Matt Patterson is editor of Labor Watch and Green Watch at CRC, and the 2011-2012 Warren T. Brookes Journalism Fellow at the Competitive Enterprise Institute. Matt's columns and commentary have appeared in some of the nation's top newspapers and political sites, including the Washington Post, New York Post, Washington Examiner, American Thinker, and FOXNews.com. From 2009 to 2010, he was a Washington Fellow at the National Review Institute. Previously he served as research assistant to Charles Krauthammer and political coordinator for the Rudy Giuliani presidential campaign.
June 1st brought terrible news on the jobs front: the previous month saw only 69,000 jobs created, and the unemployment rate climbed back up to a dismal 8.2 percent. To add insult to injury, previous months’ jobs numbers were revised downward as new data showed that fewer jobs were added in April and May than previoulsy thought.
Wisconsin’s gubernatorial recall election was a devastating set-back for Big Labor, to be sure (see the July, 2012 issue of Labor Watch for details). But unions also lost big in California, where voters in two cities approved drastic cuts to public-employee pensions. As the New York Times noted, “they did so in a way governments traditionally avoid: moving to cut not just the benefits of future hires, but also those of current city workers, whose pensions generally have much stronger legal protections than those of private-sector workers.” The votes were overwhelming; 66 percent for San Diego and 69 percent in San Jose. Interestingly, Michael Barone notes that those cities voted “63 and 69 percent” respectively for Barack Obama back in the 2008 presidential election. Read all »
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) spying on farmers in the Midwest? After the Nebraska congressional delegation sent a letter to EPA administrator Lisa Jackson asking about rumored aerial drones monitoring farmers in Nebraska and Iowa, the EPA responded with a suspicious and official non-denial: “Courts, including the Supreme Court, have found similar types of flights to be legal (for example to take aerial photographs of a chemical manufacturing facility) and EPA would use such flights in appropriate instances to protect people and the environment from violations of the Clean Water Act.” U.S. Senator Mike Johanns (R-Nebraska) disagrees, saying that the EPA is “just way on the outer limits of any authority they’ve been granted.” Read all »
Attack of the Scare Ads!
By William Yeatman
Since Barack Obama took office in January 2009, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has issued a suite of anti-coal regulations, collectively known as the “war on coal,” which to date has lead to the loss of 26,000 megawatts of coal-fired electricity—enough to power 20 million to 26 million homes. And that’s just the beginning: According to an analysis by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, EPA regulations will “likely” retire almost an additional 55,000 megawatts of coal-fired electricity by 2018.
Unfortunately, it gets worse. In recent months, EPA has issued two regulations—the Utility Maximum Achievable Control Technology rule and the Carbon Pollution Standard for New Power Plants—that effectively ban the construction of new coal-fired power plants. Thus, EPA has effectively taken coal, one of America’s most abundant and reliable energy sources, off the table.
To be sure, Congress never authorized EPA to shut down the coal industry. Rather, EPA is using creative interpretations of existing statutes to seize the power it needs to shutter existing coal-fired power plants and prevent new ones from being built, which raises an important question: Why hasn’t Congress checked EPA’s power grabs? Read all »
Forget the Taliban, China, or a nuclear Iran. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta told a gathering of the Environmental Defense Fund in Washington, DC on May 2nd that he’s worried about – global warming. “The area of climate change has a dramatic impact on national security,” said Panetta. “Rising sea levels, severe droughts, the melting of the polar caps, the more frequent and devastating natural disasters all raise demand for humanitarian assistance and disaster relief.” Good thing we don’t have any real national security threats out there, right? Read all »
May brought more disappointing news on the unemployment front, as the Labor Department announced that in April the economy added a measly 115,000 net new jobs. While the official unemployment rate fell to 8.1 percent, that drop was largely due to a continued shrinking of the American labor force: The labor participation rate in April was a mere 63.6 percent, the lowest rate since December 1981. Millions of frustrated workers have simply given up looking for work altogether, and are therefore not counted as being in the “labor force” by government accountants. To make matters worse, as the editors of the Wall Street Journal note, over the past year, “average weekly earnings are up 2.1 percent, but inflation has climbed by 3 percent.” Read all »
Liberal politicians breathed a sigh of relief in April when the Labor Department revealed that the nation’s unemployment rate dropped to 8.2 percent in March. A closer look at the numbers, however, reveals a disturbing trend in the job market: The labor participation rate, the percentage of working-age Americans either employed or actively seeking employment, continues to plummet as people drop out of the labor force altogether. It now stands at a dismal 63.8 percent – a thirty-year low. When people give up looking for work, the government doesn’t count them in the labor force, and voila! – unemployment drops. How’s that for creative accounting? Unfortunately, as Paul Vigna of The Wall Street Journal’s Market Beat notes, “That means fewer people to contribute to economic growth. Fewer people to pay taxes. Fewer people to help the U.S. earn its way out of a $15 trillion debt hole.” Read all »
From the “never let a crisis go to waste” file, Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) used a string of tornado storms that ravaged the Dallas, Texas area in early April to plea for more carbon taxes. According to Durbin, man-made global warming is responsible for tornadoes, and much else besides. “It’s your money or your life,” Durbin lectured. “We are either going to dedicate ourselves to a cleaner, more livable planet and accept the initial investment necessary or we’re going to pay a heavier price in terms of loss of human life, damage and costs associated with it.” Durbin’s comments are shameful, but not surprising. Read all »
Dr. Peter Gleick was a trusted and respected scientist, with a career studded with honors and awards. And then he threw it all away.
Gleick, who was born in 1956, studied engineering and applied science at Yale and received his Ph.D. in Energy and Resources from the University of California, Berkeley in 1986. He is currently president of the Pacific Institute for Studies in Development, Environment, and Security, which he co-founded in 1987.
The Oakland, California-based research group has a staff of twenty-five scientists and program officers who seek “to produce solutions that advance environmental protection, economic development, and social equity.” In 2010 the Pacific Institute received more than $2.2 million in grants and contributions from a mix of foundations (e.g. Hewlett, Packard, Robert Wood Johnson, Rockefeller Brothers, Rockefeller) and government agencies (e.g. Sacramento County and the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, EPA, USAID and the U.N. Environment Programme). Read all »
Peter Gleick, president of the Pacific Institute and one of the world’s foremost advocates of anthropogenic global warming theory, has admitted to stealing confidential documents from The Heartland Institute in a bizarre and botched attempt to embarrass the free-market, Midwest-based think tank by exposing details of its funding. Gleick obtained the documents under false pretenses and then passed them on to liberal blogs. Now a computer analysis by Dr. Patrick Juola at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, concludes that one the documents, the so-called “climate strategy memo,” is a fake, most likely manufactured by Gleick himself. Dr. Juola concludes his analysis: “Having examined these documents and their results, I therefore consider it more likely than not that Gleick is in fact the author/compiler of the document entitled ‘Confidential Memo: 2012 Heartland Climate Strategy,’ and further that the document does not represent a genuine strategy memo from the Heartland Institute.” Gleick, a MacArthur “Genius Award” recipient and one of the world’s most prominent climate scientists, was forced to resign as chairman of the “Task Force on Ethics” at the American Geophysical Union and step down from the board National Center for Science Education as a result of his shameful and futile deceptions.
Chevy Volt, we hardly knew ye. In March General Motors announced it was temporarily halting production of its much-ballyhooed electric car, the Volt. The Detroit-based motor giant said it would stop production for five weeks, temporarily laying off some 1,300 workers, but would resume production on April 23. “We needed to maintain proper inventory and make sure that we continued to meet market demand,” said GM spokesman Chris Lee to The Hill. Proper inventory to meet the market demand for the Volt appears to be zero, at least for now. Read all »
The Slippery Watchword of the Worldwatch Institute
by Kevin Mooney
Green Watch, April 2012 (view as PDF)
- “Ladies, put on your ‘No Entry’ signs!!!”
That’s what the Roman Empress tells the vestal virgins in the Mel Brooks film comedy History of the World, Part 1. And it may as well be the message Robert Engelman, president of the Worldwatch Institute, conveys to women when he advises them to help the earth remain “sustainable.” Engelman and other green activists are serious. They think a growing world population is jeopardizing everyone’s health, decreasing their economic opportunities, and hurting the environment. Engelman advice: the best way for women to correct these dire conditions and promote global “sustainability” is to avoid reproducing.
The idea that life on earth can be sustained by limiting the growth of the world’s population has been around for a long time. “The power of population is indefinitely greater than the power in the earth to produce subsistence for man,” wrote Thomas Malthus in his famous 1798 treatise An Essay on the Principle of Population. Malthus argued that population growth was harmful to the earth and a threat to human populations. His view continues to resonate today among the academics and political figures who are well-positioned to influence national and international public policies. Read all »