Monday, April 30, 2007


Gianna doesn't understand the widely-held expectation that women should raise young children:
Is that biologically determined, because we have the womb?
Nope, it's biologically determined by women having breasts that produce milk. Doofus.

Note: Broken link fixed and spelling of "Gianna" corrected.


Semi-literate co-bloggers Antony Loewenstein and sidekick Andre will link to any old crap in attempting to make Israel look bad. Back in October it was make-believe uranium weapons. Now it's the dreaded leg-chopping tungsten bomb. The other day it was an Israeli arrest-and-kill squad. Naturally, only impeccable sources are relied on.

Update: Andre reckons "George Bush and Argud Olmert have much in common". He's apparently talking about Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert.


Michel Gurfinkiel takes a long, hard look at France. He's not optimistic.

Via: Arts & Letters Daily


George Forbes is set to go on trial in Sudan for murder despite two autopsies concluding the supposed victim killed himself. The left will of course be outraged that an Australian national is being held on seemingly trumped-up charges in a foreign jail. Somehow I doubt it.

Sunday, April 29, 2007


Computer guy Tim Lambert is obviously a busy man: he presumably teaches a full load and makes himself available three hours a week to give advice to Computer Science students -- now there's a frightening thought. He's also a prolific blogger. It's no surprise then that he can't find the time to keep his University of New South Wales personal page up to date: the photo at top is obviously old; the Computer Science Program Director link doesn't work; the Computer Graphics link goes to the wrong page; the Computational Geometry link comes up "Not Found"; and the linked research projects page was last updated in 1999 -- the project info says the program was written for Windows 95.

Considering the guy is spread so thin, I am deeply flattered he took the time to mention me in a post. As usual, he doesn't get it quite right. He reckons my Deltoid comments are "moderated". By "moderated" he really means he refuses to post any comment that he doesn't like -- it has nothing to do with me saying anything nasty, attacking other commenters or going off topic.

In order to get around his black hole moderation I have on several occasions commented at Deltoid using assumed names. Members of my family have also commented using a variety of identities. Regardless, all of these comments made perfectly valid points. But this hasn't happened often or for quite a while so I can't see that it's a big problem for him, although removing some of these totally civil comments did make extra work. Regardless, contrary to what Lambert says, I have never engaged in sock-puppetry.

Computer guy also reckons I'm guilty of "trolling". The best I can remember the troll thing started back in June 2005 (to get around chicken-man's link-bounce copy and paste when Lambert chose to name-call rather than engage in discussion:
JF Troll, it is dishonest for you to claim that there is a de facto ban on DDT when it is used in countries containing billions of people.
The post itself is a complete crock: he claims Eritrea cut malaria rates by switching away from DDT. In a later post he contradicts this by linking to a study showing Eritrea's use of DDT actually increased during the relevant period. The earlier incorrect post stands uncorrected, by the way.

More recently Lambert made an an arse of himself by alleging I abused his readers by calling his more sycophantic commenters -- those who jump to his defense, right or wrong -- toadies. He used this as an excuse for removing one of my comments. The truth is he wanted the comment gone because it made valid points.

Arguing with me might well be, as Lambert proposes, like being part of a Monty Python sketch but he'd have no way of knowing: he excludes me from discussions at Dulltard and runs for it when our paths cross at other blogs. I keep trying but he won't participate because he knows his DDT posts (and some of his global warming posts) are riddled with misrepresentations.

In addition to inaccurately calling me a sock-puppeteering troll Lambert also reckons I'm stupid. If that's the case it should be easy enough for him to go to my Lambert posts and pick them apart. You know, to show everyone just how stupid I am.

Come on Lambert, prove me a fool; it's either that or admit you really are a Lambert*.

*One who subtly misrepresents facts (see liar).

Saturday, April 28, 2007


Back in mid-2006 English councils were warned they risked incurring massive fines if EU mandated landfill dumping reductions were not met. The more innovative councils responded by switching from weekly to every-other-week rubbish collections. This move has created something of a stink.

Update: Halving the number of rubbish collections is cause for celebration; it gives consumers more choice in disposing of their rubbish. Really.


You decide.

Friday, April 27, 2007


Armchair strategist Ken Lovell analyzes the situation in Iraq concluding there is no downside to a coalition withdrawal. When commenter steve of Brisbane points out a flaw in Lovell's argument Lovell takes his ball and heads home:
Steve this isn’t Blogocracy and you won’t get to boost your ego here by having people respond indefinitely to your patronising inanity. The idea that you or any other armchair global strategist in Brisbane is in a position ‘to exercise your own judgement as to what is the likely consequence of sudden withdrawal’ from Iraq is hilarious. I haven’t the slightest intention of humouring you by restating what I’ve written on this blog about Iraq over the last six months.
Big baby.

Thursday, April 26, 2007


Sweden, probably the most progressively permissive of nations, will not participate in this year's Miss Universe pageant. The competition is just too old fashioned:
"The modernization of the international competition has been significantly slower than the Swedish contest, although we see signs of change on horizon. Until the parent organization catches up we have chosen not to participate this year," organizer Panos Papadopoulos said in a statement on Wednesday.
The Miss Universe competition is too old fashioned in that contestants are required to briefly appear on stage wearing swimsuits. For which crime the current Miss Sweden could be stripped of her title -- she appeared in a swimsuit in men's magazine FHM. You see, Miss Sweden isn't expected to be beautiful and smart, she should be "intelligent and well-educated". It's an inner beauty thing.


In a multi-page article in the Sydney Morning Herald Chris Mooney ( blogger and author of The Republican War on Science and the soon-to-be-released Storm World) discusses the public's failure to grasp global warming facts and the pressing need for scientists to remedy this situation. In the course of making his point about the need for increased science activism he notes the media's role in sewing confusion:
On this subject, media attention in the US has not followed the increasing certainty of scientists about the role of human activities in causing the current warming trend. Instead, dramatic political events (such as George Bush's withdrawal from the Kyoto Protocol in 2001) have driven coverage.
Two points: George Bush did not withdraw from Kyoto anymore than did Bill Clinton -- it is impossible for the US to withdraw from something it never joined: and surely there are more recent "dramatic political events" that have "driven coverage"; or maybe not.

It seems odd that such a distortion of the facts appears in an article on the facts of global warming. Oh well, the article had to be suspect: it's highly recommended by Scienceblogs.coms perennial misinformer, Tim Lambert.

Science writer Mooney has no science credentials, by the way. He holds a bachelor's degree in English.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007


Tim Flannery on Australia punching above its weight:
"We've been dithering about for a decade or so as far as Kyoto goes and what's happened over that time is that other nations, very important ones such as China, have taken our decision not to accept a particular target as the perfect excuse for them to do the same," he said.
Et voilà:
China has delayed indefinitely its national “action plan” on climate change, which was due to be released on Monday after exhaustive consultations among ministries in Beijing and provincial and local governments.

No explanation was given for the move, although global warming is causing increasing international concern about the country’s high-speed economic growth model. China has delayed the long-awaited release of its policy response to climate change, an issue that is increasingly focusing international attention on the country’s high-speed economic growth model.
We're leading China around by the nose. Cool.


Australian celebrity blogger scepticlawyer (Helen Dale) responds to a long but thoughtful comment from Jack Robertson:
Jack, please edit before commenting. Please. From someone who used to do the craft for a living.
Scepticlawyer would have done well to edit this crap -- in which she inaccurately accuses my of lying -- posted at her own blog rather than attacking fellow commenters at outside blogs. Hopeless.

Update: Currency Lad points out that, whereas scepticlawyers comment was "cheeky", it's actually pretty mild compared to the usual "toilet fare" from Larvatus Prodeo's resident loons. Hey, when I said thoughtful I meant thoughtful in context: the comment is at Larvatus Prodeo, after all.


In a CNN exclusive actress Ashley Judd notes Americans' ignorance of malaria:
In a recent Gallup poll, only 30 percent of Americans identified malaria as a "very serious" problem, yet the numbers on the ground tell a different story. Forty percent of the world's population is at risk of contracting malaria. There are between 350 and 500 million diagnosed cases each year, resulting in more than 1 million deaths annually.
That could be because Americans often hear about malaria in stories emphasizing the dangers of DDT, stressing that the chemical is found in everyone's body. They're also inundated with stories about rebounding populations of bald eagles and peregrine falcons, the stories invariably crediting DDT's banning with the birds' resurgence. So Americans are understandably more concerned with DDT's threat to them than they are with some disease foreigners get.

Judd proposes bed nets and cost effective drugs as the malaria solutions. Insecticides don't get a mention. Well, good on Judd for asking people to donate for bed nets but she's more than a little naive if she thinks they're a totally effective substitute for insecticides -- including DDT -- in all situations. Celebrities are unreliable sources of information and should be ignored.


The European Parliament's official home is Strasbourg but its administrative home is Brussels, essentially the capital of Europe. The parliament sits in both cities. The result is a costly and wasteful logistics nightmare:
When a plenary session is held in Strasbourg once a month – it is empty for the remaining 307 days of the year - 1,220 officials and other servants of the parliament and political groups travel from Brussels to Strasbourg while another 525 travel from Luxembourg to Strasbourg.

But it is not just people who have to get to the Alsatian capital but also all of their work paraphernalia. This means "fifteen lorries which ferry cupboards and tin trunks full of documents each month from Brussels or Luxembourg to Strasbourg and back again," according to the report.

As a whole, the costs of the "travelling circus" - as it is known by critics of the arrangement - amounts to around €200,000 per year, with the total cost of travelling plus the allowances people get for going to Strasbourg amounting to €18 million.
All attempts to Brussels the permanent home of parliament have so far been rejected by France but the pressure to abandon Strasbourg has just been ratcheted up a notch:
The double seat arrangement of the European Parliament generates at least 20,000 extra tonnes of CO2 emissions – equalling 13,000 return flights from London to New York - according to a new study.

Commenting on the study, Greens co-leader Monica Frassoni said "The European Parliament is set to vote on Wednesday to constitute a temporary committee on climate change. Before we start throwing stones however, we should make sure that our own house or houses are in order."
And don't forget all of the trees sacrificed to fill 15 lorries with useless paperwork.


ANZAC Day is for more than honouring heroes and war dead, it's a day to reflect on the sacrifices made by all those who served, and are currently serving, in Australia's military. Well done fellas, I salute you.

Update: News from Iraq about the three soldiers injured in a roadside bombing earlier in the week:
A soldier who suffered lower leg injuries in Monday night's attack has had surgery in Baghdad and is to travel to Kuwait for additional treatment for burns, lacerations and a broken ankle.

He is in a stable condition and it is possible he will return to Australia for further surgery.

The soldier with minor head injuries is returning to the OBG(W) after treatment in Baghdad.

ADF says the third soldier that presented with wounds on the morning after the attack has been found to have suffered fragment wounds and a broken elbow.
Here's hoping for full recoveries.


Brave dissident Jew Antony Loewenstein's novel My Israel Question is nominated for a New South Wales Premier's Literary Award 2007:
[My Israel Question] is a researched guide to the history of the Israel-Palestine conflict and to the political and cultural processes that have assured the Israeli side of a sympathetic hearing in the Anglophone world. At a time when Australia Jewry is publicly fragmenting in its views on Middle Eastern affairs, My Israel Question is a cogent expression of Jewish dissidence.
The book is not well researched, doesn't provide an accurate history of the Israeli-Palestinian dispute and isn't in any way cogent. But hey, the book did get nominated so it'll be no miracle if it wins.

Update: Powerful forces are conspiring to deprive Loewenstein of just recognition:
I imagine Danby and the usual suspects are busily making phone calls right now to make sure [My Israel Question] doesn’t get the blue ribbon.
If Loewenstein's writing got the credit it deserves he'd be pushing trolleys at Woolworths.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007


George Monbiot makes the case for a global parliament:
No political issue now stops at the national border. All the most important forces - climate change, terrorism, state aggression, trade, flows of money, demographic pressures, the depletion of resources - can be addressed only at the global level. The question is not whether global decisions need to be made. The question is how to ensure that they are made democratically. Is there any valid answer other than direct representation?
In a crafty move, those who fail to support the push for yet another layer of government are condemned in advance:
A global parliament ensures that the voices of the poor world can no longer be ventriloquised by Bob Geldof and Bono and the leaders of the G8. The people will be able to speak for themselves.

For this reason, reactionaries all over the world will oppose the new campaign for an assembly. And the rest of us should support it.
And since Monbiot believes "climate change is the most important issue", he's really arguing for universal support for a global government with climate change at the top of it's agenda. The push is on to replace a make believe reactionary tyranny with the real tyranny of a global leftist government empowered to take the extraordinary measures necessary to save humanity from itself. Not good.

Monday, April 23, 2007


Sheryl Crow hasn't been just kicking back and relaxing between Earth-saving concert gigs. Nope, she's been using her brain:
I have spent the better part of this tour trying to come up with easy ways for us all to become a part of the solution to global warming. Although my ideas are in the earliest stages of development, they are, in my mind, worth investigating. One of my favorites is in the area of conserving trees which we heavily rely on for oxygen. I propose a limitation be put on how many sqares of toilet paper can be used in any one sitting. Now, I don't want to rob any law-abiding American of his or her God-given rights, but I think we are an industrious enough people that we can make it work with only one square per restroom visit, except, of course, on those pesky occasions where 2 to 3 could be required. When presenting this idea to my younger brother, who's judgement I trust implicitly, he proposed taking it one step further. I believe his quote was, "how bout just washing the one square out."
If you have occasion to shake hands with Sheryl or her brother you might want to consider boiling your hands after. And I'd like Sheryl to try effectively wiping my arse with only two or three sheets of toilet paper after one of my classic morning dumps. I guarantee she'll only attempt this once.

Anyway, Sheryl is obviously unaware of napkins made from recycled paper:
I also like the idea of not using paper napkins, which happen to be made from virgin wood and represent the heighth [sic] of wastefullness. I have designed a clothing line that has what's called a "dining sleeve". The sleeve is detachable and can be replaced with another "dining sleeve," after usage. The design will offer the "diner" the convenience of wiping his mouth on his sleeve rather than throwing out yet another barely used paper product.. I think this idea could also translate quite well to those suffering with an annoying head cold.
Hey, why not maximize the Earth-saving potential with a multipurpose sleeve that can be used for wiping noses, mouths and arses? Now, all I need is a catchy name...

Saturday, April 21, 2007


In a short piece at City Journal, Kay S. Hymowitz explains why nothing was done about Virginia Tech shooter Cho Seung-Hui's obvious mental problems.


An early start to boxing careers for a couple of Britons:
A mother and her three daughters who forced two toddlers to take part in a "dog fight" and filmed it walked free from court yesterday.

The women, including the children's mother, goaded the tearful brother and sister to punch each other and even use a magazine and hairbrush as weapons. When the boy, who was in a nappy, stopped fighting they called him a "wimp" and "bloody faggot".
I'm guessing there wasn't anything good on the telly at the time.

As if the fighting wasn't bad enough:
In the film up to six adults, including a man, are seen chatting and smoking.
What the Hell is wrong with those people? The adults should have done the gene pool a favour by arming the kiddies with straight-razors.

Thursday, April 19, 2007


According to the Oxford English Dictionary:
Doctor: to treat so as to alter the appearance, flavour, or character of; to disguise, falsify, tamper with, adulterate, sophisticate, 'cook'.
As applied to quotations, to "doctor" is to manipulate so as to alter meaning or message.

Over the past few days computer scientist Tim Lambert has casually accused a number of his ideological opponents of quote doctoring. Is he right or is this just more loose talk from's attack dog? Let's take a look.

On April 14th Lambert accused John Berlau of "quote doctoring" in a post titled "John Berlau, quote doctor". Despite quoting Berlau at length, Lambert fails to provide a single quote doctoring gotcha -- selective quotes isolated from context are the best Lambert can come up with. This is not quote doctoring.

Oddly, Lambert himself engages in selective out-of-context quoting in attempting to refute Berlau's assertion that Paul Ehrlich advocated the forced sterilization of all Indian men who had fathered three or more children. Lambert reckons this is what Ehrlich wrote:
A few years ago, there was talk in India of compulsory sterilization for all males who were fathers of three or more children.
Hell, for all I know Ehrlich's next sentence says, "I agree". Regardless, if Berlau is guilty of quote doctoring, so is Lambert, at least according to the criteria established by Lambert.

Anyway, commenter crust has asked my opinion on Lambert's treatment of Berlau's take on supposed quotes from environmentalists Jeff Hoffman and Charles Wurster so I'm going to digress here for a moment -- see my original post for background, here. Here's Berlau on Hoffman:
Jeff Hoffman, poster on popular environmental news site Arguing against efforts to resume DDT use to combat malaria in Africa, Hoffman explained, "Malaria was actually a natural population control, and DDT has caused a massive population explosion in some places where it has eradicated malaria."
Lambert responds:
I think Hoffman was a troll parodying environmentalists. In any event, nobody agreed with him, so it is wrong for Berlau to present him as being somehow representative of environmentalists.
Now, I've left out some of what Lambert said but the gist of it is above. In quoting Hoffman Berlau is guilty of nothing.

The Wurster quote is not nearly so straightforward but Berlau does a pretty good job of describing the iffy circumstances:
Charles Wurster, co-founder and former chief scientist of Environmental Defense Fund (now Environmental Defense): When asked about human deaths that would result from the banning of DDT, due to exposure to more acutely toxic DDT subsitutes, Wurster allegedly said, "It doesn't really make a lot of difference because the organophosphate acts locally and only kills farm workers, and most of them are Mexicans and Negroes." Wurster was accused of saying this by EDF co-founder Victor Yannacone, and the accusation was reported at a Congressional hearing. Wurster denied making the statement, but Yannacone -- a prominent environmental attorney -- has never taken back his accusation against Wurster.
Yannacone says Wurster said it, but Wurster denies it. According to Lambert, Yannacone lied about Wurster because he wanted to get back at him after losing his job:
Does that quote sound like Dr Wurster or Dr Evil? How gullible do you have to be to find that quote plausible? Jim Norton has tracked down the source of the quote. It seems that after Yannacone was fired by the EDF, he came up with the claim that Wurster made the statement above at a press conference. At a press conference. You would think that an outrageous statement like that would have been reported by at least one reporter, but no, there is no contemporary record of him saying it, just the unsupported statement of a man with an axe to grind. Berlau knows all this but keeps it from his readers.
Lambert is wrong. According to the source he links to (directly above), Yannacone does not accuse Wurster of making that comment at a press conference, he accuses him of making the comment but does not elaborate on the circumstances.

Despite condemning Yannacone as unreliable, Lambert embraces the sentiments of axe-grinder Allan Schapira:
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.
Schapira, like Lambert, says DDT has never been banned. But considering the circumstances, everything Schapira has to say about DDT must be taken with a grain of salt.

Having veered off on the DDT tangent let's get things back on track by looking at some real quote doctoring. Lambert frequently links to a line from a WHO DDT FAQ brochure as proof that the World Health Organization supports the use of DDT in the fight against malaria:
WHO recommends indoor residual spraying of DDT for malaria vector control.
This clearly misrepresents the situation by isolating that one line from the broadly anti-DDT context of the brochure. Not only that, Lambert removes the source note -- note 3 -- from the end of the line. (Note 3 reads as follows: WHO (2000). WHO Expert Committee on Malaria. Twentieth Report. Geneva, WHO Technical Report Series, No. 892.) He removes note 3 because the linked report is inconveniently anti-DDT, with this the gist of it:
DDT is being phased out because of its previous widespread use in the environment, and the resulting political and economic pressure.
Altering quotes is all in a day's work for scientist Tim Lambert. He's also big on accusing others of impropriety:
So Alex and Sinclair resorted to quote doctoring to make it look like that they did.
Economist Sinclair Davidson has asked Lambert to elaborate:
Tim, quote doctoring is a serious allegation. Can you make an argument for how our quoting changes the meaning of the original texts, or have you just found that we quoted the important aspects of the text? Afterall I quoted nothing from the previous 305 pages of Judge etal.
How stupid would Davidson and Robson have to be to "doctor" quotes from textbooks fellow academic Lambert can access? I predict Lambert will come up with some nonsense whereby selective quoting is really quote doctoring. Regardless, Lambert's as slimy as they come.

That brings us to the word of the week: Lambert, to attempt to refute an opposing argument or proposition through counter-argument or proposition based on subtly misrepresented facts; one who so argues (see liar).

If anyone's deserving of a word in his honour, it's Lambert.

Update: According to Lambert, Davidson is guilty of quote-doctoring misconduct. Well, if Davidson's guilty of misconduct, so is Lambert.

Update II: In case you're wondering why I'm blogging this instead of commenting at Dulltard, it's because Lambert moderates my comments -- some make it through; many don't. Anyway, here's a classic example of Lambert misconduct.

Posting under an assumed name to get around Lambert's black hole moderation I posted a comment (May 2006) pointing out to Lambert that he had erroneously claimed in a January 2005 post that malathion was a good choice for mosquito control in Sri Lanka -- it isn't due to well developed resistance. Here's Lambert's response:
This comment was actually writtten by JF Beck and posted using a sock puppet. Beck does make one substantive point: because mosquitoes in Sri Lankahave now developed resistance to malathion as well as DDT, that's not a good choice either. I've corrected my post. Tim Lambert
Notice how he makes it sound like he's just become aware of the resistance problem and that he will, of course, correct the earlier post now that he is aware. He also makes it sound like the resistance problem has only just emerged. Bullshit. Lambert was aware of
the already well established resistance problem at least as early as 11 February 2005 (see when he noted:
DDT and Malathion are no longer recommended since An. culicifacies and An. subpictus has been found resistant.
Even though he was aware Sri Lankan mosquitoes are malathion resistant he chose to wait over a year before correcting and then only under pressure from me. Also, instead of offering a prominent correction admitting error, he simply embedded the correction within the now over a year old original post (my highlight):
Yes, the mosquitoes in Sri Lanka have evolved resistance to DDT. It doesn’t work any more. In fact, that is the reason why they stopped using DDT in Sri Lanka. It wasn’t because of any ban—it was because it stopped being effective. Steve Milloy, Mr Junkscience, has only a half-hearted belief in evolution. This may explain why he and other right-wing authors have trouble grasping the idea that mosquitoes evolve resistance to DDT. Fortunately, the World Health Organization is not taking advice from JTFCSS and sending DDT to Sri Lanka. They are sending malathion, which will actually be able to kill the mosquitoes there. Correction: Malathion is not a good idea either, since mosquitoes in Sri Lanka have developed resistance to that as well.
The mosquitoes have not developed resistance, they were already resistant. And strangely enough, the correction has mysteriously disappeared (see
Yes, the mosquitoes in Sri Lanka have evolved resistance to DDT. It doesn’t work any more. In fact, that is the reason why they stopped using DDT in Sri Lanka. It wasn’t because of any ban—it was because it stopped being effective. Steve Milloy, Mr Junkscience, has only a half-hearted belief in evolution. This may explain why he and other right-wing authors have trouble grasping the idea that mosquitoes evolve resistance to DDT. Fortunately, the World Health Organization is not taking advice from JTFCSS and sending DDT to Sri Lanka. They are sending malathion, which will actually be able to kill the mosquitoes there.
Considering the calculated misrepresentations Lambert has posted -- there are plenty of other examples I could cite -- it's amazing he's accusing Sinclair Davidson of misconduct. Lambert is damn good with numbers, however.

Note: Because Lambert is shit scared of me he continues to bounce my links to his old blog. Copy and paste the addresses to access the older posts.

Update III: In the course of a discussion on sea level rise, Lambert disputes a predicted 80 meter rise as attributed to Tim Flannery. To make his point he posts what appears to be a Flannery quote:
some of the best climatologists say we may have triggered - or could soon trigger - global warming to effect a sea level rise of maybe 25 metres, which is the height of an eight story building.
But that's not Flannery, it's the ABC's Richard Glover -- Lambert edited the excerpt to suit his needs. Here's the original (omitted text in bold):
[Flannery] told 702 ABC Sydney's Richard Glover the best example he can give is the melting of ice around the world, which if it all melted, could raise sea levels by as much as 80 metres, adding that some of the best climatologists say we may have triggered - or could soon trigger - global warming to effect a sea level rise of maybe 25 metres, which is the height of an eight story building.
This is a classic example of Lamberting -- making the facts suit the need -- from the master himself. Now in the cosmic scheme of things this is no deal deal; it's just Lambert doing what Lambert does. His writing is not to be taken seriously. He is very good with numbers, however.

Note: Thanks to Currency Lad for providing the link to Lambert's quote doctoring.

Update IV: Thanks to Tim Blair and Glenn Reynolds for linking; it's important that as many people as possible understand how scientist Tim Lambert operates -- nothing the guy writes should be accepted as accurate.

Lambert's unable to defend his many misrepresentations -- this post just scratches the surface -- so he responds by trying to divert attention away from himself and onto the situation in Iraq. Kinda sad, really.


According to New Scientist:
The active compound in marijuana, THC, can slow the growth of lung tumours and reduce the spread of the cancer in mice, a preliminary study reveals.
The cancer forgot what it was meant to be doing.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007


Another thing for Australia to add to its must-do list:
Australia must ban fossil fuel imports by 2020 if it hopes to cut greenhouse gas emissions, scientist and Australian of the Year Tim Flannery says.
"Places like Sweden have set targets now to eliminate petrol imports by 2020, so they are weaning themselves off fossil fuels," he said.
Unfortunately Flannery doesn't explain how Australia would manage to switch from petrol to a nonexistent bio-fuel in 12 years. The US has ramped up its imports of ethanol for mixing with petrol but 85% of that fuel is still petrol; for its trouble the US has been accused of genocide for importing ethanol derived from foodstuffs. There are other problems: ethanol is a terrible fuel (even when mixed with petrol) and it causes asthma (already a huge health problem in Australia).


Horatio Sanz was removed from the cast of Saturday Night Live in unusual circumstances: "he was fired due to eating Rachel Dratch". Well, Dratch was only five feet tall.

Update: Sanz's termination apparently occurred in rather less sensational circumstances: "he was fired due to budget cuts".

Be careful if you rely on Wikipedia.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007


Lefty Kerryn Goldsworthy reckons the Virgina Tech murders are "more than twice as bad as Columbine". In terms of numbers she's correct: at Virginia Tech 33 people were killed; at Columbine the death toll was 15. But if numbers are the factor determining the "badness" of a shooting crime Goldsworthy really should have included the world record mass shooting, Martin Bryant's killing of 35 at Port Arthur, Tasmania.

Goldworthy takes the opportunity of this most recent mass shooting to slam Americans' attitude to gun ownership:
So deeply ingrained is a sense of the so-called 'right to bear arms', so powerful is the gun lobby and so deep in denial the many Americans who can't see the connection between the country's gun culture and the fact that this kind of mass shooting happens periodically, that any real change in the gun laws across the US seems unlikely ever to take place. In which case, the massacres will continue and Americans will continue to be astonished by them.
Goldworthy fails to note that the Columbine and Port Arthur massacres were committed with illegal guns. She also ignores the many mass killings committed in countries where guns are much more tightly controlled than in the US.

Regardless, the magnitude of the Virginia Tech crime is huge. But I expect that the loved ones of those killed will have things to think about other than the number killed.

Monday, April 16, 2007


Problem: Too many West Australian kiddies are having too much sex.

Solution: Condom vending machines in schools:
"The availability of condoms (at schools) would mean young people could access them and use them,'' she said.

"It's quite difficult for young people to go into supermarkets and buy them. It's quite difficult for old people to do that, so why put up barriers?

"It's about availability of easily accessible condoms and good information about the risks and benefits of sexual activity.''
And the benefits of sex to a 14-year old would be what?

Problem: Too many West Australian kiddies are drinking too much:

Solution: The government must act:
The situation is so bad that health experts are demanding a tax increase on alcoholic drinks.
Hey, let's create an alcohol black market.


Michael Braun accepts the Ross Glendinning medal, live to air. Oops.

Oh yeah, the Dockers suck.

Update: Braun has been fined $5,000.

Update II: West Coast's Adam Selwood is accused of naughtiness:
AFL investigations officer Bill Kneebone has charged West Coast's Selwood with insulting language towards Fremantle's Headland in the third term of the match.

It has also been alleged Headland told former West Coast player Drew Banfield, now a boundary rider for pay-TV network Foxtel, to inform Selwood he would "kill him" if he repeated the insult.

Soon after Selwood's alleged comments, the pair clashed heatedly and the match review panel charged Headland with two striking offences.

He faces a total of six weeks' suspension, plus the panel has fined him $1200 for wrestling Selwood.

In asking the AFL to investigate, Fremantle had alleged Selwood insulted a member of Headland's family.
Any AFL player who can't handle nasty comments from the opposition should give the game away.

Update III: A video report on the game's controversial incidents -- includes footage of Headland's dummy-spit (note the commentary from ex-player Jason Dunstall regarding "losing the plot").

Update IV: Headland's loss of composure explained:
Headland has a tattoo of his daughter on his left arm. In the complaint, Headland is believed to have alleged that Selwood motioned to the tattoo and said: "I f***ed her last night."

Headland allegedly responded: "What the hell are you talking about? She is my six-year-old daughter."

He alleges Selwood then said: "Yes. She is a slut. I f***ed her last night."
Boys will be boys. Anyway, at least one Dockers fan is outraged:
Like any good father would, Des allegedly took a swing at Selwood and threatened to kill him if he ever said it again.
Since it's highly unlikely Selwood had sex with Headland's daughter, the comment's so silly it should have been laughed off. I mean, professional sportsmen have to keep their minds on the game, not on silly jibes from the opposition.

Sunday, April 15, 2007


Serial misrepresenter Tim Lambert accuses John Berlau (in a post linked to by Glenn Reynolds) of seriously misrepresenting environmentalists' comments as "racist". As usual, Lambert is almost correct: Berlau alleges the comments he cites are "outrageous and racist" -- I read this to mean some of the comments are outrageous while others are racist. Regardless, here's Berlau:
[John Muir, founder of the Sierra Club] said American Indians are “mostly ugly, and some of them altogether hideous.” They “seemed to have no right place in the landscape,” he continued. Muir is still honored without qualification on the Sierra Club web site, which proclaims, “John Muir is as relevant today as he was over 100 years ago.”
Lambert responds:
Muir is not making a racist statement about American Indians, but saying that particular group were mostly ugly. And when he writes that they "seemed to have no right place in the landscape" he is not, as Berlau wants you to think, arguing for the extermination of Indians, but expressing a preference for wilderness without people in it.
Berlau does not even hint that Muir wanted to exterminate Indians. Muir was, according to the Sierra Club, no Indian lover, however (my bold):
At times Muir's new thinking brought apparent contradictions in his own mind, being unable to meld his "nature on a pedestal" views with those still buried in his own conscience. On the subject of Indians this seems to be particularly true. Muir at times observes and even envies their near harmony with nature, thus nearly elevating them to his nature pedestal. On other occasions, however, he regards them as little more than dirty beggars. All in all, there seems to be in Muir some grudging respect for Indians, but it is often masked behind the institutionalized racism that underlies his writing.
Muir acknowledged that he knew little about a group of Indians living around Mono Lake. "Perhaps if I knew them better I should like them more," he wrote. Perhaps, but unlikely. Although he often described his discussions with other travel companions, even a bit with a Chinese man, not once does Muir mention a conversation with an Indian. We can note that in the beginning the Indian guide who accompanied the expedition was stand-offish, a characteristic of many native people when around strangers, but after several weeks, surely with any sign of friendship from Muir, this barrier might have been overcome.
So Berlau pretty much has Muir pegged.

Here's Berlau on Paul Ehrlich:
In his best-selling book, The Population Bomb, Ehrlich called for all men in India who had three or more children to be forcibly sterilized. He also scorned those who helped to feed the Third World’s hungry, blasting them as “the assorted do-gooders who are deeply involved in the apparatus of international food charity.”
Lambert says the forced sterilization claim is a lie:
But what Ehrlich actually wrote was:
A few years ago, there was talk in India of compulsory sterilization for all males who were fathers of three or more children.
And then he went on to say why he felt that such a plan was not a good idea. Are you starting to see a pattern in Berlau's work?
Lambert says this is an Ehrlich quote but doesn't set it out as a quote and gives no reference. (Yep, there's a pattern emerging here alright.) Ehrlich is, or was, pretty militant on third world population control:
Varying degrees of coercion, including compulsory sterilization, are advocated by many leading proponents of population control. "Several coercive proposals deserve serious consideration," writes Paul Ehrlich, a Stanford University biologist, "mainly because we may ultimately have to resort to them unless current trends in birth rates are rapidly reversed by other means." Among those tactics Ehrlich offers are plans like one suggested in India to "vasectomise all fathers of three or more children," or to adopt an alternative program for "sterilizing women after their second or third child." The latter, he points out in his 1970 book, Population, Resources, Environment, would be possible "only in countries where the majority of babies are born in maternity hospitals and clinics, and where the medical corps is adequate." An even more bizarre recommendation in Ehrlich's book is the addition of "a sterilant to drinking water or staple foods." Still another suggestion is the use of a "sterilizing capsule that can be implanted under the skin," which would be removed only "with official permission, for a limited number of births." If all these measures fail, writes Ehrlich, "laws could then be written that would make bearing a third child illegal and that would require an abortion to terminate all such pregnancies. Failure to obtain the abortion could be made a felony, as could aiding and abetting over-reproducers."
It's obvious Ehrlich would personally and gladly -- it's dirty work but someone has to do it -- crush third worlders' testicles between bricks to get the birth rate down.

Saving the best for last, here's Berlau on Alexander King, co-founder of the Club of Rome:
In an essay in a book called The Discipline of Curiosity, King wrote that DDT’s main problem was that it worked too well at saving Third World lives. “In Guyana, within almost two years, it had almost eliminated malaria, but at the same time the birth rate had doubled. So my chief quarrel with DDT in hindsight is that it greatly added to the population problem."
To which Lambert responds:
Berlau deliberately left out King's next sentence:
"Of course I can't play god on that one."
Berlau made it look like King was arguing that Guyanese should have been left to die from malaria by leaving out the sentence where King made it clear that he didn't want that.
Unlike the Ehrlich "quote" Lambert here indicates that he's quoting King, who not being God, cannot undo -- much as he'd like to -- DDT's contribution to the "population problem".

Nothing Tim Lambert writes should be accepted as correct; it probably isn't.

Disclaimer: I have no way of verifying the full contents of the Ehrlich excerpt above but believe it to be essentially correct.

Editing note: The link for the Ehrlich excerpt was inadvertently omitted. Corrected.

Go here for the update.


Back in the 80s when I took my last few courses at uni, Sweden was presented as the ideal social model. Things seem to have gone awry:
Youths throwing stones and eggs came to blows with police and fire officers in Malmö's Rosengård housing estate on Saturday night.

At two points in the evening the demonstrators were judged so threatening that fire officers refused to enter the area without a police escort.

When the fire brigade arrived to extinguish a fire in a warehouse on the same street, the stone-throwing youths turned on fire officers.

"Because of this and because the situation is tense in the area, the emergency services will from now on wait for the police before entering the area," the emergency services said in a press release on Saturday night.

Police said that no arrests had been made, although officers have made formal reports alleging that they were the victims of assault.

The Rosengård estate is known for suffering from high levels of unemployment, and for having the highest concentration of immigrant communities of any area in Sweden.
Malmö, and the Rosengård estate in particular, have large Muslim populations. Not that Muslims were involved in the ongoing unrest, of course. I mean, a couple of warehouses were torched, not a couple of hundred cars. Then again, there were no arrests...


CIA operatives John T. Downey and Richard G. Fecteau were captured by the Chinese in 1952 and held for two decades. To these extraordinary men it was no big deal:
There may be some among us who can imagine 20 days in captivity; perhaps a fraction of those can imagine a full year deprived of liberty and most human contact. But 20 years? Downey and Fecteau have consistently sought to downplay their period of imprisonment; and neither has done what arguably too many former CIA officers do these days with far less justification: write a book. Downey has said that such a book would contain “500 blank pages,” and Fecteau says the whole experience could be summed up by the word “boring.”
A refreshing read that counterbalances all the whining about Guantanamo.

Saturday, April 14, 2007


ARMAN FM 98.1, Afghanistan's first commercial radio station, established in 2003 by Afghani-Australian Saad Mohseni, is still going strong. The top 40 is here.

Friday, April 13, 2007


Bald is sexy, or so I'm told (dammit).

Update: Bush removal is simple but some women are opting for more extensive landscaping:
More young Australian women are embracing "vaginal rejuvenation" surgery, according to one of the leading cosmetic surgeons in the field.

Dr Colin Moore, a cosmetic surgeon who has been performing so-called labiaplasty operations for more than 30 years, says the type of women opting for the procedure to reduce the inner vaginal lips has changed dramatically in the past decade.

"Most of the younger women we used to see were what I call the professionals - the pole dancers, the strippers, whose parts have to be in good shape because it's part of their act," Dr Moore said at the national cosmetic medicine conference in Melbourne.

"Besides them, the other women were housewives in their 30s and 40s who had had a few bubs and felt they needed it."

But now the typical patient was a successful, unmarried young woman in her 20s or early 30s who simply didn't like what she had, he said.

"It just seems that we're seeing a lot more young girls who are concerned that their partners in sex may in fact be put off by the appearance of their vulvas," the Sydney-based specialist said.
Surely there are more important things to worry about.


A stuff-up like this could get you sent straight to Hell, or wherever:
A Dutch police station trying to help Muslim detainees face Mecca for their prayers painted arrows in cells pointing in the wrong direction.

Muslims pray five times a day, facing east in the direction of Mecca. But the arrows in Segbroek pointed west.
It's the thought that counts, right?

Thursday, April 12, 2007


So how does recently released Iranian diplomat Alal Sharafi know he was abducted, held and tortured by Americans?
When I regained consciousness the person who came to me clearly introduced himself as an American and he could speak English, but since I didn't speak English I was using an Arabic translator.

At different stages he told me this man had connections to the US Embassy and was directly responsible for me.
Hi, I'm with the CIA; I'll be your torturer today. This could have been prevented by quietly disappearing him into the American Gulag.


Blogging lefty grandmother Jane Stillwater wants the US out of Iraq yesterday, or did until she went there for a visit:
EMILY BOURKE: You've been described as a left-wing blogger, what was your view of the Iraq war before you left and has that changed?

JANE STILLWATER: It has changed. When I came over here, I thought we should get out like next week, but I think the troops here are really trying to do a good job of, of being cops, being cops on the beat.

But the Iraqis are very, very upset that their country's being occupied and they think it goes against the United Nations etc, etc, so they're torn between wanting to stop being occupied like yesterday, and wanting to have somebody help them with security.
EMILY BOURKE: Well what will you do when you get home?

JANE STILLWATER: I don't know, I don't think I'll be another Cindy Sheehan, I'm not like that, but if anybody asks my opinion, oh have I got an opinion.

I was an ordinary person, that started blogging and I'm here and I'm appalled and I need to think of solutions and every woman and man in the world needs to help think of solutions.
Jeez, ain't it great to see a lefty with an open mind.


Australia's mainstream Jewish community just can't resist giving atheist-Jew Antony Loewenstein the attention he so desperately seeks. This week's Australian Jewish News delivers to the self-proclaimed dissident-Jew, and consensus-confirmed nonentity, a double shot of publicity with a front-page story and an editorial.

The vast majority of Jews no doubt find Loewenstein's views troubling but he has virtually no credibility outside the political fringes, communities bound to be anti-Jewish in any event, and should simply be ignored by mainstream Jews. If anything, the Jewish community adds to what little credibility he has by continuing to react to Loewenstein's ill-informed commentary.

Contrary to what he claims, Loewenstein considers any reactions he's able to draw from the Jewish community as a victory; the bigger the reaction the bigger the victory. The guy is clearly on a delusions-of-grandeur ego trip. Take this excerpt from his latest post as an example:
Finally, perhaps the [Australian Jewish News] and its few readers might like to reflect on the fact that Israel, if it wants to survive in the international public arena, will need more than simply slicker PR flaks. The country’s regularly brutal behaviour is slowly turning the world against the Jewish state.
This from a guy who claims to be a best-selling author (he's currently in the US for the launch of his book) and who has received massive attention from the MSM but whose blog can draw only 247 visitors a day.

Very few people are buying his message; if they were it wouldn't be necessary for Loewenstein to continue to manipulate comments at his blog. The counter in this thread shows a total of 35 comments but only 34 comments appear. That's because one of BenZ's comments has been removed -- the comment must have been removed by doofus Loewenstein because a comment from co-blogger Andre quoting from the now gone comment remains. Not only that, one of BenZ's comments was intercepted in moderation, probably because it was embarrassingly link-rich, and ditched. Andre, at least as big a doofus as Loewenstein, gives this lame explanation for the nonappearance of the lodged comment:
Relax young warrior. The “awaiting moderation” flag has has nothing to do with your post. Unless I’m mistaken, it is automatically scheduled to pop up after hours so that trolls can;t run amok while no one is looking.

As someone who posts from the Northern Hemisphere, I have had seen that warning appear many times when posted.

If Loewenstein had anything to say worth paying attention to, he'd make his point and then engage in vigorous debate at his blog. He tried that at his old blog and was eaten alive. The guy's deserving of ridicule and mainstream Jews should treat him accordingly.

This reminds me of an old joke: Why did Antony Loewenstein cross the road? Who cares?

Update: Andre is mystified by the missing comment:

I will look into it. I can’t see why anything you have posted deserves to be removed. In fact, I am personally opposed to posts being blocked or deleted unless they severely cross the line in terms of personal attacks on other posters.

I do hope you are not discouraged by this. Your input is most valued and welcome, and I do hope to see more of you on this blog.
Loewenstein removed the comment but will he own up to it? Stay tuned.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007


Arnaud de Borchgrave on the Islamification of Europe:
Islamic activists in Europe have taken a leaf out of the old Communist guidebook for the "long march through the institutions." In Antwerp, for example, the City Council has been infiltrated by Islamist fundamentalists -- Belgian citizens, of course -- who keep pushing the envelope with impunity.

From the British city of Leeds to Livorno in Italy and from Luxembourg to Ljubljana in Slovenia, multiculturalism is pretty much a bust. Quicksand is the only common ground between Western values and militant Muslim fundamentalism. But some Islamist extremists have found willing partners among leftist radicals who never got over the end of the Cold War -- and jump at any opportunity to rumble against whatever government is in power.
The inevitable falling-out will be a thing of horrible beauty.

Via Brussels Journal.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007


Accused al-Qaida flunky Jose Padilla alleges torture by "noxious odors". That stinks.


Leading Seaman Faye Turney.


Females who blog the terrible trials of motherhood should be shot.


A few days back I had a problem with an infection immediately beside one of my fingernails. The area was red, swollen and throbbing and there was an obvious pus pocket under the cuticle. I put water, hot enough that it was just bearable to put my finger in it, into a cup and added a couple of spoons of Epsom salt to the water and soaked my finger for a good 30 minutes, periodically zapping the water in the microwave to keep it hot. By the end of this time the hot water and Epsom salts had drawn the pus to the surface and I was able to gently squeeze it out through a small gap between the cuticle and nail. Cool, huh?

I wanted to continue to draw the infection to the surface but it was bedtime, ruling out further hot water soaking. So I retrieved a probably 10-year old jar of Magnoplasm -- it's basically jellied Epsom salts -- from the medicine cabinet. I applied the Magnoplasm to the infection, bandaged it and left it overnight.

While applying the Magnoplasm I noticed the following on the label: "A useful treatment for boils, carbuncles and whitlows". What's the difference?

A boil (aka furuncle) is simply a localized skin abscess.

A carbuncle is a grouping of boils, probably with multiple drainage points.

A whitlow is an infection next to a nail, caused by something nasty (bacteria, virus or fungus) penetrating through a break in a cuticle.

Cool, I learned something new. My whitlow is all better now, by the way.

Editing note: Infections produce "pus", not "puss". Corrected. Duh.

Monday, April 09, 2007


Being busy writing his second book and promoting his anti-Israel petition, Antony Loewenstein has taken on a semi-literate co-blogger, Andre, who obviously hasn't been briefed on site rules; he's allowing dissenting comments and even engaging in discussion. Andre seems to be labouring under the delusion the site's a blog, not an anti-Israel propaganda mill. I'm betting Loewenstein is gonna sort him out quick smart.

Update: There are 13 comments in the thread; how many will still be there tomorrow?


Now it's not just the groom going green, it's the whole wedding:
White weddings might have been the dream of fashionable brides of old, but the trendiest British weddings are now at least metaphorically green as couples seek to reduce the impact of their nuptials on the environment.

That means everything from recycled wedding dresses and guests arriving by bicycle, to home-grown flowers and locally produced food for the wedding buffet.

"A year ago there was nothing green at wedding shows. I was really struggling to get the message across that green weddings are about 'eco-chic', not lentils and hessian," green wedding planner Ruth Culver said.
Nope, no environment killing nuptials for these trend setters:
London-based Rebecca, a 35-year-old bride-to-be who posts on the ethical weddings site, is being helped by her father, who will be growing lettuces and tomatoes to help feed 150 guests at her wedding reception this summer.

Her fiance Doron, 36, said although some people have found the couple's choices unusual, the planning has paid off.

"For those for whom the environment is not a prime concern, it initially jars, perhaps ... but once everything is explained we've had 100 per cent support."

The couples say their wedding is not supposed to be fashionable.

"Fashion is of absolutely no concern to us ... we want to make it really memorable without exploitation," Rebecca said.
Hey look at us!


Clinical Counsellor (domestic violence prevention) Alex -- a loony lefty, of course -- has a go at conservative commenter Rob for daring to question the behaviour of the recently repatriated "we only want to go home" British fighting men and woman:
Rob’s just another ‘brave’ keyboard commando. His male virulence has somehow been compromised by this drama.
Imagine being in a session with a counsellor who drops a clanger like that. It's time to make a move for the door.

Anyway, mister professional counsellor is inclined to the personal attack:
Beck, who is a dysfunctional blog stalker in the tradition of Iain Hall, totally ignores the issue here.
A few days later he sent me an email asking me not to take the insults personally. Fuckwit.

Update: In a subsequent comment in the same thread, Helen makes Alex look like a genius. It's lefty entertainment at its full flight whiny best.


This Wednesday evening SBS TV will air the first of five "reality" shows in the Eco House Challenge series. As you can probably tell from the title, the series challenges Australians to live more sustainably.

The series features two atypical Aussie families -- the six member Shepherd family and the seven member Edwards clan. Over the course of the five shows the families must confront and overcome atypical challenges: use of their cars is forbidden (vehicles are wheel-clamped for dramatic effect) and the electricity, gas and water supplies are cut off.

Eco Coach Tanya Ha will help the families overcome these challenges. Ms Ha is, according to her website, "best known as the Eco Coach in the landmark SBS reality TV series Eco House Challenge". Seriously, she's a Planet Ark veteran and author of "Greeniology", an AU$33 book filled with environmental tips anyone with an ounce of common sense could figure out on his own, thus saving all the energy and trees that went into the book. But then again, buying such a book would give a certain sense of satisfaction at having done something for the environment without actually doing anything.

To encourage viewers to tune in, Eco House Challenge offers an assortment of environmentally friendly weekly prizes totaling over $133,000. It will be interesting to see how the show rates; the big prize haul tells me the show's producers are not confident it has inherent drawing power. Regardless, we better get used to saturation coverage of environmental issues.

Sunday, April 08, 2007


According to Australian Federation of Islamic Councils president Ikebal Patel, Sheik Taj el-Din al Hilaly is still the mufti of Australia. Even worse:
"I will probably be scoffed at when I say this, but he's probably one of the most moderate of the imams in Australia..."
This doesn't exactly speak well of Australia's imams.


In the course of a 1,000+ word post on proposed reforms of Australia's tertiary education system, semi-literate student union president Miss Politics (aka Misinformed) notes the existence of the sinister military-educational complex:
I'd like to see the army run lamington drives rather than our primary and secondary schools.
As worrying as it is that the army is running our schools, Australians should be more concerned that Miss Politics has been spreading her poor language skills by "assisting students who have struggled with their studies". I mean, how dumb can you be and still get into university?


The Solomon Islands earthquake has devastated local coral reefs:
The seismic jolt that unleashed the deadly Solomons tsunami this week lifted an entire island metres out of the sea, destroying some of the world's most pristine coral reefs.

Jackie Thomas, acting manager for Worldwide Fund for Nature (WWF) in the Solomons, said the loss of the reefs was a huge blow for the fishing communities that are dotted along Ranongga's coast.

She said the reefs around Ranongga were a protected marine environment and locals had worked hard with WWF in recent years to ensure that they were managed sustainably.

"Now it's another marine environment that has been destroyed," she said.
Yep, mother nature is a bitch.

Saturday, April 07, 2007


The residents of Lampeter, Wales, persuaded that oil supplies are fast dwindling, have decided to act:
Four hours into planning their energy descent and over bowls of local cawl broth the crowd in Lampeter were considering what they would like to happen - a ban on advertising that encourages consumption; turning the local supermarket into a giant allotment - and what they could they could actually do - install a community wind turbine; encourage low-energy buildings using sheep's wool for insulation; swap skills.

Someone suggested that a local landowner give the town an acre for a community vegetable garden. There was an awkward silence until someone else remembered a playing field that would serve the purpose, if the council agreed.

There was plenty of inspiration from pioneer towns.

Transition Totnes has introduced its own currency with notes that can only be spent in local shops. Its businesses are being audited by an accountant who provides a wake-up call by identifying parts of their operations that become unprofitable as oil prices rise. The town is planting nut trees which can provide emergency food and timber for construction while also acting as carbon sinks.

Lampeter decided emphatically on a show of 450 hands [out of a population of 4,000 - ed.] that it would meet again to plan its next stage. And then its people spilled out on a clear spring night into the car park and, just this one last time, drove home.
You gotta laugh.


According to The Sydney Morning Herald's Louise Hall, American hypnotherapist Lynsi Eastburn can help infertile couples conceive:
Ms Eastburn said "unexplained" infertility was the mind blocking the body's ability to conceive because of subconscious fears about childbirth or parenting, or unresolved issues about a previous abortion or sexual abuse.

She said she had helped hundreds of women in the US and UK conceive by removing these blocks and introducing positive thoughts using hypnosis. One client was aged 47.

"I have had many women get pregnant naturally when they were told it was medically impossible," she said.
Uh, if the reasons for a couple's inability to conceive are unknown it is highly unlikely a doctor would tell them it is "medically impossible" for them to conceive. What the hell is crap like this doing in the mainstream media?


Marina Hyde reflects on on the behaviour of British service personnel past and present and can't help but think... "and we'd all be speaking German now".

It's a must read.

Colonel Jack Jacobs is also unimpressed saying this, and much more, after watching the released Britons' press conference:
I don't know where to begin. I've gotta tell you, that was the most disgusting, disreputable, dishonorable performance I can remember in more than forty years of my relationship with the military service. I think every man, every woman who wears the uniform, or who has ever worn the uniform of his country, no matter what country it is, ought to be disgusted by this."
Having the UK as an ally is no longer an advantage.

Update: Peter Risdon provides different perspectives here, here and here. Click those links!

Friday, April 06, 2007


Iran is still holding, and likely won't return, the two boats operated by the recently repatriated Britons. This has halted British naval operations in the area:
While Iran continues to hold the captured boats, British boarding operations, mainly aimed against smugglers, are at a standstill.

New boats are being found.
A couple of these would make a statement about British resolve and tenacity and, best of all, no CO2 emissions.


Environmentalist Vicki Lesley has a novel strategy for reducing electricity consumption:
Switch to a green energy supplier on the web

This is one of the easiest and most effective things you can do to reduce your energy use...

Lesley also highly recommends this really interesting device. Actually, what is nothing more than a desktop power meter would probably be really interesting for about an hour or so. At £125.00 (£350.00 for the deluxe model) it would take quite a while, if not forever, for one of these things to pay for itself.

Saving the Earth isn't cheap.


Like all would be totalitarians the nutrition-Nazis at Parents Jury know the importance of controlling language:
Australian parents are calling on government and food manufacturers to restrict ‘fat free' claims on food labels to be used only on products which are low in kilojoules and sugar.

Results from a national survey released today by The Parents Jury revealed that 95 percent of parents surveyed felt that fat free claims on high sugar confectionery and snack foods are misleading.

Kathy Chapman, nutritionist from The Parents Jury said the survey also indicated that 65 percent of parents believed that ‘fat free' labelling on products encourages their children to over consume these foods.
So Australian children are sufficiently well-informed about nutrition to seek out "fat free" foods but are too dumb to realize that lollies and many snack foods are full of sugar. Duh, kids choose foods based on taste, not nutrition. And if 95 percent of parents are aware that "fat free" labeling is "misleading" that leaves only 5 percent who are being mislead; this group is probably too dumb to care.

To complicate the situation, evil food companies are providing consumers with too much accurate information:
Fran Hernon, the corporate affairs manager for Nestle Australia, which owns the Allens brand, said the company was not confusing parents. "It's common knowledge that lollies have sugar in them … Parents are concerned about artificial colourings and flavours, which is why we developed the Allen's Naturals range."

But Kathy Chapman, the Parents Jury's nutritionist, said although such claims by manufacturers were factually correct, they were misleading consumers. "Parents shouldn't have to have a nutrition degree to make a decision about what's a healthy food and what's not a healthy food for their children."
As if reading nutrition labels requires anything other than an elementary level understanding of language and maths. What Australia doesn't need is busybodies wanting the government to assume responsibility for our diets.

Thursday, April 05, 2007


Antony Loewenstein accounts for his inclusion in a televised panel discussion of Muslim relations with the wider Australian community:
I was invited onto Difference of Opinion as an alternative perspective on a complex issue, and I was not speaking on behalf of the Jewish community.
Nope, Loewenstein was included as the token Jew, at least according to host Jeff McMullen:
Antony, as the member of the third Abrahamic religion here tonight, can you see that we will ever be all together here again in this country?
McMullen obviously wasn't paying attention because he failed to notice an earlier Loewenstein admission that he's not Jewish:
I think it's also interesting - there is a really important role - and I’m speaking as an atheist Jew who says this. I think there's a really big role of religious groups between religions - so, Christian groups, Jewish groups talking to the Muslim community - and I think there's a real sense, and I can speak more for the Jewish community – there is a real sense, which is not unique to the Jewish community, of a great deal of anti Muslim sentiment in there, obviously, partly to do with Israel and Palestine, it has a lot to do with it, but there is a real need, I think, to dialogue between religions as well.
How can a self-confessed atheist claim to speak for the Jewish community?

It's also worth nothing that Loewenstein has again transformed himself, this time from smoldering hunk into a pasty, paunchy and chinless whiner (follow the link and then click on the "Why is there fear and friction..." link on the right).

Update: Loewenstein's blurb at Difference of Opinion briefly outlines his output:
He has written for the Sydney Morning Herald, The Australian, The Guardian, Washington Post, The Age, Crikey and many others.
Funny how Counterpunch is omitted from his credits. He has written for the Washington Post's PostGlobal and the Guardian's comment is free blogs but has not, as far as I know, ever been published in either paper's print edition.


Despite mentioning the unfortunate suicide of Sally Sandic (claimed to be work-related) in the same paragraph with "ratty" Howard's evil WorkChoices, Kim at Larvatus Prodeo disavows any attempt to "directly link" one to the other:
Please read these comments where I try to clarify that my intention wasn’t to make a direct link between Ms Sandic’s death and any partisan concerns, or to politicise it.
Suggesting a link is just fine, however.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007


Uncle Fidel is still ranting about US moves to increase use of bio-fuels:
In Wednesday's column, Reflections of The Commander-in-Chief, Mr Castro criticised President Bush's plan to increase the use of foodstuffs like corn for fuel to run cars.

He said Mr Bush had "declared his intention to apply this formula on a world scale, which means none other than the internationalisation of genocide".
When it comes to genocide (or perhaps more correctly, mass murder), commies are pros.


The ABC almost gets it right:
Hicks was ordered not to talk to the media for a year as part of his plea bargain with the United States military commission, which sentenced him to nine months in jail.
The nasty old US military didn't order Hicks to do or not do anything; he voluntarily agreed to the terms of a negotiated plea bargain. Anyway, at least some of the terms of the bargain appear unenforceable:
But Federal Attorney-General Philip Ruddock has indicated the gag order cannot be enforced when he returns to Australia.
If Hicks is an honourable man he'll keep his mouth shut as agreed.