Tuesday, February 27, 2007
Nevertheless, in a spirit of open-minded trepidation, I shall rush about in panic , screaming `the bees, the bees' and `the China Syndrome'. I shall also point out that this could flood Europe.
My theory is, if you keep them off-balance, keeping on throwing new scares at them, they'll be too worried not to take the important things seriously. It takes a seriously unruffled person to miss major threats to their existence!
That's my theory anyway.
Monday, February 26, 2007
“Iran is a mortal threat,” says Lewis. And he does not believe Ahmadinejad will be deterred from using nuclear weapons by the fear of retaliation. Mutual assured destruction does not work – indeed it may even be an incentive – to those who view a nuclear conflagration as hastening the advent of the hidden 12th imam. If they martyr their own people in the process, Lewis commented, they have only done them a favor by providing them a quick pass to the great brothel in the sky.
There's more at this post by Jonathan Rosenblum at Cross-Currents (which won this week's Watcher's Council competition). He attended a talk by Lewis coupling with a screening of Obsession. Then the next day he had lunch with a "senior American official":
and mentioned Lewis’s point about jihadist historiography. The need to avoid providing further credence to that narrative, he replied, is precisely why the United States cannot allow Iran to go nuclear or be perceived as fleeing Iraq. Either event would only confirm the narrative of Islam’s advance and Western weakness. Iranian possession of the Bomb would cause to skyrocket the status of a state with an explicitly expansionist agenda under the banner of Islam. Every anti-Western terror group in the world would seek protection under Iran’s nuclear umbrella.
Saturday, February 24, 2007
DEMANDS for a ban on “un-Islamic” activities in schools will be set out by the Muslim Council of Britain today....
The report, Towards Greater Understanding – Meeting The Needs of Muslim Pupils In State Schools, says all schools should bring in effective bans for all pupils on “un-Islamic activities” like dance classes.
It also wants to limit certain activities during Ramadan. They include science lessons dealing with sex, parents’ evenings, exams and immunisation programmes.
The holy month – when eating and drinking is not allowed in daylight hours – should also see a ban on swimming lessons in case pupils swallow water in
When swimming is allowed, boys should wear clothing covering their bodies “from the navel to the neck”, even during single-sex pool sessions, while girls must be covered up completely at all times, apart from the face and hands.
The MCB adds that schools should ensure contact sports, including football and basketball, “are always in single-gender groups”...
And while the MCB insists that all British children should learn about Islam, it wants Muslims to have the right to withdraw their children from RE lessons dealing with Christianity and other faiths.
The MCB says special treatment and opt-outs are necessary because otherwise Muslim pupils will feel excluded from school activities and lessons...But other Muslim groups criticised the report. Dr Ghayasuddin Siddiqui of the Muslim Parliament of Great Britain said: “There has been no discussion on these issues in the Muslim community.”
And the Sufi Muslim Council – which claims to represent far more British Muslims than the MCB – said the report misunderstood Ramadan.
It added: “This is not what Islam or Ramadan is about. Ramadan is about training yourself while carrying on with everyday life.”
The MCB seems to be doing an excellent job of marginalising itself. One can only hope that the loony Left follows suit.
Thursday, February 22, 2007
Here's a nice quote from Hamas' charter which you might repeat the next time someone suggests that Israel is being unreasonable in its dealings with Hamas and that Hamas has no problems with Jews but only with the state of Israel:
“Israel, by virtue of its being Jewish and of having a Jewish
population, defies Islam and the Muslims. ‘Let the eyes of the
cowards not fall asleep.’”
And here's one from a parliamentary member:
“Even the churches where the Americans pray are led by Jews
who were converted to Christianity, but they were converted to
keep controlling the Americans.”
— Mohammed Abu Teir, Hamas parliamentary member, April 2006
The unity of government which constitutes you one people is also now dear to you. It is justly so, for it is a main pillar in the edifice of your real independence, the support of your tranquility at home, your peace abroad; of your safety; of your prosperity; of that very liberty which you so highly prize. But as it is easy to foresee that, from different causes and from different quarters, much pains will be taken, many artifices employed to weaken in your minds the conviction of this truth; as this is the point in your political fortress against which the batteries of internal and external enemies will be most constantly and actively (though often covertly and insidiously) directed, it is of infinite moment that you should properly estimate the immense value of your national union to your collective and individual happiness; that you should cherish a cordial, habitual, and immovable attachment to it; accustoming yourselves to think and speak of it as of the palladium of your political safety and prosperity; watching for its preservation with jealous anxiety; discountenancing whatever may suggest even a suspicion that it can in any event be abandoned; and indignantly frowning upon the first dawning of every attempt to alienate any portion of our country from the rest, or to enfeeble the sacred ties which now link together the various parts.
It often seems to me that ` much pains will be taken, many artifices employed to weaken in your minds the conviction of this truth' describes nearly everything that is happening to the Anglosphere at the moment. Of course that's not true, but the sentence is a very accurate description of most intellectuals' actions directed at it.
Of course, in the UK we didn't so much indignantly frown upon the first dawning of every attempt to alienate any portion of our country from the rest, or to enfeeble the sacred ties which now link together the various parts as welcome devolution with open arms.
Never mind, at least we're keeping the children happy.
Tuesday, February 20, 2007
The report said that five million adults lacked functional literacy and more than 17 million had difficulties with numbers.More than one in six youngsters left school unable to read, write or add up properly, said the report.
Of course, this is about a survey. But I think this is how successive governments deal with the problems of an expanding underclass. Fail to educate them (at all), keep them drunk and give them unemployment benefit. Confine them to sink estates and pander to their prejudices at election time.
Sunday, February 18, 2007
He told the BBC he was also considering criminalising nursery membership and how to protect people giving evidence.
But he insisted that fork crime was "a specific problem within a specific criminal culture".
grabbing headlinesspeaking after four fatal shootings in London this month.
In other words, most of you are good, but not all of you. We really need ID to distinguish and will be very harsh on people who irritate us or have the wrong address. Do nothing to protect yourself and allow innocent drug dealers and
David Cameron consumers to go about their business unmolested.
Friday, February 16, 2007
The truth is that what we are fighting for is not so much democracy, though that is part of it, but constitutional liberty. Individual freedom to life, liberty and justly acquired property that is protected under clear constitutional rules; the right to express one’s opinion but, also, the right to disagree, even if the expressed opinion is part of a consensus; the right to religious observance but not to repression of other people and criminal behaviour (threats of violence, honour killings, genital mutilation, kidnapping and forced marriage etc) supposedly in the name of a religion; government decided on by the majority with legitimate minority rights protected; and, above all, legislators and regulators who are accountable for their decisions.
I don't know where to turn. Watching the spectacle of Labour and David Cameron jousting over yoof gun crime has a certain grim fascination, but what is appalling is the recourse to statist control at every turn:
Tory leader David Cameron has called for more powers to "compel" fathers to look after their children in an effort to tackle gang culture.What's he going to do? Shackle them to their children? Publicly brand all sperm-donors?
John Reid said
he was looking at ways of toughening gun laws.They haven't been arrested, John, they've been shot. Dead! When you finally realise that the reason that Parliament allowed the police force to be established was to prevent crime rather than to detect it you might be some use as a Home Secretary, until then you're about as fit for purpose as a Scene of Crime Officer at Auschwitz.
"I have also asked my lawyers, the home office lawyers, to look at ways of possibly strengthening legislation and where appropriate, sentencing," he said.
Then Cameron called for a
"complete change in our values".Amazing how politicians keep calling for this, isn't it? If we listened to them, by now we'd presumably be using the zloty, counting in hexadecimal, speaking Attic Greek, wearing clogs and yodelling. As it is, we've had a nearly complete change of values foisted on us by stealth, but it's taken nearly 60 years and it's not going to be changed simply by someone calling for it (or legislating for it, for that matter).
He said: "I believe in marriage. I believe in people making a commitment to each other and staying together and trying to bring up their children properly."
Children were often attracted to gangs if they lacked a father figure, he added.
Mr Cameron said: "We have got to sit up and realise we are running things by the wrong values. We need to support families."
That's from a sitting-up position , is it?
It leaves me speechless.
Oh no! Failed another exam. We'll have to take a resit. Lucky these UNICEF things are always modular.
A Unicef report published this week put UK children at the bottom of a well-being league table of 21 industrialised countries.
Mr Cameron told a youth organisation in Oxfordshire this meant society was in "deep trouble".
I don't know which is worse, listening to Margaret Thatcher deny the existence of society or Cameron cosying up to it in the hope of being elected. The state has enacted and institutionalised a whole raft of attacks on the family as an oppressive and failed institution. In the way of bad governments, most of these have appealed to some large special interest group which means they are now very hard to repeal. Any attempt to make more than cosmetic changes would have people racing for the Human Rights Act, yet, without radical amendment, little will change. In short, it looks like more political knockabout with the electorate receiving all the custard pies.
Wednesday, February 14, 2007
David Cameron seems to have had more than one go at youthful excess amidst a life of privilege.
It makes me think of Belloc's John Vavassour De Quentin Jones
WHO LOST A FORTUNE BY THROWING STONES:This is certainly the signature tune of the Bullingdon, one of the least savoury of Oxford's dining clubs. Nevertheless, in the greater scheme of things it probably matters little. Indeed, it could be (and often has been) argued that it's far better for a politician to have a past with at least some incident rather than none. After all, Cameron has had no employment except in politics and the media, perhaps the manual labour involved in trashing the odd restaurant has had a salutary effect.
Like many of the upper class,
He liked the sound of breaking glass
No, I'm being cruel and unfair. The real question with any politician is whether they can bring their experience to bear on the problems of human relations whilst repudiating their own excesses. Can Cameron `Banish plump Jack and banish all the world'?
The alternative that Cameron seems to be (more than) flirting with is to cry `Largesse, largesse' and scatter the wealth of the taxpayer in front of enough of the electorate to guarantee him a speedy succession. Indeed, the signs are not good. Gesture politics of the most brazen sort has so far been the order of the day with roof-mounted wind turbines and cake for all, a trumpeting of the evil of climate change and a refusal to lower taxes.
His absurd posturing on his eponymous webcam is also less than welcome when it comes to serious politics.
Now he may have to confront the serious choice: Hal or Louis. Can he renounce the excesses of his teens and early twenties and the idiocies associated with his attempts to endear himself to the media luvvies and the greens and say with Hal `I will. I do', or will he fall back on a patrician manipulation of the masses?
I very much fear the latter.
Tuesday, February 13, 2007
Mr Morgan in a speech on Monday night said: "If our climate in Wales is going to be more like Spain's or southern California's in the summer, then Spain will be more like the Sahara.
"If that is the kind of climate shift we cannot avoid having by 2050, it will hardly be unhelpful to Wales."
During weekly questions the following day, Mr Morgan said he was happy to repeat his comments.
"There is some climate change you can't stop, it's already built into the system and as well as curbing it we need to adapt to it," he argued.
"If the north becomes hotter, it will not be entirely unhelpful."
The response was predictable:
Mr German, AM for south Wales east said he was "amazed" by the first minister's "staggeringly complacent attitude" towards climate change.
He said Wales should play a "leading role" in the green revolution.
"But we cannot do that while we have a "do-nothing" first minister who isn't merely denying climate change, he's positively welcoming it on the grounds that we'd have more sun in the summer," he said.
Plaid Cymru leader Ieuan Wyn Jones described Mr Morgan's comments as "remarkable and utterly irresponsible."
Conservative leader, Nick Bourne, said this "blunder" was worse than the first minister's failure to appear at the D-day landings commemorations and gave the impression that Wales did not care about global warming.
Nevertheless, good news was forthcoming:
Meanwhile, a scheme has been launched to plant a tree for every baby and adopted child in Wales from Autumn 2007.
The BBC has a nice little story on the discovery of stone tools (nutcrackers) used by chimpanzees about 4300BP. Then they have to go and spoil it all in the penultimate paragraph:
The tools were found to be 4,300 years old, which, in human terms, corresponds to the later Stone Age, before the advent of agriculture.Now nearly everybody knows that agriculture started in the fertile crescent about 11500BP: so that's an error of over 7000 years. It's not even as though this one's hard to check. Here's a quick reference: to Wikipedia (it took me 25 seconds to find it).
This is exactly why we should use the MSM and pay the enormous licence fee. Painstaking fact checking and editorial oversight.
Well, I can at least agree to the latter!
Monday, February 12, 2007
In the past one hundred years, four successive political movements—Prussian militarism, German Nazism, Japanese imperialism, and international Communism— mounted military campaigns to conquer Europe, Asia, and the world. Had any of them prevailed, it would have been a profound loss for civilization as we know it. Yet over the course of these bids for power, a coalition headed first by Britain and then by the United States emerged not just to oppose but to destroy them utterly.
From the long perspective of human affairs, these victories must stand as among the most remarkable of the past three millennia. They were as decisive for world history as the victories of the ancient Greeks over Persia, of Rome over Carthage, and of the Franks over the Umayyad Caliphate.
Roberts snubs reproach and defeatism. His tale is of the triumph of light over the forces of darkness. He is even more at odds with his peers by identifying the common culture of the victors as the principal reason they prevailed.
Across the Atlantic, the most virulent criticisms of America and Americans come from Americans themselves. Self-hatred, often through guilt over their supposed materialism and obsession with money, Roberts demonstrates, is an abiding defect. “The politics of the pre-emptive cringe is evident throughout the culture of the English-speaking peoples who in reality ought to be proud of the way that their citizenry can aspire to better themselves.”
This book must rank as one of the great interventions in the culture wars of the past three decades. Roberts’s assessments overturn prevailing liberal attitudes about so many contentious issues that the work amounts to a seismic shift in historical interpretation. Even though he draws his conclusions from much of the best and most recent scholarship, he will infuriate many of his academic critics when they see how he has put it to use.
Sunday, February 11, 2007
The talks between North Korea and the five nations are proceeding apace. The exciting possibility is that the DPRK will go the way of Libya and denuclearise in exchange for substantial aid. The latest news is slightly lukewarm, but still relatively optimistic. Nevertheless, I think this is shaping up to be another triumph for `assertive diplomacy'.
Now, to see what the real problem is, I recommend that you go to the readers' comments on the BBC website here. It's very easy to see the deleterious effect of moral relativism (post modernism, if you prefer). Here is a quotation:
Why should North Korea not have nuclear weapons. We have them, the Americans have them, Israel has them, India has them. Its double standards.
This doesn't scare me any more than the fact that the USA, the only country to have ever used nuclear weapons against another country, has the same capability.
And a third:
I agree, Why should a handful of countries with nuclear power "dictate" to other countries on whether they are or are not allowed to have nuclear weapons. It has given America, uk and Israel power and influence, why should other countires not have it to protect themselves? It is wrong for ALL countries to have it, maybe countires like NK wouldnt have done this had America, UK and Israel not used the fact they have it to bully the world to do things the way they want.
One is left certain that a culture which encourages such negative views about itself is in severe danger. Of course, I say negative views, because these are what are implied when your moral relativism equates your own country with the DPRK, a country which is a hereditary dictatorship, where experiments are carried out on people involuntarily, where foreign nationals are kidnapped to make films for the Dear Leader and so on.
Wednesday, February 07, 2007
Stupidity, of course, takes many forms and has many supporters.
In this instance I would like to consider the vexatious issue of climate change or global warming.
I have posted on this before, with links and comments and mild sniping and major snideness and a general air of being roughly at one with a portion of the blogosphere who regard this sort of thing as, at best, a bit silly and, at worst, moonbattery.
To ape the raven, `nevermore', I cry.
Why do I say this? Because I believe that the reasons for this conflagration, this eruption of self-flagellation and finger-pointing, this continents-wide spasm of techno-millenarianism are more varied. To be more precise, I think that, in common with all major social movements, the climate-change movement has several sources and is fuelled by several interests.
Let me list them briefly.
1) the apocalyptic urge - this is one of the most common sources of major upheaval amongst the relatively wealthy;
2) the (useful) enemy without (and within): politicians confronted with trouble at home, or possessing the will to power without having an agenda which appeals to the electorate have usually found this an effective ploy;
3) the ambition to be a philosopher king: scientists are constantly led to believe that they drive the modern world, yet they are simultaneously `starved of government funds' and depicted as lab-coated geeks. Nothing raises the status and funding of a scientist like being the expert on a major and imminent threat.
4) the postmodern belief that truth is relative: many supporters of the idea that climate change is real, substantial and dangerous believe that if the science is dubious, then it is right to grasp the nettle and lie, lie, lie.
Really, having made these sweeping claims, I should spend much time and energy justifying them. Perhaps I shall, but for now I will content myself with saying that most of the justifications for it are easy to find on the net. A little patience will find sufficient material from reliable sources to at least cast doubt on the mind-boggling certainty with which the `changers' make their assertions.
So, let me merely point you at the post-modernist problem (again):
“It’s over. If CO2 is the problem, we’ve already lost.”
When Gieg gets to this point in his argument, as he often does when talking about global warming, he gets a little frustrated. “I always get sidetracked because, first of all, the science isn’t good. Second, there are all these other interpretations for what we see. Third, it doesn’t make any difference, and fourth, it’s distracting us from environmental problems that really matter.” Among those, Gieg says, are the millions of people a year who die from smoking and two million people a year who die because they don’t have access to clean water.
says Dr Robert Giegengack.
No matter, say the relativists, that is merely your truth and, because you oppose the climate change theory and you are a member of the white oppressive majority, your truth is clearly not worthy to lick the feet of our truth.
So if postmodernists are asked “Aren’t the claims of science just true, and some things objectively right and wrong?” the reaction is not so much “No, because…” but“They’re always doubtful, or relative to our paradigms, or just true for dominant groups in our society; and anyway, in whose interest is it to think science is true?”
Postmodernism is not only an attitude of suspicion, but one of unteachable suspicion.
And what is more, thanks to Kuhn, many of the scientists are on their side:
It would of course be a gross anachronism to call the flat-earth paradigm in geography mistaken. It is simply incommensurable with later paradigms: as is evident from the fact that, for example, problems of antipodean geography could not even be posed under it. Under the Magellanic paradigm, however, one of the problems posed, and solved in the negative, was that of whether New Zealand is a single land mass. That this problem was solved by Cook is, however, a vulgar error of whig historians, utterly discredited by recent historiography. Discovery of the Strait would have been impossible, or at least would not have been science, but for the presence of the Royal Society on board, in the person of Sir Joseph Banks. Much more research by my graduate students into the current sociology of the geographical profession will be needed, however, before it will be known whether, under present paradigms, the problem of the existence of Cook Strait remains solved, or has become unsolved again, or an un-problem.
What has happened is that Postmodernism has made its way into climate science and the results are invigorating.
Wegman found that Mann made a basic error that "may be easily overlooked by someone not trained in statistical methodology. We note that there is no evidence that Dr. Mann or any of the other authors in paleoclimate studies have had significant interactions with mainstream statisticians." Instead, this small group of climate scientists were working on their own, largely in isolation, and without the academic scrutiny needed to ferret out false assumptions.
Worse, the problem also applied more generally, to the broader climate-change and meteorological community, which also relied on statistical techniques in their studies. "[I]f statistical methods are being used, then statisticians ought to be funded partners engaged in the research to insure as best we possibly can that the best quality science is being done," Wegman recommended, noting that "there are a host of fundamental statistical questions that beg answers in understanding climate dynamics."...
Mann's hockey-stick graph may be wrong, many experts now acknowledge, but they assert that he nevertheless came to the right conclusion.To which Wegman, and doubtless others who want more rigourous science, shake their heads in disbelief. As Wegman summed it up to the energy and commerce committee in later testimony: "I am baffled by the claim that the incorrect method doesn't matter because the answer is correct anyway. Method Wrong + Answer Correct = Bad Science."
Human beings are equal; cultures are not. A culture that celebrates femininity is not equal to a culture that trims the genitals of her girls. A culture that holds the door open to her women is not equal to one that confines them behind walls and veils. A culture that spends millions on saving a baby girl’s life is not equal to a one that uses its first encounter with natal technology to undertake mass abortion simply because baby girls are not welcome. A culture with courts that punish a husband for forcing his wife to have sex with him is not equal to a culture with a tribunal that decrees a young woman be gang-raped for talking to a boy of an allegedly higher caste...
Monday, February 05, 2007
YouGov's latest survey for The Daily Telegraph suggests that the principal political divide nowadays is not between the Conservatives and Labour but between the British people and almost the whole of the country's political class...
Seventy per cent or more of those interviewed reckon that politicians constantly make promises they know they cannot keep, that "if you vote a party into power you never know quite what you're going to get", that politicians are too reluctant to bury their differences in the national interest and that most politicians are too preoccupied with scoring points off their opponents.
What happens in a democracy when everyone refuses to vote?
Sunday, February 04, 2007
Denmark is now the second most satanic country (as perceived by Egyptians).
Turban Bomb also has a wonderful translation from Jyllands Posten editorial on Al Gore.
Here's a bit:
He probably knows deep inside that his claims about the miserable state of the planet is thinly based, and that a meeting with Bjørn Lomborg would be a mental striptease. His nonsense work and exaggerated terror-scenarios would be ripped apart without mercy.
Friday, February 02, 2007
A Home Office minister has suggested people "distract" potential criminals while waiting for police to intervene....Tony McNulty MP agreed that jumping up and down could help.
Mr McNulty says people waiting for help can "get back to the police, try some distractive activities."
"Hello, hello. Is that the police?"
"You've come through to the Home Office, sir. What seems to be the problem?"
"There's a man. He's hitting an old lady. Right here, on the street outside my home!"
"We'll send someone 'round. But I'm sure he's not. Probably just a bit of youthful high spirits"
"No. Oh look! He's hitting her again. And trying to push her over!"
"Have you tried hopping?"
"Have you tried hoppping at him?"
"He's a tough looking chap. All covered in tattoos. Why would I hop at him?"
"Well, it might distract him."
"Distract him? You need to arrest him. I ought to go out there and punch him. The big bully!"
"Now sir, don't talk about punching him. That might well be illegal and there's no need. Studies have shown that a quick distracting manoeuvre is far more likely to be effective. Also, there's less chance of you being attacked if you restrict yourself to non-violent action. Have you got a post horn by any chance?"
"Well, any musical instrument would do really. Although a piano might be difficult. Do you play the cornet perhaps? Or the saxophone? Nothing like a good blast on the saxophone to sort out a bit of street violence."
"No, no, sorry. I've nothing like that. I used to be quite good on the drums though. Oh! Oh dear! He's thrown her to the ground. He's kicking her."
"Oh dear! That is nasty! We're really trying to get someone to you as fast as possible, but we're a bit short-staffed at the moment. I tell you what. Have you still got the drums?"
"Drums? Drums? No, no! I got rid of them years ago."
"Oh dear! That's too bad! No musical instruments at all then?
"Shame! Well, we'll have to put our thinking caps on then, won't we?"
"Yeees, I suppose we will."
"Yes? What is it?"
"Stereo! Do a General Noriega on him! Quite a slick idea, though I say so myself! Point your speakers out the window, play something really loud and Bob's your uncle. Or Panama's your hat. He goes all woozy. Loses the will to fight! Loses his edge. His focus. You know the sort of thing! Seen it a thousand times."
"So I play him something like the 1812 Overture, you mean? Or Metallica? Or Deep Purple? Meatloaf's Bat Out Of Hell. Symphony of a Thousand."
"Or you could just try Cliff Richards really loud!"
"OK. OK. I'm trying it. Turning the speakers 'round now. Putting on the Meatloaf CD. Oh! Oh dear!"
"What? What? Speak to me, sir! Don't give up now! You were doing so well! He hasn't run away has he?"
"No! No! Not exactly. He's um...well, he's um, he's here."
"Well, here. You know, here. In the room here, with me and, you know, the stereo."
"Quick, quick, try hopping."
"OK! OK! I know. Stand on your head! Drop your trousers. Um. Anything. Can you dance? Flirt! Make conversation! Talk about the weather! Um...um why? Why is he with you?"
"Well, it seems that he really, really doesn't like Meatloaf."