June 4, 2006

Weekend Question 3: Will This Kind of Enviro-Intimidation Grow?

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government,TWUQs — Tom @ 4:31 pm

Meteorologists doesn’t toe the line on man as the primary cause of global warming he should lose their jobs, according to some enviros:

Ignoring Science?
Protesters Call for Resignations, Say Government Ignoring Global Warming Effect on Hurricanes
May 31, 2006 — To anyone who spent time watching hurricane forecasts last summer, Max Mayfield may seem like a hero. The director of the National Hurricane Center predicted many of the season’s worst storms.

But a day before the start of the 2006 hurricane season, environmental groups called for Mayfield and other officials at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, or NOAA, to resign.

“NOAA is actively covering up the strong and growing scientific link between more powerful hurricanes and global warming,” said Mike Tidwell, who represents a group called the U.S. Climate Emergency Council.

The groups demanded that Mayfield and NOAA administrator Conrad Lautenbacher step down.

“They must resign immediately,” said Tidwell, in front of about 30 protesters who’d gathered for a morning rally outside NOAA headquarters in Silver Spring, Md.

NOAA officials declined to be interviewed today but released a statement saying the agency had not taken a specific position on the relationship between global warming and hurricane behavior.

“We recognize there is an ongoing scientific debate and will continue to support research that might identify detectable influences of global warming in hurricane frequency and/or intensity,” the statement said.

One NOAA official, speaking on background, said today that not all of the agency’s scientists agree a global warming-hurricane link exists. Mayfield put the blame on natural climate cycles when he testified before Congress in September 2005.

“The increased activity since 1995 is due to natural fluctuations and cycles of hurricane activity,” he said at the time.

But a growing body of peer reviewed scientific evidence — including a study released today by researchers at Pennsylvania State University and MIT — downplays the role of natural cycles and blames global warming — brought on by human activities — as a factor heating the Atlantic Ocean, which in turn fuels more intense hurricanes that may affect the United States.

Points:

  • Peer review, schmeer review — Previous BizzyBlog posts (here, here, and here) have noted that peer review means that the research in question may have passed a “stench test,” but cannot be said to have passed a smell test. The Korean stem-cell scientist’s totally fraudulent work was also peer-reviewed.
  • The calls for resignations are nothing more than naked attempts at intimidation and silencing of dissent by people who deep down know that their claims of man-made global warming don’t stand up to rigorous scientific scrutiny. Maybe they will someday, but the research isn’t there to support it, and they know it.
  • The intimidators want to skip the dirty work of actually having to prove what they believe, so they can get on with their primary goal of slowing down the march of economic progress that has lifted hundreds of millions out of poverty and promises to lift out billions more in as little as 40 years. Go figure — This is why “environmental wacko” is an appropriate descriptor for them.

Even the Washinton Times Has Been Sucked into the “Declining Polls” Meme

Here’s the WashTimes headline on Joseph Curl’s article yesterday:

Bush circles the wagons as approval ratings slip

Here’s the polling data, straight from Rasmussen:

Rasmussen060306

Somone’s slip is showing, and it’s not at The White House.
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UPDATE: June 4′s number of 41% has been added at the Rasmussen site, and the May detail presented above was taken off. By my math, 41% is still 5 points above the 36% low of May 18.

Psst: The Manufacturing Sector Is on Its Longest Winning Streak in Over a Quarter Century

Filed under: Economy — Tom @ 10:58 am

That’s Right — A Historic Performance in the Manufacturing Sector Has Been Totally Missed

You probably didn’t know that we’re living through historically GOOD times for manufacturing in America. Now you will.

For some reason, the The Institute for Supply Management (ISM) hasn’t trumpeted this news, even though the history-making began a couple of months ago when it issued its its March report announcing the 34th consecutive month of manufacturing expansion.

This BizzyBlog post from August of last year had this three-paragraph nugget from a CNN report (bold is mine) that led to my finding (bolds are mine):

(August 1, 2005) The nation’s manufacturing sector grew at a faster pace in July (2005), according to a survey of industry executives released Monday that contained lots of good news for Wall Street expectations.

The Institute of Supply Management’s survey of executives at goods-producing companies came in at 56.6, the best reading of 2005 and up from the 53.8 reading in June. The closely watched survey, one of the first economic readings for July, had been forecast to rise to 54.5 in July.

Any reading above 50 constitutes growth in the sector
, so Monday’s survey means that manufacturing has grown for 26 straight months, the longest expansion in the sector in more than 16 years, since nearly three years of uninterrupted growth ended in April 1989.

The May 2006 report released last week brought the streak to 36 consecutive months.

The current streak is at the top of the chart below. As you’ll see, the 1986-1989 streak referred to in CNN’s report last year was 33 months (click here to see all history back to 1948; as noted already, a reading above 50 indicates expansion):

PMI1983to1006

In case you’re wondering, the average reading during the current streak is 57.3, compared to an average of 55.6 during the 1986-1989 streak.

You have to go back almost 27 years to find a longer streak than the 36-month tear we’re currently on. Longer streaks in the time the PMI Manufacturing Survey has been done have been these (all during a time when manufacturers as a whole could usually do no wrong unless it was self-inflicted):

  • August 1975 – July 1979 — 48 months
  • February 1971 – August 1974 — 43 months
  • October 1962 – December 1966 — 51 months

The fact that the current 36-month streak has occurred at a time of unprecedented hypercompetition on a global scale is all the more impressive.

This would be a good tonic to all the gloom and doom about the “death of manufacturing” in the US — if anyone would notice.

Now someone has.

Cross-posted at NewsBusters.org.

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Conservative Culture Suddenly Sunday Trackbacks participant.

Column of the Day: Thomas Sowell On Media Biz-Econ Bias

One has to marvel at the effectiveness of biased business and economic reporting by the WORMs (Worn-Out Reactionary Media, known to most as The Mainstream Media). The economy grew at an annualized rate of 5.3% in the first quarter (pending final revision in late June), unemployment is down to 4.6%, impressive productivity gains continue, and manufacturing is on a historic tear (more on that later this morning at about 11:00).

The only “weak” number is the growth in new jobs, which came in at 75,000 (net 38,000 after adjustments to previous months) in May. I have “weak” in quotes because of the reduction in the unemployment rate.

I’m (temporarily) at a loss for words to express my frustration that in the face of all of the above, 32% of people still said that we’re in a recession a couple of weeks ago, a statement that is objectively false.

So I’ll bring in Thomas Sowell, the nation’s foremost intellectual, to help me out. Sowell notes that the WORMs have done a very effective job at distorting economic reality, and explains why doing that is so important to them (HT NewsBusters):

Conservatives who point out the declining audience for the big television network newscasts, and declining public trust of the media in general, often under-estimate how much clout the liberal media still have.

For example, while the economy has had near-record highs in growth rates and in the stock market, with near-record lows in unemployment and inflation, polls show that the public thinks the economy is in big trouble. A steady diet of gloom-and-doom spin in the liberal media has worked. The death of media influence has been greatly exaggerated.

More is involved than partisan attempts to undermine the Bush administration. For decades, the liberal media and the intelligentsia have had to struggle mightily against good economic news. Their whole vision of the world — and of themselves — is at stake.

It’s not easy. Even Americans in the bottom 20 percent in income have higher real incomes than in the past and such staples of middle class life as microwave ovens and motor vehicles are now common among “the poor.”

What can the liberal-left do? They can keep pointing out how the bottom 20 percent’s share of the national income is declining.

….. Nor is there anything mysterious or sinister in the fact that the percentage share of the national income going to the bottom 20 percent has declined.

How do most people get income? They work for it. What happens when pay for work goes up? The gap between those who are working and those who are not widens. Most of the people in the bottom 20 percent are not full-time, year-around workers.

There are, in fact, more heads of household who are full-time, year-around workers in the top 5 percent than in the bottom 20 percent.

Given Sowell’s final fact, it’s a miracle that the percentage of income received by the bottom 20% isn’t LOWER. Well, not a miracle; it only shows that despite another tired nostrum of the Left, namely that the economic safety net is being shredded, nothing could be further from the truth. Despite another favorite leftist claim to the contrary, we are a compassionate people. Given the relative weights pulled by those in the top 5%, both in output and in taxes paid, one has to wonder whether the limits to compassion should be nudged just a bit more towards self-reliance.

It Was 17 Years Ago Today: Never Forget Tiananmen Square

Filed under: Taxes & Government — Tom @ 8:58 am

TiananmenSquare2

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The original BBC report on the day of the massacre is here, and includes an absolutely chilling 3-1/2 minute Real Player video report.

From Zee News in India: “The Chinese Red Cross estimates that between 2,000 and 2,500 people were killed as a result of the violence in 1989.”

From Wikipedia — The Chinese government gets high-tech help, from people who should know better, keeping the lid on any discussion of this dark chapter in Chinese history:

In January 2006, a deal struck with Google and Yahoo! confirmed that this is still a sensitive topic for the Chinese Government as Google’s Chinese site (Google.cn) now restricts locals from searching for information about the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre, as well as other topics such as Tibetan independence, the banned spiritual sect Falun Gong, and Taiwan.

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UPDATE: Slate has a well-done picture series.

Positivity: 1942 Postcard Leads to Long-Distance Friendship

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 6:55 am

From a second-hand store to an across-the-ocean friendship:

Postcard

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