Hard News by Russell Brown

Bits and pieces

Don Brash is officially a global warming sceptic. He wants proof that climate change is happening and that it is driven by human activity. Perhaps he should do some more reading, and try and think past September.

Meanwhile, a new poll says 83% of British people want Blair to face down Bush over climate change.

No Right Turn, as ever, is right on top of the latest Zaoui news. He also ponders the grim possibility of the case being decided by the next minister: Winston Peters.

Labour MP Tim Barnett has a new blog.

Priceless: the fundy-operated Watchdog screening system used in many of our schools has blocked - as apparent gay porn - the Vatican's latest statement on same-sex couples.

Hans has a gay take on the Lions tour. What exactly is that in Ben Cohen's undies?

The American legislative system is insane. Having failed to use the FCC to force through an onerous and prescriptive law mandating copyright protection in all high-definition TV hardware, the motion picture industry is allegedly set this week to have tame lawmakers add the measure as a rider to a Senate appropriations bill - at 48 hours notice.

It's hard to know what's worse: this banana republic version of lawmaking, or its current focus: the so-called Broadcast Flag, a means by which the government will use technology to remove rights of media consumers, and to specifically dictate what TV, networking and computer hardware they can have in their homes.

Slashdot has a thread which boasts one of the best responses ever ("I'd write my senators, but I can't find my checkbook.")

A ZDNet story notes, however, that no Senators have yet said they will support the rider bill. It would be nice to think they'd go a step further and get rid of the ability for this kind of corrupt law-making altogether.

On a related tip, Dvorak on Microsoft's BitTorrent-killing vapourware, Avalanche.

Iraq's Ministry of Human Rights estimates that up to 60% of Iraqi detainees are suffering abuse:

"We've documented a lot of torture cases," said Sultan, whose committee is pushing for wider access to Iraqi-run prisons across the nation. "There are beatings, punching, electric shocks to the body, including sensitive areas, hanging prisoners upside down and beating them and dragging them on the ground…. Many police officers come from a culture of torture from their experiences over the last 35 years. Most of them worked during Saddam's regime."

Autism Diva hasseveral good links to further unpicking of the current outrageous mercury-in-vaccines-causes-autism scare in the US, and discovers for herself that the venue for the alleged cover-up meeting, "nestled in wooded farmland next to the Chattahoochee River, to ensure complete secrecy," according to Robert Kennedy Jr's alleged expose, is in fact in an ordinary suburb. The American left has lost its mind over this one.

I'm talking to Helen Petousis-Harris of the Immunisation Advisory Centre about thimerosal (which has been absent from child vaccines in New Zealand for at least three years) at 1pm today on my 95bFM Wire show if anyone's interested. And Computerworld's Paul Brislen will be discussing the Big Telecom Outage at 12.30pm. Live streams here.