Thursday, May 28, 2015

Leaving the Church of Environmentalism

Posted by Alan Caruba @ Warning Signs

 
In March 2009 while the Environmental Protection Agency was rushing to fulfill a presidential campaign pledge to document that carbon dioxide (CO2) and five other greenhouse gases endangered public health and the environment, a longtime employee, Alan Carlin, put out a 93-page report challenging the science being cited and the drift of the agency from its initial role to one captured by fanatical activists and alarmists, treating environmentalism more as a religion than based in science.

At the time Carlin was a 72-year-old analyst and economist who, as The New York Times put it, “had labored in obscurity in a little-known office at the Environmental Protection Agency since the Nixon administration.” His EPA career would span 38 years.

The website for his new book, “Environmentalism Gone Mad” says, “Dr. Alan Carlin is an economist and physical scientist with degrees from Caltech and MIT and publications in both economics and climate/energy, who became actively involved in the Sierra Club in the 1960s as an activist and Chapter Chairman. This led to a career as a manager and senior analyst at the Environmental Protection Agency.”

As he says in the preface “The purpose of this book is to explain why I changed from my lifelong support of the environmental movement to extreme skepticism concern their current primary objective of reducing emissions of carbon dioxide.”

“Although I and the many other climate skeptics are now referred to as ‘deniers’ by the climate alarmists, that does not change the science—and there is no valid scientific basis for the alarmists’ catastrophic climate predictions—or justify their fantastically expensive and useless ‘solution.’”

Carlin went from being a dedicated environmentalist, based on its initial philosophy of conservation, to an observer of the movement that was taken over and distorted to advocate falsehoods about global warming and a transition from fossil-fuels to “clean energy” meaning wind, solar and bio-fuels. As an economist he understood how absurd it was to suggest rejecting fossil-fuels, the key element of modern industry and society.

“The climate alarmists,” says Carlin, “have now been making their apocalyptic predictions for almost thirty years and it is now possible to compare their predictions with actual physical observations.” Suffice to say all the predictions of a significantly higher temperature—the warming—have been wrong.

In fact, the Earth has been in a natural cooling cycle since 1998 and shows no indication of warming

Predictions about the North and South Poles melting, a major rise in ocean levels, increased hurricanes and other climate events have been wrong along with countless other climate-related apocalyptic predictions.

Having observed how the EPA has functioned for more than three decades, Carlin warns that its current “environmental policy has been hijacked by radicals intent on imposing their ideology by government fiat on the rest of us whether we like it or not…If environmental policy is based on government fiat or ‘green’ policy prescriptions the results have been and are very likely to continue to be disastrous.”

At 625 pages, Carlin’s book takes the reader from his early days as a Sierra Club activist and chapter leader to being an EPA outcast, denounced for telling the truth about the false claims of global warming, climate change, and what is now being called extreme weather.

As an economist, Carlin is particularly upset that “the Obama Administration’s climate/energy policy is wasting very large sums on non-solutions to minor or non-problems.” The book has come along as President Obama has been flogging “climate change” as the greatest threat to the nation and the world.

“It has been long recognized that weather is chaotic," says Carlin. While we operate within the four seasons, the weather that occurs can only be predicted in the most general terms. Suggesting that humans actually have any effect on the weather is absurd.

That is why the predictions made by the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and all the others based on computer models are, by definition, worthless. Computer models cannot predict anything about the vast chaotic global climate system. Even today, meteorologists are mystified by the actions of clouds which can form and disappear in minutes.

It’s useful to keep in mind that climate is measured in centuries, while the weather is reported as what is occurring today and forecast, at best, for no more than a week. Weather records are maintained for purposes of comparison and within the larger context of determining the Earth’s climate cycles. Like those in the past, the present cooling cycle is based on a comparable one of the Sun that is producing lower levels of radiation. You don’t need a Ph.D. in meteorology to understand this.

Carlin does not hesitate to excoriate the blather put forth by the alarmists; particularly their claims that the weather is affected in any significant fashion by human activity and development in particular. “There is simply no evidence thus far that the normal activities of man have or will result in catastrophic outcomes for either man or nature.”

The actions the alarmists call for do nothing to enhance and benefit our lives. They drive up the cost of energy and food. They ignore how dependent modern life is on the use of fossil fuels.

“Despite all the lavish funding by liberal foundations and the federal government on their global warming doctrine-inspired programs, the radical environmental movement has long since gone so far beyond rationality that it is counter-productive in achieving its own ends.”

So long as it remains heavily funded and backed by the federal government, we must, like Carlin, speak out against environmental extremism. We must elect new people to govern in a more realistic, science-based fashion. We must urge our current legislators to rein in the rogue Environmental Protection Agency.

© Alan Caruba, 2015

Good Riddance to Letterman

Posted by Daniel Greenfield @ the Sultan Knish blog 10 Comments

David Letterman’s departure isn’t the end of an era. The era of late night talk shows ended a while back.
 
In Johnny Carson’s final week in the nineties, he played to an audience of twenty million. Lately, Letterman has been lucky to get 2 million. His final shows have played to around 5 million viewers.

Late night talk shows still exist, but their intended audience mainly watches viral clips from them the next day. The average age of Letterman’s audience is 54. CBS hopes that the equally smarmy Stephen Colbert will be able to bring his younger audience demo with him, but even Jimmy Fallon couldn’t bring down the average age demo all that much. Colbert will shave a few years off and then spend his time getting old and stale. Even before then, the networks will collapse and take his new job with it.

The Late Show isn’t a beloved American institution. It was created by Letterman’s inflated sense of entitlement. It failed in its purpose, as Letterman lost to Leno, and it won’t outlive Letterman by long.

The tributes to Letterman carry heavy doses of media self-importance and self-pity. And these days the two are one and the same. The media isn’t really nostalgic for Letterman’s smarmy laugh; it’s mourning the loss of a time when limited options maintained captive audiences for every fellow media dork awarded a big three network microphone and its incredible power of nationwide prime time airtime.

It’s a power that doesn’t seem all that impressive now when worldwide audiences are a click away.

That’s why the controversies over Brian Williams or George Stephanopoulos are tempests in a broken teapot. The days when a Walter Cronkite could embody the news are gone. The days when a David Letterman sneer could drive public opinion have gone with it. In his last years, Letterman was trying and failing to compete, not with Jay Leno, but with a world of YouTube base jumping and cat video clips.

Younger hosts are slobbering over Letterman to be able to pretend that they too are a direct link to Dick Cavett or Johnny Carson, instead of glorified Buzzfeed employees whose real job is producing 2-minute clips viral enough that next morning mobile users will wait through a 30-second ad to watch them.

Like the leftovers of the media, Letterman’s job had become a comfortable sinecure. He said all the right things about how awful Republicans were, even if no one was paying attention, and in return his colleagues in the media avoided asking too many uncomfortable questions about his sexual harassment, the resulting manufactured blackmail incident and the toxic environment behind the curtain.

It’s this same culture of complicity that allowed Brian Williams to get away with telling so many crazy lies for so long or allowed George Stephanopoulos to play journalist. The mafia has nothing on the media when it comes to keeping quiet about the sins of progressive colleagues. He may have been a sleazeball who had issues with women, but like the BBC’s Jimmy Savile, he was their sleazeball.

When Letterman compared Sarah Palin to a "slutty flight attendant" or joked about her 14-year-old daughter being “knocked up”, that was the host that female employees had complained about being applauded for his behavior by a progressive audience and its media gatekeepers. It was okay because the target was a right-wing foe. But to Letterman, it was just okay. Period.

Dave’s media pals forgave his many sins. The biggest of these may have been that he wasn’t funny. No matter how much the media tried to prop him up as the thinking man’s late show host, audiences knew better. A decade in, Letterman had fallen into the bad habit of many successful comedians of beating a routine into the ground. But his awkward fumbling comedy had never been funny to begin with.

Beating it into the ground only made it worse.
 
Letterman survived his lean years by fawning over Democrats. He could be counted on to pitch softball questions to Hillary Clinton or ridicule every objection to Bill Clinton and Barack Obama. Now he is being replaced by Stephen Colbert who embodies Letterman’s sole virtue of mocking Republicans. Colbert exists entirely in the negative space occupied by Letterman’s humorless sneering.

Comedy has become politically tribal. The only safe subjects for humor are jokes at the comedian’s own expense and the ridicule of outgroups in order to reinforce the prejudices of the ingroup community. The showy insecurity or awkwardness of progressive comedians like Jon Stewart and Letterman serves as cover for the degraded state of their comedy which consists of pointing and laughing at the other tribe.

Letterman had anticipated the progressive direction of comedy. He had been ahead of his time in realizing that the only truly safe jokes in a politically correct media environment are aimed at Republicans. He had understood that arch knowingness counted for more than sharp comedic timing or a quick wit because it would seem like intelligence and even sincerity to duller audience members.

He knew that the media would not care if he was funny, only that he carried forward its agenda. If he didn’t, it would call him a sellout and a hack. If he did, it would pretend to laugh at all his jokes.

Most of all he realized that politically correct comedy needs an edgy façade to mask its cowardice.

Progressive comedy is above all else lazy and Letterman was the laziest man in comedy. He had more staffers than Eisenhower all to deploy the thousandth itineration of the same joke. He used his power to fill the time slots after him with hosts who couldn’t possibly compete with him to avoid being Conaned.

He was not a liberal by conviction, but out of laziness. When challenged by guests like Bill O’Reilly, he quickly folded. His politics were not thought out, they were unthinking. For all his pretense of eccentricity, he was a conformist who understood that if he played the game, he would get paid. His comic personality, the folksy skepticism and detached disdain served up in measured doses to viewers, was calculated to cover up this essential attribute that defined his enormously lucrative career.

Letterman is a professional sycophant who limos off into the sunset to the strains of the sycophantic braying of a dying industry. As audiences dwindle, the media has become its own audience, mourning the passing of its glorious past by taking hits of nostalgia from its heady days of power and privilege.

The mournful tributes piling up in his wake aren’t about him. Network television is dying. Letterman was one of its last national figures. If you think mainstream media outlets are carrying on over his exit, wait until network television dies its inevitable demographic death.

Then the media will really have something to cry about.

Adjunct Professors’ Rodney Dangerfield Problem

Three quarters of college professors are part-timers. Here’s what adjunct culture does to the quality of education kids receive.


Those of a certain age will remember the late comedian Rodney Dangerfield, whose common refrain, “I get no respect,” was a sure laugh-getter.

The same line could be applied to those of us who have gone through the hoops and rigors of graduate school to earn our PhD’s, only to find ourselves relegated to the equivalent of migrant workers on our campuses. When I taught as an adjunct professor for several years at a state university and a community college in Georgia, I could tell the permanent workers from the nonpermanent workers, the tenured from the non-tenured. We part-timers were laden with burdens like the Okies of the Dust Bowl era, trudging through campus under the weight of bags filled with papers and books. Many pulled these supplies in little wagons: a crate filled with files, laptop, books, and papers, on wheels.

Depending on which campus I happened to be teaching, we made between $2,100 and $2,800 per class, a figure in line with the latest Delta Cost Project report that showed that part-time instructors earned an average of $2,700 per class in 2012. This means that an instructor teaching four classes per semester earns $21,600 per year, and that’s with no benefits like health insurance or retirement.

Four classes is a higher-than-average professor course load, and most instructors have to travel between at least two campuses because of employment rules limiting the number of classes part-timers can teach on each campus. In comparison, established professors, who usually teach two or three courses a semester (when they aren’t on sabbatical), earned between $60,000 and $100,000 in 2012.

When Almost Everyone Is an Adjunct

Colleges are relying on part-timers more and more. In 1969, less than 22 percent of the academic positions were non-tenure track. In 2009, the figure had risen to 66.5 percent. It increased significantly in the next four years. According to the Association of Governing Boards, in 2013 non-tenure track faculty accounted for three-quarters of the instructional faculty at non-profit colleges and universities across the country.

What benefit could there be to having an overworked, underpaid adjunct professor, one that is institutionally homeless?

The Delta report cited two studies, one that showed that students benefited from increased reliance on adjuncts, and one that showed they suffered. It’s difficult for me, based on my 20 years of teaching experience, as a graduate student then as a part-time instructor at state universities, a community college, and a private university in Georgia, to see what benefit there could be to having an overworked, underpaid adjunct professor, one that is institutionally homeless.

Consider the harried part-timer pulling her cart from the car to the “office.” This was necessary, for in most places one could expect at most part of a file drawer for storage, or if she had some seniority among adjuncts, a small locker for her coat and papers next to a cubicle in the hallway near the regular faculty offices.

At the state university we had one large room called “The Bullpen.” It contained cast-off desks and chairs. If your office hour happened to not be at a popular time, you would be lucky and get a place to sit, along with a chair for your student. I seemed to get the desk with the worst chair, one which required a delicate balancing act, as it wobbled precipitously. There was certainly no leaning back into a reverie about the poetry I was about to teach! That was too dangerous.

There were no opportunities for reveries or for getting into meaningful discussions with students who wanted to talk about the finer points of literature.

There were no opportunities for reveries or for getting into meaningful discussions with students who wanted to talk about the finer points of literature. In fact, one came to anticipate the look of surprise on students’ faces on the first visit, then the comment, “This is your office?” Some students were understanding, but I can’t help but think that even their estimation of their instructors went down when they saw them in such surroundings, especially in comparison to the offices of their other professors.

There was no privacy, no opportunity to offer mentoring of any kind. Heaven forbid that I might recommend additional politically incorrect reading, such as Richard Weaver, Allen Tate, or Russell Kirk. Someone at the adjoining desk might hear!

Easier Opportunities for Outing Dissenters

It would not have mattered in my case, as I later learned. I was outed by my own silence during the Democratic primaries in 2004, when I kept my head down trying to grade papers as my colleagues debated the relative merits of the nine candidates. I tried very hard to look like I was concentrating, when one of them asked me whom I supported. I could not lie, so I said none of them. There was a moment of stunned silence, then, “You’re not a Republican, are you?”

There was a moment of stunned silence, then, ‘You’re not a Republican, are you?’

These colleagues did not bother to read conservative publications, so did not know that I had written a few articles. I started writing more. One of my fans praised my writing to the department chair. Shortly thereafter, I was told no classes would be available for me to teach the following semester.

I was told the same thing later at a community college when one of my columns angered the college president. In response to my supposedly offensive column (against thought control of students through anti-bullying campaigns), the president foolishly sent out a campus-wide email informing us of a new policy requiring that our bios in our articles leave out our affiliation with the college.

One of my tenured colleagues, who wrote a column for a higher-education publication, objected (with the assistance of an attorney friend), and had the policy changed. But that was not until after I had been told, sorry, they did not need me to teach classes the following semester; please try again later. When I did, I was told a new person was in charge of scheduling. I got no response from her. I knew it was useless. After my column had appeared, several of my colleagues told me that the college president had put out orders that I was never to teach there again.

A nonprofit free-speech advocacy group’s attorney looked into my case, and he concluded that given my adjunct status it would be just about impossible to prove discrimination—even as he said he saw this kind of thing happening to conservatives all the time. For adjuncts, no excuse is needed to get fired. Those with opinions that do not conform to the far-Left orthodoxy find it easier to get these low-paying jobs, often offered on a last-minute notice. They also are more vulnerable to losing these classes on a whim.

Kids Who Need the Most Help Get the Least-Established Professors

Adjuncts also get the introductory, labor-intensive classes like freshman composition that weed out students. So while my full-time colleagues got to teach the elective classes, which were smaller in size and required fewer assignments to grade, I and other part-timers were dealing with students ill-prepared for college, not able to write grammatical sentences, much less coherent papers, and doing it at cast-off desks in loud rooms or hallways.

What administrators really wanted to ‘retain’ was students’ financial-aid dollars.

But academic standards were not the top priority of administrators, as evidenced by the workshops and speeches at part-time faculty symposia before each semester. We were given pep talks about “retention” by engaging students and making learning fun. What administrators really wanted to “retain” was students’ financial-aid dollars. Among these new activities was service learning through civic engagement programs, housed in expensive new buildings. Students were awarded college credit for such activities as feeding the homeless with the Muslim Student Association or reading to kindergartners, then writing “reflection papers” on their experiences.

Once one gets on the part-time merry-go-round, it is almost impossible to get off. It’s a dizzying swirl of long and frequent commutes, and semester-to-semester class preparation and grading to keep the bill collector at bay. There is barely time to apply for full-time positions, much less write academic papers and books. Even if one were to find the time to write the academic papers, travel funds are not allocated to part-time faculty members to present them at conferences. Sabbaticals, which are regularly allocated to full-time faculty members, are out of the question.

Because the self-supporting part-timer lives on the verge of destitution, the pressures are great to not make waves, get good student evaluations, and keep failure rates low—even with classes in which the majority of students come in late, sans books, and needing reprimand for sleeping, web-surfing, and talking in class.

Federal Funds Subsidize Adult Daycare

To see how bad it has become, take the case of Texas A&M University adjunct professor Irwin Horwitz. Only a few of his 30-plus enrollees were doing academically competent work. When the administration refused to kick out the others who cheated, failed to do the work, and hurled profanities at Horwitz, he threatened to fail the entire class. The administration has now intervened.

Russell Kirk saw this coming with the establishment of federal funding for colleges in the 1950s.

Although I’ve never had students quite so abusive, I have had classes in which I wanted to fail the majority, and on occasion I had to call in security for unruly students. But too many failures draw attention from higher-ups, and often the response to abusive students is to “talk it out.”

The Blackboard Jungle has come to college campuses. Russell Kirk saw this coming with the establishment of federal funding for colleges in the 1950s, a development that generated considerable attention in the conservative press at the time. In “Decadence and Renewal in Higher Learning,” Kirk wrote about the “evangels of quantitative growth,” who in 1962 “pushed cheerfully onward toward the doubling and tripling of enrollments,” and did so by publishing false reports about the irrelevance of admission standards. One of these was the “Joint Office of Institutional Research,” which Russell termed a “propaganda bureau for the Association of State Universities and Land Grant Colleges and the State Universities Association.”

“One way to persuade Congress, the state legislatures, and the public of the righteousness of the cause is to advance the demagogue’s argument that everybody has a right to be in college,” wrote Kirk. He then illustrated: “Who are you, you old reactionary, to say that Joe Milligan, who got D’s in high school, won’t become another Albert Einstein after Dismal Swamp A. & M. has finished polishing him?” This “democratic dogma” is then joined with “the ambitions of certain anti-intellectual presidents, who dream of ever more professors and students within their own imperial systems.”

The Academic Overlords and Their Serfs

Kirk famously quit his teaching position at the University of Michigan, which he likened to “Behemoth U.” More than 50 years later, the situation has gotten much worse. The adjuncts are given the duty of “polishing” the Joe Milligans. This brings us back to the situation of professor Horwitz, not exactly at “Dismal Swamp A. & M.” but at Texas A. & M.

Both administrators and the top tier of faculty have little stake in ensuring that students admitted to their schools get a good basic education.

Horwitz is one of the rare few standing up for academic standards. But as an adjunct, as a member of the three-quarters of faculty members who have no voice in governance, he cannot change things. Those things, such as student advising, faculty hiring, and curriculum development, are in the hands of a smaller and smaller minority of faculty members. Today, as the use of adjuncts continues to rise, the full-timers are members of a privileged group that represents less than a quarter of the faculty. Given their teaching assignments, they represent an even smaller percentage of class hours and interaction with students.

These academic elites share power with administrators. Administrators increasingly come from the ranks of managers, not faculty. Their concerns are with enrollment numbers, not academic standards.

Both administrators and the top tier of faculty have little stake in ensuring that students admitted to their schools get a good basic education. Administrators love “service learning” and “civic engagement” programs because their lowered demands ensure that more students get college credit. Tenured elites are overwhelmingly radicals who have shut out those with whom they disagree. They use their classroom to convert students to their radical political views.

So students are increasingly indoctrinated with ideas about class systems, income inequality, and poverty. These elites, however, do not need to take to their students to ghettoes, soup kitchens, or migrant camps to show students about the class system. All they would need to do to demonstrate that is take students to their college’s “bullpen” office for adjunct faculty.

Mary Grabar earned her PhD from the University of Georgia and taught college English for 20 years. She is now a resident fellow at the Alexander Hamilton Institute for the Study of Western Civilization in Clinton, New York. Her writing can be found at DissidentProf.com and at marygrabar.com.

Ohio Employer's Law Blog



Employers, I can see the writing on the wall, and it’s not looking good for your continued reliance on your non-exempt employees using their smartphones off-the-clock.

In the past few days, this issue has picked up a ton of momentum. First, the Wall Street Journal ran an article entitled, “Can You Sue the Boss for Making You Answer Late-Night Email?” Then, the Wage & Hour Litigation Blog reported that the Department of Labor’s Wage & Hour Division announced a request for information regarding “the use of technology, including portable electronic devices, by employees away from the workplace and outside of scheduled work hours outside of scheduled work outside of scheduled work hours.” Finally, the ABA Journal reminded us that the same Wage & Hour Division will likely raise the salary floor for exemption eligibility from $23,600 a year to $50,000 a year. This significant bump in the salary test will remove a large chunk of your employees from many of the FLSA’s key overtime exemptions.

What does all this mean? It means that you need to take a long, hard, look at which of your employees you are requiring to connect when they are “off-the-clock.” If you are requiring your non-exempt employees to read and respond to emails after their work day “ends,” you need to examine whether the FLSA requires that you pay them for that time (more often than not at a 1.5 overtime premium).

I’m pretty certain that the Department of Labor consider this time compensable, but I’m not so sure. Even if reading and replying to work-related email is compensable “work,” I’m not convinced that employers should have to pay employees for it. Most messages can be read in a matter of seconds or, at most, a few short minutes. The FLSA calls such time de minimus, and does not require compensation for it. “Insubstantial or insignificant periods of time beyond the scheduled working hours, which cannot as a practical administrative matter be precisely recorded for payroll purposes, may be disregarded.” Think of the administrative nightmare if an HR or payroll department has to track, record, and pay for each and every fraction of a minute an employee spends reading an email.

Nevertheless, if you want to eliminate the risk over this issue, I suggest you consider a couple of steps:

Audit all of your employees for their exempt status. This audit will ensure that you have your employees properly classified as exempt versus non-exempt.

Consider implementing an email curfew for your non-exempt employees (which has its own pros and cons).

This issue is not going away any time soon, and illustrates the difficulty the law has keeping up with the stunning pace of technology.

For more on this important issue, I recommend Just how nervous should companies be about FLSA lawsuits over employee smartphone use? (Hint: very) via Eric Meyer’s Employer Handbook Blog.


I’m timely to a fault. I hate being late, and go to great lengths to ensure that I am never tardy for anything. I think it’s annoying to those around me, or least those I live with. Just ask my kids.

Do you have the opposite problem with your employees? Do you have employees who cannot show up for work on time no matter what? Well, it appears there might be a medical explanation for their chronic lateness.


Doctors have begun diagnosing individuals with chronic lateness, a condition caused by the same part of the brain affected by those who suffer from Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. There has even been a study published supporting this diagnosis. That’s the bad news. The good news? The American Psychiatric Association does not recognize “chronic lateness” as a condition.

Of course, just because the APA hasn’t blessed chronic lateness does not mean that employees won’t try to use it as an ADA-protected disability. And, given how broadly the ADA now defines “medical condition,” they might have an argument to make. Don’t lose too much sleep over this, however. Just because an employee has a “disability” doesn’t mean you have to accommodate it. How do you accommodate a chronically late employee? Permit them to come late and stay longer? If you work production or other shifts, for example, that’s awfully hard to do.

Can I envision a situation in which the ADA will protect a chronically late employee and require that you provide an accommodation? Maybe. But, in the grand scheme of HR issues you need to worry about, this one falls pretty low on the scale. If nothing else, it shows just how broad the ADA has become in potentially covering a wide breadth of physical and mental health issues.

Pamela Geller's Atlas Shrugs

Pamela Geller, Breitbart: What Qasim Rashid Doesn’t Want You to Know About Islam  - Qasim Rashid is a one-man cottage industry of deception and hypocrisy, and Salon, that yellow rag of smear and hate, is only too happy to regularly publish Rashid’s unholy propaganda, never allowing Rashid’s targets to respond or correct. This is how the enemedia rolls.   As Robert Spencer rightly points out: “Rashid has whitewashed Muhammad’s support for torture and the reality of jihad violence and Sharia oppression; dissembled about the Qur’an’s sanction of deception of unbelievers; lied about the presence of violent passages in the Qur’an; lied about the Qur’an’s sanction of beating disobedient women; lied about the nature of Sharia; and called for limitations on the freedom of speech and expression...Read the whole entry »

Devout Muslims of the Islamic State (ISIS) burn Christian woman to death for failing to comply with Sharia - She “provoked” them, you see. She “offended” them. If only she had been more “respectful.” Sharia-compliance is being recommended all over by the enemedia these days, in the wake of the jihad attack on our free speech event in Garland, Texas. But where does it end? With incidents like this....

 Dems call on Obama to resettle 65,000 Syrian refugees - The only refugees we should be resettling from this war torn region are Christians. Instead, the US stands by while they are ethnically cleansed from their ancient homelands. This will forever be a bloody stain on an anti-American, anti-freedom, jihad-aligned Presidency. Obama has already imported hundreds of thousands of these “refugees.” More of the poison fruit from the party of treason. Importing jihad.....

It’s only May, but 2015 has seen 41 U.S. Muslim arrested for Islamic terror charges - Imaginary threat, how many times have we hard that — this week? And who is the media attacking? Me, Spencer, cartoons, climate change — anyone or anything.
All together now, say “fringe!” ....

 Newly Revealed Bin Laden Documents Reveal Extent of Jew-Hatred as Motivating Factor for Islamic Attacks - Motivating factor? Islamic Jew-hatred: it’s in the Quran. - Obama gave this savage a proper Islamic burial. Our soldiers washed him and said Islamic prayers over him. Despicable.  Newly declassified documents and correspondences found in Osama bin Laden’s Pakistani compound have underlined the extent to which Al Qaeda used antisemitism “as a valuable motivating factor for terrorism,” the Anti-Defamation League blog reported on Tuesday....
 
Editor's Note:  These were my picks.  More articles can be viewed @ Atlas Shrugs.

The Price of Going Green!

Editor's Note:  For decades there were those who warned this was going to be the cost of going green.  History has shown to be green is to be irrational, misanthropic, morally defective - and I'm completely convinced - insane!   Politicians all over the world are going to find the public isn't going to tolerate this love affair with insanity any longer because now they're becoming enlightened.  And it's been the price of energy that's been the beginning of enlightenment.  And it's about time! 
 
Now perhaps the public will start to look more deeply into all the things the green movement promotes.  If so - what they'll find won't be pretty!  Then the question everyone needs to start asking is why the green movement hasn't been scandalized by the media over their schemes and the misery, suffering and lives that've been lost to those schemes?  
 
Viv Forbes noted many years ago: “The public has been misled by an unholy alliance of environmental scaremongers, funds-seeking academics, sensation-seeking media, vote-seeking politicians and profit-seeking vested interests.”
 
Benny Peiser's Global Warming Policy Foundation Reports
German Government In Crisis Over Escalating Cost Of Climate Policy
European Power Plants Face Widespread Bankruptcies

Germany’s economics minister Sigmar Gabriel (SPD) wants to levy penalty payments onto coal plants if they produce CO2 emissions above a certain threshold. Against this plan intense resistance is growing in Germany: Within the Christian Democrat, within industry and – for especially dangerous for Gabriel – within the trade unions. The Christian Democrats (CDU) in particular are taking on Gabriel’s climate levy. And Merkel is allowing her party colleagues to assail him. Armin Laschet, the vice chairman of the Federal CDU, is accusing Gabriel of breaking the coalition agreement. --Jochen Gaugele , Martin Greive , Claudia Kade, Die Welt, 25 May 2015

The transition to renewable power generation is accelerating closures of coal and gas-fired power generation plants at a quicker rate than expected. According to UBS, policymakers may have to take measures to prevent widespread bankruptcies in the European electricity market. That’s the conclusions drawn by investment bank UBS, who have produced a report on the subject. According to their data, some 70 GW of coal and gas-fired power generation shut-downs have occurred in the last five years, and the pace is increasing, according to the analysis. --Diarmaid Williams, Power Engineering International, 11 May 2015

The world's richest nations are unlikely to reach a deal to phase out subsidies for coal exports at talks in June, reducing the chances of a new global climate change agreement at a U.N. conference in Paris, officials and campaigners say. One European Union official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the EU hoped to "nudge forwards" the debate, but that within the EU, Germany was an obstacle, while Japan was the main opponent in the OECD as a whole. --Barbara Lewis and Susanna Twidale, Reuters, 27 May 2015

To many western environmentalists, who are determined to see a binding global deal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions at the UN climate change conference in Paris later this year, India’s rising coal use is anathema. However, across a broad range of Delhi politicians and policymakers there is near unanimity. There is, they say, simply no possibility that at this stage in its development India will agree to any form of emissions cap, let alone a cut. -- David Rose, The Guardian, 27 May 2015

The idea that India can set targets in Paris is completely ridiculous and unrealistic. It will not happen. This is a difficult concept for eco-fundamentalists, and I say this as a guy who is considered in India to be very green. Copenhagen failed because of climate evangelism. I was sitting for days with Gordon Brown, Ed Miliband, Angela Merkel, Barack Obama and Sarkozy. It was absolutely bizarre. It failed because of an excess of evangelical zeal, of which Brown was the chief proponent. Even with the most aggressive strategy on nuclear, wind, hydro and solar, coal will still provide 55% of electricity consumption by 2030, which means coal consumption will be 2.5 or three times higher than at present. --Jairam Ramesh, India’s former environment minister, The Guardian, 27 May 2015

Britain’s new Conservative government could take control of planning decisions to speed up the development of shale gas and prevent investor money from drying up, lawyers say. Britain is estimated to have enough shale gas trapped below its surface to meet its gas needs for decades. But deployment of the controversial fracking technology required to release gas trapped in rocks has been slow as planning hurdles and environmental protests have prevented companies from digging in the ground. Energy and planning lawyers recommend the government give shale gas fields the status of a ‘nationally significant infrastructure project’, which would allow the government, rather than local councillors, to approve planning permits. --Karoline Schaps, Reuters, 22 May 2015

From the Genetic Literacy Project

Why James Watsonsays the ‘war on cancer’ is fighting the wrong enemy

Andrew Porterfield | May 26, 2015 | Genetic Literacy Project

Since President Richard Nixon asked Congress for $100 million to declare a “war on cancer” in 1971, hundreds of billions of dollars worldwide have been dedicated to research unlocking the mystery of the various forms of the disease, and how to treat it. But some suggest the war may be being fought on the wrong front.

To be sure, our understanding of genetics, cellular growth and cancers has grown exponentially. We know how cancer can be linked to mutations of genes that either encourage abnormal cell growth, or wreck the internal system of checks and balances that normally stymie that growth. We have narrowed the number of those genes down to several hundred. And, we know about genes that can halt abnormal development. We’re inserting them into cancerous cells in trials. Perhaps most significantly, we’re at a stage in which cancer specialists prefer to refer to cancers by genetic makeup, instead of by the traditional organ of first appearance. But for many cancers, none of this is working.......
 

'Underinsured' May be the Next Healthcare Crisis

"The financial health insecurity that comes from being underinsured is substantial and puts people's health and well-being at risk," says The Commonwealth Fund President David Blumenthal, MD. High-deductible health insurance plans have been touted as a means to expand coverage to millions of people who otherwise could not afford it.

New reports out this month suggest that high-deductible non-group plans are not a silver bullet, however, and that while the premiums may be affordable, the costs of accessing care remains prohibitively high.

A survey released this week by The Commonwealth Fund found that 31 million adults ages 19–64 with health coverage were "underinsured" in 2014, and that oftentimes these underinsured people skimped on care because it was too expensive.

"The financial health insecurity that comes from being underinsured is substantial and puts people's health and well-being at risk," The Commonwealth Fund President David Blumenthal, MD, said at a news conference Tuesday. "If health insurance costs continue to be shifted to consumers this insecurity will deepen."

Sara Collins, the lead author of study, and vice president, Health Care Coverage and Access at The Commonwealth Fund, says "underinsured" status considers an insured adult's out-of-pocket costs during a year of coverage and the plan deductible. Premiums are not factored…...To Read More.....

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Ohio Employer's Law Blog Update





Recently, the Cuyahoga County Court of Appeals stymied an attempt by an employer to enforce an arbitration agreement against an employee. The employer was a Burger King franchise and the employee was a former employee claiming she was raped by her supervisor in the restaurant’s men’s bathroom. The court, in Arnold v. Burger King, concluded that, for various reasons, enforcing the agreement against her and requiring her to arbitrate her claims would be unconscionable.

Arnold notwithstanding, arbitration continues to the favored method used by employers to limit their potential exposure in front of a jury. I, however, am not a fan of arbitration agreements. Conventional wisdom suggests that arbitration is quicker and cheaper means to resolve lawsuits. Research, however, suggests that the opposite may better match reality.

lf arbitration is neither faster or less expensive than court, but you still want to foster expediency and limit the risk of a runaway jury verdict, consider two possible alternatives.

Contractual Waivers of Jury Trials

First, employers can have employees sign agreements waiving the right to ask for a jury in any subsequent legal disputes. More than 20 years ago, in K.M.C. Co. v. Irving Trust Co., the 6th Circuit stated: “It is clear that the parties to a contract may by prior written agreement waive the right to jury trial.... [T]he constitutional right to jury trial may only be waived if done knowingly, voluntarily and intentionally.” The contract should clearly and unambiguously advise the employee that by signing the agreement the employee is giving up any and all rights to have any claims related to his or her employment raised by a jury. The more broadly the waiver is drafted, the more likely it will cover an employment-related claim, provided it is otherwise knowing and voluntary.

Agreements to Shorten the Statute of Limitations

Secondly, employers can attempt to limit the amount of time employees have to assert employment claims. In Thurman v. DaimlerChrysler, Inc. [pdf], the 6th Circuit held that a clause in an employment application limiting the statutory limitations period for filing a lawsuit against the employer was valid. Thurman’s employment application with DaimlerChrysler contained a clause waiving any statute of limitation and agreeing to an abbreviated limitations period in which to file suit against the employer. Specifically, the clause stated:

READ CAREFULLY BEFORE SIGNING I agree that any claim or lawsuit relating to my service with Chrysler Corporation or any of its subsidiaries must be filed no more than six (6) months after the date of the employment action that is the subject of the claim or lawsuit. I waive any statute of limitations to the contrary.

The Court held that the abbreviated limitations period contained in the employment application was reasonable, and that all of Thurman’s claims against DaimlerChrysler were time barred by the six-month limitations period. The Court paid particular attention to the “read carefully before signing” language, and noted that it was in bold and placed conspicuously directly above Thurman’s signature acknowledging that she read and understood the document. It also found the specific language used was clear and unambiguous.

The advantage of using these types of clauses is that you can limit the duration of potential liabilities. For example, in Ohio employees have 6 years to file discrimination claims (other than age) under R.C. 4112.99. A clause such as the one in Thurman would shorten that time frame from 6 years to 6 months, a dramatic improvement.



According to a recently published Harris Poll 52 percent of employers use social media to research job candidates. This number is up from 43 percent in 2014 and 39 percent in 2013.
 
What information are employers looking for?
  • 60 percent are looking for information that supports their qualifications for the job.
  • 56 percent want to see if the candidate has a professional online persona.
  • 37 percent want to see what other people are posting about the candidate.
  • 21 percent admit they’re looking for reasons not to hire the candidate.
The same poll found that 35 percent of hiring managers who use social media to screen applicants have sent friend requests or otherwise attempted to connect with applicants online. As stunning as that number is, it’s even more stunning that 80 percent report that job seekers report accepting such requests.

Employers, please stop the insanity. I’m not treading new ground here by telling you that you are taking a huge risk by Googling or Friending applicants without proper checks in place to guard against the disclosure of protected information. “What types of information,” you ask? How about information about the individual’s medical history or religious preference, for starters.

Yes, there are a host of reasons to engage in these searches. Indeed, I believe that, in a world of increasing transparency online, employers take a risk by not including Facebook in their pre-employment background searches. But, it needs to be part of larger background screening program. And, you need to ensure that you have the right checks in place to keep protected information (such as EEO stuff) as far away from the decision makers as possible.

How do you do this? Train someone external to your hiring process to perform the searches, and provide a scrubbed report to those internal to the hiring process. These scrubbed reports should be void of any protected information, while including any info relevant to the hiring decision (such as whether the applicant has ever trashed an ex-employer online, or disclosed an ex-employer’s confidential information, or exhibits poor judgment by posting inappropriate or harassing stuff).

And, for god’s sake, please stop Friending job applicants. It’s just plain creepy

Another domino falls in the anti-fossil fuel movement’s crusade

Posted by Marita Noon @ Breitbart.com
 
Throughout the United States, especially in communities with existing or potential oil-and-gas development, outside groups have moved in with a vengeance and agitated the population—resulting in bans against all exploration for hydrocarbons and/or the use of hydraulic fracturing. Expensive lawsuits have been filed and courts have repeatedly declared such bans as “unconstitutional.” The newest domino to fall is in Texas where Governor Greg Abbott, on May 18, signed House Bill 40 (HB40)—also known as the Denton Fracking Bill—which clarifies that an “oil and gas operation is subject to the exclusive jurisdiction of the state.”

As was the case in Mora County, New Mexico, the Pennsylvania-based Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund participated in pushing Denton, Texas’ fracking ban—passed in November by 59 percent of the voters. In Mora County, a federal judge declared its drilling ban “unconstitutional.” Courts have handed down similar decisions against attempts to ban fracking in Colorado and Ohio. But the Texas legislature didn’t wait for the courts to decide in the challenges to the Denton ban.

Lawmakers introduced a total of 11 bills aimed at confirming that regulating oil-and-gas activity is the province of the Texas Commission of Environmental Quality and the Texas Railroad Commission. HB40 emerged as the final word—making Texas the first state to pass specific legislation limiting, not eliminating, local control. The Oklahoma legislature has passed a similar bill and Governor Mary Fallin is expected to sign it. In New Mexico, the House passed a pre-emption bill, but it was never brought up for a vote in the Senate.

The Texas law allows communities to impose commercially reasonable ordinances that regulate above ground oil-and-gas activity such as traffic noise, lights, and setbacks—but do not “effectively” prohibit resource extraction. In response to the new law, Ed Longanecker, President of the Texas Independent Producers and Royalty Owners Association said: “This is a balanced approach that protects the ability of municipalities to reasonably regulate surface activity related to oil and gas development, while offering the regulatory certainty necessary for our industry operations.”

HB40 was crafted with input from the Texas Municipal League—which, the Texas Tribune reports, “counts 1145 Texas cities among its members.” The Texas Municipal League was “initially among the bill’s fiercest critics,” but its involvement “added language listing areas cities could still regulate” and other changes that “the Municipal League found more palatable.”

David Holt, president of the Consumer Energy Alliance, which actively campaigned against the ban, believes “This bill struck the right approach. While local government should have some control over growth, energy development is a statewide issue. Tax revenues go to the entire state. The state agencies have been regulating production for almost 100 years. An open robust discussion on the proper balance seems to be leading to good results in most local areas. Once folks have all the facts they can and do make good decisions. But those who simply say no energy production anytime or anywhere are doing a disservice to their neighbors and the nation.”

Denton, Texas, sits on top of one of Texas’ biggest natural gas reserves: the rich Barnett Shale— producing $1 billion in mineral wealth, according to the Associated Press, and pumping more than $30 million into city bank accounts. The Texas Tribune reports: “In some cases, neighborhoods are expanding closer to longtime drilling sites.”

The idea of fracking, like the Keystone pipeline, is less of a problem itself than what it represents: more fossil fuels.

In Texas, thanks to fracking, according to the Wall Street Journal (WSJ), oil production has tripled in the past five years. The increase benefits Texas by providing the state with almost $6 billion worth of revenue in fiscal year 2014 through severance taxes. But it is not just fracking—which has been done safely and successfully for the past 65 years—that has created the new American energy abundance. It is fracking combined with horizontal drilling. But horizontal drilling doesn’t sound bad and fracking does. Plus, the general population doesn’t know what fracking, short for hydraulic fracturing, really is—making it easy to use fear, uncertainty, and doubt to scare the public.

In a 2013 report called Fracking by the Numbers, a group called Environment America redefines fracking. In a box on page 6, it states: “In this report, when we refer to the impacts of ‘fracking,’ we include impacts resulting from all of the activities needed to bring a shale gas or oil well into production using high-volume hydraulic fracturing (fracturing operations that use at least 100,000 gallons of water), to operate that well, and to deliver the gas or oil produced from that well to market. The oil and gas industry often uses a more restrictive definition of ‘fracking’ that includes only the actual moment in the extraction process when rock is fractured—a definition that obscures the broad changes to environmental, health and community conditions that result from the use of fracking in oil and gas extraction.”

This inaccurate definition allows for the recent spate of minor tremors to be blamed on “fracking,” when, in fact, if they are the result of oil-and-gas activity, they are reportedly caused by injection wells—which “inject” water that comes up as part of the drilling process, into wells miles below the surface. Injection wells, which may be far from the drilling site, can be used whether or not the well is stimulated using hydraulic fracturing. The U.S. Geological Survey study states: “Hydraulic fracturing, commonly known as ‘fracking,’ does not appear to be linked to the increased rate of magnitude 3 and larger earthquakes.” Yet, anti-fossil fuel groups continue to scare the public with such claims.

Ed Ireland, Executive Director of Barnett Shale Energy Education Council, told me his organization sent out five different mailings to 36,000 households to counter the misinformation spread by drilling opponents.

Supporters of the ban try to claim that it is not a drilling ban, just a fracking ban. However, since the natural resource underneath Denton is shale gas—meaning natural gas is trapped in tight little pockets within the rock—the shale must be fractured to allow the gas to flow out. Conventional drilling methods don’t work with shale. A ban on fracking is a ban on drilling.

While the Legislature has acted and the Governor has signed HB40, with it apt to be a pilot for the national issue and a template moving forward, we likely haven’t heard the last of municipal fracking bans—despite courts repeatedly shooting them down.

Earthjustice attorney Deborah Goldberg, in a CommonDreams.org story on the Texas legislation, says the people of Denton are not ready to give up yet: “We have been proud to represent the proponents of Denton’s ban and we know they will regroup and fight back against this legislative over-reach.”

Ireland says he won’t be surprised if drilling opponents engage in protests of some sorts because they have strongly suggested that they will.

One day after HB40 was signed, Colorado-based Vantage Energy announced: “that they were preparing for ‘frac work’ starting May 27.” According to the Denton Record-Chronicle (DRC), “neighbors reported seeing production equipment being moved to the company’s well site.”

In response, Adam Briggle, president of Frack Free Denton, which campaigned for the ban, told the DRC, he expects Denton residents to continue to fight. In a statement, Briggle said: “We cannot say how this story will unfold, but we do know this dark chapter shall not be the last one written.” The DRC reports, in an interview regarding Vantage’s planned drilling, that Briggle added he: “couldn’t confirm whether people would stage protests at the site. But it wouldn’t be a stretch to imagine it.”

Perhaps it is a good thing, for now, that lower oil prices are providing what WSJ calls “a natural cooling off period.”

When Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin signs its “preemption” bill into law, it will be the next domino to fall.

The author of Energy Freedom, Marita Noon serves as the executive director for Energy Makes America Great Inc. and the companion educational organization, the Citizens’ Alliance for Responsible Energy (CARE). She hosts a weekly radio program: America’s Voice for Energy—which expands on the content of her weekly column.