God’s flat tax

Johns Hopkins neurosurgeon, Ben Carson, made a couple of interesting points at a White House prayer breakfast this week. Here’s one point about taxation (emphasis mine):

What we need to do is come up with something simple. And when I pick up my Bible, you know what I see? I see the fairest individual in the universe, God, and he’s given us a system. It’s called a tithe.

“We don’t necessarily have to do 10% but it’s the principle. He didn’t say if your crops fail, don’t give me any tithe or if you have a bumper crop, give me triple tithe. So there must be something inherently fair about proportionality. You make $10 billion, you put in a billion. You make $10 you put in one. Of course you’ve got to get rid of the loopholes. Some people say, ‘Well that’s not fair because it doesn’t hurt the guy who made $10 billion as much as the guy who made 10.’ Where does it say you’ve got to hurt the guy? He just put a billion dollars in the pot. We don’t need to hurt him. It’s that kind of thinking that has resulted in 602 banks in the Cayman Islands. That money needs to be back here building our infrastructure and creating jobs.”

Update: Grant Davies has posted the video of Carson’s speech on his blog, in case you are interested in watching it. Carson talks about much more than taxes. Thanks Grant!

And I highly recommend that you watch it. I’ll have more to post from it.

lol

In today’s Wall Street Journal, Matt Ridley writes about the climate change nonscience. One passage, in particular, made me laugh out loud (emphasis added):

The big question is this: Will the lead authors of the relevant chapter of the forthcoming IPCC scientific report acknowledge that the best observational evidence no longer supports the IPCC’s existing 2°-4.5°C “likely” range for climate sensitivity? Unfortunately, this seems unlikely—given the organization’s record of replacing evidence-based policy-making with policy-based evidence-making, as well as the reluctance of academic scientists to accept that what they have been maintaining for many years is wrong.

 

I was the 301st person to watch this on Youtube

Here’s the second round of the Keynes vs. Hayek.  Enjoy.  I donated $50 to this project.

And here’s Round 1 in case you missed it.

Thanks to Russ Roberts and John Papola for their excellent efforts, great lyrics and high production value!  There’s a lot of depth to both videos in the lyrics, in the folks who are mentioned and the folks who pop up in the video.  These are excellent learning tools.

Really? With Seth.

One of my blog friends posted a disturbing video from an environmental organization that calls itself 10:10 Global.

If you don’t care to watch the video (it’s gruesome), it shows several scenes with people preaching about the organization’s goal to have everyone commit to cutting carbon output by 10% in year 2010.  Those in the audience who aren’t committed are told “that’s okay, no pressure.”  Then the speaker presses a red button and those people explode covering everyone else with blood and guts.

You couldn’t make a better parody that reveals the hatred and bigotry behind movements that appear to have such good intentions.

The blogger, Zombiehero, says in his comments section that the organization removed the video from its website and tries to keep it off youtube, so apparently they realize that it wasn’t being received well.

It’s hard to determine whether it was simply bad judgment on their part to try to produce a video that would get attention or if they were letting their slip show on a belief that if you disagree with their way of thinking they have the right to take your life.

Either way, to have ever thought this was a way to win people over, rather than sharply raising suspicions, shows the incredibly bad judgment of the people running the organization.

Reflexes

Our reflexes have been trained.  We no longer question or think about things.  We avoid disagreements and conflicts.

For Earth Day, Oprah had the mother of a green family switch places with the mother of a non-green family.

In one clip the father of the non-green family showed how he left the kitchen faucet running in the background because he “likes the sound” it makes and it relaxes him and helps him focus.

That was met with a reflexive gasp from the audience and from the people in my living room.  I even caught myself dropping my jaw in horror.  Then I started to think.

Why is that such a big deal?  Why did it seem like a big deal to me?

Then I remembered.  When I was in elementary school, I remember the campaign to “save water”.  I had been lectured many times to “not let the faucet run.”

But, as I got to thinking about it I wasn’t clear at all why it was so bad for this guy to let his faucet run.  Clearly, it violated a standard of etiquette that has been brainwashed into our heads.

But Oprah’s show was about how our actions can effect others and I’m not clear on how this man’s action of leaving the faucet running will effect others.

We have plenty of water in most places.  There is no shortage of it.  The guy pays for what he uses.  It’s cheap.  Sure, it takes some energy to clean the water and get it to his house.  The waste of that energy might be a valid argument, but the waste of the water itself?  Water isn’t wasted.  It’s recycled over and over again.

To those in the room that continued to exercise their brainwashed reflex by chastising me for my uncaring attitude, I pointed out to them they also had wasteful habits like leaving lights on rooms that were not in use, taking long showers sometimes more than once a day, watering their lawns, filling their backyard swimming pools, running their Slip-n-Slides in the summer time, visiting water parks, drinking only bottled water, using dishwashers and so forth.

I’m a big environmentalist.  I don’t like to waste resources and I’m frugal so I see no need to create unnecessary expense.  But, who am I to judge this guy for leaving his faucet on?

I’m open to considering why this is bad if anyone has a valid argument.  It might be.  But, none of the people who gasped, including myself, could come up with a reasonable argument for how his habit was any worse than our wasteful habits.

World May Not Be Warming?

You mean “widely accepted warming science” may not be correct? Read this from the Times in London.

A quote from a former leader author on the IPCC regarding temperature monitoring stations:

“The story is the same for each one,” he said. “The popular data sets show a lot of warming but the apparent temperature rise was actually caused by local factors affecting the weather stations, such as land development.”

For example:

One of the most infamous [temperature monitoring stations] shows a weather station next to a waste incinerator.

Some Meterologists Doubt Global Warm

I sent this e-mail this morning to Rick Montgomery, reporter at the Kansas City Star.

I enjoyed your article in the Star today, Climate change splits forecasters. I was disappointed that only a passing mention was made of the Climategate e-mails in your story. If people knew more of the facts around that, they may think the meteorologists featured in your article are onto something.

I would like to respond to two quotes you used in the article.  First, you included this quote from Keith Seitter of American Meteorological Society: “meteorologists tend to underestimate how much work the climate scientists do and care they take.”

What purpose does this serve in the article?  It’s one man’s unsubstantiated opinion and it says nothing about the actual accuracy of the work output from climate scientists. I believe it was inserted to cast suspicion on meteorologists opinions of climatology, but a careful reader should recognized it as irrelevant to the story.  I also wonder if Seitter’s opinion applies to the group of meteorologists who accept global warming or only to those who are skeptical.  That would have been a good follow-up question.

Second, you quoted Kris Wilson, a University of Texas researcher, as saying, “The models used for predicting weather are inherently volatile. The climate models are not like that. They’re inherently stable.”

I’m not sure what purpose this statement served.  I suspect that a reader not experienced with mathematical modeling may think that means that weather models are less accurate than climate models.  I also suspect Wilson did not intend to convey this meaning.  I believe he was stating a fact and that statement was used inappropriately.  If he did intend this statement to convey the comparative accuracy of the weather and climate models, then it is an inaccurate and irresponsible statement from a researcher.  A reader with math modeling experience would correctly interpret the statement as unrelated to your article.

The words volatile and stable say nothing about the accuracy of either type of model.  Wilson’s statement is like saying that the speed of your vehicle goes up and down more often when driving around town and varies less while driving on the highway.  While this is a true statement, it doesn’t there’s anything better or worse with either type of driving, just as Wilson’s statement doesn’t say that there’s anything better or worse with weather or climate modeling.

If you are thinking about ideas for future articles, I would recommend reporting on the Climategate e-mails and presenting the global warming science that is so “widely accepted” to let people judge for themselves.  Hopefully, the world is learning that scientists are people too and they are not immune to political motivations or to being wrong.

Global Warming

As weather forecasters predict more massive snowfall for the east coast, Newt Gingrich pokes, “the weather conditions prove that ‘global warming’ is a hoax” while “activists say that scientists are looking at longer-lasting weather patterns.”

With all due to respect to Mr. Gingrich and the activists,  I thought climate scientists have been telling us for the last two months that global warming is hoax.

I’m still waiting for a world leader to, at the very least, acknowledge that the information that has surfaced about climate scientists over the last couple of months should at least give us pause to consider that perhaps the science is not “settled” and that maybe we should open our minds a bit more and consider alternatives.