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It’s a Very Complex World

May 16, 2014, 10:37 AM

In the 1980s I devoted a lot of effort to debunking a torrent of Green lies about pesticides and herbicides. This was before the Greens latched onto “global warming” which has since become “climate change” and the subject of a recent White House report filled with dire predictions of planetary doom and disaster.

Nobody died from using pesticides or herbicides in the 1980s or since unless they drank it straight from the bottle. When I talked with farmers they would frequently say “Do you think I would put this stuff on the crops my family eats if I thought it would harm them?” The Greens have always attacked anything that would increase crop growth by limiting the real harm of weeds or the predation of insect species. These days genetically modified seeds are a target for environmentalists though studies have amply demonstrated their crops are safe to eat.

Less food means less people and that has always been a major goal of the people leading the nation’s and the world’s major environmental organizations. The same formula applies to denying energy to people worldwide.

As for pesticides, we all use them to keep our homes and workplaces free of insects that are the key vectors for all manner of diseases. In a world before their invention, millions died from mosquito-borne diseases such as Yellow Fever, Dengue Fever, Encephalitis, West Nile virus and Malaria. Millions still die from malaria and these diseases because one of the most effective pesticides ever invented was DDT and it was banned because of the lies Rachel Carson told in her iconic, environmental book, “Silent Spring.”

The world is a very complex place and it is essential to have a fundamental understanding of how it works. One of the best new books on this subject is Robert Bryce’s “Smaller Faster Lighter Denser Cheaper” ($27.99, Public Affairs). What Bryce doesn’t know about energy is probably not worth knowing and, happily, he has authored several books on the subject. His latest provides wonderful and useful insights to the world we share today with seven billion other human beings.

Bryce quotes Edward Abbey, “one of the patron saints of American environmentalism” who, in 1971, said, “We humans swarm over the planet like a plague of locusts, multiplying and devouring. There is no justice, sense or decency in this mindless global breeding spree, this obscene anthropoid fecundity, this industrialized mass production of babies and bodies, ever more bodies and babies.”

This is the kind of thinking that is the hidden justification for genocides. Not surprisingly the leaders of the Nazi regime were all dedicated environmentalists. At the heart of much that passes for environmentalism is an attack on the energy sources that enhance or lives and agricultural practices that feed us.

It’s not by accident that environmental groups all trumpet the same doomsday lies at the same time. Their leaders get together to coordinate their efforts and the current one is aimed at what they call “de-growth”, the reduction of economic growth by any means.

With President Obama blathering about “climate change” threats, it should not surprise anyone to conclude that the horrible economic conditions he has imposed on our nation was not an accident, nor that he focuses on thwarting the provision of energy, the most vital component of economic growth.

“The prescriptions put forward by the degrowth crowd,” says Bryce, “are familiar. Nuclear energy is bad. Genetically modified foods are bad. Coal isn’t just bad, it’s awful. Oil is bad. Natural gas—and the process often used to produce it, hydraulic fracturing is bad.”  And it is no surprise that the Environmental Protection Agency—the most anti-growth governmental agency—has just announced steps to require the disclosure of chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing, a technology that has been in use for more than a half century and one that has unlocked access to vast reserves of natural gas and oil.

It is essential to understand who the enemy is and it is groups like the Sierra Club, Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth, and the Worldwatch Institute, to name just a few.

The next time some environmental spokesman is busy spreading fear, Bryce says it is necessary to keep in mind that “Their outlook rejects innovation and modern forms of energy. It rejects business and capitalism. We must move past the climate of fear to one of optimism. We must move past fear of technology to an understanding that technology isn’t the problem; it’s the solution.”

[Originally published at Warning Signs]

Categories: On the Blog

Why Michael Sam’s Draft Position Makes Sense

May 16, 2014, 12:26 AM

St. Louis Rams fans will soon be applauding Michael Sam … if he makes the team.

Cato’s David Boaz writes on what he views as the biased way the NFL Draft treated Michael Sam and the “cost of discrimination”:

“Lately some people have proclaimed victory in the battle for equal treatment of gays and lesbians. Last month a group of gay marriage supporters urged their allies to be magnanimous in the final period of the “hard-won victory over a social order in which LGBT people were fired, harassed, and socially marginalized” and not to seek to punish remaining dissenters from the new perspective.”

“But this past weekend has reminded us that we haven’t quite achieved “opportunity to the talented.” Michael Sam was the Co-Defensive Player of the Year in the country’s strongest football conference, yet many people wondered if any NFL team would draft the league’s first openly gay player. Turns out they were right to wonder. Here’s a revealing chart published in yesterday’s Washington Post… Every other SEC Defensive Player of the Year in the past decade, including the athlete who shared the award this year with Michael Sam, was among the top 33 picks in the draft, and only one was below number 17. Does that mean that being gay cost Michael Sam 232 places in the draft, compared to his Co-Defensive Player of the Year? Maybe not. There are doubts about Sam’s abilities at the professional level. But there are doubts about many of the players who were drafted ahead of him, in the first 248 picks this year. Looking at this chart, I think it’s hard to escape the conclusion that Sam paid a price for being openly gay.”

Well, not exactly. Grantland does a good job of explaining why this isn’t a good metric of comparison:

“Before Sam came off the board, the writers and analysts who make up the broader NFL community on Twitter were becoming more and more furious. I got texts from friends who barely care about football, seriously concerned that Sam was going to go undrafted. A narrative was emerging: The league was avoiding Sam because of his sexuality. It’s unknowable what motivated individual teams, but the possibility is absolutely worthy of consideration. However, the most frequently cited evidence is, if I’m being honest, a little disingenuous. If you were following the story, you’ve probably heard it: Sam was named SEC Defensive Player of the Year (co–Defensive Player of the Year with C.J. Mosley, actually). Mosley went off the board 17th, continuing an eight-year run of SEC Defensive Players of the Year coming off the board in the first round. If the SEC Defensive Player of the Year always comes off the board in the first round, then why not Sam — if not in the first round, then at least in the middle of the draft?”

“Well, because that’s not a very substantial sample, nor one that means much in terms of predictive value — that award has been around only since 2003. There are actually plenty of examples of players who found themselves in similar situations. For a seven-year stretch from 2002 to 2008, the six players1 who won the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year award were all drafted in the first round. The 2009 award winner, Michigan State linebacker Greg Jones, was drafted in the sixth round, 185th overall. The Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year award went to players who would be taken within the top 37 selections five years in a row, from 2000 to 2004. The 2005 DPOY was Nick Reid, and he went undrafted. An even more appropriate comparison might be one of the co–Big 12 Defensive Players of the Year this season, Texas lineman Jackson Jeffcoat. Jeffcoat, who had 13 sacks, was one of the two Associated Press All-Americans at defensive end this year. The other was Michael Sam. Despite that strong résumé, Jeffcoat went unselected in New York.”

And Pro Football Talk echoes the comparison: “Maybe Jeffcoat, who signed as an undrafted free agent with the Seahawks, will prove the teams that passed on him wrong and play like a guy who should have gone in the first three rounds. And maybe Sam will prove everyone wrong, too. But I believe Sam was a seventh-round pick because he’s a seventh-round talent.” Indeed, in a sense, it was a good thing Sam even got drafted, given how poorly he performed at the NFL Combine.

“The silent story in Indianapolis was the horrific performance by Michael Sam. He finished with the sixth-lowest grade of all 268 players, only besting three quarterbacks, an FCS offensive lineman, and a linebacker on one of the worst defenses in the Big Ten. Sam’s story is a polarizing one even though it shouldn’t be — your author is rooting for him — but the combine is the ultimate objective test, and Sam clearly failed this one. Everyone knows that the combine bears only tangential reality to playing football, but a miserable showing in Indianapolis won’t do anything to dissuade fears that Sam doesn’t have the physical ability to be a starting defensive end or outside linebacker in the pros.”

As I noted to Joe Weisenthal on Twitter during the draft, you typically draft guys like Sam in the sixth and seventh round: players who have good college numbers, or had a good year, but don’t project to have the physically freakish capability needed to succeed in the pro league. A good college performance may suggest that the player has a little more upside than his physical tools would project — but especially with players outside the skill positions, NFL scouts are overwhelmingly more concerned with physical tools than college performance, because the pro game is a different game.

Sam’s likely career as a seventh round pick projects as that of a journeyman backup and a player on special teams and in DL rotation, not as a longterm starter or Pro Bowler (like Patrick Peterson, Eric Berry, Patrick Willis, or Demeco Ryans — all compared to Sam as  prior SEC Defensive Players of the Year in Boaz’s chart). This isn’t to say that’s a bad thing: an example of a very successful NFL career for a seventh round defensive end of similar size and speed to Sam is that of Tully Banta-Cain, a pass-rushing specialist who rarely started over the course of his NFL tenure but was a key playmaking component of two Patriots Super Bowl teams. That’s an exceptional career for a guy with Tully Banta-Cain’s size, strength, and professional resume — but no one would compare Tully Banta-Cain to Patrick Willis, or be surprised that the former went in the seventh round and the latter in the first (though even Willis had to have an awesome combine to get there).

But stepping back from all this football talk: Boaz comes to the conclusion that the NFL was likely biased against Michael Sam for being openly gay not by looking at Sam’s individual performance, but by comparing him to one class he inhabits — the media award of SEC Defensive Player of the Year. There’s something telling about this little nod toward collectivism in Boaz’s critique. Sam’s being a member of that class of college football award winners doesn’t say anything here or there about the quality of that award, any more than C.J. Mosley’s (or any more than the Heisman told us about the ability of Troy Smith compared to Cam Newton). Nor does it say anything either here or there about the ability of someone who is gay or not gay to play football well. Boaz writes: “Let’s continue to look forward to a society in which it’s not news that a Jewish, Catholic, African-American, Mormon, redneck, or gay person achieves a personal goal.” I agree! That’s why viewing Sam as an individual, who should be evaluated as an individual based on his performance in his chosen field, is so important.

That’s what teams are uncertain about. While there would certainly be higher media attention and the potential for locker-room tension over Sam, that hardly seems to be a widespread phenomenon. This is a “just win, baby” league still, where NFL owners and General Managers care a lot more about rings, ticket sales, TV contracts and apparel deals than anything else. This is a league that tolerates all sorts of personalities and media firestorms of all stripes in order to pursue that aim. Maybe you could make the case that one or two owners could have such motivations, but it makes absolutely no sense for 31 owners and GMs to have passed up on Sam if he was such an obvious winner, missing out on drafting a superstar in the making because they are motivated by discrimination? The profit motive, the power of the marketplace, and the pressure to win all go against that idea.

Of course, I have no inside knowledge of whether any teams were scared off of picking Sam because of homophobia. But there was at least one team that was reportedly hesitant to pick him because they feared a backlash should they have to cut himBack to Grantland (emphasis mine):

“I spoke to one NFL team that suggested it was interested in drafting Sam and had no concerns about him fitting into its locker room or creating any distractions. The team was instead worried what the public perception would be if it drafted and then cut him — and this team had projected Sam as an extremely late pick, likely to be on its roster bubble — even if it made the move solely for football-related reasons.”

This is the real thing the NFL is concerned about: as a seventh round tweener DE/LB, the odds don’t favor a long career for Sam. Maybe he’ll beat those odds, and the league would love it if he does. If he has a long and productive career, the league office would be overjoyed as will most fans. But this unnamed team is acknowledging that this cuts both ways, and they fear that whether he succeeds or fails, Sam will not be viewed as an individual player, and instead as a representative of a class, and that the team that cuts him will be accused of bias or homophobia or worse.

For the 31 NFL teams that passed on Sam, that’s no longer a concern; for the Rams, it could suddenly become a big one. And if Sam eventually gets cut and there is such a backlash, the next openly gay player could face a harder road, not an easier one… not because of their own abilities, but because of the perceived inability of teams to treat them equally, as just another player.

I agree with Boaz that we want a marketplace open to talent wherever it is, but that marketplace also has to allow you to say someone isn’t talented enough to succeed in it without being accused of crippling bias. After all, what could be more ludicrous than viewing a football player through the reductive analytical lens of whom he has sex with? And yet people will do it, just like David Boaz.

Follow Ben on Twitter. Subscribe to his daily newsletter, The Transom

[First published at The Federalist.]

Categories: On the Blog

Matt Kibbe at Heartland: Don’t Hurt People and Don’t Take Their Stuff

May 15, 2014, 9:20 AM

Matt Kibbe at Heartland practicing to lead a parade for liberty … if Americans ever embrace it again.

At a luncheon at The Heartland Institute yesterday, FreedomWorks President Matt Kibbe, talked about this latest book, Don’t Hurt People and Don’t Take Their Stuff: A Libertarian Manifesto. In his book, Kibbe attempts to define libertarianism to people who are ignorant of it and asking about it.

“I wanted to translate the ideas of liberty to connect to the people,” Kibbe said. “To the people that look at the Democratic Party and think I’m not one of them and look at the Republican Party and think I sometimes agree with them but I’m not one of them either.”

According to Kibbe, modern efforts to self-educate on liberty increases the need for publishing works like his latest book and much of what Heartland produces. However, finding a comprehensive work on libertarianism is not always that easy — or at least, easy to read.

Before delving into his book, Kibbe explained his own journey with liberty beginning at age 13. From searching through used bookstores for books of Ayn Rand and Adam Smith — then finding the Rand-inspired rock band Rush — Kibbe found his way to the economics department at Grove City College in Pennsylvania where he discovered he was not the only one who had been inspired by these thinkers. “Today, it’s so easy to find those books and ideas … you just Google it,” Kibbe said.

In Don’t Hurt People and Don’t Take Their Stuff, Kibbe condenses the ideas of Adam Smith, Friedrich Hayek, and Ludwig von Mises to efficiently explain the libertarian movement to the public. Kibbe specifically summarized Smith’s Theory of Moral Sentiments into two basic ideas, which became the title of his book: Don’t hurt people and don’t take their stuff. Aside from serving as a catchy title, these ideas are also the first two of the six rules of liberty Kibbe further outlines.

Kibbe discussed how today, people do not directly steal from one another, but elect politicians as means to outsource stealing through a third party. “The government is transferring wealth form the politically unconnected to the politically connected in Washington,” Kibbe said. This not only serves as an example of government encroachment but also a violation of the basic rule of man, treat everybody like everybody else.

According to Kibbe, the rules of liberty stem from this basic rule, and that the freedoms enumerated by the Constitution apply to everyone, no matter their race, religion or socio-economic status. An individual has to protect their liberty by taking responsibility and working to stand up to the government.

“The government goes to those who show up. If we don’t show up, the power goes to those who do, who may corrupt the power. We have to show up.”

(Kibbe is also the author of Hostile Takeover: Resisting Centralized Government’s Stranglehold on America and co-author of Give Us Liberty: A Tea-Party Manifesto.)

Categories: On the Blog

Misdirection Increasing in Size, Intensity & Coverage

May 14, 2014, 9:06 AM

Once upon a time, oh, say 20 years ago, the talk was that the Pacific would be in a constant state of El Nino. Though this was an admission that the antics of the tropical Pacific control a large part of the global temperature, the idea of the El Nino and a forever warming planet was a global warming proponent’s dream come true. Because they ignored climate cycles and did not understand what meteorologist Joe D’Aleo, who also runs the climate blog “ICECAP,” showed plainly – that in the colder cycles of the Pacific, the La Ninas outdo El Ninos and vice versa – they assumed this would continue forever.

As the earth adjusted to the warmth supplied by this natural cycle, the warmth that was occurring, combined with the change of the Atlantic cycle to warmer, lead to a marked decrease in Arctic sea ice. It reached a crescendo in 2007, the year of the death spiral along with forecasts of no summer ice in 2014. Through it all, our side of the AGW argument said this is a natural phenomena, and once the AMO flipped, the summer sea ice, which is the most obvious talking point for those advocating the Arctic death spiral, would come back. As always, the Southern Hemisphere ice, because it was above normal, was ignored.

So here we are, with the summer of 2014 approaching. Much is being made of the coming El Nino, including for the fifth time since 1997, the dream of many of a “Super Nino” to get the badly busting global temp forecast back on track. We believe strongly this a classic Multivariate ENSO (MEI) bounce back event that spikes quickly then retreats, as we are back in the period that favors this. We can plainly see this cycle by looking at the MEI chart below.

The theory is not rocket science. It simply says the strongest events are after prolonged warm run ups, which happen when the Pacific in the overall sense is cool. You can plainly see the cyclical nature of the overall MEI and the spikes that occur, both when it’s been warm and cold. As I have said a thousand times, the explanation for the behavior of the oceans lies with Dr. William Gray’s ideas.

But here we are with the talk of a Super Nino, yet the far bigger event climate-wise is the increasingly positive summer sea ice anomaly being forecast that’s getting more impressive by the week. When combined with the major positive anomaly in the Southern Hemisphere, this offers a chance, in the summer of Al Gore’s no Arctic ice cap, for a record high global ice anomaly.

Heck of a way to run a global warm up, eh? There’s a chance of a record high global ice anomaly because of an above average summer sea ice anomaly in the north and what appears to be a a Southern Hemispheric sea ice that is heading for a record high itself. As of this writing, the Southern Hemisphere looks like this:

The north, as you can see, is below average, and you see the two summer sea ice minimums that lead to the hysteria. But while they were happening there was robust sea ice in the south (and I am all for thinking globally).

Average all this out, and here’s what you get.

Again, this is not rocket science. Given where we are globally now with the Arctic still below average, a forecast for the winter around Antarctica as depicted on the graph below would mean it’s likely each anomaly in their winter would remain well above average.

Should the northern ice cap expand to above average, the global average would have to go up, perhaps breaking the record. And you have to love all this, as it would occur in the summer touted by Al Gore to perhaps see the Arctic ice cap disappear. Ouch, that is going to leave a mark. If only someone would actually watch it!

The reason for the increase in the Arctic ice is because the north Atlantic, at least for the time being, has cooled. Most of the reason for the decrease in ice is not because of the warmth of the winters but because the warm cycle in the north Atlantic attacks the ice cap at the warm time of the year – both with warmer air temperatures and the warmer current below! But what happens when that changes for good? There were times in the 1950s when Arctic sea ice was very low, and though I have no satellite measurements, we do have panic reports like this from 1957.

20 years ago the idea of a constant El Nino warming the planet was a big deal, which is why we see the current fervor about the threat of a Super Nino. But the other, greater story is this canary in the coal mine; that the AMO will flip to cold for good by 2020, as Dr. Gray has opined, because of the cyclical nature of the oceans. This means that the darling of the warming crowd a few years ago – sea ice – will be the lipstick on a pig it always has been.

Think about it.

Super Ninos galore – NOT.

Ice caps decreasing. How did that work out given the Southern Hemisphere?

And now this?

Yet what are we hearing about? A likely overhyped event to get attention and whip up fervor, while the event that actually means something is ignored.

Now let me ask you this question. If we have a world with less than average global sea ice meaning all this warmth, what should be the natural progression of thought to the same person that pushed this missive as to what two above normal caps mean?

A question they probably do not want to answer.

Joe Bastardi is chief forecaster at WeatherBELL Analytics, a meteorological consulting firm.

© Copyright 2014 The Patriot Post

[Originally published at The Patriot Post]

Categories: On the Blog