Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Margaret Atwood's "fictional drivel"

Barbara Kay nails it! She concludes:

The Handmaid's Tale is a nasty, anti-American trifecta of bigotry: a cheap thrust at men, conservatives and religious Christians.

... merely a tale told by a feminist, and like so many other such heavy-handed ideological screeds, it is full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.

Exactly! The Handmaid's Tale was set in the country least likely to implement her dystopian "vision". And worse, po-mo feminists like Atwood have been shamefully silent when women in certain Muslim societies like Saudia Arabia and Afghanistan under the Taliban are actually treated as breeder chattel.

Saint O's address

"We Have Nothing to Fear But Fear-mongering Itself

Remarks of President Barack Obama — Address to Joint Session of CongressTuesday, February 24th, 2009 Slightly condensed version (by Alan Reynolds):
You don’t need to hear another list of statistics to know that our economy is in crisis. The weight of this crisis will not determine the destiny of this nation. Too many bad loans from the housing crisis have made their way onto the books of too many banks. But I also know that in a time of crisis, we cannot afford to govern out of anger, or yield to the politics of the moment. And our goal is to quicken the day when we re-start lending to the American people and American business and end this crisis once and for all. And to respond to an economic crisis that is global in scope, we are working with the nations of the G-20 to restore confidence in our financial system. And to ensure that a crisis of this magnitude never happens again, I ask Congress to move quickly on legislation that will finally reform our outdated regulatory system. My budget . . . reflects the stark reality of what we’ve inherited — a trillion dollar deficit, a financial crisis, and a costly recession. With the deficit we inherited [and] the cost of the crisis we face . . . it has never been more important to ensure that as our economy recovers, we do what it takes to bring this deficit down. There will be no real recovery unless we clean up the credit crisis that has severely weakened our financial system. And if we do — if we come together and lift this nation from the depths of this crisis . . . then someday years from now our children can tell their children that this was the time when we performed, in the words that are carved into this very chamber, "something worthy to be remembered." "

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Lies, damned lies and ‘peer-reviewed’ research

Ross McKitrick and Bruce D. McCullough summarize the results of their paper on the need for proper due diligence in verifying research used as a basis for "public policy" (a.k.a. "pissing away giant wads of other people’s money"):

Empirical research in what are commonly called "peer-reviewed" academic journals is often used as the basis for public policy decisions, in part because people think that "peer-review" involves checking the accuracy of the research.

...Academic journals rarely, if ever, check data and calculations for accuracy during the review process, nor do they claim to.

... But the other dirty secret of academic research is that the data and computational methods are so seldom disclosed that independent examination and replication has become nearly impossible for most published research.

... Our report also explores numerous examples from other academic disciplines, such as medicine, history, environmental science and forestry, in which prominent or policy-relevant research was shielded from independent scrutiny by withholding data and/or computer code.

....One striking example in the context of the current U.S. housing meltdown concerns a 1992 study by economists at the Boston Federal Reserve, published in the prestigious American Economic Review, that purported to show statistically significant evidence of racial discrimination in U.S. mortgage lending practices.

Based on this study, federal regulations were rushed into place that forced banks to loosen lending standards and threatened them with severe financial penalties for failure to correct the alleged discrimination.

... It took nearly six years, and a Freedom of Information Act request, for independent economists to discover coding errors in the data that invalidated the original conclusions. But by this time the new lending rules were in place that ultimately contributed to the buildup of bad mortgage debt now ravaging the U.S. financial system.

In conclusion:
... Academics rightly insist on the freedom to do their research without public or political interference. But when that research influences policy, the public has a right to demand independent verification. Researchers might want to influence policy but if they plan to keep their data and computer code to themselves, they should keep their results to themselves too.
See also.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Another bad week for climate alarmists

From the Telegraph:

It was another bad week for the "warmists", now more desperate than ever to whip up alarm over an overheating planet. It began last weekend with the BBC leading its bulletins on the news that a "leading climate scientist" in America, Professor Chris Field, had warned that "the severity of global warming over the next century will be much worse than previously believed".

... The puzzle as to why the BBC should make this the main news of the day only deepened when it emerged that Prof Field was not a climate scientist at all but an evolutionary biologist.

... followed on Sunday by yet another outburst from the most extreme of all the scientists crying wolf on global warming, Al Gore's ally Dr James Hansen, director of the Goddard Institute for Space Studies.

... "Coal-fired power plants are factories of death," wrote Hansen, "the trains carrying coal to power plants are death trains". This deliberate echo of the trains carrying Jews to Nazi death camps recalled how the more extreme warmists like to equate sceptics on climate change with "Holocaust deniers".

And on and on ...

Thursday, February 19, 2009

I hate leftist Chicano academics

The UCLA Chicano Studies Research Centre’s definition of "hate speech" :

We identified four types of speech that, through negative statements, create a climate of hate and prejudice: (1) false facts, (2) flawed argumentation, (3) divisive language, and (4) dehumanizing metaphors.
Glen Reynolds:

A RATHER EXPANSIVE DEFINITION OF "HATE SPEECH" ... Well, really it’s pretty much the same old definition: "Speech I don’t like."
And from the comments at Eugene Volokh’s blog:

One of the most remarkable aspects of the paper's position in my view is that it describes vigorous disagreement, mockery, and condemnation of government policy and leaders as hate speech. One might ask whether much of the left's political discourse over the past eight years doesn't fall within this category...

Libs are, by definition, incapable of "hate speech" because libs are incapable of hate. They crap strawberries and puke sunshine, and ride around on unicorns instead of filthy SUVs. All their actions and ideas are of the purest motives. Only conservatives and the unwashed masses use hate speech, because they're not libs.


Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Britain’s creeping Islamisation

Melanie Phillips opines on the dhimmi Archbishop of Canterbury’s latest idiocy and a prominent but equally stupid Brit lawyer’s hero worship of Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah as evidence of Britain’s remorseless drift into Islamic dark ages.


Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Poll - Obama vs. Harper

Leadership? More like: Who is recklessly pissing away the most money?

Government slashes funding to Canadian Arab Federation

Kudos to Blazing Cat Fur and good for Immigration Minister Jason Kenney. Though what’s annoying about this is that there are any funds to A-rab/Muslim/anti-Western (or any other) groups to slash in the first place. There should be NO taxpayer funding of multiculti special interests.

It’s also worth noting that no matter how lame, limp and sometimes treacherous the Conservatives are on issues that matter most to real conservatives and libertarians, there isn’t even a remote possibility that we’d see this kind of position being taken by a Liberal or (blecch!) "coalition" government.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Multiculti pap and crap

From Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) a definition of multiculturalism:

Canadian multiculturalism is fundamental to our belief that all citizens are equal. Multiculturalism ensures that all citizens can keep their identities, can take pride in their ancestry and have a sense of belonging. Acceptance gives Canadians a feeling of security and self-confidence, making them more open to, and accepting of, diverse cultures. The Canadian experience has shown that multiculturalism encourages racial and ethnic harmony and cross-cultural understanding, and discourages ghettoization, hatred, discrimination and violence.

Through multiculturalism, Canada recognizes the potential of all Canadians, encouraging them to integrate into their society and take an active part in its social, cultural, economic and political affairs.

Talk about nonsense and inversions of the truth! Parsing line by line:

"... fundamental to our belief that all citizens are equal." Bullcrap! It’s fundamental to the nonsensical notion that all cultures are equal. It gives precedence to groups over individual citizens.

" ... ensures that all citizens can keep their identities, can take pride in their ancestry and have a sense of belonging. " More nonsense. In the absence of official multiculturalism there’s nothing that denies people these things.

"Acceptance gives Canadians a feeling of security and self-confidence, making them more open to, and accepting of, diverse cultures." Let’s just say that it hasn’t done this for me and I doubt that I’m alone.

"The Canadian experience has shown that multiculturalism encourages racial and ethnic harmony and cross-cultural understanding, and discourages ghettoization, hatred, discrimination and violence." Only in CIC’s dreams! If anything it encourages ghettoization, discrimination and violence - take Toronto’s experience as an example.

"...recognizes the potential of all Canadians..." This is just feel-good boilerplate. Any healthy, fully free society automatically takes the potential of all it’s citizens as a given.

"... encouraging them to integrate into their society ..." This is a characteristic of a melting pot not multiculturalism.

Our governments should, if anything, stick to fostering a Canadian culture that all citizens can identify with, take pride in and defend. They should encourage and strengthen individual rights and freedoms. That’s the key to building a strong, proud and free society. And it should go without saying that people are also free to pursue their own unique cultural enthusiasms on their own dime and time.

H/t’s to scaramouche ("Multiculturalism is a fraud and a sham...") and Blazing Cat Fur.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Victoria - hotbed of climate alarmists

Today’s Financial Post Comment section features two climate alarmists from Victoria, BC. Given that Vancouver Island is loaded with tree huggers and other assorted environmental fanatics that may not be too surprising.

The first is well known. Andrew Weaver, UVic climate modeler, Big Government grant sucker and climate scare monger attracted Peter Foster’s attention in relation to Australia’s tragic bush fires [my emphasis]:

On Monday, CBC’s The National proudly reported that "Canadian researchers were the first to make a link between global warming and more wildfires." Out was trotted one of Canada’s leading climate alarmists, the University of Victoria’s Andrew Weaver, to make the startlingly obvious point that higher temperatures increase fire risk, and then to predict, "So, yes, we will be seeing forest fires in the future on the scale that they’re seeing there."
Naturally, Mr. Foster proceeds to debunk the link between global warming and the fires. As in the case of recent forest fires in BC the real culprit was poor forest management practices, ie. a failure of government forestry services.

The second Victorian is climate alarmed, acoustic guitarist ("one of Canada finest"), singer-song-writer, Dave Clarke, who is mad at Lawrence Solomon for dissing Michael Mann’s shoddy research. US National Academy of Sciences former chair Gerald North wrote a terse note saying he agreed with Clarke. Lawrence Solomon responded to Clarke and North in detail, pointing out that in North’s own testimony before a congressional committee he said that although Mann’s science was crap his conclusion was right. Some defence!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

And speaking of scathing criticism of AGW alarmists

Ice Cap has uploaded a paper entitled "On The Hijacking of the American Meteorological Society" which opens with a blistering attack on James Hansen, that Chicken Little of all Chicken Littles, and his award from the American Meteorological Society. The paper by AMS Fellow Bill Gray begins:
I am appalled at the selection of James Hansen as this year’s recipient of the AMS’s highest award – the Rossby Research Medal. James Hansen has not been trained is a meteorologist. His formal education has been in astronomy. His long records of faulty global climate predictions and alarmist public pronouncements have become increasingly hollow and at odds with reality. Hansen has exploited the general public’s lack of knowledge of how the globe’s climate system functions for his own benefit. His global warming predictions, going back to 1988 are not being verified. Why have we allowed him go on for all these years with his faulty and alarmist prognostications? And why would the AMS give him its highest award?
And then it gets really critical.

AGW alarmism on the wane?

Steven Goddard at 'Watts Up With That' reports an apparent turnaround by two of Britain's biggest purveyors of global warming alarmism:
Today’s Guardian has a lead story unlike anything we have seen before.
‘Apocalyptic climate predictions’ mislead the public, say experts’
Experts at Britain’s top climate research centre have launched a blistering attack on scientific colleagues and journalists who exaggerate the effects of global warming. The Met Office Hadley Centre, one of the most prestigious research facilities in the world, says recent apocalyptic predictions” about Arctic ice melt and soaring emperatures are as bad as claims that global warming does not exist.
Nobody has been pushing the global warming story harder than the Met Office and The Guardian. Whom could they be referring to in this passage “scientific colleagues and journalists who exaggerate the effects of global warming?”
Read the whole thing.

Roundup - Mark Steyn’s day at the Ontario legislature

To capture a roundup up of reflections on Mark Steyn’s testimony on Monday, slamming the OHRC, I’m going to be lazy and do a direct crib from Mark’s web page:


Some thoughts on a day in parliament

~ plus Edward Keenan in Eye Weekly: SPEECH! SPEECH! SPEECH!

~ Rick Santorum on Islamic intimidation and a cowering west: The elephant in the room

~ Barbara Kay on the Orwellian fantasies of Commissar Hall, plus The National Post: Thanks, but no thanks;

~ also: Brenda Cossman: "I don't much care for Mark Steyn, but..."; Kate McMillan explains the new hierarchy; and more highlights from Mark at Queen's Park

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

"The argument of tyrants ... the creed of slaves"

Mark Steyn comments on Dutch MP Geert Wilders being banned from entering the UK:

... the government decision to prevent Geert Wilders from entering the United Kingdom is the first time an elected legislator in a fellow European Union parliament has been banned from entering a member state. Minheer Wilders has not been convicted of any crime, and has to have 24-hour protection from people who openly express their desire to kill him. Now the dead husk of the multicultural state joins with his would-be murderers in restricting his freedom of movement.

On Monday, I testified before a parliamentary committee in Ontario. What was striking to me was that the default position of "liberal" members is that the citizenry are knuckledragging neanderthals whose worst instincts can only be restrained by ever more government regulation. I regret to say that, even in the land of the First Amendment, one detects the same barely veiled instincts under the fluffy paternalism of Commissar Barney Frank and others.

Some of the oldest, free-est constitutional societies are retreating into illiberal darkness. "Necessity is the plea for every infringement of human freedom," said Pitt the Younger. "It is the argument of tyrants; it is the creed of slaves." Shame his heirs in Her Majesty's Government no longer get it.

Update: See also Rick Santorum and Atlas Shrugs (contribute to Wilders' legal defence).

The lib/left’s terrorist poster boy

Big surprise:

...Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff, NDP Leader Jack Layton and Bloc Quebecois Leader Gilles Duceppe have written a letter to Harper and U.S. President Barack Obama calling on both governments "to act immediately" to release Khadr.

...The leaders say that because Khadr was 15 at the time of his arrest, Obama should acknowledge Khadr's status as a child soldier and "promptly release him."

Stephen Harper and the Conservatives should stick to their guns:

Harper has refused to pressure U.S. officials to send Khadr back to Canada, and rejects suggestions that Khadr, who is now 22, should be considered a child soldier.
Omar Khadr doesn’t fit any reasonable definition of "child soldier". He was fifteen years old when captured - the 1977 Geneva protocol cuts off at 14 years. He wasn’t forced into combat - he volunteered and traveled half way round the world to join al-Qaeda terrorists and the Taliban, and; he did so with the permission and help of his parents. He was a foreign guerilla jihadi committed to fighting against his own country and it’s allies. In other words, as well as being an illegal foreign combatant, terrorist and ‘alleged’ murderer he’s a traitor.

The Americans should get on with his trial and then throw him back in the slammer. But with a bleeding heart socialist in the White House what are the odds of that?

See also.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Monday, February 9, 2009

Jennifer Lynch's travels

Ezra Levant reports that the CHRC's Jennifer Lynch is busy pissing away taxpayers' money in the interest of our "human rights". His post spurred me to, again, write to my MP, Keith Martin:

Dear Dr. Martin,

Last year you put forward a private member's motion calling for the repeal of Section 13 of the Human Rights Act. Thank you, again, for that courageous move.

Since then we've heard from our Prime Minister that he "has no plans" to change anything - which seems to be a rather large departure from his position in 1999 when he said: "Human Rights Commissions, as they are evolving, are an attack on our fundamental freedoms and basic existence of a democratic society...It is in fact totalitarianism. I find this very scary stuff." It's too bad Mr. Harper can't see fit to act on his original, more accurate, assessment of the situation.

The lack of action by the government on this file is extremely disappointing. And to add injury to insult we learn that CHRC chair, Jennifer Lynch, and her fellow kangaroo court associates are
gallivanting around the globe wasting gobs of taxpayers' money on first-class air and 5-star hotels. No doubt she's busy researching new ways to abuse Canadians' "human rights".

It would be very much appreciated if you could provide an update on what's happening from your perspective. Is there any reasonable prospect for bi/multi-partisan support for advancing your private member's motion any time soon?

Thank you.

Update: Then, just minutes after e-mailing Keith Martin and posting the above, I read this.

Steyn in TO

Rightgirl is live blogging Mark Steyn's appearance before an Ontario Standing Committee on the subject of the OHRC or as Wendy puts it "the Ontario Court of Marsupial Magistrates". Leading up to the hearing she makes some choice observations:

...The Ontario human rights commission employs 50 staff, 22 full time adjudicators and 22 part time adjudicators. Judging by their representatives here at the hearing, I’m certain all employees are of an approriate hue or disability....typical self-sustaining government bloat.

...The Ontario Human Rights Tribunal wants to hire enen more staff. At least a dozen. Good thing we don’t have an economy in peril…

...There are 28 out of 71 staff curently making over $100k! an aside, all the MPPs here are startlingly white. I just find that funny.

Update: Here's Denyse O'Leary's transcript of Steyn's comments at the hearing. A sample of Mark's opening remarks:

[Ontario's human rights regime is] at odds not just with eight centuries of this province's legal inheritance, but with the United Nations' Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Canada likes that one so much, it sticks it on the back of the $50 bill, even though Ontario's Human Rights regime is in sustained, systemic breach of Article 6, Article 7, Articles 8, 10, 11, 12, 18, 19, 21, and 27 of the UN Declaration. The good news is that Ontario is not in violation of as many articles as Sudan or North Korea.

And Denyse comments: What impressed me most powerfully about the hearing was not Mark's address but the hatred visible on the faces of the apparatchiks. Imagine a man boldly declaring defiance of their nascent nanny state, backed by thugs. It was never supposed to happen.

Early reaction from SDA readers.

Complete transcript.

[Via and]

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Socialist insanity!

This week Terence Corcoran decried the $500,000 caps being placed on executive salaries at US financial institutions receiving bailout money. He argued that this would result in the financial industry’s best and brightest moving to sectors that offered higher compensation - at a time when they're needed most where they are. That seems like a no-brainer.

Well, it wasn’t long before Barney Frank, the Dem House Financial Services Committee Chairman, came up with a solution to Corcoran’s objection:

[Frank] said the compensation restrictions would apply to all financial institutions and might be extended to include all U.S. companies.

One assumes that generously compensated Hollywood stars and athletes should also start worrying. And even worse:

The provision will be part of a broader package that would likely give the Federal Reserve the authority to monitor systemic risk in the economy and to shut down financial institutions that face too much exposure, Mr. Frank said.
That’s rich. The reason so many "financial institutions faced too much exposure", and precipitated the current financial crisis, is that they were responding to government legislated coercion to make risky loans to people that couldn’t afford them.

Wonderful! The solution to a problem caused by socialist policy is more draconian socialist policy.

Furthermore: The comments to Corcoran’s piece appear, with a couple of exceptions, to be completely ignorant of the US government role in the meltdown laying the blame entirely on the bankers. Most of the lame-brains seem to think that more government interference in the banking system is a good thing. It’s as if the FP comments thread was hijacked by the rabble babble crowd.