Barack Obama's pick for "regulatory czar," Harvard Law School Professor Cass Sunstein, may be the incoming president's most popular appointment so far. Judging from his resume -- best-selling author, "pre-eminent legal scholar of our time," and an endorsement from The Wall Street Journal -- we can almost understand why. Almost. Because as we're telling the media today, there's one troubling portion of the new Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) Administrator's C.V. that has seems to have flown under everyone's radar: Cass Sunstein is a radical animal rights activist.
Don't believe us? Sunstein has made no secret of his devotion to the cause of establishing legal "rights" for livestock, wildlife, and pets. "[T]here should be extensive regulation of the use of animals in entertainment, scientific experiments, and agriculture," Sunstein wrote in a 2002 working paper while at the University of Chicago Law school.
"Extensive regulation of the use of animals." That's PETA-speak for using government to get everything PETA and the Humane Society of the United States can't get through gentle pressure or not-so-gentle coercion. Not exactly the kind of thing American ranchers, restaurateurs, hunters, and biomedical researchers (to say nothing of ordinary consumers) would like to hear from their next "regulatory czar."
A version of the same paper also appeared as the introduction to Animal Rights: Current Debates and New Directions, a 2004 book that Sunstein co-edited with then-girlfriend Martha Nussbaum. In that book, Sunstein set out an ambitious plan to give animals the legal "right" to file lawsuits. We're not joking:
"[A]nimals should be permitted to bring suit, with human beings as their representatives, to prevent violations of current law . Any animals that are entitled to bring suit would be represented by (human) counsel, who would owe guardian like obligations and make decisions, subject to those obligations, on their clients' behalf."
It doesn't end there. Sunstein delivered a keynote speech at Harvard University's 2007 "Facing Animals" conference. (Click here to watch the video; his speech starts around 39:00.) Keep in mind that as OIRA Administrator, Sunstein will have the political authority to implement a massive federal government overhaul. Consider this tidbit:
"We ought to ban hunting, I suggest, if there isn't a purpose other than sport and fun. That should be against the law. It's time now."
Sunstein also argued in favor of "eliminating current practices such as greyhound racing, cosmetic testing, and meat eating, most controversially."
He concluded his Harvard speech by expressing his "more ambitious animating concern" that the current treatment of livestock and other animals should be considered "a form of unconscionable barbarity not the same as, but in many ways morally akin to, slavery and mass extermination of human beings." Sound familiar?
As the individual about to assume "the most important position that Americans know nothing about," Sunstein owes the public an honest appraisal of his animal rights goals before taking office. Will the next four years be a dream-come-true for anti-meat, anti-hunting, and anti-everything-else radicals? Time will tell. For now, meat lovers might want to stock their freezers.
SOURCE (See the original for links)
GLOBAL WARMING DOOM, GLOOM HAVEN'T OCCURRED
BY MIKE SMITH (Mike Smith is a certified consulting meteorologist and CEO of WeatherData Services of Wichita Kansas)
For more than 20 years, we have been hearing doomsday predictions about global warming's effects on Kansas and across the world. Locally, during the hot Kansas summer of 2006, forecasts were issued and media articles written tying that hot, dry weather to global warming, and forecasting more extreme heat in the future. According to one scientist with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, global warming in 2006 was already "kicking the heat up a notch."
But the weather has refused to cooperate with those forecasts. More drought? The reality: 2007 and 2008 were the two wettest years in the history of Wichita. No area of Kansas is experiencing drought at the present time, in spite of all that hand-wringing just two years ago. Extreme heat? The reality: The past two years, combined, had 21 fewer days than average with 90-degree or higher temperatures. Since 1990, there has been a downward trend in 100-degree or warmer temperatures in Wichita.
It isn't just Kansas. In spite of the highest concentrations of carbon dioxide in the history of civilization, world temperatures have failed to warm the past 10 years. Ocean heat content is falling. World ice concentrations (Arctic and Antarctic combined) are higher than normal.
The 2001 forecasts by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (cited by Al Gore) have failed to capture the recent cooling, as the above graph indicates, suggesting that the carbon dioxide-atmosphere connection is more complex than some initially believed. A small but growing number of scientists are becoming concerned about global cooling due to the current unusually low solar activity and other geophysical factors.
The fact is that the solar-land-ocean-atmosphere system is incredibly complex, and meteorologists have no consistent skill at forecasting its behavior a year into the future, let alone decades hence. I don't know what 2009's or 2029's weather might bring, nor does anyone else. The sciences of meteorology and climatology still have a lot of learning to do. My personal conclusion: The science is definitely not settled.
Jim Peden cited: Man-Made CO2 Can't Cause Global Warming; It Doesn't Have the Mojo
Despite all scare-mongering to the contrary, carbon dioxide in the Earth's atmosphere is not the cause of global warming. To be an agent of greenhouse heating, carbon dioxide (or any) atmospheric gas would have to be capable of absorbing in significant quantities both the sun's radiation spectrum (the ultimate source of natural heating on Earth) and of absorbing heat radiating back from the Earth (the greenhouse effect).
There is a process to measure a gas's absorption ability called atomic absorption spectrometry. Suspicious of the entire global warming hysteria, atmospheric physicist James A. Peden put carbon dioxide through just such an analysis. Based on where and how much of the sun's total radiation output, which consists of light and other wavelengths not visible to human eyes, Peden estimates that carbon dioxide in the Earth's atmosphere takes in no more than 8 percent of the sun's total radiation. It's the same percentage for heat radiated back from Earth.
"Man-made CO2 doesn't appear physically capable of absorbing much more than two-thousandths of the radiated heat passing upward through the atmosphere," Peden writes. "And, if all the available heat in the atmosphere is indeed being captured by the current CO2 levels before leaving the atmosphere, then adding more CO2 to the atmosphere won't matter a bit." Holy cow! Hard scientific analysis finds carbon dioxide not guilty as charged because this gas simply does not have the molecular mojo to play the role of atmospheric heater. The real culprit is water vapor, which Peden estimates is responsible for 95 percent of all greenhouse heating in the atmosphere. In politics, citing carbon dioxide, whether from natural or human-made sources, for causing global warming is the equivalent of blaming the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks on former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein.
Peden is hardly the only skeptical scientist. In December 2007, 100 scientists signed an open letter to U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. That letter had some harsh words about the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, saying that its conclusions about carbon dioxide's role in climate change are "quite inadequate as justification for implementing policies that will markedly diminish future prosperity. In particular, it is not established that it is possible to significantly alter global climate through cuts in human greenhouse gas emissions."
Last March, 500 scientists attending the 2008 International Climate Conference in New York City signed the Manhattan Declaration, saying, in part, "that there is no convincing evidence that CO2 emissions from modern industrial activity has in the past, is now, or will in the future cause catastrophic climate change." The Manhattan Declaration also notes that "current plans to restrict anthropogenic CO2 emissions are a dangerous misallocation of intellectual capital and resources that should be dedicated to solving humanity's real and serious problems." Amen to that.
Can we finally get real about climate change? There is a lot of political pressure to spend enormous sums of money on a CO2 cap-and-trade system that won't solve any problems but will add significant burdens to a world economy already on the ropes. And no. Peden is not in the pay of polluters or the oil industry. He is editor of the Middlebury Community Network of Middlebury, Vermont, and has worked as an atmospheric physicist at the Space Research and Coordination Center in Pittsburgh and at Extranuclear Laboratories in Blawnox, Penn., studying ion molecule reactions in the upper atmosphere.
Peden's spectrometer analysis cuts through all the unexamined assumptions and downright lies about the role of carbon dioxide in the Earth's atmosphere. The only question here is why we are not hearing a whole lot more in the media about legitimate scientific objections to the greenhouse gases theory of global warming. Perhaps, having been bamboozled by the Bush Administration over Hussein's nonexistent weapons of mass destruction, these same ace reporters and editors simply cannot bear to acknowledge being hoodwinked about carbon dioxide, too.
Skeptic strikes back
A Dutch Warmist blog has tried to discredit one of the skeptical scientists on Marc Morano's long list . The Skeptic replies:
Hi, I'm Hajo Smit and true I'm not all that important. Our precious world and society is however and the AGW-alarmists are not doing the planet a great service. In 1991 I graduated with distinction at Wageningen Univesity in the field of Environmental Sciences. I majored in meteorology and climate science. I spent 3 months studying in Mainz Max Planck Insitute of Atmospheric Chemistry under nobel laureate Paul Crutzen's guidance and spent 11 months studying at the University of Illinois at Urbana Chamaign at the Atmospheric Sciences departmant doing climate modelling under Michael Schlesinger. After graduating I left climate science only to start studying the literature intensly again around 2006. I'm listed as an expert on icecap.us. I'm also listed on Inhofe's list and correctly so. If I'm not qualified to speak on these matters who is? Currently I'm working as a journalist/meteorologist on my own website www.sneeuwverwachting.nl which caters exclusively to the wintersports crowd in the Netherlands. Thanks for looking into my files.... the publications you mention are polemic blog postings and not scientific literature. Since when a former scientist is not allowed to turn to journalism and free writing styles to give his opinions with the best interest of nature and mankind in mind? That sounds a lot like censorship.
Eskimos say no decline in polar bear numbers
But the elitist knowalls just ignore such "primitives", of course
Canada is home to about two-thirds of the world's polar bears but scientists warn populations are starting to dwindle because of thawing sea ice, over-hunting, industrial activity in the Arctic and an increase of toxins in the food chain. Some have said two-thirds of the world's polar bears could disappear within 50 years if nothing is done to slow the loss of sea ice.
But many Inuit say they haven't seen a decline in the population and worry that overly harsh restrictions that threaten the northern way of life will be imposed to appease people who don't depend on the bears for their livelihood. "We feel our polar bears are doing fine," said Nunavut Environment Minister Daniel Shewchuk. "We're basing that on living there and living with polar bears all of our lives ... People are encountering more polar bears out on the land."
When the bear population increases, it becomes a safety issue for residents who can no longer even go camping, Shewchuk said. The Inuit would like to do a proper survey of the bears once they get funding, he added.
Peter Ewins, director of species conservation at the World Wildlife Federation, said more than half of Canada's polar bear subpopulations are dwindling. "Sea ice is what polar bears live on and it's vanishing at accelerating rates," [That has now gone into reverse] said Ewins, who will be a presenter at the summit. "There is a major problem. Many things need to be done to fix it."
The government needs to protect polar bear habitat by curbing industrial activity in the North and by taking bold measures to address global warming, he said. People must also stop hunting in Baffin Bay until the bear population has a chance to recover, he added. "It comes down to a simple reality - there is a problem here. You can't deny scientific consensus. [You can if it's wrong]
Flint, Michigan's 95-year-old record low falls as 19 below zero hits city
Flint broke a 95-year-old record early Wednesday morning when the temperature plummeted to a frigid 19 below zero. The previous record? Minus 10, set in 1914, according to the National Weather Service. Here's the even worse news: We won't seeing relief in the next few days.
Early morning lows Thursday are expected to be 9 below zero, with a 20 below zero wind chill. Highs on Thursday will reach 4 degrees. Friday's lows are expected to be 5 below, with wind chills reaching 25 below. Highs are expected to reach around 6 degrees. Wind chills will reach 25 below again on Saturday. We don't get any relief until Sunday, when highs are supposed to be a relatively balmy 22 degrees.
The National Weather Service issued a wind chill advisory through 7 p.m. Thursday. But the only reason the advisory isn't in effect until Saturday morning, said Matt Mosteiko, meteorologist of the National Weather Service, is because wind chill advisories can only be issued for 24 hours at a time. For now, it's just a wind chill watch until Saturday morning. And very cold.
For more postings from me, see DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here. For readers in China or for times when blogger.com is playing up, there is a mirror of this site here.