Saturday, August 20, 2011

Saturday Night Special

A few things to ruminate on a rather cloudy Saturday evening.

Now, some people who enjoy pontificating and walking everywhere they go but hate activating their brain cells:

With the U.S. State Department expected to release within days its final environmental analysis of TransCanada's Keystone XL pipeline, environmentalists are cranking up their protest efforts by employing Hollywood star power while descending upon Washington to stage White House sit-ins.

Mark Ruffalo, the Oscar-nominated actor, is the latest Hollywood figure to get involved in organized opposition to Alberta's oilsands, asking people to participate in the sit-ins that begin on Saturday and continue to Sept. 3.

Organizers say some 1,500 people have signed up to participate in the protests.

Ruffalo won't be at the White House on Saturday, but "is likely to join some time in the following two weeks," a spokesman for Tar Sands Action, the environmental group behind the protests, said Friday.

In a YouTube clip posted earlier this week, Ruffalo calls on Americans to "put your principles into action."

"Up north where the tarsands are located, native people's homelands have already been wrecked," says Ruffalo, who has also opposed "fracking," a controversial process for extracting natural gas, in upper New York state, where he has a home.

Bill McKibben, a journalist and environmentalist who writes about climate change issues, is among those who will risk arrest on Saturday. He described the next two weeks as "the biggest organized civil disobedience protests of the climate change movement."

"We've got people coming to get arrested from all 50 states," McKibben said in an interview Friday.

That includes Margot Kidder, the Canadian-born actress who's now an American citizen living in Montana.

Kidder will travel to D.C. with three other Montana women, all of whom describe themselves as concerned grandmothers, early next week.

In a recent interview, Kidder didn't have much good to say about the environmental record of her native land, alleging there are few regulatory standards in Canada.

"There is basically no governmental control, environmentally, in Canada over the oil and gas industry, far less than there is here," Kidder said in an interview this week with the Livingston Weekly, an alternative Montana newspaper.

"The tar sands is the biggest carbon emitter on the planet ... it's using up something like 20 per cent of Canada's allowed emissions alone."

(Sidebar: oh, really, Miss Kidder?)

Alberta Environment spokesman Mark Cooper disputed Kidder's claim, citing the coal industry as a far dirtier culprit. In 2009, a single coal plant in China produced roughly the same greenhouse gas emissions as the entire oilsands industry, he said.

"The most recent Environment Canada National Inventory Report shows the oilsands are responsible for 6.5 per cent of Canada's greenhouse gas emissions ... and they represent approximately one-tenth of one per cent of global emissions," Cooper said.

"The claim that they are the largest emitter in the world is even more ridiculous. The U.S. coal industry emits some 60 times as much."

How do Mark Ruffalo and Margot Kidder travel, anyway? Perhaps they would like to try a similar protest at Tienanmen Square?

What these guys said:

Rex Murphy:

For that, Mr. Gore himself has a lot of blame to carry. His own “sputtering righteousness” and his adolescent barks of “bulls–t” to his critics may be a reverse of the Obama declaration. Gore’s meltdown might just be the moment when the people of the planet saw the carney show for what it was.

Thank you, George Jonas. It needed to be said. Well said:

On the face of it, 1951 looked better for the democracies of the West than 2011. Sixty years ago the enemy that instigated the attack had been defeated, annihilated, and ground into the dust. Imperial Japan’s military regime had been toppled, its leaders tried, imprisoned or executed, their ideas discredited and discarded. Even more importantly, the defeated enemies had been resurrected and rehabilitated, or rather assisted to resurrect and rehabilitate themselves. By the end of the anniversary year, America’s $13-billion effort to rebuild Europe, the Marshall Plan, could be declared a success and allowed to expire. Nation-building worked 60 years ago — provided a nation wanted to be built.

In contrast, as the 10th anniversary of 9/11 approaches, the Islamist enemy, far from being annihilated or discredited, let alone ground into the dust, is alive and kicking. Some of its heads have been cut off, including one named Osama bin Laden that stuck out its hideous neck more than the others, but like the monster Hydra of Greek mythology, Islamism continues to grow new ones. Al-Qaeda-inspired terrorists managed to launch other urban attacks after 9/11 in London, Madrid, Moscow and Mumbai, even if on a smaller scale. The Taliban hasn’t only fought the Western coalition to a standstill in Afghanistan, but seems on the verge of taking the country over again. Nation-building, a hit in post-war Japan, Italy and (West) Germany, is a flop in Mesopotamia and the Hindu Kush.

Robert Fulford:

Last Saturday about 40 people with anti-Assad banners held a peaceful demonstration outside the embassy of Syria in Ottawa. They all appeared to be Syrians, according to the Ottawa Citizen reporter. They were talking about the monstrous government that’s ruling their homeland and the attempts by pro-Assad operatives in Canada to intimidate them.

But on that occasion, where were all the Canadian-born experts on the Middle East, those vociferous and self-righteous moralists, who come out of the woodwork every time Israel appears to be in violation of some UN resolution or strikes back against an outrage like the killing of the bus passengers on Thursday near Eilat?

Where, during the Syrian protest, were the massed student armies from York University and Concordia and the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education? Where were the legions of academics and trade unionists who are always ready to declare what policy should be followed by the wise and the virtuous? Where, for that matter, were Dykes and Trans People for Palestine, who make such a great noise in Toronto and whose website proudly declares they support everyone’s rights?

It happens that the answers to these rhetorical questions are the same in each case: They were all at work on their next Israeli Apartheid campaign. The truth is that leftish Canadians have only one interest in the Middle East, the struggle between Palestinians and Israelis. That appears to be their entire foreign policy. They insist they are not prejudiced; they are devoted to human rights, nothing more.

But when they consider the world beyond Canada, and choose which cause deserves their energy, they usually select the Palestinians. Their chronically narrow focus on a single conflict is self-blinding. It produces a weird aberration of opinion.

Where is your show  of support, leftists?

Conrad Black (shut up! He has a point!):

The only public disturbances that motivated police actually find difficult to stop are those of desperate people who will continually risk death in their hatred of the regime, like the brave Syrians who have been killed by the hundred every week, and still fight on. They cannot be far from victory....

The recent British mobs and the so-called hockey rioters in Vancouver are just morally impoverished malcontents taking an opportunity to exploit the altruism and indulgence of decent societies. The same is true of the rioters in Paris and Athens — who are objecting to rather modest efforts by the governments in those places to take a minimal first step toward the avoidance of bankruptcy, a fate that would inflict a good deal more and deeper hardship than the claimed cause of the disturbances.

Mark Steyn:

Rick Perry, governor of Texas, has only been in the presidential race for 20 minutes but he's already delivered one of the best lines in the campaign:

"I'll work every day to try to make Washington, D.C., as inconsequential in your life as I can."

This will be grand news to Schylar Capo, 11 years old, of Virginia, who made the mistake of rescuing a woodpecker from the jaws of a cat and nursing him back to health for a couple of days, and for her pains, was visited by a federal Fish & Wildlife gauleiter (with accompanying state troopers) who charged her with illegal transportation of a protected species and issued her a $535 fine. If the federal child-abuser has that much time on his hands, he should have charged the cat, who was illegally transporting the protected species from his gullet to his intestine.

So 11-year-old Schylar and other middle-schoolers targeted by the microregulatory superstate might well appreciate Gov. Perry's pledge. But you never know, it might just catch on with the broader population, too.

Michael Coren:

If the British riots disaster is not to be replicated elsewhere, here is a manifesto of advice. Ignore it at your smug peril.

1) Reduce the role of the state and, as a balance, increase the role of the family.

For many years in Britain, parents have been told their children’s social, sexual, moral and cultural formation was better achieved by schools and social workers than mothers and fathers. Not only is the notion flawed philosophically, in practical terms it emasculates parents and enables children to act out every aggressive and narcissistic fantasy imaginable.

In West Indian families, for example, there are numerous cases of poor but good and responsible parents who, in trying to discipline their children, are prosecuted by white, middle-class lawyers for spanking a kid who goes on to join a gang and spend years in prison. Equally, parents are not informed by law if their underage daughters tell doctors or teachers they are sexually active, but they are left to face the consequences when teenage pregnancy or STDs occur.

2) State-supported education and health care may, arguably, serve a purpose, but state-supported welfare and social services have become so all-embracing that individual self-reliance has evaporated. The balance is important here. Neither the fanatical libertarian nor the obsessive socialist model works.

3) Stop the war on religion. Whatever your view of faith and God, the massive decline of religious observance and community in Britain has removed one of the glues that held the country together.

When churches disappear, the vacuum is filled by gangs or tribes. Beyond this is the disappearance of moral standards and ethical absolutes. Witness how in the black community it is the Christian evangelical youths who are least touched by the anarchy.

Apparently, children DO deserve to have their chances at happiness and normalcy destroyed by special-interest groups:

The state of Illinois is about to throw the foster care system in chaos because a large provider - Catholic Charities - opposes placing children with same sex couples.

The 2200 children placed by Catholic Charities will now be transferred to other social welfare agencies. The state says they will try to keep the kids with the same foster parents, but there are no guarantees that this will occur during the transition.

Tow the line or the kids get it is the order of the day for whiny exhibitionists.

When questions are too hard to answer, they must be ignored:

Reduction destroys this distinction. It combines, in a single pregnancy, a wanted and an unwanted fetus. In the case of identical twins, even their genomes are indistinguishable. You can't pretend that one is precious and the other is just tissue. You're killing the same creature to which you're dedicating your life.

So how does this humanity thing work? Where is the answer? For pro-abortionists, there is none. The question will be ignored.

If the Japanese experienced Hurricane Katrina, the place wouldn't be a craphole and there would be more Engrish:

Since Japan's earthquake, almost $78 million in cash (3.7 billion yen) has been found in the rubble — and returned.

About $48 million came from wallets and purses found in the debris. Another $30 million was found in safes — over 5,700 of them washed ashore — hauled to police stations by rescue crews and good Samaritans.

By mid-July, 96 per cent of the safes' contents had been returned to owners, thanks to bankbooks, legal documents and addresses found inside. Police says that about 85 per cent of the loose cash from wallets and handbags had also been reunited with its owners.

And now, a glazed fruit tart with vanilla cream filling.


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