Thursday, September 30, 2010
To Know Him Is To Sue Him, Part Gazillion And One
I have a buddy that tells me what he's up to on weekends. I don't hang with him much, because most of his stories end with "...and then the cops threw me through plate-glass window". Similarly, most of the episodes in Ezra's life seem to end with "and then I got sued".
Tories Raise Taxes
...which will almost certainly lead to more reports like this.
Update: The Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) will take its half a loaf.
Mashey on Wegman
John Mashey is an American computer scientist, best known as the creator of the "Mashey Shell". He has also done some fascinating research on, for example, the demographics of the AGW denialist movement, which I have written about here and here. However, his latest project, appearing on the Deep Climate website, is more important by several orders of magnitude.
Because, in essence, Mashey is accusing the writers of The Wegman Report (whether these were Wegman himself or others on his team) of plagiarism, among a host of other forms of academic mis-conduct:
Of 91 pages, 35 are mostly plagiarized text, but often injected with errors, bias and changes of meaning. Its Bibliography is mostly padding, 50% of the references uncited in the text. Many references are irrelevant or dubious. The team relied heavily on a long-obsolete sketch and very likely on various uncredited sources. Much of the work was done by Said (then less than 1 year post-PhD) and by students several years pre-PhD. The (distinguished) 2nd author Scott wrote only a 3-page standard mathematical Appendix. Some commenters were surprised to be later named as serious “reviewers.
In his recommendations, Mashey suggests:
George Mason University ought to investigate many problems, as should several other universities and journals, the US Office of Research Integrity and perhaps the American Statistical Association (ethics issues). At least 4 agencies may have possible fund mis-uses to consider. Some authors or publishers might pursue copyright issues. Congress and the DoJ should investigate the manufacture of the Wegman Report. Possible felonies are covered by the US Code, 18.U.S.C §1001 (misleading Congress), §371 (conspiracy), §4 (misprision), which might involve many more people. The report lists about 30 issues, not all for Wegman Report itself, but including derivations and related activities.
I should emphasize once again that this is serious stuff. For one thing, the accusations leave Mr. Mashey and the folks at DC open to a possible lawsuit. However, the instances of plagiarism, padding, and "dubious" citations are so thoroughly documented (here)that I think their case has been pretty much demonstrated. To give just one example, the Wegman Report bibliography references:
Valentine, Tom (1987) "Magnetics may hold key to ozone layer problems," Magnets, 2(1) 18-26.
It turns out that Mr. Valentine has no relevant scientific background. Furthermore, he has also written about engines that consume no fuel, psychic surgery, and other like topics in addition to the ozone hole. Remember again that The Wegman Report was presented to the U.S. congress as a piece of reputable science.
In any case, Mashey's research is also serious stuff because of its timing. The U.S. Republicans may walk away from November's mid-term elections with control of the House, Senate, or perhaps both chambers, and they have already promised to launch witch-hunts against climate scientists. It would be useful to have Mr. Wegman, should he be on the witness list in one of these show trials, confronted with some of the irregularities in his own research.
For more information, Joe Romm has a good account here.
Wednesday, September 29, 2010
Conspicuous By Their Absence...
Nicholls Makes No Sense
Writes the [Toronto] Sun: “Either Rob Ford or George Smitherman, it appears, will be our next mayor and neither has a fiscal plan worth warm spit.”
And I guess, if an election was akin to some sort of academic exercise the Sun would be right.
However, elections are about politics. And in politics the last thing you want to do is talk about details.
The more details you divulge the more likely you are to drive away potential voters.
Well, Nicholls knows more about politics than I do, but I think he's wrong. Higher up the political food chain--federally and provincially--there is certainly a greater tendency towards vague platitudes, whether you think this is a healthy thing or not. But the municipal level is where the rubber hits the road; if you have a transit plan, then its pretty easy to find out if the numbers add up or not. There are no lower levels of government on which to dump the monetary burden, and fewer thimbles to hide the pea underneath.
One problem, though, is just as The Sun notes: the fiscal plans of all the major T.O. candidates are obviously inadequate. And you can expand this observation to their transit plans as well. Rocco Rossi--who I am still inclined towards--says he will bury the Allen Expressway. Yeah. Sure he will...if a gazillion $s land in his lap. Rob Ford says he'll close the TTC subway loop. Sure he will...if a gazillion $s land in his lap. The only candidate making sense is Joe Pantalone, who's basically holding to the transit city/metrolinx deal already negotiated with the province. And, for me, he's not really a voting option: at this point, the city doesn't need more Miller-lite (or, perhaps, Miller-short). So, there's a dilemma. I can't argue against a Rob Ford candidacy by appealing to the policy platforms of the other contenders; they're all crap.
Nevertheless, I wouldn't trade what has been a fairly high level of media engagement and analysis during this race for the depressing slop currently on offer at the federal level. I'd even go so far as to commend The Sun for the fact while, they are clearly in Ford's corner, they haven't been afraid to rake him over the coals once or twice.
NDP On Fox News North
Even though Mr. Teneyke is no longer involved in this proposal, I remain concerned. This application must be treated on its merits, not on its political connections to the Conservative government.
To this end, New Democrats will continue to push back against any perceived meddling in the CRTC consideration of this application.
Again, if the CRTC allows SunTV a standard issue, plain vanilla, no special considerations cable license, I say bring 'em on. For I have a theory which states that no right-wing national news network can survive in this country. But for my theory to be proven correct, FNN must exist for at least a short time before failing miserably and in public. You have to get off the run-way before you can crash and burn, in other words.
Tuesday, September 28, 2010
Stockwell Day Taken In By Alien Ambassador Hoax
A closing thought. The UN this week also named somebody to advise the world about talking to creatures from outer space when they arrive here.
Except they didn't: it was a hoax. UN representative Mazlan Othman, who was allegedly being lined up for the role of speaker-to-aliens, wrote in an email:
"It sounds really cool but I have to deny it," she said of the story. She will be attending a conference next week, but she'll be talking about how the world deals with "near-Earth objects".
As far as I know, Stockwell is the most prominent Western politician to have been taken in by the hoax.
Round To Stockwell?
And of course she's referencing to 2009 General Social Survey: Victimization, where it is written that:
For the eight crime types covered by the 2009 GSS on victimization, the proportion of incidents reported to the police by respondents fell from 34% in 2004 to 31% in 2009.
Except that, I think she's wrong about this being contrary to Stockwell, for if the proportion of incidents reported goes down, that means the number of unreported incidents goes up. Which is what Mr. Day seemed to be suggesting.
For an account of earlier rounds, read this. And, mind you, this still doesn't justify building more prisons as unreported crimes are by definition ones in which the criminal was not brought to justice.
Monday, September 27, 2010
Sue Macleans, THEN Defund Them
The carnival has demanded Maclean’s apologize and pull all issues from store shelves. The magazine has refused, and the issue has sold out in many Quebec stores.
More info on the defunding option here. Meanwhile, Wells tries to pretend the article wasn't crap.
And this is a good start at an apology:
While Maclean’s recognizes that Bonhomme is a symbol of the Carnaval, the character is also more widely recognized as a symbol of the province of Quebec. We used Bonhomme as a means of illustrating a story about the province’s political culture, and did not intend to disparage the Carnaval in any way. Maclean’s is a great supporter of both the Carnaval and of Quebec tourism. Our coverage of political issues in the province will do nothing to diminish that support.
But it needs more self-abasement.
National Captital Region Planning New Museum
Requests for Proposals are sought from consulting firms, museum planners or communications firms to provide services in the planning of a new Canada Science and Technology Museum (CSTM). The Canada Science and Technology Museums Corporation (CSTMC) will engage one team to assist the corporation in its exercising of due diligence for the development of a Business Case for a new CSTM. This business case will build on the Concept Master Plan for a new CSTM completed in September 2009, and will include the production of a concise, high quality document and a number of facilitated discussions with potential stakeholders. The conclusions of the business case will inform future work on this project. The CSTMC is committed to following as much as possible green processes in the development of its new science and technology museum and this commitment extends to all phases of the project including this one. The total budget for fees and disbursements (excluding travel expenses) for this phase of the project cannot exceed $ 175,000.
This is one of the Ottawa museums that I've missed on my occasional visits, mostly because I've been told that it isn't very good. Given the reviews, it looks like gov. would want to rebuild the "windowless one-floor warehouse" that currently houses the exhibits.
Or It Could Come Later Rather Than Sooner...
Oh, and here's Monte Solberg rattling on about the gun registry again. You don't have to read it...or rather, you're read it already 1,000 times before.
My problem under these circumstances is I'm running out of MPs with decent hair to write about. Hmm. This one isn't too bad.
Sunday, September 26, 2010
The AGW Consensus
Figures provide descriptive statistics for all variables contained in the survey. Most survey questions were designed on a seven point rating scale. A set of statements was presented to which the respondent was asked to indicate his or her level of agreement or disagreement, for example, 1 = strongly agree, 7 = strongly disagree. The value of 4 can be considered as an expression of ambivalence or impartiality or, depending on the nature of the question posed, for example, in a question posed as a subjective rating such as "How much do you think climate scientists are aware of the information that policy makers incorporate into their decision making process?", a value of 4 is no longer a measure of ambivalence, but rather a metric.
It seems to me that for a participating scientist, most if not all of the questions asked could be interpreted as asking for a metric, in which case for most if not all questions the "4" ranking would no longer constitute neutrality or no pronounced opinion, but something more like a pronounced opinion towards a "B" grade.
That said, the survey is filled with suggestive if not conclusive material. For example, on the performance on the IPCC:
"Generally speaking, crap" would be my interpretation of these two graphs.
Saturday, September 25, 2010
And, just to be clear as to what's going on here: this an attempt by Ken Whyte, once of the National Post, to stir up some enmity against La Belle Province so as to sell a few copies of his slowly fading magazine to knuckle-draggers.
I'd also point out that, as far as I know, any publications accepting handouts from the periodical fund are still subject to questionable content complaints. If Macleans wants to trash a quarter of the population, maybe it should do so exclusively employing funding from the private sector.
People who know him, say Mr. Wright is a small government enthusiast when it comes to the economy and is a “moderate so-con” on social issues. But one member of the Conservative caucus who has known him for decades, said Mr. Wright is likely to focus on the economy and not wander into areas of social policy, such as the census, which have gotten his predecessor into so much trouble.
Economists on the economy:
OTTAWA - Canadian economy watchers could see something in the coming week they haven't seen for a while - a negative reading on gross domestic product.
Statistics Canada is scheduled to provide its GDP report for July on Thursday. Economists polled by Bloomberg expect it will show a 0.1 per cent decline in overall economic activity for the month. The previous report showed the economy expanding 0.2 per cent in June.
I wonder if the Tories wouldn't be better concentrating on other issues. The Bank Of Canada sees growth slowing in 2011 (and 2012), and it looks to be slowing even more quickly than they have forecast. Don't put your gun registry talking points away yet, methinks.
Friday, September 24, 2010
Fox News North Moves To Center, And Leishman Is Out
The Sun Media chain of newspapers made a conscious decision in the last months to be clearer of editorial voice and, knowing its market for compact newspapers - let’s just call them tabloids - veered more right on the political spectrum in its opinion columns and editorials or points-of-view, as we call them.
But it has since realized that what’s good for the tabloids in big cities such as Toronto and Calgary and Edmonton, might not be as good for the 20 or so community broadsheet newspapers it owns in Ontario cities such as London and Kingston and St. Catharines, as well as smaller centres such as Sarnia, Chatham-Kent and Woodstock.
If that coffee group keeps an eye on things for the next weeks, I think it will note a certain nudge back to a more centrist view of things that includes voices from more of a range of political views.
So, Sun Media clearly wants to scrub some of Teneycke's influence from its editorial and opinion pages. This is also evident in the rehiring of Peter Zimonjic.
The Free Press editors' blog notes further that writer Rory Leishman is no longer with the paper. More information is said to coming on that story, but we can safely assume it was over the dust-up re this column on "Islamist Extremism", which the LFP refused to publish on Sept. 11th.
Ernst Georg Beck Passes Away
The scientific value of his work on this topic was negligible.
Tories Move On The Environment: Their G20 summit “Signature Environmental Project”
One of the columns he wrote just before Sun Media allegedly sacked his ass down the highway for telling too much truth about wasteful spending at the twin summits.
I'm talking about The Living Wall, the Harper government's "signature environmental project", according to their tender, at the G8/G20 summit. In other words, the project that was to serve as the government's major statement on the environment at the summit, to serve as a symbol to the G20 of Canada's commitment to a cleaner, greener planet.
First off, both Greg Weston and I were both wrong about the nature of the wall: we thought it was an immense shrubbery. But if you look at this release (and this release) from The Direct Energy Center, where the wall was eventually installed, you realize that it is in fact one of NEDLAW Living Wall Inc.'s vegetal biofilters (picture top left), which use ( paraphrasing from Nedlaw's description) lush, green plants and beneficial microbes to create better indoor spaces by cleaning the air with the same processes that nature uses every day.
The price tag? (click image to enlarge)
I will leave it to my readers to decide whether a quarter million is too much to pay for what, while an interesting and unique piece of technology, is very much like an organic HVAC unit. For myself, the problem is more the reverse: conceptually, the project seems the result of thinking small. This was supposed to be, after all, our "signature" project for the entire summit. Supposed to be Da Bomb, the Pièce de résistance, in other words.
And in the end more money was spent on car rentals.
Thursday, September 23, 2010
Soros Threatens Shaidle Over Ezra
Congrats To The NDP On Gun Registry Vote
Now onto the economy, where some economists--but I can't find the link--are predicting a negative GDP number for July.
Wednesday, September 22, 2010
Kady O'Malley Is NOT DEAD!
But in any case, I have just been informed that Kady is fine, though the limb may need an ice-pad if not a replacement.
You may return to your frenzied celebrations. Remember its just Wednesday, and you have to work tomorrow.
I Can't Bust A Move
A Parliamentay Wasteland...
Canadians this year have little room to poke fun or wax superior to our neighbours when it comes to a lack of substantive discourse.
The Ottawa landscape before us has rarely seemed less exciting, and that's saying something.
After the gun-registry vote, its a vast wasteland, with Bill C-32 likely to disappear into committee until everyone alive today has died of natural causes. In fact, that's one of the reasons the registry vote is getting wall-to-wall coverage. Poli-junkies know that its down-hill after that. Concentrate on their hair, people! That's all there is to see! In the end, that's all there ever was! Concentrate on their hair!
Japan And Canada Square Off Over Green Jobs
In what may be an ominous shot across the bow for green jobs advocates, Japan on September 13 submitted a complaint to the World Trade Organization alleging that a Canadian renewable energy law violates WTO non-discrimination rules.  At issue are a set of domestic content requirements built into Ontario’s landmark green energy law,  which are designed to guarantee that local producers – and local jobs –supply a minimum percentage of the technology used to meet the province’s ambitious goals for renewable energy generation.  While Japan’s “Request for Consultation” with Canada does not formally initiate a case before the WTO’s Dispute Settlement Body (DSB), it nevertheless sets the stage for a high-stakes showdown between the two countries, with potentially global repercussions for energy and industrial policy linking renewable power to high tech employment opportunities.
What does all this mean for green jobs in the U.S.? The answer is anything but clear, as current and proposed U.S. legislation on green jobs looks quite different than Ontario’s unique FIT program. Rather than utilize conditional feed-in tariffs to incentivize domestic manufacturing, the 2007 Green Jobs Act, for instance, authorizes millions of dollars to create an “Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Worker Training Program” to help develop skills in energy efficient construction and manufacturing, among other things.  Such workforce training would seem to steer clear of the thorny trade law problems triggered by Ontario’s approach.
A slightly less technical version of the story, which casts the decision making process of the McGuinty government in a rather poor light, can be found here.
Tuesday, September 21, 2010
Crunch Time, Liberals
And, oh yeah, there's the leadership question, too. If Iggy can't hold the troops in line here there will be immediate and intense speculation as to his continued viability as Liberal Leader, which he may not survive. Imagine the painstaking work of the last three months strangled in its crib, clubbed with a brick, and then spit upon.
Do Harper's Glasses Make Him Look At All Sexxxy?
Not, obviously, as sexxxy as in the shot below, but a man can only achieve this level of sexxxiness maybe a few times in their life. I personally have achieved it seven times, the last being on August 4th, 2003.
In any case, I'm writing about Harper's specs because Kathryn Blaze
did, and Kathryn Blaze did because Jeffrey Simpson 's column today is true. So, yeah, its going to be a long parliamentary session but don't worry, Ill be hitting on all the non-substantial stuff that will be there for the taking in lieu of anything meaningful.
Monday, September 20, 2010
Atwood Could Have Sued Fox News North, Didn't
...although I had grounds for a lawsuit or two of my own, I decided not to go down that road at present — who can afford the time?
After consulting with the GP, I decided to give the poor SUN a chance – after all, it would be mean of me and a seasonal vegetable to crush such a weak media conglomerate, with a mere 10.5 million (what are they? subscribers?) and a bazillion dollars. They offered me 600 words.
"I decided not to go down that road at present" means she still might. Margaret, darling, sue them and I'll set up a tip jar. I can throw in a $5 to start with. Maybe more later, depending on the lotto.
Harper Goes With Hot Chicks, Iggy With Ethnics
PS. Yeah, the shot of Ruby is totally gratuitous...you think....FOOL!!
Gruending On The Gun Registry
It costs people too much to register rifles and shotguns and the process is swathed in red tape. In fact, it’s free to register or transfer the registration of rifles and shotguns and gun owners can register their guns online or over the phone in minutes.
Gun violence is a big city problem but long gun registry targets people in rural areas. In fact, gun deaths are higher in rural areas and Western provinces. In Yukon, for example, gun deaths run at about three times the national average.
The firearms registry does nothing to prevent violence against women. Safety experts and frontline workers women’s shelters across the country beg to differ. They say that the registry helps reduce violence against women. Do you prefer to believe them or to believe a gun shop owner on this one?
Go get 'em, Dennis.
Sunday, September 19, 2010
Reality Refutes Tony Clement
T.O.'s Summer Of Construction Hell To Extend Into Fall
Maybe We Should
The origonal tweet.
Saturday, September 18, 2010
A Point To Note Re Any Defamation Case Against Ezra And/Or Fox News North
Dr. Weaver's statement of claim not only asks for a Court injunction requiring The National Post to remove all of the false allegations from its Internet websites, but also seeks an unprecedented Court order requiring the newspaper to assist Dr. Weaver in removing the defamatory National Post articles from the many other Internet sites where they have been re-posted.
And it reminded me how many people out there are willing to spread the" truth" of Ezra across the Internet. It would certainly make any attempt to comply with this demand, were Soros' legal team to make it, painful, difficult, and expensive.
Almost Starting To Feel Sorry For Kory
PS. I think Kirk Schmidt must be this guy.
PPS. Wife asked why I was singing this morning. Said it was unusual, then asked me to stop.
I, Sir, Am A Wiggly Worm, Sir...
Upon receiving a letter of complaint from Mr. Soros’s legal counsel on September 13, 2010, Sun Media Corporation always intended to publish a retraction and apology for this column. Despite constant efforts on both sides, Sun Media and Mr. Soros’s counsel were unable to reach agreement on the content of a retraction.
Wonder if that means the suit is still on? In any case, their doesn't look as if there was much negotiating to be done. Sun Media's abasement seems utter:
The management of Sun Media wishes to state that there is no basis for the statements in the column and they should not have been made.
Sun Media, this newspaper and Ezra Levant retract the statements made in the column and unreservedly apologize to Mr. Soros for the distress and harm this column may have caused to him.
When you think of Ezra, think of the phrase "there is no basis for the statements", and everything will become clear.
PS. Some speculation as to whether the suit might still be on. Sounds like it might be.
Friday, September 17, 2010
You don't have to thank me. But you can if you want.
Best Refutation Money Can Buy
Mr Montford...was paid £3,000 for carrying out the review...
3,000.00 GBP = 4,809.71 CAD
And while Fred Pearce thinks there are still lingering questions re CRU's response to FOI requests,I thought those had been answered here.
Trost On Sask. Stadium Funding
I sense that this government has lost direction.
Thursday, September 16, 2010
The Ez Gets The Message
What Did I Tell You?
With respect to the Kory Teneycke departure, it is worth noting Richard Madan's CTV report last night that kind of rounds out the picture. The big tidbit there, which I couldn't find anywhere else, that George Soros is suing Quebecor for defamation, presumably for that Ezra Levant column earlier this month which is now nowhere to be found.
What I told you was, if Fox News North hired Ezra they'd be drowning in law-suits before the first broadcast!
Well he's writing for their newspapers again, and now we hear via Don Martin that that "ever-colourful" ""author"" Ezra Levant will have a show on the new network. What I want to know is: will he be forced to step down before he's hired?
PS. The column Fox News North disappeared can still be found on Ezra's website sporting the title "George Schwartz, the Jewish Nazi". I won't link to what may be defamatory material, but if you're out there, Mr. Soros, tell your lawyers they still have some legal disinfectant to apply.
Will Inky Mark Defer His Retirement To Help Pass Bill C-391 Repealing The Gun Registry?
Speaking of stupid petitions: there's also that one calling for a repeal of section 13 of the CHRA that I wrote about back in April . Remember? It was high profile stuff; Tory Senator Doug Finley was going to present it to Parliament when it reached 100,000 signatures. So far they're stuck at 336.
And then there's the Fox News North Facebook page, which has a whopping 1,609 followers.
Anyway, I forget what my point was.
Wednesday, September 15, 2010
What A Way To Start Your New Career
Apparently, caught in this fib, Adler will be announcing his resignation from the new position at a press conference tomorrow.
And he's still as homely as the rest of them.
Sun TV Adds Some Glam
DENIED BY ADLER
Perhaps stung by my criticism re the generally homely appearance of their reporters, Fox News North has added talk jock Charles Adler to their stableFNN will now become the first stop on the cable dial for angry, middle-aged white guys with bum tickers. How can it possibly fail?
The Vampire Teneycke steps down! Booyah! I bet Ezra is next to go.
Blast From Past: The Dawn Of The Speechy Wars
Connie and Marc Fournier--owners of the oft sued FreeDominion BBS for "Principled Conservatives"-- have recently received a large if largely redacted set of files from the CHRC (Canadian Human Rights Commission). They have created a .pdf of this material, which pertains to the first hate-speech complaint raised against them by one Marie-Lynne Gentes in 2007.
And, reading through the documents, it looks as though Connie and Marc got screwed. Not by Richard Warman or the CHRC or Marie-Lynne Gentes, but by anti-gay activist Bill Whatcott, who they have defended fiercely as an ally over the years.
(As an aside: criticizing Bill was what got me booted from FreeD. I told Connie and Marc: This guy is bad news. You need more enemies like me around to keep you out of the trouble your friends get you into. But they didn't listen. Later, they tried to have me fired. Whatever).
Reading through the .pdf, it becomes clear that Whatcott's anti-gay pamphlets, which he was distributing door-to-door (in Edmonton, I believe), bore FreeD's URL; in other words, from Whatcott's pamphlet's you would reasonably conclude that Free-Dominion was his website, a fact the Fourniers had no knowledge of (and something Whatcott did not see fit to tell them). So when the CHRC decided to proceed against Whatcott's on-line activities, they naturally turned on FreeD.
Interestingly enough, the gang at Free Dominion are still blaming the usual suspects for their troubles. Given their ideological commitments, I'm not sure they will ever be able to correctly perceive Whatcott's treachery.
How Fox News North Can Earn The Trust Of The Canadian Left
Tuesday, September 14, 2010
Make Of This What You Will
I will be watching the building to see if anyone tries to sneak out with their lap-top or an NP coffee mug.
PS. Kady says its not such a big deal.
The Only Visible Sign Of The Money Spent
A "hoarding" is a slightly fancier word for "temporary fence". There's one in the picture above.
NDP Double Game?
"Far too often, Eastern-based reporters say it¹s the Liberals and the Tories who are neck-and-neck and fighting it out for government," Lavigne said from Regina Sunday. "In fact, in Western Canada and now we believe with the gun registry, it¹s the NDP not the Liberals who are the competition in out here.
His conclusion, which sounds plausible to me, is that while Jack Layton is telling the East he's doing all he can to save the registry, he's telling the West that he's willing to see the thing dead. The problem is, the gun-registry votes are fast approaching: at some point Jack has to open the box, and Schrödinger's cat will decohere.
PS. At this point the numbers on C-391 are very close, perhaps tied. If one or two more NDP MPS switch, then the ball will be back in the LPoC court, and the test will be how effectively Iggy can whip his own people. Should he fail, all the good work of this past summer will have been for nothing.
Monday, September 13, 2010
Sun TV: A Modest Proposal
Here I would like to suggest a political stance that would both confront Sun TV with a standard to live up to, and accept its existence on the cable dial should it live up to that standard.
But first, a few preliminaries: much of this debate has been and will likely remain within the realm of the hypothetical; Sun TV's plea for special status on the cable dial is an admission that it cannot live on its own in the marketplace. And even if the CRTC grants this special status, there are a number of indications that the network's road forward will be difficult, if not impossible.
For example, there is clear evidence that Sun TV is going to be run "on the cheap", exiting its live coverage and going to repeats after 9 pm. Furthermore, the network has been slow to such basic tasks as getting a black-berry into the hands of its star reporter. This evidence has not gone unnoticed by other Canadian media folk; as a result, attempts at recruiting talent from the major networks have fallen flat over the past several months, with arguably the greatest failure ("arguably", because the details here are somewhat obscure) being an unsuccessful effort to attract Krista Erickson to the cause. And in her absence, the most camera-ready visage at Sun TV winds up being David Akin, which is to say that the new TV network, having been unable to purchase beauty, will have a collective face better suited for radio.
However, assuming that these challenges can be surmounted, progressives' main worry with respect to Sun TV has always been that it will become a conduit for dangerous hate speech. And there is indeed some grounds for this concern. As Sun TV's new management team has moved into place, the newspapers associated with it--particularly the Toronto Sun--have lurched right on their editorial page, urging, for example, the mass murder to Tamil refugees.
More ominously, writers at the Toronto Sun have recently been instructed to "tab (as in tabloid) it up". Now, to understand what this implies, note that phrase from which this one is derived-- "black it up"--when directed at an African-American entertainment personality, means to behave in an exaggeratedly ethnic manner--to talk "gangsta" and sport "bling", as it were--so as to reestablish "street credibility". Since we are in this case dealing with a right wing media outlet, we can safely interpreted the papers' orders as being equivalent to "white it up". Presumably, the paper's displays of faux patriotism, minority bashing, and constant denigration of women ,will all be amped up a notch.
Will this also be what we can expect out of the new tv network? Extrapolating from the ideological source material, it would appear so. What can be done to prevent such a result?
I think our stance towards Sun TV should be guided by, curiously enough, the example of Al Jazeera Canada. For Al Jazeera's road to a spot on the Canadian cable dial was similarly filled with controversy. The first attempt, made by Al Jazeera Arabic in 2003, foundered over often justified accusations of anti-semitism. During the 2nd, successful attempt--by Al Jazeera English this time--managing editor Tony Burman made a concerted outreach attempt to both B'nai Brith and the Canadian Jewish Congress, in the end going so far as to propose a liaison committee that would respond quickly to any concerns raised about content on the network. As a result, the CJC finally swung behind the approval of Al Jazeera's license, and a more skeptical B'nai Brith at least refrained from negative comment.
And what I propose is this: the CRTC should demand a similar outreach attempt on the part of Sun TV as a condition of approving it for any spot on cable. Now, I understand there are practical problems associated with the idea. For example, and considering once again the new network's ideological wellsprings, it is most likely that the Canadian Jewish community is the one minority group that Sun TV will not target for abuse. As a result, any liaison committee is going to be large and unwieldy. Nevertheless, if Sun TV will agree to conduct itself in an honourable fashion, after the manner of Al Jazeera English--to pull itself out of the hate speech sewer--then the response to it from Canadian Progressives ought to be an at least grudging "yes".
Sunday, September 12, 2010
Fox News North: Tab It Up
Does Quebecor's "tab it up" mean British tab, with topless SUNshine Girls and oodles of cops and robbers front pages?
And, its weird: this morning Brian Lilley spends a whole column pondering Heather Mallick, nekkid. No pictures, though, I'm afraid. There's apparently no budget for that.
Saturday, September 11, 2010
Fox News North Bringing The Hate Speech?
Now read the article. In the strictest possible terms, the headline, given the content of the article, is a lie. Now, with today's date, the media outlet, and the fact that the readers of that media outlet seldom read past the headline (as they grow weary from moving their lips)...is this a deliberate blast of anti-Muslim hate speech on the part of Sun Media?
I would argue that it is.
Or simple illiteracy. That's a distinct possibility. Either does not reflect well on our new hard-edged media masters.
Spot The Fox News North Fuck Up
I'm sure Akin is reacting to the fact that they didn't give him a black-berry for so long.
PS. Yeah its a cheap gotcha. But today's a travelling day. The serious smiting will start again tomorrow, or Monday at the latest.
H/T John Smith.
Friday, September 10, 2010
Your Daily Nazi: On Nazi Analogies
Any government that can talk itself into believing that a separatist veto over the Constitution of Canada helps national unity can talk itself into any other kind of concession. It is the Neville Chamberlain approach to constitutional negotiation: unity in our time through irrational concessions. When Winston Churchill was asked how to deal with a Prime Minister taking that approach, he replied: ``If the Prime Minister trips, he must be sustained; if he makes mistakes, they must be covered; if he sleeps, he must not be wantonly disturbed; but if he is no good, he must be poleaxed''.
To which the honourable Herb Gray replied:
Mr. Speaker, in the justice system there is a provision whereby a judge can order somebody to be sent for a mental examination for a period of 30 days. Mr. Speaker, I was thinking that we might give you that authority and that the leader of the Reform Party be the first candidate for that procedure.
To which some honourable members responded: Oh, oh. Sounds like an appropriate response in this latest instance as well.
Thursday, September 09, 2010
The Hard, Cheap Hand Of Kory Tenecycke
But the folks at the Sun Family don't think this is a voluntary career move:
...with all of the bullshit going on in Sun Media these days, we are not at all convinced Bono is 100% behind abandoning his popular columns for anonymous editorials.
Take a read of today's announcement.
Do quotes attributed to Bono sound like Bono, or more like same old, same old Quebecor rhetoric?
The loss of Mark Bonokoski columns is yet another case of paying more for less and it is becoming increasingly difficult to justify paying for the Toronto Sun.
You see why these guys are having trouble recruiting? I wonder if, after nearly three months, they've sprung for David Akin's black-berry?
Tuesday, September 07, 2010
Stockwell Day And The English Language
All of this to say 'yes', Kafkaesque situations are alive and well even in the most erstwhile of government operations.
I've often said of Conservatives: their hearts can be in the right place but they get into trouble from not knowing the meanings of too many words.
Cosmic Death Spiral
Monday, September 06, 2010
HST Deja Vu
The Opposition New Democrats have been unrelenting in their criticism of the Liberal government for its refusal to reverse course on the tax, and they've publicly supported a petition campaign that collected signatures from more than half a million voters opposed to the HST.
But the party also acknowledges even a change in government would do little to change the position the provinces is in: a five-year agreement with Ottawa that could come with stiff financial penalties if B.C. tries to walk away early.
I haven't really followed all the B.C. shenanigans over harmonization. Seeing Van Der Zalm on the tube gives me too many 70s flashbacks. But Left Coasters can take note of Tim Hudak's "dodging and darting" over the issue back in Ontario. If you think tossing out the Campbell government is step one towards an eventual repeal, think again.
Speaking with my dear parents, it sounds as though the BC Libs have problems that go far beyond the new tax. Also, I am told, when harmonization was introduced out here Gord Campbell eschewed the various exemptions McGuinty has put in place to quell the whining from various special interests. So there is probably room for the NDP to take a "mend it, don't end it" approach. But, again--sorry West Coast kiddies, get used to your new harmonized sales tax. It ain't going away, EVAH.
Sunday, September 05, 2010
Conservatives Move To Keep Canadian Airforce All Gassed Up
Census Deja Vu
A Fine Balance...
Saturday, September 04, 2010
Mike Lake's Blast From The Past
And the answer to that new argument is: no, you don't have to agree with the petitions you present, but they shouldn't be ridiculous time-wasters that trivialize Parliament, either.
Friday, September 03, 2010
Teneycke On Patriotism And Separatism
This is not the first time Atwood has put her political agenda ahead of principles and patriotism. In the 2008 election campaign she was asked if she would vote for the separatist Bloc Quebecois if she lived in Quebec, she said: “Yes. Absolutely. What is the alternative?”
How about voting for someone who doesn’t advocate the breakup of the country?
This is the same fellow whose papers have once again began publishing Ezra Levant, who in his 1995 column "10 Reasons to Hope for a Yes Victory" cheered for a separatist victory, and who later suggested that Alberta should separate if Quebec didn't.
How about employing people who don't advocate the breakup of the country, KT?
Canadian Life Coalition Demands Minister of International Cooperation Bev Oda's Resignation
And I'm not sure quite how I feel about it. On the one hand, its stirring up just this kind of dissatisfaction within the Conservative base that justifies, politically, making the lack of abortion funding in the gov's G8 Maternal Health initiative an issue.
On the other hand, Oda's latest statement shows--here, and in the case of the Tamil Migrants, and in the case of the flying, veiled Muslim women--that the Harper government is capable of doing the right thing once they've achieved a certain temporal distance from their own rhetoric. Because, in the end, after spouting alarmist nonsense, the processing of Sun Sea refugees has by all accounts gone forward in an exemplary (meaning humane) fashion. And after pandering to the Sun Media crowd for a couple of days, the nonsense about possible Muslim terrorists flying Air Canada while veiled has been allowed to die away (because, seriously, how could having terrorists on board make an experience with Air Canada significantly more crappy?).
Though I disagree with Wells: the CLC response to Bev's back-peddling demonstrates that the SoCons will not let Harper and Co. off lightly for this most recent display of human decency.
And, more importantly, if you think that Canada's response to refugee ships might be a little more firm, or if you think that you really should have to match your face to some piece of photo ID before boarding an airplane in our country, this whole Harper gov. tactic of masking a commitment to the status quo behind inflammatory rhetoric trivializes your debating points.
Thursday, September 02, 2010
Fox News North North Updates
Also, the Vampire Teneyck's recruitment efforts seem to have gone into reverse. Chris Brockbank, a Sun Media exec for two years, has "resigned out of frustration"
As for the whole Margaret Atwood/petition thing, I won't sign it. As long as FNN doesn't get a mandatory carriage license, I'm fine with them setting up shop. Because it will be a kick to watch them fail. In fact, my worry is that they fail too soon. I've written up nearly 400 FNN jokes that have "Ezra Levant" in the punch-line, and I'd like a chance to use some of them.