The people will deal with Labor's drift to Green

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They already have in Qld.

Dr Jeremy Sammut

In his new book, Coming Apart, Charles Murray worries about the consequences of the formation in the United States of a culturally distinctive upper class – enjoying all the benefits bestowed by high intellects, high incomes, and high status professions – that has limited knowledge and understanding of the lives and attitudes of middle America.

In Australia, this aspect of the culture wars is usually discussed in political terms of ‘inner city trendies,’ with a preference for pro-Greens policies versus ‘ordinary’ Australians, aka ‘the battlers,’ with families and mortgages in the outer suburbs.

Murray does not explore the electoral consequences of the growing divide between the so-called ‘best’ and the rest in great detail. I wonder whether this is because in democratic polities, the ‘problem’ of political elitism is often self-correcting.

It is true that members of the political class these days are predominantly drawn from among university-educated elites. But politicians who ignore the values and aspirations of average voters, and become obsessed with fashionable ‘progressive’ causes of the moment to the exclusion of core or mainstream preoccupations (jobs, livings standards, transport, etc.), are liable to have brief careers.

This appears to be one of the chief lessons of the catastrophic defeat suffered by the Labor government at last weekend’s Queensland state election. The fall in Labor’s parliamentary representation from 51 seats to just seven speaks of a formidable talent for alienating average voters.

The more astute on both sides of politics appear to recognise this. Commenting on Queensland Labor’s annihilation, federal Trade Minister Craig Emerson warned his party against embracing Greens-style anti-coal hysteria, which leaves most voters cold.

‘If you think you can smash up the coal seam gas industry and harvest votes from that,’ Emerson told Sky News, ‘you’re wrong.’

The same point concerning the ‘policy inflection that’s come from the Greens’ was made in a more entertaining fashion by Senator Barnaby Joyce on ABC’s Lateline:
We can’t build a dam anymore because it’s all impossible. It’s too difficult.

Everything every time we try to make a decision to take our nation forward, to build something constructive, there is someone who stands up and says that that affects the way they see the world and therefore we can’t do it.

And they get garlands of roses thrown at their feet in Canberra, but what happens in the regions such as Queensland is you get voted out of office and the Labor Party have seen that tonight.

So, if you want to get away from the nanny state, get away from Green policies that just drag you into oblivion. And as soon as the Labor Party works that and drops crazy ideas, just dippy, loopy ideas such as the carbon tax, well the better off they will be and maybe they’ll have a chance of rebuilding.

There is more to this than a gratuitous political sledge. The policy failures of the Beattie and Bligh governments included refusing to build new dams (which arguably contributed to the scale of the devastating Brisbane floods of 2011 by delaying the release of flood water from the Wivenhoe Dam) and the Wild Rivers legislation, which banned all economic development in areas such as Cape York in return for Greens-preferences.

So if you can get past the confusion of concepts and garbled presentation, Senator Joyce has expressed a pertinent piece of political wisdom. Ultimately – and I think compulsory voting plays a part in producing this outcome in Australia – the demos can be trusted to solve the problem of political elitism by casting the trendies and all their works into the wasteland of electoral defeat.

SOURCE

Why Do Wealthy People Support Liberal Causes?

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Armstrong Williams

I have often asked myself why do so many wealthy people support liberal causes? This is the flip-side of the usual election-year frustration of the liberals with the working classes’ clinging to their guns and religion. In this presidential election year, as in 2008, the Democratic Party, who claim with less and less credibility to be the champions of the poor, have far more money to spend than the Republican Party, who are said to be the party of the greedy upper classes; how could this be?

The simple answer is this: wealthy liberals blatantly use social liberalism and big government regulation to protect their relative position in society. Big government regulation and taxation thwarts the economic mobility of those trying to move up, allowing the elites to remain elite, while still seeming pious for all their apparent efforts to help the little people.

Note that their idea of political action deals always with outcomes, never with principles: they see the federal government as a charitable organization, or a tool which they can use to reshape society. I’m not impugning motives-this is what they openly profess. Conservatives have an ideal government in mind, one that sticks to the principles of the Founders; liberals have an ideal society in mind, and they will tinker with the government until it creates it.

It’s not hard to find examples-wealthy liberals who fortify their positions with their Robin Hood policies are in the news every day. One we’re all sick of hearing about is multibillionaire investor Warren Buffet, who supports raising capital gains and dividend taxes, despite having made his fortune this way. While I respect Warren Buffett, and do not begrudge him his wealth and success, he makes a highly disingenuous case for some very destructive policies. Not only has Buffett made the moral argument that it is “fair” or just to impose an alternative minimum tax of 30% on millionaires, but he has misrepresented both the salary of his secretary (who has allowed herself to be enlisted for his and the president’s political purposes), and about the total percentage tax that he actually pays. What could explain such bizarre behavior from an octogenarian billionaire? Why would a self-made man want to punish success and reward failure?

The answer is that he is already a billionaire. Were he still climbing the ladder, rather than merely trying to maintain his vast wealth, he might have a different view of “fairness.” I would be curious to see what his views were decades ago. It is simply laughable, and deserving of ridicule, that fairness requires that we make an already highly progressive tax system even more progressive than it already is, rather than flattening the tax so that all pay the same portion of their wealth. No one even reasonably acquainted with the facts can maintain that our government doesn’t plunder the wealthy enough; it would require an ulterior motive for such a ludicrous belief.

Here's another example of limousine socialism: Goldman Sachs partners and the president of JP Morgan Chase, of which both institutions have veterans in the Obama administration, both gave strong initial support for the highly partisan, expensive and expansive Dodd-Frank regulation of the financial sector. Their banks are too big to fail: they can afford the roster of lawyers it takes to navigate the regulatory typhoon created by this legislation.

But it is much harder for their smaller competitors to afford these costs. Partners of major Wall Street law firms and the American Bar Association consistently support liberal politicians advocating additional regulation requiring more legal services. It is a universal observation of the philosophers that a nation with many laws is not a good nation, but it is also the universal observation of the lawyers that such a nation is ripe for devouring.

It is in their financial interest to create laws that the layman cannot understand or interpret. It’s not, of course, in the interest of the country—who else thinks it’s a good idea that we not know what we’re supposed to be doing?

In Florida, it is almost impossible for a 50 year old doctor or dentist from another state to get a license to practice. These license requirements are not for patients but are intended to protect existing professionals from competition, the very thing that would help patients by expanding their options and lowering prices.

Rich liberal environmentalists do not appreciate the irony when they propose gas miserly cars for the 99% but fly to environmental conferences in private jets like Al Gore or Barack Obama (in Air Force One, which costs six-figures per hour to run). They want to stop oil drilling and promote green technology with government subsidies to their political supporters in the industry. Few will publicly acknowledge, as Energy Secretary Chu has done, that the best way to increase the use of green technology is to increase the price of gas to $10!

The cost of their policies falls heavily on the poor, and the environmentalists urgently want to shift the blame for this onto greedy corporations and other bogeymen. At the same time, the environmentalists disavow the effectiveness of the market in letting price determine investment in green technology. It is not coincidental that developing countries put a low priority on the environment: they want to become rich enough to join the wealthy countries, who are meanwhile preaching environmentalism.

SOURCE

If Only We All Had (Liberal) Brains, We'd All Believe In Man-Made Global Warming

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Marc Morano links below to some recent episodes in the long history of Leftist claims that conservatives are psychologically deficient. The first notable claims of that sort were promulgated in a famous book lead-authored by prominent Marxist theoretician Theodor Adorno (Spanish-speaking readers may wonder why he had a surname that means "ornament" in Spanish. It was his mother's stage name. She was a dancer. His father's thoroughly Yiddish surname was "Wiesengrund", meaning "meadowland").

I spent much of my research career examinging the Adorno claims in depth and found that if one used true random samples of the general population, none of the correlations posited by Adorno emerged. Some details here. The plain fact of the matter is that Left and Right are not distinguished by mental health or by intelligence. They are psychologically different but not in ways that make them better adapted to life overall.

Two of the "research" claims alluded to below I have dissected in detail here and here (By Mooney and Eidelman respectively).

The important thing about Leftist claims is not therefore their verifiability but rather the platform they provide for the Soviet policy of throwing dissenters into psychiatric prisons. The Left used to describe the Soviets as "Liberals in a hurry". The logical corollary that liberals are just slowed-down Soviets tended to be avoided


A whole slew of new “research” on conservatives’ and global warming skeptics’ “brains” has hit the academic circuit.

First off, environment and sociology Prof. Kari Norgaard’s new study claims skeptics of man-made global warming fears should be “treated” for their skepticism. The study compares skepticism to man-made climate fears to the struggle against racism and slavery.

Prof. Norgaard’s concept of “treating” those who do not follow the current day’s political or social orthodoxy is, frightening, not new. A quick look at the 20th century totalitarian super states reveals many similar impulses.

It’s even more chilling that there is a whole new movement afoot by the promoters of man-made global warming theory to intimidate climate skeptics by using new brain “research.”

Other researchers have attempted to tie conservatism (which is identified with the highest number of climate skeptics) to “low brainpower.”

Some global warming promoters claim it is essentially “unethical” to be a skeptic.

Finally, still other climate activists have actually implied that we need to consider “human engineering” to combat global warming skepticism.

NYU Prof. S. Matthew Liao of Center for Bioethics says his human engineering solution “involves the biomedical modification of humans to make them better at mitigating climate change'"

Here are a few more comments by Prof. Liao:

"We shall argue that human engineering potentially offers an effective means of tackling climate change...the possibility of making humans smaller. Human ecological footprints are partly correlated with our size...a more speculative and controversial way of reducing adult height is to reduce birth weight...Pharmacological enhancement of altruism and empathy...could increase the likelihood that we adopt the necessary behavioral & market solutions for curbing climate change."

SOURCE (See the original for links)

Public schools struggle to attract male teachers as non-government sector scores more men

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Because there are fewer of them, they have more choice and many choose schools where they are free to teach, instead of having to spend half their time just trying to get the kids to sit down. I was pleased to see the number of male teachers in my son's private High School. It was because of them that he became enthused about mathematics -- and he now has a B.Sc. with a First in Mathematics

Australian High Schools are heavily sorted. With 39% of the kids going to private schools, all the problem kids are in the State sector. So those who most need discipline and strong role models are least likely to get that. If the State schools had reasonable disciplinary policies, the chaos would vanish and a career there for those who really want to teach would be more atttractive


AUSTRALIA'S public schools are in the grip of a man drought. But it's raining men in the non-government sector, where the number of male teachers has grown 25 per cent since 2001.

At the same time, the number of male teachers has dropped 2 per cent at the nation's public schools, Australian Bureau of Statistics figures reveal.

Schools have struggled to attract male teachers to the female-dominated profession.

Teachers can earn more money in the non-government sector but there can also be more demands outside school hours, such as Saturday sport.

The New South Wales Department of Education and Communities said the national trend was reflected at the state's schools but they also had a very low resignation rate.

Last year there were 15,274 male teachers at public schools, representing about 27 per cent of teaching staff.

In 2001, male teachers made up about 31 per cent. There were 9734 male teachers in the non-government sector - about 30 per cent of the teaching workforce. In 2001, male teachers represented 23 per cent.

A department spokesman said strategies were in place to recruit more male teachers but quality was more important than gender.

One man happy to be working in the public system is 29-year-old Mark Platt, who teaches Year 6 students at Kellyville Ridge Public School.

The school has almost 800 students from the boom suburbs in Sydney's northwest and nine male teachers - a rarity in the public primary system.

Mr Platt said the pay rate was probably the reason men were attracted to the non-government sector but he enjoyed the challenges of a public school.

"I'm happy where I am and couldn't see myself at another school," he said.

The school's assistant principal, Luke Hogan, said he chose to teach at a public school because he believed in its values.

He said male teachers could provide a positive role model to boys who may not have a man in the family home.

"Every child deserves to have access to an education, whether their families can afford it or not," he said.

James Galea, 24, is the only male teacher in his nine-person faculty at Mitchell High School in Blacktown, which he said reflected the perception that teaching was not an attractive career path for men.

The English and drama teacher said his wife taught in the non-government sector and earned more money than him but the main difference between the two sectors was facilities.

SOURCE

British doctor fired after emailing prayer to colleagues

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We read:
"A British doctor claims he was fired after emailing a prayer to his coworkers to "motivate" the department. Dr David Drew, a Christian, emailed a prayer by St. Ignatius Loyola, founder of the Jesuits, to colleagues at Walsall Manor Hospital, in western England, the Derby Telegraph reported overnight.

The 64-year-old, who is claiming unfair dismissal, first became the subject of an internal investigation after he raised concerns about the conduct of his colleagues on the hospital's pediatric ward, a hearing was told.

Dr Drew told an employment tribunal in Birmingham of two occasions when children were sexually assaulted on the ward and one when a child died after a consultant let him go home.

He complained about the consultant who oversaw the fatality case and was stripped of his role as clinical director. When he later complained about a nurse he described as "very rude," an investigation was carried out into his conduct.

Dr Drew was then dismissed after failing to accept one of the recommendations of the probe, which was that he "refrain from using religious references in his professional communications, verbal or written."

Source

Acclimation to Ocean Acidification: Give It Some Time

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In the absence of any real-world effect, Warmists have turned to experiments in which they artificially raise CO2 levels in fishtanks. But even their experimental results are pesky for them -- pesky enough for them to report statistically insignificant results as significant! That is a major breach of scientific canons and shows what a desperate bunch of crooks they are

Rising atmospheric carbon dioxide levels lead to an increasing amount of CO2 being dissolved in the oceans which drives down the oceans’ pH level. This is often referred to as “ocean acidification” and included among the list of ills that energy production from fossil fuels imparts to the environment. Type “ocean acidification” into your Google search and you’ll quickly be confronted with a litany of potential impacts—all bad. The Center for Biological Diversity refers to it as global warming’s “evil twin.”

“We mean it this time” our greener friends are saying about this current apocalypse. But is ocean acidification any different than the population bomb, global starvation, acid rain, ozone depletion, global cooling, and global warming—all forecast to cause the end of the world as we know it, and all falling a bit short?

It’s beginning to look like the same old same old. In what will come as no surprise to World Climate Report regulars, alarmists are overdoing things just a little. Their biggest mistake comes in assuming that the oceans’ denizens cannot deal either with the pace or the magnitude of the projected changes to the oceans’ chemistry.

The more researchers look into this, the more they report findings to the contrary.

A large and continually updated annotated and summarized collection of findings which report acclimation and adaptation to “ocean acidification” is maintained at the Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Change. Spend a little time there and you will come away with a completely different view of the subject than was returned to you in your Google search above. The Center also maintains a digital archive of citations to the relevant primary scientific literature, so you can see for yourself.

A new paper just published in the journal Global Change Biology titled “Acclimation to ocean acidification during long-term CO2 exposure in the cold-water coral Lophelia pertusa “ is surely soon to be an inductee in the Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Change database.

The authors, Armin U. Form (no relation to the conservative blogger Charles U. Farley) and Ulf Riebesell, are from the Leibniz Institute of Marine Sciences in Kiel, Germany. They introduce the problem:

"Ocean acidification, often termed ‘the evil twin of global warming’, is caused when the CO2 emitted by human activity dissolves into the oceans. Presently, the ocean takes up about 25% of man-made CO2, which has led to a decrease in seawater pH of 0.1 units since 1800. By 2100, surface ocean pH values can easily drop by another 0.3–0.4 units. Although there is reasonable certainty about the chemical changes related to ocean acidification, the impacts it may have on marine organisms and ecosystems are still poorly understood. A major gap in our understanding of the impacts of ocean acidification on life in the sea is the potential of marine organisms to acclimate and adapt to increasing seawater acidity. Most of our present understanding on the biological impacts of ocean acidification is based on short-term perturbation studies."

The last sentence nicely sums up the problem underlying the proclamations of impending catastrophe from “ocean acidification”—that is, there are very few long-term studies of the response of organisms to changing conditions, instead, the vast majority of results come from studies which scoop things up out of the ocean, plop them into an aquarium, jack up the acidity of the water, and watch what for a few days to see what happens. That’s about as far from the real world as you can get, and it’s little wonder that the organisms don’t tend to fare particularly well.

Basically, Form and Riebesell follow this same procedure, but in addition to watching what happens over a few days, they maintain vigilance, and follow the response for about 6 months. The organism they are studying is a cold-water coral species, Lophelia pertusa, which they describe as “the most common reef framework-forming and ecosystem engineering cold-water coral with a cosmopolitan distribution.” One reason they chose to look at a cold-water coral is that “cold-water coral reefs are considered the ecosystem most vulnerable to ocean acidification.”

What they found was that in an experiment that lasted only 8 days, that the growth rate of the coral was slowed down by the dissolution of extra CO2 into the aquarium water—the more the researchers added CO2 (increasing the acidity and lowering the pH) the worse the corals fared (Figure 1).

In a second experiment in which the coral specimens were exposed to lower pH levels for 178 days, the growth rate did not decline, and in fact, even appeared to increase under the lower pH (more acid) conditions (Figure 2).

Form and Riebesell describe their findings:

"Growth rates in the long-term experiment (LTE) did not follow the negative trend with increasing pCO2 [decreasing pH] observed in the short-term incubation. Instead, growth rate, which was comparable to that of the control treatment in the short-term experiment, stayed high at elevated CO2 levels… Although not statistically significant, a linear regression analysis reveals an increasing trend of coral growth with rising pCO2 concentration [decreasing pH]." *

They comment on the importance of longer-term experiments:

"It is surprising that the ability to tolerate sub-saturated conditions in terms of maintaining calcification rates is not manifested in short-term high CO2 experiments. This could indicate (i) that it takes several days to weeks for Lophelia to activate the metabolic pathways needed to calcify when subjected to sub-saturated waters, or (ii) that triggering the activation of these pathways requires longer-term high CO2/low pH exposure. …The differences in observed responses between short- and long-term exposure experiments highlight the importance of long-term incubation studies allowing for complete acclimation of the test organisms."

And they have this to say as to the significance of their findings:

"This is the first study showing a positive response in calcification to increasing pCO2 for the predominant reef-forming cold-water coral L. pertusa and, to our knowledge, for scleractinian corals in general." **

Now, Form and Riebesell are quick to point out that laboratory conditions do not necessarily mimic the real world environment and that therefore their results are only the first steps in an extended series of observations and experiments that would be required to establish the in situ response of the corals in their ocean environment and its changing conditions. And we are sure that they are right about this.

But the larger lesson is this: Don’t jump to conclusions based on an inadequate analysis of complex systems. If everyone followed this advice, our future would certainly appear much less “alarming.”

* What has happened to rigorous peer-review? A “trend” that is not statistically significant means it cannot be statistically discriminated from zero, i.e. no trend. This sentence should have said “A linear regression reveals no significant relationship between coral growth and rising pCO2 concentration.”

** Same here; should simply read, “This study shows no negative relationship between coral growth and ocean acidity.”

SOURCE (See the original for links and graphics)

The unending torrent of Leftist hate

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I thought it might be interesting to show you the hate prominent conservative women like Michelle Malkin get on a daily basis. As you read these tweets, keep in mind that all of them came from a single 24 hour period (And believe it or not, I only included about half of the anti-Malkin tweets).

Also note that these are just from Michelle’s @michellemalkin Twitter Feed: They don’t include a Twitter search of “Michelle Malkin”, Facebook, email, or anything written on blogs or said on TV.

So, what you’re seeing here, is just a teeny tiny sliver of the hate Malkin has aimed at her by the left on a day-in, day-out basis.
RT @Cliff_Po_UDTV: @michellemalkin needs to die for wat she said about trayvon

@michellemalkin you're just mad cuz the 7 black dudes who ran train on you last weekend didn't call back. #slut #Justice4Trayvon

I like how I've called out shitbag congress members and nobody says anything. I call @michellemalkin an evil bitch and I get hate tweets.

@michellemalkin You ever dream of giving @JonahNRO's hairy ass a rimjob? Hmm, Michelle, my sweet Filipina sex lemur? #tcot

Daily Reminder: @michellemalkin hates you.

@emokidsloveme @michellemalkin hates anything with dark skin and is liberal

“@DAbitty: RT @emokidsloveme: Daily Reminder: @michellemalkin hates you. // ALL of us!”// And the feeling is mutual.

@michellemalkin I don't hate Michelle... I greatly pity her! Hate makes one ugly, and that's sad.

How embarrassing for @twitter: The @KillZimmerman account is STILL active after 4 full days. Story at Twitchy: is.gd/lPJni3

@michellemalkin How embarrassing for you that you spend all of your time being consumed by hate.

#sorosmonkeys at MMFA/TP smear Twitchy, Drudge, #TeamBreitbart, then try to have it both ways - is.gd/2BT8Oi

@michellemalkin Go f@ck yourself!!

.@michellemalkin cried like a little baby over what liberals were saying when Breitbart died ... yet she's doing the same w/Trayvon Martin.

@KathrynJScags @michellemalkin michelle malkin eats batshit off cave walls.

@michellemalkin oh, dear, you're so out of your weight class.

@eddel80 @michellemalkin It is people like you that ruin this country. Get you head out of the government bokks. And your ass.

@michellemalkin is either going to block me like a cowardly little whimp, or answer to why she's the greatest hypocrite EVER

@michellemalkin you're a fucking whore For big business and the rich, wake up sister, don't forget where we came from

@eddel80 @michellemalkin I was not talking to you Ms. Malkin. The idiot that was calling you a bigot.

@jetz52469 @michellemalkin you're a bigot, aren't you?

Last reminder of the day: Stop #waronconservativewomen -Donate to @RebeccaforReal 's fight against prog recall in Wisc: is.gd/Y4SZ9g

@michellemalkin narcissist and hypocrite.

“@DAbitty: RT @emokidsloveme: Daily Reminder: @michellemalkin hates you. // ALL of us!”// And the feeling is mutual.

How did @michellemalkin's brain development go so nightmarishly wrong? #tcot

How embarrassing for @twitter: The @KillZimmerman account is STILL active after 4 full days. Story at Twitchy: is.gd/lPJni3

@michellemalkin just makes my skin crawl! I swear I have no personal grudge against her just her views on life are so simple #silverspoon ??

A new era of "civil unrest" has begun: Trayvon protesters loot Walgreen's - twitchy.com/2012/03/27/tra…

@michellemalkin I heard a rumor that your cousing Marizela met up with George Zimmerman - what can you tell us about that?

@michellemalkin I think you suffer from self-hatred. I literally feel sorry for you. SMH

Is anyone or anything more thoroughly repulsive and thoroughly COMICAL than @michellemalkin ? Honestly I cringe at her every idiocy.

@michellemalkin is human refuse. One of the best examples of lining one's pockets selling outright lies and hate @MsGrumpy

Is anyone or anything more thoroughly repulsive and thoroughly COMICAL than @michellemalkin ? Honestly I cringe at her every idiocy.

More here

No wonder they are always pouncing on all sorts of trivialities uttered by conservatives and calling them "hate speech". It's their only hope of deflecting attention from whom the real haters are.

Stalinism in El Paso

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El Paso Mayor to Indict Voters Who Don't Support His Agenda? Lerftist arrogance on display, using Stalinist methods

In El Paso, Texas, Democrat Mayor John Cook is literally doing whatever he can to cram his political preferences down the throats of El Pasoans who voted against him. His latest effort in this regard has been convening a grand jury in El Paso to possibly indict those who oppose his policies, based solely on their speech.

It all began in 2010, when the City Council passed a measure granting taxpayer-paid benefits for same-sex couples. The citizens responded by passing a city-wide referendum overturning the measure. Not pleased that his policies were thwarted by the people, Cook went to the City Council again and instituted the benefits anyway, basically telling the people whom he represents that they’re not running the show—rather, he is.

Making matters worse, Cook himself cast the tie-breaking vote in the City Council vote that “overrode” the referendum and the will of the people.

As a result, various citizens, including pastors, people associated with ministries, and pro-family groups throughout the city, have united and collected the signatures needed to hold accountable public officials who threw out their vote. Not to be outdone, the Mayor has now sued these Christians and is using a Texas election law to stop the recall election. The city’s district attorney has even convened a grand jury and is threatening to prosecute every church member he can who took part in gathering petition signatures.

If this seems like a Rod Serling moment to you, and if you’re listening now for the Twilight Zone music to start playing, I regret to inform you that this is reality. This is really happening. This is how those in power abuse that power. Just as President Obama has ignored the rule of law and the will of the American people via his abortion pill/birth control mandate, so too the mayor has run roughshod over the citizens of El Paso and doesn’t plan to do anything but continue his stampede.

The very mayor who told one woman at a city council meeting, “You can take your freedom of speech outside,” is not about to be challenged.

We have to remember—for ideologues, the vision they want to implement is always more important than the people they represent.

Fortunately, the Christians in El Paso who have fought against this measure are not without a voice and legal representation. The Alliance Defense Fund has come along beside them and has collected more than 250 signed affidavits from local citizens who are terrified that they may go to jail for their legitimate political and free speech efforts.

ADF understands that the mayor can’t be allowed to put his opponents in jail just because they participated in a valid effort that he doesn’t favor – unless El Paso has suddenly relocated to Communist China.

The citizens of El Paso deserve better, and ADF is trying to make sure they get it by seeking a change in the Texas election law so that there is no longer any ambiguity about every state law’s need to respect rights protected by the First Amendment. In the meantime, the mayor cannot abuse this election law, intended to regulate financial political contributions, to stifle the political activity of his opponents. That battle is on appeal to the Texas Supreme Court on an expedited basis.

This isn’t Cuba or North Korea: it’s the United States of America. And here, where religious liberty and freedom of speech and assembly are constitutionally protected, the will of the people takes precedence over the arrogance of those who wish to set up their own kingdoms.

SOURCE

Federal Resources Minister Martin Ferguson flays green `guerillas'

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Resources Minister Martin Ferguson has hit out at tactics used by -"guerilla" environmental groups, warning a decline in productivity could mean Australia misses out on new resources projects.

His comments came as major investors Rio Tinto, Shell and ConocoPhillips warned that coal and coal seam gas projects could be marginalised and investment pushed overseas as Australia became an expensive place to do business.

Mr Ferguson told The Australian Financial Review's National Energy Conference in Brisbane yesterday that green groups were wrong to think there was a fossil fuel conspiracy "which starts in my office" and attacked them for trying to stifle investment. "We must also recognise there are some who seek to manipulate those concerns, and use guerilla tactics through regulatory processes to frustrate economic development and job creation," he said.

Mr Ferguson's defence of the industry came as he weathered a storm from big investors who told the conference that red tape and high costs were a handbrake on the industry.

"Five years ago, Australia was the cheapest place for Rio Tinto to do business, now it is the most expensive," said Bill Champion, Rio Tinto Coal Australia managing director.

Mr Champion argued that a rise in costs and lower productivity had hit the global miner's coal business.

Two of Australia's largest energy investors, Shell and ConocoPhillips, flagged similar worries for the country's $220 billion-strong liquefied natural gas industry.

The president of Conoco's Australian operations, Todd Creeger, warned of the risks of local ventures losing out to rivals in lower cost locations overseas. Separately, Shell's Australian head, Ann Pickard, said there were challenges for Australia as a high-cost gas supply location.

Mr Creeger said: "Australia needs to work on its cost structure. I don't think the supply-demand situation will have a material impact unless Australia blows out on costs. When you sort the projects around the globe, Australia tends to be on the high side."

Tactics used by environmental groups have been an issue for industry figures. Earlier this month, a Greenpeace plan to raise $6 million to disrupt and delay new coalmines sparked widespread concern from resources executives.

The draft proposal, titled "Stopping the coal export boom", aimed to make some projects unviable. It said 2012-13 would be critical years in stopping "tens of billions of dollars in investment being locked in".

Mr Ferguson said yesterday that instead of focusing on balanced solutions and constructive outcomes, "many of these groups are fundamentally anti-growth and refuse to address the realities and complexities of our modern economy".

SOURCE

The Zimmerman hysteria

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The biggest outpouring of hate speech today is in America. It surpasses even what is coming out of Muslim lands. And it comes of course from the Left and from black race hustlers. It is aimed at George Zimmerman, a tubby Hispanic do-gooder.

All the evidence shows that George Zimmerman shot Trayvon Martin only after Martin had knocked him down and then continued attacking him. Zimmerman fired to save his life.

All the media depictions of Martin show an innocent little kid -- but those photos were taken long ago. The photo above is a recent one of Martin. The Left-run media are running a deliberate attempt at deception by photograph.

And how many reports mention that Martin was in fact 6'3" tall? Some kid! Martin was in fact an aggressive young black buck walking in a gated community where the presence of a black would be unusual and could reasonably be expected to cause apprehension. Zimmerman is 5'9" and not in good shape so he would be a snack for Martin.

Much more detail at GUN WATCH, with more to come. See also the comments by Thomas Sowell on today's DISSECTING LEFTISM

NYC madness: PC student tests forbid dance, dinos & lots more

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In a bizarre case of political correctness run wild, educrats have banned references to “dinosaurs,” “birthdays,” “Halloween” and dozens of other topics on city-issued tests. That’s because they fear such topics “could evoke unpleasant emotions in the students.”

Dinosaurs, for example, call to mind evolution, which might upset fundamentalists; birthdays aren’t celebrated by Jehovah’s Witnesses; and Halloween suggests paganism. Even “dancing’’ is taboo, because some sects object. But the city did make an exception for ballet.

The forbidden topics were recently spelled out in a request for proposals provided to companies competing to revamp city English, math, science and social-studies tests given several times a year to measure student progress.

“Some of these topics may be perfectly acceptable in other contexts but do not belong in a city- or state-wide assessment,” the request reads.

Words that suggest wealth are excluded because they could make kids jealous. Poverty is likewise on the forbidden list. Also banned are references to divorces and diseases, because kids taking the tests may have relatives who split from spouses or are ill.

Officials say such exclusions are normal procedure. “This is standard language that has been used by test publishers for many years and allows our students to complete practice exams without distraction,” said a Department of Education spokeswoman, insisting it’s not censorship.

In fact, sensitivity guidelines recently published by a group of states creating new high-stakes exams also caution against mentioning luxuries, group dancing, junk food, homelessness or witches. Yet a comparison shows the city’s list, at 50 topics, is nearly twice as long and has fewer exceptions.

The city asks test companies to exclude “creatures from outer space,” celebrities and excessive TV and video-game use — items that are OK elsewhere.

Homes with swimming pools and computers are also unmentionables here — because of economic sensitivities — while computers in the school or in libraries are acceptable.

City officials also specified that test makers shouldn’t include items that are potentially “disrespectful to authority or authority figures,” or give human characteristics to animals or inanimate objects.

Terrorism is deemed too scary. Slavery is also on the forbidden list.

Officials said there isn't an absolute ban on the items, in that they do get included on some exams on a case-by-case basis.

“The intent is to avoid giving offense or disadvantage any test takers by privileging prior knowledge,” said Robert Pondiscio, a spokesman for the Core Knowledge Foundation, an education group.

“But the irony is they’re eliminating some subjects, like junk food, holidays and popular music, that the broadest number of kids are likely to know quite a lot about.”

Columbia University Teachers College professor Deanna Kuhn said, “If the goal is to assess higher-order thinking skills, controversial topics, for example, ones that are the subject of political debate, are exactly what students should be reasoning about.”

SOURCE

A genetic argument for minimal government

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The man with the hat (Tuccille) understates the case below. There has long been evidence that overall political orientation is HIGHLY hereditary

If you and I entertain such inherently different preferences about the sort of society in which we want to live that common ground is limited, can expansive, top-down policy-making ever be anything more than an in-your-face power play? If political arguments are doomed to be unpersuasive to much of the opposition, no matter how well-stated, because of vast and largely unmovable differences in values and assumptions, isn’t keeping state interference in people’s lives to a minimum a matter not just of political preference, but the only course for avoiding a permanent state of low-level civil war?

I’ve written before about Social psychologist Jonathan Haidt‘s interesting research into the moral foundations of ideology and the different values and assumptions that separate liberals, conservatives and libertarians. These differences hold strong implications for the likely outcome of policy debates, since they make it clear that various factions often speak past each other, since they’re working from varying moral emphases and different concepts of good and bad when it comes to both means and ends — even the language they use can be confusing, since meanings of words vary among the factions.

Now Haidt comes forward with new information suggesting that conversation among ideological opponents can be even more difficult than previously thought. In an article (not yet online), “Born This Way?”, in the latest issue of Reason, Haidt writes of evidence that our ideology is, partially, determined by genetic factors that govern our risk aversion and our openness to new experiences. These innate traits then nudge us along paths in life that tend to reinforce our inherent inclinations.

Haidt is careful to emphasize that we’re not hard-wired into our political beliefs. He’s talking about a nudge that is likely to be self-reinforcing rather than genetically predetermined belief systems.

Genetics explains between one-third and one-half of the variability among people in their political attitudes. Being raised in a liberal or conservative household accounts for much less.

Our genetic traits lead us to respond to situations, pick careers, choose neighborhoods and associate with people in ways that reinforce our tendencies. Haidt points out that society has changed in recent years in ways that make it increasingly easy to surround ourselves with the familiar and like-minded and disassociate from people and situations that would pull us in a different direction.

Technology and changing residential patterns have allowed each of us to isolate ourselves within cocoons of likeminded individuals. In 1976, only 27 percent of Americans lived in “landslide” counties — counties that voted either Democratic or Republican by a margin of 20 percentage points or more. But the number has risen steadily; in 2008, 48 percent of Americans lived in a landslide county.

This same point about Americans self-sorting ourselves along ideological lines was made several years in The Big Sort by Bill Bishop and Robert G. Cushing. Now, Haidt tells us that we’re actually reinforcing genetic traits.

I don’t see anything in this research that’s guaranteed to make liberals, conservatives and libertarians like each other more, or find each other more sympathetic. But I do see lessons here regarding the limits of debate and the wisdom of letting people live their own lives with minimal interference. If we don’t just choose to embrace vastly different beliefs, but we entertain beliefs toward which we’re nudged by our internal source codes, it strikes me as both arrogant and cruel to impose policies on one another that must always be perceived by our opponents as alien and incomprehensible.

Democracy doesn’t change this dynamic, since democratic outcomes may just represent differences in genetic distributions across various populations, with the same impossibility of converting opponents to the majority’s way of thinking.

Yes, we need to be better about trying to understand each other, but I think it’s even more important to make allowances for each other’s preferences. The emphasis should be less on winning overall policy battles than on making as much space as possible for people to live according to their own beliefs — beliefs, it seems, that have their roots at the genetic level.

SOURCE

Emergency! Warmist officialdom tells the truth on something

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Unusual climate extremes NOT happening!

The full IPCC Special Report on Extremes is out today, and I have just gone through the sections in Chapter 4 that deal with disasters and climate change.

Kudos to the IPCC -- they have gotten the issue just about right, where "right" means that the report accurately reflects the academic literature on this topic. Over time good science will win out over the rest -- sometimes it just takes a little while.

A few quotable quotes from the report (from Chapter 4):

* "There is medium evidence and high agreement that long-term trends in normalized losses have not been attributed to natural or anthropogenic climate change"

* "The statement about the absence of trends in impacts attributable to natural or anthropogenic climate change holds for tropical and extratropical storms and tornados"

* "The absence of an attributable climate change signal in losses also holds for flood losses"

The report even takes care of tying up a loose end that has allowed some commentators to avoid the scientific literature:

* "Some authors suggest that a (natural or anthropogenic) climate change signal can be found in the records of disaster losses (e.g., Mills, 2005; Höppe and Grimm, 2009), but their work is in the nature of reviews and commentary rather than empirical research."

Anytime that you read claims that invoke disasters loss trends as an indication of human-caused climate change, including the currently popular "billion dollar disasters" meme, you can simply call "bullshit" and point to the IPCC SREX report.

SOURCE

Qld.: Woolworths part-timer takes "safe" Labor seat for the LNP

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He does have a degree so he is no dummy but it does show how toxic the Labor brand has become. Tony Abbott is going to be leading another large band of happy warriors in Parliament next year if not sooner. Surely the Federal Greens and independents will now want to unshackle themselves from the corpse that the ALP has become

Campbell Newman's emphasis on politicians being servants of the people is very refreshing in the context of Green/Left arrogance and is in keeping with my prior impression of his attitude. I think he will be in power for a long time, mercifully for Queensland


HIS last job was part-time at Woolworths, he lives with his parents and now he's a Member of Parliament.

Neil Symes claimed by a whisker the long-time Labor stronghold of Lytton, on Brisbane's bayside, at the weekend's Queensland election. It was a win even the LNP did not predict.

In a sign of how much voters turned on the Bligh Government last Saturday, the 23-year-old will now swap his meagre Woolies deli pay packet for a six-figure salary and the surrounds of State Parliament in his first full-time job.

Premier Campbell Newman yesterday warned his large team they were not elected "for personal or financial reward" and were expected to act as servants of Queenslanders.

Mr Symes lives at southside Wishart - beyond the bounds of his new electorate - but said he was planning his first move out of home and into Lytton soon.

That would be a big step for Mr Symes, who said his parents helped out by easing his weekly food and rent costs "depending on circumstances".

But the newly-minted MP insisted he could still relate to the battlers he now represents because he learnt a lot door-knocking during the campaign.

"I know that petrol prices go up, I know that the cost of food goes up and electricity and water . . . so that's where I can relate to the people because I've seen it firsthand," he said.

"I was actually working in the supermarket sector through the seafood and delicatessen departments, so that's what I bring to Parliament is a good work ethic."

He replaced one-time ALP deputy premier and former attorney-general Paul Lucas, who retired after 15 years.

Before that, the seat had been held since its creation in 1972 by former federal Labor president and Queensland deputy premier Tom Burns.

Mr Symes narrowly beat Mr Lucas's expected successor and local identity Daniel Cheverton, who conceded via Facebook on Monday.

More than half (46) of the LNP's 77 MPs are parliamentary first-timers.

Mr Symes completed a criminology and human services degree in 2009 but put the skills into action for only about nine months while working at an Acacia Ridge community centre.

Since then, he has worked an average 30 hours a week at the Garden City Woolworths, quitting in January to contest the March election.

Mr Symes said he wore the badge of youngest LNP MP with "real honour".

SOURCE

The more often you attend church services the happier you'll become, says survey

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If you want to cheer yourself up, you could do a lot worse than attend church services, according to the findings of a recent poll. A Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index found that people who attend a church, synagogue, or mosque frequently report experiencing more positive emotions and fewer negative ones in general than do those who attend less often or not at all.

Frequent churchgoers experience an average of 3.36 positive emotions per day compared with an average of 3.08 among those who never attend. In other words, regular churchgoers seem to do better than non-churchgoers or occasional churchgoers in terms of their daily positive wellbeing experiences.

The U.S survey based its findings on more than 300,000 interviews.

The positive emotions include smiling and laughter, enjoyment, happiness, and learning or doing something interesting. Negative emotions include worry, sadness, stress, and anger.

Not only do Americans who attend a church, synagogue, or mosque frequently report having higher wellbeing in general, but they also get an extra boost to their emotional state on Sundays - while the rest of the nation sees a decline in their mood.
Heavens above: Going to church can have a positive effect on your emotions, according to new research

The average number of positive emotions frequent churchgoers report experiencing rises to a high of 3.49 for the week on Sundays, whereas for those who attend church monthly or less often, the average number peaks on Saturdays and declines to a range of 3.14 to 3.29 on Sundays. A similar pattern is evident for negative emotions.

Although reports of negative emotions decline on Saturdays for all the population in general, frequent churchgoers still report experiencing still fewer negative emotions on Sundays, while negativity increased on that day for those who attend church seldom or never.

Meanwhile, Sunday is the only day of the week when the moods of frequent churchgoers and those who do not attend a religious service often diverge in direction significantly.
Gallup church poll - days of the week

SOURCE

Capitalism is Codified Human Nature; Socialism is Not Human at All

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Dick McDonald

Capitalism is the economic construct that allows everyone to choose their own financial destiny. Socialism, on the other hand, puts everyone in a bottle and predetermines their financial future. As man comes into this world with his own unique DNA capitalism is a good fit whereas socialism fails wherever it has been tried. Socialism is illogical and inhuman – not everyone is the same.

However, socialism has been on the ascent in America for the last 75 years. It has been fueled by a very common human condition – compassion for the less fortunate. Under President Barack Obama I believe American socialism has now reached its zenith. He has not only tried to buck human nature he has ran out of money.

Early on Barack Obama promised: “we’re going to reshape mean spirited and selfish America.” We hope everyone understands that after three years in office Obama’s policies have created a country more mean-spirited than just about any time in its history. Obama’s class warfare offensive is tearing America apart philosophically because Obama’s solution is to redistribute wealth from the rich to the poor.

Adding to the dissension is the American media. In the pocket of Democrats, the media is doing its best to promote an anti-capitalist fever. They got their chance to do it harm when some disgruntled low level stock broker at Goldman Sachs wrote a letter to his boss the NYT happened to publish 15 minutes later. Can you say collusion of the socialist Times? Of course not, the left controls what is printed and said and the capitalist have nothing to say.

What the employee had to say was a repeat of the Obama offensive formulated so many years ago. Goldman Sachs was ripping off their clients because they were mean spirited and selfish.... It was an obviously scripted attempt to demean capitalism and promote Obama’s collectivist, socialist agenda.

Like nature itself capitalism is based on the survival of the fittest. Somehow Obama wants to change human nature. He wants to change the extremes by taking the strongest animals and weaken them and conversely strengthen the weakest. That may work in a test tube but it doesn’t in real life. Nature is funny that way.

Capitalism’s “competition” is its survival mechanism. Its “creative destruction” and its “bankruptcy” are the lifelines to fight another day. Striving to be better is not greed or selfishness; it is human nature. To get up after you fall down and start fighting again is human nature 101. Unfortunately for the left under socialism there is no reward for striving to be better. You may never fall down but you never have a chance to really stand up.

In America the left’s socialist policies have run up over $130 trillion of debt or over a million dollars of debt for each and every one of the 115 million households.

It will only get worse if the Democrats and Obama are re-elected in November and allowed to continue driving us off an economic cliff with their unnatural, illogical attempt to change human nature..

Received via email. I am not so sure about Dick's characterization of the Greg Smith attack on Goldman Sachs as a put-up job, though others have queried the Greg Smith account too. Ever since Adam Smith, defenders of the free market have known that big business is not necessarily your friend

New Witness Supports Zimmerman's Self-Defense Claim

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This is beginning to look more and more like another Tawana Brawley case. We've even got Sharpie Sharpton involved again

While members of the public hold rallies to demand justice for Trayvon Martin, the 17-year-old African-American teen fatally shot last month shot by 28-year-old George Zimmerman, new details in the case have emerged that suggest Zimmerman may have fired his gun in self-defense.

Reactions to the incident range from accusations that Zimmerman, who is Hispanic and white, was motivated by racism and shot Martin without just cause, which sparked calls for his arrest and many branding him a murderer. Zimmerman, however, claims that Martin attacked him first and gave him a bloody nose, which left him with no choice but to shoot in self-defense.

Now, a new police report and a man who claims to be a witness of the incident seem to back Zimmerman's story.

"The guy on the bottom who I believe had a red sweater on was yelling to me help, help. I told him to stop and I was calling 911. And then when I got upstairs and looked down, the person that was on top beating up the other guy was the one laying in the grass. And I believe he was dead at that point," said a man identified as John on Fox News program "The O'Reilly Factor." While the information has not been confirmed, it is believed that the man in the red sweater referenced in the account was Zimmerman, which fits with the neighborhood watchman's story.

A Sanford police report also confirms that Zimmerman was found by responding officers bleeding from his head, with grass covering his back as if he had been on the ground.

At the time of the shooting, Martin was also apparently serving a suspension from a Miami-Dade County school because traces of marijuana had been found in a plastic bag in his book bag, a family spokesman admitted.

Source

Gen-Y Rejects the Green Life: ‘Let’s all live like the Kardashians’

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It increasingly looks like we’re entering the 4th quarter of the great Contest of Truth on global warming. The climate alarmists know they are way behind, and the Fakegate scandal shows they are willing to heave one Hail Mary after another — even in the most underhanded fashion — in a desperate attempt to get back in the game.

Yet those Hail Mary passes expose a rag arm throwing fluttering ducks into a headwind. Fact is: Generation Y — a generation exposed to relentless alarmist global warming propaganda since elementary school — is not very motivated to take the field, catch the pass, and win one for the Green Gipper.

Power Line’s Steve Hayward — who recently wrote one of the best pieces yet about Fakegate in the Weekly Standard — mirthfully notes that “one of Time’s hippest young columnists, the egregious Joel Stein, [has written] a column saying essentially that environmentalists are basically a bunch of losers.”

Hayward quotes the hipster Stein, who wrote of the Gen-Y generation (and quoted the author of a study on Gen-Y’s attitudes on environmentalism):
Compared with boomers and Generation X-ers, Gen Y-ers are the least willing to cut down on driving and electricity use. “There was a lot more questioning of materialism in the 1970s. Now it’s just like, Let’s all live like the Kardashians,” she said. . .

We do stuff not to save the planet as much as to look as if we’re saving the planet. That means I need to spend a lot more on my food, clothing and appliances and let everyone know about it.

Ouch. At least Gen-Y is sufficiently self-aware to recognize the contradiction. The power for all those Macbooks, iPods, iPads, live-streaming, Facebook updates, and Tweeting has to come from somewhere — and Gen-Y demands to be plugged in at all times. Gen-Y will not “power down” for the planet. Stage Two: Giving up paying the poseur premium for reliable, fossil-fueled energy that keeps all them all plugged in — and bursting the media-fed fantasy that wind farms and solar panels will keep an uninterrupted digital world at their fingertips. Gen-Y is at least halfway there. Critical mass comes after the first brown-out in California.

More proof that the game clock is ticking down on the alarmist team and they are out of time-outs? Hayward cites a study from DailyClimate.org that finds alarmist media coverage of the climate had declined 20 percent since 2010. The metrics are worse for editorial boards, which have cut in half their “we gotta save the planet NOW” work since 2009. Tick … tick … tick …

Read all of Hayward’s excellent Power Line post for its own sake, and to also see an amazing chart of the decline in alarmist media coverage that is impossible to hide. Quip’s Hayward: “Move over hockey stick.”

SOURCE (See the original for links)

Truth falls victim to the sparkling stone

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Finkelstein is German/Yiddish for sparkling stone or gemstone. He seems to think he's one

TELL the truth. Speak truth to power. These phrases are so familiar that we rarely stop to understand them. But in a coming age of censorship heralded by political phenomena such as hate speech legislation and the Finkelstein inquiry, humanity's relationship with truth is at breaking point.

Universities are partly to blame for events such as the Finkelstein inquiry. There is a veritable canon stretching from Russell Jacoby's The Last Intellectuals to Paul Berman's The Flight of the Intellectuals, which documents the fate of academics from the Left and Right who dared to tell unpalatable truths. Many were exiled or resigned their university posts on pain of ostracism.

Australian academics' latent refusal to have their intellectual activity monitored by the new sector regulator, the Tertiary Education and Quality Standards Agency, breathed life into the idea of intellectual freedom. But it doesn't appear to have vivified the liberty of the press.

The Finkelstein recommendations may do to the media in the 21st century what was done to higher education in the 20th.

Finkelstein, with his panel of lawyers and academics, proposes meta-regulation of the press under the lunatic pretext that gagging freedom of speech will expand democracy. They commend a progressive silencing of the press as beneficial to the public interest because "often readers are not in a position to make an appropriately informed judgment about the news". I beg your pardon?

Almost 100 pages later, we are told why we readers are apparently so witless: "Because of information asymmetry, readers are seldom in a position to judge the quality of news stories."

Information asymmetry sounds very much like the obfuscating language introduced into the higher education humanities by postmodernists in the 1980s and 1990s.

It was inevitably accompanied by the claim that there was no such thing as objective truth, the acceptance of which was supposedly prerequisite to social justice. Fret not, fellow witless reader; I never understood it either.

In fact, the culture of contemporary censorship makes little sense until you read the finest analysis of political phenomena such as the Finkelstein inquiry by philosopher John Ralston Saul: "The idea of governments invoking the public interest, as a justification for taking unjust or illegal action, has been with us since the French satirist Mathurin Regnier coined the phrase in 1609. Now raison d'etat is being turned into a blanket principle: the technocrat knows best."

On the 20th anniversary of Voltaire's Bastards, Ralston Saul has never looked more prescient. The technocrats became cultivated in their craft at leading universities that, by the 1970s, had come to resemble management schools.

What technocrats don't understand is the nature of truth; how to search for it, how to prove or disprove it and what to do with it. Their lack of knowledge about truth proves a significant impediment to the formation of public policy based on principle, rather than partisan political ideology.

The Finkelstein review's great undoing is that is has not established truth. It is deeply methodologically flawed, with statements of fact that lack supporting evidence, a line of causative argument without established cause and effect, and recommendations, however persuasively put, that consequently lack credibility.

A major claim of the report is that the Australian media is failing the public interest. There are five examples of malicious media action provided late in the report and reference to the News of the World phone hacking scandal as the origin of the inquiry. But the core evidence provided for the apparent failure of the media and subsequent recommendation for meta-regulation of the free press is a series of opinion surveys.

As Plato, Socrates and Galileo would tell us, opinion, however popular, is not truth. Nor is perception proof. The statement "I don't trust the media", which appears in the surveys, tells us nothing about the state of the media. It tells us simply that someone doesn't trust it. Public mistrust may very well be the result of a newspaper fulfilling its duty to tell the truth. Imagine a 17th-century newspaper running a series of articles on Galileo's discovery that the world was round. The Finkelstein inquiry proposes that the news media should be regulated for perceived bias and balance. So what would Galileo's reporters do -- report that the world was round-ish?

The pursuit of truth, once the common ground of journalists and academics, was sustained as an intellectual tradition by classical liberal arts universities that taught formal logic as a method of deducing fact. Formal logic was devised by Plato, Socrates and Aristotle, championed by the Enlightenment freethinkers and revived by 20th- and 21st-century philosophers such as Bertrand Russell, Hannah Arendt and A.C. Grayling. The willingness to seek truth, the ability to deduce it and the courage to publish it are what make a citizen truly free. The philosophical and legal recognition of citizen freedoms, tempered by John Stuart Mill's principle of not causing harm to another, is what makes a state democratic. Regulating the free press in the manner recommended by the Finkelstein inquiry violates these principles.

Jacob Mchangama, a lecturer in international human rights at the University of Copenhagen, wrote that "respect for freedom of expression is the hallmark of free societies and the first right to be circumscribed by illiberal states". Eleanor Roosevelt, that great democrat who drafted the UN Declaration of Human Rights, might have agreed with him. Roosevelt warned humanity about the suppression of freedom under the guise of protecting citizens against hostile speech. She was concerned in particular with Article 20 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which has been used successfully to lobby for anti-vilification laws in Australia and other Western countries.

In combination with hate speech laws, the proposed media meta-regulation recommended by the Finkelstein inquiry transforms the future of 21st-century journalism. In the new media landscape, journalists will be allowed to create their sentences from a pre-approved vocabulary, draw their own inferences from a sanctioned pool of populism and publish their own conclusions within the parameters of state ideology. It's freedom y'all. Wake up and smell the doublespeak.

SOURCE

British council worker faces sack for flag tribute to soldiers... just weeks after it flies the rainbow banner for gay rights

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Flying a flag at half mast is a normal sign of mourning. Attacking someone for doing so is incredibly crass

A council worker could face the sack after he lowered the town hall flag in memory of six British soldiers who died in Afghanistan - despite it proudly flying a rainbow banner in support of gay rights just weeks before.

Having seen Bassetlaw District Council in Worksop, Nottinghamshire, show its support for good causes and agreeing to fly the symbolic rainbow flag last month, the unnamed worker lowered the council's own flag to half mast as a gesture to the soldiers.

But the employee, an ex-serviceman himself, was served with disciplinary papers alleging 'gross misconduct'.

It is thought he is also being quizzed for failing to carry out a 'thorough health and safety assessment' before lowering the flag on Tuesday, the day in which the bodies of the six soldiers killed in a car bomb were flown home.

Those close to the employee, who is said to suffer from post traumatic stress disorder following his own deployment, are now concerned about the impact of his reprimand. Speaking to the Sun a friend of the employee, said: 'This is an outrage. 'The council knows about his stress disorder.'

Decisions about when it is appropriate to lower the flag continue to be shrouded in confusion as the flag of the local Mercian Regiment was at half-mast over the town hall yesterday - in honour of a soldier killed on Wednesday.

The deaths of Sgt Nigel Coupe, 33, Cpl Jake Hartley, 20, Pte Anthony Frampton, 20, Pte Christopher Kershaw, 19, Pte Daniel Wade, 20, and Pte Daniel Wilford, 21, were the single biggest loss of British life in Afghanistan since 2006 and took the total number of British military fatalities since 2001 to more than 400.

Their bodies were flown back to Britain early this week and in Oxon more than 2,000 people turned out to pay their respects.
Five of the men were from 3rd Battalion The Yorkshire Regiment and a sixth was attached from 1st Battalion the Duke of Lancaster’s regiment.

A spokesman for the council wouldn't be drawn on the incident but said: 'We have a strong association with the Mercians.
'It is policy to lower the flag in the tragic event of loss of life.'

SOURCE

The wisdom of Christ bears good fruit

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We read:
"Turning the other cheek is a Biblical teaching that can be difficult to live out in practice. That being said, it seems at least one group of Christians is able to embrace the tenet with grace and humility. A church in Athens, Texas, decided to help an atheist in need by raising money for his groceries and other essentials.

The individual who received the aid, Patrick Greene, had recently threatened to sue over the presence of a nativity scene on public property. He abandoned the lawsuit, the Friendly Atheist blog reports, when he found out that he was suffering from a serious eye condition that could lead to blindness.

Despite the rift between Greene and the Christians supporting the scene, Jessica Crye, an Athens woman, rallied believers to assist Greene in paying for groceries and other needs following his retirement as a result of the illness. “I knew of his lawsuit and threats and thought how sad it was for him"

Now retired, Greene replied that he needed some funds for groceries and other expenses to carry him and his wife, Karen, while they got squared away with the start-up of Social Security income and pay their taxes.

A check was sent. Greene said he and his wife debated whether the check might be for $10 or maybe $50 or even $60. To their astonishment that any Christian would ignore the fact that they are atheist and help, the check was for $400.

“Why not turn this into something else? This is a great opportunity to turn the other cheek and show God’s love,” Crye said.

Her pastor, Rev. Erick Graham of Sand Springs Church, said that giving Greene the $400 dollars was a no-brainer. “We didn’t have to think about it or pray about (it). We saw the need, he said. “We don’t discriminate on who we help, whether they are Christians or non-Christians, church members or not. We just help those with a need.”

The man and his wife were so moved by the gesture that they actually purchased an electrical star for the nativity scene and had it shipped to Henderson County.

“I saw the nativity scene on a video on YouTube. There’s no star on top of it. Shouldn’t there be one?,” Greene pondered. “I just hope that the Christians that weren‘t a part of this contribution to us don’t mind that an atheist bought them a star.”

Source

Reply to a challenge

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As a retired social science academic from Australia I am not nearly as grand as a biology professor at Ohio State University but the challenge below is such an easy one that even I can answer it. And social science is surely just as relevant to climate science as is biology!

Steve Rissing below lists a number of recent weather extremes and implies, without proof, that they are unusual. He then goes on to say:


Almost all scientists and related professionals who collect and analyze data about climate change or its effect on biological systems agree that the increased carbon dioxide levels cause much of the climate change and warming. The remaining climate skeptics tend to be policymakers who would rather not make policy.

So how do the hold-out skeptics propose to test their hypothesis that no link exists between carbon-dioxide increases and climate-change effects? Good science demands explanations and hypotheses that can be tested.

An explanation that can’t be tested isn’t an explanation — it’s a dream, a belief, a political position. It might make for good campaign rhetoric, but it makes for poor public planning.

The skeptics demand more science. Bring it on. What’s the red line for their “no effect” hypothesis? What has to happen for them to say: “We were wrong; there is an effect. You better do something about this.”Thomas Kuhn, a philosopher of science, noted in the middle of the last century that the ability and willingness to submit one’s hypothesis to testing and possible rejection formed a core component of effective science. Indeed, without it, one really isn’t practicing science; he or she is practicing advocacy at best, or maybe self-promotion.

The hold-out skeptics say they only want good science when it comes to climate change and planning for it. We all do.

How will we know we’re there? What will it take for them to abandon their “no effect” hypothesis? If they can’t answer that, they’re just adding even more hot air to the atmosphere.

SOURCE

My reply is simple. Both written history and proxy data show that the Medieval and Roman warm periods were at least as warm as today, despite there being nothing like the manmade CO2 emissions of today. Show me where history is wrong and I will concede that manmade CO2 levels could be responsible for the current warmish temperatures and that we are all in dire peril.

And in case the klutz is so ill-inforned as to resort to Mann's "hockeystick", let him read this and this. Warmists really are amusing

Is this Gillard's biggest gaffe yet?

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ANZAC day is close to the heart of most Australians. It is the day we remember our many fine young men who died in war. It is often described as Australia's most sacred day. Criticizing it will both discredit the critic and lead to emphasized support for the commemorations. Gillard should have rejected this mealy-mouthed bureaucratic garbage immediately. As it is, it is now associated with her government. She's brainless and so are her ministers



THE Federal Government has been warned that celebrating the centenary of Anzac Day could provoke division in multicultural Australia - and that there are "risks" in honouring our fallen soldiers.

The centenary is a "double-edged sword" and a "potential area of divisiveness" because of multiculturalism, a taxpayer-funded report from 2010 finds.

Bureaucrats spent almost $370,000 for focus-group testing and a research paper used by the Government to guide commemoration plans, which listed multiculturalism under "risks and issues" to avoid "unexpected negative complications".

Diggers groups slammed the report, saying Australians supported the April 2015 centenary celebrations, which are expected to stop the nation, and include travelling exhibitions and special remembrance services.

The report also says organisers should avoid references to current military action because it is "unpopular with young people".

The paper states: "Commemorating our military history in a multicultural society is something of a double-edged sword.

"While the 100th anniversaries are thought to provide some opportunity for creating a greater sense of unity, it is also recognised as a potential area of divisiveness."

More research into the impact of Anzac Day commemorations on recently arrived migrants was suggested.

But the report acknowledged that making the centenary events "overly political correct" would not be well received generally or by military personnel.

Commemorations should be "culturally sensitive and inclusive", the paper said.

It said events to mark the centenary and wars which had claimed the lives of more than 100,000 Australians should not be "unrelentingly gloomy". Any commemoration "needs to allow a positive end, make it uplifting after being reflective".

"Commemoration fatigue" was identified in focus groups if events spanned a planned four years - the same amount of time Australians spent fighting in hellish conditions at places including Gallipoli and the Western Front during World War I.

The paper has been panned by the RSL, which maintains Australia's enthusiasm for the day remains as strong as ever.

RSL national president Ken Doolan, a member of the Anzac Day National Commission and the Anzac Centenary advisory board, said Anzac Day held a "central place in Australia". "The Australian people have said overwhelmingly that they want the centenary celebrated," he said.

Victorian RSL president David McLachlan said the commemoration had the full support of Australia's Turkish communities and the Turkish Government. There were no multicultural issues with the planned event, Mr McLachlan said.

Ray Brown, of the Injured Service Persons Association, was horrified by the spending. "We've always seemed to get it right, we have never offended anybody. "We seem to be able to acknowledge war is not a nice thing and that people on both sides lose out - and we have never had to spend $300,000 combined, let alone in one year," he said.

The cost is on top of more than $103,000 on focus groups to discuss "branding concepts" for the centenary in 2015.

A spokesman for Veterans Affairs Minister Warren Snowdon said the research paper was to "gain an understanding of the views, perceptions, knowledge and aspirations of the Australian people in relation to Anzac commemoration and the impending centenary".

SOURCE

The land of the subjugated

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Is a new American revolution needed?

What would you do if you came across someone on the street that had not had anything to eat for several days? Would you give that person some food? Well, the next time you get that impulse you might want to check if it is still legal to feed the homeless where you live. Sadly, feeding the homeless has been banned in major cities all over America. Other cities that have not banned it outright have put so many requirements on those that want to feed the homeless (acquiring expensive permits, taking food preparation courses, etc.) that feeding the homeless has become “out of reach” for most average people.

Some cities are doing these things because they are concerned about the “health risks” of the food being distributed by ordinary “do-gooders”. Other cities are passing these laws because they do not want homeless people congregating in city centers where they know that they will be fed. But at a time when poverty and government dependence are soaring to unprecedented levels, is it really a good idea to ban people from helping those that are hurting?

This is just another example that shows that our country is being taken over by control freaks. There seems to be this idea out there that it is the job of the government to take care of everyone and that nobody else should even try.

But do we really want to have a nation where you have to get the permission of the government before you do good to your fellow man?

It isn’t as if the government has “rescued” these homeless people. Homeless shelters all over the nation are turning people away each night because they have no more room. There are many homeless people that are lucky just to make it through each night alive during the winter.

Sometimes a well-timed sandwich or a cup of warm soup can make a world of difference for a homeless person. But many U.S. cities have decided that feeding the homeless is such a threat that they had better devote law enforcement resources to making sure that it doesn’t happen.

This is so twisted. In America today, you need a “permit” to do almost anything. We are supposed to be a land of liberty and freedom, but these days government bureaucrats have turned our rights into “privileges” that they can revoke at any time.

The bureaucrats are officially out of control. In America today, it seems like almost everything is illegal. One church down in Louisiana was recently ordered to stop giving out water because it did not have a government permit.

Well, I don’t know about you, but I sure am going to give a cup of cold water to someone if they need it whether I have a permit or not. It is as if common sense has totally gone out the window in this nation.

Over in New Hampshire, a woman is being sued for planting flowers in her own front yard.

This is the kind of thing that makes me glad that I have moved to a much more rural location. People in the country tend to be much more relaxed.

Sadly, those that love to micro-manage others continue to get the upper hand in America. Back in January, 40,000 new laws went into effect all over America. The politicians continue to hit us with wave after wave of regulations and laws with no end in sight.

All of this is making America a very unpleasant place in which to live.

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Super-sensitive Britain

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"Tosser" in British slang is a masturbator or a worthless person. So the sign is a pun designed to get attention
The message upon entering the village proudly declares: 'Stamfordham welcomes you, not litter'. But it appears the rather modest sign, planted in a bed of daffodils, is not having the desired effect.

In recent weeks, one resident has become increasingly frustrated at having to pick up a deluge of rubbish outside her home, including condoms and pornographic videos.

So when Jo Riddell decided to take a more obviously proactive approach, she could be forgiven for thinking she would have the backing of her fellow villagers.

Instead, the 49-year-old has found herself at the centre of a storm after her bright-yellow signs bearing the slogan 'Don't be a tosser - take your rubbish home' were branded 'offensive and garish'.

She put up the placards after claiming to have collected 27 bags of rubbish along the roadside on her land in the Cheeseburn Grange Hall Estate, near Stamfordham, Northumberland in recent weeks. Most were thrown from passing cars.

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AdjustmentGate–Australia

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By Paul Homewood

 

imageimage

                            Before                                                                                                 After

 

The team that brought you “Hide The Decline” have gone one better, with their latest offering “Invent The Incline”. Across much of the Arctic, GHCN have been caught making controversial temperature adjustments, which have had the effect of reducing past temperatures, thereby creating a false warming trend. (Full story here).

It now appears that it is not just the Arctic. The same sort of adjustments have been discovered in Australia.

 

Appendix A lists every station in Australia used by GHCN, that have records back to 1940. (There are more stations with records that don’t stretch back that far and that show similar adjustments – Brisbane, as shown above is a classic case – but I have used 1940 as the baseline). Of these 17 stations, 8 have had their 1940 temperatures reduced, while 9 have remained unaltered. No stations at all have been adjusted upwards. As with the Arctic stations, by 2010 all the adjustments have disappeared. (In fact, for some reason, the new adjusted dataset shows most stations 0.1C warmer in 2010 than the previous dataset – I have disregarded this).

Just to clarify a few points :-

  1. The “original mean temps” are based on GHCN Version 2.0 and available from GISS here. The “GHCN adjusted mean temps” are based on GHCN Version 3.1, introduced in December 2011, and available here.
  2. GISS perform a “Homogeneity Adjustment” on these  “GHCN adjusted temperatures”, which purports to offset the UHI effect. This, however, only applies at urban and peri-urban stations.
  3. I have done some detailed checks on Alice Springs, which confirm that the “original” dataset do indeed correlate with the Australian Bureau of Meteorology ( BOM) – I will be issuing a further post on this shortly.
  4. According to the BOM, they have a Quality Monitoring Process in place that includes” checking for values that extend beyond what is considered realistic,  inconsistent observations (e.g. high rainfall recorded together with clear skies) and discontinuous or abrupt changes in values over a short period of time”. (See here).
  5. They go on to say “Doubtful observations are examined to determine whether they are truly in error or just unusual. Data can be subjected to physical and statistical checks, compared against those for nearby stations with similar observations, or staff may refer to the original observations or observers for verification”

 

At a tangent, I have two other observations :-

  1. You will notice I have flagged all the airport sites in the Appendix below, 10 from 17 stations. At the rural airport sites, there are no adjustments in the GISS dataset to allow for the UHI effect.
  2. Checks at Darwin and Adelaide seem to indicate that only 0.2C has been allowed in cities for the increase in UHI since 1940. (In other words, the “After GISS Homogeneity” temperatures for 1940 have been increased by 0.2C).

I find both of these assumptions highly dubious.


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The Katter party gains credibility

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Now that they have won seats, they can no longer be dismissed as just a loony idea. And doing so in the midst of a historic landslide to another party is rather remarkable

I voted LNP but I am rather pleased that the Katter party is now a credible force. Katter is from Queensland's far North, where I was born and bred and his views are the sort of views that I grew up among -- and which I still largely hold. And his gains were all in the North. They usually voted Labour up there but did so out of perceived economic self-interest. Rather like the Old Southern Democrats of the USA, they voted Leftishly but were conservative at heart.

It is a tough-minded sort of conservatism up there, perhaps aptly called ultra conservatism. The brainless Left would call Katter's party "far Right" but that conjures up visions of racism and Katter is in fact known for his good relations with Aborigines. He is in fact arguably their strongest political advocate.

And under the Australian system of preferential voting, having two conservative parties maximizes rather than splits the conservative vote


BOB Katter's fledgling party was claiming four seats and pledging to be "ferocious" in opposition to the all-powerful LNP. Katter's Australian Party won Mount Isa and neighbouring Dalrymple while party boss Bob Katter also declared wins in the still undecided seats of Thuringowa in Townsville and Mulgrave in Cairns.

Mr Katter said, on last night's result, the party could secure up to 10 seats in a federal election and declared "the war has just begun". "In 15 to 25 seats, we secured (more than) 20 per cent of the vote," he said, "Yet some of our candidates have only been in the field for six weeks."

Mr Katter said his successful Australian Party candidates would be "ferocious" in opposition. He also blasted a court decision which, he said, cost thousands of votes when the party was robbed of the right to include "Bob Katter" on ballot papers. "That has cost us a great deal in this election," he said.

Mr Katter's son, Robbie, who took Mount Isa, has become the third generation of his family to enter politics while his KAP colleague Shane Knuth will hold the neighbouring seat of Dalrymple, centred around Charters Towers.

But the KAP's state president, Aidan McLindon, lost Beaudesert while one of its star candidates, former cricketer Carl Rackemann, lost the battle last night in Nanango, based around Kingaroy. Mr Katter said that both candidates would be back for a second tilt at the seats.

A party spokesman said last night that Mulgrave was likely to fall to the KAP while the Townsville-based seat of Thuringowa also looked positive.

The party exceeded polling expectations, taking more than 10 per cent of the vote and turning some seats into two-horse races between the LNP and the KAP.

Mr Katter said his son's victory reflected voter disenchantment. "He was never interested in politics until a few years ago," Mr Katter said. "It's a measure of how bad the two main parties are that a bloke who had no interest mobilised himself with enormous aggression."

Robbie Katter was cautious about claiming victory too early but conceded the vote was coming his way. "It was a David (and) Goliath fight - we were battling with probably one-tenth of the staff and budget the others were," he said. "They had been around more than 50 years and we had only been around for 10 months."

The wildcard electorate which did well for the KAP included Mulgrave in Cairns where Damian Byrnes - a doctor and medical officer in the reserve defence forces - put in an impressive performance.

Mr McLindon said that he was satisfied he had played a role in creating a new force on the political scene in Queensland. "This election is a big battle but there is still the war to be won," he said, referring to the federal arena. "At last, we can rest comfortable knowing we have created a good political organisation here."

SOURCE

FactCheck.org misrepresents the dangers of carbon dioxide

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It's nice that there are a few people on the Left who take an interest in the facts but even they cannot avoid bias taking over. The matter below is not the first such instance. Obama even entrusted them with examining his computer-generated "birth certificate" and they pronounced it genuine. But you can generate ANYTHING on a computer. If they had really been interested in the facts, they would have concluded that the genuineness was possible but not proven. Their "facts" are facile. They have to be. The full facts are deadly to the Green/Left

FactCheck.org is a project of the Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania. Its mission is to “apply the best practices of both journalism and scholarship” to “reduce the level of deception and confusion in U.S. politics.”

FactCheck.org recently published an article entitled “Santorum’s science,” by Lori Robertson. In this piece, Robertson criticizes Rick Santorum for a statement he made about global warming on March 12th in Biloxi, Mississippi. Alluding to the fact that carbon dioxide (CO2) is a vital ingredient for plant life, Santorum quipped, “The dangers of carbon dioxide? Tell that to a plant, how dangerous carbon dioxide is.”

Robertson attempts to refute Santorum’s remark by declaring:

* “Too much” CO2 “is definitely a bad thing.”

* “Exposure to high levels of CO2 can cause ‘headaches, dizziness, restlessness … coma, asphyxia to convulsions … and even frostbite if exposed to dry ice,’ which is solid CO2.”

* “Plants do, in fact, absorb CO2. But even plants might not like too much of it. A 2008 study conducted at the University of Illinois found that instead of increasing organic matter in soil, higher carbon dioxide levels actually led to less organic matter.”

These statements are materially misleading. Let’s examine them one at a time.

FactCheck.org: “Too much” CO2 “is definitely a bad thing.”

The same can be said of just about every substance known to man. The most basic principle of toxicology is that “the dose makes the poison.” As explained in a Cambridge University Press textbook, Understanding Environmental Pollution (page 60), “Anything is toxic at a high enough dose. … Even water, drunk in very large quantities, may kill people by disrupting the osmotic balance in the body’s cells.”

Likewise, even oxygen can be toxic when breathed in high concentrations. Per The Johns Hopkins Manual of Gynecology and Obstetrics (page 40), “when there is too much oxygen … the lungs may be damaged, as in acute repository distress syndrome (ARDS).”

Thus, it is meaningless to proclaim that “too much” of any particular substance is “a bad thing.” Instead, the pertinent matter is, “When does it become a bad thing?” which leads directly to the next point.

FactCheck.org: “Exposure to high levels of CO2 can cause ‘headaches, dizziness, restlessness … coma, asphyxia to convulsions … and even frostbite if exposed to dry ice,’ which is solid CO2.”

This statement is irrelevant to the issue at hand. Santorum was speaking about global warming and atmospheric CO2—not ventilation deathtraps, industrial hazards, and dry ice. The truth is that atmospheric CO2 levels don’t approach anywhere near the doses that can cause the symptoms that Robertson lists.

Using data from multiple academic sources, Just Facts has documented that carbon dioxide produces no adverse physiological effects on humans until concentrations exceed 50 times the level in Earth’s atmosphere. Furthermore, natural emissions of CO2 outweigh man-made emissions by a factor of twenty to one.

Some of Robertson’s confusion may stem from the source that she cites for the dangers of CO2, which is a cut sheet from the Wisconsin Department of Health and Family Services. This document contains a major recurring error. The figures given for CO2 concentrations that cause various adverse effects are mistaken by more than a factor of ten.

For example, the cut sheet says that exposure to CO2 concentrations above 5,000 parts per million (ppm) “may lead to serious oxygen deprivation resulting in permanent brain damage, coma and even death.” As detailed by the National Research Council (and many other academic sources), humans can be routinely exposed to more than ten times this level of CO2 for days on end without any indications of permanent brain damage or threat of death. In fact, it takes prolonged CO2 exposures of more than 20,000 ppm just to cause occasional, mild headaches.

FactCheck.org: “Plants do, in fact, absorb CO2. But even plants might not like too much of it. A 2008 study conducted at the University of Illinois found that instead of increasing organic matter in soil, higher carbon dioxide levels actually led to less organic matter.”

First, according to the article that Robertson cites for this claim, this study found that higher CO2 levels “may” have led to less organic matter in the soil of a certain soybean crop. This is different from claiming that higher CO2 “actually” led to less organic matter in plant soil.

Far more significantly, Robertson fails to mention that the study found “a 30 percent increase in above- and below- ground soybean biomass” among the crops exposed to more CO2. In plain language, these soybean plants grew 30% larger. They did, in fact, “like” the added CO2.

Note that this study was conducted at a CO2 level of 550 ppm, as compared to the current atmospheric CO2 concentration of about 387 ppm. Bear those figures in mind, because the study’s result accords with an academic text that explains how to increase the productivity of commercial greenhouses:

"Plants need water, light, warmth, nutrition and CO2 to grow. By increasing the CO2 level in the greenhouse atmosphere (typical to 600 ppm instead of normal 400 ppm value), the growth for some plants can be stimulated in an important way, with often yield increases up to 20%, especially for tomato, cucumber, strawberry, etc. but also for potted plants and cut flowers."

In sum, Santorum is correct. CO2 concentrations well above today’s atmospheric levels are typically beneficial to plants.

SOURCE