Friday, December 28, 2007

Anti War Folks Fond of Saddam

Laguna Beach Independent
412 N. Coast Hwy., #415
Laguna Beach CA 92651

Dear Editor,

I am offended that the Laguna Beach Independent would publish a letter-to-the-editor stating that I plagiarized which is defined as “to copy another person's idea or written work and claim it as original”. When I write often the majority of the text is in quotation marks noting the source of the information.

I do not expect everyone to agree with my views, but I am surprised by letters expressing a fondness for former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein. Hussein was a ruthless tyrant, in violation of international law, who was responsible for the untimely death of many people and he also caused significant damage to the environment.

■ The Marsh Arab “wetland ecosystem … covering about 12,000 square miles as recently as 1985, [were] drained, burned and dammed to the point that only remnants of them still exist. Where once lay healthy, ecologically rich wetlands, teeming with aquatic life, buffalo and migratory birds there now is only barren, salt-encrusted land.” See

■ “During the 1991 Gulf War, Iraqi troops intentionally set fire to more than 600 oil wells and dumped millions of barrels of oil into the Persian Gulf as they retreated from Kuwait. … The oil well fires released 500 million tons of carbon dioxide (the leading cause of global warming) and sulfur dioxide (the primary element in acid rain). Black, greasy rain and snow fell up to 1,500 miles from Kuwait.” See

Many died in the eight year Iran-Iraq War which started when Hussein invaded Iran September 22, 1980 see The low end of estimates is that 1,125,000 soldiers/militia/civilians were killed or wounded.

There was controversy about Iraqi civilian deaths during the administration of President Bill Clinton see “The grim question of how many people have died in Iraq has sparked heated debate over the years. The controversy dates from 1995, when researchers with a Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) study in Iraq wrote to The Lancet, the journal of the British Medical Society, asserting that [United Nations] sanctions were responsible for the deaths of 567,000 Iraqi children. The New York Times picked up the story and declared ‘Iraq Sanctions Kill Children’."

I blamed Saddam Hussein then for the increase in infant mortality and the Iraqi deaths not President Clinton or the United Nations. And today I blame the insurgents and Al Qaeda, who deliberately operate among civilians and deliberately target civilians for the deaths of Iraqis.

It is in the strategic interest of the United States to have functioning democracies in the Middle East. I am rooting for the United States to succeed.

Yours truly,

Gene Felder

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

China Illegal Power Plants and Coal Mines

I could never get my sons to do what I wanted, but I thought if I was a communist totalitarian government I would be able to get edits complied with. Is it possible that in China an illegal coal fired power plant is being built every day? Over 300 a year?
Illegal Power Plants, Coal Mines In China Pose Challenge for Beijing Wall Street Journal December 27, 2006 article by Shai Oster.

■ “China's out-of-control demand for energy”
■ China “central government discovered that Inner Mongolia had illegally built about 10 power plants, or 8.6 gigawatts of electricity-generating capacity -- equal to about a 10th of the United Kingdom's total capacity”
■ “The illegal plants … stand out as polluters even in an industry that is one of China's leading sources of emissions”
■ “demand for … coal … has spawned thousands of illegal coal mines that have contributed to more than 4,000 coal-mining deaths in China this year”
■ “One fifth of the power plants in China are illegal, according to government estimates -- enough to light up all of the U.K. While the electricity they supply is essential to power China's growth, the uncontrolled manner in which they are multiplying, often under the protection of local authorities, poses a challenge to Beijing's authority and its grip on energy policy.”
■ “The central government is likewise finding it hard to crack down on illegal coal mines. In past years it has shut down thousands of mines -- only to see thousands more spring up in their place. The primary reason: the soaring profits to be made from selling coal to China's power plants are a powerful temptation.”
■ “construction continues today at the Xinfeng plant nearly a year after Beijing ordered it stopped”
■ “5,938 coal miners were killed in accidents, mostly in smaller, illegal mines. Such accidents are so commonplace here that only the larger ones rank as news.”
■ “Coal is one of the biggest pollution sources in China”
■ “Coal consumption initially crept up slowly, to around 1.5 billion metric tons a year in the mid-1990s, from just under one billion metric tons a year a decade earlier. Last year, however, China consumed about 2.2 billion metric tons of coal, one-third of the world's total and more than any other country.”
■ “Natural gas, which burns more efficiently and causes far less pollution, has proved too expensive to compete effectively”
■ “Smaller, often inefficient, and dangerous mines account for about a third of China's coal production. They are so important to meeting its energy needs that the central government recently delayed plans to improve safety by shuttering many of them.”
■ “In 2003 and 2004, massive power shortages in the south led to rolling blackouts. Local authorities across China decided to build power plants, often illegally, to keep their local economies humming.”
■ “Mr. Yan's hometown in the mountains of Hunan didn't have electricity until 1990. At first, his house had one light bulb. Now, the money he earns from construction has paid for a television, washing machine, refrigerator and air conditioning, a pattern repeated in millions of homes across China as people get richer.”

Methane Greater Greenhouse Gas Concern than Carbon Dioxide

Those concerned about the burning of fossil fuels and carbon dioxide emissions affecting the atmosphere’s greenhouse effect ought to be really concerned about the greenhouse gas methane. I see the future and as developing countries prosper they will want to eat more meat. See the Los Angeles Times October 15, 2007 Editorial Killer cow emissions noting “Livestock are a leading source of greenhouse gases. Why isn't anyone raising a stink?”

■ Methane is a “deadly source of greenhouse gases that contributes more to global warming than the entire world transportation sector”
■ “cows and other ruminants, such as sheep and goats, are walking gas factories that take in fodder and put out methane and nitrous oxide, two greenhouse gases that are far more efficient at trapping heat than carbon dioxide. Methane, with 21 times the warming potential of CO2”
■ “All told, livestock are responsible for 18% of greenhouse-gas emissions worldwide, according to the U.N. -- more than all the planes, trains and automobiles on the planet”
■ “Annual per-capita meat consumption in developing countries doubled from 31 pounds in 1980 to 62 pounds in 2002, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization, which expects global meat production to more than double by 2050”
■ “Cows and other ruminants have four stomachs, the first of which, called the rumen, is where the trouble lies; bacteria in the rumen produce methane”
■ “nitrous oxide … has 296 times the warming potential of carbon dioxide, and livestock are its leading anthropogenic (human-caused) source”
■ “Manure lagoons can be covered, capturing gases that can be used to generate power or simply be burned away (burning the gases converts most of the emissions to CO2, which is far less destructive than methane)”
■ “in places like Brazil … forests are rapidly disappearing, to make cattle operations”
■ “Subsidies on crops such as corn and soybeans have traditionally kept the price of meat artificially low because these are key feedstocks”
■ “researchers found, cutting out meat would do more to reduce greenhouse gas emissions than trading in a gas guzzler for a hybrid car”
■ “The government should not only get out of the business of promoting unhealthful and environmentally destructive foods, it should be actively discouraging them”

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Mentally Ill Free to Die

How well are we serving our mentally ill fellow citizens? There is a very sad op/ed piece in the December 22, 2007 Wall Street Journal Free to Die in Iowa by Michael Judge.
Since a 55 old man was uncooperative, no medical services were provided and he froze to death under a bridge in Iowa. In Iowa, at least, the laws are in place to force him to be cared for. Judge writes:
■ “this man, who suffered from chronic schizophrenia. He wasn't standing on a bridge thinking of ending his life; he was huddled beneath one trying to stay alive” … “found [him], nearly naked, dead”

■ “Local police officers had tried to get [him] the care he needed just 48 hours before his death. But he was refused a bed at the local homeless shelter and then turned away from the Veterans Affairs Medical Center here because he was ‘uncooperative’."

■ “Given his debilitated state, the VA psychiatrist on duty could have forced [him] to receive the treatment that might have saved his life”

■ “Most states, including Iowa, have passed assisted outpatient treatment (AOT) laws. According to these statutes, "you must continue to take your medication or you may be committed," says Dr. E. Fuller Torrey”

■ “Iowa's commitment standard is better than many states', which demand that a person be an ‘imminent’ danger to himself or others. In Iowa, however, to be eligible for AOT a person must lack sufficient judgment to make responsible decisions concerning treatment; and be either (1) a danger to self/others or (2) unable to satisfy the need for ‘nourishment, clothing, essential medical care, or shelter so that it is likely that the person will suffer physical injury, physical debilitation, or death’."

■ “Nevertheless, civil libertarians seem more concerned with a patient's civil rights than his very survival”

Friday, December 21, 2007

Stop Fighting Over Global Warming by Bjorn Lomborg

See October 7, 2007 Washington Post op/ed piece Stop fighting over global warming -- here's the smart way to attack it by Bjorn Lomborg
■ “temperatures in Greenland were higher in 1941 than they are today. ..melt rates around Ilulissat were faster in the early part of the past century …the Kangerlussuaq glacier is inconveniently growing.”
■ “The Earth is warming, and we're causing it. But that's not the whole story, and predictions of impending disaster just don't stack up.”
■ “should be honest about the shortcomings and costs of those policies”
■ “Environmental groups say that the only way to deal with the effects of global warming is to make drastic cuts in carbon emissions -- a project that will cost the world trillions (the Kyoto Protocol alone would cost $180 billion annually). ..spending an awful lot to achieve very little”
■ “According to the United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), ocean levels will rise between half a foot and two feet, with the best expectation being about one foot, in this century, mainly because of water expanding as it warms. That's similar to what the world experienced in the past 150 years.”
■ “let's remember that very little land was lost when sea levels rose last century. It costs relatively little to protect the land from rising tides: We can drain wetlands, build levees and divert waterways. As nations become richer and land becomes a scarcer commodity, this process makes ever more sense”
■ “The IPCC tells us two things: If we focus on economic development and ignore global warming, we're likely to see a 13-inch rise in sea levels by 2100. If we focus instead on environmental concerns and, for instance, adopt the hefty cuts in carbon emissions many environmental groups promote, this could reduce the rise by about five inches. But cutting emissions comes at a cost: Everybody would be poorer in 2100.”
■ “It seems logical to expect more heat waves and therefore more deaths. But though this fact gets much less billing, rising temperatures will also reduce the number of cold spells. This is important because research shows that the cold is a much bigger killer than the heat. According to the first complete peer-reviewed survey of climate change's health effects, global warming will actually save lives. It's estimated that by 2050, global warming will cause almost 400,000 more heat-related deaths each year. But at the same time, 1.8 million fewer people will die from cold.”
■ “At a much lower cost, urban designers and politicians could lower temperatures more effectively by planting trees, adding water features and reducing the amount of asphalt in at-risk cities. Estimates show that this could reduce the peak temperatures in cities by more than 20 degrees Fahrenheit.”
■ “we could spend $3 billion annually -- 2 percent of the protocol's cost -- on mosquito nets and medication and cut malaria incidence almost in half within a decade. Malaria death rates are rising in sub-Saharan Africa, but this has nothing to do with climate change and everything to do with poverty: Poor and corrupt governments find it hard to implement and fund the spraying and the provision of mosquito nets that would help eradicate the disease. Yet for every dollar we spend saving one person through policies like the Kyoto Protocol, we could save 36,000 through direct intervention.
■ “Yet every year, hunters kill 300 to 500 polar bears, according to the World Conservation Union. Outlawing this slaughter would be cheap and easy -- and much more effective than a worldwide pact on carbon emissions.”
■ “In 1992, wealthy nations promised to cut emissions to 1990 levels by 2000. Instead, emissions grew by 12 percent. In 1997, they promised to cut emissions to about 5 percent below 1990 levels by 2010. Yet levels will likely be 25 percent higher than hoped for.”
■ “Even if the policymakers' earlier promises had been met, they would have done virtually no good, but would have cost us a small fortune. The climate models show that Kyoto would have postponed the effects of global warming by seven days by the end of the century. Even if the United States and Australia had signed on and everyone stuck to Kyoto for this entire century, we would postpone the effects of global warming by only five years.”
■ “Proponents of pacts such as Kyoto want us to spend enormous sums of money doing very little good for the planet a hundred years from now.”
■ “The typical cost of cutting a ton of CO2is currently about $20. Yet, according to a wealth of scientific literature, the damage from a ton of carbon in the atmosphere is about $2. Spending $20 to do $2 worth of good is not smart policy. It may make you feel good, but it's not going to stop global warming.”
■ “dramatically increase spending on research and development of low-carbon energy. Ideally, every nation should commit to spending 0.05 percent of its gross domestic product exploring non-carbon-emitting energy technologies, be they wind, wave or solar power, or capturing CO2emissions from power plants. This spending could add up to about $25 billion per year but would still be seven times cheaper than the Kyoto Protocol and would increase global R&D tenfold. All nations would be involved, yet the richer ones would pay the larger share.”
■ “embracing the best response to global warming is difficult in the midst of bitter fighting that shuts out sensible dialogue. So first, we really need to cool our debate.”

Tax Rate Cuts – More Taxes Paid

See the Wall Street Journal December 17, 2007 editorial Taxes and Income showing how vibrant the United States economy is and that the President George W. Bush tax rate cuts have significantly increased the taxes paid by the richest Americans.
■ In 1990, the richest 5% received 27% of all income and paid 44% of all income taxes In 2000, the richest 5% received 35% of all income and paid 56% of all income taxes In 2005, the richest 5% received 36% of all income and paid 60% of all income taxes
■ “the Congressional Budget Office joined the IRS in releasing tax numbers for 2005” “the richest 1% paid about 39% of all income taxes that year. The richest 5% paid a tad less than 60%, and the richest 10% paid 70%”
■ “Americans with an income below the median -- half of all households -- paid a mere 3% of all income taxes in 2005”
■ “The share of the richest 1% jumped to 20.8% of total income in 2000, from 14% in 1990, but increased only slightly to 21.2% in 2005.” “the Clinton years were far worse for ‘inequality’."
■ “despite the tax reductions of 2001 and 2003, the rich saw their share of taxes paid rise at a faster rate than their share of income”
■ “The average family of four with an income of $40,000 saw its income tax liability fall by about $2,052 a year from the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts.”
■ “America continues to be a society of upward income mobility”
■ “The number of millionaire households in net worth also increased to nine million in 2006, up from six million in 2001”
■ “Some 304,000 Americans earned $1 million or more in annual income in 2005, compared to 110,000 in 1996 and 176,000 in 2000.”
■ “More than 13 million American households, or about one in 10, had an income of more than $100,000 a year in 2005”
■ “there is evidence that lower tax rates since 1981 have caused the rich to declare more of what they earn. In 1980, when the top income tax rate was 70%, the richest 1% paid only 19% of all income taxes; now, with a top rate of 35%, they pay more than double that share. With lower rates and fewer tax loopholes after the 1986 reform, there is less incentive to shelter income to avoid tax.”
■ “In 2005, for example, taxpayers earned an estimated $600 billion in income from capital gains,…But that might include the one-time gain from a middle-class senior couple that has lived modestly for decades but suddenly retires and sells the family business or home for $1 million or more. They may be "rich" in Hillary Clinton's definition of the term, but in fact they are benefiting in one tax year from a lifetime of hard work and thrift.”
■ “The amount of capital gains declared on tax forms has doubled since the tax rate was cut to 15% from 20% in 2003 … Dividend income has also increased by at least 50% since that rate was cut to 15% from nearly 40% in 2003.”

Mark Garry Criticizes Gene Felder

Mark Garry Criticizes Gene Felder see “Gene’s perfect division” letter-to-the-editor which was published December 21, 2007 in the Laguna Beach Independent.

Dear Mr. Gene Felder, your statistically based argument authored, or should I say plagiarized, in the Dec 14 Independent, is so obviously flawed it merits no serious analysis in this or any other forum.
This argument is an insult to the families of the approximately 3900 American Solders whose lives have been lost fighting a fool’s war. Perhaps it is even more insulting to our living Iraq war veterans, the 10,000’s of American solders whose bodies or minds have been permanently maimed while serving in Iraq.
Actually, your argument manages to belittle the sacrifices of all our of soldiers, the very men and women who have risked their lives and the well being of their families to protect your right to blow smoke out of your ass.
But these aren’t the concerns of a real numbers guy, a true genius at division, like Donald Rumsfeld, who by the way, was the first to utter this insulting nonsense.
You ask, “Can anybody divide?” Sadly, people can divide, people just like you Mr. Gene Felder. People who – out of feeble mindedness, or ignorance, or irrational fear, or more likely just plain meanness – love to repeat the sick half truths and outright lies generated by this Republican administration. People whose political loyalties sabotage their humanity and common sense are terrific dividers.
As you may have assumed, I think Rudy Giuliani is a pig. But even a pig like Rudy would be able to discern that NYC, save one hateful day under his leadership in 2001, has ever been anywhere near as violent as Baghdad has been since the start of this war.
You should be very proud of yourself Gene, you have learned the most important lesoen of your party. The lesson of division. Your division is perfect.
Mark Garry
Laguna Beach

Chris Quilter Criticizes Gene Felder

Chris Quilter Criticizes Gene Felder
See “Reading the Wikipedia article a bit further…” letter-to-the-editor which was published December 21, 2007 in the Laguna Beach Independent.

Re “Baghdad is safer than New York was under Democrats”:
Gene Felder doth protest too much, and not too accurately either.
The murder rate in New York City was declining for four years before Rudy Giuliani was elected mayor, continued to decline during his two terms, and kept on declining after he left office in 2002. Giuliani exercises the universal right of politicians to claim credit for everything good that happens during their time in office, while blaming opponents and predecessors for everything else. Nevertheless, as the Wikipedia article cited by Mr. Felder goes on to note, “Studies found that the dramatic reduction in crime was strongly correlated with the increases in the number of police officers that started under Mayor Dinkins and continued through the Bloomberg administration.”
As for Detroit having a higher homicide rate than Baghdad, that’s the kind of science normally associated with Rush Limbaugh. In 2006, as reported in Wikipedia, the medical journal The Lancet published a peer-reviewed study that estimated there have been more than 600,000 violent deaths in Iraq from the time it was invaded and occupied through June 2006.
In September 2007, Opinion Research Business, an independent polling agency in London, published the results of a random, face-to-face survey of over 1500 Iraqis from 15 of 18 provinces. 22 percent said that one or more persons in their households had been killed.
I suppose one could say that the Iraqi war dead are not technically homicide victims – a distinction probably lost on them and their loved ones.
Chris Quilter
Laguna Beach

Bush Better at CO2 Than EU Kyoto Treaty Signers

My letter-to-the-editor was published December 21, 2007 in the Laguna Beach Independent.

Carbon dioxide emissions

Dear Editor,

If a person thought the world was imperiled due to carbon dioxide emissions, what would that person do?

The Clinton-Gore administration negotiated the fleckless Kyoto Treaty, signed it, but then did not submit the treaty to the Senate for ratification as required by the U.S. Constitution. During those eight years, U.S. greenhouse emissions greatly increased.

During the Presidency of George W. Bush, how has the U.S. performed compared to European Union countries that have ratified the Kyoto Treaty? One would think that the EU would have a better record regarding carbon dioxide emissions. See Wall Street Journal December 3, 2007 Editorial “An Inconvenient Reduction”:
■ “U.S. emissions of carbon dioxide fell by 1.8% from 2005 to 2006.”
■ “Output of all [U.S.] greenhouse gases was down 1.5% last year. All this while the American economy grew by 2.9%.”
■ “from 2000 to 2005, the U.S. outperformed Western Europe. Carbon emissions were up 3.8% in the so-called EU-15 during those years, versus 2.5% in the U.S.”

The Laguna Beach Independent recently published a letter-to-the-editor with the headline “Global warming is a hoax and the world is flat” and associating those views with me. My views are more in line with Bjorg Lomborg’s October 7, 2007 Washington Post op/ed piece “Stop fighting over global warming -- here's the smart way to attack it” which includes “The Earth is warming, and we're causing it. But that's not the whole story, and predictions of impending disaster just don't stack up.”

Yours truly,
Gene Felder

Monday, December 17, 2007

Carbon Rationing Needed Whether Democracy Likes It or Not

Hat Tip: The Belmont Club Monday, December 17, 2007

Quote of the day
"When the chips are down I think democracy is a less important goal than is the protection of the planet from the death of life, the end of life on it. This has got to be imposed on people whether they like it or not."
Great quote. And here's the context. (Hat tip: Small Dead Animals)

It's from a British outlet, LTTXtra. Carbon rationing predicted to deliver collapse in travel demand

Transport policy-makers should start preparing now for a dramatic reduction in motorised travel that will be brought about by carbon rationing, one of the country's leading environmental thinkers told LTT this week.

"Just start reading the runes because what's going to happen is the demand for road, rail and air travel is going to start falling away just as soon as we have rationing," says Mayer Hillman in an interview with the magazine.

Hillman, senior fellow emeritus at the Policy Studies Institute, says carbon rationing is the only way to ensure that the world avoids the worst effects of climate change. And he says that the problems caused by burning fossil fuels are so serious that governments might have to implement rationing against the will of the people.

"When the chips are down I think democracy is a less important goal than is the protection of the planet from the death of life, the end of life on it," he says. "This has got to be imposed on people whether they like it or not."

Friday, December 14, 2007

Baghdad is Safer than New York was under Democrats

Letter-to-the-Editor published in the Laguna Beach Independent December 14, 2007 Baghdad is safer than New York was under Democrats

I wrote a letter-to-the-editor about the progress in Iraq and the headline was a sarcastic “Things are getting rosy in Iraq – ‘The number of bodies…on Baghdad’s streets has plummeted to about 5 a day’ ”. [11-30-07]

Can anybody divide? When New York City had 2,245 homicides in 1990 that was over six per day. That’s worst than Baghdad is now. So what’s so bad about 2,245 homicides in New York City in 1990? The response from Democrats was to reelect Mayor David Dinkins.

Thankfully, Rudolph Giuliani was elected then and under his leadership of prosecuting and incarcerating murderers, the homicides in New York City was reduced to 649 in his last year in office in 2001.

In 1990 despite all the carnage in New York City few questioned that New York was not a functioning democracy. I guess Detroit is also a democracy today even though it is the murder capital of the U.S.

According to…[Wikipedia], “By the end of 2006, the homicide count was 414 for the year, with a population under 900,000.” That’s also a higher rate than Baghdad too!

Gene Felder
Laguna Beach

Friday, December 07, 2007

End of Human-Kind by 2008 Bet

The Laguna Beach Independent recently published a letter-to-the-editor that criticized me and included:
“The present level of population density and carbon-based industrialization is producing an exponential increase in the average world wide temperature, which, if not dramatically reduced over the next decade will lead to an environmental disaster that human-kind is unlikely to survive.”

I think “exponential” in this sentence means that the world’s temperature’s rate of increase will not be going up in a straight line, but as a curve that continually becomes steeper. Where does this information come from? “if not dramatically reduced over the next decade will lead to an environmental disaster that human-kind is unlikely to survive.”

I have lots of money to bet on that one and 2018 is not so long to wait to see who is right. For all takers, I bet that human-kind will exist in 2018.

Although not part of my bet, I am very confident in winning as I suspect that the human population will actually go up, life expectancies will increase, and deaths from extreme weather conditions will decline.

For those thinking of taking up my bet, it is only fair to remind them of the Julian L. Simon bet with Paul Erhlich, and to reveal that I have a scientific background that includes having taken two years each of high school chemistry and physics.

Montage Aliso Creek Inn

Montage Aliso Creek Inn
Should Think Outside the Box and make a better project:
- A Focus on beauty & tranquility of natural creek
- Lodging, meeting rooms and walking trails
- View migratory birds
- Preserve George Thurston homestead grove
Differentiate project & make more money.
Serve investors and community

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

New York Times Editorial on Iran Bad News

See New York Times December 5, 2007 Editorial “Good and Bad News About Iran” Hat tip Best of the Web:
The good news first:
■ “President Bush has absolutely no excuse for going to war against Iran.”
Now the bad news:
■ “First, the report says ‘with high confidence’ that Iran did have a secret nuclear weapons program and that it stopped only after it got caught and was threatened with international punishment. Even now, Tehran's scientists are working to master the skills to make nuclear fuel -- the hardest part of building a weapon.”
■ “Anyone who wants to give the Iranians the full benefit of the doubt should read the last four years of reports from United Nations' nuclear inspectors about Iran's 18-year history of hiding and dissembling. Or last month's report, which criticized Tehran for providing "diminishing" information and access to its current program. In one of those ironies that would be delicious if it didn't involve nuclear weapons, an official close to the inspection agency told The Times yesterday that the new American assessment might be too generous to Iran.”

Hillary Not Much Liked

From Wall Street Journal Political Diary December 4, 2007
Quote of the Day
"[Hillary] Clinton might be the frontrunner in the polls, but almost everywhere we went people questioned her candidacy.... While we found many people who hated Mrs. Clinton, those who loved her were few and far between. Certainly, many said they would vote for her, but the reasons cited tended to be her status as the top Democrat, the fact that she was battle-tested against Republicans and -- for some women -- the fact that she would be the first female president. Such support might register in the opinion polls, but could melt away should the former First Lady lose in Iowa. And the frequently expressed nightmare for Democrats is that she will win their party's nomination but lose to a Republican next November when most Americans decide they don't much like her" -- Washington bureau chief Toby Harnden, writing in Britain's Daily Telegraph, after a 10,000 mile journey across America talking with voters.

Monday, December 03, 2007

During Bush Presidency U.S. Better than Europe on Carbon Dioxide Emissions

See Wall Street Journal December 3, 2007 Editorial An Inconvenient Reduction

During the Presidency of George W. Bush who has the better record regarding carbon dioxide emissions? The US who has not ratified the Kyoto Treaty or the European Union countries who have signed the Kyoto Treaty?
■ “U.S. emissions of carbon dioxide fell by 1.8% from 2005 to 2006.
■ “Output of all greenhouse gases was down 1.5% last year. All this while the American economy grew by 2.9%.”
■ “from 2000 to 2005, the U.S. outperformed Western Europe. Carbon emissions were up 3.8% in the so-called EU-15 during those years, versus 2.5% in the U.S.”

Sunday, December 02, 2007

United Nations and World Bank Advice Leads to Food Shortages in Africa

See the New York Times December 2, 2007 article Ending Famine, Simply by Ignoring the Experts by Celia W. Dugger
■ “Malawi hovered for years at the brink of famine. After a disastrous corn harvest in 2005, almost five million of its 13 million people needed emergency food aid.”
■ “But this year, a nation that has perennially extended a begging bowl to the world is instead feeding its hungry neighbors. It is selling more corn to the World Food Program of the United Nations than any other country in southern Africa and is exporting hundreds of thousands of tons of corn to Zimbabwe.”
■ “Farmers explain Malawi’s extraordinary turnaround — one with broad implications for hunger-fighting methods across Africa — with one word: fertilizer.”
■ “Over the past 20 years, the World Bank … pressed this small, landlocked country to adhere to free market policies and cut back or eliminate fertilizer subsidies, even as the United States and Europe extensively subsidized their own farmers.”
■ “The country’s successful use of subsidies is contributing to a broader reappraisal of the crucial role of agriculture in alleviating poverty in Africa and the pivotal importance of public investments in the basics of a farm economy: fertilizer, improved seed, farmer education, credit and agricultural research.”
■ “Desperate to feed their families, they could not afford to let their land lie fallow or to fertilize it. Over time, their depleted plots yielded less food and the farmers fell deeper into poverty. Malawi’s leaders have long favored fertilizer subsidies, but they reluctantly acceded to donor prescriptions... In the 1980s and again in the 1990s, the World Bank pushed Malawi to eliminate fertilizer subsidies entirely.”
■ “Here in Malawi, deep fertilizer subsidies and lesser ones for seed, abetted by good rains, helped farmers produce record-breaking corn harvests in 2006 and 2007”
■ “The harvest also helped the poor by lowering food prices and increasing wages for farm workers.”

Weather Related Deaths Increasing Due to Global Warming - NOT

See Times of London December 2, 2007 article Fall in weather deaths dents climate warnings by David Smith

■ “GREEN scientists have been accused of overstating the dangers of climate change by researchers who found that the number of people killed each year by weather-related disasters is falling.”

■ “Their report suggests that a central plank in the global warming argument – that it will result in a big increase in deaths from weather-related disasters – is undermined by the facts.”

■ “It shows deaths in such disasters peaked in the 1920s and have been declining ever since.”

■ “Average annual deaths from weather-related events in the period 1990-2006 – considered by scientists to be when global warming has been most intense – were down by 87% on the 1900-89 average. The mortality rate from catastrophes, measured in deaths per million people, dropped by 93%.”

■ “Compared with the peak rate of deaths from weather-related events in the 1920s of nearly 500,000 a year, the death toll during the period 2000-06 averaged 19,900.”