Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Multiculturalism at Work

Hot Air (props)

People need to stop being so concerned about hurting one's "religious feelings" and actually have the knowledge and guts to mention something... anything... to get people who are Muslim to think about their religious commitment in a challenging way.

A pair of “honor killings” in Texas Updated: The girls were scared of their dad Additional updates

(Re-Post) Harry Carry

Cafe Standards ... Not So Standard

When CAFÉ standards go up, so do death rates.

A number of studies have documented the lethal consequences of requiring carmakers to improve fuel standards. Democrats and environmentalists have a utopian belief that just because something is mandated by “government,” means that it will either, 1) work, and-or 2) that it is morally acceptable. Many on the Left equate moral “oughtness” with “saving the planet.” With this “saving of the planet” come all kind of socialist ventures. Ventures whose cost, by-the-way, are simply put into the cost of the product and typically the people whom the Left seem so concerned about (the poor) end up paying with either more money or their lives.

The below is from a larger article on CAFÉ Standards:

  • According to a 2003 NHTSA study, when a vehicle is reduced by 100 pounds the estimated fatality rate increases as much as 5.63 percent for light cars weighing less than 2,950 pounds, 4.70 percent for heavier cars weighing over 2,950 pounds and 3.06 percent for light trucks. Between model years 1996 and 1999, these rates translated into additional traffic fatalities of 13,608 for light cars, 10,884 for heavier cars and 14,705 for light trucks.
  • A 2001 National Academy of Sciences panel found that constraining automobile manufacturers to produce smaller, lighter vehicles in the 1970s and early 1980s "probably resulted in an additional 1,300 to 2,600 traffic fatalities in 1993."
  • An extensive 1999 USA Today analysis of crash data found that since CAFE went into effect in 1978, 46,000 people died in crashes they otherwise would have survived, had they been in bigger, heavier vehicles. This, according to a 1999 USA Today analysis of crash data since 1975, roughly figures to be 7,700 deaths for every mile per gallon gained in fuel economy standards.
  • The USA Today report also said smaller cars - such as the Chevrolet Cavalier or Dodge Neon - accounted for 12,144 fatalities or 37 percent of vehicle deaths in 1997, though such cars comprised only 18 percent of all vehicles.
  • A 1989 Harvard-Brookings study estimated CAFE "to be responsible for 2,200-3,900 excess occupant fatalities over ten years of a given [car] model years' use." Moreover, the researchers estimated between 11,000 and 19,500 occupants would suffer serious but nonfatal crash injuries as a result of CAFE.
  • The same Harvard-Brookings study found CAFE had resulted in a 500-pound weight reduction of the average car. As a result, occupants were put at a 14 to 27 percent greater risk of traffic death.
  • Passengers in small cars die at a much higher rate when involved in traffic accidents with large cars. Traffic safety expert Dr. Leonard Evans estimates that drivers in lighter cars may be 12 times as likely to be killed in a crash when the other vehicle is twice as heavy as the lighter car.

In addition to the above studies, the following quotes provide a quick reference point of safety experts' results and statements on the consequences of CAFE regulations as they relate to vehicle safety.

  • "The negative relationship between weight and occupant fatality risk is one of the most secure findings in the safety literature." -- Dr. Robert W. Crandall, Brookings Institution, and John D. Graham, Ph.D., Harvard School of Public Health
  • "Why Does CAFE kill? It does so because it constrains the production of larger cars and, in most modes of collision, larger, heavier cars are more protective of their occupants than are small cars." -- Sam Kazman, Competitive Enterprise Institute
  • "[I]n terms of just the total number of lives, when I purchase a larger car, there is a reduction of risk. I'm safer, and so is society overall... We can conclude, beyond any reasonable doubt, that when weight is reduced, as it must be under CAFE, we will increase casualties." -- Dr. Leonard Evans, physicist, author of Traffic Safety and president of Science Serving Society
  • "During the past 18 years, the office of Technology Assessment of the United States Congress, the National Safety Council, the Brookings Institution, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, the General Motors Research Laboratories and the National Academy of Sciences all agreed that reductions in the size and weight of passenger cars pose a safety threat." -- National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
  • "If you want to solve the safety puzzle, get rid of small cars." -- Brian O'Neill, Insurance Institute for Highway Safety
  • "CAFE is a solution in search of a problem." -- Dr. Robert W. Crandall, Brookings Institution
  • "The evidence is overwhelming that CAFE standards result in more highway deaths." -- Charli E. Coon, J.D., Heritage Foundation
  • "The conclusion is that CAFE has caused, and is causing, increased deaths.... CAFE kills, and higher CAFE standards will kill even more." -- Dr. Leonard Evans, physicist, author of Traffic Safety and President of Science Serving Society

In another article there is some commentary on this issue as well as the big payouts to enviro-whacko’s.

Congress Votes To Make Energy More Expensive

New House Proposal will Discourage New Production; Increases Prices and Limits Consumer Choice

DALLAS (December 18, 2007) - Faced with the looming holiday recess, Congress just passed an energy bill that will do little to lower energy costs and may actually put a bigger strain on consumers pocketbooks, according to H. Sterling Burnett, a senior fellow with the National Center for Policy Analysis (NCPA).

"Sadly, rather than increasing energy supplies and reducing fuel prices, Congress rewarded their environmental activist friends," said Burnett.

According to Burnett, the big news from the energy legislation centered on new federal mandates, chief amongst them, an increase in fuel efficiency standards. The legislation increases the CAFE standards from 27.5 mpg's for cars and 22.2 mpg's for light trucks to 35 mpg mandate for both types of vehicles. History shows that increasing CAFE standards will not decrease our reliance on imported oil. Improved fuel economy makes driving cheaper. When driving becomes cheaper, people drive more. The biggest loss from this provision is commuter safety and consumer choice as car companies downsize their fleet to meet the more stringent standards - light trucks and SUV's go extinct - and people are forced into less crashworthy, smaller cars.

"Congress should unleash the power of the market to provide more abundant, reliable, relatively inexpensive energy to the public," says Burnett. "Instead, it seems intent on paying off the "big green" lobby. American industry, workers, and those on fixed incomes will pay the price."

Terror on the Horizon

A wonderful article by one of the best economists in our fair nation:

Why CEOs deserve their 'bloated' salaries

January 2, 2008

By Walter Williams

Demagoguery about greedy rich people or greedy corporate executives being paid 100 or 200 times their workers' salaries is a key weapon in the politics of envy. Let's talk about greed, starting off with Merriam-Webster's definition: "a selfish and excessive desire for more of something (as money) than is needed."

That definition is a bit worrisome because how does one know what a person really needs? It's something my economics students and I spend a bit of time on in the first lecture. For example, does a family really need one, two, three or four telephones? What about a dishwasher or a microwave oven? Are these excessive desires? If you say these goods are really needed, then I ask, how in the world did your great-grandmother and possibly your grandmother, not to mention most of today's world population, make it without telephones, dishwashers and microwave ovens? "Need" is a nice emotional term, but analytically, it is vacuous.

"Selfish" is a bit more useful term, and it's the human motivation that gets wonderful things done. For example, I think it's wonderful that Alaskan king crab fishermen take the time and effort, often risking their lives in the cold Bering Sea, to catch king crabs that I enjoy. Do you think they make that sacrifice because they care about me? I'm betting they don't give a hoot about me. They make it possible for me to enjoy king crab legs because they want more money for themselves. How much king crab would I, and millions of others, enjoy if it all depended on human love and kindness?

What about complaints about CEOs earning so much more than the average worker? Before looking at CEOs, let's look at another area of huge pay differences. According to Forbes' Celebrity 100 list, Oprah Winfrey earned $260 million. Even if her makeup person or cameraman earned $100,000, she earns thousands of times what they earn. Among the celebrities earning hundreds or thousands of times more than the people who work with them are: Steven Spielberg ($110 million), Tiger Woods ($100 million), Jay Leno ($32 million) and Dr. Phil ($30 million). According to Forbes, the top 10 celebrities and athletes earned an average of $116 million in 2004 compared to an average of $59 million earned by the top 10 corporate CEOs.

When Jack Welch became General Electric's CEO in 1981, the company was worth about $14 billion. Through hiring and firing, buying and selling decisions, Welch turned the company around, and when he retired 20 years later, GE was worth nearly $500 billion. What's a CEO worth for such an achievement? If Welch was paid a measly one-half of a percent of GE's increase in value, his total compensation would have come to nearly $2.5 billion, instead of the few hundred million he actually received.

If a corporate board of directors could buy a $1,000 computer that could do what a CEO does, it wouldn't pay him millions of dollars. If an NFL owner could hire a computer to make decisions that star quarterbacks make, why would he pay some of these guys yearly compensation packages worth more than $10 million? If just anybody could have played the lead role in "The Da Vinci Code" and have it earn $758 million at the box office, why would the film's producers have paid Tom Hanks $74 million?

There's another important issue: If one company has an effective CEO or a team has a star quarterback, it is not the only company or team that would like to have him on the payroll. In order to keep him, he must be paid enough so that he can't be lured elsewhere.

You say, "Williams, what about those golden parachutes for failing CEOs?" Paying a failed CEO, or a spouse in the case of marriage, enough money to go away quietly might be much cheaper than litigation.

Sunday, December 30, 2007