Britain's poor whites 'feel like they are last in line for council housing'

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White working class people believe they are the last in line for state handouts, welfare help and council housing, a report by a respected research group said yesterday. It said that many think if they complain they will be silenced with the charge of racism.

The inquiry by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation said that many white people in poorer districts use ‘racialised language that would be unacceptable to many reading this report.’ But it found that such rough language is regarded as normal by the people who use it, that they regard themselves as tolerant and welcoming, and that they hate being labelled as racist.

The Rowntree report also said that, contrary to the fears of many politicians and left-wing commentators, white working class people do not turn to far-right politics or organisations like the British National Party. Instead, it said there was ‘active distaste’ for racial extremism and the far right, and people were outraged that their views were taken as indicating they supported racist parties.

The report, produced by Professor Harris Beider of Coventry University was based on interviews with residents of three working class districts and findings from focus groups drawn from people who lived there. People with lower incomes from Aston in Birmingham, Canley in Coventry, and Somers Town in North London, took part in the project.

Professor Beider said: ‘The way that people from working class white backgrounds are portrayed is often negative, which doesn’t reflect the reality of the pride most people hold in their community, nor their strong work ethic, and collective values.

‘It is important to confound negative stereotypes and understand that people in these communities feel their voices are not listened to, and that they have no stake in their community. They want to be valued, heard and connected to government.’

The inquiry comes in the wake of wide concerns over the past five years over the resentment felt in by white people in poorer parts of the country.

Former Labour minister Margaret Hodge said in 2007 that her white constituents in Barking in East London felt they had little chance of getting council or housing association homes because newly-arrived migrants were given priority in the queues.

However fears that disaffection would lead to large-scale support from the BNP or other far-right extremists in places like East London or Stoke-on-Trent were proved groundless when the BNP collapsed in the 2010 general election.

The report from Rowntree – whose chief executive Julia Unwin was an adviser to Gordon Brown during his premiership – said that the allocation of social housing should be seen to be fair. This would ‘counter widespread perceptions of queue jumping or preferential treatment for certain groups.’

Since the 1970s council and housing association homes have been awarded not on the basis of waiting lists compiled largely from the names of local people, but on the basis of a points system in which ‘need’ is important. Families who are newly-arrived in a district can often score highly in terms of points if they are jobless or can say they have inadequate housing.

The report said that terms like ‘community cohesion’, coined after the 2005 London bombings when Labour ministers decided to abandon the left-wing doctrine of multiculturalism, mean little to working class white people.

Instead equality programmes are associated with political correctness or attempts by selected groups to siphon away state money. One project in Birmingham was described by a white resident as ‘run by Asians for Asians’.

White working class people, the report said, ‘are proud of their working class identity and the values it stands for – working hard, looking after each other, pride in the community.’

The report said white working class people deeply resented being painted as political extremists. ‘The association of the white working class with the far right follows an established (and false) narrative going back to the rise of Oswald Moseley in the East End of London,’ it said.

‘Since this point, the white working-class has been labelled as hostile to race and immigration: teddy boys in the 1950s; dockers in the 1960s; skinheads in the 1970s; and the rise of the BNP since 2000.’

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Is Breivik a paranoid schizophrenic?

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The report below says he is and the diagnosis is understandable in some ways. Paranoid schizophrenics do not normally present as "mad" and many hold down jobs, have families etc. So his calm and methodical behaviour does not contradict such a diagnosis. There is usually only one focus where paranoids go off the rails. But that focus really IS obviously mad: Hearing voices that are not there, for instance. Psychiatrists commonly cite St. Paul's vision on the road to Damascus and his subsequent obsessive behaviour promulgating a very new message to a skeptical Hellenistic world as indicating paranoid schizophrenia.

But Breivk's focus was not nearly as singular as that. It has often been said that his dislike of the Left-sponsored invasion of Norway by Muslim "refugees" is widely-shared in Norway. And many commenters on Scandiavian internet sites applauded his actions immediately afterwards. His actions could simply be seen as self-sacrificing or as a return of the old Viking spirit.

The thing that most strongly supports a diagnosios of paranoid schiz is his insistence that he is a member of an organization of Knights Templar -- an organization that appears not to exist. That does sound like a very typical paranoid delusion. It must be remembered however that the absence of evidence is not evidence of absence and any members of such an orgainization would be highly motivated to lie low immediately after Breivik's actions.

If I had to make a psychological diagnosis of his behaviour I would see some narcissism there but no more than is to be found in the average artist, for instance. Narcissism can have many outlets, not least in politics

So I am fairly sure that the Left-led authorities in Norway will succeed in declaring Breivik insane not because that is a good diagnosis but because they need to. They desperately need to keep him OUT of jail. He would make many converts there and that could lead to more atrocities. Further, it is comforting to think of him as a lone madman rather than someone who may have a point.


A PSYCHIATRIC report on Anders Behring Breivik found that the confessed gunman is insane, meaning he could avoid prison over July's twin attacks in which he killed 77 people, Norwegian prosecutors said today.

"In such instances that the person suffers from such a serious disorder that it would not be warranted to sentence him to prison ... he can be ordered to stay in mental health care institutions," prosecutor Inga Bejer Engh was quoted as saying by AFP.

The 243-page assessment was made after 13 interviews with Breivik, an interview with his mother and an examination of his medical history. The experts also reviewed police questioning and video from the reconstruction of the shooting rampage on Utoya island, the Dagbladet daily reported.

It found that the 32 year old over time developed "paranoid schizophrenia," according to another prosecutor, Svein Holden.

Holden said the report concluded that Breivik had "grandiose illusions whereby he believes he is to determine who is to live and who is to die." He "committed these executions out of love for his people, as he describes it," Holden said.

The report will be examined by a team of forensic experts to ensure it meets standards, and then a court will rule on whether Breivik can be held responsible, AFP reported.

Breivik, 32, has confessed to carrying out the July 22 twin attacks. First, he detonated a car bomb outside the government buildings in central Oslo that house the offices of Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg, killing eight people. Then he went on a shooting spree at a youth camp on Utoya island, killing 69 mostly young people.

But he refused to plead guilty, saying that the attacks were "atrocious but necessary" in his campaign against multiculturalism and Muslims in Europe.

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White woman arrested for saying what many Brits think

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She must have been really fed up to shout it in public. Maybe she was hormonal or hypermanic. But there is an element of truth in what she said. British living standards have been declining steadily for at least five years and that decline is very visible and highly regrettable to most Brits. And ever-increasing taxes are a large factor in the reduced disposable income

And there are at the same time a large number of welfare dependant blacks in Britain who exhibit the high level of criminality that one always gets from blacks. The thought that sending blacks back to their countries of origin would both reduce the welfare bill and reduce levels of crime is therefore hard to escape.

She got a good answer to her attack on the Poles though. Polish immigrants who come to Britain come to work -- generally doing work that the Brits are too lazy to do.
The 34-year-old from New Addington in Croydon, south London, was held on suspicion of a racially aggravated public order offence after a video came to light on YouTube.

The two-minute clip showed a woman insulting passengers while holding a toddler on her lap in a full tram carriage on the Croydon to Wimbledon service in South London.

She can be heard saying: "What has this country come to ... with loads of black people and a load of f------ Polish.

"Sort out your own countries, don't come and do mine, Britain is nothing now, Britain is f--- all, my Britain is f--- all now."

When a passenger points out there are children on board, she replies: "Yeah fine, I've got my little kid here."

Tension almost boils over when the incensed woman attempts to pronounce "Nicaragua" and a young black man has to be calmed down by others.

The passenger continued to try to stop the woman insulting commuters and said: "If we didn't come here you guys wouldn't have people to work. We have to come here and do the work for you."

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How going green goes against the environment

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Going green has nasty un-environmental consequences that rank-and-file greenies either don't know or don't care about.

For example, those multi-acre wind farms not only kill millions of birds while delivering a mere fraction of the electricity compared to nearly every other power source but 420 of them in Pennsylvania killed 10,000 bats last year.

Bats, according to the Pittsburgh Post Gazette, eat millions of crop-destroying insects. Fewer bats ("nature's pesticides") mean more bugs, causing farmers to spend more on chemical pesticides, raising food prices for everyone.

Bats also eat millions of mosquitoes, many of which may carry West Nile virus and other diseases deadly to humans.

The result: Everyone loses except Obama's taxpayer-subsidized "green jobs" cronies.

Meanwhile, localities nationwide are banning both paper and plastic bags, forcing grocery shoppers to switch to those reusable cloth bags.

But after all the tradeoffs are considered, according to the Competitive Enterprise Institute (PDF), reusable bags require far more energy and other resources to manufacture, and consume energy and water to wash them, so they must be used 103 times before yielding environmental benefits over paper or plastic bags (studies show they're typically reused 51 times).

The impact of swapping America's 193,979,654 fossil-fueled Light duty vehicles (cars, pickups, SUVs, etc., per Bureau of Transportation, 2009) for electric cars has so many negative impacts they can't even be touched in this article. Go to eHow.com instead.

Problems like increased strip mining for the hazardous metals (lead-acid, nickel-metal hydride, lithium ion, etc.) plus processing to make those $8,000 car batteries that only last three years, and the hundreds of recycling plants and hazardous waste dumps to process the throwaways, all of which are energy intensive, are only the beginning.

What is rarely considered elsewhere, however, is explaining where all of the additional electricity required to keep all those car batteries recharged will come from.

It may mean doubling, tripling or quadrupling the nation's electric grid.

The most likely, realistic, way to do that is building hundreds of new coal-fired power generating plants.

City-dwelling green voters will be happy with their cleaner air, unmindful that the pollution has simply been shifted into other people's backyards out in Flyover Country, along with all those additional strip mines and hazardous waste dumps.

Libertarians rightfully insist that all environmental trade-offs be considered. Otherwise it isn't environmentalism, its just politics.

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Australian Islamic College bans Afro hairstyle

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For disciplinary reasons it has long been held that schools have the right to set standards of dress and presentation for their pupils so I fail to see anything that this school did wrongly. I think the school was rather tolerant in putting up with it as long as they did, in fact. If it is good enough for Obama to keep his hair short, it should be good enough for this kid. And why does Obama keep his hair short? Because an Afro is widely seen as unattractive



IT was the fro that had to go - but the fuzz about this teenager's hairstyle has gone all the way to the Supreme Court as his father claims he was cut off from friends at the Islamic school even after he trimmed his afro.

Mazen Zraika is taking the Australian Islamic College in Rooty Hill to court over the treatment of his son Billal, 13, who was ordered away from the school earlier this year until he changed his afro hairstyle, The Daily Telegraph reported.

After six months of asking him to cut his hair, the Year 8 student and his parents were sent a letter in April advising them that he would be suspended from school until he cut his hair into a style that wasn't in breach of its appearance code. Principal Yasmin Gamieldien told the family the hairstyle was deemed a "mop" and needed to be cut shorter.

But Mr Zraika says Billal - who is of Lebanese and Ethiopian descent - was simply being punished for his natural hairstyle. "His mum Mary is Ethiopian so it's not his fault he's got the fuzzy hair," Mr Zraika said following the school's order.

"They said it's a mop hair- style but that's something Zac Efron has. "He doesn't have to style it or anything. When he gets out of the pool and shakes his head a few times it automatically comes back into shape."

Billal returned to classes following the Easter holiday break, but the family claim they were then sent another letter by staff saying he would be expelled if it wasn't cut within a week, while Billal was left sitting in the front office in "isolation" from his friends.

The teenager had a crew-cut in order to avoid expulsion, but the family claim that he was still forced into "isolation" and kept away from classmates while being told to "catch up" on schoolwork he'd missed.

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Must not criticize Obama (again)

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We read:
"Bill Looman is the owner of U.S. Cranes L.L.C., a Waco, Georgia-based company that sells and services cranes and hoists. He has apparently found it difficult to hire new workers because of the dramatic increase in governmental regulations placed upon small businesses in recent years, and the overall sluggishness of the economy.

Not being able to expand one’s business is an unfortunate thing. But being harassed because you dare to speak your mind about current economic conditions is something different. And it wasn’t until Bill the crane shop owner actually went public with his assessment that our government was impinging on his business, that things got really dicey.

Six months ago, Looman began posting signs on his company vehicles which read “New Company Policy: We are not hiring until Obama is gone.” This wasn’t a political statement from Looman, so much as it was a statement about the current business and economic climate, and his belief that things won’t improve until Barack Obama exits the presidency. "I've got people that I want to hire now, but I just can't afford it,” Looman noted in a recent television interview. “And I don't foresee that I'll be able to afford it unless some things change in D.C."

According to Looman, initial reaction to this message was mostly favorable – responses were positive by about a ’20 to 1” ratio, he claimed. But last week, a photo of one of these signs went viral on the internet. This led Bill the crane owner to temporarily shut-off his telephones, Facebook account, and company website, to protect himself from a barrage of threatening calls and web postings.

For far too many Americans Bill’s “right to free speech” (and yours and mine as well) ends, where Barack Obama’s agenda begins. The President has told small businesses to hire, so they should hire; the President has said that conditions are right for hiring, and one ought not to disagree with him.

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Growling grass frog cost $2.6 billion

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A SMALL green frog could stop up to 66,000 houses being built and prevent $2.6 billion in development. A draft report on saving the growling grass frog has recommended the State Government declare 4400ha of the city's growth corridor off limits for developers.

Landowners say properties have been made worthless and question whether the frog is endangered.

The draft report calls for 200m no-go zones beside waterways in Melbourne's growth zones where the frogs are found.

Planning Minister Matthew Guy said he sympathised with developers, blaming an environmental agreement between the previous government and Canberra, which was adding thousands of dollars to the price of housing blocks.

"I don't know if it is endangered," he said. "All I know is it is a frog that is worth a lot of money in terms of land lots and is holding up a huge amount in our growth corridors and I question the arbitrary nature of some of the distances imposed by the Federal Government."

Federal Environment Minister Tony Burke said arrangements with the Victorian Government meant developments on Melbourne's fringe no longer needed individual assessments. "If the Victorian Government wishes to throw out the strategic assessment then we can go back to individual project assessments," he said. "This will increase the time it takes for approvals which will drive up the cost of housing."

Urban Development Institute of Australia chief executive Tony De Domenico said the frogs would drive the price of house blocks up by $5000 in some areas.

"We've been frustrated by growling grass frogs, bandicoots, legless lizards, mouthless moths, and the golden sun moth in particular," he said. "Some of these so-called endangered species are so endemic they are found everywhere."

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The University of Sydney Ranks 18th in the World for Arts and Humanities

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As a graduate of the USyd Arts faculty I am rather pleased by this. There are a lot of universities in the world (7,000 in the USA alone by some estimates -- depending on what you call a university)

I thought it was pretty impressive in my day in the late 60s too. The philosophy school was particularly distinguished and I did study philosophy there. John Maze influenced me quite a lot -- as this paper shows


The University of Sydney is ranked 18th in the world in the field of arts and humanities, according to the most recent figures from Times Higher Education.

Three Australian institutions have made the top 20, led by Australian National University in Canberra. Ranked second in Australia is The University of Sydney, which has this year beaten out University of Melbourne, which came in at spot number 19.

The Times Education ranking system claims that their highest consideration factors when comparing universities are the learning environment, research and research influence (citations), innovation and international outlook.

Professor Duncan Ivison, Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences says of the achievement "The Times Higher ranking for Arts and Humanities places our Faculty in the top 20 faculties of its kind in the world, which is a remarkable tribute to our staff and the extraordinary work they do as teachers and researchers."

"Although ranking exercises such as this must always be treated with care, over the past five years our Faculty has been consistently ranked in the top 25 faculties across a range of different measures, and that suggests we are clearly on the right track. There is still even more we want to achieve, but I am delighted the University of Sydney is now unquestionably seen to be one of the best places in the world for the humanities."

The University of Sydney overall was placed at number 58, therefore to be ranked 18th in the arts and humanities shows that this area is performing particularly strongly at Sydney.

SOURCE

Chinese medicine could double the chances of childless couples conceiving (?)

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It is perfectly reasonable to believe that in the course of a very old civilization, herbal discoveries may have been made and passed on which have a genuine therapeutic benefit. After all, to this day a large part of the pharmacopeia is of herbal origin. And there are many places where Chinese herbalists enjoy considerable acceptance. Where I grew up (Innisfail), if you were sick, you went to the doctor. But if you were REALLY sick you went to the Chinese herbalist.

And I myself seem to have had some benefit from it. When I got glandular fever many years ago and the doctors told me that there was nothing they could do for it, my course of action was clear. I promptly went to a Chinese herbalist, took his preparations and was better within a week!

Anecdotes prove nothing of course but I mention that one to show that I was disposed to accept the findings below. I am afraid, however that I have to offer the old Scottish verdict of "Not Proven".

Meta-analyses are very hard to critique unless you either know the relevant literature very well or re-do the whole meta-analysis yourself. And if you do know well the literature that is analysed you can get a considerable shock at how badly such an analysis can be done -- even analyses reported in the most prestigious journals. I comment on one such analysis in my own research field here. The problem is particularly bad where there is a barrow to be pushed and "complementary" medicine is of course a very large barrow indeed.

My suspicions are aroused by the very large discrepancy reported between the effects of Chinese and Western medicine. It is a characteristic of quackery to claim exaggerated benefits and it seems to me that the endless search for new molecules carried out by drug companies would long ago have gone through anything as effective as that with a fine-toothed comb.

So in the end it gets back to what was meta-analysed. It seems to me that the people most likely to have done the sort of study described below would be enthusiasts for alternative therapies and we all know how large the effect of experimenter expectations can be. Just one good double-blind study from someone skeptical of Chinese medicine would be more persuasive.

I include the journal Abstract below


Couples with fertility problems are twice as likely to get pregnant using traditional Chinese medicine as western drugs, say researchers. They found a two-fold improvement in pregnancy rates over just four months of treatment from practitioners of traditional Chinese medicine.

At least six million Britons have consulted a Western or traditional Chinese herbal practitioner in the last two years, according to Ipsos Mori research. Previous research suggests acupuncture may help some childless couples to conceive.

The latest study from researchers at Adelaide University, Australia, reviewed eight clinical trials, 13 other studies and case reports comparing the efficacy of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) with western drugs or IVF treatment.

The review funded by the Australian government included 1,851 women with infertility problems, says a report in the journal Complementary Therapies in Medicine.

Review of the clinical trials alone found a 3.5 rise in pregnancies over a four-month period among women using TCM compared with western medicine.

Other data covering 616 women within the review showed 50 per cent of women having TCM got pregnant compared with 30 per cent of those receiving IVF treatment.

The overall analysis concluded there was a two-fold increase in the likelihood of getting pregnant in a four-month period for women using TCM compared with orthodox approaches.

The study’s authors said ‘Our meta-analysis suggests traditional Chinese herbal medicine to be more effective in the treatment of female infertility - achieving on average a 60 per cent pregnancy rate over four months compared with 30 per cent achieved with standard western drug treatment.’

The study said the difference appeared to be due to the careful analysis of the menstrual cycle – the period when it is possible for a woman to conceive – by TCM practitioners.

It said ‘Assessment of the quality of the menstrual cycle integral to TCM diagnosis appears to be fundamental to the successful treatment of female infertility.’

Dr Karin Ried (correct) of the university’s school of population health and clinical practice, who led the study, said infertility affects one in six couples and even after investigations 20 per cent of infertility remains ‘unexplained’.

She said TCM recognises many more ‘menstrual disturbances’ than conventional medicine, is far less expensive than IVF treatment and less stressful.

More HERE
Efficacy of Traditional Chinese Herbal Medicine in the management of female infertility: A systematic review

By Karin Ried & Keren Stuart

Objectives
To assess the effect of Traditional Chinese Herbal Medicine (CHM) in the management of female infertility and on pregnancy rates compared with Western Medical (WM) treatment.

Methods
We searched the Medline and Cochrane databases and Google Scholar until February 2010 for abstracts in English of studies investigating infertility, menstrual health and Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). We undertook meta-analyses of (non-)randomised controlled trials (RCTs) or cohort studies, and compared clinical pregnancy rates achieved with CHM versus WM drug treatment or in vitro fertilisation (IVF). In addition, we collated common TCM pattern diagnosis in infertility in relation to the quality of the menstrual cycle and associated symptoms.

Results
Eight RCTs, 13 cohort studies, 3 case series and 6 case studies involving 1851 women with infertility were included in the systematic review. Meta-analysis of RCTs suggested a 3.5 greater likelihood of achieving a pregnancy with CHM therapy over a 4-month period compared with WM drug therapy alone (odds ratio = 3.5, 95% CI: 2.3, 5.2, p < 0.0001, n = 1005). Mean (SD) pregnancy rates were 60 ± 12.5% for CHM compared with 32 ± 10% using WM drug therapy. Meta-analysis of selected cohort studies (n = 616 women) suggested a mean clinical pregnancy rate of 50% using CHM compared with IVF (30%) (p < 0.0001).

Conclusions
Our review suggests that management of female infertility with Chinese Herbal Medicine can improve pregnancy rates 2-fold within a 4 month period compared with Western Medical fertility drug therapy or IVF. Assessment of the quality of the menstrual cycle, integral to TCM diagnosis, appears to be fundamental to successful treatment of female infertility.

SOURCE

Bitch Wisconsin prosecutor

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A new low in the criminalization of children

A 6-year-old Grant County boy has been accused of first-degree sexual assault after playing "doctor" with two 5-year-old friends.

Now, a federal lawsuit has been filed against the prosecutor, who attorneys said is trying to force the boy to admit guilt.

The boy's parents had planned to speak with WISC-TV on Monday to discuss the emotional toll the prosecution has taken on their son. But the prosecutor, Grant County District Attorney Lisa Riniker, on Monday morning asked a judge for a gag order in the case and was granted it. The gag order prohibits the boy's parents from talking about the case.

But the attorneys for the parents in the federal suit, which names Riniker as a defendant, can aren't included in the gag order, and they spoke with WISC-TV from Chicago.

Attorneys for the parents of the 6-year-old, who is being referred to as "D," said that Riniker has gone too far by bringing a felony sex charge against a first-grader for touching a 5-year-old girl inappropriately while playing doctor last fall.

"That behavior by a prosecutor is outrageous," said Christopher Cooper, an attorney for the boy's parents.

Cooper and attorney David Sigale filed the federal suit last week, alleging that Riniker wants D to sign a consent decree admitting some level of guilt.

"We're certainly hoping to vindicate D in the eyes of the law," Sigale said.

"He (the boy) says he didn't do it, and the little girl says he didn't do it. The little girl says he touched the back of one of her buttocks," Cooper said.

The attorneys are also asking for about $12 million in damages from Riniker and two co-defendants.

Cooper and Sigale said they are prepared to present evidence that D has been psychologically harmed by the court proceedings and is terrified of going to jail.

"She (Riniker) bypassed the parents and sent a 6-year-old boy a summons, on which is a threat that the 6-year-old will go to jail for failure to appear," Cooper said.

The attorneys said they have sought the opinion of many experts who said that children "playing doctor" is not a sex crime.

"(The experts say) a 6-year-old child is unable to intellectually and emotionally associate sexual gratification with the act that D has been accused of committing," Cooper said.

In justification for the charge, Riniker is quoted in the lawsuit saying "the Legislature could have put an age restriction in the statute ... the legislature did no such thing."

The lawsuit also alleges the charges were brought because the 5-year-old is the daughter of a high-ranking official in Grant County.

Repeated calls to Riniker and an attorney for she and two co-defendants have gone unanswered since Friday, WISC-TV reported.

Riniker went to Judge Bill Dyke, who is handling the case from Iowa County, and he issued a gag order for the parents Monday morning. WISC-TV has not received a copy of the order nor a reason for its issue.

SOURCE

Alice in Liberal Land

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"Liberal" in the American sense

By Thomas Sowell

"Alice in Wonderland" was written by a professor who also wrote a book on symbolic logic. So it is not surprising that Alice encountered not only strange behavior in Wonderland, but also strange and illogical reasoning -- of a sort too often found in the real world, and which a logician would be very much aware of.

If Alice could visit the world of liberal rhetoric and assumptions today, she might find similarly illogical and bizarre thinking. But people suffering in the current economy might not find it nearly as entertaining as "Alice in Wonderland."

Perhaps the most remarkable feature of the world envisioned by today's liberals is that it is a world where other people just passively accept whatever "change" liberals impose.

In the world of Liberal Land, you can just take for granted all the benefits of the existing society, and then simply tack on your new, wonderful ideas that will make things better.

For example, if the economy is going along well and you happen to take a notion that there ought to be more homeownership, especially among the poor and minorities, then you simply have the government decree that lenders have to lend to more low-income people and minorities who want mortgages, ending finicky mortgage standards about down payments, income and credit histories.

That sounds like a fine idea in the world of Liberal Land. Unfortunately, in the ugly world of reality, it turned out to be a financial disaster, from which the economy has still not yet recovered. Nor have the poor and minorities.

Apparently you cannot just tack on your pet notions to whatever already exists, without repercussions spreading throughout the whole economy. That's what happens in the ugly world of reality, as distinguished from the beautiful world of Liberal Land.

The strange and bizarre characters found in "Alice in Wonderland" have counterparts in the political vision of Liberal Land today. Among the most interesting of these characters are those elites who are convinced that they are so much smarter than the rest of us that they feel both a right and a duty to take all sorts of decisions out of our incompetent hands -- for our own good.

In San Francisco, which is Liberal Land personified, there have been attempts to ban the circumcision of newborn baby boys. Fortunately, that was nipped in the bud. But it shows how widely the self-anointed saviors of Liberal Land feel entitled to take decisions out of the hands of mere ordinary citizens.

Secretary of the Treasury Timothy Geithner says, "We're facing a very consequential debate about some fundamental choices as a country." People talk that way in Liberal Land. Moreover, such statements pass muster with those who simply take in the words, decide whether they sound nice to them, and then move on.

But, if you take words seriously, the more fundamental question is whether individuals are to remain free to make their own choices, as distinguished from having collectivized choices, "as a country" -- which is to say, having choices made by government officials and imposed on the rest of us.

The history of the 20th century is a painful lesson on what happens when collective choices replace individual choices. Even leaving aside the chilling history of totalitarianism in the 20th century, the history of economic central planning shows it to have been such a widely recognized disaster that even communist and socialist governments were abandoning it as the century ended.

Making choices "as a country" cannot be avoided in some cases, such as elections or referenda. But that is very different from saying that decisions in general should be made "as a country" -- which boils down to having people like Geithner taking more and more decisions out of our own hands and imposing their will on the rest of us.

That way lies madness exceeding anything done by the Mad Hatter in "Alice in Wonderland." That way lie unfunded mandates, nanny-state interventions in people's lives, such as banning circumcision -- and the ultimate nanny-state monstrosity, Obamacare.

The world of reality has its problems, so it is understandable that some people want to escape to a different world, where you can talk lofty talk and forget about ugly realities like costs and repercussions.

The world of reality is not nearly as lovely as the world of Liberal Land. No wonder so many people want to go there.

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Screwball ADL Sponsors Israel Trip for Rick Sanchez

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Rewarding antisemitism?
"Remember Rick Sanchez? He was the hotheaded television anchor who lost his job at CNN for comments he made last year that Daily Show Host Jon Stewart was a bigot, and that Jewish people like Stewart “run” all the news networks.

One year later, Sanchez was one of 17 Latino journalists in Israel last week on a trip sponsored by The Anti-Defamation League, one of the country’s most well known advocacy groups to fight anti-Semitism.

The Jerusalem Post reports that the trip was funded by the ADL as a way to reach out to the growing population of Latin Americans and US Hispanic communities, a group that the ADL perceives to have a less favorable view of Israel and a higher level of anti-Semitic views when compared to the population at large.

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Germany once again has global ambitions

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German Environment Minister Röttgen asks for CO2 limit for every individual on earth according to an article in the online version of the German magazine "Der Spiegel". It quotes Röttgen's remarks he made in an interview with it. He says:

"It is sensible and necessary to introduce a global competitive order (meaning: to regulate competition) to protect the climate. The final goal is, a per head budget of green house gases for every person on earth (meaning: everybody gets the same budget).

Es ist vernünftig und geboten, eine globale Wettbewerbsordnung zum Schutz des Klimas einzuführen." Das Endziel sei "ein Pro-Kopf-Budget für die Emission von Treibhausgasen, das für jeden Menschen auf der Welt gilt."

He expresses his scepticism regarding a success in Durban: "In many countries of the world community the willingness is shrinking to accept binding targets to protect the climate - while at the same time climate change is advancing. The gap is widening and I am concerned about this."

Die Erfolgsaussichten der Konferenz in Durban bewertete Röttgen skeptisch: "In vielen Ländern der Weltgemeinschaft sinkt die Bereitschaft, verpflichtende Vorgaben für den Klimaschutz zu akzeptieren - gleichzeitig schreitet derKlimawandel voran. Die Schere geht weiter auseinander, und das macht mir Sorgen."

Spiegel writes that Röttgen is criticising the German minister of economic affairs Mr. Rössler (FDP) because Röttgen could not find an agreement regarding binding regulations for energy efficiency. "There is indeed a dissent" the minister says, adding: "I stick to it, that we have to set binding targets in which steps energy efficiency has to increase."

Im Streit um die Umsetzung der Energiewende in Deutschland kritisierte Röttgen Bundeswirtschaftsminister Philipp Rösler (FDP), mit dem er sich zuletzt nicht auf verbindliche Regeln für die Energieeffizienz einigen konnte. "Da gibt es tatsächlich einen Dissens", sagte Röttgen und fügte hinzu: "Ich bleibe dabei, dass wir uns verbindliche Ziele setzen müssen, in welchen Schritten die Energieeffizienz steigen soll."

SOURCE

DNA proves man is not child's father, mother must pay back nearly $13k

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A WOMAN has been ordered to pay her former husband almost $13,000 in child support after DNA tests confirmed he was not the father of her 14-year-old son.

The man - who once caught his wife in a compromising position with a neighbour - secretly took the boy for a DNA test after his own mother raised doubts about the boy's parentage from the time he was four. "(X) is looking less and less like you. There is nothing similar, not even his ears or toes or fingers," the man's mother said.

The couple began living together in their late 20s and married in 1984. The boy was born in 1995 and still believes the man is his father. "For him, this has been an unfortunate situation not of his own making," Federal Magistrate Stephen Scarlett said in his ruling.

"In January 2009, the parties separated and the person whom the child thought was his father moved out of the matrimonial home. Less than a year and a half later, the child's father figure no longer has anything to do with him. "Effectively, he is now without a father, through no fault of his own. From the child's point of view, his father (as he thought) has rejected him, for no apparent reason.

"The applicant's desire to find out the truth about the child's paternity will result in a financial benefit to him, at the expense of collateral damage to the child."

The couple divorced in 2010, but the father continued paying for the boy's overseas holidays, school fees and $700 a month in child support. Now the court has ordered the women to pay the man $12,969.

The man has had no contact with the boy he believed was his son since the DNA tests confirmed he was not the father. The woman must repay the child support as well as $4038 in court costs within 12 months.

SOURCE

British Father Christmases told children can no longer sit on their knee

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Don’t blame Father Christmas if he doesn’t allow your child to sit on his knee at a school event — teachers may have banned him from coming into contact with youngsters. While those playing Father Christmas are no longer required to pass a Criminal Records Bureau check, many schools have decided to “err on the side of caution” and impose rules on grotto behaviour.

Parents who have offered to don the red suit have been told they must not allow youngsters to sit on their laps and cannot be left alone with them.

Because CRB checks are required only for volunteers who have regular contact with children, Father Christmases are exempt. However, government guidance states: “Under no circumstances must a volunteer who has not obtained a CRB disclosure … be left unsupervised with children.”

Russell Hobby, the general secretary of the National Association of Head Teachers, said this meant many of its members had decided it was better if Father Christmases avoided all physical contact with children.

“The climate we work in, and the risks of getting it wrong, mean many school leaders err on the side of caution,” he said. “And if you are going to 'err’ I think that’s the side most parents would prefer.”

A spokesman for the Department for Education said children could still sit on Father Christmas’s knee as long as parents were consulted and were “completely comfortable” with the situation. “Santas in schools should be treated in the same way that other visitors to the school are managed. Our guidance recommends that for such visitors a member of staff is present,” added the spokesman.

Christine Blower, of the National Union of Teachers, added: “It would be a great shame if misinterpretation of regulations deterred schools from traditional festive celebrations.”

SOURCE

Moron speech from Hollywood

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Mr Freeman

For an actor, the talented Morgan Freeman doesn't have the best sense of timing. At least when off-camera and talking politics. There's a lot of that going around. It figures. A presidential election approaches and folks are heating up.

For example, Mr. Freeman chose the eve of the GOP's straw poll in Florida to describe both the tea party and Republicans in general as racists. Mr. Freeman was particularly vociferous on the subject of those terrible Republicans who were always putting party above country. The only thing they're really interested in, he explained, was denying Barack Obama a second term in the White House. Or, as the talented Mr. Freeman put it, the Republicans' general attitude is: "Screw the country. We're going to do whatever we (need to do) to get this black man out of here."

Whereupon, the next day, the results of Florida's straw poll were announced, and, sure enough, which presidential candidate did those awful Republicans and tea party racists endorse, and by an overwhelming margin at that?

You guessed it: Herman Cain, who, as the current phraseology has it, happens to be black. (You can tell by the way he sings gospel.)

Stars of stage, screen and Democratic politics like Morgan Freeman and Alec Baldwin sound so much better when they let others write their lines. Rather than expose their prejudices. They can be so intelligent when following a well-written script. But left to their own clumsy devices off camera, they can say some fairly idiotic things. Sometimes that's not clear for a while. In this case, it was clear within 24 hours.

Just the other day, Mr. Baldwin was bashing Ronald Reagan as a "failed actor." If only the Republicans could find as great a failure to nominate as their next presidential candidate.

SOURCE

Soldier reacts to Leftist hate speech at a Boston university

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We read:
"A local Army Reservist serving in Afghanistan resigned this week from his post as an adjunct professor at Suffolk University after a colleague at Suffolk sent an e-mail calling it "shameful" for students at the college to send care packages to soldiers who "have gone overseas to kill other human beings."

Maj. Robert Roughsedge wrote in his resignation letter that he considers comments made in an e-mail by Suffolk law professor Michael Avery to be "hate speech."

Roughsedge's letter was sent from his military post in Kabul, Afghanistan, to Camille Nelson, dean of the Suffolk Law School.

"I have a moral obligation to exercise my First Amendment right of freedom of association and choose not to associate with Suffolk University Law School anymore," Roughsedge wrote. "This is a sad moment for me, because I know that the students do not agree with Professor Avery, and I truly enjoy teaching. However, I must go, else I am tarnished by the association."

Roughsedge has taught a course called Terrorism and the Law at Suffolk.

Last year, Roughsedge was called up for a year of service in Afghanistan, where he is providing training to the Afghan army.

Source
Suffolk University has also distanced itself from its employee's hate speech.

Warmists muzzle skeptical meteorologists

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They fear the facts, as all they have is prophecy. An email from Gordon J. Fulks, PhD (Physics), Corbett, Oregon USA, below. OMSI is the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry, henceforth better known as the Oregon Museum for Silencing Inquiry

The Oregon American Meteorological Society's event featuring Meteorologist Chuck Wiese, Climatologist George Taylor, and me on November 29 at OMSI was canceled at the last minute today due to pressure from local universities and others who were apparently upset that our skeptical perspective on Global Warming would interfere with their climate agendas and Federal funding. Details will surely leak out as will whatever reasons they will cite as a cover story.

We suspected this would happen and would happen at the last minute to make it impossible to reschedule the event immediately. But we are grateful to the President of the local AMS chapter (Steve Pierce) and some members of his Board who have expressed a strong determination to reschedule this event in January. Even those Board members who may not support our position on Global Warming seem determined that this event WILL go forward. That should be a warning to those who orchestrated this power play. Most AMS members clearly want to hear both sides, without their organization taking any sides. I applaud their professional behavior. We are not seeking any endorsements, because that is not how science works.

We are seeking the opportunity to present the logic and evidence that are so crucial in objective science. That should not threaten ANYONE who supports real science.

Please be sure to mark your calenders for the January event when we have a specific date and venue that will be more difficult for Alarmists to scuttle.

BANNED BY OMSI, Portland State University, and others - Come and find out what they did not want you to hear!

Received via email

Getting unqualified blacks into university is pointless in Australia too

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In much of the USA a black High School diploma is meaningless, not even guaranteeing literacy -- but it will get the holder into some sort of tertiary institution, where graduation rates are low. And even if the student does graduate, his/her skillset will often still not rise much above literacy. Without primary and secondary schools that provide a meaningful education, very little can be done for the black student at the tertiary level.

The folly is less advanced in Britain, with the government putting pressure on the universities to accept underqualified students from sink schools but at least the top tier of British universities seems to be fairly successful in resisting that pressure so far. Sara Hudson below is warning the Australian government that they too should fix the schools first


The Australian Government is conducting a Review of Higher Education Access and Outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. According to the government the review will provide advice and make recommendations on achieving parity for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students, best practice and opportunities inside universities and other higher education providers, the effectiveness of affirmative action policies and the recognition of Indigenous knowledge in the higher education sector.

Our submission to the review (available on our website here) argues that it is not affirmative action or opportunities inside universities that the government should be concerned with but the ‘sink schools’ in welfare dependent suburbs and the Indigenous ‘schools’ in remote communities. These schools do not provide adequate primary and secondary education to enable children to proceed to university. The few Indigenous students from urban welfare dependent families or remote communities who qualify for university are almost always those whose parents have them board with relatives to access quality mainstream schools, or those at quality boarding schools on scholarships.

Conversely, Indigenous students from working families are attending university in record numbers. In 2009 Indigenous higher education enrolment had grown to 10,465 with an estimated 26, 0000 Indigenous graduates in the labour force by the end of 2010. Increasing numbers of Indigenous graduates are going on to quality post-graduate degrees that will enable them to qualify for academic posts. The remarkable success of these students shows that ‘affirmative action’ is not needed.

With a small proportion of the total population, Indigenous academics will always only form a small proportion of academic staff. It is extremely important for their reputation as well as their self-esteem that they are not stigmatized as being appointed by ‘affirmative action’ rather than on merit.

No amount of affirmative action will make any difference for those Indigenous students from urban welfare dependent and remote communities. These students will continue to have low participation in higher education until the deficits of substandard pre-school, primary and secondary education cease. To put it simply, if children are not taught to read, write and count, they have no hope of going to university.

SOURCE

The "Occupy" movement has plenty of haters and agitators but stymied by lack of any leadership

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Despite numerous anti-capitalist signs (e.g., "End Capitalism" and "Smash the Pillars of the Pig Empire") and an equally large number of signs advocating socialism and communism, the OWS movement insists that it doesn't want to destroy business; it just wants to make a few changes. Specifically, it wants American business to hire more people, increase salaries and benefits, provide free health care and education, reduce the prices of products and services, and eliminate pollution and greenhouse gas emissions. The profits (if any, after all the wealth-sharing) should be returned to society. So the new system would be a hybrid in which capitalists could own businesses but control neither their property nor their profits. Let's call it Marxalism.

Nationwide demonstrations by rebellious youth may annoy and disrupt American business, but they are unlikely to cause an immediate, voluntary switch to Marxalism. Nor will they result in a swift enactment of anti-greed laws. The real leaders understand the futility of such languid tactics. They are professional radicals, hiding in the bowels of the movement — deep thinkers for whom class warfare is a full-time job. They are the friendly statists from ACORN-like orgs, whose anti-capitalist outrage calls for social revolution. And they want it before ADHD and cold weather drive demonstrators back to their jobs and classrooms.

In terms of the stated goals, two months of demonstrations have achieved nothing. As the OWS movement has grown and spread, so too has its proclivity for violence and revolution. Writing in the New York Post of a recent visit to Zuccotti Park, Charles Gasparino "found a unifying and increasingly coherent ideology emerging among the protesters, which at its core has less to do with the evils of the banking business and more about the evils of capitalism — and the need for a socialist revolution."

Unfortunately, the latest recruits to the cause — for the most part, criminals, drug users, panhandlers, and the homeless — have produced little more than a stench pervading the carnival-like encampments. Indeed, the increasing violence and decreasing sanitation of the movement has begun to wear out its welcome in many cities. And with the onslaught of winter, many protestors plan to retreat, vowing to return with the fair weather of spring. Self-respecting socialists cannot be expected to carry their clever anti-capitalist signs while shivering and holding their noses at their own fetor. Besides, it is an image more ridiculous than that of a Michael Moore T-shirt.

In the bowels of the OWS movement lie zealous agitators who see themselves as its true leaders. Privately they regard the mainstream media, vocal celebrities, and shrill professors of socioeconomic equality as useful idiots. When it comes to money and power, they are as greedy and exploitative as any of their oppressors. By offering false hope and fomenting hatred and unrest, they seek to extort capital and usurp power for themselves. And with thousands of eager demonstrators at their disposal, they believe their moment is now (or next spring).

But there is an obstruction, a chronic irritation — the lack of charismatic demagogues to articulate the ideology. Some would say the movement has been stricken with irritable bowel syndrome. Alas, for this strain, no medicine seems to be available.

SOURCE

Should the Rich Be Condemned?

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Walter E. Williams

Thomas Edison invented the incandescent bulb, the phonograph, the DC motor and other items in everyday use and became wealthy by doing so. Thomas Watson founded IBM and became rich through his company's contribution to the computation revolution. Lloyd Conover, while in the employ of Pfizer, created the antibiotic tetracycline. Though Edison, Watson, Conover and Pfizer became wealthy, whatever wealth they received pales in comparison with the extraordinary benefits received by ordinary people. Billions of people benefited from safe and efficient lighting. Billions more were the ultimate beneficiaries of the computer, and untold billions benefited from healthier lives gained from access to tetracycline.

President Barack Obama, in stoking up class warfare, said, "I do think at a certain point you've made enough money." This is lunacy. Andrew Carnegie's steel empire produced the raw materials that built the physical infrastructure of the United States. Bill Gates co-founded Microsoft and produced software products that aided the computer revolution. But Carnegie had amassed quite a fortune long before he built Carnegie Steel Co., and Gates had quite a fortune by 1990. Had they the mind of our president, we would have lost much of their contributions, because they had already "made enough money."

Class warfare thrives on ignorance about the sources of income. Listening to some of the talk about income differences, one would think that there's a pile of money meant to be shared equally among Americans. Rich people got to the pile first and greedily took an unfair share. Justice requires that they "give back." Or, some people talk about unequal income distribution as if there were a dealer of dollars. The reason some people have millions or billions of dollars while others have very few is the dollar dealer is a racist, sexist, a multinationalist or just plain mean. Economic justice requires a re-dealing of the dollars, income redistribution or spreading the wealth, where the ill-gotten gains of the few are returned to their rightful owners.

In a free society, for the most part, people with high incomes have demonstrated extraordinary ability to produce valuable services for -- and therefore please -- their fellow man. People voluntarily took money out of their pockets to purchase the products of Gates, Pfizer or IBM. High incomes reflect the democracy of the marketplace. The reason Gates is very wealthy is millions upon millions of people voluntarily reached into their pockets and handed over $300 or $400 for a Microsoft product. Those who think he has too much money are really registering disagreement with decisions made by millions of their fellow men.

In a free society, in a significant way income inequality reflects differences in productive capacity, namely one's ability to please his fellow man. For example, I can play basketball and so can LeBron James, but would the Miami Heat pay me anything close to the $43 million they pay him? If not, why not? I think it has to do with the discriminating tastes of basketball fans who pay $100 or more to watch the game. If the Miami Heat hired me, they would have to pay fans to watch.

Stubborn ignorance sees capitalism as benefiting only the rich, but the evidence refutes that. The rich have always been able to afford entertainment; it was the development and marketing of radio and television that made entertainment accessible to the common man. The rich have never had the drudgery of washing and ironing clothing, beating out carpets or waxing floors. The mass production of washing machines, wash-and-wear clothing, vacuum cleaners and no-wax floors spared the common man this drudgery. At one time, only the rich could afford automobiles, telephones and computers. Now all but a small percentage of Americans enjoy these goods.

The prospects are dim for a society that makes mascots out of the unproductive and condemns the productive.

SOURCE

"Asylum seekers" in Australia's suburbs

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THOUSANDS of asylum seekers are expected to flood the suburbs as the Federal Government rolls out bridging visas allowing boat people to live and work in the community and collect welfare.

Immigration Minister Chris Bowen has handed out the first bridging visas for 27 men, mostly Afghans and Sri Lankans, whose refugee claims are being assessed. Mr Bowen said the men would be released from detention centres, including Melbourne, in coming days - with 100 a month to follow.

It comes as a secret government briefing note seen by the Herald Sun suggests thousands of boat people will soon be transferred into the community.

The NSW Government note reports a warning by the Immigration Department this week that arrivals will balloon when word spreads that asylum seekers arriving by boat are no longer to be held in detention. "Once it is widely known that IMAs will live in the community while being processed, the level of entries into Australia are very likely to escalate," the note said.

The majority are expected to be housed in Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane.

The note followed a meeting between Department of Immigration officials and the NSW Department of Premier and Cabinet.

The radical move to a softened onshore processing system comes after the collapse of PM Julia Gillard's Malaysia deal and after the arrival of more than 300 asylum seekers this week.

Mr Bowen said the first batch of asylum seekers to be given bridging visas were long-term detainees who have cleared health, security and identity checks, and will live with friends or family. From next month, at least 100 people a month will be released while their asylum claims are processed.

A person's time in detention, their behavioural record and their family's ability to support them will decide who is chosen. "People who are assessed to pose an unacceptable risk to the community will remain in an immigration detention facility," Mr Bowen said.

Those released will be able to get jobs and up to $215 a week in means-tested payments, but will not qualify for Centrelink benefits.

SOURCE

Evidence? Who needs evidence?

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Warmists certainly don't. Prophecy is their stock in trade. They're not even good at theory, let alone evidence. One of their more absurd prophecies is that global warming will lead to greater ocean acidity which will dissolve the shells of various marine animals. This is based on the fact that CO2 in water forms carbonic acid. What they fail to mention, however, is that warming REDUCES the ability of water to absorb CO2 -- so warming should in fact make the ocean more alkaline.

Theory is all very well, however. What actually happens in the ocean? Is greater acidity IN FACT fatal for animals living in shells?

Some Russian researchers found out. They were obviously oblivious to global warming. They were in fact looking at concentations of various elements in marine organisms located in proximity to undersea thermal vents (hydrothermal fields). Along the way, however, they did give brief descriptions of the animals they were studying. Below are two such:
The shells of the vesicomyid clam Archivesica gigas are an important target for Ba, Mn, and to a lesser extent of Fe (Figure 3a), however for other metals, they play only a small role. Taking into account the large mass of the shell relative to the soft tissue of clams (in which the former may reach one order of magnitude higher that the latter), we can suggest that shells, which have accumulated trace metals during biomineralization and adsorption, might serve as a great reservoir for many metals. The second abundant bivalve mollusk Leda (Nuculana grasslei) lives on substratum saturated with hydrocarbons (Allen, 1993). Unlike similar species, this animal has an extremely thick periostratum (an exterior part of the shell) that is considered to be an adaptation to functioning in an acidic environment enriched in sulfides. Its nutritional source has not yet been studied completely, but some researchers regard Leda as a symbiotrophic organism containing bacteria in its gills that can combine symbiotrophy with filter-feeding.


So a clam in a very acidic environment was unusually large and had a very THICK shell. The stupid thing obviously can't read what learned Warmists say! Instead of dying, it prospered!

And another mollusk (Leda) also had a very thick shell. Doesn't it know that its shell is supposed to have dissolved away?

What the Warmists overlook is that shell formation is a active process. The shell is not something that just sits there waiting to be eaten away. So even high levels of acidity don't faze the marine animal at all.

Win for the Greens, but a loss for Australia

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Huge fishery locked away

The Government’s decision to release the proposed maps of the million square kilometre Coral Sea Marine Reserve was a great victory for the American environmental group, PEW foundation, and their public relations tactics. But it has been a huge loss to the Australian fishing charter boat industry and will have an effect on recreational fishing, Queensland Senator Ron Boswell said today. “Charter boats, trawlers, fishermen, are going to bear a very heavy cost for the government and the 'green movements' decision.

And the processors, slip ways, refrigeration operations industry and all other supporting industries, are going to take a huge hit." “There is a thirty boat, charter industry that operates out of Cairns. It pumps about sixty million dollars into the local economy every year. It brings wealthy international travellers in to enjoy the North Queensland Marlin fishery. It is tag and release fishing, and is one of the most sustainable in the world," Senator Boswell said. “The charter boats, and the small number of fisherman, will be excluded from the massive green zone."

Both the Greens and the Minister recognise that the Coral Sea is in a pristine condition. This is due to the charter boats and fishermen who fish in the green zone and monitor any illegal fishing methods, such as drift nets, super seiners, and long liners mass destructive methods, and report any illegal fishing in the area. They also monitor catches and pass that information on to government.

Senator Boswell also said that, “this decision will leave the Coral Sea with no monitoring, there will be no observation of illegal fishing, and if the Coral Sea is in pristine condition, the Greens can thank the charter boat and fishermen who work the area for keeping it so."

“There will be no activity out there in the Coral Sea to observe, it will be an open invite to illegal fishing in the Coral Sea."

“Trawlers will also be completely excluded from the marine park. Forty deep sea trawlers that work in the southern end of the marine park, and a hundred other east coast licences that work on an irregular basis will be excluded."

Press release dated 25 Nov. from Queensland Senator Boswell above

But would you let someone shout “Fire!” in a crowded theatre?

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by Sean Gabb

This is the question that every advocate of free speech has at some time been asked. It may be one of the most tired clichés of political debate. It may indeed seem one of the most tiresome. But its continued popularity, and the air of finality with which it is unfailingly produced, do indicate that it expresses a very common belief - that the free expression of ideas may result in harm to others, and should therefore be restricted. And for this reason it merits at least a brief answer. Would I, then, let someone shout “Fire” in a crowded theatre? Or, to dive the question a more personal form, would I consider myself free so to shout? I can think of two replies.

First, we consider the matter purely on its own facts - which, though not entirely satisfying, does provide a technically sufficient answer. Every time that I go into a theatre or other similar place of entertainment, I enter into a contract with the management. I am to be entertained in a certain manner. In turn, I am to pay an entrance fee and abide by the rules of the house. To say that I do not specifically promise anything, nor ever see a copy of these house rules, is no proper argument. Assent to them is so obvious and reasonable a requirement of me that, for any legal purposes, it may be taken for granted on my buying a ticket and going in and I need only ask to be shown a copy of them. One of the rules will almost certainly be that I do not cause or participate in any disturbance within the theatre liable to endanger life, property or the enjoyment of other patrons. In that no one compels my attendance there, my consent, though tacit, is purely voluntary. To be sure, I have a right to speak my mind, but not to do so in breach of my freely given word. I therefore have no right to shout “Fire” in a crowded theatre.

The second reply is the genuine one. Suppose that, for whatever reason, I conceive a strong belief that the theatre I am in is on fire Perhaps I have the most sensitive nose in the audience, and I can smell burning. Or the position of my seat gives me a unique view of the spreading flames. Or my vast experience of other theatres indicates a fire by the nature of the draught playing around my feet. Grant this, and then tell me what I am to do. Certainly, to scream “Fire” and run for the nearest exit will be to start a panic which might result in injuries or deaths. But does this mean that I should sit still, patiently waiting my own death? Or should I bet up with every appearance of calm, and alone or with a few chosen friends walk out, leaving everyone else to burn?

Of course, I do no such thing. In the first instance, I make my fears plain to the management, which must, I presume, have some plan in readiness for dealing with this kind of emergency, or at least enough sense to be able to put one together at short notice. But suppose again that I have reason to believe that the management will refuse to hear me, and may throw me out - or even knock me on the head and hide me somewhere. Quite obviously, I must then use my discretion. I must communicate my fears to the rest of the audience while causing the least possible panic. This might involve walking from aisle to aisle, clearing each one at a time. Or I might force my way onto the stage and call for an orderly evacuation. But, if the progress of the fire is so advanced as to leave no time for orderly evacuations, I may well do best simply to shout “Fire” and hope that fewer people will be crushed in the panic than burned in the fire.

These are the two replies to the question. There are, however, two further points to discuss. Firstly, it must be said that, being such an extreme instance, the question hardly ever provides a fair analogy with what happens in the normal run of controversy. In the theatre, a man hears a shouted alarm. He sees others getting up and running for the exit. He may see neither the truth nor extent of the stated danger. He has no time to investigate. He is given strongly to believe that he must act at once or possibly die. If, in a crowd, he tramples someone else to death, his is not the moral responsibility that belongs to whoever has raised the alarm, and this is who will deserve punishment should the alarm have been a false one.

In the world at large, things are commonly very different. There is almost never any comparable emergency requiring instant and unthinking action. An idea is conceived and then stated, with supporting reasons given. There is no shortage of time for it to be considered, and replies to it framed or examined. Whoever acts on it immediately, and thereby attacks life or property, must, on any liberal view of human nature, be treated as entirely responsible for his actions, and not as the blind tool of someone else’s passion. The nearest case comparable to the theatre panic is that of a mob led by a demagogue. There are, of course, circumstances in which he will be liable to punishment along with those whom he may have incited to lawlessness. But, unless we are indeed to treat people as no more than irresponsible tools - in which case, why wish them free to direct their own lives or, by their votes, those of others? - This does not make out any general case for the suppression of the written word or of the temperately spoken word.

Secondly, it may be said that the question is nearly always asked by those wanting to suppress pornography or the ideas of the fascist right. The former, if at all, leads to individual assaults, hardly ever to bloodshed on a large scale. The latter, strictly defined, mean virtually nothing in the Anglo-Saxon world, and never have done. Yet if ever ideas have caused harm to others, there are those of Karl Marx. How many lives have been snuffed out this century in the name of the proletarian struggle is a number beyond my reckoning. Sixty million? A hundred million? Who knows? One thing, however, I do know. From that class of intellectuals who most often ask the above question I have never once heard it suggested that Das Kapital might be a fit subject for banning.

SOURCE

European court says ISPs can't be forced to monitor illegal downloads

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Since the American Left just ADORES European precedents, this verdict might cause both the FCC and legislators to lose momentum in their attempts to impose internet filtering and control on American ISPs

Internet service providers cannot be forced to block their users from downloading songs illegally, as such an order would breach EU rules, Europe's highest court said in a ruling welcomed by a consumer group.

The Luxembourg-based EU Court of Justice (ECJ) issued its verdict on Thursday in a case involving Belgian music royalty collecting society SABAM and Belgian telecom operator Belgacom unit Scarlet.

SABAM asked a Belgian court to order Scarlet to install a device to prevent its users from downloading copyrighted works. The court ruled in SABAM's favour and order Scarlet to install such a device. However, Scarlet then challenged the ruling, prompting the Belgian court to seek advice from the ECJ.

"EU law precludes the imposition of an injunction by a national court which requires an internet service provider to install a filtering system with a view to preventing the illegal downloading of files," the ECJ said.

"The filtering system would also be liable to infringe the fundamental rights of its [Scarlet's] customers, namely their right to protection of their personal data and their right to receive or impart information," the Luxembourg court said.

More here

Fiat ad under fire

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We read:
"A raunchy new ad campaign from Italian car brand Fiat is unlikely to be used in Australia or in the US – but for very different reasons.

The campaign has been put together for the US launch of the 500 Abarth city car, and it features some risqué subject matter and some risky driving manoeuvres.

The racy ad, known as "Seduction", features an attractive Italian-speaking woman accosting a geeky looking man that she catches ogling her behind. The ad goes on to show the woman dip her finger in the foam on top of the man's coffee, splattering it on her cleavage and drawing the man closer to her suggestively.

US media commentators are speculating it will be too racy for US regulators. But while it's the sexual innuendo that will get the US hot under the collar, in Australia it's the glorification of speed that's expected to earn social - and eventually official - condemnation.

The 60 second ad winds up with a 500 Abarth performing some raucous driving and tyre-screeching stunts, including a handbrake turn through an intersection – and Fiat says it's the ending, rather than the hormone-charged antics of the actors, that will stop it being used in Australia.

Source

Video at link

Looks like the sky is falling in Canada

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According to a Canadian Leftist site we've only got weeks to go:
Runaway Global Warming promises to literally burn-up agricultural areas into dust worldwide by 2012, causing global famine, anarchy, diseases, and war on a global scale as military powers including the U.S., Russia, and China, fight for control of the Earth's remaining resources.

Over 4.5 billion people could die from Global Warming related causes by 2012, as planet Earth accelarates into a greed-driven horrific catastrophe.

It doesn't seem to occur to them that even if their warming prophecies come true it would open up great swathes of productive agricultural land in Canada, Northern Russia, Siberia and Alaska. It would INCREASE the availability of food and other resources. And Hokkaido is a rather large but very Northerly Japanese island that would serve Japan well too. It is roughly the same size as Ireland and already has a railway connection to the mainland (Honshu)

Boat arrival tally passes department danger level

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THE fourth people-smugglers' boat in three days has carried the 701st passenger for November into Australian waters - confirming the Immigration Department's warning to the opposition of the consequences of the collapse of the Malaysia plan.

Two boats, carrying 144 asylum seekers and crew, were intercepted yesterday, quickly passing the controversial "600-a-month" threshold the Immigration Department secretary, Andrew Metcalfe, warned would make immigration detention unviable and could lead to European-style social unrest.

Asylum seeker arrivals have more than doubled since last month, when the Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, announced the effective end of offshore processing because the opposition would not pass legislation to overcome a High Court ban on the Malaysia refugee swap.

Since then, there has been one boat tragedy with eight asylum seekers drowning off Java and the death of a skipper in an incident off Christmas Island this week.

The Immigration Minister, Chris Bowen, challenged the Coalition to match "hollow words" on stopping the boats with action. "If the opposition wants to see offshore processing, we want to see offshore processing; the only difference is we're prepared to vote for it," he said.

But his opposition counterpart, Scott Morrison, called for the government to instead bring an immediate vote on the opposition's amendment to the bill, to only allow offshore processing in countries that have signed the Refugee Convention. The Opposition Leader, Tony Abbott, told Parliament: "The boats keep coming day in, day out".

Arrival numbers have returned to the peak seen late last year - before the December boat crash claimed 50 lives and acted as a brake on dangerous voyages - a level which led to severe overcrowding on Christmas Island, and riots among detainees.

Fourteen boats carrying 955 asylum seekers and crew have arrived since October 13, when the government said it would use bridging visas to move asylum seekers into the community to avoid detention crowding.

The Immigration Department had forecast just 750 asylum seekers arriving in 2011 in the federal budget, and the Mid-Year Economic Forecast, expected to be released next week, must revise spending upwards to account for the bigger numbers.

Mr Morrison said: "People smugglers are cramming more people onto dangerous boats in the lead-up to the monsoon season and the government has no policy in place to offer even the slightest deterrence."

Mr Bowen said the Coalition had "made a political decision, a calculation, that it is not in their political interest to see boat arrivals in Australia stop".

There were 959 people in detention on Christmas Island last Friday, with 344 more arrivals this week. There are 3923 asylum seekers in mainland detention.

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We Can't Kick Off U.S. Immigration Reform With Amnesty

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Tuesday night we learned about how the Republican candidates would handle a big part of the Oval Office portfolio. That's because they took a good 90 minutes talking mostly about one thing: foreign policy and national security. Along the way, they addressed on of the toughest questions facing policymakers: What to do about our deeply flawed immigration system and broken borders.

No sound-bite can cover how to battle transnational criminal cartels, how to respond to Hamas, Hezbollah, and Iranian intelligence networks threading their way through Latin America, how to protect our sovereignty and the sanctity of citizenship or how to deal with illegal immigration.

Securing our southern border starts south of the border. We must partner with Mexico to help it meet its security, economic and civil society challenges. For the first time in a long time, there are leaders in Mexico who are tired of hearing the cartels’ ultimatum “plato o plomo”—silver or lead (meaning take a bribe and step aside, or we will kill you and your family). One Mexican military officer, when was asked his “vision” for Mexico, said it was to see the country be like it was 10 years ago. Back then, he explained, the cartels would flee when the army showed up. Now, they fight back. That officer and many others in Mexico want their country back.

Meanwhile, we can and must do more stateside to secure the border. But we need sensible security measures, with D.C., the states and border communities all pulling in the same direction. That’s not likely to happen if President Obama accepts across-the-board budget cuts. Slashed security budgets will translate directly to weakened border operations: fewer primary inspection lanes at border crossings; fewer dog teams on the line sniffing out smuggled drugs, cash, guns and aliens; fewer liaison teams coordinating operations, etc. No matter how the cuts come down, border security will suffer.

In addition to doing better operationally, we need to do a better job on the policy front. That includes effective, adequate temporary worker programs that get employers the employees when they need, when they need them to help grow the economy and create more jobs. It means opening the door to high-skilled immigration. It also means enforcing the immigration and workplace laws.

Finally, immigration reform cannot lead with amnesty. Americans will have to demonstrate wisdom and compassion in crafting strategies to deal with those are residing unlawfully in the United States now, but the campaign cannot start by granting a widespread amnesty. That would reward those who have broken our laws and undermine confidence in all other efforts to fix the problem. Amnesties just encourage more illegal entry and unlawful presence.

We must to have the patience to take all the other steps first—to fix the system. Then we can turn to amnesty. But starting with amnesty is a non-starter.

At last night’s extended debate, the candidates collectively articulated all the components of a sound plan. If whoever emerges as the GOP nominee can string them all together into a coherent plan, the American people will have a clear alternative to the failed policies we have tried since September 11, 2001.

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Free the Market. Save Lives

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The prohibition on human-kidney sales is a perfect example of uncompensated third-party harms – negative externalities – inflicted on innocent people by political decision-making. A chief (tho’ not the only) reason given to justify this prohibition is that many people find the thought of a free-market in kidney sales to be distasteful. As a fellow student at UVA Law informed me 20 years ago, “I [my fellow student] just don’t want to live in a society that allows such commerce.” She advised that it’s just so distasteful that it shouldn’t be allowed to occur.

This woman was willing to vote for a policy that results in unnecessary suffering and premature deaths simply so that she and her tender sensibilities might be spared what for her is the unsavory knowledge that somewhere in America some people voluntarily and peacefully engage in exchanges that are mutually agreeable and, frequently, life-saving. Having her ‘say’ in other people’s lives – without her having to pay to exercise that say or to compensate those people harmed by her vote – is an instance of a politically induced negative externality....

More broadly, this example highlights the strength of Carl Dahlman’s important 1979 argument (in the Journal of Law & Economics) that, ultimately, what is and what is not a policy-relevant externality is not a matter of objective science but, rather, of value judgments.

My law-school classmate from long ago might well reply that the psychic harm inflicted on her by the knowledge that legal kidney sales are taking place would itself be a negative externality unleashed by the legalization of such sales.

And she’d be correct. Or, at least, neither I nor anyone else would be able to disprove her positive claim of being severely psychically harmed by knowing that such legal sales occur.

Some value judgment must be exercised to weigh the value of saving people from suffering and dying prematurely against the value of saving the tender psyches of people such as my former classmate.

Most people, I believe, value saving innocent lives and preventing unnecessary physical suffering more highly than they value preventing the ethically sensitive among us from having to endure pangs of anguish caused by the knowledge that other people are buying and selling human kidneys. (This case isn’t close to being ‘close’ – for example, as between valuing the farmer’s desire to grow crops without worrying about those crops being set afire by sparks from a passing locomotive, and the railroad’s desire to run its train at top speed over its tracks that abut a cornfield.)

Trouble is, each person is intimately familiar with and concerned with his or her own personal psyche – each person gets the full measure of pleasure from gratifying that psyche and suffers the full measure of disappointment or anguish from irritating that psyche. A busybody – especially one unaware of the unintended economic and medical consequences of banning kidney sales – is too likely, then, to gratify his or her psyche by imposing uncompensated burdens on those people who wish to purchase kidneys and on those who wish to sell their kidneys.

If we agree that saving lives is more important than saving tender psyches, then the policy of preventing the buying and selling of kidneys at market prices inflicts on innocent third-parties a policy-relevant negative externality – and, frankly, one that is especially heinous.

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Sex appeal now incorrect in Britain

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We read:
"Advertisements for Lynx deodorant featuring glamour model Lucy Pinder have been banned for degrading women and treating them as sex objects.

The lads mag model was seen wearing very little and flashing her cleavage in a series of provocative video ads that hark back to the 1970s.

Lynx is marketed using tongue in cheek humour that suggests the men who use it instantly become more attractive, with beautiful women falling at their feet.

[One ad.] featured an image of the model in her underwear and bending over an oven door. The text stated ‘Can she make you lose control?’.

In a ruling published today, the watchdog said: ‘We considered that the various activities that Ms Pinder carried out were presented in a sexually provocative way, and that alongside the focus on Ms Pinder's cleavage … were likely to be seen as gratuitous and to objectify women.

Criticising the poster, the ASA said the language was ‘clearly intended to imply that using the advertised product would lead to more uninhibited sexual behaviour’. [How AWFUL!!!]

Source

Just the usual feminist hatred of attractive women

Ya gotta laugh: Loss of Sea Ice is ‘Unprecedented’, says Study

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It's unlikely that this is true since the only accurate history goes back only to 1979 but even if it were true, so what? Melting sea ice has zero effect on ocean levels and since there has been no warming for over a decade any recent ice loss CANNOT be due to warming. These guys really are desperate

The loss of sea ice in the Arctic at the end of the 20th Century is “unprecedented” in the past 1,450 years in its duration and magnitude, an indication of human-influenced climate change, a study said.

So-called greenhouse gases may be contributing to the warming, and trends from the last several decades suggest there may soon be an ice-free Arctic in the summer, according to a study published today in the journal Nature.

The ice, which melts every summer before cold weather makes it expand again, shrank this year to its second-smallest size since 1979, covering 4.33 million square kilometers (1.67 million square miles), according to the U.S. National Snow and Ice Data Center. Although previous sea ice declines have occurred at a similar pace, they don’t match the extent of the melt, the study authors said.

“This drastic and continuous decrease we’ve been seeing from the satellites does seem to be anomalous,” Christophe Kinnard, a study author and a geographer at the Centro de Estudios Avanzados en Zonas Aridas in La Serena, Chile, said in a telephone interview. “It does point to a continuation of this trend in the future.”

The researchers used ice core records, tree ring data, lake sediment and historical evidence to reconstruct the amount of Arctic cover. The thickness and extent of sea ice have declined dramatically over the last 30 years, the researchers said.

Arctic sea ice influences the global climate, since 80 percent of the sunlight that strikes it is reflected back to space. When the ice melts in the summer, it exposes the ocean surface, which absorbs about 90 percent of the light, heating the water, according to the National Snow and Ice Data Center. That influences climate patterns.

“You increase the radiation that’s absorbed by the oceans, that’s one of the strongest climate feedback mechanisms,” Kinnard said. “The more sea ice you lose, the more energy you get in the ocean, which warms the atmosphere.”

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Professor expresses outrage at University of Queensland enrolment scandal

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That corrupt university boss Greenfield refuses to stand down is a disgrace to him personally, to his Jewish community and to my alma mater. It's hardly unknown for such a highly paid man to be so amoral but it is certainly reprehensible. The university is undoubtedly not getting value for money

A LEADING doctor and University of Queensland academic said there was "great anger" within the institution over the enrolment scandal engulfing vice-chancellor Paul Greenfield.

Associate Professor David Colquhoun yesterday urged Prof Greenfield to step down immediately because the controversy involving one of the vice-chancellor's close family members was "eating away at the integrity and morale of the university".

He said some specialist doctors teaching at the university were openly talking about boycotting the university while the cover-up continued. "We are angry. If the vice-chancellor was ethical he would ... step down now immediately," said Dr Colquhoun, a cardiologist who has taught at the university since 1984. "There is anger, great anger. Quote me as saying that. "One doctor told me he will never teach anyone at the university again. "Students, doctors and academics are all talking about it freely."

Prof Greenfield and his deputy Prof Michael Keniger offered to stand down after an integrity probe found "irregularities" in the enrolment process. Later, it was admitted the student at the centre of the row was a "close family member" of Prof Greenfield's.

Prof Greenfield, who was paid $1,069,999 last year, claimed the incident arose as the result of a "misunderstanding" but failed to elaborate.

The university Senate, the governing body, has decided Prof Greenfield will stay until June next year after his 65th birthday while Prof Keniger will leave in December.

There was community disquiet when the university tried to cover up the scandal. The details of the case still remain a closely guarded secret, with the university Senate declining to release the report.

The cover-up was continuing yesterday, with the university refusing to answer questions or release any information about the enrolment process. No students were disadvantaged, the university claims. Academic staff have been warned not to speak to the media.

Dr Colquhoun said the situation was "objectionable" and unworthy of one of the country's leading universities. "They are public servants and as such have a duty to stand down while an investigation happens," he said. "Public servants and politicians stand down while they are being investigated. That is the proper course of action.

"The vice-chancellor is the chief administrator of the rules and ethics." He said Prof Greenfield's decision to stay was an "embarrassment" and a blow to the integrity of the institution. "It's time he left so the university can begin to restore its reputation," Dr Colquhoun said.

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Underweight patients more likely to die than mildly obese patients

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This is an old story now but it needs a lot of repetition before it becomes accepted: The healthiest weight is a middling weight

Underweight patients may have more possibilities of mortality within 30 days of general and vascular surgery compared with mildly obese patients, according to a research published online in Archives of Surgery Tuesday.

Researchers at the U.S. National Surgical Quality Improvement Program conducted the research for the years 2005 and 2006, and assessed the contribution of BMI (Body Mass Index) to 189,533 postsurgeries morbidity and mortality by obesity classes.

They found that compared with the middle BMI quintile group, patients with BMI value below 23.1, had greater chances for death. For the highest BMI quintile group, higher mortality rate was also observed.

However, the researchers also found that obesity may as well be associated with increased mortality for some individual types of surgeries.

"These individual types of procedures include procedures with which the general surgeon should have definite experience: colorectal resection, colostomy formation, cholecystectomy, hernia repair, mastectomy, and wound debridement," said George J. Stukenborg, PhD, of the University of Virginia inCharlottesvilleand his colleagues.

Based on a 30 –day morbidity and mortality risk calculation, the sample patients were categorized into BMI quintile ranges. BMI value of less than 23.1 was considered as lowest, values from 26.3 to 29.6 considered as the middle quintile, and above 35.2 considered as the highest.

Factors such as lack of enough data on nonfatal complications and hospital resources, or examining mortality over the 30-day baseline, may cause limitations and inaccuracy to the research and more studies on a wider range of patients in terms of BMI are needed to further confirm the current conclusion, researchers said.

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The authoritarianism, simple-mindedness and failure of America's pundits

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That liberty might be the answer doesn't seem to occur to them

Consider for a moment the paradoxical pain of being a best-selling political pundit so successful that American presidents don’t just seek but heed your advice. You have lobbied in your columns for the commander in chief to deploy your signature catch phrases, and he has. You have, in times of both crisis and sloth, advocated robust federal action in the name of national “greatness,” and the people in power have mostly followed suit. You have been flattered by invitations to the White House and pecked at by lesser partisans, yet you’ve maintained your critical distance in the patriotic spirit of post-ideological problem solving. All this influence and success, and somehow the country still sucks.

“Are we going to roll up our sleeves or limp on?” an exasperated Thomas L. Friedman asked the nation in a September 20 New York Times column. Friedman, the three-time Pulitzer Prize winner, influential Iraq war supporter, champion of “green jobs” industrial policy, and backer of President Barack Obama’s public education initiatives, is threatening to secede from a status quo he helped create.

“Given those stark choices,” he wrote, “one would hope that our politicians would rise to the challenge by putting forth fair and credible recovery proposals that match the scale of our debt problem and contain the three elements that any serious plan must have: spending cuts, increases in revenues and investments in the sources of our strength. But that, alas, is not what we’re getting, which is why there remains an opening for an independent Third Party candidate in the 2012 campaign.”

These are glum times not just for the 23 million working-age Americans without steady jobs but for hyper-employed commentators who have built comparative fortunes whispering into and occasionally bending the world’s most powerful ears. “I’m a sap,” a morose-sounding New York Times columnist David Brooks confessed the day before Friedman’s outburst. “I believed Obama when he said he wanted to move beyond the stale ideological debates that have paralyzed this country. I always believe that Obama is on the verge of breaking out of the conventional categories and embracing one of the many bipartisan reform packages that are floating around.” But now that the president had unveiled a dead-on-arrival, soak-the-rich jobs package in a televised address designed more to please his progressive base than to actually solve problems, even David Brooks—who in March 2010 deemed Obama “the most realistic and reasonable major player in Washington”—was forced to admit the unbearable: “This wasn’t a speech to get something done.” But noble dreams die hard. “I still believe,” Brooks insisted, “that the president’s soul would like to do something about the country’s structural problems.”

Do something. Is there a two-word phrase in politics more loaded with disguised ideological content? Embedded within is both an urgent call for powerful government action and an up-front declaration that the policy details don’t matter. The bigger the crisis, the more the urgency, the sparser the detail. On September 30, 2008, in a classic of the do-something genre, Brooks argued that the Troubled Asset Relief Program should be rammed through Congress over public objections because the federal government needed “to give people a sense that somebody was in charge, that something was going to be done.” Did that “something” involve buying up toxic assets? Introducing or relaxing certain banking regulations? Taking over or winding down Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac? Not important. “What we need in this situation,” Brooks declared, “is authority.”

American discourse is saddled with a large and influential do-something school of political punditry, a cadre of pragmatists from Meet the Press to your local editorial board who are forever seeking to solve the country’s problems by transcending ideology, demanding collective citizen sacrifice, and—always—empowering authority. In their new book That Used To Be Us: How America Fell Behind in the World It Invented and How We Can Come Back, Friedman and Johns Hopkins foreign policy professor Michael Mandelbaum lament that people “in positions of authority everywhere have less influence than in the past,” due to a “corrosive cynicism” preventing “the collective action that is required.” America, David Brooks wrote in March 2010, “is suffering a devastating crisis of authority,” resulting in a “corrosive cynicism about public action.” The similarities are not accidental.

Brooks and Friedman may be the most prominent practitioners, but the do-something school is evident just about anywhere the political class is talking shop. Here is former George W. Bush speechwriter David Frum at CNN.com on September 26, lamenting that the “old rules” of bipartisan cooperation “have broken down,” unlike those bygone days when “the imperatives of the Cold War inspired a spirit of deference to the president.” There is centrist Matt Miller at Washingtonpost.com the day before, writing an imaginary speech (a favored tactic of the do-something set) for an imaginary independent presidential candidate (ditto) who rejects “the Democrats’ timid half-measures and the Republicans’ mindless anti-government creed” in favor of “a bold agenda equal to the scale of our challenges.” That agenda is virtually indistinguishable from the Brooks/Friedman playbook: higher energy taxes, more money for infrastructure and schools, and national service for the young, all while somehow cutting government spending over the long term.

There are some obvious rejoinders to this fictitious excrescence of the “radical center” (Friedman’s preferred term). As The Washington Post’s Greg Sargent pointed out in response to Miller, “many of those calling for a third party are refusing to reckon with an inconvenient fact: One of the two parties already occupies the approximate ideological space that these commentators themselves are describing as the dream middle ground that allegedly can only be staked out by a third party. That party is known as the ‘Democratic Party.’ ” By dreaming up a third way to deliver ideas and rhetoric already associated with Barack Obama, the centrists are making the implicit admission that the president is ineffectual in the face of GOP intransigence.

But there is an even less charitable explanation. Because do-something punditry inevitably appeals to whoever holds power—what president doesn’t want to rise above partisanship to get things done, particularly if the solution amounts to a blank check to government?—pragmatic centrism has been implemented to a much greater extent than any of the “rigid” ideologies it abhors, whether they be trade unionism, social conservatism, or across-the-board libertarianism. Put another way, we live in a David Brooks/Thomas L. Friedman world, but now that the results have come in they are trying to wash their hands of the whole experiment.

Much more HERE