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Home March 2011
March 2011

RIP one of the Strangers on a Train

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Farley Granger has died.

'Strangers on a Train' is my only real memory of him, but I see from IMDB he was also in 'Rope'.

What I learned and did not know is that Robert Walker, the other stranger on the train, married Jennifer Jones!

I wish the other attempts at making movies of Patricia Highsmith novels were so successful.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 29 March 2011 09:08

Dick Durbin on CNN Says Islam is a Great Religion

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Makes me wonder what 'great' means to him.

Earth Day in Ontario is a Bad Joke

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Our electricity is almost entirely generated from Hydro and nuclear. So what exactly is the problem?

The Immigrant Experience

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Ignatieff really should not have played this card.

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Ezra is not too cool either about this.

Hey I think of my background as privileged and I did not go to UCC!


Air Farce

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 I never found the Royal Canadian Air Farce at all funny but i DID find Don Ferguson's farewell to Roger Abbott this morning utterly lovely.

I ask some commenter to find a link. I am sure the CBC will rightly make one available.


The Amazing Race - S18E06

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Do I mind the product placement? No - someone has to pay for all the fun.

What a great episode and what a miserable test - to force every team to identify one tea taste among so many others. This was close to the cruel episode last season that asked teams to find fake food.I miss Brook and Claire!

I won't miss Margie and Luke - they were always a tad whiny.

But when you refelct over the years, they were pretty good and appealling. But now we have teams that are just utterly fiun and positive.

Last Updated on Monday, 28 March 2011 11:34

Norberg Again!

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Yes I am a fan of Annette Norberg and I am pleased she has yet again won the World Championship in Curling.

But you know she is fun in another way:

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Yeah, burning for the steal!

Last Updated on Monday, 28 March 2011 05:45

Earth Hour

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I have my laundry/dryer ready and my dishwasher. I will turn on all my lights.

Sadly I am alone so only one of our TVs will be on at a time.

UPDATE: And every computer in the house that needs an update has just started.

Last Updated on Saturday, 26 March 2011 18:55

Great Moments in History

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What a great talk!

Last Updated on Sunday, 27 March 2011 09:00

Impressive Libyan Technology

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CNN is reporting that British fighters are systematically attacking Libyan tanks.

Given that the purpose of the mission is to establish a no-fly zone, it is crucial to take out the flying tanks. I had no idea how advanced Libyan military technology was; wonder from whom they bought them.

But I do get the point; a no-fly zone established two weeks earlier than it was might have made sense, but it was already pretty useless as a tool when it was agreed upon by the 'multinational community' (as pointed out quite frequently, a much smaller coalition that the one that invaded Iraq).


How Brilliant were Benny and Bjorn?

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I had to dig through my archives this evening and I stumbled acorss my earlier reference to Abba's Cassandra. I am embarrassed to admit that I never listened to the lyrics carefully, just basically enjoying their wonderful reference to Cassandra's unrecognized skill at prophecy.

But they are smarter than that and the lyrics are wonderful, as is so often the case when classical sources are cited. The classics so often provide templates for what is happening today.

And the music, as is so often true with them, always puts the emphasis on the right syllable.

For me the opening resonates in a weird way:

Down in the street they're all singing and shouting
Staying alive though the city is dead
Hiding their shame behind hollow laughter

I lived in Berkeley when Saigon fell and this describes the place perfectly on that night. Ironically, only a few years later, all those rejoicing, 'singing and shouting', would be sponsoring Vietnamese boat people (and more power to us who did it), but not connecting these events at all.

The good thing is the US was not Troy and there were victories to come.

I am sure this was NOT in the minds of the authors of this song. But the template fits really well.

For me the lines that are the best, and killing, are:

So in the morning your ship will be sailing
Now that your father and sister are gone
There is no reason for you to linger
You're grieving deeply but still moving on
You know the future is casting a shadow
No one else sees it but you know your fate
Packing your bags, being slow and thorough
Knowing, though you're late, that ship is sure to wait

I was surprised her brother was not mentioned (Hector). But the terribleness of this passage is the horror of the story. Cassandra had agreed to become Agamemnon's concubine and return with him from Troy, and she must have known an immediate consequence would be the murder of both of them. As it was.

Still even just the general chorus is great, even without listening to all the above.

I do think this matters and we have some good Cassandras around, and studiously igonre or persecute them:

Some of us wanted but none of us would
Listen to words of warning
But on the darkest of nights
Nobody knew how to fight
And we were caught in our sleep.

Yup, the upcoming sleep of the West, which I expect to die before witnessing it in a final form, though to me it seems to be advancing.

And this killing triplet of lines in the last verse, when you know Cassandra's fate (which she at the time knows!).

She stood on deck, just a tiny figure
Rigid and restrained, blue eyes filled with pain
Sorry Cassandra I misunderstood

Damn those Greeks!

And one should never forget, despite my focus on Benny and Bjorn, that they were writing for four, and the magnificence of the sound they produced depended on two special women.

But why is 'Cassandra' one of their least known songs?

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Last Updated on Thursday, 24 March 2011 19:06

How Hopeless is the NY Times?

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They want us to pay now for the quality reporting  they offer, presumably over other sources, and blogs.

CONCLUSION: The staff of Shanghai Scrap conclude that, a) Foreigners can feel confident that they can quote Shakespeare, in English, when discussing restaurants in China on the phone; b) the New York Times needs to widen its circle of sources on censorship beyond people who quote Shakespeare, in English, when discussing restaurants on the phone. Further study needed on whether or not phones used by New York Times correspondents and assistants are the most reliable means of judging phone censorship in China.

This is a mere summary - the whole article is worth reading, just to see how ridiculously credulous the NY Times staff is of what it clearly really wants to believe.

I have noted earlier problems.

OK look even in the absence of fact-checkers, you might hire people capable of thinking about how likely their claims are.

But maybe that is not a criterion for hiring a journalist there (or anywhere - I see no difference in Toronto). Leave critical skills to us bloggers. Though that model hardly justifies the Times' paywall. Or any future business model for them.


This is the Neighbor I Want!

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At least in an utter crisis.

Akaiwa said he was at work a few miles away when the tsunami hit, and he rushed back to find his neighborhood inundated with up to 10 feet of water. Not willing to wait until the government or any international organization did, or did not, arrive to rescue his wife of two decades — whom he had met while they were surfing in a local bay — Akaiwa got hold of some scuba gear. He then hit the water, wended his way through the debris and underwater hazards and managed to reach his house, from which he dragged his wife to safety.

"The water felt very cold, dark and scary," he recalled. "I had to swim about 200 yards to her, which was quite difficult with all the floating wreckage."

With his mother still unaccounted for several days later, Akaiwa stewed with frustration as he watched the water recede by only a foot or two. He repeatedly searched for her at City Hall and nearby evacuation centers.

Finally, on Tuesday, he waded through neck-deep water, searching the neighborhood where she'd last been seen. He found her, he said, on the second floor of a flooded house where she'd been waiting for help for four days.

"She was very much panicked because she was trapped with all this water around," Akaiwa said. "I didn't know where she was. It was such a relief to find her."

Wow! and Wow! And there is more - go read the whole thing.


Typical BBC Stupid Framing

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I just received an e-mail asking me to watch some of their shows and the title was:

World Debate: Has Western Policy Failed the Arab World?

Maybe I would think the debate would be better on this: "Have the Arabs Failed Civilization, after a Sort of Try 1000 Years Ago?"


No Fatwa? No Death Threat? What?

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What's wrong with those crazed Christian Evangleicals? Should they not be sending people to kill this woman?

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I await the analogous pole dancing for Mohammed. Wait, should it not be Allah? No, maybe on the small theological point, it should be Mohammed. After all, Jesus is just a Muslim prophet.

And sure they can do it in burqas. Well, I would not mind.

Last Updated on Thursday, 24 March 2011 14:32

An Invitation

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Please explain to me how loons like this deserve any respect, intellectual or otherwise.

The resolution read that this house strongly condemns American cleric act of blasphemy by desecrating the Holy Quran in Florida. It demanded of the federal government to take up the issue at the international level.

I think the nutbars want Pakistan's government to do something because some guy burned the Koran in Florida and posted it on youtube. What IS it with Mohammed's hallucinations about his imaginary friend Allah?

Like, who frigging should care? Why don't they burn a copy of the US Constitution, or Barack's Memoirs, at their mosque, and post that on youtube? Or hey - burn the whole archive of a printed version of this blog and post that on youtube? Let's see how many legislatures ask for international action? Actually the main thing about their behavior is it makes the whole notion of legislature in their country look ridiculous.

These people are not really stupid, just stupidified by their environment. I do not much care what these idiots do in Baluchistan, but I will certainly try to resist any reflection of this nonsense on this continent.

Last Updated on Thursday, 24 March 2011 14:41

The Biggest Wusses in the World

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I almost feel sorry for Obama. The Arab League endorses the no-fly zone in Libya!

And then when the Arab League sees what it means they go all wimpy!

What a useless bunch. Have the Arabs picked the right side in anything in 200 years?

Not that I can see. (Actually 1000 years is a good question too.)

Last Updated on Monday, 21 March 2011 15:38

The Monarchs Are on the Move

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Great report from Harlen Aschen in Texas:

Monarch Watchers,

Many eggs this morning!  Went out about 11:30 am and checked some of the larger potted Asclepias curassavica we have on the deck and found up to 15 eggs on one plant, two eggs on one leaf. These plants are fifteen to eighteen inches tall.  Figure there are three dozen eggs on that bunch of plants.  Didn't get to go out and check any of the curassavica in the two big beds because we watered for four hours yesterday.

They will be here soon!


What The Hell are the Glee Producers Thinking?

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I thought this year's regionals episode was pretty good, except for its cheap shots.  Why would you hire Kathy Griffin to play a Tea party politician?

Cheap and embarrassing.  But to privilege Griffin, who publicly insulted Bristol Palin in front of an audience of soldiers (her brother had served), and has vowed to torment Willow Palin, is an astonishing behavior.  This is one unpleasant crew of human beings. The character served no useful role on the show and need not have been included. It is clear her presence was a pure political statement. Sick.

It saddens me as I have loved the show.  And I am totally in love with Rachel Berry.

Last Updated on Saturday, 19 March 2011 15:12

Two Wildly Different Press Conferences

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Obama, stumbling and hesitating in Brazil.  Hillary forceful in Paris.

And count on Ann Althouse for some explanation of the differences.

To ally with Power and Rice, Clinton had to make "an unusual break with Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates, who, along with the national security adviser, Thomas E. Donilon, and the counterterrorism chief, John O. Brennan, had urged caution." Oh, timid men. Step aside! Yield to the boldness of women.

As a Canadian, I appreciated Clinton's frequent repetition of Canada's involvement.


Obama's Brazilian Manifestation

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This press conference is a riot; the Brazilian president is speaking Portuguese determiniedly, when I bet she can speak Englaish.  But she knows Obama does not have any knowledge of Portuguese.  And her country has just abstained on the no-fly for Libya.

Making Obama look like a buffoon seems to be getting easier and easier.

Last Updated on Saturday, 19 March 2011 11:00

Have I Wakened in an Alternative Universe?

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CNN has Barbara Starr wringing her hands over intervention in Libya, awaiting a statement from the king of the ineffectual, Obama, while Sarkozy says his jets are flying over Libya.

I am amazed.

Hillary must be so delighted to be with someone actually taking action.

UPDATE: I actually find Sarkozy's speech quite moving.  In a W kind of way, of course. I am not sure I want to hear the great windbag on his dodging of responsibility, mind you.

Last Updated on Saturday, 19 March 2011 10:51

The Winter Quiet Has Been Broken

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In London earlier in the week, I thought I had a fleeting glimpse of a red-winged blackbird.

So this morning I headed for the lake.  Within five seconds of leaving the car, that characteristic trill could be heard.  They're back!  And not just the red-wings.  Some very frisky robins were competing for the favors of another robin.

There is something truly magnificent about the idea that these little creatures make such great journeys.

I also spotted a cardinal but many of those birds winter here.


Irish Day

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I studiously avoid wearing green on this day, and no longer head for the pubs.

But there is a lot of the culture I love.

And I especially love this song, where the narrator gets more and more irrational, simply because he is frustrated as a driver.  The lurid imaginings are a riot. I want to point out that I do not occupy the outside lane at low speeds.

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The Broken Window Fallacy

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Man, it is persistent.

David Bernstein is rightly horrified to find it in the Wall Street Journal. And then he is withering:

Sure. And instead of sending American aid, let’s follow up the earthquake with a few bombing runs over Tokyo. That will really “lift the economy.” Jeez.

How dopey can people insist on being?

Last Updated on Saturday, 12 March 2011 16:12

Doctors May Recommend Booze as Part of a Healthy Diet

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Ooopss.  I misheard that ad.  When I looked up it was an ad for Boost.

Oh well - back to the drawing board.


Well Said, Kerry!

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A well-deserved rebiuke to that sorry twit Nick Day, rector of Queen's University.

Read the whole thing, but here is a nice point that summarizes the moral emptiness of positions like that of Mr. Day.

I spent six weeks in Israel this past summer volunteering for their national ambulance service, Magen David Adom. I can tell you first hand that we treated every patient with the same consideration and respect regardless of whether they were Jewish, Muslim or any of the other many religions of Israel. Before my volunteering began I was prepped [for the uncommon possibility] of getting an emergency call into a Palestinian settlement. I was told that we would have to switch to a bulletproof ambulance and have soldiers lead us in. This was because when Israeli ambulances enter Palestinian territories, to lend aid to Palestinians, they are usually shot at. Tell me, Mr. Day, how do you consider Israelis risking their own lives to save Palestinians genocide? How do you consider it Apartheid?

Mr. Day seems to believe the rabble babble spewed on campuses, by people who should know better. Though to be honest, as a subscriber to, I have to confess maybe they aren't equipped to know better.

I'm Not Sure He's Lying

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I think he is stupid enough to believe most of  the false things he says.  I am sure he believed all that baloney about history and the Muslim world he parroted in Cairo.

He may well not be a liar, just a fool.

It's hard to know which is preferable.

Last Updated on Friday, 11 March 2011 18:17

Delicious Wordplay

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In a way I know of only the Brits doing:

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The recent provenance of so many of the words played on is amazing.  And the transition at the end into a sort og homonym joke is excellent.

UPDATE: I mean above the recent provenance of the new meanings.

h/t Mungowitz

Last Updated on Friday, 11 March 2011 10:51

If NPR Keeps its Funding ...

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.. after this, something is seriously wrong.

When a man posing as Ibrahim Kasaam asked, “It sounded like you were saying NPR would be able to shield us from a government audit, is that correct?” NPR’s senior director of institutional giving, Betsy Liley, responded, “I think that is the case, especially if you are anonymous. I can inquire about that.”

Remember MEAC was presented asa Muslim Brotherhood front:

“NPR can list MEAC as an anonymous donor in our database, which would mean we would not disclose the organization’s name,” Liley wrote in the e-mail to the fictitious Kasaam. “We do not publish a list of gifts, so it would not be an issue there.”

I knew these people had to be awful, but this awful?


On Winsocki

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While his language is a bit harsh, I think Jeff G gets what is happening in Wisconsin perfectly:

Here’s what these idiot Madison “protesters” — along with their intellectually bankrupt fellow travelers playing Solidarność on fucking facebook as if this is just another cause celebre the world has ginned up to keep hipsters feeling “political” — are actively, vocally agitating FOR: no school choice for kids; no merit pay for teachers; seniority raises, and a first hired / last fired policy that promotes mediocrity, disinterest, and underperformance, while providing no incentive for effective teaching; forced union dues; forced political contributions to the Democrat party, made possible by a tawdry money laundering scheme that in many ways works to disenfranchise Republican voters in the union; the inability of tax payers to have any say over local schools; and on and on and on.

I mean, this is what we’ve come to as a nation: form over substance as a fucking installation art form. The pollutant of “progressive” thinking has here culminated in a surreal civic moment, one in which the idealized cultural sexiness of the 60s, and a desire to re-live it, has given us the spectacle of university students chanting in favor of bigger government, less choice, fewer freedoms, and a total subsuming of the individual into an dictatorial, top-down collective. Like a hive of buzzing drones, these people are now actively swarming in hopes of bringing on the deconstruction of their country’s founding ideals by way of agitating for a neutered collective ruled by a top-down union leadership structure, one that splits the profits with the Democrat party while the private sector taxpayer gets higher property taxes to go with the dwindling opportunity available outside the government ranks.

And they pretend to be for the “working man”!

And, as he points out, their notion of democracy reeks of the sixties:

Not only that, but the scorching scorching irony of the chants of “this is what democracy looks like” coming from these useful idiots is likewise blazingly surreal: because what representative democracy actually looks like happened in November, and would have happened again in Madison had the Dems not FLED THE FUCKING STATE TO AVOID PARTICIPATING IN THE DEMOCRATIC PROCESS.

Which means that to these “protesters,” “democracy” boils down to “I must always win, or else it isn’t really legitimate democracy.”

Sorry, but that’s fucking TYRANNY wrapped in word they’ve stolen from a patriotic bumper sticker.

Or, as Mickey Kaus puts it: "Did Walker win?"

My embedded reporter in Madison, Ann Althouse, has been blogging up a storm, as her ace reporter, Meade, does field work.

My guess - the key part of the bill is the elimination of the union dues check-off; that is a very valuable step.


Barbara Kay Partly Answers a Question

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I asked in a previous post why Sarah Palin gets some people into such an irrational tizzy, and inspires the kind of hatred that makes a Kathy Griffin publicly insult Bristol Palin and promise to publicly torrment Willow Palin. Barbara Kay gives me some of the answer, and provides some interesting examples of what nutbars the people who get so excited are.

The capsule version:

Feminists long have militated for more women to go into politics. Of course, as their visceral loathing of Sarah Palin demonstrates, it wasn’t “women” they wanted to see running for office, it was feminists: politically correct clones of themselves who would understand that their commitment to women’s interests trumps all.

If there is one issue that illustrates the bright line between revolutionary feminism and Palinite feminism, it is abortion. The unfettered right to abortion is an irreducible feminist dogma. It wasn’t always the case. The Suffragettes were political pioneers, but social conservatives. Thanks to Sarah Palin, the long political hibernation of socially conservative feminism is over.

And some further quotes, though you should read the whole thing. A lot of people will be doing so, so it will be sueful for the water cooler.

The background:

Second-wave feminism’s focus soon shifted from women’s equal rights (which are limited to those defined by law) to women’s interests (which are limitless), as perceived through a victim’s lens. For decades, the people that instruct our children; mould our lawyers, social workers, psychologists and health professionals; train our judiciary; control (and misinform) the domestic-violence industry; shape the views of journalists; and counsel politicians: All have been marinating from early youth in feminist correctness.

Then Palin appears:

Feminist blogger Jessica Grose wrote on her Jezebel web site: “When Palin spoke on Wednesday night, my head almost exploded … What I feel for her privately could be described as violent, nay murderous, rage.” Judith Warner wrote in The New York Times that Palin was an “insult to women.” Comedian Sandra Bernhard riffed on YouTube: “Turncoat bitch! You whore in your cheap f***ing … cheap-ass plastic glasses.” Academic Wendy Doniger opined, “Palin’s greatest hypocrisy is her pretense that she is a woman.” And who can forget Canada’s very own Heather Mallick — then of the CBC, now of the Toronto Star — who watched Palin with “my mouth open, my eyeballs drying out, my hand making shaky notes.” From those “shaky notes” emerged a stomach-turning attack on Palin’s “pram-face” daughter, Bristol, followed by the advice: “Turn your guns on [Bristol’s boyfriend] Levi, ma’am.”

The thing is, in terms of civil discourse, it is unimaginable  to hear Palin speak or thing anything like this. These people are bonkers. I feel sorry for how far they have drifted from anything resembling a decent humanity. They are so full of resentmant and envy.

There's a good description of what Palin is letting loose on the land; I had NO idea Bachmann was so prolific a foster mother. So neat.

But read the article, not me.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 09 March 2011 17:13

A Nice Post by Andrew Montford

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He comments about a recent Charlie Rose show. In the process, he makes one key point, one of the few things my immersion in the climate science debate has made me pretty confident of.

If climatology is ever to return to some semblance of normality, it is going to have to deal with the fact that it is impossible to do paleoclimate temperature reconstructions with any accuracy (as Jones has now apparently admitted). Then somebody is going to have to explain to the public why the IPCC has been saying something entirely different for the last ten years. I don't think it is unreasonable for sceptics to demand public recognition of what the scientists are saying to each other privately.

Normal sciences do not hide the decline and they do not use sales tools like the Hockey Stick and they do not pretend they know more than they do. All these corruptions of science should be condemned by Paul Nurse. He does not need to throw the baby out with the bathwater: "Hide the decline was wrong but the hypothesis still stands" is a valid point of view. However, silence on hide the decline looks suspiciously like complicity and that would be unfortunate.

Everyone in the scientific establishment and in climatology should be speaking out and condemning the malpractice exposed by Climategate.  Only then will we get a chance of normality in climate science and a rational debate on global warming.

And in response to clalims that climate skeptics make exaggerations he responds:

I'm particularly intrigued by the idea that the critics of mainstream climate science have exaggerated things - presumably the importance of the Climategate and the paleoclimate studies. This suggests to me that Sir Paul hasn't really examined the story in sufficient detail: after all, it was the IPCC that put the Hockey Stick into the Third Assessment Report in six different places. It was Sir John Houghton who launched the report in front of a very large blow-up of the graph. It is not sceptics who have exaggerated the importance of paleoclimate (and Climategate, which resulted from it), but the IPCC. As I say in the Hockey Stick Illusion, the problem is not that the Hockey Stick was central to the global warming hypothesis but that the IPCC promoted it as if it were.

Amen. That was all politics, nothing resembling anything I would call science.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 09 March 2011 16:49

What Sort of Joke Policing is This?

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While there may be “valid reasons not to lay charges” the MCC’s Bakhtiar said the “optics of the Toronto police assigning Muslim officers to investigate threats made by radicals against liberal Muslims and then not charging them, leaves the impression that when it comes to the safety of liberal Muslims, the TPS is more interested in multiculturalism rather than to serve and protect.”

Sure does leave that impression!

Last Updated on Wednesday, 09 March 2011 16:49

No Surprise to Me

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... or, I expect, many people, that such a preening, morally bereft, bigoted, little man thinks of himself as an intellectual and a liberal.  There are many more like him out there.

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I wonder how much coverage the CBC is giving this.

Kudos to Project Veritas


In Under Seventy Years It Becomes an Utter Joke

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And sure I know there is good work being done, but it is really hard to know what is what.

Though what I linked to IS an utter joke on the world.  As was Libya's central involvement on the Human Rights Council.

Islam is truly a sorry business. And it seems good at getting approval these days.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 09 March 2011 08:08
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November 24 2010