Friday, August 14, 2009

Yes indeed, it is The Age of Stupid

From Tim Blair:
Outdoor heaters. You know outdoor heaters, right? Gas-fired deals to keep people warm when they’re outdoors in the global cold? Like beer fridges before them, these helpful devices now wear the mark of shame:
Sustainable Living Tasmania executive officer Margaret Steadman said yesterday the proliferation of the heaters was concerning.

She said the heaters were extremely energy inefficient and needlessly contributing to greenhouse gas emissions.

If they’re inefficient, design a better one. Surely solar power can heat, say, a little area outside a restaurant.

More at the link above. But of course there's the rub. Solar power actually can't do very much of anything useful.

If you want small amounts of expensive electricity, (and no Virginia, it is a lie to describe it as "free energy from the sun" because it takes large amounts of fossil fuelled energy to make the bloody things), only when the sun is shining, ie when you'd need a heater least, then yeah, solar power is fantastic!

Except for those times when it's not. Unfortunately, that's most of the time.

Jeremy Clarkson's earlier cri de coeur and call to arms is here.

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Latest bunch of carpetbaggers to jump on the bangwagon!

Ecopsychology, August 2009 

Ecopsychology, the new online journal, is actively seeking articles to
be considered for publication in future issues as well as for a special
issue on "Emotional Well Being and Sustainable Behaviors":

1. Due to high-volume response, we have extended the deadline for
submission for the "Emotional Well Being and Sustainable Behaviors"
special focus issue from August 14, 2009 to September 15, 2009.

2. We always welcome submissions on other key topics in the field

* The role of connection to nature in healthy development and self
* Emotional and psychological factors that drive environmental issues
* Ecotherapy and the use of wilderness for health and healing
* Coping with anxiety or grief about environmental destruction
* Effective ways to motivate sustainable behaviors
* Spiritual and cultural practices that support a healthy environment

Please read the author instructions for details on how to submit your
paper to Ecopsychology today!

We look forward to your manuscript submissions and to your participation
in this rapidly growing field of study.

From CCNet

Yet further proof that psychology is not a real science.

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Bloody marvellous Aussies kill carbon emissions bill

Good to see a Pom saying nice things about Oz, especially after we crushed England in the fourth test!

Sadly though, the resolve of the Coalition's senior partner, the Liberal Party, is questionable on this issue. There are more than a few who think this madness that will achieve nothing other than the driving up of the price of just about everything and destroy jobs, (um, that's real jobs in the real economy, not the make-believe green jobs that are supposedly to replace them), is a good idea.

Hurrah, hurrah and thrice hurrah for Aussie common sense.

Australia’s Senate - the Government’s upper house - has just voted by 42 to 30 to defeat the cap and trade legislation bill proposed by their premier Kevin Rudd.


Why did those Senators reject Rudd’s scheme, despite their prolonged drought and their bush fires? Well some - the green ones - did so because they didn’t think its emissions cutting targets went far enough. But the majority did so - duh - because they didn’t want their coal-dependent heavy industry hamstrung by still more pointless taxation and regulation, their consumers fleeced and their economy ruined in the middle of a thwacking great global recession. And, in at least the case of Senator Steve Fielding, because they’d done their research and discovered that Anthropogenic Global Warming is a figment of Al Gore’s imagination.

Having consulted scientific experts including Ian Plimer [whom I interviewed in the Spectator a few weeks back and whose views are neatly summarised here] Sen Fielding was inspired to visit the US to assess at first hand what evidence the Obama administration was using to justify its radical Waxman Markey cap and trade measures. He was not impressed and issued a challenge, emailing graphs to one of the US president’s energy advisers showing that, despite rising CO2 levels the globe has not warmed in over a decade.


The Torygraph


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Now to pay for all that spending

From Andrew Bolt (there is no such thing as a "free lunch" from the government. Sooner or later, somebody has to pay and it is always us!):

The good news is that the recession is not a bad as so many people screamed. The US is still in deep trouble, but France and Germany are now out of recession, and China is surging on.

But now for the consequent bad news:
THE Reserve Bank believes the downturn will not be much worse than the 2001 dip and is eager to start raising interest rates from levels designed for an economic emergency back to more normal rates.

The bank has not yet decided when to start raising the official cash rate from its 40-year low of 3 per cent, but governor Glenn Stevens said yesterday that financial markets, which expect a rate rise by the end of the year, had good reason to expect Australia would be one of the first nations to move…

Mr Stevens declined to nominate a figure for “normal”, but said the long-term average over almost two decades of low inflation was between 5 per cent and 6per cent.
The tip is for a 2 per cent rise by next year. Strugglers lured by the first-home-owners grants to buy into the market are at risk, and we will now regret Kevin Rudd’s decision to spend so many billions on so little to “save” us - billions it will now cost much more to repay. No wonder he’s short of cash:

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Advertisers fleeing Fox's Glenn Beck

The man does seem to be becoming increasingly deranged and unhinged.

Glenn Beck’s increasing lunacy is having an effect — major advertisers are deserting his show.

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The 'Bush as Hitler' Retrospective

Now that idiots have started showing up at demonstrations with signs comparing Barack Obama to Adolf Hitler, it seems to have become fashionable among some of our media and political overlords to forget that the left was just as bad or worse during the Bush administration.

Pictures to prove it? Zombie’s got ‘em: Bush as Hitler, Swastika-Mania: A Retrospective.

(And please note: this is no excuse for the Obama = Hitler signs at tea parties and town halls.)

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Let's take a trip through a kilometre of air

This is a useful way to put carbon dioxide in the Earth's atmosphere into perspective (something sorely lacking in the current debate about climate change).

Of course these gases are mixed together in the atmosphere, which is why you should ignore anybody or any organisation that talks about the planet being smothered by a "blanket" of CO2. There is literally no such thing. And most of what is there is naturally occurring.

Michael Smith‘s editorial on 4BC yesterday seemed to go down very well:
Here’s a way to understand Mr Rudd’s Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme.

Imagine 1 kilometre of atmosphere that we want to rid of human carbon pollution.  We’ll have a walk along it.

The first 770 metres are Nitrogen.

The next 210 metres are Oxygen.

That’s 980 metres of the 1 kilometre.  20 metres to go.

The next 10 metres are water vapour.  10 metres left.

9 metres are argon.  Just 1 more metre.

A few gases make up the first bit of that last metre.

The last 38 centimetres of the kilometre – that’s carbon dioxide.

A bit over one foot.

97% of that is produced by Mother Nature.  It’s natural. 

Out of our journey of one kilometre, there are just 12 millimetres left.  About half an inch.  Just over a centimetre.

That’s the amount of carbon dioxide that global human activity puts into the atmosphere.

And of those 12 millimetres Australia puts in .18 of a millimetre.

Less than the thickness of a hair.  Out of a kilometre.

As a hair is to a kilometre – so is Australia’s contribution to what Mr Rudd calls Carbon Pollution. 

Imagine Brisbane’s new Gateway Bridge, ready to be officially opened by Mr Rudd.  It’s been polished, painted and scrubbed by an army of workers till its 1 kilometre length is surgically clean.  Except that Mr Rudd says we have a huge problem, the bridge is polluted – there’s a human hair on the roadway.  We’d laugh ourselves silly.

There are plenty of real pollution problems to worry about.  It’s hard to imagine that Australia’s contribution to carbon dioxide in the world’s atmosphere is one of the more pressing ones.  And I can’t believe that a new tax on everything is the only way to blow that pesky hair away.

Perhaps we all need to just take a few deep breaths.

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Sorry, we lost the original data!

This is extraordinary (and not believable) for a collective academic body -- particularly one that "is widely recognised as one of the world's leading institutions concerned with the study of natural and anthropogenic climate change". Their ducking and weaving amounts to an admission that they have distorted the original data in undefensible ways and they are not going to let anybody correct that. By now they probably HAVE deleted the original data, just to make sure it never comes to light. Just another lot of Greenie crooks! If they were honest, they would have said from the beginning that they had not retained the raw data and that it was just their OPINION about the data that they were promulgating

Steve McIntyre, of ClimateAudit, is a determined individual. While this may be no fun for those who fall under his focus and happen to have something to hide, more sunlight on climate science cannot be a bad thing.

Lately Steve has been spearheading an effort to get the Climatic Research Unit (CRU) at the University of East Anglia to release the data that underlie its analysis of global temperature trends. Such a request should not at all be controversial.

[Follow the link above for the full post.]

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The myth of unhealthy belly fat

Sandy from Junkfood Science reports on the latest study, virtually totally ignored by the media, that yet again challenges the orthodox "right message" about obesity.

Before continuing with the obesity paradox series, one of the most important null studies of the year deserves mention… especially since the media universally ignored it. As the body mass index (BMI) is finally being recognized as an uncredible measure of health or predictive of premature death, other measures of body fat are being promoted because everyone “knows” that fat is unhealthy.


It’s inconceivable to contemplate that our condemnation of our body fat and of fat people might be little more than vanity, profit and prejudices. That increasingly seems to be the case, though, when we stop to think about why we remain so intent on finding a reason to condemn fat even when the null studies are far stronger than any others.


One of the most popularized new measures is waist circumference or waist-to-hip ratio, as an indicator of belly fat. It’s based on the belief that there is good and bad body fat, and that visceral fat — the fat that accumulates inside the abdomen — is the unhealthy, dangerous fat.


As she observes, despite popular misunderstanding about the nature of science, science does not so much "prove" things as disprove them.


Anyone can concoct a "proof" of a favoured idea. Happens all the time. What sets genuine science apart from ideologies and superstitions is its ability to test favoured ideas and find them false.


She highlights two recent studies that found no increased risk of early death from being overweight, including for the now increasingly fashionable "belly fat" measure for being overweight.

Nor was there a net benefit of using BMI versus another measurement. The data also found that NONE of the 21 diseases popularly attributed to obesity — those “obesity-related” diseases, including: cardiovascular disease, cancers (colon cancer, breast cancer, esophageal cancer, uterine cancer, ovarian cancer, kidney cancer, or pancreatic cancer) and diabetes or kidney disease — are actually associated with excess deaths at any BMI category, including obese.

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Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Local council employs "white witch"

You know, there was a time, not so long ago as I recall, when nobody would believe you if you claimed things like this.

But what a sign of the increasingly irrational times we live in.

Superstition has made a Strong comeback, either explicitly as in this case, (and modern managerialism, with its obsessive focus on change and innovation as ends in themselves is just as nutty as someone thinking they are a witch in my view), or implicitly under the cover of pseudo-science like the more extreme versions of environmentalism and the make believe climate "crisis" or the medicalisation of bad behaviour (especially for children).

So no surprises at all that the Victorian Department of Sustainability and Environment has also wasted taxpayers' dollars employing this woman. But the sickness spreads much wider than that.

How do we recover faith in human beings and their ability to think rationally and logically as the only real solution to our problems?

Because that is what we see here. Effectively we in the West have lost faith in ourselves and have become receptive to any crazy idea that comes along, whether it is about the climate, our health or the environment.

As the Bolter says below:

As I say, we’re on a retreat from reason:
THE Victorian Ombudsman has criticised a left-leaning inner-city council for spending $620,000 of ratepayers’ money on a self-styled “white witch” to assist with “change management”.

Port Phillip Council’s ad hoc but costly arrangement with pranic healing and astrology devotee Caroline Shahbaz was savaged in a report by the Ombudsman tabled in the Victorian parliament yesterday...It has also emerged that the Victorian Department of Sustainability and Environment has used Ms Shahbaz as a consultant, as have the Victorian Department of Planning, Parks Victoria, Melbourne Water and the Reserve Bank.
If you were wondering what kind of irrational, superstition-addled brains left us with water supplies critically low, forests dangerously overloaded with fuel, housing land too scarce, and useless wind farms scarring the coastline to fight a warming that actually stopped a decade ago, now you know. It’s the kind of minds that took a witch for their guru.

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Are all climate hysterics this stupid?


Democratic Senator Debbie Stabenow:
What would you trust more as a measure of turbulence up there? Stabenow’s bouncing buttocks at high altitude, or this study showing no increase in storms and hurricanes:
A NOAA-led team of scientists has found that the apparent increase in the number of tropical storms and hurricanessince the late 19th and early 20th centuries is likely attributable to improvements in observational tools and analysis techniques that better detect short-lived storms.
(Via Benny Peiser.)

Okay, to be fair, the obvious answer is no, but really, what is it about environmentalism generally, and climate change in particular, that attracts irrational idiots like this?

She "feels" it when she's flying?

That's her evidence?

And the usual challenge for any of these insincere poseurs - if you are so convinced that our CO2 is endangering the planet, what are you doing getting on a plane in the first place?

Just a bunch of superstitious morons and hypocrites.

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"I have met a lot of unpleasant people in the course of my life, but..."

Recently Jonathan Manthorpe, a writer for the Vancouver Sun newspaper, wrote an article expressing qualified agreement with some of the arguments against GW raised by Ian Plimer in his book Heaven and Earth. In a follow up article, on 5 August 2009, Manthorpe reported that he had received around 100 e-mails about his Plimer piece. About two-thirds were from ordinary people who agreed with Plimer. Another healthy portion was from scientists who agreed with Plimer’s overall contention about natural variabilities in climate on which humans have little or no influence. However, they disputed various specific claims and details made by him.

Manthorpe also noted that, “…the disturbing letters were from the scientist believers in man-man global warming.” He then went on to say, “I have met a lot of unpleasant people in the course of my life, but I have never seen such a torrent of nasty, arrogant and downright stupid abuse as has been aimed at me this week by people who aggressively sign themselves "PhD" as though it were a mark of divine right that is beyond challenge or question.”

The recent but largely unreported trend of global cooling has become increasingly hard for warmers to deny or explain away, and there is increasing evidence that various other core elements of the GW hypothesis are incorrect. In the face of failing claims and prophesies, the prophets of GW are becoming more and more strident and apocalyptic . The cooler it gets the shriller their cries of warning about warming become.

In addition to the true believers, GW has attracted a large contingent of self-interested fellow travellers. Politicians, bureaucrats, political activists and manifold financial interest have perceived advantages to be gained from climbing aboard the GW bandwagon. Large vested interests are now involved, and there is great pressure to lock in emission controls and subsidies before popular support weakens.

Walter Starck is one of Australia’s most senior and experienced marine biologists, with a professional career of studying coral reef and marine fishery ecosystems.

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Scientific fundamentalism & swing bowling in Cricket

Sydney University’s Dr James McCaughan counters certain claims involving climate and cricket:
Your article on the science of swing bowling continues the common prejudice typical of the scientist who has never been a swing bowler or fielded behind the stumps to such a bowler. This prejudice is that weather conditions do not matter (it is just “psychological"). This is because they can’t be recreated in the laboratory where the tests are carried out.

The most important point is the repeated observation in the field that the approach of a rain front is heralded by a darkening sky, heavy atmosphere and birds flying low to the ground after low-flying food.

The heavy atmosphere signals an increase in density of air near ground level from air flowing towards the low-pressure (falling barometer) region. This flow then spirals up and away from the low-pressure centre at higher levels, so maintaining the low pressure. The denser air means the turbulent wake of the ball when it flicks sideways at the appropriate speed of the ball sends a greater mass of air sideways, which reacts on the ball to send it in the opposite direction producing larger late swing than on fine days.

Belief in the scientific interpretation to the point of denying what nature is telling us is scientific fundamentalism that is all too common today.

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Tuesday, August 11, 2009

David Archibald - global warming & sunspots explained

Some are claiming that Solar Cycle 24 is well under way, but maybe not.

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Doubt cast on Himalayan glaciers scare

From Greenie Watch, this report from the Indian newspaper The Hindu:

Himalayan glaciers, including the world's highest battlefield Siachen, are melting due to variations in weather and not because of global warming, Jammu University scientists have claimed. "The field studies from other glaciers in India also corroborate the fact that inter and intra-annual variations in weather parameters have more impact on the glaciers of northwest Himalayas, rather than any impact due to global warming," they said.

Geologists R K Ganjoo and M N Koul of Jammu University's Regional Centre for Field Operations and Research of Himalayan Glaciology visited the Siachen glacier to record changes in its snout last summer. "To our surprise, the Siachen glacier valley does not preserve evidences of glaciation older than mid-Holocene, suggesting that the glacier must have advanced and retreated simultaneously several times in the geological past, resulting in complete obliteration and modification of older evidences," they said reporting their findings in 'Current Science'.

Ganjoo and Koul dubbed as "hype" some earlier studies which suggested that the Himalayan glaciers were melting fast and caused serious damage to the Himalayan ecosystem. There is sufficient field and meteorological evidence from the other side of Karakoram mountains that corroborate the fact that glaciers in this part of the world are not affected by global warming, they said. "Overwhelming field geomorphological evidences suggest poor response of the Siachen glacier to global warming. The snout of the Siachen glacier of 2008 has retreated by about 8-10 metres since 1995, making an average retreat of 0.6 metre per year," the scientists said.

Ganjoo said that the east part of the Siachen glacier showed faster withdrawal of the snout that is essentially due to ice-calving, a phenomenon that holds true for almost all major glaciers in the Himalayas and occurs irrespective of global warming. The west part of the Siachen has reduced due to the action of melting water released from the retreated tributary glacier, he said. Ganjoo contended the Siachen glacier shows hardly any retreat in its middle part and thus defies the "hype" of rapid melting.


(The research findings by R.K. Ganjoo and M.N. Koul are published in CURRENT SCIENCE, VOL. 97, NO. 3, 10 AUGUST 2009 )

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Cap and trade: measuring the disaster

From Powerline:

The Heritage Foundation has released a new economic analysis of Waxman-Markey, the cap and trade bill that is dead--we hope--at least for this year. The results aren't pretty. Heritage finds that Waxman Markey would, by 2035:

* Increase gas prices 58% above the increases included in the baseline forecast.
* Increase electricity prices by 90%.
* Raise energy costs for an average family of four by $1,241 per year.
* Cause the average family of four to pay $4,609 more per year, including increased taxes.
* Reduce GDP by an aggregate amount of $9.4 trillion.
* Increase the national debt by an additional $12,803 per person.

This chart illustrates the projected increases in energy costs; click to enlarge:


This one shows annual reductions in GDP:


The most remarkable thing about Waxman-Markey is that it might not be the worst bill introduced into Congress this year.

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The 'Muslim Demographics' Hoax

There’s a reason why I never linked to a popular YouTube video with millions of views titled “Muslim Demographics,” despite having it recommended many times by emailers and commenters: because on first viewing it was clear that the video was an alarmist work of distorted propaganda, sort of an anti-Muslim version of the Loose Change 9/11 conspiracy film. One giveaway: the use of quotes from extreme right wing European websites like Brussels Journal.

The BBC isn’t always wrong, and last Friday they published this crushing rebuttal to the video, showing that many of its statistics and assertions are made up out of whole cloth: BBC NEWS | UK | Magazine | Debunking a YouTube hit.

(Hat tip: Harry’s Place.)

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Monday, August 10, 2009

Joe Jackson on why Berlin's bars are better than London's

I’ve always loved English pubs, but just how awful they are becoming wasn’t completely clear to me until I relocated a couple of years ago to Berlin. While too many pubs these days are soulless, generic commercial enterprises, staffed by people who clearly don’t give a damn, Berlin bars are often wonderfully idiosyncratic, and operated and patronised by people who clearly love them.

In my neighbourhood I’ve discovered, to select just a few, a bar run by a Frank Zappa lookalike who brews his own beer, a surreal dive run by an Albanian refugee who has Gypsy musicians playing on the street outside, a bar where patrons sit outside in an ex-Soviet Army jeep, and the world’s campest gay bar, whose walls and ceiling are lined with pink fur.


Some of the more traditional ‘Kneipen’ (corner pubs) close as early as 9pm – just when the more bohemian places are opening. Some stay open 24 hours; others, just until the last customer leaves. And why not? We’re all over 18, aren’t we?

Meanwhile, back in England, I’ve been in pubs where at the stroke of 11, staff start mopping the floor around my feet with vile-smelling disinfectant. I’ve been in pubs where miserable staff start cheering when the boss decides to close at 10.15 because they’re ‘not busy enough’.

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Doctoral dissertations in interpretative dance

You may not be interested in reading a dissertation titled, ” “Refitting repasts: a spatial exploration of food processing, sharing, cooking and disposal at the Dunefield Midden campsite, South Africa.” But who could resist the chance to see it danced by the author, Brian Stewart, a graduate student of archaeology at Oxford?


Ruth Gruetzbauch of the University of Vienna faced what was arguably a tougher challenge in her thesis: “The eventful life of galaxies in low density environments.”

But she rose to the challenge with the aid of Jesus Varela. To depict the capture of one galaxy by a larger galaxy, they danced a a tango and took second place in the graduate-student division.

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Does Crikey's Guy Rundle need a fact checker?

Rundle would perhaps do a better job of analysing things if he bothered taking the time to get his facts right!

Today it is seeming to think a Scots sniper is an Australian, though his real point here was to try and have a go at conservative blogger Tim Blair with an infantile and fatuous remark about a twelve thousand mile shot that really made no sense at all.

Though I'm not surprised in the least that Rundle, an out of touch "academic" who apparently hasn't gotten over his undergraduate flirtation with Marxism, (a kind of Peter Pan syndrome I suppose you'd call it), has no clue whatsoever about the difficulty in hitting a target out in the open that is a mile away.

But as the Cut & Paste section from The Australian (about which the people at Crikey seem to be absolutely obsessed about) points out, that was nothing:
Pay attention, Guy Rundle. Crikey criticises The Australian on Monday for commissioning an essay by Malcolm Turnbull:

THE Oz not only did Turnbull a disservice by commissioning it, they shot themselves in the foot too. With the Rudd government making a very deliberate effort to sideline News Ltd as the place where things happen, what did the Surrey (sic) Hills sultanate do? An imitative form of catch-up, which only served to emphasise their new, relegated status.

Except we didn't. Fairfax did. Phillip Coorey in The Sydney Morning Herald last Saturday:

AUSTRALIA's youth could be the first generation in 60 years to have a life tougher than their parents because of the debt being accumulated by the Rudd Government, Malcolm Turnbull says. Mr Turnbull poses the question in an essay written for today's Herald.

Rundled again. Crikey on Thursday:

CHANGE is everywhere in The Oz. First, the piles of free copies have been withdrawn from airports, hotels etc and now they seem to have discontinued Cut& Paste, the cheerfully crazy column which had gormless pearls-and-clinical-acne interns combing old speeches to find proof that Kevin Rudd once said one thing, and now, in fact, says another. Come on (editor-in-chief Chris) Mitchell. First you knock off the freebies, then you cut out the happy finish.
Rundle wasn't doing much better either today in trying to understand the concern about President Obama's vastly expensive and bureaucratic proposals to "reform" health care in America, doing nothing more than picking up partisan Democratic talking points about astroturfing and less than honest claims about the behaviour of opponents.

Perhaps he takes speaker Nancy Pelosi seriously, (and he'd be one of the few people left in the world who does), when she talks about people turning up to town hall meetings wearing swastikas?

Or does he take Paul Krugman's line that anybody opposing this plan must be doing so because they are racist? You know, if you have a black president and you are white, you couldn't possibly have an honestly held difference of opinion could you.

Come to think of it though, Rundle did play the race card too

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Sunday, August 9, 2009

A cartoon

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Robert Gottliebsen - trading carbon for disaster

It has no comparison in importance, but like the Washington Post writers on Watergate, every time I write on the Australian carbon crisis I feel this will be my last commentary on the subject. But every time I write, new information is put before me to encourage me to keep going.

Such is the power of Business Spectator that yesterday most of the players, excluding the Canberra public service, met with me (and Alan Kohler and Steve Bartholomeusz) under the 'Chatham House Rule'. What they told us had me reeling. Much of what I am about to write will be denied but have no doubt it is true. Having got through the GFC this is without doubt Australia’s biggest looming crisis and it will effect all citizens.

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The glories of Cuban socialism

Hot on the heels of news that Cuba is running out of toilet paper, comes another story via the Powerline Blog whose moral was pithily summed up by P J O'Rourke when he observed that one of the only things you needed to know about socialism is that cuban cigars are rationed in Cuba:

After fifty years of socialism, Cuba's economy has regressed to the point where its government is now encouraging farmers to plow with oxen. Government-owned oxen. Cuba gets 100,000 barrels of oil a day from Venezuela, for free, but still can't afford to run its small supply of tractors (also government-owned).
"I am thankful for the revolution," 52-year-old [Zenaida Leon] said. "But we don't get boots, tools, irrigation that works."

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Who was the victim in this rape case?

What is especially worrying about the case involving a charge of rape against Victorian state MP Theo Theophanous is the fact that it reveals a legal system which has been seriously corrupted by political correctness.

Some police now obviously consider themselves to be advocates for rape victims. Now this on the face of it sounds fine doesn't it? Who wouldn't feel sympathy and empathy for a woman who has been through such an ordeal?

But hang on a minute, because we 'aint actually there yet!

The police are dealing with accusations of rape, not proved incidences of rape.

That's what the court case is for. Not, as women's advocates are trying to make it, as a ritualised process leading inevitably to the conviction of the male bastard, but rather to test the evidence and, if it supports such a conclusion beyond reasonable doubt, find him guilty.

One of the most important human rights protections in the history of humanity is the Golden Thread that we inherited from the Mother Country.

The Golden Thread that runs through British justice is the simple notion, though absolutely revolutionary when first adopted centuries ago, that it is the State that has to prove you guilty of any charge brought against you.

It is not for you to have to try and prove your innocence, as you do in countries using the Napoleonic Code.

That is, you are innocent until proven guilty.

The burden of proof is on the State, not you.

But now it is clear that even sections of various police forces dealing with sexual assaults have turned their backs on this central protection we have against the arbitrary use of state power against us, and are now assuming that men accused of such assaults are guilty.

With this comes an identification with the accuser or, as they would have it, the 'victim.'

Don't get me wrong please. The woman may very well be a victim of rape. I'd guess myself that the overwhelming majority of women going to the police with accusations of being raped are indeed telling the truth and are indeed the victims of a terrible crime.

But not always.

Women can and do tell lies. Some times their accusations are motivated by other considerations. Revenge. Regret. Mental illness. Perceived opportunity for monetary gain.

In this case we have a woman who appears to be unstable and untruthful, having a prior conviction for fraud, and who also anticipated making money from her accusation.

However, instead of alarm bells starting to ring for the investigating police, they went out of their way to massage, by continual redrafting - over a period of 15 months - of her statements, her inconsistent claims and the fact that people she identified as being able to corroborate her story contradicted her.

Two women who she claimed she rang on the night in question flat out denied this. Then there were the post-dated letters and emails that supposedly supported the claim and which, in part, were used to try and press gang a person into supporting it.

And yet the police pressed on with the matter and, despite all of the clear and manifest problems with her testimony, eventually laid charges against Theophanous.

Not surprisingly, the magistrate dismissed the charge and was scathing about the case that had been brought to court.

So Theophanous has been found to be innocent, but his political career is completely ruined and he has announced his intention to not contest the next state election.

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Getting a lead sleeping tablet from a mile away

Good work!

From Tim Blair:

Meanwhile, Scots sniper Corporal Christopher Reynolds discusses a successful one-mile shot on another Taliban leader:
“He dropped straight away into the arms of a fighter behind him. The guy just panicked and dropped the leader and ran away.

He had been given a lead sleeping tablet. I was quite proud of that shot – it is the longest recorded kill in Afghanistan. I am going to use that fact as a chat-up line in the pub when I get back home.”

It’s been a great week for the good guys.

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Saturday, August 8, 2009

Why killing jobs won’t save the planet

Kevin Rudd will this week ask the Senate to vote for his colossal job-killing scheme to cut emissions to set the world a good example. Quadrant Online rounds up the experts to explain why our sacrifice would be utterly useless. Some extracts:
Professor James Allan:
The main problem is that we know going in that cap-and-trade won’t work, or rather that any program that manages to get passed will be so shot full of holes that it won’t achieve anything much in the way of reducing carbon dioxide emissions - though I grant it will create a big bureaucracy and kill jobs.
The government’s intention to introduce an emissions trading system in Australia rests upon their belief that human carbon-dioxide emissions are a cause of dangerous global warming. That belief is incorrect.
Comfortably clad, fed and housed, and egged on to view themselves as original sinners, our chattering classes and their media flag-wavers have proved astonishingly susceptible to ecoevangelistic propaganda about dangerous human-caused climate change.
Ian Castles (former head of the Australian Bureau of Statistics):
There are formidable measurement, verification and enforcement issues that stand in the way of any internationally-agreed scheme of binding emissions reduction targets. In the meantime, Australia should not commit itself to the large costs and inefficiencies of an emissions trading scheme of the kind that is currently before the Parliament.
It has quickly become apparent that green jobs will require massive government subsidies to sustain them. They do not create additional value and so cannot become self-sustaining. The biggest question, of course, is to what extent will green jobs crowd out existing jobs? In short what is the opportunity cost of a green job?
Dr David Evans (former Australian Greenhouse Office consultant):
How long before the alarmists start fudging the temperature records, because there is so much money, political control, and science funding riding on the outcome? Bad news—it’s already started.
Ray Evans (secretary of the Lavoisier Group ):
Wind and solar are fantasies in the Green mind. Where they have been seriously tried, as in Spain, the costs have been prodigious and the impacts on employment calamitous. The political consequences of cities suddenly finding themselves without electricity, a very real prospect in Melbourne as the Latrobe Valley generators are facing bankruptcy next year, are serious.
William Kininmonth (former head of the National Climate Centre):
The basis of the Bill is an unsustainable hypothesis that dangerous global warming will be an outcome of continued burning of fossil fuels and the rising concentrations of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.
Alan Moran (energy and deregulation analyst):
As a coal based power generation economy and with coal and other fossil fuels forming one third of our exports, Australia is perhaps the world’s most vulnerable economy to carbon taxes and similar restraints. We therefore need to take particular care to shape a constructive and economically viable policy.
In voting on the “Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme” (CPRS) bill, Australian senators are poised to determine the biggest financial and sociological decision since Federation. Yet their vote is being cast without either a transparent, independent scientific audit, or comprehensive financial due diligence.
The Government’s policy will have large incremental costs and negligible incremental benefits for Australia. This means that the expected net incremental benefits of the Government’s policy are negative, and from a cost-benefit point of view, the Government’s policy should be rejected.
The “answers” given Senator Fielding shifted the usual goalposts, arguing, for example, that global average atmospheric temperature was not a desirable measure of global warming – despite its consistent use by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) for more than 15 years.
The notion of a static, unchanging climate is foreign to the history of the earth or any other planet with a fluid envelope. The fact that the developed world went into hysterics over changes in global mean temperature anomaly of a few tenths of a degree will astound future generations.

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The boys who cried "racist"

DAVID BOAZ: The boys who cried “racist.”
Paul Krugman can’t understand why people would oppose government control of health care — or skyrocketing deficits, or a federal takeover of education, energy, and finance along with health care — unless they’re driven by racism. But he’s not the only one who sees racists under every bed. . . . It cannot be the case that every parody of a president who happens to be black is racist. And it is not good for democracy to try to counter every opposing argument with such a blood libel. The good news for advocates of limited government is that our opponents are displaying a striking lack of confidence in the actual arguments for their proposals. If they thought they could win a debate on nationalizing health care, or running trillion-dollar deficits, they wouldn’t need to reach for such smears.

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James May rides in a U2 spy plane

From SondraK which, if you visit, you can find sage advice for blokes from May, such as the need for men to be more than just sperm-warmers.

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Are we becoming weak in the head?

As someone who emailed Tim Blair suggests below, we seem to have become mawkish sentiment addicts of late. First Princess Diana, now a koala!


Saturday, August 08, 2009 at 07:17pm

An unexpected end for a Victorian marsupial:
Australia’s most loved koala will be stuffed and displayed in the Melbourne Museum following her death during surgery.

The image of Sam the koala holding hands with Country Fire Authority (CFA) firefighter David Tree and sipping from his water bottle in the aftermath of the Black Saturday bushfires was beamed around the world as a symbol of hope in the days following the disaster.

Via KP, who emails: “I know it was a cute moment in the midst of tragedy, but seriously ...”

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The Meet Animal Meat international conference

I can't help but laughing about the title of this idiot fest.

A mate used to go into adult book stores with his cousin looking for the best titled stick book.

On one occasion it was a gay porno named Meet My Meat.

Anyhoo, this isn't nearly as interesting or as funny.

Despite what postmodern dribblers claim about being humorous and transgressive, the reality of course is that they are as dull as bat shit and hopelessly pompous and pretentious to boot. The humour is always unintentional and the joke is always on them.

David Thompson – who is skilled at locating this sort of nonsense – posts an announcement from the Meet Animal Meat international conference, organised by Uppsala University’s Centre for Gender Research:
Informed by feminist investigations of embodiment and bodiliness, we ask: How do we understand our bodily relationship to other animals? How do we embody animals, and how do animals embody us? How are carnal modes of incorporation, intimacy, and inhabitation kinds of contacts forged between “HumAnimals” … ?

What is the meaning of meat, and the meat of meaning?

Meat means food, you idiots. And “meat of meaning” contains oysters.

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More evidence the Sun & cosmic rays drive earth's climate

Meanwhile, a new paper by Henrik Svensmark implicates the sun in global warming - and cooling:
Our results show global-scale evidence of conspicuous influences of solar variability on cloudiness and aerosols… From solar activity to cosmic ray ionization to aerosols and liquid-water clouds, a causal chain appears to operate on a global scale.
Anthony Watts explains:
This paper confirms 13 years of discoveries that suggest a key role for cosmic rays in climate change. It links observable variations in the world’s cloudiness to laboratory experiments in Copenhagen showing how cosmic rays help generate atmospheric aerosols. This is important, because it confirms the existence of a sun-earth atmospheric modulation mechanism for clouds and aerosols.
But there’s been a big jump in global temperature for July.

That Bolter link also has news on Ian Plimer's climate science book, (which sold 20,000 copies within a fortnight here and 30,000 or so over all), being available in the United States now.

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Nordin Mohammed Top believed killed in raid

Excellent news if true.

SOUTH-East Asia's most wanted terror suspect Nordin Mohammed Top, is believed to have been killed during a raid on a suspected militant hide-out in Indonesia

Heavily armed counter-terrorism police stormed the hide-out in central Java province to end a 16-hour siege that reportedly killed Top, who is wanted for multiple suicide bombings in Indonesia, and two other men.

Local television stations reported Top, who is blamed for last month's attacks on two hotels in Jakarta, was killed in the bathroom of the house in a rice-growing village in central Java province following a lengthy bomb and gun battle.

Those reports were not confirmed by police. DNA tests will likely have to be performed to ensure the identification.

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Long debate over - CO2 did not end ice ages

Long debate ended over cause, demise of ice ages – may also help predict future

The above image shows how much the Earth’s orbit can vary in shape.
This process in a slow one, taking roughly 100,000 years to cycle.
(Credit: Texas A&M University note: illustration is not to scale)

CORVALLIS, Ore. – A team of researchers says it has largely put to rest a long debate on the underlying mechanism that has caused periodic ice ages on Earth for the past 2.5 million years – they are ultimately linked to slight shifts in solar radiation caused by predictable changes in Earth’s rotation and axis.

In a publication to be released Friday in the journal Science, researchers from Oregon State University and other institutions conclude that the known wobbles in Earth’s rotation caused global ice levels to reach their peak about 26,000 years ago, stabilize for 7,000 years and then begin melting 19,000 years ago, eventually bringing to an end the last ice age.

The melting was first caused by more solar radiation, not changes in carbon dioxide levels or ocean temperatures, as some scientists have suggested in recent years.

“Solar radiation was the trigger that started the ice melting, that’s now pretty certain,” said Peter Clark, a professor of geosciences at OSU. “There were also changes in atmospheric carbon dioxide levels and ocean circulation, but those happened later and amplified a process that had already begun.”

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Friday, August 7, 2009

No wonder some Muslims won't speak out

One of the men arrested in Melbourne this week over an alleged terrorist plot has been investigated before over the alleged terrorising of a cleric’s son:
ACCUSED terrorist Wissam Mahmoud Fattal was one of a group of men investigated over a brutal assault on the son of Australia’s highest-ranked Islamic cleric.

The mufti’s son was attacked allegedly because his views were too moderate. The street bashing, during Ramadan last year, was investigated by police but no charges were laid…

Mr Imam is the son of Sheik Fehmi Naji el-Imam, Australia’s Islamic mufti and the leader of the Preston mosque. Mr Imam, who is chief executive of the Islamic Council of Victoria, has declined to talk about the attack.
That silence, and Imam’s failure to identify his attacker, is a pity. Still, it’s surprising that the Islamic Council has long been keen to play down the problem of radicals in its community, when its own leaders are getting bashed.

(Note: There is no evidence that Fattal was behind the bashing, and he must also be presumed innocent of this week’s terrorism charges.)

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Twittering twat

You can pronounce that whichever way you like. Ban has always struck me as someone lacking in any real ability and quite shallow. You can absolutely guarantee that anything he has to say on any topic will be trite and jejune. How he was thought suitable to be secretary general of the UN, other than because of those traits I suppose, is beyond me.

Full article at Spiked Online, via RWDB.

The Twitter page, though, is a different phenomenon entirely. Updated a few times a day, it ought to be a bit more interesting. And indeed it is, although perhaps not for the right reasons. Each tweet/twit, following on from the statement ‘WeMustDisarm’, begins with a ‘because…’, after which Ban Ki-Moon gives whatever reason for nuclear disarmament that happens to have grabbed him or his intern that hour. Here are a few examples:


  • ‘because we can’t wait 4 a perfect security environment 2 come along, rather advancing disarmament will promote security. pls RT’
  • ‘because in add 2 killing millions a nuke war wld cause an environmental crisis of epic proportions. pls RT’
  • ‘because nuke’s very existence = more chance of use in war, terrorism or by accident. pls RT’
  • ‘because as #UN SecGen I know a nuke war wld b the ultimate catastrophe. pls RT’
  • ‘because KIJong is bad man. No LOL:( pls RT.’
  • ‘because #UN SecGen had AllBrn for breakfast. Again. WTF. Dnt RT’
  • Okay, the final two twits are fabrications, but all the others are real. There’s no getting away from it: the chief of the United Nations, a man nominally responsible for providing a framework for international governance, is made to sound like a hyperactive 13-year-old desperate to impress a rather weary teacher. ‘Shhhh… Because nothing, Ban.’ More embarrassing still is the sheer dearth of people interested in his 140-characters-or-less insights and statements.

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    Wednesday, August 5, 2009

    Pterosaur "hair" gets a name

    It has been known for some time that pterosaurs, or at least some of them (though probably all), were not covered in naked skin as we are used to seeing them depicted in movies and books, but rather "fur". One of the first to be discovered, and still one of the most remarkably preserved specimens, Sordes pilosus, has a name that literally means "hairy devil".

    But it can't be fur, because fur is something found on mammals (ie synapsids), not diapsid reptiles like pterosaurs.

    Indeed, the two lineages would have diverged evolutionarily long before the first synapsid that would eventually give rise to the mammals proper would have evolved the first hair or proto-hair.

    So the "hair" found covering many pterosaurs cannot be homologous, ie sharing the same evolutionary history, and must have evolved independently to mammalian hair and in a different way.

    David Hone of Archosaur Musings, (and one of the authors of the paper that gives the unfortunate name pycnofibers as a substitute for hair or fur etc in relation to the wonderfully preserved anurognathid pterosaur Jeholopterus ninchengensis), explains:
    However being, well, pterosaurs one could hardly call their ‘fur’ fur, or hair for that matter, these being the preserve of synapsids (and by extensions, mammals). Nor (despite some calls for it) could they be considered protofeathers as there is no established homology between them and saurischian protofeathers and feathers (or for that matter ornithischian dermal structures). This has left pterosaur researchers with a problem – these are clearly different things and we refer to the quite often but with no-one having gone out onto a limb and named them, we were left with a variety of half-names all of them convoluted or presented in quotation marks.

    So within tetrapoda we appear to have some kind of body covering evolve separately on at least three different occasions, twice within the diapsida (pterosaurs with their "fuzz" and dinosaurs/birds with their feathers) and once within the synapsida (mammals and proto-mammals).

    The paper is more concerned with the unusual fibrous structure found within pterosaur wings and what that may have meant for pterosaur flight. The National Geographic article is here.

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    What are they going to do… make us?

    There is nothing to fear.


    It’s not like the government will install 24-hour surveillance cameras into our homes to make sure we’re behaving correctly, that parents are feeding their children properly and children are eating their vegetables, doing their homework and going to bed on time. It’s not like government guards will be sent to carry out home checks.


    It’s not like the government will target tens of thousands of people for having bad behavior and place them in sin bins to improve their sinful behavior. It’s not like we’ll have to sign good behavior contracts which set out our duties for good behavior and if we refuse, we could lose our homes, have our children seized by the government, be fined and imprisoned.


    It’s not like teachers will report us to the government if the school believes parents haven’t followed the contract. It’s not like our neighbors will spy for the government and report bad behaviors and bad habits like drinking or failing to follow the government-prescribed proper eating plan.


    No, nothing like that could ever happen in this day and age. That would be right out of Nineteen Eighty-Four and that was a novel, not a government blueprint.


    1984 is an anguished lament and a warning that vibrates powerfully when we may not be strong enough nor wise enough nor moral enough to cope with the kind of power we have learned to amass....— Walter Cronkite in the forward of the reprint of 1984 by George Orwell


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    Australian Competition & Consumer Commission tackles false green claims by government

    IN A move that could cost the Federal Government’s GreenPower scheme public support, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has asked a state government agency and energy suppliers to stop telling customers that using GreenPower will ‘‘make a real difference’’ to the environment.

    Almost a million households now buy GreenPower, paying extra on their power bills to support renewable energy and shrink their carbon footprint.

    But they will no longer be told it leads to ‘‘significant results for our environment’’.

    Good to see that the truth is finally starting to catch up with at least some of the green carpetbaggers that have been making money out of the gullible and credulous stupidity of those who are well meaning, but unable to count or to think.

    Now, if they could just do something about those government feel good ads that falsely tell people that they can make a difference to climate change by turning their TVs etc off at the wall, I be even happier. The reality always was that any savings in CO2 emissions would be so tiny as a percentage of total global emissions as to be absolutely meaningless.

    The ads were always about making people feel good about themselves, not actually achieving anything real.

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    Tuesday, August 4, 2009

    Stupid letter of the day

    And this one has it all. It's by a climate nutcase, so its stupidity goes almost without saying, but it has that alluring mix of barely restrained hysteria coupled with an almost complete lack of understanding about even very basic facts.

    As I understand it, current global greenhouse gas emissions are something in the order of 40 billion tonnes annually, and rising. I suppose it would be a pointless waste of time telling this idiot that even taking every single SUV of the road today would not substantially reduce this.

    But of course it isn't that greenies actually care about science or facts, the SUV is simply a convenient symbol for the modern prosperous world that they hate so much, and thus any excuse to drone on about how they are killing "millions and millions of innocent men, women and children" every single day.

    Millions and millions? Every single day?

    All you people who own and drive gas-guzzling SUVs out there, as far as I'm concerned, you are all eco-terrorists! You need to beimmediately arrested, jailed and have your vehicles forcibly confiscated from you. I advocate long prison terms for your willful idiocy!

    You are destroying your children's future by condemning them to a planet that will not support life anymore because you are belching out ungodly amounts of CO2 from your SUVs, causing irreversible global climate change to occur.

    Are you aware that millions and millions of innocent men, women and children are dying on this planet every single day, just so you can live in million dollar condos and drive around in luxury vehicles?

    I urge the Obama administration and the state legistlatures to immediately criminalize all SUVs and stop this insanity before it destroys us all! If you wasteful American idiots resist, may you be either thrown into government-operated FEMA concentration camps or taken out and shot.

    Take it from Richard Heinberg and his book, “The Party's Over.” Get it through your thick heads!

    Enough of your madness!

    Wren Guzman

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    Russia moves to criminalize criticism of Stalin

    Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has announced his plans to criminalize historical “revisionism.”

    Specifically, Medvedev wants to make “questioning the Soviet victory in World War II”  a criminal offense; he also appointed a commission to work toward “counteracting attempts to falsify history that are to the detriment of the interests of Russia.”

    In NewsweekStalin's Children author Owen Matthews explains:
    Russia’s schoolchildren are being indoctrinated with the greatness of Stalin and stories of how the Red Army was welcomed as liberators by the peoples of Eastern Europe.

     Both Putin and Medvedev seek to create a new, great Russia, and to that end, they believe it needs a great history, unsullied with mass murder and secret alliances with Hitler.
    Of course, here in America and throughout the West, academics and media elites have been engaged in much the same process for years — voluntarily.

    The rest here.

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    Lyre Bird mimics construction noises

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    Monday, August 3, 2009

    The uselessness of wind power revealed

    Two huge and unmistakable messages leap out of the graph. Wind farms spend most of their time not generating power, or not generating very much. They can move quickly from producing a lot or quite a lot of power to zero… Second, even though spread right across southern Australia, they tend to produce or not produce at much the same time.

    A second analysis, from engineer and power industry authority Peter Lang, shows three equally devastating and simple conclusions.

    Wind power does not avoid significant amounts of greenhouse gas emissions. It is a very, very high-cost way to avoid such emissions - costing between $830 and $1149 to avoid one tonne of CO2 emitted per MWh as against just $22 with nuclear power. And wind power, even with high capacity penetration, could never make a significant contribution to reducing those emissions.

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    Obama is a natural-born citizen of the United States. Get over it!

    Oh for freak's sake. I spent eight years shaking my head in disbelief at the demented and deranged rantings of the Left suffering from Bush Derangement Syndrome, and now it's parts of the Right who have gone stark raving bonkers.

    Maybe some of them need a good bonk to get it out of their systems? That's as close to naturopathy as I get.

    Briefly, some on the right in the United States, unable to reconcile themselves to the fact that Barack Obama won the general election fair and square, have fallen like witless suckers for an insane conspiracy theory that he does not satisfy the constitutional requirement that a president must be a 'natural born' citizen of the United States.

    This seems to mean either a person is born in the United States or, if outside of the US, born to American parents or an American parent (under certain circumstances, as is the case with Senator John McCain, who was born in Panama).

    Much of this nonsense hinges on the supposed refusal of Mr Obama to release his Hawaiian birth "certificate," even though the sighted "certification" of live birth - a legal document in Hawaii - clearly shows him being born in Honolulu.

    No one has produced even a sliver of evidence that somehow Hawaiian state officials have been party to producing false official records.

    The Wall Street Journal's James Taranto has done some good work in working through this idiocy.
    Several readers have written over the past few days taking us to task for dismissing so-called birthers as lunatics without bothering to refute their claims. We reluctantly concede their point. The birthers have managed to sow confusion in the minds of some who are not lunatics, and for the latter group’s benefit it is worth clarifying matters.

    He follows up with another piece that deals with legal and constitutional misunderstandings and myths that have clustered around this issue.

    And what would such a conspiracy theory be without a faked birth certificate, "proving" that Mr Obama was born overseas?

    Sure enough, a "Kenyan" birth certificate purporting to show him being born in that country has magically appeared.

    It is a fake of course.

    Even better, it appears to be based upon an Australian birth certificate issued in 1964.  
    - The design is identical, down to the seal at the top and the classifications (”Christian name,” etc) used for identifying the baby.

    - The “registrar” on the Bomford document is G.F. Lavender. On the Taitz document, it’s E.F. Lavender.

    - The “district registrar” on the Bomford document is J.H. Miller. On the Taitz document, it’s M.H. Miller.

    Picture 33

    - The number of the book is identical on both documents: Book 44B, Page 5733.

    What’s more likely — that two Kenyan bureaucrats shared last names with two Australian bureaucrats, and that the numbers on both certificates were identical? Or that someone used this document, available online for anyone who wanted to look, to forge the Obama “certificate?”

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    Sunday, August 2, 2009

    Like an eccentric if somewhat reprobate uncle

    How Hawke showed up Rudd

    The always insightful David Burchell hears something authentic at long last at the Labor national conference:
    Then Bob Hawke took the rostrum at the ALP conference last Saturday, and the nature of Rudd’s troubles with his public personality suddenly became as clear as the dawn’s sun.

    Here is a man of 79 years, whose physical presence is diminished, and whose powers of memory are palpably fading a little. And yet there he was, speaking freely for a good half-hour with little regard to his notes, musing upon his government’s achievements with a kind of spontaneous analytical lucidity that is unwilling to be coached, and which resists the use of the copy-and-paste function…

    Now, as a specimen of human nature Hawke is no saintly exemplar for the ages… And yet, for all his errors and excesses, for all those grand follies and petty foolishnesses, he was capable of arguing a case to his fellow citizens with tactical precision, and of speaking from the heart with a kind of artlessness, simultaneously. That, I don’t doubt, is why today’s ALP conference delegates still adore Hawke…

    The present PM, despite his tireless, unyielding efforts to be all things to all people, to be at once everyone’s mate, everybody’s trusted family accountant, and everybody’s favourite salon intellectual, can somehow evoke no more ardent emotional response than a light wash of grateful applause. So much of that effort, in other words, is wasted because its all-pleasingness taxes our credulity.

    The other trick for Rudd is that while he is unable to face the difficulties with his own public personality, he is debarred from learning from the example of others. As introduced by Rudd to the conference, Hawke sounded like an eccentric if somewhat reprobate uncle, of the kind younger female family members might want to avoid after a few drinks at the family Christmas party. Assuming the chipper, knowing air of the family patriarch, Rudd chose to attribute Hawke’s continuing political appeal chiefly to a ceaseless fund of septuagenarian sexual magnetism.

    There was a peculiar, forced character to this assumed intimacy, of the kind you get when an incumbent is too painfully aware of the lingering moral authority of his predecessor and yet too unwilling to acknowledge it. And yet, as Tacitus well knew, it’s through your manner of giving respect to your elders that you reveal your own fitness for the role.

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    Saturday, August 1, 2009

    Why most Americans are happy with their health care

    May come as a surprise to anyone stupid enough to take Michael Moore seriously. After all, this was the man whose film Roger and Me was predicated on the claim, now known to be false, that GM's "Roger" was running from him and refusing to do an on-camera interview.

    Except that Roger did not one, but two, on-camera interviews with Moore. Moore simply left them on the cutting room floor and lied in saying that Roger wouldn't talk to him.

     Likewise with Sicko. Canada is not the health care paradise that Moore tried to make it out to be. The government run national health care program shows all the usual characteristics of overly bureaucratic systems. It is slow, unresponsive and absurdly expensive.

    I'm aware of a Canadian orthopaedic surgeon who has an recorded message on her office phone informing people that her diary is fully booked two to three years in advance.

    And this is by no means unusual.

    But if your dog needs a hip replacement, that can be done within a week.

    Ordinary Canadians though have no choice but to just wait. And wait and wait.

    If however you have money, you get on a plane and fly over the border to the United States, as did one prominent supporter of the national health care system (which basically does not allow private health insurance) from the Liberal Party. She refused to consider changes to the system in Canada, but headed straight to the US when it came to one of her own family needing hospital treatment.

    Anyone who keeps an eye on the British National Health Service would be aware of a system that seems to be perpetually teetering on the brink of collapse, no matter how much public money is poured into it.

    Anyway, this is from the Powerline Blog:

    There are many nuances to the current health care debate and a number of reasons why, despite the Democrats' huge congressional majorities, they are having so much trouble passing, and even formulating, legislation. But the most important reason by far is this: most Americans like the health care they receive.

    In fact, according to Scott Atlas of the Hoover Institution, "more than half of Americans (51.3 percent) are very satisfied with their health care services and only 6.8 percent are dissatisfied.

    There's a good reason for this: most Americans receive good health care services and our much maligned system produces better results than government run systems such as Canada's. For example, again according to Atlas:
    Americans have better survival rates than Europeans for common cancers.

    Americans have lower cancer mortality rates than Canadians.

    Americans have better access to preventive cancer screening than Canadians.

    Lower-income Americans are in better health than comparable Canadians.

    Americans spend less time waiting for care than patients in Canada and the United Kingdom.

    Americans have better access to important new technologies such as medical imaging than do patients in Canada or Britain.

    It's no accident that President Obama is attempting to demonize the health insurance industry. He needs a villain and the insurance companies represent the one part of the health care system that can really be cast as such.

    But it's doubtful that Americans hate insurance companies enough to support the overhaul of a health care system that they believe, with good reason, provides them with good care overall.

    Via Jonah Goldberg at the Corner.

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