Thursday, November 26, 2009

Headlines Thursday 26th November 2009

Meteor explodes in blaze of colour

A METEOR has crashed in a blaze of colour in South Africa, but experts are unable to find where the out-of-space visitor landed.

Nathan Rees in trouble over manure attack

NATIONALS Leader Andrew Stoner yesterday challenged Nathan Rees to a confrontation outside Parliament after the Premier attacked his 12-year-old daughter's manure business.

Kidnappers free Aussie journalist
BEATINGS and torture revealed after Australian photojournalist and Canadian colleague set free.


It's not quite 'The Sopranos,' but an MTV reality show that depicts Italian-Americans as beach-loving 'guidos' has drawn the ire of two national Italian-American groups.

Toyota Hits the Brakes On 4 Million Gas Pedals
Automaker recalls 3.8 million gas pedals after problems with it getting stuck in the car's floor mat

Obama to Make U.N. Climate Conference
President will travel to Copenhagen on Dec. 9 for United Nations conference on climate change

Abbott resigns amid 'meltdown'
TONY Abbott quits the frontbench over Malcolm Turnbull's refusal to reconsider his ETS stance. - Now that Global Warming has been discredited, Malcolm should follow through on his promise to to back the ineffective. - ed.

Sucker-Punched for Being Heroes?
They caught a 'most wanted' terrorist, but now three Navy SEALs face charges stemming from suspect's bloody lip

Youngsters 'afraid to go outside'
OUR youth are scared to venture outdoors as they fear assaults and violence, survey finds.

Killer bushfire warning sent in bungle
A WARNING about a phantom bushfire that could "kill you" issued to communities yesterday.

High time for a sex rendezvous - several men claim it was them having sex in the Broadway clocktower

THE infamous Broadway rendezvous love affair may be an act of indecency, according to police, but it appears Sydney's men are filled with admiration.The public sex act played out in an inner-city clocktower raised far more amusement than condemnation from The Daily Telegraph readers yesterday.Several men wanted to claim responsibility for the steamy encounter, or nominate a mate as the culprit. According to police yesterday, not a single witness to the naked clocktower clinch has lodged a complaint, meaning police were not currently investigating it.

Cost of raising a child is now $1 million
COST of raising children skyrockets with expensive toys, lessons and technology. - this is nothing compared with the cost associated with those who do not raise their children. -ed

Model has finger reattached after accident
MODEL Erin McNaught recovering from emergency surgery after a TV motorcycle stunt went wrong.

Thirsty camels terrorise desert town
A STATE has declared war on thousands of thirsty, marauding camels threatening residents.
=== Comments ===
Has Religious America Finally Awakened?
By Bill O'Reilly
As we reported Monday, some high-profile religious leaders have issued a manifesto urging people of faith to fight back against liberal social policy and rampant secularism.

The document is entitled "The Manhattan Declaration: A Call of Christian Conscience," and it basically says that American Christians are under fire, that their belief system is being demeaned.

The declaration opens with these words: "Christians are heirs of a 2,000-year tradition of proclaiming God's word, seeking justice in our societies, resisting tyranny and reaching out with compassion to the poor, oppressed and suffering."

Then the document goes on to say that pro-abortion ideology is prevailing in our government and that all human life is being diminished as a result.

The statement also says that marriage is under siege: "We must stop glamorizing promiscuity and infidelity and restore among our people a sense of the profound beauty, mystery and holiness of faithful marital love."

The manifesto then goes on to say that same sex and multiple partner marriage is causing the erosion of the marriage culture in America: "Marriage is made possible by the sexual complementarity of man and woman. No one has a civil right to have a non-marital relationship treated as a marriage."

So obviously these religious leaders are throwing down the gauntlet on life and marriage.

But then they up the ante, urging Americans of faith to actively oppose anti-Christian laws: "Unjust laws degrade human beings. They lack any power to bind in conscience. [Martin Luther] King's willingness to go to jail, rather than comply with legal injustice, was exemplary and inspiring."

That's a strong statement because it encourages civil disobedience.

The clerics who wrote the manifesto end by saying: "We will not comply with any edict that purports to compel our institutions to participate in abortions, embryo-destructive research, assisted suicide and euthanasia, or any other anti-life act; nor will we bend to any rule purporting to force us to bless immoral sexual partnerships [and] treat them as marriages."

So the question becomes: Will Americans of faith rally to this provocative point of view? If they do, the culture war will become very intense.
===
RACKET BUSTED
Tim Blair
NSW Premier Nathan Rees, who presides over one of the most incompetent and scandal-ridden governments in NSW history, finally finds something to pin on the opposition:
“I am reliably informed that the member for Oxley sells animal manure outside his home,” Mr Rees told Parliament.
Well done, Mr Premier. You’ve successfully exposed a 50-cent-per-bag pocket money operation run by a 12-year-old girl. Jail her!
===
HOPENCHANGIN IN COPENHAGEN
Tim Blair
Another Tim Flannery prediction hits the wall:
US President Barack Obama has confirmed he will attend a major climate summit next month …
Yes, he’s off to sunny Hopenchangin, where Obama will talk for a little while before hitting Oslo to collect his pre-emptive Nobel. Flannery owes me twenty bucks.
===
MERCY DENIED
Tim Blair
Shadow treasurer Joe Hockey pleads for mercy:
“Clearly this issue has done incredible damage and I hope the Australian people forgive us …”
Then, in his very next sentence:
‘‘But I say [to] the Australian people, we are a progressive party …”
So we’ve noticed, Joe. And that’s the problem. You might get somewhere if you were a conservative party. The field on that side is all yours, if you want it.

UPDATE. When a political party is being lectured on maturity by Peter Hartcher, you know it’s got problems.
===
THANKSGIVING 2009
Tim Blair
This is sad. We’re only weeks away from the sixth glorious anniversary of the plastic turkey’s birth, and the media have let the great bird – PBUH (polystyrene be upon him) – shrink to no more than a stray mention in the Seattle Times letters column. If it weren’t for leftist blogs, our little friend would barely be sustainable …

That PJTV Thanksgiving turkey looks disturbingly real, by the way. Heretics.
===
ALSO, LYLE’S A BETTER DANCER
Tim Blair
CBS newscougar Katie Couric ain’t no Lyle, that’s for sure.
===
IT’S BEEN PEER REVIEWED
Tim Blair
Breakthrough science from Iowahawk:
Our very planet depends on them. Yet they remain nature’s most elusive scientific species, inhabiting some of the world’s most delicate and daunting academic environments. But thanks to new breakthroughs in high speed cameras and email files, metascientists are finally beginning to understand their mysterious behaviors and complex social interactions. Tonight on Iowahawk Geographic: step inside the Secret Life of the Climate Researchers.
===
DENIAL IS THE NEW WARMING
Tim Blair
Nine’s A Current Affair just ran a piece dismissive of global warming, featuring Terry McCrann and David Bellamy, among others. Online video later.

Two points: this is further evidence of a shift in media attitudes (only a few years ago, the same network was running pieces on the proof of warming). And while several lines in the ACA item will be familiar to those who’ve followed this issue online, many watching will be hearing them for the first time.

UPDATE. Video via Andrew Bolt, who notes the change: ”A Current Affair interviews three people about global warming and the emissions trading scheme, all of whom agree the public is being duped without the reporter or presenter suggesting these people are speaking anything other than plain sense.”

UPDATE II. US networks are a little slow waking up to this recent “global warming is a complete crock” story.

UPDATE III. Credit where it’s due. CBS correspondent Declan McCullagh does an excellent job summarising the CRU email scandal, particularly on the CRU’s importance:
In global warming circles, the CRU wields outsize influence: it claims the world’s largest temperature data set, and its work and mathematical models were incorporated into the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s 2007 report. That report, in turn, is what the Environmental Protection Agency acknowledged it “relies on most heavily” when concluding that carbon dioxide emissions endanger public health and should be regulated.
That’s why this matters.
===
Manufacturing conensus: why Climategate hurts the warming faith
Andrew Bolt
Ilya Somin, associate professor at George Mason University School of Law, explains why the Climategate emails undermine the faith non-experts have about man-made warming:
I thought that global warming was probably a genuine and serious problem because that is what the overwhelming majority of relevant scientists seem to believe, and I generally didn’t doubt their objectivity.

At the very least, the Climategate revelations should weaken our confidence in the above conclusion. At least some of the prominent scholars in the field seem driven at least in part by ideology, and willing to use intimidation to keep contrarian views from being published, even if the articles in question meet normal peer review standards. Absent such tactics, it’s possible that more contrarian research would be published in professional journals and the consensus in the field would be less firm.
The New Atlantis agrees:
The evidence of scientific dishonesty supplied by these communications is so copious it’s hard to know where to begin an attempt to describe them. Many of the e-mails brazenly discuss the manipulation of scientific data either to provide the appearance of greater support for global warming science or to undermine the claims of skeptics.
Deutsche Welle:
German climatologist Hans von Storch of the Institute for Coastal Research in Geesthacht, Germany, remarked that the “unfortunate writing” done by Jones and others has “likely damaged the credibility of climate science.” ...But the fallout may not be entirely negative, he writes; in fact he sees a silver lining for climate science: “I would assume that … a useful debate about the degree of politicization of climate science will emerge.”
Debate? In The Age? ABC Melbourne radio? AM? PM? 7.30 Report?

Indeed, even warming crusader George Monbiot complains about the new deniers:
I have seldom felt so alone. Confronted with crisis, most of the environmentalists I know have gone into denial. The emails hacked from the Climatic Research Unit (CRU) at the University of East Anglia, they say, are a storm in a tea cup, no big deal, exaggerated out of all recognition. It is true that climate change deniers have made wild claims which the material can’t possibly support (the end of global warming, the death of climate science). But it is also true that the emails are very damaging.

The response of the greens and most of the scientists I know is profoundly ironic, as we spend so much of our time confronting other people’s denial. Pretending that this isn’t a real crisis isn’t going to make it go away.
Fred Singer, Professor Emeritus of Environmental Science at the University of Virginia, sums up:
I cannot endorse the actions of this group and hope that an impartial investigation will bring closure to this difficult matter. Inevitably, the public’s view of science will be affected and this will hurt all of science.
Meanwhile, more evidence of how the debate was rigged. Many computer codes leaked from the Climatic Research Unit show how tree-ring data was tortured into confessing there has lately been a huge rise in temperature. Examples:
Uses “corrected” MXD – but shouldn’t usually
; plot past 1960 because these will be artificially adjusted to look closer to
; the real temperatures.
And:
‘NOTE: recent decline in tree-ring density has been ARTIFICIALLY’
printf,1,’REMOVED to facilitate calibration. THEREFORE, post-1960 values’
printf,1,’will be much closer to observed temperatures then they should be,’
printf,1,’which will incorrectly imply the reconstruction is more skilful’
printf,1,’than it actually is.
UPDATE

William Kininmonth, former head of the National Climate Centre at the Bureau of Meteorology, tells me he reported in Energy and the Environment on another astonishing attempt to stifle sceptics:

As an invited speaker to an international seminar invited by the Russian Academy of Sciences to discuss the scientific basis of the Kyoto Protocol it was perplexing that the event did not commence on schedule. The delay was particularly odd, as it appeared that the listed speakers were assembled. The program did commence after nearly two hours wait and the reason for the delay became apparent. Sir David King, chief scientific adviser to the United Kingdom government, had been lobbying vigorously to have a number of the listed international speakers omitted from the program. He even submitted his own program of speakers! Having failed in his objective, King absented himself from the proceedings for the remainder of the day…

The pre-seminar lobbying by Sir David King further underscored the politicisation of the climate change issue. It became apparent that the objective of the UK delegation was to defend the findings of the IPCC and convince the members of the Russian Academy of Sciences that the science of climate change is settled… The input of independent scientists (at the meeting), who could demonstrate shortcomings in the IPCC findings, clearly would hamper the UK delegation in meeting its objectives and were to be silenced.

Why the UK government would want to take on the role of sheriff in defence of the IPCC is not clear until one remembers that the Blair Government has made the promotion of Kyoto and hence its ‘war against global warming’ a top foreign policy objective for reasons that can only be speculated about.

===
One year to spend. How many to repay?
Andrew Bolt
I really don’t think breaking this kind of record will win you a nice prize:
The federal government spent $3.5 trillion during President Obama’s first year in office. This far exceeds the spending for any other first-year president…

President Obama has shattered the budget record for first-year presidents—spending nearly double what his predecessor did when he came into office and far exceeding the first-year tabs for any other U.S. president in history.
===
Workers converted
Andrew Bolt

Photographic proof of precisely how PETA’s naked protests work, and on whom. This time it’s Sydney workers who are moved to note the message, or something. Sign ‘em up!
===
Climate unmoved, but carpetbaggers happy
Andrew Bolt
Kevin Rudd’s huge new tax on your gases at least makes The New Lawyer happy:
CPRS already a lawyer’s windfall
UPDATE

Alan Wood says that’s just the start of feeding frenzy that will actually do nothing for the climate, but plenty for scammers:

WHAT a mess. In the space of four months Kevin Rudd and Malcolm Turnbull will have burdened the nation with an ill-advised renewable energy target and a flawed and questionable emissions trading scheme, both in the name of saving us from an allegedly imminent global warming disaster, which they won’t.

As a result we have seen the return of economic rent-seeking - the lobbying of government for taxpayer support - on a scale not matched since Australia’s tariff wall was dismantled in the latter decades of the 20th century, and the economic and social costs will not be negligible.

===
Three dead in the rush for Rudd’s batts
Andrew Bolt
Kevin Rudd promises he’ll actually train people to put in those billions of dollars of “free” pink batts:
We’ve got about a $4 billion investment out there nationwide to provide opportunity for many of your listeners to get ceiling insulation in, but here’s the challenge – you can either have low-skilled workers go and do that but without picking up new skills on the way through, or, you can introduce training programs so that once they’ve done that work they’ve got new skills for the future.
How did that promised training work out?
IT was both Marcus Wilson’s first day at work and his first day installing roof insulation. Last Friday - the second-hottest November day on record - it was an estimated 60C in the roof space of the St Clair house at which he was working.... He fell into a coma and died of organ failure on Saturday evening… WorkCover, police and the Federal Department of the Environment (will) investigate why a 19-year-old with an intellectual disability was working in dangerous heat...
Before that:
THE electrocution of a second Queenslander has cast further doubt over the adequacy of training for workers fitting insulation under the Federal Government’s controversial rebate scheme.

The 16-year-old youth was electrocuted in a home near Stanwell, southwest of Rockhampton, while installing batts… A 25-year-old installer died last month when it is believed he stapled aluminium reflective foil through an electrical cable in the roof space of a home south of Brisbane.
Bit late:
Reports of rorting and malpractice come as the Federal Government considers boosting safety guidelines to increase protection for homeowners…

Federal Environment Minister Peter Garrett and his staff again this week held extensive meetings with the industry, as some argued the Government had ignored warnings that unqualified people, trying to cash in on the $3.9 billion insulation package, were putting lives at risk.
UPDATE

Does starting fires actually help cut greenhouse gases?

DOZENS of NSW homes have been destroyed or damaged by fires which erupted when badly installed ceiling insulation came into contact with downlights…

More than 550,000 homes across Australia have had insulation fitted since the rebate began in July .. The rush to install the discounted installation is being blamed for a rash of house fires, with the fire brigade confirming there had been up to 43 roof batt fires [in NSW] since the start of the year.”

Master Electricians Australia’s Paul Daly .. “We have been saying to the Government since May we are very worried about what has been going on, people have been putting batts straight over downlights [without using safety hoods].

===
All should march, orders Rann
Andrew Bolt
Soft facism in South Australia, as a government department suggests employees join its neo-religious cause:
Walk Against Warming 2009

Australia’s largest day of action on climate change

Saturday, 12 December 2009 at 11am

From Victoria Square/Tarndanyangga to Rymill Park/Murwillaburka…

Join millions of Australians demanding action on climate change.... Your presence will help deliver the strongest possible message to the leaders in Copenhagen that you are deeply concerned about global warming and demand action

“This message has been authorised by Pauline Peel, Deputy Chief Executive, Sustainability, Aboriginal Affairs and Reconciliation on behalf of Chris Eccles, Chief Executive, Department of the Premier and Cabinet”
And how sweet the who-me? disclaimer:
The content and views to be expressed at this forthcoming event should not be taken to represent those of the Government or the Department of the Premier and Cabinet.
Astonishing that Australians accept this kind of thing.
===
HOW YOU SHOULD THINK
Tim Blair
A helpful service provided by the Sydney Morning Herald:
We asked Australia’s best-known philosopher, Peter Singer, how people should think about carbon emissions and climate change. He was unequivocal.

He likened Australia’s production of greenhouse gases to a country dropping bombs on Bangladesh.
These people are insane.
===
GEORGE ON THE BUNGLE
Tim Blair
Deep green George Monbiot continues his solitary campaign:
I have seldom felt so alone. Confronted with crisis, most of the environmentalists I know have gone into denial. The emails hacked from the Climatic Research Unit (CRU) at the University of East Anglia, they say, are a storm in a tea cup, no big deal, exaggerated out of all recognition. It is true that climate change deniers have made wild claims which the material can’t possibly support (the end of global warming, the death of climate science). But it is also true that the emails are very damaging.

The response of the greens and most of the scientists I know is profoundly ironic, as we spend so much of our time confronting other people’s denial. Pretending that this isn’t a real crisis isn’t going to make it go away.
Unlike CRU director Phil Jones, whom Monbiot is urging to leave as soon as possible:
I feel desperately sorry for him: he must be walking through hell. But there is no helping it; he has to go, and the longer he leaves it, the worse it will get. He has a few days left in which to make an honourable exit.
It’s the decline that can’t be hidden, despite the best efforts of the Boston Globe and New York Times. And now the CRU crisis may be spreading to New Zealand.

UPDATE. After reading Monbiot’s account of initial CRU reaction to this scandal ("like a rabbit in the headlights, waiting for disaster to strike"), it’s difficult to disagree with Miranda Devine’s call: “Climate alarmists are in a mad fumbling panic.”

UPDATE II. Further to earlier news on release of the emails:
The controversy surrounding the global warming scandal today deepened after a BBC correspondent admitted he was sent the leaked emails more than a month before they were made public.
Paul Hudson, recipient of that email batch, now writes:
Momentum does seem to be growing, from people on both sides of the argument, behind calls for a full independent enquiry that can once and for all get to the bottom of the many issues that have been raised. A recent survey showed that climate scepticism in this country is growing, and this episode may increase it further.
Indeed it might. Hudson’s commenters are enjoying themselves; one of them mentions a bristlecone pine, which is always a positive sign.
===
One more lured by Rudd
Andrew Bolt
Get the idea it’s time Kevin Rudd spent less time telling voters of his toughness and more time proving it to boaters”

A NAVY patrol boat has intercepted a boat carrying 49 suspected asylum seekers and three crew about six nautical miles north of Christmas Island.The boat was intercepted by HMAS Pirie at about 2.23am (AEDT) .It is the 47th asylum seeker boat intercepted in Australian waters this year.
===
Climategate: Making New Zealand warmer
Andrew Bolt
Not “hide the decline” but “ramp up the rise”.

Now New Zealand sceptics are asking how New Zealand’s National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research created this iconic warming graph:

From this raw data:

Wow. The original data shows no real warming at all. How come?

The difference is explained by adjustments made to the data - almost all of which helped to create the impression of a dramatic rise of warming:

Those adjustments were made by New Zealand climate scientist Jim Salinger, a lead author for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change who started work on the series when he was with the University of East Anglia, the centre of the Climategate scandal. (Salinger was dismissed by NIWA this year for speaking without authorisation to the media.)

The New Zealand Climate Science Coalition, which created the last two graphics and includes an IPCC reviewer, now alleges that Salinger and NIWA have refused to explain the basis on which the data was adjusted:
The shocking truth is that the oldest readings have been cranked way down and later readings artificially lifted to give a false impression of warming, as documented below. There is nothing in the station histories to warrant these adjustments and to date Dr Salinger and NIWA have not revealed why they did this.
Of course, their reasons may well be perfectly valid, involving the correction of known flaws and adjustments for discontinuities.

But given what we’ve learned from Climategate about fudging of figures, hostility to scrutiny and an almost messianic faith in warming theory, a public explanation is essential.

Why were the figures adjusted to show a warming? Everything now needs to be rechecked.

UPDATE

Reader Dorian asks if the same tinkering produced this graph for Australia. A good question, since the leaked documents from the University of East Anglia contain this confession about temperature records:
I am very sorry to report that the rest of the databases seem to be in nearly as poor a state as Australia was.
UPDATE 2

Armed and Dangerous shows how a leaked University of East Anglia computer code artificially created a hockey stick showing alarming warming in the Northern Hemisphere by using a computer code with this instruction:
Apply a VERY ARTIFICAL correction for decline!!
Explanations are needed.

UPDATE 3

Investigate magazine:
NIWA’s David Wratt has told Investigate magazine this afternoon his organization denies faking temperature data and he claims NIWA has a good explanation for adjusting the temperature data upward. Wratt says NIWA is drafting a media response for release later this afternoon which will explain why they altered the raw data.

“Do you agree it might look bad in the wake of the CRU scandal?”

“No, no,” replied Wratt before hitting out at the Climate Science Coalition and accusing them of “misleading” people about the temperature adjustments.
UPDATE 4:

RealClimate gives up trying to defend the Climategate fraud in which it was complicit:
Comments are now turned off. Unfortunately, the comments are now running about 10:1 insults and innuendo. Serious discussion seems to have largely died off. The last couple of posters did raise some reasonable questions, and I will respond to them after Thanksgiving. Meanwhile happy Thanksgiving to all the American readers (and to everyone else, for that matter).–Eric
UPDATE 5

NIWA responds in brief:
NIWA’s analysis of measured temperatures uses internationally accepted techniques, including making adjustments for changes such as movement of measurement sites. For example, in Wellington, early temperature measurements were made near sea level, but in 1928 the measurement site was moved from Thorndon (3 metres above sea level) to Kelburn (125 m above sea level). The Kelburn site is on average 0.8°C cooler than Thorndon, because of the extra height above sea level.

Such site differences are significant and must be accounted for when analysing long-term changes in temperature. The Climate Science Coalition has not done this.

NIWA climate scientists have previously explained to members of the Coalition why such corrections must be made. NIWA’s Chief Climate Scientist, Dr David Wratt, says he’s very disappointed that the Coalition continue to ignore such advice and therefore to present misleading analyses.
UPDATE 6

Reader John wonders how the Bureau of Meterology treated the data to produce an Australian graphic that shows warming, too, when he’s checked the original data sets:
there is 2 data sets - one called the raw, the other the sorted.

The raw varies around 0 +/- up to .75C

the sorted goes from -1.13 to 1.06C

Any idea what this means?
And on Watts Up With That:
The official Australian temperature record is also based on significant “adjustments’ of raw historical data.

The main adjustments were made by Torok and Nicholls in 1996 and then a few more adjustments were done by Paul Della-Marta in 2000.

to my knowledge this process has never been properly audited, but from a few stations that I have checked I see that there is a similar lowering of temps in the early part of the records and a raising later on.

All the data can be found in this folder.
UPDATE 7

Alarmists and Climategate apologists everywhere are now being held to account:
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