Monday, August 31, 2009

Cash Overboard!

I'm sure this didn't come out quite the way Barrie MP Patrick Brown wanted it to.

Out The Conservatives Day Swiftly Approaches

Connie and Co. at Free Dominion, after having been disappointed time after time by the Harper government re free speech issues, finally blew a gasket over the Investigative Powers for the 21st Century (IP21C) Act--which would force ISPs to disclose subscriber information such as name and address, and grant the police broad new powers to obtain transmission data and force ISPs to preserve data--and decided to strike back. Back in July, Connie wrote:

My proposal is that, 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".

Well, I haven't followed the latest on IP21C, but it looks like the gang at FreeD is still...displeased...and it looks like a tentative reveal date has been set:

The 14th of September is nearing.....the day the house resumes sitting and the action begins...

...says ToryCanuck, one of their stalwarts.

Interesting to see what they can pull from their hats. Connie admits that Tory operatives have been pushing propoganda out through the message board for years. If they really can link pseuds to meat world interfaces, who knows what may follow?

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Ryan Doyle Replaces Dumped Michael Coren On CFRB

From Tarek Fatah's Facebook page:

Tarek Fatah survived the storm at CFRB and will continue to co-host the 3-4PM hour with Ryan Doyle. Stay tuned.

Ryan who? And is he more or less fucked up in the head than Michael Coren?

Olivia Chow Threatened

...for handing out fliers at a Toronto town hall copyright forum. The forum, part of the federal government's consultation process as it prepares new copyright legislation, was meant to facilitate discussion of issues surrounding this legislation from the various stake-holders. The fliers contained an interview with NDP MP Charlie Angus in which he called for "balanced" copyright legislation, but when Ms. Chow attempted to distribute this material, private security personnel hired by the event organizers--who appear to have been entertainment industry shills-- told her to lay off or be removed from the hotel at which the consultation was being held.

Members of the Canadian Federation of Students were also set upon for distributing similar material. Their news release re the incident can be found here.

This Is One Anonymous Liberal Source I Can Get Behind

“Even if the Liberals haven't made up their minds about wanting an election, [it's] good to see they have their act together this early.”

I don't think the party ever really got its act together under Dion. At least Ignatieff has the Liberal machine turning over smoothly. Its a start.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Into The Senate And Off The Hook

Has anyone else is the anglo media or blogosphere picked up on Buzzetti's point? That Doug Finley's newfound parliamentary immunity will allow him to avoid testifying re. the Cons electoral fraud?

From here. Translation of Buzzetti below:

" As for the nomination of Mr. Finley to the Senate, it will have another consequence. Being from now on a member of Parliament, one will not be able to require of him qu' any more; he appears before a committee of the House of Commons for qu' he explains his role in the strategy of electoral financing of the Conservative party in 2006. Mr. Finley is famous being the brain of the mechanism known as of “in and out”, stratagem by which the conservatives are suspected of having spent 1 million dollars moreover than the allowed electoral limit. This cause is always in front of the courts, but the deputies in Ottawa tried l' summer last to hold of the audiences on this subject and any preserving apparatchik n' condescended to present itself, in spite of the assignments to appear been useful in certain cases. Mr. Finley, slinger, s' was presented two days before the date envisaged by requiring d' to be heard immediately, without what it would not return. He had been escorted by the security service. "

Not sure if that helps or not.

Total Confusion In Alberta...

...over bill 44, an update to the province's human rights legislation. A minister-on-minister dust up seems to have occurred between Education Minister Dave Hancock and Culture Minister Lindsay Blackett.

Background: teachers are still worried they might be taken to the Alberta Human Rights Commision for, among other things, discussing sexuality in class without having informed parents in advance, so that said parents might decide whether or not their children are allowed to participate in the discussion or even attend.

Education minister Hancock asked that implementation of this "parental opt-out" clause be delayed until next year and...what?

This story from five hours ago suggests that Blackett has agreed to the delay. This one, from a bit earlier in the day, suggests he still wants to press ahead. So I don't know what the heck is going on, but its sure no way to run a rail-road, let alone a province aspiring to national leadership.

I will make a prediction though: I predict that the opt-out clause eventually comes out of the legislation entirely, and we are left with a document that explicitly disallows discrimination on the basis of sexuality.

Update: Blackett tweets:

Section 9 will take effect on Sept 1, 2010 so formalized process can be created by School Boards.

Avid Pianist, Part II: Stephen's Senate Stuffing Song

“When I play the piano, I become very involved emotionally, I'm no longer the same person. It's not just a hobby,” Mr. Harper said.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Is There Anything That Can Shut Joe Biden Up?

I'm serious. He's eulogizing Kennedy and I've been listening to him for 20 minutes and he's told his life story up to 1967.

Its A Pan!

Catholic Insight's Fr. Alphonse de Valk won't be voting for PCPO candidate Sue-Ann Levy, no matter what her qualifications:

I do not want to be represented by someone who tramples on my beliefs with both her feet, no matter how competent she may be. Yes, I do read her columns and find them well-written and factual. But her personal lifestyle is a slap in my face.

Probably not enough So-Cons in St. Paul to make a difference.

All Hail The New King

...of patronage appointments.

Although I must admit to being a fan of Jacque Demers. If you're old enough to remember what he accomplished with all those crap 80's teams in the Snorris division, you would be too. They said he was doing it "with mirrors" (little pun on his name there).

Here's our boy in action from the 1987-88 season. I'm betting he could kick Mike Duffy's ass anytime.

Note the guy on audio. Don Cherry has always been a huge fan

CFRB Sacks Michael Coren

Free market, I love you.

Here's the BCLSB version of Coren's greatest hits. Here's my favorite, where Coren tells a health science instructor they shouldn't teach because English isn't their 1st language.

Bye Bye asshole.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Communicate THIS!

Bon Mots from John Williamson, the PM's new director of communications:

On Michelle Muntean, the PM's in-house pyschic:

The idea that these expenses are going to be run up on the public tab and then answers aren't going to be forthcoming about how much its costing is unacceptable from a taxpayers point of view.

On The Harper Torys spending habits:

The lazy, hazy days of summer are here and Conservative MPs are crisscrossing the country and showering it with money. According to news stories, the federal government has announced some $3-billion in spending priorities since Parliament recessed for the summer less than a month ago. That is roughly $100-million a day or more than $4-million every hour. Weren’t the Conservatives elected to root-out waste in government and spend tax dollars judiciously?


Unhappily, there is nowhere for voters to turn for reform.

And some more:

The Conservatives' program of massive deficit spending is bad news for taxpayers because it will mean paying more interest to service the national debt.

Licking the 3rd rail of Candian politics:

John Williamson, executive director of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation, told The Interim it is “obscene that having an abortion at 20 weeks triggered maternity benefits. No birth, no benefits.”

He said it was a “perversion of the EI system,” explaining that employment insurance was designed to “provide benefits to people who, through no fault of their own, find themselves out of work.”

Trashing Quebec Delis:

John Williamson, the federal director of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation, thinks the loan is another example of corporate welfare and Conservative vote buying. “There is only one way to describe a zero-interest government loan to business and that is corporate welfare. And with a possible fall election, I think it is safe to also call this vote buying in la belle province," said Williamson.

On last year's election:

Williamson says the spending binge is exactly the kind of pre-election splurge Prime Minister Stephen Harper criticized the Liberals for in the run-up to the 2006 federal election.

On PM Stephen Harper:

And Happy New Year to you Prime Minister, but I hope it’s not as dark as you anticipate. With Maclean’s and with other reporters in year-end interviews, Stephen Harper warned Canadians of tough economic times ahead. To make matters worse, he says the federal government will introduce tough policies to reduce carbon emissions and the public will most likely gripe about it. On taxes, Canadians, it seems, can get stuffed. If the economy slows there will be no relief for taxpayers. What kind of message is this?

On Jim Flaherty:

For the record, I think Mr. Flaherty will keep his job. But he sure is making a mess of the nation's tax code.

Even more on (Tory) government spending:

After the March 19th federal budget, I am becoming a convert to PR. On spending and taxation, the New Government™ is increasingly indistinguishable from the old government.

And on Chrétien vs. Harper:

Another favourite Conservative talking point is that Canadians are getting more value for their tax dollars because Ottawa is better managed today — taxpayers therefore shouldn’t fret over a few billion dollars in spending. But there is little evidence of this improved management. In fact, it is no contest between the Harper government’s spending and that of Mr. Chrétien’s government; the Grits exercised greater fiscal discipline.

Thanks to Ted for this last one.

Latest Ekos Poll

proves previous Ipsos poll crap.

An Ekos poll showed the Conservatives at 32.6 percent of decided voters and the Liberals at 30.9 percent, roughly the same as a week earlier. The two parties tied at 37 percent in Ontario, Canada's most populous province.

"This weeks's national sample of vote intention...suggests they (the Liberals) may want to think twice," Ekos said on Thursday in releasing the results.

But why? Given the efficiency of the Lib. vote etc. etc., these numbers look like a thin Lib. Minority. And, at the very least, the Ont. figure would be a marked improvement over 2008.

Go for it, sez I!

More details at Ms. O'Malley 's.

He Feels His Idealism Slipping Away

If the Liberals got into power again before Senate reform was possible, would the Conservative Senators in office give up their seat simply because their self-imposed eight-year limit was up? Not a snowballs chance in Tahiti. There is no way they would leave their seat to be snatched up again by the Liberals.

So where would that leave us? Well, nowhere really. Except we’d have a whole lot more unelected, unaccountable Conservative Senators...

Let me intensify your despair, Raphy. Deep down, Harper likes the Senate just as it is. He gets to pass silly "tough on crime" measures, blame the Liberals when they go nowhere in the upper house, and reintroduce them later. The same chunk of red meat gets thrown to the bubbas again and again, see? Assuming the current government sticks around long-enough to attain a Senate majority, watch all these symbolic gifts to the base mysteriously disappear. Because Harper would have to actually think about the consequences of his legislation.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Mulroney Says Torys Should Bury Hatchet, But Not In His Head

Musings on The Chin's upcoming wing-ding.

Who's coming, who isn't. Maxime Bernier's going to be there. He's bringing his father along as chaperone. So I guess he's available.

This bit is esp. interesting:

A cabinet minister in Mulroney's government, Charest's decision to co-host the event has some speculating he might seek a return to federal politics, perhaps as Harper's eventual replacement.

If true, we might almost be getting to the point where I could vote Tory on the federal level again.

(I remember hearing his shift to Que. provincial politics being analysed 10 years ago as follows: "Well he must know he'll never be PM")


Twitter feeds from all the heavies in one place.

Mucking around there finds some interesting stuff. For example, Sue Ann Levy has a twitter feed a website, is against the planned Scarborough wind-project, and has been endorsed by John Laforet.

Tory MP Colin Carrie seems obsessed with bringing KISS to Oshawa.

Jack Layton's page contains this uplifting message from Rev. Dang:

And so on. There is even an English/French, French/English translation function.

Update: Scott Tribe notes in the comments that tweetcommons offers a very similar service.

Jack Layton And The Purple Coalition: His Mouth Says No No No, His Tie Says Yes Yes Yes

Look at his body language; he looks sad, pensive, as though he has lost or discarded something that was once precious to him, but which now seems a pointless indulgence.

More importantly, look at his neck ware, the most expressive item of clothing on any politician and the one he is most likely to use to send coded signals to The Faithful.

Note the diagonal stripes--they're purple, what you got by mixing NDP orange with Tory blue. These are the colours of the Purple Coalition--the undemocratic NDP/CPoC Alliance that I wrote about yesterday.

Note the black stripes underneath. These represent the death of the young idealist Jack Layton used to be.

And the Message?

Fuck this principled Socialist BULLSHIT! Jack needs an office with a window. Jack is tired of hearing toilets flush next door when's he on the phone schmoozing with Castro. Jack has been squatting in this little crap-hole town nearly 10 years and he's fed up of being last in line to shake the Pope's hand when The Pope comes to town, tired of hearing "Whose the weird little guy with the gay mustache?" because The Pope thinks a union-based pol won't understand Latin. He's tired of the press laughing at him behind his back, and that Green Party chick eyeing his official third party leader stuff and looking so damned impressed. Little does she know!! The games unit is from 20 years ago and all it plays is pac-man! The TV hasn't work in forever; Jack had his staff tape that picture of Obama over the screen! That's why his lips never move! No! No! Jack deserves better. Jack deserves perqs! And Jack is going to get perqs if he has to dance with the Devil himself!

Seriously, forget stories like this. The man is ready to deal. I know neckties.

Some Days You Can't Even Pay Them To Deny

Back in June, I wrote about how Tom Harris of the ICSC (International Climate Science Coalition), an AGW denial group built and, most likely, funded by Australian business man Alan Gibbs (who also makes Humvees), was looking for an Executive Director for the CSCA (Climate Science Coalition of America ), its U.S. affiliate. Among other things, this position required

Exceptional English language oral (including public speaking), writing and editing skills, with a special focus on communicating with laypeople.

...and had a starting salary of $70,000 to $90,000 USD per annum.

Well, its late August now and the CSCA is up and running. But as an interesting side-note, its contact person is...Tom Harris! So they still haven't found a body to stuff in a suit and lie for them for nearly six figures a year.

That's a sign of something, but I'm not sure what.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Mixing NDP Orange And Tory Blue you the purple coalition, coming to an HOC near you.

See what Jack and Steve will be wearing this fall!!

Ipsos Poll Inspired Universal Mistrust

But there was deep skepticism around the poll. Even Harper Tories questioned it, sending out “talking points” to their MPs, noting the poll is not consistent with other polling. A Canadian Press Harris-Decima poll released yesterday afternoon put the two parties in a statistical tie, where they have been all summer.

The release date of this ill-fated survey was supposed to be Monday. In fact though it appeared Sunday evening, ignominiously, on the National Post/Canwest website. Kudos to Don Martin for stepping on the story in his Friday column and thus ruining Canwest's scoop. And kudos to everyone who wrote about it over the weekend. I think this probably did force Canwest's hand towards a Sunday reveal and helped to lessen the story's impact yesterday morning.

Making Moves, Sending Signals

John Baird and Dalton's McGuinty's musings re a pedestrian tunnel to the island airport doesn't count for much as a discussion of real policy. Its all pretty blue sky stuff that may or may not happen somewhere way, way down the road (Adam Vaughan is surely correct that there is no way a tunnel will get built by 2011). But what it does show is McGuinty's willingness to cut Mayor David Miller loose politically. Dalton gave Miller The City Of Toronto Act, and all he got in return were hassles and piles of garbage. Don't expect much more in the way of financial assistance from the province over the next couple of years (and,it goes without saying, the Feds). Mayor Miller will end his 2nd term a very lonely man.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Republicans For Ignatieff Come Out

I know I shouldn't be giving attention to these guys, but I do love a good mystery and, yes, a good "viral campaign" even if its for evil ends. More pictures here. For what its worth, this is all supposed to be happening at the Missouri State Fair, and all the politicians referenced in the handouts above are indeed Missouri Republicans.

Rumour: BMO TU?

Bank Of Montreal Gaming Its Books? Noted advisor to market short-sellers Dan Amoss thinks so.

Amos will name names at 12 noon today. The clue is in Amos' description of the as yet unspecified institution:

“With a 192 year old history and 37,000 employees, its crash would drop like an A-bomb on unsuspecting shareholders…”

BMO was founded in 1817.

PS. This report's been floating around since the 20th and hasn't moved BMO's stock at all. So who knows?

Fun With Karl Popper

Popper's Falisifcationalism:

If T(Theoretical Statement) -> ~O(observational Statement)


If Solar activity drives climate change -> It is not the case that low solar activity will correlate with high temperatures.

By modus tollens, the observation that:


~ T

which is to say that our theoretical statment has been falsified/refuted.

For example:

There have been no sunspots for almost 42 days and there are none in the offing and July 2009 was the second hottest July on record.


Anthony Watts is fucked up in the head.


Of course, that's the "side of a cracker jack box" version of Karl Popper's Falsificationism. But WUWT is side of "side of a cracker jack box" science.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Note The Wording Of The Headline.

""X", poll says". Not "X".

CanWest doubts the validity of its own poll.

I say lets throw down in Sept. electionwise and Ignore anything out of CanWest or Ipsos. Its just another poll that nobody trusts from newspapers nobody reads.

Steve V thinks its nutz too.

Die Media Die: Sun Media Paper Suppresses Local Columnist

Paul Kelly has been writing locally focused columns for the Pembroke Observer since 2003.

In 250+ columns I have been refused publication only once - in 2005 - ironically over a column condemning Wall-mart's service. And now twice in a row in 2 weeks - but no more.

This week's and last week's column dealt with Pembroke's opposition to the Wal-mart expansion in Laurentian Valley. Both were stopped.

Mr. Kelly has decided to no longer write for the Observer; his last, suppressed column can be found here.

And, just for giggles, here's a Peter Worthington column in the Observer whining about HRCs as a threat to free speech.

APSA And Canadian Human Rights Laws

As I noted the other day, back in 2008 The American Political Science Association was presented with a petition from some of its members asking them to reconsider Toronto as the location of its 2009 general meeting due to concerns about Canada's national and provincial Human Rights Commissions. After some consideration, APSA rejected this petition and will in fact be in town from from September 3-6.

Because I know followers of the Speechy Wars, know the full story behind the APSA petition and its ultimate failure, I contacted Bahram Rajaee (APSA's PR guy) and he was kind enough to direct me to the relevant documents.

It all makes for a (mildly) interesting read, but if you look at the petition itself and the response documents, you come across the following passage from the petition instigators:

...we... have some new information about an academic complaint of the sort that
might chill speech at the 2009 convention: According to Janet Ajzenstat, a respected Canadian political scientist, the Canadian Political Science Association is being asked to censure a session chair for allowing academic speech deemed offensive during a conference session. Without judging the details of the dispute, as reported it seems to be the sort of thing that is not imaginable under American or APSA norms — yet, it seems to us to reflect the rather different norms about offensive speech developing in Canada.

It turns out they were talking about the turmoil kicked-up at an August 2008 meeting of CPSA (The Canadian Political Science Association) in which Frances Widdowson, of Disrobing the Aboriginal Industry fame, presented a paper on "aboriginal methodology" that went down very poorly, with the Q&A afterwards ending in tears, lamentations, and cries of racism. At the time it was rumored that session chair Peter Russell would be censured for letting things get out of hand, a rumor Ajzenstat repeated to several of the people behind the petition, before later realizing that it was false (or at least "no longer true").

More generally, APSA quickly realized that the Ontario Human Rights Code and the CHRA provisions for hate speech did not apply to academic presentations, and that the OHRC did not regulate published speech at all (only signs, emblems, and symbols). The petitioners seem to have mistaken section 13 of the Ontario Human Rights Code for section 13 of the Canadian Human Rights Act. In any case, my favorite part in the response of the Canadian Association of University Teachers to APSA's request for clarification re Canada's hate speech laws:

On the specific matter of human rights commissions in Canada, there seems to be a good deal of confusion and obfuscation in the materials being circulated about the threat posed to free speech and their relevance to a meeting of the APSE. For starters, none of the specific cases noted by the authors of the petition's accompanying information piece ("What's the Matter with Canada") were heard by the Ontario Human Rights Tribunal, the only such body that would have jurisdiction over an event (unrelated to federal activities) taking place in Toronto. In this regard, the examples being used by the petition's promoters are about as fair as us warning against travel to Massachusetts because Nebraska maintains the death penalty.

I've found a copy of the "information piece" mentioned above here, and I would just noted that if you quote David Warren as being an authority on anything, you are already in trouble.

Rumour: Ipsos Mystery Poll To Appear Monday

Reported in my comments here. As has been pointed out by several readers, Ipsos Reid--which will apparently claim that the Tories are "flirting with 40%"(so what really--about 38% or 39%?) and therefore flirting with a majority --1) skews Tory, very Tory, 2) polls for CanWest, publisher of Canada's most crazy-assed Tory newspapers, and 3) is following upon a Tory plea to its supporters Canada-wide to talk up its need for a "stable majority".

Given the explanation for the figure noted above here, we can probably rewrite tomorrows Natty Post headline as "No Movement Noted!"

Saturday, August 22, 2009

WTF Is Don Martin On About?

Yes, avoiding an election based on the men's hockey team landing gold is a tad odd, but so were reports Prime Minister Stephen Harper will base his campaign on seeking a majority mandate, at least until a new Ipsos-Reid poll came out yesterday that showed the Conservatives surging ahead and flirting with 40% voter support.

Nothing on the Ipsos website, and it includes polls up to the 21st.

Sales Tax Harmonization As An Election Issue?

Trouble in Tory land for the continued support of at least some of their MPs and Ministers for the proposal:

When I asked Minister Jim Prentice to clear my confusion on our Conservative government’s part in the looming HST gouge, I could have sworn that the answer was being delivered by Dalton McGuinty or Dwight Duncan. It came complete with the standard disclaimer that economists are unanimous in their acclaim of the new combined sales tax. And, it was topped off with the, don’t worry, be happy, icing; “Taxes won’t go up.”

Interesting to try to work out how anti-HST anger might play out in B.C. and Ontario during a fall national election (which, my goodness!, is starting to look halfway possible). I don't see the issue helping the two major parties that much. In both provinces, the harmonization involves cooperation between federal Tories and provincial Liberals, so it would be difficult for the Federal Libs to oppose it, at least in a full-throated fashion. And in Ontario Tory leader Tim Hudak's position has been to arm-wave and protest while at the same time refusing to commit to a repeal if ever elected.

There seems a bit more for the Federal NDP to work with here. Provincially (Ontario), for example, Andrea Horwath has promised a simple repeal. Federally, I haven't noticed a response from Jack Layton, although at the NDP national convention Nova Scotia's Darrell Dexter urged other provincial leaders to exercise caution in the implementation of the harmonization scheme. In any case, they can, should they choose, take a more definitive stand, and without looking at the B.C./Ontario electoral maps I would nevertheless assume there are ridings in both provinces where a such a stance might pull enough protest votes to put the local NDPer over the top.

h/t Northwestern lad for some of the links.

Friday, August 21, 2009

G.I. Steve

Its a slow news-day.

I've Always Wondered About That Word

Heather B. Armstrong, who was fired from her job after her employer discovered her blog, Dooce, where she posted under her real name, said there are few valid reasons a blogger should veil his or her identity.


People now use the term "dooced" to refer to being fired because of a personal blog.

Roger Pielke Jr. Does Jesus

Roger Pielke Jr. has assumed his familiar martyr's pose, and accuses me (as well as others) of issuing threats against him. The occasion is his An alternative explanation for differential temperature trends at the surface and in the lower Troposphere, co-authored with Pielke Sr. and several others, which purports to explain differences in long-term temperature trends as reported by satellite vs. surface readings. Now, a number of issues have already come up with respect to the paper (see, for example, here and here). At a more basic level, though, Pielke Jr. seems more than a little bit unclear of what the paper is supposed to be about. For example, Pielke Sr. has written a blog-post entitled New Paper Documents A Warm Bias In The Calculation Of A Multi-Decadal Global Average Surface Temperature Trend, and yet here Pielke Jr. appears to be contradicting his co-author:

No. The title of the post is "Evidence that Global Temperature Trends Have Been Overstated". It might have been more accurate to write "global atmospheric temperature trends" but it clearly does not say "surface temperature trend"...

What this starts to remind me of is the recent De Freitas and Co. paper, in which the co-authors began recanting their own result before other climate scientists while at the same time pushing that result to folks like Watts, Morano, and others of the same ilk.
In other words, is the purpose of the paper the paper, or is the paper merely a trigger for a dustup in the blog world, leading (hopefully?) to another "Global Warming is Enviro/Nazi Garbage" piece on the Glenn Beck show and in other friendly media outlets?
Which brings us to the so called "threats". I would not speak for Michael Tobis (whose a bit ticked at me this morning), but his point, that there should exist
...a mechanism to prevent authors from promoting public misinterpretations of their publications. That sort of behavior should have consequences. well taken, although the odds of creating a rule that would prevent an author from publishing junk and selling it through the blogosphere as diamonds is vanishingly small. America has no law against bullshit, and will not for the foreseeable future.
My point, though, is that such behavior already does have consequences. If Pielke Jr. insists on treating the real actors in the scientific debate as mere walk-on players in a drama in which he is the star and the audience includes the Limbaughs and Beck's of the world, then he will find, if he has not already, that this stage will soon be the only one upon which he can play. His work will be ignored by the scientific community while simultaneously embraced by birthers, truthers, Ron Paul supporters, young earth creationists, people that think Jesus is coming in a UFO, and the like--America's right-wing fringe, in other words. Barring a catastrophe during next year's mid-term elections, this will be a impoverished and lonely place for scientists for a long, long time to come. Mr. Pielke risks consigning himself to the dust-bin of history.
And that's my advice to Mr. Pielke. If he thinks its a threat, then he is incorrect.
Oh, and Mark Bahner asks me in the comments: What do you see as scientifically incorrect about their paper?
Well, for one thing, even if the analysis proposed is 100% accurate, the use of the term "bias" is hugely misleading, and assumes that satellite readings are the gold standard to which surface readings must conform (or else be dismissed). But if you reverse that assumption without changing a single other thing in the paper, you could just as easily argue that that the satellite readings show a cool bias. In fact, neither line of reasoning is valid. If the paper explains anything--and it may not--it shows why the two sets of readings are different. No more or less than that.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Conservative Government: Single Most Important Step That Provinces Could Take To Improve The Competitiveness Of Canadian Business

...has nothing to do with us. A third Tory MP hangs the provinces out to dry over attempts at sales tax harmonization. Imagine how much responsibility they could shirk if they were ever handed a stable majority.

The Slow Fading Of The Speechy Jihad

August 23, 2008:

The American Political Science Association--the largest association for political scientists in the world--is planning to host its 2009 annual conference in Toronto. That has some political scientists sufficiently concerned to start a petition to keep the event out of Canada.

What are they afraid of? According to an article by former Western Standard editor Kevin Libin, these political scientists are concerned that some of their fellow academics will get ensnared by Canada's Human Rights Commissions

August 20, 2009:

WASHINGTON, Aug. 20 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The 105th Annual Meeting of the American Political Science Association (APSA) will convene from September 3-6 in Toronto, Canada at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre, the InterContinental Toronto Centre, and the Fairmont Royal York Hotel.

They can't have been that scared, I guess. Meanwhile, Ezra is working on a new book, tentatively titled Shakedown II: Yeah I'm Still Relevant.

Montauk Monster Update---Baldy Is A Girl!

Something I had missed previously:

You're looking at Baldy, a hairless raccoon living in Toronto. Though images that have surfaced of her prompted all sorts of speculation as to what she might be, she's definitely a female raccoon. How do we know? She's given birth to healthy raccoon babies. That's a pretty good clue.

An assertion confirmed here.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Global Warming Swims Up To Port Aux Basques?

Difficult to say. Basking Sharks do appear off Nfld., so this story is not unusual in itself, but perhaps not so late in the season. Awful impressive beasty either way.

The Downside of Sue-Ann Levy

Female, Gay, and Jewish? The Hudak Tories probably figure they'll never have to do all that stupid "outreach" stuff again. But not so fast! Now Magazine explores the downside of Sue-Ann Levy--who has exited The TO Sun to run for the PCPO in the riding of St. Paul's-- here:

And Levy’s not without some powerful, personal political connections of her own. Longtime Tory fixer Jeff Lyons, a big money raiser back in the day, is her uncle. We can only imagine the chatter at family gatherings.

Levy, though, may want to keep uncle Jeff away from this one, especially if she’s going to get on her high horse about the Grit’s eHealth problems.

Lyons, some will remember, was front and centre in that computer leasing scandal that undid Mel Lastman. Back then, Levy advocated putting an end to the inquiry called to investigate the scandal that cost taxpayers $102 million. Go figure."

My take on Sue-Ann's overfoamed rhetoric here. Being a journalist, there will be a ton of material from Ms. Levy's pen to bash her over the head with.

Australia's Cap & Trade Plan Will Be Passed

After a deal was struck between the government and opposition parties yesterday evening. One thing that gets left out of coverage of AGW politics as they are playing out in Australia is that, were PM Kevin Rudd to call an election over the issue, which he has threatened to do, he would win an expanded majority in both upper and lower houses.

Years of climate change induced drought will wise anyone up re environmental issues.

Team Hudak Goes For Its Own Jugular

Stephen Harper Conservatives are pretending they had nothing to do with the controversial plan to blend the federal and provincial sales tax in Ontario, Tory MPP Bill Murdoch says.

"They can't divorce themselves away from this," Murdoch told Sun Media. "They're part of this whole scheme."

And they are too, though Hudak and co. have been trying to portray the GST/PST merger as soley the creation of Dalton McGuinty, so as to make it easier to oppose. Murdoch's intervention, however, insures that we will have a bit of Tory-on-Tory violence.

As to the Ontario HST itself, well, I'm not sure what I think of it yet. I believe the plan is to send out cheques to the tune of $300 a couple of times a year (the story says $1,000 but I don't think you get it all at once) so the whole thing works out to be revenue neutral, and most of the big business lobby groups are touting it as a boon to administrative efficiency. You wouldn't, however, think the province would get on board with something like this if they didn't come out ahead. So skepticism is the order of the day.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

PM Calls Northerners Dirty Assholes!

No shit!

PM's Arctic Adventure Starts Off With Vehicle Collision

...and David Akins asks the obvious question:

...if you're driver in the PM's security motorcade, do you have to stop and fill out paperwork when you have an accident?

Republicans For Iggy = Tory War-Room

At the risk of giving (a weee bit more) publicity where it isn't deserved, in the last couple of days the entire Ottawa press gallery has received "a brown envelope", stuffed with

...a colour reproduction of a critical, four-year-old Ignatieff profile in the British publication New Humanist – complete with particularly damning paragraphs highlighted in yellow...

...and sent from a U.K. address. The article castigates Iggy for his “[his shared] vision of the US government’s vision of the violent and compulsory promotion of democracy."

And people are wondering who is responsible. The inestimable Kadey O'Malley reasons as follows:

As for who might behind it, although she maintains that Republicans for Ignatieff is almost certainly the product of one of Ignatieff’s leftwardly-leaning critics, this seems far more likely to be a bit of mischief making from the other side of the political spectrum


What can she say — it just feels like a Tory trick to her, whereas R4I has a different style.

Well, I think its a pretty that if this is a Tory trick, so is R4I. For example, here's a screen shot of the google cache of Reps for Iggy, showing the stunt its creators were on about last week:

Note the reference to U.K publications, and note the similar "promotion of democracy" theme. Since this particular attempt got zero in the way of media attention, I would suggest we are seeing an attempt at a "do over" by The Würstlin Group, who the Tories have hired to do their on-line campaign.

Oh Ezra!

You still don't get this "ethical" stuff:

Keeping doesn't suggest that Levant should stay silent. At issue is the ethics of how he argues, not whether he should remain silent in the face of an unjust law.

This illustrates another aspect of the ethics of debate: one should be careful not to misrepresent an opponent's argument.

Dan Shapiro, Research Associate

Sheldon Chumir Foundation for Ethics in Leadership

Another hit from a free speech ally. Even his friends don't like Ezra.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Raitt Punished?

Here comes Bill Clinton's speaking fee, as well as a couple more million from the Marquee Tourism Events Program to:

...allow the CNE to bring world-class soccer teams from Portugal and Scotland to Toronto during the event; add marquee names to existing entertainment programming; present an international speaker series; increase its marketing efforts in Canada and the United States; and initiate a two-year project to introduce on-the-ground transportation for visitors, which will be completed in time for the 2010 CNE.

A interesting note: the CTV, Globe, and Macleans' stories from last week all mention that Canada's natural resources minister Lisa Raitt would be confirming the funding, but in the end it was Tony Clement that got to hand out the over sized cheque (or whatever):

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Aug. 17, 2009) - The Honourable Tony Clement, Minister of Industry, today announced the Government of Canada investment of $3.75 million over two years to support the Canadian National Exhibition (CNE) as part of the Marquee Tourism Events Program.

Is Harper continuing to use Marquee Tourism Events Program funding announcements to punish/reward members of Team Tory? After all, Lisa Raitt and her Sexxxy Isotope show have been in the news again recently, and not in a good way.

NDP Convention: NDP Fails To Even Discuss Only Issue Anyone Cares About

The Problem With E. May Running In

Saanich-Gulf Islands next election is that she will hand the riding to Gary Lunn.

“It does appear that the majority of people in this large riding don’t want a Conservative, but they can’t agree on any single alternative,” said Dr. Dennis Pilon, political science professor at the University of Victoria who specializes in BC politics.


“It would be better, in my mind, for May to try to find a riding where the New Democrats are hopeless, but they get a chunk of support, and then she can try and take over the Liberal party’s vote.”

On a sad side note, it looks like totally babelicious Briony Penn will not be running for the Liberal Party.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Roger Pielke Jr.: Honest Broker Or Home Town Ref (For The Other Side)?

If you've ever wondered why the vast majority of Climate Scientists distrust Roger Pielke Jr. in his self-proclaimed role as "Voice of Moderation' or "Honest Broker" for the climate change debate, look here. Attempting to find media bias in the reception of Michael Mann's new paper re. historical hurricane numbers vs. Landea's paper on (roughly) the same topic, he runs a google search and finds 1,264 citations for Mann vs. 1 for Landsea, and insinuates that the press is biased towards AGO alarmist results.

Of course, Michael Mann is also the name of a well-known film director (fittingly enough, he directed Heat back in 1995), and when you strain those references from the Google search, you get about 11 vs 5, a result that is probably due to one paper being published in Nature and the other in The Journal of Climate.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

NDP Convention: NDP On The March, Dubs One Bathroom Gender Neutral

which means

They have a gender-neutral washroom for those that don’t feel comfortable using a gender-specific one.

...not that they are demanding that the washroom itself shed its gender.

Dana Larsen has been protesting outside off and on...

...but apparently somebody is selling some powerful good weed on the convention floor.

Alberta's Bill 44 To Be Implemented This Fall

...over the non-silent objections of teachers, Lindsay Blackett looks to "the silent majority" for support:

"For those people around the country that think that's somehow wrong, we in Alberta believe in family values, because the family's at the core of what makes a great community. . . . We're taking a lead, here."

Bill 44 may allow parents to drag teachers before the AHRC (Alberta Human Rights Commission) if, for example, they talk about religion or sexuality in class without giving advance notice to the parents, who may then ask that their children be pulled from the class in question.

Blackett is obviously preparing for such an eventuality:

"We're looking at overall governance of the commission and we're also looking at training of staff within the commission. So a lot of those things have to happen and we'd like to get them all tidied up before we actually proclaim the bill into law."

Wow! Beefing up the AHRC! Ezra's gonna be pissed.

Atticus Books Is Gone

...or at least gone on-line. Now all that's left of that great used book store strip on Harbord is The Women's Bookstore, which is all feminist stuff, so yuk.

Sure you can always buy over the net, but its far more entertaining to wander through the aisles and pick up stuff you might not have known you were interested in. I've killed many a sunny Saturday going from book store to pub to book-store. Now, with Pages closing and the one out by Spadina (Bachelard Books?) long gone, Queen St. is pretty much a dead scene as well. There are literally fewer and fewer reasons for me to make the trip into town.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Climate Scientists Need A War Room

Chris Mooney triggered an interesting line of thought about a month ago when he suggested that folks interested in winning the political debate over what actions should be taken to combat Global Warming needed an anti-Morano. What, or who, is a Morano?

Marc Morano has long been Senator James Inhofe’s top global warming spinmeister and talking head. His special ability is to argue super-fast, spewing out questionable claims, a kind of howitzer of climate “skepticism.” (Below, for example, see Morano’s recent debate with Joe Romm provided in its first installment, with the second here. Joe tries to be patient in debating Morano, and to correct him as much as possible–a valiant attempt, but it’s simply impossible to correct everything Morano says as he bowls you over with dubious assertions.)

In recent months, Marc Morano has left the employ of Senator Inhofe a launched Cimate Depot, a Drudge-style aggregator which links almost exclusively to material from AGW denialist sources. All the "big name" skeptics appear--McIntyre, Monckton, Watts--as well as somewhat more credible researchers like the Pielke's. The end result is a seeming torrent of "counter evidence" to AGW theory, all ready for the picking by journalists willing to hack for the denialist cause, whose columns are then recycled onto the front page of the site to keep the flow of fake news coming.

The response to Mooney's proposal among those following the climate science debate has been, for the most part (but not entirely) negative, largely because people have interpreted Mr. Mooney's proposal as meaning "our side needs a lying ass of its own". But he brushes against an excellent point--those members of the scientific community that want to see real action taken on the AGW file need some kind of PR counter to the work of Morano and people like him (Joseph D’Aleo for example, who runs Icecap, which was one of the first denialist "news" sites though now but a pale shadow of Climate Depot).

So here's my take on Mooney-- a counter aggregator, a rapid response website that would:

1) publish links to new papers/newspaper stories dealing with new developments in the actual science as these appear in the MSM. Links would go to material featuring the work of legitimate researchers like Landsea, who question certain details of the overall picture, but would exclude folks like Monckton, who essentially spout nonsense.

But more importantly, the site would

2) aggregate on-line refutations of junk science papers as soon as these become available. For example, blogs like Deltoid, DeSmog, and Tamino have developed well-deserved reputations for debunking AGW related pseudo-science, but there are many other science bloggers out there with expertise to share. In fact, an attempt might be made to solicit responses from these people to whatever the pseudo-science story du jour might be.

3) Since the vast majority of AGW denialists simply do not engage in rational debate(witness this outburst of literal gibberish from Ian Plimer), the website should encourage and participate in various campaigns to ridicule and prank the lower echelons of the denier community. For example, why attempt to parse Monckton's pages of senseless equations and foamy denunciations when it is simply enough to post (or link to) a picture of him? See? Refuted already. In fact, every time someone gets a look at Monckton, the credibility of the whole movement is shaken. The method is the same as that employed against creationists. The message is: you don't deserve to be included in an honest discussion, you deserve only to be mocked. It sounds harsh, but in Canada at least we have learned that it can also be highly effective as a political strategy.
The point of all this of course would be to provide a place for sympathetic journalists and other members of the on-line citizenry to find ammunition for the ongoing debate. More specifically, it would (hopefully) create a conduit from the blogs to the professional press on issues surrounding AGW (the way National News Watch serves to get political news from Canada's blogging underground to our community of journalists).
Now, one of the problems with bringing such a plan to fruition lies in the science blogging community itself. With a few exceptions, these folks present as a cross between Dudley Do-Right and a bunch of leaf eating vegans. Some are still pushing the line that "The Public" needs to be "better educated" around science issues. And that's all very nice but its also something I've heard throughout the entire length of my adult life and it appears that any attempts in this direction have failed quite utterly.
So why not try Plan B, which is to develop a killer instinct politically and build an on-line war room.

Is There A Number Less Than Zero?

Not many Canadians would rate Mr. Layton a northern Obama.

You're Daily Nazi: Nazi Shows Up At Macleans Magazine

...screen name Julius Streicher, and starts whining about the travails of the white race. Of course its in response to a standard Mark Steyn "fear the fecund foreigner" piece. Kenneth Whyte, you must be so proud.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Layton Discusses How Much Difference A Name Change Will Make To NDP Electoral Fortunes

13% of people who might already vote NDP, might vote NDP even more.

(Or maybe he's discussing his schlong.)

Journalists As Politicians

The late, great Paul Rimstead ran for mayor of Toronto in the 1970s; Peter Worthington was a federal nominee in Broadview-Greenwood twice in the 1980s; Mark Bonokoski had a run at politics while in Ottawa; Dick Chapman was a municipal candidate.

If memory serves us correctly, the only successful Toronto Sun staffer in an election bid was Garth Turner, the finance writer who was first elected as an MP in 1988 and has been making waves on and off since then.

And perhaps soon to be making waves again ;)

Gruending And Dawg On Honour Killings

Dennis Gruending has a thoughtful piece on the Shafia killings. Especially nice is his takedown of "shoot from the lip" journalists in general, and Christie Blatchford in particular:

Blatchford tweaks the Kingston police chief for reacting cautiously to a question about whether the Shafia deaths were honour killings. The chief was right to be cautious and to leave such a description, if indeed it is accurate, to be presented and tested in court. Blatchford and other commentators would do well to exercise similar prudent judgment in what they say and write – but they are paid to have opinions and to be minor celebrities.

Meanwhile, Dawg's take on the matter from a couple of days ago is worth a read if you haven't looked at it already. I've said that I would not be against a specific law against honour killings if a precise and rational definition could be given of the term. The upshot of Dawg's piece for me is that such a definition is not forthcoming or, could one be given, if would collect too many instances of white-on-white violence to be politically useful to any Conservative government that might wish to introduce legislation based upon it.

By the way it is not clear that the Shafia murders had anything to do with offended honour. This guy, for example, says they didn't.

The Buzz On Buzz Aldrin

On July 26th, 1969, at the age of 39, Buzz Aldrin became only the 2nd man to walk on the surface of the moon. This year, at the age of 69, he became one of the world's most famous climate change deniers:

While trying to spread the word about the possibilities of space, Dr Aldrin said he was sceptical of climate change theories.

“I think the climate has been changing for billions of years,” he said.


“I’m not necessarily of the school that we are causing it all, I think the world is causing it.” event much discussed in on blogs, on Fox, and elsewhere. Less often mentioned was the fact that, around the same time, Buzz also came out as a proponent of the theory that there is an alien artifact--a "monolith", if you will-- on the Martian moon Phobos:

Ah well, we all get old. In any case, many years ago climate change denier Fred Singer also thought something was fishy about Phobos.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Richard S. Courtney On Geo-Engineering

Richard Courtney is a AGW denier and PR guy for British Coal. Here is his excerpts from his take on Geo-Engineering:

I am firmly convinced that dangerous AGW is not a problem and cannot become one. However, I do think the possibility of the geo-engineering should be supported. My reason for this is a political ploy and I explain it as follows.

At present there is no empirical evidence of any kind that the AGW hypothesis is correct. But supporters of the AGW-scare assert that action must be taken now to avoid the possibility of dangerous AGW in the future.

Politicians are responding to the AGW-scare by trying to constrain anthropogenic emissions of greenhouse gases (GHGs), notably carbon dioxide (CO2). Such constraints would do much harm and, therefore, I think they should not be accepted. But politicians of several countries are committed to their having accepted the AGW-scare as being a potential threat which warrants the constraints.

The politicians need a viable reason if they are to back-off from this commitment to the constraints without losing face.

The geo-engineering option provides the needed viable reason to do nothing about AGW now.

The AGW-scare is founded on an unproven assumption that global temperature is determined by net radiative forcing, and increase to GHGs in the air provides additional positive radiative forcing.

Increase to aerosols in the air increases cloud cover to provide additional negative radiative forcing. So, increasing atmospheric aerosols would drop global temperature. And this could be done at relatively little cost, for example, by emitting sulphates from commercial aircraft.

Hence, if AGW does prove to be a problem then the geo-engineering is a method to immediately stop its effects when it is detected. Actions to constrain the GHG emissions could then be implemented. The cost of the geo-engineering would be much less than the costs of the constraints to GHG emissions in the period until effects of AGW are detected. Indeed, the costs of the geo-engineering would be trivial compared to the costs of 20% reduction to world-wide GHG emissions for a single year.

And if AGW does not prove to be a problem then no constraints to GHG emissions and no geo-engineering would be needed.

In either case, the geo-engineering option is preferable to adopting constraints on GHG emissions in the near future.

This suggested political ploy is not fanciful and it has precedent. Opponents of the nuclear industry have objected that there is no “safe” method to dispose of nuclear waste. The nuclear industry has responded by asserting that the waste could be vitrified. A practical method for the vitrification still remains to be developed, but assertion of the possibility of the vitrification has been sufficient to overcome objections to nuclear power in several countries for nearly 40 years. (incidentally, I am in favour of nuclear power).


In the past, Mr. Courtney has made similar remarks re carbon sequestration--ie it won't work but will provide political cover (allow politicians to say they're DOING something).

Say No More

A Nightmare Is Also A Dream

A few bon mots from the columns of Sue Ann Levy, the provincial Tories new "dream candidate".

Communist City Hall
the tree police
the...Tree Emperor
Socialist Silly Hall
the doo-doo from my dachsies
Tree Emperor Joe Pantalone

A bit of a foliage fetish, it would seem. And here's some purple prose from her impassioned pen:

Chocolate brown seals with oily coats somersault in and out of the emerald coloured waters, emitting a high-pitched squeal and a flap of their tails as they glide beside our kayak.

High on the rocks beyond, a posse of smelly seals bask in the early summer sun...

Tory Astroturf

A letter to the Brampton Guardian in which Parm Gill's old campaign manager Michael Gyoval masquerades as a regular person, says nice things about Parm Gill.

Hard to see how serving up hot-dogs will help make Brampton-Springdale "safer", but in politics it is hard to bullshit too much.


Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Blue Network Leadership Emerges, Retreats

From the blogging Tory forums, last afternoon, a comment from Matt Altheim re "The Blue Network", a clandestine group of Tory rebs:

Thank you for all your comments. Just try not and put too much emphasis on a word or two. We do not mean 'moderate' as in ideological beliefs, rather that we are not looking at reforming the party through any radical or undemocratic means. Our brand of Conservatism needs to return to strong right wing principles and policy. Our party has become a very top-down organization that ignores the membership base which has seen true right wing policy practically vanish.

We support the core values of old Reformers and PCs. We are against this 'Liberal Lite' form of Conservatism we have been given.

We are not a secret society, but at the initial stages we would like to prevent party hacks from influencing the organization. That is why we choose to use a referal system or go through and contact each applicant individually. That is why our network is closed; we have a full slate of information, greivances, and workshops for members to be involved in.

I hope this clarified things.

This morning, however, the comment has revised so as to bear the name of "Mr. Blue", the fellow whose been spreading word of the network throughout the blogosphere, and Mr. Altheim is merely recorded as having said:

This is interesting... The webmaster should post more info on the homepage.

Anyway, Matt Altheim is a Edmonton based Tory activist who once considered running for the Conservative nomination in Edmonton-East, Peter Goldring's riding. Dr. Roy thinks he is an earnest young man.

So The Blue Network is at least semi-legit.

About Those 60 German Scientists

...who wrote that open letter denouncing the science behind AGW to Chancellor Angela Merkel who has, incidentally, been showing alot of cleavage lately.


In fact, if i do a quick search on the list on the word "klima", only one name can be found, being Prof. Dr. Horst Malberg Universitätsprofessor (A.D.) für Meteorologie und Klimatologie. One. That's all.

And of course another name on the list is the infamous Ernst Beck (a high-school teacher),
whose methodology can be used to demonstrate both that C02 levels have fluctuated wildly over the course of the last century and a half, and that the value of π (Pi) has fluctuated wildly over the course of the last two millennium.

Jules Jules' klimaatblog further notes that the outfit behind this open letter, EIKE (Europäisches Institut für Klima und Energie) appears to be the German franchise of the International Climate Science Coalition, a denialist group headed up by Canada's own Tom Harris. If you look at their (EIKE's) "scientific council", you see all the usual suspects: Carter, Courtney, and rounded out with one dead guy--Marcel Leroux.

Macleans To Lose $1,000,000 In Government Subsidies?

Paul Wells was making callous free market noises over the plight of The Walrus, and I laid into him with my standard "How dare you talk like that when Macleans is riding the government gravy train to the tune of $3,000,000 per year?" What I was referring to was Macleans PAP (Pubications Assistance Program) subsidy, which paid out $2,538,282 to Macleans in 2008. He responded:

"I'm not sure this is a particularly bad time to point any of that out. Incidentally, the current Heritage Minister has announced plans to cut our subsidy by nearly a million, in a naked grab for the bcl vote."

Well, what appears to be happening is that the Canada Periodical Fund, which is due to replace PAP and the Canada Magazine Fund, will

...cap at $1.5 million annually the amount that an individual title can receive. The money saved will be reallocated to small and mid-sized titles, recognizing the economies of scale available for larger titles and the need to support a wide diversity of choice for Canadians.

...which is good. What is not so good is that the Heritage Minister has decided to defund Canadian small-circulation (under 5,000 ) and literary magazines, including On Spec Magazine, which published my first short story ("In The Train Of The King") so many years ago, and which survives on a grand total of $618 government dollars per year.

Macleans is still getting a pretty sweet deal, as far as I'm concerned.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Stephen Harper To Canada: I Spank You, Spank You, Spank You!

Blame Canada:

Then punish Canada:

Tourism businesses that sell to Mexican customers have been complaining the visa has caused a far larger drop in business than the recession.

“We have about 50 per cent cancellations, and now we don't have new bookings,” said Alain Paquette, sales director for bus-tour operator Amerigo Tours Inc.

Mexicans can't make last-minute travel plans for Canada, Canada is no longer a lower-hassle choice than the U.S., and the visa move has generated an anti-Canadian sentiment in Mexico, he said."

Tory Turmoil? Who is The Blue Network?

We are an organization that has been developing over the past few months We are a group of party members, MPs, volunteers, and Canadian Citizens determined to take back our Conservative party through democracy and allow for internal party resolution of policy. We want to take GRASSROOTS democracy back for the party members who make up the party.

What is their Mission?

To form an independent network, whose purpose is to bring reforms within the Conservative Party of Canada. We believe in a party built and run from the membership base. We believe the party principles, the constitution, the leaders, and the policy should all be chosen within a framework democratically elected by the membership base. Without the membership, the party does not exist; therefore, we wish to encourage a return to a responsible grassroots party.

And here is their website. Not much there, not even a contact email. Here's what a standard whois lookup gets you:

BLUENETWORK.CA - Domain Information
Domain [
Traceroute RBL/DNSBL lookup ]
Whois server
Time Left
327 days 10 hours 2 minutes
DNS servers
BLUENETWORK.CA - Geo Information
IP Address
US, United States
Scottsdale, AZ 85260
AS Number
33°61'19" North
111°89'07" West
10384.25 km (6452.48 miles)

...which is to say its anonymously hosted (by GoDaddy) out of Arizona. The obvious thought is that its a third party (Liberal Party?) ploy, a counter to Republicans for Ignatieff--that is, designed to stir up some press attention in the slow summer months and perhaps tease a damaging response out of CPoC officials. The network also wants a fair bit of individual information out of site visiters before they deign to respond, and memberships are currently "on an application-only or referral basis", so the point may be no more than to suck a measure of personal information out of disgruntled Conservatives, to be used later.

On the other hand, if the Melissa Baghat and Lisa Raitt nominations have shown anything, its that Canadian Conservatives take the concept of grassroots control their representative political organizations very seriously. It is certainly not beyond the realm of possibility that a wing of the party (given the reference to "conscious-driven councillors", most likely the SoCon wing) might form an exclusive/secret group in an attempt steer the CPoC towards its party base, which has been sorely tried these last three years.