Ooops! New NASA study: Antarctica isn’t losing ice mass after all !

October 31, 2015

But wait. I thought the science was settled. Al Gore said so…

Watts Up With That?

From the “settled science” department and former chief alarmist Jay Zwally, who for years had said the Arctic was in big trouble (only to have his prediction falsified), comes this Emily Litella moment in climate science: “Never mind!”. Curiously, WUWT reported back in 2012 about an ICEsat study by Zwally that said: ICESAT Data Shows Mass Gains of the Antarctic Ice Sheet Exceed Losses. I surmise that with the publication of this second study, the original is now confirmed. I suppose John Cook will have to revise his “Denial 101” video on Antarctica now.

antarctica-ice-map This map shows the rates of mass changes from ICESat 2003-2008 over Antarctica. Sums are for all of Antarctica: East Antarctica (EA, 2-17); interior West Antarctica (WA2, 1, 18, 19, and 23); coastal West Antarctica (WA1, 20-21); and the Antarctic Peninsula (24-27). A gigaton (Gt) corresponds to a billion metric tons, or 1.1 billion…

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Wine Makers NOT concerned about Climate Change

October 31, 2015

Of course they’re not worried: increasing CO2 means more plant food. Besides, in prior warming periods, there were wine grapes grown in Roman and Early Medieval Britain. If the alarmists are right, we might soon be sipping fine Scottish merlots. (McTavish Winery, anyone?)

Watts Up With That?

Tempranillo (also known as Ull de Llebre, Cencibel, Tinto del Pais and several other synonyms) is a black grape variety widely grown to make full-bodied red wines in its native Spain.[1] Its name is the diminutive of the Spanish temprano ("early"),[1] a reference to the fact that it ripens several weeks earlier than most Spanish red grapes. Tempranillo (also known as Ull de Llebre, Cencibel, Tinto del Pais and several other synonyms) is a black grape variety widely grown to make full-bodied red wines in its native Spain.[1] Its name is the diminutive of the Spanish temprano (“early”),[1] a reference to the fact that it ripens several weeks earlier than most Spanish red grapes. Guest essay by Eric Worrall

The International Organisation of Vine and Wine has stated it is not concerned about the impact of climate change, at least in the short to medium term.

According to Reuters;

Good news for wine drinkers: a leading international body says grape vines are a hardy little number and can survive climate change, at least over the medium term.

Earlier harvesting, changes in grape varieties and new wine-making processes have already helped counter the impact of the harsher weather hitting vineyards across the globe, the head of the International…

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#RaiseTheWage: We tried to warn you, Seattle, but you wouldn’t listen, and so…

October 30, 2015
"But at least we won the election! Obama!!"

“But at least we raised the wage! Obama!!”

We really did try to warn them: Increasing the minimum wage beyond economically sustainable(1) levels will lead to bad, albeit predictable consequences, such as job losses:

Seattle, which recently passed a $15 minimum wage, has seen the loss of 700 restaurant jobs despite the rest of the state seeing huge increases, according to a Wednesday report.

In its report, the American Enterprise Institute looked at restaurant job growth in both Seattle and the rest of Washington. The state itself has gained 5,800 industry jobs since January. Seattle, however, lost 700 jobs in the same time. The state minimum wage is $9.47. Back in June Seattle passed its own minimum wage of $15 an hour. The city ordinance is designed to phase in over the course of several years. It will reach $15 an hour by 2017 for most employers.

“One likely cause of the stagnation and decline of Seattle area restaurant jobs this year is the increase in the city’s minimum wage,” the report speculated. “It looks like the Seattle minimum wage hike is getting off to a pretty bad start. Especially considering that restaurant employment in the rest of the state is booming, and nearly 6,000 more restaurant workers are employed today than in January.”

As I’ve said before:

Labor is a cost, because the business owner has to provide wages and, often, benefits that cost him more money. When a government mandate increases that cost, the business owner has three choices: pass the cost along to the customer, who may decide it’s too much and stop shopping there; cut employee hours and stop hiring to save on labor costs, thus costing potential jobs and putting a burden on workers still employed; and, finally, just decide it’s not worth it anymore and close up shop. In the low-margin bookseller business, Borderlands’ owner chose the last course as the only one viable.

That was in San Francisco. In Seattle, it looks like restaurant owners decided on some mixture of cutting labor hours, or perhaps moving out of Seattle altogether. In at least one case, workers asked to reduced their hours, so they wouldn’t lose their jobs… and their government subsidies.

Of course, this is to the benefit of areas with lower labor costs around Seattle; at least some of them absorbed those jobs and the tax revenue from people looking for better prices.

Meanwhile, assuming those restaurants didn’t close, let me introduce you to your new server:

Welcome to the future

Need no wages

The progressive elites running Seattle (and San Francisco and New York and Los Angeles and…) almost certainly feel good for fighting for “economic justice” and “fairness.

It’s a shame the average working stiff has to suffer for their egos.

PS: The ideal minimum wage is zero.

Foonote:
(1) One of the progressive left’s favorite environmental-justice words. Maybe we should use it so they can start to understand economics.


Republicans move to (finally) impeach IRS director

October 28, 2015
John Koskinen

John Koskinen

Honestly, I never thought they would really do it:

House Oversight and Government Reform Chairman Jason Chaffetz (R., Utah) filed an impeachment resolution on Tuesday against IRS Commissioner John Koskinen, the turnaround expert who was brought in to clean up the tax agency in 2013. Mr. Chaffetz was joined by 18 fellow Republicans.

The charges focus on the destruction of magnetic tapes that contained e-mails from Lois Lerner, the former agency executive whose office gave extra scrutiny to the groups.

“John Andrew Koskinen engaged in a pattern of deception that demonstrates his unfitness to serve as Commissioner of the Internal Revenue Service,” the resolution says, focusing on Mr. Koskinen’s statements last year about the agency’s efforts to retrieve documents for congressional investigations. “Commissioner Koskinen made a series of false and misleading statements to Congress in contravention of his oath to tell the truth.”

“The IRS vigorously disputes the allegations in the resolution. We have fully cooperated with all of the investigations,” the agency said in a written statement.

Of course, the IRS also said there had been no high level coordinated efforts to harass conservative and libertarian groups applying for non-profit status in the run-up to the 2012 election, and then, when that was shown to be a lie, said they couldn’t find Lois Lerner’s emails. That was also shown to be a lie. During the whole of his time in office, Commissioner Koskinen has stonewalled, obstructed, and flat-out lied to the Congress, the elected representatives of his bosses: us. His arrogance in several hearings I’ve watched has just been astounding. If not impeachment, he certainly deserves a pie in the face.

Long-time readers of this blog (all two of you) will recall that I often called for the impeachment of former Attorney General Eric Holder and that I believe Barack Obama merits impeachment and removal from office. Partly because their malfeasance and incompetence in office (1) deserve it, but also to restore some respect for Congress’ role as the representatives of the people and the states. Congress has been so reluctant to impeach and remove officials who abuse their power that it has contributed to the decline of the legislature’s status as a co-equal branch and the rise of “Crown government.” Along with denying funds, impeachment is the only weapon Congress has to hold the Executive to account.

Make no mistake, however: as the article points out, removing even a minor wretch like Mr. Koskinen will be difficult. Other than judges, Congress has gone after Executive Branch officials only twice: Grant’s Secretary of War and President Clinton, himself. Removing Koskinen requires 67 senators voting to convict, which means several Democrats would have to turn against the Obama White House, which appointed him. Ain’t gonna happen.

However, putting this malicious bureaucrat on trial would be a small first step on the road toward restoring Congress’ authority by asserting its institutional and constitutional prerogatives. In other words, you abuse your power,  you get your power taken away from you.

By all rights, this should be the first of several.

Pour encourager les autres.


Poland elections: BBC shows its bias ever so *slightly*

October 28, 2015

Poland recently held elections in which the Right won a landslide victory: enough seats to govern on its own, and for the first time since 1989 eliminating any left-wing party from the Sejm (parliament).

I can only gather that the BBC was not happy with the results, because they headed the linked article with this image:

No. No subliminal message here.

No. No subliminal message here.

(Photo credit: AFP)

That’s Beata Szydlo, likely Poland’s next prime minister. Sure, she’s waving to the crowd, but just try to tell me —without laughing!— that the underlying message isn’t “conservatives are all neo-fascists!” a particularly egregious idea, given Poland’s recent history. I’ve little expectation that “the Beeb” would have run a similar photograph if the incumbent centrist coalition had won reelection.

At least it wasn’t The Guardian: they would have photoshopped a certain famous mustache on her.

via Alexander Macris


Remember kids, when you say someone is “hard-working,” you’re a racist

October 27, 2015

Liberal tolerance racist

For progressive racialists like MSNBC’s Melissa Harris-Perry, everything is seen through the lens of victimization and race, while every descriptor is really a code-word for racism.

In today’s example, Harris-Perry was interviewing Latino conservative activist Alfonso Aguilar about Rep. Paul Ryan, who will likely soon be Speaker of the House. When Aguilar described Ryan as “hard-working” (which anyone who’s followed Ryan knows is true), she interrupted him to ramble on about how this was somehow possibly unfair to slaves and working mothers:

Harris-Perry cut in to tell Aguilar that the use of the term “hard worker” was problematic since she had a picture of slaves working in cotton fields on her office wall to remind her of when to really use that term. Her rambling response also included an attack on Republicans for demonizing working mothers.

“I just want to pause on one thing,” she said. “Because I don’t disagree with you that I actually think Mr. Ryan is a great choice for this role, but I want us to be super careful when we use the language ‘hard worker,’ because I actually keep an image of folks working in cotton fields on my office wall, because it is a reminder about what hard work looks like. So, I feel you that he’s a hard worker. I do.

“But in the context of relative privilege, and I just want to point out that when you talk about work-life balance and being a hard worker, the moms who don’t have health care who are working. But, we don’t call them hard workers. We call them failures. We call them people who are sucking off the system.”

She then went on, over Aguilar’s protests, to slag all Republicans as being the demons she was conjuring in her imagination.

This from a woman who once wore tampons as earrings on national television:

Melissa Harris-Perry tampon earrings

Yep. I’m going to take her seriously. You betcha. Gravitas, man.

More seriously, Harris-Perry, far from being an intellectual, is herself intellectually trapped within the racialist framework the Left has built over the last 60 years. She can’t conceive of any other way of seeing the world other than through a lens of victimization and structural racism, so she employs a common weapon of the Left to browbeat and dominate her guest: deconstruction. Aguilar’s words don’t have their common meaning and they don’t mean what he intended they mean: Harris-Perry will instead tell him what they “really mean” –or at least mean to her, relativism making all opinions equal, no matter how asinine– thus implying that he and his fellow Republicans are racists, however unconsciously. Most targets of this, including, I admit, your humble host, will likely be taken aback by such an unfair imputation and stumble through lame denials, instead of cogently counterattacking. Thus the Left time and again wins the cultural battle.

At least in this aspect, they really are hard-working.


(Video) Who killed the Liberal Arts?

October 26, 2015
Downgraded

Downgraded

Consider this a companion piece to last week’s post about why Modern Art is so bad. In this video from Prager University, Heather MacDonald of the Manhattan Institute looks at the decline of the once-essential liberal arts education. As the text describing the video asks:

What in the world happened to the liberal arts? A degree in the humanities used to transmit the knowledge and wisdom imbued in the works of great Western artists, writers, musicians and thinkers like Shakespeare and Mozart. But today, that same degree stresses Western racism, sexism, imperialism, and other ills and sins that reinforce a sense of victimhood and narcissism. So, what happened?

Watch and learn the answer:

I’m embarrassed to confirm that my alma mater, UCLA, did indeed drop the study Shakespeare as a requirement for a degree in English.

But, hey, at least they get to study racism and imperialism, both of which are crucial to understanding great literature.

True, they still have to take course in English Literature pre-1500, 1500-1700, etc., but it is now possible to get a degree in English without more than a passing acquaintance with the greatest writers the language has ever produced.

I shudder to think of what’s happening in History departments, not to mention the rest of what was once called the “Humanities.” It’s one thing thing to critique Western civilization for its genuine flaws and dark moments, but it’s another altogether to make those the focus and frame of students’ understanding of a civilization and culture that’s produced so much that is wonderful and created so much good.

It’s a learned self-loathing that amounts to cultural suicide.

RELATED: Not all at UCLA were happy with this change. Prager on the intellectual and moral decline of modern universities. Heather MacDonald’s original article that lead to this video.