Saturday, October 31, 2015

Women With Troubles - October 2015

Here is a compilation of women with troubles reported in news stories during October 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) Toni Jo Minot, 40,
neighbor - Sentenced to 119 years in prison for sex abuse,

(AR) Jacqueline Nicole Winberry,
teacher - Sentenced to 10 years probation for deviant sexual activity with a student,

(AZ) Sierra Lee Simental, 23,
neighbor - Accused of murder-for-hire plot,

(CA) Meghan Breanna Alt, 25,
former beauty queen - Accused of producing and distributing child pornography,

(CA) Melissa Nicole Lindgren, 29,
teacher - Sentenced to four years incarceration for lewd acts with youngsters,

(CA) Sara Salcido, 39,
immigration consultant impersonator - Accused of scamming people out of $500,000,

(CO) Julie Greiner, 43,
neighbor - Charged with human trafficking of a minor,

(CT) Michelle Sulzicki, 28,
teacher's aide - Accused of inappropriate relationship with 12-year-old boy,

(FL) Christina Balazi, 39,
neighbor - Arrested for stabbing husband with kitchen knife,

(FL) Whitney Beall, 23,
neighbor - Broadcasts live dash video of drunken night. Arrested for DUI,

(FL) Leigh Felton, 31,
mother - Accused of selling sexually explicit breast-feeding videos,

(FL) Keishanna Thomas, 31,
neighbor - Accused of death of girl found dead in family freezer,

(GA) Shannon Dale Pittman, 41,
neighbor - Arrested for strong-armed rape,

(IA) Rebecca Myers, 25,
neighbor - Accused of setting fires,

(ID) Amanda Jo Ward, 36,
teacher's aide/basketball coach - Accused of sexually abusing a young girl,

(IL) Briana Travis, 33,
music teacher - Accused of sex with minor,

(KS) Katie Rufener, 26,
teacher - Accused of sex with student,

(MI) Rachael Lauren Smith, 24,
teacher - Sentenced to jail for sex with student, 17,

(MN) Stephanie Jo Disse, 44,
office manager - Accused of stealing $143,000 from her employer,

(MO) Marti Pulliam, 37,
teacher - Charged with sexual contact with a student,

(MT) Jennifer Gillock, 37,
school cafeteria worker - Gets prison for sex with 15-year-old boy,

(NC) Victoria Kosciuszko, 25,
teacher's assistant - Charged with sex with student,

(NC) Amanda Meeler,
neighbor - Accused of abandoning her baby in a shopping cart while shoplifting,

(OH) Lori Anderson, 51,
teacher - Pleaded guilty to sex charges. Sentencing scheduled for November 12,

(OH) Shannon Pavlansky-Wojtowicz, 31,
teacher - Sentenced to four years in prison for sex with three students,

(PA) Geraldine Alcorn, 29,
teacher - Accused of child luring,

(PA) Tracy L. Kennedy, 48,
neighbor - Sentenced to 8 to 16 years prison for sex assault of boy,

(PA) Michelle Mellinger, 48,
special education assistant - Accused of sexual acts with four male students,

(PA) Jessica Lynn Riffey, 34,
neighbor - Charged with corruption of minors,

(TX) Rachel Bauer, 25,
teacher - Sentenced to 10 years prison for sex with three male students,

(TX) Breanne Brown, 31,
teacher - Accused of felony sexual assault of a child,

(TX) Stephanie Rivera, 23,
neighbor - Charged with assault on a public servant,

(TX) Ashley Rae Ortega, 30,
neighbor - Sentenced to five years in prison for sex with boy, 14,

(TX) Sarah Beth Williams, 30,
neighbor - Arrested on drug charges,

(WA) Stephanie McCrea, 36,
teacher - Sentenced to five years in prison for sex with student,

(WY) Jennifer Shields, 35,
neighbor - Accused of aggravated assault and battery.
Thanks to the tipsters.

Global warming could make Hajj impossible later this century?

This is a typical bit of brainlessness from the Warmists.  They assume a very high global temperature rise (4 degrees) and calculate from that a wet-bulb temperature in the Gulf states of 35 degrees, which they say would make life impossible in the Gulf.  They then inform us that Gulf temperatures already run as high as 34.6.  But these things all operate on a continuum so if 35 is fatal, 34.6 should be extremely stressful too and more vulnerable people should start dying off at that point.  Yet there is no claim of that.  Half the Hajjis were not wiped out this year.

Clearly the 35 figure is just a theoretical one divorced from reality.  And I know from my own early life in the tropics that heat-adaptation does occur in humans.  The wet-bulb temperatures I experienced in Cairns would have been close to those recorded in the Gulf but we all just went about our business pretty much as usual.  We just took it a bit easy and drank a lot of beer. A cold beer on a hot day is one of life's great pleasures.  But our heat adaptation betrays us when we move away from the tropics.  A temperature that a Scot would experience as a pleasant summer's day becomes to us quite chilly

Parts of the Middle East, including the Gulf states and Muslim holy places around Mecca, could become uninhabitable even for the young and fit before the century is out, according to a new climate modelling study. The rituals of the Hajj, during which up to 2 million Muslims pray outdoors from dawn to dusk, would be impossible in summer.

Elfatih Eltahir of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Jeremy Pal of Loyala Marymount University, Los Angeles, used standard global climate models to show likely future temperatures in the Gulf, assuming global warming of 4 °C, which is possible later this century.

Crucially, they then made predictions of future humidity in order to assess likely “wet-bulb” temperatures, as measured by thermometers whose bulbs are kept damp.

Close to body temperature

The wet-bulb temperature is the best measure of our ability to tolerate high temperatures, because it reflects the ability of the body to cool off by sweating. When wet-bulb temperatures reach 35 °C, which is approaching body temperature, “the human body can no longer get rid of heat”, says Eltahir.

Wet-bulb temperatures are lower than dry-bulb temperatures, but the difference is greater in dry air and less in humid air, reflecting the common experience that dry heat is easier to endure than muggy heat.

“It is often assumed that humans would be able to adapt to any possible warming,” says Matthew Huber of Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana. “But any wet-bulb temperature over 35 °C for extended periods should induce hyperthermia, as dissipation of metabolic heat becomes impossible.”

Currently, wet-bulb temperatures rarely exceed 31 °C anywhere in the world, say Pal and Eltahir.

But the Gulf states are getting closest to the 35 °C threshold. This is because high temperatures are combined with the high humidity of air moistened by the exceptionally warm waters of the Gulf.

At the end of July this year, when dry-bulb temperatures in the Gulf exceeded 50 °C at times, wet-bulb temperatures peaked at 34.6 °C, Christoph Schär of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich writes in an accompanying article in Nature Climate Change.

Dead workers

This is the first study to have predicted that populated regions could suffer conditions during this century that “may be fatal to everybody affected, even young and fit individuals under shaded and well-ventilated outdoor conditions”, says Schär. Coastal urban centres such as Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Doha are most at risk.

While many Gulf citizens live their lives largely inside air conditioned buildings, there are exceptions. One is Muslims from round the world attending the rituals of the Hajj. A second is foreign workers on construction sites. Qatar has been accused of allowing South Asian workers building stadiums for the World Cup in 2022 to die from heatstroke.

In August, Islamic leaders called on Muslims around the world, including oil-producing states, “to lead the way in phasing out greenhouse-gas emissions.”

But so far the governments of Gulf states – which include some of the world’s major producers of planet-warming oil and gas supplies – have made no promises to the forthcoming Paris conference to limit their greenhouse gas emissions.


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

Friday, October 30, 2015

Carolina Woman Accused of Leaving Infant

Amanda Meeler

(Gaston County, North Carolina) A Charlotte mother, Amanda Meeler, has been accused of leaving her 5-month-old baby alone in a shopping cart while she shoplifted.
Police said the child was soiled and crying, aisles away from his mother.

The infant was placed in the care of his grandmother while his mother is in jail.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Iowa Woman Accused of Arson

Rebecca Myers

(Council Bluffs, Iowa) A 25-year-old local woman, Rebecca Myers, has been accused of intentionally setting six different fires this month in Council Bluffs.

Myers faces four counts of third-degree arson, two counts of first-degree arson and two counts of child endangerment.

Myers was booked into Pottawattamie County Corrections with bond set at $75,000.

Wyoming Woman Arrested for Stabbing

Jennifer Shields

(Rawlins, Wyoming) A 35-year-old woman, Jennifer Shields, has been accused of stabbing a man, severing an artery.

Shields has been charged with aggravated assault and battery after allegedly using a steak knife to stab her boyfriend.

Girl Found in Freezer

Keishanna Thomas

(Manatee County, Florida)
The mother of an 11-year-old girl found dead in a family freezer in Bradenton last week has a 15-year history of investigations into abuse and several instances of alleged violence involving her five children, according to state records released by The Department of Children and Families Tuesday.

Keishanna Thomas appeared in a Manatee County courtroom Tuesday for approximately the eighth time since questions first arose about her daughter Janiya’s disappearance.

Monday, prosecutors confirmed that Janiya’s body was positively identified as the child relatives found frozen in a family freezer on October 18th.
Thomas remains in jail.

Is a grateful heart the mark of a conservative?

I think it is. Prayers of thanks are routine for Christians but I think it extends beyond Christians.

I was moved to that thought by the case of conservative Australian cartoonist  ZEG, who is a former member of the armed forces, a former policeman and a very conservative man.  Zeg (Steven Gunnell) undoubtedly has a grateful heart.  At age 48 he has discovered that he has a dangerous vascular formation in his brain that could kill him at any time.  And it is very nearly inoperable. It is probably as I write this that he is undergoing the risky surgery involved. He will probably survive but runs a big risk of being destroyed as a person.

So is Zeg bitter, angry and resentful?  Far from it.  I reproduce on AUSTRALIAN POLITICS the email he sent to people he knows before he went into hospital.  It is one long note of gratitude and thanks to his many friends.  I am proud to be among them. There are even some politicians he praises!

But what struck me particularly was this paragraph:

"Remember always that we inherited this great gift of freedom and democracy from the generations before us -- thus it is our responsibility, NAY,  our duty to ensure that the next and future generations inherit not only what we have now but an even better and more secure freedom"

Could any Leftist write that?  I can't see it.  They HATE what they have inherited.  That we feel a connection with our forefathers and an appreciation of what they worked -- often very hard -- to achieve is a large part of what makes us conservative.  We are connected to our past.  Leftists are not.  Or if they do feel a connection, they despise it.  What sad people!

And as Zeg says, in appreciating the blessings that we have been given through no work of our own, we feel an obligation at least to preserve it.  Most of us would rather just get on with our own lives rather than bothering with politics but, when there are so many twisted and relentless enemies of what is dear to us, we have to fight.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Bitcoin Problems

Mark Karpeles

(Tokyo, Japan)
The head of collapsed Bitcoin exchange MtGox was facing fresh embezzlement charges Wednesday, as Japanese media said some of the allegedly stolen funds were spent on prostitutes.

Tokyo police said they had arrested France-born Mark Karpeles, 30, for moving 20 million yen ($166,000) in client money to his bank account, as he faces fraud allegations over the disappearance of hundreds-of-millions-of-dollars-worth of the virtual currency.

Japan’s top-selling Yomiuri newspaper reported that the defunct firm’s chief had spent an unspecified sum on prostitutes, while the Jiji Press news agency, citing police, said it involved “several women whom he met at venues that offer sexual services”.

California Teacher Sentenced for Sexual Misconduct - Update

(Fullerton, California)
A 29-year-old female former math teacher pleaded guilty to three felony underage sex counts and was sentenced to more than four years behind bars, according to court records obtained Tuesday.

Melissa Nicole Lindgren of La Mirada, who taught at Nicholas Junior High School in Fullerton, pleaded guilty Friday to three counts of lewd acts on a child age 14 or 15, according to court records. Four counts of lewd acts on a child 14 or 15 years old and three counts of distributing pornography to a minor, all felonies, were dismissed. She was sentenced to four years and four months in jail.

* * * * *

California Teacher Arrested for Sexual Misconduct
[Previous 2/23/14 post]
(Fullerton, California) A 28-year-old eigth-grade math teacher at Nicolas Junior High School, Melissa Lindgren, has been accused of sexual misconduct with two male students.

Lindgren faces six felony counts, including child molestation, child annoyance and dissemination of harmful matter to a minor.
The arrest happened less than five hours after the school district discovered the allegations, the release stated.

Lindgren was booked at the Fullerton Police Department; she later posted a $100,000 bail and was released, according to the release.
Arraignment is scheduled for April 9.

Pennsylvania Educator Accused of Sex with Students

Michelle Mellinger

(McKeesport, Pennsylvania)
A paraprofessional at McKeesport Area High School is facing multiple felony charges, including institutional sexual assault, corruption of minors, unlawful contact with minors and involuntary deviate sexual intercourse, after she was accused of having sex with students.

According to police, special education assistant Michelle Mellinger, 48, engaged in sexual acts with four male students on multiple occasions beginning in February 2012. The unidentified victims were all under the age of 18 at the time of the alleged assaults, police said.
Mellinger also faces charges of driving under the influence and reckless endangerment.

Olives from Spain and tomatoes from Italy:  Why?

Various people exhort us to read the label on the bottles and cans that we buy.  Greenies want us to be sure that the contents have not hurt any whales, food-freaks want us to be sure that no salt has ever come near it and patriots want us to avoid buying anything imported.

And I DO read labels, but for a quite different reason from the three above.  I like the information they contain about economics.  They don't actually mention economics but they still tell us various things about economies.

The labels that particularly interest me are on the El-cheapo cans  on the bottom shelves of supermarkets -- usually bearing some sort of "House" brand. And what they tell us about the world is quite amazing.  They tell us that CHINA FEEDS THE WORLD.  Not only do they make almost all of our electrical gadgets these days but they also feed us all to a significant extent.  "Product of China" is what you nearly always read in the small print on those "Home brand" bottles and cans.  Chinese groceries now populate the world.

People tend to sneer at such goods but for the many who prefer to keep their money for beer and cigarettes, China is a godsend.

So how come?  Doesn't China have its work cut out feeding its own 1.3 billion people?  It's those clever Chinese farmers.  They can make crops spring lushly out of even unpromising ground.  Let me give an historical example of that:

Two of my great grandfathers were in on the Palmer River goldrush.  The 19th century was a century of goldrushes as new lands were opened up -- and one of the goldfields was on the Palmer river in far-North Queensland, Australia.  And much gold was dug there by people from all over the world.  And Chinese miners were there too.

Some of the Chinese, however, realized that they could win more gold by using their farming skills.  The miners had to eat and bringing in food from South was very expensive.  So the Chinese market gardeners got more  gold from selling their produce than they ever would have got by mining.

BUT:  The soils on Cape York Peninsula (where the Palmer lies) are notoriously poor and shallow.  So what to do about that?  Easy: The Chinese gardeners went all around collecting people's shit -- the traditional fertilizer of China, India and lot of other places. Shit-collecting is real shit-work but it is amazing what people will do for gold. And shit is great fertilizer so the Chinese market gardens flourished.  You can still see patches of lushness where the Chinese gardens were as you travel through the area to this day.

So the Chinese are great farmers and much of China is fertile so they coax amazing amounts of food crops out of their farms. China is about the same size as CONUS, Australia and Canada (around 3 million square miles in all 4 cases) so they do actually have a lot to work with -- enough to feed their own 1.3 billion people plus feeding lots of us.

And you can learn all that by reading labels!

But sometimes you can get a surprise.  You pick up a cheap can and expect to see "China" somewhere on the label but in fact see the name of some European country.  Why would Europeans want to send their stuff half way around the world to Australia?  Easy: Because of the EU common agriculture policy, which is mostly aimed at propping up French peasant farmers but which affects the whole of the EU.

Europe's problem is one that makes Greenies say "nyah, nyah, nyah, nyah" when you tell them about it.  Now that fracking has put panic about oil running out to rest, the Greenies these days are constantly prophesying that we will run out of food (Global warming, you know).  European agricultural administrators must wish there was some truth in that because their problem is the opposite: Europe produces TOO MUCH food -- more food than they can sell.  They pay their farmers big  subsidies to produce all the excess food and then pay Australians and others to eat it. Insane of course but that's politics.  You wouldn't want to contend with angry French farmers either.

So when I recently picked up from my local supermarket a very cheap bottle of Manzanilla olives from Spain and some very cheap canned tomatoes from Italy it was because the EU was selling the stuff off at a fraction of its cost just to get rid of it.  In the old days they used to donate it all to Russia (They did!) but Russia feeds itself pretty well now that they have got rid of Communism

Still, I suppose it is good that the Chinese have some competition.  Pity the European taxpayer, though.  Interesting things, those labels, aren't they?

Incidentally, olive trees grow so well in Australia that in South Australia they are regarded as weeds!

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

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Michigan Teacher Jailed for Sex with Student

Rachael Lauren Smith

(Lapeer County, Michigan)
A former Mount Clemens High School teacher will lose her teaching credentials after she was sentenced to jail after being convicted of having sex with a 17-year-old student.

Rachael Lauren Smith, 24, of Imlay Township, was sentenced earlier this month by Lapeer County Circuit Court Judge Nick O. Holowka to serve 270 days in the Lapeer County Jail, register as a sex offender, and avoid contact with minors.
Smith was sentenced on one count of fourth-degree criminal sexual conduct.

Elevated CO2 Levels Directly Affect Human Cognition, New Harvard Study Shows (?)

Just the first part of a new article from the professional Warmists at "Think Progress" below.  In my usual pesky way, I went straight back to the first journal article cited below.  I append that Abstract.  What the academic authors did was to take a 600ppm level of CO2 as the normal indoor level of CO2 and compare it with much higher levels, starting with 1,000 ppm.  On their measure of decision making, they found reduced performance at the 1,000 ppm level.  

So this finding is completely irrelevant either to the present or to the foreseeable future.  The present ambient atmospheric level is around 400 ppm.  Even using an improbable straight-line projection, it will be a very long time before we get to an ambient 1,000 ppm level of CO2.

I could look at other evidence on the question.  Greenhouse workers, for instance, seem to have no problems working amidst a concentration of around 1,000 ppm and levels of CO2 go up to 8,000ppm in U.S. submarines, but given the dishonest way the article below started out, I am not inclined to waste time looking further

And don't forget:  Around two thirds of all published medical and psychological research findings are not replicable -- i.e. wrong.  The findings below are good candidates for falling into that category

In an email, Craig Idso comments:  "Years ago we took CO2 measurements inside various buildings. I distinctly remember the values we recorded at the local high school, which were well over 1000 ppm from all the human exhalation inside the classrooms from the students. The concerns cited below are an absolute joke and the "scientists'" recitation of them is a disservice  to real science.

In a landmark public health finding, a new study from the Harvard School of Public Health finds that carbon dioxide (CO2) has a direct and negative impact on human cognition and decision-making. These impacts have been observed at CO2 levels that most Americans — and their children — are routinely exposed to today inside classrooms, offices, homes, planes, and cars.

Carbon dioxide levels are inevitably higher indoors than the baseline set by the outdoor air used for ventilation, a baseline that is rising at an accelerating rate thanks to human activity, especially the burning of fossil fuels. So this seminal research has equally great importance for climate policy, providing an entirely new public health impetus for keeping global CO2 levels as low as possible.

In a series of articles, I will examine the implications for public health both today (indoors) as well as in the future (indoors and out) due to rising CO2 levels. This series is the result of a year-long investigation for Climate Progress and my new Oxford University Press book coming out next week, “Climate Change: What Everyone Needs to Know.” This investigative report is built on dozens of studies and literature reviews as well as exclusive interviews with many of the world’s leading experts in public health and indoor air quality, including authors of both studies.

What scientists have discovered about the impact of elevated carbon dioxide levels on the brain

Significantly, the Harvard study confirms the findings of a little-publicized 2012 Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL) study, “Is CO2 an Indoor Pollutant? Direct Effects of Low-to-Moderate CO2 Concentrations on Human Decision-Making Performance.” That study found “statistically significant and meaningful reductions in decision-making performance” in test subjects as CO2 levels rose from a baseline of 600 parts per million (ppm) to 1000 ppm and 2500 ppm.

Both the Harvard and LBNL studies made use of a sophisticated multi-variable assessment of human cognition used by a State University of New York (SUNY) Upstate Medical University team, led by Dr. Usha Satish. Both teams raised indoor CO2 levels while leaving all other factors constant. The findings of each team were published in the peer-reviewed open-access journal Environmental Health Perspectives put out by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, a part of NIH.


Is CO2 an Indoor Pollutant? Direct Effects of Low-to-Moderate CO2 Concentrations on Human Decision-Making Performance

Usha Satish et al.


    Background: Associations of higher indoor carbon dioxide (CO2) concentrations with impaired work performance, increased health symptoms, and poorer perceived air quality have been attributed to correlation of indoor CO2 with concentrations of other indoor air pollutants that are also influenced by rates of outdoor-air ventilation.

    Objectives: We assessed direct effects of increased CO2, within the range of indoor concentrations, on decision making.

    Methods: Twenty-two participants were exposed to CO2 at 600, 1,000, and 2,500 ppm in an office-like chamber, in six groups. Each group was exposed to these conditions in three 2.5-hr sessions, all on 1 day, with exposure order balanced across groups. At 600 ppm, CO2 came from outdoor air and participants’ respiration. Higher concentrations were achieved by injecting ultrapure CO2. Ventilation rate and temperature were constant. Under each condition, participants completed a computer-based test of decision-making performance as well as questionnaires on health symptoms and perceived air quality. Participants and the person administering the decision-making test were blinded to CO2 level. Data were analyzed with analysis of variance models.

    Results: Relative to 600 ppm, at 1,000 ppm CO2, moderate and statistically significant decrements occurred in six of nine scales of decision-making performance. At 2,500 ppm, large and statistically significant reductions occurred in seven scales of decision-making performance (raw score ratios, 0.06–0.56), but performance on the focused activity scale increased.

    Conclusions: Direct adverse effects of CO2 on human performance may be economically important and may limit energy-saving reductions in outdoor air ventilation per person in buildings. Confirmation of these findings is needed.

Environ Health Perspect; DOI:10.1289/ehp.1104789

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

Monday, October 26, 2015

Scientology Trouble

A court in the Hague revoked Scientology’s status as a “public welfare institution” this week – and the tax exemption that goes with it.

Janine Pieters, reporting in the NL Times, said the court has ruled that sales of Scientology’s courses and therapy sessions are aimed at profit-making and that it does not therefore belong on the tax authorities charity list.


Does Leftism promote social peace?

Throughout history, redistribution of wealth and income has been from the poor to the rich and many of those societies were quite stable -- with Tokugawa Japan being the outstanding example of that. So the idea that redistribution from the rich to the poor is needed to secure social peace lacks immediate plausibility.

Starting with the arch-conservative and deep-thinking Otto von Bismarck, however, the idea has grown that government welfare handouts to the poor are needed to prevent revolutions and social upheavals.  And Leftists have gladly latched onto that idea.

The idea that Leftists would promote social peace is however implausible at first glance.  How could the politics of rage promote any kind of peace?  And there are clear instances where Leftism has in fact promoted social conflict.  Communist revolutions are the pre-eminent example of that but the way the American Left has promoted rage among blacks by telling them constantly that their various disadvantages are due to white racism is another deplorable example.

And it seems clear that Leftists preachings about equality are  hostile.  Such preachings seem more motivated by a desire to tear down the rich rather than lift up the poor.  It is only capitalism that has in fact lifted up the poor.

For decades now I have been impressed by the provocative dictum of Leibnitz  to the effect that we live in the best of all possible worlds. Various improvements in all sorts of things since Leibnitz make it clear that he was wrong but the intended message that some good things have bad things as their precondition and that some bad things are needed to secure good things still resonates.

And I think that hate-motivated Leftist raging about inequality and injustice could be rather like that.  It could be doing us all some good, despite appearances.  Among the genuinely disadvantaged it must create the impression that someone is listening to them  and working on getting help to them. And the alternative to that could well be social unrest.  Traditional societies were able to keep the poor powerless because they controlled the means of communication.  That is no longer so. Communication is something of an epidemic in the age of the internet.  Muslims already use social media to organize their attacks so it is obvious that others could do likewise.

So I am rather inclined to think that Leftism may on balance be a good thing.  It may help preserve social peace. The task of conservatives is not then to shut them up, persecute them or remove them -- which is what Leftists try to do to conservatives.  No.  Our task is simply to do our best to thwart their brainless and destructive levelling policies. Let them preach but also let us block or unwind their ill-considered and impoverishing policies wherever we can -- JR.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

The war on sugar -- another example of how governments are incompetent, careless and can't be trusted

For decades, officialdom condemned fat and salt in our diets.  As contrary evidence piled up however, they have had to walk that back and the usual advice in 2015 is that LOW consumption of fat and salt is most likely to be harmful.  

But control freaks have to have something to prove their wisdom by, apparently, so in the last year or two sugar has been made the big demon.  It's utter nonsense, of course.  These days sugar is in almost everything -- including fruit straight off the tree -- and we have all been consuming piles of it for decades. So are people dying like flies?  Far from it.  Lifespans have continued their upward rise.

And what about the effect on our waistlines?  There is no way increased weight can be clearly tied to sugar consumption.  To claim cause and effect is pure speculation.  There have been all sorts of lifestyle changes in recent years and the sheer cheapness of food these days is actually the most likely culprit for "obesity".  Within living memory it was a real worry for parents to put enough food on the table for their families, but big advances in agricultural practice, distribution (big supermarkets) and international trade have steadily brought real food prices down to the point where no-one in the developed world need go hungry. These days Oliver Twist can always have "More" if he wants it. And many people now DO want it.

After the about-face on fat and salt, I think that alone should make us cynical but there is also no good research backing up this latest fad.  There is research but it is all flaky. I spent many years as a health blogger so I know what the evidence against sugar is:  It is all either in vivo (rodent studies) or epidemiological.  But rodent studies generalize poorly to humans and you CANNOT infer cause from epidemiological studies. If you want to know what rubbish is spouted in the name of epidemiology, grab John Brignell's little book: The Epidemiologists: Have They Got Scares for You!

IT’S becoming a public enemy up there with the likes of fat, salt and smoking.

Now a much-anticipated report has put sugar barons on notice, recommending a 10-20 per cent “sugar tax” on soft drinks and moves to limit the marketing and promotion of sugary foods to children.

Public Health England’s document has been more than a year in the making and has slammed the food-friendly environment that has left the UK bulging at the seams.

“The whole food environment and culture has changed slowly over the last 30 to 40 years. There are now more places to buy and eat food which is, in real terms, cheaper, more convenient, served in bigger portion sizes and subject to more marketing and promotions than ever before,” it said, adding that the continually expanding swath of restaurants, cafes and fast-food means simple labelling laws aren’t enough.

The public health body is calling for a 10-20 per cent tax on sugary drinks which are the main single source of sugar for school-aged children. It also wants to see a crackdown on marketing and promotions that target children directly, better labelling an overhaul of public facilities and messages like the “five a day” campaign to ensure they are cutting through.

“It is likely that price increases on specific high sugar products like sugar sweetened drinks, such as through fiscal measures like a tax or levy, if set high enough, would reduce purchasing at least in the short term,” the report said.

Sugar is becoming in the latest battleground in the fight against global obesity following on from fat and salt. It’s estimated to make up 12-15 per cent of UK diets, much of which is disguised in sauces, mayonnaise, cereals or alcohol. The public health body wants it cut back to less than five per cent in accordance with World Health Organisation guidelines, to prevent a host of health problems from obesity to diabetes and dental decay which cost billions a year in healthcare.

But despite the high-profile support, the recommendations are unlikely to come into effect. A spokesman for UK Prime Minister David Cameron has said he would not support the idea. The British Soft Drinks Association director general Gavin Partington said they “recognise industry has a role to play in tackling obesity” but don’t believe it has had a significant impact.

Nutritionist Susie Burrell said she would “absolutely” love to see a “junk tax” introduced in Australia that goes beyond sugar to cover fast food, confectionary and soft drinks.

“Isolating sugar is failing to look at the complexity of nutrition and the way people eat. Portion size and fried foods are just as big an issue as sugar is,” she told “Any scheme that would generate revenue to be used in the treatment of obesity, Type 2 diabetes and heart disease would be welcomed.”


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

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Pennsylvania Woman Sentenced for Sex Assault

Tracy L. Kennedy

(Waynesburg, Pennsylvania) A 48-year-old local woman, Tracy L. Kennedy, has been sentenced for sexually assaulting a 15-year-old boy.

Kennedy was found guilty of involuntary deviate sexual intercourse, statutory sexual assault and indecent sexual assault.

Judge Farley Toothman sentenced Kennedy to 8 to 16 years in prison.

Australian Greens panicking over nanoparticles in food

This is typical of the way Greenies seize on low probability events and magnify them.  There are some theoretical grounds for seeing nanoparticles as physically hazardous if breathed in but you don't breathe food in, you eat it. And the nano particles concerned are chemically the same as their equivalent larger particles so it is difficult to see different chemical effects from them

Food Standards Australia and New Zealand for many years claimed it was "not aware" and there was "little evidence" of manufactured nanoparticles in food because no company had applied for approval.

But in a Senate estimates hearing this week, FSANZ's chief executive Steve McCutcheon said it had known for years nanoparticles of approved food additives titanium dioxide and silica were in foods.

He said FSANZ commissioned a toxicology report a year ago, and is expecting to soon receive the results.

He said the regulator was talking about "new or novel" nanoparticles when it previously claimed it was not aware of its use in Australia's food stream.

"If [companies] start applying nanotechnology – including on approved food additives – and they start producing different effects, then they have an obligation under law to bring that forward to FSANZ for assessment," he said. "[Nano-titanium dioxide and nano-silica] are not novel compounds because they're [nanoparticles of] approved additives."

At the hearing, Greens Senator Rachel Siewert asked whether he was certain the two nanoparticles were not further manipulated to carry "new or novel" properties.

"We won't know until we've seen the (toxicology) report," he responded. "We can't guarantee anything, I mean, we're a food standards agency, we don't go testing, we haven't got those powers and so we rely on evidence gathered both here and around the world."

Fairfax Media exclusively reported last month that research commissioned by Friends of the Earth found potentially harmful nanoparticles in 14 popular products, including Mars' M&Ms, Woolworths white sauce and Praise salad dressing.

A human hair is about 100,000 nanometres wide. Nanoparticles are typically less than 100 nanometres. Nano-titanium dioxide boosts the whiteness in food and nano-silica is an anti-caking agent. Neither must be labelled on packaging as "nano".

Ms Siewert told Fairfax Media that FSANZ did not know whether the nanoparticles were being further modified to obtain "new or novel" properties, making them potentially unsafe to eat.

"The manufacturers are putting that in the product to have an effect. Otherwise, why bother? So FSANZ is finally saying, 'Oh, we should have a look at that... we should review those'," she said.

Under questioning, Mr McCutcheon said about 15 per cent of food-grade titanium dioxide and silica was made up of nanoparticles.

But 100 per cent of the silica in Nice 'N' Tasty Chicken Salt, Old El Paso Taco Mix, Moccona Cappuccino, Nestlé Coffee Mate Creamer, Maggi Roast Meat Gravy, and Woolworths Homebrand White Sauce were made up of nanoparticles, the Friends of the Earth research found.

"If we use their view that above 15 per cent nanoparticles is intentional, then only two out of 14 samples weren't intentionally using nanoparticles," said the group's emerging tech campaigner, Jeremy Tager.

"They also seem to be inferring that because titanium dioxide and silica have been approved as food additives, the nano forms are also safe. This directly contradicts the findings of regulators in Europe and FSANZ's sister agency the APVMA who have made it clear  the safety of nanomaterials can't be inferred from bulk particles of the same chemicals."

Mr Tager said if FSANZ had commissioned a toxicology report, the products should not be on the market until they are proven safe.

Leading risk expert Andrew Maynard, from Arizona State University, said there were a small number of studies indicating nanoparticles of titanium dioxide and fumed silica could be more active in the body than otherwise thought.

"This does not mean that there is a significant risk to consumers. It may be the safety assessment moves from extremely safe to very safe, but we won't know until a lot more research has been done. This research is important, as people are being exposed to these materials," he said.

FSANZ has previously told federal parliament it was not aware of nanomaterials being used in food. It said it had not conducted testing or surveyed food makers and importers to determine whether nanoparticles were in food.


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

Friday, October 23, 2015

Carolina Woman Escapes Rape

Antoine Miller

(North Charleston, South Carolina)
A woman in South Carolina has escaped rape and possibly murder by biting off her attacker’s tongue.

The brave but bloody act of self-defense occurred Oct. 16 in North Charleston. Shortly afterwards, police arrested the alleged attempted rapist, 16-year-old Antoine Miller, after his mom called 911 because of her son “not having a tongue and needing medical assistance,” according to a police report obtained by Live 5 News. Miller has been charged as an adult.

The 33-year-old woman has not been identified because she is a victim of a sexual assault.
The location of the tongue scraps hasn't been reported.

Michael J. Fox and Sports Betting

Michael J. Fox

(Los Angeles, California)
Michael J Fox was arrested Wednesday morning in relation to insider sports betting on DraftKings.

Fox aroused suspicion after achieving a statistically-impossible, perfect record on the site under the username NoChicken.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Monument to Darth Vader

Darth Vader Statue

(Odessa, Ukraine) A local factory has repurposed a Lenin statue due to a new law on elimination of communist figures.

The statue was altered to resemble Darth Vader.

Ohio Senate Votes to Defund Planned Parenthood

Ohio Senate

(Columbus, Ohio)
The Ohio Senate on Wednesday quickly passed legislation to block state funding for Planned Parenthood's health education and prevention programs.

Senate Bill 214 passed the Republican-controlled Senate along party lines in a 23-10 vote and now heads to the House for consideration.

The bill would redirect about $1.3 million annually from Planned Parenthood to federally qualified health centers, health departments, and other clinics that don't perform or promote abortions or contract with facilities that do.

Turkish Scholar Speaks on Masturbation

(Ankara, Turkey)
A renowned Turkish theology scholar has said there is no religious text banning masturbation.

Recep Cigdem from Harran University’s theology faculty recently made one of the most attention-grabbing presentations – “Islam’s approach to sexual life” – during an annual congress in Turkey on prophetic medicine.

His presentation addressed anal and oral sex as well as sadism and masochism, and included the following lines: “The hadith [says] ‘He who has an anal intercourse with his wife is accursed.’

“Allah does not look [approvingly] to those who approach men or women from the anus. Though different views exist on this issue, they are not supported by the verse. … With regard to oral sex, some Islamic scholars describe it as permissible, while others as something objectionable.
The comments were voiced at Cukurova University in the southern city of Adana.

Israeli PM Netanyahu is covering up for Hitler??

A report below that I will have a lot to say about immediately following it:

The Israeli Prime Minister has caused a storm hours before his visit to Germany by saying the former Palestinian Muslim elder in Jerusalem convinced Adolf Hitler to exterminate the Jews.

In a speech to the Zionist Congress late on Tuesday, Benjamin Netanyahu referred to a series of attacks by Muslims against Jews in Palestine during the 1920s.  He claimed they were instigated by the then Mufti of Jerusalem, Haj Amin al-Husseini.

Husseini famously flew to visit Hitler in Berlin in 1941, and Netanyahu said that meeting was instrumental in the Nazi leader's decision to launch a campaign to annihilate the Jews. 'Hitler didn't want to exterminate the Jews at the time, he wanted to expel the Jews,' Netanyahu said in the speech.

'And Haj Amin al-Husseini went to Hitler and said, "If you expel them, they'll all come here."

'"So what should I do with them?" Netanyahu said Hitler asked the mufti, who responded: 'Burn them.'

Netanyahu, whose father was an eminent historian, was quickly harangued by opposition politicians and experts on the Holocaust who said he was distorting the historical record.

Palestinian officials said Netanyahu appeared to be absolving Hitler of the murder of six million Jews in order to lay the blame on Muslims. Twitter was awash with criticism.

Saeb Erekat, the PLO's secretary general and chief Palestinian negotiator with the Israelis, said: 'It is a sad day in history when the leader of the Israeli government hates his neighbour so much that he is willing to absolve the most notorious war criminal in history, Adolf Hitler, of the murder of six million Jews.

'Mr Netanyahu should stop using this human tragedy to score points for his political end.'

Even Netanyahu's defence minister, close ally Moshe Yaalon, said the prime minister had got it wrong.   'It certainly wasn't (Husseini) who invented the Final Solution,' Yaalon told Israel's Army Radio. 'That was the evil brainchild of Hitler himself.'

It is not clear what sources Netanyahu was relying on for his comments. A 1947 book 'The Mufti of Jerusalem' and a newspaper report at the time said a former Hitler deputy had testified at the Nuremberg war crimes trials that Husseini had plotted with the Nazi leader to rid Europe of its Jews.

Husseini was sought for war crimes but never appeared at the Nuremberg proceedings and later died in Cairo.


That Netanyahu was in any way excusing Hitler must be one of the most absurd suggestions ever but nothing is too absurd for the Leftist media.  Netanyahu is a long-time student of the relationship between Hitler and the Arabs so his words are well-considered.

There are two issues in the matter.  Did Husseini, the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, change Hitler's mind about the Jews and was Netanyahu in some way excusing Hitler?

The second is of course absurd and Netanyahu said it was absurd.  Hitler was the man who set the holocaust in train and he and his henchmen are to blame for it.  Nothing can excuse that.  Only the Leftist media would suggest otherwise.  An attempt to understand Hitler's mind is not an attempt to wipe away his guilt.

The more interesting question is what influence the Mufti had on Hitler's thinking.  And here the first thing to know is that it was Hitler's practice in all policy areas to give only general guidance and leave it up to his deputies to sort out the details.

It is certainly crystal clear that Hitler was hostile to the Jews from early on but it is NOT clear exactly what he wanted to do about them. Many historians have suggested that he initially wanted only to expel them but gave up on that idea when nobody else would have them.

Netanyahu however, from his reading, claims that it was not only the difficulty of expelling them but also the advice of the Mufti that changed Hitler's mind.

But again we hit the problem that NOBODY knows Hitler's exact thoughts on the matter.  He certainly kept his public pronouncements vague -- as politicians usually do -- so Netanyahu's reconstruction of his thinking is as good as any other. Hitler may or may not have been swayed by the Mufti in allowing the destruction of the Jews.  Netanyahu has his reasons for his reconstruction and we may in time hear the details of that.

There is an account of what transpired during the meeting beteen Hitler and the Mufti and it does not mention the words that  Netanyahu quoted.  But that fails to note that the account is not verbatim. It is a journalistic account in the third person so involves an element of interpretation and selection by the reporter.

My view is that we will never know at what point Hitler decided that the Jews had to be exterminated.

Now for some other comments on the matter with which I only partially agree.

Mufti Advised Hitler on Holocaust, Says Middle East Forum Scholar

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has drawn criticism for comments about the role of al-Hajj Amin al-Husaini, the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, in conceiving and perpetrating the Holocaust.

Indeed, leading Nazi aides testified that al-Husaini was one of the instigators of the genocide. In his Damascus memoirs, the mufti admitted how he advised Hitler and other leading Nazis, and that he acquired full knowledge of the ongoing mass murder.

Middle East Forum scholar, historian, and author Wolfgang G. Schwanitz added, "It is a historical fact that the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem al-Hajj Amin al-Husaini was an accomplice whose collaboration with Adolf Hitler played an important role in the Holocaust. He was the foremost extra-European adviser in the process to destroy the Jews of Europe."

Although Schwanitz hadn't previously heard the dialogue between Hitler and al-Husaini as told by Netanyahu, he says it is absurd to ignore the role played by al-Hajj Amin al-Husaini, a war criminal, in encouraging and urging Hitler and other leading Nazis to exterminate European Jewry.

According to the foremost expert on the ties between Nazis and Islamists, there is much evidence that al-Husaini's primary goal was blocking all of the ways out of Europe. He pushed Hitler to slam the last doors of a burning house shut.

In their 2014 book Nazis, Islamists, and the Making of the Modern Middle East, published by Yale University Press, Schwanitz and co-author Barry Rubin delve into the deep ties between Hitler and the Grand Mufti:

"At their meeting [on November 28, 1941, Hitler and al-Husaini] concluded the pact of Jewish genocide in Europe and the Middle East, and immediately afterward, Hitler gave the order to prepare for the Holocaust. The next day invitations went out to thirteen Nazis for the Wannsee Conference to begin organizing the logistics of this mass murder."

The highly acclaimed book also examined the Grand Mufti's efforts to prevent Europe's Jews from finding refuge in the land that would become Israel:

"And since any European Jews let out of Europe might later go to Palestine, al-Husaini made it clear that if Hitler wanted Muslims and Arabs as allies he must close Europe's exits to Jews. At the same time, al-Husaini and Arab rulers also told Britain that if it wanted to keep Arabs and Muslims from being enemies, it must close entrance to Palestine to all Jews. By succeeding on both fronts, al-Husaini contributed to the Holocaust doubly, directly, and from the start."


The comments above about the Wannsee conference are misleading.  It was called, not by Hitler but by Heydrich.  Hitler did not attend.  And the claim: "The next day invitations went out" seems unlikely, as the conference took place on 20 January 1942, nearly two months later.  And we can't be sure what was said and decided there.  Both Eichmann, who took the notes of the meeting, and Heydrich, deliberately made sure that the final record of the conference was kept bland with nothing too specific in it. So, with great respect to Schwanitz and the late Barry Rubin, I can see no way in which the Wannsee conference is at all relevant to what Netanyahu specifically said.

So I stand by what I said earlier:  The matter is indeterminate. Netanyahu has his grounds for his interpretation and others have their grounds

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

Pennsylvania Teacher Pleads No Contest to Child Luring - Update

Geraldine Alcorn

(Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania)
According to court documents, Geraldine Alcorn, 29, of Pittsburgh was charged back in March after police were alerted by a youth worker that the child’s mother had caught Alcorn and her daughter home alone in the child’s home.

The mother found several letters written by the child to Alcorn which were titled “Things Ms. Alocorn and I can do,” “What we can do,” and “When can we do it.” The mother also found 21 post-it stickers on the child’s binder.

During the investigation police were able to recover 2,400 text messages between the student and Alcorn over a two week period.

In several of the messages, the student and Alcorn expressed “a deep love for each other,” the court document alleges.
Alcorn faces five years of probation.

* * * * *

Pennsylvania Teacher Accused of Child Luring
[Previous 3/28/15 post]
(Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania) A 28-year-old teacher at Beechwood Elementary School, Geraldine Alcorn, has been accused of child luring, corruption of minors and attempting to interfere with custody of the child upon being obsessed with one of her 11-year-old female students.

Reportedly, "… the 11-year-old student’s mother said 2,400 text messages were exchanged between her child and the Beechwood Elementary School teacher over a two-week span."
According to police, the texts expressed “deep love” between Alcorn and the student. The pair talked about Alcorn adopting the 11-year-old, texting that they would be “on the run” for a while.

Police said after the girl's mother discovered the messages on her iPod, she found handwritten letters in her daughter's school binder labeled "Things Ms. Alcorn and I can do," "What we can do" and "When we can do it."
Alcorn was booked and released on $100,000 bond.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Air Force Drug Case

(Laughlin Air Force Base, Texas)
The top Air Force general has ordered an investigation into the case of four pilots who were grounded after they exchanged text messages which commanders believed to be evidence of taking drugs.

Air Force Chief of Staff, General Mark Welsh, directed the US military's inspector general to look into the case of the pilots at Laughlin Air Force Base in Texas.

Officials at the base grounded the pilots based on the text messages, which included lyrics from Miley Cyrus' song We Can't Stop, including: "We like to party/Dancing with Molly/Doing whatever we want."
Molly is the street name for ecstasy.

Breastfeeding and IQ

Breastfeeding is VERY politically correct these days.  Mothers who do not breastfeed can be harassed by other mothers over it.  Why?  Because breastfeeding is thought to be  "more natural" and hence better for the baby.  But better in what way? One claim is that is helps the child's IQ.  But the studies have not been very supportive of that. So the latest very extensive study is of great interest.  Abstract below:

Breastfeeding and IQ Growth from Toddlerhood through Adolescence

By Sophie von Stumm &  Robert Plomin

The benefits of breastfeeding for cognitive development continue to be hotly debated but are yet to be supported by conclusive empirical evidence.

We used here a latent growth curve modeling approach to test the association of breastfeeding with IQ growth trajectories, which allows differentiating the variance in the IQ starting point in early life from variance in IQ gains that occur later in childhood through adolescence. Breastfeeding (yes/ no) was modeled as a direct predictor of three IQ latent growth factors (i.e. intercept, slope and quadratic term) and adjusted for the covariates socioeconomic status, mother's age at birth and gestational stage. Data came from the Twins Early Development Study (TEDS), a prospective cohort study of twins born between
1996 and 1994 in the United Kingdom, who were assessed 9 times on IQ between age 2 and 16 years (N = 11,582).

Having been breastfed was associated with a small yet significant advantage in IQ at age 2 in girls (β = .07, CI 95% from 0.64 to 3.01; N = 3,035) but not in boys (β = .04, CI 95% from -0.14 to 2.41). Having been breastfeeding was neither associated with the other IQ growth factors in girls (slope: β = .02, CI 95% from -0.25 to 0.43; quadratic: β = .01, CI 95% from -0.02 to 0.02) nor in boys (slope: β = .02, CI 95% from -0.30 to 0.47; quadratic: β = -.01, CI 95% from -0.01 to 0.01).

Breastfeeding has little benefit for early life intelligence and cognitive growth from toddlerhood through adolescence.

Von Stumm S, Plomin R (2015). Breastfeeding and IQ Growth from Toddlerhood through Adolescence. PLoS ONE 10(9): e0138676. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0138676

The study is persuasive rather than conclusive.  I think IQ of the mother should have been controlled for.  I made the same criticism of a noted Brazilian study which did find some benefit from breastfeeding.

Another concern is that the measures of IQ used at different ages were not well correlated. They could obviously not be the same but correlations between them as low as .18 are a serious concern.

Overall, however, the general agreement of the studies on the matter leads me to agree that breastfeeding has no effect on IQ.  It may however have other benefits.

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

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Journalist Found Dead in Turkish Airport

Jacky Sutton

(London, England)
A former journalist with the BBC was found dead in Istanbul's airport, her employer has confirmed.

Jacky Sutton was discovered in a toilet at the city's Ataturk Airport over the weekend. The British woman was the acting Iraq director for the Institute for War and Peace Reporting (IWPR).
They say she took her own life because she missed a flight. I'm suspicious.

 Yes means Yes and No means No -- except when you are Ched Evans

The conviction of British footballer Ched Evans for rape  has widely been decried. Because Yes does not mean Yes when you are Ched Evans, apparently. The woman concerned DID say Yes to him and made no complaint afterwards but a badly instructed British jury  in its stratopheric wisdom decided that Evans should have taken Yes to mean No. She was too drunk to give consent, apparently. Though how they know that and what is the relevant metric of drunkenness in those circumstances remains uncertain.

So it is a relief that the British justice system has now reopened the case -- after Evans spent over two years in jail.  Sex with women who drink must be harshly discouraged, it seems.  If that pompous dictum were taken seriously among the population at large, it would at least halve the British birthrate, I would think.  Alcohol and sex have a long history together, even among married people.

And the Yes means Yes mantra is a typically stupid feminist invention anyway.  There are many men who can attest that sometimes No means Yes.  I was always too impatient to play that game myself (apparently to some confusion) but it is a common one where the woman is embarrassed, shy etc.  Many women would think less of themselves if they said "Yes straight away.  The woman  would think that she was appearing "too easy". So men do sometimes have to decide whether a No really means Yes and they can obviously make the occasional mistake there, particularly if they are not too bright.

So one can only hope that the feminist mantra is vigorously preached to women too so that they will be less evasive and less confusing to men.  I am not holding my breath -- JR

A case drawn up by private investigators to clear the name of rapist footballer Ched Evans is believed to question the lifestyle of his victim and failures by police to seize crucial CCTV footage.

Earlier this week, the Criminal Cases Review Commission said that new evidence had emerged in the case which 'raises a real possibility the Court of Appeal may now quash the conviction'.

Now it has been reported that private investigators, hired by the father of his fiancee Natasha Massey, have spent 18 months finding new evidence and interviewing new witnesses, which they believe will help the 26-year-old have his conviction overturned.

It claims she was banned from the Zu Bar nightclub in Rhyl, north Wales, where she and Evans had been socialising separately that night and that a statement has been provided from a woman who had a 'significant 'conversation with the victim in a taxi on the way to a police station.

The dossier of evidence is also thought to criticise police for their investigation for taking Evans and co-accused Clayton McDonald to a police station in the same car and their alleged failure to seize potentially significant CCTV footage.

However, a source close to the appeal team has said the evidence is not a 'character assassination' of the woman but rather raises potential inconsistencies in her background.

The source told the newspaper: 'Some of the new ­information is being seen within Ched’s camp as highly significant.

'It would be easy to take the view that he has done his time and he should now just put it all behind him. But he has set his sights on it being quashed. 'Resuming his career is key to all his plans with his fiancée and the new baby they are expecting.'

Since being released from prison last year, Evans has been unable to find a new team, with several clubs offering him trials only to backtrack after a public outcry.

Evans applied to the Criminal Cases Review Commission in July 2014, and it received further evidence from his legal team earlier this year.

After a ten-month investigation, the commission is now referring the case to the Court of Appeal, based on ‘new information which was not raised at trial’ that could have supported his defence.

The court can now either uphold the conviction, quash it, or overturn it and order a retrial.

Evans denied rape in 2012, saying the sex was consensual, but he was found guilty by a jury at Caernarfon Crown Court. The prosecution said the woman was too drunk to consent to intercourse.

The woman was raped in a Premier Inn in 2012 after his footballer friend McDonald, who was cleared of rape, texted Evans on the way there saying: 'I've got a bird'.

McDonald had sex with the victim, before Evans arrived and raped her, while two others filmed it through the window.

After Evans's release from jail his old club Sheffield United, who used to pay him £20,000 a week, agreed to let him train with them.

But the League One club were plunged into crisis when three patrons quit, fans threatened a boycott and its main sponsor warned it would scrap their deal if they tried to sign him.

Evans started his career at Manchester City and cost Sheffield United £3 million when he signed for the team in 2009.

He scored 42 goals in 103 league appearances for the Blades and was set to sign for Oldham Athletic in a move that triggered a huge media storm following his release from prison before the plug was pulled on the deal.

It has been reported Evans has told friends that he wants his conviction quashed so he can find another football club and gain in a place in the Welsh national team for the European Championships next year.


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

Monday, October 19, 2015

California Woman Accused of Scamming Immigrants

Sara Salcido

(Indio, California) A local woman, Sara Salcido, 39, has been accused of scamming people out of $500,000.

Salcido faces charges of felony grand theft and one count of illegally representing a client in an immigration hearing.

The latest non-science from the non-science guy

Bill Nye is not a scientist.  He is an entertainer.  His degree was in mechanical engineering.  But we see here a claim from him that Miami is sinking due to global warming.  Che??  How does global warming do that?  It is true that Miami is going underwater to a degree but it is not due to global warming.

There are various parts of the world -- the S.E. coast of England notably -- where the land is sinking.  And Florida is one of those.  To the casual observer, the rise of the sea and the sinking of the land look the same but they are not.  And accounting for crustal movements is an important part of geology, with satellites and all sorts of other observations being used to differentiate sea level rise from land movement.  If he were a scientist, Nye would know that and make proper allowance for it.  He is however aiming at drama rather than informing people.

Prof. Tim Ball has written a short article on the subject and he has in addition emailed the following comments:

"Yes Miami is sinking and it is partly due to water extraction. It is also due to the porous limestone that compresses easily and also has extensive cave structures because it is essentially a Karst topography. This is why sink holes are common.

This sinking of major cities is occurring everywhere with some more pronounced than others. Mexico city is a good example.

However the major reason for Miami sinking is because the entire Gulf coast of the US is sinking as post glacial isostatic adjustment occurs.

During the last glaciation the weight of the ice pushed the entire northern half of the continent down relative to the geoid line and sea level.  Since the removal of the ice the north is rising and the south is sinking. Some think the New Madrid fault line across the centre of the US adn site of the largest earthquake in modern US history is a result of the continent 'cracking’.

This is another example, of people like Nye taking a normal event and exploiting it for his political agenda. I think a RICO charge is required for such deliberate deception or at least for blinding ignorance"

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

Sunday, October 18, 2015

"Covert" measure of racism invalid

I have been critical of the IAT for over a decade (See e.g. here) so I am pleased to see that its invalidity seems to be becoming widely accepted.  The text below is from a wide-ranging survey of psychological research findings that have not stood up to scrutiny

Perhaps most consequentially, replications failed to validate many uses of the Implicit Association Test, which is the most popular research tool in social psychology. Its designers say the test detects unconscious biases, including racial biases, that persistently drive human behavior. Sifting data from the IAT, social scientists tell us that at least 75 percent of white Americans are racist, whether they know it or not, even when they publicly disavow racial bigotry. This implicit racism induces racist behavior as surely as explicit racism. The paper introducing the IAT’s application to racial attitudes has been cited in more than 6,600 studies, according to Google Scholar. The test is commonly used in courts and classrooms across the country. 

That the United States is in the grip of an epidemic of implicit racism is simply taken for granted by social psychologists​—​another settled fact too good to check. Few of them have ever returned to the original data. Those who have done so have discovered that the direct evidence linking IAT results to specific behavior is in fact negligible, with small samples and weak effects that have seldom if ever been replicated. One team of researchers went through the IAT data on racial attitudes and behavior and concluded there wasn’t much evidence either way.

“The broad picture that emerges from our reanalysis,” they wrote, “is that the published results [confirming the IAT and racism] are likely to be conditional and fragile and do not permit broad conclusions about the prevalence of discriminatory tendencies in American society.” Their debunking paper, “Strong Claims and Weak Evidence,” has been cited in fewer than 100 studies.


The text above is part of an article that looked at replications.  There have been several attempts made recently to see if a research finding will be repeated if the same experiment is repeated. About two thirds of the reports could not be replicated.  When someone else carried out exactly the same research, the original finding was not repeated.  That is of course very destructive to faith in scientific "findings".

There is however another problem that is equally disquieting:  Researchers keep refusing to make their raw data generally available for others to check the analyses.  Many journals have policies saying that authors MUST make their raw data available to other scientists.  But it still does not happen.  As the report below shows, only 38% of psychologists were willing to make their raw data available to others.  That is however good when compared with climate researchers.  The percentage there seems to be 0%.

Are We Wasting a Good Crisis? The Availability of Psychological Research Data after the Storm

By  Wolf Vanpaemel et al.


To study the availability of psychological research data, we requested data from 394 papers, published in all issues of four APA journals in 2012. We found that 38% of the researchers sent their data immediately or after reminders. These findings are in line with estimates of the willingness to share data in psychology from the recent or remote past. Although the recent crisis of confidence that shook psychology has highlighted the importance of open research practices, and technical developments have greatly facilitated data sharing, our findings make clear that psychology is nowhere close to being an open science.


And it's even worse here, where 31 emailed requests for data yielded only 4 positive answers.

"Psychology is bunk" would be a reasonable comment on most of it.  That psychologists are overwhelmingly Leftist does help to explain that.  Leftism is bunk too -- JR

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

Illinois Teacher Faces Sex Charges

Briana Travis

(Lake County, Illinois) A 33-year-old music teacher at Webster Middle School, Briana Travis, has been accused of having a sexual relationship with a minor.
Police say a tip from a parent about inappropriate texting between a student and Travis led them to the Webster Middle School music teacher.

When Waukegan police detectives interviewed Travis, she confessed to having an inappropriate relationship with another minor, authorities said.
Travis faces counts of criminal sexual assault. Bond has been set at $1,000,000.

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Scientific crookedness among Warmists

It is very commonly regarded as a basic principle that scientists should make their raw data available to other scientists so that further information can be extracted from the data and so that the correctness of the original analysis can be checked.  Many journals and scientific bodies have strict policies about that.  Such policies are however often not followed. On the one occasion I requested someone else's data, I did not get it. I requested the data because I suspected a fault in the analysis so the refusal certainly strengthened that suspicion.  Even after I publicized the refusal, the data was not forthcoming. Prof. Dr. Theodor Hanf was obviously prepared to wear what damage I had done to his reputation.

Sociologist Prof. Dr. Theodor Hanf of the Arnold-Bergstraesser-Institut in Freiburg, Germany

Warmists are shameless too.  They are utterly notorious for refusing access to the raw data underlying their research.  That is by itself some evidence that their conclusions are suspect and on the one notable occasion when their wall of secrecy was breached, the suspicion was amply confirmed.  I refer of course to the re-analysis of Michael Mann's "hockeystick" data.  Mann's findings were shown to be entirely artifactual.

But are all Warmist scientists as crooked as Mann? Are they all hiding something?  We will never know but a paper by the ultra-cautious Dutch psychologist Jelke Wicherts certainly supports suspicions.  He shows that unwillingness to make one's raw data available is indeed related to dubious conclusions.  I reproduce the Abstract below:

Willingness to Share Research Data Is Related to the Strength of the Evidence and the Quality of Reporting of Statistical Results

Jelte M. Wicherts et al.


The widespread reluctance to share published research data is often hypothesized to be due to the authors' fear that reanalysis may expose errors in their work or may produce conclusions that contradict their own. However, these hypotheses have not previously been studied systematically.

Methods and Findings

We related the reluctance to share research data for reanalysis to 1148 statistically significant results reported in 49 papers published in two major psychology journals. We found the reluctance to share data to be associated with weaker evidence (against the null hypothesis of no effect) and a higher prevalence of apparent errors in the reporting of statistical results. The unwillingness to share data was particularly clear when reporting errors had a bearing on statistical significance.


Our findings on the basis of psychological papers suggest that statistical results are particularly hard to verify when reanalysis is more likely to lead to contrasting conclusions. This highlights the importance of establishing mandatory data archiving policies.


So, in the light of both theory and practice, all conclusions from scientific work by Warmists should be seen as unreliable and probably false.

Another example of work by the useful Prof. Wicherts is here -- where he debunks the effects of "poverty" -- JR

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

Friday, October 16, 2015

Texas Teacher Indicted

Breanne Brown

(Abilene. Texas)
A Taylor County grand jury has indicted 31-year-old former Abilene High School teacher Breanne Brown on a charge of second-degree felony sexual assault of a child.[…]

According to Abilene police, Brown had sex with a 16-year-old boy on at least 10 different occasions.
Brown may get prison or probation.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Arizona Woman Charged with Murder-for-Hire

Sierra Lee Simental

(Phoenix, Arizona) A 23-year-old local woman, Sierra Lee Simental, has been accused of trying to hire somebody to murder her ex-boyfriend, the father of her 5-year-old daughter.
Using court records, detectives determined that Isaac Minjares Martinez was Simental's likely target. The two have had issues with custody of their daughter. But Martinez told us he thought those issues were a thing of the past.

"Me and her had our problems, that's about it," Martinez said. "But I would never think it's go to this far, that she would do something to this magnitude. Like i said, I thought we were fine the last year."

An undercover detective set up a meeting with Simental and he recorded everything.

"Simental said that she wanted her ex-boyfriend killed over child custody issues and finances," reads the probable cause statement. "She did not have the funds to pay for the murder, but was willing to assist [the undercover detective] in his illegal drug smuggling operation as payment."
Simental was booked with bond set at $100,000.

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