November 23, 2010

Lucid Links (112310, Morning)

Filed under: Lucid Links — Tom @ 8:46 am

Wow, this guy was a crass political opportunist when he ran for president 10 years ago:

(This presidential candidate) said support for corn-based ethanol in the United States was ‘not a good policy,’ weeks before tax credits are up for renewal.”

… “It is not a good policy to have these massive subsidies for (U.S.) first generation ethanol.”

… He explained his own support for the original programme on his presidential ambitions.

I had a certain fondness for the farmers in the state of Iowa because I was about to run for president.”

… The U.S. ethanol industry will consume about 41 percent of the U.S. corn crop this year, or 15 percent of the global corn crop, according to Goldman Sachs analysts.

The presidential candidate involved is Al Gore, essentially saying that he staked out an issue position based on craven, brazen self-interest.

Over 40% of our corn crop goes to something that is inefficient, totally unnecessary (see next item), and heavily subsidized. What the article doesn’t tell you is that the vast majority of the 60% remainder goes to feeding farm animals, not humans, so the displacement effect, and the impact on many other prices at the consumer level, has been pervasive.

We are incalculably fortunate, for reasons that go well beyond corn, that Al Gore did not prevail in 2000.

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Meanwhile, in the real world, even the New York Times seems to be working on jumping off the human-caused global warming — known around here as “globaloney” — bandwagon:

Just as it seemed that the world was running on fumes, giant oil fields were discovered off the coasts of Brazil and Africa, and Canadian oil sands projects expanded so fast, they now provide North America with more oil than Saudi Arabia. In addition, the United States has increased domestic oil production for the first time in a generation.

… Energy experts now predict decades of residential and commercial power at reasonable prices. Simply put, the world of energy has once again been turned upside down.

Even though the item went up at the paper’s “Green” blog, the term “climate change” doesn’t appear in the article, nor does any other reference to global temperatures, ocean levels, Arctic ice, glacier melts, or any of the other nonsense globaloney proponents — known around here as “globalarmists” — have dishonestly promoted for about two decades. The word “climate” only appears in a sentence noting concerns about shale oil and groundwater supplies.

The browser window title at the Times is “Energy, and Plenty of It, for Decades to Come.” You can almost hear the Peak Oilers scream. Peak Oil, Schmeak Oil.

Even though they won’t acknowledge it, what a difference a year of Climategate makes.

Let’s also note that this is a “See I told ya” moment going back to 2006 — “We’ve Always Been ‘Running Out’ of Energy Sources; We’re Always Finding More”).

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I stumbled across this in doing work on the story that four Alabama legislators switched parties to become Republicans, leavining Democrats there in a non-influential minority:

Under Article IV, Section 46, all seats of the Alabama Legislature were filled by election on November 2, 2010, and all Members elected to seats in the Legislature took office the day after the general election, that being November 3, 2010.

In other words, there cannot be lame-duck legislative sessions.

That’s a good thing; it should be imitated elsewhere.

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Another one for the “You Can’t Make This Stuff Up” file — The guys trying to build the Ground Zero Mosque, who have said they will to need to make eight more quarterly payments to take care of about $270,000 in back taxes, have applied for a $5 million federal grant (HT Kyle-Ann Shiver at PJM via the Weekly Standard):

The application was submitted under a “community and cultural enhancement” grant program administered by the Lower Manhattan Redevelopment Corporation (LMDC), which oversaw the $20 billion in federal aid allocated in the wake of 9/11 and is currently doling out millions in remaining taxpayer funds for community development. The redevelopment board declined to comment on the application (as did officials from Park51), citing the continuing and confidential process of determining the grant winners.

… “If Imam Feisal and his retinue want know why they’re not trusted, here’s yet another reason,” says Irshad Manji, author of The Trouble with Islam and director of the Moral Courage Project at NYU, when I asked her about the grant proposal. “The New Yorkers I speak with have questions about Park51. Requesting money from public coffers without engaging the public shows a staggering lack of empathy—especially from a man who says he’s all about dialogue.”

I’d say it’s really an application for a $4.73 million grant and a $270,000 bailout.

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Wesley Smith, on yet another tyrannical aspect of ObamaCare:

The creators of Obamacare saw the ability of constituents to influence their representatives as a problem. Saying, in effect, “Stop us before we spend again,” Democrats transferred most of Congress and the president’s policy-making authority to the 15 “expert” members of the Independent Payment Advisory Board, appointed by the president and confirmed by the Senate. If this board determines that the growth of Medicare costs will exceed a predetermined target, it has the power to enact a remedy through “fast track” legislation, which works like this:

• By January 15 each year, the Independent Payment Advisory Board must submit a proposal to Congress and the president for reaching Medicare savings targets in the coming year. The majority leaders in the House and Senate must introduce bills incorporating the board’s proposal the day they receive it.

Congress cannot “consider any bill, resolution, amendment, or conference report  …  that would repeal or otherwise change the recommendations of the board” if such changes fail to meet the board’s budgetary target. [1]

• By April 1, the committees of jurisdiction must complete their consideration of the proposal. Any committee that fails to meet the deadline is barred from further considering the bill.

• The secretary of health and human services must implement the Independent Payment Advisory Board’s proposal, as passed by Congress and signed by the president, on August 15 of the year in which the proposal is submitted.

If Congress does not pass the proposal or a substitute plan meeting the Independent Payment Advisory Board’s financial target before August  15, or if the president vetoes the proposal passed by Congress, the original Independent Payment Advisory Board recommendations automatically take effect. [2]

Further demonstrating the Star Chamber-like powers of the Independent Payment Advisory Board, Congress cannot consider any bill or amendment that would repeal or change this fast-track congressional consideration process without a three-fifths vote (60) in the Senate. Not only that, but the implementation of the board’s remedy is exempted from administrative or judicial review. [3]

Points:

  • [1] — An “independent” board determines the budget, not Congress.
  • [2] — The board gets its way unless Congress, which as noted in [1], can only pass legislation affecting the allocation of the budget, not its size, doesn’t act.
  • [3] — The board doesn’t have to worry about what the courts think. Exempting from judicial review could be a good idea for actual legislation actually passed by Congress. It’s an antidemocratic outrage when such an exemption is not based in duly passed legislation.

The Independent Payment Advisory Board’s described powers, like so many other things in ObamaCare, fit the dictionary definition of “tyranny” (“arbitrary or unrestrained exercise of power; despotic abuse of authority”).

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