They can spin this how they like but it is clear that natural changes rival or exceed any changes attributed to global warming -- which makes the causes of all changes moot
A stash of 80-year-old photo plates in a Danish basement has proved that Greenland's ice was melting even faster then that it is now.
In the thirties, Greenland's ice was melting rapidly, then there was a cooling period in the middle part of the twentieth century, and now it is melting again, accelerating in the 2000s.
Images of ice shelves from the pre-satellite era are extremely rare, so it's often difficult to assess the scale and speed of Arctic ice melting today.
Researchers at the National Survey and Cadastre of Denmark had been storing the glass plates since explorer Knud Rasmussen's expedition to the southeast coast of Greenland in the early 1930s.
In this week's online edition of Nature Geoscience, Ohio State University researchers and colleagues in Denmark describe how they analyzed ice loss in the region by comparing the images on the plates to aerial photographs and satellite images taken from World War II to today.
Taken together, the imagery shows that glaciers in the region were melting even faster in the 1930s than they are today, said Jason Box, associate professor of geography and researcher at the Byrd Polar Research Center at Ohio State.
A brief cooling period starting in the mid-20th century allowed new ice to form, and then the melting began to accelerate again in the 2000s.
‘Because of this study, we now have a detailed historical analogue for more recent glacier loss,’ Box said. ‘And we've confirmed that glaciers are very sensitive indicators of climate.’
Pre-satellite observations of Greenland glaciers are rare - but some are available.
Anders Anker Bjørk, doctoral fellow at the Natural History Museum of Denmark and lead author of the study, is trying to compile all such imagery. He found a clue in the archives of The Arctic Institute in Copenhagen in 2011.
‘We found flight journals for some old planes, and in them was a reference to National Survey and Cadastre of Denmark,’ Bjørk said.
As it happens, researchers at the National Survey had already contacted Bjørk about a find of their own.
‘They were cleaning up in the basement and had found some old glass plates with glaciers on them. The reason the plates were forgotten was that they were recorded for mapping, and once the map was produced they didn't have much value.’
Those plates turned out to be documentation of Rasmussen's 7th Thule Expedition to Greenland. They contained aerial photographs of land, sea and glaciers in the southeast region of the country, along with travel photos of Rasmussen's team.
The researchers digitized all the old images and used software to look for differences in the shape of the southeast Greenland coastline where the ice meets the Atlantic Ocean.
Then they calculated the distance the ice front moved in each time period.
Over the 80 years, two events stand out: glacial retreats from 1933-1934 and 2000-2010. In the 1930s, fewer glaciers were melting than are today, and most of those that were melting were land-terminating glaciers, meaning that they did not contact the sea.
Those that were melting retreated an average of 20 meters per year - the fastest retreating at 374 meters per year.
Fifty-five percent of the glaciers in the study had similar or higher retreat rates during the 1930s than they do today.
Still, more glaciers in southeast Greenland are retreating today, and the average ice loss is 50 meters per year.
That's because a few glaciers with very fast melting rates - including one retreating at 887 meters per year - boost the overall average.
But to Box, the most interesting part of the study is what happened between the two melting events.
From 1943-1972, southeast Greenland cooled - probably due to sulfur pollution, which reflects sunlight away from the earth.
Sulfur dioxide is a poisonous gas produced by volcanoes and industrial processes. It has been tied to serious health problems and death, and is also the main ingredient in acid rain. Its presence in the atmosphere peaked just after the Clean Air Act was established in 1963. As it was removed from the atmosphere, the earlier warming resumed.
The important point is not that deadly pollution caused the climate to cool, but rather that the brief cooling allowed researchers to see how Greenland ice responded to the changing climate.
The glaciers responded to the cooling more rapidly than researchers had seen in earlier studies. Sixty percent of the glaciers advanced during that time, while 12 percent were stationary. And now that the warming has resumed, the glacial retreat is dominated by marine-terminating outlet glaciers, the melting of which contributes to sea level rise.
‘From these images, we see that the mid-century cooling stabilized the glaciers,’ Box said. ‘That suggests that if we want to stabilize today's accelerating ice loss, we need to see a little cooling of our own.’
Southeast Greenland is a good place to study the effects of climate change, he explained, because the region is closely tied to air and water circulation patterns in the North Atlantic.
‘By far, more storms pass through this region - transporting heat into the Arctic - than anywhere else in the Northern Hemisphere. Climate change brings changes in snowfall and air temperature that compete for influence on a glacier's net behavior,’ he said.
SOURCE (See the original for graphics)
President emptyhead didn't know the difference between "Polish" and "in Poland"
"Poland's foreign minister has demanded Barack Obama apologise after referring to "Polish death camps" during the Second World War.
The US President made the slip while honouring Jan Karski, a Polish resistance fighter who was among the first to raise the alarm over the Nazi concentration camps, during a ceremony at the White House.
Poland has long been sensitive to any implication that it was involved in the Holocaust, accurately pointing out that the camps on Polish soil were run by occupying German forces.
Foreign Minister Radek Sikorsi took to Twitter to insist that the White House apologise for the "outrageous error" and said that Prime Minister Donald Tusk would make a statement on Wednesday morning.
Back in 2004, Thomas Frank wrote a famous book, "What's the Matter with Kansas?", in which he lamented working class white people's choices to vote their "values" rather than what -- in his not-so-humble opinion -- was in their "genuine" economic interests. Why didn't they identify as liberals and vote Democratic?
Frank's book was the midwife of President Obama's infamous "clinging to guns and God" remark on April 11, 2008:
The last few years have not been kind to Frank's or Obama's dogmatic assumptions that economic liberalism is in the interest of Kansas -- i.e., the working people of America.
The presumed tension between Kansans' economic interests and their social values appears increasingly fake.
But in the meantime, as Newark, N.J., Mayor Cory Booker's dramatic heresy on Bain capital last weekend shows, the inverse divide is opening up in the Democratic base that could be called "What's the Matter with Manhattan?"
Liberals live in rich social enclaves with artistic, progressive values that are underwritten largely by the wealth that Wall Street and capitalism create.
A 2009 Quinnipiac poll notes that socially liberal values rise with income -- "support for same-sex marriage also rises with income, as those making less than $50,000 per year oppose it 54 to 39 percent, while voters making more than $100,000 per year support it 58 to 36 percent."
The very rich are disproportionately strong social liberals, whom Bill Clinton persuaded could safely vote for Democrats. Obama's attacks on private equity and the 1 percent are making them think anew: Why should Manhattan vote their values against their pocketbooks?
Manhattan (metaphorically speaking) is thinking hard about that:
In 2008 Obama carried the majority of the rather rich -- those making $200,000 or more per year -- earning 52 percent of the vote, which was 17 points more than John Kerry in 2004. The latest Quinnipiac poll shows Obama trailing among the more modestly affluent -- those making $100,000 or more -- 49 percent to 43 percent.
Raul Fernandez, part owner of the Washington Capitals and the Washington Wizards, donated $30,000 to Obama in 2008. He told The Washington Post last month to count him into the "anybody but Obama" camp. "They paint (wealth creation) with one big brush," Fernandez told the paper. "They are truly trying to make it evil."
And it's not just as donors that these people count.
According to the National Journal, more than one-third of Virginia voters make more than $100,000 per year, and 7 percent make more than $200,000 a year -- more than the coveted Latino voters in that state. In Colorado, another swing state, 8 percent of voters make $200,000 a year or more. Obama carried them last time around by double digits (compared to Bush's 66 percent of this vote in 2004).
If Manhattan -- or more to the point Aspen, Colo. -- votes its economic interests instead of its social values, Obama loses. "What's the matter with Aspen?" could become Thomas Frank's new rallying crime.
Meanwhile "Kansas," metaphorically speaking, is ever more unified against Obama:
Obama won just 40 percent of non-college-educated whites in 2008. Last week's Quinnipiac poll showed him winning just 32 percent of them against Romney.
In another swing state, Florida, a poll released this week shows Obama's deficit among white voters is growing, especially among those without a college degree; Obama now trails Romney 57 percent to 30 percent among less educated whites.
In Florida, the social issues are clearly helping Romney. Twenty-two percent of voters say gay marriage will be "very" or "extremely" important to their vote. They are breaking for Romney 2-1.
Liberals such as Frank thought that working class white voters were so dumb they were being fooled by Republicans into voting against their economic interests by "ginned up" social issues campaigns. Kansans knew better.
Obama is trying to borrow that model, to get affluent white voters to vote against their economic interests by ginning up social issue campaigns like the war on women or endorsing gay marriage.
Will Manhattan be as smart as Kansas?
Given the large number of older widowed and divorced single people in society, the topic below is an important one to broach so I am reproducing the article. I do think the author has a point. It is the lack of passion that is the central difficulty. Women respond very strongly to emotion and a lack of it is deadly.
So how come that at the time of my 60th birthday I had THREE girlfriends? Real ones. I am no oil painting, I have been old-fashioned since I was ten and am no stud. It is because I do have passion: Not physical passion but a passion for ideas. I believe strongly in things and articulate that. And it's a magnet to brainy women -- who are all pretty conservative (as I am) by the time they get to that age anyway. Caring deeply about things is what matters. It gives purpose and meaning to life at any age
I have some confidence that I could fascinate the woman writing below in 5 minutes -- but I have no need to. I already have a good partner on my journey now that I am on the brink of my 70th year -- JR
Ever since my partner died eight years ago, I have been looking for another life companion, someone exciting with whom to walk into the sunset for our remaining years.
So far, this special man has eluded me. And I am far from alone in this. So many of my female friends of a certain age are searching for love, on the internet or elsewhere, and coming up with precisely zero.
It’s not that we don’t meet available men — we do. But somehow they are not what we are looking for. They all end up disappointing us, and we have had endless chats, lunches and drinks bemoaning that fact.
Time and time again, we ask ourselves and each other: what’s the matter with them? Why do older men make such dreadful partners?
It has led me to conclude that though ever more of us are looking for true love in our later years — in fact, dating sites aimed at the over-50s are the fastest growing among all age groups — the fact is very few of us will ever find it.
I wrote an article to this effect for this paper a year ago, but it turns out it wasn’t just me being cynical — psychiatrist Dennis Friedman backs me up and has some answers to boot. He is the author of a new book, The Lonely Hearts Club (his first work of fiction at the age of 88), which is closely based on his decades of clinical experience and research into what really goes on inside relationships.
Dr Friedman tells the stories of about a dozen men between 50 and 80 — all but one divorced, widowed or never married — who are composites of his former patients, and investigates why there’s such a cavernous gulf between them and their female peers. He wants to explore why, despite the fact that more of us than ever before are finding ourselves single later in life, we are incapable of pairing up with each other.
Friedman’s male characters are discontented and disorientated, wondering where they have gone wrong, and whether they can put things right. Above all, they agonise over whether they will ever again be able to find happiness in an intimate relationship.
They may be partly fictional, but they certainly ring bells with me; they are all examples of the kind of standard issue, unattractive older men I come across all the time.
Perhaps one of the most incisive points Dr Friedman makes is the fact that older men are often totally incapable of opening up to new women. Over time, they have forgotten — or maybe they never knew — how to fall in love properly or even begin to inch closer to someone.
Dr Friedman says older men suffer these problems because they were brought up differently from younger chaps. They may have been able to form relationships in their youth, but the world was less touchy-feely then — men were left to be men and weren’t required to talk of emotions.
‘Nowadays, there is a lot of emphasis on bonding, hugging and kissing babies, but in the past, boy babies especially were left to tough it out, far more than girls,’ he says.
one of the most incisive points Dr Friedman makes is the fact that older men are often totally incapable of opening up to new women.
One of the most incisive points Dr Friedman makes is the fact that older men are often totally incapable of opening up to new women
‘So, if they have never experienced affection, how will they be able to give it? These men simply don’t know what a close relationship feels like and, of course, it’s very late to learn.’
He adds: ‘I’m not saying every single man is like this, but because of their upbringing, older men are likely to have learned how to button up their feelings.
‘Of course, men can fall passionately in love when they’re older, but it is less likely because there is less spontaneity and less emotion at this age. There is also less of a reason, less need to form a relationship, especially after their children have grown up. So even if older men are looking, it’s not with the same urgency.’
Dr Friedman also highlights the fact that many older men harbour outdated, chauvinistic views — an attitude unlikely to find favour with modern women, even older ones.
One of his characters says, without any irony, that a woman’s place is looking after her children and not having them brought up by a nanny. And Dr Friedman is sympathetic.
He knows such views might sound rather old-fashioned, but is unrepentant. ‘All children secretly have a wish for their mother to be in the home, to have the sort of security an old-fashioned housewife used to provide,’ he says.
‘Men tend to hark back to when they were children. So though women now have more freedom, men will always prefer the traditional set-up.’
It’s certainly true that there were more incentives for women of my generation to move with the times — after all, the changes that came with women’s liberation benefited us so much. Meanwhile, many of our male peers stuck their heads in the sand and remained culturally fixed in the Fifties — only to find that when they wanted to re-engage with women later in life, there was a huge gulf between them.
Dr Friedman explains that underneath this apparent inflexibility lies fear. It is fear more than anything else that prevents men relating to women properly in later life.
Older men are afraid of new, unknown women, afraid of trying to access their feelings, which have become buried over the years, and afraid of branching out into the ups and downs of a new relationship — and this attitude only increases the chances of it all ending in tears.
Personally, I think it’s their inability to talk about their feelings that makes them so unsatisfactory.
Recently, I was having a candid chat with a successful property developer in his 70s. We were talking about his lonely childhood, and just as I thought we were touching on something real and interesting, the shutters came down. ‘Well, I suppose I’d better get back to earning money,’ he said. That was a matter he did understand; feelings, on the other hand, were too complex.
A friend has had similar problems. She started a relationship with an older man, but grew frustrated by his constant avoidance of anything vaguely personal. Whenever she tried to pierce the surface of why he is as he is, he would reply: ‘That’s a conversation for another time.’ They just don’t get it, do they?
At the moment, I have three rather persistent admirers — one is a friend of my late partner and I met the other two through mutual friends — but there is no rapport or chemistry between us.
When I asked one of them what he had to offer me, he replied: ‘Well, nothing really.’ On another occasion, he asked me whether I loved him. We have known each other for seven years, but feelings haven’t deepened in that time — so I told him so. He replied plaintively: ‘Can’t you lie?’
Is it any wonder I would rather be on my own than with old-timers such as these?
Dennis Friedman has been married for more than 60 years to novelist and playwright Rosemary, and they have four daughters. The secret of their long marriage is that they are both hard-working professionals who continue to have a sense of purpose.
In their home, they each have a study (and his and hers stairlifts!) and keep set hours of work. Dr Friedman also still sees patients.
So many older people looking for partners have absolutely nothing to do, and that is another problem. They are advertising for a woman to accompany them on cruises and holidays because they have nothing constructive to fill their days.
The danger with meeting a retired person is that they may want to spend every minute with you, which is something that does not happen when you are young and working or bringing up families.
All THE men Dr Friedman writes about are retired or semi-retired, with loads of time on their hands. Though this means they can sit and chat endlessly to each other in cafes, they remain lost souls outside the group.
The end of the book is pretty bleak. All of the characters are just as alone as they were before, in that none has found a new partner.
The final message is that, deep down, older men feel far more comfortable with other men than with trying to embark on a relationship with a new woman, especially when there is no real need and when their overwhelming sexual urges have died down.
Many men have told me that they are basically very shy, but that when they are overcome with sexual desire, this makes them bolder. Then, when that fades away, they become shy again.
The majority of mature men, it seems, are just not comfortable with women as equal companions. When a couple of women infiltrate Dennis Friedman’s Lonely Hearts Club, the dynamics start to change, and not for the better.
As older people, we will chatter more readily and naturally with members of our own sex than with the opposite sex, and this goes for women as well.
So perhaps the final truth is that we think we want a new partner of the opposite sex, but actually we have outgrown this need.
We are entering the realms of fantasy when we imagine we might find someone wonderful, harking back to our lost youth.
Even so, I don’t think I will give up quite yet.... you never know.
Much of the world --mainly the vast countries of India and China -- is undergoing rapid economic development. The raw material of that developent is of course people -- followed closely by steel. Steel is needed for everything, from machinery to buildings. And steel is made from coal and iron ore. So the demand for those two inputs is growing exponentially.
Providentially, Australia is relatively close to both East and South Asia. And Australia's West coast has gargantuan reserves of readily recoverable iron ore while Australia's East coast has gargantuan reserves of readily recoverable coal.
So Australian companies are digging like crazy and will pay almost anything to get the workers who work the digging machines and do all the associated tasks. But the demand for skilled workers willing to work in isolated areas is so difficult to meet that it is hampering the development of new mines. Solution: Import skilled workers. And the Australian government has agreed to that -- issuing "EMA" permits.
Enter the unions. And enter people with the traditional Australian fear of "cheap" workers from China. The result is a deeply unattractive debate.
JULIA Gillard's concessions to unions over skilled migration in the mining sector have inflamed xenophobic sentiments, sparking business warnings of potential damage to Australia's relations with its Asian trading partners.
As the Prime Minister last night strongly defended her policy of putting Australian jobs first, the mining sector complained that "racist innuendo" surrounding Labor's new Enterprise Migration Agreements had taken politics to "a new low".
Former Queensland Labor treasurer Keith De Lacy, a former Macarthur Coal chairman, said "a fair bit of xenophobia" had underpinned the debate over EMAs, while the chief executive of the Australian Mines and Metals Association, Steve Knott, likened it to the debate over the White Australia policy. And in an address to the Minerals Council of Australia's annual dinner last night, Rio Tinto managing director David Peever warned against the dangers of divisiveness.
While the opposition yesterday demanded the Prime Minister pull her backbench into line or risk alienating Asian giants including China and Japan, former federal MP Pauline Hanson told The Australian that mining sector jobs had to be reserved for Australians.
The former One Nation leader declared she had "grave concerns" about EMAs, as north Queensland independent MP Bob Katter warned on his website: "Most Australians do not believe our country should be run by foreign interests who are determined to enforce a master-slave situation and undermine our workers' wages."
The highly charged rhetoric follows Immigration Minister Chris Bowen's decision last week to allow the Roy Hill iron ore project in Western Australia's Pilbara - which is 70 per cent owned by Gina Rinehart's Hancock Prospecting - to hire up to 1700 foreign workers for the proposed $9.5 billion mine's construction.
Despite the design of EMAs having been settled months previously, Ms Gillard told union officials last Friday she was "furious" about the Roy Hill EMA and on Tuesday she agreed to the formation of a Labor caucus committee to oversee Mr Bowen's handling of future agreements.
Yesterday, the debate took a fresh turn as business leaders and the opposition warned that Labor had opened the door to a rise in xenophobic and racist sentiment. Pointing to comments from Mr Katter and Labor MPs including Kelvin Thomson and Doug Cameron, they said the debate about foreign labour had taken a distasteful turn that was against Australia's interests.
Mr De Lacy attacked the involvement of the Labor caucus committee, declaring the government had already taken two years to work out EMAs, which can be awarded to mega-projects with more than $2bn in investment and 1500 employees. "It is just economic vandalism to fiddle with it in this way for all the wrong reasons," Mr De Lacy told The Australian.
"And the wrong reasons are: it's not as though there's people there; there's a fair bit of xenophobia involved with it. It just proves once again that the resources sector increasingly is feeling that it is being treated as the enemy. "Are we the only country in the world that treats as the enemy that sector driving the economy and driving prosperity?"
Mr Knott accused critics of the agreements of resorting to "racist innuendo" that he likened to the debate over the White Australia policy. "The embarrassing political discourse surrounding Australia's need for a targeted migration policy to address peak construction labour demands has taken politics to a new low," he said.
"We're deeply concerned a number of our elected politicians appear to have joined the current campaign of negativity, lies and self-interested fear-mongering, complete with recurring misinformation about migrant rates of pay and sub-standard treatment.
"The racist innuendo and slurs against these workers is abhorrent and divisive, and must stop."
Mr Peever last night told the MCA dinner that "divisiveness can have no future in the vibrant Australia to which we aspire, where all Australians can be better off and continue to enjoy the unique fruits of this great land".
"Mining has a pivotal role to play in creating this future for all Australians and for our country," he said. "Complacency and inadequate understanding of the drivers for the sector are our enemies."
Howard government foreign minister Alexander Downer said the reaction from the unions and some elements of the Labor Party to the EMA was a profound embarrassment for Australia.
"It was a really ugly outbreak of xenophobia, and if Australia wants to work with Asia and work with its region, it's got to get over this sort of behaviour," he said.
Opposition foreign affairs spokeswoman Julie Bishop said she believed Labor MPs, including Senator Cameron, had framed their recent comments about the EMA to appeal to racist and xenophobic sentiment.
"It sends a very poor message to our region that we don't welcome foreign workers," she said.
"These projects will not go ahead unless we are able to access workers from overseas. We should be welcoming them."
Ms Bishop said Ms Gillard should reprimand members of her caucus for resorting to "inflammatory and racist language". Ms Gillard said last night Australia would always need skilled workers and that demand would increase as the economy continued to grow.
"While grappling with that challenge, Labor will do what we have always done - put Australian jobs first," the Prime Minister said through her spokesman.
"This is an important policy matter, and the Deputy Leader of the Opposition shouldn't be trying to exploit it. If the Liberal Party genuinely cared about Australian jobs, they would join with the government in supporting the Australian car industry; the Australian steel industry; as well as the retail sector, through tax cuts and cash payments."
South Australian independent senator Nick Xenophon warned that while he welcomed skilled migrants, it was fair for people to ask whether policies were configured to ensure that Australians were given every opportunity to access work.
Human beings have constructed caregories of people from time immemorial. The only wonder is that so many have now been browbeaten into denying it
A third of Brits admit they are racist, a shock report has revealed. The worrying figure emerged in a poll of 2,000 adults who were asked to honestly express their feelings about foreign nationals living and working in this country.
One in three admitted regularly making comments or being involved in discussions which could be considered racist.
Additionally, more than one in ten admitted they had been accused of being a racist by someone close to them. And almost 40 per cent confessed to using the phrase ‘I’m not a racist, but ...’ when discussing race issues facing Britain today.
Alarmingly, many felt their animosity towards foreigners was passed down by previous generations.
But the country’s immigration policy also emerged as a trigger for emotions which could be considered racist.
The true extent of the racist undercurrent within the country was revealed in a nationally representative study carried out by OnePoll in which 88 per cent of the respondents classed themselves as ‘White British’.
Anti-racism campaign group Hope Not Hate, said they were not 'surprised' by the poll results. 'These are very disappointing findings. The positive way to look at it the majority of Britain's shun this behaviour. 'It equally shows there is a long to way to go to tackle prejudice in sections of society. It's disappointing - we know there is a long way to go and this poll merely underlines the fact.'
Yesterday a OnePoll spokesman said: 'What constitutes being racist will always be a contentious issue. 'What one person deems inappropriate the next person may not. 'The opinions and beliefs of our parents and grandparents are bound to be a factor in the way we address other people regardless of their nationality or skin colour. 'Likewise life experience and cultures we have grown-up in are inevitably going to influence our beliefs and the language we use.
Other factors which many feel stir up anti-foreign emotions was the environment or neighbourhood people currently live in. Life experience was also hailed as a reason.
The study also found one in five accept the fact people around them make disparaging remarks about different ethnic groups - and are not bothered by it.
Age-wise, the over 55s were found to have the biggest chips on their shoulders, with the 18-24 age range close behind.
The younger of these two brackets were also more likely to admit making racist comments or partaking in behaviour which could be deemed racist.
The Government’s immigration policy was slammed by many of those who took part in the study. Seventy one per cent said they felt the ‘open doors’ approach to foreign nationals was leading to an increase in racist feelings.
As many as one in six demanded Britain close its doors to anyone who is not a UK national. Just over four out of ten said they felt a strict number of immigrants should be allowed in at any one time.
A OnePoll spokesman added: 'It’s alarming that so many people are just accepting the racist behaviour around them. 'Nobody should feel an outsider in their own community.
'The findings did show that immigration policy was fuelling the fire for racist behaviour amongst some adults. 'But immigration and race are two separate issues although these findings show that many believe one is a consequence of another.'
Britain's National Heallth Service removes 'Dad' from parenting leaflets to avoid upsetting same-sex couples
"The NHS has removed the term "dad" from its childbirth guide after receiving a complaint that the leaflet was excluding same-sex parents.
The Ready Steady Baby pamphlet, which offers advice on pregnancy and the first year of parenthood, has been given to mums and dads-to-be for the last 14 years.
However, the 220-page guide will no longer refer to fathers after a complaint that claimed it was "not inclusive of people in same-sex relationships".
Instead, the leaflet will use the non-gender specific term "partner" in its latest revision.
Norman Wells, of the Family Education Trust, said the NHS was wrong to change the language in the booklet. He said: "The NHS should not be squandering tax payers' money to advance the cause of a minority interest group.
"No matter how much effort is made to present positive images of families headed by same-sex couples, the fact remains it takes a man and a woman to create a child."
Like fairy tales? If so, I’ve got some doozies for you. See if any of these ring a bell:
* The wealthy in America don’t pay “their fair share.”
* “If you like your health care plan, you’ll be able to keep your health care plan.”
* A dollar of government “stimulus” spending will cascade into multiple dollars of private income.
These are not your garden-variety fairy tales, however. Instead of being told to — and believed by — children, these and countless similar fables are told by — and believed in — by politicians of the genus liberalis. Grownups holding the reins of power actually believe these and similar notions, regardless of any historical or economic proof to the contrary.
Why? Why do people believe in things like ESP, alien abduction, or the economic sustainability of Medicare?
It’s easy for people who consider themselves “rational,” those who luxuriate in things like facts and proofs, to look down on those who cling to this type of magical thinking. But in his book, The 7 Laws of Magical Thinking: How Irrational Beliefs Keep Us Happy, Healthy, and Sane, psychologist Matthew Hutson reminds us that belief in preposterous things is an ancient and species-wide condition, and therefore must have conferred some evolutionary benefit to our ancestors. In other words, believing in stupid things may make sense — at least some of the time:
Once you’ve accepted that the brain constructs reality and that the brain has evolved like any other organ to help its owner survive and reproduce, it follows that the brain constructs reality in the most useful way possible for its owner. The key word here is useful, which is not to say accurate. The brain doesn’t care so much what’s really out there, it just needs to stay alive and be replicated, which might involve telling us a white lie now and then.
In light of Hutson’s entertaining insight, liberal magical thinking on economic matters begins to make at least some sense. Liberal politicians believe and say these things because it helps them get elected; people like to be given free stuff, and they like to get it from the rich (those bastards!). Marxist and Keynesian economic prescriptions are always and everywhere disastrous wealth killers — but that is not the point. The only jobs they create are those of liberal politicians, but that is quite their purpose, after all. Magical economic thinking is a survival mechanism, and a very effective one for the likes of Franklin Roosevelt, Lyndon Johnson, and Barack Obama.
The liberal brain couldn’t care less whether liberal ideas work in the real world — the real world has nothing to do with it. It has everything to do with telling the masses what they want to hear in exchange for wealth and power.
Libertarians and conservatives rejoice in charts and graphs and history; liberals in wishes, fear, and fables. A peak into the balance sheets of the the West gives a sense of which side is better armed for the long, Darwinian struggle ahead.
Steve McIntryre's blog is in my opinion the most scholarly climate site on the net. I rarely quote from it, however, because it rapidly descends (as it should) into technicalities that are well beyond the lay reader. I am quoting the article below, however, both because it should be within the comprehension of lay readers and because it reveals clearly the low intellectual calibre of Warmist "scientists". Myles Allen is head of the Climate Dynamics group at the University of Oxford's Atmospheric, Oceanic and Planetary Physics Department but he is either a very poor communicator or is utterly confused.
Myles Allen has written here blaming Bishop Hill for “keeping the public focussed on irrelevancies” like the Hockey Stick:
"My fear is that by keeping the public focussed on irrelevancies, you are excluding them from the discussion of what we should do about climate change"
But it’s not Bishop Hill that Myles Allen should be criticizing; it’s John Houghton who more or less made the Hockey Stick the logo of the IPCC. Mann was told that IPCC higher-ups wanted a visual that didn’t “dilute the message” and they got one: they deleted the last part of the Briffa reconstruction – Hide the Decline.
If, as Allen now says, it’s an “irrelevancy”, then Houghton and IPCC should not have used it so prominently. And they should not have encouraged or condoned sharp practice like Hide the Decline.
In the run-up to AR4, I suggested that, if the topic was “irrelevant”, as some climate scientists have said, then IPCC should exclude it from the then AR4. Far from trying to keep the topic alive in AR4, I suggested that it be deleted altogether. I guess that there was a “consensus” otherwise. If Allen wants to complain, then he should first criticize IPCC.
Bishop Hill links to a presentation by Myles Allen to a 2011 conference on Climategate, which like every other such handwringing introspection by climate “communicators”, notably failed to invite any of the major CRU critics – people who might actually have given them some insight into Climategate.
In his presentation to climate communicators, Allen gave his own version of Hide the Decline. Allen showed the graphic below, sneering that the entire effect of Climategate was 0.02 deg C in the 1870s.
Needless to say, Allen’s graph has nothing to do with Hide the Decline and the Climategate dossier. Allen’s graph shows the CRUTEM temperature index from 1850, not the 1000 year reconstructions in which Hide the Decline occurred.
CRUTEM was only mentioned a couple of times in the Climategate dossier. Climategate was about the Hockey Stick, though this point was misunderstood by Sarah Palin and now, it seems, Myles Allen.
In contrast, here’s a graphic from Richard Muller’s 2011 lecture. Unlike Allen, Muller understood Hide the Decline, which is shown here in one of its manifestations. (This is the WMO graphic; the more important Hide the Decline was in the IPCC Third and Fourth Assessment reports.)
Hide the Decline is not 0.02 deg C in the 1870s; it was Briffa, Mann and Jones deleting the inconvenient portion of the Briffa reconstruction after 1960. And it wasn’t a microscopic difference. This difference is large enough that it might well have “diluted the message” that Houghton and others wanted to convey.
While one would hope and expect that Myles Allen would have had a better factual grasp on Climategate issues than Sarah Palin, it seems that we’ve been disappointed.
Allen’s decision to show temperature data rather than Hockey Stick reconstructions cleverly draws attention away from the problems of those reconstructions. The Climategate emails have a apt phrase for Allen’s technique. Showing an unrelated dispute about a temperature graphic rather than the decreasing Briffa reconstruction is itself just another …. trick to hide the decline.
Update: Lucia responded to Myles ALlen in the comments as follows:
[Myles Allen said]
"I appreciate that people like yourself who have devoted a lot of time to the analysis of paleoclimate data find it irritating when scientists who don’t work in that area dismiss it as uninformative."
First: communication tip: You need to learn to post complete thoughts. Uninformative about what? Everything? Climategate? Or the thermometer record? Or the strength of evidence for AGW?
Depending on how I read your mind, you may be saying something true or utterly false. If you are going to lecture people on communicating science you might want to stop making readers guess which you mean.
Second: It seems to me you are misunderstanding what SteveMc writes. He’s not saying he is irritated that someone thinks paleo data is uninformative. He is saying that you suggest the “whole affair” (i.e. climategate) is an argument about the thermometer record. The fact is: climategate is not merely or even mostly about the thermometer record.
And I stand by the assertion that, thanks to the sloppy coverage the affair received in the media, it wasn’t just Sarah Palin who got the impression that the instrumental temperature record was seriously compromised
I would suggest that the main reason for this “sloppy coverage” was that reporters turned to people trying to rebut those discussing climategate at blogs and in forums. Some people people who (like you) might prefer to discuss the thermometer record rather than misbehavior of scientists or what “hide the decline” meant, diverted the discussion to the thermomeber record.
I strongly suspect the behavior of the scientists who wanted to suppress discussion of climategate succeeded in giving the media the incorrect impression that climategate was about the thermometer record is one of the reasons much of the media, some politicians, and Sarah Palin developed the impression climategate is about the thermometer record.
That you can show they were confused about what people at blogs and forums were posting about merely shows you don’t know what it was about.
I would also suggest the only thing that can come of you continuing to try to convince people it was about the thermometer records is for people to explain that which you do not wish to be discussed: The Hockey Stick, misbehavior or scientists and the various whitewash investigations.
OTOH: If you simply wish to communicate that the topics that are central to climategate are not important to our understanding of climate change- that would be fine. But if you wish to make the case that the hockey stick doesn’t matter, then you need to make that clearly. Unfortunately for you, clear exposition requires discussion of the hockey stick!
A proper exposition might be to
a) Discuss what the hockey stick “is” with a little history.(Accuracy would be useful here. Mention it was used as background at IPCC meetings, and in Gore’s talk.)
b) Discuss why this shape is not important to our understanding of climate change. Show versions with and without the decline– and explain why even if the decline exists we do believe the world is warming. Do this by
c) Explaining the thermometer record.
Don’t try to take the tack of inaccurately claiming that climategate is actually about the thermometer record. If you take that tack, you’ll find yourself trying to defend your position– downgrading much of what you seemed to present rather strongly as your opinion, and burying your arguments in favor of your opinion deep in comments at a blog. (I’d note: I think much of your argument amounts to “changing the subject”– but that’s another matter.)
Moreover, I would like to point out that unless say what paleo is uninformative about your claim that paleo is not important (at all) seems a bit thin. Climate blog addicts can easily see see that on May 26, 2012 you are chiding Bishop Hill for discussing the Hockey Stick and providing lengthy explanations of its lack of importance while Real Climate’s front page is simultaneously running a post on discussing Hockey Sticks (See
Fresh hockey sticks from the Southern Hemisphere, May 22).
It’s quite likely some will suspect that your opinion that the hockey still is uninformative (about something you don’t quite spit out) is maybe not entirely correct.
Third: Returning to “first”. When I watched your talk, I was struck by your tendency toward vagueness. Based on what you write in your defense in comments, I learn that the allusion to “the data” at minute 2:37 likely meant “the thermometer record” and “impact of the whole affair” (i.e. climategate) must have meant “impact of portions of the climategate discussions that relate to the thermometer record”.
Your talk is riddled with these types of vague ambiguities. The consequence is that– on the whole– what your talk appears to communicate is false. If the audience comes away thinking you are suggesting that climategate was not about the paleo records, and that you think the only impact of climategate is a small tweak on the thermometer record, then the fault for their misunderstanding you falls on you for communicating rather badly.
Next time you want to make a presentation telling reporters that they shouldn’t focus on the paleo record but rather the thermometer record, you might be wise not to try to turn that into a talk about how the media got climategate wrong.
Try to bite off less– stick to just discussing the thermoter record and why you think it tells us that the world has warmed and it’s because of man.
If you want to discuss climategate and how scientists failed to communicate their position, you have a hard row to hoe. Much of the reason scientists communicated the issues in climategate badly is they didn’t want to talk about them.
Scientists' mistake was to respond to journalists by trying to change the subject; others with plenty of ink keep talking. All the whining in the world isn’t going to get people to stop discussing the topic.
You can keep trying to do that: it isn’t going to work any better in 2012 than it did from 2009-2011.
SOURCE (See the original for links and graphics)
Scorn is not a death threat
The death threat saga has reached parliament, with questions being asked at a Senate Estimates Committee of Prof Ian Chubb, current Chief Scientist, but Vice Chancellor of the ANU until March 2011. Most amazingly, Chubb confirms there were no death threats until the journalists got hold of the story!
The Australian reports that Liberal senator Scott Ryan questioned Chubb, who responded that, in 2010: "A senior member of his staff came to him with concerns from the institution's climate scientists over emails they had received and said they had also had "a couple of visits from people who had walked in off the street".
The staff member expressed a desire to have the climate scientists moved from their then-location, Professor Chubb said. "We looked at what we could do and we moved them. Senator, we did not make a fanfare, we did not go public. We simply moved them and got on with our business,"
Basically they were given swipe card access. So does this incident refer to the "kangaroo cull" incident, or another? He goes on to confirm he never read the emails: "They were at least abusive but let me be clear . . . I didn't read the emails. I trusted the man who came to me, he was a senior member of the staff and he represented concerns of the staff to me," Professor Chubb said.
Yes, it has been accepted all along that the emails were offensive. However, Chubb saves the best until last: "For the record, there were no alleged death threats except when journalists picked up the story."
So is this a media beat up? Can we now assume that this means that during Chubb's watch as Vice Chancellor, which ended in March 2011 with the appointment of Ian Young, there were no death threats to climate scientists at ANU? If so, why are the ANU still insisting, through the ABC correction, that they did, in fact, receive such threats?
The window during which such threats must have been received is closing rapidly, and is now restricted to the period March - June 2011. I am still awaiting a response to the questions I sent to the ANU's media office on Friday, seeking clarification.
Time, I think, for the ANU to finally come clean on this mess.
Adding a clip to the "Grade 2" hat would make more sense and be more respectful. As I have worn a digger hat myself in my time, I feel rather strongly about this. It just seems a snide way to downgrade a very proud tradition. Men died under that badge
The Australian Defence Force has made the controversial decision to remove the badge from the downward brim of the Grade 2 Slouch Hat from July 1, deeming it "disrespectful".
A Defence spokesman said the decision had nothing to do with widespread cuts announced in the Budget.
"The Rising Sun Badge should never be hidden from view or worn pointed to the ground as is the case when worn on the downturned brim of the Grade 2 Slouch Hat, as this may be viewed as disrespectful," the spokesman said.
"This decision was made in respect of army's symbol."
Lieutenant General Morrison told a Senate estimates hearing in Canberra today that it was his decision alone to ban the badge from the Grade 2 hat.
"The Grade 2 Slouch Hat is constructed in a way that its side can never actually be put up," he said. Lt Gen Morrison said there was no interlocking latch on the top of the hat so it could never be worn up showing the Rising Sun badge. It had always been on the underside of the brim.
"It seemed to me to be inappropriate and I made the decision as the chief of army to take the badge off the hat," he said. "It seemed disrespectful to me."
Lt Gen Morrison said most soldiers understood the logic behind his decision. "I know that there have been a few people that have said that they don't agree with it," he said. "It was on my shoulders to make the decision and I did."
The Rising Sun Badge will remain on the upturned brim of the Grade 1 Slouch Hat during ceremonial duties.
Soldiers will be allowed to keep the Rising Sun hat badges they currently own.
The Rising Sun badge was originally known as the General Service Badge but is now officially called the Australian Army Badge.
The NZ accent is a very strange version of English. It is the only version of English to have lost an entire vowel. They pronounce "Fish and chips" as "fush and chups". And the other vowels are not too healthy either. "Battered" is pronounced as "bettered"
A disgruntled Kiwi has been hit with a string of charges after losing his cool over a local TV advert poking fun at the New Zealand accent.
The 44-year-old Griffith man allegedly assaulted and intimidated a WIN television employee on Friday in an apparent payback for the station airing a Knockonwood television advert that features two animated kookaburras speaking with thick New Zealand accents, the Area News reports.
The satirical ad shows the kookaburras saying “sweet as, bro” and “choice, bro” – slang terms often associated with our trans-Tasman neighbours.
The man allegedly abused the furniture store's staff over the phone on Friday before turning up at WIN's Yambil Street offices and demanding to know who authorised the advert.
Police claim he assaulted a male member of the station's advertising staff during the altercation.
He was later arrested and charged with misuse of a telecommunications device, intimidation, common assault, resisting arrest and intimidating police.
Paul Pierotti, managing director of Knockonwood's parent company, the Caesar Group, said the incident had not convinced him to take the advert off air.
“We had no intention of offending anyone ... if anything, it's just a bit of light-hearted fun,” Mr Pierotti said. “It's part of the culture of both Australia and New Zealand to poke fun at each other.
“At the end of the day, we wanted to create an ad that cut through and sometimes to do that you have to go for a novelty angle. “We are really sorry if anyone found that offensive.”
The accused has been released on conditional bail and will front Griffith Local Court on June 13.
Another installment of an old controversy. I am a "flasher" (of headlights) myself -- but I don't do it as systematically as this guy did
"A judge in Florida ruled on Tuesday that flashing one's headlights to warn other drivers of speed traps set by police is protected by the First Amendment.
Ryan Kintner of Lake Mary, Fla. was pulled over and cited by a police officer in an unmarked car for doing just that. Kintner was at home when he saw a deputy park along a street and being using his radar gun. He got in his car, drove a little ways away and parked his vehicle so he could flash his lights at oncoming traffic to warn them. ...
Kintner, however, was not going down without a fight. He took his case to court, suing the Seminole County Sheriff's Office, with Attorney J. Marcus Jones arguing that ... 'Flashing your headlights is expressive conduct protected by the First Amendment.'"
As a result of Germany's green energy transition, electricity prices are exploding. Consumers and businesses are paying the price while Germany faces gradual de-industrialisation. Economists estimate that the cost of the green energy transition will total 170 billion Euros by 2020. This is more than double of what Germany would have to write off if Greece were to withdraw from the monetary union.
In June 2011, Angela Merkel said: "German companies just as citizens of Germany have to be supplied with affordable electricity, also in the future."
Today it is obvious that Merkel has promised too much. Energy prices in Germany are increasing dramatically - by 57 percent in just the past ten years - and not least because the state is one of the biggest drivers of cost. Taxes and duties on electricity prices have now risen to 23.7 billion Euros p.a. - an increase of just over 1,000 percent within 15 years. The levies on electricity look more like a special energy tax, which is higher than the revenue from tobacco and motor vehicle taxes combined.
This figure is the result of an electricity price analysis by the Federal Association of Energy and Water Industry (BDEW). It should have been a wakeup call for the Chancellor who met with the Prime Ministers of the German states in the Chancellery this week to discuss the green energy transition. The results of the meeting were meagre: the Federal Government and state governments will work together more closely in the future. Merkel announced that summit meetings will be held every six months.
"The green energy transition is a big task to which we are committed together," said the Chancellor. A Federal network planning law to expand the electricity grid should be agreed before the summer break and adopted by the end of the year.
According to Merkel, it was also agreed to harmonise the further expansion of renewable energy “with the need for base-load capable power plants." The Federal Government will soon make a suggestion towards this goal. The Chancellor also expressed the hope that there would be an agreement in the mediation process for the energy renovation of buildings and the planned cuts in solar subsidies by the government until the summer.
For industry and consumers, this is only a small consolation. Experts agree that renewables subsidies must be cut quickly. The promotion of renewable energy has become the largest single item of green taxes and levies. This year, the subsidies will increase to the highest ever annual figure of 14.1 billion Euros.
German industry, in particular, is suffering from high electricity prices. Most affected are the chemical, metal and paper industries. In the aluminium industry, the electricity costs amount to about 40 percent of total costs.
All industries complain; some companies have already closed down: the aluminium smelter Voerdal in the Lower Rhine town of Voerde recently filed for bankruptcy because of high energy prices. The U.S. chemical giant Dow Chemical currently operates 17 plants with more than 5,000 employees in Germany. "Because of the green energy transition I get increasingly critical questions from our corporate headquarters in the US about whether energy supply in Germany is still possible at competitive prices," said Germany boss Ralf Brinkmann.
Germany's de-industrialization has already begun
"The de-industrialization has already begun," Energy Commissioner Guenther Oettinger has warned in an interview with the Handelsblatt. Hans Jürgen Kerkhoff, President of the Steel Trade Association, complains: "The levels of industrial electricity prices are higher here than in most other countries."
Within the Federal Government, the concerns are growing: "The price of electricity has become the Achilles’ heel of the energy revolution. We must design it in such a way that electricity prices remain affordable," says Thomas Bareiß, energy policy coordinator of the Parliamentary Christian Democrats (CDU). Experts estimate that the cost of the green energy transition will total 170 billion Euros by 2020. This is more than double of what Germany would have to write off if Greece were to withdraw from the monetary union.
What is of particular concern is that Germany’s industry has helped the country to more economic growth compared to other countries during the recent years of crisis. Countries such as Britain envy Germany for the 22 percent share of industry in its GDP.
Therefore, policy makers face a dilemma. On the one hand, industry has to be relieved from energy costs in order not to jeopardize its international competitiveness, says CDU expert Thomas Bareiss. On the other hand, the burden should not unilaterally end up with households. "The only solution is to make the green energy transition as cost effective as possible," says the conservative politician. In this context, he criticised the federal states that had recently rejected a cut in solar subsidies by a two-thirds majority.
At the Chancellor’s energy meeting with the prime ministers of the German states, the issue of electricity prices will be high on the agenda. Merkel initially only wanted to talk about the expansion of the national grid. Maybe she did not want to be reminded of her promise from last June that the price of electricity would be affordable for industry and consumers.
Yet, the figures tell a different story. At the beginning of the liberalisation of the electricity market in 1998, government taxes and levies for all electricity consumers amounted to 2.28 billion Euros. In 2012 the figure is about ten times as high. The 14.1 billion in subsidies for the promotion of renewable energy is also the single largest item of government taxes and levies on electricity.
Taxes and levies already make up 45 percent of the electricity bill of an average private household with three people. The average household is charged 75 Euros per month, of which only 41 Euro are derived from the procurement, transportation and distribution of electricity, i.e. the actual service. 34 Euros are taxes and duties.
The tenfold increase in taxes represents only the beginning of a trend that will further accelerate significantly in the opinion of many experts. The reason: the green energy transition. If the Federal Government wants to achieve its ambitious goals, it will have to redistribute a lot of money, which it has collected from consumers. The share of renewable energy in electricity generation is supposed to increase from currently 20 percent to 35 percent by 2020 and to 50 percent by 2030.
That will incur additional costs. There are now a number of calculations and scenarios on the subject. In a report presented in early May, the management consultancy McKinsey comes to the conclusion that the total cost of the green energy transition will amount up to 175 billion Euros between 2011 and 2020. In 2020, Germany’s electricity consumers would have to bear costs of 21.5 billion Euros, costs that are caused entirely by the switch to renewable energy.
God bless cell phones. With them we can chat with our friends; we can watch the grossest zit since the dawn of time being popped via YouTube; and our kiddos can record their bat crap crazy teachers attempting to mitigate their First Amendment rights!
This week audio surfaced of a North Carolina teacher, Tanya Dixon-Neely (black), berating 13-year-old Hunter Rogers (honky) for criticizing president Obama (hate crime). Neely said Rogers could be arrested for slandering Obama. What a crock! Children cannot be arrested for criticizing Obama—at least not until his second term when we will truly see our First Amendment rights vanish like a pack of raw wieners at Rosie’s house.
Thankfully, Hunter hit the record button on his iPhone when this blathering big government gal started spewing lies to the kids—via North Carolinians’ tax dollar—exposing her incredible bias, and thereby getting her suspended. Hopefully she’ll get fired.
Parents in Hunter’s school district should demand she get canned. Why? Well, one reason is she doesn’t know what the hell she’s talking about and is teaching your children. Hello. What kind of Bozo screening process is in place that people like Tanya get the keys to your tadpole’s future? I wouldn’t let her sell fried chicken gizzards at a carnival much less school one of my offspring.
The only positive upshot to this sordid socialist scenario is that Hunter turned his cell phone on this mental schoolmarm. Hallelujah. Now parents and the planet can get a dose of the propaganda that’s regularly doled out in public schools.
With this in mind I think parents should tell their progeny each day before they send them off to school, “Now, honey, when Ms. Smith starts saying psycho stuff and threatening you with prison if you don't madly love on Obama, it is okay for you to record her and then upload this mess to YouTube. Don’t be afraid of these bullies. Don’t punch ‘em in the nose but instead punch record and then forward it to Jesse Watters and see if he can get Bill to run it on The Factor.” * Check your state's laws to see if two party consent is needed before YouTubing your audio or video.
Which brings me to a vision I just had. I have had a dream … a dream where the Hunter Rogers of the nation will point their iPhones and Blackberries at their scary teachers en masse and with one voice yell to these anti-American propagandists the words of Dee Snyder of Twisted Sister—“We’re not gonna take it!”
I have had a dream … a dream where sellers of progressive swill are fearful of publicly braying their biased beliefs before an army of God- and country-loving kids. Can I get a witness, my brothers and sisters?
Feminists don't like it when their own rules are applied to them
There's a brouhaha on the South Shore. A popular coffee chain known for its bubbly, attractive teenagers is facing a federal discrimination investigation.
In a letter FOX 25 has obtained from a source, the president of Marylou's Coffee – Marylou herself – has fired off a scathing response to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission's investigation, and asks Sen. John Keenan for help.
Marylou Sandry started the coffee chain in Hanover. It's now spread to many locations in Massachusetts and more in Rhode Island.
It's known for its pink branding and attractive staff. That is the problem.
The EEOC wants to know if only young, attractive women are employable at Marylou's. Now they're looking into the company's job applications, talking to employees about their co-workers age, race and body type, as well as questioning company managers.
But Marylou's says it is simply hiring out of the pool of applicants who come to them and looking for quality dedicated people.
In her letter, Sandry appeals for help from the senator, saying her company is being harassed by the EEOC and "we have never had a complaint against us for age discrimination or any kind of discrimination. We feel the EEOC is on a witch hunt."
Sandry also says the entire company is a nervous wreck over the investigation.
Why? Are they saying that black faces are ugly? Seems strange. I have yet to hear any logic behind the ban. It seems to be just a kneejerk reaction. Does representing yourself as black automatically imply that you are ridiculing blacks? That is a pretty racist assumption if so.
"Sean King, a Colorado Springs second-grader at Meridian Ranch Elementary school, found himself in hot water last when he was pulled out of class for dressing like Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. while also wearing black face paint for a school project. Now, Sean and his family want an apology from the school for the way the staff handled the situation.
Sean, 8-years-old, told KRDO that he feels school officials were "mean" to him and his family, citing that they made his mother cry. Sean explained that he is confused why other children who also wore face paint honoring other historical people were not punished like he was. "They were really negative to me," Sean said about school staff to KRDO.
School officials are now considering offering special classes about racial stereotypes to help teach kids and parents more about racial sensitivity.
Sean says he mean no harm by wearing the make-up, according to 9news, but Stephanie Meredith, a spokesperson for the school's principal, said that it wasn't just the school's staff that was offended by Sean's face paint, it was other students as well. So the principal took action, 7News reports.
Last week, KRDO first reported that Sean dressed up as MLK, Jr. for a school project. The boy's mother told KRDO that it was "wax museum day" for the second grade class and that each child was assigned a historical figure to dress up as.
Sean showed up for school on Wednesday doing a Martin Luther King impersonation, wearing a black suit, tie, mustache and black face paint -- his parents were with him, as were all the students' parents, to watch the day's presentation. But before things could get started, Erica Mason, the school's principal, told the second-grader that he needed to wash his face, according to KWGN, leaving Sean confused.
"They thought it was inappropriate and it will be disrespectful to black people and I say it's not," young Sean said to KRDO. "I like black people. It's just a costume and I don't want to insult anybody."
The NAACP has come out in support of Meridian Elementary Principal Mason and in support of Sean's desire to portray Dr. King, but has said that he just shouldn't have worn the black face paint.
But some people thought that school went too far with the second-grader. Since the news broke, the Meridian Ranch Elementary's Facebook page has been flooded with reactions, mostly in support of Sean.
Frank Lansner’s first graph surprised me. It’s well known and often quoted that sea levels have been rising by 2-3mm a year every year for the last 20 years. But it’s not well known that the original raw satellite data doesn’t show that at all.
Fig 1 The data for recent years has gone through significant changes. In Morner 2004 the raw satellite data for sea level rise was shown with the original slope (the grey line with dots named “Topex/Poseidon as of 2001” above).
What astonished me was the sea levels first recorded by the Topex Poseidon satellite array showed virtually no rise at all from 1993-2001. Surely not, I thought. I asked sea-level expert Nils Axel-Morner, and he confirmed: “Yes, it is as bad as that.“ Now, given that Envisat (the European satellite) showed no rise from 2003-2011 (until it was adjusted) that means we have almost 20 years of raw satellite data showing very little rise.
We thought satellites would finally give us a definitive answer on sea levels. Instead, like the tide gauges, and every other tool available to mankind, apparently satellites systematically underestimate the rising trends. And despite the speed of light being quite quick and all, it can take years for the data to finally arrive. Sometimes 4 or 5 (or 10 years) after the measurement was made scientists “discover” that it was wrong.
Now of course, any one of these adjustments could be for very legitimate reasons and give us results closer to the truth. But the adjustments always bring data closer to the modeled trend. It’s decidedly non-random. Either there is a God who thinks teasing climate scientists is spiffy, or else there is something fishy going on, and some investigative journalists need to ask some investigative questions. Is that sea-level rise due to global warming or is it due to global adjustments?
Much more HERE (See the original for links, graphics etc.)
As Mitt Romney closes the gap, it is 1980 all over again for the man in the Oval Office
Until recently, Barack Obama’s re-election was regarded as inevitable – in the same way that summer follows spring. The president’s poll lead over Mitt Romney was strong, while the Republican’s character was assassinated by a primary fight that permanently spoiled the reputation of his party. To court the GOP’s conservative base, Romney was forced to adopt positions on abortion, contraception, health care and welfare that are thought to be unpopular among moderate swing voters. Obama, by contrast, is the man who killed bin Laden and toppled Gaddafi. A choice between Obama the moderate statesman and Romney the craven conservative is surely no contest at all.
But in the last two weeks, things have changed. Obama’s re-election is no longer guaranteed; some pollsters think it is unlikely. Day by day, the odds are improving that Mitt Romney will be the next President of the United States.
What changed? For a start, voters are getting gloomier about the economy. Joblessness remains high and debt is out of control. According to one poll released this week, only 33 per cent of Americans expect the economy to improve in the coming months and only 43 per cent approve of the way that the president has handled it. Voters think Obama has made the debt situation and health care worse. The man who conducted the poll – Democrat Peter Hart – concluded that “Obama’s chances for re-election… are no better than 50-50.”
The president has tried to distract from America’s economic misery by playing up the so-called culture war. Earlier in the year he decided that he would force Catholic employers to provide contraception to their employees through their insurance plans, and he followed that swipe at social traditionalism by endorsing gay marriage. This embrace of Sixties liberalism has backfired. While contraception and gay marriage often receive popular support in national polls, Americans are far more conservative in the voting booth. Thirty-two states have voted on gay marriage and all 32 have voted to outlaw it – even liberal California. Nor has the culture war rallied his party’s base. In presidential primaries held on Tuesday, 39 per cent of Arkansas Democrats and 42 per cent of Kentuckian Democrats rejected Obama’s re-nomination. In West Virginia, 41 per cent of the state’s Democrats voted for an imprisoned criminal rather than the president.
The result is that pollsters find Obama and Romney edging towards one another. Rasmussen puts Obama only one point ahead; Gallup calls it a tie. With Romney doing better than the president in key swing states North Carolina and Florida, Gallup has publicly stated that Obama now has a higher chance of losing rather than winning.
But it isn’t just Obama’s flaws that are making this race interesting. Mitt Romney might not be the most charismatic candidate, but that’s a hidden strength in an election that’s all about competence and getting back to the basics of what once made America work so well. This week, the pro-Obama journalist Andrew Sullivan wrote that with his wealth, good looks and apple-pie conservatism, Romney is like “a focus-group tested model president from 1965”. Sullivan obviously doesn’t realise how popular the TV show Mad Men is. Who wouldn’t warm to a candidate that represents an age marked by low unemployment, stable families and a laissez-faire attitude towards drinking at work?
In fact, the grey Mr Romney is repeating the same formula that won him the governorship of Massachusetts, an ordinarily Democrat state, in 2002. He pulled that off by motivating large numbers of Republicans to vote for him, breaking into the working-class vote and keeping turnout among Democrats fairly low. The unique genius of Romney was his ability to say very conservative things but in a manner that convinced many centrists that he didn’t really mean them. That’s happening again in 2012, as polls indicate that far more Americans think Obama is too Left-wing than believe Romney is too Right-wing.
Of course, Romney has his weaknesses. But they are fewer than Obama’s, whose charisma disguises a multitude of problems so great that it’s hard to imagine him overcoming them. Gallup makes the following observation: “Comparing today’s economic and political ratings with those from previous years when presidents sought re-election reveals that today’s climate is more similar to years when incumbents lost than when they won.” I would go one step further: Obama’s situation is actually worse than that of some of the incumbents who have lost in the past.
In 1980, Democratic president Jimmy Carter faced an uphill struggle for re-election. Yet, despite an index of inflation and unemployment far higher than Obama’s, he was actually doing slightly better in the polls. In March of that year, Carter led his Republican opponent, Ronald Reagan, by around 25 per cent. By May, Gallup gave him a lead of 49 to 41 per cent – higher than Obama’s today. Carter’s advantage evaporated in the months that followed, but he regained ground in October and by the last week he was running even.
None the less, Carter eventually suffered a landslide defeat. The scale of his humiliation was hidden by the fact that people were unwilling to commit themselves to the conservative Ronald Reagan until the very last minute. It was only when they went into the polling booth and weighed up all the hurt and humiliation of the past four years that they cast their vote against the president. It looks like Barack Obama will be the Jimmy Carter of 2012.
When people actually try to remember the meaning of Memorial Day, they often picture this:
Or, perhaps something more like this:
Decidedly NOT this:
Since it was almost completely ignored by the media, few will remember the recent reverse Trayvon case here in Phoenix, in which the mentally handicapped Hispanic Daniel Adkins was ruthlessly gunned down by a lucky guy of privileged pigmentation named Cordell Lamar Jude.
Jude was in a car when he had some trivial confrontation with Adkins in a Taco Bell parking lot. Instead of driving away or just rolling up his window, he shot Adkins, then absurdly claimed self-defense.
This is the opposite from the Passion of Saint Skittles not only because the ethnicities are reversed, but because Adkins was hardly bashing Jude’s head against the sidewalk, as the sociopathic thug Trayvon Martin was doing to the much smaller George Zimmerman. It is also the opposite in that the innocent Zimmerman was arrested; the guilty Jude walked free.
One of Obama’s racist Harvard professor pals, Charles Ogletree, has proclaimed, “I want to see the first white victim of the stand your ground by a black defendant and see if it works.”
Ogletree’s wait is over, because if Zimmerman counts as white, so does Adkins:
It’s a relief to learn that Jude is evidently not from Phoenix, but the liberal “model city” of Detroit:
Obama is unlikely to make any “If I had a son” speeches this time around — not that Jude is any more of a sociopath than Trayvon Martin. The difference is that this time the bad guy had the gun.
Australia's chief climate commissioner Tim Flannery calls for the removal of toxic teeth from dead people
Mercury in teeth is bad but mercury in CFL light bulbs is OK??
CLIMATE change campaigner Tim Flannery says mercury tooth fillings should be removed from corpses before they are cremated.
The practice should be made law, Australia's chief climate commissioner said.
"You don't want to poison people when you are cremated," Prof Flannery said. "No one would want that."
Addressing the Australian Medical Association's national conference in Melbourne yesterday, he said an awareness campaign was needed.
"I think people would be comfortable with removing the fillings, it is just a matter of awareness," he said.
Prof Flannery said undertakers should be required to remove the fillings and families also could request it.
"You just need a pair of pliers," he said. "It is a $2 solution."
He said the mercury in teeth fillings was not a problem in people alive because it was not in a methylated form.
"For mercury to become dangerous, it has to get into the atmosphere, which happens when we are cremated, then blow over the oceans (and) go into the ocean depths, where there is very low oxygen, and then transform by bacteria into a methylated form of mercury," Prof Flannery said.
"This is then ingested by fish and the fish get put on the dinner plate."
He said he had not raised the issue with the Federal Government, but he felt it was significant and could be dealt with easily.
While talking about health and environment at the AMA conference, he also raised concerns about a lack of readiness for extreme weather events.
Prof Flannery said deaths from heat were increasing and the community needed to be better educated about the health risks.
"Deaths from heat is a silent killer that is increasing around the world," he said. "The most vulnerable in our community are most at risk."
Prof Flannery said the loss of respect for science in the climate debate had been "one of the most damaging aspects".
No failure of prediction fazes the believers in too many people and diminishing resources
A couple of weeks ago The Royal Society published a major new report called People and the Planet(pdf),which has drawn a lot of criticism for its apparent commitment to outdated “Limits to Growth” type thinking.
As Tim Worstall points out, while there is much to merit in the nuanced analysis of the main report, in the actual discussions of what we should do about both consumption and population,
it appears that we really are running out of “reserves” and that we should hand out condoms to all and sundry. That last isn’t all that surprising, as Jonathan Porritt is part of the team and he’s incapable of saying anything else on the subject.
Indeed, Porritt is not of course a scientist at all, more an activist, and his presence here which does in itself raise serious questions about the integrity of the study, if it means that the science is being mixed up with ideological interpretations and policy recommendations.
Similarly, Mark Lynas argues
Whilst using a lot of dark language about increasing numbers of humans globally, the report nowhere acknowledges that the current median level of total worldwide fertility has fallen dramatically from 5.6 in the 1970s to only 2.4 today. In other words we are already close to natural replacement levels in terms of total fertility – the reason that the absolute population will continue to grow to 9 billion or more is that more children are living long enough have their own children. To my mind a reduction in infant mortality and an increase in life expectancy are self-evidently good and desirable – and their impact on world population levels should be celebrated, not bemoaned.
Lynas goes onto to explain that the main failing of neo-Malthussianism is that it assumes resource consumption is a “zero-sum game”- that there is a finite pie to be shared by an expanding population, with only one possible outcome- not enough pie to go around. While this might be true in an absolute sense, it ignores technological developments which allow economic growth – “qualitative” rather than just “quantitative” growth to continue even as per capita, and ultimately even total impacts may plateau and even decline.
Chris Goodall at Carbon Commentary picks up on this theme by arguing that more resource consumption and growth need not necessarily result in greater impact. He uses the example of waste and rubbish:
Waste production per person in the UK peaked at around 520 kg a year in the year to March 2002. The latest two quarters figures are fifteen per cent below that level. The latest quarterly figures suggest a figure of about 443 kg. The decline from year to year isn’t smooth but is probably getting steeper.
As societies get richer, they become smarter, more eco-conscious and generally have a tendency to clean up our act. Goodall wryly continues
In contrast to what the Royal Society says, growth may be good for the environment. We waste less and are prepared to devote more cash to ecological protection. Technology improvements mean things last longer and use fewer physical resources to make. Regretfully, I have to say that the world’s most prestigious scientific institution should spend more time checking its facts.
Ben Pile sees the Royal Society’s report in the context of climate change politics, an old story used to bolster the floundering old story of catastrophic climate change:
the Royal Society’s sideways step from climate alarmism to Malthusianism is also a step backwards. Before climate change became the dominant narrative of political environmentalism, the principle issues were ‘limits to growth’ and ‘the population bomb’. Those vehicles failed to give the environmentalists’ political project the profile it needed. Malthusianism was, in the 1960s, ’70s and ’80s, too easily rebutted. And in the dark days of the cold war, we seemed to have bigger problems to face. The end of the cold war arrived, and the brief era of optimism ended with climate change. It filled the nuclear-winter-shaped hole. But now there is widespread acknowledgement that climate change has been over-stated, the institutions which have sought to attach themselves to the issue have had to find a new story. And the new story is an old story…
Pile is critical of the august scientific institution stepping beyond its role of science into the realm of public policy and lifestyle recommendations- hand out contraception, get the rich world to curtail its consumption.
What caught my eye in particular was Pile’s pointing out that just the week before the publication of the report none other than Paul Ehrlich was made a fellow of the Royal Society.
And in doing so, the Royal Society abandons its claim to be a scientific authority. It has embraced a particular ideology… a nasty, anti-human perspective on the world. It can no longer say Nullius in Verba (on the word of no one). It’s perspective is no longer fixed on the material world. The object of its ‘science’ is now the human world, and control over it.
As it happens, I had just purchased on impulse a copy of a book that has quite a lot to say about Mr. Ehrlich. Future Babble by Dan Gardner is a truly fascinating study of failed predictions of apocalypse, both supernatural and ecological.
Gardner adopts Philip Tetler’s classification, after Isaiah Berlin, of experts as either “Hedgehogs” or “Foxes”
“The fox knows many things,” the warrior-poet Archilochus wrote, “but the hedgehog knows one big thing.”
Tetlock was involved in a committee brought together by the National Research Council in 1984, at the height of the Cold War, to examine the success or failure of expert opinions. In an extensive study involving 284 experts in many different fields, Tetlock compared predictions with reality, and found that the foxes- who tended to make much more cautious and contingent predictions, scored much more highly than the over-confident hedgehogs.
“On both calibration and discrimination, complex and cautious thinking trounced simple and confident.”
Ehrlich provides a spectacular example of a hedgehog, having founded a career spanning several decades on failed predictions.
“In the early 1970s, the leading edge of the age of scarcity has arrived,” he wrote in 1974′s The End of Affluence. With it came a clearer look at the future, revealing more of the nature of the dark age to come.” Of course there would be mass starvation in the 1970s- “or, at least, the 1980s.” Shortages “will become more frequent and more severe”, he wrote. “We are facing, within the next three decades, the disintegration of nation-states infected with growthmania.”…The mere continuation of current trends will ensure that “by the year 2000 the United Kingdom wil simply be a small group of impoverished islands, inhabited by some 70million hungry people, of little or no concern to the other 5-7billion of a sick world.”
Despite these outrageously wide-of-the-mark predictions, Ehrlich’s appointment to the Royal Society is only the latest in a long string of top awards, including the Gold Medal Award of the World Wildlife Fund International; the John Muir Award of the Sierra Club; the MacArthur Fellowship, nicknamed the “Genius Award”; and the Crafoord Prize of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, widely considered the Nobel of environmentalism. Many of these awards were for his work as a biologist, but they were often given for his popular books like The Population Bomb.
Gardner notes that “the Crafoord Prize citation specifically noted Ehrlich’s ‘numerous books on global environmental problems, such as overpopulation, resource depletion nuclear winter, and greenhouse effects. It has been said that with Rachel Carson he is the one person with the greatest importance for present-day awareness of the imminent global catastrophe.’”
No matter what global catastrophe, Gardner wryly points out- on a survey of Cambridge University alumni in 2009 producing a list of the most important 50 books ever on sustainability, representing “the wisdom of our age” The Population Bomb came in at number four…
Another doomer who has made a career from predicting collapse is peak-oil pundit James Howard Kunstler. Well known in the peak oil community for his role in the documentary The End of Suburbia and his 2005 book The Long Emergency, Kunstler is lesser-known, or perhaps forgotten as “one of the most extreme voices in the Y2K fiasco.”
“If nothing else, I expect Y2K to destablize world petroleum markets”, Kunstler wrote, and the effects of that wil be as bad as, or worse than, those of the 1973 oil embargo. Industrial agriculture will collapse. “Spectacular dysfunction” will plague car-dependent cities. Supply chains will crumble. “I doubt that the WalMarts and the K-Marts of the land will survive Y2K.” That was the minimum-damage outcome. He actually expected things to get much worse…
Failure- even repeated failure over decades- does not seem to be a hindrance for these hedgehogs. “One might think that after Kunstler’s Y2K pratfall people wouldn’t pay for him to be their tour guide to the future, but The Long Emergency was a best-seller and Kunstler- a wildly entertaining speaker- became a fixture on the lecture circuit, where he is paid significant amounts of money to tell audiences they are doomed”- while “for experts who want the public’s attention” Gardner observes, “Ehrlich is the gold standard. Be articulate, enthusiastic, and authoritative. Be likeable. See things through a single analytical lens and craft an explanatory story that is clear, conclusive, and compelling. Do not doubt yourself. Do not acknowledge mistakes. And never, ever say ‘I don’t know’.”
What is fascinating is that retrospect does not seem to make these predictors of doom any the wiser. Rather than admit failure and revise their approach- turning as it were from Hedgehog to Fox- both Ehrlich and Kunstler played down the gaps between forecast and reality: for Ehrlich, the expected population collapse may not have happened on the timescale expected, but it is bound to come sometime- all the signs are still there; while Kunstler tended to exaggerate the actual effects and downplay the extremity of his own predictions. And anyway, even if Y2K didn’t do for America, the whole place is on the way down anyway- which makes him nearly right in any case.More HERE
"You're about to listen to one of the most bone-chilling pieces of audio you will ever hear. At least, it was to me when I first heard it.
It's a phone call that could have gotten me killed.
In this post you will hear that audio clip. You will also read about a months-long campaign of harassment carried out by at least three individuals: Ron Brynaert, Neal Rauhauser, and Brett Kimberlin - much of it directed at critics of Brett Kimberlin. This harassment includes repeated references to critics' family members, workplace complaints, publication of personal information such as home addresses and pictures of residences, bogus allegations of criminal activity, whisper campaigns, frivolous legal actions, and frivolous State Bar complaints.
And finally, you will hear a comparison of one of those men's voices to that of the man who made the call that sent police to my home. And you'll read a declaration from a forensic audio expert comparing those two voices.
In the last radio interview Andrew Breitbart ever gave, on Hugh Hewitt's radio show, Breitbart talked about a new ruthless tactic used by thugs against political opponents:
"[O]ne of the things they've done to people who have worked with me in the past, including an L.A. prosecutor, is to "SWAT." That means that they're spoofing phones, pretending to be somebody else's phone, calling 911, and saying "I killed somebody" and then the person's home is met with the guns drawn, the SWAT and the helicopters, in a horrifying act. It's happened twice: once in New Jersey, once in Los Angeles, with an L.A. County . . . prosecutor who [is] associated with me."
I am that L.A. County prosecutor. And in this post, you'll hear the hoax call that sent police to my house, pointing loaded guns at me.
At 12:35 a.m. on July 1, 2011, sheriff's deputies pounded on my front door and rang my doorbell. They shouted for me to open the door and come out with my hands up.
When I opened the door, deputies pointed guns at me and ordered me to put my hands in the air. I had a cell phone in my hand. Fortunately, they did not mistake it for a gun.
They ordered me to turn around and put my hands behind my back. They handcuffed me. They shouted questions at me: IS THERE ANYONE ELSE IN THE HOUSE? and WHERE ARE THEY? and ARE THEY ALIVE?
I told them: Yes, my wife and my children are in the house. They're upstairs in their bedrooms, sleeping. Of course they're alive.
Deputies led me down the street to a patrol car parked about 2-3 houses away. At least one neighbor was watching out of her window as I was placed, handcuffed, in the back of the patrol car. I saw numerous patrol cars on my quiet street. There was a police helicopter flying overhead, shining a spotlight down on us as I walked towards the patrol car. Several neighbors later told us the helicopter woke them up. I saw a fire engine and an ambulance. A neighbor later told me they had a HazMat vehicle out on the street as well.
Meanwhile, police rushed into my home. They woke up my wife, led her downstairs and to the front porch, frisked her, and asked her where the children were. Then police ordered her to stand on the front porch with her hands against the wall while they entered my children's bedrooms to make sure they were alive.
The call that sent deputies to my home was a hoax. Someone had pretended to be me. They called the police to say I had shot my wife. The sheriff's deputies who arrived at my front door believed they were about to confront an armed man who had just shot his wife. I don't blame the police for any of their actions. But I blame the person who made the call.
Because I could have been killed.
The weirdest part of the whole thing was that I halfway expected this might happen. Because I was not the first one it had happened to.
Much more here