Oh, look: EPA ordered DDT to be used to fight malaria in 1972!

October 29, 2014

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency did not start a “worldwide ban” on using DDT to fight malaria. EPA instead lifted a court imposed ban on use of the pesticide to fight disease.

At least a couple of times a week I run into someone who claims that environmentalists are evil people, led by Rachel Carson (who, they say, may be as evil as Stalin, Hitler and Mao put together), and that their hysteria-and-n0t-fact-based “worldwide ban” on DDT use led to tens of millions of people dying from malaria.

Each point of the rant is false.

air pollution control activities in the Four Corners area of the U.S., in the 1970s -- soon after the agency completed its hearings and rule making on the pesticide DDT.  EPA photo.

EPA Administrator William Rucklshaus during an airplane tour of air pollution control activities in the Four Corners area of the U.S., in the 1970s — soon after the agency completed its hearings and rule making on the pesticide DDT. EPA photo.

But lack of truth to claims doesn’t stop them from being made.

Serious students of history know better, of course.  Federal agencies, like EPA, cannot issue orders on science-based topics, without enough hard science behind the order to justify it.  That’s the rule given by courts, inscribed in law for all agencies in the Administrative Procedure Act (5 USC Chapter 5), and required of EPA specifically in the various laws delegating authority to EPA for clean air, clean water, toxics clean up, pesticides, etc.   Were an agency to issue a rule based on whim, the courts overturn it on the basis that it is “arbitrary and capricious.”  EPA’s 1972 ban on DDT use on certain crops was challenged in court, in fact — and the courts said the science behind the ban is sufficient.  None of that science has been found faulty, or the DDT manufacturers and users would have been back in court to get the EPA order overturned.

Reading the actual documents, you may discover something else, too:  Not only did the EPA order apply only to certain crop uses, not only was the order restricted to the jurisdiction of the EPA (which is to say, the U.S., and not Africa, Asia, nor any area outside U.S. jurisdiction), but the order in fact specifically overturned a previously-imposed court ruling that stopped DDT use to fight malaria.

That’s right: Bill Ruckelshaus ordered that use of DDT fight malaria is okay, in the U.S., or anywhere else in the world.

Quite the opposite of the claimed “worldwide ban on DDT to fight malaria,” it was, and is, an order to allow DDT to be used in any disease vector tussle.

How did the ranters miss that?

Here are the relevant clauses from the 1972 order, from a short order following a few pages of explanation and justification:

Administrator’s Order Regarding DDT

Order. Before the Environmental Protection Agency. In regard: Stevens Industries, Inc., et al. (Consolidated DDT Hearings). I.F.&R. Docket No. 83 et al.

In accordance with the foregoing opinion, findings and conclusions of law, use of DDT on cotton, beans (snap, lima and dry), peanuts, cabbage, cauliflower, brussel sprouts, tomatoes, fresh market corn, garlic, pimentos, in commercial greenhouses, for moth-proofing and control of bats and rodents are hereby canceled as of December 31, 1972.

Use of DDT for control of weevils on stored sweet potatoes, green peppers in the Del Marva Peninsula and cutworms on onions are canceled unless without 30 days users or registrants move to supplement the record in accordance with Part V of my opinion of today. In such event the order shall be stayed, pending the completion of the record, on terms and conditions set by the Hearing Examiner: Provided, That this stay may be dissolved if interested users or registrants do not present the required evidence in an expeditious fashion. At the conclusion of such proceedings, the issue of cancellation shall be resolved in accordance with my opinion today.

Cancellation for uses of DDT by public health officials in disease control programs and by USDA and the military for health quarantine and use in prescription drugs is lifted. [emphasis added]

In order to implement this decision no DDT shall be shipped in interstate commerce or within the District of Columbia or any American territory after December 31, 1972, unless its label bears in a prominent fashion in bold type and capital letters, in a manner satisfactory to the Pesticides Regulation Division, the following language:

  1. For use by and distribution to only U.S. Public Health Service Officials or for distribution by or on approval by the U.S. Public Health Service to other Health Service Officials for control of vector diseases;
  2. For use by and distribution to the USDA or Military for Health Quarantine Use;
  3. For use in the formulation for prescription drugs for controlling body lice;
  4. Or in drug; for use in controlling body lice – to be dispensed only by physicians. [emphasis added]

Use by or distribution to unauthorized users or use for a purpose not specified hereon or not in accordance with directions is disapproved by the Federal Government; This substance is harmful to the environment.

The Pesticides Regulation Division may require such other language as it considers appropriate.

This label may be adjusted to reflect the terms and conditions for shipment for use on green peppers in Del Marva, cutworms on onions, and weevils on sweet potatoes if a stay is in effect.

Dated: June 2, 1972

William D. Ruckelshaus

[FR Doc.72-10340 Filed 7-6-72; 8:50 am]
Federal Register, Vol. 37, No. 131 – Friday, July 7, 1972 pp. 13375-13376

Here is the entire order, in .pdf format. ddt-ruckelshaus order


Don’t fall for the star-spangled voodoo history

September 14, 2014

Star-spangled Banner and the War of 1812 - The original Star-Spangled Banner, the flag that inspired Francis Scott Key to write the song that would become our national anthem, is among the most treasured artifacts in the collections of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History in Washington, D.C.

Star-spangled Banner and the War of 1812 – The original Star-Spangled Banner, the flag that inspired Francis Scott Key to write the song that would become our national anthem, is among the most treasured artifacts in the collections of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History in Washington, D.C.

Every school kid learns the story of the “Star-Spangled Banner,” or should.

During the War of 1812, Georgetown lawyer Francis Scott Key, stood aboard a British ship in Baltimore Harbor to negotiate the release of his friend, Dr. William Beanes, who had been taken prisoner while the British stormed through Bladensburg, Maryland, after burning Washington, D.C.  Key witnessed the British shelling of Fort McHenry, the guardian of Baltimore’s harbor.  Inspired when he saw the U.S. flag still waving at dawn after a night of constant shelling, Key wrote a poem.

Key published the poem, suggested it might be put to the tune of “Anachreon in Heaven” (a tavern tune popular at the time) — and the popularity of the song grew until Congress designated it the national anthem in 1931.  In telling the story of the latest restoration of that garrison flag now housed at the Smithsonian Museum of American History, Smithsonian Magazine repeated the story in the July 2000 issue:  “Our Flag Was Still There.”

It’s a wonderful history with lots of splendid, interesting details (Dolley Madison fleeing the Executive Mansion clutching the Gilbert Stuart portrait of George Washington, the guy who had introduced Dolley to James Madison and then snubbed them after they were married; the British troops eating the White House dinner the Madisons left in their haste; the gigantic, 42 by 30 foot flag sewn by Mary Pickersgill, a Baltimore widow trying to support her family; the rag-tag Baltimore militia stopping cold “Wellington’s Invicibles;” the British massing of 50 boats and gunships; and much more).

It’s a grand and glorious history that stirs the patriotic embers of the most cynical Americans.

And it’s all true.

So it doesn’t deserve the voodoo history version, the bogus history created by some person preaching in a church (I gather from the “amens”) that is making the rounds of the internet, stripped of attribution so we can hunt down the fool who is at fault.

We got this in an e-mail yesterday; patriots save us, there must be a hundred repetitions that turn up on Google, not one correcting this horrible distortion of American history.

Horrible distortion of American history

(The full version is a mind-numbing 11 minutes plus.  Some people have put it on other sites. )

Why do I complain?

  1. It was the War of 1812, not the Revolutionary War — there were 15 states, not 13 colonies.
  2. There was no ultimatum to to Baltimore, nor to the U.S., as this fellow describes it.
  3. Key negotiated for the release of one man, Dr. Beanes.  There was no brig full of U.S. prisoners.
  4. It’s Fort McHenry, not “Henry.”  The fort was named after James McHenry, a physician who was one of the foreign-born signers of the Constitution, who had assisted Generals Washington and Lafayette during the American Revolution, and who had served as Secretary of War to Presidents Washington and Adams.
  5. Fort McHenry was a military institution, a fort defending Baltimore Harbor.  It was not a refuge for women and children.
  6. The nation would not have reverted to British rule had Fort McHenry fallen.
  7. There were 50 ships, not hundreds.  Most of them were rafts with guns on them.  Baltimore Harbor is an arm of Chesapeake Bay, more than 150 miles from the ocean; Fort McHenry is not on the ocean, but across the harbor from the Orioles’ Camden Yards ballpark.
  8. The battle started in daylight. Bombardment continued for 25 hours.
  9. Bogus quote:  George Washington never said “What sets the American Christian apart from all other people in this world is he will die on his feet before he will live on his knees.”  Tough words.  Spanish Civil War. Not George Washington.  I particularly hate it when people make up stuff to put in the mouths of great men.  Washington left his diaries and considerably more — we don’t have to make up inspiring stuff, and when we do, we get it wrong.
  10. The battle was not over the flag; the British were trying to take Baltimore, one of America’s great ports.  At this point, they rather needed to since the Baltimore militia had stunned and stopped the ground troops east of the city.  There’s enough American bravery and pluck in this part of the story to merit no exaggerations.
  11. To the best of our knowledge, the British did not specifically target the flag.
  12. There were about 25 American casualties.  Bodies of the dead were not used to hold up the flag pole — a 42 by 30 foot flag has to be on a well-anchored pole, not held up by a few dead bodies stacked around it.

You can probably find even more inaccuracies (please note them in comments if you do).

The entire enterprise is voodoo history.  The name of Francis Scott Key is right; the flag is right; almost everything else is wrong.

Please help:  Can you find who wrote this piece of crap?  Can you learn who the narrator is, and where it was recorded?

I keep finding troubling notes with this on the internet: ‘My school kids are going to see this to get the real story.’  ‘Why are the libs suppressing the truth?’  ‘I didn’t know this true story before, and now I wonder why my teachers wouldn’t tell it.’

It’s voodoo history, folks.  It’s a hoax.  The real story is much better.

If Peter Marshall and David Barton gave a gosh darn about American history, they would muster their mighty “ministries” to correct the inaccuracies in this piece.  But they are silent.

Clearly, it’s not the glorious history of this nation they love.


This is an encore post.

Yes, this is an encore post. Defeating ignorance takes patience and perseverance.




Yes, malaria is still a plague; it’s not Rachel Carson’s fault, and your saying so probably kills kids

May 30, 2014

May 27’s Google Doodle honoring Rachel Carson brought out a lot of those people who have been duped by the anti-Rachel Carson hoaxers, people who are just sure their own biased views of science and the politics of medical care in the third world are right, and Carson, and the people who study those issues, are not.

So comes “The Federalist,” what appears to me to be a reactionary site, which yesterday got great readership for a story from Bethany Mandel.  Mandel tells a story of a child in Cambodia suffering from malaria.  The suffering is horrible and the child most likely died.  It’s a tragic story of poverty and lack of medical care in the third world.

Erroneously, Mandel up front blames the suffering all on Rachel Carson, in a carp about the Google Doodle.

Here was my quick response between bouts in the dentist’s chair yesterday [links added here]:

[Bethany Mandel wrote:] Using faulty science, Carson’s book argued that DDT could be deadly for birds and, thus, should be banned. Incredibly and tragically, her recommendations were taken at face value and soon the cheap and effective chemical was discontinued, not only in the United States but also abroad. Environmentalists were able to pressure USAID, foreign governments, and companies into using less effective means for their anti-malaria efforts. And so the world saw a rise in malaria deaths.

Don’t be evil?

Start by not telling false tales.

1.  Carson presented a plethora of evidence that DDT kills birds.  This science was solid, and still is.

2.  Carson did not argue DDT should be banned.  She said it was necessary to fight disease, and consequently uses in the wild, requiring broadcast spraying, should be halted immediately.

3.  Scientific evidence against DDT mounted up quickly; under US law, two federal courts determined DDT was illegal under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act; they stayed orders to ban the chemical pending hearings under a new procedure at the new Environmental Protection Agency.

EPA held hearings, adversary proceedings, for nine months. More than 30 DDT manufacturers were party to the hearings, presenting evidence totaling nearly 10,000 pages.  EPA’s administrative law judge ruled that, though DDT was deadly to insects, arachnids, fish, amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals, the labeled uses proposed in a new label (substituted at the last moment) were legal under FIFRA — indoor use only, and only where public health was concerned.  This labeling would allow DDT to remain on sale, over the counter, with few penalties for anyone who did not follow the label.  EPA took the label requirements, and issued them as a regulation, which would prevent sales for any off-label uses.  Understanding that this would be a severe blow to U.S. DDT makers, EPA ordered U.S. manufacture could continue, for the export markets — fighting mosquitoes and malaria being the largest export use.

This ruling was appealed to federal courts twice; in both cases the courts ruled EPA had ample scientific evidence for its rule.  Under U.S. law, federal agencies may not set rules without supporting evidence.

4.  DDT was banned ONLY for agriculture use in the U.S.  It was banned in a few European nations.  [Addition, December 30, 2014: In fact, the U.S. action against DDT by EPA specifically called for DDT use in any fight against a vector borne disease, like malaria.]

5.  DDT has never been banned in Africa or Asia.

6.  USAID’s policy encouraged other nations to use U.S.-made DDT, consistent with federal policy to allow manufacture for export, for the benefit of U.S. business.

7.  U.S. exports flooded markets with DDT, generally decreasing the price.

Fred Soper, super malaria fighter, whose ambitious campaign to erase malaria from the Earth had to be halted in 1965, before completion, when DDT abuse bred mosquitoes resistant and immune to DDT.

Fred Soper, super malaria fighter, whose ambitious campaign to erase malaria from the Earth had to be halted in 1965, before completion, when DDT abuse bred mosquitoes resistant and immune to DDT.

8.  Although WHO had been forced to end its malaria eradication operation in 1965, because DDT abuse had bred mosquitoes resistant to and immune to DDT, and though national and international campaigns against malaria largely languished without adequate government funding, malaria incidence and malaria deaths declined.  Especially after 1972, malaria continued a year-over-year decline with few exceptions.

Note that the WHO campaign ended in 1965 (officially abandoned by WHO officials in 1969), years before the U.S. ban on DDT.

Every statement about DDT in that paragraph of [Mandel’s] article, is wrong.

Most important, to the purpose of this essay, malaria did not increase.  Malaria infections decreased, and malaria deaths decreased.

I’m sure there are other parts of the story that are not false in every particular.  But this article tries to make a case against science, against environmental care — and the premise of the case is exactly wrong.  A good conclusion is unlikely to follow.

Mandel was hammered by the full force of the anti-Rachel Carson hoaxers.  I wonder how many children will die because people thought, “Hey, all we have to do is kill Rachel Carson to fix malaria,” and so went off searching for a gun and a bullet?

You are not among them, are you?

Update: This guy, a worshipper of the Breitbart, seems to be among those who’d rather rail against a good scientist than lift a finger to save a kid from malaria. If you go there, Dear Reader, be alert that he uses the Joe Stalin method of comment moderation:  Whatever you say, he won’t allow it to be posted.  Feel free to leave comments here, where we practice First Amendment-style ethics on discussion.

Power Line, on NASA and Islam: When you start believing your own fictions, you’re in trouble

July 8, 2010

Astronaut Charles Bolden, veteran of four space missions. President Barack Obama appointed Bolden to be NASA Administrator. NASA image.

Astronaut Charles Bolden, veteran of four space missions. President Barack Obama appointed Bolden to be NASA Administrator. NASA image.

Let go of the power line, step back, and no one else will get hurt.

Paul Mirengoff at the much-read, and as we shall see, too-much-trusted PowerLine, asks a heckuva a question:

As Scott points out in the post immediately below, the news that President Obama tasked NASA head Bolden, as perhaps his foremost mission, with raising Muslim self-esteem is entirely absent from the New York Times and the Washington Post, as well as the nightly newscasts of ABC, NBC, and CBS. Why?

It might be, as Mirengoff goes on to speculate wildly and without reason, because the news agencies are taking payoffs from Obama, or just so enthralled with him that they can’t bring themselves to report bad news.

Think about that for a moment:  News agencies unwilling to report bad news?  Is your Hemingway Sh__ Detector working yet?  Mine’s clanging something fierce.

Does Mirengoff seriously think the Poobahs at Disney sit around issuing orders that ABC news gatherers ignore bad news about Obama?  Has Mirengoff been in some sort of plastic bubble, deprived of newspapers and television for the past four years?

Why the silent treatment?  Because it’s very much a not-much-news story, Paul.  It doesn’t say what you think it says, or worse, what you know it doesn’t say, but claim it does for whatever trouble you can stir up.

Charles Bolden, NASA’s administrator, explained for a news channel that broadcasts to the Middle East, what his job is with regard to the Arabic and Islamic populations (this is the version reported by York):

“When I became the NASA administrator, [Obama] charged me with three things,” NASA head Charles Bolden said in a recent interview with the Middle Eastern news network al-Jazeera. “One, he wanted me to help re-inspire children to want to get into science and math; he wanted me to expand our international relationships; and third, and perhaps foremost, he wanted me to find a way to reach out to the Muslim world and engage much more with dominantly Muslim nations to help them feel good about their historic contribution to science, math, and engineering.”

Good reporters would look at the interview, and realize the PowerLine guys got the story dead wrong.  Not bothering to speculate on why part-time yahoos misreported the story, they’d go on to real news.

Note carefully what Bolden said, and then note carefully what he did not say.  Bolden didn’t say the mission of NASA had changed.  Bolden didn’t say Obama told him to ignore the mission of NASA.  Bolden said NASA, arguably our nation’s most famous and vanguard science agency, has a top duty to inspire children to do well in science in math, to cooperate with other nations in exploring space as we have done since at least the Reagan administration, and, for audiences in Arabic nations, to help them understand Arabic contributions to science.

“Let go of the power line, step back, and no one else will get hurt.” Downed powerline in New Jersey, in summer 2011. Photo by Saed Hindash, The Star-Ledger

Bolden did not say, as Hot Air misreported, “NASA’s spaced-out mission no longer includes  . . . space.”  Hot Air isn’t reporting.  This is a time-tested propaganda technique they engage in:  MSU, “making [stuff] up.”

Which of those goals does Power Line disagree with?  Each of them is a noble enterprise on its own.

But, pausing for just a moment to make liars out of Power Line and the Examiner, and others, ABC News got it right. How soon do you think Mirengoff or Scott Johnson at Power Line will update their story to note ABC reported it?  How much longer before others do?

Media Matters, who tend to be more careful and much, much more accurate, tells most of the story in the headline of their story:  “Yet again, an Obama official says ‘Muslim,’ right-wing media freakout follows.”

If ABC can get it right, why not these other guys?

Yellow journalism was bad enough the first time around.  PowerLine, could you at least take the time to get the story right?  If you don’t have a Hemingway to help you out, you can always use the old Cheech and Chong Excrement Detection Method.  I don’t recommend it, but it tends to make reporters more careful if they ever use it once.

You gotta wonder why these people spread easily-falsified, malignant rumors.  Who are they working for?  It’s pretty clear they don’t have much respect for their readers.

This is a hoax, people.  NASA has not changed its mission.  The president cannot change NASA’s mission since that is dictated by law (it requires an “act of Congress,” literally).  NASA’s chief did not say that stupid thing others claim — he’s not stupid. Don’t pretend it’s news, don’t pretend it’s a problem when the head of NASA says he’s trying to promote interest in science, math and history, and international cooperation.  That’s his job.

No one was assigned the job to get the story wrong.  I wish people would quit working so hard at it.

What is Obama’s policy on NASA?  Here’s the 2011 Budget Message.

Here’s the full Al Jazeera interview these guys misreported:

Here’s the Wall of Shame of blogs, reporters and news outlets who screwed up the reporting, in addition to Powerline, twice.

Also see this:  Obama:  A bold new course for NASA



Spanish warming skeptic claims a bomb in the mail; so-called skeptics caught unskeptical

June 25, 2010

This is a story of a hoax.  It may not be an intentional hoax — some of the alleged victims here are victims of their own gullibility —  but it’s a hoax all the same.  In large part, this is how lynch mobs form and operate:

News reports come out of Spain that a guy said he got a bomb in the mail.  No corroboration from the cops, no corroboration from anyone else.  Moreover, the guy who got the bomb accuses his rivals in his work with sending it to him.

Smell a rat?  It’s a bit of a preposterous story on its face — astounding if true, but who could be so stupid as to send a bomb to a rival with a return address, and then admit it?

Climate change so-called skeptics don’t smell a rat.  They’ve blown by the “wonder what the facts are” phase into the “let’s string the culprit up” phrase.

Let them tell the story:

Long time denier that warming occurs or is caused by humans Christopher Horner at Pajamas Media:

Spain’s Dr. Gabriel Calzada — the author of a damning study concluding that Spain’s “green jobs” energy program has been a catastrophic economic failure — was mailed a dismantled bomb on Tuesday by solar energy company Thermotechnic.

Says Calzada:

Before opening it, I called [Thermotechnic] to know what was inside … they answered, it was their answer to my energy pieces.

Dr. Calzada contacted a terrorism expert to handle the package. The expert first performed a scan of the package, then opened it in front of a journalist, Dr. Calzada, and a private security expert.

The terrorism consultant said he had seen this before:

This time you receive unconnected pieces. Next time it can explode in your hands.

Ignore that noise in the background that sounds like a vuvuzela amplified — that’s my Hemingway solid-gold shit detector going off. Or, if you’re a normal human, it may be yours. I’m resetting mine — just a minute.

There. Now let’s think about this: A guy gets a package in the mail. First thing he does is call the sender to see what it is. They tell him it’s a report. So, then he calls his terrorism expert buddy who happens to be close by, and that guy tells him it’s really a dismantled bomb.

How many scientists do you know who do that?

Just a minute, gotta reset the Hemingway again.

So, this is reported not by the major news agencies, but by partisans in the debate — in this case, people who claim that green jobs can’t work, that alternative energy programs are worthless (but please don’t notice the requirement to sacrifice Louisiana to the Blob oil spills). And in the reporting, the culprit admits his felonious actions.

You know, this is not a scenario you could sell to the producers of “Transformers.”

I read it at Watts’s blog first. Over there, they mention the story was published in a Spanish publication, so we’ll have a source to consult. But look at how it’s reported.  Any journalistic “wonder what the other side says?”  Any common sense “wonder if it’s accurate?”

The headline:

Green Energy Company Threatens Economics Professor … with Package of Dismantled Bomb Parts

The story — quoted from Horner (and posted by Charles the Moderator):

The author of a damning study about the failure of Spain’s “green jobs” program — a story broken here at PJM — received the threatening package on Tuesday from solar energy company Thermotechnic.

From Pajamas Media

June 24, 2010 – by Christopher Horner

Spain’s Dr. Gabriel Calzada — the author of a damning study concluding that Spain’s “green jobs” energy program has been a catastrophic economic failure — was mailed a dismantled bomb on Tuesday by solar energy company Thermotechnic.

Says Calzada:

Before opening it, I called [Thermotechnic] to know what was inside … they answered, it was their answer to my energy pieces.

Dr. Calzada contacted a terrorism expert to handle the package. The expert first performed a scan of the package, then opened it in front of a journalist, Dr. Calzada, and a private security expert.

The terrorism consultant said he had seen this before:

This time you receive unconnected pieces. Next time it can explode in your hands.

Dr. Calzada added:

[The terrorism expert] told me that this was a warning.

The bomb threat is just the latest intimidation Dr. Calzada has faced since releasing his report and following up with articles in Expansion (a Spanish paper similar to the Financial Times). A minister from Spain’s Socialist government called the rector of King Juan Carlos University — Dr. Calzada’s employer — seeking Calzada’s ouster. Calzada was not fired, but he was stripped of half of his classes at the university. The school then dropped its accreditation of a summer university program with which Calzada’s think tank — Instituto Juan de Mariana — was associated.

Additionally, the head of Spain’s renewable energy association and the head of its communist trade union wrote opinion pieces in top Spanish newspapers accusing Calzada of being “unpatriotic” — they did not charge him with being incorrect, but of undermining Spain by daring to write the report.

Their reasoning? If the skepticism that Calzada’s revelations prompted were to prevail in the U.S., Spanish industry would face collapse should U.S. subsidies and mandates dry up.

As I have previously reported at PJM (here and here), Spain’s “green jobs” program was repeatedly referenced by President Obama as a model for what he would like to implement in the United States. Following the release of Calzada’s report, Spain’s Socialist government has since acknowledged the debacle — both privately and publicly. This month, Spain’s government instituted massive reductions in subsidies to “renewable” energy sources.

Read the rest of the story here:

On the basis of that report, a skeptic should be saying, “that’s almost unbelievable — where are more facts?” A mob would take it at face value.

How do the readers of WUWT respond?

Comment 1:

The judge who stopped the moratorium has received threats. Zerohedge has an article about Soros.

Comment 2 (from a reader handled “The Monster”):

There is really no other way to look at the situation. The AGW industry has become an organized crime syndicate.

Calzada messed with the Family, and if he keeps it up, he gets to swim wit’ da fishes. Capice?

Comment 3:

And then they wonder why scientist not swallowing the AGW scam are not coming out in the light… those are still dangerous times to speak out, it seams.

Comment 4 — just a minute, I have to reset the Hemingway again — okay:

Blacklists,bombthreats,these are acts of terror and not a peep from MSM !!

You get the idea.  You have to get to comments 10, 11 and 12 before we find anyone with a functioning Hemingway:

Comment 10:

I can’t imagine why the company would put their return address on this present. Seems pretty stupid to me.

Comment 11:

Does nobody see something odd about the claim that a regular commercial firm is sending out simulated bombs in packages under its own name?

This article (on the opinion page, for which Dr Calzada writes) mentions a simulated bomb in the imaginative headline. But the text says it was a fuel (gasoil) filter with a cable. The firm Termotechnics had intended to send a different item.

No mention of police, only Dr Calzada’s own “bomb expert”.

Comment 12:

Missing something. Why were the police not called? Why were anti-terrorist officials not involved? Spain’s no stranger to domestic terrorism, so I don’t understand why this was handled “privately” and wasn’t handled through “official” channels. Maybe there’s a good and rational explanation, and if anyone has one I’d be grateful to understand it.

At this point, we don’t know much; what we have is at best third hand, translated from Spanish.  A skeptic should be wondering, “what’s going on here.”  Those who most patently wear the self-moniker “skeptic” don’t appear, to me, to be very skeptical.

Horner’s article mentions the Spanish newspaper Expansion, which, he says (and I know no better), is a publication much like Financial Times.

(Why is this article published in the opinion pages, if it’s news?  Drat!  There goes the Hemingway again.)

Let’s go see what it says, shall we?

Here’s the article from Expansion, translated with Google’s translator (interesting — Spanish followed by English translation, sentence by sentence):

Gabriel Calzada, EXPANSION regular contributor, was a simulated bomb sent by a photovoltaic company and sought to intimidate their critical articles about solar energy.El miércoles 16 de junio se recibió un paquete en el Instituto Juan de Mariana dirigido a su presidente, Gabriel Calzada. On Wednesday June 16 received a package in the Instituto Juan de Mariana addressed to its president, Gabriel Calzada. Nada le hacía pensar al destinatario que podía tratarse de una amenaza con forma de artefacto casero desmontado. Nothing made him think the recipient might be a threat in the form of explosive device dismantled. Pero como el envío no era esperado desde el think tank decidieron contactar con el remitente por vía telefónica. But as the shipment was not expected from the think tank decided to contact the sender by telephone. Al otro lado del hilo, señala Gabriel Calzada, una empleada de la empresa supo inmediatamente de qué paquete se trataba y contestó sin dudar un segundo que esa “es nuestra respuesta a los artículos sobre energía de Sr. Calzada en Expansión”. At the other end, said Gabriel Calzada, an employee of the company immediately known which package and said it was without doubt a second that this “is our response to the articles on Mr. Calzada energy expansion.”

La forma cuadrada del paquete no hacía pensar de que pudiera tratarse de un documento por lo que Gabriel Calzada, tras consultarlo con el abogado del Instituto, decidió pasarlo por un escáner antes de abrirlo. The square shape of the package did not think it could be a document that Gabriel Calzada, in consultation with counsel for the Institute, decided to pass it through a scanner before opening. El paquete estuvo cerrado hasta que el martes 22, día en que Calzada aprovechó su colaboración semanal como contertulio en el programa de César Vidal ‘Es la Noche de César’, de EsRadio, para pedirle a la empresa de seguridad si podían escanear el paquete. The package was closed until Tuesday 22, the day he used his weekly collaboration Calzada contertulio in the program as Cesar Vidal ‘Caesar’s Night’ by EsRadio, to ask the security company if they could scan the package.

El agente de seguridad privada recomendó no abrirlo tras comprobar que se trataba de dos objetos metálicos difíciles de interpretar. The private security officer advised not to open it after checking that there were two metal objects are difficult to interpret. Pidió ayuda a una persona con más experiencia quien tras un breve visionado de la pantalla del escáner creyó saber de qué se trataba y procedió a abrirlo con cuidado ante la atenta mirada del guarda de seguridad, Lorenzo Ramírez (antiguo redactor de Expansión) y el propio Gabriel Calzada. He hired a more experienced person who, after a brief viewing of the screen of the scanner thought he knew what it was and proceeded to open it carefully under the watchful eye of security guard, Lorenzo Ramirez (former editor of Expansion) and the actual Gabriel Calzada. De la caja salieron un filtro de gasoil y una pieza con rosca que podía adaptarse al filtro. In the box came a diesel filter thread and a piece that could be adapted to the filter.

“Los cuatro nos miramos y pensamos lo mismo”, comenta Gabriel Calzada, “se trataba de una amenaza que podía resumirse en que si seguía dando mi opinión sobre cuestiones energéticas en los medios, la próxima vez podía esperar que las piezas estuvieran ensambladas y me estallaran”. “The four of us and we look the same,” says Gabriel Calzada, “was a threat was summed up that if I kept giving my views on energy issues in media, the next time could be expected that the pieces were assembled and me exploded. ”

El experto en seguridad confirmó lo que pensaban y les contó que no era la primera vez que veía algo así. The security expert confirmed what he thought and told them that was not the first time I saw something like that. Durante algunos años trabajó en el País Vasco dando protección personal a distintas personas y ya había asistido a este tipo de amenazas. For some years he worked in the Basque country giving personal protection to different people and I had attended this type of threat. “Ten cuidado Gabriel, esta vez lo mandan como aviso, la próxima vez te puedes encontrar con un paquete que estalle al abrirlo”. “Beware Gabriel, this time he is sent as a warning, next time you can find a package that explodes when opened.”

Gabriel Calzada dirigió una investigación sobre el coste del experimento renovable español a comienzos del año pasado. Gabriel Calzada conducted an investigation on the cost of renewable experiment Spanish at the beginning of last year. Calzada y su equipo concluyeron que en España nos encontrábamos ante una burbuja de energías renovables que estaba a punto de estallar, que los famosos empleos verdes que según el presidente Obama y el presidente Zapatero nos iban a sacar de la crisis, habían costado de media 570.000 euros y que en realidad por cada empleo verde creado había destruido 2,2 empleos en el resto de la economía. Calzada and his team concluded that in Spain we were dealing with a renewable energy bubble was burst, that the famous green jobs that according to President Obama and President Zapatero were going to get out of the crisis had cost on average 570 000 euros and in fact for every green job created had destroyed 2.2 jobs in the rest of the economy. Las conclusiones del estudio corrieron como la pólvora en EE.UU. The study’s conclusions ran like wildfire in the U.S. donde Calzada participó en algunos de los mayores programas de televisión de cadenas como CNN, FoxNews o Univisión después de que The Economist y Wall Street Journal dedicaran elogiosos editoriales al estudio. Calzada where he participated in some of the major television programs such as CNN, FoxNews or Univision after the Economist and the Wall Street Journal editorial praise devoted to the study.

A finales de mayo de 2009 Miguel Sebastián decidió ponerse al frente de un grupo de trabajo para dar respuesta, siempre indirecta, al estudio de Gabriel Calzada y su equipo ( ver expansión de 30 de mayo de 2009 ) In late May, 2009 Miguel Sebastian decided to take charge of a working group to respond, if indirectly, to the study of Gabriel Calzada and his team ( see expansion of May 30, 2009 )

En diversos medios comenzaron a aparecer falsas noticias que trataban de desprestigiar el estudio afirmando que había sido pagado por Exxon Mobil u otras multinacionales petroleras. In various media began to appear false information trying to discredit the study stating that he had been paid by Exxon Mobil and other oil multinationals. Dos meses después, el Diario Público dedicó un amplio reportaje al éxito del estudio en el que acusaba sin pruebas a Calzada de recibir fondos públicos en el Instituto Juan de Mariana (el Instituto es una de las pocas instituciones que tratan de avivar el debate político sin aceptar dinero público ni de partidos políticos), ser cercano a la Fundación FAES así como a su presidente José María Aznar y tratar de perjudicar a España y su industria. Two months later, the newspaper published an extensive article devoted to the success of the study in which he accused without proof Calzada receiving public funds at the Instituto Juan de Mariana (The Institute is one of the few institutions seeking to revive the political debate without accept public funds or political parties), being close to the FAES Foundation and its president José María Aznar and try to hurt Spain and its industry.

Sin embargo, la campaña de desprestigio, replicada en EEUU por la Fundación de George Soros, no fue tomada muy en serio y el congreso de los EEUU llamó a testificar a Gabriel Calzada seguido poco después por el Senado de ese mismo país que le solicitó la presentación de informes sobre las consecuencias económicas del modelo español de ayuda pública a las energías renovables. However, the campaign to discredit replicated in the U.S. by George Soros Foundation, was not taken very seriously and the U.S. Congress called to testify Gabriel Calzada followed shortly by the Senate in the same country that requested the reporting on the economic consequences of the Spanish model of public support for renewable energy.
Público. Public.

Desde entonces el gobierno español ha boicoteado en dos ocasiones la participación de Gabriel Calzada en foros internacionales. Since then the Spanish government has twice boycotted participation in international forums Gabriel Calzada. La primera ocasión fue el veto del gobierno a su participación en una cumbre hispano-estadounidense convocado por el Congreso estadounidense. The first occasion was the government veto their participation in a Hispanic-American summit convened by the U.S. Congress. Calzada recibió una carta pidiendo disculpas por el incidente por parte de la parte estadounidense. Calzada received a letter apologizing for the incident by the U.S. side. El segundo boicot tuvo lugar a comienzos de 2010 cuando Gabriel Calzada iba a debatir junto a un miembro del gobierno español, un representante de CC.OO. The second boycott took place in early 2010 when Gabriel Calzada would be discussed with a member of the Spanish government, a representative of CC.OO. y uno del la federación europea de sindicatos en un conferencia internacional celebrada en Roma y patrocinada por la Comisión Europea. and one of the European federation of unions in an international conference in Rome sponsored by the European Commission.

Los demás participantes comunicaron a la organización que dejarían de participar si no retiraban al Profesor Gabriel Calzada del programa. Other participants reported that the organization would cease to participate unless they withdrew to Professor Gabriel Calzada of the program. Sin embargo en esta ocasión la organización se negó a aceptar el chantaje y mantuvo a Calzada, motivo por el que a última hora cancelaron su participación los representantes del gobierno, CC.OO. But this time the organization refused to accept the blackmail and kept Calzada, why at the last minute canceled his participation of government representatives, CC.OO. y el sindicato europeo. and the European Union.

Tras más de un año de presión política sobre los autores del estudio, en abril de este año el Ministerio de Industria produjo un documento en el que reproducía y actualizaba varios de los argumentos expuestos en el estudio de Calzada y su equipo. After more than a year of political pressure on the authors of the study, in April this year the Ministry of Industry produced a paper which reproduced and updated several of the arguments in the study of Calzada and his team. El paquete amenazante llega justo cuando el Ministerio de Industria que dirige Miguel Sebastián trata de renegociar las subvenciones a las energías renovables. The threatening package comes as the Ministry of Industry Miguel Sebastián is directed to renegotiate subsidies for renewable energy. A pesar del intento de intimidación, Gabriel Calzada escribe de nuevo hoy en Expansión sobre las tarifas eléctricas. Despite the attempt at intimidation, Gabriel Calzada writes again today Expanding on electricity tariffs.

Okay, I’m turning the Hemingway off.  I can’t stand the constant noise.  But I’m not abandoning all skepticism.

Surely there is more to the story, no?

The story was repeated in Libertad Digital.  That publication had the good sense to do what every reporter ought to do — they called the firm alleged to have sent the alleged bomb. So there’s a second story.  There’s another half to the story.  The whole truth is more than has been reported by too many self-proclaimed skeptics.

Again using Google’s software translator, I found:

The company says solar has never wanted threaten Calzada

Thermotechnic, the solar company under whose forwards received a package  highly suspect Gabriel Calzada, completely denies any connection with this shipment. Pedro Gil, el propietario, lo achaca a un error de mensajería y asegura que siente el mal rato que ha pasado Calzada.  Gil Pedro, the owner, blames the error message and says he feels bad time that has passed Calzada.

DIGITAL FREEDOM Libertad Digital se ha puesto al habla con Pedro Gil, presidente de Termotechnic, que ha negado cualquier tipo de relación con el envío recibido por Gabriel Calzada, el presidente del Instituto Juan de Mariana. Digital Freedom has been able to talk to Pedro Gil, president of Termotechnic, who has denied any connection with the shipment received by Gabriel Calzada, President of the Instituto Juan de Mariana. Según sus propias palabras, “esto ha tenido que ser un error”. In his own words, “this has to be a mistake.”

El empresario navarro ha asegurado que lo único que se había enviado a Calzada era un informe sobre las energías renovables. The employer has secured Navarre only thing that had been sent to Calzada was a report on renewable energy. El problema es que lo que recibió el articulista de Libertad Digital fue un paquete lleno de piezas sueltas sin ningún tipo de nota explicativa. The problem is that what was the writer of Liberty Digital was a package of spare parts without any explanatory note. Cuando llamó a la empresa para preguntar qué había pasado le respondieron que eso era “una respuesta a su informe sobre las renovables”. When she called the company and ask what had happened he replied that it was “a response to its report on renewables.”

En ese momento, Calzada interpretó el hecho como una amenaza, algo que Gil niega. At that time, Calzada interpreted the incident as a threat, something that Gil dispute. De esta manera, hay dos versiones para lo sucedido: o bien hubo un simple error por parte de la empresa de mensajería o bien un cambio realizado por alguien que quisiera gastarle una mala pasada a Calzada a costa de esta empresa. Thus there are two versions of what happened: either there was a simple mistake by the courier company or a change made by someone who wanted to spend a dirty trick on Calzada at the expense of this company.

En este sentido, el presidente del Instituto Juan de Mariana ha confirmado que ha hablado con Pedro Gil y que éste le ha dado su palabra de que no hay ninguna responsabilidad por parte de la empresa. In this sense, the president of the Instituto Juan de Mariana has confirmed he has talked with Pedro Gil and it has given his word that there is no liability on the part of the company. Gil le ha transmitido a Calzada su preocupación por las molestias que le haya podido ocasionar, puesto que comprende el desconcierto que tuvo el receptor del envío cuando vio cuál era su contenido. Gil Calzada has been forwarded to concerned about the inconvenience we may have caused, because he understands the confusion that the receiver of the shipment when he saw what was its content.

Gil ha reiterado a Libertad Digital que es “un empresario honrando de 59 años” y que nunca haría algo así. Gil has repeatedly told ABC News it was “a businessman honored for 59 years” and would never do something like that. También ha pedido que quede claro que no hay relación entre lo recibido por Calzada y lo que él quería enviarle. It has also asked to make clear that there is no relationship between Calzada and received what he wanted to send.

Mixup at the courier company? Hoax?

In any case, the story that a think tank would be sending bombs to people in Spain makes little sense.  Spain is a nation long wracked by terrorists both foreign and domestic.  Bomb-senders go to jail in Spain.

Do you remember just a couple of weeks ago that several of these same self-proclaimed were taken in by a claim that fourth grade science project in Beeville, Texas, had disproven the hypothesis of global warming?

Do any of those guys know what Santayana said?

The story indicates that Gabriel Calzada got a package that was not the report the sender, Thermotechnic, intended to send.

From there, it’s a leap to imagine that Thermotechnic intended to send a bomb of any sort; there is no evidence apparent from anyone, anywhere, that such an event occurred.

Gullibles assumed the most fantastic, however.

The fantastic story has been denied by Thermotechnic.  Why aren’t the “warming skeptics” reporting the denial?  If a half-truth is a whole lie, these people have a lot of explaining to do, and apologies to render.  Forrest Gump might advise that a skeptic is as a skeptic does.

Commenters on Horner’s article at Pajamas Media and WUWT wonder why more major news outlets are not covering this story.  One reason appears to be that no police report was filed — a police report on a bomb sent to an academic would be news.  Can you think of other reasons it hasn’t gotten coverage?

Remember the famous Sherlock Holmes example of the dog that didn’t bark in the night.  Here we have skeptics who aren’t skeptical.  Hoax.

Wall of Shame:  Outlets that reported only half the story, and not the denial

In addition to Watts Up and Horner at Pajamas Media, it’s a too-long list of people who should know better:

Prize quote: “Yes. AB’s blog is packed with skeptics. The sort that are born every minute. The only exception seems to have been poster “george”, who bothered to google it.”

Honor roll:

Warn others of the hoax:

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A cocktail with gin and DDT? Slim chance

June 10, 2010

World War II soldier gets DDT to kill lice - CDC photo, Wikimedia

He'll need a drink after this. World War II soldier gets a dose of DDT, without gin. CDC photo via Wikimedia

MicroKahn worked to track down the facts:  Was there really a cocktail called a Mickey Slim that consisted of gin and DDT?

Non-gin drinkers will think that’s likely, but gin drinkers would quickly recognize that such a drink would be wasteful of good gin.

And it will give cancer to your children and grandchildren, and thin your eggshells.

It’s probably a bar room legend:  The Myth of the Mickey Slim.

Beeville fourth grader disproves global warming?

June 7, 2010

John Mashey alerted me to this news story from the online Beeville Bee-Picayune via mySouTex.com:

R.A. Hall fourth-grader is science national champion

R. A. Hall fourth grader Julisa Castillo, national science fair winner?

Caption from mySouTex: R.A. Hall fourth-grader Julisa Castillo (center) is the 2010 national junior division champion for the National Science Fair. Her project, “Disproving Global Warming,” beat more than 50,000 other projects from students all over the nation. She is pictured with her father, J.R. Castillo (left), and R.A. Hall Principal Martina Villarreal. Read more: mySouTex.com - R A Hall fourth grader is science national champion

R.A. Hall Elementary School fourth-grader Julisa Castillo has been named junior division champion for the 2010 National Science Fair.

Her project, “Disproving Global Warming,” beat more than 50,000 other projects submitted by students from all over the U.S.

Julisa originally entered her project in her school science fair before sending it to the National Science Foundation (NSF) to be judged at the national level.

The NSF panel of judges included former U.S. Vice President Al Gore, 14 recipients of the President’s National Medal of Science, and four former astronauts.

“Before she sent it off, she just had to add more details, citations for her research, and the amount of hours she spent working on it,” said Julisa’s father, J.R. Castillo.

In addition to a plaque, trophy and medal, Julisa has won an all-expenses-paid trip to Space Camp at the U.S. Space & Rocket Center in Huntsville, Ala., which she plans to attend this summer.
Read more: mySouTex.com – R A Hall fourth grader is science national champion

The blog of the North County Times (California) has doubts.  There are signs of hoax.  While the Beeville Independent School District does have an R. A. Hall elementary, the list of winners of last December’s science fair does not include Ms. Castillo.  To go from not placing at the local school to winning the national would be quite a feat!

I suspect an error somewhere, perhaps in the title of the project, or in the understanding of what the title implies.

Most of the obvious hoax signs check out against a hoax:  Beeville exists (improbably Texan as the name may be), R. A. Hall is an elementary school in Beeville ISD.  The principal of R. A. Hall is Martina Villareal.  Beeville has a guy named J. R. Castillo (listed as Julisa’s father in the photo caption), and his photos at the site promoting his music shows photos of a guy who looks a lot like the guy in the photo here.  Most hoaxers wouldn’t go so far for accuracy on details.

Fun little mystery.  I have made inquiries with the newspaper, and hope to follow up with the school.  Stay tuned.  There may be a great little science project somewhere in here.


See update here: Quick summary, big title, project not quite filling those shoes. I’ve made inquiries at the paper and school district without answers; there’s more to the story, but not much.  A good project with a misleading title, for those who would be misled by a 4th grade science fair project.

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