Happy New Year

Yeah yeah, I know it's a bit early and really early for our readers far far west, but I thought I'd get in nice and early. May 2007 be a good year for those of us who love freedom and want to live in peace.

Importantly, may it be a good year for our protectors, may they return home to their loved ones every day and after every tour of duty.

Bye Saddam, suck shit leftists...


Oh it is another day that sucks to be a leftist. To be honest, I am happy not so much because Saddam is dead, but because of how much pain and sorrow leftists all over the world are suffering because he's dead. Another one of their allies is dead. Another one of the left's darlings who "stuck it" to the Americans and those Filthy JOOOOOOOOOOOS has gone the way of the Dodo.

You only have to do a quick scan of the Internet to see just how deserving of execution leftists are. Since they so love Saddam and play down his offences at every opportunity, I say we show them first hand what it was really like:

Bush is worse.
Saddam was set up.
Saddam was innocent.
The trial was biased. And of course,
They were better off under Saddam.

Some shithead from CNN tried to suggest that to the Iraqi representative to the UN (I think) who bitch slapped him down with "The only people who say that - none of them actually lived under Saddam"

But as usual, leftists think they know what is best for everyone, even when all of history proves them wrong.

So leftists are just going to continue having a big cry about their poor, innocent, hero Saddam being gone for all eternity. And me? I will continue to rub it in to every leftist I encounter, and will continue the celebrations with just a small sampling of my personal bar...

(This is how I celebrate the misery of leftists. How do you do it?)

One final word to any and all leftists out there:

BWA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA. Suck shit you fucking Saddam worshipping traitors.

UPDATE: Emperor Misha appears to have the full video, filmed by camera phone. Yee haw!

Some news in brief

There is a fabulous non-satirical post about hurricane Katrina by Scott Ott on Scrappleface here -- which shows that the mockery Scrappleface serves up comes from the real, old America that is constantly threatened but not so far defeated by Leftism and bureaucracy. The comments Scott Ott makes in his post about how it is local efforts that work best in recovery from floods and hurricanes were amply confirmed in Australia last year -- in the aftermath of Northeast Australia's big cyclone. See here.

Nobody (not even blacks) likes working for blacks: "Last month, Jennifer Freeman sat in a Chicago coffee bar, counting her blessings and considering her problem. She had a husband with an M.B.A. degree, two children and a job offer that would let her dig out the education degree she had stashed away during years of playdates and potty training. But she could not accept the job. After weeks of searching, Ms. Freeman, who is African-American, still could not find a nanny for her son, 5, and daughter, 3. Agency after agency told her they had no one to send to her South Side home."

Chris Brand points out that the unbelievable has happened: The New York Times has achknowledged the low average IQ of Africans. They explain it erroneously (as due to malnutrition) but acknowledging it at all is at least to raise the matter for discussion among the "caring" (self-important) classes. Even the United Nations says that poor nutrition accounts for a loss of only 5-7 IQ points and severe food shortage (which the NYT discusses) can in fact be eugenic (raise IQ slightly) -- as the Dutch famine study showed. See about half-way down here. For academics, the usual reference is: Stein Z, Susser M, Saenger G, Marolla F. Famine and Human Development. New York: Oxford University Press, 1975.

A rare apology. But Muslims are special, of course: "The Homeland Security Department sent a letter apologizing to a Muslim woman who was detained at the Tampa airport and strip searched at a county jail. Safana Jawad, 45, a Spanish citizen who was born in Iraq, was detained on April 11 because of a suspected tie to a suspicious person, authorities said. She was held for two days before being deported to England."


Is the Arctic ice breaking up?

I reproduce below a report of a recent Arctic event from what is arguably the world's "Greenest" mainstream newspaper -- the London "Independent" (known to many as the "Subservient"). The event is hailed as evidence of global warming and I am sure that refutations of that will soon emerge but in the meantime I think I should make some preliminary comments:

I am not a physicist or a chemist. I am a much-published psychologist with an interest in the sociology of knowledge. So I see my role in reporting on scientific questions outside my own field as being simply to draw attention to the full range of available information on the question concerned. Most scientists are probably aware that there is a "confirmatory bias" towards accepted theories in what is published in the academic journals so particular attention to non-confirmatory findings is simply good science.

But although I rarely comment personally in fields in which I am not expert, I am always, of course, delighted to point to failures in logic and it seems to me that the "Greenie" interpretation of the recent arctic event is very suspect from that point of view.

Why would a large bit of the Arctic ice shelf break off and fall into the sea? If global warming is happening, it should surely just shrink and melt away, with no reason to lose contact with the land. On the other hand, if the ice-shelf is EXPANDING then it should eventually get so big that it expands beyond the boundaries of the land -- causing the bit that is no longer supported by the land to fall into the sea.

So the recent event points overwhelmingly to an EXPANDING ice mass in that area of the Arctic, not a shrinking one -- which is what the Greenies would have you believe. Pesky eh?

I will leave it to others to comment on the other misrepresentations in the article below

A vast ice shelf in the Canadian Arctic has broken up, a further sign of the astonishing rate at which polar ice is now melting because of global warming. The Ayles ice shelf, more than 40 square miles in extent - over five times the size of central London - has broken clear from the coast of Ellesmere Island, about 500 miles south of the North Pole in the Canadian Arctic, it emerged yesterday. The broken shelf has formed an ice island, in what a leading scientist described as a "dramatic and disturbing event", citing climate change as the cause.

The news caps a dramatic year of discovery about just how quickly the polar ice is disappearing. It comes as America's leading climate scientist, James Hansen, warns in today's Independent that the Earth is being turned into "a different planet" because of the continuing increase in man-made emissions of greenhouse gases.

The break-up of the Ayles shelf occurred 16 months ago, in an area so remote it was not at first detected. "This is a dramatic and disturbing event," said Professor Warwick Vincent of Laval University in Quebec City. "It shows that we are losing remarkable features of the Canadian North that have been in place for many thousands of years."Ice shelves float on the sea, but are connected to land (as opposed to ice sheets, which are wholly land-based). In the past five years, several ice shelves along the fringes of the Antarctic peninsula have started to become unstable or break up. The most spectacular was the 2002 collapse of the Larsen B ice shelf, the size of Luxembourg.

Until now, there had not been a similar event among the six major shelves remaining in Canada's Arctic, which are packed with ancient ice that is more than 3,000 years old. Professor Vincent, who studies Arctic ecosystems, travelled to the newly formed ice island and was amazed at what he saw. "It's like a cruise missile has come down and hit the ice shelf," he said. "Unusually warm temperatures definitely played a major role. It is consistent with climate change." The collapse was picked up by the Canadian Ice Service, which notified Luke Copland, head of the new global ice laboratory at the University of Ottawa. Using US and Canadian satellite images, as well as seismic data - the event registered on earthquake monitors more than 150 miles away - Professor Copland discovered that the ice shelf collapsed in the early afternoon of 13 August 2005. Scientists were surprised at the speed of the event, Professor Copland said - it took less than an hour.

There have already been several disturbing indications this year that the Arctic ice is melting at a much faster rate than expected. In September, two Nasa reports showed a great surge in the disappearance of the winter sea ice over the past two years, with an area the size of Turkey disappearing in 12 months.

Note that the article below points to a COOLING arctic, which again suggests that the ice-shelf breakoff is due to an EXPANDING ice-mass, not a shrinking or melting one. I hope to have more to say about sea-ice versus land-based ice tomorrow

Because global warming is a religious belief rather than a scientific one, however, Greenies do from time to time accept that the ice-mass in places like Greenland and the Antarctic is expanding. They say that global warming produces more evaporation off the ocean and hence more snowfall and hence ice buildup. NO evidence can count against their belief. The global warming belief thus fails the test of falsifiability, which is basic not only to scientific statements but to empirical statements generally. The global warming belief is thus a theological, not a scientific one -- on a par with the Christian ability to explain the existence of evil despite their God being omnipotent and benevolent

Greenland has cooled down since the 1930s

Post lifted from Lubos Motl

Greenland is one of the regions that play a crucial role in the global warming theory. The existing climate models predict an amplified warming for Greenland and other high-latitude areas. Moreover, these regions that are far away from the equator should also get more warming because of the vegetation feedback mechanism. Also, we frequently read that the Greenland's glaciers are reatreating: we're doomed. On the other hand, the name of Greenland suggests that it could have been green in the past. Who is right: hysterical journalists on one side or historians and linguists on the other side?

There exists a better method to decide similar questions than both hysterical journalism as well as history: the method is called science. The following 2006 paper in Journal of Geophysical Research

by B. Vinther, K. Andersen, P. Jones, K. Briffa, and J. Cappelen has looked at the available data and reconstructed the temperatures for winters from 1829 to 2005 and summers from 1855 to 2005.

The results? The warmest winter at some places was the winter of 1917. The authors do not indicate whether the reason was Lenin and his Great October Socialist Revolution. ;-)

The warmest year in all of Greenland was 1941 while the 1930s and 1940s were the warmest decades (see page 8 of 13 in the PDF file above). The coldest year was 1863 while the 1810s were the coldest decade, largely because of two large volcanic eruptions that took place in this period.

Well, the global warming theory and the existing climate models seem to be in trouble because of these observations (and others). Is there an explanation that would be consistent with the climate change paradigm? You bet.

The anthropogenic explanation of the nicely cool decade of the 1810s relies on some of the successful actions of the Luddites who were destroying the textile machines between 1811 and 1816. Once these heroes and predecessors of the contemporary warriors against the climate change were beaten up by the evil capitalists, a catastrophic period of warming started. The only glimpse of hope was the coldest year of 1863 when slavery was abolished and the former slaves didn't have to breath so much and emit so much carbon dioxide. Finally, this cataclysmic period of warming ended around 1941 when the Nazi soldiers were freezing near Moscow which much reduced the expansion and the CO2 emissions of the Third Reich. ;-)

This story sounds great but I will stick with the volcanos, solar activity, and other natural phenomena that seem to explain the observed graphs more naturally.

More comments at WorldClimateReport. A critical perspective on the article by Vinther et al. is offered by Steve McIntyre who argues that they again extract low-frequency signals out of high-frequency patterns which is no good. The paper by Vinther et al. is also discussed by RealClimate from an alarmist perspective.


Hooray! The butcher of Baghdad is dead

See here

A great New Year present for Iraq. But no doubt the Left will now immediately make a saint of some sort out of him. They don't care about mass murder. They never have. If they could canonize the vicious "Tookie" Williams (above), and excuse mass murderers like Stalin and Mao, they can do it for anyone.

I imagine that the Left might say that Saddam was no worse than Pinochet -- ignoring the fact that Pinochet took power at the invitation of a democratically elected parliament and that he handed the country back to democratic rule when he had sorted out the mess that the Left had plunged Chile into. But differences like that will be invisible to those who will not see. Les Bates also has some cynical comments on the Leftist attitude to Saddam.

Mind you, I am not unsympathetic to the view that the recent atrocious behaviour of large numbers of Iraqis towards one-another shows that Saddam was what they deserved. Their mentality suggests that they may well have a Saddam Mark II in their future.


Saddam Hussein executed

Saddam Hussein has been executed for crimes against humanity, the former Iraqi president's legal team has confirmed. The Iraqi deputy foregin minister also confirmed to the BBC that the execution had taken place.

hysteria--from New Scientist

some excerpts:
"...NASA reported evidence in September that global temperatures are very nearly the warmest they have been for a million years."
Sure. Of course. Based on data from how many sampling points, exactly? And why does the on-the-ground historical record from so many locations flatly contradict this?

".. China's reliance on burning coal may be fuelling an economic boom, but the pollution is suffocating its people."
Really? All those Chinese are busy making/having babies, cranking out manufactured goods at a staggering rate, getting married, educated and travelling the world, all the while as they're SUFFOCATING!

"..And on top of this, scientists have realised that plants have been belching or hiccupping out methane without anybody noticing. The upper estimates suggest that plants could be emitting up to 30% of global methane, a potent greenhouse gas, potentially knocking existing climate models out of kilter."
"Potentially"? They missed something in their mathematical models that may be contributing up to 30% of methane, and it MAY knock them out of kilter...some models you've got there, guys. And you want the bejeesus taxed out of us on the basis of your "science", eh..

"..We are seeing the effects of climate change all around us. Whales are moving north as oceans warm "
The fuckers! Moving NORTH! Have they no shame? No respect for tradition? No compass?

"..In February, researchers revealed that the rate of loss of the Greenland ice sheet has doubled over a decade - in fact, every 40 hours or so, a cubic kilometre of water is lost as icebergs crash into the Atlantic. Some fear the melting of Greenland's glaciers is heading for a point of no return within a century, causing a catastrophic sea level rise."
Hmm. Memo to scientists and to gullible greenies: Go put some salt water into a glass. Note level. Add ice-cube. Note level again. Wait for ice to melt and note level yet again. I'll wait.

"..Hurricanes were not as severe in 2006 as the year before, but experts have been left wondering if warming is boosting them;"
These experts are doing a fuck of a lot of wondering--only last year they were telling us with complete assurance that it was going to be the apocalyptichumungousalltimerecord season for hurricane strengths.what happened? Your er..model thingy couldn't possibly be..um..wrong, could it?

".However, as one small ray of hope, experts now deem it unlikely that the North Atlantic current which warms Europe will switch off, plunging us into a new ice age as it did in the far-fetched climate disaster movie The Day After Tomorrow."
Ah, those experts again. They've taken to deeming instead of guessing. No, wait! "they deem" is just another term for "they haven't a fucking clue so they're guessing again."

"..Scientists warned in February, that we are eating our way through an entire food chain. One fish at least - Thailand's giant Mekong catfish - has been granted a royal reprieve aimed at protecting it from further exploitation."
Eating our way through an entire food chain is what humans DO. Start with carrots and beef and stuff, move on to chocolate cake and ice cream...Seems harmless enough, but then I'm not a Climate Change Expert Scientist.And--have you seen that catfish? Why would anyone want to save a big ugly useless bastard like that anyway?

".. In rare good conservation news, one marine biologist suggested in February that we may have massively overestimated the decline of the green turtle. "
Well, mate, you've massively over-estimated the decline/increase/decrease of damn near everything else, so just don't expect surpised expressions from us, ok?

New Scientist "news"

The forgotten past

Climate-change panic is not new, nor is unusual weather

During the long, hot summer of 1976, when Britain faced its worst drought in 250 years, the Government considered a number of unusual solutions. An emergency Drought Act was passed on August 6 and, by August 20, the Government had gathered information on the sinking of bore holes, the use of oil tankers to bring water from Norway, and the seeding of rain clouds - a method of forcing clouds to rain by spraying chemicals into the air. But cloud-seeding was ruled out and ministers were told that building a barrage at Morecambe Bay would be a cheaper way access water than importing it from Norway.

A letter of August 23 from the Home Office to the Prime Minister reported on the challenge facing the fire service: "Everything is tinder dry and the particular difficulty this weekend has been caused by higher wind speeds. The fires in Hampshire and Dorset are under control at present but the situation could change dramatically if the wind increases."

Days later, over the Bank Holiday weekend, the heavens opened and the drought came to an end. But the Government had been shaken and said the population needed to have its complacency about water availability "shattered".



Housework good for you: A nasty research result for the feminists

This one is too much fun for me to question the research methods too deeply

Doing housework can cut substantially a woman’s risk of developing breast cancer, according to researchers. A study comparing the beneficial effects of different types of exercise found that moderate housework had the biggest obvious effect.

More than 44,000 cases of breast cancer are diagnosed in the UK every year. Last year 12,400 women died from the disease, most in their postmenopausal years.

Previous research has examined the link between exercise and breast cancer in postmenopausal women, but this is one of the first studies to include a large number of pre-menopausal women. Experts recommend that women exercise for 30 to 45 minutes five times a week to reduce their risk of breast cancer.

The study, part-funded by the charity Cancer Research UK, looked at a range of activities — including work, leisure and household occupations and chores. The pre-menopausal group doing housework spent, on average, 17.7 hours a week doing it while the post-menopausal women spent 16.1 hours. Pre-menopausal women who did housework were found to be about 30 per cent less likely to develop breast cancer than pre-menopausal women who did none. Meanwhile, post-menopausal women who did housework were found to be about 20 per cent less likely to develop the disease than post-menopausal women who did none.

The researchers analysed data from 218,169 women from nine European countries, with an age range of 20 to 80 years. They followed the women for an average of 6.4 years, during which time there were 3,423 cases of breast cancer. The average age at which the disease developed in the participants was 47.6 years for pre-menopausal women and 65.6 years for post-menopausal. All forms of activity combined was found to reduce the risk in the post-menopausal women participants, but had no obvious effect in the pre-menopausal women. But the researchers found that all women, both pre-menopausal and post-menopausal, who undertook housework had a “significantly” reduced risk of getting the disease.

The research, published in the January edition of the journal Cancer Epidemiology Biomarkers and Prevention, concluded: “In this large cohort of women , . . increased non-occupational physical activity and, in particular, increased household activity, were significantly associated with reduced breast cancer risk, independent of other potential risk factors. “Our results . . . provide additional evidence that moderate forms of physical activity, such as household activity, may be more important than less frequent but more intense recreational physical activity in reducing breast cancer risk in European women.”

The authors noted that housework was one of the “main sources of activity” for women living in these countries. Lesley Walker, Cancer Research UK’s director of cancer information, said: “We already know that women who keep a healthy weight are less likely to develop breast cancer [Rubbish! Fatties get least breast cancer]. “This study suggests that being physically active may also help reduce the risk and that something as simple and cheap as doing the housework can help. “Cancer Research UK’s Reduce the Risk Campaign recommends that men and women take regular exercise and maintain a healthy body weight to help prevent cancer.”



Denying the obvious about Islam

Shoebat begins by explaining his frustrations with Westerners who consistently misunderstand the nature of the Islamists: "Ever since I left radical Islam, I have consistently run into Westerners who are oblivious to the mind-set of radical Islamists, and being on both sides of the fence, I have felt like I am Captain Spock of Star Trek - always having to explain to Captain Kirk how the aliens thought. Yet the first problem I encountered when speaking to Westerners is that they always think that the Muslim world has the same aspirations as they do, seeking liberty, equality, modernisation, democracy, and the good life."...

Trifkovic argues that much of the media, and many of our leaders, are still trying to act as apologists for Islam: "That consensus, as we see in the opening clips of Blair, Bush and Clinton, rests upon the implacable dogma that there is something called 'real Islam' (peaceful, tolerant and as American as apple pie), and then there is 'extremism' that is an aberrant and unrepresentative deviation of Muhammad's faith. (Blair's assurances that the 9-11 attackers were not 'Islamic terrorists' but 'terrorists plain and simple' would have been on par with U.S. President Roosevelt declaring, after Pearl Harbor, that the attackers were not 'Japanese airmen', but 'airmen' plain and simple.)"

Radical Islamists may in fact simply be acting in accord with their own Islamic faith and tradition. But many Western classrooms downplay the numerous violent and unpleasant aspects of Islamic history. "The upholders of the mindset that promotes and mandates such rubbish in our classrooms will naturally treat the truth about Islam as inadmissible, and that's why What the West Needs to Know will be ignored by them. They dominate the entertainment industry - just look at Ridley Scott's Kingdom of Heaven, which conveyed the message that, in a conflict between Christians and Muslims, the former attack, the latter react. The true hero of the movie is Saladin, a wise warrior-king sans peur et sans reproche; its villains, the coarse and bloodthirsty Europeans."

Spencer concurs, saying: "The free world is under assault everywhere from the forces of jihad, working from the teachings of the Qur'an and Sunnah, and notably the words and deeds of Muhammad. Yet in America and the West, taking note of these rather obvious facts only brings one opprobrium, if the chattering classes deign to take notice at all: one is compelled in the mainstream of public discourse to deny the obvious. Everyone is busy tossing away common sense, reason, and basic powers of observation."

Shoebat recounts how, in some public speeches he gave warning of Islam, many in the audience attacked him, not radical Islam. He recalls: "At another speech, one Rabbi critiqued the New Testament as 'riddled with violence', I had no problem with his right to state this, yet when I confronted him I asked 'Why do you feel free to critique the New Testament, but afraid of critiquing Islam's well documented violence?' to which he could not reply. It didn't matter that I stated in my speech that a Jew had the right to critique Christianity, a Christian had the right to critique Mormonism and Islam, and a Muslim had a right to critique the Bible and Christianity, I was still accused of racism and bigotry against Islam. One can say almost anything against any other religion but Islam. Why?"

Concludes Spencer: "Today the comprehensive guilt trip that is multiculturalism makes it impossible for Western policymakers and media to look squarely at the nature of Islam. If the Islamic world has a problem with the West, it must be our fault - because of Iraq, or Abu Ghraib, or Israel, or Mossadegh, or something. This is an intriguing inversion of the old colonial paternalism: whereas the 'white man's burden' assumed that it was the role of the West to bring civilisation to the colonised areas, and that the civilising 'burden' was in no sense shared by the colonised people, so today the Left sees the evils perpetrated by the enemies of the West as entirely provoked by the West: once again, the 'non-white', non-Christian West has no responsibility for its own actions. But the arrogance of this perspective likewise never registers in the public sphere - it is as invisible as the Islamic doctrines of jihad and the supremacism of the Sharia."

More here


The Cowardice of the Left

For decades we’ve been harangued and screamed at about: women’s rights; women’s freedoms; women’s equality; women’s oppression. More importantly, we’ve been told how evil we are for perpetrating this abuse, which included anything, it seems, from birth control to women’s fashion.

So Channel 4’s ‘alternative’ to the Queen’s Christmas speech took on a very special significance for yours truly.

A British-born Muslim who delivered Channel 4's alternative Christmas message wearing a full veil was forced to keep her identity a secret yesterday.

The woman replaced Khadija Ravat, a 33-year-old Islamic teacher who pulled out earlier this month following criticism from both inside and outside the Muslim community.

Yesterday a Channel 4 spokesman said the decision not to identify her during the six-minute broadcast was taken to enable viewers to focus on her "words rather than her identity".
Balls. There are a lot of people out there who are very angry about this, and rightly so. I won’t go into the appalling capitulation this represents, in terms of posting this creature as the alternative voice to the British Head of State: The Queen of England. This is solely about meeting the face of ‘right on’ PC leftist feminism (which Channel 4 is infested with), and its reaction to a singularly serious threat to everything they claim to hold dear and to have been fighting for:

This post is not about the rightness or wrongness of feminism.

This post is about fear.

By this simple act, by so promoting the most poignant expression of female oppression in the West today (and by choosing to promote it in the way that they have), these representatives of the British left have told us something very simple:

. . .they have already surrendered – everything. . .

The moral authority

All this time conservatives have been banging on that the defeatocrats are really not on America’s side, off course they [defeatocrats] insist they are, but in their actions, the rights of a terrorist are more valuable than the National Security of the United States. Well the lemons have been ordered, so time to start sucking, bon appétit.
Senate Democrats plan to use their newfound power to revisit one of the most contentious national security matters of 2006: Deciding what legal rights must be protected for detainees held in the war on terrorism.
What war on terrorism? As far as leftists are concerned there is no war, 9/11 is strictly a law and order matter, serve a subpoena or get some fool to waffle in a court somewhere about it, an online petition [to save trees you know] or a get-in-touch-with-our-feelings session. Only a leftist can make statements about “a lasting victory”, whilst simultaneously raising the white flag before the war starts, with a straight face.
"I strongly believe that terrorists who seek to destroy America must be punished for any wrongs they commit against this country," Dodd told Bush in a November letter, urging the president to delay implementation of the bill. "But in my view, in order to sustain America's moral authority and win a lasting victory against our enemies, such punishment must be meted out only in accordance with the rule of law," Dodd added.
Dontcha know, that’s how the Russians won over the Chechen bastards, by setting world standards in moral authority, hearts and minds you war mongers, that’s what gets you lasting peace. I still wonder however can we wretched morally-bankrupt westerners live up their latest example of “moral authority” when dealing with ex-KGB agents.
Dodd and other Democrats say such protections should be afforded to terror suspects because the United States would want other nations to apply similar rights to U.S. troops captured in war.
Yeah yeah, moral authority, crows the senator safe and sound in the United States. Just believe, you boneheads, we must have the higher moral authority, never mind that nobody gave a pig’s bum about moral authority when your soldiers were dragged through the streets of Mogadishu. Never mind that moral authority was nowhere to be found, when your soldiers were beheaded in Iraq. Yes the moral authority, that’s what the enemy is looking for.

Don’t forget folks, the moral effing authority, that’s what matters.

Putting Some Stick About

Has anyone else noticed a distinct sense of pique wafting from the BBC’s coverage of the fact that the Ethiopians are kicking the crickey out of the Islamics in Somalia?

Government troops in Somalia have marched into parts of Mogadishu, hours after Islamist forces abandoned the capital they had held for six months.

Some residents cheered the troops, but others feared a return to lawlessness.

Earlier, as the Union of Islamic Courts (UIC) withdrew its fighters, Somalia's clan militias began reasserting their presence - raising fears of a return to the clan warfare which racked the city for years before the Islamists brought a measure of security.
Interesting, though, when one considers this:

Transitional government spokesperson Abdirahman Dinari told the BBC the majority of the forces poised to retake Mogadishu were Somali, not Ethiopian.
Seems the Somalis, most of whom are Islamic, aren’t so enamoured of the Union of Islamic Courts themselves. Hasn’t stopped the BBC World Service (over night) from asking the question, over and over and over again: do the people support the removal of the UIC?

And maybe this is why. . .

In Ethiopia, Prime Minister Meles Zenawi said: "Our mission in Somalia is very very limited... we are not there to reconstruct Somalia economically, politically or otherwise. We are there to remove the threat of the Islamic Courts militia on Somalia and Ethiopia."
Someone’s got the right idea.

Of course, the Arabs are going batshit. Where would we be, though, without this next gentle reminder of how much harm the West’s surrender monkeys have done. . .

Senior UIC official Omar Idris told the BBC: "We know what happened in Iraq... I think this is very, very early to say that the Islamic Court forces were defeated."

Meanwhile, a UIC delegation has been in Nairobi, meeting Kenyan officials and Western diplomats.
Sorry - no prizes as to which Western diplomats the Islamonuts will be meeting with.

The African Union has called for Ethiopian forces to leave Somalia. But the UN Security Council has failed to agree on a statement calling for the withdrawal of all foreign forces.
Which is code for serious bickering over whether or not to include the foreign Islamic fighters, I’m absolutely sure. . .

Some Queensland news

An idiotic "Green" Bridge

Rationality is in short supply in anything Greenies touch and the new "Green" bridge over the river in Brisbane (Queensland, Australia) is no exception. It has a cycle path, a pedestrian path and two road lanes that (mostly empty) buses trundle over but the road lanes are not open to cars. It is an anti-car bridge! Since there is little additional car-parking close to the bridge, it seems unlikely to be much used -- despite its cost to the taxpayer of $54 million.

The idiocies do not end there, however. It does not encourage pedestrians either. Have a look at the photo above and note the partial awning over the pedestrian path. It is situated on the South of the path but Brisbane is South of the tropic of Capricorn so the sun always comes from the North. So the awning is totally useless as a sunshade. And you can see that it is little use as a rain-shelter either. Someone must not have told the architect that the rain rarely falls straight down!

My previous post about the bridge was on December 17th (scroll down).

Global cooling in Queensland

If an unusually hot summer in London proves global warming, surely an unusually cool summer in Brisbane proves global cooling!! Or don't the colonies count?

It still hasn't broken the drought, but more good soaking rain across much of the state yesterday seemed to wash away our concerns - at least for a moment or two. As a southerly air stream brought more record cold December temperatures and unseasonal drizzle, many swapped the traditional post-Christmas day at the beach for a rare stroll in the rain....

There were smiles too on the Darling Downs, where the light drizzle was just enough follow-up to storm rain a fortnight ago. Graingrower Frank Stenzel said the 8mm of light rain that had fallen since Christmas Day at his Greenmount property, 25km south of Toowoomba, was a welcome boost for his 120ha crop of sorghum. But Mr Stenzel said he would need a further 100mm in coming weeks to ensure a reasonable harvest. "The cool weather has allowed the rain to soak in and hopefully well get more by the weekend," he said.

The bureau has forecast cloudy skies and patchy rain for today in a band from the northwest to the southeast of the state, slowly clearing northwards. Tomorrow, rain is expected to ease and clear northwards, with temperatures climbing but still generally below average. The highest rainfall recorded yesterday was 29mm at Baralaba, 200km southwest of Gladstone.

Bureau senior forecaster Geoff Doueal said record low December maximums had been recorded at several places, including Brisbane Airport (19.1C), Toowoomba (13.9C), Ipswich (18.4C) and Oakey (15.5C). Emerald's maximum of 16.7C was the lowest December maximum for a century. The previous lowest December temperature was 18.3 in 1907.

More here

And it is indeed a remarkably cool summer here in Brisbane. There is a distinct nip in the air at night. Usually, at this time of the year, I am accustomed to having a warm shower by turning on the cold water only!


More homosexual-worship in Britain

And yet more encouragement for people to lie to keep out of trouble

Businesses have been warned by a Government watchdog they must individually quiz every member of staff on gay rights - or risk being sued for discrimination. Industrial relations quango Acas has spent thousands of pounds of taxpayers' money drawing up a detailed 18-question test to establish whether workers are being unfair to any homosexual colleagues. Employers are advised to use the so-called 'audit tool' on all staff, then check their answers against a special score sheet to ensure staff do not have a bad attitude. A poor score earns a 'STOP' warning, which, according to Acas, means the company is at risk of being sued for discrimination.

Questions range from knowing how many gays live in the UK, to whether the business displays a 'rainbow flag' - a symbol of homosexual rights - on the premises. Poor scores are awarded for, for example, any 'jokes or banter' relating to gay or bisexual people. Acas said it was part of the 'Government's drive to promote good practice' on the Employment Equality (Sexual Orientation) Regulations 2003. Any firm which is alarmed by its results can ask for two free days consultancy, from Acas, paid for by the taxpayer. An expert will help the firm to develop an 'action plan'. The equivalent cost of the consultancy advice is an estimated 1,000 pounds.

Acas is the Government quango in charge of industrial relations in Britain, and provides advice and a reconciliation service to stop disputes reaching the tribunal stage. It has not sent the quiz to businesses, but they are all required to be up-to-date on Acas advice if they want to avoid being sued, and would be expected to download it from the website. In practice, most companies are so anxious about expensive tribunals in litigious modern-day Britain that they make sure they follow all Acas guidelines.

The test, however, was last night dismissed as a politically-correct waste of employers' time and public money. Business leaders said it was more likely to create rather than solve problems, by raising issues which had not previously caused any concern. Matt Hardman, of the Forum of Private Business, said: 'This is indicative of the state we have got ourselves into over discrimination laws. 'They seem determined to go to ridiculous lengths to flag up something which is unlikely to be an issue in most workplaces. 'In instances where it does arise, it will be dealt with informally in the first few weeks of employment and be dealt with quickly, and in an amiable away. It does not require something like this. 'We must be sensible, not take politically correct steps that are perhaps more likely to create problems than solve them.'

James Frayne, campaign director of the TaxPayers' Alliance, said: 'It's bizarre to think that people actually sat down and came up with this idea and thought it was great. 'This is just the latest in a long line of absurd schemes public sector bodies have come up with and which all add up to a small fortune for the taxpayer. Unfortunately, it's very unlikely 2007 will say anything different.'

The questions ask staff if nicknames are more likely to be given to gay members of staff than homosexual ones, or if there is an office equality policy or lesbian, gay and bisexual support group. Answers which Acas wants to see - such as ticking 'no' to the suggestion gay workers are more likely to be teased - receive a green rating, or 0 points. Saying yes would earn a red rating, or two points. A total of 31 points or more earns a 'STOP' rating. This carries the warning: 'Your organisation may well not be properly addressing issues relating to lesbian, gay or bisexual people in the workplace. 'Importantly this suggests that there is a lack of awareness relating to treating people fairly regardless of their sexual orientation, which may mean discrimination on the grounds of people's sexual preferences. 'Remember organisations that discriminate against people because of their sexual orientation, whether perceived or not, leave themselves open to a potential legal challenge under the Employment Equality (Sexual Orientation) Regulations 2003.' A total of 0-10 is a clean bill of health, while 11-30 means proceed with caution, according to Acas.

Earlier this month, Acas came under fire for warning firms they could be sued unless they ensured office Christmas parties were politically correct. In an extraordinary advice pamphlet, the quango told firms they had a 'duty of care' to drunken staff and could face crippling legal action if they do not get home safely. Managers were also told age discrimination laws could be breached if the music and entertainment caters only for younger staff, and holding a raffle or giving out alcoholic prizes could offend Muslims. It even added a 'proper risk assessment' must be carried out before any decorations were put up, particularly if they could be fire hazards. Businesses said it made holding a Christmas party barely worth their while.

Acas said: 'Promoting equality and diversity and ensuring employees feel valued and can give their best are key issues for today's workplaces. 'This audit tool is designed to give an indication of where (an) organisation is in regard to sexual orientation and gender reassignment.' The organisation added: 'It is definitely not a test; it's designed to bring a sensitive topic out into the open and gauge whether an organisation protects basic equal rights at work whatever the individual's beliefs and practices in their personal lives.'



Is support for the troops masculine?

Every now and again, somebody gets the idea of saying that conservative values are male and Leftist values are female. I have critiqued the assertions by Leftist George Lakoff to that effect some time ago.

But the idea also seems to be a favourite of conservative psychologist Gagdad Bob. Gagdad Bob is however in the tradition of the psychoanalysts and is essentially a speculative writer. He rarely provides much evidence for his assertions. So, while many of his analyses are thought-provoking, whether they are right or wrong is essentially unknown. And on this issue I think he is wrong.

Why? Because of the voting patterns. If Leftist values were female, should not women vote overwhelimngly for the Left? They don't. In fact, in the 2004 Presidential election, George Bush and John Kerry split the female vote almost equally. One could argue that Presidential candidates have to be centrists with only a slight "lean" to Left or Right but even so it is strange that there is not SOME regular tendency for the female vote to polarize if the theory is true.

Whether support for the troops is a male thing is however a different question. There is an amusing attack on an anti-troop writer here -- in which the writer concerned was described as a "neuter". Since some of the most vigorous pro-troop campaigners are women (such as Melanie Morgan) however, I am inclined to suspect the reverse.



from J.F. Beck.

Mr. Lefty is claiming someone stole his blogs. Hacked them and pretended to be him. Ruined his reputation and gave him dandruff. (maybe not the last two, but it's hard to resist prodding lefties with a sharp stick, sometimes)

Right. And the dog ate his homework.

Because they can

Well, how else can you explain it; see two examples below of Jihadist arrogance. They possess neither the military might, the cultural/technological superiority, not even the moral high-ground, but they do it anyway and get away with it only because we let them.
Iran's parliament voted Wednesday to urge the government to re-examine its ties with the U.N. nuclear agency following a Security Council decision to impose sanctions against Tehran over its disputed nuclear program. The move signaled that Iran was likely to reduce its cooperation with the Vienna-based International Atomic Energy Agency.
Yes, that’s right, after all the waffling and bore-you-to-death lectures by bludger* Kofi Annan and EU diplomats, Iran has given us absolutely nothing. And now they are threatening to concede even less!!

Remember that cease-fire, no the defeatocrats haven’t managed to raise the white flag outside the Green zone in Iraq yet, they haven’t managed to “break” the US Army from within yet, I’m talking about Israel and Palestinian Jihadists who wish to move them to a new location with splendid sea-views all round. Those of you, moderately informed on world affairs, would know there is a ceasefire in place, and now those wicked Jews are working to tear it all up.
Palestinians warned Wednesday that Israel's decision to target Kassam cells in the Gaza Strip will lead to the total collapse of the current cease-fire.
At some point in the past weeks, while we were asleep [I hope], the definition of ‘cease-fire’ changed; it went from both sides go home and sit quietly to one side [Jews] go home and sit quietly while the other carries on firing away.
International opinion is not even aware that some 60 rockets have been unleashed on Israel during what's purported to be a cease-fire. But even "little damage" can undermine a town's economy, its social fiber and its psychological fortitude. Sderot's nerves are plainly frayed.
I have to wonder if the international opinion gives a rats bums about it, after all it’s all the way over there and there is that Donald Trump and what’s-her-name slanging match to get in on. I suppose I can’t accuse anyone of indifference when the even leftist Olmert government does give a pig’s bum about them either, you see they are about to hold “backdoor” negotiations [whatever that means] with the Jihadists.


Why Should David Hicks Rot?

Because David Hicks made a choice.

He could have chosen to stay home. He could have chosen to remain protected by our laws, our society, and our culture. He could have chosen to honour the contract that granted him the freedom to grow and prosper; the social pact that granted him the liberty to make his (poor) choice in the first instance.

But he did not.

He chose to throw his lot in with an alien ideology that represents the very antithesis of everything we hold precious. He chose to honour an alternative contract, with a people who might well have killed him before he had even the chance to make that choice in the first place; with a people who would kill us without hesitation. He chose the opposite of freedom. He chose the counter to peaceful coexistence. He chose despotism. He chose tyranny. He chose fascism. He chose war. He chose the avowed enemies of our way of life, culture and society.

After having made his choice, though, if David Hicks had been brought back to Australia, he would have been freed. We have no laws under which he could be tried (even Treason might be a stretch, though worth a shot, in my book). To be brought back to Australia would have been to grant his frankly evil choice a free pass.

Whether or not he deserves that largesse is another question (I think he does not – he broke our contract). But there is another issue at stake here; a far larger one.

What message would we have sent the would-be choosers of despotism, totalitarianism, murder and terror in our midst, had that occurred?

David Hicks made his choice and he paid the price (a cheap one, given the circumstances – he could be dead). More importantly, though, David Hicks has been made an example of – an example we could not have emulated, had he been returned. And that example is crucial: you are free to make choices; our society grants you that privilege. But when your choices include throwing your lot in with foreign organs that would remove that freedom from the rest of us, if given half the chance. . .

. . .then the deal is off; you’re on your own.

David Hicks is precisely where he should be.

No – David Hicks is precisely where he must be.

Compulsory halal meat in UK schools

Post lifted from Cranmer

Cranmer is indebted to his faithful communicant Ms Dexey for bringing his attention to the fact that Reading schools are serving halal meat to their students with neither their foreknowledge nor parental approval. It is not the option to which Cranmer objects, but the compulsion. The RSPCA condemns the practice of slitting an animal's throat while it is conscious, but issues of cruelty and inhumane treatment have been completely ignored as Berkshire schools bend over backwards to accommodate the sensitivities of Islam.

The reason given is that Reading `has a high proportion of Muslim students'. By the same reasoning, Bradford, Oldham, Leicester, Slough, and most of London should also be serving nothing but halal meat, and now the precedent has been set, it will not be too long before the demands are made.

But Cranmer finds a flaw in this multicultural manifestation. Of course the Christians may object, and without doubt their pleas will fall on deaf ears, but the Sikhs also have cause for complaint, and they have yet to raise their voice on this matter.

Unlike Hindus, some Sikhs eat meat, not least because one of their gurus is recorded as being a hunter. Yet within the Sikh faith are the `kurahit', or prohibitions, one of which is to not eat meat `killed in the Muslim way'. The origins, as ever, have more to do with the politics of identity, but it is a sustained article of belief for Sikhs all over the world - they are simply not permitted to eat halal meat at all. In Reading, they have been doing so without their knowledge.

Consider for one moment if these schools had been serving reconstituted pork disguised as some other meat, without the knowledge of Muslim students or parents. There would be uproar, with a high-powered delegation of `senior Muslims' to Downing Street demanding national repentance and a global apology, to which the Prime Minister would doubtless acquiesce.

In this instance, the sensitivities of other faith groups and the demands of the animal rights activists are subjugated to the demands of the Muslims.


Britain: Dogs get better medical treatment than people

Thanks to a government-run health service

Our small dog was in a bad way – vomiting, and with a dreadful case of the ‘scoots’ as we say in Scotland. We thought he had eaten something nasty, and it would soon pass. But by 6pm we realised that we needed a vet.

It was Sunday evening. Indeed, it was Christmas Eve. But the vet answered the phone straight away, and told us to come round to the surgery. Ten minutes later, he was examining the dog, and fifteen minutes after that, he had diagnosed the problem, given him three injections, bottled up a week’s dose of two different kinds of medicine, told us he would recover just fine, swiped 34 pounds off our credit card, and assured us that it was just fine to call him on Christmas day if we had any further problems. That’s what I call good service.

By contrast, as I say, a few weeks back I needed to see the doctor. It was a Friday evening, and a recorded message told me that the surgery was now closed until Monday. If I had a real emergency I could leave a message and someone – obviously not my regular doctor – would call me. It wasn’t an emergency, so I called back on Monday, and managed to get an appointment ten days later (though in honesty, I could have seen another doctor in a shorter time). The doctor wrote me a prescription, again for two medicines, but I had to walk half a mile up to the chemist to get them. They cost me around £14 (the standard NHS medicines charge), almost half what the vet charged me for his whole on-the-spot consultation and prescription.

Why do vets give such better service? I am sure that doctors are just as dedicated to their vocation. But with the vet, the link between serving your customers and getting paid by them is immediate. It concentrates the mind on giving good service. In the NHS, remuneration is negotiated and paid by government quangos. There is no clear link between getting paid and giving a good service to your customers.

Doctors should be remunerated like vets. And if some people cannot afford their fees, then those people should be subsidized through the welfare system. The rest of us should pay cash. We might grumble at that thought: but we would get such a better service that overall, we would probably grumble far less.

Until that happens, though, next time there is something wrong with me, I shall be consulting a vet.



The high quality of military men

Below is one of the many letters from American servicemen published by Taranto. I recognize every bit of what the writer says. My own time in the Australian army was of no importance at all (though I enjoyed it greatly) but the one thing it taught me very clearly was how many high quality people serve in the Armed forces

I am your now stereotypical top-of-class full-ride law school graduate veteran. I secured all sorts of jobs that seem to indicate intelligence, working in various sorts of litigation with a major defense firm. Now, I am in senior management and am an equity participant in a multinational construction firm. But 20 years ago, I was a private in the United States Army.

A graduate of the Special Forces Qualification Course, I met many bright people in the Army. I met people who were extremely intelligent. I met people with vast stores of wisdom. I met them in higher concentrations than in any other setting I have ever experienced. I met them on equal ground, wearing the same uniform, obeying the same oath. And now those people are spread across all dimensions. My comrades who stayed in, those who left, my grandfather who is now dead but who once shared admiration for my military accomplishments and I for his, my father who gave me his silver jump wings to wear when I graduated jump school more than two decades after he did--we all share an experience that, to a person, is deeply felt and sincere. And this experience does not have one damn thing to do with "opportunity" when opportunity is defined as money.

I think the representative must have misspoken. He must have meant that those who forgo "opportunity" to serve should be treasured assets who should be carefully and reluctantly deployed. This would have supported his argument on Iraq. And even if we disagree on the practice, we would agree on the premise.

But generally, there is the notion that the military is nothing but underclass idiots. Sure, they can deploy thousands of miles away and coordinate military assaults that are so precise and so technically driven that relatively small concentrations of our troops can defeat an entire nation's organized army in days. But still, they are manipulated idiots, according to the popular theory. This is wrong. Even if you disagree with the president's decision to attack Iraq, or more wisely the implementation of our plan after military victory over the Iraqi army, this does not mean the troops doing the work are idiots. Most of them are not; many of them are quite smart; almost all of them are decent folk who understand that the concepts of freedom and justice must be secured on the ground if they are to be real.

For me the service of my father, my grandfather, even General Washington called me to serve too. I wanted to earn the right to be in the same class of people as these men. Money could come later, when the important things were done. I have never, ever regretted that choice.


How’s that rope coming Ali

Will somebody get that bloody crane into place. Break out the champagne and fire up the barbecues folks, there will be a dictator swinging in the wind soon.
Iraq's Appeals Court has upheld the death sentence against ousted President Saddam Hussein. Under Iraqi law, Saddam Hussein must be executed within 30 days.

But India has urged clemency - expressing concern over any delay to the restoration of peace in Iraq - and the EU has called on Iraq not to carry out the death sentence.
Yes there will be the usual whinging and carping from the usual suspects, like they were over the weekend when the Japs bit the bullet and executed a murderer. I heard on the morning news that insurgent groups are threatening a-never-before-seen scale of violence if the old bastard is hung. Yeah whatever, as if they are going to lay down arms and assume the Lotus position if we were to concede anything to them, tell that crap to stupid leftists, we ain’t buying.

Merry Christmas, Mr Howard

Oh this is just too good....

David Hicks' father to target Liberal seats

THE father of detained terror suspect David Hicks is planning a major advertising campaign targeting key Liberal-held seats in the lead-up to next year's federal election.

Terry Hicks has been told his campaign - which would focus on the Howard Government's human rights record - could influence 3 per cent of voters at the next election.

So let me see if I understand this. This dickhead is going to go on the campaign trail for the sole purpose of trying to bring back a terrorist piece of shit? Have I got that?

And he somehow thinks that by telling voters "Hey. This government won't bring back a terrorist piece shit, you should vote for a party who will bring back a terrorist piece of shit" will actually work?


Oh I don't doubt there will be an influence, but it sure as fuck won't be the influence these fucking morons (Hicks and his backers - probably fuckwits in the Greens... what have you been up to recently, Lefty?) think it will have.

African gangs come to Australia

Police in Melbourne fear the emergence of militant street gangs of young African refugees who have served in militia groups in their war-ravaged homelands. A growing gangster mentality among young African men is worrying community leaders, who blame boredom, unemployment and drugs for turning young immigrants living in Melbourne's inner north towards violence and crime. Police sources have told The Australian that while gang-related activity had not reached epidemic proportions, "it is a serious concern".

Young African leader Ahmed Dini said some Somali, Sudanese and Eritrean men, predominantly aged between 16 and 25, felt disconnected from mainstream society and were either forming or joining ethnic groups for protection and also for a sense of belonging. He said they mainly lived in housing commission estates in the city's inner north - Flemington, Ascotvale and north Melbourne - and some had trained with heavy-duty military weapons while they were serving in militias overseas. "Some of them have used rocket launchers and grenades," said Mr Dini, who is chairman of the community-based youth network Saygo.

He said the migrants were haunted by childhood images of killings, torture and rape, and were constantly on edge. "Violence is not something new for these young people," he said. "And sometimes memories trigger them to do stupid things. "Sometimes they do some bad things ... like probably pick on other people, other groups, pick fights (with other ethnic groups). "They pick fights with Turkish, Lebanese, even with the African communities. "You have the Somalians from Flemington usually pick on Somalians from Carlton, so it's like a territorial kind of thing."

Mr Dini said some of the young men wielded baseball bats during the brawls. "They do have bats and stuff like that, and when they do hear there's a fight they turn up with their bats." He said while he was not aware of any structured African community gangs in the city's inner north, he was aware young Sudanese men from the western suburbs were becoming more established and organised in their gang activities.

But a police source told The Australian the street gangs were not usually structured or organised. "There isn't necessarily a leader and so on." The source said the hierarchy and leadership often comes into play when the gang is faced with some kind of adversity such as a territorial brawl. Mr Dini, who set up Saygo with 12 other young African leaders in September to tackle unemployment, education and criminal issues being faced by his community, said the state and local governments were largely responsible for the street gangs. This was because they had for years ignored the problems of unemployment and the lack of facilities, failing to devote enough resources and initiatives towards alternative activities. "There's no service-providers that help out the young people in the area," he said. "And the population of the youth is growing. And the more boys you have doing nothing, just hanging out, the more likely you're going to have problems that are going to arise."

Mr Dini warned that gang and crime-related problems within the African communities would eventually lead to "race riots" similar to those in France if governments continued to ignore the problem. "It could lead to deaths," he said.



The asbestos scare

I am repeating below an article that I ran some days ago on "Greenie Watch". I commented at the time that naturally-occurring asbestos has been around in the soil of large parts of Southern California ever since the area was settled in the 1780s -- so we should be seeing lots of asbestos-related disease in the area by now. But there has not been a single report of that! So we have in Southern California a most interesting natural experiment in showing how asbestos is not remotely the threat to health that has been proclaimed.

In response to that posting, I received a couple of emails from an anti-asbestos organization (significantly funded by trial lawyers, I would imagine) disputing what I had said. They implicitly admitted that SoCal did not have an unusually high incidence of asbestos-related disease but tried to explain that away. Their explanation, in my summary, is that there is both "good" and "bad" asbestos (I wonder why we don't usually hear THAT?) and that the bad asbestos has until recently obligingly confined itself to virgin territory undisturbed by man.

If you believe that, you would believe anything, it seems to me. For a start, virgin territory must be as rare in SoCal as are are other sorts of virginity. But I will leave it to unaffilated experts in California soil types to map those types against areas and dates of settlement.

The interest of the article below is to show that in at least some areas the naturally occurring asbestos is of a type that two arms of government consider dangerous and that quite minor human activity -- such as kids playing -- can kick up asbestos-containing dust which can then be breathed in. As much of SoCal is a desert climate made usable by irrigation only, there is a lot of dust there to be kicked up. So even if an area is not quite "virgin", almost any usage that has been made of it should have kicked up lots of asbestos. And all the farming in SoCal using those horrific PLOWS must be saturating the area in asbestos!

I am not of course disputing that heavy industrial and mining exposure to some types of asbestos can cause disease. Toxicologists however have a saying that "The toxicity is in the dose". In other words, scientific caution would dictate that we ask if sub-industrial levels (lower levels) of exposure to asbestos are also harmful. The California example would seem to show that such levels are NOT harmful and that the danger from asbestos has been vastly over-hyped

The U.S. Geological Survey on Tuesday confirmed a federal environmental agency's findings of a particularly dangerous kind of asbestos on playgrounds in El Dorado Hills. USGS experts in mineral identification reached the conclusion after closely examining the playgrounds' study samples of tiny particles that the mining industry asserted were not asbestos.

The investigation found that most of those particles did not conform to the traditional commercial definition of asbestos, as the National Stone, Sand & Gravel Association had argued. The microscopic bits of minerals nonetheless were within scientists' widely accepted range of sizes, shapes and chemical compositions counted as "asbestos" for health studies, USGS scientists said. "We don't equate the commercial definition of asbestos with toxicity," said Gregory Meeker, a mineralogist with the USGS Denver office who led the investigation. "It has not been health based. It's been for the guy who wants to mine a deposit and make a profit at it."

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency officials who conducted the October 2004 study of El Dorado Hills' Community Park and nearby schoolyards said the Geological Survey's findings affirmed its pioneering exposure studies of naturally occurring asbestos in El Dorado Hills and elsewhere in the country. "The survey's study refutes assertions made by the R.J. Lee report and supports our findings and conclusions," said Dan Meer, who supervised the playgrounds' sampling by the EPA's San Francisco regional office.

Spokesman for the industry lobby could not be reached for comment late Tuesday. But the consultant who conducted the review of the EPA sampling had maintained that the environmental agency did not follow proper standards for identifying asbestos particles in air samples. "It is too bad that they chose to ignore a very detailed analysis that we had provided to EPA and USGS," Rich Lee, president of R.J. Lee Group of Pittsburgh, said in July. The EPA study found that children and adults in El Dorado Hills can significantly raise their exposure to breathable asbestos particles simply from the dust kicked up riding a bicycle or playing basketball on outdoor courts.

The main public health concern related to such exposures is mesothelioma, an inoperable and almost always fatal cancer of the membranes lining the chest and other body cavities, asbestos health experts say. Short exposure -- months, not years -- can be enough to instigate the disease, though it typically takes 30 or more years to take hold.

The EPA strapped personal air monitors on agency technicians who mimicked children's activities at the park and on sports fields at Silva Valley Elementary, Jackson Elementary and Rolling Hills Middle schools.

About 1,000 of the El Dorado Hills' 31,000 residents packed the Community Park's gymnasium to learn more from federal scientists. Findings prompted the Community Services District to blacktop the New York Creek trail running through the park and increase irrigation on sports fields to cut dust. The schools also adopted dust controls. At the same, the superintendent of El Dorado County schools was widely circulating copies of the Stone, Sand & Gravel Association's critique discrediting the EPA study. Superintendent Vicki Barber stopped short of endorsing the industry view. But she said it reinforced doubts that she and other local officials harbored over the reliability of EPA asbestos testing. Barber declined to comment Tuesday, saying she had not yet read the full USGS report.

County Supervisor Helen Baumann, who represents El Dorado Hills, called the Geological Survey's study a "a fair analysis" and left her confident that the county is "doing everything we need to do to protect public health." The USGS, the scientific arm of the Interior Department, launched the $100,000 investigation at the request of the EPA, which wanted an independent examination of the industry critique. Last April, the USGS team collected dozens of samples of rock, soil and settled dust in the areas where the environmental agency had conducted its asbestos exposure assessment. USGS mineralogists also analyzed samples the EPA had collected using a number of sophisticated tests to determine the chemistry, mineral composition and form of the asbestos structures detected. The USGS investigators said asbestos health experts, not the mining industry or mineralogists, need to take the lead in redefining asbestos from a health perspective. "Ultimately, it is the health community that must determine what particle types are significant with respect to asbestos-related diseases," the report said



Egg on the Face of British Authorites over Attempted "Hate Speech" Prosecution

We read:

" An English couple who were the subject of a police hate probe after complaining about the town's pro-gay policies will be paid $20,000 to end a discrimination suit alleging their civil rights had been violated.

After the Wyre Borough Council launched a diversity program to train its staff about LGBT issues and started a Lancashire wide scheme to promote gay friendly businesses and organizations Joe and Helen Roberts sent a letter to the council calling homosexuality "immoral".... Council officials turned the letter over to police who began a probe to determine if it violated British hate laws.....

In June the Roberts filed suit against the council. The couple claimed that Wyre Council and Lancashire Constabulary interfered with their human rights to freedom of expression and freedom of religion under the Human Rights Act.

The case was to have gone to court in January but in an out of court settlement the couple agreed to drop the lawsuit in return for a public apology from the police and council and a cash settlement of $20,000 which Joe Roberts said would be given to a conservative Christian group that opposes homosexuality.


Nice to see that one of Britain's wacky laws can sometimes do something useful.


Islam leads to failure

Excerpt from Daniel Pipes

The book that most shaped my understanding of modern Muslim life was Wilfred Cantwell Smith's Islam in Modern History (Princeton, 1957). To reduce Smith's nuanced thesis to a few sentences, he argues that Muslim military, economic, and cultural success in the premodern period created an expectation that God's people would be rewarded for their faith in mundane ways. That expectation left Muslims incapable of explaining what happened when, in modern times, they fell behind in those same arenas.....

This background comes to mind with the publication of two recent studies, in the United Kingdom and in India. Each of them makes my point in spades. Some highlights of the British report, as summarized by Reuters:

Based on data from the 2001 national census, the 162-page study paints a relatively bleak picture of life for Britain's 1.8 million Muslims, most of whom are ethnic Indians, Pakistanis and Bangladeshis. "Of the different religious groups, unemployment rates among Muslims were more than double those in other groups," it found. Some 17 percent of Muslim men and 18 percent of Muslim women were unemployed compared to just five percent of Christian men and four percent of Christian women. "Bangladeshi, Pakistani and Black African groups had low levels of participation in the labor market," the study found. "Their high unemployment rates suggest that even when active in the labor market they experienced difficulties finding employment."

A third of Muslims lived in households which, according to the census definition, were overcrowded, compared to just six percent of Britain's Christians. Some 44 percent of ethnic Bangladeshi and 26 percent of ethnic Pakistani households were deemed to be overcrowded, against an average for the country of seven percent. In a country of nearly 59 million where home ownership is widespread and regarded as a key measure of wealth, Muslims were less likely to own their own houses than followers of other faiths. Just over half of Muslim households owned their houses compared to a national average of nearly 70 percent.

The Indian report has not been released, only portions leaked. From a summary by the prime minister's office: The Muslim community is "lagging behind" in most areas: they are "relatively poor, more illiterate, has lower access to education, lower representation in public- and private-sector jobs and lower availability of bank credit for self-employment. In urban areas, the community mostly lives in slums characterized by poor municipal infrastructure." Some particulars, as presented by the New York Times:

in many states Muslims are significantly overrepresented in prison. In the western state of Maharashtra, for instance, Muslims make up 10.6 percent of the population but 32.4 percent of those convicted or facing trial. In the famed national bureaucracy, the Indian Administrative Service, Muslims made up only 2 percent of officers in 2006. Among district judges in 15 states surveyed, 2.7 percent were Muslim.

Educational disparities were among the most striking. Among Muslims, Mr. Shariff said, the literacy rate is about 59 percent, compared with more than 65 percent among Indians as a whole. On average, a Muslim child attends school for three years and four months, compared with a national average of four years. Less than 4 percent of Muslims graduate from school, compared with 6 percent of the total population. Less than 2 percent of the students at the elite Indian Institutes of Technology are Muslim. Equally revealing, only 4 percent of Muslim children attend madrasas, Mr. Shariff said.


A funny man, that Krauthammer

My beef with American arrogance is not that we act like a traditional great power, occasionally knocking off foreign bad guys who richly deserve it. My problem is that we don't know where to stop -- the trivial victories we insist on having in arenas that are quite superfluous. Like that women's hockey game in the 2002 Winter Olympics. Did the U.S. team really have to beat China 12-1? Can't we get the coaches -- there's gotta be some provision in the Patriot Act authorizing the CIA to engineer this -- to throw a game or two, or at least make it close? We're trying to contain China. Why, then, gratuitously crush them in something Americans don't even care about? Why not throw them a bone?

I say we keep the big ones for ourselves -- laser-guided munitions, Google, Warren Buffett -- and let the rest of the world have ice hockey, ballroom dancing and every Nobel Peace Prize. And throw in the Ryder Cup. I always root for the Europeans in that one. They lost entire empires, for God's sake; let them have golf supremacy for one weekend.

No Dancing in the End Zone

A Frenchman gets it right:

“The word Islamophobia is a lie and a construct. One doesn’t find words like Christianophobia or Buddhophobia. Racism, however, exists against Arabs, blacks, whites, Jews, and Pakistanis. To criticize a religion has nothing to do with racism. Religions are ideas that are shared by millions of people and one has the right to criticize them and discuss them. This is not racist.”

Pascal Bruckner.

British Academics seek right to offend

A right that they theoretically have already -- but not of course in practice. See also here under the heading "Staff are silenced by fear of reprisals"

A group of academics is demanding the right to be controversial in a new campaign for freedom of speech. Academics for Academic Freedom (AFAF) says that in today's political climate it is "harder than ever" for scholars to defend open debate. AFAF says they must be allowed to question received wisdom, and managers should not be able to discipline academics for voicing unpopular views. The group is calling on all university lecturers to sign its online petition.

"Restrictive legislation, and the bureaucratic rules and regulations of government quangos and of universities themselves, have undermined academic freedom," the groups says. "Many academics are fearful of upsetting managers and politicians by expressing controversial opinions. "Afraid to challenge mainstream thought, many pursue self-censorship."

A Leeds University lecturer, Frank Ellis, took early retirement this year before a disciplinary hearing over his comments that there was evidence to suggest white people had higher IQ levels than black people.

Statement of freedom

The statement of academic freedom which lecturers are being asked to sign says two principles are the foundation of academic freedom: "That academics, both inside and outside the classroom, have unrestricted liberty to question and test received wisdom and to put forward controversial and unpopular opinions, whether or not these are deemed offensive. "That academic institutions have no right to curb the exercise of this freedom by members of their staff, or to use it as grounds for disciplinary action or dismissal."

Writing on the AFAF website, Professor Roy Harris from the University of Oxford said: "Getting university authorities to agree to these principles is an essential step towards safeguarding academic freedom for the future." Professor Mary Evans from the University of Kent said: "Universities need to be able to maintain, and even extend their ability to think the unthinkable. "They should not accept a role as mere instruments of state agendas."

Simon Davies, co-director of the policy engagement research group at the London School of Economics, added: "I'm deeply worried about the number of academics who flee in terror at the slightest wisp of controversy. "Rather than engage the world in a spirit of challenge, too many academics have been sedated by an oppressive environment of political correctness and risk aversion."

Source. More detail here under the heading: "Scholars demand right to be offensive".