Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Poverty, environment, even traffic fatalities: UN’s sweeping sustainable development goals aim to fix everything -- on paper

By George Russell Published July 21, 2014 FoxNews.com

 End global hunger and all forms of malnutrition and poverty by 2030, along with all urban slums around the world. Halve the number of deaths from road traffic accidents globally (an estimated 1.24 million in 2010, according to the World Health Organization) by the same date—and “reduce levels of violence and halve related death rates everywhere” by then too. Make sure that the income of the bottom 40 percent of the population in all countries grows faster than the national average. Achieve “global resource efficiency,” and try to separate economic growth from “environmental degradation and resource use” everywhere over the next decade and a half.

 All of those lofty, ambitious –and for critics, improbable and not-very-closely-linked—objectives, as well as many more, are currently being bundled, massaged and repackaged at the United Nations, to be formally unveiled in September as the ”sustainable development goals,” the centerpiece of the latest multi-trillion-dollar U.N. bid to reshape the planet along largely socialist or progressive lines.......  a grab-bag of often meaningless and hard to measure social and economic objectives, held together largely through their argued relationship to the concept of “sustainability,” a term that has not yet been very precisely defined......"a very big container of verbal fudge,” It sounds really good, but it’s really a substitute for doing things that actually help poor people.”.......To Read More....

To make elite schools ‘fair,’ city will punish poor Asians

By Dennis Saffran

In 2004, 7-year-old Ting Shi arrived in New York from China, speaking almost no English. For two years, he shared a bedroom in a Chinatown apartment with his grandparents — a cook and a factory worker — and a young cousin, while his parents put in 12-hour days at a small laundromat they had purchased on the Upper East Side.

Ting mastered English and eventually set his sights on getting into Stuyvesant High School, the crown jewel of New York City’s eight “specialized high schools.”..... His acceptance into Stuyvesant prompted a day of celebration at the laundromat — an immigrant family’s dream beginning to come true.

Ting, now a 17-year-old senior starting at NYU in the fall, says of his parents, who never went to college: “They came here for the next generation.”...... But now......the NAACP Legal Defense Fund has filed a civil-rights complaint..... with the US Department of Education, which dispenses federal educational funding to the city, charging that use of the SHSAT as the sole basis for admission violates Title VI of the 1964 Civil Rights Act......The complaint does not allege that the exam intentionally discriminates against black and Hispanic students. Instead, citing statistics regarding declining black and Latino enrollment and SHSAT pass rates, the LDF bases its argument entirely on the theory of “disparate impact” — that is, that discrimination should be inferred merely from racial differences in test scores......To Read More.....
 
My Take - Let's suppose they change the criteria from entrance exams based on academic excellence to other factors that have nothing to do with intellectual cabability.   What does everyone think will happen when these unqualified students are then forced to compete with well qualified students and at intellectual levels far beyond their ability?  The schools will then be sued under Title VI claiming the failing test scores are so out of proportion for blacks and Latinos that racism must be inferred, therefore they must be graded differently or the academic criteria must be made easier.  We have lost our minds!  Is it any wonder our kids are coming out of school unable to read, write, spell, add, multiply, subtract or divide.  Well, this needs fixed and a first good step would be to eliminate the Department of Education.....and that's just a start in the right direction.

Democrat Congressman Says Communism has been Proven to Work - but has it?

Ileana Johnson 25 Comments


Evidence of Communism's level of
success as observed by a satellite picture
of Communist N. Korea at night!
It is no surprise that young people are enamored of communism. Their teachers have been indoctrinating them for years into the utopia of "social justice," "environmental justice," the "evil" middle class, and the spectacular equality for all as envisioned by Marx, Engels, and Lenin.

Communism is "cool" in the land where wearing a Che Guevara t-shirt is a hypocritical political statement made while enjoying capitalist amenities. But we expect them to mature eventually and give up the absurdity that communism has not succeeded because the wrong people were in charge.
Furthermore, we don't expect them to elect representatives that mirror their youthful ignorance. Rep. Joe Garcia, a Democrat from Florida, said, trying to explain our "broken immigration system" that needs to be fixed by enacting comprehensive immigration reform, "Two of the safest cities in America, two of them are on the border with Mexico. And of course, the reason is we've proved that communism works. If you give everybody a good, government job, there's no crime. But that isn't what we should be doing on the border."…….To Read More……

Australia shoots down climate lobby’s scare mongering

Prime Minister's actions to prioritize growth over climate make him climate enemy number one

By Marita Noon

I would like to thank Marita.  Some emphasis added by me. RK

Thursday, July 17 was a big news day. The world was shocked to learn that a Russian-made missile shot down a Malaysian Airlines jet with 298 on board as it flew over Ukraine en route to Kuala Lumpur from Amsterdam. Though flight 17 eclipsed the news cycle, there was another thing shot down on July 17.

Almost a year ago, Australia’s Prime Minister Tony Abbott won a landslide election with a nearly single-issue campaign: repeal the carbon tax. On July 17, he made good on that promise, as the Australian Senate voted, 39 to 32, to abolish the “world’s biggest carbon tax”—a tax that was reported to “do nothing to address global warming, apart from imposing high costs on the local economy.”

Australia was one of the first major countries, outside of the European Union, to adopt a carbon price—first suggested in 2007 and passed under Labour Prime Minister Julia Gillard in 2011. Gillard’s campaign promise was: “There will be no carbon tax under the government I lead.” While she attempted to brand it a carbon price, not a “tax,” Sinclair Davidson, a professor in the school of Economics, Finance and Marketing at RMIT University, said: “the electorate had a very specific understanding of her words” and perceived it as a broken promise.

Australia’s carbon tax, according to the Wall Street Journal (WSJ), was “recognized by the International Energy Agency as model legislation for developed countries.” WSJ reports that when Australia’s carbon tax was passed, the Brookings Institute “described Australia as an ‘Important laboratory and learning opportunity.’”

So, what do we learn from the “laboratory” the now-failed “model legislation” offered?

First, WSJ states: “The public hates it.” The (UK) Telegraph calls the tax: “one of the most unsuccessful in history” and points out that it is “unique in that it generated virtually no revenue for the Australian Treasury due to its negative impact on productivity; contributed to the rising costs that have taken the gloss off the country’s resources boom; and essentially helped to bring down Ms Gillard’s former Government.” The Telegraph, in an article titled: “Australia abandons disastrous green tax on emissions,” adds that the tax failed in “winning over voters who faced higher costs passed on by the companies that had to pay for it.” In Slate, Ariel Bogel claims the 2011 bill required “about 350 companies to pay a penalty for their greenhouse gas emissions.”

While Australia is, as WSJ put it: “the world’s first developed nation to repeal carbon laws that put a price on greenhouse-gas emissions,” it is not the only one to back away from such policies. New Zealand has weakened its emissions trading scheme; Japan has retreated from its pledges to cut greenhouse emissions and instead committed to a rise in emissions; Canada withdrew from the Kyoto protocol in 2011; England, where “the bill for green policies is rising,” has “so far resisted calls to expand tax on carbon emissions”; the European Union carbon emissions trading scheme­—the biggest in the world and the heart of Europe’s climate-change program—is in dire straits; and, just the day after Australia’s news was announced, South Korea—whose planned 2015 emissions trading market launch would make it the world’s second largest—hinted at an additional delay due to projected costs to businesses.

The Telegraph offers this summary: “carbon trading mechanisms and green taxes have largely been a failure elsewhere and especially so in Europe where they have dragged on investment and threatened long-term energy security.”

These are important lessons in light of the renewed push for a carbon tax in the U.S. as evidenced by the partnership of President George W. Bush’s Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson, Former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, and liberal billionaire Tom Steyer, who are, together, calling for a climate tax.

According to the WSJ, the World Bank called Australia’s repeal, “one of the biggest international threats to the rollout of similar programs elsewhere.” The climate lobby is concerned as “Australia’s vote shows that the real obstacle to their dreams of controlling more of the world’s economy is democratic consent.”

In the U.S., similar efforts to reduce CO2 emissions by increasing costs to emitters, and therefore consumers—in our case, cap and trade—failed to achieve “democratic consent” even when Democrats had control. The people didn’t want it. So, the Obama administration now is trying to go around Congress with onerous rules and regulations on emissions.

As in the U.S., a carbon tax—or cap and trade—is not the only policy increasing energy costs to Australian consumers. In the U.S., we have the Renewable Portfolio Standard; in Australia the Renewable Energy Target (RET). Both require the addition of expensive wind-and-solar energy.

Jennifer Marohasy, PhD, who worked for twelve years as a scientist for the Queensland government, told me: “Of course while the carbon tax needed to be repealed, its abolition will go only some way to reducing pressures on Australian businesses and households. The so-called Clean Energy Act 2011 is part of a tsunami of regulation and legislation introduced over recent years that has seen the average electricity price in Australia increase by 70 percent in real terms. Next in line must be the mandatory RET, a government-legislated requirement on electricity retailers to source a specific proportion of total electricity sales from renewable energy sources including wind and solar, with the extraordinary costs serving as a hidden tax—paid by all electricity users.”

In the Australian Financial Review, Alan Moran, an economist specializing in regulatory matters, in particular covering energy, global warming, housing, transport, and competition issues, and Director of the Institute of Public Affair’s Deregulation Unit, agrees that the carbon tax is just one of the burdens holding down the Australian economy. He sees a cascade of programs for support of high-cost renewables and penalties for fossil-fuel use and “a bewildering array of subsidies and programs.”

Both see the RET as the bigger issue. Marohasy says: “In short, repeal of the carbon tax is a big symbolic win. But it’s mostly just window-dressing: to appease the masses. In the background, proponents of anthropogenic global warming who dominate our political class still very much control the levers of government and intend to continue to terrorize the population with claims of catastrophic global warming, while consolidating their rent-seeking through the RET.” She explained: “Money collected from the carbon tax went to government, money collected through the RET largely goes to the global warming industry.” Which is why some in the Australian Senate agreed to vote for the repeal—as long as the RET isn’t touched.

However, Abbott has stated: “All of us should want to see lower prices and plainly at the moment the renewable energy target is a very significant impact on higher power prices.” Time will tell how Abbott fares in the RET battle. But for now, he’s given the world a “learning opportunity” on climate change and energy policy.

Meanwhile, the climate lobby resorts to hyperbole to push its scare-mongering tactics. In closing her piece in Slate, Bogle whines: “As someone who has to live in the quickly cooking world Abbott leaves behind…” Perhaps she’s missed the data that the planet’s predicted warming hasn’t happened—despite ever-increasing CO2 emissions. According to satellite records, there has been no warming in almost 18 years.

May America learn from, as the Brookings Institute observed, the “important laboratory” of Australia’s foray into climate schemes.

The author of Energy Freedom, Marita Noon serves as the executive director for Energy Makes America Great Inc. and the companion educational organization, the Citizens’ Alliance for Responsible Energy (CARE). Together they work to educate the public and influence policy makers regarding energy, its role in freedom, and the American way of life. Combining energy, news, politics, and, the environment through public events, speaking engagements, and media, the organizations’ combined efforts serve as America’s voice for energy.

The Nemesis of Agenda21

By Alan Caruba

This originally appeared here at Alan's Warning Signs blog. 


Watching left-wing organizations lose their wits denouncing conservatives is always fun and particularly if you know one of their targets. In my case, that would be Tom DeWeese, the founder and president of the American Policy Center; the most expert and outspoken opponent of Agenda21 in the nation.

In the early 1990s I sent him a commentary and he published it in The DeWeese Report, a publication of the Center, and thereafter I served as the Center’s communications director for a while. These days I am on its board of advisors.

He is a patriot and he lives his love for America by devoting himself to educating people to the dangers of the United Nations Agenda 21 with its emphasis on “sustainable development” and a range of issues involving ill-conceived environmental policies and programs, the importance of private property rights, the threat of federal computer banks to individual privacy rights, as well as issues such as federal education policies in our nation’s schools.

At the heart of Agenda21 is “sustainable development” which is justified by the global warming hoax that is based on reductions of carbon dioxide (CO2) and other so-called greenhouse gases. The Earth’s temperature and climate is determined by the sun. The gases of its atmosphere are in flux as oceans absorb and release CO2, and clouds come and go in a constant dynamic of change. What mankind does has virtually no impact on the weather short-term or the climate long-term.

“Sustainable Development”, Tom wrote in “How Global Policy Becomes Local”, “is truly stunning in its magnitude to transform the world into feudal-like governance by make nature the central organizing principle for our economy and society. It is a scheme fueled by unsound science and discredited economics that can only lead modern society down the road to a new Dark Age.”

“It is systematically implemented through the creation of non-elected visioning boards and planning commissions. There is no place in the Sustainable world for individual thought, private property or free enterprise. It is the exact opposite of the free society envisioned by this nation’s founders.”

I told you he was a patriot, didn’t I? Because only patriots feel that passionately about individual freedom, property rights, free enterprise, and all those concepts that make Leftists break out in a cold sweat.

Among the left-wing groups that do not like Tom is the Southern Poverty Law Center and it devotes a lot of time denouncing him. On their website, the SPLC reveals its own agenda and why Tom is the enemy. “For 20 years now, Tom DeWeese has been on a jihad against global plans for sustainable development.” The key word here is “global” as in U.N., not U.S.

Imagine my surprise as I read the SPLC post that said, “Serving on the board of DeWeese’s American Policy Center (is) Alan Caruba” and noting that I blog for the Tea Party Nation. I contribute to their blog section, but I do not blog for the group. It should come as no surprise that the SPLC identifies Tea Party Nation as “a hate group.” It’s a pretty good description of the SPLC!

“DeWeese’s outfit,” says the SPLC denunciation, “is only one of several obsessed with what has become one of the main conspiracy theories of the antigovernment ‘Patriot’ movement.” What’s amusing is the backhanded way SPLC acknowledged his success. “The effect of the fear-mongering fairy tale offered up by DeWeese and other conspiracy theorists have been almost unbelievable. Not only have some counties passed resolutions opposing Agenda21” but the Republican National Committee” did so as well in 2012.

DeWeese offers advice to those who visit the APC site on how to stop Agenda21.

If “fear-mongering” includes pointing out that the Earth has been in a cooling cycle for the last seventeen years and that wind and solar power is an illusion costing far more than the value of the electricity it produces, then the SPLC has plenty to worry about.

America is fortunate to have patriots like Tom DeWeese who take its Constitution and its values so seriously that they devote their lives to protecting them.

© Alan Caruba, 2014

Polar bears and melting ice: three facts that shouldn’t surprise you

Posted on July 20, 2014

If I was invited by USA TODAY to discuss how climate change is affecting polar bears now – summed up in three talking points – this is what I’d say. I’d use some meaningful images rather than cute pictures of cuddly bear cubs and I’d provide links to my work with references and details to back up my answers.

Compare my responses to those supplied by Steve Amstrup in his capacity as spokesperson for Polar Bears International (“Save our sea ice!”) to Jolie Lee at USA TODAY last week, who’s word is expected to be taken as gospel......To Read More.....

My Take - Well - I'm shocked, shocked I tell you.  Here we find everything the leftist green movement said about polar bears was either wrong, speculation based on false assumptions or outright lies.  Hmmmmm..wait....isn't that true of everything they've said about DDT and pesticides in general, global warming, genetically modified foods, BPA....and a host of other meaingless scares?  Am I detecting a pattern here?  Of course we must remember there's no such thing as a conspiracy!

Monday, July 21, 2014

Word For the Day!

I found this at Greenie Watch, and after a recent LindedIn "discussion" with just such a person I thought this needs to be posted.   

Climatard – A person with no formal training in science, who believes carbon dioxide is a pollutant and that the world’s climate is being disastrously altered by human emissions of this vital gas which is essential to life.  Favors drastic, unreasonable measures, with no proof they will have any effect and which will cause real, immediate economic devastation for the poor and middle class. Flies into a rage if you don’t agree with him.  (and I'm adding this) Climatards are rude and crude, with their foundational arguments being nothing more than personal attacks who hope to stifle intelligent debate with threats. 

Owen Paterson: I’m proud of standing up to the green lobby

Writing for The Telegraph, the former environment secretary, Owen Paterson, says he is proud of standing up to the green lobby.
 
By Owen Paterson  20 Jul 2014

Every prime minister has the right to choose his team to take Britain into the general election and I am confident that my able successor at Defra, Liz Truss, will do an excellent job. It has been a privilege to take on the challenges of the rural economy and environment. However, I leave the post with great misgivings about the power and irresponsibility of – to coin a phrase – the Green Blob.

By this I mean the mutually supportive network of environmental pressure groups, renewable energy companies and some public officials who keep each other well supplied with lavish funds, scare stories and green tape. This tangled triangle of unelected busybodies claims to have the interests of the planet and the countryside at heart, but it is increasingly clear that it is focusing on the wrong issues and doing real harm while profiting handsomely.

Local conservationists on the ground do wonderful work to protect and improve wild landscapes, as do farmers, rural businesses and ordinary people. They are a world away from the highly paid globe-trotters of the Green Blob who besieged me with their self-serving demands, many of which would have harmed the natural environment.

I soon realised that the greens and their industrial and bureaucratic allies are used to getting things their own way. I received more death threats in a few months at Defra than I ever did as secretary of state for Northern Ireland. My home address was circulated worldwide with an incitement to trash it; I was burnt in effigy by Greenpeace as I was recovering from an operation to save my eyesight. But I did not set out to be popular with lobbyists and I never forgot that they were not the people I was elected to serve.

Indeed, I am proud that my departure was greeted with such gloating by spokespeople for the Green Party and Friends of the Earth.

It was not my job to do the bidding of two organisations that are little more than anti-capitalist agitprop groups most of whose leaders could not tell a snakeshead fritillary from a silver-washed fritillary. I saw my task as improving both the environment and the rural economy; many in the green movement believed in neither.

Their goal was to enhance their own income streams and influence by myth making and lobbying. Would they have been as determined to blacken my name if I was not challenging them rather effectively?

When I arrived at Defra I found a department that had become under successive Labour governments a milch cow for the Green Blob.

Just as Michael Gove set out to refocus education policy on the needs of children rather than teachers and bureaucrats and Iain Duncan Smith set out to empower the most vulnerable, so I began to reorganise the department around four priorities: to grow the rural economy, to improve the environment, and to safeguard both plant and animal health.

The Green Blob sprouts especially vigorously in Brussels. The European Commission website reveals that a staggering 150 million euros (£119 million) was paid to the top nine green NGOs from 2007-13.

European Union officials give generous grants to green groups so that they will lobby it for regulations that then require large budgets to enforce. When I attended a council meeting of elected EU ministers on shale gas in Lithuania last year, we were lectured by a man using largely untrue clich├ęs about the dangers of shale gas. We discovered that he was from the European Environment Bureau, an umbrella group for unelected, taxpayer-subsidised green lobby groups. Speaking of Europe, I remain proud to have achieved some renegotiations.

The discard ban ends the scandalous practice of throwing away perfectly edible fish, we broke the council deadlock on GM crops, so decisions may be repatriated to member countries and we headed off bans on fracking. Judge me by my opponents.

When I proposed a solution to the dreadful suffering of cattle, badgers and farmers as a result of the bovine tuberculosis epidemic that Labour allowed to develop, I was opposed by rich pop stars who had never been faced with having to cull a pregnant heifer. (Interestingly, very recent local evidence suggests the decline in TB in the cull area may already have begun.)

When I spoke up for the landscapes of this beautiful country against the heavily subsidised industry that wants to spoil them with wind turbines at vast cost to ordinary people, vast reward to rich landowners and undetectable effects on carbon dioxide emissions, I was frustrated by colleagues from the so-called Liberal Democrat Party.

When I encouraged the search for affordable energy from shale gas to help grow the rural economy and lift people out of fuel poverty, I was opposed by a dress designer for whom energy bills are trivial concerns.

When I championed brilliant scientists demonstrating genetic modifications to rice to save the lives of hundreds of thousands of children in developing countries, I was vilified by a luxury organic chocolate tycoon uninterested in the demonstrable environmental and humanitarian benefits of GM crops.

When faced with the flooding of the Somerset Levels I refused to make the popular and false excuse of blaming it on global warming, but set out to reverse the policy inherited from a Labour peeress and serial quangocrat who had expressed the wish to “place a limpet mine on every pumping station”, while deliberately allowing the silting up of drainage channels.

When I set out to shatter the crippling orthodoxy that growing the rural economy and improving the environment are mutually exclusive, I was ridiculed by a public school journalist who thinks the solution to environmental problems is “an ordered and structured downsizing of the global economy”. Back to the Stone Age, in other words, but Glastonbury-style.

Yes, I’ve annoyed these people, but they don’t represent the real countryside of farmers and workers, of birds and butterflies.

Like the nationalised industries and obstructive trade unions of the 1970s, the Green Blob has become a powerful self-serving caucus; it is the job of the elected politician to stand up to them. We must have the courage to tackle it head on, as Tony Abbott in Australia and Stephen Harper in Canada have done, or the economy and the environment will both continue to suffer.

* Owen Paterson is a former secretary of state for environment, food and rural affairs.

 

It's Not a Crisis, It's a National Emergency

Written by:Diana West Friday, July 18, 2014

“Dear Colleagues,” Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., wrote to his fellow senators, “I write to inform you of a development that threatens the foundation of our constitutional Republic.”

 That should grab them. It grabbed me.

 Sessions continued, quoting from a National Journal report on a recent White House meeting where President Obama “made it clear he would press his executive powers to the limit” in order to prevent millions of illegal aliens from being deported. Obama could spare “between 5 million to 6 million adult illegal immigrants (from) deportation under a similar form of deferred adjudication he ordered for the so-called Dreamers in June 2012.”

 Obama, the report continued, “has now ordered the Homeland Security and Justice departments to find executive authorities that could enlarge that non-prosecutorial umbrella by a factor of 10. Senior officials also tell (The National Journal) Obama wants to see what he can do with executive power to provide temporary legal status to undocumented adults.”

 Unless my multiplication skills fail me, such a “non-prosecutorial umbrella” potentially covers a staggering 50 to 60 million persons in flagrant violation of U.S. immigration law……To Read More…..

 

Killing marine life with ethanol

Ethanol damages your cars, small engines, food budget – and kills Gulf of Mexico animals

Paul Driessen

Ethanol and other biofuel mandates and subsidies got started when politicians bought into claims that we are rapidly depleting our petroleum, and fossil-fuel-driven global warming is boiling the planet.

Hydraulic fracturing destroyed the depletion myth. It also reminds us that “peak oil” applies only if we wrongly assume that resource needs and technologies never change. The 18-year “hiatus” in planetary warming has forced alarmists to change their terminology to climate change, climate disruption and extreme weather mantras – which allow them to continue demanding that we stop using the hydrocarbons that provide 82% of the energy that makes our economy, jobs and living standards possible.

In recent years, people have discovered that ethanol harms lawn mowers and other small engines. The fuel additive also drives up gasoline prices, reduces automotive mileage and corrodes engine parts.

Corn-for-ethanol growers make a lot of money. But meat, egg and fish producers pay more for feed, driving up family food bills. Biofuel mandates also mean aid agencies pay more for corn and wheat, so more malnourished people go hungry longer. This is not what most would call “environmental justice.”

The 10% blends are bad enough. 15% ethanol is much worse, and truckers say a highly corrosive 20% blend will be needed to meet California’s looming low carbon fuel standards.

US law mandates that ethanol production must triple between 2007 and 2020 – even though motorists are driving less and thus using less gasoline, which then means refiners need less ethanol to produce 10% blends. That “blend wall” (between what’s needed and what’s produced) is driving the push to allow 15% ethanol blends, which would void most car engine warranties.

The guaranteed income incentivizes farmers to take land out of conservation easements, pasture land and wildlife habitat, and grow corn instead. Just to meet current ethanol quotas, US farmers are now growing corn on an area the size of Iowa. Growing and harvesting this corn and turning it into ethanol also requires massive quantities of pesticides, fertilizers, fossil fuels and water.

Corn-based ethanol requires 2,500 to 29,000 gallons of fresh water per million Btu of energy – compared to at most 6.0 gallons of fresh or brackish water per million Btu of energy produced via fracking. Across its life cycle, ethanol production and use also releases more carbon dioxide per gallon than gasoline.

Now we learn that ethanol is bad for the environment in another way. It kills marine life.

A large portion of the nitrogen fertilizers needed to grow all that corn gets washed off the land and into streams and rivers that drain into the Gulf of Mexico, where they cause enormous summertime algae blooms. When the algae die, their decomposition consumes oxygen in the water – creating enormous low-oxygen (hypoxic) and zero-oxygen (anoxic) regions.

Marine life cannot survive in those “dead zones.” Fish swim away, but shrimp, oysters, clams, mussels, crabs, sea cucumbers and other stationary or slow moving bottom dwellers cannot escape. They just die.

Thousands of square miles of water off the coast of Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana and Texas as far southwest as Corpus Christi can remain blanketed by a dead zone until fall winds or tropical storms or hurricanes come through. These events cool the water down, churn up the anoxic zones, bring in new oxygen supplies, and restore livability.

In 2012, nearly 2,900 square miles (about the size of Delaware) turned into a dead zone. Last year, because of much greater water flow from the Corn Belt, the region of animal cadavers covered nearly 8,560 square miles (New Jersey). This year, the zone of death could cover a more average Connecticut-size 4,630 to 5,700 square miles, say Louisiana State University, Texas A&M and other researchers, due to lower water flows; strong eddy currents south of the Mississippi Delta could also be playing a role.

A friend of mine recently observed vast stretches of green algae blooms in the normally “blue water” areas beyond the 15-mile-wide region where fresh Mississippi River waters mix with Gulf of Mexico salt water, in the Mississippi Canyon area south of Louisiana. The green zone extended to some 40 miles from shore, he said. As the algae die, they will create huge new suffocation zones, rising up into the water column, invisible from the air and surface, but deadly to millions of creatures that cannot swim away.

The dead zones also mean fishermen, crabbers, shrimpers and other recreational and commercial boaters must travel much further from shore to find anything, putting them at greater risk in the event of storms.

“More nitrate comes off corn fields than it does from any other crop, by far,” says Louisiana State University zoologist Gene Turner. The nitrogen drives the formation of dead zones, and the “primary culprit” driving the entire process is corn-based ethanol, adds Larry McKinney, executive director of the Harte Research Center for Gulf of Mexico Studies at Texas A&M University in Corpus Christi.

The US Geological Survey estimates that 153,000 metric tons of nitrogen fertilizer and other nutrients flowed down the Mississippi and Atchafalaya Rivers in May 2013. That was 16% more than the average amount over the previous three decades. The enormous nutrient runoff is primarily the result of feeding just one crop: corn for ethanol, the USGS affirms. The lost seafood is worth tens of millions of dollars.

Fertilizer and pesticide runoff is substantially higher in wet years. But in dry years much of the excess chemical application just builds up in the soil, waiting for the next big rainy season to unleash it. The more acreage we put in corn for ethanol – and soybeans for biodiesel – the worse the fertilizer and pesticide runoff, algae blooms, dead zones and eradicated marine life become in wet years.

Water use is also skyrocketing to grow these biofuel crops. And if it weren’t for biotechnology, the problems would be far worse. GMO corn is engineered to need less water, and to kill insects that feed on the crops with far lower pesticide use than for traditional, non-biotech varieties. However, the same greens who hate hydrocarbons and promote ethanol and biodiesel also detest biotechnology. Go figure.

Some biofuel advocates tout cellulosic ethanol as a partial solution – because switchgrass requires less fertilizer, and this perennial’s roots help stabilize the soil and reduce runoff. But no one has yet been able to turn this pipedream source into ethanol on a commercial scale. Another potential manmade fuel could be methanol from natural gas produced via hydraulic fracturing, but greens continue to oppose fracking.

This algae boom, bust and dead zone phenomenon may not be an ecological crisis, and it’s been going on for decades. But why make it worse, with an expensive, engine-wrecking fuel that eco-activists, politicians and ethanol lobbyists pretend is better for the planet than fossil fuels? Why don’t biofuel boosters at least include this serious, recurring environmental damage in their cost-benefit analyses?

And why do we continue to tolerate the double standards? Environmentalists, politicians and bureaucrats come down with iron fists on any private sector damages involving fossil fuel or nuclear power. They have different standards for the “natural” and “eco-friendly” “alternatives” they advocate. Ethanol from corn is just one example. An even more grotesque double standard involves wind turbines.

Big Green activists and Big Government bureaucrats (especially Fish & Wildlife Service) let Big Wind companies kill eagles and other raptors, conduct deliberately insufficient and incompetent body counts, hide and bury carcasses, and even store hundreds of dead eagles in freezers, away from prying eyes. Using German and Swedish studies as a guide, Save the Eagles International experts calculate that the real US wind turbine death toll is probably 13 million or more birds and bats every year, slaughtered in the name of saving the planet from computer-concocted ravages of manmade global warming.

These policies are unsustainable and intolerable. The same environmental and endangered species standards must be applied to all our energy alternatives – and the ethanol quotas must be terminated.

Paul Driessen is senior policy analyst for the Committee For A Constructive Tomorrow (www.CFACT.org) and author of Eco-Imperialism: Green power - Black death, and I wish to thank him for allowing me to publish his work. 

Sunday, July 20, 2014

The Real Key to Success!

Rich Kozlovich

Why is it that IQ has nothing to do with success? When a CEO looks around his company he will find there really is a Bell Curve. What’s a Bell Curve you ask?  The term came from a book entitled, The Bell Curve: Intelligence and Class Structure in American Life is a 1994 book by American psychologist Richard J. Herrnstein and American political scientist Charles Murray. Those of us who are old enough will remember the hue and cry in the media because the book was controversial, arguing that IQ differences are genetic, and the battle lines were drawn for and against. The emotion became so great the intellectual arguments were lost in the fray which were:

“Intelligence exists and is accurately measurable across racial, language, and national boundaries.
Intelligence is one of, if not the most, important factors correlated to economic, social, and overall success in the United States, and its importance is increasing.
Intelligence is largely (40% to 80%) heritable.
No one has so far been able to manipulate IQ to a significant degree through changes in environmental factors—except for child adoption—and in light of these failures, future successful manipulations are unlikely.
The United States has been in denial of these facts. A better public understanding of the nature of intelligence and its social correlates is necessary to guide future policy decisions.”
So what’s so terrible about that? That doesn’t fit the agenda of the left which claims those at the bottom are being held there unfairly - they score poorly on tests because the tests are rigged - and being poor keeps them from getting the education necessary for performing well on IQ tests. Truth of the matter is none of that seems to be true, but does it really matter – and if not – what does?
Daniel Goleman, the Author of FOCUS: The Hidden Driver of Excellence, wrote an article entitled, What PredictsSuccess? It's Not Your IQ”, on July 17, 2014 about a CEO at one of the world’s largest money management firms who wanted to know “why there was a Bell curve for performance among his employees.” There were a few that really stood out and some that performed poorly and all the rest were in the middle – the Bell Curve. How could this be happening since they only hired the best and brightest from the most prestigious schools?
This has equally confused researchers, especially since many graduates from “so-so” colleges with lower SAT scores were actually more successful. There is one fact that emerged clearly. Higher academic performance had nothing to do with how well someone was going to perform in life. There was one thing having good grades in school can’t quantify – “Grit”!
Many years ago I read an article that stated that most of the great leaders, innovators and really successful people were ‘C’ students. Admittedly the “A” and “B” students overall had good jobs, but the really big stuff came from the “C” students. Why? The study called the “A” and “B” students the “golden kids” because it all came easy to them, as a result they never had to struggle, and when they do struggle against difficult situations – which is inevitable in life - they become frustrated and give up. Nothing came easy for the “C” students. They struggled against the current all of their lives, and learned to deal with setback and disappointment, never giving up.
The article went on to say:
And a 30-year longitudinal study of more than a thousand kids – the gold standard for uncovering relationships between behavioral variables – found that those children with the best cognitive control had the greatest financial success in their 30s. Cognitive control predicted success better than a child’s IQ, and better than the wealth of the family they grew up in.
So what’s cognitive control? That means being willing to “delay gratification in pursuit of your goals, maintaining impulse control, managing upsetting emotions well, holding focus, and possessing a readiness to learn. Grit requires good cognitive control.”
There are other qualities rowing against the current generates including, “self-awareness, self-management, empathy, and social effectiveness,” “confidence, striving for goals despite setbacks, staying cool under pressure, harmony and collaboration, persuasion and influence..” In short they have developed “emotional intelligence”, and that is what’s found in “star” performers.
You don't have to be the brightest pebble in the brook to be successful in America, but you do have get up every day and go to work, be on time, and do your job if you wish to lead a successful life, providing for your family and have the enjoyment of being self sufficient.
I had the great good fortune of being raised by my grandparents who came here at the beginning of the 20th century not being able to speak, read or write English. They went to school to learn and became American citizens, and worked like dogs. My grandfather worked in the coal mines of Pennsylvania while owning a small farm where everything we ate with the exception of salt, pepper, sugar and other spices, came off the farm. Out of the five children who lived they raised a son who became an aeronautical engineer with forty engineers working for him, another son became a UAW President and another son owned his own horseshoeing business. And none of them finished high school.
I'd say my grandparents led a successful life.
Many years ago Calvin Coolidge noted that “Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan Press On! has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race.”