Cold Sun Rising
Sam Khoury writes: The sun will go into “hibernation” mode around 2030, and it has already started to get sleepy. At the Royal Astronomical Society’s annual meeting in July, Professor Valentina Zharkova of Northumbria University in the UK confirmed it – the sun will begin its Maunder Minimum (Grand Solar Minimum) in 15 years. Other scientists had suggested years ago that this change was imminent, but Zharkova’s model is said to have near-perfect accuracy.
So what is a “solar minimum”?
Our sun doesn’t maintain a constant intensity. Instead, it cycles in spans of approximately 11 years. When it’s at its maximum, it has the highest number of sunspots on its surface in that particular cycle. When it’s at its minimum, it has almost none. When there are more sunspots, the sun is brighter. When there are fewer, the sun radiates less heat toward Earth.
But that’s not the only cooling effect of a solar minimum. A dim sun doesn’t deflect cosmic rays away from Earth as efficiently as a bright sun. So, when these rays enter our atmosphere, they seed clouds, which in turn cool our planet even more and increase precipitation in the form of rain, snow and hail.
Since the early 1800s we have enjoyed healthy solar cycles and the rich agriculture and mild northern temperatures that they guarantee. During the Middle Ages, however, Earth felt the impact of four solar minimums over the course of 400 years.
The last Maunder Minimum and its accompanying mini-Ice Age saw the most consistent cold, continuing into the early 1800s.
The last time we became concerned about cooler temperatures – possibly dangerously cooler – was in the 1970s. Global temperatures have declined since the 1940s, as measured by Pacific Decadal Oscillation. The PDO Index is a recurring pattern of ocean-atmosphere climate variability centred over the Pacific Ocean. Determined by deep currents, it is said to shift between warm and cool modes. Some scientists worried that it might stay cool and drag down the Atlantic Decadal Oscillation with it, spurring a new Ice Age. The fear was exacerbated by the fact that Earth has been in the current inter-glacial period for 10,000 years (depending on how the starting point is gauged).
If Earth were to enter the next Ice Age too quickly, glaciers could advance much further south, rainforests could turn into savannah, and sea levels could drop dramatically, causing havoc.
The BBC, all three major American TV networks, Time magazine and the New York Times all ran feature stories highlighting the scare. Fortunately, by 1978 the PDO Index shifted back to warm and the fear abated.
By the 1990s the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) had formed the “97 per cent consensus”. The consensus was that Earth was warming more than it should, not just due to natural causes but also human activity. This was termed Anthropogenic Global Warming. The culprit was identified as carbon dioxide generated from the burning of fossil fuels. Read the rest of this entry »
A description of the property posted on its architect’s website says it was inspired by Palladian villas and boasts a guesthouse and a “Z” shaped pool.
“The Democrat has a minimum net worth of $29.3 million, according to an analysis of her financial disclosure forms compiled by Roll Call.”
Especially when the House minority leader and her husband open up their bucolic Northern California estate and vineyard on the banks of the Napa River to the likes of Google’s Eric Schmidt, wealthy environmental activist Tom Steyer and Gov. Jerry Brown.
“The Pelosi estate on Zinfandel Lane, for example, is valued between $5,000,001 and $25 million, according to the records the congresswoman filed with the House clerk’s office for calendar year 2014.”
“When all the black SUVs are circling around the property — like planes gathering over O’Hare Airport — that is when you know they are here,” Susanna Kelham, who owns a winery next to the Pelosi property in St. Helena, told the Los Angeles Times.
“When all the black SUVs are circling around the property — like planes gathering over O’Hare Airport — that is when you know they are here.”
That was the scene last year when Pelosi hosted a dinner at the couple’s sprawling estate and vineyard about 65 miles north of Pelosi’s San Francisco district to close out a two-day conference in the wine country for political heavyweights.
Such is life for the fourth-richest Californian in Congress.
The Democrat has a minimum net worth of $29.3 million, according to an analysis of her financial disclosure forms compiled by Roll Call. The Los Angeles Times is using the data and for the first time is listing every asset and liability disclosed by the 55 members of the state’s congressional delegation.
“A description of the property posted on its architect’s website says it was inspired by Palladian villas and boasts a guesthouse and a “Z” shaped pool.”
Financial disclosure rules allow lawmakers to report broad ranges for the value of both their assets and liabilities starting at $1 to $1,000 and ending with any value greater than $50 million. Precise figures are not required. Roll Call calculated minimum net worth by subtracting the minimum value of liabilities from the minimum value of assets disclosed.
“The estate is not just for show. The couple also collects between $5,001 and $15,000 in income from the sale of grapes grown at the vineyard. A spokesman for Pelosi did not say who the grapes were sold to or for what purpose.”
The Pelosi estate on Zinfandel Lane, for example, is valued between $5,000,001 and $25 million, according to the records the congresswoman filed with the House clerk’s office for calendar year 2014. A description of the property posted on its architect’s website says it was inspired by Palladian villas and boasts a guesthouse and a “Z” shaped pool.
The estate is not just for show. The couple also collects between $5,001 and $15,000 in income from the sale of grapes grown at the vineyard. A spokesman for Pelosi did not say who the grapes were sold to or for what purpose. Read the rest of this entry »
For Washington Wire, Rhodes Cook writes: California has long been a dead zone for Republicans. The GOP has not carried it in a presidential or Senate election since 1988. The only Republican to win the governorship since 1994 is Arnold Schwarzenegger, who cultivated a distinct brand of his own. And the GOP holds only 28% of California’s U.S. House seats (15 out of 53), which matches its share of registered voters in the nation’s most populous state.
Yet in last Tuesday’s primary returns, there were inklings that the California GOP might be ready to launch a comeback. Neel Kashkari, a 40-year-old Hindu of Indian descent, emerged as the Republican gubernatorial nominee. He is an intriguing choice in a minority-majority state such as California. Read the rest of this entry »
Joel B. Pollak reports: In Los Angeles this week, three city council members blamed fracking for an earthquake, though they are not actually certain whether any fracking has occurred. In New York, Mayor Bill de Blasio is continuing his fight to crush charter schools that are primarily helping black and Hispanic children. In Illinois, the House Speaker announced plans to raise taxes on millionaires, despite proof that doing so will hurt the state’s ailing economy.
Even some Democrats know that their party is being unreasonable.
California’s Gov. Jerry Brown, for example, refuses to ban fracking. New York’s Gov. Andrew Cuomo may hate conservatives just as much as de Blasio, but he is defending the charter schools. In Illinois, there aren’t yet any Democrats willing to oppose the millionaire tax. Yet millions of Democrats are voting with their feet, leaving Illinois for more conservative jurisdictions.
And perhaps that is the point.
Texas is the number-one destination for California’s émigré population, for example. It is popular among migrants from other blue states as well, owing to its warm climate, job opportunities, and lack of a state income tax. Over time, that is changing Texas’s political culture.
For years, Democrats have hoped to take Texas back. The Lone Star State has produced the last two Republican presidents, some of the most important conservative legislators, and untold millions of dollars for GOP candidates across the country. Read the rest of this entry »
GREELEY, Colo. — Erica Goode writes: When Sheriff John Cooke of Weld County explains in speeches why he is not enforcing the state’s new gun laws, he holds up two 30-round magazines. One, he says, he had before July 1, when the law banning the possession, sale or transfer of the large-capacity magazines went into effect. The other, he “maybe” obtained afterward.
He shuffles the magazines, which look identical, and then challenges the audience to tell the difference.
“How is a deputy or an officer supposed to know which is which?” he asks.
Colorado’s package of gun laws, enacted this year after mass shootings in Aurora, Colo., and Newtown, Conn., has been hailed as a victory by advocates of gun control. But if Sheriff Cooke and a majority of the other county sheriffs in Colorado offer any indication, the new laws — which mandate background checks for private gun transfers and outlaw magazines over 15 rounds — may prove nearly irrelevant across much of the state’s rural regions.
Some sheriffs, like Sheriff Cooke, are refusing to enforce the laws, saying that they are too vague and violate Second Amendment rights. Many more say that enforcement will be “a very low priority,” as several sheriffs put it. All but seven of the 62 elected sheriffs in Colorado signed on in May to a federal lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the statutes.
Gun Digest‘s Grant Cunningham writes: The idea behind the +P is to add enough energy to reliably deliver an expanded bullet deep enough to do its job. It doesn’t have to be a lot of extra energy – it just has to be enough. Here’s what you need to know.
What About +P Ammo?
Remember that hollowpoints use part of their energy to expand their diameter, but the energy that’s used to expand the bullet is energy that can’t be used to drive the same bullet forward. There is no such thing as a free lunch; if you want the bullet to expand, it’s going to use energy. If there is too little of it to start with, there won’t be enough left to carry the bullet on its path.
The controversial legislation, which had been pushed vigorously by the California Undocumented Legal Worker Association (CULWA) and immigration advocacy groups, had been strongly opposed by Judicial Watch groups, Constitutional history scholars, and some California lawmakers, arguing that it violated the rights of citizens, and amounted to a shocking corruption of due process in the California Justice system.
Supporters of the legislation disagreed. Attorney General Eric Holder called it “an important step” and a “long overdue victory”, adding “If we can do this at the state level, we should be able to do it at the national level as well”, pledging his support for legislation to allow non-citizens to qualify for appointments to the U.S. Supreme Court.
“Passing laws allowing non-citizens to qualify for drivers’ licenses was but one step. Allowing illegal residents to obtain law degrees and practice law in California was another important step toward achieving our social justice ideals. This important victory today means fairness and opportunity for members of the non-citizen community”, said Holder.
In a statement released on Thursday, Miguel DeAngelo, a spokesman for Supreme Court Appointments for Illegal Aliens (SCAFIL) stated: “If non-U.S. citizens are empowered to practice law and argue cases before our courts, being prevented from achieving the high honor of serving on our State Supreme Court is akin to slavery. This legislative victory corrects that injustice”. Read the rest of this entry »
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — A proposal that would have banned ammunition magazines that hold more than 10 bullets has died in the state Legislature. Read the rest of this entry »
In 2013 rather than the 1950s, a technical error on a marriage certificate wouldn’t cause anyone consternation. But let’s say, for some reason or another, the government invalidated my marriage. Would it matter?
Not really. Marriage is primarily a pact between two people and, in the view of many, a sacrament of the church. The state merely recognizes this contract. If, say, a totalitarian government (think the Khmer Rouge or others like them that have meddled in such things) dissolved my marriage, my wife and I would still be married. The state could make our lives miserable, but it couldn’t end our marriage.
Yet that point seems lost these days. The public battles involve two sides who see the government as the means to legitimize their viewpoints. One side says gay marriage is wrong and the other says that it is the same as any other marriage. The two sides will never see eye to eye.
The governmental “benefits” at the heart of many of the gay-marriage battles are mostly rhetorical window-dressing. The state shouldn’t be handing out many privileges or payments and to whatever degree issues involving hospital visitation and inheritances are an issue, their terms and conditions can easily be worked out without a cultural war over the meaning of “marriage.”
Unfortunately, the court’s meddling has ensured that such a battle will keep going.
I’m not unsympathetic to the high court’s 5-4 decision to overturn most of the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act, designed specifically to deny governmental benefits to gay couples and to allow states to refuse recognition of gay marriages from other states. If the government gives out stuff, it’s reasonable to insist that it give it out in the most fair-minded basis.
The majority’s rhetoric reflects its desire to take a noble stand in this cultural divide. The court’s dissenters were right that the majority opinion was overheated. But at least the decision made some legal sense. “The federal statute is invalid, for no legitimate purpose overcomes the purpose and effect to disparage and injure those whom the state, by its marriage laws, sought to protect in personhood and dignity,” Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote for the majority.
By contrast, the court’s decision (actually, a non-decision) on California’s Prop. 8 seemed lifted out of “Alice in Wonderland.” In 2008, voters approved this constitutional ban on gay marriage. Jerry Brown as attorney general and now governor opposed it, so he refused to defend it against court challenges. The Supremes refused to rule on the merits of the statute because its defenders didn’t have “standing.” Only the state government apparently had such standing — but that government refused to do its duty.
As National Review’s Hadley Arkes put it, “If the state has a Democratic governor … he may declare now that he will not enforce the constitutional amendment, for he thinks it runs counter to the federal Constitution.” The meaning is even broader and more disturbing than that. Top officials of all parties now have de facto veto power over all voter initiatives. They simply need not defend in court any initiative they don’t like and there is no one else the high court will allow to defend it. That’s an anti-democratic precedent.
There’s no doubt the courts, legislatures, and public opinion are moving in a pro-gay-marriage direction. Timemagazine was right to declare this “one of the fastest civil rights shifts in the nation’s history.” The culture has shifted. That part doesn’t bother me. I have no problem with gay people getting married. But it disturbs me when the battles are fought in the political system rather than in the cultural arena. Both sides are responsible for the over-politicization of this personal and cultural matter, by the way.
The best solution always has been the separation of marriage and state. If my priest decides to marry gay people, then my fellow parishioners would have every right to be upset about that based on their cultural traditions and understanding of Scripture. If your pastor wants to marry gay people, then it’s none of my business. The terms of marriage should be decided by religious and other private organizations, and the state shouldn’t intervene short of a compelling reason (i.e., marriage by force or with children).
Liberals were more open to this “separation” idea back when conservative pro-family types were ascendant. Now, some conservatives are understanding its merits as a more liberal view is ascendant. Conservatives should have listened when they had some bargaining power, but everyone wants to impose their values on others by using government.
Government neutrality — or the closest we can get to it — is the best way to ensure fairness and social peace on this and most other social issues. Marriage is too important of an institution to be dependent on the wiles of the state. Do we really care if the state validates our marriage licenses?
BY ED MORRISSEY
I assume this means that Governor Rick Perry’s poaching has been successful:
Gov. Rick Perry’s high-profile efforts to lure jobs to Texas from other states may be good business and smart politics back home, but they’re infuriating to prominent Democrats around the country.
And now at least one Republican business leader says Perry’s taking the Lone Star swagger a little too far.
Perry’s forceful recruitment campaigns, featuring radio and magazine ads as well as personal appearances, promise low-tax, pro-growth policies in Texas —and they also trash the business climate in places like California (“…I hear building a business in California is next to impossible”) and Illinois (“…an environment that, intentionally or not, is designed for you to fail.”)
Those attacks hit where it hurts and have touched off an angry political backlash against Perry outside the Texas borders, with Democrats mocking his attempts to steal jobs as clownish – and warning the Republican governor to keep his handsoff. In a memorable put-down, Gov. Jerry Brown said Perry’s incursions into California were about as effective as breaking wind.
But other observers say Perry knows exactly what he’s doing.
“At the end of the day, no matter how any of the [states] respond, people are left with two distinct messages: That guy down in Texas has got big brass balls and he’s creating a lot of jobs,” Mark McKinnon, a political strategist with deep Texas ties, told POLITICO. “It’s brilliant marketing and very smart politics.”
Well, that’s usually the case when competition produces dominant players — a lot of less-competitive players get annoyed, resentful, and dismissive. A few of them will start trying to compete better. The rest simply go out of business altogether. Perry’s critics seem to be in the dinosaur group.
via The Greenroom
California Gov. Jerry Brown on Sunday said California would start a tax-increase wave across the nation, but recent history suggests California’s tax increases will only accelerate the number of people who will leave California to other states with better tax climates.
When asked whether California was going to start a “tax-increase sweep” across the nation on CNN’s “State of the Union,” Brown agreed.
He said more people nationally will have to “share” more of the wealth they “extracted” to fund “collective” government.
But a Manhattan Institute study released in September found excessive regulations and high taxes forced business and California residents to flee the state en masse since 1990 to more economically friendly states like Texas.
The study found that 225,000 California residents are leaving the state per year, and most of the “destination states favored by Californians have lower taxes.”
Last Tuesday, Californians approved Proposition 30, which was Brown’s plan to raise rates on incomes above $250,000, with those making over $1 million having to pay a top marginal state income tax rate of 13.3%, which is the highest such rate of any state. Voters also approved of a statewide sales-tax increase.
Democrats also now have a supermajority in the state legislature, which means they can pass more tax increases. Proposition 13 amended the state Constitution to require a two-thirds majority in both houses of the state legislature for any increase in taxes.
There was more.
Many of California’s municipalities voted for additional tax increases, on top of the statewide tax increases.
Voters in Carmel-by-the-Sea, where Clint Eastwood served as mayor, voted to increase the sales tax by one- cent for 10 years, which will be used to fund pensions and capital projects like maintaining streets. Voters in Healdsburg and Santa Clara County approved of half-cent sales-tax increases.
Other municipalities whose residents voted for sales-tax increases include: Fresno, Marin, Napa, and Santa Clara counties and the cities of Albany, Capitola, Culver City, Moraga, Orinda, Salinas, Vacaville and Williams.
When more people who actually pay taxes in California begin leaving the state at a faster rate, California and its municipalities will have trouble finding enough people to tax and attracting business and entrepreneurs to the state.
By Dave Blount
The objective of liberal politics is to induce the Democrat Death Spiral, a vicious cycle by which miserable economic conditions lead to government dependency and class envy, leading to Democrat electoral victories, leading to higher taxes and crippling regulations, leading to still more miserable economic conditions. Once the Democrat Death Spiral has been initiated, the more damage left-wing bureaucrats inflict on the economy, the more certain they are of reelection.
Detroit entered the Democrat Death Spiral decades ago. As a result of the city’s utter wretchedness, the Democrats who inflicted it receive upwards of 90% of the vote. There is no possibility of Democrats losing control, or of the city ever regaining its lost greatness.
California officially entered the Democrat Death Spiral when it brought back Jerry Brown despite a desperate economic situation that urgently required the state to turn away from Governor Moonbeam’s brand of profligate liberalism. In effect, the state committed suicide out of sheer moonbattery. Its prospects are no better than Detroit’s.
The United States of America officially entered the Democrat Death Spiral on November 6, 2012. Obama was not reelected despite the awful state of the economy under his rule but because of it. The more of a mess Obama makes, the more his Marxist rhetoric will resonate, the tighter the grip Democrats will have on America’s throat. This is why Obama will not lift a finger to improve the economic situation, but rather will deliberately worsen it by using taxation to drive up unemployment.
From here forward, the worse it gets, the worse it will get. Unless a way is found to reverse the cycle by removing liberals from power, each day will be the best day of the rest of America’s existence.
Be sure to thank the next liberal you see.