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 (www.freethinkingfilms.com)
Wednesday, January 30, 2008
Global Warming Hits China
Tuesday, January 29, 2008
What was Louise Arbour thinking???
Well, she probably wasn't thinking at all...which is usual for her...
In a letter issued Monday, UN Watch urged UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Louise Arbour to clarify a recent endorsement of the Arab Charter of Human Rights, which it said "contains several provisions that promote classically anti-Semitic themes."
The organization pointed to several sentences in the charter, such as "rejecting all forms of racism and Zionism, which constitute a violation of human rights and a threat to international peace and security," as well as "all forms of racism, Zionism and foreign occupation and domination constitute an impediment to human dignity…all such practices must be condemned and efforts must be deployed for their elimination."
On January 24 Arbour released a statement in which she welcomed the ratification of the Arab Charter and its coming into force, saying it was "an important step forward" in strengthening the enjoyment of human rights.
"The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights is committed and stands ready to support the States Parties to the Charter in ensuring that core values of human rights are upheld," Arbour said.
"Zionism is the movement for Jewish self-determination and asserts the inherent and internationally-acknowledged right of Israel to exist," UN Watch said. "A text that equates Zionism with racism, describes it as a threat to world peace, as an enemy of human rights and human dignity, and then urges its elimination, is blatantly anti-Semitic."
"Even if the Arab Charter may contain other, constructive provisions, nothing can justify any endorsement of a text with such hateful language," the letter stated.
Gay Bashings on the rise in Europe...
A disturbing report from Bruce Bawer....author of "While Europe Slept" which I urge everybody to read..
One day last month, I gave a talk in Rome about how the supposedly liberal ideology of multiculturalism has made possible the spread in Europe of the highly illiberal ideology of fundamentalist Islam, with all its brutality and – among other things – violent homophobia. When I returned to my hotel, I phoned my partner back home in Oslo only to learn that moments earlier he had been confronted at a bus stop by two Muslim youths, one of whom had asked if he was gay, started to pull out a knife, then kicked him as he got on the bus, which had pulled up at just the right moment. If the bus hadn’t come when it did, the encounter could have been much worse.
Not very long ago, Oslo was an icy Shangri-la of Scandinavian self-discipline, governability, and respect for the law. But in recent years, there have been grim changes, including a rise in gay-bashings. The summer of 2006 saw an unprecedented wave of them. The culprits, very disproportionately, are young Muslim men.
It’s not just Oslo, of course. The problem afflicts most of Western Europe. And anecdotal evidence suggests that such crimes are dramatically underreported. My own partner chose not to report his assault. I urged him to, but he protested that it wouldn’t make any difference. He was probably right.
The reason for the rise in gay bashings in Europe is clear – and it’s the same reason for the rise in rape. As the number of Muslims in Europe grows, and as the proportion of those Muslims who were born and bred in Europe also grows, many Muslim men are more inclined to see Europe as a part of the umma (or Muslim world), to believe that they have the right and duty to enforce sharia law in the cities where they live, and to recognize that any aggression on their part will likely go unpunished. Such men need not be actively religious in order to feel that they have carte blanche to assault openly gay men and non-submissive women, whose freedom to live their lives as they wish is among the most conspicuous symbols of the West’s defiance of holy law.
Multiculturalists can’t face all this. So it is that even when there are brutal gay-bashings, few journalists write about them; of those who do, few mention that the perpetrators are Muslims; and those who do mention it take the line that these perpetrators are lashing out in desperate response to their own oppression.
Monday, January 28, 2008
The EU's economic madness....
They are prepared to waste billions of dollars and it will change nothing....
The targets Britain will be legally committed to reach within 12 years fall under three main headings. Firstly, that 15 per cent of our energy should come from renewable sources such as wind (currently 1 per cent). Secondly, that 10 per cent of our transport fuel should be biofuels. Thirdly, that we accept a more draconian version of the "emissions trading scheme" that is already adding up to 12 per cent to our electricity bills.
The most prominent proposal is that which will require Britain to build up to 20,000 more wind turbines, including the 7,000 offshore giants announced by the Government before Christmas. To build two turbines a day, nearly as high as the Eiffel Tower, is inconceivable. What is also never explained is their astronomic cost.
At £2 million per megawatt of "capacity" (according to the Carbon Trust), the bill for the Government's 33 gigawatts (Gw) would be £66 billion (and even that, as was admitted in a recent parliamentary answer, doesn't include an extra £10 billion needed to connect the turbines to the grid). But the actual output of these turbines, because of the wind's unreliability, would be barely a third of their capacity. The resulting 11Gw could be produced by just seven new "carbon-free" nuclear power stations, at a quarter of the cost.
The EU's plans for "renewables" do not include nuclear energy. Worse, they take no account of the back-up needed for when the wind is not blowing - which would require Britain to have 33Gw of capacity constantly available from conventional power stations.
The same drawbacks apply to the huge increase in onshore turbines, covering thousands of square miles of countryside. They are only made viable by the vast hidden subsidies that wind energy receives, through our electricity bills. These make power from turbines (including the cost of back-up) between two and three times more expensive than that from conventional sources.
This is crazy enough, but the EU's policy on biofuels is even more so. The costs - up to £50 billion by 2020 - would, as the EU's own scientific experts have just advised, "outweigh the benefits". To grow the crops needed to meet the target would require all the farmland the EU currently uses to grow food, at a time when world food prices are soaring. Even Friends of the Earth have called on the EU to abandon its obsession with biofuels. Yet the Commission presses on regardless.
Sunday, January 27, 2008
You can see the light....
Friday, January 25, 2008
The Greens need authoritarianism...
Yes, the only way they can get us to drastically change the way we live is to change the way we are governed....
Have you ever heard anyone make the argument that we must take a certain course of action because the experts tell us we must? The issue might be the threat of another country or an environmental risk, but increasingly we see appeals to authority used as the basis for arguing for this or that action.
In a new book, David Shearman and Joseph Wayne Smith take the appeal to experts somewhat further and argue that in order to deal with climate change we need to replace liberal democracy with an authoritarianism of scientific expertise. They write in a recent op-ed:
Liberal democracy is sweet and addictive and indeed in the most extreme case, the USA, unbridled individual liberty overwhelms many of the collective needs of the citizens. . .
There must be open minds to look critically at liberal democracy. Reform must involve the adoption of structures to act quickly regardless of some perceived liberties. . .
We are going to have to look how authoritarian decisions based on consensus science can be implemented to contain greenhouse emissions.
On their book page they write:
[T]he authors conclude that an authoritarian form of government is necessary, but this will be governance by experts and not by those who seek power.
Stern Report Questioned.....
Nice to see some more skepticism...wish there was more at the time the report was released....
It changed the course of the global debate about climate change, but now the British Government's Stern Review on climate change has been heavily criticised by Australia's Productivity Commission.
The commission, which acts as the Federal Government's economic policy reviewer, says the Stern Review was as much about advocacy as it was about analysis.
Former World Bank chief economist Sir Nicolas Stern raised alarm in 2006 by putting a price tag on climate change and helped make it a hot political topic.
The Stern Review found that the world faces an economic collapse on the level of a world war or a depression if climate change is not averted.
It estimated the cost of global warming at between 5 and 20 per cent of global GDP, compared to just 1 per cent for the cost of measures to prevent it.
But Australia's top economic think-tank, the Productivity Commission, isn't convinced. It has published its own review, finding Sir Nicolas exaggerated the economic costs.
"The review's 'urgent' language can be explained by it being as much an exercise in advocacy as it is an economic analysis of climate change," the commission said.
"It draws heavily on studies that have a more pessimistic view on climate change and its impacts, and gives little attention to more optimistic views."
The Productivity Commission has examined the methodology behind the Stern Review, and concludes the findings can't be called definitive.
"The assertiveness with which some of the headline messages are delivered is not always matched by the caution attached to the evidence and analysis presented within the body of the report," it said.
Thursday, January 24, 2008
4,200 balloons.....4,200 Kassams...
A great way to illustrate the number of Kassam rockets fired into Israel since it disengaged from Gaza....
As the United Nations Security Council debated a response to the situation in the Gaza Strip and Sderot, Israel's New York Consulate held a protest in front of UN headquarters on Thursday, in which they placed 4,200 red balloons on the UN's doorstep. The number of balloons signified the 4,200 Kassam rockets fired into Israel from Gaza since the 2005 disengagement from the Strip.
The display was meant to raise world awareness to the fact that Israel's actions in the Gaza Strip are part of an effort to end the rocket attacks, the consulate said in a statement.
"Up until this day, every attempt to raise the issue and make it part of the American media's agenda has been unsuccessful," Consulate Spokesman David Saranga said
More cold weather...
I read today that there were two deaths in Israel due to the cold...
Last week, for the first time in modern memory, there was snow in Baghdad. A few days ago, NASA reported on the remarkable observation that more than 60 percent of 48 contiguous states were covered with snow. From Seattle to Bangor they were measuring the snowfall in feet instead of inches. Schools in Middle Tennessee took snow days. Children cheered. Parents wept. Please, Al, turn up the heat.
Wednesday, January 23, 2008
Global warming should mean fewer hurricanes....
Richard Lindzen of MIT has been saying this for some time....
Following in the footsteps of an earlier study, government scientists on Tuesday said warmer oceans should translate to fewer Atlantic hurricanes striking the United States.
The reason: As sea surface temperatures warm globally, sustained vertical wind shear increases. Wind shear makes it difficult for storms to form and grow.
"Using data extending back to the middle 19th century, we found a gentle decrease in the trend of U.S. landfalling hurricanes when the global ocean is warmed up," Chunzai Wang, a physical oceanographer and climate scientist with NOAA's Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory in Miami, said in a prepared statement.
The staging of darkness....
Gee, Hamas sure knows how to play the media....
On at least two occasions this week, Hamas staged scenes of darkness as part of its campaign to end the political and economic sanctions against the Gaza Strip, Palestinian journalists said Wednesday.
In the first case, journalists who were invited to cover the Hamas government meeting were surprised to see Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh and his ministers sitting around a table with burning candles.
In the second case on Tuesday, journalists noticed that Hamas legislators who were meeting in Gaza City also sat in front of burning candles.
But some of the journalists noticed that there was actually no need for the candles because both meetings were being held in daylight.
Monday, January 21, 2008
George Clooney - the Dupe...
Is he that stupid that he doesn't realize the truth about the UN....
As Hollywood buffs and UN money-raisers already know, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon has just named actor George Clooney as the UN’s newest Messenger of Peace, with a “special focus on UN peacekeeping.” Clooney, currently visiting Sudan, is expected to “receive his designation” Jan. 31st at UN headquarters in New York.
This would all be great if UN peacekeeping actually produced peace. But the illusion that the UN is a grand force for good in this world deserves to be catalogued somewhere between World’s Most Amazing Scams and Believe It-Or-Not Best-in-Special-Effects. The reality of today’s UN is more like a cross between “Animal House” (the movie, with John Belushi) and “Animal Farm” (the book, by George Orwell). Libya and Vietnam have just joined the Security Council, where China and Russia hold permanent seats. The Organization of the Islamic Conference has turned the General Assembly into its Manhattan clubhouse — which Iran’s mushroom-cloud-in-chief Mahmoud Ahmadinejad now uses every September as a base to parade around New York and lecture his audiences that Iran is a country of peaceful intentions and no homosexuals.
The Human Rights Council, with the eager help of Libya and Pakistan, is busy planning a “Durban II” reprise of its 2001 Durban I hate-fest against Israel and America. There is still no official UN definition of terrorism (which means that by UN lights, the Sept. 11 attacks were not committed by terrorists). And with assorted federal investigations going on in the U.S. into bribery, visa fraud and money laundering emanating from the UN (so, really, why did the UN Development Program in North Korea have $3,500 in counterfeit $100 bills in its office safe?), Ban Ki-moon — erstwhile chief administrator of the place — has been busy running around in a ski parka, and importuning on Bali, in his top priority campaign for massive transfers of wealth from democratic countries to dictatorships such as Cuba, China and Sudan, in the name of waging war on the weather.
Wow...glaciers melt due to volcanoes
I keep on saying it - the more research we do, the more we learn about climate....and global warming isn't everything...
Another factor might be contributing to the thinning of some of the Antarctica's glaciers: volcanoes.
In an article published Sunday on the Web site of the journal Nature Geoscience, Hugh Corr and David Vaughan of the British Antarctic Survey report the identification of a layer of volcanic ash and glass shards frozen within an ice sheet in western Antarctica.
"This is the first time we have seen a volcano beneath the ice sheet punch a hole through the ice sheet" in Antarctica, Vaughan said.
Volcanic heat could still be melting ice to water and contributing to thinning and speeding up of the Pine Island glacier, which passes nearby, but Vaughan said he doubted that it could be affecting other glaciers in western Antarctica, which have also thinned in recent years. Most glaciologists, including Vaughan, say that warmer ocean water is the primary cause of thinning.
Fuel crisis in Gaza???
A revealing comment from a PA official...
Defense officials, however, dismissed Palestinian claims of a complete blackout in Gaza, saying that 70 percent of the electricity Israel supplied to Gaza was still flowing into the Palestinian territory.
"The claim that there is a complete blackout in Gaza is a spin," an official said, adding that the Palestinians had had enough fuel for the electrical plant to last at least a week before Barak's decision to shut down the crossings on Thursday night.
Palestinian Authority officials in Ramallah expressed hope that the looming humanitarian crisis in the Gaza Strip would prompt Palestinians to turn against the Hamas government.
"We hope the residents of the Gaza Strip will now realize that Hamas has only brought disaster upon them," a senior PA official told The Jerusalem Post. "The only way to resolve the crisis is by getting rid of Hamas."
Another PA official said Hamas was also responsible for the fuel shortage. "Hamas has been stealing much of the fuel coming into the Gaza Strip," he charged. "They have enough fuel to fill their cars and keep the homes of their leaders heated."
Sunday, January 20, 2008
Editor gets three years for publishing the Mohammed cartoons....
This terrific news is from Belarus...
Europe's largest security organization lodged a protest Friday with authorities in Belarus, where a newspaper editor was ordered jailed for three years for reprinting cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad that originally were published in Denmark.
Miklos Haraszti, media freedom representative for the Vienna-based Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, urged officials in the ex-Soviet republic to release Alexander Zdvizhkov, the former deputy editor of the Zhoda newspaper.
Haraszti called the sentence to a high-security prison excessive and accused Belarus of misusing hate speech laws.
The verdict was announced Friday, the OSCE said.
Now, here's a political platform....
I think a lot of non-muslims would love this platform, no?
MALAYSIA'S Islamist opposition party called on non-Muslims on Thursday to back its election campaign to apply strict sharia law, including amputations and stonings, for the country's Muslims.
Parti Islam se-Malaysia (PAS) is trying to broaden its appeal beyond the predominantly Muslim heartland at the next election, which is expected by political experts to be called by end-March and to be fought partly on the issue of rising street crime.
'The people want the best and there is nothing better than Islam,' Nik Aziz Nik Mat, 77, told Reuters after morning prayers at his home in the largely rural northeast state of Kelantan, ruled by PAS since 1990.
An Egyptian-educated scholar, Nik Aziz said non-Muslims had nothing to fear from strict sharia punishments, known as hudud, and a lot to gain from them, especially Malaysia's large and wealthy ethnic Chinese minority.
'It is more important for the Chinese to accept hudud laws because those who steal do not steal from the poor,' said Mr Nik Aziz, who wore a skullcap, white shirt and sarong. 'Who steals from the poor?'
Hudud laws would not apply to non-Muslims if the Pas campaign succeeds in the end.
Mr Nik Aziz's spartan, single-storey home of green brick and wood sits next to a mosque and a religious school in a traditional Malay village. Malays constitute virtually the entire Muslim population and are defined as Muslim under the constitution.
'Thieves steal from the rich and the Chinese are more well-off than the Malays. If a thief's hand is amputated and he goes to the football field or he goes to the market, people can see that he is a thief,' he said. 'Everyone will be afraid and won't steal.'
Personal sharia law in the UK....
Muslims want sharia law to be integrated into the country's legal system...here's a report from the Daily Telegraph....
Islamic courts meet every week in the UK to rule on divorces and financial disputes. Clare Dwyer Hogg and Jonathan Wynne-Jones report on demands by senior Muslims that sharia be given legal authority
Amnah is a modern British Muslim. She is dressed in a denim skirt and her head is covered in a hijab. Poised and self-assured, she has come to meet Dr Suhaib Hasan, a silver-bearded sheikh who sits behind his desk, surrounded by religious books.
"But why would I have to observe the waiting period?" she asks him. "What are the reasons?" There is an urgency to her questions.
"These reasons don't apply to me, that's what I'm very confused about. If you could give me the reasons why I have to wait three months, then I'll understand."
Amnah is going through a divorce and is baffled at being told that she must wait for three months to remarry, considering that she hasn't seen her estranged husband for two years.
She twists her sock-clad toes into the carpet, grasping one hand with the other in her lap, and fixes Dr Hasan with an intense look. He meets this with a simple reply: "These rulings are all in the Koran. The rulings are made for all."
Amnah has little choice but to comply: Dr Hasan is a judge, and this is a sharia court - in east London. It sits, innocuously, at the end of a row of terrace houses in Leyton: a converted corner shop, with blinds on the windows, office- style partitions and a makeshift reception area.
It is one of dozens of sharia courts - also known as councils - that have been set up in mosques, Islamic centres and even schools across Britain. The number of British Muslims using the courts is increasing.
To many in the West, talk of sharia law conjures up images of the floggings, stonings, amputations and beheadings carried out in hardline Islamic states such as Saudi Arabia and Iran. However, the form practised in Britain is more mundane, focusing mainly on marriage, divorce and financial disputes.
The judgments of the courts have no basis in British law, and are therefore technically illegitimate - they are binding only in that those involved agree to comply. For British Muslims who are keen to follow Islam, this poses a dilemma. An Islamic marriage is not recognised by British law, and therefore many couples will have two ceremonies - civil for the state, and Islamic for their faith.
If they wish to divorce, they must then seek both a civil and an Islamic divorce.
Dr Hasan, who has been presiding over sharia courts in Britain for more than 25 years, argues that British law would benefit from integrating aspects of Islamic personal law into the civil system, so that divorces could be rubber-stamped in the same way, for example, that Jewish couples who go to the Beth Din court have their divorce recognised in secular courts.
He points out that the Islamic Sharia Council, of which he is the general secretary, is flooded with work. It hears about 50 divorce cases every month, and responds to as many as 10 requests every day by email and phone for a fatwa - a religious verdict on a religious matter.
Saturday, January 19, 2008
Now this is really scary.....
This is the first time I have heard about huge cyber attacks like these...
The CIA on Friday admitted that cyberattacks have caused at least one power outage affecting multiple cities outside the United States.
Alan Paller, director of research at the SANS Institute, said that CIA senior analyst Tom Donahue confirmed that online attackers had caused at least one blackout. The disclosure was made at a New Orleans security conference Friday attended by international government officials, engineers, and security managers from North American energy companies and utilities.
Paller said that Donahue presented him with a written statement that read, "We have information, from multiple regions outside the United States, of cyber intrusions into utilities, followed by extortion demands. We suspect, but cannot confirm, that some of these attackers had the benefit of inside knowledge. We have information that cyberattacks have been used to disrupt power equipment in several regions outside the United States. In at least one case, the disruption caused a power outage affecting multiple cities. We do not know who executed these attacks or why, but all involved intrusions through the Internet."
Information about which foreign cities were affected by the outage and other information related to the attack was not mentioned and is unlikely to be forthcoming, said Paller.
Terrorism is now Anti-Islamic Activity????
Has the UK government gone off its rocker???
Ministers have adopted a new language for declarations on Islamic terrorism.
In future, fanatics will be referred to as pursuing "anti-Islamic activity".
Home Secretary Jacqui Smith said that extremists were behaving contrary to their faith, rather than acting in the name of Islam.
Security officials believe that directly linking terrorism to Islam is inflammatory, and risks alienating mainstream Muslim opinion.
n her first major speech on radicalisation, Miss Smith repeatedly used the phrase "anti-Islamic".
In one passage she said: "As so many Muslims in the UK and across the world have pointed out, there is nothing Islamic about the wish to terrorise, nothing Islamic about plotting murder, pain and grief.
"Indeed, if anything, these actions are anti-Islamic'.
More on the melt in the Arctic....
The more we research, the more we find other factors besides global warming...
As much as a third of the warming trend in arctic regions is caused by "dirty snow," not by greenhouse gases, UC Irvine researcherssay, a finding that could have implications for pollution control effortsacross the Northern Hemisphere.
In a study published in a science journal in June, 2007, climate researcher Charlie Zender and his team say that Arctic snow is being darkened by soot from tailpipe exhaust, smokestacks and forest fires.
Because darker surfaces absorb more heat from sunshine, Zender said, soot is making a significant contribution to Arctic warming, which is melting permafrost, increasing spring runoff and causing a variety of woes for the people who live in these regions.
Better control of pollution sources that emit large amounts of soot – coal-fired power plants in China, for example – could be a relatively easy way to reduce arctic warming, he said.
Get set for January 25th...
That when Geert Wilders plans to show his film on Islam on TV in the Netherlands...
Dutch Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende appealed for restraint on Friday over a yet to be screened film in which a right-wing populist lawmaker plans to lay out his view of the Koran.
Balkenende said it was unclear what Geert Wilders -- a politician whose anti-Islam comments have led to death threats -- would say in the film, but there were concerns in the Netherlands and abroad.
"The Netherlands has a tradition of freedom of speech, religion and beliefs. The Netherlands also has a tradition of respect, tolerance and responsibility. Unnecessarily offending a certain belief or group has no place in that," Balkenende told a news conference in The Hague.
Friday, January 18, 2008
We're not running out of oil...
Another look at the 'peak oil' theory...
Doom-laden forecasts that world oil supplies are poised to fall off the edge of a cliff are wide of the mark, according to leading oil industry experts who gave warning that human factors, not geology, will drive the oil market.
A landmark study of more than 800 oilfields by Cambridge Energy Research Associates (Cera) has concluded that rates of decline are only 4.5 per cent a year, almost half the rate previously believed, leading the consultancy to conclude that oil output will continue to rise over the next decade.
Peter Jackson, the report's author, said: “We will be able to grow supply to well over 100million barrels per day by 2017.” Current world oil output is in the region of 85million barrels a day.
The optimistic view of the world's oil resource was also given support by BP's chief economist, Peter Davies, who dismissed theories of “Peak Oil” as fallacious. Instead, he gave warning that world oil production would peak as demand weakened, because of political constraints, including taxation and government efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Speaking to the All Party Parliamentary Group on Peak Oil, Mr Davies said that peaks in world production had been wrongly predicted throughout history but he agreed that oil might peak within a generation “as a result of a peaking of demand rather than supply”.
He said it was inconceivable that oil consumption would be unaffected by government policies to reduce carbon emissions. “There is a distinct possibilty that global oil consumption could peak as a result of such climate policies,” Mr Davies said.
There is justice in the world...
A global warming rally in Maryland was pelted with snow...
It snowed, but they still came. A heavy snowfall blanketed a global warming protest outside the State House in Annapolis this morning, but it did not dampen the shouts of about 400 activists who urged lawmakers to pass the nation's toughest greenhouse gas control law.
Ahmadinejad's latest rant....
Well..I guess we know where he stands...
The president said that the Zionists are a handful of criminals who are enemies of mankind.
Islamic divorce laws coming to the EU???
Yes..they may be unwittingly bringing in sharia law..this article is from the Financial Times...
Proposals to simplify divorce in the European Union are running into opposition from governments fearful that the initiative may oblige their courts to enforce foreign laws that clash with their tolerant social norms.
Sweden is leading the charge against a European Commission plan to make it easier for couples of different nationality, and couples who live outside their native country, to divorce each other.
As one of the world’s most liberal-minded countries, Sweden is hardly opposed to more humane and efficient divorce procedures.
Rather, the main Swedish objection is that the Commission’s proposal, first unveiled in July 2006, would in many cases result in the application of divorce laws from the country in which the couple had their most recent residence.
In EU states with Muslim immigrant populations – including Sweden, with its Iranian, Iraqi and Pakistani communities – this would mean the enforcement of Islamic divorce laws.
Hitchens on identity politics...
As usual, the voice of wisdom...
Madeleine Albright has said that there is "a special place in hell for women who don't help each other." What are the implications of this statement? Would it be an argument in favor of the candidacy of Mrs. Clinton? Would this mean that Elizabeth Edwards and Michelle Obama don't deserve the help of fellow females? If the Republicans nominated a woman would Ms. Albright instantly switch parties out of sheer sisterhood? Of course not. (And this wearisome tripe from someone who was once our secretary of state . . .)
Those of us who follow politics seriously rather than view it as a game show do not look at Hillary Clinton and simply think "first woman president." We think -- for example -- "first ex-co-president" or "first wife of a disbarred lawyer and impeached former incumbent" or "first person to use her daughter as photo-op protection during her husband's perjury rap."
One might come up with other and kinder distinctions (I shall not be doing so) but the plain fact about the senator from New York is surely that she is a known quantity who has already been in the White House purely as the result of a relationship with a man, and not at all a quixotic outsider who represents the aspirations of an "out" group, let alone a whole sex or gender.
Mrs. Clinton, speaking to a black church audience on Martin Luther King Day last year, did describe President George W. Bush as treating the Congress of the United States like "a plantation," adding in a significant tone of voice that "you know what I mean . . ."
She did not repeat this trope, for some reason, when addressing the electors of Iowa or New Hampshire. She's willing to ring the other bell, though, if it suits her. But when an actual African-American challenger comes along, she rather tends to pout and wince at his presumption (or did until recently).
Here again, the problem is that Sen. Obama wants us to transcend something at the same time he implicitly asks us to give that same something as a reason to vote for him. I must say that the lyricism with which he does this has double and triple the charm of Mrs. Clinton's heavily-scripted trudge through the landscape, but the irony is still the same.
What are we trying to "get over" here? We are trying to get over the hideous legacy of slavery and segregation. But Mr. Obama is not a part of this legacy. His father was a citizen of Kenya, an independent African country, and his mother was a "white" American. He is as distant from the real "plantation" as I am. How -- unless one thinks obsessively about color while affecting not to do so -- does this make him "black"?
A real problem that's worse than global warming....
Food is a far bigger problem...
A WORSENING global food shortage is a problem far more urgent than climate change, top Australian scientists have warned.
The Australian Science Media Centre briefing heard why prices for some staple foods had risen by as much as 60 per cent in the past year, and how dramatic price rises are expected to sweep across all staples in the near future.
Executive director of the Australian Farm Institute Mick Keogh said dairy products, grain and poultry had seen the strongest price rises in recent months.
Beef and lamb were forecast to follow, with nationwide livestock shortages taking the average price for a cow from $700 a head 12 months ago to $1400 a head going into autumn.
Key speaker at the national science briefing Professor Julian Cribb said the security of our food supply is "the global scientific challenge of our time".
The problem was more urgent even than climate change, said Professor Cribb, from the University of Technology in Sydney, because it will get us first . . . through famine and war. "By 2050 we will have to feed the equivalent of 13 billion people at today's levels of nutrition," he said.
"This situation brings with it the very real possibility of regional and global instability. Investment in global food stability is now defence spending and requires proportionate priority."
A "knowledge drought" – the lack of innovation to address farm productivity challenges – had added to the crisis, Professor Cribb said.
He called for a massive increase in public investment in agricultural research and development.
Farmers face challenges posed by drought, climate change, rising oil prices, erosion and nutrient loss combined with more demand for food stocks and biofuels.
Global grain stocks have fallen to their lowest level since record-keeping began in 1960, while Australia's sheep flock is at its lowest since the mid-1920s, with about 86 million.
Thursday, January 17, 2008
Steven Pinker on global warming...
A nice paragraph from his New York Times Magazine article..
And nowhere is moralization more of a hazard than in our greatest global challenge. The threat of human-induced climate change has become the occasion for a moralistic revival meeting. In many discussions, the cause of climate change is overindulgence (too many S.U.V.’s) and defilement (sullying the atmosphere), and the solution is temperance (conservation) and expiation (buying carbon offset coupons). Yet the experts agree that these numbers don’t add up: even if every last American became conscientious about his or her carbon emissions, the effects on climate change would be trifling, if for no other reason than that two billion Indians and Chinese are unlikely to copy our born-again abstemiousness. Though voluntary conservation may be one wedge in an effective carbon-reduction pie, the other wedges will have to be morally boring, like a carbon tax and new energy technologies, or even taboo, like nuclear power and deliberate manipulation of the ocean and atmosphere. Our habit of moralizing problems, merging them with intuitions of purity and contamination, and resting content when we feel the right feelings, can get in the way of doing the right thing.
Tuesday, January 15, 2008
Greenland melt largest between 1920s and 1930s...
The current melt in Greenland is nothing new...
We combine this empirical relationship with historic temperature data to infer that the melt-day area of the western part of the ice sheet doubled between the mid-1990s and mid-2000s and that the largest ice sheet surface melting probably occurred between 1920s and 1930s, concurrent with the warming in that period.
Israel defies global warming....
No wonder...we're God's chosen people....
Despite warnings that global warming is already impacting precipitation quantities, local rainfall statistics have remained essentially unchanged in the 60 years they have been tracked.
"While models project gloom and doom for climate change, field observation of rainfall indicates a grayer stability," according to Haifa University's Noam Halfon. The institute's geography department recently completed research that found no substantial change in rainfall quantities.
According to the research, rainfall in the examined area has remained stable. Average monthly rainfall data showed no clear trend change for any particular month, nor was the rainfall distribution between seasons different over time.
Average annual rainfall has not changed in the period Halfon examined. "Data from certain stations showed increased localized precipitation - mostly in the eastern and southern coastal plain," he said. "In other areas, figures showed a slight drop in rainfall quantities, mostly in the North and East. No area showed a clear change."
Frequent warnings of future extreme climatic phenomena like drought years and diminishing rainfall, have not been fulfilled in Israel. The deviation from multi-year rainfall averages has not increased in either direction in recent decades.
The unclean Bible...
What other products won't she touch???
A MUSLIM store worker refused to serve a customer buying a children’s book on Christianity because she said it was “unclean”.
Shopper Sally Friday felt publicly humiliated at a branch of Marks & Spencer when she tried to pay for First Bible Stories as a gift for her young grandson.
When she put the book on the check-out counter, the young assistant refused to touch it, declared it was unclean and summoned another member of staff to serve instead.
Mrs Friday said she was so upset that she has now complained to the store’s management.
The visible minority blues....
I was listening to CBC radio the other morning (which is clearly dangerous to my health) and they aired a piece about visible minorities and the law. To the CBC, and their experts, the fact that so-called 'visible minorities' were 'over-represented' in being arrested. This was 'proof' of institutional racism.
That was the whole report. No questions asked.
But I have some:
1. Do we really have to divide the world into 'visible minorities' and 'non-visible minorities' which really means caucasians???
2. Are 'visible minorities' monolithic? Isn't it insulting to lump so many people together in one pool? Couldn't we delve a little deeper? For instance, there are probably minorities, liket Chinese, who probably don't run foul of the law that often.
3. Why do we use a ridiculous statistic to prove a charge of institutional racism? We have institutional racism because a proportionately high ratio of visible minorities are arrested...and a proportionately high ratio of visible minorities are arrested because of institutional racism. It's a tautology.
4. Can't the CBC find anybody with a contrary opinion?
We all deserve better. We deserve to know if any particular group has a problem in breaking the law. They might just deserve to be arrested. But, to combat the problem we need to understand what it is.
Monday, January 14, 2008
$100 million smuggled into Gaza....
Egypt does nothng to really patrol the border with Gaza...
Hamas managed to smuggle $100 million into the Gaza Strip in recent weeks, according to Shin Bet security service chief Yuval Diskin, speaking during a briefing to the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee Sunday.
During his weekly briefing before the Knesset committee, Diskin said that the funds were smuggled into the Strip by hundreds of pilgrims returning from the hajj in Mecca.
Egypt allowed many of the pilgrims to enter the Gaza Strip via its territory, contrary to an earlier agreement with Israel, which insisted that they must cross into the Strip through Israeli-controlled checkpoints. Israel was concerned about the possibility of money and arms being secreted into the Hamas-controlled enclave.
Diskin said that the Shin Bet estimates that senior members of Hamas who returned from the hajj brought in about $100 million.
Sunday, January 13, 2008
Now, they are dumbing-down scouts...
This is from the UK....
Scouts in the UK will be able to earn badges in skateboarding, quad bike racing and making fruit salad, under a revamp aimed to make the movement more attractive to today's children.
The Associated Press reports the Scout Association is introducing 40 new badges in the biggest overhaul of the century-old movement.
“Young people today have a larger choice than ever before of activities to fill their spare time with,” said chief scout Peter Duncan.
Six to eight year old ‘Beaver Scouts’ will be able to earn badges in healthy eating, while scouts aged over 10 will be able to earn badges for street sports.
Hard to say whether this report is true or not...but it is worrying...
HUNDREDS of British non-Muslims have been recruited by al-Qaeda to wage war against the West, senior security sources warned last night.
As many as 1,500 white Britons are believed to have converted to Islam for the purpose of funding, planning and carrying out surprise terror attacks inside the UK, according to one MI5 source.
Lord Carlile, the Government's independent reviewer of anti-terrorism legislation, said many of the converts had been targeted by radical Muslims while serving prison terms.
Security experts say the growing secret army of white terrorists poses a particularly serious threat as they are far less likely to be detected than members of the Asian community.
Dreaming of a white Ramadan, Part 3
I missed this one last week...
The heaviest snowfall in more than a decade has left at least 21 people dead in Iran - some buried under avalanches, some frozen to death and others killed in traffic accidents, state media reported Monday.
As much as 22 inches of snow has fallen in areas of northern and central Iran since Saturday, said meteorologist Ali Abedini. The storm has forced schools and government offices to close, blocking major roads and leading to the cancellation of all domestic and international flights.
"At least 21 people have been killed and 88 others injured ... as a result of heavy snow," state-run radio reported. "Some died of the severe cold, some were buried under avalanches and others died after their cars overturned on snow-covered roads."
Dreaming of a white Ramadan, Part 2
Now, it's snow in Saudi Arabia...
Northern parts of Saudi Arabia are covered with snow with schools, mosques and administrative bodies paralyzed, local media reported Friday.
The oil-rich kingdom is being hit with subzero temperatures and snow storms with freezing winds of up to 50 km/h (30mp/h). Some regions have been experiencing problems with water supplies as pipes have frozen, and livestock has died from the cold.
The Saudi Gazette reported late in December that the winter was expected to last 89 days, with temperatures reaching below zero. National media said the winter is the coldest in the country for 20 years.
Morning and afternoon prayers are being combined in many mosques because of the morning cold and some schools will reopen later than scheduled.
The bad weather is fun for children and teenagers, however, who have been making snowballs and building snowmen with enthusiasm.
'Jew' now a curse word among German youth...
It's getting hard to teach about the holocaust in Germany...
German schools are failing in educating students about the Holocaust, a new study by a political education center has found, as German youth, who one historian said use the word "Jew" as a common curse in daily discourse, are increasingly distant from the suffering of the victims of Nazism.
According to a study commissioned by the Federal Agency for Civic Education, a political education center known by its German acronym BPB, history courses no longer manage to teach Germany's younger generation of the horrors of the Nazis.
In the report, which appeared in the German educational magazine Focus-Shula, teachers are quoted as saying that they are having trouble impressing upon school children the horrors of the Holocaust, and have stated that their tools for teaching about the Shoah are not effective.
"The entire time we stood before the crematoriums of Auschwitz, the students took more interest in the types of pipes used to pump in the lethal Zyklon B gas, and not the fate of the Nazis victims," a teacher was quoted as saying.
In their words, this generation's students are less sensitive to the horrors of the Holocaust than any before.
The research also examines the role that immigrants have played in the changing attitudes towards the Shoah. Experts are quoted in the study as saying that there is a marked rise in the number of Muslims in Germany, many of whom see the teaching of the Holocaust as a veiled endorsement of the policies of the state of Israel.
"Out of fear of the students' reactions, many of the teachers avoid teaching this chapter of history in order to not be viewed by some students as supporters of Israel."
"The word 'Jew' has turned into one of the most common curse words among students in both east and west Germany," said Gottfried Cosler, a Frankfurt-based Holocaust scholar.
Saturday, January 12, 2008
Jewish graves vandalized near Chicago....
This really saddens me...
Dozens of gravestones at a Jewish cemetery near Norridge were desecrated with anti-Semitic graffiti in an attack that Cook County authorities are calling a hate crime.
The vandalism caused an estimated $100,000 damage to 57 tombstones scarred with spray-painted swastikas, other symbols and slurs that included "Aryan Power" and "white power."
Let's examine Jack Layton's footprint...
Gee, not surprising...many greens are hypocrites...this is from the UK
A survey of travel habits has revealed that the most environmentally conscious people are also the biggest polluters.
"Green" consumers have some of the biggest carbon footprints because they are still hooked on flying abroad or driving their cars while their adherence to the green cause is mostly limited to small gestures.
Identified as "eco-adopters", they are most likely to be members of an environmental organisation, buy green products such as detergents, recycle and have a keen interest in green issues.
But the survey of 25,000 people, by the market research company Target Group Index, found that eco-adopters are seven per cent more likely than the general population to take flights, and four per cent more likely to own a car. The survey found similar trends in France and the United States
Ezra Levant is questioned....
The anti-semitic Chavez....
He's using anti-semitism to cause trouble...
Venezuelan Jews, long uneasy with the Chávez government's alliances with Iran and other Middle Eastern countries that espouse anti-Israel views, are concerned that the government is sponsoring anti-Semitism in this hemisphere, a prominent journalist said Tuesday.
''The situation we have now in Venezuela is that for the first time in modern history we have government-sponsored anti-Semitism in a Western country,'' said Sammy Eppel. ``That is why this is very dangerous, not just for the Jewish community in Venezuela but for the Jewish community as a whole.''
Among the examples offered by Eppel:
Venezuelan government intelligence services twice have raided the country's most important Jewish center in a vague, ultimately unsuccessful search for weapons. Publications of the government's cultural ministry run articles entitled ''the Jewish Question,'' along with a Jewish star superimposed over a swastika.
One 2006 article in El Diario de Caracas debates whether it will be necessary to ''expel [the Jews] from the country.'' Another article in the Diario VEA accuses Jews of being involved in the murder of a government prosecutor.
Maradona loves Ahmadinejad...
Nice to see an intelligent, discerning football player...
Diego Armando Maradona presented his number 10 Argentina shirt to Iranian president Mahmud Ahmadinejad. The gift was delivered through the Buenos Aires Iranian ambassador who had previously extended to Maradona a formal invitation to visit the Islamic republic. Last month the 'Pibe de Oro' had expressed his "wholehearted" solidarity for the Iranian people and mentioned that he wished to meet Ahmadinejad in person, much as he has already done with Hugo Chavez and with Fidel Castro, who is now a good friend of his.
As regards Ahmadinejad, Maradona said that "He is a man of value who fights for his people and for justice".
Norway gets threatened....
They should send this guy back as soon as possible...
A coalition that's described as one of Iraq's most powerful insurgent groups is threatening retaliation against Norway if Mullah Krekar is sent back to Iraq.
Krekar is under an expulsion order after being determined a threat to Norway's national security. He initially came to Norway in the early 1990s as a refugee, but later emerged as the head of guerrilla group Ansar al-Islam and he repeatedly violated the terms of his asylum by traveling back to northern Iraq to lead guerrilla activities.
He hasn't been expelled yet, however, because he faces the death threat in Iraq. Norway won't extradite anyone, even criminals, if they risk being executed back home.
The Supreme Court recently cleared the way for his expulsion when the situation in Krekar's homeland stabilizes. The insurgent group "Front for reform and holy war" is demanding that Krekar be allowed to stay in Norway, regardless.
It sent a warning to the offices of French news service AFP in Baghdad late Wednesday afternoon, demanding that Krekar remain in Norway.
AFP reported that the group warned an expulsion of Krekar would become "quite painful" for the Norwegian government if it doesn't reverse the expulsion order on Krekar.
Ezra Levant's Opening Statement...
Here is Ezra Levant's opening statemetn to the Alberta Human Rights Commission...
Alberta Human Rights Commission Interrogation
Opening remarks by Ezra Levant, January 11, 2008 – Calgary
My name is Ezra Levant. Before this government interrogation begins, I will make a statement.
When the Western Standard magazine printed the Danish cartoons of Mohammed two years ago, I was the publisher. It was the proudest moment of my public life. I would do it again today. In fact, I did do it again today. Though the Western Standard, sadly, no longer publishes a print edition, I posted the cartoons this morning on my website, ezralevant.com.
I am here at this government interrogation under protest. It is my position that the government has no legal or moral authority to interrogate me or anyone else for publishing these words and pictures. That is a violation of my ancient and inalienable freedoms: freedom of speech, freedom of the press, and in this case, religious freedom and the separation of mosque and state. It is especially perverted that a bureaucracy calling itself the Alberta human rights commission would be the government agency violating my human rights. So I will now call those bureaucrats “the commission” or “the hrc”, since to call the commission a “human rights commission” is to destroy the meaning of those words.
I believe that this commission has no proper authority over me. The commission was meant as a low-level, quasi-judicial body to arbitrate squabbles about housing, employment and other matters, where a complainant felt that their race or sex was the reason they were discriminated against. The commission was meant to deal with deeds, not words or ideas. Now the commission, which is funded by a secular government, from the pockets of taxpayers of all backgrounds, is taking it upon itself to be an enforcer of the views of radical Islam. So much for the separation of mosque and state.
I have read the past few years’ worth of decisions from this commission, and it is clear that it has become a dump for the junk that gets rejected from the real legal system. I read one case where a male hair salon student complained that he was called a “loser” by the girls in the class. The commission actually had a hearing about this. Another case was a kitchen manager with Hepatitis-C, who complained that it was against her rights to be fired. The commission actually agreed with her, and forced the restaurant to pay her $4,900. In other words, the commission is a joke – it’s the Alberta equivalent of a U.S. television pseudo-court like Judge Judy – except that Judge Judy actually was a judge, whereas none of the commission’s panellists are judges, and some aren’t even lawyers. And, unlike the commission, Judge Judy believes in freedom of speech.
It’s bad enough that this sick joke is being wreaked on hair salons and restaurants. But it’s even worse now that the commissions are attacking free speech. That’s my first point: the commissions have leapt out of the small cage they were confined to, and are now attacking our fundamental freedoms. As Alan Borovoy, Canada’s leading civil libertarian, a man who helped form these commissions in the 60’s and 70’s, wrote, in specific reference to our magazine, being a censor is, quote, “hardly the role we had envisioned for human rights commissions. There should be no question of the right to publish the impugned cartoons.” Unquote. Since the commission is so obviously out of control, he said quote “It would be best, therefore, to change the provisions of the Human Rights Act to remove any such ambiguities of interpretation.” Unquote.
The commission has no legal authority to act as censor. It is not in their statutory authority. They’re just making it up – even Alan Borovoy says so.
But even if the commissions had some statutory fig leaf for their attempts at political and religious censorship, it would still be unlawful and unconstitutional.
We have a heritage of free speech that we inherited from Great Britain that goes back to the year 1215 and the Magna Carta. We have a heritage of eight hundred years of British common law protection for speech, augmented by 250 years of common law in Canada.
That common law has been restated in various fundamental documents, especially since the Second World War.
In 1948, the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights, to which Canada is a party, declared that, quote:
“Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.”
The 1960 Canadian Bill of Rights guaranteed, quote
1. “ human rights and fundamental freedoms, namely,
(c) freedom of religion; (d) freedom of speech; (e) freedom of assembly and association; and (f) freedom of the press.
In 1982, the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms guaranteed, quote:
2. Everyone has the following fundamental freedoms:
a) freedom of conscience and religion;
b) freedom of thought, belief, opinion and expression, including freedom of the press and other media of communication;
Those were even called “fundamental freedoms” – to give them extra importance.
For a government bureaucrat to call any publisher or anyone else to an interrogation to be quizzed about his political or religious expression is a violation of 800 years of common law, a Universal Declaration of Rights, a Bill of Rights and a Charter of Rights. This commission is applying Saudi values, not Canadian values.
It is also deeply procedurally one-sided and unjust. The complainant – in this case, a radical Muslim imam, who was trained at an officially anti-Semitic university in Saudi Arabia, and who has called for sharia law to govern Canada – doesn’t have to pay a penny; Alberta taxpayers pay for the prosecution of the complaint against me. The victims of the complaints, like the Western Standard, have to pay for their own lawyers from their own pockets. Even if we win, we lose – the process has become the punishment. (At this point, I’d like to thank the magazine’s many donors who have given their own money to help us fight against the Saudi imam and his enablers in the Alberta government.)
It is procedurally unfair. Unlike real courts, there is no way to apply for a dismissal of nuisance lawsuits. Common law rules of evidence don’t apply. Rules of court don’t apply. It is a system that is part Kafka, and part Stalin. Even this interrogation today – at which I appear under duress – saw the commission tell me who I could or could not bring with me as my counsel and advisors.
I have no faith in this farcical commission. But I do have faith in the justice and good sense of my fellow Albertans and Canadians. I believe that the better they understand this case, the more shocked they will be. I am here under your compulsion to answer the commission’s questions. But it is not I who am on trial: it is the freedom of all Canadians.
You may start your interrogation.
Friday, January 11, 2008
Plot to blow up the Eiffel Tower???
I'd like to know more about this plot...
A plot by Islamic terrorists to blow up the Eiffel Tower has been uncovered.
A scrambled short-wave radio conversation exposing the planned attack on the world's most visited monument was picked up by Portuguese air traffic controllers and passed on to French spy chiefs.
The 1,060ft high tower has more than six million visitors a year - an average of more than 16,000 a day.
A successful strike on the 7,500 ton iron tower, which was looked down on Paris since 1889, would be a French 9/11 and could cost thousands of lives.
The threat was uncovered in a "vague and muffled" radio conversation picked up by air traffic controllers in Lisbon on Thursday.
It comes after a spate of other threats made in recent days on the websites linked to Osama bin Laden's Al Qaeda terror network, calling for the "brothers of Islam to strike Paris".
An appeaser at work in the UK....
I guess he likes the prostrate position...
The Bishop of Oxford has supported plans to broadcast the Islamic call to prayer over part of the historic city.
Welcoming proposals from Oxford's Central Mosque to sound the call three times a day over East Oxford, the Rt Rev John Pritchard said those opposed to the plan should "relax" and "enjoy community diversity".
The problem of climate models....
Dr. William Briggs, who specializes in the statistics of forecast evaluation...has some choice words about climate models...
I am not skeptical that man causes changes in his environment; in fact, I argue man must cause changes (see this post). I am only skeptical about the extent of these changes and about our ability to understand them. I am skeptical of the results from climate models that are used to posit large and harmful shifts in the earth’s temperature.
The vast majority of pronouncements about climate change are based on forecasts, guesses made about the future which are conditional on the multitude of assumptions underlying the models being true and on the forecasts having only small error. My specialty is in forecast evaluation (not just climate models, but any kind), and I do not feel that climate models have shown their ability to make accurate predictions thus far. This is why I said that the “error associated with climate predictions is also much larger than that usually ascribed to them; meaning, of course, that people are far too sure of themselves and their models.”
Overconfidence is a common human trait, and it holds in scientists just as much as it does with civilians. Typically, however, the excessive surety of scientists is tempered by the peer-criticism process, which has the effect of reducing, but never eliminating, prediction error. But this service won’t work well if experts are made to feel squeamish about making their critiques because of a public browbeating by autocratic scientists, politicians, and “activists.”
There is also a shade of “groupthink”—bandwagon research—not so much with climatologists, but with the mass of secondary and tertiary investigators who use climate model output as input to their own models of economics, public health, sociology, and so on. These models invariably show what they were programmed to show: that climate change of any kind is bad. This is, of course, physically impossible; but these are not physicists who are making these remarks—which of course quickly find their way into the press—and thus they are not held accountable in that sense.
Of course, if global climate models eventually show skill, then I will believe what they have to say.
The persistence of glaciers...
They have survived for hundreds of thousands of years...are they really threatened now???
The most pessimistic predictions of sea level rises as ice sheets are melted by global warming may have to be scaled back as a result of an extraordinary discovery that ice persisted when the Earth was much hotter than today.
Scientists have discovered that glaciers survived for hundreds of thousands of years during an extraordinary era when crocodiles roamed the Arctic and the tropical Atlantic Ocean was as warm as human blood.
They had thought that Earth was ice free during the so called Turonian period, a "super greenhouse world" between 93.5 million and 89.3 million years ago. But now evidence has been found of hothouse glaciers that persisted by studies of tiny plankton and other marine organisms.
Large ice-sheets existed about 91 million years ago, during one of the warmest periods in the past 500 million years, an international team of scientists reports in Science.
The scientists from the UK, Germany, USA and Netherlands found evidence of an approximate 200,000 year period of widespread glaciation, with ice sheets about 60 per cent the size of the modern Antarctic ice cap.
Dreaming of a white Ramadan?
Clearly, the cause of the snow is global warming...
After weathering nearly five years of war, Baghdad residents thought they'd pretty much seen it all. But Friday morning, as muezzins were calling the faithful to prayer, the people here awoke to something certifiably new.
For the first time in memory, snow fell across Baghdad.
Although the white flakes quickly dissolved into gray puddles, they brought an emotion rarely expressed in this desert capital snarled by army checkpoints, divided by concrete walls and ravaged by sectarian killings — delight.
"For the first time in my life I saw a snow-rain like this falling in Baghdad," said Mohammed Abdul-Hussein, a 63-year-old retiree from the New Baghdad area.
"When I was young, I heard from my father that such rain had fallen in the early '40s on the outskirts of northern Baghdad," Abdul-Hussein said, referring to snow as a type of rain. "But snow falling in Baghdad in such a magnificent scene was beyond my imagination."
Morning temperatures uncharacteristically hovered around freezing, and the Baghdad airport was closed because of poor visibility. Snow is common in the mountainous Kurdish areas of northern Iraq, but residents of the capital and surrounding areas could remember just hail.
"I asked my mother, who is 80, whether she'd ever seen snow in Iraq before, and her answer was no," said Fawzi Karim, a 40-year-old father of five who runs a small restaurant in Hawr Rajab, a village six miles southeast of Baghdad.
Bush misses the point...
He can pressure the Israelis all he wants...the real question, as Marty Peretz asks, is when the Jihad against Zion is going to stop...
Yet there are some realities that neither the American president nor the best laid plans of other mice and men can influence or affect. You can force this bloc of settlements (and almost of them) to close down and draw the border here rather than there and even color code Jerusalem to allow the Arabs to control the Temple Mount (which would be a terrible affront to Jewish history that the Muslims want especially to affront) and to hand sovereignty over Palestinian neighborhoods in the city to the Palestinians and contrive some cynical and unprecedented formula for allowing some "refugees" (they are almost all dead actually) to "return" and creating a fund for compensation of zillions of dollars (to which Israel should not contribute because it has absorbed since 1948 a larger number of true Jewish refugees from the Islamic world) and do much more...and yet none of this and not even all of this would end the jihad against Zion.
Near the end of their terms in office Ronald Reagan went down this road and Bill Clinton went down this road, too, and now George Bush is going down this road, as well. It is not out of malice towards Israel or even strategic callousness about its existential survival needs. Some of their eagerness might actually be an expression of their concern for and solidarity with Israel.
Yet no one will promise -- let alone assure -- that when (and if) Israel withdraws from 90% or 96% of the West Bank the land it has left will not be turned into platforms from which rockets and missiles are launched against the population centers of the Jewish state...and against strategic positions like Ben Gurion International Airport. What then will the next American president or the one after counsel the Israelis to give up?
The fact is that the great impediment to peace with Israel is the fanatic obstinacy of the Palestinians. Does anyone have a strategy for negotiating with that?
Hurrah for Ezra Levant...
One of the mickey mouse human rights commissions is questioning Levant today...
Outspoken conservative commentator Ezra Levant will be before the Alberta Human Rights Commission Friday defending his former magazine's 2006 publication of a series of Danish cartoons depicting the Prophet Muhammad.
Members of Calgary's Muslim community were outraged when Levant's now-defunct publication, the Western Standard, published the cartoons in February 2006, shortly after their initial appearance in a Danish newspaper led to rioting and protests around the world.
Syed Soharwardy, president of the Islamic Supreme Council of Canada, later filed a complaint against the Western Standard to the Alberta Human Rights Commission.
Thursday, January 10, 2008
It's becoming more and more popular due to fear....
Amir Taheri has compiled other disturbing cases from across the continent: German carnivals prohibiting costumes that might look “Islamic,” Spanish towns canceling traditional festivals marking the victory over the Moors, the blacklisting of books deemed critical of Islam, and the removal from public view of illuminated manuscripts that feature images of Mohammed.
Even art aimed at children has not been immune, as evidenced by a British school that excised the pigs from The Three Little Pigs to forestall Muslim objections. “If changing a few words avoids offense then we will do so,” a teacher explained. The school later reversed the decision. Likewise, British author Kes Gray just postponed a reprinting of his “inclusive” children’s book so that Mohammed the Mole could be renamed Morgan. “I had no idea at all of the sensitivities of the name Mohammed until seeing this case in Sudan,” he said, referencing the teacher imprisoned over a class teddy bear. “As soon as I saw the news I thought, ‘Oh gosh, I’ve got a mole called Mohammed — this is not good.’”
Particularly “not good” is the preemptive nature of these capitulations. “At this point, it seems, terrorists don’t even need to issue a specific threat in order to intimidate us,” observed Der Spiegel. Indeed, many of the above productions or exhibits faced no threats at all. Some Muslims are even helping to expose the hypersensitivity for what it is. Regarding the Pigs fiasco, the Daily Mail reported that “Islamic leaders condemned the politically correct move as misguided and said decisions like this were turning Muslims into ‘misfits’ in society.”
Turin imam expelled....
How many others are preaching like he did???
Italy expelled a Turin imam to his native Morocco Wednesday after his sermons were secretly filmed and his views were deemed a threat to public security, officials said.
Mohamed Kohaila, who had been living in Italy for years, was deported in the evening, according to the Interior Ministry.
The ministry said that checks from local and national anti-terrorism authorities showed that Kohaila was inciting "violently anti-Western behavior" and maintained relations with extremists close to militant jihadists.
Kohaila was a close aide to another Moroccan-born imam in Turin, Bourki Bouchta, who was deemed an extremist and expelled from Italy in 2005, police in the northern Italian city said.
Kohaila denies inciting anti-Western sentiment, according to the ANSA news agency.
The imam was secretly filmed during his sermons at Turin mosque last year. The footage was broadcast on TV in March by public network RAI.
Wednesday, January 09, 2008
And, now a tax on fertilizer?
Greenpeace would like to tax the way you live...period.
Greenpeace is calling for a tax on fertilizer as a way of reducing greenhouse gas emissions it says are caused by agriculture.If we all go organic - we'll starve. We need intensive agriculture.
The environmental group has issued a report entitled Cool Farming, which claims fertilizer overuse is greatest cause of agriculture's greenhouse gas emissions, equal to some 2.1 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide annually.
Greenpeace agricultural campaigner Josh Brandon says the "impact of industrial farming on climate change has reached a critical threshold."
He says "we can only go on so long sucking the life out the soil and releasing waste into the air, oceans and rivers before we permanently degrade the capacity of these ecosystems to sustain us."
Brandon adds that if Prime Minister Stephen Harper is sincere in combating climate change, an essential first step is a tax on fertilizers.
This must be followed, says Brandon, by tougher regulations on pesticides and money to promote local and organic agriculture in Canada.
We now control the vertical....
Boy, I'm sure the Liberals will be looking at this....
California utilities would control the temperature of new homes and commercial buildings in emergencies with a radio-controlled thermostat, under a proposed state update to building energy efficiency standards.
Customers could not override the thermostats during "emergency events," according to the proposal, part of a 236-page revision to building standards. The document is scheduled to be considered by the California Energy Commission, a state agency, on Jan. 30.
The description does not provide any exception for health or safety concerns. It also does not define what are "emergency events."
Tuesday, January 08, 2008
The latest global warming fix...shiny crops...
Gee, what will they come up with next???
Forget mirrors in space and seeding the oceans with iron, scientists have come up with a new way to tackle the looming threat of global warming: fields of shiny crops.Artificial volcanoes and orbiting sunshades...are they really serious???
Experts at the University of California, Irvine, say reflective plants could send more of the sun's heat back into space, and even reverse temperature rises in parts of the world. Encouraging farmers to grow shinier crops could reduce maximum daytime temperatures in agricultural regions by as much as 1.9C, they say.
The scientists are unwilling to discuss their idea until it is published in an academic journal later this year, but they revealed the details last month at a special geoengineering session of the American Geophysical Union meeting in San Francisco.
Some climate experts say that such emergency geoengineering measures, including artificial volcanoes and orbiting sunshades, could be needed in future to tackle rising temperatures, if world leaders fail to constrain soaring greenhouse gas emissions.
The appeasers go to Tehran....
I don't think Bollinger should have even invited Ahamdinejad; let alone insult him...but don't go over there to apologize!
An academic delegation of Columbia University professors and deans of faculties plans to visit Tehran to officially apologize to Iranian President Mahmud Ahmadinejad.
The delegation plans to express regret for the insulting remarks Columbia University President Lee Bollinger directed at Ahmadinejad on September 24 in his introductory speech, the Mehr News Agency correspondent in New York reported.
Since the incident, the deans and professors from the faculties of history, anthropology, Middle Eastern studies, philosophy and Islamic studies have criticized Bollinger’s behavior toward Ahmadinejad.
A member of the delegation, who requested anonymity, said the main goal of the visit is to meet the Iranian president and officially apologize to him.
Lebanon fires two rockets into Israel....
I guess there'll be huge condemnation in the UN today...
The firing of two Katyushas at Shlomi is a "severe incident but we do not plan to allow a change in the status quo," Defense Minister Ehud Barak said Tuesday, the day after two 107-millimeter rockets landed in the northern neighborhood.
During a tour of the northern border, Barak added that he spoke with Shlomi Municipality head Gabi Ne'eman and that together with IDF officers he intended to examine the incident, carefully assess the situation and then decide how to respond. "We will do what needs to be done," added Barak.
In the overnight attack, one of the rockets landed on the balcony of a house while the other hit a lamp post. No one was wounded but the house sustained slight damage.
Are tropical forests declining???
Maybe not....here's an interesting study...
Claims that tropical forests are declining cannot be backed up by hard evidence, according to new research from the University of Leeds.
This major challenge to conventional thinking is the surprising finding of a study published today in the Proceedings of the US National Academy of Sciences by Dr Alan Grainger, Senior Lecturer in Geography and one of the world's leading experts on tropical deforestation.
"Every few years we get a new estimate of the annual rate of tropical deforestation,” said Dr Grainger. “They always seem to show that these marvellous forests have only a short time left. Unfortunately, everybody assumes that deforestation is happening and fails to look at the bigger picture – what is happening to forest area as a whole.”
In the first attempt for many years to chart the long-term trend in tropical forest area, he spent more than three years going through all available United Nations data with a fine toothcomb – and found some serious problems.
“The errors and inconsistencies I have discovered in the area data raise too many questions to provide convincing support for the accepted picture of tropical forest decline over the last 40 years,” he said. “Scientists all over the world who have used these data to make predictions of species extinctions and the role of forests in global climate change will find it helpful to revisit their findings in the light of my study.”
Dr Grainger does not claim that tropical deforestation is not occurring, as there is plenty of local evidence for that. But owing to the lack of frequent scientific monitoring, something for which he has campaigned for 25 years, we cannot use available data to track the long-term global trend in tropical forest area with great accuracy.
“The picture is far more complicated than previously thought,” he said. “If there is no long-term net decline it suggests that deforestation is being accompanied by a lot of natural reforestation that we have not spotted.”
Monday, January 07, 2008
Why does GQ profile dictators???
How low can a fashion magazine go? They interviewed Hugo Chavez in the UK....
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez says he likes Prince Charles and thinks President Bush is crazy, in an interview with Naomi Campbell in the British edition of GQ magazine.
The 37-year-old supermodel spoke to Chavez in her role as contributing editor to British GQ, the magazine said. Excerpts were released Monday.
Chavez, who lost a referendum last month that would have greatly expanded his powers and institutionalized his version of "21st-century socialism," gave Campbell his views on a range of subjects.
He said President Bush was "completely crazy. But he's on his way out."
"We're seeing the fall of the empire. ... Like the fairy tale, the emperor is naked," he was quoted as saying.
Asked to name the world's most stylish leader, Chavez chose Cuba's Fidel Castro.
"Fidel, of course! His uniform is impeccable. His boots are polished, his beard is elegant," Chavez said.
Fatah is still not disarmed...
The Palestinian Authority must show that it can disable its terrorist wings..
The massive IDF operation in Nablus has shown that, contrary to claims by the Palestinian Authority, Fatah's armed wing has not been dismantled.
It has also proven that dozens of Fatah gunmen and activists in the West Bank have not surrendered their weapons and are continuing to plan attacks against Israel.
During the operation, which began on Thursday, the IDF arrested 19 gunmen belonging to Fatah's armed wing, the Aksa Martyrs Brigades.
The IDF has also arrested two security officers working for the PA's Military Intelligence Force: Shadi al-Sakhel and Ahmed Hisham. The two officers are suspected of helping the Aksa Martyrs Brigades in the city.
IDF soldiers discovered a workshop in Nablus's Old City where the group was said to have manufactured two rockets.
And, half a billion new drivers in India???
More evidence that CO2 emissions are not going to go down...
After years of secret preparation, the world's cheapest car will be unveiled in Delhi this week - delighting millions of Indians as much as it is horrifying environmentalists.
At 100,000 rupees (£1,290), the People's Car, designed and manufactured by Tata, is being marketed as a safer way of travelling for those who until now have had to transport their families balanced on the back of their motorbikes.
Ratan Tata, 70, chairman of the family-run business, who has spearheaded the race for a cut-price car, wrote on the company website: 'That's what drove me - a man on a two-wheeler with a child standing in front, his wife sitting behind, add to that the wet roads - a family in potential danger.'
But Tata hopes also to create a 'new market for cars which does not exist', making them accessible to India's booming middle classes made recently rich by an economy growing at around 9 per cent a year. This rapidly expanding market is potentially extremely lucrative; consultants McKinsey predict that the size of the Indian middle class will grow from 50 million now to 583 million by 2025.
Are we entering the age of coal????
I'll keep on saying it - CO2 emissions are not going to go down....no matter what...
Multibillion-dollar facilities that convert coal to oil are being studied across Asia, while utilities are shelving plans to build power plants that use natural gas or fuel oil because prices of those fuels track the cost of crude.
Crude-oil futures on the New York Mercantile Exchange are more than 50 per cent higher than they were a year ago and are within sight of an inflation-adjusted peak of $US102.81 a barrel set in early 1980.
"The longer oil prices stay at these levels, then the more the incentives are going to be there for exploiting coal reserves," said Cambridge Energy Research Associates coal expert Jim Brock.
Coal prices would have to rise nearly fivefold to match current oil prices on a unit-of-energy basis, he said, and the difference between the cost of the commodities "is actually widening", he said.
Sharp increases in oil prices in recent years have already encouraged China to substitute coal for oil. Morgan Stanley said China's oil-dependency ratio fell to 20 per cent in 2006 from 23per cent in 2002, while its reliance on coal had risen.
Asian energy consumers are attracted to coal because it is less vulnerable than oil to the geopolitical upheaval that can cause price volatility. Asia has a third of the world's coal reserves, which stood at 909.06 billion metric tons at the end of 2006, according to BP PLC's most recent statistical review of world energy. Most of Asia's reserves are shared by three countries: China, India and Australia.
Sunday, January 06, 2008
Is global warming over...part two
The earth hasn't warmed since 1998....
The stark headline appeared just over a year ago. "2007 to be 'warmest on record,' " BBC News reported on Jan. 4, 2007. Citing experts in the British government's Meteorological Office, the story announced that "the world is likely to experience the warmest year on record in 2007," surpassing the all-time high reached in 1998.
But a funny thing happened on the way to the planetary hot flash: Much of the planet grew bitterly cold.
In South America, for example, the start of winter last year was one of the coldest ever observed. According to Eugenio Hackbart, chief meteorologist of the MetSul Weather Center in Brazil, "a brutal cold wave brought record low temperatures, widespread frost, snow, and major energy disruption." In Buenos Aires, it snowed for the first time in 89 years, while in Peru the cold was so intense that hundreds of people died and the government declared a state of emergency in 14 of the country's 24 provinces. In August, Chile's agriculture minister lamented "the toughest winter we have seen in the past 50 years," which caused losses of at least $200 million in destroyed crops and livestock.
Latin Americans weren't the only ones shivering.
University of Oklahoma geophysicist David Deming, a specialist in temperature and heat flow, notes in the Washington Times that "unexpected bitter cold swept the entire Southern Hemisphere in 2007." Johannesburg experienced its first significant snowfall in a quarter-century. Australia had its coldest ever June. New Zealand's vineyards lost much of their 2007 harvest when spring temperatures dropped to record lows.
Closer to home, 44.5 inches of snow fell in New Hampshire last month, breaking the previous record of 43 inches, set in 1876. And the Canadian government is forecasting the coldest winter in 15 years.
Now all of these may be short-lived weather anomalies, mere blips in the path of the global climatic warming that Al Gore and a host of alarmists proclaim the deadliest threat we face. But what if the frigid conditions that have caused so much distress in recent months signal an impending era of global cooling?
Saturday, January 05, 2008
The BBC and global warming...
The CBC is similar...
Whether it is hot or cold, wet or dry, windy or still, the BBC cannot wait these days to ascribe any fluctuation in our weather to global warming.
Again last week it was blaming "climate change" not only for last summer's floods and "the worst storm surge since 1953" (where was global warming then?) but even for our recent frosts - while cheerfully claiming that the last six years have been the hottest ever recorded in Britain.
This might seem odd to all those citizens of Buenos Aires, Sydney and Johannesburg who have recently been shivering through unprecedented snowfalls - as it will to anyone who has followed the satellite records of the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
These show global temperatures over those same six years flattening out at 0.2 degrees below their level of 10 years ago. Isn't global warming meant to be global? And if CO2 levels continue to rise while temperatures fail to follow, might there not be something wrong with the theory?
No-go zones for non-muslims???
This is from the UK....
Islamic extremists have created "no-go" areas across Britain where it is too dangerous for non-Muslims to enter, one of the Church of England's most senior bishops warns today.
The Rt Rev Michael Nazir-Ali, the Bishop of Rochester and the Church's only Asian bishop, says that people of a different race or faith face physical attack if they live or work in communities dominated by a strict Muslim ideology.
Writing in The Sunday Telegraph, he compares the threat to the use of intimidation by the far-Right, and says that it is becoming increasingly difficult for Christianity to be the nation's public religion in a multifaith, multicultural society.
His comments come as a poll of the General Synod - the Church's parliament - shows that its senior leaders, including bishops, also believe that Britain is being damaged by large-scale immigration.
Bishop Nazir-Ali, who was born in Pakistan, gives warning that attempts are being made to give Britain an increasingly Islamic character by introducing the call to prayer and wider use of sharia law, a legal system based on the Koran.
In an attack on the Government's response to immigration and the influx of "people of other faiths to these shores", he blames its "novel philosophy of multiculturalism" for allowing society to become deeply divided, and accuses ministers of lacking a "moral and spiritual vision".
Nuclear power is essential....
If governments really want to curb CO2 emissions...then nuclear is the only option...
Ministers will claim this week that a new generation of nuclear power stations is the only effective way to curb greenhouse gas emissions. John Hutton, the energy secretary, will tell MPs Britain cannot hit its targets solely through energy efficiency and renewable technology such as wind and wave power.
Hutton said this weekend: “The idea that Britain can meet its growing power needs through renewable energy and greater efficiency is nonsense.”
I guess pork is out....
This really bugs me..the secrecy and the willingness to let a religion decide the menu for schoolkids...
Mums have criticised an Oxford school for serving halal meat in children's lunches without their knowledge.
Parents of pupils at Rose Hill Primary School, in The Oval, were angered by a letter they received from headmistress Sue Mortimer.
It informed them the halal meat, which involves slaughtering animals in a special way for consumption by Muslims, had been used in all school meals as part of the school's inclusion policy.
The letter said the reason for the decision was that since halal meat was not forbidden by any religion or culture, its use would allow everyone to choose a meat dish for lunch.
But parents had not been consulted and said they were upset by news the school had become the first primary in the county to ask caterers for all meat dishes to be halal, for a trial period.
Friday, January 04, 2008
Wise words from Shawcross....
I've always liked William Shawcross...
Third, Iraq is not the cause of this war — it is part of it. Remember one of the first terrible suicide murders committed in Iraq: in August 2003 al-Qa’eda killed Sergio Vieira de Mello, one of the UN’s most gifted officials, and many of his colleagues. De Mello was Kofi Annan’s special representative in Iraq and, like Annan, was opposed to the US war effort there. But al-Qa’eda denounced Annan as ‘America’s criminal slave’ and abused de Mello as ‘diseased’. They hated him in particular because he had helped Christian East Timor win independence from Muslim Indonesia — a heinous crime to al-Qa’eda.
Last month al-Qa’eda bombed a UN building in Algiers because, like de Mello, it was symbolic of the decent world which the Islamists want to destroy. Eleven UN officials were killed at once. And so it goes on.
The murder of Bhutto, the murder of UN officials, the countless murders of innocent Iraqis, the murder of Lebanese who fight for their democracy, the murder of commuters in Madrid and London are all part of the same war against people and life. They are all part of the same deadly global ideology of hatred and despair. These assaults will not end if we retreat — from Afghanistan, from Iraq or anywhere else. Weakness will cause the terrorists to redouble their efforts.
Maysoon al-Damluji, a brave Iraqi woman who returned from London exile after the overthrow of Saddam to help build a decent society, put it well recently. ‘Both al-Qa’eda and Iran are working to create the most dangerous culture that humanity has ever known,’ she said. ‘It is based on hatred and ignorance and manifests itself through suppressing all kinds of freedoms, especially on women. If, God forbid, the American forces withdrew, mayhem would strike Iraq; it would spill out to the entire region and no country in the Middle East would be spared.’ She is right. And not just for the Middle East.
Israel's targeted killings work...
The Israelis are continually reducing the number of civilian casualties in their strikes against terror...this article is from Alan Dershowitz...
Reducing the number of civilian casualties in the attacks on Gaza was one of the first tasks…IAF chief, Eliezer Shkedi, marked out for himself. The data improved commensurately. From a 1:1 ratio between killed terrorists and civilians in 2003 to a 1:28 ratio in late 2005. Several IAF mishaps in 2006 lowered the ratio to 1:10, but the current ratio is at its lowest ever -- more than 1:30.
In other words for every 30 legitimate combatants killed by the Israeli air force’s campaign of targeted killings, only one civilian is killed. Even this figure may be misleading because some of the civilians are anything but innocent bystanders, while others, such as young children, surely are. Every death of a civilian is a tragedy to be avoided whenever possible, but civilian deaths are an inevitable consequence of warfare. This is especially so when terrorists deliberately hide among civilians and fire rockets from civilian areas, as Hamas and Islamic Jihad frequently do.
No army in history has ever had a better ratio of combatants to civilians killed in a comparable setting. Israel’s ratio is far better than that of the United States, Great Britain, Russia or any other country combating terrorism. Yet this remarkable improvement has hardly been reported by the international press. Neither have human rights organizations taken appropriate note of it, especially considering the extraordinary and disproportionate criticism directed against Israel when the ratio was worse. Nor have these organizations noted that the selective employment of targeted killings in 2007, coupled with other defensive actions, have resulted in the lowest number of Israeli civilian deaths and the lowest number of Palestinian civilian deaths in recent times.
This is a story that should be widely reported and carefully analyzed. Silence in the face of this improvement is misleading, since it leads many to believe that there have been no improvements since the dark days of the Intifada. Misleading by silence is as grievous a journalistic sin as misleading by mistake. The time has come to correct this sin and set the record straight.