Friday, June 26, 2015

Confederacy purge builds steam, while last century's worst villains spared

All symbols of the Confederacy are rapidly disappearing from stores, websites and the public square in the wake of last week's racially charged shooting in a Charleston, S.C., church, but the purge of some allegedly hateful icons has spared memorabilia linked to some of history's most infamous mass murderers, some critics are charging. has now banned all Confederate battle flag items from being sold on its site, but the massive e-commerce site continues to allow the sale of dozens of apparel items featuring communist mass murderers such as Vladimir Lenin, Joseph Stalin and Che Guevara, prompting some to accuse the site and others banning Confederate imagery of hypocrisy.

“If Amazon is removing the Confederate flag from its offerings, the logical and principled decision is to stop selling any promotional material, including T-shirts, of Che Guevara or any mass killer,” said Maria Werlau, executive director of the Free Society Project. “It is very painful particularly to the loved ones of Guevara's victims as well as offensive to the Cuban people who continue to suffer repression and abhorrent human rights' abuses by the system he helped create and direct.”



Thursday, June 18, 2015

Solar eclipse: Green groups fight sun-powered plant over Bighorn worries

One might expect environmentalists to fight a new power plant, but a new battle being waged by California green groups against a solar facility shows there may be something new under the sun, after all.

A solar-powered plant proposed by industrial giant Bechtel on federal Bureau of Land Management property in the Mojave Desert could supply up to 170,000 homes in Los Angeles with electricity from the sun, but it also would make life difficult for about 100 Bighorn Sheep and other critters, according to the Sierra Club and the National Resources Defense Council. Their concerns have convinced the city not to buy electricity from the 350-megawatt Soda Mountain project.

“The City of Los Angeles spoke with one voice and rejected buying power from the ecologically damaging Soda Mountain Solar project,” the Sierra Club said in a statement. “Given the Bureau of Land Management’s recent decision to approve the project, this leadership from Los Angeles is well-timed and makes a powerful statement.”

The BLM approval, issued earlier this month, scaled back the size of the plant and established safeguards for the sheep, as well as fish, desert tortoises and other animals that might be affected by the project. The federally-approved version would have supplied 79,000 homes and required Bechtel to hire a “Bighorn Sheep Monitor” who would ensure that no construction take place while sheep are within 1,000 feet of the site. The company would also have to provide water in selected areas in an attempt to coax the herd to use highway underpasses and establish a migration pattern.

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Monday, June 15, 2015

Calling America 'Land of Opportunity' offensive, University of California warns professors

Phrases such as “America is the land of opportunity” and “America is a melting pot" are "micro-aggressions" that could leave some students feeling discriminated against, according to a new faculty training guide put out by the University of California.

The guide, which says those phrases and others can be interpreted by minorities as “denying the significance of a person of color’s racial/ethnic experience and history,” or that they “assimilate to the dominant culture,” is used across the vast, 200,000-student University of California system. Specifically, it is for training professors in “faculty leadership seminars” that aim to “enhance department and campus climate toward inclusive excellence.”

The guide, first exposed by the student-run The College Fix, uses the same argument to condemn a number of seemingly innocuous statements, such as:

“I believe the most qualified person should get the job.” “Affirmative action is racist.” “Everyone can succeed in this society, if they work hard enough.” “When I look at you, I don’t see color.” “I don’t believe in race.” “Gender plays no part in who we hire.” Many find the training guide absurd.

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Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Climate scientists criticize government paper that erases ‘pause’ in warming

Until last week, government data on climate change indicated that the Earth has warmed over the last century, but that the warming slowed dramatically and even stopped at points over the last 17 years.

But a paper released May 28 by researchers at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has readjusted the data in a way that makes the reduction in warming disappear, indicating a steady increase in temperature instead. But the study’s readjusted data conflict with many other climate measurements, including data taken by satellites, and some climate scientists aren’t buying the new claim.

“While I’m sure this latest analysis from NOAA will be regarded as politically useful for the Obama administration, I don’t regard it as a particularly useful contribution to our scientific understanding of what is going on,” Judith Curry, a climate science professor at Georgia Tech, wrote in a response to the study.

And in an interview, Curry told that that the adjusted data doesn’t match other independent measures of temperature.

“The new NOAA dataset disagrees with a UK dataset, which is generally regarded as the gold standard for global sea surface temperature datasets,” she said. “The new dataset also disagrees with ARGO buoys and satellite analyses.”

The NOAA paper, produced by a team of researchers led by Tom Karl, director of the agency’s National Climatic Data Center, found most of its new warming trend by adjusting past measurements of sea temperatures...

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Thursday, June 4, 2015

Climate change brings needed rain to Africa

By Maxim Lott | Published June 04, 2015 |

Climate change has been going on since the beginning of time, but has been the source of intense debate in recent years. In the case of the Sahel area of Africa, climate change means 4 more inches of desperately-needed rainfall per year than in the past, according to a new study by climatologists in the Journal Nature Climate Change. The main cause of the increase is rising greenhouse gas emissions, it finds.

The Sahel is an area about four times the size of Texas that stretches across Africa along the southern edge of the Sahara Desert. Past droughts in the area that killed thousands prompted the Live Aid concert in 1985 to fund relief efforts.

Some climate experts say this and other positive effects of CO2 emissions are too often ignored.

“[Benefits are] certainly underreported. Scientists have known for 15 years that the Sahel was greening up and desertification was reversing there,” Pat Michaels, former president of the American Association of State Climatologists, and a director at the CATO Institute, told

He also noted that the Sahel area may be getting more tree and plant coverage due in part to the fact that plants have an easier time growing with more CO2 in the atmosphere...

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