Friday, February 23, 2007

Anti-Environment Freeper Friday

This is one of the most unbelievable pieces of environmental wingnuttery I’ve ever read, courtesy of Suzanne Fields (it appeared in the Bucks County Courier Times yesterday)…

There's nothing like a celebrity sing-a-long to get the global warming juices boiling. Al Gore, the vice president who became a midway barker, has the greatest show on earth, maybe even the universe. He's offering a day of "Live Earth" concerts during the summer that will include musical artists and "thought leaders" such as Cameron Diaz, Snoop Dog and Enrique Iglesias. Hea-veee, as the kids used to say.
By the way, it will quickly become apparent that Fields makes no effort at all to refute any of the scientific evidence that global warming is real and exacerbated greatly by the emission of CO2 into the atmosphere, primarily from man-made sources. She will make other attempted arguments that would actually be perversely funny if it weren’t for the deadly consequences (with heaping doses of freeper sarcasm throughout, I should add).

And yes, I’m somewhat skeptical of concerts with lots of big acts for good causes, but the alternative is to do nothing, so how in good conscience can you blame those who will participate for trying to do something good?

The carnival show will reach more than a million spectators with an additional 2 billion watching on television screens. Kevin Wall, who produced world tours for Madonna, is in charge and says he aims for coverage throughout the world, maybe even the solar system. "Two billion sets of eyeballs," he tells The Washington Post, "and we'll hand the mike to Al Gore."

The ex-veep is poised to take home one or maybe two Academy Awards for his documentary, "An Inconvenient Truth," and has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. This could put him in the league with Obama and Hillary.
I’ve read that last sentence a few times, and I don’t know exactly what that means (though this column is fairly lucid for Fields, who is usually incoherent to the point where she is unreadable).

He says he's not running for president in '08, but that may be because he wants to be president of the Earth, or at least the Whole Earth Catalog. Who wants to spend a winter in New Hampshire talking about the heat somewhere else?
I guess this is what passes for freeper humor. Ha and ha.

Oh, and speaking of missed opportunities, I read that “The ½ Hour Show” produced by Joel Surnow of “24,” a fellow-travelling wingnut who I’ll try to say more about later, was only picked up for two episodes, one of which has already aired to at-best tepid reviews. C’est dommage!

Trendy notions are recycled overnight now, so Diesel, the Italian fashionista, is advertising the newest line as "Global Warming Ready." The designers are playing it for laughs all the way to the bank, but they're deadly serious about the Higher Cause. Models in global-warming-ready togs are photographed against a backdrop of Mount Rushmore with the sea flooding the nostrils of Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln and Teddy Roosevelt. The most colorful characters on Diesel's website, however, are penguins in their natural formalwear and a parrot in his coat of many colors. Diesel understands that among environmentalists, the lower animals trump the human animal every time.
In particular, they trump attack dog freeper columnists (and speaking of animals, don’t worry – Fields will “bare her fangs” shortly; in her typical fashion, she reeeeally takes the long way to get to the point).

All this could be great fun if it weren't so dangerous. Winston Churchill, after all, once observed that he liked pigs because "a dog looks up to you, a cat looks down on you, but a pig accepts you as an equal." But when politics, fashion and entertainment fuse with scientific "factoids," truth drowns in a flood of misinformation.
I’m only halfway through this dreck, and I already have a headache.

In his new book, "Eco-Freaks," John Berlau, a policy director at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, a think tank devoted to environmental policies, catalogs the tragic mistakes imposed on the rest of us by the environmentally correct. After Rachel Carson published "Silent Spring," DDT was banned nearly everywhere. Most of her "evidence" later turned out to be all wrong, but 2 million poor Africans die every year of malaria that DDT was on the way to eradicating. Al Gore, of course, blames global warming.
Here is a link to Berlau's bio at the CEI site, by the way, and as you can imagine, both Berlau and his group have the freeper pedigree that you would except (Fields’ column being nothing more than an excuse to hawk Berlau’s book, of course).

And if Berlau's going to attack environmentalism, then he has to go after the person who, happily for us all, is responsible for the movement to begin with, and as Fields notes, that would be Rachel Carson (I think the following excerpt from this Wikipedia article is noteworthy)…

In addition, many critics repeatedly asserted that she was calling for the elimination of all pesticides despite the fact that Carson had made it clear she was not advocating the banning or complete withdrawal of helpful pesticides, but was instead encouraging responsible and carefully managed use with an awareness of the chemicals' impact on the entire ecosystem. In fact, she concludes her section on DDT in Silent Spring not by urging a total ban, but with Practical advice should be "Spray as little as you possibly can" rather than "Spray to the limit of your capacity."
And the National Institutes of Health believe that DDT is “reasonably anticipated to be a human carcinogen,” as noted here, which is good enough for me. And this article about the dramatically high rate of breast cancer among women living on Cape Cod in Massachusetts noted the following:

(Researchers from the) Silent Spring (Institute)…culled data about nearly 50 years of pesticide and similar chemicals used on the Cape from 1948 to 1995, contacting federal, state, and local sources as well as private pesticide-spraying companies, cranberry growers and golf course superintendents. During the period studied, more than two dozen chemicals, including DDT, dieldrin and Sevin, were used as insecticides, herbicides and fungicides on cranberry bogs, wetlands, golf-courses and municipal areas such as telephone and power line sites. People living near these sites may have been exposed at the time of spraying, or over the years, as the chemicals leached into soil, food crops, or drinking water, researchers say.
And the only person who thinks Al Gore believes that global warming causes malaria is an idiot like Fields (of course, she probably took some quote from Gore about global warming helping the virus-carrying mosquitoes to breed and twisted it to suit her foul purpose).

Update 3/1/07: By the way, according to the promos for “An Inconvenient Truth,” the movie claims that scientists have reported cases of malaria at higher elevations than in previous years, and of course you can rely on Fields to misrepresent that.

Could DDT have been used to fight malaria in Africa despite the cancer risk (and help those “poor” Africans? Are we channeling Wolf “So Poor And So Black” Blitzer here?). I don’t know the answer to that question. All I know is that there was a good reason why it was banned.

Asbestos, like DDT, gets a bad rap in the popular media, but nothing else comes close as a shield against heat. The original plans for the World Trade Center called for the interior steel in both towers to be covered with asbestos-based fireproofing material. Asbestos was eliminated when environmentalists objected. Engineers think the twin towers might be standing today but for the politically correct construction. Asbestos would have at least slowed the spread of the fire and the melting of the metal, giving hundreds of those who perished a chance to escape.
This is outrageous, even for the freepers.

As I’ve said before, I don’t know about you, but I’ve seen controlled demolition, and Towers 1 and 2 pancaked the same way on 9/11, as did Tower 7, which was hit by absolutely nothing (and I’ll never buy this “sympathetic vibration from the 1 and 2 collapse” crap). I have absolutely no evidence at this time to go further with this argument, though.

And now Fields and Berlau are arguing that, had the support structures of Towers 1 and 2 been lined with asbestos, the fires would not have spread so quickly and more people would have escaped the towers (and who are these “engineers,” by the way?).

They could argue that. However, I would argue instead that the fires would have demolished the asbestos insulation so quickly that it would not have made a difference. Beyond that, I would argue also that the fires would have unleashed the asbestos particles into the air, which would have increased the risk of asbestosis (a respiratory disease explained in this disputed Wikipedia article) for those who survived the devastation in the towers as well as any of the hundreds or possibly thousands of other people in midtown Manhattan in the vicinity of the attacks.

Here is more information from the Wikipedia article regarding asbestos, by the way…

In the United States, 10,000 people a year die from asbestos-caused diseases, including one out of every 125 American men who die over the age of 50. [17] The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has no general ban on the use of asbestos. However, asbestos was one of the first hazardous air pollutants regulated under Section 112 of the Clean Air Act of 1970, and many applications have been forbidden by the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). [18]

According to a September 2004 of the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, asbestos is still a hazard for 1.3 million US workers in the construction industry and for workers involved in the maintenance of buildings and equipment. [19]

A Senate Subcommittee of the Health Education Labor and Pensions Committee heard testimony on July 31, 2001, regarding the health effects of asbestos. Members of the public, doctors, and scientists called for the United States to join other countries in a ban on the product.
Back to Fields (it gets still more unbelievable)…

Hurricane Katrina need not have been the tragedy it was. In 1977, the Army Corps of Engineers wanted to build large steel and concrete "sea gates" below sea level to prevent hurricane force winds driving storm surges into Lake Pontchartrain, overflowing into low-lying New Orleans. Such gates have been enormously successful in the Netherlands. But the Environmental Defense Fund, which had been a party to the lawsuit leading to the banning of DDT, persuaded a judge that the sea gates would discourage the mating of a certain fish species. Fishy romance trumped the lives of 3,100 Orleanians. "If we had built the barriers, New Orleans would not be flooded," says Joe Towers, who was counsel for the New Orleans District of the Corps.
Thomas A. McGarity of the Center for Progressive Reform thoroughly refutes this claim from Towers here, with McGarity labeling it “pure fiction.” In particular, McGarity presents five thorough counterarguments to the notion that environmentally-related litigation delayed levee construction to a degree that it exacerbated Katrina’s destruction.

John Berlau spreads blame at all levels of state and national government where intimidated politicians glibly hide behind "greening of America" soft-headedness. Not all ecophiles are goofballs, but many show considerably less concern for humans than for the kangaroo rat, the Delhi Sands flower-loving fly, and that little darling the snail darter. Radical environmentalism is often hazardous to your health. That's the inconvenient truth Al Gore ignores.
So is radical disinformation on the environment or anything else from clueless wingnut columnists.

And by the way, good luck on Sunday night, Al!

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