Thursday, June 29, 2006


As this excerpt from the Cannabis Control Act of 2003 shows, Western Australia isn't exactly tough on dope smokers:
The Cannabis Infringement Notice (CIN) Scheme enables police, at their discretion, to issue an infringement notice for possession of small amounts of cannabis. People who receive a CIN will be required to pay a financial penalty within 28 days, complete a Cannabis Education Session within 28 days or can choose to have the matter heard in court.
Apparently the law isn't lenient enough. Over 30% of those served with cannabis infringement notices have been referred to the Fines Enforcement Registry for failure to pay their fines. Maybe they just... forgot.


Those evil Republicans won't be happy until they force American women to assume full responsibility for their bodies and to stop using abortion as birth control:
Liberals and Democrats believe President George W Bush's supreme court appointments have insured that, sooner or later, Roe will be overturned. The result will be a disaster both for women and for Democrats.
This will indeed be a disaster for Democrats, whose popularity, such as it is, derives largely from absolving the the irresponsible of responsibility.


Stealing is about wanting to be "normal":
So if you want the causes of crime then look no further than the impulse of the poor to belong and be normal. So strong is this urge that the failed consumer will lie, cheat and steal to "earn" the trappings of success.
I blame the government for not giving the poor enough money to be able to afford all the little luxuries normal people have. Hey, when in doubt, blame the government.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006



In March, computer graphics guy Tim Lambert attacked Tina Rosenberg for supposedly getting it wrong on DDT:
...DDT is not the magic bullet that Rosenberg has been touting it as...
Well, the new head of the World Health Organization's global malaria program, Dr. Arata Kochi, thinks DDT has something going for it:
And, despite the objections of environmentalists, he wants DDT sprayed inside huts to kill mosquitoes where they rest on walls as they wait for dark.
Lambert has, for some reason, gone mute on DDT.


There's a glaring error in the cover of the Winter 2006 edition of the Australian Education Union's magazine (no link available). What's wrong with this leftist organization's view of the world? Is this any reflection of what's being taught to our kids?

The graphic appears again within the magazine, captioned:
Striking a balance between fostering optimism and raising student's awareness of world realities will be a continuing challenge...
Since when do lefties know anything about "world realities"?


Katherine Knight, who murdered, skinned and then cooked her de facto husband, is the only Australian woman serving a "for the term of her natural life" prison sentence. She is currently appealing against the severity of her sentence, her barrister arguing that "the killing did not fall into the worst category of cases." Say what? She stabbed the poor guy 37 times and then added a few macabre flourishes:
Knight worked as a slicer and packer at Aberdeen Abattoir and her lover had been carefully skinned and his skin hung on a meat hook in a doorway at the house.

His decapitated head was found in a pot on the stove. The table had been laid for dinner with name cards for Mr Price's three children and parts of his buttocks cooked and served up with vegetables and gravy on dinner plates.
Maybe if she had tied him up and run him dick first through the abattoir's industrial grinder...

Tuesday, June 27, 2006


Writing in the Arab News, Essa bin Mohammed Al-Zedjali condemns the GITMO detention facility as a "disgrace to humanity" with inmates kept in "unimaginably harsh conditions."

Al-Zedjali has nothing to say, however, about Saudi eye-gouging. Funny that.


Just in case you didn't misspend at least part of your childhood launching vegetables around the neighbourhood, a spud gun is a home made potato cannon. Spud itself is West Australian slang for a none-too-bright person. Thus the humour in this story about a spud gun:
A 24-YEAR-old woman is being treated in the Royal Perth Hospital for facial injuries she received when a spud gun exploded in her face at Maddington yesterday.

Police were told her 29-year-old boyfriend had kept the weapon in a shipping container in the backyard to use against intruders and the woman had found the device and was looking down the barrel as she placed it on the ground.

The spud gun ignition switch had fired and a solid paper ball hit the woman in the face.
Oh well, at least she didn't point the thing at anyone.

Update: It's not just the muzzle you gotta respect.


One German wild bear was one too many:
It's no surprise that Germany hadn't seen a bear in the wild in 170 years; it turns out the country just isn't that friendly toward them.

Bruno, the 99-kilogram, two-year-old brown bear that had eluded capture for more than a month, travelling about 30 kilometres a day from the Italian Alps to Bavaria and Germany, was shot and killed in an Alpine meadow near Schliersee, Germany yesterday.

He was killed by a single shot from 150 metres, said officials who would not identify the three hunters involved in the 4:50 a.m. shooting, citing possible threats from animal lovers.
A wild bear threatens some German hikers and blam, an anonymous sniper nails him. Hitler on the other hand was responsible for the deaths of millions ... oh, never mind.

Monday, June 26, 2006


Baby boomers. Really, really weird.


Abu Bakar Bashir has apparently been invited to visit Australia:
The hardline Indonesian cleric, who is believed by the West to be the spiritual head of the al-Qaida-linked Jemaah Islamiyah, said many of Australia's Muslims were more devout than their Indonesian counterparts and had sought him out.
A visit looks unlikely, however:
Immigration Minister Amanda Vanstone would not comment on the issue yesterday saying any request by Bashir to enter Australia would be processed by the Immigration Department.

But a spokeswoman for the department said Bashir's criminal convictions mean he would not pass the character test applied to prospective visitors to Australia.

Sunday, June 25, 2006


Do like Kim and defuzz that quim. Plus, bald beaver looks better and it's ever so yummy:
I hope I’m not breaching the LP comments policy by saying that I love the taste of vagina. I especially like the taste of a shaved vagina.
Jeez, and people say I'm an attention seeker.



An Indian migrant worker has been released from a Saudi jail after being pardoned:
Abdul Lateef Naushad, 34, was sentenced by a court to have one of his eyes gouged out for partially blinding Naif Al-Otaibi, a Saudi computer professional, during a scuffle at a gas station where the former was employed.
No doubt such eye gouging requires specialist medical equipment.


Friday, June 23, 2006


The results of a new Pew poll are no surprise:
Across the board, Muslim attitudes in Britain more resembled public opinion in Islamic countries in the Middle East and Asia than elsewhere in Europe. And on the whole, British Muslims were more pessimistic than those in Germany, France and Spain about the feasibility of living in a modern society while remaining devout.

The Pew poll found that British Muslims are far more likely than their European counterparts to harbour conspiracy theories about the September 11 attacks. Only 17% believed that Arabs were involved, compared with 48% in France.
The full report is here.

Thursday, June 22, 2006


Oh my God, calorific, fat-laden doughnuts are being sold in school fundraising efforts:
In Victoria health workers and many parents are horrified about the incursion of the US fast food chain, Krispy Kreme Doughnuts into the state's schools.
Yep, incursions into schools by US fast food chains are real horror inducers.


Comrade Maria Rosa Jimenez, a Cuban trained minion of Commandante Hugo Chavez, will visit Australia as a vanguard of Venezueala's "Bolivarian revolution":
"We believe that the Venezuelan revolution cannot remain solely focused within its own borders - we need to spread what we are constructing here to other countries because it is not possible for one country on its own to defeat the monster that is imperialism."
Has a familiar ring to it, no? How's this for some of that good old commie personality cult crapola?
“We need to strongly ratify the leadership of Commandante Chavez. Without Chavez, there is no revolutionary process ..."
According to comrade Jimenez, el Commandante is our only hope:
We need solidarity against the politics of the US in all parts of the world. The US is saying Venezuela has been militarised, that we have a dictatorship and all the rest of it. Any way you can [expose these lies] helps protect us against this campaign.

“The best way [to provide solidarity] is to spread this information, just like the actions you are taking already. Because it is not just a matter of defending Venezuela, but a question of saving the human race. The world is in crisis — ecological, political, social and moral — generated by imperialism, sufficiently serious to endanger the whole world. It is a battle that is necessary to save the human species.
Yep, it's a Bolivarian revolution alright: Chavez's hijacking of his name will have Simón Bolívar rapidly spinning in his grave.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006


The following brief exchange took place at a hearing of the Standing Committee on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs. The Chairman is Mr Wakelin; his question is directed to the President of the Maningrida Council, Morris Geinbaraba:
CHAIR—I need to bring up a difficult issue. I need your help because it is cultural, it is to do with community capacity et cetera and it is to do with the issue that Maningrida received publicity on in recent months about so-called child brides or whatever. I do not blame you if you do not want to comment because it is a difficult issue. I have to be careful; I am not even sub judice—and obviously there are still some issues between the courts, and your own Attorney-General, Peter Toyne is looking at it as well. I am asking about this in the sense of the community and if you say, ‘Leave it, we do not want to talk about it,’ then I respect that. But I am interested in how the community feels. Morris, are you able to speak—or someone else—to guide me on cultural challenges like this which the nation and your own Territory government have a view about? I will respect it if people say, ‘No, we do not want to deal with it here; it is difficult enough trying to deal with it.’ If somebody wants to comment, then I would appreciate a comment on the general points.

Mr Geinbaraba—I remember years ago that council came up with this idea about forming the council in a traditional way. Elders could have places as board members and they could stand and have the power to look after the whole community and the whole corporation—not by taking over the jobs which the community would do but by giving them advice on how we could communicate with the white society as well as Aboriginal society. We came up with this and we were looking at some way that we could form the traditional elders council. We were thinking about how we could set up the program for them to go ahead with those activities for young and old. We were thinking about where we could get the funds from, how we could set that body up and which office we could use—whether it is Bawinanga or the council. The only problem that we had was the budget. There were many difficult things here that we needed to sort out, so we came up with that idea.
Mr Wakelin almost asked this difficult question, which Mr Geinbaraba saw no need to answer, back in November 2002. The sexual abuse of children is still a problem in at least some Aboriginal communities and will continue to be a problem until some really difficult questions are asked and answers demanded.


A recent Tim Lambert post accuses Steve McIntyre of violating his own comments policy at Climate Audit. Specifically, Lambert accuses McIntyre of: altering and deleting some of Lambert's dissenting comments; abusing dissenting commenters in general; and groundlessly accusing Lambert of abusive commenting. This is pretty rich coming from Lambert, whose comments policy is strictly ad hoc.

Roughly 24 hours ago I attempted to join the discussion at Lambert's by lodging this comment:
Mr Lambert,

You moderate my comments, sometimes holding them up for hours until the conversation has moved on. You have altered some of my comments, deleted others and refused to post at least one. You have called me a troll and groundlessly accused me of abuse. If McIntyre has done everything you say, how is his comments handling different to yours?
The comment has yet to appear.

This little gem from Carl Christensen gets Lambert's stamp of approval:
Hans, you, JohnA & the CA cheerleaders are "one-hit wonders." If, at best, M&M "disproved" MBH98, that's about it. Not one friggin' original thought amongst you sheep; just lame pseudo-intellectual statistical masturbation on multi-proxies.

And from which concocted vantage point you baselessly slam EVERY DAMN STUDY relating to anthropogenic global warming that you see in the news or in "Nature." Because, let's face it, your CA gang is the only friends you clowns have, isn't it? It's far more about egos and sad lonely SOB's that couldn't hack it in academia than "climate science."
Hell, one of my comments was deleted and I got banned for calling Lambert sycophants "toadies."

The ScienceBlogs admin types either aren't keeping tabs on some of the slimy stuff Lambert gets up to or they're hoping the controversy he generates will increases readership. Either way, Lambert is making a joke of ScienceBlogs' self-stated role:
Our role, as we see it, is to create and continue to improve this forum for discussion, and to ensure that the rich dialogue that takes place at ScienceBlogs resonates outside the blogosphere.
Lambert is not a science blogger, he's a political blogger whose objective is points scoring, not accuracy.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006


The Saudi government is offering a range of scholarships to study in the United States:
The scholarships are available in majors such as communications, electrical and computer engineering, computer science, systems analysis, air traffic control, flight safety, and other majors related to the airline transport industry.

Applicants for the bachelor’s program must have a minimum score of 85 percent in the science section and 90 percent in other sections, such as Qur’an memorizing, administrative and commercial sciences.
I don't know about you but I wouldn't be comfortable riding in a plane controlled by someone with less than perfect Qur'an recall.

Monday, June 19, 2006


It's probably not a good idea to buy milk from a stranger:
Six men who were out camping in the desert near Al-Qaryat consumed large quantities of fresh milk from a shepherd who told them that it would give them energy and serve as an aphrodisiac... The six men were quickly rushed to hospital and admitted to the emergency ward as they began to vomit and suffer from diarrhea.
The milk was probably hot.

Saturday, June 17, 2006


Professor Ian Plimer recently expressed doubt about rising sea level submerging the world's islands:
"If there is a sea-level rise we would expect every atoll in every ocean to be inundated. But we don't see this."
As expected, Plimer's comments were rejected by the left. Despite evidence that sea level has risen quite a bit over the past 100 years, a new study appears to support Plimer.

EU EDF 8/9 – SOPAC Project Report 54, TUVALU TECHNICAL REPORT – COASTAL CHANGE ANALYSIS USING MULTI-TEMPORAL IMAGE COMPARISONS – FUNAFUTI ATOLL uses aerial and satellite photos to compare coastal erosion during the period 1941 - 2003. Particular attention is given to the period 1984 - 2003; the period for which the highest quality photos are available. If sea level is in fact rising it seems reasonable to assume that coastal erosion should have increased with a consequent decrease in the size of the islands studied. Contrary to expectations, the report - in a pdf form I can't copy from - indicates that erosion has not increased, with the total area of the islands actually increasing slightly. Download the report and have a look: many of the low-lying Pacific atolls are, at the best of times, iffy places to live.

Friday, June 16, 2006


According to computer scientist Tim Lambert, DDT did not play a huge role in reducing malaria in South Africa – to get around Lambert's link bouncing, copy and paste . South Africa's Health Minister Mantombazana Tshabalala-Msimang has no doubts about the importance of the decision to reintroduce DDT:
"This change in insecticide was one of the main contributing factors to the decline in malaria cases in the past five years in South Africa."

"South Africa has reduced malaria morbidity and mortality by approximately 88 percent and 86 percent, respectively, compared to the year 2000," she said.
Lambert really should correct some of his obvious DDT errors.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006


Canadian terrorism arrests have apparently prompted a radical rethink by Robert Fisk:
Angry young men are the tinderbox and Islamism is the match.
Nah, it's the same old Fiskish crap:
Canada is thus now involved in the Afghan war — those who doubt this should note the country has already shelled out $1.8bn in “defense spending” in Afghanistan and only $500m in “additional expenditures”, including humanitarian assistance and democratic renewal (sic) — and, by extension, in Iraq. In other words, Canada has gone to war in the Middle East.
What do Candians expect the angry Muslims amongst them should do, just sit back and watch?


The families of Manie ibn Shaman Al-Utaibi and Yasser ibn Talal Al-Zahrani say the men did not commit suicide:
They say that suicide is prohibited in Islam and every Muslim knows that severe punishments await in the hereafter those who take their own lives.
Severe punishments in the hereafter haven't stopped GITMO detianees attempting suicide:
There have been many previous suicide attempts at Guantanamo. Before Saturday, 23 prisoners had tried to kill themselves in 41 suicide attempts at the camp.
It could be that the suiciders thought their deaths might get GITMO shut down and would earn them a free pass to heaven. I mean, if flying an aircraft into a building gets you into heaven...

Saturday, June 10, 2006


A secret British police report reveals that there's a link between cultural background and corruption:
The main conclusions of the study, commissioned by the Directorate of Professional Standards and written by an Asian detective chief inspector, stated: "Asian officers and in particular Pakistani Muslim officers are under greater pressure from the family, the extended family ... and their community against that of their white colleagues to engage in activity that might lead to misconduct or criminality."
British Muslims are, of course, angry that this has been reported. Gee, Muslims sure seem to get angry a lot.


That university students know very little about how the real world works comes as no shock. Such is the depth of ignorance, universities are stepping in to remedy the problem:
Alfred University, a school in upstate New York where the majority of undergraduates live on campus, launched a cooking program in the last school year that included such fundamentals as boiling water. One of the motivations: reducing the number of fire alarms set off by students who burn their microwave popcorn and bacon.
Those teaching such life skills courses have their work cut out for them: trying to teach 20 somethings who can't read and apply cooking instructions designed for eight year-olds won't be easy. It's also a worry that those doing the teaching probably know very little about the real world having attended primary school, high school, university, graduate school and then gone straight into an academic position.

Jeez, it's no wonder universities are lefty dominated, no-one there knows anything about how the world works, other than in theory, of course. Anway, if you want an eye opener, read the whole article.

Friday, June 09, 2006


Professor of human geography Stephen Graham is worried by developments in military technology:
War is about to change, in terrifying ways. America's next wars, the ones the Pentagon is now planning, will be nothing like the conflicts that have gone before them.

In just a few years, US forces will be able to deal out death, not at the squeeze of a trigger or even the push of a button, but with no human intervention whatsoever.
Graham does seem a bit behind the information curve, however:
Many fighting soldiers - those GIs in tin hats who are dying two a day in Iraq - will be replaced by machines backed up by surveillance technology so penetrating and pervasive that it is referred to as "military omniscience".
The Kevlar helmet replaced the steel helmet in the 1980s.


An investigative reporter for a science magazine makes a sinister discovery:
New Scientist has discovered that Pentagon's National Security Agency, which specialises in eavesdropping and code-breaking, is funding research into the mass harvesting of the information that people post about themselves on social networks.
Oh my God, the NSA is going to harvest information voluntarily posted by internet users. It's yet one more wake-up call:
Americans are still reeling from last month's revelations that the NSA has been logging phone calls since the terrorist attacks of 11 September 2001.
So, why does the NSA want to log activity at social networking sites like MySpace and Friendster? Simple, phone logging doesn't provide much information:
They can only be used to build a very basic picture of someone's contact network, a process sometimes called "connecting the dots".
Dumb old Americans have been reeling over nothing. Ready, set, reel.


Polly Toynbee looks at the British crime figures, concludes that crime is on a downward trend and then laments the high incarceration rate:
An unquenchable thirst for punishment has seen the numbers given prison sentences rise by 53% in the same decade that crime has fallen.
Gee, it might just be that the "unquenchable thirst for punishment" has reduced crime. Duh.


A Ugandan writes to her president begging that DDT be reintroduced:
Past aid agency efforts simply have not worked. Bed nets, education and other “approved” programs have done little to reduce malaria — which is why South Africa, Swaziland, Zambia and now Uganda and Tanzania are turning to DDT and other insecticides, which do work.
Read the whole thing and then take a look at Tim Lambert's DDT ban myth bingo to find out just how clueless Ugandans are when it comes to DDT – copy and paste to get around Lambert's link bouncing.

Thursday, June 08, 2006


Dick Marty's "investigation" into CIA rendition and detention is accurately characterized:
Mr MacShane, a British Labour MP and [Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe] member told the BBC World Service's Europe Today programme the report was made up of "fantasies".

He accused Dick Marty of "going round collecting newspaper clippings and producing extraordinary allegations against the Poles and Romanians, which frankly are not worth serious parliamentary discussion".
British Conservative MEP Charles Tannock is also unimpressed, describing Marty's report as:
"a lot of hearsay, a lot of accusations, and very little proof".

"It's been an exercise in bashing America," he said.
America bashing? Nah.


Anti-Zionism crusader, and US hater, Antony Loewnestein continues his anti-imperialism theme in speculating that Hugo Chavez has defanged the American beast:
Whereas in the past the US wouldn’t think twice about supporting military coups and invasion, today’s Latin America is an altogether more independent and robust beast. The rise of popular movements – literally millions of people demanding more access to their country’s resources – is guaranteed to scare Western nations.
Noam Chomsky doesn't quite agree:
And so, the U.S. is preparing for more use of violence. If you take a look at the number of U.S. military personnel throughout Latin America, the military bases, the training of Latin American officers, that's all going up very sharply. In fact, for the first time ever, there are now more U.S. military personnel in Latin America than personnel for the major federal aid organizations. That never happened during the Cold War. Also military training for Latin American officers, and you know what that means.

Military training is being shifted from the State Department to the Pentagon. That's important. The State Department is under congressional supervision, and there are conditionalities, human rights and democracy conditionalities. They're not imposed very much, but they're there, you know, and they have some effect. You switch it to the Pentagon, there's no controls. Do whatever you want. And the whole region is surrounded by bases, and I suspect there will be secessionist movements coming along in Venezuela and Bolivia and possibly Iran. So the military option has by no means been abandoned, but it’s nothing like what it was before. I mean, in the past, you just overthrew governments, you know, didn't think twice about it.
A third scenario, in which events in South America are seen as simply politics as usual, is most likely closer to the mark:
The fashionable current narrative of a "swing to the left" in Latin America, espoused by commentators of left and right alike, appears to have a lot of evidence to commend it: the election of centre-left governments in Brazil and Chile, of more radical figures in Venezuela and Bolivia, and the wave of social protests and convulsions in countries as different as Argentina, Ecuador and Mexico in the first years of the 21st century.

The narrative, however, is only skin-deep. It overlooks a key factor: the populist, nationalist and authoritarian currents that have resurfaced in many places. A full account of this factor reveals that the deeper Latin America story is not a renascent left but a populist resurgence that is further eroding already damaged political institutions.
Anyway, what are the chances that either Loewenstein or Chomsky is right?


The lawyer for a group being held in solitary confinement by the US military claims his clients are being mistreated:
It's cruel and unusual, and it's unnecessary.
Those being held in solitary are US soldiers accused of killing an innocent Iraqi.


There are unconfirmed reports that the most wanted man in Iraq is dead:
Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Maliki is about to announce that militant leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi has been killed, Iraqi state television reports.
Details as they become available.


Update II: Via a CBS affiliate:
Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the al-Qaida-linked militant who led a bloody campaign of suicide bombings, kidnappings and hostage beheadings in Iraq, has been killed in a U.S. air raid north of Baghdad, Iraq's prime minister said Thursday.

Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki said al-Zarqawi was killed Wednesday evening along with seven aides.
A big score, if true.

Update III: Zarqawi's death is confirmed:
General George Casey, the top U.S. general in Iraq, says al-Zarqawi's body has been identified by fingerprints and facial recognition.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006


The CIA's secret rendition and detention "spider's web" obviously isn't so secret because it has been mapped. Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly rapporteur Dick Marty's full report is here. The Guardian offers this summary:
The full extent of European collusion with the CIA during operations to abduct terrorism suspects and fly them to countries where they may be tortured is laid bare today by the continent's most authoritative human rights body.

Several states have allowed the agency to snatch their own residents, others have offered extensive logistical support, while many have turned a blind eye, according to the Council of Europe.

The UK stands accused of not only allowing the use of British airspace and airports, but of providing information that was used during the torture of one suspect. The report adds that there is strong evidence to suspect two European states, Poland and Romania, of permitting the CIA to operate secret prisons on their soil, despite official denials.
Here's the shorter summary: Allegations, accusations and suspicions.


As I noted just the other day, Australia's self-styled DDT authority reckons you'd have to be totally clueless to think the EU would boycott or ban agricultural products from any African nation that reintroduces DDT for indoor anti-malaria spraying. Well, Ugandans are obviously clueless:
Uganda's agricultural exporters have petitioned President Yoweri Museveni to stop the government's planned use of DDT in the fight against malaria.

The exporters are arguing that the controversial chemical will turn buyers against their products.

In an open letter to the president dated April 25, the exporters argue that a government plan to spray DDT only indoors to ensure that it does not get into the food chain, is not enough to assuage the fears of consumers in the West.

"There is no such thing as 'controlled' indoor spraying; DDT effluents will at some point enter the food chain and negatively impact on Uganda's export market," the petition says. The stigma that will then attach to Uganda's export products will affect all sectors. "Already, some importers of Ugandan products in Europe have threatened to stop buying our products once the spraying starts," adds the petition, which was signed by representatives of traditional and non-traditional exports organisations from the dairy, honey, coffee, tea, fish, textile, organic and horticultural produce sectors.
Click the first link above to read what Roy Innis had to say about the EU's failure to support the use of DDT against malaria. Oddly, Malaria Man, who averages better than three DDT posts a month, has gone quiet on the subject.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006


Candians don't want to accept they were targets for terrorist attack:
The view of Canada as removed from the immigrant frictions and diplomatic strains suffered by its superpower neighbor may be outdated, said Audrey Macklin, a University of Toronto law professor who specializes in immigration, refugee and citizenship affairs.

"There is a desire in Canada to see ourselves as very different from the United States. Whatever we are, we are not the United States," she said, citing the nation's more liberal immigration policy and rejection of go-it-alone military actions. Canada has declined to be part of the U.S.-led forces involved in the war in Iraq.

"We're not a priority target the way the United States is, but that doesn't mean we are protected," she said, adding that Canadians "picture themselves as being thought of as nicer than the United States."
Nice is a description of losers.


The Campbells didn't forced their sons to eat vegetables, so the boys never developed a taste for them. This lack of greenery in the diet has produced no apparent ill effects:
The Campbells - John, 91, Jim, 88, Colin, 85, Sid, 82, and Doug, 78 - are all fit and well despite having defied medical advice and spurned cabbage, beans and purple sprouting, let alone asparagus and mangetout. All except Colin have outlived their wives.
Somehow I doubt my smoking and not eating vegetables strategy is going to pay off.


Warming water in the arctic might be causing polar bear drownings but in Darwin the water's too cold:
The Darwin City Council is investigating whether to heat one of the city's pools, because locals are finding the water too cold to swim.
No doubt the models predict this.

Monday, June 05, 2006


Qayyum Abdul Jamal, the oldest of the Canadian terror suspects, is going to have lots of free time to fill while awaiting trial. He'll cope:
Neighbors said Jamal's wife drove a school bus, and he was always home and did not seem to work regularly.
Shocking, ain't it?


The Globe and Mail sees the arrests as resulting from good policing:
The ammonium nitrate was delivered. The targets were set. After two years of a stealthily assembled counterterrorism web of surveillance, wiretaps and informants, police were ready to swoop down.

The operation was so complex and tightly shrouded that everyone involved — including all the roughly 400 police officers who scooped up the 17 suspected Islamic extremists Friday and Saturday — had to sign the Official Secrets Act, pledging total discretion.

Targets of the alleged plot included political and economic symbols such as the Parliament Buildings and Peace Tower in Ottawa, along with the CN Tower and Toronto Stock Exchange in Toronto.

But long before the sensational details and spectacular arrests came the watching. Visits to certain Internet sites were observed and traced. When visitors met with some of those under surveillance, they were arrested as soon as they returned to the United States. When a group from the Toronto area visited a private recreation area in Ontario's cottage country, police appeared in force the next day and began to pore over the grounds.

And when the watching came to a head, what triggered the rapid wave of RCMP-led Toronto-area arrests was the Mounties' controlled delivery shortly before of three tonnes of ammonium nitrate in 25-kilogram bags — gardening fertilizer that, when mixed with fuel oil, can produce a lethal bomb of the type white supremacist Timothy McVeigh used in 1995 to destroy Oklahoma City's Alfred P. Murrah building, killing 168 people.

Mr. McVeigh's truck bomb, however, was built with just one tonne of ammonium nitrate, a product sold at countless hardware and gardening stores.

The alleged conspirators' plans were evident, assistant RCMP commissioner Mike McDonell said.
The Toronto Star worries that the suspects will be railroaded:
At a news conference Saturday, a dozen of the highest-ranking police officers in the province gathered to announce that an alleged terrorist cell had been shut down before it could explode a truck bomb three times more powerful than the device used in Oklahoma City. They were circumspect about Operation O-Sage, arguing time constraints in the preparation of evidence as well as police procedure.

The anti-terrorism task force was careful about the wording of its news release, saying that the group "took steps to acquire" the three tonnes of ammonium nitrate, a popular fertilizer used to make bombs. As well, they laid out selected evidence for the photographers and TV crews, showing only "sample" bags of ammonium nitrate.

Meanwhile, under massive police security which included sharpshooters on nearby roofs and tactical squad officers with submachine-guns, suspects were brought in leg irons to the provincial courthouse in Brampton. There, in Room 101, Justice of the Peace John Farnum postponed bail hearings until tomorrow morning.

For the experts contacted by the Star, these events were as much about creating an image for the public as about charging the individuals. And it's an image, they argue, that could hurt the right of the accused — 12 men and five youths — to a fair trial.
Is it just me or have these arrests got Canadians conflicted?


Northern Territory police are accused of enagaging in some old-time policing:
Reverend Djiniyini Gondarra says police were investigating the theft of $36,000 from the local store when they arrested the teenager last week.

Reverend Gondarra says police drove the teenager to an isolated area, pulled him from the back of the car and held a loaded gun to his temple.

The elder says the officers repeatedly threatened to kill the 19-year-old if he did not tell them where the money was.
Did the young fella give up the cash?

Sunday, June 04, 2006


Immediately after releasing the names of those recently arrested on terrorism charges, Luc Portelance of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service issued a caution:
“It is important to know that this operation in no way reflects negatively on any specific community, or ethno-cultural group in Canada.”
Somehow I doubt that's going to stop Canadians making certain assumptions:
Charged are: Fahim Ahmad, 21, Zakaria Amara, 20, Asad Ansari, 21, Shareef Abdelhaleen, 30, Qayyum Abdul Jamal, 43, Mohammed Dirie, 22, Yasim Abdi Mohamed, 24, Jahmaal James, 23, Amin Mohamed Durrani, 19, Steven Vikash Chand, 25, and Ahmad Mustafa Ghany, 21.


If your doctor's waiting room is anything like the ones I've been in recently, its walls are decorated with posters warning of the dangers of diabetes, poor diet, smoking and the like. The posters urge that any concerns be discussed with your doctor. Well, expect to soon see climate change posters decorating doctors' waiting rooms across Australia: medicos have discovered the despair associated with climate change and are determined to do something about it:
"We can inform the debate with reliable data on the mental and physical health consequences of global warming, and utilise our expertise on human behavioural responses to overwhelming threat to convert despair into constructive action," Prof Kefford said.

"Doctors did this successfully in response to the threat of nuclear annihilation in the 1980s and we can do it again."
Australia's doctors will, of course, provide this service out of the goodness of their collective hearts and not simply as a means to create a whole new category of patient. Gee, this almost restores my respect for the medical profession. – my 90 year-old mother has no other family in Australia so I get to visit lots of doctors.

Saturday, June 03, 2006


A young Londoner explains why an ever increasing number of British kiddies are packing knives:
"The main reason I think they carry them is because their mums don't give them money..."


Now here's a fundraiser worth supporting:
The youth section of the Norwegian Fremskrittspartiet, the major conservative opposition party in the country, has set up a fundraising campaign in which they say they will buy Mullah Krekar a one-way airplane ticket to his home in Northern Iraq. Krekar, whose real name is Najmuddin Faraj Ahmad, is an Iraqi Kurd who received political asylum in Norway in 1991. According to Krekar’s lawyer the campaign is not funny and proves that the Fremkrittspartiet’s youth section has no respect for human rights.
Read the whole thing – do-gooders are going to get us all killed if we're not careful.


Oliver Burkemann visits Idaho, where patriots are red-necks and "sexual relations with livestock are still commonplace." Burkemann might as well be on a different planet.


The BBC reports that Jimmy Carter pretty much wants the US to bend over for Iran, if necessary, to get nuclear talks started. And why should anyone take any notice of Carter's advice?
His comments are significant, given that he was the president when US relations with Iran hit an all-time low.

He witnessed the Iranian revolution and the seizure of the American Embassy in Tehran in 1979.

He struggled for 444 days to release the US Embassy staff held hostage.
If Carter had acted decisively back then we probably wouldn't be in this mess today.


The Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine (JOEM) has announced the pending retraction of a peer-reviewed paper by Chinese scientists Jian Dong Zhang and Shu Kun Li. The retracted paper's focus is the association between hexavalent chromium (chromium-6) contaminated drinking water and cancer – this association made famous by the film "Erin Brockovich".

The JOEM is retracting the paper because of an undisclosed link between the authors and outside interests. In explaining the decision to retract, JOEM editor Paul Brandt-Rauf throws the scientific impartiality of the review process into doubt by noting:
Although it is impossible to know what the impact of such disclosure would have been, it is possible that full knowledge of the circumstances may have altered the review process or the subsequent interpretation of the study by readers.
In any event, Brandt-Rauf makes it clear the paper's science is not in question:
It should be understood that there is no evidence to suggest the existence of scientific fraud in this work and that the factual content of the article has not been re-evaluated. This decision is based solely on the violation of the journal's policy regarding disclosure.
After reading Brandt-Rauf's explanation, Tim Lambert decides a massive fraud has indeed been perpetrated. But Dr Lambert need not worry about anyone accusing him of scientific fraud because he's something less than a prolific author. He is obviously a very busy man, however, what with his commitment to be available three hours a week to counsel students. Hell, he's so busy he hasn't had the time to update his Research Projects page since August 1999 – the outdated links at his UNSW personal page could also do with a tidy up. How does he find the time to blog?

Friday, June 02, 2006


Hans Blix's action plan for the elimination of weapons of mass destruction, produced for The Weapons of Mass Destruction Commission, is a case study in political naiveté and
bureaucratic wishful thinking. Take these examples from the report's synopsis:
Nuclear, biological and chemical arms are the most inhumane of all weapons. Designed to terrify as well as destroy, they can, in the hands of either states or non-state actors, cause destruction on a vastly greater scale than any conventional weapons, and their impact is far more indiscriminate and long-lasting.
Gee Hans, fully fueled passenger aircraft have proven inhumane and very destructive. An attack on a liquified natural gas tanker could also do a fair bit of damage in creating a fire that could not be extinguised.
So long as any state has such weapons – especially nuclear arms – others will want them.
So, if governments eliminate existing WMD stocks no one will seek them? Wrong.
Weapons of mass destruction cannot be uninvented. But they can be outlawed, as biological and chemical weapons already have been, and their use made unthinkable.
Yep, outlawing is an effective strategy if ever there was one. The 228 page report does prove one thing: Hans is still completely clueless. Hans should retire and stay retired.


According to Tim Lambert, you'd have to be clueless to think the EU has threatened trade sanctions against African countries wanting to use DDT (to get around Lambert's petty link-bouncing, copy and paste ).

Well, Roy Innis, national chairman of the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE), has had enough of the thinly veiled threats:
... the European Union (EU) is again warning of possible agricultural export sanctions against Uganda, Kenya, and other countries that use DDT to save lives. Previous threats were pointed and direct; the latest are more oblique.

"Nothing will happen, at least on the official side, if they decide to use DDT in strict compliance with the Stockholm Convention" on chemicals, the EU's trade representative to Uganda said recently. But the EU has "no control" over environmental and consumer organizations that might pressure supermarkets to stop selling agricultural products from those nations, he claimed.

In other words, if callous activists want to exaggerate the risks from trace amounts of insecticides and ignore the very real, life-or-death dangers those insecticides could prevent, the EU's hands are tied. It can't even do anything as simple as issuing an official statement attesting that DDT is safe and effective and represents no threat to EU consumers. If more Africans get sick and die, that's a shame, but we Europeans have our own concerns--that's the EU's position.

The struggle for human rights--especially the fundamental right to life itself--is obviously not over.
Innis reckons it's time for Europe to stop screwing around and get totally with the program:
It's time for Europe to end its deadly policies. Individual countries and the EU Parliament must issue an unequivocal declaration:

• supporting DDT as a vital component of any malaria control program;

• affirming the right of every country's health minister to decide which weapons to use in combating disease;

• agreeing to support insecticide spraying programs;

• saying trade bans and lethal supermarket campaigns will not be tolerated; and

• pledging to penalize any country or organization that tries to block lifesaving insecticide programs.

For too long, the European Union, environmental groups, and health care agencies let horribly misguided policies perpetuate malaria's global reign of terror. They have it within their power to save millions of lives and improve health and economic conditions for billions.
If they can find the necessary moral clarity and political willpower, countless mothers and daughters, fathers and sons will be spared the ravages of this killer disease. And by the next Africa Malaria Day, there will actually be something to celebrate--not just in Africa but also in Asian and Latin American countries that are still plagued by this ancient, deadly disease.
Strangely, Innis then refers those wanting further information to the evil death-mongerers at Africa Fighting Malaria. Surely Lambert is going to have to correct Innis's errors.

Thursday, June 01, 2006


Europe's parliamentarians have finally had enough of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad:
"We call upon the 25 EU member states and FIFA to declare the Iranian president 'persona non grata ad personam' within EU territory, as long as his positions on martyrdom, the Holocaust and the destruction of Israel, and Iran's uranium enrichment activities remain unchanged," they wrote in a letter.


Scientists think they have figured out what caused the unusual warmth of the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum some 55 million years ago:
"Basically, it looks like the Earth released a gigantic fart of green house gases into the atmosphere - and globally the Earth warmed by about 5C."
Appy Sluijs and his fellow scientists are, however, far from understanding the whole picture:
"We still haven't explained why the tropics stayed cool," Huber said. "Somehow, we have to explain how you can warm the poles up to 23 degrees Celsius without having the tropics rise to at least 50 degrees, which is 10 degrees too hot for plants to carry out photosynthesis."

He said the implications are troubling because current models may be providing optimistic predictions.
So, the coming human-induced warming might just be greater than predicted. Not necessarily:
"Today's models underpredict how warm the poles were back then, which tells you something disturbing — that the models, if anything, aren't sensitive enough to greenhouse gases," Huber said. "At the same time, it is possible that other forces in addition to higher-than-normal greenhouse gas concentrations were involved, otherwise we can't explain how the tropics maintained livable conditions.
Yep, scientists still have a lot of climate change explaining to do.