Friday, July 31, 2009

Morano's Latest Climate Change Dissenter: Scientist Or Garbage Man?

Back in June, Rudy Baum, Editor-in-Chief of the Chemical and Engineering News, wrote a piece in which he argued of the AGW denialist movement that

We see here the same tactics used by other purveyors of nonsense rejected by the mainstream scientific community. Creationists, for example, only want to expose students to “both sides of the debate over origins,” ignoring the fact that there is no debate over evolution.

A number of angry letters to the Editor ensued, particularly one from a fellow named Steven J. Welcenbach, which claimed rather ominously that Mr. Baum would "be removed" as C&EN's Editor-in-chief.

Now Marc Morano has made Mr. Welcenbach his hero de jour, and has published a string of emails from Welcenbach in which he claims that Baum has censored articles and letters that reject man-made global warming claims.

I'm not going to get into the meat of Mr. Welcenbach's claims; they are the same old same old. I would merely point out that, as in so many cases, Morano rather wildly inflates Mr. Welcenbach's credentials. He appears to be neither a) an environmental chemist or b) a scientist in any halfway strict sense of the term.

In fact, Mr. Welcenbach has BS (Bachelor of Science) in Chemistry from the University of Wisconsin. An undergraduate degree, in other words.



Furthermore, one of the companies Mr. Welcenbach owns--Third Coast Courier--is described by the State of Wisconsin's Department of Natural Resources as a Solid Waste/Recyclables Transporter.

He hauls garbage, in other words. Not that garbage entrepreneurs are not entitled to have an opinion on Global Warming. It just doesn't really count as either a "scientific opinion" or even the opinion of a scientist.

Sorry Marc, gotcha again.

PS. Steve Bloom notes in the comments that it might be more fair to characterize Welcenbach's business as "toxic waste removal" or some such thing. Maybe, but here's a site that ranks his other business, Alchemical Ventures, as being one of the top "Rubbish & Garbage Removal Contractors " in Menomonee Falls, Wisc.

What Diane Ablonczy's Up To This Summer

She's off on a Staycation, driving from Ottawa to Calgary in what appears to be a blue motor-home.

As the Minister for Small Business & Tourism I thought that a great way to spend my vacation this summer would be seeing all the wonders of my great country! I hope that you will follow my adventures and suggest sights and attractions.

Sounds like she's not only had some of her ministerial duties rescinded, but has taken a pay cut as well. So far, the only advice on destinations she's received is "the Chip Truck near Kenora". I'm sure my readers can suggest a few more interesting locales between The Peace Tower and Calgary. For instances, there's that shop in Scarborough that sells bondage gear, and there must be a few good sex parades happening along her route.

h/t

Business Insider's Climate Change Denier Top 10

...resembles a cross between The Bucket List and what you're likely to see if you've got a back-stage pass to a Rolling Stones Concert.











Oh yeah and one guy that's already dead!



Work your way into the Deniers' 2nd and 3rd lines and, unfortunately, these as well are geezer heavy. We're not being ageist here, for it is not entirely true that science is a "young man's game", but you can pretty much guess the result if you set Tiger Woods head to head against Arnold Palmer.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Just A Thought

The oh so horrible errors in the Telegraph Journal's "cracker caper" story (I'm tired of wafer-gate), which inspired a front page apology and got editor-in-chief Shawna Richer fired--are still there in the on-line version of the Telegraph-Journal story. Or at least the current and cached versions are identical.

Strange bunch,over there at the TJ, to make such a big fuss and then make no corrections.

CPoC Candidate For New Westminster-Coquitlam Is Mildly Hot

That is all.

Wind At Our Back?

...or meaningless twitches in the numbers?

A survey by Angus Reid Strategies for the Toronto Star shows the federal Liberals with 34 per cent support and the Conservatives with 33 per cent – a statistical dead heat. The result is a warning for any party thinking of plunging into a fall election: No wind of change is blowing across Canada.

The CPoC vote share hasn't changed since the last go round, but the Libs are up four points. Stephen Harper seems to be defying the conventional wisdom that a government's polling numbers improve during summer when they can traipse about handing out money. And I don't know when the polling period for this latest survey ended--is it possible that the return of wafer-gate has actually damaged the Tory numbers?

Meanwhile, my secret sources tell me that this latest Tory scandal is about to get even deeper--its no longer just about crackers! Now there's pork rinds involved!!!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Rumor: Heritage Canada Prepared Talking Points On Wafergate

Sources tell me that Canadian Heritage's protocol officers, perhaps having seen a live feed of the event, or witnessing it in person, were preparing talking points re "where did the wafer go?" on the very day of the LeBlanc funeral. If so, the Tories saw they had a problem even before the infamous TJ article appeared and were already making an effort to defuse it.

An access to information request has already been filed in an attempt to retrieve these talking points.

If true, this shouldn't be surprising. Silly talk of a Liberal conspiracy aside, all sorts of people saw the original video on the day of the funeral. Even Rick Mercer, on July 10th, noted that his first reaction had been

"[The wafer is] in his pocket as we speak.... It's in his pocket with the gum."

And, oh yes, fingering Liberal Party figures by name as being responsible for the "conspiracy", or as bearing responsibility for getting to the bottom of the "conspiracy", is the kind of thing that can get you sued.

Ezra Levant Uses His Freedom Unethically

Even in vigorous debate over public policy issues there are rules for verbal combat; there is an ethics of debate.

Rule number one: it is nearly always wrong to personally attack those who hold opinions different from yours. When done deliberately, attacking your opponents instead of their views is dishonest because it purports to be about one thing – the public policy in question – but is actually about something else, the destruction of your opponents’ credibility or integrity. It can also be self-defeating. When seen for what it is – basically, character assassination – it can undermine whatever validity there is in your policy position.

Regardless, the strategy is often employed, most notoriously at present, by Ezra Levant, lawyer, writer and blogger on human rights commission issues, in his campaign against Jennifer Lynch, Chief Commissioner of the Canadian Human Rights Commission. Here is a small sampling of the things Levant has written recently about her: “Jennifer Lynch is a damned liar,” “an execrable woman” and a “pathological liar.” “What an odious woman. When she accosted me . . ., I didn’t recognize her . . . She is much more haggard and old than her ancient publicity picture.”

This kind of personal attack, while not illegal unless false and thus defamatory (which some of this stuff might be), violates the ethics of debate because it targets a person, not the policy under scrutiny – whether the Canadian Human Rights Commission should have the power to regulate speech. And while Levant’s comments may be, taken cumulatively, intimidating, they have literally nothing to do with the law reform issue at hand.

This from Janet Keeping, the President of the Sheldon Chumir foundation, of whom Ezra once wrote

The Chumir Foundation is run by true liberals, like Janet Keeping – a deeply thoughtful woman who truly cares about real human rights.

The Chumir Foundation is on record as supporting the repeal of section 3 of the Alberta Human Rights, Citizenship and Multiculturalism Act. It seems though they have realized that having Ezra on your side of an issue is a net negative.

The Speechies Will Be All Over This One

...because of course the logic behind "tougher penalties for honour killings" must surely be the same logic that lies behind hate crime legislation.

As for myself, I don't know. If a fairly rigorous definition of an honour killing can be given, then maybe. Trouble is, the word gets tossed around rather wildly. The thing in Kingston sounds as a bit like a guy bumping off his wife for a younger woman, a crime which is not culture specific.

More T.O. Garbage Woes


Another free daily, starting September 8th.

Interesting to see, though, who the names behind it are. Recent MSM castoffs? It will be distributed in the afternoon-evening, and from the sounds of it, will be geared to people planning an evening on the town.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Someone In The Harper Gov. Laying Muscle On The Irvings?

Yesterday we get this story-- Tories talk teamwork to salvage shipbuilding--in which "four federal cabinet ministers" lasso Canada's largest shipbuilders, one of these being the Irving-owned Halifax Shipyards, and "encourage" them to "work together" to salvage a number of Tory sponsored defense projects.

Today, we get a grovelling apology out of the Irving-owned Telegraph Journal re wafer-gate. In addition, the names of the newspaper’s editor, Shawna Richer, and the publisher, Jamie Irving, are off the masthead in this morning's edition. Quite odd, as there is at least some independent evidence that Harper did not in fact eat the communion wafer immediately, and unless Monsignor Brian Henneberry, vicar general and chancellor in the Diocese of Saint John, was wildly mis-quoted, then both of the statements the TJ has retracted have at least some support.

Stephen Taylor suggests that TJ reporters Rob Linke and Adam Huras threatened legal action against their own paper. It occurs to me, though, that its just as likely the Tories are applying legal pressure to an Irving owned newspaper as a means of getting its shipbuilders to fall in line.

Stephen Harper to Catholics: WTF Is This Cracker?

The Telegraph Journal's apology to Harper this morning made me decide to dig around a bit into the wafer-gate scandal. After all, nobody actually saw Harper put the communion wafer in his pocket, but what is wrong with this statement from the original story?

A senior New Brunswick Roman Catholic priest is demanding the Prime Minister's Office explain what happened to the sacramental communion wafer Stephen Harper was given at Roméo LeBlanc's funeral mass

I still don't know, but I did find this rather humorous bit of mini-news from the Catholic Blog In the Light of the Law:

Update: Sources say Harper consumed the Host, some claiming right away, others, just after Mass when he asked a Catholic what to do with it.

No word as to the Catholic's response.

They've Found A Use For WIlliam Shatner


...and its a funny one.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Hudak's Shadow Cabinet

...can be found here. Randy Hillier gets Northern Development, Labour and becomes PC Party Executive. I imagine he will use the role of Labour critic to continue his war on the OHRC.

Mark Steyn--Science Or Stupid?

Mark Steyn, whose most famous scientific pronouncement (thus far!) has been that the world is "pretty much the world the Psalmist outlined in the Old Testament thousands of years ago", once more hurls rhetoric at the gates of Reason. Once again, climate change is the issue:

Then from 1940 to 1970 there was a slight cooling trend. In its wake, Lowell Ponte (who I believe is an expert climatologist and, therefore, should have been heeded) wrote his bestseller, The Cooling: Has the new ice age already begun? Can we survive?

No. Lowell Ponte is not and has never been an "expert climatologist". He has edited Reader’s Digest Magazine, worked in talk radio, and ran a PR firm. But that's not the same thing.

And so it is not at all surprising that, generally speaking, he was ignored by the scientific community at the time, the 1970s global cooling consensus that you may have heard about being largely mythical.

Go back to Muslim bashing, Mr. Steyn. Play to your strengths.

Anthony Watts Panics

This video is no longer available due to a copyright claim by Anthony Watts Surfacestations.org

...is all you see when you try to access the "Watts Up With Watts" video ridiculing his Surface Stations project. This from a guy that's constantly bitching about how government agencies handle climate data.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

The End Is Nigh?

July 26, 2009, 8:30 p.m. – Message from Ann Dembinski, President

I want to let all Local 79 members know that we believe we are close to a negotiated settlement.

It is important that we maintain a strong presence on the picket lines until we reach an agreement on your behalf.

Local 79 will continue to work around the clock until we get there.


Not tomorrow, but maybe by Wednesday. That would get the workers back in time for a late August paycheck, as I understand it.

To Know Him Is To Sue Him, Part II: Ezra Gets Sued AGAIN

...blithers at length, and I do mean at length, begs for money.

Actual information in the post:

Khurrum Awan of the CIC is doing the suing.

Brian Shiller, who has also worked for Warren Kinsella and Richard Warman in the past, is his lawyer.

The libel notice is here.

The rest is the literary equivalent of watching a pot boil over.

Chris De Freitas Back Pedals

Much back and forth on climate blogs about this paper, Influence of the Southern Oscillation on tropospheric temperature, by AGW deniers J. D. McLean, C. R. de Freitas (who I have written about previously here), and R. M. Carter. It has been touted by Morano as yet another refutation of AGW theory and, indeed, the paper's press release makes just such claims:

Nature not man responsible for recent global warming

[...]

Bob Carter, one of four scientists who has recently questioned the justification for the proposed Australian emissions trading scheme, says that this paper has significant consequences for public climate policy.

"The close relationship between ENSO and global temperature, as described in the paper, leaves little room for any warming driven by human carbon dioxide emissions. The available data indicate that future global temperatures will continue to change primarily in response to ENSO cycling, volcanic activity and solar changes.”

“Our paper confirms what many scientists already know: which is that no scientific justification exists for emissions regulation, and that, irrespective of the severity of the cuts proposed, ETS (emission trading scheme) will exert no measurable effect on future climate.”

However, faced by a barrage of withering criticism in the blogosphere, for example

That ENSO is a major contributor to variability in global temperature, is ancient news[....]That ENSO is a major contributor to recent trends in global temperature, they have not shown — not even “perhaps.” In fact it’s downright impossible for their methodology to do so.

...co-author De Freitas has essentially disowned the remarks from his own presser. This admission occurs deep in the comments at Watts Up With That:

Chris de Freitas (16:08:44) :

The paper by McLean et al (JGR, 2009) does not analyse trends in mean global temperature (MGT); rather, it examines the extent to which ENSO accounts for variation in MGT.

[...]

Since so much of the criticism in the blogosphere to date is about the failure of the McLean et al paper to detect trends, which was not the aim of the paper

What this means is that Mr. de Freitas is admitting that his paper says nothing of significance about the existence/non-existence of AGW, contra the statements in its press release. Kudos to Joel Shore (also in the WUWT comments) for screwing this admission out of Mr. De Frietas.

And if you are wondering how the paper made it through peer review in the first place, there is an interesting trick AGW skeptics will sometimes employ (Roy Spencer does this sometimes) wherein they make their wild and crazy assertions in the press release to the paper, but leave them out of the paper itself. That is, the paper becomes an occasion for a polemic conducted via press release, blogosphere, and MSM. That seems to be what has occurred here.

PS. The same climb-down, posted by McLean and attributed to all three co-authors, also appears in the comments at Real Climate.

PPS ESNO=El Niño

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Bitch Bitch Bitch

From Guy Lauzon:

In June, by a 38-33 vote, Michael Ignatieff's Liberals voted to delay crucial Conservative legislation (Bill C-15) that would crack down on drug crime and on the criminal gangs that profit from illegal drugs. The Ignatieff Liberals also voted to block a vital law that would crack down on auto theft (Bill C-26). Michael Ignatieff and his Liberals continue to use the Senate to oppose and obstruct the tough new laws. The Liberals are using unelected Senators to block the will of the House of Commons and to ignore the needs of law-abiding Canadians. Enough is enough. We cannot let Michael Ignatieff and Liberal Party use the unelected Senate to stop legislation that is urgently needed to protect the safety and security of Canadians.

Actually, the June vote was in the Senate (Iggy and Co. supported C-15 in the House), and since its barely been a month since the Bills in question arrived, you can hardly blame the Senators for exercising their sober second thoughts.

In any case, it does look like the Liberals are tilting right in the HOC, and displaying common-sense in the back rooms. Too bad they can't do it in public.

Saskatchewan Human Rights Tribunal: Public Officials Check Your Religion At The Door

[55] I agree with the tribunal’s finding that Mr. Nichols performs a governmental activity when he acts as a marriage commissioner. As a government actor, he is not permitted to consider his personal religious views when performing his public functions.

So a marriage commissioner in Sask. cannot refuse to marry same-sex partners. At least not yet. But, given given the rulings cited in that judgement, it is difficult to see how "conscientious objection" exemption would survive a test of constitutionality under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Tory On Tory Violence: No Youth Wing Blog And Facebook Page Threatened With Lawsuits, Pulled Down

The story about a group of young Conservatives trying to establish a CPoC "youth wing", and a 2nd group of Conservatives (including, apparently, several CPoC staffers) who launched a "No Youth Wing" blog and Facebook site, got some media attention when Susan Delacourt posted on it a week or so ago.

Now--perhaps in the face of legal threats outlined here--both the "No Youth Wing" blog and facebook page have been made to disappear. Furthermore, a 2nd facebook site has been created dedicated to the proposition that the staffers behind the "No Youth Wing" faction should be fired. I see that Cherniak has joined, and now so have I.

Ah, summer in the blogosphere.

Yeah, Mark Steyn...

..is a Creationist.

The original ID was made here back in 2005. Best part? It appears as though Mr. Steyn has expunged all reference to these remarks from his website (but if I'm wrong I'm sure somebody will point it out).

(PS. the "gibbons or pumpkins" ref is to a unique sounding phrase in Steyn's remarks. I figured it would be a useful search term. Nothing else retrieved the entry on Steyn's site either)

Diane Ablonczy: I Swear I Thought She Was A Women

From Today's National Post, Diane Ablonczy's guest editorial, which I have reproduced below:

Firstly, it is a good thing that Charles McVety exists, okay? A very good thing! If Charles Mcvety didn't exist, there would be anarchy, a godless darkness filled with men in thongs, singing and dancing and having cuddle parties! Okay? Charles McVety is truly, truly wonderful. Lets get that out of the way. I love you Charles McVety.
2ndly, don't fuck with those rural backbenchers! I've been through that prick Brad Trost's riding many times, and its basically the foothills outside of gooberville. If you took every brain in town and rolled them together it wouldn't make a single moron. So I figured, what the hell? I've worked hard for the party, for the nation--I've worked hard for my jr. Ministry. Handing out tourism pork is supposed to be my gig! But no! They're like the Great Plains Illuminati out there. One word and there's pitchfork hanging out your ass! As happened to me! My own fault, though. I didn't see the signs, didn't obey the rules. So let me make another thing clear: Brad, you are a strong, wise male and I a mere woman with silly pretentions to individual autonomy. You are also a magnificent physical specimen, with an ass that's hard as a rock! All muscle, I swear! You could bounce a marble off that ass! In fact, you are so hot that it makes me wonder if...
And as for that damned picture! Too me that says "full bodied woman", okay? Look at the picture and tell me if it doesn't say "full bodied woman" to you. Canada's big cities, let me tell you, are crawling with "full bodied women".
So by all means lets get Government out of the festival business. Or at least get me out of the festival business. Although, I guess you could say that I am out of the festival business. Not by choice, though! I was rubbed out of the festival business.

(Okay, Stevie, I've said it. Can I have some power back now?)

CheckMate, Dr. Gates

A guest post by an NYPD police officer/Ph.D. candidate at Crooked Timber triggers a searching exploration of the whole Henry Louis Gates Jr. arrest thing. The consensus seems to be that Gates was lured outside of his home by the police officer onto public property so that he could be arrested for "tumultuous behavior".

From an earlier post on the extension of police authority:

A nonviolent domestic dispute serves as another example of using the law to gain extralegal authority. A woman calls police because she is sick of her baby’s father coming home and being rowdy after a night of drinking. An officer wants the drunken man to spend the night elsewhere. The girlfriend is not afraid of the man. Though the officer believes this argument will continue and perhaps turn violent, there is no cause for arrest. Police may not order a person from his or her home. But an officer can request to talk to the man outside his house. At this point the officer might say, “If you don’t take a walk, I’m going to lock you up.’ The man, though within his rights to quietly reenter his house and say goodnight to the police, is more likely to obey the officer’s request or engage the police in a loud and drunken late-night debate. The man may protest loudly that the officer has no reason to lock him up. If a crowd gathers or lights in neighboring buildings turn on, he may be arrested for disorderly conduct.

Tricky buggers.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Iggy's Itinerary

...for just this morning,apparently.

Meanwhile, the last week has also involved meetings with enviro leaders on climate change.

Chandler Strikes Back!

Mr. Craig Chandler responds to this morning's post:

WITHOUT PREJUDICE

TO: MJ Murphy
FROM: Craig B. Chandler,

Strategy / Coalition Outreach Chair,
Mark Dyrholm Campaign

This morning I read your blog and was quite disappointed.

I will go into a bit of detail because you are from Toronto and not residing here in Alberta. I understand that you may not really know the full facts.

Yesterday I responded to you after you posted that the Western Business and Taxpayer Association (WBTA) apparently endorsed Mark Dyrholm. I informed you that even Danielle Smith is receiving and endorsement from separatists and pointed to the http://www.themoderateseparatist.com/ as evidence.

My point in that was to show you something positive. If separatists are supporting Wildrose Alliance Party candidates this means we can eliminate the movement. If they feel all their provincial rights objectives can be met through an existing federalist party then we in Alberta have won against those that feel alienated. The Wildrose Alliance Party will welcome anyone who endorses our platform and we are seeing a great coalition of Albertans from all walks of life and all political stripes. We hope people such as David Crutcher (a close and personal friend) of the WBTA and Leigh Patrick Sullivan from The Moderate Separatist will realize that they can achieve their objectives in confederation. They are both good people, but, are wrong in their approach.

However, today you have written an article with some serious falsehoods and I do expect this letter to you to be posted in full on your blog.

* I did found Concerned Christians Canada (CCC) and Stephen Boissoin was a member and is still supported by many including Ezra Levant, John Carpay and many other credible conservatives. CCC did not settle with the Alberta Human Rights Commission (AHRC). Upon recieving dual complaints from the Canadian Human Rights Commission and the AHRC our lawyer suggested we settle at the federal level and continue our fight at the provincial level as not to waste resources. Although, I left the CCC many years ago I am well aware that this issue is currently before the Court of Queens Bench and will be making it's way to the Supreme Court of Canada.

* As for the Canadian Broadcast Standards Council? Anyone can file a complaint and as you can see by visiting www.chandlerradionetwork.ca I am still on the air.

* I never filed a Human Rights complaint with Ed Stelmach or anyone. The CCC wanted to on my behalf, but, I asked them not to. I do not believe in the AHRC and feel Section 3 should be eliminated and this is Wildrose Alliance Part policy. To write otherwise is slanderous.

* As for the Collingwood Ethanol fight? You have no idea of what you write and I will not comment on this other then we represented industry in that fight and all is resolved to the satisfaction of all parties.

* However, what surprises me the most is your headline of Trouble Out West: PGIB Moves To Take Over Wild Rose Alliance? This is silly for so many reasons.

* All the people you mention are also members of the federal Conservative Party and most serve on boards for the federal conservatives. Even Rob Allen was a Campaign Manager for a federal Conservative in Brampton last federal election. Does that mean the federal Conservative Party is taking over the Wildrose Alliance? All that you mention are also members of the Calgary Chamber of Commerce, does that mean the Calgary Chamber of Commerce is taking over the Wildrose Alliance? I could go on, but you get the point. The Progressive Group for Independent Business (PGIB) has a membership that is 70% supportive of the Alberta Progressive Conservative Party does that mean we took them over? However, those that have decided to join and participate I encourage. Like I mentioned above the "... Wildrose Alliance Party will welcome anyone who endorses our platform and we are seeing a great coalition of Albertans from all walks of life and all political stripes".

* Disappointed, but, hey you are from Toronto and all you have done in your post is unite Albertans because we are sick and tired of Easterners manufacturing conflict and spreading misinformation.

Craig B. Chandler
Strategy / Coalition Outreach Chair
Committee To Elect Mark Dyrholm
Direct: 403-726-2371
Phone: 403-203-3456Fax: 403-273-2940

Web site: www.markdyrholm.ca
Twitter: www.twitter.com/markforleader
FaceBook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Mark-Dyrholm/84882060781

Trouble Out West: PGIB Moves To Take Over Wild Rose Alliance?

Writing yesterday, I noted that the Separatist Western Business and Taxpayers Association (WBTA) had thrown its support behind Mark Dyrholm as leader of the Wild Rose Alliance. This prompted an email from Craig Chandler, Mark's Strategy/Coalition Outreach guy, pointing out that there were Western Separatists on all sides of the WRAP leadership race.

And I thought: Chandler, Crutcher, Dyrholm...where have I heard all these names together before? Turns out this gang go way back. For example, when the Wildrose & Alberta Alliance parties first merged, one of the slates for party executive of the new entity consisted of

Craig Chandler - VP Fundraising
Mark Dyrholm - VP Policy
David Crutcher - VP Membership
Harley Shouldice - Southern Regional Director
Don Leonardo - Southern Regional Director

When Crutcher ran for MLA under the banner of the Alberta Alliance, Chandler served as his campaign manager; when Chandler ran as an independent, Shouldice served as his campaign manager.

But the most important link between these gentlemen, and between the WTBA and Wild Rose Alliance, seems to be the The Progressive Group for Independent Business (PGIB). Here is a list of the folks on both the PGIB National Advisory Council and the Dyrholm campaign team:

Mark Dyrholm
Craig Chandler
Sid Helishauer
Harley Shouldice

And, as a bonus, it looks like WTBA policy guy Rob Allen is also A) a Member of PGIB, and B) on the Dyrholm team.

Interestingly enough, there's an Eastern connection here. The PGIB was born in Ontario during Chandler's university days. Its motto is "less government, lower taxes and political ccountability" , and it has at times taken credit for aspects of Mike Harris's Common Sense Revolution.

(Note: Mr. Chandler tells me I've got several things in this next bit wrong. For example, he is no longer associated with CCCI, and it was the CCCI that intended to launch a HR complaint on his behalf. I will leave the wording below as is, but go here for the correct account)

As for Chandler, who seems to be the driving force behind all of this (no matter what his official position in the various campaigns), one of the spin-off groups he founded is Concerned Christians Canada Inc. The infamous Stephen Boisson was once a member of this group (although I believe he was later disowned), and the letter that got Boisson in dutch with the AHRC was also published on the CCCI website, before Chandler settled with the commission and had it removed. He's also been in trouble with the Canadian Broadcast Standards Council.

And perhaps most odd: although Chandler has complained vociferously about the HRC persecution of Christians, he himself filed an HRC complaint against the Stelmach Tories for...wait for it... their alleged bias against Christians. Although, to be fair, in his recent email to me Mr. Chandler says he has dropped this complaint on the grounds that it would be hypocritical for him to employ a government body that he does not approve of. Further, the CCCI is participating in Boisson's legal challenge against Alberta's hate speech laws.

Finally, the PGIP has been in the news recently, after Collingwood Ethanol, owned by Craig's father Bruce Chandler, got into trouble for its odoriferous emissions. The PGIP was called in to conduct what appears to have been a campaign of intimidation against anyone criticising the facility..a campaign that apparently backfired:

It's not that Craig Chandler and his buddy David Crutcher were loud and obnoxious: it's that they generally flooded the local airwaves with largely inflammatory and in some cases, grossly inaccurate statements.

However, held against the light of day, it was clear their comments were full more of bluster than fact. The first time I interviewed Crutcher, for instance, he claimed the mayor was "trying to get rid of all industry in Collingwood."When I challenged him on it, he backtracked and tried to put the focus on the mayor's perceived hate-on for the ethanol plant.


Outside of the glare of the media, these two, uh, 'gentlemen' persisted, through two phone messages and a letter to the community. A website, www.collingwoodpgib.ca, still lingers on the Internet (sadly, however, without a peep about the apology.)

Anyway, once again, good luck Mr. Dyrholm. With such allies, you will probably need it.

Campaign Life Approves

...of overly pro-Gay Tory minister Diane Ablonczy losing the Marquee Tourism Events Program to the "more experienced" Tony Clement:

Campaign Life Coalition's Mary Ellen Douglas said she is pleased with the government's decision in this case. 'I think it's good news that the Conservative government has taken a stand against funding the Montreal [Divers/Cité gay pride] festival,' she told LSN. 'These events always seem to have alternate funding, and it's not justified to spend taxpayer's money on these festivals.'

'It appears that the portfolio is now in more experienced hands,' she said.

Meanwhile, the Montreal Gazette's editors are, shall we say, unhappy.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Western Separatists Support Mark Dyrholm For Wildrose Alliance Leadership

Finally, some movement out of the Western Business and Taxpayers Association (WBTA), "whose six point plan" includes

1) Create separatist network that will strengthen the businesses of separatists and help them prosper so they can in turn donate to groups like the Separation Party of Alberta and / or any other party that may come along in Saskatchewan, Alberta and British Columbia

[...]

6)Provide training in Campaign Management, Candidate Development, Fundraising, Media Training and more for those that want to organize for elected office or to promote the separation agenda across Western Canada or in their provinces specifically.

Here's an email from Executive Director David Crutcher:

Dear Friends of Alberta,

I just received this information from Wildrose Leadership Candidate, Mark Dyrholm.

I am supporting Mark and I encourage you to go to his website at
www.markdyrholm.ca and join up so you can vote in this one member, one vote mail in ballot vote.

David Crutcher

Executive Director
Western Business and Taxpayers Association (WBTA)
Phone: 403-456-3549
Email: executivedirector@itstimetogo.ca
Websites: www.wbta.ca www.itstimetogo.ca

Good Luck Mr. Dyrholm!

Whom You Would De-Homofy, You Must First Defund

Given Kady's musings re the Tory's witholding of funds for the Montreal, gay and lesbian arts festival Divers-Cite, it seems apropos to mention this open letter to Stephen Harper from REAL Women National President Cecilia Forsyth, which appeared on July 16th on the website of the Canada Family Action Coalition. That, of course, is Charles McVety's gang. In the letter, Ms. Forsyth criticizes the Harper Tories for funding Toronto's Gay Pride Parade, and makes a vague threat:

There can be no long-term stimulus by giving taxpayers’ money to homosexual groups. Such individuals do not make a substantive contribution to society by producing and raising children – essential for the future of our country. Instead, their high medical and social costs are not a public benefit. Canadian families are struggling in these difficult economic times, and a grant of this magnitude, to promote a hedonistic lifestyle, serves only to devalue their struggle.

The Conservative government’s decision to contribute to the promotion and marketing of the Toronto Gay Pride Parade condones the homosexual life style. It is an indication of your government’s abandonment of your political base. A low voter turnout in federal elections is already a concern, and this grant will only serve to exacerbate this problem for the Conservative government.

Yours truly,

Cecilia Forsyth
National President

Pressure successfully applied?

From The Sexxxy Files

Meet Varanus Lirungensis, the most recently discovered species of Indonesian Water Monitor. The person is holding it like that because they are extremely bitey. They stay bitey too, and the ones you see in the pet stores can grow to a good 7 feet or more. Typically, they are bought by kids as babies due to their bright color patterns, and later flushed by parents when they start growing. If you must have a monitor, get a Savannah (big, but easy to tame and easy to keep) or a roughie, which are gorgeous and very gentle animals.

There are a few places around that breed them, esp. Savannahs, so you won't necessarily be contributing to their reduction in the wild.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

That's One Confused Denier: Marc Morano Employs Pro-Hindu Young Earth Creationist Talking Points To Refute Global Warming!

Several days ago, this headline appeared on Climate Depot, a climate change denial site run by Republican Alpha-Hack Marc Morano (the guy behind the Swiftboat smear):It links to a post from a blog post re the Oronteus Finaeus Map, which purports to show Antarctica

...as being largely ice-free with flowing rivers and a clean coastline. Some of the mountain ranges pictured on the map have only been recently discovered.

...thus disproving the theory of man-made global warming. Except that the map, which isn't a particularly accurate portrayal of Antarctica in the 1st place, has long been employed by anti-evolutionists, ancient UFO buffs, and other assorted nut-jobs in support of their various conspiracy theories and hobby-horses. Notably, it turned up in the 1996 NBC program The Mysterious Origins of Man, narrated by none other than Charleton Heston. From Talk Origins:

Although MOM was anti-evolutionary, it was not advocating scientific creationism, even though some of the "experts" and arguments are familiar to readers of scientific creationist literature. Instead, just as scientific creationism is an attempt to use science to support fundamentalist Christianity, MOM is apparently an attempt to use science to support Hinduism. Much of the material in the program is based on the contents of two books[....] by Michael Cremo and Richard Thompson, both of whom appeared on the show and are members of the Bhaktivedanta Institute, a branch of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness.

Not surprising that the map


...probably based on the drawings of Portuguese sailors, and possibly depicting Australia rather than the Antarctic, should get pressed into service in the anti-AGW cause. Unfortunately, not surprising either that Morano should choose to highlight the kind of gibberish that has sprung up around it.

But I guess when your target audience is the Fox News crowd.

Canada To Launch WTO Complaint Re EU Seal Product Ban?

An interesting rumour (here's a story on the original threat), from people who should know:

I was talking to a friend in the trade policy world this weekend, who told me that he understands that Canada will indeed be taking a WTO action seeking remedy for the EU’s ban on the importation of seal products, imposed because of the perceived cruelty of clubbing baby seals to death so as to get their skins off intact. Apart from the innate merits of the underlying argument (which you can discuss in comments to your heart’s content), this should (unless Stephen Harper loses his job in the meantime and the new government loses interest) really, really have some interesting effects on debates over world trade and globalization. Screw the turtles – when anti-WTO protest groups are able to run full page newspaper ads with adorable baby seal cubs, they’re going to be in a truly excellent position to wage public relations war. All the more so when the Canadian counterposition (that the seals are killed humanely) turns on the legal requirement that the baby seals should have stopped blinking before the hunters start skinning them.
[...]
I wouldn’t be surprised if this turns out to be the coup de grace for trade liberalization this decade and the next (which does not, of course, mean that it would be the most important explanatory factor if trade liberalization grinds to a halt, merely one of the significant immediate causes).
Frankly, some things should best be left lie.
Ghastly political posturing aside (note Mr. Trudeau with his seal-skin pin), I suspect that the majority of our politicians reflect the majority view of Canadians in general--ie the seal hunt is a barbarous practice and should be brought to an end. Frankly, the EU is doing Canada a favour in taking all the political heat for a decision Canadians have been too afraid to make, right though they know it to be.

FreeD Legal Fundraising: Back To The Well

WestViking writes:

The legal bills are accumulating. As trite as it may sound, our freedoms are not free. We need to dig through the sofa cushions again and devote the price of the next latte to the fight for our freedoms. Our goal is thirty-three hundred ($3,300) this time.

This is all in the service of fighting their defamation case against Richard Warman. Interestingly enough, when it comes to meeting their target, it looks like FreeD may be going 0-3 this year. Both their March and January efforts stalled, and this latest has collected a grand total of $625 in five days.

As an aside, it looks like they try to raise an average $3,000 per quarter, and are saddled in with a $20,000 bill to fund their appeal. No word on how that is getting paid for.

Again, remind me never to get sued.

And on a somewhat related topic, WK wins again.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Pielke Sr. Responds...

...to continuing record high temperature readings from the UAH satellite. Specifically, I asked him when we might know the result of this "short term test" of Roy Spencer's hypothesis (vs.the IPCC's, read through link). He responded::

Thanks for alerting me to your weblog. I contacted them [UAH], and they reported there is a drift in the part of the diurnal cycle that the AMSU sensor samples. I have urged them to write a weblog on this issue to clarify as all of us are comparing with their long term average.

In the July analyses of UAH and RSS (which is from a different set of satellites without the drift) we will see if this record warm anomaly appears. I have been informed that since 1992, the RSS and UAH data closely agree with each other. The differences that do occur provide us with a measure of the uncertainty in the assessment of these climate metrics.

All of us should follow this data closely (along with the upper ocean heat data) as I feel a much better consensus can be achieved if we focus on this information, rather than the use of a global average surface temperature trend to assess global warming.

And later:

On the two hypotheses, however, we need to go through the current El Nino to see if the heat remains elevated or returns to a long term average. The upper ocean heat data will also be key in this assessment.

Given the other side of El Nino: some time in 2010 or 2011.

Roy Spencer Refuted By Own Website?

As noted here, July 14th proved to be the warmest day on record, according to data at the UAH website, a website co-authored by none other than Dr. Roy Spencer. Until, it would appear, July 18th:

A particularly interesting take on this comes from Roger Pielke Sr. He wrote on July 16th:

This record event is an effective test of two hypotheses.

Hypothesis #1: Roy Spencer’s hypothesis on the role of circulation patterns in global warming (e.g. see) might explain most or all of the current anomaly since it clearly is spatially very variable, and its onset was so sudden. If the lower atmosphere cools again to its long term average or lower, this would support Roy’s viewpoint.

Hypothesis #2: Alternatively, if the large anomaly persists, it will support the claims by the

IPCC and others (e.g. see Cool Spells Normal in Warming World) that well-mixed greenhouse gas warming is the dominate climate forcing in the coming decades and is again causing global warming after the interruption of the last few years.

Only time will tell which is correct, however, we now have short term information to test the two hypotheses. The results of this real world test will certainly influence my viewpoint on climate science.

I guess the question is: how long must we wait for the results of this real world test? At this moment, it seems to be going against Mr. Spencer.

Paul Fromm Back In T.O.

From The CAFE newsletter:

BRINGING THE MESSAGE TO STUDENTS

Friday, May 29 was a warm spring afternoon in Toronto. CAFE Director Paul Fromm spoke to a receptive grade 12 English class in West Toronto on the topic of "Internet Censorship." Many of the students were genuinely shocked to learn that they did not have freedom of speech or opinion over the Internet. The teacher remarked on the near perfect attendance -- a real achievement for the speaker, given that this was the last class of the day on a sunny Friday afternoon (a good time to cut the last class and get a head start on the weekend.)

The things they're dragging into our classrooms today. A real Internet law expert, a real free speech advocate, was apparently unavailable.

The newsletter gives no clue as to which high school Fromm appeared.

h/t A.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

RCMP Investigation Of CHRC Led To Investigation Of Marc Lemire

From some heavily redacted documents on Freedom Site.

During the course of the whole "hacked wifi" non-controversy, CHRC lawyer Kathleen Fawcett sent a letter to RCMP officer S. Turgeon requesting a background cheque on Marc Lemire from the DCAU.

The “DCAU” is the RCMP’s “DIVISION CRIMINAL ANALYTICAL UNIT”, which performs CPIC checks on Canadians. Marc Lemire is the man behind the origonal criminal complaint, and one-time leader of The Heritage Front. On FreedomSite, Lemire writes:

The contents of the message sent by the CHRC’s lawyer were censored from the report, but the RCMP immediately turned around and investigated Lemire*.

Not much further can be gleaned from the RCMP documents available (see below). But it is clear that:

The RCMP didn't trust complainants Lemire and Don Black of Stormfront.
They made note of the fact that the CHRC was a full 400 metres from Nelly Hechme's apartment (and therefore out of range of a wireless hack).
They also noted that a Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty (MLAT) would be required to secure access to Stormfront records, and these are only used for serious criminal matters, not bogus complaints made by white supremacists.
A post from Ezra's site is also included in the RCMP docs.

Full document here.

* Marc often refers to himself in the 3rd person.

We Got Trouble In Garbage City

This fellow didn't want to wait, so the police stepped in.

And its quite true, mild weather does not help the CUPE cause. On the other hand, strikers rejecting the City of Windsor's offer after 14 weeks has stiffened a few T.O. spines. "If they can hold out, why can't we?" goes the reasoning.

In an interesting twist, CUPE is behind on strike pay, and has been shorting quite a few of its members to the tune of about $40 per cheque. A number of them may be going to the union HQ on Monday to get some answers--the union picketing the union, as it were.

Meanwhile, the wife and I are getting on fine. We've discovered that you don't really need to waste heat and electricity cooking your Kraft dinner. You just suck on a fistful of macaroni until it gets soft, and then chew. Also, if it comes to it I have a few old belts lying around that I can boil and eat for extra calories.

We'll be fine until Labor Day.

Next Up: Government Subsidized Chastity Belts

Apparently, sexual violence in Quebec is caused by "hypersexualized" teenage girls. The federal government has a plan (and the $) to help:

OTTAWA — The federal government has allotted nearly $355,000 to help reduce sexual violence in part by promoting self-esteem and "solid values" among young Quebec girls.

Much to ridicule here, and Diva Rachel does an able job of it. I would just call attention to the following:

The project description says 15 girls in the regional county municipality of Matane, a community on the Gaspe Peninsula about 400 kilometres northeast of Quebec City, will be trained to act as community outreach workers and agents of change in their schools and communities...

Remember last Novemeber when Queen's University planned to train "dialogue facilitaters":

Their job will be to intervene in conversations they overhear among students in dining halls and common rooms in which topics of race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender, disability and social class are discussed. The facilitators, says Patrick Deane, the university's academic vice-president, are supposed "to serve their peers ... in difficult or sensitive discussions" and foster "a spirit of mutual respect and understanding ..."


There was a huge, I mean huge outcry. Robert Sibley, for example, wheeled out the specter of Communism:

...it amounts to the imposition of Marxist and left-radical agendas to the exclusion of others. In other words, the program's real purpose is to promote the supposedly progressivist ideologies of radical feminism, gay rights, multiculturalism, and, lest we forget, anti-westernism (read: anti-Americanism and anti-capitalism).

Note that the Queen's initiative involved no public money (as far as I can remember). In this case, we have the federal government shelling out $100,000s to fund a cadre of chastity cops, who will infiltrate the local community and "facilitate" when girls start to talk dirty, whatever counts as talking dirty out in the boonies "400 kilometres northeast of Quebec City". Not the imposition of socialism, clearly; more like the imposition of something out of The Handmaid's Tale.

I eagerly await the media backlash

h/t Dawg.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Their Timing Is Impeccable, Part II

The Many Forms Of Denial

Received a nice email yesterday evening from Bryan Birtles, an editor with Vue Weekly, which seems to be Edmonton's rough equivalent to T.O.s NOW or Eye magazines. He pointed me to a recent article of his entitled State of denial: New book challenges the claims and influence of AIDS Denialists, and he wrote: "Throughout my research...it became apparent to me that denialism in whatever form shares particular characteristics—it's hilarious, once you can identify them, to see them happen over and over again."

I am inclined to agree. To give just one example, compare this

...most [AIDS] denialists believe there is a conspiracy between pharmaceutical companies, academics and governments to promote the idea that HIV causes AIDS in order to make money off the disease.

...to one of Tim Ball's many, many pieces on the topic of AGW:

A huge industry has erupted as the UK newspaper the Telegraph reported. “Investing in climate change is proving to be profitable for governments, corporations, and investors from many sectors. Governments recent subsidies towards energy-efficient programs is bringing in newfound wealth for investors. In addition, the rising price of oil have been influential in pushing investments towards alternative energy sources. CEO’s are taking charge in ways that were unforeseen.” So, the very people and industries the environmentalists and socialists despise are doing what they do best - make money.

Knowledge takes many forms, but ignorance is always the same, it seems.

In any case, as Aids Denialism seems to have expended itself in the West, its easy to forget the terribly damaging effects it has had on other parts of the planet. From the article:

Influenced by information from the Internet as well as direct contact with a number of prominent AIDS denialists, former South African president Thabo Mbeki refused to implement a significant antiretroviral therapy program in that country, while at the same time denying that HIV caused AIDS. These actions, coupled with his government's promotion of vitamins and natural "cures" as better alternatives than antiretroviral therapies led to an estimated 330 000 deaths between 2000 and 2005, according to a 2008 Harvard study.

Cheers,
BCL

Free Dominon Strikes Back! Right-Wing Website Threatens To Expose CPoC Operatives If IP21C Is Not Killed!!

Connie and Mark Fournier, the owners of FreeDominion, a well known right wing forum, have had it with PM Stephen Harper and the CPoC (Conservative Party of Canada). Harper and Co. have disappointed on Free Speech issues often enough, and now the Conservative government is trying, via the Investigative Powers for the 21st Century (IP21C) Act, to "strip every single citizen in this country of their online anonymity". So the folks at Free Dominion plan to strike back! Connie writes:

... if this government insists on doing this [IP21C], we strip them of their anonymity, too.

Every blogger and forum owner in Canada should begin compiling a list of usernames that have been used by IP addresses owned by the Conservative Party of Canada or the House of Commons, and we should set a day for a collective "reveal".

And then Connie admits what long-time FreeD watchers have always suspected:

These people have had no problem using FD and sites like it as a free vehicle for their Party propaganda. Why should they have the advantage of distancing themselves from their own anonymous comments when they are trying to take that freedom away from us?

So that's where it stands at the moment. Conservative operatives have long been frequented FreeD, along with the likes of Bill Whatcott, Arthur Topham, and Peter Kouba. A list of their IP addresses is even now being prepared and, if IP21C has not been killed by a date yet to be determined, these IPs willed be spilled to to the world.

Free D denizens seem to be down with the plan, and I don't believe the Fournier's threats to be entirely empty. The roots of FreeDominion extend deep into the Conservative Party. For example, Mark Fournier once served as campaign manager for CPoC MP Peter Goldring.

When it all goes down, you can bet BCLSB will be there.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Pielke Jr: Global Cooling Debate Over


July 14, 2009: the hottest day in the UAH database. Records go back to 1998, which by some accounts was the hottest year on record (other accounts say 2005). The new El Nino kicking in?

H/T renowned climate researcher and skeptic Roger Pielke Jr., who says "...it does portend an end to the debate over global "cooling"."
Update: Irony of ironies-- the UAH web-page is authored by Dr. Roy Spencer.

Our Best Guess Is Is Likely Wrong (AGW Could Be WORSE Than Expected)

Marc Morano jumps all over the press release for this paper (Carbon dioxide forcing alone insufficient to explain Palaeocene–Eocene Thermal Maximum warming), and is flogging it as yet another blow to the theory of AGW. But he's got nothin'. From the release:

Doubling of atmospheric carbon dioxide is an oft-talked-about threshold, and today's climate models include accepted values for the climate's sensitivity to doubling. Using these accepted values and the PETM carbon data, the researchers found that the models could only explain about half of the warming that Earth experienced 55 million years ago.

Which is to say that something else must have caused the other half of the PETM warming. Co-author Richard Zeeb explains:

But Zeebe said this [the release of CO2] could only explain a 1 to 3.5 degree Celsius rise in temperatures, adding that a commonly accepted scientific range for a doubling of CO2 is between 1.5 and 4.5 degrees Celsius.

This meant other factors must have been at work to drive up temperatures between 5 and 9 degrees Celsius.


And if there are unknown factors that contributed to the PETM warming being greater than current models predict, then it is quite possible that future warming will be greater than what current models predict, as these unknown factors add their weight to the equation:

"If this additional warming which we do not really understand, was caused as a response to the CO2 warming, then there is a chance that also a future warming could be more intense than people anticipate right now," Zeebe said.

In addition, and contra Singer, who argues on CCNET that

Their discussion simply *assumes* that CO2 should be the cause of the sudden warming 55 my ago.

...the paper, more specifically Zeebe's later discussion with Reuters, makes no such assumption, at least if "cause" = "PETM trigger event".

"There may have been an initial trigger," he told Reuters on Wednesday from Hawaii. This could be a deep ocean warming that caused a catastrophic release of methane from hydrate deposits under the seabed.

...which is one of the standard theories in the relevant PETM literature.

Their Timing Is Impeccable

From Stats Canada's The Daily:

Travel from overseas countries declined 7.8% from April as 342,000 trips were taken to Canada. In May, 11 of the top 12 overseas markets recorded decreases, with Japan (-34.6%) recording the largest decline.

These figures are, by the by, from May. Here's some of the detailed breakdown:

The numbers are in the thousands, and they are from before the government's latest change to the visa rules. Tourism from Mexico is already down 26% as of two months ago (17,000 vs 23,000 in May 2008). Of course, I don't imagine any of the tourists are going to Fort Mac, so why would our current federal government even care?

The Harper Tories: taking a bad situation and making it worse.

List-Mates

Yeah, that's Ezra's dad and my petition-signing buddy Galactus on Steyn's "Free Speech for Canadians" petition. I'll have to talk to G about that; he's always said he hates Freedom.

Says alot about the status of the debate that Steyn's has barely managed to scare-up 1,500 bodies to his cause, including numerous anonys and one giant purple space-fairing being, after launching this petition at least a year ago. Tells you how many votes there are in a "reform" of the Canadian Human Rights Act.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Alberta Greens De-registered

The “Alberta Greens” Green Party of Alberta has been de-registered by Elections Alberta as a political entity in the Province of Alberta. De-registration of the party is an administrative opportunity to re-organize and rebuild the party into a viable political organization. The importance and mainstream acceptance of the Green Party’s values and principles are on the rise, and the Green Party's many supporters can now look forward to a fresh start.

As I understand it, when Election's Canada de-registers a riding association its due to financial issues, as this message from party HQ suggests.

More links from Daveberta. The issue was indeed financial.

The Shape Of the News Cycle

Yesterday, I wrote yet another post on Meme-tracking and the Dynamics of the News Cycle, in which I mused that the paper's findings didn't really allow to to ascertain how often the MSM "scooped" the blogosphere, and vice-versa. Zach Seward from the Nieman Journalism Lab, who has written extensively on this study, showed up in the comments and wrote:

One of the crucial things about this study is what you identify at the end of your post: We're not really talking about shoe-leather reporting on the part of anyone, blogs or mainstream media. These memes are almost entirely quotes from the candidates that were delivered in public and "discovered" by no one. Some news outlets merely took notice of them first.

He expanded on this in a J-Lab post, also from yesterday:

It’s tempting to view this chart [see above] from left to right — as in, who scooped whom — but remember that nearly all of these memes originated from public statements by the candidates, so it might be a question of which news outlets engaged in the most group think (to use Jay Rosen’s favored term for political reporting). When I spoke to Jon Kleinberg, an author of the study, he offered several interpretations, including what he described as a “two-step flow of influence.” Sites like Hot Air and TPM identify phrases of potential importance, while CNN, ABC, and Politico, in turn, transform the message into a meme. Then the AP conveys the conventional wisdom.

To paraphrase in more humble language then:

1) A phrase appears in some MSM publication/outlet.

2) It is commented upon/evaluated in the blogosphere--becomes a meme, as it were.

3) The MSM uses this commentary to guide its own coverage of the issues instantiated by the phrase/meme--ie. uses it as a means of evaluating the mood Der Volk, as it were, with blogs assumed to be representative of the mass psychology of the nation.

Not terribly noble sounding, and I am still trying to figure out how the less common contra pattern--where blogs peak before the MSM--fits into the picture.

But fascinating stuff.

At Least He Kept His Ass Outta Jail

NP compares former PM to notorious jail-bird, plumps for jail-bird.

Meanwhile even now Lord Tubby is bartering his Order of Canada for cigarettes.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Coyne Aflame



I'd heard he was pissed off at the Manning Centre Conference 2009 in Ottawa. But wow! This is almost as exciting as watching Hendrix set his guitar on fire and play it with his teeth!

h/t this guy.

You Stay Classy, Patrick Brown

Tories charged with rape are actually Liberals: Barrie MP

But as Lynda Murtha, media assistant to Liberal MPP Aileen Carroll, says: that's all "past tense". The alleged perps are all Tories now, and until very recently one was head of the (currently defunct) Barrie riding association.

Update: Here's Brown welcoming one of the alleged perps into the Barrie's Multicultural Association.

More On The News Cycle

From the Journalism Lab, more commentary on Meme-tracking and the Dynamics of the News Cycle. Here the J-Lab author (Zachary M. Seward) disputes the contention (ascribed to the NY Times but really straight from the paper itself) that blogs follow the MSM (as shown in figure above):

The authors describe this as a “‘heartbeat’-like dynamic” or a series of handoffs between blogs and mainstream media. My hunch is that the heartbeat would be even more visible — healthier, you might say — if the study had made a more-precise distinction between mainstream media and blogs. But in any event, the finding explodes that worn-out notion, furthered by today’s Times piece, of parasitic blogs merely reacting to the work of professional journalists.

This suggests the possibility that news is typically "found" by the blogosphere (the early blip on less prominent sites), and then widecast by the MSM, and then, finally, further chewed over one more time in the blogs. Here's the relevant passage from the paper:

Figure 9 shows a “heartbeat”-like like dynamics where the phrase “oscillates” between blogs and mainstream media. The fraction of blog volume is initially constant, but it turns upward about three hours before the peak as early bloggers mention the phrase. Once the news media joins in, around t = ��1, the fraction of blog volume drops sharply; but it then jumps up after t = 0 once the news media begins dropping the thread and blogs continue adopting it...

The question I have: do the early media reports typically precede or follow the early blog reports?

Another thing I've noticed is that the original paper's discussion of the 3.5% of stories in which the MSM appears to follow the blogs (in the top graph, the green line would peak 1s in such cases) is a bit obscure. The paper's table 2 give several examples, one of which is:

Well uh you know I think that whether you’re looking at it from a theological perspective or uh a scientific perspective uh answering that question with specificity uh you know is uh above my pay grade.

This is a response from now-President Obama to a question posed by him in an interview with Rick Warren. But it does not appear to me to show a piece of news discovered in the blogosphere, and then launched into the MSM. Rather, the interview was quite heavily covered in the MSM (at least as I remember it), which is where the original phrase would have appeared. It was the percieved inadequacy of Obama's response that got batted about the blogosphere, and was then recirculated through the major news outlets.

So it doesn't answer the (to me) important question: how much primary news are bloggers getting to 1st (in which direction does the 1st handoff go--from blogs to MSM or MSM to blogs)?