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, March 31, 2005

More on Columbia University

As suspected, there's more to the story about the panel that cleared Columbia University of anti-semitism. First, the University decided not to show the report to the students...but they eventually backed down.
According to one student, senior Ariel Beery, one of the campus's most outspoken critics of the professors, a Columbia spokeswoman told him that students were not being shown the report yesterday "for your own good."

Late last night, however, after some of the students who made the charges demanded to see the report, the administration relented and showed it to them.

"The report only focuses on three incidents, and we brought to them a lot more incidents that were not reported and they made no mention of them," Mr. Beery said.
The whole thing is just not kosher; but the larger issue of the curriculum has yet to be addressed.

Hat Tip: Instapundit.

It's Amazing How Ecumenical Hatred Is!

World Pride Festival is supposed to be held in Jerusalem this summer.
A rare alliance of senior Jewish, Christian and Muslim clerics held a news conference Wednesday demanding the festival not be held in Jerusalem, describing gays as lower than animals and calling their lifestyle unnatural and unhealthy.
I hope that this 10-day festival will be tastefully done, and respect religious sensibilities.

Liberal Bias at Universities

According to a study by professors at Smith College, George Mason University and the University of Toronto (they surveyed 1,643 full-time faculty at 183 four-year schools), 72 percent of professors at American universities labeled themselves liberal, while just 15 percent said they are conservative. 50 percent of faculty members identified themselves as Democrats and only 11 percent Republicans.
I'm sure it's worse in Canada.

Affirmative Action Gone Mad!

Here's a case study of affirmative action gone mad! New Orlean's first black attorney-general fired 43 whites when he took office and replace them with blacks.
Eight days after taking office, Mr. Jordan fired 53 of 77 white nonlawyers in his office - investigators, clerks, child-support enforcement workers and the like - and replaced them with blacks.
Why did he do it?
Mr. Jordan has acknowledged that he wanted to make the office more reflective of the city's racial makeup, but he denied that he had fired whites just because of their race. In fact, he said, he had not known the race of the people fired.
Yeah, sure.

Iranian Exile Group: Iran Trying to Buy Nuclear Warheads

I know it's a funny juxtoposition, right after the US report on intelligence failings regarding WMD. But, here's the latest report from an Iranian exile group.
Iran allocated $2.5 billion to obtain three nuclear warheads last year, an exiled opposition group said Thursday, without saying whether Iran had secured any of the warheads.

The group, which has given accurate information in the past on some of Iran's nuclear facilities, also said Iran was speeding up work on a reactor south of Tehran which could produce enough plutonium for an atomic bomb by 2007.

Interesting Findings on Al-Qa'ida

The Presidential Commission on the Intelligence Capabilities of the United Stated Regarding Weapons of Mass Destruction has reported. While scathing of the intelligence regarding WMD in Iraq, there is some intersting stuff regarding Al-Qa'ida and biological weapons. Here is a look at the pre-war and post-war intelligence.

Information in the Intelligence Community's possession since the late 1990s indicated that al-Qa'ida's members had trained in crude methods for producing biological agents such as botulinum toxin and toxins obtained from venomous animals. 1 But the Community was uncertain whether al-Qa'ida had managed to acquire a far more dangerous strain of agent (an agent we cannot identify precisely in our unclassified report and so will refer to here as "Agent X"). 2 The Community judged that al-Qa'ida operatives had "probably" acquired at least a small quantity of this virulent strain and had plans to assemble devices to disperse the agent. 3 While the Community believed that a facility to which the group had access provided the potential capability and expertise to produce biological agents, it had no evidence that the facility was being so used. 4 Likewise, the Intelligence Community assessed that al-Qa'ida was "highly unlikely" to have acquired two other dangerous biological agents, and had no credible reporting indicating it was attempting to do so. 5


In fact, al-Qa'ida's biological program was further along, particularly with regard to Agent X, than pre-war intelligence indicated. 6 The program was extensive, well-organized, and operated for two years before September 11, but intelligence insights into the program were limited. The program involved several sites in Afghanistan. 7 Two of these sites contained commercial equipment and were operated by individuals with special training. 8 Documents found indicated that while al-Qa'ida's primary interest was Agent X, the group had considered acquiring a variety of other biological agents. 9 The documents obtained at the training camp included scientific articles and handwritten notes pertaining to Agent X. 10

Reporting supports the hypothesis that al-Qa'ida had acquired several biological agents possibly as early as 1999, and had the necessary equipment to enable limited, basic production of Agent X. 11 Other reporting indicates that al-Qa'ida had succeeded in isolating cultures of Agent X. Nevertheless, outstanding questions remain about the extent of biological research and development in pre-war Afghanistan, including about the reliability of the reporting described above.

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Committee Finds No Anti-Semitism at Columbia

Not surprisingly, the Committee at Columbia to investigate anti-semitism has found no evidence of anti-semitic statements by professors.

Earlier this month, I posted a statement by Lee Bollinger, President of Columbia, in which it appeared he had already judged the issue before the release of the report.

Well, there are two main objections to the investigation. First, some of the members of the committee may have been biased. For example, one of the members was Lisa Anderson, dean of Columbia's School of International and Public Affairs. She was involved in a campaign that raised $4 million to endow the Edward Said Chair of Arab Studies and defended the university's initial refusal to make the names of the 20 contributors public. But second, why on earth didn't Columbia set up a totally independent panel? Here is an excerpt from an article written by Nat Hentoff in which he looked at the probability of this panel successfully investigating the charges.
Yet the beleaguered Columbia president, Lee Bollinger, in a December 8 letter to the Columbia community about yet another faculty investigation he's set up, declared the committee "will not review departments [as a whole] or curricula." Why not an outside independent committee so that colleagues will not be reviewing colleagues?

In the same pledge, Bollinger declares "the committee will not investigate anyone's political or scholarly beliefs." That's understandable in the name of the professors' academic freedom, but Bollinger has set himself a dilemma.

How can he assure present and future students in his Middle East studies department that they will actually learn the full dimensions of those studies if the present curricula remain? The curricula reflect the views and interpretations of the professors, and the evident biases of some of them.
More on this to come.

Israel and the New Settlements

Much has been made in the last week or so about the new 3,500 homes that has been approved by the Israeli government between Ma'aleh Adumim and Jerusalem. Of course, the Palestinians screamed that this was in violation of the roadmap (of course, they haven't disarmed any terrorists just yet), and that was echoed in Europe, and even Condoleeza Rice expressed her disappointment.

But, here's a good article explaining the reality of these homes. A contiguous Palestinian state is not threatened at all - since these homes will be built in areas that are understood by all sides to stay Israeli.

In previous negotiations, the Palestinians have agreed that some of the large settlement blocks straddling the green line will remain Israeli; and that Israel will compensate the Palestinians with other equivalent land. Thus, these new homes are not the huge threat to peace they've been made out to be.


How would you like to live here? It seems like every day there are reports of violence, smuggling, etc. Is Abbas going to disarm the terrorists?
Later, the group of 15 gunmen — who said they belong to an armed group linked to the ruling Fatah movement — went on a shooting rampage throughout the city of Ramallah, firing and damaging several restaurants and forcing the shops to close, witnesses and officials said.

Trashing Books on the Internet

A while ago, I posted a review of "The Anti-Chomsky Reader", edited by David Horowitz and Peter Collier. I strongly recommend this book to anyone who suspects that Chomsky is an intellectual fool.

I soon noticed that other people were trashing my review - and that is was clear that they hadn't read the book.Here's a story on Front Page Mag on the campaign to trash Chomsky's critics.
To those who posted positive comments on the book, I (and I’m sure the other authors) thank you, although it’s probable that at least some of our supporters didn’t read the book, either. (For example, a recent review from a South African reader fulminates against Chomsky for an entire page but says nothing about the book itself. Such is the nature of Amazon’s “Star Wars.”) And for those of you who read the book and disagreed with us, thank you for at least joining us in the spirit of open debate and free inquiry. But for those of you who basically…well, freaked out, for want of better words…I urge you: try to live up to your professed standards of honest scholarship and open-minded dialogue, and actually read the book.

The Long Tail - Another View

As the owner of a record label, I view downloading and burning with horror. Illegal downloading has hit the music industry hard, and I've been caught in the cross-fire. While a lot of people might not be illegally downloading my company's music, the resultant loss of music sales has hit retailers hard. And, that makes it tougher on me to get CDs into stores.

Chris Anderson, Editor in Chief of Wired Magazine, has been writing recently about the long tail - the fact that Amazon, Ebay, and iTunes have broken through distribution bottlenecks and now just about everybody has the technology to sell and trade their wares. This is all true enough.

The Supreme Court of the US is now hearing a case involving Grokster, a downloading site, vs. MGM. Not surprising, in today's LA Times, Anderson comes down on the side of the downloaders:
What's at stake is the realm of ideas, sliced and diced a million ways. The peer-to-peer music sites are the closest current approximation to the celestial jukebox we all want. Kazaa, for instance, has 25 million unique tracks, dwarfing iTunes' measly 1 million. BitTorrent has more videos than Blockbuster. Much of it is pirated, to be sure, but a significant portion of it — videogame highlights, say — was never intended to be moneymaking in the first place. The problem is that we don't know how to stop the piracy without chilling the creativity.
The problem, to me, is that while Kazaa has a lot more tracks - most of them are being traded illegally, and the same with BitTorrent. Why this sort of theft is tolerated is beyond me. Anderson claims that "we don't know how to stop the piracy without chilling the creativity."

Sorry, I think we can. Kazaa and BitTorent specialize in pirated content: Amazon and iTunes don't. It's not technology; it's morality. Stealing is just plain wrong and we must do all we can to fight it.

Shouldn't Kofi Annan be Fired?

I'm actually here in LA this week on business, and reading the LA Times every morning. Today's edition has a cover story on Kofi Annan and the Oil-for-Palaces scandal. While he claims that he has been exonerated, I'm not so sure.

Most of the problems center around Kofi's son, Kojo. Kojo was employed by Cotecna in Africa (Kojo got the job through his father's connections) only because of his connections. The company tried hard to get to Kofi - meeting with him four times before and their successful $60 million inpsection contract in Iraq.
Volcker's report says Cotecna routed payments to Kojo Annan through front companies to disguise their origin and avoid the appearance of a conflict of interest. It also said that Kojo Annan had lied to his father about the nature and extent of his dealings with Cotecna and Iraq, where he later aspired to do business.
Kojo is not cooperating with the inquiry (he stopped after one interview).

So, here is where we are so far:

o The chief of the Oil-for-Palaces program, Benon Sean, had a huge conflict of interest in steering contracts to his friends and could not account for money that appears to be a bribe.

o The scandal above with Kofi's son, Kojo.

o Annan's failure to fully investigate his son's affairs.

But, most importantly of all, the entire scandal happened under his watch. Billions of dollars were siphoned off by one of the world's worst dictators. And, yet, he feels exonerated.

Hamas Continues to Arm Itself

We earlier reported on this blog that Hamas was smuggling in anti-aircraft missles into Gaza. Now a short report in the Jerusalem Post says they have just smuggled in 600 rifles into Gaza as well.

When will the world start pressuring Abbas to start disarming the terrorists?

Scare-Mongering at its Worse

It seems like every day there is some sort of environmental scare story. But today, we have a tsunami. Have a look at this report from the UN, which claims that two-thirds of our eco-systems are at risk.
The study warns that human activity is putting so much pressure on natural systems that we can no longer take the survival of life on Earth for granted.

It says the way we have obtained our food, fresh water, wood, fibre and fuel over the past 50 years has dangerously degraded the environment. It also warns that we have compromised our ability to address hunger, poverty and improve health care.
In addition, the report claims that 32% of fish, 12% of birds, and 25% of mammals could be extinct in the next 100 years.

And, of course, the CBC has not one skeptical voice in its report. Mark these predictions down.....they will prove as spurious as Paul Ehrlich's "Population Bomb" or the "Club of Rome". If you want something serious to read, go get Bjorn Lomborg's "The Skeptical Environmentalist".

More Political Correctness....

In April, parents, teachers and students at Berkeley's Thomas Jefferson Public school will vote whether to change the school's name because Jefferson owned slaves.
Teacher Marguerite Hughes, part of a group that began pushing for the change two years ago via petition, said, "It's an awkward position to ask African-American children and teachers to celebrate a historical figure who was a slave-owner." Of course, as products of the California educational system, it's unlikely the students have a clue who Jefferson is.
Is this vote really necessary? Do these parents, teacher and students really understand the importance of Thomas Jefferson?
This will not be the first name change at a Berkeley school. In the late 1990s a school named for Christopher Columbus was rebuilt as Rosa Parks Elementary, and more recently Abraham Lincoln Elementary was changed to Malcolm X. Since Lincoln opposed slavery his sin must have been the fact he was a Republican.

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

More on Female Cops...

I recently blogged about the Brian Nichols murder spree in Atlanta where he overpowered a 5-foot-two, 52-year-old grandmother. Well, here's a good piece on the results of affirmative action within the police, by John Lott of the Amerian Enterprise Institute.

The first part of the article is on the difference in strength between men and women....
Some of these differences are fairly large. For example, in a study I published in 2000 examining the effect of affirmative action on police hiring, a comparison of male and female public safety officers found that female officers had 32 percent to 56 percent less upper-body strength and 18 percent to 45 percent less lower-body strength than male officers.

In New York City, because the physical strength rules were so weakened during the 1980s, a former NYPD personnel chief complained at one time that many police officers "lack the strength to pull the trigger on a gun" and do not have the physical strength to run after suspects.
Two major effects of the strength difference are an increased number of assaults on police officers.
In general, every 1 percent increase in the number of women in a police force results in a 15 to 19 percent increase in the number of assaults on the police, because women tend to be weaker than men.

Why? The more likely that a criminal's assault on a police officer will be successful, the more likely criminals will do it. The major factor determining success is the relative strengths and sizes of the criminal and officer. The 200-pound Nichols might have decided not to try to escape had his guard been closer to his own size.
And, female officers are more likely to shoot people.
Each 1 percent increase in the number of white female officers in a police force increases the number of shootings of civilians by 2.7 percent. Because of their weaker physical strength, female officers have less time to decide on whether to fire their weapon. If a man makes a mistake and waits too long to shoot a suspect who is attacking him, the male officer still has a chance of using his strength to subdue the attacker. Female officers (as was the case in Atlanta) will lose control of the situation at that point.

Why I Hate Diversity Training.....

This piece of news got my attention...a school district is being sued because its mandatory diversity training told students they must keep silent if they think homosexual behavior is wrong.

As someone who is openly gay, I have always fought for tolerance. But, shouldn't we also have some tolerance for people who have religious views on this topic? I really don't want to force 100% ideological purity on everybody. People must be free to think and say as they please...even if we don't like it. It's for this same reason that I am against hate-crime laws. I don't like making thoughts into crimes.

Gay Patriot Silenced

I'm relatively new to the blogospher...but as a gay conservative, one of the first things I did was to e-mail GayPatriot about exchanging links. Within a few days, there was a very nice post on about GayandRight. Now, unfortunately GayPatriot has been silenced. You can read the whole story here.

And, I barely got to know him. By the way, the web site is still up, but his partner has taken over the blog.

Time to Ban Coral Reefs?

Researchers say that coral reefs contribute to global warming, producing carbon dioxide when they calcify by building skeletons.
Research oceanographer Eric De Carlo says scientists studying Kaneohe Bay and Enchanted Lake on Oahu and Hilo Bay found that all three are releasing carbon dioxide into the atmosphere and not absorbing it like the ocean.
As this item shows, the science on global warming is still in its infancy.

Just a Scary Story?

Robert Scheer has a wacky opinion piece in the LA Times. I'll leave it to you to read it. But, here's how he describes Iran's nuclear program:
We have thrown away thousands of Iraqi and American lives and billions of U.S. taxpayer dollars after crying wolf on Iraq's long-defunct nuclear weapons program and now expect the world to believe similar scary stories about neighboring Iran.
Just a scary story, huh?

Some Berliners Think Jews are Too Powerful

A short piece from a briefing by the World Zionist Congress:
Around 16 per cent of the 3.5 million citizens of Berlin believe that Jews have too much influence, according to a recent poll conducted by the Free University of Berlin and the polling institute Forsa. The survey also revealed that 10 per cent of Berliners would consider voting for an extreme right-wing party, and about 6 per cent hold extremist right-wing views. The survey, which found higher percentages of extremist sympathizers in the outlying state of Brandenburg than in the city of Berlin itself, was conducted over several months and questioned 2,000 local residents. They were asked to gauge their support for an authoritarian state, nationalist ideology, xenophobia and anti-Semitism and the denial of Nazi crimes. 16 percent of respondents agreed with the statement that “some lives are valuable and others worthless.” 12 per cent supported the view that Germany needed a leader who would rule with a strong hand, and 15 per cent said Nazism had had its good points.

Third Anniversary of Jenin

I have previously posted about Natan Sharansky's wonderful book, "The Case for Democracy." Well, today Front Page Magazine publishes an excerpt from the book on the so-called Jenin massacre.
The truth was very different: At the end of the operation, fifty-two Palestinians lay dead, almost all of whom were armed.(5) On the Israeli side, twenty-three soldiers had been killed by Palestinian terrorists. This extremely high casualty ratio was a function of Israel's willingness to endanger the lives of its own soldiers in order to save the lives of hun­dreds, if not thousands, of Palestinian civilians. Indeed, Israeli soldiers died to save innocent Palestinian lives.

Working its way through the Israeli court system today is a lawsuit against the Israeli Defense Forces and the Israeli government brought by some of the families of the soldiers who died in Jenin. The petitioners contend that the govern­ment's primary obligation should have been to defend its own troops, even at the cost of more Palestinian civilian casualties. Whether Israel, unlike every other country facing similar threats, should have imposed such risks on its own citizens in order to save innocent Palestinians is certainly a matter of legitimate debate. One thing, however, is certain: The operation in Jenin was an expression of an unprece­dented commitment to the human rights of a foreign civilian population during wartime. It is actions like this that allow the noted legal expert Alan Dershowitz to state confidently that "no country in history ever complied with a higher standard of human rights."

Settler Violence in Israel?

A fellow blogger sent me a link to this story in the Toronto Globe & Mail about Gaza settlers planning violence against their coming removal.

While I have no doubt there are some settlers who will resort to violence, I just feel that any violence will backfire. Removing the settlements in Gaza is popular in Israel - and if the settlers really want the Israeli public to turn against them, then violence is the ticket.
Israeli Vice Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said he believes that protests against the pullout have already peaked and that settler activists will have trouble organizing large rallies now that they have lost the political fight.

Anti-Semitism in Holland

Not one of my usual sources, but the first two paragraphs of this article caught my eye. It's an article on anti-semitism, but here's the key quotes:
There is a famous soccer team in Amsterdam called Ajax. It's taken on the unusual nickname of "the Jews" and "SuperJews" because of the team's Dutch-Jewish history.

When you go to Ajax matches, you will, of course, hear opposing fans rooting against Ajax. But unless you understand Dutch, you won't realize that some of them are screaming "We're hunting Jews," and "Jews to the Gas." And that hissing sound the fans are making -- it's the sound of the gas chamber. Last week, Ajax publicly asked that people stop calling them "the Jews."

Ballistic Missile Defense: It Just Doesn't Make Sense

I've always been against missile defense. I just can't see the logic of it at all. The threat from ballistic missiles pales in comparison to being hit by bombs delivered by other sorts of delivery systems - like how about FEDEX? Or a boat landing in a port?

But, in this Washington Post column by David Ignatius, he describes the threat from short range cruise missiles.
Kier [a Lockheed Martin VP] starts by noting how vulnerable the United States is to a terrorist attack from offshore. He estimates that 75 percent of the U.S. population and 80 percent of its economic wealth are within 200 miles of coastline. The weapons for such an attack are available on the world's arms bazaars. By Kier's count, the potential cruise-missile inventory includes about 6,000 Silkworms and 11,000 Seersuckers. Assuming they were fired from less than 120 miles offshore, it would take them just 11 minutes to reach their targets.

Kier calculates that if a missile with a chemical warhead detonated over Washington, there would be thousands of casualties within the first 10 minutes and tens of thousands after an hour; if the missile were armed with a biological warhead, it would cause hundreds of thousands of casualties in the first hour. If the biological weapon were detonated over New York, casualties in the first five hours would be in the millions, he says.

So what would Lockheed Martin planners do to protect against these missile attacks? Kier proposes a detection system he calls a "passive coherent locator," which is based, believe it or not, on an amplification of existing FM radio signals. He says it would be easy to detect a disturbance in this FM energy field that had the unusual signature of a cruise missile, which is fast but low-flying and therefore doesn't resemble an airplane.
Read this column, please. By the way, I wish that Canada had supported the war in Iraq...and then said no to BMD.

It's All over for the US!

From the Jerusalem Post: "A thorough analysis of the Koran reveals that the US will cease to exist in the year 2007, according to research published by Palestinian scholar Ziad Silwadi".

How will it happen? A giant tsunami.
Silwadi said his study of the Koran showed that the US would perish mainly because of its great sins against mankind, including the Native Americans and blacks.
There, you've been warned!

Two stories about Health Care

The National Post and the Globe & Mail today had similar stories on health care. The Post had a story about a BC woman who needs a knee replacement, but has been on a waiting list for 31 months. She has decided to spend $20,000 and have it done in the US.

Christie Blatchford's column in the Globe & Mail was similar...a 21-year-old girl went to the emergency room in Waterloo with flu-like symptoms, but was told there would be a 8-9 hour wait. She unfortunately went home, without checking at the desk - she would have been better off to just wait. But, home she went, and she was much sicker the next morning...she then went to the student clinin and was ultimately back at the first hospital where she died the next day (she actually had bacterial meningitis).

There's something wrong with our healthcare. Paul Martin said he was going to reform the system, but all he did was throw money at the provinces. We need some real changes and a real debate about what kind of system we want, what we can afford, and how to move forward.

Ex-Bureaucrat defrauds: Gets New Job!

How's this for a story. This was in the Ottawa Citizen ex-bureaucrat who was charged with defrauding Health Canada (and being fired for a conflict of interest) has been working at Elections Canada for the last seven months.

The RCMP charged her with fraud in 2003, and she still continued to keep a security clearance!
Elections Canada confirms Ms. Dirks provided hiring advice as a consultant hired through an agency from Aug. 17, 2004, until March 4, when she ended the contract. At the time Elections Canada hired Ms. Dirks, she was facing one count of fraud for what the RCMP allege was a scheme in which federal funds earmarked for native health care were instead used to pay a salary to the son of her boss, Paul Cochrane, the ex-Health Canada assistant deputy minister.
Earlier this month, Mr. Cochrane pleaded guilty to defrauding the government and was sentenced to one year in jail, plus two years' probation.

Sunday, March 27, 2005

Help for Palestinians in the Closet - From Israel

Well, there's one place for Palestinians in the closet to get help. And, that's in the Open House, a community center in Jerusalem for gay people.All sorts of jews show up for meetings, secular and religious, and some Palestinians as well.
But their willingness to cross the informal borders dividing all-Arab Jerusalem from all-Jewish Jerusalem and come to Open House give Maikey the hope that they are the nucleus of a Palestinian gay liberation movement. Aside from sharing tales of hardship, the men are also at work with Maikey setting up an Arabic language gay website, a telephone hotline for Arab homosexuals, and coming further out little by little. They are among the Palestinian crowd that shows up for a monthly get-together at Shushan, one of the capital's main gay hangouts.

"At the last one about 70 Palestinians showed up - there were about 30 I didn't even know. Things are changing," says Maikey, 26, who has been working at Open House for three years. "If there are 10 Palestinians coming to Open House each week, next month there may be 11 and the month after that, 12. It makes me feel that the work we've been doing here is paying off."
Unfortunately, the Palestinian gay community only exists in 'exile', unable to be truly free in on their own home. If Israel can serve as bridge to this community, all the better.

Here's One Museum I Will Won't Visit...

Hamas is turning the home of its founder, Sheikh Yassin, into a museum.
A top Hamas official in the Gaza Strip said the new museum is aimed at "acquainting the Palestinians with Yassin's legacy and reminding them of Israeli atrocities."
What about his legacy of terrorism and murder?

Please Leave Us Out of It....

No surprise, South Korea's Environment Minister said on thursday that developing countries like China and South Korea can never comply with treaties like Kyoto.
"No matter what the cut required would be, it is impossible to follow the Kyoto Protocol measures that are based on the 1990 levels even if those countries wanted to," Kwak told Reuters in an interview, listing South Korea, China, India and Brazil.
South Korea developing? It's the ninth largest emitter of carbon dioxide emissions. These statements underscore the bankruptcy of the Kyoto Treaty, no?

Dotted Cubes?

Well, political correctness never ceases to amaze me. A columnist in Florida has the story of an elementary school where the instructions for playing a game referred to 'dotted cubes'.
The dotted cubes turned out to be dice, although apparently teachers were encouraged not to use that word for fear it would invoke an image of gambling.

Yes, sometimes we do get carried away in the name of sensitivity or political correctness, or, as Stublen puts it, "HAS EVERY FREAKING PERSON IN THIS COUNTRY LOST THEIR MIND!!"

"I can see it now," he wrote. "Cards will be referred to as 'numbered pictures.' I can't wait until the next Vegas trip. I can scream at the top of my lungs, 'Come on you hot dotted cubes. Baby needs a new pair of shoes.'

Global Warming Inquistitors

Ever have a rational discussion on global warming with people? I find most people just don't want to discuss it at all. If you're a skeptic, like I am, then forget it. You're beyond the pale, for sure.

Well, some students in Middlebury, Vermont have awarded their flat earth award to global warming skeptics.
According to the Inquisitors of Middlebury, human-caused global warming "is not even a question anymore."
In Canada, our government has signed the Kyoto treaty with nary a debate in public on the science. If there ever was a rush to judgement, this is it.

People Now Sharing iPod files

Here's a report on the recent state of downloading music files in the US. More and more people are finding other methods, besides P2P, to get their music.
The Project’s national survey of 1,421 adult Internet users conducted between January 13 and February 9, 2005 shows that 19% of current music and video downloaders, about 7 million adults, say they have downloaded files from someone else’s iPod or MP3 player. About 28%, or 10 million people, say they get music and video files via email and instant messages. There is some overlap between these two groups; 9% of downloaders say they have used both of these sources
As you might know, I own a record label, and I find all of this somewhat discouraging. While people might not be downloading my music, it sure does hurt all the retailers out there, which is whey they are all cutting back on music.

And, More Arms Smuggling by Palestinians

Israeli Defence Minister Shaul Mofaz told the Israeli cabinet that Palestinian agents were involved in smuggling anti-aircraft missiles into Gaza. And the response:
"Mofaz and the Israeli government are trying to hide the truth by sending this statement to the public," a senior Palestinian security official said on condition of anonymity.
Why the need for anonymity?

Hamas: Israel Has No Right To Exist

I've always been amazed that the genocidal statements of terrorist groups like Hamas never get much airplay. Well, they're at it once again. n a statement published in the Al-Quds daily, Mahmoud Zahar, of the top leaders of Hamas, said that:
Zahar said the group would use its parliamentary leverage to resist any peace agreement with Israel. Hamas believes all of the region, including Israel, is Islamic land.

"Hamas is not going to accept during its mandate in the upcoming Palestinian legislative council to sign any peace agreement with Israel that gives Israel the right to take over any inch of the Palestinian land," he said.

Well, I Always Knew He Was Stupid.....

Charles ignores lawyers and insists there'll be no pre-nup with Camilla

North Korean Rights Abuses Need to be Addressed

Here's a frightening article from the Washington Post on human rights abuses in North Korea.

Abraham Cooper of the Simon Weisenthal Institute recently talked to defectors in Seoul who told stories of poison gas being used in North Korea.
It took an hour into our debriefing for Dr. Lee to get around to the fact that he helped develop deadly agents at a secret underground poison and toxin research institute. In that connection, he matter-of-factly described how, in 1979, he was in charge of gassing two political prisoners. The victims' suffering was documented by scientists, who took notes outside glass-encased gas chambers that were also wired for sound. One prisoner died after 2 1/2 hours, the other after 3 1/2 hours of agony. Then a young scientist, Dr. Lee was rewarded with a medal and promotions for his role in these successful experiments. Twenty-five years later, he expressed no remorse, but his recall of details and dates make him a credible, if frightening, witness.
Since 2002, defectors among the flood of refugees from North Korea have detailed firsthand accounts of systematic starvation, torture and murder. Enemies of the state are used in experiments to develop new generations of chemical and biological weapons that threaten the world. A microcosm of these horrors is Camp 22, one of 12 concentration camps housing an estimated 200,000 political prisoners facing torture or execution for such "crimes" as being a Christian or a relative of someone suspected of deviation from "official ideology of the state." Another eyewitness, Kwon Hyuk, formerly chief manager at Camp 22, repeated to me what he asserted to the BBC: "I witnessed a whole family being tested on suffocating gas and dying in the gas chamber. . . . The parents were vomiting and dying, but until the very last moment they tried to save kids by doing mouth-to-mouth breathing."
Cooper wonders why the world is not outraged. Good question.

Saturday, March 26, 2005

What a Headline from Aljazeera?

The Israelis have no intention of making peace, and with the control they have over America why should they?

What's Missing from Iraq's Weapons Facilities

A short piece from AP on the Jerusalem Post web site lists what's missing from the 90+ sites that were looted after (or before?) the US invasion:
Samoud 2 short-range missiles: up to 36

Fatah short-range missiles: up to 34

SA-2 missile engines: about 600

Mustard-gas artillery shells (155mm): 550

Sarin-filled artillery rockets: 2,500, possibly neutralized

HMX, other high-grade explosives: 340 metric tons (377 short tons)

Sensitive chemical equipment: at least 800 pieces

Bioweapons seed stocks: unknown amount
Please read the Christopher Hitchens article on so-called looting that I posted earlier this week.

A Brilliant Paragraph from Hitchens

Christopher Hitchen's latest article is on Paul Wolfowitz and his suitability to be Head of the World Bank. Hitchens thinks it is a good appointment, and so do I. But his last paragraph is just amazing. I wish I could write like that!
Now even the supreme and magnificent United States is hostage to debts held by others, while poor countries are mired in an even worse debt trap and the U.N.bureaucracy is a sweltering, corrupt banana republic in its own right. Who can guess the way out of these dilemmas? But with the Wolfowitz and even the John Bolton nomination to the United Nations, the Bush administration retains its capacity to startle, mainly because it has redefined the lazy term "conservative" to mean someone who is impatient with the status quo.

Book of the Week - Tower of Babble

Every week, I'll be highlighting a book I think is important. Last week, I wrote about "The Case for Democracy" by Natan Sharansky. If you haven't read it, please pick it up. It's got a very good history of the Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations that you shouldnt' miss.

This week, I'd like to talk about Dore Gold's "Tower of Babble: How the United Nations Has Fueled Global Chaos".

Dore Gold is Israel's former ambassador to the United Nations, so he has a wealth of information to share. Gold is angry that the UN has eroded its standards, condoned terrorism, and its lack of moral clarity. He tackles the Arab-Israeli conflict, the 1991 Gulf War, the UN in Rwanda, the Srebenica Massacre, and the horrendous experience with the International Criminal Court.

Gold also includes a 30 page section of documents which he calles the Paper Trail. First is a coded cable from Major General Romeo Dallaire to UN headquarters asking permission to seize weapons caches. The UN's Department of Peacekeeping Operations - headed by Kofi Annan - denied his request. He also had documents on the former Yugoslavia and the Oil-for-Palaces program in Iraq.

And to prove that the UN hasn't (and won't) stand up to terrorism, Gold has a long chart showing all the terrorist operatives who were educated in schools run by the UN Relief and Work Agency.

Please buy and read this book.

Iraqi Soldiers Getting Their Legs

Yet another good story from Iraq. Iraqi soldiers killed several suspected insurgents and seized 131 more in a dawn raid Saturday, capturing tons of explosives earmarked for attacks on the holy city of Kerbala.
Earlier this week Iraqi police commandos said they killed 85 militants in a raid on a suspected insurgent training camp near Baghdad, hailing it as a breakthrough against the insurgency.

Shaalan said several suspected militants were killed in the latest operation, which began late Friday and culminated in the dawn raid just outside Kerbala, about 100 km (60 miles) southwest of Baghdad.

The vast majority of the 131 captured were Iraqis, although officials said many faked Iraqi identification papers were also found. It was not clear how many people were killed.

Largest Demonstration ever in Taiwan

A million people marched through the streets of Taipei to demonstrate against a Chinese law authorizing use of force if Taiwan moves towards independence.
"Taiwan is only a small island, so we must speak out really loud to make the world hear that we are a democracy facing an evil giant," said Vivian Wang, a 38-year-old restaurant worker who traveled by bus from the southern city of Kaohsiung — about 190 miles away.
I lived in Asia for 5 1/2 years and went to Taiwan over 30 times. The Taiwanese are a very different people than the mainland Chinese. And, they really have been independent for over 50 years -- with their own military, their own passports, etc.

The Chinese have one of the worst pickup lines ever - marry me or I'll kill ya.

Shouldn't the Bush administration be helping the Taiwanese?

Toronto Star Wants Canada to let in American 'Defectors'

How's this for chutzpah? The Toronto Star wants the Canadian government to set up a new category for deserters for Jeremy Hinzman.
So let's consider Hinzman and other US deserters from George W. Bush's America. Most Canadians don't agree with his war in Iraq and neither does the federal government. Why not follow through?
What a great idea! Under this scenario just disagreeing with the US government is grounds for being a defector.

Should Teenagers Be on Prozac?

Jeff Weise, the student who killed nine people at the Red Lake Indian Reservation, was not only on Prozac but had his dosage increased a week before the rampage. Weise was a very troubled person - he had attempted suicide once before and had written on the internet that another attempt was on the way.

But, was Prozac the answer? Thousands of boys today are on Ritalin, Prozac and god-knows-what drug. We are trying to solve anti-social behavior with drugs, and it probably does more harm than good.

The other major problem is so-called Attention Deficit Disorder Hyperactivity Disorder (ADDHD). In a large study done in two school districts in Virginia, 25% of the boys in the 4th and 5th grade were diagnosed ADDHD. 25%? How many of these normal boys went on Ritalin?

First, Ritalin for, Prozac. Who knows what is next.

Isn't time for the psychiatric industry to stop drugging boys?

Ideological Purity on Abortion

A small piece in today's National Post caught my eye. An anti-abortion groupin Montreal, Life Canada-Vie Canada, had a link on its web site asking its members to sign up for a fund-raising Mastercard. The group had been using the credit card for fundraising for about 10 years, and had had the link on its web site for about a year.

But, once pro-abortion people found out, they deluged the Bank of Montreal with complaints, and the Bank has asked Life Canada to remove the offensive link.

Personally, I support the right of women to have abortions, but I find attempts at ideological purity to be very upsetting. What ever happened to live and let live?

Friday, March 25, 2005

An Exit Strategy?

The Financial Times claims that the insurgents in Iraq are seeking an exit strategy.
Sharif Ali said the success of Iraq's elections dealt the insurgents a demoralising blow, prompting them to consider the need to enter the political process.

Death by Political Correctness

How many people realize that the horrible tragedy in Atlanta on March 11 could have been easily avoided? Brian Nichols was brought into the courtroom by a five-feet-two, 52-year-old grandmother. And, guess what? NO handcuffs, either.

So, it was pretty easy for him to overpower Deputy Cynthia Ann Hall, and then kill the judge, kill the court reporter, and then escape.
Nichols was not going before the court for running over a traffic cone or tearing the tag off his mattress (you know, the one that says DO NOT REMOVE UNDER PENALTY OF LAW). He was charged with rape, aggravated sodomy, false imprisonment, aggravated assault with intent to rape, possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony and burglary. He assaulted his former girlfriend, tying her up in her own home and repeatedly violating her over the course of several days. Two days before his escape, two shivs (makeshift weapons) were removed from his shoes upon his arrival at court -- hinges sharpened into rudimentary knives. What were they there for, balance? Common sense should have told the court personnel that a single guard, older and shorter, would not be enough to guard a potentially violent prisoner without handcuffs or a ready weapon. Political correctness gone amuck allowed Nichols to beat up Deputy Hall and the reporter. Political correctness allowed him to kill Brandau, Judge Barnes and Deputy Sgt. Teasley.
Why hasn't this been in the newspapers?

Will the Canadian Government Crack Down on Blogs?

There's a lot of discussion on the blogosphere right now on regulation. Tech Central Stations has a good article on the coming war on blogs.

The article outlines three areas where action might be taken:

1. Campaign Finance Reform
2. Libel Law
3. Copyright Law

In the US, there is talk right now about regulating blogs as part of campaign finance reform. And some politicians are clearly bothered by the blogosphere. Here's a quote from John Kerry from the Tech Station article.
"The mainstream media, over the course of the last year, did a pretty good job of discerning. But there's a subculture and a sub-media that talks and keeps things going for entertainment purposes rather than for the flow of information. And that has a profound impact and undermines what we call the mainstream media of the country. And so the decision-making ability of the American electorate has been profoundly impacted as a consequence of that. The question is, what are we going to do about it?"
Now, in Canada, we have another fight going on.

The Treasury Board of Canada has issued a cease and desist order to to change its look and feel. You can go the site yourself and see if they are infringing on government copyrights. The owners of the blog think there is a political angle to all this.

Will there be a war against bloggers in Canada?

Do Canadians Know Their History?

The latest issue of the Western Standard (April4, 2005) has a good article on how history is disappearing from the curriculum of schools in Canada. In Manitoba, High School students only have to complete three social science courses to graduate; in Ontario, only one.

We all like to make fun of how little the Americans know about Canada (just watch Rick Mercer), but our own knowledge of Canada is pretty scant. The Dominion Institute found that nearly half of Canadians think D-Day marks the bombing of Pearl Harbour, and only 54% could name the first Canadian prime minister.

But, how about a short test for all the Canadians who visit this blog. The article has a copy of a High School entrance exam from 1900 in Ontario. Get entrance exam. I have to admit I wouldn't do too well on this exam:

1. (a) Explain the leading features of the Feudal System.
(b) Give a short account of the its introduction and decline in England.

2. Write a short account of the following:--
(a) Conquest of Ireland,
(b) Spanish Armada,
(c) Declaration of Rights.

3. Relate the causes, most important events, and results of the Crimean War, and the Indian mutiny.

4. State the causes, leading events, and results of the troubles in Upper and Lower Canada in 1837-38.

5. Write explanatory notes on the following:--
(a) Act of Union, 1841,
(b) Rebellion Losses Act,
(c) Secularization of Clergy Reserves,
(d) Abolition of Seignorial Tenure.

6. Give the provisions of the following treaties:--
(a) Ashburton Treaty, 1842,
(b) Reciprocity Treaty, 1854.

7. Write notes on any three of the following:--
(a) Laval,
(b) Carleton,
(c) Brock,
(d) Sydenham,
(e) Elgin

And, marks were subtracted for spelling mistakes and for 'want of neatness.'

Another Example of Eco-Imperialism

Here's a story I wish would get more publicity. The Rain Action Network (RAN) is putting pressure on J.P. Morgan Chase to change its lending practices in the developing world.And, how are they putting pressure on the bank? Well, they've gone right to the home town of the bank's CEO. They've put up "Wanted" posters, and they've gone to his neighbours and friends.

Well, at least there's no violence.

Unfortunately, RAN has forced some other banks like Citigroup and Bank of America to cave.

J.P. Morgan Chase has so far held out against some of RAN's more appalling tactics like rounding up second graders from Mr. Harrison's hometown in December, and transporting them to J.P. Morgan Chase's Manhattan headquarters to protest the bank during school hours -- a stunt aptly described by Terence Corcoran of Canada's National Post as "ideological child abuse."
RAN and other environmental activists are typically against any sort of development - despite what local residents think. Paul Driessen, author of "Eco-Imperialism: Green Power, Black Death" - which I heartily endorse - wrote of a good example in India's Gujarat province. Environmentalists managed to stop a dam that would provide electricity for 5,000 villages, irrigation water for crops and clean water for 35 million people.

Please read Mr. Driessen's book. It's a good, quick read and makes some excellent points on corporate governance.

Arabs for Israel - Check out this Website

Here's an encouraging web site - Arabs and Muslims for Israel.

Let's hope this site really grows!

Oil-for-Palaces Scandal Reaches into Italy

The Oil-for-Palaces scandal is now reaching into Italy, according to a report in the New York Times.

The article suggests that Roberto Formigoni, Governor of Lombardy, and often suggested as a potential prime minister, received vouchers worth 24 million barrels of discounted Iraqi oil.

I believe Paul Volcker will be issuing a new report on the scandal in the next week or so.

More on Jew-Hatred in Ottawa

The Ontario Government will investigate the situation at the Abraar Islamic School. We wrote about this yesterday - a student had written a story filled with jew-hatred while being coached by one teacher....and another teacher wrote encouraging remarks on the paper.

But, this quote scares me a bit.
Mr. Kennedy said he hoped an Education Department supervisor's investigation "into what is going on" at the private school will find this is an isolated incident.
It sounds like Mr. Kennedy is only interested in knowing whether this is an isolated incident at the school. Shouldn't we look further? I want to know if this is an isolated incident across the province, let alone the country.

Shouldn't the Ministry of Education also want to know?

Thursday, March 24, 2005

Conspiracy Theories at AlJazeera!

Have you ever gone to the Aljazeera web site? They have a whole section on conspiracy theories!

Here are some of their current theories:

Was Tsunami a natural disaster or man-made?
3/23/2005 1:00:00 PM GMT
Was Tsunami a disaster caused by Mother Nature or one triggered by an underwater bomb?

U.S. plans for Iraq's oil set out before the war
3/20/2005 10:00:00 AM GMT
The Bush administration had drawn up plans for a war on Iraq long before the September 11th attacks occured in an attempt to control Iraq's oil.

Saddam's capture, another Bush lie
3/15/2005 1:10:00 PM GMT
The tale that was narrated about the American troops capturing the former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein and pulling him from his hovel is nothing but another Bush lie!

Hariri assassinated to make way for U.S. air base
3/13/2005 11:30:00 AM GMT
Former premier Rafiq al-Hariri was assassinated due to his objections to the building of a U.S. military base in northern Lebanon.

Lebanon: Another country in the U.S. domino line
3/9/2005 12:00:00 PM GMT
The U.S.' objectives in Lebanon are far from spreading 'liberty and democracy', but more of establishing a permanent presence there.

Why was Giuliana Sgrena's car attacked by U.S. forces?
3/6/2005 9:00:00 AM GMT
Murky details surround the attack on the convoy that was carrying kidnapped journalist Guiliana Sgrena. Why did the U.S. forces attack the car?

Washington's Mideast jigsaw pieces fall into place
3/2/2005 2:15:00 PM GMT
The killing of former Lebanese premier Rafiq al-Hariri fits perfectly into U.S. plans for Lebanon and the Middle East as a whole.

Mossad spy known with Australian intel officials
2/27/2005 12:15:00 PM GMT
Australian intelligence officials knew Elisha Cara, he of the New Zealand passport operation, was a long-time Mossad agent.

Israel assassinated al-Hariri to 'face-off' Hezbollah
2/23/2005 1:00:00 PM GMT
Likud party members are still smarting over the defeat to Hizbollah, so they engineered Hariri's assasination to start it all up again.

The Israeli diplomat was deported from Australia because..
2/20/2005 10:30:00 AM GMT
Was the expulsion of Israeli diplomat Amir Laty really because of his sexual dalliances?

Who killed Rafiq al-Hariri?
2/16/2005 1:00:00 PM GMT
Was an unknown militant group really behind the killing of Rafiq al-Hariri? It appears someone else was.

Iraq's election results: what's taking so long?
2/12/2005 8:00:00 AM GMT
It's been two weeks since Iraq's elections, what's taking so long in releasing the results?

Mossad's strategy: anything wrong in the world…blame it on the Arabs
2/9/2005 1:00:00 PM GMT
Top U.S. army chiefs believe the Mossad has the capability of cooking up events and making it seem like a Palestinian/Arab act.

There are many more conspiracy stories. At the bottom of each story is a poll, and you can see how many people actually believe it. For example, 61% believed the story, "Is Israel the Biggest Supporter of Terrorist Groups".

Is the Press Missing Good News in Iraq?

Lawrence Kaplan in the New Republic asks whether the press is missing some of the good news in Iraq. Insurgent attacks are way down, and American casualties are at their lowest level in over a year. Yet, where are the press articles? Key quote:
The catch is, in touting Iraq's post-election successes, U.S. officials have been telling the truth. What worries me is that, unlike in Vietnam, where the press only broke with official policy after the Tet Offensive, the reverse may have happened in Iraq--that is, reporters have become so accustomed to bad news that they won't accept, and hence convey, good news for what it is. The result would be the same. As the late Peter Braestrup documents in his two-volume book on the subject, by the time the smoke had cleared from Tet and the good news had emerged that the Viet Cong had been defeated, no one was listening. Walter Cronkite had already declared the war a lost cause; The Wall Street Journal had already editorialized that Vietnam was "falling apart beneath our feet." When and if the smoke clears from the past two years, hopefully--despite all of the horror and dissembling that have characterized the war up until this point--the press will get it right.

Please Leave Canada ASAP!

The American so-called conscientious objector Jeremy Hinzman has been denied refugee status. Final, a decision I like. It seemed incredible to me that a volunteer for the US Army could even think he is entitled to be treated like a refugee. Unfortunately, there will now be an appeal process....who knows how long it will take to send him back to the US.

The Hour on CBC - More Anti-Americanism

Ever watch the moronic show The Hour on CBC with George Stroumboulopoulos? Not much substance, but you can count on a regular dose of anti-americanism. But how about this promotional quote on the CBC web site?
Kristin J., from Toronto, ON: My favourite thing about the show is that it doesn't condescend. The segments are in-depth and substantial. You expect your audience to be intelligent, even if they did only start watching cuz you're so cute. (Not me, though...)
Well, I got admit he is sort of cute.

If you want a taste of his anti-americanism (and without much substance) you can catch a short video of him ranting about Bush's selection of Paul Wolfowitz as head the World Bank (an inspired choice, in my opinion).

What if Terri Schiavo was a Lesbian?

I posted yesterday that significant weight should be attached to Schiavo's husband. But, could you imagine if she was a lesbian. Her lover would have absolutely no rights at all in this case. Another reason to support same-sex marriage.

More on Jew-Hatred in Ottawa

An acquaintance of mine called the Islamic School in question (see my post earlier today) and asked if the student was suspended. They refused to answer her question. I hope the mainstream press pursue this case vigorously.

Can Columbia Tackle its Bias Problems?

An article in the New York Times today doesn't give me much hope that Columbia can solve its bias problems.

As you might know, many students have complained about anti-Israel bias in Columbia's Middle East studies program. They have actually made a short video of their complaints, and the University has set up a panel to investigate.

But, look at this quote from the article.....before the panel has reported:
Although Mr. Bollinger did not comment last night on what the report is likely to say, he said it was "simply preposterous to characterize Columbia as anti-Semitic or as having a hostile climate for Jewish students and faculty."
That doesn't sound too promising.

And, look at this quote:
He also rejected the "academic bill of rights" proposed by David Horowitz, a conservative activist, that, he said, calls for a plurality of methodologies and perspectives in both hiring and curricula - a proposal some state legislators are considering.

"We should not accept the idea that the remedy for lapses is to add more professors with different political points of view, as some would have us do," Mr. Bollinger said. "The notion of a balanced curriculum, in which students can, in effect, select and compensate for bias, sacrifices the essential norm of what we are supposed to be about in a university. It's like saying of doctors in a hospital that there should be more Republicans, or more Democrats. It also risks polarization of the university, where liberals take courses from liberal professionals and conservatives take conservatives classes."
What he wants, obviously, is all students taking courses from liberal professors.

High-Fives are now Back in Girls Soccer in SF

I earlier posted this week a story about the banning of high-fives at girls soccer in San Francisco. Well, today the ban was rescinded. But, the girls will now have to attend workshops on sportsmanship. Shouldn't that be sportswomanship?

An Important Article on Native Indians

The National Post today has an important article, "All The Squalor Money Can Buy", on Canada's policy of encouraging natives to remain on 'isolated, impoverished reserves."

Ric Dolphin does a fine job in going over all the problems facing the native communities today - the poverty, drug abuse, violence, suicide, unemployment, etc. Much of these problems stem from keeping natives on reserves and by not encouraging them to assimilate. Dolphin quotes Pierre Trudeau from 1969,
We can go on treating the Indians as having a special status...adding bricks of discrimination around the ghettos in which they live...Or we can say you're at a crossroads -- the time is now to decide whether the Indians will be a race apart in Canada or whether they will be Canadians of full status.
Unfortunately, the current response of various governments in Canada is to coddle the native community.
Seasoned Canadian politicians, like Trudeau before them, are fully aware of the pitfalls presented in taking on the Indian industry and have generally embraced ease. We have seen it in British Columbia, where the Campbell government's initital hard line on native treaty demands has morphed into a give-'em-what-they-want policy; we are seeing it in Alberta, where the Klein government is giving Indian bands a sweetheart deal on casinos (to the detriment of non-native operators and the community charities that receive a portion of the proceeds); we are seeing it in Manitoba, there the government is exempting Indian casinos and bingo from the provincial smoking ban; we are seeing it in Quebec, where the government has taken a largely hands-off approach to the corruption rampant in the Kanesatake reserve; and we have seen it in the Maritimes, where aboriginal fishermen are permitted to catch more lobster and shrimp than their White competitors.
And this week, we just saw it in the report on the Fraser River disaster where Native over-fishing has destroyed the salmon stock.

Pick up a National Post today and read the whole article. Unfortunately, the whole article is not online for free.

People Selling CD Collections on eBay

If you pop over to eBay, you might notice lots of people selling their CD collections as they move to iPod. As someone in the Record Business, I have mixed feelings about this. I think the iPod is a terrific device....but, I fear for the survival of the CD. And, I fear that attributes like sound quality are just not as important as they should be. MP3s, great as they are, just don't have the sonic qualities of a CD.

Sorry about this personal rant. The music industry is getting smaller. Independent CD stores (the Mom and Pops) are going out of business like crazy...leaving the larger retailers (like Wal-Mart) standing. But, these retailers carry very little stock - and they certainly don't carry many genres of music that I care about.

Anybody have comments? Are you selling your CD collection?

Palestinian Authority Income Up By Fighting Corruption

Here's a good piece on the scale of corruption in the Palestinian Authority. Acording to PA daily, Al Hayat Al Jadida, income at the Palestinian Authority rose 27% in 2004 by fighting corruption and smuggling.

In addition, PA Ministers are getting some fancy cars. Here's a translated excerpt from the report:
"...The ministers and the members of the Legislative Council have begun receiving their new Audi cars, of the A6 and A4 models, which are expensive cars. The cost of the first model is $76,000 and the latter one is $45,000...

“How can it be that the Ministry of Finance cannot guarantee a sum of 150 shekels [US$35] for one soldier’s salary, while it can guarantee a sum of $76,000 for a new car for a minister, who already has an excellent government car in very good condition. The proof that some of the older cars are still in very good condition … is that their owners refuse to hand [the old car] in, in exchange for the new one, but rather, some of [the ministers] deceive and manipulate in order to keep both.”

The Time to Act in Darfur is Now!

An important article in the Opinion Journal today, written by Don Cheadle who was in the movie Hotel Rwanda, on why we need to act on Darfur.

The articles lists the many excuses for inaction by the American administration. And, if the French can promise to deploy 41,000 police in Paris for the 2012 Olympics, surely they can do more for Darfur.

So what is the real reason why the U.S. has not responded as it should have? The truth is that combating crimes against humanity is simply not considered a national security issue. We don't want to burn our leverage on Sudan in the face of issues such as Iraq, Iran and Syria.

The only antidote to this searing truth--the only way the U.S. will take the kind of leadership necessary to end the horrors for Fatima and her people--is for there to be a political cost to inaction. As American citizens increasingly raise their voices and write their letters about Darfur, the temperature has indeed risen. But not enough. We need to make it a little warmer, a little more uncomfortable for those politicians who would look away. Just a few more degrees. Just a few more thousand letters. It is, frankly, that simple.

Jew-Hatred at Islamic School in Ottawa

An incredible story out of Ottawa today....two teachers at the Abraar Islamic School have been suspended for their encouragement of hatred against Jews in a young student's project.The student wrote an eight-page story of killing and martydom. The cover page had a burning Star of David besides a machine gun and a Palestinian flag atop the The Dome of the Rock.

One teacher was involved in the artistic production of the work...the other teacher wrote comments on the story, praising his story of revenge for the assassination of Hamas leader, Sheikh Yassin.

Here is an excerpt from the story:
"Without thinking, Ahmed took his M16 machine-gun and threw the bombs, and he showered the Jews; this resulted in the killing of the soldiers," the boy's text reads. "Salah said: 'You killed them all.' Ahmed answered: 'Praise be to God.'"
I am happy the two teachers have been suspended. Had not the Ottawa Citizen gone to the principle, nothing might have happened. This begs the questions - how many students, at other schools, are writing similar essays?

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

We always knew the BBC was rabid.....

The head of the BBC bit a journalist on the arm when he edited the nine o'clock news.
The story was told in an e-mail to Jeremy Paxman when he was doing research on Mark Thompson, the director-general, for an interview last January.

He wrote to Anthony Massey, a journalist at the BBC, and asked him: "I've got to interview Mark Thompson tomorrow. Is it true that he once bit you?"

Mr Massey confirmed that the report was true.

"It was late summer or early autumn of 1988," he said. "I was a home news organiser. It was 9.15 in the morning, in the middle of the old sixth-floor newsroom. I went up to his desk to talk about some story after the 9am meeting we used to have then.

"I was standing next to him on his right and he was sitting reading his horoscope in the Daily Star (I always remember that detail).

"Before I could say a word he suddenly turned, snarled and sank his teeth into my left upper arm, leaving marks through the shirt but not drawing blood.

"It hurt. I pulled my arm out, like a stick out of the jaws of a labrador."

Mr Massey said that the attack was entirely unprovoked.

An Interesting Point on the Schiavo Case!

I've avoided commenting on the Terri Schiavo case until now. Finally, I have found an article that has some sense - on the Sanctity of Marriage. How many times have we heard conservatives in Canada and the US talk about the sanctity of marriage in regard to same-sex unions? Well, in this case, the sanctity of marriage doesn't count for much. Terri's husband has been insistent that he knows her wishes - and who is in a better position to know than he?
The reasons given by the Rick Santorums of the world for limiting marriage to men and women always stress that marriage is different, sacred, special. And that's true; it's unlike any other bond under the law. Most states agree, which is why in these invariably awful substituted-judgment cases, courts generally defer to the spouse—who is presumed to best know what the incapacitated patient would have wanted.
Read the whole thing.

Courts Punish Military Dads!

Increasingly, military dads are finding that divorce courts are processing their cases while they are overseas. They then come home to children they cannot see, and support payments they cannot make.

The article talks about a US Navy Seal whose wife re-located to Israel during one of his overseas deployments. Now, he has to pay over $2,000 per month not to see his son. Please read this heart-breaking story.

Pot Calls the Kettle Black!

From Reuters - Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi grabbed the spotlight at an Arab summit today, calling Israelis and Palestinians idiots for seeking separate states and saying the U.N. Security Council was a terrorist organization.
He said the world should thank Syria for maintaining peace in Lebanon and argued that what he called "Islamic terrorism" was mainly the result of the West's cultural arrogance.

What's Going on in the UK?

This just in from a briefing of the World Jewish Congress:

Another politician from the British Labour Party has made a reference to the Nazis in criticizing a leading opposition politician for promoting policies to restrict Gypsy encampments. Kevin McNamara said that Conservative Party leader Michael Howard’s plans to strengthen laws over illegal sites set up by Gypsies had “the whiff of the gas chamber about them”. An estimated 250,000 to 500,000 Gypsies were murdered by the Nazis during World War II. Howard, who is Jewish and whose grandmother died in Auschwitz, declined to comment. The incident is the latest in a series involving Jewish politicians. In February, a furor erupted after Labour campaign posters featured Howard and Oliver Letwin, another leading Jewish Conservative politician, with their faces transposed onto pigs’ bodies. Another image depicted Howard as Shylock, a Jewish figure in Shakespeare's "Merchant of Venice".

The Current's Anti-US Drivel

Ever listen to The Current on CBC in the morning, hosted by Anna Maria Tremonti???? If you do, you know that on just about every show you can count on an anti-American segment. Here is an excerpt from the show on March 16th:
It's Wednesday March 16.

George Bush is maneuvering a bill through the Senate that would allow companies to drill for oil and gas in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska.

The US President says technology has made it possible to extract the oil from the refuge without damaging the environment.

Currently, the breakthrough for the Administration came after the successful development of a tiny drill that sucks the oil out of seabirds. The technique was perfected after the Exxon Valdeez broke apart.

As a White House spokesperson put it: "There's still enough oil soaked seabirds up there to put a Hummer in every driveway."

This is The Current.
And, did the Current really seriously examine the issue of oil and gas drilling in the Arctic Nationalal Wildlife Refuge....well, they had about 3 speakers, and one song, against...and one proponent. Couldn't the CBC even try to have some serious debate?

SF's High Schools Ban High-Fives in Girls Soccer

Well, we all know how violent girls can be, no? Well, High Schools in SF have banned High Fives and after-game handshakes in girls soccer because of violence.
Seems the end-of-game handshakes -- long a mainstay of team sports -- have been anything but good or friendly this season in girls soccer games.

There's been a rash of name-calling, hard hand slaps and even hitting.

From now on, anyone who even utters a word to the opposing team will be subject to a penalty -- "even if they are engaged in benign dialogue or other benign activities,'' the commissioner said.

End of 35-Hour Work Week in France

France is now in the process of revoking it's 35-hour work week. The shorter work week has proved to be a huge drain on the economy
But with unemployment at 10 percent, politicians of all stripes acknowledge that the country's unique 35-hour law has failed in its original ambition: to force employers to hire massively. What's more, there are strong signs that it hurt living standards as employers froze salaries to make up for lost labor.
Amid soaring unemployment and stagnating wages, the reform is supported by jobseekers and even by factory workers, according to a survey that pollsters CSA published last month — and by 46 percent of the overall population, with 43 percent opposed.

There are other signs that the vision expounded by former Prime Minister Lionel Jospin's Socialists now rings hollow in some surprisingly left-wing constituencies.

Often touted as the working mother's godsend, the 35-hour week actually made life harder for poorer women and single parents, according to women's organization CLEF.

"The women that suffered were the lowest paid, who needed all the overtime they could get to make ends meet," said CLEF president Monique Halpern. "I think this is one of the reasons that Lionel Jospin lost the elections."

Clara Gaymard, the globe-trotting head of the French International Investment Agency, contends the 35-hour week has damaged investment in France, mainly because of its negative image in countries like the United States — France's biggest source of investment.
Hat Tip: Right Thinking from the Left Coast

An Interview with Anne Bayefsky on the UN

Earlier this week, I published a report about a speech that Anne Bayefsky gave in Toronto. Well, the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs has published an in-depth interview with Anne on the topic of the UN as the leading Global Purveyor of Anti-Semitism.

Here are some excerpts:
Bayefsky, who has since become a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute, concluded by challenging the Secretary General and the UN to prove that they were serious about eradicating anti-Semitism: "Start putting a name to the terrorists that kill Jews because they are Jews. Start condemning human rights violators wherever they dwell, even if they live in Riyadh or Damascus. Stop condemning the Jewish people for fighting back against their killers; and the next time someone asks you or your colleagues to stand for a moment of silence to honor those who would destroy the State of Israel, say no."
Bayefsky explains: "When Israel targets terrorists the UN says that Israel is in violation of international law by committing an extra-judicial execution. On the contrary, the terrorists are illegal combatants and this is a war. They are not entitled to judicial process before being targeted. Still, Israel will try to arrest where it can. But in many cases arrest is not possible without the likelihood of many more casualties and unacceptable risks. The local authority, the Palestinian Authority, makes no effort whatsoever to arrest them.
In her lecture at the UN conference on anti-Semitism, Bayefsky said: "There has never been a single resolution about the decades-long repression of the civil and political rights of 1.3 billion people in China, or the more than a million female migrant workers in Saudi Arabia being kept as virtual slaves, or the virulent racism which has brought 600,000 people to the brink of starvation in Zimbabwe. Every year, UN bodies are required to produce at least 25 reports on alleged human rights violations by Israel, but not one on an Iranian criminal justice system which mandates punishments like crucifixion, stoning, and cross-amputation. This is not legitimate critique of states with equal or worse human rights records. It is demonization of the Jewish state."
"If the UN were truly concerned about human rights they would also decry the glorification of suicide bombers, or the calculated use of the civilian population by terrorists as human shields, or the refusal by Arab states to integrate long-standing Palestinian refugees into their societies and offer them the benefits of citizenship, which is directly inconsistent with policy for every other refugee around the world.
"Kofi Annan and his close associates fail to denounce terrorism against Israelis by naming the terrorists and those responsible for the terrorism. The way the United Nations deals with terrorism when Israelis are its victims is to issue general statements which say either that the two parties should cease all violence or that the Palestinian Authority should work harder to end the violence. They never say who is specifically responsible for the violence directed at Israelis.

Palestinian Authority Police Force/Fatah Salute

PA Salute Posted by Hello
Look Familiar?

The Fatah Salute Posted by Hello
Look Familiar?

King Abdullah of Jordan Warns About Terror

King Abdullah of Jordan is warning that Syria and Hezbollah are encouraging Palestinians to carry out terrorist groups.

So, what else is new?

Al-Jazeera in English - Coming to Canada?

How's this for good news. Al-Jazeera is going to be launching an English language version of its hate-filled news service.

Will the CRTC let this into Canada?

Hat Tip: Little Green Footballs.

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Some Terrific Pictures of Ethiopian Jews in Israel

Here's some great pictures of Ethiopian Jews in Israel at the Sigd Festival. On the 29th of the Hebrew month of Cheshvan, the Ethiopian community comes from all over Israel to Jerusalem. The 'Kessim' recite the prayers while the community prays overlooking the old city of Jerusalem. The desire to return has been realized.

While there are numerous problems within the Ethiopian community, it is a source of pride how they have become embedded in the heart of soul of Israel. Approximately 20,000 additional Ethiopian Jews are going to be brought to Israel in the near future.

Fraser River Disaster is NOT Because of Global Warming

The disappearance of 1.6 million sockeye salmon from the Fraser River was the result of Native over-fishing, and mismanagement by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans.

The House of Commons Report rejects Global Warming as the key cause. I wonder how the CBC will spin this one.

Privileges for Islam?

Daniel Pipes has published a good article on new and assertive demands for special privileges. His article has some troubling examples of how people are caving into some of these demands.

o Setting up a government advisory board uniquely for Muslims in America.

o Permitting Muslim-only living quarters or events in America and Great Britain.

o Setting aside bathing at a municipal swimming pool for women-only, as in France.

o Banning Hindus and Jews from a jury hearing a case about an Islamist in Great Britain.

o Changing noise laws to broadcast the adhan, or call to prayer, in Hamtramck, Mich.

o Allowing a prisoner the unheard-of right to avoid strip-searches in New York State.

o Exploiting taxpayer-funded schools and airwaves to convert non-Muslims in America.

o Allowing students in taxpayer-funded schools to use empty classrooms for prayers in New Jersey.

o Deeming the "religious vilification" of Islam to be illegal in Australia.

o Punishing anti-Islamic views with court-mandated indoctrination by an Islamist in Canada.

o Prohibiting families from sending pork or pork by-products to American soldiers serving in Iraq.

o Requiring that female American soldiers in Saudi Arabia wear American government-issued abayas, or head-to-foot robes.

o Applying the "Rushdie rules" – or letting Muslims shut down criticism of Islam and Muslims.
Pipes provides links for all of these examples, so please check out the original article.

Saddam's Weapons Plants!

One of my favorite commentators these days is Christopher Hitchens. He's incredibly literate, and incredibly prolific. He's been excommunicated by the left for his support of the War in Iraq.

His web site has tons of very important articles, and information about his various books. Right now, I'm really enjoying his latest book, "Love, Poverty and War: Journeys and Essays".

One of Hitchen's latest articles is more than just interesting. On March 13th, the New York Times ran a major story called "The Conflict in Iraq: The Looting; Looting at Weapons Plants was Systematic, Iraqi Says" by James Glanz and William Broad. Basically, the Deputy Minister of Industry, Dr. Sami al-Araji, is now saying that many weapons facilities were looted after the invasion.

Hitchen's commentary on this article should be read by everybody. Here are the key quotes from Hitchens:
It was eye-rubbing to read of the scale of this potential new nightmare. There in cold print was the Al Hatteen "munitions production plant that international inspectors called a complete potential nuclear weapons laboratory." And what of the Al Adwan facility, which "produced equipment used for uranium enrichment, necessary to make some kinds of nuclear weapons"? The overall pattern of the plundered sites was summarized thus, by reporters James Glanz and William J. Broad:

The kinds of machinery at the various sites included equipment that could be used to make missile parts, chemical weapons or centrifuges essential for enriching uranium for atom bombs.

My first question is this: How can it be that, on every page of every other edition for months now, the New York Times has been stating categorically that Iraq harbored no weapons of mass destruction? And there can hardly be a comedy-club third-rater or activist in the entire country who hasn't stated with sarcastic certainty that the whole WMD fuss was a way of lying the American people into war. So now what? Maybe we should have taken Saddam's propaganda seriously, when his newspaper proudly described Iraq's physicists as "our nuclear mujahideen."
But, as Hitch points out, it still remains to be answered why these sites weren't secured after the occupation.

Read the whole thing for yourself!

Boys are in Crisis

A new study on child well-being from Duke University shows that boys are in crisis

The study actually claims that both girls and boys are faring almost equally well.
Yet the study shows nothing of the sort. Boys and girls fared equally in six of the 28 categories studied by the researches — and girls fared better than boys in 17 of the remaining 22.

The male advantages were modest. For example, males had a small advantage in math, a slightly lower propensity to smoke, and less likelihood to have been relocated in the past year.

By contrast, many of the girls’ advantages are huge. Their death rate in the 15 to 19 age group is half that of boys, and boys have higher death rates at all ages than girls. While girls do attempt suicide more frequently, boys aged 15 to 19 commit suicide at four times the rate of girls. Boys aged 12 to 19 are 40% more likely to be the victims of violent crime than girls, and are significantly more likely to suffer from drug or alcohol addictions.

Ban the Precautionary Principle

If you read articles on the environment, you might notice every so often the precautionary principle. What is the precautionary principle? Here is a defintion from a major web site promoting its use:
Precaution – the “precautionary principle” or “precautionary approach” – is a response to uncertainty, in the face of risks to health or the environment. In general, it involves acting to avoid serious or irreversible potential harm, despite lack of scientific certainty as to the likelihood, magnitude, or causation of that harm.
Increasingly, in Canada, we are using this principle in a variety of ways.

A good article from the Fraser Institute examines the precautionary principle and finds it extremely dangerous.
What is the true nature of this principle? The precautionary principle is nothing but a modern tool for social engineering aimed at reducing certain types of risks through state intervention. It can be explained in two different ways. On the one hand, it means that -- in its name -- it is necessary to prove that an activity does not imply any risk for the environment in order to be allowed. On the other hand, it requires no demonstration (i.e. scientific proof) that an activity implies a risk for individuals or for the environment in order to ban it. This is what Hubert Reeves underlines in a recent article in Le Monde. As he puts it, "waiting for the scientific certainty stage to be reached in order to change the evolution of things could be suicidal."
Read the entire article!

New Study Shows Press Favored Kerry

A new study by a press watchdog associated with the Columbia School of Journalism has found that media coverage of the US election was three times more like to be negative towards Bush than Kerry.

Overall, 36% of stories about Bush were negative, while only 12% of stores about Kerry were negative. 20% of stories were positive towards Bush, while 30% of stories were positive about Kerry.

The survey looked at 16 newspapers, four nightly newscasts, three network morning shows, nine cable programs and nine web sites.

Monday, March 21, 2005

Global Warming and Antartica

One of the topics I'll be covering in detail on this blog is global warming. My view is that the scientific evidence linking CO2 emissions and warming is extremely low. Yes, there is probably some warming of the earth. But, this is largely due to the sun and other factors, not CO2 emissions.

I believe that Bjorn Lomborg, author of the Skeptical Environmentalist, has the right idea - better to spend our money on the effects of global warming than to go down the Kyoto path.

Now, a new article contends that the collapse of some of Antartica's ice shelves is likely the result of natural current fluctuations.

Duncan Wingham, Professor of Climate Physics at University College London, has done a new analysis from data from the European Space Agency's ERS-1 Satellite.

"A lot of attention and research has focused on this relatively accessible area of the Antarctic Peninsula, but satellites are giving us a picture of the continent as a whole," Wingham told the Register. This broader picture shows evidence of growth and decay from place to place, a picture more in line with natural variations in snowfall and ocean circulation. The Antarctic is to some extent insulated from global warming because to its north are zonal flows in the atmosphere and ocean, unimpeded by other landmasses. This insulates the continent from warmer events further north and leads one to suppose it is better protected from global warming.

"Taken as a whole, Antarctica is so cold that our present efforts to raise its temperature might be regarded as fairly puny. Change is undoubtedly occurring: in the collapse of the northerly Peninsula ice shelves, and elsewhere in the West Antarctic Ice Sheet, where the circumpolar current appears to reached the ice edge and is eating away drastically at the ice shelves. One cannot be certain, because packets of heat in the atmosphere do not come conveniently labelled 'the contribution of anthropogenic warming'

A Ban on Racial Profiling in Canada?

Today's Toronto Globe & Mail has a story about Canada's opposition parties, including the Conservatives, called for legislation to ban racial profiling.

Is this a joke? Why on earth are the conservatives supporting this?

I much prefer the term 'profiling'. It is an essential practice that everybody uses to some extent. Basketball teams routinely use height as a profiling tool. Some ethnic groups have higher incidence of mortality form various diseases - prostate cancer is nearly twice as common among black men as white men.

Would we be upset at a doctor advising extra screening for prostate cancer for a black man? It would surely be profiling...but, I think everybody believes it makes perfect sense.

Michelle Malkin uses the term 'threat profiling'. It makes perfect sense for intelligence gathering at mosques and in the local muslim communities, given the threat from islamic extremists.

At our airports, do we really want equal screening of chinese grandmothers, elderly buddhists, and arab muslims from the middle east? As Malkin say:
"It is unfortunate that loyal Muslims or Arabs might be burdened because of terrorists who share their race, nationality or religion. But any inconvenience is preferable to suffering a second mass terrorist attack on American soil."
Well, apparently, Canadian soil is just OK.

UN Bias Against Israel Has Not Changed....

Anne Bayefsky, a human rights expert and a York University Professor, spoke at the Community Hebrew Academy of Toronto last week. The United Nations is the
"leading global purveyor of anti-semitism today."
Here are her main points:

o Of 41 speeches delivered at the 60th Anniversary of Auschwitz at the UN, only five mentioned Israel.

o On the same day the Anniversary session was announced, Kofi Annan announced a UN plan to create a register of Palestinian victims of the security fence.

o At the UN General Assembly last fall, 19 resolutions were passed on Israel, and only four criticizing other members.

o The UN Commission on Human Rights has adopted more resolutions condemning Israel than any other state. China, Saudi Arabia, Syria and Zimbabwe have never been mentioned.

o IN 2003, Israel failed in an attept to pass a resolution on the welfare of Israeli children....although they had already passed a resolution on Palestinian children.

o At a UN meeting on anti-semitism last June, no translation of speeches were provided, no documentation was produced, and there was no distribution of speeches.

Why was there no outcry, she asked, about Palestinians building bomb factories next to apartment buildings, launching rockets next to schools, or having summer camps that inspire children to become suicide bombers. "Why have liberal democracies been so easily manipulated?"