Monday, April 30, 2007

Solar Kismet

Today both Ezra and Greg from The Politic try to retail the same bit of nonsense about global warming on planet Earth being primarily sun-driven. Their evidence? A similar phenomenon appears to be occurring on Mars. However, on the very same day they makes these claims, an honest-to-goodness scientific paper appears that refutes them:

Mars is a very windy place--so windy, in fact, that bright, oxidized martian soil is being scoured away by martian winds and dust devils to reveal darker, sub-surface soil with the end result of making the whole planet warmer. Mars is experiencing its own brand of climate change. Is this related to planet earth's greenhouse gas driven climate change? No. Is understanding the process important for our understanding of how planets evolve and change over time? Absolutely.

The post from Greg at The Politic seems particularly dishonest, as the article he quotes from actually includes the same explanation of the Martian warming phenomenon as is given above. Or perhaps Greg has ADD and is incapable of reading a newspaper article to the very end.

Incidentally, when you hear these stories about Global Warming on Mars, or Titan, or Pluto being proof that the same phenomenon on Earth is due to "solar cycles", just remember, you don't have to look at Mars or Pluto to see what the Sun is up to. You can simply take direct measurements of the Sun itself, as these people have been doing for years. And guess what? Solar output has remained more or less constant during this time.

Bow-Legged, Black, And Outta Control

A fascinating piece in Salon on Same Sex Marriage in the world of multi-player on-line gaming. It ranges widely, but focuses on the social strictures that will apply to the upcoming Lord of The Rings Online role-playing game. The bottom line is:

"The rule that we tried to follow across the board was: if there's an example of it in the book, the door is open to explore it," Nik says. "Very rarely will you see an elf and a human hook up, but it does happen; the door is open. Dwarves don't intermarry with hobbits; that door is shut ... Did two male hobbits ever hook up in the shire and have little hobbit civil unions? No. The door is shut."

More than that, Nik says, it seemed as if same-sex marriage would simply not have fit with Tolkien's vision for the worlds he created.

"Tolkien was a conservative Catholic," Nik says. "He went out drinking with C.S. Lewis every night, and the two of them had a worldview that was -- well, let's just say it clashes a little bit with the sensibilities of East Coast liberals..."

No black squirrels allowed either, apparently, as Tolkien hated black squirrels.

Beyond the LOTH content, the article is a fascinating piece of sociology. For example, there are a number of role-playing games out there that do allow for SSM, like The Sims. Many players who oppose SSM in the real world are happy to tolerate it on-line; some same sex partners on-line are in fact of different genders in real life. And so on.

As for the dilemma posed by Lord of The Rings, I would suggest the following compromise. Why not let the characters aligned with Sauron participate in SSM, as they are already EVIL? For example, why not let the Orcs, those swarthy, bow-legged mainstays of LOTH villainy, engage in SSM. This would be particularly appropriate for Orcs because, according to the Jackson film version of Tolkien's trilogy, they do not breed via sexual intercourse but seem to be grown in goopy pods a la the aliens in Alien. Thus any Orc on Orc sex, whatever the genders involved, is not engaged in for the purpose of procreation. Thus its already in violation of the relevant biblical injunctions.

Yes, one might argue, but why should potential gamers have to choose the side of EVIL to get SMMarried in LOTH online? Well, consider that there are absolutely zero expressions of human sexuality in LOTH outside of Grima Wormtongue's clumsy lusting after Eowyn. Under any strict interpretation of Tolkien's vision, then, its only the bad guys that get to have any fun anyway!
Marry me, Frodo!

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Coyne's Horrible Car Metaphor Goes Viral, Destroys All Reasoned Discourse In Its Path the point where politicians of every stripe are declaiming bad poetry in the very halls of government. Witness Liberal MP Mark Holland criticizing the Tories do-nothing approach to Climate Change:

Yesterday, the minister laid out a road map that takes a wrong turn and drives Canada into a climate change ditch.

Yeah, but can't Mark Holland shut the fuck up? And, Andy, can't you at least switch back to that freaky wolf metaphor you were using at the beginning of the week, so I can entitle a post "Does Coyne's Wolf Metaphor Shit In The Woods"? Or on the other hand, maybe you could just stick to the elegant economic number crunching that is your specialty. That's why people love you: you're the Conservative that knows how to add.

PS., this is crap:

The Tories’ newfound enthusiasm for fuel-efficiency standards is even stranger. How many times does it need to be said? The main effect of legislating fuel efficiency is to reduce the cost of driving. At more miles per gallon, you can drive more miles at the same cost.

Andrew, I hate to tell you this, but your analysis here is based on a false assumption. For the vast majority of Canadians, sitting in traffic is not at all like sex. Its not the kind of thing you would do more of if you just had more energy. If the kind of economists you like to hang with think otherwise...well, we know what they need more of, don't we?

Gimme Gimme My Vioxx

Your own BigCityLib occasionally suffers from an debilitating condition known as metabolic arthritis, or in the common tongue, gout, which is caused either by eating too many fried chicken wings or drinking too much beer (but most likely, in my case, the latter). Every once in awhile I get these shrieking pains in my left big toe, and if they go untreated I wind up spending the next week or two hobbling around like an old man. However, several years back when the symptoms first appeared my doctor prescribed these wonderful little pills, and it used to be I would pop one of them and presto the pain would go away and I could tap-dance to my heart's content. However, the last time I ran out of these pills I discovered that they were actually Rofecoxib, or Vioxx, which the FDA banned in 2004 because a small minority people had the bad taste to drop dead of heart-attacks after taking them. Because the next best Cox-2 Inhibitor, Celebrex, compares to Vioxx the way watery coffee compares to LSD, I was disappointed yesterday when I read that the FDA would not approve Arcoxia, Merck's successor to Vioxx.

And so I am doomed to go forward in this life forever watching what I eat and drink so as to prevent flare-ups.

And let me just warn my readers about the hazards associated with beer. For when you are young it can seem to be a wonder substance, cold and golden and filled with bubbly happiness--better than women, even, because beer never whines about "rights"and its socially acceptable to have six in one night. When you get older, however, ill effects begin to appear, like the way your gut starts to fall out through your ass and yes, the onset of embarrassing ailments like metabolic arthritis.

If I were to do it all again, I'd stick with ganja and cool-aid.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Meet The (Wouldbe) Austin Abortion Clinic Bomber

His name is Paul Ross Evans, 27, of Austin, Texas. On Monday, April 23rd, he walked into a Lowe's hardware store in Lufkin, Texas, bought potassium nitrate and dextrin, which a google search tells me are often used to make fire-works, as well as two pounds of nails. He then made himself a bomb and left it outside the Austin Women's Health Center, which offers abortion services. Fortunately, the device was spotted by a clinic employee. Police were able to defuse it and then trace the purchases of its constituent materials to his credit-card. Mr. Evans is now under arrest for, among other things, "using weapons of mass destruction". There is speculation that the attempted bombing is a result of the recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling re partial birth abortion.

Best blogging comment I've heard on this story thus far:

The question now is, how will the Right handle Terrorism when it has a white face and a home-grown accent and grows straight out of its own hate-filled belly? Don't expect to see this story shoved down your throat on Fox, or anywhere else for that matter. Mr. Evans' case will be quietly handled with the hushed shame of an idiot child being relegated to the attic of a proper 19th-century family's home. And some asshole in some extremist group will be waiting for him with open arms when the law-and-order types let him out on parole.

I will try and update this over the course of the next couple of days.

The Turkey Strikes Back

Friday, April 27, 2007

Christian Terror At Austin Clinic?

From the Houstin Chronicle (

AUSTIN — A package left at a women's clinic that performs abortions contained an explosive device capable of inflicting serious injury or death, investigators said today.

Christian Conservative terror groups tend to ramp up activity in times of Peace when there is no external enemy against which to expend their zealotry. With Iraq winding down, the question is will the U.S. start to see more of this kind of thing? And, from a Canadian point of view, will some of the violence leak over our border, as happened during the last go round? If so, I'd advocate making Christians wear little blue hats so normal, decent folk can hide when we see them coming.

Peter MacKay's Double Standard

On Wednesday, Peter MacKay got angry in the HOC, after some Liberal bully referred to Defense Minister Gordon O'Connor as a chicken. He said:

I just heard something in the House from a former finance minister who has called the Minister of National Defence a chicken. This is a man who has served his country in uniform for over 30 years!

And yet he previously referred to Belinda Stronach as a dog, even though she too served her country, or at least Peter MacKay's end of it, and even though it was only for two or three minute intervals and entirely sans uniform.

What a hypocrite!

McGuinty Liberals Flick Up

It is very, very seldom that I agree with the Western Standard, and I am almost always in favor of initiatives that help people take action against Global Climate Change. However, attempts by a government led by someone as totally square as Dalton McGuinty to "appeal to the youth" are inevitably doomed to failure.

Witness the Ontario launch of the "Flick Off" campaign, and Environment Minister Laurel Broten's desperate attempt to maintain her dignity in front of its official logo. She could hardly have looked sillier if she'd appeared with a nose stud and three pounds of eye-liner a la Avril Lavigne.

Can we officially dub this one a Public Relations Disaster?

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Torys Accidentally Smear Fellow Tory

Peter MacKay's communications director Dan Dugas apparently shares his master's delicate political touch. On Tuesday he smeared Paul Hobson, an economist who has argued that a cap on how much equalization and offshore revenue the province can receive if it opts into the Tories’ new equalization system would cost the province about $1 billion.

Dugas wrote in an e-mail to the Chronicle Herald:

"Don’t you think your readers ought to know that the author of a study on equalization is Paul Hobson, a Brison riding executive member (president) who went to the Grits with Brison? I’m saying it’s the kind of context in a political story that people should be aware of every time you mention him, don’t you think?"

However, Mr. Hobson shot back that:

...he’s not a Liberal. In fact, he donated $100 to the federal Conservatives in January.

At least Mr. Dugas, unlike his boss, had the class to issue an apology. But you've got to wonder about a government that can't even hurl slime accurately.

Boobies Boobies Boobies In The B.C. Legislature

Almost every year when I was in high school, my class would hop a bus and be motored downtown to do a tour of the Legislative Assembly of British Columbia. The big highlight (because who really cared if the stain-glass windows there were shipped inside molasses-filled containers to guard against breakage?) was always the murals that decorated the rotunda. My favorite was this one, which depicts the construction of Fort Victoria by hot, half nekkid Indian chicks. The girls are hauling lumber, while Whitey (top left) looks on with a smugly satisfied air.
Well, after years of complaints by First Nation leaders, the murals are coming down, and suddenly people are squawking about censorship and the importance of art in culture and yada yada yada. As someone who supports the B.C. government's actions in this matter, I think it is important to clear up several misunderstandings.
1) The Issue for B.C.'s aboriginal community is not Nekkidness, as a few people have tried to argue. Rather, the issue is that the natives in the mural (male and female alike) are portrayed "as a conquered and subservient people". It isn't that Whitey is cavorting with luscious nekkid women, its that they're luscious nekkid slave women. Big difference.
2) The murals will not be destroyed, as this gentleman seems to be arguing, but "removed and preserved", at a cost of $280,000. There are also rumors that reproductions will be sold in stroke-book format at the legislature gift-shop.
3) They are not great art. They are not even really decent porn. If anything, they look a bit like cut-rate versions of Gauguin, who also specialized in Nekkid natives. So if they were to disappear from the face of the earth tomorrow it would not be an irreplaceable loss to mankind. What I think is most interesting about them is that they illustrate why corporate art (the paintings you are likely to see on the wall of a modern office building) has gone almost entirely abstract: if there is no representation, then there can be no offensive representations (although they'll always be the occasional nutter that thinks the gray blob on the wall looks like a vagina).

Didn't I Say This Would Happen?

Didn't I just say that the Tories would claim to have "aimed for the middle" on climate change regulations because "Environmentalists will howl, so will industry"? Well, as Don Martin's Wednesday column demonstrates, this is exactly the line that the government and their media cheering section is going to take. And they will almost certainly be able to find a few Oil Patch spokesmen to let loose an obligatory scream or two, like the victims in some B-grade horror movie.

But the thing is, a lobbyist worth his or her salt knows that you never act pleased, no matter how much free candy you've been given, no matter how much moral obligation you've managed to dodge. Unfortunately, environmental activists tend to be less professional about such things; they tend to act happy when they are happy, and sad when they are sad. So they often get out maneuvered by their industry counterparts.

The proper response is that it is never enough when it comes to money spent, and its always too much when it comes to responsibilities imposed.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Coyne's Ghastly Car Metaphor Totally Fucking Collapses!

In a last ditch attempt to save his tortured simile between reducing GHG emissions and braking a motor vehicle, Andrew Coyne offered the following:

My point wasn't that intensity reductions necessarily imply absolute reductions. My point was that absolute reductions necessarily imply intensity reductions.

To which the brave Canuckistan responded:

except they don't. you could just mandate an absolute reduction forcing companies to reduce production. however, no sensible people are arguing for that.

Exactly. And Andrew, dude, leave the poetry to Shakespeare.

$38,000 For Sweet F.A.

That's the damage from Wiji Khan's first Mid-East Trip back in September of 2006. And for that princely sum, the Canadian taxpayer apparently got a report written on transparent paper in invisible ink.

Although Wiji did manage to uncover the startling truth that torture is a "fact of life over there", which I could have done via a google search for the price of a couple of TTC tokens and a bowl of soup.

Coyne's Crappy Car Metaphor

From CTV:

The Harper Conservatives have stunned the House of Commons by supporting a Bloc Quebecois motion that calls for absolute limits on greenhouse gas emissions.

Andrew Coyne responds that this is a "non-story":

If the Tories had "rejected" absolute limits, how did they expect to get to the 45 to 65% reduction (from 2003 levels) projected in the Clean Air Act (Ambrose version)?

The whole "intensity" vs "absolute" target controversy, as I've written before, is a complete red herring. It's simple arithmetic: before you can get to absolute reductions, you have to reduce the "intensity," in the same way that before you can stop your car, you have to slow down.

Which just shows that Coyne has swallowed the Tory koolaid, but has added his typical frilly nuances to their basic claim.

In fact, intensity reductions do not necessarily ever lead to absolute reductions. If you lower your amount of GHGs emitted per unit of production, and your production increases, so too can your absolute emissions. To follow the logic of Andrew's metaphor accurately, it is as though he is saying that you must slow the rate of acceleration of your car before you can actually slow your car, before you can stop your car. Which is patently false. Its also terribly bad advice to give to a speed junkie: "you must bring the car to a halt, but before you do that feel free to stomp on the gas for awhile, just not as hard as you were planning to stomp on the gas."

I'm away from the PC all day again today. This may be all you see here. Have fun.

(PS. Lord Kitchener explains this much better than me in his comments to Andy's post.)

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Expect Crocodile Tears...

...out of the oil patch after Thursday, no matter how soft the Tories new emissions targets, goals, regulations etc. might be. Expect more whiny bullshit like:

We're seeing an industry now really with no leadership in Western Canada, nobody seems to be speaking up for this industry and when they do, nobody wants to say anything of substance...It's really an industry predicated on soft love.'

Because, as someone who has worked with PACS of various industry lobby groups for years, that's what they do: they whine like welfare queens. Like the guy in The Terminator said, that's ALL THEY DO.

You know as a lobbyist that you've hit the sweet spot when an industry friendly government says: we must have found the middle, because we've offended both sides of the issue. Ever since offending both sides became the acid the test for being in the political Center, lobby groups, no matter how much free candy they get handed, have made a point to feign offense.

I Gotta Friend Whose A Friend Of The Working Class

Won't have time to write much today, as I'll be offsite. Won't even have time to read the papers. So let me just offer another gratuitous cheap-shot at the expense of the Federal NDP, who have been irritating me lately.

The federal NDP remind me of that great old song "Debris" by The Faces, where Ronnie Lane sings:

Theres more trouble at the depot,
With the general workers union
And you said, "They'll never change a thing.
And you can hear them, they're not working."

Don't know why, but it seems appropriate. Maybe I am stuck in the 1970s, like the NDP.

I am also reminded of those great proletarian poets The Upper Crust, and their Roque epic "A Friend of a Friend of The Working Class"

You get up in the morning to join the common herd
Your lot is a hard one, or so I have heard
I know how hard it is to bust one's ass
'Cause I'm a Friend of a Friend of the Working Class.

And here's our heroes performing a song about immense wealth that our NDP brothers and sisters would almost certainly reject as immoral: "I Got My Ascot 'n' My Dickie". Eugene is probably puking even now.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Tories Retreat on Tory Retreat On Clean Air Act

Now Baird is saying the Tories haven't decided whether or not to kill the Clean Air Act. And is it just me or is he starting to look a little bit puffy around the cheeks, like he's been getting into Harper's donut box? Pity. From The Hulk to The Blob in three short months.

Conservatives In Retreatl

They're too scared of the fallout to engineer their own defeat over it, and they're too beholden to special interest groups to pass it. As predicted, Stephen Harper's Conservatives will abandon the Clean Air Act and sssslither away into the night. And, oh yeah, even though all the opposition parties helped rewrite it, John Baird has now officially dubbed it a "Liberal" bill. Stephane Dion should buy him lunch for that.

The NDP is WHAT?

From The NY Times:

After the recent deaths, the opposition Liberal Party, which was in power when Canada first sent troops to Afghanistan, introduced a motion in Parliament calling on the government to withdraw Canadian troops from Afghanistan when the current commitment expires in February 2009.


The Liberal and separatist Bloc Québécois parties are expected to support the nonbinding motion, but without the support of the third opposition party, the New Democratic Party, it is expected to fail.

I must have missed this, but if true its a real puker. Now, it looks like the Dippers will try to cover the fact that they're propping up the Harper regime by demanding an immediate withdrawal, and claiming that anything less is unacceptable. But of course, since an immediate withdrawal is impractical, dishonorable and just generally ain't gonna happen, this choice is entirely illusory. 2009 is the first realistic date, and Jack Layton is ready to reject it to, what, spare Stephen Harper some embarrassment?

God these guys have become a disappointment under Layton. Anyone for a "draft Ed Broadbent again" movement? How about a "draft Alexa' movement? Anything but what we have now.

The Unluckiest Serial Killer In The Whole Wide World

The Virginia Tech shootings brought back memories of Joseph Ferguson, whose rampage in Sacramento resembled Cho Seung-Hui's in that Ferguson also prepared a video-tape for the local media explaining the reasons behind his actions.
From The Mass Murderer's Hit List (with minor rewrites):

According to Authorities, the 20-year old Ferguson began killing people because he was despondent over getting suspended from his supervisor's job at Burns Security in Sacramento a week earlier. Burns officials said Ferguson was suspended after his ex-girlfriend, fellow security guard Nina Susu, said he vandalized her car after their breakup. The officials also notified the FBI that Ferguson might be dangerous because he made threats after the suspension. An FBI check revealed Ferguson had no history of violence and nothing was done.

Susu and and Marsha Jackson, a 32-year-old single mother of three, were the first to die. They were shot as they worked at a city maintenance yard. Then Ferguson headed to a city-run marina where he shot and killed 48-year-old George Bernardino, another Burns employee, and 19-year-old John Glimstad, who just started working for the marina. All four victims were unarmed and riddled with gunshot wounds. Police found AK-47 rounds, shotgun rounds and 9 mm handgun shells at the crime scenes. Police found a handgun at the first shooting scene and recovered an assault weapon at the marina.
Ferguson then headed to the Sacramento Zoo where he handcuffed another former co-worker to a tree and fled in her car. Police Chief Arturo Venegas Jr. said the woman was spared because "he thought she was just a nice person."

Police searched the south Sacramento house where Ferguson had been living with his father and brother and found a cache of weapons, including two shotguns, two assault rifles, two revolvers, a ballistic helmet, a flak jacket and a gas mask. They also discovered an undisclosed assortment of white supremacist paraphernalia.

As Sacramento authorities frantically searched for rampaging killer Joseph Ferguson, police and Burns officials evacuated employees from their homes and escorted them to safe houses. However Ferguson did appear in the home of a Burns supervisor who had not been evacuated where he filmed a video suicide note before killing the supervisor and stealing his car. In the video, Ferguson said he would soon kill himself. "I've taken four victims, this should be good enough to last about a week on the news. It's time to feed the news media."

After disappearing all day, Ferguson was spotted by a highway patrolman at 11:30 p.m., triggering a 40-minute high-speed chase through suburban Sacramento. Ferguson fired more than 200 rounds at the pursuing officers before smashing his car into a light pole. The lovestruck killer then committed suicide inside the stolen car. In the video Ferguson bragged about putting on "a hell of a show," adding, unambiguously, "I giveth and I taketh away, that's how it goes in fucking life."

There are a couple of things to note here. The most important and obvious is Ferguson's media consciousness. He considered his rampage a made-for-tv event, one that even came with a moral (that's how it goes in fucking life). The second is his estimation of the staying power of this kind of performance--about a week, until people were sated and ready to move on to the next atrocity. By the same reasoning, we should see the Virginia Tech killings drop out of the news in the next couple of days.

But why, you ask, have I never heard of Joseph Ferguson? Well, one reason, crass though it is, has to do with Body Count. When watching the news becomes entertainment, and when mass murder becomes just another blood sport on the tele, five victims is simply not all that impressive a total. But the most important thing is that Mr. Ferguson launched his rampage on September 9th 2001, and died early on the 10th. His video landed up on the desk of the MSM on September 11th, 2001, when they had other things on their minds, and what coverage he got was limited to postage stamp sized stories relegated to the back pages on the morning of September 12th (where I read his comment about "feeding the media" and thought: how ironic).

The guy didn't get one day, let alone his week, of infamy.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Afghani Army ‘May Not Be Ready' In 2009

...according to Brig.-Gen. Tim Grant, the commander of Canadian forces in that country.

In fact, I think we can say with 99.9999% certainty that they won't be. And that they won't be ready in 2019 either, nor 2029. You know when they'll be ready? After the sun goes supernova!
If Canada waits until the Afghanis are able to stand up before we stand down (to paraphrase Bush Jr.), we will be spilling Canadian blood and money over there forever. And in just three to five more years all of our army's equipment will be worn down from the desert sand and nobody that isn't blood-thirsty, mongoloid, or insane will want to join up. Gen. Hillier's scheme to get our army some practise for the real wars of the future will have wound up breaking it instead. Something similar is happening RIGHT NOW South of the border, something that even the most right wing of the right wing crazies are beginning to realize.

Dion is right to want to call this stupid thing off by 2009, and you know he's read the nation correctly (and the pundits and the blo-vators in the blogosphere have not) by the fact that Harper is too chickenshit to make this issue a matter of confidence. He'd be crazy to fight an election on Canadian participation in the Afghanistan campaign, and he knows it.

Camp Run Amok: Rob Sampson's First Attempt At Prison Reform

As many have noted, the man appointed by Stockwell Day to "review" Canada's federal prison system, Rob Sampson, has done this kind of thing before. Here's how Peter Kormos described Sampson's first attempt, "Project Turnaround", a boot-camp for young offenders near Barrie launched in 2000, after a number of inmates escaped. From the Ontario Hansard for Novemeber 29th, 2000:

What about Camp Turnaround? What do you call it, my friends? Camp Run-Amok? Camp Getaway. Is that the same one I’m thinking of, Minister of Correctional Services, the young offender get-tough facility where your staff leave the door unlocked, leave the van parked, keys in the van, half a tank of gas and probably a few bucks in loonies and toonies in the ashtray so the kids have something to spend when they’re out on the lam? My goodness, that’s tough security. Leave the keys in the van and leave the door unlocked so it doesn’t require any ingenuity to get out of your get-tough facilities. You don’t need a board of parole to supervise the elimination of statutory remission. You’ve made release from jail automatic. You leave the door unlocked, you leave the keys in the van, half a tank of gas and enough spare change in the ashtray to get them through a McDonald’s checkout drive-by. Please. It is incredible that this government, this minister can purport to have any handle at all on his Ministry of Correctional Services, never mind the fact that Camp Getaway, Camp Run-Amok, Camp Turnaround—they didn’t turn around, Minister. They kept driving. They just kept driving, saying, "Thank you very much, Mike Harris and government of Ontario, for leaving the door unlocked, the keys in the van, half a tank of gas and enough loonies and toonies in the ashtray to get us through a McDonald’s drive-by checkout."

Hold onto your hats. This guy Sampson has done more to make the term "revolving door prison system" a reality than a whole roomful of bleeding-heart Liberals!

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Rich Little Will Play It Safe

After years out of the limelight, Canadian comedian Rich Little will host the White House Correspondents Association Dinner tonight. He promises not to be rude or insult the President, which has attracted some criticism from the Daily Kos. Ah what the hell. Bite me Markos Moulitsas Zuniga, and its nice to see you back, Rich. People don't have to be "cutting edge" all the time.

Prominent Tory Defends Harper's Psychic

From the Maclean's 50 comments on this story, John Reynolds speaks:

Michelle is a wonderful person and doesn't deserve the treatment she is receiving. I wonder what all our wonderful TV personalities would look like if somebody wasn't combing their hair and applying the makeup.

When Michelle travels with the PM her expenses are paid by the party...

Yes, her expenses are picked up by the party but her salary is picked up by the Canadian tax-payer, and this is the part that many people find offensive. It is also a bit bizarre that a leader who prides himself on his "ordinary guy-ness" would need someone to powder his nose and apply lip-gloss for him so that he looks like someone who doesn't wear make-up.

Finally, the "treatment" people like myself are dishing out is aimed at Mr. Harper, not Ms. Muntean. But, frankly, if she was any good as a psychic she would have seen all this coming, and advised Harper accordingly.

Jaffer Takes A Stand; Fatah Jumps The Shark

Finally someone from the federal Tories (Alberta MP Rahim Jaffer, himself a Muslim) has spoken up re the latest Quebec Hijab incident, wherein a girls' Tae Kwon Do team was banned from participating for wearing the offending garments. Jaffir says:

"There seems to be a little bit of over-sensitivity against the hijab," Jaffer said. "We've seen this more and more over the last little while. And it's unfortunate that that sort of attitude is developing – especially when this is the week that we're celebrating the anniversary of the Charter."

In response, Tarek Fatah goes apeshit:

Rahim Jaffer should have read the website of the Mosque that had sent these young girls to the TaeKwonDoo competition.

The Montreal mosque that hosts these young pre-teen TaeKwonDoo girls, says on its webiste that taking off the Hijab is to invite rape and risk becoming unwed mothers!


Is this what Rahim Jaffer, the Globe & Mail, the National Post and all bleeding heart liberals are supporting? Why didn't even one media outlet or MP from any party protest the garbage being dished out by these apologists of the Hezbollah in Canada?


What sort of sick minds would tell a 10-year old girl that she could be raped if she took off her hijab. This is the garbage that is being forced on to young girls, as young as 5 years of age. Is this a matter of 'choice' ? In my opinion, it is hate and bigotry being forced on young minds.

Where are Canada's feminists and women's groups? Why are they all silent as Canadian women who do not cover their heads are referred to as 'unpaid prostitutes'?

The symbolism of the hijab is disturbing to alot of people, myself included. But is Mr. Fatah then suggesting that the tournament organizers, who had the unfortunate girls banned from competing, were attempting to act in their best interests? Acting to "free" them from oppression? That seems very unlikely and in fact faintly ridiculous. And just as we do not find physical assault to be acceptable even where it "knocks some sense" into the person under assault, we should not find what happened in Quebec acceptable, no matter what we think of the hijab's cultural implications. Two wrongs, Mr. Fatah, do not make a right.

Friday, April 20, 2007

ExxonMobile Front Group Backs Baird On Climate Change

Not surprisingly, the Fraser Institute adds its voice to the doomsayers with this piece of pseudo-analysis today. Not surprisingly, it turns out that the Fraser Institute has received thousands ($120,000) from ExxonMobile over the years to fund its climate change "research".

Whither The Softwood Lumber Deal?

So far talk of the deal's possible demise has come mostly from U.S. politicians. However, now the Coalition for Fair Lumber Imports, a lobby group that has been the main driving force behind this issue on the American side, has spoken out. And what they are saying is not good:

Coalition Chairman Steve Swanson stated, “The SLA is a compromise, and we would have much preferred fully open and competitive Canadian timber markets as the solution to the unfair trade problem. But the SLA can and should be an enduring solution if its requirements are observed. The Canadian government presently is not applying export measures as required by the agreement, and provinces are providing forbidden subsidies. It is imperative that these issues be resolved quickly, and we support ongoing efforts to resolve them.”

"Resolving these issues" apparently means sending them to London Court of International Arbitration, whose decision will be based on the wording of the agreement. And one problem is that, as part of the original deal, our guys handed over $500,000,000 to the Coalition, which will now pay for their legal expenses! We're financing their case, in other words.

Talk about being played for suckers!

Where Those Tory Kyoto Numbers Came From

Wizard's End

Anyone who reads this blog, if anyone does, has probably figured out that my intentions are often "humorous", or perhaps, to risk pretense, "satirical". I've spent my life bandying one liners and insults with my brother and father (indeed my wife says when she visits my family that "its like attending a smart-ass convention"), and stuffing my head full of punchlines from the major comic-strip writers like Charles M. Shulz and Johnny Hart, and later Jim Unger, Gary Larson and Scott Adams.

Well, unfortunately, one of my long-time favorites, Brant Parker, who co-created The Wizard of Id in 1964 along with Johnny Hart, has passed away just a few days after Mr. Hart himself. Apparently, Mr. Parker has not worked on the strip for several years, and had been sick for a long time, so there is no causal connection between the two deaths. It was the result of a stroke Mr. Parker suffered last year, as well as complications from Alzheimer's: a "broken heart" was not involved. Nevertheless its kind of fitting that these two should go so close to one another, because in many ways they are the last of that crop of cartoonists who came of age in the 1960s and gave us the comic strip as we have it today. How humor in this medium has changed over the years would be the subject of a good post, but its six in the morning and I'm still a couple of coffees short. Lets just say that the times were gentler back then. That's not a criticism; our harsher age requires a sharper brand of humor, for instance this guy, who is hit and miss but can be appallingly funny.
So Goodbye Mr. Paker. You made the world laugh every day for over thirty years. I can think of no higher calling.

Meanwhile, did you hear the one about the PM's psychic? "She carries [Harper's] bags, she opens the door. She is very nice." She also powders the PM's nose when he gets all sweaty, which is often. She's also predicted the date of the great Conservative Majority: the day after the sun goes supernova.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Getting May Into The Leadership Debate

Jeff has already mentioned one interesting consequence of the Liberal/Green alliance.

And I have argued in several places that the best thing Dion could do for the Green Party would be to support Elizabeth May's attempts to get into the leadership debates. Well, this morning the "blogging editor" of Halifax Live has suggested a "sure-fire" means of achieving this result. Dion could "entice" one of his retiring members to join the Greens!

Honestly, I don't know how practical something like this would be, but it is vastly encouraging to see Greens and Libs trying to think their way into a genuinely new kind of politics (whereas the NDP seems to have become the party of the old days and the old ways).

Flaherty Spokesman: Liberals FREEPED My Pole!

...or poll. Whatever. From the G&M:

Ottawa -- Federal Finance Minister Jim Flaherty received some unwelcome budget feedback recently when an online poll he commissioned recorded overwhelming opposition to his 2007 fiscal plan.


"The poll was hijacked by Garth Turner and his Liberal supporters," Dan Miles, director of communications for Mr. Flaherty, said.

Good job, Garth and co., but if you Turneristas want a real challenge, check out the Angus Reid on-line Forums, which I have written about here, here , and here. Sign up, then sign up again using a different name, and then again.

Indulge your fantasies: be black, switch genders, or adopt the persona of a Western Separatist--its all possible on the AR forums, and you can do it all from a single IP address!

Then start taking surveys: which party would you vote for, do you like cheese, have you ever suffered from skin tags? The fun and games never end, and you can help one of Canada's major polling organizations forecast a Green Party majority!

Beijing Day Trashes Tradition

Stockwell Day's weekly column in the Western Penticton News continues to shock and appall.

This week, Stockwell's back from Kandahar and already embroiled in scandal. Swiftly discarding his "regular guy" persona, Stockwell has admitted to drinking green tea in a coffee shop. In one foul swoop, our Minister of Public Safety has betrayed the legacy of Tim Horton, undermined the government's get tough (or at least "get mouthy") policy on China, and flaunted his shame by swilling this Commie Juice on sacred Canadian ground--inside the coffee shop! For gawdsakes, Stockwell, get a room!

Next thing you know, convicted Frenchie Stephane Dion will be teaching Shangai Stock how to eat hot-dogs with a knife and fork! If this gets out, might it be the very end of the Conservative Party of Canada?

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Global Warming Solved!

Surprised this theory hasn't turned up at one of the Blogging Tory websites.

H/T to Desmogblog and the DK report

Deeply Shitty News

From CTV:

A potential candidate for the federal Liberal party in Niagara Falls, Ont. has been arrested on fraud charges -- leaving the party scrambling for a replacement.

James Curran, 42, who serves as the president of the Niagara Falls Federal Liberal Riding Association, was supposed to be named as the party's candidate today at a nomination meeting.

As someone who has always enjoyed Mr. Curran's insights at The "What Do I Know Grit", which is gone gone gone at the moment, I hope this works out all right for him. Unfortunately, unless the charges (cheque kiting) are proven false post haste, his political career is probably over.

NDP Continues Moral Shrinkage

Once a symbol of intellectual diversity and cutting edge thought, now huddled jealously over a rapidly dissipating slice of the electorate, Canada's New Democratic Party has indicated it will oppose attempts to include Green Party Elizabeth May in any Federal election debates. Though noted blogger and former NDP candidate James Laxer has entreated the party to "think of this on a higher level", such reasoning seems to be beyond the current NDP brain trust. Instead they intend to run on their fruits of their informal pact with Stephen Harper's Tories-- their ability to horse-trade concessions from him, like swapping decent clean air legislation for free beer at CAW meetings.

Good luck, fellas, say hello to the Rhinos up in political party heaven!

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Who Are Ray Heard's Fellow Conspirators?

After this flakey outburst, I am inclined to think they reside within the confines of his fevered imaginings. Anyone willing to own up to being one of the "many other Liberals who are already involved in the necessary, if otherwise covert, process of dumping Dion as soon as he loses the next election"?

(You can use a fake name if you mention some kind of identifying scar. Otherwise your comment may be erased. Use your imagination re. the scar.)

Tory Lead Shrinks To Three Points

From CTV:

OTTAWA -- A new poll suggests the gap between the Conservatives and Liberals has narrowed to three percentage points, another signal that a spring federal election may be on hold afterall.

The survey by Decima Research, provided exclusively to The Canadian Press, put Tory support at 34 per cent nationally.


The Liberals polled 31 per cent nationally, while the NDP got 15 per cent, the Green party 11, and the Bloc Quebecois, seven.

Two things. One, I will try and find the other breakdowns, but here are the Quebec numbers:

The situation is especially intriguing in Quebec, where the Bloc hit a new low of 29 per cent, and the upstart Greens tracked 13 per cent.

The Liberals led the Tories 23-20 in the province, while the NDP trailed with 10 per cent support.

And these seem bizarre, quite at odds with the SES poll results published today that suggest any decline in BQ support would likely move move towards the Tories and NDP.

Secondly, the poll was taken between Thursday the 12th and Sunday the 15th of April--that is, mostly after the announcement of the Green/Liberal alliance in Nova. So while you can't attribute any Liberal upward momentum to the deal, it certainly doesn't seem to have done them any harm either. Ted, Antonio, it's not "kissy my assy" time yet, but its getting close.

Torys Serve Up Vaporware

Stephen Harper was supposed to announce his plan for regulating GWG emissions in the last week of March. Now, three weeks later, a "secret plan" lands up with every newspaper in the country promising wonderful things: participation in Kyoto's CDM, declines in emissions by 2012.

But of course the Tories won't take ownership of the plan:

Eric Richer, a spokesman for Environment Minister John Baird, said the plan "sounded like action and we promised action."

But Richer said he had not seen the document and could not comment on it.

Its apparently just supposed to float around out there as an expression of the Torys' wonderful intentions.

The Nerds have a word for this kind of thing--Vaporware:

Vaporware is software or hardware product which is announced by a developer well in advance of release, but which then fails to emerge, either with or without a protracted development cycle.

Because it looks very much like C-30 (the Clean Air Act) will die without coming to a vote, and it would not surprise me if the "release date" on these vaunted regulations doesn't get pushed back and pushed back and pushed even further back...

Because the Tories, despite their Winter offensive on the Environment, know that their previous announcements were just appetizers before the main course, which centers around C-30 and these emissions regulations. And it is the one issue that they are afraid to fall over, and yet their political pre-commitments to the oil-patch and other interest groups mean it is an issue that they can't afford to act meaningfully upon. So I suspect they will try and sneak away in the night, as it were--choose discretion as the better part of valor.

The good news is that, despite what you might have read, Dion's environmentalism is still a powerful political cudgel to beat the Tories with. The bad news is that, as a result, we will most likely get another summer of inaction.

Claims He Wants "Action"

Conservative Pleads Guilty

Remember this guy from the 2006 election?

SURREY, B.C. (CP) - Former federal Conservative candidate Derek Zeisman has admitted to trying to smuggle more than 100 bottles of alcohol over the Canadian border.

Zeisman pleaded guilty to one count of smuggling in a Surrey court today, while five other charges have been dropped against him.

The original story broke during the midst of the 2006 campaign, and I always hoped it would cancel out the whole Adscam thing. It didn't, but Mr. Zeisman might be at least partly responsible for the fact that we don't have a Conservative majority today. Thank you, Mr. Zeisman

Monday, April 16, 2007

Proportional Representation = No More Revolutions

The Freedom Party of Ontario (hard-core Libertarians who usually rake in a good 0.2% of the Ontario vote) has come out against proportional representation, a method of selecting a government that Ontarians will, come this October, be asked to chose or reject in favor of the current "first past the post" system.

What doesn't the FPO like about PR?

"When we replace majority government with minority or coalition government...we move from a system that accommodates ethical decision-making, to a system based on the rejection of ethics and the substitution of whims and numbers...we move from a government guided by reason, to one guided by emotion; one guided not by what's right, but simply what you want.

"[The committee] is not truly dealing with the issue of democracy. It is dealing with the issue of right versus might; with the issue of ethical rule versus majority rule; with the issue of individual freedom versus the tyranny of majorities.

This is a bit unclear, but it sounds like the FPO doesn't like the fact that minority governments, the most likely outcome of voting system that employs proportional representation, require compromise. Under the current system you can get 75% of the seats with 45% of the vote (roughly Dalton McGuinty's seat count and vote total), and this allows the winning party to govern based solely on its own principles of right and wrong.

Proportional representation yields a government that is not ideological enough for the FPO, in other words.

But of course that is exactly the point. If I think Conservative ethics are cock-eyed, then it makes sense for me to want to lay the kind of constraints upon a Conservative governments that PR provides. And vice versa.

Look at it this way: if Ontario had used proportional representation in the 1990s, both Bob Rae and Mike Harris could have been stopped, or at least the damage they caused could have been mitigated.

Now, if you assume (as you safely can) that the days of the Ontario Big Blue Machine are over, then supporting PR seems logical for an Ontario Conservative. If you assume that the provincial Tories will always have enough support to, potentially, form a provincial government, then supporting PR seems logical for an Ontario Liberal. If you assume that the NDP will never otherwise get a sniff of power until the sun goes supernova, supporting PR makes sense for a Dipper. And if you assume that the Greens will otherwise never win a seat in the provincial legislature, it makes sense for Green Party supporters as well.

So, unless you like ideologically extreme politics, what is the problem?

More Hijab Madness From Quebec

Yesterday evening I wrote that, in this particular instance, I had a certain amount of sympathy for the Tae Kwan Do tournament organizers who banned a team of hijab wearing girls for "safety reasons". However, as KNB pointed out, the team was wearing "sports hajibs" (pictured left), and in any case helmets cover the garment so there is no risk of it coming loose, or being used to choke the competitor. Furthermore, it takes the tournament referee about three sentences to undermine his own stated rationale:

International referee Stephane Menard said on Sunday that the decision was made for safety reasons, and that it came out of a referees' meeting in Longueuil earlier in the day.

Menard told the Canadian Press that the hijab isn't included under the equipment allowed under World Tae Kwon Do Federation rules.

"We applied the rules to the letter," he said.

Well, which is it? Was the team banned because of safety considerations, or because the organizers scoured the rule-book until they found a reason not to include them?

Yo Quebec: "reasonable accommodation" does not mean immigrants should have to accommodate themselves to being hassled because they're Muslim.
PS. The girl in the photo at the top of the post is, I think, wearing a sports hijab under her helmet. In any case, here is a picture sans helmet. Not sure it does much for me aesthetically, but...

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Well, This Time I See The Point


MONTREAL — A Tae Kwon Do team of mainly Muslim girls says it was kicked out of tournament south of Montreal today because its members refused to remove their hijabs.

Tournament organizers told team officials that the girls can’t compete because the Muslim head scarves are a safety risk.

As someone who once took a Karate lesson, it seems to me that a hijab could could easily fall down over the face and result in somebody's losing an eye. Karate garb takes the form that it does for a reason.

Interesting too in that its difficult to argue that Western Culture is being intolerant here. After all, the gals are being asked to observe the traditions of a Chinese fighting form.

So Jack Layton, Don't You WANT To Save the Planet?

I don't often write about the NDP; I occasionally vote for them out of pity, and anyway criticizing the Dippers is too much like being a heckler at the special Olympics. But you've really got to wonder at how they've positioned themselves with respect to the Lib/Green Party non-compete agreement. Apparently, Layton wouldn't even return Elizabeth May's phone-calls when it came to talk of similar co-operation between the Greens and NDP. And yet, as the Earth Mother herself says:

"He talks to Stephen Harper all the time. Surely, our shared values are much closer between the NDP and the Greens."

Both Layton and the federal NDP rank and file think that they can coast on vaguely greenish promises they once made years ago in a white paper nobody read when there was no hope of them becoming the governing party anyway.

Well they can't. Anyone who spent time in B.C. during the 1990s knows how little difference distinguishes the NDP from more Conservative governments when they actually get in power. Remember B.C. Premier Glen Clark calling environmentalists, who helped maintain the NDP in power for ten years, "enemies of B.C."? He was throwing red meat to the other part of his constituency; the lumber workers manning chainsaws during the War of the Woods.

No, in the Green Party we have a new political player on the scene that matches the NDP policy for policy on the environmental front without having its debilitating connections to Big Labor. So flogging the old dead horses won't do the trick. But from his response to the May's attempts at outreach, this seems to be all Jack Layton has to offer.

Canadian Conservatives, Pakistani Terror

Here's a picture of Stockwell Day, Canada's Minister of Public Safety Minister, meeting with members of the MQM (Muttahida Qaumi Movement), a Pakistani political party whose Canadian chapter has endorsed the CPoC in both 2004 and 2006. And here's a sample of the kind of fund-raising policies that have landed the MQM a spot on The MIPT Terrorism Knowledge Base (TKB) list of international terror organizations. From Chowk, a website chronicling life in Pakistan:

"Salim_Chauhan, MQM wins at-least half it's seats through coercion, just as it carries out shutter-down strikes through coercion.

MQM is just a goonda-badmash-extortionist thugs group. They go around house to house in the North Karachi, determine each household income, and impose a monthly jagga [illegal] tax. That is what pays for the Pir Saheb's upkeep in London and all those day long telephone call speeches ... hahaha ... what a joke. "

Hopefully, Stock wasn't talking taxes with these people!

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Harper Consorts With Party Connected To Pakistani Terrorists

Here's a photo of Stephen Harper with representatives of MQM Canada (from their website). And who is the MQM?

...a Pakistani political party that human rights groups and even Canadian officials say has a violent past.

"The MQM has a long and well-deserved reputation for violence, extortion and other criminal acts such as murder," said Tom Quiggin, a former RCMP terrorism expert now working at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore.

The MQM Canada backed Stephen Harper's Tories in both 2004 and 2006, and the front-page of their website promotes the MQM/Tory connection in both pictures and text. As they say, hmmm! Someone's got some explaining to do.

Just a quickie update: The wiki article on the MQM says that they have partially withdrawn from the terror business in the past decade or so, but:

... it is still involved in 'jagga tax' extortion in areas of its influence in Karachi and other urban parts of the province of Sindh

Note too: anyone who reaches this story from ProgBlogs will see the header as "Harper Consorts with Pakistani Terrorists", which is factually incorrect. I wrote it, published, and rewrote the title, but the aggregator caught me between drafts. Whoopsie!

No Majority

While the blogosphere rends its hair at any number "inside baseball" type issues, the Canadian populace has jobs and girlfriends and, apparently, better things to do. However, when the phone rings and the pollsters ask to sample their opinions, the Canadian populace will take time out of their busy schedule to say: no majority for you, Tory Boy:

Prime Minister Stephen Harper's Conservatives, bolstered by a surge in support in Quebec, have edged upward in popular opinion, but they remain shy of the magic numbers they need to form a majority government, a new poll shows.

The Tories are now at 38 per cent nationally, six points ahead of the second-place Liberals, who garnered 32 per cent support, says the poll, conducted by Ipsos Reid for CanWest News Service and Global Television.

While you might say that there's good news for Harper in Quebec--the Tories are up ten on the Libs after throwing billions in free candy at the province--for the most part the trend line in Ipsos polls has been gradually downward and away from majority territory. Their post budget bounce is definitely on the fade.

And there's not particularly good news for the Green Party, which has settled back into the below ten per cent region (eight, to be precise). This explains as much as anything the rationale for the Dion-May non-compete agreement, at least from the Green perspective: give your leader a better shot at her seat and, hopefully, a place in the debates rather than clock in at ten per cent in riding after riding and come up with doodly.

But its all good news for us, since it means political bloggers can get out and look at the Sun this Spring, maybe color up those pale, flabby white hides, instead of huddling furtively over our PCs and over interpreting every twitch of the body politic.

But election in PEI! This could change EVERYTHING!!! I must stay up until midnight for the results, and will post my analysis by three am!!!

Friday, April 13, 2007

A Marriage Made In Nova

I wasn't going to write about this, but it has stirred up far more anguish among progressives than I would have imagined, so what the hell? Since I'm in a hurry I'm stealing my comment back from Ted.

I don't understand the gnashing of teeth over the deal between the Liberals and Green Party, as it can work to the benefit in both. For the Greens, May gets a realistic shot at knocking off MacKay. For the Libs, they will be become the second choice of a presumably substantial portion of Green Party voters. In ridings where the Greens have no hope (probably most of them), this may be worth a percentage point or three, and that might translate into a fistful of closely contested seats. Take a look at SES pollster Nik Nanos here for the skinny on how this works out. (Ignore the hacks writing before and after him)

The only downside for Dion, other than the media panic at the thought he might actually represent a new and different kind of politics, is if May gets into the debates and make an impression. But I hope that's a risk he's willing to take; I hope some other part of this quid pro quo means supporting her inclusion.

Torontonians Are Soulless, One-Eyed Corporate Zombies says DOA's Joey Shithead in the new documentary "Lets All Hate Toronto".

But its not true, Mr. Shithead, some of us have two eyes.

And you know what, Joey? You wanna know who ripped off your infamous "six fuks jacket" from The Smiling Buddha way back in the early 1980s? Well, keep wondering, asshole, but I can tell you it was put to good use.

(PS. What other tunes did you guys play other than that lousy cover of "Taking Care of Business"? I totally, totally can't remember.)

(PPS. Remember, if Satan's Baldy likes you, you probably suck)

A New Civility Code For Bloggers?

Two Words: Blo...Me...

It's like people today never heard of a flame-war! Whadda buncha WIMPS!

The Scientific Consensus: Tastes Like Chicken

...dinosaurs, that is. CTV is reporting the discovering of collagen (a protein chemical substance that is the main support of skin, tendon, bone, cartilage and connective tissue) from a female T-Rex specimen found in Montana. While not DNA, this discovery has allowed scientists to obtain genetic information from the specimen and relate it to living species. Their conclusion:

"We have a protein sequence that we can compare to the protein sequence of other organisms that have had their genome. It looks like chicken may be its closest relative," [John Asara, a Harvard Medical School] told

Now, what's interesting about this discovery beyond its intrinsic significance to paleontological studies, is how it can illuminate our current debate about global warming. For the bird dinosaur-connection, which this discovery supports, is in fact a matter of scientific consensus, the very concept of which has has come under attack by global warming deniers like Michael Crichton. For example, Crichton has argued that:

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 [...]Consensus is the business of politics.

However, that's clearly false in this case. From the wiki article:

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.

Now, consensus means that:

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.

However, a consensus does not imply unanimity. For example, meet Alan Feduccia. We might call him a dinosaur-bird connection denier, believing in:

...of a basal archosaurian origin for Aves, that is a common descent of birds and theropods as opposed to a direct descent from advanced theropods, the currently popular theory.

Now the important points to note are:

1) Feduccia is a real scientist. No matter what his views on bird origins, he has done solid work in many other areas. He is kind of analogous to Richard Lindzen in the global warming debate.

2) He is one of a dwindling band. Most of his fellow travellers, who argued, for example, that Longisquama might have been the avian ancestor, seem to have jumped ship and embraced some version of the consensus. Larry Martin, for example, seems to have recently seen the light in this regard (although his position is nuanced and I may be mistaken).

3) He has become marginalized. If you were to work back through the archives of the Dinosaur Mailing List, and follow the popular press as they covered the "bird-dinosaur connection" controversy over lets say the past fifteen years, you would see that, while newspapers once gave Feduccia et al equal space in the debate, he is now represented, if at all, by a few lines towards the end of the article. In fact, the CTV piece that triggered this post mentions him not at all. This process has been gradual, as the evidence for the connection has accumulated. However, a tipping point probably came in the late 1990s when the first of the unambiguously feathered dinosaurs was pulled from the Yixian Formation in China.

This should all remind you of something: specifically, the course of the Global Warming debate. Because, I would argue that the history of the Global warming debate is pretty typical of the history of scientific debates in general. A new theory is proposed (the bird-dinosaur connection, anthropogenic global warming), and scientists take up sides. Sometimes the issue takes a long time to settle, and sometimes it never does, but often evidence dictates that one of the factions in it "win" and the others "lose". This "losing" does not take the form of being logically refuted (as idealistic, Popperian visions of Science would have it), and the "losers" do not necessarily stop being scientists after the consensus has gone against them. But, typically, when the dissenters finally die off they leave fewer and fewer intellectual descendants. This is what has occured in the bird-dinosaur connection debate, but because, lets face it, the interests of vast oil companies were not involved, it happened mostly beyond the gaze of the public. In the case of Global Warming, Exxon (for example) is essentially propping up the losing side to protect its market share, and so impeding the natural course of Science.

Don't Feed The Dinosaur!