Saturday, April 29, 2017

Nye's Ill Logic

In 1798, Thomas Malthus wrote that "the power of population is indefinitely greater than the power in the earth to produce subsistence for man." At that point, there were maybe a billion humans on Earth, so we might forgive him for worrying. In 1800, the life expectancy of the average British citizen -- Britain then being the leading light of the world -- was 39 years. Most humans lived in pitiless poverty that is increasingly rare in most parts of the contemporary world.
Now, had Nye been around in the early 19th century, he'd almost surely have been smearing anyone skeptical of the miasma theory of disease. The problem is he lacks imagination; he's unable to understand that science is here to help humanity adapt and overcome, not constrict it. Anyway, 7-plus billion people later, extreme poverty was projected to fall below 10 percent for the first time ever in 2015. Most of those gains have been made in the midst of the world's largest population explosion.
http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2017/04/28/bill_nyes_view_of_humanity_is_repulsive_133738.html

There's a lot of bad science out there - people like to imply that everyone doing science is doing it well, and that is just not so.  People also like to pretend that science provides answers on complex questions that cannot be subjected to randomized trials, and that is also not so.

It is easy to believe that we're constructing a food system that delivers so much bad food with such a complex system of production and delivery that we have to run out one day.  Perhaps we will.  Killing people to prevent that ... ridiculous.

Pretending that our socialized nations could survive population decline is also ridiculous, and when the enlightened ones quit having kids they'll find that like the Shakers, their values rapidly decline in significance. Good luck with that meek idea to "not have a kid so you can save the world" idea.  The fertile will inherit the earth.

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Converting to Freedom?

To switch from music to economics might sound like moving from the sublime to the dismal. Yet as paradoxical as it seems, economics is what enabled me finally to deliver something like Bach’s answer about my own work. As a Catholic dedicated to the welfare of those at the periphery of society, I am an expert witness to the fact that there has never been a better system than free enterprise for empowering real people to pull themselves out of poverty. There has never been a better system to allow people to unlock the unique sense of dignity that comes with earning their own way, deploying their talents to serve their community, colleagues or customers, and taking home justifiable pride in—and rewards for—their efforts. And there is no reason, if we are serious about our Christian apostolate, that free enterprise should become an idol in itself, impoverish anyone or capture our souls.
http://www.americamagazine.org/politics-society/2017/02/06/confessions-catholic-convert-capitalism

It's a Big Old Crazy Entitlement Spending World

From 1975 to 2015, social spending by federal and state governments quadrupled in constant dollars, to more than $1 trillion. America now spends enough to give every person in poverty more than $20,000 per year. And yet lamentations for a collapsing safety net are rising in both volume and pitch.

Read more at: http://www.nationalreview.com/article/439796/medicaid-spending-problems-abound-reform-vehemently-resisted?target=topic&tid=2430

Some perspective: We’re spending more than seven times as much on improper, illegal federal payments as we do on NASA. We’re spending nearly 20 times as much on improper, illegal federal payments as we do on the National Science Foundation. We could build 13 Ford-class aircraft carriers every year for what we are spending on improper and illegal payments driven by Obamacare. We’re spending twice as much on improper and illegal payments as it would cost to pay all the tuition costs of every American college student. (Not that having Uncle Stupid do that is a good idea.) If improper and illegal federal payments were an economy of their own, that economy would be bigger than Hungary’s and and more than twice the size of Guatemala’s.

Read more at: http://www.nationalreview.com/article/439919/medicaid-fraud-staggering-cost-140-billion

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Good for the Obama Goose?

But more to the point, it was McCain up to his old tricks: Ingratiating himself to the anti-Trump press by playing its champion, in a bid to be the media's darling.

What stands out here is the hypocrisy of his claims. He's suddenly concerned about press freedoms and dictators?

Where was McCain when President Obama was systematically violating press freedoms every which way to Tuesday?

Seven examples of Obama's attacks on a free press spring to mind and not one of them drew any significant criticism from McCain.

Where was McCain when Fox News correspondent James Rosen was illegally followed around by Obama's Department of Justice in 2013 over a story he published on North Korean activities? It was a clear-cut example of reporters just doing their jobs, even as someone in government was leaking the story, but Team Obama went after Rosen with the Espionage Act.



Read more: http://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2017/02/where_was_mccain_when_obama_attacked_the_free_press.html#ixzz4ZM8VaIr0
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Sunday, February 12, 2017

Thoughts on AGW

The planet is getting warmer, human activity is a main factor, and the consequences will be catastrophic. It is here that the claims cease being mostly scientific in nature and begin to become political and economic questions. Unsurprisingly, it is here that the emotional tenor of the debate starts to become shrill, with visions of maritime nations lost, New York City under water, and the like. In truth, the IPPC predicts a warming, over the next century, of 13.5 degrees Celsius. Much of that warming, IPPC concludes, will take place at the poles; it will not be evenly distributed around the globe, and the organization writes that “on regional scales, confidence in future climate projections remains low. . . . The degree to which regional climate variability will change also remains uncertain.”

In economic terms, which Jim Manzi has 
considered extensively, the damage is equivalent to 12 percent of global GDP — a century from now. Yale economist Robert Mendelsohn concludes that the damage is more like 0.08–0.24 percent of global GDP — again, 100 years from now, when global GDP is expected to be many times larger than it is now. Real damage, to be sure, but something less than Armageddon. 

http://www.nationalreview.com/article/228756/what-think-about-global-warming-kevin-d-williamson

This is an old piece, but still sums up the situation.  They can't prove, but they have a strongly held belief that, human action is a cause of warming.  The warming of late is so small it is within the rather large margin of error in measurements.  There are several issues with the accuracy of the data - adjustments and assumptions made by the government keepers of the data sets often seeming like these are intentionally hidden.

The killer of any real AGW action though is - why bother?  How do we know what would happen if things warmed?  Who would it hurt, who would it help?  Never mind the matter who what would or could be done to mitigate human contributions to warming, who would enforce it, and why on earth would non-wealthy nations support these efforts?

Calm down, be ready if warming happens, be rich enough to adapt, focus on economic growth around the world to have options to help humankind in the event AGW real, causes big problems, and needs a world leader to intervention.

Obamacare Options

A better Republican strategy would be designed around Ryan’s stated goal. It would begin with the understanding that Obamacare’s worst features are its overregulation of health insurance and its centralization of regulation in Washington, D.C. The way Obamacare regulates insurers’ treatment of people with preexisting conditions, the benefits they have to offer, and the difference between what they can charge the young and the old have raised premiums and deductibles, resulted in insurance policies that are not attractive to the young and healthy, and so made the exchanges shaky at best in much of the country even with the help of the individual mandate.
Republicans already have a set of legislative ideas (if not yet actual legislation) that builds on that insight. The main Republican alternative to Obamacare — advanced in different forms by Senators Bill Cassidy, Orrin Hatch, Richard Burr, and Marco Rubio, by the House Republicans, and by Tom Price, Trump’s nominee to be secretary of health and human services — is to create a much less regulated market.
http://www.nationalreview.com/article/444564/obamacare-republicans-repeal-replace-strategy-congress-paul-ryan

Opposed to Obamacare, Divided About Obamacare

The main problem is that Republicans are a diverse bunch who opposed Obamacare for a variety of reasons. Those most focused on shrinking the size and reach of the federal government thought Washington was already too involved in health care and should pull back, not expand its role or raise taxes to pay for new health spending. Those preoccupied with personal freedom balked at being required to buy health insurance. Others thought the widespread use of insurance to fund health care was already driving health spending too high and objected to further expanding health insurance. Still, others thought broadening health coverage was a desirable goal, but that the subsidies and regulations that Obamacare used to accomplish this goal were poorly designed and transferred too much power from the states to Washington. All of these Republicans could agree on trashing Obamacare, but they did not have a common intellectual basis for designing a replacement and they still don’t. 
http://www.realclearhealth.com/articles/2017/02/09/why_is_it_so_hard_for_republicans_to_replace_obamacare_110432.html

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Gorsuch Is A Home Run

If Democrats are looking for a point of vulnerability in either Gorsuch’s integrity or impartiality, they won’t find it. He is basically a Boy Scout. He’s a faithful husband, a good father, a caring neighbor, a generous friend, a man of probity who holds himself to the highest ethical standards. Oh, and he will bring religious diversity to a Court that is entirely Catholic and Jewish: He’s an Episcopalian.
Gorsuch will be a hard man to depict as a ferocious partisan or an ideological judge, which isn’t to say he won’t be described this way by ideologically partisan critics for whom the prospect of a conservative intellectual giant on the Supreme Court is anything but welcome. As Gorsuch himself has frequently observed, including in a widely noted tribute to Scalia, good judges sometimes have to vote or rule in ways they do not like — because that is what the law requires.
https://www.washingtonpost.com/posteverything/wp/2017/02/01/ignore-the-attacks-on-neil-gorsuch-hes-an-intellectual-giant-and-a-good-man/?utm_term=.882f42809c67

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Obamacare Be Gone

They will also deal with the difficult political task of reforming a massive expansion of Medicaid (the vast majority of Obamacare’s “newly insured” are actually new welfare recipients). They will have to answer Kristof’s claims that “millions of Americans will lose insurance, and thousands more will die unnecessarily each year because of lack of care.” Republicans will have to convince voters that opening up affordable and competitive markets without coercion is preferable to preserving unsustainable state-run programs that grow in perpetuity.
http://thefederalist.com/2017/01/06/gop-does-have-a-plan-to-replace-obamacare-thats-what-scares-democrats/

Monday, January 16, 2017

300 Hacked Emails, That Will Leave a Mark

Then, last Sunday evening, during the NFL playoff game between the New York Giants and the Green Bay Packers, the FBI posted on its website more than 300 emails that Clinton had sent to an unnamed colleague not in the government -- no doubt her adviser Sid Blumenthal -- that had fallen into the hands of foreign powers. It turns out -- and the Sunday night release proves this -- that Blumenthal was hacked by intelligence agents from at least three foreign governments and that they obtained the emails Clinton had sent to him that contained state secrets. Sources believe that the hostile hackers were the Russians and the Chinese and the friendly hackers were the Israelis.
http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2017/01/12/andrew-napolitano-why-criminal-investigation-hillary-clinton-is-back-to-front-and-center.html?intcmp=ob_article_sidebar_video&intcmp=obnetwork

Friday, January 6, 2017

Precision in Language

Everyone knows that correlation doesn’t equal causation, but somehow people seem to forget. Endogeneity is a word that can help you remember. Something is endogenous when you don’t know whether it’s a cause or an effect (or both). For example, lots of people note that people who go to college tend to make more money. But how much of this is because college boosts earning power, and how much is because smarter, harder-working, better-connected people tend to go to college in the first place? It’s endogenous. The media is full of stories about how which kind of people stay married, or what diet is associated with better health. Whenever you see these stories, you should ask “What about endogeneity?”
https://www.bloomberg.com/view/articles/2017-01-05/5-economics-terms-we-all-should-use

If things are getting hotter and carbon levels in the atmosphere are rising, does that mean carbon is causing the temperature changes?  Or are warmer oceans off gassing more carbon dioxide?  Hmmm....