Cheat-Seeking Missles

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Sunday Scan

Happy Passover

Passover started with the Sabbath yesterday, so my best wishes to all my Jewish friends on this remarkable and holy holiday.

And my thanks to for illustrating its home page this morning with the artwork above. And what about Google? Nothing of course. Why do they so fear religion? Ask has honored religion for as long as I've used it, and so far, the Secularists have not rebelled against it.

Neither has God's wrath poured down on Google, but I know that if the Googleites were living in Egypt back in the times of Passover, a plague would fall upon it.

Giving Greenies The Sack

Knee-jerk central -- that's the Bay Area, home of ill-thought out political actions and decisions made on the emotion of the moment, like last year's action by Oakland to ban plastic bags in retail stores with annual sales of $1 million or more.

Nexis sent me to a June 2007 SF Wrongicle article heralding the passage of the ban:
Under the measure sponsored by Councilwomen Nancy Nadel and Jean Quan, any retailer grossing more than $1 million a year would be banned from using the nonbiodegradable plastic bags. Nadel said that 10 percent of petroleum is used to create plastic so that reducing the use of bags will help the environment in multiple ways.

"Californians use 19 billion plastic disposable bags each year, and throw away 600 every second," Nadel said. "These bags are made from oil, so reducing their use will serve the mission of the 'Oil Independent Oakland by 2020' " task force established last year.
Them's some mighty fine knee-jerk stats. But now, as a judge temporarily suspends the order, we find that once again environmentalists are fueled more by emotion than fact. Here's the Oakland Trib:
A Superior Court judge issued a tentative ruling Thursday placing an injunction on Oakland's plastic-bag ban, saying the city should have more adequately studied the environmental impact of the ban before passing it into law.

Judge Frank Roesch's ruling came after a plastic-bag industry group called the Coalition to Support Plastic Bag Recycling sued Oakland last summer shortly after the City Council approved a ban on single-use plastic bags at retail stores doing more than $1 million a year in business. The judge heard arguments in the case in January.

The ban was billed as an environmentally friendly ordinance. But at the crux of the case was a question on whether the increased use of paper bags could harm the environment as well.

Paper bags take more energy to create and fill up more landfill space, the plastic-bag industry argued.

"The court ... finds that substantial evidence in the record supports at least a fair argument that single-use paper bags are more damaging than single-use plastic bags," Roesch wrote.
To go on with their ban, the Oakland City Council would now have to authorize a full-blown Environmental Impact Report to study the environmental effects of the ban -- at a cost of at last $100,000 in a down economy. It is quite possible the knee-jerkers will win, and $100,000 that could be used for something useful will be sacrificed on to the Greenie Gods.

A High Rate Of Cynicism

The always-interesting Stats delivered this a.m.:
The three-
component Maslach Burnout Inventory-
General Survey was implemented to examine burnout among newspaper journalists (N = 770). With a moderate rate of exhaustion, a high rate of cynicism and a moderate rate of professional efficacy, burnout among journalists demonstrate higher rates of burnout than previous work. Additionally, journalists expressing intentions to leave the profession (n = 173) demonstrated high rates of exhaustion and cynicism, and moderate rates of professional efficacy, making them “at-risk” for burnout. (Read more)
Sounds like me when I left journalism ... except that my "high rate of cynicism" was directed at how cynical my editors and colleagues were, not at the world in general.

What's illuminating here is that the burned-out journalists don't leave to become fig growers or car salesmen; they just keep reporting, delivering us news through a cynical, exhausted filter.

Sequestered Carbon News

Kudos to the Bush Admin for keeping Warmie hysteria in check during international talks that are a precursor to the next big UN global warming inititives.

There are plenty of nations there that want to set a goal of halving greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, including the EU nations, Japan and Canada (which most any way you slice it would benefit from global warming). But the US is only "seriously considering" the goal under Bush, and by refusing to endorse it, effectively is preventing the establishment of such a destructive goal.

Meanwhile, buried 12 paragraphs deep in the Reuters story was this:
France said that South Africa presented studies suggesting it would cost the world up to $200 billion a year to curb greenhouse gases and between $30 and $60 billion a year to adapt to effects such as droughts or rising seas.
No further discussion merited, apparently -- including no question about why France would bring up the South African study and still support a 50% greenhouse gas reduction target.

China 1: It's Not Just Tibet

China is becoming the global leader in thuggery, not just suppressing freedom in Tibet, but lending its hand to ruthless, blood-soak dictators across the globe.

Here's the latest unsurprising update, from The (UK) Independent:
Chinese troops have been seen on the streets of Zimbabwe's third largest city, Mutare, according to local witnesses. They were seen patrolling with Zimbabwean soldiers before and during Tuesday's ill-fated general strike called by the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).

Earlier, 10 Chinese soldiers armed with pistols checked in at the city's Holiday Inn along with 70 Zimbabwean troops.

One eyewitness, who asked not to be named, said: "We've never seen Chinese soldiers in full regalia on our streets before. The entire delegation took 80 rooms from the hotel, 10 for the Chinese and 70 for Zimbabwean soldiers."
So the next time you're all sympatico with some left-wing acquaintance because your positions over China and Tibet align, raise this one: "Have you spoken out against China's involvement in Zimbabwe and Venezuela?" And watch the blank stare.

China 2: Fixing The Weather

One of the biggest challenges facing the Beijing Olympics -- besides cerain human rights issues -- is the weather. Why? Well, here's Beijing weather in a nutshell:
Winter is marked by howling Siberian winds; summer, by sweltering monsoon heat. In lieu of showers, springtime is best known for seasonal dust storms that sweep down from Central Asia. Fall is parched and gusty too, but the dust settles down.
Overlay on all this industrial pollution the likes of which we haven't seen since the English midlands at the peak of the industrial revolution, then factor in the 50% chance of rain expected for the opening ceremonies, and you get the picture.

China is responding by stepping up its long-term, large-scale (52,998 employees) programs of industrial weather alteration. It's a troubling, wild, 5-clicker of a story at Plenty that makes a good Sunday read.

China 3: Wei, Way Out

Blogger secret revealed: I sometimes right about stuff I don't understand at all. Like the work of Chinese artist Li Wei (should we give him a little leeway?), which is described at as as:

Chinese artist Li Wei from Beijing started off his performance series ‘Mirroring’ and later on took off attention with his ‘Falls’ series which shows the artist with his head and chest embedded into the ground. His work is a mixture of performance art and photography that creates illusions of a sometimes dangerous reality. Li Wei states that these images are not computer montages and works with the help of props such as mirror, metal wires, scaffolding and acrobatics.
Got that? Not a computer montage, just some props, mirrors, wires and acrobatics. Then how do you explain this:

More images here.

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