SCOTUS Showdown: A Case for Nominating Barbara Lagoa

It has got to be Lagoa. Collins and Murkowsi are the weak links in the Senate. Both have said they will not vote for any candidate at this juncture. But will they be able to resist voting against an Hispanic woman? It would look very bad for them. And Lagoa is Cuban so should be pretty solidly conservative. And even Leftists might find it hard to oppose a woman

The alternative is Amy Coney Barrett, who is solidly against the baby killers so will attract real fury from the Left. Leftists love deaths — of others. So where Collins and Murkowski might relent and vote for Lagoa, they will not have the fortitude to stand up for Barrett and be forever branded as pro-abortion.

Not that Murkowski and Collins are totally needed. Lagoa could still get through with the aid of Pence’s casting vote

President Trump will select a Supreme Court nominee to fill the vacancy created by the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg within a matter of days. We know that it will be a woman. And based on multiple reports, the top two potential finalists are Judge Amy Coney Barrett of the Seventh Circuit, and Judge Barbara Lagoa of the Eleventh Circuit. A law professor at Notre Dame, Barrett was confirmed 55-43 (nearly exactly along party lines) to her current post in the fall of 2017, following a contentious process. To be clear, I believe Barrett is a brilliant and capable jurist and would be thrilled if President Trump picks her. She’s young (48), smart, and rock solid. She is the frontrunner for good reason.

That being said, it’s simply a reality that this nomination will be the subject of a pitched battle no matter who is named. And against that backdrop, I am coming around to the view that Judge Lagoa might be the more strategically savvy choice under the present circumstances — and should at least get a very serious look for the top spot on the list. Consider:

(1) Lagoa’s credentials are strong. Like Justice Ginsburg, she’s a graduate of Columbia University’s law school. She began her career on the bench as a lower court judge in Florida starting in 2006 (appointed by Gov. Jeb Bush) after serving as an Assistant US Attorney. She was elevated to the Florida Supreme Court by Gov. Ron DeSantis (who takes the issue of the courts very seriously) in January 2019, serving in that capacity for most of the year, until she was plucked from the state bench by Trump. The president nominated her for the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals. Her resume practically screams “well qualified” — which is how she was unanimously rated by the left-leaning American Bar Association.

(2) Her personal story is also compelling, which is — like it or not — a relevant factor in an era of identity-focused politics. Lagoa is the daughter of Cuban-Americans who fled their homeland during the Communist revolution. She is young (she’ll turn 53 the day before the November election), the mother of three daughters, and is said to have a vivacious personality. If confirmed, this “wise Latina” would be the second-ever Hispanic member of the Supreme Court and only the fifth woman (the latter would also be true of Barrett). Democrats are likely to be extremely aggressive in opposing this nominee (just look at their outrageous conduct during the Kavanaugh nomination), but the optics of beating up on a Latina would be less than ideal — especially at a moment when Democrats are anxiously watching President Trump over-perform among Latino voters in the polls.

(3) Did I mention she’s a Floridian? I’ve heard that state is a pretty important one.

(4) Chuck Schumer famously once said, “I always use the word ‘extreme'” to discredit conservative ideas or nominees. Democrats will undoubtedly play that card against whomever Trump taps for this seat, but their go-to moniker would ring especially hollow if deployed against Lagoa. Why? She was overwhelmingly confirmed to the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals late last year. The final tally was 80-15 in favor. Senate Democrats voted to confirm her by nearly a two-to-one margin. The following Democratic members of the judiciary committee supported her confirmation: Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Chris Coons (D-DE), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Pat Leahy (D-VT), and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI). That’s right, the four most senior Democrats on the committee voted Yea, as did Hillary Clinton’s 2016 running mate. The only Democratic member of the committee who voted against her was Mazie Hirono (several others who were busy running for president did not vote). Also, every GOP senator voted in the affirmative, including Collins and Murkowski. Democrats will stomp their feet and say “but the Supreme Court is different!” Fine. But it’s awfully hard to frame a nominee as dangerously radical and extreme when a large majority of your own party recently backed her confirmation to another powerful federal court. This is a serious asset for Lagoa. Her nomination could be framed as a more consensus and ‘moderate’ pick, which could raise the odds of a successful confirmation under difficult, high-pressure conditions.

(5) A conservative source who’s long known Lagoa attests that her conservative credentials are strong, despite a relatively thin record on hot-button cases. Conservatives often fear David Souter-style betrayals, and for good reason. This source says there is “zero chance” Lagoa, whom the source likens to Clarence Thomas, is a risk to become an Anthony Kennedy, let alone a Souter. She is said to have won the confidence of several very strong conservatives who are very familiar with her work. But let’s say for the sake of argument that she could end up becoming, say, a John Roberts, who disappoints conservatives, sometimes seriously, on occasion (I have no reason to believe this would be the case, and it merits a mention that Lagoa has been involved with the Federalist Society for years). That would still be an immense ideological upgrade from Justice Ginsburg. Which is to say, I’m less fixated than I typically would be on the demonstrable philosophical bona fides of this particular nominee at this particular moment in time. Republicans will need to thread a needle, given the timing of this vacancy. A huge strategic consideration, under these conditions, must be making opposition as difficult as possible. A Barbara Lagoa nomination could present some real optics landmines for Democrats, and it would align with the Trump campaign’s aggressive courtship of voters of color at the Republicans’ August convention. In other words, it would play to Trump’s instincts and strategy.

I’d like to see more assurances about the underpinnings and consistency of her judicial philosophy (I’ve spoken to some plugged-in conservatives I trust who at least have questions about the depth of her commitment to conservative jurisprudence) — and it’s especially crucial that she’s totally buttoned up from a vetting perspective. Yes, she just passed through a very recent confirmation process with flying colors (some of the conservative doubters ask why she received 80 votes, including the support of some extremely liberal Senators). But SCOTUS is a different beast with different stakes. Just ask Justice Kavanaugh. But time is of the essence. If Lagoa is determined to be a sufficiently vetted and conservative jurist, I believe she may be an ideal candidate for the position, in light of all the emotionally-charged and politically-fraught dynamics at play. And if not ideal, she’s at least worthy of a very, very serious look.


Anti-lockdown protesters swarm a suburban park in Melbourne before being chased off by police on horseback as several are arrested during a tension-filled 'Freedom Rally'


It is notable that many of the rebels are young people.  Lockdowns interfere with the mating game.  Most young people probably do not have a regular partner and are in search for one.  And social events are a major way of finding a partner. 

And there are also single people in later age groups.  So there will be ever-increasing pressure on Chairman Dan to drop the restrictions.  Any restrictions that go against the sex drive are facing a powerful foe and must crumble sooner or later

Up to 150 people gathering at Elsternwick Park in Brighton dispersed to Elwood when faced with a long line of officers at the site, 11km from Melbourne's CBD.

Protests were announced by rally organisers about 10.30am on Saturday - half an hour before kicking off at the State Library, and a second closely following at 12pm. 

Shouting about Premier Daniel Andrews and coronavirus restrictions was heard throughout the disjointed protests.

The protests were described as 'chaotic', with one photographer saying there was 'a lot of running and not much protesting.' 

Some protesters continued to scatter through backstreets, even jumping fences into private property.

One arrested by police was filmed by Nine News telling officers: 'Wake up, I know you already know this is wrong.' 

In video captured of the event, protesters can be heard yelling 'disgraceful', 'I've done nothing wrong', 'no violence' and 'peaceful' as officers stand nearby.

A man can be seen being arrested as he questions: 'Officers, why are you doing this. I've never done anything wrong in my life. Please, this is enough. It's only  going to get worse. Who is going to fight for you.' 

Premier Daniel Andrews said the protest was selfish and irresponsible. 


The Facts About Climate Change and California Fires


The article below is generally sensible but at one point the author did not feel safe to deny global warming orthodoxy.  He writes:

"It stands to reason that as the planet warms, the American West will become drier and states’ wildfire seasons will be longer. "

That does NOT stand to reason  It is often asserted but ignores basic physics. The oceans in a warmer would evaporate off more water vapor and that would come down as more rain.  A warmer world would be a WETTER world

Despite some progress made by heroic firefighters, wildfires continue to tear through the West. Tragically, the fires have taken more than 30 lives (with many more missing), destroyed thousands of structures, and burned millions of acres.

Here are answers to some of the commonly asked questions on causes for the wildfires and obstacles that stand in the way of solutions.

What caused the wildfires?

At least several factors. At the end of August, a storm with a lot of lightning and little rain struck. An estimated 11,000 lightning strikes hit California over a three-day span, sparking fires throughout the state.

More recently, two of the fires started because of hot soot from a car tailpipe and a family using a “smoke-generating pyrotechnic device” for a gender reveal party. One man in Oregon has been charged with arson.

Investigations continue into the causes of some of the fires. In the past, campfires, discarded cigarettes, fallen power lines, and arson have been the culprit.  

Despite accusations that extremists on both the left and right set certain wildfires, neither has been the case. In fact, false rumors have served only to spread resources thinner and detract from serious investigations.

The more than 3.2 million acres burned thus far in California are the most in recorded history.

According to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, data over the past 30 years shows that the number of fires is on a downward trend while the number of acres burned is on an upward trend.

However, as Mother Jones reports, ecologists and fire scientists estimate that prehistoric fires were worse, burning between 4.4 million and 11.8 million acres per year.

On a national scale, data from the National Interagency Fire Center shows a downward trend for both fires and acres burned from 1926 through 2019, though reporting methods differed before 1983.

California is a hot and dry place. The winds can be fierce this time of year and the steep slopes of the topography can make them practically unstoppable.  Although the winds come every year, they’re also unpredictable.

Alexandra Syphard, an ecologist at the Conservation Biology Institute, noted that “wind-driven fires are the ones most associated with catastrophic losses” because of their difficulty to contain and propensity to reach places where people live.

Then there’s the fuel load. Without proper management, whether prescribed burns or timber harvesting, California is a tinder box comprised of dry trees, grass, and shrubs. Invasive species, including grasses and shrubs, also contribute to worse wildfires because they dry out and have a higher likelihood of burning than native plants.

Better land management long has been understood as a necessity to reduce the severity of fires. Malcolm North, of the U.S. Forest Survey, says: “Climate dries the [wood] fuels out and extends the fire season from four to six months to nearly year-round. [B]ut it’s not the cause of the intensity of the fires. The cause of that is fire suppression and the existing debt of wood fuel.”

Timothy Ingalsbee, executive director for Firefighters United for Safety, Ethics, and Ecology, told ProPublica: “We need to get good fire on the ground and whittle down some of that fuel load.”

If controlled burns and thinning forests are effective, why are they so hard to do?

California’s fuel load has been a long-standing, worsening problem and a top priority for ecologists and land managers who want to reduce the severity of wildfires.

Jon Keeley, senior scientist at the U.S. Geological Survey’s Western Ecological Research Center, said: “We ought to be much more concerned with ignition sources than a 1- to 2-degree change in temperature.”

Prescribed burns (see photos here) are an effective, non-controversial way to reduce the fuel load and consequently reduce the destruction caused by a wildfire. Fires also help  to control pests, to remove non-native plants, and to provide nutrients to trees and other vegetation.

As the narrator says in this National Geographic video: “Giant sequoias depend on fire to reproduce. The heat opens their seed cones, their seeds are released, the flames clear the earth for their germination. While lesser trees blaze around them, the giant sequoias stand virtually unscathed by the flames.”

Studies have shown that these prescribed burns do not harm the ecology of the forest. California has implemented controlled burns for an average of 13,000 acres from 1997 to 2017. But a February article in the journal Nature Sustainability suggests that California needs about 20 million acres burned.

Controlled burns are by no means a silver bullet, but an overwhelming consensus exists among land managers that such burns are the most immediate and effective action to take.

As for why that hasn’t happened, the same article in Nature Sustainability breaks it down to three categories: risk, resources, and regulation.

Some have concerns about the smoke from controlled burns, and that the fires may get out of control; others have concerns over liability should that occur. Even so, the practice largely has won public acceptance.

Another barrier is presented by weather and location. Controlled burns take into account ideal humidity ranges, as well as wind direction and speed. Some controlled burns occur where there are power lines or pipelines, which require additional attention. COVID-19 postponed many of the prescribed burns.

Regulation presents a major obstacle. Prescribed burns go through a lengthy approval process. Securing a permit can take up to 18 months.  These burns are subject to the National Environmental Policy Act and must meet federal, state, and local air quality standards.

Of course, the pollution and air quality is much worse from the wildfires than from a controlled burn. Even when a plan seemingly checks all the necessary boxes, it still may be held up in the courts. Although some progress has occurred to expedite the process, more needs to be done.

Another solution is timber harvesting, which helps thin the landscape and put those resources to productive use.

What is the role of climate change?

It stands to reason that as the planet warms, the American West will become drier and states’ wildfire seasons will be longer. The planet has been in a warming period for the past 160 years, and part of that warming is a result of human activity.

One study out of UCLA estimates that the number of days with extreme fire weather in the fall has more than doubled over the past 40 years. Another study in Earth’s Future found similar results for warming’s effect on fuel drying, but noted that a changing climate has not affected wind or precipitation patterns:

In fall, wind events and delayed onset of winter precipitation are the dominant promoters of wildfire. While these variables did not change much over the past century, background warming and consequent fuel drying is increasingly enhancing the potential for large fall wildfires.

Cliff Mass, a professor of atmospheric sciences at the University of Washington, emphasizes that even without the warming that is occurring, fuels are “plenty dry enough to burn already.”

Soil moisture is another factor that can determine how severe a wildfire might be. Last year, in a very mild season, soil moisture in California was 40% above average for most of the state and even higher in some parts.

Droughts can be both bad and good. Droughts obviously create a dry climate for vegetation to burn, but extended droughts can result in less fire because, as NASA’s Ben Cook points out, “the vegetation will not grow back as vigorously, and you may run out of fuel to burn.”

Some parts of California, such as the area where the Camp Fire wildfire occurred in 2018, saw no discernible trend in fuel moisture or precipitation, but the winds were strong enough to dry out the vegetation anyway. 

Which brings us to another point of the discussion: how climate change affects wind patterns. California is known for intense winds, such as the Diablo winds in the north and the Santa Ana winds in the south.

Several studies show that warming actually could reduce the frequency of the Santa Ana winds and potentially weaken the pressure of Diablo winds. If precipitation patterns change, however, that merely might push the wildfire season from the fall into the winter.

That’s to say that the link between climate change and wildfires exists, but it also is quite complex.  

What about where we live, and housing policies?

Residents of the West are moving to more fire-prone areas. The New York Times podcast “The Daily” explains that this is called the Wildland Urban Interface, where development meets wild vegetation.

People choose to live in more rural areas for a host of reasons. They may want to be closer to nature and where houses are more affordable. The higher number of homes and businesses in these areas also increases the likelihood of a human-induced fire and puts more lives and structures at risk. These threats as they pertain to the Wildland Urban Interface are not specific to California, but exist in many places around the country.

Housing policies also contribute to the decision by some to move to the Wildland Urban Interface. A homelessness problem plagues California and home prices are high, particularly in the cities.

The combination of the difficulty in expanding housing in the cities, the ease of building on green space, and state and local incentives to build in more remote locations encourages development in places that are at higher risk for wildfires. 

Both state-subsidized housing (140,000 units in the Wildland Urban Interface) and local subsidies result in more houses than otherwise might be there. Also, because subsidies for building are still there, not to mention that a town’s budget and operations are paid for through property taxes, a strong incentive exists to rebuild. 

And yet another piece of this puzzle is insurance. Insurance prices can be the great arbiter of accepting a certain amount of risk, whether that’s accepting the insurance premium of a sports car or purchasing a home in a flood- or fire-prone area.

A major part of the problem, however, is that the government can distort that risk by socializing it among taxpayers, or, in the case of California, banning insurers from refusing to renew fire insurance policies they deemed too risky. At the same time, some of the state’s housing policies encouraged expansion of homes and businesses to these more remote areas.

It’s understandable why homeowners are frustrated at the prospects of not being able to have insurance, but these policies skew the actual risk of living in these areas.

Alternative, market-based risk models are cropping up in parts of the country to better assess the risk and deploy fire- suppression resources where they’re needed most.

When the risk is accurately assessed, it should incentivize more prescribed burns, timber harvesting, and installation of fire- resistant materials on homes and other buildings. But even then, it is challenging because most often reducing the fuel load is out of the hands of the home or business owner.

The Western wildfires are tragic and devastating. A nearly universal consensus exists that prescribed burns can measurably reduce the risk of future fires.

Now is the time for the political will to make it happen, so we’re not writing and reading the same story a year from now.



Cathy Freeman’s iconic Olympic moment shows the racism Indigenous Australians face

This do-gooder article below is a good example of lazy thought. It casually accuses Australians of racism towards Aborigines but makes no attempt to enquire why that racism exists.

And it does exist. Australians rarely encounter Aborigines as anything but dirty and drunkedn layabouts and beggars and it is undoubted that they dislike ALL drunken layabout beggars. So that is the simple explanation for why Australians have a low opinion of Aborigines.

And the high rate of intermarriage beween East Asians (mainly Chinese and Filipinas) and Anglo-Australians shows that looking different and coming from different cultures does not of itself normally elicit prejudice. In the Bogardus social distance scale, marriage is the most non-racist category of behaviour. The almost total absence of any friction between Anglos and our large population of East Asians is surely evidence that Australians are NOT racist in general

It is of course true that what is true of the group is not true of all individuals within it. But it is a universal human habit to categorize, as the psychological literature (See here and here) clearly shows. But that literature also shows that once a person becomes known as an individual, the category judgments fall away.

My own father, who was a man of his times, had an Aboriginal friend — solely because the Aboriginal was a hard worker in my father’s trade (“lumberjack”) of cutting down forest trees. He was perfectly friendly to Tommy even though he had the usual negative view of Aborigines in general prevailing at that time. My father greatly respected hard manual work so his friendship with Tommy was an expression of his values

So the human tendency to categorize may be regrettable but it does not generate immovable attitudes. So Freeman received a lot of acceptance and admiration once she became known as an individual. But up to that point the assumption about her was that she was a discreditable type of person. She was judged as a member of her group. That is how the human mind works. It is nothing to do with Australians in particular

Call it racism or call it stereotyping but categorization is a basic human survival mechanism. It enables prediction

Twenty years ago Cathy Freeman stopped the nation not once, but twice in the space of 10 days.

All of Australia watched as Freeman won the 400m in front of 110,000 people at Sydney’s Olympic stadium on September 25, 2000.

Ten days earlier she was unveiled as the secret final torch bearer to light the Olympic cauldron inside the stadium.

It was something Freeman – who had the race of her life just 10 days later – was reluctant to do.

“It wasn’t until I got to Sydney, in those days before the Opening Ceremony that I started to think, ‘OK I have to be in this moment’.”

It was an iconic moment in not only our sporting history but the history of Australia.

Twenty years ago Indigenous Australians were fighting for an apology to the Stolen Generation. Just months before the Olympics 250,000 Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians had marched across the Sydney Harbour Bridge for reconciliation.

And here was a proud and outspoken Indigenous Australian on the world stage representing Australia.

It’s easy to look back at that moment with rose-tinted glasses. A moment that shows how accepting white Australians have been of Indigenous Australians.

But I have vastly different memories of that opening ceremony.

At an 18th birthday party in country NSW, the family whose daughter was turning 18 had moved the TV outside so everyone could watch the ceremony.

But despite it being a huge moment in our history, there are only two things I remember from that event.

The first was when a young Nikki Webster entered the ceremony surrounded by Aboriginal dancers.

A partygoer – who would have just been 17 or 18 – yelled out that Nikki wasn’t safe with so many Aboriginal men around her.

It was a disgusting comment that shows just how acceptable it was to be openly racist 20 years ago. Sadly, it’s probably still acceptable in some circles today.

When the torch bearers reached the stadium it was a parade of former Australian Olympians who did the final legs. Then it was Cathy’s moment. No one knew she would light the cauldron.

But the decision to use Australia’s greatest athlete at the time didn’t please everyone at the party.

People started to boo as Cathy took the torch and started the final run before lighting the cauldron surrounded by water.

You could just say this was a group of teens who didn’t understand the importance of this moment. They didn’t understand how racist it was to boo a prominent Indigenous woman during one of the biggest moments in her career.

But that would be ignoring how much Freeman had to fight during her whole career.

Like how Australian Commonwealth Games official Arthur Tunstall said Freeman should have been kicked out of the 1994 Commonwealth Games when she carried both the Australian and Aboriginal flags during her victory lap after winning gold in the 200m.

Or when Freeman was just a girl and didn’t receive a trophy after winning a race, instead watching non-Indigenous girls who finished behind her receive them.

“What did upset me at time was my parent’s reaction; they were more upset than me,” Freeman said years later.

It’s easy to look back at Freeman winning the 400m gold in Sydney or lighting the cauldron and forget the racism she faced.

She was even warned in the lead up to the 2000 Games she could be stripped of her medals if she celebrated with the Aboriginal flag. There were concerns it would breach an Olympic rule by being seen as a political gesture. But when she won the 400m, she carried both flags proudly.

The 20th anniversary of Freeman’s gold medal should rightly be celebrated this month as a moment that brought Australians together.

But it should also be a reminder of how much more Indigenous Australians have to fight to be accepted in Australia. And that it’s a fight that still continues.



Coronavirus is soaring again in the UK, but the number of deaths is low. Here are the main theories why

This article seems to miss the obvious. It is known that the virus kills very few people in general so once the virus has swept through a population and killed off those susceptible, there will be very few left for it to kill. Hence the reduced numbers of deaths at the current time

That explains the Swedish experience as well. Sweden had a lot of opportunities for the virus to spread so they had a relatively high death rate. But the death rate there is now down to almost nothing. All those susceptible to it are now dead so there are few new deaths. Sweden has now got the problem all over with

After suffering one of the world’s most brutal outbreaks of COVID-19 earlier this year, the United Kingdom is bracing itself for what could be a second wave of the disease.

The UK managed to flatten its curve slightly from late June, just in time to allow people to enjoy the northern hemisphere’s summer.

The loosening of restrictions across Europe, which allowed people to enjoy rounds at the pub and beach holidays, is widely blamed for the region’s second spike.

But while the number of infections has climbed steadily for two months, something strange is happening with the UK’s COVID-19 death toll.

The number of death certificates issued which mention COVID-19 has been falling for 20 straight weeks, according to UK Government statistics.

It’s a huge achievement for Britain, which was experiencing Europe’s worst surge in deaths in June.

While experts aren’t sure exactly what’s behind the fall in COVID-19 deaths, there are a few theories.

This spike is a young spike

The UK’s first wave of COVID-19 cases was predominantly driven by people in care homes and hospitals.

It’s estimated that about 20,000 British care residents died from COVID-19 as the virus ripped through facilities for the elderly and disabled across the kingdom.

But it appears that younger Britons are behind this renewed surge of the disease.

Pubs in the UK are still open, and the city of Leeds says it’s started issuing fines after an increase in music events, house parties and illegal raves.

In the first week of September, a third of all cases in England were people aged between 20 and 29.(Reuters: Simon Dawson)
People aged 20 to 29 have the highest infection rate in England, with 46 cases per 100,000 people. That’s followed by people in their 30s, with nearly 30 cases per 100,000.

“What we think is happening is that it’s mostly infecting younger people in particular parts of the country, and it’s not so much yet moving into the older and more vulnerable population,” Peter Openshaw, who is a professor of experimental medicine at Imperial College London and scientific advisor to the UK Government, told the ABC.

“So many of the people who would be very severely affected are keeping themselves in isolation still and are not behaving in a way that might put them at risk of catching it, so it hasn’t moved up the generations in the way that it would need to in order to cause deaths.”

But the UK Government fears the disease could soon spread to older generations. “Don’t kill your gran by catching coronavirus and then passing it on,” UK Health Minister Matt Hancock warned.

While younger people can die from COVID-19 complications, older patients still have a much higher risk of death from the disease.

Doctors are getting better at treating the virus

While the UK’s second surge of infections could still spread to older people, the doctors on the front lines of the crisis appear to be better equipped to cope.

At the beginning of the pandemic, health workers around the world were grappling with a novel virus.

They had never encountered COVID-19 before, and so every symptom and complication was new, every treatment something of an experiment.

Now, doctors have approval from the National Health Service (NHS) to use two drugs on critically-ill COVID-19 patients: the Ebola treatment remdesivir, and the low-cost steroid dexamethasone.

The medications are not a cure, but may be helping patients recover quicker.

The UK is testing more people

At the beginning of the pandemic, it could be quite difficult to get a COVID-19 test in the UK.

Download the ABC News app and subscribe to our range of news alerts for the latest on how the pandemic is impacting the world
Tests were mostly limited to older people and those who had been checked into hospital with respiratory problems.

Anyone else with symptoms was urged to isolate at home for seven days, and call an NHS hotline if they took a turn for the worse.

Those restrictions meant that by early April, only 7,500 people in England had been tested for COVID-19. At the same point, Germany was already testing 5,000 people a day.

The rules have since been changed by the NHS so that anyone with symptoms can get a free swab.

That meant that in the first week of September, 436,884 people were tested in England, according to UK Government statistics.

“It’s a general trend, but it’s really important to understand a large part of the graph going up is more tests, and in particular more test in areas with a high rate,” Danny Dorling, the Halford Mackinder Professor of Geography at the University of Oxford, told the ABC.

The UK’s testing system is still being criticised. As demand for tests increases, the backlog of swabs at laboratories has reportedly grown to nearly 185,000.

Professor Dorling also pointed to a random sample survey by the Office of National Statistics, which tracks people who have first tested negative to coronavirus before repeatedly following up with tests to see how many people catch it.

“That ONS one shows the increase is only among young adults so far — that only comes out every couple of weeks but is such a higher quality (than NHS testing).

“If you want to know what is happening in the population you need to look at the ONS data, because it’s a proper random sample that is not affected by fewer or more people getting tested and so-on.

“And that one is a lot less worrying than the raw figures.”

There may simply be a lag in deaths

While deaths are not rising in lockstep with new coronavirus cases, it may only be a matter of time.

There is always a lag between a spike in cases and the number of people dying from the disease.

Hospital admissions for COVID-19 patients have hit their highest levels in two months, official UK data shows.

On September 13 alone, 153 people were admitted to English hospitals with COVID-19.

In a country of 56 million, that may not sound like much, but it’s a concern to UK actuary John Roberts, who analyses the UK’s infection rate for the COVID-19 Actuaries Response Group.

If hospital admissions continue on this current trajectory, the UK could have as many people needing treatment for COVID-19 as they did in June.

“The last couple of weeks there’s been a bit of a spike, the number of deaths has gone up but it’s not a huge jump and it may be that we’re going to have to wait a bit to see the trends in infection, particularly in the vulnerable age groups, go up,” Professor Openshaw said.

“Then after a lag of two or three weeks we’ll expect to see the upwards trend in terms of the number of deaths.

“So there is an built-in delay of about three weeks between it spreading into a particular population and those infections being translated into death.”



If you’ve got a runny nose you DON’T have Covid-19: Top expert says fatigue is most common symptom for children as Matt Hancock urges parents not to confuse colds with coronavirus

Children only suffering from a runny nose ‘absolutely’ do not have coronavirus, a top expert has warned amid calls for Britons to stop getting tested unnecessarily as the government’s ongoing swabbing fiasco continues.

Professor Tim Spector, of King’s College London, moved to reassure parents the symptom, alongside congestion and sneezing, is a ‘sure sign’ they have a cold and not Covid-19.

Matt Hancock has claimed parents seeking tests for children merely battling colds are contributing to the soaring demand on Britain’s creaking testing service, which has descended into chaos over the past week.

Fears are now high that schools and offices will have to shut because people with mild symptoms cannot prove they are negative. Officials say a quarter of Britons getting tested aren’t ‘eligible’.

It was claimed today that the testing fiasco has hit almost every school in the UK, with up to 25,000 teachers in England already forced to stay at home and self-isolate.

Professor Spector, who runs the Coronavirus Symptom Study app, is behind research showing the most common symptoms of Covid-19 for school-age children is fatigue (55 per cent), headaches (55 per cent) and a fever (49 per cent).

By comparison, the most common symptoms in adults are fatigue (87 per cent), headache (72 per cent) and a loss of smell (60 per cent). Neither children or adults frequently report a runny nose.




Up to nine additional nations could join peace deal with Israel, including Saudi Arabia, Trump says (The Daily Wire)

Clueless Joe refers to the “Harris-Biden administration” (Washington Examiner)

Biden votes in person, wrecks the Democrats’ mail-in voting narrative (PJ Media)

House GOP releases “Commitment to America” agenda (The Resurgent)

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi unpractically seeks to put pressure on GOP in COVID-19 relief battle (The Hill)

Senator Tom Cotton: The U.S. should eliminate China’s “most favored nation” trade status (The Washington Free Beacon)

Criminal probe opened into John Bolton’s book, The Room Where It Happened, which may contain classified information (Politico)

A former NRA insider paints an unflattering picture (National Review)

Three charged for harassing patrons at Pittsburgh restaurants during Labor Day BLM protest (National Review)

Judge throws the book at 13 alleged Lancaster rioters and sets $1 million bail for seven of them (Daily Mail)

Up to 95% riots are linked to Black Lives Matter (The Federalist)

Virginia police hunting for person who shot patrol car three times (Fox News)

“Evil is real”: North Carolina police officer pens heartfelt resignation letter to community amid “unprecedented” exodus from the force (The Daily Wire)

Breonna Taylor’s family reaches massive settlement with City of Louisville for $12 million (WAVE 3 News)

LA County sheriff calls out LeBron James, wants him to match reward for deputies’ shooter (The Truth About Guns)

Chinese organization with Communist Party ties funds Black Lives Matter ventures (The Federalist)

Chinese software firm that “provides intelligence to the government and military” collects data from 50,000 Americans (Daily Mail)

“Worst-case scenario”: Baltimore murder suspects protected by sanctuary laws (The Washington Times)

Trump says he favored plan to eliminate Syrian dictator Bashar Assad, but then-Secretary of Defense James Mattis opposed it (Disrn)

FTC prepares possible antitrust lawsuit against Facebook (Bloomberg)

Oil demand has collapsed, and it won’t come back any time soon (NPR)

Alan Dershowitz files multimillion-dollar defamation lawsuit against CNN (Washington Examiner)

Policy: The U.S. dollar collapse is greatly exaggerated (Mises Institute)


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Australia singled out for mammal extinction in UN's dire global biodiversity report

LOL.  The good ol' Bramble cay melomys again:  A small rodent that has actually gone extinct in recent years.  The Greenies love it so we keep hearing about it.

The whole thing is a beat up.  It is only the Melomys on Bramble cay that has gone extinct.  There are tons of them on the nearby mainland.

And their extinction has NOTHING to do with global warming.  One of the cyclones that bedevil the far North blew most of the vegetation and a lot of the sand away that formed its habitat.  Any that survived the big blow died of starvation, not of any temperature rise

The Greenies will of course say that the big blow was caused by global warming but that is nonsense.  Big blows have always been a frequent occurrence in the Far North.  Where they hit is random however.  Bramble cay and its inhabitants just got unlucky on one occasion

The extinction of Australia's Bramble Cay melomys has been singled out for criticism in a United Nation's report on the state of biodiversity across the world.

The fifth Global Biodiversity Outlook, released last night, warned that biodiversity is declining "at an unprecedented rate [while] the pressures driving this decline are intensifying".

Australia was named alongside Cameroon, the Galapagos and Brazil as countries having suffered at least one extinction in the last decade.

The Bramble Cay melomys — a native rodent found on a coral cay in the northern Great Barrier Reef — was officially declared extinct by the Australian Government in 2019, although it was last seen in 2009.

It is believed to be the world's first mammal extinction due to climate change.

Today's report is an update on the world's progress with the Aichi biodiversity targets — a set of 20 conservation targets set out in 2010 to be achieved by 2020, and signed off on by 194 countries including Australia.

Those targets include the elimination of "incentives, including subsidies harmful to biodiversity", and halving "the rate of loss of all natural habitats, including forests".

"At the global level, none of the 20 targets have been fully achieved," the report stated, "though six targets have been partially achieved."

Strengthening and enforcing environmental protection laws is outlined as a key lever to help stop the loss of biodiversity — a warning that Australian Conservation Foundation spokesperson Basha Stasak said the Government needs to pay attention to.

"The Australian Government's own report to the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity in March 2020 revealed the Government failed to meet or measure the majority of its [Aichi] targets," Ms Stasak said.

"Yet the Morrison Government is trying to further weaken nature protection in rushed changes to the national environment law due to be debated in the Senate next month."

Australia's environment laws have come under scrutiny since the interim report into the Environment Protection Biodiversity Conservation (EPBC) Act, released in July, found that the Act is failing to curb our loss of habitat and species.

The report's recommendation for an independent "cop" to oversee the enforcement of environment protection laws was rejected by the Government.

Instead the Government is moving to introduce changes to the EPBC Act which would shift environmental assessments for major development projects to the states — a move critics say will further weaken an already failing system.

In a statement to the ABC, a spokesperson for the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment said that the Government was aiming to strengthen environmental protection.

"The Government continues to work on delivering both short- and long-term change that will make the Act more efficient and result in clearer, stronger protection for the environment," the spokesperson said.

Australian species at risk of extinction without change
Australia currently has 21 species listed as critically endangered on the IUCN red list — a globally recognised database of flora and fauna conservation status.

A further 24 Australian animals are listed as endangered, with 19 of those having decreasing populations.

One of the biggest failings of our environment protection laws is the self-assessment criteria, according to David Chapple, who heads up Monash University's Evolutionary Ecology of Environmental Change Laboratory.

Under the self-assessment guidelines, people are required to decide for themselves whether they think their activity needs to be referred to the Federal Government for approval.

Yet, researchers have found that 93 per cent of the over 7 million hectares of threatened species habitat cleared since 1999 (when the EPBC Act came into effect) were not referred for assessment.

More than 3 million of that 7 million hectares was koala habitat.

"Self assessment and whether you actually refer yourself to the Act in the first place is an area where there's a lot of improvement to be made," Dr Chapple said.

"The [EPBC report] recommendation for an independent panel to oversee the Act is one thing that most conservation biologists think is a key element to [improve] it."

In research published earlier this month, Dr Chapple and colleague's assessed the conservation trajectory of just lizards and snakes in Australia.

They found that there are at least 11 species of lizard and snake at significant risk of extinction by 2040.

The biggest driver of species loss in Australia and globally is habitat loss, according to Associate Professor Chapple.

He said he wasn't surprised by the poor outcomes in the UN's report today.

"There wasn't anything in there that surprised me. It's a reinforcement of what we already know," he said.

"In terms of the Samuel's review of the EPBC Act, it's very timely. It remains to be seen how many of those things [the Government] do take on."

A Department spokesperson told the ABC the Government has made "significant progress" across its Aichi targets.

"The Australian Government is investing in dedicated threatened species strategies, national environmental science programs, practical on ground action to reduce threats from feral predators and pests and $200 million in bushfire wildlife and habitat recovery strategies that focus heavily on threatened species impacts."



The Myth of Voting One’s Pocketbook

I don't entirely follow the reasoning below but I think he comes to the right conclusions.  The author is obviously right that many poor white Americans are not deceived by the promises of a better deal from the Democrats.  Being poor does not always make you a Leftist

I did quite a lot of research on just this question during my research career and it was true in both Britain and Australia at that time (70s and 80s) that around a quarter of the working class voted Tory instead of voting for "their" party, the Leftists.  But at that time the Tories were the party of the elite.  Rich and influential people tended to be conservative.  And a large part of that was fear of the Soviets.  In a Soviet takeover of America, all the rich people and most of the other elites would lose their lives.  So it made sense for rich people to be anti-Soviet and hence conservative.

The Soviet threat is now however long gone so other influences have shaped the political scene.  And that has come to a head in the age of Trump, where patriotism has become the big issue, with Trump being a most explicit champion of that.  And, as Roger Scruton has pointed out, patriotism and conservatism  are intimately associated.  What conservatives want and value is very much the same as what patriots want and value.

And patriotism has a very powerful emotional appeal -- which is why Trump came from behind in the polls to get the Republican nomination, with policies at considerable variance from the Republican establishment. Wanting to protect traditional industries is pure conservatism and pure patriotism but it completely ditched the established Republican attachment to free trade.  Trump reminded us that there are more important things than dollars and cents.

And as Lipset and others have pointed out the working class is basically conservative and patriotic so Trump has become the idol of the working class.  They love him.  But there are patriots in all levels of society so that gave Trump his majority.

The Left, on the other hand, have always been anti-patriotic.   They dislike much about the society they live in so would gladly see it all overturned.  They displayed that in the Soviet era by supporting in all sorts of ways that brutal  regime and opposing all efforts for America to build up its military defences.  And they display it today by refusing to rein in the destruction being wreaked by the rioters in Portland, Seattle and elsewhere.

So the big political divide these days is between those who love their country and those who despise it.  And neither side is much motivated by their pocketbooks.  Trump in fact is supported by people who stand to be made worse off by his trade policies and China policies.  China has done nothing significant to harm America but picking at China plays well among patriots.  China did originate the coronavirus but they themselves were hit hard by it so it was clearly beyond their control


Lipset, S.M. (1959) Democracy and working class authoritarianism. American Sociological Review 24, 482-502.

Do Americans “vote their pocketbooks?” This near-ubiquitous cliche seems at first to pass the test of common sense. Why wouldn’t people vote for the candidates under whom they’ll do the best financially? A wealthy voter should favor the candidate who will lower their taxes. A chronically unemployed voter should support the candidate promising lavish government handouts.

In the most basic economic terms, however, this logic falls apart. If one votes, for example, to maximize the present value of their future income, the answer is to not vote at all. Given the vanishingly low probability of breaking a tie, voting isn’t worth the gasoline used to drive to one’s local fire station and cast a ballot.

Perhaps this critique says more about the limits of economic modelling than it does about voting. Slogans like “It’s the economy, stupid” and “Are you better off than you were four years ago?” suggest a bigger-picture view people can take when voting their pocketbooks. But once again, this view fails to hold water.

The concept of “voting one’s pocketbook” frequently causes partisans who don’t understand the other party’s voters to make strategic errors. It also perpetuates the destructive idea that different groups of citizens are playing a zero-sum game against each other. Finally, and perhaps most insidiously, it creates the myth that the right politician can make our pocketbooks grow.

The Seduction of Joe Sixpack

In late 2004, after voters delivered four more years of George W. Bush, my parents and their progressive friends were abuzz about George Lakoff’s book Don’t Think of an Elephant. Lakoff urged earnest lefties to get more politically savvy. To summarize the book, John Kerry had lost because of those crafty Republicans who through use of buzzwords like “pro-life” and “tax relief” had mesmerized Joe Sixpack into voting against his economic interest. A couple of years later came Thomas Frank’s What’s the Matter With Kansas?–similar in its cringeworthy myopia though subtly more scolding to Joe Sixpack himself in tone.

Unwilling to part with the idea that the GOP was fueled exclusively by the rich getting richer, progressives needed expert analysis and suburban book clubs to tell them why such a large fraction of the non-rich might be on board. The great irony is that most of the head-scratching about white working-class voters going against their economic interest was being done by upper-middle class progressives who wear their own votes against lower tax rates as a badge of honor.

These prosperous-but-perplexed progressives in turn expose the mirror-image fallacy held by Republicans–that voters on the left just want “handouts” or “free stuff.” The vanguard of socialism, progressivism, and welfare-statism has always come from relatively well-off intellectuals. Rather than wanting free stuff, they want to see themselves as the givers of free stuff.

Two Economies?

Economic outcomes and political narratives don’t play nicely together, and the results increasingly harm more than just the two parties’ strategic efforts to win converts. A 2019 study from The Wall Street Journal and the Brookings Institution characterizes the current landscape as “Two Parties, Two Economies.”

The study clearly and effectively presents the divergence of different types of voters over the last decade. Democrats are more concentrated in highly-educated urban areas that depend on professional and information-economy jobs; Republicans from rural areas built on manufacturing and agriculture. The differences have grown more stark with time.

The authors conclude that:

For at least the foreseeable future, therefore, the nation seems destined to struggle with extreme economic, territorial, and political divides in which the two parties talk almost entirely past each other on the most important economic and social issues, like innovation, immigration, and education because they represent starkly separate and diverging worlds. Not only do the two parties adhere to very different views, but they inhabit increasingly different economies and environments.

There’s an implicit idea here that, while the authors don’t explicitly endorse, I wish they would explicitly reject. The concept of two opposed and diverging economies suggests to many that government policy can help one economy prosper, albeit at the expense of the other. This is plainly false.

President Trump’s anti-trade policies, for example, have hurt the entire economy, including manufacturing, and even including the hand-picked industries he myopically sought to “protect.” Meanwhile, the Covid-19 lockdowns enforced by both parties but more enthusiastically on the left have been especially brutal on urban economies.

The political drama captured by the WSJ/Brookings study is indeed driven by economic forces. The decades-long shift in the composition of American labor demand–driven by globalization and a revolution in information technology–is likely the most important economic story of our time and defines this conflict. But the only path to resolution is an understanding that free, connected people unencumbered by the smoke and mirrors of politicians “favoring” one type of economy over another prosper together rather than at each others’ expense.

“People vote their pocketbooks” is a misleading and potentially insidious approximation of voter behavior. A better approximation for modern times is “People vote for the candidate or party that provides a better story about themselves.” That can be problematic itself, but when we bring economic performance along for the ride the problems only multiply. Putting our economic fortunes in the hands of politicians is a recipe for division and stagnation, every time.



Global temperatures are on track to reach a level the planet has not seen in 50 MILLION years by 2300, analysis of seabed rocks reveals

"On track to reach" -- just another prophecy.  Certain to be just as good as all their previous failed prophecies. The fact that we actually live in an era of exceptional temperature stability makes it really hard for the climate alarmists

To this day, we have very little temperature data for large parts of the earth's surface -- the Southern ocean, Siberia, Northern Canada, for instance. So the whole idea that we can say with any accuracy from that data what the earth's average temperature is like even now, is suspect. 

But there is some evidence to suggest that the average global temperature has risen by about one degree Celsius over the last 100 years or so, but it has to be noted that in many places -- particularly in the USA, where the measurements are most accurate -- there has been no rise at all over that time, even a slight fall.

So if we project from the most recent measurements rather than very shaky measurements of what happened millions of years ago in one place, there is no cause for concern.  A patchy rise of another one degree over the whole of the next century would hardly be noticed

Global temperatures by the end of the century will reach levels not seen in 50 million years if greenhouse gas emissions are not significantly reduced, a study has warned.

German and US experts analysed tiny fossils in cores drilled from the seabed to reconstruct the Earth's climatic history back to the time of the dinosaurs.

During this 66-million-year period, the planet has seen four distinct climate states — which scientists have dubbed 'hothouse', 'warmhouse', 'coolhouse' and 'icehouse'.

Each state is characterised by particular greenhouse gas concentrations and the extent of the ice to be found stored at the Earth's poles

For most of the past three million years, the Earth has been in an 'icehouse' state — one characterised by alternating glacial and interglacial periods.

However, greenhouse gas emissions and other human activities are now pushing the climate towards a 'warmhouse' and 'hothouse' state, experts have warned.

Warmhouse conditions were last seen during the Eocene epoch — which ended around 34 million years ago — in which there were no polar ice caps.

Across this time, the average global temperatures were 16.2–25.2°F (9–14°C) higher than they are in the present day.

Global temperatures by the end of the century will reach levels not seen in 50 million years if greenhouse gas emissions are not significantly reduced, a study has warned. German and US experts analysed cores drilled up from the seabed over the last five decades to reconstruct the Earth's climatic history. all the way back to the time of the dinosaurs.

'The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change projections for 2300 in the "business-as-usual" [emissions] scenario will potentially bring global temperature to a level the planet has not seen in 50 million years,' said paper author James Zachos.

In their study, Professor Zachos and colleagues created a 'climate reference curve' dubbed CENOGRID, which maps out global temperature changes in the past, at present and includes various predictions for the future based on emissions levels.

CENOGRID has revealed that the natural climate variability that occurs as a result of changes in the Earth's orbit around the sun is much smaller than the future warming predicted as a result of greenhouse gas emissions.

'We now know more accurately when it was warmer or colder and have a better understanding of the underlying dynamics and the processes that drive them,' said paper author and marine geologist Thomas Westerhold.

'The time from 66 to 34 million years ago — when the planet was significantly warmer than it is today — is of particular interest, as it represents a parallel in the past to what future anthropogenic change could lead to,' he added.

'We have known for a long time [that] the glacial–interglacial cycles are paced by changes in Earth's orbit,' explained Professor Zachos, who conducts research at the University of California, Santa Cruz.

These cycles, he added, 'alter the amount of solar energy reaching Earth's surface, and astronomers have been computing these orbital variations back in time.'

'As we reconstructed past climates, we could see long-term coarse changes quite well. We also knew there should be finer-scale rhythmic variability due to orbital variations, but for a long time it was considered impossible to recover that signal.'

'Now that we have succeeded in capturing the natural climate variability, we can see the projected anthropogenic warming will be much greater than that.'

'We use CENOGRID to understand what Earth's normal range of natural climate change and variability is and how quickly Earth recovered from past events,' said paper author and palaeoclimatologist Anna Joy Drury of University College London.

'While we show [that] the Earth previously experienced warm climate states, these were characterised by extreme climate events and were radically different from our modern world.'

'Since the peak warmth of the Hothouse, Earth's climate has gradually cooled over the last 50 million years.'

'But the present and predicted rapid anthropogenic changes reverse this trend and, if unabated, far exceed the natural variability of the last 66 million years.'

'CENOGRID's window into the past provides context for the ongoing anthropogenic change and how exceptional it is.'

Most of the major climate transitions in the past 66 million years — when a giant asteroid strike killed off the dinosaurs — have been associated with changes in greenhouse gas levels.

Previous research by Prof Zachos determined that a period of rapid global warming around 50 million years ago that drove the climate into a hothouse state was caused by a massive release of carbon into the atmosphere.

Similarly, in the late Eocene, as atmospheric carbon dioxide levels fell, ice sheets began to form in Antarctica and the climate transitioned to a coolhouse state.

'The climate can become unstable when it is nearing one of these transitions, and we see less predictable responses to orbital forcing, so that is something we would like to better understand,' Prof Zachos added.

The full findings of the study were published in the journal Science.



I Hate Men is the title of a young woman's new book which officials tried to ban as an incitement to hatred - but the author (a French bisexual blogger) is a mass of contradictions who happily makes brownies for her mild-mannered husband

Let's face it:  The penis is a love machine.  Once a woman has sex with a man, she will be open to a relationship.  And that comes naturally to all women, feminists included.  And there will be some regret if a relationship is not offered.

Feminist convictions may of course create difficulties in a relationship but most of the time they can be negotiated away. The convictions are mostly nothing more than a wish for kind and considerate treatment and if that is forthcoming a shell of convictions may remain but it will do no harm to the relationship.  Kind and considerate treatment will triumph over most other things.  As we probably see in the story below

In my own long life I have been struck by how little I have encountered anything but vague feminist convictions and they have certainly never blocked the path to bed.  Women can in fact be remarkably flexible and tolerant if they really like the man. As just one instance, I was for a while in the position of sleeping with two different women most nights -- with both women aware of it.  And both were desirable ladies.

Feminists tear your hair out.

It is the clarion cry of many politically active young women: ‘Down with the patriarchy!’ But for Pauline Harmange, a 25-year-old, bisexual French blogger, the call to arms has had more far-reaching consequences.

Her decision to wade into the gender wars by writing a book entitled I Hate Men has sparked a fierce debate not only about the differences between the sexes but also about freedom of speech.

The book is actually more a tub-thumping pamphlet, in the tradition of Paris’s bohemian and outspoken Left Bank, the haunt of great feminist philosophers such as Simone de Beauvoir, Colette and many others.

It is a passionate denunciation of men, of their violence and oppression and entitlement.

It opens with a quote from poet Sylvia Plath: ‘The trouble was, I hated the idea of serving men in any way.’

Harmange deplores the role of men in society. ‘I witness every day the immense indifference of men towards women. I witness the sh*t about rape, harassment, feminicides, debates on social media, conversations from men I meet or interact with.’

Despite being distributed by a tiny publishing house run by volunteers called Monstrograph, her 96-page essay attracted the attention of a ‘mission manager’ at France’s Ministry of Women and Men’s Equality, named Ralph Zurmely. To him, it was clear. The title of the book, Moi Les Hommes, Je les Deteste, was an obvious incitement to hatred.

You can see his point: if any racial group had been substituted for the word ‘men’, there would have been uproar.

Mr Zurmrly said: ‘This book is obviously an ode to misandry [hatred of men]. I would like to remind you that incitement to hatred on the basis of sex is a criminal offence! Consequently, I ask you to immediately remove this book from your catalogue under penalty of criminal prosecution.’

He might have expected congratulations for rooting out ugly, divisive hate speech – the kind of thing online social media sites are being urged to stamp out.

Instead, something else happened. Mr Zurmely found that he had misjudged the public mood. The first edition of I Hate Men has sold out and the book is now being reprinted.

Is it that France had decided it hates men or that it likes freedom of speech more?

On the other side, Harmange is feeling the wrath of many men and women who detest her opinions.

She is accused of vicious prejudice against a group of people who are not commonly considered society’s victims – the entire male population.

Harmange, who describes herself on Instagram as the ‘harbinger of the feminist storm’, appears a little unsettled by the ferocity of the tempest she has whipped up and has retired to her home in Lille, in northern France.

Her publisher Colline Pierre, told The Mail on Sunday: ‘Pauline is taking a step back at the moment.

‘There are a lot of issues and offers surrounding her book. And sometimes violent reactions.’

A tempest is not a bad thing for sales, of course.

Before Harmange went into hiding, she gave an interview assuring men that their existence was not under threat, merely their entitlement. ‘Eradicating men is not my aim,’ she said, generously.

‘Ideally, the book would help bring men down to a normal position alongside the rest of us, and at the same time liberate women from the weight of that all powerful patriarchy.’

There is another tantalising aspect to this story of our times.  The term ‘lived experience’ these days often prefaces political and social argument. It has Marxist roots and emphasises the importance of ‘personal knowledge about the world gained through direct, first-hand involvement in everyday events rather than through representations constructed by other people’.

In other words, you have the right to talk about sexism or racism or classism or ageism, for example, only if you have experienced it.

Harmange says that working with rape victims has coloured her rhetoric.

The number of cases of domestic violence in France is high. But her own experience contradicts the All Men Are Rapists notion.

This is what she says in her book about men: ‘Even as they dump us, rape us and kill us... boys will be boys. Girls, on the other hand, will become women and learn to cope with being hit, because there is no escaping our narrow view in the crystal ball of patriarchy.’

She may hate men, but it is nothing personal, as she coyly adds: ‘Come on, I’m going to confess: I detest men. All, really? Yes, all of them. By default, I hold them very low in my estimation. It’s funny because I apparently have no legitimacy in detesting men.’

And then the knockout admission: ‘I chose to marry one anyway, and to this day, I have to admit that I love him very much.’

A scroll through her Instagram page shows something close to domestic bliss. Harmange is happily married to Mathieu, 29, who appears in a series of notably unthreatening poses on her Instagram feed. More often than not, he is asleep.

Indeed, Harmange’s Instagram generally is an idyll of contentment, and cats.

Her pictures are of calm sunsets, hot water bottles, knitting, coloured pens, home-baked bread and jam, cakes, yoga mats, and masses of cats. Her fierce rhetoric is matched only by her childlike pleasures.

She is reading Sylvia Plath, but also Harry Potter. She posts a notice that ‘injustice demands revolution’ but then settles down to making advent calendars and painting her fingernails. A tattoo on her arm reads Myself, a statement of defiance but also the solipsism of being 25 years old.

She has pictures of flowers and wedding dresses. She quotes the French writer Albert Camus, who was not known for his chivalry towards women.

Her husband, when awake, is pictured drinking coffee or curled up in corners – or just curled up with the cat. He does not display a tyrannical bone. Even his tattoos look like William Morris wallpaper.

There is a further plot twist: as well as being devoted to her husband, Harmange is bisexual. She says: ‘This choice is not devoid of all context. As a bisexual woman, who can say what my life would be like today if I hadn’t been confronted early on by the homophobia in society and those around me.’

For me, the key to understanding Harmange is not merely that she is young, but that she is very French. Her approach to the relationship between men and women is based on philosophy – which is almost more of a national sport across the Channel than rugby.

Harmange’s cri de coeur echoes one of the tenets of the original Women’s Liberation movement: the fear that men are strong enough to kill you.

She fears and loathes men as a species. She loves individual men.

She does try to address the discrepancy: ‘Although I love my partner and do not consider parting for a second, I continue to think about and claim my fairness to men.’ In other words, she has mastered the art of reconciling two incompatible truths: the empirical (based on experience) and the emotional. How very French!

France is a country of magnificent contradictions: a place of liberty and revolution that has resorted to heavy-handed state powers; a country that ordered Muslims to remove their hijabs at work and now tells everyone to cover their faces with a mask. Swift to worship women, slow to understand the importance of the #MeToo movement.

It is the home of the femme fatale and ‘le cinq a sept’, that golden happy hour when the British go to get two drinks for the price of one, but when French go to lie down with their loved ones – before going home to their spouses.

She is pulling down the temple of patriarchy to rebuild a new society. At the same time, though, she is cooking brownies for herself and beloved ‘enemy-husband’ Mathieu.

It is what we call in plodding old Britain ‘having your cake and eating it’.

This curious, wholly French row should revive the spirits of a country cast down by Covid and castigating Britain over Brexit.

What better than a young woman blazing rhetoric and yet with a playful demeanour?

Her defence is that hating men is a philosophical construction rather than a hate crime.

Of course, I Hate Men should not be banned. It is not bigotry but a cry against the Establishment by a young woman who is part of a generation who are seeking cultural latitude instead of demanding power. They are much less aggressive than my generation, despite the furious words. They hate men but they love cats.

And Harmange has stumbled upon a greater cause.  Hers may be a generation that is quick to take offence but she has come to represent the fundamental right to give offence.

Freedom of speech is of profound constitutional significance in the land of Voltaire and it is also in peril in this country.



BBC One viewers left 'terrified' by Sir David Attenborough's new documentary Extinction: The Facts

Sir David is a talented entertainer and he is good at using that to worry people. The loss of  species to extinction is his big concern, particularly furry species that we can relate to.  Most of our pets are furry and it seems likely that in our recent evolutionary past we too were furry

To my knowledge he has never  shown concern about species such as cockroaches.  Yet cockroaches are an important lesson in extinctions. Mankind has attacked them furiously yet they thrive.  So a species can be very hardy.  Modernity and mankind generally   may have little effect on a species.

So the science in the Attenborough show is slight.  The basic scientific fact is that species differentiate and go extinct all the time. On some estimates over 98% of all the species that have ever lived on earth are now extinct. You do not see dinosaurs wandering around these days.

It is of course sensible and congenial to  make efforts to conserve species we admire but nature has its own way in these things, so we are unlikely to do much that will change its trajectory.  The fittest will survive.  Others will not.

Sir David claims that species loss is higher now than it once was.  But that is unknowable.  To prove that you would need to have good data on species numbers over a long period of time. Yet we have no firm numbers on how many species there are right now.  It is entirely possible that human conservation efforts have SLOWED the rate of extinction.  So Sir David's claims are pure propaganda with no basis in science

And as for his claim that global warming has been detrimental to species abundance, the reality is likely to be the opposite.  Warmth is generally helpful to life.

My favourite example of that is Australia's Great Barrier Reef, a reef that stretches over a thousand miles North to South along the Australian East coast -- from cool subtropical waters in the South to near equatorial temperatures in the Torres Strait (Yes. Strait, not straight). So where on the reef are species (fish, corals, algae, invertebrates etc.) most abundant along that stretch? In the cool South or the equatorial North? I think you know the answer. Warmth is GOOD for life

Sir David is a likeable character but in the end he is just another bullsh*tter

BBC One viewers have been left 'terrified' and 'angry' by Sir David Attenborough's new documentary Extinction: The Facts.

The hour-long programme, which aired tonight (September 13), saw the legendary natural historian and fellow experts investigate the devastating effects of climate change and habitat loss on wildlife and plant life, and how it's also impacting humanity and the planet.

Disturbing scenes saw Attenborough detail how a million different species are at risk of extinction due to the biodiversity crisis, which is also putting us at greater risk of pandemic diseases like COVID-19.

While it all might seem like doom and gloom, the documentary did end on a hopeful note, as we revisited the forest slopes of the Virunga Volcanoes in Rwanda, where Attenborough had a memorable encounter with a group endangered mountain gorillas over four decades ago.

Back in 1978, there were just 250 of the gorillas left, but thanks to the conservation and protection of their habitat over the last forty years, their population now exceeds 1000.

"It just shows what we can achieve when we put our minds to it," said Attenborough.

"I do truly believe that, together, we can create a better future. I might not be here to see it, but if we make the right decisions at this critical moment, we can safeguard our planet's ecosystems, its extraordinary biodiversity and all its inhabitants.



Biden's radical climate change plan could be far reaching

It's just a desperate play for attention and relevance.  It would need the co-operation of both houses of Congress to happen so it's just not going to happen. Congress is a notorious lead weight on change of any sort

If he did get some part of it through Congress, its destructive results would soon become obvious and there would be a massive loss for the Donks at the mid-terms, possibly enough to override a presidential veto to corrective legislation

The article below is from a Leftist source.  Even they can see the risks

The fire season has just begun in the United States and already it has left the nation staggered by its ferocity. In California alone almost a million hectares have burnt so far, though conflagrations are being fought in 12 other states.

This week the temperature reached an all time record of 49.4 degrees in one Los Angeles suburb and the skies of San Francisco darkened to blood red throughout long hot days. News reports are full of clips of horrified residents saying that they thought they knew the risks of wildfires, but that nothing prepared them for this.

Asked if he had ever witnessed such conditions, the renowned climate scientist Michael Mann said during a radio interview this week: “Yeah, well I was on sabbatical in Sydney during what they now call the Black Summer fires… and it had that same sort of haunting orange hue. And it is the same phenomenon; unprecedented heat and drought last summer gave them unprecedented fires.

“We’re seeing the same thing happen in California, as we warned - as we have long warned - we would see if we continue to warm the planet by polluting the atmosphere with carbon pollution.”

In another time this might have prompted the sort of searing national debate over the need to properly tackle climate change that broke out here in Australia before the rolling catastrophes of 2020 diverted our attention.

But the US is not only battling a pandemic and the consequential economic collapse but relentless civil strife supercharged by a poisonous election campaign.

As a result, Democratic candidate Joe Biden’s adoption of what some consider to be the most ambitious climate change action plan ever put forward by a major party of a major nation has attracted far less attention than it probably deserves.

Washington Governor Jay Inslee, one of many on the party's left who had opposed Biden on environmental grounds and who have now embraced his candidacy, described Biden’s plan as visionary.

“This is not a status quo plan,” he told The New York Times in July. “It is comprehensive. This is not some sort of, ‘Let me just throw a bone to those who care about climate change'.”

At the heart of Biden’s climate change package is a determination to decarbonise the nation’s electricity system by 2035 before reaching net-zero carbon emissions for the entire economy by 2050.

To achieve this Biden would spend US$2 trillion on research for new green technology, new clean infrastructure and retrofitting existing buildings across the nation for energy efficiency.

He would direct all government procurement towards green technology, including electronic vehicles, and fund a Civilian Climate Corp similar to the Works Progress Administration established as part of President Franklin D. Roosevelt's "New Deal", established to help the nation lift itself out of the Great Depression.

By comparison, after the 2008 financial crisis the Obama administration secured $90 billion for renewable energy in what is so far the largest single piece of climate change legislation passed in the US.

And Biden’s ambitions go beyond US borders. The plan would see him integrate climate policy into US foreign trade and national security strategies. According to policy documents, the US under a Biden presidency would lead an effort to “to get every major country to ramp up the ambition of their domestic climate targets”.

So significant is the potential for the plan that the global energy research consultancy Wood Mackenzie recently published a paper saying that a Biden loss would end any chance the US has of decarbonising its economy by 2050.

According to its analysis the plan would see “capital investments in renewable energy and energy storage assets top US$2.2 trillion through 2035. Utility-scale solar demand will soar to over 100 GW/yr, while battery storage capacity will surpass 400 GW - nearly 40 per cent of the total installed power generating capacity of the US in 2020. Coal-fired generation will exit the market in its entirety”.

Wood Mackenzie research director Dan Shreve believes the plan is so ambitious that it “teeters between achievable and aspirational but the backing of energy sector giants could tip the balance and once again establish the US as a leader in the fight against climate change”.

Either way, its scope would upend the US energy sector, and players wishing to thrive in it would need to plan for possible partnerships with - and acquisitions of - upstart storage providers, renewable energy developers and green hydrogen technology suppliers, says the Wood Mackenzie paper.

The international implications of the plan are equally significant says Matto Mildenberger, a University of California professor of political science who specialises in climate policy.

He notes that on their own either China, the European Union or the US has the power to drive down technology costs and shift markets through their sheer market size and force. Operating in concert that process accelerates.

So will it happen?

Mildenberger notes that Biden would not only have to win the White House, but Democrats would need to take the Senate, and then Biden would need to make climate change action central to his first-term agenda.

Mildenberger believes that the will within the administration might be there, as the climate change package is as much an economic stimulus policy as it is an environmental one.

The echoes of Roosevelt's 'New Deal' are no mistake, and much of the plan has been repurposed from the Green New Deal proposed by left-wing congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. Indeed one of that plan’s chief architects, Julian Brave NoiseCat, is one of many on the left now backing Biden as a result.

It appears clear that Biden is seeking to use his climate policy as a vehicle to unite his party before the election and tackle compounding social, environmental and economic crises after it.

“When Donald Trump thinks about climate change, the only word he can muster is ‘hoax',” Biden said in a speech last month. “When I think about climate change, the word I think of is ‘jobs'.”

Mildenberger, who has written at length about global and Australian climate politics, believes that a Biden presidency would immediately change the tone of climate diplomacy because Trump’s lack of action has given cover to interest groups and politicians seeking to derail climate policy around the world.

He says Trump has given the Morrison government "cover" to this end just as the Howard government "hid behind" George W. Bush.

This international reset could prove to be critical as the world prepares for next year’s delayed United Nations climate meeting in Glasgow, known as COP26 (the 26th meeting of the UN Conference of Parties). At that meeting nations are expected to reveal more ambitious emissions reduction goals in keeping with scientific advice on the volume of reductions required to keep global warming to under 2 degrees Celsius.

Australia's former top climate diplomat, Howard Bamsey, who led negotiations at a number of COPs, says that Australia would already have been under pressure from the UK, which is determined to host a successful meeting. That pressure will only be increased by a climate activist White House.

But he notes that Australia has proved willing to pay a diplomatic price for its recalcitrance on the issue in the past.

Bamsey, now a professor with the Australian National University’s Climate Change Institute, says he does not believe that the world would change suddenly for Scott Morrison should Biden win in November, but that pressure for increased Australian ambition would slowly mount over the year leading up to the Glasgow meeting.

Australia would not only feel pressure to increase its ambition from a Biden White House, should he win, says Bamsey, but from the UK which would be determined to host a successful COP meeting.

Perhaps even more significantly, Mildenberger says that should Biden win there is a chance that China and the US could resume co-operation over the issue, a partnership that was crucial to the success of the Paris agreement. (Bamsey is sceptical on this point.)

But even if all that was to fall into place he is no longer convinced that an orderly decarbonisation of the world’s economy is now possible.

“We needed to act 10 years ago for that,” he says. “But the Biden plan offers real hope that we can prevent the worst of climate change.”



Wildlife populations have declined by 68% since 1970—and it’s humanity’s fault

The WWF is a propaganda outfit.  And, like the dictators of the 20th century, they like big numbers. The dictators had elections with around 98% of the vote being for the dictator. They were somehow oblivious that such numbers simplty made them look absurd

 The WWF are only a little behind. About wildlife populations we read here:

"Most importantly, what lies behind this 68% figure is the inequality in population losses in different regions on the globe. A staggering 94% decline in LPI has taken place in the tropical subregions of Latin America and the Caribbean"

94% of wildlife has disappeared in Latin America?  That's nearly all of it. That teeming wildlife in the Amazon and other Southern jungles does not exist apparently. Believe it only if you need to.  WWF propaganda is just as stupid as most other propaganda

Over the past 50 years, as human activity has skyrocketed—with our global population increasing by nearly four billion, and consumption, global trade, and deforestation all soaring—we’ve lost, on average, more than two-thirds of world’s wildlife populations. And with that cost to our natural world comes dire consequences for our own health.

That’s according to a new report from the World Wildlife Fund. The Living Planet Report is a biannual study from WWF on trends in biodiversity and the health of the planet. Looking at nearly 21,000 monitored populations of more than 4,300 species of mammals, birds, fish, reptiles and amphibians around the world, this year’s report found that between 1970 and 2016, the size of those populations fell an average of 68%. Some species fared even worse. Wildlife populations in Latin America and the Caribbean saw an average decline of 94%, and freshwater species around the world have dropped 84% on average.

Our planet’s biodiversity “is being destroyed by us at a rate unprecedented in history,” the authors write. Since the Industrial Revolution, human activity has led to the loss of tens of millions of hectares of forests and more than 85% of the world’s wetlands. Of all the Earth’s ice-free land, 75% has been “significantly altered,” and our oceans have been largely overfished and polluted.

Currently, climate change is not the biggest driver of this biodiversity loss. It’s our food production, mainly the conversion of native habitats into agricultural systems. Agriculture is responsible for 80% of deforestation, meaning if we want to stem this biodiversity loss, we need to transform our food systems. As time goes on, though, climate change will become an even bigger driver.

That’s alarming for our plant and animal populations, and also for us. Humanity overspends its biological budget—meaning we take more from the Earth to sustain our lifestyles than the planet can regenerate—every year. We’re living each year, per the report, as if we have 1.56 Earths. As we lose more and more biodiversity, we lose the resources to sustain humanity’s demand, and that in turn will harm our health, wealth, and security.

This is a sign of our “broken” relationship with nature. “These wildlife population trends would be devastating enough taken as an independent metric—but they aren’t independent. Wildlife population trends are an overall indicator for the health of our planet,” says Jeff Opperman, WWF’s Global Freshwater Lead Scientist, over email. “When one alarm bell is ringing this loudly—a 68% decline in average species populations—that means the whole system is off balance. That matters to people because nature provides us with everything: nutritious food, clean air, clean water, medicine.”

Nature and biodiversity also protect humans, he adds, and we’re already seeing the effect of that loss of protection. In 2019, Africa had its largest outbreak of desert locusts in decades, India and Pakistan experienced extreme droughts and heat waves that forced tens of thousands to leave their homes, and more than 10 million hectares—the size of Iceland—burned in Australia’s wildfires. This year has brought a new, worldwide consequence of these global changes: the COVID-19 pandemic. Though we may not know the complete origins of the novel coronavirus, we do know that 60% of emerging infectious diseases come from animals, and the emergence of such diseases is correlated with high human population density, and driven by deforestation and the increased harvesting of wildlife.

“Yes, these trends can actually be reversed. It really is possible, but it will take global conservation strategies along with a transformation of the way we produce and consume as humans, especially for our food system,” Opperman says. We just need to heed these warnings—the pandemic, the fires—of biodiversity loss, and do something about it. He’s optimistic we will. “Young people today really understand this because they are growing up in a world that’s already seeing the impacts of climate change. Unlike previous generations, they don’t need to be convinced that this is a problem, or that it’s not just a side issue,” he says. “I’m not only optimistic but I’m confident that there will be changes to come that will help biodiversity recover and reverse the trends we’re seeing now.”



 3.2 BILLION people will have a shortage of drinking water by 2050: Study warns that climate change will cause supplies to decrease by 60%

This the usual crazy logic we get from Warmists.  Global warming would produce MORE rain not less.  Warmed oceans would evaporate off more which would come down as rain.

And capitalism is the solution to water shortage, anyway.  Israel once had a severe water shortage, being a basically desert climate at the end of the Jordan river, which loses a lot of water upstream.

So they now simply desalinate as much ocean water as they need.  It costs a bit but not a lot in an advanced market-oriented economy

According to a new UN report, because of climate change, the number of people living in places with insufficient water will go from 1.9 billion to 3.2 billion by 2050

The fact that the past decade has been the warmest on record bears 'a clear fingerprint' of climate change, said the World Meteorological Organization, which just released United in Science 2020, a multi-department assessment of the latest climate science data.

Admitting 2020 was an 'unprecedented' year, UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres said that climate disruption was continuing unabated, with 'record heat, ice loss, wildfires, floods and droughts.'

Glacier runoff, which provides water to hundreds of millions of people, is expected to max out globally by the end of the century. Some glaciers have reported losing 14 inches of mass a year since 2012

The United in Science report indicated that climate change 'is often felt through water-related hazards, like drought or flooding.'

Warmer temperatures have led to reductions in the world's glaciers and ice sheets, which threatens the supply of fresh water.

Glacier runoff, which provides potable drinking water, is expected to peak globally by the end of the century and then decline.

Some areas, like Central Europe and the Caucasus region, are already at the tipping point.

In the last decade, 1.9 billion people lived in places with insufficient water. According to the report, that number will explode to 3.2 billion by 2050.

Water scarcity is becoming an increasingly important metric in determining a country's creditworthiness, or sovereign rating, according to analysts.

That's putting more pressure on countries to face up to climate change.

'While disruptions from climate change are likely to manifest themselves only gradually over the coming decades, water risks already materialize on a sufficiently regular basis and large scale,' said Fitch Ratings analysts' Mahmoud Harb and Kathleen Chen.

According to the World Bank, some countries' gross domestic product could drop as much as 6 percent over the next 30 years as a result of water woes.

Middle Eastern nations like Kuwait and Egypt are the most exposed to water stress and drought risk, Bloomberg reports.

On the other side of the scale, climate change is also fueling flooding.

According to data from the United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, sea levels will rise by more than three feet in the next eight decades.