Daily Archives: February 7, 2010

Scusie: Mel Gibson eats puppy dog on Greenwich Avenue

You want taste of brave heart?

Inspired by a reader’s point that Greenwich Times’s Susie Dish’s report of  Brendan Fraser  (he’s an actor) eating breakfast at Pasta Verda, was kind of suspect because Pasta Verde does not, in fact, serve breakfast, we dispatched FWIW’s Scusie to see who was really eating what on the Avenue. And she found Mel, along with, of course, Regis, Cathy Lee, Frank and Tim “The Devil” Teuffel all chowing down on chow.

Hey, is that dog bowl for me?

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Tale of two papers

New York Times: Haitian orphans being snatched up by awful people who will sell them as sex slaves.

But it took the arrest last weekend of 10 Americans caught trying to leave the country with 33 Haitian children to focus international attention on the issue. While there is no evidence that the Americans, who said they were trying to rescue children in the aftermath of the earthquake, intended any harm, the ease with which they drove into the capital and scooped up a busload of children without documents exposed vast gaps in the system’s safeguards.

“This has called the world’s attention because it is the first clear piece of evidence that our fears have come true,” said Patricia Vargas, the regional coordinator for SOS Children’s Villages, which provides services to abandoned children around the world. “Our concern as an organization is how many other cases are out there that we are not aware of.”

At the front lines of the system are the orphanages, which run the gamut from large, well-equipped institutions with international financing to one-room hovels in a slum where a single woman cares for abandoned children as best she can.

Most of the children in them, the authorities said, are not orphans, but children whose parents are unable to provide for them. To desperate parents, the orphanage is a godsend, a temporary solution to help a child survive a particularly tough economic stretch. Many orphanages offer regular family visiting hours and, when their situations improve, parents are allowed to take their children back home.

But instead of protecting Haiti’s most vulnerable population, some orphanages have become tools of exploitation, the authorities fear.

Wall Street Journal: Haitian parents defend missionaries.

But some of the children’s own families and friends here disagree. On Friday, some said they willingly handed over the children, want the Americans freed, and want them to continue with plans to have the children live in an orphanage in the Dominican Republic.

The account from Callebasse stands in contrast to the image portrayed by the Haitian government of Ms. Silsby and the other missionaries. On Thursday, a Haitian judge charged the ten U.S. citizens with abduction and conspiracy, charges that could land them in jail for years.

Both papers cover the sordid conditions of Haitian orphanages and indeed, the abuse the children in those institutions are subject to. But the emphasis is clearly different. They report, you decide.

Laura Silsby - sex trafficker or saviour?

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Shocker: AP with a neutral analysis of Tea Party movement

I’m not usually impressed with this press service’s objectivity, but this seems fair enough, and who asks for more?

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“Huge explosion” at Connecticut power plant

Some plant under construction in Middletown on the banks of the Connecticut River blew up just now.

UPDATE Here: Several dead, many injured, plant leveled. Sounds like natural gas, not anything more sinister.

UPDATE: Check the comment, from a FWIW reader and new friend of mine – he was supposed to be working there this morning but was called out of state on family matters. Delighted for him, sad for the dead and injured obviously, but in these post 9/11 days, a normal “accident” comes as a relief. Obviously, that’s not meant to dishonor today’s dead.

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Vancouver Olympics move to Washington, D.C.

RFK Jr. to be lead torch bearer.

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RFK Jr: “Where are the snows of yesteryear?”

Gone to global warming, every one, and never to return sobbed he 15 months ago. I assume his tears have now frozen.

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Sing it and die

“I Did It My Way” number one killer karaoke song in Philipines. Raj is probably lucky that “The Gambler” is way down on the list.

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And here’s something to show your local politician

Instapundit suggests using them for political contributions or taxes:

Zero Rupee notes for bribe-demanding officials.

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Here’s something to show your kids

College degree vs. no college degree: No contest

From Business Insider

U.S. unemployment is dismal right now, but slicing it by educational attainment makes a compelling case for anyone to increase their level of education. As shown below, Americans with bachelor’s degrees and higher have just a 4% unemployment rate. There isn’t an unemployment disaster for this demographic.

Yes, we know that the university educational system isn’t perfect. A lot of people probably learn somewhat useless skills and college degrees are expensive to attain.

Yet give us 100 people with degrees vs. 100 without degrees and the first 100 will tend to have more people with marketable knowledge and skills than the second 100, even if a few of the college educated wasted their time and money. You’ll never know exactly what skills lead to the best jobs, but collecting different kinds of knowledge, in large amounts, has a high probability of eventually paying off financially.

Better yet, if you study seriously, it also has a guaranteed intellectual payoff.Thus for all the sophistry about education being a waste of money or broken, you can’t ignore suspecting that there’s a reason why successful people around the world, for hundreds of years, have tended to spend great amounts of time and money educating their children.

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Safe at last, safe at last, thank God almighty, we’re safe at last!

The Bovina Bloviatopr catches up with the latest zero-tolerance success. 9-year-old suspended for bringing Lego gun to school.

Lego gun

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Who knew it had begun?

Arctic G7 meeting concludes, big shots flee back to Europe. They held the latest financial meeting in Eskimo country in Canada (a large land mass north of the United States), a location with such geographical inconvenience that the usual crowd of Maoists, Commies and Anarchists stayed home to trash their own countries. The delegates didn’t seem to enjoy themselves, alas. All the European bankers refused to attend a seal blubber and boiled seal pup festival because of politics back home. Seems to me that if you’re scared of Bridget Bardot you’ve hardly got the mettle to confront Greece with cooking its books since 2001 when it joined the EU, but that’s just me.

Tasty caribou leg going unwanted at G7 summit

Terrified British banking chief Bernard King being pulled by dogs

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Global warming solved

The exposure of fraudulent science has put paid to these people (except, of course, in the US’s mainstream media, but they report only after they can’t deny any longer).Globe & Mail:

In 2007, the most comprehensive report to date on global warming, issued by the respected United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, made a shocking claim: The Himalayan glaciers could melt away as soon as 2035.

These glaciers provide the headwaters for Asia’s nine largest rivers and lifelines for the more than one billion people who live downstream. Melting ice and snow would create mass flooding, followed by mass drought. The glacier story was reported around the world. Last December, a spokesman for the World Wildlife Fund, an environmental pressure group, warned, “The deal reached at Copenhagen will have huge ramifications for the lives of hundreds of millions of people who are already highly vulnerable due to widespread poverty.” To dramatize their country’s plight, Nepal’s top politicians strapped on oxygen tanks and held a cabinet meeting on Mount Everest.

But the claim was rubbish, and the world’s top glaciologists knew it. It was based not on rigorously peer-reviewed science but on an anecdotal report by the WWF itself. When its background came to light on the eve of Copenhagen, Rajendra Pachauri, the head of the IPCC, shrugged it off. But now, even leading scientists and environmental groups admit the IPCC is facing a crisis of credibility that makes the Climategate affair look like small change.

“The global warming movement as we have known it is dead,” the brilliant analyst Walter Russell Mead says in his blog on The American Interest. It was done in by a combination of bad science and bad politics.

The impetus for the Copenhagen conference was that the science makes it imperative for us to act. But even if that were true – and even if we knew what to do – a global deal was never in the cards. As Mr. Mead writes, “The global warming movement proposed a complex set of international agreements involving vast transfers of funds, intrusive regulations in national economies, and substantial changes to the domestic political economies of most countries on the planet.” Copenhagen was never going to produce a breakthrough. It was a dead end.

And now, the science scandals just keep on coming. First there was the vast cache of e-mails leaked from the University of East Anglia, home of a crucial research unit responsible for collecting temperature data. Although not fatal to the science, they revealed a snakepit of scheming to keep contradictory research from being published, make imperfect data look better, and withhold information from unfriendly third parties. If science is supposed to be open and transparent, these guys acted as if they had a lot to hide.

Despite widespread efforts to play down the Climategate e-mails, they were very damaging. An investigation by the British newspaper The Guardian – among the most aggressive advocates for action on climate change – has found that a series of measurements from Chinese weather stations were seriously flawed, and that documents relating to them could not be produced.

Meantime, the IPCC – the body widely regarded, until now, as the ultimate authority on climate science – is looking worse and worse. After it was forced to retract its claim about melting glaciers, Mr. Pachauri dismissed the error as a one-off. But other IPCC claims have turned out to be just as groundless.

For example, it warned that large tracts of the Amazon rain forest might be wiped out by global warming because they are extremely susceptible to even modest decreases in rainfall. The sole source for that claim, reports The Sunday Times of London, was a magazine article written by a pair of climate activists, one of whom worked for the WWF. One scientist contacted by the Times, a specialist in tropical forest ecology, called the article “a mess.”

Worse still, the Times has discovered that Mr. Pachauri’s own Energy and Resources Unit, based in New Delhi, has collected millions in grants to study the effects of glacial melting – all on the strength of that bogus glacier claim, which happens to have been endorsed by the same scientist who now runs the unit that got the money. Even so, the IPCC chief is hanging tough. He insists the attacks on him are being orchestrated by companies facing lower profits.

By exaggerating the certainties, papering over the gaps, demonizing the skeptics and peddling tales of imminent catastrophe, they’ve discredited the entire climate-change movement. The political damage will be severe. As Mr. Mead succinctly puts it: “Skeptics up, Obama down, cap-and-trade dead.”


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