Howard Dean, Lean-Government Machine? - July 30, 2003

Times Watch for July 30, 2003

Howard Dean, Lean-Government Machine?

Jodi Wilgoren and David Rosenbaums long profile on Democratic presidential candidate Howard Dean is a solid, balanced piece citing Deans record as Vermont governor and noting the left-wing tilt of many of his supporters. But one paragraph of Wednesdays front-page piece raises eyebrows: In fact, much of Dr. Dean's presidential platform, particularly his plan for universal health insurance, is a outgrowth of his accomplishments in Vermont. He remains a fiscal conservative, he believes gun control should be left to the states and he favors the death penalty for some crimes.

Universal health insurance and fiscal conservative are two phrases that dont really go together. A Media Research Center Reality Check notes the Cato Institute gave Gov. Dean a D for fiscal matters in its report card last year, noting: "He supports state-funded universal health care, generous state subsidies for child care, a higher minimum wage, liberal family leave legislation, and taxpayer-financed campaigns....After 12 years of Dean's so-called 'fiscal conservatism,' Vermont remains one of the highest taxing and spending states."

For the rest of Jodi Wilgoren and David Rosenbaums story on Howard Dean, click here.

Campaign 2004 | Howard Dean | Labeling Bias | Vermont

Yankee Come Here!

After lamenting the rush to war in Iraq, the Times wants U.S. troops in Liberia yesterday. Somini Senguptas Letter from Africa in Wednesdays paper is headlined: Oh, if Only the G.I.s Would Come Marching In. Sengupta writes: Finally, the American explanation for its invasion of Iraq, where illegal weapons have yet to be found, has raised expectations all its own. It baffles Liberians that American soldiers would interfere where they are not wanted, and stay away from where they are. Does Sengupta realize that theres enough anti-government resistance in Liberia for people to voice their wishes freely? Of course there were no calls for U.S. intervention from citizens in pre-war Iraq. Saddams Baathist party secret police would have killed any Iraqi calling for U.S. intervention the way some Liberians are doing now.

Stephen Hayes of the Weekly Standard accompanied deputy secretary of defense Paul Wolfowitz in Iraq and got a different view than the Monrovia-based Sengupta. He found grateful Iraqis glad Saddam Hussein was dethroned. Opinion Journals Paul Gigot also toured Iraq with Wolfowitz and notes: The majority aren't worried that we'll stay too long; they're petrified we'll leave too soon. Traumatized by 35 years of Saddam's terror, they fear we'll lose our nerve as casualties mount and leave them once again to the Baath Party's merciless revenge.

For the rest of Somini Senguptas story on Liberia, click here.

Africa | Saddam Hussein | Iraq War | Liberia | Somini Sengupta

Holes in the Ozone Hole Story?

Science writer Andrew Revkins Wednesday story, Ozone Layer Is Improving, According To Monitors, takes as fact the liberal environmentalist view of the ozone hole over Antarctica, portraying it as a man-made danger to humans and the ecology.

Revkins story opens: Scientists monitoring the highest levels of the atmosphere say they have detected a slowing in the rate of destruction of Earth's protective veil of ozone, the first sign that the phasing out of chemicals that harm the ozone layer is having a restorative effect. The ozone layer blocks ultraviolet radiation from the sun that can cause skin cancer and harm ecosystems. It has deteriorated for decades, especially in Antarctica, under an assault from synthetic chemicals. The phasing out of the most important class of these chemicals-chlorofluorocarbons, or CFC's-began in 1989 with enactment of the Montreal Protocol, an international treaty. But the destructive substances take decades to decay, resulting in the long lag before any beneficial effects could be measured.

Revkin takes as inviolable fact the idea that chlorofluorocarbons (like Freon, once common as a refrigerant) are the culprit behind a weakening of the ozone layer leading to skin cancer. But Scientist S. Fred Singer of the Science & Environmental Policy Project argues the jurys still out on whether the hole in the ozone layer is man-made or a natural phenomenon. Singer has noted: Insufficient experimentation or observation to show that the current downward trend is not due to natural factors, such as the 11-year sunspot cycle.

In October, Singer wrote a response to a Chicago Tribune editorial on the ozone hole, reiterating the lack of proof of human influence: By 1987, when the Montreal Protocol (to phase out CFCs) was concluded, the published data showed no increase in stratospheric chlorine, an ozone-destroying chemical, and therefore no evidence for a human influence.

Singer also voiced skepticism about alleged increases in UV radiation caused by the ozone hole: In spite of theoretical predictions, there has been no direct observational evidence for a steady increase of ultraviolet radiation at the Earth's surface. Therefore all imagined impacts cited in the editorial-skin cancers, cataracts, etc.-are based on speculation.

For the rest of Andrew Revkins ozone hole story, click here.

Antarctica | CFCs | Environment | Ozone Layer | Andrew Revkin