Archive for the “People Are Nuts” Category

This week I read a breathless article in the newspaper recounting a survey that shows more and more Americans are having doubts about global warming.  The writer was clearly upset about the survey and suggested two possible causes for this disastrous swing in public opinion: 1) Republicans have gotten very good at spreading denialist propaganda, and 2) people are too worried about the economy to pay attention to the global-warming activists.

I think there’s another possible explanation.  I’d even call it the likely explanation:  people have actually stepped outside and noticed it’s friggin’ cold out there. Buried waaaaay deep in last week’s Washington Post was this little gem:

Something happened in Washington on Friday that had not occurred in 138 years of weather history: For the first time since the National Weather Service began compiling daily data here, the high temperature for Oct. 16 was below 50 degrees.

Coldest October 16th in at least 138 years.  Boy, that global warming is getting serious, all right.  (We also had a record cold day last week here in Tennessee, by the way.)

Naturally, the editors at the Washington Post couldn’t bring themselves to put this story anywhere near the front page — not when the Senate is about to debate a cap-and-tax bill that’s supposed to help us forestall the horrors of global warming.  No matter.  People tend to notice when they’re freezing their butts off — as they did in the Western states a couple of weeks ago:

An early-season snowstorm blanketed the U.S. West, dumping as much as 20 inches of snow on Wyoming and forcing the postponement of a Major League Baseball playoff game. Record low temperatures were set in at least three states.

Higher elevations in Wyoming had snow accumulations of 20 inches (50 centimeters), while areas around Casper had 10 inches from a storm that swept through yesterday and this morning, said Mike Pigott, a meteorologist with in State College, Pennsylvania. Casper normally has an inch and a half of snowfall by this point in October, he said.

“The story here isn’t so much the snow, but the record-smashing cold,” Pigott said in a telephone interview.

Denver posted a record low of 17 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 8 degrees Celsius) this morning, breaking the old mark of 25 degrees, Pigott said. Casper, Wyoming, touched a low of 12 degrees this morning, shattering the old record of 21 degrees, he said.

The downturn in temperatures didn’t begin this year, either.  A year ago, London was blanketed with snow in October for the first time since 1922 — just as the House of Commons was set to debate global-warming legislation.  What a pickle:  the alarmists want to ram fat new taxes disguised as global-warming prevention down our throats, but the freakin’ weather just won’t cooperate.

The drop in temperatures has been so dramatic over the past few years, even the global-warming alarmists at the BBC finally had to admit it’s happening:

According to research conducted by Professor Don Easterbrook from Western Washington University last November, the oceans and global temperatures are correlated. The oceans, he says, have a cycle in which they warm and cool cyclically. The most important one is the Pacific decadal oscillation (PDO). For much of the 1980s and 1990s, it was in a positive cycle, that means warmer than average. And observations have revealed that global temperatures were warm too.

But in the last few years it has been losing its warmth and has recently started to cool down. These cycles in the past have lasted for nearly 30 years. So could global temperatures follow? The global cooling from 1945 to 1977 coincided with one of these cold Pacific cycles. Professor Easterbrook says: “The PDO cool mode has replaced the warm mode in the Pacific Ocean, virtually assuring us of about 30 years of global cooling.”

This is stunning news.  Not the stuff about the oceans — I already knew about that — but the willingness of a BBC reporter to note that there was global cooling from 1945 to 1977.  In case your history is a little rusty, that would be the era in which the automobile became hugely popular and industrialization grew at a monstrous rate after World War Two. 

The same reporter even cited an inconvenient but well-established and verifiable fact:  there’s been no global warming whatsoever since 1998.  This puts the alarmists in the embarrassing position of trying to convince us that a 21-year warming span that ended a decade ago proves that humans are heating up the planet, but a previous 32-year cooling span and the current 11-year cooling span are both meaningless — even though they occurred while CO2 was rising. I guess at some point, media reporters finally conclude that maintaining a shred of credibility with the public outweighs the need to push an agenda.

Of course, those are just small, recent cycles.  Lately I’ve been reading Ian Plimer’s book Heaven and Earth, which is so full of citations, they take up nearly a third of each page.  I don’t recommend tackling the book unless you really like jumping into heavy-duty science, but here are some highlights: 

  • The earth has been warming and cooling in cycles pretty much forever. 
  • Nobody knows all the factors that influence the warming and cooling trends, but the computer models based on CO2 concentrations are utter failures.  Sunspots and naturally-occurring changes in the oceans seem to be the biggest factors.
  • During our last warming trend, Mars was also getting warmer.  (Gee, that sounds like the sun might have something to do with it.)
  • The concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere has been many times higher than it is today.  During some of those high-concentration periods, it was cold, not warm.
  • A thousand years ago, it was warmer than it is now.  (The polar bears survived, in case you’re wondering.)  The Vikings formed colonies in Greenland and grew crops that don’t grow there today — it’s too cold.  This is just one of several long periods in human history that were warmer than the 20th century.
  • The cold periods have been the worst for humans.  It was long cooling periods, not hot ones, that turned fertile lands into deserts and led to crop failures, famines, rampant diseases, forced migrations, and wars over fertile lands.  The warm periods have been relative nirvanas.

Naturally, everyone who still depends on global-warming hysteria for grants or fund-raising is busy cranking out press releases to explain away the recent cooling trend or trooping up onto Capitol Hill to predict disaster — from all that non-existent warming. 

I suppose if they’re smart, they’ll check the forecast and try to schedule an appearance on a day when there’s no risk of another record-cold temperature being set.

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When I was still living near Los Angeles, a guy who parked in our neighborhood had a bumper sticker on his car that read: DON’T MOVE HERE.  Heck, I did him one better.  I left for Tennessee.

Now that I’m here, I’ve received a couple of emails and blog comments similar to this:  “Tom, welcome to Tennessee.  You seem like someone who belongs here.  But do us a favor.  Don’t tell the people in California how great it is here.  We don’t want them all moving here and turning our state into another California.”

I fully understand the fear.  California was ruined by big-government leftists, who all seem to share a peculiar trait:  they have an amazing inability to recognize the damage they cause.  Worse, they always believe the damage was caused by someone else.  They’re like the kid who pees in a wading pool, then complains that the water is a weird color and doesn’t smell so good, then blames the lifeguard and finds another pool.

For example, a friend of mine sent me this article from the Los Angeles Times, written by a woman who is mad at California for no longer being a paradise and is leaving for greener pastures.  Here are some choice quotes:

For 18 years or so, I can honestly say that I was truly in love with you, but then came your first major transgression: Proposition 13.

Oh sure, you tried to tell me that property taxes were bad for our relationship, but I knew you were lying. Low taxes, you said, would bring us closer together. You wanted to have your cake and eat it too. You said we could build schools and roads and parks without that tax money, but even back then I knew you were in denial.

Newsflash … California didn’t go broke building roads and schools and parks.  It went broke building a huge government bureaucracy that allows state workers to retire at age 50 or 55 and draw full pensions – paid for by taxpayers who will continue working at least another 10 years to support the state-government retirees.

Proposition 13 limited property taxes so longtime homeowners wouldn’t be forced to sell their homes when property values in California skyrocketed.  It’s insane to force old people to sell their homes to pay their taxes.  And despite what Miss Goofy thinks, California has one of the highest tax burdens in the country.  A lack of revenue isn’t the problem.  Runaway spending is.  Property taxes in Tennessee are low, but (amazingly) there’s no shortage of roads, schools and parks here.

We can’t pay our bills, and the phone is ringing off the hook with creditors calling from all over the world. Children across the state are losing healthcare, more than 766,300 Californians lost their jobs in the last year, and we’re at the top of the foreclosure charts. You need to change, and you refuse to admit it.

I realize most leftists have never read a book on economics, but it requires truly stunning ignorance to chide a state for going broke, not spending more on welfare programs, and losing jobs all in one paragraph.  Yes, it’s a shame that 766,300 Californians lost their jobs last year.  Perhaps that’s because big companies like Nissan (and small companies like mine) finally got tired of California’s punitive taxes and anti-business regulations and decided to relocate to Tennessee.

Newsflash number two … when employers are deciding where to do business, they don’t say to themselves, “Hmmm … I wonder if there’s a state where we could pay through the nose to support a huge bureaucracy … preferably one that requires us to provide health care for illegal aliens and build apartments for the homeless … and if we had to pay workers compensation claims for ‘stress,’ that would be awesome!”

Based on her reasons for being mad at California, it’s clear Miss Goofy is a big-government liberal.  That means she voted for exactly the type of economic illiterates who scared away employers and drove the state to the brink of bankruptcy.  And now, clueless that she was part of the problem, she’s moving to Washington state, where the economy is healthy.

By the way, Washington, like Tennessee, is business-friendly and has no state income tax.  I’ll give you 10-to-1 odds Miss Goofy’s brain isn’t capable of connecting that fact to the healthier job outlook.

So again, I understand the fears of my new neighbors.  If enough Miss Goofy types move here, pretty soon they’ll be voting for bigger state government and the higher taxes to pay for it.  Then the employers will go away, or at least stop locating here.  Then the Miss Goofy types will wake up one day and say, “What the @#$% happened to this state?!  Why did it go bankrupt?!  To hell with this, I’m leaving!”

With that in mind, here are a few reasons I would urge Californians not to move to Tennessee:

Your driving skills will plummet. The first day after moving in, I was driving in the left lane on a busy road and realized I needed to make a right-hand turn at an upcoming intersection. I put on my signal and prepared to do battle with all the me-first types who would surely attempt to speed up and get past me.  I also took the safety off my middle finger and cocked my wrist.

Then a weird thing happened:  the drivers behind me slowed down and let me in.  It’s happened again since then.  If this keeps up, I’ll lose my ability to make NASCAR-worthy maneuvers.  If I ever drive in L.A. again, I’ll probably get myself killed … or at least sit in the same spot on the freeway for several hours, waiting for someone visiting from out of state to let me change lanes.

You’ll feel no sense of victory when you finally get a table at a restaurant. When we first arrived we had no internet connection, so I went to a local Panera that offers free WiFi.  It was the lunch hour, and I felt myself tensing up as I approached the door.  What if all the tables are taken?  How long do I want to wait?  Do I really need to check my email right now?

But it turned out the place was only half-full.  I felt no great satisfaction when I sat down … next to an outlet where I could plug in my laptop.  I was also able to look up when I felt like it; no need to avoid eye contact with people glaring at me, wondering when the heck I’d pack up the laptop and leave.

You’ll feel no sense of victory when you get your kid into a good school. I know it’s a lot of fun to apply at several magnet schools, volunteer for committees and schmooze with members of the school board, hoping to earn enough points to get little Johnny or Jane accepted a few years down the line.  But really, that’s just wasted effort here.  The schools are all good.  In fact, when we walked unannounced into our local grade school (ranked 10 out of 10 on state scores) to see how to get our daughter into first grade, the principal came out of her office and gave us a tour, assigned our daughter to a teacher, then took us to meet the teacher.

You will lose your anonymity. A friend of mine who’s lived here for 25 years warned me that everyone I deal with will expect a bit of conversation.  And it’s true.  When I called the cable company to get set up, I ended up spending three or four minutes discussing “True Blood” with the nice lady who answered the phone.  (She thinks Bill the Vampire is hot, by the way.)  By the time I left the bank today, I knew the account manager’s husband collects rare knives.  And she knows I once received a baseball autographed by Sandy Koufax as a gift and, being a stupid kid, played baseball with it.

You won’t be able to feel righteously indignant when you fill up your tank. Since gasoline taxes here are low, the prices at the pump won’t make you angry at Exxon.  Likewise, you won’t be able to hate the auto insurance industry (my rates dropped by half after moving here) or the realty industry (homes and apartments are cheap compared to California).

There are Christian churches all over the place. If you watch a lot of TV shows and movies produced in Hollywood, you know that nearly all Christians are buffoons, killers, or hypocrites.  The only people more likely to commit murder, in the opinion of Hollywood script-writers, are rich white businessmen.  Since this is a prosperous area with a church on every other corner, it must be full of rich white businessmen who are also Christians.  I haven’t checked, but the murder rate here has to be astronomical.  (Although I assume the killers have a nice, leisurely chat about collecting knives with their victims before stabbing them.)

You don’t want your family anywhere near these chatty, conservative, anti-tax, well-educated, polite-driving, church-going fiends.  Keep your kids in Los Angeles, where they’ll be safe.


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