Archive for June 5, 2008

Martian Dust

Purty, ain’t it?

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Mexico Asks World Court to Stay U.S. Executions

AMSTERDAM, Netherlands — Mexico appealed to the U.N.’s highest court Thursday to block the executions of Mexicans in the United States, arguing that U.S. officials have failed to comply with a judgment ordering a review of their trials.

The International Court of Justice said Mexico asked the court for an ”interpretation” of an earlier ruling to clarify its meaning when it asked the U.S. to ”review and reconsider” the cases of the condemned prisoners.

Until that can be done, Mexico said the United States ”must take any and all steps necessary” to ensure that none of its citizens is executed, and asked the court to take urgent measures to intercede.

The court, informally known as the World Court, ruled in 2004 that the convictions of some 50 Mexicans on death row around the United States violated the 1963 Vienna Convention, which provides that people arrested abroad can have access to their home country’s consular officials.

The court, which sits in The Hague, said the Mexicans should have new hearings in U.S. courts to determine whether the violation affected their cases.

President Bush accepted the judgment and asked state courts to review the cases. Texas refused.

Jose Medellin, a 33-year-old inmate condemned in the gang rape and murder of two teenage girls 15 years ago, appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court on the basis of the World Court’s ruling.

The Supreme Court rejected the appeal March 25, saying Bush had overstepped his authority when he ordered the courts to carry out the decision from The Hague and review the prisoners’ cases.

The Constitution ”allows the president to execute the laws, not make them,” said the majority opinion.

Medellin’s execution has been set for Aug. 5.

Mexico asked the court to issue an immediate injunction against the execution and those of four other Mexican-born inmates. In its request, Mexico said it was still in dispute with the United States over ”the scope and meaning” of the 2004 ruling.

The Mexican request said the court’s ruling implied that some actual review must result, but the U.S. government says it has already complied.

The U.S. obligation to follow international law also applies to individual states, Mexico argued in its application to the court.

”The United States cannot invoke municipal law as justification for failure to perform its international legal obligations,” it said.

A World Court spokeswoman said the 15-judge court would convene soon to weigh Mexico’s request to halt the executions.

The International Court of Justice is the U.N.’s judicial arm for resolving legal disputes among member states. Its decisions are binding and not subject to appeal, but are not always obeyed.

Source: Miami Herald

Ooooh, here’s a novel thought: Why doesn’t Mexico take steps to stop her citizens from sneaking across the border and murdering American citizens?

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U.S. Congressman Dana Rohrabacher: Preach It, Brother!

In a September, 2005, article from Discovery Magazine, Dr. William Gray, now an emeritus professor of atmospheric science at Colorado State University and a former president of the American Meteorological Association, was asked if funding problems that he was experiencing and has been experiencing could be traced to his skepticism of man-made global warming. His response: “I had NOAA money for 30 years, and then when the Clinton administration came in and Gore started directing some of the environmental stuff, I was cut off. I couldn’t get any money from NOAA. They turned down 13 straight proposals from me.” This man is one of the most prominent hurricane experts in the world, cut off during the Clinton-Gore administration because he had been skeptical of global warming.

In fact, Al Gore’s first act as Vice President was to insist that William Harper be fired as the Chief Scientist at the Department of Energy. Now, why was that? Well, that’s because William Harper had uttered words indicating that he was open minded to the issue of global warming. So off with his head. They didn’t want someone who was open minded. They wanted someone who was going to provide grants based on people who would verify this man-made global warming theory. Now, that was 1993 when Mr. Harper was relieved, the first year of the Clinton-Gore administration. So for over a decade, all we got was a drumbeat of one-sided research, setting the stage for the false claim that there is a scientific consensus about whether or not man-made global warming is real.

Unfortunately, for all those scientists who went along with the scheme, now, over a decade later, there is a big problem. Contrary to what all those scientists living on their Federal research grants predicted, the world hasn’t been getting warmer. In fact, for the last 7 years, there has been no warming at all, which has been verified even by, for example, Michel Jarraud of the World Meteorological Organization. He’s their Secretary General. He reluctantly admitted that global temperatures have not risen since 1998, according to a BBC article. Global snowfall is at record levels and there are fewer, not more, hurricanes.

Thank you!

Well, the first time I met President Gore was during my first term in Congress back in 1989 and 1990. Al Gore then was a United States Senator. And he marched into the Science Committee room followed by a platoon of cameras and reporters. He sat in front of the Science Committee, and he demanded that President Bush, that is George W.’s father, declare an ozone emergency. And he waved in his hand a report of evidence that an ozone hole was opening up over the Northeast United States.

A few days later, the report touted by the Senator was found to have been based on faulty data, data collected by one so-called researcher flying a single-engine Piper Cub with limited technology and not much expertise. Senator Gore was demanding emergency shutdowns of factories and manufacturing plants in the Northeast. It would have had dire consequences for the American economy and for those people who worked in those plants. But they be damned, because we are out to save the planet.

Now does anyone here see any type of a pattern here, the ozone hole that wasn’t there and then we are going to have this drastic action in order to save the planet? The scare tactics, the Chicken Little-ism and all the rest of these types of things that are trying to create hysteria, this isn’t a new tactic.

Seems ol’ Al Gore has always been a rather dense drama queen.

Furthermore, there is some melting in the Arctic. We all know that there is some melting in the Arctic because we hear about it over and over again. In fact, NBC did some special on the melting of the Arctic and how bad it is and showed the pictures of penguins sitting on a diminishing piece of ice in the Arctic. Except there was a problem with that story. You see, penguins don’t live in the Arctic; they live in the Antarctic. There are no penguins in the Arctic. So NBC had it wrong. Somebody must have told them that the penguins from the Arctic were being victimized by global warming. In fact, in the Antarctic, where the penguins are, there is a buildup of ice. It is getting cooler. And in the Arctic, of course, we do recognize there has been a warming in the Arctic, likely due to ocean currents that have changed in the last few years and not due to CO2 that comes from somebody’s SUV.

I saw that, and my reaction was “how stupid ARE NBC people, anyway?” I didn’t get a definitive answer; however, listening to the nightly global warming drivel, I have to conclude that they are really very silly people indeed.

The first attempt to basically cover their tracks about this noticeable dichotomy in what they predicted and what was happening happened a few years ago, and it went very slowly but very cleverly. The words “climate change” have now replaced the words “global warming.” Get that? Every time you hear it now, half the time they are going to be using the words “climate change” where those very same people were so adamant about “global warming” only 4 or 5 years ago. So no matter what happens now, now that they’ve changed it to “climate change” rather than global warming, whatever happens to the weather pattern, whether it’s hotter or cooler, it can be presented as further verification of human-caused change. If you just had “human-caused warming,” it would have to be at least warming for them to actually have any verification of what they were trying to say. But right now by using “climate change,” they can bolster their right to be taken seriously upon recommending policies, even though no matter what direction the climate goes, it is justified by how they are labeling themselves.

I’m sorry, fellows. Do you really think the world is filled with morons? When it comes to bait and switch, used car salesmen are paragons of virtue compared to this global warming crowd. Excuse me. It’s not the “global warming” crowd now; it’s the “climate change” crowd.

Yep. I’d propose a drinking game wherein everybody takes a slug o’ tequila everytime the phrase “global warming” or “climate change” comes up on the evening news but I’m afraid the participants would die of alcohol poisoning.

Read the rest of the speech here:

Many thanks to Watts Up With That for bringing it to my attention.

As you may have gathered, I’ve had it with people that scream “global warming” and “climate change!” with no evidence whatsoever to support that any of it is caused by humans. Look, anybody near the ocean knows that our hurricane cycle, rainfall, and even temperatures have to do with the ENSO. If global warming were occurring at the rate that the alarmists are telling us, I’d be growing avocados and oranges in north Florida instead of buying them from south Florida.

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Indonesia Stops Announcing Bird Flu Deaths

JAKARTA, June 5 (Reuters) – Indonesia has changed its policy on reporting bird flu cases and will only announce the death toll from the disease every six months, the health minister said on Thursday.

Indonesia has the highest toll of any nation with 108 confirmed human fatalities. Since the virus resurfaced in Asia in late 2003, it has killed 240 people in a dozen countries, the World Health Organisation says.

“We will not announce every single new bird flu death because sometimes it is misunderstood,” Siti Fadillah Supari told Reuters, adding it was unethical to announce the identity of the victims.

“It’s OK not to announce it. Sometimes they only give hurtful comments instead of helping,” she said, without elaborating. The country will update new bird flu deaths every six months, instead of announcing every fatality each time, Supari said.

She declined to comment on media reports of a 109th death last month.

In Geneva, World Health Organisation spokeswoman Sari Setiogi said she was unable to comment as WHO was still seeking clarification on Indonesia’s policy.

Indonesia so far has maintained its decision not to share bird flu samples, saying it wants guarantees from richer nations and drugmakers that poor countries would get access to affordable vaccines developed from their samples.

International health experts say it is vital to have access to samples of the constantly mutating H5N1 virus, which they fear could change into a form easily transmissible among humans and sweep the world in months, killing millions of people. (Reporting by Olivia Rondonuwu; Additional reporting in GENEVA by Stephanie Nebehay; Writing by Fitri Wulandari, editing by Sugita Katyal and Jeremy Laurence)

Source: Reuters

This leads me to believe that they are trying to hide how much bird flu really exists in the population. I suspect it is much, much higher than has been announced previously.

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P.E. Requirements Get Tough to Get Students Fit

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — It’s time for Florida’s public schools to do a better job of helping kids get into shape, said Gov. Charlie Crist. The governor said that children staying active in school is an image he wants to see more often.

“Time and time again research shows that a physically fit and physically active child is better able to perform in the classroom,” said Rick Kane, who oversees physical education for the Duval County School District.

Kane said the state already asks that school children get plenty of exercise, but there are some new changes in store.

Crist on Monday signed a bill requiring elementary school students go through 30 minutes of nonstop physical activity every single school day.

The “Don Davis Physical Education Act” is named after the Jacksonville state representative who died earlier this year from brain cancer.

The new law will take effect in the fall of 2009.

The Duval County School District officials said they cannot afford to hire more physical education teachers, and because of that all other teachers will require more professional training.

In addition, staying physically fit means much more than just getting exercise. Knowing this, the school district strives to give students healthy choices at lunchtime.

“It’s a good idea to have the kids bring home a menu and go over it, and decide together what’s healthy and not healthy,” said Sally Clifton, a registered dietician at Shands-Jacksonville Medical Center.

Tuesday’s menu in the Duval County School District gave students the choice of beefy mac casserole, chicken patty, potato fries, steamed broccoli, salad, applesauce and chocolate cake.

School district officials told Channel 4 tells the menu meets the federal guidelines for nutritional values as established by the USDA.


Another feel good piece of legislation passed by the state that will have no effect whatsoever.

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The Future of Corn

Scientists at the “New Horizons” corn conference are buzzing about new products they are developing from corn and corn processing byproducts.

Plastics, textiles, cosmetics and medical fabrics are all possibilities – and they are not that far off.

“If you know of a sugarbeet factory that is shutting down, let me know,” says Rawle Hollingsworth, of Michigan State University, who is involved in commercialization of patented chemistry derived from corn and other plant materials that can be used to make everything from paper to pharmaceutical ingredients.

Rick Tolman, CEO of the National Corn Growers Association, which sponsors the event, says the attending the conference is like “pulling back the curtain and peering into the future” of the corn industry.

Twenty years ago, scientists at conferences like these talked about ethanol.

Now, the conference is about “what”s beyond ethanol” or “what”s after ethanol,” says Richard Glass, NCGA vice-president of director of market development.

Feed products
A number of researchers are discussing new feed products made from distillers grains.

The USDA Agricultural Research Service and several universities and private companies are working on making pellets from a blend of crop residue, corn stover and DDGs for cattle feed.

University of Nebraska representatives says that cow-calf producers in that state have figured out how to store wet distillers grains for several months without spoilage by mixing it with ground hay or crop residues, piling it in bunkers or between round bales and covering it plastic to seal out air.

New corn, too
New types of corn might be on the horizon, too.

The $32 million corn genome sequencing project is complete and is already being used to speed development of biotech corn.

“We are poised at a very special time,” says Patrick Schnable, Iowa State University plant scientist. “We can engineer corn to do what we want.”

Roger Elmore, Iowa State University Extension agronomist, is making the case at the conference that increasing the genetic yield potential of corn should be one their first priorities.

He says that the yield potential has not changed in 20 years. He estimates it to be approximately 450 bushels per acre. Actual yields are far less. They have been increasing, but it is mainly due to improvements in management – either through equipment, farmers” practices or genetic modification. All biotech traits introduced so far have been defensive ones, he says.

The yield ceiling as exhibited by top yields in the national corn yield contest is about 350 bushels per acre, a mark that hasn”t been surpassed since it was first set in 1985.

“We need a paradigm shift” similar to the introduction of hybrid corn, he says.

When hybrid corn was introduced in the 1930s, yields doubled in 10 years.

To meet the demand for fuel, feed, food and – soon – industrial products, corn yields will have to rise. Judging by the enthusiasm being exhibited here, doubling may not be enough. The conference continues Wednesday in Kansas City, Mo.

Source: Southern Farmer

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Double-Edged Profit Sword

Wheat and soybean prices aren’t the only products at record high levels this year; so are energy prices.

University of Kentucky Extension specialist urge double-crop farmers to consider both those facts when deciding when to harvest wheat and plant soybeans.

Sam McNeill, extension agricultural engineer with University of Kentucky College of Agriculture, said farmers will begin to harvest wheat in the next few days in several areas of the state. Wheat prices at $6 per bushel, soybeans at $12.40 per bushel and the cost of fuel to dry the crop will be factors they need to consider when deciding whether it’s better to harvest wheat early and dry it with LP gas or let the crop dry in the field. An earlier wheat harvest means soybeans can be planted sooner to achieve their maximum yield potential, but it also means using fuel that is now running around $2.50 per gallon. On the other hand, a delayed harvest means delaying sowing soybeans for a few days.

“Of course, towards the end of the harvest season, wheat will be dry enough to avoid a drying charge altogether, but by that time soybean yields will have fallen off dramatically,” said McNeill, who is based out of UK Research and Education Center in Princeton.

Pre-harvest estimates predict average wheat yields near 70 bushels per acre in Kentucky this spring. Each day the harvest is delayed could result in a wheat yield loss of 0.1 bushel. Conversely, the average yield for double crop soybeans of 43 bushels per acre could drop by 1 bushel per day for planting past the optimum date. Considering a wheat moisture level of 25 percent, the drying and handling cost would be about $28 per acre. If harvest begins a few days early, the gross returns would be $414 per acre for wheat and $533 per acre for soybeans. After drying costs, the combined returns would be approximately $919 per acre. This compares to $580 per acre at this time last year when prices were much lower.

Of course, farmers must pay for other inputs such as fertilizer, seed, diesel fuel, crop protection chemicals and labor, which all have risen substantially, but the above scenario provides a means to focus on the items used to figure cost trade-offs of timely planting for double crop soybeans.

“So the bottom line is that higher grain prices trump higher energy prices this spring,” he said. “In fact, farmers can net about $1.80 per acre for each day they harvest wheat before the target and lose about $10 per acre for each day soybean planting is delayed afterward. For this reason I look for more farmers to be drying wheat this spring to boost their soybean yield and net profits.”

More information on wheat drying and a spreadsheet to help calculate gross profits from soybean and wheat enterprises after subtracting drying costs are available at the local Cooperative Extension county office or online at

Source: Southern Farmer

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