Saturday, December 11, 2010

Where Science is Flawed

I heartily agree with the article below, which is why I reproduce it fully (with links). And its relevance to Warmist "science" needs no spelling out. I saw all of the faults discussed below in my own social science research career and to this day I tackle similar problems daily in my FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC blog.

I can however go beyond the article below and point to what is the remedy to these now well-documented faults in scientific reporting. The remedy is to encourage similar research by those who have an OPPOSITE agenda to the established writers. Because I am a conservative, I saw the received wisdom in my Left-dominated field of research as quite absurd. And I set out to show that such theories were absurd. And I did. I even got my findings published over and over again in the academic journals. My findings, however, had no impact whatever. Leftists didn't want to believe my findings so simply ignored them.

If however, I had been one of many people with opposing views writing in the field, that would have been much harder to ignore and a more balanced view might have emerged as the consensus position.

At the moment, however, being skeptical of any scientific consensus is career death. So the only remedy is for skeptical views to be specifically rewarded both among students in marking, in academic hiring and in career advancement. It is only a faint hope but perhaps there are enough people of integrity in science to bring that about eventually. Science will be greatly hobbled otherwise -- JR

In its current issue, The New Yorker has an excellent piece on the prevalence of (unconscious) bias in scientific studies that builds on this recent must-read piece in The Atlantic. And to some extent, Jonah Lehrer’s New Yorker article builds on this story he did for Wired in 2009. Anyone interested in the scientific process should read all three, for they are provocative cautionary tales.

Back to Lehrer’s story in The New Yorker. I’m going to quote from it extensively because it’s behind a paywall, but I urge people to buy a copy of the issue off the newsstand, if possible. It’s that good. His piece is an arrow into the heart of the scientific method:
The test of replicability, as it’s known, is the foundation of modern research. Replicability is how the community enforces itself. It’s a safeguard for the creep of subjectivity. Most of the time, scientists know what results they want, and that can influence the results they get. The premise of replicability is that the scientific community can correct for these flaws.

But now all sorts of well-established, multiply confirmed findings have started to look increasingly uncertain. It’s as if our facts were losing their truth: claims that have been been enshrined in textbooks are suddenly unprovable. This phenomenon doesn't yet have an official name, but it's occurring across a wide range of fields, from psychology to ecology.

How did this happen? How have “enshrined” findings that were replicated suddenly become undone? The fatal flaw appears to be the selective reporting of results–the data that scientists choose to document in the first place.

This is not the same as scientific fraud, Lehrer writes:
Rather the problem seems to be one of subtle omissions and unconscious misperceptions, as researchers struggle to make sense of their results.

He then describes “one of the classic examples” of selective reporting:
While acupuncture is widely accepted as a medical treatment in various Asian countries, its use is much more contested in the West. These cultural differences have profoundly influenced the results of clinical trials. Between 1966 and 1995, there were forty-seven studies of acupuncture in China, Taiwan, and Japan, and every single trial concluded that acupuncture was an effective treatment. During the same period, there were ninety-four clinical trials of acupuncture in the United States, Sweden, and the U.K., and only fifty-six percent of these studies found any therapeutic benefits. As [University of Alberta biologist Richard] Palmer notes, this wide discrepancy suggests that scientists find ways to confirm their preferred hypothesis, disregarding what they don’t want to see. Our beliefs are a form of blindness.

Lehrer then introduces Stanford epidemiologist John Ioannidis, the star of the The Atlantic story. Lehrer writes:
According to Ioannidis, the main problem is that too many researchers engage in what he calls “significant chasing,” or finding ways to interpret the data so that it passes the statistical test of significance–the ninety five percent boundary invented by Ronald Fisher. “The scientists are so eager to to pass this magical test that they start playing around with the numbers, trying to find anything that seems worthy,” Ioannidis says. In recent years, Ioannidis has become increasingly blunt about the pervasiveness of the problem. One of his most cited papers has a deliberately provocative title: “Why Most Published Research Findings are False.”

The problem of selective reporting is rooted in a fundamental cognitive flaw, which is that we like proving ourselves right and hate being wrong. “It feels good to validate a hypothesis,” Ioannidis said. “It feels even better when you’ve got a financial interest in the idea or your career depends on it. And that’s why, even after a claim has been systematically disproven”–he cites, for instance, the early work on hormone replacement therapy, or claims involving various vitamins–”you still see some stubborn researchers citing the first few studies that show a strong effect. They really want to believe that it’s true.”

That’s why [UC Santa Barbara cognitive psychologist Jonathan] Schooler argues that scientists need to become more rigorous about data collection before they publish. “We’re wasting our time chasing after bad studies and underpowered experiments,” he says. The current “obsession” with replicability distracts from the real problem, which is faulty design…In a forthcoming paper, Schooler recommends the establishment of an open-source database, in which researchers are required to outline their planned investigations and document all their results.”I think this would provide a huge increase in access to scientific work and give us a much better way to judge the quality of an experiment,” Schooler says.

As I said, you really should read the whole piece if you want to learn more about this widespread but little discussed problem with a key tenet of the scientific method. Lehrer perceptively concludes:
We like to pretend that our experiments define the truth for us. But that’s often not the case. Just because an idea is true doesn’t mean it can be proved. And just because an idea can be proved doesn’t mean it’s true. When the experiments are done, we still have to choose what to believe.


ANOTHER factor left out of the Warmist "models"

Warmist "models" are models with arms and legs missing. They spin it as well as they can below but sound very self-contradictory in doing so

A new NASA computer modeling effort has found that additional growth of plants and trees in a world with doubled atmospheric carbon dioxide levels would create a new negative feedback -- a cooling effect -- in the Earth's climate system that could work to reduce future global warming.

The cooling effect would be -0.3 degrees Celsius (C) (-0.5 Fahrenheit (F)) globally and -0.6 degrees C (-1.1 F) over land, compared to simulations where the feedback was not included, said Lahouari Bounoua, of Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md. Bounoua is lead author on a paper detailing the results published Dec. 7 in the journal Geophysical Research Letters.

Without the negative feedback included, the model found a warming of 1.94 degrees C globally when carbon dioxide was doubled.

Bounoua stressed that while the model's results showed a negative feedback, it is not a strong enough response to alter the global warming trend that is expected. In fact, the present work is an example of how, over time, scientists will create more sophisticated models that will chip away at the uncertainty range of climate change and allow more accurate projections of future climate. "This feedback slows but does not alleviate the projected warming," Bounoua said.

To date, only some models that predict how the planet would respond to a doubling of carbon dioxide have allowed for vegetation to grow as a response to higher carbon dioxide levels and associated increases in temperatures and precipitation.

Of those that have attempted to model this feedback, this new effort differs in that it incorporates a specific response in plants to higher atmospheric carbon dioxide levels. When there is more carbon dioxide available, plants are able to use less water yet maintain previous levels of photosynthesis. The process is called "down-regulation." This more efficient use of water and nutrients has been observed in experimental studies and can ultimately lead to increased leaf growth.

The ability to increase leaf growth due to changes in photosynthetic activity was also included in the model. The authors postulate that the greater leaf growth would increase evapotranspiration on a global scale and create an additional cooling effect.

"This is what is completely new," said Bounoua, referring to the incorporation of down-regulation and changed leaf growth into the model. "What we did is improve plants' physiological response in the model by including down-regulation. The end result is a stronger feedback than previously thought."

The modeling approach also investigated how stimulation of plant growth in a world with doubled carbon dioxide levels would be fueled by warmer temperatures, increased precipitation in some regions and plants' more efficient use of water due to carbon dioxide being more readily available in the atmosphere. Previous climate models have included these aspects but not down-regulation. The models without down-regulation projected little to no cooling from vegetative growth.

Scientists agree that in a world where carbon dioxide has doubled -- a standard basis for many global warming modeling simulations -- temperature would increase from 2 to 4.5 degrees C (3.5 to 8.0 F). (The model used in this study found warming -- without incorporating the plant feedback -- on the low end of this range.)

The uncertainty in that range is mostly due to uncertainty about "feedbacks" -- how different aspects of the Earth system will react to a warming world, and then how those changes will either amplify (positive feedback) or dampen (negative feedback) the overall warming.

An example of a positive feedback would be if warming temperatures caused forests to grow in the place of Arctic tundra. The darker surface of a forest canopy would absorb more solar radiation than the snowy tundra, which reflects more solar radiation. The greater absorption would amplify warming. The vegetative feedback modeled in this research, in which increased plant growth would exert a cooling effect, is an example of a negative feedback. The feedback quantified in this study is a result of an interaction between all these aspects: carbon dioxide enrichment, a warming and moistening climate, plants' more efficient use of water, down-regulation and the ability for leaf growth.

This new paper is one of many steps toward gradually improving overall future climate projections, a process that involves better modeling of both warming and cooling feedbacks. "As we learn more about how these systems react, we can learn more about how the climate will change," said co-author Forrest Hall, of the University of Maryland-Baltimore County and Goddard Space Flight Center. "Each year we get better and better. It's important to get these things right just as it's important to get the track of a hurricane right. We've got to get these models right, and improve our projections, so we'll know where to most effectively concentrate mitigation efforts."

The results presented here indicate that changes in the state of vegetation may already be playing a role in the continental water, energy and carbon budgets as atmospheric carbon dioxide increases, said Piers Sellers, a co-author from NASA's Johnson Space Center, Houston, Texas.

"We're learning more and more about how our planet really works," Sellers said. "We have suspected for some time that the connection between vegetation photosynthesis and the surface energy balance could be a significant player in future climate. This study gives us an indication of the strength and sign of one of these biosphere-atmosphere feedbacks."


Bedbugs are entirely a political problem -- driven by Greenie horror of "chemicals"

By Rich Kozlovich

In recent months the bed bug issue has reached headline proportions on the national scene. National television news networks have featured the story, magazines have highlighted the problem nationally and newspapers have focused on local infestations that seem to be out of control and growing. We, the pest control industry, have known this day was coming for some time, and in point of fact I know one old timer who ominously stated over ten years ago that bed bugs would be among the first vermin to reappear as a national plague.

Since 1962 when Rachel Carson's book Silent Spring came out the world of pest control and pesticides have been turned upside down. As the years went by people seemed to believe that living a pest free life was a right; it was all part of the American Dream and pesticides had nothing to do with it. Instead of society believing that pesticides are life savers, society has come to believe that pesticides are doing all sort of terrible and unknown things. That in spite of the fact that people are living longer and healthier lives than any time in human history, an accomplishment which pesticides have played a major role.

The American Dream was defined as an national ethos by James Truslow Adams in 1931 as , "life should be better and richer and fuller for everyone, with opportunity for each according to ability or achievement" regardless of social class f or circumstances of birth. The idea of the American Dream is rooted in the second sentence of the United States Declaration of Independence which states that "all men are created equal" and that they are "endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable Rights" including "Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness."

(As a side bar: the Declaration really does say "inalienable" and not "unalienable" in spite of the fact that modernists attempt to change It by quoting incorrectly. To be truthful I don't really know if it may be more correct or not, but the Declaration says "inalienable"; a point that no one seemed to care about or saw the need to change for over 200 years!)

You will notice that it didn't say a thing about bed bugs. However, being rid of vermin in our homes and lives is central to everything Adams stated about the American Dream.
Does anyone believe that life isn't richer and fuller without bed bugs, rats, roaches and mosquitoes carrying yellow fever and malaria?

Isn't it basic to our American nature to believe that everyone, regardless of social standing, should be able to live a life without vermin in their homes and have the pest control tools available in order to care for their families?
There was a time (and in my lifetime) when mothers used to stand above a boiling pot of pasta or beans and wait for the bugs to surface so that they could skim them out with a strainer. We don't do that anymore because we developed chemistry that eliminates most pests from our food. Does anyone wish to go back to those days because they feel it makes their lives "richer and fuller"? If so, I invite them to go to countries that live that way and leave the rest of us alone; and as soon as possible if you please.

I have had friends tell me that they have gone on bed bug job only to find children so badly bitten that if they didn't know what had caused it they would have called Children's Services on the parents. At the end of WWII when the boys came back bed bugs were ubiquitous, but that was because they were there when they left. After DDT was so extensively used the bed bug population dropped dramatically. After resistance developed in bed bugs to DDT we turned to organophosphate products such as malation. That was the knockout punch.

Now we are almost right back to where we were in 1945! And we are now facing a national plague! Offices at the Wall Street Journal had to be treated, along with a host of well known retailers in New York City. Bed bugs are expanding rapidly and exponentially across the nation. Every person in every state, in every city, in every town, in every village and in every home will eventually face the potential of infestation if they travel, have company in their homes, go to the theater, go to work, go shopping or visit others in their homes or have children that go to school, public or private.

Those are the facts! And they are undisputed!

After 1994 the Congress made an attempt to fix the Delaney Act, which amended the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act of 1938 (FFDCA). The Delaney Clause states that nothing can be used if "it is found to induce cancer when ingested by man or animal, or if it is found, after tests which are appropriate for the evaluation of the safety of food additives, to induce cancer in man or animal". But because it was so extremely complicated and convoluted (made mores so by a court case Les v. Reilly) it was implemented in such a way that it basically declared that if something was carcinogenic at any level it was carcinogenic at every level and nothing that tested carcinogenic could be used in any food additives in processed food.

Since Delaney required zero risk versus negligible risk the whole thing became so perverse that Delaney would forbid the EPA from registering new pesticides that were perceived safer if they tested carcinogenic. This was known as the Delaney Paradox. This clearly had created a regulatory nightmare based on a law that had no basis in real science. Because of this the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) issued a statement in 1987 outlining four principles that pesticide law should meet

1. All pesticides should be regulated on the basis of a consistent standard, so that there is no "double standard" for raw vs. processed foods or for old vs. new pesticides. The NAS found no public health reasons for treating residues on raw or processed foods differently.

2. A uniform "negligible risk" rather than a "zero risk" standard for carcinogens in food, consistently applied, would best enable EPA to improve the overall safety of the food supply, and would result in only modest reductions in the benefits of pesticide use to farmers.

3. EPA should set its regulatory priorities by focusing first on the most worrisome pesticides used on the most-consumed crops.

4. The Agency should adopt a comprehensive analytical framework for forecasting the broad-scale impact of its pesticide-specific regulatory actions on the overall safety of the food supply.

This clearly seems to be more than reasonable and justified. Unfortunately the fix ended up being as bad as the problem. Possibly worse because the EPA was being forced by lawsuits to enforce Delaney to its fullest extent, and if that had occurred we might have gotten rid of it entirely, instead we ended up replacing it with another compromise now based on risk assumptions.

The FQPA changed the rules regarding the 100 fold safety factor tied up in pesticides by a potential factor of ten, ratcheting up the safety factor from 100 to a potential of 1000. (This explanation is a "really" shortened and simplified version of this subject. Please go to Frank B. Cross's extremely well done and lengthy examination of this subject in the article, "THE CONSEQUENCES OF CONSENSUS: DANGEROUS COMPROMISES OF THE FOOD QUALITY PROTECTION ACT")

At this point I think it worthwhile to explore this issue of carcinogenic testing. The EPA bases it judgment on rodent testing. Make no mistake about this; a mouse isn't a little man and using rodents that are genetically predisposed to growing tumors for testing and then exposing them massive doses of anything to make that determination isn't the best science as required under the Information Quality Act.

In 2005 the American Council on Science and Health (ACSH) (As a point of disclosure: I am member of ASCH) petitioned the EPA to "Stop declaring chemicals carcinogens based on rodent tests alone". ACSH noted that the law permits EPA "to adopt policies that err on the side of caution when faced with genuinely equivocal evidence regarding a substance's carcinogenicity, but the IQA does not permit EPA to distort the scientific evidence in furtherance of such policies."

The petition argues that EPA "distorts scientific evidence through its Guidelines' use of "default options," its purported right -- based not on scientific evidence but its regulatory mission to protect human health -- to assume that tumors in lab rodents indicate that much smaller doses can cause cancer in humans. Erring on the "safe side" in regulatory decisions does not, argues the petition, permit EPA to falsely claim that such regulated substances truly are "likely to be carcinogenic to humans." To do so, argues ACSH, is a distortion of both science and law. "

Finally after months of delays the EPA formally responded saying "that their Risk Assessment Guidelines are not statements of scientific fact -- and thus not covered by the IQA -- but merely statements of EPA policy." My question was then and is now. If EPA policies aren't based on scientific fact, what are they based on?

In 1950 the legal limit for DDT was seven parts per million. Why? Because they couldn't test below that; so anything below seven parts per million was zero. As the years went by we have learned how to detect substances at parts per billion, then parts per trillion, then parts per quadrillion and parts per.well.even higher numbers that I can't recite. At some point we will be able to detect everything in anything. But should that matter? No! At some point the molecular load will be so small that cells will not respond to it. Under Delaney that wouldn't matter. It was later discovered, mostly through the efforts of Dr. Bruce Ames, that the number of naturally occurring carcinogens was shockingly high. Take for an example the traditional Thanksgiving dinner menu which is filled with carcinogens.

So the goal to fix Delaney was a worthy one, but devastating as it was replaced by the Food Quality Protection Act (FQPA) in August of 1996 by Congress and the Clinton EPA under Carol Browner. This amended FFDCA and the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and rodenticide Act which the structural pest control industry also falls under. This ended up being one of the most significant environmental and public health bills passed since the Nixon administration, and most of the Congress didn't really understand what this was going to mean.

As a result of FQPA we lost (in the U.S.) whole categories of pesticides that had been used for years safely and effectively here and around the world.

Along with all else, the EPA requires pesticides to be re-registered after fifteen years. That means more unnecessary and expensive testing. It costs around $300,000,000 to bring a new pesticide to market. Manufacturers want to make sure that re-registration is worth it to them before they spend millions of dollars more on re-testing. Further testing for what you might ask? Who knows, because after a product has been on the open market for fifteen years you absolutely know what, if any, hazards it represents to humanity or to nature. Most importantly after fifteen years these products have probably gone out of patent. That means there is less value to the primary registrant, and if that is the case, there was no value incentive for the manufacturer to spend millions of dollars more to retest. They then simply pull their registration "voluntarily".

This is just another way the EPA has found to eliminate pesticides without banning them, which can be a messy process; a process in which they would probably lose. When you ban something you have to show reasons for the ban. You have to have facts, figures and..most importantly..real science. If there is none the product stays. They have avoided all of that through their system of rules which can make it a de facto ban without any messy legal stuff.

Organophosphates, such as Dursban absolutely kill bed bugs; on contact and as well as a residual. But in 1996 the Food Quality Protection Act (FQPA) was passed and that changed all the rules. This national policy under the EPA to create uniform regulations with the stated goal to reduce the use of pesticides based on assumed risks cannot occur without compromising the health of the nation. This national bed bug plague is one of those issues, and the tip of the iceberg. Make no mistake about this; if bed bugs were transmitters of disease such as malaria, yellow fever, encephalitis or West Nile virus we wouldn't be having this national conversation.


Ethanol: Let protectionism expire

After more than three decades, the U.S. ethanol blenders' tax credit and the ethanol-import tariff that was put in place to offset it are set to expire at the end of the year. The way things are looking, we may finally be rid of these indefensible and parochial market distortions. The ethanol tax credit alone costs taxpayers over $6 billion per year.

The expiration of these policies will have little, if any, impact on the U.S. ethanol industry, because the Renewable Fuel Standard requires Americans to consume an increasing amount of biofuels each year. The demand for ethanol will therefore not drop significantly even when the current tax credit (45 cents per gallon) and tariff (54 cents per gallon) expire. As a mandate, the standard acts as a built-in market for U.S. ethanol producers.

Still, Tea Party darlings Tom Coburn (R., Okla.) and Jim DeMint (R., S.C.) rightly began pushing the ethanol issue immediately after the election as a key test of whether congressional Republicans could get serious about fiscal discipline. Last week, a bipartisan group of 17 senators, led by the unlikely tandem of Dianne Feinstein (D., Calif.) and John Kyl (R., Ariz.), signed on to a letter calling for an end to ethanol price supports.

The letter was countered by a statement from Sens. Chuck Grassley (R., Iowa) and Kent Conrad (R., N.D) declaring that the U.S. would suffer catastrophic job losses and domestic ethanol production would plummet. Sen. Tom Harkin (D., Iowa) proclaimed, "They have to show me a valid economic reason why the 45 cents is not in the best interest of this country and our economy."

This argument is exactly backwards: Harkin is unable to demonstrate that the tax credit does anything but subsidize domestic gasoline consumption and exports of ethanol.

Although tax credits by themselves encourage ethanol production, they drive down the cost of gasoline when a mandate controls the price of ethanol. A tax credit gives blenders the incentive to blend more gasoline than they would otherwise (and thereby derive more profits from the tax credit). This increases the supply, and thus decreases the price, of fuel. Because the ethanol market price is fixed by the mandate, when the fuel (ethanol plus gasoline) price has to decline, it does so in the form of lower gasoline prices.

Meanwhile, U.S. corn-ethanol production is at an all-time high of 38 million gallons a day (13.9 billion gallons a year), with exports exceeding even Brazil's. Corn prices are near their record highs, and food-price-inflation concerns are rising. It is time for lawmakers to adjust to these new realities.

Redundancy and high costs are contributing to politicians' reluctance to extend the tax credit — as is the growing uncertainty over the claimed environmental benefits and the bad publicity that accompanied the perception that biofuels were a primary culprit of the 2008 commodity price spike.

The waning public support in the U.S. for biofuel subsidies is taking many forms. A broad coalition of organizations, including value-added agricultural industries, environmental groups, and some in the oil industry, is lobbying strongly against extension of the tax credit and tariff. This in the face of divisions within the ethanol lobby, where some argue tax credits are no longer necessary while others propose a shift to a production tax credit, which would be paid to ethanol producers instead of fuel blenders.

If the economic rationale for the ethanol-import tariff is to offset the tax credit, then the tariff should expire along with the tax credit. Letting the tariff expire can provide more competition in the ethanol market and allow more environmentally friendly ethanol onto the market — such as Brazilian sugarcane ethanol. The primary reason sugarcane ethanol is, by far, the world's lowest-carbon-intensity biofuel produced on a commercial scale is that one obtains twice the amount of ethanol per land unit from sugarcane as from corn. Furthermore, sugarcane is not a staple food crop and, unlike corn, has only an indirect effect on food prices. It is better for Brazil to produce ethanol and the U.S. to produce corn.

Brazil ended subsidies for ethanol over ten years ago and eliminated its ethanol tariff early this year. The U.S. should reciprocate. As the world's top producers of ethanol, the U.S. and Brazil should collaborate in building an open and global biofuels marketplace for clean, renewable energy.

The best thing President Obama and Congress could do for ethanol policy this year is nothing — let the tax credit and tariff expire.


West Virginia May Soon Set Nation-wide Pattern to Get Around the EPA

Coal mining has long been under attack from environmentalists and especially the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The result of these attacks have caused coal mines to be closed until they receive certification and permits that meet the approval of bureaucrats that are decidedly anti-coal mining. Hundreds if not thousands of coal mining jobs have been lost due to this bureaucratic nightmare.

In West Virginia though, a newly elected State Delegate has drafted legislation that would undo these unnecessary mine closures and put the miners back to work. Gary Howell, elected to his first term in the State House of West Virginia in November, is wasting no time getting his "put West Virginia to work" legislation signed in to law.

Delegate-elect Howell told, "[t]hese mines have met all the requirements for their EPA permits to be issued, but the Obama administration is simply not issuing the permits. The Obama administration's actions are illegal and are being challenged in the courts, however the court cases will take time. The Intrastate Coal and Use Act will take effect immediately allowing the mines to open, which will not only increase employment but increase the tax bases without the need for increased taxes on the individuals and provide energy security for the nation."

According to Howell, hundreds of coal mining jobs have been put on hold because of the actions taken by Obama's EPA. If Howell's legislation becomes law, West Virginia coal miners could soon be back to work.

The bill being introduced by Howell states that coal that is mined in West Virginia and used entirely within West Virginia, should not fall under the Federal government's jurisdiction. According to Howell's legislation, "Any West Virginia coal mine producing coal which is used commercially or privately in West Virginia and which is consumed or otherwise remains within the borders of West Virginia, and, any West Virginia facility producing chemically altered coal products used commercially or privately in West Virginia, which remain within the borders of West Virginia, shall be issued a permit to operate by the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection once the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection has certified that the mine or facility is compliant with all applicable state and federal laws or state and federal regulation."

If Howell's legislation is signed in to law, he will have scored an important 10th amendment victory. The jobs created in West Virginia are also something of great import. According to Howell, "a low estimate would be between 500 and 1,000 jobs that would be involved directly in mining operations across the 38 mines in West Virginia. That excludes the truck drivers, private contractors, surveying crews and even the college kid that will work the shift change at the local convenience store."

"Thousands of jobs ranging from high paying to entry level positions are being held up by the Obama Administration's EPA because the mining industry does not operate in a vacuum," Howell continued.

The effects of Obama's EPA are wide reaching and not just West Virginia. Nationwide, there are approximately 100 mines that are effected like the 38 mines of West Virginia. According to Howell, "Other state legislatures are looking at what happens with this bill in West Virginia as we take the lead on this issue."

Even though Howell's bill is still a draft, he expects it to gain momentum at the start of their legislative session on January 12th. As Delegate-elect Howell correctly stated, "it is not a left or right bill, but a `put West Virginia to work bill,' I expect it to have strong bipartisan support."

Delegate-elect Howell is taking a brave stand against the forces of Big Government environmentalism that have killed thousands of jobs nationwide. More states should look to Howell's example and take a stand against regulations that are destroying the economy and raising unemployment.


Australia: "Green" policies are cold comfort for older citizens

By Senator Barnaby Joyce

Certain things paint an indelible image in your mind. One happened to me lately when my mother in law told me that whilst doing meals on wheels in winter there was always a place you could find pensioners, in bed. This was not because of an infirmity but because they could not afford the price of the power to stay warm outside bed. How completely self indulgent and pathetic we have become that in our zealous desire to single-handedly cool the planet we have pandered to those who can afford the power bill over those less fortunate to avoid privation. How pathetic we are that South Korea, using our coal, can provide power cheaper to their citizens after an 8,300 km sea voyage than we can with power stations in our own coal fields.

Oh yes, aren't the solar panels doing a great a job. In Canberra last week it was revealed that they would add $225 to the average electricity bill, and that the Government's proposed carbon tax would raise them by a further 24%.

It is just that the poverty creep is making its way up the social strata, though I doubt it will reach the most affluent group The Greens. Bitterness on my part I suppose but I represent a party that represents the poorest electorates. Now what other lunacy are we considering, none other than shutting down the Murray Darling Basin so you can have a diet that suits the misery of the winter nights temperature in the unheated house..

Yes we have become so oblivious to the obvious because the loudest voices are not necessarily the neediest. We spend, sorry borrow, for school halls that do not make students more competitive in competency. No school hall taught a student a second language or a higher level maths. We borrowed for ceiling insulation and burnt down 190 houses and 4 installers died.

We borrowed for aimless $900 cheques as we decided that somehow imported electrical goods to Australia would reboot the US economy. We borrowed so much that we are now 170 billion dollars in gross debt. We are told not to worry about gross debt, its net debt that counts. Well try that out on your local bank manager. Try paying him back what you think you owe him, because of what you think others may owe you. Not surprisingly he will direct you to what is noted on your loan statement.

It is funny how the people who try to assuage our concerns with the net debt myth can never clearly identify what are the items that make up the difference between the figure on the Office of Financial Management website as Australian Government Securities outstanding and their miraculous net debt figure.

Since the election, the Labor-Green government has borrowed an average $1.6 billion each week. Every fortnight that amounts to three new major public hospitals or the inland rail from Melbourne to Brisbane. Not bad going for a country that can not keep its pensioners warm.

Whilst we are waiting we are merrily selling at a record rate our agricultural land, mines and now the hub of commerce the ASX, so that when the day of reckoning for our children comes they can try and get out of trouble by working fastidiously for someone else and hoping they feed them. The average foreign purchase of agricultural land over the past two years is 2.7 billion a year or more than 10 times that of the average of the previous 10 years.

So when is all this going to change? When are we going to shake ourselves out of this dystopia that we are inflicting on others less connected but more affected by the self indulgent political delusion. What is our current solution to the very real problems becoming more and more apparent at the bottom end of the lucky country?

Well apparently it is gay marriage. Yep I am sure that will warm the cockles of their hearts, if not their living rooms, that our nation's wisest are going to engage in hours, possibly days at the end of the political year on gay marriage. Then when we are finished with gay marriage we may have enough time to engage the remainder of our time on euthanasia.

You can not reduce power prices without increasing the supply of cheap power. No other nation has an earnest desire to feed you before they satisfy their own. It is a fluke of history that you are here in this nation but luck is easily lost with bad management and naive aspirations.



For more postings from me, see DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here. For readers in China or for times when is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here


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