Thursday, January 31, 2008

Liberal MP Moves To Ensure Nazi Rights!

M-446 — January 30, 2008 — Mr. Martin (Esquimalt—Juan de Fuca) — That, in the opinion of the House, subsection 13(1) of the Canadian Human Rights Act should be deleted from the Act.

This of course is the provision that snagged Mr. Steyn and Mr. Levant. As I have argued long and hard, I see no reason why the fact that a few journalists who espouse borderline racist views have brushed up against a law designed to catch Nazis should be cause to amend the relevant legislation.

Very disappointing that this guy should be a Liberal. Will the LPC become the party of the Mark LeMire's and Ernst Zundel's of this country?

Update: Just a quick note to visiting Steynosaurs. Although I do traffic in the occasional gay sex fantasy here at BCLSB, there is none of that in this particular post. If that's what you're looking for, just search the blog for "gay".

Update to the Update: Steyn alters his post to demonstrate that, indeed, there are some gay sex Nazi fantasies in the comments of this thread! That just shows that we got it all on BCLSB! Come for the porn, stay for the political analysis! If you Steynosaur lads are all nice and polite, I may post a few booby pics tomorrow. Does Steyn or (god forbid!) Ezra ever post booby pics? Exactly! Adjust your links!

Scientists? We Don't Need No Stinkin' Scientists!

From Bob McDonald of Quirks and Quarks:

The one scientist in this country who had direct access to the Prime Minister is being dismissed. Canada’s National Science Adviser, Dr. Arthur Carty, was appointed by former Prime Minister Paul Martin to provide expert advice on the government’s role in matters of science and science policy.

Typically Tory, fire your scientists and keep a psychic hairdresser on the pay-roll.

h/t desmog.

PS Today's Suzuki column becomes particularly relevant.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Ezra Levant: Still Hypocritical

My column was not a call for the laying of 'hate speech' charges, though it expressed my curiosity (and offered my own explanation) for why the government didn't lay those charges."

Except maybe for this bit:

Not charging the handful of Muslims who are haters is like not charging the handful of Italians who are part of the Mafia -- it is a misguided act of political correctness. The majority of Muslims -- we hope -- do not support Kathrada. He should be made an example of, not have excuses made for him. Justice calls for it.

And of course that bit in the column sub-title: "Hatemongering Muslims must be prosecuted."

That bit was kind of a give away.

Ezra goes onto say:

It was a public question about why someone who called for murder -- and seems to have got it from one congregant -- wasn't even charged with real crimes.

But of course Ezra seems quite ready to let Terry Tremaine off the hook. Now it's true Mr Tremaine's position was fairly nuanced, "mass murder if necessary, but not necessarily mass murder", one might say, because he was confident he could get all non-whites to leave the country or get sterilized voluntarily.

Looks like Israel was in shit, though: "We must turn that around and say, better that the Jews and Israel be destroyed than have the world destroyed."

By the way, it is not a case of supporting all legal restrictions on speech, or none. It is that Ezra is willing to countenance using certain legal avenues (defamation law and etc.) to silence legitimate differences of opinion, and not others (HRCs).

Call It "The Anthropocene"? Not So Fast, Says Top Dino Doc!

From a story that has been getting a fair bit of play lately in climate change circles:

A rad­i­cal pro­pos­al is gain­ing ground among ge­ol­o­gists: We have en­tered a new ge­o­log­ic time pe­ri­od on Earth, thanks to ma­nkind’s own ac­ti­vi­ties.

We’ve so dras­tic­ally changed the land­scape through pol­lu­tion and in oth­er ways, it's time to ac­knowl­edge the new “ep­och” is here, a group of ge­ol­o­gists writes Jan. 25 in GSA To­day, a jour­nal of the Geo­lo­gi­cal So­ciety of Am­er­ica.

The new era would be called the An­thro­po­cene, from the Greek an­thro­pos (man) and ceno (new).

“The dom­i­nance of huma­ns has so phys­ic­ally changed Earth that there is in­creas­ingly less jus­tifica­t­ion for link­ing pre- and post-in­dus­tri­al­ized Earth with­in the same ep­och,” the re­search­ers said in an an­nounce­ment of their pro­pos­al.

While the proposal has been hailed in some places, at least a few scientists are skeptical.

Tom's Agin' It

Thomas R. Holtz is a vertebrate paleontologist and senior lecturer at the University of Maryland's Department of Geology. In print/tv stories about new dino discoveries, especially if they concern T-Rex or any of its kin, Tom often appears to provide commentary and analysis. He has a couple of problems with the new name:

1) If the function of the geochronology and chronostratigraphy is to correlate events (which it is), then we can already do so using newspapers etc. for the time frame considered...

(...which is to say, if I am interpreting Mr. Holtz correctly, that it is irrelevant to invoke rock scientists to do a job that can already accomplished by glancing at your standard print information sources.)

2) What they are describing (the effects of industrial human activity on the biosphere and chemosphere) has far more in common [with] short term stratigraphic events (PETM; the Chicxulub impact & sequelae; environmental effects at the Permo-Triassic; etc.) than it does epochs.

(Our effects on the planet are, in geological terms, ephemeral)

So is this "radical proposal" legit science, or a well-meaning attempt to accomplish a political end (raising awareness of mankind's effect on the surrounding environment, perhaps?) through the inappropriate application of scientific nomenclature?

Thanks to Dr. Holtz for letting me reprint comments from the dinolist.

Update: I asked Dr. Holtz about whether this proposed name change constituted a "politicization" of the science. This morning he responded:

By no means in this case!! They are 100% correct in pointing out that humansare now the major force for geological, atmospheric, biospheric, and chemospheric change, and that our ability to change these aspects of theworld greatly increased with the Industrial Revolution and the rapid increase in our population.Where I find that they are mistaken is that coining a new geologic time unit makes any sense in this context...

Personally, I think their timing is suspect, but...

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Ezra Levant: That Was Then, This Is Now

From his 2004 Calgary Sun Article, "Preacher of death, Hatemongering Muslims must be prosecuted"

Not charging the handful of Muslims who are haters is like not charging the handful of Italians who are part of the Mafia -- it is a misguided act of political correctness. The majority of Muslims -- we hope -- do not support [Younus] Kathrada. He should be made an example of, not have excuses made for him. Justice calls for it.

Islamofascists should be charged with hate speech, but Nazis shouldn't? I must have missed some nuance in Ezra's reasoning.

h/t to the poppinjays.

PS. But, someone might argue, you are attacking the man for his hypocrisy rather than his arguments for soundness. Perhaps, but it is part of MY argument that, since when you scratch a free-speech absolutist like Ezra you invariably find a secret censor, there is simply no point in pretending that free speech absolutism is a viable position. Once you realize that, it becomes possible to move on to a real debate about where the limits of speech should be located.

Whither The Afghan Mission?

From the Winnipeg Sun:

The panel, chaired by former Liberal foreign minister John Manley, recommended Canada stay in a combat role in Kandahar province beyond February 2009 -- but only if it received the support of 1,000 additional troops from NATO or an allied nation, and obtained more helicopters and surveillance aircraft.

Yesterday Harper specifically embraced those conditions. He added he wanted time with his party to consider other parts of the report before bringing his government's plan to Parliament for a vote this spring.

Firstly, Mr. Dion and Mr. Rae are quite correct in taking a "wait and see" approach to all of this. More specifically, they should insist that no vote be taken in the HOC on a mission extension until after the April meeting of NATO leaders, which should help determine our allies' willingness to send reinforcements to Kandahar. A decision made before-hand just lets NATO off the hook

Secondly, any reinforcements should go beyond the short-term infusion of U.S. troops planned for this Spring.

And, assuming all of this happens and Canadian requirements are met, I am still conflicted. While more helicopters to help our guys avoid IEDs are always welcome, 1,000 extra bodies will do nothing to alleviate the real problems with the Afghan deployment, most especially an open Pakistan border that makes fighting the Taliban next door like stomping roaches in your living room while the rest of the building goes unsprayed.

However, such a NATO commitment would help alleviate the feeling Canadians get that we are being played for a sucker by the rest of the alliance, that we have been invited to a poker game in which we are the only party not allowed to cheat.

So, as I say, conflicted...

Monday, January 28, 2008

Why I Love Cryptomundo

Because you get all these wonderful scholarly discussions about whether or not Australian Pitcher Plants (Nepenthes tenax) can capture and eat live rats. From the accompanying video, it looks like they can.

Warman's IP Address Again

Ezra is out there this morning being potentially defamatory again. So here's another bit of information to throw on the fire. Some background can be found in this earlier post.

Sunncity is the website of a Thai-based software development company. Truehits monitors traffic to Thai-based websites.

Three times in early 2003, Truehits tracked visits from a computer assigned the IP Address, the IP address from which Richard Warman apparently made at least one post to the Nazi website Freedomsite.

The record of these visits can be found, here, here, and here.

Now, the interesting thing is that Truehits classifies as a "proxy server". That is, the kind of computer you might use to, oh I don't know, post anonymously to Nazi forums and in general keep your real IP address hidden for one reason or another. Perhaps your hunting Nazis, like Mr. Warman, or perhaps you're a Nazi yourself and don't want to be found.

Now, this does not prove that the computer Mark LeMire et al identify as Warman's was in fact merely a proxy server, as the Truehit records come from earlier in 2003. But if it was, then this would explain the large number of users associated with when you run a Google Search on it (people interested in dog grooming, people visiting Italian sites in 2004, and so on). It would also answer the question: How likely would it be for two people to post to the same Nazi forum from the same IP address a couple of months apart?

Well, if the whole purpose of at the time was to render the user's real IP untraceable, not unlikely at all.

(At the very least, I think it shows that a computer not belonging to Warman had the IP in question sometime during 2003)

h/t Buckets and thanks Mike for the technical assistance.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Now THERE'S A Dumb Headline

U.S. spy satellite falling from orbit, could hit Earth

I would say its almost a certainty. What else could it hit?

Ezra's "Radical Imam" On Muslim Women

Given this, this is interesting:

Calgary's first Muslim women's convention will seek to empower the faith's females while dispelling false impressions surrounding them, says a local imam.

Female leaders of the city's Muslim community will also address the Feb. 10 convention that will impart a true reflection of women in Islam said Syed Soharwardy, president of the Islamic Supreme Council of Canada.


He said another goal of the meet is to encourage women to bring their domestic problems to the fore, while encouraging participants to spread a message of enlightenment to their home countries.

It's hoped the gathering will also help women overcome the cultural shock felt by some immigrants unaccustomed to playing an active role in the community, he said.

Although you would think the Calgary Sun could have found some of these "female leaders" to interview.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Mark Steyn Defends Conrad Black's Frivolous Lawsuits

From CFRB(a nice piece by Brian Lilley):

Steyn has spent much of his career working for newspapers or magazines owned by Conrad Black, a man famous for launching, or threatening to launch, lawsuits over words he took issue with. That says Mr. Steyn is different, the columnist says he believes in limits on free speech based on facts and truth and opposes limits on free speech based on a difference of opinion.

"For example, if you say that I am wanted for killing 32 prostitutes in Amsterdam last year" says Steyn. "And it turns out that I am in fact not wanted for killing 32 prostitutes in Amsterdam. Then I think I should have the right to take you to court about that. But there we would be arguing about the facts of the matter, to use a quaint old expression."

Mark, my lad, the problem with this defense is that a regular court is "pay to play", and if you don't have the dough, you never get a chance to even make your argument. So for example, when Toronto Life ran a satirical story arguing that His Blackness should be condemned to Hell forever, there was no question that this could be anything other than an expression of opinion, Black's laughable assertion that the article questioned his observance of the Roman Catholic faith notwithstanding.

No, that suit was launched quite simply as a means by which a very rich man could bring a Toronto-based magazine to heel, to make them think twice in future of criticising his pronouncements or actions. The actual outcome was immaterial to Black, and indeed when Toronto Life issued an apology rather than face the hassle of going to court, his legal assault had already served its purpose.

And it is not like this is the only case of Conrad's employing such tactics. Google "Conrad Black" and "Libel Chill" and see how many results you get, or just read this.

So Mr. Steyn's outrage against the Canadian HRCs would ring a little less hollow if he was not so particular about which among the legal weapons used to silence opinion that he disapproved of.

Shell Oil CEO: Its OWG Or Anarchy!!!

Well, not quite, but Shell's head poobah Jeroen van der Veer is concerned about the planet's energy future, what with AGW and peak oil only 7 years away, and he has outlined his concerns in this letter to Shell employees which, believe me, you will be hearing about in the coming days and weeks.

I had a whole long post written up about this, and blogger went and ate the damn thing. So just go read Jeroen.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Its Friday, Do You Know Where Your Prime Minister Is?

Here's a shot of him hanging with far right extremists Connie and Mark Fournier of Free Dominion fame. This picture was taken in late March of 2003, before Connie and Mark had taken up defending the Nazi cause. They were all smiles at the start of the Iraq War, which was supposed to dismantle Saddam's nuclear program and free a bunch of little brown-skinned people over there in Asia or wherever.

These days I imagine if Mr. Harper saw Connie and Mark he would flee at the sight. As Prime Minister, he seems to have taken the same advice my mother always gave me: at least you could try and act normal.

Context for picture is here.

h/t to RB.

Creationist, Rocker, And Sometime Scientist Roy Spencer Stands With Rush On Global Warming

T'other day NRO blogger Jim Geraghty lamented the problem "so-called global warming" posed for Republican Presidential candidates:

Rush Limbaugh is the King Leonidas of the conservative movement, but I'm struck by how regularly he jokes about the concept of global warming. A lot of his radio talk show brethren are in the same boat, saying day after day, "hey, cold weather today. So much for global warming."

The problem is, they're only preaching skepticism to the converted. The independents and the centrists and the soccer moms and everybody whose vote is needed in the general election is already convinced that it's happening. Whenever there's a big storm or unusual weather, they buy into it. If you put the finest skeptical scientists and researchers from the Competitive Enterprise Institute and American Enterprise Institute into a room with a couple hundred Americans, and let them talk until they're blue in the face, I'm not sure how much you would move the dials.

(To which I say, thank god Americans are finally learning to tell the boyzz from Exxon apart from real scientists. But I digress...).

Now, Creationist and rocker Roy Spencer has taken time off from bashing Al Gore in song to pen an ode of appreciation to Rush Limbaugh and his gut:

But in the case of global warming, Rush Limbaugh has decided to go with his gut instinct. Scientists can be (and have been) spectacularly wrong when pontificating on natural systems as complex as the Earth’s climate — or the human body. This instinct has served Rush well over the years, and in the case of global warming, I agree with him.

This position is also consistent with Rush’s recent emphasis on conservative principles over specific politicians. He frequently reminds listeners that America’s success has not come from its politicians, but from its people. Not from soaring (yet ambiguous) speeches, but from enduring ideals, creativity, hard work, and most of all — freedom.

But what if sticking to one’s guns on such an issue is just enough for the Republicans to lose the White House? Well, what is more important for the future of America: the party affiliation of the next president, or the decision to let government control how much energy people and business can use from now on?

Well, I am all for it when Conservatives are ready to go down on principle. Geraghty's preference, that Republicans

...get past the argument of whether it's happening, and get into the debate over what to do with it, and put GOP support for innovation up against Democratic carbon taxes. a much harder argument to combat, since "encouraging innovation" is at the core of any response to AGW whether left or right, politically. It also leaves open the possibility of acting rhetorically while doing nothing in fact and hoping the population doesn't notice, which has been the Harper government's approach and not entirely unsuccessful (recent polls show a significant portion of Canadians are willing to give the Harper "plan" a few years before they judge it a success or failure).

Thursday, January 24, 2008

NASA Says Nekkid Mars Chick Just A Rock!

An image of a mysterious human-like creature on Mars that sparked a flurry of Internet activity is not an alien but a feature of the atmosphere, according to NASA.

...A wind carved rock, specifically. But of course they would say that wouldn't they? Click here to decide for yourself.

Richard Warman...Innocent!!

Anyone who has been following the story of FreeDominion's possibly (and now I think almost certainly, but read on) defamatory accusations against Richard Warman already knows that:

1) Warman is accused of making quite vilely racist comments on Freedomsite, a website devoted to all things Neo-Nazi, in order to "entrap" the real Neo-Nazis using the site into making similar remarks.

2) The grounds for this assertion are that, in November of 2003, Warman created a username ("Lucy") on Freedomsite from the IP Address, which turns out to be an IP for one or more Rogers' computers.

In fact, Warman has admitted to doing this.

3) However, previous to this (on Sept. 5th, 2003), another Freedomsite username (90sAREover) was created from the same IP address, and used to post the racist remarks in question (re Senator Anne Cools).

Warman denies creating this username and posting these remarks.

Now, others have pointed out how iffy it is at the best of times to connect an IP address to a particular computer, especially if, as Rogers's does, the ISP in question uses DHCP . But one thing I don't think anyone has pointed out (unless it was in a comment on Dawg's Blog that I can't relocate): if you google the IP in question you find it being employed by a number of different people on a number of different occasions, and some of these occasions are dated. In particular, the following remarks from appear on Sept. 8th 2003 (between the creation of the 90sAREover username and the Lucy username) on the RPMfactor forum, a racing forum:

NEW SEALED 55 Gallon Drum of PRO FUELS MARK 2September 8 2003 at 12:37 AM GP from IP address

110 octane drum of race gas need to get rid of in Toronto. THis stuff needs a home not opened. Changing classes and race gas isnt needed. Sealed drum new in June this year. Blow out price

So unless Warman disguised himself as a racing enthusiast named "GP" in order to sell black market petroleum over the Net, I think we can safely assume that the IP address in question belonged to someone other than Warman between the creation of 90sAREover and the creation of Lucy. There is absolutely no reason to assume that it was his on September 5th when 90sAREover was created.

Quod Est Demonstratum, and Midget, you and your friends are so fucked.

As a side note, you might argue that: well, just get hold of Rogers' IP logs and we will all know for certain. Except that M. Geist has noted in a private e-mail that he doesn't believe there are legal requirements for an ISP keeping their IP logs for any given length of time. If this is the case, I don't think you're going to find any records from 2003.

h/t once again to buckets. I guess we are passed the point where I need to buy you a drink, and to the point where I need to pay your mortgage for a month or two.

Also h/t to Intellectual Pariah who outlined the same discovery last night in the comments of Dawg's Blog.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

John Manley: Unmoved By Facts

A nifty post at The Scott Ross which argues that the Manley Report is a rehash of his earlier article in Policy Options, "Afghanistan: Meeting the Development Challenge". Since the article was published in October of '07, before he was chosen to lead Stephen Harper's panel, Ross suggests that the panel itself was an empty pantomime, and the other panellists sock-puppets meant to function as a chorus to John Manley's pronouncements.

Read the whole thing at the link above, but here's a couple of passages that clearly imply a degree of self-plagiarism on Manley's part.

From the report:

Whenever we asked Afghans what they thought ISAF or Canada should do, there was never any hesitation: “We want you to stay; we need you to stay.” Without the presence of the international security forces, they said, chaos would surely ensue.

From "Policy Options":

Whenever we asked Afghans what they thought ISAF or Canada should do, they did not hesitate to say that we must stay. Without the presence of the international forces, chaos would surely ensue.

So Canadian tax-payers forked out how much for this cut-and-paste job?

Naked Aliens On Mars?

Amazing photos from NASA reveal mystery figure on Red Planet...and she's Nekkid!

But I hear the chicks on Venus are hotter.
(PS. Nekkid and wearing a burqa? Omygawd Mark Steyn's right! They're EVERYWHERE!!!)

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

The First Of The Grovelling Apologies

Comes from Kate at SDS, and is echoed here by Kathy Shaidle, the toxic femi-dwarf.

What am I talking about? Two days ago Connie and Mark at FreeDominion made some intensely nasty and possibly libelous allegations re rights activist Richard Warman, which they sourced to Mark Lemire. Note that these accusations are not new (they amount to the claim that Warman "entrapped" Lemire and several other Neo-Nazis into making racist remarks). Furthermore, they have been denied by Warman in the past, and they were judged irrelevant to the origonal CHRC complaint against Mark Lemire.

These allegations were then repeated on Small Dead Animals (guest posted there by Ms. Shaidle), Five Feet of Fury, and elsewhere.

Sometime last evening, prompted by Kinsella, our two ladies realized they might just be facing lawsuits for the rest of their natural lives (longer, if someone keeps up their supply of virgin blood), and so the wretched self-abasement began.

Now, this story got played far and wide in the Righty blogosphere. Prominent folks who were suckered by Lemire and have not yet prostrated themselves include Mark Steyn and Ezra Levant.

Time to assume the position, gentlemen.

Ironic that two men so concerned with defended their own right to unregulated speech should be caught spreading possibly defamatory material. I am reminded of that story about giving loaded guns to small children

Also, I am sure there were a couple of MSM columns that referenced the same postings. If anyone remembers one and can provide a link, I would appreciate it.

Update: Mark Lemire's argument hinges on his ability to show that he can trace a user-ID that Warman admitted using to post on Freedomsite (a Nazi site), plus a user-ID that Warman claims he did not use, to the IP address However, run this number through google and you find people arguing about junior hockey, dog grooming, and a whole lot of other stuff besides. I ain't no techie, but it looks like a whole whack of people have made use of the IP. How you can make any accusations about Warman from this is a mystery to me.

Another Update: From Mike in Scott Tribe's comments:

According to ARIN reverse lookup, the IP is owned by Rogers Cable:


As a customer of Rogers myself, I know they rotate their IP to residential users every 3 weeks or so. They also send their residential customers between netblocks - I have had IP addresses from this same 66.xx.xx.xx block, as well as from 72.xx.xx.xx, 74.xx.xx.xx and 99.xx.xx.xx That only evidence that whomever posted was doing so from a Rogers customer computer. Throw in a NAT, and you can’t even tell which computer it was. Consider an open wifi access point and it could have been someone wardriving. None of this so far indicated Warman. It is no evidence at all. Christ I hate amateurs who think IP logs are written in stone.

The State Of The Markets, The State Of The Nation

Looks like another bad day overseas, and CTV economists are expecting a 500 hundred point plunge at opening on the DOW. A co-worker of mine made a call yesterday and found out that $4,000 of his retirement fund had just gone poof.

Recessions suck, and I expect that despite the solid fundamentals underlying the Canadian economy, we are headed into one that will be particularly bad. In 1990, if I remember correctly, there wasn't nearly the kind of stock market apocalypse that we've seen in the last couple of days.

And I remember last time around, when I was with a different employer, the company called a taxi for each of the people they were laying off. Of course they were all from one department and took smoke break together, so they were outside when the cars showed up. It was the cabbies told that first told them they'd been sacked.

As for the political effects, I agree with CG:

I think the"right thing for Canada" would be to wait until things get bad enough that people are willing to toss Harper over the economy and then bring 'em down.

Patience, people, patience.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Liberals Prepare to Sell Out On Afghanistan?

Asked if there is enough room in the Liberal policy to accept a continued presence in Kandahar for training or some other non-combat role, [Michael] Ignatieff replied "Yes, there is."


In a speech opening the caucus meeting, Liberal Leader Stephane Dion appeared to emphasize that the Liberals don't want Canada to withdraw entirely from Afghanistan, though they want a refocused role there.

"We are not Jack Layton," Dion said, referring to the NDP leader's longstanding call for withdrawal. "We will not abandon Afghanistan."

Nice to know the Libs know who they aren't. At least on this issue Jack Layton knows who he is.

Of course, as a compromise staying in an Taliban infested part of the country and not engaging in combat is hopeless. Nor will it be possible. A clear position would involve an ultimatum to NATO: rotate Canadian troops to some other part of Afghanistan or lose them. Instead, and in contrast to the clear majority opinion of Canadians, the Liberals are prepared to traffic in mush and, apparently, allow for a mere re branding of the status quo.

Very disappointing.

Did The Toronto Sun Rip Off Toronto Blogger?

The head honcho at a popular Toronto blog entitled The Torontoist is accusing the Toronto Sun of plagiarism. Here's the original bit from The Torontoist:

Posterchild––street artist extraordinaire and our new curator for Vandalist––has taken it on himself to fill the empty hooks of the TTC's subways, streetcars, and buses with new and improved information flyers. For the past week, he's posted details of one flyer a day to his blog: Monday was a subway and streetcar colouring book; Tuesday was tips on how to flirt on the subway (pictured above); Wednesday was a guided graffiti tour along the 510 Spadina streetcar route; Thursday was a cryptogram, maze, connect-the-dots game, and riddles; and today's, Friday, was a claim that the whole system is now free.

From the T.O Sun:

For each week day, Posterchild made up flyers for commuters and hung them on hooks on subway cars and the 510 Spadina streetcar.

Each day had a different theme:

Monday was a subway and streetcar colouring book; Tuesday was tips on how to flirt on the subway; Wednesday was a guided graffiti tour along the 510 Spadina streetcar route; Thursday was a cryptogram, maze, connect-the-dots game, and riddles; and Friday's was a claim that the whole system is now free.

A very intense discussion ensues in the Torontoist comments as to what constitutes plagiary, who at The Sun is ultimately responsible, and etc.

Interesting in that what it seems was done in this case (a quick cut & paste) is done on the blogs regularly, including here. Although personally I always try to link to the original source if I intend to crib lines (so readers can see what I took from where).

Not Meant To Work, Just Meant To Be

When George Bush announced his "Return To The Moon" proposal in the midst of the 2004 election campaign, it sank like a rock from the American collective consciousness. Some felt the whole idea of building a Lunar base in preparation for a Mars Mission was a distraction; some felt that revisiting 30 year old achievements was about as exciting as looking at your wife's knees (ie. not very); and some felt the purpose of the proposal was merely to be a proposal, a political tool Bush could whip out whenever he was accused of being anti science.

Turns out we were all right. The Bush plan is "starting to crumble" from a lack of funding and a lack of enthusiasm among both the public and space planners:

It's becoming painfully obvious that the Moon is not a stepping-stone for manned Mars operations but is instead a stumbling block," says Robert Farquhar, a veteran of planning and operating planetary and deep-space missions.


[The Planetary Society] is co-hosting the invitation-only VSE replanning session with Stanford. A lot of people going to the meeting believe "the Moon is so yesterday," says [Lou] Friedman, head of [The Planetary Society].

"It just does not feel right. And there's growing belief that, at high cost, it offers minimal engineering benefit for later manned Mars operations."

Exactly. You didn't even need to be a rocket scientist to figure that out.

As an alternative, a growing corps of scientists, engineers and astronauts is arguing that, once Bush is gone out the door, efforts should be directed towards an Asteroid mission, a mission to the LaGrange points, and a "direct to Mars" project.

As with so many things Bush-related, the early OOs will turn out have been wasted time for NASA and the American space effort.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

On Anonymous Comments

Recently, I've received a number (3) of private e-mails asking that I do something about my comments section. Basically, these writers have argued, this blog is so flipping brilliant that Noam Chomsky ought to be stopping by, but instead I get the black guy that says he's Jesus and "Biff" in all his anonymous incarnations.

(Although I actually like the guy that says he's Jesus, and wish he'd come back more often, but whatever...)

Thus far, my philosophy has been that, since I bash the righties pretty hard, they should have an opportunity to bash back in the comments section, but I am not sure how well that has been working as the blog gathers more traffic. So I am going to try it for awhile with anonymous comments allowed but comment moderation on, and we'll see how well that works. Anything too stupid will get killed, and any exchanges will get killed when they get too long and content free.

Richard Tol On Aircraft Emissions

The scientist with the freakiest hair on Earth addresses CO2 emissions from air-craft. Specifically, he is examining deficiencies in the European Union's plan for seeing these emissions reduced, but some of his recommendations would probably apply more generally:

The emission allowance equals the number of passenger-kilometres times an emission per passenger-kilometre standard. That standard could be the lowest emissions per passenger-kilometre of all commercial airlines. This would reward airlines with low emissions and punish those with high emissions. Although overall demand for flying is not sensitive to price, the choice of carrier is. Passengers would flock to the climate-friendly airlines and emissions would fall. Airlines that invest in energy-efficient aircraft would be financially rewarded and gain an advantage over their competitors. This would stimulate further emission reductions.

Go get 'em Richard, and never forget:

Almost cut my hair
It happened just the other day
It's gettin kinda long
I coulda said it wasn't in my way
But I didn't and I wonder why
I feel like letting my freak flag fly
Cause I feel like I owe it to someone

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Leonard Sax On Boys Today: They're Wimps And They Jack Off Too Much

This seems to be the take away from this Maclean's interview with the American psychologist/family physician Leonard Sax. And his views are also given some play in the Star today by Jim Coyle.

More generally, Mr. Sax believes that today's primary school system has been "feminized". Boys can't fight and throw snowballs and play with toy guns the way they used to. Furthermore, once out of school they are no longer surrounded by a "culture of men" that teaches them right from wrong etc.. Somehow, this is leading them to poor grades, violence and, when they reach college age, sexual impotence.

Dr. Sax's theory sounds fishy to me, lamenting and calling for a return to the "good old days" when school for boys was like one big scouting expedition, where campfires were sat around and guitars strummed and traditions passed from man to boy via rites extending back to the days of Lord Baden Powell.

But all I can say for sure is, I passed through the school system back during Mr. Sax's Golden Age (roughly 40 years ago), and I don't recall it being that much fun. Even back then you had to sit still in math class, which was boring and sucked, and in most of the other classes too, which were also boring and sucked. I don't recall being allowed to pack fake weapons into class, although maybe some schools were like that. In any case, these days the kids don't need to play with fake guns; they've got real ones, and this has clearly NOT had a salutary effect on overall grades.

I do recall the glory of a good snow-ball fight, especially one particular time when I corked some kid with an ice-ball I'd made up special and he fell plonk! right off the snow bank and we all had to run. I also recall the wooden Pirate Ship our neighborhood built outside of Millstream Elementary School in Langford, B.C. At every lunch hour, the kids would fight over who got to stand on the after deck, and many, many a child cracked their heads open getting fed to the sharks. But I don't really think its presence had an effect on my grades, which were dismal in any event.

Mr. Sax has mistaken nostalgia for science, I think.

Mark Steyn, Ezra Levant, and The Free Speech Revolutionaries: We Were Viral Once.

A quick round-up.

As Ezra Levant's brief span as youtube flavor of the week comes to an end, he ponders the fleeting nature of fame and wonders what in the hell you have to do to make people see past the nerdy classes and embrace his Free Speech Revolution. The answer?

My YouTube videos, and these primary documents, are a good starting point to illustrate the unCanadian purposes of the commissions, and their unfair processes.

Note that Ezra wants to use his video performance to convince people to his cause, not punish the unconvincable.

So, that ain't gonna work.

Meanwhile, Tristran Emmanuel (Yo Tristran! Neil Young wants his side-burns back) concludes that Most "average Canadians," it seems, still don't get it. He has also unearthed this wonderful email, purportedly from an assistant to a federal Conservative Member of Parliament:

Good afternoon everyone, I am wondering if someone might be aware of an issue with the Canadian Human Rights Commission??? I have received a few emails from constituents complaining about the HRC and I don't know whether this is just a blanket complaint or whether HRC was recently in the news....?Can anyone help me shed some light on what this issue might be about???Thanks so much for your help!

And he's shocked! shocked!! that an unpopular Conservative government, presiding over the first Canadian recession in 15 years, a possible budget deficit, and an Asian land-war without end in sight, shouldn't be paying more attention to abolishing a complaints body that has had the temerity to annoy Mark Steyn, Andrew Coyne, and Ezra Levant!

Meanwhile, in his latest column, Mark Steyn runs up against good old fashioned Canadian common sense. He quotes one Lauren Demaree of Windsor:

"Placing limits on free speech is a slippery slope, but that is not the only issue in play here. There is often a fine line that is crossed between opinion and hate propaganda and our laws need to reflect this more effectively. Where do we draw the line? When a group of people is harassed or when someone is beaten? How about killed? When your writer Andrew Coyne sits on a high horse spouting the ideals of free speech, he doesn't stop and think about the consequences of his words."

Wrong! Mark fulminates! Oh so wrong!!

Who has been "killed" or "beaten" or "harassed" by Coyne-Steyn "hate propaganda"? The killings and bombings, as Ezra Levant pointed out, occur in countries without freedom of expression...

Well, as I have written here, one practical consequence of the complaint against Steyn and Macleans is that Steyn supporters have vandalized a popular website offering career advice to law students. And as I have written here, the consequences of Ezra's publishing those cartoons in The Western Standard have included hate mail directed towards Calgary Imam Syed Soharwardy .

And as to this last example in particular. When it is possible to communicate instantly across thousands of miles it is sometimes easy to forget that a print publication like The Western Standard is actually created at a particular point in space, specifically Calgary, Alberta, and has a readership clustered around that point in space. Now, Calgary is just a little town. All the streets run one-way. And the readership of The Western Standard seems, not putting too fine a point on it, to come from its most provincial and thuggish quarter. Consider this before you condemn the Imam in question for raising a stink. Getting hate-mail in such a context is not something to be brushed off lightly.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Dion Takes Flack For Conservative Proposal

Certainly I don't know whether S. Dion was suggesting invigorated diplomatic efforts (through NATO?) in an effort to pressure Pakistan into closing its porous Afghan border, or whether he really did want to send in the troops. If the latter, he is not the first to make this proposal. The first was the late, unlamented Tory Defense Minister Gordon O'Connor. From the original, September 2006 Globe story:

KANDAHAR, AFGHANISTAN --Canadian soldiers should join local forces fighting Taliban insurgents inside Pakistan,defense Minister Gordon O'Connor says, making a tentative first attempt at raising the explosive issue of foreign troops trespassersg on Pakistani territory.

Most of the Globe piece is behind a fire-wall, but I wrote back then that:

...what O'Connor seems to be asking in the above is merely that Canadian and allied troops should have the same permissions as U.S. Special Forces: to conduct limited, low-profile pursuits of al-Qaeda and Taliban suspects into Pakistan.

Jeez but people have short memories, including some of the ones around Dion, apparently. It would have taken exactly 6 seconds to run a few search terms and found all this out. Employ teh googles, Dion! Employ teh googles!

(Actually, it looks like O'Connor backpedalled from this idea pretty quickly as well)

Tories Booted Mark Warner For Being Gay-Friendly

Two sources, from the man himself via Montreal Simon, which hints at some of the problems Mr. Warner was having with the CPoC Powers That Be:

"On my bio it references the fact that I had attended the International AIDS Conference in August of last year.

My riding has as you know a large population of lesbian and gay people...and also people across the board who are interested in that issue. And I felt it was important to signal to them that this is an issue I've done a lot of work on, and I think it's important

.For some reason when my bio went up to Ottawa it (the AIDS reference) was excluded when it came back down.I had heard at various times THAT THEY HAD OBJECTED TO IT. PEOPLE HAD OBJECTED TO IT BEING IN MY LITERATURE.

And the clincher, from Xtra, in which it is reported that Warner believes he was ousted as Tory candidate in October because he was too supportive of gay issues.

Not something I was aware of.

And the thing is, from the Xtra interview, the guy they got to replace Mark Warner, Rev Don Meredith, is almost as Liberal on these issues (supports SSM, would extend add the trans-gendered to Canada's hate crimes legislation). Which makes you wonder what the point of the whole exercise was. Did the Tories think they would be able to find a black red-neck in T.O.? Not bloody likely.

The Pope's Anti-Science Hit Piece

From the 1990 speech that got Pope Benny in trouble with the staff and students at La Sapienza university, interspersed with my Ordinary Language translation:

If both the spheres of conscience are once again clearly distinguished among themselves under their respective methodological profiles, recognizing both their limits and their respective rights, then the synthetic judgment of the agnostic-skeptic philosopher P. Feyerabend appears much more drastic. He writes: “The church at the time of Galileo was much more faithful to reason than Galileo himself, and also took into consideration the ethical and social consequences of Galileo’s doctrine. Its verdict against Gaileo was rational and just, and revisionism can be legitimized solely for motives of political opportunism.”

When Galileo was observing the rings of Saturn through his telescope, he was acting like a very scoundrel. Those inquisitors spanking him with switches? They were the real defenders of reason.

According to [Ernst] Bloch, the heliocentric system – just like the geocentric – is based upon presuppositions that can’t be empirically demonstrated. Among these, an important role is played by the affirmation of the existence of an absolute space; that’s an opinion that, in any event, has been cancelled by the Theory of Relativity. Bloch writes, in his own words:


Curiously, it was precisely Bloch, with his Romantic Marxism, who was among the first to openly oppose the [Galileo] myth, offering a new interpretation of what happened: The advantage of the heliocentric system over the geocentric, he suggested, does not consist in a greater correspondence to objective truth, but solely in the fact that it offers us greater ease of calculation. To this point, Bloch follows solely a modern conception of natural science. What is surprising, however, is the conclusion he draws: “Once the relativity of movement is taken for granted, an ancient human and Christian system of reference has no right to interference in astronomic calculations and their heliocentric simplification; however, it has the right to remain faithful to its method of preserving the earth in relation to human dignity, and to order the world with regard to what will happen and what has happened in the world.”

The difference between a heliocentric and earth-centered view of the world is merely instrumental. You can do more elegant calculations assuming that the Sun lies at the Center of the Universe. Whether the earth really orbits the sun, or vice's all relative. If that prick Galileo had recognized that simple point, those red hot irons would never have got shoved up his ass.

And it isn't just yer old Pope saying it; some German commie even agrees with me.

From the point of view of the concrete consequences of the turning point Galileo represents, however, C.F. Von Weizsacker takes another step forward, when he identifies a “very direct path” that leads from Galileo to the atomic bomb.

To my great surprise, in a recent interview on the Galileo case, I was not asked a question like, ‘Why did the Church try to get in the way of the development of modern science?’, but rather exactly the opposite, that is: ‘Why didn’t the church take a more clear position against the disasters that would inevitably follow, once Galileo had opened Pandora’s box?’

No Galileo, no nukes. Think about it. A lot of people these days say that the church should have deuced the little nerdlinger, not just stuck him in the pokey.

It would be absurd, on the basis of these affirmations, to construct a hurried apologetics. The faith does not grow from resentment and the rejection of rationality, but from its fundamental affirmation and from being inscribed in a still greater form of reason …

Not that I necessarily think that. But I'm just gonna let it hang there: no Galileo, no nukes.

Yer Pope, over and out.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Is Ezra Suing Former Employee?

Merle Terlesky is a former employee of Ezra Levant's. Last year, he.... Well, let the fellow from Dust My Broom tell the story:

In late October 2007 I was in Calgary to see a concert and just prior to it I had dinner at some food court in some mall. As you went to sit down there was a bunch of those free lefty rags in stands so I grabbed one and browsed through it as I ate. This was not too long after the former publisher of Alberta's Western Standard Ezra Levant announced that they would no longer be printing the magazine and so the lefty rag was full of the expected Ezra this and Ezra that.

One of the articles of interest in Fast Forward Weekly was titled Lowering the Standard - Ezra Levant’s controversial right-wing mag is gone. Will anyone miss it? (October 25th, 2007). Read it then come back.

A week later a letter was written to Fast Forward Weekly by a former employee:

[Update 23:18 Contents of letter removed because I can now apparently be sued]

Apparently Ezra contacted the rag to get an apology and retraction for the article and the published letter, didn't get it and is now suing Fast Forward Weekly for the Lowering the standard article and letter writer Terlesky for a combined total of $100,000 for libel.

I'm not going to reproduce the contents of the letter here, but if you Google "Merle Terlesky" and "Dust My Broom"", you can read the cached version. Let us just say that it casts doubt on Ezra's stated reasons for publishing the now infamous Dutch cartoons.

Now, one might say argue Ezra is pursuing his case through legitimate means (the court system) and this makes all the difference. But read the fairly tame contents of the letter, note that the magazine itself had no problem publishing it, and decide for yourself whether or not it constitutes unacceptable/libelous speech. If it doesn't, ask yourself: why would someone launch a lawsuit they can't possibly win?

And if you come to the obvious answer--to use the legal system to silence speech they don't like--then ask yourself: is it the silencing of dissenting speech you're worried about, or are you okay with that goal if you approve of the technique being used (even where it is being abused)?

h/t to CC and Bartholomew, who has a brief statement purportedly from "Merle" in his comments section.

PS. Yo Mark Steyn! Come over and defend Merle against your Speech Buddy!

Jonah Goldberg, Conservative Relativist

He writes:

“That’s why Al Gore says things: ‘The time for argument is over, the time for discussion is over,’” Goldberg said. “Well, this is a democracy and democracy, the time for discussion is supposed to never be over. If you take out the idea, if you champion the idea that unity is good in of itself, that the collective is a good in of itself regardless of what it is doing, then you are buying into a fundamentally fascist political aesthetic.”

Nonsense, obviously.

Lets look at a few issues where the time for discussion really is "never over". These issues include the great Metaphysical debates: free will vs. determinism, tastes great vs. less filling, are the Beatles better than the Stones (and can either hold a cande to Led Zep?), and so on. Discussion continues because such questions can never be answered.

On the other hand, some questions can be and have been effectively answered. Nobody, outside of the Pope , maybe, argues these days that the Sun orbits the Earth. Nobody argues that the Earth is flat. And that is because the assertion that the Earth is a globe that orbits the Sun has been determined to be true, has been determined to be a fact. Once this determination has been made, it is both futile and anti-democratic to continue arguing. Anti-democratic because it is in the nature of democratic debate that, once we have determined via discussion what the facts are, the discussion then moves on to what we should/should not do about these facts.

Because even in a Democracy it is sometimes necessary to make fact-based choices.

The debate over Intelligent Design, and the debate over AGW, joined the latter variety of discussion a long, long time ago. And if Mr. Goldberg does not see this, or worse if he considers all discussion to be of the first kind, this frankly suggests that he has abandoned the notion of fact and truth, which is an alarming notion, especially from a Conservative.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Dying In Their War, And What Thanks Do We Get?

BRUSSELS, Belgium – Some of America’s closest NATO allies reacted with surprise and disbelief today to reported comments from U.S. Defence Secretary Robert Gates suggesting that their troops fighting the Taliban in Afghanistan are not up to the job.

The Dutch Defence Ministry summoned the U.S. ambassador for an explanation of a Los Angeles Times article that said Gates complained about soldiers from Canada, Britain and the Netherlands not knowing how to fight a guerrilla insurgency.

'09 and out. If the Harperites want to argue the point, bring 'em down.

Pretty Pretty Global Warming Graph

From Michael Tobis. Mostly self-evident--the years are ranked hottest to coolest from left to right--but Michael glosses it as follows:

Rather detracting from the value of the image is the fact that the vertical extent of the colored bars is not explained in any detail. It "feels like" some sort of uncertainty measure (older years indeed do have wider bars) but the source of the data and the analysis represented by the bars should be explained somewhere accessible from the page. It would be dramatcially more useful that way.

Plenty of global warming going on, and its not slowing down either.

Prestigious University Tells Pope To Fuck Off

Apparently, in the past Pope Benedict has indicated his satisfaction with the outcome of Galileo's trial:
The astronomer had argued that the Earth revolved around the Sun, in contradiction to church teachings at the time, and he was forced to renounce his findings publicly.
In comments made 15 years ago when he was still a cardinal, Pope Benedict is reported to have called the trial "reasonable and just."
During his speech, the pope -- then Cardinal Ratzinger -- quoted an Austrian philosopher Paul Feyerabend, saying, "At the time of Galileo, the church remained more loyal (or faithful) to reason than Galileo himself.
Shockingly enough, it was only 15 years ago that the Earth's moving through the heavens became accepted Catholic doctrine, and apparently Pope Benny still has doubts.
In any case, the Pope was forced to cancel his visit to La Sapienza university when students protested his anachronistic views and academics at the university signed a letter demanding that the trip be called off.
Good on them.
The other interesting thing is how Philosopher of Science Paul Feyerabend's name crops up. The Pope I think misreads Feyerabend here. PF's argument is that the Vatican applied canons of reason and justice to Galileo's case that, while perhaps self-consistent, in fact do not apply to cases of real scientific inquiry. But Feyerabend had a way of writing that lent itself to misinterpretation, and it is also not entirely clear whether he would have disapproved of his theories being used to defend anti-science positions like that of the Pope, or of Creation scientists, for that matter. He did, after all, defend Astrology and seemed to be quite sincere about it.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Wind Power From The Great Lakes

While our federal government's environmental portfolio has been a disaster, there has been a buzz of activity at the Provincial level, including Quebec's new carbon tax and a kind of mini cap-and-trade market in Alberta.

Now, thankfully, the Government of Ontario is getting on board:

Ontario is preparing to lift a controversial moratorium on the development of offshore wind projects in the Great Lakes that has been in place for nearly 14 months, the Toronto Star has learned.

These projects are not without issues. Some

"The biggest issue to most residents was how it affected their view of the lake, which is really only the last natural view we have in our area."

...seem like pure NIMBYism; others

...many residents saw negative impacts on lake navigation, bird and butterfly migration...

...are real but can be planned for and thereby minimized.

So, there is some good news out there. Take it where you can find it, I guess.

On The Imam In Question

Since Ezra has been kind enough to link to a .pdf of the complaint made against him by Mr. Syed Soharwardy of the Islamic Supreme Council of Canada, I thought I should give it a quick read. In fact, the Imam comes across as fairly reasonable, and some of his written mannerisms seem quaintly charming. And one statement of his rings quite profound. Of The Western Standard, he writes: I suspect the result of the CHRC complaint against Ezra will be a decision that Ezra is indeed cowering behind the principle of free speech to spread hate, but that his misuse does not in the end justify the sacrifice of that underlying principle. This does NOT make Ezra any kind of free speech hero, however. Just the opposite. It is a case of protecting the rights of GG Allin so as to protect the rights of Lou Reed.

Just Like Ezra???

Update: Gary Wise lays a pounding on Ezra. Suggests he may be guilty of professional mis-conduct as a lawyer. Suggests the charges against him are far more serious than those against Steyn.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Steyn Supporters Hack "Law is Cool"?

Earlier this week this site was hacked. Certain plug-ins were uninstalled (spam filters), comment features changed, and passwords altered. We reappropriated the site from the domain server and reset everything.

Perhaps this was done in perceived retaliation for problems on other sites supporting Steyn. It does demonstrate the strong-arm tactics that Steyn supporters, incidently self-proclaimed champions of “free speech,” use against dissenters. This incident follows a similar one on the Canadian Bar Association (CBA) site last December.

For this reason, the site "will no longer be carrying content related to the Maclean’s case or Mark Steyn. "

Meanwhile, Mr. Steyn is all smiles at the way his side won the debate. He omits mention of the whole cyber-vandalism thing.

Pity. The L-is-C website offered bonafide legal expertise on Mark's (and Ezra's) case and now they have been silenced. That leaves Gary Wise at Wise Law. Hope they don't damage his site.

Give Me Moa!

Photos of "moa" footprints in Fiordland and evidence elsewhere in New Zealand have reignited claims the supposedly extinct birds are still roaming the countryside.

The picture (from Cryptomundo) is supposed to be of a live Moa photographed on New Zealand's South Island back in 1993. Looks more like an emu to me, if not a blob on the film. Why are these kinds of pictures always out of focus?

Noxious Fruits: Ezra Levant Vs. Sunera Thobani

Glenn Greenwald defends Ezra Levant over at Salon. Not a bad read. However, his main argument does not seem particularly convincing. He writes:

For those unable to think past the (well-deserved) animosity one has for the specific targets in question here, all one needs to do instead is imagine these proceedings directed at opinions and groups that one likes. If Muslim groups can trigger government investigations due to commentary they find offensive, so, too, can conservative Christian or right-wing Jewish groups, or conservative or neoconservative groups, or any other political faction seeking to restrict and punish speech it dislikes.


UPDATE: Law Professor David Bernstein previously noted that Canada's hate speech laws have had unintended consequences, as such laws inevitably do:

Moreover, left-wing academics are beginning to learn firsthand what it's like to have their own censorship vehicles used against them. For example, University of British Columbia Prof. Sunera Thobani, a native of Tanzania, faced a hate-crimes investigation after she launched into a vicious diatribe against American foreign policy. Thobani, a Marxist feminist and multiculturalism activist, had remarked that Americans are "bloodthirsty, vengeful and calling for blood." The Canadian hate-crimes law was created to protect minority groups from hate speech. But in this case, it was invoked to protect Americans.

Just like Bush followers who bizarrely think that the limitless presidential powers they're cheering on will only be wielded by political leaders they like, many hate speech law proponents convince themselves that such laws will only be used to punish speech they dislike. That is never how tyrannical government power works.

Well, up here in Canada, Glenn, many hate speech law proponents are not as naive as you seem to think.

Let's take the case of Sunera Thobani. In 2001, not long after the 9/11 attacks, Ms. Thobani delivered a speech (condensed version here) to the Women's Resistance Conference in Ottawa, Ontario. The speech was pretty crass, nasty stuff, and certainly ill-timed, but for our our purposes the important thing is that it (shock! horror!) triggered a hate-crimes investigation.

Now, what did that mean here?

Well, it meant that a letter from, if I am remembering this correctly, an American citizen living in Vancouver, was sent to the RCMP, an RCMP officer went public with news of the letter in his own form of protest against the relevant legislation, the complaint was investigated amid a press uproar, and the investigation was dropped because essentially there was no case. Ms. Thobani's speech was delivered sometime in late September or early October, and the whole thing wound up in late October.

And that's about it. A speech intended to be controversial became even more controversial, Thobani bitched about harassment and probably felt a few days worth of extra stress, and...nothing. Sure she had to endure the weight of the legal process, but so what? What is sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander; the fact that Thobani is politically left (and herself a minority) should not put her beyond the reach of such laws, and the fact that she briefly became the target of a frivolous employment of these laws is not an argument against them. If it were, we would not have a legal system at all!

(And, incidentally, abusing the legal system is a topic with which our Ezra Levant is arguably quite familiar)

PS. A minor mea culpa, although my general point in yesterday's first post still holds--Ezra's falsehoods re Syed Soharwardy were still on his blog and in his youtube clip--by his January 12th post he has distinguished between where Mr. Soharwardy was trained (Pakistan) and where he lectured (Saudi Arabia)

PPS. h/t to Rusty Idols. I'm glad other Progressives are at least writing about this, especially since some apparently find my views on the subject "embarrassing".

PPPS. Note that Thobani's case is quite different from the case brought against Ezra. Greenwall conflates them, so I am doing similarly in the above.

The guy at D-World has a good post on Ezra today.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Steyn Repeats Ezra's Falsehood

"Over the weekend, I was reviewing the Canadian Islamic Congress’ dossier on Maclean’s “flagrant Islamophobia” for my forthcoming book The Mark Steyn Flagrantly Islamophobic Reader. One of the differences between the Maclean’s case and The Western Standard’s is that Ezra is being pursued by a foreign imam trained (such as it is) by the semi-literates of some third-rate Saudi seminary."

Yo Steyn! I bet the old imam at least graduated high-school!

Yo imam! Consider suing this Steyn guy too!

Will Ezra Get His Ass Sued?

From Ezra's Blog[January 12th]:

The hearings were actually in response to two complaints. The first was filed by a radical imam in Calgary, Syed Soharwardy, a tin-pot fascist who has publicly called for Canada to be ruled by sharia law. Soharwardy boasts of his studies in Pakistani madrassahs and his religious lectures in Saudi universities, and he's bringing those Saudi and Pakistani values to Canada.

And a day earlier:

1. The hand-scrawled complaint filed against the magazine by a radical, Saudi-trained imam who has publicly called for sharia law to be imposed in Canada...

From yesterday's Calgary Sun:

The leader of the Al Madinah Calgary Islamic Centre said he's considering legal action after disparaging comments were posted yesterday [January 11th] on a website run by Ezra Levant, founder of the now-defunct Western Standard magazine.

On the site, Levant refers to Syed Soharwardy as a "radical, Saudi-trained imam," a charge Soharwardy flatly denied.

"If he has proof ... show me about my training," said Sohawardy, founder of the group Muslims Against Terrorism. "Mr. Levant ... is spreading lies in the community."

And Ezra's response:

Asked for proof of his allegation the imam was religiously trained in Saudi Arabia, Levant conceded in an e-mail to the Sun Soharwardy lectured at a university there, but did not study.

And yet the false statement is still on the website. In fact, it would seem that one version of the false statement (top link) was made on the same day that Ezra conceded its falsehood to The Sun, or perhaps the day after. The false statement is also blazing its way across the blogosphere in the youtube version of Ezra's opening remarks to the AHRC.

What's up, Ezra? Too busy practising debating moves in the mirror to clean up your own inaccuracies?

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Ezra Levant: I'm Out Of Order? You're Out Of Order! This Whole Damn COUNTRY Is Out Of Order!

The first two youtube clips from Ezra's visit to the Alberta Human Rights Commission. The good news? In ten minutes of footage, Ezra has yet to compare himself to Jesus. Highlights include Ezra's claim that he published the "offensive" cartoons for entirely frivolous reasons, and the commissioners early eye-rolling in clip two that, if you know how to interpret these things, means "Why do I get all the drama Queens?"

Ezra Levant: Wanking It Two-Fisted

Enough people have reproduced portions of Ezra's rambling, seemingly endless statement to the Alberta Human Rights Commission that I don't have to. The link is here, and his threat to upload the most "interesting" bits of his performance here. Hopefully, he plays banjo or juggles or something. I'm not sure how much of this kind of scenary chewing I can take.

Friday, January 11, 2008

The Cold Hand Of Conservative Censorhip, Part II

Records show that Tyler Shandro, the same Calgary lawyer who penned the stern letter to Cournoyer about identity theft, registered both Internet addresses [ &] in the name of the premier and party Tuesday afternoon -- hours after the case made national headlines, and at least a month after the Tories became aware of it.

The address was registered more than a year ago to an office in the Bahamas, and links to an unrelated search engine.

Ed Stelmach really ought to fire his lawyer.

And someone should ask Mr. Stelmach why he's so upset with what Dave Cournoyer (Daveberta) is doing when there are people based in the Bahamas that are using his name to sell, among other things, shaving gear and golf tickets.

On Beheading Stuff

What Am I Beheading?

No saber? No problem.
Use a file, or a lawn-mower blade.

Remove the foil and cage.
Find the seam on the neck.
Where it meets the lower lip is the weak point,
the annulus.

Point the neck away from other people, chandeliers or stained-glass windows.
Dry it if sweating.

Swing, upward along the neck, and into the bottom of the lip.
Anticipate a breathless pause , a fizzy gush.

For the answer, click here. But try and guess before you click.

Here's the poem that inspired my efforts, some information on its author, and some of the shit that happened when Islam Online published it on their website. Here is IO's response to the shit, wherein they ask their readers to versify their feelings towards the original, and some of the verse that resulted.

Here is a call for "shutting down" Islam On-Line from Joe Kaufmen in arch-Conservative David Horowitz's Frontpage Magazine. And here is The Muslim News complaining that the poem's author has been jailed merely for thinking "terrorist thoughts".

Oddly enough, I find myself in agreement with Mr. Kaufman. Or at least I see calling for the shut-down of a website/paper publication, perhaps employing legal tools to that end even where they are not likely to succeed, as being legitimate means of forcing change from the people at Islam On-Line or wherever. Such maneuvers are all part of the public shaming process, in other words.

I am not a free-speech absolutist. Mark Steyn, on the other hand, theoretically has another bunch of wing-nuts to defend. Yo Steyn, where are you?

No Such Luck

For those of us who like to watch shit go BOOM! in the heavens, the announcement that

An asteroid nearing Mars will not crash into the planet later this month... surely sad news. Ah well! To cheer people up, here's a youtube clip portraying what would happen if a Japan-sized space rock ever struck the Earth again. The narration is in Japanese.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Free-D Update: Free-D Sells Out!

Looks like Connie and Mark are tired of getting hauled into court. The owners of Free Dominion have sold their forum to a company based in Panama City, Panama, to avoid more legal trouble:

Conn Esq Web Design was originally intended to be a corporation offering internet design and programming services, holding Free Dominion as an example of its production. But in the past year the corporation has begun to see ownership of Free Dominion as too much of a potential liability because the website has become a target for individuals and government organizations determined to attack freedom of speech, using a variety of methods at their disposal.

Considering the political climate in Canada today, Conn Esq Web Design Ltd. has made the corporate decision to sell Free Dominion to Liberty News Service Inc. of Panama City, Panama. Liberty News Service’s corporate mission is to buy websites from individuals and corporations living in countries where free speech is under attack, and protect those websites from being shut down or seized by oppressive governments. LNS is now the legal owner of the Free Dominion database and software, all logs and information about FD members, and the domains, and Because it is not permissible to transfer a dot ca domain to a foreign corporation, we will retain, which will continue to point to

Liberty News Service Inc. has, I must say, kept a very low Net profile, the only certain reference to it being this very Free-D Posting. Any further information on the company would be appreciated.

In any case, Connie and Mark go from being site administrators to Lead Moderators, and they have been advising Free-D Members as to methods of hiding their identity:

2) Do not reveal details about yourself in the forum that could help people identify you. If you think you have already revealed too much, consider abandoning your existing FD userid and registering a new one.

Mark concludes:

Let's use our new strategic position to its fullest advantage.

Let's return our country to the values of liberty that are the source of its greatness.

Yeah. Let's use pseudonyms to bash foreigners, gays, and dark skinned immigrants.

Tim Ball Denies Darwin!

You know I've been waiting months for this to finally happen.

Tim Ball has been making noises now and then at the Climate Skeptic Cafe, but now, in this Canada Free Press article co-authored with Tom Harris, the cork finally pops!

Like all philosophies that come to dominate society, climate hysteria is part of an evolution of ideas and needs an historical context. The current western view of the World essentially evolved from the Darwinian view. Even though it is still just a theory and not a law 148 years after it was first proposed, Darwinian evolution is the only view allowed in schools. Why? Such censorship suggests fear of other ideas, a measure of indefensibility.

All the old Creationist tropes are here. 1) Its only a theory. 2) The "controversy" should be taught in public schools, and if it isn't 3) that's censorship.

Weirdly enough, Tim and Tom are willing to go even further, tracing the roots of "environmental extremism" to, of all places, Sir Charles Lyell:

A proper appreciation of time is essential to this discussion and the larger theme of climate change. Before Darwin, the English church accepted Bishop Ussher’s biblically-based calculation that the world was formed on October 23, 4004 BC. But Darwin needed a much older world to allow the sort of evolution he envisioned as driving natural change to occur. Religion said God created the world in 7 days; Darwin needed millions.

Sir Charles Lyell provided the answer in a book titled Principles of Geology, which Darwin took on his famous voyage to the Galapagos Islands. The combination of long time frames and slow development resulted in a philosophical view known as uniformitarianism.

If such a term sounds more appropriate to religion than science, that is because it is, in essence, another form of belief system. Uniformitarianism is the idea now underpinning western society’s view of the World. A basic tenet assumes change is gradual over long periods of time and any sudden or dramatic change is not natural. Employing a version of uniformitarianism adapted to their needs, environmental extremists can point to practically any change and say it is unnatural, which implies it is man-made.

Take THAT, Rachal Carson!