Tuesday, November 30, 2010

What He Must Have Gone Through!

The shorter Christian Paradis: in rural Quebec, when a Minister loses his garment, the plebes purchase him another. What's wrong with these uppity cityfolk?

The Most Important Political Numbers You Will Read Today

...have nothing to do with last night's by-elections. They're the qaurterly and monthly GDP numbers from Stats-Canada:

Real gross domestic product (GDP) rose 0.3% in the third quarter, following a 0.6% gain in the previous quarter.... On a monthly basis, real GDP by industry declined 0.1% in September.

And, in short, they stink: under-performing both for the month and the quarter. This is the kind of drip-drip of bad economic news that eventually sinks a government. Eventually being the operative word.

Wha Happened, and Whas It All Mean?

Well, not much, but if you had to summarize in a few lines:

The governing Conservatives and opposition Liberals each narrowly picked up a seat from their next weakest opponent in Monday's by-elections, in a set of results that confounded many pundits, took the pressure off Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff, and will be sending NDP strategists back to the drawing board.

There's more there, but nothing I can really contest. Most confounded among the pundits was clearly John Ibbotson, whose piece on the topic sounds like it was written days ago and then hastily revised as last night's results came in. But, make no mistake, while the quantity of Michael Ignatieff's "woes" didn't change much in either direction with these by-elections, they certainly did not--as per Mr. Ibbotson-- increase. And the results are neither a sign of an impending, GTA based Tory majority or a Western breakthrough by the Libs. They are, more or less, random shit that happened.

The Vaughan story is probably the most interesting. PG offers these thoughts on that unusually close race:

Mr. Fantino was not as « imbattabile » as first thought, or was limited in his growth potential by the controversies surrounding Caledonia, his non-participation in an all-candidates meeting, and his refusal to grant media interviews to the CBC and Toronto Star...

Probably a bit of all those things accounted for Fantino's relatively poor performance. It was certainly an interesting fact that the Tories ran a guy that many Tory partisans were uncomfortable with. For example, this Conservative blogger demanded they be pulled from the BT blogroll to protest the Fantino candidacy.

It was also interesting that they were able to win without the support of their hard-cores.

Monday, November 29, 2010

I Spank You, Ezra Levant, I Spank You Spank You Spank You Very Much!

Pearl Eliades on HRCs in the news:

Ontario's Superior Court of Justice ruled on Nov. 18 that Giacomo Vigna, a lawyer for the Canadian Human Rights Commission, had been defamed by blogger Ezra Levant. According to the Court, Levant was on a campaign to discredit human rights commissions.

While that was in itself not inherently problematic from the perspective of the libel case, seeking to achieve that goal by defaming others was not a lawful objective. The court said that Levant showed "reckless disregard" for the truth in publishing the posts in question.

This does not make the Superior Court of Justice a "censor." What it does is to remove the "rights-shield" from defamatory speech, thus protecting Vigna's rights and, for that matter, the rights of anyone similarly situated. The point, to borrow a phrase, is that people's reputations and rights should not become roadkill on the path to free speech.

It is completely unacceptable that commission staff in Canada and human rights defenders here or anywhere else should be harassed, defamed and threatened simply for doing their jobs. Having worked in and with commissions before (and, by the way, having also represented respondents), I am acutely aware of the foibles and limitations of these institutions. But this does not justify the inaccuracy and lack of fairness to which they and their staffs have been subjected.

And lets just repeat: the Vigna defamation case was triggered as a result of White Nationalists leaving him phone threats and following tribunal security staff to their homes after a Warman V. Lemire-related hearing. This was something that none of the reporters who covered the defamation case that followed even bothered to mention until the judge's ruling made it impossible to ignore.

There's a pattern here, also illustrated in NP's coverage of the "hacked wifi" incident. Any allegation against the CHRC, however ridiculous, was treated seriously. Any news that cast the HRC staffers in a better light was judiciously ignored.

Christian Activist Group Goes TU

The ECP Centre has never run with a large surplus, and we anticipate that there will continue to be a small deficit. We have arranged for the deficit to be covered so that anyone who is owed funds will be fully paid.

And so Canada's far-right loses its sexxxiest pair of side-burns. Farewell, Tristan, may Neil Young never find out that you swiped 'em.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Bad News For Sun Chain Employees

When the big boss is taking his own pics, you are soon going to be asked to clean your own toilets.

Another Year, Another War On Xmas

This year I'll up to my usual holiday antics: going to Walmart and harassing their store clerks by telling them they've only only got one menorah up on the wall for every two crucifixes and if they don't fix that pronto in the name of multiculturalism I'll never shop there again and maybe sue them.

See if I can't score myself a free gift-card or two.

By Day They Deny, Part II

The Dominion has an interesting story on what is becoming a common tactic:

The “greening of hate” is a phrase coined by Betsy Hartmann, director of the US-based Population and Development Program. In her 2010 essay, "The Greening of Hate: An Environmentalist's Essay," she writes about the anti-immigration lobby's growing tendency toward “the scapegoating of immigrants for environmental degradation.”

The first time I read about this kind of thing, the group referenced was Californians for Population Stabilization. By digging around, I was able to find that one of the members of their advisory Board was the well-known Conservative pundit and Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution Victor David Hanson. So while by day Mr. Hanson was trashing the science of AGW, by night he was using that same science to argue for a more restrictive immigration policy--damn those Mexicans and their outsized carbon foot-prints!

So I thought I would do the same thing with the Centre for Immigration Policy Reform, a Canadian group mentioned in the Dominion article. And low and behold , NP columnist Barbara Kay and occasional Sun writer Salim Manusr are on their advisory board. Given the tendency of Kay and Mansur to trot out denialist talking points, it is the height of hypocrisy that these two should turn around and suggest that we keep out immigrants because they "inhibit efforts to reduce the extraordinary size of our ecological footprint."

Why would anyone possibly imagine, given their previous writings on the topic, that these two gave a shit?

That is all.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Canadian Tea-Baggers Go For Own Jugular

Former OLA (Ontario Land-Owners Association) President Jack MacLaren has been threatening to go after Norm Sterling, Tory MPP for Carleton-Mississippi Mills, since February. It looks like he is finally making his move, signing up OLAers as PCPO Members in an attempt to take over the local riding association:

MacLaren said he has signed up 700 members to the party, which if true would virtually ensure he wins the nomination for next fall’s provincial election. Sterling is privy to the numbers and said MacLaren has about 350. Sterling won’t say how many he has signed.

And, yeah, MacLaren does indeed specifically compare himself to the U.S. Tea-Party movement.

Bad news for PCPO leader Tim Hudak; he can either snuff out the dissidents and leave himself open to the charge of ignoring the grassroots (a very popular accusation these days), or he can saddle himself with a candidate that wants to pull the PCPO even further right and whose greatest hope for his leader is that he is indeed harboring a secret agenda:

...MacLaren also called PC leader Tim Hudak a “good leader” who is keeping his cards close to his chest. He looks forward to Hudak defending conservative principles as the race grows near.

Also bad news for PCPO MPP Randy Hillier, who MaClaren views as his spiritual leader. Should Hudak move to squash the insurgents, whose side will Hillier be on? Hudak's...the leader of a party that still has some claim to the mainstream? Or MacLaren's, a prominent figure in the rural death cult Hillier founded so many years ago? Its decision time for Ontario`s best known rural separatist.

2010 Hurricane Season

The number of named Atlantic storms (19) and number of hurricanes (12) was twice the long-term average and higher than almost all of the predictions. The difference this year is that no powerful storms struck the U.S. thanks to the response of the upper-level air flow to the El Nino / La Nina oscillation in the Pacific...

And here's Judith Curry (before she went loopy) on what it all means:

We conclude that global data indicate a 30-year trend toward more frequent and intense hurricanes, corroborated by the results of the recent regional assessment (29). This trend is not inconsistent with recent climate model simulations that a doubling of CO2 may increase the frequency of the most intense cyclones (18, 30)...

Sarah Palin Is Hot In Leather

Nutty as a fruit-cake, and a bit fascist-y, but hot nevertheless.

That is all.


Friday, November 26, 2010

In Vaughan, Its That 70s Show

I know who I'd vote for today (Dryden's guy--Genco), but back then I hated Dryden's guts, just as I hated the guts of everyone on the Montreal Canadians teams from the 1970s. Chicago should have won that game 7, goddamnit! And it was Dryden was the only reason that they didn't.
I cried on the bus to school next morning. I'm not ashamed to say it.

PS. D'you know how hard it is to find a picture of Don Cherry actually playing hockey? Back in the day, nobody had ever heard of him. Lot's of pictures from later on though, of him wearing pink ties. Which is OK. Some men look good in pink. I'm just saying.

Inspired by this.

Fox News North: Coming Soon (And Leaving Soon After)

So let the Culture Wars begin, and let them not end until the Canadian air-waves are cleansed of this Conservative Menace!

Hudak Promises To Have A Plan

From his Thornhill speech:

First, a PC Government will deliver a plan to govern.... It’s clear, Ontario families need relief.

However, Hudak does not currently have such a plan. It's in development. He's getting "feedback":

…. In the months ahead, we will use the feedback we are getting to develop our plan to govern.

Well, hang on, it's not quite true to say that Hudak is entirely bereft of vision. He's revealed at least one of the arrows in his quiver:

To help reign in spending and get government focused on the basics families need most, I am calling for a mandatory Sunset Review process....

Yeah. You got it. He's going to initiate a process. That got my heart beating a little faster. What's he got to do about the HST, though, other than bitch about it?


Which is to say that his position is unchanged.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Wildrose Alliance Party Central To Dissidents

...you will be assimilated.

Background here.

Post-Tory Turmoil?

Another political party in trouble for disregarding the wishes of its grassroots! More riding executives threatening their resignation! What party is it?

Here's a hint: they promised they'd do things differently!

The Cynic Triumphant

Congratulations to CC for screwing $85,000 out of blogger and major-league dickhead Patrick Ross for defamation. Dawg has the details. One question that has arisen, though--does Ross have enough money to make the legal action worthwhile? If I remember, PR worked in the Alberta oil-patch and owned a house--or at least I remember being invited to the party at his house once the judge ordered it turned over to CC. Its all a bit fuzzy, but there is definitely supposed to be a party somewhere. On CC, obviously.

Coyotes On The Town

The coyote to the right was caught on video running loose in the middle of Chicago at 3:00 am on Monday morning. The police didn’t seem to know what it was doing there, but Brad Block, a supervisor for the Chicago Commission on Animal Care and Control told Chicago Breaking News that the coyote is let loose in the city to monitor the rodent population:

The animal has the run of the Loop to help deal with rats and mice. He said no one has called today to complain. “He’s not a threat…. He’s not going to pick up your children,” Block said. “His job is to deal with all of the nuisance problems, like mice, rats and rabbits.”

For the record, I have seen exactly one coyote within the City of T.O. (as well as a bunch running around small-town Arizona). It was trotting along some rail-tracks that run under Don Mills road, at about mid-day, as bold as you please. I've been told, though, that you can hear them howling at night near the Leslie Street Spit.

The picture at left demonstrates that they are at least as cute as any chihuahua of yours that they might eat. In any case, get used to them; they are almost impossible to eradicate in an urban setting.

PS. Note that in the clip our coyote is referred to as "the newest city employee". I hear Rob Ford is looking for cheap labour; this fellow works for rats.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Christian Paradis: I Dub Thee Elitist

Worth over Five Biggys, worth $900--sir, your coat is still worth more than my car. And you would still appear in it at a Tims? Shame, sir, shame!

Renogate Scandal Update: Christian Paradis Owns a $5,000 Coat?

That's more than my car cost. Der Volk won't be happy. It's definitely not the kind of coat you'd wear to drink the peoples' coffee at Tim's. In fact, that's even alotta coat to be wearing for a cup of the gay stuff at Starbucks. No, you'd only wear a $5,000 coat to drink seriously uppity coffee; they probably wouldn't let the likes of you and me into a place that serves coffee that elite.

Note: 5Gs is alot even for cashmere; this baby comes in at under four large, and its the most expensive one I could find.

Senator Elaine McCoy: Tories Spiked Senate Vote On C-311

Hi there,

Thanks for your email. I too regret that Bill C-311 was defeated at second reading last week. I find it particularly disappointing because the Senate did not honour its long standing custom to debate the principle of all bills and to ensure they all go to committee (i.e., pass second reading) so we can hear from Canadians on the subject matter. However, that is a custom, not a rule. Unfortunately, a snap vote was called and the Conservatives took advantage of the fact they had more members in the Chamber that day.

Just in case you were inclined to fall for the Tory spin.

Wegmania: The Links

USA Today's 2nd story re Edward Wegman's alleged plagiarism in The Wegman Report has sparked a veritable media tidal wave, at least in comparison to the 1st one. For example, Wegman himself responds to the allegations here with the immortal words:

We have never intended that our Congressional testimony was intended to take intellectual credit" for other scholars' work.

Of the lot, this story is the funniest and while, generally speaking, there isn't a whole lot of new information in any of them, there is a change of focus away from Wegman himself and towards Republican Rep. Joe Barton, who commissioned the original report, who may once again become chair or the House Energy and Commerce Committee, and who has a thing for witch-hunts against climate scientists.

Monday, November 22, 2010

This Argument Is Not Lost

MONTREAL — Michael Ignatieff says he's willing to go along with the idea of a vote in the Commons on Canada's decision to keep troops in Afghanistan until 2014.

Do it, Iggy.

As I hear the details of our new training mission explained, it seems to me that its a definite improvement on the old in that:

1) It gets Canadian troops out of Kandahar and into a relatively quiet part of the country--around Kabul, if I remember correctly. And if you recall the state of this debate even a year ago, it looked like our guys were going to be stuck in Kandahar forever or, if we did leave, it would be marching out without any assistance from our NATO allies.

2) It cuts Canadian troops from about 3,000 to 1,000.

Speaking personally, I could probably live with something along these lines. And I suspect there is a fair chunk of the population whose concerns are with the process by which the decision was made rather than the content of thatdecision. They too could probably be swayed. We just have to be sold on it.

So come out and sell it to us, Iggy.

What Steve V says.

Wegmania: Experts Say Its Plagiarism

While waiting for an GMU (George Mason University) to finish its official investigation, USA Today contacted several experts and asked them whether disputed material appearing in The Wegman Report, which is often cited by climate change deniers as a refutation of Mann's Paleoclimatic reconstructions, rose to the level of plagiarism. Their response was pretty blunt:

• "Actually fairly shocking," says Cornell physicist Paul Ginsparg by e-mail. "My own preliminary appraisal would be 'guilty as charged.' "

•"If I was a peer reviewer of this report and I was to observe the paragraphs they have taken, then I would be obligated to report them," says Garner of Virginia Tech, who heads a copying detection effort. "There are a lot of things in the report that rise to the level of inappropriate."

•"The plagiarism is fairly obvious when you compare things side-by-side," says Ohio State's Robert Coleman, who chairs OSU's misconduct committee.

While the plagiarism does not negate some of the methodological criticisms of Mann's work make in the Wegman report (and first levelled by Steve McIntyre of Climate Audit), a more recent analysis by DC here suggests that even these criticisms were overstated.

PS. For background, I've written a number pieces on the Wegman controversy here. And take a glance below for an instance of the alleged plagiarism. That's Wegman on the left, De Nooy, Mrvar and Batagelj on social networks on the right. Blue indicates direct lifts of D, M and B's work.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

In Which My Fame Achieves More Famousness

WK refers to this blog as "much read" in his Sun column today. Hopefully, it will impress my mom, although I'm sure she'll just bring up that "But is it making you any money?" line she's so fond of. Yeah, she likes that one. And the "But those other bloggers are so much younger than you are, dear!" remark that she whips out whenever she sees me on tv.

In any case, here's the post WK's talking about.

In Which I Break The Heart Of A Child

Two children, actually: Joesph Donato of Pickering Ontario, Eve Steel of Vancouver, your maple-leafs just don't measure up , because:

...exceptionally large leaves may attain widths of 61 cm (24 in) (2).

In fact, the width of Joseph's leaf (34.6 cm across) is so far off the accepted maple-leaf maximum size that I have to doubt Guinness really contacted him or his parents. I hope there isn't a scandal brewing.

And by-the-way, the pic above is an absolutely unexceptional specimen of a big-leaf maple maple-leaf. The wife and I collected it at on Vancouver Island several years ago. Note that its almost the same size as the ones these children (and I call them that only because I can't prove they're not children) are claiming as records. Such claims are not harmless; they sully the big-leaf maple brand.

There. That felt kind of good.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Ezra Hears He Owes Human Rights Commission Employee $25,000

Warning: children shouldn't see this photo because its too damn scary:


PS. Although I must say I like the tie.

A Reckless Indifference To The Truth

Joe Brean weighs in on Vigna v. Levant. Not much new in it, although Joe has apparently been in touch with Ezra and our boy is "getting advice from his lawyers about an appeal".

You know, this would be the kind of article to wave in front of Ezra at one of his book signings. Maybe he'd actually autograph the thing.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Fox News North Delays Launch

La Presse provides an English translation, or you can read the original through this link. But the upshot is they're looking at sometime in 1st quarter 2011 rather than on January 1st, as previously stated. No reason given. Feel free to speculate in the comments. My favorite theory is...whoever thought this was a good idea has run out of LSD and is having 2nd thoughts.

Ezra Vs. Vigna: Picking Through The Ruins

A few morning-after thoughts. One of the big questions surrounding the whole Levant/Vigna affair has always been: what upset Vigna that day back in 2007? As you recall (because you are as obsessed by this stuff as I am, obviously), Vigna was participating in one of the Warman vs. Lemire hearings on behalf of the CHRC when, on the morning of May 11th, he told chairperson Athanasios D. Hadjis that he could not continue. It has occasionally been intimated that he saw the quality of Lemire's evidence and decided that discretion was the greater part of valour, but what actually happened is made clear from the Vigna v. Levant decision:
So a number of white nationalists, we may assume, associated with the Lemire camp, we may assume, threatened Vigna and thugged it up with some of the hearing's security staff. That would be enough to upset anyone, I should think. And, just as a aside, these facts came up during the trial but, oddly enough, Terrence Watson didn't mention them in his article on the topic. That must have been one the places where Terrence lost interest.

And another interesting thing. Take a look at this:

As truewest pointed out, Vigna represented himself, and Ezra still lost. That's gotta sting. And not good news for any of his co-defendents in the other cases.

On Ice

If you want to read a good bit of science journalism, the NY Times story on glaciers melting and sea levels rising in response to AGW is for you. Only problem: the piece took months of research and involved sending the reporter to Greenland, among other places. That's expensive: far easier to hand some ranter a blackberry and let 'em babble for 500 words.

And so that is what you tend to get.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Ezra Vs. Vigna: Ezra Loses Ass

I've written about this particular defamation case against Ezra here. I've got the entire ruling but have only scanned through it. If someone else hasn't uploaded the whole thing by tomorrow, I'll see what I can do. I'm especially interested in finding out whether it refs this post of mine. If it does, then next time I'm in Ottawa Viggy owes me a beer.

Just as a gloss, that Ezra was going to lose this case was obvious from the get-go. I would implore some of the other people who are getting sued because they listened to Levant and somehow thought he knew what he was talking about when he was talking about Canadian defamation law...surrender and do a deal now. He's like the piper leading you down the road to personal destitution.

Toronto Sun Staff Exit The Propertied Class, Part II

Having had 333 King sold out from under them, T.O Sun staffers are now wondering who might be occupying the building's other floors. So far, the news is not pretty:

"No Frills" grocery store on the ground floor of 333 King Street East. I guess No Frills suits the Sun perfectly. No Frills will (more-or-less) occupy the mail room area and a bit more.

The press room will be converted into four(?) larger stores or businesses.

West of the front doors, Red's will be partitioned into 4 (?) smaller retail shops.

East of the front doors, the old barbershop, courier desk and circulation office will be converted into 3 (?) stores.

Mural on Front Street was supposed to stay, but the plans show the mural gone, replaced by windows.

Will Sun staff be happy when a wine shop opens one floor below them?

It gets worse too. My secret sources tell me that other businesses in the building will include a laundromat and paint-ball combat facility. There is also a rumor that a mosque/sharia bank will take up three entire floors. Giant loudspeakers mounted outside of 333 King will be used for the thrice-daily call to prayer.

Everyone Hates Julian Fantino

Well, the cancellation of Christie Blatchford's speech at Waterloo has kicked up a mini-kerfuffle, with the University apologizing and Tory MPPs Randy Hillier and Toby Barrett vowing to stand beside the G&M journo when she makes her triumphant return (see an extract from their letter below)

Now, here's the interesting thing: Blatchford was touring behind her new book, Helpless, in which she among other things slags off CPoC candidate for Vaughan Julian Fantino for creating a two tiered justice system during the Caledonia native occupation, where First Nations lawbreakers were set free, and white protesters arrested for legal acts.

So does this mean that provincial Tories Hillier and Barrett support Blatchford's charges against the Conservative candidate for the federal riding of Vaughan?

Interesting that you should ask, because one of the twists and turns in the Caledonia saga involved criminal charges laid against Fantino of attempting to influence a municipal official --Fantino allegedly warned the Mayor of Caledonian and other local officials against supporting activist Gary McHale (now involved in the newly renamed group Against Fantino).

When these charges were dropped, MPP Barrett complained vociferously:

Toby here,

As you may know, we in the Ontario PC Caucus, and people from across Haldimand, have criticized the fact that the Crown has seen fit to drop charges against Julian Fantino.

In fact, this was only one in a series of complaints by Barrett--back in 2008, for example, he wrote of Fantino's failed attempts at intimidation.

Nor was Barrett's ill-feeling towards the then OPP chief an isolated case. As hinted at in the release above, Tim Hudak, head of the PCPO (Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario) and the leader of the province's official opposition, spoke out on behalf of his party about the charges against Fantino:

What we have called for as a PC caucus is for a prosecutor from outside the province to take a look at the evidence and that way people in Caledonia and across our province know that it was done with objectivity.

There is even some suggestion that anti-Fantino emotions existed among federal Conservatives. MP. Diane Finley allegedly signed this anti-Fantino petition back in 2009 (although if you look here you'll see that attempts to confirm her signature failed)

Now, my own take on Caledonia is that Fantino was in tough and did the best he could in a difficult situation. With two excerpts from Helpless now having appeared in the NP (here and here), the worst examples of native law-breaking Blatch seems to have discovered are driving without a seat-belt and riding an ATV without the appropriate license. Not being a Conservative, however, that isn't my problem. If you are a Conservative, you probably hated Julian Fantino's guts...until about a month ago, when the Prime Minister appointed him to your team. And now your trying to pretend that everything is ice-cream.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Ah! BC Politics

Which of the two major parties will self-immolate first: the Libs, or the NDP? But remember, it isn't getting even slightly weird out there until the Premier accepts a paper bag full of money from a tiny little Chinese Realtor. Man, I remember the old days--the "Zalmoids", and all that--wondering whether this shit was real or whether I was getting flashbacks from all the mushrooms I'd eaten. I imagine folks out there today are getting the same feeling.

PS. I wrote the header before I read through the 2nd link. That the phrasing there is identical to my own is a sign that all we left-coasters are attuned to the same cosmic vibe.

Fox News North: TV El Cheapo

From Fagstein, who read through the CRTC application back in September:

But while their goal is to replicate Fox News, I think the more likely scenario is that Sun TV News will be an experiment in cheap newsgathering that will quickly become a laughing stock because of its horribly small budget. According to the CRTC application, the channel plans to have a budget of about $25 million, of which $15 million would go to programming and technical costs. Though it's hard to directly compare this to CBC and CTV, since they take advantage of their local stations and national newscasts (I'm trying hard not to use the word "synergies" here), it's still very little money. We're looking at a staff of maybe 100 people, including journalists, anchors, producers and technicians, advertising salespeople, marketers, etc. Anyone who thinks he can run a national news network on that kind of budget is probably kidding himself.

The feared scenario, that they'll spend little money on news budget and focus all their efforts on opinion, makes more sense considering how little they have to spend. But even then, the big-name blowhards come at a high price, and a $25 million total budget isn't enough to get a Canadian Glenn Beck on the air if you want anything more than a webcam and laptop in front of him.

The post is a bit dated--Teneycke was still in charge--but presumably the financial details haven't changed much. In any case, evidence that FNN will be running a Walmart-grade operation hasn't been difficult to come by.

Also, its interesting to note that SunTV explicitly compares itself to Fox in its CRTC application:

The most comparable channel to STN is located in the USA, Fox News. Both channels’ strategy is to focus hard news and commentary that raise public debates and reactions on different topics. Fox News has been USA’s most watched All News channel for years and still is. In 2008-2009, Fox News’s audience was as high as CNN’s and MSNBC’s combined. Fox News does not have extensive distribution in Canada. Therefore, this represents a true opportunity for STN.

Anyway, I'm out most of today so this may be all you get out of me.



Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Abandoning Human Rights Tribunals: Costly Or No?

The Aboriginal Affairs Coalition of Saskatchewan is worried that the provincial government's plan to dissolve the Saskatchewan Human Rights Tribunal will render the process "too costly for many individuals who can't afford lawyers and court fees". However, Sask. Justice Minister Don Morgan disagrees, and his response is worth noting:

"The government's intent -- outlined in its recent throne speech -- is that the system will work almost exactly the same for individuals, including cost.

"The only difference will be is that they are going to be in front of a Court of Queen's Bench judge rather than a tribunal member. So everything else will be exactly the same as it was. So the people that are the applicants that are before the court ... will bear no cost, as they do under the existing system."

I think its a given that the cost of processing and resolving complaints will go up. What the provincial government is quite clearly saying is that it will bear these costs rather than slough them off on the complainants. Such "reforms" would hardly be a win for the Speechys, it would seem to me. And that's a good thing.

Talk Jocks Against Fantino

...or at least CFRB’s Jim Richards.

Hmm. By far the most interesting of the by-elections, and an interesting experiment in how much influence the Tory base can have actually moving voters against a candidate that is politically "impure". In other words, Julian Fantino might become the Canadian tea-party's first victim.

Or he might just sail on through unscathed, forcing political nerds to once again contemplate their abject powerlessness.

PS. I keep hearing this claim that Fantino spent a good part of his career making Ontario day-care centers safe from Satanism. What is that about, exactly?

CRU Hack Not A Leak

From Nature's recent interview will Phil Jones

...the hack of the server was a sophisticated attack. Although the police and the university say only that the investigation is continuing, Nature understands that evidence has emerged effectively ruling out a leak from inside the CRU, as some have claimed. And other climate-research organizations are believed to have told police that their systems survived hack attempts at the same time.

Not that this is a particularly surprising conclusion; Frank Bi has been investigating the CRU hack since the story broke, almost exactly a year ago. The whole notion that it was an inside job by some dissident CRu employee never had much credibility among those not wearing tin-foil hats.

More here.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Testify, Brother

Gruending takes on the Gov., the Libs and, most importantly, the press:

The Liberal-Conservative elite accommodation extends to Canada’s corporate media as well, even though polls have shown that an overwhelming number of Canadians want the Afghan mission ended. In October, The Globe and Mail carried a series of articles regarding the future of Canada’s armed forces. The Globe admitted that the series was meant to oppose a strong public mood in favour of pulling back from overseas military interventions. The Afghan war, the paper conceded, has not gone well. But the newspaper believes that the war has been a testing ground creating a battle hardened Canadian military which can now use its muscle elsewhere.

The Globe op-ed, here, really is quite appalling: we've got a war machine, lets take it on the road.

And another good bit:

The common argument is that Canada cannot leave now because the job is not done. The same people may well be making the same argument in 2014.

A Coalition, If You Will

The Bloc Québécois and the Harper government are rumoured to be engaged in a sensitive Pas de Deux that will likely see Québec City win federal funding for a new arena to host the NHL...

But I don't believe it. Or, at least, I don't believe that an arena is on the table. Quebec City can't have its arena unless Saskatchewan gets a domed stadium. But Saskatchewan can't have a domed stadium unless some other province gets some other expensive bauble.

This article is the sound of Monday morning gum-flapping from the depths of our current political wasteland.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Peter Kent's Brother Speaks Out On Our New Mission In Afghanistan

He's been covering fighting over there for years now:

Harper's aides indicate that 1,000 military trainers and support staff will remain in Afghanistan when Canadian troops leave their front line positions in Kandahar in the spring. To avoid unpleasant questions, Harper insists that he needn’t bother discussing his volte-face with Canada’s elected parliamentarians.

With good reason.

No doubt some enterprising MP would ponder aloud why Canadian taxpayers should tip still more treasure into the pockets of the Karzai regime’s shady ministers, not least those of the incompetent drunkard who heads the ANA, Defence Minister Rahim Wardak.


Far from helping the Afghan people, Stephen Harper’s consolation strategy will further debilitate Afghanistan’s weakest flank: the illegitimate regime that persists in enriching itself behind the walls of Kabul’s Presidential Palace.

You can tell which parties feel they can win the argument over an extension of our Afghanistan mission: the NDP and Bloc, who are calling for a resolution in the HOC. You can tell which ones don't: the Liberals and the Tories, who are willing to cut deals in the backrooms. Come on, Bob and Steve and Iggy. You want a mission extension; step into the sunlight and sell me one.

The Tories "Controversial" Candidate For Vaughan

Conservatives Against Fantino rallies today outside of Julian's campaign HQ in Vaughan. They've managed to pick up a surprising amount of media coverage, and while some have criticized them for their lack of ties to either Vaughan or the CPoC (their leader, Gary McHale ran as an indy in Haldimand Norfolk, I believe, and lost badly), their allegations of Fantino's having established a two-tier justice system around Caledonia in the wake of the First Nations/non-aboriginal standoff there seems to have struck a chord with the Tory base.

In other words, we have a Tory candidate that alot of Tories dislike.

Whether Joe and Jane voter care is another story. I doubt they will, but certainly its clear that Mr. Fantino's campaign is off to something of a rough start.

In related news (related because she is clearly one of Julian Fantino's right-wing non-fans) the ARA managed to get three activists on stage before Christie Blatchford was to address a handful of geezers re her new book on the Caledonia Crisis, and prevent her from speaking.

Maybe not worth the candle, given the number of empty seats.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

The Future Of Sun TV

Can you see it in the Northumberland Today's response to Sun Media's ad department cut-backs?

Note that the participants get a "coupon for free food", which (I am told) has a map with directions to the local food-bank printed on the back. Also, sources say that the "gift certificate" is in fact a free 5-year subscription to Northumberland Today. Note too that the article is already trying to reach out to the students using that crazy "teen speak" they employ on their cell-phones, where "LOL" means "laugh out loud" and "savvy" is spelled with a single "v" to save key-strokes.


Friday, November 12, 2010

A Backroom Deal

...between the Tories and Liberals, to extend the Afghanistan mission. What else can you call it? A deal that, frankly, excludes a good portion of the Liberal Party's MPs as well as the nation's citizenry, from a meaningful role in the decision.

And what astounds me, after so many years of his "Liberal Hawk" instincts proving so utterly disastrous, after humping a University degree in basket-weaving courses into a career as a TV talking head (in some little island country across the ocean that was relevant a century ago)... after being installed as LPoC leader because the party was too broke to oppose him...what astounds me is that after all this, Iggy still thinks he's smarter than the people and the party that elevated him.

Frankly, I think if Iggy wants to support an extension of Canada's Afghanistan mission to 2014, he should have to get up in the HOC, hold hands with Prime Minister Harper, and explain the whys and wherefores behind this Lib./Tory coalition. Lets face it, he's been a crap leader of the opposition. If Dion couldn't explain himself in English, then with Iggy the problem is that when he explains himself it just makes you think he's an enormous dick. Nobody owes him any deference. And he owes the country a better performance.

So, lets have a debate in the HOC. And remember the debate around the Long Gun Registry; the LPoC brain trust eventually came around. This argument isn't lost. Iggy has shown that he will bend the right way when pressure is applied. It's just that he's a stubborn as an ass, and can only be convinced if you apply the political equivalent of a 2 by 4 to the side of his head.

Somebody Finally Does Something Useful On The Internet

I don't know much about Dave Eaves, other than he pops up in a lot in the debate over IP rights and on-line privacy and such like. Clever fellow, obviously, but this thing--Emitter--should be given some kind of prize. Dave describes Emitter as:

...an application that allowed people and communities to more clearly see who is polluting, and how much, in their communities...

Specifically, you type in your city and Emitter comes back with a map with the polluters represented graphically. For every polluting facility, there is a link to substance info from Env. Canada--for example.

Oh my! I can see any number of uses for such an app. When your driving around in your car looking to buy a new house, for example (once it goes mobile). The only sad part is I'm pretty sure the States beat us to this idea by a good decade, as I recall seeing a U.S. website back in the mid-1990s that offered comparable info from the EPA. Better late than never, though.

Vaughan By-Election Poll

Haven't seen this graphic make the rounds too much. It's from here, from a couple of days ago. I mention it because, while listening to WK play at Cherry Cola's last night, one of his Lib insider buddies told me the poll was horsehit and Fantino would carry the seat based on the support of suburban Rob Ford types. Maybe. I thought, however, that Julian F. would be up by a mile in any published survey, and so I will interpret this one as good news.

As for SFH, they're not bad at all. WK sells them short a bit, I think. Also, he was playing a pretty violin shaped bass like the one McCartney used...you know, the cute Beatle. Also: nice t-shirts.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Danielle Smith On Twitter

The three sane dudes from Western Standard (Terrence, Jaworski and Brock) get a full hour twitterview© out of Danielle Smith and post it at their new digs. Innovative in a way, but wouldn't an hour of conference call on skype have wrung more out of her? Warning: she digs Ayn Rand, so you know she's nutz.

EKOS Says Its Tied

Maybe a rogue poll. Or, on the other hand, there've been a string of pretty crummy looking economic reports lately. The recovering is starting to feel a bit like the recession. These could be weighing the government down.

Anyway, I'm sure Steve V will be along to explain it all, and of course Kady gives it a stab through the link.

MacKay's New Babe

When you read read about her accomplishments, it's clear that she is far to good for him.

Anyway, the practical question is: what will Max Bernier do now? Because, lets face it, this one is far hotter.

More pics here.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

The Protocols Of The Old Guys In Ottawa

Now that Kady has posted the entire document produced by the Inter-parliamentary Coalition for Combating Antisemitism, I think the good Dawg's panicking a bit; this kind of Parliament Hill get together is more likely something done in lieu of legislation rather than as a precursor to it.

In any case, the stuff about Israel is copped almost word-for-word (I think) from the EUMC working definition of anti-semitism, and I suppose bringing Canadian hate laws more closely into line with that working definition would be the most problematic course hinted at (but no more than hinted at) in the document. Mind you, when I read the working definition, its reference to "overall context" softens the impact of much that follows. For example, in context, a comparison of Israeli policies to those of Nazi Germany might well be justified (ie not anti-semitic). In addition, countries are routinely compared to Nazi Germany, so I'm not sure how criticizing Israel in like terms would count as dissimilar. Also, you would still get to compare Israel to South Africa (for example: Israel Apartheid Week), and that is the wounding metaphor that folks seem most eager to deploy.

As to actions directed at Canadian campuses, the document commits parliamentarians to:

Working with universities to encourage them to combat antisemitism with the same seriousness with which they confront other forms of hate. Specifically, universities should be invited to define antisemitism clearly, provide specific examples, and enforce conduct codes firmly, while ensuring compliance with freedom of speech and the principle of academic freedom. Universities should use the EUMC Working Definition of Antisemitism as a basis for education, training and orientation. Indeed, there should be zero tolerance for discrimination of any kind against anyone in the university community on the basis of race, gender, religion, ethnic origin, sexual orientation or political position...

Well, its always nice to get encouragement from your MP, and I personally love invitations, but the document doesn't seem to be demanding much, at least not much that's specific. Which is fine, because I think reports of on-campus anti-semitism have, generally speaking, been overblown in this country.

So, a nothing burger, or no?

PS. Nobody here is talking new legislation, as far as I can tell.

On Poppies, Red And White

Scott writes:

I wish the makers of the poppies would do what is apparently done in Britain. They do not have a single needle in the back of the poppy that you try to stick into your shirt/coat etc as best as you can and hope it stays there (and it often doesn’t). They have apparently put a safety pin in the back of their poppies, which makes for a lot less (if at all) loss of those flowers.

I implore the Royal Canadian Legion or whoever it is who makes those poppies here to do the same. It can’t cost that much extra to put in a safety pin.

And if it does cost a little more, I'd be happy to pay. Unless the point is to bond with the soldiers by inadvertantly inflicting a chest wound upon yourself.

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

A Girl And Her Snake...Reunited!

“Her colour is perfect, she’s healthy and she just ate a full mouse. She’s happy and stoked and twirling around in the tank right now.”

And yeah,once again, that is a picture of the snake's owner. No, she isn't the one that ate the mouse.

Machetegate: The Final Chapter?

Found this in a G&M story this morning re Anti-Semitism on Canadian campuses:

Just a few months ago, for example, two Carleton University students reported being attacked by fellow students wielding a machete at an off-campus bar; the attackers berated them as “Jews” and “Zionists.”

I've written about this story on numerous occasions. If you recall, back in April several Carlton students, one Jewish and the other a proclaimed non-Jewish Zionist, claimed to have been attacked outside the Le Volt night-club in Gatineau Quebec by machete-wielding Arabs. Back then, I pointed out a number of inconsistencies in their claims; for example, the alleged victims, Mark Klibanov and Nick Bergamini, had told the media that they faced these Arabs alone while at the same time revealing on their various Facebook pages that they had been accompanied by a third person, this third companion's existence confirmed later via police reports.

In any event, Carleton wound-up for the summer and, since one of the alleged attackers was supposedly a student, the case fell by the wayside, with the Mark and Nick hoping they might be able to identify the perp(s) when school resumed this Fall.

But apparently not. After reading the Globe story, I fired off an email to Isabelle Poirier, PR person for the Gatineau Police, and was informed earlier this morning:

Good morning!

There is no more information in this file. The victim was met by the investigator but we don’t have enough proof for make an arrest and put accusations. The file is closed for now. If we have more information in the future, we’ll open it again.

Have a good day!

A rather unsatisfactory ending, and one that does nothing to mitigate my origional suspicions that the claims made by Klibanov and Bergamini were trumped up or imaginary.

Donna Laframboise Slays The Unicorn

The newly almost-famous Donna Laframboise begins a multi-part series charting the rise and fall of Fox News North. Not nearly as enjoyable as "I was Seduced And Abandoned By Kory Teneycke", the new post begins with a boring dissertation on intellectual freedom, and ends with Donna hissing the words "Margaret Atwood", as though one might spill an elitist's latte merely by willing it.

With the promise of more to come, I'm afraid. Personally, I'm waiting for her 5-parter on spanking the monkey.

Monday, November 08, 2010

What Parliament Would Look Like If Only Men Voted

More On Strange Endorsements Of Tory Human Smuggling Bill

Imp's got a nice post up this morning, riffing on a G&M story about the endorsements the Tory government has thus far received for its human smuggling bill, which are, as the story notes, "not all they seem". For one thing, it looks like at least one of the groups supporting Bill C-49 was told that the contentious aspects of the bill would not be there in the final version. So, if I were to guess Tory strategy, I'd say they are either going to a) let the oppo parties strip out the crazier bits of the legislation, pass it and blame "the coalition" for the watered-down result, or b) refuse to compromise, let the bill die, and blame "the coalition" for stalling the reform of our broken refugee system and etc..

Also interesting is the reference to Balan Ratnarajah and the Peel Tamil Community Centre, a group that came out on October 22nd to endorse the bill, whose endorsement was widely retweeted by the likes of Jason Kenney and Alyknan Velshi.

For one thing, after googling around a bit, I can't find any sign of the community center's existence on-line previous to...you guessed it...October 22nd, and then suddenly their endorsement was everywhere. For another, a fellow named Balan Ranarajah ran and was elected to the first Transnational Constituent Assembly of Tamil Eelam for district 3 (Western Ontario). Now:

The Transnational Government of Tamil Eelam (PTGTE) is an organization formed by the Sri Lankan Tamil diaspora which aims to achieve independence for Tamil Eelam, the state which Sri Lankan Tamils aspire to create in the north and east of Sri Lanka.[1] The PTGTE and Tamil Eelam have no official status or recognition by any state or authority. The PTGTE has been called a "ploy to perpetuate terrorism" by the government of Sri Lanka.[2]

I don't know how much credence should be given to allegations that the PTGTE was formed by remnants of the LTTE (the Tamil Tigers). Probably not much. But if the Tories are looking for endorsements from Tamil separatists, then that's something to think about as well.

PS. And the PTGTE Ratnarajah is described here as a "business consultant"; the guy behind the Peel Tamil Community Center (the phone numbers match) runs a company called Blr Management Services, who are located in Mississauga and described as accountants. Furthermore, the PTGTE definition of "Western Ontario" = Etobicoke, Rexdale, Brampton, and Mississauga. So I'm pretty sure but not 100% certain that these two are the same guy.

And The Hits Keep Coming...

This story from the U.K. Graundian is riddled with inaccuracies. For one thing, Rupert Murdoch has precious little to do with Fox News North. For another, the SunTV application hasn't been withdrawn, just down-graded from "must carry" to "must offer" to a "please give my crappy station a spot on the cable dial". Nevertheless, lies are sometimes funnier than the truth, so I enjoyed it anyway.

Makes you wonder if our papers bungle UK news quite this thoroughly.

Sunday, November 07, 2010

Toronto Star's Layton And Chow Story Truly Seinfeldian

...in that its about nothing. Probably the silliest part of it is how hard author Richard J. Brennan tries to crank this into a scandal. Oh my! The NDP party leader spends more than your typical MP on travel! And...a $2,000 per month Ottawa condo-apartment? The horrors! They should be staying at the Y!!!

PS. $2,000 per month gets you a below average 2-bedroom in the old City of T.O. (See the Central districts)

But How Were The Mens' Showers?

The Future That Might Have Been, Or: How Fox News North Planned To Target David Suzuki

A sad story in which Donna Laframboise, once journalist for the National Post, and now a free-lance climate change denier here, is courted by Kory Teneyke of SunTV, and then discarded in the aftermath of his departure.

It comes in two parts--part 1 and part 2-- which I will excerpt with comments. It begins with Donna describing one of the bogus CRU Hack related pseudo-scandals she "researched" back in April:

Among the avalanche of e-mail that followed was one from a person of indeterminate gender whose first name was Kory. A third party (also a stranger to me), thought perhaps I could recommend clear-thinking journalists for a project Kory was working on. Was I available for coffee?

My last journalism job had been as an editorial writer and columnist for the National Post. Laid off back in 2001 along with 130 others, I’d called it quits. The Canadian media landscape is small and cliquish. Newsrooms are miserably managed workplaces where people hate their lives. I said sayonara.

In the end, however, Donna met with this "brash young man with a pinstripe suit". At a Starbucks, no less. Which tells you something right there, doesn't it? With these Conservative Muckety-Mucks, its always "heart on the right, coffee mug on the left." Because who really wants to drink the plonk that passes for coffee at Tim's if they've ever lived somewhere that serves something better? Hmm? If Tim's coffee were wine, it would be the kind of wine rummies drink under the bridge. Better by far is the gay coffee you can buy downtown in any decent sized Canadian Metropolis.

But in any case, Kory wanted Donna to function as an in-house climate change denier for Fox News North, writing a column every week for the Sun Chain of newspapers and discussing that column on one of FNN's talk shows.

Kory responded to my really, I’m not a television person protestations with assurances that it would be OK. At the beginning, few people would be watching anyway, he insisted. He was sure that, with a bit of practice, I’d do fine.

Interesting timing here: this discussion takes place in early (the first Friday of) May, 2010, while Kory is still working at CBC (which he didn't leave until June).

[Teneycke's]one firm directive was that I should challenge David Suzuki. I hadn’t thought much about Suzuki before that conversation, but Kory’s instinct was correct. Although Suzuki tells us constantly that he’s a scientist, he’s actually a preacher who espouses environmentalist views with religious fervour.

Now that's revealing: Fox News North was to have a reporter on staff who was specifically tasked with hassling Canada's best-known environmentalist. There are shades of Marc Morano and the U.S. denialist movement, who have concentrated their fire so largely upon Michael Mann, in this; and shades of the UK movement too, who went after Phil Jones almost exclusively during CRU Hack. But of course it all goes back to Alinsky: personalize, demonize. Anyway:

The conversation touched briefly on our respective backgrounds. He’s a prairie boy from Saskatchewan. I’m the daughter of a Northern Ontario auto mechanic. Neither of us has ever moved in private-school, trust-fund circles. But thanks to our rural roots, we both possess a restricted firearms license.

Just a note: if you ever run into Kory Teneycke, he may be packing heat. If I'd known that earlier, I might have been nicer to him. Also, it sounds like Canadian newspapers these days are paying somewhere around $500 per column. No wonder journalists hate their lives. (Although, note to anyone suing, or planning to sue, Ezra Levant: Kory was in the end willing to cut Donna a check for $4,200 per month)

Anyway, Donna signs on with FNN, and spends the summer losing weight for TV and boning up on Suzuki. Then, in September, it all turns to crap:

A few moments later I was advised that, well, global warming had been a personal interest of Kory’s but things have now changed. The news director told me I could perhaps write for Quebecor occasionally. He didn’t explain what would possess me to imagine that this offer is genuine when the previous one evidently was not.
Let us just say it looks like I’ll be seeing Quebecor in small claims court. (Stayed tuned.)

Donna is promising a part 3 in which she explains why Quebecor "lost its nerve". She mentions Atwood, but I think I should get at least a brief shout out. We shall see.

Friday, November 05, 2010

Macleans To Bonhomme

I sir, am a wiggly worm sir.
A wiggly worm, sir, is the lowest lump of whale blubber in the ocean depth

My favorite bit from The Flintstones, for those of you old enough to remember it.

And, oh by the way--Coyne, Wells, Whyte: they're all commies, sucking from the gov. titty.

There's Never A Dead Mouse Around When You Need One

This guy annoys me. A beautiful, albino California king snake crawls up out of his drain and all he can think of is his own safety. And when he finally summons the courage to return to his apartment, the snake is gone! Luckily, the poor dear (the snake I mean) can survive without food for a good length of time. More of an issue will be keeping warm. If I were the tenant in question, I'd keep an eye out around the heating vents. And you can usually get your local pet stores to supply you with dead mice should the animal turn up again. He might even leave out a bowl of warm milk (Just kidding. Snakes don't usually go for dairy products, except perhaps certain varieties of artisan cheese; he might try a few quail eggs, though).

But I mean really; the Lord gifts this man with a free snake and he blows it! (his chance at a free snake, obviously, not the snake itself)

Brad Trost: No Infrastructure Project Deadline Extension

Last August, Tory MP Brad Trost took flack for pooh poohing the idea of deadline extensions for Sask. infrastructure projects: as you may recall, Sask. had an extremely wet summer, and the delays that resulted were thought to imperil the completion of these projects before the government's March 31, 2011 deadline. There was some thought that the feds might bend on this deadline but, no, Brad's back, and he seems to think they will be holding firm. I would love, however, to know what his definition of "almost all" is in "almost all the projects are coming in on time". And, if that's true in Saskatchewan, why has it taken three summers to repave the mile or so of street in front of my building, absent flooding or any kind of inclement weather?

Exactly What You Need HRCs For

SAINT JOHN, N.B. — The New Brunswick Human Rights Commission is holding an inquiry into the province's abortion policy.

Randy Dickinson, chairman of the commission, confirmed Tuesday that the human rights organization received a complaint relating to New Brunswick's Medical Services Payment Act, which sets out the conditions under which the province will pay for abortions.

As for what's going on in Saskatchewan, where the Tribunal may be dissolved and cases that can't be settled via mediation sent to court, I'm not sure what to think of it yet. For one thing, the hate speech provisions in the provincial legislation would remain as per the status quo: in fact, in other Sask. human rights news, Bill Whatcott's case is being taken to the Supreme Court. And in situations where mediation fails, the province will still take up complainant's costs. I suppose the issue here would be costs--its difficult to see this new process being cheaper than going before a tribunal. And while Chief Commissioner David Arnot is clearly sincere in his attempts to reform the human rights situation in that province, can Premier Brad Wall and his gang be trusted to produce legislation in accord with Mr. Arnot's intentions?