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Month: June 2014

Number 350

The New Terrapin Gazette Number 350 19 June 2014 …after the sheriff’s department in Faulkner County, Arkansas, used nearly $12,000 in asset forfeiture funds to purchase a .50-caliber gun, they had the good sense to decide they shouldn’t use it. “It shoots through buildings,” Sheriff Karl Byrd told a local newspaper. “There is absolutely no legitimate law enforcement use of this rifle.” It’s Bad In The USA, Very Bad In fact it’s a shambles. So much is wrong — and so little is being done to correct any of it — that this newsletter is hard put to find evidence of good faith and reason. Perhaps the best way to begin, then, is to recall predictions made here two years ago. Had they come true, the situation today might be more tolerable. In any event, revisiting those slipshod prognostications might provide some insight into mistakes made. How, then, to proceed with commentary on the current debacle? In summary form, surely. What the electorate thinks According to…first, the Wall Street Journal; second, NBC; third, Fox. Pick your source. Iraq The hated George W. did what he could to give Iraqis a chance to form a viable state, and both he and the Iraqis failed. The next few months might see Iraq ripped into three distinct nations, one Sunni, one Shia, and one Kurdish. Do see The Tramp’s Dispatches for trenchant...

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Number 349

The New Terrapin Gazette Number 349 1 June 2014 …whenever you create some kind of Utopia, you find something ugly working beneath it. Percentages Facile “facts”Consider two : first, that “…ninety-seven percent of the world’s scientists tell us this is urgent”, and “…ninety-seven percent of scientists agree”, and “…ninety-seven percent of climate scientists agree…”. Agree on what? The scientists assert that anthropogenic global warming is real, causing catastrophic change, and that it can be halted. Second, some observers of US politics insist that opposition to Obama and Obamoid policies is essentially racist: only thirty-nine percent of white voters supported him. Those are the sorts of claims that a politician can toss off as truth — without having to substantiate them or put them into context. Do take a closer look. It’s a lieNo one demands proof of the wild claims that the overwhelming majority of scientists claim anthropogenic global warming is a fact. If you ask for references, you will be furnished with repetitions of the 97% claim. Where is the survey? When was the poll taken, and by whom? Some will point to the work of one Naomi Oakes, who in 2003 (or later) said she had surveyed 928 published papers and found that 75% of them agreed that AGW was real — though not necessarily a “danger”. She excluded from her survey the work of scientists who...

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