Sunday, October 31, 2010

Speechys Hosed Again

Several controversial resolutions were proposed -- among them, scrapping part of the government hate crimes legislation.

Members of an Edmonton constituency said right now, the laws cater to people who are easily offended and restrict what other people can say.

"I think we're all concerned with maximizing opportunities for freedom of speech. We have to balance that with people who are vulnerable," says Fred Horne, MLA for Edmonton-Rutherford.

In the end, that resolution was defeated...

In Alberta, Canada's most Conservative province and home to Ezra Levant, a conservative majority government refuses to change its hate-speech legislation despite the support of every editorial page in the province. Furthermore, that government's right-wing opposition has vowed to leave section 3 (the hate speech provision in the provincial human rights law) intact. How can this be?

Imagine yourself a politician: suddenly, Ezra, Margaret Atwood (representing PEN), a fistful of Neo-Nazis, and another handful of journalists, appear in your office demanding changes to your human rights legislation. Do you a )flee through a back entrance, or b) just kill yourself now because you've probably been seen together with this crew and your political career is over.

Remember: politicians are expert at one thing, and that's counting votes. They see this gang coming, and they see votes going the other way. Ezra and crew couldn't do any worse if they hired a known cannibal as their PR guy. And I wish the journalistic community would wake up to the fact: people don't like you, and no politician is going to be caught dead supporting a radical extension of scribblers' rights.

PS. And Kinsella's right, too. Editorials and Op-Ed don't do diddley in the way of moving the voter. The great Canadian speechy conflict is proof of that.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Contra David Chen

Actually, I'm fairly satisfied with the David Chen innocent verdict. However, a Mr. Scanner made a cautionary point which is worth repeating on the comment thread of an early post re Mr. Chen (I've cleaned up his grammar a little):

The Chen case is interesting only because it juxtaposes so nicely with another, similar case in Winnipeg

The shoplifter was beaten and died days after, apparently of her injuries. [BCL Note: And the shopowner was charged]

I bring this up in support of the law. I believe Mr. Chen was wrong in his actions and it is very dangerous to challenge this law. Store security people are very aware of this law and work within its confines. By changing this law as some would do, a greater ill would be released. Rather than increasing punishment on these people (and most shoplifters have problems surviving for whatever reason) we should look to help them. You only have to take a look at the statistics of who shoplifts to realize you're dealing with drug addicts, (Mr. Chen's perp) the poor and old people. I can only imagine the stupidities that will start to be reported if Mr. Chen is allowed to go entirely unpunished.

Rob Ford Piece In The Mark

Here it is.

Dunno why, but you see a post in a Grade-A venue like The Mark and it makes you think This... Shit...Is...SERIOUS!

Way more serious than the same words on a mere blog.

A Denier Switches Sides!

Claude Allegre is one of France's best known climate change deniers. He's a geochemist, which gives him some measure of scientific expertise, although not in a particularly relevant field. He also thinks asbestos is harmless, and doesn't really get gravity, but nevertheless has been able to raise enough of a stink over the past couple of years (the CRU emails--"Hide the decline!" and so on) that finally, this year, the French Academy of Science took a look at the matter.

Their main conclusion was an obvious one:

"Several independent indicators show an increase in global warming from 1975 to 2003. This increase is mainly due to the increase in the concentration of carbon dioxide," the academy said in conclusion to the report.

"The increase in carbon dioxide, and to a lesser degree other greenhouse gases, is unquestionably due to human activity," said the report, adopted unanimously by academy members.

But note that the report was "adopted unanimously" by members of the academy. Claude Allegre is a member of the academy, and he

...signed off on the report.

"He has the right to evolve," the academy's president Jean Salencon said. Pecresse said: "The debate is over."

Of course, Allegre disputes how much evolving he actually did, noting that the word "uncertainty" is used a number of times in the Academy's report. But when you go from saying that the causes of AGW are a mystery to putting your signature on a statement to the exact opposite effect, its quite something.

PS. This fellow suggests it was less a case of evolution than Allegre having his ass handed to him by the academy. Either way is good with me.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Ezra Wriggles Free?

I missed this. Last Wednesday LFR contacted Michael Vachon, a representative of George Soros, to inquire about Mr. Soros' possible lawsuit against Ezra Levant and Fox News North. And...there's no news! "We are still evaluating if we will will pursue additional action," says Mr. Vachon.

I'm emailing Mr. Vachon today telling him that if money is an issue for Mr. Soros, I'm willing to send $5. If anyone else wants to pitch in, send your money to me and I'll make sure it gets passed along.

Rob Ford Wiggles

Ford needs the province to agree if he is to proceed with his campaign promise to convert the Sheppard light rail line — on which nearly $70 million has already been spent — into a subway.

The mayor-elect said he has set up a meeting with the premier to discuss the matter. If he can’t get McGuinty’s approval, or if killing the LRT means hundreds of millions in penalties and fees on contracts, the subway won’t go ahead, Ford said.

“If it’s going to cost the taxpayer an arm and leg, then obviously we can’t do it,” he said

Translation: kiss that promise good-bye.


He said he’s hopeful he can end the VRT — and possibly slash councillor expense accounts — in the first new council meeting in December.

But he repeated his concern that the city would need approval from the province to get rid of the Land Transfer Tax, which brought in $183 million to the city in 2009.

Actually, as mentioned in this story and confirmed here, he doesn't need any such approval. So, my translation: the vehicle registration tax will go, the LTT not so much. And, of course, the much railed against street-cars will stay. And there's that line again: if it costs “the taxpayers an arm and a leg, then obviously we can’t do it.” Wanna bet this replaces "stop the gravy train" as the Fordism du jour?

Arnie Lemaire Begs

Better known as Shaidle's Husband, Arnie is gradually discovering that defamation doesn't come cheap. The suit is for $500,000, not the $100,000 you can claim under simplified procedures (Or is it $50,000? I thought they had raised the limit but can't find the link). He must have really pissed Warman off.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Looks Like I'll Need New P2P Software

LimeWire will probably go out of business within days, and it looks like the company installed a secret upgrade last summer that will allow it to bring the network down with it. So: are there still good Gnutella-based networks out there, or should I just surrender and use Bit Torrent?

Rob Ford: His Deeper Meaning

It took me and the wife almost 45 minutes to vote on Monday, standing in line-ups and filling out forms, because my poor darling had been tossed off the voters list again--who knows why?

And 30 seconds after we got in the door back home the Toronto Mayoral race had been called. The result didn't surprise me, though Ford thumped Smitherman more thoroughly than I had predicted.

I, of course, voted for the loser. But I know a few Rob Ford supporters. You might even say I've been doing research on them over the past ten months of municipal campaigning. Or you might just say that I've been drinking beer with them. In either case, I've made note of my results, and here they are.

Firstly, the political ignorance of Rob Ford supporters has been vastly overestimated. Or at least Jim--I will call him--who is a retired inlaw of mine, knows far, far more about what goes on in the city than (for example) I do. Every time a condo is slated to go up within a mile of him, he protests: calls his councillor, phones his MPP, and attends all the meetings with the developers. And his councillor knows Jim, too, and apparently seeks to avoid him sometimes by sneaking out of his office through the back door. That's how engaged Jim is in city politics.

And his opinion is that city politics is corrupt, and Rob Ford is the guy to clean it up.

What Jim doesn't know nor care much about is the actual mechanics of city politics: about the weak mayor system, about how the mayor has only one vote and can't really do anything if he can't put together a working coalition of councillors. And so, I'd say to him, don't you want a guy like Smitherman whose been there at the provincial level, has actually handled billions of dollars and shown that he knows how to do the necessary coalition building?

Then Jim would mention the bungle at E-Health , and that line of argument would stall out.

Nope. Rob Ford is his guy, the metaphoric grease bomb Jim wants to set alight and lob over the ramparts of city hall, working under the assumption that fire will make things right and, in any case, how can they get any worse? Send in the clown, to vary the metaphor, because they're already here.

Which I find a fairly compelling argument.

Sammy is a bit of a different story. He's a big (over six foot) Sri Lanken that runs a bar I frequent. In fact, I think Sammy lives in his bar; I'm pretty sure I've never seen him under natural light. And he recognizes a bit of himself in Rob Ford: a small businessman who works hard and follows every penny, and for the money he sends to the city gets nothing but endless construction outside of the entrance to his establishment

As for Rob Ford's unfortunate ventures into political incorrectness and racial stereotyping, they don't seem to bother Sammy. His place is in what you would probably describe as a lower-middle/working class neighborhood, and gets quite an ethnic mix. I've heard Sammy tell the ranter at the end of the bar to shut the hell up because he was making people crazy; I've heard Sammy tell a mostly black softball team that they should come by on Sundays rather than Saturdays for their after-game parties, because they'd frighten the old white guys that inhabit the place on Saturday afternoons. In other words, his approach to Toronto's ethnic bouillabaisse is, like Ford's, indelicate.

How am I supposed to tell him that he should find Rob Ford offensive?

So there you have it. Two specific instances of the Rob Ford phenomenon, and both rational men too. They're the people behind his victory, not the anonymous knuckle-draggers you keep hearing about.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Wind: What Lawrence Solomon Emits

He blithers as follows:

The role of wind farms in the soaring power bills is not yet widely understood, just as the role of nuclear reactors in the rising power bills of two decades ago wasn't initially understood. As this understanding takes hold, and as wind's environmental costs become better known, the pushback will grow and wind will come to symbolize out-of-scale technology and arrogance-- the new nuclear.

Well, a year is a long time in politics, but as of last April the rebellion hadn't materialized:

Seventy-nine per cent (79%) of Scarborough residents support Toronto Hydro's plan to put a wind measuring device off the Scarborough shore, while 84 per cent of Essex County residents support plans to build wind farms there.

"What we're seeing in Essex County and Scarborough is not only strong support for the Green Energy Act, but strong support for local wind energy initiatives," said Dan Arnold of Pollara.

And since then the only real resistance I see to government efforts at making Ontario a green energy manufacturing center are from a bunch of NIMBYs with highly alleged health concerns.

Of course, Tim Hudak is looking to ride any angry populist wave he can find; so what's he going to do to stem the tide of turbines? Pretty much nothing, as it turns out. I'd bet it's because he doesn't see a wave coming from that direction.

A Pretty Picture

...for a not so pretty story: how the mountain pine-beetle has come to eat our forests. From the comments:

As for the crossing over the rockies, yes the MPB [mountain pine beetle] has done so and is in Alberta. There is concern that it might begin to infect jack pine and spread therefore, all the way across Canada and into the Great Lakes and NE USA

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Rob Ford Speaks On Tamil Radio Ads

Interesting Timing On This

An anti-Rob Ford sign was found along Allen Rd., while others reading “Muslims should not vote for a man who is married to a man” popped up along Danforth Ave. near Victoria Park.

...especially given those Tamil radio ads. Still no idea who's behind those, although this guy ( A Ford supporter) says a "church group" has been shown to be behind the ad. haven't heard anything about that.

All this reminds me of 1996, when Lastman supporters were telling people that Barb Hall was going to bring the Gay Pride parade to North York. One reason I stay out of muni. level politics, where being an activist means getting drunk and kicking over lawn signs.

PS. One of the church groups thought to be behind the anti-gay pro-Rob Ford ads says it ain't them.

Concerning The Pro Rob Ford, Anti-Gay Radio Ad

...that has popped up on CTBC (the Canadian Tamil Broadcasting Corporation). Its difficult to imagine that the Ford campaign would be stupid enough to have put it together. However, Vijay writes that the local Tamil community plans to raise heck, so perhaps we shall get an explanation soon enough. Probably the most important question is why the CTBC would run such an ad in the first place.

PS. A direct link to the ad is here. It isn't in English, but a translation is provided in the accompanying text:

1st Person: Mani Anna, Who you voting for in the Mayoral Election?

2nd Person: [Laughs] What kind of question is this? I am Tamil. We have a religion and culture. Take Rob Ford for an example, His wife is a women. Thats not only it, he said will reduce Land transfer taxes and other taxes.

1st Person: What about Immigration?

2nd Person: [Laughs] Thats a federal government issue. So, the white people can get our vote.

1st Person: I am also going to vote for Rob Ford.

DISCLAIMER: This is a paid Advertisement

Actually, Ford has said he will eliminate the LTT, but whatever.

PPS. Much of this appeared to break last evening around midnight. Here is a Ford campaign pollster expressing disappointment in the ad. It also looks like the CTBC has stopped running the ad.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Maxime Bernier Launches Leadership Bid

...for whatever they decide to call the new party. Maybe the New ADQ, or NADQ (pronounced Nadak). At least the Winnipeg Press says its a done deal. Remember, rumours of Bernier moving to the provincial level have been circulating for years; I helped create a few of them.

Somewhere, a beleaguered Jean Charest is smiling.

Mark Steyn And That Flat In Marseilles

Think of Germany as that flat in Marseilles...
Think of the European Union as that flat in Marseilles...
Think of France as that flat in Marseilles...

What will that flat in Marseilles be next?

Unicorns On The Don: Ontario Government Caught In Cryptozoological Hoax!!

A strange story:

Apparently, the Ontario Science Center set this piece of footage loose on youtube in the hopes of that it would go viral, so as to help promote an upcoming exhibit. Well, it has received 127,000 or so views, so I suppose that bit worked. On the other hand, you don't expect a respectable org. like the science center to be involved in a hoax, now do you? And since the center is owned by the province of Ontario (you can see that from the contact info on their news release here: email ends, I suppose that means that the Ontario Government is now playing pranks on its citizens.

As for the unicorn, well, it looks like its being towed across the screen on a set of wheels, so definitely not the real thing.


PS. I notice that the show this is an advert for--Dragons, Unicorns & Mermaids--has been running since the first week of the month. I haven't heard of it, and I pay attention to such things. So maybe the viral campaign was a bit of a flop.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Sell Your Shares In Quebecor NOW!!!

CALGARY, ALBERTA, Oct 22, 2010 (MARKETWIRE via COMTEX) -- Gemini-nominated journalist Krista Erickson, and columnist Ezra Levant are the latest additions to the growing SUN TV NEWS team. Pierre Karl Peladeau, President and CEO of Quebecor Inc., Quebecor Media Inc. and Sun Media Corporation made the announcement today speaking to the Economic Club of Canada in Calgary. Krista Erickson joins the hard news team as a reporter and daytime news anchor. Ezra Levant will bring his outspoken nature to prime time as a straight talk host.

Gentleman, start your lawsuits...

Seriously, though, I have a thousand jokes where the punchline is "Ezra Levant". If I use three a day, I will probably be getting near the end when the whole sad Fox News North spectacle takes its final shit and dies.

And Kinsella will get clear of it somehow. That's the good news. He'll probably be loaning the other FNN crew money when the whole thing goes TU because of his generous nature. Although so far I personally have seen none of this fabled generous nature of his. Not even one beer. But whatever.

Steyn Cancellation Con?

Here's the time-line Ari, Andrew and Co. from Strictly Right are giving for the events behind the London Convention Centre's refusal to book Mark Steyn into their facility for his November 1st speech:

A trio of bloggers who run the site inquired on Monday about booking a Nov. 1 speech for Mr. Steyn at the London Convention Centre. The group announced on Thursday that it had received a phone call from the centre saying it would not be allowed to make the booking. The Convention Centre said it was a business decision, but organizers of the speech said they were told otherwise.

“The reason offered by the LCC [in a Tuesday morning phone call] was that they had received pressure from local Islamic groups, and they didn’t want to alienate their Muslim clients. It’s interesting to note that the LCC is owned by the City of London, and is therefore a government operation,” wrote Strictly Right’s Andrew Lawton at the website.

The Monday they are referring to is October 18th; Tuesday is October 19th; and Thursday is the 21st.

Also, my Michael Coren debating buddy Andrew Lawton tells the Voice of Canada that Strictly Right first contacted the LCC on Thursday, Oct 14, 2010. Now, there are no posts on SR between October 14th and the 19th that mention the LCC as their new venue. In fact a post on the 18th shows an image of a Mark Steyn t-shirt with the venue still listed as the University of Western Ontario. Which makes sense, because we also know that the lads from SR only received the "client profile" document from the LCC on the evening of the 18th, and were never able to fill it out before next morning when they got word their booking had been rejected.

So how did these "local Islamic groups" noted above find out about the venue change and know who to pressure? I don't see how they could have.

And I would just point out how much difficulty Canadian Conservatives typically experience when they attempt to rent a room. It seems beyond their capabilities.

Serious Stuff

Me being me, this post from yesterday morning on the Federal Government's new legislation to combat human smuggling was a bit flippant. Trust the Galloping Beaver to finger some of the real issues with the proposed law:

...say for example you're a member of the Karen ethnic group living in Mah Sot refugee camp, Thailand. You cannot go back to Burma because the disgusting bunch of military fetishists running the show over routinely send the army after you and friends. You are effectively stateless and cannot claim citizenship in Burma or Thailand because neither country really wants much to do with you. Canada comes along and grants you refugee status and you come here to live, leaving many of your family and friends behind. When you are processed and formally recognised as a refugee by Canada, you are granted permanent residency.

After a number of years, you can apply citizenship and thus a Canadian passport. However, before that you can do that you may apply for a Travel Document because you can't actually get a passport from your home country, or the country you fled to. This travel document legally protects you because it says to foreign governments 'I'm now under the protection of Canada, do not mess with me'. If you want to travel to see family and friends still stuck eating sandy rice in a dusty camp, this travel document allows that to happen. You are free now, and can live, play and travel with more security than you've ever had in your life.

What the Conservatives now want to do it seems is take that security away and punish refugee claimants for being refugee claimants. While your claim is being processed, they want you to effectively remain a prisoner within Canada. Don't go home, don't visit your dying mother, don't got back to celebrate the wedding of your sister. Not only that, but the Conservatives also seem to want to be able to revoke your claim should you ever leave the country.

I'd also make note of this bit of commentary from the Vancouver Sun:

David Poopalapillai, spokesman for the Canadian Tamil Congress, said he was particularly troubled with the provision that prevents those smuggled into the country from sponsoring family members for five years. "Once you become a landed immigrant, you've been accepted as a legitimate refugee claimant," he said. "You say to them you can't sponsor your spouse or your kids? That's inhuman. You want the family to suffer and suffer? It's not the Canadian way of doing business."

The opposition parties have promised to give the new legislation a "good, long look", and hopefully they will do that. Some aspects of it--targeting the owners of ships like the MV Sun Sea--appear salvageable, as they are aimed at the criminal activity that drives human smugglers, and not the actual smuggled refugees. Given how the committee process works in a minority parliament, there's no doubt that some kind of bill can emerge from said process that may actually do some good. The opposition parties should rework the proposed legislation so it becomes that bill, give it back to the government, and see if they'll sign.

Friday Morning Feedback

More live Titus Andronicus. Note how Patrick Stickles smokes, drinks, sings, and plays keyboards at the same time. That's how you know he's a badass. They also sometimes get 4 guitars going at once--although not in this tune--which is one more guitar than Skynyrd.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Mark Steyn = Public Enemy For White People

...He's like the white Chuck D, and he wonders why his venues cancel him all the time.

PS. Does this make Ezra the white Flava Flave?

From Fox News North To Fertilizer

Kory Teneycke lands on his feet.

From the article:

[The Vampire] declined comment on his work Thursday, aside from saying it doesn't require him to knock on doors in the federal government.

Hmm. Maybe he's shovelling something. Also from the article:

The Globe and Mail has learned the Saskatchewan-born politico – who counts Premier Brad Wall as a friend – is helping BHP talk to the provincial government in Regina. He's also offering BHP communications advice.

Yeah. That will help.

Welcome (Back) To Hard Times

Leading indicators fall for the first time in over a year. Manufacturing, so important to seat rich Ontario, goes into the tank. And meanwhile the Tories are acting like the BOD of the workhouse in Oliver Twist. Canadian's have given the Tories a pass during the 1st dip of this recession; if there's a 2nd, I don't think they shall be so lucky.

PS. Title is my take on the title of E.L Doctorow's wonderful first novel. It's a Western, like Cormac MacCarthy but without all the bullshit fake biblical prose.

The Problem With Conservative Math... it makes you do silly things:

OTTAWA - The federal government will unveil a sweeping package of reforms Thursday aimed at cracking down on refugee fraudsters, QMI Agency has learned.

Among other things, Ottawa will make it easier to kick out bogus refugees who travel back to the country they claim they are fleeing from for vacations, and will move to restrict the health-care benefits refugees receive in Canada while they wait for their claims to be processed.

Government sources said the package of measures to be announced Thursday is partly a response to stories QMI Agency published earlier this year about abuse of Canada's immigration and refugee system.

In August, QMI Agency reported on a secret government survey that showed that many Tamils who came to Canada claiming that their lives were in danger in their native Sri Lanka subsequently returned safely to that country. They would then come back to Canada and wait out their refugee claim.

In legislation to be tabled Thursday, the government will make it easier to revoke someone's refugee status immediately if a refugee claimant heads home for holidays, birthdays or to sponsor other family members.

"It's a serious problem," said one government source.

Well,the only serious problem in this case was with QMI columnist Brian Lilley's mathematical abilities, which assigned statistical significance to a "review of files" (not a "survey") that Stats Canada insisted did not have any. Furthermore, the new legislation does not seem to mention revoking the refugee status of someone who returns home during a lull in their country's civil war; since this is apparently what most of the Tamils in the Statscan report were doing, it wouldn't likely effect them one way or another. Which is an advantage of legislation based on fake math and aimed at fixing imaginary problems: only non-existent people get hurt.

More worrisome is this provision:

CTV News reported Wednesday that the new legislation will give the federal government new powers to detain migrants and human smugglers for up to one year or until their identity and status is determined. The network also reported that bogus asylum seekers will remain behind bards until they are deported.

Maybe its just because I hate the sound of the lute, but forcing refugees to remain in proximity to travelling songsmen is akin to torture, except that when you are water-boarded at least you eventually pass out.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

What Journalists Do On A Slow Newsday

They speculate on leadership races to come. Its a harmless past-time though, generally speaking, a sign that nothing much is really going to happen in Ottawa over the course of the next few days.

And L Ian MacDonald does get about 3/4 of the conventional wisdom right: Jack Layton, Gilles Duceppe, and Stephen Harper--barring an increasingly unlikely Harper majority-will be gone after the next election. What I think he gets quite wrong is:

For Michael Ignatieff, who'll be 64 next year, his first campaign as Liberal leader will be his only kick at the can. The Liberal party will not give him a second chance, and the best he can hope for is to form a minority government.

This is asserted, not argued for, and since I'm feeling a bit lazy this morning, I'll just use MacD's own words to argue against him:

The problem for the Liberals in any leadership scenario is the thinness of the field. Bob Rae would be there for one last try. For Justin Trudeau, it's way too soon, as he would be the first to acknowledge. Dominic Leblanc? Yeah, right. Denis Coderre? Yikes.

The Liberals have another problem, other than a paucity of talent and new blood on the front bench, and that's money. It has taken candidates from the 2006 leadership four years to pay off their debts. The party itself is perpetually broke, and would be hard-pressed to raise the money to stage a three-day leadership convention.

Exactly, and that's why--barring an increasingly unlikely Harper Majority--the Federal Libs will keep Iggy around for at least one more cycle. There are other reasons, too.

Assuming another minority, where an election can come at any time, swapping leaders is a perilous course. Who wants to be stuck between when the writ is dropped? This is the same unfortunate logic that originally got Iggy into the post without a contested leadership race, and like it or not, it still applies.

More importantly, dumping leaders after every unsatisfactory election result tends to suggest that, at its core, the party is merely opportunistic--we'll try some of this and, heck, if this doesn't work, we'll try some of that. Successful parties typically make an investment in their leader that extends beyond one cycle. Think Dalton McGuinty in Ontario.

So, Iggy it is, for as far as it is possible to see. Better improve the flawed leader currently in place than start all over again.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010


OTTAWA—A consultant hired by the federal government to smooth out disagreements in a controversial Parliament Hill renovation donated money to attend a Conservative fundraiser, The Canadian Press has learned.

I'm betting that Paradis is eventually forced to step down, and Chris Selley steals my headline tomorrow without giving me credit.

So Salvia Is No Longer in Canada.

But you walk down Spadina in summertime and can see this stuff everywhere, and you can buy it at most garden stores, where nobody seems to know that its hallucinogenic. A pet peeve of mine; its a bit like letting bad acid grow in the streets.

For example,

Kenney Goes 0-3 In Calgary Municipal Elections

His favoured candidate for mayor (Ric McIvor), in Ward 12 (Al Browne), and in ward 14 (Richard Dur) all went down to defeat in Calgary's municipal election last night. Coincidence?

Oh, and as Holly notes in the comments to a previous post, I for one welcome our new Muslim overloards. I doubt, however, that I am as excited as this guy.

PS. The elected alderman for ward 14 wound-up being Peter DeMong. That's Craig Chandler's candidate (he was campaign manager). Ah well, I guess nobody loses all the time.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Fox News North: The Right Hand Doesn't Know What The Far Right Hand Is Doing

First, Taylor tweets: So: Fox News North has finally snagged their blond chick. That's good; that's progress. Nobody wants to look at this dork 24-7.

Except that David Green, FreeLance videographer for FNN, hasn't heard the news himself yet. He asks:
To which Taylor responds:

...which, finally, draws this response from Mr. Green, a pained expression evident in his tweet:

Yeah, laugh buddy, laugh. But keep enough $ to cover bus-fare back to Calgary. That's my advice. And, Yo! Kinsella! Flee, dude, get away from that lame thing!


Tory Turmoil In Calgary Southeast?

This blogger suggests that MP Jason Kenney, a la Jeff Watson in Essex County, has injected himself into the race for Calgary Mayor and, allegedly, into the race for Calgary Ward 14:

A colleague got a voice-mail message this evening from Immigration Minister Jason Kenney (Calgary Southeast). He urged my fellow Jason to vote for Ric McIver, "the real conservative."

Kenney has responded in the comments and on twitter, is interesting:

I have researched the calls that were allegedly made in my name, and have found that the concerns expressed above are unfounded, i.e. that the recorded calls did not profess to convey my views about any of the candidates in the Ward 14 race, or purport to express an endorsement on my part. If anyone would like to confirm this, I encourage them to ask the campaign in question for the relevant recording and script, as I have done.

...which is to say that there is a robocall out there that has Kenney's name in it, but the words don't...quite...constitute an endorsement of any of the candidates (and not, in particular, candidate Richard Dur, the Chairman of Policy for Jason Kenney’s Conservative Party of Canada constituency association).

If you read the comments further, particularly the one from Karol Kraychy, who once ran against Kenney federally as the PC candidate in Calgary Southeast, you will note that her opinion differs from Kenney's as to the propriety of the calls.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Your Daily Nazi: Nazis Of Ancient North America

Just a link to ARC's long but well-done discussion of the White Nationalist mangling of the Solutrean Hypothesis, wherein--according to the bone-head version in any case--North America's first settlers were European, who were later slaughtered by Asian hordes who swarmed over the land-bridge from Berengia. As far as I can tell, the archeology stuff is accurate, and its a good excuse to look at some very beautiful stone point technology.
My picture here is of a Cumberland Point, from a bit later in Prehistory (image got from here). They are very rare, and considered the Cadillac of North American lithic technology.

Warren Kinsella Boards The Hindenburg

I am informed that Warren is independently wealthy (though personally I have seen no evidence of this. Nada! Not a sniff!), so I suspect that he will be able to rise, phoenix-like, from the flames and smouldering ruin that Fox News North will quickly become. And when Warren is at the cottage next summer, his feet up and his time once again unencumbered by journalistic duties, he will look back upon his experience with the new and yet utterly defunct network and file it away under "fleeting, very fleeting".

Good Luck Warren! May you be spared the humiliation and failure that will soon descend upon Fox News North like a dark blanket of night!

The 11th Reason

Susan Delcourt has provided 10 good reasons why Canada’s U.N. bid failed, and the Irish Times comes up with an 11th that nobody else seems to have thought of--Mexico: specifically ,the 2009 decision to impose a visa requirement on Mexican visitors. This move was allegedly taken to stem the tide of illegal refugees, but served mainly to piss of middle-class tourists from that country, send the already falling number of Mexican visitors to Canada falling further and, now, apparently, incur Mexico's wrath at the United Nations.

Apologists for the government's screw-up on the U.N. bid have spun this as a principled stand against the Muslim hordes, or as a principled stand against the job-killing Kyoto accord. No word from them yet on how screwing over Mexican tourists fits into this grand narrative.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Conservatives Against Fantino Fail... protest. McHale is fighting for a spot on Haldimand Council; Mark Vandermaas has come down with something, and this Tory hardcore would love to challenge Fantino's alleged theories o' two tiered racial justice if he didn't have to work that day. Hundreds of other loyalists would be there if they gave a shit.


The Tory grassroots are a bunch of useless fuckups. Just give him the seat now.

Unfortunate Timing

Saskatoon-Humboldt MP Brad Trost unleashes some family values fury against the judge who struck down Ontario's prostitution laws:

Prostitution is not despicable because it is illegal; it is illegal because it is despicable. Prostitution is not a career choice that any parent wants for their child. The government should not be party to the exploitation of vulnerable women. The role of government is to protect the weak, not to encourage their exploitation.

...on the same day the Harper government move to help unemployed escorts. I think Mr. Trost's personal copy of the bible just combusted.

And So The Day Begins Well

Sally forth, oh brave exposer of government waste! Next question is: what's happened with Eric Margolis? Other than I hear he's gone over the line from "critical of Israel" to full-blown truther.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Time To Go Sleep With The Fishes, Rocco, Cuz You Iz History

The Ipsos Reid poll conducted for NewsTalk 1010 shows that George Smitherman has the support of 31 per cent of respondents while rival Rob Ford has 30 per cent support. Joe Pantalone garnered 11 per cent and Rocco Rossi trailed at four per cent.

This candicacy no longer serves the city of Toronto.

Next time, run for council, Rocco. Get your hands dirty a bit first.

Harper Bones Ezra

Ezra fuming over the UN vote that deprived Canada of its turn on the Security Council:
But I'm made to understand that it was an ethical boning. If it had been Nigerians that had boned Ezra, it would have been less ethical and environmentally unfriendly.

Wegmania Update: Climate Scientist Demands Wegman Report Be Pulled From Congressional Archives!

This bit of news from Donald Rapp, one of the participants in copygate, who may have wound up inadvertently plagiarizing climate scientist Raymond Bradley via Edward Wegman. Its a bit complicated, though Eli explains it well here. In any case, I can't vouch for Mr. Rapp but its clear that he is receiving emails from Wegman at least:

Bradley is now accusing Wegman of plagiarism (as you know). Bradley says in an email that he will not prosecute Wegman if Wegman removes his report [the Wegman Report] from the Congressional Archives.

More background here.

Hudak On The Environment

On the one hand, its good to see that Tim Hudak embraces the concept of green or "emissions free" energy and hence, at least implicitly, the science of climate change. Of course, green energy for him means hydro electricity and more nuclear. Given, however, that the history of nuclear power plant construction typically involves intense NIMBYism (and not just by local Greens), cost over-runs and ever sliding completion dates, its ridiculous to imagine that any commitment to this technology will (as Hudak claims) put a lid on the rate increases that Ontarians have been subjected to over the last few years. Furthermore, Uranium, like oil and gas, will peak--perhaps in the middle of the new reactors' operating life--and so doesn't really count as a renewable in the first place.

On the other hand, Hudak is now exposed on his right flank to kooky denialist attacks from folks The Freedom Party of Ontario, who produced the video below. A year ago I would have argued that there are no votes to be had in this approach. Since that time...

...with the rise of Wild Rose in Alberta and the madness of the Republicans down South, I'm not so sure. Of course the Freedom party are a bunch of no-hopers as far as winning seats go, but they may be strong enough to pull Hudak right towards the full denialist position. We'll see if his small gestures towards environmental policy survive in the run-up to the provincial election.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Its Official


PS. WK wonders if the Libs can hold this seat. I wonder if they can find anyone to run.

One Of Life's Little Mysteries...Solved!

Specifically, why do I always see an icon for "Free Public Wifi" on my lap-top when I'm looking for a network?

Apparently, there was a bit of a bug (one of many...) in Windows XP in terms of how it handles certain situations, and it effectively created a "virus" in that unwitting travelers around the globe are all broadcasting "Free Public WiFi" from their computers without realizing it, after they tried to connect to such a network:

When a computer running an older version of XP can't find any of its "favorite" wireless networks, it will automatically create an ad hoc network with the same name as the last one it connected to -- in this case, "Free Public WiFi." Other computers within range of that new ad hoc network can see it, luring other users to connect. And who can resist the word "free?"

Not a lot of people, judging from the spread of Free Public WiFi. Computers with the XP bug that try to connect to the Internet will remember the name, create their own ad hoc networks and entice other users wherever they go.

And so it continues to spread. No one's quite sure where it started, but somewhere way back when, someone set up such an ad hoc network in an airport (perhaps as a joke or a honeypot), and it got picked up by others... and then it just continued spreading. Eventually, it should die out as Windows XP machines finally go extinct, but for now, enjoy (but don't bother connecting) the "Free Public WiFi" found in so many airports...

Its noted in the comments that XP service pack 3 fixed the problem, indeed I haven't seen the icon on my laptop for over a year.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Tory Turmoil In Vaughan

Looks like a number of Ontario Conservatives have come out against Julian Fantino's soon-to-be-announced run for Tory MP in the upcoming Vaughan by-election. Their beef--his actions(or lack thereof) in regards to Caledonia and the ongoing clashes between non-natives and natives in the area:

Julian Fantino is a symbol of the Race-Based Policing practices in Caledonia that saw innocent property owners victimized with illegal occupations while OPP officers stood guard for those committing the crimes. His candidacy for the Conservative Party would symbolize that the party has fully embraced racialized policing and the dangerous ideology that innocent victims should be controlled, silenced and targeted for arrest as an alternative to enforcing the law against extremist groups. Julian Fantino has shown scarcely believable bias in favour of native criminals all the while using the full weight of his office to try to intimidate peaceful, law-abiding non-natives into compliance.

The two founders of Conservatives Against Fantino are Gary McHale and Mark Vandermaas. McHale especially is a rabble rouser as much as an activist--several members of the Neo-Nazi Northern Alliance appeared at one of their rallies, and his followers have occasionally described themselves as a militia. Although, that said, he has managed to win several small legal victories against the OPP.

Vandermaas writes a blog devoted the ongoing Caledonia standoff. I don't know what if any previous connection to the CPoC these two might have had before launching their website.

My opinion is that Fantino was in tough in Caledonia, and nothing he could have done would have been beyond criticism. He'll also almost certainly take the seat whatever these two guys get up to. But what the heck. My job here is to upset Conservatives.

An Aside On Wegman And Plagiarism

One quickly developing meme in the Wegman Plagiarism case is the whole idea that its all really over-blown, not such a big deal, if an academic work by author X borrowed page upon page from author Y without attribution. Tom Fuller seems to be of that opinion. As Tom in his pre-Examiner days used to be a real journalist, it may be useful to remind him what happens when plagiarism occurs in that context:

Sun Media regrets that it is ending the daily Advice Guy column, but we’re compelled to do so after learning the columnist used material in a recent column published by another source.

-The Editors

Note that Sun Media is a chain of Canadian tabloids, occasionally forced to deny that they publish hate speech. But, in the end, they have standards. Tom seems to think these standards are too rigid for academe.

PS. The fellow whose column was terminated was picked in a "nationwide competition". He was the second choice, the first one apparently not working out either. Maybe this journalism thing-cranking out words day after day after day--is harder than it looks.

Saturday, October 09, 2010

But...What Is Plagiarism?

I'd suggest it looks something like:

Wegman, who has been accused of plagiarism, on the left, and the source documents from several authors, including Wikipedia and De Nooy, Mrvar and Batagelj on social networks on the right. More here and here.

Scientist Explains Expresso Maker To PM

...because they don't have them at Tims.
Later, PM Harper had the scientist deported.
From Akins.


News of the Wegman plagiarism investigation spreads, to here, and here. Fuller writes about it, although he's not important enough to be considered MSM. And Pielke Jr. can't figure out a way to blame it all on Mann and Co.. This may become REALLY BIG NEWS: one of the denialist movements iconic figures may just get his balls handed to him by the university he works for...for actual goddamn scientific misconduct (not the fake kind). Remember, if the GOP takes over the house and Senate, Wegman's report would probably play a roll in the subsequent anti-science witchhunt. Now the man may have other concerns, including fending off legal action related to violating the copyright of some of the materials used in that report.

Friday, October 08, 2010

Edward Wegman Under Investigation For Plagiarism

John Mashey's hard work, which I have written about on occasion (most recently here), has finally paid off. Professor Edward Wegman, best known for his criticism of climate science in "The Wegman Report" and in his testimony before the U.S. Congress, has come under investigation for misconduct and plagiarism by George Mason University, where he is employed.
If you look at the name of the person who demanded that the university launch its investigation (he is the addresee in the letter above) you can see that its "Raymond S. Bradley". Mr. Bradley co-authored of one of the papers Wegman attacked in his report, and he is also one of the people Wegman allegedly plagiarized:

"Talk about irony.[Mr. Bradley noted] It just seems surreal (that) these authors could criticize my work when they are lifting my words."

The article suggests that Wegman has initiated legal action. Perhaps John Mashey will show up in the comments and let us know more about that, particularly if it is directed at him.

PS. John tells me that the litigation has nothing to do with him.

Tory Thuggery In Essex County

From The Windsor Star:

Like a one-man, political wrecking crew, Essex MP Jeff Watson seems determined to shape the outcome of key municipal races across Essex County, complain the candidates who don’t bask in the Tory MP’s favour.


At the same time, Watson lavished praise on Amherstburg Mayor Wayne Hurst and LaSalle Mayor Gary Baxter for their co-operation while leaving the warning that those local politicians seen to be “hostile” risked losing federal government grants for their municipalities.

Actually, an earlier story makes plain that the warning in this 2nd paragraph was pretty direct. It quotes Watson as follows: "Open hostility to the federal government can lead to missed opportunities for federal investment." And also notes some earlier shenanigans:

Watson charging a former campaign worker with death threats. The accused was acquitted, and the judge chastised those involved for using the court to play politics.

Meanwhile, construction boss Paul Sauve says something that's been on my mind for a long, long time: "The minister’s full of s---!!!”

PS. Apparently, I wrote about this death threats case back in 2007. The guy charged was Nick Kouvalis, who is now running Rob Ford's campaign. Small world.

Thursday, October 07, 2010

Out Of The Mouthes Of Berniers

Mad Max, in a 2006 letter to Liberal MP Bryon Wilfert:

These questions continue to be essential for providing the information needed by governments, businesses, researchers and individual Canadians to shed light on issues of concern to all of us — employment, education, training, transportation, housing, immigration, income support, pensions for seniors, transfer payments, aboriginal issues and many more


All of the questions are designed to meet important information requirements that would be extremely difficult to satisfy efficiently from other sources. In fact, every question goes through a rigorous consultation, testing, review and approval process, including that by Cabinet

It's almost embarrassing to link to Maxime's blog post of July 23rd, when all the folks mentioned in the first paragraph have become "special interests". Its almost embarrassing to note his Radio-Canada appearance where he cavalierly states that the information requirements--which he formerly thought were so difficult to satisfy efficiently from other sources--could be created --SHAZAM!!--through research paid for by the private sector.

"Post" As In "Postmortem", As In Posthumous

The National Post continues its death spiral, according to statistics from the National Audience Databank:

Overall, the weekday Star is read by more than 963,000 readers every day in the GTA, a 1.1 per cent decline from the same period last year. Weekday readership for the Post plunged 32.3 per cent, and the Globe and Mail fell 13 per cent to 354,000 during the same period. Weekday readership for the Sun was up 8.7 per cent, to about 445,000 readers.

And though the Sun seems to have staged a bit of a comeback, they still appear to be laying off staff.

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Rossi On Chen

Rocco Rossi shows his support for shop-owner David Chen and spills a bit of policy all in a single press release:

David Chen is not a criminal. He is a small-business owner and an ordinary Torontonian. He attempted to assist the police in the capture of an actual criminal who had already stolen from him and returned to do so again. Mr. Chen did what any of us would have done.


...Through my sweeping external audit of all City departments and agencies we will find the way and means to get more police on our streets. Re-building the trust between City Hall and the people of Toronto starts by restoring a sense of safety and security in our communities and that's going to take a greater police presence on our streets.

If you've read about David Chen--a Toronto shopkeep charged for arresting a shop-lifter who stole plants from his store and returned for a 2nd batch--he's an easy guy to support. And Rossi ties this into his own version of a "Law And Order" policy. Clever, that. Betcha we get similar statements out of Ford and Smitherman within 24 hours.

Smitherman Kicks Ass

My wife had the radio playing last night while I read in the bath, so I listened to most of the T.O. mayoral debate. And I have to say that furious George came off looking pretty good. Pantalone tried to zing him with the E-Health scandal, and Smitherman turned it into an advert to the "11 Billion" (I think that's the number) he had helped bring to Toronto as a Minister in the McGuinty gov. In contrast, Ford came off looking small-time, with his talk about the kids at Jane/Finch being athletes like him, and how he coached football, and something about gangs, and etc. etc. Rocco Rossi's answers were erudite, but I came to the part in my book about the Glyptodon skulls found in association with men and kept losing the thread of his response. In any case, he seems a bit virginal, politically, and I wonder if he shouldn't have run for a council seat first and got a taste of city politics before aiming at the big job. Whereas George projects as a big gay he-male.

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Take Note, Nervous Nellies

In Canada, if you argue about putting abortion into your maternal rights plan, or if you argue for a science-based policy in regards to the long-form census, or if you argue for maintaining the long-gun registry, the polls all turn your way eventually.

Progressivism is in our blood, is part of our DNA. All you need to do is persevere.

Northern Gateway: A Pipeline To Nowhere

ForestEthics tells you why here and, at greater length, here.

Its worth noting that oil company apologists have long seen Northern Gateway as a means of thwarting attempts to "green" the tar sands. If it makes accessible Asian markets where concerns over "dirty oil" are less of a factor, the reasoning goes, then the Americans will be afraid to demand a clean up, lest "their" supply of Canadian oil be sold overseas.

Good reason that the thing should never be built, IMHO.

Prog Blogs Thingy Thursday Night

Impolitical, CC (Canadian Cynic), myself, and a few others will be getting together Thursday after work (six or sevenish), at a super-secret downtown location. Beers and discussion will be on the agenda. We're keeping it mild, and it'll be a relatively early evening, as none of us are as wild and crazy or even as mobile as we used to be. Since my many, many unpublished novels remain unpublished, I won't be autographing those. However, if readers want to print out the BCLSB post that most changed their life, I will be happy to sign that. As Jose Canseco charges $25 for marking up a baseball, you will realize that a my paltry $5 fee is a deal that can't be missed. Email Imp or myself ( at for vetting and, if you are very lucky, a message revealing the super-secret location, which cannot be revealed upon pain of death because the enemy is everywhere.



Monday, October 04, 2010

A Dry Wit?

Monte Solberg on Iggy:

Unfortunately for him, it’s not working. In Question Period he’s still as dry as toast. He still seems to be without humour, the human touch, and, by definition, humidity.

I'm surprised only Chris Selley picked up on this one, but why would anyone read a sun OpEd piece to the end if they weren't paid to?

Behold The Giant Jellyfish

A very rarely seen stygiomedusa gigantea. Usually found in the Indian Ocean, this one was discovered hanging around an oil well 5,000 feet under the Gulf of Mexico. The tentacles are estimated at about 25 feet (8 Meters long).

This footage actually seems to have come out in April, but for some reason has only gone viral among jellyfish nerds recently.

Lilley Lists Imam Delic's Unsavory Friends

...fails to mention the mysterious "Hugh Segal". He also fails to mention McCarthy Tetrault, Philips and Vineberg, and others on this list of Islamic History Month Board of Advisers who claim to be lawyers. But of course, if they were Islamist sympathizers, they would, wouldn't they?

But its OK; the witch hunt can be extended easily enough!

Sunday, October 03, 2010

Zijad Delic Consorted With Radicals!!

...says Shaidle's lesser half. Including some dude called "Hugh Segal". Who's supposed to be a "Senator", but I don't recall anyone by that name playing for them. Presumably, he was their "left winger". Bah Hah!

In any case, Segal's credibility in Ottawa is now presumably fucked.

CRU Cleared Again the UK Gov, in their official Response to the House of Commons Science and Technology Committee 8th Report of Session 2009-10: The disclosure of climate data from the Climatic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia. The short version: CRU's science is solid, but there are still some issues re the prompt handling of FOIA requests. The longer version is here. My favourite bit:

13. Openness and transparency should be the presumption. That said, there are a number of good reasons why it is not always possible or appropriate to make data available immediately or even at all. In the instance of the CRU, the scientists were not legally allowed to give out the data (although there is the question of whether they could have gone back to national meteorological societies to get permission to release data).

And another favourite bit:

The evidence that we have seen does not suggest that Professor Jones was trying to subvert the peer review process. Academics should not be criticised for making informal comments on academic papers.


15. We agree with the Committee’s comments on the rights of scientists to comment informally on academic papers, noting that the scientific method relies on constructive challenge. We also note that the Muir Russell Review team investigated CRU scientists’ involvements in peer review, and concluded that none of the allegations investigated represented subversion of the peer-review process, nor an unreasonable attempt to influence the editorial policy of journals.

...which kind of segues into my next topic, because the Gaurdian's Fred Pearce thinks, wrongly, that CRU was "using underhand tactics to silence their critics". He's also calling for the head of IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) chairman Rajendra Pachauri. You can read his arguments through the link above. I'm more sympathetic to the position of the Friends of the Earth:

However, [the FoE] warned that there was a real danger that if Pachauri is perceived to have been forced to stand down, then climate sceptics will call for the scalp of every subsequent chair and the position will be discredited for good.

So might journalists like Fred Pearce. In fact, since journalism feeds upon conflict (or its appearance), you can bet on it.