Saturday, 30 May 2009
Friday, 29 May 2009
Nosiree. I am sceptic through and through, and I can spot a canard when it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck, and adds significantly to my taxes like a duck. (?)
The excellent Englishman runs a story today about a moonbat in Potsdam who, tired of arsing about with sea-level-rise warnings of only a couple of feet, has upped the ante to an impressive 80 metres. Yes, you heard that right, 80 metres. Better read the whole story to get the full dollop of gloom. Oh, and buy a snorkel and flippers while you're at it.
At times like this, a sharp pin is needed to puncture the pomposity and ridicule the high priests of this lunacy. Who better than Mark Steyn? It just so happens that the Request of the Week on his blog turns up an amusing column from 2006, when Al Gore was pushing Tom Hanks and Kate Gymslip aside as he stormed towards Oscar glory with that great movie of his:
Here's an inconvenient truth for "An Inconvenient Truth": Remember what they used to call "climate change"? "Global warming." And what did they call it before that? "Global cooling." That was the big worry in the '70s: the forthcoming ice age. Back then, Lowell Ponte had a huge best seller called The Cooling: Has the new ice age already begun? Can we survive?
The answer to the first question was: Yes, it had begun. From 1940 to 1970, there was very slight global cooling. That's why the doom-mongers decided the big bucks were in the new-ice-age blockbusters.
And yet, amazingly, we've survived. Why? Because in 1970 the planet stopped its very slight global cooling and began to undergo very slight global warming. So in the '80s, the doom-mongers cast off their thermal underwear, climbed into the leopardskin thongs, slathered themselves in sun cream and wired their publishers to change all references to "cooling" to "warming" for the paperback edition. That's why, if you notice, the global-warming crowd begin their scare statistics with "since 1970," an unlikely Year Zero which would not otherwise merit the significance the eco-crowd invest in it.
But then in 1998 the planet stopped its very slight global warming and began to resume very slight global cooling. And this time the doom-mongers said, "Look, do we really want to rewrite the bumper stickers every 30 years? Let's just call it 'climate change.' That pretty much covers it."
Why did the Earth cool between 1940 and 1970?
Beats me. Hitler? Hiroshima? Maybe we need to nuke someone every couple of decades.
I know, I know, Steyn's not a scientist, and neither am I. But it annoys the hell out of me when the Climate Ayatollahs and their acolytes pretend that there is no longer any serious challenge to the 'consensus view' and that Bjorn Lomborg isn't really a human being.
Beautiful day in Sussex today. Quite warm, too. Oops.
Wednesday, 27 May 2009
Monday, 25 May 2009
This is not photoshopped. Those chaps over at The First Post always do a kosher snap for Pic of the Day.
I agree that the Renfrewshire Moors are not exactly paradise, but they are on the doorstep of Glasgow, and I would have thought that the last thing you want to be encircled by is a turbine city of this magnitude.
Perhaps I'd think differently if the combined kilowattage of these erections could heat and light the city below them, but they can barely keep a dozen deep fat fryers going.
Thursday, 21 May 2009
You remember Vol I, I take it (right): if it wasn't ghost written, I'm Cicely Saunders (no, I hadn't a clue either).
Tuesday, 19 May 2009
Six and a half years for Black was ludicrous. I like him, despite his faults; give me a brave centre-right media baron with a passion for history any day over the scheming republican Dirty Digger or the politically ambivalent tax dodging Barclay Bros.
They should let him out immediately. They have ruined him, and his company, which was run into the ground after the suspension of his management. Given that he was brought to court for 'theft' from his shareholders, it is ironic that his removal resulted in the shareholders' almost total loss.
A long-shot appeal Mark Steyn
My old boss Conrad Black is currently serving a six-and-a-half year sentence in Coleman, Florida for a "crime" that looks like chump change next to almost anything you've read on the business pages since last September. Meanwhile, the price of the Justice Department's pursuit of Conrad has been the destruction of one of the few American corporations that knew how to run a newspaper.
During his trial, I came to the conclusion that the federal justice system was a kind of capricious steamroller and that, once it had determined to flatten him, he'd be better off saving his gazillions in legal fees and climbing under the tarp in the bed of my truck and letting me drive him over the border to Quebec and thence by fishing boat to a remote landing strip on Miquelon where a waiting plane could spirit him somewhere beyond the reach of the US Attorney. Stuff and nonsense, said Conrad. He was not a fugitive but an innocent man, and eventually he would be vindicated by this great republic.
Amazingly, he seems to have inched a smidgeonette closer to that today: 'US Supreme Court To Review Conrad Black's Conviction'.
Almost every "expert" thought this was a pathetic if expensive last roll of the dice that would come up empty, so congratulations are in order. As to the alternative options, in the Spectator, Taki provides this glimpse behind the curtain:
Brian Mulroney, the ex-prime minister of Canada, and Tony Blair both went to see W in order to plead Conrad Black’s case during the closing days of the Bush presidency. The two men went separately, and neither asked for a Black pardon. They were after a commutation of Lord Black’s outrageous and unfair sentence of six years in a tough prison. ‘I don’t pardon well-connected folk,’ was the answer, which sounds good, just like weapons of mass destruction did...
I'm not an ex-Prime Minister or especially well-connected, but I wrote to the White House on Conrad's behalf and I regret that President Bush chose to frame the issue in terms that having nothing to do either with the principles of justice or the merits of the case.
Monday, 18 May 2009
Saturday, 16 May 2009
Friday, 15 May 2009
Doubtless this will be the topic du jour on the 'sphere, but idle has matters of the turf to attend to.
And matters of Grand Vin to attend to as well. Proper idle behaviour.
Anyway, this is a caption competition. What is the lovely Yvette saying to the svelte Ed?
Wednesday, 13 May 2009
They started us off with an amusing talk by a fellow called Montier who is a behavioural scientist and makes a living in the city by forecasting index movements according to his knowledge of herd activity, overconfidence etc.
Some of his examples were interesting. Here are some easy questions; see how you do when the answers come up later. DON'T READ THE COMMENTS UNTIL YOU HAVE ANSWERED THEM.
1. Linda is 31, single, outspoken and very bright.
She read philosophy at university.
As a student she was deeply concerned with issues surrounding equality and discrimination.
Is it more likely that Linda:
a) Works in a bank
b) Works in a bank and is active in the feminist movement
2. A bat and a ball cost $1.10 in total. The bat costs a dollar more than the ball. How much does the ball cost?
3. If it takes 5 machines 5 minutes to make 5 widgets, how long would it take 100 machines to make 100 widgets?
4. In a lake, there is a patch of lily pads. Every day, the patch doubles in size. If it takes 48 days for the patch to cover the entire lake, how long would it take for the patch to cover half the lake?
Tuesday, 12 May 2009
UPDATE: "Lord Tebbit is not a discredited fossil from an era of defeat - a Benn or a Scargill - but the embodiment of the Conservatives' glory days." Ronny d'Ancona, Speccie. http://www.spectator.co.uk/coffeehouse/3610271/speaking-for-the-electorate-as-a-whole.thtml
Monday, 11 May 2009
Nowadays, poets laureate are not donnish port-drinkers, but modern, happening, right-on types. Probably drink Mexican beer with a piece of lime stuffed in the neck of the bottle. Or at least that's what I imagined Andrew Motion doing, despite being an Oxford chap. So they get bunged £5750 instead. Motion was a pretty hopeless poet laureate, though I did think his "Regime Change" read quite well, notwithstanding the lefty angle.
Now we have Carol Ann Duffy, who I fear would have added lemon to the splendid Taylor or Fonseca port that came with the job. Not the shy or retiring type, Carol Ann. She described her appointment as "a historic day for women". Charles Moore reports that "she says she wants 300 years of female poet laureates to balance the past three centuries of males".
Oh dear. I think she may be missing the point. Good poetry is what we want, not affirmative action. Moore continues:
I would have thought that our Parliament sinking to its nadir of dishonour would be a good time for the old wordsmith to rustle up a cheery sonnet. Betjeman would have known what to do.
Luckily, we have our own Betjeman of the Blog, a modern Wikipling, if you like: Nick Drew, you cheer us up! http://cityunslicker.blogspot.com/2009/05/very-very-odd.html for his latest offering. He'd get a bottle of Taylor 83 opened for him in this house were he ever to visit it. And not a sniff of lemon.
Sunday, 10 May 2009
Brown hasn't fired the cheating cow who claimed the dry rot treatment on her holiday home, 110 miles from both Westminster AND her constituency.
But we were hardly expecting him to, were we? After all Jacqui Smith remains not just a government minister, but Home Secretary. Brown doesn't believe in sacking people, as he thinks it weakens him. (No, you great greasy numpty, not sacking them makes you look weak!)
And Cameron has not, so far, removed the whip from James Gray, who gets all of us to pay for his Remembrance Day wreaths, while he gets the kudos of placing them in front of his local dignitaries. Worse still he whined that he had "got away with it in the past" when the fees office refused to pay the last claim. Where does this leave Cameron? I notice Liam Fox was warning folk not to overreact about this expenses thing on the telly this morning.
Truly, we appear to be in a situation where no one will cast a stone because they are all, to a man, up to their oxters in it.
I fear that, because they are ALL at it, to some extent if not to the limit, that no-one will hang for this. Safety in numbers and all that; if there was only one of them, HE'D have a problem, but because there are 650 of the cheating swine, plus selected noble lords, WE'VE got a problem.
Friday, 8 May 2009
2. May 1997 Blair: "We must be whiter than white"
3. October 1997: Blair meets Bernie Ecclestone. All pretence at honesty and integrity ends.
4. 2001: Blair is uneasy about having his MPs scrutinised. Sacks Elizabeth Filkin, Commons Satandards Commissioner.
5. 2001-2009: Most MPs abuse the system big time. Most MPs play the property market for personal gain with taxpayer assistance.
6. Today. Harriet Harman: “I know it looks bad, I know people are angry about it”.....
...... “ but in our system we do not have the level of corruption that remains in many other systems"
PHEW. That's alright then.
Wednesday, 6 May 2009
Ten to make and the match to win -
A bumping pitch and a blinding light,
An hour to play and the last man in.
Sir Henry Newbolt Vitaï Lampada (extract)
Tuesday, 5 May 2009
In 2006, I had a debate with Tariq Ramadan, the author of Western Muslims and the future of Islam. In the hypothetical event of a war between Egypt and Switzerland, for which community would he be prepared to die, I asked him.
Mr Ramadan has dual citizenship. He's an Egyptian by birth and a Swiss by naturalisation. His response was one of rage on different levels. Above all I think he was outraged that one should ask such a question. He refused to answer.
Mr Ramadan, like many other Muslims, may have two or more citizenships. From all that he expresses both in person and on paper, it is clear that his loyalty, above all, is to Islam. I do not doubt that he would die for Islam, like most Muslims, and that's his prerogative. But what European countries have done is give citizenship to individuals who feel no obligation to share in their societies for better or for worse, for richer or for poorer and in the event of a catastrophe, sacrifice themselves.
Full article at The First Post.
Monday, 4 May 2009
Sunday, 3 May 2009
Mark Steyn, The Unfinished Revolution