Monday, April 29, 2013

California and Global Warming: how many will die because of a failing theory?

Tonight, the Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG) held a public hearing to explain their 25-year transportation and housing plan to residents of the San Francisco peninsula.  One set of their posters summarized where they think their plan succeeds and where it fails.  Let's look first at where ABAG thinks they missed their targets (click on any photo to enlarge):

Top on the list of missed targets is "reduce injuries and fatalities from collisions."   Instead of a reduction, injuries and fatalities are projected to increase by 18%.   Common methods for reducing traffic accidents include adding stoplights or improving signage.  Apparently, these are not a priority for ABAG.

Also on the list of missed target is highway maintenance.  ABAG projects that "the percentage of poor quality state highway lane-miles in the region will rise to 44 percent of the regional highway system by year 2040."  In other words, despite California's ever increasing state taxes, nearly half of the Bay Area's highways will be in "poor" condition.

So, what does the plan succeed at?  Where is all our ever increasing tax money going?  Here is the section of the poster showing ABAG's claimed successes:

ABAG's top claimed success, their "target #1," is "climate protection":  their plan projects a per capita reduction in CO2 emissions of 18% by 2040.

There was a nice friendly ABAG official standing beside these posters.  I asked him why they weren't instead doing more about reducing traffic fatalities.  He kindly explained that it wasn't a priority while reducing CO2 was.

So we are going to suffer not only poor roads but also greater traffic deaths all for the goal of reducing carbon emissions.  How many people will have to die in the name of Al Gore's failing theory?

MORE:  Since the San Francisco Bay Area suffers from traffic congestion, I wondered what they planned to do about that in the next 25 years.  The map below provides the answer:

While they do plan to improve a few interchanges (green dots on the map), they will not widen a single highway within Silicon Valley.  The only highway widenings (solid red lines on the map, marked by arrows 20 and 22) are outside of Silicon Valley.    The only other highway projects in their plans are "highway operational improvements," which, according to the explanation I was given, is a euphemism for making carpool lanes more restrictive.

STILL MORE: ABAG has adopted Obama's abuse of language.  The chart below shows "investments":

Notice that 90% of "investments" are merely maintenance, something any accountant would recognize as an expense not an "investment."

Note also in the chart above that "road and bridge expansion"  gets the same amount of money as mass transit.  This happens despite the fact that the overwhelming majority of passenger-miles (90 to 97%) is traveled on roads and bridges, and not on the heavily-subsidized mass transit system.  The 97% should revolt against the 3%!

Lastly, ABAG's adherence to political correctness extends well beyond a belief in global warming.  To design the SF Bay Area's transportation system, they studied projections for race and ethnicity, producing plots such as this:

If you read their reports, you will see they claim that these skin pigmentation issues affect what transportation improvements will be needed.

Overall, ABAG's 25-year plan seems to be a painful confirmation of Reynold's Second Law:   “The more a government wants to run its citizens’ lives, the worse job it will do at the most basic tasks of government.”

For more on ABAG's 25-year plan, dubbed "One Bay Area,"  click here.

WELCOME to readers of BookwormRoom.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

What motivated Tamerlan Tsarnaev to become a bomber?

Tamerlin Tsarnaev
The New York Times quotes an in-law of Tamerlan Tsarnaev [photo at right is from his 2009 arrest] to explain what it was that made Tamerlan so angry:
Elmirza Khozhugov, 26, the ex-husband of Tamerlan Tsarnaev’s younger sister, Ailina, said that Tamerlan Tsarnaev had been enamored of conspiracy theories, and that he was also concerned by the wars in the Middle East. 

“He was looking for connections between the wars in the Middle East and oppression of Muslim population around the globe,” Mr. Khozhugov said in an e-mail. “It was very hard to argue with him on themes somehow connected to religion. On the other hand, he did not hate Christians. He respected their faith. Never said anything bad about other religions. But he was angry that the world pictures Islam as a violent religion.”[Emph. added]
How would the world have gotten that idea?  Wouldn't such mis-characterizations of Islam be enough to make anyone want to bomb the Boston Marathon?

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Maureen Dowd: Obama is a slow learner, not an adult

In her New York Times column this weekend, liberal Maureen Dowd praises Obama's ability "to emotionally connect with Americans in searing moments," such as after the Boston Bombing.  She then provides some frank statements on Obama's lack of political skills:
Unfortunately, he still has not learned how to govern

How is it that the president won the argument on gun safety with the public and lost the vote in the Senate? It’s because he doesn’t know how to work the system. And it’s clear now that he doesn’t want to learn, or to even hire some clever people who can tell him how to do it or do it for him.  ....

President Obama thinks he can use emotion to bring pressure on Congress. But that’s not how adults with power respond to things. [Emph. added]
It would be nice if Democrats had discovered this back when there was still time to prevent America from having to suffer through two terms of an incompetent president.

PREVIOUSLY on Maureen Dowd:
Yet another New York Times scandal, or two
A Democrat's inner child
Somebody had a bad childhood
What is the victim status of your identity group?

Friday, April 19, 2013

Howard Dean says Obama not liberal enough, may cause Dean to leave Democrat Party

Howard Dean
Buzzfeed reports:
On Sunday night, Dean tweeted that the restoration of some defense sequestration cuts contained in Obama's budget proposal were a step too far when coupled with the president's entitlement cut proposal that progressives like Dean are already livid about. . . .

"I just think that's unacceptable," Dean said. "If this passed I would have to reevaluate if I belong in the Democratic Party. If this were passed with Democratic votes, I think it would be impossible to be Democrat."
"I would have to oppose any Democrat that is supportive of this," Dean added.
How large would a deficit have to be for "progressives" to consider it too large?

The Obama first term debt: $70,000 per family
Obama in deep denial: claims US does not have a spending problem
How much will Sequestration reduce the US Federal deficit?

Politico's willful ignorance

In Today's Politico, two reporters, Josh Gerstein and Jennifer Epstein ponder what the Boston bombers' motives could have been:

Djohar Tsarnaev's webpage reportedly described his "worldview" as "Islam."  It is reported that Tamerlan Tsarnaev's youtube account focused on Islam and had a playlist called "terrorists."  Both (reportedly) tried to kill and maim as many random infidels as they could.

Politico claims its confusion comes from not understanding why Chechen emigres would kill infidels in America rather than Russia — as if Islamists would consider that to be an important distinction.

It is more than a decade since 9-11.  Politico cannot be this ignorant unless it is trying to be.

Monday, April 08, 2013

Survivor of communism explains his opposition to gun control

"You don't know what freedom is because you never lost it....  The only reason for the gun control is for the gun control is the government to protect [itself] from the citizens.  That way the government can ... subjugate them.  That's what happened in Cuba for 54 years." --Manuel Martinez, Salem, OR, April 5, 2013

PREVIOUSLY on guns, crime, and the right of self-defense:
Where do criminals actually get their guns? What about the gun show loophole?
Bizarrely, the left claims Obama is a support of the 2nd Amendment
Paradox: gun sales up despite politicians' threats to ban gun sales
Paradox: student test scores improve despite school funding decrease
News report: Gun crime down "despite" increase in gun sales
Popular resistance to gun control
Thousands attend San Francisco rally in support of the 2nd Amendment

Margaret Thatcher (1925-2013)

From the heroic age of conservatism, here is a photo of Prime Minister Thatcher with President Reagan at Camp David in 1986:

For those of you too young to remember, this video shows Margaret Thatcher explaining to an opposition member of Parliament what's wrong with the liberal view of "income inequality":

If only McCain or Romney could have thought and spoken so clearly.

Saturday, April 06, 2013

Where do criminals actually get their guns? What about the gun show loophole?

When President Obama announced his gun-violence task force results back in January, he declared:
“The law already requires licensed gun dealers to run background checks, and over the last 14 years that’s kept 1.5 million of the wrong people from getting their hands on a gun.  But it’s hard to enforce that law when as many as 40 percent of all gun purchases are conducted without a background check.” [Emph. added]
Does this mean that we should close the "gun show loophole"?  The most recent numbers on this come from a 1997 survey (full text available here) conducted by the US Bureau of Just Statistics.  Here is the actual data (from p.10) on where criminals got their guns:
Source: US Bureau of Justice Statistics
Gun shows account for a statistically insignificant 1.7% of guns possessed by criminals.  That is because criminals get their guns overwhelmingly from the sources one would expect: friends, family, drug dealers, the black market, and theft.

Friday, April 05, 2013

More on FDR and anti-Semitism

Although he started out being quite popular with Jews, Franklin D. Roosevelt's reputation has been sinking with continued revelations.  See, for example, this 1994 Newsweek review of a PBS documentary.   Some of the criticism of FDR seems unfair. He is, for example, faulted for not devoting more Allied bombing raids to attacks against German railroads leading to Auschwitz and other death camps. Bombing railroads, however, particularly with WWII technology, was of limited value: bombs were unlikely to hit a railroad and even if they did, railroads could be quickly and cheaply repaired. Nevertheless, questions continue. The latest allegations are from historian Rafael Medoff. He was interviewed by The Daily Caller:
“In his private, unguarded moments, FDR repeatedly made unfriendly remarks about Jews, especially his belief that Jews were overrepresented in many professions and exercised too much influence and control on society,” Medoff told The Daily Caller in an email about his new book, “FDR and the Holocaust: A Breach of Faith.”

“This prejudice helped shape his overall vision of what America should look like — and it was a vision with room for only a small number of Jews who, he said, should be ‘spread out thin.’
PREVIOUSLY on left/liberal anti-Semitism:
Stanford-Columbia study: Democrats are anti-Semitic
Round up of anti-Semitism at Occupy Wall Street
When anti-Semitism is more important than the environment
Noam Chomsky projects anti-Semitism
Louis Farrakhan
CNN's anti-Semite
Hate crimes statistics, Jews, and Muslims, and more
The left and its hatreds
Democrats and anti-Semitism
Obama and anti-Semitism
The academic left and anti-Semitism: Walt and Mearsheimer
More on anti-Semitism and foreign policy
Anti-Semitism and the Connecticut Senate race
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