Thursday, May 31, 2012

Oh Please Let It Be True

Ezra Levant urged to run in newly vacant Calgary Centre

There would be an endless amount of muck to fling that would stick to Ezra and any Tory stupid enough to be seen within a 100 meters of him.  Starting with, just for example, this

Remember: to know Ezra is to sue him.

Bill C-304 Up For Debate?

According to this site, Storseth's private member's bill to repeal Section 13 (the hate-speech provision) of the Canadian Human Rights Act was debated again in the HOC yesterday.  Not a single other mention of it in the MSM that I can find.  The gov. and press are sure keeping this on the down-low. I suspect because they realize that legislation that both weakens press accountability and strengthens the hands of hate-groups would prove not-so-popular if given a lot of exposure.

PS.  Indeed it was debated yesterday.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Do Wind Turbines Affect Property Values?

I recently found the decision of the Ontario Assessment Review Board related to this story.  From the story:

Ed and Gail Kenney are calling it a setback, not a defeat.

The Wolfe Island couple learned this week that the potentially precedent-setting challenge to their home property assessment - based on the proximity of wind turbines - was unsuccessful.

Well, if you read it through, the ARB decision pretty thoroughly demolishes the Kenney's position.  

For example, re the noise of the turbines:

Ms. Kenney is the only witness who testified with respect to the noise level at the Kenneys’ property interfering with the enjoyment of the property. Under cross-examination by Mr. Fleming, Ms. Kenney agreed that she could carry on a normal conversation, watch television, sit outside, and listen to music and that she continues to garden although sometimes she chooses not to if bothered by the noise.

There is no evidence that the noise from the turbines has restricted the Kenneys’ activities. Ms. Kenney did testify that she sometimes wakens at night and can hear noise from the turbines.

In response to questioning by Mr. Fleming, it became clear that the noise complained about is not a problem to the extent that the Kenneys have felt compelled to do something about it such as putting in air conditioning so that they can keep their windows closed.

And re. the Kenney's inability to enjoy the view from their property:

Photographs of the wind turbines’ proximity to the Kenneys’ property were entered into evidence by both the Kenneys and MPAC. The Board finds that the Kenneys’ main view of Lake Ontario and Simcoe Island is unobstructed by the location of the turbines. The turbines are located on the road side of the property and not in the direction that the Kenneys would usually be looking out from inside their home (Page 4, Exhibit 14 and Page 14, Tab 2, Exhibit 10).


While the Kenneys did submit a photograph (Page 6, Exhibit 14) taken from a boat out on the Bateau Channel showing the Island windmills in the background, the Board is not satisfied that the Kenneys’ enjoyment of their property is from a boat on Lake Ontario.

In answer to the most pertinent complaint, that the value of the Kenney's property fell after the turbine's construction, after looking at comparable sales in the area between about 2005 and 2010 the Board found this:

The Board finds that there is nothing in the MPAC evidence of sales in proximity to or abutting wind farms to lead to the conclusion that property values on the Island or of the Kenneys’ property have been adversely affected by the wind farm.

While their methodology is a bit complicated, in essence the Board was able to locate properties that are, like the Kenny's,  currently in sight of wind-turbines that had sold both before and after the turbines had been built.  Since these properties did not lose value, it was inferred that the Kenny's would not.

So there you have it.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

In Ottawa

...something is clearly afoot.  BAH HAH!  But seriously folks, this sounds like the CPoC might be in dutch with the alleged Mafia.

The Next Wave Of Tory Ads?

 It has also been rumoured that the Tories are going to be going on an advertising blitz which will promote the benefits of the oil sands to the rest of the country. 

Spending Ontario, Que, and B.C. money to tell us all why we should have  Alta. pipelines shoved down  our throats would be a real waste of taxpayers $, and would be seen as such.  Which is why I don't think it will happen, though, frankly, I wish Mr. Harper would take this approach.

PS.  The rest of the piece through the link is typical tar-sands promoting crap.  

Lomborg Makes It Official

Bjørn Lomborg's  assistant emailed me this morning to confirm that Mr. Lomborg no longer wished to have an entry on the Heartland Institute expert list:

Dear M.J.Murphy, 

Thank you for your email pointing out to the affiliation problem. 

As Lomborg is not affiliated with the Heartland Institute, we asked them to take Lomborg off from their list.

On behalf of Bjorn Lomborg
Best wishes,

Zsuzsa Horvath

Personal Assistant
Twitter: @bjornlomborg

Some background here and here, if you haven't been following.

Monday, May 28, 2012

A "Gaffe", Eh? Part WOW!

We should all make gaffes like this.
But what does it really tell us, other than that the flailing hacks  of the Canadian pundisphere couldn't move public opinion with dynamite and a backhoe?

Well, consider this bit:

Also, 45% of respondents said a low Canadian dollar that supports manufacturing was better for the country than a high dollar bolstered by resource exports, compared to 35% who disagreed.

The issue was recently championed by Mr. Mulcair in his comment on Canada suffering “Dutch disease” — when a high currency value hurts blue-collar manufacturing jobs.

Have we entered a "post-Western" age--in the same way that over the last decade we entered a "post-Quebec" age--wherein we realize that all that "Western Alienation" nonsense was just a cover for an Albertan tendency to whine?  Have we finally realized that, if The West doesn't play nice, the only thing they'll be able to do with their oil is make tar-candles from it and sell them to one another?  And have we realized that Alberta doesn't even speak for The West anymore?  Because, as the figure below suggests, the NDP is quite competitive in Saskitoba:
And has the LPoC realized yet that the Mulcair NDP isn't just fumbling around, that they have a scheme to win specific seats in specific regions of this great land?  And do they realize that something similar will be required on their own part if they want to challenge for those seats?

Bjørn Lomborg Disses Deniers?

Although neither the folks at the Heartland Institute nor Mr. Lomborg have confirmed Mr. Lomborg's withdrawal from the institute's Expert List, sometime over the course of the last three or four days his entry was indeed deleted from that list .  This may or may not have been due to my efforts, outlined here and here. Naturally, given Mr. Lomborg's centrality to the AGW debate, I made several attempts to contact him.  Though none of these messages were replied to, he was was certainly made aware of the institute's billboard campaign.

I would note that Mr. Lomborg previously quit the board of Energy and Environment over their stance re global warming.

h/t John Mashey.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Johnny's Burgers

I've been going to Johnny's Burgers on and off for 15 years, and been served by the same gang (esp. the Russian fellow at right and little Chinese fellow center-left, looking away from the camera) during that whole time.  Now I am hearing a rumor that Johnny's going to hang them up in a year or so and the site will be redeveloped.  Pity.  This place is the very summit of Scarborough cuisine.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

When Chris Met Ezra

I'm surprised that the entire Universe did not disintegrate in a flash of pure dorkiness as soon as their elbows touched.  More pics here.

Friday, May 25, 2012

A "Gaffe", Eh? Part Hmmm

The nation is split over Thomas Mulcair's "Dutch Disease" theory, with slightly more disagreeing than agreeing with the NDP leader.

Some surprising and not so surprising things in the regional numbers:

Most people polled in oil-rich Alberta and the rest of the Prairies disagreed with the NDP leader, while those in Quebec and British Columbia were most likely to agree with him. 

Given the mix of resource extraction versus manufacturing in the B.C. economy, these numbers make most sense  if you see the larger Dutch Disease hypothesis as a means of getting to an anti-Northern Gateway position.

As to whether his views have hurt Mulcair, it doesn't look the poll asked a simple horse-race question re voting intentions, but there is this:

The poll suggests less than half of Canadians had heard about Mulcair's comments.

If I were the NDP leader I would be saying a little prayer for the Canadian Sheeple.

Northern Gateway Preview: What An Oil Spill In Your River Looks Like

It's happening right now in the Russian Arctic.  There's more shots through the link.  Actually, here's one
that reminds me of parts of Ontario.  Reverse Line 9, anyone?

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Some Things Are Important

Bernie Farber  explains why this one is.  Donate  here.

A Note On Carbon Emissions

From one of Mike De Souza's fine pieces on Canada's GG emissions policy, noting a statement made by Environment Minister Peter Kent in the HOC earlier this month:

"This reduction is due to technological innovation and equipment turnover, increased reliability across operations and the avoidance of upgrading emissions by exporting more crude bitumen," said Kent's statement.

Since "refining" the crude product requires the application of chemicals, heat, and etc., this too becomes  a source of GG emissions.  So one way of meeting your emissions target is to ship the stuff away raw and let others incur the environmental cost of processing  it.   A cynical strategy, sure, but I can't summon this guy's outrage , if only because the  green plans of most western nations have the off-shoring of a certain tonnage of emissions to the developing world as a strategic component.  

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Robocall Suspects Posts Bizarre On-Line Statement

Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God. Therefore whoever resists the authority resists the ordinance of God, and those who resist will bring judgment on themselves.

There's more, including a video clip, but it is all similarly unenlightening. I think Andy is saying you can do whatever the heck you want as long as God (or Stephen Harper?) has OK'd it.  A confession, then?  Who knows.

Tory War On Facts

Saw this at the Stats Canada  website this morning:
This is not an obscure report; the leading indicators is one of Stats Cans major monthly publications that investors and economists employ all over the freaking planet.  Probably the easiest one to replace, as you can weave the other time series together and make your own.  Nevertheless, cuts at your national statistical agency = knowledge lost, not money saved.

With Northern Gateway, Harper = Trudeau And B.C. = Alberta

 As a former Albertan, I remember Pierre Trudeau and his National Energy Program. Albertans, I gather, still speak of the NEP with great disdain and bitterness.

Consider these startling similarities between the Northern Gateway pipeline and Trudeau's scheme:

One province is told (not asked) that they should take a major hit "for the good of the country."

The province directly affected is not consulted, and concerns put forth are met with arrogance from the government and hints that opponents are not true Canadians.


Tuesday, May 22, 2012

The World Post Section 13

I have confirmed from several sources that this story is basically correct.  Arthur Topham, publisher of The Radical Press, was indeed recently arrested for hate crimes, for among other things publishing material like The Biological Jew and The Protocols of  The Elders of Zion on his website.  So post section 13--assuming parliament finally passes Brian Storseth's private member's bill repealing that part of the Canadian Human Rights Act--all the players remain the same.  B'nai Brith, for example, has said quite clearly that they will continue their efforts to fight anti-Semitic  speech on-line via the  criminal code.

The only  difference is that the police will sub-in for officers from the various human rights commissions and tribunals, and folks like Mr. Topham will wind-up going to the pokey rather than getting a letter in the mail.  Somebody explain to me how this is an improvement.

I'm From The Church And I'm Here To Help

A bit snarky, because I get what he means.  Anyway, here's CPoC MP Michael Chong on AGW, from Dennis Gruending's latest:

Chong said that faith groups can play an important role in the climate change debate. “The science has been clarified yet a sizeable number of people disbelieve. They are searching for someone they can trust on climate change. It is important for people in faith communities to tell their neighbours, ‘I am someone you can trust and believer me this is important.’”

A "Gaffe", Eh? Part Duh

Abacus Data finds 37% support for the Tories nationally, unchanged since January.

With newly installed leader Thomas Mulcair at the helm, the New Democratic Party has rocketed to 35% backing.

Far be it for me to contradict a polling company re their own poll, but Mulcair's original anti-tar-sands blast took place way back on May 5th; the Abacus poll was done on May 15th and 16th, right in the middle of the backlash.  To me that is not "too early" to measure the effect of his words on the NDP's popularity.  And so far they don't seem to have had any negative effect.  The next step is for Mulcair to visit Fort Mac and punch everyone he meets right in the kisser.  That might put the NDP over the elusive 40% mark.  People like a politician who will fight for their values.

Monday, May 21, 2012

There’s The Rub

 I am mostly neutral on the idea of reversing line 9.  But when I read this bit:

From Sarnia, the upgraded and refined product would be sent down Enbridge’s Line 9 to Montreal, and on to Saint John, N.B., either by barge down the St. Lawrence River, by rail, or through the construction of what McKenna calls “the final leg of a national pipeline.”

Well, good luck building a pipeline through Quebec.

Just Who Has Bailed On The Heartland Institute?

Yesterday, I noticed this in the UK Gaurdian re. The Heartland Institute's ongoing travails:

A number of other experts meanwhile began cutting their ties with Heartland, according to a tally kept by a Canadian blogger BigCityLiberal.

But I noted that they just linked  to my blog front page.  So I thought I would work up a proper tally of those Heartland "experts" who have responded to my email re the now infamous billboard:

On May 11, Heartland Institute fellow Dennis Avery became the first to bite, penning this passionate if somewhat cracked defense of the institute.  You can see the form letter I've been using  underneath his  diatribe.

On Sunday, May 13th, well-known climatologist Chris Landsea became the first respondent to inform me that he no longer wished to be associated with Heartland.   Given his centrality to some aspects of the AGW debate, Mr. Landsea's renunciation generated a number of MSM stories, here and here.

On Monday, May 14th, both Miklos Zagoni of Eotvos Lorand University, Budapest, and well-known medical entomologist Paul Reiter asked that Heartland remove them from their list of experts.

On May 15th, I received stirring defenses of the Institute from Sonja A Boehmer-ChristiansenS. Fred Singer, and Brian Valentine, all of which I noted in this post.  I also had a brief contact I had with G. Cornelis van Kooten (discussed in the same post), who insisted that he had no idea what I was on about, but whose name was removed from the list somewhere between the 14th and 15th.  This was the first suggestion from any of the Heartland experts that the Institute might have volunteered them for the position without asking consent.  I would also note that Dr.Sonja A.Boehmer-Christiansen has since disappeared from the list, though this may be the result of an accident on HI's part.  I have emailed her regarding the matter but received no response.  

Later on the 15th, I was contacted by economist Henry "Jake" Jacoby, who told me that he would contact HI and have his entry deleted.  This is the first confirmed case where Heartland slapped up someone on their website as an expert without letting that person know in advance.

On May 16th, Joe Bast posted an open letter to all those scholars who had "abandoned" HI, in which he bitched at length.

On Saturday, May 19th, Economist Peter Cramton  informed me by email that he too would no longer be associated with HI.

So far, Mr. Cramton is the last person on the Heartland list to have contacted me.  In addition, I am informed that Roger Pielke Jr. has had his entry deleted, though this was not due to efforts on my part.  And Benny Peiser disappeared from the list way back on May 5th or so, presumably because of the billboards but well before my email campaign began.

So far that makes about 80 emails sent but unanswered.  I don't expect too many more responses, although I think some U.S. academic institutions may be in the middle of final exams, so perhaps when those are done  I might get another note or two.

Update: Sometime between about May 24th and 26th Bjørn Lomborg's name was removed from the Heartland list.  He confirms his removal here.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Margaret Wente Fumbles Another

Her model of an ungrateful Que. student is from out of province.  Plus there's a nice bit of writing from MC at the end:

I suppose from where Margaret Wente sits in her upscale Toronto neighbourhood, Greeks and Québecers might look the same – tiny, and far away – especially when you can’t be bothered to look. Most Québecers disagree with the protests, but that doesn’t stop Ms. Wente from ramping up and exploiting Anglo outrage.

Clearly Wente doesn’t care to find out what’s going on, and omitting the identification of her protesting poster boy as someone from outside the province serves her purposes. Wente’s article achieved its objective, eliciting an outpouring of nasty anti-Québec comments on the Globe’s website.

But before she engages in any more divisive baiting, maybe Ms. Wente could do a bit more research. Given that his parents cut the cheque” for his “$6,700” out of province fees, maybe Ethan Feldman isn’t so far away after all. Maybe Margaret could actually interview him. Maybe he lives next door.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Heartland Loses Another!

Economist Peter Cramton ( a specialist on auction theory and practice) sent me the following email today:

Dear Mr. Murphy,

I do believe that climate change is one of the key challenges of the day. As such, I have done considerable research in support of effective climate policy (see I was shocked by the billboard and then the failure of Heartland to make an immediate and clear apology for what was to me an outrageous blunder.

I have asked Heartland to remove me from there list of experts.

It is fine to include my response in your blog.

Peter Cramton
Professor of Economics
University of Maryland

So there you have it.

Bernie Farber On The Canadian Museum for Human Rights

A useful corrective, if only because we  usually hear about  the museum's various downsides.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Holy Crap: Etobicoke Centre Federal Election Result Declared Null And Void!

Due to "irregularities" in the vote.  This is important for several reasons.  It seeds the media with CPoC-as-vote -fraudster stories for several weeks (at least until the Supreme Court issues its decision).  And if the SC concurs, it coughs up an eminently LPoC-winnable seat in bye-election that will have an immense symbolic significance: no less than the first judgement cast on the Harper Majority.  (I don't count the bye-election for Jack's seat.) 

From the decision:
Update: some speculation as to what might have been going on from Ben Parsons:

The facts in this case are pretty clear. *Someone*, was running the old scam of using the same person to vouch for more than one person to the RO. They have solid documentary evidence that at least 79 votes were improperly cast, far exceeding the margin of 26.

A "Gaffe", Eh?

The New Democrats (36%) have moved into a narrow national lead over the Conservatives (32%). Liberals trail with 19 percent. Green support stand at seven percent support and the BQ has six percent (25% in Quebec).

So this poll was done May 7 to 9, though just released yesterday, after the Mulcair appearance on The House  (May 5) that set things off, but before the whole other week of yelling and screaming that followed.  A bit early to judge, but after the first four days of media "outrage", this poll shows no downward movement in the  NDP numbers.  And, just as an aside, back in 2008 Mulcair's regional strategy was offered to Dion and he turned it down out of sheer nice-guyishness, so somebody figured it might work back then too.

As to the cries of "divisiveness", well, depending who's making the charge, please hand me a barf bag.  Its like the Conservatives think wedge politics is their game and nobody else is allowed to play.

Mind you, its still early, and the next poll could see the NDP taking water over this.  But having the entire opinion page at  Postmedia angry at you doesn't signify that you've made a gaffe.  These days, with their readership numbers, it signals almost nothing at all.

Update: Steve V says gaffe!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

A Dear John Letter From The Heartland Institute's Joe Bast which he says goodbye to all those scholars who "are feeling trepidation" at being seen on the HI website.  Joe still loves you.  Its all a big misunderstanding.  Please come home again.

Guy Lauzon: He Sees Dead People

From The Cornwall Free News:

CFN –  Cornwall Ontario resident Barrie Brown was shocked when his daughter brought him a condolence note from SD&SG MP Guy Lauzon on Barrie’s passing!

From the comments of the same story:

Yeah, Guy Lauzon has a problem with condolences. In December 2005, during the 2006 election, he showed up to campaign at the wake of a young woman whose family was predominantly NDPers and Liberals. The deceased woman’s niece, Kim Fry, had actually run for provincial politics both in Cornwall and Toronto for the NDP. Kim and her grieving family were flabbergasted when he started shaking hands and then he offered his condolences to Kim’s aunt, older sister of the deceased, by referring to the deceased as her mother. He really upset many of the mourners and was ushered quickly out of the funeral parlour chastised in no uncertain terms. He hastily departed without even an apolgy.

Later he claimed to Claude MacIntosh of the Standard-Freeloader that he thought the deceased was the wife of his really good friend and neighbor; such a good friend that he did not know the family name, he did not know what his good friend’s wife or daughter looked like, nor did he recognize anyone else at the wake. I don’t believe he even ever offered a formal apology. As far as the friend and neighbor, it turned out that the woman he claimed he thought it was had been buried weeks before.

And the pic is from this story, about when, during the 2011 federal election campaign, the Lauzon team put up signs in a Cornwall cemetery.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Henry "Jake" Jacoby Also Wants Off Heartland Expert List

Henry "Jake" Jacoby,  Professor of Applied Economics in the Center for Energy and Environmental Policy Research at the MIT Sloan School of Management.of MIT sent me the following email this morning:

I did not know they were using my name and will have it removed immediately. Many thanks for the notice.

Henry Jacoby

This is the first confirmed instance we have of Heartland's recruiting an expert to their experts cause without having contacted the person first, although this also seems likely the case with G. Cornelis van Kooten.

Standards, Please!

When you visit to the website of the The Canadian Broadcast Standards Council you get this message:
...which Google expands upon as follows:
If I am guessing correctly, someone added some bad code to the site.  This usually happens to low volume pages that are not frequently maintained, so I guess that might tell you something about the CBSC.  Oddly enough, it probably would have been safer for me to look at porn.  Funny world.

Heartland Expert Exodus Update: 3 Staunch Defenders, 1 Quiet De-Listing

A number of folks I've emailed re the HI Institute billboard fiasco, who you'd think would probably come out in defense of the institute, have done so.  Here's a response from Sonja A Boehmer-Christiansen, of Energy And Environment  fame:

Being listed as an expert need not imply a close association with, or even general support for an institution.

I do respect HI for its support of IPCC critical (‘consensus’)scientists, several of whom I know personally, respect and have published. These genuine scientists are not funded by Big Oil, Dirty Coal or even ‘Fracked’ Gas, but tend work in isolation and without official grant support. They have been much insulted by the ‘warmers’ , especially the proselytising members of assorted lobbies (from environmentalist and nuclear to renewables and investors) as well as expanding bureaucracies. They all expect to benefit from the scare of dangerous, man-made climate warming, combined, please note, with promises of ‘salvation’ that are also research and technology intensive.

I firmly believe that negotiated consensus does not have place in science, but is indeed a desirable and sought after goal in politics.

I am not a supporter of the HL’s economic or social ideology and am under no illusion why many of its supporters are attracted to ‘climate scepticism’.

However, as long as there is no rational dialogue between government funded ‘global warming’ researchers (they are funded to prove a politically attractive hypothesis rather than to test it, and as long as the opponents of IPCC critics (the ‘realists’ ) are insulted by the other dies as denialists, deniers, flat earthers and worse, I shall not ask the HI to remove my name. As a political scientists specialising in environmental science as a tool of policy and politics, it is my professional duty to listen to (and publish) all sides in a scientific debate. Several years ago I was asked by students at IDS, the International Development Institute at THE University of Sussex why I was a ‘sceptic’. My reply was: to protect science and to prevent growing poverty. I stick to this.

Sonja B-C

PS You are free to publish. May I also remind you that some rather violent threats, including trial for mass murder, have been made against the ‘deniers’. I do not know whether your organisation was involved.

Dr.Sonja A.Boehmer-Christiansen
Reader Emeritus, Department of Geography
Hull University

I will just note, Ms. Boehmer-Chistiansen, that I have not issued any threats against AGW deniers.  I think I might have called Pielke Jr. a prick one time, but that's it.

S. Fred Singer chimed in with this letter, sent to the Chicago Sun Times but as far as I know unpublished there or anywhere else:

To the Editor

I have only two questions. My first one is: Is it true? Is the Unabomber really a passionate believer in [human-caused] Global Warming?

I suppose so -- but I have not read his manifesto.

My other question: Is this a good way to inform the public that believers in GW are not necessarily wonderful, caring people?

In other words, does the billboard message counter the propaganda that if you really care about the planet and humanity you must accept the results of mathematical models that the climate will undergo catastrophic warming in the next decade (or century -- take your pick) -- destroying life on Earth as we know it (according to some).

There may be better ways to inform the public; I just don't know; I am a climate scientist and not an expert on PR. All I know is that thermometers show no warming since at least 1998 and that therefore model results are suspect.

If that makes me a climate skeptic -- and evil (in some people's eyes), so be it.

Full disclosure: The Heartland Institute is the publisher of some of my climate books and pays me author's royalties.

Also, Brian Valentine of the U.S. Department of Energy's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy sent me this steamer:

Thanks for asking, I am removing my name from nothing, and you can print my response thus:

"Brian Valentine believes that the promotion of junk science is as damaging as terrorism, and "eugenics" is a good historical example of that. Brian Valentine supports the end of junk science applied to manipulate an honest Public."

You may also mention that Brian Valentine never received a dime from Heartland or anybody else for his views, unlike a notorious few unscrupulous individuals in scientific positions such as Mr. Hansen of NASA, who was given millions from greenie groups and others who wanted him to support a certain position. I'll bet you don't have the guts to mention that. 

I hope he didn't write that one during work hours.

But the day's most interesting result came during a couple of very brief email exchanges with G. Cornelis van Kooten.  When I asked him about his association with The Heartland Institute, he seemed to have no idea what I was talking about, responding to me as follows:


But as of May 13th he was definitely on the HI list, though he has been removed since.  That's where I got his email, after all.  The question thus arises: did the Heartland Institute recruit people to their expert lists without even asking permission?

And finally, the HI's ongoing problems with its experts and, more importantly, its donors has made the U.K. Guardian.  Chris Landsea and yours truly get a mention.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Washington Post Picks Up Chris Landsea Story

Gives me a nice cite and link.  But my favorite bit is the opening line:

More than a week after it was abandoned, the Heartland Institute’s controversial billboard campaign - linking global warming belief with mass murder - continues drawing strong reactions

Because keeping the story alive was one of the reasons behind the whole exercise. Another being to inform some of the people on the list that they were on it (because they might have forgotten or have never known) and give them a chance to have their entry deleted.

Paul Reiter Asks To Be Removed From Heartland Experts List

This morning I received the following email from Paul Reiter, a well-known medical entomologist at  the Pasteur Institute in Paris.  He, like Chris Landsea, has some disagreements with very specific aspects of the IPCC position on AGW (noted below).  However, with regards to the Heartland's latest initiative...Well, read the email:

Dear Mr Murphy,

I am appalled by this poster campaign. More than appalled, I am disgusted. I am also very upset that my name is associated with such propaganda.

I am not a climatologist, nor a glaciologist, nor an expert in sea levels etc. I am a scientist, a specialist in mosquito-borne diseases, particularly the mosquito-borne viral diseases. I have worked in this field for my entire professional life.

Several years ago (perhaps 2005) the Heartland Institute invited me to New York give a presentation on climate change and mosquito-borne disease.

I have long been critical of false claims made by non-specialists, claims that although intuitive, are quite outside the bounds of science. Claims, for example, that malaria would soon move into southern Europe because of higher global temperatures, that malaria had already moved to higher altitudes in East Africa, that the Asian Tiger mosquito has moved into temperate regions (Italy), that dengue is on the increase throughout the world and that the recent outbreak of chikungunya in northern Italy was "the first outbreak of a tropical disease in temperate Europe"... all because of climate change

These statements are not only made by activists, they come from the World Health Organization (WHO), the Intergovernmental Panel on climate change (IPCC), the Environmental Protection Agency EPA etc.

More correctly, a quick check on the web will confirm that the same persons, though not specialists in my field, have repeatedly served as lead authors, contributory authors etc. in the public health chapter of the IPCC reports, with repeated emphasis on mosquito-borne diseases. In addition, these pseudo-scientists have repeatedly posed as "experts" t persons in positions of great power (the supreme example is Mr Al Gore).

Moreover, these persons and these organizations have (and continue) to use the terminology of science to further their agenda whilst being careful to exclude the contribution of persons like Chris Landsea and myself.

An account of this background is given in my testimony to the House of Lords:

To me, such persons—the great majority of whom are non-scientists—are peddling misleading and harmful information to the public and thereby distorting appreciation of the true problems in global Public Health

It has been in the context of such shenanigans that I have repeatedly tried to set the record straight by peer-reviewed articles in the professional scientific press

Examples include:

Despite these publications and several others (not to mention articles by my professional peers in other prestigious journals including Nature and Science) I was and continue to be denounced as a skeptic and a stooge of the oil industry. An example is a recent book by Dr Paul Epstein in which he denounces me and a colleague from the University of Oxford as "naysayers" and "deniers" with various derogatory (and libellous?) statements. The term "denier" is particularly odious; it is clearly an allusion to holocaust deniers.

After more than 10 years of sticking my neck out (for which I have suffered several set-backs to my career) it was clear that however many articles I would write, the same falsehoods would continue to be scattered in the public domain by persons who clearly had little respect for science.

It was in this context that I agreed to speak at the meeting of the Heartland Institute. Several other scientists, experts in their field but denounced as "skeptics" (I particularly remember a specialist in Polar Bear biology) were present.

At the meeting I was asked if I would serve as a technical advisor on my field. My personal politics are far removed from those of the Heartland Institute but, given that the voice of "skeptics"—bona fide scientists—has little opportunity for exposure to the public, I agreed to serve in this capacity provided that it was quite clear that I would only speak on my own field of expertise.

I now thoroughly regret having agreed to their request. I am horrified that my name should be associated with such a distasteful, revolting campaign. To me it is worthy of the worst propaganda of the 20th century.

In summary, I am horrified that you should have found my name in association with this sort of claim.

I copy this message to Mr Joseph Bast and demand that my name be removed from any mention by the Heartland Institute.

I would also mention that I am deeply disappointed to see this change in the policies of his Institute. At the time that I had dealings with it I considered it refreshing that Mr Bast and his group were open to honest science and balanced debate.

I now see that this is no longer the case.

Yours sincerely

Paul Reiter

Gruending On the War of 1812 And The Rebranding Of Canada

The big project this year is an attempt to rebrand the War of 1812 between Britain (along with its Canadian colony) and the United States. That part of the war fought on what is now Canadian soil was, in reality, a series of tawdry and incompetently planned skirmishes in which neither side really won. But the “new warriors”, led by the Prime Minister Stephen Harper and assisted by a platoon of Defence department flacks and eager academics, are attempting to turn 1812 into an epic Canadian victory.

Dennis is right on here.  As I've written before, most of the soldiers who died during the conflict died of dysentery; and it's hard to elevate a war that has as its iconic image John Constable's "Three Infantrymen Fighting For Spot On Latrine".

Mr. Gruending is, incidentally,  writing a review of Warrior Nation: Rebranding Canada in an Age of Anxiety.  The authors (Ian McKay and Jamie Swift) go on to note that the next big date is the WWI centenary.  Great.  I can just see Harper and Co. throwing around zillions to mount recreations of trench warfare, complete with giant rats defleshing bloated corpses.

Miklos Zagoni Wants Off Heartland Institute Expert List

Mr. Zagoni, a physicist and science historian at Eotvos Lorand University, Budapest, sent me the following email this morning:

Dear Mr Muprhy,

I got no connection to the HI since four years, and do not want to have.
I am happy if being removed from their list.

Yours sincerely:
Miklos Zagoni

I have forwarded this email to James Lakely at the Heartland Institute.  As an aside, it looks as though I number of people that I have not been in touch with have recently been removed from the list.  They include Benny Peiser, Roger Pielke Jr., Oliver Frauenfeld and David Henderson.  Roger definitely de-listed over the billboard fiasco; Benny probably did (he would have heard about it from the Climate Skeptic Mailing List).  The other two I don't know about.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Chris Landsea Dumps Heartland

As readers might know, I have been contacting scientists/academics on the Heartland Institute Expert list and asking if, in light of the Institute's billboard fiasco, they intend to remain on said list.  This afternoon I received the following response from research meteorologist Chris Landsea:

Dear M.J. Murphy,
I recall that several years ago that Heartland had asked if i could
be listed as an expert in the issue of hurricanes and climate variability
and change.  I haven't had any direct interaction with Heartland
in any other capacity.  The billboard campaign that they are displaying
is not in good taste nor is furthering the advancement of better
understanding of how our climate fluctuates and changes.  I will
ask them to remove my name from their listing of Experts.
Chris Landsea
And here is e-mail to HI:

Dear Heartland Institute,
I am currently listed on your website as an expert in the issue of
hurricanes and climate variability and change:
The billboard campaign that you all have recently been displaying
is not in good taste nor is it furthering the advancement of better
understanding of how our climate fluctuates and changes.  Please
remove my name from your list of Experts.
Chris Landsea

So there you have it.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Has Jonathon Kay Had A Near Death Experience?

Or has he been diagnosed with a deadly Cancer and is trying to get right with Jesus?  (or whoever Jewish folk try to get right with when they realize their time is nigh ).  Seriously, the guy could almost be described as "compassionate" these days.  Not at all like the heartless prick he once was.  Something has changed.

Mind you, his mom's still a bitch.  Which is a good thing, IMHO.  You can't have 't have everything changing all at once.  That would lead to anarchy.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Heartland/Hudson Senior Fellow Dennis Avery Doubles Down On Billboard Campaign

So, for the past couple of days I have been sending out emails to those scientist/intellectual types on the Heartland Institute's Expert pages, letting them know that 1) they are in fact listed as HI experts (which some of them may not realize), and 2) that HI recently launched a horribly tasteless billboard campaign, which they quickly abandoned, comparing  scientists and others who believe in the reality of anthropogenic global warming to the Unabomber and other mass murdering types.  I've also asked them if, in light of these facts, they are willing to continue to be associated with HI, because within the last couple of days corporate sponsors have been abandoning the institute in droves.   The first to respond to my inquiries is Dennis Avery, a senior fellow at both the Heartland and Hudson Institute.  Below is his email to me reproduced in its entirety, and under that the email I've been sending to the folks on the HI experts list (about 50 of them so far), just for reference purposes.  I would just note that in these form emails I use my real name, M.J. Murphy, as well as my Internet moniker BCL (short for BigCityLib).  I would also note that the boldings are mine:

Dear BigCityLib: I am a senior fellow of the Hudson Institute, and proud of my association with Heartland. I continue to agree with Heartland that man-made warming is a tiny element of the planet’s warming since the Maunder Minimum ended about 1715. (The warming from 1915-1940 was as rapid and lasted about as long as the 1976-1998 warming, but came too soon to be blamed on CO2.) The real warming factor is the 1,500-year Dansgaard-Oeschger cycle, whose centuries-long “little ice ages” collapsed most human cultures before 1850 AD (after short periods of success during the global warming phases of the cycle). That’s why our cultures have lasted only about 500 years, on average. It’s not due to some lurking flaw in our psyches, but to inadequate farming and terribly unstable “little ice age” weather.

 The earth’s hundreds of previous global warmings have been the good times for humans and other life forms, and this will continue to be true. The appropriate policy today is to produce still more fertilizer and still-higher crop yields, so we can feed a projected peak population of 8.1 billion people in 2050 without displacing more wildlife. (By 2300, the UN’s Low Variant Projection says human numbers will have declined to 2.3 billion, due to the low birth rates that accord with low death rates. Your frantic fear of “overpopulation” will by then have faded into the mists.)

Relying on solar and wind would achieve the Greenpeace goal of fewer people, but through ghastly hardships (Would that qualify as mass murder on a far grander scale than the Unabomber?) Nor would this “save the planet.” Hungry people eat the wildlife before they starve.

Do not destroy our vital energy systems: I think the billboard was an effective way to carry this message beyond the current “skeptic” ranks It certainly attracted attention to the question. I continue to be amazed at the “religious” belief of BigCityLiberals in a theory which has been betrayed by 1) the existence of the D-O cycle which has been known now for 28 years and won for Dansgaard and Oeschger the “environmental Nobel,” the Tyler Prize; 2) the non-warming of the past 15 years, which defies the Greenhouse Theory; 3) the falsification of the global climate models’ predictions; 4) the continuing expansion of snow and ice in the Antarctic; and 5) the historical pattern of the Pacific Decadal Oscillation, which tells us that the current global cooling is likely to last decades more and will thus destroy the man-made warming campaign.

May I publish your decision to renounce the man-made warming campaign and help to reduce the anguish which this well-meant but misguided effort has inflicted on the general public?

Dennis Avery


And here's my original email to Mr. Avery:

Dear Mr. Avery,
I am wondering if you are aware

1) that you are listed as a "Heartland Institute Expert"

...and 2) that Heartland recently ran a billboard campaign comparing AGW believers to mass murderers (in particular to the Unabomber)

A number of scientists have asked that they be removed from the HI list of experts because of this billboard campaign, and a number of sponsors have withdrawn their funding. I wonder if you will continue to be associated with them?

And may I publish any response here:


Thursday, May 10, 2012

No Charges Filed Against Gleick

As readers may remember, Peter Gleick is the hydroclimatologist who suckered the Heartland Institute out of some of their budget documents, which act has, directly or indirectly, resulted in HI's losing $100,000s in funding from its corporate sponsors.  After Mr. Gleick's identity was revealed, rumors swirled re lawsuits and possible charges laid against him.  Well, this morning, responding to an inquiry of mine, I received a short email from Ross Rice of the Chicago FBI, which I have excerpted below:

While we do ask for the public's assistance with many cases, we generally do NOT detail what we might be investigating unless or until an arrest is made or charges are filed. As such, I can tell you that no arrests have been made nor have any criminal charges been filed in the Northern District of Illinois against Peter Gleick.

SA Ross Rice
Chicago FBI

Hard to imagine anything coming of this now.  Presumably the police don't believe the nonsense HI is trying to pass off as evidence of wrongdoing.

Will Seat Redistribution Turn Tory Upon Tory?

At a regular monthly meeting April 25, councillors approved a motion to urge the electoral commission to maintain the "status quo," and to keep as much of the county as possible within a single federal riding.

Council had originally proposed a motion seeking to have the Town of Mississippi Mills, which is currently part of the federal riding of Carleton-Mississippi Mills (represented by MP Gordon O'Connor) reunited with the rest of the county, which is currently in the riding of Lanark, Frontenac, Lennox & Addington (represented by MP Scott Reid).

However, county council withdrew the original motion following a recent vote by Mississippi Mills council in which a majority of that municipality's representatives indicated their preference to stay in the Carleton-Mississippi Mills riding. Coun. Val Wilkinson, who represents Mississippi Mills at county council, stated the outcome of the vote was due to the fact that local councillors "feel they've had very good service from their representative."

Mississippi Mills' desire to remain in the Carleton-Mississippi Mills riding is due to councillors' satisfaction with O'Connor, and not because "we don't want to be part of Lanark County," Wilkinson said.

The received wisdom says that most of the seat redistribution action will take place out in suburban Tory-land.  But logically this implies that most of the breaking up and merging of fiefdoms will occur in the same place. Might be fun to watch.

Wednesday, May 09, 2012

On The Tory Human Smuggling Bill

There has been some surprise expressed at the tweaks announced today to Jason Kenney's human smuggling legislation.  Are the Harper Tories getting all soft and persuadable? 

The government line is that the amendments are:

...a response by the government to the concerns raised by several individuals, including the opposition parties.

However, there is at least one person who would not be surprised at today's changes.  His name is Balan Ratnarajah, and he is head of a rather mysterious organization known as the  Peel Tamil Community Centre.  In early 2011 he wrote a letter in support of an earlier version of this legislation (at the time called C-49), and when asked, replied:

...he has been assured that the troubling elements on refugees will never see the light of day.

“Eventually I think that’s not going to be there. That’s what we were told,” he said.

Balan expanded a bit more on this in an interview with Tamil radio:

“This supportive letter created a controversial atmosphere in the community that we are working closely with the government of Canada. We are not working closely with them and we are only focusing on those 8,000 people who fled and temporarily reside in Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia.”

“Due to our efforts the Minister had taken necessary measures and addressed in the Parliament saying that Canada will take-up this matter and work along with Australia, Thailand and Indonesia. Thank. Thorough our cordial relationship we have brought the government of Canada to pay more attention on this issue."

“We have no intention of blocking future arrivals of those refugees to Canada and in fact we want to extend our helping hands to them. There is a kind of fear that hearing of these refugees, who arrive after March 2010, will be dealt differently by the government. We have discussed this issue with the government and it was a fruitful discussions but I don’t want to reveal the outcome to the public now.”

So the notion that these particularly controversial amendments were simply "boob bait for bubba" (the Tory core) that were never intended to be in the final bill has always been a possibility, and one that seems more likely after today's announcements.

Bernie Farber At The Kickoff To Ontario Jewish Heritage Month

I was lucky enough to attend the kickoff to Ontario's first Jewish Heritage Month at Beth Torah Synagogue on Monday evening.  Highlights included a choir, the name of which I forget now but they were terrific, Susan Jackman's spirited and funny account of Jewish immigration into T.O., and of course Bernie's speech re the Jewish contribution to the establishment of Ontario's human rights apparatus.

On a related note, B'nai Brith Canada seems to have flipped sides at a recent meeting of the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights, and now apparently are in favor of a straight out repeal of Section 13 (the hate speech provision in the Canadian Human Rights Act).  Unfortunately, I'm basing this merely on Kady O'Malley's coverage of the meeting.  The transcripts don't appear to be available, and I see nothing on the BB website.  I've emailed them for details, and we'll see if they respond.  In any case, here's a bit I did on the list of  issues re the CHRC and the CHRA that they brought to Richard Moon back in 2008.  Some of these, for example the jurisdiction shopping by complainants among the various  national and provincial commissions, I thought had already been fixed at the administrative level.  So, as I say, I don't know what BB's current set BWCs are.

Tuesday, May 08, 2012

Sun News Network's Problem Is Not Being "High On The Dial"

Sun News Network received a $3-million investment from its co-owners in the last quarter, as losses accelerated at the upstart network amid struggles to attract the subscriber base needed to woo large advertisers.


Sun News launched just over a year ago, and worked to secure distribution deals with broadcasters across the country. But in many jurisdictions the channel is located high on the dial, making it difficult for casual viewers to locate the subscription specialty channel.

Sun News Network's problem is being shitty.  Anyone who really wanted to locate it has done so by now.  The problem is, nobody does.   Well, 19 people: Ed Kennedy, the Fourniers, a couple of Neo-Nazis, and Ezra's dad. 

In fact being high on the dial means that people who might hear about it via other media sources and think it might possibly be interesting or controversial never need to get disabused of their illusions. 

In fact, the only reason that anybody outside of the hard-core angry-old-white-guy target demo is watching it these days is because Ezra and co.  tend to go meta and trash their fellows within the sad, small, self-loathing tribe that Canadian journalism.  And then these poor doomed saps figure they can wank an easy column out of playing victim to the jerks at Fox News North.  But in so far as they ref Sun News, they give the network oxygen.  If CBC and CTV and talk radio ceased to exist and it came down to Sun TV vs. the Rotisserie Chicken channel, the rotating chicken would win and next time you saw Ezra he'd be wearing a dorky hat and stuffing your McNuggets into a plastic clam-shell.

Monday, May 07, 2012

Heartland Institute Loses Another Sponsor After PR Fiasco

So, late last week The Heartland Institute puts up this bill-board outside of Chicago:

...with the promise of more ads to come, featuring other notables such as Osama Bin Laden. The billboard, lets just say, gets noticed.  Leo Hickman is first out of the gate:

It really is hard to know where to begin with this one. But let's start with: "What on earth were they thinking?"

And a shit storm follows. HI allies like Canadian economist  Ross McKitrick threaten to pull out of this year's version of Deniapalooza (the annual HI climate conference) if the billboard campaign is not discontinued; conference speaker Donna Lafromboise, another Canuck, does indeed pull out.  By late Friday, Heartland has already pulled down the billboard although, as many people have noted, they don't sound particularly apologetic about comparing folks who believe in the science of AGW to mass murderers.

Fortunately, the fallout has continued through the weekend.  Most significantly, Diageo, one of the world's largest drink manufacturers, has decided against providing further funding to the Institute:

Following the widespread outcry triggered by Heartland's billboards, a Diageo spokeswoman told the Guardian: "Diageo vigorously opposes climate scepticism and our actions are proof of this. Diageo's only association with the Heartland Institute was limited to a small contribution made two years ago specifically related to an excise tax issue. Diageo has no plans to work with the Heartland Institute in the future."

Various pressure campaigns against HI's remaining sponsors continue. DeSmog Blog has provided a handy list of these companies if anyone wants to pen an aggrieved email.  Of course, the bulk of HI's funding is provided by a single anonymous donor.  This story in the Shimer College Events Examiner puts into words what many have suspected:

In February, the "Denialgate" security breach exposed Bast's administrative incompetence, as well as internal Heartland documents that strongly suggested that it had been receiving massive infusions of cash from the same source that had bankrolled the attempted takeover of Shimer: Chicago industrialist Barre Seid.

We shall see where this story goes.  But, watching the push-back against HI build from my small place behind the scenes, I will say that the climate science community has learned alot about fighting back over the past couple of years.  It is not out of the question that, with some continued effort, the Institute might be forced out of business.

Sunday, May 06, 2012

Rob Ford Lets David Menzies Slime George Smitherman For Being Gay

The recording is here; words are about 20 minutes in. Totally disgusting and maybe actionable.  Sun TV must be so proud.  And I guess so must we all in T.O.  for being the people who elected Mr. Ford mayor.  Because he seemed to approve.

Update: just to elaborate, at about the 20 minute mark Sun TV  personality David Menzies goes all hypothetical wondering why its OK to criticize Ford for his weight when is not OK to criticize George Smitherman for engaging in dangerous gay sex and doing all sorts of drugs and maybe dying in office from  AIDS if he'd ever been voted in.  As an aside, Menzies suggests that The Star sent their most effeminate reporter (Daniel Dale) to spy on Ford so it would be a bigger deal if Ford slugged 'em.  And the Ford brothers didn't pitch this noxious prick off their show.

On Andrew Prescott

...the most likely candidate so far for Pierre Poutine.  From Media Culpa:

Further on in this thread, Andrew Prescott makes reference to being “asked today to join the Board of Directors for our local CPC EDA.” But for the most part (until then at least), it would appear that the author sees himself obeying some higher calling than the earthly laws enacted by parliament. Would it be such a stretch to wonder whether the same might apply to the Elections Act?

Incidentally, I don't buy the claims that this guy "outed" Prescott as Poutine.  I'd heard back in March that it was mostly likely Andrew, based on some childish antics of his during the campaign and the fact he self-described as a phone expert.  But who wants to get sued if you're wrong?

Saturday, May 05, 2012

Sun Media Staff Exit The Propertied Class, Part III

Apparently, it isn't just 333 King that's been on the block.  All their buildings are up for sale; their Cobourg property (99 King, housing Northumberland Today) is the latest to go.  Looking forward, NT staffers will be assigned desk space at picnic table outside a nearby Tim Hortons; in winter they will be expected to keep warm by burning yesterday's unsold newspapers.  And the men's room will be located behind that tree.

Friday, May 04, 2012

On Prosecuting Elderly War Criminals

 Bernie Farber has a new piece on Huffpo.  He says it better than I could:

The hunting down of war criminals sends a universal message that such unspeakable crimes will not be tolerated by a civil society. It tells potential perpetrators that there is no place to hide; that they will be hunted for the rest of their lives. 

What Will They Whine Of Next?

From the CHRC page detailing with access to info requests:
Logically, the only people on the planet who would care would be the folks named in the request itself, desperately trolling about for something to be fake-outraged about.  It appears, however, that they haven't found anything useful, as Fox News North is apparently down to hassling hippies at the Occupy Toronto campsite again.

Wednesday, May 02, 2012

Let His Blackness Come Home

It is clear that the travails of prison life--the shitty food, the difficulty of taking a shower without getting gang-raped, the need to trade your Order Of Canada for some "leave me alone time", and an impromptu marriage to the convict with the most cigarettes--have all conspired to make Conrad Black a marginally less hate-worthy human being.  In fact, no Progressive who has read his extensive prison writings re the injustices of the U.S. penal system could but fail to hope that Mr. Black's sentence might  be extended awhile, so that his moral evolution might be completed.  Nevertheless, it is my view that the federal government is correct in letting him return to his Toronto home, even if his spiritual growth has not yet traversed its full course.  Give me three weeks alone with the guy in intensive re-education and I could have him dropping tabs of E  and seducing Hippy Chicks down at Occupy Toronto.  Please give the man a chance.  I sincerely believe he could still become our Che.

Windmills Do Not Cause Global Warming

Contrary to what you might have heard.  Instead, this is what happens:

...wind turbines mix up the cold and warm layers of air by dragging cold air from the ground up high into the air (where it’s normally warmer) and by dragging warm air from high up down to the ground (where it’s normally colder). This redistributes the heat energy held in a given volume of air by roughly equalizing the temperature of a large volume of air. However, because the turbines are only redistributing the energy already present in the air, it doesn't effect global warming in any way.

Its the same effect, incidentally, that fruit growers create by flying helicopters over their orchards to combat frost damage.

Tuesday, May 01, 2012

When Green Energy Meets Endangered Species In Ontario get something like this decision from the Environmental Registry, allowing Grand Valley Wind Farms Inc. to build nine wind turbines in the Township of East Luther Grand Valley on Bobolink habitat.  The restrictions seem quite elaborate, and involve "more than mitigation measures or “replacing” what is lost", for example providing and maintaining 12.5 hectares of Prime Bobolink habitat on nearby Grand Valley owned land and timing construction activity to avoid the bird's nesting season.  An idea of the amount of resistance to the project can be gleaned from this passage:

A total of 89 comments were received in response to this Environmental Registry notice. Forty-eight responses were form letters which objected to allowing a private developer to harm species at risk and questioned how such authorizations can be justified under the ESA. The individual comments expressed concern that the focus was on business interests rather than protection of species at risk and urged consideration of alternatives which would not have a negative impact on Bobolink (five responses were duplicates).

Looks like the form letters came from the now defunct Wind Concerns Ontario