Head of Legal asks why we've heard nothing from Liberty or David Davis on the Geert Wilders affair. I guess Liberty aren't going to defend him because he's too right wing and Davis won't because people might think he is too.
Dr Vicky Pope is a climate modeller from the Met Office. Here she is speaking about future climate change.
- a 1 degree warming will lead to irreversible changes in marine ecosystems
- a 2 degree warming will lead to the irreversible loss of the Greenland ice sheet and over longer timescales to a 7m rise in sea levels
- a 3 degree warming will lead to the loss of the Amazon rainforest.
Today she has an article in the Guardian in which she says
Apocalyptic climate predictions' mislead the public
Is it the sound of backsides being covered I can hear?
Liam Sheahan was one of the lucky few whose home survived the bushfires in Australia. As you can see from the photo, he cut himself a firebreak a hundred yards wide all around his home.
The council, however, would only permit him a firebreak six metres wide and took him to court for disobeying them. This action cost Mr Sheahan nearly $100,000 in costs and fines.
Even with the wide firebreak he had illegally put in place, it was a close-run thing. His house caught light eight times as the bushfire passed. His is now the only house standing in the area.
There is a lesson for all of us here, I think.
H/T Anthony Watts
Brilliant story in El Reg.
A Leicestershire couple who decided it would be a wheeze to celebrate renewing their wedding vows with a Wild West-themed party got a bit of a shock when armed police backed by a helicopter descended on the bash.
Yes, you've guessed it, someone saw a man carrying a water pistol and phoned the police just in case. What is really funny is that the family had even called the police in advance to tell them what was going to be happening.
...is threatening to sue DK at the Devil's Kitchen! Coo!
"Internet addresses are so easy to make up and it doesn't give any sense of who the person is or where their location is," she told the BBC, "which is why the police do need to have access to their computers without them needing to go and apply for a warrant."
Her particular interest is paedophiles, but as DK makes clear, any law for which she successfully lobbies will inevitably affect everyone else as well. She clearly doesn't care though. She is just another half-witted academic chipping away at what is left of the wall of civil liberties that our ancestors built up in the past.
DK seems to have summarised her, quite correctly, in his usual inimitable fashion. He has however toned it down following her threat of legal action. For those who are interested in the original DK-isms, the original post is still in the Google cache. Unfortunately this is a family blog and most of what he wrote is unrepeatable here, but I was particularly impressed by the description of Professor MacVean as an "illiberal slice of frog's liver pate". I do wonder though if this understates the awfulness of the woman.
The news that the Australian wildfires were made hugely worse by environmentalists is spreading. This from the Sydney Morning Herald.
So many people need not have died so horribly. The warnings have been there for a decade. If politicians are intent on whipping up a lynch mob to divert attention from their own culpability, it is not arsonists who should be hanging from lamp-posts but greenies.
Governments appeasing the green beast have ignored numerous state and federal bushfire inquiries over the past decade, almost all of which have recommended increasing the practice of "prescribed burning". Also known as "hazard reduction", it is a methodical regime of burning off flammable ground cover in cooler months, in a controlled fashion, so it does not fuel the inevitable summer bushfires.
The article also touches upon evidence that big government was responsible for the fires in a different way too:
The poor management of national parks and state forests in Victoria is highlighted by the interactive fire map on the website of the Department of Sustainability and Environment. Yesterday it showed that, of 148 fires started since mid-January, 120 started in state forests, national parks, or other public land, and just 21 on private property.
The implications are clear: big government kills.
Jon Snow is a turned over the years from being the enfant terrible of television news into something of a dinosaur, espousing rigidly 1960s left-wing views from his hotseat on the evening news. He's been there for so long it must be second nature to him now. Unfortunately the old dog is having to learn some new tricks, and the powers that be at C4 have set him to blogging.
A week back our Jon took time out from his globetrotting trip to a literary festival in Columbia (no friend of the planet our Jon - do what you're told, not what I do) and wrote an article about tax havens. As they tend to do, the commenters went off on a path of their own devising and started a heated discussion on how much money you needed to open an offshore account.
Then today, Jon has a post up as follows:
Many of you who complained about my blog did what so many do: suggest I said things that hadn’t. That’s the beauty of blogging: the blog is there for all to see, and I did not say you need £100k to get started in the Isle of Man.
Jon, they were just talking amongst themselves. It's not about you, this blogging thing, it's about us.
The House of Lords decision on the Balen report is here.
Lord Phillips of Worth Matravers: I am satisfied that the Tribunal had jurisdiction to make the decision that it did. I would allow this appeal.
Lord Hoffmann:I would dismiss the appeal.
Lord Hope of Craighead:I would base my agreement with their conclusion primarily on the way I think the Act should be read and, in particular, the effect of listing the BBC by name in the Schedule. In my opinion this is, in itself, a sufficient reason for allowing the appeal.
Baroness Hale of Richmond: I too would dismiss this appeal.
Lord Neuberger of Abbotsbury: I, too, would allow Mr Sugar’s appeal.
3:2 to allow the appeal. Ya beauty!
Two New York economists argue that the causes of the credit crunch were
- banks developing off-balance sheet ways around their legally mandated capital requirements
- government guarantees of "too big to fail banks" encouraged excessive risk-taking
In a world without regulation, creditors of financial institutions (depositors, uninsured bondholders, etc.) would put a stop to excesses of risk and leverage by charging higher costs of funding, but lack of proper pricing of deposit insurance and too-big-to-fail guarantees has distorted incentives in the financial system.
From the Age
ANGRY residents last night accused local authorities of contributing to the bushfire toll by failing to let residents chop down trees and clear up bushland that posed a fire risk.
During question time at a packed community meeting in Arthurs Creek on Melbourne's northern fringe, Warwick Spooner — whose mother Marilyn and brother Damien perished along with their home in the Strathewen blaze — criticised the Nillumbik council for the limitations it placed on residents wanting the council's help or permission to clean up around their properties in preparation for the bushfire season. "We've lost two people in my family because you dickheads won't cut trees down," he said.
"We wanted trees cut down on the side of the road ... and you can't even cut the grass for God's sake."
Here is a report by a bushfire expert on the fire risk in Nillumbik, written in 2003:
The Shire of Nillumbik is living on borrowed time. If the current drought ends the threat for now will end. That would then give the Shire time to improve its fire protection to an acceptable level.
A prohibition on fine fuel removal and the requirement for vegetation close to houses is a recipe for increased house destruction.
The major thereat comes from the high fuel levels in the publically owned lands to the north. Some of the neglect comes from a lack of resources but some comes from a determination to not manage dangerous fuel levels.
Less but still serious threats come from Shire reserves and roadsides that increase the danger to residents and emergency services to extreme levels.
Get that people. The government forbade the residents of Nillumbik from removing flammable materials from near their homes. Forbade. They were told that there was a disaster waiting to happen and they said that nobody was allowed to do anything about it.
It was the greens:
THE shire council covering some of the areas hit hardest by the bushfires was warned five years ago that its policy of encouraging people to grow trees near their homes to give the appearance of a forest would lead to disaster.
One of Australia's leading bushfire experts, Rod Incoll, warned Nillumbik Shire Council in a 2003 report that it risked devastation if it went ahead with changes to planning laws proposed by green groups that restricted the removal of vegetation.
Steve2 in the comments writes (emphasis added by BH):
I found this letter in an archive written by a Nillumbik resident called Mary McDonald in relation to the recent bushfires inquiries in 2003.
She may not be a typical example, but she seems to have an issue with the influence on the council of what she calls "green zealots"
As noted by our host, She starts of by saying "We have failed to learn from the Aborigines."
I hope you dont mind these extensive quotes? among other interesting things she had to say 6 years ago are:
"Nillumbik is recognised as one of the highest fire prone areas in the world. An Environmental Significance Overlay (ESO) covers 67% of the Shire mainly in non-urban areas. This overlay restricts residents on private property from maintaining their properties in a fire safe manner. Now our council wants to place a Significant Landscape Overlay over the entire urban area where no tree can be removed without a permit. This is part of the recent neighbourhood character amendment (C 12). If passed by the panel, will require for example 5-20 gum trees to be planted per 1/4 acre block, to form a canopy over our houses..."
"...The intention is to cover this urban Shire with a native tree canopy. Native trees drop limbs and leaf litter, they are known as fire flora or fire weeds. Their low-water content and high oil content and streamers of bark ensure a "wildfire" develops."
"The Country Fire Authority Act 1958 should allow for safe maintenance and planning, however the country Fire authority (CFA) fails to enforce its own act.
I believe the green zealots have joined the local [Fire] brigades and many of these never fight fires.
Brigades receive part of their funding from local councils, which they now rely on. The CFA Administration is also supportive of the green zealots."
I hope she made it. Ye gods what a mess. A funeral pyre built by big government.
The gloriously named 'Consortium of Pub-going, Loose and Forward Women' (definitely my kind of gals then) is a bunch of Indian women who have been attacked by religious zealots for the crime of drinking in pubs. The Consortium has responded by sending pink underwear to their oppressors.
(H/T Ceri Radford)