Saturday, February 24, 2007


For a change of pace, how about origami--the art of paperfolding? This has always appeared to me to be an interesting idea. It amazes me that pieces of paper can be folded into such artistic shapes. One good website to start you off is which includes origami history, origami and math, how to fold, etc. The man (Eric M. Andersen) running the site also displays his own work. There is also a page of links and one of book recommendations.

Here's a link to another website, Money Origami, that shows how to fold paper money into all sorts of objects. It has links to other like websites for more ideas. I'd never heard of this until discovering a lady at work who does money origami for gifts, tips, and just for fun. Everyone enjoys her creations!

So that's today's contribution to expanding your world of art! This would be a fun family project or hobby. I think kids would have fun with it, too.


Saturday, February 17, 2007

What About Health Care? has a column from Dr. Walter E. Williams, economist, titled "Do We Want Socialized Medicine?". I consider it a must read for those who think we want to pattern our health care system after those of Canada and Britain.

Dr. Williams' second and third paragraphs should give us pause:

London's Observer (3/3/02) carried a story saying that an "unpublished report shows some patients are now having to wait more than eight months for treatment, during which time many of their cancers become incurable." Another story said, "According to a World Health Organisation report to be published later this year, around 10,000 British people die unnecessarily from cancer each year -- three times as many as are killed on our roads."

The Observer (12/16/01) also reported, "A recent academic study showed National Health Service delays in bowel cancer treatment were so great that, in one in five cases, cancer which was curable at the time of diagnosis had become incurable by the time of treatment."
That's a pretty serious consequence for some. I have to wonder how much thought, if any, Hilary Clinton has given to her desire for socialized medicine in the USA. Of course, no one calls it socialized medicine here, but that's what it would amount to. And it could cost people their lives.

Dr. Williams also discusses the situation in Canada, and then concludes with this:

Some of our politicians hold up the Canadian and British nationalized health care systems as models for us. You can bet that should we ever have such a system, they would exempt themselves from what the rest of us would have to endure.

There's a cure for our health care problems. That cure is not to demand more government but less government. I challenge anyone to identify a problem with health care in America that is not caused or aggravated by federal, state and local governments. And, I challenge anyone to show me people dying on the streets because they don't have health insurance.

Think about it.

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Being Nice or Being Wise

At you can read a thought-provoking John Hawkins column titled "Liberal Emotion vs. Conservative Logic". It is all very well to want to be nice to everyone all the time, but in forming public policy, foreign policy, and the like, we must use our heads. In the long run, that is the most compassionate path to take.

John Hawkins mentions a number of situations wherein those of a liberal persuasion would base policy on being nice, rather than on doing what really works.
Going to war is mean, so we shouldn't do it. That person is poor and it would be nice to give him money, so the government should do it. Somebody wants to have an abortion, have a gay marriage, or wants to come into the U.S. illegally and it would be mean to say, "no," so we should let them. I am nice because I care about global warming! Those people want to kill us? But, don't they know we're nice? If they did, they would like us! Bill has more toys, money than Harry, so take half of Bill's money and give it to Harry.
Of course, there is a limit to liberal "niceness":

The only exception to this rule is for people who aren't liberals. They're racists, bigots, homophobes, Nazis, fascists, etc., etc., etc. They might as well just say that conservatives have "cooties" for disagreeing with them, because there really isn't any more thought or reasoning that goes into it than that.

So why don't people learn from their past mistakes and foolishness?

Now, that's not to say that conservatives never make emotion based arguments or that emotion based arguments are always wrong. But, when you try to deal with complex, real world issues, using little more than simplistic emotionalism that's primarily designed to make the people advocating it feel good rather than to deal with problems, it can, and often has had disastrous consequences. Liberals never seem to learn from this.

Why don't they learn anything from failed liberal policies? Because there is nothing underpinning them other than feelings and so even when they don't work, their good intentions are treated, by other liberals at least, as more important than the results of their actions.

Mr. Hawkins goes on to give some specific examples of the disasters that follow making decisions based on emotions and on being nice:

Just to name one example of many, look at Vietnam. South Vietnam was policing its own country and holding off aggression from the North with the help of the United States. But, people get hurt in wars, so wars are bad. As a result of thinking that went no deeper than that, liberals in Congress cut off the aid and air support we promised the South Vietnamese. The result?

The conquest of South Vietnam, a holocaust in Cambodia, millions dead and in prison camps, another million boat people, a crisis of confidence in America, and our country's reputation around the world was left in tatters, which led to a revolution in Nicaragua, the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, and a lack of faith in the U.S. military which wasn't truly restored until Operation Desert Storm.

So, we're talking about one of the most shameful and damaging mistakes in American history. Yet, the left is pushing to do the same thing in Iraq, despite the fact that catastrophic consequences would surely also follow a U.S. retreat in that country.

But, this isn't just about foreign policy. Look at Lyndon Johnson's "war on poverty," which did nothing to reduce the poverty rate despite the trillions that were spent; however, it did help drive the illegitimacy rate among black Americans from 22 percent in 1960 to 70% in 2005.

You could go on and on with these sort of examples -- rent control, which causes housing shortages, the minimum wage, which costs poor people jobs, the liberal insistence on putting “making nice at the U.N.” above looking out for American interests. That's what happens when you make decisions based on emotion and wanting people to like you, rather than using logic and doing the right thing.

So, how do conservatives operate (for the most part), and how can we know what is right?

Unlike liberals, conservatives tend to be primarily concerned with pragmatism, not niceties. This is one of the biggest reasons that conservatives have such a healthy respect for the traditions and institutions that have been proven to work over time and such contempt for those that don't, like the United Nations and the federal government.

Does that mean conservatives are opposed to change? No, not at all, but there is a great reluctance to tinker with ideas and concepts that have proven successful time and time again throughout history, because the more they’re changed, the more likely they are not to work.

Moreover, in Thomas Sowell's immortal words, conservatives believe that, "There are no solutions; there are only trade-offs." Because of this, conservatives regularly do something that liberals seldom do: they consider the long-term consequences of their policies.

Sometimes in politics, that's a tough duty. It's always easier to say, "We're going to use someone else's tax money to give you this right now," than it is to say, "We're going to keep government out of your way and let you do this for yourself." But, that's the path conservatives have chosen for themselves. They’re willing to be attacked and called, in some form or fashion, "mean" in order to advocate policies that are good for the country.

In the end, that's what liberalism versus conservatism all comes down to: sappy, feel good emotionalism that sounds appealing, but doesn't work versus doing things the right way, even when it's not easy.

Give this some serious thought. Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness are at stake.


Friday, February 09, 2007

How Concerned Should We Be About the Activities of our Congress? Very!

At The New Media Journal there is an article by Raymond Kraft titled "When Congress Commits Treason". Strong word that he uses--is it justified? Read Mr. Kraft's first paragraph and see what you think:

Al Qaeda wants an American retreat, defeat, and surrender in Iraq. So do America's Democrats. Hezbollah wants an American retreat, defeat, and surrender in Iraq. So do America's Democrats. Iran wants an American retreat, defeat, and surrender in Iraq. So do America's Democrats. Muqtada al Sadr wants an American retreat, defeat, and surrender in Iraq. So do America's Democrats. Osama bin Laden wants an American retreat, defeat, and surrender in Iraq. So do America's Democrats. When an American political party aligns itself with the goals, hopes, and ambitions of America's enemies in a time of war, in my view there is only one word for it - Treason.

If the Democrats don't want an American retreat, defeat, and surrender in Iraq, they have a funny way of showing it. More strong words:

Today, most of the "leading Democrats" in Congress are falling all over themselves to give aid, comfort, and hope, to the Jihad, the Islamic Resistance Movement, the Islamist movement for the decline and fall of Western Civilization and the ascendance of Jihadist Islam in Iraq and around the world. Ted Kennedy, Hillary Clinton, Harry Reid, and many of the rest give their assurance that with Democrats in power, America will retreat, embrace defeat, and surrender, selling their souls and their country down the river for primary votes and and trucks of money from the Pacifist Left. Here, the ignominious spectacle of Democrats selling out the future freedom of the Iraqi people for votes and dollars. Osama bin Laden once called America "a paper tiger." America's Democrats seem determined to prove him right. Treason for votes. Treason for dollars. Treason as a political calculation. Treason, for revenge on George Bush.

Treason, to put a Democrat in the White House.
I have to ask myself, given the behavior of Democrats in Congress, not to mention the Mainstream Media and assorted Leftist groups, if that isn't indeed what they want.

And there will be consequences to that behavior. Remember Vietnam?

Thirty-two years ago, in 1975, after America and the Republic of Vietnam had fought and won a ten-year war to save South Vietnam from the predations of the communist north, a Democrat Congress voted to terminate life support for South Vietnam in the face of another North Vietnamese invasion, backed by the USSR. A Democrat Congress voted to "pull the plug," and condemned millions of Vietnamese, Cambodians, and Laotions to death, torture, imprisonment, re-education camps, condemned others to flee their homes and countries as refugees. That, in my view, was the blackest day in American history, and the blood of those people is on the hands of the Democrats who voted to abandon them. Until now.

Now, another Democrat Congress is poised to repeat that act of infamy, and abandon the people of Iraq to the conflagration that will almost certainly follow if the United States withdraws its forces prematurely. Another Democrat Congress declares to the world that America is a fair weather friend, that America cannot be relied on, that America cannot be trusted to stand by its promises when the going gets tough, that America no longer has the will to lead the world toward a future of freedom, that America has decided to embrace defeat, to retreat and surrender. Another Democrat Congress declares that America, having liberated the Iraqi people from the bloody tyranny of Saddam Hussein, has grown tired of the messy business of liberation and will now wash its hands of the whole affair, and abandon the Iraqi people to the bloody tyranny of the Jihad.

This is a long article and you should read it in its entirety to get the full story, but this is how Mr. Kraft, an attorney and writer in Northern California, concludes:
America's Congressional Democrats en masse are betraying, rejecting, repudiating, their own ostensible dedication to the Liberal values of freedom and liberty, multiculturalism, diversity, democracy, for money, for votes. Their half-spoken mantra is, "No war for oil, no victory for freedom."

We see America's Congressional Democrats becoming the American Judas, betraying America, and Iraq, for the proverbial thirty pieces of silver. We are watching the astonishing, appalling, and unprecedented spectacle of a Democrat Party so hungry, so greedy, so blindly avaricious for political dominance that it is committing itself to the retreat, defeat, and surrender of America, of Iraq, of the Middle East, perhaps Africa, perhaps Europe after that - where, if anywhere, will the Democrats' firm resolve to retreat and surrender end?

This is treason.
When will all of our elected representatives in Congress start thinking seriously about what they are doing?

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More Information on Global Warming

At Canada Free Press there is an article called "Global Warming: The Cold, Hard Facts?" by Timothy Ball, whose credentials are given in the first paragraph of the article as follows:
Global Warming, as we think we know it, doesn't exist. And I am not the only one trying to make people open up their eyes and see the truth. But few listen, despite the fact that I was one of the first Canadian Ph.Ds. in Climatology and I have an extensive background in climatology, especially the reconstruction of past climates and the impact of climate change on human history and the human condition. Few listen, even though I have a Ph.D, (Doctor of Science) from the University of London, England and was a climatology professor at the University of Winnipeg. For some reason (actually for many), the World is not listening. Here is why.

Dr. Ball says:

Believe it or not, Global Warming is not due to human contribution of Carbon Dioxide (CO2). This in fact is the greatest deception in the history of science. We are wasting time, energy and trillions of dollars while creating unnecessary fear and consternation over an issue with no scientific justification. For example, Environment Canada brags about spending $3.7 billion in the last five years dealing with climate change almost all on propaganda trying to defend an indefensible scientific position while at the same time closing weather stations and failing to meet legislated pollution targets.

No sensible person seeks conflict, especially with governments, but if we don't pursue the truth, we are lost as individuals and as a society. That is why I insist on saying that there is no evidence that we are, or could ever cause global climate change. And, recently, Yuri A. Izrael, Vice President of the United Nations sponsored Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) confirmed this statement. So how has the world come to believe that something is wrong?

He explains:

Maybe for the same reason we believed, 30 years ago, that global cooling was the biggest threat: a matter of faith. "It is a cold fact: the Global Cooling presents humankind with the most important social, political, and adaptive challenge we have had to deal with for ten thousand years. Your stake in the decisions we make concerning it is of ultimate importance; the survival of ourselves, our children, our species," wrote Lowell Ponte in 1976.

I was as opposed to the threats of impending doom global cooling engendered as I am to the threats made about Global Warming. Let me stress I am not denying the phenomenon has occurred. The world has warmed since 1680, the nadir of a cool period called the Little Ice Age (LIA) that has generally continued to the present. These climate changes are well within natural variability and explained quite easily by changes in the sun. But there is nothing unusual going on.

There is much more to the article and I recommend reading it to those interested in the truth. Dr. Ball concludes by saying:
I was greatly influenced several years ago by Aaron Wildavsky's book "Yes, but is it true?" The author taught political science at a New York University and realized how science was being influenced by and apparently misused by politics. He gave his graduate students an assignment to pursue the science behind a policy generated by a highly publicised environmental concern. To his and their surprise they found there was little scientific evidence, consensus and justification for the policy. You only realize the extent to which Wildavsky's findings occur when you ask the question he posed. Wildavsky's students did it in the safety of academia and with the excuse that it was an assignment. I have learned it is a difficult question to ask in the real world, however I firmly believe it is the most important question to ask if we are to advance in the right direction.

At Jewish World Review there is another article about global warming that you should read. It's by Jack Kelly and is called "Do something the scaremeisters don't want you to: Think". He writes a great article debunking some of the so-called evidence for global warming, adding:

As each new piece of evidence weakens their argument, global warming alarmists try to shut off debate.
He adds:

Skeptics are, global warming alarmists say, a "fringe" who are paid by CO2-spewing corporations to express doubt. But numbered among the skeptics are some of the world's most renowned climatologists, such as Richard Lindzen of MIT and Patrick Michaels of the University of Virginia. All have better credentials than does the divinity school dropout from whom alarmists take their cues.

Alarmists never mention that the vast majority of funding for climate scientists comes from government, or that skeptics are highly unlikely to receive research grants.

And now, here is a paragraph from Mr. Kelly's article especially for my friend, Pop:

"Follow the money," said Alabama state climatologist John Christie, a professor at the University of Alabama at Huntsville. "To justify their funding, they have to show a huge problem."

There is considerably more in his article. Global warming is not only not a reality--its promoters are being quite unscientific in their presentation and activities.


Saturday, February 03, 2007

"Chavez and the 'Ezekial Option'"

World Net Daily columnist Hal Lindsey writes an interesting piece titled "Chavez and the 'Ezekiel Option'". I will be researching several of the items mentioned in the article to learn more.

Hugo Chavez is, of course, the President of Venezuela. Dictator might be a much better word. Be that as it may, Mr. Lindsey begins with the following:

This week, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez was handed unrestricted authority to rule his nation by decree. Venezuela's new parliament passed, and Chavez signed, the "Enabling Act" and put an end to any hopes of a democratic end to his rule.

Chavez is expected to exercise the absolute power granted him to nationalize all private oil and gas operations now operating in his territory.

Chavez also has plans to take state control of Venezuela's biggest telecommunications company and electricity providers, to revamp banking and zap the rich with new taxes with a goal of ensuring ''the equal distribution of wealth."

But that's not all:

Venezuela is America's fifth largest supplier of oil. And Chavez owns (or will soon own) all the oil companies.

Making the situation even more dangerous is Chavez's close alliance with Iran. Iran has sworn to wipe Israel from the map publicly, and on more than one occasion. Ahmadinejad recently sponsored a conference entitled, "A World Without Zionism" and subtitled, "A World Without America."


Iran is protected by its chief nuclear suppliers in Russia, complicating the situation even more. Moscow has hundreds of billions of dollars invested in Iran's nuclear programs. Iran's nuclear facilities are crawling with Russian scientists, advisers, technicians, security personnel – and their families.

The U.S. can't afford to move against Chavez without risking conflict with Iran – which ultimately risks dragging in the Russians. Chavez, on the other hand, can easily afford to wreak havoc on America's oil supply – and its economy – without fear of economic repercussion.

Mr. Lindsey winds up by writing:

The prophet Ezekiel predicted the development of a vast alliance that would include Russia, Persia (Iran) "and many people with thee" in the last days that would launch a surprise invasion of Israel.

So how does Israel fit into all this? A Texas oil company, Genco, recently announced the discovery of a large oil field near the Dead Sea. Israeli Infrastructure Minister Binyamin Ben Eliezer called the strike "just the beginning."

British Natural Gas announced the discovery of a vast natural gas deposit 20 miles offshore of Tel Aviv. Initial estimates suggest some 3.5 trillion cubic feet in proved reserves.

Zion Oil has sunk eight exploratory wells, all of which have shown signs of oil and gas. Zion founder John Brown believes the amount of oil reserves hidden beneath Israel could rival that of Saudi Arabia.

A massive oil strike in Israel would completely change the balance of power in the Middle East. Such an oil- strike could potentially break the back of OPEC. It is unlikely OPEC would admit Israel as a member, regardless of how much oil she had.

That would seem to leave but one option, best expressed by my friend Joel Rosenberg's novel of the same name.

The Ezekiel Option.

Interesting, no? If there is oil and natural gas in Israel, that would change the world dynamics considerably. I will be looking for more information on this.

As for Chavez--between him and Ahmadinejad, there is plenty to worry about. I guess I am naive, but why in the world would Venezuela allow Chavez unrestricted power like that? More research for me to do.

Still, I thought the above article was very interesting and wanted to share it for that reason alone.

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Who Says There is No View Other Than That of Global Warming?

At Jewish World Review columnist Debra J. Saunders writes an article titled "See No Dissent, Call It Science". She writes about a science teacher in Washington state who wanted to show Al Gore's film, An Inconvenient Truth, without presenting any opposing information on global warming. A parent protested and was portrayed as a villain, even though he merely wanted additional information presented--he was not trying to stop the showing of the film. Saunders says of the teacher:
In this case, Walls told The Washington Post that she could not find any authoritative articles that counter "An Inconvenient Truth" — other than a 32-year-old Newsweek article. CNN apparently went to the same school as Walls, as it aired a segment in which University of Maryland Professor Phil Arkin asserted, "I don't think there is legitimately an actual opposing viewpoint to the 'Inconvenient Truth' film."

Isn't that interesting? No authoritative articles that counter An Inconvenient Truth. Not anything newer than 32 years old. Saunders immediately shows the falsity of this statement by saying:
Allow me to present a few names. Massachusetts Institute of Technollogy's Alfred P. Sloan Professor of Meteorology Richard S. Lindzen complained to the Boston Globe about the "shrill alarmism" of Gore's flick. Neil Frank, who was considered authoritative when he was the director of the National Hurricane Center, told The Washington Post that global warming is "a hoax." Hurricane expert William Gray of Colorado State University believes the Earth will start to cool within 10 years.

University of Virginia professor emeritus Fred Singer co-authored a book, "Unstoppable Global Warming — Every 1,500 Years," that argues that global warming is not human-induced but based on a solar cycle. Last year, 60 Canadian scientists signed a letter to Prime Minister Stephen Harper in which they argued that there is no consensus among climate scientists.

Odd, isn't it? Global warming believers heap scorn on religious zealots for not valuing science and knowledge. Yet the thrust of their argument to prove apocalyptic global warming relies on denying the existence of views and scientists who clearly exist.

Debra J. Saunders' article provides yet more food for thought regarding the supression of viewpoints opposing global warming.


More Reasons to Not Buy into Global Warming

Neal Boortz has a website wherein he writes a daily column on the news (or, as he calls it, nuze). On 2 February, he writes about global warming and lists some good reasons why it isn't real. Go give it a read and think about what he says. Consider these two paragraphs:
But the biggest bombshell here is this one: no matter what we do, global warming will not be reversed. It will go on for centuries, according to this report. The sea levels will continue to rise as polar ice caps melt. So I guess if Al Gore wins his Nobel Peace Prize, we'll still experience global warming. So much for riding to work everyday in your hybrid's not doing a thing. The situation is futile, according to this report.

But really, it makes sense that the global warming crowd would come to this conclusion. After all, global warming is a religion. The anti-capitalist enviro-nazis don't ever want the problem to be solved. After all, if global warming were to be solved tomorrow, what would they blame the United States for? They'd have to find some other reason.

Motive is always good to consider when a group advocates so strongly for something. Why are they doing it? Really? Here is one of Mr. Boortz's reasons for being skeptical of global warming:
The United Nations is anti-American and anti-Capitalist. In short .. I don't trust them. Not a bit. The UN would eagerly engage in any enterprise that would weaken capitalist economies around the world.

Here's another:
Because that famous "hockey stick" graph that purports to show a sudden warming of the earth in the last few decades is a fraud. It ignored previous warming periods ... left them off the graph altogether.

And another:
The infamous Kyoto accords exempt some of the world's biggest CO2 polluters, including China and India.

And what does this one tell you?
Because global warming "activists" and scientists seek to punish those who have different viewpoints. If you are sure of your science you have no need to shout down or seek to punish those who disagree.

And what about this?
What happened to the Medieval Warm Period? In 1996 the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change issued a chart showing climatic change over a period of 1000 years. This graph showed a Medieval warming period in which global temperatures were higher than they are today. In 2001 the IPCC issued another 1000 year graph in which the Medieval warming period was missing. Why?

Why has one scientist promoting the cause of man-made global warming been quoted as saying "we have to get rid of the medieval warming period?"

Mr. Boortz lists a number of other reasons, all worth your time and consideration. I think we need to give some serious thought to why people are suddenly trying to scare us with global warming. Why are they editing facts? What is their motive? Think about it. As Neal Boortz asks:
Why are global warming proponents insisting that the matter is settled and that no further scientific research is needed? Why are they afraid of additional information?
I'll have more on global warming, as well as other topics, later.


Thursday, February 01, 2007

A Calm View of the Global Warming Issue once again provides some commonsense commentary on a current topic, this time on the issue of global warming. Columnist David Strom has written an article titled "Some People Seem to Know Everything, But Can’t Answer the Most Basic Questions" in which he offers some thoughts about those pushing the idea of global warming and why they are not qualified to do so. He begins:

Have you ever noticed that the people who seem to be most certain about things are often really quite ignorant?

It’s a version of “don’t confuse me with the facts, my mind is made up!”

That’s what we are seeing before our eyes in the debate about anthropogenic (man-made) climate change. An unholy alliance of some scientists, celebrities, government and non-profit bureaucrats, and politicians have joined together to force massive changes to our economy and our lives based upon an intellectual framework as rickety as an old abandoned barn.
As for why we should be skeptical of this great bandwagon that so many have jumped on, he explains:

Climate scientists haven’t got much of a handle on why global climate is so naturally variable—and it is very variable indeed—and hence have a terrible time explaining why global temperatures have varied so much over the millennia. So if you don’t know how the system works, or for that matter which exact variables influence the wild swings within a very chaotic system, how competent will you be in detecting the influence of relatively minor influences such as human behaviors?

The data that climate scientists are using is incredibly unreliable and imprecise. There is very little actual data that is any good at all, it spans such a relatively short time period and is so very local in nature that it barely comprises a decent snapshot, no less a movie of earth’s climate history. Most of the data used is based upon climate “reconstructions” or proxy data such as tree rings and pollen counts, not actual temperature data itself. Hence the margin of error on this data is significant enough to nearly swamp any “signal” buried in the “noise” of potential errors. We are, after all, looking at temperature variations in the range of 1 to 2 degrees Fahrenheit,

Add to all this uncertainty the fact that basic features of the earth’s climate, such as what exactly causes clouds, how important are variations in solar energy output, how sensitive are the oceans’ heat “conveyor belts” to external changes, and you begin to understand how daunting a problem understanding climate changes really is.

And why have so many jumped on this bandwagon in the first place? Well, there is this:
We are still at a point in climate science where the things we don’t know or understand heavily outweigh the things we do. And yet climate scientists, who can’t yet explain fully big changes in climate like the cycles between ice ages and temperate times, want us to turn human civilization on its head. Based upon what, exactly? A hunch?

In any realm other than politics, such a conceit would be obviously absurd. But in politics, the normal rules don’t apply. It is in the interests of the politicians to stoke our fears and present themselves as the solution providers. In is in the interest of bureaucrats to extend their power. Celebrities want to be relevant, and pretty much the same is true of the media.

It is in all their interests to have citizens cede power and prestige over to them.

That’s why climate change is at the top of everyone’s agenda. It makes its proponents more relevant and more powerful.

The current climate scare has little to do with the state of the science, and everything to do with the political interests of the people promoting it.

Perhaps, as with everything else, we need to take a step back and calmly review the facts. This article is a good read and will give us all some points to ponder.