Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Jenny is back: Singing a different song, but still out of tune.

Posted on April 15, 2014 by admin

It would seem that Jenny McCarthy has been expanding and refining her knowledge base in the field of immunology.  After being ardently anti-vaccine for years (and doing who knows how much damage during that time), she now maintains that she is pro-vaccine, but…

In an op-ed in the Chicago Sun-Times, she defends herself against her anti-vaccine reputation, saying “My beautiful son, Evan, inspired this mother to question the “one size fits all” philosophy of the recommended vaccine schedule.”

ACSH’s Dr. Josh Bloom, who has been a vocal critic of McCarthy in the past says, “Keep in mind that McCarthy blamed Evan’s ‘autism’ on the vaccines he got back in 2005 and started a campaign two years later, which promoted ‘chelation therapy’ as a way to remove the mercury preservative which was found in some vaccine. When it was shown that the mercury theory was completely without merit, she (as well as many other vaccine opponents) switched the blame to the vaccines themselves.”….To Read More….

Democrats Conspiring to Rig Electoral College, Law Passed in 9 States So Far

By: Dick Morris Tuesday, April 15, 2014

A plan, now stealthily making its way through state legislatures with astonishing speed, would junk the Electoral College and award the presidency to the winner of the popular vote.  The plan involves an Interstate Compact where states would commit to select electors pledged to vote for the national popular vote winner regardless of how their own state voted. When enough states pass this law -- sufficient to cast the Electoral College's majority 270 votes -- it will take effect.

The Electoral College will become a vestigial anachronism.

So far, nine states and the District of Columbia -- casting 136 electoral votes -- have joined moving half way to the 270 needed to put the compact into effect. The ratifying states are: Maryland, New Jersey, Illinois, Hawaii, Washington, Massachusetts, DC, Vermont, California, and Rhode Island.   Both houses in New York have passed it and its on Governor Cuomo’s desk.

And, it has already passed one house in: Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Michigan, Nevada, New Mexico, North Carolina, and Oregon. These states, plus New York represent 107 votes. Combined with the others they are up to 242 votes . They need 270.

Who is pushing this?....To Read More….. 

Cliven Bundy's Cattle Battle: Harry Reid, China and Agenda 21

Investor's Business Daily

A Chinese solar farm that fries birds is OK, as is redrawing tortoise habitat boundaries to benefit political donors. But an American rancher grazing his cattle brings feds with sniper rifles.  It appears Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy has, at least temporarily, won his "range war" with the paramilitary wing of the Bureau of Land Management. Fearing another Waco, BLM has announced it will no longer enforce a court order and stop stealing Bundy's cows, called "trespass cattle" by the feds, accused of grazing free on part of the 84% of Nevada that is federal property. 
If the forces deployed in and around the Nevadan's ranch had been deployed to Benghazi, it's likely Glen Doherty, Ty Woods, Sean Smith and Ambassador Christopher Stevens would be alive today. If illegal aliens were grazing on the disputed property, there would not have been federal snipers perched nearby with American citizens in their sights.  The government that has detonated hundreds of nuclear weapons in the Nevada desert claimed a rancher's meandering cattle threatened a protected species......To Read More.....
 
My Take - The question that needs to be asked and answered is why 87% of a state is owned by the federal government? Currently the federal government owns at almost 30% of U.S. property, mostly in the west. Why? Currently the national debt is almost 18 trillion dollars and the total assets of the federal government comes to 150 trillion dollars, and even if we take the value of places like national parks out of the equation, the vast majority of that 150 trillion is liquid. Why is there a national debt in that case? It's long overdue for the federal government to get out of the real estate business and turn the "public's property" into cash and pay off the national debt - with interest payments in the hundreds of billions of dollars a year - and refund Social Security by paying back the trillions they "borrowed" from the fund.

Cartoon of the Day!


Statistical Frauds and the "war on women"

By Thomas Sowell

The "war on women" political slogan is in fact a war against common sense. It is a statistical fraud when Barack Obama and other politicians say that women earn only 77 percent of what men earn -- and that this is because of discrimination.

It would certainly be discrimination if women were doing the same work as men, for the same number of hours, with the same amount of training and experience, as well as other things being the same. But study after study, over the past several decades, has shown repeatedly that those things are not the same……..More than 90 percent of the people who are killed on the job are men. There is no point pretending that there are no differences between what women do and what men do in the workplace, or that these differences don't affect income......If the 77 percent statistic was for real, employers would be paying 30 percent more than they had to, every time they hired a man to do a job that a woman could do just as well. Would employers be such fools with their own money? If you think employers don't care about paying 30 percent more than they have to, just go ask your boss for a 30 percent raise! ...... To Read More.....

The Liberals' Latest False Wedge Issue -- the "war on women"

by Salena Zito April 15, 2014

She gave a dramatic eye-roll in reaction to all of the fuss that Democrats and the president attempted to create over equal pay for women last week. A Democrat herself, she said she has carved out a decent, comfortable life for her family over the years as a waitress at a local restaurant.

"I am in many ways my own boss," she explained. "It is up to me to get the order right, treat people well, and use my personal skills to increase my wages."

And she is "sick and tired of my party treating me like a victim. This is not 1970, and it's insulting."…….[Obama] claimed that women earn 77 cents to every dollar earned by men - a very broad statement and, in many ways, false, according to a Labor Department analysis showing that when you factor in job experience, education and hours worked, the difference in median wages between men and women shrinks to 5 to 7 cents on the dollar.

White House officials had no problem using that same Labor Department analysis to explain away their own 88-cent wage gap between female and male staffers. But they failed to mention it once in all of their press releases, or in Obama's speech……To Read More....

What the left did last week

By: Dennis Prager 4/15/2014

In his column last week, Charles Krauthammer crossed a line. He declared the American left totalitarian. He is correct. Totalitarianism is written into the left’s DNA.  Krauthammer wrote about a left-wing petition “bearing more than 110,000 signatures delivered to the [Washington] Post demanding a ban on any article questioning global warming.”  He concluded: “I was gratified by the show of intolerance because it perfectly illustrated my argument that the left is entering a new phase of ideological agitation — no longer trying to win the debate but stopping debate altogether, banishing from public discourse any and all opposition. The proper word for that attitude is totalitarian.”.....
 
Today is the cutoff date for public reactions to the California Supreme Court’s ethics advisory committee’s proposal to forbid California judges from affiliating with the Boy Scouts, which the left deems anti-gay. Given the Left’s animosity to traditional value-based institutions, it is not surprising that it loathes the Boy Scouts. What is remarkable — actually, frightening — is how easy it has been for the left to make it illegal for a judge to be a leader in the Boy Scouts. This is the now case in 22 states. It will soon be the case in California as well.

This was just one week — and only selected examples — in the left’s ongoing transformation of America.....To Read More....

Michigan may be the GOP’s best answer to the ‘war on women’

By: George Will  4/14/2014

Robert Griffin, now 90, who rose to be second in the Republican U.S. Senate leadership, was defeated in 1978. Since then, only one Michigan Republican, Spencer Abraham in 1994, has been elected to the Senate and for only one term. Evidence that former Michigan secretary of state Terri Lynn Land might end this GOP drought is that Democrats are attacking her for opposing “preventive health care.”

This is a phrase Democrats use to include abortion as they try to reprise their 2012 alarms about Republicans’ “war on women,” which began with the martyrdom of Sandra Fluke. She was the Georgetown University law student aggrieved because the Catholic university she chose to attend was not paying for her contraception. The median starting annual salary of Georgetown law graduates entering the private sector is $160,000. Wal-Mart sells a month’s worth of birth control pills for $9.

In the almost half-century since Lyndon Johnson’s flood of Great Society legislation, Democrats have had one significant new idea, Obamacare, which many Democrats consider one too many. Hence their reliance on the specter of Republican hostility to people with two X chromosomes......To Read More.....

Social science findings about conservatism

By Jon Ray 4/14/14

This appeared in Jon's Dissecting Leftism blog and I wish to thank him for allowing me to publish his work.  RK

I monitor the academic literature of climate science and medical science with some care. I have separate blogs for each topic. I no longer monitor the social science literature with great care, however. When bits of nonsense from the social science literature come to my attention, I comment on them here. And such comments are not infrequent here.

The latest article appears under the same heading that I have used above and is written by a historian named "Eric Zuesse". Since "Zuesse" means "Sweet one" in Yiddish, I will refer to him as "Sweetie". Sweetie's article is here. It is in an explictly Leftist outlet.

The article is rather long so I will content myself with making a few specific points and then go on to what is the central downfall of Sweetie's thinking.

He opens with the accusation that fundamentalist religion makes you bigoted. One could believe that of Muslims but is it true of Christians? The evidence Sweetie summarizes in support of his claim is however entirely correlational. And the first thing you learn in Statistics 101 is that "Correlation is not causation". To believe otherwise is to commit a logical fallacy. Yet Sweetie boldly asserts: "Religious belief, in other words, causes bigotry".

In case it is not clear to Leftists why that is stupid, the correlation could be caused by a third factor. Both religion and bigotry could be caused by (say) poverty. So religion and bigotry will be correlated but the causal factor is poverty. Religion itself will have caused nothing. It's a pity that I have to give lessons in basic logic but where Leftists are concerned you often have to do that. Fallacies are their speciality.

So that disposes of the first three paragraphs of Sweetie's opus. Or am I being hasty? Can I really write off all those correlations? I will give a second reason why I can. The correlations will usually be very weak. Let me give an example that I have commented on before. There is an article here which presents evidence that religious people are less "reflective'. I would have thought that religious people reflect all the time but there you go.

When you look up the research on which the claim is based, however you find that the correlation between reflection and religion is only .14 even before controls are applied. In other words, the two variables had only about 1.5% of their variance in common. There was a correlation there, all right, but it was so negligible to be of no significance or importance at all. And such low correlations are common in all the literature Sweetie surveys. Leftist researchers make mountains out of pimples. Putting it another way, if there were 100 reflective people you were surveying, you would find that 49 were religious and 51 were not religious. What sort of basis is that for predicting who will be reflective?

So is there any point in my going on from there? Not really but I will anyway.

Sweetie rather likes an article called "Political Conservatism as Motivated Social Cognition". I have deconstructed that article elsewhere so will not say much here. Suffice it to say that the article is rather a good example of academic fraud. It purports to be a meta-analysis (a survey of all the research on its subject) but omits to consider around half of the articles available on its subject. It leaves out all articles which have conclusions that did not suit the authors of the "meta-analysis". It is systematically dishonest, in other words. And that is another problem with Sweetie's article. He takes the research he summarizes at face value. If there is any fraud or incompetence in it he does not want to know.

I am honoured, however, that Sweetie does take note of some of my research reports. Other research that Sweetie likes is the opus by Robert Altemeyer and I have commented on that. I have particularly noted that Altemeyer has not the faintest idea of what conservatism is and that his scale of "Right-wing Authoritarianism" (RWA) does not correlate with conservatism of vote. It is a scale of "Rightism" on which Leftists and conservatives are equally likely to get a high score! Altemayer admitted that in one of his books and I have often retailed that fact, apparently to Altemeyer's embarrassment.

Sweetie records Altemeyer's attempt to backtrack on his admission. Altemeyer says he was only being genial in saying that. But there is more to it than that. Altemeyer was actually confronting the low correlation problem I have mentioned above. Even among students the correlation between the RWA scale and vote was tiny. Pretty strange for a scale that measured something that was allegedly right wing! Sweetie's heavy reliance on Altemeyer's work is therefore an edifice built on sand.

After Altemeyer's work, Sweetie goes on to wallow in the Social Dominance Orientation literature initiated by Pratto and Sidanius. Sweetie knows of my demolition of that work but ploughs on regardless -- even though I record a major climbdown by one of the original authors (Sidanius) in response to my critique. Sweetie has the eye of faith. He is a good example of the Leftist tendency to believe what they want to believe and damn the evidence.

But let me now go on to the basic, fatal, underlying flaw in Sweetie's thinking. He fails to acknowledge what Leftism is. He makes much of the common Leftist claim that conservatives are "authoritarian", but what could be more authoritarian than Leftism? The very essence of Leftism is a wish to change society. But "society" is people. So what the Leftist wants to do is prevent people from doing things that they ordinarily would and make them do things they ordinarily would not. And the Leftist proposes to do that by various forms of coercion. How authoritarian is that? It could hardly get more authoritarian. The Leftist claim that conservatives are the authoritarian ones is thus a huge case of Freudian denial and projection. LEFTISTS are the authoritarian ones but they themselves just cannot confront that. They cannot admit what they basically are. Sweetie is a poor thing. He has got about as much self-insight as a goldfish

There is much more I could say about Sweetie's meanderings but I think I have already said sufficient.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Abengoa Solar: Obama’s green energy projects fail, even when they are successful

By Marita Noon,Executive Director, Energy Makes America Great, 4/14/14

This appeared here and I wish to thank Marita for allowing me to publish her work.  RK
After a public meeting on Tuesday, April 15 in Palm Desert, California, the California Energy Commission (CEC) will vote, on Wednesday, in Sacramento on whether or not to re-permit a 500-megawatt solar thermal project that has been on hold since December. At that time, the commission indicated that it would deny the proposed BrightSource Energy and Abengoa Solar project based on “visual impacts to a network of trails, petroglyphs and other tribal sites stretching across the desert in eastern Riverside County.”

Since December, the companies have done additional environmental impact studies and proposed mitigation. Apparently believing the votes are there, the companies have pushed for the commission to make a decision. Abengoa insiders have reported that the project is a go.

While the CEC is concerned about visual impacts, and local tribes worry about the project due to potential artifacts that may be present, American taxpayers should be opposed to the cronyism, abuse, mismanagement, and violations involved in one of the companies: Abengoa — which received $2.8 billion in taxpayer funding.

This report will expose one of the largest recipients of Obama’s green energy funding: Abengoa — which if not stopped, will get even more taxpayer dollars. On April 2, 2014, Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz, said: “the department would probably throw open the door for new applications for renewable energy project loan guarantees during the second quarter of this year.”

Here’s a taste of what you’ll learn about Abengoa and how it operates:
  • Crony-connected, Stimulus-funded, Spanish-owned company builds/opens solar generating station—currently producing electricity.
  • Brings foreigners to U.S. to fill jobs from welders to administration to engineers to management—often working on tourist visas for as long as 9 months.
  • Many Americans, who do have jobs on the project, get fired so expats can have the jobs.
  • Health insurance fraud committed by putting expats on plans when they are not on payroll (expats on tourist visas were paid out of accounts payable).
  • American vendors/contractors payments are intentionally delayed while U.S. taxpayer funds are in Spain collecting interest—$70 million owned to U.S. vendors.
On October 7, 2013, a giant concentrated-solar plant opened near Gila Bend, AZ. The $2 Billion Solana Generating Station has 32,320 mirrors on 1900 acres (equivalent to 1400 football fields) making it the world’s largest parabolic trough array with thermal storage. The 280 MW generating station is one of the first solar plants that can store thermal power for six hours. The stored thermal power can be used at night or on cloudy days to produce the steam that turns the turbines and creates electricity.

Solana was made possible because of the 2009 stimulus bill and the loan guarantees and grants made available by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). Plant owner, Abengoa, reports that Solana’s construction employed 2,000 people.

When selling ARRA to the American public, the president said it would create jobs. Abengoa employees, who contributed to this report, were grateful for the jobs. They believed in green energy generally and the project specifically. But that was in the beginning when the sun was shining on Solana and its parent Abengoa.
With the green energy failures (32 failed and 22 circling the drain) being widely exposed by both the mainstream media, through shows like 60 Minutes, and Republicans, who point to the failures in order to embarrass President Obama and stop future green energy spending, one would think that Solana’s success would be something the White House would want to use for a major PR campaign — with pictures of a triumphant Obama cutting the ribbon splashed across the front page of every major newspaper. At the least, you’d expect an appearance by Vice President Joe Biden. Earlier, the White House had promised one or the other would be there, but neither was present for Solana’s October opening.

With the president’s penchant for photo ops, it seems mysterious that the official White House photographer wasn’t present to capture, and capitalize on, the moment.

Why wasn’t Obama waving to the cameras on October 7? Because even though Solana is a technical success, it is still an embarrassing failure. When the details in this report are exposed, as he must have known they inevitably would be, he didn’t want to be anywhere near the project—because, as this report exposes, Solana would have never happened without direct intervention from the President.

Abengoa

Abengoa is a renewable energy company headquartered in Seville, Spain. Its U.S. division received approximately $2.8 billion in stimulus loans (five times more than Solyndra) for two large solar projects (Arizona, Solana — $1.45 billion; and California, Mojave — $1.2 Billion), as well as one biofuel project (Kansas, Hugoton — $132 million), plus $818 million in treasury grants.

In addition to the $2.8 billion, Abengoa companies received $150 million from the U.S. Export-Import Bank for green jobs overseas and, more recently, $2 million from the SunShot initiative.

At the time the stimulus bill was passed, Spain was in the midst of its own financial crisis. Credit wasn’t available and Abengoa’s stock value had dropped. The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee’s March 2012 report states:

Abengoa’s prospects look dim due to its investments in Europe, particularly Spain, and suffer the risk of declining subsidies as Spain contends with its own declining credit quality and the potential need for a bailout of its own government in the coming months or years. Now that Germany and Spain cut back solar subsidies, this will undoubtedly harm the European renewable investments of Abengoa. Even if Abengoa investments initially appeared attractive to DOE, overinvestment in this single firm will likely cause substantial harm to the taxpayer.

The stimulus must have seemed like a lifesaver. Abengoa had the technological know how that the president’s green energy push needed — and the president was willing to pay for it. However, Abengoa had bad credit ratings from Fitch for each of the three projects the taxpayers funded: Solana — BB+; Mojave — BB; Hugoton—CCC. (Fitch describes the ratings this way: “BB: Speculative. ‘BB’ ratings indicate an elevated vulnerability to default risk, particularly in the event of adverse changes in business or economic conditions over time; however, business or financial flexibility exists which supports the servicing of financial commitments.” And “CCC: Substantial credit risk. Default is a real possibility.”)

While Abengoa didn’t have good credit, it did have, as Christine Lakatos has thoroughly documented, valuable connections.

Obama administration's push for equality in discipline goes to absurd lengths

By |
                  

George Leef, director of research for the North Carolina-based John William Pope Center for Higher Education Policy, authored a Forbes op-ed article titled "Obama Administration Takes Groupthink To Absurd Lengths." The subtitle is "School Discipline Rates Must Be 'Proportionate.' " Let's examine some of the absurdity of the Obama administration's take on student discipline.

Last January, the departments of Justice and Education published a "guidance" letter describing how schools can meet their obligations under federal law to administer student discipline without discriminating on the basis of race, color or national origin. Its underlying threat is that if federal bureaucrats learn of racial disproportionality in the punishments meted out for misbehavior, they will descend upon a school's administrators. If schools cannot justify differentials in rates of punishment by race or ethnic group, they will face the loss of federal funds and be forced to undertake costly diversity training......To Read More...

‘Phony scandal’ update: 3 out of 4 Sunday shows ignore latest IRS revelations

By Doug Powers, April 14, 2014

The lack of focus on the IRS “phony scandal” shouldn’t be surprising anymore, and yet, it never ceases to amaze:

Over the last seven days, three major revelations have emerged surrounding the IRS’ targeting of Tea Party groups. Despite the new stories, on Sunday April 13, three of the four Sunday interview shows on the broadcast networks — NBC’s Meet the Press, CBS’s Face the Nation and ABC’s This Week — all ignored them, whereas Fox News Sunday was the only broadcast network program to mention the IRS at all.

Proof-positive of Fox News’ anti-liberal bias!

Apparently ABC, NBC and CBS didn’t think their viewers would have an interest in any of this:

On Wednesday April 9, The Washington Times revealed that a Dallas IRS office was covered with Vote for Obama stickers and engaging in campaign cheerleading. On the same day, The Hill broke a story revealing that Lois Lerner fed tax information to Elijah Cummings (D-MD) who sits on the committee in charge of overseeing the IRS investigation. And finally, the House Ways and Means Committee voted last week to refer Lois Lerner for criminal charges, yet the big three didn’t mention any of these stories on Sunday.

Yawn!....To Read More….

Encouraging News about Honeybee Health

by Angela Logomasini on April 14, 2014

A recently released study in Europe reports some good news about honeybee health, which should prompt public officials to reexamine a recent ban on some agricultural products. “It’s the first major study of pests and diseases that affect honeybees. A lot of it seems very encouraging,” honeybee researcher Tom Breeze, says in a Reuters news story.

The study examines honeybee populations in Europe after recent disappearances of entire bee colonies during the winter—a phenomenon called colony collapse disorder—which began in 2006 and has continued to be a problem with large losses reported after the winter of 2012-2013…..To Read More…..

First Ever Constitutional Ruling against Dodd-Frank Voids Destructive “Conflict Minerals” Section

by John Berlau on April 14, 2014

This appeared here and I wish to thank John for allowing me to publish his work. RK

Today’s ruling of the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals that Dodd-Frank’s “conflict minerals” disclosure mandate violates the First Amendment is the first time ever a court has ruled that a provision of Dodd-Frank violates the Constitution. Regulations issued under Dodd-Frank have been struck down for reasons such as inadequate cost-benefit analysis and other procedural violations, but this is first time a provision has been found to be unconstitutional.

And it couldn’t happen to a more misguided and destructive provision of the law! As my Competitive Enterprise Institute colleague Hans Bader and I have written in blog posts, articles, and regulatory comments, the conflict disclosure mandate creates a compliance nightmare, hurts American miners and manufacturers, and does the greatest harm to those it was intended to help — the struggling worker in and nearby the Democratic Republic of Congo.

As explained by Mercatus Center scholars Hester Peirce and James Broughel in their book Dodd-Frank: What It Does and Why It’s Flawed, the “conflict minerals” mandate of Section 1502 is one the law’s many “miscellaneous provisions” that offer “a clear example of how a statute invoked as the answer to the financial crisis is, in reality, an odd conglomeration of responses to issues, many of which had nothing to do with the financial crisis.” Section 1502, championed by celebrities, including Ashley Judd and Ben Affleck, requires all types of firms to disclose their products’ use of five “conflict minerals” — including gold, tin, and tungsten — that can be sourced to war-torn regions of the Congo.

Fighting violence in the Congo is a laudable goal, but it defies common sense and basic civics to pursue foreign-policy objectives through a banking and investment bill. The government entity charged with enforcing this provision is neither the State Department nor the Defense Department, but rather the Securities and Exchange Commission — which no one would call an agency well-schooled in the nuances of foreign policy.

The Court looked at this leap of logic and decided that the provision could not survive the First Amendment’s prohibition against “compelled speech,” even under the lesser standard for “commercial speech.” As Judge A. Raymond Randolph wrote in the majority opinion, this compelled speech is not even “reasonably related” to the SEC’s mission of “preventing consumer deception.” The opinion concludes, “By compelling an issuer [publicly-traded company] to confess blood on its hands, the statute interferes with that exercise of the freedom of speech under the First Amendment.”

Today’s opinion is especially good news for residents of the Congo, who have seen more blood and more poverty as a result of this misguided mandate. In a New York Times op-ed, journalist David Aronson describes how Dodd-Frank’s conflict mineral mandate is acting as a backdoor tariff and re-impoverishing Africa. Among the effects Aronson describes: “Mining towns are virtually cut off from the outside world because the planes that once provisioned them no longer land. . . . Villagers who relied on their mining income to buy food when harvests failed are beginning to go hungry.”

Hopefully, other courts will take heed of this great ruling and start striking down the many other unconstitutional provisions of Dodd-Frank, including the ones being challenged by CEI and our co-plaintiffs.

 

A Treatment for Chemophobia

Joe Schwarcz, 04/11/2014  

"Hey, aren't you somebody?" the teenager queried as I got into the elevator.  While I was pondering an appropriate answer to this deeply philosophical question, his crony spilled the beans: "Yeah, he's that guy who talks about chemistry on TV." This was just the ammunition the philosopher needed. "Oh, no, we're locked in an elevator with a scientist" he mocked, before volunteering the information that he got about 2 percent in chemistry in high school, and that "that was with cheating."

Sadly, I've heard such comments before. After many a public lecture I've been approached by people who somehow feel the need to unburden their soul and tell me, with some sort of perverse pride, how they slept through science classes, or that chemistry was the only course they ever failed. Little wonder that there is mental chaos about chemicals, or that "chemical-free" products are hot sellers. Of course, if you are buying a truly chemical-free product, you are not getting a good deal. You're buying nothing……. And what exactly does one food producer's promise to use only "real ingredients" in its pizzas mean? Were they using imaginary ingredients before? Or perhaps fake ones? Plaster of Paris instead of flour? Play Dough instead of cheese? " .....To Read More....
 
Editor's Note:  I know is linked this in the previous post, but it was so good I had to link it separately. 

Another shout out for Dr. Joe on chemophobia


The incomparable Dr. Joe Schwarcz, Director of McGill University’s Office for Science and Society in Montreal, and ACSH friend, has published a very informative (and humorous) blog on HuffPost called “A Treatment for Chemophobia.”

He covers many of the same misconceptions that we routinely discuss here at ACSH, but does so in his own unique style. Here are a few quotes from Joe’s piece. “[S]omehow ‘chemical’ has become a dirty word, synonymous with ‘toxin,’ and ‘chemical-free’ is now a popular, albeit nonsensical, advertising slogan.”  “And what exactly does one food producer’s promise to use only ‘real ingredients’ in its pizzas mean? Were they using imaginary ingredients before?” (ACSH comment: this is hilarious).  “Chemical absurdity has even made it into the courtroom. The prosecutor in a gang fight trial in California described “a situation very much like nitrogen meeting glycerin; it was guaranteed that there would be an explosion of violence.” (ACSH comment: Oy)

ACSH’s Dr. Josh Bloom says, if there is anyone better than Joe at writing about this subject, I haven’t met him or her yet. I highly recommend that you read his entire piece, which can be found here.”

Cognitive Dissonance on Minimum Wages and Maximum Rents

Mises Daily: Tuesday, April 15, 2014 by Gary Galles

“Many cities are pricey places to live.” That was the opening line and major premise of a recent Los Angeles Times opinion piece advocating that high-cost cities raise minimum wages to mitigate the problem. I was struck by the fact that for years, the exact same basis was used by the same left liberal groups to justify rent controls. Apparently, high costs of living, largely caused by a panoply of government taxes, regulations, and restrictions, justify still more government-imposed coercion in both the labor and housing markets. Unfortunately, those government “solutions” are not only based on flaws in basic economic logic, but they are mutually contradictory.....To Read More.....

Sebelius’ Parting Words: ‘And Unfortunately, a Page Is Missing’

April 11, 2014 By Melanie Hunter

Outgoing Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius officially announced her resignation Friday, but just like the glitches that plagued the federal website for Obamacare – healthcare.gov – which she was responsible for, Sebelius experienced a glitch of her own when the last page of her speech went missing….To Read More…. 

My Take - She loses a page from her speech….really?  Get real.  How much of a speech does someone need to say – I’m gone!  Then she fails to pronounce the name of her replacement properly….supposedly someone she knows and respects.  This was a fittingly example of her reign at Commerce, or was it Labor?  No, I think it was Energy, or perhaps Education.  Wait, how about Job and Family Services?  No that’s a state agency.  Wait, wait….I know, I know…it’s the Bureau of Land Management….no, that’s a bureau under the Interior Department.  

Oh well, does it really matter which incompetent department an incompetent politico heads up? 

There’s a side bar to all of this.  Her father was a former Ohio Governor, John J. Gilligan (D).  A one term governor - and in Ohio that’s a rarity.  Almost all Ohio Governors get a second term unless they’re idiots, like Strickland (D).  Even Gov. Bob Taft (R) was re-elected, and it was obvious he really was a Mr. Potato Head.  
 
Gilligan was a big spending, big government, social engineering, tax increasing guy who never saw a government agency he couldn’t fall in love with, and just like the current administration he played games with the public’s property (closing state parks) to push his plan to pass the state’s first income tax.  That, among other gaffs, such as - “I shear taxpayers, not sheep” - doomed him to lose to another big government, big spending Republican, John Rhodes (R), which “short-circuited the plans of his staffers and Ohio Democrats who were setting the stage for a two-term governor......to run for president in 1976. Instead, the honor went to a former governor of Georgia, Jimmy Carter.”

It would appear the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.

EPA Concedes: We Can’t Produce All the Data Justifying Clean Air Rules

By Barbara Hollingsworth April 11, 2014

Seven months after being subpoenaed by Congress, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Gina McCarthy conceded that her agency does not have - and cannot produce - all of the scientific data used for decades to justify numerous rules and regulations under the Clean Air Act.

In a March 7th letter to House Science, Space and Technology Committee chairman Lamar Smith (R-Tex.), McCarthy admitted that EPA cannot produce all of the original data from the 1993 Harvard Six Cities Study (HSC) and the American Cancer Society’s (ACS) 1995 Cancer Prevention Study II, which is currently housed at New York University.

Both studies concluded that fine airborne particles measuring 2.5 micrograms or less (PM2.5) – 1/30th the diameter of a human hair – are killing thousands of Americans every year.  These epidemiological studies are cited by EPA as the scientific foundation for clean air regulations that restrict particulate emissions from vehicles, power plants and factories....... However, despite “multiple interactions with the third party owners of the research data in an effort to obtain that data,” McCarthy wrote, some of the data subpoenaed by the committee “are not (and were not) in the possession, custody or control of the EPA, nor are they within the authority to obtain data that the agency identified.”

My Take - Guessing is science when it starts out as an hypothesis.  After that the guessing is supposed to stop because use of the scientific method should be supplying sufficient data to either dismiss the hypothesis (guesswork) or substantiate it justifying more investigation.

Yet, the backbone of much of what EPA does is based on ‘guessing’.  Actually, it isn’t even 'guessing'.  EPA performs under the delusion they already have the answer and merely need some data to support their conclusions.

In 2005 the American Council on Science and Health (ACSH) petitioned the EPA to “Stop declaring chemicals carcinogens based on rodent tests alone”.  ACSH noted that the law permits EPA “to adopt policies that err on the side of caution when faced with genuinely equivocal evidence regarding a substance's carcinogenicity, but the IQA does not permit EPA to distort the scientific evidence in furtherance of such policies.”

The petition argues that EPA ”distorts scientific evidence through its Guidelines' use of "default options," its purported right -- based not on scientific evidence but its regulatory mission to protect human health -- to assume that tumors in lab rodents indicate that much smaller doses can cause cancer in humans. Erring on the "safe side" in regulatory decisions does not, argues the petition, permit EPA to falsely claim that such regulated substances truly are "likely to be carcinogenic to humans." “To do so, argues ACSH, is a distortion of both science and law.”

Finally after months of delays the
EPA formally responded saying “that their Risk Assessment Guidelines are not statements of scientific fact -- and thus not covered by the IQA (Information Quality Act) -- but merely statements of EPA policy.” My question was then and is now. If EPA policies aren’t based on scientific fact, what are they based on?

Is this really any different?  We need to get this.  The EPA isn’t a scientific agency, irrespective of who works there and what their mandate is.  The EPA is a political animal;  it was created to be a political animal by Richard Nixon based on a piece of science fiction by Rachel Carson called Silent Spring to ban DDT; it has been filled with political administrators and all of its positions, rules and regulations are designed to advance a political position. 

Although almost anyone can find instances where the EPA actually did good work, that doesn’t give them an excuse for the frauds they have perpetrated on humanity.  This is just one more example of EPA “guessing” – conclusions in search of data - by the misanthropic green activists working at EPA disguised as government employees. 

And it’s high time the EPA was abolished.

Monday, April 14, 2014

From Benny Peiser's Global Warming Policy Foundation

Shale Gas Can Help To Tackle Climate Change – IPCC
'Climate Pushed To The Margins Of Energy Policy Around The World'

Shale gas can help the world to avoid dangerous climate change if it replaces coal in power stations, according to a United Nations report. The IPCC was silent, however, on how much investment there should be in each source of energy. It said it was up to each country to decide on the mix of energy sources it needed to meet its share of the global emissions target. --Ben Webster, The Times, 14 April 2014

The United Nations (UN) has delivered its latest verdict on the measures necessary to save the world from global warming and the news is as grim as it is predictable and wearisomely familiar. This action will set back economic growth, involve significant "behavioural change" and "devalue fossil fuel assets", the report admits. But only with "major institutional and technological changes" can the world avert an even greater threat. If no action is taken, it warns, temperatures may rise by as much as 4.8 degrees C by 2100. --James Delingpole, Breitbart London, 14 April 2014
The report is written in extreme language, of course it is, because that is what the IPCC does. But what is unusual about this one is its support for nuclear energy and shale gas - for which the greens will hate it. Not that any of this matters. The IPCC is no longer taken seriously by governments around the world and decarbonization has ceased to be one of their major priorities. Thanks to the crisis in the Ukraine and the state of the global economy, they are now much more interested in energy security and economic competitiveness than they are in 'combating climate change.--Benny Peiser, Breitbart London, 14 April 2014

Benny Peiser, director of the Global Warming Policy Foundation, said: “This is the first IPCC report that will be largely ignored by most policymakers. It will have no influence on governments’ energy policies that are now almost completely dominated by energy security and economic considerations. Around the world the climate issue is being pushed to the margins of decision making.” --Ben Webster, The Times, 14 April 2014

Media-Suppressed Nevada Case History Shines Truth on Government Ranch invaders

By Judi McLeod Friday, April 11, 2014

Coming clearly through the throbbing of helicopters and the roar of the SUVS of the feds harassing the Cliven Bundy Ranch, patriots there for Bundy should “tell it to the judge”.There is mainstream media-suppressed case history in Nevada the feds are desperately trying to keep under wraps.

Chief Judge Robert C. Jones of the Federal District Court of Nevada smacked down high-handed, abusive feds, sending the pretend cowboys riding roughshod over Western ranchers and property owners back to their cobweb-laced offices in 2013……To Read More….

Is Bundy Ranch Standoff a Warm-up?

April 12, 2014 by Tad Cronn

The rancher-federal agent standoff that has been threatening to boil over in Clark County, Nevada, this week has transformed almost overnight from a ludicrous overreach by a government bureaucracy hiding behind an endangered tortoise to the probable result of a multibillion-dollar solar power project traceable to none other than Majority Leader Sen. Harry Reid.

As more BLM documents have come to light and connections to previous news reports made, a picture has emerged of efforts by Reid and his son, lawyer Rory Reid, to land a $5 billion Chinese solar power project that will build in Laughlin, Nevada, and in Clark County, where the County Commission sold public land for cents on the dollar to ENN Energy Group.

Rory Reid used to be the chairman of the Clark County Commission, and Sen. Reid’s former adviser is now chief of the Bureau of Land Management, which this week was confiscating rancher Cliven Bundy’s cattle over alleged grazing fees on land his family has worked for more than a century. The thin excuse of protecting the desert tortoise, which has clearly survived just fine in the presence of ranching, is easily dismissed because the BLM was killing tortoises by the hundreds just last year due, it said, to lack of funding…….To Read More…..

Harry Reid, Son's Solar Power Scheme Linked to Bundy Ranch Standoff

April 12, 2014 by Tad Cronn

Follow the money and you'll inevitably find out what's really going on.  In the case of Clark County, Nevada, rancher Cliven Bundy's standoff with federal agents from the Bureau of Land Management, the leading explanation has been that he hasn't paid grazing fees and his cattle threaten endangered desert tortoises in the Gold Butte area.

But the fact of the BLM bringing in hundreds of armed rangers with trucks and helicopters seemed over the top for protection of a tortoise that has clearly survived despite more than a century of ranching by the Bundy family, and which the BLM had previously been slaughtering with the excuse that it lacked funding to care for the animals.

As reported by the Associated Press in August, the Desert Tortoise Conservation Center in Southern Las Vegas, funded by the BLM, was looking at killing half of its 1,400 tortoises because it could not afford to keep its doors open since the housing collapse resulted in less income from developers……To Read More….

Ranchers and Empire in the American West

Mises Daily: Monday, April 14, 2014 by Ryan McMaken

The militarized siege of a cattle ranch near Bunkerville, Nevada has drawn national attention as dozens of federal agents, armed with machine guns, sniper rifles, helicopters, and more, have descended on the ranch to seize cattle, people, and generally show everyone who’s boss.

The conservative press has framed the story in a variety of ways, casting the story both as matter of outright federal seizure of private land, and as an absurd environmental crusade to save a tortoise from extinction.

The reality looks to be a little murkier, however, as is often the case when dealing with land ownership in the American West. Back in September, the Las Vegas Sun reported on the Bundy family and noted that troubles began 20 years ago when the family’s patriarch unilaterally determined that he would no longer pay the Bureau of Land Management use fees that have long been required to graze on federal lands.
 
The exact legal and historical details of the Bundy family’s case will emerge slowly over time, but even if the family is completely in the wrong legally (which it probably is), it’s safe to say that taxpayer dollars might be better spent on things other than a shock and awe campaign waged against a tiny ranch in the middle of a Nevada desert. Nonetheless, this is just the latest dispute in a long history of ranchers jockeying with the Federal government over land use permits and land use regulations. .....To Read More....

Was stopping Nevada’s fracking rush behind the Bundy Showdown?

By Marita Noon, Executive Director, Energy Makes America Great Inc.

The story of rancher Cliven Bundy has captured an abundance of media attention and attracted supporters from across the West, who relate to the struggle against the federal management of lands. Bundy’s sister, Susan, was asked: “Who’s behind the uproar?” She blamed the Sierra Club, then Senator Harry Reid (D-NV), and then President Obama. She concluded her comments with: “It’s all about control”—a sentiment that is frequently expressed regarding actions taken in response to some endangered-species claim.

An Associated Press report describes Bundy’s battle this way: “The current showdown pits rancher Cliven Bundy’s claims of ancestral rights to graze his cows on open range against federal claims that the cattle are trespassing on arid and fragile habitat of the endangered desert tortoise.”

Bundy’s story has been percolating for decades—leaving people to question why now. The pundits are, perhaps, missing the real motive. To discover it, you have to dig deep under the surface of the story, below the surface of the earth. I posit: it is all about oil and gas.

On April 10, the Natural News Network posted this: “BLM fracking racket exposed! Armed siege and cattle theft from Bundy ranch really about fracking leases.” It states: “a Natural News investigation has found that BLM is actually in the business of raking in millions of dollars by leasing Nevada lands to energy companies that engage in fracking operations.”

This set off alarms in my head; it didn’t add up. I know that oil-and-gas development and ranching can happily coexist. Caren Cowan, executive director of the New Mexico Cattle Growers Association, told me: “The ranching and oil-and-gas communities are the backbone of America. They are the folks who allow the rest of the nation to pursue their hearts’ desire secure in the knowledge that they will have food and energy available in abundant supply. These natural resource users have worked arm-in-arm for nearly a century on the same land. They are constantly developing and employing technologies for ever better outcomes.”

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) wouldn’t be enduring the humiliating press it has received, as a result of kicking Bundy off of land his family has ranched for generations and taking away his prior usage rights, just to open up the land for oil-and-gas—the two can both be there. 

The Natural News “investigation” includes a map from the Nevada Bureau of Mines and Geology that shows “significant exploratory drilling being conducted in precisely the same area where the Bundy family has been running cattle since the 1870s.” It continues: “What’s also clear is that oil has been found in nearby areas.”

Nevada is not a top-of-mind state when one thinks about oil and gas. Alan Coyner, administrator for the Nevada Division of Minerals, describes his state: “We are not a major oil-producing state. We're not the Saudi Arabia of the U.S. like we are for gold and geothermal production.” The Las Vegas Review Journal reports: “When it comes to oil, Nevada is largely undiscovered country…. fewer than 1,000 wells have been drilled in the state, and only about 70 are now in production, churning out modest amounts of low-grade petroleum generally used for tar or asphalt. Since an all-time high of 4 million barrels in 1990, oil production in Nevada has plummeted to fewer than 400,000 barrels a year. More oil is pumped from the ground in one day in North Dakota—where the fracking boom has added more than 2,000 new wells in recent years—than Nevada produced in 2012.”

But, Nevada could soon join the ranks of the states that are experiencing an economic boom and job creation due to oil-and-gas development. And, that has got to have the environmental groups, which are hell-bent on stopping it, in panic mode. Until now, their efforts in Nevada have been focused on blocking big solar development.

A year ago, the BLM held an oil-and-gas lease sale in Reno. At the sale, 29 federal land leases, totaling about 56 square miles, were auctioned off, bringing in $1.27 million. One of the winning bidders is Houston-based Noble Energy, which plans to drill as many as 20 exploratory wells and could start drilling by the end of the year. Commenting on its acreage, Susan Cunningham, Noble senior vice president, said: “We’re thrilled with the possibilities of this under-explored petroleum system.”

The parcels made available in April 2013 will be developed using hydraulic fracturing, about which Coyner quipped: “If the Silver State’s first big shale play pays off, it could touch off a fracking rush in Nevada.” Despite the fact that fracking has been done safely and successfully for more than 65 years in America, the Center for Biological Diversity’s (CBD) Nevada-based senior scientist, Ron Mrowka, told the Las Vegas Review Journal: “Fracking is not a good thing. We don’t feel there is a safe way to do it.”

The BLM made the leases available after someone, or some company, nominated the parcels, and the process to get them ready for auction can easily take a year or longer. One year before the April 2013, sale, CBD filed a 60-day notice of intent to sue the BLM for its failure to protect the desert tortoise in the Gold Butte area—where Bundy cattle have grazed for more than a century.

Because agencies like the BLM are often staffed by environmental sympathizers, it is possible that CBD was alerted to the pending potential oil-and-gas boom when the April 2013 parcels were nominated—triggering the notice of intent to sue in an attempt to lock up as much land as possible before the “fracking rush” could begin.

A March 25, 2014 CBD press release—which reportedly served as the impetus for the current showdown—states: “Tortoises suffer while BLM allows trespass cattle to eat for free in Nevada desert.” It points out that the Clark County Multiple Species Habitat Conservation Plan purchased and then retired grazing leases to protect the endangered tortoise.

Once Bundy’s cattle are kicked off the land to protect the tortoise, the precedent will be set to use the tortoise to block any oil-and-gas development in the area—after all environmentalists hate cattle only slightly less than they hate oil and gas. Admittedly, the April 13 leases are not in the same area as Bundy’s cattle, however, Gold Butte does have some oil-and-gas exploration that CBD’s actions could nip in the bud. Intellihub reports: “The BLM claims that they are seizing land to preserve it, for environmental protection. However, it is obvious that environmental protection is not their goal if they are selling large areas of land to fracking companies. Although the land that was sold last year is 300 and some miles away from the Bundy ranch, the aggressive tactics that have been used by federal agents in this situation are raising the suspicion that this is another BLM land grab that is destined for a private auction.”

The Natural News Network also sees that the tortoise is being used as a scapegoat: “Anyone who thinks this siege is about reptiles is kidding themselves.” It adds: “‘Endangered tortoises’ is merely the government cover story for confiscating land to turn it over to fracking companies for millions of dollars in energy leases.” The Network sees that it isn’t really about the critters; after all, hundreds of desert tortoises are being euthanized in Nevada.

Though the Intellihub and Natural News Network point to the “current showdown” as being about allowing oil-and-gas development, I believe that removing the cattle is really a Trojan horse. The tortoise protection will be used to block any more leasing.

On April 5, 2014, CBD sent out a triumphant press release announcing that the “long-awaited” roundup of cattle had begun.

What I am presenting is only a theory; I am just connecting some dots. But over-and-over, an endangered or threated species or habitat is used to block all kinds of economic development. A few weeks ago, I wrote about the lesser prairie chicken and the huge effort ($26 million) a variety of industries cooperatively engaged in to keep its habitat from being listed as threatened. The effort failed and the chicken’s habitat was listed. In my column on the topic, I predicted that these listings were likely to trigger another sage brush rebellion that will challenge federal land ownership. The Bundy showdown has brought the controversy front and center.

For now, southern Nevada’s last rancher has won the week-long standoff that has been likened to Tiananmen Square. Reports state that “the BLM said it did so because it feared for the safety of employees and members of the public,” not because it has changed its position.

While this chapter may be closing, it may have opened the next chapter in the sage brush rebellion. The Bundy standoff has pointed out the overreach of federal agencies and the use of threatened or endangered species to block economic activity.

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.