November 30, 2009

Best argument against democracy

Winston Churchill once said that the best argument against democracy is a five minute conversation with the average voter.

This goes a long way in proving Mr. Churchill right:

The grotesquely wrong answers that some contestants give on quiz programmes would surely make most participants think twice before applying.

Here are a selection of the funniest answers taken from a new book...


PRESENTER: Who painted the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel?

CALLER: Leonardo di Caprio.


    PRESENTER: Was the Tyrannosaurus Rex a carnivore or a herbivore?

    CONTESTANT: No, it was a dinosaur.

    (Are You Smarter Than A Ten-Year-Old?)

    ANNE ROBINSON: What type of bear lives in the Arctic?

    CONTESTANT (after much thought): Penguin.

    (The Weakest Link)


    ANNE ROBINSON: What was the principal language used by the ancient Romans?

    CONTESTANT: Greek.

    (The Weakest Link)


    PRESENTER: Emmental and Double Gloucester are both types of what?

    CALLER: Banks.

    (Breakfast Toaster Quiz, Heart FM)


    JEREMY PAXMAN: Of all Beatrix Potter's books, which is the only one to feature a human in the title?

    ANTONY BEEVOR (author and historian): Peter Rabbit (Celebrity edition of University Challenge)

    (BBC Radio 2)

    ANNE ROBINSON: What 'B' was a pseudonym used by Charles Dickens?

    CONTESTANT: Bart Simpson.


    STEVE WRIGHT: Johnny Weismuller died on this day. Which jungle-swinging character clad only in a loincloth did he play?

    CALLER: Jesus.


    ANNE ROBINSON: The point on a golf club or a tennis racket that gives the best contact is alliteratively known as the what spot?

    CONTESTANT: The g-spot.

    ANNE ROBINSON: In 1975 the first black tennis player to win the Wimbledon Men's Singles title was Arthur who?

    CONTESTANT: Askey.

    ANNE ROBINSON: Who won the U.S. Open Tennis Championship wearing a black dress modelled on Audrey Hepburn's in Breakfast at Tiffany's?

    CONTESTANT: Roger Federer.

    (All the Weakest Link)


    PRESENTER: Name the festival started in 1895 by Sir Henry Wood.

    CALLER: Glastonbury.

    name does Cat Stevens go under now? I'll give you a clue, he became a Muslim... (LBC 97.3FM)

    CALLER: Abu Hamza?



    DARREN DAY: What area of Germany is the cake named after, made with chocolate, cream, kirsch and cherries?

    CONTESTANT: Belgium.

    (Spin Star, ITV1)

    PRESENTER: What is the capital of Cuba?

    CALLER: Ermmm...

    PRESENTER: Take your time.

    CALLER: Ermmm...

    PRESENTER: Go on, have a guess.

    CALLER: Is it Belgium?

    PRESENTER: Er, not quite.

    (Sun FM, Sunderland)

    DALE WINTON: Alderney and Sark - are they part of the Channel Islands?

    CONTESTANT: Ooooh! Is that the English Channel? I don't know, are there islands in the English Channel? I've never heard of any. France- that's near the English Channel isn't it?

    (In It To Win It, BBC1)

    ANNE ROBINSON: Pakistan was part of which other state until it achieved independence in 1947?

    CONTESTANT: Bulgaria.

    (The Weakest Link)

    DAVE LEE TRAVIS: In which European country are there people called Walloons?

    CALLER: Wales

    QUIZMASTER: Where is the Sea of Tranquility?

    CONTESTANT: Ibiza. (RI:SE, Channel 4)


    ANNE ROBINSON: What kind of dozen is 13?

    CONTESTANT: Half a dozen.

    (The Weakest Link)


    STEVE WRIGHT: On what part of the body is a lobotomy performed?

    CONTESTANT: The bottom.

    (BBC Radio 2)


    PRESENTER: What was the date of the Battle of Hastings?

    CONTESTANT: Ooooh! Er.... was it 1974?

    (Galaxy Radio, Leeds)

    ANNE ROBINSON: Which English queen rode a chariot with knives on the wheels?

    CONTESTANT (full of confidence): Victoria!

    (The Weakest Link)

    PRESENTER: Which ancient army was discovered in in 1974?

    CONTESTANT: The Territorial Army.

    (Metro Radio)

    CONTESTANT: Heil. (BBC Radio Merseyside)PRESENTER: What was Hitler's first name?

    (Breeze FM)

    ANNE ROBINSON: What 'T' did British POWs use to escape from Second World War German prison camps?

    CONTESTANT: I don't know. Was it herbal?

    (The Weakest Link)


    PRESENTER: Who was the Prime Minister before Tony Blair

    CALLER: George Bush

    (Viking FM)

    PRESENTER: Name Prince Charles's younger sister.

    CALLER: Is it Camelia?

    (The Ugly Phil Breakfast Show, Kerrang! Radio)


    PRESENTER: What religion was Guy Fawkes?

    CALLER: Jewish.

    PRESENTER: That's close enough.


    ANNE ROBINSON: In Roman Catholicism, baptism, confirmation and matrimony are three of the seven what?

    CONTESTANT: Deadly sins.

    (The Weakest Link)


    ANNE ROBINSON: What man made structure built during the 3rd century BC is often said to be visible from space?

    CONTESTANT: The Millennium Dome.

    (The Weakest Link)

    Presenter: Which prominent Birmingham family had a toposcope constructed in 1923 for the top of Beacon Hill in Lickey Hills?

    CALLER: The Osbournes.

    (BBC Radio WM)


    TERRY WOOGAN: Which Duke resides at Woburn Abbey?

    CONTESTANT: Hazzard. (Wogan's Perfect Recall, Channel 4)

    PRESENTER: According to legend, who shot an apple off the top of his son's head?

    CONTESTANT: Well, straightaway I'm thinking of Isaac Newton.

    (Are You Smarter Than A Ten-Year-Old?)

    The good 'ole days







    One more on Climategate and Al Gore

    Some great stuff here:

    But take, just for example, the famous picture of polar bears on a melting ice-floe, supposedly doomed victims of global warming.

    The USA’s ex-Vice President, the propagandist Al Gore, got audiences going ‘Aaah!’ by saying the bears had ‘nowhere else to go’. Really? The picture was taken in August, when the Alaskan ice always melts. The polar bears were fine. Think about it.

    They can swim and they weren’t far from land. Recent studies show that most polar bear populations are rising.

    The world was warmer than it is now in the early Middle Ages, long before industrial activity increased CO2 output, a fact that the warming fanatics have worked very hard to obscure.

    Oh, and the most important greenhouse gas by far is not CO2 but water vapour, which is not influenced by human activity at all.

    Meanwhile, an English court of law (despite buying the CO2 argument) has identified nine significant errors of fact in Gore’s Oscar-winning alarmist film An Inconvenient Truth, ludicrously being inflicted on children in British schools.

    Among these: sea levels are not going to rise by 20ft any time soon; there’s no evidence that atolls in the Pacific have been evacuated because of rising waters; the Gulf Stream is not going to shut down; the drying-up of Lake Chad, the shrinking of snow on Mount Kilimanjaro and Hurricane Katrina were none of them caused by global warming; the only polar bears that have drowned were four that died in a storm

    In my experience, people who employ alarmism, and who turn with rage on their critics, do so because they lack confidence in their case. Watch their behaviour at the coming Copenhagen climate conference, a festival of panic and exaggerated woe.

    This particular frenzy, if not checked, could end by bankrupting the West and leaving us sitting in the cold and the dark whistling for a wind to power our dead computers – while China and India surge on to growth and prosperity because they have had the sense to ignore the whole stupid thing.


    What's so very sad about "Climategate" is how little play this will get from any government leaders or the mainstream media. There is simply too much too lose both financially and politically for the leftists and greenies to be wrong about "global warming".

    This article in the London Daily Telegraph hits on some really key points about this story.

    The reason why even the Guardian's George Monbiot has expressed total shock and dismay at the picture revealed by the documents is that their authors are not just any old bunch of academics. Their importance cannot be overestimated, What we are looking at here is the small group of scientists who have for years been more influential in driving the worldwide alarm over global warming than any others, not least through the role they play at the heart of the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

    Professor Philip Jones, the CRU's director, is in charge of the two key sets of data used by the IPCC to draw up its reports. Through its link to the Hadley Centre, part of the UK Met Office, which selects most of the IPCC's key scientific contributors, his global temperature record is the most important of the four sets of temperature data on which the IPCC and governments rely – not least for their predictions that the world will warm to catastrophic levels unless trillions of dollars are spent to avert it.

    Dr Jones is also a key part of the closely knit group of American and British scientists responsible for promoting that picture of world temperatures conveyed by Michael Mann's "hockey stick" graph which 10 years ago turned climate history on its head by showing that, after 1,000 years of decline, global temperatures have recently shot up to their highest level in recorded history.

    .....The senders and recipients of the leaked CRU emails constitute a cast list of the IPCC's scientific elite, including not just the "Hockey Team", such as Dr Mann himself, Dr Jones and his CRU colleague Keith Briffa, but Ben Santer, responsible for a highly controversial rewriting of key passages in the IPCC's 1995 report; Kevin Trenberth, who similarly controversially pushed the IPCC into scaremongering over hurricane activity; and Gavin Schmidt, right-hand man to Al Gore's ally Dr James Hansen, whose own GISS record of surface temperature data is second in importance only to that of the CRU itself.

    .....But the question which inevitably arises from this systematic refusal to release their data is – what is it that these scientists seem so anxious to hide? The second and most shocking revelation of the leaked documents is how they show the scientists trying to manipulate data through their tortuous computer programmes, always to point in only the one desired direction – to lower past temperatures and to "adjust" recent temperatures upwards, in order to convey the impression of an accelerated warming. This comes up so often (not least in the documents relating to computer data in the Harry Read Me file) that it becomes the most disturbing single element of the entire story. This is what Mr McIntyre caught Dr Hansen doing with his GISS temperature record last year (after which Hansen was forced to revise his record), and two further shocking examples have now come to light from Australia and New Zealand.

    Who turned the APPLAUSE meter off?

    This piece in the Wall Street Journal by Fouad Ajami, professor of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins, goes a long way in demonstrating that what all people really want is ACTION not words and speeches.

    I am about 3/4 through Max Hastings' new book on Churchill, Finest Years, and while I am more than impressed with Churchill's rhetorical skills during WWII, I am most impressed by Churchill's penchant for ACTION THIS DAY (Churchill had this maxim printed at the top of many of the memos he wrote during WWII). Our current president could certainly thing a thing or two from Mr. Churchill.

    From the article:

    He (President Obama) has not made the world anew, history did not bend to his will, the Indians and Pakistanis have been told that the matter of Kashmir is theirs to resolve, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is the same intractable clash of two irreconcilable nationalisms, and the theocrats in Iran have not "unclenched their fist," nor have they abandoned their nuclear quest.

    There is little Mr. Obama can do about this disenchantment. He can't journey to Turkey to tell its Islamist leaders and political class that a decade of anti-American scapegoating is all forgiven and was the product of American policies—he has already done that. He can't journey to Cairo to tell the fabled "Arab street" that the Iraq war was a wasted war of choice, and that America earned the malice that came its way from Arab lands—he has already done that as well. He can't tell Muslims that America is not at war with Islam—he, like his predecessor, has said that time and again.

    .....It was the norm for American liberalism during the Bush years to brandish the Pew Global Attitudes survey that told of America's decline in the eyes of foreign nations. Foreigners were saying what the liberals wanted said.

    Now those surveys of 2009 bring findings from the world of Islam that confirm that the animus toward America has not been radically changed by the ascendancy of Mr. Obama. In the Palestinian territories, 15% have a favorable view of the U.S. while 82% have an unfavorable view. The Obama speech in Ankara didn't seem to help in Turkey, where the favorables are 14% and those unreconciled, 69%. In Egypt, a country that's reaped nearly 40 years of American aid, things stayed roughly the same: 27% have a favorable view of the U.S. while 70% do not. In Pakistan, a place of great consequence for American power, our standing has deteriorated: The unfavorables rose from 63% in 2008 to 68% this year.

    Mr. Obama's election has not drained the swamps of anti-Americanism. That anti-Americanism is endemic to this region, an alibi and a scapegoat for nations, and their rulers, unwilling to break out of the grip of political autocracy and economic failure. It predated the presidency of George W. Bush and rages on during the Obama presidency.

    Steeped in an overarching idea of American guilt, Mr. Obama and his lieutenants offered nothing less than a doctrine, and a policy, of American penance. No one told Mr. Obama that the Islamic world, where American power is engaged and so dangerously exposed, it is considered bad form, nay a great moral lapse, to speak ill of one's own tribe when in the midst, and in the lands, of others.

    Mr. Obama could not make up his mind: He was at one with "the people" and with the rulers who held them in subjugation. The people of Iran who took to the streets this past summer were betrayed by this hapless diplomacy—Mr. Obama was out to "engage" the terrible rulers that millions of Iranians were determined to be rid of.

    On Nov. 4, on the 30th anniversary of the seizure of the American embassy in Tehran, the embattled reformers, again in the streets, posed an embarrassing dilemma for American diplomacy: "Obama, Obama, you are either with us or with them," they chanted. By not responding to these cries and continuing to "engage" Tehran's murderous regime, his choice was made clear. It wasn't one of American diplomacy's finest moments.

    The laws of gravity, the weight of history and of precedent, have caught up with the Obama presidency. We are beyond stirring speeches. The novelty of the Obama approach, and the Obama persona, has worn off. There is a whole American diplomatic tradition to draw upon—engagements made, wisdom acquired in the course of decades, and, yes, accounts to be settled with rogues and tyrannies. They might yet help this administration find its way out of a labyrinth of its own making.