Saturday, February 28, 2015

Women With Troubles - February 2015

Here is a compilation of women with troubles reported in news stories during February 2015. Each name is linked to an Interested-Participant blog entry displaying details.

For a more comprehensive listing, check the Women With Troubles category link.
(AL) Mandi Brianna Harrison, 25,
neighbor - Accused of rape and sodomy of child under 16,

(AL) DeeDee Williams, 46,
teacher - Arrested on a felony warrant out of Georgia,

(CA) Andrea Michelle Cardosa , 41,
teacher - Sentenced to 10 years in state prison for molesting schoolgirls,

(CA) Marilouise Hawks, 64,
teacher - Faces child molestation counts,

(CA) Laura Lasek, 26,
teacher - Accused of engaging in sex with student,

(CA) Danielle Meyer, 24,
music teacher - Accused of inappropriate relationship with student, 16,

(CO) Leslie Carlson, 28,
teacher - Arrested on suspicion of providing alcohol and marijuana to students,

(CT) Allison J. Marchese, 37,
teacher - Accused of sex with minor,

(FL) Megan Christine Connors, 30,
teacher - Accused of sex crimes against boy, 15,

(FL) Jennifer Espinoza,
neighbor - Accused of molestation of boy, 16,

(GA) Heather Boggus, 40,
neighbor - Arrested for theft of $400,000+ from her husband's company,

(GA) Ashley Lynn Heichelbech, 25,
neighbor - Arrested for shoplifting and running away while leaving her one-year-old baby behind,

(IL) Roxanne Coulson, 60,
daycare operator - Accused of aggravated battery of a child,

(IN) Michelle Ladd, 41,
teacher - Accused of sex with two 17-year-old boys,

(KY) Chelsea Rose, 25,
teacher - Accused of sexually abusing a girl, 14,

(KY) Michelle Turton, 36,
neighbor - Accused of sexual abuse of boy,

(LA) Angeline C. Lodice, 26,
stripper - Accused of sexually abusing a four-year-old boy,

(MI) Holly Taracee Laballister, 39,
neighbor - Sentenced to 30 days jail for posting another woman's contact information on website where she advertised the victim was in search of casual sex,

(MI) Kathryn Ronk, 29,
teacher - Pleaded guilty to criminal sexual conduct. Sentencing March 17,

(NC) Denise Sturdivant Amick, 53,
teacher - Pleaded guilty to trafficking in marijuana,

(NC) Christy Lynn Jaski, 42,
neighbor - Accused of sex with boy, 14,

(NC) Susana Larreta Peralta, 61,
neighbor - Accused of practicing dentistry without a license,

(NJ) Tracey Harding, 50,
teacher - Arrested and suspended from job after cops broke up a boozy birthday bash,

(NM) Roxie Blair, 39,
neighbor - Sentenced to 11 years in prison for sex with boy, 14,

(NM) Allison Draper , 29,
volleyball coach - Sentenced to 3 years prison for sex with female student,

(NY) Maria Contreras, 29,
teacher - Accused of engaging in sex with a 14-year-old boy,

(NY) Stephanie Fletcher, 29,
teacher - Sentenced to 6 months in the county jail for sex with students,

(NY) Laureen Hamilton, 53,
union president - Get 60 days jail for stealing from education union,

(NY) Jennifer Kennard, 48,
teacher's aide - Sentenced to three years in prison for second-degree rape,

(NY) Ashley Magin, 23,
neighbor - Charged with attempted rape and violation of parole,

(NY) Maria Rodriguez, 46,
bank manager - Pleaded guilty to theft of $1.4 million. Sentencing scheduled for May 20,

(OH) Shannon Pavlansky-Wojtowicz, 30,
teacher - Accused of inappropriate relationship with student,

(OK) Whitney Fetters, 28,
teacher - Accused of sexting with a student,

(OR) Stephanie Kroker, 37,
neighbor - Sentenced to 30 months in state prison,

(PA) Tracy Ardeno, 45,
teacher's aide - Accused of sex with a student,

(PA) Jessica Nichols, 22,
baby sitter - Accused of aggravated assault and child endangerment,

(PA) Sarah O'Neill, 35,
teacher - Guilty of corruption of minor,

(PA) Jesi Lorene Platz, 20,
neighbor - Arrested for possession of cocaine,

(SC) Lisa Marine Fry, 33,
teacher - Accused of criminal sex with boy, 15,

(TX) Victalina Mendoza Cruz, 24,
neighbor - Charged in death of 2-year-old boy,

(TX) Andrea Nichole Jennings, 23,
neighbor - Face is capital murder charge in death of boy, 3,

(TX) Iris Iliana Rodriguez, 25,
mental health counselor - Fugitive accused of sexually molesting girl, 13,

(TX) Katrina Skaggs , 32,
neighbor - Pleaded guilty to sex assault of a child. Sentencing in March,

(UT) Gaile Kristine Supp, 26,
teacher - Received probation and home confinement for sexual battery of a female student, 17,

(VT) Julianne Graham, 25,
teacher's aide - Accused of inappropriate relationship with male student, 16,

(VT) Patricia Prue, 30 something,
neighbor - Gets life in prison for killing teacher,

(WA) Stephanie McCrea, 35,
teacher - Accused of sex with 15-year-old male student,

(WA) Darcy M. Smith, 41,
teacher - Accused of having sex with a former student,

(WI) Lindsey J. Quednow, 26,
teacher's aide - Guilty of sexual relationship with boy, 14,

(WI) Marissa N. Thompson, 20,
swim coach - Accused of sexual assault of a child by school staff member,

(WV) Shae Davis Wells, 40,
teacher - Arrested on drug charges.

Thanks to the tipsters.

Muslim "lone wolves"

I don't entirely agree with the above graphic.  It is true that there has been something of an epidemic of terrorist attacks from Muslims acting alone or nearly alone recently -- in the USA (e.g. Boston), Denmark, France, England, Canada and Australia.  But they hardly add up to an army.  There are many Muslim armies but their great enthusiasm is for attacking one-another, which is rather neat.

What is clear is that all the attacks have been carried out by losers -- men on the margins of society.  The only organized Muslim terrorist body was Al Qaeda and they were on the wane even before Osama bin Laden was eliminated.  Osama was certainly not living the high life when he was tracked down.  It's possible that the Islamic State might take up where Al Qaeda left off but it hasn't happened yet. And a big one dropped on Raqqa would shut them up for a long time.

Meanwhile. ISIS seems to have its uses.  Lots of Jihad-inclined young males from Muslim families in the West go there to join up and fight other Muslims, which is a big improvement on them attacking us. It seems to be a sort of fly-paper for attracting and trapping young Muslim misfits.

So it seems that all the recent attacks have been motivated by Jihad preaching but that Jihad preaching is overall a huge failure. Jihad motivation was only strong enough to move people to attack us who already had little to lose.  But one man with a firearm can do a lot of harm for a short while.  So it seems to me that we have strong reasons to stop such attacks even if they not systemically threatening.  Life will go on much as it otherwise would for 99% of the population despite the misdirected anger of a few misfits.

And although it is desperately "incorrect" to mention it, the killings by Muslims pale into insignificance compared with the plague of killings by blacks. If we want to stop killings, it is blacks who should have our priority attention.  But it's not going to happen, of course.  Jim Crow is dead and not likely to be resurrected in the near future.

So there is some point in the Leftist contention that Muslim attacks should be dealt with solely as a police matter.  Police deal with shootings all the time and the race or religion of the shooter doesn't matter much.

But I think we can do better than that. I think we should criminalize Jihad preaching.  Not all speech is free speech and there is already a precedent saying that incitement to violence is not covered by free speech protections.  So I think all we need to do is to formally classify Jihad preaching as incitement to violence -- which it largely is anyhow -- and put a few mullahs in prison.  Without the incitement, the attacks should at least diminish in frequency. Without the incitement, the losers would  probably just continue to bomb themselves out with drugs, which is mostly what they do already

Posted by John J. Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.).

Friday, February 27, 2015

Texas Woman Accused of Killing Boy, 3

Andrea Nichole Jennings

(Mansfield, Texas)
A 23-year-old Mansfield woman faces a capital murder charge in the death of a 3-year-old boy Wednesday night, police said Thursday.

Andrea Nichole Jennings was in the Mansfield jail Thursday night. Bail had not been set.
The apparently intentional death of a 3-year-old is more than ugly.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Pennsylvania Babysitter Accused of Assault on Baby

Jessica Nichols

(Greensburg, Pennsylvania)
A western Pennsylvania baby sitter has been jailed on charges she shook and punched a 10-month-old she was watching last spring, leaving the girl unconscious.

Twenty-two-year-old Jessica Nichols, of Greensburg, was arraigned Monday on charges including aggravated assault and child endangerment stemming from the incident May 5.

That's when Nichols allegedly shook and punched little Scylla Connor after her mother, April Dittmar, asked Nichols to watch the child.
A preliminary hearing is scheduled for tomorrow.

New article hailed as "proof" of climate change

It does support the notion that CO2 has some effect but how much?  The answer to that lies in the term "incredibly precise" below.  They had to use research instrumentation and methods that could detect incredibly small changes.  And that the effects of CO2 are incredibly small is just what skeptics have been saying!  The work vindicates skeptics, if anything.

Beware of the sentence below "This increase is about ten percent of the trend from all sources of infrared energy".  It does NOT say "This increase is about ten percent of all sources of infrared energy".  Ten percent of a TREND was a tiny amount.

So I am giving this study a big tick.  If I were in a critical mood I might mention that it critically involves the assumption that correlation is causation but I am inclined to be big-souled about that on this occasion

I add the journal abstract below

Scientists have witnessed carbon dioxide trapping heat in the atmosphere above the United States, showing human-made climate change 'in the wild' for the first time.

A new study in the journal Nature demonstrates in real-time field measurements what scientists already knew from basic physics, lab tests, numerous simulations, temperature records and dozens of other climatic indicators.

They say it confirms the science of climate change and the amount of heat-trapping previously blamed on carbon dioxide.  'We see, for the first time in the field, the amplification of the greenhouse effect because there's more CO2 in the atmosphere to absorb what the Earth emits in response to incoming solar radiation,' said Daniel Feldman, a scientist in Berkeley Lab's Earth Sciences Division and lead author of the Nature paper.

'Numerous studies show rising atmospheric CO2 concentrations, but our study provides the critical link between those concentrations and the addition of energy to the system, or the greenhouse effect,' Feldman adds.  He said no one before had quite looked in the atmosphere for this type of specific proof of climate change.

The scientists used incredibly precise spectroscopic instruments operated by the Atmospheric Radiation Measurement (ARM) Climate Research Facility, a DOE Office of Science User Facility.

These instruments, located at ARM research sites in Oklahoma and Alaska, measure thermal infrared energy that travels down through the atmosphere to the surface.  They can detect the unique spectral signature of infrared energy from CO2.

Other instruments at the two locations detect the unique signatures of phenomena that can also emit infrared energy, such as clouds and water vapor.

The result is two time-series from two very different locations. Each series spans from 2000 to the end of 2010, and includes 3300 measurements from Alaska and 8300 measurements from Oklahoma obtained on a near-daily basis.

Both series showed the same trend: atmospheric CO2 emitted an increasing amount of infrared energy, to the tune of 0.2 Watts per square meter per decade. This increase is about ten percent of the trend from all sources of infrared energy such as clouds and water vapor.

Based on an analysis of data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s CarbonTracker system, the scientists linked this upswing in CO2-attributed radiative forcing to fossil fuel emissions and fires.

The measurements also enabled the scientists to detect, for the first time, the influence of photosynthesis on the balance of energy at the surface.

They found that CO2-attributed radiative forcing dipped in the spring as flourishing photosynthetic activity pulled more of the greenhouse gas from the air....

The study is good technical work, said climate scientist Andrew Dessler of Texas A&M University, but it is expected — sort of like confirming gravity with a falling rock.


Observational determination of surface radiative forcing by CO2 from 2000 to 2010

By D. R. Feldman et al.
The climatic impact of CO2 and other greenhouse gases is usually quantified in terms of radiative forcing1, calculated as the difference between estimates of the Earth’s radiation field from pre-industrial and present-day concentrations of these gases. Radiative transfer models calculate that the increase in CO2 since 1750 corresponds to a global annual-mean radiative forcing at the tropopause of 1.82 ± 0.19 W m−2 (ref. 2). However, despite widespread scientific discussion and modelling of the climate impacts of well-mixed greenhouse gases, there is little direct observational evidence of the radiative impact of increasing atmospheric CO2. Here we present observationally based evidence of clear-sky CO2 surface radiative forcing that is directly attributable to the increase, between 2000 and 2010, of 22 parts per million atmospheric CO2. The time series of this forcing at the two locations—the Southern Great Plains and the North Slope of Alaska—are derived from Atmospheric Emitted Radiance Interferometer spectra3 together with ancillary measurements and thoroughly corroborated radiative transfer calculations4. The time series both show statistically significant trends of 0.2 W m−2 per decade (with respective uncertainties of ±0.06 W m−2 per decade and ±0.07 W m−2 per decade) and have seasonal ranges of 0.1–0.2 W m−2. This is approximately ten per cent of the trend in downwelling longwave radiation5, 6, 7. These results confirm theoretical predictions of the atmospheric greenhouse effect due to anthropogenic emissions, and provide empirical evidence of how rising CO2 levels, mediated by temporal variations due to photosynthesis and respiration, are affecting the surface energy balance.


Posted by John J. Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.).

Gmail in Burma

(San Francisco, California)
Google said Wednesday that Gmail is now available in Burmese, marking the 74th language for the popular email service.

"As a country of 53 million, Myanmar's recent opening-up has triggered an explosion of people coming online," Google product manager Brian Kemler said in a blog post.

"As recently as 2011, a mere 500,000 Myanmar citizens were able to access the Internet, which was less than one percent of the population," he added.

He said the number of people in Myanmar who can get online has grown to 2.6 million, as the availability of mobile phones has increased.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Mystery Drones on France

Eiffel Tower

(Paris, France) Here's a report dated yesterday.
Drones have been spotted flying over Paris landmarks overnight, sparking a police investigation.

At least five drones were seen above the Eiffel Tower and the Louvre Museum, as well as over the American Embassy and other sensitive locations.
I'd be concerned.

California Teacher Accused of Molesting Teenagers

Marilouise Hawks

(Merced County, California) Marilouise Hawks is a teacher formerly at Merced County Juvenile Hall.
Hawks, 64, has been charged with two misdemeanor counts of child molestation after accusations of inappropriate contact with two inmates, ages 16 and 17, at the Iris Garrett Juvenile Justice Correctional Complex, according to Steve Slocum, the supervising deputy district attorney who filed the case.

Slocum said the charges were the strongest available to prosecutors, based on the facts of the case and the California criminal code. If convicted, Hawks faces up to two years behind bars and will be required to register as a sex offender, Slocum confirmed.
According to prosecutors, the molestation occurred between September and October of last year.

New York Bank Manager Steals $1.4 Million

Maria Rodriguez

(Ossining, New York) A 46-year-old bank manager, Maria Rodriguez, has pleaded guilty to theft of more than $1.4 million from depositors.
Over the course of five years, Maria Rodriguez, the branch manager at the M&T Bank in Ossining, stole more than $1 million from one victim she had known since the mid-1990's and another $250,000-plus from a 92-year-old retired police officer.

Rodriguez pleaded guilty to one count of grand larceny in the first degree, one count of grand larceny in the second degree and one count of criminal tax fraud in the third degree.
Sentencing is scheduled for May 20.

More huffing and puffing about donations to skeptics by business

But no huffing and puffing about donations to Greenies by business?

Rep. Grijalva -- who has a long history with the Communist Party, USA.

Note that the NYT accusations which started this mini-witchhunt had zero in them that was new.  The same accusations were made almost word for word in 2011

A key Democratic lawmaker is seeking an expanded inquiry into whether fossil-fuel companies have been secretly underwriting the research of some of the country’s most prominent scientific skeptics of climate change.

Rep. Raul Grijalva (D- Ariz.), the ranking member of the House Committee on Natural Resources, sent requests to seven universities asking for detailed records on the funding sources for affiliated researchers who have opposed the scientific consensus on man-made global warming. Grijalva cited concerns over possible conflicts of interest involving scientists who have sought to influence the public debate on climate.

“Companies with a direct financial interest in climate and air-quality standards are funding environmental research that influences state and federal regulation and shapes public understanding of climate scientists,” Grijalva wrote in letters addressed to the presidents of the seven universities. He asked for copies of the scientists’ financial disclosure forms as well as information about the sources of research grants.

The move follows the release of documents that shed new light on extensive financial links between fossil-fuel interests and prominent skeptic Wei-Hock “Willie” Soon, a Cambridge, Mass., aerospace engineer. Soon’s loud dissents on mainstream climate science have made him the champion of global-warming skeptics in Congress and around the country.

Soon, who is affiliated with the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, has for years promoted a controversial view that attributes recent warming not to carbon emissions but to fluctuations in solar intensity. But documents from his institute show that his research was underwritten almost entirely by fossil-fuel interests, including the Koch Foundation and the Southern Co. Soon did not respond to repeated requests for comment.

Grijalva said Soon failed to properly disclose Big Oil’s support for his work when he testified to Congress and at the state legislature of Kansas — testimony that downplayed the seriousness of man-made climate change. “My colleagues and I cannot perform our duties if research or testimony provided to us is influenced by undisclosed financial relationships,” Grijalva wrote.

The letters were addressed to the presidents of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Georgia Tech, Pepperdine, Arizona State and the universities of Alabama, Colorado and Delaware. Each cited a single affiliated researcher at each institution who has appeared before Congress to question whether man-made carbon pollution is contributing to a dangerous warming of the Earth’s atmosphere. In the Senate, Massachusetts Democrat Ed Markey also called for an investigation, saying energy companies should disclose their support for climate research.

Smithsonian officials on Monday’s expressed concern over allegations that Soon failed to disclose sources of funding for his reseach. An internal investigation is underway, said a spokesman, adding that the institution “does not support” Soon’s climate conclusions.


Posted by John J. Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.).

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Naughty Teacher Compensation

(Seattle, Washington)
In Washington, public employees who commit a crime don't lose their taxpayer guaranteed retirements, and teachers can earn the right to a lifetime retirement after working for as little as five years.

KING 5 asked the state for a list of all the teachers who have had their Washington teaching license revoked and compared that list to a list of all the public employees receiving a pension.

The state has multiple retirement plans for teachers. Two of them would be considered a traditional pension plan, the third includes a private component. KING 5 only focused on the first two.

That led to a list of 22 teachers, most who had been convicted of crimes against children, who together have received about $5.1 million above their own retirement contributions, interest included as of the end of 2014.
Don't seem right, in my opinion.

France Sends Aircraft Carrier to Fight ISIS

French Aircraft Carrier Charles de Gaulle

(Paris, France)
France upped its military involvement in the fight against Isis on Monday by dispatching its aircraft carrier the Charles de Gaulle to the Gulf.

France deployed an aircraft carrier in the Gulf on Monday as part of the US-led military campaign against the Islamic State jihadist group in Iraq, a defence ministry official said.

"The integration of the Charles de Gaulle in the operation... (in Iraq) begins this morning," a member of Defence Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian's staff told AFP as his entourage made its way to the carrier.
Named Operation Chammal, the French effort is in support of the US-led coalition against ISIS.

Notably, the Charles de Gaulle strike group includes an attack submarine, a French anti-aircraft frigate and an anti-submarine frigate.

US Marine Hassoun Sentenced for Desertion

Cpl. Wassef Ali Hassoun

Cpl. Wassef Hassoun has been sentenced to more than two years in the brig.
Hassoun, 35, was sentenced to 735 days of confinement in the brig, a dishonorable discharge from the Marine Corps, forfeiture of all pay and reduction to the rank of E-1 or private by Maj. Nicholas Martz.

Hassoun was found guilty of desertion with the intent to avoid hazardous duty from June 19 to July 8, 2004, while on duty at Camp Fallujah, Iraq, and desertion with the intent to remain away permanently when he fled to Lebanon in January 2005.
Hassoun served as an Arabic translator in the Marine Corps.

The final nail in the coffin of the NYT witchhunt against Dr. Willie Soon?

I was one of the earliest writers to respond to the NYT article by hack NYT journalist Justin Gillis in which astrophysicist Willie Soon was accused of writing for hire.  A quite amusing accusation when you realize that Gillis himself was doing exactly that.  As always, you just have to look at what Leftists say about conservatives to see what is true of Leftists  themselves.

An article just up on Anthony Watts' site does I think blow the whole nasty campaign out of the water.  It points out, as I have done, that the money allegedly coming from business to Soon was in fact paid to the Smithsonian so was in no way clandestine and was part of normal academic procedures.  Far from the money being "undeclared" income that the Smithsonian should look into it was in fact money given to the Smithsonian itself.  If they were to investigate anything they would be investigating themselves!

Unlike what I wrote, however, the latest post has dug up the actual contractual documents and posted photocopies on the web for all to see.

Perhaps  most amusing, however is the revelation about what "deliverables" meant.  Gillis found that word very sinister and implied that Soon had contracted to come to a certain conclusion in his writings.  The photocopies show what was really meant and it was in fact perfectly routine and innocuous. See below.

Posted by John J. Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.).

Texas Woman Fugitive at Large

(Webb County, Texas) A 25-year-old former mental health counselor at the Border Regional Behavioral Health Center, Iris Iliana Rodriguez, has been accused of sexually molesting a 13-year-old girl.

Rodriguez is on the run and has been added to the Texas 10 Most Wanted Fugitives List. She is wanted on charges of indecency with a child, harassment and unlawful restraint.

Texas Crime Stoppers offers a cash reward that leads to the arrest of one of the Texas 10 Most Wanted.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Michigan Woman Jailed for Naughty Stunt

Holly Taracee Laballister

(Livingston County, Michigan) A 39-year-old Oceola Township woman, Holly Taracee Laballister, has pleaded guilty to posting another woman's contact details on a Web site where she advertised the victim was in search of casual sex.

Laballister pleaded guilty to three counts each of making illegal posts on Craigslist, leading to lewd and offensive telephone calls. Laballister was sentenced to 30 days in jail.
The accused told the judge that she had no excuse for her behavior, conceding she was wrong in attacking the character and integrity of the victim and herself.

She sought clemency, saying she is in the middle of an attempt to change her life for the better.

Her pleas fell on deaf ears with Judge Miriam Cavanaugh, acknowledging that the accused "was in a different place now," but she zeroed in on the defendant's criminal history, which includes three misdemeanor convictions and a felony conviction.
Laballister will also serve two years of probation.

Carolina Woman Accused of Sex with Boy, 15

Lisa Marine Fry

(Lancaster County, South Carolina) A 33-year-old volunteer with Lancaster County Parks and Recreation, Lisa Marine Fry, has been accused of criminal sexual conduct with a 15-year-old boy.
In January, the boy's parents began to suspect Fry was having a relationship with their son. They also discovered he was communicating with Fry via text messaging.

Fry's husband also suspected his wife was "involved in an inappropriate relationship," the report states.

Police documents allege Fry had sex with the minor as many as three times, dating back to Dec. 9. The boy said Fry called him over to eat breakfast. He was late to school and had to sign in.
Fry is currently in jail at the Lancaster County Detention Center awaiting a bond hearing.

Massachusetts Democrat Senator goes "ad hominem"

Senator Edward J. Markey has jumped on the bandwagon set in motion by the recent NYT article about Dr Willie Soon.  He's got nothing intelligent to say about climate change so is attacking those who do.  But a debate about persons tells us nothing about the truth or falsehood of what those persons say.  The test of truth its agreement with reality and 18 years of global temperature stasis is a reality that heavily favors the skeptics, not the Warmists.

The fact is that a small minority of skeptics do receive some funding from business.   But pro-Warming organizatons receive much larger sums from business.  For instance early in this century Exxon gave Stanford $100 million and BP gave Princeton $20 million.  So why is funding from business wrong when it goes to skeptics but right when it goes to the Green/Left?  There is no intelligent answer to that question.  It is just tribalism at work

Senator Edward J. Markey is calling on coal and oil companies to reveal whether they are funding scientific climate change studies after his staff reviewed newly obtained documents illuminating the relationship between a researcher for a Cambridge-based institution and energy interests.

The Massachusetts Democrat will send letters to fossil fuel companies, trade organizations, and others with a stake in carbon fuels, aiming to reveal other climate-change-skeptical scientists whose work has been subsidized by those parties, a Markey spokesman said via e-mail.

“For years, fossil fuel interests and front groups have attacked climate scientists and legislation to cut carbon pollution using junk science and debunked arguments,” Markey said in a statement. “The American public deserve an honest debate that isn’t polluted by the best junk science fossil fuel interests can buy. That’s why I will be launching this investigation to see how widespread this denial-for-hire scheme stretches within the anti-climate action cabal.”

The documents reviewed by Markey’s staff were obtained by Greenpeace, the environmental group, through the Freedom of Information Act. They show a relationship between Dr. Willie Soon, a solar researcher at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, and several fossil fuel companies who’ve funded his research on climate change. The Cambridge-based center is a joint project of Harvard University and the Smithsonian Institution, though Soon is employed by the Smithsonian side. The center has previously said that Soon’s views are his alone and not reflective of the institution.

In 2013, the Boston Globe profiled Soon, who has spent much of the past decade studying the sun’s effect on climate change and downplaying the role of carbon emissions. Some climate scientists and environmental groups have questioned the scientific basis of his work.

Willie Soon, a Harvard-Smithsonian Center astrophysicist, has established himself as a front-line combatant in the partisan crossfire over the climate.

Since 2001, Soon has received more than $1 million in grants from the ExxonMobil Foundation, Southern Company, the Texaco Foundation, the American Petroleum Institute, and other organizations either affiliated with fossil fuel companies or active in undermining carbon’s role in climate change, according to documents that have been previously reported. Soon also is affiliated with the Heartland Institute, a conservative think tank known for its conferences on climate change skepticism.


Posted by John J. Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.).

Dubai Torch Tower Catches Fire

Dubai Marina Torch Tower

(United Arab Emirates)
A massive blaze has engulfed the ‘Marina Torch’ skyscraper in Dubai, forcing hundreds of people to flee the 336-meter-high tower – one of the tallest residential buildings in the world.
The cause of the fire is under investigation.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

NYT Smears Scientist Willie Soon for Telling the Truth About ‘Global Warming’

James Delingpole responds below to the latest bit of deception from hack journalist Justin Gillis of the NYT.

Most of what the NYT claims has also been dealt with here.  One quote:  "Regarding Dr. Soon’s supposed “track record of accepting energy-industry grants,” the $1 million over a period of years went to the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, which took around 40% of the total off the top, for “overhead.” The details are all open public records"

And when you consider that around 200 billion of TAXPAYER MONEY has been spent to support "climate change" you have to marvel that  this guy is upset that someone is funding a study to look at the other side.  What a joke!

And I don't think I am imagining it in seeing the use of Soon's Chinese cognomen -- Wei-Hock -- instead of the usual English "Willie" as racist.  I think it is a deliberate attempt to make Prof. Soon sound alien

Another day, another attack on the integrity of the Harvard-Smithsonian astrophysicist Dr. Willie Soon, this time in the New York Times.

I first became aware of Soon in 2009 when reading through the Climategate emails. One of them was a jocular suggestion by a warmist called Tom Wigley as to how best to smear Soon and his co-author Sallie Baliunas.

    "Might be interesting to see how frequently Soon and Baliunas, individually, are cited (as astronomers). Are they any good in their own fields? Perhaps we could start referring to them as astrologers (excusable as…’oops, just a typo’)".

You might be wondering what Soon and Baliunas had done to incur the wrath of the climate alarmist establishment. Well, they’d just published a meta-analysis of all the papers which had been written on the Medieval Warm Period (MWP). What their paper showed is that contrary to claims by one Michael Mann (the name may be familiar), the MWP was not a small, localised event but global, big and widespread.

So the memo went out from the Hockey Team (the uber-vindictive Mann and his lickspittle posse) to get Soon, and they’ve been going at him ever since: not by criticising the quality of his science — that would be too difficult because his science is impeccable — but simply by trying to make his life miserable, deny him tenure, and to smear him as compromised and corrupt.

The reason for the latest attack on Soon is that he is the co-author, with Christopher Monckton et al, of a paper published earlier this year in the prestigious Chinese Academy of Sciences journal Science Bulletin.

This study — Why Models Run Hot — infuriated the alarmist establishment, first because it was unusually popular (receiving over 10,000 views — thousands more than most scientific papers get) and second because it made a mockery of their cherished computer models.

As Paul Driessen explains:

    "Results from an irreducibly simple climate model,” concluded that, once discrepancies in IPCC computer models are taken into account, the impact of CO2-driven manmade global warming over the next century (and beyond) is likely to be “no more than one-third to one-half of the IPCC’s current projections” – that is, just 1-2 degrees C (2-4 deg F) by 2100! That’s akin to the Roman and Medieval Warm Periods and would be beneficial, not harmful."

Rather than attack the substance of the paper, the warmists reverted to their usual tricks, lead by Kert Davies, an activist lawyer who works for a Greenpeace front organisation called Climate Investigations Center.

    "Climate Investigations Center executive director (and former top Greenpeace official) Kert Davies told the Boston Globe it “simply cannot be true” that the authors have no conflict of interest over their study, considering their alleged industry funding sources and outside consulting fees. Davies singled out Dr. Willie Soon, saying the Harvard researcher received more than $1 million from companies that support studies critical of manmade climate change claims. An allied group launched a petition drive to have Dr. Soon fired.

    "Davies’ libelous assertions have no basis in fact. Not one of these four authors received a dime in grants or other payments for researching and writing their climate models paper. Every one of them did the work on his own time. The only money contributed to the Science Bulletin effort went to paying the “public access” fees, so that people could read their study for free."

I spoke to Soon last night. He told me that of course he receives private funding for his research: he has to because it’s his only way of making ends meet, especially since the Alarmist establishment launched its vendetta against him when, from 2009 onwards, he became more outspoken in his critiques of global warming theory.

Harvard-Smithsonian strove to make his life harder and harder, first by banning him from working on anything even remotely connected with issues like climate change or CO2, then by moving his office away from the astrophysics department to a remote area Soon calls Siberia. What the faculty couldn’t quite do was actually sack Soon because it had no cause: he was producing too many quality papers, and he was also bringing in too much money (40 per cent of which goes straight into the faculty coffers).

So there’s nothing new or scandalous about this latest New York Times hit job on poor Willie Soon. It’s just a continuation of a vendetta which has been waged for years against an honest, decent, hardworking — and incredibly brave — scientist who refuses to toe the official (and increasingly discredited) line on man-made global warming.

What most definitely is scandalous is the vile hypocrisy of Soon’s harrassment by the warmist establishment, which receives billions every year from the US government, left-wing charities, and billionaire activists like Tom Steyer and George Soros to prop up their bankrupt cause by promoting exactly the kind of junk science which Soon (and similarly principled scientists) have made it their business to shred.

The warmists are losing their argument. Their desperation is beginning to show.


Posted by John J. Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.).

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Florida Teacher Accused of Sex with Student

Megan Christine Connors

(Hillsborough County, Florida) A 30-year-old teacher at Turkey Creek Middle School, Megan Christine Connors, has been accused of engaging in sex with a 15-year-old male student.

Conners faces counts of sexual battery, lewd and lascivious battery and lewd conduct.
According to the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office, Connors established a relationship with the teenager, who was a student in her classroom.

The relationship reportedly took place between January and February. Deputies said things progressed over time to kissing and Connors allowing the student to inappropriately touch her.

Investigators said Connors eventually had sex with the boy several times at the school during school hours. Deputies said Connors would take the boy from other classes, then take him to private rooms to have sex.
Conners was booked into the Orient Road Jail without bond.

Why is the Diet of Worms not a diet of worms?

Forgive the riddle

The Diet of Worms of 1521 was of course one of the major turning points in the development of Western civilization.  It has nothing to do with either food or invertebrates.  How come?

The Diet of Worms (Reichstag zu Worms in German) was set up to try Martin Luther (1483 - 1546) for heresy.  He did appear there to defend his claims but when he saw the way the wind was blowing he escaped.  He was however very popular in his native Saxony and among his fans was his King, Frederick "The Wise".  So his King hid him in the old Wartburg castle until the heat had gone off the hunt for him.  So Luther became the first Protestant reformer not to lose his head.  Giordano Bruno (1548 – 1600), Savonarola (1452 - 1498) and Jan Hus (1369 - 1415) were not so lucky.

So why do we call the Reichstag zu Worms ("National assembly at Worms") the Diet of Worms?  The last part is easy.  Worms is a German city pronounced as "Vorms", where the "or" is pronounced as the "or" in "horse".  The name is ancient and goes back to the Latin.  It is just a coincidence that the name also means something in English.

"Diet" is more interesting.  The German word "Tag" can mean either "day" or "assembly", perhaps because early assemblies tended to last only one day.  But the language of scholarship at the time of the Reichstag zu Worms was Latin.  So the Reichstag zu Worms had to be translated into Latin if it was to be discussed at all.  And the Latin translators got it wrong. They translated the "Tag" in "Reichstag" as if it meant "day" rather than as if it meant "assembly".  And the Latin for "day" is "Dies" (Pronunciation varies but "dee-ayz" is common). So the assembly came to be called a "diet" as a variant of "dies".

And the usage stuck. An important gathering can to this day  be called a Diet.  The Japanese Diet, for instance is not rice and fish but the Japanese Parliament.

Footnote: I imagine some readers may object to my calling Luther "The first Protestant reformer not to lose his head".  What about Wycliffe (1320 - 1384)?  It is true that he was a severe critic of the church but he did not create a schism and was saying mass in his church until the end.  He died in his bed.

The church would certainly have liked to excommunicate him but, like Luther, he was popular, and people of all ranks, including the monarchy, protected him.  Any move against him got howled down.  He was a great man.

Another footnote: The mistranslation of "Tag" was not original to the Reichstag zu Worms. The names of much earlier assemblies had also been mistranslated into Latin that way.

And Latin in fact was affected by the mistranslation too.  People realized that it was more than a day that was being referred to so a new Latin word -- dieta -- arose in medieval times to mean a public meeting.

Posted by John J. Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.).

Friday, February 20, 2015

Gov't Subsidies Given to Wrong People

(Washington, D.C.)
More than $37 million in monthly housing subsidies for needy people ended up in the wrong hands last year because the Department of Housing and Urban Development doesn't know how to verify who's eligible for its program.

The housing subsidies are intended for low-income people who meet the "community service and self-sufficiency requirement" or CSSR. To qualify, you must be between 18 and 62 and log a minimum of eight hours of community service or job training each month. The whole idea is to help prop up people who are trying to get back into the job market or reward those who are helping their communities.

But a recent audit of the program quickly reveals that that's not exactly how the program is panning out.

HUD's Inspector General found that tenants in living in at least 106,000 of the 550,000 subsidized houses didn't meet the service or job training requirements needed to qualify for the program.
Government, eh?

New Mexico Educator Gets Prison for Student Sex - Update

(Clovis, New Mexico) Yesterday, Allison Draper pleaded guilty to charges of criminal sexual penetration of a minor, and criminal sexual contact of a minor.

Today, Draper was sentenced to three years in prison and ordered to register as a sex offender for life.

* * * * *

New Mexico Educator, 28, and Female Student, 15
[Previous 2/20/14 post]
(Melrose, New Mexico) A 28-year-old volleyball coach formerly at Melrose High School, Allison Draper, has been accused of engaging in sex with a 15-year-old female student.

Draper was arrested this week and charged with counts of criminal sexual penetration of a minor and criminal sexual contact on a minor.
Melrose school Superintendent Jamie Widner said the alleged victim is a 15-year-old girl who attends the school. He says Draper resigned from her contract coaching position in December.

The Sheriff’s Office says it heard of allegations against Draper while investigating allegations concerning another former Melrose coach who resigned last week.
Draper was booked into custody at the Curry County Detention Center with bond set at $25,000.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Pennsylvania Teacher Guilty of Sex with Student

Sarah O'Neill

(Chester County, Pennsylvania) A 35-year-old teacher formerly at the Church Farm School, an all-boys private school, Sarah O'Neill, has admitted to corrupting one of her students during a sexual relationship that reportedly lasted almost a year.

O'Neill pleaded guilty to two counts of corruption of a minor.
A judge imposed a sentence of five years probation, 100 hours of community service and that she can't have unsupervised contact with any minors.

She also must undergo a mental health evaluation.
Not very harsh, eh?

Alabama Teacher Faces Felony Warrant from Georgia

DeeDee Williams

(Montgomery, Alabama) A 46-year-old teacher at Park Crossing High School, DeeDee Williams, has been arrested on an outstanding felony warrant out of Georgia.
Williams, 46, was a passenger in the vehicle when it was pulled over shortly before 10 p.m. on February 13 on Troy Highway. A warrant check on Williams confirmed she had a warrant for identity fraud.

Montgomery police officers charged Williams with obstruction of justice using a false identity as well as fugitive from justice.
Williams was booked into custody at the Montgomery County Detention Facility.

Marquette’s dangerous subversion of free speech

Marquette University is a private, coeducational, Jesuit, Roman Catholic university located in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.  They seem to have strange ideas about what tenure and academic freedom mean

Marquette University plans to fire tenured political science professor John McAdams for criticism of a graduate student and philosophy instructor published on his blog.

Marquette is a private university, and thus is not bound directly by the First Amendment. Despite this, Marquette makes various promises of free speech and academic freedom to students and faculty that hold it to standards similar, if not equal, to those of a public university. And Marquette has been consistently backwards on free speech throughout McAdams’s case. While refusing to defend his free speech rights in the context of his private blog, for instance, Marquette has argued that graduate students, by the very virtue of being graduate students, have a right to be free from public criticism, an argument that does not withstand basic scrutiny.

Primarily, however, I want to focus on Marquette’s most dangerous argument, which is that McAdams himself bears direct responsibility for the harassing and threatening communications received by graduate student and philosophy instructor Cheryl Abbate from third parties after McAdams published his criticisms.

McAdams, of course, had no control over what unidentified third party individuals sent to Abbate. Yet Marquette justified revoking McAdams’s tenure in part by arguing that he “knew or should have known that [his] Internet story would result in vulgar, vile, and threatening communications” and that he thus bore responsibility for them.

On this point we cannot be too clear: Marquette’s logic is entirely divorced from basic notions of free speech. As Robert Shibley put it in FIRE’s press release, “A fundamental principle of our society is that you aren’t responsible for how unrelated and possibly unhinged third parties react to your speech.”

If bloggers like McAdams become vicariously liable for what others say or do in response to their writing, free speech as we know it ceases to exist, and industries like journalism immediately collapse under the weight of their collective liability. .”

The threats Abbate received from others are reprehensible. But McAdams is simply not responsible for them. If Marquette fires McAdams based on its profoundly misguided notions of free speech, it will have ended a lot more than McAdams’s professional career: It will have ended free speech and academic freedom at Marquette in any meaningful form.


Abbate is a far-Leftist who says that  things like homosexual marriage are so obviously right that they must not be  discussed or challenged in her class.  A conservative student objected to that and McAdams publicized it.  So the university is backing up her censorship with more censorship.  The "tolerant" Left just cannot tolerate disagreement with their beliefs.  Rather like Muslims.

And a Catholic university going to extreme lengths to defend homosexuality is rich.  Would the Pope be allowed to address homosexuality there?  Apparently not.  Most nominally Catholic colleges in America seem to have lost their Catholicism long ago.  If I were a Catholic, I think I would be offended that they still represent themselves as Catholic.  It's false pretences.

Posted by John J. Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.).

Florida Woman Nasty With Babysitter

Jennifer Espinoza

(Osceola County, Florida) An adult woman, Jennifer Espinoza, has been accused of doing nasty with her babysitters.
Espinoza was arrested on molestation charges, accused of sending the boys, between 14 and 16, inappropriate text messages and touching at least one of the boys, according to the Osceola County Sheriff's Office.

The investigation started as a child abuse call at the America's Best Inn off Highway 192 near Old Town, but quickly changed into a case of child molestation.
Espinoza faces three counts of molestation and battery for alleged touching of the 16-year-old boy.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Georgia Mom Accused of Shoplifting and Child Cruelty

Ashley Lynn Heichelbech

(Macon, Georgia) A local woman, Ashley Lynn Heichelbech, has been accused of shoplifting and running away while leaving her baby behind.
According to the indictment filed Tuesday in Macon-Bibb Superior Court, 25-year-old Ashley Lynn Heichelbech of Macon was charged and indicted on charges of cruelty to children and theft by shoplifting.

The indictment says, on Dec.2, 2014, Heichelbech allegedly stole clothes and other items from the Walmart on Harrison Road in Macon.

During the theft, Heichelbech was approached by store security guards, and ran away, leaving her 1-year-old son in a shopping cart at the store.
Heichelbech is in custody with bond set at $6,350.

Georgia Woman Accused of Theft of $400,000+

Heather Boggus

(Columbia County, Georgia) A 40-year-old local woman, Heather Boggus, has been accused of the theft of thousands of dollars from her husband's company.

Boggus was arrested yesterday for stealing over $400,000 from JBC Construction LLC and its subsidiary, Westside Holdings.
A warrant alleges Boggus stole the money between October 2010 and December 2012 at the company located in Martinez through racketeering activity.

Columbia County officials say the theft happened before the couple was married.
Details on prosecution not reported.

Another attempt to whitewash Hitler's socialism

Comments on Musolff, Andreas. "Metaphor, Nation and the Holocaust: The Concept of the Body Politic". New York, NY: Routledge, 2010

There have been many attempts to explain the evils of Nazism and they almost invariably end up with a confession of failure.  They find Nazism inexplicable. The best that they can usually do is to say that Hitler resented being rejected by the Jewish Rector of the Vienna art school.  So he then took it out on all Jews.  But that is pretty laughable if one reads Hitler's own account of the  matter in Mein Kampf. He reports that the Rector told him that his real talent was in architecture so he should concentrate on that.  And Hitler agreed enthusiastically with that!

The latest work by Musolff -- a German employed at an English university -- also ends with a confession of failure.  He claims that Hitler's clever use of popular language lies behind the popularity of Nazism.  His book is of course not available online but his book is essentially an expansion of a 2008 essay so I think the abstract from that essay gives a fair idea of Musolff's thinking:

Over the past decade several studies have been published that investigate the metaphors employed in Nazi racist ideology from the combined perspectives of Critical Discourse Analysis (CDA) and Cognitive Semantics . The paper reviews these studies, and discusses their differences to earlier studies that were based on traditional rhetorical definitions of metaphor . Particular attention is paid to comparisons between Hitler’s metaphors and recent discriminatory propaganda, as well as to the interpretation of such ideological metaphors as 'viruses of the mind', and to the relationship between Hitler’s use of the Great Chain of Being and classical versions of this concept . In conclusion, it is argued that cognitively oriented CDA studies of metaphor use can contribute significantly not only to the conceptual reconstruction of metaphoric mappings but also to understanding their discursive history.

Distinguished psychohistorian Liah Greenfeld has written a scathing demolition of Musolff's ideas so I will refer readers to that rather than wade any further into Musolff myself.

Interestingly, however, Greenfield too cannot place Nazism within any general psychological and historical framework. From her conclusion:

It must be kept in mind that the only way to account for the Holocaust in the framework of the fundamental understandings of the Western civilization, within which it was committed, is to regard it as an aberration, a totally implausible, horrific episode due to the German cultural exceptionalism (which prevented Germany from being fully a part of this civilization, despite its location smack in the middle of Europe), an aberration which other countries allowed to happen precisely because they could not ever imagine and bring themselves to believe that something like that could be happening.

To explain it otherwise is to reject these fundamental understandings altogether and, with them, reject the Western civilization. This is simple logic; there is nothing more to it. The Holocaust has forever undermined this civilization’s self-confidence, and it is quite possible, judging by the political events of the last quarter century (after the fall of Communism which, while it lasted, kept the Western world’s fomenting sense of self-betrayal in check) that this rejection is already happening. The civilization is evidently under a relentless attack – from within, and it well may be in its death throes. But dying civilizations do not evolve new fundamental understandings, and our logical possibilities for making sense of the realities, including historical realities, around us, remain limited to what we have.

One has to agree with her that the Holocaust has undermined our civilization’s self-confidence but the claim that Nazism and the holocaust were an "aberration" is witting blindness.  There was NOTHING aberrant about Hitler.  Socialists like him littered the 20th century with mass murder -- from Lenin to Pol Pot.  Hitler's  ideas -- including his antisemitism -- were typical of the Leftist ideas of his day.  He just applied German thoroughness to implementing them.  The hate that motivates the Left makes mass murder easy for them.

It is only because they close their minds to what Hitler actually preached that historians find Nazism inexplicable.  They cannot afford to admit his socialism so will forever fail at their avowed objective of understanding Nazism in a way that will prevent similar outbreaks of horror in the future.  It is only an understanding of the inherent evil of Leftism that could prevent  such outbreaks in the future.

The latest evidence of that evil is the way the Left whitewash Islamic supremacism.  Obama even refuses to utter the words "Islam" or "Muslim" in his responses to the latest episodes of Islamic horror in Syria and elsewhere.  Mass murder has just never bothered the Left and that is still so.

Islam too is largely hate-motivated.  Leftists hate a world that they do not understand and Muslims hate a world that is not wholly Muslim.  Borrow a copy of the Koran and start your reading of it from Surah 9.  You will find there how much Mohammed hated unbelievers and how he instructed his followers to attack them.  Hate breeds horror. It is as simple as that.

Footnote: The psychohistorians attach great significance to Hitler's use of the human body as an analogy for the German Volk.  And it is certainly true that Hitler did indeed describe the German people as a living body infected by dangerous bacteria -- the Jews.

And the psychohistorians are aware that other people have used that sort of thinking. What they do not in my reading seem to do is connect that analogy with prewar Leftism. The organic theory of the state in fact goes back to Hegel, the founding philosopher of the Left, and is well represented in the writings of a man very prominent worldwide during Hitler's youth -- American Democrat president Woodrow Wilson, the great world government dreamer. Wilson claimed that the U.S. government was "not a machine, but a living thing. It falls, not under the theory of the universe, but under the theory of organic life..."

US Warships to Singapore

Littoral Combat Ship

From Agence France-Presse:
Four US warships designed to fight in coastal areas similar to south-east Asian waters will operate out of Singapore by 2018, a senior US Navy official said Tuesday, further underscoring Washington’s military tilt to Asia.

The “rotational deployment” of the vessels, called littoral combat ships (LCS), comes as China continues to flex its muscles in the South China Sea and tensions remain on the Korean Peninsula.

“We will soon see up to four LCS here in Singapore as we rotationally deploy Seventh Fleet ships,” said Rear Admiral Charles Williams.

“We envision four ships here by May 2017 to sometime in 2018... but I think what you have is that by 2018, four LCS ships will be rotationally deployed here to Singapore.”

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

NJ Teacher Accused of Child Endangerment

Tracey Harding

(Edison, New Jersey)
Tracey Harding, 50, was arrested and suspended from her job after cops broke up a boozy birthday bash at her house and found a 15-year-old who was so wasted he was rushed to the hospital.

The first-grade teacher knew the boy was passed out drunk in the basement of her South Brunswick home but did nothing, even as the trashed teen’s panicked mother called for help, police said.

Underage drinkers swigged vodka, beer and other booze through the night, authorities said. The boy was reportedly too drunk to speak correctly.

“At some point the victim began to slur his words and not make any sense,” South Brunswick police said in a statement.[…]

Medical responders rushed the semiconscious teen to St. Peter’s University Hospital where doctors discovered he had a potentially life-threatening amount of alcohol in his blood.
Harding was booked and released on $2,500 bail.

Report: PETA Rescues Then Kills Pets

A report from The Center For Consumer Freedom:
Humane Society of the United States isn’t the only deceptively named animal rights group. People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (which has the same radical animal liberation goals as HSUS) killed more than 2,324 cats and dogs in 2014 alone – an average of more than 6 per day – and an increase of 30 percent from 2013. This represents 88 percent of all pets PETA took into its shelter throughout the year.

To draw attention to PETA’s appalling record of euthanization and the alarming fact that 33,514 animals have died at the hands of PETA since 1998, Center for Consumer Freedom released a parody of the controversial Nationwide Insurance advertisement that aired during the Super Bowl.

This delusional animal rights group is talking out of both sides of its mouth – on one side preaching animal rights, while on the other signing a death warrant for 88 percent of cats and dogs in its care.
Notably, it has been reported that over 80% of of the animals PETA takes in are killed within 24 hours.

The totally unscientific ocean acidification fraud lives on

CO2 dissolved in water produces carbonic acid and the Warmists ride that for all they're worth.  But warming seas would OUTGAS CO2.  That's what warm water does with dissolved CO2. Open a warm bottle of Coke and see it happening for yourself. And less CO2 means there is less carbonic acid, so if warming happens we will have  LESS acidic oceans.

If acidity levels are in fact rising, that proves that there is NO warming going on and probably some cooling.  And the ocean is quite alkaline so what warmists call acidification is in fact just a small reduction in alkalinity.

So it is no wonder that the prophesied damage to the shells of marine creatures just is not happening. Marine creatures can in fact benefit from the "acidification".  See also here on the harmlessness of more acid seas. And another report on the benefit of such seas.

All the studies mentioned above were observations of events in nature, whereas the harm observed in the study below was NOT found in the natural world but only in a tank with artificially high levels of acidity

It's a great theory that more acid seas will harm marine life but it is also a sophomoric oversimplification that has no regard for the complexity of the natural world.  Warmism could be summarized as "Lies, damn lies and no  statistics"

Satellite images are being used to monitor how ocean acidification is changing the world's seas.

For the first time, scientists have been able to obtain a global picture of how rising carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere are affecting the oceans.

Using thermal cameras and microwave sensors mounted on satellites orbiting 435 miles above Earth, the experts said it's possible to assess which areas of the ocean are most at risk of acidification.

As the acidity of seawater rises, it can change the chemistry of the oceans and is expected to have a profound affect on marine animals.

A recent study funded by the European Union found that ocean acidification is already having a profound impact on herring in the Baltic Sea. This heavily fished area has already seen pH values of 7.2 being recorded, so scientists wanted to see what impact it was having.

They hatched eggs taken from herring caught off the coast of Norway and reared them in outdoor tanks with different levels of aciditiy.

Those reared in tanks with pH values of 7.45 and 7.07 showed more signs of organ damage than those in low acidity water.  They had more damage in the liver, kidneys and their fins were often abnormally shaped while they tended to develop more slowly.

After 39 days, the fish larvae in the medium acidity tank weighed 30 per cent less than those in normal waters while those in the high acidity tank weighted 40 per cent less.

The researchers said that these smaller fish would be more at risk of being preyed upon and are less able to survive.

Shellfish will struggle to find enough of the minerals they use to make their shells while the fish that feed on them will also suffer.

It is estimated that around a quarter of the carbon dioxide emitted into the atmosphere is absorbed by the ocean.


Posted by John J. Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.).

Monday, February 16, 2015

Texas Woman Charged in Death of Boy, 2

Victalina Mendoza Cruz

(Houston, Texas) A 24-year-old local woman, Victalina Mendoza Cruz, has been charged in connection with the Feb. 6 death of her boyfriend’s 2-year-old boy, Keaton Veerasamy.
Cruz is accused of injury to a child after she told local police she slapped Keaton Veerasamy and threw the defenseless child on the floor before leaving him alone in a bathtub.[…]

Cruz, who had been looking after the child since her boyfriend left for work in Louisiana on Jan. 11, changed her story after a doctor who cared for the boy at the Texas Children’s Hospital told investigators that the boy’s bruised, malnourished body displayed telltale signs of abuse, the Houston Chronicle reported.
Cruz was booked and released on $50,000 bail.

Carnival in Rio 2015

(Rio de Janeiro, Brazil) Floats and dancers parade during Carnival 2015 in Rio.

You couldn't make this up

The Australian Academy of Science has just issued an updated "explanation" of global warming.  They note that "Most available material ... usually omits some of the basics, such as how scientists know humans are causing global warming and what future projections are based on".  So in their latest "explanation", what did they do to remedy that deficiency?   Below is their full "explanation" of how human activities enhance the ‘greenhouse effect’:

"Today, human activities are directly increasing atmospheric concentrations of CO2, methane and nitrous oxide, plus some chemically manufactured greenhouse gases such as halocarbons. These human-generated gases enhance the natural greenhouse effect and further warm the surface. In addition to the direct effect, the warming that results from increased concentrations of long-lived greenhouse gases can be amplified by other processes. Human activities are also increasing aerosols in the atmosphere, which reflect some incoming sunlight. This human-induced change offsets some of the warming from greenhouse gases"

In short, they have done NOTHING to fill the gap they identified.  Their screed is all just assertion and in any case completely ignores the key question of climate sensitivity -- i.e. even if we accept everything they say above about the greenhouse effect, how do we know HOW BIG the effect will be?  Most skeptics do believe that there is some human effect but can see neither theoretical nor empirical grounds for expecting it to be anything but trivial.  It is the Warmists who shriek about it not being trivial but what is their evidence for that?  There is none.  It is all just poorly founded speculation

If that's the best that the scientific establishment can do to explain Warmist beliefs, then the explanation is an utter failure. One wonders if they really believe in Warmism themselves.

Australia's leading science body has reissued its climate change booklet in a bid to improve public understanding of the contentious subject.

The Australian Academy of Science was prompted to update the information based on new research and public questions since its original release in 2010.

Most available material is either too technical for the lay reader and usually omits some of the basics, such as how scientists know humans are causing global warming and what future projections are based on, said Steven Sherwood, a climate scientist at the University of NSW.

"There is so much misinformation or confusing information out there, that we thought it would be nice to gather in one place an accessible explanation," Professor Sherwood said.

About 97 per cent of scientists who study the climate accept that humans are having an impact, with carbon dioxide – mostly emitted from humans burning fossil fuels – the primary driver.

"Even though carbon dioxide is not the only influence on climate, over the long term it will have such a large effect, it has to be brought under control no matter what else we do," Professor Sherwood said.

The academy report notes global carbon dioxide emissions rose at an average annual rate of 3.2 per cent between 2000 and 2012, at the top end of previous projections. These emissions, though, will have to start falling at a pace between 5.5 and 8 per cent for the planet to have a 50-50 chance of keeping temperature increases to within 2 degrees of pre-industrial levels.

World leaders will gather in Paris in December to thrash out a global climate treaty aimed at reducing carbon emissions beyond 2020. Countries, including Australia, are expected to announce their targets by the end of next month.

The heads of Britain's three main political parties agreed at the weekend to phase out all coal-fired power plants unless their emissions can be captured.

The academy report notes average surface warming had slowed since 2001 despite rising carbon emissions but said decadal variability in how oceans and the atmosphere exchange heat meant extra warmth had been absorbed by the seas. Other changes such as the increasing incidence of heat extremes, shrinking Arctic sea ice – its thickness dropping 30 per cent in 30 years – and rising sea levels had all continued unabated.

It is well known that the greenhouse effect is important for sustaining life on Earth – temperatures would be 33 degrees cooler without it. Perhaps less well known is the role rising temperatures have on concentrations of water vapour, a key greenhouse gas.

"When global average atmospheric temperatures rise, global water vapour concentrations increase, amplifying the initial warming through an enhanced greenhouse effect," the report says. "[T]his feedback approximately doubles the sensitivity of climate to human activities."

"For Australia, a warmer future will likely mean that extreme precipitation is more intense and more frequent, interspersed with longer dry spells," the report says.

By the end of the century, a high temperature event that would now occur only once in every 20 years would be occurring annually or once every two years on our current emissions trajectory, the academy says.

While societies and nations will face varying challenges to cope with climate change, many natural ecosystems are likely to face extinction.

Native animals that depend on cooler mountain habitats, for instance, will be particularly vulnerable. Scientists examining the fate of 50 species in the Wet Tropics bioregion in north Queensland found they would be all but wiped out with a 5-degree temperature increase.


Posted by John J. Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.).

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Ohio Teacher Accused of Inappropriate Relations with Student

Shannon Pavlansky-Wojtowicz

(Campbell, Ohio) A 30-year-old teacher formerly at Campbell Memorial High School, Shannon Pavlansky-Wojtowicz, has been accused of an inappropriate relationship with a student.

Pavlansky-Wojtowicz was arrested on a felony charge of sexual battery.
Agents with DeWine’s Crimes Against Children Unit, which is a division of the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation, began investigating Pavlansky-Wojtowicz in January after the Campbell Police Department received a tip regarding the alleged inappropriate relationship.
Details on booking not provided.

California Teacher Accused of Inappropriate Relations with Minor

Danielle Meyer

(Loomis, California) A 24-year-old music teacher with Placer County Schools, Danielle Meyer, has been accused of having an inappropriate relationship with a 16-year-old student.

Meyer has been charged with penetrating with a foreign object and sending inappropriate material to a minor.
It is not clear what school in Placer County the boy attends, but investigators were very clear that that the 24-year-old Sacramento State graduate is not a teacher employed by the school.

In fact, she allegedly met the minor through her own music tutoring business, according to investigators.
Details on arrest and booking are unavailable.

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