The Locker Room

January 5, 2005

Re: Storms...

Posted by Dr. Roy Cordato at 4:30 PM

Jon notes that the response by alarmists to these storms would be "at least America gets hit by something caused by the global warming we "created"." Of course this is predicated on our high gross emissions of carbon dioxide. An interesting article from Science back in 1998 suggests that while our emissions might be high (although not on a per unit of economic output basis) our net contribution to global carbon dioxide levels may actually be negative. An article by S. Fan, M. Gloor, et. al. suggests that North America is a carbon sink. This means that trees, vegetation , etc. may be using more CO2 than is being emitted. In case anyone wants to go to the library and look it up, the title of the article is "A Large Terrestrial Carbon Sink in North America Implied by Atmospheric and Oceanic Carbon Dioxide Data and Models," Vol. 282, October 16, 1998.

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Re: Hate at Dook

Posted by Donna Martinez at 4:30 PM

Good piece, Drew. I also think my husband, Rick, provided interesting perspective on the PSM conference in his Oct. 6 Raleigh News & Observer column. Here is an excerpt:

"Duke can issue all the statements it wants saying that acceptance of the conference isn't endorsement. Even if you buy that line, by hosting PSM Duke offers a measure of validity to the group's ideas and agenda. You can't be a neutral player on your home field.

Duke officials are smart enough to know that. I wish Brodhead had shown more intellectual backbone by acknowledging that hosting PSM is a political choice, not a decision based on free speech and academic freedom.

Making political choices and defending them is something Duke has never been afraid of. This is a university that keeps an eye on the political ramifications of its investments (and has declined to give up its Israel-related holdings). This is a university that helped spearhead a boycott against the Mount Olive pickle company over farmworker rights. And this is a university that out of sheer political stubbornness refuses to recognize appropriately the accomplishments of one its most distinguished law school graduates, former President Nixon. (There's more to Nixon than Watergate; China, the Environmental Protection Agency and affirmative action for starters.)

And in 1941, it was Duke that extended a faculty appointment to international law and human rights expert Raphael Lemkin, allowing him to emigrate to the United States. Lemkin created the concept of genocide in international law, and his work culminated in the passage of the U.N. genocide convention of 1948.

Frankly, I wish Duke had given PSM leaders a map to Chapel Hill. However, more troubling was the failure to vigorously defend the merits of its judgment. By defaulting to the free speech and academic freedom arguments, administrators showed they prefer the comforts of political correctness to the heat and lessons of political courage."

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re: Storm

Posted by Shannon Blosser at 3:27 PM

Jon, Don't forget, President Bush, the Republican-controlled Congres and Mel Gibson will all be blamed for not warning the American public in time. Karl Rove, however, will be blamed for creating the storm to turn public opinion into Bush's favor going into the congressional term.

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Inhofe brings climate sanity to Senate

Posted by Dr. Roy Cordato at 3:15 PM

Senator James M. Inhofe, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, has given a great summary of climate science. His very pointed refutation of the climate alarmists on his committee can be found here. In sumarizing the views of the global warming "skeptics" Inhofe states:

"the so-called "skeptics" continue to speak out. What they are saying, and what they are showing, is
devastating to the alarmists. They have amassed additional scientific evidence convincingly refuting the alarmists' most cherished assumptions and beliefs. New evidence has emerged that further undermines their conclusions, most notably those of the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change-one of the major pillars of authority cited by extremists and climate alarmists."

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Storm's a-comin' — maybe

Posted by Jon Sanders at 2:38 PM

From The Seattle Times:

The three storms are likely to meet in the nation's midsection and cause even more problems, sparing only areas east of the Appalachian Mountains. Property damage and a few deaths are likely, forecasters said.

"You're talking a two- or three-times-a-century type of thing," said prediction-center senior meteorologist James Wagner, who has been forecasting storms since 1965. "It's a pattern that has a little bit of everything."

Expect global warming to be blamed, and then some tiresome wags will pontificate that at least America gets hit by something caused by the global warming we "created" ...

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UNC-Chapel Hill prof's book slams The Da Vinci Code

Posted by Jon Sanders at 1:15 PM

The Greensboro News & Record reports:

First, it was Roman Catholic and Protestant conservatives, protesting that [Dan] Brown's characters inaccurately malign Christianity. Now, more liberal thinkers likewise say Brown's claim to present facts through fiction is itself fictional and misleads readers.

The leader of this second wave is Bart Ehrman, religion chairman at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, in "Truth and Fiction in The Da Vinci Code" (Oxford University Press). Ehrman is an expert in early church documents that are central to Brown's plot.

The article contains numerous examples from Prof. Ehrman on the historical deficiencies (to put it mildly) of Brown's book — something that we discussed in The Locker Room last year, here, here, here, and here.

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Re: History lesson

Posted by Hal Young at 12:20 AM

Thank you Jenna. You know we have our own misquoted bakery-oriented pronouncement, right?

On June 26, 1963, President John F. Kennedy delivered a speech that electrified an adoring crowd gathered in the shadow of the Berlin Wall. As he paid tribute to the spirit of Berliners and to their quest for freedom, the crowd roared with approval upon hearing the the President's dramatic pronouncement, "Ich bin ein Berliner"

The problem with the National Archives' translation of that dramatic phrase is that it's not technically correct German. What the President should have said is, "Ich bin Berliner." What he actually said in front of a whole lot of people was, "I am a jelly doughnut". That distinction belongs to another, squishier member of the family.

 

(By the way, the Exeter University "Beginners' German" website calls the doughnut story an "urban myth", since JFK's German translator gave him the exact phrase; however, I'm going by what my own professors told me in college, and even this site does 'fess up at the end:

 

We would still recommend omitting the definite article when describing your profession and where you live. You should nevertheless be aware that native Germans who include the article are not trying to indicate that they are nutty as a fruitcake. Or a jelly donut. Or a hamburger for that matter.

 

I'll stand with Frau Doktor Wannamaker.  It's a better story.)

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Hate at Dook

Posted by Andrew Cline at 11:16 AM

Opinion Journal has the story here. Why are statements like these not hate crimes?

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History Lesson: "Qu'ils mangent de la brioche!

Posted by Jenna Ashley Robinson at 10:58 AM

Thought you all might like to know - the actual history of the phrase "let them eat cake." It has a connection to today's politics of which few are aware.

"Let them eat brioche" - it was never "cake" - is most likely a call to enforce laws requiring bakeries to sell fancy breads (including brioche) at the same prices as plain bread, thus destroying incentives to make profits as well as declicious breakfast breads. The law was intended to help the poor, not hurt them.

This is not unlike current laws fixing the price of milk, butter, eggs and almost every variety of grain in the US and across Europe. In fact, all brioche ingredients are subsidized (here as well as in France) and most of those for cake as well. So, the next time you hear someone decrying the poor's ability to "eat cake," you can put them to rights about the actual history of the phrase.

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Re: Bats and Power

Posted by Jenna Ashley Robinson at 10:24 AM

Just for a minute, I'm going to ignore all the possible environmentalist arguments against Nuclear Power and just concentrate on the economic aspect of power generation. According to the Uranium Information Centre Ltd of Melbourne Australia,

The total fuel costs of a nuclear power plant in the OECD are typically about a third of those for a coal-fired plant and between a quarter and a fifth of those for a gas combined-cycle plant.

The questions remain: would nuclear power plants still require subsidization at the start-up? And how would we treat the aging gas and coal plants put out of business by nuclear power - would we subsidize them, buy them out, fix prices?

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Fear of flying

Posted by John Hood at 09:02 AM

One of the famous circus family, the Flying Wallendas, was paralyzed from the waist down in a fall way back in 1962. Now, after retiring from a different career and trying several pasttimes with no luck, Mario Wallenda has designed a special wheelchair that allows him to do aerial acts on a high wire. Pretty cool, huh?

Except that he’s having a hard time convincing organizations to let him perform. They are afraid that audiences will think the act is making fun of the disabled.

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Let them not eat cake

Posted by John Hood at 08:16 AM

An aviation-products manufactuer, Workhouse Aviation, got a nice incentive package to put a new facility in rural Jones County that was expected to create about 50 jobs. The company broke ground in November and was scheduled to see construction bids come in in a couple of weeks.

But now it has pulled the plug on the Jones County site and is starting over with a site selection, possibly still in Eastern NC.

Why? Because it found that it couldn't have its cake and eat it, too. Initially, Workhouse was going to build its own building. But then it asked the county to do it instead, and desperate local officials agreed. But converting the facility from a private project to a public one meant taking on a lot more paperwork, bidding requirements, and delay.

"We have decided to look for a new site," Workhorse president Melanie McTaggart. "We're looking for a site more conducive to the growth of our industry."

In other words, a place where local government officials will do their work at public expense without public accountability. Here's hoping they don't find such a place in North Carolina.

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