Sunday, August 31, 2008

Don't Make Me Learn Twitter

Because I'm getting too old for these stupid computer toys. This one is about sharing the most pathetic details of your pathetic lives in teeny tiny blog posts. Here's Blogging Tory Stephen Tayler on twitter. He's twittered extensively for the past several days and apparently hasn't jacked off once, or at least hasn't made note of the fact. I've read some of the twitter posts from a few of his "followers". Some are even more obsessive than Steve--"3:47 PM. Sneezed again."--but none of them has mentioned jacking off either.

So do Conservatives never jack off? Or is Twitter simply a Masturbation free zone, like Conservapedia? Or perhaps the weird gaps in some of their twitter blogs mark those spots where they put down their blackberry's to give it a quick wank? Weird. None of these gaps is more than 3 minutes long.

B'nai Brith On HRC's: A Mixed Bag

Just a few quick notes on B'nai Brith's presentation to Richard Moon, the University of Windsor law professor who was appointed to make recommendations as to the direction the CHRC should take re Internet Hate Speech in Canada.

First, the good. B'nai Brith's practical recommendations are, for the most part, common-sense. For example, it does not seem fair that complaints can be pursued in multiple jurisdictions. As BB writes:

The ability to make several complaints at once in different jurisdictions against the same target means that the complaint power can be used as a way of harassing the object of the complaint. That avenue of harassment needs to be cut off. Complaints should be heard in one forum only. The appropriate forum should be the one with the most substantial connection to the complaint and the parties. No other jurisdiction should have the power to entertain essentially the same complaint.

Perhaps the question of awarding costs to successful defendants is a little more problematic , esp. in light of the Maclean's Magazine case where the refusal to negotiate with complainants, and the legal costs resulting from this refusal, can largely be seen as a stunt, a desperate attempt to bump up sales by embracing cheap controversy and pandering to Canada's far right fringe. Here and elsewhere, where the out-sized sums spent on defending a complaint amount to a kind of business investment on the part of the defendant, should such behavior be rewarded?

However, where I think the B'nai Brith report really disappoints is in the way it draws analogies between the complainants in the Macleans and Western Standard cases and some world-wild conspiracy on the part of "Political Islam"... the way it swallows the Mark Steyn, Ezra Levant koolaid, in other words.

Put briefly (and to give just a single example), whatever the ultimate strength of his case against the Western Standard, there is no question in my mind that Syed Soharwardy was correct when he wrote that the Western Standard "mis-used the Freedom of the press to create hatred against Canadian Muslims", and that his complaint was a response to this and not a move within some vast international conspiracy by Islamic militants.

And I think B'nai Brith Council David Matas, who wrote their presentation to Dr. Moon, probably should have made himself aware of the context around and fallout from Mr. Soharwardy's complaint, which included calls for Muslim Genocide on the Western Standard Blog, and generated a police investigation as well as eventual apologies from the WS editors. I realize that it would have been unpleasant for Mr. Matas to stick his head down that particular sewer, but I think it would have made him a little more aware of what was really at stake.

Read the entire report here.

What Is It?

My first thought was: American Bittern, because you can find Botoris lentigenosis around Ontario marshes/swamps. But the colour of the bill is not right (its black, it should be yellow), there is a hint of a crest in one of the pictures (not the ones shown here), the markings above the shoulder aren't right, and you very seldom find a bittern perched in a tree.

Now I am more inclined to think its an immature (less than a summer old) night heron of some sort, most likely a Black-crowned Night-Heron. The "immature" part of the ID would explain the relatively dull coloring, and the fact that I was able to get as close as I did to get these shots.

(Note: the pictures look somewhat more impressive if you open them in Paint. You can see a fair bit of detail at that point).

And here's my attempt at an "artsy fartsy" shot of the scenery around Walden Pond, where the above pictures were also taken.
Okay, so maybe "artsy-fartsy" isn't my thing.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

When They Find The People That Did

...this, I very much doubt they will be shown to have any affiliation with the NDP (see 4th picture from top). In fact, I doubt they will be shown to have any particular political affiliation. I imagine, and hope, that they will prove to have been just a bunch of really, really, really stupid punks.

Abortion Brings Out The Weird In Michael Coren

Stephen Harper has been told by his advisers that he must avoid social issues if he is to win the election and, horror, unborn children were mentioned twice in the past seven days.

Pesky little things. Why can't they just agree to being slaughtered and stop muddying the waters of Canadian politics...

Have unborn children actually expressed an opinion on this?


Yesterday I noted that Catholic Insight was employing its Freedom of Speechiness to make a anti-semitic remarks in regards to OHRC lawyer Michael Gottheil, who ruled in a Human Rights case involving the Christian Horizons ministry:

Well, Five Feet of Fat Chick got wind of this, e-mailed the boyzz at CI and told them that a "far left blogger" (That's me! That's gotta be me, right?) had picked up the original wording and holy fuck they'd better make a change! So within a few hours we get:

The OHRC’s anti-Christian atheist adjudicator, Michael Gottheil, referred often in his ruling to the principle of “balancing competing rights,” but he decided that CH had no religious rights because it was not involved in just serving the interests of its Evangelical religious adherents. “The primary object and mission of Christian Horizons is to provide care and support for individuals who have developmental disabilities, without regard to their creed,” he wrote. “Christian Horizons is not a religious institution whose purpose is to ‘form the hearts and minds’ of its residents in the ways of faith of the organization.”

TOO LATE! fellas, I got the screen cap and I got the google cache, and they're are going to your minders at Heritage Canada, to Scott Shortcliff, the Director [of] Periodical Publishing Policy and Programs, whose been reading your magazine every month to make sure this kind of garbage doesn't slip through while you're sucking up federal tax dollars. And I'm telling him that he oughtta cancel your PAP subsidy. Yes, that's right! TAKE AWAY YOUR FREE GOVERNMENT STAMPS!

By the time I'm done with you clowns you'll beg for the language cops!

Friday, August 29, 2008

Tory Support Collapses (And They Piss Off The Jews!)

Well, not really collapsed but:

The poll, taken earlier this week exclusively for Canwest News Service and Global National by Ipsos Reid, found that 33 per cent of respondents would vote for the Conservatives and 31 per cent would vote for the Liberals. The margin of error is within three percentage points, which means that both major parties would start a campaign with essentially the same support among the voters.

Tory's down 3, Libs up 1, from last survey, with also rans also running. Jeez that Green Shift is a real ball and chain. In any case, the "pissing off the Jews bit" is true enough:

The Canadian Jewish Congress sent a letter to Harper last week asking him to avoid setting an election on Oct. 14, 15, 21, or 22. Those dates are all key parts of the Jewish religious festival, Sukkot. Observant Jews would not be able to work for candidates on election day if the vote were set for Oct. 14.

And yet it looks like the 14th its gonna be.

Update: Steve V has the good dope.

God Must Be Way Past Pissed

Because after Gustav, comes Hannah (to Florida's right).

Incidentally, I didn't know that

Stanley B. Goldenberg, Research Meteorologist, NOAA, AOML/Hurricane Research Division, Miami, Florida, U.S.A

...attended and spoke at Deniapalooza back in March. He even signed the "Manhattan Declaration". Goldenberg is one of Chris Landea's frequent co-authors, and therefore I suppose one of the few "real" scientists in the Denialist camp.

Give 'Em Free Speech And They Use It To Wax Anti-Semitic

Fresh from dodging their own problems with Canadian Human Rights Commissions, Catholic Insight discusses the case of Christian Horizons, an "Evangelical Christian Ministry that provides care and residential services to...developmentally disabled individuals" , who recently got nailed by the Ontario Human Rights Commission for terminating an employee a Lesbian employee:

The OHRC’s Jewish adjudicator, Michael Gottheil, referred often in his ruling to the principle of “balancing competing rights,” but he decided that CH had no religious rights because it was not involved in just serving the interests of its Evangelical religious adherents.

What, one might well ask, does Mr. Gottheil's Jewishness have to do with his ruling? And how, one might also ask, did the staff at CI determine said Jewishness? I have been unable to locate material on the Net where Mr. Gottheil owns up to any religious/racial affiliations. Perhaps the lads at CI can just sense Semitic blood. Some people, apparently, can.

H/T to RB.

Tory Abortion Bill Not Dead Yet!

A small group of Tory Rebs have issued a press release in which they state that

"We, the undersigned, will continue to use all the legislative avenues at our disposal to ensure the successful passage of The Unborn Victims of Crime Act into law. We look forward to supporting Mr. Epp's bill at third reading."

The Rebs in question:

David Anderson, MP, Cypress Hills-Grasslands
Rod Bruinooge, MP, Winnipeg South
Royal Galipeau, MP, Ottawa-Orléans
Colin Mayes, MP, Okanagan-Shuswap
Myron Thompson, MP, Wild Rose
Brad Trost, MP, Saskatoon-Humboldt
Maurice Vellacott, MP, Saskatoon-Wanuskewin
Chris Warkentin, MP, Peace River

Pretty much a subset of the usual suspects. But what should it matter if the Tories plan to withdraw the legislation? It shouldn't matter, except that the Tories have no such plans. Dean Allison's office confessed as much to one Tory Blogger yesterday.

The Conservatives are not abandoning or distancing themselves from Bill C-484 or abortion. In fact, it is a mistake to view Nicholson's recently proposed alternative as such. The guy I spoke to over the phone suggested that the Conservatives do not think that Epp's bill will pass in the house, given the fact they only have a minority and the recent inappropriate focus on abortion by a small group of extremists who have totally misrepresented the bill. He said that both the Bloc and the NDP will be voting against the bill and most Liberals are likely to either do the same or simply not show up to vote. If that is the case, then it's hard to see how Epp's bill could pass.

Nicholson's bill is intended to provide the same protection to pregnant women, should Epp's bill not pass.If Epp's bill does pass, and both I and the guy on the phone hope it does, then great.

My MP will be voting in support of Epp's bill.

Despite efforts re getting abortion off the table as an election issue, the Tories have left C-484 still in play. In addition, they have thrown another bill into the mix which, when it is finally introduced, will apparently resemble Liberal MP Brent St. Denis's Bill C-543.

This fight is not over.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Storsjöodjuret Lives! (Swedish Sea Monster!)

A group of filmmakers claim to have successfully captured Sweden’s legendary Great Lake Sea Monster (Storsjöodjuret), which is said to lurk in the waters of the Storsjön outside Östersund in northern Sweden.
The film clip shows a blurry, long and narrow silhouette moving in the lake’s depths.

“It clearly shows that it’s warm and is made up of cells, otherwise our cameras wouldn’t indicate red, so it can be a sea snake or some other kind of sea animal,” said a female member of the film crew to Sveriges Television news in Jämtland.

Looks Like I finally beat Cryptomundo to one!


One of the few petitions I would happily sign

We demand that the Canadian government immediately disclose other food processing plants in Canada that have are currently being used as test-plants for this new system of food inspection."

...using my own name, for reasons both pure and shit-disturbing.

Curse You, Stephen Harper!
You Stole My Corn Beef

PS. Anyone wondering about drawing a direct line between the Harper Gov. and this outbreak, well here it is: Maple Leaf foods served as a testing ground for the Tories new "Leave It Out And Let The Free Market Decide If Its Rancid" inspection regime.

On Why The Fringe Stays The Fringe

Can you see S. Harper fighting an election for the right of Ezra Levant to remain unnannoyed by uppity activists? Nah. I can't either.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Tory Election Platform, Part II

The Prime Minister announced that his government will be introducing changes to the Arctic Waters Pollution Prevention Act as part of its fall legislative agenda. Currently the Act allows the Canadian Government to regulate all shipping in zones up to 100 nautical miles from the nearest Canadian land in order to guard against pollution of the region’s marine and coastal environments. Under the proposed new law, this jurisdiction will be extended to 200 nautical miles.

Of course, as Kelly McParland points out, no fall sitting, no legislative agenda but perhaps a campaign issue to run on. A bit of a snorer, though. If Harper's going to go on this and Senate Reform, maybe just wake me in November.

Update: Scott points out that Harper has cancelled the very ships Canada would need to enforce the new limit.

Lawrence Martin Plays Dumb

If Stephen Harper does "get away with" calling a snap election without incurring some political cost, it will be because journalists like Lawrence Martin drove the getaway car.

On the question of contradicting his own election legislation, [Mr. Harper] said: 'We are clear. You can only have certainty about a fixed election date in the context of a majority government.' That's true enough, though he probably wished he'd made it clearer when the law was passed.

Imagine a counter-factual in which everything is the same, including Bill C-16, but Harper has a majority government. What would there be to stop him from doing exactly what he is hellbent on doing now--dissolving parliament and calling a snap election? If you answered nothing, you guessed right. The only thing, the ONLY thing C-16 changes is that a government can no longer drag their term out into a 5th year. And this fact was obvious way back when the bill was first passed, even if they didn't clue in at the G&M until this morning.

Update: Even Radwanski's drank the koolaid over there.

In Which I Regurgitate Liberal Talking Points

Shrieking from this crazy lady aside, I think its a helluva idea for the Liberals to be pounding Stephen Harper on his refusal "to come clean on the right to choose". Rob Nicholson has announced that a new, totally non-abortion related bill is coming, but nothing concrete is on the table yet and nothing is likely to be before a snap election call. Meanwhile the old bill is not going away. The Tories want to go in to their election talking about leadership--therefore counter by bringing up their knuckle-dragging, Reform Party past. Hit 'em where they're tender, in other words.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Libel Chillin' With Ezra

Fast Forward Weekly issued an apology to Ezra Levant and the “Western Standard community” for publishing a letter-to-the-editor in 2007...

From the comments section: This Ezra Levant is sure a piece of work. Mr. Free Speech, my ass.

Interestingly enough, Merle Terlesky, the target of Ezra's defamation suit, has decided to fight back. This is news to me and I wish him luck.

Kinsella has the original letter, which seems pretty mild stuff to me.

Rebellion In The Ranks!

"'I definitely will not be withdrawing my bill,' Epp told Sun Media.

He means Bill C-484, the "Lets Re Criminalize Abortion Through The Back Door!" Bill.

Damn! A week before a possible election call and the Tories have a SoCon revolt on their hands! And, as far as I can tell, one that was totally avoidable. Had Harper just dissolved Parliament, C-484 and all their other controversial legislation would have died quietly, but he chose to step on this particular rake. Clearing the decks for an election? If he can't get Epp in line fast, abortion becomes an election issue anyway!!!

Stephen Harper: he is playing chess, the rest of us merely playing ourselves with that weird looking item we bought for a buck at the sex shop.

Update: Epp speaks!

Hey Look! I've Found The Tory Election Platform!

Stephen Taylor, co-owner of the Blogging Tories, Conservative Party pundit and conduit into the soul the modern Canadian Conservative movement, lets slip. The Tories are Pro pukey-Yellow on government websites, and they're willing to stand or fall on that issue! No more fetal rights! No more dismantling the Canadian Wheat Board! No more getting entangled in foreign wars! No more cutting taxes! Their move to the center is complete!

Remember, what Stephen says on Tues., Harper repeats on Weds.

(PS. Rumor has it that Harper's platform will also include a total ban of ferret ownership. These guys are so bold!)

Monday, August 25, 2008

KLRvu: New Pollsters On The Block

The folks at Democratic Space are relatively sympathetic towards Allan Bruinoodge's new venture:

On the question of methodology, we are less concerned about the use of touchtone polling in general — where questions are pre-recorded, voters are called randomly, and asked to press ‘1′ or ‘2′ etc in response to different questions. No doubt this type of survey has some selection bias in that some people will simply hang up because there is no live person on the other end. More importantly, since there is no screening, it does not ensure that the respondent is an actual eligible voter (although realistically there is no way to ensure this with traditional polling either — essentially we have to take the person’s word for it). The selection bias is probably not that significantly different than traditional polling (a live person asking the questions), where people can also refuse to participate. At issue is whether supporters of one party/candidate are more or less likely to not participate than others. It seems unlikely — that is, Conservative voters are probably just as likely to hang up as Liberal voters as NDP voters and so on. Likewise, are people who are not eligible voters more likely to participate using touchtone polling than traditional polling? Probably not. So, we’re not prepared to discount the use of touchtone polling in general.

One difference between this and KLRvu's earlier, ill-fated Morgentaler Order-of-Canada poll is that referring to Dr. Morgentalor as "abortionist Henry Morgentaler " is probably going to skew your participation rate. Morgetaler supporters will be more likely to get angry and hang-up, nay-sayers will be more likely to complete the poll. Hence the curious result.

Meanwhile, Scott has some interesting new information on KLRvu's polling methodology.

Tory Reb Speaks, Claims Over A Dozen Tory Riding Associations Being Suppressed By CPoC HQ!

Charles Conn ran for the Reform Party in the riding of Mississauga West back in 1993, losing to Carolyn Parrish. More recently, he has been a persistent critic of the CPoC's commitment to its party grass roots when it comes to the matter of nominating candidates. I have chronicled his complaints against the process which produced Melissa Bhaghat here, and is in the process of anointing Lisa Raitt, here.

Mr. Conn's recent letter to FreeDominon on the Raitt situation raised a number of issues for me. For example, one FreeD denizen responded to Mr. Conn as follows:

The National Councillors of the CPC are simply acting on the authority given to them in the
"new" party's constitution.

5.3 Electoral district associations shall comply with such requirements as to their governance, financial management and reporting, as may be implemented by National Council by by-law or otherwise.

The term "or otherwise," pretty much covers anything Don Plett or Doug Finley and company might want to do. If conservative members don't like their constitution they should either work to change it or rip up their membership and quit supporting the party.

(Note: CPoC Constitution and other backing documents can be found here)

I wanted some response from Mr. Conn to this comment.

Secondly, Mr. Conn had written:

National Councillors know full well what's going on....

[...]...they can read the media accounts that relate the destruction being wrought, not just in southern Ontario, but also in Quebec, the Maritimes, Manitoba, Alberta and B.C. just in the last year. And probably three time as much damage is being done in ridings lacking the juice to fight back or get media attention.

And I wondered where some of these other riding associations might be.

So I emailed Mr. Conn! The following is an annotated version of our exchange, which he has allowed me to publish here.

On the first point, and to summarize, Mr. Conn believes that, since the Rob Anders affair (wherein Mr. Anders won his riding nomination by means contrary to Conservative Party rules) , the CPoC consititution has been altered so as to kneecap decision-making on the part of local riding associations. He notes that, before changes made in July 2007, the Constitution contained the following clause:

2. e. The CNC shall: i. conduct a fair and effective recruitment, nomination and selection process etc. etc. etc.

...which post July 2007 has been changed to

2. i. The CNC shall administer a candidate nomination and selection process etc. etc. etc.

Mr. Conn writes:

This was just one of the many changes made to the Rules and Procedures following the Anders case in Calgary. They were designed by PoliOps, accepted by National Council and effectively render riding associations otiose.

Just to throw in another, particulary nasty example:

8.b. National Council may alter, abridge or suspend any of the Rules as it sees fit.

...which is also from the "Candidate Nomination Rules and Procedures", July 2007 version.

On the second point (in which ridings specifically is Tory HQ trampling over the rights of local riding associations), Mr Conn wrote to me as follows:

Vancouver Quadra (both parties), Calgary West, Wild Rose, an "Eastern Townships" riding (unnamed) in which David Marler, a Knowlton lawyer, was told he wasn't wanted as a candidate after months of informal campaigning. The party preferred Mark Quinlan, aide to Christian Paradis, secretary of state for agriculture, Casey case in Nova Scotia. A hasty search of my files couldn't locate the Manitoba case and since I'm leaving on vacation in a couple of days, would ask you to excuse that one omission.

It looks like most of the instances of "parachuting" are occurring in southern Ontario, but, my speculative bet is we're only seeing reports of about one-third.

Six cases is one third of 18. So, even assuming a little exaggeration on the part of Mr. Conn, we are talking about over a dozen ridings where CPoC HQ is stomping all over the rights of its Membership.

(Note: anyone with an idea of which Manitoba riding Mr. Conn might be talking about, please let me know).

By the way, CharlesConn is not exactly your standard issue Tory. His views on homosexual rights, for example, have been strongly influenced by his observations of gay pets and livestock.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Break Out The Bubbly, Liberals!

Harper's wants to run on Senate Reform!

Dion Can Survive Another Tory Minority

I call bullshit on headlines like:

Election looms -- and only Harper or Dion will survive

Harper's fate aside, what happens to Dion if the result of a Fall election is a smaller Conservative minority? Well, Dion can say he made things better, and that he has made the Libs negotiating position stronger (esp. if Harper must appeal to two opposition parties for support to get anything passed rather than the current one).

He can also look to precedent that says Lib leaders get two elections before they're tossed (a la John Turner).

Furthermore, there is still no mechanism by which you can easily remove a Liberal leader, and thanks to some very stupid decisions made in 2006, the party is still committed to an expensive, drawn-out, archaic, and exclusive delegated convention should any attempt succeed. Take this route and the Libs will stay divided and broke well into 2010.

PS. Not that I'm saying a Tory minority is the most likely outcome. In fact I'm still not convinced Harper's going to drop the writ anytime soon. There's been a fair bit of fear and loathing among the Tories natural allies re "breaking" their own law to get to a campaign. I'm still of the opinion we're all here until October 2009.

The Tories Most Babealicious!

The Tories may be doomed in the GTA, but they sure know how to pick ultra-hot candidates! Today at BCLSB we ask: which of their doomed female candidates is the ultra-hottest?

Will she or won't she? Unconfirmed rumour has it that Lisa Raitt will be parachuted into the riding of Halton to face off against Garth Turner. Our willowy blonde has legal training and is currently CEO of the Toronto Port Authority, where she goes by the title of Harbour Master. Clearly, she knows how to deal with mere men. She hasn't got a prayer against Garth, however, who is not a mere man.

Bilingual, well travelled, experienced on television, and a 5' 8" monument to female pulchritude carved from soft, chewy, caramel candy, Melissa Bhaghat has chosen to fly the Tory flag in Mississauga East-Cooksville. Given that her opponent, Albina Guarnieri, has won the riding since 1988 and is also hot ( in a blond sex-bomb kind of way), I give sweet Melissa very little chance. But its too bad they couldn't both win.

PS. to Melissa's credit, she isn't afraid to be seen with ugly people.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Tory Turmoil In Halton!

With the economy teetering on the edge of recession, government finances in the red, raunchy deli meats flooding the store-shelves of the nation, and even staunch Tories criticizing Stephen Harper's apparent decision to turn his back on his own promise of fixed election dates, the last thing the CPoC needs on the brink of an (alleged) election call is dissatisfied rumblings from the grass roots.

But that appears to be what they're getting!

Charles Conn-- a one man fount of dissension and one of the guys who tried to derail the nomination of the talented and voluptuous Melissa Bhagatt--is now reporting dirty goings on in the riding of Halton! Take it away Charles!

Halton riding has a consistent and active membership of around 550 and a significant amount of money in the bank. It has always had a healthy riding association ­ active in many community events and experienced at winning elections. There have been at least three very well-qualified members who have announced their intention to seek the candidacy for the same two years. All the requirements for holding a candidate selection process have been in place. It is axiomatic that the longer a candidate has to work the riding the more likely he/she is to have a positive influence on the outcome of an election.

However, PoliOps has decided to appoint Lisa Raitt as the Tory candidate in Halton.

Lisa Raitt at least lives in the riding. She is the CEO of the Toronto Harbour Commission. Formerly, she was chief counsel for the THC and was responsible for extracting the $35M penalty from Toronto City Council for their holdup of the Island Airport. Clearly a "Star" candidate!

As an aside, Mr. Conn casts a harsh eye of Ms. Raitt's time at the harbour commision, and suggests that "[i]nvestigators might possibly find it useful to also probe Toronto city councillors and mayor Miller about Ms. Raitt's tenure at THC". (Note: a quick GoogleNews search for "Raitt" and "Toronto Harbour Comission" yields nothing even slightly scandalous. Oh well!)

However, most interesting is Mr. Conn's account of how PoliOps plans to execute its screw-over of the CPoC grassroots. Apparently, Lisa Raitt was presented to the riding BOD early this year as the de facto candidate, but because of the controversy stirred up by L'affaire Bhaghat (partly by me, I'm proud to say!), PoliOps was forced to back off for the time being. However:

The membership in Halton will not be allowed to choose their own candidate. Whenever the writ is dropped for the next federal election, the cover of the call to arms will be used to sneak in Lisa Raitt as the official Party Representative.
Talk about abusing the membership!

Personally, I find it instructive to observe Tories abusing their Members. But whatever. Conn concludes by alleging that similar take-overs are going on all across the country:

National Councillors know full well what's going on....
...they can read the media accounts that relate the destruction being wrought, not just in southern Ontario, but also in Quebec, the Maritimes, Manitoba, Alberta and B.C. just in the last year. And probably three time as much damage is being done in ridings lacking the juice to fight back or get media attention.

Has the CPoC abandoned its grass-roots in the raw pursuit of power?

A BCL Public Service Announcement

Meet The Datura Plant, aka Stromonium, aka The Thornapple (note second picture), aka Jimson Weed, aka Jamestown Weed, aka the original Loco Weed, aka Moonflower, aka Hell's Bells, aka Devil's Weed, aka Devil's Cucumber. It has extremely powerful hallucinogenic properties and, because of its historical/botanical association with Belladonna, the first wave of experimenters back in the 1960s and 1970s often found themselves running around naked thinking that they were being chased by witches. It is very powerful stuff, usually a pretty unpleasant experience (or so I have read), and very easy to poison yourself with.
There have been several overdoses reported around Canada and Ontario in the last several years, and a number of jurisdictions have asked residents to cut down any plants seen growing naturally. Back in the day, when I considered myself a bit of s psychedelic warrior, I spent several pleasant summers biking around the Saanich dump in a futile search for examples of the species (they're supposed to grow around dump sites).
However when I was older and came to Toronto, I found them growing everywhere!

Which brings me to the point. These pictures are of a plant I discovered two days ago in a neighbor's garden, obviously bought in a local shop for the striking white flower. And when I say I found them "growing everywhere" in Toronto when I first moved here, I mean I saw them being sold in flower and variety stores all across the city, something which has not really changed over the course of the 20 years or so since.

If these things are such a concern, wouldn't some kind of city by-law banning/restricting their sale, or at least some kind of awareness campaign informing residents as to their dangers, be in order?

Friday, August 22, 2008

The Shorter Jago: My Prank Site Sucked

...and I'm throwing in the towel.

Actually, Robert is trying to sell his steaming pile for "a $10,000 donation towards Ms. Wright’s legal fees."

Tell you what, Bob, I'll offer you a stale pretzel and a bowl of soup. How about that?

KLRvu's Murky World

Short version (long version here):

- The Guelph poll is not a secret attempt by Tory operatives to put local Libs to sleep by providing them with a good, but fake, news story.

- The Poll was allegedly done on the penny of KLRvu proprietor Allan Bruinooge to " raise the profile of his young firm", a claim that, given this, seems credible.

My impression is that KLRvu is positioning itself as a "polls for cheap" alternative to the big houses, with the problems inherent in automated polling (phone spamming) technology overcome by the sheer size of the samples it is possible to gather.

Further background on KLRvu here.

Jack Layton Reveals His Inner Wimp

Now that the Libs have a little wind in their sails, Layton's NDP suddenly lose their stomach for a fight.

My prediction FWIW is that this whole ugly business staggers along until Oct. 2009, with a weakening Tory caucus clinging harder and harder to their perks and position (word to staffers at the HOC cafeteria: count the spoons every night!), and the NDP, looking over their shoulders at the ominous rise of the Green Party, becoming ever more complicit.

I'm looking for a politically correct word that means the same as a "gang of sissies". Anyone got suggestions?

Update: Here come the weak excuses!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Massive Pollers Back In The News

Given the pounding folks laid on KLRvu research in July, I have to take the results of their latest with a grain of salt, even though its encouraging news for Guelph area Liberals.

One interesting thing, though. When Buckets and I were playing around with these guys earlier, the name "Market One Research" came up, whose business model seems very similar to KLRvu's. To make a long story short, it looks like small scale polling (riding level for bye-elections, for example) may often be done by companies that make the bulk of their money as phone spammers.

h/t Scott.

Obama Is Doomed

Maureen Dowd explains why. Especially revealing is the bit about how Bill Clinton got Vlad to invade Georgia while The One was surfing in Hawaii, so as to make him look soft.

And here's the polls to prove it.

Barack Obama, representing the teenage wing of the Democratic Party

Rearranging The Deck Chairs On The Good Ship Denial, Part Duh

This is probably "inside baseball" type stuff of limited interest, but what the hell...

Industry lobbyist David Wojick has given up ownership of the climatesceptics mailing list, citing dissatisfaction with the direction of the list. Co-owner and moderator John Shotsky has taken over. Here's a glimpse of John in action (on a different list):

You seem to forget one thing....EMF's can be measured. No one has been able to validate any of your whacky ideas because no validation of any part of it has happened. It hasn't happened, because it is a crock of shit. You cannot measure what is not there.So why don't you crawl back in your hole and leave reasonable people to debate what is even possible? Haven't you learned from all the other groups that have kicked you and your crackpot ideas off?

Get real. Even better, get a client, seeing as you're a lawyer, not a scientist.Let me repeat that - NOT a scientist.


The membership of climatesceptic includes such luminaries of the denialist movement as Tim Ball and Ernst Beck. It is often where you see "refutations" of AGW appear first, before they get fed up the chain to MSM outlets like Fox News. The list's most impressive accomplishment has probably been FREEPING the crap out of Hans von Storch and Dennis Bray's second on-line survey of climate scientists, thus rendering suspect an important piece of scientific research.

Sockpuppets For Lemire?

Someone has been trying to edit Marc Lemire's wiki entry using accounts named after his real life critics, including M.J. Murphy, the pseudonym I employ when not blogging. Wiki suspects Lemire himself. If it is you Marc, then I love you too, but only in a manly non-gay way like those Spartans that ran around in their underwear together in the movie 300. The people at Wiki may say you're a "bad hand", but I think you're just misunderstood.

Yours, BCL.

h/t Ns-Out.

More at AR Canada.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Tories Take Finances Down Toilet

OTTAWA — The federal government has started the new fiscal year in a rare deficit position, announcing Friday it was $517 million in the red after two months as tax cuts and a slowing economy sliced into revenues.

For those who think the Tories won't take a hit for this (yeah you Grumpy one) during a Fall/Spring election campaign, Canadians expect their government to do more than simply ride the ups and downs of the business cycle. That's why the deficits Ernie Eves revealed in his last budgets cost the Ontario Conservatives so heavily. It was though there had been all this pain for zero pay-off.

And I would remind people that, after 9/11 the U.S. economy slid briefly into recession while the Canadian economy, due to some steady economic helmsmanship by Chretien and Co., did not.

In this country Conservatives have to earn the title of "fiscally responsible". It is not given them by default.

More CTF Advice For Tories: Pull On Your Neck-Ties Until It Hurts!

CFP President John Williamson is advising the federal Tories to privatize Canada Post, even though this will almost certainly drive up postal rates for rural Canadians, who currently constitute the bulk of Tory support. The Western Standard's Matthew Johnston asks:

OK, so under this scenario rural people could possibly pay more for mail, while city folk pay more for...housing, for instance. What’s the problem?

Nothing, Matt, nothing. I hope...nay, I pray...that the Harper Tories make stiffing their base in the name of "free enterprise" a plank in their election platform.

Oh these Libertarian innocent.

PS. That's the way you really win the hearts and minds of Canadians! You hand out bridges! Plus I hear Harper has promised Quebec City a giant statue of Mitsou in a little yellow two-piece, made entirely out a locally manufactured pastry sugar!

Straight Outta Canadian Jesus Camp

...there is a new movement afoot. “In this end-time hour a radical generation is being raised up by Holy Spirit with a revelation of the power of mass prayer and fasting,” [Faytene Kryskow]writes . A “tribe of believing radicals” has succeeded in turning the tide. This tribe, it would appear, has convinced the Harper government to become its vehicle of virtue. Kryskow writes, “We now have a government that has been advancing the cause of righteousness and justice on many fronts and a generation that is catching a vision, from sea to sea, to influence every realm of society.”"

Another good piece by Dennis Gruending.

Kryskow, if nothing else, runs a pretty slick website, and the 4MyCanada summer guide makes for interesting reading. Paul Steckle's bill (C-338) criminalizing abortion after 20 weeks is still floating around, for example.

Monday, August 18, 2008

The Canadian Taxpayer's Foundation Offers Tories Election Advice

Senate reform might put some people to sleep, but many voters do not appreciate being governed by unaccountable and non-elected lawmakers.

Yeah, and all 7 of those many live in Alberta and vote Tory anyway. Come election time, could the CPoC Please, please run on Senate reform!

How Can He Do That?

The For Dummies version:

Because here's the thing: Even though we now have a fixed election law, it isn't completely binding on the government that adopted it.

The For Non-Dummies version:

1) The revised Act will NOT let a government that is down in the polls extend its term into a fifth year, a la Mulroney's gang and Bob Rae's hapless Ontario Dippers.

2) The revised act WILL continue to allow a government up in the polls to pull the plug on a parliamentary section and call a snap election, a la Chretien in 2003.

The question really has only ever been will the Tories, having touted Bill C-16, pay a price when and if they try and slip out through one of its loop-holes? Hard to say. If the first week of any election campaign can be made to be about the timing of the election call, then maybe. Think David Peterson.

By the way, Ted at Cerberus wrote about the defects of this Bill C-16 back in May/June of 2006. The MSM is just now catching up, apparently.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Flanders On OCPS Draft Guidelines: Pretty Nice Penis You Got, Wouldn't Want Anything To Happen To It

The Ontario College of Physicians and Surgeons has informed its Members that refusing treatment for religious reasons may violate the Ontario Human Rights Code and the OCPS code of conduct. This last bit might constitute a modification of OCPS policy. Of course, Flanders sees doom:

There will be the obligatory debate about Christians not being “above the law” and how if they want the job, they must meet the “ethics” of that job. Such a fraudulent portrayal of the question, of course, will be used by the media, I have no doubt. Very little attention will be paid to the odious idea of forcing a Catholic doctor to perform an abortion or to lop off a confused teenager’s penis in order to comply with the established fictional rights pushed by the sexual dictators of our age.

So: the OHRC wants your balls and the only thing standing in their way are the unsullied consciences of Catholic doctors.

Obama On The Oil Sands

"If it turns out that these [carbon sequestration] technologies don’t advance, and the only way to produce these resources would be at a significant penalty to climate change, then we don’t believe that those resources are going to be part of the long-term . . . future,” Jason Grumet, Obama’s senior energy adviser, told reporters in June.

Plans for Alberta carbon sequestration projects are going forward.

Just an FYI. Looks like another quiet news day.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Maurice Vellacott Supports The Right Of Health Care Workers To Only Treat Those They Approve Of!

The Ontario College Of Physicians and Surgeons has advised its members that Freedom of Religion is not absolute and they should take heed of the Ontario Human Rights code when deciding upon whether they will refuse service to potential patients on account of, for example, their sexual orientation. They also note that:

Physicians should be aware that decisions to restrict medical services offered, to accept individuals as patients or to end physician-patient relationships that are based on moral or religious belief may contravene the Code, and/or constitute professional misconduct.

Common sense, right? The needs of the patience trump the doctor's moral quibbles. You wouldn't want someone working in the system who, while they could not in good conscience perform an abortion, refused also to refer a woman to a doctor that would perform such a service (which is the kind of thing we'e talking about here).

Not according to Saskatoon Tory MP Maurice Vellacott. He wants all health-care workers to be able to pick and choose those they treat.

Maurice Vellacott, MP
August 15, 2008
Andréa Foti
College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario
80 College Street
Toronto, Ontario
M5G 2E2

Dear Ms. Foti,

Canadian physicians have enjoyed a measure of freedom of conscience that other health careworkers do not enjoy.

I have been attempting to remedy that situation for many years through a piece of legislation that would secure this Constitutional freedom for all health care workers. The latest version of this legislation can be found on Canada’s Parliamentary website as Private Member’s Bill C-537, and which I’ve also attached.

Section 2 of Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms guarantees freedom of conscience for all Canadians. It is a tragedy and an embarrassment that provinces across Canada do not secure freedom of conscience for nurses, medical students and pharmacists. It would be scandalous if Ontario, backed by its Human Rights Tribunal, chose to attempt to roll back this freedom of conscience for physicians as well. I hope that the College ofPhysicians and Surgeons of Ontario would not choose to prematurely concede to an anticipated order from the Tribunal to repeal physicians’ fundamental rights in Ontario.

In recent months Canada has witnessed a much more robust public debate about human rights than we have seen in many years. Ontario Human Rights officials are aware of this debate. It is clear that modern, Constitution-affirming Canadians recognize freedom of conscience as a fundamental human right. You would be on the right side of the issue if you also advanced and vigorously defended that position – for physicians and all other health care workers in Ontario.

Yours sincerely,

The next Human Rights battle in Canada? I sure hope so.

(Go through link for a glimpse of Bill C-537)

Christian Physicians Aren't Above The Law

From the College of Physicians and Surgeons document that is causing all the upset:

• The right to freedom of religion is not unlimited; it is subject to such limitations as are necessary to protect public safety, order, health, morals or the fundamental rights or freedoms of others;

And doctors don't just have to abide by the Ontario Human Rights Code. The College itself might get on their case for professional misconduct. When refusing to treat a patient on account of their (the physician's) religious beliefs, for example, doctors must:

• Provide information about all clinical options that may be available or appropriate based on the patient’s clinical needs or concerns. Physicians must not withhold information about the existence of a procedure or treatment because providing that procedure or giving advice about it conflicts with their religious or moral beliefs.

And what of it? Flanders seems to feel it would be okay for a doctor to lie in the name of the Bearded Sky-Monster. Why? The law is the law. Everyone else has to obey it.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Work For Which I Would Gladly Volunteer

Mariah Carey lives up to her diva reputation as she employs TWO people to towel her dry.

Reminds me of that joke from "What's New PussyCat". Woody Allen explains that he's found work helping the girls dress and undress at a Parisian strip club. When it is noted that 100 francs a week is not much of a wage, Woody says: "Yeah, but its all I could afford."

Rehabilitating Marc Lemire

Without heroes, without victims, the speechy movement amounts to very little beyond a few syllogisms cobbled together from Mill's On Liberty. No, to make it real, to put flesh on the abstractions, its been necessary for Ezra and Steyn and the gang to find examples of good men and women beat down by an out-of-control bureaucracy, to find proud citizens who've fought back against the language police.

Thus far, the best they've managed to come up with is Marc Lemire.

However, Lemire is a problematic figure, and maybe not good hero material. For example, the standard histories (ie wiki) tag him as "President of the often violent Heritage Front organization from January 1, 2001 until the organization folded around 2005." HF was a white supremacist gang, and that's their logo top-left.

But is this claim re the Heritage Front True? Lemire himself has apparently denied it, and just last month FreeD's Mark Fournier (posting as Entropy Squared) challenged his readers to "do what nobody else has been able to do. Source that ridiculous claim."

Well, they've been too busy paying off legal bills at FreeD to take up that challenge, but the folks at Anti-Racist Canada have done so and, not to spoil and wonderfully thorough post, but yeah, Lemire was leader of the Heritage Front. The money quote, from Heritage Front co-founder Gerry Lincoln:

This is more or less an open letter to the new leadership, specifically Marc Lemire, who seems to have assumed the role of head honcho and put his good name on the line.

It's a thankless job, but I guess somebody has to do it.


Thursday, August 14, 2008

More On Heritage Canada And Catholic Insight: This Time Its Conspiratorial!

Blazing Cat Fur has been doing a fair job covering the kerfuffle over the Questionable Content Complaint raised against Catholic Insight magazine. Her latest has a few scans of letters from Heritage Canada informing CI that it has been put on a watch list for questionable content, and that issues of it will have to be submitted to the Department of Canadian Heritage for vetting. If CI fails to comply, it may lose its PAP (Publication Assistance Program) subsidy, a sum of money handed out to Canadian magazines to help pay their mail-out costs.

However, BCF has a severe case of the SoCon Conspiracy Theories. You know: Heritage Canada is picking on Christian publications while letting the gays and the Islamists off the hook. Let me quickly deflate a few of her issues: the case of Father de Valk and Catholic Insight I believe a double standard may be at play, that not all animals are equal in the eyes of Heritage Canada, but more on that later. Based on what I have learned to date Heritage Canada has placed Father de Valk on their "watch list" for the same material by and large, that was used as evidence in the recently dismissed Canadian Human Rights Commission complaint raised against him. Father de Valk is in effect both guilty and innocent depending on which Kangaroo is in charge.

It is absolutely true that material which was not considered adequate evidence for convicting de Valk of the HRC complaint levelled against him is now being used as material in his QC complaint.

And that's just because the bar for having your PAP subsidy taken away really is just "being offensive", where this is defined as follows:

[The Magazine]...contain(s) material considered to be hate propaganda, sexual exploitation, excessive or gratuitous violence, denigration of an identifiable group or an any other way offensive.

Note the last phrase especially: "[in]...any other way offensive". Since the HRC ruling in the de Valk case basically stated that CI was offensive, but not offensive enough to meet the commission's standard for hate speech, then the decision is pretty good grounds for arguing that CI is in some way offensive. And of course that the mere fact that a HRC complaint was levelled against CI is in itself evidence that at least some people found its content to be in some way offensive.

Tough shit Father de Valk! Bye Bye free stamps!

In the same way, I have worked material into my QC complaint against Maclean's magazine from the various HRC complaints (that failed) against it. The argument will be: though not offensive enough to trigger an HRC sanction, the material is definitely offensive and therefore Kenneth Whyte ought to pay for his own stamps.

Secondly, BCF tries to draw a comparison between CI and Inside Out Toronto, a gay and lesbian film festival also sponsored by Heritage Canada. Well, yes, but Inside Out is not a publication and therefore not receiving a PAP subsidy. Catholic Insight is being judged specifically on its fitness to receive a PAP subsidy and not some other variety of Heritage Canada funding. This is just a silly attempt on BCF's part to muddy the waters.

Definitely Worth Writing Down

I asked: does The Green Shift become an easier sell now that gas prices have fallen from their highs of a couple months ago? Ted Hsu responds:

I think the answer might be very slightly yes. There is a concept from behavioural finance called 'anchoring'. When gas prices went up over the last few years, people felt that prices were too high because they were used to lower prices in the past, and did not take into consideration how the supply and demand for oil has changed in the past decade.

Now that prices have fallen somewhat, people may feel that gasoline is relatively cheap. Gas prices may not make the news headlines until a new high is reached. A tax on non-gasoline fossil fuels may be more palatable (in combination with the Green Shift's tax cuts)

Here's a good explanation of the psychology behind anchoring.

And, by the way, I've been reading Mr. Hsu's blog for about a month now. Very good stuff on green economics.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Claim That Google Blanked Georgia False--MSM Rooked By Azerbaijanis?

They Fooled Stupid
Western Journalists!

Yesterday, rumors flew that GoogleMaps had blanked areas of Georgia in an attempted to "remain neutral" in the Russia/Georgia conflict. These rumors were traced to the "Information Age" site, and to this cached version of a piece entitled "Google embroiled in Georgian conflict":

Yesterday, it emerged that the company had removed details of all roads, towns and cities in Georgia from its Google Maps online mapping service, as well as from the maps of neighbouring countries Azerbaijan and Armenia. According to the Azerbaijan Press Agency, the relevant maps went blank as soon as fighting broke out. However, satellite information was still available earlier today.

Several observers highlighted the fact that Google co-founder Sergey Brin is Moscow-born.

Meanwhile, Google is involuntarily providing cyber-refuge to Georgian websites that have been disrupted by Russian hackers. Georgian news site relocated to a domain on Google’s Blogger blogging infrastructure after a cyber-attack, reportedly originating in Russia, took the website down."

Well, anyone who took a quick look at Google realized that the maps were still there--they just contain very limited information, as do many of the maps from that part of the world(check out Kazakhstan or Niger, for example)--and today the story appears in an amended form. Apparently, the FP blog, among others, also reported the original story--sourced to allies of the Georgian Republic--uncritically. Suckered again, suckers!

So: a recurring theme. Journalists refuse to spend five minutes with teh Googles, and get rooked...this time by the freaking Azerbaijanis! Shame, stupid journalists! Shame!

French Climate Sceptic Passes Away

As reported on the Climate Sceptic mailing list, retired professor of climatology Marcel Leroux passed away on Tuesday, August 12th, in Marseille, France.

Here is an example of his work.

High Gas Prices As A Natural Carbon Tax, Part Whatever

U.S. Miles travelled 12 month moving average to May (see graph left).

And from Reuters:

U.S. oil demand during the first half of 2008 fell by an average 800,000 barrels per day (bpd) compared with the same period a year ago, the biggest volume decline in 26 years, the Energy Information Administration said on Tuesday.

Question: Now that gasoline has settled at about $1.25 per litre, down from $1.35 a month ago, does the Green Shift become a significantly easier sell?

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Take Their Free Stamps! Catholic Insight On Heritage Canada Watch List!

I've been puttering about with my Macleans PAP complaint for a couple of months now, and while the thing is about half-written up, I must say I haven't been putting alot of work into it lately. But now...NEWS designed to drive me to greater efforts! BCF reports:

Of further note is the continuing campaign of harassment against Catholic Insight by the branch of Heritage Canada responsible for funding Magazine Publications which has quietly placed Catholic Insight on a 'Watch List' for 'questionable content'.

Sources close to Father De Valk have confirmed that this report - dated 21/03/2007 'Report to Director, Periodical publishing Policy and Programs - Questionable Content Complaint: Catholic Insight' prepared by Sara Mayes, has resulted in Catholic Insight being required to submit a copy of each issue for screening.

The same sources also confirm the Magazine Publications complaint was initiated by a Toronto based 'Homosexual Activist'.

Two good bits of new information here:

1) The proper name for calling out a magazine that is publishing material in "any...way offensive" while receiving Heritage Canada money is a "Questionable Content Complaint".

2) The complaint should be directed to Director [of] Periodical Publishing Policy and Programs.

None of this information is retrievable from the Heritage Canada website, nor was it revealed to me in any of my email contacts with them.

So look out Kenneth Whyte! You're not being offensive on the taxpayer's dime when I'm around, and when I'm finished with Maclean's you will beg for the language cops.

I Like This Poem Because It Mentions Titties

I also thought it might apply to the Georgia/Russia conflict as much as it did to the Soviet invasion of Hungary:

uncle sam shrugs his pretty
pink shoulders you know how
and he twitches a liberal titty
and lisps 'i'm busy right now'

so rah-rah-rah- democracy
let's all be thankful as hell
and bury the statue of liberty
(because it begins to smell)"

But then I went looking for an old piece by Gwyn Dyer, in which he predicted a Russian military Renaissance, and found this one instead, in which he lays a verbal pounding on the Saakashvili regime. His conclusion:

There is no great moral issue here. What Georgia tried to do to South Ossetia is precisely what Russia did to Chechnya, but Georgia wasn't strong enough and South Ossetia had a bigger friend. There is no great strategic issue either: apart from a few pipeline routes, the whole Transcaucasus is of little importance to the rest of the world.

In six months' time, we probably won't even remember this foolish adventure.

A conclusion I think I disagree with. For one thing, Georgia has already called home about half the troops involved in its Iraq deployment, and its hard to see them maintaining their role in that country in the required numbers and with the required enthusiasm. Furthermore, the President's of Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, and Poland, all current or former contributors to the Multinational force in Iraq, issued a statement yesterday in which they asked NATO and the West to do more than "twitch a liberal titty"in response to the Russian invasion. So far they seem to have got little in the way of a concrete reply from Western leaders, and I imagine they're beginning to wonder just what their participation in the Western War Of Terror has bought them lately, and thinking that, going forward, maybe they won't be playing that game so much.

PS. National Post Uber Hawk Jonathon Kay has already thrown in the towel on behalf of the West, referring to Democracy as an "abstraction".

One More Time To The Well!

Latest in the FreeD lawsuit saga. Shorter version: Warman and Kinsella are Evil, yada yada yada, send us an extra $1800 for the defence fund. This on top of $3,200 in early July, another $3,000 in early May, and $870 collected back in February. We'll see how quickly the coffers fill up this time.

...and who knows, maybe their legal/HRC difficulties are not over?

Welcome FreeD readers! More FreeD related material here.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Conservative Stratergizing?

Why did the CPoC's chief campaign strategist Doug Finley arrange to have his butt tossed from of today's Ethics Committee hearings into the In And Out Scandal? Well, it did get him at least a few headlines. Maybe he was hoping those headlines would crowd out these ones.

Georgia To U.S.: We Fought In Your War And All We Got Were These Lousy Platitudes

"As a Russian jet bombed fields around his village, Djimali Avago, a Georgian farmer, asked me: “Why won’t America and Nato help us? If they won’t help us now, why did we help them in Iraq?”"

Short Answer: because America is weak and broke and losing two wars already, and the line they fed you about standing together for Freedom was a load of bullshit from the word go. Sorry.

But What Will Ed Say?

It's a national cap and trade system, albeit a not particularly effectual one that caps emissions intensity rather than emissions per se.

Given Mr. Stelmach's previous remarks re such schemes

"A cap-and-trade scheme is a money transfer that does nothing to reduce pollution. In fact, it just allows companies to pay to pollute."

...his lack of outrage at John Baird's "Turning The Corner" plan is most interesting.

The EcoLibertarian has the best thing I've read on the plan, which he describes as Kyoto-esque.

Sunday, August 10, 2008


These guys will probably need to update their website:

Sunrise Propane and it's employees take great pride in being able to deliver very competitively priced propane and industrial gases with exceptional service to all customers. Satisfied customers are the foundation upon which Sunrise Propane was built!

If you haven't read about it or seen it on TV yet, there were a number of large explosions at the Sunshine Propane facility in West Toronto this morning, sending huge fire-balls into the air, and forcing the evacuation of residences in a one mile wide radius from the site.

What the police worry about now are a number of propane tanks upon which "flames are impinging". They are hosing these down with cold water, hoping to keep the liquid inside from reaching the boiling point and causing a BLEVE, or "boiling liquid expanding vapour explosion". That would occur if the propane within one of these tanks breaches its container wall, and sends a huge cloud of steaming, flammable vapor into the air which itself then ignites. The result might look a bit like this:

Back in Langford, B.C., about 25 years ago, we dodged one of these things by a fairly narrow margin when a facility up the road from Belmont Highschool sprang a leak and a stream of liquid propane wound up flowing freely down Jacklin road. The two staff on site at the time, a couple of boneheads I went to highschool with, fled at the first sign of trouble. Eventually the fire department staunched the leak and nothing bad happened, but apparently there were vehicles driving up and down Jacklin and splashing through puddles of propane for an hour or so. Afterwards our local paper ran a graphic showing the area that could have been damaged had one of the propane tanks in the yard went off.

Comparisons were made to a small atom bomb, which is what many of the residences mentioned this morning.

Beyond T.O.!

As noted previously, I've spent the last several days visiting the wilds of Central Ontario. Me and the wife got back last night, and here are some photos from our trip, with my annotations.

The Great Wall Of Utterson

Built decades ago by the local farmer folk to keep out...things. When I asked our gracious host Buelly Walker what kind of things he replied "Those we don't speak of", and made the sign of the cross.
Ruins of a UFO!
Out walking Friday morning, Buelly showed us the wreckage of an alien space craft. Apparently, my wife and I are the only outsiders ever to be shown the crash site, so this photo is probably worth a fair bit of money! Also according to Buelly, the aliens come from the planet ell xpress. They survived the wreck and now operate a pottery shop in Gravenhurst. Weird that they should speakEnglish, but I guess it really is the universal language.

Sorority Swamp!
This is where the college-age backpackers that come through town every summer get tossed after they've been eaten.
During our stay, the wife and I were lucky enough to catch a glimpse of the local wildlife, some of which can only be found in this part of Ontario. Here are a few of my better pictures.

The Great Black Woodpecker!
Or, as the locals refer to them, blackpeckers. Hard to get an idea of scale from this picture, but they are quite huge--eighteen inches in length, at least. A very king among birds.

The Great Carnivorous Sky Dove

According to our gracious host Buelly, the Carnivorous Sky Dove is the largest flesh eating avian in all of Muskoka. As an adult, they have a wing-span of 25 feet or more, and have muscled out the Golden Eagle as Lord of the Stratosphere throughout Central Ontario. This picture is of a baby just out of the nest. Its about the size of a pigeon.

Friday, August 08, 2008

By The Time You Read This, I WIll Have Been Eaten By Bigfoot

...or not, but I will definitely be somewhere in the woods around Huntsville with my digital camera and, hopefully, an ATV that can survive alot of abuse at the hands of an incompetent city-boy driver.

The wife and I have been invited to a friend's cottage out in that area--apparently the rumors of stuff actually existing North of Steeles Ave. are true--and it is very unlikely I will be able to post anything before Sunday, although I will be taking along a laptop and power-supply just in case one of the trees has a plug-in socket.

Hopefully, upon my return Sunday morning I will have a camera full of nature pictures, or at least a few shots of skinny-dipping hippie chicks, that I can share here.

PS. Comments are off because Jonathon is a dick.

Can Harper Run On The Economy?

After inheriting a substantial surplus from the former Democratic administration, the Republicans have managed to drive the U. S. economy to near chaos. Sounds eerily familiar, doesn't it? Yes, the Harper Conservatives also inherited a fiscal surplus from the former Liberal government and, like their Republican cousins, they have squandered it all.

Very simple argument to make.

So, in answer: I think not.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Curran On Orchard

I shouldn't have to tell you how I stand on the matter but, just in case you forgot, I am all for David Orchard becoming the Liberal Party Candidate for DMCR. I've explained my reasons over and over again, but the main reason is that the Liberal Party has to do something different in the prairies and I believe David will act as a catalyst in that regard.

I 2nd these sentiments.

People look at Orchard and see, politically, a weird cat. But maybe not so much. If you wanted to "slot" him politically, who would you compare him too? My first thought is Elizabeth May: progressive on Enviro issues, conservative on various social ones. In the West that may be a useful combo, because remember that a fair portion of the Conservative vote picks Green as their next choice.

In any case, the Libs could use a few more staunch enviro warriers on the Prairies.

And, certainly, they have been more than able to work with Ms. May on occasion.

New Poll, No Change

The Green plan hasn't helped, but not hurt either. Bernier/Couillard, In-And-Out, Cadmania...have all failed to move the numbers. What's it gonna take?

(Although on the other hand The Tories usually bump up a couple of points in summer as people realize they're best at doing nothing, and that doesn't seem to have happened.)

From AngusReid.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

The News, Post MSM

Is Jonathon Kay right?

If the Natty Post and the NY Times were to disappear, could bloggers essentially take over, or would something be lost? I remember talking with someone (might have been Steve V) about waiting for National News Watch to update in the morning, because it supplied the news about which we bloggers could then opinionate.

Is he right? Is that all "we" do and, if the primary content providers go kerflooey, would we have anything to write about?

Well, as someone who, as well as exploring the intersection between "boobies and power", makes an occasional attempt to "break" news the MSM has missed, I think there are a couple of ways to go beyond mere editorializing.

1) Read everything on topic X and cobble together an Uber story, hoping that the whole will exceed the sum of the parts. For example, the saga of Tom Zytaruk and the Cadman tapes is really a detective story stretched out over several months and any number of news stories and blog posts. Reassembling the various pieces can actually provide insight and, if you make yourself aware of all that has gone previously, occasionally you can add a small piece or two that wasn't there before.

Of course, this depends on there being MSM content already in place.

2) Read everything, basically. I regularly scavenge the Blogging Tory sites, Lifesite, FreeD, and several dozen email lists and forums, in search of material that is not available elsewhere. Occasionally you do find stuff that has not yet reached the papers. I am particularly happy about these two posts, about how Mississauga Tories trash-talked their candidate Melissa Bhaghat on the Net for, essentially, being a ex-Liberal and not being an old white guy. The reason I am happy about them is that, about a week after the 2nd post, a story appeared in The Toronto Star that rehashed very much the same ground. This blog was not mentioned, but its pretty clear it served as one of the sources.

And when Anne Cools got booted from the Tory caucus, you read it first here. This kind of thing does not rely on a "real" reporter to do the work for you.

But what about Kay's main point?

Not to be old-fashioned, but there are certain kinds of important stories that simply cannot be covered, except by deep-pocketed traditional media organizations employing professional journalists.

Well, yeah. I can send an email off to people when I have questions. For example, Tom Zytaruk has replied and offered small insights to his story that I've not seen elsewhere. And I've occasionally had scientific luminaries like Tom Holtz and Terry Sloan lend their expertise to a blog post. However, that's about all I can do. I can't make long-distance calls, I can't physically go looking for anyone. Unless someone pays me to do it. I've offered my services to Macleans since they disappeared Steyn, but so far there's been no response.

Oh and legal liabilities, too. If you try to uncover facts, you occasionally get them wrong. I would love to huddle under the wings of a media conglomerate when this happens (although I also think this kind of protection leads to sloppy reporting).

What I would like to see is: the aggregator becomes the paper. Bloggers submit to the aggregator, which is now a commercial enterprise, and the aggregator pays the blogger directly, as well as providing legal insurance and etc. The reader visits the aggregator and goes directly to the writers they want to read, which constitute a fluid, ever-changing line-up.

Don't know how likely or possible a future like that really is, but its what I'd like to see...