Americans Have the Solution to the Ebola Threat – Democrats and White House ignore it

I spoke with a neighbor who recently returned from a vacation in Sicily. The topic of Ebola came up and she asked, “Why aren’t we keeping people in countries with Ebola from coming to America?” That is the question more and more Americans are asking. President Obama and Democrats are avoiding the answer and ignoring the concern.

Shawn Bevans from IJ Review in a column titled “Americans Believe They Have the Solution to U.S. Ebola Threat – But the White House Isn’t Doing It” reports, “In light of the death of Thomas Eric Duncan, the first person diagnosed with Ebola in the U.S., officials from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have announced airport screening changes. Airline passengers arriving at 5 U.S. airports from Liberia, Guinea, and Sierra Leone would be subject to enhanced health screenings as part of an ongoing effort to help combat the prolific spread of the deadly virus.”

The five 5 airports are JFK, Dulles, O’Hare, Newark Liberty and Hartsfield-Jackson in Atlanta. These airports account for 94% of the individuals who travel into the U.S. from the three West African countries.

In 2010 President Obama stopped more intense airport screening procedures, recommended by the CDC, for infectious diseases like Ebola. USA Today’s Alison Young in 2010 reported:

The Obama administration has quietly scrapped plans to enact sweeping new federal quarantine regulations that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention touted four years ago as critical to protecting Americans from dangerous diseases spread by travelers.

The regulations, proposed in 2005 during the Bush administration amid fears of avian flu, would have given the federal government additional powers to detain sick airline passengers and those exposed to certain diseases. They also would have expanded requirements for airlines to report ill passengers to the CDC and mandated that airlines collect and maintain contact information for fliers in case they later needed to be traced as part of an investigation into an outbreak.

Airline and civil liberties groups, which had opposed the rules, praised their withdrawal.

Bevans writes, “Not all Americans are convinced, however, that a screening procedure is enough to prevent those infected with Ebola from entering our country. According to an NBC News survey, 58% of Americans are in favor of an all-out travel ban on flights originating from Liberia, Guinea, and Sierra Leone. Only 20% opposed the idea.”

In an Orwellian response to the growing concern of Ebola coming to America and support for a travel ban, President Obama’s CDC Director, Dr. Tom Frieden stated:

“The problem with [travel bans] is that it makes it extremely difficult to respond to the outbreak. . . . If we make it harder to respond to the outbreak in West Africa, it will spread not only in those three countries but to other parts of Africa and will ultimately increase the risk here.”

Dr. Frieden, along with President Obama and Democrats, does not seem to understand that Americans do not care about Ebola spreading to other parts of Africa, they only care about preventing it from coming to the U.S. Americans believe what happens is Africa needs to stay in Africa.

Americans look in dismay, and growing anger, at the President’s reluctance to protect the lives of Americans from Ebola and other diseases coming across our Southern borders. Democrats are siding with their leader – much to the chagrin of Main Street America.

‘Ringing Hollow and Phony’ Senator Bill Nelson Plays King Canute

The ancient King of England, Denmark, Norway and “some Swedes” was King Canute (985-1035 AD).  Modern writers have ascribed to him a story in which he took his courtiers down to the sea and in a fit of royal arrogance, commanded the tide to not come in and soil his regal boots. The tide won.

On Thursday, Florida’s Democrat Senator Nelson and others tried in a modern equivalent, to repeat old King Canute’s famous act by standing amongst the newly installed tidal pumps and pipes of Miami Beach and in effect commanding the tides to stand back. This time, though, the pumps worked well and many areas of Miami normally with inches of water on the roads were bone dry. King Canute would have proved his point as well a thousand years ago if he had Nelson’s pumps and a sea wall surrounding him!

The occasion was during one of many so-called “king tides,” and was a convenient backdrop for Senator Nelson to continue to spread the myth of manmade climate change while stumping for Charlie Christ and dissing his Republican opponent, current Florida Governor Rick Scott.

King tides are the result of a natural alignment of the Sun, Moon and the Earth that maximizes the gravitational pull on the Earth’s oceans thereby making tides higher than normal. In any case, the $15 million spent on the equipment to cure the problem worked just fine. That’s it. Problem solved! Hat’s off to the city engineers for fixing a problem that politicians, mostly Democrats like President Obama, Senator Nelson and candidate Crist have wasted $30 billion of taxpayer money trying to solve.

So here we are in Southeast Florida at “ground zero” for climate change. According to the Democrats and major environmental organizations, this is the most sensitive spot in the United States to sea level rise – the primary ill-effect of CO2 emissions. Yet, supposedly the worst effects of man’s industrial CO2 output has been cured with only $15 million worth of good plumbing and a few talented civil engineers.

The scare tactics of Senator Nelson, Charlie Crist and others in the Democrat party that Miami Beach flooding is but a sign of things to come, continues to ring hollow and phony.  The reasons are widely available for those who deal in facts and not political correctness. Here they are:

First, global warming (a.k.a. climate change), the nemesis for all global coastal regions, actually ended eighteen years ago, by one measurement. That’s right folks. THERE IS NO GLOBAL WARMING! Second. Not only has global warming ended, but the Earth’s oceans and atmospheres have been COOLING for roughly eleven years! Third and most important, the Sun has gone into a once-every-206 years ‘solar hibernation’ which ALWAYS, brings record cold climate lasting for decades. Fourth, with these solar cold cycles also come our worst earthquakes and volcanic eruptions, making the cold eras even more destructive to crops, livestock, and people. Fifth, this normal natural cycle will bring much colder oceans and shrinking sea levels for decades. By 2030 we should be at the same sea level we were in 1810! Please tell all you know – THERE IS NO THREAT TO ANYONE FROM SEA LEVEL RISE CAUSED BY MANKIND’s CO2!

What does all this mean? It means that we have been deceived by our leaders who wasted billions of taxpayer dollars. It means we have been conned by local, state, and federal officials and corrupt scientists using bad climate science as a tool for achieving political objectives.

This sad era in the history of the US is fortunately coming to a close as the Sun’s hibernation cuts back on the energy by which it warms us, bringing a long, potentially dangerous cold epoch. In the past, these solar events have brought massive global crop failures, social upheaval, and loss of life.

Here are our choices, for the elections in November, if not the rest of our lives. We can believe in the omnipotent, greenhouse gas politicians of today as in the story of the arrogant King Canute. Or, we can believe in honest, objective climate science and natural cycles.

How will you chose?

VIDEO: Why ‘Homosexual Marriage’ is not Biblical – in 5 minutes

I found this compelling video on Facebook. It is the best explanation of the Biblical rational against homosexuality. When I say Biblical I am referring to a historic explanation of why homosexuality has no social redeeming value. For the Bible is a historic document that tells of the foibles of mankind including mankind’s ability to fall from grace engaging in unnatural sexual acts. For homosexuality defies not only the Bible but nature and nature’s laws.

Homosexuality is as Australian psychologist Jack Rigby put it, “[I]n recent decades in the fractured Society in the West, there has been a very strange situation develop in which small numbers of Homosexuals have formed politically obnoxious very public and virulently demanding groups. This is creating a very dangerous situation for the great bulk of homosexuals who live quiet and integrated lives because there will be, without question, a violent mass backlash against them in the not distant future as has always happened in the past throughout the history of all races, Religions and Societies.”

Homosexuals always deny their Biblical sin and are intolerant of Christians who believe in their faith. Freedom of religion is an inalienable right embedded in the U.S. Constitution’s First Amendment.

“None of us are perfect and it is a sign of maturity personally and nationally to be able to accept imperfection in others. Only to the point at which the others threaten us,” note Rigby. Homosexuality has always been a threat to society, more so now than ever.

Watch why homosexual marriage is not Biblical:

Is Obama shutting down a power plant near you?

Six years ago, President Obama threatened thousands of hard-working Americans livelihoods with two sentences. “So if somebody wants to build a coal-fired plant they can. It’s just that it will bankrupt them…

And now, the President is trying to make good on his promise. The EPA’s new climate regulations would close down enough electrical generation capacity to reliably power 44.7 million homes. That’s enough power for twenty-one states west of the Mississippi.

More than 72 gigawatts (GW) of electrical generating capacity have already, or are now set to retire because of the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) regulations. The regulations causing these closures include the Mercury and Air Toxics Standards (colloquially called MATS, or Utility MACT)[1], proposed Cross State Air Pollution Rule (CSAPR)[2], and the proposed regulation of carbon dioxide emissions from existing power plants.

Energy-InventoryFINAL

To put 72 GW in perspective, that is enough electrical generation capacity to reliably power 44.7 million homes[3]—or every home in every state west of the Mississippi River, excluding Texas.[4] In other words, EPA is shutting down enough generating capacity to power every home in Washington, Oregon, California, Idaho, Nevada, Arizona, Utah, Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, New Mexico, North and South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma, Minnesota, Iowa, Missouri, Arkansas, and Louisiana.

Over 94 percent these retirements will come from generating units at coal-fired power plants, shuttering over one-fifth of the U.S.’s coal-fired generating capacity.[5] While some of the effected units will be converted to use new fuels, American families and businesses will pay the price with higher utility bills and less reliability for their electricity.

This report is an update of a report we first issued in October 2011.[6]  In the original report, we calculated that 28.3 GW of generating capacity would close as a result of EPA’s regulations. At the time, we warned, “…This number will grow as plant operators continue to release their EPA compliance plans.” Unfortunately, this statement has proven to be true and will continue to grow in the future as new EPA regulations continue to be released. This latest update shows that 72.7 GW of electrical generating capacity will now close—a 44.4 GW increase.

To calculate the impact of EPA’s rules, we first assumed that EPA’s modeling of the regulations correctly predicted which power plants would close as a result of the regulations. Then, we looked at statements, filings, and announcements from electrical generators where they stated they would be closing power plants and in which they cited EPA’s regulations as the precipitating cause of the plant closures. We then compared EPA’s modeling outputs with the announcements and created a master list of plant closures as the result of EPA regulations (the master list is below).

Combining actual announcements with EPA’s modeling shows that EPA’s modeling grossly underestimates the actual number of closures. Originally, EPA calculated that only 9.5 GW of electrical generating capacity would close as a result of its MACT and CSAPR rules. Before President Obama’s newly proposed regulations on existing power plants even begin take effect, however, it is clear that actual number will now be much higher. We predict that over 72 GW of power generating capacity will likely close—over seven times the amount originally predicted by EPA modeling. Worse, as utilities continue to assess how to comply with EPA’s finalized rules, there will again likely be further plant closure announcements in the future. In our original 2011 report there were 30 states with projected power plant closures. Today, that number has risen to 37.

NERC is Concerned about Reliability even though It Underestimates the Amount of Closures

It should be further noted that the North American Reliability Corporation’s (NERC) original modeling of the MACT rule and original CSAPR rules estimated that under the worst case, or “strict” scenarios, 16.3 GW of electricity capacity would be closed due to the regulations, and the Department of Energy’s (DOE) “stringent” test showed that only 21 GW of generating capacity would be closed. [7] More recently, however, NERC has admitted that, “Since January 2011, the introduction and implementation of several environmental regulations combined with increased natural gas availability has contributed to the closure of nearly 43 GW of baseload capacity.”[8] NERC has shown concern that the closures will cause electricity reliability problems.

According to their 2013 Summer Reliability Assessment, some areas of the country have not been able to build enough generation capacity to meet recent load growth. A major reason for this is uncertainty surrounding environmental regulations.[9] Because of these deficiencies, some areas will see their generation reserve margins fall below target levels that can jeopardize power reliability. According to NERC, “Insufficient reserves during peak hours could lead to increased risk of entering emergency operating conditions, including the possibility of curtailment…and even rotating outages of firm load.”[10]

How much greater will the reliability problems be, given that retirements appear to be higher than initial NERC estimates, and additional burdensome regulations are continually being added? 

Announced and EPA Projected Retirements Are Significantly Higher than DOE’s Worst Case Scenarios

As noted in our previous update, public statements and the Utility MACT itself showed that EPA relies heavily on a DOE study claiming that even under a theoretical “stringent” test, EPA Utility MACT and CSAPR regulations would only close 21 GW of generation. EPA then claimed this study proves regulations will not threaten reliability. Our analysis, however, shows that with the addition of President Obama’s newest proposed rules, EPA projections and operator announcements will total more than 72 GW of generation retirements—over 50 GW more than DOE’s supposedly ultra-strict test scenario.

In fact, the initial reliability assessment released by the EPA with their new CO2 restrictions on existing power plants even points out that regions in the Southeast and Northeast may experience effects from the regulation that “…raise concerns over reliability.”[11]

EPA Regulations are Already Causing Electricity Prices to Dramatically Rise

Unfortunately, recent EPA regulations are already greatly reducing U.S. coal power capacity and raising electricity prices for homes and businesses across the country. According to Dr. Julio Friedman, Assistant Secretary for Clean Coal at the U.S. Department of Energy, wholesale electricity prices could end up rising as much as 80 percent from the effects of these rules.[12]

This past winter demonstrated in real time the value of the existing coal fleet. During the winter of 2014, coal was the only fuel with the ability to meet demand increases for electricity, providing 92 percent of incremental electricity in January/February, 2014 versus the same months in 2013. Americans were harmed as the relentless cold indicated that prudent utility practices require large, baseload coal plants to stabilize the grid, keep society functioning, and maintain electricity availability. Many regions suffered; for example, in late January and early February 2014 some locations in the Midwest experienced gas prices as high as $35/MMBtu, and the Chicago Citygate price exceeded $40/MMBtu. Those figures are nearly 10 times higher than EIA’s estimated average price of $4.46/MMBtu for natural gas in 2014.

The result of these and ongoing EPA rules, if put into force, will be no new coal-fired plants in the United States and massive closures of existing coal plants. Since coal is our single largest source of electricity generation, replacing these units will require the construction of higher-cost renewable generating technologies and/or natural gas units that will need massive infrastructure improvements to meet the higher demand. And, consumers will need to pay for these changes. Those added costs will make utility bills unaffordable for many families and force industry to curb production, relocate, or shut down altogether slowing any further recovery in an already lagging economy.

POWER PLANT RETIREMENT LIST

BACKGROUND INFORMATION

LIST SOURCES

This list is derived from three sources: (1) EPA’s parsed modeling files, which identify the power-plant units that EPA models say will close as a result of either the Cross State Air Pollution Rule (CSAPR) or Mercury and Air Toxics Standards (MATS Rule); (2) news releases or press stories where a power-plant operator says a unit will or is likely to close due to EPA regulations; and (3) filings with state public utility commissions where a power-plant operator says a unit will or is likely to close due to EPA regulations. This list does not include the EPA’s parsed modeling files for the 111(d) rule. All sources are publically available information. Note that many of the plants originally projected to close by EPA modeling have already been retired.

EPA PARSED FILES

Process to Identify Units Closed by EPA Regulation

Individual power plants often have multiple boilers, called “units,” that generate electricity. EPA, in addition to overall modeling, models the impact that the Agency believes its regulations will have on each unit, at each power plant in America. EPA lists these results in “parsed files.” When producing parsed files for a regulation, EPA will first create a business-as-usual “base” case parsed file where the Agency details what it believes will happen absent EPA’s new regulation. Next, EPA creates a “policy” or “remedy” case parsed file showing how EPA believes plants will respond to a regulation. Thus, one can find the difference between these two cases, and figure out the impact EPA believes a regulation will have, by comparing the policy/remedy case parsed file to the base case parsed file. As such, the following steps were CSAPR and MATS Rule:

  1. For CSAPR, data from the parsed files for the CSAPR’s base case and remedy case were put on a single spreadsheet. The combined results were organized by plant name. Each plant listed in both the base case and remedy case was removed. Thus, the resulting list only shows those plants that EPA believes will close because of the

CSAPR. Plants projected to close under CSAPR rules were retained in this update despite the uncertain legal status of the rule. Regardless of the legal status, many of the plants that were originally projected by EPA modeling to be impacted have already been retired or converted. In these instances, some of the citations will reflect the public statements or announcements made stating these impacts rather than the original EPA modeling.

  1. For the MATS Rule, data from the parsed files for the MATS Rule’s base case and policy case were put on a single spreadsheet. The combined results were organized by plant name. Each plant listed in both the base case and policy case was removed.

Thus, the resulting list only shows those plants that EPA believes will close because of the MATS Rule.

  1. The resulting base case-free CSAPR list and MATS Rule list were then put on a single spreadsheet. The combined results were organized by plant name. In each instance where the CSAPR and the MATS Rule independently said the same plant would retire, one of the entries was deleted so as to not double-count it. The citation was modified to attribute the unit closure to both the CSAPR and MATS Rule.

POWER-PLANT OWNER PUBLIC ANNOUNCEMENTS

Ensuring that Retirements are Result of EPA Regulation

All retirements announced by plant owners in news releases or through public filings on this list were due to EPA regulation. In each such case, the source cited directly identifies EPA regulations as the sole or main reason for the power plant’s retirement.

Avoiding Double-Counting

If a unit was identified to close by both EPA parsed files and public announcements, then the duplicate entry was released. The unit’s citation was modified to indicate that both EPA and public announcements slated the unit for retirement.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Why is this list’s total retired capacity higher than EPA’s total?

The total retired capacity for this list is higher than EPA’s total because this list includes EPA’s projected unit retirements and unit retirements announced by power-plant operators. No unit cited by both sources was double counted.

Does this list include plants that will close even without the CSAPR or MATS Rule?

No. The parsed file results used in this list do not include business-as-usual base case results. In other words, if EPA modeled a unit to close even if the CSAPR or MATS Rule were not implemented, then that unit was not included.

EPA said only 4.7 GW will close, so why are these numbers higher?

The 4.7 GW retired coal-plant capacity figure is from the EPA Regulatory Impact Analysis (RIA) for the MATS Rule alone. The CSAPR RIA projects an additional 4.8 GW of coal-plant capacity to retire due to the CSAPR. When combined, the RIA’s project 9.5 GW of coal-plant capacity to retire due to the MATS Rule and CSAPR. As noted above, additional plant retirements are due to actually announced retirements.

When a power-plant operator announces that it is closing a certain unit, how do you know that is because of EPA regulations?

In each case where a retirement is attributed to public announcements, the cited source material lists EPA regulations as the sole or main reason for the plant’s retirement.

Some groups have said EPA regulations will retire up to 103 GW of coal-fired generation, but this list only shows 72 GW. Does this mean those projections are wrong?[13]

No. If anything this list gives more credibility to those higher retirement projections. This list is very conservative; it merely shows what units EPA says its regulations will close, plus specific units that plant-operators have said will close because of EPA regulations. Those analyses that show higher power-plant retirements than this list lay out what the final overall impact of EPA’s regulation will be. On the other hand, this list focuses just on the currently disclosed impact. Thus, this list will likely grow far higher, especially as states realize what will be needed to comply with recently announced 111(d) regulations. However, because this list already finds many more retirements than EPA projected, the Agency’s claim that its regulations will have minimal impact on electric generation are clearly incorrect.

EPA has said that other projections showing a high coal generation retirements were based on incorrect assumptions. Is that the case for this list?

No. The only modeling in this list is from EPA. Thus, any mistaken assumption would be EPA’s mistaken assumption. Otherwise, the remaining data is from actual public announcements detailing the imminent or highly possible closure of specific units at specific power plants. Since our initial release in 2011 it is evident that any claims of incorrect assumptions regarding coal plants were unfounded.

Does this list account for other EPA regulations that may impact power plants?

This list only includes the parsed files for EPA’s CSAPR and MATS Rule modeling. No other specific EPA models were consulted to compile this list. While some of the public statements from power plant operators cite specific EPA regulations like CSAPR, MATS and 111(d), many times the statements are more general and broadly cite EPA as the catalyst for retirement. Regardless, all of the publically announced plant retirements listed are due to EPA regulations.

REFERENCES

[1] Environmental Protection Agency, Regulatory Impact Analysis of the Proposed Toxics Rule, Mar. 2011, http://www.epa.gov/ttn/atw/utility/ria_toxics_rule.pdf.

[2] Environmental Protection Agency, Regulatory Impact Analysis (RIA) for the final Transport Rulehttp://www.epa.gov/airtransport/pdfs/FinalRIA.pdf. *** Note: At the time of this release, CSAPR is in legal limbo. In 2011, The D.C. Circuit issued a stay on CSAPR, but the D.C. Circuit’s opinion was vacated by the Supreme Court in 2014. EPA has filed a motion to have the stay on CSAPR lifted, but the D.C. Circuit has not yet ruled on the motion according to EPA’s website: http://www.epa.gov/airtransport/CSAPR/bulletins.html

[3] Assuming the 72 GW is made up solely of coal retirements with an 80 percent capacity factor

[4] http://quickfacts.census.gov/qfd/states/53000.html.

[5] Energy Information Agency, “Existing Net Summer Capacity by Energy Source and Producer Type, 2002 through 2012 (Megawatts)”, http://www.eia.gov/electricity/annual/html/epa_04_02_a.html

[6] Institute for Energy Research, IER Identifies Coal Fired Power Plants Likely to Close as Result of EPA Regulations, Oct. 7, 2011,http://instituteforenergyresearch.org/2011/10/07/ier-identifies-coal-fired-power-plants-likely-to-close-as-result-of-epa-regulations/.

[7] see North American Electric Reliability Corp, 2011 Long-Term Reliability Assessment, Nov. 2011, http://www.nerc.com/files/2011LTRA_Final.pdf.

[8] North American Reliability Corporation, “2014 Summer Reliability Assessment”, May 2014,http://www.nerc.com/pa/RAPA/ra/Reliability%20Assessments%20DL/2014SRA.pdf.

[9] North American Reliability Corporation, “2013 Summer Reliability Assessment”, May 2013, http://www.nerc.com/pa/RAPA/ra/Reliability%20Assessments%20DL/2013SRA_Final.pdf.

[10] ibid.

[11] Environmental Protection Agency, “Technical Support Document: Resource Adequacy and Reliability Analysis,”http://www2.epa.gov/sites/production/files/2014-06/documents/20140602tsd-resource-adequacy-reliability.pdf. Pg. 6.

[12] Aaron Larson, “CCS Could Increase Coal-Fired Electric Generation Costs By 70%–80%,” Power Magazine, February 13, 2014.

[13]http://www.ucsusa.org/sites/default/files/legacy/assets/documents/clean_energy/EPA-standards-and-electricity-reliability.pdf

EDITORS NOTE: The featured image is of the Big Bend power plant emits plumes of smoke and steam. TECO Energy-owned Tampa Electric still generates 55 percent of its electricity using coal. Source: SKIP O’ROURKE | Times (2002).

Democrat Governor: Legalizing Pot Was ‘Reckless.’ A New Study Proves Him Right [+Video]

The top Democrat in Colorado, Gov. John Hickenlooper, said Monday during a gubernatorial debate that legalizing marijuana in Colorado was “reckless.” His Republican opponent, Bob Beauprez, agreed.

According to The Huffington Post, Hickenlooper said, “I think for us to that that [legalize recreational use] without having all the data, there is not enough data, and to a certain extent you could say it was reckless.”

Hickenlooper is right and wrong.

He is certainly correct, and gets credit for admitting that legalizing the recreational use of marijuana in Colorado was reckless. As we have shown hereherehere and here, the negative social costs are proof positive that this radical experiment is not only reckless, but dangerous.

But Hickenlooper is wrong that there is “not enough data.”

As former Obama administration drug policy expert Kevin Sabet has said, the trope that marijuana is harmless and non-addictive is a myth. His book, “Reefer Sanity: Seven Great Myths About Marijuana,” is a must-read for anyone who actually wants “the data.”

But now there’s even more “data.”

pot in bottles

Marijuana and cannabis-infused products are displayed for sale at a marijuana dispensary in Denver, Colorado. Source: AP.

A definitive study published this week by the Journal of Addiction by professor Wayne Hall of Kings College London shows that marijuana is highly addictive, causes mental health problems and is a gateway drug to other illegal dangerous drugs.

Hall’s research, conducted over the past 20 years, confirms what other studies have shown:

  • Regular adolescent marijuana users have lower educational attainment than non-using peers;
  • Those users are more likely to use other illegal drugs;
  • Adolescent use produces intellectual impairment;
  • It doubles the risk of being diagnosed with schizophrenia;
  • And, not surprisingly, increases the risk of heart attacks in middle-aged adults.

Hickenlooper’s warning to other states should be heeded. Legalizing marijuana is reckless, no matter what the pot pushers say to the contrary.

COMMENTARY BY CULLY STIMSON

Portrait of Cully Stimson

Cully Stimson@cullystimson

Charles “Cully” D. Stimson is a leading expert in criminal law, military law, military commissions and detention policy at The Heritage Foundation’s Center for Legal and Judicial Studies. Read his research.

RELATED VIDEO: What are the physical effects of smoking cannabus/marijuana?

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Yulia Latynina: ‘Ebola in America’ and other fake problems

Yulia Latynina is one of Russia’s most prominent journalists and critics of Putin’s government. She is a columnist for Novaya Gazeta and The Moscow Times, as well as a popular talk show host at the Echo of Moscow radio station. In 2008, Latynina was presented the U.S. government’s Freedom Defenders Award by Condoleezza Rice. She has authored more than twenty fiction books, including crime drama and science fiction.

Latynina is also one of my favorite Russian-language columnists. She describes herself as a libertarian, although if she were to live in the U.S., she would probably be considered a conservative author of the magnitude of Ann Coulter, Mark Steyn, and Rush Limbaugh.

The following is one of her latest essays, in my translation. It was slightly shortened and edited to account for the differences in Russia’s and America’s broader polemical contexts.

‘Ebola in America’ and other fake problems our leaders love to fight

By Yulia Latynina
Originally published in Russian in Novaya Gazeta, Sept. 27, 2014

Speaking at the United Nations, President Obama called Ebola a major threat to humanity. The second place in this Threat-to-Humanity Olympics went to President Putin, with the Islamic Caliphate taking the bronze.

I’m naturally offended that my Russia didn’t finish first, but I’d rather talk about Ebola than about Putin. The Western TV commentators are as terrified of Ebola as the Russian TV commentators are terrified of what they call “Ukrainian fascists.” “The mortality rate is 90%,” claims the WHO. “The virus attacks the soft tissues of the body, kidneys, liver, blood vessels, literally melting everything into one bloody mess.” “There are no drugs or vaccines from Ebola.” The horror!

Let me ask a few inconvenient questions.

Africa has been a repeated source of terrible epidemics. In the middle of the sixth century AD, a plague that came from Africa to the Roman Empire killed in different areas 30 to 80 percent of the population. In the middle of the fourteenth century, a plague that came from Africa to Europe, killed in different areas 30 to 80 percent of the Europeans. Since airplanes weren’t in existence, the plague traveled by ship, rat, and flea. And in the twentieth century, with the advancements in air travel, Africa also gave us AIDS.

The Ebola virus (in its several varieties) has existed in Africa for thousands of years. How come this menace, which is worse than Putin and ISIS, has never caused epidemics similar to the plague, smallpox, or cholera, and was discovered only in 1976?

How come that since 1976, all of the 13 outbreaks of Ebola never left Africa, and even there the number of victims has been relatively small? (In 2007, the outbreak in Uganda claimed 37 lives, and the one in 2012 resulted in 17 deaths).

Let’s look at the facts.

First. The WHO says that mortality from Ebola is “up to 90%.” It’s a lie. More precisely, it’s a special kind of lie, which in Islam is known as taqiyya. This is when the words formally represent the truth, but because of the way they are phrased, the audiences hear something else.

Ebola reached 90% mortality only once, in 2003, in the Congo, where 128 people died out of 143 infected. But the current epidemic has the mortality rate of about 50%, and there were epidemics, when the rate dropped to 25%. We will later discuss what exactly, apart from the difference in the strains of viruses, causes such dissimilar death rates.

Second, very important. How does Ebola spread? The answer is that it’s not airborne. It is spread only through contact with blood or bodily fluids. The semen of a man who survived Ebola can remain a source of infection for up to three months.

In plain language, an Ebola epidemic can only happen in the total absence of hygiene. Therefore, the WHO statement on page one of its brochure on Ebola that the virus is spread “from person to person” is plain panic-mongering by means of the same taqiyya, that is, lying by withholding information. A virus that is only transmitted if one is using an infected syringe or a Third-World toilet, cannot cause an epidemic in the developed world.

Third, even more important. Ebola attacks different organs, but the main cause of death usually is, just as it is with cholera, dehydration. Give the patient enough fluids and administer an IV with saline solution to replenish the escaping potassium and magnesium, and the 90% mortality rate will become a 90% survival rate. Those “melting” internal organs aren’t caused by the virus, but are the result of the disappearing vital minerals that are being washed away through diarrhea and vomiting.

Fourth. Those Americans diagnosed with Ebola were all infected in Africa, bringing the disease to the United States. The death rate among them is zero. All have recovered and one is still being treated. The American doctors are admitting they aren’t sure what has helped more: the drugs or the general supportive care. [UPDATE: the infected Liberian man who entered the US has since died as his treatment had been unfortunately delayed – O.A.]

In 1972, an American doctor Thomas Cairns doing missionary work in the Congo, cut himself with a scalpel during an autopsy on a patient who had died of Ebola – a disease yet unknown to medical science. He survived because his wife, even under those conditions, treated him with a basic drip.

Fifth. That there is no cure for Ebola is also a lie. There already exist drugs like TMK-Ebola and ZMapp. If the medical bureaucracy is screaming into our ears about the terrible threat from Ebola, while being too clumsy and incompetent to approve the anti-Ebola drugs, that only means the deadly threat comes not as much from Ebola as from the bureaucracy itself. The same way, one can ban all TB medications and then scream, “Tuberculosis is fatal! There’s no cure!” By the way, the Japanese flu medication, Favipiravir, also helps with Ebola.

Sixth. That there is no vaccine for Ebola is also a lie. The vaccine exists; it was created by GlaxoSmithKline. At the beginning of the epidemic a few months ago, GlaxoSmithKline contacted the WHO with the offer to help, but was politely told to make itself scarce.

Seventh. The fact that the medical bureaucracy is sitting on its hands and still hasn’t approved the drugs and the vaccines for this dangerous disease (the devastating effect of Ebola on the human body is hard to overestimate) means only what most doctors already know: the wealthy developed countries aren’t under any real threat from the Ebola epidemic.

To summarize: Ebola epidemics occur only in Africa, due to the disastrous lack of hygiene and just as disastrous lack of healthcare. There is no chance that the virus, which is transmitted through vomit and contaminated syringes, and kills by dehydration, can create an epidemic in the United States, in Russia, or even in Albania.

The Ebola story is very similar to that of the Haitian earthquake. Remember how in 2010, a 7.0 point earthquake killed 220,000 people in Haiti? A few months later, a much stronger, 8.8 point earthquake in Chile killed about 700 people. Keep in mind that each whole-number point represents a 32-fold increase in released energy, and that the magnitude of 7.0 corresponds to the lower limit of a major earthquake.

That is, the Haitians were dying not so much because of the earthquake as because of the squalor and lack of proper construction materials. In the modern world, all devastating catastrophes (well, almost all) result not from natural disasters, but from disasters that are social and political. It is true for the viruses as much as it is for the earthquakes.

One of the original sources of the Ebola infection is the meat of our cousins – chimpanzees, gorillas, and monkeys. This is practically cannibalism: chimpanzees have the mind of a 4-year-old human child. Would you eat a 4-year-old child? In the Congo, they eat not only apes and monkeys, but also pygmies.

Today’s Ebola epidemic, the largest in history, has killed 2,900 people out of 6,200 infected. Did you know that every single year, according to the same WHO, 250,000-500,000 people die of the flu?

So what do we have in conclusion? We have poor African countries, where Ebola – no doubt a terrible disease – is only one of the symptoms of a major social disease known as the failed state. We also have the international bureaucracy, incapable of quickly approving new drugs and vaccines because of its large size and incompetence, while at the same time screaming, “Give us more money so we can save humanity from destruction!” And we have President Obama, who can’t even cope with real problems – whether it’s the 50 million Americans on food stamps, or the Islamic Caliphate, or Vladimir Putin – and instead, declares the major problem to be Ebola, which has no chance to become endemic in the United States.

When one doesn’t know how to solve real problems, it becomes necessary to invent fake ones. Those are easier to solve.

That is why the Islamists, instead of confronting their own squalor and barbarism, are fighting America. That is why Putin, instead of confronting theft and corruption in Russia, is fighting America and Ukraine. And Obama, instead of confronting Putin and the Islamists, is fighting against Ebola.

EDITORS NOTE: This column was first published in the American Thinker.

Ebola Watch Florida: First Sarasota, then Miami, now Orlando

Since initially reporting on the first case of a person with “Ebola like symptoms” in Sarasota, FL on Friday, October 3rd, two more cases have appeared. One case is a teenager in Miami on Sunday and the third of a passenger at Orlando International Airport on Monday. The common factor with all three of these cases is they had all recently traveled to West Africa.

Each of these cases has been handled differently. The first case of Ebola like symptoms, reported in Sarasota, was handled by Sarasota Memorial Hospital. The patent was placed in isolation but not initially tested for the Ebola virus. The second patient, a teenager in Miami, was also placed in isolation but was tested for the Ebola virus.

In the third case Mark Lehman of WKMG Local Channel 6 Orlando reports, “A traveler at Orlando International Airport was isolated and removed from a flight after he demonstrated signs of illness… According to airport officials, the pilot notified the Centers for Disease Control when it was revealed that the man had traveled to West Africa at the end of August. After being examined by a medical team, it was determined that the passenger did not fit the criteria for Ebola or any other communicable disease. He was released, and airport operations were not affected.”

Florida Governor Rick Scott is not taking any chances with Ebola. On Monday, October 6th, Governor Scott released a statement saying he has partnered with Governor Rick Perry of Texas.

On October 8th, Governor Rick Scott released the following statement after his briefing with Florida health and emergency officials and an afternoon conference call with President Obama:

“We are still urging the President to fulfill our request for 30 testing kits the state has requested from the CDC and an additional 100 units of high-level protective gear. Florida still does not have any confirmed cases of Ebola, and we hope we never do, but we must continue to do everything possible to keep our citizens and our visitors safe.

“As to the discussion on international travel restrictions, I agree with Senator Bill Nelson and Governor Bobby Jindal that the White House needs to look at certain restrictions on travel from countries battling Ebola to keep Americans safe. This is not a partisan decision. It is a common sense decision. I assume the administration is doing everything they can to secure our country and combat the spread of this disease. That is what we are doing in Florida and I assume they are taking the same steps at the federal level.”

Currently Dallas, Texas is the only city with a confirmed case of a person with Ebola who voluntarily went to an emergency room for treatment. This patient has since died of Ebola. This does not include those intentionally brought to the United States with the Ebola virus with the approval of federal authorities. These patients are located in Nebraska, North Carolina and Georgia.

The following maps were created by the World Health Organization (WHO) and provides information on the spread of the Ebola virus. WHO will be updating these maps as more cases are discovered.

MAP 1: Geographic distribution of Ebola virus outbreaks in humans and animal:

global_ebolaoutbreakrisk_20140818-1

Click on the map for a larger view.

MAP 2: Ebola or Marburg virus diagnostic testing laboratories:

EDPLN-labs

Note the United States and Canada can only test for Ebola, not the Marburg virus. For a larger view click on the map.

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Pentagon does a Double-reverse on Ebola military mission

Entrepreneurs Make Science Work: Getting breakthroughs out of the laboratory by Matthew McCaffrey

Science doesn’t necessarily mean progress until it moves out of the lab and into the market.

Consider graphene: This major scientific breakthrough was discovered by Andre Geim and Konstantin Novoselov. They were awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics in 2010 for their work on the substance. Graphene is a layer of pure carbon just one atom in diameter, making it the thinnest existing material — essentially two-dimensional. And it’s remarkable in other ways, as well: it’s the lightest known substance, the strongest compound, the best conductor of heat at room temperature, and the best conductor of electricity. Because of these special properties, graphene, along with similar materials, is being touted as the Next Big Thing in science — and maybe in business too.

Since the initial results were produced, research to commercialize graphene has taken off in a big way; for instance, the University of Manchester announced it will be devoting £60 million to develop applications of the technology, and other universities and firms are following suit with similar ventures.

The story of graphene is a useful heuristic for scientific achievements in general, because when it comes to human progress, people tend to overlook one enormously important point: scientific discoveries and technological advances do not in and of themselves improve the welfare of humankind.

For science to improve our lives, it has to be part of them first. A scientific breakthrough in a laboratory, however technologically revolutionary, does not immediately benefit most people. In fact, the majority of scientific results are simply consumption goods for researchers and the institutions they work for. Universities and other publicly funded organizations, operating outside of most market forces, don’t usually produce lasting value in the marketplace. It’s only when entrepreneurs spread breakthroughs through the market that they begin to change lives for the better.

The role of markets can’t be emphasized enough, because it’s the profit-and-loss system that reveals the ultimate worth of an invention. It’s unlikely that the average consumer will see any real benefit from the vast majority of publicly funded research — and that’s one reason to be suspicious of the incessant calls from the scientific community for more subsidies. Still, is more research really a bad thing? Don’t public organizations get it right sometimes?

The Internet is usually held up as a classic case of government research that greatly benefitted humanity, proving that public organizations can produce path-breaking innovations just as market innovators do. But economists point out that the Internet wasn’t actually very useful until the market brought it to consumers. GPS navigation was another government science project that’s now a part of everyday life only because it was eventually commercialized. And so it goes with all manner of inventions and innovations: until entrepreneurs find ways to bring them into our daily lives, even the best ideas languish in obscurity.

Yes, public science sometimes turns out to be valuable to consumers — even a stopped clock is right twice a day. But science outside the sphere of entrepreneurial calculation lacks any direction in its search for lasting value, whereas inside the nexus of calculation, profit and loss push ceaselessly toward consumer satisfaction. Without the threat of loss, there is little reason for researchers to produce results with serious practical value. Entrepreneurs, on the other hand, don’t just have an incentive to spread useful science throughout society; in many ways, their livelihoods depend on it.

Government interference in the market, however, puts hard limits on what science can do for humanity. Take medical research as an example: if the regulatory cost of drug development is so high that some valuable research becomes impossible (it is), or if intellectual property laws prevent drugs from going to market at realistic prices (they do), then science as such can do little to help anyone. But entrepreneurial competition can increase the quality and quantity of drugs, lower the price, and ensure they get to the consumers who need them most urgently.

In other words, if we are going to be serious about scientific progress, we have to realize it goes hand in hand with entrepreneurial progress. When barriers to entry are eliminated and individual sovereignty rules the market, entrepreneurs can increase welfare using whatever scientific means are at hand. What’s more, their success in turn encourages the production of more and better research.

Our task is to do what we can to help entrepreneurs work with the top minds of science for the benefit of all. A good start would be to eliminate regulatory requirements that drive up the cost of R&D, along with the intellectual property laws that prevent competition in ideas. Once the barriers between research and enterprise have been broken down, we can use markets to get the best of both worlds.

matthew mccaffreyABOUT MATTHEW MCCAFFREY

Matthew McCaffrey is assistant professor of enterprise at the University of Manchester and editor of Libertarian Papers.

EDITORS NOTE: The featured image is courtesy of FEE and Shutterstock.

President Ebola

What does it tell you when Britain and France have stopped flights to and from the nations in Africa where Ebola has become a threat and the United States has not taken a similar measure?

What does it tell you when the President sends 3,000 U.S. troops on a “humanitarian” mission to West Africa? It tells me he has put the U.S. at risk if any or a portion of these troops return after having been infected.

As always history has lessons that cannot be ignored. In 1918 and 1919, there was a pandemic of the Spanish influenza that caught nations by surprise, infecting an estimated 500 million people and killing between 50 and a 100 million of them in three waves. It began in the U.S. in March 1918 at a crowded army camp, Fort Riley, Kansas.

As these troops, living in close proximity to one another, were transported between camps, the disease spread quickly even before they were assembled on East Coast ports on route to France. They in turn bought it to the trenches of war in Europe.

The second wave struck in 1918 at a naval facility in Boston and at the Camp Devens military base in Massachusetts. October 1918 was the most deadly month in which 195,000 Americans died. The Harvard University Open Library notes that the supply of health care workers, morticians, and grave diggers dwindled and mass graves were often dug to bury the dead. There were subsequent outbreaks in 1957 and 1968.

And, at some point, 3,000 U.S. troops will be returning from West Africa to military facilities here at home.

Thus far we have been fortunate to have identified the case of the Ebola victim who had entered the nation from Liberia, but there are few guarantees that more will not be found or deterred. The Oct 4th Washington Post reports that “Since July, hospitals around the country have reported more than 100 cases involving Ebola-like symptoms to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.”

Largely unknown is that 90,000 Americans die annually from preventable infections they acquire while in hospitals!

The concern about illnesses entering the U.S. is particularly true of our southern border which remains porous. Thank goodness Texas has taken measures to tighten its border security, but I am reminded that the Obama administration sued Arizona when it attempted to increase its security against the influx of illegal aliens.

Obama is the President who engineered an invasion of thousands of children and others from Latin America and then distributed them to various states without informing their governors or other authorities of who and where they were. Not surprisingly, in recent months cases of an enterovirus respiratory disease affecting school-age children have been reported around the nation.

Obama has no regard for the sovereignty of the nation or its immigration laws.

This is the same President who has made it clear that he intends to extend amnesty by executive order to an estimated eleven million illegal aliens, but not until after the midterm elections in November. I doubt that he has the constitutional power to do this. I hope the U.S. Congress has the means and the will to negate this.

The U.S. has a healthcare system that is the envy of the world, but the introduction of ObamaCare is already having negative effects on its administration and the former system of privately purchased healthcare insurance. Hundreds of thousands of Americans who had such insurance have lost it and those who signed up for ObamaCare are discovering it is far more expensive.

Perhaps the most under-reported story thus far regarding Ebola is the fact that in 2010, according to The Daily Caller, “the administration of President Barack Obama moved with virtually no fanfare to abandon a comprehensive set of regulations which the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) had called essential to preventing international travelers from spreading deadly diseases inside the United States.” Among the viral diseases of concern was Ebola.

I want to have confidence in the Centers for Disease Control, but after witnessing the failures of one government agency after another including the Secret Service, I wish I felt better about them.

I have no doubt its staff are seriously concerned and doing what they can to respond to the threat, but I also think they and the rest of us are at risk from a regime led by a man whose incompetence has written a new chapter in the history of the presidency.

I wish that I felt confident that the Obama administration will take such steps as are necessary to keep the Ebola threat from harming the health of the nation such as not issuing visas to those from the affected nations in Africa, but the record to date limits that confidence.

© Alan Caruba, 2014

RELATED ARTICLE: Obama administration scraps quarantine regulations – USA Today

Obama’s Climate Legacy DOA?

We are told that Barack Obama hopes to leave a legacy of stopping global warming/climate change/climate disruption as his major accomplishment in his last term. If so, even Obama must be discouraged by his latest failure, along with the many others that have occupied the media in the last two weeks. The People’s Climate March (September 21st, 2014) was a dismal failure, the Climate Summit at the United Nations (September 23, 2014) was even worse.

The fiasco began with a lengthy article in Saturday’s Wall Street Journal by Dr. Steven Koonin, a former Undersecretary for Science in Obama’s Energy Department, titled “Climate Science is Not Settled.”

In the article Dr. Koonin was refreshingly honest in admitting that decades of computer modeling (and $150 billion) have brought us no further in understanding or predicting the climate. Climate models simply don’t match actual climate data. There has been no global warming – measured by ground thermometers and by satellites and balloons – for 18 years. Antarctic sea ice is at a record high; Arctic sea ice is coming back to normal levels (in spite of official forecasts of an ice-free Arctic in 2013). Major hurricanes hitting the US are at a record low (since 2005’s Wilma); tornadoes are far below average for three years in a row. Increasing CO2 demonstrably doesn’t cause warmer temperatures.

Below is a plot of atmospheric temperature differences from average as a function of CO2 content. Temperature goes up, goes down, and, on the whole, stays the same as CO2 increases. Do you see a correlation here? The correlation (R2) coefficient is 0.002; this is laughably irrelevant. Thursday’s WSJ contains a rebuttal letter from Ben Santer of Lawrence Livermore Labs, insisting that terrible climatic events are obvious. Dr. Santer’s insistence is not a substitute for data.

CO2tempcorr

For a larger view click on the chart.

end-capitalism-2a

The People’s Climate March in New York City. For a larger view click on the image.

On Sunday 100,000 socialists showed up for the People’s Climate March in New York City. The picture on the right demonstrates their understanding of climate science:

“Capitalism is the Disease; Climate Change is the Symptom; Socialism is the Cure.”

Good luck with that one, kids; socialism has never helped the world’s biggest problem – poverty. Ask the Indians, ask the Chinese. I watched the People’s March on television where several of the marchers proudly identified themselves as illegals who came from some third world country to tell you and me how to improve America.

On Tuesday (September 22, 2014) the U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry lectured Foreign Ministers from 120 countries on the importance of stopping Climate Change, which is more dangerous than the Islamic State (ISIS). According to Kerry the Islamic State is only a local problem, but “climate change affects the whole world.”

unsummit_climate

United Nations climate summit.

You may rightly wonder why the diplomats came back on Wednesday to hear Barack, but there’s a good reason – money.

Remember the Climate Conference in 2009 at Copenhagen, that President Obama had to flee hurriedly to get back to the White House ahead of a blizzard? Before he left, he promised to contribute to a Green Climate Fund; wealthy countries (you know who that is, right?) promised $100 Billion. So far, the Green Climate Fund has $2.3 Billion, of which $1.3 Billion was raised last week. Did I mention that the deal is for an annual $100 Billion to help developing countries? Even with global warming, Hell will freeze first. But the UN marches on. The next meeting is in November, in Lima; the goal is to raise $10 Billion for the Climate Fund.

In the meantime, China has stated it has no intention of reducing its CO2 emissions (now 28% of the world’s total). India has made the same declaration. To quote Prime Minister Narendra Modi:

“The world had agreed on a beautiful balance of collective action – common but differentiated responsibilities. That should form the basis of continued action. This also means that the developed countries must fulfill their commitments for funding and technology transfer”.

Mr. Modi is quoting from the Kyoto Protocol, which died because of China and India’s refusal to limit their emissions. But it’s still our obligation to send money and technology. Sure!

In short, I think Mr. Obama’s “Climate Legacy” is dead, especially if the Polar Vortex returns this Winter.

But diminishing America’s technological and commercial leadership – by shutting down our fossil fuel energy advantages – fits well in the Obama ideology of trashing America. He’ll keep trying.

And speaking of the Polar Vortex, New England utility National Grid has announced that household natural gas prices will go up by 37%, about $33 per month over last year. This sounds like a cruel joke; natural gas prices are going down, because of fracking, right? Yes, but because of the low price, everyone wants all the natural gas they can get – i.e., demand is way up. But the region’s two major natural gas pipelines are already practically filled to the brim, constricting supply and sending already-elevated rates ever higher.“We’re a stranded region,” says Gilbert Metcalf, an economics professor at Tufts University. “We have a major bottleneck for getting natural gas into New England.” The EPA’s efforts to shut down coal-fired generators adds to New England’s problem.

Elsewhere, the Bardarbunga volcanic vent in Iceland continues pouring out molten lava, throwing it 130 meters into the air. Yes, that’s the report – 130 meters. For comparison, the Statue of Liberty, from ground to torch, is 93 meters; the Brooklyn Bridge is 84 meters above the water. The smell of sulfur in the air is evident as far away as Paris. How long will this continue? The Laki eruption in 1783-1784 went on for eight months, and caused extremely cold weather around the world. It also caused thousands of deaths.

And, in Japan, a volcano erupted without warning, killing a number of Summer mountain climbers. Suspicion is growing that this increased volcanic activity is caused by, yes, you guessed it, global warming. According to the National Post:

19,000 years ago the glaciers of the most recent Glacial Age (i.e., the Wisconsin Glaciation) began to melt, lifting billions of tons of ice off Earth’s crust and weakening the ability of the crust to resist the flow of magma from below. The magma from the mantle then was able to surge up and out. This is demonstrated by the numerous volcanoes in the British Isles and Scandinavia, which were heavily glaciated in…oh, wait!

However, in spite of the disappointments at the People’s Climate March and the UN Climate Conference, the Administration is bringing out the heavy guns – yes, Vice-President Joe Biden has added his voice to the scientists warning us of the dangers of anthropogenic climate disruption.

The VP recently reminded us of “the 161,000…fathers, mothers, brothers, grandparents….lost” in the tornadoes in Joplin, Missouri in 2011. Not to mention the “thousands of cars tossed around like leaves.” Incidentally, Joplin’s population is about 50,000. That, friends, is the man who’s a heartbeat away from the presidency.

Not to be outdone, the Brits have a rival to Biden. Ebola may be more dramatic, but climate change is a bigger threat to public health. That’s the conclusion of the British Medical Journal (BMJ), a weekly peer-reviewed medical journal, publishing since 1840. This week it ran an editorial calling on the UN’s World Health Organization (WHO) to declare climate change a public health emergency.

“Deaths from Ebola infection, tragic and frightening though they are, will pale into insignificance when compared with the mayhem we can expect for our children and grandchildren if the world does nothing to check its carbon emissions,” said the editorial, written by the magazine’s editor in chief, Fiona Godlee.

I don’t make this stuff up, folks, I just report it. But I figure quoting these people – occasionally – is as good as trying to argue with them.

Ebola comes to Sarasota, Florida? Local hospital does not test patient for the virus! [+Video]

Multiple media sources are reporting on the case of a man who was placed in isolation at Sarasota Memorial Hospital on Friday, October 3rd. ABC Action News Channel 7, in the below video, reports, “Doctors say a patient who arrived Friday at Sarasota Memorial Hospital [and who recently returned from a trip to West Africa] with symptoms similar to Ebola is ‘highly unlikely’ to have the deadly virus, according to a statement from the hospital.”

Sarasota Memorial Hospital (SMH) states “[H]e does not meet the CDC criteria for Ebola testing.”

Question: Why wasn’t this patient tested for the Ebola virus?

None of the media has asked this simple but important question. Is it not better to be safe than sorry? Just because the patient does not meet the CDC criteria for Ebola testing does not mean that the test shouldn’t be given so both the patient and community can know for sure the results.

According to the Washington Post, “Since July, hospitals around the country have reported more than 100 cases involving Ebola-like symptoms to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, officials there said. Only one patient so far — Thomas Duncan in Dallas — has been diagnosed with Ebola.” Reuters reports, “Ten people deemed to have been at the highest risk of exposure to an Ebola patient in Dallas are now under isolation while they are being closely monitored, local officials said on Friday.”

We spoke with a former emergency room doctor and he said that “the CDC criteria are merely guidelines.” He belives the doctors at SMH can, and in his opinion, “should have immediately tested the man for Ebola.” The doctor said that “Ebola is airborne and that the public is being misinformed about the threat of the Ebola virus pandemic.” He points out that the Ebola case is Texas was badly mishandled with the patient initially not diagnosed with the virus. That patient subsequently was released by the local hospital and later returned and confirmed to have the Ebola virus.

The doctor also noted that U. S. hospitals are seeing other diseases, like tuberculosis and polio, which have been previously eradicated. He attributes this rise of infected people to the lack of a proper screening of all illegals coming into the country particularly those from areas such as the Middle East and Africa.

The results of the test would have been back by now and if negative no further action is needed. But we don’t know what we don’t know. Not doing the test raises questions that do not need to be raised. If the test is positive then major issues need addressing such as: what flight was this man on, who did he come in contact with after his arrival and who may have been exposed while the man was at the SMH emergency room.

ABC News further reports:

As a precaution, officials say the hospital activated the appropriate infection control protocols, including placing the patient in isolation and reporting the case to Florida Department of Health officials. Supervisors at the health department confirmed the patient did not meet the risk criteria for Ebola testing.

The CDC website states the following about testing for Ebola:

Diagnosing Ebola in an person who has been infected for only a few days is difficult, because the early symptoms, such as fever, are nonspecific to Ebola infection and are seen often in patients with more commonly occurring diseases, such as malaria and typhoid fever.

However, if a person has the early symptoms of Ebola and has had contact with the blood or body fluids of a person sick with Ebola, contact with objects that have been contaminated with the blood or body fluids of a person sick with Ebola, or contact with infected animals, they should be isolated and public health professionals notified. Samples from the patient can then be collected and tested to confirm infection. [Emphasis added]

Read more.

CDC Questions and Answers on Ebola: How do I protect myself against Ebola?

UPDATE:

Governor Scott released the following statement today announcing further state preparedness actions while the Department of Health works with the CDC to test a patient for Ebola in Miami:

“Florida’s Department of Health is working with the federal CDC to test a patient at a local Miami hospital who was screened today for Ebola. It’s important to point out that this patient did not meet the CDC case definition for Ebola, but the test is being conducted out of an abundance of caution and health officials expect the test to rule out Ebola. We are in close communication with Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine, Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos A. Gimenez, and other local officials and health leaders in Miami-Dade.

“As we announced after our health briefing yesterday, Florida still does not have any confirmed cases of Ebola, and we hope we never do, but we are taking every preparedness step possible to keep our citizens and our visitors safe.

“We know from our experience in responding to hurricanes that we must prepare for the worst even as we hope for the best. As part of those preparedness efforts, Florida’s Department of Health today requested 30 additional Ebola testing kits from the CDC. This number of kits ensures that all of Florida’s 30 public hospitals have the ability to test patients who county health officials and the CDC believe need to be tested for Ebola. Additionally, the Department of Health requested 100 units of additional high-level personal protective equipment to ensure the state is ready to backfill any county whose medical personnel develop a future need for these supplies.

“We know Florida’s hospitals and county health offices are prepared to identify and treat patients who may have Ebola. While they are prepared on the local level, the state is requesting increased federal resources out of an abundance of caution for the unlikely event that we may have an extended response that warrants additional resources.

“In order to keep Floridians best informed about the Miami patient and any future developments, I have also asked the Division of Emergency Management to activate the state’s Joint Information Center tomorrow, Monday, at 9AM. Our first priority is to keep Florida’s residents and visitors safe and a big part of this effort will be to share accurate, timely information with the public.”

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CDC Warning: Immigrant Children Could Be Spreading This New Mystery Virus In Public Schools

Ebola Going Viral? Two Patients with the Disease’s Symptoms are Hospitalized on East Coast

Thousands from Ebola Nations Allowed to Enter U.S. Without Additional Screening

EDITORS NOTE: The featured video is courtesy of ABC 7 News.

Judge Richard Posner Ignores Empirical Evidence of Ex-’Gays,’ Wrongly Calls Homosexuality ‘Immutable’

Author of key “gay marriage” ruling espouses unproven “born gay” theory.

Judge Richard Posner needs to meet some EX-"gays.:

UNINFORMED: Judge Richard Posner needs to meet some EX-”gays.”

It is no small thing to accuse renowned legal scholar Richard Posner, Chief Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, and author of a recent controversial ruling in favor of homosexual “marriage,” of being ignorant—but it appears that is the case when it comes to Posner’s assertion that homosexuality is “immutable.”

It has been said of the prolific Posner, author of nearly 40 books, that he ”writes the way other men breathe,” but apparently the judge has never breathed in the wonderful reality that many men and women have overcome the destructive pull of homosexuality in their lives. Posner writes in the Appeals Court decision September 4, 2014 striking down Wisconsin’s and Indiana’s pro-traditional marriage laws:

“The challenged laws discriminate against a minority defined by an immutable characteristic…And there is little doubt that sexual orientation, the ground of the [anti-“gay marriage”] discrimination, is an immutable (and probably an innate, in the sense of in-born) characteristic rather than a choice” [pages 7, 9]

Such simplistic and unproven assertions cover over a multitude of politically incorrect facts and nuances that contradict the “gay” activist claim that “sexual orientation”–itself a tendentious social construct–is inborn, innocuous and unchangeable. This false narrative conveniently serves homosexual activists who insist theirs is a “civil rights” movement akin to Black Americans’ noble struggle for equality.

The problem for LGBT advocates is that while race and ethnicity are truly immutable–there are no “ex-Blacks” or “former Hispanics”—some people do change their sexual self-identity and behavior. (Not to mention their “gender identity”—the transgender “T” in “LGBT”—which progressives reflexively regard as fluid.) There is ample evidence that many homosexuals “acquired” their identity as a defensive maladaptation to the abuse, alienation or other trauma they experienced during their childhood. One example: CNN’s Don Lemon, who considers himself proudly “gay”–despite acknowledging that as a young boy he was sexually molested by an older teenage male in his neighborhood.

David-Kyle-Foster-small

CHANGED MAN: Former homosexual David Kyle Foster runs the Christian “Mastering Life Ministries,” which teaches people “how to heal sexual brokenness”–including those trapped in homosexuality.

Perhaps Judge Posner could deepen his understanding of homosexuality by visiting PFOX’s “Ex-Gay Awareness Conference”today and tomorrow in Washington, D.C. There he could meet real, live *former* homosexuals like Greg Quinlan and Christopher Doyle–who give the lie to his claim of immutability.

Or Posner could simply watch ex-“gay” testimonies like David Kyle Foster’s online [click HERE or go to www.PurePassion.us].

Moreover, Posner should consider that it is not only conservative Christians who speak to the reality of ex-“gay” change and evolving “sexual orientation”: former “lesbian” Chirlane McCray abandoned that identity when she fell in love with and married the future Mayor of New York, Bill de Blasio.

Lesbian author Camille Paglia said McCray’s lesbian past was ignored in the mayoral race “because it upsets the current ideological applecart. Everyone from the mainstream media to Lady Gaga is preaching the ‘born gay’ gospel, but nobody is born gay, and no scientific study claiming that has ever held up to later scrutiny.”

Judge Posner should take heed. He himself wrote in 1998: “It is the lack of an empirical footing that is and always has been the Achilles heel of constitutional law, not the lack of good constitutional theory.” (New York University Law Review“Against Constitutional Theory”).

Unfortunately, Posner has allowed his own bias in favor of “innate” homosexuality to negate the empirical evidence that “gayness” need not be permanent in a person’s life.

For information on AFTAH’s Oct. 25, 2014 banquet with Dr. Michael Brown CLICK HERE.

RELATED VIDEO:

‘Blatant nonsense’: Media hyped walrus climate scare stories debunked

Walrus Key Points:

  • Zoologist Dr. Susan Crockford: Mass haulouts of Pacific walrus and stampede deaths are not new, not due to low ice cover – ‘The attempts by WWF and others to link this event to global warming is self-serving nonsense that has nothing to do with science…this is blatant nonsense and those who support or encourage this interpretation are misinforming the public.’
  • ‘The Pacific walrus remains abundant, numbering at least 200,000 by some accounts, double the number in the 1950s’
  • ‘Dating back to at least the 1604, there have been reports of large walrus gatherings or haulouts.’ – ‘Walrus haulouts are not unusual and have long been recognized and islands have been set aside for such gatherings.’
  • Walruses known to migrate away from ice in late summer & fall: “In the non-reproductive season (late summer and fall) walruses tend to migrate away from the ice and form massive aggregations of tens of thousands of individuals on rocky beaches or outcrops.”
  • AP’s own reporting debunks unprecedented walrus claims:  The AP reported on 40,000 walruses in a haulout just 7 years ago in a single location.
  • Walrus stampede deaths drop dramatically from 3000 in 2007 to 50 in 2014?: AP: 2007: ‘3,000 walruses die in stampedes tied to Climate’
  • Walrus stampede deaths benefit polar bears: ‘Stampeded remains of 100 walruses fed up to 185 polar bears’

Climate Depot Special Report

The October 1, 2014 Associated Press article linking the walrus gathering to melting sea ice, lacks historical perspective and contains serious spin that would lead readers to erroneous conclusions about walruses and the climate. [Update: Zoologist Dr. Susan Crockford weighs in: Mass haulouts of Pacific walrus and stampede deaths are not new, not due to low ice cover – ‘The attempts by WWF and others to link this event to global warming is self-serving nonsense that has nothing to do with science…this is blatant nonsense and those who support or encourage this interpretation are misinforming the public.’ ]

First off, walruses are not endangered. According to the New York Times, “the Pacific walrus remains abundant, numbering at least 200,000 by some accounts, double the number in the 1950s.”

The AP article titled, “35,000 walrus come ashore in northwest Alaska”, claims “the gathering of walrus on shore is a phenomenon that has accompanied the loss of summer sea ice as the climate has warmed.” The AP even includes the environmental group World Wildlife Fund, to ramp up climate hype. “It’s another remarkable sign of the dramatic environmental conditions changing as the result of sea ice loss,” said Margaret Williams, managing director of the group’s Arctic program, by phone from Washington, D.C.Pacific Walrus_Davi

But the AP is recycling its own climate stories on walruses. See: 2009: AP: Walruses Gather as Ice Melts in the Arctic Sea (Sep 17 2009) Also see fact check on “melting” Arctic sea ice. See: Paper: ‘Myth of arctic meltdown’ : Stunning satellite images show ice cap has grown by an area twice the size of Alaska in two years – Despite Al Gore’s prediction it would be ICE-FREE by now

The media and green groups are implying that walrus hanging out by the tens of thousands is a new phenomenon and due to melting Arctic ice. But dating back to at least the 1604, there have been reports of large walrus gatherings or haulouts.

Excerpt: “Walruses became only really known in Europe after the 1604 expedition to the Kola Peninsula of the ship “Speed” of Muscovy Company, commanded by Stephen Bennet. On the way back to England the Speed reached what some years before a Dutch expedition had named “Bear Island”. The crew of the Speed discovered a haulout numbering about a thousand walruses on the island’s northern coast.”

According to a National Geographic article in 2007, walrus populations were not endangered. See: “While scientists lack a firm population estimate for the species, researchers have encountered herds as large as 100,000 in recent years”

Even the green activists group, the WWF, admits walrus ‘hangouts’ of tens of thousands are not unprecedented.

A 2009 WWF blog report noted: “WWF Polar Bear coordinator Geoff York returned on 17 September from a trip along the Russian coast and saw a haul out there with an estimated 20,000 walruses near Ryrkaipiy (on the Chukchi Peninsula).”

AP’s own reporting debunks walrus claims

Are 35,000 walruses gathering in “haulouts” on the shoreline with many be stampeded to death really that unusual? The answer is No!
The AP reported on 40,000 walruses in a haulout just 7 years ago in a single location. See: AP 12/14/2007: “40,000 in one spot” – “As a result, walruses came ashore earlier and stayed longer, congregating in extremely high numbers, with herds as big as 40,000 at Point Shmidt, a spot that had not been used by walruses as a “haulout” place for a century, scientists said.”

As climate blogger Tom Nelson noted in a December 28 2007 analysis:  “Are you saying that that spot *was* used as a haulout in earlier years?” Nelson wrote.

Nelson noted the media reported that “Walruses are vulnerable to stampedes when they gather in such large numbers. The appearance of a polar bear, a hunter or a low-flying airplane can send them rushing to the water.”

Nelson then asked: “Are stampedes ever caused by the appearance of researchers or low-flying research planes?”

Walrus stampede deaths drop dramatically from 3000 to 50?

The October 1, 2014 AP article notes with obvious concern for the walrus species: “Observers last week saw about 50 carcasses on the beach from animals that may have been killed in a stampede…”

Fifty walrus carcasses? That number is a significant improvement from 2007 when there were a reported 3000 dead walruses discovered from the late summer and fall on the Russian side of the Arctic, according to the AP’s own earlier reporting. See: 2007: ‘3,000 walruses die in stampedes tied to Climate’

Are walrus stampede deaths declining in recent years? It is difficult to say based on reports, but a high of 3000 deaths in 2007 (for a whole season) to a low of 50 deaths in 2014 for a single location, but it does not  appear to be an alarming trend. Why does the AP fail to put any historical perspective on their climate scare stories, especially when the AP’s own reporting from 7 years ago calls into question their claims?

The next issue is whether or not sea ice extent is critical to walruses in late summer and fall. According to this report, ice extent is not critical. As Nelson noted in 2007:

“When I read this in the (2007) ‘walrus’ Wikipedia entry, I’m also not convinced that lack of summer ice is necessarily a big deal.”

2007 Wikipedia entry: “In the non-reproductive season (late summer and fall) walruses tend to migrate away from the ice and form massive aggregations of tens of thousands of individuals on rocky beaches or outcrops.” [Note: This line has been omitted from the Wikipedia entry in 2014]

Walrus stampede deaths benefit polar bears

In addition, a 2007 WWF post inadvertently noted that the carcasses of stampeded walruses may actually be a great benefit to polar bears.

“Last fall some 20,000-30,000 animals were piled up there. No one has actually counted them all, but the Vankarem residents are certain the number is growing…In early winter, when the ice is re-forming and walruses leave the beach, up to 100 carcasses remain behind. These blubbery animals offer a perfect meal for wandering and hungry polar bears…In mid-November, a truck driver alerted the patrol to bear tracks on the beach. The wave had begun. For the next three weeks, bears making their way along the coast stopped to graze on the carcasses at this so-called “feeding point” instead of proceeding to the village. At one time alone, Sergey and his team counted 96 bears feeding on the walrus. In total they estimated that 185 bears had been circulating with a six mile radius around the village.”

The stampeded remains of 100 walruses fed up to 185 polar bears!

But despite the easily accessible historical data on walruses, the WWF and the AP and other media in 2014, continue to spin the haulouts as evidence of “climate change.”

Margaret Williams, WWF’s managing director of the Arctic program said in a September 18, 2014 article: “The massive concentration of walruses onshore—when they should be scattered broadly in ice-covered waters—is just one example of the impacts of climate change on the distribution of marine species in the Arctic.”

Is the WWF correct? Should walruses be “scattered broadly in ice-covered waters”? Not exactly. As Tom Nelson noted on Twitter, (Tom Nelson‏@tan123) “If walrus haulouts are a new thing, why was this walrus haulout sanctuary established in 1960”

According to the Alaskan government, walrus haulouts are not unusual and have long been recognized and islands have been set aside for such gatherings.

Excerpt: “The Walrus Islands State Game Sanctuary (WISGS), protects a group of seven small craggy islands and their adjacent waters in northern Bristol Bay, approximately 65 miles southwest of Dillingham. The WISGS includes Round Island, Summit Island, Crooked Island, High Island, Black Rock and The Twins. The WISGS was established in 1960 to protect one of the largest terrestrial haulout sites in North America for Pacific walrus (Odobenus rosmarus divergens).”

The Alaskan government report noted that numbers of 14,000 walrus haulouts in a single day were not unusual.

“Each summer large numbers of male walruses haul out on exposed, rocky beaches. Round Island is one of four major terrestrial haulouts in Alaska; the others are Capes Peirce (Togiak NWR), Newenham (Togiak NWR), and Seniavin (near Port Moller). Male walrus return to these haulouts every spring as the ice pack recedes northward, remaining in Bristol Bay to feed they haul out at these beach sites for several days between each feeding foray. The number of walrus using the island fluctuates significantly from year to year. However, up to 14,000 walrus have been counted on Round Island in a single day.”

Hunters have relied on large hangouts of walruses. This report details how walruses were “predictably present” and made for “clean and efficient butchering.”

Expert: “Qayassiq was especially important for walrus hunting because it was accessible in good weather; walruses were predictably present on the beach during the preferred fall hunt; and the beach is rocky, not sandy, promoting clean and efficient butchering. Hunting on haulouts was a highly organized activity.”

Update: Zoologist Dr. Susan Crockford weighs in: Mass haulouts of Pacific walrus and stampede deaths are not new, not due to low ice cover – ‘The attempts by WWF and others to link this event to global warming is self-serving nonsense that has nothing to do with science… this is blatant nonsense and those who support or encourage this interpretation are misinforming the public.’ – Large haulouts of walruses — such as the one making news at Point Lay, Alaska on the Chukchi Sea (and which happened before back in 2009 — are not a new phenomenon for this region over the last 45 years and thus cannot be due to low sea ice levels. Nor are deaths by stampede within these herds (composed primarily of females and their young) unusual, as a brief search of the literature reveals. At least two documented incidents like this have occurred in the recent past: one in 1978, on St. Lawrence Island and the associated Punuk Islands and the other in 1972, on Wrangell Island (Fay and Kelly 1980, excerpts below)… Here is how the WWF is spinning this recent gathering at Point Lay:

We are witnessing a slow-motion catastrophe in the Arctic,” said Lou Leonard, WWF’s vice president for climate change.”

Crockford Summed it up: “As you can see, this is blatant nonsense and those who support or encourage this interpretation are misinforming the public.”

Related Link: Tom Nelson’s 2007 report: About those walrus stampedes – FRIDAY, DECEMBER 28, 2007

Google currently shows about 14,000 hits for “walruses stampedes”.

Excerpts from a typical scare story, along with my comments:

The giant, tusked mammals typically clamber onto the sea ice to rest, or haul themselves onto land for just a few weeks at a time.

Ok, so it’s not unusual for them to haul up on land. Google shows a lot of pictures of them on land.

As a result, walruses came ashore earlier and stayed longer, congregating in extremely high numbers, with herds as big as 40,000 at Point Shmidt, a spot that had not been used by walruses as a “haulout” for a century, scientists said.

Are you saying that that spot *was* used as a haulout in earlier years?

Walruses are vulnerable to stampedes when they gather in such large numbers. The appearance of a polar bear, a hunter or a low-flying airplane can send them rushing to the water.

Are stampedes ever caused by the appearance of researchers or low-flying research planes?

Sure enough, scientists received reports of hundreds and hundreds of walruses dead of internal injuries suffered in stampedes. Many of the youngest and weakest animals, mostly calves born in the spring, were crushed.

Biologist Anatoly Kochnev of Russia’s Pacific Institute of Fisheries and Oceanography estimated 3,000 to 4,000 walruses out of population of perhaps 200,000 died, or two or three times the usual number on shoreline haulouts.

Were anecdotal reports of “hundreds and hundreds” used to come up with the estimate of 3,000 to 4,000? How much actual counting was done? What’s the baseline number of annual stampede deaths? Is anyone checking that any animals found dead were killed in stampedes, rather than dying from some other cause?

No large-scale walrus die-offs were seen in Alaska during the same period, apparently because the animals congregated in smaller groups on the American side of the Bering Strait, with the biggest known herd at about 2,500.

So when a walrus herd of 2,500 is panicked, stampede deaths are not a big deal, but when the herd reaches tens of thousands, we can expect lots of stampede deaths?

It seems to me that more walruses worldwide may die from hunting than from stampedes. Note an excerpt from this Sea World link:

As the Pacific walrus population grew, annual subsistence catches by indigenous Arctic peoples ranged from about 3,000 to 16,000 walruses per year until about 1990, and then decreased to an average of 5,789 animals per year from 1996 to 2000.

A related paragraph is here:

Pacific walrus meat has been used for the past 40 years to feed foxes which are kept on government – subsidised fur farms in Chukotka. One estimate made by natives was of an annual kill of 10,000 – 12,000 walruses per year, but this may have been overstated. Recent investigations have found that much of the meat is left to waste and that there are no markets for the resultant fox furs. Fox farming operations in Chukotka are currently in decline due to economic recession. Local unemployment caused by the general economic situation and the closure of the farms has however led to a recent increase in illegal head-hunting.

Some more background information is in this 2007 WWF post:

Last fall some 20,000-30,000 animals were piled up there. No one has actually counted them all, but the Vankarem residents are certain the number is growing.

In early winter, when the ice is re-forming and walruses leave the beach, up to 100 carcasses remain behind. These blubbery animals offer a perfect meal for wandering and hungry polar bears.

As soon as the walruses departed, the polar bear patrol spent several days working to collect the remains of walruses killed in the stampedes. Using a tractor, they carted the carcasses six miles west of the village, anticipating that the bears would come from the west in the fall. In the end, they scattered some 80 walruses around selected sites — and then they waited.

In mid-November, a truck driver alerted the patrol to bear tracks on the beach. The wave had begun. For the next three weeks, bears making their way along the coast stopped to graze on the carcasses at this so-called “feeding point” instead of proceeding to the village. At one time alone, Sergey and his team counted 96 bears feeding on the walrus. In total they estimated that 185 bears had been circulating with a six mile radius around the village.

My comments: Eighty-100 dead walruses out of 20,000-30,000 hauled out on land seems quite low, if Kochnev’s estimate of 3,000-4,000 total stampede deaths is correct (remember, his estimate is based on a population of maybe 200,000, many of which are not hauled out in huge herds).

Also, if polar bear numbers are so threatened by global warming, what are 185 of them doing within six miles of the village?

When I read stuff like this, I’m also not completely convinced that walruses are threatened with extinction:

…researchers have encountered herds as large as 100,000 in recent years…

When I read this in the “walrus” Wikipedia entry, I’m also not convinced that lack of summer ice is necessarily a big deal:

“In the non-reproductive season (late summer and fall) walruses tend to migrate away from the ice and form massive aggregations of tens of thousands of individuals on rocky beaches or outcrops.”

In the same entry, when I read this, I’m not convinced that polar bears really need year-round sea ice in order to feed successfully.”

Polar bears hunt walruses by rushing at beached aggregations and consuming those individuals that are crushed or wounded in the sudden mass exodus, typically younger or infirm animals.

Some video of polar bears successfully hunting walruses is here and here. I don’t see any ice in that first hunting scene.

What we learned at the NYC Climate Change March

Americans for Prosperity sent a camera crew to the People’s Climate March in New York City, where thousands of people gathered to express their concerns about climate change. Watch to find out what we learned from the folks in the climate change movement.

Watch our response to President Obama’s climate change speech at the UN:

One, Two, Three, Four! What are we protesting for?

The Dissident Prof was wondering why high school students would be staging walk-outs and protests over history standards, but suspected there had to be some teachers involved.  Today’s high school and college students are so immersed in stories about the glory days of protests that they will walk out of class and hold up a sign at any opportunity.  The Denver Post announced, “Hundreds of Jeffco students walk out in largest school board protest” and then the Huffington Post reported, “Nearly 1,000 Colorado Students Protest a Conservative Call to Change Their History Curriculum.”  Huff Post reporter Matt Ferner demonstrated he knows his stuff by penning with:

After calling for a history curriculum that downplays “social strife” and emphasizes “respect for authority,” a conservative Denver-area school board has attracted the same kind of civil disobedience it had hoped to gloss over in the classroom.

Well, we all know that every good thing in history has come about through protest.  Read the textbooks, watch the PBS videos, and listen to the classroom discussions, and you will know that protest has become a sacred rite.  So, it’s natural that the kiddos skip class and take to the streets.  Students once again are rising up!  Hey, it’s like the Sixties:

Hundreds of students marched Thursday in the fifth day of demonstrations against the Jefferson County school board, which oversees the second-largest school district in Colorado. Protests began last Friday after members of the board called for a review of the new Advanced Placement U.S. History (APUSH) curriculum to see whether it promotes “respect for authority” or encourages “civil disorder, social strife or disregard for the law.”

Uh, it’s not quite that simple.  For a quick summary of what the controversy is about read Jane Robbins’s excellent column in USA Today, “Exam erases U.S. exceptionalism.”  Robbins points to a Pioneer Institute study of the Advanced Placement U.S. History (APUSH) Curriculum Framework  that reveals that the new AP curriculum is ideologically slanted to the left. (Howard Zinn, for some reason, seemed to be pushed on the bright kids, but now that version of history is part of the official detailed AP curriculum.)

Leave it to Michelle Malkin to get to the bottom of the story about the protests: “‘A’ Is for Agitation: What’s Really Going on in Jefferson County Schools.”  It’s not about censorship (i.e., conservatives attempting to wipe out the negative aspects of U.S. history), but about union control.  Students followed teachers, who walked out to protest a new pay system based on performance.  At the same school board meeting where the pay system was approved, board members heard a proposal for a curriculum review committee; among the items was the APUSH curriculum.  Malkin writes,

While every liberal “-ism” has been incorporated into the school day — from environmentalism and collectivism to social justice activism to mandatory volunteerism, feminism and transgenderism — JeffCo school board members are now being mocked for simply proposing that citizenship, individualism and patriotism have a fundamental place at the schoolteacher’s table.

Imagine having a school board that is able to, and does, take a position on the curriculum and demands a balanced approach to teaching U.S. history!  How dare they oppose “The Schoolmaster” David Coleman, teaching applicant-reject (but Rhodes scholar), president of the College Board (which wrote the history standards) and architect of Common Core.  School board president Ken Witt told Malkin that he was upset about students missing class and being manipulated by teachers for their own interests: “The agitators’ ultimate goal is ‘to create turmoil and discredit [the] board before those negotiations.'”

Protest is in the air.  We are having pretty fall weather here in Central New York.  Last weekend was a good time to go to New York City for a march, and college students did.  After all, who would want to miss the “largest climate march in history” as the Columbia University student newspaper noted? They came from far and wide to participate with 400,000 other people in the People’s Climate March ahead of last week’s UN Climate Summit, for world leaders, including President Obama.  Eighty students and nine faculty and staff member traveled from Williams College in Massachusetts.  The Williams Record reported that protestors marched more than four miles and “carried signs and played live music.”  The social action was organized by the Williams Environmental Council.  Funding came from the Center for Environmental Studies, the Davis Center, the Department of Africana Studies, College Council and the Chaplain’s Office.  Dozens of college students were also among the contingent of 300 people from Minnesota.

Some groups did more than march.  They demanded their campus divest from fossil fuels investments.  This was in addition to the demand for “meaningful action” on climate change, as noted in the Columbia Spectator.

Divestment from fossil fuels was demanded by the “more than 45 Hamilton [College] students, alumni, faculty and staff” who “boarded buses, cars, trains and subways to arrive at the corner of 71st St. and Central Park West in New York City to participate in the People’s Climate March.”  The Spectator also reported, “Both Hamilton’s Environmental Action Group (HEAG) and Fossil Fuel Divestment Organization spearheaded the initiative to bring the marchers from Clinton, N.Y. to New York, N.Y.”–a distance of 249 miles by Thruway.

U.S. Messenger of Peace

U.S. Messenger of Peace

But it’s not as far as Minnesota…or the Marshall Islands, from whence came “spoken-word poet” Kathi Jetnil-Kijiner who reportedly moved the dignitaries to tears with her poem for her baby daughter about the threat of climate change.  Dissident Prof doesn’t know if climate change dignitary Leonardo DiCaprio jetted in from Hollywood as the United States Messenger of Peace, or if he did rub shoulders with any of the “people” in the People’s March.  But the Hamilton Spectator did report that “Several [students] were fortunate enough to run into longtime environmental writer and activist Bill McKibben.”  No doubt that is good use of “buses, cars, trains and subway trains” and the fossil fuels used to run them.