The Locker Room

December 4, 2009

The CBC and Climategate

Posted by Dr. Roy Cordato at 4:00 PM

Here's what they are seeing on Canadian TV. And in the US? Well, 14 days into the scandal and CBS, NBC, and ABC are still ignoring it.

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Re: It's a joke, right?

Posted by Paul Chesser at 12:55 AM

Guys, Seth Borenstein is as discredited as the Climategate scientists.

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Don't get too pumped about Pelosi's sunshine efforts

Posted by David N. Bass at 12:27 AM

Lest you get too excited about Congress disclosing personal spending for lawmakers for the third quarter, the Washington Examiner makes some valuable observations to temper enthusiasm.

Nancy Pelosi has made much ado about this sunshine effort. OK, it's terrific that Congress has made this information available online, so that Americans don't have to travel to Washington, D.C., and root through books in an administration building's basement. But the information is cryptic to say the least.

From Congress.org:

Claiming a milestone in Congressional transparency, the House on Monday for the first time released its quarterly expense reports online. But first, Congressional administrators erased a vast array of details on the expenditures of House Members, making it impossible to determine what much of the money was actually spent on.

As a result, while millions of Americans will for the first time be able to download and peruse the 3,400 pages detailing how Members spent their taxpayer-funded office accounts, they will no longer be able to see what items the Members purchased, which staffers were traveling on the taxpayer dime or where the Members are renting district offices.

...

In the printed versions of the disclosure reports covering April through June, there are hundreds of references to computers, laptops, televisions, cameras, printers and all sorts of office equipment, frequently described down to the model number.

In the new reports, all of those purchases are described simply as “comp hardware purch” or “equipment purchase.”

It's nice to know that my congressman purchased "office equipment," but I'd feel even more tickled to know whether that means he spent taxpayer dollars on a pricey Persian rug for his office or a necessary computer to help with constituent services.

Given the scandal in Great Britain, there is cause to wonder.

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Shafting taxpayers with a veggie car

Posted by David N. Bass at 11:00 AM

U.S. Rep. Emanuel Cleaver, D-Mo., takes a holier-than-thou approach to the driving habits of his fellow congressmen in this Los Angeles Times article from 2008:

The effort to steer lawmakers into vehicles that get better mileage comes as Congress has mandated more fuel-efficient vehicles for the public and pump prices have surged.

The requirement was sought by [Cleaver], who figured that if his colleagues were serious about reducing greenhouse gas emissions and U.S. dependence on foreign oil, they ought to put their foot where their mouth is.

Cleaver does. His taxpayer-funded Ford Econoline, a recycled airport shuttle he uses as a mobile office, runs on cooking grease. But he's heard grumbling from colleagues.

"They want their Lexuses and their Cadillacs," he said. "I just think it's a poor example for us to spend so much time talking about energy independence and global warming and presenting to the people an image of fat cats living the fat life."

There's just one problem: Cleaver leases his vegetable oil chugging, taxpayer-funded car for $2,900 per month. Yes, you read that right. $2,900 per month. That makes him, by far, the most free-spending member of Congress when it comes to auto leases.

In comparison, our own North Carolina Congressman Mel Watt, a 12th district Democrat, looks downright frugal. Watt leased a Toyota Prius as recently as 2007 for $742.80 a month.

According to this article in the Riverfront Times, Cleaver's spokesman claimed they only pay around $900 a month for the van, and that the lease is pricey because Cleaver "doesn't have a district office; the van doubles as a mobile office, replete with DVD player, fax machine and so on."

No district office? Like the ones listed in Kansas City and Independence on Cleaver's Web site?

Even if the lease is, in fact, around one grand a month, if Cleaver really wants to put his foot where his mouth is, he should use personal funds to pay for it. When they're required to use their own cash for such endeavors, though, greenies tend to get cold feet. Surprise, surprise.

Update: Third quarter disbursements from Congress show that Cleaver pays $4,833.33 per month in rent for his supposedly non-existent district offices. Maybe it's time to stop using that as an excuse for the pricey van.

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Take back Gore's Oscar

Posted by Dr. Michael Sanera at 10:36 AM

The LA Times reports here that two members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts are calling on the Academy to take back Gore's Oscar for "An Inconvenient Truth" because the Climategate emails show scientific fraud.

No, it wouldn't do anything for the environment. But two Hollywood conservatives (yes, there are some) have called on the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to rescind the prestigious, profitable gold Oscar statuette that it gave ex-Vice President Al Gore two years ago for the environmental movie "An Inconvenient Truth."

Roger L. Simon and Lionel Chetwynd, both Academy members, are among a small, meandering pack of known political conservatives still believed to be on the loose in the liberal bastion of movie-making.

In 2007, the Academy sanctified Gore's cinematic message of global warming with its famous statue, enriched his earnings by $100,000 per 85-minute appearance and helped elevate the Tennessean's profile to win the Nobel Peace Prize despite losing the election battle of 2000 to a Texan and living in a large house with lots of energy-driven appliances.

Chetwynd and Simon were prompted to make their hopeless demand this week by the ...

... leak two weeks ago of a blizzard of British academic e-mails purporting to show that scientists at the University of East Anglia Climatic Research Unit systematically falsified data to document the appearance of global warming in recent years.

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Re: It's a joke, right?

Posted by Dr. Michael Sanera at 10:19 AM

I had an over the lunch table debate with AP's Seth Borenstein at a meeting of the Society of Environmental Journalists convention a couple of years ago.  His only excuse for his biased environemtal  reporting was that MIT professor Richard Lindzen "would not return my phone calls." Obviously he did not bother to call the hundreds of other climate scientists who criticize the scientific "consensus."

A couple of days after Climategate story broke Borenstein authored this article in the N&O: "Hotter world arrived sooner than expected."

WASHINGTON -- Since the 1997 international accord to fight global warming, climate change has worsened and accelerated - beyond some of the grimmest of warnings made back then.

As the world has talked for a dozen years about what to do next, new ship passages opened through the once frozen summer sea ice of the Arctic. In Greenland and Antarctica, ice sheets have lost trillions of tons of ice. Mountain glaciers in Europe, South America, Asia and Africa are shrinking faster than before.

And it's not just the frozen parts of the world that have felt the heat in the dozen years leading up to next month's climate summit in Copenhagen:

The world's oceans have risen by about an inch and a half.

Droughts and wildfires have turned more severe worldwide, from the U.S. West to Australia to the Sahel desert of North Africa.

Species now in trouble because of changing climate include, not just the lumbering polar bear which has become a symbol of global warming, but also fragile butterflies, colorful frogs and entire stands of North American pine forests.

Temperatures over the past 12 years are 0.4 degrees warmer than the dozen years leading up to 1997.

Not a word about the emails that call all of this into question.  Great reporting, Seth.    All the news that is fit to swing public opinion in favor of the limits on human freedom that will be proposed in Copenhagen. 

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Wanna bet this guy wasn't invited to the "jobs summit"?

Posted by George Leef at 09:22 AM

I'm speaking of economist David Malpass, who has a terrific article in today's Wall Street Journal. His piece is entitled "Near-Zero Rates Are Hurting the Economy."

The approach to the financial crisis the Fed has taken has been to get through the worst of it by keeping interest rates really low so as to prop up shaky industries. That idea, of course, is contrary to the Austrian prescription of non-intervention so as to allow the economy to make the necessary adjustments.

Here's what Malpass says about the consequences of the Fed's hair-of-the-dog policy:

"Nevertheless, more than a year after the heart of the panic, the Fed is still promising near-zero interest rates for an extended period and buying over $3 billion per day of expensive mortgage securities as part of a $1.25 trillion purchase plan. Capital is being rationed not on price but on availability and connections. the government gets the most, foreigners second, Wall Street and big companies third, with not much left over."

The gusher of money is causing new asset bubbles and undermining the economic growth that we'd otherwise expect after a couple years of recession.

Economic manipulation got us into this mess and manipulation is setting the stage for more trouble.

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Bastiat's label is right -- legal plunder

Posted by George Leef at 08:44 AM

In this City Journal article California writer Steven Greenhut writes about the gruesome budget impact of the highly paid government employees. Back in the days when the golden state was financially sound, politicians made promises of big wage increases and retirement packages. Part of the political game -- buy votes by picking the pockets of present and future taxpayers. It "worked" just fine for several decades, but now the long-run consequences have arrived.

The tax consumers continue to rake in plenty of money while the tax payers are struggling. This is the true class warfare, between those who must work to pay taxes and those who consume taxes paid.

Here we have another good argument for keeping government as limited as possible. The fewer people on government payrolls, the less taxpayers will be plundered through the political process.

I see that Greenhut has a new book out. I'm going to get it ASAP.

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Re: It's joke, right?

Posted by Jeff A. Taylor at 07:45 AM

It is even worse than that.

N&O editors are saying that this package from the AP fills its scarce A-front newshole better than anything else generated in-house.

If I were an N&O reporter I'd be really ticked off about that, not to mention embarrassed. Were I the publisher of the paper, I'd wonder why we are paying the AP scarce MNI dollars for such obvious crap -- and why I hired those editors.

The N&O still has a local publisher, right?

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It's joke, right?

Posted by Rick Henderson at 07:12 AM

When Carolina Journal publishes a parody, we do so on the back page, and clearly label it as satire.

Not the News & Observer, apparently. How else to explain the front-page story in today's paper by Seth Borenstein of The Associated Press, headlined "It's time to adapt to the heat," and opening up with this hilarity:

With the world losing the battle against global warming, experts are warning that humans need to follow nature's example: Adapt or die.

That means elevating buildings, making taller and stronger dams and seawalls, rerouting water systems, restricting certain developments, changing farming practices and ultimately moving people, plants and animals out of harm's way.


Uh, excuse me. Anybody heard of Climategate? Nowhere does Borenstein even acknowledge the e-mail scandal centered around East Anglia University, which has already led to the suspension of one of the perps, the investigation of a second, the firing of the leader of Australia's Liberal Party (he backed carbon taxes), and the cancellation of Al Gore's appearance at the forthcoming Copenhagen Climatefab.

To be sure, the print edition of the paper directs readers to an inside story about Climategate. But by publishing this item on the front page, the editors look downright clueless. And that's being generous.

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Attacking university corruption and hypocrisy from the inside

Posted by Mitch Kokai at 07:06 AM

Mike Adams is not afraid to bite the hand that feeds when he sees the need.

The UNC-Wilmington professor and TownHall.com columnist urged an N.C. State audience last night to stay vigilant in efforts to fight the campus's bad actors and bad policies. College Republicans hosted the speech with support from the Pope Center for Higher Education Policy.

In the video clip below, Adams pushes for a campaign against administrative bloat on public university campuses.

Click play below to watch an hour of Adams' speech.

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This weekend on Carolina Journal Radio

Posted by Mitch Kokai at 06:56 AM

Since Carolina Journal first blew the whistle about a dubious UNC-Chapel Hill program designed to help families of returning soldiers, the university has taken steps to fix the program’s problems. David Bass offers an update during the next edition of Carolina Journal Radio.

Rick Henderson will also join us to discuss the disturbing prospect of newspapers turning to governments for taxpayer handouts.

Speaking of disturbing, President Obama’s agenda seems to have disturbed many of the people who voted for him. That’s the assessment of Fred Barnes of Fox News and The Weekly Standard, who will offer his take on the new administration’s first year.

We’ll also turn to history. First, Steven Hayward of the American Enterprise Institute will share details of the second volume of his Age of Reagan historical narrative. Then, we’ll turn the clock back 800 years for John Hood’s views on the vital lessons of the Fourth Crusade.

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New Carolina Journal Online features

Posted by Mitch Kokai at 06:43 AM

This week's Carolina Journal Online Friday interview features a conversation with syndicated columnist and Fox News analyst Cal Thomas, who discusses his concerns about the Obama administration.

Rick Henderson's guest Daily Journal looks back at a wild 2009 and looks ahead to the world of N.C. political scandal in 2010.

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