Thursday, January 28, 2010


Flood plains began to resemble the Father of Waters during recent storms that dumped in excess of five inches of rain on much of Southern California. It wasn’t exactly the “Grapes of Wrath” scenario that’s been spun by global warming enthusiasts.

Though a week-long storm constitutes only anecdotal evidence, it’s worth noting that prudential caveats are almost never mentioned when a weather event or natural disaster can possibly be spun in favor of the catastrophic global warming theory.

Hurricanes, and even earthquakes, have been utilized by the carbon-dioxide-is-a-pollutant crowd to create evidence that global warming is bringing about one apocalypse after the other. Unfortunately, to the great chagrin of climatological catastrophists, recent hurricane seasons have been remarkably mild—and now much of the hoped for California Sahara has already met its seasonal quota for rainfall.

If that good news isn’t bad enough, consider the catastrophic revelations from East Anglia, the intellectual epicenter of England’s immensely profitable climate disaster industry. E-mail suggest that the “settled science” of global warming is being “settled” by massaging data and silencing reputable critics.

Now comes news that the ballyhooed melting of the Himalayan glaciers by 2035 was a fraudulent assertion promoted to encourage reluctant Asian countries to jump on the global warming bandwagon.

But never mind those incriminating e-mail or bogus predictions or flourishing polar bears. Global warming, as George Will has noted, has become the religion of the elite—and a godsend for Marxists without another credible rationale for placing everything from auto companies to cow toots under government control.

Like any religion, believers in global warming have an answer for any eventuality. Thus, “climate change” accommodates even global cooling. In the words of MSNBC’s true believer, Rachel Maddow: “global warming probably means extreme weather of all kinds.”

Anyone familiar with the philosophy of science knows that a theory that accommodates all possible data isn’t falsifiable. And any theory that isn’t falsifiable, as the philosopher Karl Popper observed, is ideology—not science.

For those who like their science without a heavy ideological dressing, I recommend Ian Plimer’s recently released book, “Heaven and Earth.” It’s a work by a highly respected Australian geologist that Gov. Schwarzenegger should consult the next time a government-enhancing “green” bill lands on his desk.

In the meantime climate-changers can only hope that polar bears stop propagating and that Southern California starts to resemble the desert it’s supposed to become. Absent such bad news, ordinary citizens might start to consider the very tangible jobs and revenue available from offshore oil wells.

Thursday, January 14, 2010


Gov. Schwarzenegger delivered his final State of the State address earlier this month—a rhetorical swan song that combined Terminator tough talk with budgetary ideas reminiscent of Kindergarten Cop.

While blasting the state legislature for its inaction on the deficit (now estimated at 20 billion over the next 18 months), the governor engaged in his own bit of Last Action Hero melodrama.

Specifically, Arnold proposed yet another inflexible formula for the state budget. Under his proposed constitutional amendment, beginning in 2014 California would spend no less than 10% of its budget on certain higher education items and no more than 7% on state prisons. Currently, according to the governor, those ratios are roughly reversed, with 11% going to prisons and 7.5% to higher education.

The rationale for these rigid mandates was straight out of central casting: “What does it say about a state that focuses more on prison uniforms than caps and gowns?”

Lost in this verbal posing was the fact that the current (and inscrutable) Prop. 98 mandate for K-14 spending is the subject of ongoing legislative dispute. Also ignored was the fact that no statistical correlation exists between excellent schools and money spent on the educational bureaucracy—a point famously made by the late Sen. Patrick Moynihan.

In a scholarly paper printed in 1993, the New York Democrat noted that the parent-child ratio (two-parent households) was strongly correlated with academic success, whereas per-pupil expenditures were far less indicative of achievement than the proximity of state capitals to the Canadian border. In view of these findings the impish Moynihan suggested that states consider moving their capitals closer to Canada.

On the other side of Schwarzenegger’s equation, it isn’t clear what the governor proposes to do if the number of prisoners in the state exceeds its legal financial ability to incarcerate them—especially given the cost of corrections employee contracts. Prisons bursting at the seams point to severe social problems, but it is a Batman and Robin fantasy to think that an arbitrary limit on expenditures won’t result in significant Collateral Damage.

Only academics and actors are surprised that the national decline in crime rates that began in the 1980s was accompanied by a precipitous increase in the prison population. Put simply—so even Conan the Barbarian can understand—when criminals are incarcerated, they can’t commit crimes.

Fortunately mayors throughout the Southland don’t have significant educational line items in their budgets. Consequently, they’re free to focus on public safety as a primary concern--without the True Lies demagoguery that assumes “too much spending” only applies to health care and prisons.