Scheer’s middle-class roots make him ‘perfect foil’ to Justin Trudeau for Tories

first_imgIt’s a pattern of miscalculation that Marshall says has been a common theme for Scheer since entering politics.“There’s this long history of people underestimating Andrew and him overcoming the expectations,” Marshall said in an interview with The Canadian Press.Scheer, 40, is now the leader of the Conservative Party of Canada and is in a race with a much higher office at the finish line.And although his Conservative party was soundly defeated four years ago under the leadership of Stephen Harper, who had become deeply unpopular in many regions of the country, Scheer and his team believe they have a real chance at victory.Advertisement He spoke too quickly back then, recalls Conservative Sen. Denise Batters with a laugh. Her late husband Dave Batters, also from Saskatchewan, was also a rookie member of Parliament with Scheer in 2004.When she first heard Scheer was challenging the NDP’s Nystrom for the seat in Regina-Qu’Appelle, Batters says she was among those who didn’t believe he could beat the veteran MP.“I thought, ‘Well, good for you,’ but I thought ‘That’s going to be a bit of a tough one,’ ” she says.The same thing happened when Scheer sought — and won — the speakership of the House of Commons in 2011. At 32, he became the youngest person in the chamber’s history to hold the title.“A lot of people said, ‘Are you kidding? We’re never going to have a speaker that young,’” says Carleton MP Pierre Poilievre, who was also was elected to Parliament at the same time as Scheer.Advertisement OTTAWA — It was a hot August day in 2003 when Conservative campaign manager Hamish Marshall first learned not to underestimate Andrew Scheer.It was Scheer’s wedding day and Marshall was a guest, sitting at a table with a few well-to-do Regina businessmen, when talk about Scheer’s future began.At the time, the 24-year-old Scheer had recently moved to Saskatchewan and was working at an insurance company, waiting tables on the side.- Advertisement -During one of the wedding speeches, someone mentioned young Scheer had ambitions to run for public office — which caused the businessmen to emit a few quiet chortles.“Oh, well isn’t that cute,” Marshall recalls them saying to one another.  Nine months later, Scheer was elected a member of Parliament, first beating a player for the popular Saskatchewan Roughriders for the Conservative nomination, then winning the Regina-Qu’Appelle riding from NDP MP Lorne Nystrom, the longest-serving member in the House of Commons at the time.Advertisement Caucus members and party insiders say Scheer’s thoughtful and measured approach, his ability to build consensus among his team and his more humble beginnings make him the perfect foil to Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau on the campaign trail. Trudeau was born when his father Pierre was prime minister, grew up in material comfort, and has been something of a celebrity his whole life.Scheer’s more down-to-earth beginnings have become a key talking point for his team and for Scheer himself, especially as he criss-crossed the country in the weeks leading up to the election campaign’s official start.During a speech in Cape Breton in August, Scheer told supporters about his vision for a “new Conservative government” that would create a country in which “a kid who grew up in a townhouse in a family who didn’t own a car, whose grandparents lived in a two-room house with nine children on a dirt road in rural, now suburban, Toronto — can stand in a room like this, running to be the next prime minister of Canada.”Barely glancing at his prepared remarks, Scheer appeared jovial and at ease at the podium in Cape Breton — a polish that Marshall admits has taken time to achieve as the father of five evolved from being a young MP to a party leader.Born in Ottawa to a nurse and a newspaper librarian, Scheer finished his undergraduate degree in Saskatchewan and then ran for Parliament there in 2004.Advertisement “I think they’d underestimated how many relationships he had built across party lines, how much respect he had earned as a hard worker and a thoughtful parliamentarian.”Batters says Scheer and his team used a similar approach in 2017 when he ran to become leader of the Conservative party as he did when he ran for Speaker: appealing to Tories as a “solid second choice” in the ranked-ballot vote.It worked. He trailed from the first ballot but eked out a win on the 13th against the frontrunner, Quebec MP Maxime Bernier. He became the second leader ever of the modern Conservative Party of Canada, following the 2003 merger of the Canadian Alliance and Progressive Conservatives.Since then, he has used his steady, quiet approach to keep the party from churning into a mess of internal squabbles — an achievement party insiders are quick to highlight, in light of the party’s history of splintering after electoral defeats.They don’t count Bernier’s dramatic departure last year. He quit the party, calling it “morally corrupt” under Scheer’s leadership, and started his own, libertarian political party that some believe could split the right in some key battleground ridings.Scheer’s boosters note that Bernier did not entice any other Conservative MPs or senators to follow him, “and nobody was tempted,” Marshall insists.“He (Bernier) had six or seven caucus members supporting him in the leadership and none of them were even vaguely tempted to go that way.”Now, with a number of polls suggesting the Conservatives are in a virtual dead heat with the Liberals as voting day draws near, Scheer’s campaign manager and members of his team say they believe Scheer’s many unexpected past victories give them plenty of reason to believe he can lead the Conservatives to electoral success on Oct. 21.Marshall admits the party’s chances look a lot better than some may have anticipated after its defeat just four years ago, or when Scheer took over. Marshall rejects any notion that Scheer was ever out to be a caretaker leader, quietly rebuilding the party and preparing it for someone else to take to power — Scheer has always been in it to win.“That’s always been his goal, but I think other people can see that there’s a path forward,” Marshall says.Now, the focus is on remaining disciplined and staying on message — using Scheer’s middle-class roots to sell him to Canadians as the opposite of Trudeau.“We’ve got a prime minister who’s a showhorse, a sort of celebrity who plays the role of prime minister. He’s world-famous and comes from a world-renowned political family dynasty. And he’s running against this working-class kid from suburban Ottawa, ” Poilievre says.“I think a lot of people miscalculate and underestimate Scheer’s ability to connect with real people, even though he’s not a superstar with the political establishment.”Batters echoes  these sentiments, describing Scheer as the “perfect foil to Justin Trudeau,” and “the kind of person you would want to have a beer with in your backyard.”Recalling his first speech to the Conservative caucus after winning the leadership, Batters says she was struck by the quote he chose to recite from John Diefenbaker, in which the former prime minister (and Ontario-to-Saskatchewan migrant) unapologetically declared he was “criticized for being too much concerned with the average Canadians. I can’t help that; I am one of them.”“That is Andrew, too, and I was really glad he used that because I thought it was very telling of what his leadership would be,” Batters said.“He lives and understands middle class Canadians. He doesn’t just talk middle class. And that’s partly because of his upbringing.”—Follow @ReporterTeresa on Twitter.Teresa Wright, The Canadian Presslast_img read more

Half-time: Man Utd 0 QPR 0

first_imgWith new manager Harry Redknapp watching from the stands, QPR made a resolute start at Old Trafford.Redknapp inherits a struggling team from Mark Hughes, whose team selection – made before he was fired on Friday morning – reflected the Welshman’s desire to get back to basics with the help of Rangers’ most trusted players.Esteban Granero was dropped to the bench along with Anton Ferdinand, Junior Hoilett and Samba Diakite.Stalwarts Clint Hill, Shaun Derry and Jamie Mackie were given starting places, while Stephane Mbia returned from a three-match ban.The changes had a noticeable effect, with Rangers much more solid than their thrown-together band of big-name signings have been so far this season.A great last-ditch challenge by Derry thwarted Paul Scholes, while Robin van Persie and Ashley Young both fired wide as United dominated much of the first half.Rangers threatened on the counter-attack and had the ball in the net when Mackie headed in, but the effort was rightly ruled out for offside.QPR: Julio Cesar, Dyer, Hill, Nelsen, Mbia, Traore, Derry, Faurlin, Mackie, Taarabt, Cisse. Subs: Green, Diakite, Ferdinand, Wright-Phillips, Granero, Ephraim, Hoilett.Click here for the QPR v Man Utd 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 Follow West London Sport on TwitterFind us on Facebooklast_img read more

Lawsuit Halts ID in Philosophy Class: Will it Backfire?

first_imgDoes this sound like a rabid Christian fundamentalist with an agenda, out to force her narrow religious beliefs down the throats of unsuspecting high school students?  Good grief.  The Darwin Party hypocrites have been telling us for years that ID was OK in philosophy, social studies, history or religion – just not in biology class, but look at what they do when someone takes them up on it.  This innocent little class in a minor rural town with 13 students and a mild-mannered teacher wanted to talk about “Philosophy of Design” and develop critical thinking skills, and the Darwin dogmatists went paranoid.  When will they realize this smells like the Inquisition?  The very people who preach against dogmatism are the most intolerant of all, worrying about the “hidden agenda” and the “camel’s nose under the tent,” as if high school students are so stupid, so incapable of reasoning, that they cannot handle the thought that Darwinism is not the infallible idol its priests say it is.  Teaching ID as philosophy should be completely non-threatening to evolutionists.  The action of this school made perfect sense to William Dembski, who called this a step in the right direction.    One other thing.  The class was not ordered to end immediately.  It was allowed to complete its five-week run.  As part of the out-of-court settlement, the school agreed never again to offer a course that promotes creationism, creation science or intelligent design.  Sounds like an utter defeat for ID and a complete victory for the Darwinists, but Lemburg explains that she never intended to “promote” ID or creationism in the first place.  For all their gloating, the Darwin-Only-Darwin-Only DODOs won a hollow victory here, and earned a reputation as Inquisitors out to hunt down heretics, as hypocrites saying one thing then doing another, as dogmatists fearful of exposing their pet theory to scrutiny.    School boards interested in getting this important debate a hearing on their campuses should not be alarmed by what happened in Frazier Park or Dover, because “teaching the controversy” is backed by the full force of the United States Congress and the President.  It is the law of the land.  For vital information on why teaching the controversy is legal and constitutional, get this must-see video by Phillip Johnson that explains it all: “One Nation Under Darwin,” available from Access Research Network.(Visited 22 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0 Exclusive  Picture this: a small community high school nestled in the mountains far north of the big city of Los Angeles.  A gentle, silver-haired schoolteacher who wouldn’t hurt a fly, who coaches soccer, loves teenagers and takes her time-consuming and non-lucrative job, which she has done for many years, seriously, and is well liked by students.  A trailer outfitted as a classroom next to the agricultural center, with a bed sheet as a projection screen, a small projector, a whiteboard and some desks.  A rooster crowing outside.  13 students from ordinary American families who live in a small mountain town (population 2348) with no mall, one main street, and two hardware stores.  This little classroom ignited a national legal firestorm that reverberated briefly around the country, and caught the attention of reporters as far away as Romania and India.  What happened?  Why did it become the subject of a documentary in progress?  Simply put: one teacher decided to offer an elective class called “Philosophy of Design” that included discussions of intelligent design and critical thinking about evolution.    Though this story began in December, it was in the news all month.  You can read about it on CBS News, the LA Times, the Tri-Valley Herald, ABC News, the Tacoma News Tribune, LiveScience, MSNBC #1 and #2, and Fox News.  They will tell you that the school was sued by Americans United for Separation of Church and State on the grounds that the class violated constitutional prohibitions against teaching creationism in public schools, and that a group of parents joined in the suit, and that the school acquiesced and agreed to stop the class.  Another victory, in other words, for science over religion.  Even the pro-ID Discovery Institute pressured the school to drop the class, according to Evolution News, and praised the school when it did so (see Discovery Institute press release).    As usual, there is more to the story, so we visited the school to find out.  Sharon Lemburg, the teacher under fire, is wife of the pastor of the local Assembly of God church in town.  She has taught at Frazier Mountain High School for years in subjects like special ed, history, and social studies.  The school offers an annual intersession elective program between semesters.  Noting that previous intersession electives included subjects like Mythology and Comparative Religions, she volunteered to teach a new class on “Philosophy of Design” in which she hoped to expose interested students to this high-profile subject that is being debated in school boards around the country.  A reporter had visited her church after the class had been announced.  The sermon was on Proverbs 3:5-6, an oft-quoted and well-loved passage among all Jews and Christians: Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will direct your paths.  After developing a comfortable conversational relationship with the teacher, the reporter got Lemburg to say that “this was the class I felt the Lord wanted me to teach.”  That was the sound bite the reporter needed: Teacher claims God told her to teach class on intelligent design echoed around the world.    Another incident contributed to how the media reported the story.  Lemburg had delivered to the principal a rough outline of the class, for his comments and suggestions.  This version of the outline was never adopted, never voted on, never agreed on, and never formed the basis of the curriculum, yet found its way on news reports and blogs all over the internet.  It included a predominance of pro-ID resources, books and tapes, including some from a young-earth creationist perspective.  A scientist in town named Ken Hurst, who works at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory and acts as lead mentor for the school’s robotics team, got hold of this initial outline and was incensed.  He wrote a strong letter to the principal, that was subsequently printed in the local paper, explaining his reasons why the class should be canceled because, in his opinion, intelligent design is masqueraded creationism, a religiously-motivated belief that is not science.  Energized by the Dover case and other rulings about creationism, he proceeded to organize 11 parents and, with the willing cooperation of Americans United for Separation of Church and State, obtained a temporary restraining order and filed a lawsuit to stop the class on the grounds that this was “the camel’s nose under the tent” to undermine science teaching at the high school.  The teacher, the principal, the superintendent and the board of trustees of the school were named as defendants.  Needless to say, these actions created a firestorm of debate in the small community (with no small number supportive of the class).  Letters to the editor varied from polarized views to others calling for peace and understanding.    What some reporters omitted was that the revised outline was much different: much more balanced, with recommended resources from both sides, including all eight hours of the PBS series Evolution.  Nevertheless, the pro-ID Discovery Institute sent a lawyer to the community who strongly urged them to withdraw the class, because by having introduced young-earth creationist materials it was misrepresenting what intelligent design means.  When he saw the revised outline, however, he praised it highly.  Still, he saw legal vulnerabilities in the case due to the apparent advocacy of creationism in the initial planning, though the curriculum in its final form was perfectly defensible.  The school acquiesced and agreed to withdraw the class.  “School District Waves the White Flag,” reported Fox News.  The Contra Costa Times was disappointed, feeling the school board gave in too much.  Believing that a philosophy class (though not a science class) was an appropriate venue for discussing such issues, they hoped other schools would “not follow in the footsteps of El Tejon’s educational leaders,” because “Our society will only become more polarized if the next generations don’t realize that issues have more than one side.”  Even the Hammer of Truth blog, no friend of ID, thought philosophy was an appropriate venue and that the lawsuit was overboard.    Evolution News, a blog of the Discovery Institute focused on media bias on the ID issue, took the media and the anti-ID PACs to task for hypocrisy.  Robert Crowther quoted Barry Lynn, president of Americans United for Separation of Church and State, having stating earlier that “when it comes to matters of religion and philosophy, they [ID issues] can be discussed objectively in public schools, but not in biology class.”  Here was a case of ID in a philosophy class, and not even that was tolerated.  The AU’s Legal Director Ayesha Khan gloated that the decision “sends a strong signal to school districts across the country that they cannot promote creationism or intelligent design as an alternative to evolution whether they do so in a science class or a humanities class.”  To Crowther, this represents the ultimate in censorship.  “Now, we have Lynn and other Darwinists on a crusade to make sure that students will never even know that a theory called intelligent design was ever discussed anywhere,” he said.There are some things you should know in interpreting this story.None of the plaintiffs had students in the class.The class was an elective between semesters.  No one was required to take it.  The students all chose to be there, when they could have been out snowboarding, playing sports or hanging out with their friends.The parents all signed permission slips for their teens to take the class.The class had the full support of the principal, the superintendent, and a majority of the board of directors.While the final syllabus did contain a number of intelligent design videos and books on the list of suggested resources, it also included all eight hours of the PBS Evolution series, a video interview with paleontologist James W. Valentine, a presentation from the University of California Museum of Paleontology, and the textbook Evolution vs. Creation by Eugenie Scott (as recommended by Ken Hurst).The syllabus listed no resources promoting young-earth creationism, but only asked one question: “How does Intelligent Design differ from Creationism? and how is it similar?”  (Lest this item beg the question that young-earth creationism is somehow evil or unconstitutional, see what ID leader Phillip Johnson said about it on Touchstone, May 2004).Almost all the students are Christians, and none are staunch evolutionists, so they were not being subjected to unwelcome or forced instruction about creationism or ID.  If anything, their beliefs were subject to challenge by the pro-evolutionary material.The final syllabus used in the class states, “This class is not meant to guide you into a certain belief, but to allow you to search, become aware of the differences, and gain a better understanding of world views on origins.”  It also specified that “Equal and balanced instruction will be given on all philosophies.”The students appear unanimously upset at the reaction by those opposed to the class.  One is taking it upon herself to write newspapers around the country expressing her displeasure with the censorship imposed by evolutionists on this class. She wants to set the record straight on what was taught.The teacher invited a pro-evolution biology PhD from UCLA to teach for a day.  He spent a lot of time talking about the Miller experiment (see 05/02/2003 story).  Several of the students said that he dodged their questions.Lemburg explained her intentions in a letter published in the local paper.  After explaining what she meant by her statement “this is the class that the Lord wanted me to teach,” she wrote on January 8,My motives were honest and sincere, in that all I desired was to present an educational experience to give the students an opportunity to hear and study about the philosophers of design, to be able to critically analyze them and to learn to examine the opinions or philosophies and to weigh them…to ask who made the statement, what is their bias, what is their philosophy, what evidence do they bring?    Each student in my class will have the opportunity to hear and study philosophies concerning the origin of life.  These ideas represent atheistic, agnostic, liberal and Christian views. We are looking at the ways these views have shaped and changed our world views, and I am challenging these students to know what they think and what those thoughts are based on.  To know it because they believe it, not because someone else says ‘it is so,’ but to become critical thinkers who can express their own beliefs.last_img read more

Future of South Africa’s arts in good hands

first_imgFrom left, Bokani Dyer, Nandipha Mntambo,Ben Schoeman, Mamela Nyamza andNeil Coppen.(Image: Suzy Bernstein) The striking art of Nandipha Mntambois created from cowhide.(Image: The Volta Show)MEDIA CONTACTS • Gilly HemphillThe Famous Idea Trading Company+27 21 886 4900 or +27 82 820 8584Chris ThurmanFor any South African feeling gloomy about the state of the nation, the plight of the continent, the receding world economy or any other anxiety-invoking subject, attending the annual Standard Bank Young Artist Awards ceremony should be prescribed as an antidote.Now in its 27th year, this collection of awards acknowledges both the past achievements and future potential of artists under the age of 35 in the categories of visual arts, film, dance, drama, classical music and jazz.Recipients are given a monetary prize, but perhaps more valuable is the platform that the awards provide for promoting each artist’s work; the awards have always been associated with the National Arts Festival in Grahamstown and the winners feature prominently in the annual festival programme.The list of former recipients reads like a veritable who’s who in the South African arts community – artist William Kentridge, musician Johnny Clegg, mezzo-soprano Sibongile Khumalo, actors Paul Slabolepszy and Richard E Grant, and director Darrell Roodt, to name just a few.Distinguished winnersThe Young Artists for 2011, announced in late October, have a keen awareness of the prestige of the award.Jazzman Bokani Dyer summed it up in his acceptance speech: “The previous winners are all musicians whom I admire and respect … so this award is a great honour.”In similar vein, theatre-maker Neil Coppen admitted that he had often felt envious of previous winners, and that receiving the award had long been an ambition of his.The sense of continuity between Young Artists past and present was reinforced by the participation of previous recipients such as 2010 music award winner and violinist Samson Diamond, and 1982 theatre award winner Janice Honeyman, the evening’s compère.Indeed, varieties of continuity – both expected and unexpected – developed into the underlying theme of the evening.One such variety was the continuity between childhood dreams and their realisation through the support of family members. It is, of course, something of a cliché to begin an acceptance speech with the words, “I’d like to thank my parents …”. Yet there was nothing trite about the tributes paid by each of the Young Artist recipients to parents, grandparents, siblings and wider family who provided an environment in which their artistic talents could be nurtured.Dance winner Mamela Nyamza recalled how her grandmother, a domestic worker, made it possible for her to attend ballet lessons. Dyer pointed out that his father Steve is a seasoned jazz muso.Coppen jokingly thanked his parents for “not making me play rugby” – but the light-hearted allusion was nonetheless a reminder that there are many young people whose school experiences are tainted by widely-held prejudices in favour of sport and against the arts.Music recipient Ben Schoeman, who is passionate about the role that classical music can play in education, emphasised a different form of continuity by connecting South African students to Ludwig van Beethoven. In his acceptance speech Schoeman showed how, through a series of teacher-pupil relationships and over many generations, the famous German composer can be associated with those who have studied music at the University of South Africa.Such local/global continuity was echoed in the visual arts category. Award winner Nandipha Mntambo has pioneered the use of cowhide as a material for sculpture and in her photographic self-portraits she uses bovine images to provoke the viewer into questioning divisions between humans and animals, as well as between men and women. Cattle have a significant symbolic status in South Africa, but this is not unique: as Mntambo noted, they are central to myths and religions all over the world.Previous generations of South African artists have experienced acutely the tension between local and global commitments. For these Young Artists, however, the two are by no means mutually exclusive. Each of them is already well-travelled and has studied, exhibited work or performed internationally; the award will facilitate the growth of their reputation outside of South Africa’s borders as much as within the country.Supporter of the artsStandard Bank has been in the news of late for all the wrong reasons – sustained low revenues have forced the company to retrench over 1 500 staff members – and as a result it faces numerous public relations challenges.The bank’s long-term sponsorship of the arts in South Africa, particularly its association with the National Arts Festival, is doubtless one of its major assets in terms of public image, yet suggestions that the bank will reduce its sponsorship portfolio as part of a spate of cost-cutting measures do not augur well for the continuation of that relationship. If this does prove to be the case, it will be a great pity.But all may not be lost – in the words of Standard Bank’s head of arts and jazz sponsorship, Mandie van der Spuy, “As a bank we are dedicated to nurturing arts talent in South Africa, and we believe that the awards play a vital role in advancing the artists’ careers as well as our country’s cultural heritage.”Van der Spuy added that the Young Artist award plays a key role in the bank’s commitment to developing upcoming South African talent.last_img read more

Consumer help: post, parcels, mail

first_imgYou can report postal complaints, postal crime, track- and trace missing letters or parcels online, and give customer service-related inquiries to the following postal service providers:You can make use of the South African Post Office or Postnet to send or receive parcels or mail. (Image: Post OfficeThe South African Post Office is the national postal service provider. Its services include local and international mail, courier services, stamps, paying bills, and third- party payments.You can also do various transactions via the website, such as tracking your parcel, renewing your post box, and buy stamps. You can locate a branch or search the online postal code directory.If you wish to complain about the service you have received, first contact the manager of the branch. If that fails to resolve the problem, call the national call centre or fill in the feedback form on the website.Website: call centre: 0860 111 502PostNetPostNet is South Africa’s largest privately owned counter network in the document and parcel industry, with owner-managed retail stores. It is best to complain directly to the store’s manager if you are disatisfied. There is also a online contact form on the website.Website: you like to use this article in your publication or on your website? See Using Brand South Africa material.last_img read more

Activists’ cage-free egg plot scrambled

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest The demand for “cage-free” eggs has risen in recent years, as more food processors, retailers and restaurant chains are seeking to meet consumer demand. A recent court ruling, however, reveals a crack in leading claims activists have made regarding nutrition and food safety.Activists claimed that eggs from caged hens aren’t as nutritious or safe as eggs from cage-free hens. They have asserted that eggs from caged hens carry a higher risk of Salmonella, and even pushed for labeling based on production practice. But their claims, largely grounded in pseudoscience, took a blow in February, when a three-judge panel for the 9th Circuit Court ruled in favor of federal food safety agencies on a suit regarding egg carton labeling.The court ruled the plaintiffs failed to prove a causal connection between caged hens and either nutrition or food safety. Studies activists presented on Salmonella failed to control for non-housing variables, such as flock sizes, building ages, geography, sampling sizes and history of Salmonella. Other than production method, the nutritional studies failed to control for diet, location, hen age or breed. The case and ruling were unique, as these kinds of pseudoscience-based claims rarely find their way into courts for a thorough review of claims and counter-claims.Criticism of animal housing systems is nothing new, and neither is use of pseudoscience to promote an activist agenda. To influence food choices and public policy, activists promote pseudoscience claims that rely on half-truths, misinterpretations of facts, made-up information and manipulation. This presents a particular challenge for agriculture, in part because consumers lack an understanding of various production methods and the science behind animal health and safety.For example, one popular national restaurant chain introduced a marketing campaign featuring a “no-no” list of chemicals and ingredients with long names. Among them were tocopherol and ascorbic acid. Tocopherol is vitamin E, and naturally found in vegetable oils, nuts, fish and leafy green vegetables. Ascorbic acid is vitamin C. While any vitamin or nutrient can have negative health effects if over-consumed or used in the wrong form, the restaurant’s campaign further spread a fear of complex words.The speed at which claims flow through both traditional and social media, and lapse into “facthood” compounds the challenge of combatting pseudoscience. Bogus claims often are cited and repeated as if they are facts. For example, a 2006 United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization report, called “Livestock’s long shadow,” greatly exaggerated claims about the impact of livestock production on greenhouse gas emissions, especially in comparison to transportation. The report received global coverage by major news organizations, and statistics from the report are still cited frequently in newspapers, magazines, TV and radio news, and across social media. Critical aspects of the study ultimately were debunked and its authors admitted its flaws, yet erroneous information from the study is still cited, because previous news stories and social media posts continue to increase the study’s prominence in online searches.Pseudoscience is used to make claims on nutrition, food safety and environmental impact, solely because the styles or means of production sound green, sustainable, humane or aesthetically desirable. While some claims may be true, good science and facts often portray real, but different, stories.One challenge for American agriculture is not so much about providing the facts or science behind production practices, but in relating stories with emotional appeal to consumers in a way that can be heard above pseudoscience agendas.last_img read more