Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Local Inanity, Global Insanity

At their last two regular meetings, the Rancho Palos Verdes City Council took dauntless stands against violence and air pollution. At least that’s what they told themselves.

Just one day after the Virginia Tech shootings, the RPV Council endorsed the “Mayors Against Illegal Guns” campaign, in order to create an America free of gun violence. Of course, illegal guns are, well… illegal, and this vacuous motion does not make them any more illegal. One councilman was not happy about joining in support of a nationwide legislation without seeing the complete legislation, understanding it, making sure that it is not brought to us under false cover. Still, the motion was passed unanimously.

This is just one part of the larger Brady anti-gun campaign that aims to eliminate or severely curtail gun ownership in America. Interestingly, the brave anti-gun movement is out of step with mainstream Americans who appreciate the benefit of guns for sport and home defense. The fastest growing gun-owner demographic is single women.

Liberal legal academics have finally come to see gun ownership as a right guaranteed by the Constitution, the right position long understood by conservatives. The New York Times reports that in March, for the first time in the nation’s history, a federal appeals court struck down a gun control law on Second Amendment grounds. Liberal law professor Laurence Tribe (Harvard) said he had come to believe that the Second Amendment protected an individual right. “My conclusion came as something of a surprise to me, and an unwelcome surprise,” Professor Tribe said. “I have always supported as a matter of policy very comprehensive gun control.”

Does anyone know the last time a shooting homicide was committed in Rancho Palos Verdes? The City Council would have more effect on the homicide rate by fencing off the Oceanside cliffs.

The other local inanity was the vote by the RPV Council to endorse the “US Mayors Climate Protection Agreement” also known as the “Cool Cities” pledge. By signing the pledge, RPV effectively ratified the Kyoto Protocol, thereby agreeing to reduce citywide carbon dioxide “pollution” to 7 percent below levels set in 1990 by the year 2012, or something like that. One councilman expressed concern as to the degree of commitment that the city might find itself in. “It's one thing to make a statement that you're in support of something; it's then another thing to go out and wage a complete commitment to incur costs and do studies. We did not do that part, but we wanted to show our support for the concept of what Cool Cities represents.”

Is this inanity, or what? The motion passed 3-0.

RPV now joins Seattle and the State of California in setting a goal to reduce pollution that is not pollution (Tell it to the trees.) and our action will have not the slightest effect on local or global temperatures. But it sure feels good. According to the UN climate commission, avoiding the horrors of global warming (assuming the climate models are right) will cost on the average of 3% of world GDP per year. In 2006 dollars that’s 3% of 45 Trillion dollars or $1.3 Trillion. (or $400 Billion from the USA).

I have an idea. There is at least one councilman who is an avid biker. He is known to consume more than his share of oxygen and produce more than his share of carbon dioxide pollution while pumping his two-wheeler. Give it up, Tom, save the Earth.

Fortunately, the local inanities are merely annoying examples of useless government interference. On the global level, however, the bad ideas verge on insanity. Here is a fun example.

Children are bad for the planet! John Guillebaud of the Optimum Population Trust says that “the greatest thing anyone in Britain could do to help the future of the planet would be to have one less child.” The effect on the planet of having one child less is equivalent to reducing a family's carbon dioxide output by 620 round trip flights a year between London and New York. The EU average is currently 1.5 children per family, but the Professor says “rich countries should be the most concerned about family size as their children have higher per capita carbon dioxide emissions.” He has not yet suggested mass suicide.

On that note, Paul Watson, president of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society warns that mankind is “acting like a virus” and is harming Mother Earth. Watson has called humans a disease (the “AIDS of the Earth”) and wants the population to be reduced to less than 1 billion people. To the Sea Shepherds, saving the whales is more important than saving 5.5 billion people.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

Global warming, illegal guns, illegal aliens, terrorism and that evil President Bush top the news. Meanwhile, the lowly honeybee is suddenly vanishing and our food supply is in peril.


6:31 AM  
Blogger Matthew said...

Whales exhale 87 tons of CO2 each year. I say, kill the whales.

10:37 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well you share that beautiful outcropping of earth with some the omnipresent sheep of society it seems. My Dad came home from WW2(Battle of the Bulge - forward spotter for a Long Tom battery - 10 miles or so into no-man's land alone with a target painted on his head and the Germs trying to triangulate on his walkie-talkie) carrying two pickup pistols in his duffle bag on the Queen Mary. He was management for the ILLINOIS Central Railroad, and in the early fifties an ammo shipment in a box car derailed and the insurance contract called for it all to be buried in the closest farmer's field to the crash site. It didn't all get buried. By the time I was 14 years old, I had probably targeted 30,000 rounds against low rock bluffs along the railroad (it was still the cowboy movie era, and yes, with enough repetitions, you can make a beer can jump 2 or three times without hitting the ground from about 40 feet away! With hip shots!)

Do I own any guns? Yeah, 5. My Dad has won over a few anti-gun freaks from time to time with one simple question. He'd say, "There are bad people on this earth; if one of them corners you or a loved one some day and makes you change your mind and desperately wish you had a gun,- where would you get one at that moment?"

Global warning buzz (sic): Scary. If there were actually a threat, don't you get the feeling that all this enthusiasm would only guarantee a counterproductive response? Shame on Gore! I'd keep significant research going on and do associated monitoring, but all the rest is goofy. The planet would be warming up no matter what we were doing right now.

Is it really an insult to the founding fathers to suggest we need to clean up the constitution a bit? The mechanisms of public policy have been hijacked by politicians and the misinformed masses. Another mess to fix, Bill.

10:56 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


Great piece. I have a letter along those lines to the PV News asking why they (the newspaper) gave so much ink to those two items of crap, and didn't mention that the city council actually did something on May 1st that benefits its citizens. At long last the folks on Via Rivera are going to get some help with speeders in the form of sped humps. Maybe tomorrow's paper will give mention to it.

BTW, the city did reduce their power consumption a few years back when they replaced the incandescent bulbs in traffic signals with LED's (each bulb's power was reduced from 150W to about 35-40W. They didn't crow then.


10:57 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Bill

Realize these people on the council are politicians who back any "sound and feel good" legislation in order to promote and secure their own positions. Yet they and Al Gore are contributing to atmospheric pollution by their "hot air" diatribes.


10:58 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

OMG - I read that bit about the city council - suggest that they read, STATE OF FEAR, and take a look at the research in that book on global warming or lack of it!! What a ridiculous thing for our supposedly educated city council to do!

I hope they feel better about themselves and their impact on the earth.


10:59 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


Loved this Blog.... I laughed and laughed and made Gary read it as well!!

Cheers, Erin

11:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Bill,

While I disagree I appreciate the sense of humor and the vigorous discussion of the issues. Moreover the council has done a lot more than these two agenda items. I tried hard to keep our time on them to a minimum since the city's influence on them is small as you correctly point out.

The city did nothing to encourage outlawing gun ownership. The decision of what gun ownership is legal or not is in the hands of higher levels of government, not the city. The city's action did nothing more than endorse better enforcement of existing laws. Sadly it remains easy for the mentally ill, who should not own guns at all, to obtain them because "privacy" advocates insist that records of mental illness are "confidential" even when someone who is, for want of a better word, crazy, seeks to buy a gun. I hope we at least agree that the public's right to safety should trump the "privacy rights" of mentally ill people who want to buy guns.

I also note that any discussion of the Second Amendment should include its actual words: "A well regulated militia being necessary to the national defense, the right to bear arms shall not be abridged." The amendment needs to be understood it its 17th century context. ("Bearing arms" meant carrying muskets as part of a colonial militia.) I won't debate that issue here (or elsewhere) since it is not my decision to make. But discussions of "constitutional rights" that don't start with the actual words of the constitution are not well focused in my view. In any event, a "well regulated militia" does not include people like the shooter at Virginia Tech or other mentally ill people who buy guns.

The city's support of the cool cities initiative may well save the city money as fuel costs escalate. In any event the costs will be small. Of course our influence on the issue will be small. But with the sudden collapse of the Larsen 3 ice shelf last year (a collapse that was predicted to require a century but took only 35 days) the issue of global warming is an immediate one. I suspect that the cause does not matter because we may well not be able to stop global warming. Assuming we cannot stop it, we need to be prepared for the increased ocean levels--not in our lifetimes but perhaps in the next generation. The damage will be far more than 3% of the world economy. It would be a good idea to begin planning now. Again, not my decision to make since the planning will need to be on a national or international level.

Finally, as a cyclist (not biker) I produce far less hot air than I do as a lawyer (or than you do as a blog author) and so I think I will keep the bike. But if someone wants to buy me a lighter version with better gears that consumes less energy, I invite the gift!


11:02 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Does anyone know the last time a shooting homicide was committed in Rancho Palos Verdes? The City Council would have more effect on the homicide rate by fencing off the Oceanside cliffs.

While I agree with you on the larger point that the council should stay away from silly proclamations like being against illegal guns -- there may actually have been a shooting homicide in PV recently. A body was dumped in January along PV Drive South.

here's a link to the LA Times Homicide Report about it.

2:09 PM  

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