Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Andrew Weaver - 'political' scientist

Andrew Weaver is a UVic climatologist (climate modeler) and global warming hysteric. He’s one of those 1/2500 Nobel laureates who shared the 2007 Peace Prize with Al Gore. This has made him the go-to guy for the local media whenever there’s some minor weather-related story that needs an authoritative voice to back up claims that it’s evidence of the impending doom. He’s their chief political scientist with emphasis on "political" since it pretty much dominates his "science".

The latest news is that Weaver has written a new book entitled "Keeping Our Cool". So naturally Weaver gets an interview and book review. Some interesting excerpts:

Keeping Our Cool, written during a sabbatical last winter... [Ie. on the taxpayers’ dime]

... so "incensed" is he by what he calls Prime Minister Stephen Harper's war on science and scientists, by the government's questioning of climate change ...he felt he had no choice.

... he said. "But I recognize that [climate change] is the defining problem for humanity, and I recognize there's only one leader in Canada who's actually dealing with it."

"Vote for [Liberal Party Leader] St├ęphane Dion. Don't vote for the Green Party,"

He has no patience with people who persist in believing there is still scientific debate on climate change. [And Weaver insists on calling himself a 'scientist'. He should read Lawrence Solomon’s book "The Deniers"]

He writes ... "Not a single study disagreed with the consensus view concerning the role of greenhouse gases in causing global warming." [True, but that’s not what the "debate" is about, is it, Andrew?]

... he added, if scientists were to criticize the government publicly, they could lose the funding they need to do their research. [There’s a whopper! There’s hardly a government anywhere, including Canada, that hasn’t bought into global warming alarmism. Weaver has never shied away from criticizing anyone he deems insufficiently enthusiastic about his alarmist viewpoint. And I doubt that he’s ever been short of government funds to pursue his "science". In fact, the scientists who find their funding and reputations in jeopardy are those whose research might cast the slightest doubt on AGW orthodoxy.]

Weaver decided to be a whistle-blower by writing Keeping Our Cool ... so incensed by what has happened in Ottawa, by the war on science in Ottawa... 'Enough is enough.' [Oh come on, Andrew! You've been blowing that whistle so long you've worn it out!]

And the ‘piece de resistance’:

Reading in a newspaper story that environmentalist David Suzuki and his wife sometimes retire to their bedroom to cry, Weaver said he can understand why. [Ha ha haa hahaaa! More likely they’re laughing all the way to the bank.]

These aren’t the views of a scientist. They’re the views of a proselytizing political activist . His government funding should be cut.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

The financial crisis and corporate greed

Most MSM reporting on the on-going monster financial crisis in the U.S. points to a consensus that it’s entirely a result of the actions of greedy, reckless corporate executives. Anchors and pundits invariably point fingers in that direction. And the left is presenting the crisis as a failure of capitalism in general - backed up Thursday, for example, by a Wall Street protest by unions objecting to the proposed $700 billion taxpayer bailout as a bailout of greedy Wall Street executives.

It’s widely accepted that it’s the government’s responsibility to devise a rescue plan (and given the size of the problem this seems true). So there have been many, many interviews with politicians who, naturally, encourage the view that someone other than government (ie. themselves) is to blame. Both Obama and McCain are pointing fingers at Wall Street greed and calling for more government regulation including, as a sop to the vengeful masses, capping executive salaries. Almost no one asks what government’s role has been in causing the crisis.

One notable exception to this trend has been the Financial Post where Terence Corcoran, Peter Foster and William Watson have been pointing out a few inconvenient truths.

For example, here’s a list of relevant questions and answers from William Watson:

* Who inflated the housing bubble with 1% money in a strong economy? (The Greenspan Fed.)
* Who encouraged all sorts of low-income, high-risk borrowers to acquire mortgages and homes they were doomed to lose? (Government agencies of all stripes.)
* Who created the stock-option mania in big investment companies by capping tax deductions for executive salaries? (Congress, in the early 1990s.)
* Who prolonged the current crisis with continuing destructive ambiguity, still unresolved, about which institutions would be bailed out and which wouldn't be? (Today's regulators and policy-makers.)
Here’s Peter Foster on the calls for more government regulation:

There is almost universal "consensus" (a shudder-worthy concept) that the recent turmoil in U.S. financial markets must be due to insufficient regulation, or at least regulation of the "wrong" kind. So now we must have more and better regulation.
It seems beyond the conceptual abilities of most people that current problems might have been based on too much rather than too little regulation.
They have a blind spot to the role of government programs and policies in promoting the housing bubble, and of facilitating institutions, especially Fannie Mae and Freddy Mac, that were widely perceived as being government backed (and ultimately were).
Wall Street’s recent difficulties have inevitably brought the usual anti-capitalist suspects from their lairs to claim Cassandra status, while in fact merely displaying their deeply embedded prejudices and historical amnesia. Take the CBC. .... Its doleful Washington correspondent, Michael Colton, declared that recent events were an embarrassment for "free enterprise." He then channeled a puzzled public’s lament: "Why can’t American business stand on its own feet?" One might well ask the same question of the CBC.
And here and here Mr. Foster points to lessons from the Great Depression:

...what made the Great Depression great was not its depth but its length, and what made it so long was lousy legislation based on misunderstandings of markets and demonization of capitalists. Similar legislation is now being proposed again.
FDR’s attempts to "correct" markets and counter capitalist greed led to such policy fallacies as believing that more unionization would force up wages and thus kick-start the economy. These and similar interventionist measures proved disastrous and prolonged the slump.
Lord Skidelsky implies that the Great Depression was a failure of laissez-faire capitalism, but as Milton Friedman pointed out, it should be more accurately laid at the door of government monetary manipulation, while the Depression’s depth and length were due to the uncertainty created by interventionist policies.
And on interference with executive compensation:

Attempts to control salaries have had perverse impacts before. There was uproar over executive incomes during the recession of the early 1990s. This led to restrictions that resulted in the flourishing of stock options, which were poorly accounted for, and in turn were blamed for the excesses of the dot-com boom and collapse of Enron and WorldCom.
More here and here from Terence Corcoron.

And there's an instructive thread here, of all places, at Climate Audit.

And finally, Mark Steyn’s observation:

... whenever anything goes wrong in the economy, the fault is always blamed on capitalism, red in tooth and claw. And in this case, both candidates tend to blame greed, untrammeled greed. Well, greed is writ in the human heart and is embedded in our DNA, and has been since the beginning of time. So clearly, greed itself is not the factor...


Sunday, September 21, 2008

Sarah Palin’s brand of feminism

"Dissident feminist" Camille Paglia is enthusiastic:

I nearly fell out of my chair. It was like watching a boxing match: this woman turned out to be a tough, scrappy fighter with a mischievous sense of humour.
Conservative though she may be, I felt that Palin represented an explosion of a brand-new style of muscular American feminism. At her startling debut at the Republican convention, she was combining male and female qualities in ways that I have never seen before. And she was somehow able to seem simultaneously reassuringly traditional and gung-ho futurist.
In the US, the ultimate glass ceiling has been fiendishly complicated for women. Our president must also serve as commander-in-chief of the armed forces, so a woman candidate for president must show a potential capacity for military affairs and decision-making.

As a dissident feminist, I have been arguing for 20 years that young American women aspiring to political power should be studying military history rather than women’s studies with their rote agenda of never-ending grievances.

The gun-toting Palin is a brash ambassador from America’s pioneer past. She immediately reminded me of the frontier women of the western states, which first granted women the right to vote after the civil war — long before the federal amendment guaranteeing universal suffrage was passed in 1919. Frontier women faced the same harsh challenges and had to tackle the same chores as men, which is why men could regard them as equals — unlike the genteel, corseted ladies of the eastern seaboard.
... that’s the Palin brand of can-do, no-excuses, moose-hunting feminism — a world away from the whining, sniping, wearily ironic mode of establishment feminism represented by Gloria Steinem, a Hillary Clinton supporter.
Frontier women were far bolder and hardier than today’s pampered, petulant bourgeois feminists, always looking to blame their complaints about life on someone else.

[via David Thompson]

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Another “human rights” absurdity

This is nuts. Blazing Cat Fur reports another story involving the Canadian "Human Rights" Commission. Here’s a cast of characters and a rough chronology of events:


Andre Lachance, a newly appointed ‘sensitive’ senior manager at Health Canada anxious to show that he's a fair minded, nice fellow, tries to suck up to people of colour on his staff by saying he "likes visible minorities".

Shiv Chopra, a visible minority and hypersensitive complainer who sees racism everywhere, is offended and complains to the CHRC.

The CHRC launches an investigation.

2004 - The complaint is referred to the CHR Tribunal.

2008 - CHRT orders Health Canada to pay Chopra $4000 for his "hurt feelings".

That’s ten (TEN) years from utterly ridiculous complaint to utterly stupid ruling. This is a combination of Pythonesque absurdity and Kafkesque nightmare. It’s absolute proof that the HRCs have to go.

Stop the HRC

Friday, September 19, 2008

Shifty Dion shifts away from his “Green Shift”

From The Star

Liberal Leader Stephane Dion said today that his Green Shift plan featuring a controversial carbon tax is not a major part of his election platform.

His surprise declaration follows by a day campaign appearances in the Toronto area where he failed to mention it once in his speeches.

Not a major plank in his platform!? Up until now it’s been the only plank! Talk about back pedaling!

One commenter asks: "Is Dion going to rename his dog as well?"

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Danny Williams unglued

Joanne at Blue Like You has an excellent post about Danny Williams’ and his "quarrel" with Stephen Harper (actually Williams is doing all the quarreling.) She points to a piece by CTV’s Robert Fife and to Rex Murphy’s column "Danny boy has gone too far".

Joanne ends by asking whether "William’s is having some kind of breakdown". That certainly seems probable. Danny Williams has been "going too far" for a long time. His obsessive hatred for Stephen Harper and his rabid campaign of demagoguery and intimidation are signs the man has become mentally unhinged.

I know it’s not pc to make fun of the mentally unstable but in this case the best cure may be parody, satire and ridicule. Williams might then begin to see how truly over-the-top goofy he is.

Where’s Rick Mercer when you need him?

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

The deranged left - helping out Republicans

Yesterday, Blazing Cat Fur commented on the CBC’s Heather Mallick’s offensive, certifiably deranged rant about Sarah Palin and her supporters - and on Mallick’s defense of it on the certifiably loony left blog the Rabble.

Today [Ian_QT at] The Devil’s Kitchen observes on a similar (but less offensive) form of idiocy coming from a U.K. Guardian columnist.

A hectoring and pompous piece of writing, headed 'The world's verdict will be harsh if the US rejects the man it yearns for' seems almost calculated to anger American readers.

If [they] think that lecturing Americans from across the Atlantic on the merits of Barack Obama and the evils of voting Republican is going to do their preferred candidate any favours whatsoever then, to put it mildly, they need to go see a shrink!

... like it or not, ... the people of London, Ljubljana and Luanda do not get a say in the Presidential race - it's the same old swing staters, soccer moms and slackers as last time around. In the intervening 4 years, it seems you and your colleagues have learnt precisely nothing from the Clark County fuckup. That is, sometimes it's best to "butt out"!

Ian The Devil’s right, of course, but let’s hope the CBC, Heather Mallick, the Guardian, et al don’t butt out and keep up their ‘good’ work.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

The race is on! Yaawwnnn...

As expected Stephen Harper has called an election for October 14th.

The issues. Leadership and the economy (and for the MSM - hidden agenda!!)

The economy (taxes) includes the environment (a.k.a. global warming), a non-problem with huge potential for massive damage to the economy.

The choices:

It's no wonder I envy American politics.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Liberal fascism: search and seizure of cigarettes

From the front page of my local rag this morning:

Smokers will no longer be allowed to scurry in and out of Save-on-Foods Memorial Centre for a cigarette break during hockey games and concerts. And coming soon -- patrons will be prohibited from bringing cigarettes into the arena.

Smugglers will have their cigarettes confiscated in the same way drugs or alcohol would be following a random search.

A provincial law that came into effect March 31 prohibits smoking within three metres (or 10 feet) of doorways ...

The moves were based in part on warnings from the U.S. surgeon general that there is no safe level of exposure to second-hand tobacco smoke. [No safe level? It’s the same as saying that someone lighting up 20 (or even 1000) miles away is endangering your health. That’s completely irrational.]

Victoria's arena was in compliance with the B.C. law ... [but] arena staff found policing the in-and-out privileges, as well as the smoking areas, to be a logistical nightmare.

Draconian laws banning smoking became too onerous, so the management enforces even more draconian measures to compensate. Does that bother the ‘authorities’? Nah. Quite the opposite:

Richard Stanwick, Vancouver Island Health Authority chief medical health officer [chief health and safety Nazi], is elated by the news. "That's great,"

Provincial and regional bylaws "don't preclude businesses or municipalities
or regional districts from going further." Rather, it's encouraged, he said.

First it was seatbelts; then it was motorcycle and bike helmets; next came smoking in restaurants and smoking in restaurant outdoor patios and then smoking anywhere within 10 feet of buildings.

Now they’re searching people and confiscating their (perfectly legal) cigarettes. What next?

Give the health and safety fascists an inch an they’ll take a mile. They ALWAYS go too far. And there’s no end of things to ban or to their demands for absolute safety.

No one can be allowed to decide for themselves what’s best or worth risking. The growing nanny state and its fanatical cheerleaders know best. And, for the most part, few complain.

The people of Victoria weigh in:

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Welfare bear trap

This photo captures a disturbing trend that is beginning to affect Canadian wildlife.
Animals that were formerly self-sufficient have apparently learned to simply sit and wait for the government to provide for their care and sustenance.
[H/t: Vinney]