Friday, December 31, 2010

On The Rebound Effect

The "rebound effect" postulates that, as energy efficiency goes up, the cost of using energy consuming products becomes less, which in turn leads us to consume more energy. So, for example, if your car gets better gas mileage, you will just drive it more.

But this argument is flawed in several respects. For example, in T.O (where I live) driving more means being stuck on the 404/401 longer, which tends to decrease the amount of pleasure associated with the whole experience.

In other words, driving is not like sex: you wouldn’t necessarily do more of it if you just had more energy.

Click through link above for scholarly discussion.

And They Called It News

OTTAWA - Questions about what ever happened to Peter Mansbridge's chair may never be answered.

Lilley's latest is up there with the T.O. Sun's front-page story from years ago about a suicidal raccoon. If the chair shows up dead in an alley-way, will they publish the gruesome crime scene pics?

What Is To Be Done With Justin Bieber?

The Tigerbeat interview with Justein Bieber in which he endorses the Ground Zero Mosque is a hoax. Nevertheless, it has inspired an anti-Bieber boycott which may, just by total accident, decrease the amount of shitty music on the planet.

How should a left-wing progressive react to this? How should we try to live?

My first thought is that Justin must be allowed to suck, otherwise the terrorists have already won. We must oppose this boycott even if the result is an continuation of the kind of crap music that today's youth seem to like, that often doesn't even contain even one electric guitar, but just alot of synths making bloopy bloopy noises. Later, if times call for it, we can take their rights away and make them get haircuts.

Not that I'm entirely anti-Youth. Below is a clip illustrating how you can be a teenager and not be too annoying:

I was never into these guys until I bought a $10 t-shirt off the remainder rack in a hippy place on Yonge St. Then I figured I'd better down-load some of their stuff just in case anyone asked about the shirt and, yeah, now I'm a fan.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

On Astroturfing

For his film (Astro)Turf Wars, Taki Oldham secretly recorded a training session organized by a rightwing libertarian group called American Majority. The trainer, Austin James, was instructing Tea Party members on how to “manipulate the medium”. This is what he told them:

“Here’s what I do. I get on Amazon; I type in “Liberal Books”. I go through and I say “one star, one star, one star”. The flipside is you go to a conservative/ libertarian whatever, go to their products and give them five stars. … This is where your kids get information: Rotten Tomatoes, Flixster. These are places where you can rate movies. So when you type in “Movies on Healthcare”, I don’t want Michael Moore’s to come up, so I always give it bad ratings. I spend about 30 minutes a day, just click, click, click, click. … If there’s a place to comment, a place to rate, a place to share information, you have to do it. That’s how you control the online dialogue and give our ideas a fighting chance.”

LPoC Tentatively Offers To Show Some Spine

Although the article is entitled "Conservative Crime Agenda Moves Forward", this piece from Xtra offers progressives a glimmer of hope:

Liberal justice critic Marlene Jennings says she is open to killing the bill at second reading but says the Liberals are looking at how the bill fits with other Conservative crime legislation.

That's right, the LPoC is contemplating not rolling over on Bill S-10, which would mandate mandatory prison terms for whipping up a plate of hash brownies or growing a half-dozen (6) pot plants. I'm not sure the Harper Tories have given a name to this bill, but one good one might be the "Lets Bust Gramma Hippy Act" or, alternatively, "An Amendment To Imprison The Entire Population Of Saltspring Island".

In any case, I interpret Ms. Jennings words as a cry for help and guidance. If enough noise is aimed at the right people, this trivial but profoundly stupid bill may yet die.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Fox News North Owner Freeps Own Poll

MONTREAL - The CEO of Quebecor, Pierre Karl Peladeau is the person most prominent in the economic sphere in 2010, according to respondents to a Leger Marketing poll conducted on behalf of the Agency QMI.

Just to be clear: Peladeau owns Quebecor, and Quebecor owns QMI.


Leadership hopeful Dana Larsen has the astounding ability to jam three dozen fatties in his mouth at one time. He can also roll 'em one handed...with his left hand! If the Dippers choose this guy, I don't know how they can be stopped.

Lest We Forget: Federal Taxes Going UP!

Virtually all workers in this country will take home less of their paycheque next year, according to the Canadian Taxpayers Federation’s latest calculations.

“Nearly every working Canadian will be paying more in income and payroll taxes in 2011,” said Derek Fildebrandt, CTF national research director.

Courtesy Stephen Harper and his CPoC gov.
By the way, I am including a shot of Derek Fildebrandt, who I have had the pleasure of debating on the Michael Coren show, because as far as I'm concerned he has world class hair. Up there with the hair of Gerard Kennedy and Pablo Rodriguez (but of the short spiky rather than long and ample variety). You can't really see it in the picture, but the tips of his hair are a different colour from the parts further back. Very sexxxy. I don't know how you get your hair that way. Its as though a man was crossed with some sexxxy wild beast.

Ah! If only I was younger and somewhat less straight.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

On Piers Corbyn: Crazy People Occasionally Get Stuff Right By Accident

AGW denialist and "alternative" meteorologist Piers Corbyn has been much in the news lately, having allegedly forecast (but note Nicks comment in the comments) Europe's current spell of nasty weather. However, FreeD's Peter O'Donnell (another AGW denier and amateur meteorologist pursuing alternative research paradigms) explains the problem:

I can add some inside knowledge on this story -- don't get on this band-wagon because Piers Corbyn has been trying to fit every winter since about 2005 to this "coldest ever" scenario and we can't get any sort of testable information on methodology, even for those of us following alternative research methods, the answers have been too vague to allow any testing, and if we took all known forecasts from his company, the track record would be a lot less encouraging than this one forecast seems to be. Also, any number of other forecasts were saying this would be a severe winter in Europe, it was fairly obvious from the trends and the blocking pattern that caused the Russian fires, that the winter would probably be very cold.


Now that he's finally hit the jackpot with this coldest winter in living memory forecast, we need to ask, what's the track record going to be in the future, or do we now just get "another severe winter" forecast every year until that hits?

If you want to check out what I'm saying, you could google the names Piers Corbyn, Positive Weather Solutions, and January 2008 which gave a false positive for cold that caused these names to link up with newspaper headlines about a very cold winter to come...

And, as it turned out, I wrote about Corbyn's 2008 performance back in March of that year. He bunged up so badly that any number of other of his fellow AGW Deniers denounced him on the movement's well known Climate Sceptic mailing list. For example, Dutch denier Arthur Rorsch complained:

My problem is, however, that Piers forecasts, which where not sufficient accurate, has been used against me in the national (Dutch) debate on climate change. I did never refer to Piers. But it was assumed that I support his view, (as a sceptic) which weakened my own case, because the Piers forecasts where seriously questioned and he has not as yet been prepared to show the basis for his forecasts.

And Hans Erren groused:

Piers missed today's severe gale. Combined with the absence of a forecast cold winter in holland I think there is not much confidence left....

Its funny that Corbyn should be getting so much play in the MSM when even his own tribe has raised questions about his methodology.

Incidentally, Climate Scientist and general badass James Annan has made a cottage industry of debunking Corbyn. He hasn't written much lately on the topic, but here's some of his older stuff.

And, also incidentally, under his real name Peter O'Donnell is one of the anonymous posters from FreeD that Richard Warman has launched defamation suits against. Warman is not only fighting Hate, he's out there saving mother Gaia.

PS. I note that Stoat has written on Corbyn recently, though in a somewhat scrambly fashion.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Jaws: the Denialist Version


A group of so-called government funded "experts" whip up alarmist fears of a killer shark off the coast of Amity, a sea side town. Their goal is to destroy the local tourist industry, send Amity back to the dark ages and thus achieve their underlying socialist agenda of wealth redistribution. The heroes of this tale are the local major and business leaders who lead a successful audit of the alarmist claims and by doing so manage to delay action long enough that the beach remains open. In the end it turns out a shark has been eating people.

Funny stuff. The comments are good too.

Hudak Tories Fear Tory Turmoil In Hillier Vs. Sterling Dust Up

Anonymous Sources? The Tories got 'em too!

Several Tory MPPs have privately expressed shock over the letter [written by Tory MP Scott Reid bitching about Tory MPP Norm Sterling]. And one senior Liberal said the party will use Reid's remarks against Sterling in the October 2011 provincial election.

Hell ya! Kinsella's down in the lab testing out Adverts now! He don't care that its Xmas.

While some have compared the anti-Sterling movement to a Tea-Party-like push, others have doubts.

"That's some weak tea," said one senior Tory, who cast aspersions on the power of Hillier's former group, the Landowners' to convert their populist message into real political muscle.

Actually, the senior Tory is probably right. Looks like Hillier's landowner insurgency hasn't had much success to date.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Santa Flames Out!

...somewhere over India, apparently. He must have already finished-up in N.A. because I got all my stuff.

Have a Merry Xmas, because you probably will anyway despite my best efforts. Unless you're in India and the rest of Asia, in which case try and think of The Grinch That Stole Xmas where the Who's wound up with diddly and eased their pain by singing. Singing always helps when you get screwed.

Watched that old cartoon last night, incidentally. Its great until the last few minutes when the Grinch wusses out. And aren't dogs wonderfully loyal creatures?

Friday, December 24, 2010

The Pre-History Of Xmas: In Which Santa Flees Turkey With A Gang Of Midgets

(Note: this is a shameless rehash of something I wrote way back in 2006. However, I think its just as relevant today.)

Saint Nicholas, the inspiration for Santa Claus, was known for his fascination with children and prostitutes. In the "official" stories, these interests are described as being entirely innocent. For example, from The Lifesite:

"Legend has it that Saint Nicholas became aware of a desperately poor parishioner having three daughters with no dowry to recommend them for marriage. The father had planned to sell them into prostitution to provide some means of support. By night, Saint Nicholas secretly brought bags of gold on three separate occasions to the man's home. These generous visitations allowed the three daughters to have sufficient means to avoid whoredom and later strike a marriage covenant. On the third visit to deliver the gift, Nicholas was caught in the act of generosity by the grateful father."

But I once met a guy high up in Jesuit Order who knew the whole secret history of The Church, and he explained to me that this account was a total white-wash. If the truth had come out, Nicholas could have never been made a Saint. The real story is that for two nights Mr. Nicholas snuck in through a handy window to consort with these three vice girls, but on the third night he slipped on roof tiles and fell into some hedges, thus waking their old man!

And of course the girls' father was grateful! He got three bags of gold out of the deal. They were his payoff, his hush money!

In fact, father and daughters were in cahoots. The aforementioned marriage covenant was struck with Saint Nicholas himself, because daddy threatened to squeal him out in public. So Nick wound up living with with the gals Mormon-style, and in folk-tales they became known as The Brides Of Santa.

Nick was content with his lot, for the Brides bore him a whole gang of dwarf children, seven or eight of them in fact, including Grumpy, Smarmy, Sweaty, and Sleazy. But people got wind of their arrangement, and they fled Turkey with a torch-wielding mob on their ass. Eventually the whole motley crue landed up at the North Pole, which was pretty much parts unknown back in those days, and in any case ruled over by the loose living Swedes, who could be counted upon to look the other way with regards to the behavior of this rich bigamist and his midget clan.

Just to be safe, however, St. Nicholas grew a white beard, packed on a few pounds, and started calling himself "Santa". He made his kids shave, floss, and dress a little better, and started referring to them as "elves", which is the Viking word for "little white guy", in an attempt to compensate for their rather swarthy complexion.

So now you know.

Don't have any joy this Xmas. Remember, there's kids starving in Malaysia.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Feel Free To Speculate

...because I have no idea.

Chinese Canadian National Council

...fact checks Maclean's "Too Asian"? article, finds a real dearth of facts: instead there's research misrepresented and quotes taken out of context. Also, scroll down for the council's list of demands, and especially this one:

1. Maclean’s will publish a ‘rebuttal’ article of generous length from CCNC (ie. 2 to 4 pages or an article of similar length to the original article);

Maclean's has already conceded to this, apparently. The folks behind the Steyn complaint, who asked for but did not receive the same variety of concession, should take heart. You've broken the ground that others have followed upon.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Conservative Senator Larry Smith De-Boards The Gravy Train

The outgoing CEO of the Montreal Alouettes said he was not trying to sound arrogant but that he was making a major concession in his lifestyle to become a senator.

"In simple terms, the money I was earning in my last profession to where I would be in this profession is what I would call a dramatic, catastrophic pay cut," he said.

This guy won't be around for long. I suspect pandering to Der Volk will take a real mental toll. Wait until he realizes that the coffee at Tim's taste like shit.

Yo Santa! Listen Up!

Now that your Canadian citizenship has been reaffirmed:

In Canada, men and women are equal under the law. Canada’s openness and generosity do not extend to barbaric cultural practices that tolerate spousal abuse, “honour killings,” female genital mutilation or other gender-based violence. Those guilty of these crimes are severely punished under Canada’s criminal laws.

Because has anyone even seen Mrs. Claus lately?

Ontario Landowners Rejig The Brand

New OLA President Deborah Madill tries to soften the rough edges:

In this article, the Star described the Ontario Landowners Association as a “rural rights group.” That’s not quite right.

In fact, the OLA is an organization dedicated to defending the property rights of all Ontario citizens, whether they live in rural or urban areas.

And that's true in that the OLA has scrubbed most of the references to a "rural revolution" off their website. You can still see a few here, though:

And its true in that ex-OLA President Randy Hillier is no longer suggesting that rural Ontario should separate and form its own province. But he used to.

You can forget all that stuff, or not. But I sure won't

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Santa Pays Toronto Early Visit

Wegmania: Xmas Edition

As my readers will likely know, GMU (George Mason University) statistician Edward Wegman has been accused of plagiarism and other more serious offenses in the preparation of his Wegman Report, a document commissioned by U.S. Rep. Joe Barton (R-Texas) back in 2006, that questioned some of the scientific evidence behind AGW. This piece is the latest I've found on the topic, and the first to mention some of the other irregularities in the report that blogger Deep Climate and John Mashey were able to uncover. A few highlights:

1) It gives a brief account of Wegman's "social network analysis', which concluded that Mann and his collaborators operated as an illicit gang of rogue scientists. This analysis was mostly plagiarized but, as the story points out, the rest of it was crap:

...Camille Parmesan, a biology professor at the University of Texas and a lead author of the Third Assessment Report of the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, says this academic network is simply a function of a scientific career.

“It’s very clear that of course Mann is well-connected,” said Parmesan, who has not co-authored with Mann. “I mean, he’s a top researcher in the field.”

2) It makes the case that the Wegman report conclusions were shaped by Joe Barton and his staff:

Mashey...lays out a series of communications with think tanks and others -– events preceding Barton’s commission of the Wegman panel — that Mashey claims demonstrate active political interference in the findings.

The Mashey report says that the Wegman findings, which criticized evidence for climate change, could amount to materially false information presented in a report commissioned by a congressional committee, an act prohibited by federal law.

“I think these questions need asking, although it is not my role to judge the results, and some questions would likely only ever get answered by congressional or [Department of Justice (DOJ)] investigations,” Mashey said in the report.

The article goes on to note that, in the current political climate (Republicans rule The House), even if Wegman did commit a crime, he will probably not be called to account for it.

3) It updates us on the latest in the GMU investigation of the charges against Wegman:

GMU spokesperson Daniel Walsch said the university is reviewing the allegations against Wegman. But he was not authorized to say whether that review is narrowly tailored to the allegations of plagiarism or is examining the more-serious allegations of bias and intentional misinformation.

So there you have it. More bakcgorund on Wegman here.

An MemeThat Must Die

Google has released a new tool; they've scanned millions of books in English and other (mostly European) languages, and slotted every word from those books into a data-base. So you can run words you're interested in through their database and, based on their frequency of occurrence within the sample, get an idea of when the concept behind the word was born, when it peaked in its influence in society, and when it died away.

Here's a word/concept I especially dislike:

Deconstruction: a philosophical movement that took The Left out of the game for 20 years during the 1980's and 1990s as trendy Pomo Theorists announced a revolution "at a distance of several centuries"--if I am quoting Derrida correctly--rather than doing anything so soiling as leaving their arm-chairs and organizing at street level (which of course the less hygienically concerned Right was happy to do).

So I'm glad to see its popularity finally beginning to fade. Furthermore, I suspect that it is more prevalent nowadays in the popular rather than the academic literature, where it has been superseded by equally stupid Frenchy concepts rather than the good, Anglo/German, hardcore analytic stuff.

Word up: the French make good wine and great novelists. Their philosophers have sucked since Bergson.

And just to add a bit o' scholarliness here. One of the preliminary results of analysing the database has been the conclusion that (sorry, I can't find the link) Freud is more deeply embedded in world culture than Darwin...

...which is true enough, and interesting in that Darwin's results remain well-established and Freud, while hardly gone away, has gone through all sorts of reputational to-ing and fro-ing.

PS. The graphs look better if you click on them.

Monday, December 20, 2010

WikiLeaks Piece In The Mark

My first post on Wilikleaks has appeared in The Mark, where it will be read and commented upon at the highest levels. I predict that CSIS steps in and screws around so my debit card won't work.

And, incidentally, anyone that tells you there's no news in those cables hasn't been paying attention.

Gruending On Bev "No" Oda

Probably the fullest account of that mysterious memo and the real story behind KAIROS' defunding, as told by Dennis Gruending. Nice to know that KAIROS is still fighting on after being stiffed by the Tories.

Incidentally, I am sure I've seen a .pdf of the memo floating around the net. I spent last evening searching but have been unable to locate the thing. If anyone can point to it, I'd be interested in having a look.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Vivienne Poy's Letter

...on defunding Macleans Magazine can be found here. There are many reasons that handing 1.5 million a year to a product of the deep pocketed Rogers media empire is a bad idea, beyond the magazine's occasional foray into race-baiting. Norman Spector outlines them succinctly here.

And Ms. Poy is right: a magazine can indeed have its funding yanked for publishing offensive material. The protocol for filing a "questionable content complaint" is right there in the applicants guide to the Canada Periodical Fund (although I wrote that post ages ago and some of the links may have changed). Moreover, the provision has been used before, in the case of Catholic Insight Magazine, which was put on a "watch list" for a time to stop the editors from gay-bashing. So, once again, the cries of "censorship" are misplaced. Or at least, if there is censorship involved, it is mandated by the regulations of the fund. Got a problem with that? Lobby to have the regulations changed so that Kenneth Whyte and Co. and publish any filth they want on the taxpayer's dime.

Ruby Dhalla Is Cookin'

H/T Bourque, who is an avid fan and may require a restraining order.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Tory MPP Randy Hillier: Soft On Gun Crime

Here he is pleading for leniency on behalf of Ontario gunsmith Bruce Montague, now doing time for converting semi-automatic weapons into machine guns, among other things. As for Hillier's point in the letter, well, its pretty clear from the history of the case that Montague was courting martyrdom. Such status doesn't come cheap, and in this country martyrs have to pay their bills same as everyone else.

Dalai Lama On Climate Change

2. (C) The Dalai Lama argued that the political agenda should be sidelined for five to ten years and the international community should shift its focus to climate change on the Tibetan plateau. Melting glaciers, deforestation, and increasingly polluted water from mining projects were problems that "cannot wait." The Dalai Lama criticized China's energy policy, alleging that dam construction in Kham and Amdo have displaced thousands of Tibetans and left temples and monasteries underwater. He recommended the PRC compensate Tibetans for disrupting their nomadic lifestyle with vocational training, such as weaving.

3. (C) The Dalai Lama requested the United States consider engaging China on environmental issues in Tibet and suggested increased collaboration between U.S. and Chinese scientists. The Ambassador assured the Dalai Lama that President Obama remained concerned about climate change and specifically asked him to address the issue in India and the region.

And why he's right:

Meanwhile, beyond the Himalayas, the profound and irreversible impacts of dramatic environmental changes are overtaking politics as a threat to the Tibetan way of life. The signs are everywhere: in melting permafrost; changes in surface water on the grasslands; disrupted rainfall patterns; and the retreat of most of the Himalayan glaciers – the largest store of ice outside the north and south poles.

Score another for wikileaks.

A Very Cool Thing

...if it works as advertised:

...of course any attempt to translate a sentence like "Hand me my salami" will be fraught with danger.


Friday, December 17, 2010

An Xmas Challenge

R. G. Harvie is one of those Conservatives that I'd characterize as "wrong, but not far gone". He seems a decent sort, in other words. And he's got this idea for a small hero challenge thingy, where bloggers commit to "paying it forward" and "random acts of kindness" and yada yada yada. Sounds quite dubious to me. But the Xmas season seems to bring out the "dogoodnik" in folks...its the booze, I think...and if anyone is looking for a way to get it all out of their system they could do worse than to visit his blog through the link and contemplate taking up the challenge.

PS. If I steal some kid's candy and he doesn't bust a tooth on his jawbreaker, thus sparing his family some very expensive dental surgery over the holidays just after his dad got laid-off from the fish packaging plant, have I committed an "act of kindness"?

Because if so, I'm about 7 Xmases ahead of the game.

If not I'm fucked, obviously.

Blow It Our Your Ass, Charles Adler

I hate it when Conservatives try and act nice. But that's what this stupid Xmas season does to people, which is why I hate it too.

Anyway, I'm off to Walmart this morning to verbally abuse a few mall Santas. They can get fired if they throw a punch. The old "But you're not really Santa!" trick usually does it, especially if they've been drinking.

A Few Year End Thoughts

But few, and brief, because I'm feeling a bit lazy this morning.

In the face of polls that are essentially stagnant, fans of the LPoC should remind themselves of the victories they've managed to salvage in 2010.

First off, the Harper Government's only real attempt at altering the fabric of Canadian society--Bill C-391 to repeal the long-gun registry--failed. And, not only did it fail, its failure seems to have taken the wind out of further Conservative efforts to destroy the registry. No assurances obviously, that the Harper gang won't campaign yet again on a repeal during some hypothetical Spring election campaign, but I sense a certain deflation of spirits among their faithful. For example, no less a personage than newly minted Conservative MP Julian Fantino suggested after the defeat of C-391 that it was time to move on.

What was particularly satisfying about the gun registry debate is that, as the tooing and fro-ing came to a head, polls showed a strong swing in favour of retaining the registry. This demonstrates that progressive values can still win out in our fair land if progressives are willing to fight for them.

Also, even though many Lib partisans are not particular happy with our new Afghan mission (me among them), and even though the party's strategy and tactics in the run-up to the vote on that mission were substandard, in the end I think you have to chock this one up as a win for Michael Ignatieff in that the defections in party ranks that everyone was predicting simply did not materialize. If one test of leadership is the ability to keep your troops in line, Iggy has passed this test on several occasions during the past year.

Now, as for next Spring:

Barring a total climb-down by Prime Minister Stephen Harper on all of his major priorities, the Liberal Party will oppose the Conservative government’s budget, Michael Ignatieff says, greatly increasing the likelihood of an election call in February or March.

Well, its good to know that Iggy thinks the party is ship-shape for another campaign, and god knows they're alot more fun than watching the clown-show during question period, but I suspect this is still mostly bluster: the Libs will be able to negotiate enough out of Mr. Harper to find a means of supporting the 2011 budget. Or the NDP, who have had a rough couple of months, will. Or Mr. Harper will fly a plane over Quebec and shovel loads of English money out the side, and thus secure the Bloc's support.

No. I'm still betting on 2012.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Vigna v. Levant: Ezra Decides To Go Another Round

The Dawg says, and the Dawg only says what he knows. Weird though, Ezra was starting to pull stuff down and I thought he'd surrendered. Maybe the strain of not bullshitting got to him after awhile. But who's writing the cheques? This guy?

McVety Compares Canadian Broadcast Standards Council To Stalin

...will nevertheless comply with decision. McVety's 5-page rant can be found here. In it, he references Jonathon Kay's defense of Word TV that was itself censored by the National Post. Funny how things go sometimes.

NP Censors Anti-Censorship Piece

Jonathon Kay's typically awful defense of Charles McVety has been disappeared from the National Post Website. The cached copy can still be found here, however. I'm assuming that it was the sight of bare-assed men that got the piece yanked. In any case, perhaps Mr. Kay will come out and denounce his employers. Perhaps.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Bob Rae Graciously Separates Shoulder

...thus giving PM Harper a chance in political piano war:Mind you, its a David Akin "special report". This guy still thinks Gordon Lightfoot's dead.

Like So Much Smoke From An Xmas Fire

Up goes all the speculation re a Spring vote, as yet another (Harris Decima this time) poll has the parties deadlocked.

You want another hint that absolutely dick all has changed? I offer you the dog that didn't bark: the absolute lack of Conservative threats to make any vote on Bill C-49, the Ending the Abuse of Canada's Immigration System by Human Smugglers Act, a confidence motion. Why their silence? Sure, this bill plays to the Torys "tough on crime" image, but its not something you can hang an entire election campaign on.

Sorry folks. My bet is we're stuck with what we've got until 2012, like a dead salmon on the beach, waiting for the high-tide of voter discontent (or at least the government's own term-limits legislation) to wash us to another place, but until that day, decaying slowly under the sun.

In the meantime, weep for our stinky nation!

McVety Back Soon

CTS comments on the Canadian Broadcasting Standards Council (CBSC) decision against Word TV:

“It is our policy in these circumstances not to air the program until we have assurance from the program that content will be compliant,” they explained. “CTS anticipates that the program Word TV will be reinstated in short order.”

Stop with the insinuations that gays prey on children, and McVety's good to go, in other words.

Worth noting is that the CBSC is a non-governmental body set up by the broadcasters themselves. So all of this very tired talk of censorship and bureaucrats oppressing straight-talking Christians is not to the point. Certainly nobody has, as Jonathon Kay suggests, moved to criminalize Mr. McVety's opinions. This is simply a case of the private sector policing itself--maintaining standards, as it were.

Monday, December 13, 2010

CJC Not Dead Yet

Plans for a single central Jewish public affairs group, which would include Canada's oldest Jewish organization, need to be more detailed before any restructuring happens, board members said in a unanimous vote on Sunday.

The decision to proceed thoughtfully was good news for the 91-year-old Canadian Jewish Congress, which has raised fears that it would, in effect, dissolve if its name and identity were played down or lost altogether in a larger organization that would include four others.

Up the Liberal Jews forever! Somewhere, Ron Jeremy, their patron saint, is smiling.

Going Viral Ain't What It Used to Be

The media don't really get this whole "social media" thing.

Whatever Ian MacDonald might say, Stephen Harper's Xmas jam was something of a Youtube non-event. His cover of The Who's The Seeker proved the evening's biggest hit, with about 18,000 views to date, and from there everything goes down-hill. For example, Share The Land, with only 874 views, clearly flopped. Libertarians probably bailed on it half-way through. And Sweet Caroline, with a whole 151 views, did even worse.

Compare that to the performance with Yo-Yo-Ma from last year, which gathered maybe 1,000,000 views. Looks like the CPoC returned to the well once too often with this gimmick.

And, when you think about it, 1,000,000 isn't that large a number on Youtube anyway. For example, this dancing dog has picked up over 8,000,000 visits in just over three months. I guess Stephen Harper's piano performances are the on-line equivalent of a "Canadian bestseller".

Wikileaks Exposes Tiny Bit Of Evil: UK/USA Ethnic Cleansing

One common complaint re the wikileaks cables is that, for all the sound and fury, they haven't revealed much new information. I think that this claim has become more difficult to sustaing over the past couple of weeks. For example, have you ever heard of the Chagos Islands and their indigenous inhabitants, the Chagossians?

The Chagos Islands are a series of atolls that float peaceably enough in the middle of the Indian Ocean, part of the British Indian Ocean Territory. Back in the 1960s and '70s, the U.S. decided it needed a naval base in the area, on an island without a "population problem", so hey presto! the Brits made a deal with (ie took bribes from) the Yanks and deported several thousand mostly African Chagossians off to Mauritius, where they still live today as their legal attempts to arrange a return to their homeland gradually founder. Meanwhile, in April of this year, the U.K. government declared the islands a "marine environmental reserve ".

And here's where wikileaks comes in:

The establishment by Britain of the world's largest marine environmental reserve around the Chagos Islands in the Indian Ocean was just a pretext to prevent the return of the forcibly deported islanders.

And behind that cunning move was the determination of the British government to reaffirm its strategic commitments to the United States, which operates one of its largest overseas air, naval and Marines bases on Diego Garcia island in the Chagos chain.

And diplomatic messages from the U.S. embassy in London published by WikiLeaks last week show British officials calculated backing for the move by the environmental lobby would conclusively outweigh supporters of the rights of the Chagos islanders, known as Chagossians.

Well, that would frost your ass, wouldn't it? The UK and US enlist environmentalists in their efforts to keep the Islands ethnically cleansed, so the Americans can keep operating their naval base in the middle of a whole whack of endangered species, including giant tortoises.

The government of Marutius sure wasn't happy when they got there hands on that leaked cable:

Mauritius' Foreign Affairs Minister Arvin Boolell was quoted in local newspapers last week as saying the classified document confirmed his government's belief that the protected area was in fact a smoke-screen.

"We are going to formally convene the British High Commissioner next week ... to listen to his explanations," Boolell was quoted as saying.

For me, this one cable justifies the release of the lot, as it reveals a tiny instance of government sponsored evil that would otherwise go unseen. Maybe once it was the job of journalists to do this kind of thing, but since they abandoned that role long ago, someone has to step in and fill the void.

Oh, and there's that other cable about how the Vatican was "offended" when Ireland's government decided to investigate the propensity of Catholic priests to rape young boys. That one too was revealing.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

WikiLeaks Hackivists Draw Blood?

The online shopping site Amazon was briefly offline this evening in the UK, Germany, Italy and France and an unknown number of other countries, possibly after a denial of service attack launched by Anonymous, a loose group sympathetic to – but unconnected with – WikiLeaks.

Go script-kiddies.

Looks like they got MasterCard too, so they are learning fast.

Just keep your butts out of jail, kids. They like 'em young in there.

MSM Loses More Cred, Fails To Report

Professor Carol Waino, the gal behind Media Culpa, has won a convincing (though still partial)victory in her OPC (Ontario Press Council) complaint against David Warren and the Ottawa Citizen. Specifically, the Council found that the columns named in the complaint had failed to meet generally accepted journalistic attribution standards. In addition, of the four columns in which Warren was alleged to have committed factual errors:

...the columnist and Wainio relied on different and conflicting sources. Council decided that while the sources relied upon by Wainio appeared substantially more reliable and persuasive than those relied upon by the columnist, it it was not in a position (except in one instance), to make conclusive findings of factual error, principally because it did not have the power to summon witnesses, or demand properly authenticated documentary evidence.

In the one complaint of factual error upheld, Warren made a mathematical calculation that could easily and definitively determined to be mistaken. But in any case, think about the lines above for a moment: the amateur (Ms. Waino) was consistently and substantially more reliable in regards to facts than a professional journalist at a respectable newspaper.

Nor did the OPC leave the Citizen itself off the hook:

The Council has no reason to believe that the publisher was aware of the possibility of any attribution faults at the time of publication. However, that possibility became known once the complaints were filed, at which time, in the Council’s opinion, the Citizen had an obligation to confer with the columnist to explore the attribution allegations and provide an adequate response to the complainant’s assertion that the columnist had failed to meet accepted journalistic standards relating to full and accurate attribution.

Of course, in such cases the journalistic tribe tends to circle the wagons and shield their own, so it isn't surprising there's been very little news of this decision in the MSM. Norman Spector is, as far as I can tell, the one exception to date:

If you want to understand why the mainstream media are suffering a loss of confidence, a decision of the Ontario Press Council—a decision that is almost impossible to find on the Council’s website - would be a good place to begin.


What the Council does not divulge - either in its press release or in its decision - is that the Ottawa Citizen refused to attend its hearings into the complaint. For a powerful news organization that routinely demands accountability from others, its behaviour in the case of Professor Wainio’s complaint reeks of hypocrisy.

Well said, Norman. Another thing the decision does not mention is the long, winding, and fairly miserable process that led up to it. Ms. Waino has been occasionally emailing me on this matter since at least late 2008, and lets just say that the OPC does not make it easy on people filing such complaints.

Anyway, congrats on a difficult job seen through to its end. Next time I'm in Ottawa, I guess the first drink is on me. Maybe the 2nd too. But remember, I'm not made of money.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Meet Gerard Kennedy And His Awesome Hair an Ottawa fundraiser on Monday, December 13th, to help Gerard pay off some Liberal Leadership Campaign debts. Gerard will be making available these limited edition drawings of Lester B. Pearson (at left)

...who, very unlike Mr. Kennedy, appears to have been suffering his own personal mini-recession up top there. Further details are:

Eggnog, Wine, Cheese, Art
Monday, December 13th, 2010
6:00 – 8:00pm
Heenan Blaikie
55 Metcalfe Street
Suite 300 Ottawa, Ontario

...and you can confirm via email ( or by going here.

Remember, when you get close to Gerard's can look, but you can't touch.

Newco To Replace CJC

There have been all sorts of rumours of the Canadian Jewish Congress being absorbed into the Canadian Council for Jewish and Israel Advocacy (CCJIA), and a few stories in places like the National Post . This long but fascinating blog post from Mike Cohen, their one-time national director of communications, suggests that the merger is a done deal, and "Newco" is the code name for the emergent entity. Sad news, which probably means that the official politics of Canada's Jewish community will shift significantly right...what kind of Canadian council has Israel in its name, for chrissakes?

In any case, while most talk of the Stephen Harper Tories breaching Fortress Toronto has been baloney, if you're a Lib this bit of blue-skying ought to send a chill running down your spine:

I feel badly for someone like Farber, probably the brightest Jewish advocacy expert in this country. He has stood up to hatemongers and delivered countless lectures and presentations to spellbound audiences. His talent has been underutilized. It is time for Bernie to become a politician. For Stephen Harper’s Tories, I could not think of a better star Jewish candidate in the Toronto area than him. Add B’nai Brith Canada executive vice-president Frank Dimant into the mix as a potential Tory Senator and our community will really be well served.

Tory Turmoil Lingers Yet!

The Randy Hillier/Ontario Landlowner led coup may be spreading:

M-P-P Steve Clark is downplaying reports last week suggesting Randy Hiller was working to stage a Landowner takeover with the Leeds-Grenville and Carleton-Mississippi Mills tories.

He echoes leader Tim Hudak’s statement that the party is united against the premier.

A bit of back story here: when Clark ran for the nomination in MPP Bob Runciman's old riding, one of his competiters was OLA member Shawn Carmichael, best known for selling uninspected eggs on his chicken-farm. Apparently, there is some bad blood between these two men, as Carmichael's application to run was rejected by the provincial party executive, which led to complaints about the process:

Carmichael said the local PC executive told him he could not hand in memberships at the riding office on Friday. He said he was also not informed that voting would begin at noon Saturday and not 2 p.m. as had been stated on an earlier announcement.

Frankly, though, I'm not sure I see much to these rumours. Clark has already won the nomination, and been elected to the legislature, so I don't see how taking over his riding exec (which seems to be the gist of the rumour) would accomplish much.

In any case, there was some fun, Tory Turmoil related goings-on at Queen's Park yesterday:

Tory Norm Sterling was taunted over his accusations that colleague Randy Hillier is trying to oust him from the Ottawa-area seat the party veteran has held for more than 30 years.

"You sleeping with one eye open, Norm?" a Liberal backbencher yelled.

"Hillier for leader!" chanted Infrastructure Minister Bob Chiarelli.

Ah! That such things might be.

Facts From Stockwell Day

End of month job reports show another increase in full time jobs in Canada - this time an increase of 15,000!


A word to critics: Criticism and debate are important and necessary. Just try to keep it factual.

...versus the real kind:

The number of full-time jobs fell, though gains in part-time work compensated for that. In fact, over the course of the past year, part-time work has far outpaced full-time jobs growth.

PS. There`s a big difference. Part-times are the crummy kind of jobs you get when the economy isn`t creating full-time posts.

Thursday, December 09, 2010

By Day, They Natter On About Wanting "More Voices Out There"... night they guard their own interests:

The documents show pressure from other members of the industry played a significant role in Sun TV backing down on its request for mandatory distribution as part of most basic television packages.

Not that I mind. SunTV's okay if it has to fight for its place on the dial in the free market o' ideas, like real news networks like Al Jazeera.

Because they'll lose that battle.

Canadian Broadcast Standards Council Dings McVety

CITS-TV, which hosts Mcvety's, will be forced to read the following statement during the show's broadcast period:

The Canadian Broadcast Standards Council has found that the broadcast of various episodes of Word TV between July 19, 2009 and February 21, 2010 breached provisions of the Canadian Association of Broadcasters’ Code of Ethics and Equitable Portrayal Code. By airing abusive or unduly discriminatory comments about persons on the basis of sexual orientation, CITS-TV breached the provisions of the Human Rights Clauses of both Codes. By so doing, CITS-TV also broadcast material which had the effect of conveying an attack on gays and lesbians, contrary to the terms of the Religious Programming Clause of the CAB Code of Ethics and Negative Portrayal Clause of the CAB Equitable Portrayal Code. In its observations about Gay Pride parades, CITS-TV also broadcast derisory comments about the practices of gays and lesbians, contrary to Clause 6 of the Equitable Portrayal Code. By making inaccurate statements about various issues relating to human rights and hate speech, and by mischaracterizing the purpose of the revision of the Ontario school curriculum and Gay Pride parades, CITS-TV also breached Clause 6 of the CAB Code of Ethics, which requires full, fair and proper presentation of opinion, comment and editorial.

Take away message? Don't call 'em "sex parades"!

Ezra Levant: The Sotweed Factor

Ezra Levant, another former Tory insider, also registered as a lobbyist for the tobacco industry. In 2002, he stepped aside as a federal candidate for the Conservative Party in a Calgary riding so Stephen Harper could run there.

Levant registered as a lobbyist for Rothmans, Benson & Hedges for a year, in 2009. According to the lobby registry, Levant communicated on two occasions, in March 2010, on the topic of international trade. He also registered to deal with the issue of an anti-smoking hotline.

After lobbying for the tobacco industry, and defending the tar-sands in his latest book Ethical Oil, I have it on good authority that Ezras next project will be entitled Canada: The Bestest Asbestus.

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Wikileaks As Brand

[John] Young suggested that WikiLeaks was effectively a commercial organisation competing in an open market, alongside others who sell sensitive information, such as former spies and the media. He claimed it glamorised the significance of the information it had to generate cash from donations. "The transparency market has been monetised," he said. "And it has caught on." WikiLeaks's financial ambitions have been strong. On an internal mailing list in January 2007 for the founders of, the group stated: "It is our goal to raise pledges of $5m by July."

And each "brand" would differ from its competitors by offering a competing "ethical protocol" for the release of whistle-blowers' documents. For example, a number of potential rivals have criticized wikileaks for

...concentrating on publishing material about the US while other information was neglected.

Assuming that this is the case (although even if it is, t'was not always so), other outlets might specialise in uncovering secrets from other regimes. And thus the free market for secrets will be served.

PS. John Young's website Cryptome is here. His issues with Julian Assange appear to be many and varied, I must say.

PPS. "Ethical Protocol" turns out to be a real word. Weird: I thought I'd just made it up.

Q: How Much Tory Turmoil Must The Hudak Tories Endure?

A: Even MORE!!!

Thanks to redistribution, I shared a riding with Norm Sterling for seven years and, since 2007, with Randy Hillier (Ontario PCs Struggle To Prevent Civil War On Eastern Front – Dec. 4).

It is no surprise to me that Mr. Sterling is locked in a struggle to avoid being tossed out by his riding association. Mr. Hillier runs three constituency offices, is attentive to local issues and is conscientious in following up on casework. By contrast, Mr. Sterling was so neglectful that my staff regularly dealt with complaints from constituents that they couldn't get service (or even responses) from his office.

Mr. Sterling's response to the possibility of losing the provincial PC nomination is to divert attention, by claiming that the MPP in the riding next door should be thrown out of caucus and forced to set up a rival party for – horrors! – bringing new blood into the Ontario PC Party.

Mr. Sterling should be selling more memberships, not starting public fights designed to force his leader to award him the nomination in the absence of a democratic vote.

Scott Reid, MP, Lanark-Frontenac-Lennox and Addington

Oh My!

Meanwhile, more MSM outlets twig to the Tory Turmoil story! Meanwhile, Adam Radwanski notes that, without the kind of "renewal" Randy Hillier and Co. are offering, the Hudak Tories are getting a bit long-in-the-tooth.

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Wikileaks 2010, CRU 2009, Napster 2000

I remember the day ten years ago a neighbor's daughter whispered to me about this new piece of software called Napster that would let you download music files for free. I tried it, and in late 2000 shifted to high-speed cable, along with hundreds of thousands of other Internet users. Around that same time, the American recording industry declared war on these Peer-to-Peer services, and users were compared to everything from criminals to communists, not always inaccurately.

These days, P2P is all a bit old hat; while many of the 1st and 2nd generation services disappeared under the entertainment industry's legal onslaught, they were immediately replaced by nimbler successors. Now everyone under 50 uses them, and nobody I know personally has bought a CD in the last 5 years.

Of course, the technology involved is very different, but the story of Napster 2001 has many parallels to the story of Wikileaks 2010, and the lessons gleaned from that earlier episode apply today.

And the first and most obvious lesson is: morality of the thing aside, you can't kill it. For the last several days, the world has watched our leaders play whack-a-mole with the wikileaks website; the only result has been hundreds of mirror-sites set up to host the leaked diplomatic cables should the main site be pushed off-line. In addition, word of wikileaks competitors has begun to emerge. Furthermore, if all of these were successfully driven from the Net, a simple zipped file stuffed with secrets could be released onto the various interlocking P2P networks noted above. And beneath all of these, in the very depths of the cyberspace, Ian Clarke's FreeNet--which was originally designed to facilitate exactly this kind of whistle-blowing--lies in wait as teh host of last resort.

The second important lesson is: if you can't kill it, you shouldn't bother trying. Most of those who have criticized the various calls for Julian Assange's death have done so on the grounds that these incitements are criminal/immoral. Less note has been made of the fact that creating a martyr for the hacker community--either in the form of Mr. Assange or his organization--would be profoundly stupid. The death (shutdown) of Napster did nothing but unleash a storm of technical innovation all bent on thwarting the authority that ordered this very same shutdown--bent on thwarting the record companies, in other words. And here we are ten years later with file-trading still flourishing and the music industry, by its own admission, in terminal decline.

And here's the thing: during its last days of existence, Napster executives were in furious negotiations with the major labels, and their business case could be summed up as: Après moi, le déluge. With us, you will get something; after us, the file-sharing world will fragment, and you will be unable to negotiate with the pieces. I believe that the international community is facing exactly the same situation with regards to wikileaks. It would be a much wiser course to deal--as in negotiate with--wikileaks, or perhaps one of its emergent rivals, towards an ethical protocol for the leaking of future documents. Otherwise, instead of files appearing with names redacted, we will have pure document dumps onto obscure Mongolian servers with no concern at all for whose interests might be damaged.

The international community ought to negotiate its own surrender, in other words, rather than face a rout.

Finally, the ongoing wiki-leaks saga bears a number of resemblances to the CRU Hack of 2009, in which private emails written by U.K. and American climate scientists were stolen from the University of East Anglia, and uploaded onto a server in Russia. The content of these emails proved embarrassing for the scientists responsible, but ultimately trivial. More importantly, in the aftermath of the event a number of arguments against this kind of disclosure were made that prefigured the kind we are hearing today. Scientists, it was argued then, will literally produce less science if their every utterance is held up for scrutiny. Diplomats, it is argued now, will be unable to do their jobs if some of the advise they give is not allowed to remain secret. Today, as in 2009, the public response to such arguments has been the equivalent of a disinterested shrug. Millions of people read the stolen emails; millions more are even now reading the leaked cables. We are headed, it appears, towards an age of "enforced transparency", wherein anyone that knows anything will be forced to disclose what they know.

The Internet has already made it clear that humans have an insatiable desire for music and pornography. Now add to these a third thing: secrets.

Tory Turmoil: The Landowners Strike Back!

Progressive Conservative MPP Norm Sterling should stop dragging the Ontario Landowners Association into his political battles, says the group’s president. “Mr. Sterling should understand that the OLA is a non-partisan group that is dedicating to protecting property rights,” says Deb Madill. “We are not a political party. We care about ideas not party labels.”

Madill made the comments after media reports indicated Sterling, who is in a nomination battle, talked about MPPs running in the next provincial election as “Ontario Landowner” candidates.

And here is the Landowners' former president Jack MacLaren from last year, putting the lie to Ms. Madill's words:

“The (OLA) are very definitely going to get involved in pursuing political positions in the 2011 election.”

Meanwhile, from the No Shit Sherlock! department: Hillier’s antics could aid rival Liberals.

If You Ever Meet Tory MP Michael Chong, Buy Him A Drink

...and ask him why he's still a Conservative MP:

Mr. Speaker, the manufactured controversy known as “Climategate” has now been debunked by five reviews, including Britain's Royal Society and the U.S. National Academy of Sciences. All concluded that scientists had not, as critics alleged, distorted scientific evidence about global warming.

A major assessment earlier this year from the U.S. National Academy of Sciences confirmed the relationship between climate change and human activities. It also warned of growing risks from rising sea levels, drought and disease that can only be addressed by quick action to reduce emissions.

That is why I encourage our government to accelerate its efforts through the clean energy dialogue with the United States and at the climate change talks in Cancun, Mexico.

As with the acid rain treaty of the 1980s, Canada can lead the United States and negotiate a Canada-U.S. climate change treaty that would allow us, as North Americans, to combat climate change and increase the likelihood of an international deal before the Kyoto protocol expires in 2012.

We need to act quickly and we need to act now.

Monday, December 06, 2010

You Decide

From the Ottawa Sun's now infamous "Lock & Load" editorial:

If the MV Sun Sea were carrying 500 "migrants" from Afghanistan, home base for the Taliban and al-Qaeda, would we be allowing it to enter Canadian waters, or would we put firing a shot over the bow with a message that the next would be midships?

Lock and load would be our approach.

Was that an incitement to mass murder? The Ottawa Sun editorial staff says no. They explicate their earlier stance as follows:

While we were huge proponents of firing a shot across the bow of the MV Sun Sea last August, and forcing its 492 Tamil queue-jumping fraudsters back to Sri Lanka, nowhere did we suggest a second shot to midships would ever go beyond a warning.

Except that this is gibberish. So what I'm deciding is that the Sun is defending its earlier editorial by taking refuge in bad English.

PS. Are they suggesting new military maneuver?

Levant's Defamatory Posts Start To Come Down

From Vigna v. Levant:
So it looks like the posts judged defamatory in Levant Vs. Vigna are starting to be pulled from Ezra's website, or at least be altered to remove the offending material. He's been a bit sloppy about it; the cache of Even the human rights tribunal is sick of the human rights commission (original posting date March 20) still contains the defamatory comments, although they've been pulled from the amended version. Similarly, the defamatory material in a post entitled My Cousin Vinny (from May 18) has been disappeared, but is still there in the google cache. Similarly with Good Grief now Giacomo Vigna is threatening to sue me! (from April 28), but I won't bother linking to the cache. Similarly with the post from April 21st entitled Richard Warman misleads the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal about "Jadewarr", under oath. Similarly with CTV's Mike Duffy Live (first posted May 21).

I note that the material in the March 26th post judged defamatory is still there. Interestingly enough, in that case the judge misread the phrase "bald-faced contempt" as "bold-faced contempt". Ezra appears to be capitalizing on this tiny error?
In any case, I think we can assume that Ezra won't be appealing Vigna v. Levant decision. I would also point out that it is possible to overwrite a google cache, so if Levant wants to sink this material entirely, he can do that.

PS. Paragraph 142 of the judgement orders Levant to remove "all defamatory blogs referring to Vigna from his website within 15 days". It looks to me that what he has done is not in compliance with the judge's instructions.

This Guy Kicks Ass

How Hard? It seems that The Blogging Tories in Their Own Words website has managed to shame Stephen Taylor into removing the revolting Dodo Can Spell from the BT blogroll. That's the first time that's happened I caught Bill Whatcott bragging about the feces bomb he'd sent to the Governor General. So its good to know that Stephen has at least a nascent sense of shame.

And what's with Ezra Levant? His posts haven't appeared on the BT site for awhile now (weeks?), and I don't see him listed on the blogroll. I emailed Taylor a couple of days ago asking, but there's been no response.

Sunday, December 05, 2010

Jonathon Kay Is Not Always Wrong!

I hate to give him a point, but Kay's earned it: Joshua Blakeney's research should not be funded by a Canadian university, and his thesis adviser, Dr. Anthony J. Hall, is a kook. Both appear to be 9/11 Truthers, in the fullest sense of the word. As Dr. Hall writes:

In my view the term, truther, is one that refers to those who do not accept the current government account of the events of 9/11; those who afford importance to the quest for the truth of what actually happened on 9/11.

Well, no, truthers are crackpots who have woven together wild, thoroughly debunked conspiracy theories to, for the most part, try and lay the blame for 9/11 on Israel and American Neo-Cons. Sure they exist out in the wild corners of the on-line world. What they are doing wasting funding and their students time in Canadian institutions is beyond me.

Let's quickly toss aside any nonsense about academic freedom. We do not let people teach Ptolemaic Astronomy in our universities, nor holocaust denial, nor the theory that God created Earth in six days, nor the theory that global warming is a conspiracy by Jewish scientists (another occasional Truther notion that I can't currently find a link to). And that's because such notions have been proven false, and of course the purpose of our higher educational facilities is to pass on knowledge rather than falsehoods.

It is entirely one thing to criticise Israel and the American Right on the basis of things they have actually done. It is another to criticize them based on lunatic fantasies. Mr. Blakeney and Dr. Hall have the stench of madness about them, and it infects also the institution that harbours them.

Mind you, Jonathon Kay still sucks, and his career will still end with him flipping burgers at a McDonald's. However, during those long-nights at the drive-through counter, he can at least console himself with the thought that he sucked less than usual on at least one occasion.

Tory Turmoil: Sunday Supplement!

FreeD denizen Edward Kennedy has been mentioned on this blog a number of times during the past few weeks, due to his association with the OLA (Ontario Land Owners) and Randy Hillier's riding association. Ed now claims to have resigned from both organizations as of late-November.

Also, searching my archives, I find that, besides going after Norm Sterling, the OLA vowed to target ex-MPP Laurie Scott in Haliburton-Kawartha Lakes-Brock. If you remember, she was the gal that stepped aside in 2009 so John Tory could find a safe seat.

However, this article from two months ago has her winning the nomination there. As a Liberal partisan, I must insist that the OLA redouble its efforts. And if any readers want to help fund their "rural revolution", they can go here. I personally have got $5 that I'm not doing anything with.

PS. Although I see that ex-OLA chief Jack MacLaren is doing his bit to keep the PCPO civil war raging. Maybe I'll send him an Xmas card. An e-card, obviously; I'm not made out of money.

Saturday, December 04, 2010

Shaw TV Declares War On Xmas; BCL Steps In To Save Season

Shaw is adding its popular holiday television channel showing a crackling fireplace log to its Video on Demand service, where it can be viewed for a charitable donation.


To access the Video on Demand (VoD) version, viewers will have to make a payment of 99 cents...

Normally I would approve of anything that makes people miserable around the holidays, but recently I've been feeling inspired by the whole wikileaks thing, and have decided that, for this season only, I will be offering a pirated version of the famous buring fireplace here at BCLSB absolutely free of charge:

You don't have to thank me. Xmas-time visiters looking for something a bit more lively can watch the alternative video below. It's got nice music:

Tory Turmoil: Your Saturday Morning Round-Up!

New stories on the PCPO civil war breaking out in Eastern Ontario. Two of them mention Hudak's promise to abolish the Ontario Human Rights Commission, a promise made to attract Hillier delegates to the Hudak cause during last year's PCPO leadership convention.

If you recall, in the run-up to that convention, provincial Tory leadership contenders fell over one another moving right so as to appeal to Hillier's gang of "rural libertarians". So, for example, Frank Klees promised to make "White's Only" signs legal again (or, more precisely, strike down that portion of the Ontario Human Rights Code that made them illegal). However, Hillier saw through that wasn't radical enough for him...and eventually Hudak upped the ante, promising to chuck out the whole provincial human rights apparatus and replace it with...something...some day.

But, as Michael Warren notes in his Owen Sound Times editorial, Hudak hasn't talked about this plan much since winning the leadership race. And that's not surprising. Polling at the time showed that such a pledge would be a vote evaporator among the general populace. So Hudak put it in a little box and never spoke of it again.

Except that now he may have to so as to keep Randy Hillier inside the PCPO tent. Therefore, a sincere thanks (from myself and all Ontario Liberal supporters) to Randy Hillier for taking that item off the secret agenda and putting it squarely back on the, well, non-secret agenda.

Friday, December 03, 2010

Tory Turmoil To The Max!

It's a civil war in the PCPO. Tory MPP Norm Sterling is blaming fellow Tory MPP for sicking Jack MacLaren and the Ontario Land owners on him (see here for details):

The provincial Progressive Conservative party is struggling with an insurrection of rural libertarians with a "very narrow and right-wing agenda," says west-side MPP Norm Sterling, who is blaming fellow Ottawa-area Tory Randy Hillier for a failed bid to steal his riding association out from under him.

Meanwhile, Ed Kennedy, the VP of the Frontenac Sector of Randy Hillier's riding association, says that Wednesday's meeting of the Carleton-Mississippi Mills PCPO riding association to choose its new riding executive was rigged against Jack MacLaren. He also calls Norm Sterling a "bootlicker":

This all goes to demonstrate that there are red tories in the party pulling strings, in my estimation. The left knows and fears that the landowner movement is and will effect changes for the better that embody rural rights and Conservative values but due to the success of Randy Hillier, they failed to stop his entry. They fear two honest men in the party and the more in line to come.

This was not unexpected, the same thing happened to Shawn and is more of the same old, same old. The party had been giving Jack a hard time all along since it was known he was going to run.

The loser of course is the party, choosing bootlickers of questionable character over honest men.

Oh My! And Norm, no stranger to blistering hot rhetoric himself, is suggesting that Randy Hillier

...should either fish or cut bait," Sterling said Thursday. "He should either be a member of the team or he should step outside the team and run as an Ontario Landowner under his own party label."

So far, Hillier is refusing to respond to Sterling's suggestion, dumping the problem on poor Tim Hudak. But Ed is still pushing for a party takeover:

The only individual with the capacity to drive the red tories out, is Randy Hillier. A Hillier/Maclaren combination would have been deadly for these traitors and my opinion was that this whole thing was orchestrated.

Meanwhile, Dalton McGuinty is renting a victory hall in advance of the 2011 election.

Climate Change Deniers Get Paper Through Peer Review, Confirm AGW In Antarctica!

A couple years back, Eric Steig published a paper showing, contrary to much previous work, that Western Antarctica had in fact been warming over the past several decades. Jeff Id of The Air Vent ( one of the guys close to the center of the CRU Hack), as well as several buddies of his, threw together a response which has made it through peer-review. It's called Improved methods for PCA-based reconstructions: case study using the Steig et al. (2009) Antarctic temperature reconstruction and, guess what?

Rather than finding warming concentrated in West Antarctica, we find warming over the period of 1957-2006 to be concentrated in the Peninsula (≈0.35oC decade-1). We also show average trends for the continent, East Antarctica, and West Antarctica that are half or less than that found using the unimproved method. Notably, though we find warming in West Antarctica to be smaller in magnitude, we find that statistically significant warming extends at least as far as Marie Byrd Land...

Eric Steig even shows up in the comments to congratulate Jeff and Co. on confirming his basic result Here:

I appreciate also Ryan’s comment that “I would hope that our paper is not seen as a repudiation of Steig’s results, but rather as an improvement” and his emphasizing that their results (evidently) back up our most important point – -the significant warming West Antarctica.

And here:

Jeff: (and Kenneth Fritsch): Given that you guys have apparently demonstrated much greater warming that we found (!), in the most critical area glaciologically (the Amundsen Sea embayment), I’m afraid you may well find that the media you complain about will indeed emphasize the red even more than last time...

"But wait! This is denial-land!" you say: "They must have something to bitch know, hiding the decline and the great AGW Hoax and all that!"

Well, its true that the new paper shows a pattern of warming somewhat different in degree and extent that Steig's, and purports to have identified a couple of methodological problems in the original that ought to be corrected. I will leave the scientists to figure out whether these are substantive issues or quibbles. But what's really set off the denialist crowd isn't the substance of the paper itself, but (as hinted at in Steig's second quote)...wait for it....the colour scheme used by Nature to illustrate the paper on its front cover (see above). McIntyre is outraged...OUTRAGED!

In the Nature article, the lurid blotch of red over the Ross Ice Shelf and the land area abutting it (where Harry is located) was prominently featured. Now Steig says that this doesn’t “matter”.

And here's Jeff Id bashing that same cover:

The S09 authors never said the Antarctic will melt but the implication to the layperson was ‘big red plot’. Now the plot has an appropriate amount of blue but if I recall there were many dozens of mainstream papers which carried the ‘red’. Can anyone guess which mainstream papers will carry the ‘blue’.

Gawd! The sheer genius of these guys! They're not just scientists up to the level of Galileo, they do graphic design as well!