The Ranting Kraut

19.3.2006 – 27.9.2010

Archive for February, 2007

Free Kareem Amer

Posted by rantingkraut on February 22, 2007

Egyptian blogger Kareem Amer has been sentenced to four years in prison for expressing his opinions on Islam and the Egyptian government. Support the campaign to free him here.

HT: pubphilosopher

Posted in Civil Liberties, Freedom of Speech, Middle East | Comments Off on Free Kareem Amer

Standing up to Islam

Posted by rantingkraut on February 21, 2007

For about a minute, I pondered whether I should title this post ‘standing up to Islamists’ but this topic clearly involves mainstream Islam in its current form.

Some 30+ people of Muslim origin have founded the Central Council of Former Muslims in Germany. The organisation is named in analogy to Germany’s ‘Central Council of Muslims’ and challenges Islam’s prohibition of apostasy head on.

The organisation’s first public event is planned for the 28 February although the location is so far kept confidential –as are the details of most members. Mina Ahadi, the exiled Iranian communist activist who founded the organisation, has received her share of death threats already and is currently living under police protection.

This one should be interesting to watch, not least because the ex-Muslims seem to have some input from the old fashioned Marxist left. A detail which could pose some problems for the usual routine of politically correct knee jerk reactions from the relativist crowd.

Posted in Civil Liberties, In The News, Islamism | Comments Off on Standing up to Islam

David Friedman on Global Warming

Posted by rantingkraut on February 20, 2007

“My current conclusion, looking over what I can see of the opinions of people who don’t have an obvious axe to grind in either direction, is that global warming is probably real, is probably but not certainly anthropogenic, is probably not going to have large effects on size and frequency of hurricanes and is probably not going to have large effects on sea level. It is a real problem but not, on current evidence, an impending catastrophe.

(…)

1. Governments, and people in government, seek power for obvious reasons. Over the past fifty years the intellectual justification for the large expansion in government power from about 1930-1970 has largely collapsed. The belief that capitalism is inherently unstable and inefficient and must be fixed with large elements of governmental intervention and central planning is no longer taken very seriously by either the general public or economists.

Environmentalism in general and global warming in particular provide new arguments for expanded government power, new taxes, and the like. That does not mean, of course, that those arguments are wrong, but it does mean that there are a lot of people who have an incentive to support them whether wrong or right. That seems to me consistent with what I observe—what is probably a real problem being extensively exaggerated for political reasons, with a predicted sea level rise of up to 80 cm over 93 years being reported in terms of massive flooding around the world, converting the World Trade Center Site into an aquarium in the piece I commented on in my earlier post.

2. Global warming provides arguments for things that a lot of people, mostly left of center, want to do anyway—shift lifestyles away from automobiles towards mass transit, reduce consumption of depletable resources, and the like. Environmentalism is in part a real argument, in part a religion, in part an aesthetic; the second and third parts make people too willing to accept the first.”

(source)

Posted in Global Warming, quotes | Comments Off on David Friedman on Global Warming

ex President Al Gore???

Posted by rantingkraut on February 9, 2007

The telegraph reports that:

Sir Richard Branson, whose Virgin planes pump out millions of tonnes of carbon dioxide a year, is offering a £12.8million ($25m) to the scientist who can extract that same gas from the atmosphere.

Sir Richard Branson hopes to ‘save thousands of species and mankind itself’

Together with the former US president Al Gore, he is calling for a team of research scientists to “scavenge” one billion tonnes of CO2 a year from the sky – a technique that is currently impossible.

(source)

Good luck to Mr. Branson. He is doing the right thing: he is using his own money to clean up his own mess and he emphasises technological innovation. This looks like a good alternative to highly intrusive legislation to reduce CO2 emissions by small amounts.

I am puzzled by this detail though: “the former US president Al Gore”. I am no historian, but that’s not what I remember.

Posted in In The News, Regulation | Comments Off on ex President Al Gore???

Quote of the day

Posted by rantingkraut on February 7, 2007

One of the unhappiest spectacles to be seen on our streets today is the image of a woman swathed in shapeless black from head to toe, peering out at the world through a tiny slit.
Richard Dawkins in “The God Delusion

Posted in Islamism, quotes | Comments Off on Quote of the day