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People who say it cannot be done should not interrupt those who are doing it. Welcome to From On High.

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

And You Thought Global Warming Was A Problem

The Sierra Club, once well respected, and long ago well known as a natural resources conservation organization is, today, better known as the "crazy aunt in the attic" of the environmental movement. Its members have been willing in recent years to latch on to any kook's proclamations of planetary doom and to run terrified of the most obscure theories of worldwide catastrophe.

Global warming is a favorite topic for this bunch. For years now, we have been regaled with meaningless data and the most preposterous suppositions with regard to atmospheric carbon dioxide estimates, impending resource scarcities, fluctuations in surface temperatures, thickness diminution of the polar ice caps, the greenhouse effect, the effects of ultraviolet radiation on plant life, and on and on.

Well, that just wasn't good enough.

Now we have to worry about global dimming.
In an insidious development that makes the effects of global warming even scarier than we thought, scientists in Australia have confirmed a study that shows the amount of solar energy reaching the Earth's surface is gradually declining. Comparing sunlight records from the 1950s with current figures, scientist Gerry Stanhill found there was a 22% drop in solar radiation in Israel, 10% over the United States, 30% in the former Soviet Union, and 16% in areas of the British Isles. Stanhill has dubbed the phenomenon "global dimming." (link)
What, you may ask, would be causing this phenomenon? I'll give you three guesses.
The culprit appears to be air pollution, specifically from burning coal, oil, and wood. Tiny particles of soot, ash, sulphur and other pollutants reflect sunlight back into space, and also make clouds more reflective. Scientists worry that this may alter the planet's rainfall patterns, cause droughts, and affect monsoons. Worse, it appears that global dimming is off-setting the warming effect of greenhouse gases, the most prevalent of which is carbon dioxide. Dr. Peter Cox, a leading climate modeller, notes that while particle pollution is coming under control, CO2 levels are projected to increase in the future. "That means we'll get reducing cooling and increased heating at the same time," Cox says, "and that's a problem for us." One prediction: A temperature rise of 10 degrees Celcius by 2100, rendering many parts of the world uninhabitable.
These climate models have proven in the past to be highly suspect in their ability to predict climate changes - even in the near term. This Dr. Peter Cox is trying to convince people he knows what the climate is going to be like in the year 2100.

Put me in the skeptical category. I think the few intelligent people remaining here on earth should put snake oil salesmen like Cox to a simple test. Predict accurately what climate changes will take place in the next five years and we will listen. If you are wrong, you go to prison. "Scientists" like Cox have never been right yet.

The only question is - do we have enough space in our prison system to house all these goofballs?

Persecution Or Pursuit Of Justice?

It now appears that it was no accident that the infamous Salem witch trials occurred in Massachusetts. I wrote last night about the wrongful prosecution - and egregious and reprehensible legal abuse - of Gerald Amirault, a man who spent 18 years in a state prison for a crime that any rational person would have recognized as having never occurred.

Well, the witch trials continue. And I hear the people of Massachusetts want the accused burned at the stake. The accused?

A Catholic priest.

His crime?

Abusing children in the most horrific way. Children in his care. Many years ago.

I almost wish you would scroll down and read about the Amirault case before I touch on the case of Paul Shanley. There seems to be a pattern here. And in order for you to appreciate the travesty that history will term the "day care center child abuse hysteria of the 1980's" (instances mysteriously - miraculously? - appeared all over the country from Wenatchee, WA to Miami, FL to Los Angeles, CA) , you need to read and absorb the mindset that overwhelmed otherwise competent and sane Americans and caused them to believe the most bizarre stories relating to sexual abuse, murder, ritual sacrifice, mutilation, and on and on. Search out the Wenatchee story in particular and you'll understand how hysteria can consume the best of us. Wild charges of human sacrifice and baby torture and the disappearance of children that nobody seemed to be able to find a record of. It was odd; there were never any corpses either. Or blood. Or weapons. But dozens went to prison just the same. "Children never lie," you see.

Massachusetts has been ground-zero for priest-pedophile stories. A few have been found guilty in court proceedings and are rotting in jail. In other cases, the Catholic diocese in Boston has settled with the accusers to the tune of millions of dollars collectively. In a perverse sort of way, I hope those charged are guilty. Lest we wrongly accused and imprisoned more innocent Americans. And as the Amirault case (and the Salem witch trials) will attest, the citizens of Massachusetts seems to have a particular penchant for believing in the most fantastic charges against their fellow citizens. And of wreaking vengeance on the innocent.

And they're at it again.

Today it happens to be Paul Shanley who sits in judgement before the inquisitor. But unlike the Amirault case, this one seems to be falling apart before the trial begins.

Defrocked Roman Catholic Priest Faces Only a Single Accuser in Massachusetts
By Denise Lavoie Associated Press Writer

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. (AP) - The criminal case against a defrocked Roman Catholic priest at the center of the Boston Archdiocese sex scandal now hinges on the allegations of a single accuser.

Prosecutors formally dropped a third accuser on Tuesday, leaving just one from the original four alleged victims of Paul Shanley. The move to drop the accuser from the case was widely expected.

That leaves Shanley, 73, facing three charges of raping a child and two charges of indecent assault and battery on a child. The maximum sentence would be life in prison.
About 80 prospective jurors were questioned Tuesday for the trial that is expected to last about two weeks. Four jurors - three men and one woman - were seated before proceedings ended for the day.

Jury selection was set to resume Wednesday.

Prosecutors already had dropped two other accusers from the case, and removed the third because they have been unable to find him since a hearing in October when he had difficulty remaining composed to testify.

Shanley's lawyer, Frank Mondano, has made it clear he will argue that the lone remaining accuser made up his story of abuse to win a monetary award in a civil lawsuit.

The trial is one of a handful of criminal cases that prosecutors have been able to bring against priests accused of molesting their young parishioners decades ago.

Shanley's defense ... plans to challenge the man's claims of repressed memories. The man said he did not remember the abuse until after the clergy scandal erupted in Boston three years ago [my emphasis]. (
link)

So the people of Massachusetts have another witch to throw into the flames - perhaps. I hope - for their sakes - that if he is found guilty, he is guilty. That would be a first for them.

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Update 01/19/05 - 8:38pm: High Desert Wanderer (http://hd-wanderer.blogspot.com/) brought to my attention the fact that I had provided the name of a town in Texas rather than Wenatchee, WA when I wrote this. It was in Wenatchee that the most notorious child-molestation-case-run-amok took place in the mid 90's. Thanks to HDW for the fact-check. jf