Sunday, September 30, 2007
It's also not clear if the carbon tax will be passed to consumers.
"It's a $150 million question," said Montreuil of the Canadian Petroleum Products Institute, vice-president of the organization in Eastern Canada.
"And the honest answer is no one knows," he said.
I think that, frankly, everyone knows. Of course it will be passed on. That doesn't mean the tax is not a good thing. It just means that, when trying to change human behavior, the tax code can be a bit of a blunt instrument.
The underlying myth in this debate about whether there will be an election this fall is that the Conservative Government must attract the support of at least one of the opposition parties to survive. They’re wrong. There is another option.
Conservatives set an historical precedent when we abstained from voting on the Liberal’s 2005 budget, allowing Paul Martin’s minority government to survive. At that time, our leader Stephen Harper said there were many aspects of that budget we fundamentally couldn’t vote to support. Yet, we respected the will of Canadians which strongly indicated they didn’t want an election.
Mr. Dion, as leader of the Official Opposition, could take the same, responsible course of action now. Canada’s economy is performing very well. Unemployment is at its lowest in 32 years. Taxes are down. Consumer spending remains robust and Canada is regaining its good reputation on the international stage thanks to the strong and decisive leadership of Prime Minister Harper.
Instructing his Liberal caucus to abstain from the vote on the Throne Speech is a lifeline that Mr. Dion may wish to grasp … and, more importantly, one that will save Canadians from an unwanted, unnecessary and expensive trip to the polls.
Interesting in that he got there a day ahead of this guy.
I am still torn on the notion of Dion's bringing down the government over October's throne speech, and the fact that the "enemy" is suggesting an abstention does not make this idea any more palatable. But, on the other hand:
Despite the doom and gloom surrounding the Liberal Party at the moment, I suspect the outcome of a Spring election will be another (probably Tory) minority. There is nothing in the polls that makes me think that the Libs have plunged in support among the general populace (outside of Quebec) to anywhere near the extent that the morale of their hard-core supporters has suffered. And there is nothing to suggest that the Tories have suddenly become more lovable. Furthermore, since last year's budget was as goody filled as a Spring budget will likely be, and it got them nowhere, there is no reason to think that a replay will give the Tories their "winning conditions".
There is also the fact that it will look as though the Liberals have dropped another election into a busy election season. It will not play well in Atlantic Canada if Dion forces Newfoundlanders to pay attention to two elections simultaneously and it won't play well in Ontario if we have to start thinking Federal election a week after the Ontario version has wrapped up. The accusation will be (as Hill points out) that the Liberal party is putting its own best interests ahead of the nations'. And in this case the claim will have more than a bit of truth to it.
Yes, an abstention will look bad and will attract negative media coverage...for a couple of days. But the situation right now is the political equivalent of trench warfare--it takes tons of effort to gain you an inch. My instinct at the moment is to duck and cover and wait for the latest bombardment to end, which it surely will.
Saturday, September 29, 2007
HILLSBORO, Ore. - The flag-painted fire hydrant that was removed because critics thought dogs would disrespectfully urinate on it is being reinstalled, but with a fence to keep the pooches away.
The hydrant was part of a dog park named for Hondo, a police dog killed chasing a suspect 10 years ago.
"While hydrants are playfully associated with dogs as a 'target,' this hydrant was specifically designed and painted to serve as a very personal tribute to a service animal killed in the line of duty," said Hillsboro parks spokeswoman Corinne Bloomfield.
Firstly, dogs are never disrespectful. They pee on stuff out of love, or because that's what dogs do. If you were ever to catch a dirty hippy peeing on an American flag fire hydrant, that would definitely be disrespectful. But with dogs, there is no such connotation.
Furthermore, I could not disagree more with Hillsboro resident Louanne Douris, who wrote:
"That gallant dog must be turning in his grave at the thought of the flag being desecrated every time a dog pees on that hydrant!"
Nonsense! I'm sure Hondo would have encouraged fellow canines to pee on her monument, thinking that in reality it was a monument to all of dog-hood, that it was her gift to the whole tribe, as it were.
Finally, there seems some confusion about who has been lobbying for the re-installation of the hydrant. The Sun piece claims that "dog owners and war veterans [spoke out] in support of the tribute". War veterans? Jesus, somebody's got time on their hands.
Conversely, this article suggests that it was an "uproar from the dog community" that led to the re installation of the hydrant. I am inclined to believe it. They seem to have a better read on the situation than their human masters.
Oh my! They'll be planting palm trees in Moscow. For Steve and co., this must feel like their paradigm is shifting without a clutch.
Just because S. Mosher and some of the climate accountancy boyz have tried to call me on this. The cool bias:
1) causes the warming trend during the first part of the century to be understated.
2) causes the cooling trend mid-century to be overstated.
3) causes the warming trend between 1975 and 1987 or so (when the bias comes to an end) to be understated.
It is only when you look from the beginning of the series to the warming from 1987 or so on that the bias seems to cause the warming to appear overstated.
So Nyah nyah freaking nyah.
Friday, September 28, 2007
One of the most disgraceful assertions from global warming alarmists such as soon-to-be-Nobel Laureate Al Gore is that a scientific consensus exists concerning man's role in climate change.
As NewsBusters reported Saturday, the Associated Press published an unbelievably disgraceful article about global warming induced sea level rises supposedly destined to wipe out large amounts of American coastal communities in the next 100 years.
However, coming exactly two weeks after the Times published MoveOn's disgraceful "General Betray Us" ad, conservatives around the country better be prepared for these kinds of attacks during this election cycle.
Fortunately, unlike American media which typically only quote alarmists in such reports -- much as the Associated Press disgracefully did Saturday -- the Times cited people who were actually concerned about biofuels:
If you thought the controversy over MoveOn's disgraceful "General Betray Us" ad was going away any time soon, think
Here's one where he uses it twice in the same posting!
Unbelievably Disgraceful Global Warming Hysteria by the AP
After ABC News published a disgraceful photo essay featuring computer generated pictures of drowned American cities at its website last Friday, followed by NBC News reporting Monday that Greenland's ice sheets are melting so quickly that it "could ignite worldwide disaster," the Associated Press on Saturday cautioned that "In about a century, some of the places that make America what it is may be slowly erased."
What follows are some of Garofalo's most disgraceful utterances Friday evening in chronological order (video available here courtesy of our friend Ms Underestimated):
Time's Joe Klein is unhappy with Matt Drudge, and thinks he's a disgrace.
Here's another twofer!
Disgraceful Global Warming Hysteria at NBC: ‘Meltdown in Greenland’
Alas, the really disgraceful hysteria was yet to come:
NewsBusters reported Sunday that infamous netrooter Jane Hamsher lambasted Elizabeth Edwards, the wife of Democrat presidential candidate John Edwards, for having the nerve to come down on MoveOn's disgraceful "General Betray Us" ad.
Holy crap, Noel! Your English skills are disgraceful! Could you not try changing it up occasionally with equivalent terms like "shameful!" or "scandalous!"? If these are too hard for your readers, you could perhaps include a glossary on the newsbusters website.
In any case, nobody will take you seriously until you learn to sling a little classier brand of abuse.
Just trying to help.
OTTAWA — The head of a national pro-family organization [Institute of Marriage and Family Canada] says it’s time to ditch the fight against gay marriage and push instead for tax breaks and other incentives to make marriage and child rearing more attractive options
A win for Progressives, obviously, because if main the players on one side abandon the issue, then SSM rights are in the bag for a generation. As Mr. David Quist notes:
“No political party is likely to put that (restoring traditional marriage) as part of their platform, their agenda right now. I’m not even asking for that as an institute,” he said in an interview. “We have to pick our battles and where we are going to spend our time and energy.”
But, on the other hand, the battlefield now shifts and the proper strategy and tactics have yet to be articulated. Because lets face it, SSM was very very good for progressives. The political Right pushed a weak case, and did it will ill grace. In the new landscape, things are not so clear. For one thing, we have moved from a matter of civil rights to a matter of playing around with the tax code. What are the points of common cause, what are the points of disagreement? As a progressive, what is one's position to be?
You have to give Mr. Harper a certain amount of credit for this; he has advanced the Conservative cause by retreating. And, his political base has responded not by abandoning him, but by swallowing a few of their principles and moving on. Grown up behavior all around.
And I think the same dynamic is currently at work with the Liberal Party in Quebec. Put aside the internal bun fight for a moment. The deeper problem is: since the old policy stuff (fighting Separatists) doesn't work anymore, what can the party offer Quebec that is new and different, and will this new stuff involve (for example) rethinking Liberal views on Federalism? The answer is not yet clear.
Thursday, September 27, 2007
He has also been promulgating the idea that, somehow, his ideas explain the current climate phenomenon. So what connection does The Iron Sun Theory have with a warming Earth?
Well, not very much, it would appear. While Mr. Manuel argues here and, in greater detail, here, that the Iron Sun theory explains the mechanisms behind the solar eruptions, magnetic fields, sun spots, and so forth, that can have an effect on Earth's climate, there is no attempt to explain the specific temperature trends observed over the past century or so. No attempt, for example, to explain why temperatures have continued to rise while solar activity has fallen.
If I were to guess, I would say that Mr. Manuel is looking to raise the profile of his pet theory by tying it to dissenting positions in other fields. Denialists tend to be far more supportive of one another's ideas than is the case in the scientific community as a whole. Its a bit like North Korea forming alliances with Iran; the outcasts tend to stick together.
In any case, Japanese scientists have achieved several notable advances in recent years. For example, a square watermelon designed to fit more easily into compact Japanese refrigerators.
And, my favorite, a low-cal, environmentally friendly, pre-plucked featherless chicken.
In comparison, what have the yanks been up to lately, invention-wise? Bombs, right? Nothing but bombs.
Wednesday, September 26, 2007
A man arrested at the Ottawa courthouse for impersonating a lawyer was released from custody without charge after police confirmed he was in fact a lawyer.
Apparently, that's not awful enough to merit slammer time.
Which reminds me of my favorite lawyer joke.
Q: Why are law students like sperm?
A: Because one in ten million becomes a human being.
JOHN TORY: I'll be very truthful with you about that. No double-speak. They’re all vetted to see if there is anything in their background in terms of brushes with the law or any of those kinds of things that would disqualify them form being a candidate it's done before the nomination process so that you don't, it's not too late and we looked at his entire background and I can tell you this man has had no brushes with the law.
CALLER: Whoa, back up. Back up. He's been incarcerated before.
JOHN TORY: Look at that, if that is true, I'm not familiar with that but I mean I can tell you there was a check on his background. What was he incarcerated for?
Apparently, the background check didn't involve spending 0.38 seconds to run the terms "Randy Hillier arrested" through Google and having someone read the results.
However, it is nice to see Mr. Tory willing to take a hard line. Apparently, he "mentioned over the phone" to Mr. Hillier that the law should apply to everyone when Randy was out there blocking traffic on the 401.
h/t also to AYKM? and the Steel City Grit.
Tuesday, September 25, 2007
Today it turns out that one of the strongest proponents of the C-59, Heritage Canada's Director General of Copyright Patricia Neri, was engaged at the time in a "personal relationship" with Canada's leading copyright lobbyist, Douglas Frith, who is President of the Canadian Motion Picture Distributors Association. She has since been "removed from her position" at Heritage Canada, but we are still stuck with a bill that mandates night-vision-goggle wearing theatre Nazis in our cineplexes and yet does nothing to cut down on the illegal distribution of films.
Andrew Grenville, a senior vice president with IPSOS-Reid in Toronto, led a survey of 36,000 voters via the internet for CanWest/Global on Jan. 23, 2006, the day of the general election. Grenville wrote about those results in the March-April 2006 edition of Faith Today, a publication of the Evangelical Fellowship of Canada. He found that 64 per cent of weekly Protestant church attendees voted for Conservative candidates. By definition, the majority of those Protestant voters were evangelicals because they are much more likely to attend church weekly than mainline Protestants.
"In the predominantly English speaking parts of Canada, Protestants who attend church weekly embraced the Conservatives with a fervour never seen before," Grenville wrote. "Clearly, a line has been crossed and a population mobilized."
The article claims, among other things, that the traditionally Liberal "Catholic vote" has begun to leak away to the Harper Conservatives, and that "being a Protestant fundamentalist is the single most important predictor of a Conservative vote in our models. "
It is, however, a bit on the alarmist side, especially in the thesis that what we are seeing in Canada is a delayed echo of the United States in the 80s and 1990s. My own view is that the "Big Blue Wave", as it were, has moved in sync within both countries, and in fact crested at the same time. The "ferver" of Canadian evangelicals has left Harper's Tories stuck at about 30 per cent in the opinion polls, and there are simply not enough bible waving bodies out there to drive those numbers higher. Whereas in the States you can add another 10 points to that total.
I am also of the opinion that the article's conclusion is entirely unjustified:
The religious and cultural wars that have enveloped the United States since at least the time of Ronald Reagan have arrived in Canada and they may well intensify.
Oh really, over what? SSM and abortion rights are essentially in the bag in this country, ascendant Environmental issues tend to split the Right rather than the Left, and on such matters as the HPV vacine , our Fundys show a streak of Realism far beyond the mental capacity of their U.S. counterparts. So where is the trigger to this cultural war?
Monday, September 24, 2007
Queen's Park BureauJohn Tory ran into more trouble over his promise to extend taxpayer funding to religious schools today when one of his Progressive Conservative MPPs broke ranks and said he'd vote against the plan.
Bill Murdoch, the member for Bruce-Grey-Owen Sound, became the first Tory MPP to say he could not support the controversial promise.
If Leadership is what matters, what does it say when your own team refuses to get in line?
PS This is hilarious. I hate John Tory's religious schools policy because I think it will allow Evangelicals to teach Creationism. Long time Tory supporter Richard Gingerich hates it because he thinks Tory is chasing the "ethnic vote", and Social Conservatives hate it because they think it means participating schools will have to teach the gay agenda.
Ontario, diverse yet united! Thank you John Tory.
One interesting note. Several years ago Warman took on the Neo-Nazi organization known as Storm Front. At the time he "infiltrated" the groups forum and posted on numerous occasions using the name "Pogue Mahone" (Irish for "Kiss My Ass"). So...not entirely without a sense of humour.
Most surveyed — 81 per cent — said Ottawa should try to meet the international targets spelled out under Kyoto, even if they are difficult to meet.
When I say surprising, I mean that this idea has been widely trashed among the media elites (and even to someone like me it is starting to seem impractical). But "out there" it is still a popular idea and Dion has been politically astute to keep pushing it. That given, backing away from Kyoto if the Tories don't attempt to live up to it in the Throne Speech means giving up a signature issue, and raising further questions about what the Liberals stand for.
2) Another Harris-Decima poll (a later poll than the one previously quoted) puts the Tories a mile from a majority, and the Libs essentially tied. Compared to the same time last year, things are looking up. An election at this point--all else being equal--means a much weaker Tory minority or a slim Liberal minority.
3) The only downside is: what is the state of Liberal finances, and what is the state of Liberal "machine", esp. in Quebec?
On the other hand, how much do declining fortunes in Quebec matter? Some have suggested a "Captain Canada" approach in which Dion writes off Quebec and burnishes his Federalist credentials in the ROC. This might be a viable strategy, but also remember that Harper's billion dollar overtures there have bought him exactly one seat. And, come an election, both parties will be constrained in how enthusiastically they can pander to La Belle Province: limiting Federal spending in provincial areas of jurisdiction may play in Que. and Alta. but, generally speaking, it crashes elsewhere.
So, the short answer is: I don't know if Dion should bring down the government. But objectively it seems to me that the party is in much better shape than it was last Spring.
Sunday, September 23, 2007
A boot maker who has outfitted President Bush and former Mexican President Vicente Fox in his fancy footwear is quite a heel.
Martin Villegas, who presented Bush with a pair of navy-blue ostrich-skin boots during a visit to Fox's ranch in 2001, allegedly smuggled the skins of endangered species into the U.S. so he could make high-end boots for his clients.
Later reports suggest that, while the President's boots are themselves legal, the laces have been woven out of fairy tongues. When asked by reporters, Mr. Bush claimed that he had no idea that using fairy parts in the manufacture of "ranch wear" was illegal.
He did, however, note that they were "awful good eatin'".
Saturday, September 22, 2007
Here is Mr. Nielson-Gammon's original e-mail:
I appreciate the attempt by Watts to classify stations on the basis of siting quality.
The impact of poorly-sited stations on the trends is not known ahead of time, despite people's expectations, and should be much more sensitive to changes in siting than to poor siting itself.
Given a sufficient number of stations, I would trust the trends from well-sited stations much more than from poorly-sited stations.
I am eager to see the results of screening the stations by siting quality. I do not know whether the well-sited stations will show more of a trend, or less of a trend.
Until the results are properly adjusted for variations in the geographical distribution of stations, it is not possible to draw any conclusions. I haven't seen anything posted online yet that does this.
In response to this, I asked:
the first and second passes at the data after classifying about a third of the network (340 or so stations) into "good" and "bad" stations are here [links to CA].
In most cases the good and bad stations are pretty much in sync. Do you think 300 plus is still not enough?
To which Mr. Nielson Gammon responded:
The number is sufficient. At least, the error bars probably won't overwhelm any important difference in trends.
So there is no need, as McIntyre et al have done, to stop the analysis. In fact, a brief run through of CA comments here and here suggests that this work has been stopped in panic because it has not yielded the correct conclusion: the "good" and "bad" stations refuse to go out of sync. As Anthony Watts writes:
I do have the feeling though that comparing USHCN/GHCN data to GISS will yield similar curves no matter what, since the data has already been adjusted at the USHCN level, and that adjustment persists in the data through to GISS data.
Anyway, I wrote further to Mr. Nielson-Gammon:
They've been working on [adjusting for variations in the geographical distribution of stations]. Surfacestations has been slowly working its way into the U.S. Midwest. There's a map here.
And in response Mr. Nielson-Gammon suggested some concrete procedures for the CA crowd:
You don't need uniform coverage of quality estimates, you can do this with the data that's already available. You just need to bin the data by location, for example by computing the difference between good and bad stations within every 5 degree by 5 degree square over the US and average the results. Even better, if you're interested in the century-long trend impacts, compute the difference between the station trends and the smooth map of linear trends. Either approach would eliminate the confounding effect of spatial variations in the trends. Maybe someone will have this done within two weeks or so, it's not that hard, and it's fairly standard scientifically.
So get at it, lads (and you too KB the Denying Munchkin). There's no need to wait for more stations to be classified. You should be able to give a solid answer one way or another within the month.
Hopefully Mr. Lin will respond in the next little while. If so I will post his remarks. I have also e-mailed Mr. Hubbard and perhaps he shall reply as well.
Sorry for the long post, especially to my more politically inclined readers who probably don't give a shit..
However, Bourque's performance at the Sunoco 150 in Dover, Delaware, reached new heights of futility this week when his No #3 Impremedia/Full Metal Minerals Chevrolet was stamped with the big "DNQ"--did not qualify--and he passed the afternoon in the stands, eating corn dogs.
Friday, September 21, 2007
Since The Star says so, I'll just assume Dalton won.
Australia's once-in-a-century drought has tightened its grip on the country's major food growing zone and could kill off the region's orchards and vineyards, Prime Minister John Howard said Friday.
Looks like you fluffed that one, kid. And what are you doing chillin' with all those baldy-headed, dirty old Deniers anyhow? Shouldn't you be out rebelling, listening to that shitty youth music kids today like? Bad Child, Bad!!
We present direct evidence of feathers in Velociraptor mongoliensis based on the presence of quill knobs on the posterior forearm. In many living birds, raised knobs along the caudal margin of theulnarevealwhere the quills of the secondary feathers are anchored to the bone by follicular ligaments. Quill knobs are variably present in extant bird species and are present in only a few basal taxa such as Ichthyornis (2), so their absence does not necessarily indicate a lack of feathers. Their presence, however, is a direct indicator of feathers of modern aspect (e.g., feathers composed of a rachis and vanes formed by barbs).
The picture is of a mongoliensis and shows feathers roughly where the new study says they are. For information on how the "feathered dinosaur" controversy bears on the debate over AGW, check this out.
Thursday, September 20, 2007
The Canadian dollar reached parity Thursday morning with the U.S. currency for the first time in nearly 31 years.
I was 13 at the time. I remember that the word went around during grade 8 gym class, and for some reason it was taken to be an occasion for high 5s all around, like we'd kicked American ass in hockey.
Nationalism takes strange forms.
Tonight we answered a knock on our door and we were served with papers from Richard Warman (famous human rights complaint filer).
She's right. Insofar as one can become "famous" in Canada for launching civil rights complaints, Richard Warman is:
Warman is best known for initiating complaints against members of the white supremacist and neo-Nazi movements for violations of the Canadian Human Rights Act, regarding Internet postings and website content of those individuals or organizations. As a result of his work, in June of 2007 Warman received the Saul Hayes Human Rights Award from the Canadian Jewish Congress for "distinguished service to the cause of human rights".
He is/was also active in the Federal/Ontario Green Party, where he has run as a candidate several times in various ridings around the province.
Warman charges that, during the whole episode involving Marie Gentes and her CHRC complaint:
...you have spoken words and/or written words and/or published words that are defamatory and libelous to me appearing on the website http://www.freedominion.ca/.
You can read his whole list of charges at Free-D (through the first link). I should say that I think most of the stuff that Free-D posters have accused him of is pretty mild, but I am not an expert in libel law. It is also unclear to me that Mr. Warman understands that the "you" he is referring to above includes not just Connie and Mark, but their hundreds(?) of regular posters (although I suppose one could argue that they indeed "published" the comments by hosting the forum).
In any case, as his wiki entry indicates, Mr. Warman seems far more bloody-minded about this sort of thing than Ms. Gentes, so his case is much more likely to be seen through to its conclusion.
Also, I don't think Connie has done herself much good in enlisting Neo-Nazi Marc Lemire to help "research" the comments that sparked the complaint. Although her response to this particular point is interesting:
I couldn't disagree more with the white nationalist point of view, but I am also disgusted by people who would use the government and the courts to try to shut down everyone they disagree with.
Marc Lemire has been fighting Richard Warman's complaint with the CHRC and he has been winning because Warman has been caught doing things like posting on white nationalist sites under fake ids. (Thus the links to the white nationalist sites in my post).
The information that Marc Lemire has provided us is verified court evidence that shows what Warman has done in the past. I am not going to refuse to take it because it was given to me by Marc Lemire.
Oh well, time to get out the pop-corn again. I will update as things change.
And, oh yeah, h/t to Buckets.
Wednesday, September 19, 2007
The five-day survey that wrapped up Monday found the Liberals at 41 per cent support, the Conservatives at 32 per cent, the New Democrats 14 per cent and the Greens 12 per cent.
That's a Majority, folks, though a small one.
The only thing I worry about is Tory demagoguing the Caledonia issue because, given the behavior of the First Nations there, they're not deserving of a whole lot of Liberal guilt at the moment. But its hard to campaign as a moderate worthy of Toronto's vote and then turn into Mike Harris on a dime, so I don't think John Tory could pull it off even if he wanted to try.
Also, 12 per cent for the Greens. That might hold on election day without them winning a single seat. Good argument for MMP (which I will probably write about tomorrow).
We all make mistakes and, if you believe medical scholar John Ioannidis, scientists make more than their fair share. By his calculations, most published research findings are wrong.
Of course this is based on his own published research findings....
... the heavy, odourless gas [might] collect in a deep valley pocket, for example.
"People could walk into this cloud of CO2, not realise it, and be asphyxiated by it," said Julia Race, an expert in pipeline engineering at Britain's Newcastle University.
Might be cheaper just to practice the three Rs, no?
Tuesday, September 18, 2007
A new Canadian Press Harris-Decima survey found the Tories deadlocked with the Liberals in public support, with no signs of momentum. But the poll confirmed the Liberals' troubles in Quebec as voters were casting ballots in three ridings there.
Conservatives had 32 per cent support, compared with 29 per cent for the Liberals. That spread is covered by the poll's margin of error, which is 3.1 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.
Huh? Huh? Sorry to interrupt everyone's PANIC ATTACK. But if you like, keep spanking yourselves.
PS. The Star puts Green Party support in this poll at 13% (enough to win seats?), and their running average of the past three weeks puts both Tories and Libs at 31%. Not too shabby.
As Mr. [Noel] Sheppard points out, the great Norwegian polar explorer Roald Amundsen navigated the Northwest Passage in 1905 in a wooden sailboat with a crew of just seven. The passage was sufficiently ice-free that year for the little craft to make it through with little ice-breaking capacity.
And in 1944, the tiny RCMP patrol vessel the St. Roch (which can still be seen at the Vancouver Maritime Museum) sailed from Halifax to Vancouver through the passage in a single season --a first --because it met little ice.
This is almost a word for word re-hack of a Noel Sheppard Blog Post from NuzeBuzzsters, so in honor of the sloppy journalism it represents, let me just note that:
1) Amundsen's ship, The Gjøa, was a shallow draft sail-boat. During the voyage, it travelled through water less than a foot deep. No other vessel could have followed its course and made that passage.
And, oh yes, it spent months stuck in the ice.
2) The St. Roch's success on its second trip through the Arctic (during the first it spent a winter...wait for it... stuck in the ice) was due as much to a specially designed, "ice fortified" hull that had itself been upgraded and reinforced for the journey, than it was to "ice free" conditions in the Arctic Sea.
The situation today is very different, and when people say that the Northwest Passage is "open" they mean "Open for Business", not that your boat just might squeak through if it has a reinforced hull and you are willing to spend weeks camping on an iceberg.
1) Anyone one seriously considering replacing Dion at this point is nutz. Who has the stomach for another leadership race? And in any case that would mean the Liberals abandoning their role of Opposition for another 6 months/ year while they wash their dirty laundry yet again, and Harper and Co., I don't know, fumble us into another war or decide to drill for oil underneath the Parliament buildings. Being on the opposition benches, opposing the government agenda, is still a job, and I don't think the Liberal Party will do itself any good by taking more time off work to navel gaze.
Besides, Iggy can get five days of negative media coverage meditating on Canadian wildlife. He is still NOT THE MAN. So Dion is there for at least one general election, and people in the party who do not want to spend another five years or so in the political wilderness should make peace with that fact.
2) In a week or two a new federal poll will come out, and (I wager) the parties will be pretty much where they have been: Libs and Tories within the margin of error, with (maybe) the Tories down a few points. People will forget the by-elections (if anyone outside the political nerdigentsia was paying attention in the first place), and life will go on.
3) Now, that said, there are problems in Quebec that may be difficult to fix. As KC at Scott's place wrote,
I do NOT want to be part of a party that advocates decentralism and special status if thats what it will take to become a serious contender in Quebec.
I don't either, but I am not sure what else the Liberal Party has to offer that they will be willing to buy in La Belle Province.
Monday, September 17, 2007
Canada has long held a policy objective of non-proliferation, reduction and elimination of nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction. We pursue this aim steadily, persistently and energetically, consistent with our membership in NATO and NORAD and in a manner sensitive to the broader international security context.
As the editorial notes, this change "strips Canada's policy of any real meaning. ", and I would add that it makes our nuclear policy hostage to that of our NATO allies, esp. the United States, who may be preparing to let the bunker-busters fall like rain over Iran.
Noel Sheppard of Newsbusters, August 28th, 2007:
If religious leaders are going to get in on the con, we're in
Sonja A Boehmer-Christiansen, Editor of Energy and Environment, on Sept. 16, 2007:
Right, and likely. Think of the much desired power (control over behaviour) this promises to religious groups.
Interesting in that Sonja appears as one of the non-Evangelicals with "special expertise in climatology or related sciences" to sign “A Call to Truth, Prudence, and Protection of the Poor: An Evangelical Response to Global Warming.”. This open letter was itself a rebuttal to “Climate Change: An Evangelical Call to Action”, which urged that Evangelicals take ownership of and take action on the climate change issue.
According to Sonja, the signatories to this latter document desire power, and should presumably be discouraged.
Sunday, September 16, 2007
The first plot shows the 5yr average temperature for the lower 48:- red line is for stations with CRN=1 and CRN=2 (CRN12, the good stations).- green line is for stations with CRN=5 (CRN5, the bad stations).- blue line was downloaded from GISS on Sept 14, 2007 (GISS).
The agreement between the results is very good for all sets.
And concludes (emphasis mine):
I think these plots speak for themselves, but here are my conclusions:- There is good agreement between GISS and CRN12 (the good stations)- There is good agreement between GISS and CRN5 (the bad stations)- On the 20yr trend, CRN12 shows a larger warming trend CRN5 in recent years.
To be honest, this is starting to look like a great validation of GISTEMP.
If the Deniers can't deny it, then I think we're on pretty solid ground. But McIntyre's not giving up yet. He's standing on his head and looking at the data all squinty eyed, to see if he can't make the numbers go in another direction. So far, however, the resemblance is astonishing.
Saturday, September 15, 2007
Angus Reid also had some bad news for us MMP supporters:
The poll also asked Ontarians to voice their views on the referendum on electoral reform, which will take place on the same day as the legislative ballot. A third of respondents (33%) would keep the existing first-past-the-post electoral system, while 26 per cent would switch to the alternative mixed-member-proportional system. Three per cent of respondents would not participate on this plebiscite, and 38 per cent remain undecided.
Getting from 26% to 60% is going to be a heck of a long slog.
A clip from the film 'La Route Du Bonheur' featuring the great "Gypsy Jazz" guitarist Django Reinhardt in 1952. The boy on his left is said to be his son. Not as nice as this, but done on an electric guitar this time.
And a montage of Django snap-shots to his famous "Minor Swing". Listen, aspiring young guitar players, and despair.
Friday, September 14, 2007
The Horned Hand or Mano Cornuto is a satanic salute, a sign of recognition between and allegiance of members of Satanism or other unholy groups.
Oddly enough, on this occasion I'm inclined to believe her.
Any bets on where this ends? I say it peters out after some additional mumbling and grumbling, because any rewrite of the Elections Act that is not obviously racist will have to figure out how to let (for example) Canadian Snowbirds vote by mail while meeting some kind of photo ID requirement.
In any case, RT is still on this, and LK has also picked up the gauntlet. I will probably have nothing more to say today, as I am in meetings all morning and all afternoon.
PS. The comments on the CTV story linked above are really quite encouraging. The vast majority of posters seem to have figured out that its the government and opposition parties who screwed-up in this case. And this realization seems to extend across the political spectrum.
Thursday, September 13, 2007
He also claimed to have worked "hard" as a senior partner at his daddy's firm, Tory, Tory DesLauriers & Binnington, and that he is "proud" of his role as CEO of Rogers Cable, where he helped fuck up high-speed Internet connections all over Canada.
Stop! Stop! This is too easy! It's like beating up a small child!
LONDON -- John Tory says the buck stops at the top, and he will take full responsibility if his party goes down to defeat Oct. 10 over his policy on funding for religious schools.
"I have had lots of leadership positions and you know that that's where the buck stops and you have to accept accountability," Tory said at a campaign stop at London's Covent Garden Market, when asked if he'd personally be accountable for the policy.
Tory has all the makings of a "one election and gone" party leader, which is too bad. In another four years I might be able to forgive the Ontario Conservatives for Mike Harris, and give a moderate Bill Davis type (which is what I think Mr. Tory has the potential to become) another chance. But when you embrace a hugely controversial social policy (public funding for religious schools), do it in opposition to many in your own party, and then make the election all about your leadership, I guess you're looking to either score big or flame out.
And the pity is, it usually takes an election and some time afterwards for a party leader to grow into their role. Look how lousy Dalton McGuinty's first Provincial campaign was.
But John Tory is on a whole different level of disastrous. I can't think of anything along these lines beyond B.C. NDP Leader Bob Skelly, who basically started crying on the first day of his only provincial campaign.
So, my advice is, above all, don't let THAT happen again. Here are a few signs that your climate change poll has been pranked.
1) Heywood J. Blome casts a vote, says he's a doubter.
2) Galactus votes twice.
3) Any of the Spice Girls vote.
4) Fictional animals like Lassie, Kermit, or Snoopy vote.
Needless to say, I will be attempting to pass myself off as a Climate Scientist (Dr. Von Liberal) and collecting user names/passwords. If I am successful, I will be happy to share...but ya gotta believe!!!
Wednesday, September 12, 2007
If his government's efforts to reform the Senate are stymied, Prime Minister Stephen Harper said Tuesday, the upper chamber should be abolished.
As an Ontarian and a city-dweller, there's nothing in a Triple-E Senate for me. Given the various deviations from rep. by pop. that already dilute my vote in favor of rural ridings, why would I want to see MORE power shifted West and into the hills? So bring it on, Stevie, bring it on.
Except that, of course, abolishing the Senate as much as reforming it would require a constitutional amendment and the consent of all ten provinces, so that's not a go either. If the country is still here, the Senate will still be here, and in its current form, the day our sun goes supernova.
(And of course Harper's plan for an elected Senate is a crock)
Tuesday, September 11, 2007
No word in the story as to whether the five lads always use their .50 calibre on whales, or whether they ever go out just to shoot off a few rounds, or maybe whack some pesky herring gulls:
And I hope the boyz didn't go back to their long-house and cover themselves in chalk afterwards as part of some kind of hunting ceremony, because I think employing a machine gun under such circumstances might be considered demeaning to the ritual.
On the upside, as a White Liberal, I suddenly feel a lot less guilty about my dad, his army buddies, and their "C4 Lures".
PS. For a good local commentary on the incident, go here.
Scientists from the Ulysses mission have proven that sounds generated deep inside the Sun cause the Earth to shake and vibrate in sympathy. They have found that Earth's magnetic field, atmosphere and terrestrial systems, all take part in this cosmic sing-along.
They haven't figured out how, yet, but I imagine some charts and graphs, and maybe a paper in E&E, are to come.
Monday, September 10, 2007
Muslim women shouldn’t be forced to remove their veils to vote in Ontario’s election, Premier Dalton McGuinty said yesterday.
Meanwhile Jack Layton has reversed course and joined with Quebec pure-lines and English rednecks to demand that Elections Canada start reading stuff that the four Federal political parties didn't bother to put into their voting legislation, into their voting legislation.
Sell your soul for Outremont, would you Jack?
PS. John Tory showed a touch of class on this one, too. See the first link.
3) This has nothing to do with National Security and voter fraud, everything to do with pandering to Quebec Yokeldom in particular, Canadian Yokeldom in general. If the radio shock jocks that originally stirred this pot were English and Western, the correct term for them would have been "hicks from the foothills outside of Gooberville". Unfortunately, I don't know an equivalent French phrase. And, frankly, it is terribly disappointing that some elements of the French race--who after all gave the world Bardot, Democracy, Destouche, snails, the corkscrew position AND the doggy style--should descend to this level of race baiting.
Chief electoral officer Marc Mayrand said Monday that the law does allow for veiled voters to decide whether or not to reveal their face.
Speaking at a press conference in Ottawa, he said that if people are not happy with that situation, “I invite parliament to re-examine the law, and [amend the law] if they feel it necessary.”
Premier Dalton McGuinty's governing party has 41 per cent voter support against 36 per cent for the Conservatives, compared with a seven-point lead in an Aug. 24 Ipsos Reid poll. The New Democratic and Green parties trail at 17 and six per cent, respectively.
The early numbers translate to a slim Liberal majority government of 55 seats out of 107, according to an analysis done for Ipsos Reid based on the last five publicly released polls. The Tories are currently projected to take 40 seats, with 12 for the NDP.
The other way is to note, as the paper does, that "McGuinty's lead [has slipped] to 5 points" (that's down two points). And I suppose a third way is to note that its all within the margin of error.
The only thing a bit scary in the poll is this:
Conservative support in the competitive 905 belt surrounding Toronto rose two points from late August, opening up a lead over the Liberals. Suburban ethnic communities, normally a bastion of Liberal support, could be propelling the jump in light of Mr. Tory's faith-based school promise, Mr. Wright said.
Scary, except that I don't really believe it; I don't see anyone, outside of a few small Jewish groups, really solidly behind Tory's proposal and, as the poll notes, about 66 per cent oppose it.
Sunday, September 09, 2007
In the past couple of days, the media have reported "grim" melting of ice in the Arctic while disgracefully ignoring the history of the region prior to 1979 and explorations of the area as far back as 1903.
How can anyone make a claim with a straight face that ice conditions in the Arctic are either historically low or grim when we've only been monitoring these levels for the last 35 years? Is everything that happened in this region - in thousands of millennia since the Big Bang occurred - totally irrelevant?
Such is especially the case given the history of successful sea-based explorations of the Arctic dating back as far as 1903.
For instance, a name media would love for global warming alarmists not to know is Roald Amundsen, a Norwegian explorer who successfully navigated the Northwest Passage on August 26, 1905 (h/t Walt Bennett, Jr.)
Well, maybe I'm dating myself, but back in the day, Roald Amundsen was a name you were supposed to pick up in high-school (at least in Canada, where we have an affinity for ice). But I digress:
...this Passage was clear enough of ice for a wooden sailboat, with a crew of seven, to successfully navigate it more than 100 years ago. How many times in the history of the planet do you think a similar - or even more ice-free - condition existed in this area?
A quick trip to wiki debunks the notion that the passage was "clear" (emphasis mine):
In 1903, Amundsen led the first expedition to successfully traverse the Northwest Passage between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans (something explorers had been attempting since the days of Christopher Columbus, John Cabot, and Henry Hudson), with six others in the ship Gjøa. They travelled via Baffin Bay, Lancaster and Peel Sounds, and James Ross and Rae Straits to spend two winters exploring over land and ice from the place today called Gjoa Haven, Nunavut, Canada.
During this time Amundsen learned from the local Netsilik people about key Arctic survival skills that he would need. From them, for example, he learned to use sled dogs. Amundsen even went so far as to adopt their dress. Continuing to the south of Victoria Island, the ship cleared the Canadian Arctic Archipelago on August 17, 1905, but had to stop for the winter before going on to Nome on the Alaska Territory's Pacific coast. Five hundred miles (800 km) away, Eagle City, Alaska, had a telegraph station; Amundsen travelled there (and back) overland to wire a success message (collect) on December 5, 1905. Nome was reached in 1906. Due to water as shallow as 3 feet (1 m), a larger ship could never have used the route.
Of course, part of this two year voyage was spent exploring. Part of it, however, involved being stuck in ice. Furthermore, I don't think the fact that a shallow draft sail-boat could creep through the passage where no other boats could go stands as evidence that the passage was "open".
The same point applies to Noel Sheppard's second example:
Not that the media cares, but this Passage was also conquered several times in the 1940s (emphasis added):
Between 1940 and 1942 St. Roch navigated the Northwest Passage, arriving in Halifax harbor on October 11, 1942. St. Roch was the second ship to make the passage, and the first to travel the passage from west to east.
But of course the St. Roch was "ice fortified", and that trip too was hardly a walk in the park:
In 1940, Canadian RCMP officer Henry Larsen was the second to sail the passage, crossing west to east, from Vancouver, Canada to Halifax, Canada. More than once on this trip, it was touch and go as to whether the St. Roch a Royal Canadian Mounted Police "ice-fortified" schooner would survive the ravages of the sea ice. At one point, Larsen wondered "if we had come this far only to be crushed like a nut on a shoal and then buried by the ice." The ship and all but one of her crew survived the winter on Boothia Peninsula. Each of the men on the trip was awarded a medal by Canada's sovereign, King George VI, in recognition of this notable feat of Arctic navigation.
So they nearly get squashed by ice-shoals, and spend the winter trapped among the floes, and anyway have a special hull designed for the extreme conditions. And Mr. Sheppard thinks this proves the Northwest Passage's was "open" during those years? I don't think so. I think the term, properly used, means something more like what this fellow had in mind, where you can just hop into your outboard and circumnavigate the arctic circle.
The qualifying session was delayed for several minutes after Pierre Bourque spun in the No. 62 La Raza-ImpreMedia Chevrolet Monte Carlo. He was examined and released from the infield care center. The team has reverted to a back-up car and Bourque will start Saturday’s Chicagoland ARCA 200 in the 40th position, utilizing a provisional starting position.
...and ended with a dismal 25th place showing at the race itself.
As noted above, I don't know whether Bourque ever got his original stolen vehicle back. Witnesses to the act, however, reported that they had never seen the car driven so fast.
Saturday, September 08, 2007
A few, having glimpsed the code, are already threatening to set their congressman loose on Hansen, but the most likely result is a whole lot more pointless kibitzing from the usual suspects.
A 2003 paper in the British Food Journal by Powell et al described an experiment that found that, given a choice between genetically modified sweet corn and the regular kind, consumers preferred to buy the GM corn by a factor of 3 to 2. However, Stuart Laidlaw reported that the experiment was flawed -- there was a sign above the regular sweet corn saying "Would you eat wormy sweet corn?", while the corresponding sign over the GM corn said "Here's What Went into Producing Quality Sweet Corn".
Interesting in that the trials for this experiment took place in Ontario, and interesting in that the Canadian Food Safety network had already noted the sign back in August of 2003.
Friday, September 07, 2007
Today Michael Geist is reporting the same kind of scatter-shot responses from the company over this issue, and not just from the schmoes on the help-line. Even their VPs can't get the story straight. Michael writes:
What is a consumer to think when the company's website says nothing about the issue but promotes its services as offering "blistering speed for sharing large files and much more", while personnel alternately say that Rogers bandwidth shapes, doesn't traffic shape, prioritizes traffic, and/or reserves space for some traffic?
What indeed? Perhaps that Rogers sucks.