Saturday, March 31, 2007


Obesity expert Dr Nick Finer explains why more people are getting fatter:
"In the past, when we were hunter-gatherers, our bodies were programmed to eat what we could when we could," said Dr Finer. "We needed to store food because we didn't know where the next meal would come from."

But now that agriculture has delivered plenty, the messages our brains give to our bodies may no longer be appropriate.

"The human brain is very good at telling us we are hungry and need food. But the problem now is that there is always plenty available and the brain is not so good at telling us we have had enough."
Thinking like this absolves people of responsibility for regulating the types and quantities of foods they eat. It probably won't be long before obesity is included in the DSM.


An uncharacteristic mistake from a best-selling author:
It’s amazing what nonsense journalists will sprout after taking a free trip to Israel.
If only Brussels had been visited, not Israel.


"Sydney is plunged into darkness."
Photo: Danielle Smith



According to the New York Times, the world's hungry numbered over 850 million in 2004.

According to France24, that number will have dropped to 200 - 600 million by 2080.

Of course, only human mutants with gills will be alive in 2080.


Lefties will be looking for something else to be sad about after Hicks's sentencing:
Australian Guantanamo detainee David Hicks will be sent home to serve nine months in prison after being sentenced by a military judge at the facility.
If he's put in the general prison population it'll be interesting to see what happens.

Oh well, there's still rampant Guantanamo torturing to fret about:
A Saudi man held in US custody for five years has told a military hearing he was tortured into confessing a role in the bombing of the USS Cole in 2000.

Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, 41, said he had faced years of torture after his arrest in 2002, a Pentagon transcript from the closed-door hearing said.

Mr Nashiri said he made up stories to satisfy his captors, the transcript said, but gave no details of torture.

He was tried in absentia in a Yemeni court in September 2004 and sentenced to death.
The US should send him home.


Everyone who owns an air-conditioner knows they are expensive to run, especially for cooling large areas. That's why I opted for SmartPower when our air-conditioning was installed about 10 years back. A smart power meter encourages electricity users to shift consumption to periods of off-peak demand.

Here's how it works. The standard electricity tariff in Western Australia is 13.94 cents/unit (kilowatt hour) 24/7. The SmartPower tariff varies according to time of day and day of the week: Off-peak - 6.56 cents/unit, Weekend Shoulder - 9.84 cents/unit, Weekday Shoulder - 13.12 cents/unit and Peak - 20.22 cents/unit. The demand periods also vary according to season: for example, from October through March the peak tariff applies from 11:00am - 5:00pm; over winter the periods of peak tariff are 7:00am - 11:00am and 5:00pm - 9:00pm. The off-peak (lowest) tariff is always in effect from 9:00pm - 7:00am, however.

So all of my energy intensive activities -- cooling and heating, clothes washing and drying, dish washing and water heating (it's on a timer) -- take place between 9:00pm and 7:00am when the tariff is lowest (I try to cook, where practical, during shoulder periods). Adjusting time of electricity use requires some planning and isn't always convenient (like when it's really hot but I won't use the air-conditioning until after 9:00pm because I'd rather pay 6.56 cents/unit than 20.22 cents/unit) but SmartPower has saved me heaps of money on my electricity bills over the years. Not only that, by shifting my power use to off-peak periods I've helped lessen the burden on the power grid.

This made me feel all warm and fuzzy when I read this:
Energy Australia's efficiency guru Paul Myors says peak demand, or peak load, is a "forgotten issue" now that energy efficiency and greenhouse emissions receive so much attention. "It's peak demand that drives the need for new electricity infrastructure, power stations, transmission lines and things like that," he says. The more peaks you have in energy-use, the more need there may well be for extra coal-burning power stations.

"Peak demand is growing faster year-to-year than energy use." Especially now that most houses have air-conditioners.
The best I can tell, SmartPower is yet to be adopted by the more progressive Eastern-staters -- according to the old joke, WA stands for Wait Awhile. Anyway, it seems to me a push for SmartPower would accomplish a Hell of a lot more than turning off Sydney's lights for one hour.

Note: If SmartPower or some such is available in the East I expect someone will tell me.


The Sydney Morning Herald puts the following disclaimer at the end of a report on Hicks's latest courtroom appearance:
Hicks's father, Terry, said earlier this week: " He's had five years of absolute hell. I think anyone in that position if they were offered anything they would take it."
The ABC also seeks to cast doubt by adding this to a story titled "Hicks apologises, thanks Aust for support":
Meanwhile, Al Qaeda suspect Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri says he was tortured until he confessed to the attack on USS Cole.

He says he lied to interrogators about Osama bin Laden having a nuclear bomb because he was being tortured, a transcript of a March 14 hearing held at Guantanamo Bay says.

"From the time I was arrested five years ago, they have been torturing me," Nashiri, a Saudi Arabian national of Yemeni descent, said through a translator.

"I just said those things to make the people happy."
It's nice that this al-Qaeda goon has shifted from terrorist to happiness spreader but this has nothing to do with the Hicks story.

Friday, March 30, 2007


A solar-powered first:
The solar-powered catamaran arrived in Miami after setting off from the Spanish port of Chipiona, near Seville, last December.

The 14-metre-long vessel with a solar panelled roof can keep up a speed of 10 kilometres per hour around the clock, thanks to on-board batteries.

Daniel Viner is a spokesman for the group behind the project.

"The idea was to show that just as Colombus changed a mind shift of his time that the earth was round and not flat, we want to show that the energy future looks different than the past," he said.
Another pointless stunt: Columbus made the trip considerably faster, leaving Spain on August 3rd and making landfall on October 12th. The catamaran Orange II holds the trans-Atlantic record for a wind-powered vessel: four days, eight hours, 23 minutes and 54 seconds, averaging better than 31 knots. Sort of makes the 10 kilometre per hour solar-powered trip look stupid, now doesn't it?


A Greenpeace funded study by scientists Gilles-Eric Séralini, Dominique Cellier and Joël Spiroux de Vendomois contradicts an earlier study in finding adverse health effects in rats fed genetically modified Monsanto corn:
A new study on the effects of GE corn variety, MON863, on rats concludes it can't be considered a "safe product". However, the same variety was given a big tick by Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ), our government food safety regulator, declaring it safe for humans. FSANZ had access to the test data (on which the new study was based) back in 2004 and still gave this toxic corn the okay.

Who can we trust to make the right decisions about GE food?
According to Dr. Christopher Preston, Discipline of Plant & Food Science at the University of Adelaide we certainly can't trust Greenpeace:
As there is no dose response and the differences reported by Seralini are likely due to chance, this study does not support the notion that this GM corn is hazardous to the health of rats. This is the same conclusion that the 2006 paper came to. How then could Seralini get it so wrong? This could easily be dismissed as an argument between statisticians; however, the problems are so basic and so obvious that they show scientific incompetence, at best. It also raises questions about how the paper came to be published in the first place.

What is worse is that this bad science is being used to influence the World’s media and decision makers. Greenpeace, who funded the paper, is hawking these statistical lies around. Clearly they are having influence for just last week the Minister for Agriculture in Western Australia used this as support for a moratorium on GM crops.
Gee, it's no wonder people are losing faith in science.

Update: Go here for more on misinformation being peddled by anti-GM luddites.


Kiwi PhD candidate Dave Snell describes himself:
"The stereotype of a bogan is tight black jeans, a Metallica t-shirt, a mullet or a shaved head and a love of beer and cars," Snell said today on Radio New Zealand.

"I'd very proudly call myself a bogan."
He should be proud, he's been given a NZ$$96,165 grant to study his lifestyle:
The Tertiary Education Commission, which administers grants, senior manager Frannie Aston said "this research will help us to understand our communities and our young people".
Bogan culture I can understand but I'm stumped by the idiots who fund such meaningless projects.


A proposed Rio Tinto iron ore mine extension has been canned to protect a colony of primitive billions-of-years-old microscopic creatures. The ABC's David Weber asks The Chamber of Minerals and Energy's David Parker a pertinent question:
Do you think there's frustration in the industry that something so small and perhaps insignificant, could bring a stop to a project that's worth so much to Rio?
Now why on Earth would anyone be frustrated at the cancellation of a AU$12 billion mining project in order to preserve an insignificant creature?


SPIEGEL ONLINE's Claus Christian Malzahn takes a look at Germans' delusional view of the world:
Now [Germans] believe that the United States is a greater threat to world peace than Iran. This was the by-no-means-surprising result of a Forsa opinion poll commissioned by Stern magazine. Young Germans in particular -- 57 percent of 18-to-29-year-olds, to be precise -- said they considered the United States more dangerous than the religious regime in Iran.

The German political establishment, which will no doubt loudly lament the result of the poll, is largely responsible for this wave of anti-Americanism. For years the country's foreign ministers fed the Germans the fairy tale of what they called a "critical dialogue" between Europe and Iran. It went something like this: If we are nice to the ayatollahs, cuddle up to them a bit and occasionally wag our fingers at them when they've been naughty, they'll stop condemning their women to death for "unchaste behavior" and they'll stop building the atom bomb.

That plan failed at some point -- an outcome, incidentally, that Washington had long anticipated. Iran continues to work away unhindered on its nuclear program, and President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad reacts to UN demands with an ostentatious show of ignorance. The UN gets upset and drafts a resolution.

Another item on the Iranian president's wish list is the annihilation of Israel. But that will take a bit longer. In the meantime, just to make sure it doesn't get out of practice, the regime had 15 British soldiers kidnapped a few days ago. But it's still all the Americans' fault -- that much is obvious.
Read the whole thing; it'll be time well spent.


The Ottoman Empire was in the not distant past referred to as the "sick man of Europe". The descriptive phrase has, at various times, been used to describe the United Kingdom, Ireland, Portugal, Italy, Spain, Germany and Russia.

According to ex-German foreign minister Joschka Fischer, Europe is the new sick man:
The rest of the world will not wait for Europe while it bickers over institutional reform and external policy issues, says Joschka Fischer, ex-German foreign minister, warning that the risk of it becoming a "playground" for upcoming super powers grows by the day.

Relating a recent incident where a former Indian foreign minister came to lecture at Princeton and said that the 21st century will see three superpowers – India, China and the US – Mr Fischer said "I was sitting there and I thought, 'why the hell is nobody in Europe realising what is going on!'"
The problem is too much government.

Thursday, March 29, 2007


The poor of the world have more to worry about than drowning in rising seas:
Cuban President Fidel Castro has strongly criticised the use of biofuels by the US, in his first article since undergoing surgery last year.

He said George W Bush's support for the use of food crops in fuel production would cause 3bn deaths from hunger.

Mr Castro's article appears in Thursday's edition of Granma, under the headline: "Condemned to premature death by hunger and thirst more than 3bn people of the world."
Australia's future isn't exactly rosy, either:
A leaked report by the United Nations Inter-Governmental Panel on Climate Change paints a devastating picture of Australia's future.

The document obtained by the ABC's The 7.30 Report says the average coastline temperature could rise by up to 3.4 degrees by 2050 and by more than 6 degrees by 2080.

It also predicts bleaching of the Great Barrier Reef, more frequent fires, droughts, floods and storms, and a further dwindling of streamflows in the Murray-Darling Basin.
Thank God we'll have the storms and floods to put out the fires.

Update: The 7:30 Report transcript is now available, painting a much less dire picture than the news report above:
The 7.30 Report has obtained a copy of the chapter on Australia and New Zealand from the final draft of the IPCC's working group II report. Governments around the world have been given this draft on a confidential basis. It makes for some uncomfortable reading. Within 800 kilometres of the Australian coast, temperatures will warm from 0.1 degree to 1.3 degrees by 2020. By 2050, it could warm anywhere from 0.3 to 3.4 degrees and, by 2080, the mean temperature could be 6.7 degrees warmer than it is now. As a result, the report says, heatwaves and fires are virtually certain to increase in intensity and frequency. Floods, landslides, droughts and storm surges are very likely to become more frequent and intense. Climate change has become the hottest political topic of the moment. Labor has been on the offensive, challenging the Government to ratify the Kyoto Protocol and committing itself to 60 per cent reductions in greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. The Government says targets like that, and particularly the 30 per cent reduction by 2020 recommended by the British economist Sir Nicholas Stern, would do great damage to the Australian economy. The Government believes we should not take action on our own that would be to our disadvantage. Instead, it is pursuing global action outside the Kyoto Agreement, through the so called P6 dialogue that includes the US and China, and through what it says are practical measures, like today's announcement of a $200 million initiative to help developing nations preserve their forests. And although today he said he hadn't yet read the IPCC's draft on Australia, the Prime Minister is clearly still reluctant to embrace some of the more alarming predictions.
The left, the ABC included, is eager to embrace the most alarming predictions.


Researcher Shanna Swan links the growth promoters fed to US cattle to adverse health effects:
Swan suggests that the hormones given to cattle to increase their growth, such as testosterone and progesterone, or the pesticides consumed by these animals might be to blame for the lower sperm counts. The hormones, for example, could interfere with testes development in the womb.

Other scientists agree that this could be a plausible explanation: "Even though males don't start producing sperm until puberty, it is during the time in their mothers' wombs, and in the early years of life as an infant, that the testicles develop their capacity to produce sperm," explains Allan Pacey at the University of Sheffield in the UK.
At the end of the article there is this disclaimer, however:
"Given the widespread use of hormones to stimulate animal growth in the US, the findings of this study [are] plausible," says toxicologist Alastair Hay at the University of Leeds in the UK. "However, there are major difficulties with this type of study, not the least of which is asking a woman how often she ate beef whilst pregnant 25 to 30 years ago."

Swan also notes that even if beef consumption might somehow reduce fertility in men, this would not provide a full explanation for the declining sperm counts reported in men in various countries. The sperm count decline in Denmark, for example, cannot be explained by hormones in beef, she says, because the use of growth hormones in cattle never became widespread there.

Pregnant women concerned about a possible link between beef and lower sperm counts in sons should consider reducing their consumption of this meat, Swan says. "It probably won't hurt, with the caveat that she gets enough protein" in her diet from other sources.
When did science make the transition to guesswork?


In the course of an address to parliament on anti-Semitism, Labor Senator Michael Forshaw ridicules Israel-hater Antony Loewenstein's claims of a conspiracy to silence him:
Mr Loewenstein’s allegations are absolutely ridiculous. They are also hypocritical. Firstly, the very fact that Mr Loewenstein’s article appeared in the Australian newspaper, and that his book, published subsequently, has gained such prominence in the public debate and in the media, including the Jewish media in this country, demonstrates the fallacy of his argument.

Following publication of his book by Melbourne University Publishing, Mr Loewenstein received nationwide coverage in both the printed and electronic media. The coverage of this debate went on for weeks, so it is ludicrous to argue that he has somehow been prevented from debating these issues and from having his views heard.
Loewenstein responds in an ironically titled post, "The clueless Senator":
Senator Forshaw is clearly still high from his last all-expenses paid trip to Israel and its military machine. During last year’s Iranian Holocaust Denial conference, I regularly condemned the proceedings, as did many Iranians. I have not said I’m being silenced, but the ability of citizens to freely criticise Israel and its policies results in slander and abuse, usually from fellow Jews.
If Forshaw was given an all-expenses paid trip to Israel he's certainly keeping it quiet. Anyway, Loewnestein has repeatedly claimed there's a Jewish conspiracy to silence him. A single example -- the promo blurb for an SBS radio Loewenstein interview -- will suffice as evidence:
Sure Jews have been less than delighted with Loewenstein's evil anti-Israel campaign but their efforts have been mild compared to the criticisms leveled at him by non-Jews like Tim Blair, me and now Senator Forshaw.

Loewenstein is trying to parlay his self-proclaimed status as a brave and noble Jewish dissenter into a writing career. Well, he may be Jewish but he isn't all that bright, he sure as Hell can't write and very few people with any brains are buying his message -- despite massive media coverage his blog currently draws 251 visits a day and his Independent Australian Jewish Voices petition averages fewer than two new signatures a day.

And one more thing, Loewenstein has somewhat shifted his position on Israeli apartheid. Whereas he once referred to Israel as the "Jewish apartheid state" he now says "the Israeli occupation of Palestine is reminiscent of apartheid". The guy has no insights to offer; if you pay him any heed you're a fool.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007


Susan Carpenter reviews the new Ducati 1098 S and, to her credit, takes one of the beasts for a spin. She's so impressed she'd like to bed the machine. The video that goes with the bike's review (via link above) is a bit of a letdown, however, because Susan rides, well, like a girl. That's to be expected, I suppose.

More on the Ducati 1098 S here. If, like me, you're a Ducati rider from way back, you might like the retro SportClassic 1000 S.

Just in case you haven't heard, Norton is in production again. Go take a look.


The British continue to maintain their forces were seized in Iraqi waters:
The 15 British service personnel captured by Iran were 1.7 nautical miles inside Iraqi territorial waters when they were "ambushed", the Ministry of Defence insisted today.

At a briefing in London, the MoD said it "unambiguously contested" claims from Tehran that the UK vessel carrying the sailors and marines had strayed into Iranian waters.
Regardless, there isn't much the British can do beyond nicely asking that their personnel be released.


As an old codger I can clearly recall the following notice being introduced at the start of the 10 o'clock TV news back in the '60s: "It's 10 PM, do you know where your children are?" Such a question seems quaint today but is still relevant:
A VICTORIAN man is expected to be charged over the brutal overnight sex attack on a 12-year-old girl in Kununurra.

The girl suffered horrific facial and other injuries after being dragged behind a fence in the centre of the Kimberley tourist town and bashed unconscious before being raped, police said.

The girl was allegedly approached by the man who offered her money in return for sex as she walked with friends down the town's main street at 2am.
Very sad, indeed.


The Sydney Morning Herald reports on the unintended consequences of saving orphaned polar bear Knut:
Now there's a sinister edge to the celebrity frenzy surrounding Knut, the baby polar bear.

Top-selling Bild reported the influx of visitors to the zoo -- about 30,000 a day -- could have stressed the black and white bear, who spent much of her time lying on her back chomping at bamboo shoots.

"Lots of people gave up on seeing Knut because of the long queues, so they went to see Yan Yan instead. She seemed intimidated and anxious," wrote the paper, suggesting Yan Yan could have had a heart attack.
It looks like environmentalists were right in demanding Knut be dispatched. Or maybe not, Yan Yan died aged 22, a ripe old age for a panda.


The Guardian reports on European emissions target costings:
The EU's new climate change goals will cost up to €1.1 trillion (£747bn) to implement over the next 14 years, according to a new study.

The most comprehensive investigation on managing the economics of climate change paints a daunting picture of the EU's plan to decrease greenhouse gases by at least 20% by 2020.

But the study by the consulting firm McKinsey published in a German newspaper yesterday, argues it is both economically and technically possible to reduce emissions on schedule, but that the political effort necessary will be immense.
Fantastic! But the Guardian did leave out one minor detail:
Earlier this month, member states legally bound themselves to using 20 percent of energy from renewable sources and cutting CO2 emissions by 20 percent by 2020, but it remained unclear who would pay for the revolutionary switch from gas, oil and coal to green power and all the energy-saving measures.
Tax increases ahoy.

Energy conservation is highly recommended:
The study says that technology, such as energy-saving lightbulbs and windpower, is capable of reducing three-quarters of greenhouse gas emissions.

To achieve cost-effective results, the study advises that politicians concentrate on implementing the cheapest and most effective environmental measures first, rather than the cost-heavy solutions such as building CO2-free coal power stations. "The potential in building insulation should be given much more attention," Mr Vahlenkamp said. "There is a wealth of cost-free possibilities that would neither negatively effect our lifestyles nor our comfort."
Al Gore favoured carbon credits don't get a mention.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007


Terry Hicks blames verbal abuse for Guantanamo detainee son David's weight gain:
"The detainees yell out abuse at him and they say he's being paid by the CIA and all this sort of business to spy on them - that sort of thing," he said.

"So he's under quite a bit of stress through that. He won't go out into the exercise yards because he's been abused verbally from the rest of the detainees, so that's not good.

Such insults from Hicks' jailers would prompt torture allegations; when fellow detainees abuse him, it's "not good".

In reality, Hicks' guilty plea proves his innocence.

Monday, March 26, 2007


Al Gore has a profound effect on the gullible, in the process creating what will undoubtedly be a growth industry:
Melissa Pickett, an eco-therapist with a practice in Santa Fe, sees anywhere from 40 to 80 eco-anxious patients a month. They complain of panic attacks, loss of appetite, irritability and unexplained bouts of weakness, sleeplessness and "buzzing," which they describe as the eerie feeling that their cells are twitching. Pickett's remedies include telling patients to carry natural objects, like certain minerals, for a period of weeks. Making environmentally friendly lifestyle changes can also prove therapeutic, she said.
Lefties are nuts, really.

Update: Eco-therapist Melissa Pickett is also an energy expert.


Camels are a lot like people, or so it seems:
The state's dog fence manager, Michael Balharry, says the fence may have to be made higher and electrified along the top in the problem areas.

He says camels are pushing down the fence in search of water, although sometimes the problem comes from amorous males.

"The bull camels come on heat, not the cows, and when they're on heat they chase anything ... if there's a female inside and if they get inside and a bulls on the outside he'll just go straight through the fence after her ... I suppose it's the same with most males isn't it," he said.

Well, that explains the electric fences popping up in Australian suburbs.


Apparently tormented by guilt at having concocted a a bogus Zionist conspiracy to silence him, Antony Loewenstein comes clean:
After all, playing the victim is so effective, isn’t it?
As if this hasn't been obvious all along.


Former European Commission insider Derk Jan-Eppink sees a number of parallels between Europe and the former USSR:
  • The Soviet Union wanted to harmonize as much as possible within a single political framework. This is also the mission of the European Union.
  • The Soviet Union was administered by a political elite. So is the European Union.
  • The Soviet Union saw itself as a utopian state. The European federalists have much the same views.
  • The Soviet Union had a single bureaucratic center, like the one in the European Union.
  • The Soviet Union was dominated by a powerful secretary general. So are the European institutions.
  • The Soviet Union had party ideologists. The European Union has legal counselors.
  • The Soviet Union wanted to create a viable society through a series of official procedures. So does the European Union.
  • The Soviet Union had apparatchiks, the European Union has mandarins.
  • The Soviet Union had a five year plan. The European Union has a work program.
  • The Soviet Union saw socialist integration as an irreversible process. The European Union sees integration as a means for an "ever closer Union".
  • The Soviet Union claimed to act on behalf of a mythical worker. The European Union has its mythical citizen.
  • The Soviet Union wanted to surpass the United States. The European Union has been trying to do the same thing for many years.
There's more at Brussels Journal.

Sunday, March 25, 2007


The Bush Crimes Commission describes itself:
The International Commission of Inquiry on Crimes Against Humanity Committed by the Bush Administration of the United States documents the evidence on wars of aggression, detention and torture, destruction of the global environment, sabotage of global health programs, and the abandonment of New Orleans.
Add to Bush's crimes female soldiers who die because they're afraid to pee after dark:
In a startling revelation, the former commander of Abu Ghraib prison testified that Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez, former senior US military commander in Iraq, gave orders to cover up the cause of death for some female American soldiers serving in Iraq.

Last week, Col. Janis Karpinski told a panel of judges at the Commission of Inquiry for Crimes against Humanity Committed by the Bush Administration in New York that several women had died of dehydration because they refused to drink liquids late in the day. They were afraid of being assaulted or even raped by male soldiers if they had to use the women's latrine after dark.
Jeez, you'd think the army could issue some empty peanut butter jars, or something.


I haven't watched Bill O'Reilly in quite a while so it came as a shock that raving anti-war activist Sunsara Taylor's microphone wasn't cut and she wasn't booted off-set.

Update: Sunsara show off her belly and gesticulates wildly while talking about Bush being Hitler.

Saturday, March 24, 2007


Possession of marijuana for personal use has been effectively decriminalized throughout much of Australia. In Western Australia those found with a small quantity of mull are either fined a small sum or ordered to attend a drug education session. These penalties are apparently insufficiently lenient:
More than 30 per cent of offenders have ignored fines or refused to complete a cannabis education session since WA introduced softer cannabis laws three years ago.

Of 9563 people issued with cannabis infringement notices since then, 4879 were referred to the Fines Enforcement Agency because they didn't pay fines or attend a one-hour counselling session.

And 3079 of them have escaped scot-free.
Break a drug law and escape punishment but, whatever you do, don't speed:
THE State Government is planning an all-out assault on speeding drivers - possibly including dozens more speed cameras along WA roads.

Fixed cameras, radical new point-to-point speed cameras and combined speed and red-light cameras could all be used in conjunction with more hand-held radars and mobile speed cameras to catch speeding motorists.

Already, more than 670,000 speeding tickets are being processed each year, and the financial pain for speeders could soon get a lot worse.
The revenue produced has nothing to do with plans to increase the number of speed cameras, of course.


Those British sailors might have been captured by Iran for bargaining purposes:
"There were growing fears that the 15 British sailors and Royal Marines were victims of a deliberate ambush by Iran's Revolutionary Guards, perhaps seeking to use the captives as hostages in the increasingly tense stand-off between the West and Iran over its nuclear program," the [Times] story said.
Iran does have hostage taking form.


New Scientist, 10 March 2007:
British researchers who have seen drafts of last month's report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change claim it was significantly watered down when governments became involved in writing it.
New Scientist, 24 March 2007, the 20 coordinating IPCC lead authors respond:
The article and editorial about David Wasdell's review of the contribution of Working Group I to the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change contain several wrong statements and false claims (10 March, p 10 and p 5). As coordinating lead authors (CLAs) of this report we wish to correct these.

Friday, March 23, 2007


The "Girlie" ice pop is raspberry-flavoured with glittery make-up inside the hollow stick. The Swedish Consumers Association is unimpressed:
"Girlie, GB's new ice pop, is pink and has make-up inside the stick. It says a lot about what GB thinks about girls and how they should be," said the association in a statement.
If the Girlie was penis-shaped with a condom and lubricant in the stick there wouldn't be a problem.


Theodore Dalrymple on the meddlesome British government:
Such ignorance and incompetence are now so systematic and widespread in the British public service that if they are not the result of deliberate policy, they might as well be.
It's Dalrymple so its gotta be read.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007


Antony Loewenstein reviews José María Aznar's speech to the Lowy Institute:
Aznar’s talk was actually embarrassing. The fairly conservative group seemed to generally lap it up - one audience member asked the former prime minister if it was likely the West would “oomph it up” in the coming years against Islamic terror - but his analysis was shallow beyond belief. To glowingly quote George W. Bush’s “freedom agenda” and not acknowledge, let alone understand, the vast damage done to international relations since 2000 is living in a Murdoch-induced fantasy (Aznar is on the New Limited board.)
More embarrassing than anything Aznar said are Loewenstein's two references to "New Limited". I mean, as a journalist whose stuff has been published by News Ltd. he should be able to at least get the name right. Then again, this is Antony Loewenstein.


London mayor Ken Livingstone demands a long overdue apology for England's involvement in the slave trade:
Next Sunday marks the bicentenary of the abolition of one of history's greatest crimes - the transatlantic slave trade. The British government must formally apologise for it. All attempts to evade this are weasel words. Delay demeans our country.
I demand Ken's mother apologize for afflicting us with him. In lieu of an apology from mum an apology from Ken will suffice. And while apologies are being demanded, how about the Chinese government apologize for the estimated 60 million murdered by Mao and cronies? And not being totally blameless myself, I apologize for shooting Linda Parker with my BB-gun, even though I told her to move.


Three Indonesian men have been sentenced to jail for the decapitation murders of Chinese girls:
The court sentenced Hasanuddin, alias Slamet Raharjo, who came up with the idea to decapitate the girls in 2005 to mark a Muslim holiday, to 20 years in prison.
Good choice for these guys, becoming murderers of children, not drug smugglers.


Disappointing but not unexpected survey results:
"... just 25 percent of those asked feel that life in their country had improved... while 44 percent feel it has become worse."
Those results aren't from post-invasion Iraq, they're from Europeans asked about their quality of life since joining the European Union.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007


Idiot Italian journalist Daniele Mastrogiacomo, kidnapped two weeks ago while seeking to interview Taliban officials, has been released. His captivity was, well, stressful:
He said his Afghan driver had been decapitated in front of him by their Taleban guards.

"I saw him being decapitated, it was horrific," he told Italian TG3 television.

"I was shaking. Obviously I thought 'it's my turn now."
His release appears to have been part of a prisoner swap:
One Taleban leader, military commander Mullah Dadullah, told Reuters by satellite phone from an undisclosed location that Mr Mastrogiacomo had been freed after Afghan authorities released five senior Taliban officials, including his own brother.
Mastrogiacomo seems just a tad overvalued.

EU foreign policy on Sudan is a failure costing thousands of lives former external relations commissioner Chris Patten has said, lambasting the bloc for issuing statements of concern ad nauseam instead of imposing sanctions on Khartoum.

EU foreign ministers have since early 2004 issued 19 Darfur statements using phrases such as "serious concern" or "profound concern" a total of 53 times in a period that has seen some 200,000 slaughtered and 2.5 million displaced by government forces or government-backed militia, the Janjaweed.
Yes, inaction is so... UN-European.

Monday, March 19, 2007


Not long ago the nutrition-Nazis berated the Girl Scouts for selling cookies which might prove bulge-inducing if eaten immoderately. Now Krispy Kreme Doughnuts is taking flak for allowing non-profit organizations to sell its products for fund raising -- such groups raising over $6 million in three years.

The criticism is coming from the responsibility shifters at The Parents Jury, holders of a recent Krispy Kreme kangaroo court:
The Trial by Jury's verdict is in and Krispy Kreme Doughnuts has been found ‘guilty' of directly marketing their donuts to children through their school and sporting fundraising activities.

Krispy Kreme was found guilty by a panel of seven parents who reviewed nominations submitted by members of The Parents Jury. The Trial by Jury campaign was launched last month and enables parents to speak out about the food marketing tactics and strategies that either get their back up because they promote unhealthy food to children, or that they like their children to see because they encourage healthy eating.
Yep, in its "ruthless" drive for profits Krispy Kreme does indeed allow schools to sell its products, a maximum of two times per school per year. Evil bastards.

Just in case anyone is wondering, the two times per school per year provision was not put in place in response to criticism from The Parents Jury: the Google cache for 24 February 2007 shows the limit already existed.

Sunday, March 18, 2007


Some understated reporting from the ABC:
Militants have cut off the noses and ears of three Afghan drivers supplying United States military bases in Afghanistan.
Now I know it would be inappropriate for the ABC to call nose and ear choppers "fucking arseholes" but "militants" just isn't strong enough. The perpetrators are terrorists, pure and simple.

Saturday, March 17, 2007


A Deltoid reader discovers the de facto DDT ban:
In the media release from WHO of 15 Sept 2006 they very clearly state that 'WHO actively promoted indoor residual spraying for malaria control until the early 1980s when increased health and environmental concerns surrounding DDT caused the organization to stop promoting its use and to focus instead on other means of prevention. Extensive research and testing has since demonstrated that well-managed indoor residual spraying programmes using DDT pose no harm to wildlife or to humans'. There are a number of other statements on the who website (which I am having trouble pasting in) where WHO recognises its mistake in this area in not promoting DDT for indoor residual spraying.
DDT ban denier Tim Lambert has a simple explanation for the WHO press release:
Yes, that's what the media release says. It's not true. See my link.
The Lambert link is to an earlier Deltoid post on former WHO official Allan Schapira, who apparently has DDT issues:
I resigned my post as coordinator, vector control and prevention, of the Global Malaria Programme, WHO, on Sept 6, 2006, because of disagreements with the director of the programme about policy issues.
Naturally, Schapira is determined to undermine the new pro-DDT head of the Global Malaria Programme, Dr. Arata Kochi, whose initial statement on DDT is devastating -- the importance of the statement can be seen in the fact that it is the first link on the Global Malaria Programme homepage.

The consensus holds the DDT ban to be real yet Lambert continues to deny it. Shame.


Without mentioning Al Gore two global warming believers undermine his message:
Professors Paul Hardaker and Chris Collier were speaking ahead of a conference on the issue in Britain.

The two men say warnings without clear evidence could undermine awareness of the real risks of climate change.

The latest example is from one of America's foremost science body's which, in a strongly worded statement, suggested that global warming was already responsible for more severe floods, storms and droughts which could lead to irreversible damage.
According to professors Hardaker and Collier this may well turn out to be true.
I don't get it, if global warming is real and the science sound, how is anything being exaggerated?

In tangentially related news, Chris Reed comments on the left's not unexpected reaction to William J. Broad's New York Times article critical of An Inconvenient Truth:
Sure enough, the executire director of the Sierra Club is peeved at the NYT for going off-message. Incredibly enough, a New Republic pundit compared the NYT to National Review, home to the world's loudest global warming skeptics.

What a churlish bunch. They got upset with the New York Times for running one skeptical article under the fold on the cover of the weekly Science section and forget about the 318 stories that have mentioned global warming on the NYT's front page -- few of which did anything to throw water on the contentions of political environmentalists that global warming is the moral/political/scientific crisis of modern times.
I wonder how many times the MSM will have to tell us anthropogenic global warming is real before we all believe it?


In the course of introducing a radio interview with P. J. O'Rourke, Phillip Adams says O'Rouke is an exception to the rule that conservatives are "pompous, dull, pretentious, or all three". Adams obviously isn't into self-reflection. Regardless, the rare hour-long O'Rourke interview is not be missed, so click it.

Am I the only one for whom Adams's speaking voice and delivery conjures up a mental image of Jabba the Hutt?

Link shamelessly stolen from Ingolf at Club Troppo.

Friday, March 16, 2007


Tigttog, one of the man-hating females at Larvatus Prodeo, theorizes that grouped males often behave badly due to "the common voluntary male subjection to the homosocial phenomenon whereby men who don’t 'go along' with 'the blokes' are ostracised". This male herding instinct apparently explains every bad male behaviour from the My Lai massacre to gay hating, to gang rape and vandalism. She knows this to be true because she saw just such male conformity on Ricky Gervais' Extras. Worst of all, she's worried her autistic son is in danger of being corrupted by a desire to be one of the blokes.

I'm not the only one thinking this post is nutty and hateful:
This post segues from My Lai to the “homosocial phenomenon whereby men who don’t “go along” with “the blokes” are ostracised”. It makes Janet Albrechtsen seem like a model of logic and intellectual rigour. Look up “non sequitur” in the dictionary, and you’ll see a picture of tigtog.

What particularly bugs me is that if I wrote a post about Lindy England, and then went on to make sweeping negative generalisations about female social behaviour, people would — quite rightly — denounce me as a misogynist and an idiot. But apparently it’s fine to do this sort of thing when your target is male.
Life can't be easy for women who think all men are jerks, or worse.


It appears Fidel's on the mend and in no mood to give up power:
The speaker of the Cuban National Assembly says President Fidel Castro is making a significant recovery from illness and may even stand for a new term in elections next year.
If he does stand, he'll "probably" "win".

Thursday, March 15, 2007


Over the past two days I've twice expressed disapproval (see here and here) of the MSM coverage crediting anti-nuclear activist Kevin Kamps as a "nuclear expert". Now that I have a bit of time, let's take a closer look at some of his remarks to the media:
A study has identified cities such as Townsville, Mackay and Brisbane as potential sites for nuclear reactors because of the coastal cities' proximity to power and water.

But the US experience had been that marine life was seriously affected by coast-based nuclear plants, Mr Kamps said.

"Even large animals like endangered sea turtles are sucked into these cooling systems," he said.

"In one year, 933 endangered sea turtles were sucked into a reactor in Florida.

"Sixteen of these were killed and many of the others were injured or traumatised, so it's having very serious impacts on endangered species on the sea coasts."
All very vague coming from an expert: neither the year nor the name of the Florida nuclear plant are cited. Fortunately, Kamps' parent organization, Nuclear Information and Resource Service (an official sounding environmental pressure group) links the 933 "entrainments" to 1995. The figure is old because the report it's sourced from was produced in 1999. (Entrainments are actually on the increase.)

A contemporaneous report (1998) is available in the Maritime Turtle Newsletter (produced by the corporate-shilling right-wing group, Here's what it says about sea turtles being sucked into the St Lucie power station:
From March of 1976, when the power plant began operation, to April 1998, 5727 sea turtles were captured at the plant's intake canal. This total includes 3357 loggerhead (Caretta caretta), 2297 green (Chelonia mydas), 34 Kemp's ridley (Lepidochelys kempii), 20 leatherback (Dermochelys coriacea) and 19 hawksbill (Eretmochelys imbricata) turtle captures. The vast majority of turtles entering the canal are in good condition and are not affected adversely by their rapid entrainment. Although some mortalities have occurred ([less than] 3.3%overall; [less than] 1.2% since 1990), constant evaluation and modification of capture technique has minimized these incidents
Being sucked into the plant's cooling system either isn't all that traumatic or sea turtles are exceptionally stupid:
From July 1994 to April 1998, 1673 green turtles were captured at the power plant's intake canal; 210 juvenile green turtles accounted for 614 of these capture events. Many of these juvenile turtles were captured numerous times, with one individual being captured 13 times in a three year period. All recaptured juvenile green turtles were recaptured at the canal an average of two times after initial capture. The number of recaptures found at the intake canal might actually be much higher as many turtles have been observed with obvious tag scars.
When a turtle is vacuumed-up 13 times and is not killed or seriously injured, the process sounds more fun than dangerous. Regardless, the newsletter does not make a big deal about turtle deaths and neither does the University of Florida Veterinary News (2005):
University of Florida scientists and their collaborators have stumbled on a sea turtle treasure trove that will help them better assess the endangered animals’ health. Researchers are creating a database of unprecedented size that will chart blood profiles of turtles entering the intake canal of a nuclear power plant in Port St. Lucie.
I'm sure the University of Florida researchers would tell us if there is a turtle-mangling problem at the St Lucie nuclear power station.

Kevin Kamps is no expert: he's an anti-nuclear propagandist who's here in Australia to pitch the environmental line and should be ignored.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007


Despite tap water being essentially free, Europeans can't get enough of the expensive bottled variety:
Europeans are drinking more and more bottled water amid preoccupation with weight loss and cravings for emotional experiences like "naturalness"...
This selfishness is not without its costs, however:
Europe's bottled water sector uses close to 1 million tonnes a year of oil-derived polyethylene terephthalate (PET) plastic. Some is recycled. But a lot is dumped in landfills or shipped to China to be dumped in landfills, with PET taking up to 1,000 years to biodegrade.

The environmental footprint of the bottled water industry is made even bigger by export markets - up to 60 percent of brands like Evian and Volvic are shipped out of Europe to chic restaurants round the world.
The bottled water fad is even killing carbon sequestering trees:
In two cases - documented by the BBC in 2005 - in Pedro Paulo Aina in Brazil and Michigan in the US Nestle's exploitation of natural springs saw natural water resources dry up or drop in quality, damaging local tourism and killing trees.
Next time you're thirsty, head for the nearest tap.


Yesterday I noted the media coverage touting anti-nuclear activist Kevin Kamps as a "nuclear waste specialist" and "nuclear waste expert". Well, the MSM coverage of Kamps Wilderness Society sponsored speaking tour of Australia has since exploded, with The Australian, The Herald Sun, The Sydney Morning Herald, The Age and many other outlets giving his views space under headlines such as "Don't go nuclear, US expert warns".

This is absurd. As his bios indicate (available here and here) Kamps is at best a well informed layman; he has no stated nuclear credentials whatever. The MSM should not advertise the guy as an "expert"; in doing so the MSM is giving Kamps anti-nuclear views a cachet they clearly do not deserve. Pathetic.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007


Kevin Kamps is currently on a Wilderness Society sponsored tour, warning Australians about the dangers of nuclear energy. Here's his description of his "professional background":
Before joining [Nuclear Information & Resource Service], I founded and directed the World Tree Multi-Cultural Community Center for Peace, Justice and Mother Earth in Kalamazoo, Michigan from 1996 to 1999. My main work there was the Chernobyl Children’s Project, which brought groups of visually impaired children from the former Soviet Union to the U.S. for medical attention and recreation.

In 1995, I took part in the Walk Across Europe for a Nuclear-Free World, a 3,500 mile international peace march from Brussels, Belgium to Moscow, Russia concerned with nuclear weapons issues and the aftermath of the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear catastrophe. In 1992, I took part in the 3,500 mile Walk Across America for Mother Earth from New York City to Nevada to end nuclear weapons testing at the Nevada Test Site.

I attended Earlham College, a Society of Friends (Quaker) school in Richmond, Indiana as well as Kalamazoo College in Kalamazoo, Michigan.
In short, Kamps is nothing more than an anti-nuclear activist with no real authority to speak to the weighty matter of nuclear energy. Despite this, the ABC gives him national coverage as a "nuclear waste specialist". Even worse, the Mackay Daily Mercury bills him as a "nuclear waste expert". With the MSN propagandizing for environmentalists it's no wonder people cringe at the mere mention of "nuclear".

Monday, March 12, 2007


Despite massive but unmerited media attention the Independent Australian Jewish Voices petition has stalled with only 435 signatures, of which 1.8% are surnamed Loewenstein, Adler and Slezak.
The main beneficiary of the petition so far is Loewenstein; his counter soaring to 395 visits a day. Anti-Zionism grows in popularity by the minute.

The alternative petition is worth signing, by the way. Drop in and send a message to Loewenstein.

Update: There has been a sign-up surge; the petition now has 438 signatures.


First Mark Bahnisch tells us he's working so hard he barely has time to blog. Now Ken Parish can't resist the urge to tell us how Club Troppo's thrice weekly Missing Link posts require a mammoth effort:
Missing Link is now into yet another manifestation. The problem is that it’s just too time-consuming for any one individual to read lots of blogs, even with the help of a feed reader, and then produce a decent human-edited digest of wortwhile posts several times a week. You could probably do it if you were being paid a full or even half salary for it, but it’s beyond most people’s capacity as a volunteer endeavour: around 20 hours per week for 3 editions.
Twenty hours effort into what are nothing more than three blog roundups? Now there's some productive use of time. And if it's such a pain, why do it?

Maybe it's just me but it seems lefty academics aren't enjoying their blogging these days.


The ABC's inside business gives a plug to entrepreneurial husband and wife team Monica Waters and James Meldrum, founders of Nourish, purveyor of the successful Whole Kids range of organic snack foods. Waters and Meldrum abandoned careers in corporate marketing in favour of organic snacks. Their products are apparently sold in a range of outlets, including schools, which are being pressured to stop selling "junk" through canteens.

Waters and Meldtrum discuss their motivations:
We researched the issues and found that most conventional children's snack foods were poor in nutrients and full of unnecessary food additives, preservatives and colourings. Many had high levels of sugar, fat, sodium and were often high in calories. Also, what we read about the effects of food additives on kids really disturbed us, despite many manufacturers making over-the-top claims suggesting these foods were healthy and actually good for our kids.
The order page briefly describes their Organic Apple & Sultana Fruit Bars ($7.25 for 240 grams, plus $5.00 shipping per order):
Oven-baked for a great taste and without all those artificial nasties.
Those "artificial nasties" are, of course, deemed to be safe for human consumption.

Interestingly, the nutritional profile for the organic fruit bars is not much different to a similar Kelloggs product, K-time Twists® Apple & Cinnamon Flavour ($3.89 for 222 grams but currently on special for $2.99 at the local grocery): calories are almost identical but the organic bars are lower in carbohydrates and sodium. The organic bars contain much more fat, however: 7.6 grams total fat per 100 grams of product, of which 4.7 grams is the nasty saturated variety -- they contain butter. The K-time Twists contain 3.2 grams of fat of which only 1.4 grams is saturated.

I'll leave it to readers to decide if it's worth paying extra for an organic product, especially one that has a much higher fat content than its artificially enhanced rivals.

Sunday, March 11, 2007


Hugo Chavez advises his fellow South Americans:
"Those who want to go directly to hell, they can follow capitalism," Mr Chavez said in the town of Trinidad in Bolivia.

"And those of us who want to build heaven here on earth, we will follow socialism," he added.
Well, that explains the queues of people clamouring to get into Cuba.


I've owned three Rhodesian Ridgebacks over the past twenty five years and wouldn't hesitate to get another when my current dog passes -- he's doing quite well for a dog his age and size (10 and 45 kilos) but is slowing down. Being hounds, Ridgeback are natural hunters, with the ones I've owned having a pathological desire to shred cats. The first of my Ridgebacks had a unique cat catching style: rather than charge at them barking and snarling he'd turn the tables on them by crouching low to the ground cat-fashion, inching toward them until he was in range, eventually to pounce soundlessly.

But even a powerful cat-munching specialist would probably find one of these monsters too much to handle. Maybe it's time to buy two dogs.

Update: Having been accused of being continually negative I am a bit worried that this post, despite being totally positive, might be seen as negative. So, I'm including this to ensure positive balance. The kitten ate the butterfly, by the way.

Saturday, March 10, 2007


Mark Bahnisch accounts for his diminished blogging output:
"... my workload includes 18 face to face hours of teaching each week this semester, and it’s very difficult for me to find any time or energy for writing, including blogging, at the moment."
And even if he finds the time, some aspects of blogging are loathsome:
The difficulty... is that a minority of self-obsessed vulgarians on an ego trip make it less enjoyable for the rest of us, and taking the time to moderate and sift the garbage is also a significant investment of energy which is often under-appreciated. It’s rare that bloggers get any comments on moderation other than whinges (and complaints are often couched in terms which assume that moderators are constantly doing nothing else or should be doing nothing else than reading threads) and there are few thanks for the effort that goes into maintaining those blogs which do provide a space for interesting and civil discussion.
As if claiming to have the "best read political blog" in Australia isn't indicative of ego tripping.

Update: The crew at the Larvatus Prodeo have their knickers in a collective knot -- sounds painful, don't it?
A little bit of investigation demonstrates suggests that commenter probably came from the delightful J F Beck’s blog:

Who has achieved one of his continuing goals in life by getting a link from timmy.
Bahnisch admirer Pavlov's Cat reckons the poor man is overworked:
According to the orginal model, however, if Mark cuts no corners in any area of his responsibilities, then 18 hours’ tertiary teaching per week means an 80-hour working week.
Update II: Hmm, there's something missing from this scenario... cue the interesting and civilized Tim Lambert to pop into LP and call me a troll, or perhaps Nabakov to point out how few readers I have. I wait in anticipation.

Update III: Bahnisch is working himself to death out of friendship:
He’s taken on two full time academic workloads to cover for colleagues on leave because he feels an obligation for their friendship. I urged him to be more selfish. I’d also urge him to consider following Helen’s wise decision and take a break from blogging. I’m sure he doesn’t need this sort of mindless and hurtful abuse at the moment.
Well, my workmates would know how much work I'd have to do in assuming a double load and wouldn't ask or even allow me to fill in for them if the work would be too hard. My managers wouldn't allow it either, knowing my clients would suffer. Things must work differently in lefty dominated academia.

Update IV: Catallaxy's Jason Soon chimes in with his best Spiro Agnew:
JF Beck is a nasty little nattering nabob of negativity, a mediocrity of the negative fifth degree.
He also thinks I'm a "buffoon", adding:
You’re such a persnicketty sadsack, fella. Go away and engage in some copulation.
Even worse, he removed me from the catallaxy blogroll. Ouch!

Mark Bahnisch has pulled the pin, by the way. I hope it wasn't due to anything I said.
Update V: Teaching is especially difficult for females:
If you are a woman, you spend extra time mopping up the tears of students who have been upset by your male colleagues, resisting sexist manoeuvres in workplace competition, dealing with constant low-grade sexual harassment of various kinds from some of the male academic staff, and periodically cleaning up in the tea-room before the fridge/microwave/sink starts to walk away by itself, to say nothing of the teatowels.
Which reminds me of the old question: why did the female cross the road? Who cares; the important question is, what was she doing out of the kitchen?


The European Union has committed to using renewable energy sources for 20% of its energy needs and to a 20% reduction in CO2 emissions by 2020 but "nobody knows how Europe will make the new 'industrial revolution' into reality or who will pay for it...".

Signing blank cheques is dangerous.

Friday, March 09, 2007


Writing in comment is free in the Guardian -- apparently made-up for a Night of the Living Dead party later -- Antony Loewenstein makes a misleading claim:
Our group [Independent Australian Jewish Voices] does not hold any specific position on the Israel/Palestine conflict and nor do we claim to represent all Jews.
Loewenstein does hold a specific position on Israel, as stated in July 2005:
As a Jew who doesn't believe in the concept of a Jewish state - a fundamentally undemocratic and colonialist idea from a bygone era - reception to such ideas within the Jewish community is usually vitriolic, bigoted, racist and downright pathetic.
Speak for all Jews? Hardly, he's trying damn hard to draw attention to himself by provoking as many Jews as possible.

Many of those signing Loewenstein's petition have been duped by the disguised Israel hater. But, considering no-one reads his blog despite massive media attention, it's hard to blame them for not knowing his true position.

Earlier posts on Independent Australian Jewish Voices are here, here and here.
Update: The IAJV petition currently shows 496 signatures but the actual count is 396. A number of dubious names still show, so the real count is even lower.

Update II: The IAJV petition claims to be about "supporting free debate" but Loewenstein is no free speech advocate -- comments at his blog are heavily censored. Comments to his promotional Guardian article are also being censored. Moderators withheld my comment pointing to Loewenstein's low blog traffic (this despite the massive MSM coverage he's been accorded) as proof his message has been rejected. Free debate my arse.

Update III: Guardian moderators have allowed through a toned-down comment regarding Loewenstein's blog censorship.

Update IV: Unverified sign-up continues to be problematic: the signature page shows signatures 467 - 514 but with huge gaps -- out of 48 signatures only 15 appear, the rest having been canned.

Update V: IAJV has abandoned online sign-up. Prospective signatories must now submit their details by email.


Despite the environmentalist instigated DDT ban being well documented, reality averse denialist Tim Lambert continues to insist the ban never happened. The latest in his increasingly weak (and obviously desperate) DDT prevarications sees Lambert link to a post by the aptly named raving socialist, The Yorkshire Ranter:
Alex catches Dominic Lawson spreading the DDT ban myth. Lawson is the brother-in-law of Christopher Monckton who also spead the myth [sic].
In the linked post Alex the ranter says:
[Lawson] then proceeds to lie:
The same sort of argument, in fact, which caused countless millions of Africa children to die of malaria unnecessarily becasue [sic] the Green lobby sucessfully [sic] blocked the use of DDT.
This is simply factually incorrect. There is no ban on DDT for disease prevention. There is a specific clause in the Stockholm Convention that exempts DDT for malaria control from the international control. Mosquitoes began to be resistant to DDT in 1969, so its utility is limited to say the least. But if you do think it will work, you can buy the stuff at this link, like the governments of Madagascar, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Sudan, South Africa, Namibia, the Solomon Islands, Papua New Guinea, Algeria, Thailand, and Myanmar.
For some reason Lawson's quote contains errors not in the original and no link is provided. Here's the unedited quote from The Independent -- it refers to anti-Green documentary producer Martin Durkin:
Durkin examined the Green campaigns against hydroelectric dams which would have brought clean water to parts of the subcontinent ravaged by water-borne disease, but which were opposed as "damaging to local biodiversity" - the same sort of argument, in fact, which caused countless millions of African children to die of malaria unnecessarily because the Green lobby successfully blocked the use of DDT.
Ranting Alex doesn't dispute the hydroelectric dam point, probably because it's indisputable. Lawson doesn't claim DDT was banned but rather that its use was "blocked". In fact, DDT was subject to a de facto ban, as confirmed by Dr Arata Kochi, Director of the World Health Organization’s Malaria Department:
Even though indoor spraying with DDT and other insecticides had been remarkably effective preventing malaria sickness and death where used, this strategy seemed to have been abandoned by most countries nearly 30 years ago. By the early 1980s, WHO was no longer actively promoting it.

Some people told me that there was a good reason why its wide scale use had been phased out. I was told the practice was unsafe for humans, birds, fish and wildlife; that the use of DDT in the United States in the 1950s had led to the near extinction of the bald eagle. I was told that indoor spraying with DDT was “politically unpopular.”
That the de facto ban existed is beyond dispute.

Even though everything raving socialist Alex writes about DDT above is suspect -- one of his sources is none other than serial misleader Tim Lambert -- he reckons he's on a roll, continuing:
Anyway, [Lawson] describes the [The Great Global Warming Swindle] as follows:
We are taken to those vast tracts of Africa where there is no electricity, and see families huddled round a fire in their mud hut. Then we are told that "five million children under five die every year as a result of respiratory diseases from indoor smoke". Remember that, the next time you read about the ecological purity of heating derived from "biomass".
Hark! Wood pellets in a CHP scheme will fill your house with poisonous black smoke! And dead babies! Dead black babies! This is argumentation of a standard that shouldn't get out of primary school. A thought experiment - let me light a wood fire under a chimney, and Lawson light a gas or oil one without, and which one of us will die of carbon-monoxide poisoning first?
African babies killed by smoke from indoor cooking fires are just fucking hilarious and not worth arguing about. Socialists have some damn strange priorities.

Anyway, Alex's post goes on for another 850 words, if you can be bothered reading it. Let me know if he says anything worth knowing.


Australians who reject Antony Loewenstein

Thursday, March 08, 2007


From The Declaration of Independent Australian Jewish Voices:
As Australians we are privileged to live in a democratic state that embodies the principles of tolerance and free speech. We feel there is an urgent need to hear alternative voices that should not be silenced by being labelled disloyal or “self-hating.”
Antony Loewenstein today on ABC Radio National:
We're not saying we're being silenced or that we're being forced into submission, it's not about that. The point simply is that within the Jewish community any number of Jews have written to us and spoken to us both in the last days and for me in the last couple of years, saying that if they speak out, if they criticize Israel, critique Israel both within their families or elsewhere they are labeled antisemitic, self-hating, evil, etc., even to the point where a few days ago a supposedly rational woman in Melbourn accused me on the Australian Jewish News website of being like David Irving the holocaust denier but just not as intelligent. In other words the point is there is this sentiment [sic] of intimidation that exists out there. No one is saying... I'm not saying I'm being silenced, I get published regularly in the media and can talk about it. The point is that there are many many Jews out there and it would be fair to say the Jewish establishment, the Zionist organizations which claim to speak for all Jews in fact do not. They speak for a certain perception [sic] that's out there and they exist for sure but there are many Jews... I would argue a majority of Jews who have no voice. Who don't necessarily get represented.
Two points. First, Australia's Jews are obviously more childlike than I thought. You know, what with needing someone to speak for them. Second, who appointed Loewenstein spokesman for the Jewish silent majority? (He's going to need a hell of a lot more than the target 1,000 signatures in order to claim his petition is an endorsement.)

Loewenstein has claimed all along that he's being silenced. In reality his unpopular views are merely generating negative feedback. This tends to happen when people talk shit.

Update: Send a STFU message to Loewenstein.