These are all the Blogs posted on Friday, 4, 2009.
Friday, 4 September 2009
Ethnic tension flares over syringe attacks in Chinese city of Urumqi
From The Times
Thousands of angry protesters marched in China’s only Muslim-majority region today to demand government action over a series of hit-and-run syringe attacks blamed on the ethnic Uighur group.
The unrest is certain to unsettle the authorities, coming just weeks after angry Uighurs rampaged through the streets of the city of Urumqi in riots that left 197 dead in the worst violence in China in 50 years.
One resident of Urumqi said he saw a group of ethnic Han Chinese beating up a man from the Turkic-speaking Muslim Uighur minority, accusing him of being among those suspected of stabbing passers-by with syringes.
A Han Chinese man told The Times: “Thousands of people, maybe tens of thousands gathered in People’s Square today to protest. We don’t believe the Government is doing enough to protect us from these syringe attacks.”
The crowd chanted: “Useless government, useless government” as they milled for hours in the city’s main square.
The depth of ethnic tension was underscored by the latest reports of bizarre syringe attacks reported on the streets of Urumqi. Officials say people of all ethnic groups have been hurt and 15 people have been detained for the stabbings. They have given no figure for the number of injured nor a breakdown of their ethnic background.
Several people have been treated in hospital but there have been no reports that anyone has been seriously hurt. The China Daily website said no one had been infected or poisoned by the syringe stabbings.
The Han Chinese resident told The Times: “People are pretty nervous to go out on the streets now. Parents make sure that they accompany their children to and from school to protect them from this kind of attack.”
Hospitals declined to give any details of those injured in the bizarre syringe stabbings. An official at the regional People’s Hospital said: “This is a secret matter. Only the government is authorised to give information.”
Zhao Jianzhuang, a Han resident, said he had joined a large crowd of protesters who were being blocked by riot police from marching on central People's Square, less than 1 mile (1.6 km) away.
He said anger was stoked by a perceived delay in trials for those arrested after the July riot, as well as by the recent spate of stabbings. “There are so many security forces deployed here, yet they're incapable of protecting us.”
Posted on 09/04/2009 3:54 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Friday, 4 September 2009
Noor Ramjanally charged - to appear at court in 2 weeks.
From This is Local London
Noor Ramjanally, of Valley Hill, Loughton, has been charged with perverting the course of justice after being arrested yesterday (September 3).
Mr Ramjanally previously said his home was also firebombed, although the charge only relates to the kidnap claim.
Mr Ramjanally has been released on police bail to appear at Harlow Magistrates Court on Wednesday September 16.
Now this is what you call a kidnap
From The Harrow Times
A GANG who abducted the son of a wealthy property magnate and demanded £250,000 in return for his life face years behind bars.
The 25-year-old Indian student was battered, bound, blindfolded and held hostage for four days at swordpoint at a flat in Glenalmond Road, Kenton.
The gang threatened to murder him and “cut him into four pieces” in calls to his family. HIs Stepfather . . .was then asked for a ransom of 20 million rupees.
The plot was foiled when armed police dramatically rescued the victim using stun grenades to stormed the stronghold on October 20 last year.
According to the prosecution "Police saw the victim sitting in the living room on a chair, he being blindfolded by tape, and also bound by tape and cables on his arms and legs, and with tape around his face and head, slouched forwards and not appearing to be moving, with dried blood on his shirt, face and thigh area. He was in obvious distress. A sword and knife lay beside him.”
The victim's injuries included grazes and swelling on his face, legs and wrists, and several of his teeth were loose and chipped.
Police were contacted after the victim did not return home to his shared flat in Wembley, on October 17 last year, and his step-father received ransom calls in Hindi.
Shujak Khaliq and Arif Aga (he is from Kosovo), both 26, and Dipesh Chauhan, 28, were arrested after an undercover operation by police.
Chauhan was stopped at the wheel of a Skoda in Shrewsbury Avenue, Harrow, after police fired bullets at his tyres. I drive a Skoda - I do hope it is not going to become the getaway motor of choice for all the low lifes of London!
The trio will be sentenced on October 2.
One of the several reasons I had doubts about Ramjanally's story was that most of the 4x4 vehicles I have seen around don't have a boot (what in the US is called a trunk, I believe) of the sort someone could be imprisoned in. They have a sort of back space where the labradors can sit, while off to Epping Forest for walkies. I was intending to make the point that a 4x4 of a model with secure boot space would be so unusual, if such is actually made, as to be relatively easy to trace. Even a cardboard shelf cover while sufficient to conceal shopping from prying gaze would not restrict a fit healthy consious person.
There are however still cars with boots strong enough to trap a person. Nurse Magdeline Makola suffered for 10 days in the boot of a Vauxhall Astra while her attacker made merry with her credit cards last year.
From The Scotsman
A NURSE who was bound, gagged and blindfolded in the boot of her car for ten days told yesterday how she had begun "making friends with death" during her ordeal after her captor was warned he may never be released from prison.
Magdeline Makola was found suffering from dehydration and hypothermia on Boxing Day last year after enduring what a judge said was "the stuff of nightmares"
Ms Makola, from Livingston, West Lothian, originally from South Africa, yesterday revealed how she thought she was going to die during the ordeal.
She said: "The most worrying thing was that rope in my neck. All of a sudden I just started making friends with death. I tried to kick the boot but I started to lose hope. I said, 'What else could I do?' People were not hearing me at all."
Judge Lord Menzies said it was "quite remarkable" she survived a "terrifying" experience, adding that medical evidence suggested she would not have lived for another two days.
He told Ngema: "I cannot imagine a greater disregard for another human being than the way you treated your victim."
(He is) Justice Ngema, an illegal immigrant from South Africa also known as Sufis Praise God Ngema, He was sentenced at the High Court in Glasgow to a minimum of eight years in jail as well as a lifelong restriction order, which could lead the 35-year-old serving a lengthier term if parole officers believe he continues to pose a risk.
Ms Makola, a nurse who worked at Edinburgh Royal Infirmary, was discovered trapped in her car in Airdrie, Lanarkshire, after two police officers recognised the vehicle's registration number following a nationwide alert.
She was in hospital for weeks afterwards. She couldn't walk because her legs had swollen; I remember a news report cheering her progress when she was able to get out of bed and walk a few steps down the ward. She suffered kidney damage from dehydration, was barely concious, yet has still managed to retain a Christian attitude towards her attacker.
Posted on 09/04/2009 4:19 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Friday, 4 September 2009
A Dangerous Delusion
Andrew McCarthy supports George Will's call for withdrawal from Afghanistan. A position staked out by Hugh Fitzgerald for over five years now.
Rght after 9/11, Pres. George W. Bush made a succinct demand of the Taliban: Hand over Osama bin Laden and his cohorts or face horrific consequences. The demand, the president emphasized, was non-negotiable. The Taliban refused, insisting that the U.S. produce evidence against al-Qaeda. Because Islamists — not just terrorists but all Islamists — believe the United States is the enemy of Islam, the Taliban also floated the possibility of rendering bin Laden to a third country. No deal, Bush replied. As promised, the consequences were swift and severe. Yet, two weeks into the first bombing raids, the president offered the Taliban a “second chance.” Mullah Omar declined to take it. The invasion proceeded and the rest is history.
It’s now a long, confused history. The distance we’ve traveled from the clarity of the first days is manifest in the Right’s ongoing intramural skirmish over the eminent George Will’s latest column.Will has called for a steep reduction of our 60,000-strong military force (out of a total of about 100,000 coalition troops) in Afghanistan. That country, he argues, is an incorrigible mess where we’re engaged more in social work than in combat. Instead, Will would have our forces retreat to offshore bases from which, “using intelligence, drones, cruise missiles, airstrikes and small, potent special forces units,” American efforts could be concentrated on Afghanistan’s “porous 1,500-mile border with Pakistan, a nation that actually matters.” This suggestion comes just as other conservatives are backing a Pentagon proposal to add about 40,000 troops. They seek a counterinsurgency surge for Afghanistan, similar to the one they claim worked so well in Iraq three years ago.
There’s no question that the surge in Iraq resulted in the rout of al-Qaeda. For that reason, it has to be counted as a net success. It would have been a strategic disaster to retreat while al-Qaeda was present and fortifying itself.
But then there was the rest of the surge rationale: the claim that we needed to secure the Iraqi population so a stable government, one that would be a reliable ally against terror, could emerge. The same argument now is being made about Afghanistan. Have you taken a look at Iraq lately? We went there to topple Saddam; we stayed to build an Islamic “democracy,” and the result is an Iranian satellite. The new Iraq is a sharia state that wants us gone, has denied us basing rights for future military operations, has pressured a weak American president into releasing Iran-backed terrorists, has rolled out the red carpet for Hezbollah, allows Iranian spies to operate freely (causing the recent ouster of the intelligence minister, who was an American ally), tolerates the persecution of religious minorities, and whose soon-to-take-power ruling coalition vows “not to establish relations with the Zionist entity” — a vow that would simply continue longstanding Iraqi policy, as Diana West points out. If that’s success, what does failure look like?
Democracy-project naysayers (I’ve long been one) reluctantly supported the surge in Iraq because our nation could not allow al-Qaeda a victory there. By contrast, as Rich Lowry mentions in passing at The Corner, “al-Qaeda is not in Afghanistan.” Rich’s observation came in the course of chiding Will’s advocacy of “counterterrorist strikes from a distance.” But if al-Qaeda is not in Afghanistan, why do we still need 60,000 troops there, let alone 40,000 more? We don’t invade other hostile countries where al-Qaeda is actually present (see, e.g., Iran, Kenya, Yemen, Somalia), and the likelihood of al-Qaeda’s return is not enough to keep us in other countries where we’re not wanted (e.g., Iraq). That is, we’re already banking on our capacity to conduct counterterrorist strikes from a distance...
Posted on 09/04/2009 7:24 AM by Rebecca Bynum
Friday, 4 September 2009
A Musical Interlude: Sittin' On A Rubbish Can (Julia Gerity)
Posted on 09/04/2009 11:20 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Friday, 4 September 2009
Questions Ian Plimer Primly Posted, Or Mind Your Ps And Qs
At www.realclimate.org Gavin A. Schmidt, a man wiith stamina, has chosen to take on Ian Plimer, a well-known "global warming skeptic" who sent a list of questoins to a journalist George Monbiot (Monbiot is himself unimportant in this, the mere recipient of the questions, and I go out of my way to note that because, in some of his other views but not for his views on climateMonbiot shows himself to be both bizarre and detestable.
The www.realclimate.org piece by Gavin Schmidt that discusses each of the questions Pimer posed (mind your Ps and Qs) is posted below. And below the article are nearly 300 comments, some well worth reading including the handful that pose additional questions that Gavin Schmidt carefully answers.
Here's Gaven Schmidt's piece:
"[A]s a service both to Plimer and Monbiot (as well as anyone else interested), we give a quick scorecard on the relevance, actual scientific content (whether the questions can actually be answered) and sources for discussion for each of the, to be charitable, ‘odd’ questions. For relevance, we grade each question on a scale from 0 to 5, 0 being irrelevant to the issue of detection and attribution of 20th Century climate change, 5 being extremely relevant. For scientific content, we rate the reasonableness of the question posed (i.e. does it make any sense at all), from A to F (A being a very well posed question, F making no sense). For sources, we generally point to a paper or discussion that addresses the real issue.
- From the distribution of the vines, olives, citrus and grain crops in Europe, UK and Greenland, calculate the temperature in the Roman and Medieval Warmings and the required atmospheric CO2 content at sea level to drive such warmings. What are the errors in your calculation? Reconcile your calculations with at least five atmospheric CO2 proxies. Show all calculations and justify all assumptions.
- Relevance: 0 – poor. Basic logical fallacy. The existence of prior warm periods that may have been caused by different effects (such as solar changes, orbital variation, continental configuration etc.) does not imply that the human-caused increase in CO2 is not causing warming now.
- Scientific Content: D – phenology (the distribution and timing of species) can potentially be useful for tracking climate changes, but it is just one of many different types of proxy information available, and has its own regional, temporal, and seasonal limitations. Even more problematic, it is well known that the patterns of surface temperature variability during the “MWP” – more accurately, the Medieval Climate Anomaly (MCA) – and LIA periods were spatially quite heterogeneous, and a record at one or two locations generally tells us very little if anything about global patterns. Even a cursory examination of the relevant recent literature (for instance, Osborn and Briffa, 2006) reveals that the pattern of warmth during the Medieval era was far regional in nature, and does not approach the truly global scale of warmth evident in recent decades.
- Sources: Greater extent of vineyards today in England than in medieval times. Ice core records. Incoherence of the Medieval warm period.
- Tabulate the CO2 exhalation rates over the last 15,000 years from (i) terrestrial and submarine volcanism (including maars, gas vents, geysers and springs) and calc-silicate mineral formation, and (ii) CH4 oxidation to CO2 derived from CH4 exhalation by terrestrial and submarine volcanism, natural hydrocarbon leakage from sediments and sedimentary rocks, methane hydrates, soils, microbiological decay of plant material, arthropods, ruminants and terrestrial methanogenic bacteria to a depth of 4 km. From these data, what is the C12, C13 and C14 content of atmospheric CO2 each thousand years over the last 15,000 years and what are the resultant atmospheric CO2 residence times? All assumptions need to be documented and justified.
- Relevance: 0 – pure misdirection.
- Scientific Content: F – We know what CO2 and CH4 levels have been over the last 15,000 years and they oscillated within about 10 ppmv (CO2) and 100 ppbv (CH4) of their Holocene values since the start of the current era – until the industrial period (around 1750) since when CO2 has increased by 35%, and methane concentrations have more than doubled. In each case the values being measured today are way higher than anything measured in 800,000 years of ice core records, and likely higher than anything since the Pliocene (~3 million years ago). The idea that bacterial methane production at 4km in the Earth’s crust has anything to with this is laughable.
- Sources: IPCC FAQ is all that is required. Do volcanoes produce more CO2 than human activity? Not even close.
- From first principles, calculate the effects on atmospheric temperature at sea level by changes in cloudiness of 0.5%, 1% and 2% at 0%, 20%, 40%, 60% and 80% humidity. What changes in cloudiness would have been necessary to drive the Roman Warming, Dark Ages, Medieval Warming and Little Ice Age? Show all calculations and justify all assumptions.
- Relevance: 3 – clouds certainly have an effect on climate and understanding their variability is the subject of much research.
- Scientific Content: F – The question makes no sense. Clouds at 0% humidity? Is humidity supposed to be globally uniform? And where should these cloud changes occur? The change for low-level clouds will be of the opposite sign to changes in high level clouds, and changes in the Arctic will give different answers than changes in the tropics. It should go without saying that Plimer is mistakenly assuming that he has accurate information for global temperatures over 2000 years.
- Sources: Cloud Feedbacks in the Climate System.
- Calculate the changes in atmospheric C12 and C13 content of CO2 and CH4 from crack-seal deformation. What is the influence of this source of gases on atmospheric CO2 residence time since 1850? Validate assumptions and show all calculations.
- Relevance: 0 – completely irrelevant.
- Scientific Content: F – for those that don’t know ‘crack-seal deformation’ is a geologic process that causes the veins of crystals/minerals etc. in many rock types. (see here). Its relevance to atmospheric concentrations and isotopic composition is absolutely zero. It has no influence on atmospheric residence time – whether since 1850 or at any time in the past.
- Sources Discussions of the actual carbon cycle and the real influences upon it.
- From CO2 proxies, carbonate rock and mineral volumes and stable isotopes, calculate the CO2 forcing of temperature in the Huronian, Neoproterozoic, Ordovician, Permo-Carboniferous and Jurassic ice ages. Why is the “faint Sun paradox” inapplicable to the Phanerozoic ice ages in the light of your calculations? All assumptions must be validated and calculations and sources of information must be shown.
- Relevance: 0 – (again). The acknowledged climate changes in the past caused by natural events in no way implies that human effects are negligible today. Does the existence of forest fires caused by lightning imply that arson can never happen?
- Scientific Content: C – There is a lot of interesting science related to deep time, but any discussion of such changes must be prefaced with the acknowledgment that our knowledge of greenhouse gases, temperatures or any other potential forcing or response is very limited compared to what we know about climate today or even in the last ice age. Given that we don’t know precisely what CO2 levels were (let alone CH4, N2O, ozone, aerosols, ice sheet configurations, vegetation distribution etc.), the attributions of climate change at this distance is speculative at best.
- Sources: The faint young sun paradox.
- From ocean current velocity, palaeotemperature and atmosphere measurements of ice cores and stable and radiogenic isotopes of seawater, atmospheric CO2 and fluid inclusions in ice and using atmospheric CO2 residence times of 4, 12, 50 and 400 years, numerically demonstrate that the modern increase in atmospheric CO2 could not derive from the Medieval Warming.
- Relevance:1 – There are amplifying feedbacks between climate and CO2 – which are most evident in the long ice cores from Antarctica, but this argument is trivial to dismiss without any recourse to ocean current velocities etc.
- Scientific Content:D – You can calculate the change in CO2 per deg C global warming over long (multi-centennial) timescales from the ice age data – it’s roughly 100ppmv/5ºC = 20 ppmv/ºC. The increase in atmospheric CO2 in the last 200 years is now about 110ppmv, implying that any natural driver would have need to have been more than 5ºC natural warming in recent centuries. This would have been noticed by someone.
- Sources: None required.
- Calculate the changes in the atmospheric transmissivity of radiant energy over the last 2,000 years derived from a variable ingress of stellar, meteoritic and cometary dust, terrestrial dust, terrestrial volcanic aerosols and industrial aerosols. How can your calculations show whether atmospheric temperature changes are related to aerosols? All assumptions must be justified and calculations and sources of information must be shown.
- Relevance: 4 – aerosols are an important climate forcing, and their history through time (even in the 20th Century) are quite uncertain.
- Scientific Content: C – Calculating the impacts of aerosols is quite hard, first because we don’t have great records for their distribution through time and space, and secondly there are uncertainties in how the mix with each other and how they interact with clouds. Forcing estimates for the human-caused changes in aerosols over the 20th Century therefore have quite large uncertainties associated with them and are a principle reason why attempts to constrain climate sensitivity from the recent record along have not been very successful. Volcanic effects are however quite well characterised, and actually provide one of the many lines of evidence for why GCM simulations are reasonable since they get the right magnitude and character of the volcanic effects on climate. However, there is no evidence whatsoever for large changes in interstellar dust changes in recent millennia and trying to pin recent warming on that is really grasping at straws.
- Sources: Climate sensitivity and aerosol forcings.
- Calculate 10 Ma time flitches using W/R ratios of 10, 100 and 500 for the heat addition to the oceans, oceanic pH changes and CO2 additions to bottom waters by alteration of sea floor rocks to greenschist and amphibolite facies assemblages, the cooling of new submarine volcanic rocks (including MORBs) and the heat, CO2 and CH4 additions from springs and gas vents since the opening of the Atlantic Ocean. From your calculations, relate the heat balance to global climate over these 10 Ma flitches. What are the errors in your calculations? Show all calculations and discuss the validity of any assumptions made.
- Relevance: 0 – again more misdirection. The throwing around of irrelevant geologic terms and undefined jargon is simply done in order to appear more knowledgeable than your interlocutor. The argument appears to that climate is changing due to tectonically slow changes the direct heat input from ocean sea floor spreading. This is absurd.
- Scientific Content: F.
- Sources: Definition of ‘flitch’.
- Calculate the rate of isostatic sinking of the Pacific Ocean floor resulting from post LGM loading by water, the rate of compensatory land level rise, the rate of gravitationally-induced sea level rise and sea level changes from morphological changes to the ocean floor. Numerically reconcile your answer with the post LGM sea level rise, oceanic thermal expansion and coral atoll drilling in the South Pacific Ocean. What are the relative proportions of sea level change derived from your calculations?
- Relevance: 2 – pretty much irrelevant.
- Scientific Content: C – isostatic issues in sea level are important on long time scales, and there is still an effect today from the deglaciation 15000 years ago. It contributes a decrease of about 0.3 mm/yr to the global sea level rise, compared to 3 mm/yr total (i.e. about 10%). If the idea was to imply that current sea level rise is simply the response to the deglaciation, then it was completely misleading.
- Sources: Reconciliation of the sea level rise, thermal expansion and ice melt.
- From atmospheric CO2 measurements, stable isotopes, radiogenic Kr and hemispheric transport of volcanic aerosols, calculate the rate of mixing of CO2 between the hemispheres of planet Earth and reconcile this mixing with CO2 solubility, CO2 chemical kinetic data, CO2 stable and cosmogenic isotopes, the natural sequestration rates of CO2 from the atmosphere into plankton, oceans, carbonate sediments and cements, hydrothermal alteration, soils, bacteria and plants for each continent and ocean. All assumptions must be justified and calculations and sources of information must be shown. Calculations may need to be corrected for differences in 12CO2, 13CO2 and 14CO2 kinetic adsorption and/or molecular variations in oceanic dissolution rates.
- Relevance: 5 – the carbon cycle is actually a key issue.
- Scientific Content: A – understanding the carbon cycle given multiple constraints on the carbon fluxes (including some of the issues raised in the question) is important in showing that the ~35% rise in CO2 since ~1750 is in fact anthropogenic. This has been shown numerous times to be consistent with the known human emissions, increases in oceans and terrestrial carbon, the decrease in 14C content of the atmosphere, the decrease in 13C content in the atmosphere, the decrease in O2 in the atmosphere.
- Sources: Read the FAQ.
- Calculate from first principles the variability of climate, the warming and cooling rates and global sea level changes from the Bölling to the present and compare and contrast the variability, maximum warming and maximum sea level change rates over this time period to that from 1850 to the present. Using your calculations, how can natural and human-induced changes be differentiated? All assumptions must be justified and calculations and sources of information must be shown.
- Relevance: 4 – detection and attribution of climate change is an important issue.
- Scientific Content: B – First principles calculations of climate variability are most closely approximated by GCMs and multiple modelling groups have done various Holocene simulations. Attribution of any climate changes requires model simulations with and without each particular forcing and for the Holocene, this involves changes in the orbit, greenhouse gases, solar, meltwater regimes, ice sheet change, aerosols etc. and a comparison of the signature of the responses with patterns observed in the real world. However, comparable data to 20th Century sea levels or temperature changes are not available going back to the beginning of the Holocene.
- Sources: Attribution of mid-Holocene hydrologic changes to orbital forcing. Attribution of patterns of cooling at 8.2 kya to drainage of Lake Agassiz. Attribution of pre-industrial variability over the last millennia to solar and volcanic forcing (IPCC Ch8, p680+).
- Calculate the volume of particulate and sulphurous aerosols and CO2 and CH4 coeval with the last three major mass extinctions of life. Use the figures derived from these calculations to numerically demonstrate the effects of terrestrial, deep submarine, hot spot and mid ocean ridge volcanism on planktonic and terrestrial life on Earth. What are the errors in your calculations?
- Relevance: 1 – irrelevant. Has nothing to do with current causes of species extinction nor sources of CO2.
- Scientific Content: D – insufficient data exist to infer atmospheric composition, nor the sources of any hypothesised fluxes. We think that it is likely that mass extinctions are probably bad for “planktonic and terrestrial life on Earth” with very little error.
- Sources: This is a good intro to the P/T extinction event which is fascinating even if mostly irrelevant to today.
- From the annual average burning of hydrocarbons, lignite, bituminous coal and natural and coal gas, smelting, production of cement, cropping, irrigation and deforestation, use the 25µm, 7µm and 2.5µm wavelengths to calculate the effect that gaseous, liquid and solid H2O have on atmospheric temperature at sea level and at 5 km altitude at latitudes of 20º, 40º, 60º and 80ºS. How does the effect of H2O compare with the effect of CO2 derived from the same sources? All assumptions must be justified and calculations and sources of information must be shown.
- Relevance: 3 – radiative transfer is a key issue.
- Scientific Content: F – the question as it stands makes no sense. How can using fossil fuel emissions of CO2 allow you to calculate the impact of total H2O? And why only three wavelengths? You would need the whole atmosphere distribution of water (in all three phases and which doesn’t exist outside a model) in order to calculate the radiative fluxes, and a full GCM to calculate all the other fluxes that influence the temperature. If Plimer is actually alluding to the impact of the direct injection of water vapour into the atmosphere from the combustion of hydrocarbons, then this makes even less sense since the perturbation time for water vapour is measured in days (rather than decades to centuries for CO2) and the relative importance of anthropogenic fluxes is much much less.
- Sources: Importance of water vapour and clouds compared to CO2 for the total greenhouse effect (roughly, 50%, 25% and 20% once overlaps are apportioned). Complete irrelevance of anthropogenic addition of H2O. Calculation of radiative forcing for anthropogenic CO2.
In summary, the relevance of these questions is extremely low, and even when the basic question deals with an issue that is relevant, the question itself is usually nonsensical and presupposes many assumptions that are certainly not a given (at least in the real world). In fact, for the couple of cases where the scientific content is high, the answer is in contradiction to Plimer’s unstated assumptions. The most obvious use of these questions to support a ‘we don’t know everything, so we must know nothing’ type of argument, which is a classic contrarian trope, and one that is easily dealt with.
These questions have as much to do with a debate on human caused climate change as tribbles have to do with astrobiology. Both are troubling, but for very different reasons.
Posted on 09/04/2009 11:24 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Friday, 4 September 2009
California CAIR Overreaches
As we reported Tuesday, an all-star lineup of California state political figures was touted as co-hosts for an Iftar dinner organized by the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR)-California chapter at the state Capitol in Sacramento.
CAIR's release listed Gov. Arnold Schwarzenneger, leadership of the Assembly and Senate and 35 other lawmakers. The governor was not expected to attend. Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg was a co-host, but a spokeswoman said he did not plan on attending the dinner, either. Late Tuesday, after publishing our story, we heard from Shannon Murphy, spokeswoman to Assembly Speaker Karen Bass.
"The Speaker has nothing to do with this event," Murphy said. "We have no idea how this came about."
Similarly, a spokesman for Assembly Assistant Majority Leader Paul Krekorian said Krekorian found himself listed as a co-host merely by saying he would consider attending. Krekorian responded to an e-mail invitation saying he would consider the dinner if he were in town that night, said spokesman Jeremy Oberstein. It turned out he wasn't...
Inshallah - the all-purpose out-clause.
Posted on 09/04/2009 4:18 PM by Rebecca Bynum
Friday, 4 September 2009
Inside a Terror Trial
Steve Cohen explains how a Manhattan jury reached its verdict in the government’s case against international arms dealer Monzer al-Kassar at City Journal. A long, but interesting article.
Posted on 09/04/2009 5:25 PM by Rebecca Bynum
Friday, 4 September 2009
Dry Shit From The White House On Israeli "Settlements"
We regret the reports of Israel's plans to approve additional settlement construction. Continued settlement activity is inconsistent with Israel's commitment under the Roadmap. ? As the President has said before, the United States does not accept the legitimacy of continued settlement expansion and we urge that it stop. We are working to create a climate in which negotiations can take place, and such actions make it harder to create such a climate.
We do appreciate Israel's stated intent to place limits on settlement activity and will continue to discuss this with the Israelis as these limitations are defined.
The U.S. commitment to Israel's security is and will remain unshakeable. We believe it can best be achieved through comprehensive peace in the region, including a two-state solution with a Palestinian state living side by side in peace with Israel.
That is the ultimate goal to which the President is deeply and personally committed.
Our objective remains to resume meaningful negotiations as soon as possible in pursuit of this goal. We are working with all parties ? Israelis, Palestinians, and Arab states -- on the steps they must take to achieve that objective.
Posted on 09/04/2009 6:03 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Friday, 4 September 2009
The Obama Administration Flails About, As It Seeks Its Favorite Whipping Boy
The Obama administration is flailing about in trying to come up with a policy in Afghanistan that makes a modicum of sense. But it won’t do so, because it will never start from the intelligent proposition that the American government should be making every move with an eye to weakening, not strengthening, the Camp of islam, and by encouraging or at least being indifferent to, ethnic, sectarian, economic, and tribal differences that split the Camp of Islam, and if properly exploited, can divide and demoralize that camp.
Instead, the Obama Administration has just shown that it possesses the requisite stupidity and cruelty to make Israel the fall guy for its own failures, and to think that if it helps to delegitimize Israel’s presence in the “West Bank” and to help Mahmoud “No-One-Here-But-Us-Accountants” Abbas, who at the recent Fatah Rally in Ramallah repeated all the most extreme positions – not a whit different from those of Hamas – but who apparently can not, in the eyes of the Obama Administration, ever be jettisoned, just a as the whole rickety propagandistic edifice of the recently-invented (a few months after the Six-Day War, in fact) “Palestinian people” will continue to be propped up by the Americans, because they lack both the imagination and the common sense to recognize what prompts, and has always prompted, the war-without-end made by Arabs and Muslims against Israel, Israel as an Infidel nation-state whose presence constitutes a “dagger” in the heart of the Muslims or, alternatively, a “cancer” which has to be not merely reduced in size, but excised altogether. Cancer, dagger. By their metaphors shall ye know them.
Obama and those around him possess the gall, and have already shown that they possesses the geopolitical idiocy, to denounce Israel for doing what, morally, legally, and historically it has every right to do, under the express terms of the Mandate for Palestine (and its all-important Preamble), and by all the rules that have governed post-bellum territorial reshapings since the beginning of time, and by all the rules that morality itself dictates, given the conditions of maximum peril in which the Jews of Israel already exist, and which require them to hold on, as an absolute indispensable minimum for the ability of their military to mobilize in time, should an invasion come from the East, right through the hills and valles of Judea, to the entire area that the Jordanians so cleverly renamed "the West Bank."
Why, even James Baker, hostile as he always was to Israel, admitted in a moment of candor that the Israeli settlements were perfectly legal under international law -- he admitted this, clearly, with great regret.
And the Obama Administration has no idea what to do about the Islamic threat, because it continues, like the Administration before it, to refuse to sit still and study Islam, and listen to the articulate apostates who are even more valuable than were the defectors from the KGB during the Cold War, and read, and re-read, and thoroughly assimilate, the many great Western scholars of Islam (putting aside the absurd armstrongs and sinisterly venal espositos, and all the other apologists -- Muslim and non-Muslim -- for Islam, including these Muslims whom various high muckamucks in Washington have idiotically put on their very staffs as an outward and visible sign, as they see it, of the "trust" they put in Musilms, an outward and visible sign that in fact semaphores to the well-informed the inner idiocy of those bigshots who have the responsibility to both instruct and protect us, and are not capable of either.
Posted on 09/04/2009 6:13 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Friday, 4 September 2009
Ramadan In Sweden
Ramadan - a "Swedish tradition"
In Sweden there are 400,000 Swedes who are Muslims. This makes Islam Sweden's second largest religion. In the middle of August the book "Ramadan –? en svensk tradition" (Ramdan - a Swedish tradition) was published (Jenny Berglund and Simon Sorgenfrei, ed, by Arcus publishing.)
The Muslim month of fasting Ramadan, which concludes with the Id al-Fitr feast, is a big holiday and turns over about a billion kroner in Sweden. In the book Swedish Muslims tell what the fast month of Ramadan means for them. How does fasting work for the young, for the elderly? For top level athletes? How is Ramadan celebrated by university students?
How is Sweden affected by Ramadan? How does Ramadan affect Sweden? are also questions that the researchers who wrote the book try to answer. Ten researchers from various colleges and universities in Sweden conducted the interviews in the book.
Source: Dagens Nyheter (Swedish)
Posted on 09/04/2009 8:20 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Friday, 4 September 2009
How Marriage Helps Swell Muslim Ranks In Great Britain
UK: 97% of Pakistani Marriages Take Place To Gain Foreign Nationality
No surprise that Pakistani (and other) muslims see marriage as a main avenue to abet their colonisation of Great Britain and Europe. In doing so they access all those generous taxpayer funded welfare benefits which allows them to "work" fulltime on procreation, anti British political agendas and Islamisation.
Indeed it was recently reported that THOUSANDS of muslim men are milking the British welfare system to support their multiple wives.
"What is more, the review found, a Muslim man can claim state support of more than £10,000 a year to keep his wives, if the wedding took place in one of those countries where polygamy is commonplace, such as Bangladesh, Pakistan, India, Saudi Arabia and across huge tracts of Africa.
For example, a man can receive £92.80 a week in income support for wife number one, and a further £33.65p for each of his subsequent spouses. Therefore, if he has four wives - the maximum permitted under Islamic teachings - he can claim nearly £800 a month from the British taxpayer.
Controversially, a polygamist is also entitled to more generous housing benefits and bigger council houses to reflect the large size of his family. He is also able to claim £1,000 a year in child benefit for each of his growing brood." LINK
Undoubtedly the vast majority of these marriages are arranged/forced.
Clearly, the British government continues to encourage and reward such forced marriages by making it extraordinarily lucrative for muslim men to marry ----in say --- Pakistan -and import their harems to the UK for taxpayer subsidy. Such marriages are also the main cause of the growing numbers of no-go area muslim ghettos in England.
It also speaks volumes that NO ONE has yet been arrested under Britain's new anti-forced marriage law - which - by the way - doesn't make forcing someone into a marriage a crime and that muslim parents, in Britain, now employ bounty hunters to track down 'wedding-shy' children.
How "shocking" that the below article didn't seem to merit British mainstream media coverage.
Article in full:
In Pakistan, 97 percent of marriages take place to attain foreign nationality
Islamabad, Aug.22 (ANI): A survey conducted in Pakistan on the issue of forced marriages among male dual nationals, reveals that only 3.4 per cent children are consulted before marriage whereas 96.6 per cent marriages take place mainly to attain foreign nationality or helping hand abroad.
The findings make part of the research report of baseline survey on the issue of forced marriages launched by SACH on Friday.
The survey was conducted in collaboration with British High Commission.
The target area for the survey were Mirpur, Bhimber and Kotli where the concentration of dual nationals is considerably high and incidents of forced marriages are largely reported. The survey was conducted in order to plan an implementation strategy for intervention, prevention and awareness raising campaigns in the target areas.
Among 870 individuals interviewed during the survey, 61.9 per cent respondents were British nationals and 38.08 per cent were Pakistani nationals who visited UK many times. The study also revealed that only 7.9 per cent among dual nationals had an education up to post-gradation level and 3.6 per cent got UK based education.
The survey shows that majority of such marriages take place within family or ‘baradari’ with only 11 per cent marriages taking place outside the family. Only 19.9 per cent respondents strongly agreed that families and parents have the right to decide.
Majority of respondents (74.4 per cent) termed forced marriages against Islamic teachings whereas 54.1 strongly agreed to the statement that both girls and boys should be given chance to freely marry. Around 51.6 per cent believed that forced marriages may lead to torture and violence in the society and 52.8 per cent said that mostly women are forced-marriage victims as they cannot dare to oppose and they had no other option but to surrender. (ANI)
Posted on 09/04/2009 8:24 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Friday, 4 September 2009
False And Juicy Reports
One giant slip in Bangladesh news
Two Bangladeshi newspapers have apologised after publishing an article taken from a satirical US website which claimed the Moon landings were faked.
The Daily Manab Zamin said US astronaut Neil Armstrong had shocked a news conference by saying he now knew it had been an "elaborate hoax".
Neither they nor the New Nation, which later picked up the story, realised the Onion was not a genuine news site.
Both have now apologised to their readers for not checking the story.
"We thought it was true so we printed it without checking," associate editor Hasanuzzuman Khan told the AFP news agency.
"We didn't know the Onion was not a real news site."
The article said Mr Armstrong had told a news conference he had been "forced to reconsider every single detail of the monumental journey after watching a few persuasive YouTube videos and reading several blog posts" by a conspiracy theorist.
“ The truth is that Neil Armstrong never gave such an interview. It was made up ”
Daily Manab Zamin
"It took only a few hastily written paragraphs published by this passionate denier of mankind's so-called 'greatest technological achievement' for me to realise I had been living a lie," the fake article "quoted" Mr Armstrong as saying.
The made-up quote went on to say that although the journey had felt real, in fact "the entire thing was filmed on a sound stage, most likely in New Mexico".
"I suppose it really was one small step for man, one giant lie for mankind."
The story was published on the Onion's website on Monday and on Wednesday, the Daily Manab Zamin translated it into Bengali, attributing it to the Onion News Network in Lebanon, Ohio. It then ran in New Nation on Thursday.
Daily Manab Zamin, the only tabloid newspaper in Bangladesh, published an apology to its readers on Thursday, saying the report had "drawn a lot of attention".
"We've since learned that the fun site runs false and juicy reports based on a historic incident," it said.
"The Moon landing one was such a story, which received numerous hits on the internet.
"The truth is that Neil Armstrong never gave such an interview. It was made up. We are sorry for publishing the report without checking the information."
Story from BBC NEWS:
Posted on 09/04/2009 8:22 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Friday, 4 September 2009
A Musical Interlude: Small Fry (Bunny Berigan)
Posted on 09/04/2009 6:16 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald