Friday, September 29, 2006

Republican Congressman Resigns Over Emails Exchanged with Male Page


Rep. Mark Foley, R-Fla., submitted a letter of resignation from Congress on Friday in the wake of questions about e-mails he wrote a former male page, according to a congressional official.

Foley was considered a shoo-in for re-election until the emails to the page, who was 16 at the time of the exchange, surfaced.

Big news. It only takes a 15 seat gain by the Dems this year for them to "flip" the House. Foley's seat should move from the "no way" column to the "possible pick-up" column.

Quick update at about 4:10 pm: according to ABC News, there were also AOL Instant messanger messages involved, and other male pages. The messages were sexually graphic. Perhaps not surprisingly, Foley was the founder and co-chair of the Congressional Missing and Exploited Children's Caucus.

Stephen LeDrew Jumps into "Horse Race"

Depending how you cut the numbers, Mayor Miller's lead in the race for Toronto Mayor has fallen to either fifteen or five points:

The Ipsos Reid survey, conducted on behalf of the National Post, Global News and CFRB, shows 55% of decided voters intend to support Mr. Miller compared with 40% for Ms. Pitfield. The contest becomes even closer among decided voters who are "absolutely certain" to cast a ballot, with 51% backing the Mayor versus 46% for Ms. Pitfield.

...which should make David Miller concerned, but not too concerned. Meanwhile Stephen LeDrew, Toronto lawyer and former President of the federal Liberal Party, has announced that he will throw his hat into the ring. David Miller is, of course, an avowed Dipper with a great deal of support from downtown, but less out in the Burbs and among the Toronto business community. LeDrew's appearance would seem to me to split the "anyone but Miller" vote, and I am not how much name recognition he's got among people who do not actively follow the cut and thrust of party politics.

I suspect the NDP turnout machine will pull this one out for Miller, with the final spread closer to the 15% than the 5%.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Hardcore SoCon Becomes Rona Ambrose' Chief of Staff

From Public Eye Online, an online journal of B.C. Politics, comes this startling bit of news:

On Monday, The Hill Times's Abbas Ranna reported former Focus on the Family Canada president Darrel Reid, who was once a "top political aide to former Reform Party leader Preston Manning, will start his new job as chief of staff to Minister (Rona) Ambrose today."

Darrel Reid once, among other things, compared Canada to Naze Germany, warning that Christians could face imprisonment for speaking out against homosexuality.

h/t to DeSmogBlog, who note that Dr. Reid "has very little, if any, experience in the area of the environment". Apparently, the MoE is becoming for the Tories what FEMA has always been for the American Republican Party: a place to stick their loyal-but-stupid.

The Pope Would Denounce Iggy (If He Only had the Time)

Catholic Insight points to Iggy as a measure of the decadence of the Liberal Party of Canada for his stance on Gay and Abortion Rights. His support, and the support of other Secular Liberals, for these rights leads inevitably to things like the 2005 Lebaye ruling which, despite a ban on indecency in the Criminal Code, declares that perverts have a right to engage in group sex in a public place as they see fit.

Hmm. I may have to reconsider my antipathy towards Iggy. Is this "group sex" thing anywhere in his platform? Ted?

More important: does he tell you where you can get some?

Monday, September 25, 2006

Lib Membership Poll Shows More Good News For Rae

From Today's Star:

Bob Rae has emerged as the leading candidate in the Liberal leadership race, according to a poll of party members in Ontario and Quebec released today by the Toronto Star and La Presse.

According to the poll, conducted by EKOS Research, MP Michael Ignatieff (Etobicoke-Lakeshore) is in a dead heat with Rae among rank-and-file Liberals as first choice for leader in the two provinces, expected to have more than half the delegates to the leadership convention in Montreal at the end of November.


The poll shows Ignatieff and Rae tied at 25 per cent as top choice for leader of those surveyed, with Dion garnering 17 per cent and Kennedy, 16 per cent.

Second choices show Rae and Dion tied at 27 per cent, with Ignatieff at 19 per cent.

Apparently Hedy Fry got no votes. And, apparently, The Star "obtained" Liberal Party membership lists from somewhere. Might as well slap that list on a CD and sell 'em for $20 apiece.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Iggy Raised Me From My Bath!

As I lay in the tub, in the throes of my fever, hallucinating tiny insects running across the ceiling, I was forced to rush across two rooms to answer a robotic phone-message from the Ignatieff campaign. May you burn in HELL Iggy!

May Iggy dwell here FOREVER!

Did Dion, Dryden, and Brison Violate Federal Law?

I am not a lawyer, but through my work in the real world have some acquaintance with PIPEDA (The Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act). The way I understand this law as it would apply to shenanigans related to the Liberal Party Membership List as reported here is as follows. In joining the Party, a person is providing certain personal information to the party. Furthermore, the mere fact that they allow themselves to appear on the list conveys personal information--that they are a party Member. They are doing this in the expectation that the Party will use the information only for specific purposes (however those purposes have been explicitly or tacitly defined). To use this information for purposes beyond the definition, the Party, or certain third parties given access to the data by the Party, must essentially approach every person on the list and ask permission to use their personal information before going ahead.

So, the way I see it, unless Dion, Dryden, and etc. contacted every Liberal on the rolls and asked if their data could be turned over to the Globe, then they may be in violation of the Act.

Therefore this latest "scandal" may not be just an issue internal to the Liberal Party, and perhaps, not as trivial a matter as I thought.

Now, as I say, I am not a lawyer, so I may be totally wrong on how the legislation would apply to the current situation. Non-profits, political parties among them, are exempted from certain aspects of PIPEDA. For example, The Party can turn over its list to certain third parties--Leadership candidates among them--so that these candidates can solicit Members for support, donations, and the like. But are Leadership candidates in turn allowed to turn over said list to a commercial entity like the Globe and Mail, which then use it for a commercial purpose (doing a poll and publishing the results so as to sell newspapers)? I don't know.

PIPEDA is complicated, and many of the issues it raises have yet to be tested. Furthermore, it is complaints driven, so if no Liberal Party Member raises an alert with the Privacy Commissioner, nothing happens. However, if they do, The Privacy Commissioner can launch an investigation and dole out punishment.

If anyone wants to look at the legislation, the website of the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada can be found here.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Did Brison, Dryden, and Dion Leak Lib Membership Lists?

It looks like the Globe Poll of the Lib Leadership Race published last week and blogged about here might have been derived the a list of Liberal Party Members that the Globe was not supposed to have access too, but came to them courtesy of the above-noted Leadership candidates. CTV says:

OTTAWA -- Three Liberal leadership hopefuls could face sanctions for giving the party's confidential membership lists to a newspaper which used the data to conduct a controversial opinion poll on the leadership race.

The Globe and Mail, which published the poll results last week, said it obtained the lists from the campaigns of Stephane Dion, Ken Dryden and Scott Brison, although the latter's camp has since denied any

Sounds like trivial stuff to me, but still, from the POV of the Party, a sanctions worthy no-no. So spanky spanky!

It'll Put Your Eye Out

LIVERPOOL, England, Sept. 21 (UPI) -- Throwing raw eggs at people as a form of protest or a bit of Halloween fun may result in serious eye injury, warns a British study.


"The dimensions of an egg are similar to those of a squash ball, with a considerably greater weight, meaning that eggs as missiles can easily fit into the orbital rim, causing severe blunt injury even when thrown by hand," the authors write.

To clarify, the study "monitored" patients requiring treatment for eye injuries. They didn't line 'em up against a fall and pelt 'em with Grade As. And I have no idea what the alternative to being "thrown by hand" might be.

Well, I'm still sick but on the road to recovery. Drove the car for the first time in a week today, and found out I had a flat. The good times continue.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Afghanistan Costing Tories in B.C. Too

According to the Vancouver Sun:

OTTAWA — Prime Minister Stephen Harper, who presented his foreign policy vision to the United Nations Thursday, is losing support in B.C. because of his approach to international issues, suggests Vancouver-based pollster Mustel Group.


The Tories are in front with 34 per cent of respondents saying they intend to vote Conservative, largely unchanged from previous Mustel polls in March and June. The Liberals are next at 30 per cent, followed by the NDP at 28 per cent.

Actually, since Harper won won 17 of B.C.’s 36 ridings with 37 per cent of the vote in January, I would think this (three per cent) decline is significant, although not beyond the margin of error. Because, in addition, Harper's personal approval rating has sank to 45 per cent from the 50 per cent recorded in June, his disapproval rating risen to 38%, a nine point increase. Those figures do seem at or beyond the margin

So, regionally we see the Harper Tories falling everywhere outside of their base in Alberta. And I think we see a certain death-wish taking hold in Tory ranks. Today's Edmonton Sun:

In other words, Harper is standing by the Afghanistan mission on principle - on Canada's principles. That it's the right thing to do, even if it's going to be difficult.

And even if it costs him a majority government.

Go for it, Stevie lad. That's all I can say.

Anyway, this is the extent of any "analysis" I'm going to attempt. I've still got the flu and, as Vancouver boy William Gibson once wrote, feel like "hammered crap".

Thursday, September 21, 2006

BigCityLib, Sick as Dog

A general feeling of crumminess tuned into a fever and vomiting last night as the flu my wife had last week finally caught up with me. Won't be writing much, as I can barely string three words together at a time. If Iggy wants to say or do anything stupid, now is the time.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Dawson College Shooter was Political Lefty

From the LifeSite, which really sweats this kind of stuff, a selection from Kimveer Gill's dislikes, taken from his website:

Animal Cruelty
American Government
Anyone Who Supports The American Government
Capatalists (sic)
F***ing Religious People Who Think They Know Everything.....And Then They Stick It In Your Face Cuz' They Think They Know Everything (They Don't Understand That They're Just A Bunch Of Little Sheep)
Church Going A**holes
Bible Thumpping Know-It-Alls
All Priests

Sounds a bit like me on a bad day.

Brian Rushfeldt of the Canada Family Action Coalition (CFAC) notes:

"If we are worried about individuals who might do things like this," said Rushfeldt, "... we should know about them. By omitting his left-leaning stand, said Rushfeldt, "the media [is] contributing to missing warning signs by not pointing out full facts."

Not mentioned here is the fact that notorious American serial killer Ted Bundy campaigned for the Republicans, and that Canada's own Robert Pickton ran a small business and wrote several letters to an American correspondent where he referenced The Bible in an approving manner.

I think we Lefties come out ahead in this little contest.

Two New Polls Contain Bad News for Iggy, Bad News For Harper, Good News for Bob Rae

An exclusive poll of Liberal Party members conducted by the Strategic Counsel for The Globe and Mail/CTV News shows that:

Mr. Ignatieff is the first choice of 19 per cent of Liberals surveyed, with Mr. Rae running a tight second at 17 per cent and Mr. Dion just behind with 13 per cent. Gerard Kennedy and Ken Dryden — with 9 per cent each — are tied for fourth. Scott Brison garnered 3 per cent of the vote and Joe Volpe 2 per cent, while Martha Hall Findlay got 1 per cent and Hedy Fry less than 1 per cent.

Why Bad news for Iggy? Because

According to the poll, Mr. Rae is the second choice of 23 per cent of party members and Mr. Dion is the second choice of 17 per cent. Mr. Ignatieff is well down, with only 12 per cent picking him as their second choice.

[Allan] Gregg said the race between Mr. Ignatieff and Mr. Rae could be almost a dead heat after the first tier of lower candidates drop out after the first ballot.

Mr. Gregg sees the makings of an "anyone but Iggy movement", and in fact sees Bob Rae as the person most likely to emerge as nominee.

Meanwhile, in another Strategic Counsel poll for The Globe, Stephen Harpers approval ratings have fallen significantly over the summer. The overall numbers:

Nationally, the Conservatives had the support of 35 per cent of those surveyed, followed by the Liberals at 26 per cent, the NDP at 19, the Bloc Québécois at 12 and the Green Party at 8 per cent.

Both the Libs and Tories are down one point from the last Strategic Counsel survey. And, as most other recent polls have shown, the national numbers show a precipitous decline in Tory support in Quebec (16%), where they have fallen to third place behind both the Bloc (48%) and the Libs (18%). Interestingly, the NDP is up a couple of points to 11 per cent.

All of which supports the feeling that Gregg notes among Liberal Party members to the effect that they are voting for a potential Prime Minister, not just a Leader of the Opposition.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Will Democrats Screw it Up?

7Ominous signs in the RealClearPolitics Generic Congressional Vote Average, which has fallen to a 6.5 per cent lead for the Democrats from about 16 per cent not a month ago.

It always astounds me how our Progressive counterparts South of the border manage to screw things up election after election. The Bush Republicans, as one writer has noted, are running on the slogan "Vote Democrat and DIE!" It's the same one they ran on in '04 and '02, and everytime they use it, the Dems stand around with their mouthes open and their tongues hanging out. When a Canadian Conservative calls a Canadian Liberal unpatriotic, we strike back twice as hard ("You are a TOOL of the American Empire!"); do the same thing to a U.S. Democrat, and they spend a month worrying about whether its true or not.

The good news is that there's still about two months to go before the mid-terms. Once the 9-11 Five Year Anniversary hangover has worn off, I expect to see these numbers improve for the Dems a little bit. The bad news is, with gas prices predicted to stay relatively low up until Christmas, they probably will not improve a great deal. For too many American white males, Economic Security means nothing more than being able to gas up the SUV, drive out into the desert, and fire off a few hundred rounds at imaginary terrorists.

Man Rejects First Penis Transplant

Apparently, he was looking for something a bit larger.

From Drudge, obviously.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Liberal Majority in New Brunswick has National Implications

It has just been announced on CBC TV that Liberal leader Shawn Graham has won a Liberal Majority government in New Brunswick, with (about) 31 seats vs. (about) 25 for the Tories and zip for the NDP. They are just barely ahead in the popular vote.

This is very big news nationally, for the "bench" of potential Tory leaders, after PM Stephen Harper and now ex-N.B. Premier Bernard Lord, is zero. Bernard Lord's great selling point is that he is a "softer", less doctrinaire, more old fashioned form of Conservative, more in the line of Stanfield and Davis, less in the line of Manning and Day. Plus he's bilingual. He might win in Ontario and Quebec.

His great drawback is that his "base" (New Brunswick) contributes all of 10 seats federally. And now he doesn't even have that. We can therefore assume that Bernard Lord's political career is now over. Should Harper lose his majority, who can the Federal Tories turn too?

Also, can the New Brunswick result be attributed to a protest vote against the Harper government? That's just one of the fun questions we can all ask tomorrow.

Coyne Denounces Iggy

Missed this one previously, but Andrew Coyne, who earlier this year was saying nice things about the Ignatieff Lib leadership bid, has abandoned poor Iggy over his constitutional stance:

But now Mr. Ignatieff has promised such [constitutional] recognition to Quebecers, and if elected leader I have no doubt he would feel honor bound to abide by it. Even if, as he says, "constitutional review is for the future," he would have succeeded in establishing it as the latest of Quebec's "minimal demands," cemented by the fabled "Quebec consensus," from which no federalist politician would dare deviate. It is a dangerous, destabilizing proposal, and it must go no further than this.

Which, I'm afraid, means Mr. Ignatieff's candidacy must do likewise. This is no mere ill-considered campaign stunt. It is the centerpiece of his platform, on a matter touching our very existence as a nation. It is, in short, a deal-breaker. If he is unprepared to repudiate this toxic notion, the Liberal party must repudiate him.

I think the general consensus is that Iggy is playing with fire on this issue. He has even pledged to address the "rural/urban divide", whatever the hell that is, via Constitutional changes. But it is nice to see a big gun like Coyne weighing in on the subject. I think Iggy supporters have been far too blase about the consequences of their boy's position. Reopening the Constitution could quite literally destroy this country. It should not be the kind of thing one does as an academic thought experiment.

Four More Canadian Dead

...outside of Kandahar on the same day as Victory is Declared in Kandahar Province. The attacker was one of those Taliban who had been driven from the area.

Operation Medusa was an exercise in futility. The insurgents have merely switched from military to guerilla tactics. According to this Globe article, they will soon switch back.

Ekos Poll: No Tory Majority

The raw numbers from The Star:

Tories: 38.7%
Liberals: 28.8%
NDP: 17%

And, bringing up the year, the Bloc Québécois has 8.4 per cent support and the Green Party 7 per cent.

Analysis, FWIW:

"Stephen Harper and his government are doing quite well," said EKOS president Frank Graves. "Harper himself has a solid approval rating and well over half of Canadians say his government has matched or exceeded expectations."

The EKOS poll differs from polls done earlier this summer, which had the Tories and Liberals closer together. But all the polls make it clear Harper has not been able to build upon his showing in the January election, especially in Quebec and Ontario.

Regionally, the news is that Harper has not broken through in Quebec, and the Libs. are looking a bit better with 19.7%. Similarly in Ontario, where the Libs lead with with 40.1 per cent of voter support. The Tories have 37.5 per cent, the NDP stands at 15.5 per cent and the Green Party holds 6.9 per cent.

On Afghanistan, the Star piece says only that support is "eroding". On CTV this morning, I believe I heard the numbers at 49% opposed and 36% in favor. That will probably deteriorate further, and quite quickly, if the four NATO soldiers killed today in Afghanistan turn out to be Canadians.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Muslims Make Pope Grovel! Should Canadians Force an Apology as Well?

Frankly, I hate violence, and I hate to see Muslims out there faking outrage and killing people and bombing churches whenever somebody criticizes their religion. But on the other hand, the latest Pope is such a noxious, charisma-less midget that I am kind of glad to see him brought low at the same time.

And he was uppity enough to Diss Canada the other day, too, for not being hard enough on gays and for supporting a woman's right to choose. Now, I'm not saying anyone should get violent, but I bet if every Canadian that read BigCityLib Strikes Back went out tonight, parked their car in front of a nearby Catholic Church, and put some early Madonna on the stereo--maybe "Like A Virgin"-- and cranked it to 11, we could have the local priesthood on the phone to the Vatican in minutes, begging for mercy! Soon we too could have our own official Papal Apologia! Maybe even some free coupons for next time we visit Vatican City! Maybe they have a roller-coaster over there!

What say you, loyal minions?


Speaking in Pirate

A lazy Sunday, I have spent the morning brushing up on my Pirate with this instructional video. Note the distinction between "Arrr!", "Yarrr!", and "Harrr!", and the different meanings of "booty" in Pirate vs. Modern Ebonics.

By the way, how can I get that little movie-screen to appear in the body of my posts? Blogger doesn't say anything on the topic.

That's probably it for today. If the sun's out, go enjoy it.

h/t to Slashdot, by the way.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

"Whizz Kid" Kinsella Soon to be Flipping Burgers?

From The Star:

Stung by an embarrassing defeat in the Parkdale-High Park by-election, some senior Liberals are grumbling that it's time for Premier Dalton McGuinty to shake up his re-election campaign team.

Shake them up. Or maybe put them in a blender. But I digress:

Several high-ranking officials told the Toronto Star there is growing disenchantment with McGuinty's "whiz kids" despite their success winning the 2003 provincial election.

No names, but we can always speculate. And here's my favorite bit of the story:

"There's always second-guessing after a campaign unless you win and you're perfect," said [a] disappointed party official, adding there was a backlash against the party after some overly enthusiastic young bloggers used their websites to attack DiNovo.

Again, no names, but...

And a nice way of putting it, too: "overly enthusiastic".

A Fence To Keep out Canadians

From CBC:

The U.S. House of Representatives has again endorsed a study on building a security fence along the Canada-U.S. border.

The politicians passed the measure by a vote of 283-138 Thursday in a bill that also authorizes a 1,126-kilometre barrier along the border with Mexico to deal with illegal immigrants.

Whatever. But but idea that someone from Toronto would sneak over the border to look for work in, say, Buffalo is ridiculous.

Harper Bitch-Slapped by Quebec Teenager

...who obviously didn't get the memo about not politicizing the shootings at Dawson college. Of course, Hassan Kadhim's brother lies in hospital with three bullet wounds to the leg, neck and head. Here's what Hassan had to say:

"'For (Harper) to talk about removing the registry for guns and maybe making it easier for people to get themselves guns... And then we see this tragedy happening. I mean, does it take something like this for our prime minister to understand? He's sitting in Ottawa, drinking his coffee, taking it easy. And the families here are all paying the price. It's good to be in power, but you've got be responsible for what you say and what you think.'

A few other key Tories haven't been quite as reticent as Mr. Harper. Garth Turner and Stockwell Day both wonder how Kimveer Gill could get hold of a Glock .45 legally. Which is a darn good question. I once knew a store-keeper in Victoria who told me at length about the paper-work Hell he went through trying to get a hand-gun that he could keep in his shop. Maybe the bureacrats would have jumped a little quicker if he had cut his hair mohawk style and pranced about in a duster. In any case, there's something amiss if a person like Gill can get through the process and come out better armed than the Taliban.

In addition, New Democrat justice critic Joe Comartin is suggesting a ban on semi-automatic weapons, which aren't much good for legitimate purposes, unless you're out hunting and find yourself surrounded by a whole tribe of savage Bigfoot, in which case you can get mediaeval on their ass.

Not that Harper will make any meaningful gestures in this direction. He's too in thrall to the rural gun-nuts that form the base of the Conservative Party. But such proposals can be used as cudgels to beat him with, so that when he and his people load up the chuck-wagon and slink back to Calgary in disgrace, they will be replaced by a government committed to act on the issue.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Well, Scratch that Theory

Global Warming deniers like to argue that a change in solar brightness may be behind the change in late 20th century climate conditions. However, a study appearing in the Steptember 14th edition of Nature Magazine puts paid to this argument. According to Tom Wigley, of the National Center for Atmospheric Research:

Our results imply that, over the past century, climate change due to human influences must far outweigh the effects of changes in the Sun's brightness.

Kinsella Admits?

Some bad verse from Kinsella this morning re. the Parkdale-High Park byelection:

Morning has broken,
like the first morning
Voters have spoken,
what can you do
Praise for our war room, praise for our overall numbers
Get in our way and we'll still kick the stuffing out of your chosen political leader in a general campaign.

A pretty blase assessment considering that the "war room" generalled Sylvia Watson's campaign straight into the ditch and dragged Dalton McGuinty along with her. But the more interesting question is: is Kinsella signing off on the campaign, as it were? Is this an admission that he was in fact running the machine that so ineptly smeared Cheri DiNovo? (Note: Kinsella ran the McGuinty war room during the 2003 Provincial campaign)

In which case, talk about blowing off a disaster of your own creation! How much does he get paid for splattering the reputation of the whole Ontario Liberal party? Warren, buddy, there's a difference between being Karl Rove and being Karl Rove's idiot cousin! And maybe Dalton did tell you to go for the jugular. He didn't mean his!

DiNovo Wins. The Three Kings of the Liberal Blogosphere Respond

Kinsella is the smart one.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Jandek Comes to TO

Ultra-reclusive outsider musician Jandek is coming to Canada for the very first time. Specifically, he will becoming to Toronto, to the Centre of Gravity (1300 Gerrard East) on Sunday (September 17) at 7 pm, according to NOW Magazine.

What does Jandek sound like? Imagine Kurt Cobain plucking away at a guitar that is either untuned or weirdly tuned, that maybe Kurt hasn't learned to play yet, and singing about a spiritual desolation so deep and absolute that the music seems to be emanating from an abandoned madhouse in the middle of a dark desert. And yet it all seems to work; Jandek has put out 45 albums over 28 years, and gathered a small but very fervent set of admirers (including the late Mr. Cobain).

For more info on Jandek, check out this site. If you want to try downloading his music via P2P, I recommend trying to find a copy of "The Electric End". You may not like it, may not even think its "music". But you will find it freaky.

Dawson College Shooter: The Vampirefreaks Connection

While numerous media sources have made note of Kimveer Gill's blog on VampireFreaks, LeftDog seems to be the only one to have noticed that that "this is the SECOND time that has [been connected] to a murder in Canada during the last 6 months!" Apparently, these two met at the site as well:

Two people charged in connection with a triple slaying in Medicine Hat made brief court appearances Thursday.

Jeremy Allen Steinke, 23, faces three counts of first-degree murder after the bodies of two adults and their son were discovered in their home on April 23.

The couple's 12-year-old daughter also faces three counts of first-degree murder. The two were arrested in Leader, Sask., two days after the bodies were found.

Steinke was in court to set a date for a preliminary hearing, but his case was put over until Sept. 7.
The 12-year-old girl, who cannot be named under the Youth Criminal Justice Act, pleaded not guilty last month. She will be tried by a judge in youth court in February.

Kacy Lancaster, 19, also appeared in court Thursday.

She was arrested a week after the bodies were found and charged with being an accessory after the fact. It's alleged she destroyed evidence, gave a false alibi and helped the accused flee to Saskatchewan.

Lancaster's case was adjourned until late September.

Actually, Andrew at Bound By Gravity noted the connection earlier this morning as well. As he suggests, the Mounties ought to be watching these webpages the same way they patrol the radical Islamic sites. After all, this guy posed on his blog with weapons and said he wanted to kill people. Might have triggered a few alarms if it had been noticed earlier.

Update 3:03 pm: Fernando at Inside Baseball writes about a third murder connected with a Vampire Freaks connection, this one in TO in 2003.

Meet The Dawson College Shooter

Meet Kimveer Gill, the 25 year old from Laval who went on a shooting spree at Dawson College in Montreal yesterday. Points of interest gleaned from various news sources:

1) Terrorism does not seem to have been involved, and he does not appear to have been motivated by race or ethnic hatred, according to police reports. Last night, a Dawson College student suggested (on CFRB radio) that he had opened fire in a cafeteria known at the College as "The Jew Cafe", but this appears not to have been the case. If anything, Gill appears to be driven by "Goth" ideology. His blog at contains the claim: "Metal and Goth kick ass. Life is a video game, you've got to die sometime." And other statements of a similar ilk. His favorite video game was "Super Columbine Massacre", and he left messages blaming society for not stopping school "bullies".
The blog also has pictures of him posing with various weapons, such as the hand-gun above. Another hypothesis is that he was a former Dawson College student who dropped out or flunked out. This is all from various news sources; I have been unable to find his blog on the vampirefreaks site.

2) The guns he used (three of them) were legally registered, including apparently the hand-gun in the photo. I thought it would be a little more difficult for a 25 year old metal-head to get a hand-gun in Canada, but perhaps not.

3) I almost wish he had been a standard issue white boy, but from the name and picture it is clear that Mr. Gill was one of the "dark skinned races", possibly of Indian or Sri Lanken origin. I hope the "blame Muslims" crowd doesn't get hold of anything out of this case that they can use.

4) Trench coats as a fashion accessory will be out for the next ten years. Pity. I own a couple. They were hard to wear after Columbine too.

That's all so far.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Four Dead at Montreal's Dawson College

A good deal of confusion in the news reports. The Star says four dead including the two gunmen, plus 16 others injured. CNN was saying that one shooter might still be loose, but is now saying one was killed by police and another committed suicide.

Hold fast Montrealers. Hold fast.

Update 3:51 pm: CBC now has the only dead as being the two shooters, with "...two surgery in life-threatening condition."

Update 4:12 pm: CTV has us down to one dead shooter and six patients in critical condition. Not to sound too crass, but this could have been alot worse.

Separated at Birth: Naked in the Shower Edition

Who are these two handsome men? Here's a hint. One is Premier of the Province of Ontario, and the other is best known for taking a knife to his female victims.

But wait a minute... They're both known for that!

Kinsella Slimes On!

With the help of anonymous on-line researchers our hero finds another "controversial" NOW Magazine article from Cheri DiNovo. It is a sign of the baseness of Mr. Kinsella's intellect, and I think of ill-concealed sexism, that he twists DiNovo's (rather sappy) ode to "the women who've changed our lives" into a diatribe against Pope John Paul II.

And, again, I think this whole issue leads back to Dalton McGuinty. Someone who has had a reputation for fair-play is squandering it via the actions of one of his hounds. It would be astounding, but is now conceivable, that the Ontario Liberal party could actually harm its chances in the 2007 general election for short-term gain in a bungled bye-election.

(We shall see how long it is before the same smears appear on Cherniak. "Oh my Lord! I'm so appalled! Burn the Witch! Burn the Witch!")

Blog This Mr. Honky MoFo!

So the new Google tool bar has installed itself on my PC and I find the BlogThis! button to be missing entirely, or rather turned into the (optional) Blog Search button.

Not only that, the button to turn my Google tool-bar on and off operates the Yahoo tool bar, and vice versa.

What the Hell?

If this is the new Google, I want the old one back

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

McGuinty Refuses to Distance Himself from Smear

The smearing of NDP candidate Cheri DiNovo has made the MSM, and is in danger of sucking Premier McGuinty into the mud:

Despite being asked repeatedly this morning if he wanted to distance himself from the smear tactic, McGuinty said only that the Liberals are campaigning on their record.

Actually, no Dalton, they're engaging in a sleaze campaign, both online and in the real world.

And, Dalton deary, it is entirely unnecessary. A better candidate would have carried this riding easily. Furthermore, next year's election is still pretty much in the bag for the Ontario Libs unless you manage to shoot yourself in the foot by, for example, getting caught with slime on your hands.

In fact, I don't know why you are bothering to associate yourself like ratbags like Kinsella in the first place. After four relatively successful years in office, a deficit finally slain, you can run a front-runner's race in 2007 based on both your government's record and its promises for the future. What you need to employ a dark op specialist like Kinsella for is beyond me.

Operation Medusa Ends with a Whimper the Taliban melt away from the battlefield:

NATO commanders have been maintaining that they encircled the Taliban here, in the cluster of villages known as Pashmul, roughly 15 kilometers southwest of Kandahar city. "We've got the Taliban surrounded," Brigadier-General David Fraser said on Saturday.

In fact, the insurgents launched a massive retreat from Pashmul later that day, according to a Taliban commander interviewed in Kandahar city by a researcher for The Globe and Mail.

But they'll be back. So who thought this one would end any differently?

The Monster of Naden Harbour (with pictures!)

Since it's a slow news-day and I haven't read anything that particularly irked me...

Darren Naish is a PHD and long-time contributor to the Dinosaur Mailing List. Now that he has finished his studies and is waiting for offers of full-time employment, he is keeping a blog devoted in part to Cryptozoology, the study of animals not yet know to science. This post, which covered the "Cadborosaurus" carcass found in 1937, brought back old memories. My dad served at base Naden outside of Victoria, B.C., where the carcass was pulled from the stomach a dead sperm whale, and I remember when the long-lost pictures of the incident were printed in the local papers (1992).

The drawing here is Darren's reconstruction; the actual pictures of the dead beast can be seen by following the link above.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Holy F#@king S#&t! America Under Attack!

Just a link to the classic edition of The Onion from September 26th, 2001, with the original title (see above) given nowhere on the page. The first people to satirize/joke about the 9-11 attacks, either on-line or on tv or in print. Brilliant stuff, and apparently considered for the 2001 Pulitzer for journalistic Commentary.

My favorite bit was from the infographic "Making America Safer": "KFC to keep sporks behind counter."

Iggy Goes Nuts

Iggy continued down the road to Madness yesterday, insisting that Constitutional talks be reopened so as to "cater to Quebec's demands", as this G&M account of last night's leadership debate puts it:

"Other candidates have said we need to recognize Quebec, but that the constitutional recognition of Quebec as a nation is too difficult. Yes it is difficult, but we must do it," Mr. Ignatieff said. "I'm not in politics to say things are difficult, [instead] to find solutions."

The man is dangerous, willing to reopen the same can of worms that nearly destroyed this country just over a decade ago. Good Liberals should take him somewhere dark and drive a stake through his heart.

In other news, the Globe article indicates obliquely, and Chantel Hebert states clearly in her Star column this morning, that if bi-lingualism is a requirement for the new Liberal Leader, then the field has effectively been narrowed to Dion, Iggy, and Bob Rae:

Yesterday, the interpreters who worked behind the scenes of the Liberal debate should have collected a hardship bonus.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Django Reinhardt on YouTube

I am not a big Jazz fan, but I am a fan of the guitar, and this film of Gypsy guitar great Django Reinhardt and violinist Stephane Grapelli with their Hot Club of France is one of the coolest things I've seen in awhile. All hail You Tube. If you're wondering why Django (the guy with the mustache) is playing with only two fingers on the frets, it is because the others were burned in a fire and he had to relearn the instrument. One of the rhythm guitar players is his brother Joseph, I believe.

Django Reinhardt is the preeminent pre-rock guitar god (1930s, 40s, and early 50s). His bands invented the lead/rhythm guitair combo, and Jimi Hendrix named his first group "The Band of Gypsys" after this guy. That's how heavy Django's street credibility is with modern guitarists.

Look unto this footage, you wretched young punks of today, with your Bling and 9mms and Crystal Meth! See what COOL was before your generation came along and fucked everything up! Smoking, drinking, wearing nice clothes, playing poker!!! Oh god what you youth are missing!

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Iggy's Latest Gaffe

Apparently, I'm not the only one who noticed Iggy;s latest cock-up on the foot-in-mouth front. As today's G&M editorial puts it: GOOD GRIEF!

Iggy vs. Rae on the Constitution

Iggy and Bob Rae both spoke at the University of Montreal yesterday, and both addressed changing the Constitution. Iggy claims he would open that can of worms again, to see how much damage he could do:

Ignatieff would like to see the Constitution updated at some point to accommodate Quebec and the "other" division in Canada, the urban-rural divide.

As an aside, I have no idea how the "urban-rural" divide, whatever that is supposed to be, would get fixed via Constitutional fiddling.

Rae, on the other hand, takes a more mainstream view:

[he told] a student questioner it's close to impossible, practically speaking, to leap through all the legal and political hurdles a constitutional overhaul would require.

Another gaffe on Iggy's part? Or just pandering to a Quebec audience?

Friday, September 08, 2006

40 Years Ago Today

...the first episode of the original Star Trek ran, called "The Man Trap" and featuring the salt vampire pictured here. I wasn't quite old enough to remember watching the first season. I do remember watching a few of the last episodes before the show went into syndication. In the 70s and 80s, watching it in reruns was pretty much a Sunday night family event. My favorite were any episodes where Spock got to apply the Vulcan Nerve Pinch.

Pope Denounces Canada; BigCityLib Denounces Pope

Pope Benedict lashed out at Canada today for allowing same sex marriage and abortion:

"In the name of tolerance your country has had to endure the folly of the redefinition of spouse, and in the name of freedom of choice it is confronted with the daily destruction of unborn children," the Pope told a group of bishops from Ontario.

Tough shit, Benny, and you know what the funny part is? We may have sold our asses to the Devil, but things are going along fine. Everyone's living peaceably, the economy's doing great. There's no sign we're going to sink into the ocean anytime soon. So take that crap back to the Vatican; it don't play in TO.

Oh, and here's one right back at you!


Iggy Who? Poll Challenges Frontrunner Status

H/T to the dude behind Libnews, who notes that bloggers have generally missed this poll from Decima, which ranks the top five candidates for Liberal Leadership by voter preference:

When voters who aren't sure are taken out of the mix, former Ontario premier Bob Rae inches ahead of the others: 26 per cent of respondents said they would vote Liberal or consider voting Liberal if Rae were at the party's helm, compared with 23 per cent for former cabinet minister Stephane Dion and 21 per cent for Ignatieff.

In Ontario, Rae has an even wider lead over the perceived front-runner, with 11 per cent more voters saying they would vote Liberal or consider voting Liberal if he were leader than if Ignatieff won.

Obviously, good news for Bob Rae. His rep among potential voters is not nearly as bad as some, myself included, have thought. Bad news for Iggy, just as obviously. Despite being the candidate of the Liberal Establishment, he ranks a mere third among contenders. His supporters must be asking themselves if they are doing any more than propping up an empty suit.

Also bad news for Gerard Kennedy, whose numbers are not given in the article, but who presumably gets 20 per cent or less.

And I suppose Dion is about where he would be expected to be.

I guess being Education Minister for Ontario isnt's as high-profile a job as I thought.

Blogging Tory Shills for Big Oil

From DeSmogBlog, The Friends of Science are a pseudo-science astroturf group fronting for the Alberta energy industry. Their job is to spread disinformation on the Global Warming debate by producing, with money from the oil-patch, videos like Climate Catastrophe Cancelled: what you're not being told about the science of climate change.

Lately, this video has been repeatedly turning up on YouTube and, when the folks at DeSmogBlog tracked back the poster, they discovered it was none other than Craig Smith, a Conservative Party activist and one of the founders of The Blogging Tories.

Which begs the question: just what kind of Tory is Mr. Smith? After all, no less a figure than Brian Mulroney has acknowledged the severity of the Global Warming problem, and the need for action. Even Preston Manning seems to accept the underlying science. So, do today's Conservative activists have no sense of shame? Do they view themselves quite happily as extensions of the Alberta Oil Industry's Public Relations wing?

PR flacks get paid to spread untruth. What's Mr. Smith's excuse?

All hail the mighty DeSMogBlog, by the way, whose research I am merely recycling.

Update 11:30 am: Giant Political Mouse has more information on the FOS and their Tory connections.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Does this Look Like a Sheep to You?

It does to me. Almost every morning I run through Brookbanks Park and see one of these beasts walking with a middle-aged white fellow. I'm usually caffeine deficient and tired, and every time I see these two I think: what is that man doing with that sheep?

But I learn from the owner ( the middle-aged white fellow) that in fact its a "Curly Coated Retriever", a very rare breed of dog on this side of the Atlantic. There are two broods a year in Canada maximum, and maybe a couple of hundred animals extant across the whole of North America.

Very friendly dog , and well-trained, and probably very expensive. But how many people want a dog that looks like an skinny brown sheep?

Is it Anti-American to be Annoyed when Americans Kill Canadian Troops?

In discussing the recent friendly fire death of Pte. Mark Anthony Graham, Defence Minister Gordon O'Connor's mind drifted back to a previous, 2002 incident where four Canadian soldiers died at the hands of an American pilot who was later fined for dereliction of duty.

O'Connor pondered the Canadian reaction to this earlier event:

''I was a bit surprised in the 2002 (incident) with the response. Some of it was latent anti-Americanism.

Really? The pilot, Major Harry Schmidt, was found guilty, wasn't he? In the words of Lt.-Gen. Bruce Carlson, who handed down the verdict, Schmidt "acted shamefully...exhibiting arrogance and a lack of flight discipline."

And, given that his punishment for the death of four Canucks was a written reprimand and a loss of $5,600 in pay, I think that 1) a wee bit of anger might have been justified, and 2) the response of Canadians' was, all told, pretty darn level-headed.

Why do people like Defence Minister Gordon O'Connor worry about us offending Americans when an American pilot has just killed one of our guys...again???

We Got 'Em "Psychologically" Surrounded

One problem for honest Canadian's, who are trying to support the troops even when they don't support the Afghanistan mission, is what to do when the army starts laying on the horseshit? For example, unconfirmed and unconfirmable claims of "200 dead Taliban".

And here's another example: the military's contention that Operation Medusa has surrounded a group of several hundred Taliban fighters turns out to be entirely unfounded:

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.

Lt.-Gen. David Richards, the commander of NATO's International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan, now says:

"I wouldn't want to portray (the Taliban trap) as a complete encirclement,'' he said, speaking to reporters in Kandahar. "It's a psychological encirclement, and as we sit here things are looking very good for us.''

No wonder war supporters like Iggy have to justify out presence in Afghanistan in terms of "moral promises". When the reality on the ground sucks, the only choice is to retreat into vacuous abstractions.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

New Poll Shows Tories Trending Down

The Latest Poll from Decima in the evening TO Star. Nothing you haven't heard before, but moreso:

A Decima poll conducted during the holiday weekend and given to The Canadian Press today that support for the Conservatives was at 34 per cent among decided voters, or two points lower than the level reached on election day. Nationally the Liberals were at 30 per cent, the NDP at 14 per cent and the Bloc at 11 per cent.

The Green Party, with new leader Elizabeth May, came in at a surprising 10 per cent — more than double the 4.5 per cent they garnered on election day.

In Ontario, the leaderless Liberals held 41 per cent compared with 35 per cent for the Tories.

But perhaps most troublesome for the party were the standings in Quebec, where the Tories slipped to 20 per cent from 25 per cent on election day in late January. The province is where many Conservative strategists saw their best hopes for securing a majority government.

Haven't seen the full regional breakdowns, but 20% in Quebec? Does that put them in third place?

The Terrible Trio of the Liberal Blogosphere

...have struck again. Today Kinsella, Cherniak, and Ted of Cerebus are attempting what seems to be a coordinated gang smear of Cheri DiNovo, NDP candidate in the upcoming Parkdale High by-election, which is being held to fill Gerard Kennedy's seat. Their accusations/insinuations against Ms. DiNovo are two-fold. The first is that--based on a couple of lines from her book Qu(e)erying Evangelism: Growing a Community From the Outside In--she appears to be soft on axe murderers. This accusation I will leave to one side, except to note that, if Ms. Dinovo comes out and "clarifies" her stance on axe-murderers, Ted for one is willing to let matters lie.

The other line of criticism concerns Ms. DiNovo's past; she has admitted to having once been a drug dealer. Not only that, according to Ted and Jason, during a recent address to students at an alternative high school called SEE (Secondary Experimental Education), she advised the boys and girls on methods of smuggling LSD. From her sermon:

I think I did a really good job and I spoke for quite awhile and I said, "Okay, your turn, questions?" There was this silence and then one kid put his hand up and asked, "What drugs did you sell?" And I answered, "LSD that I imported in hollowed out Bibles (the first introduction I had to the Bible) and back then it was the good stuff, not the kind of crap you kids do." That happened this week.

Now I, like Ted, do not see a problem with Ms. DiNovo's past as a drug dealer per se. In fact I think the NDP, if they ever want to be a credible Centrist party, absolutely must look to recruit candidates with some background in the world of Business, so their choice here is to be applauded.

And, unlike Ted, Jason, et al, I am not really disturbed by the "advice" Ms. DiNovo gave these young people. For one thing, she's right, the quality of Acid today is shitty, and the Youth oughtta know it. Back in the Golden Age, the mid-70s, a quarter hit of Purple Microdot from San Fran could induce visions of Jesus and all twelve apostles. But kids today are a bunch of punks with green hair, shaved chests, and rings through their noses. They wouldn't know a mystical experience if it came up and bit 'em in the ass. Good on Ms. DiNovo for telling it straight!

For another thing, the advise she's giving them doesn't seem very useful. Who would use a bible to smuggle hits, unless you disguised your stache as a single page or a fold-in insert?

Or maybe back then she was dealing in Tabs, and was hiding them in a hollowed out center of the Good Book. I don't know how things work in TO, but on the Left Coast the trade was done strictly via sheets of blotting paper, which you can hide just about anywhere. Mind you, this system had its own problems. I once spent $20 on some "Red Decal" that I bought off a drunk in a bar. It was a little red star on a square of paper that was shiny on one side, and when I ate it I noticed that the red star came off on my tongue. Not only that, many is the time I've bought little pieces of cigarette package for $5 apiece.

And the funny thing is, a few minutes later you can never find the guy that sold them to you!

Anyway, smuggling Acid in a bible is bulky and counter-intuitive. You can bring the stuff in a million better ways. I even knew one fellow that infused an old jean jacket, wore it over the border, then cut it up and sold the pieces as "Heavenly Denim".

So my only concern with Ms. DiNovo is that maybe she wasn't a very good drug dealer. Why else would she be running for office in the first place if she'd been able to make a real go of it? Why isn't she lounging around in swim trunks in a 100 foot yacht off of Cuba?

But what Ted, Jason, and Kinsella have insinuated... Man, I'd say it was snakey if I didn't like snakes.

Nominations Open Today for Worst Roads in Ontario

The Ontario Municipal Roads Coalition is a group of organizations (including the Canadian Taxpayers Association) that have come together to advocate for appropriate investments in municipal road maintenance and improvements. Every year they ask web-surfers to rate the worst roads in Ontario, in Toronto, and so forth. They then take the results to the Cities in question, and lobby to have the "worst" roads fixed, apparently with some success. Voting on this year's worst roads begins today, although at the moment their site is not accepting nominations.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Did Dion Plagiarize Suzuki?

The accusations that Steve Janke has made re S. Dion plagerizing the Suzuki foundation's "The Air We Breathe" are beginning to get picked up in the MSM, specifically Dan Cook's blog. What it looks like at this point is that Dion's writers did a number of cut-and-paste jobs from the Suzuki report, and then referenced the report in only the most general terms. Not a particularly big deal, but probably deserving of a response from Mr. Dion (and maybe Mr. Suzuki too who, one assumes, would be flattered).

PQ up by Five

According to Angus Reid:

Parti Quebecois: 37% (-3%)
Liberal Party of Quebec: 32% (+11%)
Action democratique du Quebec: 13% (-)
Parti vert: 9%
Quebec solidaire: 7%

The changes are from November 2005 and, if I am not mistaken, the original article contains an error, either in the Liberal Party gains since November (which it claims to be nine points), or in the November 2005 Liberal Party figure, which is given at 21%.

I don't claim to understand the electoral dynamics of Quebec, but this looks like minority government territory. If so, I wonder how that would effect the timing and possibility of any referendum question?

Monday, September 04, 2006

BigCityLib Presents His Demands

Before Cherniak decided to back S. Dion for Leadership of the Liberal Party, Dion took him out to lunch. There was no causal connection here, obviously, but I was thinking of my own situation. I'm always looking for a free meal.

Except that I'm a political Pariah! I've been denounced by Warren Kinsella twice, as documented here, and alleged to be, on one or another occasion, an anti-Semite, a pedophile, and a cannibal! I doubt any of the candidates would want my endorsement.

On the other hand, it has occurred to me that they might want to make sure that I don't endorse them. I mean, what if I were to don my favorite adult diaper, shave the words "BCL For [Your Candidate's Name Here]" into my extremely hairy chest, and post pics a few days before the Lib convention in December? I could send a link to dear Kate at SDA, and the other major media outlets, and watch a carefully nurtured political career go down the sewer. I can just see the headlines: Alleged Cannibal thinks Iggy is Way Forward For Canada!"

This works especially well for me as, potentially, I get 10 free lunches out of the deal, not just one! Because you can only endorse a single candidate, but you can non-endorse as many as you want!

However, for some of the candidates, a mere meal won't cut it. To secure my non-endorsement, the following candidates are going to have to do more for BigCityLib.

1) Joe Volpe

Joe, I'm not asking much. Because I think your issues with fundraising are overblown, and that the other Liberals have been mean to you. You didn't do anything illegal anyhow. And since I know the guys that do your food when you hold stops in Toronto, all I want from you is some of their sweet, sweet fried chicken.

Afterwards, we can go find some kids and shake 'em down for their milk money.

2) Michael Ignaetieff

Iggy, Iggy, Iggy! Better find yourself a pink Tutu buddy, because if you don't want my support, your going to have to dance for it! The whole goddamn NutCracker Suite, while I play it on a kazoo! Also: Pheasant! I want to eat pheasant! You're a rich, classy dude. Take me somewhere where they serve Pheasant, and make sure it's bloody good, not too dry or too greasy!

3) Scott Brison

Mr. Brison, I have a couple of special demands, based on your status as the only openly Gay candidate in the race. I mean, for food, you can take me anywhere trendy. Sushi would be nice. Or, have you ever heard of Mr. Pong's on Spadina?

But what I really want is video-tape of you and Svend Robinson doing butt-sex on, just for fun, a pool table!

You know, I was never much into porn, especially not gay porn, until my neighbor (pictured left) got satellite television. Now I'm over at his place all the time, and I find that I'm starting to enjoy the guy-on-guy stuff just as much as the more traditional material. Or maybe I'm just getting bored. At least with gay porn the actors are in half-decent shape. The weird thing is, I'm starting to be able to tell one from another by the distinctive markings on the back of their nuts. My neighbor says I'm watching too much, in fact he's telling me to fuck off and go home alot these days.

But I digress...

Now, this is just the first part of my list. More demands will assuredly come. So get out your pocket-books, ladies and gentlemen, BigCityLib can be bought, but he ain't cheap.

Crocodile Hunter Killed by Fish

From CNN:

SYDNEY, Australia (CNN) -- Steve Irwin, the TV presenter known as the "Crocodile Hunter," has died after being stung by a stingray in a marine accident off Australia's north coast.

Apparently, Mr. Irwin was filming a documentary on "Things that Can Kill you in the Sea" and the sting-ray (which he was not pursuing at the time) nailed him through the heart with its tail barb. He died instantly and without pain.

According to messages posted on the Dinosaur Mailing List, Irwin claimed to fear no animal but for birds. A cockatoo tried to eat his nose once.

And, antics aside (Crikey! That's a beaut!), Mr. Irwin funneled alot of the money he made into conservation efforts. He also did his best to demystify the family Reptilia, BigCityLib's favorite type of animal.
In fact, here's a picture of an Eastern Milk Snake that I found lounging around in front of the office last Spring (and scaring off all the girls on coffee break, I might add). This baby was a good two feet long, and I ended up carrying it around with me for a couple of hours waiting for a guy from the City, thinking it was somebody's escaped pet (Eastern Milk Snakes sell for about $200 in local pet stores). It was so tame, I didn't even need gloves. Finally, the guy arrived and told me Eastern Milk Snakes were actually native to the Don River Valley, though rarely seen. This one had just come out of hibernation, which explained its placid demeanor and the relatively faded coloring. So we released him by the fence and, about two days later, I found a shed skin about a hundred yards away.

So when next time you see a Garter Snake, remember: Animals are innocent; it's people who're Assholes.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Four Canadian Dead. No American Coverage.

We have essentially taken over for the U.S. in Southern Afghanistan after they "cut and ran" from the area. How much do they care about non-American dead? Well, here's links to the front page of CNN, ABC, CBS, and Fox. I see Zippo on the front page. We clean up their shitty war, and this is how our contribution is valued.

Money Problems, Mr. Dion?

Did S. Dion supporters attempt a dine & dash from the Celtic Corner Pub in Dartmouth, N.S., on Sunday? The event organizer and the Pub manager differ. They also differ on the amount of the tip, either $6.50 on a bill of $123.00, or $17.00 on a bill of $113.00.

No further comment, other than Hmmmm!

Hillary May Not Run (for POTUS)

Instead, she may withdraw and seek to lead her party in the Senate, according to the Sunday Times U.K.:

The prospect of a Hillary for President campaign has put much of the Democratic establishment in a bind,Time concluded. The early line is that Hillary would be unstoppable in a Democratic primary but unelectable in a general election.

The solution, insiders say, is for Clinton to take over as Senate minority leader in 2009 from lacklusterstre Harry Reid, senator for Nevada. One well-respected blog, The Washington Note, recently claimed that Reid privately told Clinton the job was hers if she gave up her presidential ambitions.

As a Canadian observer of U.S. politics, I think this would be a great move. Hillary is just too much of a bogeywoman for the American Right to run effectively in the South and Midwest--in the Red States, in other words. Not that I think she's done anything to deserve such a reputation, other than make a few comments from many years ago that might have been construed as rebukes to Conservative, stay-at-home moms (she once said something like: "What do you expect me to do, stay at home and make cookies?").

But I think Conservative fears of successful, "aggressive" women are still prevalent across great swathes of the U.S., and at this point in history they're just not worth fighting. Especially since running a standard white male in a suit might mean that the Dems wind up running the Senate, House, and White House in 2008.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Can 401 Traffic Power a Wind Turbine?

Apparently not. Centennial College students set up a wind speed measuring device near Progress Campus last August, hoping to show that the road and its rushing traffic would help in generating power for a full-scale wind turbine. However:

Average wind speeds over a year, recorded at a 30-metre height, are "right on the margins of what would make a wind project there feasible," said Herb Sinnock, a Centennial instructor who helped make the case for installing the device.

Sinnock was hoping the college could justify a turbine at least as big the one on the Canadian National Exhibition grounds, enough to generate 1.5 megawatts of electricity.

This project likely won't happen now. However, a commendable attempt. Hopefully some of these new green technologies will pan out soon. I see the SkyDome black with solar cells, and a big wind turbine atop the CN Tower!

Another Summer Poll

From Ipsos-Reid, this time, via

According to Ipsos Reid, 38 per cent of decided voters would vote for the Conservatives (down one percentage point from an Ipsos poll in late July, and down five percentage points from a poll in mid-May, when Harper's popularity hit a peak).

By comparison, support for the Liberals has risen by two points in the last month -- 29 per cent of voters would support the official Opposition party (which won't even have a permanent leader until a convention in early December). Support for the NDP remains unchanged at 17 per cent.

The Bloc Quebecois also remains fairly steady, garnering the support of 10 per cent of voters nationally. The Green party, which chose Elizabeth May as its new leader last week, has the support of five per cent of voters -- a two-point drop from a month earlier.

Same reasons for the Tory decline as in every other poll seen this August--the bloom is off in Quebec:

The poll shows that the Conservatives have dropped from a "post-election honeymoon high" in Quebec of 34 per cent in February to 22 per cent now. Conversely, the Bloc appears "resilient," with 43 per cent of the vote in the province.

The Only Way Forward...

From this morning's Globe:

KANDAHAR, AFGHANISTAN --Canadian soldiers should join local forces fighting Taliban insurgents inside Pakistan,defense Minister Gordon O'Connor says, making a tentative first attempt at raising the explosive issue of foreign troopstrespassersg on Pakistani territory.

Gerard Kennedy has advocated refocusing the NATO mission on reconstruction and, if that doesn't occur, has suggested pulling out of Afghanistan altogether. However, as many have noted, it is no use building roads and schools if there are still live Taliban around to blow them up again. On the other hand, and as not so many have noted, if you concentrate on killing Taliban, you will never get around to building roads and schools, because there is an endless supply of Taliban coming over the Pakistan border.

So, the only way forward is to take the fight into that country. In fact, what O'Connor seems to be asking in the above is merely that Canadian and allied troops should have the same permissions as U.S. Special Forces: to conduct limited, low-profile pursuits of al-Qaeda and Taliban suspects into Pakistan.

This is surely not enough. The Taliban can only be stopped if they are met on their home ground and defeated there.

But O'Connor might not even get so much, and I doubt he will get more. Certainly, any credible incursion into Pakistan would require more men, and more political Will (esp. on the part of the U.S., who would presumably be supplying the bulk of the troops), than is likely to be forthcoming at any time in the near future. After all, Pakistan's own army has suffered hundreds of casualties fighting Al Qaeda and Taliban-related groups in the tribal areas. George W. won't risk a similar confrontation with tough looking mid-terms on the horizon.

In which case the Afghanistan mission remains an exercise in futility. Our soldiers swat at wasps but are denied the ability to go after the nest. If so, then it really is time to pack up and go home.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Another Bum Poll For the Tories (But Good News for Greens)

From Decima, via

The survey found 33 per cent support for the Tories among decided voters across the country compared with the 36.3 per cent they won in January.

The Liberals had 28 per cent, down from the election showing of 30.2 per cent.

The NDP was at 19 per cent, above their election night 17.5 per cent. The Bloc was holding steady at 10 per cent.


The findings also suggested that the Green Party has doubled its support to eight per cent from its 4.5 per cent election night showing.

Again, foreign policy appears to be the reason:

The recent fighting in the Middle East may also have troubled voters, more in the context of American foreign policy and the relationship between the Tories and Washington than in anything in particular the Canadian government has done.

Laxer on Iggy

James Laxer's post on the Ignatieff "phenomenon" is about the best thing I've read on the topic, either in the blogosphere or the MSM. Clear, historically informed, and well-reasoned, it is everything my own posts on the topic are not. It could, however, use a few clever put-downs or dirty jokes. But nobody is perfect.

Blowing Up Stuff on the Moon

The EU's Smart-1 lunar orbiter will be crashing down into the Lake of Excellence this weekend, most likely on Sunday morning at 1:41 a.m. ET, and most likely at the point indicated in the photo (click on link above for a more precise location).

According to

The high-speed slam dunk is expected to create yet another crater on the Moon--perhaps some 16 feet to 33 feet (5-10 meters) across. Dust and other material ejected off the Moon may well be visible to observers with big telescopes back here on Earth.

Amateur astronomers are invited to turn their telescopes on the given co-ordinates.

As this article explains, there's actually some real science being done here. Scientists know how fast Smart-1 is traveling and its mass. Therefore, studying the brightness of the flash that results when it self-immolates against the lunar surface will help them determine the same information with respect to the meteorites that they constantly observe crashing into the moon.

Also, lunar orbiters tend to blow up real good.

Like Clubbing Baby Seals

Another day, another gaffe from the Ignatieff campaign. From The Montreal Gazette:

...But it was a little one-column sidebar, on Ignatieff's rules of the road for another Quebec referendum, that raised eyebrows in the political class. It's a pretty hard line he's taking. A future Parti Quebecois government would, as La Presse put it, "have to agree with Ottawa on the wording of the question," which would "have to be on the independence of Quebec, nothing more." Furthermore, a simple majority of 50 per cent plus one would not give "legitimacy," in Ignatieff's own choice of words, for the founding of a new country.

"There have to be rules in this business," Ignatieff said. "We have to have clarity. Why? Because we want to avoid civil war, and I'm very confident we will avoid it."

Whoopsie! Threatening civil war in Quebec! Quite the little no-no.

As the Gazette notes, "Michael Ignatieff has a habit of opening his mouth to change feet."

And then another defense out of the Ignatieff campaign to the effect that "Iggy is changing the way politics is done in this country" (he prefers to do politics very poorly).

I don't have the energy to pile-on Iggy this morning, and frankly I'm getting bored of it. It's like beating up your little sister...there's no challenge. In fact I'm starting to think I might just support the guy out of pity. But no! You don't pick the next leader of the nation based on the fact they remind you of a helpless little bird found struggling in the snow!

Update, 8:30 AM: As mentioned, I'm starting to feel a little bit guilty over constantly bashing Iggy. So I am self-imposing a one week moratorium on the topic. I won't write about the hapless Ignatieff campaign unless he does something really stupid like accidentally setting his tie on fire.