Links for 1-27-2017

  • Alexandra DeSanctis wrote a good account of the March for Life in Washington, D.C., including Mike Pence’s speech.

  • Donald Trump signed an executive order limiting immigration and refugees from Muslim countries with terrorism issues. The order also gives priority to Christian refugees from Syria.

  • Mitch McConnell indicated he’s not willing to invoke the nuclear option to get Donald Trump’s Supreme Court nominee approved.

  • GDP growth in 4Q16 slowed to 1.9%. For the full year, the economic growth rate was only 1.9%. The U.S. hasn’t seen a 3% annual economic growth rate since 2005.

  • People who support California’s secession are now collecting signatures to get a proposition on the ballot in 2019. The proposition, if approved, would remove clauses from the state’s constitution that declare California to be an inseparable part of the United States.

  • Robert Tracinski takes a New York Times science journalist to task for failing to even try to explain the math behind global warming temperature data:

    [Times reporter Justin] Gillis is right. There are a lot of different sets of data, and the issue is complex. So why didn’t he explain any of that complexity to readers of the New York Times? Because complexity leaves room for doubt, and on this issue, doubt cannot be permitted.

    Speaking of which, you’ll notice that I just quoted Roy Spencer, Richard Lindzen, and Judith Curry. Who are these people, just some crazy bloggers? Enemies of science? Dr. Spencer is a former NASA climatologist and now a principal research scientist at UAH. Dr. Lindzen is emeritus Alfred P. Sloan professor of meteorology at the Department of Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences at MIT, and Judith Curry was, until her retirement just a few weeks ago, chair of the School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at the Georgia Institute of Technology.

    A science journalist interested in an accurate, balanced assessment of the temperature data might talk to and quote people like this. The New York Times and other big mainstream media organizations long ago adopted an explicit policy of blacklisting these dissidents.

  • A federal district court judge blocked a Texas regulation requiring health care providers to bury or cremate babies:

    During two public hearings, department leaders heard stories of abortions, miscarriages, and general grief over losing a baby. While anti-abortion groups argued that the rule was a means to bring human dignity to the fetuses, reproductive rights advocates said the rule was another way for Texas to punish women who chose an abortion, saying the cost of the burials would be passed on to patients, making abortions harder to obtain for low-income Texans.

    During multi-day court hearings earlier this month, state attorneys said the rule was designed to provide aborted or miscarried fetuses a better resting place than a landfill. They also argued that there would be no cost for patients to worry about and only miniscule costs for providers. The state also said that there were multiple groups willing to help with costs.

    But Center for Reproductive Rights lawyers argued the rule had no public health merits and no clear directions on how it would work for providers. Providers who testified noted it was unclear if they would be on the hook for fines and disciplinary action from Texas if the nonprofit groups mishandled the fetuses. They also said separating fetuses away from other medical waste would likely mean an uptick in costs for transportation and new disposal procedures.

  • The Texas Supreme Court ruled that University of Texas System Regent Wallace Hall can’t sue UT System Chancellor Willliam McRaven to obtain records. That ends Hall’s investigation of corruption at UT, particularly since Governor Greg Abbott declined to nominate Hall to another term.

  • A cybersecurity specialist who works for Russia’s Federal Security Service, Sergei Mikhailov, was arrested and charged with leaking information to U.S. intelligence. Three other people have been charged in the case, including an employee at Kaspersky Labs, an antivirus and internet security software vendor.