Thursday, October 29, 2009

An Interview with Maria Sheffield, Part III

This week I have been posting my interview with Maria Sheffield. Mrs. Sheffield is a candidate for Georgia State Insurance Commissioner. I posted a little of her background here. I also posted the first part of this interview here. As I have said before, I think Mrs. Sheffield is a very interesting candidate and I think Georgia voters should get to know her.

I warned my readers last time that these posts would be a little longer than my traditional post. However, I think it's a good idea to include the entire response from Mrs. Sheffield so youcan make your own decisions about what she was trying to say. Without further ado, here is the conclusion of our interview.

Political Friends:
In Georgia politics there seem to be a number of candidates that are being accused of being the "hand- picked successor" to the current office holder. You have been accused of that on the internet. Can you tell me a few things that would distinguish your time in office or your position on issues from Mr. Oxendine's?

Mrs. Sheffield
: Well, that is just silly, but I suppose when these "other" candidates neither have the experience or qualifications for the job, it is easier to try and belittle the competition. It is so effortless for people to be negative on the Internet because they know they do not have to be accountable for their actions. When political campaigns do not have positive ideas to offer, they attempt to distract Georgia from the real issues. It is true that I worked at the Department of Insurance during the Oxendine administration but I have also been in private practice for the past seven years. This campaign is not about the current incumbent. It is about the people of Georgia and who has the experience to work for them each day on the issues before the Department, which affect their daily lives. I think of the campaign as an extended interview - the voters in Georgia are interviewing candidates for a job, one that is paid by their tax dollars. Surely they want to hire a qualified person and not someone simply seeking higher office or someone hoping to promote his or her own self-interested agendas. I believe my personal, professional and educational backgrounds suggest I am the best qualified person for the job.

I am very proud of my service to the citizens of Georgia during my time at the Department of Insurance and I think most reasonable taxpayers understand I worked for them and did my best for them. I am proud that many people who support the work of the current commissioner are supporting my campaign and I am also equally proud that I have strong backing from people who have chosen not to offer their support to the current commissioner. I can assure you and everyone in Georgia, that any decisions I make as insurance commissioner will be based on my relationship with taxpayers, my own beliefs and my own experiences.

PF: You are campaigning on "Portability of Health Insurance Policies". How would you work to get more portable coverage for Georgia workers?

Sheffield: The last major federal challenge to state regulation of health insurance came about in 1996 with the Kennedy-Kassebaum Bill, known now as HIPAA or, more formally, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996. When HIPAA was passed, all states, including Georgia, were forced to change many of their state health insurance laws. The Georgia Legislature acted shortly thereafter to protect state regulation of insurance in Georgia by clarifying many jurisdictional issues surrounding state regulation. I would point out that Georgia was ahead of many states in the rest of the nation in establishing laws regarding portability protections in health insurance a full year before the federal government adopted them in HIPAA. I will work to make certain that Georgia's portability laws are maintained as a job change should never cause a Georgia taxpayer to lose his or her health insurance coverage.

Would you challenge the creation of a National Insurance Commissioner in court? Do you believe the creation of a National Insurance Commissioner would violate the Tenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution?

Sheffield: In 1944, the Supreme Court ruled that insurance should come under federal regulation, but Congress passed the McCarran-Ferguson Act in 1945, returning control to the state level where it has remained to this day. State insurance oversight has kept insurance companies both solvent and stable and has protected policyholders for the past sixty-four years. State regulators continue to provide an immediate and local response to consumer issues. While there are a number of areas in the financial sector that suffer from little or no regulation; insurance is certainly not one of them. The strong state-based regulatory framework should remain in place and not be supplanted with a new federal bureaucracy.

PF: I have seen your support for the Fair Tax in a number of places. What can the Insurance Commissioner do to get the Fair Tax Act into law in Georgia?

Sheffield: In my experience, Georgia voters generally want to know where their public servants stand on the vital issues of the day, they want to know the values we hold. I will use my position to advocate for the Fair Tax among those elected officials that are in a position to directly affect change – we are a government run by people and all who are honored to serve must speak out on the issues that are important to the taxpayers. This being said, my primary focus as insurance commissioner will be in serving the people of Georgia in the capacity in which I am elected.PF: Health Care and Health Insurance reform are hot topics in Washington. What proposals do you believe need to be considered in any effective health care reform?

Health Care and Health Insurance reform are hot topics in Washington. What proposals do you believe need to be considered in any effective health care reform?

One of the reasons I am running for insurance commissioner is because I want to establish the most competitive free-market environment for Georgia's insurance industry, one that simultaneously provides the greatest opportunities for business and the best choices for consumers at the most reasonable rates. Any effective health care reform must incorporate these same fundamental principles.

PF: You have pledged to expand the Rural Georgia Healthcare Initiative. Why is this so important, and how can it be expanded in a fiscally responsible way?

Sheffield: The Rural Georgia Healthcare Initiative that I am referring to relates to Georgia's telemedicine program. You should know that I was born and raised in a small town in middle Georgia, my father was disable from the time I was five years old and because of my father's health problems I spent many days of my life traveling to and from metro-area hospitals, so I understand firsthand the value of telemedicine. You see, through telecommunications systems, computer technology and specialized medical cameras doctors are able to examine, diagnose, treat and educate patients at a distance. Telemedicine provides greater access to quality care, allows physicians to better share knowledge, provides stronger relationships between patients and providers and reduces travel time for people, thereby reducing costs and adding value to the economy.

Additionally, rural hospitals in Georgia face a financial crisis because hospitals in undeserved areas face competitive disadvantages as they confront rising costs. Such facilities need to find sustainable ways to become more efficient while improving health care quality and reducing costs. I believe that telemedicine is a step in the right direction. I will encourage the continued investment of private dollars into this program.

PF: The election is over a year away. At this point, how do you like your chances, and what will you be doing in the coming months to get your name out to the voters in Georgia?

Sheffield: First, I am listening to people across the State of Georgia, talking with them about their issues and concerns and telling them about my plans for the Department. The people I have met know that I understand the role of insurance commissioner and the issues that are dealt with daily by the Department. They appreciate that my interest in pursing the position is rooted in my desire to actually serve the public in a position where I have a solid base of knowledge. I am the only candidate who has real experience in insurance, fire safety and industrial loan matters. I will use this knowledge and experience to be an advocate for the people of Georgia in this campaign.

I am humbled by the support the campaign is receiving across Georgia. We are building a strong team of committed volunteers and supporters. We will work tirelessly to earn the trust and votes of the taxpayers.

I took away from this interview that Mrs. Sheffield is a very qualified candidate who has some very interesting ideas about the office she is hoping to win next year. I will be keeping an eye on her over the next year and I wish her the best of luck.

Time for the President to be President

Note: I originally wrote this for Alexandria. I decided to exercise my power as author of this blog and post it here as well. Enjoy!

Critics of America should consider carefully whether they really want what they have wished for: an America more restrained, "back in its box" deferential to other countries --or even, less successful.

Bronwen Maddox writes this in her book "In Defense of America". I am a political junkie, an really enjoy reading books about America written by foreign authors. I read this book last summer, and the line I quote above has stuck in my head. "What would happen if the United States did what many foreign leaders claim to want us to do, and simply leave other nations to take care of themselves?" With the election of President Obama, we are starting to see just how much Europeans like it.

This week, there have been two different articles in two different foreign publications calling President Obama to action in Afghanistan. So far, those calls seem to have fallen on deaf ears. Writing in the UK Telegraph, Toby Harden points out the that the President appears to still be campaigning and hasn't yet started governing. Mr. Harden points out that President Obama has attended 22 fund raisers since being sworn in. President Bush attended six in his first year in office. He says later in his piece:

All this says much about Mr Obama's priorities at a time when he is sitting on an urgent request for 40,000 more troops to Afghanistan, seemingly unsure about whether the counter-insurgency strategy he announced in March is the right one.

This call for action is repeated this morning in another international publication. In an article entitled "We're Waiting, Mr. President" appearing in Der Spiegel, Claus Christian Malzahn argues that "Obama must provide better leadership on Afghanistan". He goes on to say:

So far Obama has only made it clear that he doesn't intend to withdraw any troops and that he hasn't decided yet whether to add more soldiers. But this smells more like a lazy compromise than a clear statement of intent, and it has led to speculation in Washington that Obama could wash his hands of the matter by announcing a moderate troop buildup and newly packaged diplomatic initiatives.

I would argue that this qualifies as a "do nothing" approach. In it, President Obama doesn't have to commit to persecuting the war like he and Vice President Biden said they would while campaigning for these offices. He also doesn't have to give his political enemies ammunition by retreating from Afghanistan. He simply chooses a middle of the road approach and goes back to health care reform.

Sometimes, our best advice can be found right here at home. Yesterday was the 45th Anniversary of Ronald Reagan's "A Time for Choosing" speech. In it, he says the following when discussing communism:

We cannot buy our security, our freedom from the threat of the bomb by committing an immorality so great as saying to a billion human beings now enslaved behind the Iron Curtain, "Give up your dreams of freedom because to save our own skins, we're willing to make a deal with your slave masters." Alexander Hamilton said, "A nation which can prefer disgrace to danger is prepared for a master, and deserves one." Now let's set the record straight. There's no argument over the choice between peace and war, but there's only one guaranteed way you can have peace—and you can have it in the next second—surrender.

These words ring true with Afghanistan. It would be easy to pack up our bags and head home. The easiest thing to do is not always the right thing to do. President Obama campaigned hard to become President of the United States. No one forced him into this office. He went after it, and he has the job now. With that position comes great responsibilities. It's time President Obama lived up to the office.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

"A Time for Choosing"

Eric at Red State posted this today. Today is the 45th Anniversary of Reagan's speech for Barry Goldwater. I think this is an important speech everyone should watch. If you changed just a few words it would still apply today. Reagan labeled it "A Time for Choosing", everyone else seems to refer to it as the "Rendezvous with Destiny" Speech.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

An Interview with Maria Sheffield, Part II

Tonight, I get into the Question and Answer part of my interview with Maria Sheffield. Mrs. Sheffield is running for Insurance Commissioner for the State of Georgia. Last time, I wrote a little about her background. I think all Georgia voters should take some time to get to know Mrs. Sheffield. In my opinion, she is a very strong candidate and well worth looking into. I have left the responses in Mrs. Sheffield's own words. While this makes for a little bit longer post than I usually write, I think it is better to have the candidate speak for herself.

Political Friends:
There will be a large number of offices on the ballot in the 2010 elections in Georgia, why should voters pay attention to the Insurance Commissioners race?

Mrs. Maria Sheffield: Healthcare reform is presently the most controversial issue both within the State of Georgia and at the national level. Most people recognize and agree that health care is provided locally. Many people also understand that insurance coverage for locally provided health care can and should differ from state to state, as does the licensure of doctors, the types of available medical facilities, the court systems and other, related aspects that go with care and coverage. Many other people also understand that state laws include important protections for all people concerned about their health insurance coverage and their health care. I expect that whatever legislation may be passed at the federal level, will require direct state action and will likely involve the Georgia Department of Insurance.

Further, while the insurance commissioner is most often thought of as the regulator overseeing the licensing and regulation of 1,600 insurance companies and 137,000 insurance agents in the State of Georgia, the Georgia insurance commissioner is also responsible for approximately 1,000 industrial loan offices and also serves as both Safety Fire Commissioner and Comptroller General of the state. The role of Safety Fire Commissioner is diverse and responsibilities include the investigating and examining of construction and engineering techniques, construction material and fire prevention and protection techniques. These responsibilities fall into five main categories including building inspections (hotels, day care centers, schools and racetracks just to name a few), manufactured housing inspection, fire scene investigation, engineering and hazardous materials such as explosives and propane gas. The office also promotes fire safety education in the schools.

Given the responsibilities housed within the Georgia Department of Insurance, Georgia needs a strong leader who has direct experience with the many issues handled by the Department and someone that is willing to work hard each day for the citizens of the State.

PF: Why did you decide to make your official announcement on Facebook and Twitter? Do you hope to utilize the internet to communicate to Georgia voters, and if so how?

Sheffield: Absolutely, I will use new media to communicate with voters – everyday. Statistics show that the way we receive our news is changing. People receive more and more information on the Internet. Plus, this technology is available at virtually no cost to a campaign, provides voters with real-time information and allows for greater interaction which is key in a state that is geographically as large as the State of Georgia. It is also a lot of fun and I enjoy letting my supporters know what I am doing and likewise learn about them, what they are doing and the issues that are important to them personally.

Further, since I believe that the insurance
industry has to be both responsible and responsive to the citizens of the state, I intend to work with the industry to insure that the insurance regulatory framework in Georgia is clear and concise and works for those of us that are consumers of insurance products, as well as for the industry, as we all benefit from a healthy insurance environment. I believe that the most cost effective way to communicate with the industry is through Internet based technologies and will work as Insurance Commissioner to promote this practice at the Department of Insurance.

PF:You have spent time in the Georgia Department of Insurance as well as in private practice. Can you tell me a few things that might give you better insight into the role of the State Insurance Commissioner than some of your competitors?

Sheffield:I am the only candidate who has been on the front line listening to, and working for, Georgians with real problems regulated by the Department of Insurance. After six years of direct experience addressing issues in all of the various divisions within the Department, I made the decision to go into private practice, choosing to focus on insurance regulatory and compliance issues. While I thought I knew a lot coming out of the Department, I can attest to the fact that I have learned so much more over the past seven years and am glad I have had the opportunity to deal with issues affecting Georgians and the insurance industry from various vantage points. My experience in the private sector working in the industry for small business owners and taxpayers has certainly expanded my knowledge. Further, as someone who has worked with every insurance department in the country and has been actively involved in proceedings of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, I truly understand the pivotal role of an insurance commissioner and I take that responsibility seriously. During these critical times, Georgia needs a Commissioner who is ready to lead on day one and not someone who needs on the job training.

PF:What do you see as the biggest obstacles to the next Insurance Commissioner?

Sheffield:I think one of the biggest obstacles will be the uncertainty over the most appropriate and effective way to make changes to our nation's healthcare system. None of us currently know what and if any law(s) will be passed by the federal government. As Insurance Commissioner, I am charged with enforcing the laws that are made by members of our legislature, that being said, I will use every ounce of authority that I have to make certain that Georgians do not lose their ability to make their own decisions about their health care options and coverages.

Another major obstacle will be the economy. One of the most important jobs of any state insurance commissioner is regulating the solvency of the insurance industry. After all, it does not matter how many insurance companies are doing business in Georgia if they can't afford to pay the claims of their policyholders. The economy has no doubt had a direct impact on the insurance industry and as insurance commissioner I will be diligent in examining the solvency of each insurance company doing business in Georgia. The economy has also had a major impact on the budget of the Department of Insurance. As I understand it, there are actually fewer employees today at the Department than there were 16 years ago and of course all of these employees are handling many more issues than there were in the past. Services provided by the Department are crucial to the citizens of Georgia and the next insurance commissioner will truly have to do more with less and again, that is why I believe it is critical that we have an insurance commissioner that is already well versed in the issues before the Department.


I will post the rest of the Interview on Thursday. Some of the topics we discuss in the next half of the interview include the Fair Tax, the Tenth Amendment, and Health Care.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

An Interview with Maria Sheffield, Part I

Looking at the current political landscape we have a single party that controls the Presidency, the Congress, and the Senate. Depending on how things shape up over the next three years, they could control the Supreme Court as well. Elections are important, and they are important at every level. Barack Obama started as a State Senator. Most elected officials start as state and local officials before they run for federal office. If for no better reason than this, we should be paying attention to our local elections.

At the beginning of September Maria Sheffield formally announced her candidacy for Insurance Commissioner for Georgia. At the same time, I was trying to come up with a way to discuss some of the elected offices that will be on next years ballot but don't usually draw a lot of attention. I thought a great way to start this discussion might be to do an interview with Mrs. Sheffield. I contacted her, and she agreed. This week, I will be discussing the interview I conducted with Mrs. Sheffield. Tonight, I want to get into a little of her background. The first question and answer session will be on Tuesday night, with the second to follow on Thursday night.

I first heard of Maria Sheffield on Facebook. I started researching her, and I felt she had a very interesting background that might make her a strong candidate for Insurance Commissioner. She was born and raised just North of Macon, Georgia in the town of Ivey. Her mother was a nurse and her father served a career in the Air Force and retired from the Air National Guard. Before her 26th birthday, Maria had obtained four degrees including an MBA and a Juris Doctor from Georgia State University. However, her life wasn't all roses either. Her mother was killed when Maria was 15. Her father died of brain cancer when she was 25.

Maria has worked for the Republican Party since the 90's. She served as a District Chairman for Phil Gramm for President in 1996 and as a Vice-Chairman for George Bush for President in 2000. She worked for the Georgia Department of Insurance for six years and served as the Legislative Liaison and Legal Counsel. She is currently an attorney for Burr, Forman, LLP where she specializes in insurance and regulatory compliance matters.

As a final note, this week is not intended as an endorsement of Mrs. Sheffield's candidacy. I think it is too early for any voter to commit to a particular candidate for the 2010 election. If I get the chance to interview some of Mrs. Sheffield's competition, I will be happy to run those on this site as well. However, from what I have read of Mrs. Sheffield, and from looking at her responses during this interview, I think any Georgia voter should consider Mrs. Sheffield over the coming months. Kathryn Ballou of Sheffield's campaign told me that she would encourage the voters to listen to what the candidates are saying. She points out that almost anything can sound good in a 10 second sound bite, but who really has the experience and who is in the race simply because they don't have anything better to do? I think this is good advice for any of the positions we will be voting on in November.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Obama Should Act in Afghanistan

The Afghan government needs to do more. But we have to understand that the situation is precarious and urgent here in Afghanistan. And I believe this has to be our central focus, the central front, on our battle against terrorism...

--Barack Obama
Candidate for the Democratic Presidential nomincation
July, 2008

The United States has a vital national security interest in addressing the current and potential security threats posed by extremists in Afghanistan and Pakistan...The ability of extremists in Pakistan to undermine Afghanistan is proven,while insurgency in Afghanistan feeds instability in Pakistan.

---From the introduction to President Obama's March 2009 new policy in Afghanistan and Pakistan

In short, the President had it right in 2008 and in March 2009. Now, when the chips are down, he seems to be wavering. The President's appointed commander in Afghanistan has requested more troops. The President isn't forced to follow General McChrystal's request, but he should have a sound strategy if he isn't going to follow his appointed commanders advice. McChrystal is an expert in counter insurgency (unlike Joe "Foot-in-Mouth" Biden). If he feels we need more troops in Afghanistan, we should really consider putting more troops in Afghanistan.

The President may decide not to follow the General's advice because the President wants to withdraw from Afghanistan, or because he wants to replace McChrystal. Both of these are strategies that would make an influx of troops a bad idea. The worst thing the President could do is to freeze up, and that appears to be exactly what happened.

President Obama announced a new strategy in Afghanistan in March of this year. Shortly after that, McChrystal asked for additional troops. The President has delayed making a decision on that because he is looking for a new strategy in Afghanistan. If that's true, should we assume the "new strategy" from March has failed already? If not, the President should evaluate if the General's request fits in with his March strategy or not, then act.

The President appears to be floundering because he isn't sure how to handle disapproval in the polls. Many Americans are tried of Afghanistan. I personally believe we need to continue to fight there, and we need to give McChrystal the tools he needs to execute a winning strategy in Afghanistan. The President has found time to appear before the Olympic Committee, it's time to find time for our troops. The President is willing to go against the polls in the health care fight.

Surely our troops deserve the same dedication.

Monday, October 19, 2009

A New Political Discourse?

I have never reviewed a book on this site that I hadn't read first, until now. Or at least, kinda...

I have often wondered why we don't see political pamphlets in today's world of politics. Once upon a time, political pamphlets were a primary source of political debate. Pamphlets produced The Federalist Papers and Common Sense. Why don't we have something comparable in today's political world? It seems Encounter Books has wondered the same thing. They have announced Encounter Broadsides, which are:

a new series of critical pamphlets from Encounter Books. Uniting an 18th-century sense of political urgency and rhetorical wit (think The Federalist Papers, Common Sense) with 21st-century technology and channels of distribution, Encounter Broadsides offer indispensable ammunition for intelligent debate on the critical issues of our time. Written with passion by some of our most authoritative authors, Encounter Broadsides make the case for liberty and the institutions of democratic capitalism at a time when they are under siege from the resurgence of collectivist sentiment. Read them in a sitting and come away knowing the best we can hope for and the worst we must fear. The best defense is a good Broadside.

These pamphlets are to be produced in time to weigh in on current events. The pamphlets are designed to each run 48 to 50 pages and to be read in one evening. The price is also very affordable at $5.99 each. My only complaint so far is that they haven't been released. Some of the pamphlets scheduled to be released are:

I personally ordered the first three scheduled to be released at the end of October and the beginning of November. I hope to write about them as soon as I read them, so come back here to see if they live up to the hype, or to make your own comments if you read them.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Dem's to pass Health Care without Republicans

Yesterday, Human Events online posted a story of how the Democratically controlled Congress is planning to pass health care reform without any Republicans, and maybe without more moderate Democrats, and without listening to the American public. According to Human Events:

House Ways & Means Committee Chairman Charlie Rangel (D-N.Y.) held a hearing [Thursday] morning to certify that H.R. 3200 -- the main House Obamacare bill which was the subject of all the town hall rage in August -- has met all requirements to pass as a “budget reconciliation” measure.

Under reconciliation, the bill can be passed by a simple majority vote in the Senate -- just 51 votes -- and will be given preferential treatment on the House floor as well. The Dems have apparently invoked the “nuclear option” to shut out Republicans and ensure the bill is passed before the end of the year.

During the certification, no amendments were allowed and no debate was allowed. Human Events goes on to point out that this bill is likely to be certified for reconciliation in the other committees it is currently being reviewed in. Human events says that Rangel told the ranking Republican on the committee that Rangel didn't want to invoke the nuclear option, but that the House leadership forced him to.

HR 3200 could be voted on in the House on the floor in the next two weeks. It would then be sent to the Senate where it would only require 51 votes to pass. Remember, HR 3200 is the bill many voters were outraged about before the recess. It would provide a public option, it would provide coverage for abortion, for illegal immigrants, and rationing of treatment. This bill would also include the "death panels", a board that would meet and decide whether or not to authorize treatment based on cost and life expectancy. You may not agree with the name, but the result would be the same. As President Obama told one town hall goer, towards the end of your life, "Maybe your not better off having the surgery, but taking painkillers." If that is your personal decision, so be it. You shouldn't have the government making that decision for you.

If HR 3200 is passed I can't imagine the President won't sign it into law. The bill won't take effect until 2013. Democrats don't want to face questions about this bill in the next Presidential election.

In a previous post, a reader of this site said,"...the [D]emocrats cannot just vote something into law based on numbers alone." It looks like the comment should have been passed along to the Democratic leadership, because I don't think they realized that.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Top 5 problems with “Climate Change”

Today is "blog action day". The goal of blog action day is to get many bloggers writing on the same issue in order to further the discussion. This year's topic is "Climate Change". My contribution to this discussion is likely to be a little different from most of the other posts you will read today. Today, I am writing about my top 5 concerns with the theory of "man-made catastrophic global warming". For brevities sake, I will simply refer to this as "global warming". These five points represent my biggest issues with the theory of global warming. To be upfront, I have seen no real evidence to convince me that there is any significant global warming caused by man. For those of you who think I am wrong, here are my challenges to you:

The Name. Just a short time ago, every politician and activist was referring to this theory as "global warming". Now they are calling it "climate change". Why? If they call it global warming, it is easy to to point out holes in the theory. As "climate change" any varying weather pattern (floods, droughts, record heat, record cold, record hurricanes, or lack of hurricanes) can be blamed on "climate change". As "global warming" it's to blame opposite occurrences (such as record highs and record lows) on the same phenomenon.

The Temperature record. If you have read anything about global warming you may have read that 1998 is the hottest year on record. For a while it was. Then it was discovered that NASA had an error in their temperature data. When this was discovered, 1998 was no longer the hottest year on record. Now, we believe 1934 was the hottest year on record. Additionally, six of the ten hottest years were prior to 1990. To add further insult to injury, it has also been discovered that world wide temperatures have been declining since 1998, not increasing. If CO2 is directly related to temperature, and we are releasing record amounts of CO2, the temperatures should be getting hotter and hotter. They're not.

The "hockey stick" graph. If you saw An Inconvenient Truth, you might remember a scene where Al Gore reveals a graph showing temperature increasing at a steady pace, then suddenly flying vertically off the top of the chart. While this graph is very impressive, it has also been debunked. Turns out if you put ANY data set into the equations used to predict that graph, it will give you the same graph. That isn't very good science. While we are talking about good science…

Computer models. In writing a computer model to predict something in the future, you check it to see if it can predict something that has already occurred. For example, if you write a computer program to predict future climate patterns, you might stick data from the 1970's or 1980's in to see if the program can accurately predict the climate in the 1990's. If it can "predict" this known event, then you have a little more confidence in your model. If it doesn't predict the known occurrence, then you should be very suspicious of the model. In the case of global warming, no computer program that is being used to argue the theory of global warming accurately predicts any known data. In any other field, these models would be considered failures, and no importance would be attached to them.

Clouds. This is perhaps the least known argument against global warming, and perhaps the most critical. Climatologists don't understand how or why clouds form, exactly what they do, or what causes them to disappear. However, climatologists agree that clouds play a very significant role in our weather and our climate. Think about that for a minute. A major component of our climate we don't understand at all. That means any model that includes clouds includes a guess, and any climate model that doesn't include clouds is worthless.

Many Global Warming and Climate Change believers have called for radical new requirements in both the United States and across the world to limit our CO2 emissions. Most of these proposals would cause radical changes in our culture that would immediately kill any economic growth. Conserving and recycling to protect our natural resources is a very admirable project. However, passing legislation to prevent something that is only a theory, and something that has holes like those mentioned above can be economic suicide.

This list is by no means an exhaustive list of the challenges to Global Warming. There are other very good arguments against this theory.This list represents what I consider to be the most damning arguments against the theory of Global Warming or man made climate change. As you read other articles today supporting climate change and calling people to action to prevent climate change, I would encourage you to keep these arguments in mind.

Quick Notes: Broken Promises and a Book Club

There are two important links I wanted to get to all of my members. Don't forget tomorrow is Blog Aciton Day. I will be posting my entry here with a link back to the official website. This year's topic is Climate Change, so I am sure you will want to check back.

Broken Promises. The Heritage Foundation has a short article up discussing the broken promises from the health care debate. Were you looking for transparency? It ain't there. Think you can keep your current health insurance if Reid and Pelosi can pass their health care reform? Think again. Check out the piece here, and look around the site. You might find some interesting stuff. This is epically important for those of you who don't agree with me. Much of the Heritage Foundations research is hard to refute.

Book Clubs. Ever wish you could be in a political book club? Want to find out the core of conservative belief's? Red State has started their own book club, and have handed out homework. You can get all the details here. The first assignment is A Message to Garcia by Elbert Hubbard. Don't own a copy? That's ok. It's only 9 pages long, and Red State has a pdf of it you can read for free. I posted my notes on the first homework here. If you decide to participate, let me know. I hope to get a few of my readers involved in the discussion. Like the last link, I am especially interested in getting those of you who disagree with me to check this link out. I am interested in hearing your opinions on some of the selections.

I like the book list Red State is going to cover, but I feel they may be missing a book or two. If you go look at their list, let me know if you can come up with any titles you would add.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Political Friends featured on Blog Action Day

There is a website called "Blog Action Day". Blog Action Day is "... an annual event that unites the world's bloggers in posting about the same issue on the same day. Our aim is to raise awareness and trigger a global discussion." Back in 2007, I participated by writing about a hurricane forecaster who thought man-made global warming was a hoax. I signed up to participate this year. The topic is "Climate Change". Look for my post on October 15th.

The writers at Blog Action Day have picked 21 Political Blogs their readers should check out on Blog Action Day. They selected Political Friends as #15! I am amazed and delighted by this honor. Go check out some of their picks, and don't forget to check this site out on the 15th to see what I have to say about climate change.

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

The Olympic Teachable Moment

After writing two posts last week that probably raised everyone's blood pressure, I thought I would start this week with a more calming post. There is nothing that brings people together more than defending President Obama.

If you turned on the TV, read the paper, listened to the radio, or simply talked to someone else in the last few days, you know Brazil will host the 2016 Olympics. This comes despite a personal appearance by both President Obama and First Lady Michelle. A number of commentators have written why Chicago lost in the first round, but I think they have all missed the obvious reason. As such, I will borrow a phrase from the President and use this as a teachable moment.

George Will this morning wonders if the Obama's own egos did them in. He notes that in, "…the 41 sentences of her remarks, Michelle Obama used some form of the personal pronouns 'I' or 'me' 44 times. Her husband was, comparatively, a shrinking violet, using those pronouns only 26 times in 48 sentences." Surely Mr. Will isn't surprised by this. The majority of President Obama's speeches, prime time news conferences, and 5-in-a-row Sunday appearances do the same thing. Why should the Olympic Committee not get the full monty?

Victor Davis Hanson purposes a more realistic reason. He points out that Chicago wasn't getting a lot of good PR in the last few weeks. Writing at Pajamas Media, he wonders if the "You Tube beatings, state and city corruption, Blagoism, Daley ward mobsterism, rumors of pre-Olympic wheeling and dealing on land angles, administration Chicago hard-ball Rahm Emanuel / David Axelrod politics, etc." have anything to do with it. Like Mr. Will's answer, these are also good reasons the Olympics may have chosen a southern country instead of Chicago. But, I think there is a larger issue missing from Victor's list.

There are other reasons to select a city that is not Chicago. Brazil will be the first South American nation to host the Olympics. I heard on one radio report that this is the first time the Olympics will appear in the Southern Hemisphere (with the exception of Australia). It could be that with the number of apology speeches the President has given, the I.O.C. simply thought the United States didn't deserve an Olympics. Maybe the Olympic committee thought President Obama was attacking them when he stated that, "…no world order that elevates one nation or group of people over another will succeed."

I think, truth be told, we all know in our heart of hearts why Chicago was not only rebuked, but kicked out in the first round of voting: racism. As the President's supporters have boldly stated time and time again, you can't disagree with the President without being racist. Whether it's Marueen Dowd discussing Rep. Joe Wilson, Nancy Pelosi discussing tea party and town hall attendees, or anyone in the mainstream media discussing Rush Limbaugh or Glenn Beck, there can't possibly be legitimate concerns about anything the President says. In this "post racial" Presidential administration, to disagree is to admit the guilt of racism. The I.O.C. is just the latest group to show their true colors.

Monday, October 05, 2009

Of Government and Men: Conclusion

Over the last few weeks I have tried to cover a number of the most important topics relating to our government. I went into this thinking of it as a "government 101" type class. I hope to use this series as a reoccurring work. Perhaps one a year I will post an updated version of this. With that in mind, I would like to ask you a few questions.

What are your thoughts on this series? Did you think I covered all the topics that needed to be covered? Would you have added another topic? Was there one you would have left off? Are there any posts you think should have been expanded into more posts?

I really want to hear from you. As I said, I think I will use this series again, and I want it to be better the next time through. I can only do that with your help. So take the gloves off and tell me what you really thought.