December 2009 Archives

« November 2009 | Weblog | January 2010 »

Swine flu also unexceptional in contagiousness

By Michael Fumento

With a massive amount of data indicating swine flu is vastly milder than seasonal flu, a new study in the New England Journal of Medicine also puts the kibosh on the claims that it spreads like gangbusters.

Researchers found that in households in which one person had swine flu it spread to 10 percent of other household members. During the flu pandemics of 1957 and 1968, 14 percent to 20 percent of household members were infected while normal seasonal flu spreads to 5 percent to 40 percent of the rest of the family.

In other words, once again we see there is absolutely nothing "pandemic" about swine flu. It's a term the World Health Organization applied to serve its own interests. It would serve our interests to replace the WHO with a body that cares more about health than politics and power-seeking.

December 30, 2009 06:42 PM  ·  Permalink  ·  Swine Flu

No, yet again, cell phones do not cause cancer

By Michael Fumento

If you're getting a headache from spending to much time on your cell phone, it's probably from yakking too much. But it's not from brain cancer. Not from the phone, anyway, as yet another shows. No, this wasn't one of those "let's put some mouse brain cells in a Petri dish and stimulate it with magnetic waves and see if it makes them do anything unusual" tests. This was an epidemiological study of lots and lots of Scandinavian cell phone users.

Specifically, as reported in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, "national registry data from Denmark, Finland, Norway, and Sweden from 1974 to 2003 showed rates of the brain cancers glioma and meningioma had either remained stable, decreased, or followed the same gradual increase observed before mobile phones became popular in the 1990s."

On average, it's believed it takes about 20 years for a brain tumor to appear after the initial insult. But that's spread over a wide bell curve of a few years to 40 years. Five to 10 years, if using a large enough population, is enough for trends to start showing up. Yet the four Scandinavian countries had a mobile phone network since 1981, two years before the service launched in the U.S. So there's been plenty of time for tumors to show up.

All that's appeared is crummy science perpetrated by the usual anti-technology cell-out doomsayers.

December 30, 2009 06:35 PM  ·  Permalink  ·  Cancer

Where did all the global warming hurricanes go? (My Forbes article)

By Michael Fumento

The cover of Al Gore's new book, Our Choice: A Plan to Solve the Climate Crisis, features a satellite image of the globe showing four major hurricanes - results, we're meant to believe, of man-made global warming. All four were photoshopped. Which is nice symbolism, because in a sense the whole hurricane aspect of warming has been photoshopped.

Photoshopped cover, photoshopped hysteria

As I note in my article in Forbes, it was all really based on just two data points - with the names "Katrina" and "Rita."

Now with both greenhouse gas emissions and levels in the atmosphere are at their highest, but this year had the fewest hurricanes since 1997, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. For the first time since 2006 no hurricanes even made landfall in the U.S.; indeed hurricane activity is at a 30-year low.

Whoops! So much for Gore's cover and all the hullabaloo.

In a 2005 column, I gave what now proves an interesting retrospective.

"The hurricane that struck Louisiana yesterday was nicknamed Katrina by the National Weather Service. Its real name was global warming." So wrote environmental activist Ross Gelbspan in a New York Times op-ed that one commentator aptly described as "almost giddy." The green group Friends of the Earth linked Katrina to global warming, as did Germany's Green Party Environment Minister.

The most celebrated of these commentaries was Chris Mooney's 2007 book Storm World: Hurricanes, Politics and the Battle Over Global Warming. Mooney, for the record, is also author of the best-selling book The Republican War on Science.

Yet there were top scientists in 2005 such as Roger Pielke Jr., a professor of environmental studies at the University of Colorado at Boulder, publishing data showing the Rita-Katrina blowhards had no business building a case around two anomalies. But his paper was squelched by Kevin Trenbarth of "Climategate" fame.

It's fascinating stuff. Read it!

December 30, 2009 10:29 AM  ·  Permalink  ·  Global Warming

Entitlement creep exemplified (or why we're going broke)

By Michael Fumento

1965, Medicare health insurance authorized for all Americans over age 65 along with Medicaid that covers both seniors and the poor. Somehow for 190 years Americans were able to make do without it.

2006, Largest expansion of Medicare since origin in also covering prescription drugs but only to and beyond a certain point, leaving what's referred to as a "doughnut hole."

2009, With the nation running a historic deficit that's skyrocketing and having just passed a budget-busting health care bill in the Senate, Sen. Maj. Leader Harry Reid declares of the "doughnut hole" we must "forever end this indefensible injustice for American's seniors."

December 29, 2009 09:51 AM  ·  Permalink  ·  Government

Flu Watch Dec. 24 - The U.S. Epidemic is Over

By Michael Fumento

The Big Scare of 2009 is over, folks. The U.S. swine flu epidemic has ended.
"The proportion of deaths attributed to pneumonia and influenza (P&I) was below the epidemic threshold," according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website Fluview and this chart shows it.

End of the epidemic

New infections continued to drop this week to only 306 reported by CDC-monitored labs, compared to 1,370 just three weeks before and 11,470 at the height of the epidemic. That's a plummet of over 97% from the height. Deaths and hospitalizations have plumetted to merely 20 and 313 respectively, compared to 85 and 982 just a week earlier and compared to 189 and 4,970 at the peak in October.

Remember that according to CDC estimates, about 257 Americans die of seasonal flu per day during flu season. Mind you, the swine flu deaths are actual while the seasonal flu ones are estimates so it's not a completely apples-to-apples comparison.
Only 7 states still report widespread activity, down from 11 last week. The American College Health Association did not report new numbers this week, presumably because of the Christmas holiday.

Repeat, the swine flu epidemic is over.

So where do we go from here? No, unfortunately not to zero. Instead we're at what's called an "endemic" level. We can expect infections, hospitalizations, and deaths to continue at something the same rate as this last week until the end of flu season in April.

Judging by what we've seen so far in the U.S. and the experiences in New Zealand and Australia, we are in for an extremely mild flu season overall. That's because swine flu is more contagious than the far deadlier seasonal flu, essentially muscling it aside. People inoculated with swine flu infection don't get the seasonal flu.

So while you may recall all those "excess" deaths we were supposed to be getting from swine flu (30,000 to 90,000 according to the President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology and "89,000 to 207,000" according to flu book author John Barry in a Washington Post op-ed, we will actually get far fewer flu deaths overall both worldwide and in the U.S. because of swine flu.

While the media are finally beginning to admit that the World Health Organization's swine flu "pandemic," made possible only by completely redefining the definition, may be the mildest in history, they are not willing to admit that we will actually have fewer flu deaths internationally because of this alleged pandemic.

December 27, 2009 11:05 AM  ·  Permalink  ·  Swine Flu

Flu Watch Dec. 18 - What Swine Flu ISN'T Doing this Week

By Michael Fumento

New infections continued to drop, down this week to only 391 reported by CDC-monitored labs, compared to 1,370 just two weeks before and 11,470 at the height of the epidemic. So that's a plummet of over 96% from the height. Deaths and hospitalizations are less than half those of last week, and while formerly the CDC refrained from releasing exact numbers it's now doing so. So the exact number of deaths for last week is 56.

Remember that according to CDC estimates, about 257 Americans die of seasonal flu per day during flu season. Of course, the swine flu deaths are actual while the seasonal flu ones are estimates so it's not a completely apples-to-apples comparison.

Only 11 states still report widespread activity, down slightly from 14 last weeks.

Finally, cases do continue to come in at above the epidemic threshold nationally. On college campuses it's a different picture, though. College cases of CDC-defined "influenza-like illness" are definitely at an endemic level, having dropped all the way down to 4.1 cases per 10,000 slightly up to 5.2 and then slightly down to 3.4 They should stay more or less in that range for the rest of the flu season with perhaps higher cases coming in February at the peak of the normal seasonal flu season. Colleges are still reporting only three deaths out of more than 87,000 cases.

No, swine flu isn't doing much this week. And that's its future. It's just plain lazy, happy to roll around in the mud while infecting impressive numbers of people but killing very few. Too bad it can't kill the reputations of the doomsayers who declared it a "pandemic" and compared it to the horrible Spanish flu of 1918-1919.

December 18, 2009 12:38 PM  ·  Permalink  ·  Swine Flu

Santa to move headquarters to Palm Springs!

By Michael Fumento

Or somewhere new, anyway. By necessity. So says Al Gore.

Endangered species?

In a speech at the Copenhagen climate summit he declared: "These figures are fresh. Some of the models suggest to Dr [Wieslav] Maslowski that there is a 75 per cent chance that the entire north polar ice cap, during the summer months, could be completely ice-free within five to seven years."

We're talking a massive relocation of elves, folks.

In a curious twist, Dr. Maslowski thereupon claimed that Gore had distorted his views. "It's unclear to me how this figure was arrived at," he told the Times of London. "I would never try to estimate likelihood at anything as exact as this."

Another Gore fibbery! But apparently not.

Climate Depot's Marc Morano obtained a Danish government handout citing the Monterey, California professor's modeling and reaching the same conclusion as Gore. "Projecting the trend into the future indicates that autumn could become near ice free between 2011 and 2016 (Maslowski, 2009)."

Which simply means Gore didn't intentionally misrepresent Maslowski, not that either the professor or the former veep is right. Still, you can't blame Santa for being just a bit nervous.

December 15, 2009 11:39 AM  ·  Permalink  ·  Global Warming

Schools call off Taliban debate

By Michael Fumento

"A principal in Arlington County, Virginia announced Monday that she will call off an assignment that asked students to represent the views of the Taliban during a mock United Nations after some parents called it inappropriate," reports the Washington Post.

Yeah, you could say that.

Next week's debate subject: "Resolved, the killing of 12 million people in the Holocaust was icky but nevertheless necessary."

December 15, 2009 10:57 AM  ·  Permalink  ·  Afghanistan

Washington Post Back to Pushing Avian Flu Panic

By Michael Fumento

Remember avian flu?

Until swine flu came along, that's what was going to wipe out mankind. My last unprinted letter to the Washington Post scored the paper's opinions page for declaring "panic is good . . . panic is what we want," for claiming swine flu could kill 207,000 Americans and nine to 10 million worldwide, and for refusing to print anything to the contrary. Well, with the swine flu hysteria dying down in light of very few humans, dying the Post in desperation is switching back to the bird variety. And, true to form rejecting sane letters such as this one of mine.

To the editor:

The review of Alan Sipress's book "The Fatal Strain: On the Trail of Avian Flu and the Coming Pandemic" (December 6, 2009) is misleading in one important respect and terribly wrong in another.

While writer David Oshinsky states humans have been contracting avian flu H5N1 for a decade without it becoming readily transmissible between humans, according to the World Health Organization it was first detected in Scottish poultry in 1959. Hence it's been making contact with humans for at least half a century. Oshinky says "a sort of mutation, common to influenza viruses" could "produce an H5N1 variant that is transmissible." But an exhaustive 2007 lab study in the Oct. 2007 issue of Virology showed,
in the words of the researcher leader, "We think [H5N1] will need to get to 13
[mutations] to be truly dangerous."

Oshinsky also wrongly parrots Sipress's assertion that for H5N1 "the mortality rate has been a staggering 60 percent." That's based solely on those who come into contact with the medical system, thereby excluding those with milder symptoms. Consider that the recent CDC estimate of swine flu includes 4,000 deaths, 98,000 hospitalizations, and 22 million infections. So the ratio of deaths to hospitalizations was one in 24 but to overall infections was
merely one in 5,500.

Indeed, a January 2006 Archives of Internal Medicine study found extremely high rates of apparent bird flu illness among Vietnamese living and working in close proximity to infected poultry, yet by definition none of
these people had died.

There, now! Nothing in that letter that could possibly be of interest to Post readers!

December 14, 2009 01:36 PM  ·  Permalink  ·  Diseases (other than AIDS and cancer) ~ Media ~ Swine Flu

Flu Watch Dec. 11 - What Swine Flu ISN'T Doing this Week

By Michael Fumento

New infections are way down this week to only about 480 reported by CDC-monitored labs, compared to 1,370 just the week before and 11,470 at the height of the epidemic. So that's a drop of 65% in one week and a plummet of 96% from the height. Deaths are the same as last week at what appear to be about 70 (you can only eyeball the bar graph, the CDC doesn't release exact figures), while hospitalizations appear to have been cut by about half. Remember that according to CDC estimates, about 257 Americans die of seasonal flu per day during flu season - which is what we're in. Of course, the bar graphs show counted deaths versus estimated deaths so it's not a completely apples-to-apples comparison.

Only 14 states still report widespread activity, although expect to see that go up again shortly as we're about to enter the time of year when seasonal flu normally begins to hit hard. Finally, cases do continue to come in at above the epidemic threshold. I predicted last week that we might go endemic this week but not yet.

The American College Health Association's latest weekly survey of CDC-defined "influenza-like illness" shows college campus cases are actually up 27% from the week before, but that's from a low 4.1 cases per 10,000 students to 5.2. This would seem to indicate that the epidemic on campuses has now ended and that we've entered the endemic stage where we can expect numbers like these probably into March. Cumulatively, out of about 87,000 cases reported there have been only three deaths. There have probably been more deaths from goldfish swallowings at fraternity initiations.

The CDC also released a new estimate, that 50 million Americans have been infected, with more than 200,000 hospitalizations and nearly 10,000 deaths. That's just one death per 5,000 cases. Yet as I've pointed out, that's probably high considering that France's estimate is one per 48,000 infections while Japan's is one per 140,000. Either our health care system really is as bad as some claim or the CDC is playing fast and loose with the figures.

In any case, the CDC estimates that for seasonal flu it's a death rate ranging from 417 - 1,667 so any way you look at it swine flu is vastly milder. And all of those 50 million Americans have essentially been inoculated against the seasonal flu. We're in for a mild flu season, indeed. The only question is whether they CDC will ultimately admit it.

December 11, 2009 01:23 PM  ·  Permalink  ·  Swine Flu

World Meteorological Organization blows hot air on global warming

By Michael Fumento

"The decade of 2000 to 2009 appears to be the warmest one in the modern record, the World Meteorological Organization reported in a new analysis on Tuesday," according to the New York Times. "The announcement is likely to be viewed as a rejoinder to a renewed challenge from skeptics to the scientific evidence for global warming, as international negotiators here [in Copenhagen] seek to devise a global response to climate change."

Yes, and a false and misleading rejoinder at that. The statement appears here in what's obviously a propaganda sheet. At a glance it would seem to refute my recent assertion in Forbes that there's been no warming over the past decade.

But it's a matter of which interpretation do you think counts. Yes, the last decade was warmer than the previous decade. But there has been no warming within that decade. My point remains intact: During the last decade GHG emissions and ambient levels have gone up every year whereas warming has not as this chart shows. That's the only point I was trying to make, that even as every year the world poured more greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, and the ambient concentrations of those gases rose, there was no rise in warming. The formula of "more GHGs = more warming" is overly simplistic; something is going on in nature that's seriously impacting temperatures.

Oh, and as far as that "modern record" stuff goes, that's sneaky stuff too. As I pointed out, and as this graph shows, it was much warmer in the medieval warming period - you know, back when those Viking ships were pumping CO2 in the atmosphere and when the Carolingian empire got most of its power from coal-fired power plants.

So, yeah, the WMO is kinda basically lying.

December 11, 2009 10:54 AM  ·  Permalink  ·  Global Warming

Innovations like "Living Stories" will help keep much of legacy media in business

By Michael Fumento

Innovations like "Living Stories" from Google Labs along with better and much cheaper e-readers to replace newsprint, will ensure that much of the legacy media survives. Which, for all that media's faults, is good.

Let's face it; for all the talk of a "new business model" needed for the legacy media, the so-called "citizen media" isn't it. An infinite number of untrained, amateurs MIGHT theoretically give you what the major newspapers do, just as an infinite number of monkeys might tap out all the works of Shakespeare. But how much time do you have to read through all that monkey typing? No one will ever expand the day to longer than 24 hours; our reading time will always be precious.

Too, there is the aspect of the citizen media that I'm hardly the first to point out - most of the news the citizen media "break" comprises links to the legacy media, even if it's in a negative connotation. There's very little generation of fresh content out there other than at the fringes, such as commenting on the legacy media's fresh content. You hear about each and every true scoop, as with the Acorn revelations, precisely because they are so very rare.

The citizen media can be a good supplement - and it can also be trash - but at its very best, it cannot be a replacement for trained, skilled reporters working full-time at their jobs. Before you bloggers take a jab at me, tell me the last time YOU broke a truly original news story. No, not somebody else - you.

December 9, 2009 06:33 PM  ·  Permalink  ·  Media

EPA moves to bypass climate change legislation

By Michael Fumento

While climate experts were off at the Copenhagen summit working on their tans (in sunny Copenhagen), the EPA pulled a fast one. As the Washington Post noted in an article that was actually quite good in providing the negatives, the agency formally announced that six gases, including carbon dioxide and methane, pose a danger to the environment and the health of Americans and said it would begin drafting regulations to reduce those emissions.

"Is it hot out here or is it just me?"

So if you think the recent poll showing most Americans reject the basis of global warming legislation, plus the scandal over "climategate," may have derailed the Waxman-Markey legislation you may be right. But you'd be wrong in thinking the crisis has passed. The EPA was explicitly given the power by the Supreme Court to regulate greenhouse gases and could produce a web of regulations far worse than Waxman-Markey. The only recourse of opponents would be in the courts (see previous sentence) or via Congress cutting funding to the agency. And would this Congress really do that?

For more, see this Forbes piece on the issue published before the EPA announcement, and the EPA press release. This is bad news, folks!

December 9, 2009 04:07 PM  ·  Permalink  ·  Global Warming ~ Government

File this under "Shocked, shocked!"

By Michael Fumento

"Flu Pandemic Could Be Mild" declares the Washington Post headline.

In fact, the mildest on record.

Unless, that is, you use the old definition of pandemic before the World Health Organization made it so that severity no longer counts. In that case, this would be called not a "pandemic" but "an extremely mild flu strain.

Another shocking revelation? It turns out the Presidential Council of Advisors on Science and Technology "plausible scenario" of swine flu deaths wasn't all that plausible. Rather than 30,000 - 90,000 Americans dead, a new study by Harvard epidemiologist Marc Lipsitch and others calculates "the virus might directly cause between 6,000 and 45,000 deaths by the end of the winter, with the final toll probably falling somewhere between 10,000 and 15,000."

Insofar as according to the CDC's estimate we already had about 4,000 deaths by mid-October, that means there may not be that many more fatalities. And mind you, those are not net deaths. In other words, it doesn't take into account the protective effect we've seen in Australia and New Zealand whereby people are inoculated by the mild swine flu so they don't die from the vastly more severe seasonal flu. In other words, expect a final toll from flu overall to be fewer cases this year - judging from the aforementioned cases far fewer.

Lipsitch, not incidentally, helped come up with that notorious 30,000 - 90,000 number.

Those were the best estimates we could make at the time based on the data available at the time," Lipsitch told the Post. Really? Then how was non-epidemiologist Michael Fumento able to immediately show the figure was utterly absurd?

Am I some sort of Nostradamus who prefers debunking government studies to making a killing at the race track. Or was the PCAST report clearly nonsense from the outset, designed not to inform but to panic?

December 7, 2009 07:59 PM  ·  Permalink  ·  Swine Flu

"WHO Should Just Give Up on the Flu Scare," my National Post piece

By Michael Fumento

The folks who dubbed the swine flu piglet a pandemic, the World Health Organization (WHO), just won't let up.

"It is too early to say whether there has yet been a peak in infections in the northern hemisphere," Reuters paraphrased the WHO as saying, "and it will be some weeks before there is a downward trend in the numbers of those catching the virus."

Wrong across the board for both Canada and the U.S.

In the U.S., flu deaths and hospitalizations have declined for the third straight week, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Regarding Canada specifically, the WHO claims "influenza activity remains similar but [the] number of hospitalizations and deaths is increasing." But Health Canada's FluWatch website, updated weekly, begs to differ.

Yes, all indicators have been dropping in Canada, as well. Just what part of "all" doesn't the WHO understand? Read more in my National Post article.

December 5, 2009 07:24 PM  ·  Permalink  ·  Swine Flu

Flu Watch Dec. 4 - What Swine Flu ISN'T Doing this Week

By Michael Fumento

The epidemic has plunged so far that it's on the borderline of no longer being one. As the red line in the graph shows, it's so far down it's back right on the threshold.

Deaths are down for the third week in a row and hospitalizations for the fourth week.
But this last week has been a real doozy, with deaths down by more than two thirds and hospitalizations more than 50%. Only half the states now have "widespread activity." Positive flu samples analyzed at CDC-monitored laboratories are down 92% since the peak of the epidemic, and are at the lowest since flu season began eight weeks ago.

Finally, the dreaded swine flu continues to not wipe out the younger generation. Reports of CDC-defined "influenza-like illness" are down 69% this week on college campuses just from last week, and are just 14% what they were at the height.

At this rate, the swine flu epidemic will be over by next week. We'll still have cases, but at an endemic level for the rest of the winter. And expect a very mild season, as I've been saying. Stay tuned for what isn't happening with swine flu!

December 5, 2009 01:03 PM  ·  Permalink  ·  Swine Flu

What about a "second wave" of swine flu?

By Michael Fumento

Mr. Fumento,

I read your articles religiously. You recently attacked swine flu as hysterical overreaction.

Is it really? You talk about a bell curve when it comes to epidemics. how about talk of a second wave? Is it really hype as you say? Take a look at this link:

[It regards swine flu hospitalizations hitting a new high in California.]

What is your opinion on this?

This was the second wave, remember? It was predictable because the flu likes cold. After the first wave it got warmer then colder. But now it's just steadily going to get colder. So the next "wave" will be next fall, by which time swine flu will BE our seasonal flu. Which is good, because it's so much milder than the currently seasonal flu strains.

And regarding the link, there are four measurements of swine flu impact: infections, hospitalizations, deaths, and emergency room visits. Infections and deaths are the same, because they're direct. But with hospitalizations and emergency room visits it simply means somebody made a decision based on worry. Also, the figure applies to only one state albeit the largest state. My data are for the nation as a whole and as of today, they show hospitalization rates have declined for the fourth straight week and indeed are less than half what they were just a week ago.

December 4, 2009 01:09 PM  ·  Permalink  ·  Swine Flu

"Show me the warming," my piece in Forbes Online

By Michael Fumento

From the thousands of email and other documents that comprise "Climategate," this is one of the most interesting: It's a "travesty" that "we can't account for the lack of warming at the moment." (Emphasis added.) Further, "any consideration of geoengineering [is] quite hopeless as we will never be able to tell if it is successful or not!"

What does "at the moment" actually mean? Would you guess the past 10 years! That's right; no warming in the past decade even as so-called "greenhouse gas emissions" and ambient concentrations are at historical highs! Does this prove global warming is a "hoax"? No. But it proves the simple equation of "more greenhouse gases = more warming" is false. Read about it in my new Forbes Online piece, "Show Me the Warming."

December 3, 2009 03:27 PM  ·  Permalink  ·  Environment ~ Global Warming

Daily Show's Jon Stewart on Climategate rejection of "inconvenient" data

By Michael Fumento

After playing a news clip stating, "University scientists say raw data from the 1980s was thrown out" Daily Show host Jon Stewart declared, "Why would you throw out raw data from the '80s? I still have Penthouses from the '70s! Laminated!"

December 2, 2009 11:11 AM  ·  Permalink  ·  Global Warming

Flu Watch Nov. 30 - What Swine Flu ISN'T Doing

By Michael Fumento

Swine flu is dying. Flu deaths and hospitalizations have declined for the third straight week according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Reported infections have dropped 83% from their peak four weeks ago, and now only 32 states report widespread flu activity compared to 48 at the epidemic height.

CDC-defined "influenza-like illnesses" on college campuses are about a third what they were just two weeks ago, down from 29 new cases per 10,000 students to just 13.4. In all, 157,000 cases with a mere two deaths. So much for swine flu scything through the young.

And although the CDC's estimate for U.S. swine flu deaths puts them at a third to a twelfth that of seasonal flu at one in 5,500 cases, the estimate in France is just 1 death per 48,000 cases, while that in Japan is 1 per 140,000. "This little piggie" just keeps looking littler and littler.

New Zealand risk and policy advisor Ron Law estimates that for health people, the risk of swine flu death is about 1 per 400,000 as opposed to 1 per 7,500 for U.S. auto accidents - and yet many who have panicked over swine flu assuredly don't bother to buckle up.

That's what hysteria'll do for ya!

December 1, 2009 12:38 PM  ·  Permalink  ·  Swine Flu

Where did the global warming-caused hurricanes go?

By Michael Fumento

Whoa! Did we just have a hurricane season? Doesn't seem that way. "2009 hurricane season ends quietly with fewest storms since 1997," declares one headline. "The season featured nine named storms, the fewest since 1997, and for the first time since 2006 no hurricanes made landfall in the United States," states the article.

That's quite a change since 2005, when the coincidence of two major hurricanes striking the U.S. and causing lots of damage, Katrina and Rita, led to a storm of allegations that global warming was causing cyclones to rise up in revenge against man. Most notable was far-left science writer Chris Mooney's Storm World: Hurricanes, Politics, and the Battle Over Global Warming, which informs us is "bargain-priced" and probably for good reason. Mooney not coincidentally is also author of "The Republican War on Science" and "Unscientific America: How Scientific Illiteracy Threatens our Future." Perhaps it threatens our future, but in the meantime it's very good for his wallet.

Not that Mooney was alone by any means. In my 2005 Scripps Howard column "Green Hotheads Exploit Hurricane Tragedy," I provided what in retrospect proves an interesting blast from the past.

"The hurricane that struck Louisiana yesterday was nicknamed Katrina by the National Weather Service. Its real name was global warming." So wrote environmental activist Ross Gelbspan in a New York Times op-ed that one commentator aptly described as "almost giddy." The green group Friends of the Earth linked Katrina to global warming, as did Germany's Green Party Environment Minister.

Granted, as I've written recently there's been no warming in the last decade. But there's been no cooling since 2005, either. Same temperatures, far fewer hurricanes.

So as the Kingston Trio might sing, "Where have all the hurricanes gone . . . ? And where are all these blowhards now? Presumably blaming global warming for some sort of disastrous problem caused by a lack of hurricanes.

December 1, 2009 12:17 PM  ·  Permalink  ·  Environment