Thursday, June 28, 2007

Common Sense from the US Supreme Court

Why use race to determine whether or not someone can go to a particular school? The US Supreme Court rules that you should NOT. I agree with the decision for two reasons

1. Using race is discriminatory and arbitrary

2. Forcing kids to go to school in a different part of the city from where they live is fundamentally unfair when schools exist in their area that they would be happy to attend

Can you imagine if you had a family function taking place and your school was way off in the 'boonies' and one parent was forced to drive all the way to pick up their child? or your kid had to take a taxi because he missed a bus? How inconvenient would that be? Why should you have to suffer to ensure some bureaucratically set racial quota was filled?

More importantly, why should you have to send your child to a school in an area where you wouldn't want to live? You choose the neighbourhood, or suburb you live in because it suits you. Why should the government essentially deprive you of your freedom to choose?

This is about being free to make your own choices and not have them dictated or limited by government fiat. People accept enough control over their lives from government, deciding where their kids can go to school shouldn't be one of them.

Invariably, the people who are made to suffer are those who don't have the financial means to enroll their kids in a private school where they live. Why should they be made to pay for a racial system designed to make other people feel 'better' about themselves for ensuring 'diversity' in the community?

People advocating for 'diversity' should put their OWN kids into public schools, in the areas they want OTHER people's kids to go to, first.

The Supreme Court on Thursday rejected diversity plans that take account of students' race for assignments in Seattle's public schools.

The decision, covering two similar cases involving the Seattle and Louisville, Ky., schools could imperil similar plans in hundreds of districts nationwide, and it leaves public school systems with a limited arsenal to maintain racial diversity.

The court split, 5-4, with Chief Justice John Roberts announcing the court's judgment.

"The way to stop discrimination on the basis of race is to stop discriminating on the basis of race," Roberts wrote. The ruling applies to school districts that aren't under a court order to remove the vestiges of past discrimination.

The decision strips school boards of a tool for offsetting the impact of racially divided housing patterns. Both sides say they don't know precisely how many school districts nationwide have similar rules, though lawyers say the practice is common, perhaps involving hundreds of districts and millions of children.

Federal appeals courts had upheld both the Seattle and Louisville plans after some parents sued. The Bush administration took the parents' side, arguing that racial diversity is a noble goal but can be sought only through race-neutral means.

The Seattle case began when a group of parents formed Parents Involved in Community Schools and sued the district in 2000, claiming the policy of using race as a tiebreaker when determining school assignments was unfair and violated students' civil rights.

Kathleen Brose, president of Parents Involved in Community Schools, fought back tears as she discussed her victory.

"It's been seven years. A lot of people have moved on, but I don't want another parent to go through what I did -- what we did," she said during a news conference.

Her daughter Elisabeth, now 22, wanted to attend Ballard High School, the closet high school to their Magnolia home. But she wasn't able to get into the school -- or into Roosevelt or Nathan Hale either.

She was assigned to her fourth choice -- Franklin -- but the school didn't have an orchestra for Elisabeth to pay her cello. So she ended up at her fifth choice, Ingraham, for a year. She later transferred to a new school that opened at Seattle Center, The Center School.

The move was upsetting to the girl, who couldn't attend high school with her friends from junior high. Children are taught not to judge people by their skin color, yet students were denied access to certain schools because of their race, said Brose, whose younger daughter now attends Ballard High School.

"The public schools are for all of us," she said.

Seattle Public Schools is in the midst of revamping its process for assigning students to schools, and it was unclear Thursday morning how the ruling would affect the district's plans. School district officials were not available for comment Thursday morning, but scheduled a morning news conference to discuss the ruling.

The school district's policy also affected students of color, said Seattle attorney Harry Korrell, who represented the parents. Some non-whites who wanted to attend neighborhood high school Franklin were turned away because there were too many students of color there and the district wanted to enroll more white students.

"It's a sweeping victory for students and parents everywhere," Korrell said.

The racial tiebreaker that the Supreme Court struck down Thursday hasn't been in use in Seattle Public Schools for more than five years.

The tiebreaker was part of a School Board decision in 1997 to allow the district's 46,000 students to attend a school of their choice. The assignment plan they adopted that year aimed to end the district's widely unpopular mandatory busing program and return to a neighborhood schools assignment plan, so students could attend school closer to home.

School officials considered a student's race as one of several tiebreakers at popular schools; their race was a factor if the student's attendance would help bring the high school closer to the district-wide average of about 40 percent white students. The tiebreaker helped some minority students get into predominately white high schools, and vice versa.

A student with a sibling at a school got first priority; a student's race was the second tiebreaker, followed by the distance a student lived from the school.

The district has defended the racial tiebreaker, arguing it is necessary to create more diverse schools in a city where many neighborhoods are still segregated.

The Seattle lawsuit accused the school district of violating the Constitution, the federal Civil Rights Act of 1964 and voter-approved Initiative 200, a state law prohibiting preferential treatment on the basis of race, ethnicity or gender.

The case challenged only the use of the racial tiebreaker for high-school assignments, but the district in 2002 suspended the use of the tiebreaker for all schools while the lawsuit worked its way through the courts.

Since then, the district has used the other tiebreakers, such as whether the student lived nearby or had any siblings attending the school, to determine assignments.

Enrollment records show the racial makeup at some Seattle high schools has changed since the district suspended the use of the racial tiebreaker. A few examples:

# At Ballard High School, white students made up slightly more than 58 percent of the student population in 2000; that rose to more than 62 percent in 2006.

# At Cleveland High School, the percentage of black students increased from 35 percent in 2000 to just over 59 percent last fall; during the same time period, the percentage of Asian students dropped from nearly 43 percent to just under 23 percent.

# At Franklin High School, white students made up about 23 percent of the population in 2000 and declined to just over 9 percent by 2006. Over the same time period, the percentage of Asian students at the school rose from about 39 percent to more than 48 percent.

Louisville's schools spent 25 years under a court order to eliminate the effects of state-sponsored segregation. After a federal judge freed the Jefferson County, Ky., school board, which encompasses Louisville, from his supervision, the board decided to keep much of the court-ordered plan in place to prevent schools from re-segregating.

The lawyer for the Louisville system called the plan a success story that enjoys broad community support, including among parents of white and black students.

The opinion was the first on the divisive issue since 2003, when a 5-4 ruling upheld the limited consideration of race in college admissions to attain a diverse student body.

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Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Is This Woman A Sikh?

It should be a crime to marry someone and then abandon them after getting a dowry or immigration or whatever it is that drove you to marry someone you obviously didn't want to be with, and only used for your own ends. More than that, the person should face a sanction from the Panth for falsely marrying someone in a Gurdwara.

We often hear of abandoned brides in India, but it goes the other way too. In the case below, it was a woman marrying a man only to get a visa and permanent residency in Canada. Anyone, male or female, who marries someone to get a visa and legal immigration status and then abandons that person without showing cause, should be deported after facing jail time for immigration fraud. If she 'fell out of love' with 'Bob' before coming to Canada and didn't want to be with him, then she shouldn't have come to Canada at all considering she was granted status here as a result of the marriage only. The sad part is that 'Bob' will probably have a hard time sponsoring anyone else to come to Canada if he decides to go to India to re-marry.

On another note, what's with the nickname 'Bob', I can imagine 'Babu' or 'Billa' or 'Binder', but 'Bob', it sounds contrived if you ask me?
Man's sponsored wife runs away one week after arriving from India
She's been found but says she won't return to husband, who's financially responsible for her

Jennifer Saltman
The Province

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Burinder 'Bob' Manget, 31, sits in his mother's Coquitlam home Monday. Harpreet Manget, 21, disappeared one week following her arrival in Canada from India after waiting a year for her immigration papers after marrying Bob.

COQUITLAM - When Burinder Manget married his wife in India a year ago, he pictured an idyllic life in Canada.

He never thought that a week after her arrival, his wife would disappear.

"I was just shocked, confused," Manget said quietly. "I thought maybe she was playing a joke."

Now Manget is obligated to his absent wife for the next three years should she demand financial support or need income assistance from the government.

The 31-year-old married Harpreet Dhami on April 12, 2006, 10 days after their marriage was arranged by a relative.

Manget thought 21-year-old Harpreet was shy, nice and respectful, and the couple clicked during their initial conversations.

After the wedding, Manget stayed in India for three weeks before returning to Canada to start the process of sponsoring his bride to become a Canadian resident.

During their time apart, Manget called Harpreet regularly and sent money monthly.

"She was really happy and I was happy," Manget said.

"When she used to call, she goes, 'I'm dying to come there, whenever I get my visa I'm going to come running.'"

Harpreet's visa was approved in May and she arrived in Vancouver June 14.

Sitting on the couch in his mother's Coquitlam home, Manget describes the excitement of finally seeing his wife again after a year of separation.

The house was decorated and Manget's mother was planning a welcome party.

The couple spent a week attending gatherings and greeting family and friends dropping by to see the new bride.

Manget's twin brother Gurinder said everything seemed normal.

"That's why we're so shocked. Usually you'll show signs of being mad or sad or something," he said.

But a week after her arrival, on June 21, Harpreet disappeared.

Her passport, gold jewelry and a few hundred dollars were missing.

No one saw her leave.

Manget and his mother called Harpreet's mother in India and family in Toronto, but no one knew where she was.

Manget called Coquitlam RCMP, who investigated and released a missing-person notice to media the same day.

That night, Harpreet called and spoke to Manget's mother.

She allegedly told her that she was fine and was not coming home before hanging up.

On June 22, after seeing herself on the news, Harpreet called Delta police to let them know she was OK.

Const. Brenda Gresiuk, spokeswoman for the Coquitlam RCMP, said investigators spoke with Harpreet and were satisfied that there was no threat to her safety.

"We've concluded our investigation," Gresiuk said. "This is not a suspicious circumstance."

An uncle in Toronto, who refused to give his name, said he hasn't heard from Harpreet and has no idea where she is staying.

The uncle said he has spoken to Harpreet's mother, Balbir Kaur Dhami, and the whole family is worried.

He said as far as he knew there was no problem with the marriage, and nobody knows why she left.

"I don't know. I have no clue until I speak to her," he said. "Is there anything wrong? What is the problem? We also would like to find out."

Manget and his family, however, wonder if "it was maybe pre-planned," Manget said, questioning whether "she came here just to come here and use me."

"It's not just me that's used, it's our whole family, her family."

Said Manget's sister-in-law Ruby Toor, "it's not like we kicked her out -- she walked out on her own."

Toor said the family has contacted Citizenship and Immigration Canada and was told there is nothing they can do.

"Sponsorship is a legally binding commitment and it can't be cancelled, regardless of whether a relationship breaks down or not," said Shakila Bezeau of Citizenship and Immigration. "An individual who sponsors someone is pretty well obligated for three years' support for that person."

Manget said that since his wife left, he's heard many similar stories.

"It has to stop," he said.

A Province investigation in 2005 revealed there are thousands of abandoned brides in India.

Palwinder Gill of the Canadian Fraud Marriage Victims Society said there are just as many abandoned grooms.

"This is not a one-sided thing," Gill said. "It has always happened."

Gill said men feel ashamed when their wives leave them, and will not speak out. "They don't talk about it because they think shame," he said. "It's a cultural thing."

Gill said those who flout the law should be punished.

People proven to have married under false pretenses "should be charged as criminals because they enter Canada by fraud. Fraud is a crime."

As for the Canadian Fraud Marriage Victims Society, they should run a marriage bureau hooking up Canadian grooms who were abandoned in Canada by their wives, with women from India who were abandoned by their husbands. They'd have an instant connection and understanding of what each has been through.

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Who's Building An Electric Car???

I've written recently about not buying into the hype around Global Warming and Climate Change. However, that doesn't mean I don't support environmentally and economically sustainable efforts to build a better society. One effort along that front is to come up with ways to reduce our dependance on Petroleum as an energy/ power source. Three things would be accomplished by such a move away from Oil.

1. we'd reduce the cost of Oil in the marketplace, which would be great for consumers and

2. We'd reduce the amount of money flowing to regimes in the Mid-East that fund terrorism, create terrorists, and fund the spread of a depraved Islamic doctrine and

3. lower costs for crude oil would also reduce the profit incentive for new exploration efforts and thereby greenfield development which could result in sustaining that particular environment for alternative use (parks, subdivisions, highways, tourism, etc...;-)).

I saw a documentary recently talking about the 'electric car' and who killed it. It's narrated by Martin Sheen and features a number of California drivers, etc... talking about how great the EV cars were and how the automakers' defenestration of the whole concept was done to derive profits from existing internal combustion engine vehicles. GM is vilified along with other companies. Now comes news that GM has developed a vehicle that could revolutionize the entire vehicle concept, with an electric vehicle that has a 1000km range and can be powered by your standard 120v outlet. Not only does this help accomplish the above 3 points, but it also would be cool technology. Not having to stop for gas for 1000km!! Can you imagine that? You could literally drive all night without stopping for anything other than body breaks or to switch drivers on your way to [fill in the blank].

Then all we'd need to do is build nuclear power plants to meet the increased need for electricity generation, which release practically zero emissions into the atmosphere, and we're on our way to a smog free city!!

Fresh off the wire at, here's the article,
GM adds new spark to electric car's future

Gerry Malloy

Jun 23, 2007

When General Motors introduced its Chevrolet Volt concept car with great fanfare at the Detroit Auto Show in January, there were skeptics among us.

"Just another futuristic technological exercise to divert attention from the need to do something now," was essentially the assessment of more than one pundit. And while others found it technically interesting, many doubted the concept would ever make it to production.

They just might have been wrong.

GM brought the Volt to Toronto this week for its first Canadian showing, at the 2007 Environment and Energy Conference – an event for leaders from both industry and government to address environmental and energy issues of the Great Lakes region.

At the conference, Nick Zielinski, chief engineer for advanced vehicle development at GM, brought attendees up to date on the status of the Volt and its E-Flex powertrain, and what has occurred since its Detroit debut.

The Volt, as you may recall, is an electric car.

That's right. The company skewered in a recent documentary for killing the electric car is developing and promoting one again.

The biggest difference from the first time around is that this electric car appears to have potential commercial feasibility.

In purely technical terms it's a "series hybrid." But GM prefers to call it a "range-extended" electric vehicle because the way it works is quite different from the "parallel hybrids" we have come to accept as typifying a hybrid.

True, the Volt incorporates a gasoline internal combustion (IC) engine, as well as an electric motor. But unlike other hybrids, the IC engine never directly drives the wheels.

They are not even directly connected. The engine's only purpose is to drive a generator to recharge batteries which then provide power to the electric motor.

Those batteries can also be recharged by plugging the vehicle into a conventional 120-volt AC household outlet.

A full recharge takes six hours and that's sufficient for 64 km of city driving without the IC engine ever engaging, GM says. So if your daily commute is less than 64 km, you might never have to buy gas.

If you need to go further, however, the IC engine will extend the range to more than 1,000 km, with average fuel consumption of less than 5.0 L/100 km.

Significantly, Zielinsky revealed, both the Volt and its E-Flex powertrain, which has wider potential application, are being developed as production programs – not R&D exercises.

And the Volt and its derivatives are being integrated into the development of GM's next-generation small cars (Chevrolet Cobalt, Opel/Satun Astra), with which it will share its primary structure.

There are still some technical hurdles to be cleared before a production date can be set, Zielinsky says, but when they are overcome, production can be started quickly.

He wouldn't speculate how soon, but others have suggested between 2010 and 2012.

Chief among the obstacles remaining is the development of lithium-ion battery packs – the kind of batteries typically used in cellphones and laptop computers – for automotive use.

The batteries themselves aren't the main issue. They are already well proven.

The issue is connecting the individual low-voltage batteries together in packs to provide the high-voltage output necessary for automotive use – with the levels of safety, reliability and durability required.

GM recently awarded advanced development contracts for battery-pack development to two suppliers, Compact Power Inc. and Continental Automotive Systems. Such contracts are typically a first step beyond the research stage toward a production contract.

Indeed, it appears, the electric car is far from dead!

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Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Honour Killing Barbarity Revealed

People in the UK have come across this much more than people in Canada. However, unless Canadians are vigilant this may become part of our landscape here as well due to the influx of immigrants from certain countries where this practice is prevalent.

'Honour' killings are sanctioned by Sharia law in Islam as being the crime for adultery, people who say it is a cultural hangover and not linked aren't necessarily being honest with themselves regarding the penalties under Sharia for adultery or apostasy (both of which are used to justify the 'honour' killing)...

From Family Security Matters via Western Resistance and part 3 of 3,

In other non-Arab Muslim societies such as Pakistan, the custom is common. If "honor-killing" is merely a reflection of local tribal customs, then it would be found to the same degree amongst Hindus and Sikhs in India, who share the same ancestors. Among these groups, the practice is rare, although in Maharashtra state women are killed and tortured for being suspected witches. Annually, there are thought to be 5,000 dowry-killings in India, where a bride's family defaults on payment and the wife is killed. Sati or sutti was a Hindu custom where a widow would immolate herself on her husband's funeral-pyre. This custom was banned by the British. Neither sutti, dowry killings nor witch-burning could be seen as "honor killings".

The Kurds of Turkey and Iraq who practice honor killings are not Arabs, nor are the predominantly Pashtun peoples of Afghanistan who engage in the practice. If honor-killing is a survival of an Arab, pre-Islamic custom, then it has been exported to Kurdish peoples and those in Afghanistan and the Indian sub-continent, a "fellow-traveler" during the early (pre-Ottoman) historical spread of Islam. Therefore, I do not buy into the argument that honor-killings have nothing to do with Islam. They are a living part of its history. Adultery, according to Sharia principles, is punishable by death, and most honor-killings involve suspected adultery. Apostasy is also, according to some Islamic schools of thought, punishable by death.

Here's a particularly vile case of 'honour' killing, but is representative of the mentality and brainwashing that takes place where women themselves, mothers and daughters are brought up to believe that this is the way things should be, along with the minor penalties if any when someone commits such a heinous crime...
Though not recent, the case of Amira Abu Hanhan Qaoud, a mother of nine who killed her teenaged daughter Rofayda on January 27, 2002 shows a callousness that shocks. Rofayda had been raped by her two elder brothers in their shared bedroom in their Ramallah home. She became pregnant. On December 23, 2002, Rofayda gave birth to a baby boy at a women's shelter in Bethlehem. She returned to the family's three bedroom home in the suburb of Abu Qash. The family and village heads signed a promise that they would not harm the teenager. The two brothers were jailed.

Amira Qaoud did not keep her promise. She bought razor blades, and ordered her daughter to slash her own wrists. When Rofayda refused, her mother smothered her with a plastic bag, slashed the girl's wrists and hit her with a wooden stick. The killing took twenty minutes. Amira Qaoud said: "She killed me before I killed her. I had to protect my children. This is the only way I could protect my family's honor." Her nine year old daughter Fatima echoed her sentiments, saying: "My mother did this because she does not want us to be punished by people. I love my mother much more now than before."

In Palestinian territories, a murder is regarded as less serious if it is an honor killing, and thus honor killers receive from six to twelve months' jail. This stems from Jordanian legislation from 1960. Article 340 of the Jordanian Penal Code affirms that "he who discovers his wife or one of his female relatives committing adultery with another, and he kills, wounds or injures one or both of them, is exempt from any penalty... he who discovers his wife, or one of his female ascendants or descendants or sisters with another in an unlawful bed and he kills, wounds or injures one or both of them, benefits from a reduction of penalty." In addition to this, Article 98 of the Penal Code allows a reduced sentence if a perpetrator kills in a "fit of fury".

Read it all.

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Another Reason to Deny the Hype Around Global Warming Theory

SDA is great, there's usually something interesting and I found an article that encapsulates some of what I feel has taken place regarding the whole global warming/ climate change debate. Now I don't know about the whole mimicry of Christianity part, but I do feel that many people have over-invested their emotions and have tied up their sense of self and the world in the outcome of this debate. The constant harping about global warming, carbon emissions and Kyoto seems to be a huge proselytizing effort, complete with its champions, 'truths' and the all the rest of it.

From SDA, check out the comments where it was originally posted.

Michael Crighton, September 15, 2003;

I studied anthropology in college, and one of the things I learned was that certain human social structures always reappear. They can't be eliminated from society. One of those structures is religion. Today it is said we live in a secular society in which many people---the best people, the most enlightened people---do not believe in any religion. But I think that you cannot eliminate religion from the psyche of mankind. If you suppress it in one form, it merely re-emerges in another form. You can not believe in God, but you still have to believe in something that gives meaning to your life, and shapes your sense of the world. Such a belief is religious.

Today, one of the most powerful religions in the Western World is environmentalism. Environmentalism seems to be the religion of choice for urban atheists. Why do I say it's a religion? Well, just look at the beliefs. If you look carefully, you see that environmentalism is in fact a perfect 21st century remapping of traditional Judeo-Christian beliefs and myths.

There's an initial Eden, a paradise, a state of grace and unity with nature, there's a fall from grace into a state of pollution as a result of eating from the tree of knowledge, and as a result of our actions there is a judgment day coming for us all. We are all energy sinners, doomed to die, unless we seek salvation, which is now called sustainability. Sustainability is salvation in the church of the environment. Just as organic food is its communion, that pesticide-free wafer that the right people with the right beliefs, imbibe.

Eden, the fall of man, the loss of grace, the coming doomsday---these are deeply held mythic structures. They are profoundly conservative beliefs. They may even be hard-wired in the brain, for all I know. I certainly don't want to talk anybody out of them, as I don't want to talk anybody out of a belief that Jesus Christ is the son of God who rose from the dead. But the reason I don't want to talk anybody out of these beliefs is that I know that I can't talk anybody out of them. These are not facts that can be argued. These are issues of faith.

And so it is, sadly, with environmentalism. Increasingly it seems facts aren't necessary, because the tenets of environmentalism are all about belief. It's about whether you are going to be a sinner, or saved. Whether you are going to be one of the people on the side of salvation, or on the side of doom. Whether you are going to be one of us, or one of them.

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Lying to Try and Prove a Theory - Climate Change Advocates

I've been a 'climate change denier' for some time now. I don't believe humans are responsible for 'dangerous' global warming or 'dangerous' climate change. One reason I don't buy the hype around climate change and 'global warming' is that the data is continually being misrepresented or manipulated.

Here's the latest example from NewsBusters via SDA and Cjunk,
Swedish Scientist Accuses UN's IPCC of Falsifying Data and Destroying Evidence
Posted by Noel Sheppard on June 24, 2007 - 19:45.

If you listen to the global warming alarmists working for the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, or folks like soon-to-be-Dr. Al Gore, sea levels across the globe are rising at a rate that will eventually doom us all.

According to Swedish paleogeophysicist Nils-Axel Mörner, who’s been studying and writing about sea levels for four decades, the scientists working for the IPCC have falsified data and destroyed evidence to incorrectly prove their point.

Mörner was recently interviewed by Gregory Murphy of Executive Intelligence Review, and began by making it clear that the sea level claims made by the IPCC are a lot of nonsense (emphasis added throughout, h/t Eduardo Ferreyra):

[W]e can see that the sea level was indeed rising, from, let us say, 1850 to 1930-40. And that rise had a rate in the order of 1 millimeter per year. Not more. 1.1 is the exact figure. And we can check that, because Holland is a subsiding area; it has been subsiding for many millions of years; and Sweden, after the last Ice Age, was uplifted. So if you balance those, there is only one solution, and it will be this figure.

That ended in 1940, and there had been no rise until 1970; and then we can come into the debate here on what is going on, and we have to go to satellite altimetry, and I will return to that. But before doing that: There’s another way of checking it, because if the radius of the Earth increases, because sea level is rising, then immediately the Earth’s rate of rotation would slow down. That is a physical law, right? You have it in figure-skating: when they rotate very fast, the arms are close to the body; and then when they increase the radius, by putting out their arms, they stop by themselves. So you can look at the rotation and the same comes up: Yes, it might be 1.1 mm per year, but absolutely not more.

1.1 mm per year? That means that if this were to continue for 1000 years, sea levels would be 1.1 meters higher. Doesn’t sound very catastrophic, does it?

Mörner then addressed what in his view was a ridiculous error by the IPCC:

Another way of looking at what is going on is the tide gauge. Tide gauging is very complicated, because it gives different answers for wherever you are in the world. But we have to rely on geology when we interpret it. So, for example, those people in the IPCC [Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change], choose Hong Kong, which has six tide gauges, and they choose the record of one, which gives 2.3 mm per year rise of sea level. Every geologist knows that that is a subsiding area. It’s the compaction of sediment; it is the only record which you shouldn’t use. And if that figure is correct, then Holland would not be subsiding, it would be uplifting. And that is just ridiculous. Not even ignorance could be responsible for a thing like that.

But that was just the beginning of Mörner’s problems with the IPCC:

Now, back to satellite altimetry, which shows the water, not just the coasts, but in the whole of the ocean. And you measure it by satellite. From 1992 to 2002, [the graph of the sea level] was a straight line, variability along a straight line, but absolutely no trend whatsoever. We could see those spikes: a very rapid rise, but then in half a year, they fall back again. But absolutely no trend, and to have a sea-level rise, you need a trend.

Then, in 2003, the same data set, which in their [IPCC's] publications, in their website, was a straight line—suddenly it changed, and showed a very strong line of uplift, 2.3 mm per year, the same as from the tide gauge. And that didn't look so nice. It looked as though they had recorded something; but they hadn't recorded anything. It was the original one which they had suddenly twisted up, because they entered a “correction factor,” which they took from the tide gauge. So it was not a measured thing, but a figure introduced from outside. I accused them of this at the Academy of Sciences in Moscow —I said you have introduced factors from outside; it's not a measurement. It looks like it is measured from the satellite, but you don't say what really happened. And they answered, that we had to do it, because otherwise we would not have gotten any trend!

That is terrible! As a matter of fact, it is a falsification of the data set. Why? Because they know the answer. And there you come to the point: They “know” the answer; the rest of us, we are searching for the answer. Because we are field geologists; they are computer scientists. So all this talk that sea level is rising, this stems from the computer modeling, not from observations. The observations don't find it!

Pretty extraordinary, wouldn’t you agree? A "correction factor." Honestly, the way these folks manipulate data is nothing less than astounding.

Yet, Mörner wasn’t finished, as he later detailed an incident when IPCC scientists actually destroyed evidence which refuted their rising sea level claims:

This tree, which I showed in the documentary, is interesting. This is a prison island, and when people left the island, from the '50s, it was a marker for them, when they saw this tree alone out there, they said, “Ah, freedom!” They were allowed back. And there have been writings and talks about this. I knew that this tree was in that terrible position already in the 1950s. So the slightest rise, and it would have been gone. I used it in my writings and for television. You know what happened? There came an Australian sea-level team, which was for the IPCC and against me. Then the students pulled down the tree by hand! They destroyed the evidence. What kind of people are those? And we came to launch this film, “Doomsday Called Off,” right after, and the tree was still green. And I heard from the locals that they had seen the people who had pulled it down. So I put it up again, by hand, and made my TV program. I haven't told anybody else, but this was the story.

They call themselves scientists, and they're destroying evidence! A scientist should always be open for reinterpretation, but you can never destroy evidence. And they were being watched, thinking they were clever.

Think Katie, Charlie, or Brian will be interviewing Mörner any time soon?

No, I don’t either.

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Salman Rushdie Affair - A Sane Muslim Responds

Sikhs in the UK would have heard in detail I'm sure about the Muslim reaction to the Rushdie Knighthood and the toadying by UK politicians of various hues afterwards to placate the Fundos (or Fundies - Fundamentalists) afterwards. I wrote about the 'demented' reactions of Islamonutters as well (though they may have a large following, they are still 'nutters').

What you may not have heard was a sane response from a Muslim (at least I think she's a Muslim). Well I found one via Kathy Shaidle and The Augean Stables. Please see the original post for all the links (meanwhile, I've just added The Augean Stables to my reading list...)

India Knight, the British daughter of a Muslim shows more courage than the English who taught her their Western values. Just the kind of voice we need to hear.

June 24, 2007
Rushdie, the man they love to hate
Surely there’s a difference between careful diplomacy and pandering to extremists
India Knight

What an extraordinary, if depressingly predictable, fuss about Salman Rushdie’s knighthood. Eighteen years after the fatwa was issued, Ijaz ul-Haq, tPakistani religious affairs minister, last week told his country’s parliament that “if someone exploded a bomb on Rushdie’s body, he would be right to do so unless the British government apologises and withdraws the ‘sir’ title”.

Union Jacks were burnt in Pakistan, with rioters shouting “Kill him!”. If I were Pakistani, I’d be more inclined to riot about the monstrous off-the-scale corruption that riddled my government, and the corrupted version of Islam that brainwashed disenfranchised young men in the madrasahs, but anyway. A spokesman for Iran’s foreign ministry said that to honour “an apostate and one of the most hated figures in the Islamic world” indicated that Britain supported “the insult to Islamic values”.

One might respectfully suggest that if people who seek to impose their grotesque distortion of Islam on their unfortunate peoples will insist on making these inane pronouncements, they might at least do so with a degree of calm and a semblance of rationality, because otherwise it’s hard to take them seriously (assuming one were inclined to do so, which is quite an assumption).

It’s as though the Vatican took such exception to The Da Vinci Code that, instead of putting out composed-sounding statements and seeking (not entirely successfully) to reassure people that super-creepy Opus Dei is not in fact creepy at all, its spokesmen started foaming at the mouth like nutters and ordered crusades against Dan Brown for having the temerity to invent a story and write fiction.

Muslim world inflamed by Rushdie knighthood

A Pakistani minister said that Rushdie’s knighthood justified suicide bombings amid offers of rewards for his assassination
British minister: ‘We stand by Rushdie knighthood’

Actually it’s not like that, because Rushdie is a brilliant writer and Brown is a sort of rich monkey with a typewriter, but you get the gist. And no sooner is the knighthood announced in the Queen’s birthday honours than politicians such as Jack Straw are tripping over themselves “sympathising” with the “hurt feelings” of the “Muslim community” and volunteering his opinion of Rushdie’s oeuvre: “I’m afraid I found his books rather difficult and I’ve never managed to get to the end of any of them.” This just makes him sound thick, I’m afraid.

Midnight’s Children is hardly Finnegans Wake, and with the exception of The Satanic Verses none of Rushdie’s books is remotely “difficult”. So either Straw is remedially dim, poor thing, or he’s making the point that since Rushdie’s work is not his cup of tea, neither is Rushdie, and nor, by extension, is his knighthood – nothing to do with me, guv, so please keep voting for me, Muslim constituents.

Margaret Beckett, the foreign secretary, said she was “sorry” for any offence caused. An unnamed Labour MP told a newspaper that “anybody with common sense would have blocked this”. Thank God for John Reid: the home secretary said that although the issue was “sensitive”, the protection of people’s rights to express their opinions in literature, argument and politics was of “overriding value to our society”.

What on earth is the point of pussyfooting around like pathetic craven saps (and I write as someone who is the daughter of a Muslim and also has some Iranian blood)? Surely there’s a difference between careful diplomacy and pandering to extremist Muslims who violently oppose everything people in this country stand for and believe in?

We live – thank God, Allah and everybody else – in a democracy. We have, and cherish, the right to free speech. It is a glorious thing. People are allowed – encouraged – to have an imagination and to write books, which some people may like and some people may not, but there you go: nobody forces anybody to read anything (though perhaps they should: I’d love to know how many fatwa supporters read the 560 pages of The Satanic Verses).

So what I don’t understand is why, when the knighthood was announced and gracefully acknowledged by Rushdie – “I am thrilled and humbled to receive this great honour” – it should have been met at home by carping and wriggly apology instead of celebration. Is it too much to ask for our politicians to stand up and paraphrase Voltaire’s “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it”? Yes, apparently, because it seems that pandering to the tiny proportion of the Muslim vote that is both extremist and fundamentalist is worth more than art, beauty, reason or morality.

Part of the problem – and it’s an objectionable one – is that Rushdie is viewed in many quarters as being insufficiently grateful for the protection the (Conservative) government afforded him during the fatwa. Apparently, if millions of people are encouraged to kill you and the country you live in quite rightly thinks that’s a poor show, and helps you, you forfeit the right to express an opinion about anything, whether it’s the price of a pint of milk or the niqab.

In addition to this perceived lack of gratitude is the political perception of Rushdie. To the right, he’s a leftie, which is ironic because he was helped and protected by a Conservative government and a Labour premier, Tony Blair, whom many would consider a kind of low-level Tory.

To the left, he is problematic in the extreme, because the left courts the Muslim vote. “Courts” isn’t quite right – “toadies” is more like it. And in the process, moderate Muslims who practise their religion peacefully and with grace don’t seem to feature: they’re lumped with the extremists and given a hard time as a result, for the reasons outlined above.

There’s a third issue here. Art matters. Literature matters. They matter much more than the ravings of some overexcited, barely literate oik of a cleric with a gift for oratory, even if – especially if – said cleric ends up having global influence. When you cut to the chase, all that remains is this: Rushdie, who was 60 last week, is an exceptional writer who has written great books, for which he has been awarded prizes and awards both here and internationally. Unlike most exceptional writers, he walked around as a living target for 10 years under constant police protection.

People associated with his books were also targeted, injured – his Italian translator was beaten and stabbed; his Norwegian publisher shot and left to die – and even killed, in the case of his Japanese translator. All because he wrote a book, used his imagination, made up a story, got it published, and didn’t or wouldn’t foresee the calamitous consequences of his act of creativity – because those consequences were unimaginable to a civilised mind living in a democracy. His knighthood recognises all of this, as well as his talent. I couldn’t be more delighted for him.

Can we get it right this time. Time to get the joke.
Hitchens gets it, and look at how he stiffens British backbone with his remarks.

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Monday, June 25, 2007

Personal Skin Care - What you Should Know

Something a little different. With the summer heat, you may be looking for ways to keep your 'natural' shine and protect your skin... Here's some advice I found from eMaxHealth by Gurusimran Khalsa. I have no affiliation with Gurusimran or Banyan Botanicals. I bring this article up, as I've some family members who are concerned about their skin care and thought this may be enlightening.

Natural Ways To Keep Skin Healthy, Smooth, Itch-Free This Summer

With temperatures rising, more exposed skin and more plants in full bloom, people are more prone to experiencing rashes, acne outbreaks and other skin inflammations.

Ayurvedic natural remedies can help keep your skin healthy, clear and beautiful, according to Gurusimran Khalsa, Ayurvedic expert and vice president of marketing for Banyan Botanicals, the leading provider of organic Ayurvedic herbs and products in the U.S.

"Even though Ayurveda is thousands of years old, people in Western countries are paying attention to it now more than ever because major studies have proven its effectiveness in restoring and maintaining health," said Khalsa. "Leaders in the field of natural health like Drs. Andrew Weil and Deepak Chopra have also helped bring it to the forefront."

From an Ayurvedic perspective, problems such as rashes, acne, hives, boils, psoriasis and eczema occur when too much heat accumulates in the body, explained Khalsa. This can happen any time of year, but the warmer temperatures make heat-related imbalances of the skin more prevalent in the summer. Excess heat is normally eliminated through the GI tract, but when the system becomes overloaded with toxins, heat becomes trapped and is absorbed into the blood. The body then resorts to using the skin as an organ of elimination of the toxins. This will usually manifest as some type of skin inflammation.

Ayurveda takes a holistic approach to maintaining and regaining health. For skin flare-ups, Ayurvedic remedies incorporate the use of herbs to cool and restore balance in the body, dietary recommendations, and quick yoga and breathing techniques. A daily dose of the traditional Ayurvedic formula Triphala will eliminate excess heat from the body, remove toxins from the GI tract, support healthy elimination, and promote the skin's natural healing process. Cooking with spices like tumeric and using neem on the skin helps remove toxins from the blood. Neem has antibacterial and antifungal properties. It can be used in the form of oil you rub on your skin, soap to clean and cool irritated skin, or powder that can be applied as a paste to weepy, oily or oozy skin inflammations, Khalsa explained. For this reason, neem is great to use on poison ivy or poison oak.

If your skin is irritated, avoid consumption of spicy foods, minimize alcohol and coffee consumption, drink plenty of fresh water and eat plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, especially cooling foods like greens vegetables, basmati rice, sweet juicy fruits, coconut, cucumber and cilantro.

These easy moves can also help, according to Khalsa. A simple seated forward bend cools the system and releases heat from the body. Shitali Pranayama, the cooling breath, is excellent for eliminating heat from the body. The practice is as follows: Curl or roll the sides of your tongue upward into a tube or straw. Inhale slowly through the rolled tongue, and then close the mouth and exhale normally through the nose. If you are unable to roll your tongue into a tube, lightly clench your teeth together with the tongue pressed against the teeth. Inhale the air through your teeth and sides of your mouth. Practice for 10-26 rounds of breath.

"It's important to try to keep your body in balance and listen what it's telling you," advises Khalsa. "The skin tells you a lot about what's going on inside."

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Honour Killing Among Muslims in the UK

The article below outlines events that are vile...... Visit Western Resistance to read the comments.

Dishonourable killing... Visit Family Security Matters for Part 2...

Mutilation And Killing For Muslim "Honor"
Part One: The Other Side Of Multiculturalism

Banaz Mahmod Babakir Agha was a beautiful young woman whose family had migrated to Britain in 1998 from the Kurdish region of Iraq. Banaz, aged 20, lived in Mitcham, south London. On Monday, June 11, 2007 her father and her uncle were found guilty of killing her. Her father had ordered the killing, and his brother had carried it out. A shoelace was tied around Banaz's neck, strangling her. Her decomposing body was found in Handsworth, Birmingham, 70 miles away, on April 27 last year, three months after she had "disappeared".

Another man, Mohammed Marif Hama, who was not a relative but belonged to the Iraqi Kurdish community, pleaded guilty to murder on March 9 this year. Another member of the Iraqi Kurdish community, Pshtewan Hama, pleaded guilty to perverting the course of justice. The reason for Banaz being killed was because she had a boyfriend, 28-year old Rahmat Suleimi, a Kurd from Iran.

After Banaz's father and uncle pleaded guilty, he said: "She was my present, my future, my hope. She was the best thing that had ever happened to me. I couldn't ask for anything better than that. Banaz was the nicest and the sweetest person I have ever come across. She had the best personality. If you met Banaz once you would never forget about her. After I met Banaz she just changed me and I became a completely different person. She hated to argue with anyone, she hated to see anyone suffering from anything. She just wanted to help anyone. She wanted to be a happy person. She wanted to see everyone be happy."

He said of honor killings: "I just hope that one day this is going to stop and there is going to be a way out for people. I know it is too late for me and Banaz. If there's anyone out there in the same situation, do something about it before it's too late. Once it's too late, it's too late - you will never get your life back."

The convictions last week were the latest in a series of Muslim honor killings in Britain. Banaz and her boyfriend had been repeatedly threatened. Just three days before she officially "vanished", a group of men Kurdish men had tried to abduct Rahmat Suleimi in a car. Even though British police did not take Banaz's appeals seriously while she was alive, her death spurred a massive police inquiry. There were 47 searches of houses, 22 arrests, 779 statements were taken. Sixteen people were bailed to reappear before police. It is thought that several people who had been involved in the plot to kill the young woman had left the country.

In the Kurdish autonomous region in Iraq, where Banaz's family had come from, the regional prime minister promised a hard line against such killings this week. Neghervan Barzani said: "recently there have been horrendous crimes commited against women in some areas of Kurdistan. While we condemn these crimes, we also rebuke the government ministers and other bodies for not having applied suitable solutions to prevent such episodes reoccurring."

Barzani recommended that honor killing, classed in the penal code as a separate offense to murder, should be reclassified as "murder". Honor killing is viewed as a "justifiable homicide" and in many Muslim societies, it is not viewed as seriously as murder.

Over the past decade in Britain, there have been at least 25 confirmed honor killings in the Muslim community, but this is only the tip of an iceberg. The police have acknowledged shortcomings in their approach to Banaz's pleas for help, and this summer, the Association of Chief Police Officers is planning to launch an action plan on "honor violence".

After the conviction of Banaz' uncle and father, Diana Nammi of the London-based Iranian and Kurdish Women's Rights Organization said of honor crimes: "We're seeing an increase around the world, due in part to the rise in Islamic fundamentalism."

In 2000, the United Nations announced that every year, 5,000 girls and women were killed in "honor crimes", though that figure may be a low estimate.

In the politically correct climate of Britain where 1.8 million Muslims live, the issue of honor killing has never been addressed seriously. Since the 1960s, communities of Muslims have evolved in Britain's inner cities, where integration and assimilation have not happened. Instead of attempting to integrate Muslim communities within the greater fabric of a British society, politicians have praised the values of multiculturalism. And in Britain's ghetto communities, separatism and segregation are the chosen aims of many. Arranged marriages are still the norm, particularly amongst Britain's Muslims of Pakistani and Bangladeshi origins. Such unions constantly import more people, who have little experience of Britain, who automatically become citizens of an increasingly segregated nation.

Honor killing is one aspect of Muslim society that perpetuates traditional customs which flourish in Kurdish Iraq, Pakistan and Bangladesh. Most honor killings and acts of "honor violence" happen in Britain because a young woman (or man) has chosen to embark upon a relationship not sanctioned by their parents or peers. Sometimes merely becoming "too Western" is used as an excuse to kill. During the trial of her killers, it was stated that the family thought one of the "crimes" of Banaz Mahmod Babakir Agha was to be "too Westernized".

familyTake the case of 49-year old Mohammed Riaz's family, who lived in Accrington, Lancashire, in the north of England. Riaz objected to the way his wife Caneze was bringing up their four daughters, Sayrah (16), Sophia (15), Alicia (10) and Hannah (3). An inquest hearing in February this year heard that friends and relatives claimed that the father was a "conservative" Muslim. He had planned for his children to undergo arranged marriages, but Caneze would not allow this. When the girls had been bought Western style clothing, Mohammed Riaz burned the garments.

On November 1 last year, while his wife and daughters slept, Riaz poured gasoline outside their bedrooms, across the hallway and down the stairs. He then set it alight. His wife and daughters were killed in the conflagration, yet Riaz was pulled out alive. He died two days later of 65% burns. Tragically, the only member of the family to survive was the son, 17-year old Adam. He was not in the house at the time as he was in hospital in Manchester, battling Ewings Sarcoma, a type of leukemia. Five weeks after his family had burned to death, Adam died.

Another young woman who was murdered for being too "Westernized" was Heshu Yones. Like the family of Banaz Mahmod Babakir Agha, Heshu's family had arrived in Britain to escape the persecutions of Saddam Hussein in Kurdish Iraq. Heshu had become used to Western freedoms, and had developed a relationship with a Lebanese Christian man. On October 12, 2002, when she was only 16, Heshu's father murdered her in their home in Acton, west London. 47-year old Abdalla Yones chased her from room to room, stabbing her eleven times. The last blow was wielded with such ferocity that the tip of the blade broke off when it hit bone in her neck. Before this savage final blow had been dealt, Heshu had been held down over the bath and her throat was slit open. Heshu bled to death the bathroom floor, wedged between the bath and the toilet. When her body was discovered, the white handled knife was still sticking out of her throat.

Heshu's father was sentenced to life imprisonment on September 29, 2003. Det Insp Brent Hyatt, of the Metropolitan Police's Serious Crime Directorate said: "Abdalla Yones killed her to shield his so-called honour. A few months before her death, she had been taken to Kurdistan to be married off. But the marriage didn't take place because the groom's family discovered she was not a virgin. Abadalla brought Heshu back and decided to eliminate her. The family approved of the crime."

After his arrest, Heshu's father had tried to claim that he and his daughter had been attacked by al Qaeda operatives. During his trial Abdalla Yones had admitted killing for "honor", and said he would do it again. At the close of the trial, Judge Denison said: "This is, on any view, a tragic story arising out of irreconcilable cultural differences between traditional Kurdish values and the values of western society."

Shortly after the verdict, Amir Taheri wrote in the Times: "It is not an overstatement to say that in some cases Muslim women find themselves more threatened by male fanaticism in Britain and France than they do in Turkey and Iran."

In June 2004 British police announced that were embarking on a re-examination of older cases, some up to ten years old, to see if they were "honor killings". 52 cases from London and 65 cases from other locations in England and Wales were to be re-evaluated. A year later 22 cases had been fully examined, and 18 of these had been classed as "honor killings". After the Yones trial, campaigners had claimed that in 2002 alone, there had been 12 honor killings.

Samaira NazirThe way in which honor killings in Europe take place is horrific. Often young males in a family are chosen to kill the "offending" individual, as it is believed that they will receive a lighter sentence. On Saturday, April 23, 2005, neighbors in Abbotts Road in Southall, west London heard a commotion coming from a house owned by a family of Pakistani origin. Hearing a woman's screams, one neighbor had knocked on the house door. The 61-year old head of the family claimed that their 25-year old daughter Samaira was suffering epileptic fits.

Shortly after this, a witness had heard Samaira shouting: "You are not my mother any more," followed by "No! No! No!" At one stage, the front door opened, and Samaira Nazir appeared, covered in blood. Then a hand grabbed the young woman by her hair and dragged her, still screaming, into the house. The police were called. When they arrived, Samaira was found dead in the hallway. A trail of blood led from the door.

Her 30 year old brother Azhar Nazir and her 16-year old cousin were found to have bloodstains, and they were arrested. As he was taken away, Azhar Nazir said: "There had been a problem with my sister. She does not wish to have an arranged marriage. We only allow marriage within the family. My sister wanted to run away from the house and was stopped."

Samaira was bright and educated. She had gained a degree at Thames University, and had become a director at her brother's recruitment company, which provided staff for the Hilton hotel group. Samaira had fallen in love with an Afghan asylum seeker called Salman Mohammed, who had come to Britain smuggled inside a lorry in 2000. Salman had worked at a greengrocer's shop owned by Samaira's brother, but he was considered too "low caste" to be married into the family. Azhar Nizar had told him on the phone: "We can get you anywhere if you get married, even if you are not in this country."

Samaira had been taken to Pakistan in 2004, in an attempt to force her into an arranged marriage, but she had turned down all of her prospective husbands. The whole family appeared to be involved in planning the killing. When Samaira was stabbed to death with eighteen knife blows, Azhar's two daughters, aged two and four were present. They had become spattered with blood. Samaira's 16-year old cousin, who also stabbed her, had been led to believe she had been subjected to "witchcraft" by her Afghan boyfriend. On June 16, 2006 a jury at the Old Bailey found Samaira's cousin and brother guilty of murder. Samaira's mother was originally charged with murder, but these charges were dropped. Samaira's 61-year old father was arrested, but he claimed that he was unwell and was given bail. He fled to Pakistan, which has no extradition treaty with Britain.

Most victims of honor killings are female, but males are also killed. In November 2005 32-year old Waseem Afsar and 31-year old Nisar Khan were found guilty of murder. The case related to the killing of a man in July 1996 in Slough, Berkshire. 21-year old Ahmed Bashir had been discovered to have had a relationship with Waseem Afsar's sister, Nighat Afsar. The two men had attacked Bashir with a scimitar sword and a 10 inch knife. Bashir had forty stab wounds, mostly around his genitals.

Arash Ghorbani-Zarin was a young engineering student of Iranian extraction. He studied at Oxford Brookes University, and in 2003 he fell in love with Manna Begum, a girl from a Bangladeshi family. Manna's father, a waiter, had already arranged a marriage for her. When Manna's father found out about the relationship he banned her from seeing Arash, took away her mobile phone, and made her a prisoner in the family house. Manna tried suicide, and eventually escaped to live with an aunt. She became pregnant, and Arash intended to marry her. He gave up his studies to work in a toy shop, to be able to support his fiancee and their child. In November 2004, he had proudly shown his friends the ultrasound scans of the baby growing in the womb of his bride-to-be. He had invited them to the wedding. A week later, he was dead. His body was found on November 20, in his green Renault car, with 46 stab wounds.

On November 4, 2005 at Oxford Crown Court, Manna Begum's father, 44-year olf Chomar Ali, was found guilty, with his two sons. One of these sons had been only 15 at the time of the killing, and the other was 19. The elder son, Mujibar Rahman, said of his sister: "She acted contrary to religion and tradition by dating Arash. Instead of dating, she should have waited to have an arranged marriage."

The child which Manna was expecting was not allowed to live. After killing Arash, Chomar Ali forced his daughter to book into a Swiss abortion clinic, to have the pregnancy terminated. Manna was six months pregnant when the Clinicia Ginemedex terminated her unborn child. Even by European standards this abortion, which was not carried out for medical reasons, was illegal.

Perhaps the youngest victim of a British honor crime is six-year old Alisha Begum, whose family originally came from Bangladesh. Alisha was the youngest of 12 children. She lived at the family home in Perry Barr, Birmingham. On March 10, 2006, she was asleep on a bunk bed in an upstairs bedroom when two men poured gasoline through the front door and set it alight. The rest of the family managed to escape by jumping from an upstairs window. Little Alisha was trapped in the flames, and suffered 95% to 100% burns. She died the following day in Birmingham Children's Hospital.

In September 2006 two men were on trial at Birmingham Crown Court. These were Hussein Ahmad, a 26-year old dentist, and his associate 18-year old Daryll Tuzzio. Hussein AHmed had a sister, who had been having a relationship with 21-year old Abdul Hamid, Alisha's elder brother.

Prosecutor Adrian Redgrave said: "One hears of so-called honour killings though one may wonder how by any stretch of the imagination there can be any honour in what happened here, resulting in the death of a six-year-old child. Hussain and his associates knew that at the house there was not only Abdul Hamid, and he was the one they were trying to get at, but they knew full well that there was a whole family living there."

The prosecutor described the attack as "pure wickedness" which had been done to threaten Abdul Hamid for forming an "unauthorised relationship" with Hussein Ahmad's sister Meherun.

Surprisingly Hussein Ahmad, who had originally conceived the plot, was acquitted of murder, even though his brother and another friend were still wanted by the police. They were thought to have fled to Bangladesh. Darryl Tuzzio, who also had Bangladeshi origins, was found guilty of arson and murder on October 5, 2006. He was sentenced to eight years' jail on November 2.

These are just a few of the many cases on record of honor killings in Britain. In Part Two I will discuss such cases in other countries. In Pakistan and Bangladesh, where such killings frequently take place, there are also cases of horrific mutilations carried out in the name of "honor".

Adrian Morgan

© 2003-2007 All Rights Reserved

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Why Would a Chandigarh SGPC Member Want to Control Mohali Gurdwaras?

I just read an article describing how a Chandigarh SGPC member had the Gurdwara Co-ordination Council of Mohali change its constitution to allow him to be the election commissioner, when the Constitution only allowed previously for the LOCAL SGPC member from Mohali to be the election commissioner.

That's like having a council member from a neighbouring city ride into town to become the election commissioner for your city? Why would an SGPC member from Chandigarh want to control the election in Mohali? Would it be normal for a Toronto city councillor to ride into Brampton to run its election? or someone from Los Angeles ride into Santa Monica to run its election?

Is it for some personal gain. I personally have no idea who Gurpartap Singh Riar is or isn't, and don't have any affiliation to Mohali as I don't live there, but I see this as another example of people misusing the arms of the Panth for their own benefit.

The SGPC should investigate this Riar fellow and ensure that he is not corrupt or misusing SGPC facilities for personal enrichment.
The Gurdwara Coordination Committee (GCC) split into two different committees on Thursday - one backed by Chandigarh SGPC member Gurpartap Singh Riar, the other headed by Mohali SGPC member Hardeep Singh.

Both committees held elections and also declared their presidents. There are around two dozen Gurdwaras in Mohali and both groups claim to be majority holders in Mohali.

Riar became election commissioner for the election, which was earlier declared on June 23, but the schedule was changed. Hardyal Singh Mann, president of the Gurdwara Singh Sabha, Phase-I was elected as president of the GCC. Mann appointed Sohan Singh Sood as his general secretary.

At a press conference held on Thursday, Sood told media persons that the GCC had made changes in the Constitution of the committee and the local SGPC member was no longer the election commissioner of the committee. Instead, they made Riar election commissioner from Chandigarh. Sood said his committee enjoyed the confidence of most Gurdwaras in Mohali. He said it is SGPC member Hardeep Singh who doesn’t want unity between religious bodies in Mohali for his own petty issues.

Hardeep Singh, in turn, was election commissioner of GCC elections in Gurdwara Shri Guru Kalgidhar Singh Sabha, Phase-IV on Thursday. In this election Mohinder Singh, president of Gurdwara Phase-IV, was elected as president of Mohali GCC.

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Thursday, June 21, 2007

Research Debunking "Humans Responsible for Global Warming" Narrative

If you don't believe humans are causing dangerous global warming then read no further, however, if you 1. believe humans cause global warming, and more importantly, 2. believe you have an 'open' mind to alternative ideas - then read further, otherwise please go back to being a global warming bien pensant as it where.
Read the sunspots
The mud at the bottom of B.C. fjords reveals that solar output drives climate change - and that we should prepare now for dangerous global cooling
Published: Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Politicians and environmentalists these days convey the impression that climate-change research is an exceptionally dull field with little left to discover. We are assured by everyone from David Suzuki to Al Gore to Prime Minister Stephen Harper that "the science is settled." At the recent G8 summit, German Chancellor Angela Merkel even attempted to convince world leaders to play God by restricting carbon-dioxide emissions to a level that would magically limit the rise in world temperatures to 2C.

The fact that science is many years away from properly understanding global climate doesn't seem to bother our leaders at all. Inviting testimony only from those who don't question political orthodoxy on the issue, parliamentarians are charging ahead with the impossible and expensive goal of "stopping global climate change." Liberal MP Ralph Goodale's June 11 House of Commons assertion that Parliament should have "a real good discussion about the potential for carbon capture and sequestration in dealing with carbon dioxide, which has tremendous potential for improving the climate, not only here in Canada but around the world," would be humorous were he, and even the current government, not deadly serious about devoting vast resources to this hopeless crusade.

Climate stability has never been a feature of planet Earth. The only constant about climate is change; it changes continually and, at times, quite rapidly. Many times in the past, temperatures were far higher than today, and occasionally, temperatures were colder. As recently as 6,000 years ago, it was about 3C warmer than now. Ten thousand years ago, while the world was coming out of the thou-sand-year-long "Younger Dryas" cold episode, temperatures rose as much as 6C in a decade -- 100 times faster than the past century's 0.6C warming that has so upset environmentalists.

The Deniers: The National Post's series on scientists who buck the conventional wisdom on climate science.
The National Post is a Canadian national newspaper. Here is the series so far:

Statistics needed -- The Deniers Part I
Warming is real -- and has benefits -- The Deniers Part II
The hurricane expert who stood up to UN junk science -- The Deniers Part III
Polar scientists on thin ice -- The Deniers Part IV
The original denier: into the cold -- The Deniers Part V
The sun moves climate change -- The Deniers Part VI
Will the sun cool us? -- The Deniers Part VII
The limits of predictability -- The Deniers Part VIII
Look to Mars for the truth on global warming -- The Deniers Part IX
Limited role for C02 -- the Deniers Part X
End the chill -- The Deniers Part XI
Clouded research -- The Deniers Part XII
Allegre's second thoughts -- The Deniers XIII
The heat's in the sun -- The Deniers XIV
Unsettled Science -- The Deniers XV
Bitten by the IPCC -- The Deniers XVI
Little ice age is still within us -- The Deniers XVII
Fighting climate 'fluff' -- The Deniers XVIII
Science, not politics -- The Deniers XIX
Gore's guru disagreed -- The Deniers XX
The ice-core man -- The Deniers XXI
Some restraint in Rome -- The Deniers XXII
Discounting logic -- The Deniers XXIII
Dire forecasts aren't new -- The Deniers XXIV
They call this a consensus? - Part XXV
NASA chief Michael Griffin silenced - Part XXVI
Forget warming - beware the new ice age - Part XXVII

Climate-change research is now literally exploding with new findings. Since the 1997 Kyoto Protocol, the field has had more research than in all previous years combined and the discoveries are completely shattering the myths. For example, I and the first-class scientists I work with are consistently finding excellent correlations between the regular fluctuations in the brightness of the sun and earthly climate. This is not surprising. The sun and the stars are the ultimate source of all energy on the planet.

My interest in the current climate-change debate was triggered in 1998, when I was funded by a Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council strategic project grant to determine if there were regular cycles in West Coast fish productivity. As a result of wide swings in the populations of anchovies, herring and other commercially important West Coast fish stock, fisheries managers were having a very difficult time establishing appropriate fishing quotas. One season there would be abundant stock and broad harvesting would be acceptable; the very next year the fisheries would collapse. No one really knew why or how to predict the future health of this crucially important resource.

Although climate was suspected to play a significant role in marine productivity, only since the beginning of the 20th century have accurate fishing and temperature records been kept in this region of the northeast Pacific. We needed indicators of fish productivity over thousands of years to see whether there were recurring cycles in populations and what phenomena may be driving the changes.

My research team began to collect and analyze core samples from the bottom of deep Western Canadian fjords. The regions in which we chose to conduct our research, Effingham Inlet on the West Coast of Vancouver Island, and in 2001, sounds in the Belize-Seymour Inlet complex on the mainland coast of British Columbia, were perfect for this sort of work. The topography of these fjords is such that they contain deep basins that are subject to little water transfer from the open ocean and so water near the bottom is relatively stagnant and very low in oxygen content. As a consequence, the floors of these basins are mostly lifeless and sediment layers build up year after year, undisturbed over millennia.

Using various coring technologies, we have been able to collect more than 5,000 years' worth of mud in these basins, with the oldest layers coming from a depth of about 11 metres below the fjord floor. Clearly visible in our mud cores are annual changes that record the different seasons: corresponding to the cool, rainy winter seasons, we see dark layers composed mostly of dirt washed into the fjord from the land; in the warm summer months we see abundant fossilized fish scales and diatoms (the most common form of phytoplankton, or single-celled ocean plants) that have fallen to the fjord floor from nutrient-rich surface waters. In years when warm summers dominated climate in the region, we clearly see far thicker layers of diatoms and fish scales than we do in cooler years. Ours is one of the highest-quality climate records available anywhere today and in it we see obvious confirmation that natural climate change can be dramatic. For example, in the middle of a 62-year slice of the record at about 4,400 years ago, there was a shift in climate in only a couple of seasons from warm, dry and sunny conditions to one that was mostly cold and rainy for several decades.

Using computers to conduct what is referred to as a "time series analysis" on the colouration and thickness of the annual layers, we have discovered repeated cycles in marine productivity in this, a region larger than Europe. Specifically, we find a very strong and consistent 11-year cycle throughout the whole record in the sediments and diatom remains. This correlates closely to the well-known 11-year "Schwabe" sunspot cycle, during which the output of the sun varies by about 0.1%. Sunspots, violent storms on the surface of the sun, have the effect of increasing solar output, so, by counting the spots visible on the surface of our star, we have an indirect measure of its varying brightness. Such records have been kept for many centuries and match very well with the changes in marine productivity we are observing.

In the sediment, diatom and fish-scale records, we also see longer period cycles, all correlating closely with other well-known regular solar variations. In particular, we see marine productivity cycles that match well with the sun's 75-90-year "Gleissberg Cycle," the 200-500-year "Suess Cycle" and the 1,100-1,500-year "Bond Cycle." The strength of these cycles is seen to vary over time, fading in and out over the millennia. The variation in the sun's brightness over these longer cycles may be many times greater in magnitude than that measured over the short Schwabe cycle and so are seen to impact marine productivity even more significantly.

Our finding of a direct correlation between variations in the brightness of the sun and earthly climate indicators (called "proxies") is not unique. Hundreds of other studies, using proxies from tree rings in Russia's Kola Peninsula to water levels of the Nile, show exactly the same thing: The sun appears to drive climate change.

However, there was a problem. Despite this clear and repeated correlation, the measured variations in incoming solar energy were, on their own, not sufficient to cause the climate changes we have observed in our proxies. In addition, even though the sun is brighter now than at any time in the past 8,000 years, the increase in direct solar input is not calculated to be sufficient to cause the past century's modest warming on its own. There had to be an amplifier of some sort for the sun to be a primary driver of climate change.

Indeed, that is precisely what has been discovered. In a series of groundbreaking scientific papers starting in 2002, Veizer, Shaviv, Carslaw, and most recently Svensmark et al., have collectively demonstrated that as the output of the sun varies, and with it, our star's protective solar wind, varying amounts of galactic cosmic rays from deep space are able to enter our solar system and penetrate the Earth's atmosphere. These cosmic rays enhance cloud formation which, overall, has a cooling effect on the planet. When the sun's energy output is greater, not only does the Earth warm slightly due to direct solar heating, but the stronger solar wind generated during these "high sun" periods blocks many of the cosmic rays from entering our atmosphere. Cloud cover decreases and the Earth warms still more.

The opposite occurs when the sun is less bright. More cosmic rays are able to get through to Earth's atmosphere, more clouds form, and the planet cools more than would otherwise be the case due to direct solar effects alone. This is precisely what happened from the middle of the 17th century into the early 18th century, when the solar energy input to our atmosphere, as indicated by the number of sunspots, was at a minimum and the planet was stuck in the Little Ice Age. These new findings suggest that changes in the output of the sun caused the most recent climate change. By comparison, CO2 variations show little correlation with our planet's climate on long, medium and even short time scales.

In some fields the science is indeed "settled." For example, plate tectonics, once highly controversial, is now so well-established that we rarely see papers on the subject at all. But the science of global climate change is still in its infancy, with many thousands of papers published every year. In a 2003 poll conducted by German environmental researchers Dennis Bray and Hans von Storch, two-thirds of more than 530 climate scientists from 27 countries surveyed did not believe that "the current state of scientific knowledge is developed well enough to allow for a reasonable assessment of the effects of greenhouse gases." About half of those polled stated that the science of climate change was not sufficiently settled to pass the issue over to policymakers at all.

Solar scientists predict that, by 2020, the sun will be starting into its weakest Schwabe solar cycle of the past two centuries, likely leading to unusually cool conditions on Earth. Beginning to plan for adaptation to such a cool period, one which may continue well beyond one 11-year cycle, as did the Little Ice Age, should be a priority for governments. It is global cooling, not warming, that is the major climate threat to the world, especially Canada. As a country at the northern limit to agriculture in the world, it would take very little cooling to destroy much of our food crops, while a warming would only require that we adopt farming techniques practiced to the south of us.

Meantime, we need to continue research into this, the most complex field of science ever tackled, and immediately halt wasted expenditures on the King Canute-like task of "stopping climate change."

R. Timothy Patterson is professor and director of the Ottawa-Carleton Geoscience Centre, Department of Earth Sciences, Carleton University.

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Islamic Rage Boy - Check Out This Joker ;-)

From Snapped Shot, this guy seems to be always on, except for that one shot where he's cowering before some cop...

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Casteism Has NO Place in SIKHI

Dr. Ronki Ram makes a good point in this article and it is a shame that people who call themselves Sikh, take positions along casteist lines. Anyone who is a Sikh, should NOT be seen as anything other than as a Sikh first and foremost. People often make excuses for their own casteist behaviour by blaming the other party for thinking along caste lines when saying, "they don't see themselves as Sikhs first!"

You need to make the point in your own homes and circles that casteism (and gender bias for that matter) doesn't fly and that all Sikhs are equal and have equal rights whether in regards to marriage, death, birth, etc... and particularly in performing any and every function in the propagation and performance of religious duties.

If members of the Sangat think that Dalits are lacking in knowledge of Sikhi then why not start programs on the correct application of Sikh principles and do parchar amongst them to explain Sikhi fully and satisfactorily?

If its a question of Dalits not being the 'same', then that's your problem NOT theirs. As Sikhs we are all equal and should only look at a person's character and actions, not their 'caste', in deciding if we want to associate with someone or not.

Casteism is a poison and Sikhi is the antidote. However, like any medicine, balm or ointment, it will only work if the patient is willing to 'use as directed'. Being a cultural Sikh isn't the same as being an actual Sikh. Sikhism isn't a social club, it's a way of life to be a better human being and be put on the road to enlightenment and union with Waheguru, aka God.

Perhaps if SGPC, Akal Takht, and DSGMC and other Panthic bodies would get their act together and engage in meaningful parchar (education, proselytizing) of Sikh values, principles, beliefs and prayers, there wouldn't be a need for 'Deras' and pakhandi Babas (fake preachers).

Social Catastrophe in the Making: Religion, Deras, and Dalits in Punjab
Written by Dr. Ronki Ram
Friday, June 15, 2007

The recent violent clashes between the followers of Dera Sacha Sauda and Sikhs seem to have acquired an utmost importance in the current political history of Punjab. The importance of such conflicts surpases the much talked about ‘short-term politics of revenge’ and throws a critical light on their much deeper socio-religious roots steeped into the so-called casteless Sikh society in Punjab. On the one hand, it lay bare the dormant structures of social discrimination that permeates the fabric of the Sikh society and on the other, points towards the neo-conservative Sikhs’ anxiety of dwindling Sikh-Khalsa identity in the state. In fact, the recent Akalis-Dera Sacha Sauda row over the mimicking of iconography of the tenth Master of the Sikhs by Gurmeet Ram Raheem, the Dera head, seems much to do with the prevalence of the doctrinally rejected system of caste hierarchy among the Sikhs. Since majority of the followers of various Sacha Sauda type Deras come from the dispossessed sections of the society who at one point of time had embraced Sikhism in the hope of elevating their social status and fortune, their almost exodus from Sikhism towards alternative socio-spiritual space provided by such Deras invite the hostility of the clerics of the mainstream established religious order who interpret it as a serious challenge to the dwindling Sikh-Khalsa identity. Moreover, the frequent politicisation of the Deras makes the issue further complicated. The persistant attempts made by the various Sikh organizations during the recent Sikh-Dera crisis to win over their disgruntled Dalit Sikh followers is a clear case in point.

Punjab has the distinction of housing the country’s largest proportion of Scheduled Castes population (29 per cent), has 38 castes among the SCs in the state, of which two belong to Sikh religion, namely the Mazhabi and Ramdasis or Ramdasia Sikhs. Ramdasia Sikhs are mostly confined to the Doaba and Malwa sub-regions of the state. Kanshi Ram, founder of the Bhaujan Samaj Party (BSP), was a Ramdasia Sikh. Mazhabis, the devout Sikhs, are mostly concentrated in Majha and Malwa. In terms of numbers, Mazhabis are the most numerous Sikh caste among the SCs of Punjab (30.7 per cent of the total SC population) followed by Chamars (25.8 per cent), Ad Dharmis (15.9 per cent), Balmikis (11.1 per cent) to mention only the major castes. They are also the most deprived section of the SCs of Punjab with the lowest literacy rate (42.3 per cent) and majority of them are agricultural workers (52.2 per cent).

Jats, the dominant peasant caste in the state, has hegemonised all the Sikh organizations: Gurdwaras, Sikh Deras, SGPC, and SAD. Dalits have often complained of Jats even refusing the lower caste the right to the common cremation ground, forcing the Dalit Sikhs to even establishing separate Gurdwaras, thus solidifying existing caste divisions among the Sikhs.

It is against this backdrop of blatant social exclusion that a large number of Dalits have been veering away from the mainstream Sikh religion and enrolling themselves into various forms of Deras in Punjab whose success partly “lies in the relationship between Dalit resistance and religious rebellion”. It was the Mazhabis and Ramdasias who constituted the core of the ‘Bhaniarawala phenomenon’ and the ‘Talhan crisis’ respectively. Again it was the Mazhabis and Ramdasias Sikhs of the Malwa region of the Punjab who figured most in the Sacha Sauda crisis recently. Another probable cause behind the large-scale Dalit followings of the Deras in Punjab could be the absence of a strong Dalit movement of the sort of the famous Ad Dharm led by legendary Babu Mangoo Ram Mugowalia during the first half of the 20th century. Had the Ad Dharm movement continued in full swing, it could have curtailed the swift flow of the Dalits towards the mushrooming growth of the Deras in Punjab.

As far as Jats are concerned majority of them are the followers of Sikh Deras.It is generally believed that almost all the Sikh Deras are headed invariably by Jat Sikhs. It is rare that the head of a Sikh Dera would be a non-Jat Sikh. Even if there would be one he could not be a Dalit at all. At most Dalit Sikhs participation in Sikh Deras is confined only to the narration of the Sikhs’ sacred texts and performing of Kirtan (musical rendering of sacred hymns. Majority of the Raagis and Granthis are Dalit Sikhs. Very few Jat Sikhs take up such professions.

Deras represent the disillusions of the dispossessed who at one point of time in their life embraced Sikhism in order to escape the taint of untouchability that was adhered to them in the Hindu social order. However, since their conversion into Sikhism failed to liberate them from the scar of the untouchabilty, they turn towards non-Sikh Deras that offer them perhaps better place.

The violent clashes in Punjab are more about identity confrontation between Jats (a former marginal community that has successfully overcomed its lower social status) and Dalits (a contemporary marginal community that failed miserably to do the same). They, in fact, reveal what the Dalits seems to have been struggling for over the last few decades in the contemporary Punjab, probably used to bother the Jats also earlier in the state in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. However, what makes the case of the Jats as an ex-marginal community rather different from that of the Dalits was their being a clean Shudra and free from the taint of untouchability. On the contrary, Dalits were known as unclean shudras whose very touch and sigh were considered to be polluting precisely because of their occupational closeness to the polluting articles. Another factor that might have helped the Jats to overcome their lower status was their corporate social mobility affected through their group conversion into Sikh religion. Moreover yet another factor that might have helped them improve their social status was the absence of sharp contradictions between them and the then upper caste community of the Khatris in the state. Khatris, unlike Jats in the case of social mobility of Dalits, did not oppose the Jats in their attempts towards upward social mobility. On the contrary, the impoving socio-economic position of the Jats perhaps suited Khatris the most in their commercial interests.

However, there are many Dalits in the state who have improved their economic conditions by dissociating from their caste occupations and distancing them from the profession of agriculture. They have strengthened their economic position through sheer hard work and enterprise. Although the constitutional affirmative action played an important role in the upliftment of the Dalits in general, the monopoly of the Punjabi Dalits of the leather business in the famous Boota Mandi in the Doaba sub-region of the state and their ventures abroad turned out to be of crucial importance in overcoming their economic hardships. Some of them have established their own small-scale servicing units [carpentry, barber, blacksmith shops etc. In addition, they have also been politicized to a large extant by the socio-political activities of the famous Ad Dharm movementand of the various Ravidass Deras (religious centers dedicated to the teachings and philosophy of Guru Ravidass). In this case they have not only improved their economic status, but have also liberated themselves from the subordination of the Jat landowners. Consequently, their improved economic circumstances propelled them to aspire for a commensurate social status, which they seek through their memberships of the alternate non-Sikh Deras.

Thus armed with the weapon of improved economic conditions and sharpened social consciousness, the Dalits in Punjab mustered enough strength to ask for a concomitant rise in their social status. They also turn towards various Deras that help them in seeking new and respectable social identity they are terribaly in need of. However, the Jats interpreted such Dalit assertion as a challenge to their long established supremacy in the state and also to their Sikh-Khalsa identity that in turn sharpened the contradictions between them and the Dalits. This has led to a series of violent caste conflicts between the Dalits and the Jats in Punjab over the last few years. Such conflicts are in no way a manifestation of communalism in the state. They are, In fact, signs of emerging Dalit assertion, which has all the possibilities of snowballing into a serious violent conflict.

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