The article below is by Donald A. Brown, Associate Professor, Environmental Ethics, Science, and Law at Penn State University. He opens up speaking of climate skepticism as "a new kind of vicious crime against humanity" and then goes on to say that "This post is not meant to be a polemic but a call for serious engaged reflection". What a contradiction! What a confused soul!
Excerpt only below but nowhere in the article does he mention a single referenced scientific fact. It is all just the usual conspiracy theories and another tired and false old claim of a "consensus". Instead of an appeal to the facts, he appeals to the NYT!
This post examines the question of whether some US companies are guilty of a new kind of vicious crime against humanity that the world has yet to classify. This post is not meant to be a polemic but a call for serious engaged reflection about deeply irresponsible corporate-sponsored programs that have potentially profound harsh effects upon tens of millions of people living around the world, countless millions of future generations, and the ecological systems on which life depends.
II. Corporate Disinformation Campaign
Although there is an important role for skepticism in science, for almost thirty years some corporations have supported a disinformation campaign about climate change science that has been spreading untruths and distortions about climate science. Several recent books document how this disinformation campaign began in the1980s including a book by Orkeses and Conway, Merchants of Doubt.(Orkeskes and Conway, 2010)
Although it may be reasonable to be somewhat skeptical about climate change models, some corporate sponsored participants in the climate change disinformation campaign have been spreading deeply misleading distortions about the science of climate change. These untruths are not based upon reasonable skepticism but outright falsification and distortions of climate change science. These claims have included assertions that that the science of climate change that is the foundation for calls to action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions have been completely "debunked" and that there is no evidence of human causation of recent observed warming. Reasonable skepticism cannot make these claims or others frequently being made by the well-financed climate change disinformation campaign.
Given that there are thousands of peer-reviewed scientific studies that support the consensus view on the dangers of continuing to emit increasing levels of greenhouse gases, that Academy of Sciences around the world have issued statements in support of the consensus view articulated by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change , there are virtually no peer-reviewed scientific articles that prove beyond reasonable doubt that observed warming is naturally caused, that there are a huge number of attribution, fingerprinting, and analyses of isotopes of greenhouse gases that are appearing in the atmosphere that point to human causation, that the basic physics of exactly what happens when greenhouse gases are added to the atmosphere in terms of absorbing and reradiating heat has been understood for over 150 years, claims that the science of climate change have been completely "debunked" and that there is no evidence of human causation are patently false. These claims do not represent reasonable skepticism but utter distortion about a body of evidence that the world needs to understand to protect itself from huge potential harms....
The October 21rst New York Times article concludes that the oil, coal and utility industries have collectively spent $500 million just since the beginning of 2009 to lobby against legislation to address climate change and to defeat candidates who support actions to reduce the threat of climate change. It would be one thing for an American corporation to act irresponsibly in a way that leads to harm to Americans, but because of climate change's global scope, American corporation's have been involved in behavior that likely will harm tens of millions of people around the world. Clearly this is a new type of crime against humanity. Skepticism in science is not bad, but skeptics must play by the rules of science including publishing their conclusions in peer-reviewed scientific journals and not make claims that are not substantiated by the peer-reviewed literature. The need for responsible skepticism is particularly urgent if misinformation from skeptics could lead to great harm. For this reason, this disinformation campaign being funded by some American corporations is some kind of new crime against humanity.
An earlier post on the confused mind of Prof. Brown here.
To get to be a professor he must have some modicum of intellegence so his confusion and abusive writing suggests that he is simply blinded by hate of the world about him
SUSPENDED sentences could be scrapped by the State Government because of concerns courts allow too many serious offenders to escape jail. Attorney-General John Hatzistergos has ordered a review of suspended sentences after the number handed out by judges and magistrates tripled over the past decade.
More than 6400 criminals convicted of assault, robbery and drug dealing last year received suspended sentences, in which a jail term is deferred on the condition there is no re-offending. The Government is looking to follow the lead of Victoria where the sentencing option is being abolished for all but the most serious of crimes.
The review will be carried out by the NSW Sentencing Council. It will be headed by council chair Jerrold Cripps, QC with advice from Justice James Wood, Director of Public Prosecutions Nicholas Cowdery, NSW Corrective Services Commissioner Ron Woodham and police Assistant Commissioner David Hudson.Mr Hatzistergos said suspended sentences were designed to denote the seriousness of the offence while giving offenders the chance to rehabilitate in the community.
"This review will determine whether suspended sentences are meeting these objectives," he said. "It will also examine the use of suspended sentences for offenders who would have otherwise been given a bond.
"Importantly, it will consider the views of victims of crime, for whom a suspended sentence can be a confusing outcome when they are expecting the offender to go to jail."Suspended sentences can be issued by the courts to people convicted of crimes that carry sentences of up to two years.
But evidence shows that instead of being issued as an alternative to jail, they are being handed down in place of periodic detention and community services.
Figures from the NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research (BOCSAR) show 5983 suspended sentences were handed down in the lower courts last year and 489 in the higher courts. Eleven people convicted of manslaughter and driving causing death were given suspended sentences. They were also handed down to 113 people convicted of sexual assault, eight who were involved in kidnapping, 334 for burglary, 301 for importing or exporting drugs and 1644 for traffic offences.
In about half the cases, offenders walked free from court without supervision orders.
Suspended sentences were scrapped in the mid-1970s but reintroduced under Bob Carr in 2000. Critics of the sentencing option claim suspended sentences were designed for "middle-class offenders" as the conditions simply required those being handed them to obey the law, as required by the rest of the community.
Victims of Crime Assistance League vice-president Howard Brown said suspended sentences had been handed out inconsistently by the courts and should not be given to perpetrators of violent crime. "There is a place for them, but they've been given inconsistently," Mr Brown said.
Little Rock, Arkansas (Where have I heard of that place before?) had, until just recently, a very naughty school board member named Clint McCance:
"In a Facebook posting, McCance scoffed at a campaign asking supporters to wear purple Oct. 20 to show solidarity after several gay and lesbian youths killed themselves, reportedly because of bullying.
"Seriously they want me to wear purple because five queers killed themselves," McCance wrote. "The only way im wearin it for them is if they all commit suicide. I cant believe the people of this world have gotten this stupid. We are honoring the fact that they sinned and killed thereselves because of their sin."
In a follow-up response to Facebook users who criticized his comments, McCance wrote that he liked that gay people "can't procreate (and) I also enjoy the fact that they often give each other AIDS and die."
McCance told CNN he and his family had received "thousands of phone calls and hate mail" and that he had sent his family out of the state to protect them.
Leftists sure know how to show tolerance of different views
Barack Obama is a pragmatist, James Kloppenberg tells the New York Times. No, he doesn't mean Obama is practical-minded; no one thinks that anymore. In fact, Kloppenberg, a Harvard historian, disparages the "vulgar pragmatism" of Bill Clinton while praising Obama's "philosophical pragmatism":
It is a philosophy that grew up after Darwin published his theory of evolution and the Civil War reached its bloody end. More and more people were coming to believe that chance rather than providence guided human affairs, and that dogged certainty led to violence.
Pragmatism maintains that people are constantly devising and updating ideas to navigate the world in which they live; it embraces open-minded experimentation and continuing debate. "It is a philosophy for skeptics, not true believers," Mr. Kloppenberg said.
Kloppenberg has a new book coming out, "Reading Obama: Dreams, Hopes and the American Political Tradition." According to the Times, Kloppenberg "sees Mr. Obama as a kind of philosopher president," a "true intellectual." Such philosophers are a "rare breed": the Adamses, Jefferson, Madison, Lincoln, Wilson and now Obama.
"Imagine the Republicans driving the economy into a ditch," the philosopher president said the other day. "And it's a deep ditch. It's a big ditch. And somehow they walked away from the accident, and we put on our boots and we rappelled down into the ditch--me and Jack and Sheldon and Jim and Patrick. We've been pushing, pushing, trying to get that car out of the ditch. And meanwhile, the Republicans are standing there, sipping on a Slurpee." John Dewey had nothing on this guy!
If the president does not seem to be the intellectual heavyweight Kloppenberg makes him out to be, the Harvard historian has an explanation: Obama is a sort of secret-agent philosopher. "He would have had to deny every word," Kloppenberg tells the Times, which helpfully explains that "intellectual" is "a word that is frequently considered an epithet among populists with a robust suspicion of Ivy League elites."
When Sarah Palin called Obama a "professor," some professors accused her of racism. What she really meant, they claimed, was "uppity." Kloppenberg's similar characterization, however, draws a quite different response:
Those who heard Mr. Kloppenberg present his argument at a conference on intellectual history at the City University of New York's Graduate Center responded with prolonged applause. "The way he traced Obama's intellectual influences was fascinating for us, given that Obama's academic background seems so similar to ours," said Andrew Hartman, a historian at Illinois State University who helped organize the conference.
One assumes that Andrew Hartman is a serious scholar, although one doesn't know for sure because one has never heard of him. Barack Obama, by contrast, is a scholarly dilettante, a professional politician who has moonlighted as a university instructor.
Yet Hartman's remark about Obama's "academic background" is revealing. Professors imagine Obama is one of them because he shares their attitudes: their politically correct opinions, their condescending view of ordinary Americans, their belief in their own authority as an intellectual elite. He is the ideal product of the homogeneous world of contemporary academia. In his importance, they see a reflection of their self-importance.
Kloppenberg's thesis reminds us of another elaborate attempt at explaining Obama: Dinesh D'Souza's "The Roots of Obama's Rage." D'Souza, like Kloppenberg, imputes to Obama a coherent philosophy, in D'Souza's case "anticolonialism." It is a needlessly elaborate explanation for an unremarkable set of facts.
Occam's razor suggests that Obama is a mere conformist--someone who absorbed every left-wing platitude he encountered in college and never seems to have seriously questioned any of them. Kloppenberg characterizes Obama as a skeptic, not a true believer. We're not sure he has an active enough mind to be either one.
The article below is just opinion. The plain fact is that advanced mathematics is HARD. You have to be very bright to do it at university level. And there are many more men than women in that super-bright range. That fact is mentioned below but glided over subsequently
The question of why women are so underrepresented in math-intensive fields is a controversial one. In 2005, Lawrence Summers, then president of Harvard University, set off a storm of controversy when he suggested it could be due partly to innate differences in ability; others have suggested discrimination or socialization is more to blame. Two psychological scientists have reviewed all of the evidence and concluded that the main factor is women's choices -- both freely made, such as that they'd rather study biology than math, and constrained, such as the fact that the difficult first years as a professor coincide with the time when many women are having children.
Psychological scientists Stephen Ceci and Wendy Williams of Cornell University set out to understand the differences between men and women in math-intensive fields such as physics, electrical engineering, computer science, economics, and chemistry. In the top 100 U.S. universities, only 9% to 16% of tenure-track positions in these kinds of fields are held by women.
But girls' grades in math from grade school through college are as good as or better than boys', and women and men earn comparable average scores on standardized math tests. However, twice as many men as women score in the top 1% on tests such as the SAT-M. Clearly, the picture is complex, Ceci and Williams decided. Their analysis and conclusions appear in Current Directions in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science.
Williams and Ceci also reviewed research on sex discrimination and decided that it is no longer a major factor. In fact, one large-scale national study found that women are actually slightly more likely than men to be invited to interview for and to be offered tenure-track jobs in math-intensive STEM fields.
Instead, Williams and Ceci think the problem is that women actually choose not to go into math-heavy fields, or drop out once they have started. "When you look at surveys of adolescent boys and girls and you say to them, 'What do you want to be when you grow up,' you never see girls saying, 'I want to be a physicist or an engineer,'" Ceci says. That doesn't mean they're rejecting science, but they're more likely to want to be physicians or veterinarians.
And those preferences persist. Studies of college students find that women are more interested in organic and social fields, while men are more interested in systematizing things. And indeed, more than half of new medical doctors and biologists are women today -- and in veterinary medicine, women are more than 75% of new graduates.
Also, women drop out of mathematics-heavy careers paths. Almost half of undergraduate math majors in the U.S. are women. A smaller percentage of women go into graduate school in math, and in 2006, women earned 29.6% of math PhDs. Women are also more likely to drop out after they start a job as a professor, often because they are unable to balance childcare with the huge workload required to get tenure. Young male professors are more likely than their female counterparts to have a stay-at-home spouse or partner who takes care of children.
"You don't see nearly as many men with doctorates in physics saying, 'I won't apply for a tenure-track position because my partner wants to practice environmental law in Wyoming and I'm going to follow her there and help take care of the kids,'" Williams says. Fair or not, women are more likely to prioritize family needs. "I don't think we should try to persuade a woman who's going to be a physician, veterinarian, or biologist to instead be a computer scientist."
On the other hand, women shouldn't have to drop out because the tenure schedule conflicts with their fertility schedule. "Universities can and should do a lot more for women and for those men engaged in comparably-intensive caretaking," says Williams. Coming up with alternative schedules for parents of young children who are seeking tenure, for example, or finding other ways to ease the burden on parents or young children, could help women stay in academic careers -- and not only in math-intensive fields.
SOURCE. Journal article here.
Why were liberals were so insanely paranoid about the alleged nefarious activities of President George W. Bush? Projection, anyone? They were mortified at Bush's alleged encroachment on our individual liberties, but now that they're in control, we see where liberty ranks on their list of priorities.
We've always known that the term "liberal," in modern parlance, is an oxymoron. Today's liberals are the exact opposite of the classical liberals of yesteryear, who actually believed in limited government and free markets.
Liberals have been seducing Americans out of their liberties for decades with false promises of security. Prior to Obama, we were on a slow march toward statism, but now we are on a rapid gallop.
That's mostly what next week's congressional elections will be about. Ordinary Americans are horrified and outraged that Obama and his enablers in Congress are fundamentally transforming America from a beacon of liberty to a bankrupt socialist state. They are outraged that this elite bunch of officious intermeddlers are waging all-out war against our social compact. Americans want America back.
This nation was founded as a constitutional republic, with the people electing representatives to serve on their behalf and tend to the proper functions of government but ultimately retaining sovereignty.
Most Americans are sophisticated enough to understand that we don't have a pure democracy and that we can't conduct government by daily polls or plebiscites. But they also don't expect that their wishes will be ridiculed, summarily rejected and spat upon by a sneering, disdainful autocracy.
President Obama and his henchmen are in the process of undermining the social compact in a number of ways. They are acting outside their constitutional authority, in defiance of the rule of law, to achieve political ends they -- not the public -- desire. They are ignoring the express will of the people and treating them like ill-informed rubes whose opinions aren't worthy of serious consideration, only phony placation. They are implementing a policy agenda that is substantively depriving us of our liberties across the board.
It's not for shock value that conservatives accuse Obama's band of being socialists. It's because there appears to be no limit to their appetite for gobbling up power and swallowing our individual liberties.
It's not just about power, either. They are imbued with a disturbing degree of moral superiority. They believe they have the right -- even the duty -- to tell us how we ought to live our lives because they know better than we do what is good for us. And they talk to us about Christian scolds!
This attitude underlies their views, from the seemingly least significant to the most pressing issues. Their czars and administrative dictators tell us that they are going to coerce us out of our cars and onto biking trails and walkways. They are giving people's hard-earned money away to other people to keep those other people in houses they can't afford, only to result in those others being unable to pay their mortgages and still losing their homes.
They are re-expanding the welfare state, increasing people's dependency on government, even though welfare reform was producing dramatically positive results while weaning people off the government teat. It's not results that matter; it's only the intermeddlers' professed good intentions. But how can good intentions any longer be fairly attributed to them, when the results of their policies are so uniformly disastrous, from the war on poverty to welfare to Social Security to, now, health care? And yes, I meant to include Social Security, because in its existing form, it is a complete hoax -- entirely unfunded because its revenues have been hijacked from the beginning by immoral, irresponsible politicians unwilling to make government live within its means. These same politicians still refuse to reform it toward solvency, preferring fear and demagoguery to the hard truth.
People are very anxious about the depressed economy, to be sure, but they are outraged at Obama and Congress' deliberately bankrupt spending in the fraudulent name of repairing the economy; they are incensed at this immoral larceny against them and future generations of Americans to satisfy professor Obama's quixotic experiment in socialist economic theories. And they are mortified that these reckless knuckleheads are wrecking the best health care system in the world under false pretenses -- from promising more choice and coverage, when there will be less of both, to reduced costs, when costs are already beginning to explode.
America, its founding principles, its Constitution, its robust liberty tradition and its strength are being stolen out from under us by a man who has no appreciation for America's greatness and who has contempt for ordinary Americans (we're "enemies"), whom he considers beneath him and unworthy of their sovereign prerogative to preserve this nation.
The people have had enough. Consequently, absent unimaginable, comprehensive voter fraud next week, we're going to see an unprecedented housecleaning.
ONE of Japan's richest men has labelled Australia's $43 billion National Broadband Network a stupid waste of taxpayers' money. Masayoshi Son, who heads Japanese internet and mobile giant Softbank and counts Apple's Steve Jobs and Microsoft's Bill Gates among his friends, attacked the Gillard government's signature project yesterday.
Quizzed about the NBN by The Weekend Australian after delivering a speech in Tokyo, Mr Son said it was completely unnecessary to spend so much taxpayers' money. "It's a waste; it's a stupid solution," he said. "Without using taxpayers' money you can get 21st-century infrastructure."
Mr Son had just finished delivering his own vision of how to deliver fibre-to-the-home connections throughout Japan without any taxpayer contribution. He claimed that his solution, recently put to Prime Minister Naoto Kan and several members of his cabinet, would deliver basic fibre connections for just 1150 yen ($15) a month, far cheaper than what is envisaged under the NBN. That is also far cheaper than the current typical monthly price of Y5000 ($63) for cable in Japan.
Mr Son's proposal involves splitting the part-government-owned NTT into telco services and fibre network businesses and rolling out cable to all homes within five years. Softbank and fellow carrier KDDI would fold their fibre cable infrastructure into the merged network business, which would then be 40 per cent owned by the government and 60 per cent by NTT, Softbank and KDDI.
Mr Son said that a one-time rollout of fibre -- similar to the NBN proposal -- would cost just one-third as much as cabling individual homes on an on-demand basis. "My advice is forget about the demand basis installation, just do it with a plan. Replace whole cities: this month Hiroshima City, next month another city, and so on," he said. "Replace entire cities with a plan and remove metal and replace with fibre. That way the installation cost is one-third and the installation speed is much quicker."
He believes that no new capital investment would be required from taxpayers and that the network business would soon become profitable because of lower maintenance costs stemming from the replacement of the decaying copper network. "After five years it (the network business) would generate very profitable free cash flow. If that company generates profitable free cash flow over the next 20 years, then it can get all the money from banks, not depending on taxpayers' money.
In a speech at the Foreign Correspondents' Club of Japan, he acknowledged Softbank would benefit from the plan, but said so would the country and potentially the world.
Mr Son said that while Australia faced obvious technical challenges in terms of distances and sparse population, Japan's mountainous terrain and thousands of islands posed challenges, too.
According to a most intrusive and misguided piece of strata legislation, occupants in NSW units apparently do not have the right to install a security chain on their front doors, irrespective of need. This is to ensure that, in the unlikely event of a fire, residents do not have trouble with the simple task of slipping the chain off the latch. A deadlock, however, with its confusing and complicated mechanisms and the need for an easily misplaced key, is apparently quite safe. Huh?
This is yet another example of the nanny state and illogical bureaucracy intruding into so many areas of our lives. Fire prevention and safety laws are valuable, and undoubtedly have a place in society, but restricting the right of individuals to secure their home against intruders is a ridiculous and unnecessary bureaucratic invasion.
The destruction of Australian civil liberties might not yet rage with the intensity of a burning building, but is nonetheless quietly smouldering away. So what can we do about it?
On the other side of the world, in a heartening admission of the massive problems the United Kingdom faces with state interventionism and bossy-booting, a community consultation was launched in July by the David Cameron/Nick Clegg coalition. The initiative Your Freedom invites Britons to suggest which aspects of their lives are being restricted by government and which laws or regulations need amending or tossing onto a bonfire. Cynicism about PR campaigning aside, the idea has merit.
Freedom of speech, freedom to organise, and freedom to act are all fundamental human rights, but ones that must constantly be fought for even in democratic societies. Isn’t it time we shouted ‘fire!’ in the crowded cinema of Australian civil life?
What illiberal laws should Australia remove? What individual rights and liberties have we restricted in the name of security or political correctness? In this age of terrorism and global economic uncertainty, do we value the illusion of safety and ‘benevolent’ pseudo-parental concern more than our freedom?
The above is a press release from the Centre for Independent Studies, dated October 29. Enquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org. Snail mail: PO Box 92, St Leonards, NSW, Australia 1590.
Many of the more extreme libertarians have an "open borders" philosophy
"This is the very ugly, very racist tirade of Sharron Angle the so-called Tea Party candidate in Nevada. Any libertarian who is still defending this disgusting movement has either not been paying attention or is brain dead. The Tea Party is anti-liberty. They are bigoted against immigrants and gays and are actually worse on social liberty than your normal Republican. Surveys show that the Tea Party is mainly the most reactionary element of the Republican Party.
Angle, who is also a staunch anti-gay bigot, of course, claims that "waves" of Mexicans are coming to America. Actually immigration flows are way down because these people came looking for jobs and when jobs dry up they go back. But in Angle's fevered, bigoted, little brain these people are not coming to America for work but for the explicit purpose of "joining violent gangs, forcing families to live in fear."
The argumentation by the libertarian above is VERY weak. It is true that the rate of illegal immigration varies but that is not to stay that it stops. Whether the "wave" is large or small, there still are such waves coming in.
As testimony to how weak his argument is, the writer erects a straw man. According to him the advertisement claims that illegals are coming for "the explicit purpose" of joining gangs. Nowhere in the advertisement does it say that. It just lists gang joining as one of the things that they do. And there are indeed many illegal immigrant gang members whom America could well do without.
And NOWHERE does the author offer any evidence of a racist motive. It is just a smear.
Some libertarians can be as fanatical and doctrinaire as any Leftist. It's sad when you have an ideology to defend. Conservatives just go with reality so don't need to lie. And reality never justifies unfettered liberty.
My heading above is tendentious but so are the interpretations offered in the article following these introductory comments.
I have been pointing out for years that genetics largely determines politics -- on the basis of twin study evidence. And James Fowler, co-author of the academic article summarized below, has previously confirmed in 2007 how powerful is the genetic effect on politics revealed in twin studies.
But the mechanism behind the relationship has remained conjectural. The evidence below, however, suggests that there is a gullibility or suggestibility gene -- so people with that gene who also mix a lot with young people tend to adopt the politics of the young. Because they have yet to learn how complex the world really is, young people do tend Left -- the Left being the home of simplistic ideas
The full academic article can be read here or here. The title of the article is "Friendships Moderate an Association between a Dopamine Gene Variant and Political Ideology". Note that this is a study of young adults only so whether the effect lasts into later life remains, again, conjectural. Given the normal movement from Left to Right that most people undergo as they age, the effect of whom you associate with in your youth could well be a transient one
The article also identifies the gene concerned as leading to novelty seeking and my research has shown that Leftists tend to be sensation-seekers. So change for change's sake would seem to be part of what drives Leftism -- JR
Researchers have for the first time identified a gene that they say can influence political outlook.
Past studies had found that political views have a genetic component, but hadn't pointed out actual genes involved. The new research from the University of California and Harvard University indicates that a variant of a gene called DRD4 makes people more likely to be liberal, if they also had many friends as tenenagers.
DRD4 codes for the production of molecular structures in the brain that facilitates transmission of the chemical dopamine among brain cells. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter, or a brain signaling chemical.
Appearing in the current edition of The Journal of Politics, the research focused on 2,000 subjects from The National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health, a federally funded U.S. project that surveyed health in relation to a range of behaviors. By matching genetic information with maps of the subjects' social networks, the researchers found that people with a specific variant of DRD4 were more likely to be liberal as adults, but only if they had an active social life in adolescence.
Dopamine is a messenger chemical affecting processes that control movement, emotional response, and ability to experience pleasure and pain. DRD4 codes for the production of a receptor, or molecular gateway, that regulates dopamine transmission.
Previous research has identified a connection between a variant of DRD4 and novelty-seeking behavior. This behavior has previously been associated with personality traits related to political liberalism, the investigators noted.
Lead researcher James H. Fowler of University of California, San Diego and colleagues hypothesized that people with the noveltyseeking gene variant would be more interested in learning about their friends' points of view. Thus, they might be exposed to a wider variety of social norms and lifestyles, which could foster a liberal viewpoint.
It's "the crucial interaction of two factors the genetic predisposition and the environmental condition of having many friends in adolescence that is associated with being more liberal," the investigators wrote, adding that this held true regardless of ethnicity, culture, sex or age.
Fowler said he hopes "more scholars will begin to explore the potential interaction of biology and environment." He added that he would like to see scientists try to replicate the findings "in different populations and age groups."
LOOK left, look right, then watch for the shoe from the left. John Howard was entitled to throw his shoes with gusto at the leftist fanatic Q & A shoe-thrower. The fact Howard laughed off the bitter, violent stunt underlies the moral gulf between most conservatives and the hypocritical Left, who self-select when it comes to occupying seats at the hopelessly biased ABC studios.
Without knowing it, I've been doing a wide-ranging social experiment on this exact issue during the past few years. It turns out that the supposedly warm and fuzzy Left is anything but that. Intoxicated by self-righteous irrelevance it has developed an addiction to anger pills and suffers from a hyperventilation disorder.
Before I disclose my data nailing the Left, first a little bit about how I acquired it. I regularly make wide-ranging comments that conflict with policies of the Left and Right. I'm apolitical; the policies of Labor and Liberal are so similar to make the debate almost irrelevant. Most of my writing is informed by one underlying principle. It's called utilitarianism. It is the theory that when you are faced with a moral or political choice you should make the decision that will maximise human flourishing, where each person's interest counts equally.
The Left doesn't like me because I'm a fan of tough counter-terrorism laws and harsher sentences for sex and violent offenders. I also oppose euthanasia, abortion and dispute the desperate need for a reduction in greenhouse gases. I often upset the Right because I push for gay marriages, animal rights, no tax for the poor and mega taxes for the rich, multiculturalism and tolerance towards Muslim values.
So what is the conclusive evidence I have that shows the Left has mutated into a hysterical, hypocritical - albeit well-intentioned - bunch? It comes in the form of thousands of abusive emails, an endless array of insulting (albeit sometimes witty and amusing) grossly misinformed blog comments, demands to my employers to sack me for saying what I think and even the occasional demonstration by some time-rich, agenda-poor anti-moralisers who are defeated by the practical ramifications of the concept of free speech.
This is nearly the sum total of responses to my comments in the past couple of years. The striking aspect of this is that nearly all of the besmirching and attempts to stereotype and censure me have come from the supposedly tolerant, libertarian Left, even though the Right has just as much reason to be jacked off at me.
What about the Right? I was raised to think that it was raised to be mean. But even this building block of social discourse has disintegrated. The Right doesn't have any more smarts than its opponents but certainly is nicer. It rarely throws hissy fits and seems to have a deficient vocabulary when it comes to name calling. Some members even show embryonic signs of a sense of humour. That's not to say that they always fail to live up to expectations. The anger meter on my email occasionally goes into overdrive when I write a piece suggesting that Muslims are being vilified in Australia. Still, on numbers alone this is negligible compared with the extremist torrent from the Left.
So why is it that the Left has become much of what it despises? Well, that's easy. History teaches us that rebellions without causes can be nothing other than character-destroying. The Left has fought a good fight. The right to life, liberty, property, equal access to high-quality health care, education and the professions; they're all now an entrenched part of the Australian landscape. Its job is pretty much done - at home. There's no scope for acquiring a sense of genuine purpose pursuing the current leftist agenda in the form of promoting anti-Americanism and salvaging the reputation of convicted terrorists.
Life can be nothing other than miserable for people with a warped sense of moral priorities and who spend their spare time pursuing meaningless causes. That's why the Left has mutated into such an embittered and angry tribe. Its only redemption is to reconnect with its historical roots and start fighting worthwhile causes that have some prospect of enhancing human flourishing.
Sheer arrogance and elitism -- in the usual charming Leftist way
Recently, Nobel Peace Prize winner Al Gore toured again. Or maybe he does that all the time. This time, he turned up in Gothenburg (Sweden) for the usual alarmist talk. In advance, all distinguished guests were politely advised to – if possible – use any form of public transportation to go to the event, in order to minimize CO2 emissions.
Intriguingly, the Master of World Climate himself arrived in a rental car (with or without driver is unclear), from the airport, and subsequently left the engine running for the entire lecture. That is to say, about one hour. Incidentally, local legislation prohibits – for very good environmental reasons, i e pollution – any car engine running on empty for more than 60 seconds. Fines are severe. As far as I know, he was not fined.
It starts to form a pattern.
After the ceremony in the Norwegian capital Oslo, it is customary that the laureate is invited to the Swedish capital Stockholm, for a cordial visit. The train ride, supposedly the environmental choice according to Mr. Gore, is approximately four hours. However, he opted for the cosier ride with one of the Swedish government aircraft. As these can, according to the rules, only be used when a cabinet member is on board – and as the Swedish government after a short ceremonial visit – offered to fly him to Frankfurt (Germany) for his flight to the US, you can calculate both the manpower and the fuel used for this grand tour against man's destruction of the planet.
Stupidity and hypocrisy – as well as vanity – are, like it or not common human traits. I admit to some of them occasionally, but I don't demand taxpayers to finance my stupid talks
by Jeff Jacoby
THE HILLS ARE ALIVE with the sound of liberal Democratic contempt for the electorate. So are the valleys, the prairies, and the coasts. For months, voters have been signaling their discontent with the president, his party, and their priorities; in less than a week, they appear poised to deliver a stinging rebuke. Yet rather than address the voters' concerns with seriousness and respect, too many Democrats and their allies on the left have chosen instead to slur those voters as stupid, extremist, or too scared to think straight.
At a Democratic fundraiser in Newton this month, offering what he called "a little bit of perspective from the Oval Office," President Obama gave this diagnosis of the American political scene:
"Part of the reason that our politics seems so tough right now, and facts and science and argument does not seem to be winning the day all the time, is because we're hard-wired not to always think clearly when we're scared. And the country is scared."
The smug condescension in this -- We're losing because voters are panicky and confused -- is matched only by its apparent cluelessness. Does Obama really believe that demeaning ordinary Americans is the way to improve his party's fortunes? Or that his dwindling job approval is due to the public's weak grip on "facts and science" and not to, say, to his own divisive and doctrinaire performance as president?
Perhaps he does. Or perhaps he just says such things when speaking to liberal donors. It was at a San Francisco fundraiser in 2008 that Obama described hard-pressed citizens in the small towns of Pennsylvania as "bitter" people who "cling to guns or religion or antipathy toward people who aren't like them . . . as a way to explain their frustrations."
Obama is far from alone in looking down his nose at the great unwashed. Last month, Senator John Kerry explained that Democrats are facing such headwinds these days because voters are easily swayed dolts: "We have an electorate that doesn't always pay that much attention to what's going on, so people are influenced by a simple slogan rather than the facts or the truth."
Meanwhile, the rise of the Tea Party movement, one of the most extraordinary waves of civic engagement in modern American politics and a major driver of the 2010 election season, has drawn no end of scorn from Democrats and their cheerleaders in the media.
In Massachusetts, state Senate President Therese Murray calls Tea Party members "nutcases," while ABC's Christiane Amanpour is aghast that the grassroots movement has "really gone to the extreme" and is "not conservatism as we knew it." Rob Reiner even smears the Tea Party as Nazi-esque: "My fear is that the Tea Party gets a charismatic leader," the Hollywood director said on HBO's "Real Time with Bill Maher" last week. "All they're selling is fear and anger and that's all Hitler sold." And the crop of citizen-candidates running for Congress this year, many of them with Tea Party backing? A "myriad of wackos," sneers the influential liberal blogger Markos Moulitsas.
Trashing conservatives as "nutcases" and "wackos" -- or worse -- is par for the course among left-wing pundits and politicos. But the electorate isn't buying it. "Likely voters in battleground districts," reports The Hill in a recent story on a poll of 10 toss-up congressional districts across the country, "see extremists as having a more dominant influence over the Democratic Party than they do over the GOP." Among likely voters, 44 percent think the Democratic Party is overpowered by its extremes (37 percent say that about the Republicans). Even among registered Democrats, 22% think their party is too beholden to its extremists.
Heading into next week's elections, Americans remain a center-right nation, with solid majorities believing that the federal government is too intrusive and powerful, that it does not spend taxpayer's money wisely or fairly, and that Americans would be better off having a smaller government with fewer services. Nearly halfway through the most left-wing, high-spending, grow-the-government presidential term most voters can remember, it shouldn't come as a surprise that so many of them are rebelling. The coming Republican wave is an entirely rational response to two years of Democratic arrogance and overreach. As the president and his party are about to learn, treating voters as stupid and confused is not a strategy for victory.
Climate sceptics, including a number of high profile Tory backbenchers, are launching a campaign to overturn the Coalition's green targets. Climate Sense, a loose affiliation of `climate sceptic groups', are calling for the Climate Act, that commits the UK to cutting greenhouse gases by 80 per cent by 2050 to be repealed.
Philip Foster, a retired Church of England Reverend who is leading the campaign, said the legislation will cost taxpayers œ480bn over the next 40 years because of the cost of new technologies like wind farms.
He said Tory backbenchers John Redwood, David Davies and Christopher Chope have agreed to attend the launch of `Climate Fools Day' in the House of Commons. Labour MP Graham Stringer, who is a member of the Science and Technology Committee, also supports the campaign. Johnny Ball the television presenter is expected to attend the launch.
"There is no evidence that human input has anything to do with global temperatures," Rev Foster said. "Therefore we should not be wasting any money on climate change through things like this legislation."
The group, made up of Copenhagen Climate Challenge, Weather Action and the Campaign Against Carbon Capitalism, have also written a letter to the Prince of Wales on behalf of climate sceptics. It asks the Prince, who has accused sceptics of "peddling pseudo science", to prove climate change is happening and is signed by 166 scientists including David Bellamy.
However Bob Ward, Policy and Communications Director at the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment at the London School of Economics, said the group misunderstood the point of science, which is to disprove theories.
He said the UK legislation was overwhelmingly backed by Parliament and is leading the world. "Nobody thinks climate change is not a problem. The discussion has moved on to what is the best way of tackling the problem and making a transition to low carbon growth," he said. "These guys are a remnant group of dinosaurs trying to argue something while frankly the public and political debate has moved on."
The ten challenges sceptics have asked 'supporters of the hypothesis of dangerous human-caused climate change' to prove:
1. Variations in global climate in the last hundred years are significantly outside the natural range experienced in previous centuries.
2. Humanity's emissions of carbon dioxide and other `greenhouse gases' (GHG) are having a dangerous impact on global climate.
3. Computer-based models can meaningfully replicate the impact of all of the natural factors that may significantly influence climate.
4. Sea levels are rising dangerously at a rate that has accelerated with increasing human GHG emissions, thereby threatening small islands and coastal communities.
5. The incidences of malaria and other infectious diseases are now increasing due to recent climate changes;
6. Human society and natural ecosystems cannot adapt to foreseeable climate change as they have done in the past.
7. Worldwide glacier retreat, and sea ice melting in polar regions, is unusual and related to increases in human GHG emissions.
8. Polar bears and other Arctic and Antarctic wildlife are unable to adapt to anticipated local climate change effects, independent of the causes of those changes.
9. Hurricanes, other tropical cyclones and associated extreme weather events are increasing in severity and frequency.
10. Data recorded by ground-based stations are a reliable indicator of global surface temperature trends.
How well will the results of next Tuesday's Congressional elections reflect the will of the people?
Suspicious voting-machine malfunctions and cheating candidates are the stuff of banana republics, not America. With Democrats about to suffer historic losses, is our election's integrity in question?
'It can't happen here," most Americans would say about the chances of voting one way and seeing your votes recorded the opposite. But that's what happened in early voting in North Carolina's unfortunately named Craven County last week.
Voter Sam Laughinghouse of New Bern found that "an electronic voting machine completed his straight-party ticket for the opposite of what he intended," the New Bern Sun Journal reported.
Laughinghouse "pushed the button to vote Republican in all races, but the voting machine screen displayed a ballot with all Democrats checked," the local paper reported. "He cleared the screen and tried again with the same result."
Election personnel eventually straightened it out, but clearly a less observant Republican voter would have inadvertently voted for every Democrat on his ballot. Chuck Tyson, chairman of the Craven County Republican Party, told the Sun Journal he "got two or three calls" from voters experiencing the same problem and is not satisfied with state election officials' efforts to fix it.
In Boulder City, Nev., meanwhile, where voters use computer screens, another disturbing episode was reported by Fox News. When voter Joyce Ferrara and her husband went to vote for Republican Sharron Angle, they — and several others, according to Ferrara — found that Democratic incumbent Harry Reid's name was already checked. The county registrar's explanation: The high-tech voting screens are sensitive.
The Nevada case is especially disturbing because the seat of the most powerful Democrat in the Senate is at stake.
"Nancy Pelosi said Monday that 'we haven't really gotten the credit for what we have done,' and the Speaker is right. However, it appears that her party will get that credit on November 2, which is why so many Democrats are now jumping the liberal ship, at least symbolically, to save their seats. ...
Mississippi Democrat Gene Taylor ... [said] that he won't support Mrs. Pelosi for Speaker, another revelation considering his vote for her in 2009. 'I'm very disappointed in how she's veered to the left,' Mr. Taylor said, as if Mrs. Pelosi's ideological predispositions were ever hidden.
Mr. Taylor joins a growing list of Democrats who voted for Mrs. Pelosi in 2009 but now profess to be shocked by her left turn. They include Idaho's Walt Minnick, Pennsylvania's Jason Altmire, Alabama's Bobby Bright and Texas's Chet Edwards, endangered incumbents all.
Brett Carter, who is hoping to replace Tennessee Democrat Barton Gordon, has gone even further and requested that Mrs. Pelosi not even run again for the Speakership. 'Voters in my district believe that you do not represent their values, and my opposition has little to offer apart from critiquing your leadership,' Mr. Carter wrote in a September letter. ...
Over in the Senate, the prize for distancing himself from his party goes to West Virginia Governor Joe Manchin, who ran the famous TV ad featuring him literally putting a bullet through the 'cap and trade bill.' Apparently that wasn't politically far enough away from the Washington Democrats he hopes to join, so Mr. Manchin declared on Fox News Sunday that he would have voted against ObamaCare too. ...
Remind us again why these folks are running as Democrats?"
Don't ever expect Leftist talk to be matched by their actions
Officials at the Treasury Department’s Office of Financial Stability contracted with a small consulting firm that has given nearly $25,000 to Democratic candidates since 2005 (and no money to Republicans) to hire “Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) Analysts to support the Disclosure Services, Privacy and Treasury Records.” The firm is currently advertising a job opening for a FOIA analyst with experience in the “Use of FOIA/PA exemptions to withhold information from release to the public” (emphasis mine, and if that link goes down, The Examiner has kept a copy for its records).
UPDATE: Phacil has changed their job description on their website (without making a note), however here is a link to another job description for the same job that still uses the above as a qualification. They also have not yet returned calls to The Examiner. The side by side comparison of the old and modified versions are at the bottom of this post.
This means that the entire OFS, which is tasked with overseeing the Troubled Asset Relief Program, is trying to hire people who will withhold information from release to the public.
In fact, according to the website of the staffing company, Phacil (pronounced Fa-SEAL), co-founders Rafael Collado and Sascha Mornell were “thanked by President Obama,” and “commended at the White House during National Small Business Week for being selected the SBA New Jersey State Small Business Persons of the Year.” The contract is listed under service contracts of the Office of Financial Stability in a recent report from the special inspector general for the Troubled Asset Relief Program. Collado and Mornell are among the top donors at the firm. Mornell has given $12,600 over the years, while Collado has given $6,700. Another donor, Robert Cottingham, listed Phacil as his employer, stating his position as vice president of government affairs.
That Treasury outsourced its mechanism for transparency to a firm with such partisan ties casts new light on a report from Bloomberg News in which Treasury officials have repeatedly obstructed reporters’ requests for information.
What the heck are "special needs" anyway? I sometimes have a special need for a cheeseburger. Does that count?
"The BBC has apologised after Top Gear host Jeremy Clarkson described a car as "speciale needs".
Britain's broadcasting watchdog, Ofcom, investigated after the joke, made by Clarkson about a Ferrari owned by co-host James May, provoked complaints.
The F430 Speciale "looked like a simpleton" and should have been called "Speciale Needs", Clarkson said on the BBC2 show.
Comparing it to a newer model, he said the car "was a bit wrong - that smiling front end - it looked like a simpleton - should have been called the 430 Speciale Needs".
Charities criticised the remark, with the National Autistic Society saying it perpetuated "the prejudice and bullying which people with disabilities have to cope with".
The regulator said: "While obviously intended as a joke and not aimed directly at an individual with learning difficulties, the comment could easily be understood as ridiculing people in society with a particular physical disability or learning difficulty."
It concluded that because the BBC had apologised, decided not to repeat the comment, and said it was not intended to make fun of those with special needs, the case was resolved.
Clarkson, 50, who is reported to be paid £2 million ($3 million) a year by the BBC, is used to provoking outrage with his remarks.
He sparked anger when he asked Richard Hammond if he was "mental" when he returned to the show following a near-fatal car crash and in 2008 his joke about lorry drivers murdering prostitutes led to complaints.
A year later, he called then prime minister Gordon Brown a "one-eyed Scottish idiot" during a press conference in Australia and, in comments made to Top Gear magazine, he accused TV bosses of being fixated with having "black Muslim lesbians" on TV to balance out the amount of white, heterosexual males.
Clarkson sure is a straight talker. He repeatedly says whatever comes into his head, regardless of whether it is "correct" or not. But his show is so popular that he gets away with it. His show is basically about cars but lots of people probably tune in for a breath of fresh air amid all the stifling British political correctness.
When did we start to dislike men so much that we're happy for them not to be part of our children's lives? That's the question posed by the latest ridiculous assault on the integrity of all males. It comes in the form of a ban on schoolboys using a public pool change room after swimming lessons because men fear they will be falsely accused of pedophilia.
Of course, the fact that many men support that decision is understandable; any man now knows he is automatically viewed with suspicion. That's why our children might sneak through the entire education system now without a male teacher. It's why men stopped jogging along bike tracks, when the city was on the lookout for the bikeway rapist. It's why airline staff try not to seat adult males next to children. And it's why most fathers I know won't supervise their young daughters' play dates, unless there is a female adult present.
The distrust of males has been creeping up on us, fanned by the sick minds of a few who have stolen the innocence of children, and left heartache in their wake. But can you now be guilty simply by gender?
Alan from Brisbane has this story: he was at South Bank when he saw a small girl, about four years old, wandering along the river's edge and crying. He watched as more than 30 people walked by without helping. He stopped one of them, a woman, and asked her to help him help the child. "I told her why - I'd be accused of being a pedophile," he said. "If that little girl had fallen into the river and I dived in after her I'd be on the front page as a hero; but when she was only 30cm from falling in I'd be called a pedophile." How did we allow ourselves to get to the point, he wrote on a Daily Telegraph blog, where caring people are considered pedophiles?
Just stop reading this, and ask the man sitting nearest to you. His reaction would probably mirror Alan's - because society has made men feel that way. This is another Brisbane man on the same blog: "I know a teacher who was accused of rape by a schoolgirl because he refused her advances, and he lost his job, his wife, his kids and his life. Never mind that she admitted it and cleared him. This culture has to change, or this sort of rule will become more common."
It seems it already has. After revelations of the Sydney pool decision, several people joined the debate, saying it had become standard practice in Brisbane. Rory said it was happening at his children's school: "The poor little buggers were freezing coming home from the pool - about 10 minutes drive - and had to change into their dry clothes at school. "It's ridiculous! If society keeps running on fear, its going to become a pretty hollow environment to live in."
Ann of Brisbane: "Our school has been doing this for years. The kids wrap themselves in towels and sit on the bus for 20 minutes in wet togs." These are boys made to feel bad because of their gender.
Allan, from the Gold Coast, explains it this way: "Why would a male teacher want to put himself in that position? All it takes is for some smart-alec kid to joke about a male teacher perving on him and (his) professional life is over . . ."
Matt of Perth: "I like this rule. You're in more danger of being falsely accused than you are of actually being a victim."
Aaron: "The last thing you want to be doing is changing from your swimming gear to work clothes or vice versa and find out a couple days later you've been accused of exposing yourself or something of the kind."
The Doc of Sydney: "I cannot get out of the pool change room fast enough if children are there as I have no defence against a false allegation."
Clancy: "I would have thought banning parents from taking pictures of their children at the beach would have been enough to wake people up from this insane pedophile mania . . . but apparently not."
Someone else: "Why don't you just stop males from being teachers to protect the student, or just stop fathers from being parents to their sons, in case they get branded a pedophile."
John from Alice Springs calls it "pedophobia", but its consequences are bigger than that. We're creating a generation of young boys who don't have confidence in their own sexuality; sons who think their gender marks them as bad; and daughters who grow up with few, if any, male role models. And in that scenario, men and women lose out.
I do myself. I am sick of having to dodge around roadworks for all my life. But a growing population requires roadworks to accomodate more and more cars. And the Australian birthrate is below replacement anyway so it is immigration that is the problem. An immigration program that focused only on highly desirable immigrants and excluded parasitic "refugees" would help solve the problem -- JR
FAMILIES should have no more than two children to limit their environmental impact, one in three Australians say. Almost half say families should consider having three or fewer children, a survey shows.
The Australian National University survey found most Australians want the population to stay at or below current levels, suggesting Julia Gillard hit the right note by rejecting Kevin Rudd's "big Australia" push.
ANU political scientist Professor Ian McAllister, who led the survey, said people opposed population growth for a variety of reasons, including the cost to the environment, urban overcrowding and a lack of housing and transport. The phone poll found just 44 per cent of respondents favoured population growth.
About 52 per cent said Australia had enough people already, and further population growth would harm the environment, push up house prices and place pressure on water resources.
But there were also concerns that skills shortages could hold back the economy, with 83 per cent of respondents calling for more skilled migrants to be allowed into Australia.
And two thirds of respondents were concerned about the impact of the ageing population, with the majority opposed to tax rises to support the elderly.
About 59 per cent of Australians supported an emissions trading scheme to curb carbon pollution. But when asked to rank the nation's most pressing problems, the environment and global warming were ranked only fourth after the economy, health care and education.
Mr Rudd, as prime minister, argued for population growth, suggesting the continent could support 36 million people by 2050. Ms Gillard changed course sharply when she became Prime Minister, arguing for a "sustainable population" in an election pitch to the crowded outer suburbs.
She said Population Minister Tony Burke would deliver a sustainable population strategy. "We made an election promise about a sustainable population policy and we'll deliver it," she said.
Greens Leader Bob Brown said something had to be done to limit population growth or the planet was in trouble. "When I came on to the planet there were 2 1/2 billion human beings, there are now seven billion. We are using more than 100 per cent of the renewable living resources at the moment. Something is going to give."
The ANU poll is a quarterly survey and compares Australian results to international opinion polls.
Back in December, a woman few people had heard of was accused of "hate speech". Now, "hate speech" these days does seem to have legal definitions in some countries (like Australia, for example.
In the case of the woman, she was in Austria of all places.
Austria? They have "hate laws"??? When I think of Austria, I think of The Sound of Music, not mullahs, but it appears that over there also you can't say what you want lest you offend people.
This is the British disaster all over again. Leftists never learn. Tony Blair DOUBLED the amount BritGov spent on the NHS but it is still chaotic with widespread denial of services and waiting list blowouts. Most of the extra money went on more bureaucracy -- as it will undoubtedly do here
THE federal government will introduce legislation to parliament this week that aims to reform the nation's health system, Prime Minister Julia Gillard says. For the first time, the commonwealth will take majority funding responsibility - 60 per cent - for public hospitals and full responsibility for primary care.
Under Greenie influence, Gillard wants to let dammed water run out to sea rather than give it to farmers for use in irrigation
ANGER about the Gillard government's handling of proposed cuts in water use appears to have helped the Coalition overtake Labor in the latest Newspoll.
The weekend survey, conducted exclusively for The Australian, found the opposition ahead of Labor for the first time since before the August 21 election, by a margin of 52 per cent to 48 per cent in two-party-preferred terms.
The increase followed two dead-even results in previous post-election Newspolls. On election day, Labor won 50.1 per cent of the two-party-preferred vote to the Coalition's 49.9 per cent.
Although the poll shows only small movements in the primary vote since the previous survey, which was taken between October 8 and 10, Newspoll chief executive Martin O'Shannessy said last night that Labor had suffered a six-point plunge in primary support outside cities.
He linked the decline to the release of the Murray-Darling Basin Authority's draft recommendation of large cuts in water usage, which have sparked angry protests in rural areas in the past fortnight.
"A deeper analysis of this poll shows a potential backlash against the Murray-Darling plan," Mr O'Shannassy said. "Comparisons between this Newspoll and the one of two weeks ago show a collapse of the Labor vote outside the five main capital cities. " Regional and country voters have punished Labor with a primary vote fall of just over six points to 31 per cent, down from 37 per cent just two weeks ago."
The Newspoll was based on 1150 interviews and the results include a margin of error of plus or minus three percentage points.
It found Labor's primary vote was on 33 per cent - down two percentage points from the October 8-10 survey and five points down from election day. The Coalition was on 43 per cent in primary terms - down from 43.6 per cent on election day - with the Greens on 14 per cent.
An AC Nielsen poll in Fairfax newspapers published yesterday delivered almost identical results, with the Greens on 14 per cent - up two points. The Sydney Morning Herald reported this as an indication that Labor was continuing to lose support to the Greens.
However, the Newspoll - conducted more frequently than the Nielsen survey - has recorded support for the Greens steady at 14 per cent since the September 10-12 survey - up from 11.8 per cent recorded at the election.
Mr O'Shannessy said the fact that Greens support had not changed while Labor's had fallen indicated Labor's real losses were to the Coalition in rural and regional Australia. The Newspoll also identified a four-percentage-point reduction in voter satisfaction with Julia Gillard's performance, to 44 per cent, and a corresponding four-point increase in the dissatisfaction rate.
Voter satisfaction with Tony Abbott climbed two points to 41 per cent, while dissatisfaction with the Opposition Leader fell a point to 46 per cent, with 13 per cent uncommitted.
Ms Gillard remained favoured prime minister by a rate of 53 per cent to 32 per cent, with 15 per cent expressing no preference.
Scratch off the Potsdam Institute For Climate Impact Research from the alarmist list. No kidding!
The European Institute For Climate and Energy has a new piece written by Raimund Leistenschneider that takes a look at two interesting papers dug up from 2003. I wonder if Rahmstorf and Schellnhuber are going to feign amnesia on this.
The paper by Prof Stefan Rahmstorf confirms that today’s temperatures are actually quite cool compared to temperatures earlier in the Holocene.
In a paper he authored: ”Timing of abrupt climate change: A precise clock“, Geophys. Res. Lett.. 30, Nr. 10, 2003, S. 1510, doi:10.1029/2003 GL017115, Ramhstorf examined the Dansgaard-Oeschger (DO events).
These events are rapid climate changes occurring 23 times during the last ice age between 110,000 and 23.000 BP and were reconstructed from the GISP-2-ice cores from Greenland.
On Rahmstorf’s paper, EIKE writes:
Easy to recognize, at least using the studies done by Rahmstorf, we are living in a comparably cold time today. During the MWP 1000 years ago, when the vikings were farming Greenland, it was 1°C warmer than today. During the Roman Optimum 2000 years ago, when Hannibal crossed the Alps with his elephants in the wintertime, it was even 2°C warmer than today. And during the Holocene climate optimum 3500 years ago it was about 3°C warmer than today. Since about 3200 years ago, there has been a cooling of about 2°C.
Meanwhile Prof. Hans Joachim Schellnhuber, Rahmstorf’s boss at the Potsdam Institute, was unable to discern any warming when examining a multitude of worldwide temperature records back in 2002 and 2003.
In a paper published in 2003, using their own studies, the authors concluded there had been no global warming over the last decades. (J.F. Eichner, E. Koscielny-Bunde, A. Bunde, S. Havlin, and H.-J. Schellnhuber: Power-law persistence and trends in the atmosphere, a detailed study of long temperature records, Phys. Rev. E 68 2003),
More HERE (See the original for links, graphics etc.)
"Scotland Yard's famous Vice Squad, which deals with prostitution and other aspects of London's underworld, has changed its title to the rather less dynamic "Serious Crime Directorate 9: Human Exploitation and Organised Crime Command", or SCD9 for short.
The explanation is one that would draw a robust response from DCI Hunt, the old-school detective from BBC One's Life on Mars and Ashes to Ashes.
Metropolitan Police sources said the switch had been ordered in part because the word "vice" was thought to have negative "connotations". It reflects a growing trend by law enforcement agencies to treat prostitutes as victims rather than as offenders.
Alan Moss, a police historian and former Met chief superintendent, said: "The jargon of modern policing, with all the numbers and letters, is confusing for the public and probably for people in the police as well. "I think the names of different squads should bear the name of what they do, and the crime they are trying to combat."
Detective Chief Superintendent Richard Martin, head of SCD9, said the name change was necessary was because Clubs and Vice had taken on wider responsibilities for areas such as human trafficking, which meant the old title was no longer appropriate.
As most regular readers here will know, police misbehaviour in Queensland is so great that I have created a dedicated blog to keep track of it. And it gets frequent updates.
Such a lot of news about police misbehaviour in other States -- particularly NSW and Victoria -- has been coming in, however, that I have created a new blog to keep track of police misbehaviour Australia-wide. See Australian Police News. There are THREE updates there just today.
It was obvious from remarks made by the judges early on in the trial that at least one of the judges was biased against Wilders. Now there is clear proof of it: A rather spectacular turn of events
"The hate speech trial of the controversial far-right Dutch leader, Geert Wilders, collapsed in disarray at the last minute today when the panel of judges in the case were deemed to be biased. A retrial was ordered.
Wilders, who is enjoying soaring support at home and propping up a new minority anti-immigration government established last week, has been in the dock since earlier this month on five charges of inciting racial and religious hatred for his robust denunciations of Islam as fascist and demanding the Qur'an be banned.
During the trial he has been lionised as a modern-day Galileo as well as branded a "little Hitler". Today was the final scheduled day of the trial, with the verdict from the panel of three judges at Amsterdam district court due next week.
But in the past 48 hours it emerged that one of the appeal court judges who ordered Wilders to stand trial had dinner in May with a potential witness, a Dutch expert on Islam, and that the judge had sought to convince the professor of Arabic studies why Wilders had to be prosecuted.
Last night, Wilders, who has remained silent throughout the trial, tweeted that Dutch justice was like the mafia.
This morning, Bram Moszkowicz, Wilders's lawyer, asked to summon the witness and was refused. He formally protested that the judges were biased against the defendant, a complaint that was upheld by another judges' panel, which ordered a retrial with a new bench.
Obama and his fellow Democrats are mocking Republicans and the Tea Party as stupid. But they could be the ones who look foolish on election day
So what is the closing argument of Barack Obama's Democrats before next Tuesday's midterm elections? The President is no longer the self-proclaimed "hope-monger" of 2008, who vaingloriously declared that his vanquishing Hillary Clinton marked "the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal".
He has stopped patting voters on the back for choosing, by voting for him, to listen not to their doubts or fears but to their "greatest hopes and highest aspirations". Instead, he is berating Americans (most of whom now do not believe he deserves a second term) for not being able to "think clearly" because they're "scared".
Having failed to change Washington or, as he promised that night in St Paul, Minnesota in June 2008, to provide "good jobs to the jobless" (unemployment was 7.7 per cent when he took office and is 9.6 per cent now), Obama is changing tack. Boiled down, the new Obama message to Americans is: you're too stupid to overcome your fears.
To be fair, it's not entirely new. During the 2008 campaign, Obama was caught on tape at a San Francisco fund-raiser saying it was not surprising that voters facing economic hardship "get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren't like them".
At a fund-raiser in Massachusetts this month, Obama spoke of Democrats having "facts and science and argument" on their side. As opposed, presumably, to the lies, superstition and prejudice that Republicans rely on.
This year, Democrats have embraced with gusto the notion that Republicans, and by extension anyone thinking of voting for them, are dimwits. Their mirth over the likes of Tea Party figures like Christine O'Donnell, the former anti-masturbation activist who once she had "dabbled" in witchcraft and is now a no-hoper Senate candidate in Delaware, seems to know no bounds.
The most chortling of all about the populist Tea Party and its anti-tax, anti-government uprising against the Republican establishment can be found on the shows of Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert, the edgy liberal satirists on Comedy Central. Mocking Republican candidates last week, Stewart declared the midterm elections as "the best chance ever for a bowl of fresh fruit" to be elected.
Three days before the elections, Stewart will hold a "Rally to Restore Sanity" in Washington on the same day as Colbert, who adopts the character of a Right-wing talk show host, leads a "March to Keep Fear Alive". The thinly-disguised message: Republicans are crazies who trade on fear.
In choosing California and Massachusetts, two of the most liberal states in the union, to demean ordinary Americans during election campaigns, Obama did not display a whole lot of his much-vaunted intelligence. But Obama's decision to plug Stewart's rally approvingly and appear on his show three days beforehand is even more foolish.
In the 1990s, Democrats managed to get away from their image as "eggheads" in the 1950s or "pointy-headed liberals" in the 1970s. Bill Clinton spoke like a Good Ol' Boy from the Deep South, ate junk food and enjoyed trashy women. He was clever, but he did not look down on people.
Obama, by contrast, has become a parody of the Ivy League liberal smugly content with his own intellectual superiority and pitying the poor idiots who disagree with him. It is an approach that shares much with the default anti-Americanism of British and European elites, who love to mock the United States as a country full of gun-toting, bible-clutching morons.
David Cameron [Centrist British PM] has made nods to this sniffy condescension, speaking of the Sarah Palin phenomenon as being "hard for us to understand" (how about giving it a go, Dave?) and describing American conservatism, inaccurately, as moving in a "very culture war direction". This might be part of the reason why he seems to have hit it off with Obama.
The problem for Obama and the Democrats is that belittling the Tea Party movement, which is taking hold of much of Middle America, merely fuels the popular sense that the party in power is out of touch. It also highlights the reluctance of Obama and the Democrats to discuss the Wall Street bail-out, economic stimulus and health care bills because they know they are not vote winners.
Joining the Europeans in mocking ordinary Americans for their supposed idiocy may play well at big-dollar fund-raisers. In adopting this as a political strategy, however, the Democrats could be the ones who end up looking stupid.
More precisely, John Lyons, their Middle East Correspondent did. Below is what he wrote this morning:
The Vatican has issued one of its strongest condemnations yet of Israel's "occupation" of the West Bank. It has rejected the use of biblical texts by Jewish settlers to justify "injustices".
Releasing a strongly worded document by the synod of bishops for the Middle East, a senior Archbishop also challenged the notion of Jews as "the chosen people", saying such a concept no longer existed.
After a two-week conference, which ended with a meeting with the Pope, the bishops called on the international community to pressure Israel to end the occupation. "Recourse to theological and biblical positions, which use the word of God to wrongly justify injustices, is not acceptable," the statement said.
One has to wonder if the opening words are the work of Lyons or the work of a sub-editor. Lyons has been prominent in Australian journalism for some time so I am inclined to give him the benefit of the doubt and blame a sub-editor for the clanger.
The problem is, you see, that the Vatican issued NO statement about Israel whatsoever. The statement was issued by a clutch of Middle-Eastern bishops with a vested interest in protecting their people from Muslim attacks. Being pro-Israel would be fatal to them. Their only connection to the Vatican is that they held their conference there. Israel's reply is here
The angst in Murray-Darling Basin communities about proposed water regime changes belies Australian farmers' record in adopting research.
Both rain-fed and irrigation farmers have a proud record of steadily increasing sustainable productivity. The adoption of practices such as zero-till and hugely improved output per unit of winter rainfall by rain-fed farmers have resulted in grain yields doubling in the past 30 years. Irrigators have maintained the value of outputs despite using only half as much water during the drought. Both efficiencies were achieved by committed farmers backed by strong research performance from supporting agencies. There is no place for the amateur.
Michael Jeffery and Julian Cribb ("Water is the key to sustainability", The Australian, October 15) give us an interesting drop-by-drop analysis of our water resources.
They very crisply identify the challenge: minimise evaporation, recycle city waste water, don't "over-engineer" streams, preserve prime land from urban sprawls, encourage give-it-a-go farmers, maintain supporting scientific research and ensure supply of skilled personnel.
A useful definition of sustainable agriculture is that to which society has committed enough resources to identify problems, to have solutions adequately researched and to ensure adoption of the solutions: never arrive, but eternally strive! It takes time and solid support for adoption of technology: time to consider the whole impact, to change equipment, arrange finance, and make arrangements with input suppliers and product buyers. In the Murray-Darling Basin it is a whole-of-community adaptation process.
A scientific base for this development is essential but beware of false prophets! Unfortunately, Jeffrey and Cribb have been taken in by one such, Peter Andrews, of ABC TV's Australian Story fame, who scorns agricultural science in his book, Back from the Brink. He insults the rural agencies and scientists with such absurd assertions as: "In my experience most scientists are hamstrung by a fear of change", and "I know several who had an opportunity to initiate change . . . but shied away". He alleges total failure by agricultural scientists to work together on land and water management, gives no credit to the effective efforts of Landcare, state departments of agriculture-primary industries, soil conservation agencies and catchment management authorities.
Andrew's work, described as (undefined) natural sequence farming, is disconnected from the past 50 years of science which gave this country substantial increased food and fibre production and better land management. On pastures he states: "Ten per cent coverage of thistles . . . enough to maintain the fertility". Then, "grass will accumulate fertility . . . a lot slower than weeds do" and, "there isn't a pasture anywhere in Australia today . . . more productive if it had weeds growing in the grass. So it isn't just a case of weeds not being harmful; it's a case of weeds being essential."
Then again, he posits that fertilisers are not needed: "Chemical fertilisers do not really fertilise the soil; a feedback loop tells the plants to stop growing when there is not enough fertility . . . This correlation disappears as soon as you apply a chemical fertiliser. Then the plant will keep growing willy-nilly, exhausting and weakening the soil, which is then less able to cope with erosion, extremes of climate and other stressful conditions. Chemical fertilisers stimulate grass to keep growing regardless."
Surely, few readers can take such nonsense seriously? Nearly a century of scientific research and farming experience have clearly demonstrated that fertilised leguminous plants in balance with others will produce nutritious feed at the same time raising the organic matter level of the soil and protecting it from erosion.
The water conservation and food production scenario identified by Jeffrey and Cribb, and the underlying the plan for the Murray-Darling Basin, need the best trained scientific brains, well-funded for their research, capable of passing on evidence-based advice to well-trained, intelligent, adaptive farmers, who respect sound science and analysis and are capable of carrying further the successful agricultural research and development of recent decades.
New law means arrests for 'minor' crimes not worth the effort, say Qld. police. Another case of do-gooder legislation doing more harm than good
Hundreds of offenders could soon escape prosecution by police who say new laws will make arrests for minor crimes not worth the effort. From November 1, police will be required to present more material at an offender's first court appearance, including witness and complainant statements, pictures, CCTV footage and a list of exhibits.
Under reforms adopted by the State Government, officers who fail to fulfil the requirements face the prospect of being charged with contempt of court, which carries a maximum penalty of 12 months' jail.
Queensland Police Union official Tony Collins said many minor offences would be detected but not acted upon because of the threat of police themselves being charged. "How many arrests are you going to make knowing that this sword of Damocles is hanging over your head?" Senior-Sergeant Collins said.
The sort of offences likely to be ignored by police included shoplifting and break and entering where a small amount of property was involved, as well as some domestic violence incidents and minor assaults.
A senior officer, who did not want to be named, said that in the case of assaults, police would be less inclined to encourage victims to make a complaint because it would not be worth the effort. "It's not worth our while to gather all this material then put it before the courts where you get nothing," the senior officer said. "Arrests will dry up and police will start ignoring stuff, but not serious stuff."
The reforms flow from a 2008 review of Queensland's criminal justice system by former judge Martin Moynihan, now the head of the CMC. They are intended to improve disclosure by police to give the accused a better understanding of the case against them from the outset. In his report, Mr Moynihan found there was an attitude among police that it was "not their job to help the defence".
The Queensland Police Service never responded to the report and as a result Sen-Sgt Collins said they were left with laws that would see officers spending more time desk-bound.
"If Moynihan truly wanted to improve the justice system, he would've required full disclosure from both sides of the table. Instead what we've got is a card game where you have to show your opponent all your cards, and they don't have to show you anything."
The QPS would not respond to questions about the changes yesterday but Brisbane criminal defence lawyer Ken Mackenzie said they would foster an efficient justice system. "It's about disclosing (evidence) to the defence early so informed decisions can be made, and the lawyer can advise the client of the case against them and an appropriate plea," he said.
QPU president Ian Leavers said police were concerned about the implications of the reforms.
Golden bedsteads for African dictators are top priority for Britain's centrist government. Too bad Britain will have no aircraft to put on its new aircraft carriers
British aid projects abroad are to be ‘branded’ with the Union Jack in an attempt to stem growing public anger over the amount spent on international development.
While most Government departments suffered savage cuts in last week’s Spending Review, foreign aid will rise by £3.1 billion by 2014. The amount is enough to keep the 80-strong Harrier jump jet fleet – which will be axed under the cuts – in the air for 20 years. Alternatively, it would pay for the building of 310 primary schools, or overturn the scrapping of child benefit for high earners.
A new Mail on Sunday/BPIX poll shows that four out of five voters think it was wrong to protect aid-spending while cutting defence.
"The 31-year-old nursing student was looking to keep her expenses down when she decided to invite someone to share her home.
But when she posted an advertisement for a Christian roommate on her local church's bulletin board, the Grand Rapids woman landed in the middle of a civil rights debate that has her facing a complaint of alleged illegal housing discrimination.
The advertisement contained the sentence, "I am looking for a Christian roommate," said Joel Oster, senior litigation counsel with the Alliance Defense Fund, which represents the woman.
Someone saw the ad over the summer and anonymously filed a civil rights complaint with the Fair Housing Center of West Michigan. The complaint was then filed with the Michigan Department of Civil Rights, and the woman was notified at the end of September.
"I think it's a clear violation on its face," said Nancy L. Haynes, executive director of the local Fair Housing Center. "It's an advertisement that clearly violates the Fair Housing Act."
Although the woman might choose a roommate based on religion, say, after interviewing the person over coffee, she cannot publish an ad with that intent, Haynes said.
The Alliance Defense Fund is a Christian legal group. In a statement released Thursday, Oster added, "Christians shouldn't live in fear of being punished by the government for being Christians. It is completely absurd to try to penalize a single Christian woman for privately seeking a Christian roommate at church -- an obviously legal and constitutionally protected activity.
An email from a Western correspondent living in China who was once himself a Maoist
Well I've been reading again -- this time going over old familiar territory using new, unbelievable sources: Mao's Great Famine: The History of China's Most Devastating Catastrophe as reported in national, provincial and city archives in China.
Can it be possible? - Author Frank Dikotter, China historian in HK, claims a new law allows such access and basically confirms the details of what we knew generally back in the 70's. Whereas we used transcripts of mainland radio broadcasts and reports of mainland newspapers and magazines, refugee accounts and documents smuggled out, he got access to official documents which, while they have shortcomings, add a degree of authenticity and first person, including the words of major players as reported in provincial reports of meetings in Beijing. No-one comes out well, even those who were persecuted for their honesty, as they were usually enthusiastic supporters before they saw for themselves the degree of horror in the countryside.
Their disillusionment was they thought officials at the lower levels, people were better than they! -- e.g unrealistic grain seizure quotas were increased at every level before they got to central level. They were often met by starving villagers to death -- i.e. The Chairman's delusional and venal behaviour was reflected at all levels of the party with any villager questioning the quotas being branded a bourgois conservative, anti-party element and often beaten to death.
I guess this marks the beginning of a whole new genre of revisionist scholarship bound to embarrass Professor Barme and the New Sinologists who appear to insist we should draw a line under 1978 and ignore anything before it!
As for me it only underscores the inadequacy of my mea culpa. And what of those who still cry Shihuizhuyi hao! (Socialism is great!)? Are present-day officials any better? Only a matter of degree perhaps.
One typical line from the good Chairman. "It is necessary for half of the people to die so the other half can eat their fill!" The legendary Zhou making endless calls to local cadres in 1959 demanding they fulfil their quotas despite knowledge of the famine.
The official policy of exporting grain to one and all, often free, to demonstrate the superiority of Chinese Communism. Liu Shaoqi giving the GLF his enthusiastic support. The enormous loss of state stored grain due to neglect, insects, rot, theft and corrpuption extending up to 80% in some places. Deng Xiaoping insisting quotas be collected ruthlessly "As in war". Its all very depressing reading.