Monday, May 25, 2015

WILL THE ARCTIC BECOME A TEMPERATE ZONE?


Sea ice has been shrinking in the Arctic (although that trend has reversed in the last couple of years) while ice has been expanding in the Antarctic. But here is a dramatic prediction for the Arctic region:
This article [headlined "Indications Arctic May Become Temperate Zone," with subheading "Ice Fields Disappear"] predicts a long term dramatic change may be possible in the Arctic, describing “unheard of temperatures reported in the Arctic zone”. Further, reports indicate “great masses of ice have been replaced by moraines of earth and stones” indicating glacier retreat. The report goes on to say that “At many points, well known glaciers have entirely disappeared” and “Everywhere, rocks are exposed that never before have been touched by the sun’s rays, and some large snow fields presumably everlasting, have disappeared entirely.”
All indications are that the Arctic is undergoing and irreversible change.
The article begins:
The Arctic ocean is warming up, and icebergs are growing scarcer in some places, the seals finding the waters too hot…
Sounds familiar, doesn’t it? Well, it should. This kind of hysteria has been going on for a long time. The article is from the Anchorage Daily Times, November 2, 1922. Click to enlarge:
Screen Shot 2015-05-16 at 7.54.12 PM

Sunday, May 24, 2015

SHOW HILLARY THE MONEY


Bill and Hillary Clinton have made $25 million from speeches alone since January 2014, according to financial disclosures they filed pursuant to federal law. During this period, they made a combined total of 104 speeches — 3.25 speeches a month each.
No one who has been paying attention will be shocked by these numbers. However, plenty of folks who haven’t paid attention may be put off by them when they are highlighted by Hillary Clinton’s Republican opponent (assuming the Democrats nominate her).
To me, though, the most interesting aspect of the disclosure is the extent to which Hillary Clinton’s speaker fees came from companies with large amounts of money riding on government decisions. In these instances, Hillary wasn’t speaking to college students at the expense of the university. She was speaking to corporations that had no reason to pay to hear her other than the desire to curry favor with a strong presidential contender.
Vox Politics reports:
During Clinton’s tenure as Secretary of State, Corning [the upstate New York glass titan] lobbied the department on a variety of trade issues, including the Trans-Pacific Partnership. The company has donated between $100,000 and $250,000 to her family’s foundation. And, last July, when it was clear that Clinton would again seek the presidency in 2016, Corning coughed up a $225,500 honorarium for Clinton to speak. . . .
The $225,500 speaking fee didn’t go to help disease-stricken kids in an impoverished village on some long-forgotten patch of the planet. Nor did it go to a campaign account. It went to Hillary Clinton. Personally.
This is just the tip on the iceberg:
Corning’s in good company in padding the Clinton family bank account after lobbying the State Department and donating to the foundation. Qualcomm and salesforce.com did that, too. Irwin Jacobs, a founder of Qualcomm, and Marc Benioff, a founder of salesforce.com, also cut $25,000 checks to the now-defunct Ready for Hillary SuperPAC. Hillary Clinton spoke to their companies on the same day, October 14, 2014. She collected more than half a million dollars from them that day, adding to the $225,500 salesforce.com had paid her to speak eight months earlier.
And Microsoft, the American Institute of Architects, AT&T, SAP America, Oracle and Telefonica all paid Bill Clinton six-figure sums to speak as Hillary Clinton laid the groundwork for her presidential campaign.
That’s not all.
There’s a solid set of companies and associations that had nothing to do with the foundation but lobbied State while Clinton was there and then paid for her to speak to them. Xerox, the Biotechnology Industry Organization, and the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries, in addition to Corning, all lobbied Clinton’s department on trade matters and then invited her to earn an easy check.
These revelations differ from those pertaining to the Clinton Foundation. As Vox’s Jonathan Allen explains:
The latest episode in the Clinton money saga is different than the others because it involves the clear, direct personal enrichment of Hillary Clinton, presidential candidate, by people who have a lot of money at stake in the outcome of government decisions. . . .
There’s a reason government officials can’t accept gifts: They tend to have a corrupting effect. True, Hillary Clinton wasn’t a government official at the time the money was given. But it is very, very, very hard to see six-figure speaking fees paid by longtime political boosters with interests before the government — to a woman who has been running for president since the last time she lost — as anything but a gift.
This time, says Allen, the story is about Hillary Clinton having her pockets lined by the very people who seek to influence her. Not in some metaphorical sense. She’s literally being paid by them.”
Thus, the Clintons and their apologists cannot respond to the latest revelations by citing good work done by the Clinton Foundation. However, they can say that, given the timing, Hillary cannot yet have been influenced in making any decision by the speaking fees. She has been out of office during the relevant time period.
By contrast, Schweizer’s information permits the reasonable inference that large donations from shady foreign interests influenced Clinton’s decisions as Secretary of State. The inference can be drawn from (1) the fact of the contribution and (2) Clinton’s subsequent change of a position on matters of interest to the contributor.
But even without the possibility that Clinton has yet been influenced by speaking fees received from companies that want to lobby her, these fees may be problematic for Clinton, And not just because they undermine her efforts to paint herself as in touch with everyday Americans (her term).
Corporate America obviously believes it can influence Hillary Clinton by lining her pockets. This should make it difficult for “everyday Americans” to have faith that she will be their“champion.”

DHS IG REPORT UNDERCUTS ARGUMENT FOR OBAMA’S EXECUTIVE AMNESTY


In defense of President Obama’s executive amnesty, the Department of Justice has argued in court that the policy is a proper exercise of prosecutorial discretion. It claims that by deferring action on millions of illegal aliens, the Department of Homeland Security can “focus limited resources on higher priority aliens,” namely those who pose “threats to national security, border security, and public safety.”
However, as Hans von Spakovsky explains, a report by DHS Inspector General John Roth undercuts the Justice Department’s contention. The report, published on May 4, finds that the DHS “does not gather and analyze prosecutorial discretion data. . .” Thus it does not have the ability “to fully assess its current immigration enforcement activities and to develop future policy.”
In other words, the DHS isn’t collecting the information needed to focus its enforcement efforts on the most dangerous illegal immigrants. Thus, it’s difficult to take seriously Team Obama’s claim that the executive amnesty is being granted to enable the DHS to focus on these illegal immigrants. If the administration had any intention of so focusing, presumably the DHS would be gathering the data with which to do so.
The administration’s “prosecutorial discretion” argument is also undercut by the fact that the DHS currently refuses to deport large numbers of illegal immigrants it knows have committed serious crimes in the U.S. Von Spakovsky points to information released by the U.S. House Judiciary Committee at a hearing on April 14, 2015. It shows that ICE let loose on the American public 36,000 convicted criminal aliens in fiscal year 2013 and 30,558 in fiscal year 2014.
The offenders released included ones with convictions “involving dangerous drugs, assault and domestic violence, stolen vehicles, robbery, sex offenses, sexual assault, kidnapping, voluntary manslaughter, and even homicide.” In fact, “27 percent of the aliens released were so called ‘level 1s’ according to the Administration – the worst of the worst.”
In sum, not only is the DHS not collecting the data needed to exercise prosecutorial discretion, but it is releasing tens of thousands of dangerous aliens with full knowledge of their criminal convictions and criminal history. That, says von Spakovsky, is prosecutorial indiscretion of the worst kind.
The administration might respond that, relieved of enforcing the law against ordinary illegal immigrants, it will be able to collect better data and improve its enforcement record against dangerous aliens. The argument would be implausible.
The IG’s report points out that during the past two years, the relevant organizations with the DHS have received collectively about $21 billion annually. It can hardly be the case that the agency lacks the resources to engage in basic data collection needed to exercise meaningful prosecutorial discretion.
It seems clear, instead, that the prosecutorial discretion argument is simply a pretext being used to justify President Obama’s desire to deliver amnesty by fiat to a millions of illegal immigrants for ideological and political reasons.

Cultural Sensitivity Does Not Win Wars



Cultural Sensitivity Does Not Win Wars

When it comes to gaining or losing allegiance, the sword is mightier than the pen.
By David French 

Saturday, May 23, 2015

A POLICE-INVOLVED SHOOTING IN OMAHA


On Wednesday, Omaha police officers attempted to serve an arrest warrant on Marcus Wheeler, 26, who was wanted for an earlier shooting. Wheeler opened fire on the officers and killed one of them, Kerrie Orozco, 29:
Officer Kerrie Orozco, 29, died at Creighton University Medical Center shortly after the 1 p.m. shooting, Schmaderer said at a news conference. Schmaderer said the suspect, 26-year-old Marcus Wheeler, also died at the hospital.
Schmaderer said Orozco was part of a fugitive task force looking for Wheeler to serve a felony arrest warrant. Wheeler, who was wanted on a warrant charging him in an earlier shooting, opened fire on the officers as they approached him. Officers fired back, and Wheeler was later found behind a neighbor’s house suffering from gunshot wounds, the chief said. …
“Mr. Wheeler is a convicted felon and a known gang member,” he said.
Mrs. Orozco had just had a baby:
Orozco was a seven-year veteran of the department and worked in its gang unit, Schmaderer said. She was also a new mother with a premature baby who is in an Omaha hospital.
“(The baby) is set to be released from the hospital tomorrow,” Schmaderer said, his voice breaking. …
Besides her daughter, Orozco is survived by her husband, Hector Orozco, two stepchildren ages 6 and 7, her mother and two siblings.
Kerrie Orozco coached baseball at an Omaha Boys and Girls Club, was a Special Olympics volunteer and served as president of the Police Officers’ Ball to benefit the Special Olympics, the chief said. She also took in rescue dogs and was a Girl Scout mentor.
Kerrie Orozco
Kerrie Orozco
marcus+wheeler+640
There is nothing here for the Department of Justice to investigate, since there is no allegation that the Omaha police did anything wrong. So Loretta Lynch will take no notice. Nor will President Obama, Al Sharpton or anyone else suggest that the murder of Kerrie Orozco should inaugurate a candid national conversation, or should be an occasion for soul-searching. There will be no riots or demonstrations. Nothing happened in Omaha on Wednesday that advances any narrative of the Democratic Party. So there is nothing to see here, nothing to be said. No lessons to be drawn. You may as well just move along.

HILLARY WANTS THE POWER TO BAN BOOKS AND MOVIES THAT CRITICIZE HER


Hillary Clinton says that as president, she would have a litmus test for Supreme Court nominees: they must promise to vote to overturn the Citizens United case.
It is easy to understand why Hillary isn’t fond of Citizens United. The case involved a film called Hillary: The Movie that was critical of her. In Citizens United, the Supreme Court held that it was unconstitutional to criminalize showings of Hillary within 30 days of a primary or 60 days of a general election, simply because the movie (like all movies) was produced by a corporation. This is how the court’s majority described what was at stake in the case:
The law before us is an outright ban, backed by criminal sanctions. Section 441b makes it a felony for all corporations—including nonprofit advocacy corporations—either to expressly advocate the election or defeat of candidates or to broadcast electioneering communications within 30 days of a primary election and 60 days of a general election. Thus, the following acts would all be felonies under §441b: The Sierra Club runs an ad, within the crucial phase of 60 days before the general election, that exhorts the public to disapprove of a Congressman who favors logging in national forests; the National Rifle Association publishes a book urging the public to vote for the challenger because the incumbent U. S. Senator supports a handgun ban; and the American Civil Liberties Union creates a Web site telling the public to vote for a Presidential candidate in light of that candidate’s defense of free speech. These prohibitions are classic examples of censorship.
If Hillary gets her way and Citizens United is overturned, the path will be cleared for Congress to enact legislation that makes it a crime to criticize President Clinton in a book or movie. So far, the political class has only tried to ban books and movies that endorse or criticize candidates 60 days out from an election, but there is nothing magic about that number. Next time, they could punish anyone who publishes a book or produces a movie critical of Hillary 180 days, or 360 days before the next election. Is there any reason why Hillary’s Supreme Court justices, committed to reversing Citizens United, would balk at such legislation? None that I can see. We are living, after all, in the era of the permanent campaign.
Has there ever been a time when free speech is popular? Perhaps not; certainly not today. Not on the left. But those who might consider supporting Hillary Clinton for president should think carefully about the powers she wants the federal government to wield.

MORE EVIDENCE THAT THE CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM IS TOO LENIENT


The big local news in the Washington, D.C. area is the capture of Daron Wint and his arrest for the murder of Savvas Savopoulos, his wife and 10 year-old child, and his housekeeper, Veralicia Figueroa. According to reports, Wint worked for the company Savopoulos owned and operated.
The case against Wint appears to be extremely strong. Therefore, for purposes of this post, I will assume he committed the crimes.
Wint has an extensive criminal history in two states, which includes domestic violence, assault, and burglary. In Maryland, to cite a few examples, he was convicted of assaulting his girl friend in 2009. The next year, he pleaded guilty to malicious destruction of property after allegedly threatening to kill a woman and her infant daughter, breaking into the woman’s apartment, stealing a television, and vandalizing her car.
Wint also has three assault convictions in upstate New York that date back to 2007. He served time for each conviction. And there is an outstanding arrest warrant against him for criminal contempt for violating an order of protection in a case that involved a former girlfriend in Oswego.
We are told that our criminal justice system is needlessly and heartlessly jailing young Black men. Daron Wint is a young black man who, given his extensive record of violence, should have been in jail.
The same is true of Demetrius Blackwell, who killed New York City police officer Brian Moore, and of Aaron Alexis, the Navy Yard mass murderer.
We are also told that employers should be willing to hire young black men with criminal records. In fact, the Obama administration, via the EEOC, is suing employers for using criminal convictions to screen black job applicants. The government claims that, somehow, this screening (which it uses) can amount to racial discrimination even if applied race-neutrally.
However, Savvas Savopoulous, his family, and his housekeeper would almost certainly be alive today if, based on a criminal background check, his company had quietly passed over Daron Wint.

Teachers' Unions Throw Students Under the Bus

Teachers' Unions Throw Students Under the Bus
This article originally appeared in RealClearMarkets
In many cities with abysmal school systems, teacher firings are exceedingly rare, due to powerful teachers' unions. In New York City and Chicago, barely 1 in 1,000 teachers loses his job for poor performance.
In Los Angeles, fewer than 2 percent of teachers are denied tenure-and only a quarter of a percent of teachers who received tenure were fired over the course of a decade. Meanwhile, graduation rates are barely above 50 percent.
In contrast, between 1 and 2 percent of lawyers and doctors can expect to lose their license to practice over their lifetime. Unions claim that teachers are not being paid enough, which may be true in some cases. But in America's highest-paid professions, a high salary comes at the cost of lower job security and is based on quality of work. Before we raise the pay of teachers, we must first do away with tenure and seniority protections.
In New York City, protections for teachers are so stringent that the worst teachers are sent to "rubber rooms" while their firings go through years of litigation. In these rubber rooms, teachers receive full pay and benefits while the school system hired substitutes to teach their classes. The hearings to fire these teachers last an average of 502 days and cost $216,588 per teacher. However, fewer than 10 percent of teachers against whom the city brought cases are fired-and many bad teachers do not even make it to the rubber-room stage.
Rubber rooms cost the city tens of millions of dollars per year. Were the protections afforded bad teachers not available, that money could have gone toward measures such as improved technology in the classroom, better teachers, or additional after-school programs. These would be far more effective at improving students' lives and educations than are rubber rooms.
Public-sector unions cannot force government employees to become members but, because all public-sector workers are covered by the same collective-bargaining agreement, employees who opt out still are required to pay agency fees. Agency-fee payers lose some benefits of union membership, such as liability insurance for teachers, but have to pay for all union activities except those that are narrowly defined as political. The line between political and nonpolitical spending is often blurred, leading to constitutional questions over collective bargaining's violation of the First Amendment. These issues all date back to the flawed 1977 Supreme Court case, Abood v. Detroit Board of Education.
A group of California school teachers is currently seeking to have the Supreme Court reevaluate and overturn Abood. In the 1977 case, collective bargaining was upheld, along with forced dues collection, even if members disagreed with the political ideology of the union leadership. Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association is now working its way through the courts and offers hope that judges will put an end to the injustice created by taking away choice.
When we spoke with Rebecca Friedrichs, the lead plaintiff in Friedrichs and a veteran elementary school teacher, she explained why she needed to lead the lawsuit:
Under California law, teachers must pay ‘fees' of approximately $650 to $850 per year to the California Teachers Association or the California Federation of Teachers as a condition of employment. We cannot opt out of these fees, which represent the union's one-sided estimate of its collective-bargaining expenses, as opposed to its "overt" political expenses...Union dollars amassed through mandatory dues are used to control elected officials who create laws that are friendly to unions without consideration for the greater good of society. The only way to stop this unfair and destructive trend is to outlaw the collection of coerced union fees.
Tenure laws discourage younger, better teachers from using their talents in public school systems. Union rules ensure that teacher pay and bonuses are based on seniority and credentials rather than actual performance. Unions also mandate that in times of budgetary strain when layoffs are necessary, teachers must be fired in order of reverse seniority-meaning that the younger teachers must be laid off to preserve the jobs of older ones, regardless of teacher quality.
Since 1990, the two largest teachers' unions, the American Federation of Teachers and the National Education Association, have spent a combined $114 million on campaign contributions, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. Teachers' unions spent $28 million in contributions in the 2014 election cycle alone. AFT and NEA have also spent $60 million on lobbying from 1998 to 2014. The NEA is the fourth-largest donor in American politics since 1989.
"By any reasonable accounting, the nation's two teachers' unions, the NEA and the AFT, are by far the most powerful groups in the American politics of education," argues Terry Moe, author of Special Interests: Teachers Unions and America's Public Schools. "No other groups are even in the same ballpark."
Even teachers are afraid of union power. This is not a new problem. Seeking to shed light on the union rules that were harming her city's young people, Eva Moskowitz, a former Democratic New York City councilwoman and the current CEO of Success Academy, held four days of hearings in 2003 on the mandates. She reached out to several teachers to ask them to testify. Teachers were sympathetic to her goals, but most refused to speak out of fear of retribution from the union. "I'm not that brave" and "I might be blacklisted" were common responses to her requests.
In the face of this outrage, there are glimmers of hope. In 2014, the Superior Court for the County of Los Angeles, California, struck down the state's teacher-tenure laws on the grounds that they infringed upon civil rights by keeping poor and minority students in failing schools. The case was brought by nine California students, one of whom had not learned to read by the third grade because of ineffective teachers.
The court's logic was sound-for poor families who cannot afford to send their children to private schools or move to neighborhoods with better public schools, teacher-tenure laws are a major stumbling block to the education that can result in a step up the economic ladder.

Diana Furchtgott-Roth is a senior fellow and Jared Meyer is a fellow at the Manhattan Institute.  This article is inspired by their new book, Disinherited: How Washington Is Betraying America's Young(Encounter Books, May 2015). Follow Diana on Twitter @FurchtgottRoth and Jared @JaredMeyer10.