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Daily Archives: December 23, 2010

Polar bears not "endangered" per White House – Al Gore in shock

A favored myth of the warmist alarmist is we’re killing off the polar bears through AGW by melting their habitat.

Not so fast says the Obama administration:

The Obama administration is sticking with a George W. Bush-era decision to deny polar bears endangered species status. In a court filing Wednesday, the Fish and Wildlife Service defended the previous administration’s decision to give the polar bear the less-protective “threatened” species designation, a move that will frustrate environmentalists who hoped for stronger protections under the Endangered Species Act.

One of the more obvious things most should understand, at least by now, is getting an animal on the endangered list isn’t so much about the animal is about power. All sorts of regulatory restrictions kick in with such a designation.

And the enviros get to help enforce them. Go out on Ft. Bragg NC’s maneuver areas and marvel at the red-cockaded woodpecker’s power – and the the enviro monitors who sit out in the habitat area and ensure soldiers don’t invade the woodpecker’s space.

The same sort of power would accrue the enviros with the placement of the polar bear on the endangered list.

FWS Director Rowan Gould said the 2008 "threatened" listing was made "following careful analysis of the best scientific information, as required by the ESA." At the time, the service determined the bears weren’t danger of extinction, so did not warrant the “endangered” status.

The bears were listed as "threatened" because they face serious threats from projected decline in its sea ice habitat due to global warming would result in them likely being in danger of extinction in the foreseeable future.

Typical of the "science" used by the alarmists is this:

In a news release issued after its conference last July, the PBSG concluded that only one of 19 total polar bear subpopulations is currently increasing, three are stable and eight are declining. Data was insufficient to determine numbers for the remaining seven subpopulations. The group estimated that the total number of polar bears is somewhere between 20,000 and 25,000. (Estimates of the population during the 1950s and 1960s, before harvest quotas were enacted, range from 5,000 to 10,000.)

So the polar bear population has more than doubled from the high 1950’s estimate yet they’re "endangered" according to some? This little caveat is also listed:

However, the PBSG quickly acknowledged that “the mixed quality of information on the different subpopulations means there is much room for error in establishing” the numbers, and “the potential for error, given the ongoing and projected changes in habitats and other potential stresses, is cause for concern.”

Or said another way, "we don’t know what the real polar bear population is but it must be in decline and, btw, our projected decline is based on those stellar climate change models that have been so accurate to this point". Regardless, it is hard to sell endangered species when the species has had a 100% plus growth in 50 years (with harvesting).

The “science?”

Harry Flaherty, chair of the Nunavut Wildlife Management Board in the capital of Iqaluit, says the polar bear population in the region, along the Davis Strait, has doubled during the past 10 years. He questions the official figures, which are based to a large extent on helicopter surveys.

“Scientists do a quick study one to two weeks in a helicopter, and don’t see all the polar bears. We’re getting totally different stories [about the bear numbers] on a daily basis from hunters and harvesters on the ground,” he says.

Want to make a bet on who is right?

Bottom line: “Science” in the name of a political agenda is no science at all.  And as more information continues to come out, it appears that the “science” of AGW isn’t based in science so much as it is the accrual of power and control to those who would love to dictate how you must live – for the planet, of course.

~McQ

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Democratic Senators want to limit filibuster and change other Senate rules

Well of course they do – it gives power to the minority and prevents them from running roughshod over that minority as they attempt to push their agenda through the Senate (as is pretty much done in the House).  That said, I don’t have a problem with this:

Among the chief revisions that Democrats say will likely be offered: Senators could not initiate a filibuster of a bill before it reaches the floor unless they first muster 40 votes for it, and they would have to remain on the floor to sustain it. That is a change from current rules, which require the majority leader to file a cloture motion to overcome an anonymous objection to a motion to proceed, and then wait 30 hours for a vote on it.

“There need to be changes to the rules to allow filibusters to be conducted by people who actually want to block legislation instead of people being able to quietly say ‘I object’ and go home,” said Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo.

This year, McCaskill lined up backing from more than two-thirds of senators for elimination of secret holds, which allow a senator to block action on a bill or nomination anonymously. She said that Democrats will also push plans to force senators who place holds to do it publicly.

I think that "secret holds" are anathema to open government. If a Senator objects, he or she should take ownership of that objection and have to do so publicly. That’ll take care of some of the petty nonsense that is fairly routine in those sorts of holds. But:

Adding to the momentum for change, say proponents, is a push by Udall to seek a simple majority vote on changing Senate rules at the start of the session, rather than a two-thirds majority, that is gaining steam. Such a move could come at the start of next Congress, shortly after the Senate returns on January 5th.

Uh, no. Supermajority means you have to convince the minority of the efficacy of the changes. One of the reason it is so important to have the minority retain its power was illustrated in the defeat of the 1.2 trillion dollar pork package called the "Omnibus spending bill". The minority was able to kill it. I understand that really has no bearing on an internal rule change to go to a simple majority vote to make rule changes, but as with all things, that means Democrats wouldn’t have to have a single minority vote to change the rules.

I say "no way". One of the most powerful and moderating things about the Senate is it almost forces negotiation with the minority before it can accomplish anything. I wonder if the "No Labels" crew will be coming out with a statement saying "keep the rules that protect the minority in the Senate".  Yeah, I doubt it too.

Filibuster reform in the way McCaskill is pushing for (no more secret holds) is a good thing I think.  The time change to less than 30 hours on the motion to proceed is no big deal.   Changing the rule on the number of votes necessary to change the rules – i.e. go from a supermajority to a simple majority – is not a good thing and should be rejected.

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~McQ