The tea party has emerged as a potent force in American politics and a center of gravity within the Republican Party, with a large majority of Republicans showing an affinity for the movement that has repeatedly bucked the GOP leadership this year, a new Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll has found.
In the survey, 71% of Republicans described themselves as tea-party supporters, saying they had a favorable image of the movement or hoped tea- party candidates would do well in the Nov. 2 elections.
Already, the tea-party movement has helped to oust a number of incumbents and candidates backed by party leaders in this year's GOP primaries amid complaints that they lacked commitment to small-government principles. The poll findings suggest that the rising influence of the movement, with its push to cut spending and oppose the Democratic agenda, will drive the GOP to become more conservative and less willing to seek common ground on policy.
"These are essentially conservative Republicans who are very ticked-off people," said Republican pollster Bill McInturff, who conducted the survey with Democratic pollster Peter Hart.
The poll found that tea-party supporters make up one-third of the voters most likely to cast ballots in November's midterm elections. This showed the movement "isn't a small little segment, but it is a huge part of what's driving 2010," Mr. Hart said.
The GOP now holds a three-point edge, 46% to 43%, when likely voters are asked which party they would prefer to control Congress. That is down from a nine-point Republican lead a month ago.
Still, Republicans retain major advantages, including a fired-up base. Two-thirds of GOP voters say they are intensely interested in the election, compared with about half of Democrats, suggesting that Republican voters are more likely to turn out at the polls.
The tea party is a major driver of the so-called enthusiasm gap, with three-quarters of supporters saying they are intensely interested in the election.
President Barack Obama's ratings remain low, with 46% of Americans approving of his job performance. Half of Americans have a negative view of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, compared with 22% taking a positive view.
The findings show how the tea-party movement has grown over the past two years from a loose confederation of activist groups into a marquee brand within the GOP that has upended a number of primaries in recent months.
The survey showed that tea-party supporters are interested in protesting "business as usual" in Washington. The most popular issue motivating them is cutting government spending and debt, followed by reducing the size of government.
A 'gang' (say the newspapers) of six British men have been arrested after a video of them burning copies of the Koran was posted on YouTube. Frankly, I'm revolted.
I'm revolted that people should publicly burn an artefact that millions of people revere, whether it is the Koran, the Bible, or even the American flag. These are actions which are intended to distress and outrage other people. Why do it?
I'm even more revolted that the laws in the United Kingdom allow people to be arrested for any such action.
Burning a flag or a religious or political book is an expression of an opinion, usually a deeply held opinion, that the item symbolises, or is the cause, of malign actions or beliefs. People should be able to express such opinions, even if it upsets and annoys others, without fear of being arrested and possibly imprisoned.
The United States has been served well for two centuries by a general presumption of free speech, encapsulated in an important amendment to the Constitution. It is felt there that free speech is vital if we are to have frank and open debate and a contest of ideas from which we can all learn and benefit. It is thought so important that it cannot be left to the judgement of officials or the police whether any particular statement is acceptable or not. We should have the same.
Many people in the UK think that the police are more inclined to prosecute attacks on the Islamic faith than on the Christian faith because Christians usually turn the other cheek while Muslims often get very angry indeed. They argue that Christians have even been prevented, by the police, from handing out Christian literature near a mosque; while it is unimaginable that Muslims would be stopped for handing out their texts near to a Christian cathedral.
The correct way to deal with these issues is simple. The right to free speech should apply equally to everyone. We might think that particular words or actions are gratuitously offensive – such as the disparaging nicknames given to racial groups – and as social beings we should argue with people to do that and try to get them to respect other people's sensibilities. But it shouldn't be against any law to offend people. It should certainly be against the law to threaten them or promote violence against them. And it should be against the law to use or threaten violence, even in response to some offensive remark or action. But there's a big difference between calling people offensive names and encouraging people to kill them.
Britain’s leading scientific institution has been forced to rewrite its guide to climate change and admit that there is greater uncertainty about future temperature increases than it had previously suggested.
The Royal Society is publishing a new document today after a rebellion by more than 40 of its fellows who questioned mankind’s contribution to rising temperatures.
"Climate change: a summary of the science" states that “some uncertainties are unlikely ever to be significantly reduced”. Unlike Climate change controversies, a simple guide — the document it replaces — it avoids making predictions about the impact of climate change and refrains from advising governments about how they should respond.
The new guide says: “The size of future temperature increases and other aspects of climate change, especially at the regional scale, are still subject to uncertainty.”
After their coldest winter in 13 years Sydney residents have just experienced their coldest September in five years, weatherzone.com.au says.
However, the heat is on its way. "September was an unusual month in terms of the lack of warm days across much of south-eastern Australia," weatherzone meteorologist Brett Dutschke said.
"A high pressure system over the Great Australian Bight acted as a blocking mechanism, keeping noticeably cool southerly winds blowing over South Australia, Victoria and NSW. "Significant warming will occur in the coming weeks as heat builds over the interior. All we will need is a day or two of westerly winds and we could exceed 30 degrees," Mr Dutschke said.
When both daytime and overnight temperatures were combined, Sydney's average temperature this month came in at just under 17 degrees. This made it the coldest September in five years, despite being one degree above the long-term norm. It was also the coldest September in terms of daytime temperatures in three years.
By John O'Sullivan
New study by American solar experts identifies a sharp fall in sunspot activity since 2007 that fits the hallmarks of a soon arriving ice age.
Solar scientists, not to be confused with climate scientists, study the most important heat engine driving our planet's temperatures-the sun.
Matthew Penn and William Livingston, solar astronomers with the National Solar Observatory (NSO) in Tucson, Arizona, have been following a marked decrease in sunspot activity recently. Reputable studies link a prolonged drop in sunspot activity to a cooling epoch or even a potential new ice age as more sunspots correlate with more global warming, while fewer sunspots are proven to match episodes of long-term cooling.
Since the formation of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in 1988 the talk has been about global warming. But 22 years on the evidence has grown to raise fears of a catastrophic climate switch in the opposite direction. We look at the evidence that is raising some very serious questions in the scientific community.
Union power yes and no. Budget cuts yes and no -- etc.
Ed Miliband attempted to shake off his ‘Red Ed’ nickname yesterday – insisting he would not back ‘waves of irresponsible strikes’ or oppose every spending cut proposed by the coalition. He sought to put some distance between himself and the union barons who enabled him to inflict a stunning defeat on his elder brother David.
Mr Miliband wanted to portray Labour as the ‘optimists’ who could change the face of Britain. But he immediately prompted confusion over his position on public finances, saying the ‘starting point’ was the last Labour government’s plan to halve the deficit – but then opposing a list of coalition cuts.
He suggested the deficit should be tackled more slowly than Labour had previously proposed to avoid damaging the economic recovery. He added that it was ‘not responsible, it’s irresponsible’ for the Government to call a halt to school building projects or to deny Sheffield Forgemasters an £80million taxpayer-funded loan.
The new Labour leader insisted he was ‘serious’ about reducing debt, and admitted the party would have been making cuts if it was still in power. ‘There will be cuts and there would have been if we had been in government. 'Some of them will be painful and would have been if we were in government,’ he told the conference.
Despite his attempts to shake off the ‘union puppet’ jibes, Mr Miliband’s debut conference speech was shot through with left-wing rhetoric. The new leader said he would back the unions’ key demand to improve rights of temporary and agency workers. He also backed union calls for a so-called ‘living wage’ of £7.60 an hour, which would effectively raise the minimum wage by 30 per cent.
Oliver Stone has made of sequel of sorts to his 1987 movie Wall Street. In the original the central character, Gordon Gekko, famously says, “Greed … is good.” He seems to have meant that wealth-creation and innovation are founded on “greed,” something that, understood in a certain way, many readers of The Freeman might agree with. But it’s important to realize that he was only partly right.
First, greed or, better, self interest, certainly does in a sense drive material progress and so on, but only if and to the extent that social institutions, the “rules of the game,” are truly consistent with the free market – that is, private property, free exchange, and the rule of law.
But not everything that looks like a free market is a free market. If the economic system departs from the rules of the free market, self-interest tends not to promote the general welfare at all. For instance, private property is violated every time special interests use government to seek a bailout or protection against competition...
Those who tend to use the phrase “unfettered self-interest” or “unbridled capitalism” seem to have in mind a situation in which there is no locus of restraint whatever, either within the agent or outside the agent. Of course, the complete absence of restraint in this sense would result in the Hobbesian “war of everyone against everyone,” precisely the picture of modern finance that Oliver Stone paints in his movies.
In this rather naïve view the agent is free to pursue her self-interest wherever she finds it, even when it means acting opportunistically and dishonestly – so long as she observes or appears to observe the external rules and regulations. Thus the hotshot Wall Street operator takes advantage of any opportunity she chances on, even if it violates the norms of honesty and conventions of fair play, since these don’t really exist in her internal moral world. They believe that “greed is good” even when the rules of the game violate the rule of law, for example, by spreading the cost of risky investments among taxpayers (e.g., Fannie Mae) and concentrating the benefits on a few big players (e.g., Goldman Sachs)....
But the mature view recognizes that honesty, fair play, and trust are all important elements of the free market. Without these, private property, free exchange, and the rule of law may still be observed under the watchful eye of external authorities, but they would not flourish, and neither would material prosperity and wealth-creation take place on the scale and consistency that we’ve seen since the rebirth of the liberal idea in modern times.
Moreover, this view recognizes that when profits and losses, the good and the bad, redound to those responsible for making the decisions that produce them, market participants tend to grow more responsible and make better decisions. That is what the free market does: It makes us more responsible by making us more responsible. As a result, just those kinds of internal restraints against opportunism that grease the wheels of the market process emerge over time: the norms of trust and the conventions of reciprocity and fair play.
Without an understanding of the American entrepreneur, there is widespread ignorance of our distinctiveness as a nation, our ingenuity, our liberty, our basic decency, or our prosperity.
By way of example, one of the most commonly-held misperceptions is that entrepreneurs are motivated by greed. That is a myth. Most entrepreneurs are motivated by a passion to solve seemingly intractable human problems, or meet deeply felt human needs. Some of our multinational corporations were started by people who believed that the average person should have soap, shoes, a roof over their heads, affordable food, fruit in the middle of the winter, the ability to communicate with far away loved ones, and more recently computers and other access to information.
Those passions are what drive the entrepreneur, and carry him or her through the risks, setbacks, and outright failures along the way. Entrepreneurs tinker with ideas, and they take the risks associated with pursuing those ideas. If they fail, they lose. If they succeed, we all win – with new or better products and services. And yes, the entrepreneur has the potential for phenomenal financial success. But that success is directly tied not only to the efficacy of the entrepreneur’s solution, but also to the ability to grow the enterprise around that solution -- it is growth that creates the jobs and investment opportunities that enable others to profit from the entrepreneur’s success.
Some weeks ago, I saw this reflected in an episode of The History Channel’s series, “America: The Story of Us.” Entitled “Boom,” this episode traced (among other things) the Hamill brothers’ novel use of a rotary drill in oil derricks, Henry Ford’s inspiration to mass-produce cars that were reliable and affordable for the average American, and William Mulholland’s system of aqueducts and dams that provided water for a newly burgeoning Los Angeles. This is the story of America: ingenuity, engineering, and entrepreneurship in the face of seemingly intractable problems.
I originally wrote this post for my personal blog but it seemed to fit here too
A few days ago I went in to a private hospital to get my hearing tested and a hearing-aid prescribed. I've already got one plastic eye lens so a computerized ear comes next! That's aging for you.
Greenslopes private hospital does however have one of those murderous automated car-parks. You have to deal with a machine to get in and out. And it is not easy. I got so frazzled trying to get the machine to let me out that I left all the documentation from the audiologist on top of the machine concerned and ended up driving home without it.
It was only when I got home that I realized that I did not have my receipt etc. So what did I do? One thing I was NOT going to do was negotiate that accursed car-park machine again. So I just thought to myself that some kind person would find my documentation and take it to the audiologists -- who would return it to me. And that is exactly what happened. I received it in the mail today.
Now isn't that nice to live in a largeish city and still get treated with village courtesy? But it is no coincidence. I find that my fellow Anglo/European-Australians are generally like that: Good kind people.
And that largely happens because the Australian population is still overwhelmingly white. You would have to go to Eastern Europe to find a whiter country. The most recent figures I can find show that Australians are 70% Anglo-Celtic, 18% European and 5% East Asian, with most of the latter being Han Chinese racially. The balance are mainly Indians Pakistanis and Arabs, with Africans less than 1%.
Now it does of course sound racially bigoted to attribute Australia's friendly civility to race but it is in fact mainstream sociology. Robert Putnam in particular is known for his studies of racial homogeneity. Sociologists are almost universally Left-leaning and Putnam is too -- but he was man enough to publish his findings (after some hesitation) even though they did not suit him ideologically.
What he found was that people who live in racially mixed neighbourhoods (he is American so that means neighbourhoods with a lot of blacks or Hispanics in addition to whites) were much more likely to keep to themselves. They stayed home at night a lot more, for instance. Racial admixture killed community feeling, to put it bluntly.
Fortunately Australia has largely escaped that. Until recently our population had ancestry that was almost exclusively from Europe or the British Isles. And regardless of whether your origins were Lithuanian, Irish, Italian, German or English, we all saw one another as simply Australian. Ancestry made no difference in most cases.
In more recent years, however, Australia HAS acquired one largeish "minority": East Asians, mostly Han Chinese -- now about 5% of our population. But the Han are admirable people. They are in general quiet, peaceful, patient, intelligent, hard-working people who strive to get on well with everybody. So they fit in very well and do nothing to cause anyone to stay home at night. So even though they have disrupted Australia's racial homogeneity, they have, if anything, enhanced its social harmony.
So it was no accident that some kind person returned my papers. It is what happens in a society where people are in general kind to one another because they can identify with one another and sympathize with one another.
But all silver linings have a dark cloud and Australia has recently acquired one of those too. Australia has in recent years accepted a considerable number of African "refugees" and they already figure prominently in crime . Sad that they may destroy the remarkable and valuable harmony that Australia still has.
Mind you, Australia's native blacks -- Aborigines -- are not bad people. They often live in appalling squalor but they mostly keep to themselves and are undoubtedly one of the most polite populations on earth. They also have an excellent sense of humour and some perceptual abilities that are quite eerie at times. But alcohol is their great downfall. The lady in my life -- Anne -- knows them particularly well and has great affection for them -- something that I understand.
They are actually extraordinarily sociable people -- which is why it is so effective when they "sing" transgressors among them. The transgressor dies of grief.
Much to learn of human diversity. And shrieks of "racism" when it is discussed come only from fools or the ill-intentioned.
With my permission, David at Majority Rights has posted there an "amped-up" version of this post in which he says more about the social science involved.
Prior to the year 2000, the GISS US temperature graph appeared as below. Note that 1998 was more than half a degree C (almost 1§F) cooler than 1934.
In the year 2000, they switched places. 1998 became warmer than 1934. How did this magic occur?
You can see the trick behind the magic in the USHCN graph below. Most temperatures readings made prior to 1950 have been lowered ex post facto, and most years after 1950 have been raised successively higher.
In fact, all temperature readings taken after 1990 have more than 0.5 degrees F added on to what was actually measured by the thermometers!
Now, here comes the kicker. I overlaid the USHCN adjustments (thin blue line) on the current GISS US temperature graph below, lining up with the 1930s peak. The scale adjusted for Fahrenheit vs Centigrade of course.
As you can see, essentially all of the "warming" which is shown in the graph since the 1930s, is due to adjustments made to the thermometer readings.
"Belief test" shows that it is religion, not science that is involved. Rather pathetic, really
THE Coalition has sharpened its attack on Labor's climate change committee, saying it's too secretive and based on accepting a pre-ordained outcome.
Squabbling over the committee intensified this morning before the official opening of the 43rd Australian parliament, the swearing-in of members and the election of the Speaker and Deputy Speaker. The government says members of the multi-party committee should be committed to establishing a price on carbon, and its deliberations will be in secret until an agreement is reached. The Coalition has refused the government's offer to sit on the committee.
Opposition spokesman for climate action Greg Hunt claimed today that a “belief test” had been imposed on the committee, saying the two options up for consideration were a carbon tax or an emissions trading scheme. “Our view is that there is a third way in terms of market mechanisms,” he told ABC radio.
“And that's the water buyback equivalent - what we would call direct action for a carbon buyback. “That's off the table. And you are not even allowed to participate in the committee unless you accept that the third way is not on the table,” he said.
“And I'm not aware respectfully of a belief test ever having been imposed. It's almost Orwellian to say we have a new openness but now in fact we have a) almost the most secret committee ever and b) certainly the only belief test committee in parliamentary history.”
There is no way that soldiers in the heat of battle can always make wise decisions. And I don't see that they made unwise decisions, anyway. They were under fire from close range and had to shoot back. It's the ignorant bitch who laid the charges who should be disciplined. What would she know about fighting the Taliban in Afghanistan?
The step-father of a Melbourne digger killed in Afghanistan has warned charges laid against elite soldiers over the deaths of five children will cost more Aussie lives.
"My biggest worry is that it will make (soldiers) hesitant about going into combat situations where they have to make a quick judgement but have the added pressure of waiting...which will cost them lives," he said.
He also questioned the decision of Australia's top military prosecutor Brigadier Lyn McDade. "This should have been handled with an inquest first by the army before the decision to lay charges."
The three elite soldiers were involved in a night raid near a village in Oruzgan Province on February 12, 2009 that left five children dead, another two injured and two adults wounded. One suspected insurgent was killed.
One soldier yesterday was charged with manslaughter, and another faces lesser charges including a failure to follow orders and dangerous conduct. The third will be charged when he returns to Australia.
Australia's top military prosecutor, Brigadier Lyn McDade, yesterday confirmed the charges against three former members of No. 1 Commando Regiment.
The unprecedented legal action has sent shockwaves through the military, with sources on army bases saying the decision had left a "bitter feeling through the military". The possible jailing of the trio had caused "enormous angst and upset", with defence personnel discussing Brig McDade's statement as they went about their work.
German geologist Dr. Friedrich-Karl Ewert has asked that question and answered it. He notes that the German weather bureau has temperature records going back as far as 1701 so decided to use them all to calculate temperature changes over time. He found nearly as many cooling trends as warming trends -- giving an overall temperature change that is so small as to be best described as temperature stability.
Below is the introduction to an almost completely ignored press conference that he gave at the recent Bonn pow-wow. I also have the graphs accompanying the presentation and reproduce the first of them below.
The captions are in German but what he shows is the average temperature change over the period available for various centres. In brown are centres where there was warming and in blue are centres where there was no change or cooling. You can see that in all but a few cases the changes were in fractions of one degree Celsius, with the total changes in blue almost cancelling out the total of changes in brown and red.
No doubt various criticisms could be made of Dr Ewert's methods -- averaging time periods of different lengths etc. -- but Warmists are in much the same boat. As is well-known, James Hansen refuses outright to reveal the details and rationale of the methods he uses to account for various difficulties -- which surely speaks for itself
I have tidied up the German English somewhat below
United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. 13th Session of AWG-KP and 11th Session of AWG-LCA, 2 to 7 August 2010 in Bonn/Germany. Contribution by EIKE (Europaisches Institut fuer Klima und Energie). Press Conference:
Long-term temperature readings disprove man-made global warming
by Dipl.-Geol. Dr. Friedrich-Karl Ewert, Bad Driburg/Germany, Mail: email@example.com)
Temperature readings permit us to portray temperatures in the past and to correlate their development with influencing factors in order to check whether scenarios figured out for the future might be realistic - or not. For instance: the IPCC's postulation that anthropogenic CO2 will cause within the forthcoming decades a tremendous global warming cannot be true if already now worldwide cooling is taking place in spite of ongoing emissions.
It is surprising that temperature readings carried out during the 18th and 19th century have not yet been considered although they are available from 1701 onwards as monthly and annual averages in wetterzentrale.de [The German Weather Bureau].
The author evaluated data from 46 stations worldwide and generated temperature curves with their trend-lines. They were used to ascertain the annual change rates of the temperature variations. These changes do not confirm the wide-spread conviction of a global climate change but identify merely rather small temperature variations. They yielded a slight warming in approx. two thirds of several regions but likewise a slight cooling in the others.
The positive experience gained with this first evaluation motivated one to determine the trends of NASA-temperature curves from 776 stations located all over the world. Stations established already in 1880 were preferably analysed. It became evident that warming within the pre-industrial age also occurred faster than nowadays. Invariable trends or even cooling were diagnosed for 74% of all stations, although with differences from continent to continent. These trends superimpose periodical temperature variations of second order and regional differences. Only 18.8% of the stations recorded warming, of which a substantial portion belongs still to the category of urban development since only very few and very clear cases were assigned to the Urban Heat Island Effect. Contrary to computer based scenarios - and hence contrary to what is generally believed -- anthropogenic CO2 is meaningless because its influence is not recognizable. Of course this result complies with the basic laws of physics and is not really surprising.
Received via email
"Mother-in-law jokes, once the bedrock of British comedy, have been banned by the London Borough of Barnet because they are ‘offensively sexist’ and disrespectful to ‘family elders’.
In a council publication, staff are told not to indulge in the gags, which made the careers of classic comics Les Dawson and Bob Monkhouse.
The booklet, Cultural Awareness: General Problems, warns: ‘Humour can be incredibly culture-specific, and is very open to misinterpretation or even offense [sic] by other cultures. And don’t forget when you don’t know what people are laughing at, it is very easy to imagine that they are laughing at you.’
The guide, obtained by The Mail on Sunday through a Freedom of Information request, adds: ‘British mother-in-law jokes, as well as offensively sexist in their own right, can also be seen as offensive on the grounds that they disrespect elders or parents.’
The ban has been greeted with a mixture of anger and bemusement. Dom Joly, the comedian, broadcaster and author, described the advice as ‘completely insane’. He said: ‘All comedy is basically about taking the **** out of someone. You either ban it all and end up living in a place like North Korea or you leave well enough alone.’
Liberals supporters of Barack Obama become really upset when people call him a socialist. They say that such an accusation is so outrageous that it falls within the category of “extreme” or “fringe.”
Let’s see. Consider the following four countries: Cuba, China, North Korea, and Vietnam. Wouldn’t everyone concede that all four of those countries have socialist systems?
Let’s list some of the key programs and policies that are common to all four of those socialist countries:
1. Government provided retirement pay to senior citizens (i.e., Social Security).
2. Government provided health care (i.e., Medicare and Medicaid).
3. Government-provided, mandatory education to people’s children (i.e., public schooling).
4. Government-provided unemployment compensation.
5. Government-provided welfare payments.
6. Government central planning of monetary affairs (i.e., a Federal Reserve).
7. Government management of the economy.
8. Government-issued licenses for occupations and professions.
9. Government central planning over immigration affairs.
10. Government control over trade.
11. Government equalization of wealth among the citizenry.
12. Government-mandated wage rates.
13. Government control over prices.
14. Government-provided subsidies.
Now, which of those key programs and policies in those four socialist countries does Barack Obama disagree with?
Answer: None. He supports them all. If a person embraces the key programs and policies of socialist countries, why doesn’t that make him a socialist?
Their mother probably didn't look when they were little and said to her "Look at me". There has never been any evidence of harm arising from the consumption of GM foods
Six female Greenpeace campaigners have been arrested for trespassing after staging a supermarket protest in Sydney's north on Monday over a Wyeth Nutrition baby formula they believe may be harmful.
The six were part of a 15-strong group who staged the sit-down inside a Neutral Bay Woolworths about 10am. They positioned themselves in front of the S-26 baby formula, made by the Pfizer-owned company Wyeth Nutrition, which they claim contains genetically modified (GM) ingredients.
A similar protest was held by Greenpeace at a Coles store in the Melbourne suburb of Fitzroy.
Police said the six women, aged between 20 and 30, were expected to be charged with trespassing later on Monday. ``Police spoke with the (Woolworths store) manager and then commenced negotiations with the group," a police spokeswoman said. ``They (the campaigners) left the store and then without warning went back inside."
Officers spoke with the manager again and the women were arrested a short time later when they refused to leave. The remainder of the group left of their own accord.
Greenpeace named the arrested six as Sarah Roberts, Melissa Freeburn, Rebecca Evenden, Anna Parente, Claire Parfitt and Olivia Rosenman, and said they would be assisted by a Greenpeace lawyer.
Greenpeace is angry over what it said was a lack of labelling on the S-26 baby formula and called on Woolworths and Coles to remove it from their shelves. Independent tests of the popular baby formula have found it contains traces of GM soy and corn which could be harmful to infants, Greenpeace Australia spokeswoman Laura Kelly told AAP at the supermarket on Monday. The formula is not labelled as containing GM ingredients.
Wyeth Nutrition said the company has had a strict policy of using only non-GM ingredients in all its infant formulas since 2001. ``It is important to note that trace amounts of GMO (genetically modified organisms) do not present a health or safety threat to infants," it said in a statement.
The company was concerned by the allegations made by Greenpeace and had requested a copy of the test results. ``Wyeth Nutrition would welcome the opportunity to work with Greenpeace and relevant authorities to address the matter in detail," it said.
Home water tanks were subsidized by the Qld. government in lieu of building new dams
Three years ago, owning a water tank business was a licence to print money. Then the rebates were cut and the rains came. Now what was the busiest industry on the block is practically non-existent, as 400 water tank operators have been whittled to 12.
Millions of dollars have been lost, businesses have disappeared and customers wanting tanks for their homes have evaporated.
Leisa Donlan, from independent body the Association of Rotational Moulders, said it was the "industry that has been forgotten".
"Lives have been absolutely shattered by this. What the state government did by introducing the rebate and then cutting it all of a sudden was just awful," she said. "Family businesses have been ruined. Our staff have been suicidal some days after counselling the people involved. "Losing a business is a very human thing."
Department of Environment and Resource Management figures showed that across the state more than 250,000 Queenslanders claimed the rebate for a water tank.
"At the peak of the drought and the WaterWise Rebate Scheme, there were four-month waits. Manufacturers were working 24 hours a day, seven days a week," Ms Donlan said.
"State government ministers themselves came out and said that the industry needed to invest in better equipment to keep up with the demand, to step it up.
"Then, all of a sudden in June 2007, as quickly as it started, the rebate for the tanks stopped. Manufacturers had spent tens of millions of dollars buying new equipment to cope with the excessive demand and all of a sudden the demand was gone. Overnight. It was devastating."
Toby Peacock, owner of Brisbane water tank business QTank, said the abolition of the rebate, coupled with the breaking of the drought, had all but "killed" the industry.
"During the height of the drought, water was all everyone was talking about. People were desperate for water tanks, desperate to conserve water and everyone was wanting to safeguard themselves," he said.
"But once the rebate ended and the drought started to break, people moved on to talking about something else. They forgot how important it is to conserve water. Tanks were no longer fashionable."
Under Brisbane City Council planning regulations, all new dwellings must include a 5000-litre water tank to gain approval.
This regulation is the only thing keeping a handful of operators in business, Mr Peacock said. "Every night I go to bed nervous, praying that when I wake up in the morning, the government won’t have cancelled this regulation," he said.
Ms Donlan said the lack of support for the industry was disappointing because it was highly likely water consumption would be an issue again in the future.
Patriotism sure gets a bad rap. But we know that Leftists always hate the country they live in
"Block-I students chanted “USA, USA.” This was neither patriotism nor remembrance in any justifiable sense, but politicization, militarism, propaganda and bellicosity. The University is a public institution that encompasses the political views of all, not just the most (falsely) “patriotic.” Athletic planners should cease such exploitation for political purposes. They might at least consider how most Muslim students, American or otherwise, would respond to this nativist display; or better, Muslims and others that live their lives under the threat of our planes, drones and soldiers.
The overwhelmingly white, privileged, Block-I students should be ashamed of their obnoxious, fake-macho, chicken-hawk chant, while poverty-drafted members of their cohort fight and die in illegal and immoral wars for the control of oil. University administrators need to eliminate from all events such “patriotic” observances, which in this country cannot be separated from implicit justifications for state-sponsored killing.
The author, David Green, is a University Academic Professional, whatever that may be. Some background on Mr Green here and a good reply to his rant here
What Labour MPs were calling the doomsday scenario has happened. David Miliband won amongst Labour MPs and party members but a massive union vote delivered the leadership for his brother Ed. Opponents are already asking what legitimacy a party leader has who lost among both his own MPs and party members.
But this campaign has shown that Ed Miliband is a formidable opponent. He was by far the most natural politician of the five candidates. He has the communication skills that a modern politician so desperately needs.
The Ed Miliband campaign first became convinced that they were going to win when Lord Mandelson started attacking Ed. They believed Mandelson’s intervention showed that the party establishment was rattled and that the insurgent had the momentum.
This fight with the leading representative of the party’s old guard might have presaged Ed’s victory, but it also hints at the trouble to come. Many in the Labour Party fear they have elected someone who can win an internal leadership election but not a General Election. They worry that the reason Neil Kinnock has backed Ed Miliband so vigorously is that he sees him as his political heir.
At the start of this contest, David Miliband had the money and the big- name backing. The Chancellor and the Home Secretary from the last Government were both behind him and his campaign was being run by the man who had co-ordinated Labour’s General Election efforts. But Ed always had something that David didn’t have: an understanding of how to make the party love him.
The attacks on Ed Miliband from the Blairite old guard have been so strident because they fear what he represents – the end of the New Labour project. They are right. He heralds a distinct move to the Left.
Ed Miliband is not a politician searching for the centre ground. Instead, he is an ideological Left-winger. He wants higher taxes, more spending and more regulation.
During his leadership campaign, he made, according to the Tories, £28 billion worth of spending commitments at a time when Britain urgently needs spending cuts to deal with its unsustainable deficit.
The Tories have long wanted Ed Miliband to win. When I asked a Cabinet minister recently which Miliband he’d prefer to take on, he danced a little jig of joy as he said Ed. The Tories can’t believe that Labour have elected a candidate who wants to move the party on from the strategy that won it three Election victories.
Already, the Tories are planning to push him constantly to say what he would do about the deficit. In the words of one Tory involved in the preparations for dealing with the new Labour leader, ‘the deficit is the one thing that they can’t deal with’.
"Krug" is German/Yiddish for "Jug"
"Anger is sweeping America. True, this white-hot rage is a minority phenomenon, not something that characterizes most of our fellow citizens. But the angry minority is angry indeed, consisting of people who feel that things to which they are entitled are being taken away. And they’re out for revenge.
No, I’m not talking about the Tea Partiers. I’m talking about the rich.
These are terrible times for many people in this country. Poverty, especially acute poverty, has soared in the economic slump; millions of people have lost their homes. Young people can’t find jobs; laid-off 50-somethings fear that they’ll never work again.
Yet if you want to find real political rage — the kind of rage that makes people compare President Obama to Hitler, or accuse him of treason — you won’t find it among these suffering Americans. You’ll find it instead among the very privileged, people who don’t have to worry about losing their jobs, their homes, or their health insurance, but who are outraged, outraged, at the thought of paying modestly higher taxes.
Well, it certainly sounds like Krugman himself is angry. And he is a wealthy man himself. So is he simply projecting his feelings onto others in his tax bracket? It seems likely. He offers no proof -- nada -- that the rich in general are angry or that they are behind the very widespread dissatisfaction with Obama and the Obamacrats in Congress. Does Krugman think the rich pay the tea partiers to rally? Who knows? One commenter responded to his tirade by labelling him as the Left-wing equivalent of a birther. I think that is unfair to birthers. Birthers have at least some grounds for their claims. Krugman has none -- or none that he offers anyway.
And as far as I know, it is much more likely that the rich are not much perturbed by the impending tax increases. Many rich people (Bill Gates and Warren Buffet being the best-known examples) give away voluntarily substantial amounts of money anyhow -- and the rich who are more protective of their assets have plenty of loopholes (put there by Congress) that their tax accountants can use for tax avoidance purposes. It's middle income earners (mostly small business people) who are most likely to be thrown into difficulty by tax increases.
Keith Burgess Jackson also has some advice for the Jug Man.
Amazing difference between pre-"adjustment" and post-"adjustment" graphs in the comparator below. This is outright fraud -- JR
NCAR graph from the 1970s
Now that at least one member of the Hockey team has acknowledged that the cooling in the 1970s was both real and natural, we can analyze older data which was not perturbed by people with an agenda to prove global warming. The graph below compares NCAR’s 1970s temperatures vs. atmospheric CO2.
As you can see, there isn’t much of a correlation – the graph is almost flat.
Since then, the official temperature data has been massaged many times to make the past colder and the present warmer. So it is useful to do a correlation using data from the pre-agenda climate era.
Blink comparator showing GISS US temperature changes from 1998 to present.
Here is what people wanted to do to solve the climate problem of 1975
Climatologists are pessimistic that political leaders will take any positive action to compensate for the climatic change, or even to allay its effects. They concede that some of the more spectacular solutions proposed, such as melting the Arctic ice cap by covering it with black soot or diverting arctic rivers, might create problems far greater than those they solve. But the scientists see few signs that government leaders anywhere are even prepared to take the simple measures of stockpiling food or of introducing the variables of climatic uncertainty into economic projections of future food supplies. The longer the planners delay, the more difficult will they find it to cope with climatic change once the results become grim reality.
I gather that there are a few people who visit here who themselves have blogs that are temporarily active or permanently inactive.
It would be a good idea if such people could put up on their blogs a redirect to this blog. One reason for that is that most blogs I know of (including this one) get a lot of hits from Google searches and such hits are to a degree "wasted" if people arriving via such searches are not directed to fresh material connected to their search.
What a depressing snapshot of Broken Britain Keith Macdonald gave us this week. The jobless 25-year-old has fathered 15 children by 14 different women (though he denies some of them are his). His illegitimate brood will cost the taxpayer £ 1.5million in welfare support.
As for Macdonald himself, he has no involvement in their upbringing whatsoever, save to contribute £5 per child per week out of his own benefits — less than the price of a packet of cigarettes.
Shocking? Yes. Surprising? Not really. As despicable as Macdonald is, the whole sordid tale begs the question: what kind of girl has unprotected sex with a virtual stranger with a violent past and a string of abandoned children to his name?
One answer is: the kind who wants a fast track to a council home and state benefits that are greater than she could earn in a lowly-paid job.
But, for me, the real blame for this travesty should be laid at the door of Britain’s well-intentioned but hopelessly naive ruling class, who condone a welfare system that unquestioningly and unapologetically indulges the feckless, calculating and work-shy.
These ‘people who know best’ have created a massively flawed welfare system that supports parasites like Macdonald and his low-rent conquests.
Of course, it’s only right and proper that the State should assist families who — through no fault of their own — have fallen on hard times. But benefit entitlement is now institutionalised among some sections of Britain’s underclass society. The generous handouts lavished on girls like Macdonald’s harem enable them to behave without censure or penalty.
If you need further evidence of the culture that’s causing this social decay, then just look at the health watchdog NICE’s recommendation this week that pregnant teenagers should have their antenatal classes at school — because waddling along to their local GP is far too embarrassing, apparently. Well, so it should be! Perhaps if society showed a modicum of disapproval of teen pregnancy, Britain would not be the single-mum capital of Europe.
Until we have the courage to say that NICE — which denies money for some cancer drugs — should not be squandering our money in this way, and until the Government finds the backbone to stop these girls using their womb as a fast track to a council home, nothing will change.
The Coalition has begun the bonfire of the quangos; surely it’s now time for a bonfire of the benefits, before we lose another tragic generation to worklessness, fatherlessness and hopelessness.
Teachers are being forced to report children as young as three to the authorities for using alleged ‘racist’ language, it was claimed last night. Munira Mirza, a senior advisor to London Mayor Boris Johnson, said schools were being made to spy on nursery age youngsters by the Race Relations Act 2000.
More than a quarter of a million children have been accused of racism since it became law, she said. Writing in Prospect magazine, she said: ‘The more we seek to measure racism, the more it seems to grow.
‘Teachers are now required to report incidents of racist abuse among children as young as three to local authorities, resulting in a massive increase of cases and reinforcing the perception that we need an army of experts to manage race relations from cradle to grave. ‘Does this heightened awareness of racism help to stamp it out? Quite the opposite. It creates a climate of suspicion and anxiety.’
The Act compelled 43,000 public authorities, including schools and churches, ‘to promote good relations between persons of different racial groups’. Details of the incidents are logged on databases.
Teachers are allowed to report racism even if the alleged ‘victim’ was not offended or if the child does not understand what they were saying. Freedom of Information replies obtained by civil liberties group the Manifesto Club show that between 2002 and 2009, 280,000 incidents have been reported.
More than 30 ‘green’ quangos are facing the axe and the budget for communities will be slashed by a third after George Osborne signed off massive cuts to two departments.
Environment Secretary Caroline Spelman and Communities and Local Government Secretary Eric Pickles yesterday agreed with the Treasury on how to slash spending in their departments.
The two ministers, dubbed the ‘King and Queen of quango cuts’ in Whitehall, impressed the Chancellor with their willingness to axe expensive bodies.
Local Government Secretary Eric Pickles and Environment Secretary Caroline Spelman have been dubbed the ‘King and Queen of quango cuts'
David Cameron has now agreed that they can join Mr Osborne’s ‘Star Chamber’, where senior ministers can pass judgment on the cuts plans of their colleagues...
Mrs Spelman has identified 30 quangos for the axe, including the Sustainable Development Commission and the Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution.
Dr Oliver Marc Hartwich
‘Money can’t buy me love,’ the Beatles once told us. Now economists like Jeffrey D. Sachs argue that money can’t buy you happiness, either.
In an opinion piece in Wednesday’s The Australian, the Columbia University professor recommended a closer look at the Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan. The Bhutanese attitude towards development and their government’s focus on happiness should inspire the West, he wrote.
Indeed, Bhutan is always held up by as the shining example in the quest to make the world a happier place. In the 1970s, the Bhutanese king decided that his subjects should strive to increase Gross National Happiness, not GDP. Ever since, this has been the country’s guiding principle. It is this principle that Sachs now recommends to more developed nations.
There is nothing wrong with happiness, of course. In fact, it was the Americans and not the Bhutanese who first declared the pursuit of happiness a national goal. But it’s nevertheless a bit odd to present Bhutan as the role model for global happiness and well-being.
Have the Bhutanese really reached a special stage of enlightenment the rest of the world should follow? There is reason for doubt if you believe reports in the country’s press. Not long ago, the Bhutan Times came to this harsh assessment:
"To the world beyond its borders, Bhutan is a sort of a fabled country. Happiness is the mantra of development here that has tickled the imagination of economists and social engineers near and far. Closer home, a microscopic view of things reveals that all is not so well. In the recent years, an overriding numbers of drug and substance abuse and an alarming suicide rate have been reported in the country, an indication that the pursuit of happiness is still a delusional journey for some."
Perhaps the Bhutanese are not so happy after all because they are poor. According to the country’s National Statistics Office, 23.2% of the total population are living below the poverty line of Nu 1,096 (approximately $25) a month.
Or maybe they are unhappy about their press freedom, which was ranked as one of the worst in the world in the 2009 ‘Freedom of the Press’ survey. That is, of course, only relevant insofar as they can read because Bhutanese literacy is below the South and West Asian average.
None of these figures featured in Professor Sachs’ rose-tinted survey of Bhutan. Such ignorance is a bliss that only Western tourists can afford. Maybe money can’t buy you happiness, but at least it can buy you a return ticket to Bhutan.
The above is a press release from the Centre for Independent Studies, dated Sept. 24. Enquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org. Snail mail: PO Box 92, St Leonards, NSW, Australia 1590.
If this weren’t so sad it would be funny: full-page ads in The New Yorker urge businesses to re-locate to Canada. The ads offer the lowest corporate taxes on job-creating businesses in the G-7, the lowest government debt (2.7 percent of GDP target for 2011), and “a dynamic free-market environment.”
The United States of Obama cannot, I’m sorry to say, counter such advertisement. Now even Cuba is shedding government jobs and extricating itself from government ownership of business in grudging admission its ideology is a practical failure. Meanwhile, our president wages war against private enterprise, seeks dominion over entire industries, and moves toward unprecedented micro-managerial dictating to small businesses of almost every stripe. It took the Castro brothers a nearly interminable time to face their reality.
Fortunately, we still have real elections here. But it’s going to be awhile before we can again advertise the United States as offering a dynamic, free market, pro-business, pro-success environment.
British Conservatives show it can be done
One hundred and seventy-seven taxpayer-funded bodies are to be abolished under Coalition plans seen by The Daily Telegraph.
A further 94 are still under threat of being scrapped, four will be privatised and 129 will be merged, according to a Cabinet Office list compiled this week, while 350 other bodies have won a reprieve.
The list discloses for the first time the extent of David Cameron’s plans for the “bonfire of the quangos”, designed to save the taxpayer billions of pounds. Thousands of jobs will go as part of the reforms.
The biggest cuts concern the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs with more than 50 bodies to be abolished, and the Department of Health, where about 30 bodies will be cut or have their functions transferred back to the department. These include the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority, the Health Protection Agency and the Commission for Rural Communities.
As already announced, the Audit Commission and UK Film Council will be scrapped along with eight regional development agencies, the list shows. The Commission for Integrated Transport, the School Food Trust and the Sustainable Development Commission are to be abolished.
The BBC World Service, the British Council and the Environment Agency are among the 94 publicly funded bodies whose fate has yet to be decided.
By Oliver North, in Afghanistan
On Sept. 18, the Afghan people went to the polls to elect a new national parliament. It was similar to the kind of legislative election we will hold in less than six weeks -- with the same portent for political change. Yet most U.S. media coverage of Afghanistan's experiment in representative government focused on insurgent attacks aimed at disrupting the vote. Newspaper and television reports claimed "low voter interest" and highlighted "Taliban attacks aimed at reducing turnout." But, as we learned once we arrived here, those stories were simply wrong.
There were insurgent attacks -- but one-third fewer than during last year's presidential elections. According to international observers, fewer than 1 percent of polling stations had any violence at all. And those same monitors reported voter turnout -- an estimated 3.6 million, or about 40 percent of those eligible -- was actually higher than it was in the 2009 election.
Set aside for a moment that most Afghan voters had to ignore the risk of violence, walk to their local polling stations and wait in long lines -- and that turnout was higher than it is in most of our "off-year" elections. Ask instead how those who reported this story managed to get it so wrong. The answer, of course, is that there is an agenda in many of our media. Those who "shape the news" have a predisposition for the negative and make a conscious choice to ignore "good news" that contradicts their bias.
Therefore, "news" from here tends to spotlight corruption in the Karzai government, the tribulations caused by pervasive opium production and American military losses. Reports datelined "Kabul" and stories filed from Kandahar and Herat frequently cite the ineffectiveness of the Afghan National Security Forces. Yet when Gen. David Petraeus commended the ANSF after the recent elections for "safeguarding a weapon with greater potential than any other: the people's right to vote," he was all but ignored.
Thank goodness few of the warriors we are covering here in Afghanistan are even aware of the intrigues swirling in Washington or the negative news so fascinating to our media elites. The troops here are too busy fighting America's real enemies.
SECURITY has been called in after tensions threatened to boil over a provocative mural to ban burqas at a Newtown workshop. Following artist Sergio Redegalli's painting opposing the Islamic face covering veils with the slogan "Say no to burqas", security outside the premises has been called in after tensions threatened to boil over.
Police also attended the unit at Wilford and Station St after a female resident allegedly unleashed a foul mouthed tirade against the picture and attempted to deface it with paint.
Security guard Nathan Daniels, called in by Mr Redegalli to protect his work, said there had been a lot of abuse - nearly all from women. "The trouble has been mainly from feminists saying it was sexist and racist. This one woman was abusing the artist - shouting and swearing at him as well as making threats that she's `going to get him', so we had the police called in," Mr Daniels said.
"The thing is Mr Redegalli is trying to get the message across that by women wearing the burqa their identity is being wiped out. A policeman said to me it has practical problems for them, such as identifying people," he added.
A resident, who did not want to be named in case of reprisals, said: "I'm only a pensioner but I would like to give the guy $50 for doing this. "These people come to our country so the least they should do is try and integrate a bit. I don't want to be named because I fear for the safety of my family and friends - everyone's scared of them."
This arrest is a mockery of the law. Muslims are not a race so how can this be racial hatred? People of all races are Muslims. It's a police State when police can make up the law as they go along. I am thinking of burning a few Korans myself and looking forward to my day in court
BRITISH police have arrested six people on suspicion of inciting racial hatred over a YouTube video apparently showing them setting fire to copies of the Koran. Police in northeastern England said that they had detained two men on September 15 and four more on Wednesday, adding that all of them had been bailed pending further inquiries.
"The arrests followed the burning of what are believed to have been two Korans in Gateshead on September 11," a spokesman for Northumbria Police said. "The incident was recorded and a video placed on the internet."
The YouTube video shows a group of masked men shouting "September 11, International Burn a Koran Day" and "This is for the boys in Afghanistan" before pouring petrol on what they claim are two copies of Islam's holy book. They then cheer and chant slogans as the books burst into flames, before kicking them.
The police force and the local authority issued a joint statement saying that the "kind of behaviour displayed in this video is not at all representative of our community as a whole. "Our community is one of mutual respect and we continue to work together with community leaders, residents and people of all faiths and beliefs to maintain good community relations."
"26 year old Bryan Glover is not shy about his political opinions. He is proud tea party Republican and felt compelled to voice his disappointment in the current administration through his music. But he never thought sharing his new song would leave him unemployed.
The song is called, "When You're Holding A Hammer, Everything Looks Like A Nail." It is a reference to Glover's frustrations with the current administration and President Obama. Glover co-wrote the tune with a parent on the Grassland Middle School football team. He never thought sending it out to friends, family and player's parents could put the hammer on the nail of his job with the school.
It all stems from an email Glover sent through his personal Yahoo account. "I sent it 99 percent of the people in my inbox-- all the way from my mom to people I haven't spoken to in years," said Glover. But the email, with a link to his new song, went out to a handful of parents of kids on the Grassland Football Team.
Within hours, parents called the school to complain of the politically charged lyrics and Glover said the principal at Grassland Middle School told the head football coach to release Glover from his position with the team.
"I found it amusing," said parent Michael Kasaitis about Glover's country song. He said no matter the opinion on his music, the link was sent from his personal email account and it is free speech. "I was totally upset. He has every right to write a song, write a book or to make his opinion known," said Kasaitis.
By Peter W.
GK Chesterton said `Without education we are in a horrible and deadly danger of taking educated people seriously.' That is not my favorite Chesterton quote. He also said `A dead thing can go with the stream, but only a living thing can go against it.' Both are apposite when thinking about contemporary government-run education.
Last year my wife completed a post graduate Diploma in Early Childhood Education. The theme of every unit in this diploma was that the little blighters educate themselves. All you need to do, as an educational facilitator, is to provide them with a rich learning environment. In particular, you shouldn't think of teaching them anything, or of directing their learning in any way. This may harm their self-esteem, curiosity and creativity. Children will absorb the numeracy and literacy skills they need as they need them. Their learning should be self-directed.
Apart from being complete and utter bollocks, what struck me most about this course was how carefully structured it was. By the time you get to post-graduate level, you have a pretty good idea of how to study, and of the gaps in your knowledge. Of course, as Donald Rumsfeld remarked, there are also unknown unknowns - things you don't know you don't know, and this is where a good teacher comes in handy.
But in this course, every student had to read the same articles in the same order, and was expected to come to the same conclusion. Namely, that education works best when it is structured. The lecturer, being a humourless left wing git, saw no irony in this at all.
It's now illegal to play in the street near their homes -- something kids did for generations
Police were accused today of being 'heavy handed' after three officers were dispatched to issue a ticking off to two boys - for playing football in the street.
Henry Worthington, 12, and his brother Alex, 11, were told their kick-abouts in a cul-de-sac outside their home after school were illegal and could result in them getting anti-social behaviour orders. Their father Anthony, 43, of Timperley, Greater Manchester, was also sent a letter from officials at Trafford Council warning him his two sons could be in breach of the 1980 Highways Act which outlaws ball games.
The incident comes after Greater Manchester Police revealed it was preparing to cut more than 3,000 jobs due to the government's anticipated 25 per cent cut in spending.
Today, Mr Worthington, an engineer, said: 'Sending three officers over simply to give a warning about kids playing football in the street is like using a sledgehammer to crack a nut.
'My boys are not hooligans. They are good lads who cause no trouble and I prefer them to play outside the house so I know they are safe. They haven't interfered with a car or any pedestrians so I don't see what the problem is.
'They play for a local football club on the weekend and they just want to practise their skills outside their house with their friends. It's not as if they're out all hours 24/7, it's just half an hour after school.
'I'm absolutely appalled that the police are not out there catching real criminals. I feel like my family is being persecuted. 'When I was a lad the police were not out persecuting children for playing football. Now you get three policemen coming to my door to tell us off for it.
The ever-expanding role of genetics in explaining health and behaviour gets another big boost
Clues to consumer behavior may be lurking our genes, according to a new study in the Journal of Consumer Research.
"We examine a wide range of consumer judgment and decision-making phenomenon and discover that many—though not all of them—are in fact heritable or influenced by genetic factors," write authors Itamar Simonson (Stanford University) and Aner Sela (University of Florida, Gainesville).
The authors studied twins' consumer preferences to determine whether or not certain behaviors or traits have a genetic basis. "A greater similarity in behavior or trait between identical than between fraternal twins indicates that the behavior or trait is likely to be heritable," the authors explain.
The authors discovered that people seem to inherit the following tendencies: to choose a compromise option and avoid extremes; select sure gains over gambles; prefer an easy but non-rewarding task over an enjoyable challenging one; look for the best option available; and prefer utilitarian, clearly needed options (like batteries) over more indulgent ones (gourmet chocolate). They also found that likings for specific products seemed to be genetically related: chocolate, mustard, hybrid cars, science fiction movies, and jazz.
The researchers also found that some tendencies did not seem to be heritable—for example, a preference for a smaller versus larger product variety or likings for ketchup and tattoos.
"The current research suggests that heritable and other hard-wired inherent preference components play a key role in behavior and deserve much more attention in marketing and decision-making research," the authors write.
The authors believe their work may reveal some important information on the genetics of "prudence." "Some people may be born with a tendency to 'be in the mainstream' whereas others tend to 'live on the edge," the authors conclude.
More information: Itamar Simonson and Aner Sela. "On the Heritability of Consumer Decision Making: An Exploratory Approach for Studying Genetic Effects on Judgment and Choice." Journal of Consumer Research: April 2011.
"In a disturbing development, Northumbria Police in Gateshead last week arrested two men after they watched and shared a video on Facebook of a man burning the Koran in the US during the recent 9/11 commemoration at Ground Zero in New York.
The men were drinking in the Bugle pub, Leam Lane, Gateshead, when they were arrested after watching and sharing the videos.
Around 30 people staged a protest outside Gateshead police station on Wednesday evening, the 15th of September, following the arrests.
The group stood outside the doors to the police station with an England flag for about three hours watched by a contingent of uniformed officers.The protesters had gathered at around 8pm after the two men were arrested earlier in the day on 'suspicion of inciting racial hatred'.
The protest continued until around 11pm when the two arrested men were bailed pending further enquiries.
Youtube have now removed all footage of Derek Fenton burning the Koran. Of course, if he had burnt the Stars and Stripes (or any other flag or religious book) the video would still be available. Double standards by Youtube, perhaps?
Jessica Brown talks about a Greenie idol in the context of a debate in Australia about cutting back immigration
Thomas Malthus, the eighteenth century British thinker who predicted that over-population would lead to global famine, has lately had something of a resurgence. With everyone from Bob Brown to Bob Carr in wild agreement that Australia’s population growth must be cut, Malthusian prophecies of doom are back in fashion.
But a new book by Fred Pearce, Peoplequake: Mass Migration, Ageing Nations and the Coming Population Crash, highlights just what a nasty character Malthus actually was.
Malthus’ issue wasn’t really with the growth in England’s population but the growth in the number of poor people. His solution was to stop them from marrying and, therefore, procreating. He was virulent in his opposition to charity on the grounds that giving food to the poor would just prolong their inevitable deaths.
Malthus was immortalised as the detestable ‘Scrooge’ in Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol.
But his legacy did not only live on in literature. His teachings informed officials in charge of coming up with a solution to the Irish potato famine of 1845 to 1849. Spurred on in part by hatred of the Irish and in part by Malthusian logic, one English Treasury official argued that the famine was a good ‘mechanism for reducing surplus population’ and ‘a direct strike of an all-wise and all-merciful Providence.’ In what became a self-fulfilling prophecy, an estimated one million people died.
While this example is perhaps extreme in the context of Australia’s current population debate, it nevertheless highlights why liberals should be wary of the new Malthusianism.
At its heart, the theory is profoundly illiberal. Malthusian thinking has spawned countless policies across the globe – forced sterilisations in India are the best known example – that have tossed aside the rights of the individual in order to achieve some perceived greater good.
It’s also fundamentally pessimistic. It assumes that catastrophic consequences of population growth are inevitable, so we shouldn’t bother looking for solutions.
Malthus was an eighteenth century country pastor who didn’t get out much. In a sense, it’s not surprising that he took such a dim view of the world.
But this is 2010, and we live in an open, successful and entrepreneurial country. Surely, in our population debate, we can do better.
The above is a press release from the Centre for Independent Studies, dated 17 September. Enquiries to email@example.com. Snail mail: PO Box 92, St Leonards, NSW, Australia 1590.
Evangelical Christians have a religious obligation to oppose carbon-based fuels and to support greenhouse gas reductions, if you believe the lame stream media. In delivering such a message, the media has publicized the efforts of a very few self-professed evangelicals whose views on the topic run counter to most evangelicals.
Bryan Fischer, host of the daily 'Focal Point' radio talk program of the American Family Association, this morning has published an excellent article on the topic. Fischer questions the motives of self-professed religious leaders who attempt to weigh in on such a secular issue as global warming science. The end result, he observes, is to diminish the credibility of the church.
According to Fischer, “This, by the way, ought to be a lesson to the church. Some leaders in the church, in their ongoing and misguided efforts to be cool, hip, and admired by the world, are always chasing after the latest public policy fad, and just about the time they catch up, the world moves on, leaving them looking silly and foolish. It's happened again.”
The Sierra Club, not known for outspoken support of evangelical Christian causes, has for the past several years been spearheading the effort to mislead evangelical Christians into believing they have a religious obligation to support greenhouse gas restrictions. You can read my thoughts on such tactics here.
This protest is excellent. It was such protests in the Howard era that did more than anything else to stop the flow of illegals into Australia. One hopes that TV coverage of it has gone worldwide.
The suicide is of course sad but the man must have been a bit of a nut. Fiji is a very safe and civil place. Even their military coups are bloodless! So there is nothing there to seek asylum from
THE protest by 11 asylum seekers at a Sydney detention centre, sparked by the suicide of a fellow detainee, will not prevent their deportation, the federal government says. Nine Tamils, one Iraqi and one Afghan began their rooftop protest at the Villawood detention centre in the city's west on Monday afternoon and were still refusing to come down this morning.
A 36-year-old Fijian man facing deportation committed suicide yesterday morning at the centre.
All the men on the rooftop have exhausted the application process for asylum status and face being returned to their homeland.
Immigration Minister Chris Bowen said their actions would do nothing to prevent their deportation. "I understand that people who are very keen to stay in Australia will in desperate circumstances think of other ways to make their case," Mr Bowen told Fairfax radio today. "Our immigration officials determine who gets asylum after a very rigorous process. "And it's not determined by a protest, and a protest won't change an immigration outcome."
Immigration department spokesman Sandi Logan said negotiators had been on the scene of the standoff overnight and into this morning. The negotiators included local Tamils, he said.
Mr Logan said the men were protesting against the handling of their visa applications, and their actions would neither help nor hinder them. "We continue to be hopeful that reason will prevail, that logic will prevail, and that they will understand that remaining on the roof is not going to change an outcome. It's not going to secure a different outcome to that which they currently have," Mr Logan told ABC television.
Mr Logan said he had not heard about claims the Villawood centre was understaffed, and he believed its manager, Serco, was managing well in a sometimes challenging environment.
Refugee advocate Sara Nathan has been in mobile phone contact with some of the rooftop protesters, who say the rejections of their applications contained factual errors and they were not given legal help during the process. Ms Nathan told AAP: "They're saying, 'Can we have a review of our case because you made a mistake. This is our lives. If you return us, we will be tortured and/or killed'." [Rubbish! They would be welcomed in Tamil Nadu]
Refugee Action Coalition spokesman Ian Rintoul says the men want assurance their cases will be reviewed again before they will come off the roof. "They want an independent and transparent review of their cases and they want to meet with the immigration officers," he told AAP. "They've made it clear that they can't go back to Sri Lanka." [But they can go to Tamil Nadu in India, which is in fact their "eelam"]
Mr Bowen said just under 5000 people were being held in detention centres on Christmas Island and the Australian mainland.
By Arie Friedman, MD
As I have read through the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 (PPACA, aka ObamaCare), I have been repeatedly struck by the disregard the law has for patient privacy. Time and time again, the PPACA authorizes the federal government to obtain information about patients directly from their health care providers. A particularly vivid example is Section 4302, "Understanding Health Disparities: Data Collection and Analysis." Section 4302 literally opens up almost every medical record in this country for government review and data collection. Let's go through the section with an eye towards patient privacy issues:
(1) IN GENERAL- The Secretary shall ensure that, by not later than 2 years after the date of enactment of this title, any federally conducted or supported health care or public health program, activity or survey (including Current Population Surveys and American Community Surveys conducted by the Bureau of Labor Statistics and the Bureau of the Census) collects and reports, to the extent practicable--
(A) data on race, ethnicity, sex, primary language, and disability status for applicants, recipients, or participants;
(D) any other demographic data as deemed appropriate by the Secretary regarding health disparities.
There is no pussyfooting around in this first portion of Section 4302. Within two years, the Secretary of Health and Human Services will be obtaining extensive health and demographic data about every patient who participates in federally supported programs or who interacts with a public health department. This would encompass every single patient who participates in Medicare, Medicaid, TRICARE, or the Supplemental Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP). It is also a good bet that data will be obtained from the Veterans' Administration, government employees' health insurance programs, and patients receiving medical care at local Boards of Health. Lastly, I suspect that various regulatory mechanisms will empower state and local Public Health Departments to collect this data on everyone.
It is worth noting that the description of data to be collected is quite broad. Aside from the laundry list of information to be collected, paragraph (D) authorizes the Secretary of HHS to obtain any additional information whatsoever if it fulfills the purpose of investigating health "disparities." Nowhere in this section is there an actual definition of "health disparities." As a result, one can begin to get a picture of the limitlessness of this mandate.
Much more HERE
A Mail on Sunday investigation – which will alarm anyone concerned about animal cruelty – has revealed that schools, hospitals, pubs and famous sporting venues such as Ascot and Twickenham are controversially serving up meat slaughtered in accordance with strict Islamic law to unwitting members of the public.
All the beef, chicken and lamb sold to fans at Wembley has secretly been prepared in accordance with sharia law, while Cheltenham College, which boasts of its ‘strong Christian ethos’, is one of several top public schools which also serves halal chicken to pupils without informing them.
Even Britain’s biggest hotel and restaurant group Whitbread, which owns the Beefeater and Brewers Fayre chains, among many others, has admitted that more than three-quarters of its poultry is halal.
Animal welfare campaigners have long called for a ban on the traditional Islamic way of preparing meat – which involves killing animals by drawing a knife across their throats, without stunning them first – saying it is cruel and causes unnecessary pain....
Conservative MP Andrew Rosindell, secretary of the Associate Parliamentary Group for Animal Welfare, said: ‘I don’t object to people of different religious groups being catered for but it’s not something that should be imposed on everybody else.
'The vast majority of people in this country would not want meat of this origin. The outlets have a duty to let their customers know because some will object very strongly, not least because of the animal welfare implications of halal.’
Keith Porteous Wood, executive director of the National Secular Society, said: ‘We suspected that meat killed by the halal and kosher methods was being used for general consumption but we never imagined it was so widespread. It is disgraceful that people aren’t being told if the food they are being served is from meat that has not been stunned prior to slaughter.’
He once claimed that Veganism was the only ethical behaviour -- but is now promoting meat! Do I hear the rustle of currency somewhere in the background?
George Monbiot, the original Moonbat Liberal, confessed in a column in the Guardian that going vegan will not save the planet from global cooling, global warming or whatever they are calling it today.
From George Monbiot: “In the Guardian in 2002 I discussed the sharp rise in the number of the world’s livestock, and the connection between their consumption of grain and human malnutrition. After reviewing the figures, I concluded that veganism ‘is the only ethical response to what is arguably the world’s most urgent social justice issue.’
I still believe that the diversion of ever wider tracts of arable land from feeding people to feeding livestock is iniquitous and grotesque. So does the book I’m about to discuss. I no longer believe that the only ethical response is to stop eating meat.”
Then he went on to plug a book about meat.
There is another religion that recently reversed itself on meat. The Catholic church in the 1960s decided eating meat on non-Lenten Fridays was OK.
Then there is this bit from George Monbiot: “Feeding meat and bone meal to cows was insane. Feeding it to pigs, whose natural diet incorporates a fair bit of meat, makes sense, as long as it is rendered properly. The same goes for swill. Giving sterilized scraps to pigs solves two problems at once: waste disposal and the diversion of grain.
Instead we now dump or incinerate millions of tonnes of possible pig food and replace it with soya whose production trashes the Amazon. Waste food in the UK, Fairlie calculates, could make 800,000 tonnes of pork, or one sixth of our total meat consumption.”
You control what people eat, you control people. This has been done with every religion. Monbiot’s pagan Gaia religion is only the latest.
Apparently going Vegan was a deal breaker for many and so like Saint Paul kicking circumcision to the curb goes Monbiot’s vegetarianism.
By Mike Pechar on Tuesday, September 21, 2010
(Franklin, Tennessee) Twenty-six-year-old Bryan Glover was fired as football coach at Grassland Middle School for this song.
Catchy tune, eh? I suggest it's unreasonable to fire someone for composing it.
Labels: American Politics
Town Hall bosses are asking staff to take part in a 'heterosexuality quiz' so they can gain a greater understanding of what it is like to be gay. The quiz, devised by managers at Buckinghamshire County Council, is part of an equality and diversity course called 'Respecting Sexuality'.
Questions, which are described as a 'twist' on those routinely asked of homosexuals, include 'What do you think caused your heterosexuality?', 'Is it possible your heterosexuality stems from a neurotic fear of others of the same sex?', and 'If you've never slept with a person of the same sex, how do you know you wouldn't prefer it?'
The course, which encourages staff to 'have a better understanding' of the challenges faced by lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender colleagues, includes a film which follows the experience of four fictitious employees.
The film is said to 'build in intensity' and can provoke a variety of reactions. Trainers' notes state: 'Initial reactions to the stories vary widely, with heterosexual (straight) people often dismissing the stories as exaggerated or rare and homosexual (gay people) immediately recognising the issues and emotions explored here as honest and relevant.'
The Buckinghamshire council course is just one of a series of publicly funded equality and diversity sessions uncovered in a series of Freedom of Information requests by The Mail on Sunday.
Cardiff, Slough and Cheshire West and Cheshire councils have also incorporated quizzes in their sessions. In Slough, employees ask colleagues questions from a specially prepared grid such as 'Can you sing a few lines from a Supremes song?' and 'Do you read The Guardian?'
Staff at Cardiff City Council are challenged to name the inventor of the 'great British classic car the Mini', and to identify the symbol used to celebrate the Chinese New Year.
Matthew Sinclair, director of the TaxPayers Alliance, said: 'With huge pressure on the public finances, and council tax nearly doubled over the last decade, it is vital that councils show they can start cutting back on waste to keep down taxes and avoid unnecessary pressure on services.
'To see councils wasting money on such a ludicrous, politically-correct exercise in that environment is disgusting. 'Ensuring that councils don't discriminate doesn't require such insane attempts at a superficial understanding of different communities.'
A spokesman for Buckinghamshire County Council said its quiz was devised to help staff in its adoption service. He was unable to say how many had taken part or at what cost.
'The questions from the quiz are not used as a quiz directed at individuals, but some of the questions are used as a tool during the course to provoke the attendees' thought process and to enable the attendees to put themselves in someone else's shoes,' he added.
I'm not even sure that I can be classified as a "Palin fan", but I am kind of an observer. An old school buddy of mine has worked within the Alaska legislature for the last twenty years or so. He's a registered Democrat and has worked on projects that allowed him to cross paths with her going back when she was a city commissioner, as the mayor, and as the governor.
He told me that the picture painted of her as a mindless ideologue is about 180 degrees off base. He said that over the years, he'd probably dealt with her a couple of dozen times and that her input and/or decisions were always supported by law and not by personal beliefs.
The thing he told me about her that really peaked my interest of her was her ability to process information and then to quickly forge a plan with the information she was given. He said she was a living, breathing CPM chart. He said he had seen her on multiple occasions on a variety of subjects instantly absorb input from others and then respond with cogent solutions to problems. He said if you put her in a room with a bunch of people, the chances would be great that she'd be the smartest one in the room.
He told me that when he saw her debacle with Katie Couric, his first thought was, "who is that Sarah Palin imposter?" He said that was not the Sarah Palin he had worked with for years. He was sure that the interview was highly edited. It came out later that there was almost six hours of the interview that people didn't see.
He told me that if I really wanted to get a feel of who she is and how she dealt with powerful people, I should read the book, "Sarah Takes On Big Oil". It was released in October, 2008 and written by two of the state's top oil & gas editors. The lady they described had no fear to stand toe-to-toe with heavyweights and leave them slinking away with their tales between their legs. She told them that she was the advocate of the citizens of Alaska and there would be no deal making that would adversely affect them. The big boys at Exxon-Mobile and BP folded like a cheap suit.
One other thing he told me that still amazes him was how she managed to get people to work together. According to him, she could take two people with opposing opinions, sit down with them, listen to them, offer her solutions, and both guys would leave happy and not feeling that they had compromised their position at all.
He laughed at the "she doesn't read" meme. He said it is well known in the capitol that she was a voracious reader. She truly did read most of the national mags and newspapers, mostly on line, as well as a dozen or so energy trade magazines. According to him, there were stories about how she would take home stacks of papers and reports to prepare for a next-morning meeting and it was as if every word of those reports were stamped into her brain when she sat down at the meeting.
He told me not to be fooled by her syntax or her colloquialisms because they were not a fair barometer of her smarts. He said if people would just listen and not try to read between the lines, she was easy to understand. He said he'd love to see her and Obama in a debate about energy or even healthcare. He said she'd clean his clock. He even said that if she were given a day or two to prepare for a debate on foreign affairs, his money would still be on her.
He said she was the epitome of a leader. She assembled her staff, listened to their advice, allowed opposing ideas to be heard, and then acted accordingly. As a manager, she advocated making a plan based on the best info available, budgeting the plan, working the plan, measuring results, and quickly adjusting the plan if it was determined it wasn't working as expected. She believed in the First Law of Holes.
He thought her biggest struggles in the 2008 campaign were the product of trying to endorse McCain's positions on issues. She was able to voice her dissenting opinion on ANWR because her views were known, but on everything else she was expected to toe the McCain line. He said that she lacked the ability to shovel crap and sell it as perfume.
He reminded me that anyone who denies the accuracy of her "death panel" metaphor should go back and read her exact words, both her initial FB post and her rebuttal of Obama's attack on her words. He said "read what she wrote, not what someone wrote or said what she wrote". Her words in those posts have already been proven to be true.
He said that "divisive" is not a word that should be used to describe her. He said that was just a simple use of Alinsky's rule #13. He said, "look at all the issues. Her position is in line with the majority on virtually all of them".
He told me she wasn't perfect, but if I read something or heard something that was negative, I should check it out a little closer. He shared a lot more, but I'm afraid I've already rambled on for too long.
Should she run in 2012? I really don't know. Would I vote for her? It depends who she's running against. Will she drive the agenda if she doesn't run? Yes, for a long time.