Saturday, March 29, 2014

Saturday Night Special

I'm taking this Earth Hour to type this post on a computer, the shell of which is acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (a petroleum product), with the lights on while doing some laundry. Nature outside is doing just fine no matter what I do.

Some food for thought during this Earth Hour:

But climate policies carry an even larger cost in the developing world, where three billion people lack access to cheap and plentiful energy, perpetuating their poverty. They cook and keep warm by burning twigs and dung, producing indoor air pollution that causes 3.5 million deaths per year – by far the world’s biggest environmental problem.

Access to electricity could solve that problem, while allowing families to read at night, own a refrigerator to keep food from spoiling, or use a computer to connect with the world. It would also allow businesses to produce more competitively, creating jobs and economic growth.

Consider Pakistan and South Africa, where a dearth of generating capacity means recurrent blackouts that wreak havoc on businesses and cost jobs. Yet the funding of new coal-fired power plants in both countries has been widely opposed by well-meaning Westerners and governments. Instead, they suggest renewables as the solution.

But this is hypocritical. The rich world gets just 1.2% of its energy from hugely expensive solar and wind technologies, and we would never accept having power only when the wind was blowing. Over the next two years, Germany will build ten new coal-fired power plants to keep the lights on.

If this isn't a deliberate plan to keep the poor in poverty, I would like someone to explain to me what is.

Now, onto North Korea, the satellite image of which has become a symbol of how hollow Earth Hour really is....

Oh, snap! (to China):

Mr. Xi does not need to go to far-off Berlin to learn the lesson of the historic pledge, “Never again.”  He only has to travel to the detention centre in the Chinese border city of Tumen.  This is the holding place for desperate North Korean refugees caught in China’s security dragnet.  There they wait for forced repatriation across the river to North Korea.  And what awaits them there? As the BBC noted on February 21st,“the United Nations report on North Korea's crimes against humanity is not for the faint of heart. It contains gruesome details of systematic extermination, torture, rape, forced abortions and starvation.”

If Mr. Xi is concerned over the sexual exploitation of women and children, he does not need to visit the new Comfort Women museum in Nanjing commemorating human rights atrocities from over seventy years ago. The tragedy of North Korean women being sexually trafficked in China is not history -- it is happening today. And it is a situation, unlike Nanjing, where Mr. Xi could take immediate action.  The best way to pay homage to the Korean Comfort Women would be to assure that their North Korean sisters in China today are not sexually exploited.       
And on the question of hunting down those in hiding, Mr. Xi does not need to consult the Diary of Anne Frank.  It is not the Gestapo, but Mr. Xi’s own security forces, that today hunt down North Korean refugees in China. President Xi would also not need to visit the concentration camp near Dachau to comprehend the horrors within.  On a future trip to Pyongyang, he could ask to see one of North Korea’s kwaliso camps -- perhaps the camp whose horrors were so graphically described by North Korean defector Shin Dong-hyuk in the recent best-selling book, Escape from Camp14.
And yet we still trade with this paper tiger.

Read this over and over again:

A man in his 60s who was mobilized to demolish a camp for political prisoners said: "The bones of children were dug up from the ground. There were also tools designed for children, so it appears they were forced into labor."

More Chinese censorship, this time outside of Hollywood:

Bloomberg News editor Ben Richardson has quit the organization in protest of the editors’ handling of an investigative piece on China.

 “I left Bloomberg because of the way the story was mishandled, and because of how the company made misleading statements in the global press and senior executives disparaged the team that worked so hard to execute an incredibly demanding story," Richardson, who served as editor-at-large for Asia news, told Jim Romenesko on Monday.

The story in question was written by reporter Michael Forstyhe, who left Bloomberg for the New York Times after anonymous Bloomberg employees revealed that top editors did not publish Forstyhe's investigative article on Chinese elites due to fears that Bloomberg would be expelled from the country. Bloomberg relies heavily on sales of its financial data terminals in the country.

Let's just say this wouldn't surprise me:

Russia threatened several Eastern European and Central Asian states with retaliation if they voted in favor of a United Nations General Assembly resolution this week declaring invalid Crimea's referendum on seceding from Ukraine, U.N. diplomats said.

The disclosures about Russian threats came after Moscow accused Western countries of using "shameless pressure, up to the point of political blackmail and economic threats," in an attempt to coerce the United Nations' 193 member states to join it in supporting the non-binding resolution on the Ukraine crisis.

According to interviews with U.N. diplomats, most of whom preferred to speak on condition of anonymity for fear of angering Moscow, the targets of Russian threats included Moldova, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan as well as a number of African countries. 

A spokesman for Russia's Mission to the U.N. denied that Moscow threatened any country with retaliation if it supported the resolution, saying: "We never threaten anyone. We just explain the situation."

(Sidebar: oh, I'll bet you do.)

I don't even know why Russia is denying this or this (if true). Who is going to stop it? Obama? He's too busy sucking up to his bosses.

If you give autonomy to one, they'll all want it:

In the Tatars historic capital of Bakhchisaray, the assembly representing the 300,000-strong indigenous Muslim minority voted in favour of seeking "ethnic and territorial autonomy" in Crimea. They make up less than 15 percent of Crimea's population of 2 million and have been overwhelmingly opposed to Russia's annexation of the territory.

From the mosqueteria to this:

An east Windsor community centre has received a grant from the Ontario Trillium Foundation to hire a youth sports coordinator and purchase a new air conditioning unit. 

The Rose City Islamic Centre, the base of Windsor’s chapter of the Muslim Association of Canada, has received $309,200, which will be spent over three years. About $120,000 will go towards the air conditioner and the rest will pay for the sports coordinator’s salary and other programming expenses. 

I'm sure this is all a coincidence and not at all favouritism of any kind.

It's alright when this guy says it:

But the money moment came when Maher quoted “Ryan”: “Too many of our young people just can’t be bothered. They’re sitting on couches for hours playing video games, watching TV, instead of dreaming of being a teacher or a lawyer or a business leader, they’re fantasizing about being a baller or a rapper.”

When he revealed that it was Michelle Obama who said it rather than Ryan, he was greeted with a “hushed silence.”

“Is something less true if a white person says it about black people?”  Maher asked.

Bell’s answer was classic liberal doublespeak.

“A truth is a truth and a lie is a lie,” he said, before asking about the context of the first lady’s speech. Told it was a commencement address at Bowie State University, the historically black college in Maryland, he visibly relaxed.

“She’s talking to black people,” he explained. “We talk to each other differently than we talk to you.”

I'll bet he does.

Thanks for cementing your status as a liar and hypocrite.

And now,  some rather lovely libraries. Enjoy.
(With thanks to all)



Anonymous said...

I would like to see a counterculture trend emerge in which people celebrate "Mars Hour" in style, at the SAME TIME that people are observing Earth Hour. We could crank the music of Bruno Mars or David Bowie's "Spiders from Mars" era work, shoot off fireworks shaped like NASA rockets and bathe our entire properties in bright red spotlights.

I wonder, however, just how far removed we are from our providers opportunistically charging quintuple the fees for any usage during Earth Hour as some kind pseudo-environmentalist incentive.


Osumashi Kinyobe said...

People would turn off their lights just to fully appreciate Mars Hour.

Uranus Hour will not entertained except for those perverse few.

The Ontario Energy Board has already jacked up energy prices and people are alright with it as long as there is an eco-fairy tale going along with it.

Fools and their money, ect.