Thursday, November 30, 2006


Allegations of abuse of locals by UN peacekeepers have again surfaced:
Children have been subjected to rape and prostitution by United Nations peacekeepers in Haiti and Liberia, a BBC investigation has found.

Girls have told of regular encounters with soldiers where sex is demanded in return for food or money.

The assistant secretary-general for peacekeeping operations acknowledges that sexual abuse is widespread.

"We've had a problem probably since the inception of peacekeeping - problems of this kind of exploitation of vulnerable populations," Jane Holl Lute told the BBC.

"My operating presumption is that this is either a problem or a potential problem in every single one of our missions."
Unfortunately, offenders probably needn't worry:
Under UN regulations, military personnel cannot be prosecuted in the country where they are serving, and it is up to the courts in their home countries to prosecute crimes committed.

The UN said it had firm knowledge of only two concrete examples of sex offenders being sent to jail, although it believed there could be others it did not know about.
The international community would be screaming for blood if US forces were involved.


Oceanographer John Middleton says the dreaded El Ninos that bring drought to Australia might have a previously unrecognized upside:
"The research I've done to date suggests they can actually lead to more nutrients available to the food web and thus more productivity," he said.

"So it's not all necessarily bad news about El Nino. It may be that in our oceans they may in fact be beneficial, while on the terrestrial side of course we know that they can be pretty miserable in terms of rainfall."
With the bad comes the good.


Democrats have rejected a recommendation of the 9/11 commission:
It was a solemn pledge, repeated by Democratic leaders and candidates over and over: If elected to the majority in Congress, Democrats would implement all of the recommendations of the bipartisan commission that examined the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

But with control of Congress now secured, Democratic leaders have decided for now against implementing the one measure that would affect them most directly: a wholesale reorganization of Congress to improve oversight and funding of the nation's intelligence agencies. Instead, Democratic leaders may create a panel to look at the issue and produce recommendations, according to congressional aides and lawmakers.
When in doubt it's always a good idea to dilute responsibility and delay action by establishing an investigative committee.


Happy Feet co-writer John Collee is not a happy man:
“The planet is largely covered with water yet we have this bizarre delusion that we can utterly destroy our marine ecosystems and somehow emerge unscathed. Coral reefs are in terminal decline. Whales and penguins are literally starving to death as a result of krill depletion. As regards global warming - the entire West Antarctic ice sheet is balanced on the tips of mountains and fragmenting at the edges. ... The horrible reality of our war on the environment is so dark that most people don't want to contemplate it.”
Imagine that, an entertainment type who's an amateur climate scientist.


Journalist and best-selling author Antony Loewnestein is miffed with the Australian's Amanda Mead for revealing his best-seller has sold only 5,987 copies. He implies that Mead's figure is a gross underestimation. Rather than simply reveal the actual number sold, he suggests Mead contact his publisher to obtain the correct figure. This is a bit odd; you'd reckon a best-selling author would be crowing about his sales figures. Unless...

Wednesday, November 29, 2006


Santa has a sleigh-pulling problem:
Disregarding the holiday season's "Peace on Earth" message, [Christina] Ricci recently posed for a magazine cover wearing fur from slaughtered reindeer. At least she's not into fur hats: Imagine how many more pelts it would take to cover that forehead.
The forehead jibe is a humour attempt from the ass-holes at PETA.

Click the link for PETA's worst dressed fur-wearers -- since you're reading my stuff I assume you have time to kill.


Gaia theory guru James Lovelock delivers a mixed bag of global warming good news and bad news:
"We are not all doomed. An awful lot of people will die, but I don't see the species dying out," he told a news conference.

"A hot Earth couldn't support much over 500 million."

Mr Lovelock said temperature rises of up to 8C were already built in and, while efforts to curb it were morally commendable, they were wasted.

Mr Lovelock said the United States, which has rejected the Kyoto protocol on cutting carbon emissions, wrongly believed there was a technological solution, while booming economies China and India were out of control.
So, we should stop wasting money on global warming solutions, upgrading our military instead. You know, so we can defend our land or take over someone else's if need be.


Jeez, I don't even like to think about this:
A woman has been charged with bestiality and offensive conduct after allegedly being involved in an indecent act with a horse.

Police said they found the naked woman with the horse when they were called to a paddock in Wilson Street, Lismore, on the NSW north coast, at 9am on Monday.
If it feels good, do it... apparently.


Russian Afghanistan veteran General Ruslan Aushev offers some advice to western leaders:
"What is the point of staying there? They control nothing. A state should be built up in Afghanistan, but if they themselves won't do it, no one will be able to do it for them. The whole world will fail."
You know, the guy's probably right.


French police are finding their work increasingly dangerous:
Stoned, beaten and insulted, their vehicles torched by crowds of hostile youths, French police say they face an urban guerrilla war when they enter the run-down neighborhoods that ring the major cities.

Bedside television interviews with officers hospitalized after beatings in "les banlieues," or suburbs, support statistics showing a 6.7 percent jump in violent crime in the 12 months to August.

Fourteen officers are hurt every day in the line of duty, unions estimate...
The increased violence against police is easy to explain:
The head of the French crime statistics body told Reuters the rise in attacks on police was partly due to Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy's 2002 decision to order police back into tough areas, to disrupt the black economy that fuels crime.
Naturally, many favour reversion to the pre-2002 policy of ignoring the antics of the nastiest law-breakers. It's either that or chance civil war.


Antony Loewenstein, the Rodney Dangerfield of Australian political writers, gets a non-mention mention in a report on Australian anti-semitism:
The shallowness and intellectual dishonesty in some of the debate on the Middle East in Australia was evident in the reception accorded a book written on Israel and Australia’s Jewish Community by an individual with no particular expertise, experience or skills but who identified himself as a Jewish critic of Australian Jewry and of Zionism. While the book was riddled with factual inaccuracies and sloppiness, it was speedily given iconic value by a range of critics of Israel, including overt antisemites.

It was promoted and sold by extreme right wing political organisations, available at a bookstand which otherwise exclusively sold fundamentalist Islamic texts at a Muslim fair and the author was promoted by a variety of far-left groups existentially opposed to Israel.

The author’s personal moderated internet discussion forum published a series of items making offensive comments about individuals opposed to Holocaust denial and others accusing critics of the author of using “every weapon in the Jewish armoury of self-victimisation” , while the author himself used offensive anti-Jewish language, but the utility to anti-Israel groups and individuals of having a self-identified Jewish person who was eager to criticise Israel and Australian Jewry seemingly over-rode any concern with factual accuracy or concern with racism.
Loewenstein responding:
The report’s authors are too gutless to actually mention my book by name, My Israel Question, or my name itself (they’ll be happy to know that there will be many more surprises on these matters in 2007.)

Despite the best efforts of Zionist agitators everywhere (including this report’s author, Jeremy Jones, who penned a review for the Australian Jewish News that reached new heights of hilarity), my book has become a best-seller and is now well into its 3rd reprint. Of course, Zionists may comfort themselves with the thought that my book appeals to a very narrow section of society, but in fact the amount of mail I’ve received from across the country and overseas - young and old, Jewish and non-Jewish, left and right - proves that My Israel Question has in fact spoken to many, sick of the tired, old militant Zionism that has failed time and time again.
Surprises? Other than embracing Zionism the biggest surprise Loewenstein could pull off would be to write something actually worth reading. As for not mentioning his book or his name, why bother? Everyone will immediately recognize the best selling book and its author.

Update: A quick check of Loewenstein's archive reveals no mention of the recently canceled school simulation provided by Macquarie University's Centre for Middle East and North African Studies -- as he so often reminds readers, he's on the board. The Centre's newsletter does, however, note the program's demise by stating without elaboration:
High School simulation closed down
Gee, lefties usually have so much to say.


New South Wales schools will no longer use a learning activity meant to teach students about tensions in the Middle East:
A simulation exercise in which Year 11 students played Arabs and Israelis has been dropped by NSW schools after parents complained it was creating racial tension and painted terrorists in a sympathetic light.

An inquiry by a senior Education Department officer found the simulation exercise, devised by Macquarie University's centre for Middle Eastern studies, risked creating disharmony in schools and the community and that there was a "significant risk" of harm to the "welfare and wellbeing of students from particular minorities".

Documents given to The Australian show the inquiry was prompted by complaints from parents that background notes presented to the students gave positive descriptions of groups such as Hamas's Qassam Brigades and Palestinian Islamic Jihad.

Students were not told the groups are listed terrorist organisations and support for them is an offence under Australian law.

Parents complained that students feared being marked down if they did not agree with the dominant anti-Israeli, anti-Western polemic.

The schools simulation is being run by Andrew Vincent, who runs the Macquarie University centre for Middle Eastern studies and was recently criticised in federal parliament for alleged anti-Israel bias. Mr Vincent said he devised the program to help students "work out the passions" of the Arab-Israeli conflict.

Asked why the high school simulation was stopped this year, Mr Vincent said: "The allegation was made that we were training terrorists."
Antony Loewenstein, "best selling" "author," anti-Zion crusader and board member at Macquarie University's Centre for Middle East and North African Studies, obviously contributed to the program:
According to the board, the material provided by Mr Vincent was not only biased but "riddled with grammatical, syntactical and spelling errors".
It's the message that counts.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006


I have up to now refrained from commenting on Major Peter Tinley's recent comments regarding Australia's involvement in Iraq but since he has announced his intention to stand for federal parliament I think it now appropriate to comment.

Today at work a colleague and I (he's a former Australian army officer; I was a lieutenant in the USN) briefly discussed Tinley's comments. We agreed that his comments were nothing more than opinion and should not have been voiced publicly -- it's just not the done thing for ex-officers to voice such unsubstantiated commentary.

More worrying than Tinley (perhaps inappropriately) exercising his freedom to speak is his apparent hypocrisy. Last night in his long segment on Lateline he said:
I think the reasons that we went to war in Iraq were baseless. The Government sent us there under the idea of looking for weapons of mass destruction and they gave us the impression that there was a clear and imminent danger of them being used. We now know through our own tactical search on the ground in Iraq and certainly from the Iraq Survey Group, that that was not true at all.
This is somewhat at odds with his previous contention that he knew (through his high level access to intelligence) prior to the invasion that Iraq had no WMD:
"I couldn't find any direct actionable intelligence linking any of the areas we were looking at in the west with WMD," he tells Inquirer. "We were looking from just west of Baghdad all the way through to the Jordanian border and between the Syrian and Saudi borders. When I pressed them (US intelligence) for more specific imagery or information regarding locations or likely locations of WMD, they confessed, off the record, that there had not been any tangible siting of any WMD or WMD-enabling equipment for some years. It was all shadows and inferenced conversations between Iraqis. [There is no such thing in the military as "off the record," as Tinley proves in referring to an "off the record" conversation - Ed.]

"There was an overwhelming desire for all of the planning staff to simply believe that the Iraqis had learned how to conceal their WMD assets away from the US assets."

The result, Tinley says, was that the Australian taskforce never really took the WMD search seriously, even though it had specialist combat engineers trained in search and containment.
Yet Tinley apparently voiced no objections to his superiors about going to war based on lies, and certainly didn't go public. It's even conceivable that strong enough objections from Tinley might have preempted the involvement he now condemns.

Did Tinley really know the war was groundless (with him participating only because he was following orders) or was the WMD situation possibly not as clear cut as he now presents it? Either way, he could suffer some serious blowback. Welcome to the world of politics.


Howard haters (here, here, here and here) are all worked up about the government's failure to know about the Australian Wheat Board's kickbacks to Saddam Hussein. It would be interesting to know how they feel about Western Australia's Labor Education Minister's ignorance:
Embattled Education Minister Ljiljanna Ravlich has accused the former director-general of her department of not telling her about a corruption probe.

Ms Ravlich said today she believed former Department of Education and Training (DET) chief Paul Albert concealed the Corruption and Crime Commission's (CCC) investigation into DET's handling of allegations of sexual misconduct by teachers.

"Absolutely, I am saying that,'' Ms Ravlich told reporters.

The minister says she only found out about the investigation when the CCC briefed her four days before releasing a report in October.

The report found DET paid insufficient attention to managing the risks of sexual contact between teachers and students and gave greater weight to employee welfare than to the safety and protection of children.
It's just not fair to expect a minister to know about a child sex crime investigation going on in her own department.


In 2005 researchers at The Australian National University claimed Australia's megafauna was killed off by human induced climate change:
Disruption to the ecology of the Australian landscape caused by the burning practices of the continent’s first inhabitants probably led to the extinction of megafauna 50,000 years ago, according to new research.
Researchers at the Queensland University of Technology have opted for a more politically correct explanation:
"So it's most likely that Australia's giant kangaroos and other megafauna in this area were driven to extinction by the hands of Mother Nature."
Where's the scientific consensus we've been hearing so much about?


Graham MacGregor, professor of Cardiovascular Medicine at St. George's Hospital in London, gives a highly technical lecture on the dangers of salty foods:
The short-term effects of eating a lot of salt are it makes you thirsty and that makes you consume more soft drinks, and soft drinks have got a lot of sugar and a huge amount of calories.

And the sort of snacks that are being given, lunchtime snacks, are being given to children in Australia and in the UK, are very calorie-dense, all these cheese snacks and meat snacks and so on.

They've got huge amounts of calories in, and the thing that makes them edible is this very high salt concentration.

The salt taste receptors in the children get suppressed and then they want more and more salty foods so stomachs simply get a bit too agitated with these very high salt foods and demand them more.
Salt agitated stomach? The real worry is that my scare tactic agitated brain will blow a gasket.


Google recently invited students and teachers from around the world to brainstorm anti-global warming strategies. Google then ran a full page ad in USA Today featuring idea number three from the list of 50 ideas:
Put light sensors in all office and school buildings so all lights go off when the rooms are empty.
How the hell a light sensor can detect when a room is unoccupied is beyond me. What they probably mean is that the sensors would turn off lights at night when rooms are expected to be unoccupied. Some rooms are of course occupied at night, at least for periods, so the sensor-equipped switches would have to be equipped with a manual over-ride.

As it's likely people would forget to turn off at least some of these manually over-ridden lights, a timer would have to be attached as back-up. Electricians and manufacturers of light-killing gizmos would no doubt be happy about all this but it seems, well, just a tad inefficient. Why not just make it standard operating procedure for the last person to leave a room to turn off the lights and place please-turn-the-lights-off signs near the exits? Too simple.

The list is dominated by lefty based crapola:
Require that all products contributing to global warming be marked with a specific color (e.g., chemical pesticides could be marked with a red sticker for being extremely dangerous to the environment).
Many of the ideas relate to environmentally questionable recycling strategies; some are outright ludicrous:
Protect our oceans - prevent plankton in the ocean from dying.
Yes, let's kill off the evil, global warming inducing, plankton eating baleen whales.

This little project will have consumed quite a bit of energy and rather than reducing emissions will have increased them. But I'm sure all of those who participated will be smugly satisfied at having taken part. Dummies.

Monday, November 27, 2006


If your looking for a 2007 calendar to hang in your bathroom for purposes of self-gratification you'll want to give ecobabes a miss. Here's the description of Miss August:
As an artist, performer, MC for events, and avid creative thinker, I constantly generate playful ways to engage people in caring for the earth. My alias is Betty Biodiesel who dresses up as a sunflower and educates people about biofuels. I lead a project called, am part of a co-op working to increase biofuel distribution in this region, and have a Green MBA. [I have to admit to being green myself: after reading that it took a huge effort to keep my dinner down -- ed.]

I take good care of my body. I dance, mountain bike, roller blade, swim, eat nutritious food, sleep soundly, and wake-up energized. Caring for the world comes as a natural extension of caring for my body.

Feeling like a part of a larger continuum informs my sense of justice. I practice ardent honesty with my self and others. Nature’s innate cognizance feeds my spirit and inspires my actions.
Okay, the Betty Biodiesel thing is a turn on but the rest of the caring and sharing crapola is stomach turning. Pirelli's position as the babes calendar is not under threat here.


Presidential hopeful John Edwards wants all Americans to boycott Wal-Mart because it doesn't pay its workers enough. On a visit to Manchester, New Hampshire Edwards will hold a book signing at Barnes & Noble rather than at the nearby worker-exploiting Wal-Mart. There's one minor problem with this:
The Barnes & Noble where Edwards will hawk his book pays $7 an hour to start. The Wal-Mart that sits just yards away pays $7.50 an hour.
Democrats are idiots.


PhD toting lefty blogger Tim Dunlop obviously doesn't subscribe to the KISS rule, using way too many words to make the point (for the umpteenth time) John Howard's a liar:
The relevance of the Iraq war now goes way beyond the issue of the war itself. In fact, it always has. Given the way the case for invasion was prosecuted and the way in which the governments involved have responded over the last three-and-a-half years to the ever-deepening chaos we see there today, the issue of government accountability and how they keep we citizens informed has always been central.
Dunlop is also less than impressed with comments from Australian Defence Association executive director Neil James:
[James] was responding to criticisms [of Australia's involvement in Iraq] levelled by former SAS officer, Peter Tinley, and his first line of attack was personal:
"It grieves me to say this but Peter was just a major and is looking at it from a very narrow angle,” Mr James said.
Oh, yes. Everyone can feel your grief. And seriously, if the best counter you have to Tinley’s criticisms is that he ‘was just a major’ then it really says more about your arguments than it does about his.

Mr James then went on to make this remarkable claim:
But Mr James said Iraq was heading for a bloody civil war regardless of the invasion.
Oh, please. The reason we were given for the invasion was that Saddam had WMD and he was on the verge of using them against the US and its allies. In other words, he was pretty much an imminent threat. Now we are being fed a line that the mayhem unleashed in the wake of the invasion was going to happen anyway.
Dunlop had this to say when Tinley first went public with his criticisms of the Howard government's decision to involve Australia in Iraq:
Could there be a more devasting [sic] assessment from someone so intimately involved and so obviously dedicated to the military and to the defence of his country?:
So, Dunlop is very impressed with Tinley's assessment of Howard but scoffs at James's assessment of Tinley (and the inevitability of Iraq chaos). This despite the fact that James's military credentials are at least as impressive as Tinley's:
Neil James served in the Australian military for 31 years, 26 of them as an intelligence officer, and he retired last year at the rank of Lieutenant Colonel.
Dunlop also ignores James's finding fault with Australian intelligence (click link immediately above):
The Australia Defence Association is backing the claims by Lieutenant Colonel Lance Collins, of a serious systemic problem in Australia's Defence Intelligence Organisation.

And the head of the Association, Neil James, says a Royal Commission will eventually be necessary to deal with what he says are failings and bias in the intelligence community.
James is an independent minded person, and certainly no Howard tool, who's calling it like he sees it. It's a shame Dunlop tries to smear him.

Dunlop's continual assertions that Howard lied us into Iraq ignore the report of the Inquiry into Australian Intelligence Agencies, the Iraq section summarized in a single sentence:
Prior to 19 March 2003, the only government in the world that claimed that Iraq was not working on, and did not have, biological and chemical weapons or prohibited missile systems was the Government of Saddam Hussein.
When Dunlop first took up blogging at he got off to a pretty good start. He's now reverted to the same old Howard-hating shtick he offered up at Road to Surfdom (with a small group of Howard-hating clones taking his place). He really should update his profile:
Single-minded hatred that sucks.

Sunday, November 26, 2006


Iraqis agree the violence is all America's fault:
In interviews Saturday and in recent sermons, clerics articulated one message that appears to be gaining traction on both sides of Iraq's civil war: The U.S. presence is making matters worse, and the Americans should go home.

"The roots of our problems lie in the mistakes of the Americans committed right from the beginning of their occupation," said Sheik Ali Merza, a Shiite cleric in Najaf who is a leader of the Islamic Dawa Party.

Iraq's most prominent Sunni cleric expressed a similar viewpoint. At a Cairo news conference, Harith Dhari demanded that American troops withdraw.

"Since the beginning, the U.S. occupation drove Iraq from bad to worse," said Dhari, who became a fugitive this month after the Shiite-led government issued a warrant for his arrest on allegations that he has supported terrorism.

Khalil Maliki, a Shiite cleric based in the southern port city of Basra, also blamed the United States.

"We have all concluded that the primary party responsible for all these massacres is the American occupation," said Maliki, a representative of anti-U.S. cleric Muqtada Sadr.

Some prominent religious and political leaders accuse the U.S. military of conspiring with their enemies. Sunni Arabs say U.S. troops are raiding their communities in coordination with Shiite militias.

And Shiites say that U.S. forces are working with Sunni terrorist groups to conduct strikes such as the devastating car bomb barrage in Sadr City.

U.S. troops seeking a missing American serviceman believed to be held by Muqtada Sadr's Al Mahdi militia raided Sadr City only hours before Thursday's insurgent car bomb attack. Some Shiite clerics and politicians cited those raids as evidence of American involvement in the attack.

"Recently, it has become obvious that there is cooperation between the occupation forces, Al Qaeda and the Baathists," said Sahib Amry, a Sadr representative in Najaf.
Arabs just love a good conspiracy theory, especially if it absolves them of all responsibility.

Saturday, November 25, 2006


Teaching school in Thailand's south:
Hundreds of schools in Thailand's restive south will shut their doors in response to increasingly vicious attacks by suspected Muslim insurgents against teachers and schools, an official said Saturday.

The closure, which begins Monday, affects all 336 primary and secondary schools in the province of Pattani, where two teachers were fatally shot by suspected insurgents in the past two days.

In one of the killings, attackers shot a school principal Friday, and then set his body on fire. The principal became the 59th teacher or school official killed in three years of violence, said Bunsom Thongsriprai, president of the Teachers' Association in Pattani.


United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Louise Arbour sides with Hezbollah following Israel's recent attack on Lebanon:
Arbour, interviewed by the Israeli daily Jerusalem Post, said that missile attacks aimed at killing civilians, and military strikes in which civilians are unintentionally killed cannot be equated. "In one case you could have, for instance, a very objectionable intent - the intent to harm civilians, which is very bad - but effectively not a lot of harm is actually achieved. But how can you compare that with a case where you may not have an intent but you have recklessness [in which] civilian casualties are foreseeable? The culpability or the intent may not sound as severe, but the actual harm is catastrophic," she said.

Arbour pointed out that Israel could also be guilty of human rights violations for its actions in Lebanon. "When you kill civilians virtually each time [in a military attack], at some point you have to ask yourself, 'Wasn't that foreseeable that so many would be killed?" she said. "That is where I think you start having to engage in the possibility that it is somewhat culpable."
This seems strange reasoning coming from a former Supreme Court of Canada justice, especially in light of Hezbollah's standard operating procedure of locating military assets in civilian areas -- you know, intending to gain propaganda advantage when civilians are inevitably killed.

Friday, November 24, 2006


Europe's drive to reduce emissions could have the opposite effect:
Europe is damaging its competitiveness by moving faster than the rest of the world to tackle climate change, the European Union’s industry commissioner has warned.

In a letter seen by the Financial Times, Günter Verheugen says: “We have to recognise that ... our environmental leadership could significantly undermine the international competitiveness of part of Europe’s energy-intensive industries and worsen global environmental performance by redirecting production to parts of the world with lower environmental standards.”
I knew there was reason why the US refused to jump on board the SS Kyoto.


It should come as no surprise that lefties want to establish a Team Global Village, Environment Police as part of the United Nations:
SARAH CLARKE: Climate change has been described by the outgoing United Nations Secretary General as "grave a threat as conflict, poverty and the spread of weapons".

Yet even members of the United Nations Environment Program say the agency is overstretched, and needs more power if it's to fulfil its role. Shafqat Kakakhel is the Executive Director.

SHAFQAT KAKAKHEL: We think that we need an international organisation of a higher profile, a higher stature, in order to deal with the ever-worsening and escalating environmental challenges that the planet faces.
Europeans are, of course, behind the push:
SARAH CLARKE: The European Union is leading the charge to give the UN the resources and the higher profile it needs to deal with the escalating challenges.

The last meeting was in Washington, this time it's in Sydney. But the EU is not expecting Australia and the United States to support a more powerful, binding United Nations.

French Ambassador to the Environment Laurent Stefanini is here for the talks

LAURENT STEFANINI: So, it's difficult for us to understand the government, the friendly government of an important country like Australia not keeping with its traditional commitment to international governance.
At least Australia has resisted the temptation to attack New Zealand, and God knows we've been provoked.

Anyway, all of the climate change hoopla has been a greasing of the skids, so to speak.

Thursday, November 23, 2006


The BBC headline says: "Female circumcision 'not Islamic'" but Muslim clerics aren't so sure:
The head of the al-Azhar mosque, Sunni Islam's top authority, told a meeting in Cairo the practice, also known as female circumcision, was not a "must".

Another leading cleric, Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi, said that Islam did not require the practice but some clerics felt it was allowed.

"Doctors confuse us, as some are with and some are against, the final say should be for them," Mr Qaradawi told AP.

Some parents who back the practice cite Muslim scholars and doctors who claim it is necessary or religiously desirable to remove the clitoris of young girls.
On what basis could a doctor recommend a clitoris be hacked off?

Update: In unrelated news the BBC waxes all lyrical about Palestinian human shields:
From militant leaders to schoolgirls, Palestinians can unite in confronting their enemy and the passive resistance of the human shields will be admired from around the world.

The boys on the roofs, armed only with Palestinian flags and facing down war planes, are a David and Goliath image for the modern age.
The BBC biased? Never.


Australia's ABC news excitedly announces, "AWB given advance warning of Iraq troop deployment," hinting that Australian Wheat Board officials were privy to insider information. A close reading of the story reveals the ABC headline to be very misleading:
Previously secret AWB documents have revealed that the wheat exporter was told Australia would join the war against Iraq a year before the Federal Government says it decided to commit troops.

The information came from Australia's Ambassador to the United Nations, John Dauth.

Prime Minister John Howard announced that Australian troops would join the strike on Iraq on March 1, 2003.

He said the decision was made just before that.

But AWB board notes says that early in 2002 the Australian Ambassador to the UN, Mr Dauth, said Australia would support and participate in US action.
He accurately predicted the strike to depose Saddam Hussein would start within 18 months.
This "revelation" sending Howard haters into a frenzy:
John Quiggin: The news that AWB Chairman Trevor Flugge was told of the invasion of Iraq, and of Australia’s planned participation in early 2002 adds yet another layer of deception to this amazing story of duplicity.

Antony Loewenstein: Still unsure that the Howard government lied about Iraq?

Tim Dunlop: ... we find out today, thanks to some more documents unearthed by the Cole Inquiry into the AWB scandal, that although the Howard Government hadn’t bothered to tell us their plans, and wouldn’t even tell the troops who were going off to fight the war their plans, they did tell the AWB.

Aussie Bob: Not that anyone really believed Howard when he said he hadn’t made up his mind on war in Iraq - until he did - but isn’t it nice to know that Howard’s Iraq invasion denials, something the Australian people were continually and completely lied to about, and which our forensic press dutifully wrote up as sober statesmanship, were complete and utter bullshit from the start?
The Prime Minister commenting:
Mr Howard tonight said a February 2002 briefing by Australia's UN ambassador John Dauth for former AWB chairman Trevor Flugge did not contradict the Government's stance on when it decided to join the Iraq war.

The Government has publicly said it did not decided to join the war until after the invasion was debated by the UN in early 2003.

"Mr Dauth was expressing his personal view about what might happen," Mr Howard said.
Sorry lefty Howard-haters, your wishful thinking isn't news.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006


People person Nancy Pelosi and deep thinker Jane Harman, both California Congresswomen, can't stand each other:
The prospect of conflict between two such powerful Democratic women is tantalizing to gossipy Washington. But the split is so toxic that Democrats in California and Washington won't go near it.
You gotta give Democrats credit; they might be a lot of things but they're not boring.


Fringe left Australian blogger weathergirl proposes that the white jumpsuit-clad instigators of violence at the G20 summit -- the "Arterial Block" group -- were agents provocateur presumably working for corporate or state interests. As evidence she notes that: the group was previously unknown; the group was disdainful of the less violent protesters; and police exhibited "almost ridiculous restraint" (presumably so their agent allies wouldn't be injured).

Having proposed the conspiracy weathergirl then "disavows" it:
Update: please let it be clear that I don’t believe this conspiracy theory, much as I enjoy proposing it.
Weathergirl also notes the "shocking" police treatment of Drasko Boljevic, who says he was abducted by plain-clothes officers: she claims the Boljevic story is not being discussed online, "anywhere." This is odd considering Kath Wilson (aka weathergirl) posted on Boljevic at Left Writes a while back.

Weathergirl has a history of responsibility avoidance when it comes to protester violence -- make sure to read the comments -- so her conspiracy theorizing isn't surprising. The left is a reservoir of violence; always has been, always will be.

Update: As Kim observes in comments at LP, weathergirl first floated the agents provocateur conspiracy theory on the 18th:
I’ve just been watching the violence, both on the part of protestors and police.

It’s complete idiocy, and I can’t help wondering if the particularly vandalous protestors are provocateurs.
Read the comments, for an interesting discussion of the utility of violence.

Update II: weathergirl issues a disclaimer:
This blogging medium is great for folk who have arrived at positions, or who have considered opinions, or who have a wealth of knowledge behind them. I have none of these: I’m impulsive, rash and have a bower-bird approach to knowledge. So often I’m thrashing out ideas which I haven’t thought through.
Like that isn't obvious.


Gaza Palestinians have adapted to Israel's casualty-limiting strategy of giving notice of imminent attacks:
On Saturday night, the head of a rocket cell in the northern Gaza town of Bait Lahiya, Mohammedweil Baroud, received a warning call. Instead of getting out with his family, however, he summoned neighbours and others who surrounded the building and stood on its roof in the glare of lights. Israel called off the attack.
The Israeli military will continue targeting rocket stockpiles and launch sites:
"If we can't get to the target by air due to the human shields, we will reach it by ground and the Palestinians will pay a heavy price," said one officer. Another said that phone warnings would continue but that the 30-minute warning time might be cut so as to prevent a crowd assembling.
Any civilian casualties will be a propaganda victory for Israel's enemies.

Monday, November 20, 2006


Professor John Rasko is all upset at the New South Wales government's intention to force prisoners to pay for sperm storage:
Writing in the latest Medical Journal of Australia, Prof Rasko, director of the Sydney Cancer Centre at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, said free storage was a mandatory service that prisoners should not be denied.

"Without this option, male cancer survivors might be unable to father their own offspring," he wrote.

"Discriminating against certain prisoners by demanding payment for otherwise free services could be seen as cruel and unusual punishment."

He said the bill would breach the principle of equal health care for prisoners and implied an intention to rid society of "criminal seed".
It would then seem appropriate for governments to pay for the collection and storage of the sperm of prisoners who will never be released. Everyone would, of course, be happy with Ivan Milat and Martin Bryant fathering children.


In 2002 self-promoters Donna Sheehan and Paul Reffell organized the totally ineffective nude peace protest, Baring Witness. Their latest effort is the First Annual Solstice Synchronized Global Orgasm for Peace:
The mission of the Global Orgasm is to effect change in the energy field of the Earth through input of the largest possible surge of human energy.

The intent is that the participants concentrate any thoughts during and after orgasm on peace. The combination of high- energy orgasmic energy combined with mindful intention may have a much greater effect than previous mass meditations and prayers.

The goal is to add so much concentrated and high-energy positive input into the energy field of the Earth that it will reduce the current dangerous levels of aggression and violence throughout the world.

Global Orgasm is an experiment open to everyone in the world.

The results will be measured on the worldwide monitor system of the Global Consciousness Project.
Right. Anyway, it's a money making opportunity for Sheehan and Reffell, whose Redefining Seduction -- linked at the Global Orgasm for Peace site -- is a self-help guide for women wanting to use sex as a tool:
If humanity is to continue to evolve, grow out of our economic and environmental greed and achieve the balance of which we are capable, women’s partner choices will be key to that evolution. In saying this we are simply following the example of just about every species on the planet, in which males display and females choose their mates.

When women choose partners who possess traits that are beneficial rather than destructive they pass on those traits to the future. The task for women is to overcome cultural archetypes of what women are supposed to want in their mates; to make choices that will benefit them and their descendants; to act not out of desperation, compliance or fear, but out of their innate intuition.

We want women to know that they have the power to change our species for the better or the worse; it’s all up to them. Only they can help men redefine “progress.” We want men to know that they are going to be happier without the pressures of mate choice. All they have to do is display their genetic traits, something they are very good at already. We want everyone to taste the delicious dessert that is seduction. We want women to use seduction and men to receive it willingly. We want an end to blame between the sexes for past deeds, a clean beginning of a new paradigm of partnership. We also want to reassure men that, if women are given parity with men, women will not treat men the way men have historically treated women. We all need each other to make Redefining Seduction work!
In addition to the book there are workshops. None of these are free. Why would anyone buy any of this crap?

Sunday, November 19, 2006


Having grown up in inland Texas, surfing for me was out of the question. My son, on the other hand, has surfed since he was little and can't stay out of the water. I can see why. (Click photo for enlargement.)


Paul Holman of the Metropolitan Ambulance Service on the impression made by G20 protesters:
Mr Holman, who has worked at numerous major rallies in Melbourne, including the World Economic Forum protests of 2000, said yesterday's protesters were highly organised and the most violent.

He said three police officers, two suffering bites, were taken to St Vincent's Hospital last night...
I'm just guessing they were taken to hospital to have their immunizations brought up to date.

* For any non-Australian readers, "dero" is slang for derelict.

Saturday, November 18, 2006


On its FAQ page CalorieLab describes its mission:
CalorieLab provides a simple way for people on a diet to search for the calorie and other macronutrient content of various American foods measured...
The site also provides nutrition news, mixed with leftist politics:
According to the Associated Press, at least one National Guardsman, fed up with the notion of endless tours of extended duty in the Desert Bog, has gone on a weight-gaining diet to ensure that when he is again called up, he will fail the physical based on obesity.

It’s a dicey price to pay, and a debatable balancing act between short term (but possibly life-saving) gain and long term (overall health and longevity) loss.

But a few things can almost certainly be concluded from this news item.

One, if this fattening your way out of Iraq ploy works, it is going to become rampant among American reserve forces and National Guards. Buy your Dunkin’ Donuts stock now.

Two, as increasing numbers of Iraqophobic American enlisted personnel pursue this option, an entire industry will emerge to aid them, from maximum-calorie specialty foods to sloth-and-satiation spas. “Fat Farms” may take on an ironic new meaning.

Three, zealously hawkish politicians and talk radio folk will accuse anyone in the military who experiences a weight gain of more than 20 percent of “aiding al-Qaeda.”

“If you have that second helping,” they will proclaim, “it means the terrorists have won.”
Soldiers wanting to avoid combat should try the quadruple bypass burger with flatliner fries.


The G20 Summit protests in Melbourne have provoked a battle of pamphlets:
The protesters are handing out pamphlets calling for an end to global capitalism. Police are handing out pamphlets to the protesters, acknowledging their right to protest but reminding them they may be moved on.
The police pamphlets would be a lot more persuasive if wrapped around a baton prior to delivery.

Update: The police pamphlets didn't prevent violence in the streets (link includes slide-show).

Thursday, November 16, 2006


The Howard government is determined to increase Australia's population. Australians were encouraged to have more children and a record birth rate resulted, with Aborigines being especially fruitful. In July 2006 the government announced the intake of almost 143,000 immigrants, the most in decades. This proves, to this super-brained idiot lefty, that Australians are racists out to control women's lives. Is it any wonder Larvatus Prodeo is so popular? With super-brained idiot lefties, I mean.


Have you been involved in a failed heterosexual relationship? Are you a less than perfect physical specimen? If so, chances are you're a woman-hating male creep. (There is apparently no female equivalent.)

Wednesday, November 15, 2006


Ron Bailey reports on the inconvenient truths spoken by Indian government energy adviser Surya P. Sethi at the Nairobi climate conference:
Sethi then noted that India's economy must grow at 8 percent per year for the next 25 years in order to lift the bottom 40 percent of its people to a decent standard of living. He pointed out that India was falling behind in achieving it Millennium Development Goals of reducing poverty due to persistent energy shortages. "Energy is central for development. Our energy consumption must go up," declared Sethi.
Sethi said that India could cut projected CO2 emissions between 2012 and 2017 by 550 million tons at an additional cost of $25 billion for more energy efficient technologies. However, he pointed out that the Indian government spent that amount on its social and poverty reduction goals in the last five years. He then pointedly added, "I do not have the funds for both. My choice is to improve the lot of India's poor or reduce CO2 emissions so the developed world can breathe easier."
Finally, Sethi told me that even after implementing the most efficient energy conservation technologies over the next 25 years, India will still be emitting 4 times more CO2 in 2031 than it does today.
"You cannot tackle climate change unless you make dramatic lifestyle changes in the West," replied Sethi. I think it is a safe bet that few Westerners will decide for the sake of the climate to live like poor Indians. So humanity will have little choice but to adapt to any future climate change. Fortunately, economic growth makes that easier to do.
That's going to be a difficult sell.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006


At the end of a post on the inadequacy of a correction from Christopher Monckton, computer programmer Tim Lambert takes a parting shot sure to appeal to his gullible lefty readers:
Monckton seems to fall for every myth that suits his prejudices. Look:
DDT: correct solution, limit it in agriculture but allow indoor spraying against malarial mosquitoes. Actual solution: give the inventor a Nobel Prize, then say the chemical is cancerous (it's safe enough to eat) and ban it, especially for indoor spraying. Result, only this year, after 30 million and more have died from malaria, has the WHO agreed to recommend indoor spraying.
The correct solution is, in fact, what was done. Indoor spraying of DDT was not banned. DDT is not safe enough to eat -- it's a poison if swallowed. And WHO has always recommended DDT for spraying. From their FAQ in 2005:
WHO recommends indoor residual spraying of DDT for malaria vector control.
Let's take a look at what Lambert's up to here. If you click on his first link you'll loop back to this site because he continues to bounce my links to his old blog -- copy and paste . (Anybody got any idea why he does that?)

Anyway, the link is to another Lambert post: Lambert uses internal links to make it difficult to track things down. In this second post he claims DDT can't be banned because there is a company that offers to sell DDT online and claims to have supplied a number of countries. Dates and quatities are not cited, so for all I know the sales were back in the 90s, with the DDT used for laboratory research. So, this is not proof there was no de facto DDT ban.

Lambert's next link is to the Safety (MSDS) data for DDT, showing that DDT is indeed toxic, with a lowest published lethal dose of 500 mg kg. This makes DDT more toxic than table salt but less toxic than caffeine and phosphoric acid (both found in colas).

Lambert's last link should be to this WHO DDT FAQ brochure but he links instead to another earlier Lambert post -- copy and paste . The link in that post doesn't go to the FAQ brochure at all , it goes here. (Lambert's readers haven't pointed out to him in the two days this post has been up that the link is wrong, so it's obvious they gullibly believe pretty much whatever he posts and don't bother checking out his links.)

Lambert again makes much of the fact that the FAQ brochure states:
WHO recommends indoor residual spraying of DDT for malaria vector control. 3
He does not, however, include the footnote:
3 WHO (2000). WHO Expert Committee on Malaria. Twentieth Report. Geneva, WHO Technical Report Series, No. 892.
The excerpt from the FAQ brochure is nothing more than a statement that DDT, if it is used, is to be used only for indoor residual spraying. The WHO technical report confirms this:
The use of DDT was addressed at the 1995 meeting of the WHO Study Group on Vector Control for Malaria and Other Mosquito-Borne Diseases. The Study Group stated that DDT may be used for vector control, provided that it is only used for indoor spraying, it is effective, the WHO product specifications are met, and the necessary safety precautions are applied for its use and disposal.
Given the financial and human resources involved, combined with the potential for vector resistance and environmental concerns, indoor residual spraying should be used only in well defined, high or special risk situations. DDT is being phased out because of its previous widespread use in the environment, and the resulting political and economic pressure.
So, according to Lambert, the WHO recommends DDT use... while it simultaneously presses for it to be phased out. The guy either believes the nonsense he posts or he's a habitual liar.

And isn't it ironic he's included this nonsense in a post about someone else's inadequate correction.

Monday, November 13, 2006


Antony Loewenstein's next book -- due for a 2007 release (rewrites could cause release-date slippage) -- on the Western media has been preempted by The War on Democracy by academics Niall Lucy and Steve Mickler. Here's the first sentence from the excerpted introduction:
The Howard government can win in parliament, but on its own it can’t win the war on democracy in the public sphere.
The book's promotional page provides further info:
If current conservative opinion writers are to be believed, Australian political and cultural life continues to be infiltrated and dominated by plotting left-wing ideologues, ‘Marxists’ and ‘extremists’. While conservatives see themselves as representing the interests of ‘ordinary’ Australians, they see ‘the left’ as politically correct and self-serving elitists, intent on imposing their undemocratic views on the media, schools, universities and other public institutions and cultural practices.
If Australia's tertiary institutions are anything like America's, the lefties are indeed well entrenched:
My assertion — hardly mine alone — that the university environment is heavily skewed to the political left should have been uncontroversial. If it had been received as such by my opponents, the discussion would then have focused on whether the disparity mattered, and what, if anything, should be done.

Instead, my opponents forced me to prove the obvious. My study — which I admitted was a crude survey of the party registration of faculty members at 32 elite universities — was challenged. The challenge inspired more studies, this time conducted by social scientists like Daniel B. Klein, associate professor of economics at Santa Clara University, that were methodologically sophisticated and took in much larger samples. The result? We now have an empirically sound picture of just how one-sided university faculties have become.
That's because the really smart people are left leaning. Just ask them, they'll tell you.


The Tasmanian government proposes a $56 million, ten year program to eliminate feral foxes. Wow, $56 million, foxes must be a big problem:
[Wildlife biologist Nick Mooney] says it is difficult to estimate how many of the elusive animals are in the state, but it could be 50 or several hundred.
Jeez, sounds like the plan is to kill the little critters with gold ingots dropped from helicopters.

Maybe instead they could allow well-heeled British former fox hunters, who would probably pay plenty, to come to Tasmania to kill the foxes for them.

Update: In unrelated critter news:
The 17-year-old was driving a four-wheel drive when he was stopped at midnight ACST on Saturday in Darwin.

The teenager was breath tested, and police say he allegedly blew 0.131.

Police say the boy was then being questioned when he spotted a snake on the road.

Seizing the opportunity, he snatched the reptile and pointed its head at the officers.

Police told the teenager to drop it, but they say he instead took off into some nearby scrub with the snake still in hand.
A police officer would no doubt feel pretty silly saying, "drop the snake or I'll shoot."


The Age reports Baptist pastor David Hodgens' views -- almost certainly held by many committed Christians -- on provocatively dressed females:
Mr Hodgens wrote in his reflections column in last Wednesday's Warrnambool Standard that "leering at a woman in particularly tight or revealing clothing is wrong but so is dressing in a way that is known, even designed, to entice others to sexual desire".

His comments followed the controversy surrounding senior Muslim cleric Sheikh Taj al-Din al-Hilali, who suggested that provocatively dressed women were encouraging sexual assault.

"I confess to being very uncomfortable with the tone and reported content of the sheikh's comments . . . however, one of the things that seems to have been lost in the ensuing discussion is whether or not the point he seemed to be trying to make . . . ought to be examined. Is there a link between provocative dress and sexual assault?" Mr Hodgens wrote.
Lefties, always looking for something to be outraged about (especially if that "outrageous" something is attributable to ignorant Christians), are outraged:
Sue Moore, from the Violence Against Women Integrated Services Partnership, labelled Mr Hodgens' comments as ignorant.

"The central question raised by Mr Hodgens is based on . . . myths that are perpetuated and believed by people who are ignorant of the issues surrounding sexual assault," she said.

"There has been an enormous amount of research into this . . . rape is not an act of desire or the result of uncontrollable arousal. Sexual assault is a violent and insidious form of power and control."
Lefty blogger Ms Fits is outraged at the apparent lack of public outrage:
Man of the cloth makes sexually insensitive remarks about women and hardly anyone gives two-thirds of a rat's keister.
Cristy (a member of the always entertaining Larvatus Prodeo crew) sees Hodgens' views as blaming the victims:
Shockingly to those of us who were convinced that this was just a expression of Islamic misogyny,* a number of Christian commentators have jumped out of the closet to join Sheikh Hilali in his blame the victim festival of hatred.

*Please note intended sarcasm rather than attacking me for the wrong thing.
So according to lefties, in asking "Is there a link between provocative dress and sexual assault?" Hodgens reveals himself, and by extension Christians in general, to be misogynistic blamers of victims.

This is, of course, in accord with established lefty doctrine:
Newsflash. A woman is never responsible for being raped. Not one little bit. The responsibility for rape lies with the rapist. It doesn’t matter what a woman wears, what she drinks, if she flirts with a man or not: if a man forces her to have sex against her will, it’s RAPE. There are no extenuating circumstances. Consent is the only circumstance that matters.
This attitude helps explain why Thornhill and Palmer found it necessary to issue a clarification following the publication of their book, Rape: Biological Bases of Sexual Coercion:
On page 182 of our book, we characterize assertions that “a victim’s dress and behavior should affect the degree of punishment a rapist receives” as “unjustified.” We also feel that women should be free to decide to dress in whatever way they wish. All we are suggesting is that their decisions should include consideration of the possible risk associated with certain manners of dress in certain situations. Identifying risk factors and encouraging women to take these into consideration during their daily activities have been elements of sex education for some time and have not been subjected to accusations of “blaming the victim.”
It is beyond doubt that women sometimes engage in behaviour that endangers them:
Sgt Ian Clarke said girls were putting themselves in great danger by passing out in the street because of excessive alcohol consumption and hitch-hiking while drunk.

Dr Lisa Shannon, who works in the emergency department at Busselton hospital, said that on the first night of this year's celebrations she treated one alleged rape victim and another girl found unconscious with evidence of sexual activity that she could not remember.
Rape is by definition wrong. A rapist can offer no factors in mitigation. That does not mean, however, that women are absolved of responsibility for acting in their own best interest, avoiding behaviours and situations that put them at risk.

Pastor Hodgens did a public service by asking the question.

Saturday, November 11, 2006


The following is from a list of over-rated and under-rated features of Japan:
UNDERRATED -- Japanese monkeys

And why not? They're just as smart as chimpanzees and even take baths. Somehow chimps have a cuter image, which to me seems a sort of racial prejudice, monkey-style.

I feel certain a Japanese monkey could have upstaged Ronald Reagan in any film, although "Bedtime for Bonzo-san" might not have stirred the box office in the postwar climate.

But mark my word, one day the stars will shine on these clever apes. So much that if George Bush were to reverse Ronald Reagan's path and go from politics to movies, I could see him one day sharing the bill with a Japanese monkey, especially considering how well he got along with Koizumi. I mean, Bush seems to connect with Japan.

But Bush can't follow the Reagan film storyline. There has to be some twist reflective of the higher skills of Japanese monkeys. Perhaps something like:

"Bedtime for George."
Strange thing is they make such bloody good cameras.*

* My apologies to Terry Southern, Stanley Kubrick and Peter George.

Update: Jihadi monkey:
Raised by a Muslim family in Jagannathpur village, Ramu allegedly attacked some Hindu children five years ago, sparking communal tension in the area. Police arrested Ramu.

But the monkey won over the men in uniform with his naughty ways and a police peace committee decided to set Ramu free after a “serious debate”.

Once freed, the monkey went back to his old ways, refusing to become “secular”. Ramu continued his jihad and landed behind bars again — this time for good. The police built a special iron cell for the “terrorist”.
Sounds like GITMO, now don't it?


The UN list is out:
Norway, Iceland, Australia, Ireland and Sweden rank as the best five countries to live in but Africa's quality of life has plummeted because of AIDS, said a U.N. report released on Thursday.

The United States was ranked in eighth place, after Canada and Japan, in the report that rates not only per-capita income but also educational levels, health care and life expectancy in measuring a nation's well-being.


Golden Rice:
Genetic engineering (GE) in agriculture is a controversial topic in science and society at large. While some oppose genetically modified crops as proxy of an agricultural system they consider unsustainable and inequitable, the question remains whether GE can benefit the poor within the existing system and what needs to be done to deliver these benefits? Golden Rice has been genetically engineered to produce provitamin A. The technology is still in the testing phase, but, once released, it is expected to address one consequence of poverty – vitamin A deficiency (VAD) – and its health implications.
Gee, I wonder what lefties think about genetically engineered foods that save lives? They'll be all for them, I'm sure.


The Sydney Opera House requires $700 million in maintenance and upgrades. Unless it's torn down and rebuilt to a new design it's still going to be one of the world's ugliest buildings.


Andrew Bolt yesterday posted the following at his blog:
NASA’s monthly temperature measurements of the troposphere (the atmosphere up to 8km from the surface) confirm it: The world’s temperatures are cooler than they were in 1998 - and have flatlined for the past five years.

In the stratosphere above, of course, the problem is global cooling.
Two graphs accompany the text.

Economist John Quiggin responds with a downright weird attack on Bolt, ultimately calling for his firing. Along the way Quiggin: accuses Bolt of sympathizing with... drumroll... creationsts; deletes comments; and demands retractions.

Proof of the weirdness of Quiggin's post is provided in a link from Tim Lambert:
John Quiggin catches Andrew Bolt pointing to stratospheric cooling as evidence against global warming.
Read what Bolt wrote (at top) and you'll see that Lambert's not even close. But hey, considering Lambert thinks Tuvaluans are up to their necks in the rising waters of the Pacific, such mistakes are not unexpected.

Quiggin and Lambert, the greatest comedy team since Martin and Lewis.
Update: Speaking of Bolt infatuation.


Al Gore on hurricanes:
There are scientific warnings now of another onrushing catastrophe. We were warned of an imminent attack by Al Qaeda; we didn't respond. We were warned the levees would break in New Orleans; we didn't respond. Now, the scientific community is warning us that the average hurricane will continue to get stronger because of global warming. A scientist at MIT has published a study well before this tragedy showing that since the 1970s, hurricanes in both the Atlantic and the Pacific have increased in duration, and in intensity, by about 50 %. The newscasters told us after Hurricane Katrina went over the southern tip of Florida that there was a particular danger for the Gulf Coast of the hurricanes becoming much stronger because it was passing over unusually warm waters in the gulf. The waters in the gulf have been unusually warm. The oceans generally have been getting warmer. And the pattern is exactly consistent with what scientists have predicted for twenty years. Two thousand scientists, in a hundred countries, engaged in the most elaborate, well organized scientific collaboration in the history of humankind, have produced long-since a consensus that we will face a string of terrible catastrophes unless we act to prepare ourselves and deal with the underlying causes of global warming. [applause] It is important to learn the lessons of what happens when scientific evidence and clear authoritative warnings are ignored in order to induce our leaders not to do it again and not to ignore the scientists again and not to leave us unprotected in the face of those threats that are facing us right now. [applause]
Well, two new studies indicate Gore has it wrong:
We at World Climate Report marvel at the number of articles that clearly show no link between hurricane activity and global warming, and yet, most folks seem the believe that the hurricane – greenhouse connection is unquestioned in the science community. Just the opposite happens to be the reality.
Take a look and decide for yourself.

Friday, November 10, 2006


Muddy the water. Taking flak for claiming to have the "best read political blog" in Australia, Mark Bahnisch throws in a distracter:
I’m aware of what you think about it, flutey, and you might like to note that I didn’t write the original story that contained that claim. I didn’t even see it until the day after it was published, and that’s why I wrote and asked for a correction, as Tim Blair is well aware.
Well duh, the Crikey story was written by Margaret Simons. Either Simons correctly reported that someone at LP made the popularity supremacy claim or she simply made it up. So Mr Bahnisch, which is it?


Despite almost losing an eye in a surfing mishap, there's no keeping my son out of the water. That's him surfing Namotu.

Thursday, November 09, 2006


What does it say about the ALP that disgraced former West Australian Premier Brian Burke has "friends everywhere" within the party? It'll be interesting to see if current Premier Alan Carpenter can survive this new Burke scandal.

Update: Hotline.

Editing note: spelling of "premier" corrected.


Despite seeing me as an insignificant wingnut, the Larvatus Prodeo crew is obviously unhappy with my post on Mark Bahnisch's overt attention seeking. So, they're using the delusional relativistic strategy favoured by lefties, attack the attacker:
Is that guy still around? I thought he’d died in Iraq in a glorious mano a mano firefight with al Sadr. Seriously though what a funny thing to post for a guy whose blogging lives off Tim Blair’s tablescraps.

It’s also a bit rich coming from someone who’s lucky to get any comments at all. Zero seems to be the common figure.

I never read RWDB, and I wouldn’t have if you hadn’t linked him. He’s hardly the most articulate person on the interweb.

Beck’s obviously got tired of getting trounced over at Tim lambert’s blog - so he’s in need of new targets.
Jeez, you'd think lefties would be all mellow after the Democrats' big victory over the evil Bushitler team. Maybe the LPers are edgy because they realize that, after taking control of Congress, Democrats will have to perform rather than obstruct.

In comments to my earlier post an LP sympathizer accounts for the LP - Tim Blair popularity difference:
Not to mention that Blair has a significant readership in the US which would account for a substantial number of his hits. I doubt that LP is a popular blog on the other side of the Pacific.
Good point: LP's product is nasty, whiny leftist crap no matter which side of the Pacific you're on.

Finally, yes, getting trounced at Tim Lambert's does get tiresome. Heh.

Update: I wasn't the only one to notice the "link whoring."

Update II: The latest is here.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006


Mark Bahnisch recently claimed via Crikey that the Larvatus Prodeo blog collective is Australia's "best read political blog." When it dawned on him that LP's numbers, while healthy, are nowhere near "best read" status he quickly offered a correction (sort of):
I’ve asked for a correction to “one of the best read blogs” as I’m aware that Tim Blair’s readership is higher than ours. But I’m really pleased with the growth we’ve enjoyed over the year.
Two things are worth noting here. First, in Bahnisch's highly educated mind "best read political blog" has morphed into "one of the best read blogs." Interesting.

Second, while Bahnisch does credit Tim Blair with better numbers, he doesn't cite those numbers for comparison and doesn't link to Blair's counter. (The Crikey email linked at top credits LP with 31,612 unique visitors in October [go here to view recently added LP counter]; Blair's counter shows him averaging better than 14,000 visits daily. To put this in perspective, Blair is getting those numbers running a one man show, whereas LP has 22 bloggers on its roster.)

Anyway, I reckon LP has yet to recover from losing its number one attraction, Chris Sheil, "the most prominent lefty blogger" in Australia, if not the world.

Bahnisch has, however, adopted a traffic-improving strategy widely used by super-popular bloggers (Antony Loewenstein, for example): linking comments at other blogs (scroll down):
Posted by Mark Bahnisch of on Wed 08 Nov 06 at 10:08pm

Kim’s out celebrating but I thought I’d post a trackback link to a post she wrote which refers to this one, and provides additional criticism of Bolt’s blog.

The post is here.
Two links in one comment. Classy, no?

Update: Go here for the latest.


Prominent Muslim physician Jamal Rifi claims to be worried about his family's safety:
Dr Jamal Rifi says he received calls, emails and letters from Islamic extremists after taking a stand against his former friend Sheik Taj Aldin Alhilali.

The threats were spurred by an open letter written by the Bankstown GP which condemned the mufti's apparent justification of rape.
Australian Islamic extremists making threats... I blame Howard's Iraq policy.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006


The Australian public has been brainwashed by anti-nuclear propaganda from the likes of Helen Caldicott:
Prime Minister John Howard has dismissed a poll which shows only 17 per cent of Australians back nuclear power while almost half think solar power is the best way to tackle climate change.

Mr Howard, who has been promoting a nuclear energy industry for Australia, derided solar power as a soft answer which would never be able to replace coal-fired electricity.
The International Energy Agency supports Howard:
For the first time in its 32-year history, the agency is recommending widespread adoption of nuclear power.
At least Australia has plenty of places to safely dump the waste.


Naturalist Terry Nutkins recalls a polar bear encounter:
Ten years ago I was filming in the Antarctic and saw a lone bear walking on the ice.
Nutkins either has a very vivid imagination or things are so bad in the Arctic polar bears have taken to swimming half way around the world to get at tasty Antarctic penguins. (The article twice incorrectly refers to polar bears as creatures of the Antarctic.)


According to anti-nuclear campaigner Helen Caldicott the North Korean nuclear threat is the least of our worries:
"The world's deep concern about North Korea is not warranted," says Caldicott, who was reached at a hotel in London, where she was giving a speech last week.

"It's mostly America's deep concern. North Korea has made a tinpot little bomb -- it's only half a kilotonne -- while the bomb that was dropped on Hiroshima was 13 kilotonnes -- so it's hardly a bomb at all," she adds.

What does give Caldicott nightmares, however, are the 30,000 nuclear weapons in the world today -- 96% of which are owned by the U.S. and Russia.

"The real rogue states are America and Russia," she opines.

"America is the most dangerous country that's ever existed on the planet and no one is talking about it and Russia is pretty bad too because she's still got you targeted with thousands of weapons and no one talks about it.
Caldicott may not be worried about the North Korean bomb but she's dead set against an Australian nuclear power industry:
"If ever there's a chance for us to become an energy superpower, it's to cover every house with solar panels and have wind farms everywhere."
They'd have to be everywhere to generate the power we need.


If this report proves correct, my earlier post regarding a religiously motivated attempted honour killing was incorrect. No more needs to be said about what appears to be a sad and unfortunate family problem.

Monday, November 06, 2006


The Guardian's Madeleine Bunting looks back on 2006 from the flooded world of the future:
The problem was that we were intoxicated with an idea of individual freedom. With hindsight, that understanding of freedom was so impoverished that it amounted to little more than a greedy egotism of doing whatever you wanted whenever. We understood freedom largely in terms of shopping and mobility (we were restless, and liked travel of all kinds). The idea that the most precious freedom of all was freedom from fear gained force much later. I don't blame the politicians as much as all of our collective madness.

Fear in the end was the only mechanism that was able to cut through the complacency and force the cultural change, the political pressure and the global cooperation necessary. We are all haunted by the fact that human beings were unable to use the benefits of our own intelligence - we had the knowledge - to avert disaster; that fact has generated a terrible self-loathing. In the end it was catastrophes, the great floods and eventually the loss of London and the depression, that prompted change.

We have had to sacrifice a lot for survival - freedom, privacy. We grumble about the state's regulation and surveillance of our carbon usage, but we put up with it in a way that would have astonished me in my 40s. The idea that the local carbon usage committee would determine how many times I could boil my kettle or turn on my heating! The irony is that my generation heard stories from their parents of second world war rationing and we have lived to experience an even more draconian version ourselves in old age.
Oddly, Ms Bunting thinks fear of terrorism is a bad thing:
In the seven weeks since the London bombings, we can trace how fear is shaping our political culture - and distorting it. The danger is that the imperative to satisfy the emotional needs posed by fear and its close associate, anger, will end up crippling our capacity to respond effectively to the threat of Islamist terrorism. The "what works" British pragmatism is in danger of being junked for emotionally satisfying but irrelevant symbolism - a few individuals are banned or deported but the websites they run will penetrate just as deeply into the hearts and minds of some British Muslims.
What about the emotionally satisfying (for lefties) but irrelevant symbolism of Kyoto?


On his first day of blogging at Blogocracy Tim Dunlop produces a misleading post (my bold):
Pretty amazing story: four major military papers in the United States—the Army Times, Air Force Times, Navy Times and Marine Corps Times—are all going to be running an editorial in their Monday editions that calls for the resignation of Donald Rumsfeld.
The story isn't amazing at all. The papers are not military papers; Dunlop's link describing them as "newspapers for the military" produced by "the Military Times Media Group, a subsidiary of Gannett Co., Inc.." Gannet also owns USA Today.

The Real Clear Politics Blog solicited feedback from military personnel:
If there are any active duty or retired military out there who want to chime in, I'm interested to hear how much you think this editorial from the Army Times matters.
A representative response follows:
"From my perspective, the Army Times editorial page is pro-democrat positions and does not reflect the attitude of most troops. I look at the Times for articles about pay, benefits and unit info, not the drivel in the editorial page."
The editorial is a cynical attempt to influence the coming Congressional election. It's shameful that Gannett, the MSM in general and leftist blogs would like readers to think the editorial is respresentative of the military point of view.