DISSECTING LEFTISM -- ARCHIVES
Site Motto: Leftism is the frauds pandering to the ignorant

Dissecting Leftism is HERE. The blogroll is here. My Monograph on Leftism. My Home Page
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31 May, 2003

SOLVING AIRCRAFT HIJACKING

In response to the recent aircraft hijacking attempt in Australia, a U.S. reader has sent me an excellent comment:

Actually, what the latest hijacking attempt demonstrates is that Australians have in effect the only anti-hijacking safety precaution that's been demonstrated to work: Crew and passengers who refuse to be hijacked. The only reason the 9-11 hijackings actually worked was that a generation of Americans had been trained to surrender to hijackers. How, short of strip downs and cavity searches, were you planning on keeping a hijacker from carrying a sharpened stick on board?


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BLOGGER HINT

Blogspot has been so inaccessible lately that I hope most of my readers have moved to one of my mirror sites by now. If not, you are highly likely to be experiencing long delays before the site loads up. One hint that seems to help with ALL slow-loading Blogspot sites, however, is to send the "cache bypass" command (Ctrl+F5) from your keyboard. That sometimes brings up the "stuck" site almost immediately.

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BRITAIN

I thought I should mention that there is ONE page on the web which has unchanging content but which I still keep logging on to over and over again. It is "England" and you may have to be born a British subject to appreciate it -- I don't know. I mostly log on for the words and music of "Jerusalem" -- William Blake's marvellous British Israel hymn. It makes me weepy every time. What wonderful, wonderful words, so fittingly set to music by Parry!

Interesting that the British have had better success in running Basra than the US has had in running Baghdad. British experience at running other places has paid off.

The more I hear about Britain's Blunkett the more I like him. Now that Iraq is free he wants all the Iraqi refugees in Europe sent home: "British Home Secretary (Interior Minister) David Blunkett warned that if voluntary measures did not work then "compulsion" could be used".

A lot of conservatives are criticizing Blunkett's law reforms but I cannot see much wrong with them. British justice has become so irrational that something had to be done to give crime victims a chance.

There is a long but interesting article by Dominic Lieven. which endeavours to draw out lessons from the British empire and other empires of the past that might help the USA today now that it seems to have had something of an imperial role thrust upon it. It might be noted that the British empire too is often said to have been acquired "in a fit of absence of mind". One rather provocative observation:
"Among the empires of the day, the Habsburgs stood out for their protection of the civic, cultural and political rights of minorities, Jews included...." and "The economic and cultural interests of indigenous peoples were usually safer under bureaucratic or aristocratic imperial rule than under settler democracy".

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ELSEWHERE

Miranda Devine says Greenie opposition to feral dog control in the largest national park in New South Wales is imposing enormous cruelties on nearby domestic livestock.

Surprise, surprise! The Red Cross is keeping 64c out of every dollar it makes from fundraising. Don't give a cent to the antisemitic scum.

Some Good sense from Ross Gittins: "Those dreaded multinationals often speed a country's growth. The unceasing claim of the mainly youthful protesters against globalisation is that it involves the rich countries - via "trans-national corporations" such as Nike - ripping off the poor countries. But it ain't necessarily so. Indeed, recent research - much of it prompted by the protests, I suspect - suggests that this claim is the opposite of the truth. The developing countries that have done most to open up to trade and foreign investment are enjoying faster economic growth, rising real wages, falling poverty and, eventually, greater environmental protection."

Interesting: Blacks, unionists and Hispanics are slowly deserting the Dims for the GOP. A very useful trend. Minority support is about all the Dims have going for them.

Jeff Jacoby points out the hypocrisy of the Middle East "roadmap". Everything is expected of the Jews but the Palestinians can do anything they like without protest.

There is a good coverage here of how slippery "natural medicine" advocates are when subjected to scientific scrutiny.

The Wicked one says we might need genetically engineered crops to save the banana from extinction!

Michael Darby puts the case for having diiferent ages of consent for heterosexual and homosexual intercourse.

Chris Brand points out that "thought crime" is alive and well in modern-day Germany.

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Comments? Email me here or here. If there are no recent posts here blame Blogger.com and visit my mirror site here or here. My Home Page is here or here.

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30 May, 2003

LOTS OF GOOD STUFF TODAY:

Another example here of US stockmarket portfolios continually declining in value. You have to be mad to put your money into a managed fund. It is cheaper to make your own mistakes. My portfolio of Australian stocks has a very successful spread of relatively safe companies that also tend to GROW in value. Details of it are available FREE to anybody. Here are the stocks I hold:

(Australian stockmarket abbreviations): ADB AGL AMC AMP ANN ANZ BBG BOQ BPC BEN BWA BRZ CBA CCL CDO CNN COA CRG CSR DJS FFL FLT FOA FWD GFD GNS GUD HWI ION JHX JUP LDW MCP MPB MRL MTT NAB NFD PPK PPX RIC RIN SHV SMS SSX SGB SUN TAH WWA WBC WOW. Copy my portfolio and you instantly become your own fund manager with a very successful medium-term track record! I am hundreds of thousands of dollars ahead. I put my money where my mouth is as far as capitalism is concerned.

Bob Hope has just turned 100! What a marvellous man.

Whoopee! An arrogant Leftist "human shield" got shot! There should be more of it. They endanger the safety of others as well as themselves.

The latest hijacking attempt shows that safety precautions are virtually non-existent on Australian aircraft but our bureaucratized government assures us that "talks are continuing" on the matter! Great that the flight crew in the latest incident were not seriously hurt, anyhow.

Wow! A Right to Die judgment in an Australian court. Let's hope it is just a first step in giving back people control over their own lives.

Watch their deeds, not their words: The US Democrats do NOT believe that "diversity" is good for you.

Auditors are refusing to sign off the British Conservative Party's accounts because they fear that it is no longer a going concern. Amusing! I don't think they are a going concern either. They seem to have totally forgotten what conservatism is all about.

This research finding will upset the Lefties. They hate anything that ordinary people enjoy -- from McDonalds to video games: Video games that require players to knock off enemies that pop out of nowhere sharply improve children's visual attention skills. How awful! Violent games are actually beneficial!

The Communist News Network (CNN) recently aired a demonstration of an illegal versus a legal 'assault weapon' that showed the illegal one blowing apart cinder blocks, while the legal model did no apparent damage. After the NRA accused CNN of 'faking' the presentation -- since both rifles should cause the same damage CNN conceded their demonstration was misleading! Soviet-style lies live on among the American Left.

We all now know how crooked CNN was in its coverage of Saddam's regime but this suggests that ALL the Left-leaning media distorted the truth about Saddam's Iraq.

Cato says: "There already are early warning signs that the United States can ill afford to linger in Iraq and overstay its welcome. Thousands of Muslims -- Shiite and Sunni -- have protested against the U.S. military presence. American troops, saddled with peacekeeping duties they are not trained to perform, have fired on crowds and killed civilians in Mosul and Fallujah. The lesson is clear: The United States must leave Iraq at the earliest possible opportunity." Hear here!

Oregon folly: "Voters clearly value education, but this new money will largely benefit the teachers' union, not the students. Rather than help the schools in a positive way, the new tax will allow the school system avoid doing two things it must eventually do: control spending and become accountable for learning outcomes."

The Greenie response to complaints from people about wildlife pests (such as noisy crows): "If you just leave them alone, they'll leave you alone". The birdbrain concerned ignores the fact that people are complaining precisely because the pests are NOT leaving them alone.

Arlene Peck's latest column is up here (post of 29th.). She points out that all Jews have been forced out of most Arab countries and asks why, in such circumstances, Arabs have to be given their own State within the borders of Israel. Jews must be tolerant but Arabs don't have to?

Michael Darby has an article that takes on the "funny money" theorists of "Social Credit" -- theorists who have had a significant following in New Zealand and British Columbia. The Social Creditors mistake the (true) statement that the banking system creates money (because of the velocity of circulation) for the (false) statement that individual banks create money. It is perhaps an understandable mistake.

Chris Brand notes a World Bank report that says many African countries are worse off now than they were at independence in the 1960s.

The Wicked one is glad that a mad Yugoslav was shot dead.

In my academic posting of May 29th. here, I show that standard psychological techniques for detecting lying normally work pretty well.

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Comments? Email me here or here. If there are no recent posts here blame Blogger.com and visit my mirror site here or here. My Home Page is here or here.

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29 May, 2003

BLOGGER.COM BLUES

Ever since Google took over Pyra, the blogspot archives seem to have become progressively more and more of a shambles. Nothing seems to archive automatically now. You have to manually republish all the time. And even manual republishing does not work sometimes. All my posts on this blog from last year, for instance, seem to have vanished. I think that this sort of thing must bother most bloggers. Most of us, I fancy, do want our words of wisdom to remain accessible for some time. I certainly think that my efforts have some permanent worth. Fortunately, I do have copies of all my posts so I have now republished the ones from last year in the only way I can -- not as archives but as front-page posts on new blogpot sites that I have created especially for the purpose.

So my posts for July, August, September and October 2002 can now be found on http://lostleft.blogspot.com;

My posts for November 2002 are on http://lostlef2.blogspot.com

and my posts for December 2002 are on http://losleftdec.blogspot.com

My archives for this year are in better shape (at the moment) but, just in case, I have put them up elsewhere too. See http://jonjayray.tripod.com/archive.html.

In creating the new sites I needed I was automatically directed into the new version of the blogger.com software. What a shambles! I have always said that Blogger was the most bug-prone software that I have ever had the misfortune to get entangled with but I now take that back. The new version of the software is even worse! It takes the patience of Job to get it to do anything at all and when you do get some response out of it posts disappear, edits disappear and you keep getting error messages. In creating one of the new sites I needed I just could not get it to post properly and had to delete the whole blog and start all over again from scratch. I spent hours on doing what should have taken 10 minutes.

Dread the day when Pyra makes all users convert to the new software. One hint though: If you click all buttons about 8 times in rapid succession instead of the usual once or twice, you are more likely to get something to happen.

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OGBU WAS RIGHT

I noted recently that Prof. Ogbu, a black researcher, has found that black students from affluent homes do poorly at school because they are lazy and think that doing well is "acting white". A reader comments:

"Black underachievement is such a disaster that it is almost unfixable. In Florida, the NAACP has threatened a boycott if students are not given a high-school diploma even if they fail the exit exam - given 6 times to pass the same exam. And Gov Jeb Bush has actually spent the time of day to discuss this issue. This is a no-brainer - stupid people shouldn't get a diploma - and we need more people like Prof Ogbu to tell these 'race warlords" to take a hike.

My daughter (graduate student in Sociology at UC) is familiar with Prof Ogbu's work - she actually admitted that he might be right - this is a milestone in my battle against her Communist indoctrination.

Personal experience reinforces my belief in Prof Ogbu's work. Years ago (before the Prof coined the term "acting white"), a Black friend confided in me that her two sons had faced harassment in school for "acting white" - a major stress in her life had been to convince her sons to do well in school inspite of this harassment. This is not a fantasy of a professor - this is real life."

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LOONY WATCH

These loonies are just as bad as Islamic Terrorists and should be treated accordingly. Excerpt:
"The radical environmental group Earth Liberation Front is claiming responsibility for fires that destroyed two houses near Ann Arbor [MI] in March. The slogan 'ELF, no sprawl' was spray painted on the garage door of a house next to one of those burned March 21 in the Mystic Forest subdivision. On its Web site, the group claims responsibility for the fires, which it says caused $400,000 in damage. The group also takes responsibility for burning luxury homes being built near Philadelphia late last year. A picture of a burning home is featured on the Web site, along with instructions on how to start fires."

"'Hey, hey, ho, ho, drugs in meat have got to go' chanted protestors outside a McDonald's in Maine. The oh-so-clever rabble held up massive 'pill burgers' (hamburgers with a big pill inside) and were joined by the Union of Concerned Scientists' Michael Khoo, who recently penned an article entitled 'Want drugs with those fries?' for the insanely self-important TomPaine.com. While Khoo tries to scare the public about antibiotics in hamburgers, the organization he works for declares that it's a non-issue."

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ELSEWHERE

Disgraceful: San Francisco's Irvine Foundation is dedicated to improving the quality of life for Californians. But the foundation has improved life for one individual in particular: a previous president. He got $717,000 in pay, retirement and perks. I have noted previously that charities often become little more than a honeypot for their staff. Congress seems to be doing something about it but I doubt if it will improve things much.

There is a fairly comprehensive report here about the now controversial Jessica Lynch rescue. Leftists blame US troops for being cautious! In the middle of a war!

Germany supports India in its war against Muslim terrorism! I suppose that's something.

Threatening budget cuts, the Howard Government has savagely attacked Australia's public broadcaster, accusing it of being blatantly biased and anti-American in its Iraq war coverage. About time!

The Dean Esmay version of the Carnival of the Vanities is now up. Much to read.

China Hand is rather penitent for disparaging the pastoral work of the (Roman Catholic) Maryknoll Society in China.

Chris Brand says that elitism in UK universities is soundly based.

Michael Darby says that attacks on Australia's former Governor General were unjustified but that our constitution showed its worth in how the matter was handled.

The Wicked one points out some surprising facts about heroin.

In my academic posting of May 28th. here, I show that there are many influences on how people vote in Australian Federal elections.

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Comments? Email me here or here. If there are no recent posts here blame Blogger.com and visit my mirror site here or here. My Home Page is here or here.

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28 May, 2003

GOOD ARTICLES FROM BROOKES NEWS

Why regulating gas prices doesn't really work. Recent events in Australia and California have brought government intervention in prices and production back on to the political scene. Gas is a particularly good example for Australia regarding the dangers of price-fixing regulations.

Anti-growth nonsense from lefty lecturers. The world's present population owes its existence to economic growth. Stopping growth would literally be a sentence of death for several billion people. But as Dr Van den Bosch, another greenie, said, "They're only little brown people in poor countries."

The trade balance and the value of the dollar what is the relationship? Explains why the dollar has fallen. And guess what? It has nothing to do with the balance of payments or the balance of trade.

Details here

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MATTERS OF RELIGION

I am a great admirer of the Sydney diocese for showing that real Christianity can still flourish within the Anglican communion but I do regret that they are betraying one of their core traditions by denying the significance of the priesthood -- and with it the whole notion of the Apostolic Succession.

"Culture Wars" sees the pedophilia crisis in the Catholic Church as in part a product of its defection (after Vatican II) from its traditional values and its adoption instead of quack psychological dogmas (especially Reich and Rogers) from the secular world.

This VDARE writer says US Roman Catholicism is really post-Catholic these days and that its pews would be steadily emptying except for poor immigrants with a traditional Catholic background.

An interesting article on Euthanasia here. Australia's Dr. Nitschke seems to be the main successor of Dr Kevorkian. Giving Dr. Kevorkian a long jail term for his work of mercy is a grotesque crime in my view.

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ELSEWHERE

As a former Army man myself, I am pleased to see that most Americans now trust and respect their military. The military is the one branch of government that it takes real committment to belong to.

Hey! Is this sympathy for Bush from the NYT? "The Mideast is once again testing American leadership in ways that would tax any administration."

Krugman is finding Nazis under the bed again. His latest conspiracy theory is as absurd as most: The Bush administration is setting the country up for a financial crisis so social programs can be cut.

Globalization is a great boon for third world scientists -- putting their ability to communicate their ideas on a par with that of First World scientists.

Something that the economic irrationalists of the Left should bear in mind: "The art of economics consists in looking not merely at the immediate but at the longer effects of any act or policy; it consists in tracing the consequences of that policy not merely for one group but for all groups." -- Henry Hazlitt; and: "Trade barriers are an excellent means to higher wealth for the few but lower wealth for the many." --Walter Williams. Via The Federalist

Whether you get fat or not is surely an individual decision but US government control-freaks now feel they must protect people from getting too fat.

NIKE workers in Indonesia need to be saved from Michael Moore and the anti-globos trying to save them from multinational corporate greed. Moore presumably wants worse things to happen to them.. like not working for Nike.

There is a good article by Jason Soon on unfair dismissal laws that makes a point that would be obvious to almost anybody who thought about it but which Leftists nonetheless ignore: If you make it difficult for employers to fire someone they are not happy with, their only defence against getting saddled with a drone is to be a lot more cautious about hiring people in the first place -- i.e. unfair dismissal laws increase unemployment.

A good comment on Lefty regard for the truth from Jim Kalb: "Among the claims Professor Bellesiles made in his Arming America: The Origins of a National Gun Culture a book once acclaimed and now thoroughly discredited was that there was no significant market for guns in early America. Clayton Cramer, one of Bellesiles' most effective debunkers, describes the results of a quick look at 18th and early 19th c. newspapers: you just can't avoid the gun ads. As Cramer asks, why did the experts, many of them specialists in the period, who praised the book and gave Bellesiles the Bancroft Award get taken in so easily?

Chris Brand looks at the relationship between freedom and justice

Michael Darby commemorates the Dunkirk evacuation.

The Wicked one has an interesting post under the heading: Nazism was gay

In my academic posting of May 27th. here, I look at a theory that Leftists are "life-loving" and conservatives are "death-loving". Needless to say, the survey data showed no such relationship.

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Comments? Email me here or here. If there are no recent posts here blame Blogger.com and visit my mirror site here or here. My Home Page is here or here.

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27 May, 2003

SCHOOL CHOICE

Eleanor Spreitzer emails me that Robert Kennedy Junior was in boarding school -- a college preparatory school -- when his father was shot. She comments:

"This is a member of a family that foams at the mouth against school vouchers and school testing. School Choice? The children in their family go to boarding schools - college preparatory schools - the children of the poor and undereducated go to failing - actually dangerous (because of no disciple) - schools. These failing schools produce the foundation of poor and undereducated needed for the children of the rich and powerful to get and maintain government jobs, salaries, privileges, pensions and most importantly - POWER.

The children of the rich and powerful learn the routine quickly and easily - promise the poor and undereducated - a better life and better education - but in reality - keep them right where they are - undereducated. Undereducated people are easy to control. Tell them anything - they are too ignorant - and too browbeaten to question any one with such a grand education. This has been going on for the last 50 years. Conservatives and Republicans want to stop this cycle - and we are called the mean spirited ones!"

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VIETNAM AND JFK

Kaplan makes a pretty weak argument that JFK would not have pursued the Vietnam War Kaplan says JFK distrusted his advisors, the same team who, under LBJ, took the US into all out war in Vietnam (see here) and then managed to lose it. If JFK had really distrusted these losers he would have sacked them. After all he didn't mind sacking CIA director Allen Dulles and Richard Bissell (see here) over the 'Bay of Pigs'. Pat Buchanan provocatively argues that once Nixon (certainly no saint but not the devil incarnate of liberal mythology either) started to turn the JFK/LBJ Vietnam disaster around, the liberal establishment got rid of him.

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ELSEWHERE

Was Saddam betrayed by his relatives in his army who ordered his army not to fight? Maybe so but there was little sign of his army fighting for him any way. Only anti-American Islamic fanatics fought. I think the claim is like the other claim that before the invasion began, U.S. special forces had gone in and bribed Iraqi generals not to fight. Both claims are supposed to cover up Arab cowardice when faced with an enemy able to defend himself. Treachery, terrorism and the stab in the back are the natural Arab modus operandi. Always have been. Always will be. Only Islamic fanaticism has ever got any more out of them.

Another Pro-Israel and anti-Muslim article from India. Good to have Indians on board. Hardly any Westerners realize it but nobody has suffered more from Muslim attacks in recent times than Hindu India. And Muslim Pakistan still occupies Indian territory in Kashmir that it seized by force in 1948.

Jeff Jacoby points out that giving preference to the children of graduates in university admissions differs from admissions under affirmative action in at least one major respect -- it spurs donations. Loyalty to the alma mater greatly reduces the fees that many colleges have to charge -- a distinct benefit to the students and their families!

I said yesterday that it was a lot of nonsense to blame Bush Administration rhetoric for the fall in value of the US dollar. Forbes seems to agree.

Tony Blair's policy for transforming standards in inner-city schools has produced little or no improvement in pupils' results despite 800 million pounds in spending. Funny that! Money is no substitute for discipline. Who would have thought it?

Great news: Pressure has mounted on Tony Blair to hold a referendum on the new EU constitution after Giscard himself said he would be "very pleased" to see his ideas put to the vote. A referendum almost certainly means that the British public will knock the thing on the head.

The accusations against Britain's Colonel Collins in Iraq seem to be pretty clearly spite-motivated. The Franco-American accuser should be disciplined himself.

A fun picture of one of nature's wonders here. Or could it be good Photoshop work?

Another reason why nobody will ever solve the problems of Africa: Well-fed African parents who let their kids starve.

Indonesian mass-murderer gets off Scot-free. A lovely lot, Australia's Islamic neighbours.

China Hand says that Christian teaching and preaching is widely tolerated in China these days.

Michael Darby has a rather satirical excerpt about the Middle East "peace process"

Chris Brand looks at what psychological meaning can be extracted from notions of equality.

The Wicked one is delighted that some members of Britain's House of Lords think spam comes out of a tin can.

In my academic posting of May 26th. here, I show that many people who vote for Leftist political parties are in fact conservative. They just get taken in by the better deal that Leftists appear to offer them. Leftist deceit has some rewards.

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Comments? Email me here or here. If there are no recent posts here blame Blogger.com and visit my mirror site here or here. My Home Page is here or here.

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26 May, 2003

SAUDI CENSORSHIP

Amusing: I linked yesterday to a story in the Arab News of Saudi Arabia about reformist protests in Iran. Apparently, however, the story was subsequently censored -- as the original link now gives the results of a cricket match! According to Google News, the original story was headed: Reformists Warn Khamenei Over Political Deadlock and the first line went: "The reformist members of the 290-seat Majlis blasted the conservative-controlled institutions for violently stalling reforms and denying the will of Iran's people" But all is not lost: You can still read other reports of the same story here and here

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BRITAIN IN EUROPE

There is a great site here detailing the work of a group of patriotic Brits who are challenging the legal powers of the British parliament to hand over so much power to the EU. The challenge would seem pretty thinly based legally but certainly should be made. The Guardian has a pretty desperate defence of the new EU constitution that Tony Blair is trying to ram through -- arguing that it is as yet "unformulated". Utter rubbish, of course. The final form of it may not as yet be agreed but Giscard's draft is well-known.

Matthew Parris in The Times argues that Britain's big bust up with France and Germany over Iraq has permanently ruined any hope of further UK/EU integration. Sounds reasonable. Let's hope.

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LONDON AIR POLLUTION

Mike Kerrigan has written in to challenge my claim that the Clean Air Act was responsible for the elimination of London's smog. I knew somebody would challenge that. Julian Simon's point that pollution was declining in London before the Act was passed is well-known both among libertarians and among opponents of the Greenies. I mostly agree with Simon but I am myself a research statistician and I know how carefully you have to treat trend data. You have to read it in conjunction with ALL the other data on the question if you are to arrive at reasonable conclusions. What Simon overlooks in this is that trends in biological data commonly reach an asymptote (i.e. eventually level out) -- as the trend to cleaner air in London now in fact has. It is precisely the way Greenies ignore this and rely on straight-line extrapolations that normally unglues them. In the London case, the air pollution was indeed declining up to the 1950s -- mainly because of London's de-industrialization and population decline -- but it seems clear that it is only the compulsory phasing out of domestic coal fires that has allowed the pollution to continue to decline to its present low level.

And if we look at Lomborg's graph (p.4, PDF file) there DOES in fact seem to be a levelling out followed by sharper decline in both smoke and sulphur dioxide levels in London during the 1950's. The Act was passed in 1956.

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THE GREAT TRAINING ROBBERY

Whenever the Australian or British governments try to rein in higher education expenditure or shift more of it to user-pays, we get all sorts of doom and gloom about dumbing down the clever country, undermining future prosperity etc. But what is the connection between education spending and economic growth anyhow? Not what we are being told, at least according to this study of US States: "Using data from all 50 states and spanning two decades... Three distinct regressions find no consistent, statistically significant impact of higher-education appropriations on states' economic growth. Indeed, a stronger relationship is found when the models are reversed, suggesting that a better case can be made that growth drives spending, rather than spending driving growth." "Comparing states' higher-education appropriations and gross state products also yields no solid evidence that spending drives economic growth."

I found similar results some time ago in Australia. See here or here

And using even broader statistical data, Ivar Berg long ago made the related point that a higher education is of questionable economic benefit to the individual being educated too.

Reference:
Berg, I. (1973) Education and jobs: The great training robbery Harmondsworth, Mddx.: Penguin.

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ELSEWHERE

A long and quite silly Reuters article by a Frenchman argues that the recent drop in value of the US dollar is due to what economists call "jawboning" -- official pronouncements. All governments wish it was that easy. The obvious truth is that the dollar was a refuge currency amid world uncertainty and now that things have settled down a bit after the Iraq war, people are looking for better returns elsewhere.

Worth reading: An excellent (9 pages!) article in the NYT about conservative students giving their "liberal" colleges a big wake-up.

A great article by Andrew Bolt on why talk is useless when it comes to dealing with Islamic extremists.

Michael Darby thinks that the many chemicals encountered in modern warfare have a serious impact on the subsequent health of the soldiers who fought.

Chris Brand notes some progress in getting the evidence about racial IQ differences recognized.

The Wicked one notes the conflict between animal rights and Muslim slaughtering practices.

In my academic posting of May 24th. here, I show that, despite their many years of studying it, psychologists still know very little about materialistic ambition.

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Comments? Email me here or here. If there are no recent posts here blame Blogger.com and visit my mirror site here or here. My Home Page is here or here.

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25 May, 2003

MACHIAVELLIANISM IN FARM POLICY

I don't know why the penny did not drop before but it took one of my readers to point out to me that EU opposition to genetically modified food (which Americans eat without harm all the time) is just to protect the crazy EU farm policy. If EU farmers started using GM crops it would make them even MORE productive and thus bankrupt the EU farm policy -- which is obliged to buy up whatever the farmers produce. That the policy is also applied to farmers in poor countries who export to the EU and thus keeps those farmers poor does not bother the EU a bit. Better for Africans to stay poor than for the EU farm policy to collapse under the weight of its own stupidity.

The reader concerned is a good cynic. He also points to the instant US ban on Canadian beef after just one Canadian cow was found to have mad cow disease and links it to the way Canada and its Froggy Prime Minister antagonized many Americans with its repeated attempts to protect Saddam Hussein. Canada squandered a lot of goodwill over that so a bit of quiet retaliation was bound to come.

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DEATH DUTIES

Around 20 years ago, all Australian States abolished death duties but they still exist in many places elsewhere. The SCOTSMAN features a well argued attack on Death duties.

This pro-death duties article outlines some of the history of Australia's death duties abolition.

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ELSEWHERE

Extra anti-terrorist police patrolling London's streets have been given orders to shoot to kill suspects. Good to see that the British police can get serious sometimes.

Good to see that the Iranians are trying hard to neuter their Mullahs.

A good summary of feminism -- at least as it once was: "Feminism proclaimed that for women to be fulfilled they had to adopt the career ambitions of workaholic men, the sexual promiscuity of John F. Kennedy, and the cynicism of Gloria Steinem (the pre-married one, that is). Can you think of any demographic group other than women who would have bought into this prescription for complete disaster and then cried victim when the Bunker Buster of Inevitable Biology crashed through the roof and blew up in their faces?"

Christopher Hitchens has a very acerbic attack on the way Leftists betrayed their own supposed values over Iraq. He uses their own jargon to good effect: "The government and people of these United States are now at war with the forces of reaction." "Reactionaries" are what Leftists call conservatives but the Muslim fundamentalists are of course REAL reactionaries. They really do want to take us back to the Middle Ages.

Amusing: In the anti-smoking debate, the Arab News has come out in favour of "personal choice". How about personal choice for Saudi women who want to drive a car etc.?

A remarkable research report here about black under-achievement at school. An extremely thorough black researcher found that black kids from wealthy black homes do not do well at school because they are lazy! Gasp!

Good to see that Israel, the USA and India are beginning to see one-another as natural allies. All three are strong democracies that have big problems with Islamic fruitcakes.

Interesting that blacks are now more often prosecuted for lynching than whites are.

Cuba: "The recent round of crackdowns has not only brought a new wave of international criticism -- as it rightly should have -- but it has once again thrust the issue of what to do with Castro's Cuba back to the forefront of American politics."

After the avoidable loss of two shuttle crews, even NASA now realizes that its credibility is just about zero.

Leftists often seem to think that even the mentally ill are "equal" and "victims". The Misanthropyst has an amusing link that tells of one of the do-gooders getting a dose of reality about the matter.

The NYT's Jayson Blair falsifications seems small time compared to their Duranty affair in the '30s. There are some other unsavoury NYT episodes listed here

The Wicked one is pretty scathing about Lew Rockwell's hatred of the "neoconservatives".

Michael Darby has an extract from a V.D. Hanson article in which VDH argues that there is no problem with us understanding the Islamic world. It is the Muslims who do not understand the modern world.

Chris Brand sees the proposed new European constitution as yet another hope for causing a big bustup in the British Labour party.

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24 May, 2003

CHEAP DRUGS FOR THE POOR

In response to my recent note about the attempt in Maine to force drug prices down for the uninsured, one of my readers who is a medical specialist writes:

This drug price control will just result in a shortage of drugs - for "the poor" - NPR had a good discussion of this issue. One way the drug companies can wiggle around this is to restrict their supply; and the insurance companies can apply restrictions on distribution, like requiring pre-approval; when "the poor" realize that they will have to make another trip to the doctor's office to obtain pre-approval, etc.. many will not go back and simply will not get their drugs.

There is no free lunch. Following all the pressure to discount anti-AIDS drugs for Africa's "poor", there has been a great reduction of new such drugs - no surprises here. Likewise - there have been few new drugs for malaria - most of the people who need them the most can't afford them. Of course, "need" is simply not a market force - some people are just out of luck.

Fortunately, some have developed common sense in this area - South Africans have re-discovered DDT and the incidence of malaria has dropped greatly - again, no surprises - except to Greenies like Christie Whitman; I always believed she was an airhead when, as Governor of NJ, she fired the chief of the NJ State Police when he said "of course, we profile"

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SMOKING

A smoker among my readers has reproached me for saying that people have a "right" to breathe unpolluted air. To clarify: I am not an anarcho-capitalist -- though I did once trifle with the idea. Like most libertarians I am a Minimal Statist -- which means that I see some role for laws. It seems to me that air pollution is a case in point. 300 years of capitalism did nothing to clear up London's smog but the Clean Air Act did the trick. So I support restrictions on air pollution -- whether emanating from factories, cars or smokers. Breathing is pretty basic and so therefore is pollution of it.

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THE LATEST FROM BROOKES NEWS

Why does Ralph Nader bat for Arafat against Israel?: Nader is more than just a hypocrite. His support for Arafat was a backdoor way of denying the right of Israel to exist _ and what would that mean for Jews everywhere? Bunny Champers: media corruption and the Iraqi war.: It still pains an old battle scarred war correspondent like myself to recall how his fellow scribes refused to report the truth about Saddam and how they lied about the looting and the hospitals so as to make the Yankee Doodle Dandies look bad. Oil prices and energy taxes: another green con.: Free markets, not taxes, conserve resources. This is really basic stuff. When the supply of any resource falls its price rises. Eventually the price reaches a point where the cost of producing an additional unit exceeds the demand. This is why we never run out of resources in a free market.

Details here

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BRITAIN

Wow! Britain is to get a national ID card. I thought only the Europeans went in for that sort of thing. When the Hawke Labor government tried to bring one in for Australia there was a huge outcry that finally knocked the idea on the head. Though I must say that I cannot see what honest people have to fear from it. But at least the new UK legislation will include a further clampdown on the appeal rights of rejected asylum seekers and measures to tackle those who destroy their documents on arrival in Britain.

This EU constitution that Britain looks likely to adopt will essentially make Britain no longer an independent country and will remove from its Parliament most of its powers in favour of dictates from Brussels. If the British accept that they deserve what they get. An Indian reader has emailed me with the claim that Indians under the British Raj had more rights and independence than Britain would have under the new EU constitution. No wonder Tony Blair does not want to put the thing to a referendum. He knows it would be rejected.

All that antiterrorism experience in N. Ireland may come in handy: "Coalition chiefs plan to send 5,500 British paratroopers to Baghdad to save US troops from losing control of the Iraqi capital."

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ELSEWHERE

Clever! Israel has accepted the nutty US "roadmap" for peace. Why? Because they know the Palis will never fulfil their part of it so the whole thing will fall in a heap anyway.

What fun! The "diversity" mania of American colleges and universities is now causing better-qualified girls to be excluded in favour of boys! Feminists will love that. Will we now see feminists AGAINST affirmative action?

James Glaser makes a persuasive case for the view that there is still NOTHING stopping more terrorists and their deadly cargo from entering the United States.

Chris Brand notes that eugenics has just found some support on the Left and that Enoch Powell is getting new respect.

Michael Darby wonders at the continued glamorization of the brutal Fidel Castro.

China hand discusses the merits of renting versus buying in China.

The Wicked one is critical of both the Federal Reserve banking system and the FBI

In my academic posting of May 23rd. here, I try to inject a bit of psychometric sophistication into the measurement of chronic anxiety.

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23 May, 2003

SLOW LOADING?

Blogspot blogs often seem to be very slow to load lately. If you are finding this blog difficult to access, however, you have options. Both of my mirror sites (see the links top left on this page) should be faster-loading. Try both and bookmark the one that seems to work best for you. The Lycos network seem to have overcome their problems so I have also revitalized my Tripod site lately.

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THERE ARE MANY HOLOCAUSTS

I certainly do not agree with all of Henry Makow's views but the point made in his post of 19th ( "The other side of holocaust denial") that there have been many recent holocausts as reprehensible as the Jewish holocaust is undoubtedly true -- and that millions of Germans died AFTER World War II as a result of deliberate Allied policies seems also to be true. It does seem about time that these other holocausts became better known. Maybe the recent mini-holocausts in the Balkans (Kosovo, Bosnia) could have been prevented somehow if we had all long ago realized and accepted that it is in fact common for human beings to perpetrate mass slaughters of those they perceive as "other". I personally grieve at the Jewish holocaust most because of the vast talent that was lost to the world in that terrible event but for Christians ALL human life is supposed to be sacred.

This article points out that many "holocaust revisionists" are Leftists and that only a minority are at all sympathetic to Nazism. It also tries to explain why such revisionism matters. But for the life of me I still do not get why it matters. If it was 1 million rather than 6 million Jews that the Nazis killed, how does that make the deed any more excusable?

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STATE EDUCATION WATCH

British socialism has now got so bad that they cannot even afford to pay all their schoolteachers and are having to sack some of them. Sounds like Russia. One of their headmasters put his finger on the problem, though: "There is more money going into the system, but so much of it is taken up by bureaucracy that it is not finding its way to schools". You can bet that there will not be any bureaucrats sacked.

By lowering testing standards, some U.S. States hope to evade the penalties that a federal law imposes on schools whose students fare poorly on standardized tests. Anything rather than actually educate the kids!

Jeff Jacoby is pretty plainspoken about teachers' unions and tells us that we need to recognize that first and foremost: "Teachers unions, like all unions, want to make money and amass power. Those are the motives behind everything they say and do. They're not in business "for the children." They're in business for themselves."

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ELSEWHERE

A great victory for the USA/UK in the U.N. As big as the military victory in Iraq in a way. Russia too is once again decidedly friendly to the USA. Marvellous!

Arlene Peck's latest column -- commenting on the absurd "roadmap" for peace in Israel -- is up here (post of 22nd.)

The media love a panic. But another one has quietly faded away: The British Mad Cow death toll prediction has now been cut from 50,000 to 40. That might be some small comfort to the frantic Canadians.

A suburban Washington woman was in a Maryland jail Monday on charges of assaulting a 4-year-old after he spilled ice cream on her in a fast-food restaurant. Unbelievable. A little 4-year-old! I hope they give the bitch years inside.

Tobacco: A Florida court threw out the landmark $145 billion punitive award of 2000, saying the suit against cigarette makers should never have gone forward as a class-action. Great! I loathe smoking but blaming other people for your own bad decisions stinks even more.

The House gave final approval to President Bush's $15 billion global AIDS initiative on Wednesday. The US taxpayer must not have much to do with his/her money!

Tax cuts: Congressional Republicans have shown themselves just as willing to spend as Democrats. These bipartisan big spenders are the real source of deficit concerns -- not a modest tax cut.

President Bush said that the ban on genetically modified food had discouraged third world countries from using that technology, undermining efforts to end hunger in Africa. Good to hear that at least GWB is not captive to the Greenie lunatics.

Replacing Whitman: A new EPA director will have to confront the erroneous assumption that more federal regulations are the key to achieving greater environmental quality and that government can be expected to act as a better guardian than private individuals."

Chris Brand says that social class is not as important as sociologists think it is.

Michael Darby points to the heartless government policy that denies grandparents the right to be foster parents to their own grandchildren.

In my academic posting of May 22nd. here, I again look at the Leftist claim that conservatives are maladjusted and report survey evidence showing it to be false. The study concerned was done in conjunction with a prominent (Leftist) sociologist.

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22 May, 2003

LEFTIST DECEPTION ABOUT CANADIAN ATTITUDES

Opinion pollsters can certainly talk some garbage. There is an absurd bit of work here by a Canadian pollster which examines average Canadian attitudes WITHOUT taking into account the large French population in Canada. So -- surprise, surprise -- he finds that average Canadian attitudes to Iraq etc differ from average American attitudes. What a lamebrain! You don't need to be a sociologist to know that French and English Canadians have their differences. Had he tabulated the averages for French and English Canadians separately it might have told us something. And he concludes that the minority of Canadians who support the USA "are fortunate to live in a country where minority opinion is encouraged" -- as if the USA did not allow dissent! What a puffed-up nincompoop!

Note this more objective report of Canadian attitudes: "Opposition to the United States was heavily concentrated in French-speaking Quebec. In English Canada, a clear majority supported the liberation of Iraq, and two-thirds wanted Canada to help the allies"

And those Canadians who DO think that Canada is too good for the rest of us must have been getting a little rocked lately -- with Toronto recently quarantined over SARS and now Mad Cow disease in their beef herds.

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ELSEWHERE

Christie Whitman resigns. Good riddance to a Greenie dupe.

It looks like the US Federal government is getting involved in the anti-smoking push. Seems a bit excessive getting the Feds involved, let alone international treaties. In Australia it is a matter decided at State government level. I think that in much of the developed world we are not far off the point where smoking will be permitted only between consenting adults in private -- which seems to me a fair balance between respecting the right of the unfortunate addicts who need to smoke and the rest of us who have the right not to have have their air polluted.

Why on earth is the USA supposed to be responsible for the unending disasters of every African tinpot country?

Carnival of the Vanities is up again. Worth a look.

Tony Blair faced his fourth rebellion in two months last night as 34 Labour MPs defied government whips and voted against plans to curb the right to trial by jury Good show!

The Indonesians now have a 30,000- member force in Aceh trying to crush 5,000 poorly armed guerrillas in a dense, mountainous forest. The sides have been fighting since 1976, making this one of Asia's longest-running conflicts. I would normally be on the side of the independence fighters but since they are Muslim fanatics being opposed by Indonesia's secular government, I am rather on the government side this time -- despicable though the Indonesians were in East Timor.

"A federal children's health agency is funding a study of the sex habits of old men. That's government for you.

Maine will use Medicaid, the federal health program for the poor, to force drugmakers to lower the costs of prescription drugs for uninsured residents, regardless of their income." So people who pay for their health insurance will have to subsidize the free-riders who do not! That's Lefty justice for you.

"Any charge that the U.S. military misrepresented the facts of Army Pfc. Jessica Lynch's rescue on April 1 from an Iraqi hospital to make the mission appear more dramatic or heroic is 'void of all facts and absolutely ridiculous' the Pentagon said Monday -- Responding to a BBC report that called the Pentagon accounts of the rescue 'one of the most stunning pieces of news management ever conceived,' Knowing the frantic Leftist and anti-American bias of the BBC I am inclined to believe the Pentagon.

"A Hamilton County grand jury today declined to indict Harold McKinney, a Citizens on Patrol Program member who police say shot a man May 8 as the man was robbing a Northside bar. Grand jurors ignored charges of felonious assault and carrying a gun in a liquor establishment, charges police had brought against McKinney." Thank goodness for the Grand Jury system! McKinney should never have been charged. The Police were just peeved that he was on their "turf" in the matter.

Michael Darby has a contemptuous letter to the French in which the writer points out what shalom means in Hebrew.

Chris Brand notes that the US Senate wants to give $15 billion to provide for programmes in Africa for "reducing sexual violence and coercion, including child marriage, widow inheritance and polygamy." That seems a lot of US taxpayer money for what is hardly a US vital interest.

The Wicked one points out some possible implications of the recent finding that Chimps and humans are almost identical genetically.

In my academic posting of May 21st here, I look at international levels of chronic anxiety (neuroticism) and find that the average level is surprisingly uniform from country to country -- consistent with the view that this basic personality variable is genertically determined rather than being the outcome of circumstances or environment. If you are the sensitive, worrying type, it is because you were born that way.

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21 May, 2003

AUSTRALIA'S IMMIGRATION POLICY STILL TOO PERMISSIVE

Although Australia's policy on illegal immigration has been a brilliant success -- stopping illegal immigration just about stone dead -- Australia still accepts large numbers of legal immigrants on compassionate grounds -- including lots of Muslim "refugees". And they bring with them the attitudes that have messed up their own countries. As a reader writes:

It is interesting that with the upcoming Rugby world cup all the visiting teams are being housed here in Sydney, except for the US team which is being put up out at Bowral for security reasons because the security authorities are concerned about their safety from ethnic minorities in the Homebush region.

Regardless of one's views on the rights/wrongs of US foreign policy or the Iraq war, the fact that guests to this country can no longer be safe because of ethnic groups that our own authorities let in shows that something is quite wrong with our multiculturalism policies and the mindset of those communities. Whilst all the political focus is on refugees and mandatory detention, the basics of immigration policy ..what kind of country do we want.. get pushed out of view.


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BRITISH IMMIGRATION POLICY A FARCE

The UK government gave, after only four hours of effort, a British reporter "asylum status," meaning he now gets free housing, food and travel in the UK, when he came to them faking an East European accent and claiming that the government of Moldova would kill him if he returned to Moldova.

When they asked him for an ID he said he had none because it was too dangerous to carry any which was a good enough explanation for the Home Office Asylum Screening Unit, in Lunar House, Croydon, Surrey, for those of you who want someone to take care of you the rest of your life and who can fake an East European accent.

"Lunar House" -- sounds well-named in the circumstances.

The UK Sun 19-May-03. Via Jerry Lerman.

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DECRIMINALIZING MARIJUANA

"Marijuana advocates across Canada are celebrating a May 16 Ontario court decision, which effectively legalized possession in Canada's largest province.

The Canadians are pretty incensed about pressure from the USA to abandon their permissive stance on Marijuana. I must say that I think the Canadians are right on this one. US Prohibition on alcohol did more harm than good. Why anyone thinks Marijuana use is any different escapes me. Though I myself have never used ANY illegal drug -- nor do I intend to.

And it has just been anounced in Australia that "Legalised cannabis will be prescribed to people suffering from chronic pain or wasting illnesses"

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ELSEWHERE

A 17-year-old German was convicted and sentenced to 3 1/2 years in jail on Tuesday on charges of taking four children hostage at gunpoint at their school last fall . 3 1/2 years? Surely any parent would want that garbage put away for life!

Surprise, surprise: United Nations officials looked the other way as Saddam Hussein's regime skimmed $2 billion to $3 billion in bribes and kickbacks from the UN Oil-for-Food Program

An amusing article on the new German/French/Belgian military force -- or was that "farce"?

John Derbyshire reminds us that mass-murderer Idi Amin -- with only 300,000 dead Ugandans to his "credit" -- is living a life of ease and luxury these days -- where? In Saudi Arabia. Strange that he has not been extradited to be tried as a war criminal, isn't it? More about Amin here.

Daniel Pipes has a pretty appalling but well-documented story about how the Saudis BUY "protection" in Washington.

Big scientific discovery: politicians lie. "Politicians need to be more honest about lying," he told the newspaper." (??).

Michael Darby notes how the Zimbabwe police now have no regard for the law.

Chris Brand notes recent false accusations of rape and the damage they have done.

The Wicked one does not think much of Martin Luther King.

In my academic posting of May 20th here, I show that older women tend to misrepresent themselves.

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20 May, 2003

THE WICKEDNESS OF CHEAP COFFEE

Where you get your coffee beans from seems to have become something of a cause among Leftists looking for something with which to inflate their claims of "compassion". Now that Vietnam has become a big producer of coffee-beans, the worldwide supply has increased greatly and the price, of course, has tumbled. So lots of coffee-bean producers in poor countries have had drastic cuts in their already low income. The big brains of the Left blame the problem on the coffee-roasting companies of course and try to heavy them in various ways.

In this report, however, the real solution to the problem is left to a single sentence at the end: Coffee-growers have to start diversifying into growing something else. Unfortunately, however, even if they do, the determination of Western governments (USA, EU, Japan) to protect their own high-cost farmers with huge subsidies and tariffs makes it difficult for third-world farmers to get ANY of their their produce into our markets. So bring on free-trade! THAT is how to help third-world coffee growers. But how often do you hear of Leftists pushing for free-trade? The anti-globalizers are certainly dead against it.

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THE EU BAN ON GM CROPS -- A CRUEL GREENIE HOAX

"After months of anticipation, the U.S. government is expected to file a formal complaint with the World Trade Organization against the European Union's five-year moratorium on new genetically modified crop varieties. Critics often deride GM crops with built-in pest, weed, and disease resistance as helpful only for wealthy farmers in industrialized nations but developing countries could benefit tremendously from the adoption of GM crops. As much as 40 percent of conventional crop productivity in Africa and Asia is lost to insect pests, weeds, and plant diseases. But many of the same GM crops available in North America are already helping poor farmers in South Africa, India, China, and the Philippines combat often-voracious insects while reducing the amount of insecticides or eliminating them altogether".

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"FREE" MONEY

Matthew Lesko has built a lucrative career on exploiting the government's recklessness with and waste of taxpayers' money. Lesko's "Free Money From the Government" book series does nothing but show people how to apply for and receive for themselves the money that you work for. Among the offerings the "Guru of Government Giveaways" promotes are the government sources and methods to apply for: $100,000 in grants to start a home based business; $75,000 housing grants to remodel your house and $3,000 in grants to help buy a car. Lots of people get angry with him but I think he does libertarians a big favour by highlighting how irresponsible government is with taxpayer funds.

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ELSEWHERE

I am reluctant to believe any reports from the perennially biased Reuters but it does seem that the US administration of postwar Iraq is one huge bureaucratic bungle.

Great stuff: "For the first time, members of the US Congress have established a caucus devoted to Australia. The Friends of Australia Congressional Caucus was set up last week with the immediate aim of supporting the US-Australia free-trade agreement now being negotiated."It's broader than that, but at this juncture that's its primary focus," said Jen Burita."

An excellent article arguing that Britain's future lies over the Atlantic - not the Channel from Dick Morris -- a former leading staffer for Bill Clinton. Britain should forget about the miserable EU and go for a free-trade agreement with the USA -- as Australia is.

Another excellent column from Paul Sheehan discussing opposition to the bridge to Hindmarsh Is. in South Australia and 'secret women's business' and how the media and academia treated it. The truth is the first casualty where Leftists are involved, of course.

Midnight muncher sows seeds of suspicion: Three stands competing for gold medals at the Chelsea Flower Show were damaged by a mystery crisp eater on the eve of a visit by the Queen today. Dotty Britain lives! Good to see that such things can still get a headline in The Times.

The House is considering a bill that could force the nation's foundations to give away more of their money to charity each year. About time! There is a huge tendency for charitable foundations to become little more than a honey-pot for their staff.

The Mike Hawash case should be pretty disturbing to any American who thinks he has any rights. The fact is that your government can lock you up without trial for as long as it likes and there is not a thing you can do about it.

Michael Darby has an excerpt from an article by Anne Coulter which pokes fun at the way Leftists fear having US Christians in Iraq and marvels at the Leftist arrogance in claiming that they know what "true" Islam is.

Chris Brand looks at the psychology and biology of sex differences.

In my academic posting of May 19th here, I look at a claim by Leftist psychologists that Leftists are love-motivated and report a survey which shows the opposite.

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19 May, 2003

THE ABUSED ARCHBISHOP

A reader writes:

"These claims about Archbishop Hollingworth overlooking 'child abuse' are amazing. Child abuse is the last moral barrier and the Left goes to town on anything remotely associated with it, whilst giving their intellectual blessing to social changes, like the breakdown of the traditional family, that if anything expose thousands of children to risk.

At the same time they can be completely blind to what looks like systematic abuses in the Aboriginal community that if inflicted under the auspices of Church missionaries or orphanages would lead to cries for a Royal Commission into a new 'abused generation'. I think Paul Sheehan is right, the Hollingworth witch hunt is being fuelled by republican and anti-Howard agendas that have very little to do with the Bishop himself.

Personally I don't think it is a good idea to appoint a clergyman to a vice regal position. However wasn't it the Leftist South Australian Premier Don Dunstan who initiated the practice with the appointment of a clergyman Sir Douglas Nicholls? I don't remember a lot of the Left-leaning people who object to this alleged mix of church and state objecting then. Of course Nicholls was not a Bishop -- and he was an Aborigine!"

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SALLY SATEL

Sally Satel, author of "HOW POLITICAL CORRECTNESS IS CORRUPTING MEDICINE" has a recent article on the growth of the psychological "trauma" industry in which she points to evidence casting great doubt on all the repressed memory stories we hear. There is an archive of Satel's recent articles here. She has an interesting article discussing recent attempts by lawyers to turn "fast food addiction" into a basis for lawsuits and regulation of the fast food industry. She says that Fast food 'addiction' feeds only lawyers.

Satel's article on race and medicine is particularly good -- noting that there are medically important differences between blacks and whites and showing that the "Race is a myth" mantra is itself a myth.

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ELSEWHERE

A rather amazing story of an Australian soldier who took on 20 Iraqis and won despite coming under heavy fire. It's like a tale out of the wars of the old British Empire. True grit still exists among us.

An equally amazing story of politically correct stupidity in some Australian schools is just up on PC Watch. ALL discipline looks like being banned in the State of New South Wales.

The New York City Police kill an innocent woman in her own home and all they do is APOLOGIZE??

And one wonders at the mentality of these Australian prosecutors who went for and got a conviction even whilst holding evidence that would have proved the accused to be innocent. It's the prosecutors who should be in jail.

The Misanthropyst has dug up another example of the vast disconnect that exists between what Leftists say they believe in and what they actually do when given the opportunity. In this case a leader of a teachers' union who was very militant about getting more money for his members whilst at the same time ripping them off for vast sums.

This should be a joke but it isn't: "The pair wants a city ordinance stating 'that all brewed coffee sold in town must be brewed from coffee beans that are organic, fair-trade, shade-grown or a combination.'.

And this is no joke: There really is a Voluntary Human Extinction Movement -- Greenies of course. I have always said that Greenies hate people but I am still a bit surprised about anybody being so blatant about it.

After successful fights against asbestos and tobacco companies, some top plaintiffs' lawyers are taking on drug makers, claiming they hid the dangers of some of their pills. This really ought to be stopped. We need drug companies to be spending their money on research, not on lawyers.

Jim Kalb points out that There are some amazing similarities in the way the NYT handled repeated evidence of misbehaviour by its rogue black reporter and the way the RC church handled priests accused of pederasty. Lefties will not like the comparison.

Michael Darby has some notes on the nutty types at the Greenie "Biodevastation" conference just held.

Chris Brand notes that the equally nutty Zimbabwe regime is now taking a real risk -- kicking out a Guardian reporter. That will sink them -- the way killing thousands of their own citizens never would!

The Wicked one notes that there is one Greenie who comes to some rather conservative conclusions.

In my academic posting of May 18th here, I look at what influences the distance from one-another that we adopt during conversation.

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18 May, 2003

CAPITALIST RECYCLERS

The view that most of us have of Britain's Victorian era is strongly shaped by the dramatic novels of Charles Dickens. Dickens was however a reformer in his day so focused on the worst things in his environment. There is a very interesting article here that shows -- surprisingly -- that the Victorians were in fact great recyclers. But they did it for profit, not under government compulsion. That constitutes pretty powerful evidence that even recycling should be left to the marketplace. Modern-day government recycling programs almost always cost money rather than make money.

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THE DISHONESTY OF NOAM CHOMSKY

Keith Windschuttle provides a very carefully documented demolition of Noam Chomsky and his very popular (among Leftists) defence of terrorism against the USA. Excerpt: "In fact, Chomsky was well aware of the degree of violence that communist regimes had routinely directed at the people of their own countries. At the 1967 New York forum he acknowledged both "the mass slaughter of landlords in China" and "the slaughter of landlords in North Vietnam" that had taken place once the communists came to power. His main objective, however, was to provide a rationalization for this violence."

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BROOKES NEWS

There are some great headlines on Brookes News at the moment. Try these for a sampling:

A British academic defends Saddam's regime. What is it with lefties? No matter how vicious, dangerous and monstrous a regime is one can guarantee that some group of lefties will find some justification in its existence, provided, of course, that it is anti-American.

The minimum wage rise con and the failure of our right. The minimum wage has been increased in the name of social justice. I for one cannot see any justice in pricing some people out of work in order to raise wages of who are fortunate enough to keep their jobs.

Kim Jong-il is also Beijing's problem so what will she do? There are those in Beijing who realise that it is in China's interests to have a unified and prosperous Korea free of foreign (read American) political and military influence than one divided by hostile armies.

China's growth is no threat to the world's resources. China's economic development is not a threat to the world's resources or its environment.

Warren Buffet's stupid economics. Buffet may be brilliant when it come to picking stocks but in the field of economics he is a dangerous buffoon who allows his loyalty to the Democrats and his contempt for Bush to distort his judgment.

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ELSEWHERE

An honest politician at last! All the newly-elected President of Argentina is offering is fresh air: "We are going to bring some fresh Patagonian air to the capital to engineer a change," he said late Thursday."

Somewhat to my surprise, there is a rather sensible editorial in USA Today about the Jayson Blair affair. It says that it may be justifiable to let minorities in the door under affirmative action programs but once they have been accepted into the institution they should be judged by the same criteria as anyone else. That would be a big improvement on doing anything to keep the minority numbers up -- which is what the usual system seems to be.

Caerdroia has a good formulation of what he thinks is the essential nature of America. He is obviously right but much of the rest of the world is too mean and nasty to believe it.

A great way to encourage motorcycling -- should be more of it: "Motorcyclists would be free to run red lights if they exercise 'due care,' under a bill overwhelmingly approved by the state Senate yesterday. The legislation was needed because many new model motorcycles do not have enough metal in them to trigger magnetic sensors that tell some traffic lights to turn green, Sen. Bill Clabough, R-Maryville, the bill's sponsor, said. 'Many new bikes are almost all plastic, and they sit there for a long time' ..."

Wendy McElroy is very critical of male bashing -- the stereotyping of men as brutal, stupid or otherwise objectionable: "Our sons, husbands, fathers and men-friends are gleefully slandered because they are male. They are subjected to malicious jokes and attitudes that would be decried if directed at blacks, Hispanics or women."

"As we observe the current frenzy of lawyers preparing to sue McDonald's and Burger King -- and even suing Kraft Foods, the maker of Oreos -- for allegedly causing their clients to suffer from obesity, we cannot help but wonder what lunatics have taken over the U.S. legal system.

One antiwar protestor sees part of the picture anyway: ""The most unsavory part of being against the war, for me, is the company one has to keep on the barricades. It's most uncomfortable being surrounded by Greens, socialists, effete literati, Hollywood bleeding hearts, European politicians, animal-rights protesters and a vast assortment of other wacko leftists who I'd forgotten were even still alive."

Chris Brand notes that in Britain whites are guilty if blacks fail at school.

Michael Darby notes that if you really want to protect the environment, the first thing you have to do is to protect private property rights.

Carnival of the Vanities is up again with lots of interesting posts.

In my academic posting of May 17th here, I give chapter and verse on the strange contortions academic psychologists go through in order to see in their research results some shred of support for Leftist beliefs.

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17 May, 2003

PUTIN TALKS THE TALK

This should make Vlad think: "At least 14 people were reported dead in Chechnya yesterday when the second suicide bombing in two days narrowly failed to kill the Moscow- backed head of the local administration. The bombing came as Colin Powell, the US secretary of state, held talks with the Russian president, Vladimir Putin, in Moscow on Iraq and international terrorism, and just two days after a suicide bomber blew up an administration and security service building a few miles from the Russian border".

And apparently it has. In his latest speech. he listed Russia's declining population, poverty, the spread of weapons of mass destruction and international terrorism as among its most severe problems. He said Russia's bloated bureaucracy must be cut. But in a country that has seen political turmoil and constant change for 15 years, Putin warned against reform for reform's sake. "There cannot be a permanent revolution,'' he said. Also on Friday, Putin spoke with President Bush by phone about the need to increase joint anti-terrorism efforts.

Best of all, Russia now wants to make sure Iran does not develop nuclear weapons. Since Russia supplies Iran with its reactors, they are in a position to get their way there.

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"BOURGEOIS" BLOGGERS FRUSTRATE A LEFTY CABAL

Most amusing: A Guardian/BBC journalist purports to identify the most influential bloggers around without mentioning a single conservative/libertarian blogger that I could recognize. Apparently even Instapundit's 100,000 hits a day do not count! He then attacks bloggers as a "a self-referential group of average intellects" and implies that they are all "bourgeois". Finally, he compares bloggers unfavourably with "proper journalists who know what having principles means, who aim for objectivity while accepting that it is unattainable". What a laugh!! That a cabal of Lefty hacks has principles and aims at objectivity is definitely the best joke that I have heard for a while. But clearly we bloggers are beginning to annoy the cabal so that is good.

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ELSEWHERE

The WSJ has uncovered a truly huge fraud by Leftist psychologists (in defence of affirmative action) that we will surely be hearing a lot more about. It could even shoot down entirely the University of Michigan's current Supreme Court defence of its racial favouritism.

A German economist describes the German economy as "the sick man of Europe". They wouldn't have a socialist government, by any chance, would they? But they are learning something from experience: They now seem to be edging towards agreeing with the US position over Iraq.

Another big airport screening bungle in the US! The US government is clearly a very poor protecter of the US public. A good thing so many of the US public own guns to defend themselves with.

What a marvellous story: An Indian bride got her groom sent to jail on her wedding day because he demanded money for marrying her! She is now deservedly an Indian national heroine.

The French have sent out a letter saying that the USA is slandering them: A White House official said the French allegation of an organised campaign was "utter nonsense". Quickly dubbed "the French letter," the missive became an object of derision and only heightened contempt for French actions. "It would be nice if the French foreign ministry would stop spreading lies about America, saying the Iraq war was about blood for oil and control of the Middle East," said another official.

Rather a good graphic about the continuing British Labour pary infatuation with European integration here.

Privatizing fish: New Scientist reports that we are running out of fish. A solution has been known for some time, resolving the "tragedy of the commons" in favour of private property rights. See here and here

Maybe we need to think about putting 'preservation orders' on the traditional two parent families... New Scientist reports some findings on the links between "Absent Fathers and Teen Pregnancy".... And biologists Martin Daly and Margo Wilson report that "A child is one hundred times more likely to be abused or killed by a stepparent than by a genetic parent."

China hand notes that many products now available in China -- things to kill mosquitoes and cockroaches, for example -- simply do not work and are essentially frauds.

Chris Brand has an extended commentary on TATU -- the Lesbian Russian pop singers.

The Wicked one reproduces a now rather famous defence of lowering taxes. And it's pre-Reagan!

In my academic posting of May 16th about psychopathy, I report findings that should put a bomb under a major field of psychological research. But psychologists seldom read their journals and are good at ignoring what does not suit them so I doubt if the article had any impact at all. Google certainly has no references to it by other psychologists -- even though the article was published 20 years ago in a widely-circulated academic journal.

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16 May, 2003

CASTRO: A GREENIE HERO TOO

Via Aaron Oakley and Whacking day: "Our politically-correct Luddite fascist friends at the Green Left Weekly have published this sickening apology for Fidel Castro's brutal crackdown on dissidents. Oh, and there's this stirring defense of Castro's lovely worker's paradise, which is apparently being betrayed by those horrible brainwashed bastards who flee to the USA."

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"SHALOM" FOR ISRAEL

I post a lot on this blog that is in support of Israel and critical of Islam. Many Jewish bloggers do the same. I feel, however, that I should occasionally point out that I myself have no axe to grind in the matter. My ancestry is wholly Anglo-Celtic and I am an atheist from a Presbyterian background. But I do see the cause of Israel and the Jews as just and worthy. And as for the Arabs -- if I were religious I would think that they were Satan's children, they are so destructive of both themselves and others. So:

Jeff Jacoby points to and applauds the warm support that evengelical Christians give to the State of Israel. Such Christians these days tend to see Judaism as part of their own tradition and defend it accordingly.

Arlene Peck has some pointed comments about the absurd "Roadmap" for Isaeli/Palestinian peace and sees in it an attempt at betrayal of Israel in the name of political correctness.

Writing on his "other" blog, China hand makes the important point that radical Islamists are a problem wherever they exist -- even in Islamic states. They always are and always will be vicious malcontents.

An Arab writes: "What makes Iraq's defeat a humiliating one, is not only the way the US chose to fight this dirty war, collect the spoils or reveal its 'wanted list' of Iraq's top alleged war criminals on decks of playing cards. The defeat was especially difficult because it exposed our incompetence." You said it buster

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ELSEWHERE

Concerning the NYT scandal, one of my readers writes: "Concerning the NY Times, here is an E-mail I sent to Clarence Page, a Black reporter from the Chicago Tribune: Last night on CNBC, you said you didn't believe Jayson Blair was treated differently than other reporters. If this is so, then the problem is much worse than I thought. If Affirmative Action was at fault, only 1/6 of stories from the Times would be suspect. If Affirmative Action is not at fault, 6/6 stories are suspect.". I go for 6/6 myself!

I like this: The Harvard Divinity School is guilty of crimes against Arab literature: It published Jimmy Carter's autobiography in Arabic.

?????: A three-judge panel ruled that the word 'people' in the Second Amendment does not mean individuals."

LOL: "Those struggling to distinguish the small alpine country in Europe from Australia were dealt a blow when a kangaroo was hit by a car and killed in central Austria," the Associated Press reports from Vienna.

There is a rather appalling account of child-abuse in the name of political correctness on PC Watch.

It is interesting to compare how this story of child abuse within the Aboriginal community has been handled by the left liberal establishment compared with the Governor General situation. Has anyone been made to resign yet?

BARONESS Thatcher returned to politics last night with an attack on the French, whom she accused of collaborating with "enemies of the West" for short-term gain. In a one-off comeback speech in New York, which broke a medical ban on speaking in public, the former Conservative Prime Minister attacked those who use environmentalism, feminism and human rights campaigns to fight capitalism and the nation state. She praised Tony Blair, but above all President Bush, for overriding the "rot" that "paralysed" the United Nations.

What a heap of nonsense: "As the Senate begins debate on taxes today, the White House and its Senate allies have resurrected a plan to phase in a sharp reduction in the tax on dividends and then to undo the tax cuts after five years -- a proposal they believe could break the deadlock over the linchpin of President Bush's economic growth plan."

The Wicked one celebrates how a gun enabled a 75-year-old man to defend himself.

Chris Brand writes on the psychology of aging.

Michael Darby observes the anniversary of the sinking of an Australian hospital ship by the Japanese in WWII.

In my academic posting of May 15th here, I reproduce an article that showed Australian patriotism to be strong even in the '70s and shows that it is NOT allied to racism. It was however somewhat allied with various types of conservatism.

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15 May, 2003

DID THE LEFT WIN?

A good bit of sarcasm from Christopher Hitchens:
"So it turns out that all the slogans of the anti-war movement were right after all. And their demands were just. "No War on Iraq," they said_and there wasn't a war on Iraq. Indeed, there was barely a "war" at all. "No Blood for Oil," they cried, and the oil wealth of Iraq has been duly rescued from attempted sabotage with scarcely a drop spilled. Of the nine oil wells set ablaze by the few desperadoes who obeyed the order, only one is still burning and the rest have been capped and doused without casualties. "Stop the War" was the call. And the "war" is indeed stopping. That's not such a bad record. An earlier anti-war demand -- "Give the Inspectors More Time" -- was also very prescient and is also about to be fulfilled in exquisite detail."

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ELSEWHERE

More glories of socialized medicine: A Welsh hospital has apologised to a mother today after doctors mistakenly stitched her three-year-old daughter's tongue to her gum.

Among the world's larger economies, Australia is second only to the United States in competitiveness.

The WSJ has an encouraging range of reports suggesting that the big suicide attack in Saudi Arabia may have turned most of the Arab world against not only suicide bombers but even against the preachers of hate who encourage them.

"Prices for medical services have been rising faster than prices of other goods and services for as long as anyone can remember. But not all health care prices are rising. Although health care inflation is robust for those services paid by third-party insurance, prices are rising only moderately for services patients buy directly". Funnily enough!

The idea that communism gave us SARS seems a bit extravant at first but it is true when you look into it.

How awful for the Leftists. It looks like the Arab street might be becoming more sympathetic to American values now that Saddam has been toppled.

I never thought I would agree with that famous Leftie twister, Robert Fisk but he seems to have got it right when he refers to "The corrupt, feudal world of the House of Saud" and says that "The Saud family is a real House that Jack built. Its thousands of princes are sublimely unworthy of rule". Hear here!

What fun! Saddam's favourite artist was an American -- and an American woman at that!

More strangeness in British politics: A prominent Conservative passionately wants Britain in the Eurozone and Labour figures are keeping Britain out! British Tories have totally lost touch with their own traditions.

The U.S. Congress looks set to approve the construction of Tactical nukes. Might be useful against North Korea. Nukes saved a lot of lives when used against Japan in WWII.

How sad for the Greenies and other "alternative" types: A "natural" herbal medicine used by the wise African natives seems to give heaps of their kids cancer.

Lots of bloggers seem to like this report from France -- about the coming doomsday for the French economy

Uganda's answer to corruption: "Inside the hot, stuffy hearing room, already two months into the case of forgotten bank accounts and unexplained fleets of luxury four-wheel drive vehicles, Justice Julie Sebutinde loses her temper - again. She wags her finger at the witnesses, employees of Uganda's notoriously corrupt tax authority. "Today, I am going to have you for lunch and supper," she barks"
Good to hear but too little too late I fear. The efforts of the good lady judge really just serve to show how universal corruption is there.

New Policy in Iraq to Authorize G.I.'s to Shoot Looters. About time!

The NYT had a gloat about This story because a Christian college got caught out having a fraud for a president but it is also a good example of Christian ethics rising above political considerations.

Michael Darby has a disturbing report about Western women enslaved in the disgusting kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

Chris Brand (post of 14th) has his say about the corrupt black reporter on the NYT.

The Wicked one thinks Neal Boortz has got something when he says that the USA is now to a significant degree a police state -- mainly courtesy of the "liberals", of course.

In my academic posting of May 14th here, I try to make my fellow psychologists think a bit outside the box -- unsuccessfully. The article never got published.

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14 May, 2003

IS ETHANOL BAD FOR YOUR CAR?

A reader has found that Leftists can oppose the use of ethanol as motor fuel when it suits them:

Although I certainly consider myself a "greenhouse skeptic" and am opposed to environmentalism-as-a-religion, I certainly have no objection to measures aimed at reducing air pollution or promoting energy conservation and energy security, ... provided they meet the normal economic and effectiveness criteria we should subject all government programmes to. Unfortunately the messy world of politics tends to make even common sense projects go astray. For a fascinating "micro" story about how politics and the media work. See this story about ethanol as a fuel substitute. Even if the greenhouse models of the IPCC were ultimately proven true, it is situations like this that make me cynical about politicians ability to resolve the problem in any case. The pillorying of nuclear energy by self described 'green' advocates is another larger example of perverse politics at work.

For more on biofuels see here and here

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IS CYCLING "GREEN"?

A Sydney reader writes:

Note this article about cycling in Sydney. It makes the point that pro-cycling policies aren't necessarily green.. although they are sold that way. For example in the Sydney Eastern suburbs where both I and the author (Tim Dare lives) ... promoting cycling mainly impacts public transport passenger flows ..not cars. In fact I would say foot travel and public transit would be the main "losers" to cycles as it would mainly be relatively short haul trippers who would be impacted.

Although bikes don't generate smog themselves presumably they can still add to it especially where bike/car traffic interfaces add to congestion, traffic hold ups etc. A lot of these "green solutions" when examined in detail are often not that green. Dare is quite correct in saying a lot of the forecast increase in cycle traffic is sheer hokum. For example in my area kilometres of new cycleway have been added... so the numbers look good... but most are merely painted "lanes" running on odd road stretches that were for one reason or another wider than normal lanes anyhow.. so these "new cycleways" are just spare roadspace that cyclists used before anyhow! I'm not against cycling or cycling being genuinely encouraged to improve transport or smog problems, just pseudo-solutions!

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ELSEWHERE

What a lot of pansies the British police have become: "Judges ordered a British teenager to pay $160 to a policeman for "mental anguish" after calling him "fat," He is not doing his job unless he is routinely called worse than that.

The various island nations of the Pacific receive more foreign aid per capita than almost anybody else. But, as usual, it has not helped their economic progress any. They are totally stagnant in fact.

Barbara Amiel does a detailed rebuttal of the Drabble dribble here. Excerpt: "when it comes to facts or ratiocination, she should be put in care".

Paul Sheehan has some good criticisms of the media crusade against the unfortunate Peter Hollingworth. Excerpt: "A vast edifice of smears, accusations and fabrications has been constructed".

The British Tories are total lost souls. They seem to think that the way to beat Labour is to be more Leftist than Labour! Their latest caper is a promise to abolish all university tution fees -- while Labour is taking the economically responsible course of putting the fees up! Britain is a strange place these days.

Shooting the messenger: A small group of minority politicians and prominent religious leaders in Florida is threatening a boycott of some of the state's largest industries in the hope of forcing the suspension of an achievement test that thousands of high school seniors (particularly blacks and Hispanics) recently failed. Sadly, however, scrapping the test will not make them any smarter or more employable.

And in New York even a lot of the teachers cannot pass basic competency tests!

"From a military perspective, the case for American withdrawal from NATO seems to have already been made. A number of commentators ... have pointed out that NATO is an anachronism rendered helpless by distrust and infighting. But there are also compelling economic grounds for American withdrawal. Simply, the American security guarantee perpetuates the continuation of the European welfare states and thus encourages economic sclerosis across the European continent. Thus NATO is not only useless, it's harmful".

The Misanthropyst has a link to a truly breathtaking bit of stupidity about economics. It might have sounded sensible in 100 years ago but most of us have learnt a few things since then.

Michael Darby has high praise for John Howard.

The Wicked one thinks the Spanish Greenies have got their priorities right -- sex!

In my academic posting of May 13th here, I do my best to be polite about the bias against conservatives in academe.

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13 May, 2003

THE HOUNDING OF BISHOP PETER

I have forborne from commenting on the latest media circus about Australia's Governor General because of its sheer absurdity but I suppose I should devote a few words to it. What has just happened is that he has been forced to take leave of absence because some woman identified him in a group photograph as the man who raped her 50 years ago. Not only is the claim an unsubstantiated allegation which any woman could have made against any man for any reason but it now emerges that he was not even in the photo she identified! The earlier charges against him were equally flimsy. From the very moment that John Howard recommended the appointment of an archbishop to such a senior governmental role the media sensed a "story" in it and were out to get him -- despite his outstanding and lifelong devotion to charitable works.

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ELSEWHERE

Great! Saddam's appalling "Dr. Germ" has now been captured.

One thing that the now-famous Drabble dribble does clearly show is that you are not dealing with rationality when you are dealing with Leftism.

"After the Avondale Estates [GA] Historic Preservation Commission rejected Pike's plan to add a rounded front stoop to a house he's renovating, he called two painters Wednesday to paint the front of his house lime green, with large, purple polka dots .... Pike doesn't plan to stop at dots. Scattering old toilets filled with geraniums tops his to-do list." Good man!

Buchanan knows his history: "Why do they keep digging up the corpse of Joe McCarthy for a ritual flogging? The Wisconsin senator died in 1957. He never killed anyone. He never sent anyone to prison. Harry Truman dropped atomic bombs on two defenseless cities of a prostrate nation and sent 2 million Russian prisoners back to Stalin to be murdered in Operation Keelhaul. Yet Truman remains a hero to those who despise McCarthy with an undying hatred."

There is a newish New Zealand blog that ridicules life in that particular "worker's paradise" rather well. To give you the flavour of it, he habitually refers to the New Zealand Herald as "The Daily Marxist". I do find it pretty amazing that a "worker's" government is spending millions on yacht racing -- particularly since they lost the last race to the Swiss, of all people.

U.S. airport security screening becomes a joke once again. Having the government protect you is very little protection indeed. They only want to look good. They don't care about anything else.

"The leader of Iraq's largest Shiite Muslim group denounced the U.S.- led occupation forces Sunday and demanded they pull out. Ayatollah Mohammed Baqir al-Hakim, made the call in this predominantly Shiite city despite the presence of a squad of U.S. Marines who were protecting him." Is there any hope for these loonies?

Poor old Michael Totten! The only thing he could think of that the Left could teach the Right is the desirability of Persian film festivals. The mind boggles!

"Two men came into Junkers Tavern ... wearing disguises. ... Within a few seconds, one of the men was pointing a gun in Emmons' face and grabbing $16 off the bar while the other gunman ran behind the bar trying to get money from the cash register. About that time a customer ... pulled out a handgun and shot the nearest robber in the head. ... The bar patron ... was charged with felonious assault and having weapons in a liquor establishment." Whose side are the police on? Don't tell me. I know. Their own.

Europe's biggest maker of computer chips is planning to move from Germany to Switzerland to move from a German tax rate on profits of 40% to a Swiss rate of 10%. It will be a big come-down for Germany if it happens. Why more German firms do not moved is the mystery. Switzerland is living proof that a country can be a great place to live WITHOUT high taxes.

God! What a lot of wimps people are about this smallpox vaccine. 30 years ago it was a routine vaccination for anyone travelling overseas!

One Hand Clapping summarizes the church scene in much of the USA as a religious and patriotic laity being not very impressed with a Leftist and irreligious clergy. What a strange world we live in!

What fun! "Security guards smashed their way into an official limousine with sledgehammers on Monday to rescue Thailand's finance minister after his car's computer failed"

"The gap between rich and poor in Britain is at its largest in 13 years and poverty levels under Tony Blair exceed those under Margaret Thatcher" So much for socialism!

Michael Darby (post of 12th.) takes a comprehensive swipe at the La Rouche nonsense.

The Wicked one (post of 12th) is amused by the unmentionability of blackness.

Chris Brand (post of 13th) notes that even photos of blackness are now non-PC

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12 May, 2003

NON-CAUSES OF RACISM

Psychologists have given much thought to the fact that some people seem to be more racist than others and have put forward various theories about it. A still widely-held view is that racism is a consistent personal disposition -- if you dislike one outgroup you will tend to dislike all outgroups. Another view is that it is the wicked conservatives who are racist. A third view is that people with a hostile or "authoritarian" personality are highly likely to be racists.

I have just put up here (post of 11th) three research reports that test those three theories. The survey research on which the reports are based was carried out in 1987 by an Australian postgraduate student in order to gather data for her dissertation. She designed a questionnaire with some reference to prior work of mine and administered it to a community sample of 250 Australians. When the work was done she handed the data to me for computer analysis and I wrote the three articles mentioned on the basis of what came out of the computer. The findings were unfavourable to all three of the psychological theories mentioned.

None of the articles were accepted for publication in the academic journals despite the research being unusually soundly based. Psychologists base most of their published generalizations about human behaviour on studies of white rats or studies of college students so data derived from a human general population survey should have been unusually interesting, one would have thought. The fact that the findings upset preconceptions popular among psychologists would therefore seem to have had some role in the non-acceptance of the articles.

It may be of some interest to note in passing that the lady who did the research has generally Leftist views and is married to an Australian Aborigine.

For what DOES cause racism see here.

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One of my regular readers has sent me a large collection of thoughts which I reproduce below:

MINORITIES & IMMIGRATION

This VDARE article says that Black Congressional leaders are selling out the interests of poor African Americans rather than confront the possibility that illegal immigration harms the interests of poor black Americans. The author says many black leaders in the past, including Booker T Washington and W.E. Du Bois, quite openly opposed immigration as competition for their community.

This article has some quotes from Frederick Douglas and Booker T Washington criticising immigration's impact on black Americans..

Roy Beck, the director of US immigration reduction outfit "NumbersUSA" even says "...the most racist policy in this country for the past 25 years has been our immigration policy ..it has been the worst thing that has happened to the Blacks from the federal government since slavery."

Maybe the Congressmen should follow the example of Winston Peters, New Zealand's most prominent Maori politician, who founded the centre-left New Zealand First party which receives most of its support from Maoris and older voters. Peters and his party have long been critics of open door immigration ....

Of course not all criticism of immigration policy from minority leaders is defensible. Ron Brunton in this old article points out comments from (now deceased) Australian aboriginal activist Charles Perkins.

A bit of trivia. The term "melting pot" is widely used in immigration discussions. Interestingly the origin of the term goes back to a 1908 play called "The Melting Pot". The author of this item says the play has some lessons for 2003.

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KIDS AND PC BOOKS

This survey finds "Politically correct" books are just boring students to tears.

One series of novels, incredibly popular with Australian teens is the John Marsden "TOMORROW WHEN WAR BEGAN" series. John Marsden is Australia's no 1 bestselling writer for teenagers. The books feature a mixed group of teens struggling to survive and grow up in a future Australia under foreign military occupation. The book features resistance drawn from "pre-war" gun owners. Considering the way 'the gun lobby' has been portrayed in Australia in recent years, this is probably a small victory against PCness.

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ELSEWHERE

The French are experiencing lower demand for the latest releases of their wines so the prices they get are dropping. Seems fair to me.

Chris Brand (posts of 11th and 12th) very cheerily notes how his nemesis (Edinburgh University) has slipped in the latest rankings of UK universities.

Michael Darby (post of 11th.) gives us a report of April's economic disasters in Zimbabwe.

The Wicked one has a very pleasing report on Australia/U.S. relations.

China hand is rather pleased that public servants in China -- even police -- can get sacked for slacking off.

I have just put up here (post of 11th) an article that I originally wrote some years ago but which I think is still as relevant as ever. It points out that the high failure rate among Australian small businesses is richly deserved.

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11 May, 2003

LOTS OF GOOD STUFF ...

Wow! What a scandal. Most people have long suspected that charities spend more on salaries for their staff than they do on the people who are supposed to be getting the help but a leading U.S. Democrat has just put together a study that tells us how much could be saved by small reductions in charity "administration" costs -- $100 billion! What a difference it would make if charities really were charitable! The only organization that I personally give money to is the Salvation Army. I think that they make a real effort and having God as supervisor should help keep them ethical. And I would never give a cent to the antisemitic fat-cats of the Red Cross.

I must say that I cannot agree with the push among some US conservatives to keep single mothers in the armed forces out of war zones. If you are in the army you have to be prepared to fight. Otherwise you might as well be a civilian clerk employed by the army. And if single mothers do not want to fight, why do they join up? It's their choice and nobody else's.

Iceland has the most conservative government of the Nordic countries. Let's hope it stays that way after today's elections.

A new blog I rather like is Prestopundit. It is fairly scholarly with a moderate libertarian orientation.

I like it! Somebody in Britain claims to be able to diagnose your personality from the biscuits (cookies) you eat. I eat very few biscuits but I do like Digestives (a sort of wheatmeal cookie) and here is my biscuit-o-scope: "Digestives are the favourite of technical specialists or financial experts who are logical types seeking precision and accuracy." Since I have been writing statistical analysis computer programs for 35 years and have also done very well as an investor, that is pretty good.

Feminists are claiming that women are more victimized by war than men are and that women were just as much victimized by Saddam as were men. Both claims are the reverse of the truth -- as I guess we should expect.

"An Alexandria [LA] storeowner shot two burglars -- killing one of them -- early Tuesday when they entered the business through the ceiling, police said .... [The storeowner] has not been charged with a crime. The store was closed at the time, but [he] was staying inside in an effort to deter break-ins." He'd get life in prison in politically correct Britain.

Slate has a summary of North Korea's terrorist track record but they could also have mentioned the drug trade

A quote from Greenpeace founder (now apostate) Dr Patrick Moore (now of Greenspirit): " [The public] is getting the impression that by using less wood we can save the trees. But 80% of all the timber produced in the United States, for example, is from private land -- When you go into a lumber yard, you're given the impression that by buying wood you're causing the forest to be lost, when in fact what you're doing is sending a signal into the market to plant more trees. .."

Over the last two decades, black entrepreneurs have done more to improve the economic situation for 'the black community' than any black pastor or politician. Capitalism beats socialism every time. It even works for the mentally ill, believe it or not.

I liked this confession: "I am only feebly religious feebly Episcopalian, in fact, which is feebleness squared!"

The Wicked one has evidence that "spare the rod and spoil the child" is still right for some kids today.

Michael Darby (post of 10th.) argues that the age of consent for gay sex should not be lowered.

Chris Brand (post of 10th) notes that leading geneticists duck the issue of IQ heritability -- not surprisingly in view of the big racial differences in average IQ.

In my academic posting of May 10th here, I reprint two published journal articles dealing with another scheme for finding a second dimension of politics in addition to the usual Left/Right division. I show that this scheme fails too. Left/Right is the only major dimension of politics that the psychological evidence supports. See also here.

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10 May, 2003

APPEASENIK CENSORSHIP

Arlene Peck (post of 8th.) has a rather sad story of being censored by Arab-appeasing fellow-Jews. What idiots! Like Saddam, the Palestinian Arabs can be defeated but never appeased. That any Jew can have forgotten the failed appeasement of 1939 is incomprehensible to me.

Crossposted on Israpundit

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GREENIES AND OTHER FADDISTS

Miranda Devine once again homes in on how Greens make bushfires worse. Since bushfires are a calamity for the very trees and wild creatures that Greenies profess to love, one has to wonder what part of their brain is missing. Rather a big part, it seems.

The busybodies and scaremongers are now targeting nanotechnology -- i.e. engineering on a microscopic scale. What next?

"We'll say this much about activists who devote their lives to opposing genetically modified (GM) foods: they don't let a little thing like reality slow them down. Despite a biotech crop boom in Asia, the continued acceptance of GM foods by U.S. consumers and European governments ... and a grain-belt mainstream here at home that is increasingly savvy about tuning out these unscientific scaremongers, the lunatic fringe of the anti-biotech movement is ramping up its propaganda campaign."

There is no evidence to support claims that organic food is any better for you. So sad.

A recent attack on "junk" foods in the New Scientist is exposed here as junk science. There is a link in the article to a highly abusive reply from the editor of New Scientist which fails to budge the basic point that they ran a scare based on very flimsy evidence.

"Vitamin and mineral supplements could cause more harm than good, the Food Standards Agency will say today. It is calling for one supplement to be banned and says that six other substances could damage health irreversibly"

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ELSEWHERE

"Leading evangelical Christians for the first time have publicly condemned assaults on Islam by the Rev. Franklin Graham and other fellow religious conservatives." Any Bible-believing Christian worth his salt would see Islam as Satan's religion -- an evil mockery of Christianity.

As Jeff Jacoby says: "Three Cubans who attempted to escape Castro's island gulag by hijacking a ferry to Florida... were killed by firing squad.... the whole international community should be condemning Cuba. But it isn't. Last week Cuba was elected to a new three-year term on the UN Commission on Human Rights."
I really do wonder why we put up with EITHER Castro OR the UN.

Speaking of the Iraq war, Sir John Keegan asks: "The allies got it so right: how did the pundits get it so wrong?" He says it was obvious from the start that the Iraqis were way outclassed militarily and blames the pundits for looking at everything except that. He also notes that despite their many detractors, the British and American tanks proved themselves in this war. He also says: "The dash from Kuwait to the vicinity of Baghdad was done at a speed unequalled in military history."

Oregon claims that Attorney General John Ashcroft has no right to interfere with doctor-assisted suicide there. I must say I am on the side of Oregon on that one. Denying mercy killing really is merciless.

"Reformist Iranian MPs warned the country's powerful and entrenched clerics yesterday to give way to reforms and normalise relations with the outside world or suffer the fate of Saddam Hussein." In other words, democratic Iranians are using the US army next door to scare the Ayatollahs. Saddam's downfall may yet liberate Iran too!

Under the latest super-generous GOP proposals, shareholders would not pay taxes on the first $500 of dividend income. Pathetic! I receive many thousands in dividend income every year and pay no tax on it because the Australian government recognizes that the companies paying the dividends have already been taxed on the earnings concerned.

China hand has some amusing stories about going to the beach in China and adapting to Chinese toilet arrangements. He has some rather Turner-esque photos of the seaside there too.

The Wicked one has some funny stories about stupidity.

Chris Brand (post of 9th) dissects the current arguments for affirmative action.

Michael Darby (post of 9th.) has an article arguing that the Palestinian Arab suicide bombers show the primitivism of Arab civilization.

In my academic posting of May 9th here, I present a better way of measuring what psychologists claim to be "pre-Fascist" ideology -- but which I claim is no such thing. Marxism is historically the pre-Fascist ideology.

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9 May, 2003

GLOBAL WARMING AND ASTROPHYSICS

Astrophysicists Willie Soon and Sallie Baliunas have recently trashed global warming. See here and here (PDF documents). Excerpt:
"There is no convincing evidence that the 20th century was unusual. On balance, the evidence indicates that the 20th century falls within the range experienced during the past 1,000 years....".

Soon is physicist at the Solar and Stellar Physics Division of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics and an astronomer at the Mount Wilson Observatory, and Senior Scientist at the George C. Marshall Institute. Sallie Baliunas is an astrophysicist formerly affiliated with the Mount Wilson Institute. Her awards include the Newton Lacey Pierce Prize from the American Astronomical Society, the Bok Prize from Harvard University and in 1991 Discover magazine profiled her as one of America's outstanding women scientists.

One reason why astro-physicists seem so willing to challenge "Greenhouse" may be their knowledge of the sun spot cycle, the 'Maunder Minimum' and the Little Ice Age. See the interview with Sallie Baliunas here

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POLITICAL CORRECTNESS KILLS

Theodore Dalrymple in the Spectator points out how the suicide rate in British prisons has exploded since the UK's abolition of the Death Penalty. He thinks the two are not unrelated and the reformers may be part of the problem:

"Until the 1980s, when the suicide rate rose, it was an offence in prison to harm yourself or to make a suicidal gesture. Unless the doctor considered that you had a bona fide illness that led you to act in this fashion, you were charged with wasting medical time, and lost remission. The abolition of this harsh-sounding regulation was replaced by a more 'caring' attitude, and conferred certain advantages in prison upon those who claimed to be suicidal, which resulted - as any sensible person would have expected - in a large increase in acts of self-harm, of which there are now at least 20,000 per year in our prisons. But the abolition of punishment for self-harm achieved its most important end: the gratification of the reformers' narcissistic urge to feel humane..."

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LEFTISTS FAIL TO SUPPRESS ENGLISH PATRIOTISM

The English are starting to rediscover some national pride, both as English: "With a bit of luck, it will be remembered as the World Cup that brought rehabilitation to the flag of St George. After years of association with football hooligans and the racist far Right, the simple red cross of England's patron saint has been recaptured by ordinary Englishmen and women."
... and as Brits: "Led by an imposing figure of St George on a horse clad in his colours, protesters marched through the streets of Telford yesterday after their local council insisted on flying only the European flag from its buildings. Telford and Wrekin council has enraged many local people by refusing to fly permanently the Union flag or the Cross of St George"
.. so it must be banned of course: "An English university has banned students from flying the flag of St George before or after the World Cup in case it causes racial tension."

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ELSEWHERE

The US Administration thinks that Iran is trying to build nuclear weapons and wants punitive action by the United Nations! Why on earth do they bother? The United Nations?? The Israeli Osirak raid of decades ago shows what should be done.

There is a new British blog called "We the undersigned" which does a good job of skewering Britain's hordes of crazy Lefties.

Arlene Peck (post of 7th.) has recently been to London and found it a lot different from California. She notes the anti-Israel sentiment there and had some fun with the BBC.

Australia-UN relations hit new low Great!

Tony Blair is making commendable efforts to introduce some rationality into Britain's floundering hospitals but he is getting more opposition from his own party than from the Tories. Can it be long before we see some sort of regular arrangement between the Tories and the rational element of Labour?

Great news: US internet service provider EarthLink yesterday said it had won a multi-million dollar lawsuit against a man who sent more than 800 million junk emails over the internet. "Obtaining a judgment against a spammer like Carmack benefits all Internet users, and the judge's decision today is a significant victory against spam," said EarthLink. EarthLink said the injunction prevents Carmack from "ever again illegally spamming any internet user"

Chris Brand is rather pleased that his critics appear to be becoming unstuck.

The Wicked one has a shocking post about a Chicago hospital that refused to save a life when it was in an ideal position to do so.

Michael Darby has an expose of how CNN covers Cuba -- confirming the view of many that CNN stands for "Communist News Network".

In my academic posting of May 8th here, I have another article about how best to measure how ambitious people are.

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8 May, 2003

THREE CHEERS FOR BLIND BLUNKETT

British Home Secretary David Blunkett may be physically blind but he can see some things a lot more clearly than many of the whining Leftists of his party. He plans to change the law so that the most depraved killers die in prison. The Times has learnt that he will outline a "highly prescriptive" set of principles under which anyone who abducts and kills a child would never be freed. So-called whole life terms would also be imposed for terrorist murders and for premeditated, sexual or sadistic multiple murders. Judges would also have to fix minimum tariffs for other murderers. These would range up to 50 years, with terrorists, people who murder police or prison officers or witnesses, and contract killers all having to serve at least 30 years.

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HOW SICK CAN BRITISH JUSTICE GET?

No wonder Blunkett is taking on the Brirtish justice system. Look at this:

"Government lawyers trying to keep the Norfolk farmer Tony Martin behind bars will tell a High Court judge tomorrow that burglars are members of the public who must be protected from violent householders. The case could help hundreds of criminals bring claims for damages for injury suffered while committing offences. ... Home Office lawyers dispute Mr Martin's contention that he poses no risk to the public because he only represents a threat to burglars and other criminals who trespass on his property."

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GREENIE DREAMING

A reader writes:

There is an article here listing all sorts of everyday measures "you can take to prevent global warming.... if only one third of the US population did the same". It includes nonsense about not raking up lawn clippings, using fluorescent light bulbs and getting your old clunker of a car tuned more often. Of course we can respond by pointing out that their goal of getting 1/3rd of the population to agree voluntarily to do something and keep doing it, without being prompted to by market incentives, would actually be a bigger miracle than stopping global warming with a roomful of Kyoto hot air; and of course fluorescent light just ain't the same; if our better tuned cars lower our gas bills, we might just drive more; and that by spending 15% less on "small packages" of groceries, we may only need to buy bigger fridges and homes for the preferred bulk stores; .and of course any cash savings all this green belt tightening offers may only give us more cash to spend on fun stuff like overseas holidays, drag racing and snow mobiles.... but "why bother" is the best response.

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ELSEWHERE

Great! Condoleezza Rice has virtually threatened Syria with war if they are found to have Saddam's WMDs. That might make them come clean peacefully if they do have WMDs.

Jonah Goldberg says: "Elections should be the last on a long list of priorities for Iraq. In the United States we've fetishized democracy to the point where it means essentially 'all good things.' But this sentiment runs completely counter to the intent of the U.S. Constitution. The Founders were just as afraid of too much democracy -- the tyranny of the majority -- as they were of too little -- the tyranny of the minority."

And why Freedom and Democracy are not always on the same team

A senior Berlin diplomat was reported to have told Foreign Ministry colleagues that America was turning into a 'police state.' It is Germany, not the USA that has national identity cards for everyone -- cards that you need for almost everything you want to do.

Gay rights should not include the right to adopt children. That is the message Australia's Tasmanian Government has been hearing from the public.

The right of citizens to discriminate is a fundamental freedom.

The very guy who invented global warming theory said not to believe the numbers he produced because they were unreliable as a picture of what actually goes on in the real world!

Another nasty one for the Greenies: Estimates of Canada's oil reserves jumped this year from 4.9 to 180 billion barrels. Canada has a huge amount of "oil sands" and thanks to technology advances that lower the transportation cost of the sands, production costs are now estimated at around $8 a barrel -- which makes it very profitable to use them if the Kyoto-obsessed Canadian government every gets around to allowing it.

It looks like those clever Japanese still like nuclear power and are about to build a lot of new reactors. That will give the Greenies heartburn too.

Michael Darby has an explanation of why intellectuals hate both the USA and Israel.

Chris Brand (post of 6th.) lists some of the amazing examples of political correctness unearthed by Diane Ravitch and points out that book publishers are in fact the chief accomplices to the abuses concerned.

The Wicked one says that most poor people are poor simply because they do not work.

Carnival of the Vanities is up again with the usual smorgasbord of blog wisdom.

In my academic posting of May 7th here, I point out how silly are some of the big words psychologists use for simple things.

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7 May, 2003

PLUTONIUM IS GOOD FOR YOU: NO JOKE

Wonders never cease when you look at the realities behind what the Greenies preach at us. There have been three big US government research projects that showed LOWER death rates among people exposed to plutonium:

The studies are in the report: "Toxicological Profile for Plutonium," prepared for and issued by Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, Centers for Disease Control, Atlanta, Georgia, in collaboration with U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, December 1990:

**A 37-year study (as of 1990, the year of the report) of 26 plutonium workers at Los Alamos laboratory during World War II with plutonium deposition ranging from 2,000 to 95,000 picocuries plutonium with a mean of 26,000 picocuries showed mortality of 2.0 vs. 6.6 in a comparable number of the general population. In addition, no malignant neoplasms have occurred in this group during this extensive follow-up.

**Study begun in 1974 of an additional 224 Los Alamos workers with average whole body deposition of 19,000 picocuries plutonium showed 43 deaths compared to 77 in a comparable number of the general population. The number of deaths due to malignant neoplasms was 8 vs. 15 in the general population, including only one lung cancer vs. five in the general population.

**Study of 7,112 workers employed at the Rocky Flats plutonium facility during 1952-1979 showed comparable results. Observed deaths of workers were significantly less than those in comparable numbers of general populations (452 vs. 831). Malignant neoplasms were also less (107 vs. 167).

And anybody who knows anything about hormesis will not be surprised that plutonium was so beneficial.

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WHAT WE STAND FOR

Australian Prime Minister John Howard has just summed up well what both the USA and Australia stand for:

"Australia and America are close friends because above all we have similar values. In the end, the thing that binds nations together more than anything else is the commonality of their values and we have a view of the world that puts freedom and individual liberty, a belief in market outcomes where appropriate at the centre of the activities of both our nations."

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MUSEUM TREASURES NOT LOST

"The vast majority of the Iraqi trove of antiquities feared stolen or broken have been found inside the National Museum in Baghdad, according to American investigators who compiled an inventory over the weekend of the ransacked galleries. A total of 38 pieces, not tens of thousands, are now believed to be missing .... The inventory, compiled by a military and civilian team ... refutes reports that Iraq's renowned treasures ... had been scattered or lost during the U.S.-led war against Iraq."

So much for THAT "scandal"!

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ELSEWHERE

Most amusing report today: The crazy Leftist Australian journalist John Pilger was on Tuesday awarded the 2003 Sophie Prize, a Norwegian award honouring "environmental or development efforts", for his work which "helped the public examine the real causes of the war in Iraq". They obviously do not want their prize to be taken seriously.

Estonia is a great example of how rapidly a country can forge ahead once it is liberated from socialism.

City Journal reports that 70 percent of NY convicts are re-arrested for a felony or serious misdemeanor within three years of their release -- but that there are ways of cutting that right down if all the deliberately blind do-gooders can be bypassed.

A good story from "The Atlantic" about the great glut of Soviet tractors in Cuba and why Cuban farmers prefer Oxen

After twice being successfully sued for defamation, the editor of Crikey.com.au has "implemented a new early apology strategy". Should be more of that in the media generally. They get pretty arrogant at times.

A recent book review by Freeman Dyson really puts a spoke in the wheel of the "Greenhouse" scare-mongers. He points out that increased atmospheric carbon dioxide is rapidly grabbed by plants who use it for growth and simply convert it into more topsoil in the end. So rather than doing any harm it simply becomes plant food. And Greenhouse theory seems to totally overlook the possibility that plants will gobble up any extra carbon dioxide.

Chris Brand has some skeptical thoughts about psycho-social engineering.

Michael Darby thinks there are Islamic terrorists in West New Guinea -- immediately to Australia's North.

The Wicked one thinks we need MORE global warming, not less.

In my academic posting of May 6th here, I look at a claim that people with old-fashioned views are "hostile" and show that it is not so.

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6 May, 2003

AN INDIAN VIEW OF INDIANS IN BRITAIN

I have received the following email from an Indian now living abroad but originally from Hyderabad in Southern India:

Though I am not exactly an Anglophile, I definitely do not want Britain to drown in the sea. There is much in British culture and people that is worthy of admiration and preservation -- yes worth fighting and killing for (in the past I used to think that the only worthy contribution of Britain was their TV comedies like Monty Python, Blackadder, Yes Minister etc. but you get older and wiser..). I would advise Britain to restrict Indian immigration as the Indians who move to Britain are mostly Punjabis and Gujaratis. Both communities have notorious reputations for fraudulent behavior in India and in other countries like Kenya, Hong Kong, U.S etc.

Here is an interesting piece of information for you: The Indian state of Gujarat is named after the invading tribe of Khazars (Indians to Gujjar, plural being Gujjarat). The Khazars also gave their name to the Caucasian country of Georgia. My Russian friend informs me that most "Russian gangsters" are actually Georgian and he abuses Georgians in the vilest terms as being "crooks, frauds" etc!

Punjabis are a hodgepodge of every invader that passed through their state as if it were a lily field! Sikh militarism is a very recent phenomenon.....

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AFFIRMATIVE NONSENSE

Some further comments from a reader about "affirmative action":

There was a college prof from Delaware that wrote a gut-splitting funny column on affirmative action. He announced to his class that, for future exams, he would average the points for the white males, then subtract 5 points from their scores. These same 5 points would then be redistributed to enhance the scores of minorities and women. It was the best comment yet on the nonsensical nature of this policy. Yet the "smartest legal minds in the land" (Alias - liberal Supreme Court justices) have spouted absolute nonsense about this.

I have been very skeptical about "diversity". So I contacted Peter Wood (an anthropologist from Boston U, who has studied "diversity" as much as anybody) and I asked the obvious question: Is there ANY scientific evidence that "diversity" improves any measurable index of education - and he gave me the obvious answer - to his knowledge (and he knows as much as anyone about this issue) NO.

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ELSEWHERE

Well how about that! It has taken the European Central Bank to spell out to the Brits that their creaking National Health Service is doomed as the British population ages. The bank points out that "free" (in reality "rationed") health care will at some stage have to be replaced by a system where patients pay some of the costs.

Great news! India and Pakistan are at least talking about scrapping their nuclear arsenals.

There have been a lot of sensational accusations from Australia's Left-leaning media about Dr. Peter Hollingworth, Governor General of Australia and former Archbishop of Brisbane. I know him personally to a small degree and am pleased that he is one of the few Anglican prelates who actually seems to be a believing Christian. The full story that most of the media forget to mention is available here

It looks like Canada's CBC is trying to beat Britain's BBC when it comes to political bias. The blatant dishonesty of their recent broadcast about "Greenhouse" makes a mockery of any idea that they are a "public service" broadcaster. They are a "Left-loving" broadcaster.

Great! South Africa has resumed using DDT to control mosquitoes (scroll down). And guess what? They have virtually eliminated malaria -- thus saving thousands of lives that would otherwise have been lost if they had listened to the Greenies. There has of course never been any good evidence that DDT is harmful.

There is a list here of the major myths about "Greenhouse" and climate change -- plus a scientific demolition of each.

The Australian PM has rightly just rejected any FORMAL "Anglosphere" grouping of Australia, Britain and the USA. When you have the underlying reality already there, there is no need for treaties and the like.

I mentioned the methodologically ludicrous work of Marxist anti-economist Michael Pusey yesterday. A more detailed demolition of his work can be found here (PDF file).

China hand once again tells us of the massive real estate developments -- both residential and commercial -- going on in his part of China. No more village life there! Modern high-rise apartment buildings are common.

On his other site China Hand makes the point that libertarians such as myself should embrace freedom of immigration -- though he acknowledges that the Australian government's very successful control policy has almost universal support in Australia. He does make a good case, however, for Asian maids being allowed to work in Western countries.

Michael Darby (post of 4th) pays tribute to the remarkable work being done among impoverished Ugandan children by an Australian woman teacher.

The Wicked one has accounts of blockheaded official behaviour from both Taxachusetts and Canada.

Chris Brand has posts on British nationalism and British antisemitism.

In my academic posting of May 5th here, I offer my fellow psychologists a better way of measuring materialistic ambition.

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5 May, 2003

HAVE THE BRITISH MISSED THE POINT ON IMMIGRATION CONTROL?

The flood of 100,000 "asylum-seekers" arriving in Britain every year is immensely unpopular with British voters for very good reasons and the British government is of course keen to do something about it. But wringing their hands seems to be the main thing that they have done about it so far for fear of the Leftists in their midst who frown on anything that might be considered "inhumane". That the Leftists are just hypocrites who did not at all mind the infinitely more inhumane Saddam Hussein regime seems not to be noticed. The latest British proposal is to try and make the problem go away by sending all "refugee" arrivals to processing centres in Russia. That is of course a copy of the Australian policy of sending such arrivals off to remote Pacific Islands for processing.

What they overlook, however, is that it is not the "Pacific" policy that has worked for Australia at all but rather the fact that Australia sends all such arrivals straight to gaol -- whether in the Pacific or in Australia itself. The gaols concerned are very modern and humane but illegal immigrants are often held there in limbo for long periods before having any prospect of release and this regularly causes dramatic protest riots among the inmates. These riots are of course great fodder for the media and receive worldwide TV coverage. And after a few of these riots were publicized, guess what happened? The refugees just stopperd coming! Australia now has essentially no illegal immgrant problem to deal with! Would-be illegals did not like what they saw of Australia on TV and so have gone elsewhere to impose themselves on more weak-willed governments.

So the British proposal MIGHT work -- as long as there are plenty of riots among the illegals sent for "processing" to Russia.

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THE "PAIN" OF MIDDLE-AUSTRALIA

Craig McGregor has written a rather sycophantic review of Michael Pusey's latest book The experience of middle Australia. The book's basic thesis is that economic reform has caused great anguish to middle-class Australians. Both the book and the review have such a strong and evident Leftist bias that I was going to leave it to other conservative bloggers to "fisk" both as I like to put my efforts into making my own points rather than demolishing somebody else's obvious nonsense. Since I know the author of the book quite well, however, China hand has persuaded me that I should put up a few notes.

The first laugh I had when I read the review was: It's a bold and formidable achievement (with endorsements from Noam Chomsky and others on the cover). That should be enough for most people who are wary of bias.

But anyway: Up to 1983 I had an office next to Michael Pusey at the University of N.S.W. and found him to be a most pleasant, bright and friendly fellow. He was however a keen Marxist at that time so his claim now that he is a "middle-of-the-road social democrat" is at least not the whole truth.

I have not read the book nor do I intend to as I gather that it is based on face-to-face interviews and anybody who knows anything about social research knows how much room for observer bias that data gathering of that sort enables. And that the researcher was biased McGregor clearly tells us. He says that Pusey is "an absolutely committed critic of economic and structural reform and globalisation, using his research results to mount a passionate condemnation of the social impact of these reforms." Pusey gets a bit much even for for McGregor in the end -- he says that the epilogue to the book "descends into an anti-American rant. "The United States has gone mad," he writes".

That researchers find what they expect to find is known among psychologists (Pusey is a sociologist) as The Rosenthal effect. It is an amazingly powerful effect and not easily avoided. One reason why psychometricians such as myself rely heavily on multiple choice questionnaires is that it enables the researcher to have NO contact with the people being studied -- thus precluding a major source of bias. In most of my research career, until the numbers came out of the computer I had no idea what I was going to find. Questionnaires have their limitations, too, of course, but that is another story.

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ELSEWHERE

It seems that Iraq's former information minister Mohammad Saeed al-Sahhaf was actually quite brave to do what he did.

Fascinating: "THE director of a Paris theatre that staged a play critical of US President George W. Bush, has been beaten and slashed across the face with a box cutter." Apparently, the assailants associated anti-Bush sentiments with pro-Arab sentiments and LOTS of Frenchmen do not like the large Arab minority foisted on them by their governments.

Good if it happens: "AN effusive and appreciative US President George W.Bush has set a personal deadline for a historic free trade agreement by Christmas, after thanking Australia for its courage and sacrifice in the war in Iraq."

"With 900,000 citizens living in foreign countries Australia has one of the largest diasporas relative to population of any nation in the world". That's nearly 5% of the population. We do get around.

Chris Brand notes that eugenics has worked well in Cyprus.

China hand says that a restaurant offering Western food is being set up near him. I guess even the Chinese can have enough of Chinese food -- good though it is.

The Wicked one is rather pleased that "natural" medicines are often poisonous.

Michael Darby points out that under the Australian constitution, the Governor General is our "Head of State".

In my academic posting of May 3rd here, I look at the popular claim that racists are maladjusted and point to evidence contradicting that claim.

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4 May, 2003

BLACK REALITIES

In response to the story of the "whites only" prom that I mentioned yesterday, one of my readers in Texas (a professional man who deals with blacks regularly) writes:

How can anyone ask White students to treat Blacks as equals when everyone knows that Blacks are not held to the same standards for either academics or behavior?

In a related story, in Austin TX (as elsewhere) the behavior of Blacks in high school is noticeably worse - this is just a fact. So, there are more Black students disciplined - along comes the NAACP complaining that there is just too much disciplining of Black students. Solution? Essentially, eliminate all discipline [This was the worst system I have seen - my wife quit after two months when students threatened her, called her names out loud, were physically violent in the classroom, etc.- and the principal simply didn't want to hear complaints].

Predictably, some Black thug with a long history of behavior problems killed a girl with a knife on school property. In rides the NAACP on its white horse to investigate an "unsafe environment" in the schools.

These "paleo-activists" just think they are still in the 1960's. They just can't call a spade a spade - and they just can't figure out why Blacks are still not treated as first class citizens

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IMMIGRATION CAN AND SHOULD BE CONTROLLED

A good article by Anthony Browne arguing that Britain has to call a halt to accepting "Asylum-seekers". Excerpts:

A hundred years ago, most people in the west rarely moved even to the next village; now whole villages from Bangladesh are relocating to northern England. People once, at most, moved to their neighbouring country, one often culturally and ethnically similar, whereas now they move around the world to radically different cultures whose populations have a completely separate history and character. Immigration is historically rare. The fact that there were virtually no border controls until the 20th century illustrates this: there was no need to control borders because so few people ever wanted to cross them

Pro-immigration campaigners who tell the people of Europe that "mass immigration cannot be stopped, so it must be welcomed" are adopting the policies of despots through history of quelling opposition by telling opponents that resistance is futile. The evidence is otherwise. All that is needed is political will.

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ELSEWHERE

Cheeesh!! Why is Colin Powell being so soft on the Syrians -- asking them nicely if they will please some day get around to closing down the offices of undisputed terrorist organizations that operate in Damascus?

Hooray! Libertarian though I am, I cannot help hoping that this bit of government activity works: "WEEKS after the Australian government flagged new anti-spam laws, US regulators have vowed to take swift action against bulk unsolicited email."

Good to hear that the visit to the GWB ranch by Australia's John Howard went unusually well

Good! The US plans to deploy an international "stabilization force" in postwar Iraq -- excluding France and Germany

Hmmm... I always thought that the Village Voice was a Leftist rag but I cannot find much to disagree with in Nat Hentoff's columns there. Jolly good stuff in fact.

One of the greatest obsessions of both Leftists and Greens these days is the "precautionary principle" -- the idea that scientists and society in general should do nothing new or different if there is any chance that some bad effects could come out of it. Fortunately, the world has not always been so lily-livered. "Spiked" lists some of the things we would not have today had the precautionary principle prevailed in the past: vaccines, penicillin, antibiotics, aspirin, X-rays, heart surgery, the contraceptive pill, aeroplanes, railways, cars, bicycles, electricity, pesticides etc.

Peter Hitchens writes: "In the the end, the Communists won the Cold War, not with tanks but with ideas. People who hate Britain and love socialism now run the Government, the schools, the Civil Service and most of our broadcasting."

Michael Darby has a rather hilarious blurb about 9/11 from the LaRouche outfit.

Chris Brand notes some signs of sanity emerging from the People's Republic of Scotland.

The Wicked one has some amusing stories about kids.

China hand says there is still no sign of SARS in his part of China.

In my academic posting of May 3rd here I note that, despite their Leftist inclinations, psychologists have in fact found some good evidence in favour of capitalist thinking.

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3 May, 2003

HOW TO HAVE ALLIES

The refusal of GWB to declare victory in Iraq may seem puzzling to many but it is an example of considering other people's feelings. If it is going to upset a lot of Iraqis and other Arabs to declare victory, why not be content with the reality without rubbing it in? A great charge that has been always levelled at the British is "hypocrisy" but again that usually meant simply that the British took care not to upset people's feelings insofar as as they could. In many parts of the world even people's lives are not spared. The Anglo-Saxons, by contrast, even spare people's feelings. It is one secret of their success. You usually need allies in a war and because of their civilized behaviour the Anglo-Saxons usually have allies. They had dozens of allies in the Iraq war -- even Arab ones. And how would they have fought the war without Arab bases? Only with much greater difficulty.

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THE NAVY RULES

Bearing in mind that Clinton slashed the size of the U.S. Navy, this is an interesting email from a reader:

Bush's publicity stunt on the USS Abe Lincoln yeaterday was unequaled in my lifetime. Watching him get out of the jet was just like watching John Wayne capture a town or win a battle. It was priceless. The Democrats just don't have a chance in hell to equal this. A friend with militery connections said the last time a US President visited the same ship, the Admiral had to force sailors to greet President Clinton; without a direct order, few or none would have showed up.

Hats off to the US administration by sending a strong message to everyone by pulling our military out of Saudi Arabia and Turkey - that irrelevance is not just an option - it is reality.

The New York Times, of course, did its best to pour cold water on the occasion.

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SCIENCE RACES AHEAD

"The production of eggs in the laboratory for the first time has raised the possibility that two men could become the parents of their own genetic child. Scientists said yesterday that they had grown an unlimited supply of eggs from embryonic stem cells taken from both male and female embryos. The feat was achieved with mice, but most experts believe it is likely to work with humans. If it does, and the mass-produced eggs can be fertilised, it would also mean that infertile women might not have to rely on donor eggs." What an astounding story!

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ELSEWHERE

What fun! Garlic seems to ward off prostate cancer! But what if your breath puts the lady off?

Great! Australian "Anti-Discrimination" Supremo Christopher Puplick has resigned over special help he was found to have given to his little (male) friend "Bunny". Puplick was noted for his view that Muslims can do no wrong.

There are some twits in the world. Note this comment:
"THE quick coalition victory in Iraq was, in some ways, unfortunate, former intelligence analyst Andrew Wilkie has claimed. "It has legitimised the war in some people's minds and it will embolden (US President) Bush and (Prime Minister) Howard to be more reckless." ... "I don't believe we should have ignored Iraq or walked away from Saddam Hussein. "But a war had to be the option of last resort." He does not however say what the other options might have been or mention that Saddam had in fact been given 11 years to co-operate before war was resorted to.

I note that there has been a lot of media attention to the decision of some Southern U.S. High School students to hold a private party for whites only. I am rather amazed that anyone questions the right of people to invite whom they choose to their private parties. I am also glad (and a bit surprised) that it is not illegal -- yet.

I am amused that it has now become possible to defame a Presidential candidate by saying that he looks "French"! Traditional English derison of the "Frogs" has now taken root in the USA. Now why would that be?

A very successful Australian -- Rupert Murdoch -- says of Australian education: ""I think the education establishment with its insistence on tenure at a tertiary level, and its power at primary and secondary level - setting bullshit syllabuses - is really doing the country an immense disservice," he says." Good to see someone with his inflence saying so.

The Daily Telegraph UK has an article on the Katyn Forest massacre -- a Soviet deed long blamed by Leftists on the Nazis.

Peter Hitchens thinks British membership of the EU may have been a good idea back in the socialist '60s but the international trend to free trade means it's now obsolete, and exposes the Brits to an ever-sprouting Brussels bureaucracy..

In my academic posting of May 2nd here I try to introduce some rigour into the way psychologists and sociologists study alienation -- a concept that goes back to Marx, among others.

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2 May, 2003

SORRY! LEFT/RIGHT IS ALL THERE IS

In my academic postings of April 30th and May 1st. here are two published articles that have never been available online previously. I have scanned them in because they deal with one of the prime beliefs of libertarians -- that the division of politics into Left and Right is inadequate and that there is a second dimension of political orientation which is generally called Authoritarian/Libertarian. So you can be a conservative authoritarian or a Leftist authoritarian or just a lover of authority in general ... etc.

As a libertarian myself, I think that policies can be analysed in that way but, as a psychologist, I was also interested in whether people in general organize their beliefs in such a two-dimensional way. That they do is a claim of long standing in the psychological literature -- going back at least to 1954. There is however, much fault to be found with the evidence on the question and I review that in the two articles concerned. I then go on to do two further survey research studies of my own which were designed to maximize the chances of such a two dimensional organization of people's attitudes appearing. Unfortunately it did not work out that way. The fact of the matter is that it is only the good old Left/Right dimension that influences the clustering of people's attitudes in the general population. I have more to say on the question here. As the articles were originally published in a major academic journal, they can be a little bit technical but if you realize that "Orthogonal" is statistician-speak for "unrelated" or "at right-angles to" that should help a lot.

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THE DOUBLE TAX INJUSTICE

Greenspan says the tax cut is not needed for growth. How about the tax cut being needed for justice and equity? At present US company profits are taxed when the company reports them and then taxed again when the shareholder gets them as dividends. Why should people who rely on income from investments (mostly retired folks) be singled out for double tax? In Australia a LEFTIST government abolished tax on dividends years ago.

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SOME FUNNIES

Taranto's latest WSJ column is a good one. I liked this:

"China has prepared a reading list for people staying at home after karaoke parlors and cinemas were shut to stem the spread of SARS," Reuters reports:

Volumes such as the "16th Party Congress Report," former President Jiang Zemin's "Socialism with Chinese Characteristics" and "A History of the Chinese Communist Party" headed the list of nearly 100 titles, compiled by China's publishing regulator".

And he heads a comment on Mexico's Cinco de Mayo (5th of May) celebrations with: "I Cinco, Therefore I Ammo". Descartes would turn in his grave.

I was a bit saddened though by the fact that he had good cause to start off another report with: "Just for the heck of it, let's make fun of the Germans". Germany has indeed sunk low these days. For the people who gave the world Bach, Beethoven and Mozart to be so mocked does show that they have lost their way.

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ELSEWHERE

Tony Blair says that the image of GWB as an intellectual lightweight is "complete bull" and "total nonsense". Since no-one criticizes Blair's powers, he is in a pretty strong position to know. His account of GWB is worth reading, in fact.

"Israel urged Britain on Thursday to crackdown on anti-Israeli incitement among British Muslims after Israeli police blamed a suicide bombing in Tel Aviv on two Britons". And it would be about time too.

Fidel Castro, addressing a May Day rally of hundreds of thousands of people, accused the United States on Thursday of trying to provoke a war with Cuba. What garbage. The US could take out Castro any time it likes. They just prefer to wait for him to die.

An interesting argument here that it is individual liberty rather than democracy that should come first. Very relevant to Iraq where democracy might install a government of religious fanatics.

"The Bush administration has drafted sweeping plans to remake Iraq's economy in the American image. Hoping to establish a free-market economy in Iraq after the fall of Saddam Hussein, the US is calling for the privatisation of state-owned industries such as parts of the oil sector, forming a stockmarket complete with electronic trading and fundamental tax reform." One can only hope that it works.

Condoleezza Rice gives the French and the Russians a good blast here

The United States yesterday closed its last major military mission in Turkey. It is the Turks who have made themselves irrelevant, of course. 95% of Turks opposed toppling Saddam.

Here is an odd one: AIDS patients do not catch SARS. Not much comfort, though.

A true and very moving story in the WSJ under the title "A marine comes home". It reminds us that Hollywood is not America. Thank goodness!

The Wicked one reports that not all craziness is in politics.

Chris Brand has a review of Freudianism and psychoanalysis in which he gives a good short history of it. He is surprisingly sympathetic to it considering that most other academic psychologists regard it as mere quackery.

Michael Darby has a speech from one politician who does seem to want to do something about crime.

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1 May, 2003

THE "NOBLE SAVAGE"

A reader writes:

I came across this PDF which has a great discussion of the history of the 'noble savage' concept over the centuries and how it has been adopted by Greens. He points out that there is a body of recent scientific work that undermines the idea of indigenous people as conservationists, and that attempts force indigenous people into playing that role either backfire on the conservationists or harm the economic progress of the indigenous people. The historical discussion of the noble savage is the best part of the paper.

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CHINA AGAIN

The address for my "China" blog is rather long and ponderous so might give problems for readers in China who obviously cannot use the hyperlink here (See to the Left of this page). So for their convenience I have set up a shortcut address for it: jonjayray.tk Just typing that into the address field of your browser should get you to my "China" blog. If that does not work, http://jonjayray.tk will.

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MORE "GREEN" FOLLIES

This book review tells some of the story of the Amazon misadventures of pop star STING and "THE BODY SHOP"

A couple of older links looking at what the 1990s Green-Left love affair with the rainforests actually accomplished: Ben & Jerry's "rain forest friendly" business goes sour and a Brazilian perspective on the western left's rain forest follies

A look at the corporate money behind the US green activist outfit "Rainforest Action Network" (RAN). It is interesting to note the predominance of money from clothing and oil interests. Although this probably represents philanthropy from multi-millionaire heirs with a guilt complex, cynics may note that firms like Esprit and Levi often compete with cheap Third World imports and harming agricultural development in these countries may help their bottom line!

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LADY THATCHER SPEAKS

FORMER British leader Margaret Thatcher has praised Labour Prime Minister Tony Blair for his leadership during the war with Iraq. "The prime minister (Blair) has proved a bold and effective war leader," Thatcher, 77, said on a video played to 2000 business leaders at the annual Institute of Directors convention at London's Royal Albert Hall.

"I do not think many people imagined when the Conservatives formed a government in 1979 that we would so effectively transform the economy, but I am quite sure that nobody thought we would so thoroughly transform our opponents," Thatcher said during the 10-minute interview.

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ELSEWHERE

Carnival of the Vanities is up again. And a jolly good job Dave has made of it.

Arts & Letters rate this old Wired interview with Julian Simon as one of their "classics"

There is now a campaign to revoke the Pulitzer Prize from "Stalin apologist" Walter Duranty

The BBC stands accused of repeating the KGB line ..again

Blogging as a business tool (?)

Crikey is a site that provides independent analysis of Australian political and business news. It is now rating two US libertarian think tanks' web sites (the Independent Institute and Cato foundation) as their recommendations as the best 'think tanks'.

Chris Brand notes that some U.S. black activists are getting the message that educational rigour is the way for their kids to get ahead.

The Wicked one has a list of some amazing political coincidences.

Michael Darby tackles briefly the issue of whether a committment to individual liberty entails support for "open-door" immigration.

In my academic posting of April 29th. here I look at the use of "forced choice" questionnaires and point out their folly.

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