61 years old: The Universal Declaration of Human Rights

December 10, 2009

Rational Rant reminds us, December 10 is the 61st anniversary of the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Our Bill of Rights is good; have you ever really read the UDHR and compared?  Go look, see what you agree with, or whether you have any disputes.

sbh explains:

10 December is Human Rights Day, commemorating the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights by the UN General Assembly on this day in 1948. And how appropriate it is to the season. Consider Article 1:

All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.

Damn right. In a way it’s sad that the remaining twenty-nine articles have to exist at all, spelling out that people should not be tortured (Article 4) or enslaved (Article 5), or deprived of employment (Article 23) or leisure (Article 24) or education (Article 26). Shouldn’t this all go without saying? Apparently not; when the nation that prides itself on being the city on the hill and the beacon of hope for the world descends to torture and degradation of human beings for political ends all bets are off.

Comparison of the BoR and UDHR makes a good discussion assignment, and could probably be turned into a DBQ.

If only hysteric, misplaced paranoia could reduce greenhouse gases . . .

December 10, 2009

“I got this idea for a movie!”

“Not another vampire who sucks the sap of only endangered species plants, please, Bob.”

“No, really, you gotta hear this!  Heck, it might even be real.”

“Whaddya mean by that, Bob?”

“I mean this whole Copenhagen thing!  World leaders getting together in secret to plot the destruction of world industry!”

“Copenhagen’s meetings are wide open, Bob.  It’s on the news everywhere.  And did you ever notice that most of the world leaders there are capitalists, and that they owe their election to other capitalists, frequently of the oil-drilling and coal-mining sort?”

“That’s what they want you to think!”

“Well, I think that way whether they want me to or not, Bob.  Money, you know?  I love it.  I follow it.  There’s no money in controlling climate change.  If there were, I’d be Copenhagen right now.”

“You’re missing the point!  These guys are meeting to take the money away from guys like you.”

“Pierre, here at the restaurant, does a pretty good job of taking money from guys like me, in return for a good arugula salad and a chunk of rare roast beef.”

“That’s not what I mean!”

“I think you’ve got another crazy idea that won’t make a good movie.  I’ll let you talk through the arugula, Bob.  When the roast beef comes, I don’t want stupid plots that won’t sell on the table — so it better be good, or we’ll change the topic.”

“Okay, here goes:  Mad climate scientists create a scare about global warming, and everybody gives them their money, and they the rest of the movie is about the chase to catch them before they get to a secret beach in the Maldives or Marshall Islands where they’ll hide forever in their secret lair.”

“I’m not impressed yet, Bob.  Why would anyone think a climate scientist would be so power hungry?

“They meet in Al Gore’s mansion.  Al Gore’s the power-hungry villain!”

“Al Gore?  He lost an election to George F. Bush, for cryin’ out loud.  Nobody would believe that.”

“You mean W — ‘George W. Bush.'”

“Have you seen what the stock market’s been like lately, Bob?  No, of course not.  You don’t own stocks in regular companies — gun makers and gold dealers only — but after what happened to my portfolio, I mean F.  He’s George F. Bush to me.”

“C’mon, it’s ripped from the headlines!”

“It’s about as exciting as the crossword puzzle, Bob.  That’s not a movie — it’s a new sleep drug.  I couldn’t sell it to a religious group trying to make a movie about Charles Darwin, even if we dressed Gore up as Darwin.  Even they’d see through the plot, Bob.”

“Archie!  It’s a great movie!  Think of the special effects!”

“Think of the NoDoz concession.  Theatres don’t have ’em.  Climate scientists taking over the world is like the Joffrey Ballet as the perps on the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre.  It’d be like getting toe-shoed to death.”

Oh, c’mon, Arch.  I got half the screenplay already done!”

“Well you need more research.”


MaldivesMarshall Islands.  They’re the poster islands for climate change.  They’re the first nations to go as the sea rises.  All the geeks will know that, and so they’ll laugh at your movie.  Geeks laughing at you isn’t good box office.”

“We can do it like Superman!  You know a Fortress of Solitude somewhere in the ice.”

“No ice would kinda make that plot device not work, wouldn’t it, Bob?”

“Oh, c’mon.  No one really thinks the ice is disappearing!”

“Bob — remember our agreement?”


“Beef’s here.  Shuttup.”

“Huh?  Oh, yeah.  Oh.  Yeah.”

“Okay, Archie.  How about this:  There really are gods, and hysteria makes them happy.”

“Hysteria.  Yeah.  There’s value in that.”

“No, I mean it.  Hysteria makes the gods happy, and so then they do good things for people.”

“Like what?”

“Well . . . like . . . like cleaning up global warming.  Yeah, that’s it!  Blind hysteria makes global warming go away!”

“Nobody’ll believe that, either, Bob.  If that worked, global warming would have been gone ten years ago.  Shuttup and eat your beef.”

The Curse of “Not Evil, Just Wrong” — still evil and wrong

December 10, 2009

At the first post on this material, the thread got a little long — not loading well in some browsers, I hear.

So the comments are closed there, and open here.

In fashion we wish were different but seems all too typical, so-called skeptics of global warming defend their position with invective and insult.  But they are vigorous about it.  What do you think?  What information can you contribute?

Here’s the post that set off the denialists, anti-science types and DDT sniffers, and a tiny few genuinely concerned but under-informed citizens:

AP caption: Former Vice President Al Gore, left, listens to speakers during a meeting at the Grove Missionary Baptist Church in Buckingham, Va., Tuesday, Feb. 19, 2019. Gore visited the area that is the proposed site for a compressor station for the Atlantic Coast Pipeline. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)
Should be obviously silly for anyone to argue former divinity student Al Gore is evil, as this film implies despite the demurrer. It should also be obviously that it’s evil to call Gore wrong on these issues; but that doesn’t stop brown Earther critics of scientists and Al Gore.

I warned you about it earlier. Crank science sites across the internet feature news of another cheap hit on Rachel Carson and science in movie form.

“Not Evil, Just Wrong” is slated for release on October 18. This is the film that tried to intrude on the Rachel Carson film earlier this year, but managed to to get booked only at an elementary school in Seattle, Washington — Rachel Carson Elementary, a green school where the kids showed more sense than the film makers by voting to name the school after the famous scientist-author.

The film is both evil and wrong.

Errors just in the trailer:

  1. Claims that Al Gore said sea levels will rise catastrophically, “in the very near future.” Not in his movie, not in his writings or speeches. Not true. That’s a simple misstatement of what Gore said, and Gore had the science right.
  2. ” . . . [I]t wouldn’t be a bad thing for this Earth to warm up. In fact, ice is the enemy of life.” “Bad” in this case is a value judgment — global warming isn’t bad if you’re a weed, a zebra mussel, one of the malaria parasites, a pine bark beetle, any other tropical disease, or a sadist. But significant warming as climatologists, physicists and others project, would be disastrous to agriculture, major cities in many parts of the world, sea coasts, and most people who don’t live in the Taklamakan or Sahara, and much of the life in the ocean. Annual weather cycles within long-established ranges, is required for life much as we know it. “No ice” is also an enemy of life.
  3. “They want to raise our taxes.” No, that’s pure, uncomposted bovine excrement.
  4. “They want to close our factories.” That’s more effluent from the anus of male bovines.
  5. The trailer notes the usual claim made by Gore opponents that industry cannot exist if it is clean, that industry requires that we poison the planet. Were that true, we’d have a need to halt industry now, lest we become like the yeast in the beer vat, or the champagne bottle, manufacturing alcohol until the alcohol kills the yeast. Our experience with Rivers and Harbors Act of 1899, the Clean Air Acts and the Clean Water Act is that cleaning the environment produces economic growth, not the other way around. A city choked in pollution dies. Los Angeles didn’t suffer when the air got cleaner. Pittsburgh’s clean air became a way to attract new industries to the city, before the steel industry there collapsed. Cleaning Lake Erie didn’t hurt industry. The claim made by the film is fatuous, alarmist, and morally corrupt.

    When the human health, human welfare, and environmental effects which could be expressed in dollar terms were added up for the entire 20-year period, the total benefits of Clean Air Act programs were estimated to range from about $6 trillion to about $50 trillion, with a mean estimate of about $22 trillion. These estimated benefits represent the estimated value Americans place on avoiding the dire air quality conditions and dramatic increases in illness and premature death which would have prevailed without the 1970 and 1977 Clean Air Act and its associated state and local programs. By comparison, the actual costs of achieving the pollution reductions observed over the 20 year period were $523 billion, a small fraction of the estimated monetary benefits.

  6. “Some of the environmental activists have not come to accept that the human is also part of the environment.” Fatuous claim. Environmentalists note that humans uniquely possess the ability to change climate on a global scale, intentionally, for the good or bad; environmentalists choose to advocate for actions that reduce diseases like malaria, cholera and asthma. We don’t have to sacrifice a million people a year to malaria, in order to be industrial and productive. We don’t have to kill 700,000 kids with malaria every year just to keep cars.
  7. “They want to go back to the Dark Ages and the Black Plague.” No, that would be the film makers. Environmentalists advocate reducing filth and ignorance both. Ignorance and lack of ability to read, coupled with religious fanaticism, caused the strife known as “the Dark Ages.” It’s not environmentalists who advocate an end to cheap public schools.
  8. The trailer shows a kid playing in the surf on a beach. Of course, without the Clean Water Act and other attempts to keep the oceans clean, such play would be impossible. That we can play again on American beaches is a tribute to the environmental movement, and reason enough to grant credence to claims of smart people like Al Gore and the scientists whose work he promotes.
  9. “I cannot believe that Al Gore has great regard for people, real people.” So, this is a film promoting the views of crabby, misanthropic anal orifices who don’t know Al Gore at all? Shame on them. And, why should anyone want to see such a film? If I want to see senseless acts of stupidity, I can rent a film by Quentin Tarantino and get some art with the stupidity. [Update, November 23, 2009: This may be one of the most egregiously false charges of the film. Gore, you recall, is the guy who put his political career and presidential ambitions on hold indefinitely when his son was seriously injured in an auto-pedestrian accident; Gore was willing to sacrifice all his political capital in order to get his son healed. My first dealings directly with Gore came on the Organ Transplant bill. Gore didn’t need a transplant, didn’t have need for one in his family, and had absolutely nothing to gain from advocacy for the life-saving procedure. It was opposed by the chairman of his committee, by a majority of members of his own party in both Houses of Congress, by many in the medical establishment, by many in the pharmaceutical industry, and by President Reagan, who didn’t drop his threat to veto the bill until he signed it, as I recall. Gore is a man of deep, human-centered principles. Saying “I can’t believe Al Gore has great regard for real people” only demonstrates the vast ignorance and perhaps crippling animus of the speaker.]

That’s a whopper about every 15 seconds in the trailer — the film itself may make heads spin if it comes close to that pace of error.

Where have we seen this before? Producers of the film claim as “contributors” some of the people they try to lampoon — people like Ed Begley, Jr., and NASA’s James E. Hansen, people who don’t agree in any way with the hysterical claims of the film, and people who, I wager, would be surprised to be listed as “contributors.”

It’s easy to suppose these producers used the same ambush-the-scientist technique used earlier by the producers of the anti-science, anti-Darwin film “Expelled!

Here, see the hysteria, error and alarmism for yourself:

Ann McElhinney is one of the film’s producers. Her past work includes other films against protecting environment and films for mining companies. She appears to be affiliated with junk science purveyors at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, an astro-turf organization in Washington, D.C., for whom she flacked earlier this year (video from Desmogblog):

Remember, too, that this film is already known to have gross inaccuracies about Rachel Carson and DDT, stuff that high school kids could get right easily.

Anyone have details on McElhinney and her colleague, Phelim McAlee?


Related posts, at Millard Fillmore’s Bathtub:

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