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Yet another warning of the catastrophic consequences of global warming, based on no real world evidence at all.

Despite the fact that Emperor Penguins are doing quite nicely, thank you, and there is no evidence of warming in Antarctica, and even if there were, a rise from -40 degrees to -35 degrees is not going to result in a whole lot of ice melting, yet we are still supposed to be alarmed into taking expensive action because computer games (sorry, models) say that if global warming is happening, and if a large amount of ice does melt, and if, and if, and if they are not able to adapt, Emperor Penguins might have a problem.

One especially wise chappy says that Emperor Penguins are to the Antarctic what Polar Bears are to the Arctic. Apart from the obvious response, which is ‘Um. Pardon?’ it is worth noting that Polar Bear populations have nearly tripled over the last thirty years. So perhaps we shouldn’t start panicking just yet.

OK, I can see why they might be offensive. On the other hand the first described is moderately amusing, precisely because it isn’t true except as a stereotype of white Australians. The second is perhaps a natural over-reaction to unpleasant complaining about Australia, its customs and people, from some recent immigrants.

But even they if are offensive, why is necessary to describe everything as ‘racist?’ Which race is being belittled?

A patronising headline, but I agree. Victoria is possibly the worst run state in Australia, with chronic underfunding of essential infrastructure such as roads and water storage, a police force (sorry, service) which has been progressivley ninnified over the past several years, and ongoing financial difficulties. So in the midst of all this, to what what does the Victorian Attorney-General turn his mightly attentions? Why, a well run gentlemen’s club. Of course.

I have been fortunate to be a guest at gentlemen’s clubs in Adelaide and Melbourne, and found them to be nothing like Chris Berg’s description. They were relaxing and enjoyable places to be, with quiet if you wanted it, civilised conversation if you wanted that, good food, reasonable wine, and a decent cigar after lunch.

The fact is men are men and women are women, praise God. And just as sometimes women enjoy being in the company of other women, and have spaces, clubs and societies which enable them to do so, men sometimes enjoy being with other men. Why on earth should this be a problem?

You’re called to save the life of a teenage boy suffering a seizure. You can’t, or in any case, you don’t. Then when you find out who his family is, you try to blackmail them. Allegedly.

In an article on Real Clear Politics, Thomas Sowell wrote: ‘No one in his right mind would say that the Bush administration was flawless. But many of their worst political mistakes were the kinds of mistakes that decent people often make when dealing with indecent people, both domestically and internationally.’

The same could be said of Keith Windschuttle and the recent hoax of Quadrant magazine. Quadrant is an Australian magazine of politics, literature, history, art, etc – virtually anything that might be of interest to people who think. It has minimal staff resources. It is not a specialist journal.

The Jan/Feb edition of Quadrant contains an article by one ‘Sharon Gould’ entitled Scare Campaigns and Science Reporting. It is well written. It contains some rather odd views about the potential use of human DNA in genetically engineered crops, but one of the things that makes Quadrant a great magazine is that it has never been run as the editor’s personal newsletter. Views that diverge from the mainstream can get a hearing if they are well written, and carefully, interestingly and logically argued.

So when someone writes such an article, and then jumps up triumphantly and says ‘ Ha ha, I didn’t really mean it. And Sharon Gould is not my real name. And what’s more, I faked some of the footnotes,’  it is hard to respond in any other way than to say ‘So?’ or perhaps, ‘OK, you are a liar who writes well. How disappointing for your friends.’

As Keith Windschuttle has pointed out, in the case of a non-specialist, non peer reviewed magazine, there is a point beyond which editors have to trust their writers. Accepting the article was a mistake. It was the kind of mistake easily made by a decent person used to dealing with decent people.

No, men and women are both from Earth. But what planet is Jimmy Carter from? ‘Hamas Can be Trusted.’

‘According to the former president, Hamas never deviated from their commitments as per the ceasefire agreement.’  It would be funny if it wasn’t so sad.

He has one thing right though, Hamas can be trusted – to try do what they have said they plan to do, what their charter tells the world they intend to do; obliterate Israel and murder Jews.

Sadly, they don’t seem to mind murdering Palestinians who disagree with them either, but I’m sure it’s a case of you know, like, hey, if you want to make an omelette…

About what seemed to be a startling lack of graciousness in Obama’s inauguration speech. But she says it better.

And probably will be…

Via Instapundit, this story of an EU official who says Hamas bears ‘overwhelming responsibility’ for the destruction of Gaza.

Of course he also goes on to say some nasty things about Israel killing civilians, but heck, then he tells Hamas off for using civilians as human shields, and for fighting in populated areas.

Well done mate!

Hamas spokesmen are apparently shocked by his comments.  Oh dear.

Despite Peter Garrett’s angst, I think this is possibly a reasonable option, if only because it will stop some of the whining from local anti-whaling activists.

However, stopping any taking of Minke Whales in Antarctic waters may not be a good thing for endangered whale species.

Minke Whales are widely distributed and abunbdant. On the IUCN red list of possibly endangered species, Minke Whales are in the bottom category – Least Concern.

Because they are abundant and range so widely, they compete for krill with endangered whale species such as the Blue Whale, which not do not have the same flexibility in choosing their habitat.

An argument could be made for culling of Minke populations in some places, for example in Antarctic waters, on the grounds of protecting those more endangered species.

There is no environmental reason for refusing to allow whaling nations to take a limited number of Minke Whales.

There is no other reason either. Modern explosive harpoons are accurate and quick, and as humane as factory methods of killing meat animals such as sheep or cattle. Minke Whales, like cattle, are essentially grazing animals, and have about the same level of intelligence – certainly much less than pigs.

As far as I can see, no one who eats bacon has any logically valid or ethically consistent reason to oppose a carefully managed quota based system of hunting Minke Whales.

I am happy to be convinced otherwise, by salient facts marshalled in a carefully crafted argument. Ranting and calling me a bastard won’t do it.

Good Lord Deliver Us.

There should be a rule that anyone wishing to enter public life should have worked with his or her hands, and should have owned, or at least managed, some sort of business. This would help to get rid of the idea that there is such a thing as free money, which the government can use for projects, such as saving the economy or creating jobs. I shudder whenever I hear politicians talk about job creation schemes.

In the latest plan from the Australian Federal Government, some $2 billion of tax payer funds is going to be used to provide loans to commercial property developers. The four largest banks in Australia are also being asked to put in $500 million each.

Why would this be necessary? The answer is that in the present circumstances developers may not be able to access funds to finance or refinance their projects.

But hang on a minute. Wasn’t the root cause of the present recession US government interference in the banking sector, and in particular, pressuring banks to give loans to people and organisations which would not have qualified under normal lending criteria, and in many cases were not able to repay the loans they were given?

So how is doing the same thing with taxpayer funds going to solve problems in Australia? Of course it won’t. It’s plain silly. If bankers operating under normal commercial guidelines don’t consider a particular project or property developer to be an acceptable risk, then the government giving them a loan is not a reasonable or responsible use of tax payer money.

Part of the problem is that many politicians do not seem to understand that there is no free money. Money they give to their pet projects, including unprofitable businesses, has to be taken from businesses which are actually producing something and making a profit in doing so, or from people employed by those businesses.

Taking money from people and organisations which are producing wealth, employment, and taxation income, and giving it to people and organisations which are not, will not save us from recession. Ultimately such policies undermine the economy, including the social welfare structure and safety net.

Outstanding. He can cut off anything he likes as far as I’m concerned.

And if that sounds harsh, well tough. The movie Wolf Creek, which was based in part on Milat’s murder of seven backpackers (it’s a vile film, I don’t recommend it), did not exaggerate the horror of Milat’s treatment of his victims. What he has done to himself doesn’t amount to the tiniest, miniscule part of what he did to young men and women visiting our country.

Sadly, if he hopes it is going to win him some sympathy and attention, he may be right. But not from me.

Darn. Having said that, I also have to say that I hope and pray for his ultimate redemption. It will not come easy, because forgiveness requires repentance, which means understanding and taking responsibility for the harm you have caused.

Also, we do not know what made him the way he is, or how he came to make the choices he did. But at some point he gave himself permission to do things which were unspeakably evil, and it it is right that he should be punished for them, and society protected from him.

Though not nearly as interesting as FAG, SAG nonetheless produced a night of some attractive frocks, and reasonable award choices.

I haven’t seen The Reader, though I loved the book, and I can believe Kate Winslet would do a good job. Also pleasing to hear of the posthumous award to Heath Ledger, whose characterisation of the Joker in Dark Knight was spot on – sometimes funny, always chilling.

In how many other places would a state chief of police, in an official vehicle, on his way to an official function, be pulled over for travelling 12 kilometres (about 8 mph) over the speed limit, and actually be given a ticket (well, his driver) and actually pay it?

Cool.

Still thinking about my earlier post on Obama’s inauguration speech.

I have been reading Made in America by Bill Bryson. It is about the development of the American version of the English language, and like most of his books, is funny and informative at the same time.

On page thirty-nine Bryson tells the story of Patrick Henry. He includes this quote from Jefferson: ‘When he had spoken in opposition to my opinion, had produced a great effect, and I myself been highly delighted and moved, I have asked myself when it ceased, “What the devil has he said,” and could never answer the enquiry.’

Just hit 70 with my Night Elf Druid (feral spec). When I logged on I noticed I had played this character for 14 days 8 hours and 22 minutes. That’s 344 hours on this toon alone. I have another main on a different account – a demonology specced undead warlock, on whom I have spent slightly less time, and a few alts which have only had a few hours each. So perhaps 700 hours of play all up.

Hmm… I could have learned French in that time. But then, why would you? Of course I could have learned the rudiments of calculus, or read the complete works of Shakespeare, or written my own translation of Dante, all things I have wanted to do for some time, and which have more than once been the subject of New Year’s resolutions. 

But I read and study all the time.

It’s not an easy thing to find the right balance between work, study, and play. In fact I’m so stressed about it, I think I’ll go and have a cold beer, and then go fishing.

And in case you were wondering, I have only just scratched the surface of World of Warcraft, a beautiful, challenging and immersive game which I would recommend to (almost) anyone.