Little Ice Age recognized in top journal

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Michael Mann's "hockeystick" says that the LIA did not happen. And in 2007 Phil Jones said "it's important "not to cling to outdated concepts of the past such as the MWP and LIA"

That the "modelling" of the authors below excludes a solar influence as the cause of the LIA need not detain us of course. You can get anything you like out of a model.
GEOPHYSICAL RESEARCH LETTERS, VOL. 39, L02708, 5 PP., 2012

Abrupt onset of the Little Ice Age triggered by volcanism and sustained by sea-ice/ocean feedbacks

by Gifford H. Miller et al.

Abstract

Northern Hemisphere summer temperatures over the past 8000 years have been paced by the slow decrease in summer insolation resulting from the precession of the equinoxes. However, the causes of superposed century-scale cold summer anomalies, of which the Little Ice Age (LIA) is the most extreme, remain debated, largely because the natural forcings are either weak or, in the case of volcanism, short lived. Here we present precisely dated records of ice-cap growth from Arctic Canada and Iceland showing that LIA summer cold and ice growth began abruptly between 1275 and 1300 AD, followed by a substantial intensification 1430–1455 AD. Intervals of sudden ice growth coincide with two of the most volcanically perturbed half centuries of the past millennium. A transient climate model simulation shows that explosive volcanism produces abrupt summer cooling at these times, and that cold summers can be maintained by sea-ice/ocean feedbacks long after volcanic aerosols are removed. Our results suggest that the onset of the LIA can be linked to an unusual 50-year-long episode with four large sulfur-rich explosive eruptions, each with global sulfate loading >60 Tg. The persistence of cold summers is best explained by consequent sea-ice/ocean feedbacks during a hemispheric summer insolation minimum; large changes in solar irradiance are not required.

SOURCE

Drug war censorship

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It has long been evident that the Drug War is bad for America. Crime in the streets, millions in prison, violations of civil liberties, along with tens of millions of people still using drugs. So where's the benefit?

It turns out that the Drug War also threatens free speech. One of the most important organizations opposing the Drug War is Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, or LEAP. It has started a new blog by a cop who believes he must remain silent, or be fired. He writes:
As an active duty veteran police officer, I would love to publicly join Law Enforcement Against Prohibition and freely speak out against the drug war. However, I am scared, yes scared, to join LEAP publicly. Although many active duty law enforcers are already speaking out publicly with LEAP and maintaining their careers (more on them later), I believe I would be punished by my department for my advocacy or perhaps even fired.

We need a full and honest debate on drug prohibition. Including the participation of law enforcement officers able to speak openly without fear of retaliation.

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Australian public broadcaster (ABC) under fire for vilifying Christians

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We read:
"In the satirical interview, John Clarke poses as a mental health professional - apparently being questioned by Brian Dawe on the psychological damage caused by lengthy processing of asylum seekers.

But in a twist, it is revealed they are actually discussing how long politicians stay in office before they are finally voted out:

Dawe: A lot of them must realise the damage they are doing?

Clarke: Oh, they do. A lot of them are Christians.

Dawe: So there would be a lot of guilt?

Clarke: A lot of guilt. A lot of denial.

Dawe: Look what they are doing to the asylum seekers.

Source

Video at link

Australian law is very sweeping in its provisions about racial vilification. It says: "It is unlawful for a person to do an act, otherwise than in private, if: (a) the act is reasonably likely, in all the circumstances, to offend, insult, humiliate or intimidate another person or a group of people; and (b) the act is done because of the race, colour or national or ethnic origin of the other person or of some or all of the people in the group"

But there is no similar prohibition against religious vilification that I know of. So this complaint is unlikely to go anywhere beyond the bureaucracy.

Even if the Act did apply to religion, it has extensive exemptions. Exempted in Section 18d, for instance, are comments made "in the course of any statement, publication, discussion or debate made or held for any genuine academic, artistic or scientific purpose or any other genuine purpose in the public interest".

One would have thought that the above exemption provided a complete defence for conservative columnist Andrew Bolt in the prosecution recently brought against him. That judge Mordechai Bromberg did not accept that defence and proceeded to convict Bolt is thus incomprehensible in terms of what the law says. It can, as far as I can see, be explained only as a political judgement, akin to many of the judgments handed down by the U.S. Supreme Court. Even some Leftists were disturbed by Bromberg's extremism.

Given the pervasive Leftism of diaspora Jews, however, I suppose judge Bromberg's judgment and the accompanying tortured reasoning were to be expected. Jews are heavily represented in the Australian judiciary so I suppose we have to be glad that not many politically-relevant cases come before them. Leftism and law don't seem to go well together.

Epidemiologists are known for their poor grip on logic but this guy beats the band

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The Warmist epidemiologist below is perfectly correct that past natural climate changes have been disastrous but the disastrous ones were episodes of COOLING. Periods of warming -- as in the Roman warm period -- were periods of prosperity and civilizational advance. Yet he is trying to make the case that history shows warming to be bad. He must know that history indicates the opposite so I say without hesitation that he is a lying crook of zero credibility on anything. I could go on to dispute more of his patently false claims but what's the point?

A LEADING Australian disease expert says prompt action on climate change is paramount to our survival on Earth. Australian National University Epidemiologist Tony McMichael has conducted an historical study that suggests natural climate change over thousands of years has destabilised civilisations via food shortages, disease and unrest.

"We haven't really grasped the fact that a change in climate presents a quite fundamental threat to the foundations of population health," Prof McMichael said. "These things have happened before in response to fairly modest changes to climate.

"Let's be aware that we really must take early action if we are going to maintain this planet as a liveable habitat for humans."

In a paper published this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Prof McMichael argues the world faces extreme climate change "without precedent" over the past 10,000 years.

"With the exception of a few downward spikes of acute cooling due to massive volcanic eruptions, most of the changes have been within a band of about plus or minus three-quarters of a degree centigrade," he said today.

"Yet we are talking about the likelihood this century of going beyond two degrees centigrade and quite probably, on current trajectory, reaching a global average increase of three to four degrees."

Prof McMichael's paper states that the greatest recurring health risk over past millennia has been from food shortages mostly caused by drying and drought.

Warming also leads to an increase in infectious diseases as a result of better growth conditions for bacteria and the proliferation of mosquitoes.

Drought can also result in greater contact with rodents searching for scarce food supplies.

The ANU academic says while societies today are better equipped to defend themselves physically and technologically, they lack the flexibility smaller groups had in the past. That's partly because the world is now "over populated", according to Prof McMichael, so there are fewer areas available to retreat too.

Populations are also increasingly packed into large cities on coastlines which are particularly vulnerable to extreme weather events.

Prof McMichael has been examining the impact of climate change on population health for 20 years and says it's not easy to raise awareness of the risk.

"Most of the attention has been of a more limited shorter-term kind relating to things around us like the economy, our property, infrastructure and risks to iconic ecosystems and species."

SOURCE

You can't win: British filmmakers remove leprosy gag from new children's comedy after outcry but were they too PC?

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We read:
"The makers of Wallace and Gromit have been forced to take a joke about leprosy out of their latest film after an outcry from health campaigners.

Animators Aardman have caused a furore with a scene that appeared in a trailer for Pirates! In An Adventure with Scientists! - starring Hugh Grant and Brian Blessed.

It shows the arrival of the Pirate Captain, voiced by Grant, on board a captive ship demanding gold.

A crew member tells him: 'Afraid we don't have any gold old man, this is a leper-boat.' His arm then falls off, before he adds: 'See!'

Campaigners lined up to criticise the visual gag, accusing Aardman Animations of 'laughing at the millions disabled by leprosy'.

The Oscar-winning British film company agreed to remove the gag from the family film, which is set to be released in the UK this March.

But the move was criticised by some who claimed it was an over-reaction just to appease a vocal minority.

Source

Britain's Met Office releases new figures which show no warming in 15 years

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The supposed ‘consensus’ on man-made global warming is facing an inconvenient challenge after the release of new temperature data showing the planet has not warmed for the past 15 years. The figures suggest that we could even be heading for a mini ice age to rival the 70-year temperature drop that saw frost fairs held on the Thames in the 17th Century.

Based on readings from more than 30,000 measuring stations, the data was issued last week without fanfare by the Met Office and the University of East Anglia Climatic Research Unit. It confirms that the rising trend in world temperatures ended in 1997.

Meanwhile, leading climate scientists yesterday told The Mail on Sunday that, after emitting unusually high levels of energy throughout the 20th Century, the sun is now heading towards a ‘grand minimum’ in its output, threatening cold summers, bitter winters and a shortening of the season available for growing food.

Solar output goes through 11-year cycles, with high numbers of sunspots seen at their peak.

We are now at what should be the peak of what scientists call ‘Cycle 24’ – which is why last week’s solar storm resulted in sightings of the aurora borealis further south than usual. But sunspot numbers are running at less than half those seen during cycle peaks in the 20th Century.

Analysis by experts at NASA and the University of Arizona – derived from magnetic-field measurements 120,000 miles beneath the sun’s surface – suggest that Cycle 25, whose peak is due in 2022, will be a great deal weaker still.

According to a paper issued last week by the Met Office, there is a 92 per cent chance that both Cycle 25 and those taking place in the following decades will be as weak as, or weaker than, the ‘Dalton minimum’ of 1790 to 1830. In this period, named after the meteorologist John Dalton, average temperatures in parts of Europe fell by 2C.

However, it is also possible that the new solar energy slump could be as deep as the ‘Maunder minimum’ (after astronomer Edward Maunder), between 1645 and 1715 in the coldest part of the ‘Little Ice Age’ when, as well as the Thames frost fairs, the canals of Holland froze solid.

Yet, in its paper, the Met Office claimed that the consequences now would be negligible – because the impact of the sun on climate is far less than man-made carbon dioxide. Although the sun’s output is likely to decrease until 2100, ‘This would only cause a reduction in global temperatures of 0.08C.’ Peter Stott, one of the authors, said: ‘Our findings suggest a reduction of solar activity to levels not seen in hundreds of years would be insufficient to offset the dominant influence of greenhouse gases.’

These findings are fiercely disputed by other solar experts.

‘World temperatures may end up a lot cooler than now for 50 years or more,’ said Henrik Svensmark, director of the Center for Sun-Climate Research at Denmark’s National Space Institute. ‘It will take a long battle to convince some climate scientists that the sun is important. It may well be that the sun is going to demonstrate this on its own, without the need for their help.’

He pointed out that, in claiming the effect of the solar minimum would be small, the Met Office was relying on the same computer models that are being undermined by the current pause in global-warming.

CO2 levels have continued to rise without interruption and, in 2007, the Met Office claimed that global warming was about to ‘come roaring back’. It said that between 2004 and 2014 there would be an overall increase of 0.3C. In 2009, it predicted that at least three of the years 2009 to 2014 would break the previous temperature record set in 1998.

So far there is no sign of any of this happening. But yesterday a Met Office spokesman insisted its models were still valid. ‘The ten-year projection remains groundbreaking science. The period for the original projection is not over yet,’ he said.

Dr Nicola Scafetta, of Duke University in North Carolina, is the author of several papers that argue the Met Office climate models show there should have been ‘steady warming from 2000 until now’.

‘If temperatures continue to stay flat or start to cool again, the divergence between the models and recorded data will eventually become so great that the whole scientific community will question the current theories,’ he said.

He believes that as the Met Office model attaches much greater significance to CO2 than to the sun, it was bound to conclude that there would not be cooling. ‘The real issue is whether the model itself is accurate,’ Dr Scafetta said. Meanwhile, one of America’s most eminent climate experts, Professor Judith Curry of the Georgia Institute of Technology, said she found the Met Office’s confident prediction of a ‘negligible’ impact difficult to understand.

‘The responsible thing to do would be to accept the fact that the models may have severe shortcomings when it comes to the influence of the sun,’ said Professor Curry. As for the warming pause, she said that many scientists ‘are not surprised’.

She argued it is becoming evident that factors other than CO2 play an important role in rising or falling warmth, such as the 60-year water temperature cycles in the Pacific and Atlantic oceans.

‘They have insufficiently been appreciated in terms of global climate,’ said Prof Curry. When both oceans were cold in the past, such as from 1940 to 1970, the climate cooled. The Pacific cycle ‘flipped’ back from warm to cold mode in 2008 and the Atlantic is also thought likely to flip in the next few years .

Pal Brekke, senior adviser at the Norwegian Space Centre, said some scientists found the importance of water cycles difficult to accept, because doing so means admitting that the oceans – not CO2 – caused much of the global warming between 1970 and 1997. The same goes for the impact of the sun – which was highly active for much of the 20th Century.

‘Nature is about to carry out a very interesting experiment,’ he said. ‘Ten or 15 years from now, we will be able to determine much better whether the warming of the late 20th Century really was caused by man-made CO2, or by natural variability.’

Meanwhile, since the end of last year, world temperatures have fallen by more than half a degree, as the cold ‘La Nina’ effect has re-emerged in the South Pacific.

‘We’re now well into the second decade of the pause,’ said Benny Peiser, director of the Global Warming Policy Foundation. ‘If we don’t see convincing evidence of global warming by 2015, it will start to become clear whether the models are bunk. And, if they are, the implications for some scientists could be very serious.’

SOURCE

Obama's Vision for a Spartan America

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Like 19th century German philosopher GWF Hegel (mentor of Karl Marx), Obama's vision for America and Americans is of ants in an anthill -- JR

Jonah Goldberg

President Obama's State of the Union address was disgusting.

The president began with a moving tribute to the armed forces and their accomplishments. But as he has done many times now, he celebrated martial virtues not to rally support for the military, but to cover himself in glory -- he killed Osama bin Laden! -- and to convince the American people that they should fall in line and march in lockstep.

He said of the military: "At a time when too many of our institutions have let us down, they exceed all expectations. They're not consumed with personal ambition. They don't obsess over their differences. They focus on the mission at hand. They work together. Imagine what we could accomplish if we followed their example. Think about the America within our reach."

That is disgusting.

What Obama is saying, quite plainly, is that America would be better off if it wasn't America any longer. He's making the case not for American exceptionalism, but Spartan exceptionalism.

It's far worse than anything George W. Bush, the supposed warmonger, ever said. Bush, the alleged fascist, didn't want to militarize our free country; he tried to use our military to make militarized countries free.

Indeed, Obama is upending the very point of a military in a free society. We have a military to keep our society free. We do not have a military to teach us the best way to give up our freedom. Our warriors surrender their liberties and risk their lives to protect ours. The promise of American life for Obama is that if we all try our best and work our hardest, we can be like a military unit striving for a single goal. I've seen pictures of that from North Korea. No thank you, Mr. President.

Of course, Obama's militaristic fantasizing isn't new. Ever since William James coined the phrase "the moral equivalent of war," liberalism has been obsessed with finding ways to mobilize civilian life with the efficiency and conformity of military life. "Martial virtues," James wrote, "must be the enduring cement" of American society: "intrepidity, contempt of softness, surrender of private interest, obedience to command must still remain the rock upon which states are built." His disciple, liberal philosopher John Dewey, hoped for a social order that would force Americans to lay aside "our good-natured individualism and march in step."

This is why Obama's administration believes a crisis is a terrible thing to waste. This is why Obama has been prattling about "Sputnik moments" and sighing over his envy of China and its rulers. This is why his spinners endeavored to translate the death of bin Laden as some sort of vindication of his domestic agenda: because he cannot lead a free people where he thinks they should go.

At the end of his address, Obama once again cast the slain bin Laden as the Vercingetorix to his Caesar. (Vercingetorix was the defeated Gaulic chieftain whom Caesar triumphantly paraded through Rome.) "All that mattered that day was the mission. No one thought about politics. No one thought about themselves," Obama rhapsodized.

The warriors on the ground "only succeeded ... because every single member of that unit did their job. ... More than that, the mission only succeeded because every member of that unit trusted each other -- because you can't charge up those stairs, into darkness and danger, unless you know that there's somebody behind you, watching your back. So it is with America."

"This nation is great because we worked as a team. This nation is great because we get each other's backs."

No. Wrong. It is not so with America. This nation isn't great because we work as a team with the president as our captain. America is great because America is free. It is great not because we put our self-interest aside, but because we have the right to pursue happiness.

I don't blame the president for being exhausted with the mess and bother of democracy and politics, since he has proved so inadequate at coping with the demands of both. Nor do I think he truly seeks to impose martial virtues on America. But he does desperately want his opponents to shut up and march in place. And he seems to think this bilge will convince them to do so.

What I can't forgive, however, is the way he tries to pass off his ideal of an America where everyone marches as one as a better America. It wouldn't be America at all.

SOURCE

Paedophile of 'the most sickening order' was able to film himself abusing girls in primary school classrooms because bosses did NOTHING despite 30 war

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Behold the attitudes engendered by being a British public servant. They are an especially protected class who can be fired only under the most exceptional circumstances so they often just go through the motions of doing their jobs -- with the only important thing to them being what cake to have with their morning tea. This case was so extreme, however, that the most guilty party (the headmaster) was fired. He should have been prosecuted for criminal negligence or as an accessory after the fact

A paedophile teacher filmed himself abusing girls in the classroom after school bosses failed over 14 years to act on 30 warnings about his behaviour. Nigel Leat, 51, was described by a judge as a ‘paedophile of the most sickening order’ when he was jailed indefinitely last year for abusing five girls, some as young as six.

Yesterday a damning report showed that the primary school where he worked had catastrophically failed to protect the children in his care. Over 14 years, concerns had been raised repeatedly about Leat’s behaviour with pupils, but his conduct was never investigated. He had abused children in the school’s computer room, resource room, staff room and even during lessons with other pupils present.

Leat also regularly filmed the pupils’ harrowing ordeals using a camera provided by the school, storing hundreds of films on more than 20 memory sticks labelled with his victims’ names.

Staff at Hillside First School in Worle, Somerset, first noticed Leat selecting girls who were ‘less academically able, emotionally needy or pretty’ as his ‘favourites’ a year after he started teaching there in 1996.

His inappropriate behaviour was so well known that staff tried to prevent children likely to become his ‘star pupils’ from being put into his Year Two and Year Three classes.

In 2004, a mother claimed Leat had been taking pictures of her daughter with a mobile phone but he denied the accusation and no action was taken. Four years later, two children told staff that Leat, a married father of two, had been touching their legs and kissing one of them – causing her to be sick – and a teacher twice reported him to the head. Another member of staff saw Leat projecting an indecent image of an adult on to a wall during a lesson.

Leat was also seen lifting up and groping young girls in the playground, tickling and cuddling pupils in class and sitting on cushions with a schoolgirl while visibly aroused.

But those staff members who reported Leat’s behaviour were told they should not ‘insinuate things’ and were bullied into silence, a report said yesterday.

It was later discovered that Leat would routinely hide a camera under his desk and then summon his victims, recording the subsequent horrifying images of the abuse. In many of the videos, which are up to ten minutes in length, other children can be seen or heard in the background.

When police finally became involved, Leat first denied wrongdoing but later admitted 36 sexual offences including rape, assault and voyeurism.

Yesterday a review by the North Somerset Safeguarding Children Board concluded that his appalling crimes could have been stopped much earlier if the school had not failed to act on the warnings. Instead, out of 30 disturbing incidents noted, only 11 were mentioned to the school’s headmaster, Chris Hood, and none was passed on to an agency outside the school.

Leat was only arrested in December 2010, when a schoolgirl told her mother he abused her ‘every day apart from when the teaching assistant was in the classroom’.

Police who raided the home he shared with his wife, also a teacher, found more than 30,000 images, including 61 pictures and 21 movies at level five, the most serious level. At least 20 children were victims of Leat’s abuse or witnessed it at the school, which caters for 128 children aged between four and eight.

Three Ofsted inspections undertaken during the time Leat was abusing his students graded it as ‘good’ and a report in 2009 noted: ‘Pupils feel exceptionally safe and secure because they know that staff have their well-being at heart.’

Tony Oliver, who chaired the serious case review, said: ‘There was a failure at every level within the school.

‘There was a culture which just did not empower people to voice their concerns. It could be interpreted as a culture of bullying.’ He said the headmaster had been sacked following a disciplinary process.

SOURCE

Australians should not lose sleep over Europe's nightmares

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The economic news from Europe in recent days has not been good. And it could get worse as the year progresses. Those guys have big problems. But let's not spook ourselves by imagining it to be any worse than it is.

Unfortunately, there has been a tendency in parts of the media to convey an exaggerated impression of how bad things are and of the extent to which Europe's problems translate into problems for us.

Take last week's downwardly revised forecast for the world economy this year from the International Monetary Fund. We heard a lot about the fund's dire warnings of what could happen if the Europeans did not get their act together, but what was not made clear was that the fund's actual forecast was for global recession to be avoided.

Though the growth forecast in the world economy this year was cut significantly from the forecast in September, at 3.3 per cent it is below the long-run average of about 4 per cent, but still comfortably above the 2 per cent level generally regarded as representing a world recession.

On the day, no one thought it necessary to tell us - even though the Treasurer, Wayne Swan, reminded journalists of it at his press conference - that, from our perspective, the fund's revisions were old news. They were surprisingly similar to the revised forecasts the government adopted in its midyear budget review last November.

The fund has the United States growing by 1.8 per cent this year; Treasury had it at 2 per cent. The fund has the euro area contracting by 0.5 per cent; Treasury had it contracting by 0.25 per cent. For China, the fund has growth of 8.2 per cent, whereas Treasury had 8.25 per cent. For India, it is the fund's 7 per cent versus Treasury's 6.5 per cent. Bottom line? The fund has the world growing by 3.3 per cent, while Treasury had it at 3.5 per cent.....

When Treasury did this sum in the midyear review, growth in the world economy of 3.5 per cent translated to growth in our main trading partners of 4.25 per cent. All this despite Europe's recession.

Fran Kelly of Radio National Breakfast did go to the trouble of asking the lead author of the fund's World Economic Outlook, Jorg Decressin, what the revised forecasts meant for us. His reply deflated most of the hype we have been subjected to.

"Australia will be affected by these downgrades only to a limited extent," he said. Oh. "At this stage, growth in output for Australia is still reasonably strong.

"Growth in Australia is importantly driven by major investment projects that are in the pipeline and these are funded by strong multinationals that don't have problems assessing funding." Oh.

"There is no advanced economy - or maybe there are one or two - that is as well placed as Australia in order to combat a deeper slowdown, were such a slowdown to materialise, and that's because, well, you still have room to cut interest rates if that was necessary and you also have a very strong fiscal [budgetary] position."

SOURCE

How I woke up to the untruths of Barack Obama

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The President's State of the Union address was as weaselly as any politician's could be, says British political journalist Christopher Booker

When I happened to wake up in the middle of the night last Wednesday and caught the BBC World Service’s live relay of President Obama’s State of the Union address to Congress, two passages had me rubbing my eyes in disbelief.

The first came when, to applause, the President spoke about the banking crash which coincided with his barnstorming 2008 election campaign. “The house of cards collapsed,” he recalled. “We learned that mortgages had been sold to people who couldn’t afford or understand them.” He excoriated the banks which had “made huge bets and bonuses with other people’s money”, while “regulators looked the other way and didn’t have the authority to stop the bad behaviour”. This, said Obama, “was wrong. It was irresponsible. And it plunged our economy into a crisis that put millions out of work.”

I recalled a piece I wrote in this column on January 29, 2009, just after Obama took office. It was headlined: “This is the sub-prime house that Barack Obama built”. As a rising young Chicago politician in 1995, no one campaigned more actively than Mr Obama for an amendment to the US Community Reinvestment Act, legally requiring banks to lend huge sums to millions of poor, mainly black Americans, guaranteed by the two giant mortgage associations, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

It was this Act, above all, which let the US housing bubble blow up, far beyond the point where it was obvious that hundreds of thousands of homeowners would be likely to default. Yet, in 2005, no one more actively opposed moves to halt these reckless guarantees than Senator Obama, who received more donations from Fannie Mae than any other US politician (although Senator Hillary Clinton ran him close).

A later passage in Obama’s speech, when he hailed the way his country’s energy future has been transformed by the miracle of shale gas, met with a storm of applause. Not only would this give the US energy security for decades, creating 600,000 jobs, but it could now go all out to exploit its gas and oil reserves (more applause). Yet this was the man who in 2008 couldn’t stop talking about the threat of global warming, and was elected on a pledge to make the US only the second country in the world, after Britain, to commit to cutting its CO2 emissions from fossil fuels by 80 per cent within 40 years.

Even more telling than his audience’s response to this, however, was what happened when Obama referred briefly to the need to develop “clean energy on enough public land to power three million homes”. But no mention now of vast numbers of wind turbines – those props beside which he constantly chose to be filmed back in 2008. No harking back to his boast that “renewable energy” would create “four million jobs”. And even to this sole fleeting reminder of what, four years ago, was his flagship policy the response of Congress was a deafening silence.

A few months after Obama entered the White House, I suggested here that the slogan on which he was elected – “Yes we can” – seemed to have changed to “No we can’t”. It was already obvious that, having won election as an ideal Hollywood version of what “the first black President” should look and sound like, he was in reality no more than a vacuum. His speech last week was as weaselly as any politician’s performance could be, not least in its references to the sub-prime scandal.

But on no issue has this been more obvious than political America’s wholesale retreat from the great fantasy of global warming

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Generous retirement benefits helping to send American cities broke

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Why should retired public sector workers get payments in retirement that are way more than what most other Americans get? Dump them all onto social security only!

Bankruptcy is the boogeyman haunting governments across America. It’s not a question of whether more cities will file for bankruptcy, but how many.

The culprit is a decade of over-spending by governments, especially on pension guarantees, and an economic slowdown that refused to flip into a robust recovery. The money just isn’t there. And it’s not going to be there even if local governments raise taxes while cutting employees and services to the bone.

Things are just going to get worse for municipal finance. Most states, counties, cities and school districts have spent their cash reserves down to the legal minimum. And they have not made contingency plans for another 15 percent decline in revenue in the next year. Consequently, there is the potential for thousands of defaults in the 50,000 municipal bond issuers in the United States. Most cities can cut spending, but they cannot cut principal and interest payments without default and bankruptcy.

Unlike many cities facing bankruptcy, San Jose is well-off. It’s part of the prosperous, high-tech Silicon Valley. But San Jose officials have discussed bankruptcy as a possible option to over-spending.

Its prosperity turned out to be its undoing. In the November issue of Vanity Fair magazine, financial writer Michael Lewis wrote, “The city owes so much more money to its employees than it can afford to pay that it could cut its debts in half and still wind up broke.”

One city that did declare bankruptcy was Vallejo, in 2008. Unfortunately, the city missed a grand opportunity to pull itself from fiscal disaster. Government-worker unions made some concessions, such as higher payments by retirees for their health care insurance. However, pension plans for retirees and current city employees, including one that allows police officers to retire at age 50 with as much as 90 percent of their pay, remained untouched.

San Diego still bills itself as “America’s Finest City.” But the city’s pension payments are skyrocketing, from $229 million in 2010 to a projected $318 million in 2015 — 40 percent in just five years. By 2025, the number will be $512 million, a whopping 124 percent increase in 15 years.

No wonder City Councilman Carl DeMaio in September turned in 145,000 signatures to put a pension-reform measure on the ballot this year. Instead of pensions, it would enroll most new city employees in 401(k) programs for retirement. It would save the city $1.2 billion through 2040.

What’s dawning on officials is that there’s no panacea to budget problems. As budget realities have started to hit home, most cities now realize that just making tweaks in pension formulas for future hires won’t solve their problems — the mushrooming retirement obligations are just too large.

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Plimer challenges the climate scaremongers with answers to 101 questions

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The second print run of Ian Plimer’s How to Get Expelled From School is now shipping, the publisher, Connor Court, told Australian Conservative. The first print run sold out before Christmas.

Professor Plimer penned the best-selling Heaven and Earth in 2009. His new book continues to examine the issues surrounding the massive climate change scare-up and brings historical perspective to the issue. Plimer is Emeritus Professor of Earth Sciences at The University of Melbourne and arguably Australia’s best-known geologist.

Professor Plimer says that past natural climate changes have been larger and more rapid than the worst case predictions, yet humans adapted. Is human-induced global warming the biggest financial and scientific scam in history? If it is, we will pay dearly, he says:
Life [today] is far better than 100 years ago. We eat better, live longer, have better housing and have a richer life. Environmental ideologies are attractive and form part of personal growth. But, an ideology embraced without analysis of practical aspects is vacuous. Global warming is a fad. Once there are consequences that affect a comfortable life, then another issue will be found. And embraced again with passion. What is the next scare campaign? Ocean acidification? Biodiversity?

Climate change has been with us for the 4,500 million year history of planet Earth. This is what climate does. It always changes. Changes in our lifetime may be natural.

If you have wondered if pupils, parents and the public being fed political propaganda on climate change, this book provides an opportunity to find out.

In one section of the book, Professor Plimer lists 101 simple questions to ask teachers, activists, journalists and politicians – and provides you with answers. Here’s just one of them:
If we have dangerous warming and the global temperature has increased by 0.8°C since the Little Ice Age, does this mean that the ideal temperature for life on Earth is that of the Little Ice Age?

During the Little Ice Age, people died like flies and it was really not a good time to be on Earth. Besides the cold, there were crop failures, famine, cannibalism and disease. As a child, you might have been on the menu. It was certainly not an ideal temperature then. However, a clever teacher would put you in your place and may suggest that the ideal temperature for an Eskimo is not the ideal temperature for someone living in the jungles of Borneo. You could then come back and suggest that this shows that humans can adapt to a great range of temperature so why worry about a warmer world.

The Galileo Movement is promoting the book to schoolteachers and school librarians, with an offer of a free copy. Full details of the offer are available at Connor Court.

SOURCE

God Is an Imaginary Friend’: Atheist Billboard Ignites Controversy in Colorado‏

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If Christians are free to spread their gospel then atheists must also be free to spread their gospel. The wacky thing is that atheists feel the need to spread a gospel at all.

I suspect that these are not atheists at all but rather anti-Christian Leftists who would never dare criticize Islam. Saudi Arabia is a much more religious place than the USA. Let them put their billboards up there and see how far they get
Atheists have a way with billboards. In fact, it’s one of the primary methods many non-believers use to communicate with the public at large. This is exactly the method a Denver, Colorado-based group, called Boulder Atheists, is using to spread its message. Reaction to the group’s newest billboard, which targets those who hold a belief in God, has ranged from giggles to anger.

Boulder Atheists has erected three billboards that each read, “God is an imaginary friend. Choose reality, it will be better for all of us.” This statement, which will clearly offend the religious, is not intended to start problems, the group says.

Abraham Aryan, a local businessman, isn‘t happy about the billboards’ presence. “Anything with a derogatory message I don’t think should spread around. But they’re welcome to do it,” Aryan said. “Welcome to America, that’s one of the beautiful things about living here is you can do that.”

Considering Boulder Atheists’ track record, the alliance of non-believers is certainly not likely to apologize or rescind. In the end, the group’s leaders have the free speech and freedom to post such messages, but they may not spark the discussion they’re hoping for by taking such a confrontational route.

Source

Refugee appeals involving false claims cost Australian taxpayers millions

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DODGY claims involving fake religious beliefs, sham marriages and lies about sexuality are adding to a logjam of cases in immigration and refugee tribunals, costing taxpayers millions of dollars.

Desperate foreign citizens who arrive by plane are launching a barrage of appeals after Immigration officials reject their claims and seek to send them home.

The Refugee Review Tribunal - which handles only plane arrivals - had a 31 per cent jump in appeals last year while the Migration Review Tribunal, which deals with student and partner visas, had a 24 per cent increase. More than 13,000 appeals to the two tribunals in the one year overwhelmed resources.

While much of the national attention has focused on boat arrivals, many thousands more arrive by plane and are fighting to stay. Thousands of extra appeals are being lodged by plane arrivals each year, leading to a cost blow-out for taxpayers and long delays for applicants.

Frustrated tribunal members are finding some claims are blatantly faked, including a Chinese asylum seeker who said he was Catholic but didn't know who the Pope was.

Other men lied about being gay or invented elaborate stories about being pursued by criminal gangs, ex-partners or corrupt officials in an attempt to gain asylum. One Nigerian man sought protection for being part of a militant group involved in armed robbery, kidnapping and other non-political crimes.

Visa overstayers, including students, are also faking it or taking advantage of appeal delays to buy time in Australia at the expense of a clogged system. The Refugee Review Tribunal, which handles only plane arrivals, had 2966 appeals lodged last year - a 31 per cent jump.

The separate Migration Review Tribunal, which handles student, spouse, business and bridging visas, had 10,315 appeals last year - up 24 per cent.

The Federal Government was forced to provide an extra $14 million to the two tribunals for the next four years at the last Budget as appeals skyrocketed.

It can be difficult for asylum seekers to prove persecution, but some claims unravelled under questioning from tribunal members.

Monash University associate researcher Adrienne Millbank said the asylum seeker appeals system was vulnerable to false claims. "You hear about people who are full of hope and integrity and go on these review panels or decision-making (bodies) and get totally cynical," Ms Millbank said. "The whole system is totally farcical. It relies on the credibility of the story ... If you were putting someone in prison on that sort of evidence everyone would be horrified."

Combined appeals to the two tribunals have tripled in the past five years, prompting principal member Denis O'Brien to warn of delays in settling cases this year. A Canberra crackdown on student visas is contributing to the surge.

Immigration lawyers blame incorrect Immigration Department decisions, citing the high rate of successful appeal cases. Last year 41 per cent of appeals to the Migration Review Tribunal and 24 per cent to the Refugee Review Tribunal were successful.

Former attorney-general Michael Lavarch is conducting an independent review of the tribunals as the backlog mounts.

An Immigration Department memo reportedly warned at the time of his appointment last month: "The increasing delays result in uncertainty for applicants and provide an incentive for others to misuse the review process to extend their stay in Australia."

The Refugee Review Tribunal is also set to take on thousands more cases in the coming months when it resumes responsibility for assessing appeals from boat arrivals, who now use a separate system.

Separate appeals can be lodged through the Administrative Appeals Tribunal, Federal Magistrates Court, Federal Court, High Court and the boat arrivals system.

SOURCE

Mitt Romney's taxes: An Australian perspective

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Let’s face it. The two-year-long process leading to the inauguration of an American president has more in common with Madison Avenue and Sunset Boulevard than Pennsylvania Avenue, so we should not be surprised or shocked. But it is downright bizarre to see one Republican candidate tearing into another Republican candidate for not paying enough tax. After all, aren’t these guys supposed to favour a lower tax burden?

Newt is criticising Mitt because he pays only 15% income tax. If Mitt had been caught evading tax, Newt would be onto something, but Mitt is just complying with the tax code created by a Republican president, George W. Bush. If Mitt had paid more, he would be making voluntary contributions to the public purse, which as the late Kerry Packer once said is a mug’s game.

Soon the US media will go into a frenzy over Mitt’s tax affairs because he will have to go through that obligatory ritual for all presidential candidates of making public tax returns for the past few years. (Thank goodness our candidates for high office don’t have to do that.) But there is a perfectly good reason why Mitt’s overall tax rate is low: his income is mainly from capital gains and dividends, which are taxed at 15% in America. Australia prevents double taxation of dividends through the imputation system; the United States mitigates it by taxing dividends at a low rate. But taking into account the 35% company tax rate and the 15% rate on dividends in America, any dividends paid out of taxed profits are in fact taxed at almost 45% in the hands of the shareholder. The 15% rate on capital gains in America is approximately half the top marginal personal rate, as is the case in Australia.

The real issue is not whether Mitt is paying too little but whether the tax system as sketched above is right. There is nothing exceptional about taxing capital income more lightly than labour income. Australia does it to a point, and even the Henry review said we should keep doing it (albeit in different ways). The real worry in America isn’t so much the fate of Newt or Mitt at the hustings but that if the Republican primary campaign can take this bizarre turn, perhaps the populism of Barack Obama, Warren Buffett, and the Occupy crowd is setting the terms of the public debate on tax policy more than anyone realised.

SOURCE

Israel's shameless Arabs

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Arab parliamentarians endorse tyrants, terrorists while slamming 'undemocratic' Israel

“The shahid is honored throughout the history of nations. He is the one who blazed the trail for us. No value is more noble than martyrdom," Knesset Member Ahmad Tibi waxed poetic a few days ago on the occasion of “Palestinian Martyr Day.” Of course, he did not forget to present the obvious flip-side, whereby in Israel “the real terrorist murderer is considered a hero or a minister.”

Immediately after that, Tibi made sure to make it clear to all his fans that "Israelis are ignorant with regards to the term 'shahid' and misunderstand it. It refers to anyone who was killed by the occupation for the homeland or died for a national cause." That is, there is the active, bogus type of martyr, who seeks to slaughter as many Jews as he can. Then there is the real martyr, the passive, noble type, the most amazing and glorious of all human beings, which only incurable Israeli ignorance fails to appreciate.

Former Palestinian leader Arafat apparently only referred to them, the passive martyrs, when he spoke of Shahids, just like his former advisor Tibi, who did the same while serving in Israel’s Knesset.

The Talmud says that when a person keeps repeating an offence, it’s as though he receives permission to keep doing it. And so, Mr. Tibi can praise the qualities of the martyr while at most prompting weak journalistic protest, and then go back to that same Israeli media in the role of Dr. Tibi and express his amazement about the very question regarding his right to endorse Shahids.

Tibi can also slam others as if he was the lowliest chauvinist, while hurling crude sexual hints at MK Anastasia Michaeli, and at the best prompt a minor reprimand from the media and from various women’s rights groups, which on normal days would harshly slam any harm done to women, by certain men that is.

Gaddafi's friends

Similarly, Hanin Zoabi and other Arab parliamentarians can put their trust in the guardians of Israeli democracy in the media, High Court, academia and the cultural world every time they write a forward to venomous anti-Semitic books, as Zoabi just did in her forward to anti-Semitic British writer Ben White’s book. These Arab MKs also board various Gaza-bound ships or visit Hamas leaders or enlightened Arab rulers such as Gaddafi, may he rest in peace.

Indeed, Arab MKs use these opportunities to talk about Israeli injustice, the apartheid regime adopted there, and the racism that has spread everywhere. Mostly, they explain in their visits to such models of democracy like Hamas or Libya how un-democratic Israel is.

Yet nonetheless, even if only a handful of Israel’s Arabs crossed the lines (for example, “only” some 200 Arab Israelis were involved in terror attacks in the years 2001-2004 that claimed the lives of 136 Israelis,) the vast majority of the Arab sector regularly votes for the same representatives, who view the eradication of the Zionist enterprise and Jewish State as their utmost mission, while serving as members in the Jewish State’s parliament.

Still, we’ll always find the good Jews among us who will keep explaining to us that the involvement of Arab Israelis in terror, their hugely disproportionate share of crimes (in 2011, Arabs were involved in 67% of murders in Israel,) illegal construction or road accidents is all our doing. We are the ones who sinned and mistreated the Arabs. We are the ones at fault, rather than Tibi, Zoabi, or any other Arab victim.

SOURCE

Mosley v Google censorship battle

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We read:
"Google has removed hundreds of web pages relating to former motorsport boss Max Mosley's sex life from its search results index, Britain's Leveson Inquiry on press standards has heard.

But the internet giant said it dealt with requests for material to be excluded on a country-by-country basis, meaning articles and videos might remain accessible on other national versions of its site.

Mr Mosley told the inquiry in November he had spent over £500,000 ($750,000) trying to restore his reputation after a March 2008 News of the World article alleging he had a "sick Nazi orgy", something he strongly denied.

He described his strenuous efforts to get articles removed from websites, adding: "The fundamental thing is that Google could stop this appearing but they don't or won't as a matter of principle."

Google legal director Daphne Keller on Thursday confirmed that someone in Mr Mosley's position would have to apply individually to have web pages, known as URLs, removed from the company's sites in different countries. She told the inquiry: "I would hope that wouldn't be a terribly difficult thing to do, and I can tell you that in his case we have removed hundreds of URLs."

Ms Keller said a defamatory video could be removed from one of Google's national sites but remain up on another. "If there is a country whose law says that that should stay up, then in that country we would comply with that law," she said.

But the lawyer rejected a suggestion that Google should block certain search terms. She said: "In the Max Mosley case, obviously there has been all kinds of news coverage about this very inquiry, and other coverage that's legitimate, and that you wouldn't want to disappear from search results."

Source

The libel judgment in his favour obtained by Mosley was handed down in London by The Hon. Mr. Justice Eady. Mr Justice Eady is well-known for leaning towards the plaintiff in libel suits, bringing that entire area of British law into disrepute. His notorious judgments often lead to censorship of material that most people would think should remain uncensored. His ruling was particularly obnoxious in the Rachel Ehrenfeld case, causing the NY legislature to pass a special law to protect her from any consequences of Eady's judgment. So I have no confidence in Eady's ruling favouring Mr Mosley

That lack of confidence is strongly supported by the fact that Mosley has made strenuous efforts to have the video of his behavior suppressed. If the video just showed him having a cup of tea, why would he want it suppressed? Clearly it does at least in part support the allegations made.

To help circumvent the Mosley/Eady censorship attempts, I have made a copy of one report of the matter that is still up and reposted it here. Under U.S. law it would be regarded as in the public interest for public figures to have information about their deeds known.

I am not in fact particularly critical of Mr Mosley's actions in this matter. As I see it, it is Mr Justice Eady who has poisoned the well in the matter. He appears to have developed de novo a law of privacy that has no regard to the truth or merit of the allegations. The USA is not alone in having unelected judges who create law that would never pass muster before a democratically-elected legislature.

So until the British parliament steps in, I will continue in skepticism towards British libel judgments. The problem is well-known in Britain and the present government has promised corrective legislation -- but no such legislation appears to be on the horizon yet.

Correlating CO2 And Temperature In The Geologic Record

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If we accept Warmist claims about the accuracy of temperature and CO2 proxies we get some very awkward findings about long-term trends



During the Ordovician, CO2 was more than ten times higher than at present. Global temperatures ranged between very hot and an ice age. We can state with 100% certainty that as CO2 increases, temperatures will either go up, go down, or stay the same.

SOURCE

UWA academic Farida Fozdar told 'go back to your own country'

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I think criticism of her is justified. She did apparently use the term "racist", which is very inflammatory. Many people would see it as including Hitler-type behaviour and she had no evidence that the people she described would endorse such behaviour.

There are many possible gradations of opinion about race-related matters. It may be noted, for instance, that the man who declared war on Hitler (Neville Chamberlain) was himself an antisemite of sorts -- so any implicit or explicit claim that there is such a thing as a monolithic entity called racism is unscholarly.

And any social scientist making or implying such a claim is ipso facto a very low-grade intellect. Though it might be noted that mean minds are common among sociologists. Many of them are still devoted to the writings of an obsolete economist and proven stimulator of hate named Karl Marx. The term "racist" of no use for anything except abuse. I use the term only in mockery of Leftist abuse.

I made some technical remarks about her research here on 24th. but readers may also be interested in an alternative to her kneejerk reaction to the old "white Australia policy". See here for a more philosophically sophisticated look at the issues involved


A PERTH professor whose study found people who fly Australian flags on their cars are more racist than those who don't, says she has received over 70 critical emails which include demands that she go back to her "own country".

Brunei-born University of WA Professor Farida Fozdar [Judging by the name she is ethnically an Indian Muslim], who moved to Australia when she was seven, said she was shocked by the national reaction to her study which also spread as far India and the United States.

“Some emails have been quite polite and I’ve been able to reply and we’ve actually had quite a positive interaction out of it which, I really really value," Professor Fozdar said.

"But some are straight out lots of swear words and suggesting that I should go back to where I came from.

“I’ve also had a couple of emails from people implying that I’m the Grinch that killed Christmas and that now nobody is going to fly a flag because they think it shows that they’re racist.”

Professor Fozdar, a sociologist and anthropologist, said that although the study was reported “relatively accurately” in the media, some people have misinterpreted its findings.

“What has struck me most is that the media has reported the research relatively accurately in most cases, perhaps apart from some headlines, but people have taken it up in the wrong way,” Professor Fozdar said.

“People have taken it as though I was saying that anyone who flies a flag on their car for Australia Day is racist and that flying the flag generally is a racist thing to do and that certainly wasn’t what I was saying.”

Professor Fozdar said the study revealed flag-flyers were significantly less positive about Australia’s ethnic diversity than “non-flag flyers” but that the attitude is not shared by all Australians.

“The fact that there were significant differences doesn’t mean that everybody who flys the flag feel negative towards minorities but it means that a larger proportion of them did compared with people that weren’t flying flags,” she said.

Professor Fozdar said many people ignored her findings that the majority of both flag-flyers and non-flag flyers, interviewed by her research team, felt positive about Australia’s ethnic diversity.

“But that’s not what gets picked up by people,” she said. “That statistic was there, in a lot of media reports, but people took out of it that I’m saying they shouldn’t fly a flag for Australia Day because it’s racist and that we shouldn’t celebrate Australia Day. “That was just nowhere in the research and so that is what has surprised me.”

SOURCE

Just give us an election

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The Left are totally baffled by the ongoing success of the Federal Opposition leader and seek to undermine him at every opportunity.  Their latest effort involved a member of the Prime Minister's staff engineering a race riot to bring discredit on Tony Abbott. 

Of course there is nothing this incompetent government can not stuff up:

Gillard staffer quits over role in riot.

But why wouldn't they keep trying?  It's worked in the past.  It was widely suspected a PM staffer had a role in leaking Tony Abbott's travel plans to embarrass him by revealing he had refused to accompany the PM on a trip to Afghanistan.

Abbott cites jet lag for turning down Afghanistan trip.

The Prime Minister denied any complicity.

Gillard denies playing low-rent politics.

The Sydney Morning Herald reader poll shows how the smear worked.















Update: The PM's office would like to speak to you.

One of the founders of the Aboriginal Tent Embassy, Michael Anderson, said Ms Sattler had spoken to him as well.
"There was a lady running around here when I was doing a radio interview and she said the prime minister's office wants to talk to you and I thought she was joking and said I'll talk later," he told reporters.
"I know that woman to be Kim Sattler."
Mr Anderson said Ms Sattler recognised who he was.
"She came and then she went away and, because I didn't respond, she went to other people," he said.  "All she said was `Michael. the prime minister's office would like to talk to you.'"

Eight out of ten Brits claiming disability benefits ARE fit to work, according to new incapacity tests

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Eight out of ten people tested for new incapacity benefits were found to be fit for work, official figures revealed yesterday. The Department for Work and Pensions decided that 57 per cent of claimants were no longer eligible for the hand-outs. A further 21 per cent could carry out some sort of work with the right support.

Just one fifth of claimants – 22 per cent – were found unable to do any form of employment.

Around 1.5million people who have been claiming Incapacity Benefit are being reassessed for its replacement – the Employment Support Allowance – to see if they are able to carry out work.

The latest figures show the numbers claiming ESA and Incapacity Benefit have dropped to their lowest level since 1996 following the introduction of the tests.

There are still 2.6million people claiming the benefits, nearly a million of whom have been on them for more than a decade.

Figures relating to claims lodged between March and May last year show that 38 per cent were dismissed at the first stage – before face-to-face assessments were carried out – while 48 per cent were subjected to further consideration. A further 14 per cent of claimants are still being assessed.

The latest analysis also shows there has been a decrease in the number of people claiming for drug and alcohol-related conditions – from 105,110 in May 2010 to 100,120 in May last year.

Employment Minister Chris Grayling said: ‘These reforms are changing the landscape of our country. ‘By concentrating on what people can do, we will help people back into work and out of the trap of benefits that has blighted communities.

‘We want to help everyone who can be in work to get there, not just for themselves but for their children. It is clear that the majority of new claimants to sickness benefits are in fact able to do some work.’

But critics have warned that the new testing regime is flawed – and a report by MPs on the work and pensions select committee recently found that large numbers of seriously unwell claimants have been wrongly refused support and high numbers of appeals have proved successful.

Prime Minister David Cameron has insisted the new system is much better at putting people through their ‘paces’.

Claimants who pass the first stage of assessment are then placed in three groups: Those who need permanent support, those who might be able to work after a few months and those fit to work. If placed in the latter category they are told to resubmit a benefits application – but this time for Jobseekers Allowance.

SOURCE

"Food stamp" and "janitor" are racist words?

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Crazy black Mamma says so:
Democratic Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee on Friday accused Newt Gingrich of using racial “code words” in calling President Barack Obama the “food stamp president” and saying schools ought to hire children to do janitorial work.

The Texas congresswoman’s comments came in response to a question about remarks she made on the House floor Wednesday, when she said there are “candidates like Newt Gingrich who want to throw fuel and matches and fire to develop sort of an explosiveness in this country” and there are “underlying suggestions” to calling Obama the “food stamp president.”

“These are code words. It’s inappropriate,” Jackson Lee told MSNBC’s Martin Bashir Friday. “Let me say that the code words, as far as I’m concerned words that generate and signify race.”

“[With Gingrich] It is ‘I will use race to divide. I will call the president the food stamp president,’” she said. “Telling us that a janitor who makes $37,000 would be in a better position to give his job up so that the children of the poor in New York…can pick up a broom and work.”

Source

Global Cooling Coming? Archibald uses solar and surface data to predict 4.9°C fall (!)

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A fact-based alternative to the British Met Office model-run

David Archibald, polymath, makes a bold prediction that temperatures are about to dive sharply (in the decadal sense). He took the forgotten correlation that as solar cycles lengthen and weaken, the world gets cooler. He refined it into a predictive tool, tested it and published in 2007. His paper has been expanded on recently by Prof Solheim in Norway, who predicts a 1.5°C drop in Central Norway over the next ten years.

Our knowledge of they solar dynamo is improving, and David adds the predicted solar activity ’til 2040 to the analysis. Normal solar cycles are 11 years long, but the current one (cycle 24) is shaping up to be 17 years (unusually long), and using historical data from the US, David predicts a 2.1°C decline over Solar Cycle 24 followed by a further 2.8°C over Solar Cycle 25. That adds up to a whopping 4.9°C fall in temperate latitudes over the next 20 years. We can only hope he’s wrong. As David says ” The center of the Corn Belt, now in Iowa, will move south to Kansas.”

He also predicts continuing drought in Africa for another 14 years, with droughts likely in South America too.

If he’s right, it’s awful and excellent at the same time. Cold hurts, but wouldn’t it be something if we understood our climate well enough to plan ahead?

Much more HERE (See the original for links, graphics etc.)

DCP under fire over Aboriginal baby's death

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Another kid dies because of the "stolen generation" myth. Welfare bodies are afraid to take black kids away from feral black families in case they are accused of "stealing" the kid

The [WA] Department of Child Protection has come under scrutiny over its handling of the case of a baby who died under her parents' care.

A coronial inquest has heard this week that while the DCP knew the little girl and her twin sister were at risk, it ignored requests from police and hospital staff for them to be taken into protective custody.

The seven-month-old died while sleeping next to her father at their home in Kalgoorlie in June 2008.

The cause of death was undetermined but was consistent with Sudden Infant Death Syndrome.

The babies' father Shannon Benfield broke down in court today as he gave evidence to the inquest and said he had no idea of the risks of co-sleeping.

He said the DCP gave him no advice on caring for the babies and said co-sleeping was normal in Nyoongar culture.

Mr Benfield cared for the babies, and the couple's other young toddler, after their mother Terrilee Smith was involuntarily admitted to a mental ward after giving birth.

Mr Benfield admitted leaving the babies with two 11-year-old children on one occasion as he went to call his partner. He was arrested by police the same day and sent to jail for unpaid fines.

The DCP then facilitated an informal agreement with a relative to care for all three children.

But three months later, when Mr Benfield was released from jail and Ms Smith from hospital, a rift developed within the family and the couple took their children back.

The inquest heard that because no formal agreement had been reached, the couple were legally entitled to take the children from the temporary carers.

In his opening address on Monday, counsel assisting the coroner Sergeant Lyle Housiaux said the DPC ignored a request from police to take custody of the twins and the couple's other child.

He said the couple had a history of domestic violence and appeared unprepared to care for their children.

"It is unclear who held authority or responsibility over these children. It would appear that there was still a very real risk of harm to the children because Mr Benfield or Ms Smith could have taken the children at any time," he said.

Former DCP Kalgoorlie team leader Gabrielle Egan told the inquest this afternoon that while the department had concerns for the children, it was deemed in their best interests to leave them with family members rather than place them into care.

She said the department played a "supportive role, in the background."

Under questioning from coroner Dominic Mulligan, she admitted that formal assessment of neither the relatives nor the children's parents had been carried out.

But she said the relatives were deemed to be suitable short-term carers, and she had no idea that the couple had planned to take the children back.

Mr Benfield said he was often left confused by his interactions with the DPC, and said it would have benefited him if an Aboriginal staff member had worked with him.

"Why put my kids away when they just could have come and helped me and Terrilee," he said.

SOURCE

It's all clear now

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I have closed my Qantas blog because it has become clear what was going on at Qantas: The constant equipment failures on Qantas planes were deliberate sabotage by Qantas maintenance staff. The union knew that the work they do was gradually going overseas and that they were all in danger of losing their jobs so in their addled way they thought that their constant undermining of Qantas reliability would lead Qantas to come to terms with them and give them "job security" -- i.e. guarantee no more transfer of maintenance work overseas.

When Mr Joyce grounded the fleet, however, it became clear to them that they were dealing with a man who was not going to buckle and who would weather the storm of taking ALL their work away.

So what happened? The constant maintenance problems Qantas was having suddenly ceased. From that time to this Qantas has not had to turn back a single flight due to equipment malfunction. It is that sudden large change which speaks louder than words in revealing what was going on. The unions realized that the equipment malfunctions were a good reason to give them all the boot so have stopped their constant sabotage.

Further evidence that the union concerned is now shit-scared for their jobs is the fact that they were first to reach a settlement with Qantas under the Fair Work Australia negotiating process. They went from being the most militant union to being the tamest. And they settled despite Qantas refusing them one of their major demands: Bring the A380 maintenance to Australia.

These are totally despicable people who repeatedly risked the lives of Qantas passsengers with their sabotage. I think Qantas should still fire the lot of them and have all Qantas maintenance done in Germany -- JR

Schools of education

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By Walter E. Williams

Larry Sand's article "No Wonder Johnny (Still) Can't Read" -- written for The John William Pope Center for Higher Education Policy, based in Raleigh, N.C. -- blames schools of education for the decline in America's education.

Education professors drum into students that they should not "drill and kill" or be the "sage on the stage" but instead be the "guide on the side" who "facilitates student discovery." This kind of harebrained thinking, coupled with multicultural nonsense, explains today's education. During his teacher education, Sand says, "teachers-to-be were forced to learn about this ethnic group, that impoverished group, this sexually anomalous group, that under-represented group, etc. -- all under the rubric of 'Culturally Responsive Education.'"

Education majors are woefully lacking in academic skills. Here are some sample test questions for you to answer. Question 1: Which of the following is equal to a quarter-million? a) 40,000, b) 250,000, c) 2,500,000, d) 1/4,000,000 or e) 4/1,000,000. Question 2: Martin Luther King Jr. (insert the correct choice) for the poor of all races. a) spoke out passionately, b) spoke out passionate, c) did spoke out passionately, d) has spoke out passionately or e) had spoken out passionate. Question 3: What would you do if your student sprained an ankle? a) Put a Band-Aid on it, b) Ice it or c) Rinse it with water.

Guess whether these questions were on a sixth-grade, ninth-grade or 12th-grade test. I bet the average reader would guess that it's a sixth-grade test. Wrong. How about ninth-grade? Wrong again. You say, "OK, Williams, so they're 12th-grade test questions!" Still wrong. According to a Heartland Institute-published School Reform News (September 2001) article titled "Who Tells Teachers They Can Teach?", those test questions came from prospective teacher tests.

The first two questions are samples from the Praxis I test for teachers, and the third is from the 1999 teacher certification test in Illinois. According to the Chicago Sun-Times (9/6/01), 5,243 Illinois teachers failed their teacher certification tests. The Chicago Sun-Times also reported, "One teacher failed 24 of 25 teacher tests -- including 11 of 12 Basic Skills tests and all 12 tests on teaching learning-disabled children." Yet that teacher was assigned to teach learning-disabled children in Chicago. Departments of education have solved the problem of teacher test failure. According to a New York Post story (11/14/11) titled "City teacher tests turn into E-ZPass," more than 99 percent of teachers pass.

Textbooks used in schools of education advocate sheer nonsense. A passage in Enid Lee et al.'s "Beyond Heroes and Holidays" reads: "We cannot afford to become so bogged down in grammar and spelling that we forget the whole story. ... The onslaught of antihuman practices that this nation and other nations are facing today: racism, and sexism, and the greed for money and human labor that disguises itself as 'globalization.'"

Marilyn Burns' text "About Teaching Mathematics" reads, "There is no place for requiring students to practice tedious calculations that are more efficiently and accurately done by using calculators."

"New Designs for Teaching and Learning," by Dennis Adams and Mary Hamm, says: "Content knowledge is not seen to be as important as possessing teaching skills and knowledge about the students being taught. ... Successful teachers understand the outside context of community, personal abilities, and feelings, while they establish an inside context or environment conducive to learning."

That means it's no problem if a teacher can't figure out that a quarter-million is the same as 250,000. Harvey Daniels and Marilyn Bizar's text "Methods that Matter" reads, "Students can no longer be viewed as cognitive living rooms into which the furniture of knowledge is moved in and arranged by teachers, and teachers cannot invariably act as subject-matter experts." The authors add, "The main use of standardized tests in America is to justify the distribution of certain goodies to certain people."

Schools of education represent the academic slums of most any college. American education can benefit from slum removal.

SOURCE

Fury as British Defence Dept. fires hundreds of troops in job cuts... but not one penpusher

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Public servants are a specially protected class just about everywhere

Not a single penpusher has been sacked under Ministry of Defence job cuts despite the 'grotesque' axing of hundreds of troops, a damning report reveals today.

MPs say it is 'stark and shocking' that no bureaucrats have been made compulsorily redundant yet 40 per cent of the military personnel culled were forced out.

In a scathing attack on the MoD, the Commons defence select committee hints that civil servants might also have received a better voluntary redundancy package.

'The MoD should consider whether the terms offered to either the military or civilian staff [were] fair or appropriate,' the MPs' report says.

The committee also criticises the claim by top MoD mandarin Ursula Brennan that civilians were more likely to apply for voluntary redundancy because they were more 'flexibly employable'. The report says: 'This runs contrary to our experience.'

Under the Government's Strategic Defence and Security Review, unveiled in 2010, the Forces must lose 17,000 personnel by 2015 – 7,000 from the Army and 5,000 each from the RAF and Royal Navy.

The MoD will eventually lose around 32,000 civil service posts. Ministers have been ordered to make £4.7billion of savings within four years and to plug a £38billion equipment overspend.

Some 2,900 servicemen and women were selected for the first tranche of redundancies last year, with the Army and RAF each losing 920 posts, and 1,020 being cut from the Navy.

But only 60 per cent applied for redundancy, meaning around 1,200 members of the Forces were sacked. A second round of 4,200 cuts was announced last week.

By comparison, not one civil servant has been forced to quit the MoD in the first two redundancy rounds, set to total 15,000 penpushers. Instead, all volunteered to leave.

The report says: 'For military redundancies to be compulsory in 40 per cent of cases, yet for civilian redundancies to be compulsory in none, is so grotesque that it requires an exceptionally persuasive reason, which we are yet to hear.'

MPs say Forces personnel should be retrained in areas of the military where there are shortages, such as bomb disposal, logistics and healthcare.

Labour defence spokesman Jim Murphy said ministers were treading a 'thin line between callousness and carelessness' over the job cuts. 'Thousands of service personnel are being unceremoniously sacked,' he said. 'It is essential that the painful impact of David Cameron's decisions is minimised wherever possible.

'The committee are right to suggest retraining for all those made compulsorily redundant.'

The MPs' report – into the MoD's annual report 2010–11 – also expresses dismay that the National Audit Office spending watchdog had refused to give the seal of approval to the department's accounts for the fifth successive year.

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Apology sought from Wisconsin school superintendent who bullied Christian teen over homosexual adoption

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This disgraceful episode is now in the hands of the lawyers
"A 15-year-old Wisconsin boy who wrote an op-ed opposing gay adoptions was censored, threatened with suspension and called ignorant by the superintendent of the Shawano School District, according to an attorney representing the child.

Mathew Staver, the founder of the Liberty Counsel, sent a letter to Superintendent Todd Carlson demanding an apology for “Its unconstitutional and irrational censorship and humiliation” of Brandon Wegner.

Wegner, a student at Shawano High School, was asked to write an op-ed for the school newspaper about whether gays should be allowed to adopt. Wegner, who is a Christian, wrote in opposition. Another student wrote in favor of allowing gays to adopt. Wegner used Bible passages to defend his argument, including Scripture that called homosexuality a sin.

The school immediately issued an apology – stating Wegner’s opinion was a “form of bullying and disrespect.”

But Staver said what the school system did next was absolutely outrageous. He said the 15-year-old was ordered to the superintendent’s office where he was subjected to hours of meetings and was accused of violating the school’s bullying policy.

“The superintendent called him ignorant and said he had the power to suspend him,” Staver said. “He’s using his position to bully this student. This is absolutely the epitome of intolerance.”

FOX News & Commentary offered Carlson a chance to address the allegations. He refused to submit to questions, but did say he would send a statement. That statement never arrived.

Staver said an apology from the superintendent may not suffice – and they may consider taking legal action. “It was a very intimidating situation for this 15-year-old boy,” he said.”It was uncalled for. He crossed the line. It’s absolutely outrageous and he needs to apologize for his actions.”

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A good illustration of how twisted a Leftist mind can get. The kid was the one being bullied but he was accused of bullying!

Obama has an epiphany on the road to Damascus this year's election

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Backs fracking and more drilling for oil. Whether his rhetoric will translate into action is the big doubt

President Barack Obama pushed drilling for gas in shale rock and support for cleaner energy sources to boost the economy in his final State of the Union address before facing U.S. voters in November. He also pledged more oil drilling.

Hydraulic fracturing, the process of injecting water, sand and chemicals underground to free gas trapped in rock, could create more than 600,000 jobs by the end of the decade, Obama said yesterday. The process, called fracking, is among a list of energy policies Obama said would fuel economic growth.

“We have a supply of natural gas that can last America nearly 100 years, and my administration will take every possible action to safely develop this energy,” Obama said.

Obama reiterated support for conservation and cleaner sources of power and pledged more oil drilling as part of an ‘all-out, all-of-the-above’’ policy “that’s cleaner, cheaper, and full of new jobs.” He said domestic energy production is at an eight-year high and imports of foreign oil were declining, prompting criticism from Republicans.

“It’s just a blind accident, if in fact we are producing more oil or natural gas than in previous years, it’s not because of any of his efforts,” Representative Darrell Issa, a California Republican and head of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, said after the speech.

Republicans also sought to contrast Obama’s pledge to use energy policy to create jobs with his denial of a permit to TransCanada Corp.’s Keystone XL pipeline to connect Canada’s oil sands to refineries on the Gulf coast.

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Aussies love one thing more than beer - freedom

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That must be sour news to Leftists

WE love our beer, we love our beaches and we love our barbecues. But, like the swaggie who sprang into the billabong back in 1895, we love our freedom most of all.

We asked you to name the three things that made it great to be an Aussie, and got more than 15,000 responses. Sam Kekovich can rest easy: barbecues, meat and mates all got significant support.

But freedom topped the list - and there was daylight between that and the second most popular response, beer.

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Stimulus was Designed to Provide Pork and Payoffs, Not to Revive the Economy

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Harvard University economist Jeffrey Miron argued that the $800 billion stimulus package wasn’t even designed to stimulate the economy, but rather to benefit special-interest groups, since it flunked even old-fashioned Keynesian policy prescriptions about how to revive the economy. Recently-disclosed memos obtained by the New Yorker provide more evidence for this argument: “over the objection of his economic advisors, President Obama replaced $60 billion of ‘highly stimulative spending’ with a slow-spending but ‘inspiring’ $20 billion for high-speed trains and $40 billion in pork for his Senate Democratic allies. And this is starting from a point at which he knew that his advisors thought that not more than $225 billion of the $826 billion total was high-quality, fast-spending, efficient stimulus.”

This is not the only way that Obama ignored economics in favor of politics when drawing up the stimulus. Originally, economists wanted the stimulus to include the kinds of transportation spending that could boost the economy. But the stimulus package was purged of most investments in roads and bridges, and filled instead with welfare and social spending, out of political correctness, after feminist leaders complained that fixing roads and bridges would put unemployed blue-collar men to work, rather than women.

Christina Hoff Sommers points out that “of the 5.7 million jobs Americans lost between December 2007 and May 2009, nearly 80 percent had been held by men,” because men “predominate in manufacturing and construction, the hardest-hit sectors.” But when some administration officials floated the concept of “an ambitious . . . stimulus program to modernize roads, bridges,” and infrastructure as a way of “reinvigorating the hardest-hit sectors of the economy,” “Women’s groups were appalled,” denouncing “The Macho Stimulus Plan.”

The Obama administration quickly knuckled under to this pressure, resulting in a “stimulus” package that spent money instead on social services like welfare that are administered mostly by female employees. As an AP story noted “Stimulus Aid Favors Welfare, Not Work, Programs.” (The stimulus package largely repealed welfare reform).

The little “transportation” spending that remained in the stimulus package was disproportionately wasted on laying the groundwork for “high-speed” rail boondoggles that are not actually “high” in speed. These multibillion dollar rail boondoogles would provide work at inflated wages for politically-powerful unions. But these projects are expensive white elephants that would be used by very few travelers at an enormous cost per mile, and not enable trains to go anywhere near as fast as they do in Europe, Japan, or China. (Other union-backed provisions in the stimulus package wiped out jobs in America’s export sector.)

Similarly, the “green jobs” Obama promised in the stimulus package never came into being, as even The New York Times has conceded. Instead, the stimulus package’s green-jobs spending ended up inadvertently outsourcing American jobs to China. The administration’s green-energy programs also wiped out jobs in the furniture industry.

Obama relied on exaggerated claims to push through the stimulus package, claiming it was needed to prevent an “irreversible decline” in the economy, even though the Congressional Budget Office admitted that the stimulus package would shrink the economy “in the long run.” Even an old-fashioned Keynesian stimulus might have been something that America could not afford at a time of record deficits. The Congressional Budget Office, ignoring the above flaws in the stimulus package, argued that it would boost the economy in “the short run.” But even the CBO conceded that the stimulus would shrink economic output in “the long run” by increasing the national debt and thus crowding out private investment.

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India to complain to US over Jay Leno joke

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Indian religions might seem strange to us but Indians take then very seriosly -- almost as seriously as cricket. A Prime Minister of India (Indira Gandhi) was assassinated for desecrating the Golden temple. I would advise Mr Leno to apologize profusely. There are a lot of Sikhs in the USA.
India is to formally object to a joke by US TV host Jay Leno in which he said that the Golden Temple, the holiest shrine for Sikhs, was a summer home for wealthy presidential candidate Mitt Romney.

Minister Vayalar Ravi termed the gag by "The Tonight Show" host as "quite unfortunate and quite objectionable" and said the Indian embassy in Washington would raise the issue, the Press Trust of India reported on Monday.

In a dig at Mr Romney's privileged background during a show last week, Leno used a photo of the ornate Sikh shrine in the northwestern Indian city of Amritsar during a segment on the vacation homes of US Republican presidential candidates.

Angry members of the Sikh community in the US circulated an online petition protesting the "derogatory depiction" of the Golden Temple, adding that "Jay Leno's racist comments need to be stopped right here".

Overseas Indian Affairs Minister Ravi said he had not watched the show himself but that the Sikh community in the US had lobbied him to take action against it.

"Freedom does not mean hurt the sentiments of others ... This is not acceptable to us and we take a very strong objection for such a display of an important place like Golden temple," Mr Ravi was reported to have said.

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It was just a joke but humor can be dangerous these days. Perhaps it always was.

A THIRD of inmates at British youth jail are Muslims... and more convert to get better food

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A third of inmates at one of Britain’s most notorious youth jails are Muslims and the religion is attracting a large number of converts.

There are 229 Muslims out of a total of 686 youngsters detained at Feltham Young Offenders’ Institution in West London, according to Ministry of Justice figures.

There are now so many worshippers at Friday prayers that they have to be split between Feltham’s mosque and its gym.

Sources claim that converts are attracted by the chance of better food and a more comfortable regime.

But there are also fears that some are being radicalised.

During Ramadan, Muslim prisoners are given food in separate hot and cold containers so they can eat what they choose at the end of their daylight fast.

A source revealed: ‘Over the last few years there has been a huge surge in those attending Muslim services. ‘The popularity of the faith has surprised people. We are seeing a large number of inmates converting to Islam.'

He added: ‘There is a difference between mainstream believers and extremists, but the fear is that some in the jail are being radicalised. 'Others convert for protection or to have what they believe is an easier lifestyle.’

Prison insiders say most non-Muslims are locked up during Friday prayers because so many guards are needed to monitor the lunchtime service.

The Ministry of Justice said: ‘The Prison Service is committed to ensuring the religious needs of prisoners of all faiths are met.’

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China too had a Medieval Warm Period comparable to temperatures today

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Discussing: Zhou, XJ. 2011. "The characteristics and regularities of the climate change over the past millennium in China". Chinese Science Bulletin 56: 2985.

The author, Zhou (2011), - who is with the State Key Laboratory of Severe Weather of the Chinese Academy of Meteorological Sciences in Beijing - writes in an introductory editorial in a special issue of the Chinese Science Bulletin (October 2011) that "research on global climate change has been at the frontier of the contemporary sciences," and within this context he further states that "debate has focused on whether the greenhouse effect produced by human activities is a major factor responsible for modern climate warming."

Against this backdrop, Zhou reports that "in 2009, the major project 'Research on tree-ring and millennium climate change in China' was implemented under the support of the National Natural Science Foundation of China." Noting that eight articles published in this special issue of the Bulletin "present partly preliminary results obtained by the project over the past two years," he then goes on to summarize, in the broadest possible sense, their findings.

In the words of Zhou, the eight articles "reveal some characteristics and regularities of changes in temperature and precipitation in China and in East Asian monsoons over the past 1000 years," and he says that "notable conclusions," of which he lists only two, are that (1) "temperatures in the Medieval Warm Period are comparable to those in the current warm period over China," and (2) "the effect of solar activity on climate cannot be neglected in any period of the millennium."

These two findings stand in stark contrast to what is generally claimed by the world's climate alarmists, which is no small matter, as they apply to a significant portion of the planet. Hence, they should give everyone reason to reconsider the climate-alarmist claim that modern warming has been unprecedented over the past millennium or more, which claim is also refuted by many additional scientific studies we have reviewed in our Topical Archive under the heading Medieval Warm Period.

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A brass age?

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By Thomas Sowell

This may be the golden age of presumptuous ignorance. The most recent demonstrations of that are the Occupy Wall Street mobs. It is doubtful how many of these semi-literate sloganizers could tell the difference between a stock and a bond.

Yet there they are, mouthing off about Wall Street on television, cheered on by politicians and the media. If this is not a golden age of presumptuous ignorance, perhaps it should be called a brass age.

No one has more brass than the President of the United States, though his brass may be more polished than that of the Occupy Wall Street mobs. When Barack Obama speaks loftily about "investing in the industries of the future," does anyone ask: What in the world would qualify him to know what are the industries of the future?

Why would people who have spent their careers in politics know more about investing than people who have spent their careers as investors?

Presumptuous ignorance is not confined to politicians or rowdy political activists, by any means. From time to time, I get a huffy letter or e-mail from a reader who begins, "You obviously don't know what you are talking about..."

The particular subject may be one on which my research assistants and I have amassed piles of research material and official statistics. It may even be a subject on which I have written a few books, but somehow the presumptuously ignorant just know that I didn't really study that issue, because my conclusions don't agree with theirs or with what they have heard.

At one time I was foolish enough to try to reason with such people. But one of the best New Year's resolutions I ever made, some years ago, was to stop trying to reason with unreasonable people. It has been good for my blood pressure and probably for my health in general.

A recent column that mentioned the "indirect subsidies" from the government to the Postal Service brought the presumptuously ignorant out in force, fighting mad.

Because the government does not directly subsidize the current operating expenses of the Postal Service, that is supposed to show that the Postal Service pays its own way and costs the taxpayers nothing.

Politicians may be crooks but they are not fools. Easily observed direct subsidies can create a political problem. Far better to set up an arrangement that will allow government-sponsored enterprises -- whether the Postal Service, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac or the Tennessee Valley Authority -- to operate in such a way that they can claim to be self-supporting and not costing the taxpayers anything, no matter how much indirect subsidy they get.

As just one example, the Postal Service has a multi-billion dollar line of credit at the U.S. Department of the Treasury. Hey, we could all use a few billions, every now and then, to get us over the rough spots. But we are not the Postal Service.

Theoretically, the Postal Service is going to pay it all back some day, and that theoretical possibility keeps it from being called a direct subsidy. The Postal Service is also exempt from paying taxes, among other exemptions it has from costs that other businesses have to pay.

Exemption from taxes, and from other requirements that apply to other businesses, are also not called subsidies. For people who mistake words for realities, that is enough for them to buy the political line -- and to get huffy with those who don't.

Loan guarantees are a favorite form of hidden subsidies for all sorts of special interests. At a given point in time, it can be said that these guarantees cost the taxpayers nothing. But when they suddenly do cost something -- as with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac -- they can cost billions.

One of the reasons for so much presumptuous ignorance flourishing in our time may be the emphasis on "self-esteem" in our schools and colleges. Children not yet a decade old have been encouraged, or even required, to write letters to public figures, sounding off on issues ranging from taxes to nuclear missiles.

Our schools begin promoting presumptuous ignorance early on. It is apparently one of the few things they teach well. The end result is people without much knowledge, but with a lot of brass.

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