The Culture Chronicle

The following list of events is a representative sample lifted from recent headlines and compiled in this format to offer some perspective concerning the current trends in our culture. Items included were selected at my sole discretion. Jim Whiddon.

March 2014

Greenpeace co-founder Patrick Moore has angered environmentalist groups after saying climate change is “not caused by humans” and there is “no scientific proof” to back global warming alarmism. (The Independent)

NYC mayor Bill de Blasio kept his campaign promise to teacher’s unions and refused to let three new charter schools open. The schools were previously approved to open by former mayor Michael Bloomberg. (Wall Street Journal)

Tim Cook, CEO of Apple – the US’ most valuable company – made an impassioned speech which included a request that climate change “deniers” refrain from buying his company’s stock.

Kadena Air Base, Japan. What is believed to be the first drag show on a US military base was thrown in support for the base’s recently formed OutServe-SLDN chapter, a nonprofit advocacy group for the army’s LGBT community. The expected crowd of 75 grew to 400 in attendance. (The Week)

Starting in 2015, the Boy Scouts of America’s policy banning adult leaders who are gay will cost the organization donations from the Walt Disney Co. (LA Times)

A basketball team in Canada made up of 10-year-old boys was disqualified from playing in their tournament championship game for being undefeated in a league which “de-emphasizes winning” while emphasizing equal participation. (The Blaze)

The Dalai Lama, a long time avowed Marxist, leads prayer in US Senate and gives speech at National Cathedral.

The scene outside a marijuana industry career fair in Denver “looked like a throwback to the Great Depression.” Thousands of people waited for hours with resumes in hand in a line that stretched several blocks. (CBS)

Lawrence Torcello, a philosophy professor with the Rochester Institute of Technology has called for the incarceration of any American who actively disagrees that climate change is solely caused by human activity. (

Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel announced that free condoms will be made available at 24 high schools. (CBS)

The widely released film, “Noah”, has zero mentions of God in its dialogue but “numerous dramatic fabrications and heavy-handed ecological doomsday” themes. (The Hollywood Reporter)

University of Oklahoma professor Gerald Gurney estimates that 10% of athletes in revenue-producing college sports read at less than a fourth grade level. (Real Sports)

Former President Jimmy Carter says he corresponds with foreign leaders the old-fashioned way – through snail mail – because he suspects his communications are watched by intelligence agencies. (Politico)

Poll indicates that 78% of Americans favor requirement of proof of citizenship in order to vote – up from 71% one year ago. (Rasmussen)

Senate Dems proposed “Shield Law” for news reporters is seen as “totally inconsistent with the notion of a free press and the First Amendment,” according to Senator John Cornyn (R) from Texas. Dems claim they have the votes to pass the controversial bill which would require “licensing” from the federal government. (Breitbart)

A George Mason University law professor was pepper sprayed in his classroom. Ironically, the school says he was teaching a unit on vigilantes. (ABC)

At a University of Michigan exhibition called “4000 Years for Choice”, abortion is referred to as the “life-sustaining act” of the ages. The display is dedicated to defending and glamorizing the history of abortion and runs though May 29. (The College Fix)

According to a study in Alcohol Treatment Quarterly, children who attend church regularly are less likely to experiment with alcohol and drugs.

White House looks to reduce cow flatulence as part of its climate agenda calling for a 25% reduction in methane gas from dairy farmers by 2020. (WSJ)

The Oxford Junior Dictionary has removed several words related to Christianity including “sin” as well as “bishop” “chapel” and “disciple”. (Daily Mail)


“Cast your burden upon the LORD and He will sustain you;

He will never allow the righteous to be shaken.”

PSALM 55:22

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17 replies
  1. Stephen B says:

    “Lawrence Torcello, a philosophy professor with the Rochester Institute of Technology has called for the incarceration of any American who actively disagrees that climate change is solely caused by human activity”

    Hi Jim. You seem to have quoted the above directly from infowars, rather than given your own opinion on the original piece. I’m sure you’ll agree that an important part of ‘wisdom’ is not taking things second-hand, especially from potentially biased sources. Here’s the original article by Torcello:

    What does Torcello actually argue? He says: “We have good reason to consider the funding of climate denial to be criminally and morally negligent. The charge of criminal and moral negligence ought to extend to all activities of the climate deniers who receive funding as part of a sustained campaign to undermine the public’s understanding of scientific consensus.”

    Now, whether you agree with this or not, a) he is clearly talking about people funding climate denial and ‘campaigning to undermine public understanding’, b) Torcello doesn’t mention incarceration or any specific penalty, and c) he refers only to ‘climate change denialism’. At no point does he discuss people who ‘disagree that climate change is solely caused by human activity’.

    To say he was referring to ‘any American who actively disagrees’ etc is misrepresenting what he said. In fact, in the article Torcello SPECIFICALLY makes a distinction between the two: “We must make the critical distinction between the protected voicing of one’s unpopular beliefs, and the funding of a strategically organised campaign to undermine the public’s ability to develop and voice informed opinions.”

    At best you can argue that ‘criminal negligence’ implies incarceration, but that’s a bit of a leap and still leaves two major inaccuracies.

    And now the media is full of articles inaccurately describing Torcello’s article, mostly apparently written by people who haven’t read it. This has lead to the philosopher receiving an avalanche of hate mail and even death threats (he estimated recently at over 700). One email told Torcello that he was a “FAGGOT” and that global warming was “A LIE STRAIGHT FROM THE JEWS”. “DIE you maggot,” read another.

    Climate denialist Lord Monckton wrote an open letter to Torcello’s college questioning whether he was a “fit and proper person to hold any academic post at the Institute”. Ironically, Monckton had in the past actually said climate change scientists SHOULD be imprisoned: “So to the bogus scientists who have produced the bogus science that invented this bogus scare I say, we are coming after you. We are going to prosecute you, and we are going to lock you up.” Where were the libertarians castigating Monckton for that?

    • Jim says:

      Stephen, the professor I cited as well as the candidate you cited and Monkton are all out of line with their criminal penalties stance – whether incarceration or only fines. For anyone to recommend such punishment for having a particular personal opinion or position on an issue is not the America as designed by the Founders. It is “1984” as depicted by George Orwell. So whether it is a Republican politician talking about homosexuality or a professor ranting about climate change deniers, we still have freedom of speech and association in this country and no one should be suggesting that imposing criminal penalties for exercising those rights is in any way appropriate – no matter how controversial or offensive. To do so is not only wrong, but dangerous. (And death threats are NEVER justified.)

      Concerning Torcello’s article comments, I would ask you to consider the difficulties with the assumptions he makes and ask the following questions:

      Could those who financially support such groups also be considered complicit and fall under Professor Torcello’s criminal negligence accusation? I am not aware of where climate change deniers would receive “funding” if not from individuals who believe the same way. (Does the government provide funding? I am unaware.)

      Who gets to determine and/or define WHO is “undermining the public’s understanding of scientific consensus”?

      What is the definition of a climate change denier if it is not someone who believes that humans are not the sole cause of it?

      Who gets to decide what the “unpopular beliefs” are?

      Finally, I would offer this excerpt from “On Liberty” by John Stuart Mill, circa mid1800s: “If all mankind minus one, were of one opinion, and only one person were of the contrary opinion, mankind would be no more justified in silencing that one person, than he, if he had the power, would be justified in silencing mankind.”

      • Stephen B says:

        “Concerning Torcello’s article comments…”

        Jim, we could have a long discussion about the rights and wrongs of what he said. But I wasn’t trying to defend it or convince you he was right. My point was only that the sentence you quoted completely MISREPRESENTED that article. I pointed out how, and I don’t believe you’ve said anything to undermine that point.

        You had a couple of objections: “What is the definition of a climate change denier if it is not someone who believes that humans are not the sole cause of it?”

        One can disagree that climate change is SOLELY caused by human activity and still believe that human activity is having a dangerous effect. ‘Solely caused by’ means ‘100%’, whereas most people understand that other causes are involved to some degree, including myself. They’re not all deniers and neither am I. ‘Climate change denier’ generally refers to someone who claims humans have NO effect on climate change, or who claims climate change (in the sense popularly used) isn’t occurring at all. So it’s false to say Torcello was referring to everyone apart from those who think man is the ONLY cause of climate change.

        ” I am not aware of where climate change deniers would receive “funding” if not from individuals who believe the same way”

        Jim, the infowars quote said: “…any American who actively disagrees”, not “…any American who funds”. Big difference. In logical terms, ‘believing the same way’ would be necessary but not sufficient*. The former suggests it includes someone merely voicing an opinion in a bar or internet forum, and as I pointed out, Torcello EXPLICITLY said he was not saying that: “We must make the critical distinction between the protected voicing of one’s unpopular beliefs, and the funding…”. He EXPLICITLY said he wasn’t talking about merely voicing beliefs, so to say he was is simply lying, regardless of whether you disagree with what he WAS saying.

        *[leaving aside that one can fund denialism even if you actually believe in it, in the same way the tobacco industry could deny a cigarette/cancer link even if it privately accepted it]

      • Stephen B says:

        “What is the definition of a climate change denier if it is not someone who believes that humans are not the sole cause of it?”

        If it helps, it’s the difference between the following two positions:
        a) Cigarettes have no link to cancer
        b) One cannot say that EVERY SINGLE instance of cancer is caused by cigarettes.

        To further the analogy, the difference between Torcello’s position and how infowars portrayed his position, is that:
        1) Torcello was discussing criminal negligence for groups (and their funders) who push position (a) for financial gain,
        2) infowars claimed Torcello was saying anyone AT ALL who merely voiced position (b) should go to prison.

        In other words, a different group of people, a different position, and a different penalty.

        • Louie says:

          Stephen & Jim:

          This whole conversation seems crazy to me. If our government started to criminalize people who push something for financial gain, I think 90% of government officials would be behind bars. It is my opinion that Al Gore pushed global warming for financial gain. So, now we call it “climate change” instead, which is a stupid term. When was the climate not changing? Perhaps in the garden of eden? Anyway, I cringe when I hear about more laws & enforcement, since I firmly believe that any time you give up freedoms for security/safety, you soon will have neither.

          • Stephen B says:

            “This whole conversation seems crazy to me”

            Louie, whether or not you agree with Torcello is beside the point – the issue I brought up was that inforwars and other organisations lied about Torcello’s position, the lie got repeated on dozens of other websites, such as this one (possibly in good faith) leading to Torcello getting death threats for things he never actually said.

          • Louie says:

            In todays social media driven world, it almost impossible to keep a story from getting twisted. I agree its not right, but unfortunately it is a chance you take when you open your mouth these days. I bet these guys at Cross Examined are familiar with this “misquoting” phenomena as well.

  2. Saskatoon says:

    Well, I’ve never liked or trusted Apple or Buddhist Steve Jobs, and I’ve known forever that there is something drastically wrong with Disney (take a closer look at “Frozen,” for example.) One thing I do know is that Jesus is Lord and that His return is going to be glorious!

    • Louie says:

      I don’t know anything about Frozen, but you don’t need to look there to see that Disney is not the company that is used to be. Just look into the companies they own and products they put out as a whole. I think Walt would be disappointed.

      • Stephen B says:

        “I think Walt would be disappointed”

        To be fair, there’s evidence that Disney held pretty unpleasant views about Jews and black people, perhaps we shouldn’t be that concerned about what he’d be disappointed by. However, I’m pretty sure he’d be delighted that Frozen has become the most successful animated film of all time.

        • Louie says:

          I was referring to the perception that Walt Disney has in regards to being child friendly. That is certainly not the case when you look at their portfolio.

          • Louie says:

            Just one small example. Disney->ABC->ESPN. Why can’t I watch a game with my kids, without muting/channel changing to protect them from? Even during the middle of the day? I would think with 80% ownership and their persona, they could make that better. Their video game associations irritate me as well, but we are way off topic here, so I won’t keep going.

          • Stephen B says:

            Sorry Louie, I’m still none the wiser! My wife took my eldest daughter to see Frozen and they both loved it, by the way.

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