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Author: Leslie Eastman

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Leslie Eastman

I am an Environmental Health and Safety Professional, as well as a science/technical writer for a variety of news and professional publications. I have been a citizen activist since 2009, and am one of the co-founders of the San Diego-based group, Southern California Tax Revolt Coalition.

"Global warming" has long been bandied about as "settled science." However, in what can reasonably be termed as a "science-based crime", scientists have been caught adjusting their raw temperature data to enhance the supposed global warming effect. This fakery is really too bad for Professor Jacobson, who is spending the day shoveling the snow from Winter Storm Neptune.
The storm's predicted barometric pressure, a measure of the storm's intensity, "is typically observed with a Category 2 hurricane," the National Weather Service in Boston said. The heaviest snow will stretch from northeastern Massachusetts to coastal Maine with more than a foot expected, AccuWeather predicts. Wind gusts could approach 70 mph in some spots — strong enough to cause structural damage and widespread power outages, the weather service said.
You know a storm is going to be bad when it is given a name, and the state's governor makes a statement about it before the first flake strikes the ground.
“New Yorkers should take every appropriate precaution as subzero temperatures and blizzard-like conditions hit the state this weekend,” Cuomo said in statement. According to the National Weather Service, [Gov. Andrew] Cuomo said some areas of the state may experience some of the “coldest temperatures in generations.” Cuomo claimed that temperatures at LaGuardia Airport may drop to their lowest since 1943 and Central Park may experience its lowest temperature since 1888.
Back in California, I'll be strolling along the beach enjoying sunny weather. However, my state is also facing its own generational climate crisis -- a drought that is the worst in US history, and severe enough to earn the term "megadrought".

A big problem with bureaucrats and politicians is that so many possess degrees in law and social science; therefore, whenever the results of a "scientific study" sound like a platform to generate to rules, they go all in without properly analyzing the data. Our current news cycle is filled with the unintended consequences of these edicts, but today I want to focus on one of the popular mandates. America's War on Cholesterol. About 40 years ago, a group of researchers concluded that cholesterol in the diet increased the risk of heart disease.  Within a relatively short period of time, eggs (an important component of American diets) were defamed.  Subsequently, sales dropped substantially -- hurting thousands of poultry farmers. Then, a few years back, another study asserted the existence of "good cholesterol".

Add Wisconsin to the ever expanding list of states impacted by the measles outbreak. The state's public health officials indicate that two patients are now isolated and being tested for the disease. Last week, there were 14 states with 102 infected citizens and public health officials were warning that the outbreak of this formerly eradicated disease was going to spread.  It looks like that prediction is true. I suspect other states will be joining Wisconsin shortly. Meanwhile, the crisis continues apace in California, as news comes of an infected San Francisco man riding the very public BART system to his job at at LinkedIn and then heading out to a local bistro. There is some good news to be found amid the notices of fever and rashes, however. Disneyland, the epicenter for many of these cases, isn't seeing attendance plummet.

A while back I noted that Egypt looked like it was networking with European powers to address the chaos that threatens the vital Suez Canal. Russia's President Vladimir Putin came to Cairo this week, bearing gifts that indicate he understands Egyptian needs.
Just hours before a summit in Minsk that could decide the fate of eastern Europe for a generation, Vladimir Putin had a gift for the president of Egypt: an assault rifle. A photo of the rifle, with its wooden stock and accompanying gun case, along with a smiling President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi, was posted on the website of Egypt’s state-controlled MENA news agency. The rifle was identified as an AK-47, according to the state-run Russia Today’s Arabic website.
A video of the exchange, which occurred at the Cairo Aiport shortly after Putin arrived. But the AK-47 isn't the only present in Putin's bag: Last year, the two countries made a $3 billion deal that includes Russian attack helicopters and MiG-29 fighter jets. Additionally, Russian businesses have agreed to proceed with a major grain storage construction project in Egypt.

I am happy to see that King Abdullah's robust response to ISIS terror is not being debated for its proportionality; and while I hope that these new metrics are eventually applied to Israel, a look at Egypt indicates that it may soon follow Jordan's lead in the "proportionate" reaction to the savagery of Islamic extremists. As the United Nations engages in more "brokered talks" among Yemen's political factions, including the Iranian-backed Houthis who recently took over power in in that country, Egyptian officials have expressed their concerns. The head of the Egypt's Suez Canal authority, obviously not comfortable with relying on the United Nations, says that the country will respond militarily if the head of thewaterway is blocked by Yemeni militants.
The head of Egypt's Suez Canal Authority said Wednesday his country would send troops to Yemen in case extremist groups attempt to block Bab Al-Mandab strait that links the Red Sea to the Gulf of Aden, Al-Ahram Arabic news website reported. Lieutenant General Mohab Mamish said that Egypt "will not accept" closure of the waterway which "directly affects the Suez Canal and national security." Mamish said events in Yemen are under constant review and that the military is ready to intervene if the strait is blocked. Most ships that pass through Bab Al-Mandab are either going to or coming from Egypt's Suez Canal, one of the country's main sources of income and foreign currency flow.
A close-up image of the area shows that Egypt has reasons to be concerned: the nation takes in $5 billion annually from the canal.

In my last post on the continuing measles outbreak, I encouraged Americans to consider vaccinations. Imagine my surprise upon discovering that, as the co-founder of a San Diego Tea Party group, I am also labeled one of the dreaded #antivaxxers! Well, then I personally would like to welcome an iconic Democrat, Robert T. Kennedy, to the ranks of the Tea Party! While some "Tea Party" people don't choose to vaccinate themselves or their children, a look at the states where non-medical exemptions from vaccinations are an option shows that many of them went for Obama in the last election. The Obama Administration must be worried that the lack of immunization for childhood diseases is going to blossom into a major healthcare PR crisis of Ebola-like proportions, because its friends in the mainstream media are now smearing those who don't vaccinate with that vile term, "Tea Party." How, then, can these mainstream publishers explain the preponderance of progressive non-takers?

When San Diego's talk station KOGO AM600 announced they were going to chat about obnoxious Super Bowl ads, they asked listeners to call in with the ones they wanted to discuss. Instead, I sent a producer I knew my piece, I am apologizing #LikeAGirl for Super Bowl Ads’ #WarOnMen. As a result, their independent-minded host, Bob "Sully" Sullivan, invited me to chat with him about the commercials, as well as my work at both Legal Insurrection and College Insurrection related to the challenges men face today. Here's a video with the exchange:

The Great Sphinx is safe from destruction and Egypt's President Abdul Fattah al-Sisi is calling for a "Islamic Reformation", so now should be a good time to visit the enchanting "Land of the Nile," right? Not so fast. A new group with ties to the Muslim Brotherhood has just declared holy war on foreigners:
An Islamist organization sympathetic to the Muslim Brotherhood is warning all foreigners and diplomats to flee Egypt by the end of February or face becoming “a target by the Revolutionary Punishment Movement,” according to a recent warning posted online by a Brotherhood-affiliated site and read live on television by one of its broadcast organs. The statement issues a threat to “all foreign nationals,” “all foreign companies,” and all “embassy foreigners, diplomats, and ambassadors,” ordering them to leave Egypt by the end of the month or face violent attacks, according to an independent translation of the Arabic statement. Foreign travelers also are warned to “cancel their trips” and told “they are not welcome to Egypt during these difficult days.”
The Al Jazeera Center for Studies has some background on these "insurgents," who organized shortly before the 4th anniversary of the "Arab Spring" protests in Tahrir Square.

Back in 2000, the Americas were cited as an example of how to effectively eradicate measles infections by prestigious medical journals; who would have thought that 15 years later, the vaccination for this disease is poised to become a topic in our upcoming presidential race?
A rare moment of clarification occurred Monday morning, in different settings and an ocean apart: President Barack Obama instructed parents to vaccinate their children just as New Jersey Governor Chris Christie seemed to cast doubt upon their requirement. “The science is indisputable,” Obama said*. Parents should have a “measure of choice,” Christie said. ...Christie’s remarks were followed by a report that Iowa Freedom Summit speaker Carly Fiorina had made a similar statement last week, an indication that the GOP 2016 field, even its establishment flank, was beginning to see an incentive in expressing vaccination doubts.
Christie later "clarified" his initial statement; and Senator Rand Paul has also weighed in, expressing concerns about mental disorders as a side effect. As "antivaxxers" becomes a new derogatory term, politicians are evolving faster than bacteria in order to appeal to millennial voters, because 1-in-5 of that golden demographic believes vaccines cause autism. I am an environmental health and occupational safety specialist, so I regularly address risks associated with biohazardous materials. I am a strong believer in the need for vaccinations, especially for measles, which can be fatal. But like most reasonable Americans, I also want to make my medical choices based on the most complete set of information available.

While Professor Jacobson was surfing the Twitter stream during the Super Bowl, I was savoring the free market creativity of American advertisers. The runaway favorite commercials feature cute puppies and horses. One particular ad, however, brought out an entirely different animal in me: The Mama Grizzly. I have a serious recommendation to T-Mobile executives: Fire the idiot feminists and their beta-male minions who came up with this commercial: The dialog for one of the scenes, in which Sarah Silverman & Chelsea Handler characters duel over first-world lifestyle quality, has Sarah Silverman's insipid character inform a newborn's mother: "I'm sorry, it's a boy." It was a real piece of #WarOnMen propaganda. As a mother of a son, who is a 100% all-boy alpha male that I have been delighted to raise as such, I was appalled by the crass anti-maleness of the statement. Let's play a game of substitution, shall we?

Finally, a little good news to share with Legal Insurrection readers about epidemics. It looks like we're declaring victory on our "War with Ebola". Recall that after after outrage at this administration's "Keystone Cop" style response to America's first Ebola patient, President Obama appointed political operative Ron Klain as Ebola Czar. He was slated to leave office in March, but now that date has been pushed up:
Ron Klain, the Obama administration's point man in the fight against the Ebola virus, will leave the administration on February just shy of three months after he stepped in to coordinate the government's response to the crisis at home and abroad. In an interview on "Face the Nation" in late December, Klain said that the American people should be "proud" of the work done by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and praised the generosity of Americans who had traveled to West Africa to help provide medical treatment and other services. The World Health Organization said Wednesday that the fight against the disease had moved to a "second phase" focused on ending the epidemic rather than slowing transmission. There were fewer than 100 new confirmed cases last week in the three hardest-hit countries since the end of June 2014.
It is standard practice of political operatives to take modestly good news about a small battle and declare outright victory in a war. So, let's take a look at the number the World Health Organization has reported. While the number of cases on one West African region has fallen, there are troubles elsewhere on the continent:

ISIS sure has been busy recently, between the prisoner swapping and executions. However, it looks like some of their members had some time for sightseeing. Sadly, they took some high explosives with them.
Nineveh (IraqiNews.com) A Kurdish official revealed on Tuesday evening that the ISIS organization had bombed large parts and tracts of the ancient Nineveh wall, indicating that such an act violates the right of human culture and heritage. The media official of the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) in Mosul, Saed Mimousine said in an interview for IraqiNews.com, “ISIS militants blew up today large parts and expanses of the archaeological wall of Nineveh in al-Tahrir neighborhood,” explaining that, “The terrorist group used explosives in the process of destroying the archaeological fence.” Mimousine added, “The Wall of Nineveh is one of the most distinctive archaeological monuments in Iraq and the Middle East,” adding that, “The fence dates back to the Assyrian civilization.” Mimousine stressed that, “Bombing the archaeological monuments by ISIS is a flagrant violation of the right of human culture, civilization and heritage,” calling the international community to “take a stand to curb the destruction of historic monuments.”
Frankly, for ISIS, the violation of human rights is more of a feature instead of a bug in its operating system. For example, the group also destroyed the Tomb of Jonah. And Nineveh, one of the oldest and greatest cities in antiquity, is an Iraqi treasure. But, I digress. I recently noted that Egypt's cultural treasures were now safe from the country's Islamic extremists. However, its citizens are a target for ISIS.

In an ill-omened trip, Secretary of State John Kerry headed to India to pave the way for a climate change deal, missing the important Paris march against terror. I was skeptical that the Indians would warm to any carbon emissions agreement, given the level of poverty in that country and need to rapidly modernize its industry. He should have listened to me, because he just emitted a whole lot of greenhouse gas for no reason. The Indians rejected the deal.
President Barack Obama has left India for Saudi Arabia without inking a climate deal that formed much of the basis for his second trip to the subcontinent. The Hindustan Times reported on Tuesday that India has refused to embrace the idea of a 'peaking year' for greenhouse gas emissions – a designated year after which emissions levels would have to start decreasing. China agreed to that sort of framework last year, but Indian officials now see being lumped in with Beijing as a negative thing. India is the world's fourth-biggest carbon emitter. China is number one. 'Having a peaking year was not acceptable to us,' an Indian environment ministry official told the Times. Obama visited India on Air Force One, a plane that burns five gallons of jet fuel for every mile it flies. His round-trip, including a stop in Saudi Arabia, will emit 809 tons of CO2 into the atmosphere.
The President did offer the Indians $1 billion to develop green technology to sweeten the deal...which is fascinating, because American green technology ventures sponsored by this administration have been man-made disasters.

I recently reported on the chikungunya virus that is raging in South America. There are concerns that Florida could be the next epicenter of the epidemic.
Thanks to climate change and globalization, the Keys are also increasingly home to killer tropical diseases such as dengue fever and chikungunya spread by Aedes aegypti, a tiger-striped mosquito that originated in Africa. Just last year, a few dozen people in the Sunshine State were infected with these formerly exotic illness as they made their up the Gulf Coast. “The threat is greater than I’ve seen in my lifetime,” Walter Tabachnick, director of the Florida Medical Entomological Laboratory, said last year. “Sooner or later, our mosquitoes will pick it up and transmit it to us. That is the imminent threat.”
One could quibble as to if the cause of the increase, but the threat is increasingly concerning public health officials no matter the reason. In response, one British research and development firm is trying to obtain approval from the US Food and Drug Administration to run an experiment in the Florida Keys...involving the release of millions of genetically modified mosquitoes:
Enter Oxitec, a British biotech firm launched by Oxford University researchers. They patented a method of breeding Aedes aegypti with fragments of proteins from the herpes simplex virus and E. coli bacteria as well as genes from coral and cabbage. This synthetic DNA has been used in thousands of experiments without harming lab animals, but it is fatal to the bugs, killing mosquito larvae before they can fly or bite. Oxitec's lab workers manually remove modified females, aiming to release only males, which feed on nectar and don't bite for blood like females do. The modified males then mate with wild females whose offspring die, reducing the population. ...Company spokeswoman Chris Creese said the test will be similar in size to Oxitec's 2012 experiment in the Cayman Islands, where 3.3 million modified mosquitoes were released over six months, suppressing 96 percent of the targeted bugs. Oxitec says a later test in Brazil also was successful, and both countries now want larger-scale projects.

In determining why Secretary of State John Kerry was not at the Paris march of world leaders denouncing the terror attacks there, I noted he was paving the way for President Obama's upcoming visit to India. This Sunday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi greeted Obama with open arms.
President Obama and his Indian counterpart broke through a five-year impasse on Sunday to pave the way for American companies to build nuclear power plants here as the two countries sought to transform a fraught geopolitical relationship into a fresh partnership for a new era of cooperation. ...The amity between the two leaders was palpable from the start as Mr. Modi broke with protocol to greet Mr. Obama at the airport with a warm handshake and hug. During their later public appearance, Mr. Modi referred to the president as “Barack” and thanked him for his “deep personal commitment” to their friendship. In a toast at a state dinner Sunday evening, Mr. Obama returned the favor, calling Mr. Modi “my partner and friend.” “This new partnership will not happen overnight,” Mr. Obama said at the earlier appearance. “It’s going to take time to build and some patience. But it’s clear from this visit that we have a new and perhaps unprecedented opportunity, and deepening our ties with India is going to remain a top foreign policy priority for my administration.”
A TIMES NOW video offers a glimpse into the initial meeting in India.

Egypt has three icons that symbolize its ancient glories: 1) The pyramids 2) The Great Sphinx 3) The golden mask of the boy king, Tutankhamun. And while the pyramids and Great Sphinx are safe from the threat of destruction at the hands of Muslim extremists, the famous mask has been damaged by too much care and concern. There are many versions of how the damage happened, but it seems the beard was accidentally knocked off and epoxy, which is designed for use on stone-work and not metal, was slathered on in the repair attempt. Additionally, the mask was scratched in an attempt to remove excess glue that had smeared. [caption id="" align="alignnone" width="540"] (Photo: Mohamed El-Shahed, AFP/Getty Images)[/caption] However, it seems that one of history's greatest treasures can be properly restored to its original glory.

Four years ago, many of us were glued to the TV and social media streams following the dawn of "Arab Spring". One of the most dramatic moments of that era was the start of massive pro-democracy demonstrations in Egypt's Tahrir Square. After ousting the reviled Hosni Mubarak, the Egyptians used their vote to elect a Muslim Brotherhood "community organizer"; and the ensuing meltdown led to his ouster and the nation declaring the group illegal. In April 2014, I noted the country had sentenced over 600 alleged supporters of the country’s ousted Islamist president to death, including the Muslim Brotherhood’s spiritual leader -- the aptly named Mohammed Badie. Those sentences have now been revoked.
Egypt’s top appeals court Saturday revoked death and life sentences against more than 500 backers of deposed Islamist president Mohammad Mursi and ordered a retrial for them in a case that has raised international concerns over the operation of the justice system in the country. The Court of Cassation delivered the ruling at a hearing in which prosecution and defence lawyers alike demanded the cancellation of the verdicts delivered by a lower court last year, citing legal flaws. ...On Saturday, lawyer Mohammad Toson argued in a brief hearing that the Criminal Court issued the rulings without listening defense lawyers and witnesses. No date has been set yet for the start of the retrial.
The ruling also included Badie's sentence.

Since I last reported on the Disneyland Measles Outbreak, the number of infected people in California has expanded to 68 and has prompted a warning from a state official.
It’s really difficult to tell now when the last day of exposure might be,” said Dr. Gil Chavez, deputy director of the state’s Center for Infectious Diseases. “For the time being, if you are not vaccinated or if you have an infant who is too young to be vaccinated, you should avoid going to Disneyland.” In all, 59 measles cases have been confirmed statewide, including 13 in San Diego County. Disneyland is associated with 41 of those patients, including five of the park’s employees. Disneyland did not respond directly to the Wednesday recommendation from public-health officials. It referred journalists to a recent statement made by Dr. Pamela Hymel, the park’s chief medical officer, that said Disney was notified of the outbreak on Jan. 7. The company has offered vaccinations and immunity tests to its workers. “Cast members who may have come in contact with those who were positive are being tested for the virus. While awaiting results, they have been put on paid leave until medically cleared,” Hymel said.
I was mulling the idea of taking advantage of the situation, as my family is up-to-date on its vaccinations. However, concerns are increasing about the number of vaccinated individuals becoming ill with the disease. Some medical experts have also expressed concern about the five patients who contracted measles despite being fully vaccinated.