In contesting a federal effort to propel Washington’s environmental agenda, House Republicans nixed a congressional proposal to establish a new government program called the National Climate Service. Part of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and akin to the agency’s National Weather Service (NWS), the proposed division has been hailed by congressional Democrats as an essential federal service that would help inform farmers, insurance companies, and the general public of projected weather patterns. The central idea, Democrats and NOAA officials note, is that while the NWS provides short-term weather conditions, the National Climate Service would concurrently provide long-term projections of future climate-related events.
While Democrats contend that the service will require no new funding, a House Appropriations Committee news release indicated that Congress had saved $322 million in fiscal year 2012 by blocking the initiative.
The National Weather Service is one of six scientific agencies serving the NOAA and is tasked with offering to the public "weather, hydrologic, and climate forecasts and warnings for the United States, its territories, adjacent waters and ocean areas, for the protection of life and property and the enhancement of the national economy." The NWS, formerly known as the Weather Bureau, draws from 122 local weather forecast offices and various national and regional centers to forecast temperature, humidity, probability of precipitation, wind direction and speed, and other weather-related data.
GOP presidential contender Ron Paul is continuing to gain momentum in key states such as Iowa, where the Texas Congressman has found support in niche groups such as the Christian homeschoolers, a group said to have helped Mike Huckabee claim a surprising victory in 2008. Steve and Cindy Anders, leaders of the Iowa Christian homeschool group, have thrown their support behind Congressman Paul, endorsing his drive for a return to the drastically smaller constitutional form of government.
Moody’s rating service warned on Monday that France’s coveted triple-A credit rating is in jeopardy as a result of the country’s “elevated borrowing costs … amid a deteriorating growth outlook.” Senior credit officer Alexander Kockerbeck said “As we noted in recent publications, the deterioration in debt metrics and the potential for further liabilities to emerge are exerting pressure on France’s creditworthiness and the [current] stable outlook of the government’s Aaa debt rating.”
In May of this year Fitch Ratings confirmed France’s triple-A rating with a “stable” outlook but warned that “continued fiscal consolidation is needed to stabilize and then start to reduce public debt, which reached 81.7 percent of GDP as of [the end of] 2012.”
Citing the uncertain economy and the scarcity of needed capital, the company that launched the first government funded embryonic stem-cell trials announced that it is halting further stem-cell research and will lay off nearly 40 percent of its staff. The California-based Geron Corp., which began the first FDA-approved stem-cell trials in 2010, said that it would shift its focus to cancer research.
Explaining what he insisted was purely a financial decision, Geron Chief Executive John Scarlett told the Wall Street Journal that the “time frame for meaningful value inflection [for stem-cell programs] would occur substantially further in the future than for our oncology products.” Suspension of Geron’s research, which involved patients with spinal cord injuries, still leaves at least two other companies invested in the controversial project.
Pro-life activists have been vocal in their opposition to the research because it requires the destruction of human embryos. While it has received the lion’s share of attention from the scientific community and the media, embryonic stem-cell therapy “has yet to produce any treatments or cures,” reported Baptist Press News. “By contrast, pro-lifers say, research using non-embryonic forms of stem cells — such as adult stem cells and induced pluripotent stem cells — has been far more promising. Adult stem cells — found throughout the body — have produced 73 medical treatments, according to a tally by the Coalition of Americans for Research Ethics. In induced pluripotent stem cells, researchers reprogram adult skin cells into stem cells that have virtually the identical properties of embryonic ones.”
On Veterans Day, November 11, Oscar Ramiro Ortega-Hernandez fired shots with a Romanian Cugir SA (semi-automatic rifle) from the general direction of the Ellipse and Washington Monument toward the White House. One of the bullets was found between the outer glass and the bulletproof layer of a window on the White House’s second floor, which is part of the first family’s residential quarters, in a largely unplanned apparent assassination attempt on President Obama.
Experts say an assassin typically would know the glass was bulletproof. In addition, the President and first lady Michelle Obama were traveling in California and Hawaii, headed for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit — a trip planned well in advance. Oscar Ramiro Ortega-Hernandez, it seems, drove some 2,400 miles with no plan, and did no reconnaissance once in Washington.
GOP presidential candidate Herman Cain styles himself a Washington “outsider,” an “anti-politician,” and a businessman who is just what America needs at this critical moment in its history to turn itself around. Only someone of Cain’s peculiar background, he would have us believe, only someone uncorrupted by the insatiable hunger for power from which all career politicians suffer, can restore America’s greatness in the world.
Again, this is the self-image that Cain works inexhaustibly to project.
There is one question, though: is it true?
The first fact that must not be lost upon us is that while Cain is a reasonably successful businessman, and while he is not a professional politician, the notion that he is the “Mr. Smith” of our time who is about to take Washington by storm is a fiction of the first order.
Cain, you see, was at one time a Federal Reserve chairman. (He was deputy chairman of the board of directors of the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City from 1992 to 1994, and chairman from 1995 to 1996.)
According to the Swiss newspaper The Local, last week "[t]he European Union said ... it is helping Greece negotiate with Switzerland in a bid to claw back some of the €60 billion [$81 billion] in unpaid taxes believed to be hidden in Swiss banks."
Horst Reinchenbach, the German head of a task force advising Greece on its economy, acknowledged that the group of European Union experts had made "few concrete steps" forward, adding, "Solutions are being explored to provide Greece with an adequate way to increase tax revenue....
Another EU official, speaking on condition of anonymity, stated, "We want Greece to get the best deal possible using EU and IMF [International Monetary Fund] experience and legal support." The official commented that of the missing €60 billion in taxes, just half is "theoretically collectible" and only €8 billion is likely to be recovered "sooner or later."
After a series of embarrassing predictions and wild factual errors damaged global-warming alarmists’ credibility — possibly beyond repair — the United Nations is again warning of impending doom: localized floods and droughts caused by climate change theoretically linked to human activity. But skeptics are still not buying.
The new report unveiled over the weekend by the UN Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) claims extreme weather is set to increase dramatically in the decades ahead. But following spectacular failures in its last major report that turned the climate body into a global laughingstock, the UN used far more caution in attributing its predictions to anthropogenic (human-caused) factors.
According to a draft of the report cited by the BBC, it was only considered “likely” that human activities could be linked to changes in cold and warm days. Meanwhile, there was just “medium confidence” that man is responsible for extreme rainfall changes and “low confidence” that variations in tropical cyclones could be attributed to humanity’s relatively insignificant carbon emissions.
“Uncertainty in the sign of projected changes in climate extremes over the coming two to three decades is relatively large because climate change signals are expected to be relatively small compared to natural climate variability,” the draft report admitted. Some climate experts picked up the new cautious tone.