Tags: Climate | Report | Litany | of-Doom | Jeb Bush Could Be Undoing of Democrats Plans | Fast-Food Jobs on Military Bases | Human Rights Lawyer Killed Over Pakistans Blasphemy Law

Climate Report a 'Litany of Doom'; Jeb Bush Could Be Undoing of Democrats' Plans

By    |   Sunday, 11 May 2014 02:09 PM

Insider Report

Headlines (Scroll down for complete stories):
1. Scientists Slam Latest Doomsday Climate Report
2. Joe Trippi: Democrats Should Be 'Worried' About Jeb Bush
3. Obama Order Will Kill Fast-Food Jobs on Military Bases
4. Human Rights Lawyer Killed Over Pakistan's 'Blasphemy' Law
5. Support for Death Penalty Waning in US
6. We Heard: John Podesta, Mark Zuckerberg, Brian Williams

1. Scientists Slam Latest Doomsday Climate Report

Climatologists and other experts are blasting a new climate change report from the Obama administration, calling it a "litany of doom" that objective scientists won't take seriously.

The National Climate Assessment (NCA), an 840-page report compiled by 300 scientists and experts that was released at a White House event on Tuesday, warns that climate change is a clear and present danger.

"Climate change, once considered an issue for a distant future, has moved firmly into the present," according to the report.

Rising temperatures, it asserts, will be responsible not only for more drought, wildfires, flooding, and sea level rise, but also an increased risk of heat-related deaths.

The report states that the effects of climate change are evident in every region of the country, according to Gary Yohe, a Wesleyan University economist and vice-chair of the NCA advisory committee.

"One major take-home message is that just about every place in the country has observed that the climate has changed," he told the Guardian. "It is here and happening, and we are not cherry-picking or fear-mongering."

But that is exactly what the experts are seeking to do, critics charge.

Heartland Institute Senior Fellow James Taylor declared: "Leading authors of this report include staffers for activist groups like the Union of Concerned Scientists, Planet Forward, the Nature Conservancy, and Second Nature. Few objective climate experts will take this report seriously.

"Even those scientists who are not overtly affiliated with environmental activist groups were almost uniformly on the record as global warming alarmists before being chosen to write this report."

Mark Morano offered a round-up of reactions to the global warming report on his Climate Depot website.

Former Colorado State University climatologist Dr. Roger Pielke Sr.: "That much of the media accepted the NCA without questioning its findings and conclusions either indicates they are naïve or they have chosen to promote a particular agenda and this report fits their goal."

Dr. Judith Curry, chairwoman of the School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at the Georgia Institute of Technology: "The report effectively implies that there is no climate change other than what is caused by humans, and that extreme weather events are equivalent to climate change.

"Worse yet is the spin being put on this by the Obama administration."

Competitive Enterprise Institute Senior Fellow Marlo Lewis: The report is "designed to scare people and build political support for unpopular policies such as carbon taxes. Alarmists offer untrue, unrelenting doom and gloom."

Dr. Roy Spencer, principal research scientist at the University of Alabama in Huntsville: Part of the report "is just simply made up. There is no fingerprint of human-caused versus naturally-caused climate change."

Weather Channel Co-founder John Coleman: The report is a "litany of doom," a "total distortion of the data and an agenda-driven, destructive episode of bad science gone berserk."

Climate Depot's Morano said: "By every measure, so-called extreme weather is showing no trend or declining trends on 50-100-year timescales. Droughts, floods, tornadoes, hurricanes are not increasing due to man-made global warming.

"Why does the report now call 'global warming' a new name, so-called 'climate disruption'? Simple answer: Due to earth's failure to warm — no global warming for nearly 18 years — another name was necessary to attempt to gin up fear.

"This report is predetermined science."

Editor's Note:

2. Joe Trippi: Democrats Should Be 'Worried' About Jeb Bush

At least one veteran Democratic strategist is concerned that former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush could pose a serious challenge to the Democrats' control of the White House in 2016.

Joe Trippi, who worked on a number of presidential campaigns and served as campaign manager for Howard Dean's presidential run in 2004, said on the Fox News Channel: "I saw [Bush] at George Herbert Walker Bush's 25th anniversary of his presidency. I went in thinking, 'Oh my gosh, one more Bush,' and was very discouraged even thinking about it.

"But I was really impressed. The only question I have is I am not sure he can get the nomination. The party sort of moved beyond the Bushes. I mean they think they're too liberal or something. So I am not sure he can get the nomination.

"Frankly, as a Democrat, I would be worried about him. I think we underestimate him."

Bush has distanced himself from some conservatives by calling for serious immigration reform. In early April, Jeb said in an interview that people who come to America illegally to provide a better life for their families are committing "an act of love," an "act of commitment to your family."

Bush hasn't indicated if he would run for president in 2016. Back in February 2013, he said he would not make a decision until "at least a year from now."

Editor's Note:

3. Obama Order Will Kill Fast-Food Jobs on Military Bases

Fast-food restaurants operating on military bases are in a bind: Due to an executive order signed by President Obama, they are being forced to raise worker's compensation, but they can't raise prices to compensate.

As a result, hundreds of fast-food outlets could close, eliminating thousands of jobs, the Washington Examiner reported.

Obama on Feb. 12 signed the executive order raising the minimum wage for employees of federal contractors from $7.25 to $10.10 an hour. That's higher than the state minimum wage in the two highest states, Washington ($9.32 an hour) and Oregon ($9.10).

The order doesn't take effect until January 2015. But it is already having an impact. Military Times reported in late March that three McDonald's restaurants and another food outlet will soon close on Navy bases, while other national-name chains have "asked to be released from their Army and Air Force Exchange Service contracts to operate fast-food restaurants at two other installations."

In addition to the increased minimum wage, fast-food employers must also pay a "health and welfare" payment that the administration has now raised from $2.56 to $3.81 an hour.

Fast-food operators in the past did not have to make the health and welfare payment, but the Obama Labor Department ruled last fall that they must.

So between the increase of $2.85 an hour in the minimum wage and the health and welfare payment, employers must pay $6.66 more per hour to each employee.

But "military contracting laws do not allow businesses to raise their prices above the level prevailing in the local community," the Examiner's Byron York noted. "The fast-food operators can't charge more to make up their losses."

Russell Beland, deputy assistant secretary of the Navy for military manpower and personnel, has written a letter to the Labor Department about the increased costs.

"The increased labor burden resulting from the new [wage structure] eliminates any profit the operator might otherwise realize and puts him in an impossible business dilemma," he wrote.

According to Beland, Navy officials estimate that 390 fast-food restaurants on bases will close, costing nearly 5,750 jobs. Closings on Army and Air Force bases could affect up to 10,000 jobs.

The Labor Department recently said it would "re-evaluate" some of the new costs, but the executive order is still scheduled to go into effect in January.

Editor's Note:

4. Human Rights Lawyer Killed Over Pakistan's 'Blasphemy' Law

A prominent human rights lawyer in Pakistan was shot dead because he was defending a man accused of "blasphemy" against the Prophet Mohammed.

Rashid Rehman Khan, a coordinator for the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP), was killed on Wednesday when two gunmen burst into his office in the city of Multan.

Pakistan's blasphemy laws call for the death penalty for anyone convicted of defiling "the sacred name of the Holy Prophet Mohammed."

Human rights activists say the laws have contributed to violence against Christians in Pakistan. Around half of those charged under the laws since 1988 have been non-Muslims, who comprise just 2 percent of the population.

Junaid Hafeez, a lecturer in English at Multan's Bahauddin Zakariya University, was charged with blasphemy in March after radical Islamists accused him of posting "blasphemous" comments on his Facebook page.

Hafeez struggled for months to find an attorney willing to represent him before Khan stepped in, CNS News reported.

In April, the HRCP issued a statement expressing concerns about Khan's safety after he was threatened by a group of men in a Multan courtroom who told him, "You will not come to court next time because you will not exist anymore."

The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF), an independent watchdog, said it is aware of 17 Pakistanis currently on death row for blasphemy, and 19 serving life terms in prison.

One notable case that has attracted international attention involves an illiterate Christian farm laborer known as Asia Bibi, the first woman to be sentenced to death for blasphemy.

In June 2009, Muslim women she was working with in the field made derogatory statements about her religion, according to the New York Post, and Bibi responded: "I believe in Jesus Christ, who died on the cross for the sins of mankind. What did your Prophet Muhammad ever do to save mankind?"

A mob later came to her house, where she lived with her husband and five children, and beat her. She was arrested and spent a year in jail before being charged.

In November 2010, a judge sentenced her to death by hanging.

A month after her conviction, a Muslim cleric announced a reward equivalent to $10,000 to anyone who killed her, the Express Tribune in Pakistan reported.

After the governor of Punjab state, Salman Taseer, took up Bibi's case, he was shot dead by a member of his bodyguard. Hundreds of lawyers offered the killer free representation and 500 Muslim scholars gave him an honorary title as "Lover of the Prophet."

Pakistan's federal minorities minister, a Christian who also supported Bibi, was also shot dead.

Khan's murder came a week after the USCIRF repeated a recommendation that the U.S. State Department designate Pakistan, which is a major recipient of American aid, as a "country of particular concern" under U.S. law, CNS disclosed.

But the Obama State Department has chosen not to do so.

Editor's Note:

5. Support for Death Penalty Waning in US

A majority of Americans still favor the death penalty for persons convicted of murder, but support for capital punishment has been on the decline in recent years, according to a Pew Research Center survey.

In 2013, 55 percent of U.S. adults favored the death penalty for murder, while 37 percent opposed it. In November 2011, the previous time Pew asked the question, 62 percent supported it and 31 percent were opposed.

And support has dropped sharply since 1996, when 78 percent favored the death penalty and just 18 percent opposed it.

Twice as many white Americans favor the death penalty as oppose it — 63 percent to 30 percent. But support among this group has decreased from 81 percent in 1996.

Among black Americans, 55 percent are opposed and 36 support the penalty — down from 55 percent in 1996. Half of Hispanics oppose the death penalty, and 40 percent support it.

Seven in 10 Republicans favor the death penalty and 23 percent oppose it. Among Democrats, 45 percent are in favor and 47 percent are opposed.

The demographic most likely to support the death penalty is Americans ages 50 to 64 (60 percent), while those 18 to 29 are most likely to oppose it (43 percent).

Currently, 32 states have the death penalty. Since 2009, New Mexico, Connecticut, and Maryland have voted to abolish it.

Pressure to abolish it further could increase following the botched execution of an Oklahoma killer on April 19. The attempted execution of Clayton Lockett by a three-drug cocktail was halted after 20 minutes when he began to writhe and thrash around uncontrollably on the gurney after he had been declared unconscious. He later died of a heart attack.

The National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty issued a statement about the incident, saying, "This night will be a catalyst for those aggrieved and outraged to fight to abolish the death penalty in Oklahoma and every other state in America."

Worldwide, 58 nations actively practice capital punishment, 98 countries have abolished it for all crimes, seven have abolished it except for special circumstances such as war crimes, and 35 have abolished it de facto, not having used it for at least 10 years.

About 90 percent of all executions worldwide take place in Asia.

Editor's Note:

6. We Heard…

THAT John Podesta, who is serving as a counselor to President Obama, has some words of advice for his boss: Forgo the treadmill and jog in the open air.

Podesta, who was co-chairman of the Obama-Biden transition team in 2008, told Runner's World magazine that Obama "should overrule the Secret Service and find a place to run outside."

He even has a specific place in mind: "Fort McNair, where the Potomac and Anacostia rivers meet, and where I know he's played some basketball, might be a good choice."

THAT an Iranian censorship committee approved a plan to ban WhatsApp, the instant messaging service for smartphones, because of its tie to "an American Zionist."

Abdolsamad Khorramabadi, head of Iran's Committee for Determining Criminal Web Content, announced the ban and said: "The reason for this is the assumption of WhatsApp by the Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, who is an American Zionist."

Facebook said in February that it was acquiring WhatsApp for $19 billion.

Iranian authorities often block Facebook, Twitter, and other social networks, but Iran doesn't ban Facebook, according to Forward.com.

On Wednesday, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani halted the planned ban on WhatsApp until there is something to take its place.

THAT "NBC Nightly News" anchor Brian Williams on Tuesday delivered a report on the Boko Haram kidnapping of teenage girls and mistakenly said the abductions took place in Kenya instead of Nigeria.

"Tonight it now feels as if the world is aware and responding to the kidnapping of 276 girls in Kenya three weeks ago today," he said.

Williams referred to Kenya a second time while introducing Ann Curry's report on the kidnapping.

"Brian realized his error right away" and "corrected it two minutes later," a spokesperson for the broadcast told TVNewser.

"He wrote the item in question in the rush before airtime."

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Insider ReportHeadlines (Scroll down for complete stories):1. Scientists Slam Latest Doomsday Climate Report 2. Joe Trippi: Democrats Should Be 'Worried' About Jeb Bush 3. Obama Order Will Kill Fast-Food Jobs on Military Bases 4. Human Rights Lawyer Killed Over Pakistan's...
Climate, Report, Litany, of-Doom, Jeb Bush Could Be Undoing of Democrats Plans, Fast-Food Jobs on Military Bases, Human Rights Lawyer Killed Over Pakistans Blasphemy Law, Support for Death Penalty Waning in US, John Podesta, Mark Zuckerberg, Brian Williams
Sunday, 11 May 2014 02:09 PM
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