Sunday, December 31, 2006

Saddam's Ghost Walks Abroad!

From India Daily:

In a most bizarre stories ever heard, some people in Baghdad are claiming that they are seeing Saddam’s ghost in Baghdad public areas.


Some claim he is seen in restaurants, markets and so on.

Disastrous news for U.S. foreign policy. Especially since one story has Saddam's ghost hopping a cab to Baghdad airport, and last seen boarding a plane to Washington while mumbling something like "I Ain't Done With You, America!" under his breath.

Look Over Your Shoulder, Yankee Mother

Nuke Plant To Power Oil Sands Extraction?

Here's one I entirely missed until I stumbled across The Edmonton Sun's Saturday Editorial. It appears that federal natural resources minister Gary Lunn thinks it is only a matter of time before Canada builds a nuclear power station to help extract oil from the massive tar sands in northern Alberta:

"It's not a question of if, it's a question of when in my mind," the Sun quoted Lunn as saying. "I think nuclear can play a very significant role in the oil sands. I'm very, very keen."


Lunn noted that nuclear energy is "absolutely emission free" and "CO2 free" and that it can help replace natural gas and other fossil fuels currently being burned to extract other fossil fuels from the tarsands.

I don't quite know what to make of this. Is it an end-of-year off-the-cuff remark that's best left ignored? Nuclear plants take a hell of a long time to get approved and finally built, so I doubt any structure would be in place before the end the next decade--by which time oil-sands emissions will have more than doubled--let alone this one. Furthermore, initial reaction from the oil-patch itself seems to have been negative. They certainly don't want to get stuck with the cost of building a power plant, and nobody has asked the people of Fort McMurray what their opinion of the project is, either.

Although I doubt these views would be hard to guess. The Edmonton Sun Editorial is already hinting that the proper response might be NIMBYism.

Personally, I am neutral on Nuclear Power. It might be due for a re-evaluation. However, Mark from Section 15 once promised a series of posts on why more reactors would not solve our Global Warming woes. If and when Mark produces, I shall happily link.

Update: Here's a good link on the history of using nuclear power to, well, power the extraction of oil from the tar sands. Luckily, we've moved on from the 50s, when they were thinking of setting off a bomb under Cheechum Crossing. Apparently, the technique works and

...was actually used in the US in the 60's or 70's in Colorado near Rifle. It was called the Rulison project and was to free up significant amount of natural gas. It did, but the gas was not usable because of unacceptable levels of radioactivity

A proposal similar to Lunn's was made about two years ago, but Ralph Klein ruled it out because Greens "would go nuts". Though Ralph is out of the picture, I trust his judgments re. the Alberta electorate. You probably won't be seeing any action on this soon.

Bad Advice From Rocky Balboa

Once many years ago my folks bought me a track suit for Xmas, and I decided I would take up running as a form of exercise. Having learned most of what I knew about "training" from Rocky I, just before my inaugural jog I broke two raw eggs into a tall glass and drank them off.

I then spent 20 minutes on the front porch deciding whether to puke or not, finally saying "screw this nonsense" and going back to bed, where I curled up into a pained ball until my stomach settled.

It was years before I tried running again (currently, no joke, I do about five miles a day).

Now, this article explains why, other than a godawful taste, drinking raw eggs is a bad idea. It suggests instead quaffing a

..."liquid egg white" product, which is supposed to have all the protein and none of the salmonella.

Just in case anyone is tempted, or has pledged to "get into shape" in the new year.

Saturday, December 30, 2006

Texan Races Pigs To Protest Mosque; Muslims unoffended

From CTV:

KATY, Texas -- A Texan unhappy with an Islamic association's plans to build a mosque next to his property has staged pig races as a protest during afternoon prayers.


"I am just defending my rights and my property,'' Craig Baker said.

Except that, while Muslims won't eat pigs, they really don't mind pig races:

"I don't care if he races, roasts or slaughters pigs,'' said Yousef Allam, a spokesman for [Katy Islamic Association].

In fact, the whole pig-racing protest arose because Mr. Baker mistakenly thought he was being evicted from the land he and his family have lived on for 100 plus years:

Earlier this month, Baker conceded the Muslims probably aren't after his land but said he had to go through with the pig races because "I would be like a total idiot if I didn't. I'd be the laughingstock now because I've gone too far.''

Resident Susan Canavespe said the pig racing isn't racist: "It's just Texas-spirited.''

And here's where I break into my cover of the theme from Deliverance:

Dingalingningningning...ning...ning...ning. Dingalingningningning...ning...ning...ning.


A Conservative Vs. Science, or: Yes Kate, Ice IS Geography!

Kate at SDA attempts a fisking of the CTV story concerning that giant ice-shelf that has broken away from Ellesmere Island up in the Canadian Arctic. She's concerned that the scientist quoted in the piece (Warwik Vincent) is claiming that the event might be an indication of the onset of anthropogenic Global Warming. So she's interested in showing both that he's incompetent as a scientist and a media craving "climate cultist".

Needless to say, this doesn't go well for Kate. After all, she's just a dumb girl. And there's a particularly juicy example of her scientific illiteracy at the very beginning of the post:

Laval University's Warwick Vincent, who studies Arctic conditions, traveled to the new ice island and couldn't believe what he saw. 'It was extraordinary,' Vincent said Thursday. 'This is a piece of Canadian geography that no longer exists.'

To which Kate responds (and you can almost hear the the sound of eyes being rolled):

Ice is geography now?

Whoa! Has Kate caught a "so called" climate scientist in a falsehood?

Well, not really, because large ice structures such as ice-shelves have standardly been considered geographical featurers (by, for example, Natural Resources Canada), and the study of ice-shelves has standardly been considered part of the study of geography. You don't study the geography of Antartica, for example, without mentioning the Ross Ice Shelf.

And this is what I find so appalling. Kate knows squat about geography, squat about ice-shelves, and yet she's got the gall to trash a real expert (who in this case has spent 15 years tramping around the arctic getting the lay of the land) with an argument that she would not have dared put forward if she had spent two minutes doing google searches!

This is what we're up against, when arguing with Conservatives over the environment. They are not ashamed of their own ignorance. In fact they feel entitled to it!

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Will Mariah Carey Sue Mary Carey?

Mariah Carey is looking to derail the trademark bid of a California porn star on the grounds that:

...the public is "likely to mistakenly associate the goods offered" by Mary Carey--whose real name is Mary Cook--with the performer's "goods and services."

"Mary Carey", if she is granted rights to that name, has appeared in movies like "Hot Showers 6" and "Lesbian Big Boob Bangeroo 2". She also (and here's the political angle) received 11,000 votes in the 2003 California Gubanatorial election won by Arnold Schwarzenegger. Mariah (best rack in Rock) Carey is a world-famous singer, musical performer, and celebrity. She also appeared in the 2001 film "Glitter".

The tv is showing a story about a kitten than got stuck up on a roof and had to be rescued by TO fire-men. I'm writing about Mariah Carey. It's a slow news-day, obviously.

Celine Dion Heralds The End Of Days

The fellow from Dymaxion World discovered this first, but it is so transplendantly awful, so utterly Craptacular, and so thoroughly a sign of the Decline of Western Civilization, that I thought it worth posting again.

You see why the Islamofascists hate us?

More Signs Of the Coming Enviro-Apocalypse, And On My Birthday, Too!

In the early afternoon of Aug. 13, 2005, with a force so powerful that seismic monitors 250 kilometres away picked up the tremors, a 66 square kilometre chunk of the Ward Hunt Ice Shelf broke away from the body of Ellesmere Island , and floated out into open waters. Scientists are only now getting a look at the event's aftermath. They blame the breakup on the onset of Global Warming:

"We're seeing incredible changes," said Warwick Vincent of Laval University, one of the few people to have laid eyes on the scene.

"People talk of endangered animals -- well, these are endangered landscape features, and we're losing them."


Mr. Ward and his team of researchers have also seen the sudden collapse of ice dams and the draining of 30-kilometre-long lakes into the sea.

The ice island is about 37 metres thick and measures roughly 15 kilometres by five kilometres. That's the size of a small city, or larger than 11,000 football fields. At the moment its stuck in winter ice, but may become a potential hazard to navigation and oil and gas extraction if it breaks loose and floats south towards the Beaufort Sea.

(August 13th was a Sunday, and I remember lying around my apartment eating birthday cake that afternoon when a voice whispered in my head: 'Tis the Last Judgment's fire must cure this place, it said, and then: Doom, baby, doom! Weird, huh?)

Meanwhile, as the Climate Science community slowly gains the ear of mainstream politicians, there are deep and searching discussions going on re. the need (or lack thereof) to dial back the rhetoric on Climate Change. Are climate researchers "overselling" the science by concentrating on "worst case scenarios"; can a case be made for proselytizing/PR, or should these be abandoned for the plain-vanilla declarations of scientific discourse? H/T to Kate for linking to these documents (you see I still send you traffic even when you're mean to me), although I doubt she and her minions are capable of comprehending what they are reading in them.

IMHO, for environmentalists and scientists working for political action on Climate Change to entirely abandon Rhetoric would be to unilaterally disarm. Its not like Big Oil will suddenly fire all of its lobbyists and accept the truth without a fight.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Meet The Zoobombs

One of my favorite bands of the last ten years is a Japanese "rap-Rock" outfit called The Zoobombs. Their sound ranges from a form of sweaty garage rock to Rolling Stone's Covers to (my favorite) Beck-like numbers with absolutely frantic rapping in almost incomprehensible English. In fact, part of the band mythos is that they learned English entirely from listening to Rolling Stones albums. They're apparently big Toronto fans, although I've never seen them here, and recorded their Live Album, "Bomb you Live", in 2000 at the El Mo.

I discovered this video while playing around on YouTube. It's one I haven't heard before:

Other great tunes include "Jumbo", "Tighten Rap", "Use Me", "Got Baby if you Want It", and "Nobody Like You".

Tory Scandal Rocks the MSM!

As of noon, 36 stories re. Donationgate via Google Canada. Most focus on the undisclosed donations, although about a quarter lead with Stephen Harper's personal relationship to the scandal.

Not bad!

BigCityLib Banned From SmallDead Animals.....AGAIN!!!!!!!!!

Well, that didn't take long. Kate's booted me off SDA after a whole five posts to her comments section! Except this time, she's being considerate enough to still allow me visiting privileges. I can bask in her wisdom although I cannot correct her when she falls into Error.

Quite the Prairie Diva!

I have no idea what brought this on. She mumbled darkly once about me having "insulted her", but I honestly don't know what she means. The only off-colour remark I recall making was calling her home Province Sasquatchewan, but this was in reference to the rash of sasquatch sightings that have taken place there in the past few years (as I'm sure Saskboy can attest to--in fact I'm surprised he hasn't written about it).

It was definitely not a personal comment direct at anyone's incredibly hairy legs (which perhaps Saskboy can also attest to).

Stephen Harper, Tories...BUSTED!

No, unfortunately, they were not filmed t-boning hookers on the lawn of the parliament buildings. However,

After months of heated denials, the federal Conservative party has quietly admitted it failed to publicly disclose hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of donations.

In addition, three attendees to their 2005 convention in Montreal, including Stephen Harper himself

... exceeded their $5,400 annual limit for political contributions. As a result, the party refunded $456 each to Harper and the other two delegates.

Now this is all from a revised financial report filed by the CPC itself. Outside observers...well, Liberal MP Mark Holland..believe that the report does not touch on any number of improprieties:

For instance, it doesn't mention the fact that the registration form for the convention invited outside observers -- generally lobbyists and representatives of professional groups -- to use their corporate credit cards to pay the $750 observer fee. The Liberal party maintains such payments constitute corporate donations, which are strictly prohibited.

Moreover[....]the Liberals have identified roughly 200 Tories -- not just the three disclosed in the revised report -- who likely exceeded their annual donation limit after paying the convention fee. The regular fee was $600, although discounts were available to some.

Is Donationgate the first big Tory scandal? I think so! Cue the outrage!

"I am shocked and appalled...etc."

And its interesting to compare scandals. No fair-minded person could accuse rank and file Liberals of being complicit in Adscam. Here, though, the fact that delegate fees were not being treated in a proper fashion (as donations to the party) could have, and seems to have been, something known to literally hundreds of Tory delegates to the 2005 convention.

In other words, the rot goes right to the bottom!

H/T to Meaghan and WalksWithCoffee who helped uncover this whole mess way back last summer.

Update: here's an even more relevant link to Somena Media. It illustrates the depth of CPC perfidy.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006


As we all know, you WIN Xmas when the total dollar value of gifts you receive exceeds the total dollar value of gifts you give.

In my case, I'm down about $20 to the wife, but managed to palm off a fistful of dollar store trinkets to various in-laws in exchange for a cordless phone and a new electric razor. So I'm feeling pretty good about Xmas '06. I didn't just WIN the holiday season, it's as though I GAMMONED it!

Meanwhile, the month-long binge continues apace, with a hog and a turkey sacrificed thus far in the name of Baby Jesus. I have a last Boxing Day event today at another inlaw's place.

One more pig must die, and I shall be set free.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

No, Virginia, It's All Bullshit!

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

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

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

Virginia, your little friends are wrong.

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

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

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

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

Anyway, Mr. Church keeps on editorializing:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

But wait...There's More!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

PS. Last post for a couple of days. If I haven't turned you against Xmas by now than there's no hope for you, and so you might as well have a not totally awful holiday!

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Diddy's Hoodies Made From Chinese Doggies

Fashion Mogul promises to pull product, refurbish with faux fur.

...which is what the thing was supposed to be manufactured out of in the first place, and what it said in the advertising. But famed rapper and fashion mogul Sean "Diddy" Combs sent the manufacturing over-seas to China, where they were making the hooded jackets from these cute little fellows (raccoon dogs), who are in fact a species of wild dog.

We've Got 'Em Surrounded...Again!

...according to this piece:

HOWZ-E MADAD, Afghanistan - There is no place to hide, and nowhere to run for the 700 to 900 Taliban insurgents now squeezed into a box near here by NATO forces.

Except that exactly the same claim was made during September's Operation Medusa, until it was discovered that:

While NATO has claimed that 700 Taliban are trapped [around Panjwaii] , locals say there is an easy escape route to the west that has gone unguarded by Canadian and Afghan troops, allowing insurgents to resupply.

Operation Medusa fizzled out. Expect Operation Baaz Tsuka to end the same way, since already reports are coming in that the Taliban, warned well in advance, "moved elsewhere" before NATO arrived.

U.S. Cold Weather Apparel Retailers Worry About 1st Global Warming Xmas


"It's a fact of life: you need cold weather to sell cold-weather products," said Barry Kay, co-president of Herman Kay, a Seventh Avenue clothing company that supplies coats to department stores like Macy's and J. C. Penney. The season, he said, "has been very tough."

Temperatures are up about 15 degrees Fahrenheit in New York, and sales of coats, scarves and gloves are expected to be off 20 per cent.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Stockwell Day Spear-Chucker Story Hits MSM!

If you haven't heard, Stockwell day referred to "Easterners" as "spear-chuckers" in his December 20th column for the Penticton Western News. The Prog and Lib blogs sprang into action, and tonight I heard an account of the story on CBC radio. Did not get details, but a Liberal MP is already calling for an apology!

Congratulations to Bob The Red for finding the story, and all sorts of other people for helping to spread it.

As I think about this, I am reminded what Ezra Levant did to Dion re the dual citizenship story, and also the words of Sean Connery in The Untouchables: if they send one of yours to the hospital, send one of theirs to the morgue.

Jesus ReRisen?

While the Pope's yammering on about the Reality of Jesus, science records an actual example of virgin birth at Xmas. Congratulations to Flora, whose sons are no doubt bound for great things.


Santa Claus, Flaming Death Trap?

From Breitbart News:

Sweden's national testing institute tested six models of [Santa Claus] beard on sale in the Scandinavian country and found that two of them turned into a raging inferno when coming into contact with a naked flame.

"We placed the beards on a peg in a laboratory. We placed a small flame underneath for two seconds to simulate a situation where Father Christmas gets too near to a candle or match," fire expert Per Thureson said in a statement.

And we let Santas into our homes and malls? Why? Because they're jolly?

I mean some of these guys drink hard liquor straight from the bottle, and smoke cigars. How jolly is it to watch a man's head explode into flame before your children?

Well, maybe a little bit, now that I think of it...

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Spear-Chucker Update: Day Was Comparing Easterners To Indians, Not Blacks

Jeff at Where'd That Bug Go has managed to find an alternative definition of "Spear-Chucker" that seems more likely to be the meaning of a B.C. Interior politician like Stockwell Day:

3. One who throws spears made of wood at nearby wildlife or in some cases livestock. Usually of native descent.

So Stockwell was actually comparing Easterners to primitive Indians, not dumb Black males, as I first suspected. I apologize for the error

Unless of course Stockwell is secretly a genius of rhetoric who was attempting to slag off two different races in a single remark. (Three races, if you count Easterners)

Stockwell Day On Eastern "Spear-Chuckers"

Is Stockwell Day being Racist or just stupid? From his column in yesterday's Penticton Western News:

Aaaaanyway, it appears that local libs now send bits and pieces of my local columns to their favourite spear-chuckers down east who are quick to unleash a volley of indignation, which makes for good fodder back here at home.

The most natural way to read this, given the standard definition of "spear-chucker", is that Stockwell is claiming local liberals are sending bits from his columns to the dumb black males we've got living in some of our Eastern cities.

Either that or he has given a private meaning to the term "spear-chucker", which I frankly can't fathom at the moment.

(Big H/T to Bob The Red)

She Loves Me, She Really Loves Me

Kate MacMillan, the Canadian Far Right's Hot Bloggin' Mama, their kitten with a whip, She Who Must Be Obeyed for thousands of teen Torys who can't get real world girls to look at 'em sideways, has unblocked access to SDA from my home computer! No longer will I have to sneak about through proxy servers when I want to go over and help educate the right-wing Youth of Today!

In other words, BigCityLib IS BACK!

And God these kids need educating. I only hope I can help them before they start committing crimes. But getting Wisdom inevitably involves pain. So bend over, Tory children, for BigCityLib wields the great suppository of Knowledge!

As to why Kate wants me back, I have a couple of theories about that. One is that she needs the traffic I used to bring to her site. She's slipped down a couple of places in the blog rankings (whereas this blog has powered its way into the top 59). The other, which I prefer to think of as the more likely explanation, is that she is secretly hot for me. In which case, just tell me, my sweet Catherine. We can link up websites and, with your beauty and my brains (and, lets face it, sexxxiness), we can rule the blogosphere together.

PS. I was told there were a couple of topless shots available at SDA, but found nothing. Is there a "premium content" part of the site that I'm missing?

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Teachers Criticized For Not Lying About Santa

Instead they told the poor kids that Santa Does Not Exist. The criticism from local parents was overwhelming:

"What gives the school the right to decide when children should know the truth...?"

...asked one angry father.

Actually, I remember when I found proof that Santa didn't exist. My parents had left the price-tag for my hot-wheels drag racers on the box, so I realized that it came from the local Cannex and not the North Pole. I gave them heck for trying to fool me, but once I started playing my indignation faded quickly enough. By the end of the day I had managed to set both dragsters on fire, and learned that a piece of hot-wheel track made a good sword for play-fights, and that it hurt when your little brother whacked you across the temple with one.

I think I was 25 at the time.

In any case, its best if kids get past all the Xmas lies so they can learn the real meaning of the season which, as Lucy van Pelt once famously observed, is about getting all you can while the getting is good. They should learn young how you WIN Christmas when the total value of the gifts you get exceeds the value you spent on gifts for others.

So, frankly, the teachers of Ladysmith Junior School in Exeter, Devonare are to be congratulated for hustling along the mental evolution of these little tots. Parents leave it to the public school system to teach their kids about Sex. Why are they getting so tetchy when it comes to teaching them about fictitious fat men?

PS. Be warned, unless some real news breaks its going to be anti-Xmas ranting as far as the eye can see on this blog. Keep your young childen away.

A Holiday Symbol For Atheists?

What could be better than a vacuum tube, a container which holds Nothingness, to symbolize the fact that we are all just atoms in the fucking Void?

And now that we have our symbol, we can protest if City Hall doesn't display it prominently, alongside their Xmas tree and their Menorah and their Bodhi Day meditation mats and that little shrine where Pogo Islanders can pray to their magic banana.

Santa Claus, Whoremonger

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 had a friend 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. 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 up 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 the three girls 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 Sleepy, Grumpy, Sweaty, and Sleazy. But The Church 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 by the loose living Swedes, who tended 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 Teutonic word for "Whitey", in an attempt to compensate for their rather swarthy complexion.

Next post: A Holiday Symbol For Atheists.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Hockey Player Cut For Lack Of Patriotism!

From the TO Star:

SAINT JOHN, N.B. – The commissioner of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League will decide soon whether to take any action against the coach of the Saint John Sea Dogs for cutting a player who failed to sign a Canadian flag sent to troops in Afghanistan.

A spokesman for the league said today that league commissioner Gilles Courteau will make a statement on Wednesday at the latest about the decision to release left-winger Dave Bouchard from the team after he did not sign the flag.

Earlier this week Sea Dogs coach and general manager Jacques Beaulieu expressed outrage over the missing signature, citing it as a major factor in young Mr. Bouchard's dismissal.

Frankly, Mr. Beaulieu ought not to be a coach anymore. Cutting a teenage hockey player from your team and claiming publicly that it was because of his political beliefs is way, way over the line.

Scottish Soldiers in Afghanistan Forced To Go Kiltless!

They're down to one kilt for every fifteen men! Furthermore, the Taliban have figured it out and they're aiming for the nuts! Even worse, the "planned rollout" of new kilts won't be complete until January 2008!

Until then the men are expected to shoot one handed, or improvise jock armor from old ammunition belts.

Personally, I think if men went to war without pants on, there would be less war all around. The giggle factor would be too high.

Kinsella On The Dion Dual Citizenship Flap

Checking in a day late and a dollar short, Warren Kinsella makes a series of blindingly obvious remarks re. the Stephane Dion Dual Citizenship controversy:

Maybe Canadians do, maybe they don't [care about the controversy]. What should matter to Canadians, now that the backroom viral campaigners have sullied the good name of a patriot, is enhanced media awareness. It would make for a better democracy, and a better Canada, among other things.

That enhanced media awareness could start with a question, on the record and right out in the open: Who had an obvious political interest in propagating the Stephane Dion "story?" Who?

So Kinsella is suggesting that Conservatives and, the horror! the horror!, maybe even the CPC itself are behind the attempted smear. How shocked I am.

Look, the most important thing about the Dion smear campaign was that it was met online and defanged. It is true that some media outlets, like the Toronto Star, published rash pieces suggesting Dion should give up his dual citizenship before all the facts were in (like the fact that John Turner was a also dual citizen). However, should the issue come up again during an election campaign these facts can be swiftly paraded about (due in large part to research work done in the progressive blogosphere) and the story will go nowhere.

And the important thing to ask is not whether it was a "viral" campaign, but whether it was an effective one. Well, that's actually difficult to say. The only up or down twitching in the polls that might, just might be related to the controversy is the continued Tory slide in Quebec. Did the incident raise suspicions among Quebeckers that their new found best buddies in the CPC might be just as anti-French as their Reform predecessors? Maybe...

PS. Shocked and appalled noises would look better coming from almost anybody but Kinsella, the master of political dark ops. Return to your pit, Warren!

Monday, December 18, 2006

Tax Breaks For Conspicuous Consumption?

In Coyne's latest he suggests tax-breaks for Xmas gift-giving. Coyne plays things straight for the body of the column, but gives the jest away in his last paragraph:

Space does not permit going into some of the other advantages of this proposal, whether in terms of regional development, global warming, or national security. But I will say that if you believe one word of what I've written here, you're in even greater need of a Christmas break than I am.

However, many of Coyne's readers didn't get the satire, and expressed their approval of the idea, much to his chagrin and embarrassment.

I share Coyne's credulity. Because, frankly, Xmas giving is a sin, and any tax levied in connection with it should be considered on the level of a tax on cigarettes or booze.

Because modern Western Society trains people from the cradle on up to binge at Xmas, to battle for garbage patch dolls at midnight sales, to spend recklessly on junk like slow cookers and nose hair trimmers, to behave like the working men of the last century who drank up their pay-cheque in a single night so as to black out the emptiness of their sad existence, and etc.. In other words, you couldn't stop people from splurging on crap at Xmas if you wanted to, so why give them a tax break for it? In fact, why not hike the sales tax for a few months every year around the Holiday Season, rake in more dough to use for saving the polar bears up in the fast melting arctic?

Tax breaks on Xmas gifting are like baby bonuses, which are in essence a government incentive for screwing. Which is ridiculous. People will screw no matter what the economic cost, so logically they should be taxing it. Issue coin operated chastity belts, which have to be sent back to Ottawa at the end of every month.

No Spring Election?

From The Star:

QUEBEC (CP) — The new leader of the federal Liberals says he won't topple the Tory government over Canada's mission in Afghanistan.

The Bloc is looking for an excuse to provoke a quick election before Liberals can get organized, according to Dion.

Toppling the government over Afghanistan would serve no purpose, he adds.

It's good tactics, I think, for Dion and company to bring down the Tory government over some item in the February budget rather than siding with the Bloc on what will certainly be labeled the "cut and run" motion. If Layton can, however, put some real teeth into the Tory's clean air legislation, then finding another item that justifies going to the electorate might be tricky.

The chess game begins.

Global Warming Comes To My Feet

..which can be seen here ensconced in my favorite Teva sports sandals, which I used to toodle around the city yesterday, December 17th, because temperatures hit a freakish 13 degrees Celsius.

We are all doomed, baby, DOOMED! But at least we'll go to our doom bare-foot and in short-sleeves.

Close Up: Left Foot

Important Note: identify two of the different varieties of foot-fungus visible in the above picture and receive a golf-ball signed by Jean Chretien.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

McGuinty Seems Safe in Ontario, But Federal NDP Appears Doomed

From the TO Sun:

The [SES] survey, provided to Sun Media, shows the Ontario Liberals are holding firm with 42% of decided voters, the Conservatives are sitting at 35%, the NDP have slipped to 16% and the Green party is at 7%.

Boring apparently works, the Libs are not being blamed for their broken promises, and John Tory hasn't made an impression on the public. Meanwhile the NDP's federal woes seem to be negatively effecting on their Provincial counterparts. Pity poor Howard Hampton, whose intimate knowledge of power generation has made him an excellent critic on the issues surrounding Hydro One.

Provincially, though, the problem has not yet reached Existential proportions. Federally, the Dippers are in tough and don't have much time to turn things around. My nightmare scenario is that the Greens take enough NDP votes that the latter lose seats, but not enough that the Greens elect anybody. I can even see the NDP losing official party status, and the Greens failing to achieve it.

The Dippers have three problems, it seems to me:

1) Jack Layton has been coming off as a bit of a Johnny one-note lately. Of course in opposition you oppose, but Jack sounds downright bitchy.

2) The NDP has always been seen to be a labor friendly party first, with a secondary environmental component, and I think this perception still holds even though the party has attempted to disintangle itself from its union roots. But the thing is, a pro-union party won't draw flies in many parts of Canada, not even among voters who otherwise consider themselves Progressive.

Meanwhile, the Green's have stolen much of the Dippers enviro-thunder.

The NDP, therefore, has to prove itself as a credible environmental party, not just complain sniffily that they got green long before Elizabeth May and co. Cutting a deal with the Tories, or at least flirting with them a bit, may help. But be careful what you wish for. If the real Greens denounce any resultant Clean Air legislation as a sellout, who will the Canadian public believe?

Hint: she's female and lacks a gay little mustache.

3) The NDP's strategy of targetting the Libs has been a failure. There is something unseemly about a national party whose goal seems to be getting dibs on Stornoway. Go for a win or go home, I say. Otherwise the party risks letting its tactics obscure its message, which is what seems to be happening already.

A White Christmas?

What are the odds? Believe it or not, Environment Canada does a calculation, for each of Canada's major centers, based on 45 years of weather data, of the possibility of a White Xmas. Here are some of their most current results (in no particular order, other than that, as in so many things, TO comes first):

Toronto 57%
Saskatoon 98%
Vancouver 11%
Victoria 11%
Calgary 59%
Edmonton 88%
Regina 91%
Winnipeg 98%
Fredericton 85%
Charlottetown 87%
Halifax 59%
Quebec City 100%
Montreal 80%
Ottawa 83%

...and etc. Not looking good anywhere but the Prairie, but Environment Canada will be updating these numbers as we approach the big day.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Top Ten Cryptopix

The end of a boring news day without much to write about. Here's a link to my favorite Cryptozoological website, Cryptomundo, where crytomainman Loren Coleman has posted the top ten cryptopix of 2006, including this pretty clearly fake of picture of the famed lake monster of Lake Nahuel Huap, Nahuelito

Deadly Toys!

As readers may know, I hate all things Xmas, and in keeping with that grinchly vibe here is a terrific article from Radar Magazine entitled "Pray For Coal: the Ten Most Dangerous Playthings of All Time".

Of these ten deadly toys, the most improbable is the Gilbert U-238 Atomic Energy Lab, which came with actual samples of radioactive ore.

At one time or another, I owned two playthings on the top (or bottom) ten list: a set of lawn darts, and creepy crawlers. I was neither impaled nor singed.

Has Matt Drudge Gone Liberal?

I've always had mixed opinions re. Matt Drudge. On the one hand, he almost single-handedly launched that ghastly episode in U.S. history known as the Monica Lewinsky affair, and he has often used his site to promote dubious organizations like the Minutemen. On the other hand, Drudge has proven over the years to be an equal opportunity poo-flinger, and when Scandal has affected the American political Right (like the Mark Foley Instant Message affair), he has usually been first on the scene.

The bottom line is, when I open my Internet browser every morning, The Drudge Report is the first thing I see.

In any case, Drudge is now being accused of spreading Liberal bias! From the N.Y. Sun's Alicia Colon (yes, that is her real name):

Matt Drudge, who may or may not be a willing accomplice to the distortion of news reporting, must be held responsible for the dissemination of the bias in the liberal press. Studies have shown that the readership of the Times is down — as it is in other liberal publications — and so are the television ratings of the alphabet networks and CNN and MSNBC, while Fox News is up.

Nevertheless, the propaganda of the enemedia — an excellent descriptive term coined by one poster to — continues to sully news coverage, thanks to Mr. Drudge. A study of press bias by a professor of political science at the University of California-Los Angeles, Tim Groseclose, listed the Drudge Report as one of the most liberal sites on the Web because it consistently posts articles from left-of-center sources.

According to Ms. Colon, Drudge is single-handedly preventing the collapse of the Liberal MSM by linking to their websites! And if you link to a Liberal site, this apparently makes you a Liberal!

(I guess that makes me a SoCon, since my favorite sites for blogging raw material include The Lifesite, the Canada Free Press, and the Blogging Tories. )

But you don't have to look far to see why Ms. Colon is really pissed off:

My patience with the Drudge Report ended when I saw a photo of Frank Rich of the Times posted on the site along with his words: "We are losing in Iraq." It isn't too encouraging to the morale of the nation, but posts like this are common on Drudge.

The site gives top billing to every possible negative statement about the Iraq war and the Bush administration, and it gets about 13 million hits a day. Is it any wonder that President Bush has record low approval ratings?

Drudge is no Liberal, but he isn't stupid either, and as the war goes South, American Conservatives are turning on any of their fellows willing to state this blindingly obvious fact.

Friday, December 15, 2006

U.S. State Official: Bush, Harper "Have Similar ideologies"

From the G&M:

WASHINGTON — A top U.S. State Department official yesterday praised the "important ideological affinity" between President George W. Bush and Prime Minister Stephen Harper, indicating that this sharing of minds is giving a boost to Canada-U.S. relations.

Thomas Shannon, Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs, refused to specify exactly how the shared ideological leanings had improved U.S./Canada relations. When the recently negotiated software lumber pact was brought up as a possible example, Mr. Shannon burst into giggles.

"It is true," he said, "that one element of this shared ideology is to never give a sucker an even break."

Harper to Canadians:The Oil Patch is Alberta, and I Will Defend Alberta!

While Dion wants to take the carrot and stick approach, demanding that the companies in the oil sands produce "zero emissions" or water use reduction plans if they want to keep their Accelerated Capital Cost Program, Harper is content to see them wallow in their own filth on the grounds that they somehow epitomize Alberta:

You know it's easy for some of the other parties, for Mr. Dion or the NDP and the Bloc, who don't represent Albertans and westerners, to say Albertans should pay all the taxes in the country, but I think we have to be a little fairer than that.

Of course, not all Albertans are comfortable with identifying the interests of the oil-patch so closely with the interests of the Province as a whole. Peter Lougheed, for one, has often complained that Alberta tax-payers are essentially paying Corporate Welfare to the oil and gas sector:

"I keep trying to see who the beneficiaries are," Lougheed wrote in Policy Options magazine this fall.

"Not the people in Red Deer, because everything they have got is costing more. It is not the people in the province, because they are not getting the royalty return they should be getting, with $75 oil."

And I imagine there must be a few "Westerners" out there who, contra Harper, do not view their own province as being a mere adjunct to Alberta, and who therefore do not see their own interests being determined by the interests of that province.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Harper Attempts to Banish Ottawa Press Corps To Void

From CBC, the PM's strained relationship with the National media took a turn towards the Realm of Nothingness this week:

Stephen Harper is inviting members of the parliamentary press gallery to a yuletide reception at his official residence on Monday, Dec. 19. One problem: there is no Monday, Dec. 19 this year.

The invitation also claimed that round squares and unicorn meat would be on the menu.

Officials in Harper's office said the erroneous date on the invitation was unintentional, and that the reception was in actually scheduled for "when Hell freezes over".

Michael Crichton on "Consensus Science"

Global Warming Deniers sometimes employ a funny little meta-argument that, I believe, first made an appearance in a 2003 lecture sci-fi writer Michael Crichton gave entitled "Aliens Cause Global Warming". In his lecture, Crichton does not directly challenge the science behind GW claims, nor even the further claim that a scientific consensus exists to the effect that the phenomenon is occurring and is largely anthropogenic. Instead, Crichton tries to argue against the very concept of a "scientific consensus", treating the idea as some kind of post-modern holdover from the decadent 60s. That scientists claim a consensus exists around Global Warming, he holds, actually tells against the research comprising this consensus.

Crichton kicks off his argument as follows:

I want about this notion of consensus, and the rise of what has been called consensus science. I regard consensus science as an extremely pernicious development that ought to be stopped cold in its tracks. Historically, the claim of consensus has been the first refuge of scoundrels; it is a way to avoid debate by claiming that the matter is already settled. Whenever you hear the consensus of scientists agrees on something or other, reach for your wallet, because you're being had.

Let's be clear: the work of science has nothing whatever to do with consensus. Consensus is the business of politics. Science, on the contrary, requires only one investigator who happens to be right, which means that he or she has results that are verifiable by reference to the real world. In science consensus is irrelevant. What is relevant is reproducible results. The greatest scientists in history are great precisely because they broke with the consensus.

There is no such thing as consensus science. If it's consensus, it isn't science. If it's science, it isn't consensus. Period.

In addition, let me remind you that the track record of the consensus is nothing to be proud of....


Note: Crichton gives several examples at this point of a scientist "breaking the consensus" and being proven right. For the sake of brevity, I will just reproduce one.

Probably every schoolchild notices that South America and Africa seem to fit together rather snugly, and Alfred Wegener proposed, in 1912, that the continents had in fact drifted apart. The consensus sneered at continental drift for fifty years. The theory was most vigorously denied by the great names of geology-until 1961, when it began to seem as if the sea floors were spreading. The result: it took the consensus fifty years to acknowledge what any schoolchild sees.

At this point the obvious counter-argument seems to present itself. Doesn't the example simply show that a scientific consensus can change? The consensus pre Wegener was that the continents were static; by the 1960s the consensus became that there existed a phenomenon called "continental drift".

But if so, by the logic Crichton employs, we should now be doubting the existence of continental drift, for if there is a consensus, " isn't science".

And yet Crichton seems to accept these results.

Crichton responds to this argument with a bizarre bit of socio-linguistic theorizing:

Finally, I would remind you to notice where the claim of consensus is invoked. Consensus is invoked only in situations where the science is not solid enough. Nobody says the consensus of scientists agrees that E=mc2. Nobody says the consensus is that the sun is 93 million miles away. It would never occur to anyone to speak that way.

Well, of course, nobody has to say a scientific consensus exists with respect to the distance from earth to the sun, because nobody is stupid enough to question the issue, but does that mean there in fact is not a consensus that the sun is 93 million miles away?

If you look at a standard web definition of a consensus, you find something like:

A consensus implies that debate has taken place, the solution is generally accepted rather than a grudging compromise, and that agreement is deep-rooted enough that it can stand for some time without need to revisit the issue.

...which is surely the situation that holds among scientists with respect to the distance between Earth and the Sun. The agreement to the effect that it is 93,000,000 miles away is deep-rooted enough that they simply don't need to revisit the issue.

Which is to say that Crichton's claim amounts to the following: when scientists have a consensus, they never say so. When they say so, they're almost certainly wrong.

Bizarre as it seems, this thesis is testable. In fact, it can be demonstrated to be false. For instance, here is a brief excerpt from the wiki article on dinosaurs. It concerns the evolutionary link between birds and dinosaurs:

There is an almost universal consensus among paleontologists that birds are the descendants of theropod dinosaurs. Using the strict cladistical definition that all descendants of a single common ancestor are related, modern birds are dinosaurs and dinosaurs are, therefore, not extinct

And here is another concerning dinosaur endothermy (warm-bloodedness):

A vigorous debate on the subject of temperature regulation in dinosaurs has been ongoing since the 1960s. Originally, scientists broadly disagreed as to whether dinosaurs were capable of regulating their body temperatures at all. More recently, dinosaur endothermy has become the consensus view, and debate has focused on the mechanisms of temperature regulation.

In both of these cases the consensus view is the consensus view because of the evidence for that view, not in spite of it.

Northern Lights Come South

Try to get outside, if its clear tonight. Bad weather on The Sun has sent a "severe geomagnetic storm" our way. The space station astronauts are already hiding out in the most heavily shielded sections of the ISS, and we here on Earth should start to feel the effects about mid-day. These might include power outages, satellites going out of service,'s the good part...this evening the storm is expected to generate an aurora or Northern Lights as far south as the northern United States.

I've only seen this phenomenon once in my life, and never here in Toronto. It can be quite spectacular.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Parliamentary Reform Update: You Can Vote For Mitsou

If she offers herself up for the position.

A plebiscite vote would only be held if a provincial senate seat was vacant, or to soon become vacant. There is no limit on the number of people who can offer themselves for candidacy.

Galactus could run, and even I could offer to serve my nation, take a job that lasts forever and provides free lunches to boot.

Make Me A Senator, And I Will Do No Harm!

Quick Poll Hit

From Decima Research via CTV:

...nationally, the Liberals had the support of 35 per cent of decided and leaning voters.

That compared with 32 per cent support for the Tories, 12 per cent for the NDP, 11 per cent for the Bloc Quebecois and seven per cent for the Green party.

In Quebec, though, the poll suggested the Liberals had more than double the support of the Conservatives, a sharp reversal from the election last January.

The new survey showed the Bloc with 45 per cent of voters, the Liberals with 27 per cent and the Tories with 12 per cent. The NDP had six per cent and the Green seven per cent.

Note that we must be officially "post bounce" by now. Note also that the NDP are tanking. Something I must write about someday.

Parliamentary Reform: If We Elect The Senate, Can I Vote For Galactus?

Apparently, the Harper government wants to "consult with electors" before choosing new Senators:

... the Ottawa Citizen has learned the bill proposes to establish a procedure where Elections Canada, which has the legal authority to conduct a federal referendum as well as federal elections, would conduct a form of plebiscite, likely only within provinces that have Senate vacancies.

The results would be presented as information to a prime minister to consider when filling a vacancy.

If there are 2 Senate vacancies in my home province of Ontario (which, according to the above-noted article, there are) what if anything would constrain my choice in the plebiscite? Will I be fed a slate of candidates approved by the current provincial government? Or merely a list of potential candidates who have indicated a willingness to serve? (For a discussion of the problems inherent in any of the options discussed in this post, see here)

IMHO the coolest scenario would be a pure write in. If there are two available Ontario Senate seats, I get two blank lines on my ballot. In this case, my first choice would obviously be Galactus, because Canada needs an almost infinitely powerful Being on our side. My second choice would probably be for Mitsou, to balance off the boy/girl ratio, and because after all these years she's still hot.

Ontario Next Senators?

Apocalyptic Sights in the Skies Over Illinois

Doom, Baby?

The kid in the video thinks he's seeing a UFO, but it's probably ball lightning (or a total fabrication, which I guess you can never rule out). Adding to the generally freaky atmosphere is Johnny Cash singing "When the Man Comes Around" on the soundtrack.

DOOM, BABY, DOOM!!! Xmas may be just around the corner, but The End is always just around the corner. The Whirlwind is in the Thorn Tree, Baby! as Johnny says. And the Virgins are Trimming Their Wicks!

h/t to Dr. Fong.

PS. Didn't see anything too interesting in the news today. Let me know if anyone needs reaming out that I missed.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Harper's Natural Successor Steps Down

The federal Tories are in worse shape than widely acknowledged. Not only have they been in poll trouble since the end of the Lib Leadership convention, Bernard Lord, the natural successor to Stephen Harper should Stephen Harper lose the next election, will be stepping down as Leader of the New Brunswick Conservative Party.

The reason Harper is a one man show as Tory PM is that he knows how stupid the party's second tier is. With Lord gone, the Tories have no bench strength. Thank God Mr. Lord pulled a Peterson, called an election when he didn't have to, and got thumped by voters for it.

Message To Stockwell: The Flintstones Is NOT A Documentary, An Inconvenient Truth IS

Just my response to Stockwell Day's latest bout of nuttiness, in which he argues that Global Warming can't be happening because

...when I got home from Ottawa, there was more snow in my driveway than we usually get in a year.

Obviously they need you around to shovel it, Stock. That's what you do best.

The infamous Flintstones crack about Stockwell Day is probably my favorite one-liner in the history of Canadian politics, with the possible exception of Diefenbaker's oft used "The honorable Member thinks he is being witty; we know he is half right."

And when I finally dug up the actual quote, I was astounded by the author's identity:

In the past day or so, we have learned that Stockwell Day apparently believes that the world is 6,000 years old, Adam and Eve were real people and - my personal favorite - humans walked the earth with dinosaurs. I just want to remind Mr. Day that The Flintstones was not a documentary. And this is the only dinosaur that recently co-existed with humans. [Holds up stuffed Barney dinosaur]"
- Liberal activist Warren Kinsella on CTV's Canada AM,

Good Lord, Warren, you were funny once, and relevant! What happened, man? What happened?

If Dion Wins, We March

In his Sunday Column, The Calgary Sun's Ted Byfield contemplates the result of a possible Stephane Dion victory. He see's Dion attempting to "loot" Alberta, say by levying some kind of carbon tax, and Ted Morton leading the province out of Confederation:

...Dion may not realize one central factor has significantly changed since the last Ottawa pillage under the National Energy Program.

Those in Alberta who dissent from the Canadian status quo now have a leader who has just demonstrated he has 30% of the Tory party behind him.

In that circumstance, the eyes of the province will increasingly turn to Ted Morton and that 30% will grow.

That could be a problem for Stelmach, but a far worse one for Dion and for Canada.

It would be interesting to see how far a full-blown Western Seperatist party, led by a splinter group of Alberta Tories under Ted Morton, would actually get. Because Alberta is itself a divided province. Thus there was a great deal of fear and loathing in Edmonton this Fall when right-wing councilor Mike Nickel endorsed Morton for Conservative Leader, for Morton is seen as representing Alberta's rural, "rebel South".

Furthermore, Morton floated several strange ideas during the leadership campaign, such as partitioning the Province:

"The future of Alberta in the coming decades is northern Alberta and Edmonton is the capital of northern Alberta," Morton told reporters yesterday at his Kingsway Avenue campaign office.

In fact, in the last several months there has been plenty talk of raising further fire-walls within the greater Alberta firewall. One around Edmonton to keep out the Calgarians, one around the South to keep Edmontonians at bay. Since the Stelmach victory, the papers have been rife with talk of an "anti-Calgary bias", and perhaps the biggest political winner to come out of the whole process is the Alberta Alliance, a far right spin-off group that threatens to siphon off Tory votes in the next general election.

A Morton-led State of Alberta would therefore almost certainly consist of a mere fragment of the current land mass, centered around Calgary.

Byfield and Morton should both realize that if Canada is divisible, so too is Alberta. Perhaps moreso.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert: Yeah Man, We Got Nukes

The Israeli PM blows the roof off Israel's decades old policy of non-acknowledgement:

"Israel is a democracy and does not threaten anyone," Olmert exclaimed. The only thing we have tried to do is to live without [threats of] terror, but we have never threatened anyone with annihilation. Iran explicitly, openly and publicly threatens to wipe Israel off the map."

"Can you say that this is the same level, when they [Iran] are aspiring to have nuclear weapons, like America, France, Israel and Russia?" he said, adding that these were "civilized nations" who did not threaten the world's foundations with nuclear destruction.

The Prime Minister's Office claimed on Monday that Olmert's words had been taken "out of context".

Canada's Business Leaders Say Ambrose is Better For The (Business) Environment

...than Dion. From a COMPAS Poll conducted for the Financial/National Post:

On a 100-point report-card-style scale, business leaders gave Mr. Dion a grade of 38 on his past performance as Canada's environment minister. Present minister Ms. Ambrose does not fare much better, with a 43.

The poll is mostly depressing reading. For example, only 9% of our financial poobahs support Dion's promised resurrection of the Kyoto accord. But we must find Hope where we can, and there is a little in the survey:

1) 72% rejected the idea that environmental policy should be constrained by its impact on the oil and gas sector. In other words, if the oil patch has to take a hit, so be it.

2) 38% strongly rejected the idea that Canada should wait for more evidence before making a large effort to stop greenhouse gases, while 25% embraced it strongly. Only 9% adopted a middle position. A plurality think that enough evidence is in to act.

The Natty Post article ends with one of the survey participants taking a shot at the notion of a scientific consensus:

Remember at one time the leading scientists had a consensus that the Earth was flat.

To which the proper response is that leading scientists now have a consensus that the Earth is round. I wonder if anyone would ready to suggest that the FlatEarthers had it right in the first place?

Maybe one of our business leaders?

Is Rogers Blocking/Shaping P2P Traffic

It is, according to the folks here and here. Since the only use I have for a cable Internet connection is to down-load music through Limewire and the other P2P programs, should this prove true I will soon be switching to another ISP.

Thanks, Rogers, for making Xmas suck so much worse.

8:30 am update: Got a guy to admit that they have been setting the priority for P2P networks so low that you automatically time out when trying to connect. For some reason, this was not effecting me until I upgraded to a new cable modem. The choice is to try going through a proxy or find an ISP that doesn't throttle bandwidth. My techy said the RCMP advised them to do this because they were finding too much child-porn on the P2P networks. Lotta bullshit, that. You can find any porn of any kind on either P2P or the web in about ten minutes.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Anti-Scab Tories

I am torn re. Bill C-257. This is a Bloc Quebecois bill that would make it illegal for Federally regulated companies to use replacement workers while their own employees are locked out or on strike. On the one hand, I think its the right thing to do. Furthermore, Quebec and B.C. have got on fine with similar provincial laws, so a lot of the Business complaints you will hear will just be fear mongering. On the other hand, if I were Stephane Dion, letting the Liberal Party vote as it might (unwhipped), and thus enabling the passage of the Bill, would be the wrong signal to send at this point.

The Tories are already going to brand him a tree-hugger. If this bill passes they'll start calling him a Communist.

Interestingly enough, a list I found at the Canadian Labour Congress website shows that almost 20% of Tory MPs voted in favor of C-257. Here is a list of them:

Cannan Rona Kelowna-Lake Country
Cummins John Delta-Richmond East
Grewal Nina Fleetwood-Port Kells
Harris Richard Cariboo-Prince George
Mark Inky Dauphin-Swan River-Marquette
Mayes Colin Okanagan-Shuswap
Manning Fabian Avalon
Brown Gord Leeds-Grenville
Davidson Patricia Sarnia-Lambton
Devolin Barry Haliburton-Kawartha Lakes-Brock
Dykstra Rick St. Catharines
Galipeau Royal Ottawa-Orléans
Goodyear Gary Cambridge
Kramp Daryl Prince Edward-Hastings
Lemieux Pierre Glengarry-Prescott-Russell
Stanton Bruce Simcoe North
Van Kesteren Dave Chatham-Kent-Essex
Watson Jeff Essex
Petit Daniel Charlesbourg-Haute-Saint-Charles

They're baying for traitorous Tory blood at The Shotgun. I think I shall go tell them which of their own to fall upon.

The Xmas Season is Upon Us, Now Blow It Out Your Ass

Ten days into that month-long binge for Baby Jesus they call Christmas, and already I've had enough. Trust Christians to invent a holiday that, by the end of it, causes you to despise both booze and turkey.

Last night the wife tried to make me watch a modernized version of "A Christmas Carol", with all the main parts played by black women. This morning I heard that old recording of Dogs singing Jingle Bells.

Lord, if you do exist, now would be a good time to send a comet crashing into the planet so we can start all over again.

One method I use to get through December is, for every gift I buy friends and family, to purchase one for myself. So yesterday I picked up an iriver T10 MP3 player, and COULD NOT MAKE THE DAMN THING PLAY! It took several hours of cursing and threats to "fix" the stupid little device. I think dangling it over the swirling waters of the dirty Don River finally broke its Will.

But now the new cable modem Rogers made me install won't let me connect to the P2P networks. How I steal music for my new player?

Yo Saskboy, or anybody, gimme some advice! The modem shows alot of activity but everytime I run a search Limewire/Shareaza keep telling me they're still "connecting".

Whoever helps solve my problem gets a suitcase full of adscam cash.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Failure to Launch

From Breitbart:

A US missile defense test in the Pacific aborted when one of two interceptor missiles failed to fire from a US Aegis class cruiser, the Pentagon said.

The Pentagon's Missile Defense Agency blamed the setback on an "incorrect system setting" aboard the USS Lake Erie which was supposed to launch the missiles almost simultaneously at two targets.

I sure hope Frank McKenna was watching.

BigCityLib in Slate Magazine!

Got my first Google News Alert for "BigCityLib" yesterday. Turns out someone at Slate Magazine liked my "analysis" of Camille Paglia's advise to Britney Spears re. her crotch and reproduced a portion of it in their Today's Blogs section.

So, a couple of things.

Firstly, should my fame and power increase because of this, as I fully expect, it will definitely go to my head. I will become vindictive as Hell, my wrath against those who have annoyed me vast and never ending. Anyone wants to make nice, now is the time.

Secondly, I've written about the effects of Global Warming on the Toronto area, and my dear Grandma, and got zip in the way of traffic. Mention Britney's crotch, and it makes the American almost-MSM. There's a lesson here, but I don't want to know what it is.

(although, honestly, I haven't seen much in the way of traffic originating from Slate Magazine yet. I got more hits when the dude from TDH linked here so he could call me an asshole.)

Thirdly, I am told I must take my old cable modem to Rogers today and have it replaced, so this may be it for blogging until at least tonight.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Ronald McDonald Must Die!

And in Tavistock, Devon, U.K., they've killed him:

McDonald's is closing its outlet in a town known for quality food and healthy, local produce.

The fast food chain in Tavistock, Devon, simply wasn't being used enough by locals.

So after seven years struggling to make ends meet in a town that has won many accolades for the quality of its food, McDonald's will finally shut up shop on Saturday.

John Taylor, chairman of Tavistock EatWise campaign, said: "Because of the quality of our local food McDonald's has not been able to compete.

So, in this case, Capitalism worked! McDonalds offered a product that couldn't hack it, and went out of business as a result. A model for communities around the Globe.

Camille Paglia Advises Britney: One Boob, No Muff

After the emergence of the now infamous crotch shots, famed cultural critic Camilla Paglia has come to believe, like everyone else, that Britney Spears has turned into a slut. But Camilla understands how Hollywood works, so she has special insight into what went wrong.

And in her view, the problem with Britney and Paris and the lot can all be traced to the decline of the old studios:

These are women who are clearly out of control because the old studio era is over. The studio system...guided and shaped the careers of the young women who it signed up. It maximized their sexual allure by dealing it out in small doses and making sure you don't have -- what has become here -- a situation of anarchy.

Good Lord! A situation of Anarchy, like there's stripping on the Boulevard! Camille sounds like my grandma!

But in any case, her point is that the whole dispensing of T&A is not supposed to proceed willy-nilly. Just a flash of boob here, a touch of ass there, can stretch a career out for years, maybe even until the girl's past thirty. It's like honey. A taste and they come running back. Throw 'em great gobs of the stuff and its value declines.

The obvious rejoinder at this point is: Madonna has spent the last two decades nekkid. How does she stay relevant? Paglia's answer, once again, appeals to the business dynamic of the star system. Madonna's years of recording success have given her the right to strip:

Madonna was able to flash her breasts and play peek-a-boo because she is an authentic, creative artist who churns out song after song, project after project.… But Britney seems like she's lost and the career track is obliterated

That is, in Madonna's case there is no need to skimp on the bare flesh in order to preserve her market viability. Paglia doesn't give a scale--for example, ten million albums = the right to expose both tits--but apparently Madonna has moved enough units that she can go the Full Monty any goddamn time she wants and nobody has cause to complain.

All of which seems a bit sexist to me. For example, Neil Young is an "authentic artist" who has sold millions of albums. And yet if he were to set up a grinding poll on stage at one of his concerts, get up there and wiggle his schlong to "Heart of Gold", he'd be locked up, even though this would be at least as entertaining as watching Madonna shake her stuff. Because at this point in her career, nudity is something Madonna inflicts on the public, not something the public demands or even wants from her. And yet when she does it there is no legal consequence.

As one final note, I ran the search terms "Camille & Paglia & Naked" through Google Images, looking for something to illustrate this post with. And I found Nada, not even a caricature or a picture of Camille's head shopped to the neck of a play-boy bunny.

Some things are just too horrible to contemplate, I guess.

So I found a picture of Madonna instead...

On another final note, I tried, really tried once to read Paglia's Sexual Personae, but stalled out at about page 80 because I kept stumbling over her constant use of the term "Cthonian". In fact, the term refers to the worship of spiritworld gods. I, however, mistook it for "Cthulian", meaning "...associated with Cthulu, demon overlord in the stories of H.P. Lovecraft.".

At the time, the notion that Emily Dickinson's poetry (for example) might have been influenced by Cthulu, an evil octopus from space, seemed implausible. If I were to read the book again, presumably my experience of it would be quite different.

Conservatives Force Dion to Abandon His Mother and French Citizenship

From CBC:

Liberal Leader Stéphane Dion said he would renounce his French citizenship, albeit reluctantly, if it becomes an impediment in his quest to become prime minister.

"If it's a problem for a significant number of Canadians and if it's a liability that may keep Mr. Harper in power and prevent us … [from bringing] together more than any other country in the world: economic prosperity, social justice, environmental sustainability, then I will do this sad thing then, to renounce my French citizenship that I received from my mother," Dion told CBC's Peter Mansbridge.

"As everyone, I love my mother, I love everything she gave to me, including that. It's part of me. I don't see why it's a problem."

Congratulations Andy and Ezra. You forced an outstanding Canadian to genuflect before rednecks and white trash. You must be sooo proud!

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Time For A Drink and a Gay Cowboy!

Today's vote against reopening the same sex marriage debate went 175-123 against. The origonal Bill C-38 passed by a margin of 158-133. So the margin of victory was actually greater under the Tories, the so-called party of Values.

They must be crapping themselves loudly over in Blogging Toryland. Even Don Cherry defected!

Time for a drink everyone, and then go out a get yourself hitched with a nice young cowboy!

Best of Luck to Sheela Basrur

There are a few memories of the 2003 Toronto SARS epidemic that still stick out clearly for me. One was a little Chinese lady I would see on the 95 York Mills bus every afternoon in her surgical mask, she being the only person I noticed during that whole two or three month stretch actually wearing one of the things. Another was walking down Spadina and listening to the Chinese restuarants play English messages concerning their strict hygenic standards instead of the usual erhu music.

A third was Toronto's chief medical officer Dr. Sheela Basrur, who in many ways led the city through the epidemic. She was on radio and tv almost every day during that time, and her calm manner and determination to bring the epidemic under control made her as close a thing to a hero as the crisis produced.

Unfortunately, The Star reported today that Dr. Bashrur has been forced to step down from her current post as Ontario's chief medical officer to fight off hemangiopericytoma, a very rare form of cancer.

Here is wishing Ms. Bashrur a swift and full recovery.

Can Environmental Issues Drive The Canadian Vote?

Conservatives tend to think of the Environment as a "second tier" issue, but there is some encouraging news out of the U.S., where Global Warming played a crucial roll in the outcome of November's mid-term elections. From the pollsters at Zogby International:

Half of Americans who voted in the mid-term elections said concern about global warming made a difference in who they voted for on Election Day 2006, according to a recent Zogby International post-election survey. Eighty-five percent of these voters who felt global warming was important cast their votes for Democratic Congressional candidates, including 48 percent of Independents and 7 percent of Republicans.


“Global warming was overshadowed in this election by the dominant issue of Iraq,” said John Zogby. “But exit polling shows that global warming was a sleeper issue that may have snuck up on politicians in close races. Global warming was most influential among Latinos and youth – two constituencies that helped propel Democratic gains. There are also signs that global warming may be eroding support for Republicans among religious voters. Looking ahead, politicians in both parties ignore this issue at their peril.”

I've written several times on the topic of Green Evangelism and how it is splitting the U.S. Conservative movement. Something similar may be happening in the Canadian context as well, for it was environmental concerns that drove the relatively SoCon David Orchard into Stephane Dion's camp.

I applaud Dion for embracing this issue, hope he runs hard on it during the next election, and pray he follows up on the promises he makes.

We're Not Questioning Dion's Loyalty, But Somebody Else Might the message of today's T.O. Sun Editorial, and it illustrates the twisted logic behind Conservative arguments re. Dion's dual citizenship. First, the editors insist that they have no doubts as to Dion's loyalty:

We are not questioning Dion's loyalty to Canada because he holds dual Canadian/French citizenship, due to the fact his mother was born in France.

However, other "people", not including the editors, might question Dion's loyalty:

The perception of divided loyalties will always be there. What if Canada and France disagree on a major foreign policy issue? People will ask where Dion's loyalties lie.

And although The Sun editors aren't questioning Dion's loyalty, and refuse to identify the "people" who might be, they seem to have an excellent idea of what these people are upset about. Specifically, these people worry that Dion might be too soft on the French, and as the following passage indicates, too soft on the Lebanese:

Last summer, there was a huge controversy about dual Canadian-Lebanese citizens who live permanently in Lebanon while expecting Canada to evacuate them for free in the event of a regional war.

Yesterday, the C.D. Howe Institute suggested charging all non- resident citizens a special fee when renewing passports to cover potential costs.

How will Dion ever escape the perception of bias in debating and deciding such issues?

Actually, these mystery people tend to sound a lot like the Sun editorial staff, but no, apparently its not them

My challenge would be this. Can anyone who objects to Dion's dual citizen status on the grounds that somebody else might question his loyalty to Canada, please point these people out. That way, we can have a debate with them. I mean, here are a few people that fit the profile given in today's Sun editorial. But they are, for the most part, anti-French bigots and/or Western Seperatists, and surely nobody would expect Dion to act or not act to appease the likes of them.

PS. You can see the same argument, albeit given a somewhat more subtle treatment, in Andrew Coyne's column today:

1) Nobody can question Dion's commitment to the nation.
2) His dual citizenship sends a troubling message to "other Canadians".
3) These other Canadians might question Dion's commitment to the nation.

Therefore Dion should abandon his dual citizenship.

Name some names, Andy. I mean, at least Ezra Levant was honest about where he stood. He was questioning Dion's loyalty his own very self. Such honesty from other Conservatives would be refreshing.