Saturday, August 31, 2013

No Wonder Mark Steyn considering a run for the U.S. Senate.  He may need an extra income source if Mike Mann's defamation case against the National Review goes the way it appears to be headed:

"The Court finds that there is sufficient evidence in the record to demonstrate that Plaintiff is likely to succeed on the merits," said a DC Superior Court judge in her latest procedural ruling in the defamation case of Michael Mann v. National Review, et al. "The evidence before the Court indicates the likelihood that 'actual malice' is present in the [National Review's] conduct." 

This language is somewhat stronger than the previous ruling, which merely suggested that evidence of "actual malice" might be found during discovery (but was not present in the NR piece itself).

Duncan Campbell Scott: Good Poet, Bad Person?

The other day Bernie Farber had an op-ed in the Ottawa Citizen where he wrote:

[Duncan Campbell Scott] was considered one of Canada’s preeminent poets, a writer whose verses sang of Canada’s natural beauty, whose poems painted pictures of Canadian wilderness that brought pride to a nation. He was also a heartless civil servant, the first superintendent of Canadian residential schools and a deputy minister of Indian Affairs in the early part of the 20th century whose policies targeting First Nations, many believe, meet today’s definition of the UN genocide convention.

The next day U-of-0's Gerald Lynch fired back with a defense of Scott.  He claimed that: vilifying Scott, Farber implicates the whole of our history and its prime actors. There were few in Scott’s time who did not think as he did, and many who thought cruelly (some even genocidally, though that is a ludicrous charge to level so recklessly at Scott and most). Former National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations Ovide Mercredi himself said in a TV Ontario documentary on Scott that he did not blame the man but the culture and time he represented, which is fair. In castigating Scott and by implication the whole glorious past of Canada, Farber commits the present’s rampaging sin of asking the bad past always to bend the knee to our enlightened times.

Perhaps one day a hundred years from now some socio-historian will castigate someone like Farber for blithely going about his business while animals were being butchered and rendered extinct. Or perhaps the future will charge Farber with some other crime that he (and we), in the necessarily blinkered present, cannot recognize.

Well, there are a couple of things we need to think about here.  One is the simple fact that our artists are often  monsters, and we are left to make what we will of their creations in light of this.  V.S. Naipaul is, by all accounts, a horrible man.  T.S. Eliot wrote a number of openly anti-semitic poems, and some of the parts of The Wasteland that Pound edited out are filled with a rancid misogyny.  Louis-Ferdinand Céline was anti-semitic to the point of lunacy, and in addition collaborated with the Nazis.  Even the wonderful Hergé was capable of racism in his Tintin in the Congo.  In each case, the potential reader must judge whether these facts are enough to turn them off the authors' work.

But to excuse behavior and beliefs because they were "of their time" is simply an appeal to the lowest common denominator.   There are always some who are unblinkered, and I don't see why we are not free to judge their historical peers in light of their example.  Furthermore, its hard to see how Lynch's argument. when applied consistently, would not invalidate any attempt at moral judgement. After all, we are all of our time and submerged in our culture. Can we not, for example, condemn execution by stoning though it is  accepted practice in some milieus?

Friday, August 30, 2013

Summer Is Almost Over

..and poli-talk turns from the wan mellow of good ganja  to the economy, which ended Q2 with an enormous thud:

On a monthly basis, real GDP by industry declined 0.5% in June.

Work it out and that means less than two per cent growth for the year as a whole.  Mind you, one bad month does not a downturn make.  But it looks like the negative effects of Alberta's floods will be showing up in GDP reports still to come, and even afterwards there's nothing to suggest that growth into 2014 and even 2015 will be anything but anemic.  If the Harper Tories want to make this their focus, then the opposition should encourage them.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

On Poison Rings, Gay Or Otherwise

U.S. evangelical Pat Robertson has been in the news again for suggesting that gay men in San Francisco use "special rings" that they cut your finger with to give you HIV.  The video is below:

We'll assume Pat's crazy.  But what if he wasn't?  A poison ring that leaves a cut on its intended victim seems pretty easily traceable.  It probably wouldn't work more than once or twice.

On the other hand, check out this little number from 14th Century Bulgaria:
Probably the best explanation of how it functions comes from here:

 It’s finely crafted with a circular granulation detail around the top and five cylinders that look like stacked pennies going up the side. There’s a small hole on the side of the ring between two of the cylinders through which poison could be introduced into the hollow chamber and, when the propitious moment is at hand, into the food or beverage of your benighted target.

Its size suggests that it was made for a man to wear, probably on the little finger of the right hand. Since the hole is on the left side, it would be concealed by the ring finger next to it. A quick lift and tip of the pinkie and poisoning accomplished. It’s a much stealthier approach than having to open a splashy begemmed lid and turn your hand upside down without anyone noticing.

So, no mark!  Apparently this ring took down a whole fistful of Bulgarian nobles without anyone being the wiser.  A much better result for the poisoner, whatever their sexual orientation.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Whither The Green Party Of Canada?

...the local [Green Party] Electoral District associations were largely formed to capitalise on the Revenue Sharing agreements between the Green Party`s head office, and the local electoral units. Any local riding that met the basic criteria of maintaining a local organisation would receive a significant share of the per vote subsidy then on offer under the elections finance act. The central party had a perverse incentive inasmuch as their own revenues would decline every time a new local organisation was formed to take advantage of this revenue sharing deal, so perhaps it ought not surprise us that zero resources were allocated to local organising of grass-roots Green Party riding associations. On the part of the Electoral District Associations, virtually all local ridings that had more than 3 or 4 active members had already formed their EDA before Elizabeth May was elected leader of the GPC. Most of them coasted along under the Revenue sharing agreement, accumulating a small stream of cash for the next general election.

But of course revenue sharing is done, and you can see the result in the chart below:

The blogger I swiped all this from thinks there's an opportunity for the LPC in all of this, if the through a few bones to GPC supporters.  One is marijuana legalization/decriminalization, which is now party policy.  The other is a preferential ballot which, I am afraid to say, is probably off the table for the foreseeable future.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Roméo Dallaire Out At Fatima Center

Marni Soupcoff wonders how he got on the speaker's list in the first place, and that's a good question.  I'm just glad he's decided to forgo the occasion.  Though he's still on their speaker's list.  Some background here.

She Probably Ordered The Iced Coffee

ST. CATHARINES, Ont. -- A Tim Hortons customer has been arrested and charged with uttering threats after she was unhappy with her order.

An account of my own flirtations with "order rage" can be found here.  Naturally, we must all stand against crime and violence.  Still, ever since the Harper government came to power and made Tim's the national coffee, they've taken this country for granted.  Pride goeth before the fall, Tim Hortons.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Looks Like Keystone XL Faces Another Delay

The investigation of an alleged conflict of interest by a U.S. State Department contractor reviewing the proposed Keystone XL pipeline won’t be complete until January.

The State Department’s Office on the Inspector General announced today that it was reviewing whether recommendations it made in a separate February 2012 report into conflict questions about another Keystone contractor are being followed as the department conducts an environmental review of the $5.3 billion project.

Announcing a Keystone approval/rejection before this investigation has been completed isn't impossible, but it would be, as the folks at Desmog Blog note, "odd".  I've been willing to give ERM the benefit of the doubt on this one, on the grounds that the number of companies capable of doing this kind of environmental assessment must be pretty small, and therefore some ties between the company and TransCanada (or any of the other tar-sands big players) is to be expected.  Lying about those connections, though...that might be a no no.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Latest Nanos Poll, Federal

...from this document   Not much reported upon, and offered here without comment.  (PS.  Looks better if you click on image, but if you're LPC the news is pretty good).

The Fraser Institute On Raising A Child, Cheap

The short version here:

More here.

7,500 Calories From Hell

I'm starting to feel a bit sad for Epic Burgers and Waffles, but not at all for the idiots who would attempt to eat one of these things.  Just looking at it, my head starts making whistling noises, and I expect my nutritionist has hung himself out of despair at the state of humanity.

FWIW I think the X went over to the dark side the season they started deep-frying butter. Such things should not be, I felt at the time, and I have seldom gone back since.   And its done nothing but get worse in the meantime. The crap they're serving up this year makes a funnel cake seem like an artifact but a more innocent, low fat time.

The X become the culinary equivalent of Sodom and Gomorrah...bacon and icing sugar lying down together in the streets.  Sat well away from it, children!

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Perry Farrell On Concealed Carry

Not particularly progressive sentiments, and the orange hair is of its time, as they say.  Nevertheless, Porno For Pyros could bring the same fire as Jane's Addiction without so many bum notes.  Saw them play this and other tunes in '93ish.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Oh Romeo!

From the blog of the Southern Poverty Law Center:

Beyond the obvious, what do a far-right Italian politician, the president of the John Birch Society and former U.S. Rep. Ron Paul have in common?

In early September, the men are all scheduled to speak – along with a lengthy list of archconservative clergy, lawyers and academics – at a conference in Canada sponsored by the Fatima Center, part of the “radical traditionalist Catholic” movement, perhaps the single largest group of hard-core anti-Semites in North America.

My question concerns this:
...from here.  What the hell is the guy who wrote "Shake Hands With The Devil" doing speaking to this bunch?  I am told his office has already been contacted.  I'll fire him off another email this eveningish.  Probably another case of somebody not doing their homework before booking a speaking engagement.

Update: Pam Geller And Robert Spencer [Not Yet] Booted From Another Canadian Venue

The Hilton/Markham Suites Hotel doesn't want to deal with their bullshit.  This is the second time Geller has lost a GTA gig in the past year,  As on that last occasion, I imagine Meir Weinstein and the JDL will wind up hosting the pair at the Toronto Zionist Center.  These things always go the same way.

Update: From the comments at Shaidle's hubby's place it sounds like the hotel hasn't decided if they will turn away the two wingnuts or give them an audience.  I will see if I can get an email for the hotel management.

Update update: The manager of the Hilton/Markham Suites, Patrick Regina, can be reached at:

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Rumour: Johnny Of Johnny Burgers Has Retired!

Johnny has talked about retiring for several years now, as I reported here.  Now I am informed that he has sold-out to some Chinese fellow, perhaps the little guy that worked for him forever who is visible center-left in the shot below. If so, that's good news; that guy has hot burger grease flowing through his veins.

In any case, I am thinking of launching a kickstarter campaign to raise enough money to check out the new burgers and see how they rate against Johnny's classics.  Anyone wants to send me money for this effort, I can arrange to have it spent.

This is a world-shaking event out here in Scarborough, by the way, where Johnny's has always been seen as the pinnacle of native cuisine.  Mike Myers' ate there as a youth!  Therefore it is significant to T.O. as a whole, and therefore to the entire nation.

Friday, August 16, 2013

News Flash: REAL Women's Gwen Landolt Does NOT Condone Executing Gays For Being Gay

Sounds like she's getting soft.  The article then goes on to out you know who.

PS.  About the term "practicing homosexual".  If you have to practice, does this mean you're not very good at it?

Thursday, August 15, 2013

The Line 9 Reversal

The chap from Blast Furnace Canada has a carefully reasoned take on what's at issue with the "Line 9 Reversal"--the plan to bring diluted bitumen from Alta/Sask's  tar-sands to refineries in Eastern Canada. Mind you, I disagree with his conclusion: a reluctant acceptance of the line for "energy security" reasons. My understanding  (and I haven't followed this project nearly as closely as Northern Gateway, Trans Mountain, or Keystone XL) is that this too is intended largely as an export pipe-line. The oil in it will be sold to China and other locales, and if anything it will drive Canadian gasoline prices higher rather than lower. I also think that the kind of upgrades to the existing pipe that BFC thinks necessary for safety reasons will never come to pass.  Rebuilding the line would be expensive, and the market take on a West-East line is already an unenthusiastic meh.  Driving up the costs of building it will not change this verdict.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Seeing The Writing On The Wall: Pro-Life Politicians Leaving CPC

Stephen Taylor has a theory re CPC MP resignations:
But I am beginning to think there's another explanation:

CTV reports that Conservative MP Merv Tweed (Brandon-Souris) will resign his seat at the end of the month. Campaign Life Coalition rates Tweed pro-life and according to the votes they track, has a 100% pro-life and pro-family voting record.

Toews and Vellacott also wear the pro-life label; Lee Richardson may be more difficult to pin down.  At least Campaign Life was unable to.  But in any case this is how the abortion debate ends.  The people who want to make it don't stop.  They just leave politics.

Stats Canada Regrets...

OTTAWA – In a highly unusual move, Statistics Canada has delayed the release of a major set of data from the 2011 National Household Survey by a month.

Data on Canadian income, earnings, housing and shelter costs were to be released Wednesday morning, but instead will now be unveiled by the federal statistical agency on Sept. 11. The National Household Survey replaced the mandatory long-form census.

Census manager Marc Hamel said that the release involved complex calculations based on hundreds of formulas. But over the weekend, he said the agency’s experts found a problem while doing some last-minute checks.

The folks at StatsCan insist that this flub-up has nothing to do with the switch to a voluntary long-form (now called the National Household Survey).  Nevertheless, economist Stephen Gordon brings the thunder o' disapprobation:

It's entirely reasonable to be skeptical about numbers generated by an untried and untested methodology in the absence of technical documentation. Many people - me included - were prepared to give StatsCan the benefit of the doubt. They no longer deserve it.

Meanwhile, as far as I know, Statscan has still not released data down to the census tract/dissemination area for any of its NHS-based reports, and last time I called had not given any date for so doing.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Kiss It Goodbye, Toronto Star

That is all.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

This Is What A Hate Crime Looks Like

From Wendy Sullivan, author of Girl On The Right:

Last time I remember reading anything about Wendy she was begging for money on her blog, which is not surprising...she's not terribly employable.  But I'm not sure how advocating killing Muslims will help with that.

PS.  I suspect her latest has something to do with this. But that got dealt with by police within 24 hours (they are still investigating, last I heard).  And, just to be partisan for a moment, it looks as though Mr. Hazineh's ties to the LPC were cut six years ago.

More Wendy here.

Elections Ontario VS. WCO

From Parker Gallant; the last couple of sentences (which I have bolded) are the coolest bit:

Boy did I ever!  Including in this post where I discussed how the group seemed to fall apart in the wake of the last provincial election over money issues, just after it was discovered that the PWU has folded its social media campaign against the Green Energy Act.  But, as I have always been careful to note, the PWU/WCO link has never been firmly established.

In any case, I have heard a slightly different account of the Elections Ontario decision, but we will leave Mr. Gallant's story as is for the time-being.  It seems basically correct.

Friday, August 09, 2013

Thursday, August 08, 2013

The Faces Of Ezra

Since Sun News didn't get mandatory carriage today, Canuck television will probably lose Mr. Levant to a lucky McD's franchise somewhere.  Therefore, a tribute:
I'll miss you, Ez.  I just wish we could have met, and I could have sued you like everyone else.

Freedom Cruise Update: The 70

The first evidence emerges that Ezra Levant's "Freedom Cruise" is not an elaborate hoax.  Through the link given at bottom you can see the uncropped version of this shot, with Ezra himself and FrackNation co-director Magdalena Segieda visible to the right.

Lets analyze what we can see here a bit, shall we:
Minus Ezra and Magdalena,  I count 70 people in this, the ship's theater of the Holland America Line's ms Zuiderdam. My count includes special guests John Robson and Patrick Moore, visible towards the back.  Also, from the flaming hairdoo, I suspect that the dark, standing figure rear-center is Brian Lilley.  These people can be fairly described as Ezra's personal "base", his acolytes.

Note that the facial expressions are, generally speaking grim.  The audience has just seen FrackNation, and has been informed that the second half of the double-bill will be Atlas Shrugged, Part I.  A few of  them are probably praying for death right about now.

And speaking of proximity to death, note also that, generally speaking, this crowd shall I put it...not too mobile. They won't be leading a conservative revolution any time soon, unless their walkers come with a jet-pack attached.
PS.  Picture can be seen better if you click on it.

Wednesday, August 07, 2013


From the release:

Ottawa, August 7, 2013 - The Canadian Broadcast Standards Council (CBSC) today released its decision concerning news reports broadcast on CTV News Channel on February 25, 2013.  Two reports erroneously stated that a Palestinian man being detained in an Israeli prison had been participating in a hunger strike when he died.  The CBSC concluded that the station broadcast inaccurate information contrary to the Codes of Ethics of the Canadian Association of Broadcasters (CAB) and the Radio Television Digital News Association of Canada (RTDNA).  It also concluded that the error should have been corrected on television because that is where the error occurred.

From the decision itself, re the bolded last line of the release:

The Panel commends CTV News Channel for quickly correcting the error on its website, but Article 7 of the RTDNA Code of Ethics clearly requires broadcasters to correct errors “on all platforms”.  The Panel agrees with the complainant’s contention that if an error is broadcast on television, the correction of that error should also be broadcast on television.  CTV News Channel’s failure to do so constitutes a breach of Article 7 of the RTDNA Code of Ethics. 2

This strikes me as a bit superfluous; even if the broadcast containing CTV's correction is preserved on their website, the odds of someone stumbling upon it, and thus being corrected, are pretty small.  Whereas any correction to a web-story will remain at the bottom of the story forever and be seen whenever the story is accessed.  I suspect that's what CTV would have argued.

Well, I Was Sure Wrong When I Said

...this.  Turns out Metrolinx did take the T.O. City Council vote to cancel the Scarborough LRT seriously. They're basically telling council that they will suspend work on the project until such time as council gets its act together.

Oh, and by the way, T.O gets to eat $85 mil in sunk costs, and if they want to build the SRT replacement as a subway, they'll have to find $300 mil that the province won't give 'em, and almost certainly another $1,000,000,000 that they have been trying unsuccessfully to swindle out of the feds.  Hate to say it, but the city richly deserves this rebuke; they gave us a whole summer of stupid politics.  I suppose come fall, when the free money has most definitely not arrived, their plan will revert back to an LRT and everyone will pick up where they left off.  But what a waste of time and money.

Don Peat got hold of the letter:

Monday, August 05, 2013

Appeals Of The Ostrander Point Windfarm Decision

There are three of them, which you can read about through the link.  The one that most concerns me is:

The appeal by MOE could not likely have occurred without approval from the Ontario government of which it is a part, specifically of the Cabinet which includes the Premier. It is unlikely that any Ministry or Minister would act on its or his/her own initiative without such approval on a matter of major delicacy and importance. The only implications to be drawn seem to be that the Premier’s efforts to distance herself from her predecessor and her assurances of more cordial relations and cooperation with rural municipalities on Green Energy Act matters are spent.

The author of this is a wind-farm opponent, and so hardly unbiased.  However, the MOE action is troubling; the Environmental Review Tribunal's reasoning and ultimate decision relating to Ostrander Point seemed pretty clear.  The standard package of mitigations designed to protect endangered species in the presence of a wind-farm was not adequate for the Blanding's turtle population near Ostrander Point.   On the other hand, the most clearly stated MOE counter-argument (assuming this is an accurate account of it) strikes me as bizarre:

 The proponents now say that the serious and irreversible harm test applies province wide and that it was the responsibility of PECFN [Prince Edward County Field Naturalists] to prove that the project would cause serious and irreversible harm to the turtle population province wide.

If the province's stock of endangered turtles is parceled out into discrete sub-populations, of which only one or two would be effected by a particular development, how could you stop any development?

In any case, I am trying to get hold of the legal documents behind the appeal.  We shall see what sense they make.

Saturday, August 03, 2013

Toronto City Council Vote To Replace LRT With Subway Was Meaningless

City Council’s recent vote to replace the Scarborough RT with a subway has not affected the [Scarborough LRT] project as yet, says IO spokesperson Paulette den Elzen. She said IO is progressing with building light rail to Scarborough unless they hear otherwise from Metrolinx, “who will meet with the province to discuss next steps.

Yeah, they won't hear otherwise from Metrolinx.  There will be no "next steps".  The last three weeks  have been Kabuki Theater meant to sway the two T.O ridings up for grabs in Thursday's by-election one way or another. That's over now, and whatever commitments (or, more accurately, non-commitments) were made by all three parties in the run-up to it will dissolve like french pastry under the mid-day sun.

Have You Ever Been To Sea, Billy? A Freedom Cruise Update

Just a brief note.

Coming up on their August 3rd sail date, the twitter feeds of Ezra Levant, Brian Lilley, Monte Solberg, and other Freedom Cruise "celebrities" have gone dark.  These folk are either on the move, or it went bust and Ezra has sworn them to silence.

But I am inclined to think its a go.  The Holland America Line's ms Zuiderdam seems to host these kinds of gathering on a regular basis.  Or at least, the same day Ezra's crowd boards, a tour led by Hot Air's Ed Morrissey disembarks. They'll probably pass one another on the gangway.  Maybe a slappy fight breaks out, and specs get busted.

And maybe the Zuiderdam has special facilities, a sealed-off spot way below deck, kind of like the wing of your old high-school where they housed the slow kids, which in my old high-school we referred to as "The Auk Hall".

So Ed vacates, the place gets hosed down, and Ezra and Co. come aboard.  Presto!  The Freedom Cruise is on its way.

Friday, August 02, 2013

Sun Media: More Closures To Come?

At our paper we are counting the days until they come to lock the doors. There is no fight left in anyone in our building. When, not if Metroland comes to town, people are already updating their resumes, hard to keep fighting for a company that doesn't care.

They Awoke, And Their Subways Had All Crumbled To Dust

Remember, nobody...not the Feds, not the Hudak Tories, not the Wynne Liberals...promised a penny of the funding required to actually transform the SRT replacement from an LRT to a train running underground...though they all sure did proclaim their love for Subways enough.  And the T.O. city council vote returns everything to the status-quo if other people's money doesn't show up.  So the debate of the last month was sound and fury signifying nothing.  Which is as it should be.  Going door to door in Scarborough-Guildwood, subways didn't seem a top-of-mind issue, possibly because the project doesn't do a thing for most of the riding: any of those stops on its proposed route are still a fifteen minute bus ride away.  And even if you see a Fall electipn on the horizon (which I don't), or a Spring election (maybe), who's to say that the same strategy the various parties used this time up Subways in principal while putting no actual money on the table...won't work a second time?

Thursday, August 01, 2013

Notes On Property Ownership

Attended my very first condominium corp. AGM.  People who knew told me it was going to be a freak show, and it was. Angry white men, incoherent mumblers, fact challenged defamers, preening small-town-council wannabe floptards, guys that talked like they were lawyers but weren't, guys who ran for village dog catcher and lost because they were too fucked-up-in-the-head...they all showed. We even had a lawyer that looked like a chubby 15 year old  and stammered and sweated when he became flustered, much to the amusement of everyone in attendance. And they actually elected a couple of new board Members!  One  ran on the platform that there had been no explosions in the building during her previous term.  She lost. And I kept flashing-back to my time in student politics, except that nobody offered to drop their pants to demonstrate that they were biologically human. Although I didn't stay quite to the end.  My wife tried being friendly, but I said don't engage the crazy people or look them in the eye.

Man, if I'd known it was going to be like this I would have stayed  renting.  Local politicians didn't give a shit what I thought back then, but the junky down the hall thought I was "really classy".

Sun Media Shutters Another

Bye Bye Dresden-Bothwell Leader-Spirit!  Sun Media needs the money it saves from closing you down to fund the antics of The Monkey King:
Apparently they ship out in a couple of days.  As for me, I'd rather be the only woman on a Greek freighter.