Jim Harper at the Cato blog is psyched by a poll showing that “54 percent of the 1,013 adults polled said they thought [the government] was trying to do too many things that should be left to individuals and businesses.” The good news for libertarianism as a political movement is that polls almost always show that. The bad news for libertarianism as a political movement is that, um, polls almost always show that. Meanwhile, polls don’t show any serious support for cutting spending on anything in particular, which makes it very hard to cut spending.
Apparently in Maine, you won’t be able to get news coverage of Al Gore’s documentary An Inconvenient Truth until Kevin Costner’s infamous work of cinematic fiction is also a documentary.
The story in today’s New York Times defies logic even more than the script to Costner’s movie, but is far more worth a look:
How important is global warming in Maine? Not important enough for local television.
Michael Palmer, the general manager of television stations WVII and WFVX, ABC and Fox affiliates in Bangor, has told his joint staff of nine men and women that when “Bar Harbor is underwater, then we can do global warming stories.”
“Until then,” he added. “No more.”
Mr. Palmer laid out his policy in an e-mail message sent out during the summer. A copy was sent to The New York Times. Mr. Palmer did not respond to a phone message left with an employee of the stations nor to an e-mail message. But a former staff member confirmed the e-mail message that went out during the summer after the stations broadcast a live report from a movie theater in Maine where Al Gore’s movie on global warming, “An Inconvenient Truth,” was opening.
Mr. Palmer began his e-mail message: “I was wondering where we should send the bill for the live shot Friday at the theater for the Al Gore commercial we aired.”
Mr. Palmer said he wanted no more stories broadcast on global warming because: “a) we do local news, b) the issue evolved from hard science into hard politics and c) despite what you may have heard from the mainstream media, this science is far from conclusive.” Mr. Palmer said in his e-mail message to his operations manager and two women who served as a news anchor and a reporter that he placed “global warming stories in the same category as ‘the killer African bee scare’ from the 1970s or, more recently, the Y2K scare when everyone’s computer was going to self-destruct.”
Dr. James Hansen, the director of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies at Columbia University, said in an interview yesterday that the station’s policy on coverage was irresponsible.
“If you wait until Bar Harbor is underwater, it’s too late,” Dr. Hansen said. “It won’t be just Bar Harbor that is underwater, but many places around the globe including parts of Florida, Bangladesh and the Nile Delta.”
On Thursday, Donald Rumsfeld told critics of the administration’s Iraq policy that they should “just back off, take a look at it, relax” and “understand” the situation there is “complicated” and “difficult.”
Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Richard Lugar (R-IN) took issue with Rumsfeld’s comments yesterday on CNN. “[W]e’ve got to keep our eye on the ball,” Lugar said. “It is urgent. We cannot relax.”
Transcript: Read more
In a new column, Weekly Standard editor Fred Barnes attributes Indiana conservatives’ electoral problems in part to Gov. Mitch Daniels’s (R) “bold” step to “impose daylight saving time throughout the state.”
“A panel set up last year to reduce excessive secrecy in government is being labeled toothless after its chairman told lawmakers that he could not act except at the request of the president.” Steven Aftergood of the Federation of American Scientists said interpreting the statute in this way relegates the board to being “a White House puppet.”
Noah Feldman’s long article on the Iranian nuclear program manages to be equivocal on such minor issues as “why is Iran building this bomb?” and “what should we do about the Iranian nuclear program?” so I think that if I’d read it blind, I wouldn’t have found it especially obnoxious, except insofar as it’s weird to write such a long article on an important subject and not really say anything about it. But I didn’t read it blind — I got a panicked email from my dad asking if this was “some sort of soft campaign for March’s surprise strike” and saw Martin Peretz call it a “really smart” article. So one starts to worry. And, indeed, there’s much to complain about. So let’s get to the carping.
Yesterday, House Majority Leader John Boehner (R-OH) said that Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld is the “best thing that’s happened to the Pentagon in 25 years.” He said, “Let’s not take the problems in Iraq, the tough fight that we’re in there and blame it on anyone.”
Today on MSNBC, Boehner stood by his effusive praise for Rumsfeld. Asked whether he really believes Rumsfeld is the best the military has had in 25 years, Boehner said, “I think he’s done a marvelous job.”
In another appearance this morning on Fox News, Boehner repeated, “Let’s not take the difficulty we see in Iraq and blame it on Rumsfeld or anyone else.”
Full transcript: Read more
in case Republicans lose control after the elections. “He told all of us, ‘Put on your track shoes. We’re going to run to the finish,’” White House Press Secretary Tony Snow said. “He’s been calling all his Cabinet secretaries and telling them, ‘You tell me administratively everything you can do between now and the end of the presidency. I want to see your to-do list and how you expect to do it.’”
As the scientific consensus on the reality of global warming’s effects have strengthened, global warming deniers have resorted to arguing that, even if it is real, it’s too expensive to mitigate. Some examples:
National Review’s Jason Steorts: “Even if warming is predominately the result of human activity, and even if its harms will outweigh its benefits, the question is whether it will be bad enough to justify the economic castration that significant greenhouse-gas reductions would require.”
Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK): “The Kyoto Protocol is a lot of economic pain for no climate gain.”
Rush Limbaugh: “‘Would you get off the global warming stuff,’ some people are saying. No, I’m not going to get off of it because what’s at stake is the US economy, folks, what’s at stake is our lifestyle. The people that are trying to force this on everybody and take the natural fluctuations of our climate.”
The right wing is right, but for all the wrong reasons. The U.S. economy and our lifestyles are indeed at stake if we continue to listen to the deniers. According to a new groundbreaking report commissioned by the British government — “the most comprehensive review ever carried out on the economics of climate change” — the economic costs of doing nothing far outweigh the costs of mitigating global warming’s effects. Here are a few of the report’s key conclusions:
Using the results from formal economic models, the Review estimates that if we don’t act, the overall costs and risks of climate change will be equivalent to losing at least 5% of global GDP each year, now and forever. If a wider range of risks and impacts is taken into account, the estimates of damage could rise to 20% of GDP or more.
In contrast, the costs of action — reducing greenhouse gas emissions to avoid the worst impacts of climate change — can be limited to around 1% of global GDP each year.
The transition to a low-carbon economy will bring challenges for competitiveness but also opportunities for growth. … Markets for low-carbon energy products are likely to be worth at least $500bn per year by 2050, and perhaps much more. … [F]rom implementing strong mitigation policies this year, shifting the world onto the better path: the net benefits would be of the order of $2.5 trillion. This figure will increase over time. This is not an estimate of net benefits occurring in this year, but a measure of the benefits that could flow from actions taken this year; many of the costs and benefits would be in the medium to long term.
The message for those willing to heed reality is that if you’re concerned about global warming’s impact on the economy, now is the time to act.
Episode 44 aired last night after the tragic skip week. The show continues to be utterly uncompromising in its refusal to advance the pace of the crime narrative. Herc and Carver are circling in the vicinity of Randy’s knowledge of where Marlo stashes his bodies, but can’t think to ask the right question. Freamon was convinced to drop his inquiry into the case of the missing bodies just before Randy showed up on the cops’ radar, so nobody’s pushing it. It appeared, briefly, that Omar’s arrest would drag McNulty back toward the center of action, but instead they gave us another entirely McNulty-free episode. Instead, the focus stays on season four’s main plotlines — the kids and city hall.