Cynical Synapse

Sun, 16 Oct 2011

Will the Real Mitt Romney Please Stand Up?

Filed under: Candidates, Environment, Global warming, Government, Hypocrits, Indecision, Politics — cynicalsynapse @ 3:04 pm

flopping fish

In the polls, Mitt Romney is wallowing in second place at best, with Herman Cain taking first from Rick Perry. Still, 51% of Republicans expect Romney to become the party’s candidate in the 2012 elections. Why? Romney’s done more flip-flopping than a freshly landed fish. People don’t trust Romney but think he’s electable, so they’ll likely nominate him. Seriously?

Earlier this week, the long term care provisions of the Federal health care reform—ObamaCare—were rescinded, having been determined to be unsustainable. This must be why Romney opposes the Federal plan despite continuing support for its template, health care reform in Massachussetts—RomneyCare. Herman Cain summed it up this way:

I don’t think he’s a staunch conservative because he’s changed his position on too many things over the years. The other thing is, if you just look at Romneycare in Massachusetts, no matter how much he tries to pretend that it was supposed to be good for Massachusetts, a conservative would never have signed that Romneycare legislation in Massachusetts.

doctor mitt will see you know

In all likelihood, Romney probably wouldn’t repeal national health care reform as he promises during the campaign. During his public life, Romney has held opposing views on just about every key topic, demonstrating a lack of political courage or moral conviction. Consider Romney’s position on abortion in 2002 while running for Massachussetts governor: “I don’t accept either label, pro-life or pro-choice. Instead, I make it clear that I will preserve and protect a woman’s right to choose.”

You may recall, Romney opposed bailouts for the Detroit-based automakers, even though his dad, former Michigan governor George Romney, had once been CEO of American Motors, which was subsumed into Chrysler. Still, Romney supported Pres. Bush and the Wall Street bailout and now opposes future bailouts. Flip-flop-flip! As if that all is not bad enough, Romney is a climate changer:

I don’t speak for the scientific community, of course, but I believe the world’s getting warmer. I can’t prove that, but I believe based on what I read that the world is getting warmer. And number two, I believe that humans contribute to that. I don’t know how much our contribution is to that, because I know that there have been periods of greater heat and warmth in the past but I believe we contribute to that.

For those who really know who Romney is and what he stands for, please let the rest of us know. As far as I can tell, he’s a liberal, not a conservative, who can’t or won’t say what he believes in, with two exceptions. He praises RomneyCare, which is just baby ObamaCare, and he believes the global warming meme. And that’s different from the current guy in the White House how?

Previously on Mitt Romney:


Fri, 14 Oct 2011

Gore Spews CO2 at Detroit Great Lakes Conference

Filed under: Environment, Global warming, Hypocrits, Life — cynicalsynapse @ 6:01 am

Al Gore

Former Vice President Al Gore linked recent natural disasters and Great Lakes health to climate change on Thursday. Gore spoke before the International Joint Commission at Wayne State University in Detroit. “There is a relationship between continuing progress in the Great Lakes basin and progress in dealing with the climate crisis,” he said.

As if there wasn’t enough carbon dioxide coming out of that emissions port Al Gore calls his mouth, he ratcheted up his climate change meme. Gore said increased water vapor in the atmosphere, due to climate change, causes more violent storms. These, in turn, overwhelm sewer systems, which overflow, and algae results. Except a report released at the concurrent Great Lakes conference found no scientific basis for Gore’s anecdotal claims.

Al Gore's mouth an exhaust port

While there is disparate information about just how big Al Gore’s carbon footprint is, but Gore claims to be carbon neutral, a slight of hand trick achieved through purchasing carbon offsets. Just how does that work, since there’s no agreed-upon standard, or even a recognized cap-n-trade exhange. If I rode the bus, would that make me carbon-neutral since I’d be using the bus as a carbon offset?

In his remarks, Gore said climate change is real:

Every single national academy of sciences of every major nation in the entire world agrees with the consensus [on global warming], and together they have called on governments and nations to act urgently. They say the need to act urgently is now, to use their words, indisputable.

Previously on climate change:

Sun, 04 Sep 2011

To Hybrid or Not to Hybrid

Filed under: Behavior, Business, Deceit, Environment, Hypocrits, Life, Oil, Paradoxes, People, Technology — cynicalsynapse @ 12:17 pm

hybrid in front of wind turbines

It depends. The hype with hybrid vehicles is they’ll save you gas money and will help reduce dependence on foriegn oil. The benefits of hybrid technology apply mostly at lower speeds, so if you do a lot of highway driving, a hybrid is probably not for you. In my job, I visit a number of work sites around the state. I have a Ford Fusion hybrid assigned to my office. It averages 36 mpg, largely due to mostly highway driving. I also commute 87 miles to work with 80 of those miles on Interstates. After calculating gas savings, I figured out the break-even point was over 10 years if I were to buy a Chevy Volt compared to a new Hyundai Tucson. Why? Because of the substantially higher cost of the hybrid Volt. Oh, and the Volt’s generator requires premium fuel, which is poor engineering, if you ask me.

Another fallacy of hybrids, especially the plug-in ones, is they use clean energy. Based on data from the US Energy Information Administration, only 14.2% of our electricity comes from clean (wind, solar, geothermal, and hydro) sources. Another 17.6% is generated at nuclear power plants. The rest comes from burning stuff, mostly (42.5%) coal. And, did you know many of the hybrids have idiosyncracies concerning their expensive batteries? Like, if the Chevrolet Tahoe and silverado shut down if you run out of gas. Talk about being stranded.

Thanks to Big Government for putting hybrids on my mind:

Today, in 1957, Ford introduced the Edsel. Think Chevy Volt.

1957 Ford Edsel

Previously on hybrid cars:

Sat, 20 Aug 2011

Seriously? Space Aliens Might Kill Humans over Global Warming

Filed under: Deceit, Environment, Global warming, Government, Hypocrits, Politics — cynicalsynapse @ 12:48 pm

'aliens' ponder their risk over so-called climate change

You just can’t make this stuff up! The National Aeronautics and Space Administration, or NASA, released a research report warning aliens may be forced to attack to save themselves. Researchers at Pennsylvania State University collaborated with NASA scientists. It seems these pseudo-scientists believe so-called climate change is more than just a global threat:

A band of moralistic, environmental-loving aliens may attack and destroy humanity (for the greater good of the universe, of course!), unless we can get our carbon emissions under control.

Forgive me, but I don’t recall any proof extraterrestrial life actually exists. While I concede there are several places in the universe where life as we know it could exist, there’s no evidence it actually does. This makes me wonder why a taxpayer funded government scientific organization (NASA) could produce such a fatally flawed, laughable research paper. Was it peer-reviewed? If so, do those peers all take up residence in insane asylums?

Al Gore

Climate change proponents will get a boost from NASA’s science fiction. Global warming fanatics already want to suspend democracy so they can impliment Draconian measures for our own good. Never mind their plans would destroy an already feeble economy.

Many highly respected scientists have refuted claims of man-made climate change. Remember the blizzards in January, 2011? Al Gore said the blizzards proved the effects of climate change. Tell me that’s not quackery. Then there’s the University of East Anglia’s ClimateGate in which hacked emails show manipulated data by the Climate Research Unit.

While scientific research is challenging work, its basic premise is simple. If you start with a flawed hypothesis and prove it with selective data and analysis, your results will be wrong. Just sayin…

Previously on Global Warming:


22 Aug 2011

On 18 August 2011, the Guardian reported research suggested aliens may destroy humans over global warming. They correctly noted the authors of the report as a NASA-affiliated researcher and colleagues at Penn State. From there, the Drudge Report picked up the story and it went viral. Drudge’s headline: “NASA REPORT: Aliens may destroy humanity to protect other civilizations…” Interestingly, there’s no sign of the headline, or Drudge’s post on it, on their website or even when googling it. Hmmm.

The problem? It’s not a NASA report nor even work funded by NASA. Shawn D. Domagal-Goldman says:

Yes, I work at NASA. It’s also true that I work at NASA Headquarters. But I am not a civil servant… just a lowly postdoc. More importantly, this paper has nothing to do with my work there. I wasn’t funded for it, nor did I spend any of my time at work or any resources provided to me by NASA to participate in this effort. …

But I do admit to making a horrible mistake. It was an honest one, and a naive one… but it was a mistake nonetheless. I should not have listed my affiliation as “NASA Headquarters.” I did so because that is my current academic affiliation. But when I did so I did not realize the full implications that has. I’m deeply sorry for that, but it was a mistake born our of carelessness and inexperience and nothing more. …

For anything I have done to mis-convey that to those covering this story, to the public, or to the fine employees of NASA, I apologize.

No apology for aliens potentially attacking over global warming, which Domagal-Goldman considers a low likelihood, but possible all the same. And never mind he’s, essentially, destroyed a likely employment opportunity. Sheesh.

Sun, 13 Mar 2011

I Hate Changing the Clock

Filed under: Behavior, Economy, Environment, Life, Politics, Rants, Safety — cynicalsynapse @ 7:11 pm

Alarm shock

Irreverently, I refer to the 4 months that are not part of Daylight Saving Time as Daylight Wasting Time. And why not? If we’re not saving daylight, we must be wasting it, right? What is the value of that wasted daylight during those four months of the year?

Well, today marks the beginning of Daylight Saving Time in the US. Proponents use catchy phrases like “Spring Ahead”. The reality is you lose an hour’s sleep. And, for me, I was at a program this weekend that started an hour earlier on Sunday. So I lost two hours, not just one. Some will say I’ll gain an hour back in the fall, but I think that’s doubtfull. Even so, I’m still down one.

The blogprof has similar concerns as he notes in Once again, the dreaded switch to daylight-savings time…:

I write a post every year about how I dread the “spring ahead” into daylight savings time (I Despise Switching to Daylight-Saving Time). I indicate downsides to doing this, including:

  • Debbie J. Frank, co-owner of Sleep Associates Inc. in Saginaw Township, said a National Sleep Foundation Poll revealed traffic crashes increase in the days after the spring switch because people are more sleep-deprived and less alert.
  • Shari S. Drake, clinical coordinator for Covenant HealthCare Sleep Center in Saginaw said daylight-saving time exacerbates sleep disorders, and more than 70 million Americans have one.
  • A study in Sweden showed more heart attacks during the first three weekdays after daylight-saving time in the spring, perhaps because of sleep deprivation, and a corresponding decrease in the risk during the more-restful fall back of the clocks in autumn.

You get the gist, no? Plus this: Time to spring ahead, but benefits and savings are unclear.

In 2005, Congress passed the Energy Policy Act, which included a provision to extend daylight-saving time by three weeks in the spring and one week in the fall. The idea was that later hours of daylight would promote energy conservation. Actual energy savings as a result of daylight-saving time remain unclear, however, and the policy may even contribute to additional energy usage — the opposite effect it’s supposed to have.

Ah yes – the law of unintended consequences. A good example of what happens when the government gets involved in societal policies with good intentions. Always seems to be a repeating pattern. Welfare? War on poverty? Medicare? Medicaid? Social Security? Community Reinvestment Act? Affirmative Action? So onto the results of this policy:

One of the most recent extensive studies on daylight-saving time’s relation to energy found little evidence the policy actually saves energy.

Yup. Sounds about right. Shocker, eh? Can we please just get rid of daylight savings entirely and never utter the phrase again? Ever? Please??? Another research group found that

…daylight-saving time “increases residential electricity demand.” Estimates of the overall increase are about 1 percent. While daylight-saving time did seem to save electricity for lighting, these savings were more than offset by usage for heating and cooling.

The law of unintended consequences (which itself is a corollary to the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics)… Intend to save the environment (good intention), put a bigger load on it instead (bad result). And kill a few more people to boot…

Fri, 14 Jan 2011

Snowpocalypse 2011

Filed under: Deceit, Environment, Global warming, Hypocrits, Politics — cynicalsynapse @ 8:19 pm

Snow map of the US

So far, 2011 has been rather challenging, weather wise. The northeast has been hit with a couple of snowstorms. This past week saw the south getting more snow than the northern midwest is used to. As a result, 49 states have snow on the ground! The only state without snow is Florida.

As of a couple days ago, snow is present on the ground for 69.4% of the lower 48 US states. More than two-thirds of the country is snow-covered. It’s not too late. We could still meet last February’s snow in all 50 states.

Cancun temperatures

The British Meteorological Office (BMO) predicted 2010 to be warmest year on record but it didn’t happen. The UN climate change conference experienced record low temperatures for Cancun, Mexico. To explain this, warmists claim winter weather proves climate change is real.

Because of their interests of the climate change hoax, BMO withheld record cold predictions. Not everyone is drinking global warming koolaid, however.

Wed, 12 Jan 2011

Global Warming is Real

Filed under: Deceit, Environment, Government, Life, Paradoxes, Politics — cynicalsynapse @ 12:25 am

If you’ve looked at the weather report lately, what other conclusion could you come to?

HT: theblogprof

Sat, 13 Feb 2010

Snow on the Ground, Snow on the Ground

Filed under: Environment, Global warming, Humor, Life — cynicalsynapse @ 4:17 pm

US snowcover map 13 Feb 10

With the probability there is still snow on Hawaii’s Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa peaks, today marks the rare occasion of snow on the ground in all 50 states. The 13,000-foot Hawaiian peaks typically see snow every winter and got a dumping a couple weeks ago.

University of Oklahoma meteorological graduate student Patrick Marsh hopes to get pictures of snow on the ground today from all 50 states. Not sure if he’ll make it, but Dewey from Detroit has posted a song to mark this unusual event. You probably know the tune.

Fri, 12 Feb 2010

Michigan’s Bridges to Nowhere

Filed under: Budget, Business, Detroit, Driving, Economy, Environment, Government, Military, Politics — cynicalsynapse @ 3:22 pm

Aerial view of the Ambassador Bridge

Never mind that taxpayers ponied up $230 million for the Gateway project to link I-75 and I-96 with the Ambassador Bridge. Presently, the project is incomplete because the Detroit International Bridge Co. (DBIC), owners of the bridge, failed to build their portions, even though there are contracts in place requiring them to do so. As a result, the ramps connecting I-75 and I-96 to the Ambassador Bridge Plaza and from the Plaza to I-96 and southbound I-75 remain closed.

Ambassador Bridge Gateway project

So, the project that shut down I-75 for 17 months is still incomplete because of Manuel “Matty” Moroun and his DIBC. Trucks are still using local roads instead of directly connecting to the bridge. Moroun and the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) have been, uh, contentious partners in the project. There are contract documents and involvement by the City of Detroit, Federal Highway Administration, Southeast Michigan Council of Governments, and concurrence by the Federal General Services Administration, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and Department of Homeland Security.

DBIC has simply failed to live up to its part of the bargain and its contractual agreements. In one of many law suits between Moroun and MDOT, the transportation agency prevailed recently. Moroun must tear down the duty-free store and gas station he built on illegally seized city of Detroit property. Many see this as a moral victory against the DIBC, which has had a rather adversarial relationship with the local community, at best.

Building a second Detroit River bridge has been under consideration for years to help ease trade along North America’s busiest international border crossing. Moroun wants to twin the present Ambassador Bridge. Neighborhoods near the bridge on both sides of the river oppose the idea. In fact, even though his permit was revoked, Moroun’s already built approaches for the twin span on the Detroit side. DBIC needs part of the city property ordered returned for the second span.

Approaches to planned twin span

The freep reported February 10th Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) director Kirk Steudle wants a second Detroit River bridge. MDOT’s plan is a span about 2 miles south of the Ambassador Bridge. It’s a great concept, but Moroun has been blocking it with myriad lawsuits. He’s even said cross-border traffic is down due to the economic slowdown and recent GM and Chrysler bankruptcies. Odd Moroun still wants to twin the Ambassador, however.

DRIC concept

In fact, the US and Canadian goverments and Ontario and Michigan transportation agencies have been working on this for some time now. Planned for about 2 miles downriver from the Ambassador Bridge, the Detroit River International Crossing project environmental studies are done. There’s a rare garter snake along the route in Ontario, but officials say they’ve got solutions to the problem.

When DRIC proponents get through all of Moroun’s law suits, how will they pay for the new bridge, estimated to cost US$2.26 billion? Michigan turned back $475 million in Federal road money because it couldn’t spare the $84 million state matching funds. The state cancelled road projects last year, too. Yet, Gov. Granholm including DRIC funding in her 2010-11 budget proprosal. MDOT and Transport Canada jointly Request for Proposal of Interest for the project with an eye toward a public-private partnership.

One other item of interest in the DIBC/Moroun legal arena. The company is used to operating as though it is above the law. So much so that Barbara McQuade, newly appointed US Attorney in Detroit, filed a brief stating DIBC is not a federal instrumentality. “DIBC is not a federal instrumentality, of any kind, or any other type of arm, appendage, servant, or agent whatsoever of the United States,” she wrote in the brief.

Sat, 29 Aug 2009

Urban Forests and Farms–Detroit’s Future?

Filed under: Budget, Civil liberties, Detroit, Economy, Environment, Government, Life, Michigan, Politics — cynicalsynapse @ 2:56 pm

It seems urban farming is all the rage these days. Even the Michigan State Fair is touting the idea, despite this likely being the fair’s last year, ending it’s record-holding 161-year run. Genesee Co. Treasurer Dan Kildee has long been a proponent of land banks.

There’s no question that blight in Detroit is a problem. Now Michigan gubernatorial candidate Tom George wants to create a Detroit land bank authority. As you can see, the intent is to shrink the city and, thereby, reduce the area requiring city services. The reclaimed land would turn into urban forest and urban farmland.

A key benefit land bankers see for the country’s declining urban areas is downsizing them. By concentrating remaining populations, the cities can save money by eliminating services to the green space. Things like police, fire, garbage, and snow removal only need to be delivered where people live. And deteriorating infrastructure in the new green space can just be left to return to nature. The problem is, however, the greening of cities means bulldozing neighborhoods.

So, who decides what neighborhoods are vibrant; which ones get to survive? Which ones don’t? Where are the remaining folks forced to relocate to? And who forces them to relocate? Absent some policy of forced relocation, like WWII’s Japanese-American internments, how will land banking’s objectives be met? Neighborhoods exist and thrive because people want them to, not because someone plants them somewhere.

And what if Detroit doesn’t want to be greened? I think Tom George needs broader support in the city than just Motor City Blight Busters. And George needs more than that if he hopes to be a serious contender for governor.

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