By JR on Monday, December 05, 2016
Pauline Hanson slips into wetsuit for reef trip -- and finds that all is well with the reef
Most of the media have been amusing about this. They say that she has embarrassed herself by not going to the "right" part of the reef. But that claim is itself a message that only part of the reef is affected by bleaching. We can perhaps be thankful to them for getting that message out to a wider audience.
There are many possible causes of bleaching but the loons of the Green/Left are sure it is caused by global warming. And that might pass muster when we note that the bleaching has occurred in the most Northerly (and hence warmer) one-third of the reef. Problem: Coral LIKES warmth, which is why the Northern part of the reef normally has the greatest biological diversity. Normally, the further North you go (i.e. the warmer you get), the greater the diversity. So the cause of the bleaching is unknown.
As a fallback position, the Greenies say that the bleaching is caused by agricultural runoff. Problem: The Northern part of the reef runs along an area of the Cape York Peninsula where there is virtually NO agriculture. The soils there are too poor for it to be economically feasible. So no runoff. "Facts be damned" seems to be the Greenie motto
Pauline Hanson has slipped into a wetsuit and made a splash on the Great Barrier Reef to show the world the natural wonder is worth visiting amid claims it is dying.
The senator, who once cooked fish for a living, went swimming off Great Keppel Island today and expressed concerns about reports on the reef's health.
Ms Hanson says agenda-driven groups are telling "untruths" about the state of the reef that are harming the tourism industry and businesses. "When we have these agendas that are actually destroying our tourism industry and businesses ... we need to ask the questions and we want answers," she said. "The Greens have no concern about people and jobs that we need here in Queensland, and the escalating costs that we are feeling from the effects of this."
One Nation senators Malcolm Roberts, who has long argued the case that global warming doesn't stack up, and Brian Burston were also on the reef trip.
Mr Roberts said people had stopped coming to the reef because they were being told it was dead and that Australia should not be reporting on its health to the UN agency UNESCO.
Conservationists are concerned climate change is putting severe stress on the reef, which experienced a massive coral bleaching event this year, and some have declared it's dying at an unprecedented rate.
They say Ms Hanson and her senators visited the wrong part of the reef as the southern sections had been least affected by the worst bleaching event in the icon's history.
The World Wildlife Fund said One Nation should have visited Lizard Island where bleaching, caused by high water temperatures, has killed much of the coral.
By JR on Sunday, December 04, 2016
Total dishonesty about last Thursday's blackout in South Australia
The S.A. government is shrilling that the new blackout had "nothing to do" with the previous big one in September. I suppose that there is some trivial sense in which that is true but the root cause of both blackouts is the same: South Australia does not have ANY baseload power of its own. Had they not decommissioned all their coal-fired stations, neither blackout would have happened. Their windmills are just not a reliable source of power. During the latest incident they were delivering only 6% of their capacity.
When the big wind hit in September and shut down the windmills the South Australians could easily have spun up their coal-fired generators to take the load -- if they still had them. And the same thing applies to the recent loss of supply.
You have got to have hydrocarbon or nuclear powered generators to get reliable supply and S.A. just does not have enough. All they have are some small gas-fired ones. They rely on importing power from hydrocarbon-powered generators in Victoria but Victoria has its own problems -- and will soon have much bigger ones with the closedown of the Hazelwood generator.
The South Australians were so proud of themselves for having such a "Green" electricity system but it was a fantasy. They need to get a couple of their coal-fired generators spinning again or businesses will start leaving the state and taking jobs with them. New investments will CERTAINLY grind to a halt now. See below
South Australia's electricity system separated from the national power grid overnight, prompting a stern warning from BHP Billiton about threats to Australian jobs and investment.
About 200,000 homes and businesses lost power for over an hour, but BHP’s Olympic Dam operations in the north of the state were interrupted for about four hours.
BHP CEO Andrew Mackenzie issued an urgent warning to policy-makers after the latest incident, which comes two months after the statewide blackout led to about two weeks of lost production at Olympic Dam.
“Olympic Dam’s latest outage shows Australia’s investability and jobs are placed in peril by the failure of policy to both reduce emissions and secure affordable, dispatchable and uninterrupted power,” he said in a statement.
“The challenge to reduce emissions and grow the economy cannot fall to renewables alone. “This is a wake-up call ahead of the COAG meeting and power supply and security must be top of the agenda and urgently addressed.”
Opposition Leader Steven Marshall said Labor had “chased cheap and reliable power out of South Australia”.
“South Australians are now saddled with the most expensive and least reliable electricity system in Australia,” he said.
“The statement from BHP this morning demonstrates how dangerous this situation has become. The CEO of the world’s biggest mining company has singled out South Australia’s fragile electricity system as a threat to mining in Australia.
“Affordable and reliable power is critical to running a business – it’s not a luxury, it’s an essential!”
By JR on Saturday, December 03, 2016
Weasel words from the Salvation Army
A little while ago, the Victorian branch of the Salvation Army gave unconditional approval to the "Safe Schools" program -- a program that promotes homosexuality and undermines the traditional family. The Marxist authors of the program smuggled in the propaganda by using the language of "safety" and the Sallies have followed suit.
This sparked outrage from many quarters, including, one gathers, Army members. Not so long ago the Sallies opposed homosexuality on scriptural grounds but they now have bowed down before the the false god of secularism. The false god who led the children of Israel astray after the Exodus was often Baal of Peor, a god of sexual license. Not much has changed it seems. Despite their expansive lip-service to Christianity, Bible teachings no longer matter to the Sallies, it seems. The gods of Canaan are OK for them now.
But in response to the flak that they have received from Godly and family-oriented people the national organization has now done a very half-hearted backdown. In the statement below, the only words of the backtrack are: "The Salvation Army cannot unconditionally support the Safe Schools programs in Australia in their current form". They don't say why and the ordinary reader would never guess why. For them to say more would expose the hypocrisy of their claim to be Christian. Clearly, they no longer support the Biblical view of homosexuality. In Christ's words, they are "whited sepulchres" (Matthew 23:27)
The Salvation Army is a Christian movement dedicated to sharing the love of Jesus. We purposefully work to reveal this love to everyone by building loving communities combined with the provision of spiritual, emotional and material support. Our compassionate participation has evolved over 136 years of service in all spheres of the Australian community, especially to people who are vulnerable, suffering and underprivileged and we are humbled that our efforts are so widely welcomed, encouraged and supported.
This non-discriminatory commitment to love and serve others is highlighted in our international mission statement which says we are: ‘to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ and to meet human needs in His name without discrimination’. We believe that God loves everyone. We call on all Salvationists and community members to show this same love to others.
We have zero tolerance for bullying and as such, there is no situation where it is acceptable. Every person regardless of race, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, age or religion has the right to feel safe so they can achieve their full God-given potential. We emphasize that the alarming high rate of bullying and suicide among LGBTIQ school students evokes deep concern within The Salvation Army.
There are many accounts of marginalised students benefiting from aspects of the Safe Schools programs which have resulted in a safer, more caring culture forming in those schools. In this regard, we recognise the program’s intent to address bullying. Whilst acknowledging such positive outcomes, The Salvation Army cannot unconditionally support the Safe Schools programs in Australia in their current form. We believe there needs to be consideration and refinement to the scope and form of implementation.
We believe the availability of support services for every vulnerable student including those identifying as LGBTIQ is vital. We also believe the provision of a government approved anti-bullying program needs to consider all high risk student groups. To this end, The Salvation Army is open to working with State and Federal Governments and other agencies to develop a program that more comprehensively addresses the issues associated with bullying within schools.
We call on all Salvationists and the community at large to treat each other with respect and grace. Jesus said that after loving God, the second most important commandment is to love our neighbour as we love ourself. Everyone has the right to always feel safe and to be treated with respect and grace.
By JR on Friday, December 02, 2016
Another shriek about bleaching on the Great Barrier Reef
This is just a repetition of a story that has been going on for a year or more. Previous claims of this nature have been shown to be highly exaggereated so a repetition of the claims from the same people as before has no credibility.
I was born and bred in an area close to the reef and have been hearing cries of alarm about the reef for 50 years. But somehow the reef still seems to be there. It has always had episodes of retreat but coral is highly resilient and bounces back quite rapidly.
One thing we can be sure of is that the problems were not caused by anthropogenic global warming. Why? Because that theory says that warming is caused by increased levels of CO2 in the atmosphere. But the latest readings show NO increase in CO2 during 2015 and 2016
There WAS warming up until recently but that was caused by the El Nino weather cycle, not CO2. Once again we had the chronic Warmist problem that CO2 levels and temperatures do not correlate. Below is a picture of the El Nino effect on global temperatures. You see it peaked late last year and has been falling ever since. So if warmth was the cause of the reef problems, the reef should soon start to recover
Two-thirds of the corals in the northern part of the Great Barrier Reef have died in the reef’s worst-ever bleaching event, according to our latest underwater surveys.
On some reefs in the north, nearly all the corals have died. However the impact of bleaching eases as we move south, and reefs in the central and southern regions (around Cairns and Townsville and southwards) were much less affected, and are now recovering.
In 2015 and 2016, the hottest years on record, we have witnessed at first hand the threat posed by human-caused climate change to the world’s coral reefs.
Heat stress from record high summer temperatures damages the microscopic algae (zooxanthellae) that live in the tissues of corals, turning them white.
After they bleach, these stressed corals either slowly regain their zooxanthellae and colour as temperatures cool off, or else they die.
The Great Barrier Reef bleached severely for the first time in 1998, then in 2002, and now again in 2016. This year’s event was more extreme than the two previous mass bleachings.
Surveying the damage
We undertook extensive underwater surveys at the peak of bleaching in March and April, and again at the same sites in October and November. In the northern third of the Great Barrier Reef, we recorded an average (median) loss of 67% of coral cover on a large sample of 60 reefs.
The dieback of corals due to bleaching in just 8-9 months is the largest loss ever recorded for the Great Barrier Reef.
To put these losses in context, over the 27 years from 1985 to 2012, scientists from the Australian Institute of Marine Science measured the gradual loss of 51% of corals on the central and southern regions of the Great Barrier Reef.
They reported no change over this extended period in the amount of corals in the remote, northern region. Unfortunately, most of the losses in 2016 have occurred in this northern, most pristine part of the Great Barrier Reef.
The bleaching, and subsequent loss of corals, is very patchy. Our map shows clearly that coral death varies enormously from north to south along the 2,300km length of the Reef.
The southern third of the Reef did not experience severe heat stress in February and March. Consequently, only minor bleaching occurred, and we found no significant mortality in the south since then.
In the central section of the Reef, we measured widespread but moderate bleaching, which was comparably severe to the 1998 and 2002 events. On average, only 6% of coral cover was lost in the central region in 2016.
The remaining corals have now regained their vibrant colour. Many central reefs are in good condition, and they continue to recover from Severe Tropical Cyclones Hamish (in 2009) and Yasi (2011).
In the eastern Torres Strait and outermost ribbon reefs in the northernmost part of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park, we found a large swathe of reefs that escaped the most severe bleaching and mortality, compared to elsewhere in the north. Nonetheless, 26% of the shallow-water corals died.
We suspect that these reefs were partially protected from heat stress by strong currents and upwelling of cooler water across the edge of the continental shelf that slopes steeply into the Coral Sea.
For visitors, these surveys show there are still many reefs throughout the Marine Park that have abundant living coral, particularly in popular tourism locations in the central and southern regions, such as the Whitsundays and Cairns.
The northern third of the Great Barrier Reef, extending 700km from Port Douglas to Papua New Guinea, experienced the most severe bleaching and subsequent loss of corals.
On 25% of the worst affected reefs (the top quartile), losses of corals ranged from 83-99%. When mortality is this high, it affects even tougher species that normally survive bleaching.
However, even in this region, there are some silver linings. Bleaching and mortality decline with depth, and some sites and reefs had much better than average survival. A few corals are still bleached or mottled, particularly in the north, but the vast majority of survivors have regained their colour.
What will happen next?
The reef science and management community will continue to gather data on the bleaching event as it slowly unfolds. The initial stage focused on mapping the footprint of the event, and now we are analysing how many bleached corals died or recovered over the past 8-9 months.
Over the coming months and for the next year or two we expect to see longer-term impacts on northern corals, including higher levels of disease, slower growth rates and lower rates of reproduction. The process of recovery in the north – the replacement of dead corals by new ones – will be slow, at least 10-15 years, as long as local conditions such as water quality remain conducive to recovery.
As global temperatures continue to climb, time will tell how much recovery in the north is possible before a fourth mass bleaching event occurs.
By JR on Thursday, December 01, 2016
National Geographic asked photographers to show the impact of climate change
The idea that you could photograph climate change is a considerable absurdity so it should be no great surprise that the results embodied much absurdity.
And equally absurd is the idea that you can support a generalization -- which global warming is -- by selected cases of something. I used to be something of a photographer in my youth and I am quite confident that I could produce a series of shots to "illustrate" just about anything.
For instance, just about everyone seems to have heard that Australia is a "dry" continent. It is. Most of it is deserts. But just by wandering around the tropical areas where I was born and bred, I could produce photos of things in Australia that "prove" the opposite: Photos of lush greenery, big rivers, scenic waterfalls and images of dairy cows grazing lush green fields of long grass. Thus I could "prove" that Australia is NOT a dry country. In fact, however, such a procedure would in fact give precisely wrong results.
Given the feebleness of the presentation, I am not going to attempt to critique it all so I will advert briefly to the text underneath a picture of animals grazing at dusk.
Underneath the picture, the following text occurs:
"These animals have found the secret stash of the orange farmer who dumps the oranges that have fallen from his trees at least seven kilometers away from the orchards to control the breeding of the fruit fly. It is the end of a winter exacerbated by global warming, which makes the season longer and drier and the summer hotter with less rain in an already dry climate"
Which is complete nonsense. The scene is apparently from somewhere in South Africa and it may be that there was unusually low rainfall there recently. Rainfall varies. But the low rainfall was NOT due to global warming. Due to El Nino, there was indeed an unusually warm period globally in late 2015 and early 2016 but why should that cause less rain? Hot weather evaporates more water off the oceans and that comes down again as rain. Which is why the tropics are wetter than elsewhere. El Nino should have caused MORE rain, not less. Even the most basic physics seems to be unknown to most Warmists -- JR.
By JR on Wednesday, November 30, 2016
Feminist lack of reality-contact again
Clementine Ford has often appeared in the columns of the Sydney Boring Herald giving aggressively feminist opinions. Her aggression and anger is normal among Leftists but her feminism adds an additional mental health problem to her profile. She constantly denies that men and women are different -- except when women are superior, of course.
But, in denying such a large slice of reality as male/female differences she is, I would argue, a low-level schizophrenic. Denial of reality is the hallmark of schizophrenia. There are probably as many sorts of feminism as there are feminists but I would argue that the more extreme ones have a form of mental illness which is dangerous to vulnerable women who listen to them and take them seriously. It may be worth mentioning that feminist icon Kate Millett was in and out of mental hospitals for much of her life.
And Clemmie has just added more evidence of her poor reality contact. As Tim Blair notes, with links to her Twitter account: "According to Godwin’s Law record-breaker Clementine Ford, Donald Trump is “installing people who pledge support to Nazism.” Also according to Clem, Trump “just made a neo-Nazi his chief strategist”, and Trump “is giving jobs to neo-Nazis".
The chief strategist she is presumably referring to is Steve Bannon, a retired U.S. Navy sailor and merchant banker who is a very forceful conservative. And the American Left and media (but I repeat myself) are in something of a frenzy to discredit him. But they really have nothing to go on except for the scorn he heaps on them. There is an attempt here to use his own words to discredit him but it gets nowhere. It simply reveals that he thinks much the same as Trump and the Trumpians. Just proving that about him is horror enough to the Left, of course, but to anyone else what he says is just a newly legitimated expression of opinion. As did Reagan, Trump has bumped the Overton window rightwards and Bannon is now in that window.
But to the Left, everyone who opposes them and their ideas is a "racist" -- and that accusation is constantly flung at Bannon, spiced up a little by the related accusation that he is antisemitic. But where is the evidence for that? Once again, there is none, aside from one accusation from an embittered ex-wife. Read here just one of many refutations of the "racist" claim from people who know him personally, noting, for instance, that Bannon’s longtime personal assistant is an African American woman, and he has extended family members who are Jewish".
And Bannon has also been an forceful advocate for Israel. As a Jewish American news site put it: "He headed arguably the most pro-Israel media organization in the world, and oversaw an operation that went out of its way to expose and attack antisemitism at every turn".
That is the man Clemmie calls a Nazi.
I have not seen her byline on the SMH recently. Has she become too unbalanced even for the SMH management? She may have had something of a breakdown. She embarrassed herself a couple of weeks ago by accusing someone else of a slur that he did not utter but which she did! Maybe we have heard the last of her in the mainstream media.
By JR on Tuesday, November 29, 2016
Trump and the Overton window
The Overton window refers to the range of topics that is permitted to be discussed in polite society.
The article below is from Brian McNair, a professor of journalism at a minor Australian university. And, like all Leftist writing, what he leaves out makes a big difference. He is basically disrespectful of the Trump triumph, as are most Leftists. To spice up his argument, however, he rightly observes that Hitler came to power through regular democratic processes too. So he hints that Trump will be another Hitler.
Many Leftists just say Bush=Hitler, Trump=Hitler etc. without making any real argument for their assertions but Prof. McNair makes a lightly reasoned historical case for his comparison so I think that warrants a reply.
He rightly observes that Hitler too railed against the establishment and a remote elite that did not care about the people. But socialist politicians regularly rail against the establishment and a remote elite that does not care about the people. And Hitler was a socialist. The only oddity is that a semi-conservative like Trump did it. And the various socialist postwar governments worldwide have not become Hitler clones so why should Trump? Our bitter professor does not mention that. He ignores all the examples that contradict his argument.
And the differences between Hitler and Trump matter too. Hitler was undoubtedly one of the greatest warmongers the world has seen whereas Trump is a peacenik. He is on buddy terms with Mr Putin and wants to withdraw American troops abroad back home to America. In that regard he is a traditional American isolationist. It is Clinton who was rhetorically attacking Russia, not Trump. Hitler did talk peace at times but from his re-militarization of the Rhineland onwards he expanded the territorial reach of his armed forces -- unlike Trump's desire to pull back U.S. armed forces.
So it is just the usual Leftist cheap shot to compare Trump with Hitler. Just because two people have some similarities does not mean that they are the same. It is a foolish and empty argument.
The point of the article, however, is a recognition of something that has not much been discussed so far: Trump has shifted the Overton window rightwards. The success of Trump has made all his policy positions respectable. Before Trump, for instance, limiting Muslim immigration was "racist" to both the GOP and the Donks. The Leftists still say that but the Right no longer agree. They can now discuss the matter without being shut down. They can in fact not only discuss it but win elections by saying it. So both sides of the issue can now be discussed pretty freely, which was not previously the case
And our professor sees that shift in what journalists say and discuss. He sees that they now treat Trump's policy positions with more respect. They discuss them instead of simply abusing them. And THAT has got our professor riled. He calls the new normal "subjectivity" and yearns for the good old says when political correctness -- which he amusingly refers to as "objectivity" -- reigned supreme. He makes a plea for a return to it but is clearly despairing of that happening. He is right about that.
As the results of the 2016 election came in, the mainstream media in America and around the world demonstrated their inability to cope with the challenge of a president Trump within the conventional paradigms of journalistic objectivity, balance and fairness. Or, rather, to cope without normalising the most conspicuously overt racism, sexism, and proto-fascism ever seen in a serious candidate for president.
As street protests broke out in Portland, Oregon in the days after the election, for example, BBC World noted the police definition of the events as a “riot”, in response to what it coyly described as “some racist remarks” made by Donald Trump during his campaign.
A man whose comments were denounced even by his own party chief Paul Ryan as “textbook racism”, and whose references to “grabbing pussy”, “a nasty woman”, “Miss House Keeping” and other indicators of unabashed misogyny horrified millions in the US across the party spectrum, was now president.
For the BBC, henceforth, criticism of even the most outlandish and offensive remarks – when judged by the standards of recent decades – would be severely muted, if not excluded. Suddenly, rather can call a spade a spade in coverage of Trump’s hate-mongering campaign, his ascendancy to office had legitimised those views, and the process of normalisation had begun.
The mainstream media have largely followed suit in this approach to Trump’s victory, bestowing a new respectability on what before election day had been generally reported as absurdly offensive statements and policies. One can without too much imagination foresee Ku Klux Klan chief David Duke becoming an expert commentator on CNN or MSNBC (or at least on Fox News).
In News Corp outlets all over the world, from Sky News and The Australian here to Fox in the US, commentators and pundits were to the fore in constructing legitimacy around his policies, insofar as anyone really knows what they are.
This descent into normalisation of the hitherto unacceptable, occasioned by Trump’s democratically endowed seizure of political power as of November 8, is very similar to the rise of Hitler and the Nazis in 1930s Germany.
Hitler’s ascent, and all that came from it, was a product of free choices made in ballot boxes, and of free media coverage which moved to the extreme right with the ruling party.
Then, as now, a demagogic populist exploited perceptions of victimhood and “anti-elitism”, targeting ethnic and religious minorities as “the enemy”. No-one forced national socialism on the German people, or on their media, nor on the many Western media such as the Daily Mail in England that spoke out in his favour.
Post-November 8, the mainstream media have shown their inability to engage with the enormity of what is happening in Western and global politics within conventional paradigms of objectivity. Left to them, the slide into fascism will simply become another news story, another “he said, she said” performance of balance, legitimised by the fact that this is what democracy has delivered. No matter that in the 1930s the same obeisance led to the Holocaust.
This tendency is not the fault of the mainstream media, nor of their journalists, who are simply applying the professional codes and practices with which they have been raised. But they will need to do better.
For those in the media who wish to stem a slide into democratically legitimised fascism in the next four years – and similar processes are now unfolding in Europe, Australia and elsewhere – it is time to rethink the appropriate response of “objective” journalism to the post-factual politics of extreme subjectivity.
Pure Leftist hate
The rant below is remarkable. It says nothing at great length. There is no information of substance conveyed. It is presumably meant to be funny for a Leftist audience. It appeared in a Left-leaning major Australian newspaper. But underneath the slight veneer of humour, it is pure hate. The hate just poured out of the writer -- and kept pouring. I reproduce the whole thing so people can witness how much hate there is there. She no doubt feels pleased with herself for writing it but she clearly has "issues", as they say these days. I suspect that underneath an acceptable social facade, she is a generally hostile person -- JR
Of all the lunacies of the post-fact world, my favourite is the fiction being peddled that "left-wing elites" in the media and elsewhere revealed their horrendous bias by expressing dismay at the prospect of a Trump presidency.
Voicing some discomfort at the prospect of a pussy-grabbing protector-isolationalist becoming leader of the free world does not a left-wing loon make.
Any political candidate who has been endorsed by the Ku Klux Klan is leaving a lot of room out there on their left flank. You don't have to be Che Guevara to have inadvertently found yourself sitting in that space, desolate in the knowledge that the best you can do to stop the juggernaut is to un-follow The Donald on Twitter.
But progressive and free-thinking Trump first-responders (and since last week, we are all, from Senegal to Seattle, Trump first-responders) do have a problem with Melania Trump, first lady-elect, the woman ostensibly closest to the man but at the same time strangely incidental to him.
Melania – Slovenian immigrant, mother, and "perfect 10", to use the technical, Trumpian term – is either her husband's greatest victim or his worst enabler.
She is definitely an important source of what the white-coat doctors call "narcissistic supply", but she may also be that woman with a desperate look in her eyes madly trying to blink her way into communicating that she needs to escape this nightmare way more than we do.
Feminists are at a loss as to how to deal with Melania because it's generally uncool to mock blameless wives and mothers, and yet, this is a woman whose entire life appears predicated on the fact that she is hot. Which is not what Mary Wollstonecraft et al fought in the trenches for.
How do we solve a problem like Melania?
Images of Trump frankly spying on his wife as she cast her vote on November 8 were telling. Did he expect her to vote Democrat? Since winning the vote, otherwise disempowered women have used the privacy of the ballot box as a way to rebel secretly against their husbands, but poor Melania was not afforded this inalienable right.
Perhaps she wanted to put a nice big tick in the Hillary box but was forced to divert at the last minute when she felt her husband's reptilian eyes boring into her back.
Funnily enough, the next day the entire world woke up with that same feeling.
Feminists are at a loss as to how to deal with first lady Melania Trump. The little we do know about Melania has been communicated by mostly her husband. He began lobbying for her back in 2000 when she was his new girlfriend and he pestered the then editor of GQ, Dylan Jones, to feature her nude in his magazine.
More recently, Melania was the subject of a GQ profile that revealed she had a secret half-brother in Slovenia but told us precisely nothing about the kind of person she is. She spoke in cliches and revealed nothing of herself except for the fact that she sticks to her "role" and would never ask her husband to change a nappy or put their son to bed.
Trump says Melania will make an "unbelievable first lady".
The very title of "first lady" is bold confirmation of what many workplaces, and (dare I say it), society as a whole, have been slow to acknowledge – that men holding down serious jobs can do them properly only if they have a woman behind the scenes sponging up the detritus of daily life.
In the case of an average account manager, or a business owner, that means your wife pays the internet bill and makes sure the children's hair is sufficiently crazy for the school's annual "Crazy Hair Day" (or as it's known to one of my circle, "F---ing Crazy Hair Day").
Presidential wives probably have staff to take care of Crazy Hair Day, but they would have many other irritating and time-consuming help-meet tasks, like scheduling the secret service detail around school assembly, and arranging state dinner seating plans to minimise awkwardness between guests experiencing diplomatic conflict.
In Melania's case, seating arrangements will be further complicated by the fact that her husband is on record as being very gropey. Angela Merkel or Teresa May will want to watch their legs sub-table, particularly given Trump would probably deny any groping not on the facts, but on the justification that neither leader is a "10" so why would he bother?
First ladies are permitted, of course, to take up a few of their own causes, and Melania has said she will focus on the scourge of online bullying, prompting many to wonder aloud whether she had glanced at her own husband's Twitter account recently.
In the post-truth world it would not be surprising if Melania decides next week to take up the banner for victims of sexual assault, or become patron of the Council on American-Islamic Relations.
People will call her a hypocrite but perhaps, underneath the Barbie-doll bust and the mask-like features, she is trolling her husband in open cover.
It's the only place she has to hide.
Trump brings in the billionaires
The Democrats are going to pick at this and claim that Trump does not stand for the little guy after all. But the point is that Trump is bringing in high achievers, not inexperienced political hacks. He is bringing in people of known high competence who will get results.
And since they are already rich they are not doing it for the salary. And being already rich, they will be very hard to corrupt. This may be the least corrupt administration for a long time -- just what Trump promised.
And no-one can say that they did not know Trump had rich friends. He has long been one of the best known people in America -- and known to be a rich man who hobnobs with other rich people.
Donald Trump is used to being surrounded by rich people, but the squad of billionaires he is lining up to serve in his first cabinet is extraordinary even by his standards.
Hedge funders, heiresses, bankruptcy bankers and baseball barons are being tipped for top positions in the new administration, leading to deep concerns about conflicts of interest and the expectation of a bumpy ride when they face confirmation hearings in the Senate.
“Donald Trump said during the campaign that he doesn’t like hanging out with rich people,” said Larry Sabato, professor of politics at the University of Virginia. “We’re discovering that’s not really true. We’ve had wealthy people in almost every cabinet, but I don’t believe we’ve ever had so many.”
By JR on Sunday, November 27, 2016
Some matters arising from Trump's NYT interview
The Donald's Scottish golf course has been widely praised and Trump himself seems to feel a strong connection to it. But in his NYT interview Friedman hinted that sea-level rises might flood it. Would he want his golf cause to be flooded? From what I can see the course is well and truly above sea level so that claim would probably not fly but in case parts of it are a bit low, it would be nice if someone was on hand to draw Trump's attention to the official sea level information for Aberdeen. The Trump International Golf Links are just 10 miles North of Aberdeen.
The NOAA chart for Aberdeen is here. You will see from it that the sea level rise there averages out to about 3 inches per century and from about 1985 on there appears to be no trend at all. That should immunize Trump agains the usual leftist lies about the oceans rising.
In the same interview "Pinch" Sulzberger claimed that America has never had storms as bad as ones that hit recently. So perhaps this story could be mentioned:
The Great New England Hurricane of 1938
On September 21, 1938, one of the most destructive and powerful hurricanes in recorded history struck Long Island and Southern New England. The storm developed near the Cape Verde Islands on September 9, tracking across the Atlantic and up the Eastern Seaboard. The storm hit Long Island and Southern Connecticut on September 21, moving at a forward speed of 47 mph! Sustained hurricane force winds were felt across central and eastern Long Island and southeastern Connecticut. The hurricane produced a destructive storm surge flooding coastal communities as well as producing three to seven inches of rainfall.
Max Recorded Sustained Wind: 121 mph at Blue Hill Observatory, MA
Max Recorded Wind Gust: 186 mph at Blue Hill Observatory, MA
Highest Sustained Wind Measurement not Influenced by Terrain: 109 mph at Fishers Island, NY (Landsea et al 2013)
Lowest Observed Pressure: 27.94 in (946.2 mb) at Bellport, NY
Estimated Lowest Pressure: 27.79 in (941 mb) near Brentwood, NY as the wind and pressure centers were slightly displaced due to its fast speed and extra-tropical transition (Landsea et al. 2013, National Hurricane Center; Hurricane Research Division Re-Analysis Project)
Speed at landfall: 47 mph (Landsea et al. 2013, National Hurricane Center; Hurricane Research Division Re-Analysis Project)
Peak Storm Surge: 17 ft. above normal high tide (Rhode Island)
Peak Wave Height: 50 ft. at Gloucester, MA
Homeless: Approx. 63,000
Homes/Buildings Destroyed: Approx. 8,900
Trees Destroyed: Approx. 2 Billion
Boats Lost or Destroyed: Approx. 3,300
Cost: $620 million (1938 Dollars); Equivalent to approx. $41 billion using 2005 inflation, wealth, and population normalization then estimated to 2010 Dollars (Blake and Gibney 2011).
There isn't a 'silent majority' of racists in Australia
By Tim Soutphommasane, Race Discrimination Commissioner.
Tim's headline above is beyond dispute but he goes downhill from there. I have written previously about the Scanlon Foundation and its reports and what I have said previously still seems to apply.
Peter Scanlon was the man behind stevedoring business Patrick Corporation but he now seems to be mainly in shares and Real Estate.
This year's report has made a big issue over question wording. They know, I know and all survey researchers know that the wording of a question can greatly influence the answers. And by dwelling on that fact they apparently hope to obscure the reality that they are themselves great sinners in that regard.
Just to take a simple example from their survey, one of their questions is: "Marriage equality for same sex couples". They find that 66% of respondents say they support it. But the question is ludicrously biased. It is put in a way that argues for it. Were the question a straightforward "Homosexual marriage" they would undoubtedly get a very different percentage of approval. The Labor party certainly thinks so. That is why they strenuously resist a vote on the question. They know that a referendum on the question would be lost.
And the Scanlon questions about "refugees" are amusing too. One question asked for agreement with a statement seeking support for resettling ‘refugees who have been assessed overseas and found to be victims of persecution and in need of help'. A real tear-jerker! Unsurprisingly, two thirds of respondents agreed with that. I would have liked to ask for responses to "Most so-called refugees are really just economic immigrants in search of a country with generous welfare payments". I might have got two thirds agreement with that too.
So Tim is entitled to believe the Scanlon report but from my viewpoint as an experienced survey researcher it is basically rubbish. To believe their results you would have to show that they are similar to results that have been obtained by other researchers. And they themselves admit that their results are often very different. They say that the other researchers have bad research methods but I think it is more a case of Luke 6:42.
So when Tim says "An overwhelming majority of people (83 per cent) believe that multiculturalism is good for the country", we have to ask WHICH cultures do people see as beneficial? Muslim culture? Probably not. Scanlon doesn't ask that question. They don't want to know.
Having said all that there were nonetheless two points which even Scanlon picked up, two points that other surveys have found: Environmental issues are bottom of the barrel in importance for Australians and Australians are far more anti-Muslim than they are anti any other religion
These are challenging times for race relations. In the United States, just a fortnight after the election of Donald Trump, there are already numerous reports of hate attacks on the rise. A similar trend was reported earlier this year following the Brexit vote in Britain.
This is what happens when political debates normalise attacks on immigrants and foreigners. This is what happens when populist nationalism trumps the normal rules of liberal democracy.
Australia is not the US. Neither is it Europe. But we are not immune from racial anxiety and xenophobia. There remains a small minority of people in our society who are hostile towards cultural diversity and immigration. These are people who believe that an Australian national identity is under threat from cultural change.
It is important that we deal with such concerns, that we understand why people may feel that way. Yet, as the Scanlon Foundation's Mapping Social Cohesion report shows, we shouldn't overstate such cultural angst. Those who are uncomfortable about multiculturalism do not constitute some "silent majority". The political mainstream mustn't rush to conclude otherwise.
Here are some of the facts, according to the Scanlon Foundation. An overwhelming majority of people (83 per cent) believe that multiculturalism is good for the country. A clear majority of people (59 per cent) believed that current levels of immigration were either "about right' or 'too low".
Such results, consistent with the Scanlon Foundation's findings over the years, are the best indication we have of where Australian public opinion really lies. It is confirmation that Australia remains a successful and harmonious nation of immigration.
Of course, recent commentary has painted a different picture. For example, one Essential Media poll about Muslim immigration has been frequently cited to support the proposition that half of Australians want to ban Muslim immigration.
Such commentary has tended to ignore other evidence indicating far more robust support for a non-discriminatory immigration policy. In a previous survey, the Scanlon Foundation in fact found that three-quarters of the population supported immigration being conducted on non-discriminatory lines. This year, the Scanlon Foundation found that with respect to Australia taking in refugees from Syria, 69 per cent indicated that "there should be equal consideration to all religious and ethnic groups".
The lesson is this. Political debate must avoid jumping to conclusions based on single opinion polls – especially when polls need to be interpreted with care. The best polls are those that can show trends over time. On matters of social cohesion, the Scanlon Foundation's findings have been robust and reliable.
Which is why there are some findings in this year's survey that should give us pause. There has been an increase in the reported experience of discrimination, which rose from 15 per cent of respondents in 2015 to 20 per cent in 2016. This is the highest proportion recorded since the Scanlon Foundation surveys began in 2007. Those of a non-English speaking background reported the highest experience of discrimination (27 per cent).
There can be no complacency on prejudice and discrimination. It remains fundamentally important that our society sends an emphatic signal that racism is unacceptable.
Trump was so vague and contradictory during his campaigns -- first for the GOP nomination and then for Prez -- that one can argue that his recent "backdowns" are just his general vagueness and nothing new. His decision not to prosecute Hillary, however, is clearly a change. So why?
He has actually told us why. He wants to bring the nation together and for that reason he has been extremely conciliatory. He has been as nice as he can to everybody. And given the big guns in the media, the bureaucracy and the legal system he might see it as simply safer to lay off Hillary. Push the Donks to the wall and you never know what they will come up with. Bribes and threats to members of the electoral college? A cinch. And that is just the start.
And there are two general reasons for him to go easy:
1). He is a most experienced businessman and if you want the best result in business you have to do all that you reasonably can to keep people sweet. To be corny, you catch more flies with honey than with vinegar.
2). Nobody seems to be mentioning this but Trump is himself one of the establishment. He may not previously have stood for elective office but he knows most of the main players of old and has donated to some of their electoral campaigns. He is one of the best known people in America. He has long been a celebrity. His marriages and divorces have for decades been front-page news. There is a reason why he is known as "The Donald".
And that is gold. People WANT to know and be seen with a celebrity and Trump is a celebrity. He can hobnob with anybody he wants. He just has to buy them a flash dinner at one of his establishments and the flashbulbs will flash. And lots of people crave those flashes. And guess what? His beloved and devoted daughter Ivanka is close friends with whom? Chelsea Clinton. Would you want to put the mother of your beloved daughter's close friend in jail?
So I think it is clear why Hillary is off the hook. She was always going to be off the hook.
But what of his other backdowns? Obamacare and the Paris climate agreement? Again, as a good businessman he knows the value of compromise and he wants to be seen as fair. "winner takes all" just generates resentment. The way Obama and his minions pushed Obamacare through with out ANY GOP support is an example of where that approach leads. All the effort they put in to get it though now looks like being a complete waste -- a cancelled legacy. So Trump is looking for at least the appearance of compromise.
So what about Obamacare? He has a clear mandate to abolish it and a majority in both houses who are mad keen to do so. Any compromise he offers will therefore be greeted with relief. He can look like the generous man in the middle who reconciles two deeply opposed parties -- And he has already said that he likes some provisions of Obamacare.
So my prediction is that he will negotiate with both sides of Congress to gut Obamacare but leave enough remnants for both sides to feel that they have been heard and been given something. That should achieve what Obamacare could not: A health insurance system that has at least a degree of bipartisan support -- making it resistant to much in the way of future changes. Something as hard-fought as health insurance reform is going to leave people with little appetite for further battles over it. The new system is likely to win general acceptance as the best that can be done. Australia has arrived at that point after similar long battles.
So what could he do with the Paris agreement? There are two things
1). He could present it to the Senate for ratification, which is the legally correct thing to do. The U.S. Congress as a whole has the great distinction of being the only legislature in the world to have skeptics in the majority and the Senate would certainly not endorse the Paris agreement. It would thus lapse and Trump would not be to blame. That blame would fall on the shoulders of the Senate, and they have broad shoulders.
2). He could do nothing. He could accept the Paris agreement but just fail to enforce it. Any time some action is demanded of him he could just say things like: "America comes first in my administration and I am not going to hit the coal miners of West Virginia again. They have already suffered enough". He could, in other words, always find some higher priority than to worry about global warming. I think it is highly likely that he will do one of those two things, most likely the former.
So Trump's "backdowns" actually show his wisdom and experience. People took him for an aggressive and ignorant fool but behind his facade was a cool thinker. They made the same mistake with Ronald Reagan.
By JR on Friday, November 25, 2016
7 Ways Climate Change Is Impacting Your Life Right Now (Even If You Haven't Noticed Them)
Just the first part below of an intellectually impoverished article by BECCA SCHUH, a materially impoverished artist. Why are so many artists these days Leftist lamebrains? Is it because most artists have to be lamebrains to do what they do? Some pretty strange things pass as art these days
She references below the increasing frequency of hurricanes and storms but offers no statistics to back up her assertion that they are increasing. Official statistics show that the frequency of hurricanes has markedly DECLINED in recent years but what does that matter when you have got virtue on your side?
Typical Warmist crap. I could fisk the rest of her article but that would be unkind to dumb animals
By this point, you probably know that climate change is a very real and persistent threat to our future quality of life — a 2016 Gallup poll found that 64 percent of Americans described themselves as "worried a great deal" or "fair amount" about global warming; it also found that 41 percent of us felt global warming will become a "serious threat" to our lives or way of life, and only 10 percent of Americans believing that the effects of global warming will never make an impact in our lives. Despite all this, it can be hard to connect the scientific facts, or the news from far regions of the world, to our daily lives — but as people with power continue to deny the impact of climate change (exemplified by the news that President-elect Trump has picked climate change skeptic Myron Ebell to lead his EPA transition team), being aware of the real impact of climate change has become more important than ever. And we don't have to wait to see what that impact is — with each passing month, climate change affects more things about how we operate, from the minutiae of daily living to our long-term plans.
1. Hurricanes Are Increasingly Severe
Recently, Hurricane Matthew joined the ranks of recent hurricanes like Sandy and Katrina that reached new highs of catastrophe. Destructive hurricanes are not a new phenomenon in the Southeastern United States, and no individual hurricane can be directly attributed to climate change, but the increasing frequency and severity of these storms is directly correlated to global warming — as temperatures rise from the surplus of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, the ocean heats up, and warm tropical waters create more powerful hurricanes.
Scientists predict that global warming will also cause increased rainfall in the eye of hurricanes, which will increase flooding — which, in turn, creates some of the most drastic long term effects on daily life after a hurricane, from damaged roads to loss of property. For people who live in areas that are susceptible to hurricanes, this means a great deal of future planning for protecting assets and loved ones. However, Southern coastal states aren't the only ones that have to worry about the severe weather of climate change.
By JR on Thursday, November 24, 2016
How to deal with sexual harassment
The woman writing below seems unaware that males have always perceived some females as more attractive than others. And she seems equally unaware that they share their perceptions in various ways. And the females concerned will usually become aware in one way or another of how they are rated. That is all wrong according to the writer below.
It is true that many males are crude in conveying what they think but social skills too will always vary. But to see poorly-conveyed judgments as "harassment" is to legislate against nature. It is an attempt to suppress natural behavior.
Lessons at school in male/female communication might help everyone but to get upset by clumsy comments is simply maladaptive. It will help no-one. It should simply be seen as a reason to appreciate more polite approaches.
And unattractive women probably need to be apprised of what they are. There have always been great delusions among women about how desirable they are and that has been accentuated by Left-influenced educational principles which dictate that everyone should have prizes.
I remember years ago sitting in a cafe and listening to a conversation between two young women waitresses. One of them declared that she was waiting for "her millionaire". She was loud, short, fat, pimply, with short bleach-blonde hair. She was unusually unattractive. Yet she thought that she might be able to snare a millionaire! More realistic messages about her appearance might have helped her. If she lost weight, grew her hair and learned some speaking skills she would certainly have got closer to her goal. Truth is always the best in the long run, even if it upsets temporarily.
Women have always coped with crude approaches. What makes it difficult for them is people like the writer below who tell them to be upset and bothered by it
A RECENT STUDY by the American Association of University Women found that 58 percent of students in seventh through 12th grades have experienced some form of sexual harassment. When I mentioned this statistic to my freshman college students, they responded with a nonchalant, “Oh yeah, it happens all the time in high school.”
Recently, news broke that Harvard University’s men’s soccer team created a “scouting report,” rating physical attributes of members of the incoming freshman women’s soccer team. Now the Harvard men’s cross country team is being investigated for something similar.
But such conduct sometimes starts much earlier. A mother called me recently after finding out that the boys in her daughter’s 7th grade class had been posting inappropriate comments on Snapchat about the girls and rating their “hotness.”
It’s a cruel twist of fate that just as teens are dealing with the perils of puberty — growth spurts, breast development, acne, changing body shape, and self-consciousness — their appearance brings so much unwanted attention. For every girl who gets labeled a “10” by the boys, others are publicly deemed a “2.” Meanwhile, they are all being objectified.
One of the major tasks of adolescence is to develop an identity. An important question teens must ask themselves in this process is: What do I value about myself, and how will I use this understanding to move forward as an adult? Embarrassment, humiliation, and low self-esteem — all byproducts of sexual harassment — can have long-lasting effects on feelings of competence and confidence that can last a lifetime.
What to Believe and Do About Statin-Associated Adverse Effects
The Statin craze is a long way from dead yet but the medical establishment is gradually coming to terms with the bad side-effects of statin use. At one time they denied any bad side-effects. So the article excerpted below is interesting. It is particularly interesting for the two sentences I have highlighted below. Basically, medical researchers just didn't want to know about side-effects from their new wonder drug.
And they still don't. The summary below does not capture well, for instance, the mental effects of statins. These are widely reported by patients but are virtually dismissed below. Statins can give you Alzheimer-type symptoms so it is possible that the upsurge in Alzheimers in recent years is in fact misidentified statin use.
So the report below does serve as a warning but should be regarded as a minimal warning. The problems are undoubtedly greater than the author, Paul D. Thompson, acknowledges. Thompson is of course convinced that the benefits of Statins outweigh the problems but on my reading of the literature, that only applies to people who already have experienced heart problems: angina, stroke, heart attacks. Dosing up people with statins as a general preventive measure seems on my reading to be devoid of ANY benefit and likely to do harm. As another curent article in JAMA says: Statins for Primary Prevention; The Debate Is Intense, but the Data Are Weak
Possible statin-associated adverse effects include diabetes mellitus, hemorrhagic stroke, decreased cognition, tendon rupture, interstitial lung disease, as well as muscle-related symptoms.1 Statins increase the risk of diabetes consistent with the observation that low cholesterol levels increase diabetes risk.1 Although statins reduce total stroke, they increase the risk of hemorrhagic stroke consistent with the observation that low cholesterol levels are associated with an increase in hemorrhagic stroke.1 Statins appear to reduce or have no effect on cognitive decline.1 Tendinopathies and interstitial lung disease have possible mechanistic links to statins, but their association with statins is based solely on a small case series.1 The frequency of these possible drug-related complications is unknown but is low and outweighed by the vascular benefits of statins therapy.
Statin-associated muscle symptoms are the most frequent statin-related symptoms. Experts agree that statins can cause muscle symptoms with marked increases in creatine kinase (CK) levels, usually defined as 10 times the upper limits of normal because this has been observed in randomized clinical trials (RCTs) with an estimated occurrence of 1 additional case per 10 000 individuals treated each year.2 In addition, statins can cause a necrotizing myopathy with antibodies against hydroxyl-methyl-glutaryl Co-A reductase.1 This condition must be recognized promptly because it can lead to persistent myopathy. These patients present with muscle pain and weakness plus marked increases in CK levels that do not resolve with drug cessation. Statin-associated necrotizing myopathy is newly recognized and rare but may be more frequently diagnosed now that a commercial test for the antibody is available.
In contrast, there is considerable debate as to whether statins can produce milder symptoms such as myalgia, muscle cramps, or weakness with little or no increase in CK levels. Collins et al2 reviewed the possible adverse effects found in RCTs of statin therapy and concluded that statin-associated muscle symptoms without marked CK elevations do not exist or are extremely rare because they are not reported in the statin RCTs. These authors suggested that these symptoms may be inappropriately attributed to statins due in part to patients being warned of such possible adverse effects by their clinicians.
Most clinicians, however, are convinced that these symptoms exist and are caused by statins. The incidence of statin myalgia has been estimated at 10% from observational studies.1 The Effect of Statins on Skeletal Muscle Performance (STOMP) study is the only randomized, controlled double-blind study designed specifically to examine the effects of statins on skeletal muscle.3 The STOMP trial had predefined criteria for statin myalgia, which included onset of symptoms during treatment, persistence for 2 weeks, symptom resolution within 2 weeks of treatment cessation, and symptom reappearance within 4 week of restarting treatment. Nineteen of 203 patients treated with statins and 10 of 217 patients treated with placebo met the study definition of myalgia (9.4% vs 4.6%, P = .054). This finding did not reach statistical significance, but it indicates a 94.6% probability that statins were responsible for the symptoms. This result occurred even though the study participants were young (mean age, 44.1 years), healthy, and treated with statins for only 6 months. Creatine kinase values were not different between the 2 groups. These results not only suggest that the true incidence of statin myalgia is approximately 5% but also support the observation that approximately 10% of patients will report symptoms of myalgia. Collins et al2 reanalyzed the STOMP trial data after including 29 patients treated with atorvastatin and 10 with placebo who discontinued participation because of personal reasons, yielding a P value of .08 and used this finding to support their assertion that statins do not cause muscle symptoms without markedly increased CK levels.
Diagnosing true statin-associated muscle symptoms is difficult. In the Goal Achievement After Utilizing an Anti PCSK9 Antibody in Statin Intolerant Subjects (GAUSS-3) study,4 the presence of statin myalgia was determined by randomly assigning patients with presumed statin muscle symptoms to receive either 20 mg of atorvastatin or placebo each day for 10 weeks followed by a 2-week hiatus before crossover to the alternative treatment. Only 209 patients (42.6%) developed muscle symptoms during atorvastatin treatment. An additional 130 (26.5%) developed muscle symptoms during placebo-only treatment, 48 (9.6%) developed muscle symptoms during both treatments, and 85 (17.3%) did not develop symptoms during either treatment.
Other evidence supports the idea that statins can cause skeletal muscle symptoms without abnormal CK values. Muscle biopsies show differences in gene expression among patients with statin-associated muscle symptoms during statin treatment and compared them with asymptomatic controls.5 Statins also produce slight increases in average CK levels and augment the increase in CK observed after exercise.1 Rhabdomyolysis is more frequent in participants in RCTs who are receiving statins and have variants in the gene for solute carrier organic anion transporter family member 1B1 (SLCO1B1),2 which regulates hepatic statin uptake. The SLCO1B1 gene variants that reduce hepatic uptake allow more statin to escape the liver and enter the extra portal circulation and ultimately skeletal muscle. The SLCO1B1 variants are also associated with mild muscle adverse effects in study participants treated with statins.6
How could the statin RCTs miss detecting mild statin-related muscle adverse effects such as myalgia? By not asking. A review of 44 statin RCTs reveals that only 1 directly asked about muscle-related adverse effects.7 In the STOMP trial, investigators called patients twice monthly to ask specifically about muscle symptoms.
Do "Stand your Ground" laws increase deaths?
The academic journal article below says they do. As a retired man, I don't intend to make any attempt to replicate their findings so I am not going to critique their methods of analysis. I would however like to make two points about the study:
1). Who were the extra people who died? I think there was a fair chance that it was the bad guys -- home invaders etc. That was after all the intention of the law. So maybe the situation is cause to break out the champagne! Unsurprisingly, the study was silent on that question.
2). Why Florida? 23 States have such laws. Did the authors pick out Florida because a quick scan of the data showed a result in Florida that they liked? I wouldn't put it past them given the large current literature about crooked practices in science. But however we answer that, it is clear that no generalizations from the findings are possible. Florida could be the odd State out. We simply do not know.
Evaluating the Impact of Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” Self-defense Law on Homicide and Suicide by Firearm
David K. Humphreys et al.
Importance: In 2005, Florida amended its self-defense laws to provide legal immunity to individuals using lethal force in self-defense. The enactment of “stand your ground” laws in the United States has been controversial and their effect on rates of homicide and homicide by firearm is uncertain.
Objective: To estimate the impact of Florida’s stand your ground law on rates of homicide and homicide by firearm.
Design, Setting, and Participants: Using an interrupted time series design, we analyzed monthly rates of homicide and homicide by firearm in Florida between 1999 and 2014. Data were collected from the Wide-ranging Online Data for Epidemiologic Research (WONDER) web portal at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. We used seasonally adjusted segmented Poisson regression models to assess whether the onset of the law was associated with changes in the underlying trends for homicide and homicide by firearm in Florida. We also assessed the association using comparison states without stand your ground laws (New York, New Jersey, Ohio, and Virginia) and control outcomes (all suicides and suicides by firearm in Florida). October 1, 2005, the effective date of the law, was used to define homicides before and after the change.
Main Outcomes and Measures: Monthly rates of homicide, firearm-related homicide, suicide, and suicide by firearm in Florida and the 4 comparison states.
Results: Prior to the stand your ground law, the mean monthly homicide rate in Florida was 0.49 deaths per 100 000 (mean monthly count, 81.93), and the rate of homicide by firearm was 0.29 deaths per 100 000 (mean monthly count, 49.06). Both rates had an underlying trend of 0.1% decrease per month. After accounting for underlying trends, these results estimate that after the law took effect there was an abrupt and sustained increase in the monthly homicide rate of 24.4% (relative risk [RR], 1.24; 95%CI, 1.16-1.33) and in the rate of homicide by firearm of 31.6% (RR, 1.32; 95% CI, 1.21-1.44). No evidence of change was found in the analyses of comparison states for either homicide (RR, 1.06; 95% CI, 0.98-1.13) or homicide by firearm (RR, 1.08; 95% CI, 0.99-1.17). Furthermore, no changes were observed in control outcomes such as suicide (RR, 0.99; 95% CI, 0.94-1.05) and suicide by firearm (RR, 0.98; 95% CI, 0.91-1.06) in Florida between 2005 and 2014.
Conclusions and Relevance: The implementation of Florida’s stand your ground self-defense law was associated with a significant increase in homicides and homicides by firearm but no change in rates of suicide or suicide by firearm.
JAMA Intern Med. Published online November 14, 2016. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2016.6811
By JR on Tuesday, November 22, 2016
Trump is the Best Thing That Has Happened to Israel in Years
Leftists never hesitate to lie if that seems expedient. They have to lie. Reality is so hostile to their claims and ambitions. So the media are awash with unapologetic claims that Trump is a racist and sexist. They state those things without apology or explanation. They speak it as if it were incontrovertible and universally accepted. Yet any objective analysis show both claims to be quite false. Trump has treated women very well in his businesses and there is no doubt of his friendship to Israel.
Both Trump and I went to Presbyterian Sunday School as kids and, even though I am now an atheist, I cannot lose, nor do I want to lose, a feeling that Jerusalem is the holy city and that Israel is the God-given land of the Jews. Some feelings die hard and I strongly suspect that Trump has inherited similar feelings. You don't have to be a Jew to love Israel.
And the Left are not done lying when they talk about Trump. His supporters get traduced too. "Spengler", below takes on one such myth
The hysteria in the Establishment is astonishing: today's email blast from the usually staid Financial Times begins, "Donald Trump has chosen Reince Priebus, the establishment head of the Republican National Committee, as his chief of staff, while naming Steve Bannon — his campaign chair who ran Breitbart News, a website associated with the alt-right and white supremacists — as his chief strategist and counsellor."
To claim that Breitbart is associated with white supremacists is a despicable lie, but the FT feels compelled to say such things because polite opinion requires ritual anathemas of Trump. And the liberal Jewish website The Forward writes, "The reaction was quick and furious from Jews and anti-hate groups. The Anti-Defamation League, which stays out of partisan politics and vowed to seek to work with Trump after his election, denounced Bannon as 'hostile to American values.'" The Forward headline asks, "Will Steve Bannon bring anti-Semitism into Trump's inner circle?"
This again is a foul slander. I know Steve Bannon, and have had several long discussions with him about politics. I first met him when he approached me at a conference to tell me that he liked my writing, which is unabashedly Zionist. Steve is strongly pro-Israel, and it is utterly ridiculous to suggest that he is anti-Semitic.
The Establishment is floored and flummoxed. It doesn't understand what it did wrong, it doesn't understand why it has been evicted from power, and it can only explain its miserable situation as the consequence of an evil conspiracy. In short, the Establishment is having a paranoid tantrum, compounding its humiliation with a public meltdown. Sadly, that includes liberal Jews.
Trump's election is the best thing that has happened to Israel in many years. It eliminates the risk of a diplomatic stab in the back at the Security Council and sends a dire warning to Iran, the only real existential threat to the Jewish State. The security of the Jewish people in their homeland is vastly enhanced by the vote on November 8, and Jews everywhere should thank God that the head of state of the world's most powerful country is a friend of Israel with Jewish grandchildren. Instead of slanders, Jews should offer up prayers of Thanksgiving.
See also: The SPLC Calls Bannon A Bigot For Something Charlie Rangel Also Said
By JR on Monday, November 21, 2016
More dribble from the Australian Left
The author below, John Hewson, is known as the man who lost an "unlosable" election (in 1993). He stood then as a conservative party leader but over the last 23 years has drifted steadily Leftwards. His views now would be similar to those of Hillary Clinton, who also lost an "unlosable" election. He deplores Trump, of course.
The idea that Australians have a inferiority complex is an old slur supported by no representative psychological research that I know of. In my own research I found general population averages on a standard neuroticism measure to show no differences as between England, Australia and India. An inferiority complex would be associated with high levels of anxiety. So Hewson is just spouting a lot of conventional nonsense with no care about evidence.
The claim mainly seems to be supported only by the fact that Australians adopt a lot of ideas from overseas. But Australia has a population of only 24 million so it is absurd to expect that Australians would have all the good ideas in a world of 6 billion people. If anything, it shows that Australians are an open-minded people with no fears of the new.
And they don't need the example of Trump to make their decisions. There was a major anti-immigrant upset in the Australian Senate in July, long before the Trump triumph. In that upset, an anti-immigration party entered the Australian Federal parliament for the first time
Why is it that so much of our lives is dominated by America, from fast food to the immediate release of the latest TV program, to the latest Kardashian excess? It seems that we have a massive national insecurity and sense of inferiority – if it is "good" for America, it must be "good" for Australia. The 51st state?
In politics we have seen the worst of it lately as some of our political leaders have sought to draw on, and emulate, elements of the Donald Trump victory. Pauline Hanson and some marginal Liberals and Nationals gloated, while Bill Shorten sought to capitalise on the anti-immigration sentiment, claiming to "protect Australian workers and their jobs". We must avoid the "Trumpification of Australian politics".
The most disturbing feature, among many, of Trump's anti-establishment strategy is the nationalistic, isolationist, anti-immigration position and proposals.
The US has a significant problem with "undocumented immigrants", reportedly now some 11 million of them, that is easy to exploit in a political argument about jobs and "white" wages, even though these people have mostly done the "dirty, menial" jobs and contributed to the "wage restraint" that has allowed the US to quickly recapture its competitiveness with "cheap Chinese and other imports".
It is also easy to promote xenophobia, especially against Muslims and against a threat of terror.
Unfortunately, this anti-immigration "movement" was also the dominant reason for Britain's Brexit vote and is now sweeping much of Europe, driven by the mass migration from Syria, Iraq and North Africa that in the end could tear down the dream of a united Europe.
It is perhaps most conspicuous and effective in Germany, where the anti-immigration vote has been significant and determining in recent regional elections and will probably ensure the demise of Angela Merkel. Just pause to contemplate a Germany controlled by the "hard-line right conservatives" and the likely consequences for Germany, Europe and the Euro.
We should want none of this here in Australia. Without in any way seeking to play down the significance and richness of our Indigenous origins, heritage and remaining challenges, we are an immigrant nation, where immigration has been fundamental to our economic and social development and wellbeing.
I suggest our greatest post-WWII achievement is that we have built a very tolerant and effective multiracial, multireligious, multicultural society, in many respects the envy of the world. It is to be appreciated, protected and further developed – it remains a work in progress, which calls for a clear acceptance of our national interests, to be delivered collaboratively with understanding, sensitivity and commitment.
It is a process in which we all have a role to play, but it needs to be led from the top, by our political and community leaders.
In this context, the rhetoric of Shorten's attack this week on 457 visas, essentially claiming that these immigrants are taking our jobs when we have some 700,000 unemployed and as many as 1 million underemployed, was most divisive and irresponsible, especially with the echoes of Trump.
It was also hypocritical when these visas reached their peak under Shorten as employment minister, even recognising the circumstances of a mining boom. And it was inconsistent with his proposals for a lower "backpacker tax" on foreign youth workers than would be applied to Australian youth workers. All up just more cheap, short-term, opportunistic politics.
While it is also true that if we were drafting section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act today we may have used different words, this is not the time to be having that debate, or to be making changes, as it gives another platform for xenophobia, "hatespeak", bigotry and the like. It is not a first order issue right now, and risks considerable downside.
There has been much said this week about "listening", especially in the aftermath of the Nationals' demise in the Orange byelection. Yes, much of the success of the Trump anti-establishment message is because a succession of establishment presidents, and their administrations, ignored the electorate's mounting concerns as the "system" of government failed to respond, while often favouring a few vested interests.
Here, too, the system is seen to be failing many, especially as inequality grows. Yet our leaders also have a responsibility to lead in matters of genuine national interest, as hard as it may be at times to educate and advocate against populist sentiments. There are also important intergenerational and moral dimensions to this challenge.
If this nationalistic, anti-immigration movement is allowed to spread, it will risk global fragmentation, reversing much of the global development we have all shared in, while stranding some 65 million people who are now displaced globally.
By JR on Sunday, November 20, 2016
Must not find Mrs Obama unattractive
The ancient Romans had a saying: "De gustibus non disputandum est" -- translatable as "Concerning taste there can be no dispute". That tolerance apparently does not apply when commenting on Mrs Obama's looks. The negative judgment of two women below about Mrs Obama's looks has been vigorously disputed
But, like it or not, the de facto worldwide standard of female beauty is Nordic -- narrow faces, fine features, white skin, blue eyes and blonde hair. Even some Japanese ladies blond their hair. To black males, a white wife is a trophy. Mrs Obama has no Nordic attributes at all. If her skin were white she would be ugly. She has received acceptance for political reasons only
We may deplore the Nordic standard but saying that people should adopt other standards for females that they like to look at is pissing into the wind. It won't happen. It will have zero influence. Brown hair can be accepted in lieu of blonde but that is the only variation to the top standard.
I too will be glad to see Melania in the White House
TWO American women — a mayor and local business leader — are under pressure to resign over a racist post about First Lady Michelle Obama that has sparked a social media row.
Clay County Development Corp director Pamela Ramsey Taylor made the post following Donald Trump’s election as president, saying: “It will be refreshing to have a classy, beautiful, dignified First Lady in the White House. I’m tired of seeing a Ape in heels.”
Clay Mayor Beverly Whaling responded: “Just made my day Pam.” The post, first reported by WSAZ-TV, was shared hundreds of times on social media before it was deleted.
The Facebook pages of Taylor and Whaling couldn’t be found Monday. A call to the Clay County Development Corp. went unanswered and Whaling didn’t immediately return a telephone message.
An online petition has been launched, calling for Whaling and Taylor to be fired.
The petition titled ‘Terminate Clay County Mayor and County Development Corp Director For Calling Michelle Obama an “Ape in Heels”’, has had more than 33,000 online supporters so far.
The non-profit development group provides services to elderly and low-income residents in Clay County. It is funded through state and federal grants and local fees.
By JR on Saturday, November 19, 2016
Salvation Army Supports Safe Schools Initiative
The program is ostensibly an anti-bullying program but its far-Left authors expanded it way beyond that. It actually promotes homosexuality. From Karl Marx on, the far-Left have hated the family and this is yet another attack on it. Some of its features:
* Teaches girls to bind their chests so their breasts won't develop
* Encourages student cross-dressing
* Teaches kids gay and lesbian sexual techniques
* Encourages kids to use either boys’ or girls’ toilets
* Integrates gender theory and sexual themes across all subjects
I have on various occasions in the past donated to the Sallies. Because of their welfare work in wartime, military men tend to have a soft spot for the Sallies and I certainly have always thought well of them.
Anne, the lady in my life, used to sing with the Sallies on street corners when they still did that and I have always regarded that history as a great credit to her.
Time does however tend to corrupt organizations that started out as idealistic and it seems that the Sallies have drunk the Leftist Kool-Aid now. They are not who they were. They now support a program that valorizes homosexuality and devalues the traditional family.
Morgan Cox writes: "I just phoned the Salvation Army. They confirmed that they reviewed the "safe" schools program (the full unedited Victoria state version) and fully support it. I highlighted to them some of the reasons why as parents we hold grave concerns about the program. I was told that they feel sorry for me and my view. They think its a great program"
Until recently their front page said: "However, same-sex relationships which are genitally expressed are unacceptable according to the teaching of Scripture. Attempts to establish or promote such relationships as viable alternatives to heterosexually-based family life do not conform to God’s will for society."
The have always of course ministered to sexual deviants as being persons in need, but they have never until recently approved of homosexual practices. Like the Anglicans, they have now let go of Bible teaching and adopted a secular do-gooder philosophy. It will not end well. They will fade away as the Anglicans are fading away.
They will never again get a donation from me and I hope that others concerned for healthy families will follow suit. Politically, what they have done is asinine. Conservatives are the big charitable givers and they will now choke a lot of that off
Below is the Salvation Army press release.
The Salvation Army supports the Safe Schools Coalition Victoria in its initiative designed to reduce homophobic and transphobic behaviour and create safe learning environments for all students. The Salvation Army is concerned by the very high level of bullying, higher levels mental health issues and the highest rates of suicidality of any group in Australia for same-sex attracted and gender diverse young people. The Salvation Army’s Victoria State Council (VSC) has been aware of the negative claims about the Safe Schools program and its related materials but believes these to be unfounded.
Chair of VSC, Major Dr Geoff Webb says “Our social policy unit has reviewed the official teaching resources provided by the Safe Schools Coalition and the four official guidelines. It has also studied the independent review commissioned by the Australian government, together with other materials. None of the negative claims made about the program accurately reflect anything in the official materials reviewed.
“Provided schools adhere to official teaching resources and the official guidelines, there should be no issues with Safe Schools. We support the provision of safe learning environments for all students,” Webb says.
Dr Webb notes that a Federal Government independent review found that the four official guides are consistent with the aims of the program and are appropriate for use in schools. “Our findings are consistent with the government’s review,” Webb says, “and the resource All of Us is consistent with the aims of the program, is suitable, robust, age-appropriate, educationally sound and aligned with the Australian Curriculum.”
The Salvation Army in Victoria has welcomed the Andrews Government commitment of additional funding to ensure that every Victorian secondary school is involved in the Safe Schools programme by the end of 2018.