You are?   30/3/2010

It’s The Times, so I guess the byline is kosher. Got a laugh here, though.
Vienna Boys’ Choir caught up in sex abuse scandals
Roger Boyes, Berlin Correspondent of The Times

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Change of direction   26/3/2010

Gerald Warner reports another case of scientific re-evaluation:

This week the Science Museum in London announced it is revising its stance so that its Climate Change Gallery will now be renamed the Climate Science Gallery, to reflect its new position of neutrality in the climate debate. Chris Rapley, the director, said the museum was taking a different approach after observing how the debate had been affected by leaked e-mails and overstatements of the dangers of global warming. He said: “We have come to realise, given the way this subject has become so polarised over the past three to four months, that we need to be respectful and welcoming of all views on it.”
When did you ever hear that sort of thing before? But that is fair enough: neutrality, a level playing field and an equal voice is all global warming sceptics have ever asked for. Given those reasonable conditions, the truth will out and we will win. The signs are that a lot of scientists have been moved to assert their integrity, encouraged by the increasingly huge breaches sceptics have made in the defences of the AGW camp. Others may simply have calculated they may have backed a loser and it is time to take out some insurance.

Yep, that’s all that’s ever been asked for.

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Who’s denying now?   13/3/2010

Anyone who takes the slightest interest in Australian news coverage knows without doubt the ABC is chockablock with leftwing bias.
In fact, many of Aunty’s defenders admit the bias, claiming it balances a rightwing slant from the commercial media.
That’s a ridiculous justification. The ABC’s role is to report the news objectively and truthfully and not to concern itself with the balance or bias of its competitors.
Besides, many Australian journalists are transparent lefties regardless of their employers, and succumb to groupthink just as willingly as the comrades at the Australian Bolshevik Collective. Sky News sometimes sounds like an audition session for ABC news positions and The Age didn’t get tagged Pravda by the Yarra for nothing. The fact that journalists across the board took so long to realise the sizeable force of manmade global warming sceptics can be put down to a paucity of inquiring sceptical minds in the craft.
However, the luvvies were up in arms this week when ABC chairman Maurice Newman declared the bleeding obvious and admonished his troops for bringing their socialist lockstep philosophy to the workplace, in particular their one-sided coverage of climate change issues.
One message that surfaced from howls of denial and splutters of justification was that the alarmists are ready to fight back. But they haven’t got a hope unless they can make their so far unconvincing science somehow more plausible.
Indicative of such shallow thinkers, they appear to be planning more of the same slime-the-doubters strategy that has thus far herded masses of thoughtful don’t-knows into the sceptics camp. Branding intelligent truth-seekers “deniers” and “flat-earthers” was never going to sway hearts and minds.
Alarmists are now saying the science is too complex and sophisticated for the rubes to understand so we must put our faith in the pro-warming scientists because they know best.
There’s also lots of character assassination in the new alarmist campaign, questioning the qualifications of leading sceptics and likening opposition to the pro-tobacco lobby of the 1960s.
Is that the best they can do? Coming across as patronising elitists while hurling even more ridiculous and insulting slurs at their opponents than the totally ineffectual “lackeys of big oil” they’ve favoured for the past 20 years. A period, you might have noticed, when the globe didn’t get significantly warmer, the seas didn’t permanently rise, the Himalayan glaciers didn’t melt and the polar ice caps remained pretty much as normal.

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Tax hike considered   7/3/2010

Bet your boots politicians here will be watching this development closely. When will one of them be brave enough to advocate an across-the-board reduction in government spending as a means of balancing the budget? A 5pc cut in all government-funded salaries would be a good start. They’d still be well ahead of the private sector.

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Storming the bay   

Cheek-clenching fear was trumps yesterday when cycling the Bellarine Peninsula.
I set off about 12.30pm intending to ride via the rail trail and back roads to Portarlington to join friends for a dinner of freshly-snared mussels and whiting.
About two hours into the ride I was south-east of Drysdale on an unmade road when grey skies turned as black as a cow’s guts at midnight. Thunder crashed overhead and bolts of lighting sizzled into surrounding paddocks. Big, soaking drops of rain dribbled down the back of my neck.
The storm centre was to my north, rushing up the bay to swamp Melbourne with hail and floods and definitely qualify for disaster status by forcing cancellation of the races and the footy.
Fortunately, I’d crested the peninsula’s ridge and was heading downhill to the bay. Cringing beneath the rolling thunder and mumbling the lyrics to Riders on the Storm, I hurtled along the gravel track, trying to keep ahead of the tempest.
About 200 metres from the Portarlington-Queenscliff road, the rough surface took on an ominous intensity and I realised the back tyre was punctured.
So there I was, in the middle of nowhere with a crippled sickle, rain pelting down and thunder and lightning churning chaos all round.
Yes, I know what “they” say about trees and thunderstorms but my only hope of shelter was a roadside plantation of sheoaks.
Thus, I kept relatively dry and thanking the gods for my latter-day surrender to mobile telephony, called my hosts who drove out and collected me and the stricken cycle.
As arranged, the beloved joined us later and we enjoyed a marvellous evening watching the rain tumble down and the storm sweep around the bay.
The mussels, in a sweet chilli sauce, were exquisite. And the fried, freshly landed whiting – it just doesn’t come any better. Especially when hours earlier, you feared you’d be found as a smoking cadaver glued to a metal bike frame.

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Back off Burka   3/3/2010

To a liberal rationalist this is an understandable, yet troubling, development.

More than half of voters in four other major European states back a push by France’s Nicolas Sarkozy to ban women from wearing the burka, according to an opinion poll for the Financial Times.

Of course, it would be totally unnecessary if the normally loudmouth Left in politics, academia and the media directed some of the spleen they reserve for the conservative mainstream at proponents of death and subjugation.
But no, that would run against the Left’s weird nihilist interpretation of multiculturalism.
An interpretation that would ironically see the Left first against the wall should that seventh century strand of religious fanaticism prevail.

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Just want to ride on my motorsickle   

In many ways Texans are admirable folk. But for a people with such a gregarious image their affection for pickles – sour, bitter pickles – is mystifying.

Pickle juice, whose main ingredient is vinegar, with added water, salt, sugar and spices like dill, garlic, onion, coriander seeds and cloves, has ardent and inventive fans. They put it in tuna and potato salads, add it to sauces and dips, and blend it with oil for homemade salad dressing. They marinate soft cheeses and hard-boiled eggs in it. They braise, steam and poach with it. They swear it cures hangovers.

It’s not their fault. They’ve been hoodwinked and brainwashed by the most nefarious of conmen into scoffing pickled confections at every opportunity. Yes, blame it on John Howard.

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Fowl deed   

The script is not supposed to go this way:

Somehow a flock of four birds managed to kill a fox that had slunk into their pen hoping to gobble them up.
Their owner Michelle Cordell, 43, had the shock of her life when she went to collect the eggs on the weekend and instead found a heavily pecked pile of fur lying dead in the corner.

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