Patterico's Pontifications


Climate Change and the Socialist Legacy of Bali

Filed under: International — DRJ @ 5:17 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

The editors of Investors’ Business Daily believe the ultimate goal of climate change activists is the redistribution of wealth from developed countries to developing countries:

“The media obsession has been on the efforts of delegates at the U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change conference to craft an agreement for a climate treaty that would take effect after the Kyoto Treaty expires in 2011. Though it appeared the meeting would end with no deal, the delegates looked to be near a compromise late Friday. That treaty is likely to be as effective as the useless, symbolic Kyoto protocol with which no nation has yet complied.

A day earlier, however, a panel at the IPCC conference titled “A Global CO2 Tax” took a step that will have a more lasting impact than an empty agreement. It urged the U.N. to adopt taxes on carbon dioxide emissions that would be “legally binding to all nations.” And guess who would be hit the hardest? That’s right, the tax, if levied, would put an especially high burden on the U.S.

“Finally, someone will pay for these costs” related to global warming, Othmar Schwank, a global warming busybody from Switzerland, told Sen. James Inhofe’s office. We imagine Schwank, a panel participant, took great glee in saying the U.S. and other developed nations should “contribute significantly more to this global fund.”

Schwank estimates the CO2 tax would generate “at least” $10 billion to $40 billion a year in revenues; but anyone who believes that has not paid attention. Even in nations that have a legitimate and more-or-less-limited government, such as ours, bureaucratic programs and taxes always grow bigger than first expected. It’s a good bet that Schwank’s low estimate was done intentionally. If the public found out what he and others like him really want, the backlash would put the alarmists out of business.

The driving force of the environmental movement is not a cleaner planet — or a world that doesn’t get too hot, in the case of the global warming issue — but a leftist, egalitarian urge to redistribute wealth. A CO2 tax does this and more, choking economic growth in the U.S. and punishing Americans for being the voracious consumers that we are.

Eco-activists have been so successful in distracting the public from their real intentions that they’re becoming less guarded in discussing their ultimate goal.

“A climate change response must have at its heart a redistribution of wealth and resources,” Emma Brindal, a “climate justice campaign coordinator” for Friends of the Earth Australia, wrote Wednesday on the Climate Action Network’s blog.”

The author of this Christian Science Monitor article was also struck by what happened at Bali, characterizing the conference events as an unprecedented geopolitical shift in power from developed to developing countries: “Developing countries flexed their muscles in unprecedented ways at the climate talks, suggesting the old north-south power equation is changing.”

Reading these articles, it also seems the Bush Administration caved on climate change … proving once again that Bush may be tough on terrorism but he’s soft on domestic issues when they spend taxpayers’ money.


Let’s Go to the Movies

Filed under: Movies — DRJ @ 2:01 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Either Will Smith and the Chipmunks are the most popular actors of all time or American movie-goers are desperate to see anything but the anti-war movies (like Lions for Lambs, Rendition, and Redacted) that Hollywood has offered so far this Fall:

Turning into instant box office legends, Warner Bros.’ Will Smith starrer “I Am Legend” became the highest grossing December picture of all time with an estimated opening haul of $76.5 million from 3,606 theaters and Twentieth Century Fox’s “Alvin and the Chipmunks” surpassed all expectations in debuting at an estimated $45 million from 3,475 runs.

Solidifying Smith’s status as one of the world’s most bankable stars, “Legend” is the new lord and master of the Christmas frame, beating out previous record-holder “The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King,” which opened to $72.6 million in December 2003. “Legend,” which Warners produced and co-financed with Village Roadshow Pictures, is the 16th highest opener of all time for anytime of the year.

“Alvin,” showing strength across all age groups, enjoyed the second-highest December opening ever for a film rated G or PG after Disney’s “The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe,” which opened to $65.5 million in 2005. “Alvin” is the eighth highest-grossing December film ever.

Combined, the two films jolted the domestic box office back to life after a brutal fall, which has been posted steady declines year-over-year.

No offense to Will Smith and the Chipmunks – I like them all – but almost anything could lure me to the theater compared to Hollywood’s recent fare.


Blog Recommendation: Acephalous

Filed under: Blogging Matters,General,Humor — Patterico @ 12:03 pm

While we were having our fun with Chuck Adkins, someone alerted me to a post on a blog by someone named Scott Eric Kaufman. It is called Acephalous. I had never heard of it before, but I went to see.

I found myself very entertained. Scott is a really good writer. And he has some very funny stuff.

In particular, I recommend the saga over the money his school’s library stole from him. Start here, and then read this and this.

Also, the post where he discusses his dissertation work as a computer game is very funny. Read that here.

And the one where he walked in on some undergraduates having sex in his office is a classic. That’s here.

Scott is a left-leaning fellow whose name I think I have seen on Protein Wisdom (I didn’t realize this until my commenters pointed it out). But he seems like a nice fellow who is committed to rational debate and avoiding name-calling. And, like I say, he’s a very good writer and a funny guy.

Because no blog recommendation is complete without an excerpt, I’ll give you this, from the links about the library stealing his money. This is Scott speaking with the teller, who is informing him that when he paid a small library fine along with his student fees, they school applied all the money to the small library fine:

The teller had excused herself for more than a moment. Much more.

I waited.

Tapped my fingers. Pulled my ear. Fiddled with buttons.

Ten minutes went by.

I leaned over the partition. Looked around. Leaned back. Tapped fingers.

Ten more minutes passed.

I huffed audibly. Crossed my arms. Scowled.

That did the trick. The teller returned and said:

“Did you pay a library fine the same day?”

I said that I had.

“How much was it for?”

I said how much it was for.

“Because the library applied all the funds you deposited that day to the overdue fee.”

“They did?”

“They did.”

“Why’d they do that?”

“They don’t know.”

“Will they undo it?”

“They said they’ll try.”

“They said they’ll try to refund the $2,640 they applied to a $12.50 overdue fee?”

“That’s what they said.”

“Did they indicate whether they thought they’d be successful?”

“They didn’t say.”

“Did they say what I should do if they weren’t successful?”

“They didn’t say.”

“But they did say they’d try to refund the $2,640 they applied to a $12.50 overdue fee?”

“That’s what they said.”

“Did they happen to [] say when they’d try to refund the $2,640 they applied to a $12.50 overdue fee?”

“They said because they assessed the fine last month the money’s already been reallocated—”

“Can they allocate it back?”

“They said it’s not that simple. In the meantime, why don’t you pay your student fees now and work out this situation with the library later?”

I looked at her as only a man without $2,640 in his wallet looks at a teller who assumes he does.

Great stuff.

I recommend that you go check out some of the links above.

Modern-Day Santas Need to Watch Their Backs

Filed under: Political Correctness — DRJ @ 11:31 am

[Guest post by DRJ]

It’s tough to be Santa Claus these days:

“Life is not so jolly for the 21st century Santa Claus.

He keeps his white gloved hands where parents can see them and buys liability insurance, just in case. He doesn’t ask for names or where children live — that might arouse suspicion. He’s given up the pipe, and the jelly belly might be next. And while he may bring tidings of joy, the man in the red suit endures criminal background checks like everybody else.

“A lot of people think all you gotta be is a nice old man,” says Timothy Connaghan, professional Santa instructor and president of The Kringle Group, a conglomeration of North Pole-centric businesses. “Put a suit on, sit in a chair. But you have to be politically correct.”

Today’s Kris Kringle is poked, prodded and tailored to fit our times. It’s no longer enough to show up at the mall, laugh merrily and hoist children on his lap. In fact, that job is now considered better left to parents, to avoid inappropriate touching. In mistletoed shopping malls across America, Santa Claus is watching his back.

Aspiring Santas learn their trade at Santa University:

“Everything is choreographed in the land of Santa, down to each word and hand movement. The tricks of the trade are passed down at various Santa schools scattered across the country. Connaghan takes his academy — The International University of Santa Claus — on the road, making pit stops in different cities.

Major topics of study include how to hold children correctly, managing sticky conversations and proper care of hair and beard. Santa’s hands should be visible in all photos, Connaghan says. And he must never make promises he can’t keep.

And what if a little girl or boy confides in Santa, revealing physical abuse at home? Though it may surprise some, Santa can’t just leap off his chair and tell the police. Instead, he must enlist the help of a teacher or principal, who are protected from libel in case of false accusations, according to Trolli.”

Modern Santas are also health-conscious and environmentally friendly:

In keeping with the anti-smoking times, the man from the North Pole put down his pipe a long time ago. Now, defying his rotund image, Santa is trying to lose weight.

“People expect Santa to be big, big, big, big,” says Ron Levine, a Santa from Wappingers Falls, N.Y., who is, in fact, Jewish. “I’m 225 to 250 pounds, so my belly shakes like a bowl full of jelly. Am I trying to lose some weight? Oh yes, every day. Because it’s necessary for my health.”

The AORBS [Amalgamated Order of Real Bearded Santas], that alliance of bearded Santas, will stage a weigh-in this summer at its annual convention in Overland Park, Kan. Each Santa who fails to meet his weight-loss goal will pay a fee toward a charity. “The problem is the children don’t care if Santa’s fat,” Trolli says. “It’s the parents who want Santa fat.”

Santa has recognized the importance of being eco-conscious, too. Levine, billed as the “Green Santa,” is donning a suit of that color and promoting the environment at FAO Schwarz this Christmas season while promoting a new children’s book: When Santa Turned Green.”

It sounds like 21st Century Santas need that union … as well as psychological services and hazard pay.


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