Wednesday, May 31, 2006


Islamic marriage theory:
Sheikh Abdul Rahman Abu Deya, an Islamic scholar, said that it is the duty of the husband to support his wife and meet the costs of running the house. He said that it is optional for the wife to help her husband in sharing expenses if she so wishes.
Umm Samaher, another Saudi female teacher, said that when she turned close to 35 she was getting desperate to marry. As a teacher she had a good salary and a house and so went to a matchmaker thinking that would be the best way of meeting someone suitable.

A 32-year-old man soon asked for her hand in marriage, which she immediately accepted thinking about her lonely days. Soon after, Umm Samaher found her new husband to be uneducated, unemployed and extremely greedy. “He demanded that I give him my entire salary. He would say he was the man of the house and, therefore, had a right to pay for expenses,” said Umm Samaher.
I could be way off base here but it's probably a good idea to get to know your husband before you marry him.


The Guardian's Jonathan Freedland summarizes Al Gore's climate change spiel: Human emitted carbon dioxide is causing the atmosphere to get "thicker" and we're all going to be submerged in "molten ice-water." Yikes!


When his Der Spiegel interviewers ask him about the Holocaust, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad turns the tables:
I know that DER SPIEGEL is a respected magazine. But I don't know whether it is possible for you to publish the truth about the Holocaust. Are you permitted to write everything about it?
The answers to pointed questioning by Ahmadinejad of Stefan Aust, Gerhard Spörl and Dieter Bednarz give interesting insights into the German mindset. Ahmadinejad's most revealing answer is in response to a question about his comments causing revulsion in the West:
I don't exactly understand the connection.
Don't underestimate this guy, he's rat cunning personified.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006


Australia's handling of illegal immigrants has drawn a fair amount of criticism over recent years. Maybe it's time for the Howard government to a look at the how enlightened Europeans are handling a similar problem.

Droves of illegal immigrants out of Africa continue landing in Europe. Spain is a favourite destination:
More than 400 migrants landed on the Canary Islands last weekend while another 350 arrived in Spain in small boats on Monday. This year nearly 7,000 migrants have already landed on the islands. The number was around 4,750 in 2005 and just over 8,500 in 2004.
The EU has mounted a cooperative effort to stem the flood:
EU member states have agreed to help Spain to patrol the waters along the African coast in order to combat the increasing influx of illegal immigrants landing on the Canary Islands or on Spain's southern coastline.

Austria, Finland, France, Italy, UK, the Netherlands, Germany and Greece are all to take part in the patrols.

The operation will involve five patrol boats, five helicopters and an airplane which will attempt to reduce the number of boats sailing from Mauritania, Senegal and Cape Verde toward the southern part of Spain.
Exactly what action these patrols will take to reduce the number of illegals isn't specified in the EU Observer article excerpted above. The LA Times' reporting is slightly more informative:
About 8,000 migrants have been apprehended so far this year, nearly double the total in 2005. Humanitarian organizations estimate 2,000 more have perished at sea.

In the face of the African exodus, the Spanish government continues to focus on intercepting migrants before they arrive or making their journey as difficult as possible.
If Amnesty International is to be believed, those who don't perish at sea have "interception, returns, expulsion and detention" to look forward to. Hey, Africans might want to switch to Australia as a destination: the much longer and more dangerous voyage would be worth it because if they were eventually accepted as refugees they'd at least get to live amongst Australians.


The thrust of a Menzies Research Centre report by former Keating government minister Gary Johns is that schools, rather than helping outback Aborigines take responsibility for their lives, have actually encouraged irresponsibility. The report recommends, amongst other things, that Aboriginal culture not be taught at school:
"Western education cannot and should not preserve Aboriginal culture..."
Given that Aboriginal cultural traditions vary greatly across the country, as evidenced by language variations, this seems nothing more than common sensical. Anyway, how are a bunch of mostly white teachers meant to properly teach Aborigines their own culture?

Naturally, Antony Loewenstein sees the proposal as something sinister:
If adopted, the Australian government will be trying to kill off one of the world’s oldest societies.
It's all in a day's work for the imperial Howard government.


Following successful trials, the New South Wales Game Council plans to allow sporting shooters to hunt feral animals in Hunter Valley forests. Victoria trialled and implemented a similar hunting program. This feral animal hunting has been, as far as I'm aware, incident free. Robert Bignall of the Brunkerville Residents Action Group is, however, afraid there's going to be chaos in the forests:
"Well, I think it's going to be catastrophic, one can only imagine the upsetting effect that it's going to have if somebody's sitting in the bush, bird watching and having a picnic and here comes somebody in a camouflage suit out of the bush carrying a high powered rifle which is capable of slinging a bullet many kilometres virtually back in to the suburbs of Newcastle," he said.
Anyone going for a picnic in a Hunter Valley forest might want to leave that coon-skin cap at home. Anyway, there are alternatives to shooting our furry little friends with shoulder-fired cannons.

Monday, May 29, 2006


Tim Lambert, obviously more comfortable working with numbers than with words, gets stuck into an ad from The Competitive Enterprise Institute critical of Al Gore's wasteful air travel promoting his Enviro Epic:
This screen capture shows that Gore's CO2 meter is about 683,000,000, while the one for the average person is 177, so apparently Gore's flying around produces 4,000,000 times as much CO2 as the average person does in their regular activities.
This would be a valid criticism if the ad purported to accurately show emissions figures but since it doesn't, it isn't. If you watch Gore's emissions counter at the start of the ad you'll see that his first cross-country flight registers around 90, way below the 1,600 estimated by Lambert. So, it should be obvious the ad isn't going for numerical accuracy. That Lambert fails to pick up on the obvious is no real surprise.

Lambert then attempts to justify Gore's frequent flying, apparently in a gigantic megaphone equipped 747:
So, if Gore doesn't fly around the country to warn people about global warming, no-one hears his message.
Hey, Gore invented the internet, maybe he's onto something with the megaphone-747 thing.


If that flower is found by EU authorities to be contaminated with DDT:
European Union officials recently warned Uganda it would be "taking a risk" if it reintroduced DDT spraying to eradicate mosquitoes. In Kenya, flower growers say Western supermarkets are wary of the chemical, putting the nation's $400-million horticulture industry at risk. Kenya is the top supplier of fresh-cut flowers to the EU.

"All it will take is for one flower to test positive and there's going to be a problem," warned Jane Ngige, head of the Kenya Flower Council, the industry's trade group.
Hey, who cares about a few dead Africans when clean flowers are at stake.


The reality of European leadership's "promises of a more democratic, citizen-friendly European Union":
"We know what is best for you and if you don't like it, we will have to force it upon you".
Yep, there's a leadership position both the fascists and commies can agree on.

Update: In tangentially related news, Antony Loewenstein gets himself all confused:
A dangerous escalation in the fight against fascism...
The linked item is about a lefty supposedly attacked by Nazis.

Sunday, May 28, 2006


Scientists think they've worked out that animals spread prion diseases just by licking one another:
They found that the prions fanned out through facial nerves to reach the nose and tongue, accumulating in taste buds and other oral and nasal tissues (Journal of Virology, vol 80, p 4546).
Jeez, kissing wearing one of these just ain't gonna be the same.

Saturday, May 27, 2006


Climate scientists suspect that Global Warming prompted disruption of atmospheric circulation patterns could have devastating effects:
As the descending of dry air, or "downwelling", from the upper atmosphere moves toward the poles, the droughts already experienced in the Mediterranean and south-western Australia could get worse.

The changes observed so far match those predicted by computer models for greenhouse warming of 0.5°C, Reichler told New Scientist. He suspects global warming is behind the changes, but cautions that the mechanisms pushing the expansion of the tropics are not yet understood.
Might want to check those models; there is no drought in south-western Australia.

Friday, May 26, 2006


The Federal government's plan to offshore process asylum seekers reminds former Federal Court Justice Ronald Merkel of Switzerland's turning away Jewish refugees during the Holocaust:
"The very context in which this bill has come before the Parliament, namely the West Papuans, has chilling reminders of what occurred in the Second World War."
Making refugees wait offshore while their cases are considered isn't exactly what Switzerland did:
• Swiss officials were involved, when Germany introduced a new stamp (a red J) to mark passports of Jews.

• Switzerland did reject between 20,000 to 25,000 Jewish refugees at the border, even after the government (not necessarily the population) was informed, that the Nazis would not only send them to labour camps but rather murder them systematically.
Gee, I hope rumours of refugees having ID numbers tattooed on their forearms aren't true.

Thursday, May 25, 2006


Fish emotions researcher Dr Richmond Loh describes the lingering death of a pet left behind:
As soon as I left, my parents noticed that oh, Oscar's not eating anymore. Yeah, it was a slow demise.

Whenever I went back to visit Perth to visit my parents and also to visit my fish, he would respond and he would eat and feed, but then I had to leave again, and the fish, he grew a tumour and then he died.

Some people might say oh, that's because of depression and things like that. I'm not sure how true it is, but I definitely do think that my fish knows who I am, yeah.
Loh knew there was a problem and did nothing. Heartless bastard.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006


How's this for a stomach turner?
For now, Beltway blabber is dominated by "Billary", the hybrid, flex-fuel ticket of Hillary as president and Bill as "first man".


The Washington Toxics Coalition recently tested 10 Washingtonians for toxic chemicals and found them to be "walking, talking toxic waste dumps". Fortunately, all of those tested are apprently healthy, proving yet again that the health hazard posed by small qauntities of chemicals is grossly overrated. Thanks to the Washington Toxics Coalition for putting my mind at ease.


New Scientist reports that five children have been born with a rare genetic disorder traceable to a single sperm donor. Sadly, the sperm bank is unable to warn the donor as his whereabouts are unknown. This must be very scary for any female considering becoming pregnant through donor semen.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006


Dr Salam Ismael is touring Australia, claiming to have proof the US used napalm in Iraq:
"We said that napalm had been used, because napalm is a bomb which is a fuel bomb that burns only on the exposed part of the body, so that the clothes will not be affected," Dr Ismael said from Perth at the start of a speaking tour.
Jellied gasoline that burns people but not their clothes... I don't think so.

Sunday, May 21, 2006


Bill Clinton reckons we in the west need to "get off our butts" and do something about Global Warming. In reporting the story Reuters ignores the history of the Kyoto Protocol, finding it more convenient to blame Bush:
During Clinton's administration, the global Kyoto Protocol to curb the release of greenhouse gases was created but the Bush administration has rejected it on grounds it will hurt the U.S. economy.
That's basically correct but doesn't tell anywhere near the whole story:
On July 25, 1997, before the Kyoto Protocol was to be negotiated, the U.S. Senate unanimously passed by a 95–0 vote the Byrd-Hagel Resolution (S. Res. 98)[2], which stated the sense of the Senate was that the United States should not be a signatory to any protocol that did not include binding targets and timetables for developing as well as industrialized nations or "would result in serious harm to the economy of the United States". On November 12, 1998, Vice President Al Gore symbolically signed the protocol. Both Gore and Senator Joseph Lieberman indicated that the protocol would not be acted upon in the Senate until there was participation by the developing nations. The Clinton Administration never submitted the protocol to the Senate for ratification.
Maybe if Clinton hadn't been on his butt with Monica in the footwell of his desk...

Saturday, May 20, 2006


Good old Tim Lambert, he's nothing if not entertaining, in a slimy sort of way. He still refuses to discuss his manipulation of information on the use of DDT but did insert this deep within a thread after the discussion had moved on:
[This comment was actually writtten by JF Beck and posted using a sock puppet. Beck does make one substantive point: because mosquitoes in Sri Lankahave now developed resistance to malathion as well as DDT, that's not a good choice either. I've corrected my post. Tim Lambert]
Wow, the guys real Scotland Yard material: I had submitted the same comment earlier under my name but Lambert refused to post it. He'd have to be a real simpleton not to know it was me. The only reason he eventually posted the comment is because I posted it again using an assumed name hoping he would accuse me of sock puppetry. I was well aware that he was going to catch and accuse me of sock puppetry because the comment was lodged from my home computer. (An earlier comment using the same assumed name was lodged by a friend of mine using a different network.)

What's the big deal if I comment under an assumed name? My comments are directed at his manipulation of information. It's not like I'm posting sock puppet comments supporting my arguments or doing anything else underhanded. The reason I commented using a sock puppet is because Lambert blocks any of my comments he finds difficult. There's also the fun to be had by screwing with his obsessive head.

Anyway, Lambert has finally admitted he was wrong to support malathion use in Sri Lanka. The thing is, he only admitted he was wrong, under pressure from me, on 11 May 2006 but has been aware since 11 February 2005 that the his post of 25 January 2005 was wrong. The guy is not self-correcting. (The link above will take you to my comment at Deltard and to links for the 11 Feb and 25 Jan posts if you'd like to read them.)

Later in the same thread Lambert tries to justify banning me and manipulating my comments:
Calling other commenters "toadies" is highly insulting and not allowed here.
He forgot to add that he once deleted one of my comments because it contained the highly offensive four letter grouping "crtn". Am I naughty or what? Oh well, I least I'm not a liar.

Friday, May 19, 2006


When traveling it's always a good idea to carry a bit of mad money, you know, to cover contingencies. Hamas official Abu Zuhri knows what I'm talking about:
Palestinian border officials in the border strip have confiscated $1.06 million from a Hamas spokesman at the border crossing with Egypt.

He says the Hamas official, Abu Zuhri, failed to declare the money he was carrying and instead tried to smuggle it into Gaza.

Mr Zuhri said some of the money was in a bag and the rest was in his pockets.
Hey, how's a guy to know when he might need to hire a taxi, or buy a Ferrari?


Tim Lambert claims to be a fact-checker; in reality he's a crafty manipulator of information. His attempt to discredit the New Zealand Climate Science Coalition is a classic of distortion.

In his post Lambert links to a flaky letter by "long range weather forecaster" Ken Ring, sarcastically claiming it is indicative of "the top-notch climate science that NZCSC promotes...". Typically, Lambert fails to note that Ken Ring is not a member of the NZCSC, with the NZCSC's link to Ring's letter being the only visible connection between the two. Lambert also fails to link to the NZCSC homepage which prominently displays this disclaimer:
The Coalition encourages the reading of a wide variety of opinion and information on climate change, from many differing viewpoints. We provide links to a range of such material, including some older writings that have historic significance in the public or scientific debate. For some items, we also provide an editorial comment or correction. Responsibility for the accuracy of the pieces that we link to rests with their authors and the publication in which they appear.
If Lambert was really interested in informing his readers he would have linked to Ken Ring's site, which sells long range forecasts generated "only by calculating the orbits of the moon". In other words, Ring does weather by astrology and his unlikely to be taken seriously by the NZCSC.

When commenter Hans Erren points out the lack of association between the NZCSC and Ken Ring, Lambert goes all evasive:
Hans, it's the Climate Science Coalition who has done the associating, not me.
Nope, the NZCSC doesn't endorse, recommend or comment on Ring's letter, it simply links to it for readers to consider on its merits. Lambert, on the other hand, uses lies of omission to attempt to make a link that isn't there. He's not to be trusted, ever.

Update: Here's another of Lambert's increasingly frequent distortions, this time regarding Africa Fighting Malaria's Roger Bate:
It is interesting to note that one of the authors of the criticism of the World Bank is Roger Bate, who last year wrote how the main failing of the World Bank's efforts against malaria was that it didn't support DDT use.
Lambert doesn't quote Bate because he's distorting what Bate said:
These programs entail spraying tiny amounts of insecticide, such as DDT, on the inside walls of houses to repel or kill (or both) the malaria-carrying mosquitoes. This method of control is safe and highly effective: Malaria rates have plummeted in the very poor northern parts of Zambia where this approach is currently employed. Yet RBM and the World Bank, always politically correct, have eschewed this method of control. The World Bank even went as far as to require that its of funding malaria control in Eritrea be conditional on non-use of DDT.
Bate summing up:
The World Bank's stinginess, lack of transparency, and overall malaria strategy need serious overhauls.
Deltoid is strictly for true believer lefties, and RWDBs looking for entertainment.

Thursday, May 18, 2006


Terrorist suicide bombers have recently targeted UN humanitarian efforts in Afghanistan:
A suicide attacker in Afghanistan's volatile southern province of Kandahar detonated an explosives-filled car near a convoy of vehicles belonging to the UN mine-clearing agency, killing himself and wounding an agency driver, the United Nations Mine Action Centre for Afghanistan (UNMACA) confirmed on Wednesday.

Wednesday's attack was the second involving the United Nations in less than a week. Two men were killed and one was injured in an ambush on a UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) vehicle in the western province of Herat on Friday.
Wonder what Timothy Garton Ash would call the perpetrators of such attacks? (See post below.)


The Guardian's Timothy Garton Ash examines suicide bombers' motivations but can't quite figure how to refer to London's 7/7 bombers:
Co-conspirators? Comrades in arms? Fellow terrorists? Fellow martyrs? Each term is prejudicial...
Terrorist scum will do me just fine.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006


Canada's Dr. John Blatherwick is one of the few health experts brave enough to speak out on the bird flu pandemic non-threat:
"I wouldn't put it on anybody's radar," he says of the feared, poultry-triggered flu pandemic.

"When you put a billion dollars against something like this, it's disproportionate to the threat ... The greatest danger that chickens pose is the fried type, that people continue to eat and get fat on."


Australian media outlets report that Ruport Murdoch has urged the Prime Minister to consider giving up the job. Here are representative headlines with excerpts:
PM should quit while on top: Murdoch – ABC News: News Corporation chairman Rupert Murdoch says Prime Minister John Howard should quit while he is ahead.

'Quit while you're ahead' – The Age: Media baron Rupert Murdoch says it might be time for Prime Minister John Howard to resign, while he is at the top of his game.

Murdoch to PM: go 'at top' – Australian Financial Review: Global media baron Rupert Murdoch says it may be time for Prime Minister John Howard to resign, while he is at the top of his game.

It might be time for PM to go: Murdoch – Sydney Morning Herald: Global media baron Rupert Murdoch says it might be time for Prime Minister John Howard to resign - while he's at the top of his game.
Gee, it certainly isn't very nice of Murdoch to put banana peels under Howard's feet like that. Then again that isn't what Murdoch was doing:
"I'd like to see him stay, but he's had 10 years there and it's a record," Mr Murdoch told ABC radio.

"He's on top of his form, and much better to go out that way than like Margaret Thatcher or losing an election."
It seems Murdoch is simply suggesting Howard might want to carefully consider his future.

Monday, May 15, 2006


The Kenyan government was somehow left off the distribution list when the memo went out notifying that there is no Silent Spring inspired, people killing DDT ban:
A meeting to decide whether to re-introduce a banned pesticide used to control mosquitoes will be held before December.

Experts at the meeting will discuss the benefits and risks of using DDT, which was banned in 1988 because of its negative effects on the environment. Re-introducing the pesticide is expected to boost the war on malaria.

[Assistant Health Minister] Dr Kibunguchy said he would support the re-introduction of DDT because "it is the best alternative Africa has to control malaria".

In an interview with the Nation, Dr Kibunguchy said the fight against malaria would not be won unless the ban on the chemical is lifted.

"We will only be paying lip service to the fight against malaria if we ignore the re-introduction of DDT," he said.
The Kenya Flower Council opposes DDT's reintroduction:
The council's chief executive officer, Ms Jane Ngige, said Kenyans should insist other alternatives. She said some international customers might boycott agricultural products from Kenya if DDT was re-introduced.
By international she means European.


Hugo Chavez, joined on stage by Che's daughter, thrills a Vienna crowd:
"I am sure that this century will see the end of American imperialism," he declared. "For every pig the day arrives for slaughter. For the pig of American imperialism, that time has come."
Chavez also did some name dropping:
... invoking the names of Jesus Christ, Karl Marx, Lenin, Ho Chi Minh, Mao Tse-tung and the Beatles in the cause of global revolution.
Muslims aren't going to be part of his revolution, I guess.


The Royal Flying Doctor Service celebrates its 78th birthday today. While most Australians are aware of the invaluable aerial evacuation service provided by the RFDS, very few will ever need a ride on one of their planes. I, on the other hand, have been unfortunate enough to need their services twice: my eldest son was evacuated to Perth after being born two months premature; and my youngest son was evacuated to Perth after nearly losing an eye in a surfing accident. Thanks to the RFDS both are fine.

To learn more at the RFDS go here. To make a much appreciated donation go here.

Sunday, May 14, 2006


In an article written while in Sao Paulo – staying at the Maksoud Plaza hotel – Fisk dredges up an obscure tidbit of Brazil - US history:
In 1941, a newly belligerent America--plunged into a world war by an attack every bit as ruthless as that of 11 September 2001--had become so worried about the big bit of Brazil that juts far out into the Atlantic, that it set up military bases in the north of the country without waiting for the authorisation of the Brazilian government. Now what, I wonder, does that remind me of?
Now what does that remind me of? Anti-American bullshit.

Brazilian history specialist Professor Frank D. McCann tells a different story:
The region was undefended, beyond the range of American aircraft in the Caribbean, and inaccessible by land to the Brazilian forces concentrated in the south. In November 1940, to secure the Brazilian bulge, the United States Army negotiated a secret agreement with Pan-American Airways to build two chains of airfields from North America to the northeast. In January 1941, Vargas gave verbal authority for Panair do Brasil to undertake Airport Development Program (ADP) construction at points such as Belém, Fortaleza, Natal, Recife, Maceió, and Salvador. However, because important military figures as yet were unwilling to throw themselves into the arms of the Americans, he delayed issuing a formal decree until July 1941.
The airfields were not military facilities; they were built mainly to facilitate US supply support of the British campaign in Africa. On another topic Fisk is too smart to totally commit:
Then in my mail bag comes an enclosure from Antony Loewenstein, an old journalistic mate of mine in Sydney.
Even Fisk isn't silly enough to call Loewenstein a journalist.

Saturday, May 13, 2006


The European Union is going to try being nice to Iran in attempting to get it to drop its uranium enrichment program. In reporting on the EU's efforts to woo Iran the BBC makes this unusually candid observation:
It is a measure of the west's desperation that it has had to resort to such an incentive package.
Negotiating from a position of weakness isn't going to produce the desired results.

Update: It didn't take long for Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki to tell the EU to get lost:
"Any incentive that does not include Iran's right to nuclear technology and the ways to secure it will not have any attraction for the Iranian people and government," the IRNA agency quoted Mottaki as telling reporters in Indonesia Saturday.


Back in March, Paul Norton PhD had a dig at the Howard government for refusing to buy into Kyoto, posting this under the title "Australia Never Misses an Opportunity to Miss an Opportunity":
The mechanisms established under the Kyoto Protocol are turning out to be a tidy moneyspinner for those countries which have ratified it.
It will be interesting to see if Norton posts on the latest carbon trade developments:
Europe's attempts to reduce greenhouse gas output through an emissions trading scheme suffered a severe blow after it emerged that German industries last year were granted permits to produce more carbon dioxide than they needed.

Friday's news took carbon prices to a 15-month low.
The price has fallen from around €30 earlier in the year to less than €9 a tonne on Friday, with speculation the credits could eventually prove worthless. A lot of money will, however, be made, by lawyers:
The EU's carbon emissions trading scheme (ETS) hit renewed turbulence yesterday when CO2 prices fell to a fresh one-year low and it emerged that five UK energy groups are suing the European commission over cuts in their allowances. Brussels, meanwhile, is planning new legal action against Britain.


David Tribe, aka GMO Pundit, aims to keep Australia's agriculture sector informed of the latest pertinent developments. Even though it might appear that much of his subject matter is of little general interest and a bit dry, a closer look reveals some very worthwhile reading. Take these two recent examples:
Enviropigs - an interesting look at genetically modified pigs and the fallacy of organic farming.

The Tragedy of Golden Rice - looks at the delay in deployment of this sight and life saving rice.

Friday, May 12, 2006


Lefties claiming to be in the know say there has never been a Silent Spring inspired, people killing, DDT ban. The ban hasn't been total , or totally effective, but DDT has nonetheless been subject to a ban:
Though the chemical has been effective in killing the mosquitoes that spread malaria; the lice that carries typhus; and other insect-borne human diseases since the 1949s; many countries started banning its use in the 1960s because of possible side effects to humans.
That's from the right-wing morons at the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.


A rich Saudi has paid a group of African conmen SR200 million to use magic to gain him a government appointment. (At the current rate of exchange 200 million Saudi Arabia Riyals is more than US$53 million.) The victim only realized something was wrong after the money had been sent overseas. The appointment the man had hoped to achieve? "A very high position in the government handling public finances." Figures.


Three months ago Oregon sheriff John Trumbo mailed Mexican President Vicente Fox an account for services rendered:
Last year, more than 360 of "your citizens" spent time in jail "at a cost of $63 a day which equates to a request for payment of $318,843," the letter concluded. "At this time, you will not be billed for medical, dental and transportation costs. Your prompt attention to this request will be very much appreciated."
El Presidente has failed to respond. In other angry sheriff news:
Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio announced Tuesday that about 100 volunteer posse and Sheriff's deputies will soon begin randomly patrolling the desert areas and main roadways in southwest Maricopa County as apart of an operation to stem the flow of illegal aliens entering the county.

Despite the growing controversy about illegal aliens nationwide, the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office remains the only Arizona law enforcement agency willing to enforce a new state anti-smuggling law.

"There are so many illegals trying to make it into the county that it's overwhelming my deputies, so I have called on members of my 3000 member volunteer posse to assist," says Sheriff Arpaio. "It's not only illegals we find and arrest out there, we've also made some recent huge drug seizures involving illegal aliens including nearly 100 pounds of methamphetamine and approximately three pounds of heroin."
Arpaio's famous – infamous to lefties – for housing prisoners in tents, serving baloney sandwiches as meals, instituting female chain-gangs and issuing pink inmate underwear.


A Texas Jewboy is going to be on the ballot:
Bringing his signature flair to the state Capitol, entertainer and gubernatorial hopeful Kinky Friedman turned in 169,574 names to the secretary of state Thursday, well over the 45,500 he needs to run as an independent for governor.

Friedman and other independent gubernatorial hopefuls had until Thursday afternoon to turn in their signatures. He turned in 11 boxes and a DVD equipped with a customized database that proves signature validation.
Watch Kinkytoons here. Looks like I'll have to get off my arse and vote in the next Texas election. Go Kinky!


International Fast Day Against Malaria raised a total of US$28,546 for anti-malaria bed-nets. The Right Wing DDT Beasts collected US$976.34. My thanks to all who contributed to this worthwhile cause. (Donations are still being accepted if you'd like to do your bit.)


Some people just don't know where to draw the line when it comes to defending our furry little friends:
Three animal rights extremists involved in the theft of the body of an elderly woman from her grave were yesterday jailed for 12 years each in what is seen by police and prosecutors as a groundbreaking case.

The militants, including a vicar's son and a psychiatric nurse, led what they called a "holocaust" against a farm which bred guinea pigs for medical research.
But their case was a noble one, wasn't it?

Thursday, May 11, 2006


Tim Lambert has today added a new crime to my catalogue of transgressions at Deltoid: sock puppeteer. This comes as no shock because I suckered him into it. Please allow me to explain.

First, some background. Lambert and I have a long history of disagreement. Other than the odd brief diversion this disagreement centres on DDT use against malaria. Suffice it to say I've tried to report factually on DDT while many of Lambert's DDT posts contain pro-United Nations and pro-environmentalist misrepresentations. Lambert desperately avoids engaging me on these issues: he continues to bounce my links to his old blog; he calls me an attention seeking troll; and he falsely accuses me of abusing fellow commenters as justification for moderating my comments to his site.

Sure I can be pretty snarky at times but I've been no more abusive than many other commenters or Lambert himself: I was briefly banned for calling his more sycophantic commenters toadies; and I once entered the letters "Crtn" as a pre-disemvowelled version of Cretan (it's a Chris Sheil thing). Lambert uses this "abuse" as justification for moderating my comments. Amazingly, my comments tend to get held up in moderation for hours, finally to appear only when the discussion has moved on. Consequently, even though I still read his stuff, I generally don't bother commenting. This is as Lambert intended.

Anyway, as Lambert has continued posting his DDT half-truths but makes it difficult to comment at his site I thought I might as well have some fun with him. Over the past week or so my daughter and I assumed a couple of different identities and posted some moderately snarky but inconsequential comments that we figured Lambert would assume came from me. This was to let Lambert know "I" was posting under assumed identities.

Yesterday evening I wrote a pointed comment that I lodged under the name JFB, giving rightwingstooge at as the email. The comment was obviously mine. As expected, the comment disappeared into Lambert's moderation black hole. When the comment still had not been posted when I got up this morning I decided something had to be done. But there is no point emailing Lambert because he refuses to respond. Later, when I had some free time at work a colleague and I roughed out a follow-up comment. When the original comment had still not appeared by the time my colleague finished for the day he typed it up, submitting it under the name THX 1139.

When I got home from work I responded as THX 1139 to a couple of queries from fellow commenters - I was well aware that commenting from my home computer would make me instantly visible. Lambert very quickly swooped on the comment, "identifying" me as the sock puppeteer. The comment was deleted and I was banned.

My adult daughter then took up the cause posting this from her laptop connected to a different network:
Tim Lambert,

This comment and the two THX 1139 comments above were neither written nor submitted by the same J F Beck you falsely accuse of abusing your commenters. You should really be truthful about this and admit to your readers that you can offer no proof – there can be no proof because the comments are collaborative efforts typed and submitted by different people, on different computers, on different networks. If you persist with these claims you will ultimately be proven wrong.

It would also be enlightening if you elaborated on your "abuse" claim. I assume you are referring to Beck describing the more deferential of your commenters as "toadies". A quick Google search - you should be able to fact-check this without my help - shows toady to be interchangeable with sycophant. The only other instance of alleged abuse from Beck is his use of the letters "crtn" in a comment. None of the above comes anywhere remotely close to abuse. You really are groping when you have to fall back on such flimsy justification for banning a commenter.

To what motive do you attribute your refusal to post a comment lodged by Beck almost 24 hours ago?

Blocking comments and banning a commenter based on lies; is this your idea of science?
The comment was removed within five minutes. No explanation was given. So, what's the big deal? I haven't established multiple identities that I've used to support a cause or mislead. Lambert's using the sock puppet thing as an excuse to ban me because he's not willing to debate the issues. His fears prompting him to make up rules as he goes along.

ScienceBlogs, Lambert's home, offers this self-description:
ScienceBlogs is the web's largest conversation about science. It features blogs from a wide array of scientific disciplines, with new voices coming on board regularly. It is a global, digital science salon.

ScienceBlogs is powered by Seed Media Group — publishers of Seed Magazine — and is part of the Seed Digital Network, which also includes and Seed provides technology, hosting and other enabling support for as part of its mission to increase public understanding of science.

The content contained in these blogs is exclusively attributable to outside contributors and does not necessarily reflect the opinions of ScienceBlogs LLC.
Given Lambert's propensity for manipulation of information that disclaimer seems to have been written with him in mind. If the powers that be at ScienceBlogs are as smart as they should be, it won't take them long to work out Lambert's not an asset, he's a liability.

Finally, the comment Lambert refuses to post is reproduced here in full (very lightly edited for easier reading):
Mr Lambert,

In your post DDT and the Tsunami ( 25 January 2005) you ridicule Michael Fumento for suggesting that DDT be used to control mosquitoes in Sri Lanka following the tsunami, noting that mosquitoes in Sri Lanka are DDT resistant. You then observe:
[The World Health Organization is] sending malathion, which will actually be able to kill the mosquitoes there.
Malathion is, according to a number of sources, a poor choice for malaria vector control in Sri Lanka. From Malaria Journal:
Studies in Sri Lanka over the 1990s on An. culicifacies and a range of potential secondary vectors such as An. subpictus and An. vagus have shown high level of resistance to either organochlorines, organophosphates or to both groups of insecticides. DDT and Malathion are no longer recommended since An. culicifacies and An. subpictus has been found resistant.
As your assumption that malathion is still effective for mosquito control in Sri Lanka is apparently based on a WHO document, it is certainly understandable that you got it wrong – I say apparently based because the link you provided does not go the source of the WHO quote. It is, however, difficult to understand why you did not correct your error when your very next post notes that malathion is no longer recommended for use in Sri Lanka.

In your post DDT madness ( 11 February 2005) you use the Malaria Journal quote above to discredit a call from Africa Fighting Malaria's Roger Bate for DDT use in Sri Lanka:
DDT and Malathion are no longer recommended since An. culicifacies and An. subpictus has been found resistant.
Your use of this quote confirms you are aware of the malathion resistance problem. Yet, you do not correct your previous post advocating malathion use in Sri Lanka. Further, you fail to note that the efficacy of the WHO's anti-malaria activities in Sri Lanka was highly suspect, if the WHO did indeed rely on malathion as a primary means of mosquito control.

You blame ignorance for Fumento's and Bate's presumably misguided call for DDT use in Sri Lanka. Your support for malathion use in Sri Lanka cannot be attributed to anything so benign as ignorance, however. Your misrepresentation – contradicted by a source you quote and link to – is designed to mislead, not to inform. What are you hoping to achieve through such misrepresentation?

Also, in your 11 February post you classify Africa Fighting Malaria as an as astroturf operation, substantiating your claim by linking to SourceWatch, which in turn links back to your post of 11 February as a reference. Such self-referencing is a bit iffy, is it not?
If Lambert wants to discuss the substance of the comment I'll be happy to oblige but I'm not going to hold my breath...


Today is International Fast Day Against Malaria. The Right Wing DDT Beasts are making the huge sacrifice of going without food for 9 whole hours. We have raised US$954.02 so far. Donations are still welcome and are very much appreciated.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006


Wonder what the "average" American is going to think about this?
Aiming to transform street passions into political power, organizers of recent immigrant rights marches Tuesday announced a national campaign to produce 1 million new citizens and voters by the November mid-term elections.


A new study finds an inconclusive link between hurricane strength and higher temperatures:
These findings highlight the complex nature of hurricane development and weaken the notion of a simple cause-and-effect relationship between rising [sea-surface temperature] and stronger Atlantic hurricanes.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006


This isn't really funny but the punchline is still pretty damn good:
Philippine police have arrested a Saudi Arabian man for allegedly beheading the mother of his Filipina wife, police said yesterday.

Senior Police Officer Filipina Manaig said Bander Abdullah Zayad, 35, was apprehended late Saturday as he attempted to flee his wife’s house after allegedly cutting off her mother’s head with a butcher’s knife in Calamba town just outside Manila, police said.

The Saudi national, who has been in the Philippines for several months, was to be charged with the murder of 66-year-old Pacencia Labato Ariaso.

Manaig said the suspect, armed with a kitchen knife, suddenly barged into the bathroom, where the 66-year-old was taking a bath, and attacked her for no apparent reason.

According to the suspect’s wife, he was having an argument with someone over the phone prior to the incident. She added the suspect was hot-tempered.
I reckon.


Saeed Akbar's daughter was kidnapped by local tribesmen. Akbar petitioned a Pakistani tribal jirga for justice. The jirga ordered the offending tribesmen to compensate Akbar by offering his 11 year-old son a bride. Not willing to give up one of their own females the tribesmen were in a dilemma. Lateral thinking solved the problem: the tribesmen went to Akbar's home while he was out and strangled his son.


Oddly, Iranian President Ahmadinejad favours overturning the ban on female spectators at sporting events:
"The best stands should be allocated to women and families in the stadiums in which national and important matches are being held," he said.
Unfortunately, Ahmadinejad has been outvoted:
The supreme leader of Iran has vetoed a ruling by President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad that would have allowed women to attend major sporting events.

Six grand ayatollahs and several MPs had protested against Mr Ahmadinejad's move, saying it violated Islamic law for a woman to look at the body of a male stranger.

One MP had said if the reformists had tried the move there would have been suicide bombers protesting on the streets of Tehran.
Suicide bombing as a form of protest. What next, suicide bomber clowns for birthday celebrations?

Monday, May 08, 2006


You know, I often wonder how some bloggers find the time to research and organize their posts, maintain their sites and comment at their own and other blogs. How do they manage to work all day, have a personal life and still find the time to blog prolifically?

Tim Lambert is a classic example: where does he find the time? But, I suppose if I was asking $520 a week for ad space ($3360 for 3 months) I'd find the time... somewhere. I do, after all, have access to the internet at work...

Anyway, Lambert's desire to cash in on his blogging success (the titan currently averages more than 3,000 hits a day!) is understandable, as are his recent efforts to draw attention to himself.

Hoping to get a link from Instapundit, Lambert has over recent days attacked Glenn Reynolds twice. (Lambert's use of tiny snippets to quote Reynolds rather than quoting him verbatim is a dead giveaway there's manipulation of content going on.)

Then there's Lambert's recent three post hatchet job on Iraq Body Count, with endless nitpicking of points of statistical estimate minutiae culminating with this swollen-headed threat to IBC's Josh Dougherty:
But you refuse to correct the error in your analysis. Are your co-authors aware of this? Should I contact them to see if they will correct it?
Hey, who cares if IBC has made a good faith effort to report the number of Iraqis killed? There's money to be made here.

Attention seeking is also the only reasonable explanation for Lambert's disgraceful attack on Dunk Malaria's anti-malaria fundraising efforts, where he sets himself up as an alternative charity:
Dunk Malaria is organizing a Malaria Action Day on March 19th, to raise awareness of malaria. The idea is that people net a basketball to symbolize the insecticide treated netting that is the best weapon against malaria. Good. Except that number 2 on their list of charities is the execrable Africa Fighting Malaria, who are trying to prevent bednets from being used to fight malaria.

I think that we here at Deltoid can, right now, do more to fight malaria than Africa Fighting Malaria has ever done. I will match, up to a total of $300, donations to The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. Leave your pledges in comments.
Lambert also attempted to elicit a link through a comments swipe at Tim Blair and his readers for failing to donate to the cause:
And how about donating some money to help fight malaria? The Blair folk aren't looking too good here.
Yep, I'm sure the $600 Lambert claims – should we take his word on this? – to have raised will do more to fight malaria than Africa Fighting Malaria ever has.

Lambert may well be an obsessive, lying, purveyor of manipulated misinformation but it's always good to see a lefty embrace capitalism. Bet it won't be long before ScienceBlogs can no longer afford to advertise at one of its own blogs.


Antony Loewenstein, canny political observer and admirer of Hugo Chavez, recently linked approvingly to this from lefty lunatic John Pilger:
On March 27, Channel 4 News broadcast a relatively long piece on Hugo Chavez, president of Venezuela. On Channel 4's website you get a flavour: “He is in danger of joining a rogue’s gallery of dictators and despots — Washington’s latest Latin nightmare.”

This was a piece seemingly written by the US State Department, although Channel 4's Washington correspondent, Jonathan Rugman, appeared on screen. It was one of the worst, most distorted pieces of journalism I have ever seen, qualifying as crude propaganda. I have been in Venezuela lately and almost nothing in Rugman’s rant coincides with reality. Factories are like “Soviet collectives”; a dictatorship is on the rise; Chavez is like Hitler (Rumsfeld); and the media is under government attack.
Loewenstein now has doubts about the true nature of Chavez's "revolution":
Perhaps Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has been spending too much time with Cuban leader Fidel Castro:
President Hugo Chavez said yesterday that Venezuelan voters should have the chance to decide whether he should govern the country for the next 25 years. Speaking at a stadium packed with supporters in central Lara state, Mr. Chavez said he would hold a referendum to put the question of his remaining in office to Venezuelans if the opposition pulls out of Dec. 3 presidential elections. Mr. Chavez said Friday that he might seek “indefinite” re-election through a referendum if the opposition boycotts the presidential vote.
A revolution is sweeping across Latin America, but democratic norms must be respected.
Revolution my arse, it's the same old oppressive lefty cult of personality, leader for life bullshit.

Update: Wonder what these guys will say if Chavez has himself declared dictator?


It is increasingly common for Saudi men of limited means to travel to Yemen looking for a discount bride. Such marriages are, as expected, all upside for the men involved:
The [Yemeni Interior Ministry] pointed out that 70 percent of the “tourist marriages” ended with the return of the Gulf bridegrooms to their countries leaving their wives in Yemen, either divorced or without a divorce but unprotected.
Seems to me Saudi men are traveling to Yemen hoping to have a honeymoon, not a marriage.

Sunday, May 07, 2006


Naomi at Mark Bahnisch's day care for PhDs reckons it's unAustralian to dob in welfare cheats because welfare fraud isn't really a crime. According to Naomi the government's welfare crackdown has forced people to do all sorts of horrible things like, you know, commit to enduring relationships:
Centrelink expects single mothers to ask their boyfriends to support them and their children, but I'm sure it's not easy to give up the fragile independence of a welfare cheque, and it's a big impost on the bloke. Under such circumstances fraud is understandable.
Even though the government has recouped some $10 billion from welfare cheats, this is, according to Naomi, small change compared to the crimes of fatcats with government connections:
Yes, that sounds like heaps, but it's only slightly more than the Australian Government was prepared to allow the Australian Wheat Board to gouge out of the UN's Oil for Food programme.
Click on the link and read the comments; they're a hoot – nothing's quite as funny as lefties gone all ranty.

Saturday, May 06, 2006


Briton Gary McKinnon hacked into NASA and US military computer systems where he discovered wondrous things:
But what came on to the screen was amazing. It was a culmination of all my efforts. It was a picture of something that definitely wasn't man-made.

It was above the Earth's hemisphere. It kind of looked like a satellite. It was cigar-shaped and had geodesic domes above, below, to the left, the right and both ends of it, and although it was a low-resolution picture it was very close up.

This thing was hanging in space, the earth's hemisphere visible below it, and no rivets, no seams, none of the stuff associated with normal man-made manufacturing.
Unfortunately, McKinnon has no proof of his discovery. Funny how that works...

Thursday, May 04, 2006


This time it's not the government stealing kids from their parents, it's the evil fast food companies:
PROFESSOR LOUISE BAUR: They are influencing young children, preschool and primary school children, in particular, and influencing their understanding about food items. They're actually taking away the responsibility from parents.
Jesus H Christ, is no one responsibile for anything anymore?


Anti-illegal immigrant campaigner Michelle Dallacroce's efforts should be ignored because she drives an expensive car. Even worse, it's an earth-destroying SUV. Hang your head in shame and shut the hell up you dumb broad.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006


The Waste Isolation Pilot Plant will be the ultimate destination for America's most hazardous nuclear waste. In planning the facility every possibility must be considered:
To future generations, warnings about Nelson's dump may seem as impenetrable as the 600-year-old "Canterbury Tales" are for all but a few scholars today.

Trying to communicate across 500 generations posed an unprecedented challenge of linguistics, semiotics and materials science, so the government first asked scientists, futurists and historians to envision what the far-distant future might be like.

Their report combines dry analysis and projections worthy of sci-fi disaster films, including massive climate change and feminist corporations that disbelieve WIPP warnings because they were written by men. Civilization is so interdependent and fragile, one panelist grimly noted, "that any massive global catastrophe might lead to reversion to at least a preindustrial era." Greed or desperation could give rise to legends that WIPP holds buried treasure — apparently confirmed by surface warnings to keep out.

In a sense, they're right. Oil and gas deposits lie thousands of feet below the plant. In 100 or 5,000 years, an energy-poor government, company or gasoline-addicted tribe in a ruined society, like those depicted in the film "The Road Warrior," could adopt a "drill first, ask questions later" policy — piercing the repository and pulling death to the surface.

Others predicted the invention of self-guided robotic "mole miners" that would penetrate the site from the side or below. In a scenario set in the year 11991, robotic slaves are infected with a computer virus that compels them to override their safety programming as they compulsively drill and construct mine shafts.
What about the gigantic man-eating cockroaches?


It's getting harder to be a blogger:
Bosses are considering putting specific provisions in employment contracts that could regulate what you put in your private blog or even prevent you from blogging at all, according to a new book.

A chapter on blogging and the law, written by two Australian experts, says such clauses could stop employees from referring to their workplace even when they are writing personal blogs from their own home.

"Employers are now considering including specific blogging provisions in employment contracts," the authors write in Uses of Blogs, a book to be published later this year.

"Some employers have even taken the steps to ensure that employment contracts disallow employees from blogging at all."

Co-author Damien O'Brien, from the Queensland University of Technology law faculty, says some workplaces have specific policies against blogging in the office but "it can get a bit blurred whether [it's] in the workplace or at home".

"Certainly some of the provisions that would be put in contracts would cover when people are blogging outside their work," he says.
I'm betting this will affect RWDBs more than lefty bloggers: how many lefty bloggers have jobs?


News@nature makes a dire polar bear prediction:
The most realistic expectation is that numbers will decline by around 30% over the coming 45 years...
Polar Bear Biologist Dr. Mitchell Taylor doesn't agree:
Climate change is having an effect on the west Hudson population of polar bears, but really, there is no need to panic. Of the 13 populations of polar bears in Canada, 11 are stable or increasing in number. They are not going extinct, or even appear to be affected at present.

It is noteworthy that the neighbouring population of southern Hudson Bay does not appear to have declined, and another southern population (Davis Strait) may actually be over-abundant.
Why panic tomorrow when you can panic today?

Tuesday, May 02, 2006


Scrambling to compose his alarmingly fluid position on DDT, Lambert recently cited this study of anti-malaria efforts in Eritrea between 2000 and 2004. Lambert's post mentions DDT use in Eritrea as do his comments. The study's Table 3 shows that DDT was used for indoor residual spraying throughout the period, peaking in 2003 at 17,423 kg.

This is directly contradicted by an earlier Lambert post (to get around Lambert's link bouncing, copy and paste . The post is based on an article at Eritrea Daily. Its title is "Eritrea cuts malaria rates by switching away from DDT". According to Lambert:
The World Bank is the largest funder of Eritrea’s anti-malaria program. The Eritrea Daily reports on the good results... And what did they do to get such dramatic reductions? Why they significantly increased the use of insecticide treated nets... And stopped using DDT...
Lambert's claim is wrong; Eritrea actually increased its DDT use. Further, the article on which he bases his claim that Eritrea stopped using DDT does not even mention DDT – he just made this up. He should, as he so often demands of others who have allegedly erred, correct this obvious misrepresentation. (Other Lambert misrepresentations are described here, here and here.)

Update: Rather than engage me on the misrepresentation issue Lambert again accuses me of attention seeking (go here and click on comments). He certainly has the personal-attack-as-rebuttal move down pat. Oh well, there's a good chance Lambert's social ineptitude and fascination with numbers are probably beyond his control:
Asperger’s is the least disabling form of autism and research is beginning to show that it may also account for the presence of some special capabilities in areas like mathematics, computer science and engineering. But the same genes may also create a person who is socially awkward, easily distracted, very introspective and in many ways withdrawn and solitary.


The donations are still coming in but there are lots of people who could donate but haven't. Since all money collected goes to the purchase of anti-malaria bed-nets, it's a worthwhile cause.

With a US$50 donation by Greg Atkins via PayPal to Malaria Foundation International the RWDBs have now collected US$835.42. Remember, when we reach US$1,000 I'll stop nagging about this, so donate. Now! (The RWDB donate page takes only credit card payments. If you want to donate via PayPal got to the MFI link above and send then email me the receipt number and amount so I can mention your donation.)


Should Europeans be concerned about Islamist penetration of their militaries? Well, Dutch intelligence services think it's a worry:
The Dutch secret services AIVD (state intelligence) and MIVD (military intelligence) are investigating an unknown number of Muslims within the Dutch army. Last Saturday, the Dutch newspaper Het Parool reported that a growing number of Dutch soldiers sympathizes with radical Islamists. The paper refers to the annual report of the MIVD, which states that it conducted a number of investigations into “alleged radicalisation of military personnel” as “there are signs that indicate a possible radicalisation of Muslim individuals or groups within the armed forces.”
The Dutch aren't the only ones who should be concerned:
Other European countries also have growing numbers of Muslims soldiers. Last March three conscripts of the Austrian army refused to salute the Austrian flag because they said this was incompatible with their Islamic religion. It is said that one of the reasons why the French authorities did not employ the army during the November 2005 riots, despite calls to do so, was because 15% of the French armed forces are made up of Muslims. Last month a Swiss website reported that the number of Muslim soldiers in the Swiss army has grown from 16,000 to 310,000 during the past four decades.
Sort of casts NATO in a whole new light, don't it?


Major Michael Mori, legal counsel for Guantanamo detainee David Hicks, tells The World Today's Michael Rowland that Hicks is being mistreated:
MICHAEL ROWLAND: Major Mori, who's just returned from Guantanamo Bay, says he was shocked to see David Hicks had been in the same clothes for three weeks.

MICHAEL MORI: His clothes were very soiled and smelled very badly. Obviously it concerned me a great deal. He told me hadn't been changed in three weeks, I brought it up with the JTF command, and we got him new, clean clothes. I'm not sure what was going on with that.

MICHAEL ROWLAND: The commander of the detention centre, Colonel Mike Bumgarner, tells a different story.

MIKE BUMGARNER: Yeah, Mr Hicks had refused to turn his laundry in during the normal course of events. He was upset that he had not been issued a second towel, one beyond that which the other detainees had been issued, and so he refused to turn in his laundry.

Now, I would say that even if he refuses to turn in his laundry with the other detainees, he still would have the possibility to clean his clothes in his cell, which many detainees do, as there is a sink and running water and soap available to them.
Mori also argues that Hick's hasn't been uncooperative and even he was, he's no threat to anyone:
He's a midget. I mean, he's only five-foot-three. He's not giving anybody a hard time, and it's just… they're, you know, trying to distract from the truth, which is that they're locking him up in solitary confinement again, and they want to try to distract from that.
Hey, I've never been headbutted in the groin by a midget and don't ever want to be.


Back in December, The Brussels Journal's Paul Belien expressed some strong opinions on the routing of Gazprom's proposed European gas pipeline:
Apart from Adolf Hitler, Gerhard Schröder is Germany’s most repulsive chancellor ever. During his seven years in office – which ended last month – the Socialist politician forged Berlin into an alliance with France, where his friend, the French crook Jack Chirac, is in charge, and with Russia, through his friendship with former KGB chief Vladimir Putin. A compulsive America-basher, Schröder did tremendous harm to the Atlantic Alliance. We now know why. Barely three weeks after his resignation on November 22 it turns out that Herr Schröder’s private pension scheme is a lucrative job on the Kremlin’s payroll. Last Friday the former German chancellor was appointed foreign policy advisor of Gazprom, the Russian state-owned oil and gas company, and chairman of the board of commissioners of NEGP, the Russian-controlled consortium that is building a gas pipeline from Siberia to Germany.

NEGP (North European Gas Pipeline Company) is a joint venture of Gazprom (for 51%) and two German companies, E.ON and BASF (each for 24.5%). The bilateral gas agreements between Germany and Russia were signed by Schröder last September 8, just 10 days before the German general election, which he lost. Schröder’s last visit to Putin dates from October, when he surprised some German journalists by mysteriously declaring: “Who says that this is going to be my last visit here?”

In a plan reminiscent of the Stalin-Hitler pact to rip off Poland, Putin and Schröder agreed to build the NEGP pipeline on the Baltic seabed rather than through Poland, despite the far greater expense. The plan has infuriated Central European and Baltic countries. They realize that the Baltic Sea route allows Russia to cut off gas to Central and Eastern Europe while still delivering to Germany. The pipeline, which should be ready by 2010, will allow Moscow to demand the same price for oil and gas from its former satellites as from the Germans, thereby putting the squeeze on countries that, according to Putin, are gravitating too much toward the West.
Over the weekend, Polish defence minister Radek Sikorski spoke out about the shady nature of the pipeline deal:
The Polish defence minister has compared a planned German-Russian gas pipeline to the 1939 Hitler-Stalin deal partitioning Poland, with EU energy commissioner Andris Piebalgs also criticising the gas project.

The 1,200 km pipeline is currently under construction and will link Russia to Germany under the Baltic Sea, bypassing states which maintain problematic ties with Moscow such as Poland, the Baltic states and Ukraine.

The project, agreed by former German chancellor Gerhard Schroder and Russian president Vladimir Putin in 2005, has sparked repeated criticism from Poland and Lithuania which say Germany should have consulted fellow EU member states.

Polish defence minister Radek Sikorski at a transatlantic conference in Brussels on Sunday (30 April) compared the pipeline to the 1939 Molotov-Ribbentrop pact, named after the Soviet and Nazi foreign ministers who divided Poland in a secret protocol.

"Poland has a particular sensitivity to corridors and deals above our head. That was the Locarno tradition, that was the Molotov-Ribbentrop tradition. That was the 20th century. We don't want any repetition of that," Mr Sikorski said according to Reuters.

He argued that Germany should have spoken to Poland before striking the deal.

"Taking the decision first and consulting us later is not our idea of solidarity," the minister said, while attacking current German chancellor Angela Merkel for not cancelling the deal made by the previous government.

"We asked. She refused," Mr Sikorski stated.

The Polish minister said the pipeline under the Baltic Sea would be $6 billion (€4.8 billion) more expensive than land-based gas pipeline projects through Poland, leading to higher energy prices for consumers.

"Germany is an important partner for us. We are astonished that Germany would do something which doesn't benefit consumers and the geopolitical objective of which is to be able to cut off Belarus and Poland without cutting off Germany," he explained.

"The Russian ambassador to Belarus said last week when the Baltic pipeline is built, [Russian state gas monopoly] Gazprom will be able to cut off Belarus without cutting off Germany. That means Poland too."

EU energy commissioner Andris Piebalgs backed Warsaw's criticism of Germany's unilateral approach to Russia.
Russia and Germany, what a team.

Monday, May 01, 2006


A group of climate scientists have formed the New Zealand Climate Science Coalition, aiming to refute climate propaganda:
"We believe this is a significant development in opening up the debate about the real effects of climate change and the justification for the costs and other measures prescribed in the Kyoto protocols," said the coalition's secretary, Terry Dunleavy.

He said members of the coalition had had enough of "over-exaggerated" claims about the effects of man-made global warming and aimed to provide a balance to "what is being fed to the people of New Zealand".
Wonder how much hate mail they've gotten already?


Robert Fisk, via impeccable but unnamed Syrian contacts, brings us this Iraq exclusive:
"I swear to you that we have very good information," my source says, finger stabbing the air in front of him. "One young Iraqi man told us that he was trained by the Americans as a policeman in Baghdad and he spent 70 per cent of his time learning to drive and 30 per cent in weapons training. They said to him: 'Come back in a week.' When he went back, they gave him a mobile phone and told him to drive into a crowded area near a mosque and phone them. He waited in the car but couldn't get the right mobile signal. So he got out of the car to where he received a better signal. Then his car blew up."
Fisk uses an interesting journalistic device to convince readers the information is indeed true: he doubts the veracity of the information but, upon reflection, decides he has heard similar stories so many times there must be something to them:
Impossible, I think to myself. But then I remember how many times Iraqis in Baghdad have told me similar stories.
With the seed planted, Fisk piles on the fertilizer:
"There was another man, trained by the Americans for the police. He too was given a mobile and told to drive to an area where there was a crowd - maybe a protest - and to call them and tell them what was happening. Again, his new mobile was not working. So he went to a landline phone and called the Americans and told them: 'Here I am, in the place you sent me and I can tell you what's happening here.' And at that moment there was a big explosion in his car."

Just who these "Americans" might be, my source did not say. In the anarchic and panic-stricken world of Iraq, there are many US groups - including countless outfits supposedly working for the American military and the new Western-backed Iraqi Interior Ministry - who operate outside any laws or rules. No one can account for the murder of 191 university teachers and professors since the 2003 invasion - nor the fact that more than 50 former Iraqi fighter-bomber pilots who attacked Iran in the 1980-88 Iran-Iraq war have been assassinated in their home towns in Iraq in the past three years.
Fisk contends the US is sending out these involuntary suicide bombers to create strife between Shia and Sunni groups, the ultimate aim being to start a civil war. The US thinking that if Shia and Sunni are at each others' throat they won't have time to kill US soldiers. Right. More of the same old shit from Fisk.


Suzanne Goldberg, writing in the Guardian, sees the alleged rape of a black stripper by members of the all-white Duke lacrosse team as a scandal dividing America:
On one side is an African-American woman, 27 and a divorced mother of two, a stripper who was trying to turn her life around with a law degree, not from Duke, but from the traditionally black state university in Durham. On the other are young white men who bear all the hallmarks of privilege. They were raised in million-dollar homes, educated at $40,000-a-year Duke University, and are devotees of a sport which is redolent of the moneyed products of north-eastern prep schools.
But there's more to the players' evil than their moneyed origins:
"Every one of these kids has a brand-new SUV that costs as much as half of my house," says a man walking his dog in the street.
Poor vehicle choice boys.


Stephen Colbert attempts humour at the White House Correspondents' Association Dinner – for the Quick Time version go here.

Update: It's not so much that Colbert wasn't funny, what's important is he refused to join the club, or something.