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From Jeff Lindsay’s Darkly Dreaming Dexter:

You don’t have to take an IQ test to become a reporter. Even so, I always hope for just the smallest glimmer. And I’m always disappointed. Perhaps I saw too many blacka nd white movies as a child. I still thought the cynical world-weary drunk from the large metropolitan daily was supposed to ask an awkward question and force the investigators to re-examine the evidence.

Sadly, as Dexter notes, the the awkward questions seem only to extend to ‘How did that make you feel?’ or ‘What was she wearing at the time?’ or ‘How high, Mr Gore?’

This is both funny and tragic because the words put into Obama’s mouth are true, and the plan would work. But it will just never happen.

Imagine the posibilities, the hopenchangen. But, instead, real hope, and real change.

Darn. The more I think about it, the sadder I feel.

From Scott Ott’s Scrappleface:

Delegates to the global climate conference in Copenhagen sat in stunned silence today as President Obama solved the global warming crisis with a single 25-minute speech.

“While the challenges we face may seem insoluble,” the Nobel laureate said, “the solution is actually quite simple. It’s historically reliable. It works every time it’s sincerely tried.”

“Basically, the problem is that poor nations are broke,” Obama explained, “and rich nations don’t want to throw their money down a totalitarian rathole, into the hands of tyrants who see this treaty as a gold mine and who have no intention of reducing carbon emissions. Since we need trillions of dollars to fund development of speculative green technologies, the only answer is for the poor nations to get rich fast.”

Obama said the broad outlines of his plan included having poor nations “adopt the time-tested Protestant work ethic, free-market capitalism and equal justice under law.”

“Once you see your vocation as a calling from God,” he said, “you work diligently toward excellence, to bring glory to your creator. If your property rights are guaranteed under law, you work to improve yours, and to acquire more, by serving others. Under my plan, within half a century, the less-developed nations will go from being pathetic dependents to equal trading partners.”

While skeptics said the president’s plan would put off a solution until the world’s coastlands were under water, Obama said, “Free men and women solve problems for profit, for accolades and for inscrutable personal purposes … but they do solve problems. If, in five decades, there’s still a climate crisis, we can all get together, kick in an equal share per capita, and hire someone to fix it.”

via Australian Conservative.

During the years of the Howard government, the funding of left-wing magazines like Meanjin and Overland was never reduced.

The Literature Board of the Australia Council has just reduced Quadrant’s grant (which is used entirely to fund literary content) from $50,000 to $35,000 per annum.

Quadrant publishes ten times per year. Meanjin and Overland, which publish quarterly, receive annual grants of $50,000 and $60,000.

Have a look at the list of journals supported by the Literature Board, and judge for yourself whether literature expressive of the whole spectrum of Australian political thought is funded on an equal basis.

The Board’s view seems to be that whatever its literary merit, a magazine which publishes short stories, reviews and poetry which are not consistent with the Board’s opinions is not deserving of the same level of funding.

Why not email the Board, and let them know you think justice and transperency in grant administration are important for their credibility, and for the future of Australian literature?

Why are we in Afghanistan at all?

I noted a few weeks ago:

Afghanistan was always going to be a harder fight than Iraq.

It is also a fight that must be won – not just for the people of Afghanistan, but for the people of Pakistan. If Afghanistan falls, Pakistan will be in danger.

If Pakistan falls, the world will be in danger.

In theory, the allies are not there to defeat the Taliban themselves. They are there to assist Hamid Karzai’s government defeat the Taliban.

President Obama’s recent announcement of a ‘surge’ of 30,000 troops should help.

Except that:

  1. Obama has told the Taliban when he expects US and allied troops to be gone – in eighteen months’ time.
  2. Karzai has said that he expects it will take 15 years to diminish the military abilities and policitcal influence of the Taliban to the point they are no longer a threat.
  3. The Obama administration has made it clear they have no confidence in Hamid’s competence or honesty.

A confrontation with Iran is now almost inevitable. The US and its Western allies must take action to prevent an Iranian nuclear attack on Israel, and to stop any nuclear threat to Europe.

If they wait till Iran makes Israel a wasteland, as Iranian President Imanutjob has repeatedly said he intends to do, it will be, well, too late.

If they act before it is too late, even if their actions are limited to removing Iran’s capacity to make nuclear weapons, they will be accused of a crusade against Islam, of being imperialist aggressors, etc.

This means that even though Hamid was re-elected only with the help of massive electoral fraud, it is currently politically unthinkable for the US to attenpt to bring about a regime change in Afghanistan.

It is not unthinkable that the UN could refuse to recognise the result of the election, and push for new, properly supervised elctions which include all members of Afghan society including the Pashtoon.

But as we have seen over the last couple of weeks in Copenhagen, the UN couldn’t organise a cock-up in a brothel. So it’s probably a good thing that the head of the UN mission in Afghanistan, Kai Eide, and the UN Security Council, are keeping their eyes and mouths firmly shut.

But where does that leave the allies?

Australia’s contribution is weak, to say the least.

Prime Minster Rudd’s offer to balance the US commitment of 30,000 new troops by sending a few police officers and some aid advisors has confirmed the unofficial code-name ‘Operation Token Presence’ for Australia’s contribution.

Having said that, it is important to note that the contribution made, and the cost borne, by Australian service men and women in Afghanistan is out of all proportion to their numbers and to the commitment of their political masters.

Despite Prime Minister Rudd’s earnest hopes, a pre-Copenhagen commitment to an emissions trading scheme was never going to make him a statesman on the world stage, or be an example other nations would find anything other than laughable.

But a renewed commitment by Australia to the effort in Afghanistan really could make a difference, and be an example which other allies might follow.

If we are serious about the need to defeat the Taliban, Australia must make a genuine commitment of fighting forces to Afghanistan.

if we are not serious, we should just get out, stop playing games, and stop risking the lives of young Australians in a conflict we have no intention of winning.

That would be embarrassing. But it would not be as embarrassing as our current limp wristed and pointless ‘Operation Token Presence.’

The Times reports that experts claim a first century shroud discovered in a tomb near Jerusalem proves the Turin Shroud could not have been used to cover Jesus’ body.

The Hebew University in Jerusalem said “Based on the assumption that this is representative of a typical burial shroud widely used at the time of Jesus, the researchers conclude that the Turin Shroud did not originate from Jesus-era Jerusalem … this discovery has laid to rest the myth of the Shroud.”

The ‘shroud’ the investigators investigated was a winding wrapped a round the body of a man who suffered from leprosy.

The leper’s shroud was a simple two way weave, the Turin Shroud is a three over one herringbone weave.

There is a very big assumption in the experts’ opinion, which they are kind enough to point out: “Based on the assumption that this is a representative of a typical burial shroud widely used at the time of Jesus …”

This is a bit like someone in the year 4,000 digging up a 20th century pauper’s grave, noting the plainess of the coffin, and claiming this proves other claimed coffins and caskets from the same period could not be genuine because they were made of metal or better quality wood, or had nicer trim.

Jesus, though himself poor, had wealthy friends. This is John 19: 38-40:

After these things Joseph of Arimathea, being a disciple of Jesus, but a secret one for fear of the Jews, asked Pilate that he might take away the body of Jesus; and Pilate granted permission. So he came and took away His body. Nicodemus, who had first come to Him by night, also came, bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about a hundred pounds weight. So they took the body of Jesus and bound it in linen wrappings with the spices, as is the burial custom of the Jews.

100 pounds of spices – this is a huge amount of myrrh and aloes, and extraordinarily expensive.

It is hardly beyond imagining that Jesus’ body might have been wrapped in a better quality cloth than the single poor quality cloth wrapped around a leper that for no apparent reason is assumed by these experts to be the standard burial cloth used at the time.

I am agnostic about the Shroud, as I am about many relics.

But in this case, the experts are letting their agendas show a little too clearly.

At an historic photo session in Copenhagen this morning, world leaders announced they had reached an agreement on climate change.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy says all countries have agreed to the deal. “We have an agreement,” Mr Sarkozy told a news conference in Copenhagen after the meeting of 120 world leaders.

Leaders announced they had agreed they were completely unable to agree.

President Farack Banana said this agreement represented the beginning of a new era in international understanding.

Describing the agreement as ‘unprecedentedly meaningful,’ Mr Banana said that more work was needed to grasp the consequences of the agreement.

‘I call on all the nations of the world to build on the progress we have made in reaching this agreement here in Cornhuggen,’ he said. ‘We need to stop sitting on the sidelines, and start sitting somewhere else.’

World leaders have also agreed to have another holiday in about six months time, preferably somewhere a bit warmer. Acapulco would be nice.

Research shows the Northern Territory spends over $6000 on health for each indigenous person, compared with less than $2000 for each non-indigenous citizen.

This suggests two things.

First, Australian governments do take indigenous health seriously.

Second, spending more and more money on hospitals and clinics is not a solution.

Most of the health problems faced by aboriginal australians are a result of lifestyle choices – excessive alcohol consumption, poor diet, poor hygiene.

So what are governments supposed to do?

Allowing people to make those choices leads to massive expenditure on health issues, and still leaves problems which we are told are a national disgrace.

Forcing people to drink less, to eat sensibly, to wash their clothes, change their bedding, etc, is not permissible. That would be racist and paternalistic.

But it is one thing for people to refuse to take responsibilty for their own welfare. It is another when they refuse to take responsibilty for that of their children.

I am not not sure how a government can act responsiblly in that situation without appearing authoritarian.

The Chinese leader skipped Obama’s session with selected world leaders.

Well, why not? Wen Jiabao is not a schoolboy. He probably had better things to do. Polishing his shoes, for example.

French president Nicholas Sarkozy wasn’t happy. According to Mr Sarkozy, it is all China’s fault there is not going to be a binding agreement that will make world leaders all popular and smiley again.

The Chinese will not agree to any external body policing their emission levels. Good for them.

China and the G77 (the scared weird little guys) won’t discuss the PLAN /DEAL thing dreamed up by the developed nations. The little guys feel like they are being bullied.

Negotiators have described the G77 group as dysfunctional.

Mr Rudd says comments from the Chinese are ‘disturbing.’

African negotiators are reportedly furious at the suggestion by Prime Minister Meles of Ethiopia that developing nations should accept the offer of $100 billion a year. This, they say, is selling out the lives and hopes of Africans for a pittance.

Hilary Clinton says that a refusal by the Chinese to accept third party policing of emissions is a ‘deal-breaker.’

So all in all, the whole thing is going really well – much better than I expected.

The hoped for no result is looking like a real possibility.

I would have preferred if it had come about because world leaders finally came to their senses and recognised they were all being conned. But you can’t have everything.

There may still be a smiley photo-opportunity tomorrow.

But it will have about as much substance as Obama has business experience.

St Matthew’s Anglican church in Auckland is the epitome of everything a religious group should not be – self-righteous, inconsiderate of the feelings of others, happy to belittle the beliefs of people it considers inferior.

Like Christians.

Outside the church is a billboard featuring a bedroom scene. An unsatisfied Mary looks up to the heavens while Joseph lies beside her looking deflated.

The caption reads: “Poor Joseph. God is a hard act to follow.”

This kind of arrogant smart-arsery doesn’t do anything to make people think more deeply about their faith (which is claimed to be the intention).

It simply insults people who take their faith seriously.

The vicar, a moral moron named Glynn Cardy, excuses the hurt caused by pointing out that they considered and generously decided against a much more offensive option – a poster of fluorescent sperm floating down from heaven, saying ‘Joy to the World.’

If this guy had half a brain it would be lonely. If he had half a heart, he might have some care for the people he is supposed to be reaching out to.

I’m sure he imagines he is generous, caring, inclusive, and wise.

There are no limits to hypocrisy.

So, good news all around.

The SMH is reporting a draft deal at Crappenhuggen.

What they are reporting is not a ‘deal’ but a draft document put together by developed nations as a possible basis for a take it or leave it offer to greedy socialist whingers leaders of developing nations.

I have no hope at all that any world leader will be brave enough to admit that the whole fiasco has been completely pointless, that we don’t know enough to know what to do, that anything we could do at this point is likely to make things worse, and so the wisest thing is to do nothing.

No, they will all want to look they have achieved something, so some agreement will be forthcoming.

There will be lots of smiles, handshakes and congratulations.

But for all the good it will do the world it might as well be lots of piles, milkshakes and flatulence.

The only thing to hope for is that this will just amount to a commitment to ‘journey forward together’ of ‘growth in our sense of commitment to one another as members of a single global community.’

And of course for the US, Australia, Canada, etc, to pay billions of dollars in bribes compensation to developing nations.

Sigh

Data from Russian stations have been (with equally dodgy US surface station data) a large part of the evidence for warming.

Now that the Russian data are known to have been carefully selected – using only the 25% of stations that showed a consistent warming trend – there is no credible basis for any claim that the world has been warming at all, let alone at unusual rates.

And there is still no reason that any of the minor changes in the always changing global climate should be attributed to human activity.

Politicians who do not have the backbone to ask questions now, and to stand up to the hysteria, or who commit their countries to painfully costly and pointless plans to reduce the use of cheap fuels, will be punished mercilessly when they next face an election.

Bye Mr Rudd. Bye Mr Obama.

I’d be a believer too if I thought I’d be up for billions in grants, cars, holidays, Swiss bank accounts.

There are vast amounts of money to be made in being victims of climate change.

So it’s no wonder the President of the Maldives and the chief negotiater for Tuvalu (who lives in New South Wales) are sobbing about how the greedy West has caused sea levels to rise, destroying their tiny, vulnerable countries.

But hey, a cookie a few billion dollars will make us feel better.

The sobbing and hand-wringing is despite the fact that there has been no increase in global mean temperature over the last fifteeen years, and no sea level rise in Tuvalu or the Maldives for the last thirty years.

You just have to have faith. Name it and claim it, brothers and sisters! Hallelujah!

It’s all perfectly rational – if money or approval is your goal.

What is lacking at Copenhagen is rationality not motivated by self-interest – either a desire for cash, or for for world recognition as a really cool guy, the bloke who saved the day, the man who stayed up all night to work for a solution, the chap who really ought to be the next Secretary General.

Global warming fervour is often compared with religious faith. I have made that comparison myself. But this is unfair to religious leaders.

When I was a parish priest I regularly told parishioners, ‘Don’t take my word for what I tell you – do your own research, check, read, ask questions.’

The only reason to believe anything is because it is true. And decisions about what is true need to be made on the basis of evidence, not feelings or desires.

This is the exact opposite of what is required to be considered a true climate believer. Questions are not welcomed. Those who doubt are cast into the outer darkness and denounced as deniers.

Environmental journalist and rational person Phelim McAleer was told by one Copenhagen participant to ‘get out while you still can’ and was later assaulted during a live television interview.

In a paroxysm of self-parody, Kevin Rudd told Copenhagen participants and world leaders (about 50 of them, anyway) that he fears a ‘triumph of form over substance … a triumph of inaction over action’ and that history would judge them if they failed.

I agree on both counts.

A triumph of form, of easy compliance, of the desire to appear noble and statesman-like, over real hard headed science and rational discussion of the issues is exactly what is to be feared.

And history will certainly judge leaders who failed to ask questions about whether the science of global warming was sufficiently well grounded to justify desperate promises of billions of dollars, and hurried decisions to limit the use of cheap fuels on which most of the world’s wealth depends.

Apparently so.

Like Tony Abbott, I don’t object to Mr Rudd going to Mass.

I don’t even object to his interest in the canonisation of Blessed Mary Mackillop. I am interested in that too, and have blogged about it before.

There is a sense in which Mary Mackillop belongs to all Australians. We can all feel thankful for her example of faithful and courageous service.

Service which was the very opposite of self-seeking, or of seeking the company and attention of the powerful and famous.

I do object to Mr Rudd’s taking Communion.

This was unfair to the priest who celebrated, and unfair to the nuns who assisted.

If he has any respect for the Church to which he formerly belonged, Kevin Rudd should have known that it was not appropriate for him to present himself at the altar.

Understanding this does not depend on whether you are a Roman Catholic or not. I am not. Like Rudd, I am an Anglican.

But respect for the faith and conscience of others means that you do not put them in a position where they will be embarrassed or hurt so your ego can be stroked, or so you can make some sort of public statement, no matter how noble you imagine that statement to be.

Rudd is not a Catholic. He deliberately separated himself from communion with that family. Returning quite properly requires a period of public repentance and of re-learning the faith.

Rudd has no right to swan back in on a whim and expect to be given the most precious gift it is possible to receive in this life.

PS I will be attending Christmas Mass at the beautiful St Francis Xavier Cathedral in Geraldton. I will not be presenting myself for Communion.

Sadly, we Anglicans are separated from our Roman brothers and sisters. It is right that we should feel the pain of that separation, that we may be encouraged to work towards the unity for which our Saviour prayed.

I think the Pope agrees.

I said it three times, so it must be true.

Or it was true back in the seventies.

No matter how much they try to deny it now (just as in five years time they will all be denying they ever fell for the AGW scam) there seemed to be a consensus two decades ago that the world was cooling, it was all our fault, we only had a few years to take action to save the world.

Remember the DSSO? The Decadal Science Scare Oscillation?

Maurizio Morabito at the Spectator recounts the terrifying story of global cooling as follows:

The threat of a new ice age loomed so large in 1974 that American intelligence collated a report on the likely effects. Maurizio Morabito unearthed it

A high-priority government report warns of climate change that will lead to floods and starvation. ‘Leading climatologists’ speak of a ‘detrimental global climatic change’, threatening ‘the stability of most nations’. The scenario is eerily familiar although the document — never made public before — dates from 1974. But here’s the difference: it was written to respond to the threat of global cooling, not warming. And yes, it even mentions a ‘consensus’ among scientists.

‘A Study of Climatological Research as it Pertains to Intelligence Problems’, written by the CIA for ‘internal planning purposes’ in August 1974, goes a little way towards explaining why some people over a certain age experience a sense of déjà-vu when climate change is mentioned; in the mid-1970s there really was a lot of scientific discussion about global cooling. With the benefit of hindsight, reading it makes one feel wry and embarrassed. So many of the terms bandied about 35 years ago are still being employed by today’s fear-mongers, about the very opposite phenomenon.

It is as if climate scares had to follow a set pattern. Back in 1974 the usual disasters were projected: the ‘new climatic era’ was said to be bringing famine, starvation, refugee crises, floods, droughts, crop and monsoon failures, and all sorts of extreme weather phenomena. The Sahara would expand. World grain reserves, already at less than a month’s supply, would be depleted. A list of past civilisations brought down by ‘major and minor’ cooling episodes was given, which included the Indus, Hittites, Mycenaean, and the Mali empire of Africa. Any possible benefits to climate change were barely mentioned.

More parallels can be drawn. According to the CIA report, in 1974 climate science was developing ‘a successful climatic prediction model’, as indeed it still is. Government intervention had brought together eminent scientists who had previously been at odds with each other then had established a ‘scientific consensus’ on ‘global climate change’. The scientists claimed this pattern of cooling would cause ‘major economic problems around the world’. Dealing with this would, of course, require the creation of several new government agencies. The media at the time seized on all of this, just as it is doing now. Newsweek and the New York Times described the global cooling threat.

How is it that the parallels between that 1970s panic and today’s have been so little remarked upon? And it doesn’t stop there. There have even been recent attempts to label the ‘global cooling consensus’ a ‘myth’, most notably in a well-publicised article by Thomas C. Peterson, William M. Connolley, and John Fleck published by the American Meteorological Society in September 2008.

Well, plus ça change. It’s easy to miss what you do not look for. Mentions of a global cooling consensus appear as far back as 1961. I found the CIA report referred to in a 1976 newspaper article and was doubly amazed to discover it was available as a microfiche in the British Library.

So what would have prompted the CIA to compile such a dossier? The most likely explanation is what it describes as the loss of ‘a significant portion’ of the USSR’s winter wheat crop in 1972. The harvest was so poor that the CIA saw geopolitical ramifications. Its report says that ‘the politics of food’ is a complex business, which cannot be understood by ‘existing analytical tools’. So to address a political problem, they asked scientists to come up with a solution. Precisely the same thing is happening today. One might almost conclude that, in the world of climatology, theories are made to order.

Or is the problem with the general public, who cannot talk about climate except in doom-laden terms, and for whom the sky is the last animist god? This might be the most important lesson of the 1974 report on global cooling: that we need to grow up, separate climatology from fear, and recognise — much as it pains politicians and scientists — that our understanding of how climate changes remains in its infancy.

This afternoon Kathy and I went to see the movie of Maurice Sendak’s Where the Wild Things Are. We were the only adults in the cinema who were not accompanied by children. 

I wrote in April: if the director and producers have been able to resist the Hollywood temptation to tamper too much with the story, especially either by making the wild things ‘cute’ or by making Max (the hero) into some sort of spoilt adolescent with problems at home, it should be a magical movie.

There are three things to say.

  1. Where the Wild Things Are is not a children’s movie.
  2. It will not be a commercial success.
  3. It is a very good film.

It is a little scary in places, but that is not the reason it is not a children’s film.

The book is intended for young children. The film is too long and too slowly paced to hold the interest of anyone under forty. Well, that may be a slight exaggeration, though one family did leave about an hour in.

Jonze and Sendak collaborated on the script and have produced a remarkable palimpsest of Sendak’s book.

The book was funny, scary, and engaging. The film is all of these things and more. It is the ‘more’ which makes this such a good movie, and also not a children’s movie.

Essentially, the film is a parable about what the world means to a boy, any boy (but definitely a boy), and about how a boy can or should relate to that world.

The wild things seem to represent different aspects of Max’s personality. The goat, the chicken, the bull, the scary unidentifiable things.

This is just asking for a book – Which Wild Thing are You? – How to Release Your Inner Power.

The answer is that Max, and all of us, are all of the wild things. We are cowards, we are destructive, we are angry, we are hungry, we are brave, we are creative, we are kind.

In the course of his adventure, Max learns how his words and actions impact on other people. He learns about love, and that actions have consequences, and that some things cannot be undone.

That should give you a hint that the lefties, I suspect, will not like this film. Their dislike will intensified by the fact that there is not a hint of  greenie bovine manure in the movie.

Trees are knocked over with glee, violence sometimes solves problems (and causes them), throwing dirt at people’s heads is the best way to have fun together, and if you happen to have a small animal in your hand instead of a lump of dirt, well, chuck it anyway.

Despite the life lessons, and Max learns many valuable things, Where the Wild Things Are is never preachy.

I laughed out loud, and had tears in my eyes at the end. The kids around me just looked bored.

It is a great film. Go and see it. Just don’t expect your children to enjoy it. Not till they get to forty, anyway.

Even when it hasn’t changed.

This kind of ‘adjustment’ appears to have been so common it is hardly worth commenting on any more.

Except that we are still waiting for any kind of acknowledgement of these alterations in the lamestream media, or any discussion of why they are so important.

Put simply, the whole global warming scare is based on alleged unusual warming in the last half century. But the surface temperature readings on which these claims are based had to be manipulated to obtain a warming signal. Without these adjustments, the overall warming disappears.

These graphs, from Watts Up With That are just one example:

Data Before Manipulation Shows No Warming

Data Before Manipulation Shows No Warming

 

'Value Added' Data Shows IPCC Warming Signal

'Value Added' Data Shows IPCC Warming Signal

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