Gay Marriage Study Retracted After Allegations One of Its Authors Falsified Data

Kate Scanlon /

A widely-circulated study about how having conversations with people who are gay can change an individual’s views on same-sex marriage has been retracted by one of its authors.

Retraction Watch, an academic blog, reports that Donald Green, a professor of political science at Columbia University, has retracted the study after his co-author “confessed to falsely describing at least some of the details of the data collection.”

Green and Michael LaCour, a Ph.D. candidate in Political Science at University of  California Los Angeles, published the study in Science last December.

The study, titled “When contact changes minds: An experiment on transmission of support for gay equality,” concluded that having short, personal conversations with people who are gay could significantly change an individual’s views on same-sex marriage.

According to the summary of the study, the authors “demonstrate that simply a 20-minute conversation with a gay canvasser produced a large and sustained shift in attitudes toward same-sex marriage for Los Angeles County residents.”

In addition to changing the views of the participants in the study, the authors say that their views remained changed “up to 9 months after the initial conversation.”

According to Retraction Watch, researchers trying to conduct a similar study wrote to Green about inconsistencies in their findings.

Green confronted LaCour, who was unable to provide the original data from the study.

Retraction Watch obtained the letter Green wrote to Science, requesting that they retract the study.

“I am deeply embarrassed by this turn of events and apologize to the editors, reviewers, and readers of Science,” he wrote.

As of publication time, LaCour has yet to respond to the allegations. He posted on his website that he is “gathering evidence and relevant information so I can provide a single comprehensive response. I will do so at my earliest opportunity.”

Ryan Anderson, the William E. Simon fellow in religion and a free society at The Heritage Foundation, said that “for too many of our neighbors, the argument for marriage as the union of husband and wife hasn’t been heard and rejected; it simply hasn’t been heard.”

“We must make that argument in new and creative ways. When people do hear a compelling case for the truth about marriage, they respond accordingly,” he said.

Just a Common Soldier: A Moving Tribute for Memorial Day - The Daily Signal

Just a Common Soldier: A Moving Tribute for Memorial Day

Kate Scanlon / Video Team /

For many years, Stephen Clouse has made videos designed to inspire donations to worthy causes. Recently, he made a different kind of video. It’s not designed to solicit donations but to honor those who have given so much for our country.

In this video, veteran Hollywood actor Tony LoBianco reads a poem called “Just a Common Soldier.” It’s a moving tribute to the soldiers, sailors, Marines and airmen who have served our country. As Tony reads the poem, viewers are treated to emotional images of our honored vets. As they were on the battlefield; and as they are now.

Clouse is asking Americans to share the video with their followers on Facebook and other social media channels such as YouTube and Twitter. The goal is to get 21 million “likes”—that’s one for every one of the estimated 21 million living veterans—between Memorial Day on May 25 and Veteran’s Day on Nov. 11.

Kirsten Powers on the War Against Free Speech and Why Most on the Left Don’t Get It - The Daily Signal

Kirsten Powers on the War Against Free Speech and Why Most on the Left Don’t Get It

Kate Scanlon / Video Team / Genevieve Wood /

I spoke with Fox News contributor Kirsten Powers this week about her new book, “The Silencing: How the Left Is Killing Free Speech.”

Powers gives example after example of how those who oppose a particular political or cultural view will pull out all the stops to silence and shame their opposition. I begin by asking if this is just a problem of those on the left wanting to silence conservatives and whether those waging such campaigns are willing to do so no matter the costs.

You can watch the full seven-minute interview or see her answers to each of my questions by going to the time codes in the video listed below:

A Key Conservative Group Is Opposing the Export-Import Bank. But Some of Its Members Continue to Support It. - The Daily Signal

A Key Conservative Group Is Opposing the Export-Import Bank. But Some of Its Members Continue to Support It.

Kate Scanlon / Video Team / Genevieve Wood / Melissa Quinn /

Some members of the U.S. House’s Republican Study Committee are bucking the committee’s opposition to the Export-Import Bank and instead expressing steadfast support for the bank’s reauthorization.

The Republican Study Committee today announced its opposition to the Export-Import Bank and called on Congress to allow its charter to expire on June 30.

“Federal bureaucrats should not be picking business’ winners and losers,” Rep. Bill Flores of Texas, the group’s chairman, said in a statement. “Instead, know [that] American businesses are capable of competing in a free and open market, without government interfering.”

A majority of GOP lawmakers belong to the Republican Study Committee, which works to promote and implement a conservative policy agenda. Though the committee took a stance against Ex-Im, 33 Republican Study Committee members have signed on as co-sponsors of legislation from Rep. Stephen Fincher, R-Tenn., reauthorizing the bank for another five years.

In 2012, when the bank was last reauthorized, 57 Republican Study Committee members voted to extend Ex-Im’s life, including Flores.

In a statement, Fincher—himself a member of the Republican Study Committee—called the group’s opposition to Ex-Im “misleading,” saying it doesn’t represent the views of the majority of its members, who support Ex-Im.

“Given that there was no Ex-Im vote taken this week by RSC members, and given my bill’s conservative support, the perspective being circulated on behalf of the entire conservative caucus is misleading and indicative of the views of a small group of Steering Committee members—not rank-and-rile RSC members,” he said.

A press release from the Republican Study Committee, though, stated Ex-Im’s future was discussed at meetings convened with its members and the Steering Committee, which governs the group. The Republican Study Committee publicly endorses or opposes a position when two-thirds of the Steering Committee vote in favor of it.

>>> Why Letting Ex-Im Bank’s Charter Expire Won’t Lead to Massive Job Losses

The Daily Signal reached out to the offices of the 32 Republican Study Committee members who supported Fincher’s legislation to see if the group’s official stance against the bank would cause them to change their individual positions.

150521_RSC-ex-im

Jordan See, a spokesman for Rep. Gregg Harper, R-Miss., told The Daily Signal the lawmaker continues to support Ex-Im’s reauthorization despite the committee’s stance.

“He does support reauthorization,” he said. “While he understands the RSC’s position, he doesn’t agree with it.”

See argued that the bank helps support U.S. jobs both for the companies directly benefiting from Ex-Im financing and smaller businesses those beneficiaries work with. Additionally, he pointed to export credit agencies backed by foreign governments as one reason reauthorization is needed and noted that other countries directly subsidize companies that compete with those in the United States, such as Airbus.

Rep. Frank Lucas, R-Okla., another Republican Study Committee member, continues to support legislation reauthorizing Ex-Im that includes reforms.

“With a majority of our most aggressive economic competitors across the world possessing similar export credit agencies, it would be irresponsible for our country to unilaterally disarm ourselves,” he said in a statement to The Daily Signal.

In an email to The Daily Signal, Joe Kasper, spokesman for Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-Calif., said Hunter supports reauthorization only if “strong reforms” are included, but wouldn’t say whether he would vote for reauthorization if it were brought to a vote.

Similarly, representatives for fellow Republican Study Committee Reps. Chris Collins of New York and Joe Pitts of Pennsylvania told The Daily Signal the lawmakers continue to support the bank’s reauthorization and would vote in favor of extending its charter if it were brought to a vote.

The Export-Import Bank’s charter expires June 30, and with less than 20 legislative days to go, policymakers are debating its future. In addition to the Republican Study Committee, the House Freedom Caucus, another conservative group of GOP lawmakers, announced its opposition to the bank last month.

“This is a historic opportunity for congressional conservatives to not only end one of FDR’s creations, but to demonstrate to voters that America’s conservative party is fighting favoritism and cronyism in Washington,” said Dan Holler of Heritage Action, which opposes reauthorization. “The RSC’s 170 members will play an important part in that role. It came as a surprise to many the chairman would stake out this position. In doing so he has positioned the group’s conservative members to score a significant policy victory.”

In total, more than 90 Republicans have publicly announced their opposition to Ex-Im. Additionally, the chairmen of eight committees, including House Financial Services Chairman Jeb Hensarling of Texas and Ways and Means Chairman Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, are calling for its end.

Last month, Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy of California and Majority Whip Steve Scalise of Louisiana—two members of Republican leadership—voiced their opposition to Ex-Im’s reauthorization, as well.

“The coalition against the Export-Import Bank continues to grow. I applaud Chairman Flores and the RSC for joining Leader McCarthy, Whip Scalise, key chairmen, nearly every Republican presidential candidate, and conservative groups in calling for Congress to let the Ex-Im Bank’s charter expire,” Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio, the Freedom Caucus’ chairman, said in a statement. “The time is now to end this patent example of corporate welfare.”

Though a growing number of GOP lawmakers continue to voice their opposition to Ex-Im’s reauthorization, the Club for Growth launched a $1 million advertising campaign to pressure Republicans, including Flores and Fincher, to publicly speak out against the bank. The other six are Reps. Rob Bishop of Utah, Buddy Carter of Georgia, Renee Ellmers of North Carolina, David McKinley of West Virginia, Bill Shuster of Pennsylvania, and Chris Stewart of Utah.

According to the Club for Growth, both Bishop and Stewart today announced their opposition to the bank’s reauthorization after the group said it would run advertisements in Utah beginning Friday.

>>> Jeb Hensarling: Boeing’s Threat to Move American Jobs Overseas If Ex-Im Bank Ends Is ‘A Bit of Bluster’

Senate Financial Reform Bill Anything But a Partisan Effort - The Daily Signal

Senate Financial Reform Bill Anything But a Partisan Effort

Kate Scanlon / Video Team / Genevieve Wood / Melissa Quinn / Norbert Michel /

The U.S. House has introduced—and even passed—several bills during the past few years aimed at reforming financial regulations, but the Senate has lagged far behind. So it is a positive sign that Senate Banking Committee Chairman Richard Shelby (R–AL) introduced the Financial Regulatory Improvement Act of 2015. The Committee approved the bill today, 12-10, along party lines.

Before the draft was even released, however, several Democrats criticized Shelby for undertaking a partisan effort and shutting fellow Democratic committee members out of the process. After the 200-page draft was released, Democrats unveiled their own 20-page proposal and the top Democrat on the Committee, Sherrod Brown (D–OH), opposed the bill.

Senator Brown called the proposal “a sprawling industry wish list of Dodd-Frank rollbacks” and said that the proposal “holds Main Street financial institutions hostage to a partisan effort to dismantle Dodd-Frank’s consumer protections.”

This whole process is far from over, but it already serves as a lesson in how bipartisan politics work in Washington: Republicans make an honest effort to collaborate with Democrats, and in return, they are accused of playing partisan politics.

The truth is that Shelby’s bill wouldn’t dismantle anything, and most of what’s in it has already garnered bipartisan support (in many cases, overwhelmingly so). Here are just a few items from Shelby’s draft that match existing bipartisan legislation very closely.

There’s no doubt there are some provisions in the draft that are contentious, such as reforms aimed at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and changing the SIFI designation process so that only the very largest firms might be designated for heightened regulation. But even these proposals have garnered some bipartisan support.

In fact, even Federal Reserve Governor Daniel Tarullo has already supported moving up the SIFI threshold.

Regardless of where Shelby’s proposal ends up, there is no doubt that the Senator and his staff made every effort to craft bipartisan legislation. If the Democrats continue to attack this process as partisan, it says a great deal about what they really want.

Senator Again Calls for Ending Justice Department’s Operation Choke Point - The Daily Signal

Senator Again Calls for Ending Justice Department’s Operation Choke Point

Kate Scanlon / Video Team / Genevieve Wood / Melissa Quinn / Norbert Michel / Kelsey Harkness /

Comparing Operation Choke Point to Tom Cruise’s “Minority Report,” a film where police use “psychic technology” to arrest alleged murderers before they actually commit a crime, Sen. Mike Crapo today made another attempt to end the Justice Department’s controversial program.

“To explain [Operation Choke Point], I want to remind everybody of a movie that came out in 2002. It’s called ‘Minority Report,’” Crapo, R-Idaho, said during a Senate Banking Committee hearing this morning.

“[T]he Department of Justice has engaged in a program where it has actually designated not companies, not individuals, but business types or industries that are entirely legal in the United States as ‘high risk’ industries that should be stopped from participating in our economy.”

“In fact, [the program targets] entire industries in the United States not because they have committed any fraud … not because they are going to commit any fraud, but because … they are determined to be likely to be fraudulent in the future,” Crapo added.

Most Americans, Crapo said, would be “shocked” to discover the government is employing these tactics to prevent entire industries “from participating in our economy.”

In order to end to the program, which Crapo said is blocking gun sellers in Idaho access to credit and other financial services, he attached an amendment to a regulatory relief bill proposed by Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Ala.

The measure would prohibit government agencies from engaging in Operation Choke Point.

Members of the Senate Banking Committee voted in favor of the amendment today 13-9, with Democratic Sen. Joe Donnelly from Indiana joining Republicans in voting ‘yes.’

Crapo’s amendment—only a sentence long—reads:

“The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, the Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection, or the National Credit Union Administration may not implement or participate in the Operation Choke Point initiative of the Department of Justice.”

During the committee hearing today, some lawmakers defended Operation Choke Point.

“I hate to oppose a Tom Cruise amendment,” said Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, drawing laughs from both political parties. “But I have to.”

“Fraud in the financial system is a serious problem and it’s become worse with the increase of online financial services,” Brown said. “Banking regulators need the flexibility to continue strong oversight over the relationship that financial intuitions have and require financial institutions to remain vigilant against fraud. That’s the reason for Operation Choke Point.”

Sen. David Vitter, R-La., another member of the Senate Banking Committee, attempted to quell those concerns.

“Fraud is illegal, it’s going to be illegal,” he said. “Regulators have all sorts of tools to go after fraud. Crapo’s amendment doesn’t take a single one of those away.”

Vitter, who said he’s talked “personally” with financial institutions “who have gotten this message” and business owners who have also been adversely affected by Operation Choke Point, said the program is “tyrannical.”

“Even if those lists of businesses are ones you personally disfavor, everybody should be concerned about this phenomenon,” he said.

Members in both chambers of Congress have made multiple attempts to end Operation Choke Point, but thus far, none of those efforts have proven successful.

Crapo, who earlier this year attempted to use the budget process to end Operation Choke Point, is hopeful that this time, his measure will work.

“I will continue to work with my colleagues to end this program and ensure it doesn’t become an end run around the Second Amendment,” Crapo said in a statement to The Daily Signal.

Islamic Terrorists Should Be Called Islamic Terrorists - The Daily Signal

Islamic Terrorists Should Be Called Islamic Terrorists

Kate Scanlon / Video Team / Genevieve Wood / Melissa Quinn / Norbert Michel / Kelsey Harkness / Lee Edwards / Josiah Lippincott /

For more than three decades, they have sought out and killed Americans. In 1983, in one of the first major anti-American attacks, they bombed the Marine barracks in Beirut, killing 241 American servicemen. In 1992, they used bombs to kill two people in Aden, Yemen, in hopes of killing American troops that might be passing through. In February 1993, they used a truck-based explosive to try and topple the World Trade Center in lower Manhattan. They failed, but their attack killed six New Yorkers and injured a thousand others.

What would you call the perpetrators of such acts—militants? Would you copy President Obama and call them violent extremists or simply terrorists? What is missing in such formulations? Even as he identified al-Qaeda as a threat to America, Obama refused to describe the enemy as it describes itself: “Islamic.”

Islamic Terrorists Have a Religious Goal

Emboldened by their success in Beirut and their almost-success in New York City in 1993, terrorists used bombs in 1995 to kill five U.S. servicemen in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. The following year, al-Qadea struck again at American troops in Saudi Arabia in the Khobar Tower bombings, killing 19 Americans and wounding 372.

Why did the terrorists persist in their plots to kill Americans? What was it about America that so enraged them? In February 1998, Osama Bin Laden provided an answer when he declared a “fatwa” (a religious decree) declaring war against America in the name of the World Islamic Front, calling for the killing of civilians as well as soldiers:

The ruling to kill the Americans and their allies—civilians and military—is an individual duty for every Muslim who can do it in any country [emphasis added] in which it is possible to do it, in order to liberate the al-Aqsa Mosque and the holy mosque [Mecca] from their grip, and in order for their armies to move out of all the lands of Islam, defeated and unable to threaten any Muslim.

By their own words, Bin Laden and his fellow travelers declared themselves to be not just terrorists but Islamist terrorists with a religious goal—to re-establish true Islamic society in the Middle East by removing any “stain” of American influence by force. Bin Laden believed the whole world was meant to accept his universal message.

While the majority of Muslims prefer peaceful, non-violent, socio-political approaches that lead in time to a peaceful transition to Islamic society, a minority, led by revolutionary groups like al-Qaeda and ISIS, favor a jihad or holy war dependent upon violence and military action. This brand of Salafist Islam does not distinguish between combatants and civilians as the West does but sees the West as an imperialist enemy with America as its leader.

It is self-evident that the terrorists who have sought to kill us all these years are Islamist. Al-Qaeda and ISIS terrorists consider themselves to be holy warriors who believe in a specific ideology (Islamist extremism) that is tied to a specific religion: Islam.

From Al-Qaeda to ISIS

Following Bin Laden’s fatwa, the killing continued. In January 2000, al-Qaeda attacked the USS Cole in the port of Aden, killing 17 and injuring 39 Americans. In the world today, Bin Laden said, “the worst terrorists are the Americans,” and he predicted “a black future for America.” We did not understand how black they would try to make it.

On the morning of Sept. 11, 2001, two hijacked passenger jets smashed into New York City’s World Trade Center, destroying the two towers and killing 2,753 people. A third hijacked jet slammed into the side of the Pentagon in Washington, D.C., killing 184 civilians and military personnel. A fourth plane, whose target was probably the U.S. Capitol, was diverted by courageous passengers and crashed in the Pennsylvania countryside, killing 33 passengers, seven crew, and four hijackers.

In response, President George W. Bush approved and later President Barack Obama supported a global manhunt for Bin Laden, which ended on May 1, 2011, in Abbottabad, Pakistan, with his death in a raid by American Navy SEALs. Commented President Obama: “For over two decades, bin Laden has been al-Qaeda’s leader and symbol, and has continued to plot attacks against our country and our friends and allies. The death of Bin Laden marks the most significant achievement to date in our nation’s effort to defeat al-Qaeda.”

While President Obama acknowledged that the fight against al-Qaeda was not over, neither he nor any other Western leader foresaw the change that Islamist terrorism would undergo.

As the central branch of al-Qaeda withered under American assault, a regional affiliate, known as al-Qaeda in Iraq or AQI, grew and spread. In 2013, this group rebranded itself as ISIS, or the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria. ISIS’s mission was to do more than harass American troops with improvised explosive devices or commit acts of terror. Rather, it aspired to territorial government and expansion across the Muslim world in the name of Sunni Islam. ISIS has proclaimed itself to be a re-establishment of the caliphate, or transnational Islamist state that ruled the Middle East and much of Europe a thousand years ago.

Beheadings and Massacres: Yes, They’re Serious

It shocked the world by beheading on camera James Foley, a freelance reporter with the GlobalPost; former Army Ranger Peter Kassig; and freelance journalist Steven Sotloff. In addition, ISIS hostage Kayla Mueller, an American volunteer worker in Syria, was accidentally killed by a coalition airstrike.

While the West condemned the callousness of the beheadings, ISIS’s reach grew. “We announce our allegiance to the Caliph … and will hear and obey in times of difficulty and prosperity,” announced Abubakar Shekau, leader of Boko Haram, a Nigerian terrorist group dedicated to the goals of an Islamist society that ISIS represents.

Boko Haram is merciless. In the past year, it has killed more than 10,000 people. This includes a brutal massacre of some 2,000 women, children, and elderly in the town of Baga, Nigeria. Nor is its reach limited to Nigeria. Boko Haram continues to spread havoc across parts of Niger, Cameroon, and Chad. Its declared allegiance to ISIS further demonstrates the accelerating appeal of Islamist terrorism not just in the Middle East and in Africa but around the world.

In Islamist terrorism, the United States and the West face a foe of the same ideological mold as the Soviet Union. Both communism and Islamist terrorism are threats grounded in principles deeper than geo-political or social considerations. In the 14 years since 9/11 there have been 65 separate Islamist terrorist plots or attacks on U.S. soil. Thanks to the diligence of American intelligence and security operations, few of these plots have come to fruition. However, Islamist terrorism will only be defeated when we see it is as far more than mindless violence and “extremism.”

President Obama recognizes that Islamist terrorism is a problem, sort of. Last September he declared that America would use a broad coalition to ultimately “degrade” and “destroy” ISIS. Destroy? Yes. Degrade? No. ISIS is a terrorist group, not a street gang.

President Obama’s preferred use of the euphemistic “violent extremism” to describe our enemies is problematic. The President’s desire not to offend Muslims who are not engaged in terrorism may win some points in the Muslim world but it will weaken efforts to build a broad coalition against ISIS. Furthermore, it will confuse the American public. Without clarity in language there can be no clarity in strategy.

Don’t Impose Western Values on Islamic Terrorists 

Obama’s socio-economic analysis of 9/11, at the time of the tragedy, reveals an inability to see clearly on a matter of national security:

The essence of this tragedy, it seems to me, derives from a fundamental absence of empathy on the part of the attackers … It may find expression in a particular brand of violence, and may be channeled by particular demagogues or fanatics. Most often, though, it grows out of a climate of poverty and ignorance, helplessness and despair.

But the root of the 9/11 terror attacks was not a “lack of empathy” or “poverty and ignorance.” It was an ideology of religious terrorism that Bin Laden willingly embraced. His beliefs flowed from forces more potent than the superficial categories Obama suggested. Islamist terrorism is grounded in a rigid theocratic political view of the world. As Walter Lohman, director of Heritage’s Asian Study Center has put it, “the threat cannot be honestly separated from its religious context … Calling the threat ‘Islamist’ allows us to distinguish friend from foe.”

There is no need for America to declare its own “fatwa” against all Muslims. Rather, we must recognize that ISIS and al-Qaeda represent a clear and present transnational danger that calls for precise definition and decisive action. We must be willing to understand our enemy as he is, not as we might wish him to be.

Originally published in The Federalist 

Will of the People Makes a Comeback on Abortion Issue in Tennessee - The Daily Signal

Will of the People Makes a Comeback on Abortion Issue in Tennessee

Kate Scanlon / Video Team / Genevieve Wood / Melissa Quinn / Norbert Michel / Kelsey Harkness / Lee Edwards / Josiah Lippincott / Kerry Hunt /

Two bills have been signed by Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam, a Republican, that could not have passed before voters approved an amendment to the state constitution in last November’s elections.

One of the bills requires a 48-hour waiting period between counseling and an abortion, and another puts in place new regulations for abortion clinics as Tennessee moves to align its abortion restrictions with those of other Southern states, such as Alabama, Arkansas and Mississippi.

For many pro-life organizations and individuals, these bills represent the culmination of a 14-year battle that began in 2000 with the Tennessee Supreme Court case Planned Parenthood of Middle Tennessee v. Sundquist, in which the court ruled that a woman’s “fundamental right” to abortion was an integral facet of the right to privacy.

But last November, Tennesseans passed an amendment to the state constitution that stipulates that constitution neither “secures” nor “protects a right to abortion or requires the funding of an abortion.” Instead, it places all decisions about abortion policies in the hands of the voters through their elected officials, rather than those of Tennessee’s five Supreme Court justices.

According to a poll conducted by Vanderbilt University, 20 percent of Tennessee residents believe abortion never should be legal, and 50 percent believe it should be legal only in cases where rape or incest have occurred or where the mother’s life is in jeopardy. Before the amendment passed, the five justices on the Tennessee Supreme Court made a decision at odds with the views of Tennesseans, inventing a right to abortion-on-demand even broader than the right the U.S. Supreme Court recognized in its 1973 decision in Roe v. Wade, a point acknowledged by Justice William Barker in his dissent.

As a result of the 2000 ruling, Tennessee gained the distinction of being the “abortion capital of the Bible Belt,” eventually ranking third in the nation in the percentage of abortions performed for out-of-state women.

For 14 years, Tennesseans were powerless to pass the kinds of measures protecting the health of women and the lives of unborn children that surrounding states were beginning to adopt and that Tennessee residents presumably favored.

Amending a constitution never should be done for transient causes and will not be the best option in most cases. Nonetheless, the case in Tennessee can serve as an example for how citizens should approach their role in governing.

Citizens should pay attention to how laws are made. When a few people in a courtroom invent new rights and reign supreme, the public has a right to reclaim its role in our political system.

A Few More Hot Days Does Not Equal a Lot More Heat Waves - The Daily Signal

A Few More Hot Days Does Not Equal a Lot More Heat Waves

Kate Scanlon / Video Team / Genevieve Wood / Melissa Quinn / Norbert Michel / Kelsey Harkness / Lee Edwards / Josiah Lippincott / Kerry Hunt / David Kreutzer /

Whatever the combination of human and natural causes, the world has warmed by about 0.85 degrees Celsius (1.5 degrees Fahrenheit) over the last century or so.

During this time, there have been no increases in tornadoes, hurricanes, floods or droughts associated with this mild increase in world temperature. But much has been made about a dramatic increase in extreme heat and heat waves.

We should expect overall warming to contribute to some increase in the hottest temperatures, but the reporting often implies a dramatic increase in extreme heat. For instance a much-cited study asserts that 75 percent of heat extremes (defined to mean high temperatures that happen on average once every 1,000 days) are caused by the 0.85 degrees of global warming. Does that mean there would be 75 percent fewer extremely hot days if we hadn’t had the 0.85 degrees of global warming? No.

There are many more days when temperatures rise to within one degree of a day defined as “extremely hot” than there are days that actually meet the definition. So, adding a degree across the board will increase the number of days that can be considered “extremely hot” by hundreds of percent. This doesn’t mean we have more heat waves; it just means every day is a little hotter.

We can use a set of temperatures from the National Climatic Data Center to illustrate the misleading assertion of dramatic increases in extreme heat. The daily high temperature at Reagan National Airport for the roughly 5,600 days between Jan. 1, 2000, and April 30, 2015, had three days with temperatures exceeding 39 degrees C (a little over 102 degrees F). Using 39C as our threshold for extreme heat and adding 0.85 degrees to all the daily high temperatures (matching the amount of warming since the pre-industrial age) we would find 10 additional days that exceed the threshold for extreme heat.

So the number of days that can be considered extremely hot increases by more than 300 percent. But does that mean extreme heat waves tripled or more? No. All that has happened is each day is 0.85 degrees C warmer, and the 10 days in our record with temperatures between 38.15 degrees and 39 degrees are now above the threshold.

The same game could be played at the cold end of the spectrum. A temperature increase of 0.85 degrees C means 75 percent fewer “killer” cold days. Who wouldn’t favor that?

Bobby Jindal on Religious Liberty Order: ‘Don’t Waste Your Time Trying to Bully Me in Louisiana’ - The Daily Signal

Bobby Jindal on Religious Liberty Order: ‘Don’t Waste Your Time Trying to Bully Me in Louisiana’

Kate Scanlon / Video Team / Genevieve Wood / Melissa Quinn / Norbert Michel / Kelsey Harkness / Lee Edwards / Josiah Lippincott / Kerry Hunt / David Kreutzer / Kelsey Harkness /

Defying state legislators who rejected a measure that sought to protect “the right of conscience as it relates to marriage,” Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal acted on his own Tuesday.

“I’m going to do anything I can to protect religious liberty,” the Republican governor told The Daily Signal in a phone interview on Wednesday.

His executive order, issued after state legislators voted down the Louisiana Marriage and Conscience Act, prohibits “all departments, commissions, boards, agencies, and political subdivision of the state” from discriminating against people or businesses with deeply held religious beliefs about marriage.

“My executive order accomplishes the intent of the [Louisiana Marriage and Conscience Act]. It prevents the state from discriminating against people or their business with deeply held religious beliefs,” Jindal said.

The measure builds on a Religious Freedom Restoration Act that was enacted during Jindal’s first term as governor. The state of Louisiana, under a Constitutional amendment, also defines marriage strictly as the union between a man and a woman.

“I’m going to do anything I can to protect religious liberty,” -@BobbyJindal.

Critics say Jindal’s executive order, which will expire 60 days after the 2016 legislative session unless the next governor chooses to extend it, goes too far, enabling businesses to discriminate against same-sex couples.

“It flat out gives individuals a right to discriminate, period,” said Human Rights Campaign legal director Sarah Warbelow of the bill legislators rejected.

Critics also voiced concerns the measure could hurt tourism in the state.

In defending his executive order, Jindal said there are “actual examples” of states “discriminating against florists and others,” by taking away their basic rights to religious liberty and forcing them to pay “thousands of dollars in fines.”

Barronelle Stutzman, the florist Jindal was referring to in his example, owns a small flower shop in Washington state.

After refusing to make flower arrangements for a gay couple’s wedding because of her Christian beliefs about marriage, Stutzman faced two lawsuits, which have since been consolidated: One brought by the American Civil Liberties Union on behalf of the gay couple, and another brought by the state’s attorney general.

>>> Read More: State Says 70-Year-Old Flower Shop Owner Discriminated Against Gay Couple. Here’s How She Responded.

Jindal says his order would restrict the state from being able to carry out such lawsuits.

“Even if you don’t agree with me on the definition of marriage … you still should want those folks to have their rights—our rights to live the way we want,” he said.

Jindal, who is exploring a 2016 presidential bid, doesn’t shy away from his support for traditional marriage.

“I believe in the traditional definition of marriage,” he said. “Unlike President Obama and Hillary Clinton, my opinions are not evolving on this issue. But at the end of the day, this is even bigger than marriage.”

Jindal has criticized Obama on a number of occasions for issuing executive orders, most notably in regards to his decision to grant legal status to an estimated 5 million illegal immigrants.

“The President is lecturing us and not listening to us. He’s bypassing Congress, and ignoring the American people,” he said in a November statement last year. “Unilaterally granting amnesty to millions of illegal immigrants does nothing to solve our immigration problem, it only makes it worse.”

Defending his decision, Jindal said, “This is different. We’re simply trying to support people’s Constitutional rights.”

Ultimately, Jindal knows that not everyone agrees with his stance on marriage, which is why he believes his executive order was necessary.

“Don’t waste your breath trying to bully me in Louisiana,” -@BobbyJindal.

Jindal believes that both sides of the debate should be able to tolerate one another’s stance on marriage, but has a stern message for those who believe business owners must check their religious beliefs at the door:

“Don’t waste your breath trying to bully me in Louisiana,” he said. “It is absolutely constitutional to have religious liberty and economic freedoms.”