How biofuel-mania kills

October 12, 2015

satire Good Intentions

This is excerpted from a longer post at Power Line discussing a report pointing out the benefits of CO2 (hint: it’s plant food) and the nonsensical hysteria climate cultists try to spread about it. Proving the point about roads paved with good intentions, the insane pursuit of biofuels has lead to nearly 200,000 premature deaths:

Between 1990–92 and 2011–13, although global population increased by 31% to 7.1 billion, available food supplies increased by 44%. Consequently, the population suffering from chronic hunger declined by 173 million despite a population increase of 1.7 billion. This occurred despite the diversion of land and crops from production of food to the production of biofuels. According to one estimate, in 2008 such activities helped push 130–155 million people into absolute poverty, exacerbating hunger in this most marginal of populations. This may in turn have led to 190,000 premature deaths worldwide in 2010 alone. Thus, ironically, a policy purporting to reduce [global warming] in order to reduce future poverty and hunger only magnified these problems in the present day.

In the United States we’ve seen increases in the prices of food due in part to cropland being diverted to biofuels, instead of producing feed for cattle or vegetables for the produce sections of our local markets. But, we’re lucky: thanks to a marvelous transportation system, food can still be brought in by land and sea. For the subsistence farmers described above, it’s not an inconvenience: it’s a matter of life and death.

I’ve said before and I’ll say it again: Heaven help us against those trying to “save” us.

PS: The whole report is available at Watt’s Up With That.

California Screaming: Welcome to drive-up voter fraud

October 11, 2015
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I’m sure you’ve got one in your life, too: that person you love for all he or she has done in the past, the good times you have together, but who still drives you bat-sh… er… drives you batty for all the stupid and self-destructive things they do. Sometimes it even gets to a point where you think you want to end the relationship and move on, but you can’t. You keep hoping your loved one will come to their senses, but you know in your heart they never will.

Like me and my beloved California:

After a record low turnout in last year’s election, Gov. Jerry Brown of California signed legislation on Saturday designed to increase electoral participation by automatically registering eligible state voters when they obtain a driver’s license.

The law, which allows Californians to opt out of registering at the Department of Motor Vehicles, was the most prominent of more than a dozen bills relating to elections that Mr. Brown signed on Saturday. It puts California at the forefront of efforts across the country to increase electoral participation at a time when many states have added new hurdles, like voter identification laws. (1)

The new law will “help improve elections and expand voter rights and access in California,” the governor’s office said in a statement.

Pardon my language, Governor, but your bald head has been out in the sun too long. Are you forgetting that other bill you signed a while back?

Gov. Jerry Brown on Sunday signed a bill that will allow hundreds of thousands of young illegal immigrants to obtain driver’s licenses.

Let’s see. “Hundreds of thousands illegal immigrants” will be given driver’s licenses. And now the state will start registering people to vote automatically when they get their licenses. Does anyone really expect the ponderous, bloated, inefficient California state government –through its DMV, no less!– to keep illegal aliens off the voter rolls?

Don’t bother with the show of hands; we all know the answer.

This is an extension of the “motor voter” nonsense enacted federally in a 1993 bill that has turned into a godsend for groups seeking to rig elections by registering people who shouldn’t vote. As election law expert Hans von Spakovsky wrote on ACORN and the 1993 Motor Voter Act:

It should come as no surprise to anyone that the registration list in Indianapolis/Marion County still has large numbers of ineligible voters – people who have died or moved away, are registered more than once, are not citizens or perhaps don’t even exist given ACORN’s activities there. After all, when the U.S. Supreme Court upheld Indiana’s voter ID law this year, it cited the lower court’s finding that Indiana’s voter rolls were inflated by as much as 41.4% in 2004. One of the main reasons for the inflated voter rolls was the National Voter Registration Act of 1993 or Motor Voter, which was the first legislation signed into law by newly sworn-in President Bill Clinton. As the Supreme Court recognized, Motor Voter has provisions “restricting States’ ability to remove names from the lists of registered voters.” In fact, its restrictions and notice provisions are so strict that many states simply stopped doing anything to clean up their voter rolls after Motor Voter became law.

I predict California will see Indiana’s experience on steroids. There will be no push here to clean up those lists, or to challenge the eligibility of those being automatically registered. And the whole shebang will become ripe for fraud, probably to the benefit of progressive Democrats, desperate to regain their two-thirds majority in both houses of the legislature so they can raise taxes to their hearts’ content without asking for public approval.

Keep it up, California. I love you, but you’re making Idaho look awfully tempting by comparison.

Via several people on Twitter, all of whom knew how I’d react.

RELATED: More at Hot Air from Jazz Shaw, who writes:

The second highlighted section of the bill should be a major red flag as well. Under traditional paths to voter registration it has been accepted that the aspiring voter would proactively prove that they are an eligible citizen. This new system is precisely the opposite. The default condition will be the registration of the document holder and it is then incumbent upon the state to prove that they are not eligible. Given the already strained resources of agencies in every state, how carefully do you think they’ll be scrutinizing them?

Read the rest.

(1) What the heck is this guy talking about? How does this new law in anyway ameliorate the “problem?” States that require voter ID (we don’t) generally require a driver’s license, a state ID (for those who don’t drive), or some other form of easily obtainable ID. So how, then, is going to get a driver’s license or state ID (often obtainable at that same DMV) in any way burdensome or an insurmountable “hurdle?” How does that suppress the vote? Someone discouraged from voting every two or four years by having to spend an hour or so in their local DMV and paying a few bucks probably isn’t that motivated to participate in the “democratic process” anyway.

If the President Wants “Common Sense” Gun Laws, He Should Support Liberalization rather than Confiscation

October 9, 2015

Phineas Fahrquar:

Remember, folks: Gun-free zones *create* targets. They don’t protect people.

Originally posted on International Liberty:

I don’t necessarily blame President Obama for seeking to politicize tragic mass shootings. His actions may be a bit unseemly, but also understandable if he truly believes that disarming law-abiding people is the best way to reduce carnage.

That being said, this charitable interpretation only applies if the President sincerely pushes his preferred policies.

Yet Charles Krauthammer, writing for National Review, points out that there’s a remarkable disconnect. The President constantly talks about the need to enact “common-sense gun-safety laws,” but he never tells us what those laws would be.

Within hours, President Obama takes to the microphones to furiously denounce the NRA and its ilk for resisting “commonsense gun-safety laws.” His harangue is totally sincere, totally knee-jerk, and totally pointless. …Nor does Obama propose any legislation. He knows none would pass. But the deeper truth is that it would have made no difference. …notice, by the way, how…

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Governor Jindal’s Bold Reform Plan Slashes Revenue to DC, Abolishes the Corporate Income Tax

October 8, 2015

Phineas Fahrquar:

Of the remaining Republican candidates, Bobby Jindal is perhaps closest to my own policy preferences, at least on matters of entitlements, spending, and taxes. Dan Mitchell takes a look at Jindal’s proposed tax plan and likes what he sees. So do I. Jindal likely won’t be the nominee, but it’s to be hoped he’s an important part of the next administration, assuming the Republicans win.

Originally posted on International Liberty:

Give him credit. Most elected officials are content to tinker at the edges, but Governor Jindal of Louisiana actually wants to solve problems.

Look what he’s done, for instance, on fiscal policy.

He sought to abolish his state’s personal income tax, a step that would have dramatically boosted the states competitiveness.

That effort stalled, but he actually has been successful in curtailing state spending. He’s amassed one of the best records for frugality of all governors seeking the GOP presidential nomination.

And he’s now joined the list of presidential candidates seeking to rewrite the internal revenue code.

Since we’ve already reviewed the tax reform plans put forth by Rand Paul, Marco Rubio, Jeb Bush, and Donald Trump, let’s do the same for the Louisiana governor.

Regular readers hopefully will recall that there are three big problems with the current tax code.

  1. High tax rates that undermine…

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Study: CO2 “acidification” does not harm Coral

October 7, 2015

Phineas Fahrquar:

Once again Nature shows its remarkable capability for adaptation and simultaneously gut-punches a cherished scare tactic of the Climate Change cult.

Originally posted on Watts Up With That?:


Guest essay by Eric Worrall

A study, pH homeostasis during coral calcification in a free ocean CO2 enrichment (FOCE) experiment, Heron Island reef flat, Great Barrier Reef led by researcher Lucy Georgiou has concluded that at least some Coral has the ability to regulate its own internal PH. This allows the studied coral to thrive, even in extreme acid environments.

From the conclusion of the study;

Importantly, individual nubbins exhibited near constant δ11B compositions along their major growth axis over each of the four growth periods measured, regardless of whether they were grown under treatment or control conditions (Fig. 2A and Fig. S4A). These near constant δ11B compositions equate to near constant internal pHcf (Fig. 2B and Fig. S4B), irre- spective of treatment and season and declined by less than 0.1 units per unit decrease in external pHsw (Δp Hcf =Δp Hsw= 0.067, P = 0.078, df = 36; Table…

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ISIS slashes their fighters’ paychecks

October 7, 2015

Phineas Fahrquar:

It’s hard for me to imagine they’re hurting financially, with the oil revenues and money from artifact-smuggling they receive. If they are dealing with a “labor glut,” that would be… worrisome.

Originally posted on Money Jihad:

The Islamic State of Iraq has cut the wages for jihadists from about $400 to $100.  Is it a sign that ISIS is struggling financially, or is it an indication that they’re able to cut wages and still attract volunteers?  It’s unclear from this report from the Mirror whether ISIS is able to replenish the fighters that have left for Syria in search of better wages.  Hat tip to Shariah Finance Watch:

Hundreds of Isis killers give up terrorism after chiefs cut pay by £200 a month

Hundreds of Islamic State terror fighters are deserting the cause – after their wages were slashed. 

The killers were on £260 a month until cash shortages forced the lower rate of £65…

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In which Meryl Streep incurs the wrath of the Social Justice Warriors

October 6, 2015


Or perhaps the “Cultural Appropriation Cops.” I can never keep them straight.

Either way, Michael Walsh (1) learns a lesson: No matter how stupid the Leftist cause of the moment, they can always find something stupider.

A promotional campaign for the new Meryl Streep film Suffragette has become a PR nightmare thanks to T-shirts worn by Streep and her co-stars, which some say appear to lump the plight of white women in with the horrors endured by slaves. The shirts – worn by Streep, Carey Mulligan, Anne-Marie Duff and Romola Garai (all white women)–bear a quote from the suffragette Streep plays in the film, Emmeline Pankhurst: ‘I’d rather be a rebel than a slave.’

Critics have called the campaign tone deaf, in part because the T-shirts inevitably bring to mind the Confederacy by pairing the words ‘rebel’ and ‘slave’, but also because of the uneasy history between the feminist and black civil rights movements.

There’s more glorious politically-correct nonsense to be seen; click through for the details.

I was at dinner the other night with some dear friends, one of whom is a committed liberal. I was caught by surprise when he started complaining to me about the tyrannical depths the modern anti-Free Speech movement has sunk. Sensing an opening, I mentioned how even liberal and progressive columnists, such as (If I recall right) Jonathan Chait, were criticizing the new PC Police for going too far, for attacking even their allies. I thought perhaps we were having a breakthrough moment to the realization that Leftism itself is the source of the problem, but, alas, not yet. Still, I have hopes.

Perhaps I should get him a t-shirt.

(1) Coincidentally the author of a recent book you should read.


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