over to Iowahawk’s Website, to enter your charp chort in competition in the Bard of Des Moines’ 2014 Earth Week Cruise-In.

Earlier: Interview: James Delingpole on The Little Green Book of Eco-Fascism.

Theodore Dalrymple quips that “’Do you care about the health of the planet?’ is a question not quite in the class of ‘Have you stopped beating your wife yet?,’ but it is approaching it:”

Some questions are asked in a spirit of inquiry, to obtain answers, but others are asked to intimidate or badger or coerce agreement with a point of view and establish the irreproachable virtue of the persons who ask them. I received such a question by email the other day from the Lancet, one of the most important medical journals in the world. Addressing me by my first name (already sufficient to irritate me), it asked me, “Do you care about the health of our planet?”

Frankly, the answer is that I don’t. Planets, unlike dogs, are not the kind of thing I can feel affection or concern for. My bank account occupies my mind more than the health of the planet. I am not even sure that planets can be healthy or unhealthy, any more than they can be witty or self-effacing. To call a planet healthy is to make what philosophers used to call a category mistake. This is not to say that I wish the earth any harm; on the contrary. Indeed, in a multiple-choice examination, I might even tick the box for wishing the world well rather than ill, at least if I had any reason for wanting to pass.

Of course, the people asking the question care about their bank balance far more than “saving the planet” themselves. NBC runs periodic “Green Weeks” urging individual viewers to turn all their their lights off, but they can’t quite seem to turn away the revenues from NASCAR and the NFL. As with CBS’s original leftwing naif Walter Cronkite going all-in on “Earth Day” in 1970, Scott Pelley, his latest replacement as the network’s nightly newsreader, smears global warming skeptics as Holocaust deniers and approvingly chats up the Obama-funded Tesla, yet CBS’s cable sports channel happily runs programming devoted to gas-guzzling muscle cars. (Really bitchin’ gas-guzzling muscle cars, too. Perfect for Iowahawk’s next Earth Week Cruise-In, to celebrate, as he likes to say in his own inimitable style, “Mother Earth — the Ultimate MILF®!”)

If either of these networks actually believed the “we only have five years to save the planet” rhetoric that radical environmentalists have been continually insisting since 1970, they would pull their financial backing from all of these shows, and begin scheduling programming, a la the 15-minutes into the future doomed Australia depicted in Nevil Shute’s On the Beach (and Stanley Kramer’s 1959 film adaptation) that prepared the nation for the holocaust to come.

To paraphrase Glenn Reynolds just slightly, I might be more willing to consider thinking of global warming as a crisis, when and if the people who tell me it’s a crisis begin to act like it’s one themselves, first. Don’t tell me to change or cut back on my lifestyle, until I first see very visible and dramatic proof that you’ve reduced yours.

And yes, I’m looking at you right now, United Nations and EPA.

(Via 5′F.)

Don’t Ever Change, CBS

April 7th, 2014 - 7:34 pm

“CBS’ ’60 Minutes’ admits to faking Tesla car noise,” USA Today reports:

What is it about Tesla and its ability to make major media outlets look like fools?

The latest example came a week ago today when CBS’ 60 Minutes aired a report on Tesla and its amazing electric car. It was basically the kind of coverage that any automaker would kill to have (and must have left flummoxed General Motors executives wondering why they never got it for the plug-in Chevrolet Volt).

Just one problem: As the Associated Press reported, a CBS editor made what is being called an “audio error” in dubbing the sound of a loud traditional car engine over footage of the much quieter Tesla electric car. The Model is whisper quiet, no matter how hard you push it.

Auto website Jalopnik broke the story of the fake sound and CBS was in retreat all week.

Unlike NBC’s malicious edit of the audio of the transcript of George Zimmerman’s 911 call, this sounds like awfully small beer, other than it’s a reminder that even in a news report (or news-ish, given the editorializing that 60 Minutes is notorious for), that plenty of sound effects are added in post production. CBS’s backroom audio boffin likely watched raw footage of cars zooming past and simply reached for the nearest collection of sexy race car sound effects, forgetting that coal-powered (heh) electric-powered cars sound very different than their internal-combustion equivalents. Or often, they don’t make much of a sound at all; Glenn Reynolds recently suggested adding “a Jetsons-style bleebing sound” to offset their silent acoustic signature.

And actually, audio sweetening of TV news and documentaries dates back to the Jetsons-era of Jurassic television. If you watch the DVD collection of Thames’ World at War series from the early 1970s, you’ll hear the same squeaky sound effect pasted under numerous tanks from all of the armies as they rumble past the (silent) newsreel cameras, and many of the same gun and rifle sound effects used over and over again as well. (I believe that many, if not all of them came from the British film industry’s legendary Cinesound sound effects collection, which were also used extensively in mid’60s and early 1970s UK-based productions, including Gerry Anderson’s shows such as Capt. Scarlet and UFO, as well as the original James Bond films. I used a few of these sound effects as well in some of my later Silicon Graffiti segments as a subtle homage.)

In recent years, the backroom technicians at all of the networks have been caught making mistakes on Chryons and the like, a combination of likely poor training these days in college, better scrutiny from the Blogosphere, and the sheer amount of programming television is required to crank out to meet the ravenous demands of the 500 channel cable and satellite set-top box. But CBS, the home of Rathergate, which caused Dan Rather his job, and helped supply the original name of our humble little outpost on the Internet, has to be extra careful out there.
(more…)

HOT & Bothered

April 6th, 2014 - 3:14 pm

“High-Occupancy Toll lanes: another nightmare from the suburbs-hating traffic planners,” another intensely detailed article from Jonathan Last in response, at the Weekly Standard:

HOT lanes are often derisively referred to as “Lexus lanes”—that is, special roads where Richie Rich can speed along in his roadster, a monocle in one eye and hundred-dollar bills flying out the window. The defenders of HOT lanes don’t like this term. After a Washington Post columnist questioned the Beltway’s HOT lane project in 2012 using the L-word, Toll Roads News, the industry’s bible, ran an editorial calling the columnist a “lame-brained lefty.” It defended HOT lanes thus:

Of course the toll express lanes will be used more by those with more money. Only a simple-minded leftist sees that as an argument against them. For a start the wealthy are often very productive people, and if they are prepared to pay their way to avoid congestion then both they and society benefit.

Even by the standards of libertarian money-worship, this is strong stuff. Yet populist concerns about HOT lanes aren’t specious. For one thing, citizens should always be wary when the government conveys public land to a private entity. They should be doubly so when the private party gets the land free. And triply so when the private party has no competition for the gift.

HOT lane advocates are quick to point out that surveys suggest a wide spread of income among users. Indeed, it seems that most drivers use HOT lanes only occasionally and that “regular” customers are a minority. Even so, the income of HOT lane users does tend to be higher than average, which makes it hard not to see the lanes as a transfer of wealth up the economic ladder. The government gives away public land. It funds the public portion of the construction costs. It provides loans and bonds to the private construction company. And then, once the HOT lanes are operational, it pays for the state troopers who patrol them and the crews who keep the snow off of them. That’s an awful lot of public resources being lavished on a good designed for folks at the higher end of the earnings scale in the name of some nebulous public benefit. It’s a bit like the massive government handouts to electric car manufacturers, such as Tesla, which have had the effect of subsidizing luxury cars for the rich and famous. Only it’s more obnoxious, because when Ben Affleck drives around in his Tesla, he has to sit in the same traffic as you do in your Ford. That is, unless he hops on a HOT lane. In which case your tax dollars will have made his drive both nicer and faster.

Yet what makes HOT lanes truly unfair is that they discriminate on price, not value. Think about the economic choice offered to a driver as he approaches a HOT lane on-ramp at the Springfield mixing bowl. At the moment he arrives, both the HOT and main lanes look clear. The HOT sign flashes a price at him. Perhaps it’s $3.85. The key to understanding the nature of HOT lanes is that at that moment the driver has no idea what the price represents.

That’s a lengthy excerpt, but at 4000 words, it’s a lengthy article. As a follow-up in the form of a quick rant that’s unsafe at any speed, here’s my 13-year old article, originally written for a magazine devoted to Nissan Z-Cars, exploring why I loathe commuter lanes. It was written in the summer of 2001, a couple of months before there were far more important things to start worrying about.

“When it comes to the doomsday cult called ‘global warming,’ it’s becoming increasingly obvious that the hucksters are in charge,” Jim Treacher writes at the Daily Caller, linking to Marc Morano of Climate Depot.com:

A new peer-reviewed paper published in the American Journal of Agricultural Economics, titled “Information Manipulation and Climate Agreements”, is openly providing a “rationale” for global warming proponents to engage in mendacious claims in order to further their cause.

The paper appears to support or provide a formula for why lying or “information manipulation” is able to further the cause of man-made global warming and “enhance global welfare.” The authors use a mathematical formula to study information tactics.

The authors, Assistant Professors of Economics Fuhai Hong and Xiaojian Zhao, note how the media and environmental groups “exaggerate” global warming and then the offer their paper to “provide a rationale for this tendency” to exaggerate for the good of the cause.

As Morano adds in an update, the two economists have issued a “who are you going to believe, us or your lying eyes?” sort of backtrack in response, but the damage has been done — and either way, as the abstract to their paper notes:

It appears that news media and some pro-environmental organizations have the tendency to accentuate or even exaggerate the damage caused by climate change. This article provides a rationale for this tendency by using a modified International Environmental Agreement (IEA) model with asymmetric information. We find that the information manipulation has an instrumental value, as it ex post induces more countries to participate in an IEA, which will eventually enhance global welfare. From the ex ante perspective, however, the impact that manipulating information has on the level of participation in an IEA and on welfare is ambiguous.

Yes, the left is nothing but Potemkin Villages all the way down — but unlike the builders of the original namesake, the 21st century left are more than willing to cheerfully admit that they lie — even as they lie. In 2007, Editor & Publisher magazine, the house organ of the establishment “liberal” MSM made the industry’s biases plain, in an article headlined, “Climate Change: Get Over Objectivity, Newspapers,” and in recent years, the left’s postmodern sophistry has only snowballed.

To use a term that was once thought to be a thing of the past.

As Always, Life Imitates Mark Steyn

April 3rd, 2014 - 3:32 pm

Mark Steyn, yesterday afternoon:

When I launched my legal offense fund for my big-picture free-speech pushback against an extremist Big Climate coterie that has bullied too many people for too long, a lot of people wrote to me and said, “I don’t want your crappy books and lousy CDs, Steyn. Why don’t you crowdsource this campaign? It’d be a lot easier.” And the reason I didn’t go to one of the big crowdsourcing sites is precisely because of what befell Mr and Mrs McAleer. Kathy Shaidle has been saying this about “the landlords of social media” for years — and years: “We don’t need another conservative website …with a faux-ballsy name like TakeThat!”; we need versions of YouTube and Blogger and now, apparently, Kickstarter. The Internet is built by people who are smart and savvy and “think outside the box” in technological terms – and on everything else are as conformist as the dreary obsolescent hacks at the dullest Gannett monodaily. And at some point or another, on abortion or “climate change” or Islamic imperialism, they’ll yank the rug out from under you to “enforce a culture of respect and consideration”. That’s why I’d rather go my own way. It’s hard work, and it’s certainly tough on my rather small staff. But it’s less frustrating than being told by CrowdSourcer.com that they’d like you to tone down your remarks on Michael Mann’s false claim to have been exonerated because the League of Climate Conformists is threatening to damn them as deniers.

~THE CONFORMISM OF COOL: As an example of the groupthink of the cutting edge of new media, consider an exception that proves the rule:

Mozilla CEO Resists Calls to Resign Amid Furor Over Anti-Gay Marriage Donation

The “anti-gay marriage donation” was $1,000 that Brendan Eich gave to California’s Proposition 8, which in November 2008 was approved by the same electorate that voted for President Obama and which banned same-sex marriage in the state – until the Supreme Court ruled that the voice of the people on this matter was “unconstitutional”. A five-year-old one-grand donation to a losing cause is apparently enough to render Mr Eich unfit for office at an American technology company. Because what matters in this brave new world is that everybody think alike – or at least pretend to. Invited to eat gay crow, Mozilla’s CEO is for the moment holding his own:

24 hours later, we now know how that played out: “Liberal Fascists Win Again: Firefox CEO Steps Down,” as spotted by Bryan Preston at the PJ Tatler.

Ace of Spades links to the sort of Stalinesque hate speech that caused all the trouble for Eich:

Moe Lane lists “Why I just dumped Firefox as a browser, and so should you. #uninstallfirefox.” And I can’t say I blame him at all; my first thought in response to Mozilla tossing Eich for doubleplusungood thoughtcrime was also to dump Firefox, but I’ve been using that browser for nearly a decade now, and several of its (now ironically named) open-source plugins make blogging and its ancillary functions easier — or in a few cases, doable at all.

But where to go? Internet Explorer? Bill Gates can sound like a cross between Margaret Sanger and Paul Ehrlich. Google Chrome? Google is, if anything, more politically correct in the Frankfurt School sense of the phrase than either company. As Mark noted, “The Internet is built by people who are smart and savvy and ‘think outside the box’ in technological terms — and on everything else are as conformist as the dreary obsolescent hacks at the dullest Gannett monodaily.”

Or toughest Soviet zampolit. But hey, these days, it’s the left that has the Juche; and they’re not afraid to use it.

Update: “Eich Is Out. So Is Tolerance,” Ryan T. Anderson writes at the Heritage Foundation’s Foundry blog:

Sure, the employees of Mozilla—which makes Firefox, the popular Internet browser— have the right to protest a CEO they dislike, for whatever reason. But are they treating their fellow citizens with whom they disagree civilly? Must every political disagreement be a capital case regarding the right to stand in civil society?

When Obama “evolved” on the issue just over a year ago, he insisted that the debate about marriage was legitimate. He said there are people of goodwill on both sides.

Supporters of marriage as we’ve always understood it (a male-female union) “are not coming at it from a mean-spirited perspective,” Obama explained. “They’re coming at it because they care about families.”

And “a bunch of ‘em are friends of mine,” the president added. “… you know, people who I deeply respect.”

Yet disrespect and intolerance seem increasingly to be the norm. For the forces that have worked for 20 years to redefine marriage to include same-sex unions, a principal strategy has been cultural intimidation—bullying others by threatening the stigma of being “haters” and “bigots.”

Exit quote from an otherwise rather PC guy:

The mob demands fresh scalps.

More: Binks at the Free Canuckistan blog assembles a list of alternative browsers, though I have one quick question: which one handles Java the best?

(Via 5F’F)

Judaism, Christianity, Environmentalism

April 1st, 2014 - 3:09 pm

As Dennis Prager writes in his new column, “In chronological order, these are the three main religions of the West.” Which often dangerous results, which may only accelerate:

With the demise of the biblical religions that have provided the American people with their core values since the country’s inception, we are reverting to the pagan worldview. Trees and animals are venerated, while man is simply one more animal in the ecosystem. And he is largely a hindrance, not an asset.

On February 20, a pit bull attacked a four-year-old boy, Kevin Vicente, leaving the boy with a broken eye socket and a broken jaw. Kevin will have to undergo months, perhaps years, of reconstructive surgeries. A Facebook page was set up to raise funds. But it wasn’t set up for Kevin. It was set up for the dog. The “Save Mickey” page garnered more than 70,000 “likes” and raised more than enough money to provide legal help to prevent the dog from being euthanized. There were even candlelight vigils and a YouTube plea for the dog.

The nonprofit legal group defending Mickey is the Lexus Project. According to CBS News, “the same group fought earlier this year for the life of a dog that fatally mauled a toddler in Nevada.”

This is the trend: Nature over man.

Read the whole thing.

Though radical environmentalism is still a young religion — a successor to the fascism of the first half of the 20th century and the romanticism of the 19th century, it bears another trait with other religions in their early days: a desire to shout death and imprisonment to the non-believers, Jonah Goldberg adds today in USA Today.

And a desire to burn heretical literature, as these professors at the San Jose State University Meteorology Department illustrated last year:

Hearts of Darkness

March 29th, 2014 - 5:30 pm

Funny, I don’t recall seeing anything about Earth Hour until today, when I was reading this thread on Pat Sajak at Twitchy.

As Pat quipped today, “Big shout-out to my agent. I’m booked for Monday’s Piers Morgan show on CNN.” Like Morgan’s talk show, I had sort of assumed that at least in America, Earth Hour was cancelled by the hairshirt left because they’re seething over Obamacare’s failure. Why remind voters, as you cancel their health plans, and ban their light bulbs, that you’d like to cancel their electricity as well, in an effort to further reprimitivize the world back to the stone age — or North Korea, to repeat myself. It doesn’t sound like favorable publicity in a rough election year for the left. But “Lighting Out for the Territory,” Mark Steyn looks back at the better days for the left, when hearts of darkness seemed to be everywhere:

My favorite Earth Hour of recent years was spent in London in March 2011. At the appointed hour, I sauntered down Piccadilly, but that brilliant thoroughfare was dark and all but deserted, because so-called “anarchists” (an odd term for pro-government welfare-funded thugs) had cheerfully spent the afternoon firing fireworks into knots of startled shoppers (including young children) who hadn’t expected the coppers to lose control quite so easily, and smashing windows not just of the Ritz but off humdrum sandwich chains, before proceeding to Trafalgar Square, where they set fires, lobbed bottles and desecrated my old pal Boris Johnson’s 2012 Olympic Clock.

Was this London’s all-time greatest “Earth Hour” or what? Massive disruption of commercial activity (doubtless heartening to the famously anti-consumerist eco-Prince of Wales) and normally glittering storefronts darkened except for the reflected glow of burning garbage. If Earth Hour is indeed a celebration of “ignorance, poverty and backwardness“, then all three made great strides in London that day.

Light ‘em up!

No word yet how many monitors and TV sets Al Gore will have on tonight, as he celebrates another month of mammoth royalty checks from oil-rich Qater, after thumbing his nose at his fellow eco-pagans. But like Al, “We usually celebrate an Hour of Power to counter this pathetic caper,” Tim Blair writes, “but at this point, with Earth Hour shunned even by its friends, such a celebration seems almost cruel. Earth Hour is now the Johnny No Mates of global climate activism, and we should pity it.”

Related: “Death to Nonbelievers!” The Photoshop in this post by Power Line’s Steve Hayward is a riot, but as always, satire is always outpaced by reality. “Osama bin Laden embraces his inner Al Gore,” a headline at the Washington Post noted in the fall of 2010, a few months before OBL got to meet Gaia personally.

Update: Epic Facepalm Alert, courtesy of the Brampton Ontario fire department Twitter feed:

earth_hour_facepalm_3-29-14-1