Sunday, May 05, 2019

Maine becomes 1st state to ban single-use foam containers

Maine has banned single-use food and drink containers made from polystyrene foam, commonly known as Styrofoam, becoming the first state to do so.

Democratic Gov. Janet Mills signed the bill, which takes effect in 2021, into law Tuesday.

Environmental groups have sought such bans amid rising public awareness of throwaway plastic that accumulates in the oceans, but the Natural Resources Council of Maine said that Maine is the first state to enact a ban.

Similar legislation passed Maryland’s Legislature in April, but it’s unclear whether that state’s Republican governor, Larry Hogan, will sign it.

Oregon, Vermont and Connecticut are also considering banning the containers, and dozens of communities from Berkeley, California, to New York City have already passed their own bans, some of which date back to the late 1980s. Several companies such as Dunkin’ and McDonald’s have also pledged to or have already eliminated foam cups.

In December, European Union officials agreed to ban some single-use plastics, such as polystyrene food and beverage containers, in an effort to curb marine pollution.

“With the threats posed by plastic pollution becoming more apparent, costly, and even deadly to wildlife, we need to be doing everything possible to limit our use and better manage our single-use plastics — starting with eliminating the use of unnecessary forms like plastic foam,” said Sarah Lakeman, Sustainable Maine director at the Natural Resources Council of Maine.

Mills called it an “important step forward in protecting our environment.” The governor said it creates consistency for businesses while providing time to adjust.

The law will prohibit “covered establishments” — like restaurants and grocery stores — from using polystyrene containers. Hospitals, seafood shippers and state-funded meals-on-wheels programs will be exempt.

Maine has banned foam food containers at state facilities and functions since 1993. Some communities in the state had also already banned polystyrene.

The legislation faced strong opposition from the plastics industry, food service container manufacturers and Maine business and tourism groups, which argued polystyrene is economical and a better than other materials at keeping food from spoiling.

Such industry groups argue Maine’s new law doesn’t mean consumers will stop littering and doesn’t ensure alternatives will be better for the environment.

“It is our sincere hope that Gov. Mills and the Maine Legislature will reconsider this legislation next year after they see how it will negatively impact the environment and local businesses and consumers,” said Omar Terrie, a director in the American Chemistry Council’s plastics division.

The plastics industry also says they’re taking voluntary steps to make plastic packaging reusable, recyclable or recoverable by 2030. The industry in January committed to spending $1.5 billion over five years to end plastic waste through a new nonprofit, The Alliance to End Plastic Waste, according to American Chemistry Council lobbyist Margaret Gorman.

“All packaging leaves an environmental footprint regardless of the material type,” Gorman told Maine lawmakers in written testimony.

Maine State Chamber of Commerce lobbyist Ben Gilman said the bill would raise costs for small businesses, in particular, while sending a “chilling message” to companies in the state that manufacture food service containers.

“These types of issues are better dealt with on a regional or national basis due to unbalanced cost impact it will have on Maine businesses,” he said in written testimony to lawmakers.


California's High-Speed Train Makes Solyndra Look Like a Bargain

The ongoing saga of California’s high-speed bullet train may end up being as classic a story of Democratic politicians’ hubris as the Solyndra debacle. The difference is that the bullet train is still going—well, not the train itself, but the taxpayer spending on the planning—despite some optimism earlier this year that Gov. Gavin Newsom was going to put the project out of its misery. A Los Angeles Times story last week by Ralph Vartabedian is a deep dive on the consulting companies that have been intimately involved in the whole process. Here’s the most revealing nugget:

The rail authority’s consultants are hardly household names, but they are politically powerful and made major contributions to support the 2008 political campaign for the bullet train bond. They have staffed their ranks with former high-level bureaucrats, and their former executives have occupied key government posts….

The consultants, however, have played a key role in the political success of the project. Along with labor unions, consultants helped fund the campaign for the $9-billion bond that is paying everybody’s salaries, including their own.

Engineering and construction firms contributed $837,000 to the bond campaign, second only to the $1.6 million spent by various unions, according to a Times review of campaign filings. WSP put $107,000 into the campaign. There was no organized opposition to the bond measure. It passed with 52.7% support, but its popularity has dropped in public opinion polls ever since.

The consultants continue to provide political muscle for the project. A revolving door provides lucrative job opportunities for state and federal officials to enter higher-paying private jobs.

The firms and the unions that expected to profit from building the rail line paid for the campaign to persuade voters to approve the bond issue that would commit taxpayers to the project. And the consultants move in and out of government to make sure the project—if not any actual train—stays on track. Political scientists write about an “iron triangle” of government agencies that handle a particular issue or project, special interests that benefit from it, and legislative committees that oversee it. The flow of personnel—the “revolving door”—is part of that cozy process.

So how’s all that coziness working out for California taxpayers? Here’s the basic story:

When California shifted its bullet train plan into high gear in 2008, it had just 10 employees to manage and oversee design of the largest public construction project in state history.

Consultants assured the state there was little reason to hire hundreds or thousands of in-house engineers and rail experts, because the consultants could handle the heavy work themselves and save California money. It would take them only 12 years to bore under mountains, bridge rivers and build 520 miles of rail bed — all at a cost of just $33 billion….

But significant portions of this work have been flawed or mismanaged, according to records reviewed by The Times and interviews with dozens of people involved in the project. Despite repeated warnings since 2010 about weaknesses in its staffing, the rail authority believed it could reduce overall costs by relying on consultants and avoiding a large permanent workforce. But that strategy has failed to keep project costs from soaring. Ten years after voters approved it, the project is $44 billion over budget and 13 years behind schedule.

And here’s a typical example of economic analyses of stadiums, convention centers, mass transit, and other megaprojects:

At one time, Cambridge Systematics, the consultant that developed ridership models, estimated that more than 90 million people would ride the trains every year, based on an overly optimistic assumption that 90% of motorists along the route would switch to trains, said David Brownstone, a UC Irvine economics professor who reviewed the work of consultants that provided ridership estimates.

“Once we pointed out all the problems, they lowered it to 25 million and characterized it as a minor change,” he said. “Calling that a minor adjustment was a flat-out lie. The mistakes were obvious and crude.”

In Brownstone’s opinion, the rail authority didn’t question the calculations because high ridership estimates supported its revenue projections.

“Some of these consultants will tell you whatever you want to hear for a fee,” Brownstone said.

This Wednesday the rail authority plans to send the legislature “a detailed plan on building a partial operating system from Bakersfield to Merced for $16 billion to $18 billion.” You can drive from Bakersfield to Merced in 2.5 hours according to Google Maps. You can already take a train for $27 that covers the distance in two hours and 45 minutes, and the consultants promise that the high-speed train would cut that by 45 minutes. And all for only God-knows-how-many billions of dollars.

At only $535 million in unpaid taxpayer loans, Solyndra looks like a bargain.


UK: National Trust scraps horse trials which Royals have ridden in for 40 years to protect worms

The National Trust has scrapped a prestigious horse trials event in which Royals have competed in for 40 years citing concerns for earthworms.

The Belton Horse Trials is looking for a new home after officials said horse hooves treading on worms and other "soil loving creatures" means the ground could become boggy and waterlogged.

Worms play a vital role as aerators of soil, and helping grassland grow.

The decision came as organisers of the three-day international event at the Lincolnshire stately home of Belton House began planning its 40th anniversary celebrations for 2020.

This year’s horse show, which attracted around 20,000 people to the 1,300 acre site in March, attracted a top field, including Olympic riders Pippa Funnell, Laura Collett and Piggy French. In 2017, Zara Tindall took a runners-up spot.

However, the National Trust said the very "size and scale" of the event in Grantham is "now at odds" with conservation at the Grade I listed site.

British Eventing claimed that the “difficult decision” to put the event to bed was “very disappointing” and the local authority, South Kesteven District Council, added that the trials make a “significant contribution” to the local economy.

North Lincolnshire Riding Club also spoke of the loss to the area. “It is a huge loss for the Lincolnshire equestrian community after so many years being able to watch the best competitors at the top of their sport,” said Mrs Gale, the club’s secretary.

“We can only hope that another fairly accessible venue can be sourced so we don't have to always travel miles to enjoy the sport.”

Mother-of-three Rachel Good, who travelled to Belton House with her teenage daughter who competed in the equestrian event this year, told The Telegraph she is disappointed that they won’t be returning soon.

She said: “We went for the first time this year, it was an absolutely brilliant and beautiful event.

“I’m very sad that we can’t go back and I feel desperately sorry for the organisers who had no notice of the decision.

“It is very special to compete and use a wonderful and historic landscape through our sport and leisure activity. By doing this, the National Trust are making a facility stand even more still in time.”

Another self-professed equestrian supporter, Jo Mawditt, said she has contacted the National Trust to complain and urged them to reconsider the decision.

“This event is a highlight of not only the eventing calendar but also supports the local economy, as well as gives the general public the opportunity to experience the thrill of man and horse in harmony,” Ms Mawditt said.

 We are devastated at the loss of Belton International Horse Trials. This decision was announced to us yesterday and came as a shock to the whole team.

“Surely the National Trust have a responsibility to protect such events and build awareness of the countryside for the nation.  A more rounded organisation is one that listens to its members and the public and is strong in character.”

Despite calls of concern, Ian Cooper, general manager at Belton House stood by the National Trust’s decision.

He said: "Unfortunately, it has come to a point where we can't carry on."

Mr Cooper said horse hooves and large vehicles had caused significant soil compaction across parts of the Grade I listed parkland, impacting wildlife and historic trees.

He added: “We recognise the significance of the Horse Trials and their place in Belton’s recent history, and have therefore not come to this decision lightly.

“The core purpose of the National Trust is to protect this historic place for future generations, and we must honour that commitment.”

Belton House was gifted to the National Trust in 1983 after it was built for Sir John Brownlow in the 1680s.


What Rising CO2 Levels Mean for Global Food Security

"A group funded by conservative foundations to promote doubt about the effects of climate change has quietly expanded its outreach in Congress over the last few months.

"Yesterday, the CO2 Coalition held a briefing for congressional aides to claim that rising levels of carbon dioxide are falsely stigmatized. The group argues that more CO2 is beneficial to humans through the promotion of plant growth and crop yields.

"The presenter was Craig Idso, a researcher whose work has been funded by the Mercer Family Foundation, a major Trump donor, and who is affiliated with the Heartland Institute, a group that discredits climate science. Idso told an audience of legislative interns and committee staffers that CO2 levels of 600 parts per million would be beneficial to humankind, a claim contradicted by NASA, NOAA and the world's major science agencies.

"The event was part of the CO2 Coalition's effort to have a bigger presence on Capitol Hill, said Caleb Rossiter, the group's executive director, in an interview.

"'We're trying to be up here as much as possible and take people like Craig around to talk to people who are interested. I hope you'll see us a lot more,' said Rossiter, who has a doctorate in statistics.

"The group's efforts come as public opinion is shifting on climate change, including among Republicans. Polls show that Democratic voters increasingly rank climate change as a top issue heading into the 2020 presidential election. And a growing number of Republicans are worried about climate change after seeing a string of extreme storms and wildfires strike states across the nation, surveys show.

"The Trump administration released the latest National Climate Assessment in November, which showed that parts of the country are already experiencing the disastrous and deadly effects of rising temperatures. They include wildfires, severe storms and heat waves. The CO2 Coalition is trying to counteract that public shift and has received a friendly reception from some GOP lawmakers.

"Rossiter said his group is targeting first- and second-term lawmakers who may not have hardened climate opinions, "because they're up for grabs." His group tries to help lawmakers highlight uncertainty, while avoiding an outright rejection of science.

"'I just want you to look at the data and say this is how much temperature change we've seen versus this is how much is predicted, this is how many hurricanes we've had per decades versus beliefs that it has gone up, etc.,' Rossiter said. 'Don't go past that because it's such an uncertain system. Why make yourself look silly?'

"Scientists at NASA and elsewhere have said that climate models have tracked closely to real-world observations in recent decades. The last five years have been the warmest on record, according to NASA.

"The CO2 Coalition was co-founded by William Happer, an emeritus physics professor with Princeton University who has sought to discredit climate science for years. The group receives funding from the Mercer family, the Koch network and foundations that support conservative causes, E&E News has reported (Climatewire, Feb. 28). Happer was appointed to the White House National Security Council by President Trump and is now leading an effort to conduct an "adversarial" review of climate science.

"The presentation yesterday could reach a wide variety of lawmakers. In attendance were staffers for Sens. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.), Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) and Rep. Gary Palmer (R-Ala.). Representatives for the American Farm Bureau Federation, the Senate Agriculture Committee and the House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis were also there.

"One legislative staffer said he was a little less concerned about the dangers of rising carbon dioxide levels after hearing the presentation.

"'I'm now maybe slightly less concerned about increasing CO2 levels. I'm still not convinced that that's not an issue that something needs to be done about,' said Sean Bland, a staffer in Wicker's office, who said he was speaking for himself. He said he would distill a few talking points from the presentation and submit them to his supervisor in the senator's office.

"Rossiter said he plans to brief more members of Congress in the coming months. His group has already briefed at least eight lawmakers, he said, including Reps. Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.) and James Comer (R-Ky.). The meetings can give lawmakers talking points to be used in climate hearings conducted by Democrats.

"On Tuesday, at a House Oversight Committee hearing on the public health risks of climate change, Comer had some of those talking points ready to go.

"Comer, who represents coal-producing regions of Kentucky, repeated some of the talking points used by the CO2 Coalition in his opening statement. He said he wanted to talk about the "role that coal would play in helping more Americans escape poverty and maintain a higher state of health and well-being."

"Rossiter, who testified at the Tuesday hearing, said increased fossil fuels would bring wealth to the world and claimed that fossil fuels had saved lives.

"'So far, CO2 emissions have had a modest, positive impact on public health in the United States: They have increased plant productivity because CO2 is plant food and reduced mortality because CO2 has contributed to warming,' Rossiter told lawmakers.

"Later, he added: 'Being wealthy saves lives.'"

"At Tuesday's hearing, Republicans used much of their time asking Rossiter to comment on climate change, rather than the four witnesses who were public health experts. Democrats, meanwhile, spent time questioning Rossiter about funding sources for the CO2 Coalition and on misleading claims he made about climate change. Some of the health experts also devoted part of their time to correcting Rossiter.

"'Let's get it back to the subject of this hearing, which is the impact of climate change on human health. We are not debating whether climate change is real, and we are not debating any of those attendant effects. We are debating and discussing the impacts on public health,' said Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.).

"Public health experts described a number of ways that they're seeing climate change affect health.

"'The allergy season is longer, the trees are flowering more, we're having more vibrant flowering of all trees, which then quickly creates more asthma and more allergies and then that causes a tremendous increase in cost,' said Cheryl Holder, a physician and associate professor at Florida International University.

"Aaron Bernstein, director of the Climate Change & Health Initiative at Harvard University's Global Health Institute, corrected Rossiter's claims, saying they were cherry-picked and not the entire truth about climate change.

"'What you heard does not reflect the full truth as regards to what the science understands,' Bernstein said."

Australian Leftist leader reinvents climate politics

He claims that warming is so urgent that cost is irrelevant

Refusing to play by orthodox rules, Bill Shorten — if he wins — will transform the politics of climate change in Australia by proving what counts is the necessity for action and that disputing the cost of ambitious emissions reduction targets is yesterday’s news.

The conventional wisdoms by which climate change politics has been conducted is on the edge of obliteration. Any Labor victory in the May 18 election rejects the debate about modelling, costs and economic downsides in favour of the principle of urgent action to fight global warming. It would crush the conservative side of the Coalition, with its ideology of climate change caution.

What counts: the action or the cost? This is the election choice the Opposition Leader and Scott Morrison have put before the public this week. Their rival positions could not be clearer. Shorten says the public is “sick and tired” of excuses and if Australia doesn’t take serious action it faces an economic disaster. His message is the nation cannot afford inaction. Don’t ask him about the economic cost of his policy because, ultimately, he thinks that is yesterday’s question.

Shorten mocks the government as “climate denying cave dwellers”. He warns our politics will stay broken until climate change is confronted. He says the modelling report used by the Prime Minister to discredit Labor’s policy on cost grounds can be “filed under P for propaganda”. And in a defining event, in the first leaders debate he refused to put a cost figure on Labor’s policy: “I don’t think that’s possible to do.”

Having no data on the cost of his policies, Shorten seeks to make a virtue of weakness. He may not have started out to transform the politics of climate change but this will be the impact of any Labor victory. The public, if it votes Labor into office, can decide over time if it wants to backtrack and put limits on the cost — and Labor in office would need to be pragmatic about the costs it imposed. But Shorten, having declared climate change is “one of the top two or three issues”, is betting his career on a sea change in politics.

It is just six years since Tony Abbott won office with his campaign against the carbon tax and Shorten now seeks victory rejecting the need for cost estimates and even the validity of such a debate, because only one thing matters: the penalty of inaction.

Morrison is the model of Liberal orthodoxy. He practises the climate change politics the Liberals have followed since 2009 — but those politics face their demise if Labor wins. “This election is not about whether we should take action on climate change,” he says. “I believe we should.” The issue, Morrison says, is whether you had “reckless” action with a 45 per cent emissions reduction target, or “responsible” action with the government’s 26 per cent target.

The attack Morrison mounts is that Shorten will impose his choice — “between the economy and the environment” — on the public. Put another way, it is whether the public will buy Shorten’s line, repudiate the Liberals and join the progressive sentiment: “Let’s just get on with it.”

The progressive tide for global action is leaving Shorten far behind, let alone Morrison. This week the British parliament passed a fateful declaration on an environment and climate change emergency, a symbolic victory for the activists and demonstrators who caused chaos across much of London for 10 days.

In Britain, people power is intimidating the politicians. While the declaration was passed partly because it has no tangible effect, the activists will sell the idea of Britain now moving to a “war footing” on climate. The declaration was passed as an opposition motion with Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn warning that without “rapid and dramatic action” the climate crisis “will spiral dangerously out of control”.

The high-profile Swedish schoolgirl Greta Thunberg tweeted: “Now other nations must follow.” Greens MP Adam Bandt says he will move for the new parliament to declare a climate emergency in Australia. “It is time to act as if our house is on fire, because it is,” Bandt says.

Incredibly, Shorten hasn’t been asked where Labor stands. Does his pledge of “real action” on climate change mean he will follow the UK parliament’s emergency symbolism? Australian activists will duplicate the push abroad and unless government is seen to respond, the shift to civil disobedience will intensify.

If Shorten wins he will face an immense challenge from the climate activist Left, which he cannot satisfy. The message this week from Greens leader Richard Di Natale was that his party wants to work with Labor on climate change — they cannot afford any repeat of their rejection of the Rudd 2009 carbon scheme — yet the Greens must also respond to climate activism.

Shorten’s task, if he wins, will be to find and then hold a new political centre on climate change. The Coalition would be reduced to an internal crisis.

The activists now challenge the democratic system. Their premise, outlined by George Monbiot in The Guardian, is that because the political class “cannot be trusted with the preservation of life on Earth” and meeting this “vast existential predicament”, mere democratic voting cannot do the job — concentrated power of protest is essential.

A threshold is being crossed to large-scale civil disobedience and public disruption, with groups such as Extinction Rebellion calling for truth-telling on climate, and a citizens assembly.

In the US, the Green New Deal, a radical agenda promoted by newly elected Democrat Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, has gained rapid momentum (and provoked immense pushback), the idea being to decarbonise the economy on a faster, more sweeping scale than anything proposed so far. The US radicals believe there is a wave of untapped public demand for tough action.

Many activists in Britain and the US demand zero emissions in six years, a growing sentiment among young people and a guarantee of huge economic and social disruption. The New York Times takes these ideas seriously and published an oped last week by anthropologist and activist David Graeber backing the Extinction Rebellion and warning the passion for change “must come from outside the system”. His message: if governments cannot go radical, then the people will.

This is extremism not too short of revolutionary. Its final logic cannot be avoided: once you say the issue is human extinction then you open the door to suspension or interruption of the democratic process to save the planet. Anyone who thinks such calls won’t be made by activists in coming years knows nothing of history.

The Australian Greens have toughened their climate stance — they repudiate Liberal and Labor targets as “woefully” inadequate. They want net zero emissions by 2040, an immediate ban on any new coal, gas or oil development, a preferred scenario of 100 per cent renewable electricity by 2030, and a termination of thermal coal ­exports by 2030.

“This is a plan to take on coal,” Bandt said of the Greens policy.

Herein lies another touchstone in the politics — the progressives have turned climate change into an anti-coal virtue test. Having a rational emissions reduction policy is not enough — you must back state intervention against coal. This constitutes a historic defeat for conservative politics.

The class of independents running at this election have mostly made climate change the main priority. What unites Labor, the Greens and the independents is the view that Australia must do more, that this will benefit the economy and that Coalition obsessions about the cost of climate change action no longer engage a majority of the public.

This is a formidable alignment against the Coalition. In the unlikely event no major party has a post-election majority, the independents would back a Labor government swayed by the climate change issue.

The Greens will operate in a legislative alliance with a Shorten government if Labor wins. There seems to be a bizarre reluctance to state the obvious on this point. Shorten is too astute to repeat the blunder of Julia Gillard in 2010 when she dashed into a formal alliance with the Greens, a compromise from which her government never recovered.

But Shorten’s formula gives him flexibility. He will talk to all parties in the Senate. But when it comes to executive government, Labor will form its own cabinet and run its own policies. Shorten would need to offer the Greens concessions to secure his climate policies through the Senate but probably not much since he would have a strong negotiating position.

In summary, Shorten would govern in the executive domain in Labor’s own right. In the parliamentary domain, he would need the Greens not just for his climate agenda but his entire agenda — tax, spending, industrial relations. In legislative terms Shorten would operate in a de facto parliamentary alliance with the Greens.

A feature of the campaign is the embedded acceptance of the Labor-Greens preference alliance in contrast to the contentions arising from the Coalition’s preference deals — or lack of deals — with Pauline Hanson’s One Nation party and Clive Palmer’s United Australia Party.

On the Left of politics, Labor gets a shade more than 80 per cent of Greens preferences. Despite efforts by Morrison, the Labor-Greens preference alliance has not become an election issue.

Shorten rarely, if ever, has to explain why Labor MPs are elected to parliament because of Greens preferences, given the extreme policies of the Greens on a wide range of social, economic, security and climate issues.

The Greens will be fundamental to the redirection of Australia under the policies proposed by Shorten. They will be instrumental in helping to ensure much of Labor’s agenda is converted into law. How much is difficult to say, given the unpredictable Senate voting system, with Labor and the Greens unlikely to have more than 36 Senate votes in total, when 39 votes constitutes a majority. So Labor will need further crossbench support.

The Newspoll published this week showed the Palmer party on 5 per cent of the primary vote and One Nation reduced to 4 per cent. This testifies to the extent of fragmentation on the Right — a total of 9 per cent of the primary vote — and if these numbers stick it is virtually impossible to see how the Coalition can win the election.

But Shorten, enjoying apparent immunity for his alliance with the Greens, branded Morrison as operating in coalition with Palmer and Hanson, a reminder that while alliances on the Left have legitimacy, alliances on the Right, seem to lack such legitimacy. Morrison had no viable option but to strike a preference deal with Palmer, but whether that means he can extract 60 per cent of Palmer preferences remains to be seen.

Morrison will pursue Shorten on the Labor leader’s refusal to model his climate policies or put a calculation on the cost to the economy. Because the task is hard is no excuse. Election integrity requires such an effort.

Telling the Australian people you are unable to inform them how big a penalty will be imposed on economic growth and living standards because of your ambitious climate change agenda is risky and arrogant. Shorten, in effect, just says “trust me”.

Having refused to put its estimates on the table, Labor’s attack on Brian Fisher for his modelling of Labor policies has been extreme. Fisher’s latest work, released this week, estimates that Labor’s emissions reduction targets by 2030 result in a cost to GDP ranging from $53 billion to $187bn. “We don’t believe the scary numbers,” Shorten says. “We think they’re just rubbish.”

He has compared Fisher, a former public servant with an international reputation, with doctors who once defended big tobacco. Labor’s environment spokesman Mark Butler says Fisher’s work is “a complete crock of rubbish” by an author who “has spent 20 years building a career fighting every single climate policy”.

Morrison is right to try to hold Labor to account. But Morrison’s problem is that internal Coalition chaos has meant the government lacks a viable climate change agenda. He comes at Shorten from a position of weakness and the Labor leader knows this. It radiates his approach.


For more postings from me, see  DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC and AUSTRALIAN POLITICS. Home Pages are   here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here.  

Preserving the graphics:  Most graphics on this site are hotlinked from elsewhere.  But hotlinked graphics sometimes have only a short life -- as little as a week in some cases.  After that they no longer come up.  From January 2011 on, therefore, I have posted a monthly copy of everything on this blog to a separate site where I can host text and graphics together -- which should make the graphics available even if they are no longer coming up on this site.  See  here or here


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