Sunday, February 28, 2016

Only the 5th Warmest.  How disappointing!

Australia's Warmists are spinning like a top in the article excerpted below.  The official figures show that 2015 was only the 5th warmest year for Australia:  There were 4 previous years that were hotter -- not moving in the right direction at all! And  temperatures have been reducing, coming off a record peak in 2013 -- all of which is not NEARLY as much fun as NOAA's global figures.

So what to do?  How to keep the scare up?  They have gratefully seized on the latest bit of modelling, with its dire predictions: "climate scientists are predicting". Never mind that the climate models have never made an accurate prediction yet!

IT’S been a sticky old week across southern Australia with the mercury topping 41C in the west of Sydney and severe heatwaves in parts of New South Wales and northern Western Australia.

But far from being an unusual occurrence, climate scientists are predicting heatwaves globally are on the rise with extreme heat events, which previously only occurred "once in a generation", could happen every year.

And that means more than just some extra days at the beach, with predictions of more bushfires, stretched emergency services and severe impacts to farmers and food production.

In a paper published in the journal Climatic Change, researchers found heatwaves only experienced once in every 20 years could, in years to come, happen every year in some places. By 2075, 60 per cent of the Earth’s land mass could see these extreme heat events annually or even more frequently.

By 2050, heatwaves could be three degrees warmer across half the world and across 10 per cent of the Earth’s surface a scorching five degrees hotter.

According to the BoM’s annual climate statement, 2015 was Australia’s fifth warmest year on record with temperatures 0.83C above average and exceptionally warm spells including heatwaves across north and central Australia in March and south and south eastern Australia in the latter part of the year.

Heatwave conditions in Australia are defined by three days of unusually hot minimum and maximum temperatures for any given area.

However, the pattern of heatwaves wasn’t uniform, said Dr Perkins-Kirkpatrick. Sydney had seen its heatwave season kicking in three weeks earlier, as had Melbourne — although the latter hadn’t seen an overall increase in the number of days experiencing extreme heat.

While 2015 was one of Australia’s hottest years on record, overall temperatures have been reducing, coming off a record peak in 2013. Aren’t things going in the right direction already?


People too scared to speak about issues: John Howard

John Howard has sounded an alarm about the culture war in Australia — warning that people are being "cowed" against stating their views on issues and that a dangerous anti-religious push has emerged — and branded as "pernicious­" the Victorian government’s hostility to religious connections in schools.

Mr Howard said there was a "get Pell" mentality in "some sections of the media", referring to Cardinal George Pell, who is about to answer questions before the child sex abuse royal commission and has been the subject of allegations of sex abuse by material coming from Victoria Police.

In relation to gay marriage, Mr Howard said: "There is nothing homophobic about supporting traditional marriage. Everybody did in the parliament in 2004.

"May I remind you that in 2004, when I inserted the defin­ition in the Marriage Act, the Labor Party supported it. You ought to be able to have sensible discussion on these sorts of things. And you should be able to express a view on these things. But there is a sense in which people are so frightened of being accused of being discriminatory or intolerant that they don’t speak the common­sense view."

Mr Howard said the standards of civil society in Australia were being undermined by a growing intolerance towards people who did not subscribe to a range of progressive views.

"I think the problem is that too few people are prepared to call it for what it is," he said. "I think people are cowed because they think, ‘I can’t say that because I might lose votes or I might offend somebody’."

He said there was a new form of "minority fundamentalism" emerging, typified by the use of the anti-discrimination law in Tasmania to silence the Catholic Church from stating its position on marriage.

Having read the document issued by the Catholic bishops, Mr Howard said: "How anyone can read that as offensive to people who favour same-sex marriage or gay or lesbian people is beyond me."

He said the situation in Victoria under new guidelines for religious instruction was that "from now on you can sing Jingle Bells in schools but not Once in Royal David’s City or Silent Night".

"This is pernicious," he said. "I’m surprised there hasn’t been a greater outcry about it. Nobody is forced to believe in God. Nobody’s forced to follow Christianity. The observance of Christmas and all that goes with it is part of our culture. I must say I have never come across a person of the Jewish faith or of the Muslim faith who has complained that they have had Christianity forced upon them."

Warning that such cultural intolerance would provoke a backlash, Mr Howard said one of the reasons Donald Trump was succeeding in the Republican primaries was that people felt he was speaking directly to them and shunning any political correctness.

While saying he "would tremble at the idea of Trump being President of the US", Mr Howard said the Republican frontrunner was benefiting because other politicians refused to acknowledge public resentments. While he found some of Mr Trump’s comments "appalling", his success was "a measure of how people feel".

These comments recall his performance as prime minister when Mr Howard campaigned against political correctness, resisted the idea of a superior morality on the part of elites and had to manage the rise of Pauline Hanson, who exploited economic grievances.

Mr Howard expressed disappointment that the Abbott government had abandoned its proposed free speech changes to section 18c of the Racial Discrimination Act after winning an election mandate on the issue. He said it was probably only with the Andrew Bolt case that people realised the application of this provision "was as spiteful as it turned out to be".

Branding the climate of repression as "pernicious", Mr Howard said there was "almost a fear" among people to articulate the views he was expressing because of concern they would "offend our multicultural ethos" or be "branded as intolerant".

He said the Catholic Church as an institution had to be held to account for its cover-ups on child sexual abuse, given the number of priests who had been involved. But Mr Howard said: "It seems as if Cardinal Pell is being singled out to take the rap for the misdeeds of a whole lot of people and the evidence is that he was more active in trying to do something about it."

He highlighted the fact one of Cardinal Pell’s critics, Father Frank Brennan, had recently warned of the need to ensure that Cardinal Pell, as a witness before the royal commission, was treated with integrity. Father Brennan said after the recent leaks of material originating from Victoria Police that the standing of the royal commission was an issue if one arm of a government involved in its commissioning was "engaged in unauthorised activity aimed at undermining the public standing of key witnesses".

On same-sex marriage, Mr Howard said he would not have chosen a plebiscite. He felt the issue should be decided in parliament by a free vote. But, given the Abbott government had decided on the plebiscite path, the Turnbull government "had to honour that commitment".

He said any authorisation of same-sex marriage had to contain religious freedom protections.

Reviewing the alienation of the public from the US political process, Mr Howard identified two fundamental differences between Australia and the US: Australia did not suffer the debilitating consequences of a constitutional bill of rights and the middle class had been supported by sustained real wage gains over recent decades, unlike the US. While warning that there were "sufficient similarities" between the two countries to make alienation from politics in this country a real risk, Mr Howard said Australia enjoyed distinct advantages.

"If I were an American, I would feel that it didn’t matter who you voted for because essentially the people you vote for can’t do anything, with gay marriage and Obamacare being decided by the courts," he said.

"I have never embraced the idea that judges have infinitely more wisdom in making decisions about the social and economic future of the country than the rest of the population. One of the reasons some of these social issues are so hotly contested in the United States is that people don’t think they have been allowed to have their say.

"I would be very concerned if we went down the American path and we gave to judges a power to determine these things."


Advertisements must not include attractive women

AUSTRALIAN TV personality and former Test cricketer Mike Whitney has made for some awkward advertising in a new commercial for the Gold Coast Sixes cricket.

The ad features Whitney between two bikini clad women on the sand of a Gold Coast beach, advertising a long weekend cricket tournament set for the June long weekend later this year.

The online ad was shot on a Gold Coast Beach, with many calling the clip "cheap and tacky" or ‘degrading.’

The ad, which has sparked ‘sexism’ backlash, talks about the tournament which will cost $449 per person and include $900 worth of parties, drinks, meals and cricket gear. There will be free beer for the skipper and a chance to win $100,000.

"This is not just a cricket tournament — it’s a three day, four night carnival held up here on the Gold Coast," Mr Whitney says to the camera while standing between two bikini clad women.

"I’ll be here, the girls will be here and were looking forward to welcoming you," he says as the models wave to the camera.

The Gold Coast Sixes claims to be the ‘best 3-day, 4-night, 6-a-side cricket carnival on the planet.’

"I’m really proud to be the ambassador for the Gold Coast Sixes," Whitney went on to say in the ad.

"You’re going to be sick of winter, you’re going to need a cricket fix and you’re going to need an excuse to get the boys together for that end of season cricket trip like none other."

The two women then take over the advertisement, revealing what people will get if they attend the cricket tournament.

‘Hi boys, we girls are so looking forward to meeting and greeting you here on the Gold Coast,’ the brunette woman in the pink bikini says to the camera.

"Our gorgeous staff will be at the airport to pick you up at the carnival every day and at the cocktail party and dinner," she smiles.

The brunette and her friend then walk off down the beach together to close the minute long advertisement.

The Gold Coast Sixes tournament is set to be held on the Queens Birthday June long weekend later this year.

Teams from around Australia and overseas will take part in three days of six-a-side cricket and four nights partying in Surfers Paradise.

Former Test cricketer and Who Dares Wins host Mike Whitney is the ambassador of the tournament.


Medical marijuana is now legal in Australia

The Australian parliament passed new national laws today paving the way for the use of medicinal cannabis by people with painful and chronic illness.

Amendments to the Narcotic Drugs Act permit both legally-grown cannabis for the manufacture of medicinal cannabis products in Australia. The changes, proposed earlier this month by the Turnbull government, had bi-partisan support.

Recreational cannabis cultivation and use remains illegal with state-based criminal laws still in place.

Health minister Sussan Ley said it was an historic day for the nation and the people who "fought long and hard to challenge the stigma around medicinal cannabis products so genuine patients are no longer treated as criminals".

"This is the missing piece in a patient’s treatment journey and will now see seamless access to locally-produced medicinal cannabis products from farm to pharmacy," she said

Under the new federal scheme, patients with a valid prescription can possess and use medicinal cannabis products manufactured from cannabis legally cultivated in Australia, provided the supply has been authorised under the Therapeutic Goods Act and relevant state and territory legislation. The changes put medical cannabis in the same category as restricted medicinal drugs such as morphine.

The Victorian government announcement last year that it will legalise the drug for medical use in 2017. NSW is also currently conducting trials into a cannabis-based drug, Epidolex, with a focus on children with epilepsy, and leading the state-based focus on medical marijuana.

The Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) is due to hand down its interim decision on scheduling cannabis for medicinal purposes next month. The minister said an independent Advisory Committee will be set up to oversee the next stage of the rollout of a national regulator for medicinal cannabis.

"A national regulator will allow the government to closely track the development of cannabis products for medicinal use from cultivation to supply and curtail any attempts by criminals to get involved," Ms Ley said.

The national scheme is good news for a range of companies currently vying for a slice of the lucrative market. Medicinal cannabis business MGC Pharmaceuticals, listed on the ASX via a reverse takeover of Perth-based resources business yesterday, saw its share price jump on opening, and rise another 27% today to $0.33.

The business is working with the University of Sydney’s business school to develop a federal government white paper on creating a medical cannabis industry. MGC Pharmaceuticals is currently building a cultivation and extraction plant in Slovenia.

Meanwhile, ASX-listed Medlab Clinical is currently conducting research in Sydney for the NSW Government.


Former CFMEU official Fihi Kivalu to plead guilty to blackmail charges in Canberra

A former construction union official arrested in dramatic circumstances during the trade union royal commission hearings in Canberra will plead guilty to blackmail charges.

Former ACT Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union (CFMEU) official Fihi Kivalu, 39, was arrested in July last year after evidence from formwork contractor Elias Taleb.

Mr Taleb told the Royal Commission into Trade Union Governance and Corruption that Kivalu accepted $135,000 from him in instalments, for access to the Canberra construction market.

Kivalu admitted to the corruption inquiry that he accepted only $60,000 from Mr Taleb using it to play the pokies.

But he denied allegations that he hired a debt collector to chase Mr Taleb.

Initially Kivalu pleaded not guilty to blackmail charges and was committed for trial last year.

But today his lawyer told the ACT Supreme Court he was planning to change the plea.

Kivalu will be arraigned next month, with sentencing planned for May.


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