February 21, 2007

Human-Hating Enviro-Pessimist Letter of the Day

From Biz Weak’s Letters to the Editor (appears to be free for now, but will eventually require subscription; eighth letter at link) — an “I told you so” about enviro beliefs (bolds are mine):

Your article highlights what environmentalists dare not say aloud: That is, any solution to problems surrounding energy use (or all human consumption issues, for that matter) and the environment that does not involve a substantial reduction in global population is doomed. No matter which way we turn, such as replacing fossil fuels with biofuels, one problem is alleviated and another is created because the fundamental calculus of human demand and the inexorable growth of our numbers remain unchanged.

In my opinion it is far too late to avoid the agonizingly painful measures that must be taken to avoid a “soylent green” future. Maximum sustainable population for this planet was reached about a century ago. Yet population growth remains unabated and affects the poorest and least efficient societies the most. The horrific images of starvation and death brought to us daily from places like Darfur are going to become far more common than any of us imagines. The nightmarish logic of Thomas Malthus, while postponed thanks to technology, has not been abrogated.

Your article merely points out why billions will suffer and die because we cannot use our minds to control our instincts.

Geoffrey K. Wascher
Aurora, Ill.

Actually, this post is beyond an “I told you so.” In a post last weekend, I said that globaloney advocates are okey-dokey with keeping billions in poverty in the name of “saving the planet.” Wascher’s letter shows that there are more than a few enviros who, though they “dare not say (it) out loud,” believe that billions of us must die until the earth’s population is back to about 1.7 billion (roughly the world’s population a century ago, down from its current 6.5 billion) in the name of that same cause. Wascher does not address how we’ve managed to survive a century at ever-more “unsustainable” levels, or how he would propose to rid the world of so many excess humans, but you can be sure that an overbearing government would have to be part of a “solution” that would cause the “Final Solution” to pale in comparison. And does anyone believe that people like Wascher will volunteer to be among the first to be eliminated in the name of the cause?

The belief that world population needs to come way down is, unfortunately, not an isolated one (see Ted Turner reference at link).

To what level of pessimism have you sunk when you convince yourself that (to used tired CPA terminology) human beings are not on the whole contributing, clever, and creative assets to be nurtured, but instead are (again on the whole) greedy, careless, unimportant, resource-consuming liabilities, most of whom “need” to be eliminated?

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UPDATE: Just added a Wiki link to “soylent green” in Wascher’s letter above (and, obviously, in this sentence). I thought I had an idea of what it meant, and glossed through its use in the letter. I obviously shouldn’t have (lesson learned). Go to the Wiki link, and you’ll see how grim Wascher and by inference other enviros who “dare not say (the truth) out loud” really are. Thanks to Matt in the first comment for the gruesome catch.

To ‘Net Neutrality’ Advocates: Where Is the Enhanced Internet Going to Come From?

Filed under: Business Moves,Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 9:31 am

From a subscriber-only Wall Street Journal editorial last week:

“In 2006, the S&P 500 telecommunications sector was the strongest performing sector, up 32% over the previous year,” said Mr. Martin. “Markets and companies are investing again, job creation in the industry is high, and in almost all cases, vigorous competition — resulting from free-market deregulatory policies — has provided the consumer with more, better and cheaper services to choose from.”

Much of this growth has been fueled by increased broadband deployment, which makes high-speed Internet services possible. The latest government data show that broadband connections increased by 26% in the first six months of 2006 and by 52% for the full year ending in June 2006.

Also noteworthy, notes telecom analyst Scott Cleland of the Precursor Group, is that of the 11 million broadband additions in the first half of last year, 15% were cable modems, 23% were digital-subscriber lines (DSL) and 58% were of the wireless variety. Between June 2005 and June 2006, wireless broadband subscriptions grew to 11 million from 380,000.

This gives the lie to claims that some sort of cable/DSL duopoly has hampered competition among broadband providers and limited consumer options. That’s the charge of those who want “network neutrality” rules that would allow the government to dictate what companies like Verizon and AT&T can charge users of their networks. But the reality is that the telecom industry has taken advantage of this deregulatory environment to provide consumers with more choices at lower prices.

Recently, Google has complained that the Net as it is currently configured won’t be able to handle the influx of video that is anticipated in the coming few years. If so, then who is going to build on the current one? Where is the money going to come from to do that, and why shouldn’t those who build it be compensated for what they’ve built?

__________________________

UPDATE: You definitely want to read ajacksonian’s comment #1 below on the situation.

German Home Schooling Case Update

Filed under: Education,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 6:18 am

If this isn’t a human rights abuse, I don’t know what is:

Court-ordered foster care replaces psych ward
German homeschool student still can’t tell parents where she is
Posted: February 20, 2007; 1:00 a.m. Eastern

An international human rights organization says the 15-year-old homeschool student taken from her home by a SWAT team and deposited in a psychiatric ward on a judge’s order has been allowed to contact her family.

“Melissa called her parents today to tell them she was moved to another mental ward. She was then moved to a ‘clearing house’ and finally to a foster family; but she was unable to tell them where she is now,” said a statement from the the International Human Rights Group, which has tried to involve the international community in the attack on homeschooling in Germany.

Joel Thornton, the president of the IHRG ….. reported (that) a five-hour court hearing was held on Friday, but that resulted in no immediate decision when social workers refused to accept a compromise that the judge and Melissa’s parents had worked out.

“This is a precedent that’s going to affect not just Germany,” Thornton said. “This is an extreme case, even for Germany, but it won’t be extreme any more if they get away with it.”

Especially if the situation is brand-new to you, read the whole thing.

There is no “crime” here except, in the eyes of the German government and its “social services” system, the act of homeschooling a child. The German N-word applies to the state’s tactics. A high-level intervention, up to and including Angela Merkel, is desperately called for.

NixGuy has a comprehensive roundup of previous links.

From the ‘No, We Should NOT Be Just Like Them’ Department

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 6:13 am

Apparently, there are attempts being made at making a case that the EU is starting to do well economically.

Uh, no — the correct statement would be that they are doing less poorly (bold is mine):

The euro zone just got its best jobless report ever. The bad news: In a decade when record numbers of people found work in the rich world, Europe’s best is an unemployment rate of 7.5%, significantly higher than the U.S. (at 4.6%) or any other developed economy.

Bush and the Environment: State Dept. (!) Puts Forth the Facts

Filed under: Economy,Environment,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 6:08 am

What’s the left going to do if the State Department continues to cooperate with the Administration like this (HT CCnet EXTRA e-mail)?

Post-Kyoto Surprise: America’s Quiet Efforts to Cut Greenhouse Gases Are Producing Results

Kurt Volker, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for European and Eurasian Affairs
Remarks at the German Marshall Fund
Berlin, Germany
February 12, 2007

But let me start out with some clear, simple statements:

  • We agree that human activity contributes to global warming. (Oh well, nobody’s perfect. — Ed. :–>)
  • We support the recent IPCC report, in which U.S. scientists played a leading role. (Despite the hype, an OpinionJournal.com editorial on February 5 noted that despite the hype surrounding the IPCC press release, “the underlying (not yet released) scientific report ….. contains startling revisions of previous U.N. predictions. Surely State knows this. — Ed.)
  • We are committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
  • We have made tremendous investments in reducing emissions.
  • We are working multilaterally to do so.
  • We are continuing these efforts.
  • These efforts are producing results that stand up favorably against anyone in the world.

Just because we haven’t joined the Kyoto Protocol doesn’t make any of these statements less true.

I thought State was the temporary internationalist home of the “loyal” (?) opposition to Republican presidents. Unfortunately, it usually is, but at least not this time.

Smoking While Driving Ban in Germany?

Filed under: Consumer Outrage,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 6:03 am

Smoking Nazis, indeed — I’m not a big fan of smoking, but the idea of banning it while driving, which Germany is considering, is ridiculous, and many more choice negative adjectives that I’ve decided not to use here.

Positivity: 11 Year-old, Saved at Age 2 Himself, Saves Another 2 Year-Old

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 5:58 am

From Fremont, CA:

Fremont boy to be honored for act
Park district giving award to 11-year-old for saving 2-year-old
Article Last Updated: 02/05/2007 02:46:52 AM PST

FREMONT — When Dennis Kay was 16 months old, family friends saved his life by snatching him from a campfire he’d accidentally fallen into.

Almost exactly 10 years later, Dennis returned the favor by pulling a 2-year-old from a shallow creek, saving his young friend from serious injury or worse. Even more, he quickly replaced the youngster’s wet clothes with his own dry ones, smartly using friends’ headbands to more tightly wrap the garments around little Troy Blevins to keep him warm.

Coincidence? The circle of life?

Jo Ann and Steve Kay, parents of the quick-thinking

11-year-old Fremont boy, credit something much more tangible for Dennis Kay’s actions: the East Bay Regional Park District’s junior lifeguard program. Started in 1994, the summer course teaches lifeguarding skills to local children ages 9 to 15.

Dennis Kay, a Boy Scout known to friends as DJ, has taken the program three consecutive years at Quarry Lakes Regional Recreation Area with his older brother, Stephen.

“After a couple of days, I called to thank the (district),” said Jo Ann Kay, a Fremont resident since 1987. “They provided a program that helped my son help a little boy.”

The incident occurred in September in Van Damme State Park in Mendocino County. The Brookvale Elementary sixth-grader was taking a walk with five other children there when Troy, then 2 years old, stepped on dirt that gave way.

Blevins fell face first into achilly creek.

The creek was shallow, Dennis said, adding that it was “only about 6 inches to a foot deep.”

But sometimes that’s all it takes for serious harm or death.

“The danger was the chill — that could have (made it) a life-endangering situation,” said Carl Blevins, Troy’s grandfather. “Yes, the water wasn’t deep and parents were nearby. But DJ didn’t panic, and he did what had to be done. He’s a hero to me. My grandson is the charm of my life, so we’re extremely grateful.”

Dennis Kay will be presented Tuesday with an award for his heroics at the East Bay Regional Park District’s board meeting in Oakland.