Monday, January 2, 2012

Observations From the Back Row

Posted by Rich Kozlovich

Education

Is the West Doomed?
In 2007, a study of Swedish young people by a group called Information about Communism revealed that ninety percent of Swedes between the ages of fifteen and twenty didn’t know which foreign capital is closest to Stockholm, and most didn’t know which countries border on their own…… Just the other day the Daily Mail ran an article in which Dominic Sandbrook recalled a survey conducted in Britain about a decade ago. Who, it asked, were the most important people in British history? Princess Diana came in third, John Lennon seventh. “Recent polls,” noted Sandbrook, “show that nine out of ten adults [in Britain] can name all David Beckham’s children, yet one in three thinks Churchill was a fictional character and one in four believes Hadrian’s Wall was built to keep out the French.”

Yes, that’s right: one in three British people thinks Winston Churchill was a fictional character.

Catholic student 'bullied, humiliated' by teacher
Instructor 'promoted' homosexuality rather than economics class material - A teacher's decision to promote homosexuality in class rather than teach the approved economics curriculum – and the school district's endorsement of that – soon will be hitting the court docket, as a complaint has been filed by a student subjected to the instructor's "bullying."


Green Notes

ESA Today
Public Hearing for Conservation of Turtles
Proposed regulations aimed at maintaining healthy populations of Georgia’s freshwater turtles will be the focus of a public hearing next month near Macon…..If approved, the regulations will, among other things, establish definitions for commercial enterprise, export, farming and sale of freshwater turtles, specify unlawful activities, establish permit requirements, set turtle harvest limits, provide for the acquisition of turtles, and set specifications for turtle farms.

Biodiversity: Sierra red fox considered for endangered
A rare fox living in a couple of isolated pockets in the Sierra Nevada mountains of California may get Endangered Species Act protection after The US Fish and Wildlife Service announced last week that it will take a hard ...

It's up to Mich. now to find right balance in wolf protections
They had been trapped, shot and hunted out of existence here, but -- with the protection gained from being listed under the Endangered Species Act -- gradually spread east from Minnesota, where a remnant population remained. Now Michigan has nearly 700 ...

Global Warming…or any anthropogenic whatever you would like.

How Columbus Caused the Little Ice Age, by Dennis T. Avery
Share|In a remarkable example of human-centeredness, Stanford University geochemist Richard Nevle blames Christopher Columbus for a sharp reduction in atmospheric CO2 during the 16th and 17th centuries. It seems that man-made warming believers never tire of telling us how powerful humans are, usually for the worse, in our ability to change nature....Nevle claims that the deaths of American Indians, due to the sudden spread of European diseases after Columbus landed, would have stopped the Indians from burning so many forests to enhance their hunting....If Dr. Nevle can “read” the deaths of the American Indians in the Antarctic ice record, has he checked for the impact of the Black Death in Europe and the Near East during the 14th century? Roughly half the population of Europe died then, along with vast numbers of people across the Near East.

Organic versus Modern Farming. GMO’s and Pesticides
A New Strategy to Feed the World, by Dennis T. Avery
Can we successfully grow more plants per acre as a future strategy for increasing our crop yields and food production? Sixty thousand corn plants per acre—twice Iowa’s current average—could be one route to higher productivity. The world will need twice …

Washington Post Converts to Conservation, by Dennis T. Avery
Washington Post has praised organic foods—while I warned that low-yield organic farming posed a threat to the world’s wildlife. I estimated that Norman Borlaug’s Green Revolution not only saved billions of people from starvation, but at the same time saved 7 million square miles of wildlife habitat that would otherwise have been plowed down for more low-yielding crops. Seven million square miles is the land area of South America. That’s “high-yield conservation.”


Sustainability
Nothing is Sustainable
People have this idea that sailing is cheap, because of the low fuel costs. But blue-water sailors have a saying that goes like this:  The wind is free … but everything else costs money.  Reading the various pronouncements from the partygoers at the Durban climate-related Conference of Parties, I was struck by the many uses of the words “sustainable development” and “sustainability”. It’s pretty confusing. Apparently, paying high long-term subsidies for uneconomic energy sources is sustainable … who knew?

Media

Unfit to Print
The other day I took note here of a recent New York Times feature in which several prominent figures from the worlds of law and religion were invited to answer the question: Is religious freedom in America under threat? I focused on one of the responses, entitled “A Campaign Against Patriotic Muslims,” in which Salam Al-Marayati, president of the Muslim Public Affairs Council, maintained that when it came to his coreligionists, the answer was a definite yes. Al-Marayati painted a picture of an America awash in “anti-Islam groups” and “Muslim haters” who make life difficult for American Muslims, whom he depicted as overwhelmingly peaceful, freedom-loving, and terrorism-hating. It didn’t seem to matter to the Times that Al-Marayati himself is a longtime associate of and apologist for terrorists.

Norman Lear’s Left-Wing Paranoia About ‘The Right’
They’re coming for your children! They’re coming for the womenfolk! Then they’re coming after you! Norman Lear, the famous television show producer, offered this hysterically paranoid assessment of the allegedly growing and presumably insidious power of “the right”:  “I want to suggest that we lefties start laying claim to what we see as ‘sacred’ and serve it up proudly to the religious right — to the James Dobson, Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, Karl Rove … hatemongers, sheathed in sanctity, and to the Koch brothers, the types that fund them and use them so effectively for their own political power-grabbing purposes. Over the past several decades, the power-grabbing right has built a powerful infrastructure — radio and TV stations and networks. They’ve built think tanks, colleges and law schools.”

2012: A Year of Media Savagery
For those Republican presidential candidates who eventually conclude there is no path to the nomination, there is consolation in the notion that they won't be the ones to face the brutal onslaught being prepared for the GOP king-of-the-mountain by team Obama and its army of "objective" media allies. This time around, the Obama machine cannot run on the fairy dust of hope and change. It cannot suggest after four years of dreadful executive-branch performance, that the promised one is on the horizon. Its only path to victory is the one that finds its opponents even more disliked. So it can be guaranteed that whoever wins the Republican contest will face one of the most scorching personal assaults the country has ever witnessed.

The Latest Joint CBS-Castro Production
Last week’s 60 Minutes featured another in its long line of joint CBS-Castro productions. This time Anderson Cooper and his production crew partnered with the Stalinist regime’s Centro de Investigaciones Marinas for a propaganda piece on the marvels of Cuban coral reef conservation. The co-host of the CBS show and conduit for this fruitful Communist infomercial was Dr. David Guggenheim, senior fellow at the Ocean Foundation in Washington, D.C. who chairs its Cuba Marine Research and Conservation Program. Dr. Guggenheim toasts himself as a “Cubaphile” and toasts Castro’s fiefdom (which he has visited over 40 times in recent years) as a “magical place.”……. There’s just something about running a KGB-tutored Stalinist regime that jailed political prisoners at a higher rate than Stalin’s, murdered more of them than pre-war Hitler’s, and outlaws dissent that encourages this type of instant and gung-ho parliamentarian team-playing. Many among the tens of thousands of Castro’s prison, torture and firing squad victims were his former comrades, onetime regime officials. Unlike food, clothing, shelter, feminine napkins and toilet paper, one thing there’s never any shortage of in Stalinist Cuba is rubber stamps.

Religion

Obama liberals' hatred for religious freedom
There is little doubt that the Obama White House was behind the attempt to defund and shut down the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom. The USCIRF is an embarrassment to an administration, which wants to pretend that Shariah law, which permits honor killings, is no different than English Common Law. The bleak reports from the USCIRF on religious persecution in many of the Islamic nations favored by President Obama moved his administration to shut down the USCIRF using a back door in the budget process. His point man, Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., is from Obama's home state. Durbin was Obama's former colleague in the Senate and is now the majority whip, the No. 2 Democrat in the Senate.

The Anglican priest who thought Stalin was a saint
BOOK REVIEW: Charles Moore reviews 'The Red Dean' by John Butler (Scala)
As Canterbury Cathedral this week marks the anniversary of the death of its most famous “turbulent priest”, Thomas Becket, it is a good moment to study the life of its second-most famous one. Hewlett Johnson became the Dean of Canterbury in 1931, when he was already getting on for 60, and clung on to the post, despite numerous attempts to get him out, until 1964.  Over those 33 years, Johnson devoted the bulk of his astonishing energy to proving that Soviet Communism, especially as practised by Stalin, was heaven on earth: “While we’re waiting for God, Russia is doing it.” In his bestseller The Socialist Sixth of the World, which was published not long after Stalin’s most extensive programme of mass murder, he wrote: “Nothing strikes the visitor to the Soviet Union more forcibly than the complete absence of fear.”

State Department 'Panders' to Islamists on Free Speech
…The OIC (previously called the Organization of the Islamic Conference) has pushed for a universal blasphemy law for more than a decade. Since the November 2004 murder of filmmaker Theo Van Gogh in the Netherlands and the 2006 riots protesting cartoon depictions of the prophet Mohammad, the group has pressured Western European nations to implement speech codes punishing criticism of Islam…….Shea believes that this "politically correct" approach to Islamism has disturbing implications for U.S. national security. In the case of Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan, who massacred 13 of his fellow servicemen at Fort Hood in 2009, co-workers emphasized that they were deeply troubled by his jihadist ravings regarded him as a radical Muslim "but didn't report it for fear of being labeled "Islamophobes,'" she noted.  Similarly, a Senate committee issued a report documenting a culture of timidity at the Pentagon on the subject of Islam. Shea said the Fort Hood massacre is a "perfect example" of the danger posed by the U.S. government's failure to address the danger Islamism poses to our liberties.

Muslim Terror for Christmas
Two years ago as two-hundred eighty-nine people sat on a Christmas Day flight from Amsterdam to Detroit studying their watches, flipping through their Kindles and hoping they would make it home in time, among them sat a devout Muslim with a packet of Pentaerythritol tetranitrate sewn into his underwear. At his trial Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab said,“In late 2009, in fulfillment of a religious obligation, I decided to participate in jihad against the United States. The Koran obliges every able Muslim to participate in jihad and fight in the way of Allah, those who fight you, and kill them wherever you find them.”……While fathers lifted up their children on their shoulders and music filled the air, Mohamud was smiling for a different reason. “You know what I like, what makes me happy?” he had told undercover agents. “You know, what I like to see? Is when I see the enemy of Allah, then you know their bodies are torn everywhere.” As American families were enjoying the moment, Mohamud was picturing their bodies ripped to shreds by his bomb…….On Rosh Hashana 2003, a knock came on the door of a Jewish family at a holiday dinner. On the other side was another Islamic Jihad terrorist. The father of the house opened the door and was shot, but managed to close the door and keep him out before dying. The terrorist nevertheless managed to murder a seven month old baby on her swing before he was shot and killed.

The Persecution of Elisabeth Sabaditsch-Wolff
Frontpage Interview’s guest today is Elisabeth Sabaditsch-Wolff, a free speech activist who was charged last year in Austria with “denigration of religious beliefs of a legally recognized religion” for asserting that “Mohammed had a thing for little girls.” In February of this year she was convicted, and will have to pay a fine of up to €480. Just recently, on December 20, 2011, her conviction was upheld by the higher court. If she refuses to pay the fine, she may spend a maximum of two months in jail. She grew up and lived in Muslim countries and experienced Islam first-hand.


Socialism





Top Ten Ways Obama Socialists are Like National Socialists.
I’m very disappointed in Congressman Allen West, who last week observed that Nazi propagandist Joseph Goebbels would be “truly proud” of the Democratic Party’s “lies and deceit.”   While correct, Congressman West neglects the other striking similarities between National Socialists and Obama Socialists. This is not to say that the DNC wants to recreate the Holocaust (though its president could do so inadvertently, with his tender-on-Tehran policy) or that the Messiah in Chief will begin giving 4-hour speeches in German. (Where would he find a German teleprompter?)  But, like the pigs and men at the end of “Animal Farm,” it’s becoming increasingly difficult to tell brownshirts and the party which would literally take the shirts off our backs apart. Here are the Top 10 Ways Democrats Are Like Nazis:

Is Liberalism a Religion?
When people make statements that are completely at variance with reality and they continue to repeat them and you know they are not crazy, it’s only natural to wonder, what’s going on?  I’ve concluded that for some people on the left, political beliefs are like a false religion in which the parishioners become unable to distinguish myth from reality.

How else can you explain the statements of Donald Berwick, President Obama’s recess appointee to run Medicare and Medicaid, on his way out of office the other day? For starters, he claimed that the Affordable Care Act (what some people call ObamaCare) “is making health care a basic human right.” Then he went on to say that because of the new law, “we are a nation headed for justice, for fairness and justice in access to care.”

Gullible Americans, by Walter E. Williams
National Transportation Safety Board Chairwoman Deborah Hersman has called for states to mandate a total ban on cellphone usage while driving. She has also encouraged electronics manufacturers -- via recommendations to the CTIA-The Wireless Association and the Consumer Electronics Association -- to develop features that "disable the functions of portable electronic devices within reach of the driver when a vehicle is in motion." That means she wants to be able to turn off your cellphone while you're driving.........Another camel's nose in the tent lie that's threatening the economic collapse of our country is the Medicare lie. At its beginning, in 1966, Medicare cost $3 billion. The House Ways and Means Committee, along with President Lyndon Johnson, estimated that Medicare would cost an inflation-adjusted $12 billion by 1990. In 1990, Medicare topped $107 billion. That's nine times Congress' prediction. Today's Medicare tab comes to $523 billion and shows no signs of leveling off. The 2009 Medicare trustees report put the unfunded Medicare liability at $89 trillion. The 1966 Medicare cost estimate was simply a congressional and White House lie to get the American people to buy into their agenda. But not to worry; the real Medicare crisis won't hit the nation until today's beneficiaries and political supporters are dead. It's today's children who'll bear the burden of our profligacy.

Leftism poisons everything it influences -- from journalism to the arts to universities to religion to government to male-female relations. And ultimately leftism poisons character. - Dennis Prager

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