Saturday, February 03, 2007

Apologies for the lack of posts. I plead unusual busyness, physical unwellness, and a few items of bad news which have had me preoccupied.

I've still kept in touch with news online, I think. One the issues that really involves me emotionally is the Iraq situation- everything seems quite emotional to me at the moment.

This, for starters, is an insightful foray into understanding one part of the Iraq insurgency- coming from a man who has subsequently been killed. More of his work here. I wonder, partly in the light of this, whether some individuals in the Coalition are targeted for their effectiveness- implying a kind of surveillance and intelligence operation against the Coalition. Could be.

Then I was also moved by this account of a true shahid (martyr) in Iraq.

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Tim Montgomerie makes an excellent point:

Right-wing commentators may despair at the drift of “their” party towards the BBC world view but they are wrong to lay all blame on the shoulders of David Cameron. The Tory leadership lacks the resources to change cultural attitudes that have been carefully nurtured by lavishly funded quangos, the universities and other pillars of today’s Establishment.

Read the whole thing.

Just a repost of something I posted at B-BBC, but I consider really encapsulates the BBC's bias:


The reason is the death of hope, caused by a cocktail of Israel's military activities, land expropriation and settlement building – and the financial sanctions imposed on the Hamas led government which are destroying Palestinian institutions that were anyway flawed and fragile.

The "death of hope", eh? Sounds pretty comprehensive to me.

I thought about the leaked email from Jeremy Bowen when I made comparison between this November 2006 BBC report of a Christian exodus from Bethleham, and this January 07 article from the Jerusalem Post. What you notice as the BBC journalist attempts to explain a massive lurch from Christian to Muslim domination is that somehow Israel is to blame for it. Two thirds of the article is devoted to the actions and restrictions meted out by Israel.

Most pathetic is the attempt made to tick the old "public/private" box when interviewing the locals:

"Publicly Christians here insist there is no friction with the Muslim majority.

Earlier this year though the Islamist Hamas movement came to power.

And in private some say they now dress more conservatively. There have also been fights between Christian and Muslim families."

Mmm- it would seem these "fights" were a little one-sided, given statistics which show that what was once an 85% Christian town is now 15% Christian (must be all the Jews moving in and grabbing land as usual, eh, Jeremy?).

Maybe the BBC could learn a little more, and so could we, from attending to the report (a second link here to the JP's eyeopener) of Palestinian Muslim Khaled Abu Toameh. The brutal truth is out there, Aunty, but you don't care.

"A number of Christian families have finally decided to break their silence and talk openly about what they describe as Muslim persecution of the Christian minority in this city.

The move comes as a result of increased attacks on Christians by Muslims over the past few months. The families said they wrote letters to Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas, the Vatican, Church leaders and European governments complaining about the attacks, but their appeals have fallen on deaf ears."

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Feeling a bit environMental

Or, rather, since I could be driven (environ)mental by the sheer redundancy of the thinking of most in the environmental lobby, I was pleased to hear from the lovely Mary Katharine Ham about the release of a new film exposing environmentalists as empty-headed, prejudiced, and pampered. It's called "Mine Your Own Business" and its promo website is here.

I also responded to one of the more foolish BBC articles on environmentalists' concerns about "compassion" for sharks, in the longish post you will find below.

Things that annoy me... sharks plus

The regaling of stupid so-called "urban myths", and related tripe, in place of discussion.

The BBC, you see, is full of it.

Having plastered the screen with news of a lurid shark attack, having raked in the readers with one of the scariest shark pictures I can recall seeing, the BBC proceed to "educate them".

It is tiresome to have to go through the steps the blinkered, short-sighted, prejudiced journalist takes to do this, but perhaps he thought he'd just read this, and tone it down a bit.

The Humane Society International's article on the matter begins

"In a case of apparent mistaken identity, abalone fisherman Eric Nerhus was attacked by a shark while diving in Eden, an area with an extensive seal population..."

in the same vein in which the BBC's previous news report on a shark attack on Eric Nerhus concludes

"Experts have said that there is a possibility the shark mistook the wetsuit-clad Mr Nerhus for a seal."

See the style: take the pressure group's words, tone them down, call them experts (doubtless they have their academic fellow travellers somewhere; let's assume).

Actually the potential "urban myth" of the seals was not the one I intended to concentrate on. There's some sense in the idea that wetsuit clad divers and seals may similarly entice sharks, although it's rather silly to think we don't make a good meal for a hungry shark, or to suggest that sharks have a 'humane' diet that somehow excludes creatures like man- especially when in the next breath one asserts the equal rights of animals to x, y and z, which rather makes us as fair a game as any.

On the other hand, if we're getting mistaken for seals why aren't they testing designs of wetsuits including flashing lights or wavy flurescent lines to warn off the sharks? I haven't heard of such a common or garden advantage taken of the clear fact that sharks don't attack humans just because.

No, no, my main focus was intended to be the contention made directly by HSI in the BBC article that "The risks are minimal,"... "You have more chance of being killed by a falling vending machine than you do by a great white shark. The odds are infinitesimal."

Well, indeed, I do feel that infinitesimality, sitting as I do behind my computer screen around a thousand kilometers from the nearest salt water agglomeration- and all of the millions of people so cocooned by land would think similarly. But were I to be a sea goer, and to enjoy dipping in and out of the sea at all times and in many places, the minimality of the risk would somewhat change, and would depend on my wits and commonsense, matched against my ambitions to get jiggy with Madam Ocean.

But no, no, that was not my point. I digress.

No, my real point was the one about the darned "falling vending machine"

My first thought when hearing the notion that you had more chance of dying from a falling vending machine than from a shark was to think of all the frail drunks and children I've seen pushing these things forward and back in an attempt to made the evil machines either show altruism or adequate performance.

I googled, natch, and found this this snippet of no provenance except its match with my common sense:

"I can also tell you (from experience, as a vendor) that these accidents DO happen. One of the most tragic occurred several years ago and involved three boys between the ages of 11 and 12. The plan was that two of the boys would rock a soda machine until it tipped forward. The third would catch the machine and hold it while the other two got free sodas for all of them. Since even a small soda machine weighs about 300 lbs. empty, you can imagine the end result.

Most injuries and deaths involving vending machines involve soda machines. Not only are they the heaviest, they are also top-heavy by design. Stop by a vending company and ask them to show you the inside of one and you'll see what I mean. The only vending machine accident I've ever seen (literally) that did not involve attempted theft happened when a coffee machine which was being taken off a truck fell and one employee didn't get out of the way in time. Not a fatality but he now has several pins in his right leg."

Since I never intend to force one of these machines to do anything against its nature I pronounce the risk to myself to be virtually nil.

I often, however, long for the ocean (I have done a sailing trip or two and loved wave hopping as a child)- and a healthy, robust, and confident engagement with that ought to be on the manifesto of any "humane society". Which ought to include a willingness to kill without compunction rogue sharks.

It is not likely that such an attitude will come from the kind of craven posture toward nature which is a result of believing, as the BBC's final source does, the canard that 'the great white shark "is the greatest predator on the planet next to man"'

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