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 (

Thursday, June 28, 2007

One out of Six Palestinians want Israel to Re-Occupy West Bank...

And why not? Clearly, Palestinians realize how horrible their life has become...

Overall, 41 per cent of Palestinians supported dissolving the Palestinian Authority while 26 percent wanted it replaced it with an international trusteeship. 16 percent of Palestinians said they favored a return to full Israeli occupation. However, 49 percent rejected dismantling the PA.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Hitchens on Muslim Anger...

Hitchens is right...let's not anticipate anger..and let's not retreat..

The acceptance of an honor by a distinguished ex-Muslim writer, who exercised his freedom to abandon his faith and thus courts a death sentence for apostasy in any case, came shortly after the remaining minarets of the Askariya shrine in Samarra were brought down in shards. You will recall that the dome itself was devastated by an explosion more than a year ago—an outrage described in one leading newspaper as the work of "Sunni insurgents," the soft name for al-Qaida. But what does "Rage Boy" have to say about this appalling desecration of a Muslim holy place? What resolutions were introduced into the "parliament" of Pakistan, denouncing such shameful profanity? You already know the answer to those questions. The lives of Shiite Muslims, Jews, Hindus, and Christians—to say nothing of atheists or secularists—are considered by Sunni militants to be of little or no account. And yet they accuse those who criticize them of bigotry! And many people are so anxious to pre-empt this accusation that they ventriloquize the reactions of Sunni mobs as if they were the vox populi, all the while muttering that we must take care not to offend such supersensitive people.

This mental and moral capitulation has a bearing on the argument about Iraq, as well. We are incessantly told that the removal of the Saddam Hussein despotism has inflamed the world's Muslims against us and made Iraq hospitable to terrorism, for all the world as if Baathism had not been pumping out jihadist rhetoric for the past decade (as it still does from Damascus, allied to Tehran). But how are we to know what will incite such rage? A caricature published in Copenhagen appears to do it. A crass remark from Josef Ratzinger (leader of an anti-war church) seems to have the same effect. A rumor from Guantanamo will convulse Peshawar, the Muslim press preaches that the Jews brought down the Twin Towers, and a single citation in a British honors list will cause the Iranian state-run press to repeat its claim that the British government—along with the Israelis, of course—paid Salman Rushdie to write The Satanic Verses to begin with. Exactly how is such a mentality to be placated?

We may have to put up with the Rage Boys of the world, but we ought not to do their work for them, and we must not cry before we have been hurt. In front of me is a copy of this week's Economist, which states that Rushdie's 1989 death warrant was "punishment for the book's unflattering depiction of the Prophet Muhammad." There is no direct depiction of the prophet in this work of fiction, and the reverie about his many wives occurs in the dream of a madman. Nobody in Ayatollah Khomeini's circle could possibly have read the book for him before he issued a fatwah, which made it dangerous to possess. Yet on that occasion, the bookstore chains of America pulled The Satanic Verses from their shelves, just as Borders shamefully pulled Free Inquiry (a magazine for which I write) after it reproduced the Danish cartoons. Rage Boy keenly looks forward to anger, while we worriedly anticipate trouble, and fret about etiquette, and prepare the next retreat. If taken to its logical conclusion, this would mean living at the pleasure of Rage Boy, and that I am not prepared to do.

Up close with Hamas...

Hamas is a genocidal, fanatical's a first-hand view....Joel Brinkley, formerly of the New York Times.

I know the leaders of Hamas. And I am certain they will be the last people on earth to realize that their coup has backfired. During three decades in daily journalism, working in more than 50 nations around the world, I have never met as determined a group of dogmatic ideologues. During a reporting trip in Gaza a few years ago, I set out to meet and interview each of the five major Hamas leaders. I got to four of them. This was before the elections last year that put Hamas in power -- before, even, the Israeli air strikes that killed several of them.

For me, the most memorable of this group was Mahmoud al-Zahar, a surgeon. He served as the Hamas foreign minister until Abbas dismissed the government last week.

Zahar lived in a large, comfortable house amid the teeming slums of Gaza. He greeted me at his front door wearing a caftan, a full black beard and a confident smile, then led me to his cavernous living room, where he served sweet tea. Two of his seven children were playing pingpong on a table set up in the middle of the floor. On a credenza, two televisions competed for attention -- one offered Al Jazeera, the other CNN. Zahar sat on a faux Louis XIV settee. The butt of a pistol peeked out from between the cushions. After some polite chatter, Zahar espoused the Hamas philosophy.

"From our ideological point of view," he said, "it is not allowed to recognize that Israel controls one square meter of historic Palestine," he said. That, of course, includes Israel. After the Arabs retake "historic Palestine," Zahar continued, the 4 million Palestinians who live in other states would be encouraged to return. They would retake the homes their grandparents lost during the 1948 war. Then, he allowed, "the Jews could remain living in an Islamic state with Islamic law."

Zahar offered this with a polite smile. His manner was cheerful, even serene. He could have been discussing his opinion of a movie he saw last week. From a few yards away, we could hear the plink of the pingpong ball and his children's giggles.

Later that afternoon, one of his colleagues, Ismail Abu Shanab, said he had an even better idea, described in the same earnest, genial manner: "There are a lot of open areas in the United States that could absorb the Jews." When I asked him if he were joking, he looked puzzled and shook his head slightly, as if to say: I don't understand. Israel killed Shanab, an engineer, along with several other Hamas leaders in 2003. Among them was Abdel Aziz Rantisi who told me, "We in Hamas believe peace talks will do no good. We do not believe we can live with the enemy."

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Crackdown in Iran...

Let's hope this is a sign of how much the regime is hated...

IRANIAN authorities have begun a crackdown on dissent, zeroing in on labour leaders, universities, the press, women's rights advocates and Iranian-Americans.

The New York Times said President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's administration had been using US support for regime change in Iran and threats of a military attack as a pretext to hound opponents.

Some analysts say the crackdown is a cultural revolution, an attempt to roll back the clock to the time of the 1979 revolution.

Attention has been focused on Mr Ahmadinejad's political enemies, like former president Mohammad Khatami and the controversy over his presumed violation of Islamic morals when he shook hands with an unfamiliar woman after a speech in Rome, the paper said.

Young men wearing T-shirts deemed too tight or haircuts seen as too Western have been paraded bleeding through Tehran streets by uniformed police, the Times said.

The police chief boasted that 150,000 people were detained in an annual sweep against clothing thought unIslamic, according to the report. And eight student leaders at Tehran's Amir Kabir University disappeared into jail from early May.

The Iranian National Security Council has sent a three-page warning to all newspaper editors detailing banned topics, including the rise in petrol prices or other economic woes.

At least three prominent groups pushing for broader legal rights or civil society have been shut down and hundreds more forced underground. And professors have been warned against attending overseas conferences or contacts with foreign governments, lest they be recruited as spies, the Times said.

Hamas and Iran...

There can be no doubt that Iran is behind's an interview with the ex-foreign minister of Hamas...
Zahar bragged that he had carried two suitcases of cash from Iran, for a total of $42 million, into Gaza. However, the border is now closed, and he did not explain how money could find its way into Gaza in the future.

The evil of Hamas...

Tom Gross points out....Where are the human rights organizations???
Hamas was not using a random hit list. Every Hamas patrol carried with it a laptop containing a list of Fatah operatives in Gaza, and an identity number and a star appeared next to each name. A red star meant the operative was to be executed and a blue one meant he was to be shot in the legs – a special, cruel tactic developed by Hamas, in which the shot is fired from the back of the knee so that the kneecap is shattered when the bullet exits the other side. A black star signaled arrest, and no star meant that the Fatah member was to be beaten and released. Hamas patrols took the list with them to hospitals, where they searched for wounded Fatah officials, some of whom they beat up and some of whom they abducted.

Aside from assassinating Fatah officials, Hamas also killed innocent Palestinians, with the intention of deterring the large clans from confronting the organization. Thus it was that 10 days ago, after an hours-long gun battle that ended with Hamas overpowering the Bakr clan from the Shati refugee camp – known as a large, well-armed and dangerous family that supports Fatah – the Hamas military wing removed all the family members from their compound and lined them up against a wall. Militants selected a 14-year-old girl, two women aged 19 and 75, and two elderly men, and shot them to death in cold blood to send a message to all the armed clans of Gaza.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Friedman on the boycott of Israel...

The boycott is pure anti-semitism...

Two weeks ago, I took part in commencement for this year's doctoral candidates at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. The ceremony was held in the amphitheater on Mount Scopus, which faces out onto the Dead Sea and the Mountains of Moab. The setting sun framed the graduate students in a reddish-orange glow against a spectacular biblical backdrop.

Before I describe the ceremony, though, I have to note that it coincided with the news that Britain's University and College Union had called on its members to consider a boycott of Israeli universities, accusing them of being complicit in Israel's occupation of the Palestinian territories.

As the Hebrew U. doctoral candidates each had their names called out and rose to receive their diplomas from the university's leadership, I followed along in the program. The Israeli names rolled by: "Moshe Nahmany, Irit Nowik, Yuval Ofir. But then every so often I heard an Arab name, like Nuha Hijazi or Rifat Azam or Taleb Mokari.

Since the program listed everyone's degrees and advisers, I looked them up. Rifat got his doctorate in law. His thesis was about "International Taxation of Electronic Commerce." His adviser was "Prof. D. Gliksberg." Nuha got her doctorate in biochemistry. Her adviser was "Prof. R. Gabizon." Taleb had an asterisk by his name. So I looked at the bottom of the page. It said: "Summa Cum Laude." His chemistry thesis was about "Semiconductor-Metal Interfaces," and his adviser was "Prof. U. Banin."

These were Israeli Arab doctoral students -- many of them women and one of whom accepted her degree wearing a tight veil over her head. Funny -- she could receive her degree wearing a veil from the Hebrew University, but could not do so in France, where the veil is banned in public schools.

How crazy is this, I thought. Israel's premier university is giving Ph.D.s to Arab students, two of whom were from East Jerusalem -- i.e., the occupied territories -- supervised by Jewish Israeli professors, all while some far-left British academics are calling for a boycott of Israeli universities.

Friday, June 22, 2007

They're queer..and they're proud (and so am I)...

Israel is the ONLY country in the middle east to have a gay pride parade! Bradley Burston article in Ha'aretz deserves to be read in full....
I'm proud of the State of Israel. It may have more faults per capita than any nation in the world, faults which are duly broadcast, rerun, critiqued, and condemned as nowhere else. It may have more critics per capita than anywhere else in the world, in particular among its majority population of restive, instinctively kvetching, eternally disappointed Jews.

I know every criticism by heart. I'll see your every damning denunciation, and raise you 10. But I am proud of this country, and the gay pride parade in Jerusalem goes a long way toward explaining why.

I am proud of a country which - under the burden of a 24/7 threat of Islamic Jihad terrorism, under a daily Hamas barrage of Qassam missiles on a small town in the Negev, under an explicit Iranian threat of erasure in the future and client militia brushfire wars in the near present - deploys 8,000 police, nearly half of its entire active-duty force, to protect a parade in Jerusalem by a minority group that is routinely denigrated by many members of two of the holy city's largest and most vocal communities: the ultra-Orthodox and the Palestinians.

I am proud of the gay community, which made strenuous efforts to assure that the parade would be held in areas far from the ultra-Orthodox neighborhoods and other areas where the march would serve to offend residents.

I am proud of the police for standing up to yeshiva students who, screaming "Nazis! Nazis! Nazis!" at the officers, pelted them with rocks, bottles, angle iron and Molotov cocktails, all the while breaking windows, smashing streetlights, and setting fire to tires and garbage dumpsters.

I am proud of ultra-Orthodox rabbis and yeshiva masters, who, though appalled by the parade and what they see as the abomination of homosexuality, publicly and unequivocally forbade their students from taking part in violent demonstrations.

I am proud of a country that scorns the slimy Meir Kahane disciple Itamar Ben-Gvir when he screams at gay celebrants in a Tel Aviv parade "the Nazis should have finished you off."

I am proud of the policeman on King David Street who, when asked by a passing pre-schooler about the flag with the rainbow colors, replied, "There are boys who love boys, and girls who love girls."

I am proud of a country in which the army's influential radio station airs the views of the daughter of the prime minister when she states that the right of gays and lesbians to march in their capital city is as inherent as their right to vote.

Just as I am proud of Israel's last Eurovision song contest winner, an acclaimed diva who began life as a man, who told a television interviewer why she believed that in the interest of respect for the holy city, the parade should not be held there.

And I am proud, as well, of the fact that Israel Television gave air time to a rabbi to explain his strong opposition to the march, and to the woman anchor who, asked by the rabbi what she would do if her son told her she was gay, said that she would hold him and be grateful for his openness.

There are many who argue that a Jewish country cannot countenance a public celebration of homosexuality. It is time for them to take the advice of leading rabbis, who placed this announcement in the Lithuanian Haredi newspaper, as quoted by the Jerusalem Post:

"Demonstrating should be done by each person in his place [by feeling outrage in the soul, by praying and beseeching (God) against the loathsome blasphemy]."

All of us who live here have our personal list of obscenities, perversions and abominations, as committed by our fellow Jewish residents of Israel. We may find their actions politically abhorrent, culturally unbearable, spiritually bankrupt, personally offensive.

They are a big part of the price of living in this country, riven along fault lines dividing and enraging left and right, secular and religious, Mizrachi and Ashkenazi, sabra and immigrant.

It may be the built-in flaw of a Jewish homeland, this infighting among the Jews it has brought home.

But as the gay pride parade proves, the most profound strength of a Jewish country are those Jews who strive to learn to live with the Jews with whom they so profoundly differ.

We're here. By definition, we are all of us, each in our own ways, queer. We should, all of us for our own reasons, be proud.

Here's another global warming skeptic...

It seems that there are more and more of them....

Reid Bryson, known as the father of scientific climatology, considers global warming a bunch of hooey.

The UW-Madison professor emeritus, who stands against the scientific consensus on this issue, is referred to as a global warming skeptic. But he is not skeptical that global warming exists, he is just doubtful that humans are the cause of it.

There is no question the earth has been warming. It is coming out of the "Little Ice Age," he said in an interview this week.

"However, there is no credible evidence that it is due to mankind and carbon dioxide. We've been coming out of a Little Ice Age for 300 years. We have not been making very much carbon dioxide for 300 years. It's been warming up for a long time," Bryson said.

The Little Ice Age was driven by volcanic activity. That settled down so it is getting warmer, he said.

Humans are polluting the air and adding carbon dioxide to the atmosphere, but the effect is tiny, Bryson said.

"It's like there is an elephant charging in and you worry about the fact that there is a fly sitting on its head. It's just a total misplacement of emphasis," he said. "It really isn't science because there's no really good scientific evidence."

Just because almost all of the scientific community believes in man-made global warming proves absolutely nothing, Bryson said. "Consensus doesn't prove anything, in science or anywhere else, except in democracy, maybe."

Here's a peer who should be sent packing?

But, can you fire a peer in the UK???

A Muslim peer compared Salman Rushdie to the September 11 hijackers yesterday as protests over the author's knighthood escalated.

Muslims protest against Salman Rushdie's knighthood outside Regents Park Mosque in London: Muslim peer likens  Rushdie to 9/11 hijackers
Muslims protest against Salman Rushdie's knighthood in London

At Regents Park Mosque in London, demonstrators held up placards saying "May God curse the Queen" and one speaker said that should Tony Blair become an envoy in the Middle East he should be sent back "in a bag".

The Labour peer Lord Ahmed of Rotherham, who was interviewed in Le Figaro newspaper in France, added fuel to the row.

"This honour is given in recognition of services rendered to Great Britain," he said. "Salman Rushdie lives in New York. He is a controversial man who has insulted Muslim people, Christians and the British. He does not deserve the honour.

"Two weeks ago Tony Blair spoke about constructing bridges with Muslims. What hypocrisy. What would one say if the Saudi or Afghan governments honoured the martyrs of the September 11 attacks on the United States?"

The Wise Hirsi Ali...

Ayaan Hiris Ali is very wise....a nice article on the role of journalism today...

In a free society, if Jews, Protestants, and Catholics have their own schools, then Muslims should have theirs, too. But how long should we ignore that in Muslim schools in the West, kids are taught to believe that Jews are pigs and dogs? Or that they should distance themselves from unbelievers and jihad is a virtue? Isn't it odd that everywhere in Europe with large Muslim organizations, demands are made not to teach kids about the Holocaust, while in mosques and Muslim bookshops The Protocols of the Elders of Zion is distributed?

And what about in Muslim lands, where Jews, Catholics, and Protestants cannot have their own schools, or churches, or graveyards? If Muslims can proselytize in Vatican City, why can't Christians proselytize in Mecca? Why do we find this acceptable? If Christians, Jews, and Atheists take to the streets in large numbers to protest against their own elected governments in objection to the war in Iraq, to the war against terror, why don't Muslims march in equally large number against the beheadings of Western aid workers? Why don't Muslims stand up for their own? Why are Jews and Christians and Atheists in the West the ones fighting genocide in Darfur? Why does it pass unnoticed in Muslim lands when Shias kill Sunnis and Sunnis, Shias by the thousands? It doesn't add up, does it? If you ask me, "What is the role of journalism today?" I would urge you to look into these questions.

Stop supporting Abbas

Fatah is just as murderous as Hamas. Finally, it appears that other Arabs are realizing that the Palestinians are their own worst enemy.

"It is idle to think that Gaza could be written off as a Hamas dominion while Fatah held its own in the towns of the West Bank," Fouad Ajami of the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies noted in a sobering analysis published Tuesday in the New York Times. "The abdication and the anarchy have damaged both Palestinian realms. Nablus in the West Bank is no more amenable to reason than is Gaza; the writ of the pitiless preachers and gunmen is the norm in both places."

While Mr. Ajami's commentary is poised, there is no such thing:

"Palestinians today need to be left without a shred of a doubt" as to what other Arabs think of them, a widely read opinion commentator for the Saudi daily Asharq Al Awsat, Mamoun Fandy, thundered on Monday. "We need to tell them the only thing they have proven over 50 years is that they are adolescents who cannot and should not be trusted to run institutions of state or any other important matters."

Why single out Israel?

A nice opinion piece in today's Globe & Mail by Irwin Cotler...
The United Nations Human Rights Council concluded its year-long session last week by singling out one member state — Israel — for permanent indictment on the council agenda.

This discriminatory treatment is not only prejudicial to Israel; it is a breach of the UN charter's foundational principle of the equality "of nations, large and small." It concluded a week — and year — of unprecedented discriminatory conduct.

The week began with Archbishop Desmond Tutu reporting to the council on the high-level fact-finding mission to investigate "the Israeli willful killing of Palestinian civilians" in Beit Hanoun, Gaza, last November. He received a standing ovation, an extraordinary reaction by a body that frowns on applause.

I suspect the appreciation was for the man as much as anything else, because the mandate that authorized the mission was a sham. It made a mockery of the council's own founding principles and procedures. It was a mission that should never have been.

Accordingly, when I addressed the council that same morning, I made public for the first time that I had been invited by the council president to join the mission last November, but declined to do so.

I explained to the council that one might have thought I would welcome the opportunity to serve under a UN human-rights mandate. Canada is a country that has regarded the UN as an organizing idiom of its foreign policy, a country that has made a substantial contribution to the development of UN law and the cause of human rights. My colleague and mentor at McGill Law School, John Humphrey, was founding director of the UN division on human rights and the principal draftsman of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Regrettably, though, I could not accept the mandate because its terms of reference made a mockery of Kofi Annan's vision for the new council and its founding principles of universality, equality and fairness.

First, as a law professor and international lawyer, I could not accept a mandate to hear only one side of a dispute. The terms of reference deliberately ignored the Palestinian rocket attacks on the Israeli city of Sderot that preceded Israel's actions, and which continued even as we met.

The entrance to the McGill University Faculty of Law, where I am a professor, is engraved with the words audi artarem (hear both sides). How could one participate in a mandate that violated this bedrock principle of the rule of law — that denied a member state the right to a fair hearing and fundamental due process?

Second, the mandate violated the presumption of innocence. The resolution establishing this fact-finding mission began by condemning "the Israeli willful killing of Palestinian civilians." The 19 Palestinian dead were a tragedy. But how could one participate in a fact-finding mission where the facts and the verdict were determined in advance — a kind of Alice in Wonderland inquiry where the conviction was secured and the sentence passed even before the proceeding began.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Coal is rapidly expanding.....making Kyoto irrelevent...

China alone is building the equivalent of about 2 coal-fired plants a week....
By 2012, the plants in three key countries - China, India, and the United States - are expected to emit as much as an extra 2.7 billion tons of carbon dioxide, according to a Monitor analysis of power-plant construction data. In contrast, Kyoto countries by that year are supposed to have cut their CO2 emissions by some 483 million tons.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Canada is a winner in global warming...

The media never talks about the upsides of global's an article from the Washington Post.
It's not in Al Gore's PowerPoint presentation, but there are some upsides to global warming.

Northern homes could save on heating fuel. Rust Belt cities might stop losing snowbirds to the South. Canadian farmers could harvest bumper crops. Greenland may become awash in cod and oil riches. Shippers could count on an Arctic shortcut between the Atlantic and Pacific. Forests may expand. Mongolia could see a go-go economy.

This is all speculative, even a little facetious, and any gains are not likely to make up for predicted frightening upheavals elsewhere. But still ... might there be a silver lining for the frigid regions of Canada and Russia?

"It's not that there won't be bad things happening in those countries. There will be _ things like you'll lose polar bears," said economic professor Robert O. Mendelsohn of the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies. "But the idea is that they will get such large gains, especially in agriculture, that they will be bigger than the losses."

Mendelsohn looked at how gross domestic product around the world would be affected under different warming scenarios though 2100. Canada and Russia tend to come out as gainers, as does much of northern Europe and Mongolia.

Christians under attach in Gaza...

You can bet the CBC won't report this...

Christians living in Gaza City on Monday appealed to the international community to protect them against increased attacks by Muslim extremists. Many Christians said they were prepared to leave the Gaza Strip as soon as the border crossings are reopened.

The appeal came following a series of attacks on a Christian school and church in Gaza City over the past few days.

Father Manuel Musalam, leader of the small Latin community in the Gaza Strip, said masked gunmen torched and looted the Rosary Sisters School and the Latin Church.

"The masked gunmen used rocket-propelled grenades to storm the main entrances of the school and church," he said. "Then they destroyed almost everything inside, including the Cross, the Holy Book, computers and other equipment."

Musalam expressed outrage over the burning of copies of the Bible, noting that the gunmen destroyed all the Crosses inside the church and school. "Those who did these awful things have no respect for Christian-Muslim relations," he said.

The Green Movement as Religion....

An important is the new fascism...

Whatever your views on global warming, the term "climate change denial", and the speed with which it has become part of everyday language, shouldn't be welcomed. The term is reductive, as well as offensive in its connotations.

It encapsulates the way the environmental movement, for all its good intentions, is increasingly adopting the sanctimonious, hectoring and stifling attributes of organised religion. To question climate change today is to be cast as a denier of an absolute truth.

That people who used to be called "climate change sceptics" are now called "deniers" is quite deliberate. The aim is to suggest that climate change scepticism is somehow akin to Holocaust denial. The moral repugnance we feel for the latter, we should essentially feel for the former. The connection is subliminal mostly, but some commentators have been more than happy to spell it out.

British journalist Mark Lynas wrote: "I put (climate change denial) in a similar category to Holocaust denial — except that this time the Holocaust is yet to come, and we still have time to avoid it. Those who try to ensure we don't will one day have to answer for their crimes." In Nuremberg-style trials, one presumes.

Guardian columnist and author George Monbiot wrote: "Almost everywhere, climate change denial now looks as stupid and unacceptable as Holocaust denial."

Closer to home, Margo Kingston wrote: "David Irving is under arrest in Austria for Holocaust denial. Perhaps there is a case for making climate change denial an offence. It is a crime against humanity, after all."

Such attempts at moral equivalence are deeply repugnant and, frankly, stupid. The murder of 6 million Jews happened; the worst consequences of climate change are yet to happen, and we can't even say with certainty what they will be. To start judging people guilty for denying things that haven't happened yet — for having contrary thoughts — is surely to trump Orwell's nightmare vision.

It also corrupts the central tenet of science — that hypotheses are there to be tested; to be verified or falsified. As scientist Thomas Huxley said of his discipline, "scepticism is the highest of duties; blind faith the one unpardonable sin". The overwhelming majority of scientists believe in man-made climate change. No argument from me. But when you read or hear that "the jury is in" on climate change, or the "science is settled", alarm bells should ring. Science is never really settled. It can always be challenged. Science that isn't open to challenge isn't science; it's more like faith.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Get this! Libya may head the committee for the next UN Anti-Racism Conference...

How ridiculous can the UN get??

Libya is one of two candidate countries to head the first preparatory committee for the United Nations 2009 anti-racism conference in Durban, according to Hillel Neuer, executive director of UN Watch in Geneva.

The first anti-racism conference in the South African city of Durban in 2001 was widely condemned as anti-Semitic, with delegations from both Israel and the United States walking out in protest.

Neuer warned that the second conference was likely to be no different, given that a planning committee set to meet in Geneva later this month would likely be headed by Libya and would have among its 15 member body delegates from Iran, Saudi Arabia and Russia.

In the last few days, Armenia has also stepped forward as a candidate to lead the committee, said Neuer, but he said he was still concerned that Libya would head the committee in the end.

"Choosing Colonel [Muammar] Gaddafi to head a world anti-racism conference is like appointing a pyromaniac to be town fire chief," said Neuer. "How can a regime that consistently ranks as one of the most notorious violators of human rights, a government that sentenced to death five Bulgarian nurses and a Palestinian doctor only because they were foreigners and therefore easy scapegoats be charged with promoting fundamental principles of human dignity and equality?" Neuer wanted to know.

In Norway - Don't cook crabs...

I love crab...and this article made me hungry...

Aftenposten's food writer Yngve Ekern has been charged with animal cruelty by animal rights group NOAH after an article about cooking crabs.

Food writer Yngve Ekern is sorry he offended animal rights activists.

PHOTO: Rolf Chr. Ulrichsen (arkiv)

The case against Ekern has been dismissed and instead referred to the Conciliation Board, reports trade newspaper Journalisten on its web site, but there will be repercussions.

Ekern angered animal activists with his description of preparing crabs on the beach while his children were watching. He described throwing the crabs into hot oil after bashing them on a cutting board, a process that didn't kill all of them.

The article also outlined how to boil crabs, and included recipes.

"Showing how to boil living crabs is encouraging law-breaking. Crabs are also covered by the Animal Protection Act, and animals shall not be exposed to pain," NOAH leader Siri Martinsen told

Honor killings in the UK - part two...

Far more widespread than we realize...

A Sunday Telegraph investigation has established that honour killings are increasing rapidly in Britain.

Home Office statistics suggest that there are 12 such murders each year. However, according to research, the true figure is much higher. At a conference in Southampton last week, police chiefs revealed that they are re-examining 2,000 deaths and-murders between 1996 and 2006 to establish whether they involve honour killings. So far, 19 have now been found to be honour killings. A further 20 involved some element of "honour violence".

The string of deaths is likely to include some that were previously deemed suicides but have been found to be forced suicides and murder disguised as suicide.

Honor Killings in the UK....part one..

This story is just awful...but read the whole thing...

Banaz Mahmod made no secret of her belief that her father wanted to kill her. She was in hospital, nursing wounds incurred in an escape from him, when her boyfriend recorded a video of her on his mobile phone, in December 2005.

"It was just me and him in the living room. I turned around every now and then because I didn't trust him," she told the camera. Ms Mahmod also told police, four times, that she feared for her life and produced a list of three men she believed would murder her - but all to no avail.

Less than a month after making the video she was strangled. Her body was packed into a suitcase and driven 100 miles from London to Birmingham where she was buried in a back garden with the ligature - a shoelace - still around her neck.

Yesterday, campaigners demanded an Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) investigation into why Ms Mahmod, 20, died, at the end of a three-month Old Bailey trial in which her father, Mahmod Mahmod, 52, and his brother Ari Mahmod, 51, from Mitcham, south London, were convicted of murdering her. Mohamad Hama, 30, of West Norwood, south London, an associate of Ari Mahmod, had already pleaded guilty to the murder.

It emerged during the trial that a female police officer concluded Ms Mahmod had made up her story to get her boyfriend's attention. PC Angela Cornes, one of several officers who could be investigated by Scotland Yard's Directorate of Professional Standards, also told the jury that she had been instructed to doctor evidence by a detective inspector, Caroline Goode, to present the investigation in a better light.

Muslims target gays in Amsterdam....

Amsterdam is the gay capital of Europe...but now is becoming unsafe for gays...
Youth of ethnic background, primary from Moroccan families, are regularly hanging about well-known gay meeting places in Amsterdam in order to rob men there of their money. They also sometimes make appointments online, posing as homosexual, to rob them in their homes once they are invited over.

The victims of these crimes are often too embarrassed to report the incidents. "Often these are bisexual men who are married," says Pierre van der Steen of the police network aimed at promoting the rights of gays and lesbians, Roze in Blauw (RIB), told the Telegraaf.

Some parks in the capital are danger areas, though the youth also often wait outside many of the gay bars in Amsterdam.

"We have recently arrested Moroccan and Pakistani suspects near the Oeverlanden. They confessed to having robbed six men, while only one of these men had reported the incident to police," adds Marja Lust of RIB.

Another homosexual man was assaulted in the Vondel park last Saturday by six Moroccan youth. He told his story to the newspaper, but later asked that it not be published out of fear for reprisals. "Out of the blue I was just beaten and kicked," he says. "There is a great deal of anger among this group of young people and I have no idea where it is coming from.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Some sense from the President of the Czech Republic

Vaclav Klaus writes in the Financial Times about climate and reason..

As a witness to today's worldwide debate on climate change, I suggest the following:

*Small climate changes do not demand far-reaching restrictive measures

*Any suppression of freedom and democracy should be avoided

*Instead of organising people from above, let us allow everyone to live as he wants

*Let us resist the politicisation of science and oppose the term "scientific consensus", which is always achieved only by a loud minority, never by a silent majority

*Instead of speaking about "the environment", let us be attentive to it in our personal behaviour

*Let us be humble but confident in the spontaneous evolution of human society. Let us trust its rationality and not try to slow it down or divert it in any direction

*Let us not scare ourselves with catastrophic forecasts, or use them to defend and promote irrational interventions in human lives.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Why did we arm the Palestinians???

The victory of Hamas in Gaza is a huge blow - and it underscores how dangerous it is to give weapons to the Palestinians...

Fatah officials here confirmed that Hamas had seized large amounts of weapons and military equipment belonging to Abbas's security forces in the Gaza Strip. Some of the weapons were supplied to the PA in recent weeks by Egypt and Jordan as part of a US security plan to boost Fatah-controlled forces.

Hamas said it had seized thousands of M-16 and Kalashnikov rifles and pistols, communication equipment, armored vehicles, trucks, binoculars, military outfits, tents, sleeping bags, hand grenades, mortars and documents.

Hamas militiamen were seen driving some of the confiscated vehicles that have been decorated with Hamas flags and signs.

A telling statement from a Fatah commander...

From today's National Post...
"They're firing at us, firing RPGs, firing mortars. We're not Jews," the brother of Jamal Abu Jediyan, a Fatah commander, pleaded during a live telephone conversation with a Palestinian radio station."

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Bio-Fuels are not good for the poor...

Rising corn prices are hurting the poor...

China’s communist rulers announced a moratorium on the production of ethanol from corn and other food crops yesterday at the very time that Western leaders are rushing to embrace alternative food-based fuel technology.

Beijing’s move underlines concerns that ethanol production is driving up rapidly the costs of corn and grain. It appears to reflect a growing reality about food-based alternative fuel: it is far more expensive both economically and environmentally, than Western politicians are likely to admit.

Friday, June 01, 2007

More child abuse in Gaza....

These scenes are sickening...
A televised graduation ceremony at a Palestinian kindergarten in Gaza shows little boys dressed in black masks, camouflage fatigues, carrying toy guns, and waving green Hamas flags.

The children vow that their most "lofty aspiration" is death for the sake of Allah.

The ceremony aired on Hamas' Al-Aqsa Television on Thursday. The kindergarten is run by the Islamic Association in Gaza, which is the group that gave rise to Hamas.

In part of the video, girls in white dresses, some wearing butterfly wings, are shown dancing.

Then the boys, dressed like Palestinian militants, march in formation before dropping to flat to the floor to crawl on their stomachs like fighters do.

The boys shout, "Allah Akbar" (Allah is great).

"Who is your role model?" the boys are asked. "The Prophet," they respond.

"What is your path?"

"Jihad," they shout.

"What is your most lofty aspiration?"

"Death for the sake of Allah."

The video clip and translation were provided by the Middle East Media Research Institute on Friday. (See MEMRI video)

Organized Extortion in the West Bank...

Just when you thoughts things were bad....
One Palestinian merchant sold his shops and is preparing to emigrate after gunmen tried to extort 50,000 shekels ($12,500) from him. Another entrepreneur ended up in the hospital with severe beating injuries after refusing to pay up.

Blackmail of wealthy business people is the latest tactic of some Palestinian militants, who have increasingly turned to crime to fund their armed groups, terrorizing entire cities as intimidated police stand by.

The extortionists often have ties to the Al Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades, a violent offshoot of moderate Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah movement, or even serve in the security forces.

Is global warming a problem?

NASA administrator says no...
NASA administrator Michael Griffin defends the space agency's programs, including plans for a permanent moon base and manned missions to Mars. He also says that while NASA studies climate change, the agency has no authorization to "take actions to affect climate change in either one way or another."

The following are excerpts from Griffin's conversation with Steve Inskeep, edited for clarity:

It has been mentioned that NASA is not spending as much money as it could to study climate change — global warming — from space. Are you concerned about global warming?

I'm aware that global warming exists. I understand that the bulk of scientific evidence accumulated supports the claim that we've had about a one degree centigrade rise in temperature over the last century to within an accuracy of 20 percent. I'm also aware of recent findings that appear to have nailed down — pretty well nailed down the conclusion that much of that is manmade. Whether that is a longterm concern or not, I can't say.

Do you have any doubt that this is a problem that mankind has to wrestle with?

I have no doubt that … a trend of global warming exists. I am not sure that it is fair to say that it is a problem we must wrestle with. To assume that it is a problem is to assume that the state of Earth's climate today is the optimal climate, the best climate that we could have or ever have had and that we need to take steps to make sure that it doesn't change. First of all, I don't think it's within the power of human beings to assure that the climate does not change, as millions of years of history have shown. And second of all, I guess I would ask which human beings — where and when — are to be accorded the privilege of deciding that this particular climate that we have right here today, right now is the best climate for all other human beings. I think that's a rather arrogant position for people to take.