Sunday, December 30, 2007

Feds Spying On The Newfs?

A statement obviously intended to build bridges between the Harper and Williams' governments:

"There are times I'm sure I know as much as what's going on in cabinet and caucus or on the eighth floor as the premier does," said Hearn, referring to Williams's office in Confederation Building in St. John's.

"I always do. That's why we can always be one step ahead of him," Hearn said.

You see why Harper likes his ministers to keep their mouths shut?

The Future of U.S. Canada Relations?

From The Age of Consequences: The Foreign Policy and National Security Implications of Global Climate Change:

Tensions will increase between the United States and Canada, including clashes over fishing rights on both coasts. Two-thirds of Canadians rely on the Great Lakes (a relatively small watershed). Water levels are projected to decline by up to one foot in this century, attributable to increased evaporation, coupled with population growth. If the United States decides to divert water from the Great Lakes to compensate for the effects of climate change, the makings are in place for a fundamental clash of interests with Canada. There will also be an entirely new set of problems relating to navigation and resource rights, as the result of the opening of a northwest passage.

The passage concludes:

It cannot be excluded that Canada’s tensions with the United States will play into domestic issues affecting the stability of Canada itself: most notably, the western provinces’ new role as oil exporter.

...meaning, I suppose, that should it come to a U.S./Canada scuffle, who knows whose side Alberta will take?

This is one of the likely scenarios under "severe climate change". All in all a pretty grim read. One of the authors, incidentally, is John Podesta.

Climate Resistance Folds Tent, Slithers From Field!

Having explained why Abigail Bristow deserved to be on the IPCC's list of experts, I then challenged the folks at Climate Resistance to describe what aspect of the AGW debate television gardener Alan Titchmarsh, who appears on Inhofe's list of "400 eminent scientists", was competent to address. In response, "the editors" over there have deleted that comment and the link back to my original post on the topic. Talk about shutting down dissent! I am reminded of that old ballad:

He is packing it in and packing it up
And sneaking away and buggering up
And chickening out and pissing off home,
Yes, bravely he is throwing in the sponge.
And I would repeat repeat that challenge to any of my denying readers. In what sense is Alan Titchmarsh any kind of climate change expert? Halloo? Halloo? Anyone? Anyone??
PS. Just to point out something I should have noticed earlier, and to emphasize the thoroughly shitty nature of CR's "research": all the names on their list are from IPCC WGII, which is not the working group concerned with establishing the basics physics etc. behind AGW (that''s working group 1), but to make various statements re "Impacts, adaptation and vulnerability ". So, if the guys from CR really wanted to find a list of climate modellers etc. associated with the IPCC, they are looking in entirely the wrong document!

Saturday, December 29, 2007

A Small Dead Syllogism

Kate writes:

The Toronto Humane Society struggles as global warming results in more hours of daylight.

From which we can extract the following argument:

1) The humane society claims that global warming is behind the explosion of winter-born cats.
2) As cats mate only when there are over 8 hours of sunlight in a day, they can't breed in winter (September to January, to be precise).


3) The explosion of winter-born cats can't be caused by Global warming.

However, even if valid what the argument actually proves is that the explosion of winter-born cats the Toronto Humane Society claims to be seeing isn't happening in the first place (cats can't breed during the short, dark winter days), and therefore can't be caused by Global warming. Hence the Toronto Humane Society are lying commies bent on wealth redistribution.

In fact, the argument fails outright:

Long haired breeds tend to be more seasonal than short-haired breeds, with 90% of long-haired cats experiencing a period of anestrus compared to only 39% of short-haired cats. In an extensive survey of 168 queens, approximately 50% of cats cycled year-round while the remainder experienced a period of anestrus from September to the end of January.

Some cats obviously can breed through the winter. It's presumably these lucky cats that are doing the EXTRA breeding.

And actually I didn't even have to google this, just scroll a few lines further down through the link Kate provided. Clearly, she expects her regular readers to get tired after the first paragraph. Its hard work moving your lips when your sucking your thumb, I guess.

Deliberately Obtuse At Climate Resistance

Over At Climate Resistance they're playing a game of "my scientist is better than your scientist", with the contributors to the IPCC Fourth Assessment Report versus the Inhofe 400. In their attempt to run down the qualifications of the boys and girls of the IPCC, the folks at CR start off by picking on one Abigail Bristow:

Nonetheless, were these contributors the "experts" that Dessler claims they are? There were a few professors, but few of them had the profile Dessler gives them. Many of them were in fact, hard to locate to establish just how much better than their [Inhofe 400] counterparts they were. One professor (Abigail Bristow) wasn't what you'd call a climate scientist, but a professor of Transport Studies at Newcastle University. How is she going to cure the sick child? Will she be driving the ambulance?

Bad medical metaphors aside, they are wondering essentially why a "transport studies" expert should be considered an expert when it comes to climate change. It takes about ten minutes of playing around with google to answer this question.

Ms. Bristow served as a member of Working Group II of the IPCC's three working groups. The focus of her group was "Impacts, adaptation and vulnerability ". More specifically, she worked as a "contributing author" on chapter 12 of working group II's contribution to the final IPCC report, which touched on the impacts and vulnerabilities of Europe to climate change. Since section12.4.8.2 of chapter 12 touches on the impacts of climate change on European transport ( Higher temperatures can damage rail and road surfaces (AEAT, 2003;Wooller 2003;Mayor of London, 2005) and affect passenger comfort.), I would assume that this is one section of the report in which Ms. Bristow had a hand.

And why not? Would you not want a transport expert, who has indeed written on road transport's effect on climate change, or on cutting CO2 emissions from transport, on the biofuel performance, to be involved in this section of the report? What good would a climate modeller do here? Or would the folks at Climate Resistance have preferred the IPCC call in Klaus the Space Libertarian, or Alan the TV Gardener, both of whom are on Inhofe's list.

Now, as I say, it took me all of ten minutes to find this out, and it wouldn't have taken the folks at Climate Resistance any longer if they had put their minds to it. So, on the assumption that when you see one roach you can conclude that there are roaches, I am not going to bother with the other names of the allegedly unqualified IPCCers on the CR list. I will just assume their mission over there is hacking out denialist crap.

BCL, over and out.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Is The American Spectator Distributing Malicious Software?

The American Spectator is a well-known Conservative magazine. It's online version can be found here. But be careful! If you do a Google search for it, you get the warning visible in the screen-cap above: "This site may harm your computer", and Google will refuse to link directly to the page. Google's explanation:

This warning message appears with search results we've identified as sites that may install malicious software on your computer...

Of course, some think the warning is a Google conspiracy to crush Conservative websites. Others suggest that such sites have been hacked by the Russians (wouldn't that be ironic?).
I personally have no idea but visit and you may be endangering your computer as well as your intelligence!

Who The Heck is Klaus Heiss? (Or: Selling Condos On The Moon)

I haven't bothered writing about the Inhofe 400, which has the dubious distinction of being probably the most complete list of climate change deniers ever compiled. Not only is it mostly composed of the same-old-same-old in the way of fake scientists (R. Courtney), non-scientists (E. Beck), and real scientists taken out of context (Landsea), it includes T.V. gardener!

However, a number of bloggers have taken it upon themselves to do potted profiles of the various list denizens, which project kind of interested me, and I noticed that there were a couple of late additions to it that nobody had mentioned yet. So here are a few notes on Dr. Klaus P. Heiss.

- Dr. Heiss' bit o' denying can be found here, in a crappy google translation. It's the same old same old. The sun's causing it, and things will be fine when it's warmer, and so on.

- Mr. Heiss has a background in engineering and mathematics. He is currently Director of High Frontier Inc., which is not a marijuana advocacy group, but

...the leading [U.S.] non-government authority on missile defense issues including missile defense, arms control, nuclear weapons, and strategic systems.

- Early in his career, Mr. Heiss worked for NASA, providing "conceptual work" on the space shuttle. (So already we have a career black mark. Mr. Heiss had a hand in designing the famous "space truck", an orbital vehicle that explodes more often than my old Datsun pickup from the same time-period).

- Mr. Heiss is a director of the SEPP, a "non-profit organization" (denialist group) founded by Fred Singer.

- With High Frontier Inc., Mr. Heiss is up to his nose in the Bush plans for a Moon Base, which will eventually serve as a "stepping stone to Mars". He is especially concerned with preserving private property rights in outer space. High Frontier Inc. has generated a document entitled "Rules of the Road for the Economic Exploration of Space: A Declaration of Principles and Property Rights". In it, Fred Hayek's warnings against Socialism are invoked, and lunar colonization in particular is envisioned along the lines of the opening of the American West. Indeed, Mr. Heiss is quite enamored (perhaps obsessed) with the "property rights in space" issue. He has, for example, suggested that the first developments on the moon should follow condominium rules.

- While denying certain aspects of Climate Change, Mr. Heiss is also schlepping his moon condos as being suitable platforms for a solar observatory which might prove once and for all that CO2 emissions cannot be responsible for our current bout of global warming. On the other hand, he suggests here and here that space/lunar based solar power might serve as the "low emission" generation technology of the future.

So: a righty Libertarian with expertise, but not in the relevant fields, who has doubts but is nevertheless behind developing (somewhat exotic) renewable technologies. Actually fairly low down on the nutter dial, compared to some others.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Did The Recession Start Today?

The Canadian economy has been quite resilient lately, and the foundations of it are pretty sound, this thing notwithstanding. However, the death of Benazir Bhutto (and the effect of the resultant turmoil in Pakistan on oil prices), slow U.S. holiday sales, disappointing U.S. durable goods numbers, jobless claims up over 300,000 per week...that's a lot of hits to take on a single Thursday morning.

And when the U.S. economy goes into the tank, the Canadian economy gets wet.

Luckily, most Canadian housing markets have not climbed into bubble territory (in Toronto, for example, the average annual price increase has been about 6 to 8 per cent since 1996, rather than the double digit advances leading up to the crash of 1990), and the whole concept of "Ninja mortgages" (No Income, No Job or Assets) never did get off the ground. But when your Federal finance minister tells you things are going to suck in 2008, they probably are.

Tim Ball: Peer Review = Censorship

Overheard at the Climate Sceptics Cafe (some excerpts):
The peer review issue became fashionable among the small group identified by Wegman (43 climate scientists) because it appears they were able to control the process by peer reviewing each others work. This gave them ascendancy in climate science even though many of them were specialists in other areas.
The assumption that peer review guarantees the authenticity of a work is foolish. As long as who is doing the peer review is kept secret it cannot be a trusted system. The fact people are afraid to point out problems underlines the competitive and confrontational nature of research today. It also underscores the the smallness of the community involved and the potential for dominance by cliques.
As an aside, Wegman's critique can be found here:
In our further exploration of the social network of authorships in temperature reconstruction, we found that at least 43 authors have direct ties to Dr. Mann by virtue of coauthored papers with him. Our findings from this analysis suggest that authors in the area of paleoclimate studies are closely connected and thus ‘independent studies’ may not be as independent as they might appear on the surface.

And to provide some perspective, Diana Crane wrote in her classic "Invisible Colleges" that, for example, workers in the sub-field of "finite groups" (circa the early to mid 1960s) totalled 102 mathematicians, with a much smaller group within the 102 producing most of the papers, and collaborating with others in the group in co-authoring numerous papers. In fact, by the criteria of that classic sociological study, the researcher interactions within climate science come off looking pretty normal.
But, back to Tim Ball:
I think we should all think long and hard about the problems McIntyre, Beck and others had getting published in 'mainstream' climate journals, whether we agree with what they say or not. It is why I commend what Sonja with E & E has done so much. A measure of the value is, sadly, in the criticisms her work and publication receive from those in the small groups.
As another aside, the problems McIntyre has getting published in mainstream climate journals stem largely, as many of his supporters are willing to admit, from his unwillingness to write something up from the miasma of graphs and charts on his blog and actually submit it.
I know the community of specialist areas and during early days in climate were small that if you received a paper for review you usually knew who had written it. The same was true of research applications. It was and is very easy to select those papers that push a certain theme. Of course, you also have what I call 'editor selected peer review censorship'. Once a clique has established dominance they tend to receive more papers for review. Even if an editor is not involved with a group and doesn't know the details of the subject it is logical to send an article to the 'high priests' of the subject. They, of course, then reject heresy.

Hard to say if Tim rejects peer review per se, as fellow Chris De Freitas seems to here but, once again, from a sociological perspective the structure of the climate science research groups seems more typical than atypical, so his arguments should apply generally if they apply here.

A weird sort of intellectual relativism at work in Mr. Ball's thinking, where the application of standards to incoming scientific work amounts to Oppression. Keep fighting The Man, Tim.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Canada Rolling The Dice On Methane Hydrate

From Bloomberg, this story about Japan's attempts to wean itself from imported energy by drilling for methane hydrate:

Dec. 26 (Bloomberg) -- Fifty-five million years ago the world's climate was catastrophically changed when volcanoes melted natural gas frozen in the seabed. Now Japan plans to drill for the same icy crystals to end its reliance on imported energy.

A small problem, however:

While governments are attracted to an abundant clean fuel, drilling risks disturbing the seabed and triggering an uncontrolled release, says Matsumoto of the University of Tokyo.

``A mass release of methane into the sea and the atmosphere is a risk for global warming,'' he says. ``Massive landslides at the ocean floor must be avoided when drilling at the Nankai Trough.''

The uncontrolled release of methane has already been tagged as the likely culprit in at least one mass extinction, and some of the dangers inherent in extracting the stuff are outlined here. These dangers can be summed up as follows: "Can we mine [methane hydrates] without triggering a disaster that makes the K-T event look mild by comparison"?

And the most interesting thing about the Japanese efforts is that Natural Resources Canada (Gary Lunn's department) is pitching in to help out:

Through the Geological Survey of Canada, ESS [Earth Sciences Sector] is a leader in the Mallik 2002 Production Research Well Program, one of the world's most important gas hydrates research programs. This project is a partnership with an international consortium of researchers from Canada, Japan, the US, Germany, and India. The Mallik research well site, located in the Mackenzie Delta in the Northwest Territories, represents one of the highest concentrations of gas hydrates found to date in the world.
Now that's rolling the dice big-time, in a manner Brian Mulroney probably could never have conceived of. And I'm not sure its the kind of project I want to see my tax dollars paying for.
PS. Yeah but what does the graph mean? On it "PETM" refers to Palaeocene/Eocene thermal maximum, the time of mass extinction thought to have been caused by a vast release of methane hydrate caused by an ongoing bout of global warming. I should have worked that into the body of the post, but forgot and now I'm too lazy.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Oscar Peterson, A Gal In Gallico (1958)

The best Oscar Peterson obit I've read is here. The clip above features Oscar wailing away, and a nice little improv by guitarist Herb Ellis. As an aside, these three (the bassist is Ray Brown) were one of the first racially integrated groups in Jazz.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Santa = Sasquatch

Okay, so I said I wasn't going to post anymore before Xmas. But Loren has a terrific post on the connection between Santa Claus and the Snömannen, Yeti-like creatures believed to inhabit the remote areas of the forest of Lapland:

Old stories of the Wildpeople and Snowmen (Snömannen) are interwoven into those of Santa Claus. The traditional “Wildman of the Middle Ages” was described as a bestial, ape-like creature, with a beard. Its body was covered in thick, matted hair and smelled of a foul odor. The habitat of the wildman was the northern woods, where he lived in a cave or den. His traditional beast of burden was the reindeer. The Wildman shares all these traits with the hairy hominoids we know so well.

No Virginia, Redux

I first wrote this in December, 2006, and have decided to reprint it every year until it becomes as famous as the editorial on which it is based.

No Virginia, Its All Bullshit!

In December of 1897, sad little Virgnia O'Hanlon wrote to The New York Sun as follows:

Dear Editor: I am 8 years old. Some of my little friends say there is no Santa Claus. Papa says, "If you see it in The Sun, it's so." Please tell me the truth, is there a Santa Claus?

To which chief editor Francis P. Church replied with a now very famous editorial called, "Yes Virginia, There Is A Santa Claus". In the spirit of the season, I will reproduce that editorial here, with some of my own comments to little Miss O'Hanlon interspersed:

Virginia, your little friends are wrong.

They have been affected by the skepticism of a skeptical age. They do not believe except they see. They think that nothing can be which is not comprehensible by their little minds. All minds, Virginia, whether they be men's or children's, are little. In this great universe of ours, man is a mere insect, an ant, in his intellect as compared with the boundless world about him, as measured by the intelligence capable of grasping the whole of truth and knowledge.

Virginia, your letter wound-up on the desk of a gouty old fart who was desperately nostalgic for The Good Old Days which, believe me, existed only in his mind. He thinks kids back in 1897 were bad? You should see 'em now! A more useless gang of pimple face punks has never afflicted the surface of the planet! They've got green hair, rings through their noses, and they shave their chests and carry 9 mms and smoke crystal meth! Frankly, you and Mr. Church had it easy! He should quit bitching.

Also, Mr. Church works for The Sun, so he's what your father would probably have called a soak, and what in my day we call a lush bucket. This piece of drivel probably got hacked out between bottles of cheap whiskey. Rot-gut liquor has been the source of more bad rhetoric than War and Love combined.

And furthermore, what is this "intelligence capable of grasping the whole of truth" supposed to be? Looks like your dear editor was using his newspaper to proselytize some version of the Christian Religion at you. These days things such a thing wouldn't fly. A word to the Feds and we could have God-Boy's ass fired so hard out the door that he wouldn't land until next Xmas.

Anyway, Mr. Church keeps on editorializing:

Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus. He exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist, and you know that they abound and give to your life its highest beauty and joy. Alas! how dreary would be the world if there were no Santa Claus! It would be as dreary as if there were no Virginias. There would be no childlike faith then, no poetry, no romance to make tolerable this existence. We should have no enjoyment, except in sense and sight. The external light with which childhood fills the world would be extinguished.

What are these... THREATS? If Santa isn't real, Poetry will disappear? The Lights will go out? Holy shit, these days if some old guy started feeding a little girl like you such a dose of baloney, they'd slap a restraining order on him!

And what's this about there being no Virginias if kids don't believe in Santa? There wouldn't be a North or South Virginia in the first place if Whitey assholes like Mr. Church hadn't come ashore and slaughtered the peaceful Kis'muk'ti-tuk Indians who were already living there! And what's Santa Claus got to do with any of that, anyhow? Is Mr. Church insinuating that Santa was leading the charge against the Indian villages in his sleigh, innocent Abo kids impaled on the steel-edged antlers of his robotic rain-deer?

This guy kills me! But he's just warming up:

Not believe in Santa Claus! You might as well not believe in fairies.... The most real things in the world are those that neither children nor men can see. Did you ever see fairies dancing on the lawn? Of course not, but that's no proof that they are not there. Nobody can conceive or imagine all the wonders there are unseen and unseeable in the world.

Kid, you've hooked a serious nutter. Believe me, you can take full pleasure in your lawn without worrying about inadvertently trampling dancing fairies. And if by any chance you do manage to squash one, I hear they're damn good eating.

But seriously, there are many unseen and unseeable things in the world, like Debt and Remorse and Poison Gases and cancer-causing Gamma Radiation from The Sun. However, Fairies ARE NOT AMONG THEM!

If this Church fellow has any knowledge of Fairies, its because there's one fluttering in and out of that whiskey bottle he's been sucking on. Yeah, Virginia, these days we've got a word for his kind of fairies: delirious tremblins, we call 'em.

But wait...There's More!

You tear apart the baby's rattle and see what makes the noise inside, but there is a veil covering the unseen world which not the strongest man, nor even the united strength of all the strongest men that ever lived could tear apart.

Kid, don't tear apart any baby rattles. That would be cruel. Besides, there's just this little plastic bean thing that bounces around inside making the sound. It's no big mystery. Leave your little brother's toys alone. He'll cry.

Only faith, poetry, love, romance, can push aside that curtain and view and picture the supernal beauty and glory beyond.

Magic mushrooms do the same trick. They can also convince you that jam bands like Phish or the Grateful Dead don't suck. But that wears off.

No Santa Claus! Thank God! he lives and lives forever. A thousand years from now, Virginia, nay 10 times 10,000 years from now, he will continue to make glad the heart of childhood.

Okay, little sister, here's how Xmas really works. Capitalist society has trained your parents to drool like Pavlov's dog at the sight of a fat guy in a red suit. So, believe The Hype or not, you're going to get piles of gifts at exactly the same time every year. Your folks can't help it, and you couldn't stop them if you wanted to.

And the gift getting part is all that should really matter, for deep down Xmas a time of getting, getting all you can when the getting's good. When you become older and start buying gifts of your own, you'll realize the truth of what I'm saying. Then you'll understand that if the total amount of money you spend on gifts is less than the total amount of the gifts you get, you've WON Xmas!

...and that is a terrific feeling. And Santa's got nothing to do with it.

Last post for awhile. If I haven't made you miserable by now, it ain't gonna happen, so enjoy the season.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Santa Killed In Test Flight! Sleigh Explodes, Xmas Cancelled!

Sorry kids. Sucks to be you.

New Western Standard Editors Will Attempt To Weed Out Crazies, Raise The Tone

All mockery aside, a good thing:

On the matter of my apology to Syed Soharwardy...

The comments that prompted the human rights complaint appeared on an un-moderated blog, posted anonymously by someone who was not a Western Standard staffer or freelancer. I removed the comments when they were brought to my attention as they were offensive and did nothing to advance genuine discussion or enhance the reputation of the Western Standard. And I apologized to Syed Soharwardy as I am ultimately responsible for comments made on this forum, and, again, those comments were indefensible.

Just as the Western Standard magazine content was edited, the Western Standard website content will be edited. We simply want to provide our readers and advertisers with the best product we can.

Moderating the comments on our website will also protect the Western Standard from unfair attacks. For example, as online reader "OBC" noted, tonight we were forced to ban an IP address with 6 user names. This individual was actively working to discredit the Western Standard with anti-Semitic and racists comments that would never have come from any of the thousands of thoughtful readers who visit us online. I removed the comments and reported the IP address to our webmaster.


One point I should like to make, though, concerns the notion that the WS' new editor Matthew Johnston removed the comments "when they were brought to my attention". This is not a particularly credible claim. As Mr. Soharwardy has pointed out, the comments in question remained posted for more than two weeks, and as anyone who has posted to the Shotgun Blog can tell you, while perhaps their forums are technically speaking unmoderated, if the editors want your comments gone, they will be deleted within minutes.

But that aside, Mr. Johnston's actions are a necessary first step if the new editors want their product to be taken seriously beyond the ghetto of far right kooks that currently hover over the WS website. There ARE in fact areas where a Conservative critique can serve as a useful corrective to main-stream thinking, but only if their authors cannot be summarily dismissed as lunatics. I look forward to the day when this is the case at The Western Standard.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Ezra Strikes Back

Fresh from the collapse of The Western Standard, Ezra has decided to launch a new blog. And here's a couple of New Year's predictions: Ezra will use this blog as a platform by which to trash millions of the Earth's people, and the skin tone of these people will be...swarthy.

Merry Xmas, Ezra, because if you didn't exist we would have to invent you.

For Me?

Anthony Watts, whose important work at Surface Stations has confirmed the accuracy of GISSTEMP's U.S. temperature record, has got me a little Xmas present:

He has also pointed out this rather funny website, which satirizes the whole carbon offset business.

Merry Xmas, Anthony, and in my opinion your work confirming Mann's hockey stick graph is worth at least half the Nobel Prize dough McIntyre got for being an IPCC expert reviewer. If you're in New York in March, make him buy you a drink.

PS. What happened to all the kerfuffle about the code Hansen freed up? I guess that amounted to a whole lotta nothing, denial-wise.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Western Standard Caves, Pulls Blog Post From Website!

It looks as though some fairly blatantly racist material written in response to a blog post got The Western Standard in serious trouble.

A protest at City Hall this afternoon to condemn alleged violent and racist postings on the Western Standard magazine website has been cancelled.

This morning the Islamic Supreme Council of Canada reported the owner of the online publication had apologized.

The material appeared in the comments to a "Shotgun Blog" post written by Ezra Levant on December 5th, and contained such sentiments as:

"...there is no such thing as innocent Muslims. They must all be killed. All of them."

Now, what December 5th post by Ezra, you ask? Well exactly, as the screen-shot above demonstrates, in what can only be described as a orgy of self-abasement, the Standard has sent all material from December 5 down the memory hole (It's in black rather than blue, which means it's no longer a clickable link).

Yeah! Standing tall for Conservative values!
h/t to Buckets. Next time we meet I owe you a drink.

BigCityLib, Great White Plumber

The Warrior's Weapons

Having just forked out $160 to have a pro unplug my toilet (note to would-be writers: ballpoints don't flush very well) I was damned if I was going to pay another guy when my kitchen sink went on me three days later. So, armed with this article from Dummies on-line, I got to work and, I am happy to say, successfully unclogged my sink. Along the way, I learned a number of valuable lessons:
1) Liquid Plumber tastes awful, even after its been sitting in your pipes for a couple of days.
2) I've been using a sink plunger on my toilet for years now. That explains a lot. (Turns out that it didn't work on the sink either).
3) Drain Auger's work best if you read the instructions. Turns out I have two of them lying around, from last two times I had the same problem. Back then I couldn't get either of them to function, but this time I noticed the phrase "usage instructions on back" on the packaging of the smaller model, and these helped immensely. If I were to describe the experience of using one, I'd say its like being on the doctor's side of a colonoscopy.

More Fun With The CHRC

Edmonton Gay rights activist Rob Wells has been a busy man. Arguably the guy most responsible for scuttling Alberta Tory Craig Chandler's candidacy, Mr. Wells has, in quick succession, launched CHRC complaints against Christian Heritage Party leader Ron Gray, and now Catholic Insight magazine, for "targeting homosexuals".

In this case, I am not sure I have much sympathy for Mr. Wells. Strictly legal aspects of the case aside, I have never heard of Catholic Insight (although apparently Michael Coren writes a column for them). I would further wager that it is not on Mr. Wells usual reading list. Even assuming that the content is offensive in the manner suggested, his actions smack of deliberately seeking out reasons for outrage. Other than providing an excuse for an activist to stay active, what possible good will pursuing what is essentially a Catholic little magazine (the editors have described low circulation as being a chronic problem) do?

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Facebook Group Targets Fatah And Other Moderate Muslims

As annoying as I occasionally find Tarak Fatah he does, as a self-proclaimed Moderate Muslim, put up with a whole other level of bullshit. Witness the group "Remember The Enemies Muslims!!!" (which appears to have already been given the hook by Facebook).

Garry Wise has the good dope, but in short the group's purpose was/is to

... identify the apostates and People who Abused our Religion. These people have disrespected Islam not through intellect but through words of abuse. We can answer criticism, we can take criticism but we can not take abuse. All those who were responsible will be exposed and their profiles and pictures will be made available, besides them modernist and secular Muslims who want to westernize Islam according to their own interpretation which directly conflicts with established interpretation of Muhammad(saw).This will be done so that Muslims can identify their Enemies!!

As Mr. Wise points out, the site generally uses a "strong, if non-violent tone", but includes these rather nasty photo-exposés (see above) of the Muslim "enemies" who have attracted the site-owners' wrath. One is immediately reminded of the "wanted posters" far-Right anti-abortion groups in the U.S. have used to target abortion providers.

It would be interesting if the people behind this RTEM!!! are directly indebted to their Christian Fundy counterparts for the idea.

Remember The Enemies Muslims!!! raises a fascinating question in light of the recent travails faced by Ezra Levant, Mark Steyn, and Macleans Magazine at the hands of the CHRC. To paraphrase a question Mr. Wise puts, if a Canadian human rights tribunal chose to investigate a complaint by any of the photographed individuals or by members of the moderate Muslim community against the people behind RTEM!!!, would the same people who have been defending Mark Steyn defend RTEM!!!? It should be particularly fascinating question for Mr. Fatah himself, who has strongly defended Mr. Steyn and Macleans.

So what's the story, Tarak? Get over here and lay on some political nuance.
And what about Mr. Steyn himself? Would he defend RTEM!!!'s right to free expression? After all, he's never seemed to have a problem with Christian extremists.

Christianity: Religion Of Peace?

The Iowa campaign manager of former pastor and current U.S. Presidential candidate Mike Huckabee says what alot of us have always suspected, which is that The War On Terror is in reality a Christian Crusade against Islam. Asked about Huckabee's foreign policy experience, Bob Vander Plaats answers:

Well, I think what it is, the war on terror is obviously, it's a theological war. We have a radical Islamic group, so we believe that a guy with the training of a pastor understands the theological nature of the war. That also makes him very well-prepared in regards to this war on terror.

It takes a preacher to lead a religious war, in other words.

You can see the video here.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Mulroney Comes Through (For Liberals)!

CTV has a "statistical tie" between the two major parties, with the Libs actually up a couple:

OTTAWA -- A new poll suggests Stephen Harper's Conservatives have lost their big lead over the Liberals, plunging six percentage points in popular support in just one week.

The Canadian Press Harris-Decima survey puts the Tories at 30 per cent support, in a statistical tie with the Liberals, who are up four points to 32 per cent.

The Bali disaster and the Chalk River isotope disaster are also cited in the Tory plunge.

Can we call the Harper government "embattled" now? I wanna call them "embattled".

And, by the way, can we all agree now that Dion's going to Bali and looking reasonable, while John Baird was out back somewhere catching a few zzzs during negotiations, turned out to be a net positive?

Here is a link to a more detailed breakdown of the results. As Kingston notes in the comments, the results from Atlantic Canada, or their interpretation by The Star, seem a bit odd.

Free-D Update: Did Free-D Lawyer Bust Santa?

It's odd enough that the Free Dominion crowd should have hired lawyers at all to defend them in their libel case against rights activist Richard Warman. Previously, their preferred method of dealing with his accusations has been to hurl even more abuse. But it is even stranger that they should have hired Ottawa lawyer Kenneth Bickley, for Mr. Bickley appears to have been a one time storm trooper in the war against Christmas!

In fact, it looks like Mr. Bickley has gone after Santa himself. Witness this secret document from the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners:

Accounting frauds are fair game; corporate swindles and scandals too are fair game. But the reality is that for decades there is a more basic fraud, which has gone unnoticed, unprotested and undetected--Just in time for the festive season, the Ottawa Chapter of the Certified Fraud Examiners is pleased to be the venue where the fraud of Santa Claus will be exposed. Using tried and true techniques of a certified fraud examiner, our speaker will take you through the mechanics of the fraud and leave you puzzling over how the CFE can assist in preventing similar frauds in the future.

Speaker: Kenneth Bickley

Barnes Sammon

Our speaker, Kenneth Bickley (aka Klown Counsel), will hopefully be assisted by a mysterious visitor--the culprit in person--who will be caught red handed in thecontinued perpetuation of the fraud.

Note the ambiguity of the phrase "the culprit in person", which suggests the possibility that we are dealing not with Santa himself, but one of his army of android lookalikes. Note also that I hate Santa as much as anyone, in fact I probably hate Santa far, far more than most people, so I am inclined to cheer Mr. Bickley on whatever the particulars of the matter. But there must have been some hardcore eating of crow amongst the ranks of Free-Ders when they hired this guy.

And Oh My GAWD LOOK!! Mr. Bickley's firm, Barnes Sammon, provides service in Chinese, and lists "Canadian Immigration" as one of their services. Free Dominion is being defended by a bunch of immigration lawyers! Such irony! The "principled Conservatives" over there must be in convulsions.

But I guess committed far Right legal talent is difficult to come by, far too difficult to require ideological purity from your counsel. Doug Christie can't be everywhere, after all!

Hijab Sanity Breaks Out In Alberta!

How the hell did this happen?

CALGARY -- Muslim girls in Alberta will be allowed to wear hijabs while playing soccer, ending the latest battle over religious clothing in sports.


Under a ruling announced Tuesday, the association said players will be allowed on the soccer pitch if they're wearing a sports-friendly hijab approved by the game's referee.

Whereas in Quebec, where they do all sorts of allegedly progressive things like dump cheese curds on Fries, and where the downtown men of Montreal prance about in fish-net stockings, they're still bashing Muslims and wallowing in their own Catholicism. How could these folks get out-evolved socially by a bunch of cowboys from a town where the streets all run one way? What's happening in this country?

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Canadian Nazis Cool To Mark Steyn!

Sure they support his right to bash dark skinned immigrants, but they're conflicted. For one thing, his last name apparently sounds a bit fishy. And of course there are those like Paul Fromm, who are a bit pissed that the Steyn's and Levants of this world--the far Right's elite class--didn't come to their aid during previous scuffles with the CHRC:

The neo-Cons are now being bitten in the butt. It looks good on them.

We've been warning of the gagging power of human rights censors for 20 years. Few would listen as long as the tyrants took on small defenceless and media-defamed victims.

I laugh at the consternation of some of these outraged neoCons. "But, we're not disreputable letter writers. We're 'respectable.'"

They don't get it. Censorship is like a narcotic. The bully and the thought controller is never satisfied. It was never about "hate".

It was about silencing anyone who dissents from the minority agenda.

Yesterday, it was Doug Collins, Ernst Zundel, Tom Winnicki and Terry Tremaine. Today, it is Rev. Boissoin, Bishop Fred Henry and Mark Steyn.

Wow! Mark Steyn's gonna join Ernst Zundel and Doug Collins in the halls o' history. It'll be just like Valhalla, but with more Nazis!

Toronto Lawyer Garry Wise has a couple of other excellent posts on this issue. Here he writes:

While the comments attributed to Steyn may indeed have offended certain sensibilities, Charter protection will clearly supersede any discrimination remedy.

I do want to note, however, taking the complaints at face value for the purpose of discussion only, that if the comments attributed to Steyn had been repetitively uttered in a workplace by an employer, rather than having been published online by a clearly legitimate journalist, there may well have a strong reason for a Commission to act on a complaint of racial toxicity and discrimination in the workplace.

It is the entitlement to press freedom, rather than any savoury quality of his expression, that will protect Steyn and Macleans.

Exactly, and personally, I would be more inclined to grant the Maclean's the right to print hate speech if they were willing to admit that that is what Steyn's column amounted to.

And here Mr. Wise agrees with me that Kenneth Whyte has led MacLeans steeply down-market into National Post territory:

...shall we just concede that the magazine is no longer to be considered journalism, and leave it at that.

Poor Andrew Coyne. Out of the frying pan and into the fire! I wonder how his wan elegance can hold up under the barrage of hacks schlepping ideological porn to the goobers?

Free Mark Steyn Or Else! Conservative Talk Show Host Threatens Canadian Boycott!

Hugh Hewitt is pissed at us.

If Canada can't defend the free speech of its most talented native son, then it shouldn't be getting even our devalued tourist dollars.

Believe it or not, he's isn't referring to Wayne Gretzky here, but Mark Steyn, and he's threatening to withhold his tourist dollars if the CHRC complaint against Steyn and Macleans isn't dropped. Oh my! If Hugh Hewitt can find Canada on a map, he may decide not to come here!I fear for my economic well-being!

And what if U.S. Conservatives take it into their head to rename them all "Freedom Geese"? Whatever shall we do then...?

Meanwhile, here's a less heated take on Steyn, Macleans, and their troubles with tribunals.

If the complaints are weak or frivolous, they are not likely to have any success at all. The complainants nonetheless have the right to be heard. That is how our judicial processes work and that too, is a freedom worth protecting.


Monday, December 17, 2007

Ripe For Re-gifting

Industry Minister Jim Prentice took his staff out to Hy's Steakhouse in downtown Ottawa last Monday, Dec. 10, for a holiday gathering. Between 30 and 35 people were there, and Mr. Prentice asked everyone to take turns talking about the high and low points of the year over dinner, which was followed by some generous gift giving. Among some of the gifts that Mr. Prentice handed out was, you guessed it, copies of Mr. Mulroney's new book, Memoirs.

Betcha the people he didn't like got two copies.

Did Someone Just Bomb Fox News?

This is on the front page of the CNN site right now:

Four floors of Fox News headquarters in New York evacuated after reports of a chemical explosion, fire officials say.

Update: Headline is off the CNN site but U.S.A Today reports that: was a small explosion on the 45th floor. It was caused by an interaction between two chemicals...

Incompetent terrorist? Incompetent plumber? O'Reilly Free-basing?

Steyn Rebutted: Are Children Really Our Future, And Should There Be A Tax On Screwing?

But It'll Cost Ya!
Mark Steyn is incapable of serious thought. He does, however, occasionally aim his toxic spew in the direction of real issues, even if he seldom correctly understands the nature of these issues.

For example, recently several academics have sounded a warning re climate change and population pressures. The short form of their argument is that climate change is difficult enough to combat, and will only become more difficult to combat given the pressures exerted by a larger and larger global population demanding a larger and larger portion of the planet's finite resource.

There are too many of us, in other words, and it is immoral to add to their number.

Some of these warnings have come off looking a bit extreme. For example, Australian Obstetrician Barry Walters has suggested that families pay a $5000 levy on the birth of a baby and then up to $800 annually in taxes to offset the child's greenhouse gas emissions(*). Even more radically, environmental activist Toni Vernelli has had herself sterilized so as to make it impossible to inflate her carbon footprint, an act which some have characterized as "selfless".

Such thinking makes Mr. Steyn uncomfortable, and indeed there are real issues with Ms. Vernelli's actions, which resemble a modern form of Flagellantism, of mortifying your flesh for the benefit of an angry Deity to demonstrate how sorry you are for your sins. More generally, however, Steyn writes:

A radical antihumanism, long present just below the surface, bobbed up and became explicit and respectable. In Britain, the Optimum Population Trust said that "the biggest cause of climate change is climate changers – in other words, human beings," and professor John Guillebaud called on Britons to voluntarily reduce the number of children they have.


What's the "pro-choice" line? "Every child should be wanted"? Not anymore. The progressive position has subtly evolved: Every child should be unwanted.

...which is furious blithering, but misses the point.

And seeing the point requires that we make a quick segue into the economics of global warming, especially into the concept of a discount rate. A discount rate is:

...a financial concept based on the future cash flow in lieu of the present value of the cash flow. The divisor in the discount rate formula is the resultant future value, including income.
In the context of climate change, the choice of a discount rate represents a value assigned by economists today to the lives of the unborn. Since most of the lousy results of Global Warming are decades down the road, a calculation as to what we should spend today to mitigate/adapt to the phenomenon involves deciding how well or badly off we feel comfortable leaving future generations. For example, it is a feature of The Stern Review that he sets his discount rate such that it treats the welfare of future generations as being as important as the welfare of this one. And it is a common criticism of his review that humans do not, as a matter of observed economic fact, treat the welfare of future generations in this manner.

As a matter of observed economic fact, we treat their welfare as being far less important than our own.

And, given all this, one can easily argue contra Steyn, who wants The West to breed like mad things so we have enough soldiers to fight his Culture War against dark skinned immigrants. Specifically, the argument is that, since it is quite possible we will end up doing little or nothing to adapt to/mitigate against global warming, it is indeed a good thing to refrain from having children. Having a child, deriving enjoyment from them, and then conveniently clocking out just as the environmental shit hits the fan, leaving them behind to deal with it, is immoral.

Now, Steyn himself is a denier. For him, its all a conspiracy of left-wing scientists and Al Gore to steal our precious freedoms etc. etc. And I suspect many of the Conservatives for whom he writes would agree with this position. But if Steyn or the movement ever wish to climb out of that particular intellectual ghetto, the ethics of rearing children in the teeth of a possible eco-catastrophe is a moral issue they will need to face up to.

(*) As an aside, the Barry Walters proposal noted above--that we should tax people for each child they bear--is in fact something I would approve of but for its relative inefficiency as a tax. Much more lucrative would be a simple charge on the act of fornication itself. Under my scheme every female in the population would be issued a coin-operated chastity belt, and unless the government was given its proper cut on each occasion, there would be no nookie. Monies from this tax could be in lieu of a carbon tax, and could be used for either mitigation or adaption purposes. This would be one practical method of funding that giant space mirror the geo-engineers have been talking about, and with dough left over we could probably build a stairway to Jupiter.

Because a perfect tax is a tax on something people will do anyway no matter how much you charge 'em.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Snow Storm! Rest Of Canada Cut-Off From T.O.!!

About 7 am, looking North along Victoria Park Avenue.

Now looking South.

They're saying the snow-fall has been "slightly less" than expected, so I imagine I will spend the morning hauling the wife back and forth from her skating class. As an old West-Coaster, it boggles my mind when people say "Oh! Only a foot of snow? Of course we'll drive 30 miles to the rink."

Update: Its a bit after noon and I just drove from Yorkdale mall to Victoria park through my first white-out. Nasty stuff. They outta give me some kind of award.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Nessie Grudge Match! Naish And Coleman Square Off!

Actually, a friendly exchange. Darren isn't convinced by the photo evidence. Loren isn't sure he isn't convinced. A good time is had by all.

Oh Those Violent Christians!

While commentary on the death of Aqsa Parvez fills the air-waves, this goes entirely unreported. Where's the outrage? Where's Mark Steyn's column on the Amish invasion? Because they're coming, man, they're coming, and they're outbreeding us.

Update: At some risk to my own safety, I've uploaded this picture of an Amish radical. Will the so-called moderate Amish step up and make their voices heard?

Friday, December 14, 2007

Santa Strikes Back: Claims He's Tired Of "Little Punks"

From CTV:

There was absolutely nothing Ho Ho Ho about the letters Rosalyn Da Costa's children got from Santa yesterday.

In fact, they included filthy messages.

They are two of 10, inappropriate letters dropped in mailboxes across Ottawa in the last two days, but there could be more.

Yesterday, Canada Post shut down its Write To Santa program across the city while it joins Ottawa police to hunt down the "rogue elf."

It was no rogue elf, though, but the fat guy himself, who sent an exclusive statement via e-mail to this citizen journalist.

"Fuck 'em! Fuck 'em all!" wrote a clearly agitated St. Nick. "Buncha greasy assed little shits with green hair and rings through their nose! The whole damn lot of them are getting nothing but coal! Not in the stockings either but POINK! Right off the ole beezer!

"And what is it with the crap they're calling music these days. Rap fucking metal??? Bull fucking shit!!! And EMO? What the fuck is EMO??? Go whine me a river, kid!!! Anyone expecting an Ipod this Xmas is gonna get it jammed straight up their ass!"

Santa also claimed that the new U.N. directive to "shape up and slim down" had totally ruined the experience.

"I came up to the pole to get away from all that PC crapola. Even up here, though, Mrs. Claus won't let me smoke within 100 yards of the elves, and now I'm being told to lay off the pizza puffs! Suck Santa's big white walking stick, is what I say! Next thing they'll make it illegal to piss dirty messages in the snow!!!"

When informed that Florida stores were selling Santa Claus Hates You t-shirts, our man responded with a sincere sounding:


Free-D Update:Free-D Owner Slams Jason Kenney For Not Backing Canadian Nazis

Jason Kenney, Canada's secretary of state for multiculturalism and Canadian Identity, is down on the CIC's (Canadian Islamic Congress) attempt to hold Macleans Magazine responsible for publishing the shitty fake journalism of Mark Steyn.

Connie Fournier, partial owner of a forum for "principled Conservatives ", Free Dominion, appreciates his efforts, but doesn't think defending the new, down-market version of MaCleans is good enough:

When we were attacked by the CHRC last summer, Jason was silent. When Paul Fromm was to speak in the Parliamentary Press Gallery about the injustice of the CHRC, Jason initiated a vote to ban him from Parliament Hill.

But now Jason is suddenly a heroic defender of free speech. I guess he just had to wait for a popular enough victim to come along before his principles could kick in.

Free Dominion, Paul Fromm, Mark Steyn and Macleans magazine. Together in shame.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Pelted Mammoth

As I wrote here, there has recently been a new theory proposed to account for the onset of the Younger Dryas, a 1,500 year long period of extreme cold that took place between about 13,000 and 11,500 years ago. The new theory suggests that an "impact event" occurred somewhere near the Great Lakes at the beginning of the Younger Dryas:

Iridium peaks, and spikes of ammonium and nitrate which could have been produced by extensive burning of biomass, are also found in the Greenland ice cores. The authors therefore propose that the black horizon is the result of massive forest fires raging across the whole North American continent, triggered by the fiery impact of a meteorite or comet - or possibly a low altitude explosion like the Tunguska event. Enough soot from the fires, and dust from the impact, would have been thrown into the atmosphere to significantly cool the climate, causing enough environmental stress to wipe out both the Clovis people and the mammoths.

Well, now the same team of scientists behind this theory have found further evidence for arctic impacts:

Startling evidence has been found which shows mammoth and other great beasts from the last ice age were blasted with material that came from space.

Eight tusks dating to some 35,000 years ago all show signs of having being peppered with meteorite fragments.

Basically, and as the picture above shows, it looks like the poor animals took something like a shot-gun blast to the upper surface (but NOT the lower surface) of the tusks.

Of course the dates--35,000 vs. 13,000 years ago--don't really match up, which leads geoscience consultant Allen West to speculate that

Maybe, these were tusks from dead animals that were just exposed on the surface, so when this thing blew up in the atmosphere, it would have peppered them. The date could really be anywhere from 13,000 to 35-40,000 years ago.

Plus an excellent post by Loren Coleman at Cryptomundo describing how cryptozoologists got to certain aspects of this theory years ago.

All Hail The Fluorescent Cat!

They're supposed to lead to a cure for genetic diseases, but I say the important thing is they look bitchin'.

Mind you, this probably won't do much for their reputation as a nocturnal predator.

And in a few years we'll have switched to compact fluorescent cats anyway.

Still cool, though.

Harper: We'll Find Someone To Blame, And It Won't Be Me

OTTAWA; TORONTO -- Prime Minister Stephen Harper vowed yesterday that someone will be held to account for the shutdown of the reactor that produces half of the world's medical isotopes as his government searched for culprits to blame in its battle with the country's nuclear regulator.

Hey Stephen, I thought you Tories were all about personal responsibility. Why not take some?

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Spinning The Pope On Climate Change

What he said, and an excerpt:

Respecting the environment does not mean considering material or animal nature more important than man. Rather, it means not selfishly considering nature to be at the complete disposal of our own interests, for future generations also have the right to reap its benefits and to exhibit towards nature the same responsible freedom that we claim for ourselves. Nor must we overlook the poor, who are excluded in many cases from the goods of creation destined for all. Humanity today is rightly concerned about the ecological balance of tomorrow. It is important for assessments in this regard to be carried out prudently, in dialogue with experts and people of wisdom, uninhibited by ideological pressure to draw hasty conclusions, and above all with the aim of reaching agreement on a model of sustainable development capable of ensuring the well-being of all while respecting environmental balances. If the protection of the environment involves costs, they should be justly distributed, taking due account of the different levels of development of various countries and the need for solidarity with future generations. Prudence does not mean failing to accept responsibilities and postponing decisions; it means being committed to making joint decisions after pondering responsibly the road to be taken, decisions aimed at strengthening that covenant between human beings and the environment, which should mirror the creative love of God, from whom we come and towards whom we are journeying.

What Climate Change Deniers want you to hear, by Simon Caldwell of the U.K. Daily Mail:

Pope Benedict XVI has launched a surprise attack on climate change prophets of doom, warning them that any solutions to global warming must be based on firm evidence and not on dubious ideology.

The leader of more than a billion Roman Catholics suggested that fears over man-made emissions melting the ice caps and causing a wave of unprecedented disasters were nothing more than scare-mongering.

...which, if you read the Pope's speech, is entirely bullshit. "Prophets of doom", "scare-mongering"--these phrases are all Caldwell's. The Pope does not mention the Bali conference, but there is nothing in his speech that seems contra to its goals.

FREEP This Petition


Stop the Climate-Wrecking at Bali

Climate negotiations in Bali are in crisis. Things were looking good till now: near-consensus on a delicate deal, including 2020 targets for rich countries, in return for which China and the developing world would do their part over time. IPCC scientists have said such targets are needed to prevent catastrophe. But Japan, the US and Canada are banding together to wreck the deal, and the rest of the world is starting to waver...

We can’t let three stubborn governments throw away the planet's future. We have until the end of Friday to do everything we can. Please sign our emergency global petition below -- we'll deliver it through stunts at the summit, a full-page ad in the Financial Times in Asia, and directly to country delegates to stiffen their nerve against any bad compromise. Add your name to the campaign below now!

"We call urgently for the US, Canada and Japan to stop blocking serious 2020 targets for emissions reductions, and for the rest of the world to refuse to accept anything less."

The link above leads to the petition. Go nuts. As you know, I think online petitions are a farce, but Galactus might show up later and throw his oar into the water.

PS, there are supposed to be 600 people in the human banner above. I estimate about half that (there seem to be about 200 in the water).

Strategic Counsel Speaks, Says "Statistical Dead Heat"

First, the important numbers:

The new poll of 1,000 Canadians, taken between Dec. 6 and 9, shows the Conservatives have the support of 32 per cent, still three points ahead of the Liberals, at 29. The NDP remained at 16 per cent, ahead of the Greens, but not growing.

Compared to SC's previous version, done in November, the Tories and Liberals are both down two points. Unfortunately, the new Liberal normal seems to be below 30%, which I find disturbing.

The big news is of course the Green Party's 13%, an historic high for them, and a support level the pollsters interviewed are beginning to think may hold come election day. If you're wondering why Dion is in Bali, I suspect it is a laudable attempt to shore up his green creds in the face of this leakage.

In Quebec:

...the Conservatives fell seven points to 18, behind the Liberals at 20 per cent, and the Bloc Québécois at 40.

Thank you, Brian Mulroney!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Charge 'Em

...and, if convicted, lock 'em up. But there are no grounds in this for a ban on hijabs or traditional garb if and when they are worn as the result of an act of Free Will. Certainly no grounds for a change of opinion on the Tory's ridiculous veiled voter legislation.

If You Were This Cute You'd Never Have To Work

The first ever recorded footage of the long-earred Jerboa, a

...tiny nocturnal mammal that is dwarfed by its enormous ears, [and] can be found in deserts in Mongolia and China.

Love the way it flaps its ears to clear the dust off 'em.

More info at Cryptomundo. And, no, you can't have one for Xmas! They're endangered.

Deniapalooza!! Climate Skeptics Plan Alternative WingDing In New York, March 2008

...hundreds of the world's leading scientists, economists, and policy explore key issues overlooked by advocates of the theory of man-made global warming.


Depending on the answers to even a few of these questions, the entire scientific or economic case for taking action to "stop global warming" collapses.

And just to give you a taste of the alternative consensus these boys have developed:

Their findings suggest that the Modern Warming is moderate and partly or even mostly a natural recovery from the Little Ice Age; that the consequences of moderate warming are positive for humanity and wildlife; that predictions of future warming are wildly unreliable; that the costs of trying to "stop global warming" exceed hypothetical benefits by a factor of ten or more; and more.

In other words, it isn't happening, and if it is happening its good and there's nothing can be done about it anyway.

But wait, there's more!

Actual surveys of climate scientists and recent reviews of the scholarly literature both show that the so-called "skeptics" may actually be in the majority of the climate science community.

Topics of discussion aside, there's no question that the Heartland Institute has arranged some swell digs for conference participants.

A block of rooms has been reserved at the Marriott New York Marquis Times Square Hotel, 1535 Broadway, New York, NY. A special conference rate of $269 plus tax double or single is available to people registered to attend this conference.

They're going to be right on Broadway, in a hotel that has no less than two bars (see pic above), two restaurants, a Starbucks and a Sushi bar. These guys will be denying in style, that's for sure! How much did Exxon clear last quarter?

No word yet on speakers or special events, but one insider rumor has it that Tim Ball himself will be conducting a nightly tour of New York City strip clubs. Apparently, the job fell to him because, being a Canadian, there's nothing NYC can throw at him that he hasn't seen before (there's none of those silly g-strings up here in the Great White North, Yanqui Luzers).

This will be a good one to keep an eye on. The Heartland is shooting for an audience of elected officials, journalists and business leaders as much as scientists. It will be interesting to see if any beyond the same old same old (Ball, Gray, Monckton, and etc.) show up. Will any real scientists be willing to see their reputation self-immolate by appearing before this crowd, no matter how wonderful the hotel finger-foods?

Monday, December 10, 2007

Surprising No One...

The Committee’s 16-month investigation reveals a systematic White House effort to censor climate scientists by controlling their access to the press and editing testimony to Congress. The White House was particularly active in stifling discussions of the link between increased hurricane intensity and global warming. The White House also sought to minimize the significance and certainty of climate change by extensively editing government climate change reports. Other actions taken by the White House involved editing EPA legal opinions and op-eds on climate change.

The above links to the full report of the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. Here is the short version.

H/t to an anon from today's first post. Is it just me or am I getting a better quality of anon these days?

John Baird: From Bali To Pokey?

Soon On A
Prison Diet?

John Baird, the federal environment minister, was called on by police detectives a second time for more questioning in their bribery investigation against Mayor Larry O'Brien, the [Ottawa] Citizen has learned.

If you haven't been keeping track:

Following a Citizen investigative report, Mr. O'Brien became the subject of an intense criminal investigation into allegations that he offered money and help to Terry Kilrea, a former political opponent, land a federal appointment if he dropped out of last year's mayoral race.

John Baird comes into the picture because his office handles front-line requests for political appointments in Eastern Ontario, and sources have him meeting at Hy's Steakhouse, an upscale watering hole frequented by politicians and journalists, with O'Brien back in October, 2006. Baird claims to have been meeting with an unidentified "constituent", but says he might have 'bumped into" O'Brien at Hy's that night.

Holy crap, maybe John gets back from Bali and winds up bunking with Conrad!

PS. First Schrieber/Mulroney, and now this. Is it fair to describe the Harper goverment as "embattled" yet?

Not Even Pretending Anymore

NUSA DUA, INDONESIA -- After banishing environmentalists and opposition MPs from Canada's delegation to the Bali climate conference, Ottawa has decided to allow an oil company and several business executives to join the official delegation.


A major oil and gas producer, EnCana Corp. of Calgary, was also permitted to join the delegation.

Encana is the real gagger here. One of their former directors*, Michael Chernoff, is best known for offering free copies of "The Great Global Warming Swindle" (denialist propaganda) to schools around the nation. Furthermore, Encana itself has been ranked as one of the dirtiest operators in the tar sands by a European research firm.

Swell company these Tories want to keep at a conference devoted to climate change.

* He is still listed as being on several committees at the company website.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Western Standard Goes Levantless

Got this email yesterday afternoon. Looks like Ezra is quitting the Western Standard:

Dear friends,

As you know, the Western Standard stopped publishing our print edition last month.

But I'm happy to announce that one of the Western Standard's founders, Matthew Johnston, has assembled a small team of our former staff, and they're going to revive our magazine's websites.

Working with other long-time Western Standard staff like writer Kevin Steel and sales manager Josh Frederick, they're going to try to make a go of it online — and I wish them good luck. They loved the magazine and I'm sure they'll do a great job of the new venture.

I'm moving on to other projects, but Matthew and his team have invited me to continue to blog from time to time on the site, and I'm sure I will.

So make sure to visit to see what the new team is up to — and keep an eye peeled for their e-mail updates.

Join with me in wishing them good luck!

Yours truly,Ezra Levant

Don't bother visiting the site yet, as it hasn't changed much in the past couple of weeks.

I wonder if the remaining bunch will be able to attract the same calibre of right-wing heavy, or whether it will turn into just another Conservative blog.

And interesting, in that Ezra hasn't written a column for the Sun Chain since October when the whole "bus driver in a hijab" thing blew up in his face and pulled his column. Maybe he's being "Zuber Linked" (ie put out to pasture).

Pity, in a way, the Right loses its dorkiest looking gun-slinger.