My name is Fred and I am a gay conservative living in Ottawa. This blog supports limited government, the right of the State of Israel to live in peace and security, and tries to expose the threat to us all from cultural relativism, post-modernism, and radical Islam. I am also the founder of the Free Thinking Film Society in Ottawa (

Friday, April 29, 2005

Is this hatred or stupidity?

Sometimes I don't know whether to laugh or to cry.
Republican Alabama lawmaker Gerald Allen says homosexuality is an unacceptable lifestyle. As CBS News Correspondent Mark Strassmann reports, under his bill, public school libraries could no longer buy new copies of plays or books by gay authors, or about gay characters.

"I don't look at it as censorship," says State Representative Gerald Allen. "I look at it as protecting the hearts and souls and minds of our children."

Books by any gay author would have to go: Tennessee Williams, Truman Capote and Gore Vidal. Alice Walker's novel "The Color Purple" has lesbian characters.

Allen originally wanted to ban even some Shakespeare. After criticism, he narrowed his bill to exempt the classics, although he still can't define what a classic is. Also exempted now Alabama's public and college libraries.
When I see stuff like this I just cringe.

The politics of naming a sports team...

Sometimes, legislators have too much time on their hands...
he state Assembly on Thursday approved a bill that would bar public schools, including Colusa High School, from using Redskins as a nickname for their sports teams.

By a 41-32 vote, lawmakers approved AB 13 by Assemblywoman Jackie Goldberg, D-Los Angeles, which would impose the ban starting Jan. 1, 2007. The legislation now goes to the Senate.

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger vetoed virtually the same bill last year, saying that the decision of what to call teams should be left to local school officials.

But Goldberg said Redskins was a derogatory term for Native Americans.

"I do not believe for a minute that anybody intended to be harmful when they selected those names, but the lack of malicious intent does not mean it does no harm," she said.

The bill's opponents said they hadn't heard any complaints from Indian tribes in their districts and that the Legislature had more important issues to deal with.

"This is political correctness run amok," said Assemblyman Dave Cogdill, R-Modesto.

Here's a Kyoto plan we could support...

Now, here's a serious Kyoto plan.
Japan's Cabinet ministers have agreed to go without neckties and jackets from June to September in a major drive to save energy in government offices.

In the drive to save energy as part of the Kyoto protocol requirements, the ministers and officials of ministries and agencies will be asked to wear no neckties and jackets to save on air-conditioning energy.

The ministers reportedly plan to ask Diet politicians to follow suit so that legislators could debate in the Diet building during the summer.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Hiroyuki Hosoda said on Thursday that ministers would not wear neckties during Cabinet meetings and regular press conferences.

Thursday, April 28, 2005

My God, he sounds like Martin...

Gee, isn't Jack Layton sounding like Martin and the Liberals?
NDP Leader Jack Layton, attempting to protect his budget deal, said Conservative Leader Stephen Harper will be "getting into bed" with the separatists if he forces an election.

Talking to reporters in Halifax, Layton said voting against the budget would put at risk Atlantic offshore revenue deals for Nova Scotia and Newfoundland and Labrador, worth billions.

"The Atlantic Accord could be at risk if Mr. Harper calls an election because Mr. Harper will be getting into bed with the separatists who didn't support the Atlantic accord after any election happens," Layton said.
Gee, last week Layton didn't like the budget and was prepared to vote against it. Now, after getting $4.6 billion of goodies, if you don't vote for it, you're supporting the separatists. Does this man have any principles?

A student beats the CBC at analysis...

Here's a student at Iowa State University who's actually able to go beyond 'gender equity' statistics to do some analysis. Wish the CBC could do the same.
I have mowed a lawn once in my life. It took me twice as long as it usually takes my father, and when I had finished, it looked twice as bad. Not only that, but I also turned a perfectly acceptable pair of sneakers into chlorophyll-colored foot ornaments. Needless to say, no one ever asked me to mow a lawn again.

Membership in the so-called "weaker sex" is not without its perks. Not only can I count on one hand the number of times I've cut the grass, I've never had to change a tire myself. (In fact, I couldn't even buy a tire without calling my dad for help. The salesman kept asking me mystifying questions, like "What kind of engine do you have?" and "What brand of tire would you like?") I've had all the pleasures of fishing without ever touching the worm or the fish. And in three years of moving in and out of the dorms, I have no recollection of ever having hauled my mini-fridge from my car to my room.

Ah, the joys of being a female!

Yet, even from a position of relative privilege, some women still make claims of oppression with as much vehemence and vitriol as if they were still living in 1950.
Ah, I like her style. And why, in her opinion, are women earning less than men (she uses 77% as her base)?
Furthermore, the 77-cent statistic is a misleading simplification. It only compares the median female full-time income with the median male full-time income. It fails to take into account other intervening variables, like the number of hours worked (men work more overtime), working conditions (men work in more hazardous occupations), years of experience (men normally do not take time off to raise children) and education (men study more marketable fields, like engineering, science and math, and they receive more post-graduate degrees).

A ranking by the Jobs Rated Almanac shows that in the 25 "worst" jobs, men make up 92 percent of the work force. Ninety-eight percent of lumberjacks, 97 percent of construction workers, 97 percent of firefighters and 93 percent of garbage collectors are men. Low-skill, male-dominated jobs often involve physically taxing labor in harsh conditions with low job security. To induce people to take these jobs, employers must offer higher wages as compensation.

In contrast, low-skill female-dominated jobs, like secretarial or retail work, are of the less physical, air-conditioned, monotonous variety. Not surprisingly, they pay less.

This "unequal" distribution of labor and wages is not the result of latent sexism in society but the consequence of decisions made by millions of people with differing priorities when it comes to income, comfort, security, free time and family. Some people would rather chop down trees than take care of babies; some people prefer French literature to Physics 222. Their careers and income reflect those preferences.
I wish the CBC could offer her a job.

Iran is most active state sponsor of terrorism...

The US State Department's latest tally of terrorism shows that Iran is the world's most active state sponsor of terrorism.
The State Department report, issued yesterday, says Iran continues to use terrorism as an instrument of state policy, most notably in anti-Israeli activities.

The report says Iran provided funding, safe haven, training, and weapons for Lebanon-based Hezbollah and Palestinian terrorist groups Hamas, Islamic Jihad, the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command.

State Department counselor Philip Zelikow told reporters of a range of alleged pro-terrorist activities by the Iranian regime.

"Iran and Syria are of special concern for their direct, open and prominent role in sponsoring Hezbollah and Palestinian terrorist groups, for their unhelpful actions in Iraq, and, in Iran's case, the unwillingness to bring to justice senior Al-Qaeda members detained in 2003."
No surprises, really....but it sure makes it clear that we can't allow Tehran to go nuclear.

Leading Environmental Indicators

Every year, the Pacific Institute publishes Leading Environmental Indicators. This is their tenth anniversary and you can download the entire report here.

Here are some of their conclusions.
According to the EPA’s Air Quality Index (AQI), air quality has improved an average of 53 percent in the 10 cities that had the worst air pollution in 1990.

The “hockey-stick” graph, believed to be one of the leading indicators of global warming, is now being called “rubbish.” Scientists have shown that the graph’s underlying equation would generate the same result for any series of random numbers.

The arctic today, though warmer than it was in 1970, is colder than it was in 1930. In fact, temperatures in Greenland have fallen over the last 15 years.

Recent concerns about the safety of fish due to high mercury levels have abated thanks to guidance published in 2004 by the EPA which emphasizes that “for most people, the risk from mercury by eating fish and shellfish is not a health concern.”

Some experts suggest that the “list” approach in evaluating species is too narrow. Re searchers have developed a biodiversity index that evaluates data on land use, ecosystem extent, species richness, and population abundance. Applied to seven countries in southern Africa, this “Biological Intactness Index” estimates biota in the region at 84 percent of their pre-modern level.

The overall trend since 1988 is one of declining toxic releases, a sign of increasing efficiency and the “de-materialization” of our economy.

From 1997 to 2002, wetlands on private land expanded by about 26,000 acres per year. This does not include increases on federal lands. Overall, it appears there is no longer a net loss of wetlands acreage within the contiguous United States.

Forest area has been stable for nearly a century, rising slightly over the past decade in both the United States and Europe. Forestland in Europe expanded by 1.1 million acres between 1990 and 2000; it grew about four times faster in the United States, at a rate of 9.5 million acres. Source: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

The core air quality indicators have been falling since the mid-1970s
Ozone (1-hour standard) -31%;Nitrogen Dioxide -42%; Sulfur Dioxides -72%; Carbon Monoxide -76%; Particulates -31%; Lead -98%

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

More claptrap from the CBC...

Here's more junk from the CBC on so-called 'gender equity' in the workplace.
The advancement of women up the Canadian corporate ladder remains "disturbingly slow," according to a study of the country's executive and management offices.

The study, by Catalyst Canada, found that 14.4 per cent of corporate officer positions in the Financial Post 500 list of companies were held by women. That's a rise of just 0.4 percentage points from the last survey, done in 2002.

In the ranks of the most senior corporate officers, women held 7.1 per cent of the positions, up from 6.7 per cent in 2002.
How about some analysis on hours worked compared to men, experience on the job, etc. The plain fact of the matter is that moving from 6.7% to 7.1% is a gain of over 5%. Shouldn't we know how that compares by year? Is their progress accelerating or decelerating? Any other views to consider here?

But, here's the kicker from the CBC. It's about thought.
Black also said there's plenty of evidence to show that women in the executive offices also helps the bottom line.

"There's an abundance of research that demonstrates diverse groups make better decisions," she told CBC Business News.

"There is no doubt gender diversity makes a difference at the top."
And, the evidence for this? Well, sorry..not enough room or time. I think diversity of thought is probably far more important than diversity of ethnicity or sex. Couldn't the CBC show at least some skepticism here???

How's this for equality?

I have no problem in fathers taking their daughter to work, but what about their sons? Here's a story from the University of California at San Francisco.
UCSF's Center for Gender Equity hosts its annual "Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day" on Thursday -- but judging from the list of activities being offered, the gender equity program is anything but equal.

For example, the 9- and 10-year-old daughters are being invited to participate in 17 hands-on activities such as working with microscopes, slicing brains, doing skull comparisons, seeing what goes on in the operating room, playing surgeon, dentist or nurse for a day, and visiting the intensive care unit nursery, where they can set up blood pressure cuffs and operate the monitors.

They can learn about earthquake and disaster preparedness, how to use a fire extinguisher, how to operate several types of equipment -- even fire a laser.

And what do the boys get to do?

Learn about "gender equity in fun, creative ways using media, role playing and group games" -- after which, the boys can get a bit of time in with a microscope or learn how the heart works.

"It's ridiculous," says one UCSF doc, who asked not to be named for fear of retaliation from the university. "I have no problem with the Center for Gender Equity, but just make it equitable."
And, we wonder why boys are in trouble?

All worked up over a bake sale...

Many College Republican groups are having bake sales to show how ludicrous affirmative action is. Here's a student voice who's mighty upset.
Diversity takes hard work.

Ignoring race does not solve the problems of racism. Denial makes the problem worse. How can the public participate in a meaningful debate about minority rights if the invitation extended by the College Republicans is one of contempt?

Today, the UW College Republicans (UWCRs) will host an Affirmative Action Bake Sale on the HUB lawn. Last year they held the same sale, using the same tactics to humiliate minorities and confuse the issue of affirmative action. They pasted a schedule of prices -- based on race -- for their muffins and donuts.

Mind you, this was not a random schedule of prices -- a sign posted nearby read, "Baked goods: Whites -- $1; Blacks and other minorities--25 cents to 95 cents; doughnuts are available for 50 cents to everyone except Asian-Americans and whites."
This is not ignoring race - this is making it clear that we should not discriminate based on race - either positively or negatively.

Exploiting political correctness...

Shades of Tawna's a black student who sent threatening e-mail to racially-mixed couples in order to prove to her parents that the University was unsafe.
A student at Trinity International University was charged with disorderly conduct and committing a hate crime on Tuesday for allegedly sending racially inflammatory letters to classmates in an attempt to convince her mother to let her withdraw from school.

The letters from 19-year-old African-American student Alicia Hardin resulted in officials evacuating 43 minority students from the Deerfield, Illinois school last Thursday as a precaution (see "Minority Students Evacuated From University In Wake Of Threats").

Lake County Assistant State's Attorney Matthew Chancey told the Chicago Tribune that Hardin sent the notes because she was unhappy at the school and wanted to transfer to Jackson State University in Jackson, Mississippi. "By writing these notes, we believe she wanted to have her mother believe (Trinity) was an unsafe environment," Chancey told the paper.
This played right into the hands of people who truly believe that Universities are unsafe (which they are not). Of course, Universities aren't really that safe for ideas.

Isn't this a violation of the truce?

When will the international press start saying that the Palestinians have violated the truce?
Palestinians fired three Kassam rockets at the southern town of Sderot on Tuesday.

One rocket hit an open field in the town, another landed on the town's outskirts. Earlier, a rocket landed in an open area near the town.

In all instances, no injuries or damage were reported.

PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas condemned the attack on Wednesday morning saying that those who fired the rockets act against the Palestinian consensus and called on them to cease immediately, Israel Radio reported.

Meanwhile, in other incidents Tuesday, an anti tank rocket was fired and a bomb detonated near an IDF patrol close to Rafah.

Later, shots were fired at an IDF post near Rafah Yam in southern Gaza. No one was wounded in either incident.

Elsewhere in the West Ban

Did Iraq send WMD to Syria?

The CIA can't rule out the possibility that Iraq sent WMD to Syria.
But on the question of Syria, Mr. Duelfer did not close the books. "ISG was unable to complete its investigation and is unable to rule out the possibility that WMD was evacuated to Syria before the war," Mr. Duelfer said in a report posted on the CIA's Web site Monday night.

He cited some evidence of a transfer. "Whether Syria received military items from Iraq for safekeeping or other reasons has yet to be determined," he said. "There was evidence of a discussion of possible WMD collaboration initiated by a Syrian security officer, and ISG received information about movement of material out of Iraq, including the possibility that WMD was involved. In the judgment of the working group, these reports were sufficiently credible to merit further investigation."

But Mr. Duelfer said he was unable to complete that aspect of the probe because "the declining security situation limited and finally halted this investigation. The results remain inconclusive, but further investigation may be undertaken when circumstances on the ground improve."
And, why is Syria suspect?
Speculation on WMDs in Syria was fueled by the fact that satellite images picked up long lines of trucks waiting to cross the border into Syria before the coalition launched the invasion. Mr. Duelfer previously had reported that Syria was a major conduit for materials entering Iraq that were banned by the United Nations.

Saddam placed such importance on illicit trade with Syria that he dispatched Iraqi Intelligence Service agents to various border crossings to supervise border agents, and, in some cases, to shoo them away, senior officials told The Washington Times last year.

Are the Palestinians gearing up for terror?

This is indeed worrying. But, it speaks to the necessity of disarming the terrorists as soon as possible.
Palestinian militants in the West Bank are planning a new wave of violence after Israel completes its withdrawal from the Gaza Strip in the summer, according to Israeli security officials.

The officials, speaking on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the material, said militants have stepped up arms smuggling from Egypt in preparation for attacks in the West Bank in September or October.

Violence has dropped considerably since Israel and the Palestinians declared a cease-fire on February 8. Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas persuaded militant groups like Hamas and Islamic Jihad to join the truce, but the Israeli officials said evidence is mounting that the militants are stockpiling weapons and planning another round of attacks.

The true cost of the scandal...

The costs of the sponsorship scandal keeps on rising. Now, the Liberals will spend an extra $4.5+ billion just to get 19 votes in Parliament. So, this is the true face of the Liberals, they weren't happy just siphoning off millions - now they have to spend billions to try to stay in power. And, what have they demonstrated? Well, that two parties in Parliament care little about principle. That two parties will subvert democracy to keep a corrupt party in power. I could go on and on. But, I won't. Enough said. Shame on the Liberals and shame on the NDP.

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

A loophole we've got to close...

Canada is becoming a safe harbour for bootleggers in DVD.
A vacuum in digital copyright law has made Canada a haven for DVD pirates, who make bootleg copies of popular American television shows and sell them on-line.

The Internet has become a lucrative platform for Hollywood to distribute top-tier films and television shows. But the pirates are swimming in the wake of the big studios, exploiting the out-of-date copyright laws to set up on-line shops that sell bootleg DVDs of TV shows such as Seinfeld, as well as movies.

For instance, Seinfeld fans with access to the Internet could have bought all nine seasons of the hit series on DVD late last month from at least five websites based in Canada, even though only the first three seasons have been released by distributor Sony Pictures Home Entertainment.

In the United States, laws such as the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) make it easier for authorities to get at the pirates, but in Canada, Internet service providers do not disclose information on their subscribers unless a search warrant is issued.

If the Motion Picture Association of America or other entertainment organizations ask the ISPs to shut down the sites that they host, the pirates move on to other sites.

Canada is among the world's piracy hot spots, along with places such as Pakistan and Malaysia, said John Malcolm, the MPAA's senior vice-president and director of worldwide anti-piracy operations in Encino, Calif. "I think that the piracy problem in Canada has a lot more to do with lax laws . . . coupled with high demand by and relative affluence of Canadian citizens, than proximity to the U.S."

More problems for Abbas...

How on earth can Abbas disarm the terrorists if he can't even get his security chiefs to meet?
Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas was forced on Monday to call off a ceremony in Gaza City to honor senior security commanders after most of them announced that they would boycott the event.

Abbas arrived in the Gaza Strip on Sunday night in an attempt to appease scores of veteran security officers who have been removed from their jobs or forced to retire as part of a major security shake-up.

Sources in Gaza City said Abbas was scheduled to honor 10 ex-generals with the Jerusalem Medal, the highest award in the PLO for valor in combat. However, the ceremony was called off at the last minute after it was understood that most of the officers were planning to stay away.

Black rednecks?

Thomas Sowell has a terrfic op-ed in the Opinion Journal today on race and culture.
For most of the history of this country, differences between the black and the white population--whether in income, IQ, crime rates, or whatever--have been attributed to either race or racism. For much of the first half of the 20th century, these differences were attributed to race--that is, to an assumption that blacks just did not have it in their genes to do as well as white people. The tide began to turn in the second half of the 20th century, when the assumption developed that black-white differences were due to racism on the part of whites.

Three decades of my own research lead me to believe that neither of those explanations will stand up under scrutiny of the facts. As one small example, a study published last year indicated that most of the black alumni of Harvard were from either the West Indies or Africa, or were the children of West Indian or African immigrants. These people are the same race as American blacks, who greatly outnumber either or both.

If this disparity is not due to race, it is equally hard to explain by racism. To a racist, one black is pretty much the same as another. But, even if a racist somehow let his racism stop at the water's edge, how could he tell which student was the son or daughter of someone born in the West Indies or in Africa, especially since their American-born offspring probably do not even have a foreign accent?

What then could explain such large disparities in demographic "representation" among these three groups of blacks? Perhaps they have different patterns of behavior and different cultures and values behind their behavior.
Read the whole thing.

Monday, April 25, 2005

Summers in trouble again...

This is really a nutty story. Participants at a conference on Native-Americans are upset at Summers' comments - but the conference was last September!
Harvard president Lawrence H. Summers has found himself in the position of having to explain another speech he gave at an academic conference, offending many participants.

This time, the debate revolves around his welcoming comments at a Harvard conference on Native American studies last September. In his speech, Summers said that many more Native Americans were killed by disease than by European settlers, and talked about ''the vast majority of the suffering" as a ''coincidence that was a consequence" of assimilation, and ''nobody's plan."

A number of participants say they were deeply offended by what they viewed as an effort to downplay Colonial violence, but their concerns did not become public at the time. After another Native American conference on campus two weeks ago, rumors about Summers's remarks began to spread more widely.

Summers's office released a transcript of his remarks Tuesday afternoon in response to requests from reporters.

Summers said in a statement that "I did not for a moment mean to diminish the severity or ferocity of the widespread violence that claimed a great many lives."

However, some of the attendees reacted to his comments in much the same way as female scientists who objected to Summers's now-infamous remarks on women in science in January. Professor Kay Shelemay, one of the people who invited Summers to speak in September, said she was disturbed by the way he chose to greet the participants.

"I don't see how one can portray the history of Native America in terms of Euro-American settlement as unconscious," said Shelemay, who is chairwoman of the music department and also chairwoman of a committee on ethnic studies in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences." It is not comforting to people who have seen their societies disrupted and their ancestors diminished in such a way, to be told that it was the outcome of unconscious actions."
Don't these people have better things to do than carp on statements made months ago. What's worse is that Summers is totally correct. Some people need to get a life.

Martin considering NDP tax demands...

The Canadian Press is reporting that the Prime Minister is considering NDP demands to forego corporate tax cuts.
The governing Liberals may be willing to defer their proposed corporate tax cuts in an effort to win NDP support for the federal budget, The Canadian Press is reporting.

The news agency cited a senior Liberal source.

"We are prepared to discuss the possible deferral of the corporate tax measures,'' the source said.
As I stated earlier, about 75% of Parliament supports the 2% cut in corporate tax rates. By accepting NDP demands, Martin increases the democratic deficit. Shame on both the NDP and the Liberals.

What if you can't trust the experts?

Here's an eye-opening story from the Telegraph in the UK. A pediatrician charged with investigating sexual abuse 'exaggerated medical reports'.
A paediatrician compiled exaggerated medical reports that caused two nursery nurses to be wrongly accused of leading a paedophile ring, the General Medical Council heard yesterday.

Dr Camille De San Lazaro has admitted that she "overstated and exaggerated" accounts of sexual abuse while investigating claims against Dawn Reed and Christopher Lillie, who worked at Shieldfield, a social services nursery in Newcastle.

Dr Lazaro, 49, examined 53 children from the nursery in 1993 and 1994, and claimed that several showed signs of being abused.

Miss Reed and Mr Lillie were charged with indecently assaulting the children, but were cleared of all charges. Five years later Newcastle city council released a report using Dr Lazaro's opinions, which said they were guilty of leading a paedophile ring.

The pair later won £200,000 damages in a libel action against the report's authors when the High Court found the accusations were untrue.

Dr Lazaro appeared before a fitness to practise hearing at the GMC in Manchester yesterday accused of "inappropriate, irresponsible and unprofessional conduct".

The hearing was told that she had made a catalogue of errors in reports of examinations on the alleged abuse victims.
How many other doctors 'act as advocates' to help parents with compensation claims?

If only he was a terrorist.....

Gee, Canada is actually deporting someone...but perhaps he should stay.
A 53-year-old man who has been in Canada since infancy has been deported to England because of a drug conviction, despite efforts to keep him here.

On Monday, Scott Tyler of Winnipeg boarded a plane for England, where he doesn't know anyone. He was born there but hasn't returned since his parents moved to Canada when he was a baby.
After being in the country for decades, he got into trouble.
In 1999, Tyler fell on hard times and became a drug addict. Two years later, he was arrested and convicted of possession of cocaine, as well as trafficking in the drug. He spent three months in jail.

Imagine if they were jewish...

The Saudis have arrested 40 Christians for....well...praying!
Saudi Arabia has detained 40 Pakistani Christians for holding prayers at a house in the Muslim kingdom, where practicising any religion other than Islam is illegal, newspapers said on Saturday.

A group of men, women and children were attending the service in the capital Riyadh when police raided the house, Al Jazirah newspaper said.

It said authorities also found Christian tapes and books.

Another Saudi daily, Al Yaum, said the raid took place on Friday while a Pakistani preacher was delivering a sermon. It was not clear what measures might be taken against the group.

J.P. Morgan caves in to environmentalists...

The Rainforest Action Network is smiling today. J.P. Morgan has just announced new environmental guidelines for its lending.
The policy sets new best practices on the environment in several critical areas including carbon mitigation and reduction, endangered forest protection, independently certified sustainable forestry as well as land and consultation rights of native communities everywhere. It is the first policy of its kind in the financial sector to create a special heading acknowledging "No Go Zones," a major step forward in the effort to protect ecosystems that are most valuable intact and untouched by industry.

Developed in cooperation with groups including Rainforest Action Network, the new policy marks another environmental milestone in the private financial sector and follows the adoption of similar policies by Citigroup and Bank of America last year. Major advances include:

-- Global Warming: JPMorgan Chase will encourage clients to develop carbon mitigation plans that include measurement and disclosure of greenhouse gas emissions as well as plans to reduce or offset them. In a financial industry first, the bank will internalize carbon pollution for power sector projects by integrating the financial cost of greenhouse gas emissions into its analysis.

-- Sustainable Forestry Certification: The policy makes JPMorgan Chase the first private bank to state a preference for Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certification.

-- Illegal Logging: The policy will require JPMorgan Chase clients that "process, purchase or trade" forest products from high-risk countries to have certifiable chain of custody systems in place to ensure that the wood comes from legal sources.

-- Human Rights: The bank recognizes the right of indigenous individuals and communities to "self determination over issues affecting their lands and territories, traditionally owned or otherwise occupied and used."

-- Project Finance: JPMorgan Chase joins the Equator Principles, lowers the application threshold to $10 million, and broadens the scope to include "all loans, debt and equity underwriting, financial advisories and project-linked derivative transactions," specifically naming the mining, forestry, and oil and gas industries.

-- Private Equity Risk Management: The policy marks the first time that any financial institution has integrated environmental risk management into the due diligence process for its private equity divisions.

-- Leadership on Public Policy: In another industry first, JPMorgan Chase has agreed to arrange cooperative meetings with other financial institutions to advocate for reductions of greenhouse gas emissions and "focus on specific projects to alter the emissions trajectory of the US economy."
Nothing like mixing junk science with bad banking.

Fat Chance!

What are the odds of this happening?
Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas's said on Monday that he expects Hamas to turn over its weapons after the Palestinian Authority's elections this summer.

Hamas, the largest Palestinian opposition group, has said it will participate in legislative elections, which are set to take place on July 17. It would be the first time the group has sought a place in the Palestinian parliament.

During a one-hour news conference, Abbas welcomed the group's desire to join the political process. But he said Hamas, which has carried out dozens of deadly suicide bombings against Israelis, would be expected to give up its terrorist tactics after the vote.

Letting terrorists go...

The Department of Homeland Security doesn't have enough resources to keep violent felons in jail - and so they are being released wherever possible. Here's some excerpts from a column in the New York Post.
Only the worst violent felons (think rapists and murderers), individuals known to be terrorists, and those who have been previously deported are deemed "mandatory" holds. Everyone else can be released if no space is available. Among illegals not deemed "mandatory" holds:

* "Aliens who are subject to an ongoing national security investigation."

* Aliens whom we aren't sure are terrorists but who still "raise a national security concern" based on "specific information or intelligence specific to the individual" — in other words, suspected terrorists.

* Aliens who "exhibit specific, articulable intelligence-based risk factors for terrorism or national security concern."

Perhaps more disturbing: Buried beneath the four groups listed as "mandatory" and eight as "high priority," suspected drug smugglers and human traffickers are merely "medium priority."

Border Patrol agents find it particularly disconcerting to release human traffickers, whom they view as as both murderers and grave security threats — people with no scruples who will take anyone across the border, for a price.

When they are released according to the procedures in the memo, the illegal aliens are given notices to appear for a hearing. Of course, most don't. "The number is actually around 3 percent," notes Center for Immigration Study
And, what about my favorite topic, political correctness?
Political correctness can be seen in the classified memo. It explicitly prohibits racial — or even national origin — profiling. A determination for holding an individual cannot be "based solely on the alien's race, ethnicity, nationality or religion." In other words, 19 Saudi Muslims are considered no greater security threat — or deemed more important for detainment — than 19 Mexican farm hands.

But don't blame DHS. It's the law. DHS couldn't assess risk based on an illegal's race or national origin even if it wanted to. For over two decades, immigration law has forbidden consideration of race or national origin.

Nat Hentoff on political correctness....

A nice op-ed by Nat Hentoff on political correctness as Harvard....he quotes an essay by a high-schooler.
Asking "how free is our speech anymore," Drew Toop of Davis High School in Yakima, astutely noted: "Most people believe that we can say what we think and as we feel without fear. But there is a force out there that is hazardous to all of this freedom. Instead of being some remote dictatorship or Gestapo-like government organism, as it often has been in the lands of tyranny and oppression, our freedom is quashed by political correctness."

What Hamas is really up to....

The head of the Hamas political bureau, Khaled Mash'al, recently spoke at a convention in Cairo. Here are some excerpts of what he had to say:
"... I cannot be satisfied with the 1967 borders alone and see them as a permanent solution... A Palestinian might say: 'Who gave you the right to forego the rights of Palestinians?' So Abu Mazen himself says, in his talks: 'I cannot forego the right of return.' It will be his political suicide, for there are 5-6 million whose problem must be solved. However, Hamas has no objection to accept the 1967 borders as an interim solution.
Clearly, they won't be satisfied unless Israel is destroyed.
"… Hamas controls its military wing... and despite that fact that it is one of the largest factions of the resistance, it is highly capable of keeping its men disciplined. Tahdiah means Tahdiah [and when you talk of] escalation, there is escalation. There is a commitment and it is honored... In the eyes of Hamas, Tahdiah is a trick within the resistance plans, [but] in the eyes of the [Palestinian] Authority, Tahdiah is a step on the way out of the resistance plan... but we still give it a chance... we can be patient and suffer, but not from the perspective of those who want to be free of the Intifada..."
So, they view the current truce as a trick?

Sunday, April 24, 2005

The Canadian military is broken...

and the current budget won't help, according to a story in the Toronto Globe & Mail.
Canada's armed forces are so underfunded and overstretched that the government's much-lauded budget commitments may not come close to fixing them, suggest documents released to The Canadian Press.

Economic impact assessments filed by all three services paint a picture of a decaying military that is, as the navy commander put it, fast approaching the point of “critical mass in its ability to execute its mission.”

The navy is docking ships, the air force is grounding planes and the army may some day be unable to meet overseas commitments without significantly more cash, say the documents, obtained under access to information.
Read the whole article - it's quite sad, actually. But, will the Conservatives really fix the military?

Another reason not to trust Malaysia...

Malaysia is saying no to the Secretary-General's recommendation on the definition of terror.
Malaysia has made it clear it cannot support the United Nations secretary-general’s recommendation on the definition of terrorism as it did not clearly differentiate between terrorism and the legitimate struggles of people fighting for their right to be free of colonial and alien domination, foreign occupation and their right to national liberation.
Of course, he's talking about the Palestinians. You know, I lived in Asia for 5 and 1/2 years, and was always amazed at the incredible anti-semitism coming out of Malaysia. Most of that was due to Mohathir, who never lost an opportunity to blame the world's woes on the Jews. But, now that he is gone, I was hoping things would change. I was wrong.

Is this the end of the EU?

It looks like both France and the Netherlands may vote against the new EU constitution.
THE looming “catastrophe” of France and the Netherlands rejecting the European constitution is causing alarm in Brussels and apocalyptic warnings about the future of the European Union.

Debate is raging about what to do if the French vote “no” on May 29, but there is a growing consensus that it would be a turning point, marking the end of 50 years of “ever closer union”, threatening the single currency and halting enlargement, particularly for Turkey.

Some predict the EU’s fragmentation, with groups of member states increasingly banding together to pursue pet projects. Romano Prodi, the former European Commission President, said yesterday that a rejection by France, a founder member of the EU, would prompt the “fall of Europe”.

Peter Mandelson, the European Trade Commissioner, said that the best to be hoped for was stagnation. The Latvian President suggested that her country might not join the single currency.
For once, the French have it right.

Why is Kofi Annan popular?

A good op-ed in the Washington Times on Kofi Annan. He is still very popular amongst liberal elites. The question is why, given some of his incredible failings:
• Rwandan genocide. In 1994 in Rwanda, Mr. Annan failed to act upon receiving warning from Lt.-Gen. Romeo Dallaire, the commander of U.N. peacekeeping forces there, that Hutu radicals were planning to massacre members of the rival Tutsi tribe. Gen. Dallaire said he requested permission to seize an arms cache that Hutus aligned with the Rwandan government were planning to use as part of their impending ethnic-cleansing campaign against the Tutsis. Mr. Annan rejected the request to seize the arms cache, helping pave the way for the ensuing massacres, in which 800,000 people were killed. An independent report concluded that Mr. Annan and aides in his peacekeeping headquarters encouraged the Security Council's indifference on the matter.

• Other peacekeeping failures. In July 1995, U.N. peacekeepers who worked for Mr. Annan broke their promise to protect Bosnian Muslims in a "safe area" at Srebrenica. As a result, Serbian troops and militiamen executed 7,000 Muslim men and boys -- one of the worst massacres in Europe since World War II.

In Congo, the Office of Internal Oversight Services, a U.N. watchdog, issued a report in November documenting a pattern of sexual abuse by U.N. peacekeepers who are supposed to be protecting local residents. Some of the victims were girls as young as 13.

• The oil-for-food scandal. In March 2000, when Saddam Hussein was systematically diverting assistance intended for the Iraqi people to his cronies, Mr. Annan was telling the Security Council about all he had done to reform the program to make it more transparent. After coalition troops ousted Saddam, investigators found Iraqi Oil Ministry records that say Benon Sevan -- the man Mr. Annan picked to run the program -- received vouchers for millions of barrels of oil from Saddam. Only when he came under political pressure did Mr. Annan cooperate with congressional investigatations of the scandal by releasing internal U.N. audits of the program. Mr. Annan's chief of staff, S. Iqbal Riza, authorized his secretary to shred several years worth of documents relevant to the investigation.

• Iraq. In addition to oil for food, Mr. Annan has come under fire for appeasing Saddam during the 1990s. In February 1998, for example, when the Iraqi dictator provoked a crisis by blocking weapons inspectors, Mr. Annan traveled to Baghdad in order to cut a deal with Saddam that weakened weapons inspections. He heaped praise on Saddam for his courage and asserted that the Iraqi ruler had been misunderstood. Mr. Annan was feted at a state dinner in Paris by French President Jacques Chirac and was given a hero's welcome by U.N. staff when he returned to New York.
Isn't it time for someone else to lead the UN?

The democratic deficit, revisited...

Jack Layton's offer to support Paul Martin if the Liberals take out corporate tax breaks subverts our democracy. Right now, the budget has the support of both the Liberals and the Conservatives - representing about 75% of the votes in the House of Commons. There is no need to change anything in the budget for it to pass - yet Martin may amend it to get the 19 votes of the NDP; perhaps even to get Layton to support the government until Gomery reports. This is a good example of how a small party can actually do something that is anti-democratic.

Why aren't these violations of the truce?

Here's a small summary of what's happened the past couple of days in Israel:

- Yesterday, a Qassam rocket landed in an open area in the northern Negev south of Ashkelon, causing no injuries or damage.

- On Saturday, an Israel Defense Forces soldier was stabbed in the northern West Bank settlement of Ganim and his weapon was snatched from him.

- Later Saturday, Palestinians attempted to stab soldiers at the Beit Furik roadblock outside Nablus, Army Radio reported. None of the soldiers were hurt.

- Also Saturday two unarmed Palestinians were caught by an IDF force as they were trying to cross the border fence near the Kissufim crossing in the central Gaza Strip.

Other than that, the truce is still holding. Why isn't the media screaming that the Palestinians are violating the truce?

AUT Barred Israeli Academic from speaking....

The Association of University Teachers (AUT) in the UK refused a request from an academic at Bar-Ilan University to rebut accusations of rights abuses against Palestinians.
The request to send a speaker to the conference was made on Tuesday by Prof Yosef Yeshurun, the rector of Bar-Ilan. He also asked if Prof Telcher could address the conference on Thursday, rather than Friday, to allow her to return home for the start of Passover yesterday. Prof Yeshurun was told that no external visitors were allowed to speak for or against motions and that the date could not be changed.

Delegates to the conference in Eastbourne were told that Bar-Ilan University had links with a college in what the union described as an "illegal settlement" in the occupied West Bank.

Ronnie Fraser, the chairman of the Academic Friends of Israel, said that the AUT had repeatedly manoeuvred to prevent an opposing voice being heard.

Lord Janner, the chairman of the Holocaust Educational Trust, condemned the union's decision. He said: "They obviously did not want to hear the other case. I am deeply shaken by the vote and the curtailment of reasoned debate. It is a setback for academic freedom."
As we blogged earlier, the AUT voted to support a boycott against two Israeli Universities, Haifi University and Bar-Ilan University.

Saturday, April 23, 2005

How low can the BBC go?

The BBC equipped three hecklers with microphones and sent them into a Michael Howard Conservative campaign meeting.
The Tories have made an official protest after the hecklers, who were given the microphones by producers, were caught at a party event in the North West last week. Guy Black, the party's head of communications, wrote in a letter to Helen Boaden, the BBC's director of news, that the hecklers began shouting slogans that were "distracting and clearly hostile to the Conservative Party".

These included "Michael Howard is a liar", "You can't trust the Tories" and "You can only trust Tony Blair".

Mr Black's strongly-worded letter accused the BBC of staging the event "to generate a false news story and dramatise coverage. . . intended to embarrass or ridicule the leader of the Conservative Party". The letter said that BBC staff were guilty of "serious misconduct". At least one of the hecklers was seen again at a Tory event in the North East, Mr Black added.
And, here's what happened..
Tory officials became suspicious at the meeting in Horwich, near Bolton, last Wednesday, when they saw BBC camera crew focusing on the hecklers rather than Mr Howard. They twice challenged the two men and a woman involved, and discovered they had been equipped with radio microphones.

Mr Black said that they described themselves as "shoppers". In fact, they were under direction from a BBC team making a programme called The History of Heckling for the BBC3 channel. The programme, whose producer is Paul Woolwich, is in the process of being edited.

Mr Black's letter said of the hecklers: "It is entirely clear to me that the success of their presence required an element of performance on their behalf, and that this was a premeditated event intended to disrupt the course of Mr. Howard's speech.

"I do not believe that the BBC should be in the business of creating news. It also appears that the same crew was at the Michael Howard visit to Stockton-on-Tees and it can be no coincidence that someone with them was one of these 'hecklers'.

Doesn't he mean boys?

Romeo Dallaire has come out against using boys as canon fodder. Good idea, but why is it so gender neutral on CBC?
He said government and rebel armies that recruit children only see them as a strategic tool in warfare.

"Children are effective, and they're effective in large numbers too. The government of Burma uses 50,000 kids in their army," said Dallaire, a retired general who led the ill-fated UN mission to Rwanda in 1994.

"Some governments and many of the rebel organizations saw in the child soldier a much more effective weapon than the adult.
Here's an example of a 'male' issue being made gender-neutral. Someone's being politically correct.

Gorillas go kosher for Passover....

Gorilla eating matzah for breakfast at the zoo in Tel-Aviv Posted by HelloGuess what? They love it!

The ban on Israeli Universities - No debate!

This Jerusalem Post article has more details on the Association of University Teachers (AUT) ban on Israeli academic. And, guess what, there was no debate allowed at the meeting.
A jovial executive union meeting heard unanswered orations by Sue Blackwell and Shereen Benjamin, both lecturers at Birmingham University. The academics labeled Israel as a "colonial apartheid state, more insidious than South Africa," called for the "removal of this regime," and depicted Israeli universities as "repressing" academic freedom.

In her allegations against the Israeli institutions, Ms. Blackwell relied heavily on a letter by Ilan Pappe, lecturer in political science at Haifa University. A message from Dr. Pappe was distributed to every executive member at the conference, in which Pappe called on the conference to adopt a boycott of his own university, and alleged he was the victim of "restriction" and "harassment."

The speeches were met with rapturous applause from the audience, before AUT executive president Angela Roger cut short the session and moved to deny a right of reply to opponents of the motions. The session was then directed towards a vote, and a "lack of time" was cited as the reason preventing challenges to the motions from being heard. The executive passed by sizeable majorities two separate motions adopting boycotts against Haifa University for its restricting academic freedom and against Bar Ilan university for its college located in the West Bank settlement of Ariel.

There was no opportunity for academics who had planned on opposing the motions, such as executive member Alistair Hunter, to address the conference. Dr. Hunter described the AUT's endorsement of a boycott against Israeli universities as an "ill judged decision" and expressed disgust at the absence of debate before voting commenced.
Disgusting. Shameful.

Lobster Liberation? Not from my plate...

I'm glad I'm not trendy. I love lobsters - on my plate. Sadly, here's a new trend.
A crowd of well-wishers recently gathered at Manomet Point in Plymouth, Mass., to see off a new friend as he journeyed back home. The traveler was a 15-pound lobster named Donovan, on the final leg of a nearly 1,000-mile trek. After spending weeks in a tank in a Potomac, Md., seafood store, Donovan, estimated to be between 35 and 40 years old, was being returned to the Atlantic Ocean, courtesy of a sympathetic customer who shelled out $150 for his release and an additional $100 to send him home.

This is just the beginning. The trend in lobster liberation will continue _ and it will expand to other sea animals. Fish freedom is coming. All it takes is for one person to say she's leaving fish in their ocean homes and off the barbecue grill _ and for others to stop and really think about her decision.

Donovan is not the first sea animal to escape becoming someone's dinner. In March, newspapers across the country reported on Bubba, a 22-pound lobster who was saved from a fish market and shipped to the Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium (where, sadly, he died in quarantine). Last year, schoolchildren in Port Angeles, Wash., rescued 14-pound Hercules from a supermarket tank and sent the lucky lobster to Maine for release.

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals hears from so many concerned shoppers who want to help after seeing lobsters languishing in grocery store tanks, we've set up a Web site with tips on successful crustacean liberations.

Can crab crusaders be far behind? I don't think so. As we learn more about sea animals and how similar they are to us in so many ways more and more people are having trouble with the idea of putting them on the table.
Not me. My boyfriend and I try to host an annual lobster party...Yum!

A needless death...

Here's a tragic story from the Ottawa Citizen:
A Quebec judge convicted self-proclaimed naturopath Louise Lortie of manslaughter and criminal negligence causing death for advising a woman to replace her diabetic daughter's insulin treatment with cane sugar, pear juice, olive oil massages and sea salt baths.

Mrs. Lortie testified that she gave this advice after consulting a crystal ball, a pendulum and her archangel, Michael.

Lisanne Manseau, 12, of Hull, died March 28, 1994, three days after starting Mrs. Lortie's treatment.
Why wasn't the Mother ever charged? And, what's more amazing is that it's taken this long for the case to reach a conclusion. Lortie was originally convicted in 1999 but won on appeal and received a new trial.

Here's a link for you....

If you can, open up this pdf file. It's an article from Newsweek Magazine on Earth Day 30 years ago, warning about global cooling.
There are ominous signs that the Earth's weather patterns have begun to change dramatically and that these changes may portend a drastic decline in food production - with serious political implications for just about every nation on earth. The drop in food output could begin quite soon, perhaps only ten years from now. The regions destined to feel its impact are the great wheat-producing lands of Canada and the USSR in the north....
Isn't it amazing how people still believe environmental scare-mongering?

Finding a fly can really pay....

Here's a ridiculous story. A hairstylist in Windsor has been awarded $340,000 (Canadian) in damages after finding a fly in a bottle of Culligan water.
On Nov. 21, 2001 Mustapha and his wife Lynn, who was seven months pregnant, were preparing a new bottle of Culligan water to put in their dispenser when she saw something dark in the bottle. Both looked closely and saw legs and wings and realized it was a dead fly.

Lynn Mustapha vomited immediately and Martin vomited later in the evening.

Justice John Brockenshire heard that after discovering the fly Mustapha "could not get the fly in the bottle out of his mind."

Mustapha told court he would have nightmares about falling into a ditch face down in water and he could not sleep more than four hours a night.

He also testified that he lost his sense of humour and became argumentative and edgy.

Mustapha did not see a doctor until January 2002 and told the doctor that his salon clients were "asking what was wrong with him and whether he was OK."

The doctor prescribed anti-depressants to help him relax and sleep.

He was also prescribed stool softeners for constipation which Mustapha attributed to the fact that he used to drink eight glasses of water a day and now drank none.

Since the incident, Mustapha said he was unable to get the image of the fly out of his mind, and often pictured flies walking on animal feces or rotten food and then being in his bottled water.

Prior to the fly incident Mustapha would shower daily, singing while doing so.

Afterward Mustapha would stand in the bathroom contemplating whether to shower or not and would often just get dressed and leave or wipe a cloth under his arms before applying deodorant.

Following therapy Mustapha was able to stick his head under the water so it would not touch his face and later had therapy where he would stand in the dry shower in a bathing suit.

After the incident Mustapha began drinking coffee made with only warm milk and instant coffee but after therapy was able to drink coffee made in the traditional manner.

Mustapha was unable to resume drinking water by itself.
Get over it! And, have the heart to give the money to charity. You certainly don't deserve $340,000.

More on anti-semitism in the UK...

A good article in the Toronto Star today on the anti-semitism on campus in the UK - much of which we have blogged here before. But, a small quote:
In another letter to NUS leaders, Jewish union student Martyn Redstone asked why they continually ignore complaints, including an article in a leading student magazine advocating suicide terrorism by Palestinians.

As well, a speaker at a recent school forum said: "I am not going to say whether it is right or wrong to burn down synagogues. I can see that it is a rational act."
How's that for moral clarity?

Is our tax system fair?

Here's a new study that shows that the top 10% of earners in Canada pay 50% of income taxes.
he study, called Federal Income Tax: Slicing the Pie, examined data of 4.5 million filers between 1990 to 2002.

"The results were conclusive. The one-tenth of tax filers who were in the highest earnings bracket provided more than one half of the revenue from federal income tax in 2002," wrote Patrice Martineau, analyst at StatsCan and author of the report.
And, the top 10% are paying more than ever...
Martineau's study also found the proportion of tax the highest filers are paying has been increasing. "In 1990, this 10 per cent of tax filers accounted for 46.0 per cent of total federal income tax; by 2002, this group accounted for 52.6 per cent."
Let's make the system fairer - and go to a flat tax.

Friday, April 22, 2005

Questions on Immigration...

Thanks to Michael Howard, leader of the Conservatives, there is now a debate on immigration in the UK. We also need a debate on immigration here in Canada, but I doubt that our Conservatives will initiate one. Here are some excerpts of a terrific article in The Spectator:
As a result of the explosion in immigration, British society is changing rapidly, especially in our biggest cities. In inner London, 55 per cent of all births are to foreign-born mothers. Of course, all right-thinking people are meant to believe that moves towards a multicultural society are a thoroughly welcome development, making Britain more tolerant, vibrant and economically successful. The Tories themselves are only too eager to adopt this approach. ‘We are a stronger, more successful country because of the immigrant communities that have settled here,’ said Howard in an election speech in Telford.

That is certainly the line I used to take. Indeed, at the beginning of the Nineties, I could hardly have been more enthusiastic in my support for multiculturalism. As an Islington Labour councillor, I chaired the borough’s equal opportunities committee. I marched for Kurdish refugees and did voluntary work teaching English to Asians. As an aide to Harriet Harman, I spent much of my time trying to resolve the immigration and housing problems of her African-Caribbean constituents in Peckham. But even in the middle of all this activism I began to have my doubts that multiracial immigration was of universal, undiluted benefit. Peckham was a place of fear, where any sense of community had vanished and violent crime was rife. When Harriet was shadow chief secretary to Gordon Brown in 1992, I took him to the North Peckham estate for a press conference about youth training. The first sight that greeted him as he stepped out of his cab was an old lady being helped into an ambulance, following a savage mugging. And within Islington Council I saw how municipal services were being badly undermined by the over-promotion of ethnic minority staff in the name of racial equality.
Of course, there are lots of good things about immigration, but there are some worrying trends.
But the problems go far beyond economics. Britain was once renowned as a place of gentleness, where even the policemen were unarmed, but we now have urban violence on a scale that would have been unthinkable for the postwar generation of Britons. Some of this is no doubt the result of a degenerate culture, and a reluctance by the police and courts to enforce the law, but some is clearly the long-term result of immigration. According to the British Crime Survey, 31 per cent of all street robberies in Britain are committed by criminals of African-Caribbean origin, while at least 60 per cent of all muggings in London are perpetrated by blacks. Only last week it was reported that shootings in Brent have gone up by 22 per cent in the last 12 months — this in a borough that was recently paraded as a success story in driving down gun crime. Black and ethnic minority groups account for 24 per cent of the male and 31 per cent of the female prison population, despite the fact that white defendants are more likely to be found guilty in court. And when I visited Peterborough last month to cover a football story, I was surprised at the number of people who complained about the aggressive behaviour of young Eastern European men in the city centre.

As the recent vote-rigging scandal at Birmingham City Council shows, Third-World practices in intimidation and corruption have now become a part of British democracy. Just as worryingly, the politics of race has poisoned some of our urban constituencies. It is telling that the Liberal Democrats won recent by-elections in Leicester and Brent because of their anti-war, pro-Islamic stance but lost in the mainly white North-East seat of Hartlepool. The pro-immigration lobby attacks the Tories for their nastiness, but what could be nastier than the hostility of some Muslims towards the black Labour MP for Bethnal Green and Bow, Oona King? George Galloway, the Respect party’s candidate in Bethnal Green — who has spent much of his time campaigning for Muslim support by flying to Bangladesh — said that King’s support for the Iraq war meant she had colluded in the killing of 100,000 people ‘including a lot of women who had blacker faces than hers’.
We need a clear-headed debate in not clouded by religious pieties of multiculturalism.

Terrorists should be discouraged...

Despite a horrifc attack on Shiites in Iraq, the terrorists are in retreat. Here's a good look at how they have totally miscalculated.
The terrorists and insurgents appeared stunned after the Jan. 30 election. Their muddled response: stage revenge attacks to punish the citizenry, while casting around for yet another strategy in the wake of their successive, painful failures.

The media hailed the recent assaults on the Abu Ghraib compound and a Marine base on the Syrian border as proof of the terrorists' growing sophistication. In fact, the attacks were relatively crude attempts, impressive only in comparison to previous ineptitude. And they failed disastrously, costing our enemies dearly yet again.

Such attacks are a forlorn hope. They grasp at the only strategy left to those who oppose a free Iraq: a renewed effort to kill enough Americans to make Washington throw in the towel. Islamist terrorists, especially, dream of one dramatic, catastrophic strike. They don't know what else to do.

Meanwhile, there's been a dramatic increase in citizen cooperation with the new Iraqi authorities and a crucial rise in tip-offs about terrorist and insurgent activities.

With their mad pursuit of carnage, our enemies — and Iraq's — are winning the battle for us. Every day, they alienate more Iraqis, even as Baghdad's improving security forces assume ever-greater responsibility for their own country. We just need to stay the course.

Iraq may prove to be the defeat that destroyed the allure of terrorism for hundreds of millions of discontented Muslims. Terrorists won't disappear, but the spotlight of Iraq has revealed them as savage, indiscriminate, blasphemous and, worst of all, incapable.

DNA clears man of rape charge...after 20 years!

I love DNA - it's revolutionizing our legal system, and all for the better. But, my heart goes out to Anthony Woods.
A St. Louis man who spent 18 years in prison for sexually assaulting a teenage girl has been completely cleared by DNA three years after his parole.

A judge signed an order Thursday declaring that Anthony Woods is "actually innocent, the St. Louis Post Dispatch reports."

Woods was identified as the rapist when he walked by the house of a 15-year-old girl who had been attacked that morning on her way to school. During the trial, his lawyer was barred from telling the jury that similar crimes had been committed after Woods' arrest.

Thought Crimes...

I really find some of the hate crime laws to be nothing more than thought control. Here is an example, from the UK, of how you have to split hairs to decide these kinds of cases.
The court heard that the defendant, Mrs D, took her three-year-old son to a surgery because he had a rash. Dr Hair Newal said she should come back if the symptoms developed. When Mrs D demanded a diagnosis, he suggested she find another doctor.

She replied: "I can't find another doctor. All the good doctors are taken up by asylum seekers and I am left with an immigrant doctor."

She then tried to grab her son's medical records. In the struggle, Dr Newal received scratches to his head.
Now, the question here is whether the use of the word 'immigrant' makes the crime 'racially-aggravated? Initially, the judge said no, but now the appeals court has said yes. From my perspecive, assault is assault. It doesn't matter what the perpetrator was thinking.

Some optimism on the environment...

Here's an excerpt of an interview with Steven Hayward, a fellow at the American Enterprise Institute and the Pacific Research Center, who is the principal author of the Index of Leading Environmental Indicators.
NRO: We've all seen the gross smog photos from Los Angeles. But is the air actually getting cleaner now? How is that happening?

Hayward: L.A. has had the most substantial improvement of any area in the nation. It used to notch almost 200 days a year above the ozone standard; for the last few years it has exceeded the standard less than 30 times a year. It still has the "worst" air, but the peak levels on the worst days today are only a third as high as when I grew up there and had to lay down on summer afternoons because my lungs hurt so bad from just 15 minutes outside. The main reason for the improvement is cleaner technology, especially in cars. The EPA's own models predict a further 80-percent reduction in emissions from cars over the next 20 years simply from fleet turnover, never mind whether we move to hybrids or other technologies. This is why I keep offering to bet any enviro $1,000 that air pollution will be lower at the end of Bush's presidency than when he took office. This is obviously modeled after the famous Julian Simon-Paul Ehrlich bet on natural resources that Simon won. The greenies remember this, which is why none of the people who kvetch about Bush "gutting" the Clean Air Act will put their money where their mouth is.

NRO: Is global warming real or not?

Hayward: Yes, I think it is real, but how much warming, how fast, and how serious might be the effects, are questions still a long way from being answered. And it is far from clear that carbon suppression--the Kyoto strategy--is the smartest way to go about addressing the potential of problem. Certainly a costly international regulatory and taxing regime (the U.N.'s goal) is beyond stupid.

NRO: Is my SUV killing the Earth?

Hayward: No. It is a great myth that SUVs are greater polluters. True, they use more gasoline, but they now have the same emissions standards as all other automobiles, so replacing your old clunker with a new SUV will actually help clean up ozone smog in America. Because they use more gas, they do emit more carbon dioxide, but remember, carbon dioxide is not a noxious pollutant, but plant food.

NRO: What are some of the worst environmental-alarmist myths?

Hayward: It not so much a particular myth as it is the Malthuisian mindset that causes them to issue one doomsday prediction after another. Pick any prediction from the last 30 years from conventional environmentalists, and it was usually wrong, often by an order of magnitude. Greenies have learned from this: never offer specific dates. Nicholas Kristof put the matter well in a recent New York Times column: "environmental alarms have been screeching for so long that, like car alarms, they are now just an irritating background noise."

More on the finger in the chili...

The police are now saying the whole episode is a hoax.
Police investigating how a human finger ended up in a woman's bowl of Wendy's chili declared the claim a hoax Friday and arrested her on charges of attempted grand larceny.

The arrest of Anna Ayala at her home outside Las Vegas was the latest twist in a case that has become a late-night punch line, taken a bite out of Wendy's sales and forced the fast-food chain to check its employees for missing fingers.

Ayala, 39, claimed she bit down on the well-manicured, 1 1/2-inch finger in a mouthful of her steamy chili on March 22 in San Jose. She had hired a lawyer and filed a claim against the Wendy's franchise owner, but dropped the lawsuit threat soon after suspicion fell on her.

When asked whether police considered Ayala's claim a hoax, David Keneller, captain of the San Jose police department's investigations bureau, said yes.

"What we have found is that thus far our evidence suggests the truest victims in this case are indeed the Wendy's owner, operators and employees here in San Jose," Police Chief Rob Davis said.
No word yet on where the finger came from.

This is not discrimination...

A British Airways pilot has won a sex discrimination case because she was not allowed to work partime.
Ms Starmer, whose husband Simon is also a BA pilot, asked the airline last year if she could work 50 per cent part-time.

She was denied her request and she brought a claim for indirect sex discrimination.
But, why did the airline not allow her to work part-time?
Ms Starmer now works part-time on a 75 per cent contract and the airline said it had consistently argued that the decision not to allow her to cut her working hours in half until she completed the required amount of flying hours, was based on safety not sex discrimination.

BA said its pilots should have at least 2,000 flying hours experience - around three years of full-time flying - before they could work at 50 per cent levels.

They said that the safety threshold is applied equally whether the pilot is male or female.
Who cares about safety?

This sounds cool...

How's this for a neat invention?
Elwood "Woody" Norris pointed a metal frequency emitter at one of perhaps 30 people who had come to see his invention. The emitter — an aluminum square — was hooked up by a wire to a CD player. Norris switched on the CD player.

"There's no speaker, but when I point this pad at you, you will hear the waterfall," said the 63-year-old Californian.

And one by one, each person in the audience did, and smiled widely.

Norris' HyperSonic Sound system has won him an award coveted by inventors — the $500,000 annual Lemelson-MIT Prize. It works by sending a focused beam of sound above the range of human hearing. When it lands on you, it seems like sound is coming from inside your head.

Norris said the uses for the technology could come in handy — in cars, in the airport or at home.

"Imagine your wife wants to watch television and you want to read a book, like the intellectual you are," he said to the crowd. "Imagine you are a lifeguard or a coach and you want to yell at someone, he'll be the only one to hear you."
Very nice, indeed.

How's this for a crazy article???

I'm always amazed at the depth of Bush-hatred. But, here's an article from the San Francisco Gate.
Oh my God I feel so much safer. Don't you?

I mean, don't you feel so much more secure in your all-American gun-totin' oil-happy lifestyle now that we have wasted upward of $300 billion worth of your child's future education budget, along with 1,600 disposable young American lives and over 20,000 innocent Iraqi lives and about 10,000 severed American limbs and untold wads of our spiritual and moral currency, all to protect America from terrorism that is, by every account, only getting worse? Nastier? More nebulous? More anti-American?

Here's something funny, in a rip-your-patriotic-heart-out-and-spit-on-it sort of way: Just last week, BushCo's State Department decided to kill the publication of an annual report on international terrorism. Why? Well, because the government's top terrorism center concluded that there were more terrorist attacks in 2004 than in any year since 1985. Isn't that hilarious? Isn't that heartwarming? Your tax dollars at work, sweetheart.

Lest you forget, this is what they do. They trim. They edit. They censor. BushCo kills what they do not like and fudges negative data where they see fit and completely rewrites whatever the hell they want, and that includes bogus WMD reports and CIA investigations and dire environmental studies and scientific proofs about everything from evolution to abortion and pollution and clean air, right along with miserable unemployment data and all manner of research pointing up the ill health of the nation, the spirit, the world.

In other words, if BushCo doesn't like what comes out of their own hobbled agencies and their own funded studies, they do what any good dictatorship does: They annihilate it. Now that's good gummint!
A dictatorship? Give me a break! What about liberating Afghanistan, Iraq? Disarming Libya? Elections in Iraq? The end of Syrian occupation in Lebanon? The end of Al-Qaeda in Afghanistan? I don't mind a debate...but how can you debate with people who write the above crap? But, wait... it gets worse...
Let's put it another way: Under Bush, in the past five years, the U.S. has made zero new friends. But we have made a huge number of new and increasingly venomous enemies. And no, they don't hate us because of our malls, Dubya. They don't hate us because of our freedoms. They don't hate us because of our low-cut jeans and our moronic 8 mpg Ford Expeditions or our corrupt Diebold voting system that snuck you into office.

They hate us, George, because of our policies. Anti-Muslim. Pro-Israel. Oil-uber-alles. Anti-U.N. Anti-Kyoto. Anti-planet. Pro-war. Pro-insularity. Pseudo-swagger. Bogus staged "town hall" meetings stocked with prescreened monosyllabic Bush sycophants. Ego. Empire.

Why am I not surprised???

Two terrorists have escaped from custody in a Palestinian jail.
Palestinian security forces arrested the two men, who belong to the militant group Islamic Jihad, following the Feb. 25 bombing. Five Israelis died in the bombing near the Stage nightclub.

Shafiq Abdel Ghani and Ahmed Zaki were being held by Palestinian security forces in the West Bank city of Tulkarem.

Security forces haven't explained how the two men escaped.
Gee, I wondered how they escaped???

Is Norway a conduit for North Korea?

It seems some trucks sent to Norway have found their way to North Korea.
U.S. officials are investigating how six World War II-era military trucks given by Washington to Oslo have ended up in North Korean hands.

Sometime last summer the M-6 vehicles turned up in the Marxist state, the Aftenposten reported Friday.

The vehicles were part of a shipment of 203 such trucks given in the 1960s by the United States to Norway's military and then given by them to the nation's Red Cross. The Norwegian Red Cross, in turn, gave some of the vehicles to the International Red Cross.

Although the six trucks are owned by the IRC, North Korea is apparently free to use them as desired.
Or, is the Red Cross the conduit?

We can thank capitalism for environmentalism...

It's only really because of capitalism that we can celebrate Earth day.
Indeed, we wouldn't even have environmentalists in our midst were it not for capitalism. Environmental amenities, after all, are luxury goods. America -- like much of the Third World today -- had no environmental movement to speak of until living standards rose sufficiently so that we could turn our attention from simply providing for food, shelter, and a reasonable education to higher "quality of life" issues. The richer you are, the more likely you are to be an environmentalist. And people wouldn't be rich without capitalism.

Wealth not only breeds environmentalists, it begets environmental quality. There are dozens of studies showing that, as per capita income initially rises from subsistence levels, air and water pollution increases correspondingly. But once per capita income hits between $3,500 and $15,000 (dependent upon the pollutant), the ambient concentration of pollutants begins to decline just as rapidly as it had previously increased. This relationship is found for virtually every significant pollutant in every single region of the planet. It is an iron law.

Given that wealthier societies use more resources than poorer societies, such findings are indeed counterintuitive. But the data don't lie. How do we explain this?

The obvious answer -- that wealthier societies are willing to trade-off the economic costs of government regulation for environmental improvements and that poorer societies are not -- is only partially correct. In the United States, pollution declines generally predated the passage of laws mandating pollution controls. In fact, for most pollutants, declines were greater before the federal government passed its panoply of environmental regulations than after the EPA came upon the scene.

Much of this had to do with individual demands for environmental quality. People who could afford cleaner-burning furnaces, for instance, bought them. People who wanted recreational services spent their money accordingly, creating profit opportunities for the provision of untrammeled nature. Property values rose in cleaner areas and declined in more polluted areas, shifting capital from Brown to Green investments. Market agents will supply whatever it is that people are willing to spend money on. And when people are willing to spend money on environmental quality, the market will provide it.

Meanwhile, capitalism rewards efficiency and punishes waste. Profit-hungry companies found ingenious ways to reduce the natural resource inputs necessary to produce all kinds of goods, which in turn reduced environmental demands on the land and the amount of waste that flowed through smokestacks and water pipes. As we learned to do more and more with a given unit of resources, the waste involved (which manifests itself in the form of pollution) shrank.

My take on the next election....

I watched Paul Martin last night at a pub with a bunch of friends. I thought he did an OK job, even though he should have made that statement in the House of Commons. This morning, there was an item in the National Post saying that the Liberals want to fast-track the budget and the same-sex marriage bill. I think this is a good approach, and should be supported by conservatives.

First, I believe both of these bills SHOULD be voted on by parliament. We voted in this government to do a job, and the current scandal doesn't mean they should't pass any legislation. It's the Liberal party I want to be damaged, not the government.

Secondly, I don't want the next election to be fought on same-sex marriage. We did that last time. I want it to be fought on honesty, good government, and how to improve our democracy. So, please pass same-sex legislation as soon as possible, and let's move on.

I firmly believe that Stephen Harper should accept passage of same-sex marriage, and tell the people that his party accepts the will of parliament. As parliament stands right now, there is support for this bill. I want both the Liberals and the Conservatives to take this issue off the table.

Let's have an election camaign on the future of our democracy.

Eco-imperialism on earth day....

Here's a story of common sense in Uganda....
THE Government is to use DDT to eliminate malaria despite stiff challenges from environmentalists, the primary health care state minister, Dr. Alex Kamugisha, has said.

He was addressing Moyo district leaders on Monday at Moyo Multi-purpose Hall.

Kamugisha said the use of DDT against malaria worked well in Britain, USA and in Asian countries. Present were UNICEF country Representative Martin Mogwanja and representatives from Danida
Yes, DDT can save lives....

More Palestinian child abuse....

Yet another teenager has been caught with pipe bombs.
A 17-year-old Palestinian was caught attempting to smuggle four pipe bombs at the Beit Furit checkpoint outside of Nablus Friday afternoon.

A military policewoman manning the position stopped the teen for inspection and asked to check the bag he was carrying. At first he refused, but the policewoman later checked inside and discovered the pipe bombs.

He was detained for questioning, and the bombs were blown up by sappers.

Security officials said that it is the eighth attempt by Palestinians to smuggle bombs and weapons out of Nablus in recent weeks.
Shouldn't he be in school?

Academics vote to boycott Israel

Well, as feared, they've done it....the Association of University Teachers (AUT)has voted to sever ties with two Israeli Universities.
Members of the Association of University Teachers (AUT) decided to suspend all links with Haifa and Bar-Ilan universities.

They were complicit in a system of "apartheid" towards Palestinians, delegates at the AUT's council heard.
Here's some of what they heard:
Sue Blackwell, an English lecturer from Birmingham University, said: "Most Israeli academics serve in the army's reserve forces.

"Most support the state's suppression of the Palestinians or at least don't speak out against it."

Delegates voted for more dialogue with Palestinian academics and unions.
Surprisingly, they didn't go all the way....
However, another motion on boycotting the Hebrew University of Jerusalem - accused of building student dormitories on land confiscated from Palestinian families - was referred to the union's executive for further investigation.
The AUT should be ashamed of themselves.

Free speech but poor taste...

Two students have been suspended for wearing "I love my vagina" buttons - inspired by the play, "The Vagina Monologues".
As a show of support, more than 100 students have ordered T-shirts bearing "I (heart) My Vagina" for girls and "I Support Your Vagina" for boys.
I fully support free speech, and I would leave them alone. But, isn't this still poor taste? Do we really need this in high school?

Progress in the 'finger' case...

The woman who found a finger in her chili at Wendy's has been arrested.
Anna Ayala, 39, was taken into custody at her Las Vegas home Thursday night.

There's no word on what charge she might face.
We blogged earlier that she had previously sued various companies in the past. I imagine they'll be more details later today.

Thursday, April 21, 2005

The hypocrisy of leftists....

David Horowitz spoke yesterday at the University of Hawaii on his proposed Academic Bill of Rights. But, how's this for hypocrisy?
Many of the same campus leftists who had so urgently proclaimed the importance of defending Churchill's right to call some of the 3,000 murdered on 9-11 "Little Eichmanns" came to the Horowitz‚ event armed with signs reading "No free speech for fascists". Several attempted to shout down Horowitz‚ presentation, but were themselves shouted down by an audience determined to hear what Horowitz had to say without interruption. The presence of several campus security officers was an additional deterrent.
Shouldn't freedom of speech be for everybody? And not just for leftists?

Women are financial powerhouses....

Here's a report from the UK on the wealth of women.
Female millionaires will outnumber their male counterparts across all age groups within 20 years, says research published today. It describes women as the "financial powerhouses" of Britain.

The study predicts that women will own 60 per cent of the nation's personal wealth by 2025, with many using their professional and personal skills to extraordinary financial effect.

At present, women millionaires between the ages of 18-44, and over the age of 65, outnumber male millionaires, the report says. They own 48 per cent of the nation's personal wealth.

But significant change will occur as a result of the rise in "financially sophisticated younger women", who will swell the numbers of those who inherit their wealth.

Many more women will own property - property ownership has helped to catapult women in business - and girls are performing better than boys at school, obtaining traditionally male, high-powered jobs.

Women are also living longer and are more likely to inherit. Then there are those who marry - and divorce - "well".
The research was carried out by the Centre for Economics and Business Research. I'd like to see similar stats for the US and Canada. I am sure they are similar.

An industry where men really earn less than women....

Do you think feminists will be demanding equal pay in this industry?
But it's not as if we as a society have achieved total pay equity. There is currently a gender-based wage gap of scandalous proportions in a multibillion-dollar industry, which (considering who she's married to) one might think Hillary Clinton would be more aware of. I refer here, of course, to the well-documented earnings differential between male and female members of the adult-film industry who, in many cases, perform identical,

The dirty little secret of the adult-film industry — one of them, anyway — is that male actors earn far less than their female counterparts for, in many cases and depending on the director, considerably more work. One male star, whose stature in the industry is such that he's had as many as five women working under him, reported earning just half of his costar's take for a recent feature that required him to portray a pizza-delivery man, a pool boy, and an errant traffic cop. Another male star, whose name and address were withheld at his request, says he typically earns between one quarter and one half of his female coworkers. (As if that weren't bad enough, the guy also claims that his employer forced him to work in a sexually charged, hostile atmosphere.) Where's the outrage over this particular glass ceiling, even if it looks more like a mirrored one? It's all well and good for Hillary Clinton to pay lip service to pay equity in traditional professions. But if she thinks the hard-working men in the adult-film industry are going to take this lying down she's got another thought coming.

Bolton Hysteria...

The Democrats have managed to have John Bolton's confirmation as Ambassador to the UN put off for a couple of weeks. To me, this is sad - I feel that Bolton is an inspired choice for the job. An excerpt from the Wall Street Journal.
Look closely at Mr. Bolton's accusers, and you can see through the agendas. There is former State Department career official Carl Ford, who claims Mr. Bolton rudely disagreed with his policy positions. There is also Latin America-specialist Fulton Armstrong, whom Mr. Bolton allegedly tried to have fired. Never mind that Mr. Bolton was not the only senior State Department official to complain about Mr. Armstrong. Or that Mr. Armstrong's forgiving assessments of Cuba's Fidel Castro were influenced by the work of Ana Belen Montes, a former Defense Intelligence Agency analyst convicted in 2002 of spying for Cuba. This is the testimony of career analysts who disagree with Bush Administration policy and want to show that any official who disagrees with the bureaucracy will have his own career ruined in Senate confirmation.

All of this is being orchestrated by Senate Democrats Chris Dodd and Joe Biden, who represent the foreign-policy views that lost the last election. More than that, they are carrying water for a foreign-policy establishment that tried desperately to defeat Mr. Bush and failed, but now wants to pin an embarrassing defeat on the President by humiliating a nominee closely associated with his policy. This is the same establishment that so believes in the mythology of "multilateralism" that it doesn't care if the U.N. was corrupted by Saddam Hussein's Oil for Food program. Mr. Bolton is a threat to their U.N. illusions because he wants to achieve actual results.
Amen! Bolton is the right man for the job. Let's hope the Republicans stay focused on get him confirmed.

Connecticut Governor signs Civil Union Bill...

Governor Jodi Rell has signed a bill to allow civil unions for gays in Connecticut. This is the first civil union law that has been passed without being forced by the courts.

This is good news, but these couples will still not have federal recognition of their union, and thus will be denied all sorts of benefits (they won't be able to file Federal joint tax returns, for example).

I am sure there will very strong reaction from the right....even though this bill did not come from the courts - proving that they are against any sort of recognition for gay couples.

Spain approves gay marriage...

Spanish lawmakers in the lower house of parliament approved Thursday a bill legalizing gay marriage, El Pais newspaper reported in its online edition.
Click to Visit

The bill must still pass through the Senate and then another round in the lower house before becoming law. Many analysts however expect the bill to be fully approved.
Good for Spain.

Anti-Israeli journalist gets MBE honours...

BBC reporter Orla Guerin, one of most virulent anti-Israeli reporters out there, is getting MBE honours from the British government. Natan Sharansky said in a Jerusalem Post article that it was a pity that lack of anti-semitism was not a criteria.
Last year, in response to one of Guerin's dispatches about Israel's capture of a mentally challenged 16-year-old would-be suicide bomber, Sharansky wrote the BBC that it employs a "gross double standard to the Jewish state" that smacks of anti-Semitism.

Sharansky protested that Guerin, in her report, portrayed the event as "Israel's cynical manipulation of a Palestinian youngster for propaganda purposes." He said this "reveals a deep-seated bias against Israel. Only a total identification with the goals and methods of the Palestinian terror groups would drive a reporter to paint Israel in such an unflattering light instead of placing the focus on the bomber and the organization that recruited him."

The report, he said, "has not only set a new standard for biased journalism, it has also raised concerns that it was tainted by anti-Semitism."

In his letter, Sharansky quoted Guerin as describing to viewers how the IDF "paraded the child in front of the international media," then "produced" the child for reporters, "posed" him a second time for the cameras, and then "rushed him back into a jeep."

Likewise, the Evening Standard, which interviewed Guerin in 2003, wrote that she "questioned Israel's claim to be a democracy, compared its press freedom with Zimbabwe's and accused its officials of paranoia."

How the tropics affect global warming....

It seems like everyday there is a new study on global warmings that adds to our knowledge - and shows just how little we know about climate. Here's an article about how the tropics affect global warming....the opposite of what we have believed.
Dr Erin McClymont, who lead the study from Bristol University’s Chemistry Department, said: “Our data challenge the idea that tropical climate change is simply a response to high-latitude changes, such as the waxing and waning of ice-sheets.

“We show that in fact it is the other way round, and that the development of the modern tropical Pacific circulation system about a million years ago caused the expansion of the ice sheets.”

In an article, published in GEOLOGY, Dr McClymont shows that about a million years ago the sea-surface temperature gradient and the strength of the trade winds in the tropical Pacific began to increase, eventually reaching values found at the present day.

This altered the transfer of heat and moisture from low to high latitudes, resulting in more precipitation and cooler temperatures over the ice-sheet source regions, and an expansion of the ice sheets.

Such changes in the ice-sheets were previously thought to be controlled only by the ice-sheets themselves, by ocean and atmospheric circulation in the northern hemisphere, or possibly by atmospheric CO2.