Friday, April 30, 2010

Unmarried & on welfare? In jail for welfare fraud? Then of course it is your "right" to get IVF treatment in jail!

An unmarried criminal who’s been on welfare for years wants our help to breed more of her clan:
A SERIAL welfare cheat who fraudulently claimed almost $140,000 in payments - including single-parent benefits - has launched legal action to force authorities to grant IVF treatment in prison.
This case is brought to you by the latest weapon from the Labor Government’s social engineering department:
Castles alleges authorities have broken the Charter of Human Rights.
(The judge will make up his own mind. That said, I’m not taking the risk of allowing comments on this.)

Now kiddies, I know what you are thinking. There is no way even a stupid judge would find in favour of such an application, right?

But there's the rub, you don't have to be stupid to be a fool.

Not the same thing m'dears.

But if you look at the operation of similar laws back in the Mother Country, then you know that it is just possible a very foolish judge will indeed find that access to IVF treatment for women in prison is a human right, and that the state is obligated to provide it at taxpayers' expense.

Unlikely. Not impossible though.

Posted via email from Garth's posterous

Can cricket bring peace to Afganistan?

This comes from Asian Correspondent:

When everything else fails maybe we should try cricket. At least in Asia. Asia has four international cricket playing nations, India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Pakistan. Now there is a new kid on the block. The most unlikely country to be found on a 22 yard cricket pitch. It is the war-torn Afghanistan.

Afghanistan, the land-locked nation, has seen wars since the 1980s. If it wasn't  the Soviet invasion in the '80s then it was the US-led invasion now. It's quite a while since Afghanistan has been in the news for any good or positive reasons. Until now. 

Afghanistan has qualified to play the Twenty-Twenty Cricket World Cup in the West Indies. They will be playing the Cricket and T20 stalwarts India. Not bad for a country which doesn't have a single cricket stadium.

While Indian cricketers honed their cricket in a MRF pace foundation or a cricket camp, Afghan cricketers did it in refugee camps. It might have started as a pastime, but with a national team making it to the World Cup, it can soon become a national obsession. Cricket by one of the cheapest sports around  in terms of infrastructure. It needs a bunch of sticks and a ball, but not much of real estate. Afghanistan has used this to its advantage.

With India and South Africa in their group, Afghanistan is unlikely to cause an upset and advance further in the tournament. But funny things have happened in Cricket, Twenty-twenty is a format where shocks abound. But whether they win or lose, Afghanistan have a lot to look out for in the tournament. One of the biggest reason is this :
Recently, a young man showed up at the main ground in Kabul and asked Azizullah Fazli, the provincial coach, for a trial. Fazli says: “He told me that he had two guns and wanted to fight, but when he heard the news that the Afghan cricket team had qualified for the World  Cup, he was delighted. He said he gave up his guns for a bat and ball instead.”
Even if they play two matches, the Afghan cricket team can win a lot of hearts. And it can give hope to youngsters who can hold on to something other than a gun.

Posted via email from Garth's posterous

Van Onselen rips Krudd a new one in today's Oz - spineless and not worthy of wiping Gough's shoes

100501 Leak

Jeez Peter, tell us what you really think why don't ya?
There are only two explanations for what Rudd has done: he is a weak leader who should find another profession (perhaps go back into the bureaucracy) because he won't do what he believes is right if it carries risks; or, worse still, he is a fraud who used inflated rhetoric to whip up hysteria about climate change but is running away from having done so because the political winds have shifted.

Neither possibility is particularly edifying for a national leader.

Full article here

Cartoon by Bill Leak, (who, even if I don't agree with most of his politics is, I think, the best political cartoonist in Australia), and also from today's The Weekend Australian.

Posted via email from Garth's posterous

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Double blind study ends fish oil myth

Oh my God, it's actually a properly conducted study for a change! Look, it has a control group! Honestly, the number of news stories in the media about diet and health that are not based on properly conducted double blind trials is ridiculous.

From the Food & Health Skeptic:

But there is a lot of face-saving going on

Parents who buy fish oil tablets to boost their children’s brain power are wasting their money, the largest study of its kind suggests. An analysis of primary school pupils found that reading, spelling and handwriting were not improved by taking omega-3 ‘clever capsules’.

It contradicts a raft of other research which has credited the pills and powders with boosting mental ability and exam grades.

But the academics say their study is more thorough than many others. Rather than just giving fish oils to all the children, some were given dummy pills instead, a technique that allows for a truer picture of any resulting benefits.

For four months, 450 children aged eight to ten at 18 schools in South Wales took either omega-3 supplements or placebos. The children, parents, teachers and even the researchers were unaware of who had taken what until the end of the study.

Full story here

Posted via email from Garth's posterous

Barbara from Bank World. "You might get a...kettle!"

In some respects I prefer Barbara to what I have to put up with at the Commonwealth Bank in West Perth.

Some really nice members of staff there, but clearly the bank manager (at least) has decided that they'll be drilled to be nice.

The result is predictable. Oftentimes it just comes across as rehearsed and fake.

Then there is the person posted just inside the bank who's job it is to say hello and goodbye as you come in and go out.


You can't just slip in and out without having to go through the pretense of social interaction.

And again, just so fake.

Posted via email from Garth's posterous

Gordan Brown & the ugliest feature of the Left - opposing views can't just be wrong, they have to be "morally" wrong

You want to cut taxes? You hate the poor! You believe in national parliamentary democracy? You xenophobe! You think that we should determine for ourselves the number of settlers who come to Britain each year? You bigoted woman!

I used to think that such self-righteousness was a symptom of stupidity, but I’m beginning to realise it’s a form of narcissism. When someone uses a phrase like “bigoted woman” or “evil Tory scum”, what he’s actually saying is: “much the most wicked thing you can do is not to fiddle your taxes, cheat on your spouse or lie to your friends, but to disagree with me!”

Posted via email from Garth's posterous

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Al Gore buys $8.8 million ocean-view villa with 6 fireplaces and 9 bathrooms

Former Vice President Al Gore and his wife, Tipper, have added a Montecito-area property to their real estate holdings, reports the Montecito Journal.

The couple spent $8,875,000 on an ocean-view villa on 1.5 acres with a swimming pool, spa and fountains, a real estate source familiar with the deal confirms. The Italian-style house has six fireplaces, five bedrooms and nine bathrooms.


He doesn't seem all that concerned about rising sea levels!

Posted via email from Garth's posterous

Britain is broke again and desperately needs another Thatcher to fix up the mess

Saw an interesting graph in one of this morning's papers which rather put this into perspective, though with obvious caveats about comparing the United Kingdom with Spain.

Spain is of course one of the Eurozone PIIGS - Portugal, Ireland, Italy and Greece being the others - that have governments which have overspent recklessly and for which there are increasing doubts concerning their ability to service the massive debts that have been run up.

Government debt in Spain is currently equal to fully 53% of the value of its entire economy.

(Greece's is 115%! Yes, the government owes more money than what the entire economy is worth and, I'm sorry, but I really don't think you can argue that somehow those "evil" bankers forced or tricked the government into borrowing so much money. It was borrowed to pay ordinary people the kinds of entitlements like fat public service salaries and pensions they have come to see as their due and their right, no matter how much they cost.)

So while Greece is a basket case, Spain is simply in a lot of difficulty.

Now again, Britain is not Spain I know. Thankfully it never adopted the common currency and so has more control over its own economy in terms of monetary policy and the like.

But its government debt is almost 70% of the value of its whole economy.

Interest on this debt is now more than the entire defence budget.

Total government debt will soon pass one trillion pounds, or something like $1,641,000,000,000 Australian.

And yet, as you can see from the article below, the leaders of all three major parties are busily going up and down the country telling people that they can get this enormous debt under control while not cutting government services.

Eerily familiar to those of us who have been around long enough.

It wasn't that long ago, back in the 1970s, that Britain was also broke and on the ropes. It was the first developed country in history that needed to be bailed out by the IMF.

The Europeans sneered at the country as the "Sick Man of Europe." It was an international laughing stock. A bad joke that seemed to be going nowhere other than down and out.

And then a miracle. Margaret Thatcher became prime minister.

By the time she left office, (pushed by her own ungrateful and stupid party), Britain had been transformed into one of the strongest economies in the world.

Yes, that miracle required a lot of pain and involved some major mistakes on her part, but it was necessary.

Now, after 13 years of Labour government, the country is facing ruin again. But even the Tories are now scared of being seen as the inheritors of Thatcher and are playing the game of telling the punters that everything can be fixed and the budget brought under control without any cuts to any spending program that any of them may care to name.

They'll 'find savings' by 'cutting waste.' Quite what this means is anybody's guess. I'm reminded of the current Australian government's airy assurance that it can find $20 billion worth of savings over the next few years out of the defence budget, and thus actually be able to afford all the new planes and ships and stuff it wants.

Apparently the previous defence minister had drinks in his office on his last day in the job with the various service and departmental chiefs and posed the question to the room as to what they thought about the likelihood of this being achieved. Everybody in the room fell about laughing.

There may be fat to cut, but there ain't that much. And PIIGS wont fly.

Likewise in Britain. They'd have to find 160 billion pounds of savings just to pay for this year's borrowings alone.

Unfortunately, the cultural Left has done such a good job of demonising Margaret Thatcher, nobody wants to be seen to be associated with her or her bad tasting medicine. Not even the Conservatives.

When we think of Thatcher's Britain we think of plucky coal miners wanting to play in brass bands in their picturesque northern mining villages, but who have to fight against rapacious capitalists who want to close the mines and destroy their quaint villages for no other reason than this is what rapacious capitalists do. And eat babies. And harvest the bodily organs of small children for profit.

The Full Monty was simply one of a number of films and TV series that pushed this deeply deceptive and dishonest line.

Oh there was a horrible dystopia in Britain characterised by ever lengthening dole queues, riots, civil disruption and the general malaise of a country that was falling to bits in front of people's eyes. It was Britain before Thatcher.

The Sick Man of Europe which Thatcher restored to health with tough, but much needed, love.

Here's a bit from the article I mentioned:

In Australia, the Howard government all but cleared the national debt and set up a Future Fund (which I confess I criticised at the time) to reduce public sector superannuation liabilities.

But in Britain, the government just kept spending. And the more it spent, the more it stoked public expectations about what government could and should provide.

The result is that no party now dares to break the bad news to the voters, that things will have to be drastically cut back.

All three main parties promise to halve the deficit in four years (this doesn't mean halving the debt, only that they will cut by 50 per cent the amount government borrows each year).

This would require a 5 per cent cut in public-sector pay, freezing welfare benefits, culling hand-outs like the pound stg. 250 winter fuel allowance for the over-60s, as well as tax rises. But this is not acknowledged on the hustings.

At last week's televised leaders debate, Brown suggested the Tories might scrap the winter fuel allowance and free eye tests for pensioners.

Conservative leader David Cameron angrily insisted these hand-outs would be secure under a Conservative government.

All parties promise front-line services will be safeguarded, and none is proposing tax increases. How will the deficit be reduced? All they tell us is they will cut waste.

Posted via email from Garth's posterous

Our second German word of the day is totschweigtaktik

I don't know if it is a 'proper' German word, or just some Austrian frippery. Picked it up while reading Shelley Gare's article The Silence of the Clams in the 24 April edition of the Spectator Australia.

In the artistic and literary circles of Vienna last century it meant death by silence.

It is the tactic used by artistic elites to simply ignore someone they disapprove of, (often for reasons of ideology or politics), no matter how brilliant or talented that person may be.

The Australian novelist Kate Jennings is one example given of how it works in practice.

She says in her new collection of writings that she and the poet Les Murray "have more shivs in us than nails in a Kongo fetish figure."

(For those of you who don't know, a shiv is something that shows that Twitter can be useful. I only know that a shiv is a prison knife fashioned out of something lying to hand, like a tootbrush say, because someone I follow used the term and I had to ask what it meant.)

Anyway, Jenning's crime was that she dared to poke fun at "the leading lights and cliques in print."

This crime was compounded by international acclaim after coming out of an eighteen year alcoholic bender.

George Orwell is an even more famous victim of totschweigtaktik.

He had gone to Spain to fight the fascists, ending up with a bullet in the neck along the way. But while there he saw something that frightened him as much, if not more, than fascism, and that was Stalinism.

While brave and idealistic young leftists of various persuasions faced Franco's men in front of them, behind them they were being betrayed by Stalin's agents and his Spanish proxies.

Opposing the fascists was not enough to protect you from being denounced as an ideological or class traitor and subjected to a show trial.

Orwell wrote about the treachery of Stalin in his 1938 book Homage to Catalonia, and large parts of the western artistic and literary elite of the time never forgave him.

These were often men and women who were besotted with Stalin and the Soviet Union and who formed an unquestioning cheer squad for both, even as Stalin launched the Great Terror against his own people and killed millions of them.

Orwell's crime was to expose their naive and credulous stupidity and they had their revenge.

By the time Orwell died in 1950 the book had suffered the death of silence and in twelve years had not managed to sell completely even the modest first edition of just 1,500 copies.

(By the way, do yourselves a favour and beg, steal or borrow a copy of Christopher Hitchen's book Orwell's Victory - Why Orwell Matters in the United States - and read it. Promise me you will. Please? It deals with all this and much, much more. It's not a long book, so even you bloody generation whatevers and your friggen short attention spans will be able to get through it. But it should be required reading of any intelligent person, along with Orwell's essay Politics and the English Language.)

As Gare says, it works best in places "where networks are concentrated and where bullies go mostly unchallenged."

As an artist has said to me, there are "gatekeepers" in the arts community who sit on all the committees and all the boards and who you cannot get on the wrong side of if you want to win any prizes or get any commissions that they have any influence over.

Certainly you will see the utterly underserving continually being awarded such prizes and commissions, (and lauded with gushing reviews about how daringly transgressive they are by their friends in the media), while the talented with unfashionable views are locked out and ignored.

Here in Australia we could add the pianist and composer Geoffrey Tozer (who at least was championed by former prime minister Paul Keating), the poet James McAuley and the novelist Christopher Koch.

Jennings is now apparently "widely admired" here, but just three years prior to her international success her 1993 collection Bad Manners hardly rated a review in this country.

The case of James McAuley echoes that of George Orwell, even if politically they were on opposite sides of the aisle. But both were fervant anti-communists. They both saw where that totalitarianism would inevitably lead. They both saw the gulag or predicted something like the genocidal Killing Fields of Cambodia.

And large sections of the Australian literary and artistic elite have never forgiven him (or indeed Orwell) for being right about something they poured so much of their own hopes and dreams into.

It appears that mass murder is forgivable, but for people like McAuley political conservatism is not.

And of course McAuley was at the centre of the Ern Malley literary hoax that revealed our cultural elite to be a collection of gullible fools who couldn't tell the difference between the work of a real person and the randomly assembled cut-up rubbish put together by McAuley and his co-conspirator.

To this day you will find people in university arts departments, sorry, critical literacy departments, who will argue in the most moronically turgid and convoluted prose why the fake poetry of "Ern Malley" is actually absolutely brilliant and of artistic merit.

That McAuley dared to continue to be a Roman Catholic was however considered to be his most unforgivable crime.

With these buffoons in charge of the arts in Australia, is it any wonder that the Archibald Prize has degenerated into such an absurd farce? Though maybe not as big a farce as the Wynne Prize has so rapidly become!

Posted via email from Garth's posterous

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Seems like only Malcolm Turnbull had the courage of Rudds convictions

And to those Greek idiots whining "it isn't our fault..."

Yes, yes dears, of course it was all the fault of those evil bankers (especially the American ones).

I mean, they forced didn't they, just forced the Greek government to lavish absurdly generous salaries and conditions upon a bloated public service, along with pensions and other government entitlements offered to a citizenry more than willing to accept them without a thought about where the money was coming from.

They forced your government to provide rivers of free money to you didn't they? It's all the fault of the banks that the government borrowed so much money, (while hiding the fact because this breached its obligations under the European common currency), it now owes more than what the entire Greek economy is worth.

Yup, it is all so convenient to get out onto the streets and shout slogans and play the aggrieved victim because you're blaming everybody's favourite modern scapegoat for the fact that you lived beyond your means in a social democratic fools paradise for too long.

For Christ's sake, grow up and take some responsibility for your own actions.

WORRIES of a contagion in European government bond markets swelled overnight after Standard & Poor's ratings agency downgraded both Portugal and Greece, the latter to junk-bond status.

The 16-nation currency fell to a low of $US1.3277 against the US dollar in London trading hours, according to trading system EBS, and its later recovery was hampered by the S&P call.

Bond investors fled to safer ground, with German government bonds, or bunds, soaring and yields on bonds of peripheral eurozone economies such as Greece and Portugal pushing higher.

"The downgrade of both Greek and Portuguese government debt by S&P is another indication that the eurozone's fiscal crisis is continuing to deepen ," Ben May, an economist with Capital Economics in London, said.

"In all, a stark warning that a Greek rescue package, if and when it finally appears, will not be the end of the crisis."

Portugal appears to be next, followed by Spain and Ireland.

Of course, had they listened to the hated "Anglo-Saxon" neo-liberals, none of them would be in this mess and they wouldn't be threatening to pull down the Euro Zone (if not the global economy).

Christopher Hitchens points out his own prescience:

SOMETIMES sheer immodesty compels me to ask, of my long record of prescience, what did I know, and when and how did I know it? In the summer of 2005, Foreign Policy magazine asked its contributors to name one taken-for-granted thing they thought was overrated or would not last. After a brief interval of reflection, I chose the euro.

Posted via email from Garth's posterous

The Building the Education Revolution scandal moves to Queensland

THE Queensland government has been paying tens of millions of dollars in additional, undisclosed fees and charges to managing contractors handling the $16.2 billion schools stimulus scheme.

The Queensland Education Department yesterday admitted that its repeated claims that payments to Building the Education Revolution managing contractors were capped at 6 per cent were wrong, and many were receiving double that amount.

The Bligh government was forced into the admission after the quantity surveyor overseeing the scheme, Richard Kerr of Currie and Brown, told The Australian that managing contractors were entitled to the 6 per cent claimed by the state government "plus other fees".

Posted via email from Garth's posterous

Our German word for the day is Weltschmerz

"IN Germany, Weltschmerz is the sadness one feels when comparing the way the world is to the way it ought to be. German environmentalists must be suffering a profound case of it as not-in-my-backyard protests derail industry and government-planned alternative energy projects. Germany's Renewable Energy Sources Act (Erneuerbare Energien Gesetz, or EEG) was supposed to help the German Ministry for the Environment achieve its goal of renewables producing 30 per cent of the country's electricity by 2020. Instead, the EEG has met with widespread opposition."

Though, if you read the article, it turns out that it isn't just nimbyism that's causing problems for Germany's ambitious renewable energy targets.

There are little things like the laws of physics and current hopeless inefficiency of solar panels. (Not to mention, as the article doesn't, the very high carbon footprint of solar panels - it takes a lot of burnt coal to provide the energy needed to make them. Oh, that and the fact that chlorine is used at every stage of the manufacturing process.)

This of course leads us onto my favourite German word: schadenfreude.

Posted via email from Garth's posterous

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Anzac Day at Hellfire Pass

Reader Pira writes from Thailand, having returned from the site where my uncle barely survived as a prisoner of war:

I just got home from my annual pilgrimage to the ANZAC day dawn service at Hellfire Pass in Kanchanaburi province in Thailand. There was a remarkably large turn out of Aussies there this year in view of the troubles in Thailand right now.

As usual, museum curator Bill Slaype and his Thai team did a magnificent job of organising the event.

I arrived at 4.30 am and the cutting was already crowded with Australians of all ages. 5 POW’s were present this year, including the indomitable West Australian Bill Haskell. The forest steps and paths leading down from the magnificent museum in to the pass, was lit by bamboo oil lamps in the trees. Every one present was given a candle in a bamboo candle holder which adds to the poignancy of the occasion.

The Australian military as usual, carried out their ceremonial duties with dignity and polish. In that setting and in the exact place where so many of our men were foully worked to death under inhuman and atrocious conditions, Pipe Major Keith Walker and Piper Angus McKernan’s “Flowers of the Forest” would have brought tears to a glass eye.

Weary Dunlop’s ashes are spread in one part of the pass. I’m sure he would approve of the tribute paid to the men he did so much to help and comfort. 

Altogether a magic morning.

Back in Kanchanaburi town I, as I always do, visited the main war cemetery which these days is almost in the centre of town. The cemetery is immaculately maintained by the tireless Queenslander Rod Beattie and his dedicated Thai team.

So many young men lie there, so many of them only in their 20’s felled by cholera, typhoid and such diseases. The proud claim is that none of them ever died alone, As their lives ebbed away, they were attended to by their mates who were also in an emaciated and weakened state.

We have much to be grateful for for their sacrifice.

And okay, shamelessly sentimental, but I don't care. Terry Kelly with A Pittance of Time:

Thought it might have been from England to start with, but it's from Canada obviously.

Posted via email from Garth's posterous

UN environmental ambassador builds a 20,000 square-foot home with six-car garage, an elevator and a lagoon

A supermodel environmentalist is still a supermodel before she’s an environmentalist:
What kind of U.N. environmental ambassador builds a 20,000 square-foot home with a six-car garage, an elevator and a lagoon? Why, that would be the Hub’s favorite Pats fan, Gisele Bundchen!

Green folk are dismayed:
“How big a space do two people need?” asked Philip Dowds, a Massachusetts Sierra Club official and professional architect. “A 20,000 square-foot house - the resources that it takes to put it together and the land that it needs, this just can’t happen anymore.”

Apparently it can.

Posted via email from Garth's posterous

Tjupi Band - Wati Kutjungku

I'm loving this bit of 'desert reggae' from the Tjupi Band.

"Tjupi (Luritja for Honey Ant) come from Papunya, 250kms North West of Alice Springs. Playing energetic and emotive songs they form part of the new wave of Indigenous Australian reggae."

Go here and listen to Wati Kutjungku, as well as Irititja Tjutaya Nyinapayi and Kutju Nagrala.

Posted via email from Garth's posterous

Anzac Day Tribute - Amazing Grace & The Last Post

Thank you @s_dog

Posted via email from Garth's posterous

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Jon Stewart (Comedy Central) to the jihadis who threatened South Park - go fuck yourselves now

The Daily Show With Jon Stewart Mon - Thurs 11p / 10c
South Park Death Threats

No Right-wing shock jock could have put it better, which is also to say that Jon Stewart should speak for everyone here.

Posted via email from Garth's posterous

The worst glooball warmening scare video yet? Oh, BTW, chimps ain't monkeys!

A chimpanzee launched into space returns to earth in 2026 to discover that the whole place is uninhabitable due to global warming:

This is even worse than that time we had all the poley bear rain. Or when English cartoon puppies drowned. Or even when the animals went all suicidal. It might be the worst warming video ever:

Leo Burnett Sydney and director Steve Rogers have created a moving new film for the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), which tells the story of an original space monkey who returns to Earth after being lost in space for decades. The film features a new music track by musician Ben Lee called ‘Song for the Divine Mother of the Universe’, and ‘Space Monkey’ will air as both a music video to launch the single, and a long format cinema spot.

They don’t know their critters. As Andrew Bolt points out, a chimp ain’t a monkey. Chimps eat monkeys.

Posted via email from Garth's posterous

Britain's nine-bin nightmare

What happens when environmentalism becomes a religion:
Families are facing a nightmare future of recycling confusion. In a regime set to spread across the country, residents are being forced to juggle an astonishing nine separate bins.

There has already been a storm of protest with warnings that the scheme is too complex and homes simply don't have the space to deal with the myriad bins, bags and boxes.

The containers include a silver slopbucket for food waste, which is then tipped in to a larger, green outdoor food bin, a pink bag for plastic bottles, a green bag for cardboard, and a white bag for clothing and textiles.

Paper and magazines go in blue bags, garden waste in a wheelie bin with a brown lid, while glass, foil, tins and empty aerosols should go in a blue box, with a grey wheelie bin for non-recyclable waste.

The strict regulations have been introduced as councils come under growing pressure to cut the amount of household rubbish they send to landfill. However, they go far beyond anything previously expected from householders and families.

Full article here.

Posted via email from Garth's posterous

A psychotherapist deprograms an environmental cult member

When Emma returned the next week (thankfully), I asked about her reaction. She flooded me with stories about indoctrination by teachers. One of her earliest memories was singing songs on Earth Day, prayerfully, when she was five.

A sensitive soul, Emma became terrified that her beloved Earth would perish, and that she'd be culpable. Starting in third grade, she became an environmental fanatic. Emma went ballistic on her disabled grandmother when the old woman threw a bottle in the trash.

After school, she and her friends would sift through other people's garbage to root out recyclables. While Berkeley has plenty of homeless folks going through trash, Emma and her friends were out to save the world.

The poor thing would even sob in her car when she had to drive more than a few miles. She envisioned the pollution burning up the rain forests and asphyxiating polar bears.

A year into our therapy/cult deprogramming, I asked Emma about her fixation with all things ecological. She replied, "I'm over it."

The rest here.

Posted via email from Garth's posterous

Cultural warriors launch a new attack on ANZAC

And surprise, surprise. It's the usual discredited suspects, people such as historians Marilyn Lake and Henry Reynolds.

Reynolds of course is the "historian" who made up fabricated accounts of the numbers of aboriginal people killed on the frontier, hiding them behind footnotes that were later shown to be fake.

But he's a Lefty, and for them even lies are true if they say the "right" things.

As Merv Bendle points out in an article in the April issue of Quadrant magazine, the cultural left is employing the same tactic that they used quite successfully in the lead up to the 1988 celebration of the bicentennial of the founding of British Australia and thus the start of our history as a modern nation state. (To be clear here, this is no dismissal or denigration of Aboriginal Australia nor a denial of its sufferings that followed. You don't have lie or make things up as too many historians have done to be able to honestly acknowledge this. However, Australia as we know it today as a socio-political entity was the creation of the British, and did not exist until they came here.)

Naturally enough, the ABC and the SBS love Reynolds and company. so remember to question everything he and they say when you inevitably see them on one documentary or other.

These are people who reject the notion that we should strive to apprehend the truth, (okay, through a glass darkly admittedly), and to tell it honestly and without fear. History for them is an ideological weapon to be used to achieve political ends. And you'd have to say they have been enormously successful in this project.

The "black armband" view of Australian history is still the accepted version within government, academia and large sections of the media.

The cowardice of the Hawke Labor government is resisting those who wanted to turn the Bicentennial into an occasion of bitter atonement for our shameful sins, as we put on sackcloth and ashes and apologised to Heaven through teary eyes for our crime of being here, was a disgrace.

And these people still exert great influence on school history courses. Though it is interesting to see how so many young people have pushed back against this effort to make them feel ashamed to be Australians.

The sensitive inner-city Green-voting latte drinkers bore us all every year with their tut-tutting about "bogans" wearing the flag. Well, get fucked I say. I feel closer the the African immigrant down at the Nollamara shops who had just as proudly put an Aussie flag on his car for Australia Day.

Anzac in Ashes

Mervyn F. Bendle


The attack by the left on the Anzac tradition has escalated. As I predicted last year (“Gallipoli: Second Front in the History Wars”, Quadrant, June 2009; “The Intellectual Assault on Anzac”, Quadrant, July-August, 2009), the centenaries in 2014 of the outbreak of the Great War, and in 2015 of the Gallipoli campaign, will see an intensifying debate about the war as people seek to come to grips with the meaning of the seminal event of the twentieth century. Pushing itself to the centre of this struggle will be the intelligentsia, which historically has depicted these events in simplistic ideological terms and as exercises in futility. The intelligentsia is also infuriated by the Anzac legend, which is a dynamic cultural force over which it has little control, and for which it has very little sympathy, empathy or understanding.

In my earlier articles I detailed how a number of prominent academics and other members of the intelligentsia were mounting a wide-ranging ideological attack on Gallipoli and Anzac, publishing books and articles, and delivering speeches undermining and ridiculing the tradition, and how its leading members were preparing a collection of critical essays to carry forward their iconoclastic program. This has now appeared (Marilyn Lake and Henry Reynolds (eds.), What’s Wrong With Anzac?: The Militarisation of Australian History (WWWA). Sydney: New South Books, 2010). This is an explicitly polemical book, brought out in time to capitalize not only on Anzac Day 2010, but also to play the type of ‘spoiling’ role with respect to the upcoming centenaries that the four-volume, A People’s History of Australia Since 1788, played prior to the 1988 Bicentennial.

That earlier far-left collectivist effort was meant to ensure that Australians had no illusions about the historical depravity of their nation, spelling out its sins in the Introduction to every volume: “This history is critical not celebratory. It rejects myths of national progress and unity. It starts from a recognition that Australian settler society was built on invasion and dispossession [and that] the last two hundred years [was] but a brief, nasty interlude”. Consequently, as Mark McKenna recalls smugly in his chapter on how Anzac Day became Australia’s de facto national day, public support for the Bicentennial was systematically undermined by the “impact of the new critical histories of the last two decades”, which generated “an increasingly polarized debate” as Aboriginal groups declared 1988 a ‘Year of Mourning’, “feature articles discussed white guilt and national shame”, and newspaper editorials deplored the “ideological vacuum at the heart of the Bicentennial”. The Hawke government capitulated to the intelligentsia and refused to support the First Fleet re-enactment, in a servile betrayal of a nation that can only happen once a century. Ironically, the intelligentsia’s deliberate spoiling of the Bicentennial led to a renewed interest in the Anzac tradition, as Australians embraced it as an alternative foundation for a positive national identity. Consequently, as McKenna concedes, by 1990 “the connection between the failure of the Bicentennial celebrations and the new embrace of Anzac Day was … abundantly clear” (WWWA, pp.114-9).

This new book now explicitly targets Anzac as the centennials approach, pursuing the same iconoclastic agenda and polemical strategy that was so effective in the 1980s.
Read it all.

But really, do any of you seriously believe that Australia is being militarised? Do you really think that comes anywhere close to the reality of this country?

You have to wonder about how disconnected from reality some clearly very clever people have become.

Here's a review of the same book. You'll recall to mind that wonderful observation by George Orwell about an earlier group of intellectuals and their ability to believe absurdities - only an intellectual would believe something like that. No ordinary person would be so foolish.

Posted via email from Garth's posterous

Has Peter Garrett had enough of Rudd?

I have long argued that Peter Garrett has been made a scapegoat for a monumental failure by Kevin Rudd - the disastrous free insulation giveaway.

Peter van Onselen now explains just why the fault is Rudd’s rather than Garrett’s. But what’s most telling about his account is that it seems Garrett has had enough and is briefing journalists against his disastrous PM, who will cost more of his Ministers their reputation before he’s through:
ENVIRONMENT Minister Peter Garrett has become a scapegoat of the Prime Minister and his Assisting Minister for Government Service Delivery, Mark Arbib…

The review of the program’s administration, conducted by retired senior public servant Allan Hawke and released during the week, makes clear findings that Garrett’s responses to the problems with the program were appropriate and timely....

Garrett was handed a program he had raised serious concerns about to his Prime Minister for the rushed nature of its implementation. He was not alone. I have been told by a very senior Labor source that Julia Gillard did the same at the special-purpose budget committee…

Hawke also points out that Garrett’s department was not suited to rolling out such a scheme… Garrett knew this and again warned others about the risks… (W)hen Garrett and his department jointly warned the Office of the Co-ordinator-General about concerns attached to the scheme, no action was taken to alleviate the pressure… (T)he OCG, responsible for oversight of all the government’s $42 billion Nation Building and Jobs Plan (which includes the Building the Education Revolution), needed to do more.

Hawke in his review is scathing about the failure of the OCG to get involved… That office is located in none other than Rudd’s own department, with Arbib assigned direct responsibility for watching over its operations..

However, the most serious area to which people’s attention should be drawn is the rush to get the program up and running in the wake of the global financial crisis. It was ...  Rudd and his economic inner circle who forced Garrett to rush out the scheme against his better judgment...
I think Garrett has had enough of Rudd.

Posted via email from Garth's posterous

Climate change downgraded from a 'the' to an 'a'

Kevin Rudd claims he’s still a global warming crusader, but note how a crucial “the” has been downgraded into an “a”.

The biggest challenge the world faces in the decades ahead is climate change.  It is the great moral and economic challenge of our time.
It’s very clear cut that whether climate change is topical or not, whether it is popular or not, the reality of it does not disappear. This remains a fundamental economic, environmental and moral challenge… We haven’t changed our view of this.

Posted via email from Garth's posterous

Thursday, April 22, 2010

A reprise of Earth Day predictions past

But as someone once said, there's a sucker born every minute (or something like that).

From Andrew Bolt:

I Hate The Media says there are some good reasons not to believe the gloomy predictions you heard yesterday on Earth Day.

Just check the predictions made on Earth Day 1970:

“We have about five more years at the outside to do something.”
• Kenneth Watt, ecologist

“Civilization will end within 15 or 30 years unless immediate action is taken against problems facing mankind.”
• George Wald, Harvard Biologist

“We are in an environmental crisis which threatens the survival of this nation, and of the world as a suitable place of human habitation.”
• Barry Commoner, Washington University biologist

“Man must stop pollution and conserve his resources, not merely to enhance existence but to save the race from intolerable deterioration and possible extinction.”
• New York Times editorial, the day after the first Earth Day

“Population will inevitably and completely outstrip whatever small increases in food supplies we make. The death rate will increase until at least 100-200 million people per year will be starving to death during the next ten years.”
• Paul Ehrlich, Stanford University biologist

“It is already too late to avoid mass starvation.”
• Denis Hayes, chief organizer for Earth Day

“Demographers agree almost unanimously on the following grim timetable: by 1975 widespread famines will begin in India; these will spread by 1990 to include all of India, Pakistan, China and the Near East, Africa. By the year 2000, or conceivably sooner, South and Central America will exist under famine conditions….By the year 2000, thirty years from now, the entire world, with the exception of Western Europe, North America, and Australia, will be in famine.”
• Peter Gunter, professor, North Texas State University

“Scientists have solid experimental and theoretical evidence to support…the following predictions: In a decade, urban dwellers will have to wear gas masks to survive air pollution…by 1985 air pollution will have reduced the amount of sunlight reaching earth by one half….”
• Life Magazine, January 1970

“By the year 2000, if present trends continue, we will be using up crude oil at such a rate…that there won’t be any more crude oil. You’ll drive up to the pump and say, `Fill ‘er up, buddy,’ and he’ll say, `I am very sorry, there isn’t any.’”
• Kenneth Watt, Ecologist

“Dr. S. Dillon Ripley, secretary of the Smithsonian Institute, believes that in 25 years, somewhere between 75 and 80 percent of all the species of living animals will be extinct.”
• Sen. Gaylord Nelson

“The world has been chilling sharply for about twenty years. If present trends continue, the world will be about four degrees colder for the global mean temperature in 1990, but eleven degrees colder in the year 2000. This is about twice what it would take to put us into an ice age.”
• Kenneth Watt, Ecologist

And, indeed, from the Earth Day site, the same old doomsday message:

Forty years after the first Earth Day, the world is in greater peril than ever....

Posted via email from Garth's posterous

Laurie Oakes ensmallens the prime minister

Laurie Oakes reports:

Two months ago the Prime Minister made a big fellow of himself when he met insulation installers on the lawns of Parliament House.

He told them the home insulation scheme suspended because of rip-offs, shonky work and safety concerns following four deaths, would resume in slightly different form by June.

Promise broken. Do click to observe Kevin Rudd’s historic meeting with the installers, and Oakes’s perfect response to Greg Combet’s claim that the insulation scheme wasn’t an expensive shambles. The clean-up bill for this insanity is expected to hit one billion dollars.

UPDATE. Rudd runs away.

Posted via email from Garth's posterous

The Earth gives us an Earth Day present - highest Arctic sea ice in 8 years

As of today, JAXA shows that we have more ice than any time on this date for the past 8 years of Aqua satellite measurement for this AMSRE dataset. Yes, it isn’t much, but if this were September, and the sea ice minimum was down by this much compared to all other years, you can bet your sweet bippy we’d see it screamed in news headlines worldwide.

Of course some will argue that it “doesn’t matter” in the context of trend, or that it’s just a “weather” blip. Let us remind our friends of such blips the next time a heat wave or a storm is cited as proof of global warming.

What can be said about the short term trend in Arctic sea ice is that for the past two years, it has recovered from the historic low of 2007. It recovered in 2008, and more in 2009. If today’s Earth Day gift is any indication, it appears that it is on track now for a third year of recovery in 2010 as we’ve been saying at WUWT since fall of 2009.

I’d show NSIDC’s current Arctic Sea Ice graph also, but their website was down earlier today, and the current sea ice graph is not updated. But Steve Goddard has made some comparison overlays that are interesting.

He writes via email:
The rest here

Posted via email from Garth's posterous

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Bob Carr - Three cheers that we won't have charter of rights

I'm told that during the period cabinet was considering the Brennan report Kevin Rudd was reading Steven Pincus's 1688: The First Modern Revolution. That we've avoided a lurch towards a charter reflects Rudd's understanding that the untidy ebb and flow of common law, free elections and freedom of speech will keep us freer than lawyers' arguments over every word and clause in a charter. His reading would confirm it's the ethos of a country that counts, the spirit of a people. The rejection of the Brennan report shows Rudd does not feel intimidated by a leftover item from two previous Labor governments.

Full article here

Posted via email from Garth's posterous

Solar Dynamics Observatory - STUNNING first images and movies

From Watts Up With That?:

Images and movies are now available from NASA. I’ve posted them here as promised. The movies available at links below are stunning, Enjoy. Press release also follows. – Anthony

See them here

Posted via email from Garth's posterous

Spain to stiff solar power investors (serves the shysters right too)

I mean, apart from the fact that solar panels take enormous amounts of fossil fuelled energy to make and that chlorine is used in every part of the manufacturing process, solar power still suffers from the same weakness as other renewable sources of energy, ie it is unreliable and expensive.

These corporate crooks only jumped on this bandwagon because the Spanish government was stupid enough to throw taxpayers' money at them.

From Greenie Watch:

They're basically broke and their Green/Left policies are a large part of the reason

Spain’s government, after using subsidies to spur more than 18 billion euros ($24 billion) in solar-power projects since 2008, may reduce the premium power rates that attracted clean-energy investors.

The state has the authority to cut prices paid to operating renewable-power plants under a 2007 law, according to an industry ministry spokesman who declined to be identified. All options are being assessed for a new strategic plan this year, he said. Spanish solar and wind developer shares fell as much as 4.1 percent.

“This is nothing less than a catastrophe” for investors, said Stephane Aderca, an energy analyst at Liberum Capital Ltd. in London. “We had believed that a promise is a promise. Going back on a promise brings the whole thing into question.”

The rest here

Posted via email from Garth's posterous

European Union to mandate a "Right" to be a tourist

The madness marches on. The federal government has, (for now), thankfully canned the idea of a charter of rights, but if it hadn't and such a thing was introduced, how long do you think it would be before some judge decided that going overseas was indeed a "basic" human right and that the government should subsidise those who couldn't afford to do so?

This of course is the problem with the 'rights industry' in a free country that respects human rights as never before in human history - the need to invent ever more esoteric and exotic "rights" that people are supposedly being denied (and thus keeping them in business).

From Below the Beltway:

The Times of London is reporting that the European Union is considering declaring vacations to be a “basic human right”":

AN overseas holiday used to be thought of as a reward for a year’s hard work. Now Brussels has declared that tourism is a human right and pensioners, youths and those too poor to afford it should have their travel subsidised by the taxpayer.

Under the scheme, British pensioners could be given cut-price trips to Spain, while Greek teenagers could be taken around disused mills in Manchester to experience the cultural diversity of Europe.

The idea for the subsidised tours is the brainchild of Antonio Tajani, the European Union commissioner for enterprise and industry, who was appointed by Silvio Berlusconi, the Italian prime minister.

The scheme, which could cost hundreds of millions of pounds a year, is intended to promote a sense of pride in European culture, bridge the north-south divide in the continent and prop up resorts in their off-season.

Tajani, who unveiled his plan last week at a ministerial conference in Madrid, believes the days when holidays were a luxury have gone. “Travelling for tourism today is a right. The way we spend our holidays is a formidable indicator of our quality of life,” he said.

Tajani, who used to be transport commissioner, said he had been able to “affirm the rights of passengers” in his previous office and the next step was to ensure people’s “right to be tourists”.

The European Union has experience of subsidised holidays. In February the European parliament paid contributions of up to 52% towards an eight-day skiing trip in the Italian Alps for 80 children of Eurocrats.

I’m not even sure where to start here. If an overseas vacation is a “right,” then what about a car, or a house, or a full digital cable-with-HDTV-and-DVR television package ?

John Stossel, as usual, gets it right:

It’s amazing how watered- down the idea of “rights” has become since Jefferson wrote about “certain unalienable Rights… among these Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” But at least the US government isn’t giving away vacations yet.

It’s the “yet” part that worries me.

Posted via email from Garth's posterous

How Mother Nature Fooled the World's Top Climate Scientists

BOOK REVIEW: The Great Global Warming Blunder: How Mother Nature Fooled the World's Top Climate Scientists -- by Roy W Spencer

Roy W. Spencer is a Principal Research Scientist at the University of Alabama in Huntsville.

The Great Global Warming Blunder unveils new evidence from major scientific findings that explode the conventional wisdom on climate change and reshape the global warming debate as we know it. Roy W. Spencer, a former senior NASA climatologist, reveals how climate researchers have mistaken cause and effect when analyzing cloud behavior and have been duped by Mother Nature into believing the Earth’s climate system is far more sensitive to human activities and carbon dioxide than it really is.

In fact, Spencer presents astonishing new evidence that recent warming is not the fault of humans, but the result of chaotic, internal natural cycles that have been causing periods of warming and cooling for millennia. More carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is not necessarily to be feared; The Great Global Warming Blunder explains that burning of fossil fuels may actually be beneficial for life on Earth.

As group-think behavior and misguided global warming policy proposals threaten the lives of millions of the world’s poorest, most vulnerable citizens, The Great Global Warming Blunder is a scintillating exposé and much-needed call for debate.


Posted via email from Garth's posterous

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Tom Smitheringale gets frostbite, we get a lesson

As the Bolter says, this year is in fact the fourth in a row when one or more glooball warmening idiots have gone to the Arctic to "highlight" and "raise awareness" of the effects of said warmening on the North Pole, only (in three out of the four cases) to require rescuing from the terrible and bitter cold.

Which admittedly has provided me and others with no end of amusement (as they were all rescued successfully), but still leaves open the question of how so many people caught this seemingly infectious dose of madness in the first place.

TOM Smitheringale wanted to prove the world was warming. Now he’s another alarmist with frostbite.
The 40-year-old from Perth planned to be the first Australian to trek unassisted to the North Pole, but announced he’d raise some consciousness along the way.

As he wrote on his website: “Part of the reason Tom’s One Man Epic is taking place now is because of the effect that global warming is having on the polar ice caps.”

Indeed, he wanted to see the North Pole while it was still there: “Some scientists have even estimated that the polar ice cap will have entirely melted away by 2014!”

But Antarctica isn’t melting away, and Arctic ice has slowly increased since its big low in 2007..
But no one seems to have told Tom, who soon found his extremities freezing.

Though for sheer entertainment value, the efforts of "explorers and educators” Ann Bancroft and Liv Arnesen in 2007 are hard to beat. They set out on:

“a historic 75-day expedition to the North Pole and beyond to raise awareness of global warming’s impact on the fragile Arctic”.

It turned out that what was fragile was not the Arctic but the alarmists, who had to call off their big trip not long after it started, when Arnesen suffered frostbite in three of her toes, and extreme cold drained their batteries.

Explained a spokesman: “They were experiencing temperatures that weren’t expected with global warming.”
Like the globe, really.


Posted via email from Garth's posterous

Bolivian president blames transgenic food for homosexuality and baldness

TIQUIPAYA, BOLIVIA (BNO NEWS) – Bolivian President Evo Morales surprised the attendants to the inauguration of the climate change summit by declaring that genetically engineered food is the one to blame for homosexuality and baldness, El Tiempo newspaper reported on Tuesday.

The Bolivian President defended his remarks by stating that these were not lies but proved facts.

Ah, loony nutcases and their "facts." Just like the cranks and shysters flogging The Secret, homeopathy and any number of other witless superstitions.

Posted via email from Garth's posterous

Presbyterians call for the death of South Park's creators, among others

European airspace closures - guess who's computer model it was too?

The revolt against the computer models whose warnings shut down Europe’s airlines gets angrier:

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) sharply criticized European governments for their lack of leadership in handling airspace restrictions in light of the Icelandic volcano eruption and urged a re-think of the decision-making process.

“We are far enough into this crisis to express our dissatisfaction on how governments have managed it - with no risk assessment, no consultation, no coordination, and no leadership. This crisis is costing airlines at least $200 million a day in lost revenues and the European economy is suffering billions of dollars in lost business. In the face of such dire economic consequences, it is incredible that Europe’s transport ministers have taken five days to organize a teleconference,” said Giovanni Bisignani, IATA’s Director General and CEO…

IATA criticized Europe’s unique methodology of closing airspace based on theoretical modeling of the ash cloud. “This means that governments have not taken their responsibility to make clear decisions based on facts.....

“Safety is our top priority. Airlines will not fly if it is not safe. I have consulted our member airlines that normally operate in the affected airspace. They report missed opportunities to fly safely...”

The scale of airspace closures currently seen in Europe is unprecedented. “We have seen volcanic activity in many parts of the world but rarely has it resulted in airspace closures - and never at this scale. When Mount St. Helens erupted in the US in 1980, we did not see large scale disruptions, because the decisions to open or close airspace were risk managed with no compromise on safety,” said Bisignani...

This model of volcanic ash spread is maintained by the Met Office, the warmist headquarters whose global warming models are used to justify other disastrous cuts to the world economy.

Posted via email from Garth's posterous

Monday, April 19, 2010

I love it when a Lefty shows how dumb he is while thinking he's being clever

Mr Bolt has some fun:

Fake sites used for fake conclusions by fakes

Since my alleged twitter sites are all fakes run by my critics, we can perhaps conclude that my tweeting opponents are on average quite stupid.

Posted via email from Garth's posterous

#Climategate: a scandal that won't go away

Christopher Booker writing in The Torygraph explains why.

Yet scarcely a hint of this hugely important story is contained in the Oxburgh report, which simply glosses it over, hoping to appease critics by throwing in a few vaguely critical comments about how Jones and his team were a trifle “disorganised” in archiving their data. It ignores the utterly damning critiques of the CRU’s methodology produced by McIntyre and McKitrick. It does not even begin to question the way the CRU has compiled its global temperature record, relied on by the IPCC as the most authoritative of all the official data sources for surface temperatures.

Full article here

Posted via email from Garth's posterous

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Robert Manne's co-editor now admits he was wrong about the free market

Though, if John Carroll can learn from his mistakes and have the honesty to admit them, it does make you wonder why Robert Manne cannot and hasn't.

Instead, once he has assumed a position you can expect Manne to defend it no matter what.

But here is Carroll's letter from this morning's The Australian:

MICHAEL Stutchbury refers disparagingly to a book, Shutdown, that I co-edited with Robert Manne in 1992 ("Goodbye to the notion neo-liberalism caused the global financial crisis," 17/4). My view today, with the benefit of hindsight, is that Shutdown was basically wrong. I was principally troubled in 1992 with Australia's escalating international debt, and the consequent foolishness of running down local manufacturing (which would also aggravate the already high unemployment rate). My prediction was that an economic crisis loomed.

The reality turned out to be just the opposite: nigh on two decades of unprecedented economic growth. Moreover, industry policy in 1992 to encourage local manufacturing would have been almost entirely doomed once Chinese export production got into full gear -- something that could not have been foreseen then. [I could be wrong, but hadn't China already started to liberalise its own economy by then? If so, how could the export success of a country possessed of not tens, but hundreds of millions of low paid workers not be foreseen?]

To me now, the past two decades support the maxim: if in doubt, trust the free market.

Moreover, if the GFC signals anything it is to beware irresponsible government. In the US, it was a government agency that kept interest rates unnaturally low; it was a president (Bill Clinton) who leaned on government subsidiaries, Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae, to offer mortgages to people who would never repay them; and it was a series of Washington administrations that cavalierly lifted their own deficit spending until it became a potentially crippling 10 per cent annually of American GDP.

John Carroll, Fitzroy, Vic

But the funny thing about the continual contributions by Manne to discussions about economics is one thing that he has had the honesty to admit, and that is that he has 'no competence in economics whatsoever'.

As you can see from this snippet from Shutdown, where he and Carroll "declared that economic reform had failed in Australia and that ‘the most important contemporary example of economic success is Japan'."

Of course nobody these days holds up Japan, (currently suffering from deflation), and its model of regulated corporatist capitalism as a success.

But whereas Caroll shows he can learn from experience and admit when events prove him to be wrong, no such nimbleness of mind can be seen when it comes to Manne.

Posted via email from Garth's posterous

Multivitamin link to breast cancer

Taking multivitamins is a pointless waste of time and money, with no credible evidence at all to support the hopeful claims made about them, something that the Food & Health Skeptic has reminded us of again and again.

But by the same token, this study linking multivitamins to breast cancer is the same kind of epidemiological rubbish that supplies so many of the so-called "studies" supporting their use.

And it is the same kind of pseudo-scientific junk that produces the endless round of red wine is good for you, red wine is bad for you, no it's good you etc etc stories that appear with monotonous regularity in the media.

About the only use these studies have is a pointer towards what should be investigated using the only method that actually means anything and which produces results that are real evidence, ie the properly randomised double-blind trial.

Anything else is just speculation about possible causal effects and it would be better if these were not reported in the media (and not fed to the media by publicity seeking researchers or institutions).

Dr Ray comments:

Another nasty one for the health freaks. The absolute risk involved is small but such weak effects underpin most dietary advice.

The study is utter rubbish anyway. 1). It's based on self-reports; 2). It commits the "correlation is causation" fallacy. WHY were some women taking supplements? Probably because they felt less healthy anyway.

The abstract is here. The title of the article is "Multivitamin use and breast cancer incidence in a prospective cohort of Swedish women"

While it may not do any good, the most likely thing that can be said about taking multivitamins is that it is nothing more than harmless self-dosing.

Posted via email from Garth's posterous

Ah, good old fashioned policing - if you haven't got trust, who can you believe in?

What have I missed?

This looks brilliant!

Posted via email from Garth's posterous

Torzi Matthews Vigna Cantina Sangiovese 2008 #wine

Drank this tonight with friends. Absolutely delicious. But I didn't realise that it was a Torzi Matthews's wine until just now. Their Schist Rock Shiraz is already a favourite of mine.

Torzi Matthews Vigna Cantina Sangiovese 2008

Eden Valley producer Dominic Torzi with Italian heritage has done well here...delicious dark cherry fruit, pot pourri, leather, fresh herbs and spice. Good length, grippy tannins and structure. Recommend decanting this to show its true colours.

"For another side to the big shiraz world that is the Barossa three sub-regional sources - Gomersal, Moppa and Kalimna - go into this small-run, hand made rustic sangio that has all the cherry boxes and lipsmacking tannins and acidity you'd expect from the variety." 92 POINTS Tony Love Adelaide Advertiser Indulge Aug 09

"Deep Red. Sexy aromas of cherry-vanilla, dried flowers, mint and brown spices. Lush, slightly sweet red and dark berry flavors are given grip by a bitter cherry skin quality and framed by velvety tannins. A broad, fleshy, almost liqueur-like style of sangiovese, with strong finishing spiciness and very good persistence" 90 POINTS Josh Raynolds, Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar - Jul/Aug 09


What I would call a juicy red wine. We didn't get to the Durif (Petit Syrah) or Zinfandel (Primitivo), which is a shame.


Posted via email from Garth's posterous

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Global warming causing the trafficking of girls in Africa shock horror

You can't say this is a case of global warming hysteria jumping the shark.

That happened years ago. The single mangy hedgehog as victim of climate change is still my personal favourite.
Since there has been NO global warming for at least the last 10 years, the problems noted below could not be caused by global warming

Lack of adequate education, extreme poverty and the encroaching fallout of climate change is now forcing Masaai parents in the Mar region of Kenya, Africa to ‘sell off’ their young underage daughters to a group of human traffickers who are posing as white foreign tourists.

It's a bit like World Vision  getting a hopelessly naive Hugh Jackman to "highlight" the effects of climate change in Ethiopia, because it is suffering a drought.

An effective, if totally dishonest, publicity stunt.

I mean, for those of us who have been around long enough, we know that Ethiopia and droughts are no strangers and we've seen much worse in the past.

Posted via email from Garth's posterous

...then add "salt and freshly ground black people"

It is a tiny misprint, but an Australian publisher had to pulp a cookbook after one recipe called for ”salt and freshly ground black people” to be added to the dish, AFP reported Saturday.

Penguin Group Australia pulped and reprinted about 7,000 copies of “Pasta Bible” after the typographical error was found in the ingredients for spelt tagliatelle with sardines and prosciutto, The Sydney Morning Herald reported.

“We’re mortified that this has become an issue of any kind, and why anyone would be offended, we don’t know…

Posted via email from Garth's posterous