Thursday, September 03, 2015

Obama’s war on the poor continues

By Rick Manning

The past few years have been marked by Obama releasing new regulation after new regulation designed to increase the price of low-cost, readily-available fuel so that higher-cost, less-available alternatives become economically viable. The resulting higher electricity costs represent the most regressive form of regulatory taxation imaginable as the less fortunate have almost no way, short of being cold, of avoiding the costs.

The stated objective of lowering carbon emissions might make sense if these very regulations weren’t projected to have the perverse effect of encouraging the continued and expanded burning of these fuels in countries with significantly lower environmental standards while costing hundreds of thousands of American jobs.

When coupled with the Obama Administration’s goal of establishing a Trans-Pacific Partnership that will encourage outsourcing manufacturing to nations with virtually non-existent environmental protections, the net result would be fewer well-paying jobs here at home to help raise the middle class and more pollution worldwide.

But this may be considered an esoteric argument. One Obama EPA regulation that would have an obvious devastating impact on the very poor is the EPA’s rule on residential wood heaters. This regulation would make the cost of manufacturing heaters that burn wood prohibitively expensive denying consumers a low-cost means to safely heat their homes using wood.

In spite of the belief of those who cash government paychecks every other week, many people in our nation depend upon burning wood for heat in the winter even in the affluent Washington, D.C. area. Nationally, one in ten homes depends upon wood heat in some form with just under two percent using it as their primary source.

The need is so great that the men at Chesapeake Church in Calvert County, Maryland, spend a couple of weekends in the late fall and winter chopping and delivering wood to those who depend upon burning that wood to stay warm.

This is not a vanity, return-to-the-rustic-days-of-old crackpot fantasy of better living that entices Birkenstock-wearing enviros to cook and heat with wood. No, it is survival for people who find themselves struggling to put food on the table.

Yet, the elitists at the EPA are trying to regulate safe, wood-burning heaters out of existence, leaving the poor to use dangerous alternatives to survive sub-freezing temperatures.

Fortunately, Representative David Rouzer (R-N.C.) has introduced legislation to repeal this War on the Poor regulation saying, “The federal government has no business telling private citizens how they should heat their homes.”

It is expected that Rouzer will be working with his colleagues in the House in September to attach language to the upcoming government funding bill which will stop the wood-burning heater rule in its tracks.

With winter on the way, Congress needs to act to protect the less fortunate by allowing them to choose affordable alternatives to safely heat their homes. The only better option would be to force the EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy to trade places for a few weeks in February with those who depend upon wood heat in sub-freezing temperatures and see if she changes her mind about her Agency’s attempt to force the poor to sacrifice basic necessities on the altar of climate change.


Bicycles don't belong on busy city streets

Jeff Jacoby is talking about his native Boston but his words have wide applicability elsewhere

The Arnold Arboretum in Jamaica Plain is more than a renowned horticultural jewel; it is also a splendid venue for cyclists, with miles of meandering paths and gorgeous views of Boston. The Charles River Esplanade is another bikers' oasis, part of an 18-mile loop along the river that separates Boston from Cambridge. For commuters, the Southwest Corridor Park that stretches from Back Bay to Forest Hills is a marvel of urban design that offers terrific biking in the heart of the city.

Busy thoroughfares aren't meant for cyclists. They are meant for the cars, trucks, and buses that transport the vast majority of people moving through the nation's cities.

If you want to ride a bicycle in Boston, you've got plenty of great places to do it.

Massachusetts Avenue during business hours isn't — and shouldn't be — one of them.

The death last month of cyclist Anita Kurmann, who was fatally struck by a tractor-trailer turning from Mass. Ave. onto Beacon Street, was a terrible tragedy. The 38-year-old medical researcher was at least the 13th cyclist killed in a collision with a motor vehicle on city streets since 2010. That number is sure to rise if Boston keeps encouraging people to ride bicycles where bicycles don't belong.

Busy thoroughfares aren't meant for cyclists. They are meant for the cars, trucks, and buses that transport the vast majority of people moving through the nation's cities. Those vehicles weigh thousands of pounds, operate at 300-plus horsepower, and are indispensable to the economic and social well-being of virtually every American community. Bicycles can be an enjoyable, even exhilarating, way to get around. So can horses, skis, and roller skates. Adding any of them to the flow of motorized traffic on roads that already tend to be too clogged, however, is irresponsible and dangerous.

According to the latest Census Bureau data, more than 122 million people commute each day by car, truck, or van. Fewer than 900,000 bike to work. Do the math: For every cyclist pedaling to or from work, there are 136 drivers. Add the passengers who commute by bus and streetcar, and that ratio is even more lopsided. When it comes to urban transportation, bike riders play a trifling role — literally less than a rounding error. Far more people walk to work.

This isn't "sharing the road." It is a foolhardy policy of treating bicycles — flimsy, slow, and distracting — as the equivalent of motor vehicles, which are faster, more powerful, and vastly more numerous.

But that doesn't deter the bicycle lobby, which could give lessons in brass to Donald Trump. Advocates demand more and more access to city streets, no matter how frustrating to the vast majority of drivers for whom those streets are designed. On many major roads, lanes for cars have been shrunk in order to carve out cycling lanes. "Share the Road," signs pointedly admonish drivers, as though sound traffic management calls for treating flimsy, slow, and distracting bikes as the equal of faster, more powerful motor vehicles.

And "sharing" the road, increasingly, isn't enough: Signs now decree "Bicycles May Use Full Lane," warning motorists that the biker ahead of them causing traffic to crawl has every right to be in the middle of the lane. And if there's only one lane of traffic in each direction, so that traffic on a city street is effectively reduced to the speed of a lone cyclist? Too bad.

All of which might be marginally more tolerable if bikers operated under the same restrictions that drivers do. But cyclists pay no taxes, don't have to be insured, undergo no safety inspections, and needn't register their vehicles. They don't get pulled over for riding without reflectors or headlamps, don't have to carry an operator's license, and aren't required to pass either a written or a road test in order to pedal in the streets. And have you ever seen a cop ticket a cyclist who ran a red light, weaved recklessly among lanes, or made an illegal turn? Me neither.

Bikes aren't treated like cars for a very good reason: Bikes aren't like cars. Which is exactly why they don't belong on busy city streets. Cyclists and traffic don't mix. It's not just foolish to pretend otherwise. It's deadly.


Oil, America's Inexhaustible Resource

By Stephen Moore

“The United States of America cannot afford to bet our long-term prosperity, our long-term security on a resource that will eventually run out, and even before it runs out will get more and more expensive to extract from the ground.” —Barack Obama, 2011.

In August 1859 on the eve of the Civil War, Col. Edwin Laurentine Drake completed the first commercial oil well in the United States on Oil Creek just outside of Titusville, Pa. Over the next century and a half, oil and gas companies have extracted tens of billions of barrels of oil from the ground from California to New York and nearly everywhere in between.

During that time period, one thing has been constant: Doomsayers and declinists have predicted that we would soon drill the last barrel of oil. Famously in the 1920s, the U.S. Department of Interior projected less than a few decades' worth of recoverable oil in the United States. Jimmy Carter declared in 1980 that by 2000 we’d be nearly out of oil — running on empty.

Last month, the Department of Energy reported that the U.S. hit a new energy milestone: We produced 9.52 million barrels a day. That was very close to the highest output level in recorded history. So much for running out.

Something else has happened in recent weeks that almost no one — least of all President Obama — would have predicted. The price of oil fell below $40 a barrel. Adjusted for inflation, that makes oil cheaper today than at almost anytime in history. Adjusted for wages, we work less to buy gasoline and oil today than nearly ever before.

Welcome to the age of oil and gas abundance. One of the people who predicted all of this 40 years ago was the late, great economist Julian Simon. When cultural icons like doomsayer Paul Ehrlich of Stanford University were assuring us that the end was nigh when it came to oil, food, copper, tin and farmland, and that the earth would soon be freezing over because of cooling trends, it was Julian Simon who declared they were all wrong. He was regarded as a lunatic, in today’s left-wing jargon, a “denier,” but he was right, and the “scientific consensus” was entirely and almost negligently wrong.

The experts at the Institute for Energy Research recently published an inventory of American energy given current technological capabilities. Their research shows that we have 500 years worth of coal and natural gas and at least 200 years worth of oil. The wellspring of energy in America will never run dry.

The reason we never run out of “finite” resources is that human ingenuity runs forward at a far faster pace than the rate we use up oil, gas or food. The shale oil and gas revolution — thanks to fracking technologies — nearly tripled overnight our oil and gas reserves. We now produce three times as much food with one-third as much manpower at one-third the cost than we did in 1950.

That the left-wing doomsayers have been time and again discredited in their Malthusian warnings has several policy implications. First, would you keep buying stock from a broker who kept giving you all the wrong advice and losing your money?

Then why do we listen to the same crowd of doomsayers who still say we are running out of oil or that the earth is going to heat up into a fireball? Their credibility and their “scientific consensus” have rarely been right. They are like the boy who cries wolf over and over.

Second, there are high costs to false fears. President Obama has many times justified the $100 billion we’ve wasted on renewable energy subsidies by the claim that we’re running out of oil.

Third, many of the same Malthusians who told us we were running out of oil and food are the intellectual giants behind the global warming industry. These are the ones who say that the debate is over on global warming, that they can’t possibly be wrong, that the science is settled and that those who question their religious-like conviction have been bought off by the Koch brothers or big oil. Given their abysmal track record, is it asking too much of them to consider that they might just be wrong?

Several years ago, I declared on a television show that America will never run out of oil and gas, and that our supplies are inexhaustible. I was flooded with angry letters and emails. My favorite note came from a junior high school science teacher who wrote me: “How could you say such a stupid thing? Even my sixth-graders understand that oil is a finite resource.” Well, a sixth-grader might believe that tripe.

What is disconcerting is that the president of the United States, the media and many “scientists” still believe it. Paul Ehrlich once said that one thing the world will never run out of “is idiots.” Alas, he was right for once.


Severe winters caused by global warming, says new study

”If your winter has been brutally cold in Tokyo or Toledo in recent years, you can thank global warming in the Arctic", a new study suggests

"Snowfalls across Europe and Asia were the highest in decades last year, while frigid cold in the northeast U.S. led to natural gas shortages and price spikes that year. This year, Boston got buried under more than 9 feet (2.7 meters) of snow, an all-time high.”

Such weather disasters will be more likely due to rising global temperatures,  the article continues, because changes in Arctic air flows “produce favorable conditions for severe winters in East Asia or North America.

We’re apparently supposed to believe that the hotter it gets, the colder it gets. The research was led by Jong-Seong Kug of Pohang University of Science and Technology in South Korea.

They did test this story during the “polar vortex” of 2013-2014,   But now its backed by ‘studies’ (& just in time for the climate change conference).”

So now when you are neck deep in snow & your city runs out of grit, you can blame AGW.


Today's words of wisdom come from Ruth Dixon's review of Lord Stern's latest opus

Stern is...selective in his choice of data. He frequently ignores mainstream scientific evidence (such as that found in the authoritative reports of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)) in favour of outlying estimates....

The type of small-scale solar PV [Stern] describes is a good way to supply electricity for lights, phone and internet access to remote communities, but it is fanciful to suppose that such systems can provide enough power for cooking....

Even in his own words, Stern makes clear that he does not view objectivity as an overriding concern...


Obama takes veiled shot at Australian PM on Climate?

Speaking to a global leadership conference on the Arctic, President Obama says that those who want to ignore the science 'are on their own shrinking island' and any world leader that doesn't take climate change seriously is 'not fit to lead.'  

As the highest profile leader to rebuff Obama's pressure on climate, Australian prime minister Tony Abbott famously called much of the science behind catastrophic climate change 'absolute crap' and successfully repealed Australia's deeply unpopular carbon tax.

PRESIDENT OBAMA: "So the time to heed the critics and the cynics and the deniers has passed. The time to plead ignorance is surely passed. Those who want to ignore the science they are increasingly alone. They are on their own shrinking island. [...] Any leader willing to take a gamble on a future like that, any so-called leader who does not take this issue seriously or treats it like a joke, is not fit to lead."


For more postings from me, see  DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC and AUSTRALIAN POLITICS. Home Pages are   here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here.  

Preserving the graphics:  Most graphics on this site are hotlinked from elsewhere.  But hotlinked graphics sometimes have only a short life -- as little as a week in some cases.  After that they no longer come up.  From January 2011 on, therefore, I have posted a monthly copy of everything on this blog to a separate site where I can host text and graphics together -- which should make the graphics available even if they are no longer coming up on this site.  See  here or here


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