Sunday, July 13, 2008

Going once . . . going twice . . .


In case you're not the link-followin' type, Anheuser-Busch has been sold to InBev for $49.9B. That's $70/share.

I don't really know what to say about this. It's the nature of the market that such things happen. Still, it would have been nice for the area had ownership been maintained here.

Still, so long as the products remain the same (or improve) and jobs aren't slashed in the region, I guess I have nothing real to complain about.

Here's to you, Mr. Foreign-Conglomerate Guy.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Yellow Science

That's the title of an article that recently appeared in the Wall Street Journal. It compares the use of disreputable, sensational journalism (Yellow Journalism) to the "science" being peddled as global warming (or global climate change, whatever's in vogue right now).

You should read the entire thing, but here's a nice sample:

Nevertheless, over the past several decades an increasing number of scientists have shed the restraints imposed by the scientific method and begun to proclaim the truth of man-made global warming. This is a hypothesis that remains untested, makes no predictions that can be tested in the near future, and cannot offer a numerical explanation for the limited evidence to which it clings. No equations have been shown to explain the relationship between fossil-fuel emission and global temperature. The only predictions that have been made are apocalyptic, so the hypothesis has to be accepted before it can be tested.

The only evidence that can be said to support this so-called scientific consensus is the supposed correlation of historical global temperatures with historical carbon-dioxide content in the atmosphere. Even if we do not question the accuracy of our estimates of global temperatures into previous centuries, and even if we ignore the falling global temperatures over the past decade as fossil-fuel emissions have continued to increase, an honest scientist would still have to admit that the hypothesis of man-made global warming hardly rises to the level of "an assertion of what has been or would be the result of carrying out a specified observational procedure." Global warming may or may not be "the greatest scam in history," as it was recently called by John Coleman, a prominent meteorologist and the founder of the Weather Channel. Certainly, however, under the scientific method it does not rise to the level of an "item of physical knowledge."

I have to admit that, when it comes to atmospheric science, I'm not much better off than a layman. I'm a chemist and molecular biologist by training, so much of the physics that goes into it is beyond me. However, I can tell when something is not being put to the rigorous scrutiny that science demands. All I've ever seen out of the global warming "debate" is a great PR blitz; Don't question it, don't try to understand it, just go along with it or else you're evil.

This wouldn't be so big a deal if the goal were to just get global warming acknowledged. However, the larger goal is a restructuring of societies and economies at a scale that has never been seen in human history before. It's not irresponsible to suggest that we should have more debate, and better confirmation, of the apocalyptic predictions that global warming could
unleash before drastically altering everything that has made humanity prosperous since the 19th century.

My preferred solution is to wait. When predictions like these are made, they seem to assume a static level of technology. Who's to say that 50 years from now there won't be technology that will either give better information or allow for better handling of any actual problems that might arise? I'm not arguing that we should bank on solutions that don't yet exist, but to assume that only the environment will be different in that amount of time is just as silly.

Ahem, all that aside, read the whole article.

Related: Global Warming as Mass Neurosis

Slum Lord Obama

One of the things we see as part of Obama's "impressive" resume is his experience as a "community organizer." Everytime I see that, I wonder to myself what, exactly, a community organizer does. Now we know:
The squat brick buildings of Grove Parc Plaza, in a dense neighborhood that Barack Obama represented for eight years as a state senator, hold 504 apartments subsidized by the federal government for people who can't afford to live anywhere else.

But it's not safe to live here.

About 99 of the units are vacant, many rendered uninhabitable by unfixed problems, such as collapsed roofs and fire damage. Mice scamper through the halls. Battered mailboxes hang open. Sewage backs up into kitchen sinks. In 2006, federal inspectors graded the condition of the complex an 11 on a 100-point scale - a score so bad the buildings now face demolition.

Grove Parc has become a symbol for some in Chicago of the broader failures of giving public subsidies to private companies to build and manage affordable housing - an approach strongly backed by Obama as the best replacement for public housing.

As a state senator, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee coauthored an Illinois law creating a new pool of tax credits for developers. As a US senator, he pressed for increased federal subsidies. And as a presidential candidate, he has campaigned on a promise to create an Affordable Housing Trust Fund that could give developers an estimated $500 million a year.

But a Globe review found that thousands of apartments across Chicago that had been built with local, state, and federal subsidies - including several hundred in Obama's former district - deteriorated so completely that they were no longer habitable.

Grove Parc and several other prominent failures were developed and managed by Obama's close friends and political supporters. Those people profited from the subsidies even as many of Obama's constituents suffered. Tenants lost their homes; surrounding neighborhoods were blighted.

As much as I quoted, there's much more to the article. Read it all.

This only continues to confirm, for me, the hypocrisy and general sleazy nature of Barack Obama. The question in my mind, then, is whether or not this will change anyone's mind. Sadly, I imagine a lot of people who want to vote for Captain Hopey McChange will tell themselves, "Yes, he's a scumbag, but he's our scumbag."

Hat tip: Ace