The Locker Room

February 12, 2009

International Conference on Climate Change (great promo video)

Posted by Dr. Roy Cordato at 4:20 PM

Coming up in March is the 2nd annual Internation Conference on Climate Change, sponsored by the Heartland Institute (The John Locke Foundation is one of severl co-sponsors). This promotional video on the idea of taxing bovine flatulence is pretty funny. BTW, William Schlesinger came out in favor of such a tax in last night's debate with John Christy (also co-sponsored by the John Locke Foundation).

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Did she just compare sex-ed with communism?

Posted by David N. Bass at 3:10 PM

I've mulled it over in my mind for several minutes now, and I still don't get it. June Atkinson, state superintendent of public instruction, compared comprehensive sex education with communism at a press conference in early February.

Or did she?

Lawmakers were announcing the introduction of a new sex-ed bill that would allow parents to choose between contraception-based and abstinence-until-marriage sex-ed.

Atkinson said:

"It is important to have information. Just because you teach children communism does not mean children will become communists.

If Atkinson meant that reading about communism in a history textbook doesn't turn kids into communists automatically, that makes sense. But how does that compare to comprehensive sex-ed, where teachers give an assortment of how-tos? Last time I checked, the main purpose of comprehensive sex-ed curricula isn't an overview of the family planning movement.

Better to let this one pass. After all, Atkinson has other things on her mind.

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Re: Full video (The great global warming debate)

Posted by Dr. Roy Cordato at 2:23 PM

I encourage everyone to watch the video of last night’s debate between Dr. John Christy, noted climate scientist and Alabama State Climatologist, and Dr. William Schlesinger, President of the Cary Institute of Ecosystems Studies and former dean of Duke's Nicholas School of the Environment. What I thought was particularly interesting is that right after making a few opening remarks about how nearly "all scientists agree" and that it's time to stop discussion and get on with making dramatic changes to curtail CO2 emissions and change our lifestyles, Schlesinger said that he was not going to discuss the science. He then went directly to rattling off scary scenarios about the future. So about two thirds of his talk was scare mongering with no actual defense of the hypothesis that human induced catastrophic global warming is in the process of occurring. What is interesting is that in "skipping over the science" he flipped through a number of slides that he had prepared to use including the now infamous and discredited “hockey stick” graph showing 900 years of no climate change and the last 100 years of dramatic warming. If he really believed in the story the graph told it would have been very important for him to use it in this context. Furthermore he had a perfect opportunity to pull it up during his rebuttal to Christy. In his presentation Christy noted that the mid-evil warming period occurred naturally and was warmer than it is today. The logical thing for Schlesinger to do would have been to call up the hockey stick to counter Christy’s claim. He did not. It was quite clear that he was ready to use the graph, and does in his usual schtick to sycophants, but was not about to bring it up when he faced knowledgeable opposition.

When Christy came to the podium he carefully went through data---temperature records, sea level rise, melting ice caps---all the important stuff. What was interesting is that Schlesinger rebutted none of it.  And he had plenty of time to do so.

I also want to note that the crowd was great. There were well over 250 people in attendance and they clearly seemed to get a lot out of the program. Over a hundred questions were turned in on cards for the Q&A; unfortunately we only had time to get to about 10 of them. 

We also want to thank that Reese Institute for the Conservation of Resources at Lenoir-Rhyne University for co-sponsoring the event. They did a great job on the ground in Hickory.

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Ready to get nauseous? Nancy and Katie will oblige

Posted by David N. Bass at 1:27 PM

News Busters points out this gem from the CBS Evening News yesterday.

Nancy Pelosi and Katie Couric giggle their way through an interview on the "stimulus" package, and Couric breathlessly asks, "Can you tell us anything he [Obama] said to you?":

As Brent Baker points out, the interview was like a giddy gossip meet-up between two teenage girls.

More substantial was something Pelosi said at the end of the interview: "We reject the failed Bush administration economic policies, which got us where we are today ... we will not go back."

Back, I assume, to a $700 billion bailout rather than a $790 billion one?

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Sowell: "Some Thoughts about Writing"

Posted by Dr. Michael Sanera at 10:45 AM

Thomas Sowell has a long essay on writing on his website  This section on book reviews that he terms the non-reviewing review caught my eye. 

The non-reviewing review seems to be considered chic these days. The first four or five paragraphs don’t even mention the book that is the ostensible reason for the review. Instead, the reviewer puts the whole subject “in context” with lofty generalities and pre-emptive assertions. Then the book’s title puts in a cameo appearance, followed by an analysis of what the author was “really” trying to do and the reviewer’s comments on its appropriateness, originality, and consonance with his own ideological predispositions....

In the broadcast version of the non-reviewing review, the talk-show host conceals his non-reading of the book by keeping the author on the defensive with a steady stream of cutting accusations, based on the author’s general reputation or previous writings. The writer may be accused of anything from political bias to personal dishonesty, or any other charge that will lead to a heated, time-filling discussion. The natural tendency to defend yourself against a low blow is what gets authors sucked into this game....

Only after several talk-show hosts had played this game on me did I finally realize what was happening, and why. I counter-attacked on one of those long, night-time radio talk shows, when it became obvious that neither the host nor the critic on with me had read the book. At the end of the first hour, I announced to the listeners that we had now been on the air for one hour—and that neither of my questioners had yet mentioned a single thing that was actually in the book. Moreover, I predicted that neither of them would say anything in the second hour that would refer to anything in the book, because it was apparent that neither of them had read it.

And this is the way Sowell handles "60 Minutes." 

Not only can the host lift what you said out of context; he can also splice in what your enemies have said about you, without your having an opportunity to reply. Television’s “Sixty Minutes” is a master of this technique, among others. Once Mike Wallace asked me to be a guest on the show, pointing out what a wonderful opportunity it would be for me to get my message out to a huge audience. I replied that I would be delighted to go one-on-one with him anytime, provided that everything we said was broadcast just as we said it. He looked so pained at my distrust that I almost believed him.

It is no surprise that you don't see him on "60 Minutes." 

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Thomas Sowell's homepage

Posted by Dr. Michael Sanera at 10:27 AM

Thomas Sowell has some great quotations on his website.  Here is one that is especially relevant to the political situation today at the federal, state and local levels. 

Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.

C. S. Lewis, God in the Dock (Grand Rapids: W.B. Eerdmans,2002), p. 292.

See more at 


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Full video of Wednesday's climate change forum in Hickory

Posted by Mitch Kokai at 09:15 AM

William Schlesinger and John Christy hold opposing views of the potential danger associated with global warming.

Each made his case last night during a forum in Hickory sponsored by the John Locke Foundation and the Reese Institute for Conservation of Natural Resources at Lenoir-Rhyne University.

Click play below to view the entire 1:15:15 event.

You'll find other John Locke Foundation video presentations here.

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Jindal to respond to Obama

Posted by David N. Bass at 08:59 AM

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal will give the Republican response to President Obama's first speech to a joint-session of Congress in late February.

Jindal spoke at a John Locke Foundation event Feb. 4.

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Questions that won't be asked at "press conferences"

Posted by George Leef at 08:37 AM

It is extremely telling that at Obama's first press conference, the questioners were pre-selected. The way to read that decision is that the president and his handlers don't want any more "Joe the Plumber" blunders. For all his vaunted intellectuality, Obama is not good at handling challenging questions. (When has he ever had to?) By carefully controlling press conferences, they want to avoid awkward stammering in the face of questions that he doesn't know how to answer.

Picking up on that, columnist Larry Elder here poses seven questions he'd like to have the president answer.

I'll add one of my own: What actions is the administration taking to prevent the recurrence of damaging economic bubbles in the future?

Or how about this? Most economists foresee rapidly increasing inflation in the years to come; how will your administration deal with that? Price controls?

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House flippers

Posted by David N. Bass at 08:03 AM

My thoughts on HUD's Neighborhood Stabilization Program in today's American Spectator.

By the way, I accessed the mammoth "stimulus" bill yesterday. When I tried to generate a print preview to see how many pages it is, it crashed my computer. Perhaps a foretaste of what it will do to the country.

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Will government bonds be the last bubble?

Posted by George Leef at 07:49 AM

Famed investor Jim Rogers thinks so. Read his thoughts here.

Great line: "History has never seen all major central banks printing money as fast as they can at the same time." Oh boy -- the whole world is going to be stimulated.

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Who is Timothy Geithner?

Posted by George Leef at 07:40 AM

Economist Morgan O. Reynolds examines his career here and doesn't see anything to inspire confidence that he understands the economic problems that years of interventionist policies have brought about.

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"Pockets of excellence amid swaths of mediocrity"

Posted by Dr. Terry Stoops at 07:10 AM

The honor code requires folks from the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools to respond to this News & Observer editorial. in the concluding paragraph, N&O editors toss a fireball their way,

Pockets of excellence amid swaths of mediocrity -- that seems to be what the Charlotte-Mecklenburg schools have bargained for. Wake County aspires to better than that, and clearly has a strategy for attaining it.
For an overview of the issue, read this.

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Today's Carolina Journal Online features

Posted by Mitch Kokai at 06:50 AM

Today's Carolina Journal Online exclusive features David Bass' report about a former state air quality official who worked on state taxpayers' time to recruit groups for an outside entity called the Climate Registry.

John Hood's Daily Journal suggests accepting some ideas from both Democrats and Republicans to improve North Carolina's criminal justice system. 

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Experts debate facts, fiction of climate debate

Posted by Mitch Kokai at 00:54 AM

Two leading voices from opposing camps in the climate change debate squared off last night in Hickory.

William Schlesinger of the Cary Institute, a former dean of Duke's environment school, argues that we ignore the changing climate at our peril. John Christy of the University of Alabama at Huntsville, Alabama's state climatologist, counters that cold, hard facts contradict the most outrageous claims about impending doom.

Click play below to view both scientists response to the debate's final question.

Click play below to view the entire 1:15:15 event.

You'll find other John Locke Foundation video presentations here.

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