Philadelphia: The City of Brotherly Love. The home of Independence Hall, where the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution were drafted. The town where blogging costs $300.
This Independence Day weekend Americans have been reminded once again of the immortal words of the Declaration of Independence: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty ... and broadband?” Believe it or not, Finland has just declared broadband a legal right of all its citizens, with the government guaranteeing that every home has access at one-megabit speed.
In 2007, Congress passed and President George W. Bush signed the Energy Independence and Security Act (EISA). In keeping with Bush’s 2006 State of the Union pledge to make ethanol “not just from corn but from wood chips and stalks of switch grass … practical and competitive within six years,” the law included subsidies for ethanol production and mandates for its use. By 2011, oil companies were required to blend 250 million gallons of this cellulosic ethanol into their gasoline. The mandate doubled for 2012, and by 2022 it will be 16 billion gallons.
From about A.D. 950 to 1250, the North Atlantic region of the globe experienced a period of higher-than-normal temperatures. Known as the Medieval Warm Period (MWP), it was a time in which crops could grow much further north than is now common and oceanic ice did not come as far south. Eventually the warming was reversed, and the world was plunged into the equally long Little Ice Age (LIA), lasting from about 1400 to 1700.
Much of the alarmism about alleged climate change is predicated on computer models purporting to demonstrate that global surface temperatures are rising at an alarming rate and are certain to cause all manner of disaster, from droughts and frigid winters to floods and scorching summers. But how reliable are these models and their forecasts?
The recent release of the Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature (BEST) study, which showed a worldwide temperature increase of about 1°C since 1950, was heralded by many as proof of global warming. Some skeptics, however, noted that the BEST data also showed that temperatures had remained unchanged for the past decade, suggesting that any warming trend had ended around the turn of the century.
At approximately 8:45 a.m. on August 24, federal agents raided Gibson Guitar Corporation facilities in Nashville and Memphis, making off with an estimated $1 million worth of Gibson property. Gibson’s alleged crime? Using imported wood from endangered trees.
For all its posturing about cutting spending, the Obama administration seems to have little difficulty finding cash to reward its friends in the environmental movement. Solar energy, despite its limited usefulness, has been subsidized with hundreds of millions of dollars of federal grants and loans, including some to companies in India. Similarly, reports CNSNews.com, the administration has handed out $112 million over the past two years to protect the Sage Grouse, yet the bird itself exists in such numbers that the Department of the Interior has refused to list it as either threatened or endangered under the Endangered Species Act.
Scientists conducting research at taxpayers’ expense are, says ABC News, “outraged” over the fact that Sen. Tom Coburn’s Wastebook 2010 characterized their work as a study of “cow burps.” The Oklahoma Republican’s report on wasteful federal spending described the $700,000 Department of Agriculture-sponsored project as a study of “greenhouse gas emission from organic dairies, which are cause [sic] by cow burps, among other things.” It quoted the principal researcher of the project from a newspaper report: “Cows emit most of their methane through belching, only a small fraction from flatulence.”
“Let me save you some trouble,” author Kenda Creasy Dean says in the very first sentence of her book Almost Christian: What the Faith of Our Teenagers Is Telling the American Church. “Here is the gist of what you are about to read: American young people are, theoretically, fine with religious faith — but it does not concern them very much, and it is not durable enough to survive long after they graduate from high school.”