January 26, 2007

Was It the Nicholas Stern or Howard Stern Report?

Filed under: Business Moves,Economy,Environment,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 2:25 pm

BBC says that the Stern Review into the Economics of Climate Change may have gaping holes in it (HT CCnet e-mail) that even believers in “global warming” and “climate change” (referred to around here as “globaloney”) are having a hard time handling:

….. expert critics of the review now claim that it overestimates the risk of severe global warming, and underestimates the cost of acting to stop it.The message from the report’s chief author, the economist Sir Nicholas Stern, was simple: if we did nothing about climate change, it would cost us the equivalent of at least 5% of global GDP each year, now and forever.

But if we acted today, we could prevent a catastrophe.

This point was emphasised at the report’s launch by Mr Blair who warned we would see the disastrous consequences of climate change – not in some science fiction future, but in our lifetimes.

These figures sounded scary and imminent. But if you read the report in detail, that is not what it actually says.

The 5% damage to global GDP figure will not happen for well over one hundred years, according to Stern’s predictions. And the review certainly does not forecast disastrous consequences in our lifetimes.

‘Cherry-picking’

The report may have been loved by the politicians and headline writers but when climate scientists and environmental economists read the 670-page review, many said there were serious flaws.

….. Richard Tol is a professor at Hamburg and Carnegie Mellon Universities, and is one of the world’s leading environmental economists.

The Stern Review cites his work 63 times; but that does not mean he agrees with it.

“If a student of mine were to hand in this report as a Masters thesis, perhaps if I were in a good mood I would give him a ‘D’ for diligence; but more likely I would give him an ‘F’ for fail.

“There is a whole range of very basic economics mistakes that somebody who claims to be a Professor of Economics simply should not make,” he told The Investigation on BBC Radio 4.

….. “Stern consistently picks the most pessimistic for every choice that one can make. He overestimates through cherry-picking, he double counts particularly the risks and he underestimates what development and adaptation will do to impacts,” he said.

And yet the movement to adopt Stern’s recommended draconian measures appears to be gaining steam. I would suggest asking the people of the world if they want to volunteer to participate in a global economic depression in the name of pseudoscience.

Ho-Hum Hiring Headline (012607)

Filed under: Business Moves — Tom @ 11:00 am

From the Cincinnati Enquirer:

Last Updated: 6:06 am | Friday, January 26, 2007
Center creates 600 new jobs

Convergys Corp. said Monday it’s opening a customer services and technical support call center in Erlanger that it expects will create about 600 new jobs.

Hiring is under way for the 85,000-square-foot facility. It will begin operations by the end of March and be fully staffed by fall, spokeswoman Lauri Roderick said.

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UPDATE, Jan. 28: Add another 550 in Longview, Texas.

The AP in Iraq — New Dog, Same Old Tricks

Bryan Preston at Hot Air, who recently returned from a trip to Iraq with Michelle Malkin, caught the misleading headline (still there) in a story by newly-promoted AP Baghdad news editor Kim Gamel:

APtroopsClash0107

The headline conveys the obvious impression that our troops are fighting Iraqi soldiers and not terrorists/”insurgents.”

Based on the story that follows, the headline is obviously false.

Bryan thought the headline at the original story had been updated, but that turns out to have been incorrect. Yours truly tipped him, and he noted, that the story is still there in all its ignominy. What’s more, he noted, by reviewing Google News results, that the false headline, even if corrected now, has spread around the country and around the world. Further supporting the Pandora’s Box nature of the AP’s journalistic malpractice, here’s a regular Google search on the headline (in quotes) showing that it still generates thousands of hits. And even though most of underlying linked stories appear to have different titles now, some (like this one) still have the original.

It doesn’t seem to be much of a stretch to think that either Ms. Gamel or a headline writer she didn’t watch very closely is secretly savoring a “mission accomplished” moment.

Bryan’s thoughts at his first post are stronger:

There’s no excuse for this, AP. That headline is a blatant manipulation of words to create a false picture of events in Iraq….

I have to say, I no longer trust a single word the AP reports from Iraq. Not. One. Word. I’ve been there. The AP’s methods and its overt bias call into doubt every single story it has published from Iraq since the war began. Its entire method of operation over there is fatally flawed, and it’s clear that the editors outside the country are just waiting to paint every single event as a disaster for our troops. They’ll even write up lies in their headlines to do it.

After the proven-false “Burning Six” story and the misadventures of the non-existent Jamil Hussein*, I find it difficult to dispute Bryan’s contentions. The AP’s falsely-headlined story will likely have a long life, like this lying headline about 2005′s riots in Toledo, Ohio, that didn’t go away for almost a year.

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* – Jamil Hussein “exists” under another name, a fact NOT reported by AP as they used him under that undisclosed pseudonym (yet another instance of journalistic malpractice) at least 61 times, and then didn’t give his real name to military investigators attempting to locate him. Then when the misled searchers reported no record of him, the AP dishonestly crowed that they were vindicated, and revealed his true name. What a load — Either AP had been deceived about Hussein’s real name all along and had failed to investigate Jamil’s bona fides, or they knowingly and deliberately misled and wasted the time of military investigators. If I were working at a big company and telling gullible reporters for years that my real name was Tom Cruise as I spread false stories, nobody at my employer would be able to find me either.

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Cross-posted at NewsBusters.org.

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UPDATE: Here’s an analysis of the Iraq situation that is pretty upbeat.

Kentucky Study: Tax Break Impact Doesn’t Match the Hype

Filed under: Economy,Education,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 6:20 am

From the Cincinnati Enquirer, in a poorly-written AP story (excerpted lightly for that reason):

FRANKFORT – Kentucky’s efforts to lure new businesses by offering tax breaks to potential employers hasn’t produced nearly the number of new jobs claimed by state officials, a new University of Kentucky report says. State officials have said the tax breaks have created more than 367,000 new jobs since 1989.

….. The study, by three UK economists, says the tax breaks have created just 127,137 jobs since 1989.

The analysis concluded that tax incentives have had a small positive effect on the state’s economy. It says the cabinet’s (i.e., economic development department’s — Ed.) worker-training program is far more cost-effective.

This is a debate worth having: Tax incentives ($788 million since 1989, according to the article, in taxes that someone else had to pay) or job training, or the appropriate mix of both. Solid and not-over-hyped numbers would be a good start.

At Ford, Sounding Like a Broken Record — About a Broken Record

Filed under: Business Moves,MSM Biz/Other Ignorance — Tom @ 6:10 am

Here’s the reported news:

Ford: Biggest loss ever
Annual shortfall roars past company record, as quarter loss comes in wider than expected; larger operating losses ahead.

Ford Motor Co. reported the largest annual loss in company history Thursday. The embattled automaker also posted a fourth-quarter loss that was worse than analysts’ expectations and warned of worse showings ahead.

Weak sales of its key pickup trucks in the quarter and $9.9 billion in after-tax charges due to employee buyouts and plant closing plans resulted in $12.7 billion loss for 2006.

….. The company has seen a big drop in consumer demand for its key products, such as the F-series pickups. While still the nation’s best-selling vehicle, the pickup saw sales plunge by more than 100,000 in 2006 in the face of record fuel prices and a slump in the housing market, which cut demand from contractors.

….. The shift in buyers’ preference left Ford with numerous truck factories that were idle much of the quarter, even as unionized hourly workers continued to be paid near full salary. It responded to the downturn by offering all 75,000 of its U.S. factory workers buyouts or enhanced retirement packages to leave the company, which more than half of them agreed to do.

….. And while the company said the lack of large special charges should trim its net loss this year, it warned that losses excluding special items would be worse this year than in 2006. It did not give any specific range for that loss in its financial statement.

Ford has acquired a nasty “worse than expected” habit in the past six months or so.

One gets the impression that execs are shaking their heads and rattling their brains trying to figure out why this is happening. I think they know that this is why (659,000 boycotters, and growing), and simply won’t acknowledge it (Note: I am not a fan of the boycott involved; I am pointing out the real business impact it is obviously having. The fact that the press is ignoring its impact doesn’t mean that it isn’t happening). Until they do, and until they do something about it, expect more disappointments out of Dearborn. This is especially true because with the company’s survival clearly at stake, Ford appears hell-bent, if you excuse the expression, on making that situation worse — even if the company fails as a result.

Positivity: Book about efforts of Pope Pius XII to save Jews during the Holocaust ‘ends the controversies’

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 6:00 am

From Catholic News Agency:

Vatican City, Jan 25, 2007 / 04:06 pm (CNA).- During the presentation of a new book chronicling the “anonymous heroes” who worked against the Holocaust during World War II, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, Vatican Secretary of State, recalled the exemplary role of Pope Pius XII in the fight against the Nazi’s and in the effort to help those in need, especially the Jews.

According to Vatican Radio the Cardinal said on Wednesday that independent historical research has now proven that Pope Pius and those around him sought to help all who were in need during the war.

“The story of the 20th century Catholic Church ran into an unprecedented tragedy with the extermination of the Jewish people, a tragedy which confronted all of Europe with questions about its religious and human values,” said Cardinal Bertone during the presentation of Martin Gilbert’s book, “The Just: The unknown heroes of the Holocaust.”

Cardinal Bertone explained that “the story of ‘The Just’ is the story of a chain of goodness that has crossed humanity regardless of religions, even at the risk of losing one’s own life and those of their relatives.”

The protectors of Jews during Nazism, stated the Prelate, developed a “peaceful and silent war against the forces of evil and against the prejudices of their environment.”

In this war, indicated the Vatican Secretary of state, “the Catholic Church had a prominent role: The story of “The Just” is intertwined with that of Pius XII and is a story that ends the controversies about a supposed papal ‘collaboration (with Nazis)’ or anti-Semitism.”

The book clearly proves, said Cardinal Bertone, “a clear attitude of Pius XII to help in every possible way the pursued Jews;” and even more, it was precisely the in the “continuation of the guidelines of Pius XII, the Holy See sought, not only to organize the search for the scattered, but also to coordinate the efforts in favor of the victims, thus giving example to the faithful as to how they should help,” concluded the Cardinal.