Bravo, Pope Benedict XVI

February 11, 2009

The Vatican has announced that it has no problem with Darwin’s theory of evolution, and that, indeed, it is compatible with Catholic theology, whereas Intelligent Design is not:

A leading official declared yesterday that Darwin’s theory of evolution was compatible with Christian faith, and could even be traced to St Augustine and St Thomas Aquinas. “In fact, what we mean by evolution is the world as created by God,” said Archbishop Gianfranco Ravasi, head of the Pontifical Council for Culture. The Vatican also dealt the final blow to speculation that Pope Benedict XVI might be prepared to endorse the theory of Intelligent Design, whose advocates credit a “higher power” for the complexities of life.

Organisers of a papal-backed conference next month marking the 150th anniversary of Darwin’s On the Origin of Species said that at first it had even been proposed to ban Intelligent Design from the event, as “poor theology and poor science”. Intelligent Design would be discussed at the fringes of the conference at the Pontifical Gregorian University, but merely as a “cultural phenomenon”, rather than a scientific or theological issue, organisers said.

Well done. Applause

(hat tip: LGF)


Drill here, drill now? No way, baby!

February 11, 2009

Continuing its valiant struggle to turn a recession into a depression and expanding its war on the working class, the Obama Administration reinstated a ban on offshore drilling:

Facing gas prices near $4 a gallon and a pivotal national election, congressional Democrats allowed a ban on offshore drilling to lapse in September

But times change, and on Tuesday, the Obama administration – with gas prices roughly half what they were and many Democrats’ having been swept into office – blocked offshore drilling plans put in place at the last minute by the Bush administration, including plans to open the national outer continental shelf for drilling.

Interior Department Secretary Ken Salazar also announced last week that his agency would block drilling on public lands in Utah, criticizing the Bush administration for releasing its offshore drilling plan just days before leaving office.

Secretary Salazar claims the Bush Administration engaged in "a headlong rush of the worst kind" when it rescinded the drilling ban. Perhaps the Secretary doesn’t remember last summer’s $5 per gallon gasoline prices and the tremendous burden that placed on middle and lower-class Americans who have to drive to work. Perhaps he’s not aware of our dependence on imports from hostile dictatorships in the Middle East and Latin America, some of whom are using part of the money they get from oil to finance our jihadist enemies. Perhaps he doesn’t understand that the immense wealth transferred outside the US by buying this foreign oil is a large part of the financial crisis we face.

Perhaps he’s just a hack Obama appointed to pander to the Hispanic vote.

There’s a reason "drill here, drill now" became a chant during the last election: we are sitting on huge recoverable resources of oil both within the continental US and offshore. Modern technology makes extracting that oil much safer than its ever been. We had a opportunity in that election to elect a team that understands the economic and national security implications of our policy toward oil and coal, but, for whatever reason, we chose instead a savior who’s so far only delivered mediocrity and "just words," and his running-mate, a gas bag with a weak grip on reality. We’re going to pay for that, as far more wealth goes overseas instead of creating jobs here, and as fuel prices inevitably go up again to hurt the people who can least afford it.

It’s too late now to do much about it for the next few years, but soon we’ll have the chance to make good choices and elect people who understand energy policy and the intelligent use of our resources, starting in 2010 and, I hope, 2012.

Drill, baby, drill. Peace Sign


This is economic stimulus?

February 11, 2009

Senator Tom Coburn (R-Common Sense) details some of the ridiculous pork projects in the Obama-Reid-Pelosi National Penury Act:

Wasteful and Non-Stimulative Spending in Nelson-Collins Substitute

• $2 billion earmark for FutureGen near zero emissions powerplant in Mattoon, IL
• $39 billion slush fund for "state fiscal stabilization" bailout
• $5.5 billion for making federal buildings "green" (including $448 million for DHS HQ)
• $200 million for workplace safety in USDA facilities
• $275 million for flood prevention
• $65 million for watershed rehabilitation
• $200 million for public computer centers at community colleges and libraries
• $650 million for the DTV transition coupon program
• $307 million for constructing NIST office buildings
• $1 billion for administrative costs and construction of NOAA office buildings
• $100 million for constructing U.S. Marshalls office buildings
• $300 million for constructing FBI office buildings
• $800 million for constructing Federal Prison System buildings and facilities
• $10 million to fight Mexican gunrunners
• $1.3 billion for NASA (including $450 million for "science" at NASA)
• $100 million to clean up sites used in early U.S. atomic energy program
• $10 million for urban canals
• $2 billion for manufacturing advanced batteries for hybrid cars
• $1.5 billion for carbon capture projects under sec. 703 of P.L. 110-140 (though section only authorizes $1 billion for five years)
• $300 million for hybrid and electric cars for federal employees
• $198 million to design and furnish the DHS headquarters
• $255 million for "priority procurements" at Coast Guard (polar ice breaker)
• $500 million for State and local fire stations
• $180 million for construction of Bureau of Land Management facilities
• $500 million for wildland fire management
• $110 million for construction for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
• $522 million for construction for the Bureau of Indian Affairs
• $650 million for abandoned mine sites
• $75 million for the Smithsonian Institution
• $1.2 billion for summer jobs for youth
• $412 million for CDC headquarters
• $500 million earmark for NIH facilities in Bethesda, MD
• $160 million for "volunteers" at the Corp. for National and Community Service
• $750 earmark for the National Computer Center in MD
• $224 million for International Boundary and Water Commission – U.S. and Mexico
• $850 million for Amtrak
• $100 million for lead paint hazard reduction

Several of these might —might— be worthwhile projects on their own, but they should be vetted in the normal legislative appropriations process via committee hearings and debate, not rammed through as "emergency stimulus measures." This is nothing but a gigantic list of pet projects Democratic legislators are using to buy their reelections.

(hat tip: Pax Parabellum)