The number of career criminals being spared jail has soared since the Coalition took office.
An astonishing 4,000 offenders have been handed community sentences, despite each totting up at least 50 convictions.
The figure for 2010 – the year Ken Clarke took over as Justice Secretary – was 17 per cent higher than 2009’s and treble that of 2002.
Incredibly, 408 criminals dodged jail last year even when being sentenced for what was at least their 100th offence.
Earlier this year, the Daily Mail revealed that the percentage of all convicted criminals sent to jail had fallen since the Coalition took over last May.
Rapists, drug-dealers, muggers, drink-drivers and thugs caught with knives and guns were all more likely to receive soft community sentences.
If the sentencing standards of 2009 had been applied last year, more than 2,000 extra criminals would have gone to jail.
Critics of the criminal justice system say pressure is being put on courts by Mr Clarke to jail fewer people because prisons are close to overflowing.
The Justice Secretary wants to scrap most terms of under six months and replace them with community sentences – meaning more repeat offenders will be let off.
Conservative MP Priti Patel said: ‘Clearly when you have got serial criminals and repeat offenders causing such harm the Government has got to start addressing the issue.
‘It is not acceptable that these people are being given community sentences when they should be locked up. The Government needs to tackle this situation; these are people who need to be locked away in prison to keep the public safe.
‘If there is a need for more prison places then we need to build more prisons. Prisons are about protecting people on the outside from the vile criminals who are being kept behind bars.’
The latest figures show that the proportion of offenders escaping jail with 50 convictions or more has risen from 0.5 per cent in 2002 to 1.5 per cent last year.
Some 3,898 criminals fell into that bracket in 2010, compared with 3,333 the year before and 1,238 in 2002.
Last year the Daily Mail revealed that the worst of the repeat offenders to be spared jail had a 50-year criminal record and 578 previous convictions or cautions.
These included 300 offences of theft as well as burglary, robbery, assault, possessing offensive weapons and public order crimes.
Conservative MP Philip Davies, who uncovered those statistics, said: ‘This shows that the criminal justice system has become a joke. It shows that despite what Justice Secretary Ken Clarke would have us believe, we have too few people in prison, not too many.’
Criminologist Dr David Green, director of the Civitas think-tank, said: ‘This rise in the number of career criminals escaping jail has been caused by political pressure from the Government to reduce the prison population. Judges and magistrates are failing in their basic duty to protect the public.
'If someone has been convicted even three or four times, jail should be considered. But these are people being convicted 50 or 100 times. It should be obvious that for these people, this is how they make a living.
‘And we should remember that not all crimes are detected. The Home Office admits that for every conviction, the offender has committed five more. So someone being convicted 50 times has in fact carried out at least 300 – and I think that’s an underestimate.’
Mr Clarke wants to replace sentences of six or fewer months – given to around 50,000 criminals a year – with ‘tougher community sentences’.
Last year he claimed: ‘Simply banging up more and more people for longer without actively seeking to change them is not going to protect the public. ‘I do not think prison is, or should be, a numbers game.
‘The army of short-term prisoners we have at the moment, who have a particularly bad record of reoffending within six months of being released, is too big and we’ve got to find some sensible community sentences.’
A spokesman for the Ministry of Justice said: ‘Sentencing in individual cases is rightly a matter for the courts to decide.’
FEMA disaster declarations set a record in 2011. The right cries socialism, but global warming is the real culprit.
We can leave it to residents of Vermont to decide whether the flooding in the aftermath of Hurricane Irene qualifies as “routine” or not, but there’s also another explanation: 2011 has been a banner year for disasters, period. By mid-year, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, 2011 was already one of the most extreme — and costly — years on record. And that was before Hurricane Irene.
The first rule of being a leftist reporter is to never do any actual research. Andrew Leonard has no idea what he is talking about.
SUCCESS rates for refugee claims have leapt from 30 to 70 per cent in just six months, sparking accusations the government is encouraging boatpeople by virtually guaranteeing them visas.
Senior Immigration Department officials conceded at a recent parliamentary committee hearing that the success rate for asylum claims now stood at 70 per cent, not far below its record high of more than 90 per cent.
With the High Court to hand down its ruling on the Malaysia Solution tomorrow, the figures prompted agencies to warn the Department of Immigration's high success rate was acting as an incentive to asylum-seekers to get on a boat.
Senior department official Garry Fleming told a parliamentary committee earlier this month the primary acceptance rate for asylum-seekers who arrive by boat stood at 70 per cent.
Mr Fleming said the speed at which refugee claims were being processed meant that "a good articulation" of people's refugee claims was not being heard at their initial assessment, resulting in a high rate of overturn at review. "That is now seeing primary recognition rates in the order of about 70 per cent," Mr Fleming told the committee.
The figure does not take into account unsuccessful asylum claims that are overturned on review, suggesting the final success rate could be considerably higher.
The rate at which refugee claims for boatpeople are upheld is seen as a key element in the factors driving refugee movements.
Early last year the Rudd government was warned its refugee success rate was "out of whack" with other countries and was acting as a "major pull factor". The warning was contained in confidential advice sent to government prior to the decision to freeze Afghan asylum claims for six months and Sri Lankan claims for three months. At the time the advice was sent the refugee success rate was more than 90 per cent.
According to department statistics the primary success rate was just 27 per cent for the first six months of 2010-11, meaning it has soared more than 40 per cent since the beginning of the year.
Refugee Council chief executive Paul Power said "clearly there have been issues in the quality of the decision-making". "That's the only conclusion one can reasonably draw," Mr Power said yesterday. "The fluctuations of people from the same countries and in similar circumstance being rejected is baffling to anyone outside the department."
Opposition immigration spokesman Scott Morrison said he found the department's explanation for the wildly fluctuating success rate "unconvincing". "Clearly if your recognition rates are higher than the rest of the world (asylum-seekers) are more likely to say yes to a people-smuggler and get on a boat," Mr Morrison said. "With primary acceptance rates going from the high 90s to the 20s then back up to 70 per cent, it reveals a process that is all over the place."
A spokesman for Immigration Minister Chris Bowen said refugee decisions were made on a "case-by-case" basis. "As we have said before, driving forces will vary from time to time and numbers will rise and fall in different parts of the world at different times," the spokesman said.
Two Australian guys above "blacked up" as a form of support for a black footballer -- the guy in the middle above. Big blunder!
Qantas has been slammed for encouraging two men to dress in blackface and posting the photo on Twitter.
The Twitter competition, held earlier this month, asked Australian fans to tell how they would show their support for the team for the chance to win two exclusive tickets to the game with New Zealand at Brisbane's Suncorp Stadium on Saturday night.
The competition winners arrived at the game dressed as their favourite player, Radike Samo, wearing Australia's famous green and gold and with their arms, legs and faces painted black. Qantas posted a photo of the duo on its official Twitter page.
But what was supposed to be "a show of support" sparked outrage among Twitter users, who labelled the "blacking up" stunt "appalling."
Qantas quickly removed the photo and apologised to its followers Sunday morning. "We understand it caused offense to some people, which is why it was removed. We are really sorry if it has upset anyone," the tweet read.
By Matt Ridley
Some years ago, presumably for having written books on genetics, I was elected a fellow of Britain’s Academy of Medical Sciences (AMS). This was a great honour and I was even more pleased to be invited to speak at one of their annual dinners.
Then, towards the end of 2010, there dropped through my letter box a newsletter from the AMS which included an item on the academy having signed up to an “international statement” on the “health benefits of policies to tackle climate change” together with other medical science academies around the world. The newsletter said that the health “co-benefits” of tackling climate change “show that climate change mitigation strategies need not be socially and economically demanding”. Since everything I was reading at the time about rising food and fuel prices driven partly by climate change mitigation policies was pointing to the opposite conclusion – namely that malnutrition and hypothermia were being increased by such policies, outweighing any health advantages – I went online to read the statement, to find out what I had been signed up to as a fellow.
I found a four-page document, devoted to expounding the good health side-effects of fighting climate change by cutting emissions. For example:
Results for the cities of London and Delhi show that a combination of substantially increased active travel, such as cycling and walking, and lower-emission motor vehicles could lead to substantial reductions in greenhouse gas emissions and the burden of chronic diseases.
Most of the statements in the paper referred to a special issue of the Lancet, which had appeared just before the Copenhagen climate summit and which I knew had drawn a heavily critical and very persuasive reply from the independent scholar Indur Goklany. Goklany’s point was that while of course there are health benefits to climate change mitigation, there are health risks too and that any reasonable discussion must come to the conclusion that today and through the foreseeable future, many other health risks outrank global warming in terms of death and disease, and are also more easily addressed.
The IAMP statement not only ignored Goklany’s argument but failed even to acknowledge that risks might outweigh benefits. It had only a three-sentence mention of the issue of health risks that did not even address the issue of relative weight:
However, some climate change mitigation strategies have the potential to damage health. For example, if biofuels are grown on land which could support food crops they could reduce food availability and increase food prices.28 Therefore all climate change mitigation strategies should be subject to health impact assessment.
I did not think this was good enough, so I wrote to the president of the AMS, Sir John Bell, a former university friend and colleague, as follows:
I recently received through the post the Interacademy Medical Panel (IAMP) report on the health co-benefits of policies to tackle climate change. I gather this has already been signed on our behalf.
I have to say I found the document very disappointing and not up to the standards of a scientific academy like AMS.
What it lacks is balance. There is no attempt to cite evidence of the harm that may be done by rushed mitigation of fossil fuel emissions, even though these are extremely well known. There is no attempt to balance the catalogue of harmsthat can come from warming with the catalogue of harms that come from othercauses, whose mitigation might be prevented by efforts to prevent warming.
For example, the report says that `Rising temperatures may increase heat related deaths and heat stress, particularly in urban centres as a result of the urban heat island effect'. Yet there is ample evidence that cold-related deaths exceed heat-related deaths - by about five to one in most of Europe. Even the excess death toll from the 2003 European summer heatwave was dwarfed by the excess death toll from cold in most winters. Last year there were over 25,000 excess winter deaths in England and Wales alone (see http://www.statistics.gov.uk/cci/nugget.asp?id=574) and the death toll is disproportionately high among the aged who face acute problems from fuel poverty caused in part by carbon mitigation policies such as wind power subsidies, which have increased energy prices. It follows that if the world warms by 2 degrees, and that warming is greater in the far north, in winter and at night - all of which are predicted by the GCM models - then the death toll from cold stress will undoubtedly fall. It is wrong of the report not to mention these points.
As for the health cost of carbon mitigation policies, we have a perfect example of this in recent years in the effect of biofuel policies on the price and availability of food. There is now no doubt that biofuel policies, motivated substantially by concern about climate change, have caused real increases in hunger in 2008 and again this year (not to mention destruction of rain forest). You can debate how important this is relative to the threat posed by climate change, but to ignore these arguments is negligent.
Consider the case of an African family at risk from hunger, dirty water, indoor air pollution (caused by cooking over wood or charcoal fires), and malaria. These four factors are among the greatest causes of ill health in the world, killing respectively about seven, three, three and two people per minute, far more than can be attributed to global warming. What this family needs is fertilizer, clean water, kerosene and bed-nets, not policies to slow a rise in global temperatures. Indeed, you can argue that getting kerosene cooking fuel to such families is the best way to reduce deforestation and hence carbon dioxide emissions.
Keeping climate at 1990 levels, assuming it could be done, would leave more than 98 per cent of human mortality causes untouched, and would consume resources that could be far more effectively spent on combating ill health now. You will be aware that malaria has been eradicated from large parts of the world not by cooling the world down but by combating it directly. You will be aware that death rates from natural disasters are down by 98% since the 1920s not because of policies to change the climate but because of improvements in transport, medicine, communication and technology.
I append some comments on the report from Indur Goklany, a highly respected scholar who has contributed to these debates in the peer-reviewed literature. His analysis confirms my suspicions that the paper is unbalanced and misleading.
I received a courteous but non-committal reply from Sir John saying that he would pass on my comments to his colleague Dr Robert Souhami and that he welcomed by engagement with the issue.
All they did was duck and weave, of course. They answered none of Ridley's points and complied with none of his requests. I would be astounded by such scientific dishonesty if I had not seen much the same at work in other politically-relevant writing by academics -- JR
FORMER NSW Labor Premier Bob Carr has warned that retaining the Victorian Charter of Human Rights could liken the state to the UK, where public servants are too scared to enforce the law in fear of being taken to court.
Speaking at a meeting calling for the repeal of the charter yesterday, Mr Carr said British public servants were so afraid of breaching the European charter of human rights, they were scared into inaction.
"I'm very worried, as my friends at British Labour Party are, that the term human rights is becoming a bad term, because of the way the European charter is invoked. It's become a term of abuse," he said.
Mr Carr said older people in working class electorates in the UK feared criminal behaviour was not dealt with by police because the culprits would claim their human rights had been infringed.
"They say the police won't do anything about it because it'll be against their human rights," Mr Carr said.
"The cases they refer to are the gypsies, or the travellers as we should call them, who go on to private property and camp there and when the police are asked to remove them, threaten to take action in the courts under the human rights charter. "So the police do nothing."
Mr Carr said having a charter of human rights affected and shaped the behaviour of public servants.
"Public service employees will opt for the easiest course," he said. "They don't want to be smacked over the knuckles by an auditor general or an ombudsman or a parliamentary public accounts committee, but they certainly don't want to be dragged into court, even more they don't want to be dragged into court and embarrassed by action invoked under a rights charter."
Mr Carr said the resources put into enforcing Victoria's human rights charter could be better spent on child protection.
But President of the Law Institute of Victoria Caroline Counsel said Mr Carr's argument was "misinformed and illogical".
"The charter should be self perpetuating, if we all do the right thing by our citizens, lawyers won't need to be involved, courts won't need to be involved, it will just happen that we all act in accordance with what is appropriate in terms or implementation of human rights," she said. [Wow! Just who is it who is being "misinformed and illogical"?]
"Fighting for Mother Earth’s Civil Rights": Al Gore Says Debating With Him on Climate Science Is the Moral Equivalent of Being a Bull Connor Racist.
If you have a strong stomach and can withstand hate-filled self righteousness, watch him below
Since his own father voted against the Civil Rights Act of 1964, I guess he knows a bit about the subject.
Dr. Martin Hertzberg wrote the following in reply
As expected, the scientific illiteracy of the N. Y. Times journalists was again displayed for all to see in the 8/28/11 article by Justin Gillis trying to link Hurricane Irene to "human-induced (global) climate change" caused by "greenhouse gases trapping extra heat".
Nowhere in the article is the real cause even mentioned: the Pacific Decadal Oscillation (la Nina / El Nino cycles). Our current la Nina phase concentrates warmer surface waters in the western regions of oceans increasing the frequency and intensity of hurricanes and typhoons. For that phenomenon, human CO2 emission is about as significant as a few farts in a hurricane.
Gases do not "trap heat" and the "greenhouse effect" is devoid of physical reality: one of the greatest frauds in the history of science. The greenhouse belongs in the outhouse: it is a load of crap!
Too bad that your reporter didn't bother to contact the half dozen or so real hurricane experts in the world. The hurricane of 1938, which I experienced personally while walking home from 3rd grade at P. S. 109 in Brooklyn, was far more powerful than Irene at a time during the Great Depression when human CO2 emission was an order of magnitude lower than it is today. So much for the kind of anecdotal dribble that your journalists are so fond of citing.
Received by email from the author
PEOPLE brave enough to venture out into the wet at Brisbane's South Bank yesterday found themselves caught in the crossfire of very abusive protesters.
What started out as a protest against chocolate store Max Brenner turned into a heated face-off with those who turned out to support the company.
Pitted against each other outside the chocolate shop, the two opposing groups screamed at each other for 45 minutes before police moved one of the groups on.
The aim of the protesters, made up of the Socialist Alternative and the Justice for Palestine groups, was to highlight the support of Max Brenner's parent company, the Strauss Group, for the Israeli military and its sale of provisions to it.
Chanting "Max Brenner, come off it; there's blood in your chocolate", the group held up placards accusing Max Brenner of supporting apartheid.
The counter-protesters, made up of students, Israeli community members and politicians, screamed at their opponents: "Go home, Nazis!"
Logan City councillor Hajnal Black was repeatedly restrained by police as she pushed through the barricade line yelling: "We don't want Nazis in this country!"
There was a big police presence at the protest yesterday after a demonstration outside a Max Brenner store in Melbourne last month led to 19 arrests and three police officers being injured.
A law student, Danielle Keys, organised the student contingent of counter-protesters on Facebook after seeing footage of the Melbourne protest.
"I don't have a particularly strong opinion either way on Israel or Palestine. What's more important is dealing with freedom of enterprise and freedom of association and freedom of religion in this country," Ms Keys said.
"This is really about the innate anti-Semitic attitudes of extremist groups like the Socialist Alternative. We're all turning up to say, 'No, in Australia we support tolerance.' "
The Queensland Liberal National Party senator, Ron Boswell, said Max Brenner was a popular and "legitimate business" that should not be targeted in this way. "I think it's absolutely outrageous," he said. "I don't mind if people don't want to buy Max Brenner chocolates, but there shouldn't be pickets and intimidation and rallies to stop people.
"I think people that are trying to hit it with a boycott and picketing it, particularly a Jewish business, reminds me of some of the things that happened in the early 1930s."
The Socialist Alternative website says protesters will target Max Brenner Chocolates because it is owned by the Israeli-based Strauss Group.
It says the corporate responsibility section of Strauss Group's website – since amended – pledged the company's support to the Israeli army, including providing soldiers with food for training and missions.
The Socialist Alternative says the company has supported a platoon "infamous for its involvement in the 2006 invasion of Lebanon and other atrocities".
Senator Boswell, who spoke about the boycotts issue in Federal Parliament last week, said the protest was driven by the "super-left".
He said anyone wishing to protest on the issue should do so outside the Israeli embassy. "But don't pick on someone that comes to a chocolate shop; seriously, that's petty," he said.
VICTORIA Police is concerned that suspected violent criminals are being freed by the courts - despite facing serious charges - and then allegedly committing murder, rape and armed robbery.
An investigation by the Sunday Herald Sun has revealed 6096 suspects were granted bail last year and then went into hiding, missing the date of their court hearing. And, before arrest warrants for failing to appear in court were executed, 884 of them went on to commit an alleged 4117 new offences.
But Assistant Commissioner Luke Cornelius said there were "clear expectations" on officers to remand anyone in custody who posed a risk to society or was a risk of absconding and he was "confident" this was done in all police cases. "Ultimately, it's the court's decision and sometimes the courts don't go our way," Mr Cornelius said.
"There are times when we are concerned because of the risk to the public. There are plenty of cases where it might be said they've (the courts) got it wrong."
But Chief Magistrate Ian Gray hit back, suggesting police may have let some of the bail-jumpers go. "Offending while on bail is a serious issue and the decision to grant bail is made carefully," Mr Gray said. "It's not clear from these figures how many of these are police bails or court bails - but where it's shown in court that an offender poses an unacceptable risk of reoffending bail will be denied.
"Courts are obliged to apply the law. There is a presumption in favour of granting bail unless an accused needs to show cause or show exceptional circumstances."
Mr Cornelius cited the release of captured drug kingpin Tony Mokbel, who subsequently fled to Greece while on bail and was on the run for more than a year before being rearrested and extradited back to Melbourne. "I hope that Mokbel would be one case that would provide a source of reflection for our judicial colleagues," he said.
The statistics were obtained under Freedom of Information requests over several months. Police would not reveal the identities of the alleged murderer and other criminals who reoffended while at large.
Mr Cornelius revealed a newly published six-month performance report flagged outstanding warrants as an issue and that police statewide would now be conducting regular operations. "If a suspect has made a decision to skip bail and not turn up to court it's likely they have also made arrangements to go to ground and not be found," Mr Cornelius said, explaining why suspects were not located straight away.
"The volume of warrants is going up because courts are dishing out more each day, while we are still trying to find the ones we already have. It's on our radar. Our focus is on outstanding warrants and we need to pay a great deal of attention to it."
All officers are notified of a warrant if they happen to stop a person for any reason and run a check on their name.
The police's job becomes harder if the suspect moves to another suburb, interstate or even overseas. "The impetus and motivation is very much there to catch everyone who is wanted on a warrant," Mr Cornelius said. "For every crime there is a victim and if we don't have the accused there is a victim out there not getting justice. "The 4117 figure is a number that serves a reminder to Victoria Police to pay attention to this matter."
The Justice Department refused to comment on the issue this week after being asked on Wednesday.
When I read the sort of thing below I am always reminded of the old Quaker paraphrase of John 3: 19-20: "The children of the light love the light, and walk in the light, but the children of darkness walk in darkness, and hate the light" -- JR
By Prof. Claes Johnson
Here is a fresh example how IPCC suppresses science which does not support the CO2 alarmism IPCC presents to the world and its leaders:
I was invited to participate in discussions on climate science in Brussels Sept 1-2 with the following letter of August 20:
SEII (Société Européenne des Ingénieurs et Industriels, Prof Henri Masson) organizes a conference for Fred Singer and Claes Johnson at the Fondation Universitaire in Brussels on September 1, at 18 h00. Official invitation from SEII follows by E-mail.
The next day 2 September there will be a workshop with some of our Think Tank . Our preliminary programme looks as follows:
18h15 S. Fred Singer : What is new in climate change?
19 h 00 Claes Johnson : Blackbody radiation and Climate Thermodynamics
19 h45 to 20 H30 : Questions and Answers
We are very happy to have this opportunity to bring together scientists and some politicians (we hope) and get some useful and interesting discussions.
No official invitation by SEII followed. Instead the following letter [Google translation] was sent on August 22 by Jean-Pascal van Ypersele, Vice-Chair of IPCC, Membre de l'Académie royale de Belgique, on mission in the US, to Fondation Universitaire:
Subject: SEII and scientific integrity
The SEII it implicitly supports the denial climate on the eve of World Congress of Engineers in Geneva dedicated to the energy (when I have the honor of giving a "keynote lecture")?
The use of the stationery of SEII by your administrator Mr Masson for the attached invitation suggests. Unfortunately, despite a phrase to indicate that the hypocrite SEII no "sponsors" not the event.
You should know that Mr. Fred Singer is a person whose scientific integrity leaves much to be desired. Its activities are financed disinformation by the lobbies of fossil fuels (see XXXXXXXXXXXXXX), and it is scandalous that such a person may be associated, directly or indirectly, to SEII and the University Foundation.
Eminent colleagues have written that Mr. Johnson was no better. One of his "textbook" recently, where he spoke at random through climate change, published by the Royal Institute of Technology (KTH, Sweden) had to be retracted by him so it contained errors.
Thank you very quickly to tell me what measures SEII take to distance themselves from this "event"? I would be happy also to know what is the mandate of this "think tank" of SEII on climate change that Mr. Masson chairs (although his resume is not available at the University of Antwerp, and I've never heard of his skills in climate).
Sincerely, Prof.. Jean-Pascal van Ypersele
The effect of the letter was that the SEII/Fondation Universitaire seminar was cancelled, stopped, censored. IPCC managed to suppress questioning of the science presented by IPCC, by a forceful intervention by one of its vice-presidents.
What to say about this? Well, I am not surprised. I read that the burning of my mathematics book by KTH supported by media and the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences (documented as KTH-gate), is now used to motivate to also mute my voice.
But why these hysteric reactions from IPCC? There must be something in what I am saying (and/or Fred Singer), which is very dangerous to IPPC.
What is it? Van Ypersele knows. But will van Ypersele succeed in preventing IPCC from collapse under scientific scrutiny?
To burn books because they contain some incorrectnesses would be an overwhelming task: All books contain something which is incorrect. The only real reason to burn a book or suppress an oral presentation is that what is presented is correct, but unpleasant to some.
For a summary of my criticism of IPCC climate science, see my presentation at the annual meeting of Stockholm Initiative.
PS Here is a reaction from Fred Singer:
Why am I not surprised by this disreputable action of this IPCC officer.After all, we know from Climategate emails that these people will go to any length to suppress scientific dissent. Even to libel and to use bald-faced lies.
Of course, I am not supported by fossil-fuel industry. That is complete nonsense and invention. My Europe visit is paid by the Ettore Majorana Foundation -- to give an invited talk at a climate conference in Erice. I am using the occasion to accept additional invitations to speak (without lecture fees) at the Univ of Hamburg, Imperial College, Univ of Paris - Jussieu, and of course at the KNMI in De Bilt. By happenstance I was also invited to address 100+ engineers in Zurich.
Our IPCC colleague van Yp also questions my honesty. Well now -- the IPCC has been using me as a scientific reviewer, I publish regularly in peer-reviewed journals and am an elected Fellow of several scientific societies. So there must be some who disagree with van Yp.
Organic farming needs much more land per unit of output so is Gore proposing to cut down more forests to enable organic food production? Aren't forests "carbon sinks"?
Al Gore wants society to ditch meat-heavy diets and go organic to combat global warming.
"Industrial agriculture is a part of the problem,” Gore said Friday during an interview with FearLess Revolution founder Alex Bogusky. “The shift toward a more meat-intensive diet,” the clearing of forest areas in many parts of the world in order to raise more cattle and the reliance on synthetic nitrogen for fertilizer are also problems, he added.
Instead, Gore advocated organic farming and relying on “more productive, safer methods that put carbon back in the soil” to produce “safer and better food.”
In addition to big farms, Gore took a shot at the mining industry, calling mountaintop-removal mining a “horrible practice” that is “just incredibly harmful to the environment and to people.”
The former vice president also criticized climate change skeptics, urging those who support curbs to greenhouse gases to “win the conversation” when it comes to global warming. He compared the struggle against climate skeptics to the fight against racism during the civil rights movement.
When racist comments would come up in the course of conversations, “There came a time when people said, 'Hey man, why do you talk that way? That's wrong, I don't go for that, so don't talk that way around me. I just don't believe that.'”
That happened in millions of conversations, and slowly the conversation was won,” he said. “And we still have racism, God knows, but it's so different now and so much better. And we have to win the conversation on climate.”
CAMPBELL Newman is riding a growing wave of anger and discontent with the Bligh Government that threatens to wipe out Labor at the looming state election.
A new Galaxy Poll, conducted exclusively for The Courier-Mail, has revealed the Liberal National Party is cruising towards an election victory with Labor slipping back to the position it held before the summer's disasters.
Not even the Greens will be able to help Labor MPs over the line with the minor party's vote stagnant for the past 12 months.
The results will severely deflate Anna Bligh and her acolytes who have thrown everything at trying to damage Mr Newman and his unorthodox bid to become premier from outside of Parliament.
According to the poll of 800 Queenslanders this week, Labor's primary vote had slipped back to 28 per cent, a repeat of what it achieved in November which was a record low at the time.
The LNP remain on 52 per cent of the primary vote while the Greens hold 10 per cent.
Voters backing other parties and Independents rose to 10 per cent, an increase that could be linked to Bob Katter's new Australian Party.
On a two-party-preferred basis, the LNP holds the most dominant lead it has achieved all term against Ms Bligh's administration which has not recovered from the controversial asset sales.
The LNP's 63 per cent to 37 per cent lead would leave Labor with just 10 seats, less than what One Nation snared at the 1998 state election.
However, the poll shows neither side is considered appealing with more than half voting for a party because they dislike it least.
Sixty-four per cent of LNP voters favoured Mr Newman because they didn't like Labor, while 55 per cent of Ms Bligh's backers couldn't bring themselves to vote conservative.
The poll found Ms Bligh had suffered a rapid reversal of fortunes in the way voters had perceived her efforts since she was hailed as a hero for her handling of the summer's disasters. The number satisfied with her efforts had fallen to 40 per cent while the number dissatisfied rose to 56 per cent.
Mr Newman received an endorsement for his efforts from 55 per cent of voters while 28 per cent were unimpressed.
The former Brisbane lord mayor was also seen as a likely better premier with 55 per cent backing the LNP leader compared to Ms Bligh's 38 per cent.
It looks like the post-civil war record of 1,075 days without a US hurricane strike will end soon. This should be a disaster for climate alarmists, but the propaganda mill is totally corrupt and endemic to the system. They spin all weather events as proof of global warming, and are fully supported by their useful idiots in government and the press.
As CO2 has increased, US hurricane strikes have decreased.
This may simply show that drug dependant kids are also more Facebook dependant. The direction of cause is entirely speculative
Time spent social networking increases the risk of teens smoking, drinking and using drugs, according to a national survey of American attitudes on substance abuse.
On a typical day, 70 per cent of teens ages 12 to 17 - 17 million teenagers - spend from a minute to hours on Facebook, Myspace and other social networking sites, according to The National Centre on Addiction and Substance Abuse (CASA) at Columbia University.
But for this same age bracket, social-network-savvy teens are five times more likely to use tobacco; three times more likely to use alcohol; and twice as likely to use marijuana than teens who do not spend any of their day on social networking sites.
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"The results are profoundly troubling ... the anything goes, free-for-all world of internet expression, suggestive television programing and what-the-hell attitudes put teens at sharply increased risk of substance abuse," CASA Founder and Chairman Joseph Califano Jr said in a statement on Wednesday.
Knowledge Networks surveyed 1037 teens ages 12 to 17 and 528 parents of these teens over the internet. QEV Analytics conducted the annual telephone survey of 1006 teens 12 to 17, asking questions CASA has used to track trends.
Results revealed that half of teens who spend any time social networking in a given day have seen pictures of kids "drunk, passed out, or using drugs on these sites".
But even beyond the daily teen social networkers, 14 per cent of teens who reported spending no time on such sites in a given day said they have seen pictures of drunk, passed out, or drug-using kids on the sites.
Teens who had seen such pictures were four times likelier to be able to get marijuana, three times likelier to be able to get prescription drugs without a prescription, and twice as likely to be able to get alcohol in a day at most.
Teens who had seen such pictures were also more than twice as likely to think they would try drugs in the future, and much more likely to have friends who used illegal drugs.
"Especially troubling - and alarming - are that almost half of the teens who have seen pictures ... first saw such pictures when they were 13 years of age or younger," the report said. "These facts alone should strike Facebook fear into the hearts of parents of young children."
But the surveys, which also questioned adults, found that nine of 10 parents do not think teens spending time social networking are any more likely to drink or use drugs.
Only 64 per cent of parents said they monitor their child's social networking page.
The authors of the report called for parents - still the greatest influence on a teen's decision whether to smoke, drink, or use drugs - to present a consistent and unified front against substance abuse. "In the cultural seas into which we toss our teens, parents are essential to preventing their substance abuse."
The report also urged operators of social networking sites to curb such images and deny use to adolescents who post them. "Continuing to provide the electronic vehicle for transmitting such images constitutes electronic child abuse," it said.
"A Florida history teacher has been suspended after it was revealed he wrote about his objections to gay marriage on his personal Facebook page. Jerry Buell, who was Mount Dora High School’s “Teacher of the Year” last year, reportedly wrote that he almost “threw up” in response to New York’s legalization of same-sex marriage in July.
According to Fox News, the school system received a complaint about the comment Tuesday and suspended and reassigned Buell the next day.
“It was my own personal comment on my own personal time on my own personal computer in my own personal house, exercising what I believed as a social studies teacher to be my First Amendment rights,” Buell told Fox.
Chris Patton, a communications officer for the school system, told Fox there was concern about how Buell might treat gay students in his class. He also disputed the notion that the comments were private.
“He has [more than] 700 friends,” Patton said. “How private is that – really? Social media can be troubling if you don’t respect it and know that just because you think you are in a private realm – it’s not private.”
He vowed Buell will not return to the classroom until “a thorough job of looking at everything – past or previous writings” is complete.
Buell said he thought the school is trying to silence Christian teachers, warning them not to express their views.
A pretty clear 1st Amendment violation by the school there.
The school has now backed down
Despite the caution of the CERN Director General
Long-anticipated results of the CLOUD experiment at CERN in Geneva appear in tomorrow’s issue of the journal Nature (25 August). The Director General of CERN stirred controversy last month, by saying that the CLOUD team’s report should be politically correct about climate change (see my 17 July post below). The implication was that they should on no account endorse the Danish heresy – Henrik Svensmark’s hypothesis that most of the global warming of the 20th Century can be explained by the reduction in cosmic rays due to livelier solar activity, resulting in less low cloud cover and warmer surface temperatures.
Willy-nilly the results speak for themselves, and it’s no wonder the Director General was fretful.
Jasper Kirkby of CERN and his 62 co-authors, from 17 institutes in Europe and the USA, announce big effects of pions from an accelerator, which simulate the cosmic rays and ionize the air in the experimental chamber. The pions strongly promote the formation of clusters of sulphuric acid and water molecules – aerosols of the kind that may grow into cloud condensation nuclei on which cloud droplets form. What’s more, there’s a very important clarification of the chemistry involved.
A breach of etiquette
My interest in CLOUD goes back nearly 14 years, to a lecture I gave at CERN about Svensmark’s discovery of the link between cosmic rays and cloudiness. It piqued Kirkby’s curiosity, and both Svensmark and I were among those who helped him to prepare his proposal for CLOUD.
By an unpleasant irony, the only Svensmark contribution acknowledged in theNature report is the 1997 paper (Svensmark and Friis-Christensen) on which I based my CERN lecture. There’s no mention of the successful experiments in ion chemistry and molecular cluster formation by the Danish team in Copenhagen, Boulby and latterly in Aarhus where they beat CLOUD to the first results obtained using a particle beam (instead of gamma rays and natural cosmic rays) to ionize the air in the experimental chamber – see here
What will historians of science make of this breach of scientific etiquette? That Kirkby was cross because Svensmark, losing patience with the long delay in getting approval and funding for CLOUD, took matters into his own hands? Or because Svensmark’s candour about cosmic rays casting doubt on catastrophic man-made global warming frightened the national funding agencies? Or was Kirkby simply doing his best (despite the results) to obey his Director General by slighting all things Danish?
Personal rivalries aside, the important question is what the new CLOUD paper means for the Svensmark hypothesis. Pick your way through the cautious prose and you’ll find this:
“Ion-induced nucleation [cosmic ray action] will manifest itself as a steady production of new particles [molecular clusters] that is difficult to isolate in atmospheric observations because of other sources of variability but is nevertheless taking place and could be quite large when averaged globally over the troposphere [the lower atmosphere].”
It’s so transparently favourable to what the Danes have said all along that I’m surprised the warmists’ house magazine Nature is able to publish it, even omitting the telltale graph.
A graph they'd prefer you not to notice. Tucked away near the end of online supplementary material, and omitted from the printed CLOUD paper in Nature, it clearly shows how cosmic rays promote the formation of clusters of molecules (“particles”) that in the real atmosphere can grow and seed clouds. In an early-morning experimental run at CERN, starting at 03.45, ultraviolet light began making sulphuric acid molecules in the chamber, while a strong electric field cleansed the air of ions. It also tended to remove molecular clusters made in the neutral environment (n) but some of these accumulated at a low rate. As soon as the electric field was switched off at 04.33, natural cosmic rays (gcr) raining down through the roof of the experimental hall in Geneva helped to build clusters at a higher rate.
How do we know they were contributing? Because when, at 04.58, CLOUD simulated stronger cosmic rays with a beam of charged pion particles (ch) from the accelerator, the rate of cluster production became faster still. The various colours are for clusters of different diameters (in nanometres) as recorded by various instruments. The largest (black) took longer to grow than the smallest (blue). This is Fig. S2c from supplementary online material for J. Kirkby et al., Nature, 476, 429-433, © Nature 2011
Added to the already favourable Danish experimental findings, the more detailed CERN result is excellent. Thanks a million, Jasper.
A SENIOR Labor strategist admitted to US embassy officials as long ago as 2009 that Labor's decision to dismantle the Howard government's Pacific Solution was partly responsible for the resurgence of the people-smuggling trade.
A diplomatic cable sent from the US embassy in Canberra in the wake of a 2009 boat explosion off Ashmore Reef that killed five asylum-seekers, has provided a unique insight into Washington's take on the Australian asylum debate. The cable, released yesterday by WikiLeaks, said while the number of asylum-seekers venturing to Australia remained "relatively small", the numbers were rising steadily and that the asylum debate in Australia was "highly emotive".
"Border protection was widely credited as a major factor in the conservative Coalition's 2001 election victory," the cable states.
The cable quotes the views of a "leading ALP strategist" on what was causing the revival in boat arrivals, which dropped sharply after the Howard government introduced the "Pacific Solution" of offshore processing in Nauru and on Manus Island.
"A leading ALP strategist told Consulate Perth that he thought the increased incidence of asylum-seekers resulted from a combination of Australia's softer immigration policy and a global increase in refugee movements," the cable reports.
The views of the strategist, whose identity is not revealed, largely contradict the official government line at the time, which refused to acknowledge that the Rudd government's decision to dismantle the Pacific Solution and abolish temporary protection visas may have played some role in luring asylum-seekers.
Instead, then immigration minister Chris Evans attributed the revival of the smuggling trade to instability in source countries, such as Afghanistan and Sri Lanka.
Citing briefings from Australia's Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, US embassy officials also describe the transformation of the people-smuggling scene, in particular the proliferation of smaller operators.
"Small, independent smugglers are replacing the larger operators in part because of Indonesia's success - bolstered by help and training from the Australian Federal Police and Australian Customs - in stopping the major people-smugglers, who exerted the most corrupting influence on the military, politicians and police," the cable says.
"Asylum-seekers have the money to pay/bribe the small providers, and the boats are leaving from many more coves and inlets than before, greatly complicating the coastguard's task."
The cable, dated April 17, 2009, was written a day after the explosion of an asylum-seeker boat near Ashmore Reef off the northwest coast of Australia. The blast occurred after asylum-seekers sabotaged the boat, pouring petrol into the bilges.
The cable paints a picture of the asylum debate as it stood in early 2009. It says the Coalition, at that point lagging "far behind" in the polls, was seeking to reignite the border security debate to emulate the success it had enjoyed in 2001.
But US officials played down the significance of the debate, which at that stage was just beginning to unfold. They said the economy, rather than border security, was "foremost in the minds of 'working families' " at the time.
"It is difficult to envisage Rudd significantly hardening immigration policy," the officials observe. "This would alienate the Left of his party, and possibly undermine Australia's bid for a UN Security Council seat."
The authors of the document even go so far as to say the issue could "backfire on the Coalition" by alienating Liberal moderates who were uncomfortable with the hardline stance of the Howard years.
Opposition immigration spokesman Scott Morrison said yesterday the WikiLeaks disclosures highlighted the government's culpability for the chaos their policy changes had wrought.
"For more than two years, the ALP has known that their soft policies were a pull factor drawing boats to Australia and doing nothing about it," Mr Morrison said.
So, is it worth getting a degree? One in five British graduates is earning less than a school leaver
One in five graduates earns less than a person who left school with as little as one A-level. The official figures raise doubts that thousands of students have wasted their time with ‘useless’ degrees.
On average, the Office for National Statistics says that a person with a degree or higher academic qualification, such as a PhD, earns £16.10 an hour. By comparison, a person who got at least one A level, or an equivalent qualification, typically earns £10 an hour. But 20 per cent of graduates earn less than £10 an hour, the amount they would have earned without a degree.
The figure could be even worse in reality because the ONS did not include graduates who are unemployed or who have never worked.
The study also said the proportion of graduates doing low-skilled, badly-paid work has quadrupled to 2.3 per cent since 1993. Many of these end up doing jobs which require little or no training such as hotel porter, postman, cleaner or catering assistant.
Business groups have repeatedly warned that employers are turning their backs on graduates. A recent report from the British Chambers of Commerce said too many graduates have ‘fairly useless degrees in non-serious subjects’.
Phil McCabe from the Forum of Private Business said: ‘The value of a degree is dwindling.’
Tanya de Grunwald, founder of Graduate Fog.co.uk, a website for job-seeking graduates, said many are devastated by the salaries they are offered. She said: ‘Finally, the figures from the ONS back up what our graduates have been saying – that they are just not getting the quality of job that they thought their degree would lead to.
‘One politics and economics graduate told me a massive career low was when he got a day’s trial at a pound shop – and did not get the job. ‘People say that a graduate typically earns £26,000, but this doesn’t reflect the reality. Many of them are just scraping the barrel.’
One anonymous contributor to a student website wrote: ‘If I could have my time back, I wouldn’t have gone to university. ‘I graduated last year and work in a friend’s café for £6 an hour.’
A separate report, published yesterday, asked more than 4,000 people whether they would recommend a young person to go to university. Just 29 per cent of those aged 18 to 34 said they would ‘actively encourage’ it, according to the poll commissioned by the Pearson Centre for Policy and Learning.
A spokesman for the Department for Business insisted that university is not an expensive waste of time for many people. She said: ‘Our studies show that graduates earn, on average, around £100,000 more across their working lives, as well as having other benefits such as greater rates of employment and improved health status.’
Last June, Missouri Congressman Todd Akin made a speech in which he said that liberalism involved “hatred of God.” Needless to say, the professionally touchy were inflamed, and the Congressman was quick to issue an apology. Some local pastors weren’t satisfied with that, however, and sought a face-to-face meeting with Akin at his office. Maybe an apology doesn’t take the first time, or maybe being a follower of Jesus today means never saying anything to offend. Is that what Jesus did?
I don’t know exactly what Akin meant by comparing liberalism with “hatred of God,” but perhaps he was thinking of the liberal penchant for seeing all problems as social, with a liberal government providing solutions, justice, prosperity, etc. In other words, a liberal government replaces God as the source of all blessings. And do we not read in Scripture that those “who are not with Me are against Me?” So maybe Akin’s thinking was along those lines. Maybe not. I’m not losing any sleep about it. What bothers me is not what Akin said, but the fact that he seemed to feel it necessary to apologize for it.
It’s easy to make an off-the-cuff remark that offends someone, and in that case, an apology may, or may not, be in order. Akin’s remarks, as I understand it, were given in a radio interview, and thus were, to some extent, spontaneous. But Akin is a politician, and not likely to deliberately insult possible constituents. If his comment caused offense to some, so what? In recent years, it has become routine for public figures to say things that they subsequently apologize for, as though it were an offense against good manners and etiquette to express ideas which some people don’t like. There’s a significant difference between deliberately insulting someone, or some group, and then apologizing, and stating your beliefs, which may annoy or irritate some sensitive souls. In the latter case, why should an apology be necessary? For a politician, especially, to never utter a word offensive to anybody, would require him to speak nothing but the most banal platitudes. Come to think of it, that would offend me! Apologize!!
So to simplify matters, I have produced the following statement, which any public figure is free to copy and hand out after any public utterance that could conceivably hurt someone’s feelings. Feel free to modify it to suit your own situation as needed.
"I (name), speaking for myself or anyone associated with me or acting on my behalf, or on behalf of any organization with which I have ever had any connection, do hereby offer the most sincere and abject apologies for anything that I, or we, say, have said, or might say in the future, that anyone, or any group, anywhere, at any time, might, under any circumstances, find offensive, annoying, irritating, irksome, or distressing. We also abjectly apologize to any who are psychically or emotionally wounded by our failure to say something they think we should have said, as well as to those who find our apologies offensive and hurtful. Our remarks--or maybe the lack of them--were inappropriate, and we are really, really, sorry."
"It’s been an odd few days for pop-sensation Katy Perry. Not only did she make history after tying Michael Jackson for having five #1 hits off of a single album, but now the week has taken a vitriolic twist. That’s because Perry faced a slew of angry responses from Palestinians and their supporters after she sent a tweet asking others to pray for Israel
Of course, it didn’t take long for the Twitterverse to light up with responses from Muslims, Palestinians and others who found the her message less-than-appealing.
It didn’t take Perry long to backtrack on her initial Tweet.
Considering Hollywood’s leftist tilt, it‘s a wonder she’s not an unabashed supporter of the Palestinians. Perry was raised in a conservative Christian home, which may explain her less liberal inclinations on the Middle Eastern conflict
There are many articles coming out which make similar claims to the one below. Note however the omissions. No climate skeptic was consulted for alternative statistics or explanations. And even if we accept that there has been a recent increase of big storms and wild weather, alternative explanations to global warming are readily available.
It has for instance recently been shown that storm incidence is heavily and rapidly influenceed by aerosol load. And there is no doubt that factories and cars have been putting out a lot of aerosols (minute particles that float in the sky) in recent years. Warming need have nothing to do with it. An increase in storms may have been triggered just by an upsurge in aerosols. Since global temperatures have not increased for over 10 years, aerosols are in fact the more likely culprit.
And the basic claim that weather has been more extreme in recent years is highly suspect. As has often been documented on this blog, there were many catastrophic weather events in the early 20th century -- long before the period nominated by Warmists as influenced by anthropogenic CO2.
In support of that suspicion, note that many of the extremes noted below are only "since 1980". Nice to cherrypick your starting point! In fact just picking out Oklahoma is also cherrypicking
Oklahomans are accustomed to cruel climate. Frigid winters and searing summers are often made more unbearable by scouring winds. But even by Oklahoma standards, it's been a year of whipsaw weather.
February was so cold — with the wind chill it felt like 16 below — that Tim Gillard installed a door in the long hallway of his home in the small farming town of Marshall, walling off three rooms to more affordably heat the rest of the house. Now, in this summer's unrelenting heat, his family huddles in the air conditioning behind that same door.
The Gillards' respite ended this month when a windstorm knocked out the town's electricity. That sent many of Marshall's 290 beleaguered residents out to their porches at night to sleep, cooler than inside but still sweltering. In July, Oklahoma's average statewide temperature of 89 was the highest ever recorded for any state.
Oklahoma's misery has been writ large across the country this year, which federal climate scientists have labeled one of the worst in American history for extreme weather. With punishing blizzards, epic flooding, devastating drought and a heat wave that has broiled a huge swath of the country, the 2011 weather has been unrelenting and extraordinary.
In addition to hundreds of deaths from cold and heat and tornadoes, the national economic toll for extreme weather so far this year is estimated at $35 billion, more than five times the average annual loss.
And, climatologists warn, get used to it. The year has been so wild that Gary McManus has given up keeping track of the weather records set in Oklahoma. Begrudgingly, McManus, the associate state climatologist, briskly rattled off a few:
—The all-time low temperature (31 degrees below zero).
—Greatest 24-hour snowfall total (27 inches).
—Most tornadoes in one month (50 in April).
There's been no measurable rain in the western half of the state since October. The 11-month period ending in August was the driest such period statewide since records were first kept in 1895.
McManus said this year's back-to-back weather calamities were "out of the realm of your imagining. It's not just that temperatures are above normal, it's that it's above normal for so many months in a row." And this is the state that bore the brunt of the Dust Bowl.
"It's Oklahoma, it's feast or famine," said Annette Gonzales, 58, acting Marshall postmaster. "It's always extreme."
Oklahoma's heat wave has so far claimed 14 lives. Since 2000, Oklahoma has had more federally declared weather-related disasters than any other state....
Climate scientists point to the predictable and cumulative effects of climate change — both hot and cold — to account for much of the extreme weather, although the connection between tornadoes and climate is not clear. In any event, scientists caution that the future will hold greater temperature extremes, and for longer duration.
Officials at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration say that extreme weather events have been more frequent since 1980.
I didn't think it would ever happen. But it's only a start
A SHAKE-UP of NSW Health will slash 150 management jobs and save $80 million, which will be transferred to frontline hospital services.
The new director general of health, Mary Foley, commissioned the overhaul, which will abolish a layer of middle management made up of 200 staff who oversee local health districts.
Another 100 positions will be shed from NSW Health's head office in North Sydney
The Health Minister, Jillian Skinner, said 150 positions would be made redundant. The remaining 150 would be transferred to other areas, including district services.
The restructure is part of the government's promised devolution of management from head office to local area health services.
"We are removing a middle layer of management which will allow resources to be deployed to support frontline health care," she said. "The new structure will provide greater transparency and accountability, duplication of tasks will be stopped and there will be greater clarity of roles and responsibilities."
The former Labor government introduced the middle-layer management positions last year, calling them clusters across three areas - northern, western, and southern.
The restructure would strengthen the government's so-called pillars: the Agency for Clinical Innovation, the Clinical Excellence Commission, the Health Education and Training Institute and the Bureau of Health Information. New eHealth, pathology and infrastructure services would be consolidated.
Mrs Skinner said the Department of Health would become the Ministry of Health and be reduced in size, with "a flatter structure" giving local health districts greater control.
The Public Service Association said the job cuts would jeopardise the development of health policy in NSW and undermine the quality of health service control.
A PSA industrial officer, Ayshe Lewis, said no voluntary redundancies would be offered. She said the announcement would cut the number of head office employees by a third. "While some of the positions are vacant, most of them are filled by temporary staff who are carrying out the work," she said.
"It's a furphy that cutting these positions will not impact on the delivery of frontline health services. The delivery of effective services is dependent on smart policy and program design. Health professionals on the front line can't do their jobs if they don't have expert guidance and support."
The opposition spokesman on health, Andrew McDonald, said the job cuts would have "a major impact on patient care".
"Job cuts to administration workers means other frontline staff will be left to fill the void," he said. "These job cuts are hitting the very workers responsible for driving change and innovation in health."
Greens NSW MP John Kaye said the minister had "deleted" jobs and destroyed 150 careers.
"She has also removed both the central and cluster support needed to make the public health system run effectively and efficiently," he said. "[Her] rhetoric about deploying resources to the front line is a thinly veiled excuse to slash the health budget."
We grow up learning that some things are just bad: child labor, ticket scalping, price gouging, kidney selling, blackmail, etc. But maybe they're not.
What I love about economics is that it can show that what seems harmful is actually good for society. It illuminates what common sense overlooks. This is all covered in the eye-opening book "Defending the Undefendable" by economist Walter Block.
Most people call child labor an unmitigated evil. David Boaz of the Cato Institute and Nick Gillespie of Reason.tv say that's wrong. "If we say that the United States should abolish child labor in very poor countries," Boaz said, "then what will happen to these children? ... They're not suddenly going to go to the country day school. ... They may be out selling their bodies on the street. That is not an improvement over working in a t-shirt factory."
In fact, studies show that in at least one country where child labor was suddenly banned, prostitution increased. Good economics teaches that as poor countries get richer and freer, capital investment raises the productivity of labor and child labor diminishes. There's no shortcut through government prohibition -- unless you like starvation and child prostitution.
What about price-gouging? State laws attempt to prevent people from charging "unconscionable" prices during emergencies.
"If I'm in the neighborhood of Hurricane Katrina," Boaz said, "what I want is water and ice and generators. ... If you are in Kentucky (and) you've got 10 generators in your store, are you getting up at 4 a.m. to drive all day to get to Louisiana to sell these generators if you can only sell them for the same price you can sell them for in Kentucky? No, you're going to go down because ... you can sell them for more."
Also, if prices rise during an emergency, that's a signal for people to buy only what they most need. That leaves more for everyone else. If the price remains low, an incentive to conserve is lost.
Ticket scalpers are seen as sleazy guys who cheat you by marking up the price of tickets. Profits go to middlemen instead of the performers. What good could they possibly do? "I like to think of ticket scalpers as the guy who stands in line so that I don't have to," Gillespie said. Time spent in line is part of the ticket cost. Scalpers let you pay entirely in money, rather than partly in valuable time.
Most people say that selling body parts is wrong. "It also seems wrong to have people dying because they can't get a kidney," Boaz said. Some 400,000 Americans are on a waiting list now for a new kidney, and they are not allowed to pay for one. "We sell hair. We sell sperm. We sell eggs these days." Boaz added.
Gillespie added, "The best way to grow the supply and allow more people to live is to allow the market to price those organs."
Maybe the most counterintuitive position argued on my show was that blackmail should not be a crime. Blackmail (unlike extortion) is the demand for money in return for withholding information. Robin Hanson, a George Mason University economist, defends blackmail.
"The thing you're threatening when you're threatening blackmail (is) gossip," Hanson said. "If it should be all right to tell people, it should be all right to threaten to tell people." What we don't like, however, is the blackmailer saying, "Pay me to keep quiet." "But the effect of that is to make people behave," Hanson said. "If we (allow) blackmail, people behave even more because they are even more afraid of what might happen if they don't."
Maybe Ponzi-schemer Bernie Madoff would have been caught earlier? "That's right. ... Blackmail is actually a form of private law enforcement." Also, since gossip is free speech, blackmail is simply selling the service of not engaging in free speech. Why should that be outlawed?
I subtitled my last book, "Everything You Know Is Wrong." I was exaggerating, of course, but many things we're taught are fallacies. That's why I like economics. It explodes fallacies.
As evidenced by the fact that the big rise in output for private consumption occurred AFTER the war
World War II increased GDP, but more than 100% of the increase was devoted to munitions, building the Pentagon, employing teams of bureaucrats to control prices and government activity generally, much of it misguided. Gross Private Product decreased from $921 billion in 2005 dollars in 1940 to $427 billion in 1944, well below 1932’s level, showing that the private economy was badly squeezed. Then in 1946, while GDP decreased by 11%, GPP more than doubled to $1,309 billion. Readjustment was inflationary and disruptive, but it saw an astonishing increase in output and living standards.
The Keynesian thesis can be further demolished by looking at 1946 compared to 1938-40. At the tail end of the Great Depression, in November 1938, there was a massive turnover in the U.S. Congress, similar to the Tea Party revolt of 2010, in which the Republicans gained six Senate seats and an astonishing 72 House seats (9 more than in 2010). Although this did not give them a majority, it stopped dead the New Deal policies of heavy state spending and economic experimentation. GDP increased by 8% per annum between 1938 and 1940 and GPP increased even more rapidly, by 9.2% per annum.
This pulled the U.S. out of the Great Depression, with 1940 GPP 10% above that of 1929, but left the economy far below capacity. If you apply the average 1929-2000 growth rate of 3.43% per annum to 1929’s GPP, you get a 1940 full employment GPP estimate of $1,203 billion in 2005 dollars, 31% above the actual figure. That suggests that without the war the 1938-40 boom would naturally have continued, perhaps slowing somewhat, until it ran up against resource constraints. Apply 1938-40’s actual growth rate to the next six years and you get a 1946 GPP of $1,558 billion, 19% above actual 1946 GPP. Applying the 1929-2000 growth rate to 1929 GPP gives you $1,473 billion in 1946, 13% above the actual level. 1947 and 1948 showed further GPP increases, but reduced actual GPP’s gap below full employment GPP only to 11%.
Bottom line: without the war, GPP would have continued recovering at a rapid rate after 1940, probably giving a higher GPP by 1946. Second bottom line: a combination of the Great Depression and the war, probably mostly the latter, depressed 1946’s GPP by around 10%-12% below the level it would naturally have reached in a free peaceful market.
Intuitively this makes sense. As policy was stabilized after 1938, the U.S. economy began recovering rapidly to its natural full-employment level. World War II depressed the private economy to a low level, but its effect was mostly temporary, with an astonishing bounce-back as peace returned. However, a combination of the Great Depression and the damage caused by the war caused the United States to lose about 10%-12% of its full-employment output by 1946-48 (catching up which long-term may have resulted in the exceptionally good economic performance of 1948-66.) The Keynesian story of World War II’s economic boost makes no sense; this one does.
"A freshman Republican lawmaker resigned because his wife sent "an offensive and racist" email to the Democratic state Senate campaign of nine-time Olympic gold medalist Carl Lewis, a GOP official acknowledged Monday.
Delany and his wife, Jennifer Delany, are white. Lewis, a political novice who's among the greatest athletes of all time, is black.
Jennifer Delany's email to Lewis' campaign said, in part, "Imagine having dark skin and name recognition and the nerve to think that equaled knowing something about politics."
"Former Assemblyman Pat Delany's wife inexplicably sent an offensive and racist email in response to a routine email from Carl Lewis' campaign; her actions were inexcusable," Layton said.
Lewis is running for state Senate in New Jersey's 8th Legislative District. Delany was part of the opposing GOP Assembly slate in the district.
I suppose the email was a bit nasty but it was also a fair comment. Does being able to run fast make you a good representative? And is there any doubt that his skin color would have influenced his nomination? An inexperienced know-nothing became POTUS because of his skin color -- and got a Nobel prize for it to boot. The racism lies in nominating dummies because of their skin color -- not in criticizing that.
That's where the Greenies want us
America's Top Ten Coolest Schools - Sept/Oct 2011 - Sierra Magazine - Sierra Club:
Cattle helped Green Mountain, in Poultney, Vermont, achieve climate neutrality. The school gets upward of half its energy from Central Vermont Cow Power, a utility that harnesses biogas from manure. Above, students learn to drive GMC's oxen for spring plowing. The school's agricultural projects are an experiment in fossil-free farming—instead of tractors, draft animals do much of the work. Score: 81.1
“The pendulum has really swung back to the age of these kids grandparents or great grandparents,” said Avital Binshtock, lifestyle editor of Sierra magazine, which just released its 5th annual Cool Schools rankings identifying the top green campuses.
“They’ve taken up knitting. They want to have chickens in their backyard and learn how to plant a plot of land.” ....
Binshtock, who oversaw the 2011 Cool Schools project ranking 118 campuses for their climate-cooling practices, says research from multiple sources shows that a university’s commitment to sustainability is part of what students consider in selecting a school.
Today's unhinged climate alarmist moment comes courtesy of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation
Federal Climate Change Minister Greg Combet has accused Opposition Leader Tony Abbott of having a racist climate change policy.
Mr Abbott has warned that Australian businesses buying carbon permits under an emissions trading scheme could be conned by unscrupulous international traders.
Because there has been absolutely no fraud in the climate change hoax carbon schemes.
The Government plans to introduce its carbon tax legislation to Parliament by the end of September and hopes to have it passed by next year.
Mr Combet described Mr Abbott's position as "economic xenophobia" in an address to the National Press Club.
"It sends the signal that it's somehow dubious to trade with foreigners. It's typical dog-whistle politics, trashing the commitment that's existed for many years on both sides of politics to economic liberalisation and open trade," he said.
"It is in effect a white carbon policy designed to harvest more votes no matter what the cost."
So, even with the idiotic anthropogenic global warming issue, liberals go for their choice attack, raaaaacism. But, then, AGW turned from a scientific issue to a political one about 5 minutes after someone said "hey, I wonder if the output of greenhouse gases by Mankind is affecting the climate?"
"A man who is not a socialist at age 20 has no heart; A man who is still a socialist at age 30 has no head".
Who said that? Most people attribute it to Winston but as far as I can tell it was first said by Georges Clemenceau, French Premier in WWI -- whose own career approximated the transition concerned. And he in turn was simply updating an earlier saying about monarchy versus Republicanism by Guizot.
More obscurely, I wonder about a saying attributed to Bismarck, the towering 19th century statesman who unified Germany and gave Europe over 40 years of peace thereafter. Bismarck is often quoted as saying that the next European war would arise over "Some damn-fool thing in the Balkans" - which it did of course. But did Bismarck actually say that? I have been able to trace it back only to Churchill as having quoted it.
German sites (e.g. here) have MANY collections of Bismarck quotes and nothing like it appears there. Bismarck did say that the Balkans were not worth the life of of a single German soldier (Der ganze Balkan ist nicht die gesunden Knochen eines einzigen pommerschen Grenadiers wert) so did Churchill embroider on that? I would be interested to hear if anyone knows anything more
A generally unnoticed aspect of Obama's new deportation plan for illegals is the assertion by the Obama admin. that the immigration service has the capacity to deport serious criminals only. That's a heck of a lot of serious criminals! Around 400,000 in fact. It is graphic testimony to the high rate of criminality among illegals -- and it's not "racists" who are saying so. This could well be a foot-shot for the Left in the medium term.
In reaching to remain relevant, the environmental movement has had to change tactics.
Back in the seventies, when America looked like China does today, environmental issues needed attention. But then we cleaned up the air and water. The skies and rivers went from brown to blue. As Greenpeace cofounder Patrick Moore explains, in order to stay relevant, environmentalists had to find new issues.
For most of the last decade global warming has been their cause, and carbon —or burning fossil fuels— was vilified as the cause. This gave way to a whole new industry: green. Green energy would replace fossil fuels. Wind and solar would replace coal as the source fuel for electricity and ethanol, or other fuels generated from biomass, would replace liquid fuels. Green energy would provide new “green” jobs. The world would be a beautiful place.
This all sounded nice. It felt good. But that was before data began to be show how much more all of this was going to cost and the urgent need to save the planet passed. The polar bears were not drowning. The measurements were found to be falsified. Consensus science didn’t work. The seas did not rise and the world seemed to adapt to whatever the various changes have been. There was a “newfound hostility to climate policy.” Suddenly, we did not want to spend so much on “feel good.”
Obama’s cap and trade campaign promise died. Ethanol is on the budget chopping block. Switching to wind and solar is not proving to be as easy as expected. Environmentalists admitted defeat.
But, wait! They have organizations set up, offices with leases, and employees who need to be paid. They can’t just pack up. A new approach was needed.
Enter public health. Last month when Mayor Bloomberg gave $50 million to the Sierra Club’s campaign to shut down coal plants, he stated: “Coal is a self-inflicted public health risk.” The discussion has changed to something every mother can get behind.
Along with this, we see television ads attacking the emissions from coal-fueled power plants, not for their CO2 emissions, not for their impact on climate change, but for the health risks. The American Lung Association and the EPA must be in cahoots on this campaign—the EPA has given the ALA nearly $30 million in taxpayer dollars.
According to the National Institutes for Health’s Data Fact Sheet on Asthma Statics, “The prevalence of asthma has been increasing since the early 1980s.” If the prevalence of asthma has been increasing as America’s air has been getting cleaner and cleaner, perhaps adding new and expensive regulations on behalf of public health isn’t really about public health. In fact, a recent study done by Kendle M. Maslowski and Charles R. Mackay published in the Nature Immunology indicates that we may have cleaned up the air so much that the body doesn’t have the chance to build up immunities.
While only a small percentage of the population suffer from asthma, and the science is questionable as to whether or not pushing the law of diminishing returns will help, the Obama administration talks about rolling back regulations while pushing the EPA to enact harsh new regulations that will eliminate the best economic asset America has: comparatively cheap energy.
Specifically in question here is the EPA’s new ozone regulations—with a final decision expected in the next couple of weeks. But there is more than just ozone, there is the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule, BART and MACT—all of which are expected to shut down a large percentage of existing coal-fueled power plants because the cost to retro fit is just too high. Many units have already shut down throughout the country.
With these “public-health” aimed regulations added on top of one another, it is amazing that Americans are living longer and longer. If all of these regulations are really about health, why are they being rammed through by the Environmental Protection Agency—not the Department of Health?
As Congress continues to threaten to defund the EPA, perhaps, like the environmentalists, they have had to reinvent themselves to stay relevant—but in doing so, they are raising the price of energy and everything else, including food and clothing and all other basic necessities as they, too, are energy dependent.
If they can so easily switch from climate change to public health, you have to wonder if climate change was ever the issue and if public health is the real concern now. Why is it that the powers that be are so set on raising the cost of energy—through whatever means seems publicly viable?
The obvious answer is something not palatable to most Americans. Which brings up the next question: What can we do to stop them?
At a recent a meeting with Karl Rove, I asked: “Given the current administration, what can the public do to change the energy policy in America?” In short, his answer was, keep reminding people how important energy is. November 2012 is coming.
If Americans are to continue to have the freedoms we have, energy has to be a part of the discussion and Americans need to understand the real benefits to cost-effective energy. Together we can change the energy/environment discussion.
A MOTHER made her child sit in public with a sign pinned to his shirt that said: "Do not trust me. I will steal from you as I am a thief."
The boy, thought to be aged about 10, was also wearing Shrek ears and writing lines in what appeared to a form of public punishment, according to dozens of witnesses who contacted the Townsville Bulletin.
The boy spent almost an hour on Sunday near a popular waterpark in Townsville while his family ate lunch nearby, The Daily Telegraph reported.
Diane Mayers was so "horrified" when she saw the boy she contacted Child Safety Services to intervene.
Ms Mayers, who worked with the department in the past, said any long-term effects of public humiliation would have been much worse than physical abuse.
"The boy just kept his head down and was staring at the ground," she said. "The parents had gone to all the trouble of printing two copies of the sign - one for the back and one for the front - and laminating them. A lot of work had gone in to it.
"A lot of people walked past and were laughing at him, including boys who would have been his age.
"At one point the boy had taken off the Shrek ears. My daughter walked past and heard the mother say, 'Put them back on or I'll smack your head in'."
Bin liner sales in SA have doubled since free plastic shopping bags were banned more than two years ago. And most bin bags are made of thicker plastic than traditional bags, which means they take longer to break down in the environment.
Woolworths says SA sales of plastic kitchen-tidy bags of a similar size, capacity and shape to single-use plastic shopping bags, are now double the national average. At Coles, sales of kitchen tidy bags increased 40 per cent in the year following the ban in May 2009.
Bin bag manufacturer Glad reported a 52.5 per cent jump in kitchen-tidy bag sales in the first year of the ban, compared with a 5.5 per cent increase nationally.
In SA, 48 million Glad bin bags were bought in 2008, rising to more than 73 million in 2009 and 84 million last year.
The figures have raised concerns about whether the plastic bag ban has been effective in reducing waste sent to landfill. In 2009, South Australia led the nation with a ban on lightweight, checkout-style plastic bags.
The Northern Territory and ACT are now introducing their own bans.
Zero Waste SA chief executive Vaughan Levitzke claimed in January 2009 the ban would not lead to a significant rise in the number of bin bags bought. "Research shows purchase of bin liners will not increase significantly, compared with the reduction of plastic shopping bags," he said.
Yesterday, the government agency said it did not have any current information about sales of bin bags.
Opposition environment spokeswoman Michelle Lensink said the situation was "fairly predictable". "We said at the time that it was tokenistic, just about having a headline, being able to say we're the first to ban the bag in Australia," she told The Advertiser.
Supermarket chains now charge 15c at the checkout for thicker "reusable" bags that Ms Lensink suggests are going straight to landfill.
Samantha Lang, 20, from Craigmore, yesterday said the bag ban had not changed her behaviour. "We do buy bin bags because we need plastic bags to line bins," she said. "But we always forget our green bags so we're always stuck paying the plastic bag surcharge at the supermarket."
Which tells you a lot about their attitudes: They're Britain's Kremlin
The Courtauld Institute was once the best place in Britain to study the history of art. But its director, Anthony Blunt, had, earlier in his life, spied for the Soviet Union. He was the "Fourth Man" in the ring with Burgess, Maclean and Philby. He confessed to the British intelligence services in 1964 (having repeatedly denied all the accusations over many years). The information was kept quiet, partly because he was Surveyor of the Queen's Pictures. In 1979, he was publicly exposed, stripped of his knighthood and disgraced.
The Reunion brought together five distinguished people who had studied under Blunt. They included the director of the British Museum Neil MacGregor, the novelist Anita Brookner and the critic Brian Sewell. All five agreed what a wonderful chap Blunt was – brilliant, kind, civilised, terrific work on Poussin. And all said how appalling it was that Blunt had been attacked by the press after his exposure. Sue MacGregor (no relation of Neil, I think), who presented the programme, said that Blunt had been the victim of "public vilification"; she referred to the scandal as "what had happened to him".
We were told only in the thinnest outline what Blunt himself had done to others. In the mid-Thirties, he began working for the NKVD (the forerunner of the KGB), and helped recruit other British agents for them. It is often alleged that people in the West at that time had no means of knowing what Stalin was up to. This was not the case. Malcolm Muggeridge, attacked on this programme for attacking Blunt, went to the Ukraine in 1933 and reported – in this paper's sister, The Morning Post – that millions were starving there as a deliberate act of Stalin's policy. There were many like him (though not nearly enough).
Much was made, particularly by Brian Sewell, of the claim that the threat of fascism was so great in the Thirties that Communism seemed the only way. This does great injustice to all those – the majority of the population – who detested both. If Sewell is right, why did Blunt, Philby, Burgess etc continue to work for Stalin after he made his pact with Hitler, which lasted from 1939 to 1941, the time of greatest danger for Britain? And why did Blunt continue to shelter Burgess, Maclean and Philby from discovery after the war, when Nazism had been defeated and the Soviet Union was the deadly enemy of the West?
As for Blunt's acts of spying, these were brushed aside by the programme on the grounds that there had been "very exaggerated estimates" of the number of people who had died as a result of his actions. His treachery, said another former pupil, Michael Jacobs, had been "a minor and ultimately irrelevant aspect of his life".
It is a good thing that people feel gratitude to their teachers. It is also true that Blunt's work on Blake, Poussin, Borromini and so on does not become bad because he turned out to have been a Communist spy. So it was difficult to blame the five for their loyalty to Blunt, even when they were talking rubbish.
What was disgraceful, though, was the structure of the programme. For many, The Reunion's version may be the first they have heard of the subject. It is the duty of the BBC to apply to history the impartiality on which its Charter insists. Yet, as with the same programme's treatment of the 30th anniversary of the Brixton riots (which this column criticised on March 28), the entire panel was on the same side. Blunt was a virtually innocent victim, we were told, and the only villain was the press.
Sue MacGregor explained that Blunt "made no secret of his Marxist beliefs". This was perfectly irrelevant. The issue in his story was not his beliefs, but his treachery, which, by definition, was secret. He pretended that he was a normal British citizen and, during the war, a loyal officer of MI5, but in fact he was working for a murderous tyranny. Almost the only censure in the entire programme came from Neil MacGregor. Blunt, he said, had been guilty of "a very serious breach of trust". This understatement was rendered powerful by its solitary splendour.
The breach of trust was made even worse by the "establishment" career which Blunt chose to pursue. At least Burgess, Maclean and Philby ended up, drink-sodden, in miserable Moscow flats supplied by the dictatorship they so admired. Blunt, however, stayed, advised the Queen about her pictures, was knighted and honoured in academe. For a quarter of a century, throughout which time he concealed what he had done, he lived in the Courtauld's grace-and-favour Georgian elegance in Portman Square. His entire (non-spying) career was constructed on principles in direct conflict with his Marxism.
And when he was finally unmasked, even his handling of the news reflected his love of the privilege which had always surrounded him. He had lunch at The Times (then the establishment paper) before the press conference, and restricted access to selected reporters.
The Reunion propagated the theory that spying for the Soviets in the Thirties and Forties was nothing worse than an excess of zeal. This is a shocking untruth. Hitler and Stalin were moral equivalents. Indeed, at the time when Blunt signed up for the Soviet Union, Stalin had actually killed far more people than Hitler because the Führer was only just getting into his stride. The BBC would (rightly) never dream of making a programme which sought to excuse traitors who worked for the Nazis.
In our generation, Blunt's equivalents are the intellectual apologists for Islamist extremism. No doubt it will turn out that some of them worked secretly for countries like Iran, and no doubt, in due time, the BBC will laud them too.