The Locker Room

July 18, 2006

Re: The Current Barrage on Global Warming

Posted by Jon Sanders at 10:40 PM

Roy, when Stanford biological sciences professor Stephen Schneider said back in 1989 that "we [scientists] have to offer up scary scenarios, make simplified, dramatic statements, and make little mention of any doubts we might have," I'm sure he meant something very much like what we've had to endure lately; e.g.:

• "there have been nearly [FILL IN ALARMIST AND ARMAGEDDONIST FACTOID HERE]." — Greenpeace press release sent a smidge too early, June 10, 2006

• "super volcanoes ... mass extinction ... Massive tornados in Los Angeles ... death and destruction around the world ... If the ocean gets warm enough, the methane will defrost and rise from the ocean into the atmosphere. Global warming will suddenly get a steroid injection. If that happens, we will be past the tipping point. Colossal hurricanes would hammer the globe. The oceans would become too hot to support much life. Droughts, forest fires, and famine would rage across the continents. Florida would be gone, completely swallowed by the rising ocean, as well as hundreds of cities all around the world." — Matt Lauer and pals, "Countdown to Doomsday" program, Sci-Fi Network

• "it is appropriate to have an over-representation of factual presentations on how dangerous it is." — Al Gore, May 2006

• chicken tickin' time bombs — Ronnie Cummins, national director of the Organic Consumers Association, Charlotte Observer, June 5, 2006

• "... in about 10 years the planet may reach a 'tipping point' and begin a slide toward destruction of our civilization and most of the other species on this planet. ... There is no other view that can be defended." — Roger Ebert, climatologist and occasional film critic, June 2, 2006

"head-sized mosquitoes" — Associated Press, May 31, 2006

"an extinction curve"New York Times, May 27, 2006

• "Beachside communities will have to pull back as far as 40 miles and sport fishing could be decimated." — USA Today, May 30, 2006

• "Floods obliterate Wilmington, Norfolk, even New York. Millions of people relocate inland. America’s bread-basket — the world’s main producer of grain — returns to its Dust Bowl days. Hurricanes as wicked as Katrina regularly ravish the Southeast. East Coast weather imitates Ontario. Southern Europe swelters and then the North plunges into a deep freeze. Our global economy is shattered in one day." — University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Endeavors magazine, Spring 2006

• Not to mention the recent alarmist movies, such as "The Day After Tomorrow," "Category Seven" and others.

• And of course, Gore's movie poster, the ne plus ultra of global-warming alarmist malarkey.

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Reed concedes, McKinney trails

Posted by Jon Ham at 10:39 PM

Ralph Reed got whomped tonight by Casey Cagle in the Republican primary for lieutenant governor in Georgia. He's already conceded.

Meanwhile, cop-beater Cynthia McKinney is trailing in the 4th District Democratic primary, but with only 28 percent of the vote in so far.

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Posted by Jon Sanders at 10:00 PM

The DPI authors of this dreck are which -- ESL or LEP? They have no IDEA how to write.

Jeff, is "IDEA" capitalized for stress, or is it an acronym too? If the latter, does it stand for "Independently Demonstrable English Acumen?"

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More illegal immigration numbers

Posted by Mitch Kokai at 7:16 PM

We've heard that the United States is hosting 12 million or more illegal immigrants.

Some contend that's 12 million too many; others believe many (if not most) of the people who make up that group should be allowed to stay in the country after doing some sort of legislated penance (the "path to citizenship" or amnesty).

Whichever camp you support, this article offers you some other numbers to contemplate: the Feds are targeting 590,000 "fugitive aliens," foreign nationals who've skipped immigration hearings or ignored a judge's order to leave the country. Within that group, the feds estimate 50,000 to 70,000 are "criminal aliens" convicted of non-immigration crimes at the local, state, or federal level.  

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Re: ESL Talk

Posted by Jeff A. Taylor at 6:32 PM

Terry, I'm confused.

The DPI authors of this dreck are which -- ESL or LEP? They have no IDEA how to write.

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Stem cell debate

Posted by Mitch Kokai at 6:03 PM

Readers of Newsweek might scratch their heads as they read a story in this week's issue.

It focuses primarily on the role of stem cell research in the Missouri U.S. Senate race. But the article also includes a map that highlights other state's responses to the stem-cell debate.

The map indicates that most states fall under one of two categories: no pending action or limits on human embryo research that could affect stem-cell research.

North Carolina is one of a handful of states listed as "considering funding for stem-cell research." Since I had heard little discussion of the topic this year, that designation surprised me.

Rep. Paul Miller, D-Durham, filed H.B. 2737 in May. It would have designated $20 million for stem cell research. A half dozen fellow Democrats signed on as co-sponsors. But I've seen no indication that the bill is going anywhere.

Since budget work is finished, and since Miller has since resigned from the General Assembly to deal with his legal issues, I'm guessing the "no pending action" designation would have been more accurate. 

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ESL Talk

Posted by Dr. Terry Stoops at 3:43 PM

To prove a point about the confusing world of English as a Second Language (ESL) talk, I wrote the following sentence, featured in my latest Spotlight:

Instead of using SIOP to teach LEP students in ESL classes, DPI should direct LEAs to follow the recommendations of CRESPAR researchers and use DI to ensure that LEP students score a “Superior” rating on IDEA’s IPT exam."

I recently came across the following sentence on the DPI website, which attempted to explain the difference between LEP and ESL:

"LEP" describes a student whose skills in English are limited, and "ESL" describes a language instruction program for students learning English. LEP identification is determined solely by the IPT score, but ESL services are determined by many other factors. Because of that, some LEP students may not receive ESL services, but they must still get IPT tested each spring until scoring Superior in all domains.

I'm jealous. DPI is so much better at this than I am...

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The Current Barrage on Global Warming has been a Long Time in the Making

Posted by Dr. Roy Cordato at 2:40 PM

"We are not just scientists but human beings as
well. And like most people we'd like to see the world a better place,
which in this context translates into our working to reduce the risk of
potentially disastrous climate change. To do that we need to get some
broad-based support, to capture the public's imagination. That, of
course, entails getting loads of media coverage. So we have to offer up
scary scenarios, make simplified, dramatic statements, and make little
mention of any doubts we might have."

-Dr Stephen Schneider, Biological Sciences Professor at Stanford
University, reiterating comments he made to Discover magazine in 1989,
American Physical Society News Online, August/September 1996

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Re: Jumps and Pyramids

Posted by Mitch Kokai at 10:37 AM


The death of the inverted pyramid marked the downfall of journalism -- such as it was.

Now every news reporter feels compelled to find a "real person" to exemplify his story. It doesn't matter that the time or space wasted on that "real person" takes away from the time or space used to provide the news.  

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Zoning for Bible classes

Posted by Paul Chesser at 10:26 AM

A D.C.-area megachurch is suing Fairfax County, Va., so it can continue to hold classes on Christianity. The county says McLean Bible Church must get permission to operate as a college.

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Jumps and Pyramids

Posted by Joseph Coletti at 09:29 AM

ABC News has a story about one man's quest to get 600 million people to jump at the same time on July 20 as a way to prevent global warming. Not until the fourth paragraph does the story indicate that the man is not a scientist as the lead indicates, but "a live performer, filmmaker, DJ and photographer." The story is goofy enough without the need for three paragraphs of false impressions at the start.

But this is becoming more common, and not just at AP. Communications consultant Ann Wylie suggests writing news stories, even hard news, with a feature-style structure. She cites a Readership Institute study that found people will read more of a communication, read it more completely, and read it more often if it avoids the inverted pyramid. The feature increases reader satisfaction, is easier to read, and is viewed as "more honest, fun, neighborly, intelligent, in the know, and in touch with the values of its readers."

"News Analysis" has been a disservice to readers, allowing editors to try to shape opinions on the front page. The ABC News story shows the problem latent in feature writing--misdirection. It's bad enough when traditional news stories bury the lead. Too many news stories already redirect the information with inappropriate adjectives and adverbs. Give writers the ability to make clever stories and we'll never get the facts.


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Reagan vs. Bush

Posted by Mitch Kokai at 09:02 AM

Fred Barnes takes on the Reagan revisionists in this column

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Mickey Spillane, conservative and racist, says AP

Posted by Jon Ham at 08:58 AM

Mystery writer Mickey Spillane has died and the Associated Press has published a condescending obituary. As usual, the mainstream media can't understand the popularity of someone they deem talentless, just as they can't fathom why people like Wal-Mart and NASCAR.

In Spillane's case, though, it probably has to do with his politics:

He was a quintessential Cold War writer, an unconditional believer in good and evil. He was also a rare political conservative in the book world. Communists were villains in his work, and liberals took some hits as well.

Not content to leave it at that (since many would see these as good attributes), the AP has to add:

He was not above using crude racial and sexual stereotypes.

No examples were given, but most of the things AP views as racial and sexual stereotypes probably appeared in Spillane books in the 1940s and 1950s, when the threshold for such things was much higher. This is like criticizing FDR for saying "Negro" instead of "African-American." Even The Great Gatsby contained crude racial stereotyping, but it gets a pass because Scott and Zelda are favorites of the lefty literary set.


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You Down With AYP?

Posted by Dr. Terry Stoops at 08:36 AM

Yeah, you know me.

Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) results will be released this afternoon. AYP is a product of No Child Left Behind legislation.

AYP uses state test scores to measure the academic progress of student subgroups within a school. The subgroups include racial minorities, students who qualify for a free and reduced lunch, students with disabilities, and the like. AYP results also measure district-wide performance, but I will spare you the details of this. The only thing to know if that districts face sanctions and must offer school choice if they are unable to pass a subgroup (within one of the three grade tracks) for consecutive years. Things can get nasty if they are unable to pass a subgroup for three consecutive years, which may happen to the Durham public schools this year.

Opponents of AYP say that it is naughty by nature.

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Hello, Cleveland

Posted by Mitch Kokai at 08:21 AM


Grover Cleveland gets a pretty bad rap for a guy who served as such a principled president.

Republicans ignore him because he was a Democrat. Democrats ignore him because his policies remind them of modern-day Republicans.

In their Patriot's History of the United States, Larry Schweikart and Michael Allen label Cleveland a "Presidential Giant."

Cleveland's image has enjoyed a revival in the late twentieth century because of new interest by conservative and libertarian scholars who see in him one of the few presidents whose every action seemed to be genuinely dictated by Constitutional principle.

For example, the book cites his veto of a bill that would have provided millions of dollars in loans for midwestern farmers to buy corn seed. Labeling it "a prime act of political courage in that he had everything to gain by signing it and nothing to lose," Schweikart and Allen say Cleveland exercised the veto because he said the Constitution sanctioned no federal power to provide the loans.

Of course, there is one part of Cleveland's record that should appeal to fans of Bill Clinton: Cleveland might have fathered a child out of wedlock. He never denied the charge. Cleveland's opponents used the campaign slogan: "Ma, Ma, Where's my Pa?"  

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Public-Private Partnerships

Posted by Dr. Terry Stoops at 08:07 AM

Under a bill passed on Monday, school districts can take advantage of public-private partnerships for school construction. This means that a developer can build a school and lease it to a school district, potentially easing the district's school construction burden and lowering costs.

The ball is now in the school districts' court.

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Posted by Andrew Cline at 07:12 AM

Grover Cleveland's grandson has filed to run for the state Senate in New Hampshire. Not that it matters to any of you, but I thought the Grover Cleveland fan among you (you know who you are) would get a kick out of it. George Cleveland is registered as unaffiliated, but he'll be running as a Democrat against the incumbent Republican, an Iraq war veteran.

Unfortunately for him, George Cleveland has nothing to do with this Cleveland reference:

"The Promised Land!"


"No, the Promised Land!"


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