Thursday, December 31, 2015

Women With Troubles - December 2015

Here is a compilation of women with troubles reported in news stories during December 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.
(CA) Carol Ann Coronado, 32,
mother - Faces life in prison for killing her three daughters,

(CA) Shannon Fosgett, 44,
teacher - Accused of nasty sex with a student, arrested for sex with student,

(CA) Vanessa Hooker, 34,
teacher - Accused of sex with multiple male students,

(CA) Mysti Moriah Lingenfelter, 35,
teacher - Accused of sex in classroom,

(CT) Kyle Damato-Kushel, 48,
teacher's aide - Accused of sexual contact with minor,

(FL) Josseleen Lopez, 20,
neighbor - Accused of theft and possession of drug paraphernalia,

(GA) Tera Ashley Horne, 32,
teacher - Arrested for sex assault of male student, 18,

(ID) Amanda Jo Ward, 36,
girls' basketball coach - Pleaded guilty to charge of injury to a child. Sentencing in February,

(MS) Ashley Ann Bandyk, 27,
neighbor - Accused of embezzling $91,000 from an infirmed man,

(NC) Amanda Elaine Collins, 43,
neighbor - Accused of incest and statutory rape,

(NC) Jennifer Hartlieb,
teacher - Charged with sexual assault of a student,

(ND) Marissa Ashley Deslauriers, 24,
teacher - Charged with corruption/solicitation of a minor,

(NM) Rebecca Gomez, 30,
neighbor - Sentenced to prison for murder and kidnapping,

(NY) Charlene Mess,
farmer's wife - Charged with killing her husband,

(OH) Noelle Devlin, 31,
teacher - Arrested for sex with student,

(OR) Melissa Chacon, 22,
neighbor - Found guilty of raping and abusing seven-year-old boy. Sentencing in January,

(PA) Lisa Wally,
counselor - Accused of running an overbilling scheme which netted $600,000,

(SC) Shaquna Lasha Grier, 20,
neighbor - Charged with sexual conduct with a minor,

(TN) Rebecca "Becca" Feher, 24,
teacher - Charged with statutory rape of two male students,

(TN) Hazel Irene Gray, 20,
neighbor - Arrested for fake bomb threat,

(TX) Tiffany Howard,
school coach - Accused of inappropriate relationship with female student,

(TX) Melanie Mobley, 26,
teacher - Accused of relationship with 15-year-old male student,

(TX) Peggy Phillips, 43,
neighbor - Accused of sex with her own teen nephew,

(TX) Haeli Noelle Wey, 28,
teacher - Arrested for improper relations with two students,

(UT) Ashley Nicole Poike, 24,
neighbor - Convicted of conspiracy to commit sex trafficking,

(WA) Jessica Marie Fuchs, 26,
teacher - Gets eight months prison for sex with student,

(WI) Deanna R. Braaten, 50,
sports club treasurer - Sentenced to 11 months in jail for embezzlement,

(WI) Courtney A. Jensen, 25,
teacher - Sentenced to 30 days in jail for sex assault of 17-year-old girl,

(WI) April Novak,
teacher - Accused of sex assault of student,

(WV) Tressie Montene (Bosley) Duffy, 45,
doctor - Accused of illegally distributing narcotic painkillers.
Thanks to the tipsters.

Kosher-Certified Marijuana

(New York State)
A New York company is preparing to market what it says is the world’s first kosher-certified marijuana.

The Orthodox Union has certified Vireo Health of New York’s non-smokable medical marijuana products, Vireo announced in a news release Wednesday. Vireo is one of five medical marijuana providers selected to participate in a New York state medical marijuana program that goes into effect next month; none of the others will be certified kosher.
I don't understand.

Baby Suffocated

Cory Stucky

(Blooming Prairie, Minnesota)
A 30-year-old man is charged with manslaughter and child endangerment after authorities say he drank two dozen beers and fell asleep on top of his 8-week-old son, suffocating the child to death.

Cory Neal Stucky, of Blooming Prairie, was charged last week in the young boy's death, which happened on July 18.

According to the criminal complaint, Stucky told officers that he fell asleep with the baby on his chest and woke up to his girlfriend screaming and crying that the boy wasn't breathing.
Sad story, eh?

A symbolic attack on the past

Symbols of the British and French colonial pasts are being criticized, with a demand that reminders of the past be erased. Some comments below the following news report

The student who called for the removal of Cecil Rhodes' statue at an Oxford college previously said French flags should be taken down because they are a 'violent symbol' akin to the Nazi swastika.

South African student Ntokozo Qwabe, who is on the prestigious Bachelor of Civil Laws course at Oxford University, led the Rhodes Must Fall group which has demanded Oriel College remove the statue of the colonialist.

Now, it has emerged that Mr Qwabe has previously called for the French flag to be removed because he believes it is a symbol of violence much like the Nazi swastika.

Following the terrorist atrocities in the French capital last month, Mr Qwabe wrote on Facebook: 'You can miss me with the buffoonery of changing Facebook profile pictures to violent imperial flags & hashtaging [sic] 'prayers for Paris' I will silently pretend to but not kneel to carry out.'

'I refuse to be cornered by white supremacist hashtagism into believing that showing my disgust for the loss of lives in France mandates identifying with a state that has for years terrorised - and continues to terrorise - innocent lives in the name of imperialism, colonialism, and other violent barbarities.

'I do NOT stand with France. Not while it continues to terrorise and bomb Afrika [sic] & the Middle East for its imperial interests. We will not end terrorism by choosing the terrorist our subjective sensibilities and popular propaganda normalise.'

He later clarified in a post written on his open Facebook profile, which said: 'For those who were on the receiving end of French colonial and imperial crimes in the name of the French flag, the flag means the same to them as the Confederate flag does to those who were on the receiving end of the crimes committed in its name.

'It means the same to them as the flag/symbols of Stalin Russia do to those on the receiving end of the crimes of that establishment; it means the same to them as the Nazi flag does to those on the receiving end of Nazi crimes. I could go on and on.'

Then, speaking to the Sunday Times Qwabe described Cecil Rhodes as being a 'racist, genocidal maniac' who was 'as bad as Hitler.'

Supporting a campaign to remove the French flag from universities, Qwabe added: 'I would agree with that in the same way that the presence of a Nazi flag would have to be fought against.'

Mr Qwabe's student campaign, called Rhodes Must Fall Oxford, says Rhodes paved the path to apartheid by introducing discriminatory land ownership and voting rules.

It is inspired by the Rhodes Must Fall protest movement that began on in March, originally directed against a statue at the University of Cape Town which commemorates Cecil Rhodes.

The campaign for the statue's removal received global attention and led to a wider movement to 'decolonise' education across South Africa.

Rhodes was one of the era's most famous imperialists, with Rhodesia – now Zimbabwe and Zambia – named after him.

Mr Qwabe is one of 89 current Rhodes scholars who benefit from the colonialist's legacy, which brings foreign students to Oxford at a cost of £8 million a year.

After being accused of 'breath- taking hypocrisy' for accepting a scholarship, Qwabe argued that he was simply taking back a portion of what was originally looted by colonialists from Africa.

'It's completely, completely disingenuous to say I have somehow benefited from Rhodes,' he told Channel 4 News, going on to talk about pioneers such as Rhodes being 'able to murder a lot of people and make a lot of money from it'.


Most of the above is somewhere between exaggeration and outright lies. Cecil Rhodes looted nobody.  He was a mine owner who paid his miners better money that they had ever had before. Most were originally subsistence farmers with no cash income. Without him and other businessmen like him, there would have been no mines.

It is true that he believed in white racial superiority but just about everybody in Britain and Europe did in those days.  But he killed or injured no-one because of his racial beliefs.  If he was a "genocidal maniac", how come he was buried with full native honours by the Ndebele chiefs in what is now Zimbabwe? For the first time ever, they gave a white man the Matabele royal salute "Bayete".

He negotiated with Africans via their chiefs.  He did not go about killing them. He was basically just a very clever businessman

The objection to the French flag is part and parcel of Leftist "anti-colonial" rhetoric.  The Left instinctively hate both the present and the past of the societies in which they live. But their objections to colonialism are quite pointless, as all the major colonies were given independence years ago. They are re-fighting old battles.

It is true that by modern standards, there were some things in the colonial era that were objectionable but there were benefits too.  When the British left Africa, they left behind them well-organized countries with democratic institutions, a capable bureaucracy and an impartial judiciary.  But after independence, that soon decayed into corruption, near anarchy and all sorts of bloodshed.

Generally speaking, the colonial era was a time of rapid civilizational and economic advance for most people involved in it.  But you will never hear a Leftist saying that.  If you look to the Left for a balanced account of anything political, you will not find it.

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

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Totally empty Warmist thinking

The puff below appeared in The New Daily, which aspires to be a serious newspaper.  It was headed "Why Australia is sitting on a clean energy goldmine" and was written by Rob Burgess, their  economics commentator and previously a journalist on Left-leaning newspapers.

I looked forward to hearing what particular activity or resource Australia had that would give it the great advantage claimed.  Do we have rare earth metals in abundance?  Do we make very efficient solar cells?  Do we make better wind turbines?  I knew in advance that the answers to those question would be No, so what was it that had I not thought of or what was it that did I not know?

I was disappointed entirely.  All there is below are conventional prophecies and some very airy generalities that are well known but  are in no way explicitly tied to the subject at hand.

Take this sentence:

"The expertise we develop in energy efficiency, renewable technologies, power grid management and transport networks can be exported to nations trying to catch up".

That is just a pious hope with no evidence or argument offered that it is happening or will happen.

Mr Burgess clearly has nothing to say but says it at length. But Warmist thinking is generally brainless so I don't suppose I should have been surprised

Australia has for a long time become convinced that it ‘got lucky’ via the mining boom, and that the subsequent boost in national income and household wealth could not be generated any other way – a defeatist position that would make industrial nations such as Germany and Japan, or newly-industrialised Malaysia, cringe.

That’s because their growth stories are not put down to ‘luck’ but to successful deployment of financial capital, innovation, development of human capital, and transparent and stable systems of governance.

Australia’s new comparative advantage, then, will be found in acknowledging how far along the non-luck path we are.

Despite pockets of deprivation, Australia is still one of the wealthiest nations in the world and its people rank second only to the Norwegians on the United Nation’s human development index.

The USA is eighth, the UK 14th and Japan 20th, by way of comparison.

Our rule of law, and stable and well-regulated financial markets, make Australia an excellent place to invest, meaning financing our renewable energy future will be easier and cheaper than for developing nations.

And to those advantages – strong human capital and attractiveness to investors – can be added a growing recognition that services exports will form a large part of our future economic growth.

The expertise we develop in energy efficiency, renewable technologies, power grid management and transport networks can be exported to nations trying to catch up.

Oh, and there’s a bit of luck too – we have excellent natural resources to develop in renewable energy areas such as solar, wind, wave, biomass and biofuels. We also have huge scope to offset future carbon emissions via carbon forestry.

In short, Australia is sitting on a carbon-free goldmine. We are smart enough, wealthy enough, export-oriented enough, well governed enough and blessed enough in natural resources to be ahead of the curve in the transition to clean energy.
The five-year challenge

At the heart of the Paris agreement is a five-yearly ‘stocktake’ of how each nation is doing with meeting its self-nominated targets.

Australia took a very modest target to Paris at the end of November, but it will now face five-yearly check-ups to see if, firstly, it has met the target, and, secondly, whether it will offer a stronger target for the next five years.

As the US, China and others strengthen their targets, they will not idly disregard laggard nations – the threat of trade measures such as ‘border tax adjustments‘, are the means by which ‘non-binding’ pledges will, in effect, be made binding.

Also, as with all 195 nations who have signed up to the Paris agreement, Australia is committed to globally binding transparency measures – that is, we can’t fake our carbon emissions.

But why would we?

The tide of history is running, strongly. The arguments put forward by the fossil-fuel lobby, the Abbott government, and a few King Canute-like backers in the media, have been lost.

Yes, Australia has among the highest per-capita carbon emissions in the world, and the highest carbon-intensity per unit of GDP. So we have more work to do than comparable nations to keep up with the post-COP21 pack.

But the point that must not be missed is that those reductions will be easier here than just about anywhere.

It is our new comparative advantage.

And though it’s based partly on luck, to capitalise on it we will need world-beating innovation, business acumen, policy responses and, most importantly, a voting public given the full facts of where the tide of history is flowing, rather than the unworthy fear campaigns of the past few years.


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

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Will Global Warming Heat Us Beyond Our Physical Limits?

The report below is a little less frank than one in "New Scientist" on the same topic recently.  It did not for instance say how many degrees of global warming were assumed in the MIT study.  So I will say again what I said a couple of months ago about the MIT study:

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

If greenhouse gas emissions are not reduced, rising temperatures and humidity wrought by global warming could expose hundreds of millions of people worldwide to potentially lethal heat stress by 2060, a new report suggests.

The greatest exposure will occur in populous, tropical regions such as India, Southeast Asia, the Middle East, and Africa. But even in the northeastern United States, as many as 30 million people might be exposed at least once a year to heat that could be lethal to children, the elderly, and the sick, according to the new study.

It’s the first study to look at future heat stress on a global basis, says Ethan Coffel, a PhD candidate in atmospheric sciences at Columbia University, who presented the results on Monday at the American Geophysical Union meeting in San Francisco. Coffel and his colleagues used climate models and population projections to estimate how many people could face dangerous heat in 2060—assuming that greenhouse gas emissions continue to rise sharply on a “business-as-usual” course.

The findings are based on forecasts of “wet bulb” temperatures, in which a wet cloth is wrapped around a thermometer bulb. Whereas standard thermometer readings measure air temperature, a wet bulb measures the temperature of a moist surface that has been cooled as much as possible by evaporation.

That reading depends on both the heat and the humidity of the surrounding air. It’s generally much lower than the dry-bulb temperature, and it’s a better indicator of the humid heat that humans and other large mammals find hardest to deal with.

The normal temperature inside the human body is 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit, or 37 degrees Celsius. Human skin is typically at 35°C. When the wet-bulb temperature of the air exceeds that level, it becomes physically impossible for the body to shed its own metabolic heat and cool itself, especially by evaporating sweat. Even a fit individual would be expected to die from such heat within six hours.

Today, even in Earth’s hottest, muggiest spots, the wet-bulb temperature does not rise above 31°C. (The highest dry-bulb temperature ever recorded is 56.7°C, or 134°F.)

But a study published in October by MIT researchers found that by 2100, in Persian Gulf cities such as Abu Dhabi or Dubai, the 35°C threshold of human survival may occasionally be exceeded—again, assuming that greenhouse emissions continue to rise unabated.
Where Heat, Humidity, and People Intersect

In practice, wet-bulb temperatures below the 35°C threshold are dangerous for children, the elderly, people with heart or lung problems—or anybody actively working outside. By the 2060s, according to Coffel and his colleagues, 250 million people could be experiencing 33°C at least once a year. As many as 700 million could be exposed to 32°C. For many people, those conditions could be lethal.

“You have a large portion of the world that’s very densely populated and potentially at risk,” says Coffel. “Populations which right now work primarily outdoors and have very little access to air conditioning. It’s hard to function outdoors in those kinds of temperatures.”

The MIT study concluded that wet-bulb temperatures of 32°C or 33°C could be expected to arise later this century in Mecca, for example, where they might sometimes coincide with the Hajj, when millions of pilgrims pray outdoors all day long.

But as rising temperatures push more moisture into the atmosphere, particularly near warming oceans, spells of extreme heat and humidity will become more frequent and intense in many parts of the world. Even residents of cities like New York and London could encounter future temperatures that are near the limits of what their bodies can tolerate, according to the Columbia researchers.

“Local ocean temperatures can be a really big driver for the extent of these high heat and humidity events,” says co-author Radley Horton of Columbia. “How far inland away from the coasts will we see some of these really deadly high heat and humidity events penetrate? Will this impact where people are able to live?”

Bryan Jones, a postdoctoral fellow at the City University of New York who also studies future heat exposures but was not part of the Columbia study, said its “projections of exposure to extreme heat stress seem very reasonable. In fact, they may even be conservative, depending on how populations in West Africa, India, and Southeast Asia are distributed in the coming decades.”
Heat Is Already A Big Killer

Heat already kills more people than any other form of extreme weather. In the past decade, heat waves that featured wet-bulb temperatures between 29°C and 31°C have caused tens of thousands of deaths in Europe, Russia, and the Middle East.

Last summer more than 2,300 died from extreme heat in India, where air temperatures reached 122°F. High humidity and temperatures topping 116°F also proved deadly in Egypt this year. And work stopped for several summer days in Iraq while thermometers hovered around 120°F.

Air conditioning protects those who have access to it and can afford it. The spread of high-heat-stress events is likely to produce a surge in demand, says Horton. Air conditioners don’t function as efficiently in humid conditions, however—and as long as the electricity for them is generated with fossil fuels, they add to the underlying problem.

The other approach to coping with dangerous heat, Coffel says, is “reorganizing your society, like when you work outside, like giving people the day off when it’s hot.”

Neither air-conditioning nor staying inside is an option for other large mammals, which are affected by climbing heat and humidity in much the same way as humans. The impact on them is a “wild card,” says Horton. Little research has been done.


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

Monday, December 28, 2015

Washington Teacher Sentenced for Student Sex - Update

Jessica Fuchs

(Bainbridge Island, Washington) A biology teacher at Bainbridge High School, Jessica Marie Fuchs, has been sentenced to eight months in prison for having a sexual relationship with one of her students.

* * * * *

Washington Teacher Accused of Sex with Student
[Previous 5/10/15 post]
(Bainbridge Island, Washington) A 26-year-old Bainbridge Island High School teacher, Jessica Fuchs, has been accused of engaging in sex with a 16-year-old male student.
Court documents say Fuchs was involved in a sexual act with the victim at her home when her husband walked in on them. The allegations further state the two traded emails, texts and she sent a sexual video of herself to him.

In one text message to the victim, Fuchs wrote, "Well, protect me as best you can. Remember NOTHING COMES OUT EVER! About anything you have been to my house only once. Lie like you have NEVER lied before."
Fuchs is being held on $100,000 bail.

Florida Woman Accused of Walmart Theft

Josseleen Lopez

(Lecanto, Florida) A 20-year-old local woman, Josseleen Lopez, has been accused of driving a motorized shopping cart through a Walmart while drinking wine and eating various products. She was seen eating sushi, mini muffins, cinnamon rolls and most of a rotisserie chicken.

Lopez was booked on charges of theft and possession of drug paraphernalia with bond set at $1,500.

Scrutinizing Scruton

Roger Scruton is Britain's foremost conservative intellectual.  He is not much like an American conservative, though he does think highly of America, unlike British Leftists. He has just released a new book:  "Fools, Frauds and Firebrands: Thinkers of the New Left", in which he gives Leftist intellectuals a well deserved lashing.

I take my hat off to him in that regard. How he could wade through the turgid and largely meaningless tosh that passes for thought among Leftist intellectuals rather escapes me. As I see it, Leftists in fact have no ideas at all other than: "If I don't like it, ban it, kill it or control it". All the rest is persiflage (or camouflage), an unending series of vague and often incomprehensible assertions and complaints designed to legitimate that hate in some way.

Scruton rightly says that conservatism is at base simply an instinct of caution and stresses the importance of culture.  He wants to preserve inherited British culture as being demonstrably beneficial in all sorts of ways and is critical of multiculturalism.

All that is OK but he also has a reverence for high culture, which I question.  As it happens, I am as big a high culture fiend as you would be likely to find.  My favorite composer is Bach and I can recite large slabs of Chaucer in the original Middle English, for instance.   But I see no virtue in that.  It is just what entertains me.  There is an old Latin proverb: "De gustibus no disputandum est".  And I agree with that.   There can be no disputes about taste.  If you find football as entertaining as I find Chaucer, good for you.  I don't think of you as in any way lesser for that.   Scruton seems to. But he was originally a professor of aesthetics so maybe he has to think that way.

Another oddity is that Scruton rarely mentions the importance of liberty.  And he has in fact a conception of liberty that has a lot in common with Hegel.  He defines it somewhere as fitting in with traditional arrangements -- or something to that effect.  He has little time for libertarianism.

So I think he misses the point of most current political conflicts -- which are largely about money.  Simplistically, the Left never stop devising reasons to take our money off us while conservatives think that they should be able to hang on to what they have worked for.  Most of the big political questions revolve around that sooner or later.

But I think Scruton is helpful at the margins so I reproduce below an essay he wrote for the WSJ shortly after the 9/11 attacks

There is a useful interview with Scruton about his new book here and a review here.  There is a relatively brief account of his views on Leftist philosophers here.  He gives his account of the meaning of conservatism here


A Question of Temperament:  Conservatism is not about profit but about loss.


LONDON--Here and there in the modern world you can find countries with conservative parties. Britain is one of them. But the U.S. is the last remaining country with a genuine conservative movement.

This conservative movement is expressed in politics, in social initiatives among ordinary people, in the media and in intellectual journals with an explicitly conservative message. True, political philosophy in the American academy has been dominated by liberals, and by the project to which the late John Rawls devoted his life, of producing a theory of justice that would vindicate the welfare state. Nevertheless, even in American universities, you can come across conservatives who are prepared to defend their beliefs.

In Britain there are very few academics who will publicly confess to conservative convictions. And we have only two noteworthy conservative journals: the weekly Spectator, and the quarterly Salisbury Review, which I edited (at enormous cost to my intellectual career) for its first 18 years of life, and whose tiny circulation is maintained almost exclusively by private subscription. In the U.S., by contrast, conservative journals spring up constantly, find large and sympathetic readerships, and frequently attract funding from foundations and business. Yet another conservative journal has appeared recently, and the high profile of its editor--Patrick Buchanan--will lead to much speculation about what is really meant by the journal's name: The American Conservative. Maybe a British conservative can cast a little light on this.

It is a tautology to say that a conservative is a person who wants to conserve things; the question is what things? To this I think we can give a simple one-word answer, namely: us. At the heart of every conservative endeavor is the effort to conserve a historically given community. In any conflict the conservative is the one who sides with "us" against "them"--not knowing, but trusting. He is the one who looks for the good in the institutions, customs and habits that he has inherited. He is the one who seeks to defend and perpetuate an instinctive sense of loyalty, and who is therefore suspicious of experiments and innovations that put loyalty at risk.

So defined, conservatism is less a philosophy than a temperament; but it is, I believe, a temperament that emerges naturally from the experience of society, and which is indeed necessary if societies are to endure. The conservative strives to diminish social entropy. The second law of thermodynamics implies that, in the long run, all conservatism must fail. But the same is true of life itself, and conservatism might equally be defined as the social organism's will to live.

Of course there are people without the conservative temperament. There are the radicals and innovators, who are impatient with the debris left by the dead; and their temperament too is a necessary ingredient in any healthy social mix. There are also the instinctive rebels of the Chomsky variety, who in every conflict side with "them" against "us," who scoff at the ordinary loyalties of ordinary people, and who look primarily for what is bad in the institutions, customs and habits that define their historical community. Still, by and large, the future of any society depends upon the solid residue of conservative sentiment, which forms the ballast to every innovation, and the equilibriating process that makes innovation possible.

Sept. 11 raised the question: Who are we, that they should attack us, and what justifies our existence as a "we"? American conservatism is an answer to that question. "We the people," it says, constitute a nation, settled in a common territory under a common rule of law, bound by a single Constitution and a common language and culture. Our primary loyalty is to this nation, and to the secular and territorially based jurisdiction that makes it possible for our nation to endure. Our national loyalty is inclusive, and can be extended to newcomers, but only if they assume the duties and responsibilities, as well as the rights, of citizenship. And it is reinforced by customs and habits that have their origin in the Judeo-Christian inheritance, and which must be constantly refreshed from that source if they are to endure. In the modern context, the American conservative is an opponent of "multiculturalism," and of the liberal attempt to sever the Constitution from the religious and cultural inheritance that first created it.

American conservatism welcomes enterprise, freedom and risk, and sees the bureaucratic state as the great corrupter of these goods. But its philosophy is not founded in economic theories. If conservatives favor the free market, it is not because market solutions are the most efficient ways of distributing resources--although they are--but because they compel people to bear the costs of their own actions, and to become responsible citizens. Conservative reservations about the welfare state reflect the belief that welfare generates a dependency culture, in which responsibilities are drowned by rights.

The habit of claiming without earning is not confined only to the welfare machine. One of the most important conservative causes in America must surely be the reform of the jury system, which has allowed class actions and frivolous claims--including claims by non-nationals--to sabotage the culture of honest reward, and to ensure that wealth, however honestly and diligently acquired, can at any moment be stolen from its producer to end up in the pocket of someone who has done nothing to deserve it.

It is one of the great merits of America's conservative movement that it has seen the need to define its philosophy at the highest intellectual level. British conservatism has always been suspicious of ideas, and the only great modern conservative thinker in my country who has tried to disseminate his ideas through a journal--T.S. Eliot--was in fact an American. The title of his journal (The Criterion) was borrowed by Hilton Kramer, when he founded what is surely the only contemporary conservative journal that is devoted entirely to ideas. Under the editorship of Mr. Kramer and Roger Kimball, The New Criterion has tried to break the cultural monopoly of the liberal establishment, and is consequently read in our British universities with amazement, anger and (I like to think) self-doubt.

Eliot's influence has been spread in America by his disciple, Russell Kirk, who made clear to a whole generation that conservatism is not an economic but a cultural outlook, and that it would have no future if reduced merely to the philosophy of profit. Put bluntly, conservatism is not about profit but about loss: It survives and flourishes because people are in the habit of mourning their losses, and resolving to safeguard against them.

This does not mean that conservatives are pessimists. In America, they are the only true optimists, since they are the only ones with a clear vision of the future and a clear determination to bring that future into being.

For the conservative temperament the future is the past. Hence, like the past, it is knowable and lovable. It follows that by studying the past of America--its traditions of enterprise, risk-taking, fortitude, piety and responsible citizenship--you can derive the best case for its future: a future in which the national loyalty will endure, holding things together, and providing all of us, liberals included, with our required sources of hope. This is the message that has been put across vividly by New York's City Journal, and it is interesting to compare its optimistic articles about the American underclass with the bleak vision of our English equivalent expressed in the same journal by Theodore Dalrymple.

Sept. 11 was a wake-up call through which liberals have managed to go on dreaming. American conservatives ought to seize the opportunity to utter those difficult truths which have been censored out of recent debate: truths about national loyalty, about common culture and about the duties of citizenship. You never know, Middle America might actually recognize itself at last, when addressed in this way.


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

Sunday, December 27, 2015

California Man Falls to Death

Sunset Cliff

(San Diego, California)
A man distracted by his electronic device fell 60 feet to his death at San Diego's Sunset Cliffs on Christmas Day, San Diego Lifeguards confirmed to NBC 7 San Diego.

The incident happened at 4:50 p.m. Friday on the 900 block of Sunset Cliffs Boulevard when the man, in his 30s, tumbled off the side of a cliff.

"Witnesses stated seeing someone distracted by an electronic device and he just fell over the edge," said San Diego Lifeguard Bill Bender. "(He) wasn't watching where he was walking, he was looking down at the device in his hands."
It's not clear exactly what he was doing when he took the deathly tumble.

Leftist group releases video comparing Trump to Hitler

The video consists of very brief grabs from Trump speeches intercut with old movie footage of 1930s Nazi rallies.  As even a moderate and sentimental Christian gentleman like George Bush II was often called a Nazi by the Left, that is no great surprise.  And comparing Trump's immigration proposals to Hitler's immolation of 6 million Jews also has plenty of precedent, idiotic though it obviously  is.

But the video released by the Agenda Project carries the slander to a whole new level.  If Trump becomes the GOP nominee we can expect it to be very widely aired.  There will be no shortage of Leftist donors coming forward to finance that. So some comment on it seems warranted.

The only substantial thing they have to hang the advertisement on is Trump's proposal for a temporary halt to Muslim immigration.

An obvious immediate response is to note that Muslims are not a race but a religion.  Muslims can be of any race. But a more important response is to ask what immigration restrictions have in common with killing Jews.  They do in fact have some historical connections.  That great Leftist hero, FDR, refused to admit to America Jews fleeing Hitler, the St Louis episode, thus sealing the fate of many of them.  So if Trump is a Nazi so was FDR.  When a Democrat President had the opportunity to confront and oppose Hitler, he actually aided and abetted Hitler.

It could be argued that the Muslims concerned are also refugees fleeing death but that is not at all true.  The refugees Trump wants to keep out do not come directly from Muslim countries.  Muslim countries won't have them.  They come from Western Europe where they already have refuge.  So there is no threat to their lives and Trump's policies fully implemented would kill no-one.  So much for the comparisons with Hitler. The comparison is fundamentally dishonest, like so much of Leftism.

But I liked this sentence in the screed below:

"The modern Republican Party has historically incorporated both racist and fascist elements in its political strategy".

The mention of history is perhaps unfortunate.  A more accurate version of the sentence would be:

"The modern Democratic Party has historically incorporated both racist and fascist elements in its political strategy".

The KKK was composed of Democrats and Southern segregationists like George Wallace and Orval Faubus were Democrats.  And FDR praised Mussolini and held him up as an example to be emulated.

And Democrat attempts to control everything that moves are very similar to what Mussolini did. See here. Judged by their policies, the Democrats are modern-day Fascists

The Agenda Project Action Fund released a new ad Tuesday blasting the Republican party, particularly Donald Trump, for "anti-Muslim" rhetoric. The ad is part of a yearlong campaign against the "fascist and racist rhetoric" the group says the Republican party has been spewing and promoting thus far in the 2016 presidential election.

"We have to ask ourselves: what kind of country do we want to be? One that stands up to hatred and lives up to the principles enshrined in the Constitution and inscribed on the Statue of Liberty or one that rules by fear and subjugation of individuals we deem different," said Erik Altieri, president of the Agenda Project, a progressive policy organization aimed at ensuring that politicians work in the interest of everyday Americans. "We must unite against this bigotry or we risk losing everything we represent as a nation."

The ad, which can be seen here, likens Trump's proposed ban on the immigration of Muslims to the U.S. to 1930s Germany. The Agenda Project Action Fund finds that the policy proposals of some Republicans harken back to the nation's long-embedded racial tensions.

"The modern Republican Party has historically incorporated both racist and fascist elements in its political strategy, the most prominent of which have been the so-called 'Southern Strategy' initiated in the 1968 and in the first post-civil rights movement election at the national level, with appeals to the 'White Vote' and, more recently, to 'real America' as articulated by such figures as Sarah Palin and Michele Bachman," reads a statement from the group.

"Previously, they were politically savvy enough to hide their bigotry, wrapping it in innuendo and alluding to it using dog whistle politics. Now, with Donald Trump as the party's front runner for their nomination for president, the gloves are off and the smoke screen has been cleared, leaving only the ugly reality."


Saturday, December 26, 2015

Can a good teacher be bad for you?

In asking the above question, I am suggesting a paradox.  And I think the answer is mostly No.  But I want to give a small story about when good teachers were bad for someone I know.

He went to a private school and private schools usually have the best teachers.  Why?  Because private schools are more orderly and have brighter students, two things which are not unconnected.  Why are the students brighter?  Because you need a fair bit of money to send a kid there and people with more money generally have more brains too -- as the much execrated Charles Murray pointed out two decades ago. And brainy parents tend to have brainy kids

No teacher however likes to spend most of his/her time getting the students to sit down and shut up, so most would prefer to teach in a private school, where students have the willingness to listen and the ability to learn.  So private schools have the pick of the teachers and mostly manage to hire good ones.

And part of that is that private High Schools are often able to put before their students that rare breed, a MALE teacher.  And that does help male students, who tend to get put down and disrespected by female teachers.

So the lad I have in mind went to a private school where the mathematics teachers were male (funnily enough!) and who were very enthusiastic about their subject.  And they enthused the boy.  Which was something of a pity.  Because he became a mathematician. He spent 8 years at distinguished universities studying it.

But he wasn't in fact very good at it. He could do it all but he was not good enough for it to lead to his heart's desire:  A good job.  And that showed up in his performance on ability tests.  He was brilliant at verbal tasks but only in the top third for mathematics.  Any guidance counsellor would have steered him away from mathematics and into something more verbal.

So were the 8 years he spent on mathematics wasted?  Not really.  Most people remember their time at university as a good time in their lives and he had 8 years of that, which he did enjoy.  And coming from an affluent family he did not have fees or loans to worry about.

But it all worked out in the end.  After he gave up on mathematics, he studied computer programming for a year.  And he found his niche there. He did use his verbal ability, but in a non-obvious way.  He was soon hired as a computer programmer.  And he loves doing it.  He gets paid a lot of money to do what is for him fun.  And why is it fun?  Partly  because it is easy for him but also because it is like a puzzle that you always manage to solve.  As a former FORTRAN programmer myself, I can vouch for how rewarding it is.

Programming is basically an exercise in being relentlessly precise and logical so it seems a bit odd that it should be associated with verbal ability but it seems to be. My strengths too  are mostly verbal rather than mathematical and I almost got to the stage where I could write FORTRAN in my sleep.  FORTRAN dreams?  They can happen, though they don't lead to usable code

But the point is that a computer language is a language, if I can be tautological. A language like FORTRAN or C is a way of talking to a computer and telling it to do things -- so that is how it seems to work.  The commands in a computer language are in fact mostly in English:  DO, IF, SWITCH, WRITE etc.  It's a reminder that computers are another great gift to the world from the English-speaking people -- people whom the Left scornfully refer to as "Dead white males".

So the lad was derailed for 8 years by good teachers. He spent 8 years doing something that was hard for him and which led nowhere -- but needed only one year of studies to reach his Elysium.  He could have reached it much earlier.

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

Thursday, December 24, 2015

WV Teacher Convicted of Distributing Narcotics

Tressie Duffy

(Wheeling, West Virginia) A local doctor, Tressie Montene (Bosley) Duffy, was convicted in federal court for facilitating the unlawful distribution of narcotic painkillers.

Duffy used her practice to illegally distribute painkillers.

Duffy pleaded guilty to distribution of oxycodone and faces up to 20 years in prison when sentenced.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

California Teacher Accused of Sex with Students

Vanessa Hooker

(Kern County, California) A 34-year-old teacher at Beardsley Junior High School, Vanessa Hooker, has been accused of sexual contact with a 14-year-old and two 16-year-old male students.
Hooker was exchanging texts with all three victims and the texts were sexually explicit according to the documents.

Deputies said the teens engaged in digital penetration, mutual masturbation and oral copulation with Hooker.
Hooker was arrested and charged with multiple felonies.

Wisconsin Teacher Accused of Nasty with Student

April Novak

(Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin) A local teacher, April Novak, has been accused of sexual assault of a student.
On December 11 a teacher reported to Menomonee Falls administration that he observed a male student and Novak, a reading specialist, embraced with a possible kiss in her classroom.

The student told police they engaged sexual intercourse on the couch in her classroom and performed oral sex on each other at least five times.
Novak's husband has filed for divorce.

Where has all the new money gone?

A great puzzle for economists is that Obama has issued vast quantities of new money to pay for his administration's extravagance without the expected downside: roaring inflation. All of history tells us that printing more and more money makes prices skyrocket.  So how come price rises have mostly been modest? 

The answer has to lie with what economists call the velocity of circulation.  And that is put forward in the article below.  Roughly translated into layman's terms, it says that both companies and individuals are saving more and tending to spend it on big things rather than a lot of little things when they do spend.  So that reduces demand, which keeps prices down.  The writer below also suggests a major reason why people and companies are keeping their hands in their pockets: Government regulation of almost anything that moves

Velocity is an indicator that buyers and sellers agree on a price, that the price is "right" and not an outlier. That's why you see a stock move on high volume "confirming" the move, because it means the prices wasn't "right" at the previous level, while more people agree the new price is fair.

If prices are allowed to go where they need to without pressure and manipulation, you will always have velocity, as the most buyers and sellers will always agree at some price. Because this is true, low velocity cannot happen in a free market. Which means the only reason for low velocity (in this or the previous Depressions) is that someone has somehow managed to get an edge that prevents them from selling, from liquidating, at the true price, i.e. the one the buyers will agree to.

This has another corollary, that the measure of velocity on the Fed's own chart is the measure of the level of unnatural price manipulation on the market. We can watch this aggregate indicator of their failure in real time, by the Fed's own hand, and we can know the manipulation is ending when it rises.

So yes, the Fed, the governments, the insiders can manipulate to their heart's content, as they've been doing, but that unnatural pressure goes somewhere. And the pressure diverts into velocity.

As we saw in the Great Depression, or the Roman Empire, velocity can stagnate for 10, 20, or 1,000 years until the manipulation ends, property rights are restored, and we have a free market.

History has shown that may be a bargain they're willing to make, but it won't do the rest of us a lot of good."


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

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Georgia Teacher Accused of Sex with Student

Tera Ashley Horne

(Ware County, Georgia) A 32-year-old former teacher at Ware County High School, Tera Ashley Horne, has been arrested on felony sexual assault charges on an 18-year-old male student.

Horne turned herself in at the Ware County jail after a warrant was issued for her arrest.

Will global warming kill off our pine trees?

The modelling crap below claims it will but is most implausible. Pine trees are very widely distributed -- from the near-Arctic to the tropics. As I look down at the floor of the room where I am writing this, I see polished floorboards made of slash-pine, once super-abundant but now mostly cut out, in sub-tropical Queensland where I live. That such a versatile and hardly genus could be disturbed by a few degrees of climate change is absurd. The distribution of species might alter a little but that's it.

They have been around for at least 300 million years so they have survived huge climate changes in the past -- so it is unlikely that any piddly Warmist scenario will bother them. And note that some species -- such as the Bristlecone pine -- are amazingly hardy and survive in very unpromising situations to this day.

I like this humble sentence below however: "Our ability to accurately simulate drought-induced forest impacts remains highly uncertain"

UPDATE:  Here's some info from the FAO on how pines fail to thrive  in warm climates:

Tropical pine species play an especially important role in modern plantation forestry. Several species, mostly originating from the American or Asian tropics and subtropics are now widely cultivated.  Pines enjoy such great popularity because:

the large number of species allow choice for widely varying environmental conditions;

many thrive on a wide range of sites;

many flourish in dry, nutrient-poor soils or degraded sites;

the volume production of some species can be high to very high, even under unfavourable site conditions;

being robust pioneer species, pines are well suited for reforestation and for simple silviculture (monocultures and clear-felling);

wood qualities that are otherwise in limited supplies in the tropics - of uniform coniferous wood valued for production of lumber, chemical pulp, paper, particleboard, etc
Tragic, isn't it? [/sarcasm]

Multi-scale predictions of massive conifer mortality due to chronic temperature rise

N. G. McDowell net al


Global temperature rise and extremes accompanying drought threaten forests1, 2 and their associated climatic feedbacks3, 4. Our ability to accurately simulate drought-induced forest impacts remains highly uncertain5, 6 in part owing to our failure to integrate physiological measurements, regional-scale models, and dynamic global vegetation models (DGVMs). Here we show consistent predictions of widespread mortality of needleleaf evergreen trees (NET) within Southwest USA by 2100 using state-of-the-art models evaluated against empirical data sets. Experimentally, dominant Southwest USA NET species died when they fell below predawn water potential (Ψpd) thresholds (April–August mean) beyond which photosynthesis, hydraulic and stomatal conductance, and carbohydrate availability approached zero. The evaluated regional models accurately predicted NET Ψpd, and 91% of predictions (10 out of 11) exceeded mortality thresholds within the twenty-first century due to temperature rise. The independent DGVMs predicted ≥50% loss of Northern Hemisphere NET by 2100, consistent with the NET findings for Southwest USA. Notably, the global models underestimated future mortality within Southwest USA, highlighting that predictions of future mortality within global models may be underestimates. Taken together, the validated regional predictions and the global simulations predict widespread conifer loss in coming decades under projected global warming.

Nature Climate Change (2015) doi:10.1038/nclimate2873

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

Monday, December 21, 2015

Texas Teacher Booked for Improper Relations

Haeli Noelle Wey

(Austin, Texas) A 28-year-old math teacher formerly at Westlake High School, Haeli Noelle Wey, has been arrested for an improper relationship with two students.

Wey was booked into the Travis County Jail with bond set at $75,000.

Muslims Shield Christians


A group of Kenyan Muslims travelling on a bus ambushed by Islamist gunmen protected Christian passengers by refusing to be split into groups, according to eyewitnesses.

They told the militants "to kill them together or leave them alone", a local governor told Kenyan media.

At least two people were killed in the attack, near the north-eastern village of El Wak on the Somali border.

The Somali based al-Shabab group is the main suspect for the attack.
It's not often one hears of Muslims protecting Christians.

This should kill off the Statin religion (but it won't, of course)

There have been many anecdotal reports of statins adversely affecting mental functioning, to the point where the upsurge of Alzheimer's in recent decades could be nothing more than an effect of widespread statin use.

Scientists, however, rightly pooh-pooh anecdotal reports unless they are backed up by survey or other evidence.  So a recent study (below) is of great interest.  And its findings are striking. Where epidemiological reports in the medical literature characteristically make a big deal out of tiny odds ratios -- with ratios just above one being typical -- the odds ratio for the effect of statins is 4.4!  A very strong result by epidemiological standards.  So statins definitely can and do wreck your memory. The critics of statins are resoundingly vindicated.

The authors below don't want to believe their results, of course, so clutch for comfort their finding that ALL lipid lowering drugs -- not just statins -- wreck your memory. Quite how that is a comfort quite eludes me, however.  I would have thought that the finding shows that we NEED our lipids in our brains and that ANY attempt to lower them is destructive.  And statin critics have often made that point. There is of course a LOT of cholesterol in  our brains. It belongs there.

So we might ask what good is something that protects your heart but wrecks your brain?  But the reality is even worse than that.  A recent very comprehensive study found that statins did not even protect your heart. You were just as likely to die of heart failure with or without them.  Here are the statistics:

Statins reduced the numbers of patients experiencing non-fatal HF hospitalization (1344/66 238 vs. 1498/66 330; RR 0.90, 95% confidence interval, CI 0.84–0.97) and the composite HF outcome (1234/57 734 vs. 1344/57 836; RR 0.92, 95% CI 0.85–0.99) but not HF death (213/57 734 vs. 220/57 836; RR 0.97, 95% CI 0.80–1.17).

And since statins have an acknowledged muscle-weakening effect and the heart is one big muscle, the use of statins to treat the heart was always deeply paradoxical!  Words rarely fail me but that went close.

Clearly, the prescribing of statins to the general public should cease forthwith.

Statin Therapy and Risk of Acute Memory Impairment

Brian L. Strom et al.


Importance:  Reports on the association between statins and memory impairment are inconsistent.

Objective:  To assess whether statin users show acute decline in memory compared with nonusers and with users of nonstatin lipid-lowering drugs (LLDs).

Design, Setting, and Participants:  Using The Health Improvement Network database during January 13, 1987, through December 16, 2013, a retrospective cohort study compared 482 543 statin users with 2 control groups: 482 543 matched nonusers of any LLDs and all 26 484 users of nonstatin LLDs. A case-crossover study of 68 028 patients with incident acute memory loss evaluated exposure to statins during the period immediately before the outcome vs 3 earlier periods. Analysis was conducted from July 7, 2013, through January 15, 2015.

Results:  When compared with matched nonusers of any LLDs (using odds ratio [95% CI]), a strong association was present between first exposure to statins and incident acute memory loss diagnosed within 30 days immediately following exposure (fully adjusted, 4.40; 3.01-6.41). This association was not reproduced in the comparison of statins vs nonstatin LLDs (fully adjusted, 1.03; 0.63-1.66) but was also present when comparing nonstatin LLDs with matched nonuser controls (adjusted, 3.60; 1.34-9.70). The case-crossover analysis showed little association.

Conclusions and Relevance:  Both statin and nonstatin LLDs were strongly associated with acute memory loss in the first 30 days following exposure in users compared with nonusers but not when compared with each other. Thus, either all LLDs cause acute memory loss regardless of drug class or the association is the result of detection bias rather than a causal association.


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

Carolina Woman Accused of Sex Offenses

Amanda Elaine Collins

(Marion, North Carolina)
According to a news release from the McDowell County Sheriff’s Office, Detective J.T. Grindstaff charged Amanda Elaine Collins, 43, of Lawing Road in Marion, with six felony counts each of incest and statutory rape, four felony counts of child abuse and one felony count of taking indecent liberties with a child.[…]

The alleged victim was 13 years old, according to court documents.

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Crocodile baloney

The Warmists never stop.  Always a new scare.  This time it's crocs that are going to eat you as a result of global warming.  Why?  Because global warming will drive them towards the cooller waters of Southern Australia.  Just one problem:  Crocs are reptiles and they LIKE warmth. The warmer they are, the more active they are.  So where are they generally found?  In TROPICAL Australia -- around Cape York Peninsula and the Top End.  It's the HOTTEST part of Australia that they like.  They vote with their feet to show the best habitat for themselves. No wonder those who know crocodiles well in the wild dismiss the laboratory study reported below

And I have done my usual trick of looking up the underlying academic journal article (Diving in a warming world: the thermal sensitivity and plasticity of diving performance in juvenile estuarine crocodiles (Crocodylus porosus)).  When I do that, I often find that the authors have concluded what they wanted to conclude regardless of what their results show.  And so it seems here too.  I note the following sentence in the Abstract: "Maximal dive performances, however, were found to be thermally insensitive across the temperature range of 28–35°C".  Come again?  28–35°C is the temperature range they studied and the central claim of the article is that crocs can't stay underwater for long if the water is hot.  Yet that sentence asserts the exact opposite.  I give up!

The little lady whose Ph.D. research the article was based on -- Essie Rodgers -- would appear to have been very poorly supervised


Saltwater crocodiles may be forced to migrate from the north of Australia to the southern states because of global warming

A University of Queensland study has found the man eaters may be ill-equipped to adjust to rising water temperatures, prompting them to migrate to cooler environments.

The researchers found the higher water temperatures hindered their diving ability, putting the young crocs at risk from predators.

Professor Craig Franklin of the university's School of Biological Sciences said they have found crocodiles are not hardwired to adapt to water temperatures – unlike other cold blooded animals.

'It's likely that if the water is too hot, crocodiles might move to cooler regions, or will seek refuge in deep, cool water pockets to defend their dive times,' he said.

Lead author for the study, PhD student Essie Rodgers, said the study showed increases in water temperatures severely shortened crocodiles diving times.

'Crocodiles are ectothermic animals – where environmental temperatures strongly influence their body temperatures,' she said.

The lethal temperature for crocodiles is in the high 30s to low 40s, making water a critical refuge for the reptiles to avoid dehydration.

Experts have cast doubt on the study, with Crocodylus Park expert Grahame Webb telling NT News the prehistoric animals are highly resilient.

'They've been through plenty of dramatic changes in temperature and they've gone through that okay,' he said.

'I think its important to be careful with these doomsday predictions.'


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

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Carolina Woman Accused of Sex with Minor

Shaquna Lasha Grier

(Georgetown, South Carolina) A 20-year-old local woman, Shaquna Lasha Grier, has been arrested for an alleged sexual encounter with a 14-year-old boy.
Police said the boy told them he and Grier — whom he identified by name — had been speaking for two or three days before they met at about 4:25 p.m. on Dec. 12. The boy told them he and Grier were spending time together, police said, when she asked him if he wanted to “chop,” which, as he explained, referred to sexual intercourse.
Grier faces a count of criminal sexual conduct with a minor.

What happens when you use only quality data to measure warming?

I generally don't comment on reports that appear on the site of Anthony Watts, because I assume that anybody reading this blog will already be reading that one.  He has a much bigger readership than I do. This time I think I need to say something however.

The background is that Anthony is a skeptical meteorologist who has long bent over backwards to achieve some respectability among climate scientists. That is not my style at all  -- I never give an inch for the sake of popularity --  but maybe Anthony is right and I am wrong in the great scheme of things.  And he has finally got what must be his heart's desire by being allowed to present a paper at the AGU.  And it is that paper that I want to talk about.  The report below tells you some things about it but not, in my view, the most important things.

For a start, there is here a graph that summarizes Anthony's findings. It is too large for me to reproduce usefully on this page but you can see it if you click on the link.  It is an extraordinarily poor graph.  If I had been handed it as a student assignment in my statistics classes, I would have failed it. There is no calibration on the X axis and unexplained calibration on the Y axis.  So I have to be a bit approximate in some of the things I want to say about it.

One of the reasons statisticians graph things is to detect non-linear relationships -- and when I look at Athony's graph I immediately detect something of that kind.  The graph seems bimodal to me.  The temperature seems just about flat up to about the year 2000 and then takes a leap onto a new plateau after that time.  So what I think we see is not a steady upward trend but two flat records with a short sudden leap from one to the other.

But Anthonly ignores that.  His analysis looks only at a steady upward trend.  Why?  Because his whole presentation is designed not to rock the boat too much.  By combining the data from the '80s and '90s (which did show some warming) with the 21st century data (which shows no warming), he gets an overall upwards temperature rise -- which is just what the Warmists want.  By failing to consider the pre- and post- 2000 data separately, Anthony ignores the "pause", the period in the 21st century temperature record that even Warmists concede has shown no statistically significant change in global temperature.

Anthony will no doubt say that I misconceive what he was trying to do and that may be so but I am concerned that Warmists will now be able to say that a prominent skeptic has admitted that the globe is still warming after all -- when that is clearly not the case.  The overall temperature rise that Anthony reports is nothing more than a statistical artifact, and a deliberate one at that.

Here once again is the graph of the satellite temperature record:

Anthony's data are of course from the USA only so, logically, one could say that they tell us nothing about global temperatures. The USA could be entirely atypical of the globe. I am not, however, aware that anybody has ever put forward such an improbable proposition. In any case, my criticism concerns the misinterpretation of a graph, nothing more.

And if the graph is typical of the globe, it gives Warmists a new big problem. None of their models and theories even begin to account for a recent sudden step change in temperature over just a year or two. Or have we already had the famed "tipping point"?!

Surface temperatures recorded over three decades at 410 ideally situated weather stations are markedly lower than temperatures recorded at stations located near multiple heatsinks, according to a new study presented Thursday at the 2015 fall meeting of the American Geophysical Union in San Francisco.

The study examined the 30-year temperature records collected from a subset of 410 weather stations belonging to the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Historical Climatology Network (USHCN) of 1,218 stations.

“A 410-station subset of U.S. Historical Climatology stations is identified that experienced no changes in time of observation or station moves during the 1979-2008 period. These stations are classified on proximity to artificial surfaces, buildings, and other such objects with unnatural thermal mass,” according to the study, entitled Comparing of Temperature Trends Using an Unperturbed Subset of the U.S. Historical Climatology Network.

 “The United States temperature trends estimated from the relatively few stations in the classes with minimal artificial impact are found to be collectively about 2/3 as large as US trends estimated in the classes with greater expected artificial impact,” the researchers report.

The study “suggests that the trend for U.S. temperature will need to be corrected. We also see evidence of this same sort of siting problem around the world at many other official weather stations, suggesting that the same upward bias on trend also manifests itself in the global temperature record.”

However, “the data suggests that the divergence between well and poorly sited stations is gradual, not a result of spurious step change due to poor metadata,” they concluded.

“The majority of weather stations used by NOAA to detect climate change temperature signal have been compromised by encroachment of artificial surfaces like concrete, asphalt, and heat sources like air conditioner exhausts. This study demonstrates conclusively that this issue affects temperature trend and that NOAA’s methods are not correcting for this problem, resulting in an inflated temperature trend,” said lead author Anthony Watts, who blogs at Watts Up With That?

The best stations (Class 1) are defined as those situated on “flat and horizontal ground surrounded by a clear surface with a slope below 1/3 (<19 deg.). Grass/low vegetation ground cover <10 centimeters high. Sensors located at least 100 meters from artificial heating or reflecting surfaces, such as buildings, concrete surfaces, and parking lots. Far from large bodies of water, except if it is representative of the area, and then located at least 100 meters away. No shading when the sun elevation >3 degrees,” according to NOAA's 2002 Site Information Handbook.

The worst (Class 5) have their “temperature sensor located next to/above an artificial heating source, such as a building, roof top, parking lot, or concrete surface.”

“The poorest sites tend to be warmer,” explained co-author John Nielsen-Gammon, professor of atmospheric sciences at Texas A&M University.


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

Friday, December 18, 2015

Tennessee Fake Bomb Threat

Hazel Irene Gray

(Claiborne County, Tennessee) A 20-year-old local woman, Hazel Irene Gray, has been arrested for phoning in a fake bomb threat.

Gray has been charged with hoax device (threat), false report, interference with government operations and tampering with evidence.

Gray is in jail with bond set at $100,000.

Idaho Coach Guilty of Injury to Child - Update

Amanda Jo Ward

(Malad, Idaho) Former Malad High School girls’ basketball coach, Amanda Jo Ward, pleaded guilty to a reduced charge of injury to a child.

Sentencing is scheduled for February 19 when she faces a possible penalty of 10 years in prison.

* * * * *

Idaho Coach Accused of Sexual Misconduct
[Previous 10/21/15 post]
(Malad, Idaho) A 36-year-old teacher's aide and girls' basketball coach, Amanda Jo Ward, has been accused of sexually abusing a young girl.

Ward was arrested and arraigned.

Reportedly, Ward is the second female coach in Southeast Idaho to be charged with sexual misconduct in recent months.

Texas Teacher Claims She Fell in Love with Student, 15

Melanie Mobley

(Cypress, Texas) A 26-year-old local teacher with Cy-Fair ISD, Melanie Mobley, has been accused of engaging in an inappropriate relationship with a 15-year-old male student.
Mobley was called in for questioning on May 19, 2015 where she admitted to being "in love" with the teenager. After the meeting, administrators contacted law enforcement, according to court documents.
Mobley faces counts of improper relations with a student and indecency with a child.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Dakota Teacher Accused of Sex with Minor

Marissa Ashley Deslauriers

(Bottineau, North Dakota) A 24-year-old Bottineau Public Schools science teacher, Marissa Ashley Deslauriers, has been charged with one count of corruption or solicitation of a minor.

Deslauriers bond was set at $10,000.

UK: Climate deal 'signals end to gas cookers': They'll have to be phased out to meet new targets

Yet more expense and disruption from this evil Leftist hoax.  And even if we grant them their assumptions, what sense does it make?  Replacing a gas heater by a heat pump does not eliminate the need for an energy supply.  Heat pumps run on electricity that has to be generated somehow -- but how would the vast new demand for electricity be met?  Britain is already substantially over-run with windmills and solar farms but still gets only a tiny fraction of its electricity supply from them.  And domestic heating is mostly used at night, when the sun doesn't shine -- not that it shines much in Britain anyway

The Paris climate change deal spells the beginning of the end for cooking and heating with gas, experts claimed yesterday.

Within 15 years, British families may have to start phasing out gas cookers, fires and boilers if the UK is to meet new tougher targets aimed at halting rises in global temperature.

The United Nations agreement to stop global warming, approved by 195 countries at a summit in Paris after two weeks of intense negotiations, commits nations to reducing greenhouse gases from 2020 onwards to halt climate change.

It was hailed as historic by politicians. David Cameron said: ‘This global deal now means that the whole world has signed to play its part in halting climate change.’

But Britain’s energy plans will now have to be revised as our already stringent targets to reduce greenhouse gases are based on limiting global warming to a rise of 2C.

The new agreement is more ambitious, aimed at limiting warming to ‘well below’ 2C by the century’s end.

The UK is ‘absolutely committed’ to the deal and will be ‘making sure we deliver on it’, Energy Secretary Amber Rudd said yesterday.

Experts predict the stricter targets will mean the familiar sights of gas hobs and ovens and gas-fired boilers will become a thing of the past.

Jim Watson, professor of energy policy at Sussex University, said: ‘This will affect the power sector first, but as we move through to the 2030s and beyond we’ll have to find new ways of heating our homes and cooking our food.’

The Government’s Committee on Climate Change is pressing for alternatives to boilers such as heat pumps – devices which extract warmth from the ground or air.

It wants four million homes to be heated by such devices by 2030, despite each costing £12,000, with installations accelerating after that until gas plays a minimal role in heating and cooking in homes by 2050.

All gas-fired power stations must also close by the mid-2030s unless they strip CO2 from emissions.

Professor Watson added: ‘Gas has served us very well since the 1970s. Whatever we move to next, people will be moving to similar levels of comfort and controllability, which engineers need to get on with.’

Around 23million British homes use gas, with a third of natural gas used in Britain burnt by domestic boilers, cookers or heaters.

Britain is already committed to phasing out coal fired power stations by 2025.

But gas power stations will have to be phased out next, unless a way is found of capturing the CO2 they create – known as carbon capture and storage.

Gas, although cleaner than coal, is our biggest source of greenhouse gas emissions – generating 169million tons of CO2 in 2014.

Bob Ward, who is policy director at the Grantham Research Institute of Climate Change, said that to meet Britain’s commitments the days of cooking with gas were numbered.

He said: ‘The only possible use of fossil fuels that will continue is if they are used to generate electricity, but this will only happen if the carbon dioxide they create is captured and stored.

‘Gas cookers will be phased out, probably as soon as possible. I suspect manufacturers will simply stop making them.’

He added that in years to come some form of carbon tax putting up the cost of gas is inevitable – which will make electric cookers much cheaper than their gas rivals.

CCC chief executive Matthew Bell said: ‘For something like heating, by 2050 gas will be playing a much more limited role and a range of other technologies will have taken its place, meaning low-carbon sources of warmth – heat pumps and so on.’


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

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster

Minister of the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster

(Christchurch, New Zealand) Adherents of the religion known as "pastafarianism" wear colanders on their heads.
Now the adherents of the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster have been approved to perform marriage ceremonies in New Zealand.
Strange, eh?

California Teacher and Boy

Mysti Moriah Lingenfelter

(Sacramento, California) A 35-year-old teacher at Foothill Ranch Middle School, Mysti Moriah Lingenfelter, has been charged with lewd acts with a minor after allegedly engaging in oral sex in her classroom.

After arrest, Lingenfelter was released on bail.

Plankton and global warming:  Another big crock of the brown stuff 

A totally boring finding to the effect that warm-water creatures tend to live in warm water has been hyped into a threat to our fish dinners

I noted yesterday a new report that said plankton were dying out due to global warming.  And plankton are an important part of the marine food chain so the implication was that our fish dinners are threatened!  As someone who likes fish dinners I take that seriously, but I recently noted another threat to my fish dinners that turned out to be "poorly understood" so I was inclined to be suspicious of this threat too.   But I was a bit rushed for time yesterday -- I had to set aside some time for a sociable  dinner of excellent chili con carne -- so I contented myself with noting just a few immediately apparent oddities in the news report yesterday.

But today I have had time to look up the underlying academic document. It is Plankton 2015: State of Australia’s oceans, by Anthony Richardson et al., which describes itself as a "brochure".  It is NOT an academic journal article that has undergone the rigors of peer review etc. And the apparently most relevant piece of research by others that they cite turns out to be an unpublished honours thesis!  Rigor get thee behind me!

It is basically a bureaucratic document from the CSIRO, a once respectable but now rather controversial publicly-funded Australian scientific research organization.  Warmists have got hold of it so there goes scientific caution and integrity.

And the latest "brochure" is a good example of its intellectual decline and irresponsibility.  The very first statement in their "Summary for Policymakers" is: "Climate change is altering plankton distributions".  That is partly all well and good:  Plankton distributions along the long East coast of Australia do appear to have changed in various ways.  But no evidence that any have died out is presented and there is no note of any significant shrinkage in overall abundance -- so the threat to our fish dinners dies at that point.

But what about the first part of that sentence?  Is "Climate change" behind the plankton change?  We delve further into the report and find that claim most interestingly expanded:

"Water temperature off Maria Island (east coast of Tasmania) has warmed by 1.5°C since 1944, and is a consequence of global warming and its influence on the intensification of the warm, poleward-flowing East Australian Current (EAC). The EAC now makes more incursions into Tasmanian waters than previously. The increase in strength of the EAC is likely to be a response to climate change, and has contributed to ocean warming off Australia ~3–4 times the global average."

Isn't that fun? It's changes in ocean currents that are now the culprit and those changes are now only "likely" to have been effected by global warming!  Not a single piece of evidence or reference is given to support that "likelihood" however.  Let me guess why:  There isn't any.  It's just a statement of Warmist faith.

So they have NO data about effects of global warming.  And in fact it is worse than that.  Their findings are demonstrably NOT an effect of global warming.  They are a result of LOCAL warming.  How do we know that?  Because, as they themselves admit, the warming in Australian waters is much greater than the global average.  If it's not global, it's not global, if I need to put it that way.

So what the report amounts to is a report of totally predictable effects of a change in ocean currents.  And ocean currents change all the time and tend to be cyclic anyway.  So the opportunistic  pseudo-scientists of the CSIRO have dressed up a perfectly routine and uninteresting piece of research as if it proved something dramatic:  A threat to our food chain from global warming.  It does nothing of the sort.  It is just self-serving propaganda designed to shore up their research grants -- JR.

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


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