Sunday, February 28, 2010

Whatcott Triumphant

One-time Free-D denizon "Wild" Bill Whatcott, who I've written about here, has won his appeal in the Whatcott vs. Saskatchewan Human Rights Tribunal case:

In a decision released February 25, the 3-member court ruled that William Whatcott did not violate section 14(1)(b) of the Saskatchewan Human Rights Code by distributing flyers to oppose the teaching of homosexuality in Saskatoon’s public schools.

The decision, which I haven't read, is here. From the Canadian Constitution Foundation's (CCF) response, it doesn't sound like it touches on the constitutionality of the law.

Kids Today

Reminds me of my youth, but this pair are wallowing in decadence!!! WTF good is a sniper-scope when the point is to clear a crowded street? These two are stylin', going in for a useless affectaction, a non-functional status least as far as I'm concerned.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Calgary And The Aryan Guard: Why There?

Crazy thing: some of it [old style anti-Semitism] is being inflamed however tacitly, by some of Israel’s staunchest supporters. Chief among them: the immigration minister himself, Jason Kenney, and good buddy Ezra Levant, flagbearer of the Western Standard.

Unlike other groups in the “movement,” the Guard does not exist completely online, where it’s safer – as long as you’re careful not to contravene anti-hate laws – and easier to reach more people.

These skins are not afraid to show their true colours, taking to the streets at annual “white pride” rallies, tossing Molotov cocktails through the windows of anti-racists (no good communists?), planting a pipe bomb or two on the doorstep of wayward former members.

What makes them think they can get away with it?

Enter Levant. The former Reformer and Canadian Alliance disciple has been flogging that canard pretty hard ever since the Standard, his news and views mag (now online only) republished the infamous Muhammad cartoons in 2006. Talk about stirring an anti-Jewish backlash.


Is it any wonder then that groups like the Aryan Guard feel some measure of protection from the authorities, despite their blatantly racist views?

I would also note that in the run-up to the passing of Alberta's Bill 44, which would have in its original form rescinded the hate speech provisions from that provinces human rights act--a repeal which Ezra supported enthusiastically--white supremacists were actively trying to recruit followers to the Calgary area, arguing that after 44 passed it would become land of The Free for Neo-Nazis. Only after an Aryan Guard beefed-up with new recruits marched last year did the province back down from the repeal.

Even More FOI Follies: UEA Vs. ICO

From the University of East Anglia (UEA):

The point Professor Acton [whose statements I've referenced here and here] was making is that there has been no investigation so no decision, as was widely reported. The ICO read e-mails and came to assumptions but has not investigated or demonstrated any evidence that what may have been said in emails was actually carried out.”

Also, UEA has issued the following updated statement:

These confirm that no further evidence had been sought or obtained by the ICO with regard to an alleged breach of Section 77 and that with regard to the Section 50 complaint no decision notice had been issued and no alleged breaches had been put to the University for comment. Any assertion that the University has been found in breach of any part the Freedom of Information Act is incorrect. The ICO had not communicated with the University before issuing the statement and has still not completed any investigations into this matter. Media reports have been inaccurate.

They've also published their correspondence with the Information Commissioner's Office. This first one from the 29th lodges what seems to me to be a perfectly valid complaint in regards to the ICO's original statement:

I do not think it is acceptable that such a statement which has led to an extremely damaging commentary on the University in the press, on radio and television and from the Chairman of the Parliamentary Science and Technology Select Committee was first communicated to the University by a journalist. As far as I can ascertain (and you did not disagree) there was no effort by the ICO to inform the University before the release was made.

Mr. Holland has submitted a complaint to the ICO, the University has sought to cooperate fully with you in your consideration of the complaint and our past experience (albeit limited) has been that we have been informed of the investigating officer’s initial conclusions and the reasons for them, to give us the opportunity to make submissions well before a decision notice is issued. We thought this to be the normal practice. In this instance we have been informed of a decision through the pages of the press with no understanding of the breaches which you allege to have occurred and the evidence which is being relied upon, and with no opportunity to put forward an informed defence.

And here is the call for a retraction:

You expressed at least some appreciation of our view that communicating the conclusions of the ICO in this way is entirely inappropriate. I would ask that you acknowledge that the actions of the ICO were not appropriate in this instance, and preferably by return.

You said that, while you had not had the opportunity to review fully the press coverage, it was possible that a number of inferences may have been drawn by commentators which went beyond any conclusions which you might think reasonable or were intended to be drawn from your statement. If this remains the case, I would ask that you issue a further press statement today to clarify that fact before we suffer further damage.

The ICO did not issue a retraction, but did offer a weakened statement that they said their original statement should be read to mean (as I argued here). Acton makes this clear in a final letter, dated February 1st:

Your clarification that the press cannot infer from your statement to the Sunday Times that it has been established that the University (or indeed any individual associated with the University) has breached the terms of the Freedom of Information Act is welcome. As your observations related to the Holland case the reference in some of the papers that your statement referred to “refusing to hand over raw data” must also be incorrect, as were the references to unlimited fines.

So there you have it. My verdict: the ICO jumped the gun in making their press statement, and is now trying to wriggle out of it without issuing a further statement that would make them look stupid.

Friday, February 26, 2010


...and if you don't know what all the acronyms mean, you shouldn't be here.

Anyway, yesterday we learned more of the circumstances around the tiff between the U.K. Commissioner's office (ICO) and the University of East Anglia (UEA) over e-mails made public by the CRU Hack. Back in January, the ICO issued a statement in which they suggested that that the UEA had been in breach of Section 77 of the U.K. FOIA (Freedom of Information Act). The UEA responded to their statement with a demand for a retraction, and got this letter (though no retraction) from the ICO, which the UEA claims demonstrates that "the evidence the ICO had in mind about whether there was a breach was no more than prima facie." A couple of things:

1) The ICO argues that their original statement "may be read" to suggest that their evidence is merely prima facie, though that term does not appear in the original statement.

2) They blame any misinterpretation of the statement on...wait for it...Jonathon Leake, of Leakegate infamy.

Errors like this are frequently made in press reports and the ICO cannot be expected to correct them, particularly when the ICO has not itself referred to penalties or sanctions in its own statement.

For all the above reasons the ICO will not be issuing a further press statement covering these points. The ICO does not wish to encourage further media reports on the matter, indeed our original press statement was only drafted for one journalist [Jonathon Leake] in response to a specific enquiry.

Although, frankly Mr. Leake may be getting a bum deal in this case; it is not obvious that the ICO statement should be interpreted as the ICO now suggests.


More Tories Gone Rogue On Abortion

Tory MPs Brad Trost and Maurice Vellacott speak out on the A-word! Note a couple of things here. The editorial they reference argues that:

...aid groups have argued for years that real progress can't be made until women are given the education, resources and support to decide for themselves when to get and stay pregnant.

...which is to say its author's are also talking about such things as providing contraceptive options. Brad and Maurice make it all about abortion (as have most Tory responses to Iggy's recent statements. It looks like a deliberate tactic.). Secondly, their "evidence" seem to be derived from stories published at The Lifesite on Maternal Mortality levels. As you can see, Lifesite's been running a bunch of them lately. So one can legitimately question its accuracy.

Helena Guergis Loses Her Way!

Putting on airs! Yelling at the plebes! Oh my! Helena Guergis ain't one with Der Volk at all these days! Next she'll be drinking the gay coffee at Satanbucks.

PS. Charlottetown is not a hell-hole! Its too small.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Green Party Prepares To Self-Immolate

Council has voted to draft a motion to amend the Part by-laws regarding a leadership race to submit to the membership at the August BGM in Toronto. In the interim, the Leadership race fairness committee has been tasked to prepare the terms and conditions of the race. These terms and conditions will be predicated on the terms and conditions of the last race. For those interested, Steve Kisby chairs that committee, and I’ll publish the names and email addresses of all the members in an upcoming post.

Dear Green Party members: Elizabeth May is way too good for you. If she should lose any silly little leadership race, or decide that's its really not worth playing den mother to a gang of ungrateful children for about $50,000 a year and refuse to participate, then you will be truly fucked, returned to square one, raising funds by holding salmon bakes and selling magic mushrooms out of the back of your old Volkswagen van.

For the less addled among you, may I suggest this alternative.

University Of East Anglia Strikes Back

Their entire submission to the Parliamentary Select Committee on Science and Technology can be found here. As to the earlier claim from the U.K. Information Commisioner's Office (ICO) that UEA breached the FOIA (Freedom of Information Act), this is where that seems to stand:

3.7.6 On 22 January 2010, the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) released a statement to a journalist, which was widely misinterpreted in the media as a finding by the ICO that UEA had breached Section 77 of the FOIA by withholding raw data. A subsequent letter to UEA from the ICO (29 January 2010) indicated that no breach of the law has been established; that the evidence the ICO had in mind about whether there was a breach was no more than prima facie; and that the FOI request at issue did not concern raw data but private email exchanges.

More on that particular aspect of the investigation here.

And a bit more on the many, many vexatious FOI requests filed by the denialist community:

3.7.4 In July 2009 UEA received an unprecedented, and frankly administratively overwhelming, deluge of FOIA requests related to CRU. These amounted to 61 requests out of a 2009 total of 107 related to CRU, compared to annual totals of 2 in 2008 and 4 in 2007 (University totals for those years were 204, 72 and 44 respectively). Accordingly CRU approached the Global Climate Observing System (GCOS), an organization within the WMO, to see if it would request the WMO to seek permission from each of its members (the NMSs) for CRU to release the primary station data for each country. WMO declined, but indicated that the appropriate procedure was for the request to come from the UK NMS (the Met Office). The Met Office agreed this was the correct procedure, and sent a letter of support to accompany an explanatory letter to each NMS on 30 November 2009. As of 1 February 2010, 35 responses to 160 requests have been received from the NMSs. Most are positive, but some are negative (confirming the constraints preventing CRU releasing the requested data).

Brad Gets Rad

Brad Trost, that is, embracing a flat tax for Canada:

Nations and jurisdictions that have adopted flat-tax systems “with extraordinary success” include: Jersey (1940), Hong Kong (1947) and the Czech Republic (2008).

Maybe he's jealous of all the attention M. Bernier's been getting lately with some of his own radical proposals. Another hat in the ring for a post-Harper CPoC leadership race? Mad Max vs. Flat Brad?

PS. Jersey is not New Jersey, but this place (pop. 91,626).

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Wells On Bernier

Maxime Bernier's "intervention" on climate change policy is maneuvering for a CPoC leadership run in a post Harper world.

PS. Maxime has expanded on his comments here. Just a quick remark in passing: the International Climate Science Coalition is NOT a collection of "serious researchers".

Tory Turmoil In Ontario?

On the resignation of Tim Hudak's media relations director Greg Medulun:

Given the poor results the PC's have had under the Hudak regime so far, (running an angry and unsuccessful campaign in St. Paul's, getting crushed in Toronto Centre, and now looking down the barrel at another defeat in the critical riding of Ottawa West-Nepean) and in particular, the very negative press which emerged following the PC tactics outside, and particularly inside the Legislature during the last sitting. Many in the caucus, particularly those on the Red Tory wing of the party and the more experienced MPP's, including such high profile figures such as Deputy Leader Christine Elliott, Education critic Elizabeth Witmer, and Chief Whip/Finance Critic/longest serving PC MPP, had expressed displeasure with the rough and tumble tactics of the Hudak/Hillier axis within the party, whose strategy was promoted by Medulun. With the Tories looking at a probable loss in an important swing riding of OW-N, could caucus unrest push more Hudakites out of the way as the more moderate wing of the party calls for a re-think of strategy?

On my! The Landowners will be displeased!

Hard Rockin Denier' Endorses CRU Data!!!

By night AGW Denier and Creationist Roy Spencer rocks out with his band Christian rock band EcoFreako. By day, he maintains the UAH (University of Alabama) database of daily satellite temperature readings .

Lately, Roy has been engaged in a little side-project--comparing CRU's surface readings to his satellite data to see how they match up. His preliminary conclusion:

I’ll have to admit I was a little astounded at the agreement between Jones’ and my analyses, especially since I chose a rather ad-hoc method of data screening that was not optimized in any way. Note that the linear temperature trends are essentially identical; the correlation between the monthly anomalies is 0.91.

Furthermore, and more specifically, there seems no evidence of an urban heat island effect:

Of course, an increasing urban heat island effect could still be contaminating both datasets, resulting in a spurious warming trend. Also, when I include years before 1986 in the analysis, the warming trends might start to diverge. But at face value, this plot seems to indicate that the rapid decrease in the number of stations included in the GHCN database in recent years has not caused a spurious warming trend in the Jones dataset — at least not since 1986. Also note that December 2009 was, indeed, a cool month in my analysis.

So: validation from a most unusual source. Unfortunately, the EcoFreako website seems to have disappeared. However, here's a link to MP3s of them playing "Earth Has A Fever" (sung to the tune of "Cat Scratch Fever", and "I Want To Mock Al Gore All Night", sung to the tune of...well, you figure it out.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Rod Bruinooge Is Collateral Damage

Tory MP Peter Goldring's bizarre rant re the guilt or innocence of Metis leader Louis Riel has kicked up a fair storm of letter writing to and editorializing in Western province media outlets.

Furthermore, the resultant controversy also appears to have dinged Winnipeg MP Rod Bruinooge, who is himself Metis. On February 21, Bruinooge stated to reporters at the Winnipeg Free Press that, though he disagreed with Goldring's tirade, he also disagreed with the private member's bill which inspired it (This bill was introduced in November by Winnipeg NDP MP Pat Martin; it would exonerate Riel and erect a monument to him on Parliament Hill). Bruinooge said:

...if Métis leaders don't agree on how to deal with Riel's conviction, Martin should stay out of it.

"I don't think a non-Métis politician has any business getting into this," said Bruinooge.

Whoopsie! apology time!

"Right after I told you that Pat Martin as a non-Métis politician had no business in this debate I thought to myself how I really didn`t hold that philosophy and how it wasn`t a fair thing to say," Bruinooge wrote [the Winnipeg Free Press' Mia Rabson] in an email Sunday afternoon.

As for Mr. Martin, he is happy with the apology but thinks it was coerced:

"I never question the motives of an apology but I have no doubt the PMO ripped his head off for this," said Martin. `They do not want to be on the wrong side of this. Quebec was scorched earth for the Conservatives from the day they lynched Riel until the Diefenbaker years."

I like how he prefaces his questioning of the motives of the apology by claiming he's not questioning the motives of the apology. These NDP politicians aren't so hopelessly goody two-shoed after all.

How Unusual Is Vancouver's Current Weather?

Given that this piece by Goldstein has been given large play in Denialist circles, it may be useful to find a slightly more knowledgeable source in response:

This is a highly unusual winter, warmer than most would expect from a moderate El Nino event. So far this year, every single day in Vancouver has been warmer than "normal", using the Environment Canada definition of normal. Every day in January exceeded the 1971-2000 January mean temperature is 3.3 deg C. So far, every day in February has exceeded the 1971-2000 February mean temperature of 4.8 deg C. When the Canadian athletes paraded into the snowy white BC Place last night, it was 9 degrees and raining.

The above was written on the 13th, by the way. Looks like the upcoming week will also be well above Feb. averages.

James Lunney: Standing Tall Against The Anglicans, Quakers, And Other Riff Raff

The Tory MP for Nanaimo-Alberni MP explains why he won't meet with local representatives from KAIROS:

Nanaimo-Alberni MP James Lunney says he won't be bullied into meeting a church group upset about federal funding cuts to international aid organization KAIROS.

"The message is, don't try to intimidate your MP," he said.

Context is important: the Parksville-Qualicum chapter (is that the right term?) of KAIROS has asked repeatedly for a meeting with their MP. Their "bullying" has consisted entirely of phoning that MP's office and, perhaps, sending him emails.

Readers can catch up on the whole unfolding of the KAIROS story here.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

The Denier Denies

Jimi Bostock says he did not hack CRU. All that suggestive language was just that, suggestive. But its a small world, and the nerdosphere an even smaller part of it. I bet the Norfolk Constabulary has a list of suspects that won't barely reach two dozen.

Spector On Rights And Democracy

Even the Dawg seems to have missed this blog post from Friday:

The Israeli-Palestinian question is not the only explanation for the crisis… Afghanistan is also at issue. Ottawa’s man, Aurel Braun, did not appreciate the fact that employees contradicted two Conservative ministers about what was known about Kabul’s misogynistic law….


Lawrence Cannon swore he knew nothing about the law and that it came as a complete surprise to him… he was contradicted by two employees - the president, Rémy Beauregard, and Razmik Panossian, its policy director, who told Embassy Magazine that Canada had known it was coming for months… the statements were discussed at the board meeting of May 8… according to the minutes… Braun complained about the lack of communication: “He asked to be informed about high level contacts with the government… he cited as an example the Embassy article that gave the impression that the Institute was contradicting the Minister… he deplored the fact that he had not been informed until two days later.

Punished for knowing more than Lawrence Cannon. Man that's harsh.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

ICO Vs. UEA In FOI Flap Over CRU Emails!!! Is The Biter Bit?

One of the more unfortunate aspects of the whole Climategate pseudo-scandal is the way the U.K.'s Information Commissioner’s Office, which is tasked with enforcing the Data Protection and Freedom of Information Acts, responded to the leak of CRU documents. Specifically: without consulting with the University of East Anglia (UEA), they issued a "statement" --based on reading stolen emails on the internet, and of which the official force remains obscure--claiming that the UEA had, with regards to a FOI request submitted by one David Holland, acted improperly:

The emails which are now public reveal that Mr Holland's requests under the Freedom of Information Act were not dealt with as they should have been under the legislation. Section 77 of the Freedom of Information Act makes it an offence for public authorities to act so as to prevent intentionally the disclosure of requested information. Mr Holland's FOI requests were submitted in 2007/8, but it has only recently come to light that they were not dealt with in accordance with the Act.

The problem with this statement is that, according to UEA, the response to Mr. Holland's request, and to the other requests generated by Stephen McIntyre's efforts at Climate Audit, was infused with advice given to the UEA by officers within the ICO. For example, UEA's response to the ICO statement says:

The ICO's opinion that we had breached the terms of Section 77 is a source of grave concern to the University as we would always seek to comply with the terms of the Act. During this case we have sought the advice of the ICO and responded fully to any requests for information.

...and Phil Jones notes in various emails that the ICO was involved in crafting the response to Holland's and the other frivolous FOI requests. Which raises the question: did the ICO advise UEA to engage in actions it now deems to be improper?

Over at the denialist website The Air Vent, some dude named Kondealer (who, if that is his real name, probably had a rough time in highschool) has been trying to get an answer from the ICO, and managed to elicit this rather impressive display of squirming. An excerpt:

I am responding to the enquiry that you made regarding what advice may have been provided by the ICO to the University of East Anglia in relation to its handling of requests for information related to its Climatic Research Unit. This has been looked into and I have outlined below the ICO’s view on this matter.

One of the emails exchanged between IPCC authors and related parties placed in the public domain contains the following sentence:

Keith and Tim are still getting Freedom Of Information (FOI) requests, as are the Meteorological Office Hadley Centre and the University of Reading. All our FOI officers have been in discussions and are now using the same exceptions not to respond-advice they got from the Information Commissioner.

Viewed in isolation, this sentence may have created the false impression that the ICO provided advice to the University of East Anglia encouraging it to withhold information.

The Commissioner does not accept this view and wants to stress that such action would be in direct conflict with the vision, aims, and values of the ICO and would undermine his role as statutory regulator. The ICO would not, in any circumstances, encourage an authority to avoid compliance with the law. To do so would undermine the Commissioner’s role as an impartial regulator and compromise his duty to support the presumption of disclosure implicit within Freedom of Information (FOI) Act and Environmental Information Regulations (EIR).


The written queries are recorded on the ICO’s electronic case management system. Telephone enquiries are more numerous, with over 2,000 per week, and given their volume it is not practical to record the content of each (assuming that the caller consented to identify themselves, which they are under no obligation to do). The ICO has checked its records and can trace two examples of written advice provided to UEA which predate the email in question, but these were on unrelated topics with no bearing on the climate-data issue. If the University had sought verbal advice before then, the ICO would only have provided general advice, and certainly would not have explicitly supported or endorsed the use of a particular exemption or exception.

Discounting the notion that UEA did not contact the ICO at all, I suppose it will be up the Muir Russell inquiry to determine how deeply complicit the ICO was in the behavior it now finds so disturbing.

Oh, and, irony of Ironies, Kondealer, involved as he is with the gang of bloggers that first flooded CRU with vexatious FOI requests, will now begin bombarding the ICO with...wait for it!...a vexatious FOI request:

I have now decided what I will do next.

1) I will make an F.O.I request to the ICO for all materials pertaining to contacts that the ICO had between CRU regarding what advice may have been provided by the ICO to the University of East Anglia in relation to its handling of requests for information related to its Climatic Research Unit.This will include transcripts of telephone conversations, because I believe that they are recorded for “security and training purposes”

He's also going to

...send the ICO’s letter to the “Independent” CRU Inquiry under Sir Muir-Russell pointing out that CRU can no longer prove they had advice from the ICO approving their actions. Which IMHO refutes what CRU are saying on their website.

(which is what I quoted above)

...although I Imagine the UEA will be making hay of the fact that, from their perspective, they are being criticized by the ICO for following that agency's guidance.

David Warren Cops Material From Blogger, Adds More Errors

Read about it here.

I Like It Though I Do Not Know What It Means

I think it is a Eurasian cry against the low-inflation-at-any-cost policies that many central banks have pursued over the past 20 years, at such a cost to economic growth and the lives of so many of their citizens.

But I don't really care.

(And I got it from a "bad translations" site I can't find anymore)

Friday, February 19, 2010

KAIROS Fumble Lingers For Lunney

Nanaimo-Alberni Tory MP James Lunney takes more heck for refusing to meet with local KAIROS representatives:

There is no hard rule saying MPs must meet with constituents but the parliamentary tradition is to at least give them an audience. Those who don't, walk on thin political ice, says Allan Warnke, a Vancouver Island University political science professor who served as Vancouver-Steveston MLA in the early 1990s.

And that stems from this.

Don't Believe Him

But now, their leader, Jack Layton, has prostate cancer and is undergoing treatment for the disease. Neither he nor aides are disclosing details of the treatment but most cancer survivors will say that, whether its surgery or drug therapies, beating cancer can leave one feeling weak and in need of time for rest and recovery.

Today, in a scrum following a meeting Layton had with Prime Minister Stephen Harper about the budget, I [David Akin] asked Layton if the battle he's fighting will weaken his or his party's resolve to vote down the government, if necessary, in a confidence vote. His answer:

"No. It will make no difference to the enthusiasm with which our party carries forward our mission which is to change the old politics that we've seen for so many years and try and establish a new direction for the country."

As cruel as it is to say it, if Jack fought an election in the middle of his cancer treatment it would become an issue: would you vote for a PM who might drop dead in three months? Of course he could say nothing else other than what he does, but Jack and the NDP will figure out a way to support the budget. And anyway it looks like the Tories will be offering up some pretty weak coffee in March, so as not to stir up too much enmity.

Ezra On Wildrose Alliance

"The Wildrose Alliance have some people who have been active in pro-life circles for many years," continued Levant. "The new leader of the Wildrose Alliance, Danielle Smith, is a bit of a libertarian. I’m not quite sure where she stands on abortion herself, but I’ll bet you a dollar that she’s for debudgeting it. That’s the libertarian view."

So someone--yo Rob Harvie--go ask Danielle Smith what her position on abortion is. Tell her Ezra's bringing the SoCons.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Arthur Kent Spills

Arthur Kent, brother of Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Peter Kent, lays on a pounding on the Harper government over an Afghanistan story you may know nothing about--Hamid Karzai renaming Zarar Muqbul to his cabinet after the disgraced former minister presided over the embezzlement of up to one-third of Canadian aid dollars donated under the U.N.’s Law and Order Trust Fund (LOTFA):

In naming Zarar Muqbul as his new counter-narcotics minister, Karzai delivers a forehand smash into the court of Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, who is already under fire for proroguing Canada’s House of Commons - in part to avoid a parliamentary committee’s probe into the Afghan government’s mistreatment of battlefield detainees.

The siphoning off of Canada’s LOTFA contributions is arguably a more flagrant abuse of trust than the issue of prisoner abuse. The financial support is intended to strengthen the National Police and kick-start Afghanistan's rule of law.


Zarar Muqbul’s story was broken here on Skyreporter in May of 2007, and in greater length in an article for the July/August 2007 edition of Policy Options, the journal of Canada’s Institute for Research on Public Policy.

Stephen Harper’s PMO refused any comment at the time, and duly muzzled Foreign Affairs, the RCMP and Canada’s embassy in Kabul. Two of the same officials who censored diplomat Richard Colvin’s reports on detainee abuse similarly blocked Skyreporter’s queries about Zarar Muqbul: Afghan Task Force chief David Mulroney and former ambassador to Kabul Arif Lalani.

See, when you're young and your younger brother is smaller and weaker than you, you beat them up repeatedly until they learn not to cross you. Peter Kent obviously didn't do that, and now look what's happened?

All Those "Gates"

...and yet the ice still melts, and the Permafrost line still recedes:

ScienceDaily (Feb. 17, 2010) — The southern limit of permanently frozen ground, or permafrost, is now 130 kilometers further north than it was 50 years ago in the James Bay region, according to two researchers from the Department of Biology at Université Laval.

Read Deltoid to comprehend the full craptacularity of the U.K. Press on this issue (they make the National Post look almost slightly less craptacular); read RC for an evaluation of the various "gates". Short version: they mostly involve typos. And just in case someone brings it up, the two researchers above conclude:

While climate change is the most probable explanation for this phenomenon, the lack of long term climatic data for the area makes it impossible for the researchers to officially confirm this. Professor Payette notes, however, that the average annual temperature of the northern sites he has studied for over 20 years has increased by 2 degrees Celsius.

All Hail The Noble Oarfish

What they look like out of the water: What they look like swimming around the Gulf of Mexico

Two things:

1) this specimen is estimated at between 5 and 10 meters long. The oarfish (or manefish) can reach 17 meters in length, and are often thought to be behind various sea-serpent legends.

2) this specimen is acutally swimming backwards; visit Cryptomundo for the full story.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

And Then The National Beer Tent Caught Fire...

Why VANOC cancelled 28,000 spectator tickets for the snowboarding events:

The problem is that Vanoc built the spectator area out of bales of hay, with snow on top. But as the snow has melted in the unseasonably warm weather and rain, they’re worried that people could fall into the crevices of the hay. Said Vanoc’s vice president of ticketing Caley Denton: “The snow has washed away to the point where people can punch through and potentially step in between two big straw bales and that becomes a pretty deep crack. We’ve had people go right down to their knees, or in some cases ever farther.

Gonna be hard for Harper and Co. to ride THIS sucker to a majority government.

Did I Really Say That?

Apparently, back before the turn of the century (based on the old email address), I did. Its been so long I'm not really sure that I would understand the correct answer to my question if someone told it to me today.

People don't even DO Phil. of Sci. that way any more. Anyway, I eventually found my copy of Braithwaite. It did not prove particularly enlightening.

Although I did have a cool signature line:

The Shapes of Things are Dumb. – L. Wittgenstein

CRU Hacker Speaks?

Well, maybe not; Aussie Denier Jimi Bostock may be enmeshed in a personal fantasy. He is nevertheless the first blogger to hint at inside knowledge of the CRU Hack (which precipitated Climategate, for anyone's who has been on Mars the past couple of months).

Here he writes of the days preceding the hack:

So, we needed to get to work and, across the globe, people like me downed their tools of their normal jobs and went to proper work. For me, that was selling my web business. On September 1, I commenced work on a campaign I had devised in consultation with others.

Again, details of this will remain confidential (for a number of reasons) but I believe that latter analysis (which I understand to be forthcoming in a number of books) will show that the online campaign against AGW has been the most successful campaigns ever. And I mean this even when not including D-Day. Prior to d-day, it is my contention that we had already beaten down any Copenhagen agreement.

So, at 6.20am (EST) on Nov 17th, 2009, someone who called themselves FOIA posted a simple message on the most renowned AGW believer website, RealClimate. The message was a profoundly moving declaration.

Hardly conclusive, as I say... But...

Frank Bi of the International Journal of Inactivism has been doing alot of forensic work with the CRU emails. Take a look at the one of the graphs he has produced:

What it shows is that many of the files that finally made it into the final .zip file leaked to the public on November 17th ( were either "accessed" or "modified" by the hacker(s) between about September 15th, 2009 and mid-November. And this means of course these files were in the hands of the hacker(s) during that time frame(*).

Which matches up well with the dates Mr. Bostock is peddling for the start of the "campaign" he became involved in. And we know that the U.K. police investigating the crack are looking for ideological extremists. Reading the entirety of Mr. Bostock's post, its pretty clear he fits that bill as well.

(*) A conclusion also arrived at, though perhaps through a slightly different route, by a forensic analysis conducted on behalf of the U.K. Gaurdian. Origonally, it was thought that the hack had taken place in about the third week of November, right in advance of the actual leak date.


Brad Trost Brings The Logixxx

The United States is a more socialistic country than Canada. Surprised?

Tory MP Brad Trost is not.

What I find interesting about the ten freest economies in the world is that all the countries on the list have one of two qualities: either the nation is one of the world’s richest (Switzerland and Denmark) or the economy has grown dramatically in the past couple of decades (Chile and Ireland).

This clearly demonstrates that freedom brings prosperity.

I could argue with this, but why the fuck bother? I will just point out that Brad Trost, while not officially gay, is hot enough to make the cut. His ass is so firm you could bounce a dime off it. Not that anyone has, as far as I can confirm.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Tory MP James Lunney On KAIROS

Parksville-Qualicum KAIROS requested a meeting with our Member of Parliament, James Lunney, to discuss the [de-funding of KAIROS]. We were not able to secure a meeting, and finally, in a telephone call on Feb. 1, Lunney advised that he would not meet with our group because, he claimed, we disagreed with all of his and his government’s actions.

While it is true that in the past we have disagreed with some of the government’s actions, we have not disagreed with them all. But even if we had, Lunney is our Member of Parliament, and we believe we have a right and he has a duty to meet. Members of Parliament are elected by citizens in order that citizens views are represented to Parliament.

Ontario Landowners Talk Revolution

Fortunately, the first up against the wall is PCPO MPP Norm Sterling, whose seat will be contested by OLA prez Jack MacLaren, followed by Laurie Scott in Haliburton-Kawartha Lakes-Brock.

Sounds like they're also targetting Stormont-Dundas-South Glengarry, currently represented by Liberal MPP Jim Brownell.


Will Canada Give 'em a used National beer tent? Remember, Stephen Harper still keeps an eye out for $7 neck-ties.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Pielke Jr. Vs. Muir-Wood

Roger Pielke Jr. has spent the past month bitching about how inappropriately the IPCC treated work he commissioned, but authored by Robert Muir-Wood, on climate change and the cost of natural disasters. Now Mr. Muir-Wood's company, RMS (Risk Management Solutions) has come out with a statement on this very topic which, on the surface, contradicts young Roger, or at least suggests that Mr. Muir-Wood does not share his outrage:

Yes, RMS believes the IPCC fairly referenced its paper, with suitable caveats around the results, highlighting the factors influencing the relationship that had been discovered between time and increased catastrophe costs. We believe it was appropriate to include the RMS paper in the report because, at that time, it was the only paper addressing global multi-peril catastrophe losses over time that had been normalized for changes in the values and exposure at risk.

When I asked Roger how this statement squared his earlier complaints, he followed up with a post where he reiterated his contention that the "IPCC intentionally mis-cited" the paper. But an intentional mis-cite is, surely, an "unfair" reference, yet Mr. Muir-Wood insists his paper was treated fairly by the IPCC. Roger surely has a little more work to do. Arm-waving in the direction of an audio-cast that is supposed to explain everything doesn't really cut it.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Although WWI Started Off Poorly As Well...

I am trying to restrain my typical dark cynicism over stuff like this, but if one more stupid thing happens, like for example the Canadian Olympic Beer Tent catches fire, I may not be able to stop myself from whipping out the Atlanta, Georgia comparisons.

Did Olympic security not think that a West Coast Event would attract West Coast, anti-G20, anti-globalization, black mask anarchist types?

PS. Riot pictures here. Quite a few of them. By the way, I'm on the cops side here 100%. Brain as many of them as you need to. They're young. It'll grow back.

Press Release Re. Stanstead Border Installations

Conservatives block access to border installations

Stanstead, Feb 12, 2010. The Harper Conservatives reached a new low in their attempts to subvert democracy when the Public Safety Minister intervened to block a Member of Parliament's access to the Stanstead border installation, said William Hogg, Liberal candidate in Compton-Stanstead today.

Mr. Hogg was hosting MP Mark Holland, Liberal critic for Public Safety and National Security, and vice-chair of the Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security, for a public forum on border issues, from 2pm-4pm in the Stanstead Town Hall.

Immediately prior to the forum Mr. Holland and I were to meet with the Canadian Border Service Agency for a tour and discussion about border issues in the region." said Mr. Hogg "The meeting had been set up through official channels and had been confirmed by local officials over a week ago. Yesterday, the Minister of Public Safety's office abruptly contacted Mr. Holland to tell him that our visit had been cancelled."

The Minister's office could give no good reason for the tour's cancellation nor could they explain the inconsistencies between the messages at the local and ministerial levels.

"It is clear that the Minister interfered for one of two reasons - either for pure partisan politics or to block our access to federal bureaucrats who may have helpful information, especially for me in my capacity as vice-chair of the parliamentary committee that oversees the border," said Mark Holland. "Either motive is an abuse of power and just serves to remind Canadians that the Harper government will stop at nothing to stifle criticism."

Combined with Conservative efforts to block access to information regarding Afghan detainees and the recently reported efforts on the part of Christian Paradis' staff to stop access to information requests, there seems to be a pattern of interference at the ministerial and prime-ministerial level in the management of public institutions. Stated Mr. Hogg,"the Conservatives continually push their transparency and accountability agenda in public, but behind the scenes they do everything in their power to undermine it."

Justine Villeneuve, Office of Mark Holland, MP

I'm not around much today. This may be all you see. Cheers

Friday, February 12, 2010

Brad Trost Identifies A New Enemy And Tories Threaten Bank Boycott!

So remember, the next time a bank economist comments that a hike in the GST is necessary, he or she is also quietly asking for a tax cut for their bank.

An obvious shot at TD Bank CEO Ed Clark, who presumably can deny the above statement, or outline all those secret tax cuts he's asking for.

Meanwhile, some Tories are threatening a TD boycott.

Tomorrow's News Today

Holland is talking about the Seaway International Bridge Crisis, natives have been protesting armed guards at a bridge that runs across the U.S./ Canada border through Akwesasne. Since Vic Toews took over public safety, the locals have been waiting for him to step in and do something about the issue. He hasn't, and apparently doesn't want anyone else to either.
More here.

The New Publication Assistance Regime

The Canada Magazine Fund and Publishing Assistance Program have finally been merged to create the Canada Periodical Fund. On the up-side, Macleans and a few other large large circulation magazines will have their subsidies cut by $1,000,000 plus, though they will still get a cheque of some sort. On the downside, and as expected, small circ literary mags will no longer get funding. An analysis of the winners and losers here. A particularly interesting fact:

Agricultural publications are exempt from the $1.5 million cap on grants based on the special contribution they make to Canadian society, according to the government. As far as Masthead can determine, this only affects one publication to date, The Western Producer, which received $1.8 million in PAP subsidy in 2008-2009. The weekly has a paid circulation of 61,000 with offices across western Canada, but is headquartered in Saskatoon, which is represented by Tory MP Maurice Vellakott.

Pigs are in, poetry's out.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Tory Turmoil, Rob Anders Edition

Most of his riding association quits.

The CRU Hack: 3 Months Later

From DeSmog Blog, we are directed to this story from IT-Networks, which looks at what we know about the CRU hack an IT perspective. Short version: it was a deliberate, skilled attempt to target

Phil Jones, the head of the CRU; Professor Keith Briffa, who studied tree rings; Tim Osborn, who worked on climate modelling for modern and archaeological data; and Mike Hulme, director of the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research.

A couple of details mentioned in the story that I have written about previously.

1) The hack was launched from a computer based on the east coast of north America.

This is deduced from the naming conventions used by CRU's email system, which also serve as time-stamps. More here.

2) Digital forensic analysis shows that the zipped archive of emails and documents was not produced on a single date. Instead it was created by copying the files over a number of weeks, with bursts on 30 September 2009, 10 October and 16 November. On the last date a folder of computer analysis code by Osborn was added to the package.

Early on, BBC meteorologist Paul Hudson implied that he had been shopped a subset of the hacked emails on October 12th, though it is not clear whether these were from the hacker (Hudson did not specify). He later went silent on the topic, but if the hacks were taking place over a 6 week period, then the idea that the emails came from the hacker becomes much more plausible. In fact, there is an interesting possible sequence of events here. On October 9th, Hudson writes a piece entitled What happened to global warming? which inspires a certain amount of email snark from the four scientists mentioned above, and it is just those emails that wind up in Hudson's in-box on the 12th. Is the hacker "telling tales" on the four CRU scientists in the hopes that Hudson will somehow respond?

Also, given that the N.A. location of the hack puts us in the middle of denier land, it would be interesting to find out what messages were hacked on what date and see how these correlate with what is going on Climate Audit at around the same time.

PS. Might be a good time to mention that Swifthack is still out there, countering the crud.

Harper's Maternal Life Initiative A "Pro Life Victory"

So says Lifesite, and who can gainsay them: Shelly Glover's interview on CBC's Power & Politics is pretty specific about what won't be in the government's plan. Rather less clear on what will be in it, although it will apparently involve "clean water, nutrition, and inoculations". Also "prevention and education", although the presumably the "prevention" part would not involve education re contraceptive options.

Die Media! DIE DIE DIE!!!!!!!!!!

WINNIPEG, Feb 10, 2010 (BUSINESS WIRE) -- Canwest Global Communications Corp. ("Canwest" or the "Company") announced today that Ms. Gail Asper OC, OM, LLD, Mr. David Asper and Ms. Lisa Pankratz have tendered their resignations from the Company's Board of Directors and all other director and officer positions with Canwest and its subsidiaries.

Derek Burney OC, Canwest's Chairman of the Board, said he thanked the Asper sibs for getting the fuck out now, assholes!, and if they were ever seen on the property again he would call the Cops.

Also, there's some information in the story about the company's "forward looking statements". Apparently, they all start with "We are so totally fucking doomed that..."

PS. Personally I figure I've chopped 5 cents per share off CanWest's market value. Booyah! That's why they won't stick me on their shitty "full comment" page! But they've still got a chance...morons! Otherwise wait 'til I run across one of them (Jonathon Kay, I'm looking at you!!) after their midlife career change, which is sure to involve burgers, hot grease and a spatula! I'll ask for extra mayo, and I will never be satisfied!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

The Canadian Olympic Beer Tent...

...has been constructed illegally?

Climate Audit: DOS (Denial Of Service) Men

It has become clear that the efforts of climate change denier Stephen McIntyre and his followers at Climate Audit to extract data from CRU in East Anglia through multiple FOI requests (dozens) amounted to a Denial Of Service attack against a scientific institution. Nor is it the first time McIntyre has been caught out at this sort of thing. Ben Santer, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California, once wrote:

"I'm damned and publicly vilified because I refused to provide McIntyre with the data he requested.... Had I acceded, I am convinced I would have spent years of my scientific career dealing with demands for further explanations, additional data, Fortran codes [a programming language] etc... For the remainder of my scientific career I'd like to dictate my own research agenda."

And of course, there was his 2007 attack on GISS (which was admittedly more a sign of lousy internet manners than ill-intent).

Some have suggested that the actions of McIntyre and his small army of tea-baggers with spread-sheets are undertaken in good faith. That the people around CA really just want to "set the information free", or some such nonsense. I find this difficult to believe. For one thing, as a strategy for political activism--sandbagging a gov. agency/researcher/institution you disapprove of with time wasting requests for information--is as old as the hills. Recently we have seen it here in Canada, with the Far Right's assault on the Canadian Human Rights Commission and corresponding provincial human rights bodies. Bloggers lodged frivolous human rights complaints to demonstrate that the system didn't work, bragged left and right that they were really out to hassle the agency, and then whined righteously when their frivolous complaints were dismissed. Right wing pressure groups launched pointless FOI requests, and then complained that their demands were not instantly met.

Nor are climatologists the only scientists to have suffered this kind of treatment. After Richard Lenski published his recent work on mutations in E. Coli, creationist Andy Schlafly (son of Phyllis) hounded him for his "raw data", all of which turned out to be available in the original paper. (And this, interestingly enough, highlights another occasional McIntyre demand data he's already been given.)

In any case, if it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, its likely a duck. Climate Audit is the center of a harassment campaigned being waged by anti-science activists against climate scientists. There's nothing more to it than that. It is not a science website.

A Litany Of Misquotation

In the last couple of months, journalistic practice from those reporters covering the Global Warming debate has been plagued by some rather worrying and, frankly, systemic misrepresentation of scientists. For example, the National Post bungled Andrew Weaver's interview to make him sound more critical of IPCC procedures than he really was, and David Rose has been a regular fount of mis-information. Now we have another climatologist, Professor Sir Brian Hoskins, a member of the UK government’s Committee on Climate Change and director of the Grantham Institute at London’s Imperial College, telling the Financial Times that they didn't get him quite right either..

Sir, In “Call to tighten climate science” (February 5), Fiona Harvey rightly quotes my statement that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change process has to be made more robust.

I think it important also to put on record the part of my comments that was not reported, which made clear that I have been hugely impressed with the way the IPCC conducted its most recent assessment. To have distilled coherent and robust accounts of the status of the understanding of climate change, and at the same time to exhibit the major uncertainties in this understanding, was a hugely impressive achievement by the IPCC.

The very small number of flaws in the thousands of pages of those reports should not be allowed to shake confidence in the arguments that depend on a very large number of strands of evidence and scientific contributions. I have been stressing the uncertainties for 30 years but also the increasing surety we have that we are doing something unprecedented and dangerous to the climate system.

Brian Hoskins,
Grantham Institute,
Imperial College London, UK

PS. Brian Hoskins is.

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Debunked In Under 10 Seconds

Bishop Hill finds a GISS Climatologist (Andrew Lascis) saying bad things about the Executive Summary of IPCC Report Chapter 9 in the reviewers' comments pertaining to that chapter! Oh My! Another "Climategate" scandal!

But wait! Lascis had problems with the summary's first draft! By draft number three, Mr. Lascis' issues seem to have been addressed!

Carry on.

PS. What does this episode really show us? Scientists had a disagreement. They argued about it. They came to a resolution! The system worked!!

Another Wildrose Pickup?

He's the guy got booted from the Alberta Tories after he criticized the provincial government after it cancelled plans for a long-term seniors' care facility in Fort McMurray. There's been speculation he might cross for at least a week or so now.

$10,000,000 For A Beer Tent?

The feds have been taking some flack for the Canadian Olympic pavilion in Vancouver and, yeah, it looks like a beer tent. But this site shows a number of the big pavilions for comparison purposes, and for the most part they incline towards the ugly. Alberta House resembles a bus shelter. Saxony House looks like a ginger-bread chalet. And what the hell is that?
Its Irish House, and its definitely (and proudly) a gigantic beer tent. Being right located right next to a pub (Doolin's Irish), it even allows you to simulate an old fashioned Belfast pub crawl, as made famous in Jame Joyce's Ulysses. Just don't get nicked by the Bulls!

Monday, February 08, 2010

Ezra Backdates

The amazing Buckets has now confirmed Ezra Levant's back-dating of a post that may well prove important to the defamation case being brought against him by CHRC lawyer Giacomo Vigna. Put crudely, Vigna has sued Levant for suggesting that he (Vigna) faked an illness to get out of a CHRT (Canadian Human Rights Tribunal) hearing; in his "Correction" , Levant admits that Vigna was indeed able to secure a doctor's note for whatever ailed him, AND that he turned said note over to the tribunal. All of which Levant had asserted previously was NOT THE CASE.

In the comments to a previous post, lawyer Ted Betts speculated as to why Levant's correction might have been issued in the first place:

By back-dating a post, it does not appear in the blog aggregator, exposing it to the eyes of so many more people. Try it with Liblogs or Progressive Bloggers.

A defamation claim is about harm to one's reputation because of the publication of falsehoods. In a defamation suit, therefore an apology is important for two reasons.

First, if you lose, you can claim the penalty should be less since the harm caused to the plaintiff's reputation was eliminated or at least lessened by a retraction or apology in the same publication. i.e. anyone who saw the first falsehood would have seen the retraction and therefore the reputation was unharmed.

Second - and this is fairly new law - it is an important defence to show that, even if the facts you relayed were false, you were not acting maliciously but based on what you thought was true and the moment you found out your information was incorrect, you apologized or retracted. In fact, the failure to apologize, clarify or retract a known falsehood when given the chance can be taken against you.

Which makes the back-dating even more interesting since, by back-dating it and minimizing the number of people who see it, it defeats the purpose of publishing it in the first place.

And this comes out a day before the case is due to start! Damn that's raw!

Say, How DId That Happen... Part II

Yesterday, I suggested that Ezra Levant might have back-dated a post in which he retracted some of the false information he had been pushing re Giacomo Vigna, a CHRC lawyer that Levant will be meeting in an Ottawa courtroom tomorrow morning at 10:00 AM.

Buckets asked why somebody would care to back date a post? Well--and I am of course speculating here--when you have so many acolytes following your defamation cases, some of whom are also getting sued, often because they took your word as truth on some point or another, and you are forced to make an embarrassing factual concession to one of your legal opponents... Maybe you want to do so in a manner that will bring as little attention to the admission as possible. Stick your "correction" among week-old posts where most people are likely to miss it.

In any case, much of the evidence for back-dating came from the comments to this particular post. For one thing, there were only three there originally (plus one test comment I made yesterday) as opposed to the 30 or 40 a Levant post usually generates. Furthermore, while the post itself was dated January 18th, the earliest comment to it was from the 23rd, almost a week later.

Yesterday, sometime during the evening...those comments were made to disappear (as CC pointed out in my comments). By whom, I wonder? And to what end?

Cue the theme from The Twilight Zone!

Doo Doo Doo Doo
Doo Doo Doo Doo
Doo Doo Doo Doo
Doo Doo Doo Doo the key of B minor.

NANOS Confirms Collapse

The Conservatives led by nearly 10 points in mid-November…they are now at 35.6% while the Liberals are at 33.9%...the NDP is at 16.4% and the Greens are at Québec, the Bloc is at 33.2%...the Liberals are at 29.3%...the Conservatives are at 22.2% and the NDP are at 10.5%.

Nanos last(?) poll had the Tories just short of 40%. owever, the improvement noted here and elsewhere apparently isn't enough to tempt federal Libs towards bringing down the government in March, which probably wouldn't work anyway with Mr. Layton not at 100% and, therefore, probably looking to avoid the stress of a campaign. One would hope though, that, the Libs will now oppose some of the pending legislation that's athema to their core support (C-391, anybody?) a little more forcefully. Some people, me at least, would like to see them win one or two as the opposition.

Sunday, February 07, 2010

I Wonder

...if Tory MP Rod Bruinooge would explain where he gets information about "sex-select abortions" in Canada. He might also explain why the Tories have been systematically defunding the Canadian Federation of Sexual Health. When he gets a moment.

Say, How Did That Happen

An interesting post from Ezra Levant dated January 18th. I say interesting because, well, I missed it at the time, which (if you know me) is a bit surprising. Also, such comments as were made in response to the post are all dated from January 23rd and later. The post's title: Correction, and in it Ezra retracts some false information he gave out re Giacomo Vigna, whose lawsuit against the Ez goes forward this week.

Wonder if there's any way to show whether or not the Ez wrote it later and back-dated it?

Outta Dough?

Has Speechy Warrior Jay Currie discovered that, while speech may be free, web-space costs at least 5$ per month?

It wouldn't be the first time.

Saturday, February 06, 2010

Could Two Wrongs Make A Right?

Could racist whackjob (and former Reform Party MP) Jim Pankiw pull enough votes from the homophobic but extremely hot Tory MP Brad Trost to throw Saskatoon-Humboldt to the NDP? Pankiw received 20% of the vote when he ran last.

And is it wrong to support Evil to prevent a Greater Evil? How about contribute to its campaign?

On Stiffing The Grassroots

CPoC Central moves to protect Rob Anders, Canada's worst MP. This story has been unfolding for a couple of years now. Calgary West is one of the country's safest ridings: the Tories could run a three-legged gopher there and win by a mile. Yet attempts by the local riding association to find someone a little less embarrassing over the years have been constantly rebuffed.

PS. OT (but there is a Levant/Anders connection, click on 3rd link above), Ezra has been dinged by the Law Society of Alberta and, yeah, I was right, Levant v. Vigna kicks off next week.