Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Did A Boil On the Ass Drive Marx To Marxism?

Or perhaps one on the genitals?

LONDON (Reuters) - Karl Marx, who complained of excruciating boils, actually suffered from a chronic skin disease with known psychological effects that may well have influenced his writings, a British expert said on Tuesday.


The bourgeoisie will remember my carbuncles until their dying day," Marx told Friedrich Engels in a letter from 1867.

Funny are the twists and turns of history. If they'd had acne cream back in the 19th century, Karl might have been able to laugh and dance and sing like the rest of us, and might have collected butterflies instead of agitating for world-wide revolution.

Similarly with Hitler. If he hadn't cut his original mustache to cram his face into the gas-masks they used during WWI, Germany would never have fallen under his evil spell. He would have looked too dorky.

Advice To Andrew Coyne: Sack Steyn, Bring Wells Home

Congratulations to Andrew Coyne for abandoning his position at the Natty Post for the job of National Editor, Maclean’s magazine. You're getting out just in time, Andrew. I hear that, with Conrad bound for the Pokey, the Post is due to go tits up any day now.

Hopefully, you will bring a bit of moderation to Old Mac. Under Whyte's regime it has gone entirely downhill, especially after they hired that freak Mark Steyn. You know how I knew that Conrad Black was fated to have prison sex in the showers with a big black inmate named Leroy? Steyn kept declaring him innocent!

And here's the deal: fire Steyn, give me an email address, and I will send you my portfolio. Find out what they were paying him for his bullshit, and I will do roughly the same thing for $100 per column less. Old Mac will be able to reclaim the political center, and I will write at least one column about boobies per month, which should help keep a healthy portion of Steyn's original readers.

Also, if you need someone to talk in front of cameras, I can do that. Since I'm a homegrown Canadian and a child of the public health system, and he an Englishman, I imagine my teeth are in far better shape. I can also fake an accent, if you think that would sound more authoritative: "Oi Govna!"

Something like that, right?

I'll need a suit though. I expect Macleans to pick up the tab on that.

As my second bit of advice, order Paul Wells back to Canada. He is wasted over there in France because, frankly, who cares about the French? His columns have suffered horribly, and his recent blog posts have been all but unreadable:

Day 1: Ate snails.

Day 2: Ate more snails.

Day 3: Saw a guy masturbating on the Paris underground. He seemed entirely without shame.

Day 4: Ate more snails...someone kill me now.

So get our boy Wells back, and send Mr. Steyn packing. Okay?

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Softwood Lumber Deal? What Softwood Lumber Deal?

A little more than a year later (the deal was inked on October 11, 2006), and the U.S. timber lobby, the Coalition for Fair Lumber Imports, is still bitching. In their latest release, they give a whole list of new Canadian "subsidies" allegedly in violation of the deal, and renew their support for "the decision taken by the United States to initiate arbitration proceedings".

Note that these arbitration proceedings are being financed from the half-billion-dollar war-chest Canada gave to the CFLI as part of the original "deal".

Mustaches of the Nineteenth Century

Though my own personal philosophy is "no jewellery, no facial hair", I nevertheless got a real kick out of Mustaches of the Nineteenth Century, a blog which explores, you guessed it, the "hotbed of facial hair experimentation" that was the 19th century. Includes pictures (mostly taken from the University of Kentucky Archives), glossary, and analysis. Especially pertinent to these sad modern times is the blog-owners discussion of Beardism. (Those damn kids today and their stupid goatees!)

Monday, October 29, 2007

The Lost Poll Of Ipsos Reid

Remember on Saturday I asked what had happened to the latest Ipsos Reid poll? Two weeks in a row, each Friday, a poll from Ipos had come out showing the Tories "surging" towards Majority territory...and then nothing! I wondered if the Natty Post hadn't stuffed the poll because it didn't fit their narrative of imminent Conservative Dominance.

Well, Ipsos has finally released the thing via their website and, guess what?

Ottawa, ON – In a week where the House of Commons voted on the Throne Speech and federal Finance Minister Jim Flaherty met with retailers and, ‘standing up for consumers’, announced that Canadians ‘deserve to pay a price [for goods] that reflects the strength of the Canadian Dollar’, it appears that the Conservatives are finding it hard to break through the elusive 40% majority-territory barrier.

Since last week, the Conservatives have dropped one point nationally and now sit at 39% support of Canadian decided voters, but they still maintain a twelve-point lead over the Liberals at 27% support. The NDP has rebounded three points and now sits at 17% support, while the Green Party holds steady at 8% support, nationally.

This one has appeared nowhere in the MSM as far as I know. More evidence, if anyone needed any; don't trust the Natty Post. Killing their own poll when it gave them an inconvenient truth!

Update: Canada.Com finally publishes something about an hour ago (about 6:00 pm). Pretty unusual that a major news organization should let a blog break news of their poll. I'm feeling like Matt Drudge here at the moment.

All Hail Rick And Bubba!

Rick and Bubba are radio personalities out of Birmingham, Alabama, and it looks like the gave a nod to my Sunday post on the new "bigfoot" photos. Thanks gentlemen, for sending me a ton of traffic, although the flow-through seems to have crashed Bigfoot Field Research Organization site!

If most of R&B's listeners are from Alabama, they're probably handy around forests and are leaning to the "mangy bear" theory. Below is a photo of the "Jacobs Creature" I found that shows the inferred skeletal structure of the animal in the picture. Sasquatch expert Jeff Meldrum says it pretty clearly indicates that the animal is NOT some kind of primate (and IS therefore most likely a bear with mange).

Something I always like to mention when writing on these topics is the Cryptomundo website, which where most of the information found here originally came from. If there's anything weird and unknown crawling around the Alabama backwoods, Loren and the gang at Cryptomundo have it covered.

Lovelock Is Bummed, The Telegraph Confused

That's the only hypothesis that makes sense of this story from the U.K. Telegraph. The headline and first par. read:

James Lovelock: Reducing emissions could speed global warming

A rapid cutback in greenhouse gas emissions could speed up global warming, the veteran environmental maverick James Lovelock will warn in a lecture today.

But that can't be right. And if you read down further:

Prof Lovelock, inventor of the Gaia theory that the planet behaves like a single organism, says this is because current global warming is offset by global dimming - the 2-3ºC of cooling cause by industrial pollution, known to scientists as aerosol particles, in the atmosphere.


Prof Lovelock will say in a lecture to the Royal Society: "Any economic downturn or planned cutback in fossil fuel use, which lessened aerosol density, would intensify the heating.

"If there were a 100 per cent cut in fossil fuel combustion it might get hotter not cooler.

Ahh but you see its not greenhouse gas emissions cuts per se that could speed up warming, its cuts in fossil fuel use. Burning fossil fuels involves releasing both green-house gases and aerosols. Lovelock's argument is that while such cuts might reduce the amount of (warming) green-house gases being released into the atmosphere, it might also reduce the amount of (cooling) aerosols more, with the net effect being greater warming. A similar argument is made here, and criticized here (the criticism being, in a nutshell, that most models already assume a decline in aerosol emissions over the course of the next century) .

Interesting to speculate as to whether the confusion is intentional or not. The U.K. Telegraph is notoriously Conservative and has given an outlet to any number of climate change deniers.

More generally, Lovelock thinks we're all freaking doomed, and yet wants a massive societal effort to stave off the admittedly inevitable. I don't think he realizes the shaky logic behind this position. Ethicist Stephen M. Gardiner has posted several papers on his website that deal with the logic of "doing nothing" in response to climate change. Under certain circumstances, the status quo, or even emitting more, becomes the rational response. The idea is to avoid those circumstances.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

The Shorter Dan Harder?

Although he denies "many" of the allegations, Sask. Party candidate candidate Dan Harder has stepped down at the request of the party's leader after news came to light that he made inappropriate comments pertaining to the "race, gender, marital status, weight and sexual orientation" of employees at the Regina branch of Big Brothers.

Well, at least the guy was thorough.

So I figure he maybe said something like: You lard-assed, manless hunky Dyke!

Of course there were three separate employees involved, so Dan could have mixed and matched:

You abo-spinsterial war-pig!

You Afro-Newfie Sodomite!

...and etc.

The Trees Are Wise; They Speak To Us

Heed His Wisdom!
As his surface stations project fades, alpha denier Anthony Watts cuts loose with a Tolkien moment:

Trees are directly in touch with the sun, more so than other living things in the biosphere. Our “valiant” dendroclimatologists, like Michael Mann, point to tree rings as a proxy for earths climate. That may be true, but I think in addition to “treemometers” they also act as helioproxies too.

In a nutshell (ahem); I think it’s highly likely that trees have evolved survival strategies that are based on detecting changes in the sun’s output. It stands to reason that over the billion plus of years that plant life has been on earth and the millions of solar cycles they’ve been through, that they can detect changes in their primary energy source, the sun, and adapt accordingly. Producing abundant acorns could well be such a survival strategy.

Wonder when we'll see the peer-reviewed paper.

In general, patrolling the denyosphere has been a lot less fun in recent weeks. After inadvertently confirming GISSTEMP temperature records, Anthony has returned to conversing with trees and recycling tired old denialist arguments; Steve has been schlepping incomprehensible graphs; and this thing seems to have died on the vine (as it were).

PS Interesting to note that Anthony and others in the denial business seem to have coalesced around the theory that we are in for a bout of cooling. Are the warmocaust collusionists so desperate that they have resorted to offering a testable hypothesis? (Not one, mind you, that anyone can confirm or deny for another couple of decades, during which time presumably we can all sit on our asses and emit)

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Portrait Of A Young Bigfoot?

...or something else?

The Bigfoot Field Research Organization is showing the above picture (as well as several others) at its website. The "Jacobs Creature" was photographed with an automatic trail camera outside of Jacobs, Pennsylvania. The pictures have attracted some love from the MSM as well as the attention of several wildlife experts. The top candidates are

Skinny, Mangy Bear

Unknown Primate (chimpanzee pictured below)

An Inconvenient Poll?

From this morning's Gazette, at the end of their story on veiled voters:

The new proposals come as another opinion poll reveals a tight race between the Bloc and Tories for public support in Quebec. The Ipsos Reid survey released yesterday found the Bloc had 34 per cent support in the province vs. 26 for Tories among 250 Quebecers who were surveyed in the national poll. Because of the small regional sample in the province, the margin of error was 6.6 percentage points.

...which compares to another Ipsos poll done at the end of last week:

In Quebec, the sovereigntist Bloc Quebecois led at 36 per cent, but the Conservatives outpaced the Liberals by 26 per cent to 19 as Quebecers preferred federalist option. The NDP registered 12 per cent support and the Green party six per cent.

These are clearly the Ipsos polls that CanWest/National Post have been publishing every Friday/Saturday for the last couple of weeks, so my question is: what happened to the rest of this week's national poll? I can find hide nor hair of it at the Natty Post website or anywhere else. Has this one been stuffed because it did not support the notion of an emergent Tory Majority?

Friday, October 26, 2007

But What If She Votes By Mail?

Not many details on the new Tory anti-veiled-woman legislation, which

require[s] all voters — including veiled Muslim women — to reveal their faces before being allowed to cast ballots in federal elections.

but whether it is an honest attempt to "fix" Canada's electoral system or an excuse to hassle Muslims will depend on two things:

1) Does it require people voting by mail to visually confirm their identity? If not, the whole purpose of the legislation is defeated: how will we know that they aren't hiding their faces when they drop their ballot in the post?

2) Will the requirement to unveil be accompanied by the requirement that all voters produce photo ID? If not, then the unveiling will not serve as a means to identify the voter, but merely as a form of ritual humiliation (of Muslim women).

And I don't see how any society is going to secure the patriotism of their minority groups by picking on their womenfolk. It seems counterproductive to me.

Update: the Gov. news release is here. So far it seems to say nothing about mail-in voting and providing photo ID when casting a ballot in person. In other words, the legislation will make people remove their veils even where this at does nothing to help establish their identity.

Nerd Alert

Oliver Curry is an evolutionary psychologist at the London School of Economics, so you can be sure he has never tasted of the flesh of Woman. Instead, he spends his time theorizing over the fate of the human race. For example, he argues, in a report on the "men's satellite TV channel" that 100,000 years from now, "the human race will...split into two separate species, an attractive, intelligent ruling elite and an underclass of dim-witted, ugly goblin-like creatures..." that look like this.

While it'll suck to be a goblin, the elites sound like they'll have a pretty good time: women will all have "glossy hair, smooth hairless skin, large eyes and pert breasts," and men will stand 7 feet tall and have larger penises. Sounds like the porn channels you get on cable.

Unfortunately, however, 100,000 years in the future is too late for either Mr. Curry or me.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

California Wildfires, Drought Down In Georgia

Clearly the effects of AGW are appearing more quickly than predicted, and in a more severe form than predicted, and this obvious fact will inspire political change commensurate with the shift in weather patterns, don't you think? Well, not so fast, argues philosopher Stephen M. Gardiner: abrupt climate change, as opposed to the gradualist version, may in fact make the forces of inertia greater than they already are.

In making his case, Gardiner outlines several scenarios in which abrupt climate change might inspire an "intergenerational arms race", wherein mitigating the phenomenon's immediate effects might involve increasing emissions (it takes energy to, for example, build sea-walls around your coastal towns), thus insuring that future generations will be faced with even more severe consequences of warming. In fact, Gardiner envisions scenarios in which such behavior is morally acceptable:

"Where the present harm from not emitting is conspicuous enough, we would be unrealistic, unreasonable, and maybe even irrational to expect present people to allow present harm and suffering to visit them or their kith and kin in order that they might avoid harm to future people. In these cases, we may with good reason speak of having so strong or so rationally compelling a reason to emit that, in spite of the harm these emissions will cause to (future) others, we are excused for our maleficence."

We seem then to have uncovered a way in which abrupt climate change may lead to a form of the [problem of intergenerational buck passing] that is actually worse in several respects than the one suggested by the Gradualist Paradigm. First, abrupt climate change might increase the magnitude of intergenerational buck passing, by increasing the presence of front-loaded goods. If a current generation can protect itself more effectively against an abrupt change through extra emissions that harm the future, then it has a reason to do so. Second, a severe abrupt change may make taking advantage of such goods not simply a matter of self- or generation-relative interest (which might be morally criticized), but morally justifiable in a very serious way. Hence, abrupt change may make buck passing even harder to overcome.

...which line of reasoning calls into question using the value of waving around "tipping points" as a means of motivating political action. Framing the narrative in terms of abrupt, catastrophic change may have the opposite of its intended effect.

And on the same day, Gwyn Prins & Steve Rayner argue in Nature for increased efforts at adaption based precisely on Gardiner's line of reasoning:

Many climate activists seem to assume that slowing greenhouse-gas emissions has logical and ethical priority over adapting to climate impacts. But the ethical issues cut both ways. Current emissions reductions will mainly benefit future generations, whereas the momentum already in the climate system drives the near-term. Faced with imminent warming, adaptation has a faster response time, a closer coupling with innovation and incentive structures, and thereby confers more protection more quickly to more people. It is not clear to us that the interests of millions of people in poorer countries who depend on marginal ecosystems are best served by an exclusive preoccupation with mitigation. Indeed, such a narrow focus is likely to be a fatal error. Mitigation and adaptation must go hand in hand.

Ezra Levant Disowned By The Sun

It appears that the Calgary Sun has had enough of Ezra Levant, because his latest (Monday, October 22nd) column has been pulled from the Canoe website. As Mr. Levant himself puts it:

Hi there. The Sun obviously approved the story -- they accepted it from me, edited it, laid it out on the page, wrote the headline, sent it to press, etc., etc.

I guess they just didn't like the heat they got from it -- which is really weird, because it was fairly innocuous, and the heat I've seen has been a few hard-left permanent-complainers.

Looks like political correctness has infected even the Sun -- who knew?

Political correctness, or perhaps some vague awareness of the norms of civilized discourse.

This was, by the way, the infamous column where Ezra blamed last week's fatal Calgary bus crash, and the subsequent media reaction to it, on Muslims. It appears from comments I have read on this blog and elsewhere, although I have not been able to confirm this from a source in the MSM, that the driver was distracted by "excessive cellphone use".

Nothing to do, in other words, with driving while Islamic.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

MacLeans Is Liberal As All Hell! (And Other Facebook Statistics)

Stephen Taylor has discovered a nifty tool that allows you to determine the political affiliations/educational level of Facebook users so you can better target your Facebook Flyers. Stephen has used to this tool to argue that the CBC is...wait for it...Liberal!!! (Hiss, Boo!).

Well, I still haven't figured out how to do a proper screen capture, so this won't be as fancy as Taylor's post, but here are a few other fun facts that I discovered with the same tool.

The tool allows you to sort Facebook users by "workplace" (which is how Stephen searched CBC staff), and one of these workplaces is the "Parliament of Canada". A few relevant sortings later and we find out that there are 80 people who class their own political views as "Conservative" working for the Parliament of Canada. Meanwhile, a quick count gives us 40 Moderates and 200 Liberals. No wonder Harper can't get legislation passed worth shit!

Of the 80 Conservatives, fewer than 20 graduated from college, and a small number (fewer than 20) are still in high-school. Looks like we've found the CPoC "brain trust".

In other findings:

Of the 2,020 employees of the Canadian Armed Forces on Facebook, 140 class themselves as Liberal, 160 as Moderate, and about 300 as Conservative. Breaking down these totals by gender, there are about 280 Conservative men vs. 40 Conservative Women, 140 Moderate men vs. less than 20 Moderate Women, and about 100 Liberal Men vs. 20 Liberal Women.

Of the 100 people who work for, less than 20 categorise themselves as either Liberal, Conservative, or Moderate. I guess that means the Toronto Sun isn't a Conservative Paper.

Of the 2,460 people who work for Rogers Communications (publishers of MacCleans), only about 60 call themselves Conservative, while 100 identify themselves as Moderate and a whopping 400 like the "Liberal" label. Don't anyone tell Kenneth Whyte.

Of the 360 Facebook users that work for the Government of Newfoundland, only barely 20 class themselves as Conservative, while 40 call themselves Moderate, and 40 self-identify as Liberal. See, that's what we like about Danny Williams. He calls himself a Tory, but the proof of the pudding is in the eating.

The Turkeys Strike Back!

Centuries after having been driven to near extinction by the hunt, Wild Turkeys have reappeared and taken over the Boston suburbs!

I for one welcome the return of our feathery overlords, and apparently I'm not the only one.
[Brookline police animal control officer Pierre Verrier] tells people not to feed them, not to be intimidated by them, and to keep their distance. Still, some people cannot help themselves. They need to be near the turkeys.

Because to know them is to love them (and they're damn fine eatin', too).

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

New Zealand Follows Canada's Lousy Example

The New Zealand Institute is an influential business think-tank located in Auckland (New Zealand). It has just released a report advising the New Zealand government on formulating a carbon emissions strategy. They suggest that NZ take a "fast follower" (nice languagizing, that) rather than leadership role with regards to the issue.

Unfortunately, they invoke Canada's example as a justification for this approach:

As Figure 5 shows, New Zealand is far from alone in being likely to miss its Kyoto commitments. European countries, Canada, Japan and others are all likely to miss their emissions reduction commitments, sometimes by significant amounts. In response, some countries like Canada have announced that they will not be bound by their Kyoto commitments because they do not want to incur the financial cost that is associated with their failure to achieve their target. Not fully complying with an international agreement is clearly not a trivial matter, but precedent suggests that New Zealand will be one of many countries seeking to lengthen the Kyoto period beyond 2012 without paying to purchase offsets.3

The report, which I have only skimmed, and this document from June, are chock-a-block with interesting policy/real politic discussions of AGW. It is not at all the standard denialist tripe.

However, it sucks that Canada should have become, under the Harper government, a shining beacon for those countries looking to back out of their commitments under Kyoto.

Ezra By The Balls

Over at The Western Standard Ezra Levant and his followers are blaming the death of Kathelynn Occena, who was involved last week in a fatal bus crash, on Muslims, believe it or not, and multiculturalism, and the notion of "reasonable accommodation".

Why? Because the bus-driver (pictured left) may have been Muslim, maybe was wearing a hijab, and possibly had her vision impaired by her head gear--whatever the proper characterization of that head-gear might be. But even if she's not Muslim and it isn't a hijab, that poor child died due to Muslims because uppity Muslims have demanded that we let them wear their ridiculous scarfs, and so this woman (non-Muslim though she might be) and her ridiculous scarf were allowed to slip through the cracks, as it were, and she was allowed to drive a school-bus.

Or such is the reasoning of Ezra et al.

So lets go through this one more time.

1) The scarf she is wearing does not look like a hijab (see post below for pictures) as these do not usually get tied in a knot under the neck. Instead it looks like an Eastern European Basbushka or платок.

2) The scarf is clearly not impeding her view in any real fashion, and is certainly not "like blinders", as Ezra would have it (and as a few brave souls at the Western Standard blog have probably risked expulsion by pointing out:
Your pictures prove that Ezra is off his nut again. You can clearly see that her eyes are not blocked at all. Leave it to the neo-nazis ... er neo-cons to make this into an exercise in bigotry.)

On the sides the garment is well back from the eyes, and above well back from the brows. This would impair her vision no more that a toque might.

So what is fogging up Ezra's specs? What could possibly motivate his utterly tasteless intervention in what is already a painful situation for everyone involved, including the families of the bus driver and victims? Well, I don't want to delve too much into personal psychology here, but remember, the print version of The Western Standard has just gone tits up, and no less a prominent personage as David Frum has blamed this failure on the thousands of dollars spent responding: an Alberta Human Rights Commission investigation of its decision to reprint the Danish Muhammad cartoons -- making Canada the only Western country in which the publication of the cartoons was effectively punished by an agency of the state.

So has Ezra, racked by the collapsed of his magazine, developed a hard-on against Muslims or anyone that even looks like one?

Monday, October 22, 2007

Ezra Levant Shrieks "Muslim! Muslim!"

Ezra demonstrates why the Western Standard couldn't find enough readers to make a good go of it. He writes of last weeks Calgary bus crash:

"Every detail was examined [by reporters] except one: The woman who was the school bus driver was wearing a Muslim-style head covering that blocked her peripheral vision. "

He concludes:

What matters is that a school bus driver was allowed to operate while wearing a hood.

Clearly, that is an unacceptable risk -- and something that should be banned by common sense.

Ten years ago, to say that head scarves on bus drivers should be prohibited would have been uncontroversial.

But to say so today is to be called Islamophobic -- even if the bus driver in question was not a Muslim.

So, the logic is: the bus driver was wearing head-gear that vaguely resembles a hijab, and if reporters didn't note this fact, its out of political correctness.

Well, there's a couple of other possibilities.

One is that the reporters involved spent five minutes with google. I did: the pretty gal up top is wearing a babushka, the lady below a hijab. Now, at one minute 35 or so of the youtube video below, the bus driver in question appears, and from the knot under the chin I'm betting heavy that she's wearing the former variety of headscarf.

The other explanation is that our hypothesized reporters viewed some version of the video in a less fevered state of race hate and paranoia than little Ezra, and noted that the headscarf, whatever type of headscarf it might be, seemed wrapped pretty close to the skull and did not really seem to be impeding the bus-driver's vision.
PS. Anyone know how to grab a frame from a youtube video and save as a .jpg.?

Afghanistan: Spot The Difference the party positions. According to the Ottawa Citizen:

Having Canadian troops stay in Afghanistan until 2011 in a non-combat role is a good balance between protecting our forces and protecting the Afghans we signed up to help in 2001.

It's also the general proposal made by Prime Minister Stephen Harper in this week's throne speech, subject to the recommendation of the panel he asked to look into the question, which is headed by the Liberal hawk John Manley. It might be difficult for the opposition to swallow, but it's the right thing.

We've committed to keep troops in the Kandahar war zone until 2009, and must live up to that promise. But by 2009, it will likely be time for Canadians to rotate out of the Kandahar hotspots. Canada's military is recovering from over a decade of neglect in the 1990s, and we might not be capable of sustaining 2,500 fighting men and women on the ground much longer.

For some, including the NDP and many Liberals, that won't be good enough -- they want Canadians out of Afghanistan right away...

Well, that's the NDP position, but since they will never assume power federally, know it, and therefore have the luxory of making irresponsible proposals, I propose to ignore them. The official consensus of Liberal Party is:

...the Liberal Party has been calling on the Harper government since February to make a clear and unequivocal commitment to end Canada’s combat role in Kandahar when the current commitment ends in February 2009. Without a plan for a new rotation of troops from one of our NATO allies, the successes gained by our troops could be put at risk.

...which sounds pretty close to the Conservative proposal, as it is interpreted by the Ottawa Sun. But here are a couple of problems.

For one thing, the proposal outlined by the Citizen is an interpretation of Conservative intentions based on some pretty slippery language. From the throne speech it is entirely unclear, for example, whether the Tory proposal would see Canadians moving from the Kandahar region (a point acknowledged obliquely in the Citizen article by the use of the phrase "likely be time"):

Our Government does not believe that Canada should simply abandon the people of Afghanistan after February 2009. Canada should build on its accomplishments and shift to accelerate the training of the Afghan army and police so that the Afghan government can defend its own sovereignty. This will not be completed by February 2009, but our Government believes this objective should be achievable by 2011, the end of the period covered by the Afghanistan Compact. Our Government has appointed an independent panel to advise Canadians on how best to proceed given these considerations.

Now, if what Harper et al mean by this "shift" is that Canadian troops stay in Kandahar but stop shooting back, as it were, this amounts to a truly ridiculous strategy of "cutting and running in place". Wheras what is obviously required (and what the Liberal position calls for) is that one of the NATO allies step up and send combat troops into Kandahar as Canada, the terms of its agreement to go into the South until 2009 fulfilled, rotates into another part of the country to do some other variety of work.

Hence the Liberal demand for "clarity" around the mission. One gets the feeling that Harper and Co. want to either back the nation into a continuation of the status quo, or have our guys hide behind the wire in Kandahar (which probably amounts to the status quo, eventually, because not firing back in this context is not an option). But the Canadian people, though split on the status of the mission today, overwhelmingly want our troops doing something other than rather pointlessly shooting up the desert in Kandahar after 2009. For this reason, when the issue comes before the HOC for the promised vote, the choices which the Tories are offering should be unambiguous. They should not be allowed to hide behind vague wording.

Because their wriggling around on this issue marks it as a Conservative weakness. The vote on the throne speech could have been made a vote on the nature and extent of the Afghan Mission extension, but was not simply because the Tories know they could not win an election supporting the status quo in Afghanistan.

(In this light it is interesting to note that, outside the mention in the throne speech transcript, there seems to be nothing re Afghanistan on the CPoC website, and certainly nothing under "key issues". The Tories, for all their chest thumping on other issues, seem to want Afghanistan swept under the rug)

Sunday, October 21, 2007

The Grinch Who Stole Family Day

Mr. Paul Dewar (Ottawa Centre, NDP) asks if the Harper Tories will let everyday Ontarians who work for the Federal government take off Dalton McGuinty's "Family Day" (as an aside, I read this term and stifle the urge to barf...why not "St. Ignatz Day" or something half decent like that?) to "spend family time together".

Pierre Poilievre (Parliamentary Secretary to the President of the Treasury Board, CPC) lashes back:

We in fact provide 11 holidays to our federal employees, whereas the province of Ontario only provides 10, so there is an additional day. I hope the member is not suggesting that we take one of those holidays away from our public servants, many of whom live in his own riding.

In other words, the only way the Tories can let hard working federal civil servants in Ontario take "Family Day" is if, for example, they cancel Xmas.

Man these guys are hardcore. But since I am pro-cancelling Xmas, my response is conflicted.

Big h/t to the Cowboys.

Controlling The Weather

Scientists have made a breakthrough in man's desire to control the forces of nature – unveiling plans to weaken hurricanes and steer them off course, to prevent tragedies such as Hurricane Katrina

Except that steer 'em in the wrong direction and you will face a mighty wind from the legal community:

But the hurricane modifiers are fighting more than the weather. Lawyers warn that diverting a hurricane from one city to save life and property could result in multi-billion dollar lawsuits from towns that bear the brunt instead. Hurricane Katrina caused about $41 billion in damage to New Orleans.

Although the two schemes under consideration involved dropping dark dust or bits of "tyre" (note: English newspaper, I love how they spell that. And "connexion" as well) into the Hurricane cloud tops and thus heating them up, one nifty variant on the idea would have "Satellites...heat the cloud tops by beaming microwaves from space."

So when these guys were done firing up the grid they could zap storms from their place in geosynchronous orbit.

John Paul Or Jimi?

WARSAW - A photo of a bonfire taken by a young Polish construction worker is creating a stir for the flames' resemblance to a silhouette of the country's beloved son, Pope John Paul II.

Except that to me it looks like Jimi Hendrix performing at the Monterey Pop festival in 1967. Note how the guitar neck extends up and to the figure's right. Clearly our apparition plays left-handed.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

The Center Has Moved, Says Coyne

...but the polls stubbornly refuse to budge.

I hate to keep making the point again and again, but on the other hand Coyne has been writing the same column for nearly two years now. In the world of abstracta where Andrew feels most at home, an abstraction called Conservatism battles for ground on a allegorical political landscape, and slowly bends a bovine beast called the Will of the Canadian people to its own ends.

Back on that part of Earth called Canada, the Tories still can't draw flies beyond the original 3.5 out of ten Canucks that voted for them last time around.

(I am of course ignoring this poll, done by the polling company nobody believes for the newspaper nobody reads.)

Limousine Liberals

I can't stand 'em. Here's an example why:

"NEW YORK (Reuters) - The Cape Cod Commission in Massachusetts Thursday denied Cape Wind's application to bury electric cables needed to connect its proposed 420-megawatt offshore wind farm in the Nantucket Sound to the state power grid. Cape Wind said in a release that it would challenge the Commission decision. The Cape Cod Commission is a local organization created by the state in 1990 to manage growth and protect Cape Cod's natural resources. Sen. Ted Kennedy and many residents who own coastal property from where they could see the wind turbines on a clear day oppose the project along with some environmental groups concerned about disrupting the patterns of migratory birds and the potential effect on local sea life."

Oh my Lord! Their immensely wealthy eyes might be stung from viewing the plebeian, industrial ugliness required to produce clean energy!

But wait! Here's another one closer to home:

GULF SHORE — Nova Scotia’s songbird wishes a proposed wind farm in Gulf Shore would just fly away.

Singer Anne Murray, who has a summer home in the area, is joining other residents in opposing the construction by Atlantic Wind Power Corp. of 20 to 27 100-metre-high wind turbines in the province’s northwest corner.

“I just think it’s too close. It’s in all our backyards,” said Murray, who grew up in nearby Springhill. “I think wind power is a good thing, and I am all for them when they’re in the right place. I don’t believe these ones are in the right place.”

Not in the right place. Not in your backyard, in other words. But wait! Didn't you write on David Suzuki's website that:

"It is incumbent upon us all to try harder when it comes to our environment. We must 'turn things around'. I will take up the challenge."

There's no "us" in "you", I guess.

Not the kind of behavior to make believers out of the cynical.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Right Guy, Wrong Album

One of Neil Young's discs is the obvious and only credible choice for top Canadian Album, ever, but I think in choosing Harvest Bob Mersereau picked the wrong one. For my money, #1 can be no other than the vast, soaring Live Rust (1978), with its one side of pretty folks tunes, and its three sides of feedback and other varieties of electric mayhem. Highlights include PowderFinger (written for Lynyrd Skynyrd just before the plane crash) and a fifteen minute version of Cortez the Killer where Neil tries out his pidgin-native-Indian accent towards the end.

Nothing Surprising In This Poll

From today's G&M

"OTTAWA — A strong majority of Afghans approve of the presence of NATO-led troops in their country, including from Canada, and want the foreign soldiers to remain to fight the Taliban and support reconstruction efforts."

I see no reason to dispute this result. We are, after all, fighting in an Afghan civil war, and I am not surprised that they, at least the ones on whose side we have chosen to serve, want us to stay until we've won that war for them.

Nevertheless, some find it "unexpected".

In an accompanying piece, "Surprising poll on an unexpected war", Gordon Smith says:

One thing Mr. Manley doubtlessly already knows is that no member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization is going to come to replace Canada. Most Europeans don't regard Afghanistan as their war. I was told that at a recent two-day meeting of senior European ambassadors, the subject of Afghanistan wasn't even mentioned. So forget turning over the replacement problem to NATO — that is not on.


When they understand these facts, will Canadians want us to "declare victory" and walk away? I don't think so. Instead, I believe that the highly informative Environics poll (I was an unpaid adviser), the Stein-Lang book (which clarifies both the history and the current situation) and Mr. Manley's review of options (perhaps later in the day than would have been desirable) are going to produce a serious discussion of what to do now.

So Canada has been cheated by our NATO allies, and as a result our armed forces are doomed to get ground down slowly, but Mr. Smith is fine with that. I would dearly like to play poker with Mr. Smith. He would presumably feel duty bound to keep going even after he found out I'd rigged the deck.

I doubt the nation as a whole, however, is ready to consent to the role of Sucker.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Jay Hill, Then And Now

From today's Prince George Citizen:

Prince George-Peace River MP Jay Hill says he's surprised and disappointed at Stephane Dion's decision to not bring down the minority Conservative government over the throne speech.

"It's not a very principled reaction I would suggest," Hill said from Ottawa

Jay Hill's weekly column, Sept. 27th:

The underlying myth in this debate about whether there will be an election this fall is that the Conservative Government must attract the support of at least one of the opposition parties to survive. They’re wrong. There is another option.

Conservatives set an historical precedent when we abstained from voting on the Liberal’s 2005 budget, allowing Paul Martin’s minority government to survive. At that time, our leader Stephen Harper said there were many aspects of that budget we fundamentally couldn’t vote to support. Yet, we respected the will of Canadians which strongly indicated they didn’t want an election.

Mr. Dion, as leader of the Official Opposition, could take the same, responsible course of action now. Canada’s economy is performing very well. Unemployment is at its lowest in 32 years. Taxes are down. Consumer spending remains robust and Canada is regaining its good reputation on the international stage thanks to the strong and decisive leadership of Prime Minister Harper.

You don't get a more pure form of contradiction than that.

Tom Harris Sticks His Nose Down Dirty Hole

One can disagree with Canadian uber-Denier Tom Harris, despise his astroturf group the NRSP and their rabid commitment to climate change Denial in the face of overwhelming evidence, yet still lament the fact that Mr. Harris has been forced to troll the Free Dominion bulletin board in order to scare up support for his agenda. Free-D is a snake-pit of racism and homophobia, and as a result has recently attracted both a CHRA complaint and a number of libel suits. Furthermore, in fighting the various libel charges, Free Dominion's owners have relied on both the support and research skills of Canada's Neo Nazi Community.

Has Tom stooped to recruiting Nazis in his efforts to challenge the scientific consensus and stop Federal government's initiatives on the AGW file? What about the High Park Group, which was instrumental in founding the NRSP and in fact employed Mr. Harris at one point? Do they want to see their boy, and their creation, consorting with White Nationalists? And what about High Park clients like Areva and the Canadian Gas Association? Do they want their names associated with Canada's right wing fringe?

The Way Forward

Now that Dion has done the sensible thing, lets look at how should the Liberal Party should respond to each of Harper's Five Themes (plus one or two) in the upcoming session of Parliament:

Arctic Sovereignty

As it happens, there is a convergence of compelling issues around Arctic sovereignty, largely due to climate change. The melting of the polar ice cap raises such issues as the navigation of Arctic waters, notably the fabled Northwest Passage, and the sustainable development of the treasure trove of oil and gas beneath it, to say nothing of sustaining a way of life for the First Nations.

If the Americans claim the Northwest Passage as open sea, and the Russians are dropping flags onto the floor of the Arctic Ocean, Canada needs to protect its territorial, environmental and commercial interests aggressively.

My opinion: let Stephen Harper go for it, and support him. Call it the "militarization of the North", if you like. I am for building as many ice-breakers, posting as many soldiers, and building as many shiny research facilities up there as the nation possibily can. The fact is, Afghanistan is a pathetic side-show detracting Canada from our #1 security interest, which is keeping foreigners off Canadian lands and resources in the Far North. We own about four thousand miles of coastline that just became valuable. We might end up fighting the Russkies, we might end up fighting the Yankees, over it.

This is our great existential threat over the next 30 years or so. The nation needs to be prepared for it (more in an upcoming post).


Let the GST cut go through, stupid policy though it is. You never fight an election over a tax cut.

Law & Order Platform

Mostly, it passes and the nutty stuff dies in the Senate.

But won't such obstructionism inflame the electorate? No, because while you may wonder about the sound of a tree falling in a forest when nobody is around, I bet that you've never wondered about the sound of a tree NOT falling in the forest! What kind of sound does THAT make? None! Exactly! NOBODY NOTICES WHEN NOTHING HAPPENS!!!!!!

So the Senate convenes a sub-committee to appoint a sub-comittie to choose a committee to study the legislation. And if Harper rattles his saber? Appoint a committee to draft a response!

It all dies silently down the road when Joe Canada is cooking steaks on the BBQ and doesn't give a shit.

(And, remember, Harper is secretly ready to let this stuff go. It's not like he really believes any of these "get tough" measures are going to work. He EXPECTS them to die in the Senate. That's the point. Then next year he can use the same issue again to inflame the base, as Boob Bait For Bubba, and we go through the same routine again. The SoCons get screwed repeatedly but are too dumb to know it)

Senate Reform

...dies in the Senate.

The Anti-Veiled-Muslim-Woman-Act

If it includes a blanket demand that ALL voters show their faces/ID at the voting station, and solves the problem of mail-in voting, it passes. If its just an effort to hassle traditional Muslim women, fight it. Canada is not Quebec, and blatent racism will not play.

Environmenal Initiatives

Repeat last year's performance. Take any Conservative initiatives, partner with the other Oppo parties to give them some real teeth, and then send it back to the Harperites with the message to stuff it up their ass or call an election. Harper STILL doesn't want to fall over this.


Harper's strategy at the moment is delay, which signifies weakness. If he does bring it back to the House, kill the current mission and fight an election over it.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Will The British Coal Industry Get A Portion Of Nobel Prize Money?

Tim Ball's latest anti-Global Warming screed takes a bizarre turn when he starts speculating as to how the IPCC's share of the Nobel Peace Prize prize-money will get distributed:

Where is the IPCC prize money going? As an intergovernmental body, one would expect that money must be distributed between governments, or IPCC personnel, or both. Will the taxpayers who fund the IPCC receive their share?

If the money is going to the participating governments, then which ones: all of them or only those who are signatories to the Kyoto Protocol? If all of them get it, that will likely upset several ENGOs if the US received their share. And if only ‘Kyoto signatories’ then taxpayers of large IPCC contributors that are not a signatory, such as the US, have every right to be upset, especially, as much of the money comes from the US through the Department of State. Many Americans are already upset about paying the lion’s share of UN funding.

If the money is going to some IPCC personnel, then which ones and who decides the distribution? Does anybody who has worked for IPCC at any level or at any time since its inception in 1988 receive some portion? The public thinks the IPCC is “thousands of UN climate scientists” and would probably be upset if they knew that a few bureaucrats had shared the money among themselves. Please note that the bureaucrats get paid for their IPCC work--but most “UN climate scientists”, including the expert reviewers don’t, and the public don’t know that.

Do scientists who have served on the IPCC in the past get a portion or is it only those involved in the 2007 report? What about those who quit because of disagreements with the procedures, politics and methodologies? Does a larger share go to the lead authors? Is the amount received proportional to the contribution? For example, if you submit a review and it was not used, do you get paid?

The choices of the Peace Prize Committee have nothing to do with peace despite their strained intellectual claims. They could not qualify for any science category. They have pushed climate science further into the political arena where it wallows as billions are wasted. They have created bizarre circumstances for identifying and rewarding recipients, which, in a twist of fate will expose the political basis of both Mr. Gore and the IPCC, both of which masquerade as being consensus and science-driven. One expert peer reviewer in the UK is asking his Member of Parliament to determine where the prize money has gone, saying he has not had his share. You can help speed the exposure by writing to your national politician asking for your country’s share.

As a patron of the Denier's Cafe, I often have the privilege of watching Tim Ball's missives as they are being put together. The expert peer reviewer Mr. Ball refers to is none other than Richard S. Courtney, Technical Editor for CoalTrans International, and once PR. Guy for British Coal. In fact, Ball's article was directly inspired by Mr. Courtney's letter, which was e-mailed several days ago to the climate skeptic list. Excerpts follow:

Dear Ms Goldsworthy:

The UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and Al Gore were jointly awarded the Nobel Peace Prize yesterday. I am your constituent (I live at 88 Longfield, Falmouth) and I share the Nobel Peace Prize with all others who have participated in production of the IPCC scientific reports.

I am writing to you, my Member of Parliament, to request that you determine how the Nobel Peace Prize money is to be or has been distributed.


If the money is going to some IPCC personnel then which ones and who decides the distribution?

The public thinks the IPCC is "thousands of UN climate scientists" and would probably be upset if they knew that a few beaurocrats had shared the money among themselves. Please note that the beaurocrats get paid for their IPCC work but most "UN climate scientists" (e.g. expert peer reviewers) don't.

In fact, Mr. Courtney DID work as an "expert peer reviewer" for the IPCC though, as Tim Lambert pointed out, so could anyone. As a matter of fact, it would be interesting to scroll through the entire Working Group I Fourth Assessment Report Review Comments to get an idea of Mr. Courtney's contributions. Many deniers who served in this capacity used the opportunity to flood the report with negative comments (often over 100 per denier), so as to give the impression of significant dissent from the consensus.

And it would be hilarious, though twisted, if some of the IPCC prize money went to keep Mr. Courtney's magazine, the journal of the international coal trading industry, stocked in paper-clips and ink.

Winners And Losers In An International Carbon Regulation Protocol

From the World Bank's Country Stakes in Climate Change Negotiations:

Country stakes in a global protocol on greenhouse gas emissions involve tradeoffs among positive orientation (hypothesized to include the availability of renewable energy sources, sequestration potential, potential impacts from sea-level rise, and weather damage) and negative orientation (assumed to be related to nonrenewable energy sources and employment vulnerability). While it is difficult to generalize about “typical” conditions confronting individual countries (especially as additional dimensions are added), a clear regional clustering of vulnerability warrants attention to regional strategies.


Research based on these hypothesized relationships shows that countries with positively oriented stakes are concentrated in Latin America and West Africa, while Eastern Europe and Central Asia have a large number of countries with unfavorable stakes. Other regions have mixed conditions, but individual countries within those regions often have persistently favorable or unfavorable stakes.

Unfortunately, countries with unfavorable stakes (using the composite measures obtained in this research) include some of the largest emitters of CO2 (e.g., India and China). Together, the states with unfavorable stakes account for almost one-half of all CO2 emissions from World Bank partner countries. In contrast, countries with favorable stakes account for about 19% of total emissions.

Put bluntly: the countries with the greatest incentive to join an international regulation regime amount to a hill of beans, emissions wise. Which means that any negotiations are going to have to take into account the fact that many large emitters will take a substantial economic "hit" if they join up.

Countries that use alot of coal, for example:

A global emissions reduction protocol will impose a greater carbon shadow price shock on countries with significant hydrocarbon resources that provide locally consumed energy and may also be a primary source of export earnings. The highest source-vulnerability countries are scattered across all world regions, with coal particularly important in Eastern Europe, and oil and gas concentrated in Russia, Norway, the Middle East and other OPEC countries.1

...which may mean that "many countries may resist a global protocol unless they are compensated for disadvantages associated with source vulnerability."

...which means more cries of "we're redistributing Western money to corrupt third-world regimes".

Nevertheless, the paper concludes that successful negotiation of a global protocol will likely require compensation and cross-subsidy mechanisms.
As they say, good luck with that.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Remarkably Timid

Cherniak live blogged the throne speech, and I watched/listened to about half of it. In brief, I think Jason's right, this is remarkably weak coffee from a demi-god who bestrides the Earth. Whole lotta nothin', in fact, as I predicted.

As to what is there,

1) You can't bring down the government over a big tax (GST) cut, no matter how stupid a policy it is.

2) Afghanistan will come back to the House, so there's no point making an issue of it now. Best way to get our troops out of Kandahar is to wait for that vote .

3) The promise re spending powers is quite minimal, if Cherniak is right (I missed that bit). Not enough to get worked up about, maybe even something to support.

4) As to the environmental stuff, I would prefer to look at what concrete actions emerge rather than react to the language about Kyoto.

Time to keep the powder dry, in other words.

If You're Going To Appeal To The Bearded Sky Monster

...I can't think of a better reason:

Speaking before religious leaders and others at what he called an "interfaith forum on climate change," the Illinois senator [Barack Obama] said God has entrusted humans with the responsibility of caring for the earth, and "we are not acting as good stewards of God's earth when our bottom line puts the size of our profits before the future of our planet."

Note: Global Warming activism is NOT a religious movement, nor a religion substitute. It can only be effective, esp. in the United States, however, if the religious are brought on board. So let 'er rip, Obama, I'm temporarily turning the ridicule valves to zero.

Free-D Update: Something About Being Called An "Ambulance Chaser" Obviously Went Down The Wrong Way

Richard Warman has followed up his original libel complaint against Connie Wilkins-Fournier and Mark Fournier of the ultra-Conservative e-bulletin board Free-Dominion with a second complaint based on the flurry of insults inspired by his first, of which "ambulance chaser" is among the least obscene. The whole list can be found here. "Unwashed hippy" and "devoted crypto-jew" are among my favorites.

And here is a link to an Anti-Warman site, where I found this speech to the ARA in which Warman outlines his techniques and modus operandi.

Monday, October 15, 2007

What We All Know that, in a televised debate between Stephen Harper and Stephane Dion, it would take scientific instruments to determine who was exuding less charisma.

Expect Posturing

...from tomorrow's throne speech, and a few insults thrown Mr. Dion's way, but nothing so over the top that it would compel taking down the government. Tom Flanagan:

"Engineering a defeat is not easy because a Throne Speech that would simultaneously provoke the Liberals, Bloc and NDP to vote against it, would probably be a Throne Speech that's not popular with voters," he said.

Well exactly.

And is that a real glass or did they feel the need to "shop" away certain indications of Mr. Harper's aggressive nature?
PS. And I hope the Libs don't demagogue the spending powers issue. There is nothing in Dion's past that suggests he would be against some curtailing of federal spending powers, depending on how the deal was done. He has in fact argued repeatedly against the "infringement of jurisdictions". I would expect (and Dion has promised) a reasoned, measured response to whatever proposals are outlined in the throne speech.
PPS. The argument that some have made for forcing an election now, before Harper can hand out too many goodies in the upcoming budget, does not work for me. The Liberal Party is willing to deny the populace their goodies in order to serve its own narrow self interest? This mis-reads the likely thought-process of the average Canadian voter, which is more likely to be: "Look at all these goodies I'm receiving from a minority government! Why not keep things the way they are?" It would be more of a danger, IMHO, to allow Harper to argue during an election campaign that the only way he can live up to his tax-cut promises is to have a Majority.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

None Of Them Seem Terribly Appealing

Scientists have now, employing advances in medical sciences and accounts from lucky survivors, ranked and phenomenologically characterized the various ways of dying. Without going through the whole list, burning to death sounds like it totally sucks. On the other hand, decapitation (unless it was done slowly, with something like a handsaw), or falling from a great height and having your heart explode on impact, seem fairly painless. And they didn't include the one I've always thought must be the absolute worst, which is being stung to death by killer bees.

Otherwise I don't really have a favorite.

Texas Hold 'Em And The Youth Of Today

Spent Saturday evening out in Burlington playing poker with some old friends from work, so today I'm a bit on the run-down side and not feeling particularly ambitious. We were with some younger players, however, and that has inspired me to raise a complaint against the under 30 crowd in general and their credulous embrace of Texas Hold 'Em poker.

Kids, Texas Hold 'Em is nothing more than five card poker with a couple of betting opportunities and an elaborate pseudo-technical jargon ("the flop", "the river") designed to hide its underlying simplicity. It is NOT rocket science, it doesn't repay endless analysis, and when you play it you're not engaged in any sort of athletics, despite the fact they show it endlessly on the Sport's Network.

In fact the game is a crashing bore. Played properly, you'd spend a night swapping chips and maybe, maybe winning or losing $20. But what happens is that, as the long hours creep past, the participants start betting crazy so they can drive the game to a conclusion.

Stupid young people.

(And, if you wondering, no I did not lose big. By the end of the night I was up about $5, although it was mostly won in side games like Russian Poker and Straight Sevens and so on. Men's poker, in other words).

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Ikea is GAY?

But my whole apartment is filled with IKEA stuff. The wife and I both love IKEA. What can this possibly mean?

Steve McIntyre Awarded Nobel Peace Prize!

...for his work as part of the IPCC's team of "expert reviewers". Congratulations, Steve! One day your work confirming the basic accuracy of GISSTEMP data will cop you a prize that you don't have to share with anyone.

Kudos are also in order for:

Richard Courtney of British Coal, who also served as an expert reviewer on the IPCC team, and who has some startling views on carbon sequestration.

Dr. Vincent Gray who in the same role functioned as a one man army of dissent.

David Wojick, another representative of Big Coal.

Once again, congratulations! Al Gore couldn't have saved the planet without you!

Lifesite: All Faithful Christians Are Like Ann Coulter

Newsflash for secular humanists who adhere to the credo of relativism: Christians worth their salt believe they have the one true religion and the greatest happiness both in this world and in the next comes with accepting the Truth, and living it.

And Jews don't make the cut, so they need to be made perfect, like Christians.

Quite simple, really.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Harper Caves!

From CBC:

The federal Conservatives will not "abuse" the right to make pieces of legislation matters of confidence in their minority government, Prime Minister Stephen Harper said on Friday.

"We will use our mandate wisely," Harper told reporters in Ottawa. "I don't think you can consider something confidence that isn't significant enough to fight an election over if you were defeated on it."

...felled by the sheer idiocy of his original position, I imagine. Hopefully, this back-down takes some of the wind from the sails of the pro self-immolation wing of the Liberal Party.

Lets just all wait and see what the throne speech actually contains, shall we? So far it sounds like small-bore stuff with a lot of insults aimed at Dion to cover up its inherent vacuity. Because, remember, Harper is as much constrained a minority parliament as the other parties are.

And remember, losing honorably is still losing. A "good fight" is a fight you win. Retreat now and you can fight again in the Spring, or next Fall, or Spring 2009. If Harper gets his majority, then 2011 is the next important date on the calender.

As for this clown, ignore his taunts. He's been holding up "his end" for the Tory government for almost two years ago, and he's pissed. Apparently, Harper gave him the smelly end.

While Government Dithers, The Private Sector Begins To Move

The Carbon Disclosure Project is the world's largest collaboration of institutional investors. It represents 315 global investors-including 30 based in Canada-that have an unprecedented $41 trillion in assets under management. In February, the CDP requested disclosure of relevant information about climate change and carbon risk management strategies from 2,400 companies around the world, including the 200 most valuable companies by market capitalization listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange.

Here are some highlights from the Canadian version of the report (which can be downloaded from here for no charge if you create an account):

Many companies are still unwilling to provide the relevant information to investors:

Only 88 of Canada's 200 largest companies by market capitalization took part in this year's Carbon Disclosure Project questionnaire, a worldwide survey on how business is tackling the issue of climate change.

The participation rate was up 13 per cent, compared with 2006, but remains low by international standards, according to the Conference Board, which administered the survey on behalf of 315 of the world's biggest institutional investors with $41 trillion in assets under management.

Nevertheless, the issue is finally starting to get through, driven by investor interest and the looming introduction, federally and provincially, of new regulatory regimes.

Sixty-four per cent of respondents have a formal GHG emissions management system—either targeting emissions directly, or indirectly through energy efficiency and conservation...

Fifty-three per cent of respondents—and 65 per cent of those in high-carbon emissions impact sectors—indicate that their board of directors has responsibility for climate change. This suggests that climate change is increasingly viewed as both an operational and strategic issue warranting the highest level of oversight.

Government inaction is preventing action on the part of the private sector:

The continued lack of certainty in federal and provincial GHG policy and regulations was often cited as the basis for either not having conducted regulatory impact assessments or the inability to speculate on potential business implications.

In Alberta, for instance:

The province of Alberta estimates that, with its 12 per cent annual emissions intensity reduction target, the annual cost of compliance to industrial emitters sits at $177,000,000.
However... The newness of the regulation, the need to audit and identify baseline emissions, and continued uncertainty about some details of the plan were cited in company
responses as reasons for difficulty in speculating on the impact of increased regulation. For example, Nexen indicates in their CDP5 response that they have stopped running scenarios of the cost of compliance as the uncertainty range is too large.

You have to take your good news where you can find it, and it is abundantly clear from the very existence of the CDP that investors are beginning to demand of the corporate sector what governments are afraid to: accountability and action. In fact I think the sight of a Bush or a Harper on t.v. and dodging commitments can give an unduly negative impression. Offstage, the Greening of Capitalism proceeds apace.

Solar From Space?

This takes me back to my days as a young hippy reading the Mother Earth News' special technology features, because similar plans have been touted as enviro-cure-alls for at least 30 years. The idea is you build a huge (1 kilometre wide) platform of solar panels in geosynchronous orbit, have it collect solar energy, and then beam this to the ground in the form of microwaves.

The main problem is cost, which will run into the 10s of billions, although that is not nearly as hefty a sum as the cost of some of the wilder geo-engineering proposals now under discussion. One apparent non-issue is the problem of accidentally incinerating anything that gets too close to the vast field of microwave collectors you need at ground level:

The peak density of the beam is likely to be significantly less than noon sunlight,
and at the edge of the rectenna equivalent to the leakage allowed and accepted by
hundreds of millions in their microwave ovens. This low energy density and choice
of wavelength also means that biological effects are likely extremely small, comparable
to the heating one might feel if sitting some distance from a campfire.

Meanwhile, hopefully later today, I'll take a look at some of the actions taking place within the Canadian business community in response to climate change.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Tories Elect Rural Seperatist

Randy Hillier turns rebellion into a cushy seat in the Ontario Legislature.

Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you the next leader of the Ontario Progressive Conservative Party, red suspenders and all.