Monday, April 30, 2007

Constitutional lunacy

The Constitution is not an instrument for government to restrain the people; it is an instrument for the people to restrain the government--lest it come to dominate our lives and our interests.


— Patrick Henry
Of course, Patrick Henry got it right. The problem is that public schools tend to trivialize our Constitution--of course one should suspect nothing less from a unionized workforce protected by a government monopoly. Instead of teaching the concept that our Constitution is designed to limit government, schools teach that our Constitution provides for unlimited government; unlimited government in the form of one group of citizens having a legal claim to the property of all others.

There are no such positive rights in our Constitution, nor will you find them enumerated in our Declaration of Independence. Constitutional rights are purely negative rights; rights that protect you from the actions of others, including government, who seek claim to your property.

I submitted the following letter to the editor (unpublished) to respond to the lunacy being taught to students. I am posting it once more as it appears that the idea of in-class, or in-school, constitutions are becoming more popular.

This Hillard City Schools activity is one step away from codifying a Lord of the Flies legal system. Oh, wait, we almost have that already. Anyway...

Dear Editor:

"Then he whomps the other student with a pillow." (from "Hilliard students take law into own hands", Columbus Dispatch, September 16, 2005.)

Let's see, Constitution Day was passed by a Congress that does not understand state's rights and the role of the federal government, and is being implemented by schools that confound the US Constitution with codes of conduct and civil law. Is this really as wonderful as it seems?

Students in Hilliard are being taught that a good constitution enumerates the behaviors which govern good citizens. It would appear to me that teachers at Horizon Elementary understand a constitution to be a document that empowers citizens to enforce vague "feel-good" terms under the threat of violence (see first sentence).

Our Constitution was drafted in order to limit the powers of the federal government, though Sen. Byrd -- D-W.Va., sponsor, and the rest of Congress missed that lesson. Or, maybe they also spent their youth writing school constitutions similar to those being created in elementaries in Central Ohio.

A true school constitution would have to be constructed in a manner that circumscribed the powers of the staff within the God-given rights of the students. That would be an interesting exercise to say the least. Instead, the teachers had students codify classroom behavior expectations and called them a constitution.

I know, this all sounds like a fun activity, but what is really being taught? And, most importantly, what does this say about the teachers' understand of such valuable concepts as the guarantees of freedom from government contained in the document signed by our Founding Fathers?

Constitution Day failed in Hilliard.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Eco-Freaks

Another great offering from Laissez Faire Books is Eco-Freaks by John Berlau. Of special interest is his discussion of the tens of millions of lives lost to malaria in the 35 years since the governmental bans of DDT.

Starting in 1972, governments worldwide began banning DDT based on the biased, junk science found in Rachel Carson's Silent Spring. Now, governments are admitting their error, and DDT is once again being used against carrier mosquitoes. Of course, that admission is too late for those who died needlessly, as well as the millions who continue to suffer. So much for the omniscience of governments and their agents.

At least when the market fails, victims have means for recourse. No means for recourse exists when governments are negligent. So much for the belief that government can justly improve the condition of humanity.

Lew Rockwell has an excellent article on this very subject over at Mises.org.

Keep all this in mind as you read about governmental solutions to global warming. Gore and his cronies are the modern-day Rachel Carsons, ready to destroy the lives of millions.

In the meantime, read Eco-Freaks to see all the ills caused by those who care little for human life.

Jim Fedako



Eco-Freaks
Environmentalism Is Hazardous to Your Health
by John Berlau
Nelson Current, 2006, hardcover




According to Laissez Faire Books:

Many campaigns have been undertaken in the name of protecting our health and environment: the banning of asbestos, the encouragement of public transportation, the crusade against DDT. But in Eco-Freaks, award-winning journalist John Berlau shows that the law of unintended consequences is alive and well.

Berlau explores how environmental policies have worsened disasters like the malaria epidemic, Hurricane Katrina, and the attack on the World Trade Center. He also questions the very core of environmentalism, the idea that we should be taking care of the environment before ourselves. He points out how past generations viewed Mother Nature as a constant threat, not something to protect.

This is interesting stuff, and Berlau's fluid writing makes it very readable and very entertaining. If you want to look past the environmental propaganda, Eco-Freaks is the book for you.

250 pages

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Letter in response to Ted Celeste

Dear Editor:

In his April 28 letter, "A Little civility in society will go a long way," State Representative Ted Celeste asks Ohioans to show more civility - especially with regard to debates on public policy.

What Celeste fails to mention is that there have always been, and will always be, impassioned arguments over the uncivil desire of some to tax others. Celeste wants more dollars from my wallet to spend on projects and programs that benefit those who support him. Why should I remain civil, and simply smile and agree to Celeste's goals?

Our great nation was founded by those who rebelled against political figures who continued imposing "Taxes on us without our Consent."[1] Of course, our Rebellion was an uncivil act in the eyes of some. Yet, our Rebellion was a very worthy and noble act in support of Liberty.

Sorry, Celeste, the "long train of abuses and usurpations"[2] that you propose do not deserve a civil response. Instead, your proposed goals deserve a renewed patriotic response; a response that you will certainly consider uncivil. Yet a response that is historically correct indeed.


Notes:

1. Declaration of Independence

2. Ibid.

Friday, April 27, 2007

The cross-country bus ride test

Students, consider this situation:
You have just begun a cross-country bus ride when, at the first stop, an adult boards and take the seat beside you. Once the door closes and the bus begins moving again, the adult, without prompting on your part, says, "Have I got a story that you need to hear." The adult then begins telling you - in full graphic detail - the scenes and dialog from some perverse book they just read.

Question: What thoughts are running through your head?

a. What luck, an interesting adult to chat with for the next 1800 miles.
b. Man, am I creeped out. Who is this sicko? Driver?!?
How in the world is the adult on the bus any different from the adult in the classroom? Answer: There is no difference. They both are creepy situations, and creepy people.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Maybe repetition will help

Setting the stage: On an almost daily basis, I receive comments on this blog from individuals who claim to be students. Of course, in the blogosphere, no one knows for certain whether someone else is who they claim to be. Nevertheless, since the comments come from the district's servers during school time, let's assume for a moment that these individuals are indeed students - otherwise they would have to be district employees, for whom the discussion below would be equally as relevant.

The issues:

1. The Perks of Being a Wallflower provides insight into, and an understanding of, the current social structure.
False. The Perks is simply the fantasies of the author, who does not claim that his fantasies are real experiences. To paraphrase Heather Mac Donald, these are simply perverse fantasies committed to print in order to elicit the "delicious emotions" of the author.

Students, you are being played by the adults: the author and some teachers. These books are not my life, though they may accurately reflect the depraved lives of the author and some teachers. But who wants to live in those shoes anyway.

2. These books help students understand the dark aspects of life.
False. The fantasies were not written and assigned to help you understand anything about life. By reading such books, you only know the thoughts of those who seek to drag you down to their soured view of life. If you still desire to understand the madness that lurks behind the façade of many, read Robert Conquest's Harvest of Sorrow or Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn's The Gulag Archipelago. Both of these books will expose the end of the road that those who desire to socialize this great nation – such as the national teachers unions - seek to travel. It’s ugly, and it's true.

Keep in mind that continually dwelling on darkness is unhealthy. Note the burnout rate of those who work in social services, and the stress and nightmares exhibited by soldiers after combat. Your mind and soul do not have the capacity to be assaulted by the illness that consumes some authors and teachers - no healthy person has such a capacity for darkness. They, on the other hand, thrive on their own delicious emotions; a sad, pathetic addiction to evil.

These very same adults want to control your emotions with their own sickness. Rebel against that. Stand up for yourself and demand to learn essential knowledge that will benefit you. Tell the purveyors of nonsense to seek help, or to at least leave you alone.

3. Books were banned and speech was censored.
False. Another big lie perpetuated by adults who want to trigger your most basic emotions. The typical lie goes something like this: "I read this book with my 13 year-old child and we both found it profound and enlightening. So, I don't understand why the books were banned in an act of censorship."

These folks use the terms banned and censorship to trigger the natural defense of lovers of Liberty. However, how can a book be banned or censored if the parent and child were able to purchase it and read it openly. The terms banned and censorship imply the denial of constitutional rights; natural rights.

If the book is available in libraries and bookstores, how could it possibly have been banned? How did government censor speech? Of course, the book was neither banned nor speech censored. Those claims are absolutely false, and the adults know as much.

Don't you find it disingenuous for adults to claim a denial of rights when what they really seek is the forced exposure of the children of other parents to the subject matter contained within the book? I find it peculiar, and a quite a bit strange.

Many commentators on my blog note that they will soon enter adulthood. All right, I will accept that. If you still want to read the book, use a little initiative. Borrow the book from the library or purchase it at a local bookstore - certainly let your parents know what you intend to do, as adulthood does not start until you are out on your own.

However, do not cry foul - bans and censorship, act; borrow or buy. And, do not try to force such nonsense on those who have no such desire. Respect your fellow students who do not want their minds filled with such garbage. Respect Liberty. Act for yourself, but do not force others to be exposed to that which they find objectionable.

Do not claim that these students must read what you read. Such a response is not an act of freedom, it is an act of coercion and compulsion; the methods of those who brought madness to the world throughout the Twentieth Century.

Respect your fellow students in the manner that you demand from others. Let your fellow students - and their parents - object. Do not advocate for them to be forced into a situation where they must read or discuss books that provide no educational benefit; books that assault their morals. Respect, and be respected.

4. Times are different.
False. A read through the Bible will show the depravity of man throughout the ages. In some sense, little has changed. Humanity absent the belief in God drifts toward all kinds of evils. One situation may be new: I do not remember reading passages where the adults saught to inculcate children into wickedness. Yet, situations such as today must have existed. Situations that caused Jesus to say in Matthew 18:6, “But whoso shall cause one of these little ones that believe on me to stumble, it is profitable for him that a great millstone should be hanged about his neck, and that he should be sunk in the depth of the sea.”

My advice: Quit having your emotions played and controlled by those who are obviously looking to have you enter their perverse world of evil. Why let these adults drag you down? Escape and find refuge in the Bible, and see the light that is available to all of us. It's your choice: their sick lives, or a world of light. Choose wisely.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Philanthropy as seed money

My latest blog post at Mises.org.


The NY Times is reporting that billionaires Eli Broad and Bill Gates are “joining forces for a $60 million foray into politics in an effort to vault education high onto the agenda of the 2008 presidential race.” What appears to be an extension of their philanthropic activities is simply seed money for the next political solution for failing government schools; a solution that will end up pounding more of my tax dollars down the rat hole that is public education.

A suggestion for Broad and Gates: Keep your money so that I can ultimately keep mine.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

You reap what you sow: What in the world is wrong in Olentangy?

"Last year we personally witnessed the sexual activity between two students in our lunchroom. That was eighth grade. We all knew of this, and half of us saw this event." 1
Public statement by a ninth grade Olentangy Liberty High School student at last night's board meeting.

In the lunchroom nonetheless. Oh, and the boy made this statement in support of the perverse books that the staff is pushing on students.

Students are simply acting out the situations that the teachers ask them to read and discuss. The schools no longer have any moral compass to guide them. And, this is the supposed public good that coercively takes my tax dollars.

Why should I have to pay for this nonsense? And, more importantly, why should any parent have to send their child into such an environment? If half of the students saw it, one has to assume that at least one staff member witnessed it.

OK, maybe the paid staff didn't witness this event. Maybe they knowingly ignore such behaviors, or maybe they are simply too inept to provide a safe environment for the children that parents love deeply. Any way you look at this mess, you have to conclude that it is a travesty.

The student continues, "That's why (The Perks of Being a Wallflower) is more interesting than the books we read." Certainly, if you expose children - that's right, children - to whatever goes on in the lunchroom 2, they will seek out the perverse world of some authors and teachers. Yet, why these adults want to inculcate young children is beyond me; it's actually quite disgusting.

To think, parents believe that the schools will protect their children. From this testimony - made with the student's parents in attendance at the meeting, one has to recognize that there is something very, very wrong in Olentangy.

After this statement, the board went about its business of self-congratulation over its Fulbright Scholars Program at Orange Middle School. The board mentioned nothing about the student's statement. I guess the board had to get back to work selling its PR message.

Have these people no shame?

Notes:

(1) The statement is located around 23:20 of the April 23, 2007 meeting, available on the district's website.
(2) Keep in mind that this incident occurred in a public spot, the lunchroom. What is going outside of view?

Monday, April 23, 2007

A Free Market in Childbirth

My latest article published by the Ludwig von Mises Institute

A Free Market in Childbirth
By Jim Fedako


Recently, my wife and I celebrated the birth of our fifth child in twelve years. Over that stretch of time, we have seen hospitals adapt to the wants of the consumer: future mothers and fathers. Some of the changes we have witnessed have been subtle, mere nuances, while other changes have been quite dramatic. Together, these changes lead me to two conclusions: I love the free market; and, I would love a truly free market in healthcare.

The Free Market

In the technology-driven free market, twelve years is an eternity. It's sometimes hard to imagine how fast life is changing, as the only-imagined gigabyte is now standard and soon to be substandard. For a reminder, simply contrast the box that sat on your desk in 1995 with the current data-cruncher that easily folds into your briefcase.

Over this same period, businesses have improved their ability to bring products to the market, and to satisfy consumer demand for the intangible, such as customer service, quality, options, etc. Sure, there are blips and occasional bad patches, but consumer demand is driving changes that benefit us all.

The entrepreneur looking for profits is always one step ahead of the consumer demands of yesterday, yet still behind the ever-distant horizon of consumer wants. Even before our previous demands are satisfied, we already desire the as-yet-to-be-created product or service. Moreover, it's the ever-distant wants-horizon that sometimes leads consumers to believe that the free market is not efficient, not the optimal delivery system in a world of scarcity.

Yet, the free market continually improves the condition of man. While these improvements go unnoticed in the short term, over the long term the staggering level of change is stark indeed. The internet, cell phones, e-business, etc., were the storylines of comics and sci-fi books but 25 years ago. The dreams and plans unleashed in a profit-seeking environment have improved the quality of life for all of us; nowhere more obvious than in the healthcare profession.

Consumers want more than just new and improved products; they want experiences that leave them satisfied; satisfied in the short term anyway. The consumer is certainly a heartless taskmaster. We want cheaper products, higher quality, and a better shopping experience.

In the hands of a central planner, those three distinct wants would be judged mutually incompatible; a certain impossibility in his mind. The planner would suffer exhaustion trying to satisfy even one of them. Yet, the entrepreneur must satisfy all three or he loses his position and becomes a simple wage earner, such as this writer. Though exhaustion and fatigue are real, the consumer cares nothing of the pains of the entrepreneur. If the entrepreneur is not up to the task, there are legions ready to replace him.

So, we have supermarkets with low-cost, high-quality foods from all over the globe. Nevertheless, that is not enough, the shopper also wants to get in and get out as quick as possible, hence the self-service checkout lines. Once those aisles appeared in one store, other stores were forced to follow suit. The decision to invest was not made by the grocer on behalf of the consumer; the decision was made by the consumer without regard to the grocer. Woe to the grocer who fights such changing consumer wants.

I just love the free market. Something new and improved is coming to stores tomorrow, and tomorrow, ad infinitum.

Healthcare and Childbirth

Certainly third-party payers, guild professionals, and government regulations have created a system of healthcare that would improve dramatically under the pressure of profits in a free market. Yet, I have seen changes over the past twelve years of deliveries to recognize a system ready to improve in the manner of Moore's Law; if only healthcare were subject to a truly free market.

During this latest delivery, the nurses were exceedingly professional and caring — as they had been with each previous delivery — yet this time they were well versed in the language of the consumer. As one nurse assured us, "This experience is yours. We want to make it special for you since we know that you will tell your friends about us." What? Yes, the nurse was looking out for our wants, and fearful of competition from the hospitals just down the road.

Sure, the soda was generic and the father's hospital gown was gone from the delivery room, but those were never the concerns of ours. There were new tangibles such as security systems for the newborn and cable TV — to ease the hours of waiting for our newest arrival. In addition, there were the intangibles that come with providing an environment that felt more like Disneyland than a hospital. In a word: wonderful.

Now, it was not always this personal. Go back twelve years and the hospital was more concerned about their own rules, and less concerned about the patient and family. Where the hospital now has a 24/7 Tim Hortons restaurant loaded with donuts, bagels, soups, and sandwiches, the same hospital used to have just the simple hash-slinging cafeteria. To think, Tim Hortons is profit seeking, yet I was able to feed my four children fresh sandwiches for less than $15 — in a hospital setting nonetheless. What a wonderful concept, this free market.

Through this latest experience, I observed and contrasted nurses with public school teachers. Both claim to care about children, yet only the nurses are willing to accept the free market and consumer demand.

The fear is that public employees will turn from helping children into profit-maximizing automatons for dollar-hungry investors; in short, children will suffer. Yet, there I stood helpless in the delivery room as a squad of nurses raced to help my newborn who had arrived a too-dark shade of blue. I can honestly state that a unionized workforce, protected by government monopoly power, could not have provided any better service. As I replay those first minutes in my head, better is not an adjective that comes to mind as the staff addressed the situation like true professionals.

OK, the hospital was a not-for-profit entity. Yet, even as such, it has to satisfy the consumer. Choice in hospitals has created a pseudo–free market in healthcare. Woe to the hospital that turns its back on its patients.

I am convinced that deregulation of healthcare would only improve the system. Break the healthcare guilds that exist all the way from medical education through licensing, reduce government interventions, and watch the healthcare system improve at Intel speed. Please do not advocate for a government-run healthcare system, or even its predecessor, universal coverage. Think Walter Reed or the Soviets before going that route.

I am fearful of a government-run, centralized healthcare system staffed by a unionized workforce. My own experience would have certainly been quite different. Funny, those forced to chase the almighty dollar are always those who serve the consumer with smiles and helpful hands. I dream of the day when the future Michael Dells and Bill Gateses of healthcare are the ones driving improvements, from their garages or basements if needed.

Yes, the consumer in that day — including my newest son — will still be slightly dissatisfied with their situation, not because it is not better than what I experienced, but because it is not as good as his dreams and desires.

Given that reality, the entrepreneurs of that age will be working to exhaustion in order to satisfy the dreams of the ever-distant horizon of consumer wants. What a wonderful world that will be.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Jim Fedako, a former professional cyclist who lives in Lewis Center, OH, is a member of the Olentangy Local School District and maintains a blog: Anti-Positivist.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Happy birthday Olentangy State Standards Analysis

I am revisiting the series of posts I did on the Olentangy State Standard Analysis report - now one year old and one month old.

If the proposed state funding formula passes both Ohio houses, the Olentangy School District gains more than $4 million in state aid over the projections contained in the district's October Five Year Forecast. That means the district needs to find only $10 million in expenses over the next 27 months - a 4% reduction - in order to go another year before asking for another operating levy. If the district holds the line on salary increases in the upcoming teachers contract negotiations, the $10 million deficit is almost zero.

The Olentangy State Standard Analysis report identified well over $10 million in yearly savings, savings that could have been applied starting last year. But, for some reason - there are many reasons I can think of - neither the board nor the administration want to discuss this report in public. I imagine that time flies when you're spending someone else's money.

This report should be serving as the basis for understanding rising costs and requisite soon-to-be-proposed property tax increases. But the report is obviously being kept from the sunshine of public debate. The reason? I guess you will have to ask your board members why the public should not be given the opportunity to hear debate on this important report; a report funded by local tax dollars.

You'd think that with possible levies on the horizon, the board would want to get a handle on costs ... you'd think anyway ...

note: click to read installments one, two, three, four, five, six, and seven

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Hysteria and hysterics

My latest blog post at Mises.org:


Hysteria and hysterics

In conjunction with the DVD release of the BBC's series, "Planet Earth: The Complete Series," AOL is currently offering a short quiz and a video contest.

Hysteria first: The 10-question quiz "Planet Earth by the Numbers" has a certain spin, to say the least. Note question 10, my favorite:

Question: According to some estimates, by 2050, CO2 levels may be as high as when ...

a. Elvis was alive
b. Dinosaurs ate early humans
c. Oceans were 300 feet higher
d. An ice age began

The answer is ...






Oceans were 300 feet higher.

The comment along with the answer: "If sea levels rise along with CO2 concentrations the effect could be devestating(sic) -- 10 percent of the world's population lives in coastal areas within 32 feet about sea level."

Set the new sea level at 300 feet and say goodbye to most of the populated in the US. Panicked? Have a good laugh to reduce the stress.

Hysterics: To win a copy of the DVD, AOL asks contestants to "(u)pload a video of yourself, a family member or a friend imitating an animal or presenting an Earth Day tip about how to protect the planet and you could win a 'Planet Earth: The Complete Series' DVD set!"

There you have it, the solution to global warming: Videos of committed Socialist Greens squawking and clucking the party line. I'm laughing already.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

That irksome Hanushek

Can't Eric Hanushek mind his own business? The once soft-liberal is again questioning the benefit of additional money spent on public schools. Sounds like he's on to something once again. Consider this from the liberal busybodies at Education Sector:

Enough Already? School Funding and the Courts
"Money isn't everything," argue the contributors to a new book on school finance policy. "But not being everything, isn't the same as being nothing," responds Kevin Carey, Education Sector's research and policy manager. This week, Carey reviews the latest compendium of complaints against school finance lawsuits: Courting Failure: How School Finance Lawsuits Exploit Judges' Good Intentions and Harm Our Children.


Edited by economist Erik Hanushek, one of the nation's most prominent critics of conventional school-funding wisdom, Courting Failure assembles a number of arguments to show how schools can—and often do—misuse resources. Their critique centers on the legal idea of "adequacy," the notion that states are legally obligated to give schools enough money to help all students meet defined learning goals. By way of a number of court-mandated reforms, the adequacy principle is responsible for billions of dollars in new education funding over the last two decades. Led by Hanushek, Courting Failure's contributors aren't pleased. But Carey assesses what's behind this displeasure, counters anti-adequacy arguments, and explains why the era of school funding lawsuits is unlikely to end any time soon. more...

Monday, April 16, 2007

Proud to pay taxes?

A fitting repeat for Tax Day:

Here's the legal gift for those who like to puff their chests and declare, "I proudly pay my taxes." Simply ask your state legislators to sponsor a Tax Me More Fund bill in your statehouse. This will allow anyone who is so disposed to pay extra on their returns. Americans for Tax Reform has sample legislation available on their website.

See how many self-declared, tax-flagellating fools really opt to tax themselves at a higher rate. You know who I'm talking about: Those who claim that since it is all for the public good, they should be taxed more.

If they so wish, let them give to their heart's content. But leave me out of their deluded world of tax benefits. I am much happier in the reality of coerced taxes wasted on unconstitutional interventions and transfers. At least I can fight and argue against additional taxes, the deluded salivate like a Pavlovian dog at the sound of proposed additional tax legislation. Classical conditioning indeed!

But, hurry up! Six states already have similar legislation, and you don't want to have your state behind the curve on this issue.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Another hidden cost of taxes

You can't blog and do taxes at the same time.1

What are we getting for our time and tax dollars. Heaven on Earth? Hardly.

According to Rousas John Rushdoony - Christian writer and father-in-law of Gary North - rabbinical traditions have counted 613 separate laws in the Torah, our Old Testament. Six hundred thirteen. And, many of these laws were subsequently repealed by Jesus's blood.

According to Rushdoony, current local, state, and federal laws number in the millions. Millions!

Keep this in mind on tax day. Some claim that Christianity is heavy-handed with its number of laws? Not at all. Is government - local, state, and federal - heavy-handed? Absolutely!

Thanks to Steve Scott at From the Pew for the Rushdoony count.

note:

[1]OK, I managed a blog posting, but it is simply a rehash of an older posting.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Olentangy Math: starring Ma and Pa Kettle

Olentangy Math: starring Ma and Pa Kettle



Ma and Pa Kettle star as administrators in Olentangy Math. Watch how Ma and Pa apply the concepts of Everyday Mathematics to solve simple math problems.

While parents and community members will laugh at this funny short, district administrators will copy Ma and Pa's algorithm to present at the next teacher in-service.

Note: If any Olentangy administrator or teacher finds this entry - or any other post on this blog - offensive, simply consider the post to be satire. You obviously have no problem with any article written under the title of satire - whether the article is satire or not. In your world, stating something is satire provides a license to be profane and perverse. I only want to point out the truth; I am neither profane nor perverse. If I offend, so be it

Friday, April 13, 2007

Life Without Government Equals Chaos. Hardly!

A post of mine at the Mises.org blog:


We tend to assume that without an interventionist government – a government that extends beyond the enumerated powers in the Constitution - life would resolve into chaos. Nothing could be farther from the truth.

In the nineteenth century, French economist Frédéric Bastiat remarked on the wonder of that phenomenon by exclaiming, "Paris gets fed!" The same can be said of New York, Tokyo, Mexico City, etc. It's doesn't take the intervention of a governmental planning board to ensure adequate food for all of us. Entrepreneurs seeking profit make certain that eggs and milk are readily available for tomorrow's breakfast.

Consider the alternative: In the late 1970's and early 1980's I spent three weeks in the then-socialist countries of Yugoslavia and East Germany. If it wasn't for the illegal food market there would have been nothing to eat other than cookies, Vodka, and stale bread. Keep in mind that the brightest minds planned these economies. Not much to be said for central planning.

But we tend to forget these real-world examples of government planning. Maybe we assume that our bureaucrats are more omniscient and brighter than those of Yugoslavia and East Germany. Ludwig von Mises of the Austrian School of Economics proved over 80 years ago that all attempts at central planning lead to chaos. He was correct then, and he is still correct today.

Yet we still believe in governmental solutions. As I have previously written, if government is omniscient, I am omniscient. And even I don’t believe that to be true. Parents allow school officials, such as me, to make important decisions for their children because there exists the belief that school officials somehow are unbiased and altruistic, and better at guiding children than their own parents. While it is certainly true that most school employees like working with students, they can’t possible have a child’s best interests in mind. That is the realm of parents only.

School officials have jobs, careers and families of their own. They also have biases and beliefs that greatly differ from individual parents. There is nothing wrong with differing views, but parents should not simply hand over their children to the schools and assume the best. We bristle at the idea of our friends, neighbors and family members guiding our parental decisions, yet we readily give school officials, who are nothing more than friends, neighbors and family members, the power to make those very same decisions. The robe of omniscience does not come with school employment or board election. In fact, there is nothing unique and special about school employment.

Remember, it's the entrepreneur who will truck the eggs and milk today so that you can eat tomorrow.

Jim Fedako

Thursday, April 12, 2007

When is a curriculum not a curriculum?

Two ways to apply a curriculum in the classroom:

One. Take sixth grade math. The math teacher looks at the approved curriculum and decides the most effective order in which to tackle the elements of the subject. For example, within a geometry unit, the teacher chooses the next appropriate topic, "Identify and label angle parts and the regions defined within the plane where the angle resides". The teacher selects one of any number of ways to introduce those concepts, using professional judgment and a host of resources. The teacher pre-tests to evaluate current knowledge, and then post-test to see the effectiveness of his classroom presentation and chosen activities. The students learn math and are proud of their efforts, as is the math teacher.

Two. Take sixth grade math once again. The math teacher has it in for SUV's. He really cannot stand the vehicles; he simply hates them. He therefore has made it his life's goal to see that such vehicles are banned from the roads of this nation, and the whole world for that matter.

This teacher wants to see change, and he knows that children are still forming opinions of the world. He puts two and two together and recognizes that he can affect certain change if he can form opinions for the students, instead of letting the students and their parents work out the understandings of a complex world together. The teacher wants students to leave his class believing as he does, at all cost.

Within a measurement unit, the teacher introduces the topic, "Determine surface area, mass and volume using the appropriate units and tools," by ranting on and on about the evils of SUV's. He then assigns a project: The students are to gather photo's of SUV's and bring them to class. The students will then form groups to discuss the photos and construct a group consensus on the evils of SUV's, and their drivers for that matter.

He is aware of the influence of parents on their children. While that influence is an obstacle at times, the teacher has an easy way around those problematic parents. He adds a group component to the grade, and weights that component very high.

Students must work well within their groups, neither argue nor question. Students must turn their backs on the guidance of their parents and echo the views of the teacher, else face a failing grade. A huge weight for a young child.

Knowing that this project is not aligned with the board-approved curriculum - though, it is aligned with his personal curriculum of social change - the teacher adds another component to the assignment: The students will estimate the area, mass, and volume of SUV's by using a ruler to measure the physical features of the vehicles in the photos.

The teacher notes the measurement element in his lesson plan and claims that he is teaching the curriculum as defined. And, better than that, he has implemented the curriculum in a cross-subject manner.

Of course, he is making his students math fools, but that is the price one pays for social change. In the back of his mind, the teacher hears the Trotsky line over and over, "You can't make an omelet without breaking a few eggs.


Two applications of a curriculum, one approved by the residents through their elected board, the other the personal curriculum of a teacher who has no concern for district residents, or district students.

The following, taken straight from the district's website, details the rationale for the use of the novel, Whale Talk, in the classroom.
This book is one of six novels selected to explore and examine how marginalized groups and/or individuals are represented in society. The selection of books for this unit allows students to view the world from the viewpoint of marginalized characters. We will be examining stereotypes and questioning how stereotypes are established and perpetuated. Students will be asked to propose solutions to stop stereotyping and call others to action against stereotyping. Students will work in literature circles as they read this novel. The reading will be done individually and students will meet in their groups to discuss their novel. Literature circles offer powerful benefits to readers of all ages. The circles are structured to move readers through a range of cognitive roles as they discuss books that are self-selected. Literature circles allow students to connect with each other, with texts, and ultimately, with the world in which they live. They learn to take responsibility as members of a group who, together, must construct meaning through discussion, debate and reflection. Discussion, debate and reflection are anchored in the text which serves as a springboard to explore social issues.
Connection to the state standards/OLSD curriculum map(s):
• Acquisition of Vocabulary (1)
• Reading Application Informational (5, 6)
• Reading Application Literary (7, 9, 10, 11)
• Writing Process (all)
• Writing Application (5, 7, 9)
• Writing Conventions (10)
• Research Standard (11)
• Communication Standard (13)


Which application of the board-approved - hence, community-approved - curriculum is being used here? The answer is quite obvious.

Anything can be tied to the curriculum by simply noting the elements in the lesson plan along with some justification. Based on documents such as this - available on the district's website - anything goes.

Can you even imagine the discussions in the literacy circles - obvious edu-speak nonsense - after students read this book? Is the teacher guiding - dare I say, enjoying - these discussions? Isn't it creepy that an adult wants to prompt students to discuss such topics?

Whatever happened to the three R's? Can't they simply teach their subjects without indoctrinating?

Of course, if you do not want teach, you are only left with indoctrination.

The Supreme view of monopoly, and monopsony

Monopoly and its reflection, monopsony1, are supposed to be the evil, fraternal twins of the free market. Yet, neither concept is possible absent government intervention, at best - and, some will argue that a monopoly or monopsony price can never exist in the market regardless of government interventions.2

US Supreme Court Justice Thomas recognized that fact in the recent Weyerhaeuser Co. v. Ross-Simmons Hardwood Lumber Co., Inc. decision. Thompson relied on the reasoning found in R. Blair & J. Harrison, Monopsony 66 (1993) when writing the unanimous decision to vacate the judgement of the Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.

Thomas noted that predatory pricing schemes benefit the consumer more than the businesses suposedly engaged in such practices. This explains why such schemes are rarely tried; no business is assured that losses suffered to gain market control will be offset by future monopoly/monopsony profits. The consumer is always fickle and unpredictable.

Despite the reasoning provided in this and other Supreme Court decisions, textbooks still warn about the effects of monopolies and monopsonies, providing media-hungry attorneys-general and federal regulators with enough ammunition to go after businesses for perceived affronts.

While the fight against business always plays well in the media, there is no economic basis for the claims made by those who either hate entrepreneurs or love the camera.


notes:

1. Monopsony is defined as a buyer's monopoly, a single buyer with the ability to set the market price for a good or service.

2. Refer to the three books on the Austrian School of Economics in a previous post. Please note that this does not include any government service since all government services are non-market, tax-supported activities. Government services are the monopolies that we all should fear.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Everyday Math, constructivist education, and Olentangy

Math Education: An Inconvenient Truth



Everyday Math and Olentangy: This is a great YouTube.com video on the differences between traditional math and the current flavor of the constructivist, Progressive education in vogue at districts such as Olentangy. In fifteen minutes, you will understand why district students struggle through math.

You will also find yourself wondering why the administration adopted such a mess. Simply ask Olentangy's Executive Director of Elementary Learning why the district continues to embrace failed programs such as Everyday Math. I can only imagine his response.

The video's M.J. McDermott is able to effectively explain the issue since she has not been inculcated into the current education mess. She is a successful user of math; not some educationist living the life of PT Barnum's fool.

Constructive Education and Olentangy: The constructivist education philosophy is centered on teachers and students being co-equals in the discovery of knowledge.1 The teacher holds no special place since knowledge is relative, therefore the simple understanding of a third grader is equal to the supposed learned knowledge of the professional teacher.2

Constructivism is an application of Progressive education, the pedagogy - philosophy - that has permeated public schools for over to a century. As these ideas have taken greater hold of education - most notably since the Sixties, student achievement has gone downhill - this despite a tremendous influx of dollars and technology.

Even though constructivist math - fuzzy math - had been a failure for years, Olentangy decided to adopt the Everyday Mathematics program for its students. Well, the district will not say they have adopted Everyday Mathematics. Instead, the district will use doublespeak to say that they have adopted their curriculum maps, and not any single math program. But that simply confounds means with ends.

The maps are the ends, the definition of what is to be learned - the equivalent of architectural blueprints. The textbooks are the means to achieve the ends - the building tools and materials. Funny, your tax dollars pay for Everyday Mathematics textbooks yet the district staff do not even claim that they use the textbooks to teach math. Staff members say the books are simply a resource, similar to putting a child's plastic hammer in the toolbox instead of the steel hammer.

Go ahead and ask your administrators about Everyday Mathematics, you will hear them spin a tale of educationist gobbledygook. Hold on to your own head so that it doesn't counter spin in response.

[1] Check out rantings of the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development and The Teachers College Record from Columbia University's prestigious Teachers College.

[2] Administrators and teachers who buy into this philosophy may actually be the overpaid, co-equals of their students.

A note that says it all

Someone sent me this explanation for the recent reading list issues, and I couldn't agree more:

Because too many teachers do not have anything much to teach, they decide their job is to be psychologists, using RELEVANT TEEN literature to conduct therapies to introduce (they hope) kids to the underside of life, and to guide them through their delicious emotions elicited by stories of perversity and crime.

As Heather Mac Donald says, the curriculum is "Anything But Knowledge."

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

They will never admit error

The school board and administration will never admit they erred with regard to any of these latest issues, viz., student newspapers and reading list? Why? The answer to follow.

The administration should admit they erred. They should take responsibility for another appalling decision, and they should take a hard look at themselves and compare what they claim is their goal - teaching children - with what they have become - purveyors of nonsense.

Not one of the responses from the board or administration has convinced me that anyone involved is truly upset. District employees simply view these latest issues as bumps in the road. But, bumps in a road to where?

The district will commit to re-reviewing their literacy selection process, yet there has always been enough district policies and processes to guide the selection of challenging and appropriate reading material. The problem is the selectors themselves, and they remain. Moreover, they appear to be remaining unscathed and unapologetic.

Once again, the talk in the schools will revolve around these issues. Ask parents of high school students what gets discussed in class on Wednesday, and their childen will say the reading list and student newspapers. Teachers will take up valuable time ranting and raving about how they cannot to exercise their professional judgment. Professional judgment? You have to be kidding me.

If I were facing the need for additional tax dollars, I would be as conservative as possible. Why ruffle feathers? Why indeed?

It is my strong belief that a number of teachers and administrators live to indoctrinate children. How else can you explain the insistence and repetition of all of this? How else can you explain the continual in-your-face actions of those entrusted with someone else’s child?

There you have it, the answer to the question above: Why will the district not admit error? Simple, the district staff and leadership do not believe they erred. These tax-funded employees have unilaterally decided to drop the approved curriculum – one that attempts to address the mission statement – for a personal, hidden curriculum that is extremely hideous.

Note: There is always the board member who says that the solution is a little common sense. I agree. Yet, you will not find a mite of common sense within the school walls.

Monday, April 09, 2007

What a solution?!?

Superintendent Davis introduced his new Literacy Selection Policy not too long ago, and here is the end product. Davis' staff applied the policy and added The Perks of Being a Wallflower to the required reading list.

What a vile addition. I wonder if Davis is proud of his new policy, and his staff. You now know why he did not want parents on the selection committee; parents would have vetoed the new addition - and, the district simply cannot have that.

There was a time when adults who encourage children to read such perverse material were guilty of an offense; if not a legal one, certainly a moral one.

According to the American Library Association - a collection of idiots who's dream is to expose all children to as much perverse media as possible - the book was one of the ten most challenged books in 2006. So, it appears that while other districts recognize inappropriate material, Olentangy cannot get enough.

I cannot imagine what is in the hearts of adults who desire - yes, desire - to have children read such vile. The sad part is that we are paying the teachers and administrators to do this.

Note: Caution, the following excerpts are indeed vile.

review of The Perks of Being a Wallflower
COMMENTS FROM THE PABBIS WEBSITE
: The edition that the page numbers reference is unknown, but we have verified the excerpts to be correct. There is much more controversial material in this book than that below. The book is aimed at teenagers, and is told from a teenage boy's perspective. The book contains explicit references and discussion regarding:
‑ Sexual acts between teenagers.
‑ Male masturbation.
‑ Oral‑genital sex.
‑ A great deal of profanity.
‑ Male homosexual acts between teenaged boys, including kissing, seduction/"having a crush" and anal sex.
‑ Illegal drug use.
‑ Homosexual acts between men and boys.
‑ Sex between a boy and a dog.
‑ Female masturbation using an object.

SEE MORE COMMENTS AND EXTENSIVE EXCERPTS ON PABBIS WEBSITE: http://www.sibbap.org

Sunday, April 08, 2007

And here I thought 1984 had come and gone

If everyone in DC is going to ignore the Constitution, can't we drop the facade of the US as a constitutional republic? Simply change the country's name to The United Socialist States formerly Republicanized1 or USSR for short. I know the acronym has been used before, but why hide the truth any longer?


notes:
[1] Republican as a form of government, not political party.



British Medical Journal
19 June 2004
Bush plans to screen whole US population for mental illness
Jeanne Lenzer
New York

A sweeping mental health initiative will be unveiled by President George W Bush in July. The plan promises to integrate mentally ill patients fully into the community by providing "services in the community, rather than institutions," according to a March 2004 progress report entitled New Freedom Initiative (www.whitehouse.gov/infocus/newfreedom/toc-2004.html). While some praise the plan's goals, others say it protects the profits of drug companies at the expense of the public.

Bush established the New Freedom Commission on Mental Health in April 2002 to conduct a "comprehensive study of the United States mental health service delivery system." The commission issued its recommendations in July 2003. Bush instructed more than 25 federal agencies to develop an implementation plan based on those recommendations.

The president's commission found that "despite their prevalence, mental disorders often go undiagnosed" and recommended comprehensive mental health screening for "consumers of all ages," including preschool children. According to the commission, "Each year, young children are expelled from preschools and childcare facilities for severely disruptive behaviours and emotional disorders." Schools, wrote the commission, are in a "key position" to screen the 52 million students and 6 million adults who work at the schools.

The commission also recommended "Linkage [of screening] with treatment and supports" including "state-of-the-art treatments" using "specific medications for specific conditions." The commission commended the Texas Medication Algorithm Project ( TMAP) as a "model" medication treatment plan that "illustrates an evidence-based practice that results in better consumer outcomes."

Dr Darrel Regier, director of research at the American Psychiatric Association (APA), lauded the president's initiative and the Texas project model saying, "What's nice about TMAP is that this is a logical plan based on efficacy data from clinical trials."

He said the association has called for increased funding for implementation of the overall plan.

But the Texas project, which promotes the use of newer, more expensive antidepressants and antipsychotic drugs, sparked off controversy when Allen Jones, an employee of the Pennsylvania Office of the Inspector General, revealed that key officials with influence over the medication plan in his state received money and perks from drug companies with a stake in the medication algorithm (15 May, p1153). He was sacked this week for speaking to the BMJ and the New York Times.

The Te xas project started in 1995 as an alliance of individuals from the pharmaceutical industry, the University of Texas, and the mental health and corrections systems of Texas. The project was funded by a Robert Wood Johnson grant—and by several drug companies.

Mr Jones told the BMJ that the same "political/pharmaceutical alliance" that generated the Texas project was behind the recommendations of the New Freedom Commission, which, according to his whistleblower report, were "poised to consolidate the TMAP effort into a comprehensive national policy to treat mental illness with expensive, patented medications of questionable benefit and deadly side effects, and to force private insurers to pick up more of the tab" (http://psychrights.org/Drugs/AllenJonesTMAPJanuary20.pdf).

Larry D Sasich, research associate with Public Citizen in Washington, DC, told the BMJ that studies in both the United States and Great Britain suggest that "using the older drugs first makes sense. There's nothing in the labeling of the newer atypical antipsychotic drugs that suggests they are superior in efficacy to haloperidol [an older "typical" antipsychotic]. There has to be an enormous amount of unnecessary expenditures for the newer drugs."

Drug companies have contributed three times more to the campaign of George Bush, seen here campaigning in Florida, than to that of his rival John Kerry

Olanzapine (trade name Zyprexa), one of the atypical antipsychotic drugs recommended as a first line drug in the Texas algorithm, grossed $4.28bn (£2.35bn; 3.56bn) worldwide in 2003 and is Eli Lilly's top selling drug. A 2003 New York Times article by Gardiner Harris reported that 70% of olanzapine sales are paid for by government agencies, such as Medicare and Medicaid.

Eli Lilly, manufacturer of olanzapine, has multiple ties to the Bush administra tion. George Bush Sr was a member of Lilly's board of directors and Bush Jr appointed Lilly's chief executive officer, Sidney Taurel, to a seat on the Homeland Security Council. Lilly made $1.6m in political contributions in 2000—82% of which went to Bush and the Republican Party.

Jones points out that the companies that helped to start up the Texas project have been, and still are, big contributors to the election funds of George W Bush. In addition, some members of the New Freedom Commission have served on advisory boards for these same companies, while others have direct ties to the Texas Medication Algorithm Project.

Bush was the governor of Texas during the development of the Texas project, and, during his 2000 presidential campaign, he boasted of his support for the project and the fact that the legislation he passed expanded Medicaid coverage of psychotropic drugs.

Bush is the clear front runner when it comes to drug company contributions. According to t he Center for Responsive Politics (CRP), manufacturers of drugs and health products have contributed $764 274 to the 2004 Bush campaign through their political action committees and employees—far outstripping the $149 400 given to his chief rival, John Kerry, by 26 April.

Drug companies have fared exceedingly well under the Bush administration, according to the centre's spokesperson, Steven Weiss.
The commission's recommendation for increased screening has also been questioned. Robert Whitaker, journalist and author of Mad in America, says that while increased screening "may seem defensible," it could also be seen as "fishing for customers," and that exorbitant spending on new drugs "robs from other forms of care such as job training and shelter programmes."

But Dr Graham Emslie, who helped develop the Texas project, defends screening: "There are good data showing that if you identify kids at an earlier age who are aggressive, you can intervene... and change their trajectory."

Three great Christian websites

Go to Gary North's web site to read excellent books on the Bible and Christian thought. Not only are the books interesting, challenging, and timely, they really are free.

The Blessed Economist runs a great blog that addresses economics and political philosophy in a biblical sense. Though I'm not saying I agree with everything posted, it is all very thought provoking.

Steve Scott has an interesting blog, From the Pew. Like the Blessed Economist, Scott offers insight into economics and liberty, all from a biblical perspective. Once again, I'm not saying I agree with everything posted. But, good reading nonetheless.

How do they do it? Don't they ever sleep?

Recent posting on the Blog at Mises.org:


Thank goodness for congressional committees, and the committees' subcommittees. To think, Google almost got away with the crime of the century.

ABC News is reporting that "A congressional subcommittee accused Google on Friday of 'airbrushing history' by replacing post-Hurricane Katrina satellite imagery on its popular map portal with images of the region taken before the storm's devastation."

According to ABC News: "'Google's use of old imagery appears to be doing the victims of Hurricane Katrina a great injustice by airbrushing history,' subcommittee chairman Brad Miller, D-N.C., wrote Friday in a letter to Schmidt (Google CEO)."

I will assume that "airbrushing history" is a felony, if not a capital offense. I cannot thank Miller enough. The only reason I can sleep soundly at night is that Miller and crew are manning their posts 24/7.

But, wait a minute. It gets even more sinister. AOL News is reporting that "Miller asked Google to brief his staff by April 6 on who made the decision to replace the imagery with pre-Katrina images, and to disclose if Google was contacted by the city, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the U.S. Geological Survey or any other government entity about changing the imagery."

A full-blown scandal!

The premise was so bizarre that I first thought it had to be an April Fools' spoof. Sadly, it isn't. It's one more example of those wonderful, and watchful, public servants in DC. What would we do without them?

Friday, April 06, 2007

Value-added or value-maybe

I have a variation on an old saying that reads, "If you have to join 'em, beat 'em."

Ohio is currently rolling out its value-added system. For years, many in education feared the concept of value-added. They feared a system that purported to be able to analyze test results and see if teachers and schools were able to add value during the previous school year. The standard for added value is the oft-used phrase, a year for a year: Did the student gain a year of knowledge during the most recent school year?

The year for a year has its own set of issues; such as, what is a year of growth in absolute terms, not defined by historical gains from similarly-situated students? For this discussion, I am going to ignore such issues and concentrate solely on the whitewash being used to spin lagging results into congratulatory press releases.

In logic, something is either A or not-A; there is no gray separating the two. In addition, saying something is not-not-A implies that the thing is A; the nots cancel. But in statistics, the nots don't cancel. So, not-not-A does not imply A.

A closer look: My district uses the standard value-added definition for not achieving a year of growth; performance two or more standard deviations [1] below the expected result. The reason for this range is that the statistics used in value-added analysis cannot provide exact figures. No one can state with certainty that a child achieved growth of, say, 1.23 standard deviations from the expected growth.

We can state with great confidence that the child who achieved at 2.24 standard deviations below expectations did not grow an academic year. Because of the inexactness of the statistics used in value-added analysis, it would not be fair to designate a teacher, school, or district as a poor performer unless the students achieved below the level of confidence; two standard deviations below expectation.

I can accept that. Statistics - an inexact science subject to noise - has to allow for a range of gray before making a positive statement. But the range covered by possible outcomes above the two-standard-deviations-below-expectation mark accounts for over 97% of all possible outcomes. Or, put differently, a score in the 3rd percentile is considered as not-not-A; the level which is now defined as A, the expected result of a year for a year.

The sleight of hand: The Olentangy School District has reported to our community that its students are gaining a year for a year simply because they are achieving above the 3rd percentile. The statement that district students saw a year of growth simply means that the students did not see the not a year of growth. But that does not necessarily imply that district students saw a year of growth. Yet the not-not-A has becomes A due to a sleight of hand. What is true in logic is not true in statistics, but is good PR nonetheless.

As a recent board member (resigned a little over six months ago), I saw the data from two years ago - poor performance - but was never able to get copies of last year's data (the latest reported data) since the administration was concerned about the results. Don't know for certain if last year's data was as bad, but in my experience possible good results were easy to obtain while possible poor results were always a struggle, unless the results were bound for public release through the state or local press. [2]

Now when I say that two years ago the district showed poor performance, I really mean that most combinations of school, grade-level, and subject, revealed achievement below expectations, including some combinations below the two standard error mark of failure.

The system that feared value-added has simply spun its value into that which tells a story worthy of congratulations. The 3rd percentile, a very low standard indeed. But the new standard nonetheless.

"If you have to join 'em, beat 'em". They won!

Note:

[1] It's actually two standard errors, but, for a population of one, the standard error is the same as the standard deviation. Remember, the district is stating that all students will grow one academic year per school year. That means that the focus is on individual students, not some aggregate class, school, etc.

That said, the district may be using two standard errors of measurement as stated at the board meeting. If that is indeed the case, the district has created its own system, one different from the now-standard Sanders value-added analysis. Sanders uses two standard errors not standard errors of measurement.

The district's system would mean that they are at the 25th percentile, give or take, depending on the test. Still a very low standard of achievement.

[2] Consider the arrogance of an administration that wouldn't provide its own board member with timely data.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

The board and superintendent spoke. So what?

First it was The Beacon, now The Cannon. Since The Cannon came out after the board and superintendent made weak statements at the last school board meeting - over a month after The Beacon was published, I have to assume one of two things: Either the district leadership said one thing publicly, and another thing privately; or, the staff runs the show. Regardless, the district's impression of the community's standards and values are on display in The Cannon.

What another slap in the face!


Note: Until today, I assumed that Superintendent Davis ran the show; board president Meider certainly doesn't. Now it's quite obvious that Davis' staff listens to him as much as they listen to the taxpayers; and it's the taxpayers who will once again be asked to continue funding the staff's nonsense.

UNSTOPPABLE GLOBAL WARMING




An excerpt from the new book

UNSTOPPABLE GLOBAL WARMING
Every 1,500 Years
by S. Fred Singer and Dennis T. Avery

Published by Rowman & Littlefield Publishers
and reprinted here with permission

ISBN: 0742551172
List Price: $24.95
LFB Price Only $16.25
You Save 35%!

Unstoppable Global Warming is the winner of the April 2007 Lysander Spooner Award for Advancing
the Literature of Liberty. For more information about the Lysander
Spooner Awards, CLICK HERE.
To go to our full review, or to go to purchase the book, CLICK HERE.
The excerpt, below, is the first chapter of the book, Unstoppable Global Warming. Enjoy!

_______________________________________________
UNSTOPPABLE GLOBAL WARMING
Every 1,500 Years



by S. Fred Singer and Dennis T. Avery

CHAPTER 1:
IS HUMANITY LOSING THE GLOBAL WARMING DEBATE?


The Earth is warming but physical evidence from around the world tells us that human-emitted CO2 (carbon dioxide) has played only a minor role in it. Instead, the mild warming seems to be part of a natural 1,500-year climate cycle (plus or minus 500 years) that goes back at least one million years.

The cycle has been too long and too moderate for primitive peoples lacking thermometers to recount in their oral histories. But written evidence of climatic change does exist. The Romans had recorded a warming from about 200 B.C. to A.D. 600, registered mainly in the northward advance of grape growing in both Italy and Britain. Histories from both Europe and Asia tell us there was a Medieval Warming that lasted from about 900 to 1300; this period was also known as the Medieval Climate Optimum because of its mild winters, stable seasons, and lack of severe storms. Human histories also record the Little Ice Age, which lasted from about 1300 to 1850. But people thought each of these climatic shifts was a distinct event and not part of a continuing pattern.

This began to change in 1984 when Willi Dansgaard of Denmark and Hans Oeschger of Switzerland published their analysis of the oxygen isotopes in the first ice cores extracted from Greenland. These cores provided 250,000 years of the Earth's climate history in one set of "documents." The scientists compared the ratio of "heavy" oxygen-18 isotopes to the "lighter" oxygen-16 isotopes, which indicated the temperature at the time the snow had fallen. They expected to find evidence of the known 90,000-year ice ages and the mild interglacial periods recorded in the ice, and they did. However, they did not expect to find anything in between. To their surprise, they found a clear cycle—moderate, albeit abrupt—occurring about every 2,550 years running persistently through both. (This period would soon be reassessed at 1,500 years, plus or minus 500 years.)

By the mid-1980s, however, the First World had already convinced itself of the Greenhouse Theory and believed that puny human industries had grown powerful enough to change the planet's climate. There was little media interest in the frozen findings of obscure, parka-clad Ph.D.s in far-off Greenland.

A wealth of other evidence has emerged since 1984, however, corroborating Dansgaard and Oeschger's natural 1,500-year climate cycle:

• An ice core from the Antarctic's Vostok Glacier—at the other end of the world from Iceland—was brought up in 1987 and showed the same 1,500-year climate cycle throughout its 400,000-year length.

• The ice-core findings correlate with known advances and retreats in the glaciers of the Arctic, Europe, Asia, North America, Latin America, New Zealand, and the Antarctic.

• The 1,500-year cycle has been revealed in seabed sediment cores brought up from the floors of such far-flung waters as the North Atlantic Ocean and the Sargasso Sea, the South Atlantic Ocean and the Arabian Sea.

• Cave stalagmites from Ireland and Germany in the Northern Hemisphere to South Africa and New Zealand in the Southern Hemisphere show evidence of the Modern Warming, the Little Ice Age, the Medieval Warming, the Dark Ages, the Roman Warming, and the unnamed cold period before the Roman Warming.

• Fossilized pollen from across North America shows nine complete reorganizations of our trees and plants in the last 14,000 years, or one every 1,650 years.

• In both Europe and South America, archaeologists have evidence that prehistoric humans moved their homes and farms up mountainsides during the warming centuries and retreated back down during the cold ones.

The Earth continually warms and cools. The cycle is undeniable, ancient, often abrupt, and global. It is also unstoppable. Isotopes in the ice and sediment cores, ancient tree rings, and stalagmites tell us it is linked to small changes in the irradiance of the sun.

The temperature change is moderate. Temperatures at the latitude of New York and Paris moved about 2 degrees Celsius above the long-term mean during warmings, with increases of 3 degrees or more in the polar latitudes. During the cold phases of the cycle, temperatures dropped by similar amounts below the mean. Temperatures change little in lands at the equator, but rainfall often does.

The cycle shifts have occurred roughly on schedule whether CO2 levels were high or low. Based on this 1,500-year cycle, the Earth is about 150 years into a moderate Modern Warming that will last for centuries longer. It will essentially restore the fine climate of the Medieval Climate Optimum.

The climate has been most stable during the warming phases. The "little ice ages" have been beset by more floods, droughts, famines, and storminess. Yet, despite all of this evidence, millions of well-educated people, many scientists, many respected organizations—even the national governments of major First World nations—are telling us that the Earth's current warming phase is caused by human-emitted CO2and deadly dangerous. They ask society to renounce most of its use of fossil fuel-generated energy and accept radical reductions in food production, health technologies, and standards of living to "save the planet."

We have missed the predictive power of the 1,500-year climate cycle.

Will the fear of dangerous global warming lead society to accept draconian restrictions on the use of fertilizers, cars, and air conditioners?

Will people give up the scientific and technological advances that have added thirty years to life expectancies all over the globe in the last century?

Massive human sacrifices would be required to meet the CO2 stabilization goals of the Kyoto Protocol. The treaty's "introductory offer" is a tiny 5 percent reduction in fossil fuel emissions from 1990 levels, but that would do almost nothing to forestall greenhouse warming of the planet. Saving the planet from man-made global warming was supposed to wait on Kyoto's yet-unspecified second stage, scheduled to begin in 2012.

In 1995, one U.S. environmentalist assessed the outlook: "According to the [United Nations] Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, an immediate 60 to 80 percent reduction in emissions is necessary just to stabilize atmospheric concentrations of CO2—the minimum scientifically defensible goal for any climate strategy. Less-developed nations, with their relatively low emissions, will inevitably increase their use of fossil fuels as they industrialize and their populations expand. Thus heavily polluting regions like the [United States] will have to reduce their emissions even more [than 60 to 80 percent] for the world as a whole to meet this goal."

Humans use eighty million tons per year of nitrogen fertilizer to nourish their crops. The nitrogen is taken from the air (which is 78 percent N2) through an industrial process generally fueled by natural gas. In 1900, before industrial nitrogen fertilizer, the world could support only 1.5 billion people, at a far lower standard of living, and was clearing huge tracts of forest to get more cropland.

Suppose the world went all-organic in its farming, gave up the man-made fertilizer, and cleared half of the world's remaining forests for more low-yield crops. It's reasonable to expect that half the world's wildlife species would be lost in the land clearing and one-fourth of the world's people would succumb to malnutrition. What if research then confirmed that the climate was warming due to the natural cycle instead of CO2? Is that a no-regrets climate insurance policy?

What if the Kyoto treaty or some similar arrangement prevented the Third World from moving away from using wood for heating and cooking? How much additional forest would then be sacrificed for firewood in the developing countries over the next fifty years?

The stakes in the global warming debate are huge. Humanity and wildlife may both be losing the debate.

DOES A 1,500-YEAR CLIMATE CYCLE RULE OUR EARTH?

Greenhouse Warming Advocates Say:

"Nineteen ninety-nine was the most violent year in the modern history of weather. So was 1998. So was 1997. And 1996.... A nine-hundred-year-long cooling trend has been suddenly and decisively reversed in the past fifty years.... Scientists predicted that the Earth will shortly be warmer than it has been in millions of years. A climatological nightmare is upon us. It is almost certainly the most dangerous thing that has ever happened in our history."

"Climate extremes would trigger meteorological chaos—raging hurricanes such as we have never seen, capable of killing millions of people; uncommonly long, record-breaking heat waves; and profound drought that could drive Africa and the entire Indian subcontinent over the edge into mass starvation."

"From sweltering heat to rising sea levels, global warming's effects have already begun.... We know where most heat-trapping gases come from: power plants and vehicles. And we know how to limit their emissions."

"Such policies like cutting energy use by more than 50 percent can contribute powerfully to the material salvation of the planet from mankind's greed and indifference."

"No matter if the science of global warming is all phony ... climate change [provides] the greatest opportunity to bring about justice and equality in the world."

Reality-Based Skeptics Say:

"The study, appearing in the March 21 issue of the journal Science, analyzed ancient tree rings from 14 sites on three continents in the northern hemisphere and concluded that temperatures in an era known as the Medieval Warm Period some 800 to 1,000 years ago closely matched the warming trend of the 20th century."

"I want to encourage the committee to be suspicious of media reports in which weather extremes are given as proof of human-induced climate change. Weather extremes occur somewhere all the time. For example, in the year 2000 in the 48 coterminous states, the U.S. experienced the coldest combined November and December in 106 years.... The intensity and frequency of hurricanes have not increased. The intensity and frequency of tornados have not increased.... Droughts and wet spells have not statistically increased or decreased."

"Hurricanes, brutal cold fronts and heat waves, ice storms and tornadoes, cycles of flood and drought, and earthquakes and volcanic eruptions are not unforeseeable interruptions of normality. Rather, these extremes are the way that the planet we live on does its business. Hurricanes, in some parts of the world, provide a third of the average annual rainfall. What we call "climate" is really an average of extremes of heat and cold, precipitation and drought.... [A]ll the evidence from paleoclimatology and geology suggests that over the long haul, the extremes we face will be substantially greater than even the strongest in our brief historical record."

"[T]he number of major [Chinese] floods averaged fewer than four per century in the warm period of the ninth through eleventh centuries, while the average number was more than double that figure in the fourteenth through seventeenth centuries of the Mini Ice Age."

The Purpose of This Book

The purpose of this book is to offer the relatively new but already convincing evidence of a moderate, irregular 1,500-year sun-driven cycle that governs most of the Earth's almost-constant climate fluctuations.

The Earth has recently been warming. This is beyond doubt. It has warmed slowly and erratically—for a total of about 0.8 degrees Celsius—since 1850. It had one surge of warming from 1850 to 1870 and another from 1920 to 1940. However, when we correct the thermometer records for the effects of growing urban heat islands and widespread intensification of land use, and for the recently documented cooling of the Antarctic continent over the past thirty years, overall world temperatures today are only modestly warmer than they were in 1940, despite a major increase in human CO2 emissions.

The real question is not whether the Earth is warming but why and by how much.

We have a large faction of intensely interested persons who say the warming is man-made, and dangerous. They say it is driven by releases of greenhouse gases such as CO2 from power plants and autos, and methane from rice paddies and cattle herds. The activists tell us that modern society will destroy the planet; that unless we radically change human energy production and consumption, the globe will become too warm for farming and the survival of wild species. They warn that the polar ice caps could melt, raising sea levels and flooding many of the world's most important cities and farming regions.

However, they don't have much evidence to support their position—only (1) the fact that the Earth is warming, (2) a theory that doesn't explain the warming of the past 150 years very well, and (3) some unverified computer models. Moreover, their credibility is seriously weakened by the fact that many of them have long believed modern technology should be discarded whether the Earth is warming too fast or not at all.

Many scientists—though by no means all—agree that increased CO2emissions could be dangerous. However, polls of climate-qualified scientist show that many doubt the scary predictions of the global computer models.

This book cites the work of many hundreds of researchers, authors, and coauthors whose work testifies to the 1,500-year cycle. There is no "scientific consensus," as global warming advocates often claim. Nor is consensus important to science. Galileo may have been the only man of his day who believed the Earth revolved around the sun, but he was right! Science is the process of developing theories and testing them against observations until they are proven true or false.

If we can find proof, not just that the Earth is warming, but that it is warming to dangerous levels due to human-emitted greenhouse gases, public policy will then have to evaluate such potential remedies as banning autos and air conditioners. So far, we have no such evidence.

If the warming is natural and unstoppable, then public policy must focus instead on adaptations—such as more efficient air conditioning and building dikes around low-lying areas like Bangladesh. We have the warming. Now we must ascertain its cause.

THE STORY OF THE 1,500-YEAR CLIMATE CYCLE

Carefully retrieved ice cores now reveal 900,000 years of the planet's climate changes. The information in the ice layers is being supplemented by such scientific breakthroughs as solar-monitoring satellites and mass spectrometer measurements of oxygen and carbon isotopes. These are allowing the Earth itself to tell us about its own climate history.

The ice cores say the newly understood 1,500-year cycle has dominated Earth's climate during the 11,000 years since the last ice age. Moreover, its fingerprints are being found all over the world, stretching through previous ice ages and interglacials.

We'll cover the evidence that past climate cycles such as the Medieval Warming and the Little Ice Age were truly global, not just Europe-only events as some man-made warming advocates have suggested. Our search for evidence will carry us from European castles to Chinese orange groves to Japanese cherry blossom viewings, from Saharan lakes to Andean glaciers and a South African cave.

No single climate proxy is totally equal to having thermometer records from the Middle Ages or ancient Rome. Tree rings reflect not only temperature and sunlight but also other factors that affect the tree, including rainfall, the number of competing trees, tree insects, and diseases. Borehole temperature signals become fainter as they go deeper.

Individually, each piece of proxy evidence could be questioned. That's why we'll examine a broad array of them, widespread in their geography, and almost dizzying in their variety.

We'll examine lots of tree rings, ice cores, and seabed sediments because they're the most important long-record proxies and among the most accurate, if properly treated. We'll also look at peat bogs full of antique organic residues; stalagmites from caves where varying amounts of moisture and minerals from the surface have dripped for century after century; coral reefs whose tiny creators have left behind clues to the sea temperatures while they were working; and ancient iron dust that betrays huge droughts.

We'll check out the reasons why many people today fear global warming. This fear of warm weather comes in dramatic contrast to our forebears—who loved warming climates and hated the mini-ice ages.

After all, it was during the cooling Dark Ages that the Roman and Mayan empires collapsed, after they had thrived during a warming that was hotter than it is today. And, it was during the cold of the Little Ice Age that Europe had its worst-ever floods and famines.

EARTH'S CLIMATE LINK TO THE SUN

Humans have known about a link between Earth's climate cycles and solar variability for more than four hundred years because of sunspot variations. Most dramatically, the Maunder Sunspot Minimum occurred from 1640 to 1710, when there were virtually no sunspots at all for some seventy years. That marked the sun's weakest recent moment—and that was the very coldest point in the Little Ice Age. Observers have also known that sunspot cycles that lasted longer than the average eleven years (the variation is eight to fourteen years) produce warmer temperatures on Earth. What our ancestors didn't know was how the solar-Earth climate link functioned.

Until the age of satellites, we didn't even know that tiny cycles of variation in the sun's irradiance existed. Until recently, scientists spoke of the "solar constant." Now, measuring from outside the clouds and gases of the Earth's atmosphere, we find that the sun's intensity varies by fractions of a percentage point.

Until 2001, the global warming debate was what a lawyer would call a "he-said/she-said" controversy. The science for man-made global warming looked weak. The science for solar-driven climate cycles on Earth looked more plausible, but was inconclusive.

But on 16 November 2001, the journal Science published a report on elegant research, done by unimpeachable scientists, giving us the Earth's climate history for the past 32,000 years—along with our climate's linkage to the sun. The late Gerard Bond and a team from the Columbia University's Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory published "Persistent Solar Influence on North Atlantic Climate during the Holocene."

Science's Richard Kerr wrote:


Paleo-oceanographer Gerard Bond and his colleagues report that the climate of the northern North Atlantic has warmed and cooled nine times in the past 12,000 years in step with the waxing and waning of the sun.

"It really looks like the sun has mattered to climate," says glaciologist Richard Alley of Pennsylvania State University.... "The Bond et al., data are sufficiently convincing that [solar variability] is now the leading hypothesis to explain the roughly 1,500-year oscillation of the climate seen since the last ice age, including the Little Ice Age of the 17th century," says Alley.

Bond's sun-climate correlation rests on a rare combination of long, continuous, and highly detailed records of both climate change and solar activity. The climate record is Bond's well-known and laborious accounting of the microscopic bits of rock dropped by melting icebergs onto the floor of the northern North Atlantic over thousands of years.

Bond and his team found that the amounts of debris increased in abundance every 1,500 years (give or take 500) as the ice was carried farther out into a temporarily colder Atlantic. During the last Ice Age's coldest spells, huge amounts of ice were carried clear across the Atlantic's polar region and south as far as Ireland.

Bond's linkages to solar activity are the carbon-14 isotopes in tree rings and beryllium-10 isotopes in the Greenland ice cores. The carbon and beryllium isotopes are linked to solar activity through the intensity of solar-modulated cosmic rays, and are produced when cosmic rays strike the upper atmosphere. (Oxygen isotopes found in ice cores reveal past temperatures.)

The startling element of Bond's results is the close correlation found when the global temperatures and solar-strength records are laid next to each other.

How Does the Sun Change Our Climate?

How does a tiny change in the sun's irradiance make a big difference in the Earth's climate? First of all, we know that the linkage exists and is powerful, which puts the solar cycle far ahead of the Greenhouse Theory.

We now have strong, new scientific evidence of how the linkage works. The key amplifier is cosmic rays. The sun sends out a "solar wind" that protects the Earth from some of the cosmic rays bombarding the rest of the universe. When the sun is weak, however, more of the cosmic rays get through to the Earth's atmosphere. There, they ionize air molecules and create cloud nuclei. These nuclei then produce low, wet clouds that reflect solar radiation back into outer space. This cools the Earth.

Researchers using neutron chambers to measure the cosmic rays have recently found that changes in Earth's cosmic ray levels are correlated with the number and size of such cooling clouds.

The second amplifier is ozone chemistry in the atmosphere. When the sun is more active, more of its ultraviolet rays hit the Earth's atmosphere, shattering more oxygen (O2) molecules—some of which reform into ozone (O3). The additional ozone molecules absorb more of the near-UV radiation from the sun, increasing temperatures in the atmosphere. Computer models indicate that a 0.1 percent change in the sun's radiation could cause a 2 percent change in the Earth's ozone concentration, affecting atmospheric heat and circulation.

INTERGOVERNMENTAL PANEL ON

CLIMATE CHANGE CHARGES MAN-MADE WARMING


What about the claim of the United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC): that they've found a "human fingerprint" in the current global warming?

That statement was inserted in the executive summary of the IPCC's 1996 report for political, not scientific, reasons. Then the "science volume" was edited to take out five different statements—all of which had been approved by the panel's scientific consultants—specifically saying no such "human fingerprint" had been found.

The author of the IPCC science chapter, a U.S. government employee, publicly admitted making the scientifically indefensible "back room" changes. He was under pressure from top U.S. government officials to do so.

THE FAILURES OF THE GREENHOUSE THEORY

Let's quickly review the shortcomings of the Greenhouse Theory for explaining known realities.

First, and most obvious, CO2 changes do not account for the highly variable climate we know the Earth has recently had, including the Roman Warming, the Dark Ages, the Medieval Warming, and the Little Ice Age. However, these variations fit into the 1,500-year cycle very well.

Second, the Greenhouse Theory does not explain recent temperature changes. Most of the current warming occurred before 1940, before there was much human-generated CO2in the air. After 1940, temperatures declined until 1975 or so, despite a huge surge in industrial CO2during that period. These events run counter to the CO2theory, but they are in accord with the 1,500-year cycle.

Third, the early and supposedly most powerful increases in atmospheric CO2 have not produced the frightening planetary overheating that the theory and climate models told us to expect. We must discount future increments of CO2 in the atmosphere, because each increment of CO2 increase produces less warming than the unit before it. The amounts of CO2 already added to the atmosphere must already have "used up" much—and perhaps most—of CO2's forcing capability.

Fourth, we must discount the "official" temperature record to reflect the increased size and intensity of today's urban heat islands, where most of the official thermometers are located. We must take account of the changes in rural land use (forests cleared for farming and pastures, more intensive row-crop and irrigated farming) that affect soil moisture and temperatures. When meteorological experts reconstructed U.S. official temperatures "without cities and crops"—using more accurate data from satellites and high-altitude weather balloons—about half of the recent "official" warming disappeared.

Fifth, the Earth's surface thermometers have recently warmed faster than the temperature readings in the lower atmosphere up to 30,000 feet. Yet the Greenhouse Theory says that CO2will warm the lower atmosphere first, and then the atmospheric heat will radiate to the Earth's surface. This is not happening.

Figure 1.1 [not shown in excerpt] shows the very moderate trend in the satellite readings over the past two decades, totaling 0.125 degrees Celsius per decade. The short-term temperature spike in 1998 was one of the strongest El Niño events in recent centuries, but its effect quickly dissipated, as always happens with El Niños.

A reconstruction of weather-balloon temperature readings at two meters above the Earth's surface (1979-1996) shows a trend increase of only 0.015 degree Celsius per decade. Nor can we project even that slow increase over the coming centuries, since the 1,500-year cycles have often achieved half of their total warming in their first few decades, followed by erratic warmings and coolings like those we've recorded since 1920.

Sixth, CO2 for at least 240,000 years has been a lagging indicator of global warming, not a causal factor. Within the last 15 years, the ice cores have revealed that temperatures and CO2 levels have tracked closely together during the warmings after each of Earth's last three ice age glaciations. However, the CO2 changes have lagged about 800 years behind the temperature changes. Global warming has produced more CO2, rather than more CO2 producing global warming. This accords with the reality that the oceans hold the vast majority of the planet's carbon, and the laws of physics let cold oceans hold more CO2 gas than warm oceans.

Seventh, the Greenhouse Theory predicts that CO2-driven warming of the Earth's surface will start, and be strongest, in the North and South Polar regions. This is not happening either. A broadly scattered set of meteorological stations and ocean buoys show that temperature readings in the Arctic, Greenland, and the seas around them are colder today than in the 1930s. Alaska has been warming, but researchers say this is due to the recent warming of the Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO), not a broader Arctic warming pattern. The twenty to thirty year cycle of the PDO seems to have recently reversed again, so Alaska may now cool with the rest of the Arctic.

In the Antarctic, only the thin finger of the Antarctic Peninsula, which juts up toward Argentina (and the equator) has been warming. Temperatures over the other 98 percent of the Antarctic continent have been declining slowly since the 1960s, according to a broad array of Antarctic surface stations and satellite measurements.

Eighth, the scary predictions of planetary overheating require that the warming effect of additional CO2 be amplified by increased water vapor in the atmosphere. Warming will indeed lift more moisture from the oceans into the air. But what if the moister, warmer air increases the efficiency of rainfall, and leaves the upper atmosphere as dry, or even dryer, than it was before? We have absolutely no evidence to demonstrate that the upper atmosphere is retaining more water vapor to amplify the CO2.

To the contrary, a team of researchers from NASA and MIT recently discovered a huge vertical heat vent in the Earth's atmosphere. It apparently increases the efficiency of rainfall when sea surface temperatures rise above 28¡ C. This effect seems to be big enough to vent all the heat the models predict would be generated by a doubling of CO2.

In 2001, NASA issued a press release about the heat vent discovery and the failure of the climate models to duplicate it but it attracted little media attention.

THE INHERENT DANGERS OF THE KYOTO PROTOCOL

Early in my career, I served as a missionary in Africa. I lived upcountry with people who did not have access to useful energy.... I watched as women walked in the early morning to the forest edge, often several miles away, to chop wet green wood for fuel.... They became beasts of burden as they carried the wood on their backs on the return trip home.... Burning wood and dung inside the homes for cooking and heat created a dangerously polluted indoor atmosphere for the family. I always thought that if each home could be fitted with an electric light bulb and a microwave oven electrified by a coal-fired power plant, several good things would happen. The women would be freed to work on other, more productive, pursuits. The indoor air would be much cleaner so health would improve. Food could be prepared more safely. There would be light for reading and advancement. Information through television or radio would be received. And the forest with its beautiful ecosystem could be saved.

The Kyoto Protocol will likely cost at least $150 billion a year, and possibly much more. UNICEF estimates that just $70-80 billion a year could give all Third World inhabitants access to the basics like health, education, water and sanitation.

The Kyoto Protocol would probably double First World energy costs before 2012, and might quadruple them after that year. Kyoto would thus impair or even cancel out the enormous beneficial effects of technology in people's lives.

The myths of "free" wind and solar power continue to fascinate journalists and activists. Kyoto proponents assert that "renewable" energy sources will not only be adequate for the needs of modern society, but the shift from fossil fuels to solar and wind will "create jobs." This is like claiming that repairing a broken window makes us richer; instead, it just gets us back to where we had been. A shift to renewable fuels would certainly create jobs, but it would also require time and talents that could have produced additional well-being.

Energy experts note that wind and solar power are not very reliable; they are only generated when the wind is right or the sun is shining, and they are difficult to store. Backup nonrenewable power plants are needed in "spinning reserve" so the traffic lights and hospital operating theaters don't go dark. Despite decades of heavy subsidies, solar and wind power provide only about 0.5 percent of current U.S. electricity, and almost none of our transport energy.

Solar and wind are still four to ten times as expensive as fossil and nuclear energy sources. Shifting to "renewables" would also force us to convert hundreds of millions of forest and wildlands acres to windmill farms, solar panel arrays, biofuel crops, and the like.

In fact, a team of energy experts from various academic, government, and private sector research units said in a 2002 "Science Compass" article for the journal Science, that it would be a Herculean task to replace the fossil energy supplies any time soon.

The biggest problem is that the world's current 12 trillion watt-hours of energy used per year (85 percent of it fossil-fueled) will need to be expanded to 22-42 trillion over the next fifty years in order to accommodate the world's growing population and provide economic growth for developing countries.

Energy experts say that even nuclear power will not be enough, due to a shortage of uranium ore. We will need safe nuclear breeder reactors and, ultimately, fusion power. That means developing very expensive energy technology we don't yet have.

Modern technology has also been humanity's strongest environmental conservation tool. For thousands of years, humans lived by preying on wildlife. Then we invented farming, and took most of the world's good land away from Nature for crops and pastures. Only in the past half-century has most of the world adopted the high-yield farming that permits more food to be grown per farming acre. That high-yield farming has forestalled the need to plow down millions more square miles of forests. Without the nitrogen captured from the air by fertilizer factories powered by natural gas, we'd have to clear the world's remaining forests for low-yield crops—tomorrow.

The rural half of India's population is scouring its forests daily for scarce firewood, and cutting trees it doesn't replant. India's demand for firewood is likely to double again by 2020.

Most of the Third World is already in the most polluting phase of industrial development, with grimy cities burning huge amounts of coal and smelting lots of iron for heavy machinery. The Third World needs economic growth, not another Great Depression, to move up to the cleaner industries and technologies used by the First World.

World Bank researchers have now concluded that, while the early stages of economic growth are harmful to the environment, the later stages of economic growth are environmentally constructive. Incomes above $5,000 to $8,000 per capita, where Brazil and Malaysia are today, trigger more investments in air and water cleanup and high-yield farming. They also bring massive reductions in industrial emissions, and the creation of more parks and wildlife preserves that are actually policed to protect the wildlife.

Bjorn Lomborg, author of The Skeptical Environmentalist, recently convened a panel of leading economists to propose the most effective ways the world could use $50 billion to benefit humankind. The panel was cosponsored by the Danish government and The Economist. This "Copenhagen Consensus" recommended that the money be spent, first, on combatting new cases of AIDS ($27 billion); second, on reducing iron deficiency anemia in women and children through food supplements ($12 billion); third, on controlling the malaria ($13 billion) that afflicts 300 million people and kills 2.7 million annually. (The malaria control will necessarily involve the indoor use of DDT as a mosquito insecticide.) The Copenhagen panel's fourth spending priority was on agricultural research to sustainably raise crop yields and ease the competition for land between people and wildlife.

The Copenhagen Consensus ranked the Kyoto Protocol sixteenth out of seventeen proposed ways to use the money. The panelists said Kyoto's costs would outweigh its benefits—even though they assumed significant warming driven by CO2. If they had been aware of the physical evidence endorsing the 1,500-year climate cycle, they might have ranked Kyoto even lower.

"The panel's findings are a reproach to many European leaders and to left-wing environmentalists, health activists, and anti-globalists, whose sloganeering has dominated much of the discussion of global welfare issues," wrote syndicated columnist James Glassman. "This report—sober, nonpartisan, and compassionate, with an emphasis on sound science and economic cost-benefit analysis—makes the noisy radicals look foolish."

We don't necessarily subscribe to the rankings of the Copenhagen Consensus but agree that the Kyoto Protocol should be near the bottom.

WHY FEAR GLOBAL WARMING?

History, science, and our own instincts tell us that cold is more frightening than warmth. It is a psychological mystery why comfortable First World residents, armed for the first time in all of history's warmings with air conditioning, have chosen to fear "global warming."

Of course, the advocates of man-made warming have attempted to bolster a scientifically weak case with a number of essentially baseless scary scenarios.

Rising Sea Levels Will Flood Cities and Cropland, and Submerge Islands

Judging from measurements made on corals, sea levels have been rising steadily since the peak of the last Ice Age about 18,000 years ago. The total rise since then has been four hundred feet. The sea levels rose fastest during the Holocene Climate Optimum, when the major ice sheets covering Eurasia and North America melted away. For the last 5,000 years or so, the rate of rise has been about seven inches per century. Tide gauge data from the past century show a rise of about six inches—even after the strong warming between period 1920 and 1940.

When the climate warms, ocean waters expand and glaciers melt, so sea levels rise. But a warmer ocean evaporates more water, some of which ends up as snow and ice on Greenland and on the Antarctic continent, and that makes sea levels fall. More warming and more evaporation are adding ice to the Antarctic ice cap. Thus, there is no reason to expect any big acceleration of sea level increase in the twenty-first century. Researchers say it would take another 7,000 years to melt the West Antarctic Ice Sheet—a small fraction of all the ice—and we're almost sure to get another ice age before then.

More than a Million of the World's Wild Species Will Go Extinct in the Next Century

We know that species can adapt to abrupt global warming because the climate shifts in the 1,500-year cycle have often been abrupt. Moreover, the world's species have already survived at least six hundred such warmings and coolings in the past million years.

The major effect of global warming will be more biodiversity in our forests, as most trees, plants, birds, and animals extend their ranges. This is already happening. Some biologists claim that a further warming of 0.8 degrees Celsius will destroy thousands of species. However, the Earth warmed much more than that during the Holocene Climate Optimum, which occurred 8,000 to 5,000 years ago, and no known species were driven extinct by the temperature increase.

There Will Be More Hunger and Famine as Fields Become Too Hot to Grow Crops

High-tech farming, not climate, has governed the world's overall food production since the seventeenth century. There will be little temperature change in the tropics, where food production is still inadequate. The northern plains in Canada and in Russia will become warmer, and will produce more food. Modern society can help make tropical farming high-tech, or transport more food from Siberia to people with new nonfarm jobs in India or Nigeria. Any famines will be humanity's fault, not the fault of the climate.

There Will Be More Storms and Worse Storms with Global Warming

There has been no increase in the frequency or severity of hurricanes, blizzards, cyclones, tornadoes, or any other kind of storms during the warming of the past 150 years. That makes sense, because storms are driven by the temperature differential between the equator and the polar regions. Since greenhouse warming should boost the temperatures at the poles much more than at the equator, warming will reduce the differential and moderate the storms. History and paleontology tell us the warmings have experienced better, more stable weather than the coolings.

Global Warming Will Trigger Abrupt Global Cooling

The warming activists claim that increased meltwater due to higher temperatures could overwhelm the Great Atlantic Conveyor, the huge ocean current that distributes heat from the equator to the poles. The Gulf Stream would then shut down, and we would all be covered in ice before you can say "carbon dioxide." It happened once before—but then the world had trillions of additional tons of ice in Canadian and Siberian ice sheets for the warming to melt. The climate models—surprise!—tell us that it won't happen during the Modern Warming, because the Earth doesn't have enough ice left.

Human Death Tolls Will Rise with the Heat, Insects, and Disease of Global Warming

Freezing weather kills far more people than hot weather, and there'll be less freezing winter weather during the Modern Warming. As for mosquito-borne diseases, window screens and insecticides wiped out most of the world's malaria and yellow fever, not cold weather. The world's biggest malaria outbreak was in Russia in the 1920s.

Coral Reefs Will Die Out with Warming

Many coral reefs have "bleached" (lost the algae that live in symbiotic partnership with them) when sea temperatures rose. But they also bleach when temperatures fall. That's because the corals partner with the algae varieties best adapted to their current temperature. When the water warms, they eject their cold-water partners and welcome warmer-weather friends, and vice versa. That's how they have survived for millions of climate-varied years.

FEAR THE NEXT ICE AGE

The climate event that deserves real concern is the next Big Ice Age. That is inevitably approaching, though it may still be thousands of years away. When it comes, temperatures may plummet 15 degrees Celsius, with the high latitudes getting up to 40 degrees colder. Humanity and food production will be forced closer to the equator, as huge ice sheets expand in Canada, Scandinavia, Russia, and Argentina. Even Ohio and Indiana may gradually be encased in mile-thick ice, while California and the Great Plains could suffer century-long drought.

Keeping warm will become the critical issue, both night and day. Getting enough food for eight or nine billion people from the relatively small amount of arable land left unfrozen will be a potentially desperate effort. The broad, fertile plains of Alberta and the Ukraine will become sub-Arctic wastes. Wildlife species will be extremely challenged, even though they've survived such cold before—because this time there will be more humans competing for the ice-free land.

That's when human knowledge and high-tech farming will be truly needed.

In contrast, none of the scary scenarios posited by today's global warming advocates took place during the Earth's past warm periods.

Why have humans chosen to panic about the planet returning to what is very probably the finest climate the planet has known in all its millions of years? Is it simply guilt because climate alarmists told us we humans were causing the change?

If so, then it becomes all the more important to check their evidence.


[Footnotes have been omitted.]

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From Unstoppable Global Warming by S. Fred Singer and Dennis T. Avery. Copyright © 2007 by the authors and reprinted here by permission of the publisher.


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